So, coming back to my point of the witnesses having a subtle form of control over their followers… They do this by means of the concept that, if you turn away from God after having already learned of him and understanding his requirements of us, then you will ultimately not make it through Armageddon and into the new system of things on a paradise earth, where they tell you all your family and friends will be waiting for you.
This is the first point at which the fear begins to set in. If you make a mistake and are unrepentant then the consequences would be dire! Also if you decide to leave the faith after you have been baptised then you face the situation I am presently in, where none of the people you grew up around will acknowledge you. When you have grown up in the faith and your entire world revolved around it, to the point that you have no actual life or friends outside of it, then it would appear to be a daunting prospect! Effectively there is nothing for you outside the organisation of the witnesses. This makes you frightened of leaving as you stand to lose so much!
The parallels between this and the Middle Ages way of thinking to me are startling, they are just a little more subtle in the delivery, where the church in the past may have tried to gain from the fear in a financial way or to gain domination over others, the witnesses use the fear of forsaking everything to stop people from leaving, it is almost as if they do not respect the reasoning for making your choice.
So this was why it took me such a long time to get around to actually leaving the religion, I had the fear! By leaving I stood to lose everything, my friends my family and effectively my life to this point.
There is no provision for someone who makes the well-educated informed decision that the various beliefs and doctrines of the faith don’t ring true with them. If you believe the religion and do something that breaks the rules then maybe you arguably do deserve some form of punishment. However if you are honest and tell them the truth; that you do not want to follow the religion due to lack of evidence or a problem with how they interpreted the bible, they ostracise you anyway!