I’ve never seen a yellow Kingdom Hall in real life before. It just goes to show you that all Kingdom Halls are not alike.
Some Jehovah’s Witnesses assume that former Witnesses like me are lying when we talk about our old Kingdom Halls. If you’re one of Jehovah’s Witnesses who has read an experience at Atheist Geek News (or any other ex-Witness site) that doesn’t agree with your experiences at your own Kingdom Hall, please try to remember the following:
Our experiences at our Kingdom Halls have nothing to do with your experiences at your Kingdom Halls. And no, believe it or not, we aren’t lying about our experiences. We don’t have to.
If it’s hard for you to believe that our bad experiences with “the truth” really happened, then consider this: some ex-Witnesses suspect that you guys are the ones who are really lying to us. That’s because many of us had it so bad at our old Hall that we can’t believe you had it so good.
When one of Jehovah’s Witnesses decides to “come out” as a nonbeliever to members of his family, he knows that they will cut him off for good. Yet many ex-Witnesses come out anyway because they can’t stand living a lie. (For the record, I really do think that coming out is almost always better than fading in the long run.) Some ex-Witnesses make serious mistakes when revealing their lack of faith in the Society to their families, mistakes that create needless complications for everyone involved. I have some tips on how these can be avoided below.
Note, in this case, I’m referring to Jehovah’s Witnesses who are “nonbelievers” because they don’t believe in the Society’s truth anymore. Nonbelieving ex-Witnesses may still believe in God or favor another religion, so they aren’t necessarily atheists as I’m using the word here.
So what’s the best way to come out as a nonbeliever to your relatives? And why should you consider coming out instead of fading?
Meg Myers is a musician and an ex-Jehovah’s Witness. Before you do anything else, listen to the song above and you’ll see that this is very obvious in her lyrics. (There are some naughty words, but if you’re here, that shouldn’t really be a problem.) The clip probably tells you everything you need to know, really.
If you want more, the about page on her website says the following:
I USED TO LIVE IN THE SMOKEY MOUNTAINS OF TENNESSEE / NOW I LIVE IN LOS ANGELES
I USED TO BE A JEHOVAH’S WITNESS / NOW I CELEBRATE MY BIRTHDAY
I DIDN’T GO TO HIGH SCHOOL / INSTEAD I BUILT FORTS
I SING / I PLAY GUITAR PIANO AND BASS
I WILL ALWAYS MAKE MUSIC
If that isn’t awesome enough, you can get her album for FREE. It includes the music in the YouTube clip above. Get it and cram it on your MP3 player! If you’ve been disfellowshipped, or treated like a bad associate, or judged by Witnesses who used to be your friends, this might be your album. Or at least your song. I haven’t listened to all the music yet, but I will.
The song is angry, but Meg Myers is encouraging. It’s always cool to see a former Jehovah’s Witness do something with his or her life. Way to go, Meg. Good luck with everything.
As ex-Witnesses, we’ve all read about situations where the Watchtower Society (or its representatives) claim that shunning a family member is purely a matter of personal choice. That is to say that the family members who shun disfellowshipped Witnesses aren’t being forced to do so, but simply chose not to have any relations with that person for reasons of their own. This makes the Watchtower Society seem less cult-like to the public and may help the organization avoid certain legal issues for the practice of disfellowshipping in other countries. The video above shows us an example of a Witness downplaying the Society’s role in shunning disfellowshipped Witnesses in a court of law. Notice how he ducks questions relating to whether the policy of disfellowshipping is enforced by the Society or how such enforcement might happen.
There are other examples where the Society’s representatives seem evasive when it comes to answering uncomfortable questions in the media or in legal proceedings. The issue of blood transfusions is one that comes to mind. The claim, once again, is that the family is not being made to do anything by Watchtower policy. They are simply refusing treatment out of personal choice. Hence, it’s the family’s responsibility, not the Society’s.
But here’s the big question. Is any of this really true?