Posted by on Jan 6, 2014 in Blog, Featured, General | 9 comments

Every month I get emails and contact messages from Jehovah’s Witnesses asking me whether or not they should “take the leap” and try to leave the Watchtower organization.  I wish it was easy for me to answer their questions – but it’s not. I know that while I have a very strong opinion, leaving has to be a decision that each person must ultimately make for oneself.

What I do try to get them to understand is that they will be just fine – no matter what their ultimate decision might be. If they are happy being Jehovah’s Witnesses (and many are quite content in that lifestyle), then I would be the last person in the world to suggest that they leave and face the complications that come from making that decision. On the other hand, if they are unhappy and really want out, then I urge them to set aside their fears. I want them to know that even though their lives will change, they will survive through everything they may have to face by making a decision to leave.

Many Jehovah’s Witnesses won’t admit it publicly but would really like to get out. No one knows the actual numbers for sure, but there are far more than the Watchtower would admit. Because the religion promotes and encourages shunning of those who leave, Jehovah’s Witnesses face issues that many people simply can’t deal with. Even many high-profile former Jehovah’s Witnesses have had to face the effects of shunning by family, friends, and even close business associates. When their own parents, siblings, and children are willing (or are forced) to break off all connections – and then say that it is the fault of those leaving – many Jehovah’s Witnesses simply feel they can not choose freedom. It’s a price too high for them to pay.  They would rather stay in the cult and live with the pain than face being shunned by their own family.

As a person who has had some family members shun me, I can assure you that you soon get over it. Yes, there was pain and some problems that I had to deal with along the way. I soon realized that I was not the problem. It was the Watchtower (although they publicly deny it) enforcing shunning upon my family and friends. I realized that if my loved ones were so blind as to believe what the Watchtower and their elders were teaching them, and that somehow shunning was “the Christian thing to do,” then it was their problem, not mine.

I loved them enough to continue to try communicating, and when necessary having family fellowship with them. In past situations they were even quite cordial when it was necessary for us to be together. I was willing to look past their faults and lack of judgement – but I knew that ultimately their lives are guided by Watchtower concepts and policies. Compared to many other former Jehovah’s Witnesses, I have to admit that my family was more accepting and welcoming when circumstances put us together. Because of that I do not judge them too harshly and feel blessed to have them and not some other JWs for family who are far more unreasoning and nasty.

I’ve known many other Jehovah’s Witnesses, both active and on the fringes. I knew they were blind and could not see the truth – and yet I still reached out to them.  They may have had doubts or failed to live up to the standards of their own religious teachings, and yet they could not accept me into their homes. I knew that they were unhappy and unfulfilled, and yet they could see no way to escape and try to make a new life for themselves.

I knew they didn’t believe much of what the Watchtower taught. They did not like the rules. They knew that a lot of the Watchtower’s rules and teachings were both non-biblical and unsupportable. They knew that everything the Watchtower had written before and after the 1975 debacle turned out to be mostly lies. Yet they felt they had to defend whatever the Watchtower published or preached – even the most obvious lies.  They knew that the Watchtower had made other false predictions and reversed or made major changes to most of their basic teachings. And yet my friends (and my family) still called the Watchtower “The Truth.”

I knew they would rather be free like me, but they were afraid to make that move on their own behalf. At some point I’d tell them “you just have to move on and live your own life and let your family and friends make their own choices – no matter how wrong or damaging they might be.” But they were afraid to actually make the move. Most never have. Many never will.

The good news is that there is a life after being a Jehovah’s Witness. You can survive and prosper. In the end (and I guarantee this!) we will all end up at the same place. It makes no sense to live an unhappy life worrying about what your old friends and family might think of you. It’s just a case of your worrying about what they think – and they don’t give a damn about you.

Your life is YOUR LIFE! If you are still a JW then get a life! Enjoy the day – every day!

If there is a god, be it a “Jehovah,” an “Allah,” or any other so-called “supreme being” – I guarantee that your lack of faith in “Him” will have no effect at all on your final outcome. Don’t waste your life knocking on doors and going to four hours of boring meetings every week. Don’t spend your vacations driving to District Conventions where you’ll hear the exact same things that are said in your Kingdom Hall or that you can read in a magazine. Just remember that you are reading Watchtower and Awake! magazines and other publications that will be obsolete in less than a decade. You are hearing and preaching a message that will see significant changes in the next couple of decades.

Instead, get out and see the world, meet new friends, accomplish something.

Here is a couple, former Jehovah’s Witnesses living in the United Kingdom, who have described their personal experiences after leaving the Watchtower organization. They clearly describe the issues they faced and changes they’ve had in their lifestyle. Together they have made a series of excellent videos that you can find on YouTube. Watch and listen to this recent conversation:

9 Comments

  1. 1-6-2014

    Left one year ago and I promise if you make this decision you will be happier. I was really sick while I was a witness and now my health is better. I was on oxygen walking with a walker and now I am not on oxygen, lost 50 pounds and now I go hiking. Going to school now and will be going back to work. My neighbor says I look 20 years younger and I am happy now. I still get sad over the loss of friends but I have made new friends and exciting things are happening in my life. My lupus that was killing me is gone. It was scary to leave because I was so sick, had no car and knew I would lose all my support and help. I had to ask for help from the government, got into counseling and forced myself to do things socially. At first it was hard and awkward but now I have more friends than I can do things with. I still believe in God and feel he has really blessed me for leaving. My family gave me a car to restart my life and many other blessings have happened in my life. AAWA has really helped me as well as being on face book pages for ex jw’s. It does get better if you leave and you learn to be happy and not controlled.

  2. 1-6-2014

    I am an EX now for 30 yrs. Yes, Life afterward is Challenging! But, it is worth it…if one decides to put in the work. After so long, one has LIFE!

  3. 1-8-2014

    I left the Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1980! It was the best decision I ever made in my life! I am Happy that I no longer attend meetings. I was shunned by both of my parents and brother. It does not bother me in the least! I have Peace of mind knowing that I did the right thing by leaving completly.

  4. 2-16-2014

    I posted a long response but it did not show up for some reason.
    If you want to leave become INACTIVE.
    All you have to do is not preach for 6 months. If elders ask you for your time you tell them you have no time. You can still go to the meetings afterwards.
    After 6 months of reporting zero time and zero RV’s or anything, you are officially INACTIVE.

    Friends can still talk to you, and you are just fine if you want to go to the yearly Memorial because of pesky family members surrounding you.

    I have done this over 3 times it works great. When you have lots of family in the truth, trust me, it’s the only option. And better than you wasting your time on a letter of disassociation or getting DF’d.

  5. 2-16-2014

    Remember, Rutherford invented the preaching hours requirement. You can still go to the meetings, most of the elders won’t even notice that you haven’t preached in 4 months. They don’t care. Today’s elders and CO’s are all about themselves, and taking each other to lunch, and procuring political favors so that they can be rewarded with a COship somewhere part time, or even become appointed as CITY overseer. Wow what a privilege! HAHAHA.
    Anyway, you get my drift. If they ask you why you haven’t preached then tell them that you are trying but are very busy with work or with your family. Whatever you do, do not accept invitations from them to go out in service. That is the kiss of death. Or invitations to go out to dinner, or lunch. Which should increase as you get closer to the Bewitching hour.

    Do not accept help from others, it will be insincere help anyway. At least in the congo’s I have seen.
    After 6 months you are free!

    • 5-12-2014

      What I have noticed listening or reading about Ex JW experiences is that Elders differs from one congregation to another, my experience with our Elders is that they do care about me and offer help if needed, so to say they do not care is a broad statement. I confronted our Elders about what I saw on youtube and wanted answers to certain questions, eventually I was visited by one Elder and about 2 weeks later I had to meet up with 2 more who were very loving, but O yes, got no answers to my questions, was I surprised? no! because from all my sniffing around on the Internet I knew I would not get anywhere. I have not been DF or reproofed, lucky (oeps) fortunate (the same thing) but still I have this urge to dig further, so I think to slowly exit is the way for me to go, fortunately I do not have family that are witnesses. Just thought I’ll post a comment and see if I get a response.

      • 5-15-2014

        Agreed, every body is different, you are right. You are lucky you didn’t question some of the more extremist elders that I have worked with in Ohio. You would have been DF’d before you could say “Have a nice day”.
        Just because they have not done anything to you as yet, does not mean they could not.
        Deprogramming is what you are doing to your mind now. Its a slow process. Congratulations. You are slowly waking up to the fact that you have been lovingly duped. JW’s are great people, just a bit brainwashed into thinking there is no other way to serve Jehovah but theirs. Not true. Especially since many of their points are not bible based, but Rutherford based. Huge difference.

        • 5-15-2014

          nyc007: You are so right when you use the term “Deprogramming” I realised that this was exactly what I was doing by my actions, making excuses to myself not to go to a meeting and the mind controlling that is going on, which I did not agree with at first, but just today I fully understood that, we are totally mind controled. Here where I live in South Africa it is winter and it is pouring with rain and I was having a conversation in my mind what am I going to say when an elder phones tomorrow to hear if I am ok, and you know what? then I realised that that is exactly what mind control is about, why do I have to explain my comings and goings when I am a woman of 63 years old!

  6. 3-27-2014

    Thank you John Hoyle for all the hard work you do on our behalf… We left the Pedophile protecting Cult last April and promise will never ever return to there cruel chunning ways and unscriptural lies. I have found more love among the xjw communities than ever in a Kingdom Hall …

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