Describe life before you woke up:
Parents became witnesses while I was just a baby, and I believed. I was baptized very early, although I remember standing there wondering what I was doing. I was just old enough to know that I didn’t know what I was getting into. Still, I through myself into it full bore. I was a auxiliary pioneer many times, and after high school, I was a full time pioneer for a couple of years as well as a ministerial servant.
What led to your awakening?
As I pioneered, I found it harder and harder to make the case for the witnesses beliefs, and was hoping no one would answer my doors. I started to learn about science, not as the literature says, but as it really is. I was challenged by various people, but the one that stands out was being challenged on the flood of Noah. I printed off 3 pages full of research – some from the literature, of course, but as I did research I found things contradicting what I had been taught. I eventually got a copy of Crisis of Conscious (hiding it behind the bookcase so my wife, also a witness at the time, didn’t find it). It helped open my eyes to the politics of the witnesses, as well as making the case for doing my own research on the beliefs. After finally breaking the news to my wife that I was having doubts, I found out that she also had been unhappy and having doubts of her own. We made the decision together to stop attending meetings and to fade away from active attendance.
Are you currently being shunned / ostracized by any Jehovah’s Witnesses?
I don’t have a lot of contact with my parents – they would claim they aren’t shunning us, but if they aren’t, why would they be involved in my life regularly. My mother has said that “we can fix that” during some talks we had about not seeing them very often. I told my parents I didn’t want to talk about the religion, but at one point I had to tell them I didn’t believe and to stop asking me to come back, and that I would let them know if I decided to come back.
What has changed in your life since waking up?
More freedom to be myself, and to live a life being true to the beliefs I hold. More time with family that isn’t in. Don’t celebrate holidays (don’t see the point) except to maybe go to meet with extended family when invited.