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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    To me, what always stuck out was that Jesus hung out for dinner and fun times with tax collectors, prostitutes, and other social "uncleanlies" in the eyes of the day's religious establishment, and not out of charity but because he actually seemed to enjoy being with them...
    This, I love.
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  2. #42
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    My older brother is a courier and he took my on his route yesterday and a few weeks ago. He's one of the people on a very short list that still wants to be around me. He says that as long as I don't feel the need to try to change his belief or anyone else’s he sees me as a no threat and has no problem hanging out with me.

    This is a refreshing attitude. He is being very reasonable in this respect. The rest of my family is at odds with me and my decision. Some think I need to feel the sting of my rebellion against god, so they cut me off from their association. Others feel that my ideas are a threat to their beliefs and stop association for that reason.

    I was talking to my brother about this yesterday. It perplexes me when people in these systems feel threatened by outside ideas. I was taught weekly growing up that if you developed relationship with people who "didn't love jehovah" you would eventually stop loving Jehovah as well.

    I think its telling that the bible uses the analogy of sheep to describe gods followers.

    What about human commitment and responsibility? Where do those factor in? I really believe that if you position yourself somewhere in a belief system you chose because you hold it to be right and true, NO ONE is going to lead you astray from that belief except yourself. If you have a commitment to god then other people's ideas are not a threat.

    I had another anxiety attack last night. Was up till about 2:00 AM sitting on my couch wanting to kill myself. I feel better now, but in the moment it's terrifying because the pull is so strong. I think I am going to try to lean on my older brother right now since he's so understanding right now.

  3. #43
    Senior Member Lightyear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabastious View Post
    What about human commitment and responsibility? Where do those factor in? I really believe that if you position yourself somewhere in a belief system you chose because you hold it to be right and true, NO ONE is going to lead you astray from that belief except yourself. If you have a commitment to god then other people's ideas are not a threat.
    That is very true.

    I am so saddened by this whole attitude of exclusivity that seems to exist in your community, that if you don't follow the rules you are out. I am wishing you all the best and I think you need a big

  4. #44
    Senior Member scortia's Avatar
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    I have JW friends. One of them married a Wiccan and her entire community shunned her. This cold-hearted sort of desertion of loved ones seems the least "Christ-like" thing I can imagine. My heart really goes out to you, because it is a rough place to be in when a strict belief structure means more than family. The lack of openness to accept outside ideas is just a horrible product of strongly-organized religion. Catholicism amongst the older generations is like that (my grandmother called me the devil when I admitted I wasn't a Catholic *didn't even mention I was no longer Christian*). Mormons are even less forgiving; I truly pity the lapsed Mormons still living in SLC, Utah.

    It's a painful break, but I'm sure you're aware you can't "pretend" to go back to the fold and feel truly happy in that situation. I'd say live your life as honorably as you can and maybe some day more ex-friends and family will have a change of heart. Otherwise, make new, open-minded friends who like and respect you for having your own thoughts and beliefs.

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by scortia View Post
    I have JW friends. One of them married a Wiccan and her entire community shunned her. This cold-hearted sort of desertion of loved ones seems the least "Christ-like" thing I can imagine. My heart really goes out to you, because it is a rough place to be in when a strict belief structure means more than family. The lack of openness to accept outside ideas is just a horrible product of strongly-organized religion. Catholicism amongst the older generations is like that (my grandmother called me the devil when I admitted I wasn't a Catholic *didn't even mention I was no longer Christian*). Mormons are even less forgiving; I truly pity the lapsed Mormons still living in SLC, Utah.

    It's a painful break, but I'm sure you're aware you can't "pretend" to go back to the fold and feel truly happy in that situation. I'd say live your life as honorably as you can and maybe some day more ex-friends and family will have a change of heart. Otherwise, make new, open-minded friends who like and respect you for having your own thoughts and beliefs.
    Thx for the reply. But I guess it's all water under the bridge since the world is ending in 2012 anyway.

    Bottoms up!

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabastious View Post
    I had another anxiety attack last night. Was up till about 2:00 AM sitting on my couch wanting to kill myself. I feel better now, but in the moment it's terrifying because the pull is so strong. I think I am going to try to lean on my older brother right now since he's so understanding right now.
    Hope you are doing okay.

    These sort of life transitions are intense. You're leaving behind everything you knew -- not just that, but everything you were taught (and reinforced) would bring you happiness and salvation -- and worse, you are having to go it mostly alone without any of your past support structure.

    At the time you are most in need to support and reassurance from people you know and love, they're pulling back from you and perhaps even shoving you out into the dark to face it alone... where you sort of have to fumble around in the black until you find your own way and the ground under your feet again.

    The anxiety -- even when it seems it wants to swallow you -- doesn't mean anything "special" or definitive about the quality of your life, it is just a natural reaction to a pretty terrifying situation. You're going to make it if you can get some people to lean on, and you will figure things out. Expect it to be scary a lot of the time, though, honestly. Just keep on holding on.

    I'm further away from the point in my life where I changed things, so a lot of my life has been brought "to heel" at this stage.. but some nights I still find it rough and struggle with what you mention. The thing is just that I still miss/grieve what I had, even while I fully understand that what I had wasn't what was best for me and not a place where I could have stayed, I was done there and needed to move on. It can take awhile for things to coalesce and the new structures to be in place to support you adequately.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  7. #47
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    The thing is just that I still miss/grieve what I had, even while I fully understand that what I had wasn't what was best for me and not a place where I could have stayed, I was done there and needed to move on. It can take awhile for things to coalesce and the new structures to be in place to support you adequately.
    Another very hard transition is the fact that, in essence, I have lost out on eternal life. It is because I don't believe it anymore, but I did truly believe it most of my life. Eternal life on a paradise earth is a hard to thing to lose.

    I remember staying up late and talking about how awesome the paradise earth would be. What crazy pets I would have like tigers and lions (because in the paradise of the bible animals wont have a fear of humans anymore). Fantasized about where I was going to travel, things like that... All gone. Because I dont think it's real anymore.

    I am still trying to find people from my old life that will accept me. There are three people that I called last night and invited them to go hiking. I know 2/3 of the people know that I have left the faith. They all happily agreed to go on the hike with me and my wife. They are some people I really care about and hope that I can keep a relationship with them.

    The problem is they are not going to be a support for me since they can't help me even if they wanted to, for fear of being "led astray" themselves.

    I'll let you guys know how this hike goes, I am looking forward to it.

  8. #48
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    Hey sabastious, how's it going? Did the hike turn out well?

    I understand about the loss you feel and the many parts that make up such a difficult transition. I still can't sleep or wake up with anxiety a lot, too ... and waste time on the Internet to put it out of my mind. To be honest, at the beginning of my transition, I felt so overwhelmed and full of loss that I didn't really think life was worth living at all. As I've continued through this journey, I've found new dreams, new fun things to think about, and most of all -- a new sense of wonder for the each moment.

    Things matter to me WAY more now than they ever did before, because this is probably my only chance -- my one shot -- to live life and live it well. Every color, every piece of food, every adventure of the day is something I can experience fully and not take for granted. It's been really cool to wake up to that view of life.

    To get through all of this difficulty, I've tried to look at it as a grieving process like any other, as if a friend had died or something. It definitely is a huge loss. I hope you will be gentle with yourself. Take care, and let us know how you are doing.
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