The following e-mail messages represent the entire response of the Jesus-Witnesses e-mail list regarding the question:

"I am REALLY INTERESTED in knowing how many of you feel that life is getting
better for you nowadays, and not worse?"
Randy Watters

Dear Randy,

Since I was DFd forty years ago the unpleasantness has faded into the past.
Life has had its ups and downs but very rewarding in terms of seeking and
finding a "spiritual home".

I can say that the first ten years after leaving the JWs I felt real pity for
the rest of my family that continued to follow the JW drivel. They certainly
were unhappy in their disfunctionality, incest, disunity,etc. while I got my
education, married and started a wonderful family. In the past ten years, over
75% of them have left the JWs, become inactive or have been DFd. Those that
have seem to be having much more happy lives, although, I think longterm affect
of the STBTS atmosphere has made permanent marks on all my neices and nephews.
At least the link has been broken and their kids seem to be better off by far
emotionally and otherwise.

Tod Jones in Haifa

Well Randy, for many years after leaving the JWs, my life got a lot worse. I
believe this was, at least in part, because I was conditioned into believing
that life *would* get worse if I left. I think the term is "self-fulfilling
prophecy". You know the kind of stuff I mean - things like "It will be worse
for those who have known the 'truth' than those who haven't"
Things have improved markedly over the past decade as I've gradually rooted
out my "cancer of the soul" and started getting to grips with my deeper lying
internal problems. Also, it's nice these days not to see an economic
recession or a war as being the build up to my everlasting destruction at
god's hands.
I've been away from that religion (cult?) near on a quarter century. It took
a long time to get to grips with my mortality and imperfections.
I believe that it is more difficult to "strip off the old personality:-)" when
it has been conditioned from an early age (I was 5 when my parents joined)
I was never an adlt JW so comparisons are difficult for me to make but I would
say that, in general, life is better now.


Watchout Randy!!
You know what "REALLY INTERESTED" means to a JW!
They will come knocking at you door.
But to answer the question....Life is really wonderful now that the Albatross
has disapeared. I really mean it. I now can enjoy life. I can do what I
want to do without feeling guilty. I am so thankful that in my mind I can
feel that I know who Jesus is and I can appreciate what He did for me.
I am looking forward to retireing in two years without having to feel that I
have to serve "Jehovah". Organization, that is.
Freedom is Wonderful!!!

When I first got booted out I was devastated to say the least.

Then, just as I was about to make my move for re-instatement Jehovah God
IMHO directed me to Ray Franz' 2 books which in turn led me to more
investigation on the Internet and did I ever have an awakening.

The last meeting that I attended, the WT study was extolling the virtues
of the past WT presidents.

They touched on them all from Russell to present and I tell you, it was
all I could do to restrain myself from breaking out in loud laughter but
then all of a sudden my stomach said (reverse gears) and a hugh burst of
gag watch overwhelmed me and I had to leave.

Needless to say I will never go for a curio visit again.

Enough of my prattling Dogz, in answer to your question I HAVE NEVER

And that includes me pre P.O.W days when I was searching and thought
that I had finally found "The Truth". Now however, even though I do not
still have the full "Truth" I am miles and miles closer to it.
Especially since my release from the oppressive, mind controlling WT

In GOD'S love

Orville Weir

I feel freer! Everyday when I take my kids to school/daycare, I see the
JWs out doing street corner work and looking tired and miserable. But
they think that they must do this to get in God's favor. I like knowing
that that used to be me, but now I don't have to worry about bothering
people in all kinds of weather because I am trying to earn my way into
God's kingdom. I am no longer really tense on certain days that used to
be meeting nights (I don't have to worry about changing and freshening
me and the girls up....or hoping that they won't cut up at the meetings
since I know that they are tired). Now, instead of feeling inferior to
zealous Witnesses, I feel pity for them. And one more
thing.......sleeping in on the weekends is great!
Have a positive and productive day, and never let 'em see
ya sweat!-Tonia

Hi Randy ...

I had to respond to this question ... I read all of the e-mails in here (and
Philia) every day, and see the struggles that some are having. It's a tough
row to hoe some days when you've just left or been DFd, but I, for one, must
say that my life is better now than it has ever been.

I spent the better part of my 24 years in the org. feeling guilty about not
"measuring up" or doing all that I could be doing in service, etc. etc. I
always felt that I was missing out on life, but never questioned the teachings
at all. Maybe I just didn't care one way or the other ... hard to say. I was
DFd in 1993.

Since that time, I have experienced life, dealt with losing my JW family for
the most part, researched the history of the org. (with the help of the web
sites and these forums), and found a wonderful man who has opened my eyes and
my mind to things that I had never considered, and who appreciates my
independence, opinions, and my brain, too ... such a difference from days gone

I truly must say that this is the happiest I have ever been in all of my 38


I'm not really sure if the question applied to me, also, but I'll respond
I ALWAYS feel better off, now that I am not a JW.
I'm not at all saying that life is one big bowl of cherries, or that I
walk around with a big grin on my face.
I am in college now, and for that I am better off. Being a JW almost cost
me any chance of a solid education.
Somedays are hard, though. I see families that are normal, have always
been normal, and I get a little jealous. I think about what a small
chance that it was, out of everyone in the world, I was part of the .01%
that was born in a JW family. On my not so belligerant days, I miss my
mom and my brothers and old friends.
But on the brighter side, Christmas isn't nearly as costly!!
I've gone through a whole range of emotions since becoming a part of this
list. I had thought that my therapy was over, and that I had sorted
through all of my JW feelings, but I find myself faced with things here
in this forum that make me know that my journey is in no way complete.
I don't always show this, but I appreciate you all. It's funny, I've
never laid eyes on any of you, but I have pictures of you in my mind,
sitting there typing away at your keyboards, sometimes laughing out loud
at crazy posts, and maybe even shedding a tear every now and then.
Damn...I feel all fuzzy inside.

I think my life has cleared; all that money I paid Hubbard had
to do something...

But, seriously, I feel that I'm no longer wallowing in that trough
of misery and guilt that the Watchtower tries to clamp onto me.
I don't need to run out and grab a Watchtower or Awake magazine
to keep track of how the Governing Body is "pulling another fast
one"--that's a given with anything they do. I don't feel left
out when my relatives call to "brag" about the district conventions
and new literature, anymore.

I've found that by broadening my horizons and focusing less on
what the Watchtower did to me and discovering more things about
myself--I like reading; I like Shakespeare, if anyone didn't
notice my MacBeth posting; I like plays; I like movies; I like
walks on the beach; I like comedy--warped, raunchy and weird;
and I like reading and watching scientific shows without some
JDub sitting beside me grunting and ranting about how "they
got that wrong" and "they don't read their Bibles"; I can just
watch National Geographic and Discovery Channel and read Discover
magazine and wonder at how God grandly designed the steps of
Creation over "a wink of his eye" but millions and millions
of years to us--starting with single cells then moving on to
us complex creatures.

I can thrill to a sunset; I can just watch it; I don't have to
worry about how I can turn this emotion into a selling point
for some arnery householder at the door! I can meet so many
different people and exchange ideas and thoughts and opinions
without having to manipulate the conversation into a conversion
attempt--like some freakish Amway distributor.

I LOVE LIFE!!! I love life and appreciate it more than I ever
did as a dotting-the-I's-and-crossing-the-T's JDub.

Yes, I share my past pains and anguishes but I don't want to
stay trapped in it! I'm not going to put those guys in Brooklyn
in my pilot's seat--they're not even on the plane! they're not
even on my boat, in my car or on the backseat of my Harley!


FREE AT LAST, thank God Almighty! FREE AT LAST!!


Absolutely, without a doubt, my life is getting better.
Yes, I spent about a decade feeling lost after leaving the WTBS but,
thankfully, even through my mental haze I was able to make wise decisions. I
went to college and got my degree and have a decent career. I beat the odds
and DID NOT marry a man who was just like my father and I am raising children
in a manner that is very different from the way that their mother was raised.
It is only the past few years that I really realize how lucky I am.

Having a heart attack last year at 40 was a bummer but I can even see good in
It has taught me that it is just not worth sweating the small things. And, I
am finally able to theorize about all the spiritual possibilites that exist
out there and not be locked into one dogmatic way of thinking.

Let's celebrate!


Well...I hope I dont get too carried away here :) Those of you who have had
to deal with me for the last year since I DAd know how insane I was at first.
And it WAS a form of insanity...I was out of control, crying, screaming,
tearing up literature, threatening my husband and just so full of anger after
reading Crisis that I was bearly able to contain myself. I was as bad coming
out of the Dubs as I had been initially when I came in....beating everyone I
knew over the head with my new found TRUTH like a self righteous maniac. My
fleshly family cut me off when I was a Dub because they couldnt take it any
more from me...and in retrospect I certainly dont blame them. I spent almost
four years away from my loving family for this THING...and it gave me lots of
time to look around me at what I had given them up for....and in that time, I
discovered the internet and SEARCH ENGINES :) And consequently found Randy
and Jim P, and Jan and David....and all the other beautiful souls who have put
information in here for us....and saved us. And after I read C of C...I
wrote my DA letter within the week and began my recovery...which has been
rough but well worth the trip. Very much like coming off of drugs or alcohol
or any other thing that you get addicted to. There is a withdrawal process.

Over a year later, and after having experienced my first Christmas with my
children, I am calmer and much more in control. My husband and I ironically
are much closer than we used to be even though he is still a Dub. He has
heard an earful from me over the last year and I am sure that even though he
is still technically "in", he is taking a very long look at this religion. He
has not gone to a meeting in weeks, including the "Special Talk". Has not
gone to a convention in two years. Has gone out in service only once in the
last year and a half. His bookbag was stolen out of the car last Oct and he
never replaced it nor the contents. The magazines coming to the house expired
and he never renewed them over 6 months ago. The elders call and he does not
return their calls. But every once in awhile he will stick by the old guns
and do things like not toast that newlywed couple or not go to his brothers
house for a party because it "might" be a birthday he's really in a
bad spot. He went to his company christmas party and stayed for 5 hours. He
went to his Dads house for Christmas day to see his Florida family, but then
disappeared while we opened about cognitive dissonance...I
ache for what he is going through.

I have undergone a personal change in that my opinion of the Dubs themselves
waxes and wanes but I am leaning heavily these days towards compassion, pity
and love for them. I am trying to love my husband more and I dont mention the
Dubs to the kids unless they ask (like "Are we going to the Memorial Mom?")
And in doing so, my marriage is stronger now than ever. We are celebrating
our 11th anniversary tomorrow and I love him more each day. The JWs are a
burden that he has to bear and it weighs heavily on him every day. But he is
where we all once were and when he is ready to reach out his hand to me and
ask for help...I will be here when all that he has put faith in rejects him. life is immeasurably better even though I have not "moved" anywhere
in it...the quality of life is incredible. I still work at home, I still have
not had a vacation in five years, I'm still overweight and hate to exercise :)
....but every Saturday morning that I awake and make the coffee, and hear the
birds singing and smell freshly cut grass and hear the kids playing freely
outside....I thank God with such intensity, mentally hugging Him so hard, it
takes His breath away. And He and I are closer now than the last 43 years of
my life even those 13 years when I was supposedly "spiritual." I never
truly knew what it meant before now.

I highly recommend it for those of you still debating whether to leave...and
we are here for you.

Loves :)

Thank you "Loves", it's always worth it to for you to get carried
away..:) I think you could write about anything and it would be worth
reading. But following the happenings in your family is especially
interesting and benificial for others here--to be able to see the stages
we go through, coming into and get out of the WTS's control of our


This one is difficult to answer from my perspective of being inactive but still not able to dissapear or DA because of wife (absolutely unsympathetic) and extended family, all still solidly in. In spite of my precarious position and obvious marital difficulties arising from this, I'm already feeling the beginnings of how an unshackled mind feels: Like coming out of a cave after 28 years and seeing the whole beautiful world spread before me. Trouble is, I'm still stuck at the mouth of the cave, neither here nor there, but I can at least breathe the air of freedom and relate to all kinds of folks without that invisible Watchtower wall between us. Having my free time to myself feels wonderful, as well as utilizing the services of the local YMCA without a qualm of conscience is definitely benefitting my health. I would like to stress that this transition has been much,much easier than it would have been without the Net and services like this.

Spock (RiverRatte)

Everyday since leaving the W.,has been a cause of rejoicing.
When I see publishers going door to door-I rejoice.,because I'm not
feeling guilty anymore

When I see the KH's parking lots with cars across the country. I
rejoice..because I'm not there

When I see the W. and Awake magazines in a doctors waiting room I
rejoice. Because I no longer feel the need to be brainwashed.

And last,but not the least.,When I drive by a park and see kids playing
ball and family members watching, I feel regret-that my own children
wern't allowed to function normally,but then I rejoice.,because my
grandkids are functioning normally.

Judy Kroll

I'm glad to see a lot of familiar names in my inbox again, and I am even
more happy to see all of the new ones. This list was greatly responsible
for me reaching a point where I could honestly say to myself that the way I
was taught to worship as a JW (from age 4-16) was not the right way, and
ever since I reached that point, my life has gotten better from a spiritual
standpoint in that I have been relieved of the burden of wondering "what if
they were right?". I was thrown out of my parents home at 16 because I
rebelled against the religion, and I spent a few years without any desire
for any type of relationship with God. Although my spirituality was not
important to me, I was still convinced that the only way to gain God's
favor would be to return to "the truth". Even when I came to a time in my
life where I wanted to re-establish a relationship with my creator, I tried
quite a few different churches/religions but still, in my mind, I had to
return to the JW's to truly gain God's favor. I went so far as to begin
studying with an old friend who I had grown up with. Ironically enough,
this was also the only other kid in the congregation who was also into
computers, and since when I started studying with him I was still working
on my old TRS-80 (an antique) and he worked with computers, he hooked me up
with an old 386 dirt cheap and off on to the "new" internet (as opposed to
the old BBS's we used to log in to at 4800BAUD) I went.

One of the first things I did (after downloading some porn <JK>) was type
Jehovah's witnesses into AltaVista and thus began my trip into
freedom...complete freedom for the first time in my life. It didn't come
immediately, but it has come, and I thank all of you who put so much time
and effort into your websites, you've certainly got the blessing of God for
what you do.

Alright, that's long enough. I'm glad to be back.

"The Lion's Den"

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