Definition of Fading: is making your presence felt less and less in the congregation until you are almost invisible, not missed, so you can quietly leave.
To Fade or not to Fade?
(This article is mostly for Jehovah witnesses or other religions with a similar structure)
Before making a decision to Fade, there are a few issues we need to consider first.
Making changes in our lives can be challenging because it involves a change in our feelings. Remember feelings change last!"
Focus on other Witnesses in your immediate congregation or others who have "disappeared" from the Kingdom Hall. What was the reaction of the congregation? Was there a lot of talk in field service about them? Did they leave without getting disfellowshipped? Are there any Elders known for investigating inactive publishers? If married, what will your spouse say? Do you have children? Are most of your relatives and friends Witnesses?
Depending on your answers to these questions, it might not be necessary for you to fade. You may be able to leave without delay, but this will always be riskier than fading. (They may think you are just ill and have many call or visit you.) Some have quit without a word, but it might be prudent to wait a few months and feel out others reaction to your missing meetings. Stop commenting immediately or just read a scripture. You don't want to call undue attention to yourself by what you say. Resign from Ministry School so you will be forgotten. plus you might say the wrong thing on the platform. Out of the mouth pours forth the heart. (Matt 12:34)
Since we do not have book study groups anymore in homes, it is actually easier to start missing meetings. Start slow.
1. Have an Exit Plan
Although this sounds paranoid, scheduling the pace of your fade might keep you from slipping away too quickly and getting noticed. You don't want to get into arguments with family members who are desperate to reactivate you spiritually. Stop commenting and get off ministry school right away. Be prepared with a reason to explain why, if asked. Plan each of the next steps in advance.
If you answered yes to any of the above questions you need too:
2. Make new Friends.
You'll need emotional support when you leave. Do not try and go it alone. Before fading, get closer to family that are not witnesses and be the best Christian you can be with your witness family members. They will need to see you as a decent person, not angry, this cuts down on shunning from some of them.
3. Seek advice and association from those who've done it.
It can be risky to contact other former members, but finding support groups from ex- witnesses on the internet is easier and a low risk solution. We provide contacts at the end if this article. Don't use your real name, city etc. Some elders attend these sites also, taking names. In the meantime, arrive just before start of each JW meeting. Leave when they say amen. Don't tarry around. Associate less and less. Always be rushed to go somewhere.
4. Have excuses ready and cover your tracks.
If you aren't in field service regularly, how will you explain your hours? Low hours are acceptable now, even 15 minutes. Lean heavily on the fact that you do informal witnessing. If you miss meetings on Sunday, some over zealous witnesses will try and check your story. Miss every other one.
When Fading, create a list of topics you can switch to when talking to persistent witnesses. Memorize it so you don't stutter or pause, which makes it harder for the witness to interrupt. If Family, talk about sickness or something dealing with other family members. (Deflecting away from you.) Comment on their new car, hair style, be sincere, and be in a rush to go somewhere. Keep your coat by the door.
5. Make yourself Hard to reach.
Get caller ID. Know your Elders numbers and the kingdom hall number when you see it. Get rid of voice mail. Don't let them leave messages. It will become suspicious after a while if you don't return calls to the elders! Of course that means for a while no one can leave you messages, that is a very small price to pay. If they just drop by, cough or be on the phone etc. Ask if they could please call first, next time. Remember, elders are not above common courtesy, and you are not a child or slave. The Bible is correct: The fear of man lays a snare (Prov 29:25). Stand up to them, insist they call first. They will probably leave you alone if you exhibit manly qualities.
6. Beware of persistent witness friends.
We are trained to report one another. Some may try to trick you into stating your doubts. Some even pretend to have doubts about the governing body, society, thus inviting the fader to do the same. Sad to say, your enemy may be of your own household or the one who lays closest to your bosom. In a few weeks you will get a visit from two elders to establish the fact. It will be an apostasy meeting! If you have made a previous appointment with them, keep it. Say what they want to hear if cornered, or be very few with words. Remember you are in an emotional and mental life or death situation; so protect yourself. They are not entitled to know of your worship to Jehovah, that is info between you Jesus and God. Remember Rahab and the spies; don't tell them everything. They are there to do you emotional harm. If they decide you are an apostate, you will lose the support and association of all your family who are witnesses. Be selfish, love you, protect yourself and pray when cornered that you don't talk too much.
7. Check current Watchtower literature for upcoming discussions on how to treat apostates and ones that have left. Particularly how shepherding calls are to be handled.
If there are articles coming up, this is an obvious bad time to fade. The magazines are printed in advance on the watchtower official website.
8. Move to another Congregation!
Have your card transferred if you can do so and go between the two congregations. Do not get to know the new congregation, make no friends, then just stop going. They are not that diligent. You will get lost in the shuffle if you are not so verbal. Sometimes it is good to be considered weak. Weak ones do not matter among the witnesses, only ones lauding the org. or governing body.
If you are reading this, I assume you have made a personal decision to seek Christ without fear of asking questions.
Use your freedom to read, learn and study the Bible without a herd mentality. To have independent thinking and not just the thinking of the governing body. To fellowship and discuss the Bible without fear of your thoughts. To listen to others viewpoints, you might just learn something.
Please feel free to comment on this, give your experience or add something that is not mentioned. I think this commenter's thoughts sums it up nicely, Stanley (Dupin) says:
" I agree that whether one chooses to leave by that method or not one should have a plan in mind and follow-through if they are determined to get free from the Watchtower organization. I think that is the key to success.
"In my case I took advantage of growing health problems due to a rare chronic disease to make my exit. Those problems gave me a bit of a cover and I was surprised at how little effort was made in trying to keep me in the fold. My best guess is that as far as the organization was concerned locally my continued presence was considered more of a liability and drain on the congregation than my ability to contribute materially and otherwise were worth. It is said that any people can be judged by how they treat the weakest in their ranks, I guess my experience during my fade speaks volumes."
See additional articles on fading on this site.
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