Random Short Experiences
I decided to stop going for good. I reasoned that I had given it my all. I'd done everything I could do to resolve my feelings of guilt and depression and nothing worked except NOT going to meetings. I reasoned that Jehovah would rather I stay alive than kill myself so I chose life without meetings.
I was instantly free. No more guilt, no more depression (haven't had any since, not even a day of it btw), no pressure to live up to some impossible standard. Just freedom.
I completed my fade about 2 years ago. I struggled, and eventually found a therapist specializing in religious trauma. I've worked hard at it, and you know what? It occurred to me today that I'm really, really happy.
My grandmother once told me, when I said I didn't believe in Jehovah's Witness beliefs, that she hoped I died before the tribulation so I could still go to paradise, and I wanted to puke.
Please accept my apology for being an elder and participating in Judicial Committees. I want to ask for forgiveness to all those people who were subjected to horrible treatment in a Judicial Committee.
During my years as a mental slave and serving as an elder, I participated in Judicial Committees where poor people were exploited for personal perversion and mistreatment.
Many fellow elders (repressed people) could not help but to be turned on by the details confessed by the alleged sinners. Therefore, they needed to ask more personal and intimate details that would make any person very uncomfortable. Even I felt uncomfortable in some cases.
The Watchtower is to be blamed for their policies in the Flock book. They have enabled the situation by instructing body of elders to find out some more details about the extent of a sin, like how far did it go, whether parts were touched, etc. According to the Watchtower Society, this helped to determine if it was porneia, which turned out to be the case in almost 99% of the time.
As elders, we were instructed to find out as much as possible, such as how many times it happened, to determine if this had become a pattern in life, whether the person was remorseful and repentant, etc. In such a position that I held, I know that I caused a lot of pain and suffering.
For that reason, I want to apologize sincerely for condemning you if we as a body of elders determined that you were unrepentant or rebellious. I realize now that we were not really helping you to be spiritual or to repair the relationship with Jehovah, but rather, we were destroying your world. We were humiliating you and thus, taking away your dignity.
We were taking away from you everything you considered valuable like your family and friends, your support system. I am truly sorry for me being part of this for 8 years.
There were many times that I tried to help by being more reasonable and understanding during a Judicial Committee, sometimes it worked in favor of the alleged sinner to avoid getting Disfellowshipped, other times, I couldn't convince the majority, and so I was forced to form consensus.
There were times that I could not sleep before or after judicial committees. The emotional drain was unbearable, deep down I was afraid of such horrible outcome for the person subjected to this. There were times that we just rushed through the proceedings, making it part of the routine, without thorough meditation, prayer or preparation. Sometimes, we would make a ruling just to get it over, and to get out of there. I sincerely apologize for being part of this injustice.
Judicial Committees were the most difficult part of the "privilege" of being an elder. I am so relieved not to be part of any of this anymore.
Judicial Committee Meeting
So, I went to the elders. I told them I needed to talk to them about my spiritism and my sexual immorality. It took no time. There was no scheduling a visit, there was no ‘if it’s convenient tomorrow’. I was cornered and sequestered off from the congregation not allowed to move at all until everyone left. Then I was ushered in to the library and interrogated.
This was the moment of awakening for me. This was the moment when I rubbed all the morning goo from my eyes, and erased all hope of going back to peaceful sleepy complacency.
They demanded to know how many sexual partners I’d had. They demanded to know how many times I’d done whatever I’d done. How was it done; Did I like it; Would I do it again; Did I *want* to get HIV/AIDS… All questions about sex. Details that only porn magazines want to interview a person about.
Not one question about the fact that I learned to cast spells and summon and communicate with spirits. Not one word about my “worshipping false gods” … not one word about my “associating and entertaining demons”, which my mother had grilled me about for hours just the day before.
They only wanted to talk about sex. They had absolutely no interest in how I felt, what made me leave, or what was going on in my head… just my pants.
That was the moment, for me. When they dismissed me to deliberate amongst themselves what my penance should be, I left. I never went back.
Chased by the "spiritual police force"
I stopped going to meetings two years ago, after leaving my abusive Jehovah's Witness husband. He has been almost hysterical about getting my confession to adultery so he can be scripturally free, because the elders were scrutinizing him after he apparently 'flirted' with a sister and I could see this was affecting his mental health. So in a moment of weakness to try to keep him calm for the times he has my baby, I wrote a letter to the elders saying "I am getting a legal divorce, I am in a new relationship and xxx is now scripturally free to remarry under the archaic rules of the JW sect".
3 weeks later the elders are at my door inviting me to a judicial committee.
I gave them a good scolding, asking "where were you 2 years ago when we needed help? You knew I was in an abusive relationship, (I approached the elders several times over the years when he was violent). I've been left on my own with 3 children, he mistreated me, abused me, beat up his son, now he doesn't even provide for them and yet you cosset him. He is probably out preaching to others right now. You weren't there then but now you have something to deal with "judicially" you are round here at my door." I said "I am in a normal healthy relationship with someone who loves me and cares for me and isn't abusive, and you want to punish me for that whilst protecting him. I said I think you ought to go away and examine your own twisted view of morality and whether it is really correct". I got choked up when I talked about how they had left me with no help, my daughter came to the door and gave them both barrels too about how she was just a child when she had problems in the religion and they abandoned her. How the pioneer sisters who were supposed to support her just ignored her. I said to them, " this child was suicidal, where were you then?" I think we made them think because one turned to me as they were about to leave and said "can I just say one thing, "we are sorry". I also quoted Geoffrey Jacksons words about the spiritual police force and that we were happily living our lives seeking no association with JWs so why were they trying to deal with me judicially, no need, just leave me alone and I'll leave the, alone.
Then I saw them outside having a meeting about me. God it's pathetic, get a life people! now I am waiting to see if I will be officially announced as DF'd, no doubt my ex will tell me with glee.
What has surprised me is that I shouldn't care but I do. It's just such a cruel way of dealing with people. This need to pursue and punish and stigmatize.
I was born and raised in "The Truth", and have to say, I think that the Organization and authority figures within have been instrumental in making me into a self doubting, self loathing, emotionally unstable person. I think that being part of the Organization takes away any personal identity you may have had, and as I was born into it, I have never really known who I was, what I wanted, what I liked. I am looking forward to discovering who I am! Finding this site [jehovahs-witness.net] has been comparable to finding an oasis in the middle of the desert. Actually, a very good friend of mine who has been going through much the same thing as I have, introduced me to this site. I am so grateful to her.
I feel like my story is too long to tell, and I don't want to bore anyone. Basically, a few years back I was disfellowshipped, and a year later I was reinstated, only to wish that I had never been "accepted back into the fold". I was still treated as a leper even after I was reinstated. What is worse, once you are reinstated, you get to hear all of the conjecture about your personal life and sins, all of the vicious gossip that you were shielded from while you were disfellowshipped. I have now been inactive for several months, and the stress is still present, but it is subsiding. I have to thank all of you. You all make me feel like I am not so alone.
Married outside "the Lord"
When I turned 16 I joined the work force and was overcome with guilt that I actually liked some of my workmates. I quickly realized that they were not the monsters I imagined and many had similar morals to me. I soon started to hang out with people outside of work and when I turned twenty I even started to date a girl... I was told to break it off or I would be marked. I refused. Under the circumstances and the strong feelings I had for her I decided to ask her to marry me. She agreed and we were married. I continued to attend meetings for 3 months but I wasn't spoken to even though I had not been disfellowship. So finally I gave it up and stopped going. My wife has been the most supportive and her family has accepted me like one of there own. I have no contact with my parents or siblings and that has been a struggle. However if anyone goes through a similar experience they should know that its all going to be alright. God has certainly not turned his back on you. I know that a God of love would never turn his back on anyone willing to serve him, no matter the channel in which you chose to do so.
My high school best friend is a Jehovah's Witness. She means the world to me. She is one of the most amazing people I've ever met. The other night she called me in tears to inform me that we could no longer be friends because I was "bringing her further from god by not being a witness." 3 years of an amazing friendship, terminated in 30 seconds because of the cruel cult that is Jehovah Witnesses.
Reason For Leaving
I myself in the 70's said that if they ever altered the teaching on 1914 that I would leave. By the change in 95 on the 'generation' they did just that. It still took the UN deal for me to leave, but I do remember the day that I got that 95 WT and read the generation change. I was so mad I couldn't see straight. I was cussing and carrying on, boy was I pissed.
The hold they had on us and still have on others seems in most cases to supercede logic. Most witnesses are so dissonant that they have successfully separated their lives and views from the company line, and just the other day one of them told me, "If I don't agree with a teaching, I just reject it. No one is going to tell me what to believe". Yet that person is still fully ensconced in the jw ideology, thinking she is a free spirit.
I have a son that is at least an MS, (he won't talk to us anymore) and he damn well knows all of these bullshit changes and yet, chooses them over us.
The jw mindset is hard to penetrate.
Lozhasleft - becoming anointed
Mar 22, 2010
I'll try and keep my intro brief for anyone kind enough to listen. I got involved with the Witnesses in the late 70's in North Wales UK. I was in my early 20s and had had a love and fascination for the bible since my difficult childhood. I soon brought my life into 'line' although it took a long time for me to pack up the smoking which didnt go down well in those days when 6 months of study should have been enough and if you hadn't cracked it then it was suggested that you were some kind of loser...
I reared my 4 children in the 'truth' as well as I could but I cant claim that we were a 'strong' family in their terms...just muddled along really..my husband at the time was a mysoginist and I'm not exaggerating and home life wasnt easy for any of us with his anger, jealousy and violence. it became the norm though and a combination of believing that preserving the marriage for my children and scriptural direction not to divorce unless he committed adultery kept me in there... Time passed...
I apologize in advance if this offends any of you here but I can only tell my own story ...in 1992 I had such an enormous spiritual experience and came to understand that to my enormous surprise, not to mention real shock, I was anointed. This happened to me when I was alone, in a good place emotionally, and completely sober. The effect of this was extremely powerful and set off an insatiable hunger in me to devour the scriptures over the coming days, weeks, months, and years, to meet my new relationship with my God/Creator. There is much more to tell about this but perhaps not at the moment. Soon after this I accidentally fell pregnant on my 5th child. Perhaps you can imagine that when I told the PO of the congregation that I had had this undeniable 'witness of the holy spirit' it didn't go down too well...I had to explain to him scripturally that of course I wasn't worthy of it ...no one ever was/is ..nevertheless it had happened to me. I wasnt old and wearing a twinset and pearls...not the right type really.
Our life in the ‘truth’ changed ... I developed a super strong spirituality because of my ‘spiritual experience’..pioneering, studies, quickbuilds...as a family we became totally immersed in the organisation. Friends who’d known me for a long time detected the change in me and said they benefited from it..the elders and a couple in particular...didn't like my claim to be anointed at all. They made our lives as a family so difficult...humiliation, oppression and fear became the order of the day. I was desperate not to hurt my god, but I was outspoken against injustices and suffering in the congregation, and it went down like a lead balloon!
Fast forward some years ...my marriage was deteriorating ...my ex sank gradually into alcoholism and we all suffered more abuse...I was continually advised to stay in the marriage when I sought help. By now he was a MS and took delight in his power in the home although raging at us all every time the CO came and went and he wasn’t ‘made up’. The crunch came for me when I saw my 2 now adult sons behaving more and more like their father towards me. I couldn’t tolerate not only dealing with 3 abusive men in our home but also that by not insisting that they were very wrong I was neglecting my parenting. I didn’t want them to spend their lives treating women so badly and thinking it was acceptable. It was bad enough that they saw similar attitudes at the KH...
I decided to separate but over some years I was urged to try again and again until in the end my life was so much in danger that I really had to make the break in a final way. To keep it short ...it was horrendous, homelessness for my daughter and I, court battles for her custody etc etc. I received no help from the Body of Elders and they dissuaded others from helping us except for one family who believed me and saw what I was dealing with. One elder in particular made a stand to be on my ex’s side over a violent episode where I was beaten. I confronted him and expressed my disgust. Then came a battle for our home followed by my ex going bankrupt and another fight to save it for us....the traumas went on and on...and because of the disapproval that I’d left the marriage my isolation and despair increased.... I was falling into the depths of a breakdown because of the stress. One day in a stressful situation I smoked some cigarettes. I know ..its unthinkable isn’t it? I went to the elders and confessed. You would have thought all their Christmases had come at once (sorry)...there were investigations and committees set up immediately and after a very traumatic judicial, and one of the 3 elders was the one that I’d confronted, during which I expressed my deep remorse and repentance, I was disfellowshipped. I couldn’t believe it ...I asked them how this could be unless they didn’t believe I was sorry? One of them said..’There’s more to it than that.’
That was it. Thirty years of friends gone. My adult children gone. My life gone. They told me that Jehovah would leave me. I sobbed and shook for days and days. It literally made me ill. Within six months I developed a small breast cancer which the doctors insisted happened because of the trauma of the DF. I went through it alone, completely, except for my God. He didn’t leave at all, he never has and even the residue and effects of my ‘anointing’ didn’t diminish. Its with me to this day. My love for Him remains undiminished. Some new ‘worldly’ friends helped me back up after my treatment and I found a new resolve to live my life. I could never return to the JWs ...I couldn’t ever again trust in their justice or mercy. After a couple of years I met a ‘worldly’ man, an atheist, and I married him recently. He is wonderful, kind, and full of integrity. Its all a new experience for me to have such a gift. His family treat me like gold. I am happy, despite my grief over my adult children, and as a final gift to myself I am now a mature student at Uni, which I am loving.
I miss sharing and chewing over the scriptures...thats all...nothing compares with that for me. Its five years on now...and I still don’t know if I want to just worship on an individual basis or if I want to find an alternative ‘church’. I am cynical now. I have only in the past few months taken the plunge to read some online information...its all very shocking and revealing....its also a relief in a way...to find that its not ‘just me’. And telling my story like this is a first. Now as I learn more about the corruption of the JWs I can’t equate the love of my God with their claim that they are his people on earth today. I conclude from my wider perspective that my spiritual experience has happened to other individuals in other religions and that it is not exclusive to JWs. I have met and grown to love atheists, Christians from other religions, as well as agnostics, humanists and more. I no longer judge on the basis of the standards set by the WTBS...it is so unhealthy. I’ve been angry and hurt and broken...the whole gamut...now I am just resigned and sad at my losses, but determined to go on.
Trust Issues 20 years on
You know for many years I didn't post on any of the exjw forums because, well, life goes on and there comes a point when you just need to move on with your life and try and put the past behind you. All well and good for many years, fair enough I still went through my ups and downs but didn't feel the need to be constantly talking about all the issues non-stop. I had built up a lot of coping mechanisms by this point in time (around the 10-12 year mark after leaving the Jehovah's Witnesses).
Now just shy of 20 years out and still disfellowshipped though I don't appreciate the label or like it, just lately a lot of the issues are starting to raise their head again. Unfinished business perhaps or just bad memories which I wish would go away once and for all but those issues are still there quietly fomenting away and lately, the past month or two, they're surfacing again. Hmmmm.
I think it's related to the sense of loss and emotional trauma from when I was a kid growing up in the congregation and later upon being disfellowshipped and losing all of my family. I know many others here can relate and my heart goes out to you all. (Believe you me it does get easier and better with the passage of time but that fact is of little comfort to those of you right in the thick of all of the emotional distress right now - believe you me, I've been there, it's horrible).
Guess I'm just feeling a bit lonely now that I'm coming up for middle age (48). The sense of the loss of family is still acute - that never goes away. It feels like a massive betrayal of the love I once entrusted all of my family with. For this reason, to this day I've not entered into another relationship with anyone. I've been single now for a great many years although I'd love to find someone who understands this whole situation but I'm frightened of said partner leaving me just like all of the rest of the family has. It's a trust problem you see. A huge emotional risk.
Written 2012, latest update Apr 2017.