|Contributed by Christian Sparlock Freedom|
Dawñ Bàmlett: I was reminded of that old book, "Paradise Lost to Paradise regained." I thought of how that did happen. I was lost in paradise and now I have found it. I don't want to go into how that part of my life was a big waste; the reason? I didn't feel that way, I wanted to give up everything so I could live in servitude. What I met was a group of people, who, like myself, hadn't found what they had been looking for. I know that I have found what I was looking for and I maybe even knew on some level that I was simply on a journey, no right no wrong, a journey into myself to discover my truth heart emoticon. Love the ones I have met along the way, thanks to the ones who made things super difficult, because that suffering brought me close to the God self or GOd or whatever. I will simply say, my experience of the LOGOS "GOD."
Dyllen De Vos - It wasn't easy leaving the Papas behind, but recovering from their abuse is the best thing I ever did.
Mindy Needham Stanton: I just take it moment by moment. After all, I should have been either wiped out in Armageddon or in the new system by now. I grew up wishing I would die in some unfortunate accident so I'd have a shot at resurrection, right?
The WTBS took my family from me the moment my mother opened the door to them. Now that I'm not speaking to them after walking away it mostly feels peaceful. I'm lucky. One of my sisters walked away about the same time and we have each other. We are away from that small suffocating world in which we were never "good enough" to really be a part of. I feel like we are out in the light now while they judge and disapprove in the shadows.
It took a while after leaving to truly leave in my mind. The brainwashing the JW's receive is very thorough and constant. Finally I started reading "apostate" information on the internet. The bricks came tumbling down when I did that. I got it then. I was part of a cult. I am brainwashed. I will work the rest of my life to slay the demons that cult put in my mind.
I am happy now. I'm in the light of reality. It hurts sometimes. Sometimes I feel embarrassed. Sometimes I feel angry. Sometimes I'm just sad. But I'm glad to be having my real emotions rather than trying to feel the way I'm supposed to according to the propaganda of the Watchtower Society.
Gordon Webb: Maybe I was in a more fortunate position than most people, but I did not have a plan other than getting on with life. I left in 1975, partly due to the failure of the 1975 'end of this system of things' predictions, and partly due to a whole series of lies that the JWs had been told by some prominent elders in the greater Toronto area. But to fill the void, I had just received a good promotion at work; bought my first house; my wife was expecting our first child; AND 1975 was ending and no Armageddon was in sight. I know, I know, all things the WBTS was telling us not to seek out, since we were so close to 'the end'. But in retrospect, I ask myself where would I be now if I had listened to the faulty advice coming from the WBTS. In short, earning a lot less money, house-less and childless. The only constant is that 40 years later, there is still no Armageddon.
I'm just glad I was in a very busy part of my life when I walked away from the JWs, as it made it so much easier, NOT easy, but certainly easier than if I had nothing to fill the void. It was still difficult, as I was a born-in JW and had to learn the social etiquette of 'the world' while providing for a new born child and wife. I owe a big Thank You to my wife of 46 years, whose intelligence and practicality made it so much easier to transition into a normal life.
Tina Hemingway: Chapter 34 of Ezekiel explains a lot to most of the injured sheep. I know it helped me instantly.
Amber Alberti: My mother died when I was 28 years old. She would have lived longer had she taken blood when she needed it, because she had chemo treatments. She was the one really "into" the JW religion and raised us in it. I loved my mother dearly. This cult is the only thing we EVER differed on. My father died last year. JWs came by our home after each time one of my parents died, saying things that should never be said to a grieving person ever!!! After my father died, JWs told me to go on jw(dot)org and I could have my children watch their programs, etc. I could learn more blah-blah-blah. I went on Youtube, instead and learned TTATT (The Truth About The Truth - the JWs version of the truth) and even though I never really believed it, I could finally make peace with the fact that I got cheated out of my childhood, went through hell at school, watched my brother fight depression and anger, although the only thing they did was pray for him. I could finally call it what it was.....a cult. Thank goodness I never got baptized!
Loli Poppelreiter: For 10+ yrs I knew I had to leave that Organization and it took me that long to get out without disfellowshipment. That was my plan. Next I went searching for the reason Jesus and the emblems were hept from me and were only for 144,000. I am now free to partake of the emblems and have Holy Spirit and Jesus residing with me. I am free from being governed by men and allowing ONLY God's Word and Holy Spirit to govern me. It is an unsurpassable joy availale to any who would spend time with God and His word and not he NWT. Religion no longer has a claim on me. I am a happy Apostate.
Amy Hollingsworth: My only plan was to make it through, day by day. I enjoy nature, I meditate to calm my mind, I made new friends, my friend's family became my family, I never stop learning and I'm now in college to hopefully lead me to a better career.
Imma Iannone: Senz'altro stiamo bene abbiamo ripreso la nostra identità perchè la setta ci aveva spersonalizzati, le nostre coscienze sono libere dalle tante regole e regolette del CD. Ma la cosa più bella è la libertà di pensiero!
Certainly we're good. We took our identity back, because the sect had depersonalized. Our consciences are free from many rules, and good rules of the CD. But the best thing is the freedom of thought!
My only plan was to make it through, day by day. I enjoy nature, I meditate to calm my mind, I made new friends, my friend's family became my family. I never stop learning and I'm now in college to hopefully lead me to a better career.
Felicia Washington: Left WTS on my own (fading) after 18 yrs...didn't know where to begin, as I was awkward and scared, but somehow I followed Jesus, and found peace. It changed all that after being so deceived, manipulated and confused.
Jay Hess: I am very happy now but it took a few years to find my safe place. I threw out the bad WT doctrines and found Christian friends that would accept me. I still had a few beliefs that were close to WT but were acceptable by Christians. My goal was to investigate the Bible with the help of mainstream Christians to learn what the Bible really teaches, not what the WT teaches.
Santy Gardner: My way of living is now different. I see the WTS as just another religion, not like the real truth. It's just a matter of faith. I feel great since I left this cult 13 years ago. I should have left before, but I was in fear because of the teachings of the WTBS. They controlled me for 20 years and one day I said, "Enough is enough."
Amy Lepla: Took each day as it came. Best thing I ever did was leave.
Steve Otta: I have made me friends who treat me better than my family.
Ruben Ortiz: Ten years ago today, after living in San Diego, CA. for 15 years, I moved back to the east coast. The anniversary of that day is very significant to me. I spent my teen and young adult years in San Diego. I moved to start over, to be near my family that I had spent years distanced from, giving myself the opportunity to know them better, to see them grow.
I came with my comics and my clothes. My sister Maggie opened her home to me, that's where I first landed. I am forever thankful to her for opening her home to me that initial first year.
So much has happened in the last ten years. I left to start a new life. A life free from a limiting religious upbringing that I had just left behind. I was getting to know myself, and was also giving myself the opportunity to reinvent myself. I've stumbled, I've triumphed, and I've had to start all over several times since then. However, no matter what happened, good or bad, I did my best to learn from it, and use what I've learned to strive to be someone I can be proud of. The trajectory of my journey has rewarded me with so much love in the form of relationships.
I hold dear to my heart all the good experiences I've had with all the people I've had the opportunity to love, even when certain relationships have had to change. They're all close to my heart. I look back with fondness and deep appreciation to what it was, and what it is now. I look forward to the new relationships I am forming and will form.
The greatest gift on this journey is my son, Sagan. He is my great teacher. He's taught me more about myself, and my fellow humans than anyone ever has. He has opened my heart to an unbelievable, awe-inspiring love. Life isn't always easy, and for some, it never is. I am so thankful, and so grateful that I am able to feel this way today.
Syndi Cook: Why am I happy now? Peace. For so long, I lived with my self-worth being measured by what I would give. Jehovah only loved me if I gave my time in service, if I gave my time and participation to meetings; every waking moment to be given in service in one form or another. This played on how we showed love to my family members, Of course my family loved me, they allowed me to "work" for them. Whether that work was to cook, clean, or some other fashion. Now I am at peace, I am loved for me just because I am me. I am worthy just because I am a beautiful being full of love and joy. And I am that way if all I do is sit still for 10 min., I am still worth being loved and respected. I am allowed to be tired, I am allowed to rest, I am allowed to giggle and play and work and enjoy life, it is my gift to me. I do not know the label on my happiness yet, but I am at peace and free to learn and address my own spiritual needs. I am free!
Steve Lappan: I can do what I want now, don't have to be judged. Celebrate holidays, get tattoos, be my own self. Nobody watching over my shoulder
Hayley Correia: Hell, yeah, I'm happy. Left 20 years ago, aged 17 years, left one day never returned, no reasons to anyone. It was just what I wanted to do and I decided the day I passed my driving test was as good as any, best decision I ever made. Why? Because I haven't regretted anything I've done. Miss my late mother, who sadly died 8 years ago, miss my brother who is still an avid JW, and he's too far gone for saving. I learned a lot from leaving. I learned how to enjoy myself, how to live in a big bad world, how to survive and fend for myself, how to celebrate the holidays and how to give my wonderful children the best Christmas ever. They are my life and I wouldn't have them if I had stayed in the Watchtower Society. Love my life, never going back. Generally, I enjoy doing what I want, how I want, with who I want. Sooo Happy. My life is far from perfect, but I am happy.
Bridget Wolfe: Yes, I'm definitely so much happier now. I was raised a JW and have been out for about 7 years. My life as a JW was horrible. I was married to an abusive husband, who was also a JW. I thought this was my life and that I was obviously just going to be unhappy, but when we split and everything went down, I know now that being disfellowshipped was the best thing to happen to me. I was able to truly examine the religion and found out for myself that it was total bullshit! Now I'm very happily married to my wonderful husband with 4 beautiful children and I am truly thankful that I will never have to raise them the way I was raised! They get to have a childhood that I never had, so everything that happened was so worth it in the end.
Pamela Wright Dickson: I'm happy today because I have hope. I no longer see God as evil and mean and as my enemy. I'm free to dream and believe for the best, and I've seen hundreds of those dreams come true in the 40+ years I've been out. I was a JW for 25 years.
Tammy Gabriel: I'm so much happier after leaving! I never felt accepted in the religion, despite being born-in and my father being an elder. I have dealt with chronic depression since childhood, but after leaving 2.5 years ago, I've been fine - I have made new friends that accept me for who I am unconditionally, and have a partner who loves and supports me. I love seeing my son enjoy celebrating holidays and birthdays and having no confusing restrictions or being told what to believe. I get enjoyment out of every day and the small things in life. I love learning about science and evolution with my son - information I was not exposed to growing up. Knowledge has really opened my mind! There is nothing that compares to freedom!
Theresa Panuski: For the first time in my life I am happy. I am happy to live a guilt free life, the life I always dreamed of having but never thought it was possible. For the first time in my life I am being the real me without hiding. I have worked through the anger of wasting the majority of my life on lies but now I am at peace. Life is great, finally.
Dale Mowday: I get by okay, I guess. But the cult took a lot out of me. I was molested age 6 at a kingdom hall. I testified at the royal commission. That made me feel better. When I woke up, I left the cult and I am quite vocal about my dislike of the cult. My mother shunned me to her last breath and I was her baby. ( her loss) I don't like being lied to. I will spend the rest of my life trying to destroy this CULT. That makes me feel better. Peace and love to all ex JW apostates!
Stephanie Loiland: Freedom from religion makes me happy. I don't believe any fairy stories. I just work on living the best real life I can. Imagine a world where we are all equal, this world would be one without crazy religion.
Nel Welvaarts: For the first time I can feel "worldly," a very freeing feeling. I never received a compliment from the JWs. It was always, "You have to be better and do more." It's no wonder JWs are on so many medications for depression!
Terah Murphy: I'm happy now because I've made my own life and my own family. We have our own traditions and the freedom to be ourselves. My oldest daughter is in college and going to go to medical school. My youngest wants to be an artist. We've experienced cheerleading and sports. We celebrate all of the holidays and have a fantastic time. I've been married for 18 years (and all of the JW children I grew up with are divorced now).
Lisa Grant: I am happy because I found a family that loves and accepts without judgement. My in-laws have taught me so much, including how to save money and plan for the future.
I am fortunate because my JW parents have never completely shunned me. They are always there for me when I need or want them, but it is still sad not to have an engaged, open and honest relationship with them.
In my current life, I have experienced things, gained confidence and have learned how to be a true friend.
RJ Por Vida: I am so happy now because I found my voice, my confidence and above all, the freedom to live a normal life. I have found love and been loved in ways I never thought possible...and now enjoy the true sense of family!
Celia Byrd: Yes, we can be happy! I was a born-in JW and I stayed in for 18 years before making my exit. I have never been happier in my life! Those 18 years, especially the teenage years, were filled with unhappiness as I struggled to find myself while being told by the JWs what to do, who to be friends with, what to think, etc. I wanted to make the people of my congregation happy and proud while overlooking my own happiness. I suffered from anxiety and depression but now that I have been out for 6 years, I am off my medications and I can breathe freely and with joy. My mother and younger brother are still JWs and I am lucky that they have not shunned me. As a matter of fact, my relationship with my parents (my dad is not a JW, just a believer who goes to meetings) is now better than ever. We had a strained relationship when I was a JW, but now that I am out, it is easier to get along with them. I'm lucky and thankful for that. Above all, I am happy!