Robert (Melbourne, Australia) I was a jw for 8 years between the ages of 5-13 (I am now 31). I left when i was 13. The problem is that my father is still involved with them, and I am trying to get him out by showing him all the false prophecies,lies and deceit that go on in the organization. He says ok..If I should leave, where do I go so I can live forever? My question to you is what religion or what have you turned to after you left?..My dad wants hope if he leaves.
Eagerly awaiting your reply…Robert
Heidi: I can’t give you a definite answer about the afterlife. There simply isn’t any proof one way or another. I truly believe that it is a matter of faith and of one’s own relation to oneself in authenticity and in relation to God. I can tell you what I did to retain my deep spirituality, but ultimately it’s a life path, a way of being rather than affiliation with any organization. First, follow your nose. What is it that brings out your integrity, compasion, love? Follow those ideas and those habits, expand on them. Is there anyone you know that is an inspiration to you – someone who you felt was truly a decent person? What are the things about that person or persons that you admire? Emulate those things. Where do you feel that you are fulfilling your calling? What are you doing at those times? Helping others, praying, exploring nature, embroiled in the world of ideas? The thing is, it’s a bit different for each person – all gifts are necessary, and we are all complex beings. If you could think of the ultimate afterlife, what would it be? Imagine it in detail. Some people believe that our souls can create the afterlife that we imagine for ourselves. Would it be a paradise Earth? Rejoining the cosmos as emergy? Being able to have questions answered? If you were creating your own religion – the best, the truest religion – what do you think it might look like? Ask yourself these questions from time to time. Pray, meditate – ask for guidance and wisdom and an increased capacity for compassion. The very act of doing so focuses your energies on these things – and you may receive help. I myself became so overly-sensitized to a feeling of potential hypocrisy that I haven’t yet been able to be a “joiner” – but on the other hand, I have found a number of small groups which really do embody the gifts of the spirit (within the limits of human frailty – remember that no-one is perfect). The absolute answers are hard to come by – but the only way to proceed is to find what is real, what is authentic, and to follow that where it leads. Some people have trouble dealing with the insecurity of this – they would rather feel and know that they are always in the right – but developing a “sense” of ethics, compassion, and humility is, or so I have come to believe – closer to what is intended in the best of religious faith.