2:00 PM-2:50 PM Friday, June 24th
” … Defectors from the Jehovah’s Witnesses (and others) do not move easily from within that highly controlled ethos into a new, self-determined lifestyle, but enter a “transit zone” before freedom from all the lingering hindrances to further progress and which can cause considerable distress. At this stage the focus is largely upon failings of the WT doctrinal narrative and lifestyle restrictions. Beyond this stage the defector’s destination in life may still be some distance off. The kind of guidance or mentoring which can be helpful on this latter part of the journey needs to draw upon experience gained beyond the transit zone. The problem, however, is that the overwhelming majority of people engaged in life-enhancing pursuits beyond the transit zone have no experience of engaging with defectors from high-control movements. Whereas help can readily be found for those seeking to consolidate their exit, at the other end of the transit zone sympathetic guidance may not be so clearly available. During the coming months and years, this has potential to become something of a problem as the current exodus from the Jehovah’s Witnesses can be expected to gather pace. At its most troublesome for defectors this could result in a large loosely bonded community whose main basis for association is the shared roots which they have rejected. People could be helped beyond the transit zone to fulfilled lives by an effort to promote greater awareness among people who are already actively engaged in a whole range of activities and interests, so that welcoming assistance can be given to those coming through the transit zone rather than through more usual routes into rewarding lifestyles.
Robert Crompton is a Minister in The Methodist Church of Great Britain (retired), Writer “I was brought up as a Jehovah’s Witness, baptized at the age of eleven and appointed Book Study Conductor at the age of seventeen. I became a “regular pioneer” and, a year later, a “special pioneer” in Clydebank, Scotland, where I served as Theocratic Ministry School Servant, leading the weekly meeting for training in public speaking. I was a bit of a contradiction as a special pioneer. Although I was keen to put in impressively more hours than the quota, I was seduced by Clydebank Public Library. What a wonderful place! I began to read avidly, particularly from their fine collection of books on psychology. I also dipped into philosophy and logic. After little more than two years of pioneering I took what I said was to be a short break for health reasons, but I knew deep down that my pioneering days were over. I did not expect at that stage that I would ever leave the Witnesses. But as a keen reader and independent thinker I was rapidly becoming a misfit.”