How And Why Doubting Witnesses Can Fade From The Watchtower Society: Bigger, Better, And Uncut!

fading1Many of my ex-Jehovah’s Witness readers know that I have written some articles for Austin Cline’s About Atheism & Agnosticism web site. One of the more popular ones is called Jehovah’s Witness To Atheist: How Doubting Witnesses Can Fade, Avoid Shunning – Advice for Jehovah’s Witnesses on Fading from the Watchtower Society. That article was good (thanks, me!) but now I’ve got a bigger, better version for you right here on Atheist Geek News. So if you want to fade from your local Kingdom Hall to avoid being disfellowshipped without going all “The Fugitive” on your family and friends, you’ve come to the right place.

Here’s the new list of tips for anyone who wants to fade peacefully into the night.

 

1. Seek Advice From Other Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses

adviceNot all ex-Witnesses are understanding of faders. But there are plenty who realize that there are valid reasons to fade gradually into the background where busy elders won’t bother to tread. These ex-Witnesses will not only help you figure out the pitfalls of fading, but even help you navigate them as you begin withdrawing from the congregation one step at a time.

Places like JWR and JWD are ideal for this sort of thing. You can maintain your anonymity online while soaking up all the support and advice you can handle. Just make sure to keep the group updated on your progress. Some of them are former elders who can jump in and volunteer suggestions whenever they foresee a snag you might have missed. Some elders and congregation gossips are always on the prowl for apostates, faders, or even just bad associates. If you pop up on their radar, they’ll make your fade more difficult than it already is.

 

2. Plan It Out In Advance

planahead1Some people might want to schedule their fade ahead of time. For instance, maybe you want to cut an hour or two of field service attendance every few months, then when you reach a certain goal, start cutting back on meeting attendance as well. You could start missing every third Sunday meeting, or whatever works for you. The pace of your fade is entirely up to you. You may want to step up your attendance during the first few visits from traveling overseers, then allow yourself to lag behind during those times as well. (If you’re prepared for a visit from one, that is!)

Elders aren’t the only danger here. Don’t forget that you’ll have family and friends to keep off your trail too. If you fade too quickly, they’ll be the first to push the panic button and alert your congregation. And here’s the worst thing: if your family are Jehovah’s Witnesses, they’re probably more loyal to the Society than they are to you. No, I’m not kidding about that. But the good news is that there are opportunities to be had with them as well. You might want to make a point of complaining to your parents about being overworked from time to time as your fade progresses so they feel sympathy over your lack of attendance instead of alarm. They might even spread the word that you’re missing meetings because of your job instead of a lack of interest so you don’t have to. That might cut down on the number of people who pester you about your lack of activity at the Kingdom Hall. Remember, questions are bad. Indifference is good.

If there are other Witnesses living with you (spouse, parents, etc.) then you’ll need a place to hide. You can’t tell the elders that you’re working too hard when your wife knows that you were parked in a La-Z-Boy when she left for the meeting that evening! “Worldly” friends who are sympathetic to your cause can be a real help here.

 

3. Be Ready With Excuses To Cover Your Tracks

Stay one step ahead.

Stay one step ahead.

No matter how slowly you take it, odds are that someone will ask you about your lack of field service time and meeting attendance at some point. Be ready with excuses, and try to make them good excuses. Preferably the kind that’s hard to verify or – the best kind – ones that are true. As already mentioned, it might be a good idea to start mentioning some of the “problems” you’re having to other Witnesses as you fade. This will spread the word that you’re having understandable difficulties before Elder Nosy starts with the questions. If he’s heard the rumor, then he’ll probably believe it when he hears it again from you.

When it comes to faking your field service hours, the ideal thing is to get a brother or sister to give you a piece of their territory. That way, if someone asks where you’ve been, you can tell them where without too many worries. If you’ve been given that territory, then no one else should be working it but you. You could even dump some Watchtower’s and Awakes! on some porches just to make it look like you’ve been working the neighborhood. This can save your bacon if a Witness at your congregation knows someone down that street. They might mention the appearance of literature on their doorstep to that Witness, “proving” that you’ve been working the area. Hey, it’ll never hurt to try.

Here are a few more ideas to help you out:

  • Tell them that you’re having financial troubles and that you’ve taken on an extra job at home. I used to have a part time job where I took orders that were routed straight to my office at home. Work At Home and LiveOps are two companies that do this. This will explain your slowing activity and also give you an excuse not to answer the door or take calls even when they know you’re home. You aren’t allowed to leave your phone when you’re on duty, after all! (I was only allowed one five minute bathroom break every half-hour, so you really can’t come to the door.) I would suggest telling the elders that you’re embarrassed about this situation so they won’t spread the word too far. That will keep the questions to a minimum and hopefully keep others from asking you for details. (I’ve known a few Witnesses who’ve tried jobs like this, so someone might come to you with questions because they’re interested in trying it as well.) This one’s a great excuse to have, unless someone finds out that your story doesn’t jive with reality. So be careful.
  • Ask your boss for more hours, or to change your work schedule so it deliberately interferes with the meetings. Then you have a (mostly) honest excuse that they can check out and verify. This can be especially useful if you live with other Witnesses.
  • Tell them that a distant relative is sick or dying. (This may not work if you have family at the Kingdom Hall. But you could try telling them it’s a dear yet distant friend instead.) Then moan about having to travel long distances because they’re hospitalized someplace that’s at least an hour or two away. You could even claim that you and another friend or family member are driving there together, so when they see your car parked in your driveway, you could just say you hitched a ride with this other person. Sweeten the deal by telling them that you’re trying to convert them to “The Truth” as well!

Ultimately, just try to think of questions that concerned elders or other Witnesses might ask and try to be ready with a quick answer. The quicker (and calmer) the better. They have fear-sensing glands in their noses, ya know. Some people actually practice reciting their excuses in advance so they can give them without stuttering. If you’re that fearful (and some of us are) you might want to give it a try.

 

4. Use The Literature To Stay Ahead Of The Curve

KM1You know the literature comes out in advance, right? Be sure to check the magazines and other literature for upcoming events, like shepherding calls, or articles meant to draw the congregation’s attention to those who are “stumbling.” These will be high risk times where the local Witnesses are far more likely to drop by or give you grief. Make sure your excuses are iron clad.

Or, you might want to step up your meeting attendance during these times, especially if you’ve only been fading for a little while. I would only do this in the early stages to avoid adding to their suspicions. You’ll have to decide which is best for your situation.

 

5.  Make Yourself Unavailable

unavailable1The easier it is to reach you, the easier it is to bug you about your lack of activity. Especially if they want to reach you for a shepherding call. Bear in mind that many elders detest extra work, especially for the sake of a wayward sheep. (Ask any ex-Witness and they’ll nod to that one.) Some elders will tire of your attempts at avoidance and just give up. That’s perfect. But some elders take it personally. That’s bad. They might start to fixate on you if you cheese them off. Then they’ll make darn sure they meet with you, even if they show up at your place of work. So you’ll have to use some judgment in handling each case.

Here are a few more suggestions to try:

  • Do away with your answering machine so they can’t leave messages. Get a Caller-ID instead. You can sometimes disable the voice mail feature with your cell phone company as well. Think that’s going too far? Even if the elders don’t have your cell number, someone else might give it to them out of concern. (This has happened to several ex-Witnesses I know who tried to fade.) You could also try changing numbers or service plans to prevent unwelcome calls.
  • If you live alone, you could move your TV to the bedroom and keep the lights off in your living room. That way, if they swing by unannounced, it’ll look like nobody’s home. I did this a long time ago and it worked pretty well. Even when they knew I was there, they knew I couldn’t hear them from the bedroom. So I had a decent excuse for not answering the door.
  • Take up walking in your neighborhood. If Witnesses stop by unannounced or call, you could say you missed them because you were taking a walk. Even if your car is in the driveway, how would they prove the difference? You’ll want to mention this habit to others in advance or it might sound like a lame excuse when the elders confront you about it at the next meeting.
  • Tell them that you have to get to bed early so you couldn’t come to the door or answer the phone. Make up any reason you want. Maybe you’ve got headaches and your Doctor said this would help. (Your doctor’s not a Witness, right?) Or maybe you’ve taken up walking early in the morning to help you straighten out a sore back. Almost anything should do.

Note that this can be especially tricky for those who have other Witnesses in their households. So beware.

 

6. Make New (Better) Friends

Babes huggin'.“Worldly” friends will not only ease your transition into reality, they can help you fade. They can help you out with excuses (you could say that you’re studying with them, which is where some of your service time might be coming from) or give you a place to hide once in a while. Don’t overdue it and wear out your welcome. And don’t be afraid to tell them about your experiences with the Society so they’ll understand your situation.

You can start with someone at work, preferably someone that tried inviting you over in the past. This would be a great time to tell them about your troubles with the Society while also explaining why you had to turn them down. (Good Witnesses don’t hang out with evil old “worldly people” after all.) Since they already tried inviting you over, they’re more likely to feel sympathetic if you tell them you’re story. Or maybe you could find friends online who live in your area. Either way, “worldly” friends can make your fade a whole lot easier.

 

7. Be Very Careful Who You Confide In

Non-Witnesses are usually pretty safe, but I would be slow to tell any Jehovah’s Witnesses that you are fading. Even other faders can have a change of heart and turn you in! You might be very surprised at how your Witness friends or family react. Some might seem understanding at first, then let their conscience get the better of them when an article or public talk mentions people who are “stumbling” or “weak in the truth.” Be very careful.

 

8. Move To Another Congregation

moving1If you move to another congregation, you can usually just drop off the face of the map almost any time you like. Or at least fade much more quickly.

Changing congregations can be easier then you might think. When I was a Witness, it was pretty much just a matter of asking them to send your files to another Kingdom Hall. Of course, your Presiding Overseer has to comply with this request. You’ll probably want to make some appearances at that other congregation and actually speak to some of the locals. Requesting a transfer might seem weird if no one there has even heard of you. Once they start seeing you as a familiar face, you could try telling their Overseer that you want to switch. With a little luck, he’ll ask for the files so you don’t have to. Of course, you don’t want to get too friendly with your newly minted brothers and sisters. The more familiar you seem, the more likely they are to grow concerned if you stop attending meetings on a regular basis.

In most cases, the hardest thing with this one is simply thinking up a good reason for the move when asked. If you’re really dedicated, you could actually move from your home to a place that’s physically closer to the other hall. This is easier for some than for others. If there’s a hall closer to your place of work, that might be a decent excuse too. Especially if the reason you’ve given for your lack of attendance is work related. The Witnesses at your congregation might see this as an effort to improve your waning dedication to Jehovah. They shouldn’t complain too much about that.

One thing to remember. Before trying this, find out a little about your new congregation. Is it a smart choice? You’ll need to answer some questions before you’re sure. For instance, how big is it compared to your present congregation? Larger congregations won’t notice a fader as readily as smaller ones. There were more than 200 people in my old congregation, so that would have been ideal. If the congregation has a lot of apostate hunters in it, then that’s not the one to go with.

Whatever you do, best of luck with your fade.

About The Atheist Geek

The Atheist Geek is a former Jehovah's Witness turned secular humanist. He's a lifelong sci-fi geek and a writer wannabe.
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15 Responses to How And Why Doubting Witnesses Can Fade From The Watchtower Society: Bigger, Better, And Uncut!

  1. Robert W. says:

    If you can, the best thing to do is to move. Try to find a house or an apartment that is closer to your job but far away from your current KH. You could switch to a new KH that is closer to your new diggs and then fade from there. It would be best to move to an apartment complex where guests have to be “buzzed in” to get into the building. If you can find one with a secure parking area for tenants, all the better.

  2. I would be downright screwed without this article, AG! I’m planning the next 5 years of my life around this article! Moving out and away/getting the hell away from this religion…yep, thanks so much for this article! When I’m not busy ass-kissing I’m busy planning my fade/move/escape! haha.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hello,
    I found this article through Austin Cline’s website. I successfully faded in the midst of a scandal within the congregation. This presented the perfect opportunity to leave without the repercussions of being disfellowshipped/disassociated.
    Although I have already faded, reading these articles has been helpful. I feared seeking help, because of how the term ‘apostate’ had been used. These were the first articles that did not scare me out of reading further.
    My question to you is; what should I do after fading? For several years I have hidden every aspect of my life. My family believes I live in an apartment near their home- I am in a different city. I avoid denouncing the religion, and they even believe I will return.
    I continued this charade because I feared being shunned. My entire life is a lie, and I keep every detail private. I once thought I could include my family after several years. Now it seems as if this will continue until I get caught, and ultimately disfellowshipped.
    What should I do? I have a plan to confide to “worldly” family members, so I have someone once my family shuns me. Should I continue lying to family? We have remained extremely close, because they do not know my true feelings.
    It is unfair that I was born in to this religion, and must suffer the consequences of leaving. If I must suffer for this, I am determined to make the most of my choice to leave. However,the lies and secrecy prevent me from truly moving forward. I absolutely believe this religion has caused psychological damage.
    Any words of advice are appreciated!

    • I have offered several articles with suggestions how former Witnesses can “fade” over the years. They have worked for some, but not for others. The one I wrote for Austin Cline was only the second article I had ever written for XJWs. I wrote it because, for many, fading is a big deal. It’s an attempt to balance who exxers want to be versus who they are forced to be because they love their families. The necessity of fading is one of the things that, for me, crosses the Watchtower Society over the line between “authoritarian religion” and “suspiciously cult-like.” As you know, it’s one of the most messed up things they do. It’s just one of the reasons that I believe “the truth” to be an unhealthy place to live.

      Anonymous, I hesitate to tell you what to do with your life. And that’s the territory we’re venturing in right now. I will offer you my suggestions and thoughts, but never forget that you’re the one who must bear the consequences. So don’t do anything rash on my say so.

      That being said, despite the articles I have written about fading, my ultimate recommendation to ex-Witnesses is this: in the long run, you’re better off without the lie. If you can live without your family, then that is the direction I would recommend. If you can’t live without them, then think about what it would take for you to get to the point where you could. Or, obviously, simply continue on as you have been for as long as you possibly can and enjoy it while it lasts. Of course, it’s hard to enjoy anything when it’s tainted by a lie, even if it’s a necessary one.

      I’m not suggesting you go to your parent’s house tonight and confess everything. Start making plans. Strengthen your ties to other people, or to more people, to replace the loss when it comes. Think everything through. Go out of your way to be good to your family while you still have them. And do your best to leave them with great memories of you. Try to minimize their ability to create excuses about why you left. Then, as the time draws near and you are in the strongest emotional position you can be in, decide how you want them to find out about your loss of faith.

      This doesn’t have to happen in a month. But I suggest that, in the long run, you will be better off if it does happen. It’s not fair that they love you so conditionally while you put them so high up that you’re willing to pretend you’re something that’s far away from who you are. In effect, the Society and your family are in the driver’s seat of your life. At some point, you’ll be better off taking the wheel.

      Again, don’t do something crazy. But that is my advice. Remember, your relatives are blood. But your family can be anyone you want them to be. Start creating a family that will love you unconditionally if you don’t have one already.

      Best of luck my friend. Feel free to write back.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hello,
    I would like to thank you for your beautifully written reply. I have been thinking about what you said for days. I have tried to reply multiple times, only to change my decision.
    When I first chose to leave, it felt instinctual. I can remember looking for a way out from a very young age. However irrational this might be, I feared for my life.
    My decisions were based on emotion, and the cold, hard facts did not matter then. Of course I still feel those emotions, but I have a firm grasp on reality now.
    I know I have to make a choice, but accepting these choices is challenging for me. Even if I make the right choice, I will still lose something.
    I would like to thank you once again. I am sure any of us could attest to how controlling the society is. At times I feel lost because I have never made my own choices.
    Subconsciously, I came to this site looking for someone to tell me what to do. I appreciate how you did not tell me what to do- this is exactly what I needed.
    I am no closer to making a choice. However, I now feel capable of making one and facing the consequences. I have read all of your articles, and identify with your wish to be a good exxer.
    The society would like us to believe life outside of the religion is meaningless. However, even if this door closes, I know many more will open.
    In the short time I have been free of their grasp, I have done more with my life than would have been possible before leaving. There is so much good in the world, and I am happy my eyes have been opened to it.
    Thank you once again, I plan to frequent your website. :-)

    • Anonymous, have you ever tried hanging out with other ex-Witnesses on a social network like Facebook (you could create a fake identity to do this) or on an ex-Witness forum, like JWD? I have recently added a forum to this site, but no one is using it yet. :) So JWD or JWR (which is smaller and a little less religious than JWD can be) are better alternatives. If you’re a nonbeliever like I am, you might also try the newly created XJWSec.

      There are plenty of friends waiting for you out there. Some are former or even current elders who can provide advice if you still want to fade. And all of them have success stories for inspiration. Many have been DFed, or simply walked away (like I did). Some are miserable (warning!) but others are very happy. I’m one of them, because I hang out at all these places from time to time. On rare occasions, they even have get togethers. One of the FB groups had a barbecue for the 4th of July and people from different states showed up for it.

      Finally, the Broad Road has it’s own chat room. (Something I have been working on as well.) They have chats on Friday nights, around 7:00 EST, usually with less than a dozen people at a time.

      All of these are sources of insight, information, new ideas, and friendship. Or to just share your pain when you need to.

      If you ever want to email me, my email address is at the bottom of the About page.

      Best of luck with everything. Don’t be afraid to share your story with us in the future.

  5. Anonymous says:

    You are unbelievably pitiful. Have you ever wondered why it’s tough to leave unnoticed? It’s because they care..they genuinely care and try to help. .My husband works full time and yet volunteers hours and hours a week (he is an Elder) to help the members of the congregation. If you don’t want the Elders help, just say so….then he can spend more time with his wife and three kids instead of trying to help you! No need to sneak or lie…this whole blog just shows how lost you truly are. Why anyone would seek advice from someone who encourages lies and deception is shocking…just tell the truth. Just say “I’m too selfish and foolish to be a witness….I have no idea what I really believe but I know I don’t want to sacrifice what I would have to sacrifice to be a witness…even if it is what Jehovah clearly states in the bible. I would rather convince myself that it is not true so i dont have to make the effort.” Please…and save us the time so we can help others that actually feel a responsibility to something other than themselves.

    • To be as blunt as you have been, you are just as oblivious and self-centered as I am pitiful. And yes, if you were expecting a respectful or kind response to a comment with your tone, you were sadly mistaken. Correction: make that just as pitiful as I am. And BTW, the hours your husband spends fulfilling his responsibilities as an elder have no bearing on anything here. Nor is anyone impressed.

      You clearly have no idea what it’s like to make 5 meetings a week just so you can continue talking to your family, who already see you as a low-life because you aren’t doing everything they want you to in the thing which JWs so humbly call “the truth.” It is a miserable state of affairs, all unnecessary, that is induced by the emotional blackmail that is called disfellowshipping, which is laid at the feet of Witnesses – many of who were baptized as children or forced by their parents to get baptized in their teens – by a paranoid organization that thinks everyone is out to get them. And I do mean everyone, from so-called “worldly” governments to demons to the Devil himself. An organization that is as incapable of handling criticism as you.

      Many congregations have elders who are real-life witch hunters, and yes, they will disfellowship a person for simply not believing in their truth anymore. For some people, that’s unbearable. So unbearable that they’re willing to live our miserable lives in service to something they don’t believe in, or worse, that they fear is a controlling cult.

      Note, once again, that your husband and your inability to spend as much time with him as you would like have nothing to do anything here. Or at least they shouldn’t.

      I realize that you’re going to tell me that your KH is different and awesome and that you don’t know what I’m talking about. If so, either you are INCREDIBLY fortunate in attending the rare KH that is liberal and tolerant, or you have no idea what is really going in your own KH. Either way, you are clueless. And that is half the problem here.

      You waved around your husband’s elder status. So I get to wave the ex-Witness who thinks this is crap and doesn’t want to be here but has to play along, status. And don’t pretend that people who are unhappy or who have doubts can just leave without consequences. I will call you a liar for it and be done for the day. Every other ex-Witness who frequents this site will know it, too. There isn’t a month that goes by where the Society doesn’t post something about how DFing works. We know everything you know.

      BTW, if I were you, I wouldn’t read an article like this at a website called “ATHEIST Geek News” with the description, “Created by an ex-Jehovah’s Witness…” right up top, unless I had skin thick enough to handle what I was about to read. Otherwise, I could be accused of reading it with full expectation that it would upset me, as it has you, almost as if I were looking for a fight. If you even read the article before you flipped out, that is. And yes, I call, you flipped out. That’s why you’re getting the response you got.

      If you don’t like this response, feel free to take a breath before you answer back and try showing an ounce of civility. You’ll get it in return, but only if. I have a strict “give what I get” policy regarding comments, whether they’re positive or negative. And dare I suggest that you consider – for the tiniest second – that you may not know everything, and that being an elder’s wife does not make your views special. Maybe ex-Witnesses and nonbelieving Witnesses who are forced to pretend they’re believers deserve some pity, or some advice like I’m providing, instead of more attitude and self righteousness. Sometimes, you should really try to learn more about something before you jump in with both feet and declare war.

      Next time, try harder to have some compassion and to understand what you’re dealing with, or just leave us be. No one asked you to like us. You certainly don’t seem like you understand what it’s like to be harassed by self righteous elders, and yes, many of them are self righteous. I have no idea what your husband is like. Please don’t conflate these two ideas.

  6. Nelinqui says:

    I find, from my own experience, that fading away it’s not worth doing. Soon or later you are going to said what you truly believe and everything would be out in the clear. You actually feel relief when this happen, it’s pretty much like coming out of the closet. I faded for a long time until I got tired and eventually came out of the closet with what I truly believe. If you want to get out of the organization, just do it all at once, like a band aid, right off. Must important start making new friends, especially xJW because they will understand you better then anyone. Not easy to come out of the closet but once you do, you will feel free and ready to learn what has been kept from us by the JW organization

    • I agree, which is something I wrote about here. Some people aren’t able to break their family connections, however,so in their desperation, they try fading. As you say, some are caught and get disfellowshipped anyway.

      It’s not for us to judge what’s best for them. But I do recommend simply coming out and parting company, unless your KH is liberal enough to look the other way. Many are not. Some KH’s will DF someone just for admitting that they are having doubts.

  7. Little Ol' Me says:

    LOL @ the “Elderette” who thinks that those who leave don’t want to make the “sacrifices” necessary to be a JW. Sacrifices? Honey, you have no idea the REAL sacrifices those of us who have left due to reasons of CONSCIENCE have made. Sacrificing friends, family, jobs, homes, etc. Try being homeless, having your children taken from you by a lying JW spouse who then lies to the children about you, losing everyone you have ever known, and losing your job…all because your friends, family, and people you worked for were JW’s and no longer want you around because you believe differently than they do…because you’ve learned the history and the REAL truth about the organization. Try being the person who everyone turns their backs on and casts off. Try KNOWING this will happen, but not being able to function with a clear conscience because you also know that staying in the organization would be wrong and living a lie and SUPPORTING a lie. Going ahead with a fade or with disassociating oneself is the ULTIMATE sacrifice when there is so much to lose.

    Let me tell you something…YOU DON’T KNOW SACRIFICE. You think attending meetings twice a week, going and bothering people in their homes (which is actually AGAINST what Jesus taught should be done), attending the odd assembly and convention…you think that’s sacrifice? Not celebrating holidays is “sacrifice”? Please. You all brag about how much money and stress you save by NOT celebrating. The only ones sacrificing are your CHILDREN who have to grow up in a high control cult and don’t get the normal interactions and experiences of childhood and who have to be forced to sacrifice valuable time with their father. They don’t CHOOSE to make the “sacrifice” and neither do you. You all have no choice in the matter at all. You think that having to lose time with your husband is a “sacrifice” that you make on your part out of the goodness of your heart and that him spending time away from his family is a “sacrifice” he makes for the organization? It’s not. It’s MANDATORY. His elder’s manual and various letters from Headquarters DEMAND that he make those trips to visit people who may not really want him there. Spying is encouraged, as well as stalking. Are you aware that your husband is encouraged by the Governing Body to stalk other JW’s in order to catch them in some wrongdoing? I bet you’re not…because you’re not allowed to read the elder’s manual…because you’re a woman and you’re not an elder. But there are things in that book that would make your head spin…things your husband is tied and bound to follow to the letter. So stop spouting about how much YOU are sacrificing. Nobody likes a martyr or false modesty.

    They also don’t like people who pretend to know what goes on in the mind of an exJW when they have never been one themselves.

  8. Joyce says:

    I have been searching for a site such as this, with a place to read about peoples lives who have been involved in the JW. I myself am not an ex JW, or currently one either, thankfully. I have however had personal involvement with both. My heart goes out to those struggling with much of life due to this cult, for want of a better description. I truly appreciate the way you responded to a comment on Aug 29 11.44am. I am also hoping for any comments or advice you can possibly give to my situation. I will start with a little background, if you would please bear with me: I was bought up Anglican & when JW would knock on our door, my mother would turn them away and warn me lovingly that they were wrong. My husband & I were married in an Anglican church. A few years later, and living in a fairly remote area, after not attending church for a few years, a lovely old JW couple started me thinking about God again after a few visits. After a few months a younger couple asked if we would like to do a bible study with them, my husband agreed, and for a few weeks we had weekly studies. His brother, a born again Christian heard about this and visited & called by phone. We did start to doubt, and after a round table discussion with an elder, my brother in law and us, the elder turn nasty, and nothing but loving words from bro in law, we decided to stop studies & accept his invitation to his church. Skip fwd 20+ yrs & children, bought up with Christian beliefs. Young (15 1/2) daughter meets a boy (17), who she starts dating & falls for, who after almost a year, decided to start studies himself, and reveal he was bought up as a JW, but had rebelled as a teen (came from quite a broken family, lots of issues involved). We welcomed this lad in our home, showed him love, both before and after this revelation, and showed him scriptures etc, and invited him to church, which he declined. My daughter, who I had no fear of her going on this journey with him, as she chose to be baptized herself when she was 11, as a Christian, could not understand the JW ‘religion’, I even let her attend some ‘meetings’. After knowing him all this time, then for him to change within a few short months, she hoped that I could help, through prayer, and a lovely ex JW couple that I had met after seeking help, as I knew there was some sort of drama for my daughter & this lad coming, as they had very strong feelings for each other, even though so young. This ex JW couple have been a constant wealth of support and comfort to my daughter and I. The husband had been bought up in a JW home from the age of 5, and the wife had chosen to join at 20yo. The wife had been involved with them for over 20 years, and they have both been ‘out’ for over 20 years now. After a few months of many deep discussions, lots of prayers, etc, they broke up under strained circumstances. He was very hurt as another boy had vied for my daughters attention, and as she was very upset, confused and distressed over what was happening with her relationship, she was drawn away by this new lads attentions briefly. There were a few other issues that her (then) boyfriend had that were stemmed from his rebellious time (he was very confused about a lot of things, and this led to drug use, which my daughter disapproved of), though he tried so hard to turn himself around, how he was going about it, with thinking that the studies with the JW was going to help him, unfortunately only made the two of them draw away from each other. My daugther apologized for letting herself be kissed by another lad, but still he broke up with her, and it was very hard for a few weeks for all concerned. I had many phone calls with the lad, and tried as much as I could to help them get through it, heal and forgive each other, and move on with, or without each other. It wasn’t up to me, it was up to both of them, but the lad didn’t ever take responsibility for his own actions, or apologize to my daughter for hurt he had caused her (she used to cry herself to sleep, as he would often never return her texts or calls when they were dating, sometimes for days, then when it was her bithday, he never bought her a gift, as he had blown any $ he had on a bender with his friends the week b4, and things like that) This was about a year ago now. The lads mother (the one who started the families involvement in the JW in the first place, though is not really involved in the JW anymore, staunchly believes their teachings & has many new age type of beliefs at present) has had contact with me and my daughter in the last few months. After he and my daughter broke up, I advised my daughter to wait at least 6mths b4 getting involved with another boy. As they had been together for 18mths, I thought that was enough time to get over him. He was in another relationship within 6wks. This did hurt my daughter too. I felt that it was a rebound relationship, and I don’t think he realized how much he loved my daughter, and that he probably felt he would get over her quickly, and he was very hurt and sorry for himself. That relationship lasted a few months. Apparantly, according to his mother he hasn’t gotten over my daughter. The two them have had sparing communication via text messages. He did ask my daughter to meet him about 6mths ago, after a relationship didn’t work out between her and another boy, but she didn’t, as she didn’t know how she would feel seeing him, but also that she knew it could never work out, as he was so caught up in the JW, even though he said he stopped studies. Our ex JW friends advised that it would be best for her not to see him. My friend had seen many hurtful things happen such as the male saying they weren’t JW anymore, then after marriage, reveal that they were to attend meetings, and that the children that they would have, would be bought up as JW at his insistance etc. They feel that our daughter has been spared a probable similar fate. It is a long drawn out story, but I do feel very bad in that, this lad has been hurt, and maybe he does still love my daughter, buy if he did, he hasn’t gone out of his way to fight for her. His mother may be trying to get them back together in her own way (she asked my daughter not to let her son know that she had contacted her) but i am very close to my daugther and she did tell me this. I was a bit upset that the mother had done this, though I do understand that she loves her son. She shouldn’t be asking my daughter to contact him, as he has really done no contacting either after the text 6 mths ago, or after my daughter sent one about a month ago saying goodbye, and that she was closing all communications with him (social media contacts). It is a real shame that this happened, that there has been hurt, and that there is still unresolved issues. I feel torn whether to contact the lad by letter to somehow cause some sort of resolve to begin, but of course, I do not wish to add to any hurt or drama. I also have the option of contacting the mother. I have social media contact available to both, and phone with the mother available if needed. I am not sure what to do, or if I should do anything, but as this is all still in my head, I feel there is a need for something to be resolved, so maybe the two of them can go on to be loving,caring people & not carry hurt, which will affect any future relationships. My daughter is doing quite ok, but I don’t really know how the lad is doing emotionally. I know this isn’t a relationship help forum, but as it has much to do with JW involvement, any help via advice is greatly appreciated.. even if it is in the form of ‘lady, go see a therapist’, I would probably think it was wise advice too :) Thanks for listening

    • Hi Joyce. I’ll try to give you some advice, including another source of way better advice than mine. It’s called the Jehovah’s Witness Discussion Forum. There are loads of XJWs like me there who can offer you other points of view to consider. I’m sure you’re trying really hard to do the right thing here, so it may be worth checking out. It’s the biggest XJW forum that I know of. You could more or less copy the comment you left into a message over there and see if you get any better thoughts than mine.

      I should probably mention that my wife and I had problems getting together too. I was a convert who had begun wavering as doubts started to creep in. She had emotional problems and came from a family with a history of mental health issues. Both our families got involved, including elders on her side who feared I just wanted to sleep with her or that I wasn’t “Jehovah Witnessy enough.” The funny thing in our case is that, if the families had stayed out of it, the whole thing probably would have taken a much more natural and easier course. So my first suggestions to you is to keep your involvement in this to a minimum. I know that may be hard to do, but I really think it’s for the best in about 99% of situations like these.

      I’m inclined to agree with people who have already told you that the boy may not be the best person for your daughter, especially at this point in his life. Do people change? Yes. Is he young and therefore likely to change? Yes he’s young but I’d give a “maybe” to the last part. Especially if drugs are a factor. He sounds like he’s more into himself right now than he is into her, and the fact that he has been with several other girls who left him isn’t the best sign, either. Why, after all, did they leave? If his lack of attention has affected your daughter as seriously as you say, this may not be the right time for her to get serious about a relationship either.

      I’m not suggesting that you should try to keep them apart. Only that bringing them together won’t solve anything. From what you’ve told me, I suspect it could actually make things worse. A relationship might work between them when they’re older because they will both be different people in a couple of years, but right now, I wouldn’t encourage her to contact him unless it’s her idea to do so.

      A few points to consider:

      1) He has been seeing other girls. None of them so long as your daughter. Are his feelings more about missing her or are they more about feeling sorry for himself after each break up? He may simply be focusing on your daughter because he dated her the longest amount of time. Or maybe because their breakup was the most jarring.

      2) The boy didn’t seem to treat your daughter so well when they were together, either. Guys who are truly head-over-heels in love will work a lot harder to let a girl know he’s thinking of her all the time. I sure did! Most of us can’t help ourselves. We’re a peculiar species that way. ;-D Again, I really think his feelings are more about himself right now than they are about her. Not that this makes him a bad guy – he’s young! I think chances are high that they’ll simply break up again if they get back together now. In the end, putting them back together might only prolong the agony for both.

      3) Has your daughter told you everything? Think hard about this: you’re her parent. Few children tell their parents everything. Chances are high that you may not know all the reasons they broke up. I don’t mean to suggest anything ominous, only that you may not have the full picture. But even the things you mentioned are potentially serious problems. That’s something to think about. Both he and your daughter seem to be pretty sensitive, or at least they were when they were dating. Both of them need to be a little more mature before they enter a serious relationship. If there’s a real chance of that happening between them, it will probably be a little later in their lives. Putting them back together prematurely could ruin that possibility.

      I don’t see anything wrong with staying in contact with his parents so long as they are reasonable. Remember, he’s their son. They want whatever they think is best for him. You’re daughter will probably come second, whether they mean for her to or not. If either of them pressures you to do something, I would be very slow to comply. And ultimately, I would suggest you give them the same advice: don’t get too involved! Relationships are hard enough to work out without others pulling or prodding. Yes, it’s hard on your households, but in the end, you could make it all worse and make the bad part of it take a whole lot longer to work itself out.

      That’s my 2 cents…or 2 dollars. This comment was even longer than most I have made! :-D Good luck with everything, and feel free to write again.

  9. Joyce says:

    I am very grateful for your prompt reply and that you have taken the time to put a lot of thought into it. You have very good insight into the situation, and your advice really hit the mark.
    The lad is quite self focussed at the moment, as he is a musician, and what bought me here was your Meg Myers video. I was thinking that there must be a young ex JW singer songwriter who is putting all of their emotions and talents into music & song – and bang – there she is! She is awesome :)
    In regards to my daughter though, my intention wasn’t to try and get them back together, as I unfortunately can’t see a happy future if he is to remain the way he is, but as you say, in the future things may change. It is certainly wise advice to leave things to take there natural course. I commented to the lads mother a year ago on their break up, that if it was true love, that they would work it out. If through all of this he can be free from the chains of the JW’s would be the ultimate. This, and other similar forums are a wonderful tool for healing emotions that have been damaged. I hope he finds one, and his mum too.
    Meanwhile, my daughter is falling for another musician… & she already knew to do a background check on religions up front this time. It is a real shame that we have to do this, but it really does matter what our faith and beliefs are when it comes to relationships.
    Thank you for the name of the other forum, I will have a look into it if something else comes up in this, at times, rather emotionally trying situation.
    Again, I am truly grateful and appreciative of your advice, you definately have a gift there. Your website must be a comfort to many. Keep up the good work. Peace & love,
    Joyce

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