I was raised a Baptist and then in my teenage years as a Pentecostal so as you can imagine I had a pretty thorough bible education. I was married to a woman whose entire family was Hindu. My best friend at the time was a Jew (his father was a rabbi) and at work my friends and colleagues were Roman Catholic, 7th day Adventists and Muslims. I even had Atheist and Wiccan friends. After my marriage fell apart I stopped believing in anything.
I met and fell in love with a Jehovah’s Witness. I started studying and we married, we left the cult together and try to educate those who are being targeted by Witnesses and those trying to leave.
Now that I have stated my credentials it’s time to get to the point.
The hardest thing I ever had to observe was how my wife had to challenge what she believed as a Witness in the cold hard face of facts and proof. As a Witness she was taught to believe what the elders and Governing Body told her and never challenge the Governing Body no matter how absurd the instruction was.
I challenged the directives from day one. No beards on the platform… right. I grew a beard and a moustache and still gave my talks and readings. That was the way I started showing my wife my dissatisfaction with what was occurring and the seed was planted. The seed grew into doubts and doubts into questions.
Questions I was happy to answer as best I could even though they led to arguments and recriminations. It’s never easy challenging what you believe and I acknowledged this and loved her unconditionally through this process. It’s this unconditional love that I demonstrated that helped her wake up and leave and research all she was taught. My wife now spends a great deal of time exposing the lies and half-truths of the Witnesses and helping others to recover.
But a question remains, now what do I believe?
If I have been lied to my whole life and I reject all that the Witnesses stand for where do I go and what path should I take to get there? I do not have those answers as faith is a very personal thing. Some people will become Christian, some Atheist, some may veer towards non-Christian faiths like Islam or Judaism. All of these belief systems are great as long as you do the one thing that you were never permitted to do as a JW. You must question yourself and find out who you are before you take any steps towards faith.
As Asiza has written about in the past it takes time and work for your true personality to exert itself and throw off the shackles of the cult personality. I believe it should be a crime that the Watchtower and other cults break down your sense of self and replace it with their own creed and value system.
When you know yourself take the time to research the faith that is drawing you. Question its history and practices. One of the things I hated about the Watchtower was the way it treated women as second class members and that helped keep me focused on what I truly believed.
No matter what you choose it will take time to acclimatise yourself to your new surroundings. As human beings and as individuals we need something in our lives. In the words on Bon Jovi, “In a world that gives you nothing, we need something to believe in”!