An ex-JW says hello
Posted: 17 February 2007 03:35 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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I will try to post only when I have something meaningful to share or say, but I would like to introduce myself. Jeff's the name. I left JW last year after a long couple of years. I went to Gilead, was an elder, and a missionary who went to Africa, was attacked and almost killed twice, and returned to my home, the USA. The events that almost took my life caused me to finally listen to what my gut had been telling me for some time; that everyone believes they have "the truth". I couldn't in good conscience tell someone they were wrong when we both had the same reasons for beliefs. Tradition and deep indoctrination.

I am an agnostic out of necessity, for the time being that is. Many who leave a cult, or who have negative experiences in religion in general have knee-jerk reactions and immediatly try to replace one wrong belief with another one without thinking it out at all. (I continue to find that most people today have beliefs and they have no idea where they got them or why they have them) "The End of Faith" in all honesty was my official epiphany. It put into words the feelings I have always had about religion in general. (I used to joke, somewhat seriously, that if it weren't for JW I would be an agnostic.) Thus, this book will always be with me the rest of my life. I find myself more open minded, and am studying such things as evolution to educate myself. (I will be going to college soon, a no no for JW, as some of you may know….) Whatever I choose to believe in the future will be a choice based on facts and evidence and not superstition.

So hello to all. And a distinct thank you to Sam Harris for his brilliant and factual essay and for the help it gave me in my most difficult time of life.

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Posted: 17 February 2007 11:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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It’s good to hear that the End of Faith got you interested in evolution and things like that! Education seems to be poisonous to religion, particularly education in science. My own atheistic ‘epiphany’ came with Richard Dawkins’ ‘The God Delusion’, which I would recommend you read if you’re interested in atheism.

It might be useful to tell us how you got started with JW. I’m always curious as to what drives people to immerse themselves religious beliefs, particularly people like you who might have agnostic leanings already.

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Posted: 18 February 2007 03:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Basically, it was the religion of my parents. (mom has since left, dad is still in)

When I was 11 or 12, I studied up on all the major religions because I didn’t want to be a JW just because my parents were. Unfortunatly, the only one I didn’t look at critically was JW…. In any case, I read the Cathechism at an early age, and read official books on Lutherans, Baptists, etc. Thus, I went in head first, but being that young and not knowing how you change as you get older, I never allowed myself to think I would change. I thought I had the truth.

I certainly had evolution demonized for me, esp with the book, “Life, How Did it Get Here, By Evolution or by Creation?” (this book was discussed by Hawkins in the “God Delusion.” Yes, I am reading that right now….) So instead of just jumping at “truths”, I am more interested in facts at the moment.

I got involved primarily because I do enjoy helping people, and am taking some time to try to figure out how I can best do that in the future.

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Posted: 18 February 2007 05:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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[quote author=“alltimejeff”]
I got involved primarily because I do enjoy helping people, and am taking some time to try to figure out how I can best do that in the future.

Most people DO enjoy helping others; that is why a doctrine making altruism into a sacred duty so dangerously alluring.

I am sure that you will find plenty of ways to lead a rewarding life also outside the religious straitjacket. Welcome to the free&rational; world!

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Posted: 19 February 2007 07:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Hi AlltimeJeff

Wow, congratulations for the jolted awakening from your theistic coma.  I too just came out of one—the Mormon coma about three years or so ago. I will tell you that one of the main factors for me was having long and engaging, meaningful honest and frank discussions with some Jehovahs Witnesses.  I also spoke to Eckankarists, Scientologists, Catholics, Buddhists, Muslims and Jews.  I culled through many religions to find those who claimed that theirs was the only true church on earth.  When I found one, I took up studying it to discover how they could say such a thing… I mean, in Mormonism I thought we held the patent on that phrase!

Please post your thoughts, I have many questions for you but I don’t want to burden you too terribly.  Here are three:

1.  Was it a factual awakening or did something inside the watchtower society set you off?  Mormons nearly always claim that a member will leave the church if that member sinned grievously or became offended at how another member (usually one in authority over them) treated them or their kids/spouse.

and by factual, I mean did you study your way out of JW?  That is diffuclt to do.  It’s kind of how I came out of Mormonism.

2.  While a devoted JW, how positive were you that everyone else on the planet were in error about religion?  Did you ever stop to consider that the planet has 6.5 billion people and only 10 million of these inhabitants shared your particular religious world view?  Did you ever run the percentages to see how tiny of a minority your world view was?  If so, did that make you doubt or did that feed any sort of an Us vs Them mentality?

3.  Where are you with Agnosticism?  Do you have haunting thoughts that you need to brush aside… perhaps a fleeting feeling that maybe you made a mistake in seperating yourself from the watchtower society?  Are you searching for a one and only true religion in any way?

see?  I am pesky with my questions.  I only ask because of the perspective I think I could perhaps lend you.  I will be honest, there are still a few days here and there in weaker moments when I fear I have made some mistake… and nobody really knows much about if god is or is not… so what if he/she/it is and I just left god’s true religion?

Does that give you any comfort?  I mean, truly, you have to kind of chuckle at how solidly you know Mormonism is just so fake and invented.  And truly, I also chuckle with how fake and invented the Jehovah’s Witnesses religion is.  I lose not even one nanosecond of sleep or mental capacity worrying over whether or not JW is god’s only true church.

Which takes us back to your post.  It really is conditioning and group think and social peer pressure to maintain allegiance to the group.

Noggin

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