Update: JW Survey needs YOU!
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bigstock-handsome-journalist-writing-wi-43410031-600x402Last Friday, we put up an article opening the doors to submissions from you, our readers.

We have had a number of excellent submissions since then, covering a wide variety of topics. On behalf of the entire JW Survey team, I’d like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who has donated so far and remind our readers that the doors are still open for anyone who is thinking of submitting material.

If you’ve not heard back from us yet don’t worry, you will. We are reading and discussing every submission emailed to us and this takes time, but rest assured we will read everything and respond to everyone who took the time and energy to submit work.

In the meantime, we are happy to confirm that the upcoming Friday Column this week will indeed feature one of our new guest writers who has submitted a fantastic article. Be sure to check it out!

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73 Responses to Update: JW Survey needs YOU!

  1. Nan Restivo says:

    After a lot of thought, I decided to submit this. I was a Jehovah’s Witness for 42 years (from age 16 to 62), married one who was raised in it, and proceeded to raise 3 children in it. We were the classic, devoted family of Witnesses – many years of pioneering, moved several times to serve “where the need was greater”, husband an elder for over 30 years, son in Bethel for over 8 years, son and his wife moved to China for 5 years, etc. etc. But I am not writing to complain about the wasted years. I thought I would write about the “after years”, which are so difficult for many of us ex-JWs. They certainly have been for all of us. Poverty, shame, embarrassment, and many other emotions crowded in. (Before I became a JW, I was awarded a full scholarship to Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Of course I turned it down, being a brand-new, but faithful, JW.) Unlike some of my former friends, we have come to peace with life. Those years would have passed anyway. There were some good things for me – finding my husband, who is still my best friend, is a big one. EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) helped us immensely. You can let go of all those feelings and move on. Life is still full and wonderful. Although we occasionally talk about our experiences as JWs, we are not bogged down in it. I take every opportunity I can to discourage anyone from getting involved with the religion, but aside from that, I am just too busy living the happy life I have made. I understand and appreciate your website, but sometimes find myself just wanting to say “Oh, just get on with it! Let the religion implode, or whatever it’s going to do, and take off. Live your life.”

    • Paul Brinkman says:

      Amazing story for me. The question is that you still feel a trust of God today ? And how are the children reacted ? Thanks

    • Thanks for your post. We,too,are ex-JW’s. Your outlook on life in the “truth” and after made me feel good. Life is good now. Life shortly afar leaving were rough,but many true friends and family have helped us along the way. many still shun us. family members still in the organization will not invite us to weddings and parties. But,now,we feel-who cares? They do not care to associate with us-it is their loss. Living life.

  2. Tara says:

    As much as I say bravo NR for your ability to move on I also have to say, that for many, it’s never going to be an easy option. Perhaps it’s a bit like an amputee being able to move on in life and adapt to his/her disability but some days they will look at the place their lost limb was and still feel the residual pain.

    For most part I just get on with life now but I am still constantly looking over my shoulder, leaving the house on a Saturday morning… just in case, dreading the notes left in the door. The only reason I fade is because I still have a minor grandchild who is being indoctrinated by my ex daughter in law and her family. If and when the day comes we can win a court battle to get custody or to at least have it in an order that she cannot be baptised until an adult, then I will consider disassociating myself.

    The ties are still there also regarding my daughter who is also fading for much the same reasons. Her in laws are witnesses, her husband is not…. yesterday she dropped off her daughter with his grandparents, she was grilled about her lack of meeting attendance and not going out in the tract work. When I picked the baby up I too was subjected to the same grilling. She has vowed never to have them sit for her again.

    These little experiences show that you can never ‘just get on with it’. Once you have been a JW there will always be a cord, however fine, that ties you to the cult. I am bitter right now, I hope that will diminish over time but until that cord can be totally cut I will never be truly free.

    I do applaud you and those who make the escape to be totally free.

    • fallingangel75 says:

      I definitely agree with you Tara, that it is not only your own personal level of involvement you must take in to account, but family ties and friendships and how much of an alternate support system you have before you leave or can create when you leave.

      I feel like I could separate myself *just myself* today and move on with my life without regret if not for the fact that my entire social circle consists of witnesses.

      I have good relationships with my coworkers. I get along well with everyone, but we’re not close. We don’t visit each other’s homes or go on vacations.

      I can remember feeling guilty for going out to lunch or dinner with them. We did nothing wrong. No wild parties or drunkenness.

      Just regular meals exactly the same as the ones I have with JWs. Baby showers and the like, but you know. We’re constantly told we’re not supposed to develop friendships with non-witnesses.

      It will be difficult for me to leave my JW friends and try to replace them. At the same time, I’m a very outgoing person who makes friends easily. I always get invited to parties, and meals and vacations with neighbors and friends from work.

      That’s been a life long struggle for me as I’ve tried to be a model witness and avoid ‘bad association’.

      It won’t be hard cultivating and deepening the friendships I have with non-witnesses. The hard part will be letting go of the guilt about it, and knowing that I will have to give up and let go of the JW friends. Many of whom I have been close to for 20 or 30 years and who have been with me through every major life event.

      • Tara says:

        Sadly I found out that nearly all my ‘friends’ were conditional friends. I still come home from work and hang out with the cats. I’ve made not witness friends but not enough to go out and have fun with them. I am very lonely. I have PTSD so find it hard being around people. Loosing my spiritual friends made me distrust most people because these were meant to be my family… ROFLMAO…

        • M Saurus says:

          Tara – I know that is hard for you.

          Maybe you could take a class, or join a club, volunteer with a non-profit and volunteer at some of their social fund raisers.

          You won’t have best friends immediately but if you are open to it, you will attract some friendly people that you can socialize with.

          Best to you.

          • Grace says:

            Real friendships grow naturally, they take time & are few.

            We’ve been conditioned to believe that those instant friendships for so long were a necessity for true happiness & that’s where we will find true loyalty. The problem was when the chips were down, those so-called friendships weren’t always there.

            I knew that I had a couple of great friendships before I became a Witness. I slowly pushed them away when I became a Witness.

            Before I became a Witness, I didn’t have “8 million friends or brothers & sisters”. I didn’t need that. I had a couple of close friends & we occasionally went out together with other friends. But my trust, my secrets & my fun was shared with my closest 2 friends.

            The Society makes you believe that you have to have all of these 100’s of people in your life to be happy. After I left, I realised how much hogwash that was. Having a couple of good buddies in your life is all that you need & if you need to have fun, shallow association, go & find a club or volunteer group where you can have other friendships. People you don’t see enough to get annoyed with. People who don’t know your life enough to start judging your every move. People who are sharing a moment with you. To me that’s healthy.

            Anyway, I just think that when you leave be patient with finding yourself & your new friendships. People in the “world” aren’t going lather you with instant love, they have nothing to prove. They’re just being themselves. Sooner or later someone will come along that will just like your company. That’s when you can start building your friendship.

          • Tara says:

            I know I should….

          • fallingangel75 says:

            @ Grace, not to argue with you at all, but to clarify my own statements, in my comments I am talking about a handful of close friends. Probably 4 in my inner circle. Women I have known since we were girls of 15 or 16.

            They are like sisters to me. We have comforted each other through deaths and terrible breakups and celebrated births and marriages.

            We pioneered together and lost sleep working the night shift on kingdom hall and assembly projects.

            We were all raised as witnesses and met because of it, but it is not the only thing we had in common.

            I’m not speaking of instant friends. I’m not referring to the nice couple I sat next to at the assembly last year who gave me their number last year and said: let’s get together some time.

            I’m sure some of you will think I’m being naive, but I have spoken with them all, and I’m sure they won’t see me in the streets and out-and-out snub me.

            It’s the intimate association that will go away.

            I know we won’t call each other up and talk for hours. I’m not going to be a bridesmaid in the upcoming wedding.

            Things like that will be lost to me.

            I am interested to see what happens after the convention because all of my closest friends have been on the lenient side about shunning in the cases of others, especially close friends and family.

            We know people who did bad things like a brother who had a 2nd secret wife and kid on the side – actual polygamy.

            Of course, everyone agreed he’d done wrong by his first family and the congregation by lying to his wife and kids for years. It was quite a scandal.

            It didn’t feel wrong at all to shun him. But there were other situations where we felt like maybe things weren’t handled correctly and we still kind of kept in touch.

            Again, avoiding identifying details.

            I said this to say: I think my friends are likely to still talk to me, but not hang out with me anymore.

            I’m certain my immediate family won’t shun me either. Again, witholding identifying details, but I am sure of it.

            But I also don’t know how much emphasis will be put on severing all ties at the convention and/or how closely they will feel they have to adhere to it.

            Will they double-down and be more strict about it all will they think about me and others they care about and think: this isn’t right?

            I really don’t know. I’m waiting to see.

      • Winston Smith says:

        @FA75
        Here’s what helped me: before I fully faded, I developed two close non-JW friendships with workmates, another with a former RV I was able to confide in, and finally, I reconnected with a family member who had faded before me (and I had been shunning).

        You definitely need a base of support before you can really start fading. You may also consider professional counseling or therapy, but you should look for someone who has had experience in dealing with patients who have been influenced by cults.

        Once I had my support group in place, I was able to fade without any strong feeling of loss for the old relationships. It was still hard and there were (and sometimes still are) many uncomfortable situations that come up being a fader. But I can tell you that it gets easier. And now that I am more or less fully faded for almost 2 yrs (started the fading process in 2012), I can tell you that I have so much less stress in my life. When I was a JW, I had a lot of anger issues. Now I am calm and collected most of the time.

        WS

        • Grace says:

          Also, one of the things I made myself do was find a weekend workshop. I chose an art class & a silver jewellery making class. I thought being just a weekend thing, I wasn’t committed after that if I didn’t feel comfortable with other people. Well it was the best thing that I ever did & now I want to keep doing it.

          • fallingangel75 says:

            Erg! I keep typing these comments on my phone and this autocorrect is making me want to murder it! It keeps making mistakes instead of correcting them.

            Ack! Kind of like the org…

            Anyway, I also wanted to say that I am aware of the precarious position I’m in. I’m stating that I know my friends and family care and won’t disown me.

            ….for having doubts and struggling to accept my husband’s change in his hope.

            However, I know it would be a totally different situation if they knew I was frequently visiting this site and leaving these comments.

            I would get an instant cold shoulder for sure. That does frustrate and anger me.

            But, at the same time, I am trying to remain as anonymous as possible while still making my opinions clearly known because I don’t want to be completely cut off from everyone, but I still feel compelled to air my complaints.

            I’m sure I am not alone in feeling this way.

            I want to leave, but not on bad terms.

        • fallingangel75 says:

          Thanks Winston, and not to discount any of your advice and kind words. But it’s kind of like the way a few people said: don’t worry, so Jehovah is taking your husband to heaven.

          He’ll give you a new and better one next time.

          Wait? What?

          It’s not that I believe I couldn’t remarry and be happy with someone else. I believe I can. I don’t doubt that.

          But the relationship I have with my husband is unique to us and cannot be replaced or recreated.

          And I feel that way about my friendships. I really do make friends easily.

          I’m not worried about being lonely at all. I won’t be sitting at home by myself and if I do leave my husband, and choose to date again I’m certain I will find someone soon.

          I’m attractive and fun and still young-ish. I look even younger than I am, and I meet a lot of professional, successful men in my line of work.

          I’m not wearing my wedding rings and I get asked out a lot.

          That’s part of the reason why my husband is worried about our marriage now.

          But…. I value the history of my current friendships just like I value my marriage.

          I know I can start over and move forward. I don’t doubt that at all.

          But I don’t want to.

          And if I am forced to, I will still grieve the loss of the unique friendships I developed and lovingly maintained for decades.

          Making new friends will never eliminate the sorrow I know I will feel over losing the old ones. I think everyone is different when it comes to this.

          • fallingangel75 says:

            And I’m upset about the fact that the separation we face is arbitrary and unnecessary. No one is dying. No crimes have been committed.

            It’s all because of man made rules in a man made institution.

          • M Saurus says:

            FA – I never thought my own mother would shun me either. Or the people I’ve known since I was 8 years old (44 years ago!)

    • John ship says:

      Same as you fading .wife and most family in .im 72 if i DS i face loosing my grandchildren and family .exept my wife she knows im done with it but has ssid she would never shun me. Ive been in sincs 60s and seen all the changes. The shunning was only in a spiritual sense then family ties remaned the same .however the “new ” GB are do paranoid about loosing control of the org they are ratcheting up the shunning threat . All they are doing is driving people like us further away..who would want to serve these evil men. .i simpathise with you there are probably 1000s like us ..

      • Julien says:

        Im proud of you john. My dad is 71 and still as fanatical as ever. Zero room for any growth. In his case he lost his children and his grandchildren because he decided to shun. Its all truly so sad and tragic.

        • David Brand says:

          Julien, I share this experience. I am completely puzzled too, as you would think that my father would attempt some contact with his own grandchildren, the oldest being 13. Why hasn’t he even tried to write them to share “the truth” with them if he believes it so strongly? He has no prohibition on speaking with them.

    • David Brand says:

      Hi Tara and everyone else that shares your feelings, I love the analogy of the amputee. I was associated with “the truth” since my parents were baptized when I was three years old. My mother was disfellowshipped, which led to my parents divorce when I was eight. My life was forever changed. After wavering back and forth for the remainder of my childhood I finally made a formal commitment to join the organization myself and was baptized just two weeks shy of my seventeenth birthday. After serving as a regular pioneer for two years I was accepted to Bethel at the age of 19. Bethel was like nothing I’d imagined. Once there I began to question the presence of God’s spirit, as I encountered cynical and unfriendly leadership, and questionable, “wordly” behavior by more than a few. I left Bethel after six months due to illness and encountered more hypocritical behavior all around me upon returning home. Despite being told to “focus on my own spirituality,” my faith was shaken to the core by what was happening in my congregation. Finally, feeling disillusioned and betrayed, I fell into a double life, which led to my confessing to the elders and being disfellowshipped. I know of no pain greater than what I felt after being cut off from my family and friends. I fell into a deep pit of despair, and am thankful that I’m alive to reflect on what happened. It’s been nearly thirty years since those events, and still, STILL! there are times where I doubt my decision to leave. It would be easy to return, to have my old JW friends and even more so, a full relationship with the family on the other side. I totally agree, it is like having an amputated limb. I keep staring at the site of the wound, reflecting on it, wondering what if I’d never had it removed. Alcoholics can’t ever have “just one drink.” No matter how many years pass from their last one, they know how easy it would be to fall back into familiar patterns of addictions. Yes, I was once addicted to the sweet promises, smug in my resolve that I’d finally found “all of the answers” to the questions we all ask. The real truth is that life is a constant and unending search for answers. There is nothing wrong with not having all of them, a tough concept to accept if you’ve ever been a Jehovah’s Witness.

  3. M Saurus says:

    I guess some people view the fading and subsequent shunning differently than others.

    Rather than feeling pain and sadness over the “friends” you let go, I feel anger towards them. You did not let them go. They let YOU go, simply because you do not believe the things they believe.

    You have been “close” to them for 20-30 years and they have been with you for every life event? And when you say you don’t want to be a JW anymore they can dump you like yesterday’s trash? That should make you angry! Sad maybe at first, then ANGRY that THEY are treating you that way.

    By wallowing in all the sadness and guilt (why are you guilty, again?) you are letting the org WIN. You are a better person than that.

    I refuse to write a letter to “disassociate” myself. I haven’t been to a meeting in over three years so I consider myself no longer associated. By writing a letter (THEIR RULE) you are still following their guidelines.

    You will make new and better (and more loyal) friends. Don’t mourn these people who have made the decision to shun you.

    • Big B says:

      @ M Saurus

      Ditto, very well put and relevant.

      To all who use this site for therapy, as I do after over 50 years in servitude to this cult, I can verify that although hard sometimes I feel totally liberated which outweighs (for me) any “family or friends” lost due to their shunning.

      The WTBTS is a controlling, pedophile protecting, family destroying, lying cult made up of LOSERS, who failed in this system to make something of their lives and wait for Armageddon to straighten up the playing field for another chance at earthly life. Baloney!

      To everyone, ex-JW’s, disfellowshiped ones, those fading and disassociated I have suggestions as to get on with your life. Yes, there is a life after JW’s.

      1. Find something you enjoy or would like to learn and do it!

      For example: Where I live Community Colleges offer free classes to those at least 60 years of age. You audit the class (no grade) with no papers, homework or attendance requirements. All the free education/instruction you want for free. What a deal! 🙂

      2. Make new friends at those classes as they share the same interests as you (why not, it’s a natural fit).

      3. Celebrate holidays, birthdays, etc. with your new friends! You need not worry about JW guidelines as they don’t apply to you anymore. I have celebrated all Holidays (including X-mas, Halloween, etc.) and enjoyed all of them immensely!

      4. Keep busy don’t mope around. If time permits, get active in the community or volunteer for worthwhile causes.

      For example: I registered to vote. Those who complain about their government and then don’t express their displeasure at the ballot box, shouldn’t gripe. You want change? VOTE! Waiting for Christ’s return will not bring about any change before you die a disappointed, discouraged, disillusioned death, like most JW’s.

      5. Don’t give any JW a cause for thinking you’re miserable. Put on a Happy Face and mean it! 🙂 If they should ask you “how are things?” always answer in a positive way, “couldn’t be better, I’m great!” After all, you are the free one they, on the other hand, are still in servitude to their life sucking, non-paying, time bandit cult!

      Again, I do not treat anyone’s life experiences leaving this cult lightly, it hurts. That’s what cults do, make it nearly impossible to leave unscathed. However, if you value your God given Christian freedom to make your own choices, then maybe some of my suggestions may help you as they have helped me.

      Good Luck

      • M Saurus says:

        Well said, Big B !

      • Winston Smith says:

        Good points Big B. I just registered to vote earlier this year. I attended my first company Christmas party back in 2012 – and I didn’t burst into flames. I can’t celebrate at home because my wife is still in, but outside the home, I can do anything I please. It’s so liberating being free of the Watchtower shackles! The best part is waking up on Sunday morning and realizing that you don’t have to go anywhere; the day is yours.

        WS

        • fallingangel75 says:

          I plan to vote in the upcoming presidential election as well, although knowing how the electoral college works, my one vote still may not have the desired outcome. But that’s another issue entirely!

      • G.kapi says:

        Big B
        i give you 10 out of 10
        and to all the others …..dont let them pain
        you…who the hell do thay think thay are….
        I left 33 years ago.My children and grandchildren have not spoken to me since…I dont like it one bit.But I am going to pummel my self to times indefinet. It is so sad to see so many poeple being hurt.
        So,live one day at the time,love yourself,
        and think of all the “GOOD NEWS”we have learnt.harmagedon,7billion dead,famin pestilens,we know it all.shunning to top it all off.take it easy…1874-1914-1926-1975
        still counting.Anointet..still growing–
        Icould go on…yust hang in there.
        all the best to all
        you lovely poeple
        ,

    • Winston Smith says:

      I agree with you M Saurus, except on one point: I am not angry about the lost JW relationships. I am simply indifferent. If they think I am not good enough them then it’s their loss. I don’t need fair-weather friends or to waste a single moment on them either missing them or in anger. If putting me down makes them feel better about themselves and their sorry situation, so be it. Doesn’t effect me one way or the other.

      WS

    • D.S. says:

      I did write the letter. But ONLY to let them know for sure that I was no longer a jw. My only regret was that I did not include in my exit ticket all of the reasons I now know they are a horrible cult!

    • Sval says:

      I agree with you MS, I also feel anger. I’ve been out for 8 years now and the first couple of years the “friends” would treat me half way decently thinking that I could be won back. When they realized I was out for good, I’m treated the same as a DF’d member. This includes my very best friend of 40 yrs. It hurt at first but I am now very disappointed and angry with them.
      I will say that my life is better now then it has ever been. My marriage is also better. Thankfully my husband faded with me. Now to get my son and his family out. Until then, I have to be very careful what I say. I’m so glad to have found this sight. I gives me comfort to know there are so many that I can relate with and share experiences.

  4. Arvjdy says:

    Thank you for this site. It reminds me that I’m not alone. I lost all my family except my wife in the organization. Thank you to all who contributed their experiences.

    • Sarah says:

      Thanks too from me. This site works well, so I appreciate the good technological skill involved.

  5. ScotWm says:

    Perhaps the Watchtower policy of shunning should be reexamined. My writing skills are not the greatest, but if this topic is of interest to anyone, I would be willing to try.

    The Friday afternoon session of the REMAIN LOYAL TO JEHOVAH! 2016 Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses features a symposium entitled “Shun Unrepentant Wrongdoers” which, oddly enough, is followed by another talk entitled “Be Forgiving.” I have recently started to think that some shunning may be needed in order to protect myself and others.

    Just when I thought that I had come to terms with the Watchtower’s unscriptural shunning policies, I came across a troubling YouTube video. The video features an “apostate” who lights up a cigarette and continues to smoke as he complains about how Witnesses shunned him after he disassociated himself from the Watchtower organization.

    A dictionary definition of shunning says that it is “to avoid deliberately and especially habitually.” Shunning may not be scriptural, but I would definitely want to deliberately and habitually avoid contact with someone who has so little respect for me that he would expect me to breathe deadly second hand smoke whenever I am around him.

    It is obvious that not everyone views smoking as a bad habit. The illustration for “Update: JW Survey needs YOU!” shows a man smoking a pipe as he types out what are probably denunciations of false Watchtower doctrines. But what about shunning known pedophiles, for example? Would that be justified?

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yI910M9Q-xo

    • Sarah says:

      I really liked the illustration although don’t like smoking. It’s obviously a tongue-in-cheek picture of a journalist/writer. Quite appropriate.

      Writing a letter to leave the organization protected me from harassment from some very unchristian people, so their shunning policy worked to my benefit. Not everyone will have the same circs.

      My aim is to prevent harm to others so I continue to work to publicise the unlawful aspects of WT so as to prevent young ones from being pushed into suicide.

      • ScotWm says:

        Sarah says: “I really liked the illustration although don’t like smoking.”

        Yes, but now I’m having second thoughts about smoking. I may have been too judgmental on the subject because some people like having cigarette smoke blown in their faces. This Chesterfield ad proves my point:

        http://tinyurl.com/zghs2f3

    • dee2 says:

      ScotWm,

      Maybe the guy in the picture is smoking medical marijuana……… lol.

      • ScotWm says:

        dee2 says: “Maybe the guy in the picture is smoking medical marijuana………”

        Yeah, complete with a filter. Sipping Bud Light while smoking a cigarette really enhances his presentation.

        • dee2 says:

          ?????? I’m referring to the picture in the above JWsurvey article, which doesn’t have any of the other things which you mentioned.

          • ScotWm says:

            Sorry, I thought you were referring to the video link I supplied in my original post. After all, you did say “picture” not “video.”

    • Eyes opened says:

      @ScotWm

      The decision to shun or not should be our own as we choose the right associates for ourselves. There are people we are naturally drawn to and others we avoid for our own reasons. The problem is when others think they have the right to make those choices for us. I am on the hot seat for associating with an individual who no longer agrees with everything the wbts teaches. This person has completely faded. Yet this person is kind, generous, hospitable and displays Christ like qualities out of a good heart. This person’s gifts of mercy are genuine. Am I going to shun this person because there are those in the org who think I should??? Not a chance.
      Kind of a sensitive subject, sorry.

      Regards

      • ScotWm says:

        Eyes opened says: “The decision to shun or not should be our own as we choose the right associates for ourselves.”

        That’s really what its all about. Being required to shun someone who speaks out against false Watchtower doctrines shouldn’t be mandated by cult leaders.

        When Witnesses speak out against false Watchtower doctrines, they are called apostates. When Watchtower leaders change an old false teaching (often into a new false teaching) the process is called an “adjustment” to our understanding.

        Adjustment of old truths, such as “millions now living will never die” and “the earthly resurrection of ancient worthies would occur in 1925” have been made by the Governing Body. The false teaching that “those who saw the events of 1914 will by no means pass away before the Great Tribulation” has now been replaced by the false overlapping generation teaching.

        So who are the real apostates? Are they the spirit anointed Watchtower leaders who made the original false prophesies? Or are they the spirit anointed Watchtower leaders who exposed the original false doctrines and adjusted their understanding of these matters?

  6. Holy Connoli says:

    To Nan Restivo: You domake a good point. However not everyone can “MOVE ON” like you have. You are fortunate you and your husband are still together and love each other. In many JW cases when one partner awakens the other will not and will leave or use that as an excuse to divorce or separate and do economic harm and other things to the AWAKENED SPOUSE. In my case my wife is fanatic JW even worse than a “NORAML” JW. Everything in her life is WT. You cannot have a normal disxcussionw her on religion or errors of the WT or anything they do bc they are infallible to her. It creates tension for the entire family and she has moved out basically abandoning the family and she pioneers and lives in one of the family rental homes.it has caused great havoc to me and the adult children . Only 1 of the kids is still a JW and even that child think she is off the wall. My point is yu are fortunate for your situation but yours is unusual. I to, have made many friends outside the WT world and good ones also. I have another life that is not effected by the JW however the way they have hurt so many does not go away easily for most people.

    • D.S. says:

      I left but my unbaptized mate stayed. Our home is full of tension. I’d rather be divorced than live with a jw, baptized or not.

      • G.kapi says:

        just do it!!!!It is better to have loved and lost—then live in horror for the rest of your live.That could turn out to be a very-very long time.If its like you say,in you mind you
        are allready devorced.I am 83..it comes very fast.Take it from an old man.She will
        not change.They got in to her mind.Total mind control.Wishing you all the best.

  7. rob says:

    I too have moved on and feel no anger or resentment with respect to the time that I was a witness, but anyone who has family and former close friends who are still witnesses will never ever be free of the loose chains that still force us to look over our shoulder or that make us guarded in any communications or dealings with those who are still witnesses.

    I really care for my family who are still witnesses and I enjoy their company and want to continue to spend time with them, but it is painful to not be able to speak freely and openly about religion and spirituality or other topics or to tell them how I feel about politics and how much i enjoy the holidays and how I view the witness religion or religion in general. I have learned to keep the conversations generic and so we talk about the weather and other bland topics.

    It makes me sad to know that a religion has the power to trump family ties and strong friendships. It makes me sad to see that a religion can keep its far reaching tentacles on a person and the power it has to make people believe that it is more important than the love and affection of family.

    • fallingangel75 says:

      I haven’t moved on yet because I have just begun to fade (about 4 months) and absolutely all of my JW friends are still in the mode of trying to save me from myself and help me see the error of my ways.

      They want me to return to Jehovah before I have gone too far afield. So, currently they are going out of their way to encourage and include me.

      I know this will not last, but I cannot be angry with them for it. I cannot resent them or consider them losers.

      They are not discarding me like yesterday’s garbage and they are not fair-weather friends. They are making extraordinary efforts to make sure I don’t lose out. I cannot be angry with them because I know that they think they are helping me.

      And even once they do shun me, they will be thinking it’s for my own good.

      And I know how much it pained and saddened me to know that friends had left the organization and according to my beliefs were no longer on the path to life.

      I was not looking down on them. I was sad for them. I thought they were going to leave the safety of the organization and die! I thought they were going to ruin their lives now and forever.

      I was genuinely concerned for their well-being. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know my friends care about me and believe they will be doing the right thing to help me and to remain loyal to Jehovah themselves.

      I continue to be resentful about the institutional flaws and those at the top who are making and reinforcing the harmful policies, but I feel only sorrow for the individuals I know who are blindly following and being misled.

      • Victor says:

        “they’re just following orders”… yes, i’ve already heard that!

        • fallingangel75 says:

          To me the distinction between an excuse and an explanation is an important one. An explanation doesn’t have to excuse wrong practices or bad behavior, but it does help me to understand it.

          I’m sure many of you may feel like I keep making excuses for the JWs and trying to express why some of this ok.

          To be clear: absolutely none of it is ok! But I do understand the thinking behind their actions. I was recently a follower as well and honestly believed I was doing God’s will.

      • M Saurus says:

        I understand. Really I do. But I still think they are definitely “fair weather friends”.

        Fly your American Flag this Memorial Day weekend and see how many of them come to “check on you”, or “include you”.

        This is happening because you are still in sort of limbo – once you take your stand and let them know you are not coming back, they will leave you alone. And although that will be hard for you at first, it is for the best.

        A clean break is needed in order to move on.

        • fallingangel75 says:

          MS, my brother left home and ‘the truth’ when I was little. There’s enough of an age difference that he was grown and I was still in elementary school. He was not born in and I was.

          He was a teenager when my father ‘found the truth’ and my brother was made to accept it as part of house rules.

          Study. Get baptized, etc. if you are going to live under my roof. My father admits now that it was the wrong approach.

          But also, it was right before 1975 and I know he really believed he was saving my brother’s life and he would thank him later.

          I think he felt that there wasn’t time to win him over slowly and believed that he knew best as the adult and parent.

          Anyhow, my brother rebelled big time. I remember it vividly even though I was young.

          He left home and very deliberately did many immoral things to assert his independence and to hurt my father.

          Slept around a lot, did drugs occasionally, hung out with undesirables. Really turned his back on the positive values my father taught him even before he was a witness.

          In the end he really did hurt himself more, or maybe just as much as he hurt our father.

          He also made a big deal of celebrating holidays with his girlfriends and later his wife and kids.

          He went out of his way for years to thumb his nose at my father and the congregation.

          There is a lot of story in between, but this is the same brother who is now a pioneer and elder. (I only have one.) Also his wife and children and their spouses are all pioneering and putting kingdom interests first.

          That is just a fact I am including to preempt confusion about other statements I have made previously. It is not actually otherwise relevant to this post.

          The relevant part is this: however I am treated in the future, I have no desire to be confrontational about leaving.

          As a result of growing up with that experience and seeing the pain it caused my father and other loved ones, I vowed even then that if I ever left, I would do so quietly.

          I would not have an ‘in your face’ attitude about holidays or voting or living unmarried with a partner.

          It didn’t mean I had decided I would never do these things.

          Even as a young child I suspected that I might one day reject the teachings and lifestyle, but I made a conscious decision that I would not confront my family members with it.

          I would never fly an American flag over my house for Memorial Day for additional and other reasons, but also because I do feel like in this context it would be a statement and declaration that I was headed out and daring someone to challenge me about it.

          That’s not and will not ever be my approach to handling this situation.

          This life might be all there is and as far as it depends on me, I want to preserve and protect what ties I have with family and friends as long as they will let me.

          I’m done pretending to be someone I’m not, but I’m still not going to go out of my way to hurt people and pick fights.

          That’s not who I’ve ever been and I’m not going to become that person now, no matter how I feel about the religion and the organization as a whole.

          I will not be antagonistic or mean to anyone still in. I keep saying that as of yet, no one has treated me badly and I don’t expect them to. I have no desire to deliberately test the limits of their loyalty and affection for me.

      • Winston Smith says:

        FA75,
        It’s like you are standing at the edge of an icy pool of water and wondering whether you should jump in or just slowly dip your toe in. Either way, you’ll eventually get all the way in the pool and your perspective will be different once you climb out on the other side.

        WS

  8. Sharon Christensen says:

    Appreciate all the info here, soo much emotion etc. But voicing ones feelings and so on in a place like this, helps one deal with and file etc….to heal hurts and better cope…not an easy thing usually…there is lose of family, friends …one feels truly alone, at times. I always felt that Jehovah knows all, no matter how imperfect men treat a person…we have our reasons for how and why and what we do. Yet, being able to express ones thoughts and such, talk with people of similar experiences on Jw survey is an excellent way to come to peace to a certain extent …each one is travelling their own path, we are all unique individuals. Here we can have a voice…in the Jw.org…we have to do as we are told or we are marked, dfed and shunned. Funny how…the Jw.org solution to anything… Study lots..pray more, go in service more…Portray to the world…Jehovah’s “happy people”,meanwhile they are anything but …gossip, wine and antidepressants etc. help most cope and bury true feelings…and fit in to the norm life of being a JW…The govning body is not concerned with quality…just quantity…the ones who are staying are either controllers themselves and not worried about truth and justice…or what Jehovah and Jesus would want a person to do or how to treat a people. How many can say…the Elders were…a “craig” in a windstorm, in their case? Few and far between. After a life time of seeing and experienceing the heartless, cold reactions of many elders in many congs….I would sooner deal with the strong biting winds and pelting rain in the wilds, come out feeling stronger, empowered and refreshed than after a meeting with Jw.org directed elders…when done just feels like death is only way to relief. Been there done that…no more will they have control…everyone must heal, act and deal in their own way and time…but Never give up on life…Do Not allow Jw.org and their controlling ways take away happiness…beware of..”.The wolves in sheeps clothing!”… And for sure if you have money and material possessions, land etc., and are up in age….They will want more than just your hide!. Good day to all, keep your “whites”… wits about you cuz since end is near/here wolves get even more…snarly…grrr:))!

  9. Paranoid Android says:

    Cognitive Dissonance in action:

    Just thought I’d share this quick.

    Today, for the first time in literally years, I was called on by two JW’s.

    Older ladies. Pleasant enough.

    I guided the discussion towards the child abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, having watched the brilliant movie ‘Spotlight’ just the night before.

    When the two JW’s expressed their outrage at the harm caused to so many, and the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church in it’s approach to the matter, I asked if they were aware that their own Religion was under scrutiny for the same problem.

    They denied there was a problem, and went as far as saying that the JW organisation immediately reports matters of Child Abuse to the Police – and when I pressed further,
    they insisted that the ‘Two witness’ rule did not apply to crime in the congregations.

    One of the ladies actually said that if this was not the case, she would refuse to be one of Jehovahs Witnesses.

    I asked them if they knew about the Australian Royal Commission enquiry into the matter and they said no.

    One of the ladies said that any suggestions or criticism online regarding child abuse was ‘Just slander’.

    I accepted a tract from them on the basis that they would allow me to show them that the ARC Enquiry was a huge legal affair, and not a piece of Tabloid sensationalism.

    They agreed, and I brought up the first article that the internet provided on the ARC case.

    Among the first few lines was;

    “Since 1950 the church has received 1,066 allegations against its members and did not report any of them to police.”

    I continued to read the article to them.
    I finished and looked up at them.

    They stared at me with empty eyes and one of them said…

    ‘We are not a church’.

    • Big B says:

      There are none so blind as those that REFUSE to see!

      Poor disillusioned morons. Because they didn’t read it in their Kingdom Ministry or Watchtower journal then it must be a slanderous, apostate, Satanic inspired lie.

      How pathetic for them and others just like them. They’re just a bunch of Watchtower apologist and ignorant, uneducated sheeple, being led on toward their own demise.

      Truly Sad 🙁

      • Paranoid Android says:

        Well these ladies were genuinely ‘not in the know’.
        Awful to think that they can freely go from door to door selling a lifestyle that facilitates child abuse – and not even realise.

        One of the ladies proceeded to blame it on Australia – I asked if the JW church was divided on it’s policies.
        When they said no, I said that this problem is not unique to Australia and that the Charity Commission in the UK was pursuing a similar investigation.

        By this point they had pretty much walked off.
        I told them that they seemed like nice people, but for the sake of the children in the neighbourhoods they visit, they should double check what safeguards their congregations have in place against predators.

        By this point I don’t think they could understand English anymore.
        The holy spirit having scrambled my words into demonic growls and goat-like bleats.

        • M Saurus says:

          Paranoid – that is the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while!

          “The holy spirit having scrambled my words into demonic growls and goat-like bleats.” Ha!!

        • Not da Judge says:

          g’day

          had a chuckle to myself about this …

          quote – one of the ladies you spoke to blamed the jw sexual abuse scandal on australia – unquote.

          this woman lives in a bubble. if she would only open up her eyes and see it is a world wide problem.

          i am an australian. i am proud of our ex prime minister hon. julia gillard who set up the australian royal commission into … child abuse. i am proud of our legal system based on british justice … english common law. i am proud that the commonwealth scientific industrial research organizaton invented wifi communications technology. australia punches above its weight in bringing the watchtower corporation ie death cult to its knees.

          kind regards from down under
          not da judge

    • Tara says:

      Well done you! I have gone over this scenario in my head dozens of times and think this is an awesome approach. after all, they will love the Catholic bashing but watch that turn to dismay as you show them, esp the ARC footage. Saying that, I actually had one sister say to me that it was fake and they were actors out to slander the witnesses. Yeesh.

      • Big B says:

        @ Tara;

        Even with footage of Governing Body member Geoffrey Jackson? Was he an actor as well, like an Elvis impersonator?

        This truly is a new level of stupidity and absurdity!

        LMAO! 🙂

      • Minion says:

        Greetings to all:

        This proves to me active JWs are truly Zombie’s,

        1. They can’t talk to defend TTATT,
        2. They can’t walk to defend TTATT,
        3. They can’t think to defend TTATT,
        4. They can’t ‘handle the truth’!!!

        During the ARC, child abuse questioning.
        G.Jackson, the dialogue between the main chairman the judge. The chairman was questioning G.Jackson about disciplined – using the ‘rod’, guided G.Jackson through several scriptures and G.Jackson tried to defend The Watchtower’s stance and referred the JWs as the church. And has a hard time defending his opinion. And uses the expression church while going in circles.
        At one point, the Judge said, “you didn’t answer my question fool” (fool my word added)

        JWs are Zombie’s – by way of there actions.
        It’s true or its not.

        “Support The Worldwide Work”

        “Support The Worldwide Work”

        Peace out,

      • Paranoid Android says:

        Hi Tara
        Yeah.. It was more depressing than anything really.
        The absolute mental resistance they have against obvious truth and logical argument is upsetting.

        At some point I will have an opportunity to try and get through to my brother again.
        He’s an Elder and Presiding Overseer – Quite a pious one.
        A ‘Super-Elder’ if you will.

        I take opportunities like the one yesterday to fine-tune my ability to prove that the JW cult is not Truth.

        However… Besides planting a seed, it tends to feel quite futile.
        And the opportunities to discuss it are few and far between.

        Still. It must be done.

    • Minion says:

      @ PA,

      Be sure to turn in or mail in your field service time, and be sure to mention from a ‘fader’.

      For sure this was more than 15 minutes.

      Great execution!

      Peace out,

      • D.S. says:

        🙂

      • Paranoid Android says:

        Haha! Nice one Minion.
        I used to be a Pioneer so I get the reference.
        T
        Makes me think of the cheats we used to do as Pioneers to hit target.
        Like… Shove a Tract into your Neighbours letter box as you left the house, so you could start ‘Counting your hours’ from the crack of dawn…

  10. Sharon Christensen says:

    Awesome that you took the opp. to…”give a witness” as to the goings on of Jw.org, that most Wts are in the dark about…or refusing to believe cuz directed by the upper crustys to act as if….uh duh…deny deny…GOOD WORK!!! Plant the seed…watch it …grow and crawl!!!! :))). Getting “itchy”, at just the thought!

    • Paranoid Android says:

      I think most of the general Witnesses don’t know what is going on in their midst.

      Therefore, I think perhaps we have a responsibility to try and raise awareness when we can.

      Even if it falls on ears that refuse to hear it.
      Like you say, maybe the seed will grow.

  11. Garrett says:

    Thank you Covert, John, Lloyd and crew. You are our captains. Lead us to victory .

    • Winston Smith says:

      I appreciate the hard work the JW Survey team does too, but I follow no man. Perhaps you only meant your comment in jest, Garrett, but blindly following men is one of ultimate problems with the entire JW movement. I am no longer a servant of men, although I do consider myself a servant of humanity. There’s a key difference there.

      WS

      • dee2 says:

        Absolutely WS.

        The JW experience has certainly taught me to never let someone else do the thinking for me, to never suspend my critical reasoning skills and power of reasoning in any aspect of my life and let someone else do the thinking for me, but to always question and critically, rationally and skeptically analyze everything and draw my own conclusions – never delegate this to anyone.

  12. ruthlee says:

    What great comments this week ! Here is my 10 centsworth. I heard this week that the vast apostate army are in revolt. That is such an inspiring word after all the peasants are revolting are they not . However they only revolt when things become intolerable and leadership speak revolting things. It is interesting “we” are mentioning the summer assembly more than the drooling jdubs because without even enduring the tedious talks we know they will have nothing good to say. A few weeks back we had the baby eating bishop call aka the circus oversneer and his whip cracking dolly wife. The gospel message was we are to be gentle. What a travesty to the lost sheep out there if and a big if we hooked them in and they became naughty sheep then shun shun shun til the finality of bird food. Call that gentle ummm I think not. These people will condemn themselves out of their own bibles and mouths. At the end they will have just a work to do nothing else, no love , no friends, no money, and no hope, Only those who are not dedicated to a work can see this fraud for what it is. I am moving on quickly now have got in touch with just two people who do not judge me and I know I can trust I don’t need 8million to make me happy I’m not JC so I couldn’t feed them anyway.It is all about the small things and quality over quantity. After all even god does not despise the day of small things. cheers Ruthlee

  13. Caroline says:

    Since my husband passed away in March, I have had a lot of Witnesses try and “encourage” me and I was at a loss as what to say to them because it’s so hard to know when and where to start with all my problems with the Society so I developed a different approach where they can’t come after me and disfellowship me for apostasy and it’s working really well and it’s quick and easy.

    I have them read Acts 7:43 where Stephen was being stoned to death and he said that all during the forty years that the Israelites were in the wilderness they were serving Molech. If you go to the Insight Book #2 Witnesses the will have to admit that Molech was the god that the Israelites notoriously sacrificed their children to in a burning fire.

    Then tell them to explain Numbers chapter 31:40 where Jehovah told Moses to give 32 little virgin girls to Eleazer the priest. That was Jehovah’s “tax” out of the 32,000 virgin girls that were left alive after the Israelites destroyed everyone in Midian at Jehovah’s orders. The rest of those little girls were apportioned out between the men that went to war, the congregation and the Levites.

    What would Jehovah do with 32 little virgin girls? The only logical conclusion is that they were sacrificed to Molech just as Stephen says at Acts 7:43.

    They can’t explain it away and then you say to them “that is the God that YOU worship and I’d like you to explain to me that just because you chose to worship a god like that, why am I supposed to worship him as well?”

    I have done this with 3 people so far and they have promised me that they will look it up.

    They need to explain to us why they worship that God. We don’t need to explain anything.

  14. Caroline says:

    On second thought, if you use my approach, don’t say to them “why am I supposed to worship that god as well?” because they might be able to still disfellowship you for apostasy. I’d just leave it at making them explain it because the onus is on them to explain why they worship that god.”

    • dee2 says:

      Caroline,

      You have taken an excellent approach to the situation. Whenever someone makes a claim, especially an extraordinary claim, the onus is on them, not you, to prove it.

      It will be interesting to hear the answers regarding the fate of the 32 little virgin girls in Numbers 31. Perhaps they will say that they weren’t sacrificed but became slaves, but again, the onus will be on them to prove this.

      Something else which I find interesting regarding human sacrifices is the fact that according to the Bible, God
      endorsed the genocide of the Canaanites and others living in the ‘promised land’ because the Canaanites, among other things, practiced human sacrifice; the sacrificing of their children was so detestable that it justified, “killing everything that breathes” (Deuteronomy 7:1-2, Deuteronomy 20:16, 17), yet God sacrificed his own son – how ironic.

      • Winston Smith says:

        It seems that child sacrifice/murder was a common theme in early Jewish writing. Abraham and Isaac, the killing of Hebrew male children by Egypt, the killing of Egyptian firstborn children, the sacrificing to Molech, the killing of Canaanite children, even Solomon suggesting cutting a living child in two. There are several other examples before you get to God sacrificing Jesus.

        WS