The Friday Column: Are you still in the cage?

Growing up within the JW world, particularly as a woman, you got used to boundaries, to barriers, and to being told all the things you CANNOT do. From pre-marital sex, to seeking higher education, to flipping a pancake on Shrove Tuesday, JW membership frequently boiled down to an ever expanding list of things that are prohibited.

And as a woman, that list extended to thinking for yourself, building your own career and making decisions about your own body and healthcare, with women being extremely restricted by the organisation in their options for their own reproductive health.

In an ideal world, the decision to leave any high-control religion, cult or sect would be the beginning of the rest of your life. A life of free choice and fulfillment of dreams. Yet all too often, after the decision is made to leave that environment, although our physical self may well be free, our minds can remain imprisoned.

Trapped in an open cage

I made the decision to walk away from the JW world over a decade ago, and yet I will be the first to admit that for so long my thought processes were still impacted by 25 years of mind control.

After I left I forged a successful career, built new friendships and filled my life with new experiences. And yet for years, I defended the organization against criticism and refused to use the word “cult”, out of some sense of misplaced historic loyalty. For many years, I was crippled by guilt and low self-esteem, a lack of purpose and direction, and a simmering anger that would increasingly turn to full blown rage after one too many glasses of vino.

I found it hard to trust anyone because deep down I didn’t believe myself worthy of love, and surely everyone I cared about would just up and leave me at the first sign of trouble anyway. I found it hard to try anything new, to take a chance, and to risk anything, because for so many years I couldn’t allow myself to take a wrong step or be less than perfect, for risk of losing everything.

And maybe the most galling of all, was that there was no one in my life who truly understood. The professional therapists I consulted were highly qualified, but I lacked the words to make them understand just how empty or alone I felt, and just how much the shunning by friends and family alike had impacted me.

And my dear new friends tried so hard to support me, but what were they supposed to say when I told them that my parents would rather let me die if it came to it, than allow a blood transfusion and breach the interpretation of an ancient Biblical law. How could my friends possibly respond to such backwards thinking, and to such a flagrant breach of parental love and responsibility?

Eventually, in a swirl of alcohol, self doubt and guilt, the denial finally caught up with me.

I burned out.

At the crossroads

The shock brought on by an enforced stay in the hospital finally jolted me into re-evaluating my entire life. I realized that far from being free of the organization, I was still trapped. But it was a prison of my own making, forged inside my mind.

I’m by no means alone in this.

Individuals walking away from high control religions, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, have suffered from many of the following issues: –

  • Low self esteem & worthlessness
  • Crippling guilt
  • Lack of direction and inability to plan for the future
  • Depression & suicidal thoughts
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Controlling and abusive relationships
  • Financial mismanagement

When you stop to examine the life of the typical JW, and consider the emotional impact of breaking free, it’s actually easy to see how these can develop.

When you truly believe that the only solution to man’s problems is for God to step in, it’s easy to understand how leavers are left with a lack of purpose, a difficulty in seeing any other future, and a lack of belief in their own ability to affect change.

When you truly believe that those who sin against God are destined for a fiery end at Armageddon, it’s easy to understand how leavers are terrified of trying something new, of taking a risk, for fear of making a mistake and being less than perfect.

And when you KNOW that those closest to you would stand by and allow your death, would walk away from you at the first sign of sin, and would put the thoughts and wishes of 7 strangers in New York above the feelings of their own child, it’s easy to understand how low self-esteem, and feelings of worthlessness can take hold.

If you are feeling any of these things, this does not make you weak. You are simply reacting to years of mind control, indoctrination and never being allowed to put your own feelings and thoughts first, or to express doubt or fear.

Remember that you are grieving. You’re grieving for the loss of a previous way of life, the loss of a belief structure, the loss of a promised future paradise, and frequently, you’re grieving for the loss of friends and family alike.

But you CAN move past this. No matter at what time of life you have escaped from the Organisation, you can shake off these negative thoughts, and the grip of self-doubt, and you are able to forge a new, fulfilling, joyful life.

Which brings us back to me. Sat in a hospital bed, with a dawning realization that I had never truly left the organisation behind. At this point, I had a choice. I could stay trapped in my prison, and allow them to steal yet more precious years from me.

Or I could finally do what I thought I had accomplished all that time ago, and break free once and for all.

After some searching, I found a therapist who had a background of helping people who have escaped from high-control religions and cults. When I told her the extent of the brainwashing, the instilled fear, and the eventual shunning, rather than looking at me incredulously, she nodded and asked me to continue.

And in time, I came to see the real truth.

I had something that not a lot of people get. I had a second chance.

Rather than dwell on everything that had been “stolen” from me (a normal childhood, years of independence and the unconditional love of my family), instead I began to see the opportunity.

The opportunity to take all of those experiences and use them to create something new.

How?

Learning to fly

The first action is to seek professional help in the form of therapy or coaching, with someone who truly understands the emotional turmoil involved in leaving a high-control religion.  Even better (though not essential) if that person has also been through a similar experience. And if costs are an issue, there are plenty of free alternatives, from talking therapies provided through your doctor to online forums of people in a similar situation to yourself. The relief of speaking to someone who just gets it cannot be understated.

Next comes A LOT of forgiveness, and the hardest part of this is that the majority of people you need to forgive will continue to blame you for what has happened. You can’t change what they do, and you can’t change how they think, but you CAN change your response to it.

So forgive your friends and family, forgive the organisation and, above all, forgive yourself. Accept that you made the best decisions you could, with the information you had available to you at the time.

(If forgiving the organisation seems utterly impossible to you, then your therapist or coach will be able to provide you with tried and tested methods to slowly let go of the anger and achieve peace with the past, one step at a time.)

You may in time decide that you want to actively help others who are still trapped in that situation, perhaps by holding the organisation accountable in the media, or working with individuals in a professional capacity as I have chosen to do. The important thing is to make your choices based on YOUR OWN reasons, and to learn to trust yourself again.

The MOST exciting part of this process, is the future. Remember, your future is now your own, and you have the opportunity to shape it however you choose. You’re in control – don’t waste it!

Dream big. Imagine your most amazing life. Think about all those things you always wanted to do whilst you were in the Organization, but you were tethered by meetings, ministry and Mosaic law. Travel, business, education. Philanthropy and new hobbies. Friends from all creeds, and all walks of life. New experiences every day –  the world is now your playground!

What do you want to be, do and have? What impact do you want to make? What do you want to create for yourself?

You CAN turn years of indoctrination into the motivation that propels you forwards. But you don’t have to do this all by yourself if you don’t want to. There are many means of support out there, through coaching, therapy or simply connecting online with people who understand, and who believe in you.

After so many years in the organisation, being told what to do and how to live, I honestly thought I would never truly be free.

But the realization, when it came, was like a shovel to the face. The organization had already taken so many years of my life. I wasn’t going to allow them to take any more.

How about you?

 

– Alice Cheshire

Follow Alice Cheshire on twitter at @thealicechesh

Editor’s note: This article was written by a former Jehovah’s Witnesses who has “faded” from the organisation without being shunned. She has adopted the pseudonym Alice Cheshire for this article to avoid repercussions with her JW relatives, and works as a professional coach under a different name.

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106 Responses to The Friday Column: Are you still in the cage?

  1. Tara. says:

    It has taken time. It started slowly… little things. Putting up some glittery flowers at Christmas, daring to say happy birthday to someone on fb, walking the Halloween display in Walmart lol…. now I too feel like a bird that is starting to fly free. It’s an amazing feeling and I try to do something for me each day and not look behind me to see if I am being watched. Well done you 🙂

  2. Doc Obvious says:

    The following are the “advantages” of allowing the slave to control your life: Low self esteem & worthlessness, crippling guilt, lack of direction and inability to plan for the future, depression & suicidal thoughts, drug and alcohol abuse, controlling and abusive relationships, and financial mismanagement.

    Listening to talking heads who do nothing for nobody should be a red flag going up that there is something wrong. Talking heads that have high self esteem, no guilt, ability to plan for their future, no substance abuse, no depression, no controlling and abusive relationships, and people who give you money without thinking about it. This is an abnormal life.

    When the Watchtower encourages its members to forget their Bill of Rights and to stop thinking on their own, there will be huge problems.

    Remember it took an Australian judge to threaten with jail time if a Governing Body member failed to show up on a video conference. This is sad. Take control of your life. Forget them.

  3. Athlyn says:

    What is truly outrageous is that recently a spokesman for the Tower claimed that leaving was akin to merely leaving a club. Right. When has leaving a club ever entailed being shunned decade after decade by your family and former friends? Their extremism is passed off as benign, when it’s just the opposite. How dare they treat leavers as if they had committed the ONE unforgivable sin, how dare they claim they are “true Christians” when they have practice non-forgiveness.

    • Doc Obvious says:

      A social nightclub where all the social butterflies swarm around. It is like the question on the back cover of the “Return to Jehovah” brochure, “Do you ever reminisce about the good times you had with Jehovah’s people—an encouraging congregation meeting, a thrilling convention, a delightful experience in the ministry, or simply a pleasant
      conversation with a fellow believer?” How about asking that question to a Holocaust survivor in a Nazi Concentration Camp. I am sure they were not reminiscing about life in that camp. Religion is not a club. It should be a way of life. A simple life. Not financing an epicurean life for the Watchtower. Nice comment Athlyn.

      • gardy says:

        I feel the pain of some you guys and I really sorry that you had to through that much. But was it really all bad? I have the impression that nothing positive came from being a witness. is it fair to compare the organization as a Nazi concentration Camp? Don’t get me wrong because there many things that I don’t agree with the Watchtower organization such as the ban on blood transfusion, extreme shunning, the inability to express your doubts freely or to challenge their interpretation of the Bible etc. but I don’t thing everything was negative! Even those who are shunning their friends or family members are not that bad. I consider most of them as victims! They should have known better but they don’t! I found a way to forgive them because there was a time when I would have done the same thing.

        • Ready 4 to Fade says:

          I think everyone is a a different point in their recovery. To come to a place where you can reflect on the both the positive and negative aspects of your past experience is likely the healthiest place to arrive at emotionally, but some may never get to that point. Some of us were far more zealous than others, gave our entire identities over to the “group think” that existed and may find ourselves feeling empty and opinionless when separated from the organization that continually dictated what our opinion was 24/7.

        • Amy F says:

          I think a lot depends on your experience and circumstances surrounding it. Also how much you have put in to the religion and then left. Of course there are lots of lovely people who are JWs who are genuine in their concern for you. And not every memory of being a witness will be bad. However just because you don’t feel like some people do on here does not mean things aren’t so bad and by suggesting it all it does is be little what some are going through or feeling. I am sure you do not mean it to come across that way but as someone going through a lot of emotions described on here it is definatley worth bearing in mind.

        • Gameisover says:

          I was in for 45 years. Most of them in the full time service. Left just
          4 years ago. Have lost all my good
          friends, my children and grandchildren.
          When I made the decision to make a clean cut, I was SURE that I had been in a religious cult that does not represent God but only themselves.
          The article is wonderful and exhaustive. It relates the emotions most people feel when leaving.

          I did not feel that way. There might be others that also do not go through all that sorrow. I felt free at last! Full acceptance of the consequences was the first step.
          I prepared myself throughly.
          If course it hurts not to have my loved ones around, but that happens all the time for many other reasons.
          Life is an immense gift. I have had the joy of helping others escape
          cult since. The past is in our brains
          But the future in our hands.
          I truly believe it.

          • messenger says:

            Hi Gameisover

          • ruthlee says:

            Great comments Gameisover and so true. I believe we have a future all of us that escape from the cult even if it is the satisfaction of leaving them and not supporting the regime. Wilful non-support takes on a whole new meaning.5 minutes of wonderful actually means more than a lifetime of yuk. Cheers Ruthlee

          • Big B says:

            Welcome to the rest of your wonderful life, Gameisover.

            I am so glad that you saw through the purple haze of cult indoctrination, counted the costs of leaving and made a clean break.

            “When I made the decision to make a clean cut, I was SURE that I had been in a religious cult that does not represent God but only themselves”.

            Well said and to other active Witnesses that have stumbled onto this site ask yourself this question; do you know of any religious organization that punishes people for no other reason than ‘just leaving the church’ because they no longer believe its doctrines or its ever changing NEW LIGHT?

            If other so called Christian religions practice shunning I am unaware but this kind of retaliatory response to just leaving any church/denomination proves, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that it is a cult.

            Another pertient question would be; if the Watchtower Society ever removed its shunning practice how many more thousands would turn on their heels and walk away?

            “The past is in our brains
            But the future in our hands.
            I truly believe it”.

            Wonderfully said and a hearty welcome to you.

            Big B

        • JBob says:

          In some aspects, the anger felt after “letting go” is similar to that felt by victims caught up in manipulative relationships. Like them, depending on a partner (the Watchtower and the community of followers) for emotional support and validation–often finding that partner distant and unrelating. Later, when this relationship ends, the experience of a range of emotions unleashed from rage and fury at being manipulated to depression for losing identity to a stronger/dominating party. And, in this case, our “ex” (the Watchtower) has done a “smear campaign” to give our family/friends impression “departers” are vile and nothing was issue caused by The Watchtower. Can you feel the self-doubt welling up inside? That’s why the caged bird sings.

          https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/i-know-why-the-caged-bird-sings/

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Know_Why_the_Caged_Bird_Sings

          https://blogs.psychcentral.com/narcissism-decoded/2017/03/14-ways-narcissists-can-be-like-cult-leaders/

          https://blogs.psychcentral.com/narcissism/2016/01/religious-narcissist-cult/

  4. Anders Andersen says:

    A very well written article!

    Thanks for sharing your experience, showing all of us what can be, and some ideas to get there.

  5. Chichix1 says:

    Very much still in the cage, unfortunately. Brilliant piece Alice. Extremely encouraging for me.

    • xlp says:

      There are so many wonderful people and experiences waiting for you. Take a two week, or six-month holiday, and test it out. What do you have to lose? You can always go back.

      • Enjoy…and no worries as to looking back…or over the shoulder…as for Easter eggs….many a good Wt enjoys them…old and young included…I am pretty well certain my Mom would agree with me about Toni and Morris’ tight pantz rule being a tad too…”restrictive”… If I had one of those smooshy marshmallowy kinda ones in hand! She and many other a good older and faithful sister…LOVE! those things! Sad that JW. org has such an affect on normal good and kind folks so as when even if no one sees…the cult ingrained in ones conscience the…oh now you “ate of the marshmallow egg”…(forbidden fruit?) Now Jehovah will for sure destroy you and you will never ever see your Dead loved ones again…sad…But worst thing is, even those who have passed, many to enjoyed them and if not the chocolates…some other so called …forbidden item. I know, when I worked in a Dept. store xmas time…many a large Chocolate Santa…ened up in my drawer under the till cuz it was damaged and unfit for sale …so boss said we could eat….I would look around and partake of…ask for forgiveness latter…but next day…temptation and a growly belly…took me down the same…”sinful” path! Best part now…just like when one is on a diet, you crave stuff, and all you can think of is stuff you are not allowed to have….I allowed myself to not feel guilty or condemn myself forever for….Now I do not even touch them…being an apostate has fixed my cravings for sweets to! :). Well once in a while…late at night, when no one is watching…I do sneek to the fridge and tie into the lrge dark choc. bar, low sugar…Not feel guilty, even if several squares are gone by the time I realize and several tbsps of peanut butter…goes gd together with green tea! Hmmm could be why, times like this I go to sleep, and have nightmares of being at Reggies conventionals again…and being shunned! Nt sweats and toss and turn…More bad dreams of Jw.orgy…hear shuffling and voices…:(. Upon wakening…oh, just the cat and the flying squirrels in the walls! Relief! Okay, enough nonsense for now…:). But yeah…glad you grand childern shared! Wt spies have spied on me too many times to…used to bother me, not any more…now I think they pretty well gave up…I am very boring! Free? I think…:)

  6. Thomas Harper says:

    Thank you for sharing. Like yours, my journey from the indoctrination and mind control of the jehovah’s witnesses has been bumpy and fraught with obstacles. Reading your experiences reminds me how worthy the journey was.

  7. Melissa says:

    Excellent. I finally made a full transition, when I became aware that I had indeed been part of a cult. Upside. I never converted anyone successfully. LOL.

  8. Peter the Digger says:

    There are quite a few ‘not-quite-rules-but-socially-enforced-customs’ within the JWs, that seem, at best unustified by Bible principles, at worst, contra-Bible principles. Amongst these are 1) Women can’t wear trousers (why not, trousers/skirts have never been gender specific to either sex, Roman women wore ‘trousers’ (feminalia, togas, kilts, jallabas, and what dod Moses/Jesus wear?) 2) Men shouldn’t have beards (like Moses, Jesus?) 3) JWs can’t have university education (like the people who designed the IT programs they use, the printing presses, the medics they rely on etc etc? – and wasn’t Paul a lawyer, Luke a doctor) 4) Can’t belong to non JW organisations – now wasn’t one of Jesus’ apostles a member of the Sanhedrin, another was a Roman army officer, another was a prostitute, and a Samaritan one at that?. 5) Men should wear sharp suits at all JW meetings ‘because suits are now affordable for all’ (well so are tattoos and face piercings, hmm), now would Jesus have worn a sharp suit, or is this a 1960s marketing hangover from whatever sales textbook the JWs have gotten most of their (actually quite effective) sales techniques from. However we are now in 2017 and businessmen have beards and go tie-less, or we are in traditional Bible territory where men didn’t go beardless and suited either. Confused, and waiting for Bible scriptures to back up social susasions 1) to 5) please.

    • Ricardo says:

      @Peter the Digger,
      You brought up some pertinent points.

      I believe what fashion we are allowed to wear at the Kingdom Hall is dependent on the culture we are living in. For example, sisters wearing trousers. In India, women have a style of clothes in which long slacks are worn, and I have seen Indian sisters wear such clothes without getting counselled(my wife also wore such clothes to meetings here in Australia, but she is Asian). I believe that here in the West women have not traditionally worn long pants as businesswear, and although this has changed in recent decades, the opinions of our leaders have not yet. But their opinions must change eventually as it has become part of our culture. The leaders are just a little slow. By the time there is agreement, women wearing long pants will have gone out of fashion.

      The same can be said about noserings. Every Indian sister I have ever met has had a nosering, and it looks good. It is a part of their culture, not a symbol of rebellion.

      In the parts of Asia I have been to, brothers do not have to wear suits, nor ties. It is not the custom for Muslim men to wear ties, or for Filipinos. Both groups wear neat business-type cultural shirts that do not use ties, and which do not need to be tucked in. It is a joy to wear such a fashion to assemblies, believe me.

      As far as university education goes, who says witnesses can’t go? The GB has painfully droned on and on and on that we shouldn’t, but many of us have. I have spent 7 years of my life in uni and loved it, I even regular pioneered while at uni, and I have two master degrees.

      And I have also had a beard, but that can be a tricky one due to what we call in Australia the Americanization of our org, like Disneyland’s employment standards: no facial hair. Different cultures, different standards. I wonder if in places like Poland, Russia etc where men have traditionally had beards whether the brothers can have one? In the West our leadership is definitely behind the times.

      As for the scriptures to back these standards up, I believe the book after Revelation, in one of the beginning chapters, has details about it. Just after the part about how to count field service hours but before the part about what software we should use for our sound systems.

      • Peter the Digger says:

        Many thanks for this, nice points re other countries. I can remember some 20 years ago when Bros from Africa would turn up at our S London cong in African robes, but I never see that now. Also, re beards and Disnified dress standards now – WHY are moustaches OK but beards not – I see many elders with moustaches, so upper lip hair is OL but chin hair not, strange.

        • Ricardo says:

          @Peter the Digger,
          My father was an elder and presiding overseer, and while he was alive he had many discussions with brothers about beards, defending beards. I think it was the Viking in him. There were several brothers in our cong in Australia who beards, with his support, one was an MS. Now there is a Samoan group attached to that cong, and some brothers come to the meeting in skirts.

          This beard thing is really annoying, and I think goes to show how small minded some brothers are. Including the leadership. A clear indication that being a good Christian is not important to them, but being a good witness is what is important to them. Unfortunately, being a good witness does not guarantee salvation.

      • FactsNotFiction says:

        Good article:

        @Peter the Digger and @Ricardo

        Good points you both make. I have something to add worth thinking about.

        Maybe it has nothing to do with whether beards are right or wrong or what clothes people wear. Could it all be about control !!!
        It is a test to see if an individual has a rebellious streak or not or whether they do as they are told without question !
        Non of these traditions mentioned are scripturally based but if anyone questions them, they bring out the “Loyalty to Jehovahs Org” trump card.
        It is about CULT mind control, obedience and conformance above all else. DONT QUESTION!! JUST DO AS WE TELL YOU!! Or else you are a rebel!!

        I think this is one of the main reasons why many find it so difficult to leave and thus require professional help. They have been conditioned over many years to “obey” the org. It is hard to break out of that even when you know it is all BS. The conditioning still has a powerful hold.

        Add this to their “New Speak” and “Double think” and it is all part of the “Narcissists” armoury.

        Just a thought.

        • All you say…sooo true! Unfortunately…Me=Rebel…..;). Back rm many a times! But worth it…I got to see the REAL JWOGERS! Surprized…no, but just reinforced what I figured in the first place….”Craig in wind storm”…choke! Yeah right…Scarry from the start…when one has to really acknowledge to oneself that this is all a show as to sweet and beautiful…more like black cloaks and daggers, lies and deception. To be free, even if a bit tattered and not quite right in head perhaps…but free of their grip is well worth the fight and struggle. 🙂

        • Ricardo says:

          @FactsNotFiction,
          Yes, I’d say it’s a bit of both. Why can the leadership get away with such trivial rules? Because the sheep have given them that power.

          If every time an elder becomes a pharisee, several in the congregation came and told him (I tend to be the only one) he would soon get the message that he is being watched. If several of the sheep actually went against the guy, then even more so.

          But that doesn’t happen. The sheep have been conditioned to obey, and the elders have been conditioned to control, so that any sheep who doesn’t obey must get whacked into submission. But the sheep don’t change, and the GB doesn’t correct the elders, so the process becomes more and more ingrained. To the benefit of the GB, who fully support the elders. Because what you don’t want is a well educated free thinking group of followers. Very hard to control.

  9. Di Lynn says:

    What a beautiful story love it thank you.

  10. Ready 4 to Fade says:

    Does anyone have a word of advice on whether to include your past history as a former JW in job or graduate-school interviews? I am attempting to enroll in an extremely competitive grad school program at a (Catholic University nonetheless!) and feel the need to explain my older-than-average age by discussing the Borg’s policy which controlled my formative years up until my mid-20’s. I basically see two options: dye my graying hair and avoid the subject all together, or be more authentic and divulge my past without sounding overly weird and negative. Any thoughts?

    P.S. – I tried Reddit for advice and found little to no feedback, I feel like this forum is a little more mature in general and perhaps someone here has grappled with this decision. Excellent article Alice please keep contributing and don’t be afraid to plug a qualified counselor, if JW survey feels it is appropriate.

    • gardy says:

      Going to college is one of the best thing you could have done for yourself but I would not personally start telling complete strangers my story from the start. You will develop friendship anyway with some of your fellow students and then it will be more naturel to talk about yourself. I went to college when I was still believing all the things the borg said and was in full preacher mode. No matter how weird I was at that time I mingled with some worldly people and became their friends. So you are in a better place than I was and sincerely think you will do fine. Good luck!

    • messenger says:

      I don’t see you being authentic by divulging your religious beliefs, or your past or present affiliation with any religious group. Discriminating on a religious basis is against the law in the United States. So administrators can’t legally use your religious practices as a determining factor in considering your application. But, people don’t always follow the law. So, I wouldn’t include that info, especially to a Catholic university, just in case administrators are biased against JWs. If so, you will never know it.

      After completing my lower division general ed requirements in junior colleges, I was admitted to a university when I was 51 years old. Any university will probably consider your employment history, if you are older, like I was. I would list your employment history. If you have no employment history, but did some pioneering you might list that, because it will show motivation. Universities want people motivated enough to complete their study programs (not everybody does). Try give them enough information about yourself to convince them of your motivation.

      If the university does not admit you right away, I suggest completing all lower division general ed requirements at a junior college. That is much cheaper than completing everything at a university anyway. If you go that way then earn the highest grades you can. High grades will help you get into a university. High grades show motivation, and aptitude.

      Several parts of my own life have been extremely fulfilling. My educational experiences after public high school is one of those parts. Enjoy your experience. Enjoy every class. Learn like you’ll live forever!

    • messenger says:

      Don’t know how old you are. In the US there are special programs that admit a number of citizens that are older and those pay all tuition fees. Most schools have those programs. I think the age for participants is 60, but I might be wrong. Check it out, the age might be lower. Google and see what you can find.

      • Big B says:

        @ Messenger;

        Here in Virginia once you turn 60 years of age you can audit (not receive a grade) up to three classes a semester in any state run college. You just enroll for classes three days before they start.

        You can just sit in the lectures; you aren’t required to do homework, write papers or buy the text book unless you want to do so. In my art classes I just buy my supplies, the instruction is free! I call this part of the “joys of retirement”. After all tax dollars (yours included) are utilized to pay the instructors and maintain the campus. So I say, “utilize what you’ve been paying for!” 🙂

        • messenger says:

          Have fun. Art is that (fun). I used to live with my grandfather who was a commercial artist, when I was little, until the age of six. I started painting at 3 or 4 and really enjoyed it. When I was 14 I switched to music, and then for some reason I stopped painting or drawing, except for taking one college class in my mid-twenties. One day (while living forever) I’ll take up painting again. Have fun painting Big B.

          There are also programs in CA, possibly nation wide, that pay full tuition and fees for seniors 60 or older. Those programs admit a limited number each semester or quarter per school. And I believe this program is a part of most higher educational schools in CA. Enrolled participants are considered regular students, expected to do all assignments, and they receive units (full credit) for all classes.

    • April says:

      I work in universities and colleges. If you’re in the USA, nontraditional students (above the age of 24) are fairly common these days. I don’t think your application will stand out (in a bad way) as much as you think it will by being a little older than the average freshman.

  11. Aureo says:

    I too have faded from the organization. Having been born “into the TRUTH”, I can honestly say that I have never ever felt the effects described here. I always thought, even when I served as an Elder, to think for myself and adopt my own thoughts rather than falling for the doctrine. Serving as Secretary, I remember reading the first and subsequent letters regarding child abuse and having told myself that should I become aware of any case that I would call the authorities to handle the situation. The point to be made here is that while people have been affected by their clinging to JW doctrine and way of thinking and life, we should never ever let anyone tell us what we should or should not do. Especially now that they have ascertained that they are not inspired. For those feeling the ramifications of being a JW, my heart goes out to you and that there are people out there to help you get back on your feet and make you well again. Look onto it as an experience that will make you stronger and if help is needed there are professionals ready to help you.

    • Peter the Digger says:

      I faded about 2 years ahgo, due t the extreme callousness and lack of sociability shown mainly to my disabled 93-yr old mother in law, who despite having been a JW for some 50 yrs, was totally ignored, no phone calls or cards from elders, for the last few yrs when she couldn’t get to the KHall. Only calls wree from similarly elderly (and similarly neglected) older sis who just monaed to each other about illnesses and loneliness. Let alone any help forher younger relatives who had to do ALL her shopping cleaning etc. But Thankfully I went to univ, and joined other (non religious of course) societies, and read and had non JW freinds. Without that my fading might have been very painful – which is, of course, what JW.dot. Borg wants.

      • Same way they treat my Mom…as long as she is there when they pass the collection plate! 😉

      • Big B says:

        @ Peter the Digger:

        Same experience with my mom, who was the ‘presiding overseer’s’ wife. Over 60 years as a Jehovah’s Witnesses and passed away in 2014. For four years, due to health (dementia) could not make meetings and not ONE visit from her elders, not ONE!

        I did not have a funeral service for her at the Kingdom Hall as I felt that the congregation elders did not care enough to support her in life by a visit were not going to support me with her death at a stupid funeral service. Just another opportunity to ‘give a witness’ to those in attendance.

        Same thing with my Uncle, who died in a nursing home. Not ONE visit by his elders in the three years of being in assisted living, not ONE. He was a presiding overseer in the congregation for decades!

        This seems to following a pattern; namely, “what have you done in field service/meeting attendance/contributions lately?” If you haven’t done the above they soon forget you as a non-person, good as dead in their eyes.

        Another reason for the neglect is the elders would be reminded of what is awaiting them in just a few years as the Armageddon ‘can’ is kicked further down the “It’s a commin'” highway.

        • Shibboleth says:

          This isolation of the sick older ones kind of reminds me of the movie The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio. The movie is based on a paradise utopia where a commune is settled on an island close to Thailand. When two of their friends get ripped up from sharks, they put them outside of the camp in a tent so they don’t see them, so as not to mar their utopia. But when the two shark-bitten men are screaming in agonizing pain, they isolate them so they can die. But one doesn’t die so they send DiCaprio to smother him to put him and the rest of the commune out of their misery. Because hey, it’s not paradise if you have people messing it up now is it?

  12. MelissaP says:

    This post is simply amazing. I left three years ago, thereby losing all of my family and every single friend I ever had. It was the most difficult, heart wrenching, all-consuming period of my life. I eventually sought grief counseling, and that was the best thing I could have done, since none of my new friends, nor my fiancé, could understand how broken I was.

    My life is so amazing now. I’m graduating from college next month, have a great job, but most importantly, am married to the most understanding and kind man I could have ever asked for.

    Thank you for sharing this story. I truly hope it helps others navigate this tumultuous journey.

    • BigB says:

      @ MelissaP;

      Firstly, a wonderful written and inspiring story of faith and survival.

      Glad to see that you are enjoying your life Watchtower free. I am finally through the anger and guilt but it’s taken at least three years to do so.

      Graduating from college is a great achievement and when I did so in 2006 it was so much easier to find a better paying professional career! So many new things to do with so many different types of people to enjoy the same things that I enjoy!

      Keep on keeping on!

      • Gwen Little says:

        I feel like we have all faded around the same time & have been through the same set of emotions.

        I haven’t been to a memorial in 4 years but would say I started to fade 3 years ago. It wasn’t until the 2nd & 3rd year out that I truly felt the grief that came over me. I too went to grief councilling to get through it. It was a tough time for me, I felt suicidal as well & I’m not normally that way inclined.

        I have finally come through the other side of that dark tunnel but it wasn’t easy. Thank goodness, I had this place to come to! Reading other people’s stories & relating to them helped me to see how normal these feelings were.

        • Big B says:

          @ Gwen Little;

          Leaving the Watchtower cult is similar to the seven steps of grief;

          1. Shock and Denial;
          2. Pain and Guilt
          3. Anger and Bargaining
          4. Depression, Reflection, Loneliness
          5. The Upward Turn
          6. Reconstruction & Working Through
          7. Acceptance & Hope
          http://www.recover-from-grief.com/7-stages-of-grief.html

          Everyone on this site, I believe, has gone through or is now going through this ‘cleansing’. Some skip steps but eventually you will survive this pain. “This to will pass”. So keep your head up and spirits high! Meet new people, explore new interests, immerse yourself in community activities, paint, bird-watch, work-out, travel, take up photography, etc.

          You have nothing to lose… but your chains!- Karl Marx.

          Good Luck and good Health to you. 🙂

          • Gwen Little says:

            Thank you Big B,

            I don’t often feel anyone here cares one way or the other about what I have to say so it’s nice to have some nice thoughts back. You made my day.

        • ruthlee says:

          Gwen Little I like what you have to say so please continue to post Cheers Ruthlee

          • Gwen Little says:

            Thank you Ruthlee, I get a good chuckle out of your comments, You & “Tara” aka Kay are as we say here in OZ, “ya dags”

  13. Dorothy rafuse says:

    Amazing article. Thanks.
    I was “in” 30 years, and it is difficult to get out. 45 members of my family no longer speak to me. I am dead in their sight. Very harmful religion to families. Fear based, and cultlike. I am so glad I am “out”.

  14. Kate says:

    To say that your story resonates with me, Alice, is an understatement. Thank you for your words of wisdom.

  15. M Saurus says:

    She’s still not free and needs a lot more therapy if she feels the need to use a pseudonym to avoid family JW repercussions. Long way to go.

    • Modernmama says:

      I felt the same way after reading the article . . . how free are you if you can’t even use your own name?

  16. Mike Keay says:

    Great picture – the trapped in an open cage. I had never thought of it that way. Strangely, as I was reading the article, a news feed popped up to say that celeb JW Serena Williams, although unmarried, is expecting a baby. Less trapped than the rank and file I suspect.

  17. al etheredge says:

    A well written article. For me, the witnesses will always represent the worst of my feelings coupled with the least power I felt to deal with them. No matter how bad the real world is, at least I don’t have to go to the Tuesday meeting or prepare a speech; it could be worse.

  18. Jado says:

    “Are you still in the cage?” ! I guess some of us will be in the cage forever.

    JWs say: “The United States and the Soviet Union together spend about $1.5 billion a day on military defense. Yet the United States ranks eighteenth among all nations in infant mortality, the USSR forty-sixth. The developing countries spend almost four times as much on arms as on health care of their people. Yet hundreds of millions in those countries are hungry; 20 percent of their children die before their fifth birthday.” (See w88 12/15 p. 10 par. 2)!

    Some of us remain in the cage for our survival as our lives depend on aids from those who put us in the cage. Very few peoples around the world are not in the cage: http://beta.foreignassistance.gov/explore .

  19. Tara. says:

    I’m going to take a huge step here. M Saurus this one is for you as you brought it up and for those who know the fear of being found out. I am going to come out. My name is Kay. I have faded over the last 3 years and can safely say I am just about shunned by everyone I know from the org. so what the hell. There, tis done. My pseudonym is taken from a role playing character I had back in the days before I was a JW lol. She was a bounty hunter and a strong woman. Now I too can be a strong woman and not hide behind her.

    • Gwen Little says:

      Hello Kay,

      I used to be “Grace”, then I decided to just stop letting the fear of man take hold of me. Who the hell do they think they are anyway!

      • messenger says:

        I’m waiting for someone here to say he is Anthony Morris III. It could be his tight pants rants and such are spoken to bring his house down.

      • Kay aka Tara. says:

        It kind of feels good to be able to be me…. now I just need to see if I can change my name officially on this thing lol.

  20. Gabrielle Scouarnec says:

    Everything in the article is true. I work as a hypnotherapist in South America. I specialized in helping the victims of cults long time ago, in France, with the victims of Scientology. The damages they do long after you quit are unbelievable. But yes there is a way out. (Surely more than one, but I can’t talk about those I don’t know.) The problem (one among many) is that the witnesses are so well trained to distrust people out of the cult, and all the more people who studied psychology, that they hesitate to ask for help. It would be better to take advantage of the dynamics of leaving. If you know someone who is freeing themselves, tell them that the force they feel right now won’t last. They must act when they feel it, even if it’s counterintuitive.

  21. Dalia says:

    Is 52 years old who are in this sect and can not get out of this absurd rule of dissociation! I have two children who will not talk to me anymore and also my sister! I feel like I’m crazy! I would like to be free !!

    • messenger says:

      So sorry that happened to you.

    • xlp says:

      Don’t blame them. As the parent, you taught them this cult. Now that you see that it is not true, just accept your truth and let them live with theirs. There was a time when you believed as well. I tell my mom the same about her friends and relatives. Just let it go, and work on enjoying your newfound freedom.

  22. Thankyou to the lady who shared her experience and wrote this article….so many of us have such similar feelings in regards to our life experience…for all the ones who dare “open up”and share… I appreciate the comment of …Gameisover…The past is in our minds…the future is in our hands! Counselling helps one see…Prisoner of war syndrome…battered/abused wives, husband, childern syndrome…acknowlegement of being in a cult and escapeing…and on and on…to break the chains is not easy…but can be done…We all need to do it in our own way and time…I choose to use my real name…I have a daughter…she needs to see….if you believe that something is right or wrong…stand up for what you believe, empower and support others…those who do not agree…well that is their…” Freedom to do as they believe.”

  23. outandabout says:

    Hi, Ricardo. In answer to your earlier question, just google ‘denisovan dna’ and discover why WT saw fit to give a lecture on Neanderthal. Obviously they were worried about their tenuous truth. Could this be another Galileo moment for religion?

    • Ricardo says:

      @outandabout,
      Thanks for that. I have to bring myself up to speed on different species of humanoids. There is a lot of gene research happening. I hope there may be some definite conclusions which can be reached.

  24. JWIntellect says:

    A very encouraging and beautifully written piece of writing, Alice. Reminders well worth noting.

  25. Ken says:

    Thank you, Alice, for your excellent article.

    Can you elaborate on how you went about finding a suitable therapist?

    Or does anyone else have any advice on how you went about it yourself?

    • nowallsnoceilings says:

      Hi Ken,
      I found a therapist who specializes in working with survivors of trauma and abuse. I didn’t consciously seek her out; I sort of landed on her couch. That is, I was in almost total denial that WT had done anything wrong. All I knew was that I was stuck in a cycle of self-destruction and loathing. I was disfellowshipped for more than ten years before I could even begin to think that my punishment wasn’t completely deserved and completely my own fault. The elders at my judicial meeting told me I had a wicked heart, and I believed them. I was born into the JW organization and knew no other way of seeing the world. Growing up as a witness and getting disfellowshipped was truly traumatic and nearly killed me; I had no healthy coping skills; we didn’t believe in psychology or psychiatry.
      I am grateful to have found this site/articles. I have treated myself with the same emotional brutality and unforgiveness that I learned as a witness. My father is an elder; he arrogantly told me “nobody has more love for the world than we (witnesses) do,” (as evidenced by the preaching work.) I was df’d at the time, and I just shook my head at his brainwashed dishonesty.
      In many ways I am free, but unless the mind is free one is never free. This article reminds me of how I live my post-JW life believing that everyone is trying to control and deceive me. There’s clearly much more work and healing to do!
      Thank you for this forum.

  26. So true…parents who believe and put what those seven strang….ers! say and turn their backs on their kids! All I can say, being a parent myself…Parents like these…did not deserve to have such a priviledge of having childern…and may they to, one day experience the same feelings they have forced upon their kids…what goes around…comes around! I have no respect for people like that…I have no respect for the unhuman bunch who make these laws, Gb and all who abide by what they say…I will never forgive them for all the lives they have affected in a negative way…I truly believe they will pay for this one day…Maybe…Mr. Putin will help …I am going to ask him…Is it wrong to hate them? Is it not stated…HATE what is BAD! ? See if the wealth Gb has acquired will save them, when God calls them to account! In “her “was found….(I will even put on…”tight pantz”to celebrate! Not a pretty sight!)

  27. Go Kay… Tara! Being shunned is actually a blessing in many ways…not so bad, really… When they meet me in the grocery store…drop their veggies and run! Makes me feel…POWER!!!! Hehe…It is very funny at times…then the excuses they use when they say…oh, I never seen you at Reggies conventional…meanwhile they did and literally tripped over each other as they ran the opp. way!!! Enjoy…”commin out!”. 🙂 Feel the power…”Freedom gives ya!”

    • Kay aka Tara. says:

      Thanks Sharon 🙂 It is def. a huge step even though on here I feel surrounded by like minded people. I think at the end of the day I am fortunate because it’s only me and the kids. My eldest granddaughter, at 8 years old is the main concern now, but she had a wonderful time hunting chocolate eggs this year. I wanted to play too because it was my first Easter without stigma. I was told I was too old but the girls shared with me lol. It was also the first time since my sons wedding that we had all been together without looking over our shoulders for WT spies.

  28. Whoops…poked my thought in wrong spot! Duh…not too smartz whenst it comes to being comp lit…sorry…my last comment about easter eggs being tempting…:). in regards to Tara/Kay….Let yourself play with the grnd kids…Chase them around …catch the “rabbit” that laid the golden egg…GB no fun…hoarders of all…Goose that laid golden eggs, and anything else to do with…”gold”! Perhaps they are suffering in Russia cuz tried to smuggle something in…and now crying….Poor me..woff caught me…:( Now We may have to…” Pay back Ceasars things to Ceasar.”. Not sure if New Grey Sword has that scrip…but ol Bible said…if you suffer cuz of….;)

  29. Thank you for this writing I too have a life coach who is an ex JW. She uses horses as a tool for healing it’s a great experience. I couldn’t go to a therapist outside JW thinking they don’t have the understanding of the manipulative ways this organization uses to be so harmful. She specializes in cult healing and was my friend during my growing up a JW and completely understands how it is. I am free after 6 yrs out of it and I’m in the letting go stages however long that may take the grieving process is difficult! Can be lengthy I hold dear my second chance as well.

  30. Justin Zorn says:

    Thank you for this article. I’ve been thinking of going back to post-secondary up here in Canada. I’m 24 years old and left the Org. 2 years ago. I appreciate Gameisovers’ comment about the past being in your head and your future in your hands. Thank you.

    • Ricardo says:

      @Justin,
      Do it. Get yourself educated. You’ll love it. The group spirit is fantastic, and getting better educated gives you more options in life. When you do it and see that it is a great experience, try thinking why the GB is so strongly against it.

      Then try thinking about the SDA’s who don’t have that problem of leadership being anti-uni, because they have set up their own schools and their own uni’s and have a well educated membership.

      What is the GB scared of?

      • Big B says:

        @ Justin & Ricardo;

        “What is the GB scared of?” Two words my friends; knowledge & power.

        With any higher education the Society knows that college graduates are a lot more savvy and harder to fool than uneducated or lower educated people. Why?

        Higher educated people have been taught to question what is being said or being taught and they know how to find information to prove or disprove any supposition being presented.

        Thus the emphasis on NOT getting a higher education; they will question authority, they will question the Governing Body, they will question the interpretation of the scriptures and reasoning of the “faithful & discreet slave”.

        Once enlightened the college educated will, through research, find out that Jehovah’s Witnesses are a know-nothing cult and the Governing Body are a bunch of deceptive, deceitful, money-hungry liars.

        That’s why the Governing Body spews out their vitriolic message of anti-education at every assembly that I can remember. My very last District assembly entitled; ‘God’s Word is Truth’ in 2013, Friday afternoon, the last talk was “Believe Inspired Truth, Not Inspired Error”.

        Brother Tate, who gave that talk in Hampton, Virginia, said in no uncertain terms that “those that decide to continue to pursue higher education were making themselves tools of the Devil!” Well all three of us sitting there were dumbfounded as well as insulted. That was our very last meeting and we have never looked back!

        • Ricardo says:

          @Big B,

          I have found that the question the elders hate most, and which gets them most riled up, is “Why?” I have got into trouble so many times for asking that question. I totally agree with your comment above.

          • Big B says:

            @ Ricardo;

            Absolutely correct Ricardo; asking “Why?” is tantamount to insubordination and the questioning of authority or answers given by the elders, C.O., faithful and discreet slave, cannot be tolerated for one minute. You thereby are questioning the Holy Spirit and therefore God.

            So which is better friends; “Questions that you can’t answer or Answers that you can’t question?”

            https://www.exjwcriticalthinker.com/

  31. Thankyou Big B for your thoughts on grief and all…helps a person understand more what they feel/have felt…and Gwen Little…I know how you have felt to…I think there is alot of very caring folks on here…Including Mr. Cedars and all who maintain this site…You count! Caring thoughts….

    • Big B says:

      @ Sharon Christensen;

      If I can encourage just ONE person that visits this site to ‘keep their heads up’ and find hobbies and interests that will fill up their time; hopefully it will keep them from thinking of all the hurtful things they have or will go through. Going through grief does take time but, as they say, “this too will pass”.

      Thanks again for the kind thoughts,

      Big B

      • Gwen Little says:

        Thank you Sharon for your kind words of encouragement. I just wish sometimes that we could all meet in person.

  32. Nathan Clark says:

    Alice,

    I know first hand the pain you’ve experienced through the JW’s. I was raised in the organization and disassociated myself when I was twenty years old. The shunning from both my parents was and is still difficult. After many years and thoughtful prayer, I was brought to realize that the JW organization is not God and doesn’t represent God. I agree with you-forgiveness is a must. It’s not so much for them, but it does bring freedom to our lives. It allows us to keep our joy and happiness or to at least find it. There is only one Way to God, and it is my sincere hope that you and everyone world wide finds it.

  33. Nathan Clark says:

    Alice,

    I know the struggle you speak of. I was raised in the organization and disassociated myself when I was twenty years old. The shunning from both parents was and still is difficult, especially as they near the end of their lives on earth. However, I do agree with you about forgiveness. Forgiveness allows one to regain their happiness and joy. Through a lot of prayer, I was led to know that the JW’s do not represent God and God is not the JW’s. We are told that many will be deceived, and in fact, will go to the grave in their deception. There is only one Way and it is my sincere desire that all JW’s as well as all people find it.

  34. Doc Obvious says:

    If I were in Russia when the Ban was going on and I did not see Watchtower Bible and Tract Society’s Governing Body there with us, I would not feel that they were supporting us and that they abandoned us. My first question I would ask to the Governing Body is why you did not show up in support.

    When I think of Leadership, I think of people sticking their necks out for people. Not people who just keep talking. In my view, talking does not count. Actions are what counts. Since Mark Sanderson can speak Russian, he should be over there in Moscow and showing a proper example by testifying to the Russian Federation Judicial System.

    It is this lack of leadership that clearly shows that Watchtower has checked out. They have checked out of responsibility and to show the young generation what real leadership is all about. Hiding inside the Warwick resort just shows how weak your religion is.

  35. WTCritic says:

    Very therapeutic article. One of the more comforting ones I’ve read on this topic. Thanks for contributing this to the community.

    Just something I’ve been thinking about. When Jehovah’s Witnesses see their worldwide letter writing campaign to Russia yielded no results does reality hit any of them that maybe the “one true religion” with God’s blessing isn’t that. In terms of what is in the Bible God would act with such an outpour from his chosen supporters. Do you wake up or continue to believe the spin?

    • Holy Connoli says:

      @WT critic. When Egyptians persecuted the Jewish people God intervened BIG time. Let my people go!
      Why isn’t hat happening now? food for thought.

  36. Big B…thanx again…Not sure about other folk on here, but this has caused me to relive, remember alot of stuff…so the past few days have been an emotional time for me…Thank goodness today was better…a hard day of hse cleaning always make one feel better…and the folks I work for are awesome people….devote Catholics, very kind and good. Make me feel like part of their family…their house is like my second home.

    • Big B says:

      @ Sharon Christensen;

      House cleaning has always been a mind and body cleansing as well for too. Gives one the time and ability to sort things out and clean-up misconceptions in the mind. Glad you are feeling better.

      Now if I can just improve my golf game and shave off a couple of strokes….and at the same time clear my head then all will be well. 🙂

      • So true! Golf! ? We have geese standing knee deep in snow! Looking rather puzzled…and not just that, the resident fox ate all their eggs…://. Our local golfers are still waiting for the “greens” to show…they did a bit, that’s when the geese landed…and well…once the snow clears…watch out for goose droppins…:-//. They do not fly away even when the goose bangers go off…do not even duck! :). So true also Gb afraid of knowledge and power…If one allows oneself to educate oneself…perhaps a person will clue into what this religion is or is not…then not be afraid to enlighten others and speak out against it. Like stated before…keep the people in the dark, like mushrooms and feed them only…Bull Shart…calling it..New Light…yeah….Perhaps they can not afford air fare to Russia first class…and is below their dignity to fly economy…otherwise why else would they not be their supporting the brothers in the…”front lines?”. Chicken
        livers….anyone????

  37. Cherie says:

    Good to see The Friday Column back! I can relate to this piece. I have been “out” 24 years. I have been happy, I’ve been sad, I’ve made good decisions, and I’ve made bad ones. But, what resonates with me lately is that it’s my life, and they are my decisions, and I am free to make them. For me therapy helped tremendously. My therapist was not familiar with the JWs, but she understood enough to see that I had been brainwashed. She encouraged me to do research, which I had not done previously. I was out about nine years before I read “In Search of Christian Freedom,” and woke up. A therapist is non-judgmental; however, it may take some time to find the right one for you, and you have to be commit to honesty in therapy. Still, I have triggers. I have good days and bad days, but I also have tools to cope, which I learned in therapy. I especially liked your point about grieving. I had not thought about it in quite that way, we are grieving the loss of a belief system, and maybe family and friends. Grief is a natural process, it is healthy, and suppressed grief can cause problems like depression and anger later. The JW belief system hijacks that natural process. I also liked your point about forgiveness. This is difficult, there’s no doubt, but forgiveness is something we do for ourselves. It is about the forgiver. Many thanks to pointing the way to healing with this excellent essay!

  38. Doc Obvious says:

    McDonald’s, another imperfect company, just outperformed Watchtower in customer satisfaction and overall satisfaction in a recent poll.

    In addition, the poll also noted that Governing Body members, David Splane and Anthony Morris III are overrated and really do not contribute much to the religion’s bottom line.

  39. Gonzalo says:

    I trully liked this post. I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness and I’ve been an unbaptized Publisher for 4 years. However, I have done some research on Wachtower history and beliefs and I have come to the conclusion that Jehovah’s Witnesses are not “the One True Religion”.
    I’m about to leave the organisation but I’m terrified. Although I won’t be shunned (as I’m not baptized), members of the congregation will consider me “bad association”. Not only will I lose my friends but I will stop doing activities (such as preaching and going to the meetings) that have given meaning to my life for many years.
    Apart from that, I’m gay. After a lot of time, I have finally accepted it. It will be very difficult for me to tell my family about my sexual orientation. Of course, I will wait some time until I’m prepared to face their reaction.
    Why am I telling you this? Because I’m very grateful to websites like this one. They have helped me to wake up and see the truth about “The Truth”. Moreover, they have given me the strenght and boldness to stand firm for who I am and what I believe. Although I’m gay, I would have been willing not to carry out my wishes in order to please Jehovah and be part of his organization. However, I don’t think in this way anymore. I’m completely sure the Watch Tower Society is not the organization Jehovah God is using to do his will. That is why I want to be sincere to myself and to be happy being myself. So, again, thank you so much for helping me to acheive happiness and freedom. I apologize if my english is not very good as it is not my mother tongue. I’m from a Spanish speaking country.

    • Gwen Little says:

      Gonçalo,

      My thoughts are with you as you venture into you’re life of freedom. Never ever let the judgemental Witnesses make you feel one ounce of shame for who you are.

  40. Gonzalo…I do not envy the road before you…will not be easy by any means…But you have already started down a path that enlightened you as to JW. org…keep on going…freedom will come to you as you eagerly search for it…and so will happiness…if friends and or family reject you…that is their freedom and loss…all the best in your progression to freedom and happiness…Good to see your comment…your English is just fine!!!! :).

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