So I was off to the local chapter of exjw meetups today. I coerced my hubbs into going with me. I needed support because I get really nervous meeting new people especially in unfamiliar places.  I didn't have high hopes because first of all it was being held at a community church.  Then I told myself, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt, they probably got the church for free. It was potluck. The couple who runs the group live near LA so they drive up 4 times a year to host the meeting. I thought "Wow, that's dedication." The skeptic in me said "What's their agenda?"

When we came in the hostess introduced herself and then one other man shook my hand and introduced himself. That was it. The rest stayed silent. Okay, maybe they are shy like me. I'm extremely quiet in new social situation and I tend to just watch and listen till I'm comfortable. If you ask me questions I'll talk, but I don't often start the conversation.  The hostess kept saying we will begin in a few minutes. She said this several times. I thought "begin what?" They had a projector set up with movie screen. Hmmmm. I thought we were just here to socialize etc. So The Host gets up to go over the rules of the group for us newbies. He very didactically introduces himself and says "We are not here to bash the  Watchtower." His wife promptly said "Well, yes dear, we are here to bash the Watchtower." He stumbled a bit and then said "Well we are here as a support group for those who need it and sometime that kind of talk is harmful rather than helpful. We have no agenda here. My wife is exjw but  I never was. We are both Born Again Christians." (alarm bells start going off in my head) I'll take him at his word. He also said they were not there to preach. (we'll see) 

So I'm already on guard. My hubbs was ready to go as soon as we got there but stuck it out for me. I just want to meet new people and if we have a common background then great.  Then the hostess says "Okay dear can you say grace before we eat." I'm sorry, but if you want to say grace, do it yourself quietly and don't just assume everyone in the room is on the same page with you. The Jw's do that. I just made a face at my hubbs.  

One woman came over and introduced herself. She is not and never was a jw but her daughter is and is now not speaking with her. She's just looking for answers or how she can get her daughter to be her daughter again. I got up to get water and she started asking my hubbs questions and he was relaying some of his experiences to her. The Host came over to control the conversation. It wasn't out of control they were just talking.  The host is very much like someone we know so I felt immediate tension between the host and my hubbs. The woman asked what religion my hubbs was now and he said "None. I won't trade one myth for another." The host walked away. (snicker) 

I like the Hostess when she wasn't talking about jw stuff. She was nice and pleasant and conversational. I told her we were originally from NH and she asked if I heard about the case of the two sisters who were abused by their father and had him arrested. I said yes and she kept talking and I said. "Well i'm in the same boat as them but my dad didn't go to jail." I think I shocked her.  When she talked about the Watchtower her voice would change. Her tone would become very harsh and she would twist things to her own agenda. Now I hate when the witnesses do that and she was doing the same thing, Now I'm not saying that some of what she said wasn't true and I'm not defending the Watchtower but when you twist things your way you definitely have an agenda. (her logic reminded me of my brother) 

A group of four were on the other side of the room discussing the bible and yes preaching. The first two rules were already broken. After lunch they were going to do a slide show about the 5 "new lights" the Watchtower put out. Now I was curious what they were going to do. I was really going to try to stick it out. We had been there almost and hour and a half. They put up a watchtower article about internet use.  Which was funny because the picture of the internet cord had the shadow of a snake. So she starts reading a paragraph, which we all could see and she's explaining what it means in her own terms. Inserting speculation and her own thoughts. (in that harsh tone that was grating on my skull) Now this pissed me off because I can read it. It's right in front of me and I can use my own brain to interpret this. I don't need it deciphered for me. I had that done my whole life. I use my brain now. I new I couldn't do this for another hour and a half.  If it would have been a normal conversation and a realistic discussion that would have been different. But she seemed like she was preaching even though she was talking about another religion. I guess some people never lose that. 

Bashing is good at the appropriate times and yes everyone is at different stages. Discussing it can be healing but this wasn't healing, this was hateful. Most of these people have been out longer than I have. i"m moving on. I don't need to take a saturday to get worked up and feel hateful about things. I've done that. I've been there. I just want to meet people and make friends. I want to help people if I can with no agenda. Just because we are exjw's doesn't mean we have to ONLY talk about jw stuff. We have lives now, let's live them. Bye for now. (there is more but this is way too long)   or