My immediate family were not JW’s so you may wonder how I came to become one in my teens, so here is my story…
From my earliest memory I was scared of my dad. He would lose his temper rapidly and would rip door handles off and kick the doors in at home in rage. We only had to do something wrong or be too noisy and he would throw the mother of all fits. If we got in the way then we would pay for it. He was violent to my mother periodically, all the more so if she answered him back. Consequently we learnt to keep our heads down & be quiet as mice. Inevitably I didn’t develop socially and I had poor interaction skills so it was rare for any friends to come around to my home.
On the other hand…
The family life I wanted was the one that was portrayed by my JW Aunt and Uncle. They had this perfect family, with a perfect house and perfect children and loads of friends. I didn’t visit very often, but when I did I loved it. So one time when I was invited to go ice-skating with my cousin along with 50+ other JW kids I was up for it. I aspired to be just like my cousin. She was very good looking and consequently popular. I wanted a slice of that. All the other JW kids were happy, happy, smiley, smiley, individuals. I couldn’t believe that they worshipped a God and they did it without having their arms twisted around there backs, so I wanted to find out more.
I asked my Aunt in the canteen ‘What do you have to do to become a JW’? She was of course elated! Next thing I know I am being ferried to a memorial, I sit there all through the service thinking what the hell and not understanding anything at all. At the end of the meeting a woman came to both me & my cousin to greet us and my cousin piped up to the sister ‘ She wants a Bible Study’… I was totally surprised by this and remember thinking ‘do I?’ Since I was polite I didn’t dare say no.
In the mean-time my other cousin gave me a copy of the Paradise Book, so I went with the flow of things and ended up having weekly bible studies. I remember having studies on a Saturday, but hated it because it was stealing my time, but by then the teachings were starting to affect me and I started felt obliged to continue.
As I was going to the meetings regularly I was gaining popularity with the brotherhood. I wasn’t used to this kind of attention, so I found this difficult. About this time I captured the interest of my now husband. I was invited to family get-togethers by him and was included in most things that the family did. Before I knew it I got baptised in less than a year, engaged to him 3 months later & married 1 year after that.
The congregation never liked me. I was not congratulated when I got baptised, nor was it announced from the platform. I didn’t mind as it meant I didn’t have to do an item on the platform. Things didn’t get better when we were silently reproved for pre-maritals. My conscience had bothered me so badly that on the basis of the June 15th Awake 1991 we put ourselves through a judicial committee. It was terrible. They wanted to know every single sordid detail. They made me feel like I was a harlot (my hubby wasn’t bothered) that I had sinned against the Holy Spirit and that there was no forgiveness of sins left. Consequently the elders never looked to use my husband in the congregation and they didn’t encourage him to reach out. He wasn’t too bothered because by this time we had 4 children within the space of 6 years. These were difficult years and we had NO support from any of the family or the congregations. We attended every single meeting with our children even though I myself worked full time too. Nothing we did was good enough. The congregation was full of cliques and nobody ever wanted to know us, yet they seemed to know plenty about us.
I considered myself super spiritual. My husband though was apathetic to other congregational members, but he would always look for any world disaster to fit into any so called biblical prophecy. I believed his every utterance and in fact hung onto every word he said. I didn’t have much time to study due to looking after our young brood, so this was why I held everything he said in such high regard.
Fast forward another 10 years and the youngest of my 4 children were now 6. I had allowed my children to play with worldly children and cutting a long story short we ended up moving house rapidly 15 miles away after a massive heated argument with one of our neighbours. I couldn’t believe what was happening to us and I wanted to know where was my God. Nobody came to our aid as everyone else was too scared of the family, and they just said that we shouldn’t have been having association like we had with such worldly people, so we stuck the sale board up and moved into rented accommodation.
A move of 15 miles away from other known JWs was the best thing we did, but we made the mistake of joining the local congregation. They didn’t accept us very well either. There were long established cliques and we were not going to be accepted among them. This on top of all the hassle we had had prior to moving house left me drained and searching for answers. I randomly searched the web for answers and came across an ex jw forum. I joined and couldn’t believe my eyes at what I was reading. I knew immediately that this was the end of me being a JW.
It was only when I started reading Crisis of Conscience, that I was able to completely lift every ball & chain teaching off and come to believe nothing that I had been taught. Unbeknown to me though, my hubby had already been reading such forums. I recollect that he had tried to suggest inconsistencies but I would never listen. I would completely shut him out and tell him point blank I didn’t want to know. (I feared his utterances were from the devil !!!) I told him my findings and didn’t think for one minute he would disagree, I just assumed he would listen and strangely enough he did. He had been one for 43 years and myself 21 years. That was it, we ceased to call ourselves JW’s. Our eldest has found it the most difficult, but all in all they were still young enough to not have been totally sucked in by them. They now love their new found freedom, and are looking forward to Christmas.
I forgot to say that my mother took to the so called Truth too a year after I did and she has also now ditched! In the meantime the JW’s keep calling with the latest magazines, to encourage us back to the meetings. We plan on either telling them or shocking them of our exit with Santa on the front lawn…. So there you have it. Nothing too exciting about our exit, but strangely we woke up….
In the meantime the father-in-law doesnt have much to do with us. In part he along with my husbands eldest brother is shunning us because we dont go the meetings. 3 other siblings of my husband have long stopped associating with us because we shunned them when they were disfellowshipped. :( Maybe we will be able to changed things who knows.
All I can say now is that I am forever greatful for these forums, without them we wouldnt have woken up....