Leaving a cult can be a harrowing experience. When you’ve been cut off from the real world, you may run into lots of logistical and conceptual problems that make the outside harder to navigate. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are counting on your lack of experience with the outside world to send you running back to them.
But you don’t need them in your life. There are lots of great resources out there that can offer you help leaving a cult. Today, we’re going to talk about the Freedom From Religion Foundation and what they have to offer.
What Is the Freedom From Religion Foundation?
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, or FFRF, is an American organization founded in 1978. They are advocates for free thought and nontheism, and act as a watchdog for the separation of church and state. They regularly advocate against laws that try to erode that barrier, and they provide information and outreach for people who have already left or want to leave a religion.
What Does FFRF Do?
The FFRF has two main goals: legal advocacy and education and outreach.
The FFRF’s legal mission is to work tirelessly to protect the rights of individuals facing religious discrimination. Their legal actions and lobbying also work to protect the separation of church and state. They fight to keep prayer and religion out of publicly funded schools, all levels of government, and other constitutionally-protected spaces.
Another key element of their work is publishing about religious abuses. The FFRF were the first group to publish anything about clergy abuse; their first book about it, Betrayal of Trust: Clergy Abuse of Children, was published in 1988. Sadly, clergy abuse is still rampant in many religions, as ExJWs all know- and their work helps bring light to an extremely dark subject.
Education and Outreach
The FFRF publishes Freethought Today, a secular publication that provides information about secularism, legal challenges to religious discrimination, and more. They also hold public events. The FFRF’s national organization holds an annual freethought convention, while local chapters hold regional events on a regular basis to build community. These events are a great place to make connections, share stories, and meet people who may share your experiences with leaving a high control group.
How Can FFRF Help Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses?
Leaving a cult like the JWs can be isolating and often means your family and friends will shun you as a form of control and emotional abuse. The FFRF understands the emotional toll this takes, and offers support networks. Through online communities and local chapters, you can connect with others who have gone through similar experiences. This support can be vital in helping you rebuild your life and make real human connections that aren’t based on fear and control.
Additionally, the FFRF's website and literature contain a wealth of information that can be immensely valuable to those leaving the Jehovah's Witnesses. Their blog, Freethought Now, regularly features articles about dealing with family and community pressures and adjusting to life outside of religion, and they distribute Amber Scorah’s excellent book about leaving the organization.
Check out our Resources tag for more great information about resources for ExJWs!