by Anonymous Recovering EX-JW
Imagine a world in which you have resided in from birth, but you never allowed to participate in it. Imagine a state of mind in which you are told you are free, but yet you have this palpable pall of disconnection hanging over you internally. Imagine an entire community support system of friends and family that is solely contingent on your acceptance of their religious world view. Imagine a mindset since your earliest memories where you are convinced an earthly Armageddon waged by an invisible God is never more than a few years away. Imagine having been given special knowledge, but not understanding why so few are given it. Imagine being told you are apart of the “Happiest people on the planet”, but not understanding why you feel so stifled, unfulfilled and unhappy inside. What is wrong with me you ask yourself?
However, imagine one day taking off the blinders that have been custom fitted to your face since before your birth and gradually ever-so-gently tightened by your parents as you’ve grown. Only to realize after 35yrs you’ve been staring at the same microscopic corner of a much bigger painting known as life.
If this sounds familiar to you, you are not alone. While we all have our own stories to tell, personality differences, genetic makeup, unique childhoods and countless other factors that guarantees an infinite array of possibilities as to why each of us are here at this very moment. But there are also many similarities. Being apart of a religion that is really better defined as a totalitarian, group doctrine over person, world view construct that completely defines you as a person will tend to bring out similar mental states of it’s participants regardless of our differences. Feelings of loss of our individuality, loss of our ability to make our own decisions, overriding feelings of internal guilt, never feeling we can do enough, never attaining any lasting sense of inner peace, never feeling we can truly be ourselves, not knowing who we really are in the first place, constantly critiquing our every thought & action, feeling we can’t do this anymore but yet decades of time pass and we’re still at the same place. Mentally & emotionally stagnated. Physically exhausted. But yet this is all you’ve ever known, this is familiar to you. Thoughts of anything other than this are scary. We feel stuck.
This is the human commonality of being a Jehovah’s Witness more often than not. It’s even more true at deeper level if you were born into a Jehovah’s Witness family. Country boundaries, polictical boundaries, differing continents or varied cultures make no difference. The human mind can be imprisoned regardless of any of these factors.
Just for example, consider the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights bestowed upon every man, woman and child on the planet as basic, minimum, individual human rights. And contrast that with what you know from your experience to your world view as being a JW. Simply Google the UN human rights list and read all 30 articles. Then take a moment and consider if being a JW allows you at least this much personal freedom and rights at a minimum. Then also consider how much a perfect, loving, creator would no doubt be far superior with his earthly organization and people than Satan’s evil world governments regarding these basic human rights. Cognitive dissonance anyone?
This is just one simple exercise. This is called allowing your mind to think. If you’re a long time JW, this is some scary stuff! It’s scary because we’re not used to being able to think for ourselves. Independent thinking is Satanic per the Watchtower. We are told the entire world is conspiring with the dark lord to try to confuse us and get us to stray from “the truth®”(JW patent pending). Of the 7,400,000,000 Billion people on planet Earth only 8,000,000 Million JW (0.1% of earths population) have it right. The other 99.9% of humans walking around the planet can only be viewed in two possible ways: 1) as possible converts or 2) as a food source for vultures after Armageddon feasting on their dead bodies.
Take this one JW worldview mindset and multiply that by 1000..from birth..over decades of your life and you have someone like me. This does not even consider the Behavior controls in every aspect of your life, the Information Control, Thought Control and Emotional Control incurred by the religion. This does not take into consideration shunning by family members, ignoring your existence as a person or the loss of your entire familial support system based solely on a lack of your participation in your parents religion. This does not even scratch the surface of all the years lost dedicated to a cause that you never actually even investigated and consciously chose for yourself. This is the life you were born into and you've been on mindless automatic pilot ever since. And you’re just now realizing this for the first time.
Perhaps it's time to remove life’s blinders who’ve been wearing and allow yourself the possibility of something more. A life of unconditional acceptance. A chance to truly examine who you are as a unique individual. A chance to explore your talents and interests. A chance to participate in life for the first time. An finally a chance to be your own authentic self.
So again I ask you…Do your blinders still fit?