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Still feeling guilty..

I have been brought up in the truth since the age of 5.  My mother was contacted by 2 special pioneers on the ministry.  My parents separated when I was 8 years old.  My Father drifted in and out of my life.  All of my siblings are baptised Witnesses.  My mother also.  One of my brothers spent a few years working in the London Bethel.  The others pioneer when they can.

I left school at 16 and entered the fulltime Ministry.  I married an elders Son and my husband has spent years being an elder too.  He is also a part of the Quick Build teams since the age of 18.   I have 2 children and gave up full-time pioneering to raise them.  Our life was very stressful.  Always having to an example to the flock was a horrendous pressure.  Even simple things like making sure the children were quiet during meetings.  Or trying to get to the meetings in time.  Many of the older Witnesses were expecting too much from small children!

I became disillusioned with the truth after a family tragedy.  I wanted Jehovah to help me.  He didnt.   I then realised that God didnt exist.  If he did, why didnt he help me? Help my family?  We were good people, obedient people.  But there was nothing.  I felt like a fool for believing that some imaginary old man was interested in helping me.

I am still affected by the truth.  Even writing this showers me with guilt.  Thats what happens when you have been brainwashed since a small child, I suppose. Never being allowed to complain about Jehovah or the brothers.  I tend to internalise a lot of stuff.

Im still coming to terms with a new way of free thinking.  I want to drown my mind in all the reasons why the truth is not the truth.  Im hoping that one day soon I will be able to think for myself.  No longer being a sheep.  No longer feeling the guilt.  No longer feeling Satan has got me in his grasp!

My family dont want me to disassociate myself.  They dont want to be put in that situation where they have to choose Jehovah over me.  We all know that they will choose Jehovah.  I have no doubts about that.  They still hope for my return.

Im here to gather evidence to support my decision.  Im not interested in lies or people who slag off Witnesses just for the sake of it.  I want honest to goodness truth about doctrines/beliefs.  I will read and ponder everything.

There have been things about the truth that have upset me.  The whole way they handle paedophiles for one.  You have no idea how shocked I was about that.  That was the first chink in my armour I suppose.  I disagreed vehemently with all of it and told the elders so.  Its disgusting to think how they are protected in a sense.  Due to the fact that I have children, it probably makes me even more angry than a single person.  I dont know.  I just know that my husband and I were very upset as our children mean everything to us.  The idea that someone like that could be lurking in congregations is horrible!

I do feel quite lonely sometimes.  Mainly because all of my immediate family are Witnesses (including my husbands family) and I thought it would be good for me to find a support network of other people who think as I do.

Just because I have become disillusioned with the truth doesnt mean I will let my entire life go down the pan.  I will still strive to live by my conscience.  Its who I am.

Welcome to The Broad Road!

Our stories sound very much alike, so I've been down the road you may be on.

The people on this website would be happy to help. The articles on this website are everything I figured out that helped me break free, I think you will find them useful. Also the book The God Delusion is a must-read.

I personally don't however recommend disassociating yourself, this article might help you rethink that.

So how long ago did you realize it was false? Are you still going to meetings? Does your husband still believe?

The real truth will stand up to any scrutiny.

Welcome to the forum!!

 

We can relate to what you are going through.

Welcome to the forum. I hope this will be of assistance for you. I know it is very difficult when you find everything in your belief system to be turned upside down.

Your life will certainly not gow down the drain, because you no longer believe. You may find mentally you become more peaceful, due to no longer holding on to a belief system that your mind truly and logically grasp.

 

I hope we hear more from you on your progress!

Thank-you for the replies.  I dont go to meetings.  I stopped about 18 months ago.  I suppose you could say that learning about the lies has been an ongoing journey of discovery.  I want to talk to my family about the things Im learning, but you know as well as I do, they weill just conden it all as apostasy.  Same old blah blah blah!  Im surprised that you dont recommend disassociating - whats your experience?

This article (click me) will explain why I personally don't think DA or DF are the best ways to get out, due to the loss of all family and friends. Fading will allow you to have some contact at least.

 

Does your husband still go to meetings and believe? Do you talk to him about any of your doubts?

The real truth will stand up to any scrutiny.

Yes my husband still believes in the truth.  His parents are ex special pioneers.  They are now retired and auxiliary pioneer (reg).  His father is the p/o in the local cong. (Im telling you this to let you know how intensively ingrained the truth is in him, despite his grievances)   Im only beginning to find out about the real truth.  So I've recently read the article on pyramidology, maybe two days ago.   I haven't mentioned anything to him directly.  Just a  small passing comment.  The way my husband thinks, its best to just plant the seed and let it grow in his own mind.   So I mentioned that I saw a photo of Charles Taze Russels grave and asked him if he knew what the pyramid was for?  He said he would look into it. 

 

 I re-read that and Im embarassed at what a blind little sheep I have become. 

 

Yes my husband still believes in the truth.  His parents are ex special pioneers.  They are now retired and auxiliary pioneer (reg).  His father is the p/o in the local cong. (Im telling you this to let you know how intensively ingrained the truth is in him, despite his grievances)   Im only beginning to find out about the real truth.  So I've recently read the article on pyramidology, maybe two days ago.   I haven't mentioned anything to him directly.  Just a  small passing comment.  The way my husband thinks, its best to just plant the seed and let it grow in his own mind.   So I mentioned that I saw a photo of Charles Taze Russels grave and asked him if he knew what the pyramid was for?  He said he would look into it.

 

I re-read that and Im embarassed at what a blind little sheep I have become.

 

[from another thread]

I liked your comment, because it made me think.  Yes Jesus was an apostate from the viewpoint of Judaism.  (Yet he had to didn't he?)  However, it would be hypocritical of me to search for 'truth' and let lies pollute that.  That won't work for me.  Im looking out my kitchen window and feel that it's all just hopeless.  How could I ever even begin to undo 24 years of this?  How do I even begin?  Where will my life lead me from here?

It would be easier to go back.  I could walk straight back into the k/hall and resume my life.  I haven't broken any laws/rules.  At most I may be asked to study with a sister to help me get back on track spiritually.

But I cant even do that.  Not now.  My conscience won't let me.

Do you have a vendetta against the witnesses?  I think I still protect them a little.   That frightens me because the grip has loosened, but it still there.

Im rambling on, sorry.

 

It's not hopeless at all, you are on the brink of freedom! There will be some hard times, but you have a support group here if you want it. I don't know if you've had a chance to read the link I gave you on fading, but it looks like you've nearly already done that. That's a great start, no reason to mess it up by DAing yourself or doing something to get DFed (like 'apostate' talk).

I really do feel what you're going through. If you ever want to to talk to someone directly who's been through what you're going through I would be happy to, or I can get you in touch with an ex-elder's wife who you may feel more comfortable with. We also have a live chat here every Sunday afternoon, we would love to see you there.

And I know SEVERAL people now who had a believing mate when they first figured out it was a lie that have been able to help their mates out too, and they will gladly help you with that too.

Is your husband going to meetings, got a position? Just curious. And what are his grievances? And how is he handling your no longer going to meetings?

 

P.S. You can hit the subscribe button at the top of this thread to get an email when there are new posts in it.

The real truth will stand up to any scrutiny.

Sense of community is important... I have seen many people leave the JW's, only to exchange it for another religious cult, simply for the sake of "community"... there is so much support online for you... wishing you the best on your journey! ~

My wife started to ask questions first, and then we started to ask questions together.  My advice is talk with your husband about everything.  Read some books together.  Maybe study the Proclaimers book.  I did that as a family to try and clear up some doubts, and it only got worse.  Which is a good thing.  And when you study it ask questions, make him feel comfortable to feel like he can ask them as well.  But whatever happens, don't stop talking.  We made it out together and so can you.  Oh and uh... read the bible.  lots of good stuff in there too.  http://www.evilbible.com/Murder.htm

 

Watch documentaries on everything...

Read Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris.

 

Find meetups of ex jw's or mormons or anyone else that can relate.  Its great to have people you can talk with and relate to.

 

Oh and a final note of advice, on family.

1.  Fade, don't DA.  You may want to, but you have a better chance of helping them out if you are not DF or DA'd.

2.  Don't tell your family anything to sway them against the religion or God.  This will have the opposite effect.

3.  If you MUST tell you family things you have learned, DON'T do it.  Tell them they probably would be stumbled and couldn't handle what you have to tell them about the history of the JW's.  They will push harder, but don't give in. Just leave it at that, and let their mind go nuts until they look up the information on their own.

 

And post on here your updates all along the way, we are anxious to hear how it all goes.  We will also support you as much as possible.

 

May Thor and Zeus bless you 1000 times over!

I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours ~Stephen Roberts

If you haven't done so already read "Captives of a Concept" (I can send a PDF). It is contains an extremely logical approach you can use with the proclaimers book.

 

My wife and I are both out now after both being brought up in the "Troof". Once the lid came off Pandora's box our exit was rapid and eventually resulted in us both being DF'd for apostasy. If she didn't exit mentally I would have just become irregular and inactive.

If you could send me the PDF that would be great. Thank you.

 

My husbands grievances are mainly to do with the way things are run in the congregation.  Plus, how matters (judicial) are handled by the body of elders.  Re. doctrinal matters, he still believes.  He was stripped of his privileges as an elder a few months ago.  The fault was laid at my feet of course.  As I dont attend meetings or go on the service anymore, the body of elders feels that he is not looking after his family in a spiritual way, so he couldn't possibly be of help to the cong.  They feel he needs to concentrate on helping me get back to the meetings.  I was hurt for him.  He is a good man, has known the cong,  his whole life and has a sincere love for many of the bros & sis.  They are family to him.  To us.  They are  little fellow sheep.  Many are in the same position I was.  Just following along, trustingly.  I cant hate them for that. 

 

 

The more I discover, the more Im finding the temptation to talk to my family about what Im learning incredibly strong.  Im not sure how Im going to be able to contain it. 

 

 

 

Why does your husband think you left? It must have been hard on him, I'm sure he spends a lot of time trying to get you back.

I was being bugged constantly by my parents about it, til I finally gave in and told them I don't don't believe in God...they've disowned me ever since.

Anon above gave some good tips on how to handle it, he was able to get his wife out. Also cantleave is an ex-elder who was able to help his wife out. So it can be done.

But just be cautious or you might not get to tell too many people.

The real truth will stand up to any scrutiny.

Do you miss your parents?  Or are you angry with them?  How does it feel to be just cast aside?  Do you think your parents are hurting?

 

I think the hardest part for him is probably listening to his parents.  His Mum frequently cries and uses emotional blackmail against him.  He comes home everyday for lunch and Im going to begin throwing little questions into the conversation.  The most difficult thing about my husband is finding out how he really feels about things. I suppose he feels pulled in two different directions. 

 

 

I dont feel ready to take anyone on re to the falsehoods.  I need to spend more time reading, researching and noting.  I have been spending some time each morning reading various articles on this site.  Yesterday,  I read the link about reasons why Jews cant understand why Christians believe in Jesus as the Messiah.  That Gods blessing was always shown in giving his 'anointed one' victory over his enemies.  I went to sleep, still  thinking about that.  Im thinking about it today. 

 

 

Do you miss your parents?  Or are you angry with them?  How does it feel to be just cast aside?  Do you think your parents are hurting?

 

I miss them, of course. And I know my mom still cries about me often. I am angry with the cult that has them bound. I am angry at them for reading my logic on it (see my thread) and still not getting through to them. You can't just have children thinking that if they don't grow up to have the same moral values as them you will just wash your hands of the 'problem'. They are a big part of who you are, maybe they messed up, maybe they didn't study hard enough with you... Doesn't matter, they will just walk away from you.

 

I dont feel ready to take anyone on re to the falsehoods.  I need to spend more time reading, researching and noting.  I have been spending some time each morning reading various articles on this site.  Yesterday,  I read the link about reasons why Jews cant understand why Christians believe in Jesus as the Messiah.  That Gods blessing was always shown in giving his 'anointed one' victory over his enemies.  I went to sleep, still  thinking about that.  Im thinking about it today.

 

I am pleased to see the articles here are helping you! We worked hard on them. I'm not sure which article link you are referring to there though.

The real truth will stand up to any scrutiny.

How long have they been in the 'truth'?  Do you have any contact whatsoever with them? 

 

I'm working my way through the articles.   The pyramidology thing confuses me though.  Was it a big trend in the late 1800's?  Where did it come from? 

 

I looked at the photos one guy had taken of the 9 Encyclopedia's in his local library, with re to the date of the fall of Jerusalem.  I felt like crying.  It doesn't make me angry, just horribly sad, and foolish. 

 

I want to do more research on it.

 

I can't relate to the feeling of anger, maybe it will come later. 

 

 

My parents have been JWs their whole lives basically.

There's much more info on the Pyramids thing here:

JFFacts: Da Vinci Code - Watchtower, Adventists & Freemasonry
Wikipedia on JW's and Pyramids

Yeah, the 607 thing seems to be a big cause for people to leave the false religion.

The real truth will stand up to any scrutiny.

can you pinpoint why you feel guilty? Like is it certain things you still believe?

Im indoctrinated not to read up on negative things about the JW's.  I feel guilty even logging in to this site, despite the fact that I no longer believe in God.  The feelings associated still remain. 

I cannot even imagine how I would feel if I start to celebrate birthdays, Christmas, Mothers Day again.  I can only assume that the guilt will be overwhelming.  Why can't I just switch the indoctrinated part of my brain off? 

Everyone who leaves goes through those feelings, you'll adapt with time.If you can get counseling, that might worth considering.

 

There is no God, no reason to feel guilty. Enjoy life!

The real truth will stand up to any scrutiny.

 

Im indoctrinated not to read up on negative things about the JW's.  I feel guilty even logging in to this site, despite the fact that I no longer believe in God.  The feelings associated still remain.

I cannot even imagine how I would feel if I start to celebrate birthdays, Christmas, Mothers Day again.  I can only assume that the guilt will be overwhelming.  Why can't I just switch the indoctrinated part of my brain off?

Two things: yes, you will initially feel guilty.  Even though the logical, thinking part of your brain knows that the teachings about these things being "bad" is false, your limbic brain will be screaming "DANGER! DANGER!!"  It's OK...just sit with it.  It's not real...just noise.

 

The first thing indoctrination does is make you feel guilty or like you're doing something wrong if you question the indoctrination.  As Jeremy is so fond of saying, the real truth will stand up to any scrutiny; it doesn't need to be protected by fear and intimidation.

 

Even knowing all of this, it took me a full two and a half years to "come out", so I understand that this is a painful and scary process.  Like everyone else has said, if you ever need to chat, we're here for you.  Even though I don't know you, I feel like I do because I've been where you are.  I wish you the best in trying to help your husband, but whatever he decides, for you to go back now would be like intentionally going back to sleep so you could resume a dream and not have to face reality.  But you know that.

 

Jesus was right, you know: when you know the truth, it really does set you free.

 

Jerry

TinySadPanda.....Most people who leave a religion they have been in for a long time, get the same feelings you describe. I did disassociate myself from the witnesses. The result was the same as if they had disfellowshipped me. I was shunned. So, I suppose that is why you are being advised not to.

 

Always remember, that you have the choice. You can choose to stay in the religion, or to leave. Either choice will of course have consequences, some of which you don't want. But that is the way with free will.

 

I think you are doing really well, in researching, and working everything out in your own mind. This way you will make good decisions for your own life.

 

I personally have "lost" my family to the religion. But I have got a great network of friends, and my own family now. I hope you find the peace you deserve and have a happy life. Best wishes to you.