First post on here. I've been lurking for 3-4 years and I mean I've been a mega lurker, doing marathon reading sessions for months or weeks.
Sometimes I proceed by researching specific topics, or posters; other times just reading current discussions. I'm particularly fond of "old" post, i.e 10-12-15 years ago.
I have laughed, smiled, got mad, cried etc, just reading some threads here.
As you can see I suffer from some kind of "Accute Lurkitis". My very favorite stories (here or on other ex jw websites) are life stories, exit stories, threads about typical jw behaviour, memories/ recollections about jw life and things that happen in kingdom halls in general.
To some of the things said on here, I can relate. But since I live in a different part of the world altogether, I find it really hard to relate to some other discussions. Which is in part what took me so long to join this community. I have the feeling that the vast majority here have a reality that's quite different from mine.
A bit about me: I live in a country that's highly religious. My mother joined the jws when I was a few weeks old so you can say that I'm a born-in. My dad died around the same time. I am an avid reader and, being a generally quiet person, I also love to observe the world around me.
I used to be a strong believer of the religion until about 9 years ago when I started living alone, travelling and experiencing blattant dishonnesty and injustice in the congregations.
Even when I was a strong believer, I made it a science to always keep my "zeal" in check. I noticed quite early in my childhood that the overly burning zeal is more often than not the stage preceding burnouts.
Jws create tempests in people's lives! But when you take a little bit of distance, you'll notice that it's just a tempest in a teacup. Much ado about nothing. All the rules and blaming for others and none for self (unless you're aware of being watched).
In general I'm an off the grid witness, always have been. I have 2 masters degrees (the anti-education pressure used to be a bit lower over here, well, until about 5 years ago...so I was almost through by then). Certain things I doubted; e.g holy spirit appointing servants; others I've never believed (even as a child) e.g paradise (yeah right). Other things I was really gullible about: the annointed ones, just to mention a few examples. And some of the teachings may cross over to one of the three categories over time and for various reasons.
I've been blessed with some kind of in-built sensitive personal "filter", so when a certain teaching doesn't sit well with me, it never will. There's nothing I do to change it. However, this will not necessarily make me question the whole thing altogether. For a few years before completely cooling down, I'd stopped turning in auxilliary pioneer forms. I felt the announcement of names on the platform and co was too ostentatious for my liking. That and some other things I took a personal stand on with no guilt (and even less guilt now that I read exjw websites).
My jw upbringing made me to be comfortable standing out as the odd one in the crowd. I guess that's why I feel so comfortable about being an offbeat witness as well.
How this forum helped me: I moved from being a half-tormented half-believer to a totally guilt free less than half believer :)
Current situation: I stopped preaching 2 years ago but I continue to turn my time slip in. No trouble over that yet. My meeting attendance depends on my mood of the moment. My family's still in, some extremely hardcore, some, "marginal jws" like me. Some Df'd or Da'd for decades, we've never shunned them, nor ever will. Even if in my ubber dub years I considered shunning them, I must confess.
I believe in God with every inch of my body.
I don't plan to leave the jws. Where I live, "religionlessness" is thoroughly non-existent. And I must say that jws represent a big part of my social life, and some kind of entertainment for me because I find them (us) to be a quite funny bunch. I have developped ways to navigate safely among them and take life one day at a time.
That's it about me. Sorry for some of the made up words; since English is not my first language, I have to try to find ways to communicate my ideas.
Thanks for taking a few minutes of your lives to read this.
T in a T