Just As I Am
I was born and raised JW, third generation. My mother and two sisters are still JW. My dad passed away in Feb. 2006 and he too was a JW until that time. His memorial service was a classic JW service. It started out OK, but ended up being nothing but a "witnessing" tool for the few that attended who were not JW. I have many, many close relatives that are JW: pioneering mom and grandmother, one uncle was an elder until his death, blah, blah. I stopped attending meetings 26 years ago when I was 18 and my younger brother stopped about 20 years ago (if you do the math, you will realize that we lived through the 1975 "promise of the soon approaching Armageddon and the New System of Things").
Over the last decade I started taking up offers from friends to go to church with them. At first I was terrified to enter a church because of the JW brainwashing. I tried Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Catholic and Baptist. Nothing felt right, in fact they felt as stifling as the JW meetings and I never could shake the feeling of revulsion. Over the years I tried a couple more. I knew JW teachings were way off base, but I also still had that "what if they're right?" feeling buried deep in my head. 2 years ago, we found a beautiful, contemporary, mega church. We settled in and loved it, but still that "what if the JW's are the only ones with the truth?" thought crept up every now and then. And believe me, I NEVER told my family about attending this church. They always made me feel guilty about not going to meetings, let alone telling them I'm now attending a church of "Babylon"! My brother didn't have as much trouble with them as I because he had enough guts to tell them where to get off. One of my ex-JW cousins started attending our church unbeknownst to each other for a couple of months until we ran into each other one Sunday (remember, it's a mega church with 5 services over the weekend) and we were so happy to have a common secret! Well, here's where it gets good: Fast forward to dad's memorial service. After enduring the JW meeting in disguise being passed off as a memorial tribute to dad, and then enduring the cold shoulders and looks of disgust from the "loving" dubs, many of whom were FAMILY, we had a dinner gathering (of course, the Good dubs went to one gathering and the "heathens" went to another), where this same cousin hands me a handful of pages printed from this great website she found. She said, "You HAVE to read this". Of course, I was crying and felt kicked down and rejected due to the shunning I had just experienced at dads memorial service, so I looked at it the next day. It was entitled, "Mind Control or Brainwashing" by none other than Randy Watters!
I cannot describe completely all the emotions that rollercoastered through my life over the next few days. My first reaction was to cry with relief that the JW's were nothing but charlatans and were not even close to being the "one true church" they claimed all my life. I then proceeded to feelings of bitter resentment at being cheated out of a normal childhood (oh how I hated going out in service and having to give talks at meetings, being teased at school for not celebrating Xmas, birthdays and so on. I was a painfully shy child and all this was so hideously terrifying for me. But GOOD dubs have control of their kids and so force them to do the "right thing in the eyes of Jehovah"). I immediately went to the Freeminds website and devoured everything. I am now free, free, FREE to live and love and worship as I choose without that hook of guilt leading me around by the lip all the time. It's been 5 months since I discovered the truth that set me free and I am still giddy with happiness that it's all over, but still dealing with some resentment. And I know I will have to deal for a while yet with thoughts and actions that were indoctrinated into my little-kid head that creep in from time to time which affect me in various ways. So there's my story, similar to the stories belonging to many of you. Now I'm trying to counsel some of my ex-JW family members to help them free themselves of their guilt feelings and pain at being rejected by the "elite ones who have the TRUTH" in our family. I have not approached my "believing" family yet. I'm just biding my time and waiting to plant some seeds of doubt here and there. I am so thankful that Freeminds and this discussion forum have shown me that my feelings are shared by many.