It probably seems odd I would post here, but there is a reason for doing so. Waking up to the realization that the faith I had been born into was not only a lie, but a cult, was incredibly difficult to accept. I know you all know exactly what that is like. Even though I was bombarded with indisputable facts, the programming to always believe, no matter what, and to view outside information as tricks of the devil, is SO powerful, that nearly a year later I still battle daily with those doubts.

Something that helped me, and continues to help me, however, was seeing the similarities between my religion and others I was certain were "false"- like Mormons, Christadelphians, and Adventists.

All "one true religions" share similar thought patterns and trigger words. Do you know I actually thought an apostate meant an ex-JW?! I didn't even know other religions used that word! Calling outsiders "worldly" or referring to the JW religion as "The Truth"...hearing those same phrases come from Mormons and others was shocking to me, and really, really important in coming to the understanding that my religion was not special. We didn't hold the sacred secret, we weren't chosen- we are just another cult following a power hungry man with God delusions.

I wanted to join your discussion, because I need to be reminded of that, daily. While I belong to several ex-JW pages, sometimes the rantings against the religion feel too personal, too bitter...and I start to waiver again, to wonder if I have let my own selfish, sinful thinking influence me away from the truth. So I read these postings here, and it hammers home again and again...if it looks like a cult, and it acts like a cult and it shuns like a cult...it's a cult.

I wrote a poem, and I hope maybe it might help some of you here who are struggling with those same feelings. I know the pain you feel at accepting your faith is also a lie is just as strong as ours. While some of the words in my poem are clearly reflective of JW doctrine, I think you will see the similarities. Thank you for letting me visit you here.
They call us fools, deluded, deceived
We have to be crazy, why else would we leave?

Some say we are lazy, that we just wanted out,
And that "internet lies" fostered our doubts.

But no matter our reasons, what we know now is the same.
"the Truth" isn't the truth, or we would have remained.

We cherished a future of peace in paradise
And we longed for the day when our dead loved ones would rise.

At times it was easy, for this hope to share
We raced door to door- we truly did care!

Sometimes, we trembled, but still did what we could.
We prayed for more faith, and preached just as we should.

Each week to the meetings, study and service
Where we were called undeserving, selfish & worthless

Still, we kept trying to keep our eyes on the prize
Only works would determine who lives, and who dies.

Preach with zeal! Be fearless!
We were constantly told.
So we prayed for more faith,
And the strength to be bold.

But alone with our thoughts,
We grappled with guilt
Each day a struggle
To maintain the facade we had built.

These perfect Christians
We pretended to be
Did it ever feel real,
To you, or to me?

The pain of pretending, caused some to lose hope.
Some chose a way out, with a gun or a rope.

Others blocked out the pain
With booze or with pills
And still tried to endure-
It's just a battle of wills.

And that's when it formed
The first little crack
We couldn't look past it
And we couldn't turn back.

For each it was different
The first waving red flag
Something heard on the news,
Or maybe said from the stage.

But still, we stayed loyal
It was just a matter of when
Jehovah would surely correct
These imperfect men.

But a crack that has opened
Can't truly heal
Facts kept falling in
But we still tried to deal.

These things that we learned
They couldn't be true.
Our publications could prove it
We certainly knew!

We dove into our bibles, Watchtowers and books
Dusted off old volumes
That had gathered in nooks.

We took notes, and we prayed
Studied so hard...
And finally, sought out the truth
From what we were barred.

Truth stands up to fire
No matter the source
Soon all was revealed
As a matter of course.

Half truths, blatant lies
False prophecies too
We could no longer deny it
"the Truth" wasn't true!

There aren't adequate words
To express how it felt
When we finally accepted
The hand we'd been dealt.

We were lied to, abused,
Promised a dream!
Our hopes are now shattered
Nothing was what it seemed.

Worse still was the knowledge
That we dare not tell
The people we loved
That they'd been lied to as well.

Doubts aren't allowed
Facts are called lies
Suspicions of such
Are reported by spies.

To speak now the truth
Meant risking it all
A mere hint of dissension
And our reputation would fall.

But the other option...
To keep silent, and try
To pretend not to care
That you are living a lie?

Faced with a choice
That can't ever feel right
Sell out our soul?
Or lose a fixed fight?

You say I seem bitter-
But who wouldn't be?
This religion has stolen
All that mattered to me.

Our faith has been shattered
Precious hope stripped away
Friends and family now shun us
That's the price we have paid.

You have the nerve to accuse,
Call this the "easy way out"
"YOU HAVE NO FUCKING CLUE!"
I want to scream and to shout!

I sought truth, kept integrity
Things this cult only fakes.
How dare you call ME
A lying apostate.

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Just realized I have a ton of typos, and can't find an edit button. Specifically, I misspelled Jehovah's Witness in the title! Please accept my apologies for my fat thumbs.

Thanks Miranda for sharing your story and your poem with us/me. I think you express the anger, confusion and disdain we all feel from being a part of a cult.

I loved your comparisons and you capture my feelings of frustration that I feel for people who are so sure they are right about their beliefs, and yet so clearly shrouded in stupidity. I hope you don't give in to temptation and go back. I offer my friendship as a stranger, which I promise is far better than your very best friend in a cult. While your ex-jw friends cling to their Watchtowers and shun you, please remember that I and many many others celebrate your intellectual freedom. I have so much peace now from not being a part of Mormonism. I hope you will find that same inner peace some day in your escape from a similar situation. 

Thanks King of Mormons, I appreciate it!

I could never go back if I wanted to- well, I could, but there would be no point. JW doctrine is that apostasy against them is unforgivable sin, so even if I convinced myself they were right after all, I and my family are doomed regardless.

I'm not worried about going back, or even necessarily deciding they were right after all. What I need is constant reminding of why they are NOT. Those teachings and fears have been such a huge part of my life since birth, and it is a constant battle every day to shove that fear and panic back down and recognize it for the ridiculousness that it is. Because I dont want to live the rest of my life choking on fear and self doubt, I have wasted the first half of my life as it is. And when those feelings overwhelm me, I start feeling suicidal, because I can't stand the fear, and I can't stand not knowing, and I am overwhelmed at trying to learn to be a "normal" person. It feels easier to give up, and if I did not have a family who needs me, I know I would give in to that temptation.

Which, when the religion you left makes you feel like killing yourself, that is a pretty good indicator right there that it is a cult, when you think about it.

Anyway, I hope my ex-JW experiences might be as valuable for some exiting Mormons, as yours were, and still are, for me.

One of these days I will write my story, perhaps if I ever get past the feeling that I invite God's wrath just by telling it.

So many mental hurdles we all have to get past, aren't there?

Thanks for sharing, you aren't the first JW to post here and I think I remember someone talking about a book called "I'm Perfect You're Doomed".  I hope I have that right but it was I think both a story of an exit and a humorous look at someone's departure from being a JW. I always intended to read it, but never did.

A lot of your story sounds familiar.  I realized Mormonism (second m silent) was almost certainly false when I realized that my prayers had never been answered, the holy ghost had never helped me, and my "inspired" leaders had never helped me.  I still had a very small lingering thought that just maybe satan was deceiving me.

But after reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, and listening to his lectures on Evolution, I had no more worries.  I knew all religions were false.  

Welcome and thanks for sharing your story!  It's amazing how similar and yet how untrue both our past religions are.  

Hi Miranda,
I´m so glad I came across your post today. A friend of mine is in the process of leaving the JW too. It is a living nightmare and I feel very much affected by it all. There are indeed so many similarities to Mormonism. I am so sorry you are facing the horrible side-effects that go along with an exit. It sounds like you reflect deeply upon all of this. I think people with such backgrounds can get out of this okay,...wounded but with the chance of a good life. Each day step by step. The daily fight is the prize of freedom...sadly. I hope the posts in this community help you in being reminded daily that you are enough the way you are. Can´t wait to share this post of yours with my friend. Thanks and welcome!

That is a beautiful poem!! Those are many of the same feelings I've felt when leaving the LDS church. It is sad when loved ones do not see through all this. Although, I was once a true believer. Being on the outside can be extremely difficult but the freedom of the truth is what is important. Have you heard of Steve Hassan? He left a cult (the moonies) and wrote some books about exiting and what ex cult members have to go through in reestablishing their identity, life, etc.

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