In a panel of 3 ex-JW's, interviewed about our journey being a JW, what is the biggest challenges we went through, how we exited and how we are thriving now. We give you some tools in your own journey through religious recovery.
Shunning, one of the most abusive practice of high-pressure groups
, is often the most obvious sign that a group is abusive. It tears families and communities apart, forcing many to choose between their faith and their loved ones. Whether it is called Shunning, Disconnection or Ostracism, the harsh reality of alienation ensures that those who leave the group are cut off absolutely, losing their entire community – friends, relatives, and their complete support system.
When you are raised as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses as a woman, they call you a Sister. All the Sisters are trained to get married, have children, stay at home and spend all of their time out in field service.
According to the JW:
11 Within the Christian congregation today, there are many Christian women who are “working hard in the Lord.” In fact, statistics show that “the women telling the good news are a large army,” making up the major part of the army of Witnesses that Jehovah is using.
Young sisters are never encouraged to go to college or get training so that they can provide for themselves. They encourage young sisters to be homemakers and pioneers, in the field service knocking on doors with the Watchtower and Awake literature.
If you do choose to get a higher education and make a career for yourself, this is looked down upon. You may not be publicly humiliated for taking such a bold step but you are considered “weak. If you are a “strong” sister you will follow along with the protocol.
While I was a young Sister most of my friends were getting married, 15-18 yrs old.
You are not encouraged to take your time in selecting a mate. You must be chaperoned properly, you do not have time to get to know your future husband. Many of the young sisters can’t wait to have someone to love them, they want to have their independence from their family so they marry the first Brother who has any interest in them. (This is in general, not all will fit this scenario)
When you get married you are expected to be submissive to your husband.
The Hierarchy is as follows:
As you can see women and children are at the bottom of this list. That means that as women we do not have much of a voice. As a “strong“ sister you will not question the authority of all those above you in that list.
If you are a courageous soul, you will begin to search for the “truth” on your own. You will sneak it at first but then as you begin to see that the JW org does not live by it’s own doctrines you become confident in your questioning process. You may ask questions like these:
What is the foundation of the Scriptures, when I read them without the JW input?
Do I see the good fruits of the people?
You Will Know Them by Their Fruits
“16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”
Do the people display acts of Loving Kindness?
Do they encourage me?
Do they know who I am?
Do they know my dreams?
Do they support me in my dreams?
Do they walk their talk?
Once you come to the realization that you are not being taught “the truth”, that is the beginning of your leaving the organization. That is not an easy step to take. You will be giving up all of your family, friends and community. You may be totally dependent on them financially. You may have no where to go. No one to support you in leaving.
Getting support in leaving:
Go to a Counselor or Therapist who knows how to deal with Religious Trauma. Ask them for more resources. Go to Coda 12 Step meetings and get yourself a sponsor. Ask them for resources. Plan your exit before you leave your family.
Have everything in place before you leave. Do not tell anyone in the organization including close family and friends, that you are planning to leave. They are taught to shun you immediately when they know your leaving Jehovah.
If they see you as an apostate they will guard themselves. They will not allow you to share what you have discovered, you are now part of Satan’s World. Plan your exit date, with lot’s of support under you. Get on Empowered Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses Facebook Group. Let them know what you are doing. Ask them for support, they will give you steps to take that work.
They don’t bash the Witnesses. You may feel angry at the JW Org and want to vent, there are other Facebook XJW Groups that will let you do that. You don’t want to stay there, your giving your power away to the JW when you hold on to your anger. The Empowered XJW FB Group that I am on, is positive and supportive.
This link will take you directly there:
Email Lynetta for support:
My personal email. It is all confidential.
Don’t do this alone. You are loved. You are supported.
Written with Love,