I was very active in the religion/cult up until a few years ago. My relationship with my parents and one of my siblings has been very strained as a result of my "coming out". I lost all of my lifelong "friends". I'm not complaining. It's all good. I'm enjoying the clarity and the honesty. Meeting a lot of interesting people that have shed indoctrination in favor of embracing reality. Glad to be here.

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Woah, what's the "faithful and discreet slave"?

Hi, The Nerd. Sounds pretty weird, doesn't it? It's a biblical term the leadership of JW's apply to themselves. It's supposed to be the sole channel that God uses for directing his servants on the earth. To question the teachings of the Faithful and Discreet Slave is to question God. They're not considered infallible. However openly voicing concerns about teachings is seen as prideful arrogance. That's what got Satan into trouble. You don't want to end up like Satan, do you?
Hey, Brother Bartlett! LMAO. Small world, huh?

Sorry you got the axe. Did you fade or did you make your confession while still in the mix?

I was an elder. In fact, I gave the baptism talk(while a closet atheist) at a Spanish District Convention held at Nassau Coliseum(Long Island, NY) a few years back. How the Holy Spirit didn't expose me, I'll never understand. :)
Ouch! Get a good lawyer.

I'm sure it stings, but it sounds like she's completely brainwashed.

Hang in there, Jo(e).
Another perfect example of how religion "enriches" life. Poor baby. Well, you're among friends here...it's always a pleasure to see someone escape the shackles of cult-worship. Welcome to the World of Reason.
Hi Jo(e)

Your story is very sad. Thankyou for sharing this with us. I've read it 3 times today and still can't believe it. Having been an atheist all my life, the idea that faith comes before love astounds me.

I don't know if this is your darkest hour. I won't pretend to know your pain. I hope never to know it. But know that you are umungst friends here and hopefully things will get a little better every day.
Good to hear it was mostly a positive thing for you then. While I understand she might've been in fear, it was also rediculous of her start to imagine those things about to if she knew you well which she should have done if you were married after all. Sort of indicates that maybe you were spending too much time far away from each other too, where you sort of loose contact. In any case, I don't want to sound like I blame her, just saying that she was obviously not the person for you then and you look rather young, so I bet you will find someone else :)
Ouch indeed. Seems like she didn't love you enough then... Still tough. Because well, even if I were married/dating someone who later turns out to be a strong theist, as long they don't make a huge fuss about the religion or tries to enforce it on me, it's not like I will stop loving that person, since the religion is an integral part of him. It will be pretty much like "you stick to your religious practices, I stick to mine", and I see no issues with that if you are grown up and mature people who love and respect each other's decisions?
My mother and father converted to Jehova's Witnesses shortly after I was born, and for about six years we were active Witnesses until my parents' divorce. My mother was completely shunned by the community. My father still brought my sister and I to the Kingdom Hall each week and we stayed close with the people. After about two years, my father also stopped attending and again, he was blanked out. Our former "friends" now completely ignore us and avoid us at all times. It's been seven years since this and I have only talked to one member of the congregation.
Wow, lots of bullshit going on inside the Jehovah's Witnesses too. What made you eventually feel to take the stance against the religion?
For me, it was a sense of dread that I was investing in something that would never be realized. Armageddon was always just around the corner- as it had been for decades. My maternal grandmother was told that her kids would never even go to school in "this system of things". That was over fifty years ago. She's now dead and one of her kids that wouldn't see school this side of Armageddon has a grandson starting high school today. :) On my father's side, the history goes deeper. He had family involved as far back as the 1920's.

The organization has always capitalized on societal problems and wars to highlight the urgency of its message. One thing that was extremely helpful to deprogram myself was a more honest look at history. I noticed that the JW's, like most other believers in "end times/last days" have a severe case of historical myopia. They teach that the world has never been in such a sorry state as it is right now and only God's Kingdom can save us. On the subject, I wrote the following last year on an ex-JW discussion forum:

The world is a huge and somewhat baffling place. Human nature tends to cause us to attach greater significance to the events of our lifetime than reality would dictate. Couple these two facts together and we end up with- Historical Myopia.

Example: About a century and a half ago, there was little or no concern about declining oil reserves. In fact, up until that point, whale oil was king. The expansion of the petroleum industry actually saved the whales! Now oil reserves appear to decline and many are shouting that so too humanity shall decline. History tells us otherwise.

Example: About a century and a half ago, there was little concern, in a general sense( I know of and applaud the tireless work of the Abolitionist movement) for the human rights of slaves. Now we lament the racial disparities that are still sometimes evident in society. Slavery, as accepted by governments, has been abolished. Millions of descendants of slaves now enjoy material prosperity and freedom. Things, of course, that they are as entitled to as anyone else. History tells us that though the abuses of the past are branded into our collective consciousness- both that of victims and perpetrators- humanity is moving forward.

Example: About a century and a half ago, the infant mortality rate was higher. More mothers died in childbirth. The general population died younger. The health concerns of our day are important and the dedicated professionals that address them are true heroes. It cannot be denied, however, that humanity in general is healthier than it has ever been and enjoying longer life as well. History tells us so.

Sensational reporting of world conditions is good for the media and for high-control groups(cults) like Jehovah's Witnesses.

Our best line of defense against their disheartening propaganda is to study history and to study it carefully. In so doing, we put on our glasses and correct that which plagues our society in general- HISTORICAL MYOPIA.
Nate, I'd like to hear more about your experiences growing up and how you came to this point.
That could take a while, Goz. Do you promise to still buy the book? :)

Here's what I posted on an ex-JW discussion forum in response to complaints from many posters that the place was being overtaken by atheists:

Oftentimes the accusation is made that there is some sort of conspiracy on (name of discussion forum) amongst the atheists to convert, humiliate, spit on, or otherwise degrade the believers.

It's been suggested that their tone is condescending and arrogant.

It's hinted at that they're angry and bitter about their own lives and want to take it out on God and His humble servants.

Others think it's all just an excuse to lead what they judge to be a morally depraved life.

Regardless of what we believe about God's existence or lack thereof, most rational adults understand that when we attempt to judge the motives of others we can miss by a mile.

So here's the reason I post about the topic of atheism...

I was born as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, fourth generation. I was being indoctrinated with Jehovah while I was still in the womb. My perceived relationship with God would come to affect every aspect of my life. I was taught that everything that was good came from Him. I was also taught, quite logically assuming that He was omnipotent, that whatever bad happened was permitted by Him, but never sent by Him, just permitted.

Barring some "normal" familial dysfuncionality and the pitfalls of growing up in a cult, I had a childhood that many would envy. I have had a good life. I have no major complaints. I know I enjoy advantages that millions of my fellow humans will never experience.

Why the atheism then?

I realized one day that when I worked hard and made good decisions, things would work out, most of the time.

When I "waited on Jehovah" and thought little about the future and my livelihood, I was oftentimes in trouble.

It was a vicious cycle.

If I didn't depend on God, tried to use whatever resources were at my disposal, and took some positive action, I'd probably not feel much need for Him.

If I let things in His hands, made poor decisions, or worse yet was indecisive, I'd be looking for Him to bail me out all the time.

So life was better without Him.

But the real reason for my lack of belief in an omniscient, omnipotent, caring, fatherlike entity is the suffering that I see others experience.

I'm not talking about emotional pain. I've experienced plenty of that. Regrettably, I know I've caused it in others. A lot of that kind of pain has to do with personal growth and after time has passed, we can be stronger and better for it.

The kind of suffering that I'm talking about is the kind that has no positive outcome.

I'm talking about the rape and murder of defenseless children.

Ethnic cleansing.

The Holocaust.

The Nakba.

The humiliation and near extermination of the Native Americans.

Cancer.

Birth defects.

Mental illness.

The list goes on.

If there is a God watching it all, what good is He?

If He's real, why don't those that believe agree on His nature, His identity, His name, His purpose?

Why isn't everyone favored with a "special" experience so that they too can have faith?

I post about this openly on this forum because I'm sure that some Witness that is lurking may have the same questions and may be going crazy trying to make sense of it all.

I have no answers, but I found it comforting when I was lurking here to know that others had struggled with the same.

Why the sometimes blasphemous tone?

I learned that from the Bible.

Jehovah and His supporters were forever calling out and taunting the other deities.

When their blasphemy was met with silence or inactivity, that was pointed to as proof of the competing deity's nonexistence.

So maybe the blasphemous atheists are just trying to imitate Jehovah and the prophets, trying to wake up a sleeping, defecating, or otherwise occupied God.

Most atheists I know say that they'll become believers when evidence that supports belief is presented.

Till then...

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