Born into a JW family in the USA, both parents second generation, raised a JW, Aux pioneered through out high school, didn't go to university, pioneered for a few years, went to Costa Rica to help build a branch, got married to a JW, went back to the USA, pioneered some more, then went to Dominican Republic as a IV (International Volunteer) then became a IS (International Servant) on the bethel branch there, became an elder, became a bethelite, became the Secretary for the branch coordinator, became a Bethel Elder, got to know many of the Governing Body, got to know many of the "upper echelon" in New York, Patterson, the Farm and many in Mexico and Central America, worked with lot's of "Need Greaters" that were in the Domincan Republic. Worked closely with the Missionarys, Circuit Overseers, Special Pioneers and Bethelites, as I was in charge of seeing they received their monthy allowance, and coordinated any problems they had. Had a bible study that I had just showed how the end of this generation would not pass away until the end came, and how that generation was now very old, as they were not only alive in 1914 but knew what was going on. Next week there was new light (it just got dimmer), that generation was a bit different then we had thought before. Never could go back to that Bible Study and never had another bible study, in fact I really never went back out in field service after that. Started thinking about all the in-fighting in Bethel between the branch committee members, the problems that I knew about in New York Bethel, the way certain members of the Governing Body treated everyone, the many problems in the missionary homes, the many problems with the Circuit Overseers. (As secretary to the Branch Coordinator, I knew about most the fights, problems, etc. Decided to leave Bethel and return to the USA. Didn't want to return to my old english congregation as I has always had problems with the Presiding Overseer there (he was egotistical). Decided to go to the Spanish congregation. Was made an Elder. Watched the fighting between the elder body. Watched the fighting between other elder bodies. Saw how the "flock" was still being mistreated. Lost a good bit of my life savings (not much since I'd been a "full time servant" most of my adult life) to an elder who stoled and lied. Seen many more similar cases that not much of anything was done about. Moved to Costa Rica five years ago, never went to another meeting. Unfortunately, my wife stayed a Witness. Due to a very strained relationship between us and my own desires, got involved with another girl I had met, decided to leave my wife, my wife decided that she didn't want a divorce, so we have been trying to work things out, been going pretty good for the last year. In the meantime the elders asked to meet with me, I didn't know any of them and saw no reason to meet with them, write them a letter, or have any other communications with them. I was told that I was disfellowshipped. Most my family and my in-laws are witnesses. But so far my parents have been fairly liberal. My mom will call every once in a while, about the same as she did before I was DF'd. When I'm in the USA they will let me stay with them and go places with me. Of my two youngest sisters, one is DF'd also and the other was never babtized and we have a pretty normal relationship. Even when I was a full-fledged witnesses, I never could bring my self to "shun" my younger sisters and had alway associated with them. My two older sisters will speak with me if they see me. Both have mental problems and are on medication to control it. (Not sure if it is because to their beleives or if it is hereditary as their mother also had lots of mental problems (they are actually half-sisters, and their real mother who left them as infants was never a JW). My two grand-mothers who are still alive, probably don't even know that I'm DF'd. Their both a bit senile and when I'm there treat me as they always have. My wife's family is pretty weak in the organization, only one of them is "shunning" me. Through-out the years in the organization of JW's. I had made lot's of friends, those I have lost. But with time I'm making new ones. My wife is still a witness. I really haven't tried to discourage her, or make her life more difficult. Other then being gone three nights a week, and spending one day a week in field service, she doesn't push me much (not like she did before). Honestly, the organization did teach me many things, some good some bad. After leaving it took me awile to figure out what I wanted to do and what I was good at. Fortunately, I was able to start a fairly good business with automotive parts, I now have 25 employees in several different countries. I've always been diligent and tried my best to be honest and a hard worker. I learned many lessons on how to deal with people, how to organize things, etc in the organization. I imagine I would have learned those same lessons and others outside. But as always, life is what you make it. After almost five years away from the organization, I beleive that the majority (from the governing body to the 1 hour publisher) are just mis-guided. Caught up in something that they can't or don't want to give up. The abuses of power from elders, CO's and governing body is just part of nature, power corrupts. Is the Governing Body and others in the upper echelon money hungry, I doubt it, mostly power hungry. (though that is probably worse). I even imagine most of them can convince themselves that they are doing things for the best, I know that I did. By the way, to all those that I may have harmed in anyway during my years as an elder, either by my actions or words, sorry. I really did think that I was trying to serve.