Apostate in the neighborhood

I think the word got out among Jehovah’s Witnesss that there is an “apostate” in my neighborhood. There is someone in my neighborhood that they avoid. They never knock on his door. Nope. Never. I’m sure that God approves of their behavior – because they’ve been told that for them, apostates should be identified – and then ignored.

I live in a very nice, very safe neighborhood in a medium-sized city in central Oregon. For a while, I’d see either JWs or LDS missionaries working this neighborhood at least once a month. During the summer we seemed to get more than our fair share, simply because there is very little traffic on our quiet streets, and the homes are surrounded by tall trees – making the area shady and cool.

During the winter I wouldn’t see any Mormons, but there were frequent JWs knocking on doors. They would often pull up in a big sedan and then work the neighborhood in what seemed to be strange and illogical patterns. I’d watch as they paired off as two sisters or in husband and wife teams.

Shortly after my wife and I moved here four years ago, we were visited by two JW sisters. They appeared to be in their mid-50s, and even though it was midwinter, they were nicely dressed. When they knocked, my wife answered the door. Never a Jehovah’s Witness, she quickly made it clear that she was not interested. Just before shutting the door, however, she suggested that “maybe my husband will talk to you.”

I went to the door and politely listened to their canned presentation, accepted their Watchtower and Awake! magazines, and even gave them a $1 donation. Getting that dollar bill would encourage them to mark me down for an eventual “go-back” or return visit.

As expected, within two weeks one of the sisters and her husband came to the door. I was in my office that looks out over the front lawn, and I watched as they drove up and parked in front of my house. They were driving a large American sedan. For some reason, they sat in the car for nearly twenty minutes. I could tell by the vapor coming out of the tailpipe, that they were sitting there with the engine running. I guessed they were going over their notes and planning their strategy. They finally left their car and walked up to my front door. I knew instinctively that this was the follow-up visit I’d been expecting.

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What happens after leaving the JWs?

By Joel Gunz

Editor’s Note: With his kind permission and great generosity, Joel Gunz, one of the principal organizers of Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses of Portland (OR), has agreed to let me republish some recent articles he has written for his blog. Joel presents his point of view in a manner that most former Jehovah’s Witnesses can easily understand and relate to. Please click the link at the end of the article to go to Joel’s blog. Here’s a link to the original article.

Now that I’ve left the Jehovah’s Witnesses, I’m frequently asked about what I believe now. Do I go to another church? (Not at this time.) Do I hate The Watchtower and Jehovah’s Witnesses? (No, I’m just very disappointed.) Do I celebrate Christmas? (Hell yes!) How do I feel about the Bible? (Inspired, at least in parts — as were the writings of the Buddha, Adyashanti and Bill W.)

Watchtower publications offer an answer for almost every question a person might have about religious doctrine, morals and conduct. For people who need that kind of direction (and there are many who do), they provide a valuable service. Yet, almost everyone I know who has left Jehovah’s Witnessism did so because they no longer needed that kind of religious micromanagement. They found that their (God-given) thinking abilities and common sense were adequate for guiding them as they went on to lead a successful post-Witness life.

They found that it was possible — actually, an improvement — to trade in the flawed certainty of religious fundamentalism for the exhilarating uncertainties that go along with creating from the ground up a life of their own choosing.

Jehovah’s Witnessism teaches that when you “turn your back on God’s organization,” it’s only a matter of time before you’ll become hooked on drugs, adopt a morally profligate lifestyle and contract H.I.V. or have some other disaster befall you. Here’s what, in most cases, actually happens:

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New additions to “Other JW Sites”

We’ve recently added several more web destinations as resources for ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses, current Witnesses, and other interested parties on our “Other JW Sites” directory page.

Three “official” Watchtower sites are now listed under “Pro-Watchtower.” These more or less lead you to the “horse’s mouth.” You might want to check them out, especially if you want to download and listen to Watchtower and Awake! magazines being read. These sites are not nearly as much fun as most of the other sites listed, but they are still publicly available for your reference.

To really learn what’s going on with the “Bethel Bunch,” be sure to take a look at our new category of “Scandals & Secrets.” If you thought being a normal day-to-day Jehovah’s Witness was bad, wait until you read what other JWs have had to live through – and the total lack of support that they’ve gotten from the Watchtower leadership. Some of this information will curl your hair – or make you sick to your stomach.

Along those same lines, check out the Canadian site, “Jehovah’s Witnesses Exposed,” in the “Watchtower History” category.

Just for fun, we’ve also added “JW Match,” a link to a commercial site that gets supposedly single Witnesses of all ages dates with other JWs. You might find it fun to mosey over and check out some of the ads – just to see who’s available and who’s out there looking. While you might soon grow tired of reading the same old “looking for someone who is as dedicated to Jehovah’s work as I am” intros, you still might want to check out the ads placed by hundreds of hot-to-trot JWs from across the USA. Most importantly for our many Witness friends (hundreds who visit our site frequently), you just might find someone to give your life some meaning beyond spending your Saturday nights highlighting answers in Watchtower magazines. That’s assuming that the really cute ones haven’t bailed out of the organization by the time you’ve had a chance to meet them.

All in all, I think you’ll find these sites well-worth a bit of your time.

The Truth shall set you free!

This website has a single purpose – to let the light shine on the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society and its followers known as Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Ex-JW.com will publish the truth about the history and the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses since their late 19th Century beginnings. We will expose the facts about their changing doctrines and teachings. We will also provide a history of Watchtower leaders and and organization.

Please go to our information page at About Ex-JW.com to read the rest of this introduction.

One thing we want to make clear: This site is not being published to attack Jehovah’s Witnesses as individuals or their families, past or present, but rather to expose a religious belief that has not only lied to its own followers, but in many ways has also damaged or destroyed their lives.

We realize that not every ex-JW has a painful story to tell. There are many current and former members who will say that they lived very happily growing up in JW families. Some will even admit that they enjoyed many of their years as Witnesses. We want provide a truly balanced and well documented description of what it is really like to be a Witness and share happy stories along with the sad.

One thing we also want to make clear: We do not hold ourselves up as the ultimate experts in every aspect of the Watchtower organization.  At the same time, we do know this religious movement even better than a majority of current and active JWs do.

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Welcome to Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses Online

Thanks for dropping by and checking us out. At the moment, we are completely revamping this website, but it should be up and running well by April 1, 2009.

Ex-JW.com will be your online resource for just about everything you would ever want to know about the Watchtower Society, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and former Jehovah’s Witnesses.

If you are, or have ever been associated with the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ organization, then you will want to visit here often. Here are just a few of the features that we plan to provide to our readers:

  • Directories to other Jehovah’s Witness websites
  • Lists of famous people and public figures connected to Jehovah’s Witnesses
  • Book reviews. Books written by and about Jehovah’s Witnesses
  • Historical and background information about the Watchtower Society
  • Direct links to books and products about Jehovah’s Witnesses
  • News updates and links about JWs and the Watchtower Society
  • Guest commentaries and opinion articles
  • Current gossip and behind the scenes information about JWs

Our goal is to provide you with a one-stop website that will point you to the best (and the worst) of information and news about Jehovah’s Witnesses, ex-JWs, and the Watchtower Society.

Check back often and be sure to subscribe to our RSS feed to keep up on anything new as it is published.

See you soon!