So you've come to the conclusion that the Jehovah's Witness religion is not the real 'truth'. If you are not concerned with losing anyone on the inside, then this article may not be needed for you. But you may want to avoid getting disfellowshipped or to disassociate yourself because you may lose all contact with your friends and family. That certainly won't help you in trying to talk to them about your views, and it can certainly be very hurtful to be disowned.
Though you may feel that you want to be no part of this organization anymore, it is wise to remember that they have no power over you, except by holding your friends and family hostage to you. Disassociating yourself only shows that they do have some power over you, which they don't. This is a religion, not a police force. And what do you care if a Kingdom Hall somewhere says your status is still active?
What you need is an escape plan. Fade!
Fading simply means you slowly disappear into the sunset without getting disfellowshipped or disassociated. Many family members and friends will continue to talk to those who have simply stopped attending the meetings. It's by no means a perfect science, but it can be done. We'll give you some tips.
First of all, whatever you do Don't talk to anyone about your new views until you are out! Apostasy is a sure-fire way to get yourself canned. Also the elders are going to try to talk to you when you start missing meetings. Never, ever talk to the elders, but don't tell them 'no' either! Especially if they have something on you. This got a couple on this very website disfellowshipped without an elders meeting. Instead, make any excuse to not be available. If they show up at your house unannounced, make up whatever excuse it takes to make them feel that you want to, but can't this moment. You may want to change your phone number to help with this, or at least know who's calling you before you answer.
The easiest sure-fire way to fade is to move. This is obviously not something most can do, but if you can it works great. Simply move to your new location and ask to have your records moved with you. Don't give the new congregation your real home address or phone number of course. Once you have confirmed the new congregation has your records, stop going to the meetings...done!
But for the majority of us who can't move, we're going to have to be a little sneakier about it. A good way to do this is to start missing some meetings, using your new work hours as your excuse to friends and family if possible. You could also act like you are having a lot of personal problems, chronic depression or sickness for example, that is causing you to miss meetings more and more frequently.
Another tactic that has worked for some is to tell the elders that you feel that you were not baptized for the right reasons, and you do not feel that it is valid. So you want to become an unbaptized publisher and work your way back towards baptism for the right reasons. If you can get your baptism overturned, then you can just leave and live your life.
After a while though, the harder part starts...the infamous shepherding call. Most often elders are going to add you to the top of their call list. Again, this is where it's important to no longer be available by phone. This is something you will simply have to keep making excuses for, but as said before, don't tell them no. They can't disfellowship you without proof of wrongdoing and without a meeting. Eventually after a few attempts they are likely to give up.
If all goes well, eventually you will be out, and the elders will get the hint to leave you alone.
But as for your extended family and friends, they are likely to always try to talk to you whenever they can. It may be one of the caveats you will always have to put up with to keep any kind of relationship with them, and even then it may be limited.
If you have a mate, things are even more complicated. You can't make up the same excuses to them so easily, so they will just have to know. This has unfortunately led to many breakups. But in many cases mates have been successful in helping their loved ones out. To do this, you will just have to slowly try to talk to them about your problems with the religion, hopefully knowing them well enough to know if they would run to the elders and call you an apostate. This may be best done in a questioning fashion, as though you really just want the answers for yourself. Basically you are just using their method for talking to unbelieving mates against them. It is ill-advised to poke fun at their religion, or berating them at all.
As you can see, leaving without losing your loved ones is never a sure thing. Hopefully these tips will help you in your fade. The freedom is certainly worth the work.
An ex-elder has also written a very thorough guide to exiting, we highly recommend reading it as well.
If you have other suggestions for fading, please do leave them in the comments below.
I fade it for 15 years, elders had no ideas on how to find me since I never gave up my personal info. I was baptize at the age of 13 and it was real hard for me to fade because all my life all I knew wa JW. The people on the organization were still speaking to me until I got tired of hiding the real truth and I told them, Im an Atheist. They try to convince me that Satan blinded me, so I told them the reason I didn't believe and how the bible was incorrect. They kept trying, so I criticise how god handle situation by killing people and I show them a lots of biblical example. They still kept speaking to me and then told me how blind I was, that's when I had it and I told them, "I don't believe human should be kill specially children, you believe that what god did was right... and you dare to call me blind?"Im an apostate now, it's not worth to fade, at some point you are going to explode and tell them what you really believe, might as well do it from the beginning and get it over with. I still got some JW that speak to me but they don't dare to talk about the bible.
This is exactly what my dad did, and he was totally conscientious about how he handled it as well. Every time someone asked him why he hadn't shown up to the meetings in a while, he'd say how exhausted he was after a long shift at the steel mill. He was very careful to never express his dissatisfaction toward the Witnesses (he explained this to my sister and I, who both left as well) and was very tight-lipped but friendly during she shepherding calls. He said the same thing--that they were trying to needle him for any dirt they could use to steer him back in, but my dad was no sucker.
He did express some bitterness (just to my sister and I) about how his Witness friends had all bailed on him and it did cause some strain between him and my mom--but they stuck it out. Anyway, he stopped attending when I was about 3 and the last shepherding call I can remember took place when I was 14. I remember this because they started talking to me too. I hadn't gone to a meeting for about a year, but like my older sister, I was never baptized anyway. They only gave up after my parents moved and my mom switched to a congregation where they didn't know and weren't concerned with my father.