My youtube videos on Jehovah’s Witnesses, and this one in particular, receive quite a few views. One of my viewers is named “Lightfly2013.” We have had quite a bit of communication between us.
Lightfly2013 is an ex-JW who described herself at one time as being “devout” and totally committed to the organization. The story of her escape from the Watchtower is a remarkable one.
Lightfly2013 was asked by another viewer, “ckelcro,” this question:
“I’m 28 and on the fence been raised on this “doctrine” my whole life. my mom uses emotional blackmail at times, especially when I expressed desires to move out of the house. any advice for me?”
“First off let me ask you, are you happy with your life? Do you feel depressed at times, or is everything kosher? If you can’t answer that it is, are you to blame? Are you following everything the Society tells you and things in your life are still not working out for you? If you answered yes to any of the following questions my advice to you is:
“Get your money together and get out of that house. Same thing happened to me at 30, at the time I lived in NYC and it cost me $4000 to get an apartment there so I could get out of my parents house, it won’t cost that much anywhere else in the country. I stopped attending regularly even before I moved out, I couldn’t stomach the hypocrisy that was going on in my hall and my parents struggled with it too but kept going, it wasn’t until I moved that I started doing my research on the beginning of Charles Taze Russell – I was not fully awake at this time – and I was shocked. I started going back to the meetings, kept seeing more wrong – including covered up pedophilia in at least 3 congregations over the years I attended – I kept doing more research and found out the entire religion is a sham.
“I was never DF or reproved, I was a high hour publisher (at least 15 hours a month), I brought one person to the point of baptism, I preached to my coworkers, schoolmates, I really believed it was the truth because that’s all I know since age 10. Even when I left, the elders hounded me because they were shocked I stopped going, my attendance was always regular until 6 months before I stopped and walked out. I was not kicked out, I did not formally DA, I simply walked out and never looked back – that was almost 3 years ago. Time flies!
“When you do your research you will see it was a small cult started from the beginning and keep doing more research you will find the Watchtower is still tied to membership with the UN (this was a huge shocker for me I even called Bethel and had some elder try to explain that it was for a library card for 45 minutes. I asked him why would Jehovah needs Satan’s library and he had no answer). They are involved in real estate investments, hedge funds, it is nothing more than a scam real estate conglomerate fronting as the truth.
“I was so hurt and depressed for months, I had insomnia, but when I finally faced the facts my life got a lot better. I am back in school working on a master’s degree, I got married – met a great worldly man despite what they say – I look brighter, my finances have improved everything got better not worse.
“If you don’t do your research, your mom and the elders can emotionally blackmail you with fear, but when you do your research – stick to their old publications – research Charles Taze Russel and Rutherford, the blood doctrine, Johannes Greber and the New World Translation, look up the pedophilia cases in the courts – don’t just rely on news accounts go into the California Appellate court, use the media sources to find out the court case names then look it up on LexisNexis/Westlaw. You will see who is lying about whether the prevalence of pedophilia is a lie or not.
“When you break free from the fear and realize you are being played like a deck of cards, you will be able to live your life. If you don’t and stay under Watchtower mind control, you will never be happy.
“Is it the truth despite imperfect men? Why Why are so many JWs depressed and look miserable? Why are elder’s wives and pioneers so mean and cliquish to others in the hall? Why is the Governing Body asking for money if Jehovah blesses everything all the time? Why if the Society owns buildings are there deficits of up to $20,000 every weekend at conventions? Why are Bethelites being sent home when they were told to forgo University and join Bethel as it was the best course of life? Why is the Society laying off these Bethelites no different than a major corporation that needs to cut costs for its shareholders?
“Why is the end getting pushed further and further out? Why are there so many publications all the time, why are new books constantly printed for us to study when the Bible has not changed in over 2000 years. Has the Watchtower been accused of plagiarism? Why did the Faithful & Discreet Slave change from the 144K to GB? Please ask yourself these questions! Do NOT be afraid to ask the questions that are deep in your mind. Did not Lot challenge God’s directly? Did not Moses inquire and have doubts? Why is it is said that a JW has to immediately discard doubts then? Huh??????
“Look up the clinical definition of mind control – – also look up the worldly source definition of cult – not Watchtower’s simple explanation of a group of people following one man, that is not the full definition of a cult – you will see what is really going on. Your mother doesn’t know any better but if she is going to harm you through emotional black mail you need to get away from her. Get your finances in order and get out of that house!
“That is my advice to you, I wish you the best. We have all been misled and spiritually abused. This religion is not the truth, get your health together and get into the world – it is a great place! They lie and scare the hell out of JWs so they can never live, just give money to the Watchtower and stay under that mind control. Best to you, please keep me posted on what happens to you!”
ckelcro wrote back and thanked Lightfly2013:
“Lightfly I have to tell you thank you for your words of encouragement. I never thought I’d get such a heartfelt and deep response. I tried posting it somewhere else before but my replies that I got were less than helpful. I was close to moving out this year, but my mom pulled the emotional blackmail card saying it would really hurt my dad that has heart problems. even went so far as to involving my aunt in all of it.”
Lightfly2013 then posted this:
“OMG girl, my dad too has heart problems, actually had 3 heart attacks – mostly from my lovely mother and the elders! They have stressed him out so badly over the years and this was a confirmed fact, yet somehow I was to blame.
“It all started out with simple questions I had. The elders would not answer, my parents would not answer and it built and built up. I never intended to leave the organization. That was not my intent. But in all honestly it started out with fatigue. I worked FT, was a single sister had no help and had to carry half of the rent even though I lived at home plus cable and electric bills. So I would get home and be so exhausted to go to meetings. Most of the time I would run from work, not even grab a bite or shower and change my clothes and run to the hall. I got so tired of this, so towards the last 6-moths to 1 year at least once a month I would stay home on a Theocratic Ministry School night (now its called something different, right?) and I would shower, get something to eat and actually do personal study so I wasn’t just chilling at home.
“I really wanted to go but by the time I would get home it would be 10:30pm and I would have to prepare for work the next day. It was too much! Plus our hall had alot of crazy ones so I would go to be encouraged only to come home feeling upset with some careless thought someone said to me. I felt like I always tried to upbuild the “friends” but no one ever upbuilt me. I was in the process of trying to move out and look for a new hall when my questions about our origins bothered me. And I never thought about who started the JWs until the Watchtower put out that Faith In Action DVD – it did not sit well with me. And we had to watch it in 2012 for the meeting that night. That’s what did it for me! The Watchtower’s own publications.
“I could go on and on, but I tried my best as JW. I did not live a double life, I was heartfelt 100% about it. I felt like my family life was also problematic though, we’d put on a good face at the hall but get home and my lovely pioneer mother would pick fights with me or my dad. I actually felt very guilty moving out and leaving him with her because she would go in on him then all the time, I was not there as a buffer to protect him from her attacks. But when she showed up at the meetings she was the exemplary pioneer mother and elder’s wife. Insane!
“Not only that but the JW routine, my being single despite not seeing any eligible brothers, the Society’s stance on higher education really bothered me and I thought it was bad advice. So much, but I tried my best as a JW. I tried to be happy, but I saw the hypocrisy within and it made me feel depressed, despite studying more, attending meetings and service, I did not feel fulfilled, rather I felt DRAINED!
“So I ask you if you are not happy despite doing everything you are recommended to do, ask yourself why you feel unhappy. Is it because of going to the meetings? Once I stopped my happiness increased. That’s when I knew it was not me.
“Just stay positive and no matter what do your research. I would stick to the Society’s publications 100% read the Proclaimer’s book. Look up the former beleifs in pyramidology. What does that mean. You will find the same answers millions who used to attend meetings did and more.
“Just know you are not alone in being on the fence.
“The thing was I was not even on the fence, I was a DEVOUT JW who would defend our organization. Once I watched that Faith in Action vid and then did research in the old publications I went from one week being a JW to wrapping up shop two weeks later. If you feel something is wrong which is why you are on the fence, it probably is!
“And know it is not you! Despite what the publications say. You will see they are designed to instill guilt all the time. Very unhealthy abusive coercion.”
“Wow lightfly, sorry for the late reply. Your situation is similar to mine I also pay the rent, before I was paying all of it, all $1200 of it with the excuse that my mom was gonna pay my expenses, her words. After awhile though I was doing my calculations and there was no way that I was spending that much monthly so it was a battle but I dropped it down to $800 then dropped it further to $600.
“When I expressed my desires to move out my mom cried. yes she cried and basically it was a full guilt trip for that whole week. I was close I had already found a good place paying the same amount as I was at home. I wasn’t fully into it like you were but I did defend it when I had to. I had a major influence from the “outside” that she was a great friend to me a shy 22 year old guy. I had no friends in the Kingdom Hall and wasn’t really invited to the gatherings for young people that they would do so I felt like an outcast that way. I always found more friendship on the outside, they were good people not the “demons” they they tell us in Org. That was a major catalyst in my starting to pull a bit.”
“Yup, I found the same thing too, I felt like worldly people were less complicated than JWs. If you want to hang out, they hang out. JWs you have to be in this clique and that one doesn’t like you, and this friend over here and if you are single, the married couples don’t want to be around you. OR they might try to setup one of their single friends with you it becomes weird.
“Yes, I too was paying $1200 when I lived at home, LOL!!! How ironic and that’s not counting the cable and internet and electricity bills. At times my mom would come and say, “well this month I can only give X amount of dollars” and I wasn’t expecting it so I had to run around with maybe $20 of my own money until my next paycheck. My dad had health issues and was not working, both retired at the time collecting SS that was not enough. The thing is the apartment lease was in my name. Why? Because of the toxic Watchtower propoganda that the end is just around the corner.
” JWs become complacent and give up their will to live, they don’t want to go to college, work or save money because they think it is coming “soon.” So they waste their time or develop bad credit habits. Then they become desperate and have to start “using” people — especially those closest to them their children or other JW family members. They don’t want nonJWs to know so they “keep it in the family so to speak.” If I don’t know better I would think that is what is happening to your family.
“Before my family got involved with JWs both of my parents were well to do college grads with lots of money. Over the years their health has declined, they have depression although trying to hide it and no money! I know the depression comes from the cognitive dissonance they see with things not adding up inside the KH, the end not coming, all the constant changes. They would be in much better health and could still work if they were not JWs. They destroyed their credit and thought they could always turn to me for help, that’s why it benefited them to keep me at home. So many things about their behavior and my comparing it to how things were before we became JWs when I was 10 started to wake me up.
“You see it all over the place and all the talks at Conventions about “signing contracts” and the bad business deals gone wrong in congregations have to do with the toxic mindset. JWs rarely take loans or business dealings seriously because they think the end is coming. So they had no intentions of paying it back anyway.
“When you look around the mentality is all over the place. Scary!”
“more similarities now, I’ve recently been paying the cable cause she wanted to cancel it but I was like no I’ll pay it cause if there’s no TV it would be even more of a Bible study. From disobeying their so called no being in chat lines I’ve met some great people and one of my greatest friends, we haven’t met but I want to. but we talk about everything with her, she doesn’t judge me or stupid stuff like when you’re in the org that you’re judged all the time. I never thought of the credit situation in the way you mentioned it but it does make sense, right now they’re not over spenders but that’s because I’m also on top of things. I’ve learned to be financially responsible by myself. My first smartphone I bought it by myself and without telling them I told them after I knew they would have talked me out of having one.”
“Good for you! If you are young I would encourage you to go to school. Even if its for a 2-year degree, you can finish the remaining years another time. But get out of that house, work and save your money, find something you are interested in that will make money.
“The Watchtower does not tell the truth. And look just a few years ago I knew ones who turned down fully paid scholarships. One brother got accepted to MIT!!!!! And turned it down full ride and he went to do temporary work in Southern Africa – when he came back I saw he was real strange, I think reality hit him what he did. Don’t listen to the Governing Body, they have their asses practically wiped every morning. They have maids, chauffeurs, cooks, their clothes are pressed, they don’t wash, clean nothing that everyday JWs have to do. Many of them don’t have kids! Would you listen to a person who doesn’t have kids if you did to tell you up and down what you need to do as a parent?
“They are totally out of touch. But telling JWs not to go to school has nothing to do with being concerned about worldly contact. JWs get that in Kindergarden through HS. They are worried your brain will open up and you will begin to reason, research and ask for proof. When you turn in assignments in college, you have to cite everything you researched and can’t just go on a whim. So they have seen the stats on JWs who go to school and don’t come back to the hall.
“Its all about control. But if a person is happy being a JW, I say stay. But if you see your life is falling apart, is it because of Watchtowrer’s bad advice? Don’t go to college, wash windows, don’t accept that job promotion!
“Please keep me posted with what you do, I am amazed at the similarities!!!!
“I wish you nothing but the best. If you have questions or just want to hit me up to chat please do. Its not easy when you see the golden watchtower you have been told has all the answers to your problems as a child…doesn’t as an adult.
“wait what? they have all that? where did you find that out? and yes I’ll be moving out and on from this all I’m pooling my money together and getting rid of some bills. thank you again for all your help it’s different hearing from a former JW that has left and gone through the same things I’ve gone through.
“Of course they have all that. I know because I used to frequent Bethel alot – lived in NYC for years. Whenever my family had guests visit NYC my sister and I used to take them over the Bethel and we would do tours. Because we had Bethelites in our congregations we were able to get invited with our guests to a Bethel lunch with the other Bethelites. The Bethelites in the congregation will tell you that. This brother said he was a chauffeur for the GB – you meet those here and there and over the years start piecing together what they have that other Bethelites don’t and especially other JWs don’t have.
“I met Freddy Franz in 1992 3 weeks before he died. I will never forget that day, it was like meeting the pope and I was a preteen. What I recall was the room he had – it was HUGE and high ceilings in a different wing from where other Bethelites lived. It was not the average shoe box the other Bethelites had.
“They absolutely have maids and chefs. What do you think they eat when the dining hall is closed. These men live like rock stars – don’t be deceived. They are no different that the Vatican Popes!
“The power of suggestion is unreal, just say something enough and over and over and people will believe. That’s what’s happens to JWs.
“it feels like just yesterday I was sitting in a hall. 3 years goes by fast. And I never thought I would ever be an exJW. NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS!!!!!!!! I believed it was the truuuuth!
I posted this because I feel Lightfly2013’s responses are excellent, heartfelt and powerful. I hope her journey will resonate with many of my JW readers and help in opening many blind eyes.