I joined the US Army in 1986. I was engaged to my high school sweetheart at the time and hoping to learn a career that would allow me to support a family. We married in 1987 and about three months later, I decided our relationship needed religion. We were both raised Lutheran, but for some reason I wanted to investigate what else was out there. A good friend of mine had just started studying with the jw and I have to say, I was quite intrigued by what I was learning. No hell fire? Cool! God has a name? Awesome! Paradise earth? Sign me up. What I didn't realize right away was how evil the actual organization was. Most of the people I met in the congregation were very friendly. A few seemed to have their own agenda, but most seemed to sincerely feel that they were doing god's will. I became babtized, a pioneer, a ministerial servant, and then a bad association. I was very zealous, extremely zealous in the field service, but I was constantly bothered by feelings of worthlessness and each day was a fight for my self-esteem. In 2002, I finally made a break from the jw. Unfortuneately the break was only a physical one and my feelings of worthlessness continued. I lived each day with the fear that this would be the one where God would call me to account. Then, since I was condemned and worthless anyway, I decided to investigate the validity of my negative feelings and was VERY PLEASANTLY SURPRISED. It turned out that God doesn't need anything from me. It turned out that he wants me to enjoy what he's created and not spend my time as a busy body, telling others what they should believe. I'm finally able to see God as a wonderful and kind person who is worth knowing. I don't wake up each day wondering if this will be the one that God will pour out his righteous anger upon me. I see the birds, flowers, kittys, puppys, and smiles of other people and I feel close to whoever took the time to include such precious details into life.