Looking back now, I often wonder how I ever left at all. How was my mind able to break free from itself?
Over the years just like anyone, I would have doubts about different things. And like most people I would just push those doubts away, or look up some information on them. I never really found any answers, but in my mind I thought I answered the questions.
Growing up in the “truth” was pretty strict for me. I wasn’t allowed to have “worldly” friends, play sports, date, or anything that even some other jw’s would be able to do. I met and married a wonderful pioneer sister who is everything I ever wanted. It was kind of a badge of honor to have married a “pioneer”, even though I wasn’t a MS or anything. I was always really regular at the meetings and in service. My wife was always pushing me to do more in “jehovah’s” service, and I did do more, because I knew I was supposed to. I never did our family study, let alone all the other studying you were supposed to do. But despite that, and never getting ten hours a month I was appointed as a MS. A few years into being an MS, my wife and I decided to read the book “Joseph Smith No Man Knows My History” by Fawn Brody. We thought it would be fun to read about how “crazy” the Mormons are. You know, see how dumb other religions are makes you feel good about your own. As we read the book, we would run across things that would make us think of our own religion. But we would just brush it off and say, lets keep reading. The more we read the more questions about our own faith we had. At this point we decided to make the truth our own, and study the Proclaimers book. We started reading and studying this with all sincerity. We couldn’t get five pages in without having a million questions. It didn’t add up at all.
For the first time in our life we were able to ask critical questions of our own religion. All those questions we suppressed over the years were now opened back up.
Why did god tell Joshua to kill babies?
Why did god make the dinosaurs, only to kill them?
If god’s name is so important, then why did Jesus never utter it one time?
Why is the “divine” name not in ANY new testament manuscript on the planet ?
What does the Holy Spirit do?
If the “holy spirit” directs the faithful and discreet slave to give us our food at the proper time, then why would it EVER need to be changed? i.e. 1914, 1918, 1925, 1975, blood doctrine, and organ donation..Just to name a few.
At this point we tried to read the bible, but that turns out to be a huge joke. Really a talking snake convinced Eve to eat a magic fruit. And the snakes punishment for doing this…. Drum roll please….. was to be a snake. If you haven’t thought about this before, please watch Ricky Gervais talk about it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_EXqdJ4L7I
We read and watched everything we could get our hands on.
Crisis of Conscience by Ray Franz
Combating Cult Mind control by Steven Hassan
When Prophecy Fails by Leon Festinger
Godless by Dan Barker
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
The End of Faith by Sam Harris
God is not Great by Christopher Hitchens
Confessions of a Teenage Jesus Jerk by Tony DuShane
From this point on it becomes a difficult road out. Do we fade, not fade… In the end we decided to fade. I didn’t want to lose my family. So we just walked away, the elders came by for awhile trying to talk to us, but we avoided them and faded. Neither my wife nor I are DF’d or DA’d at this point, however my family has decided to disown me anyway. This has been the hardest thing I have ever had to experience.
Now one year later, I am happier then I have ever been. I am so excited about the future. I can do anything. I am at this point an atheist, and as such I have never been so excited about life. I’m not waiting for some magic paradise when I can live, and do all the things I really want to do now. I intend on making each day count and living each day to the fullest. I donated to people in other countries for the first time in my life, and it felt amazing. I want to help people now with something tangible, not a delusion. I volunteer during the week to help refugees learn English. I taught myself Russian, and plan on going to Russia for the 2014 Olympics. It took me awhile, but I no longer dwell on past. I’m not scared anymore, and that is a great place to be.
Life is here and now, and I am going to live.
This song describes in so many ways what I went through. Mason Jennings If you need a reason http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQqt3Vz0W6U
Non religious/cult/god books I’ve read and recommend since being out.
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
Mistakes were made (but not by me) by Carol Tavris
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I left a lot of details out, so if there is a particular part that anyone would like me to expound on, let me know.