Story of Recovery: April K

I am born into a family from which I will never garner pride.
There is only one narrow path that is viewed as right, successful, or worthwhile. Unfortunately, it is one that I will never undertake.
This path is similar to that of any religious follower, but there is no room for adaptation, evolution or critical analysis. It runs on the pretense that we base all of our ideas on critical thinking, but what it really is, is a process of logic applied to a completely illogical set of rules. All questions must be answered from JW source material. If it isn't from the bible or from the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society it is to be distrusted. Therefore, we are to live under encouragement to "ask questions" but always to look for answers in the same place. Is that not the definition of bias?
If I look for answers from history or science, that have not been approved by the Watchtower, I am considered bewitched, confused, stubborn, all of the above.
I am clearly the problem.
I have not invited god into my heart.
I have not embraced humility.
I have not accepted the gift given me.
I am haughty.
I have not searched for answers, I have only searched for questions.
I have not forced myself to believe in fairytales.
This makes me a lost lamb.

They say: In the world it is considered right to ?follow your heart? but the bible says that the heart will lead you into temptation.
I say: The heart pumps blood, it leads you nowhere.

They say: In the world, finding happiness in the things you love is considered success, but the bible tells us that this is wrong. The only true success comes from serving God.
I say: This religion obviously brings you happiness, which means you are seeking success in the thing you love. No one is knocking on your door to tell you that is wrong. Please don?t judge me for doing the same.

They say: We are unfit and unqualified to make choices for ourselves. We need a guide to make it through this life. Imagine there were two of us lost in the forest, we may both think we have the way out, but God is the only one who really knows.
I say: Oh, just like you and every single faith on the planet who think the others are going the wrong way? Tell me for the seven hundredth time how you managed to figure this out all on you own.
Oh yeah, and didn?t God give us free will so we COULD make our own choices?

They say: This won?t make sense to you unless you ask it to and really want it to. When you ask for Jehovah?s holy spirit to make you follow the right path, then it will all start to make sense.
I say: Oh, so I have to brainwash myself to believe in it, and that makes it real?

They say: Why live a short, successful life in the eyes of the world, when you can live a long successful life in the eyes of God?
I say: Why spend this short life outpouring ideas you cannot prove, when there may be no reward on the other side? Why do you need a reward? Why isn?t this enough? Why can?t you be happy with what you?ve been given?

Except, out loud, I actually say nothing.
Against a lifetime of convincing one?s self, as they have done, all arguments are futile.
They always have their perfect answer? and I exit the room looking a little more bewitched, confused and stubborn.
Last time I tried to explain why I was satisfied with my current spiritual outlook I was met with, "Please remember, Satan is the master deceiver."
So now Satan is fooling me into thinking I am happy...
I am born into a family where good choices come from a cookie cutter and what is right for one must be right for all.
I am born into a family where critical thinking is a flaw.
I am born into a family where asking for proof is a flaw.
I am born into a family where all of my relatives believe they will live forever in a beautiful garden without me.
I am born into a family who believe that they have failed me by giving me free thought.
I am born into a family that prays I will wake up soon and return to their truth.
And in this moment of frustration, the only thing I thank god for is my ability to understand my truth.

My experience of religion is one that tears families apart, creates tension in honest, truthful relationships, alienates me from the people I love, and blinds those with the best intentions.
I am still maneuvering to keep my family... I worry that they will give up on me when I finally succeed in convincing them that I have found my own way.
Once they cannot save me, they no longer have a virtuous justification for having contact with me.
How do I deal with a family that puts the idea of love above the actual practice of it?