I was thinking today of what my next subject will be that may prove useful in helping someone on the brink of leaving the Witnesses – and the word guilt jumped to the front of the queue.
I was racked with the stuff when I was in the process of waking up. Everything that I had been trained to be caused me unending feelings of guilt and unworthiness. Lets break down how much I was guilty about:
a) not attending the meetings regularly b) not doing enough field service c) not preparing for the meetings that I wasn’t attending d) not reading all the magazines and publications I was supposed to e) fearing to attend assemblies and conventions f) and then being horribly guilty that I didn’t attend g) not enjoying the ‘fellowship’ I used to look forward to at the meetings, I’m sure I could think of more, but let’s leave it there.
Believe me I didn’t actually WANT to be at the meetings, I didn’t want to read the new releases or the magazines, with waking up I could finally see just how repetitive it was, there was NOTHING new, no matter how they spun it, it was still the same old, same old. ‘Fellowship’ felt strained and I was always so tense. I experienced panic attacks just thinking of going to the meetings, I once had my hubby leave field service with me and walk over an hour to get home as I was overwhelmed and crying, and there was no way of getting a lift home.
In proving to myself that the Witnesses do not have the ‘truth’ I freed myself from that guilt, it fell away like an old horrible smelly blanket, the relief at leaving all of that behind was so wonderful, it makes me smile even now.
So, take the time and find out for yourself if what you were taught was actually true. I trawled webpages reading everything I could, http://www.jwfacts.com was a massive resource and help to me. I would read some of the articles a few times to really get to grips with the stuff I was learning. Don’t stop there, look up encyclopaedias, newspaper articles, public records, individual’s stories whether written or on YouTube. All of this is not to swamp you with information, it will free your mind. One thing that the Watchtower knows only too well is how information is hurting them. Find out what they are so desperate to hide, in doing so you will be able to extract yourself from the mind numbing guilt that they use to chain you to their teachings.
Being raised a Witness my entire purpose in life was to be a ‘good witness’. I really believed I had achieved that, I was in ‘good standing’ and it meant everything to me. Losing that reputation was painful, but really what was it based on? Lies and deception, it was empty.
Now being who I am is enough. There is no checklist of what I need to tick off in order to be acceptable, or to be ‘good association’. I am enough, and you are enough. Believe that within yourself and the guilt will shrivel to ashes and blow away.