How To Leave
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Once you come to the realisation what you are being taught to believe is not the truth, you will probably want to stop going to meetings and leave the religion. It is common to feel passionate and angry about having been forced to live a life based upon deception. You will want to tell everyone what you have learnt. Be careful, because telling anyone that you do not believe the Governing Body are Jehovah’s representative will lead to elder’s meetings and being labelled bad association. Your parents will try to change your mind by becoming stricter, limiting access to worldly people, the internet and forcing you to study more. If you are baptised, you risk being disfellowshipped, even kicked out of home.

If you read online experiences, they are almost always tragic. Teenagers being taken out of school, or kicked out of home. A spouse losing a partner they still love and becoming estranged from their children. Independent single people cut off from friends and family. It is difficult  knowing your family may choose to have nothing to do with you ever again, and depths of sadness and mourning this creates.

In order to minimise future problems, the most important advice is:

Do not do anything, or speak to anyone, just yet.

We cannot express enough not to rush into speaking with people, or rush into leaving. The reason being that someone newly aware it is not the truth is simply unable to comprehend what will happen when seeking answers from elders, or trying to show the information you have found to your parents and friends. It is only by reading the experiences of others online that it become apparent that the people you think love you will turn their backs on you in the instance they realise you no longer share their beliefs –  your parents religious beliefs are more important than facts, and more important than you.

Step back, take a deep breath, and start to strategically plan what to do next. You have spent years being controlled by the religion. Taking a few more months to plan your next moves will make a significant difference to the rest of your life.

It is common to see posts online from young Jehovah’s Witnesses not sure what to do once they no longer believe Watchtower teachings, such as the following experience.

I’m 14 years old right now, and I was raised as a JW, over time, I’ve kinda started doubting whether or not a god exists, and have stopped believing there is one. I want to leave the religion, but 1) basically my whole immediate family is in the faith, 2) every friend I’ve ever made a close bond with is in it, 3) I will still be living in this house and imagine how awkward that would be. I’m lost on what to do and it seems like this would be an appropriate place to ask for advice on the issue. (I Need Advice Desperately Right Now 7 June 2018)

The advice in such a situation can be broken down into a few key points.

1) Do not say anything to other Jehovah’s Witnesses or even your parents and family. We hate having to give this advice, as it sounds deceptive. You should be able to speak to everybody about your questions in order to arrive at the right conclusions. The sad fact is, Watchtower is a high control religion that forbids active questioning of its belief system, and to speak to others can quickly lead to being disfellowshipped.

2) Research. Read everything you can about Jehovah’s Witnesses, including Watchtower history, the changing beliefs, and affect of policies regarding women, child abuse, shunning, education, and blood. Research other religions as well, and how religious belief varies depending on where a person is born. Be very careful not to get caught. It is best to use private or incognito mode in your internet browser so that the cache and history is cleared each time you close your session.

3) Emotional Preparation. As you learn about the affect Watchtower has on people’s lives, how trapped you are, and how false much of what is said at meetings, you will develop anger at the religion. Be prepared for this, because in this emotional state it is easy to say something you will regret later. You will be forced to speak to the elders once they or your parents notice you are not exerting yourself spiritually. If such conversations cannot be avoided, do not reveal your true feelings, as it will be used against you. Despite all you have learnt, there are no good points you can make to convince your parents or elders that the religion is wrong, as covered in other areas of this site.

4) Build a support group. There are online forums for exJWs, such as, that provide invaluable assistance and support. Make friends at school or work. Confide in a teacher or counsellor. Don’t feel ashamed to tell them about your background. Many “worldly” families have been lifesavers to Jehovah’s Witness teenagers kicked out of home, and may show you a level of family acceptance and love never experienced at home. Just be very careful to find trustworthy people for your support group, not just friends that may be fun but unable to emotionally support you once you leave home.

5) Prepare Financially. Leaving home is costly. If you are allowed to get a part-time job, be strict on saving as much as you can. This will open up many more options for when you are ready to leave home. You have a long future ahead of you, which requires earning money, and work will be most rewarding financially and emotionally if in a career you enjoy. Rewarding careers often require further education beyond high school. Whilst Jehovah’s Witnesses are discouraged from getting a higher education, consider if it is something you should pursue, and how to obtain such a goal. Study hard at school and choose appropriate subjects to allow higher education to be an option.

6) Do not get baptised. If you are not yet baptised, do not get baptised, despite pressure from your parents. You may feel baptism will get them off your back, but this will only be a short term solution, and have significant consequences down the track. Unbaptised individuals can continue to associate with their family, whereas if you are baptised and later disfellowshipped, many parents have shunned their children for the rest of their lives. There is a usually a huge difference between how a person is treated that never was baptised, and one that was baptised and later disfellowshipped. If you get pressured to get baptised, find some lines to use, such as; “I don’t feel ready yet. Jesus was 30 when he got baptised, I need more time.” Another could be, “I still feel I need to improve my relationship with Jehovah. I am not ready yet and it’s my personal decision between me and him.” If your situation is particularly extreme, and you are facing threats of physical violence or eviction if you do not get baptized, please reach out for help and advice on determining the safest course of action.

An important consideration is your age. If you are a minor, there is usually a legal requirement to remain with your parents until 18 years old, and in the majority of cases, this is the best and safest option for you. Even if you do not agree with your parents or their religion, it is recommended that you prepare to live with them until you are no longer considered a minor, and until you have the means to support yourself if you do leave home. If however, you experience extreme physical or emotional abuse at home, then it is important that you immediately seek help. The first place is your school counsellor. Many countries also have free support phone lines that you can call. See Wikipedia Global Support Numbers.

We sympathise with you, because when you are a teenager, a few years seems like forever to have to live with a family controlled by an oppressive religion. Be assured the time will pass, and looking back never seems as long as looking forward. If you prepare yourself now and don’t rush things, it will have a huge difference on how well your life turns out in the future.

To summarise, do lots of research, but do not tell other Jehovah’s Witnesses. Build up a new support network, which includes making new friends, possibly getting an advanced education, and saving financially.  When you are old enough, you will have the independence to be able to make your own choices. It is not possible to leave unscathed, but careful planning can reduce how tragic leaving will be.