After some thinking and suggestions from another forum member, I decided to tell a little more about myself. I usually don’t' get into long winded stories about myself, at some level all the stories carry a similar thread, that’s just my opinion. I will give more detail about my story.
My mom began studying in 1973, I was 3 years old. I barely remember celebrating a Christmas. Her family was very unhappy she became a JW and disowned her for many years. Mom was divorced, single mother, had used drugs and alcohol and she grew up in a very abusive home. She also had dealings with the spirit world, so as you can say she was ripe for the picking.
Mother always stated that she studied the truth to "prove them wrong." She became a witness in Dec of 74. Mom has always stated that the truth saved her life and mine. She always had problems with depression and suicidal thoughts, so her contention is, if it were not for the truth, she would have probably killed herself and me one day. (That is always very nice to know.)
My Dad was never really in the picture they separated when she was pregnant with me. They were divorced by time I was 3, he too was heavy drinker. Though he was court ordered to only pay 25.00 per week for child support, my mom never received any. Mom had major back surgery when I was young. She did cleaning jobs when she could, was on welfare some, either way we were dirt poor. She was always a loving mother though, did the best she could and gave things to me whenever she had extra. She was always one of extremes and with the truth she went overboard.
At this point, the only friends we had were witnesses and their kids were my friends. I never got to hang out much with the kids I actually had stuff in common with at the hall. But the younger days were not always bad. I did hate though when I would be left at a certain person’s house to be baby-sat. The reason being is that there was another kid there my age and no matter what, whenever we were alone things would always drift toward getting naked some how, at this point I was probably 4 or 5. I would always cry if I knew we were going to their house especially if I had to spend the night. This went on until I was probably 7 or 8 years old. I think the reason why she eventually stopped hanging out with them was I think they became weak or inactive. I know when children are younger it is not uncommon for kids to be curious about their bodies; however it was in that particular family there was a real issue. When I look back, who knows what was happening to him.
Outside of that, I had a typical JW life of meetings, conventions, school and such. In 1981 at 11, mom decided to follow another family to TN to help where the need was greater. I found that funny considering that we were poor as hell, and really had no business making a move from NJ to TN at that point. Off we go, and it was a huge adjustment, the school had a graveyard in the front of it. Not to mention a much slower pace of life, the congregation was small maybe 40-50 publishers. We get settled and mom of course makes new friends, at this point there were only two other families that had boys my age to associate with. We lived in TN for 9 years and we moved 11 times during that point (We even lived in a farmhouse for 2.5 years) and multiple school changes.
Mom moved a lot always with Jehovah’s direction; however, it really came down to her ability to stick to something. The farmhouse mentioned above only had one cold-water faucet that came into the house, no bathroom at all. There was an outhouse, but we didn’t have to use it because one of the friends lent us one of those little portable potties that you use on camping trips. She built a shower for us to use, had to boil the water for that. At first, I was so embarrassed and hated life because of where we had to live. I look back though with 2.5 years living like that I learned a lot. Mom always liked to say this is preparing us for the “great trib” at it was called.
When I was 16 we moved to another town close by, changed congregations and moved into a normal apartment. I quit school and went to work, mom’s back was continually getting worse and I wanted to have some things change in our life.
I went to go to work at Wendy’s when I was 16. I hated school with the constant torment. I couldn’t handle it anymore. Everyone reading this growing up witness, knows double life or not, school can be generally hell for us. We now had relocated from the Farm House to the housing projects in the city. This wasn’t bad because I now had all the luxuries of modern living in 1986, IE hot water, and real shower, heat that didn’t require coal or wood. Believe it or not about a year or so later mom moves us back to that farm house but this time it only lasted a couple of months.
In the mean time I got baptized, and give aux pioneer a whirl. This was of course just attempts to be a part of the popular segment of the congregation. I got to hang with some friends and it was good most of the time. There were issues here and but these were generally typical for young people such as girlfriends and heaving petting, which was always, fun.
In time we moved to another state, it was a good move I had a decent job, gave regular pioneering a whirl but that only lasted a few months. I couldn’t handle the façade the time reporting and was never accurate. In time I met my future wife, she was several years younger than me and I was now in my mid 20’s and we all know that if you’re not married, a pioneer or servant by this time, there is something wrong with you. So I figured I’d get married, sure I had my underlying issues but I figured maybe they would go away. Her parents were going through divorce at this time, and the courtship was swift from point of first date to marriage probably no more than 4-5 months.
Unlike me, she had generations of JW in her family on both sides, and the stories I heard were quite interesting to say the least. It was the memorial of the following year that was my turning point. I was helping greet and my ex-wife’s father was arriving at the KH. He was disfellowshipped at this point. He sat down by his family that was still in, which of course included his daughter and sister. I was approached by an elder, asked to look toward their seats, and asked if I noticed what was going on. I looked and noticed that his daughter and sister were talking with him, and I responded that information. I was directed to speak with my wife, as that was inappropriate at that hall. I was dumbfounded at this point, never having dealt with issues like this. I spoke with her, of course she and her aunt were quite upset. There was ensuing drama from that, but this was the “AHA” moment for me. It was at this point I began researching the teaching and doctrines learning more and more that there were so many things hidden from the light.
So began my years of fading. At first, I was very outspoken about certain things to those who would listen, mostly my wife, father and her brother. Mom of course couldn’t handle my issues and I could tell that trouble was on the horizon. The brothers called on me at my house I advised them of how I felt, they tried to sidestep any real issue I brought up. I had been away from the meetings for some time now. I guess it was because of this and my mother they took no further action.
I had a son by now and eventually there were attempts here and there to return to the meetings. They never usually amounted to anything. I discovered that some meetings here and there would appease the masses and left it at that. My wife and I moved out of state to get a better job. We had another child, but in time, our marriage began to break down. Eventually we divorced but after some time, remained friends, and manage to put the kids as priority in our relationship. My mom eventually moved down to assist with the kids this allows us to keep them out of daycare.
I stayed faded for now in order to manage my worlds. I keep them separate at this time. My ex doesn’t go to many meetings but still believes it’s the “truth”. The ex and I both agree and set before the children that the expectation is they will at a minimum, go to school for 2 years after high school. I hope at some point in the future I will have a good exit strategy for the kids, at either rate they will be able to decide for themselves what they want.
Now you know a little bit more about me. I am very grateful for getting to meet more and more friends on the forum and hope to get to know many more.