25 13

Hi everyone! New member here. 😊 I’m married and have one 3yo and baby on-the-way.

I have two questions:
What do you all do to build a sense of community for your family?
What does that “community” look like?

One of the great things about being raised JW was I had this humongous built-in community of people that loved and supported me no matter what (assuming I followed all the rules and never questioned anything). Of course, I lost that when I left the religion.

I believe in the idiom “it takes a village” so I want that for my son. But I barely know what that looks like outside of a religion/cult. I acknowledge I’ll need to reframe what I think of as a healthy/realistic. Much of what I perceived as “good” from my upbringing were actually symptoms of something very very bad; for example, what felt like love and intense loyalty was actually love-bombing and in-group/out-group thinking. So, I’m trying to temper my expectations and to be satisfied with something less idyllic.

Has anyone else been through something similar? What does your current version of “community” look like? How did you build it? Did you just put yourself out there and make friends one-by-one? Was there some secular organization that helped you?

Thank you!

kdmom 6 July 22
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Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy.

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Most importantly, accept yourself first and you won't need contrived "love-bombs" and false affections to give you security.

Religion is a parasite, it only has what people put into it.

nogod4me Level 7 July 22, 2020

OBVIOUSLY you have not met the community needs of Atheist children and their Atheist takes a village of Atheists to nurture Atheist children not smart ass commentators here in agnosticland

@nogod4me I fought school boards and local politicians 30 years to protect my 2 daughters from theocracy and battled all the way to the US Sup Ct ....building an Atheist community is not about self esteem like Nathaniel Brandon objectivist bullshit greedy individualism .... it is hard work on the Dial An Atheist phone and screening out blowhards to find mutual Atheist moms cooperating for Atheist childhood pride ISLANDs in a sea of bullshit believers

@Larry68Feminist "Religion is not a matter of God, church, holy cause, etc. These are but accessories. The source of religious preoccupation is in the self, or rather the rejection of the self. Dedication in the obverse side of self-rejection. Man alone is a religious animal because, as Montaigne points out, it is a malady confined to man, and not seen in any other creature, to hate and despise ourselves." Eric Hoffer (author of The True Believer)

@Larry68Feminist For Example:

Little girl: “Mother, why does grandma eat that wafer and drink that wine the priest gives her.”

Mother: “She believes that it becomes the body and blood of Jesus inside her after she eats it.” (transubstantiation)

Little girl: “Gross! That’s sick! You mean that if a doctor cut her stomach open they would find parts of Jesus’ body, like his penis or his hemorrhoids.”

Mother: “Well uh, not exactly, but that is what she believes.”

Little girl: “That’s embarrassing and ignorant, why would she reject herself and disregard her own intelligence. She’s a physicist, why would she reject her education, her intelligence, her common sense, and herself in such a way! She must really hate herself.”

Mother: “She is trying to save herself.”

Little girl: “From what?!?”

Mother: “Death, …hell, …whatever bad things she believes, …or whatever machinations that her religion pushes. When people will not reject lies they will reject themselves in order to embrace the lies.”

Little girl: “Do you mean that I must condone and validate her ignorance and delusions. That lying is okay in this ridiculous situation. That because she believes the Bible, I must also condone the things it teaches like slavery, murder, and thievery. That would also disparage and disrespect my teachers and education in general. It also disparages truth and reality, why should I follow any rules when I can make up my own reality. By not confronting her I inadvertently validate her beliefs, suggesting that her beliefs are viable. I can see why her religion would not want anyone to do that!

Mother: “Oh, and by the way, she has been elected as the Head of the School Board at your school so her policies will affect you for a long, long, time to come.”

Here is another post I wrote that may help: "Humankind has evolved to the point that they are conscious of their own mortality."/


I did attend Unitarian universalist services for awhile. Many people do Ethical Culture or Humanist groups for community. The UU's have lovely childrens programs and are usually family friendly.

GreatNani Level 8 July 22, 2020

@Allamanda yes it did skew a little older. There were families at our congregation but overall muchnoldwr people.


Welcome to the community!


As time goes by you will find people who you will befriend and they will be your community. You lead by example, if you are open, helpful and friendly you will attract like minded to your world. It will take time.

Jolanta Level 9 July 22, 2020

My community is composed of Meetup Groups like Freethinkers, Edutainment, Atheists & Agnostics, Humanist Society just to name the main ones. I've been a non-believer since I was a teenager. I once tried a Unitarian Universalist Church to please a significant other0-not for me.


Welcome aboard.

Sounds like you have performed a rather impressive job of reaching an informed realization of the role religions play.

I have never been married and have no kids. However, I knew a few who resemble your current position.

Sense of community for your family?
That really depends where you are. About 15 years ago I, being the only atheist I knew in my state, burned some time and used Google with my city and all atheist like buzz words (free thinker, atheist, secular humanist). Took a while but I found contact info and joined (informal meeting Sunday at noon at local Star Bucks) a local atheist group. One of the original organizers had a few winter solstice gatherings but he left the country.
Two of the members were a married couple with kids. They seemed happy but never included their kids in any atheist activity. Over time this group evaporated as almost all members (most noted because this state (area) is not tolerant of non-theists, left the state. I think the remaining 5 who were once a part of the group occasionally go to the Unitarian church. I do not go to that organization. Been about 5 years sense that group has met so it is dead. The closest atheist group I can finds to my current location is a 382 mile round trip. Made that trip once for a convention as they featured Aron Ra, Mat Dillahunty and some other great presenters. Worth the trip for a convention but not for an informal meeting.

How to build? (during this pandemic I would not) but if I wanted to build such a group I would use online resources (meetup etc.) and post a reference to forming an atheist group meeting in a public area (Starbucks Sunday at 12:00). "You will be surprised how many will come." Quote from the convention by a presenter on the topic of building a community." Some stories include advertising and hosting a meeting in your home but I would not recommend that. Years ago I hosted a few secular-like movie nights just under 10 showed up each time at my place (my home theater seats 21) and it was a great time but most of those who attended have now left the city. My house with just under 3,300 square feet is good for meetings but I am now, less comfortable with the idea of hosting gatherings in my home.

What I have done/do. I used to (with the pandemic, I don't go there any more) use the YMCA (my gym) as a grounds for de-converting people. I had many encounters but was successful only 2 times at that location - (did manage to bring a few theists to tears but that's another story) I did ran into a few other atheists (all but one ( who I almost never run into) has left the state) from that location. I currently have only 1 friend in the state who became an atheist that I routinely talk to.

Good luck.


Yep, was a JW for + 30 years. The JW community "love" is truly conditional. When you walk away from it, you truly walk away from all your "friends" and family that remain in the cult. It was a slow process to build a community again, but well worth it to be my authentic self. I welcome you here and thanks for sharing your journey. It continually gets better the longer you are out and you make friends that can truly love you for what you are unconditionally.

vanwilson Level 5 July 22, 2020

Btw, being involved with your local Americans United for Separation of Church and State chapter is a great way to interact with believers and non alike working together for a shared goal.

Plus, specific to the faith system you came out of, a survivors group (online and then get some local recs maybe) would be quite empowering I think, regardless to what degree you felt your own mistreatment was. I'm sure you could help others, and learn of their accounts that put your experience into greater perspective.

I have always found these people (you included) quite courageous, particularly as I came from a nominal Catholic background and had no real issues walking away from it, family included.

Had some lovely JW neighbors (an interracial couple with adorable kids). Knowing some of the abuses within that organization meant that I would certainly not want to be too candid with my own views in that regard.

I was once bike riding in the neighborhood with their kids and mistakenly asked if they were excited about Halloween coming up (I know better but forgot). They said they don't do it, and I said that's fine because that's how your parents want it. The little boy told me in all seriousness that I should join their church. I politely declined and simply said I have a different view of how things work and left it at that.

I'm friendly with all the kids and can tell they get a bit bored with their faith lessons. I also get a vibe that the only son is being taught he has a higher status than his sisters because of the way he bosses them around including the older sister, but I could be mistaken.


It might be different in the US but having dabbled with the JWs I can sympathise. The thing is, without religion you're a bit like an orphan. As such, you have to make your own way in the world and that includes gathering friends. I also see that with children a support network is vital. So I would suggest other moms in the park where you take your 3-year old. Say hello and see what happens. If anyone pulls the God thing be honest and talk about your experiences. I'm sure they won't push it after that.

273kelvin Level 8 July 22, 2020

Welcome! I’m a lifelong Unitarian Universalist and encourage you to look into your local congregation. It’s a non-credal religious movement that welcomes atheists, agnostics, pagans, theists —- My girls had a strong community of friends and learned how to use their own judgment and ideas to build their own belief systems (all landed on atheism, while I’m a humanist). There is also an amazing, comprehensive, progressive lifespan sex ed curriculum (which I happen to manage for the national office).

UUNJ Level 8 July 22, 2020

Thanks. I’ve been curious about that group for a while. I’m a little nervous just from my experiences with religion but I still would like to try it out.


Congratulations on the new little one!


I also missed the fellowship when I left religion. But I found new fellowships elsewhere. In my town we have an Arts Center. I enjoy acting in their plays, and fellowshipping with the cast and stage crew. I have also become active in the local Senior Center, taking exercise classes and a bridge class. I also enjoy exchanging messages here on We are social animals, and it is good to be with friends and groups. I can no longer stomach religion, so I find my groups elsewhere. 🙂


My community has mostly been moms I’ve met over the years at playgrounds and other kid places and local Facebook groups.


The l ok call Unitarian church near me has two services. One that is a Christian one, and one that makes no mention of God, Jesus, Holy Spirit/Ghost, the Bible, or any of that. It functions as community gatherings. Though they are no holding services right now for obvious reasons.

Valkryie01 Level 4 July 25, 2020

I just wanted to say congratulations on being smart enough to recognize you were in a cult and having the strength to pry yourself out of it.

Sgt_Spanky Level 8 July 23, 2020

I recommend my friend's book which has much insight into that I feel.

Growing Up Godless by Deborah Mitchell

I'm even quoted in it in her conclusion.


"I see a pattern where the randomness of human actions can be directed through probability for an overall cumulative and positive effect. All throughout our society there is a butterfly effect that we are most always oblivious to… I guess my message is to go boldly forth and increase the peace and love and know you are not alone. You may not always be aware of the others choosing to follow this same path as you, but they’re out there, and they’re making a difference.”

~ LanceThruster

[from Debbie Mitchell's book "Growing Up Godless" - Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.]


My political activism introduced me to a very varied group. Many of those people both the religious ones and the non religious ones became my very good friends. That happened basically because we believed in the same things.

I was a federal civil servant but lived quite a distance from work. I did develop some work friends but it seems like the ones I was closest to all live about 50 or 60 miles away now. In other words work and interests made the difference. As other posters have said Covid is going to make those connections harder to happen. I wish you a healthy delivery.

Lorajay Level 9 July 22, 2020

The 'Community' of this site, to my mind, is just like cooking a 3 Course meal, i.e. the more effort you put into it, the better it turns out.
Imo, 99.5% of the Members here ARE truly great and wonderful people, sadly though there are a few who are, at times, who can be both as erratic as a cut snake or just plain as grumpy and irascible as a Rattlesnake with a toothache or a Bear with a sore head,but they, thankfully are few and far between.
So, welcome to the Asylum, glad to have you here with us, best of everything with the new to arrive baby and your 3 year old.

Triphid Level 9 July 22, 2020

My husband and I made friends in Lamaze classes. The couples expected a baby around the same time as us. Our children played together.

With the pandemic, it's spectacularly unsafe to be in an unmasked indoor crowd.

Bad time to have a baby. You have my sympathy.


Welcome to the site, hope you find what you need.

oldFloyd Level 8 July 22, 2020

Welcome. Congratulations on your upcoming baby. About your question, I'm the wrong guy on that. Sorry!!!


Being an outcast in many of the social confinements, I've learned the art of isolation. Raising children is going to be like being an artist. You can create art for money or you can create life in truth ... somehow it's up to each parent. My grandkids have no clue who I am because I do not fit the mold of the lie.

Babyg Level 3 July 27, 2020

I'm not qualified to answer. On a one on one I can get into women deeply and really enjoy their conversations but deep down I am a misanthrope. I'm lonely as hell because of it but if not working I stay to myself.

Congrats on the new baby.

DenoPenno Level 9 July 22, 2020

Join a club, or as a stopgap, an online chat group. Wait...

Storm1752 Level 8 July 22, 2020

It can vary from person to person. Some ideas; get friendly with neighbors, search out local non religious groups in your area, start a non religious group in your area.

creative51 Level 8 July 22, 2020
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