Daniel Genser was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, but the religion tore his family apart. His older sister was Disfellowshipped. His gay brother was never accepted by his parents. But it wasn’t until last year that he realized how awful the organization was.
He tells his detailed, compelling story at Medium:
There’s a section in the piece titled “If you want to know what kind of organization you’re in, consider what it takes to leave.” That really hit me. How many religions make you jump through several bureaucratic hoops — over a long period of time — before they fully accept that you want nothing to do with them? That’s why they do it, of course. If they made it easy to leave the religion, there would be an exodus.
I decided to stop going to meetings because my beliefs and values no longer align with the official policies of the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society and their affiliate corporations. Since there is absolutely no room in the JW organization for dissent, I decided to withdraw, move on with my life, and start over.
This is when it really hit me that the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society is a completely unethical organization. No healthy organization emotionally blackmails their members into staying, instills debilitating phobias of life outside the organization, or promotes complete dependence on it. Because of a “contract” I entered when I was 15 years old, I now had to throw my life away and start over.
The barriers are in place to keep people in. They want you to think your life would be completely meaningless without them. And yet, most people who break free find so much happiness and freedom on the other side.