Tell us about your early life as a JW
My family is very devout. Father has been an elder almost my whole life, my mother has been a regular pioneer but at least ten years now. My two brothers are elders and my sister pioneers off and on. I have a large extended family on my fathers side, and nearly all of them are very devout too. No wonder that as a child, I was very much “in”. I was considered one of the model children in the congregation. I never really had any doubts that it was the truth.
How would you describe your family life while you were a JW?
Discipline always included scriptures. But even though my parents were supposedly super-great Christians, we rarely had family study. This was kind of a secret and I know my parents felt some shame about it. My dad was always busy with work and elder stuff. My mom was very cold and judgmental. Still, we had a large family that was very tight knit and loving. We hung out together all the time, playing games or doing karaoke.
How would you describe your level of devotion to the organization prior to waking?
Very hardcore and devout along with the rest of my family. Coldly shunned disfellowshipped people.
If baptized, why did you decide to take that step? If not, why not?
I was 16 and it was time and I knew I had to do it.
If born-in, what kind of Jehovah’s Witnesses were / are your family?
Very, very devout. Grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins were all in. Elder dad, pioneer mom.
Are there any particular experiences or circumstances while you were a believer that come to mind now that you’re awake?
was a regular pioneer for a year, I attended pioneer school with my brother. This was a few months before I left, but I actually think I enjoyed it. Probably because I was off work for a week and with my oldest brother, we had always gotten along well. That might be because I never really saw him. He left for bethel when I was young and was away for several years.
I also remember my first judicial meeting. I was fooling around with a brother in the hall and we were going to tell the elders. That brothers father called and told the elders instead. When we got to the PO’s house, his dog peed on my foot. The elder told me I deserved it. That hurt me for a very long time.
Was your waking up journey sudden or gradual? Describe it for us.
Gradual. It took two years of being disfellowshipped to wake up. I couldn’t even look at “apostate” websites for a good year after I left, and found myself mentally repressing doubts even after I left.
Did you ever have so-called “doubts”? If so, what were they?
Are you currently being shunned / ostracized by any Jehovah’s Witnesses?
What has changed in your life since waking up?
Going to get a degree! I live with my boyfriend, and we love each other very much. He’s been very understanding and there for me through most of this journey. I still mourn the loss of my family, and I hold out hope they’ll wake up too.
What would you like to say to doubting or questioning JWs who might be reading this?
Just leave. And if you can’t, be kind and loving to those who have. Don’t cut them out of your life.
What would you like to say to still-in believing-JW family and or friends who might come across this?
I miss you.