Possibly The Best Article I Ever Wrote: Are You Living A Lie?

Sep 27, 2014 by

contemplationIn the past several months I’ve heard from many active Jehovah’s Witnesses who freely admit that there are problems with the organization. They admit that Jesus Christ is placed in a more or less subservient role to Jehovah and that there are inconsistencies in their translation of the bible that would indicate doctrinal problems and a biased translation of key scriptures.

Yet these people still cling to the Watchtower as their only hope for survival, redemption, and everlasting life. Why?

I’ve experienced this myself. I knew for several years in my 20’s, while attending the Kingdom Hall and being an active JW, that their teachings were false and yet I kept up appearances. Why?

My own personal answer?

Fear of men. Fear of the disapproval of my family, friends, and the organization that I had devoted twenty-three years of my life to. Fear of the unknown. Fear of being all alone in the world. Fear of admitting that I had wasted my life.

John spoke of this same predicament in his writings.

John 12:42-43

“Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.”

One could substitute for many of the key words in that scripture. For example here is what could be said of the modern day Jehovah’s Witness who believed in Jesus Christ but continued to remain a part of the Watchtower:

“Nevertheless many even of the [Jehovah’s Witnesses] believed in Him, but because of the [elders i.e. Watchtower leadership] they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be [labeled an apostate and disfellowshipped from the organization]; for they loved the approval of [the Watchtower Society, their fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses, and their family and their friends] rather than the approval of God.”

The Watchtower teaches their followers that any JW who becomes an apostate (i.e. anyone who openly disagrees with the Watchtower on any point) has an ego problem and that they are seeking their own glory rather than God’s. They teach that these ones are only seeking to draw people after themselves.

Do the Watchtower’s accusations ring true in this context?

Any JW who openly disagrees with the Watchtower on any point is risking his or her social standing in the congregation (synagogue) as well as their relationships with their family, their friends and possibly even their employers (approval of men)!

This is always a matter of self-sacrifice as the offending JW is always maligned, mistreated, and outcast from the congregation. It is social suicide.

Does that sound like someone who is on an ego trip, seeking to draw people after themselves, or does it rather imply that this person has come to a very traumatic and heartbreaking decision based on an issue of conscience and undisputed self-honesty?

Most JW’s will never openly challenge their leadership on any point, not because they don’t disagree with anything they teach, but rather because they fear the reprisals for their audacity from the Watchtower leadership.

Imagine losing every friend you’ve ever had. Imagine losing your mate, parents, children, siblings, and possibly even your employment? Of course you can always find another job but just imagine being faced with the challenge to either conform or to lose everyone you’ve ever loved.

The threat of expulsion from the Jehovah’s Witnesses is a very real power that the Watchtower leadership wields over their members. The results of such an action are traumatic and life-changing.

I maintain that this one facet of the Watchtower defines the entire organization as a manipulative, controlling and destructive cult. Families are broken up every day in this organization. Divorce, loss of employment, loss of friends, estrangement from children and/or parents and even suicides are and have been the repeated end result of someone choosing to leave the Watchtower organization.

Next time you think about accusing an apostate of seeking his or her own glory, profit, or ego I want you to really examine the context and try to find any selfish motivator for their actions. I maintain that there is simply nothing selfish about it. The emotional, financial and social damage to themselves and their families is simply too great.

The one and only motivator for a Christian JW leaving as an apostate?

A direct relationship with Jesus Christ and everlasting life.

Remember the blind man who was healed of his affliction by Christ and spoke with authority when being interrogated by the Pharisees in the synagogue? He was removed from the synagogue for his audacity in testifying about Jesus Christ.

John 9:13-34

 

13They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14 Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. 15 Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.”

16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”

But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided.

17 Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.”

The man replied, “He is a prophet.”

18 They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. 19 “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”

20 “We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. 21 But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. 23 That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”

25 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”

26 Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”

27 He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”

28 Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29 We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”

30 The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. 32 Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

34 To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.

Notice there that the Pharisees accused the blind man of being egotistical and trying to “teach them” just as the Watchtower accuses apostates today.

May you find the courage, fortitude, and the spiritual sight to stand up to the Watchtower and to testify about Jesus Christ and how He helped you to see!

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52 Comments

  1. Skyhawk

    Interestingly, absorbing article.

  2. Ed

    Great article, You nailed it perfectly!. When i question my Wife regarding 1914. “What is current teaching?” She “gnashes” her teeth, refusing to discuss. She tells me i “left Jehovah” and “you are crazy” I remind her that i left the WTB&TS. I believe she does not even know what WT current opinion is regarding 1914. She simply follows them blindly out of fear to displease Elders and disappointing congregation thus becoming a “Leper” as i have become.

  3. Ed

    Another favorite reply from her is: “you don’t like Jehovah” Perhaps i will go back to KH and count the number of times the speaker says “Jehovah” That may convince her that i still love Jehovah! 🙂 Very shallow and very sad!

  4. Alicia

    Ed, your wife’s response is how many JW’s react when they can’t bear to face the real truth about the Watchtower society – they just put on their rose colored glasses. They really hate to hear unflattering facts about their beloved “mother” or organization. My husband is the same way, it’s like he closes his ears & shuts down his mind or the ability to use critical thinking when bring up anything that puts the Watchtower in an unfavorable light.

    Doug, as usual your article was right on the target because Jehovah’s witnesses put the approval of the elders & the so-called faithful slave above really following in Christ’s steps as they claim they’re already doing.

  5. Excellent article! Well written, to the point, concise and Very Clear! I Especially loved where you substituted the words of the verse in John 12, how Clearly this explains everything! Of course those of us who have left this destructive sect all agree with you! Keep up the good work! May our God continue to bless you!

  6. I feel your pain Ed.

    Doug

  7. Thanks Ed, one “leper” to another!

    Doug

  8. JWs are modern Pharisees. We need to love the victims of the WT (who are still accountable for following a false group of men) and hate the organization that deceives them.

  9. Anonymous

    I have a mom and a younger sister who are JW’s. My mom joint the organization when I was around the age of 16. She forced me and my sisters to participate threatening to put us out of the house if we didn’t. Sadly this was the reason why my middle sister and I left the house sooner than expected.
    My younger sister was only 9 years old at the time and did not know any better that to follow my mom. I feel guilty that I could not protect my sister from the clutches of my mom and her believes as a JW. Its now been 24 year that my mom is JW. She went form being a happy person, always laughing and sharing. She had the happiest laugh I ever new. She was a part of our lives, we could always feel her intense presents She has been a great mother before being a JW. Her family was her biggest interest.

    Becoming a JW has turned my mother into the saddest person or human been I know. I cannot remember the last time I heard laugh. She has no joy or any sign of life in her eyes, only sadness. The only time when I seen some life trying to come out of her is when I take her away from her home and the other JW’s who visits her on a regular basis. I remember seeing my mom cry every time any one of the ladies from the organization came to visit my mom. I still see that today after 24 year. They leave her sad and crying while they walk out smiling and feeling happy with what they have achieved. (what ever that is).

    I have tried talking to my mom, and the reaction I get is the same as you explained in so many of your writings. I have simply no idea how we can help her see the truth. I pray for her and my little sister and hope that one day they will find the strength to break loose.

  10. Right on Doug, I really appreciated this read. When I decided I could not go back, it wasn’t for any egotistical or self exutling reason. I simply came to the realization through my own unbiased analysis that what I thought was truth wasn’t really so and knew in my own integrity I could not rightly invite others (as required) to join.

    When I explained what I learned to those who asked (I never volunteer my reasoning without being asked “why?”), my answers brought accusations of “belonging to Satan”, “you’re leaning toward apostate reasoning now”, “you’re just looking for an excuse to do wrong”, among others. To say I was dissappointed would be an understatement. But the very desire for truth that kept me in that org, ironically is now the same desire that keeps me out.

    I love that you do this and no doubt those with a right heart condition will listen to the words of you and any other honest hearted truth seeker and only provide support. Anything otherwise would be unloving and definitely not of God.

  11. Thanks Marc!

    One apostate to another, I kind of enjoy it!

    Doug

  12. Until they are ready there is really nothing you can do but pray.

    Doug

  13. Nelly

    Marc and Anonymous:

    I can truly understand you and feel for you. I have been in that same position. Now that I have left I feel free. I feel that as long as I have a relationship with my God he understands me. I don’t feel guilty of everything I do or don’t do. I remember fainting one day while I was out in service and the elder who was there (inside his air conditioning vehicle) said “well if you don’t feel so good just leave and double up next week” Not how are you doing or are you feeling better nothing like that. EVERYTIME! EVERYTIME!!! they came for a “shepherding call” we felt we had been whipped. We never felt at peace despite all the scriptures they threw at us. It was really sad.

    I thank God for putting Doug in my life to open my eyes and realize i’m not a horrible person if I don’t go to meetings because I’m too tired or go out on service because I have worked very hard all week. I know the only one who truly knows me is God and he knows my heart. God bless you guys.

  14. Peacemaker

    Nelly, how ironic that a place that was to be “shelter from the wind and concealment from the storm” ends up leaving you battered and bruised.

    Everyone that leaves this cult has not left without a measure of loss or injury.

    No man is an island and thrives on alienation so Doug’s comment is on point – “”Next time you think about accusing an apostate of seeking his or her own glory, profit, or ego I want you to really examine the context and try to find any selfish motivator for their actions. I maintain that there is simply nothing selfish about it. The emotional, financial and social damage to themselves and their families is simply too great.”””

    One day a person could be the best witness,but the minute there is an indication of doubt or you do or say anything that could be constituted as apostasy, all that is forgotten and suddenly you are not unlike Freddy Kruger or Linda Blair with the spinning head. Sadly this short term memory is not only from friends but also from close family members who begin to see you as a threat, then they close ranks.

    Bring on the shunning

    When I decided to leave the org and my sham of a marriage, the COBE told me at my last meeting that I was already taken over by Satan. I moved out of the town, filed for divorce and set about trying to rebuild a normal cult free life alone and ….. suicidal. Enter my loving parents who started using the terms “whore and adulteress” in conversations until I had to terminate all contact with them also.

    The elders resorted to having me followed by P.i.’s at work and home for months to justify disfellowshipping. They finally got their ammo when I remarried years later. Meanwhile my prev husband who had been misappropriating funds from the congregation coiffures is still in good standing.

    Every time I read an experience of someone who has left and has been wounded by former friends and family it strengthens my resolve to maintain control of this life I have chosen to live FREELY not under fear or compulsion.

    Freedom (from the WTS) as sweet as it tastes comes at a hefty price. People who have are truly brave.

    I can’t help but give props to Doug for giving the truth neat not watered down or on the rocks.

  15. Thanks for the amazing commentary Peacemaker!

    I’m fifty years old. I’ve got nothing left to prove or hide. I just say it like I see it and it is amazing just how clearly I “see” now that I’m out of the murky water that is the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society.

    You’re right. Freedom does come at a high price. Since freedom is so very precious I believe that is as it should be.

    Doug

  16. I’m just a tool in God’s hands like the rest of us Nelly. I had to speak up. I couldn’t remain silent the rest of my life. I had been silent and silenced for so very long. One day I was reading a book about blogs and a light came on. Then the words just started coming out of me in waves. God works in very mysterious ways. He will use anyone that He wishes, even a grubby old sinner like me. I’m privileged to do this work because I believe it is His work.

    Doug

  17. Anonymous

    Hey Doug, I’m also 50! Better (and wiser) with age like a fine wine my friend!

    And thank you Nelly for your comments. They are always encouraging. We’ve all been through the fire and are finding our voices outside the WT org.

    For me writing has always been a sort of therapy, ever since I was very young. Keep writing, keep communicating, it is all much appreciated and someone will find encouragement in it.

    I started a blog which I hope wlll also lead some along the path. Doug, if you’re ok with it I’d love to provide the link here, but if not that’s fine too. Just let me know.

  18. I posted the above without my name inadvertently! Sorry bout that, its Marc 🙂

  19. Marc you’re more than welcome to post and thank you for asking regarding your blog.

    Doug

  20. Thank you kind sir. I feel it’s only proper to ask. We “apostates” aren’t all as rude as some would say 🙂
    The link is http://betterhappiness.com/a-better-happiness/
    I’d love your thoughts/feedback and sharing. Be blessed brother.

  21. Appropriate name given my last article!

    I’ll definitely check it out.

    Thanks,

    Doug

  22. Suzy

    Hi Doug, do you have any words of wisdom for me? I find myself wanting to go back to the KH, mostly to be with my daughter and new grandbaby and hopefully avoid being shunned by her . I faded about 10 years ago (never df) and had even become active in a Baptist Church and have loved the freedom to learn and study the Bible for what it really says and to come to know Jesus in a new way. Eight months ago, the old guilt and fear came over me and I started having all the “What if the Society really is right?” doubts and my daughter has made it clear that I need to start back to the meetings if I want to be a real part of my grandbaby’s life in the future. I have become paralyzed spiritually in these 8 months. I don’t know which way to go, I can’t pray or read my Bible anymore. I just feel joyless and sick about this. I see many things wrong with the churches I’ve been to and I always feel like a weirdo and out of step with the other members there and yes I do long for the peace of going back to something comfortable and familiar, even though I see clearly how wrong the WBTS is in so many ways and I would definitely be living a lie. I’ll appreciate any input you have.

  23. Hi Suzy.

    Your situation is not unusual. This is the very “hook” that cults like the Jehovah’s Witnesses wield with such effectiveness. Because they divide families it creates pain and hardship especially when we start coming to terms with our own mortality.

    We leave the JW’s and go searching for perfection in other religions, not realizing that it doesn’t exist. Yet we base our search not in reality but in that false veneer of perfection foisted upon all of us when we were in the Jehovah’s Witnesses. We search out religions, beliefs, and people who can’t possibly fill the void that was left when we came to terms with the fact that the Watchtower and Jehovah’s Witnesses were a complete and total scam.

    Cultism is just like a drug. If you are a true alcoholic, for example, then nothing else will do. The same goes for the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Even though we know, on a conscious level, that they were completely deceiving us and our families, many still continue to go or, as in your case, long to return to that comfortable place that they once occupied. Just like the alcoholic who, after ten years of sobriety, starts to have a “taste” for his old addiction, so too many JW’s begin to gravitate back toward the very thing that they said they would never go back to.

    This is usually triggered by a major life change. For example, health problems, an addition to the family (grandchildren), divorce, loss of job etc. World events can also bring on a slow wave of terror and that sinking feeling that somehow the Watchtower was right all along.

    That familiar whisper “Better get back to the meetings.” repeats itself over and over in an inexplicable loop designed to make us long for what we left behind.

    You must realize that you’ve been programmed to do this. You must understand that you’re perfectly normal and that you’ve been subjected to years of intense behavioral programming which makes you quite unique in this world. There are actually very few people on this planet who can claim that they had the presence of mind as well as the iron will required to leave the relative comfort and familiarity of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    For most of us, being a Jehovah’s Witness was a complete and total way of life. It dominated and ruled everything in our lives. Every choice was made with a view to how it would fit into our religious beliefs and lifestyle.

    That, my dear Suzy, leaves an indelible mark on us for the rest of our lives.

    That’s why you never found solace in the churches. It isn’t because they didn’t offer something of value, but because you have a completely different frame of reference when it comes to all things religious.

    I am a believer, but I’m no longer a member of any church. I write on the blog and try to help people realize that they can be a Christian and not be a member or even attend any church unless they choose to do so.

    Wanting to be with your family doesn’t make you a failure. It makes you human.

    Going back to the JW’s won’t be easy for you and you’ll be heavily scrutinized by everyone. There will be those who will criticize you and your daughter and say that the only reason you came back was to be in their lives. Be prepared for that. Also be prepared to be depressed in a lot of ways as you experience all of the feelings you had that made you leave in the first place.

    Know why I know all of this? Because I did it too. I went back for a little more than seven months. I then realized how hollow and false everything was. I realized that it wasn’t “just me” and that I didn’t have a “bad attitude”. It was because I had outgrown the group and that I knew far too much to subject myself to those idiots once more.

    I left never to return.

    Can I condemn you for going back? Absolutely not. I can’t judge you or anyone else. We’re all on this crazy ride called “life” and I’ve learned to “never say never”. I only hope that you seriously consider all of the ramifications of your decision before you jump back in. Then, if you’re fine with the consequences, do what you know is right for you.

    If you haven’t read Hassan’s books on cult mind control and how it works then I highly recommend you read one. It will help you understand the psychology behind cult programming, the long term effects, and why you feel the way you do. You can access his books by clicking the following:

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=steven+hassan

    I’m keeping you in my thoughts and prayers Suzy.

    Doug

  24. Micah

    Hi the other day i had a chat with an “Elder” who told me quite explicitly that i could not question an Elders Behavior he quite literally said to me yes that’s correct “Do as we say not do as we do” funny who else used to behave in this way?

  25. Micah it is truly a “parent / child” relationship with the authority and power of a “parent” on the side of the elders and the leaders of the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society. You are considered as nothing but a willing “tool” in the eyes of the Watchtower. The second you stop being “useful” to them (ever wonder why they use the term “USED” all the time in reference to “privileges”?) then they have absolutely no qualms in kicking you to the trash heap and getting another unsuspecting stooge to take your place.

    Doug

  26. Anonymous

    I like pretty much everything you are teaching, Doug, I know you are trying to relay truth to everyone you can. Just a bit concerned that your use of the word “idiot’s” and other words describing JW’s will be misconstrued as less than intelligent, since obviously you are intelligent. My family are still JW’s, and don’t yet know that I’m not, but they aren’t idiots, and the elders are under instruction from higher powers, and mostly just in fear, like the rest. They are victims, but not idiots.

    I want to keep reading and supporting what you are doing, but afraid to recommend your blogs to anyone who needs a gentle nudge, because name-calling would be too “scary” for them. You know how it is 🙂

  27. If you attended the Kingdom Hall where I did then you’d know that my descriptions are quite accurate.

    I don’t characterize all JW’s as idiots but those who act as such in a mean and hurtful manner out of ignorance or arrogance are most certainly idiots in my estimation.

    I am not one to mince words but if I offended you with a thoughtless remark that you took personally, I am truly sorry.

    Doug

  28. Anonymous

    I don’t find you offensive, you apologize often to your readers, which is something that keeps me reading. I maintain that even the mean and hurtful ones are likely victims, and hopefully will see the light one day. They are usually judgmental out of fear of something TERRIBLE happening to them, but they don’t notice that something terrible is ALREADY happening to them. Weird how comfort zones work, hey?

    I’m still in that “limbo” of knowing Jesus is all there is, but trying to cast off that niggling “what if they’re right?” feeling. It’s like I need just ONE member of my family to hear me out, but can’t possibly take that risk of even hinting that I have doubts. Well, more than doubts.

    It really is weird how siblings that have always confided in eachother about everything ELSE in life, can’t talk about THIS, or a terrible slimy can of worms opens up. So there could actually easily be 2 or 3 siblings that ALL have doubts, and go on for decades pretending they are happy JW’s, and none of them ever finds out that they have maybe one sibling to share all of this with, and therefore, remain alone and wondering……does he/she have doubts too? Should I try to hint to him so I can find out if we could talk about it?

    My dream is to somehow hint, and then hopefully find out that one of my siblings can be my “secret friend” and I’ll have someone to talk to, and not lose all family. I can do it alone, but I hope I don’t have to. Any advice on how to start the hinting? The advice for teenagers was good. I’m not a teenager, I’m in my 30’s.

    I LOVE the scriptures, nothing could matter more than that to someone like me, of which there are many.

    thanks Doug.

  29. I know what you mean about the nagging feeling. It haunted me for decades after leaving the organization.

    That is one of the “hooks” that keeps the JW’s from straying to far from the fold.

    If I had to do it I would do it far and away from anyone else when only they and I were together and then I’d say something like: “Wow. Do you realize that we’re well over a century since the organization was started and the end still hasn’t come? I was thinking about that the other day. I never thought we’d be all “grown up” and still in the old system of things.”

    Just launch those little thought questions as if you’re asking yourself about it and just be frank and honest about it and they might say something like: “Yeah I sometimes wonder about it too. How can Jehovah hold off when so many bad things are going on in the world?”

    Then just let the conversation take it’s course. Don’t try to steer it. Let them do the steering and agree with them at every step. I think you’ll find that all Jehovah’s Witnesses have doubts. However, when they realize that you are steering the conversation in a particular direction they become defensive, suspicious, and the walls go up. I’ve seen it a lot in my life.

    Don’t say too much. Let them talk. Don’t start talking about anything controversial. Just act as if you’re confiding in them (which you are) about your own misgivings and see if they reciprocate. If they do don’t get too excited. Just act like it’s no big deal and let it drop if they drop it.

    These sorts of things take a LOT of time to work out. It may take many conversations before they really open up. Just don’t try to get complete agreement right out of the gate. That is a mistake that a lot of former JW’s make. They think they can just blow away someone with an argument but psychological programming doesn’t work that way. The person has to climb out of his own “hole” if you will. You can’t do it for them.

    Here’s a scripture for you: Proverbs 25:11

    I hope this helps you Anonymous!

    Doug

  30. re

    That sums it up perfectly, as though you read my thought’s

  31. I’m glad you liked it. Because we’ve all had similar experiences it does seem that way. I can’t tell you how many people say that on here.

    Doug

  32. Anonymous

    Anonymous again, hi. Question: I’m getting past the initial excitement and feeling free, still none of JW family knows, but now entering a new phase (so fascinating) which is, I now want to feel like I belong somewhere, but don’t feel like I belong ANYWHERE. I’m not JW, but don’t feel part of the normal world yet either. I didni’t care about this a month ago, now it feels like I will enter a phase of depression. What is your advice Doug? Could you list the general phases an ex JW would likely go through? Thanks so much.

  33. That is a very good question Anonymous!

    You and I really aren’t part of “normal” society and we probably never will be. We’ve been disenfranchised from mainstream society as a result of our long term involvement in a mind control cult.

    My advice is to change how you relate to people. Strike up conversations in the grocery line. Introduce yourself to your neighbors and invite them over to your home for dinner. Start with small gatherings and work up from there. Volunteer at the soup kitchen or for a specific charity that you feel good about, for example the ASPCA or the local hospital. Serve others. Force yourself to be social and to talk to people about such mundane things as weather, sports, cars, current events, movie stars, politics etc. Believe it or not, this is what “normal” people do. Get a hobby and find a meetup group centered around that hobby. The following link is a great resource for finding people who want to socialize around a specific agenda like photography for example. They even have meetup groups just for people new to a specific area who want to meet others centered around dinner, movies, parks or other venues: http://www.meetup.com

    You’ll still feel somewhat isolated. You and I can be in a room full of people and still feel like we’re terribly alone. I don’t know that this will ever completely go away Anonymous. It hasn’t for me.

    So I write. I have my career which gives me a good bit of social interaction. I read. I think.

    I’ve learned to enjoy my own company more than anything and it can be a real chore to make myself socialize, but I do and when I do I feel better about myself.

    One action I found to be helpful is to immerse myself into mainstream culture by reading. Get the New York Times list of bestsellers and start reading. That way you’ll know what mainstream culture in the United States is reading and talking about. Some of the fiction and nonfiction out there is quite interesting and will challenge your current thought processes. You will learn a lot and it will help you grow.

    Here’s a link to the NYT list: New York Times Bestseller List

    If you want something a little more “spiritual” I recommend just about anything by Paulo Coehlo, a Brazilian writer, who teaches deeply spiritual ideas and concepts using fiction. His writings aren’t centered around a specific ideology or belief system. They are, quite simply, deeply spiritual and honest reflections on life, love, pain and joy skillfully woven into the fabric of a fictional story. I find his writings to be quite inspirational and deeply comforting.

    When we leave the JW’s it is completely normal to feel lost. There is a gaping hole in our lives that once was occupied by the organization. The organization is no longer there. Your job is to fill that hole with meaningful people, thoughts, activities, and joy. You will find, eventually, that your life will right itself and you’ll be truly happy. It’s a long journey filled with equal parts sadness and joy.

    Enjoy the ride.

    Doug

  34. Anonymous

    Thanks for caring so much to write such a long response. I just realized what it is that I want to ask in detail. When I spend time with my new friends, and they show care and love for me and eachother, but also swear a little and say a few “dirty jokes,” I start to feel my JW brain step in, and I don’t judge them, but I do feel fear or something. The actual internal dialogue almost seems to say “what am I doing here? How did I get where I am?” as though I should run back to the “clean” organization, or at least stick with family and not make any other friends, which is like being in a sort of in-between limbo, where I will never find myself, and never progress in any way. Your thoughts?

    I was a sheltered “good girl” who was in an emotionally abusive JW marriage, and fear of being harmed by others including my husband was part of my life. I guess I still have that fear of the “world” too. But I also know I can’t expect to find people in the real world that always act like JW’s, but aren’t JW’s. It would be silly to expect to find friends that will never scare me in some way. I guess I just have to give it time?

    I will definitely look into Paulo Coehlo as I do love to read. When you say “Enjoy the ride” I realize that’s exactly what it is, and I have to stop saying no to everything like I was trained to do, and just go ahead and say yes, or I will stay “safe” which means never experiencing anything.

    thank you

  35. It is quite normal for a former JW to feel this way.

    JW’s are trained to seek spotless perfection in themselves and others and to hone in and judge those that don’t measure up. They become hypercritical over time to the point that they can be insufferable.

    That being said, finding new friends to be with doesn’t mean that you have to lower your standards. Choose your friends carefully and don’t just take the path of least resistance. If someone says something that offends you then tell them so. You are in control of your life and who and what you allow into it. However, an off color joke, or crude statement doesn’t necessarily mean the person delivering it is evil or immoral. If a topic of conversation presents something you don’t like hearing or talking about, change the subject. They’ll figure out pretty fast what you’re comfortable with and if it isn’t a good fit they’ll move on, or you will.

    One of my favorite quotes is from Jim Rohn, a personal development author. He said: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” He was absolutely right. By being selective about the quality of people you allow into your life, you’ll raise your relative value as a result.

    One reason why people who are disenfranchised start running with the “bad crowd” is because the “bad crowd” isn’t very selective themselves. The more successful people who have their lives in order are quite selective about who they allow into their social circle. Start seeking out successful, smart, high quality, and above all, interesting people to spend time with, and you’ll eventually break into the right circle of friends.

    Another book that I recommend is “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl. Dr. Frankl was a holocaust survivor and a psychologist. If there’s anyone who knew true trauma and it’s long term effects it was Viktor Frankl. Given the abusive relationship you had with your husband and an equally abusive and authoritarian relationship while in the Jehovah’s Witnesses, I think this book would be an excellent read for you.

    I do care Anonymous and thank you for pointing that out.

    Take it slow and easy. Take comfortable “baby steps” and remember that you are always in complete control of your life. Keep a journal of your own thoughts, feelings, and experiences. When you think of something that is memorable or worth sharing, write it down. Set some goals for yourself. Imagine your ideal life and what it would look like and then start working toward that. Every day, do something to get you closer to that picture perfect life.

    Before you know it, you’ll be there. I’m living mine. It took me a very long time to truly “get it” but I did.

    This blog is a means for me to “pay it forward” to others who are where I have been.

    I wish you much happiness Anonymous!

    Doug

  36. Anonymous

    This is extremely helpful, thanks. It helps me feel that it’s ok for things to take a very long time, and I have to stop being afraid to imagine my own ideal life, just because I was taught the only ideal life was the one JW’s were “dangling” in front of everyone.
    I wish I knew how to get in touch with people in my exact same situation, who are still hiding, so we could talk, and possibly meet one day. I wish you much happiness too Doug.

  37. Anonymous

    thanks! I have yet to try this, since I haven’t been back on to check in a while. I’ll check it today.

    New question: I have yet to try to tell my relatives any of the stuff I’ve found out about the UN or the freemason/Rutherford stuff, because I know that they will automatically say, “it can’t be true, we’ve been told that they would say stuff like that to weaken our faith, so just don’t believe it etc etc” so the only way to be truly ready is to have the best evidence possible. How can you or I be sure that the letters and scans we see on videos etc are real? Once I start to tell them, I better know my stuff, so I wanted your opinion on what is the best evidence you have ever seen of the UN/NGO thing? Is it really indisputable enough that even an elder wouldn’t deny it? I know they would try to play it down, but I’ve never brought it up with any, because i know I will be demonized, or even reproved, so I’m too scared to.

    I really appreciate that you are here for so many, helping them at no profit to yourself. What does that tell us, compared to a group that profits hugely?

    Anonymous

  38. Well the fact that The Guardian newspaper released the story about the Watchtower’s UN NGO membership and were never sued by the Watchtower is pretty damning in my opinion. The fact that the Watchtower didn’t revoke their membership in the UN until just a few days after the article came out is also pretty damning.

    JW’s won’t believe anything that conflicts with their own ideology. They have been programmed to ignore, minimize, disbelieve and demonize anything that conflicts with their world view. If they deem something to be a condemnation of their organization they will discount it out of hand as a lie, a con, a satanic conspiracy.

    Something as blatantly hypocritical as voluntary membership in the United Nations (The Wild Beast of Revelation) by Jehovah’s “earthly organization” is enough to throw any hardened JW into a tailspin so the Watchtower leaders soften the blow by spreading misinformation as to how this “mistake” happened. They spread lies about how some low level paper pusher at Watchtower headquarters was using the UN library for research and that somehow their NGO membership mistakenly got pushed through. Nothing is further from the truth. The Watchtower leadership had to sign up for this and turn over their financials in order to gain membership in the UN. The documentation for such a task had to be signed and authorized at the highest level. There are quite a few hoops to jump through to become an NGO member of the UN and a lot of perks to an organization like the Watchtower, wishing to gain a foothold in foreign countries. As long as nobody knew of this “secret collaboration” things were quite rosy for the not so faithful or discreet slave. When the Guardian newspaper’s article hit the wire it was panic mode and damage control time for the FDS.

    The Watchtower never came out publicly to explain their involvement in the United Nations. They never publicly confirmed or denied their membership. Instead they used their own private “channel” of misinformation to explain away, quietly, an act so hypocritical that even they couldn’t possibly explain it away publicly.

    People believe what they want to believe. There are none so blind as those who will not see. The clichés are too numerous to list. The fact is that unless a JW wants to see the hypocrisy of their own organization they won’t and no amount of documented proof will change that.

    Doug

  39. Anonymous

    Some new theories on disfellowshipping, and why it’s astronomically wrong: First> when we raised our kids as JW;s, we tell them from birth never to look at anything except what the WT tells them is ok to look at. So they never really know anything about their own religion, such as the roots and the past. Everything is constantly “upgraded.” So that is the first thing we “do” to our kids that is wrong (I did this).
    Second, we then allow our young kids to get baptized whenever they want, and in my opinion, even 20 is too young (Jesus was 30, and he was perfect).
    Third, we then stop speaking to them when they get df’d at the age of 20 or whatever – it doesn’t matter, because they were too young when they got baptized, so even df’ing at age 40 is irrelevant.
    I say this: if a parent is willing to listen to what they’ve been told by old guys they don’t even know, and stop speaking to their own child, then they should join the club that they forced on their child in the first place – if they are willing to torture their own child, and allow the df’ing to stand, then they should be disfellowshipped right along with their child, it’s only right since they brought all of this about 100%, and the child brought this about 0%. The parents caused everything, the child caused nothing. NOTHING. The parents are the ones causing the suicides of df’d kids, and if you go down the line, because each parent that does this is just another JW child that perpetuated the cycle, then df’ing MUST be canceled, why won’t they cancel it already?? They’ve canceled out so many other things.

  40. Because disfellowshipping is the one thing that JW’s have that has “teeth”. Otherwise there’s no reason to stay in the group. No reason not to protest. No reason not to change. No reason to follow all of their rules.

    Fear of being DF’d is the main reason for JW’s not doing the things they condemn others for doing.

    It isn’t so much a love for Jehovah as it is fear of being ostracized from friends and family. That has, and probably always will be, the hook that keeps even privately dissenting JW’s in the fold.

    Doug

  41. Jennie

    God Bless you!!! I grew up a Christian, my whole family are christians, except for my dad who is a Jehovahs witness. These articles are so enlightening to me. I’ve been discussing Christianity with him, history, bible, but its continues to go in a circle. I’ve been struggeling with the question of “Why?” Why does he refuse to believe, when I’ve told him so many truths, that he has nothing to back against? This article completely enlightened me with the subject. I have a better understanding. I don’t ever comment on posts but I felt the need to. Thank you so much I am so glad you found the light! Satan’s lies take away our freedom, freedom to choose rationally, But Jesus said he is the truth, and the truth sets us free! Praise the Lord for me finding this sight!!!

  42. Thanks Jennie!

    Praying for you.

    Doug

  43. Anonymous

    I went through the same… I never really felt I fitted in; I was born and raised “in the truth”, educated to comply to every desire of the congregation, the elders, the circuit overseer, the branch, the governing body; I saw so much corruption and filthiness in every congregation I was part of that around 6 years ago I said “enough”! This religion made my mom seriously depressed to the point of contributing to the development of her cancer; all those quarrels with other JWs, all the arguments she had with my dad begging him to resign from the elder position, etc. only prove how mentally detrimental this cult can be. For having become inactive I lost cousins, uncles, aunts, friends, etc. yet although painful, I do not regret it; I have learned to enjoy life more. The worst of the worst among men give speeches in the congregations and conventions.

  44. Anonymous

    you can never know the truth unless you study the bible by yourself! Read interlinears, read ancient manuscripts, compare the NWT to other bibles and see for yourself what the truth really is. The Organization puts the fear of God in you through their brain washing techniques

  45. I agree with most of what you stated Anonymous. There are some very good people in the congregation but there are also some very toxic ones. Unfortunately, the most toxic, narcissistic, and dogmatic tend to rise to power quickly in the congregation. I have seen this repeatedly over my years in the group. These ones desire power over their fellow JW’s more than anything else and will spend countless hours in field service, volunteering for every single assignment they can, and even volunteering to go to Bethel for several years in order to accomplish their goals. Their lust for power and glory in the organization supersedes the admonition from Christ not to “lord it over one another.”

    When finally granted an elder’s position they immediately seek out a higher rung on the ladder i.e. Circuit Overseer / District Overseer positions. Some of the biggest assholes I’ve ever met were in these upper echelons.

    Doug

  46. Actually Anonymous, the organization puts the fear of MEN into their followers. They fear the disapproval of their fellow JW’s, elders, circuit overseers, district overseers, and ultimately the “seven old men.” God really has very little to do with their fear of disapproval. It’s all about appearances and the social “pecking order” in the congregation.

    Doug

  47. Tracy Kalahiki

    I have three stepsons who have been raised by their mother as JW’s. She’s been very defensive with me if I’ve ever questioned the boys about JW issues. My husband and I are Christians and go to church regularly. Of course when our stepsons are with us, they attend church with us but sometimes are disrespectful in their manner and the way they sit and carry themselves in our church. I pray for them and their mother and I tell my husband that they’re only following what they know. We have to do our part to teach them about Jesus Christ. What I also try to emphasize to them is that there is only one God, whether you call him Jehovah or the Lord or God, it’s about your relationship with him and not the teachings of man. I know we’re not perfect and not our way is perfect but I know the oldest of the three boys comes off sometimes as superior because he claims that his bible is the “truth” and doesn’t want to come around if we’re “celebrating” something…yesterday was our Thanksgiving dinner. He came, but reluctantly. His mom participates in baby showers and they’re allowed to celebrate anniversaries but nothing else, really. I don’t understand why those celebrations are allowed and I realize from years of being married to my husband and life with my stepsons that trying to talk to them other than JW’s way, we get nowhere. I struggle with their future and what will happen in the afterlife. I know for now, all I can do is pray.

  48. Tracy they are trained to handle frontal attacks on their faith. They are programmed to “shut down” when someone calls their faith into question. They have a very negative emotional response to anyone not speaking the “JW Speak” when talking religion.

    It isn’t them. It is what they are being taught at the Kingdom Hall. They have been subjected to possibly thousands of hours of mind control programming over the course of their lives. Again, it isn’t their fault. They are merely carrying out the programming that they’ve been subjected to.

    Read “Combating Cult Mind Control” by Stephen Hassan. Then, put his advice to use.

    Doug

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