It’s been a few months since I’ve written a new post here. I started the blog in September of 2010 while I was in the midst of a spiritual crisis and had only recently learned The Truth About The Truth. (TTATT) I wrote something nearly every day for quite a while. I felt that I needed to do it. I had to get it off my chest and figure it all out!1 But now nearly four years later some three months have passed and nothing new has been published on the blog until today. Be assured I am doing well and am not laying in a ditch somewhere. In fact I’m doing better all the time; so much so that I am following the crazy world of Watchtower less and less these days. I no longer compulsively download and skim all the Watchtower Magazines off their official website JW.org. Nor can I even hope keep up anymore with the amazing array of videos found on YouTube and Vimeo about the Jehovah’s Witness religion and the impressions of the thousands of disillusioned members. That’s part of the arc that many of us that escape cult-like groups travel; there’s nothing wrong with a declining interest in the religion we have escaped, rather it is a sign of a healthy recovery. A psychologist gave a lecture at my place of work a couple months ago and he talked about cognitive dissonance, a term that many of us are quite familiar with. After his lecture I told him a brief version of my story, and he was quite positive in his comments. As a parting word he reminded me that its “only been a few years” since I got out of a high control group and that I needed to continue to work on deprogramming myself. This was good advice in my mind and I appreciated the admonition to keep working on my clarity and critical thinking.
Before I go on I would like to talk about what I mean when I say “Follow Your Arc”. It is a phrase that I used quite a while ago here on the blog and also in an online video on this topic.2 It is not an often used expression in fact after doing several internet searches I found that it can’t really be found as a commonly used phrase at all. Perhaps it is because our situation is so unique in how we have escaped a mind-controlling cult. At any rate “following your arc” to me means that we all have a natural progression and evolution to our minds when it pertains to emotional and spiritual maturity. This path is not necessarily a straight line, but it is also not a meandering, backwards-traveling journey either. The definition or the word “arc” is helpful to describe this:
Since an arc is a part of the circle that describes our life, and the part of our life that begins when we leave the Jehovah’s Witness mindset and culture it is therefore an important section encompassing our personal growth and movement towards fulfillment.
So there’s several reasons why I haven’t posted on JWStruggle.com for awhile. I have a fulltime job, children, etc. But in the end the reasons why don’t really even matter. Folks don’t want excuses; they just want new articles! And that’s okay, as I like reading new articles myself and the internet is full of new and old cult escapees, writing and blogging and making webcam videos talking about their experiences and feelings after leaving. Getting feedback and hearing the many amazing stories of the people that have escaped Watchtower like me and so many others is quite gratifying. That’s been a focus of mine on my video channel a lot lately. So many great stories to be told, and so little time!3
As a result I have been learning more about myself lately, and the arc that I’m personally traveling. I feel that God has a plan for me and he has a plan for you. And we have the free will to decide if we want to go along with it or if we just flat out want to go another route. Jesus said this in John 8:32:
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
As we travel that arc out of Watchtower, we figure out what out these truths are to us. Recently when my children and I went to a local church service I realized something significant to me I would like to relate. The music service before the main sermon was lovely and heartfelt, with a gifted band of men and women playing violin, acoustic and electric guitar, piano and drums. It was uplifting to me and many of the several hundred other folks in attendance by the looks of many. The Pastor’s sermon after that was positive and he was friendly and joyful in his delivery. It was easily comparable to a typical circuit overseer talk given when I was still a Kingdom Hall attender. (Although I did not have to dress up in an uncomfortable suit and tie!) He used humor quite well, and kept the attention of the audience as he covered material about the story of Moses and the Israelites. While listening to the sermon I couldn’t help but think about all the times that I heard similar coverage of this account when I attended the Kingdom Hall or when I prepared the many parts that I had delivered over the years that I was a Ministerial servant and an elder.4 Was I there that morning at church out of compulsion? Not in the slightest. Was I there for appearances? Not even a little. This struck me quite a bit, because it is such a stark contrast to my years attending the JW meetings! Countless times I was there out of guilt, compulsion, appearances, obligation, etc. Now I attend when I want to. Sometimes the family just takes a picnic or a hike and talks about God, creation, nature, science and other important topics along the way. We may read a section of scripture as well. But the beauty is that we do it purely when we want to. There is no fear of death at Armageddon, no worry about what the other publishers or the Elders will say. That is true freedom!
Maintaining a blog serves a purpose
Which brings us back to this blog and why I started it. As mentioned at the beginning of the article this place was started by myself for a reason. It was personal therapy, journaling, my way of coping with the crumbling faith of a religious deception I had fallen prey to. Helping others came later. It has been a wonderful experience and I am so blessed to have been able to meet such great folks from all over the world and make an impact and difference in these good people’s lives! In the three months since I have not written an article on the JWStruggle blog I have published about 12 new online videos, which have received about 40,000 views.
I made these videos because I wanted to help myself and others continue to work out the JW.org cobwebs from our minds. I didn’t make them because I had too. And that is very gratifying section of “following my arc”. Will I still be making these videos ten years from now? Or even four or five? I feel in my heart no. Will I still have a burning need to write blog articles at that time as well? I don’t know. But for now I’m still going strong, as I can and have the need and desire; and that too is part of my personal arc.