As I write today, I am no longer a Jehovahís Witness. Why give up Jehovahís Witnesses, arenít these people supposed to be good, honest Christians? But itís like the clown with his mask on, but unmask that clown and youíll find itís not a dream. My experience has unmasked a clown, which nearly destroyed my life, family and friends. My time and direction were lost because of the supposedly good-minded Jehovahís Witnesses. Life for many of us takes a change once religion becomes involved. My behaviour became so bad, that members of my family were going to disown me. Even my sister quit the Witnesses in the eighties and could not understand what was happening. She didnít trust the Jehovahís Witnesses and their behaviour any more. But sometimes I find that she still holds onto some of their basic beliefs. My work was also effected and I found myself unemployed. The employment agency referred me to a social worker to find out why I couldnít work. She noticed a pattern of behaviour that led to panic and anxiety. She made a phone call to a "Anxiety Disorders Unit" and I was enrolled into a Behavioural Therapy Program. I felt that I needed that extra help and ended up seeing a professional counsellor. It took a while for me to understand that panic and anxiety controlled my life to itís extreme. Learning to control the panic and anxiety can give a clearer picture on other areas of you life that you need help or counselling in.
Iíve now recognised where the main cause of my anxiety and panic came from. Being involved with Jehovahís Witnesses was not healthy, I found out that they are a cult.
Before coming into contact with the
Witnesses, I was vulnerable through previous abuse. I thought that going
back to the Methodists for help when I started my teenage years would be
helpful, but I was unable to go through with it and felt uncomfortable
about the church. As the years passed, I felt uneasy even driving past
a church, my sense of anger had increased. My anger towards priests also
increased and I started having memory flashbacks, a little at first, but
over time they got worse and I did not know where it all fitted in. Every
time I saw a priest, these flashbacks came back, as did my anger. Priests
are not supposed to sexually abuse children, but nobody told me.
As a teenager I was attending my final year of high school in 1972, it was a time to decide my future. My sister decided not to finish fourth year and worked in the vineyards. Unknown to her, a shadow was lurking in the vineyards that day, which was to change both our lives. She decided to invite her home with the following week. The shadow came once a week to study religion with her, so I decided to sit in. After a while I wondered whether they would help in my recovery from issues of abuse.
Once study becomes regular, thoughts about your future decline. Befriend you? Yes indeed they do, they show how loving and caring they are. I felt this even though I was just sitting in on the studies. Then came the meetings of Watchtower study. The shadow was showing us off, like a prized lamb. They were okay at first, but as time passed they seemed to change. We attended assemblies regularly and the need for baptism was ever increasing. The ĎTime of the end is near!í and this thought was overwhelming. I was trying to grasp the concept of Jesus and Jehovah-God and I did my best to make it work. You seem to get caught up in the charismatic side of the assemblies, which make you commit more to the Witnessesí ways. My sister and I were Ďhanded overí to another family to continue with more bullshit. Then you were not to celebrate Christmas, birthdays, Easter or any other man-made religious function, only Jehovahís way. Can you imagine the feeling? You have to give up friends even your own family, if they donít become Jehovahís Witnesses.
In 1974, I was baptised and ended up on a real high for some time later, doing the good deeds and works, according to the Witnesses. You were not allowed to get a higher education or serve in the army, which I was interested in. "Become Pioneers, study, give to God, lay down your life for him," and so on. If you see someone doing something wrong report it to the elders. Throw your burden on Jehovah, they would always mention, be disciplined in your everyday lives. Read the Bible, only the Jehovahís Witness version, and no other literature, because you leave yourself open to Satanís influence. So no other religious information comes your way or you are disfellowshiped. Oh, and by the way, Witnesses can disfellowship you for many reasons, so watch your step.
While I was studying, I still had issues of abuse occurring within the family and by a friend of the family. For a couple of years I did my best to do what was required of a Jehovahís Witness. Then the pressure of being a Witness began to tell. One thing I thought that they would help me with was counselling on abuse from another church. Not on your life, will you get any help in this area. The Witnesses at the time kept pushing study and everything will go away. Slowly, I continued the downhill slide. I began to become depressed and one night I drove my car into a tree, on my way home from the meeting. The car needed repairs and I was placed on Valium. I could not cope with going to meetings, but the pressure was placed on me to go and to pray continually to Jehovah. I prayed, but it seemed that my prayers were never answered. With this my health suffered even more, then the person who studied with me said "I will go to the elders to have you disfellowshiped."
To be disfellowshiped for being depressed; that made me feel down even further. Going before the elders, who rule every step of your life and even discipline you with lost privileges. These elders think they are the elite of Jehovahís organisation, telling people that all advice is in the Bible. Little do many Witnesses realise that they often have their own agenda. I now felt I did not belong with these Witnesses, but was terrified of being disfellowshiped. "Go to another study, Iíll give you a short time to consider", said my old Bible study person. Caught up in this, I decided to do the study, but my heart was never in it ever again. The fear of being disfellowshipped was so great that other problems set in. Being trapped in fear was unhealthy, but I didnít know it at the time. In the ministry school, I could not get my talks across any more without stuttering. I lost my voice and my heart rate increased, I felt hot and cold and all I wanted to do was to go home. I felt my problems increase every time someone mentioned ministry school. Many times I wanted to tell someone that I wanted to leave the Witnesses, but I feared being disfellowshipped and loss of who I thought were my friends. By the way, our friends are supposed to inform on us, well it seems that friendships for most witnesses donít mean a crack of shit.
Jehovahís Witnesses are the most gossiping, judgemental and thought controlling people. Along with this control, your everyday life according to the elders is theirs, in a sense that includes the Watchtower Society itself. They cut you off from making outside friends, saying itĎs not allowed because youíre allowing Satan in. If people hate you because you are a Jehovahís Witness, then you are being persecuted, which is good because it shows that you are being loyal to Jehovah-God and his teachings.
I befriended a pioneer, who became involved in my life. This time I was studying with her, after a brief falling away from the Truth. The study was again to spark me into action and being a Witness, because they said that if you are not a practicing Witness then you are classed as Ďdeadí. She began to control my life as if it was hers and I could not break that hold. I was being used to take her children on outings, she was using my car and taking items from my house. She took furniture from my house for her friend without my knowledge, then told me later that I didnít need it. I also had her son stealing from me. Then I decided to lock my home so that she couldnít come in any more. This was mentioned to an elder, who I believe never did a thing to stop her behaviour. Controlling outings seem to be what she loved doing to me. When I made a comment about her son and her husband, I was told that I was "speaking down to an elder". Everyone thought what a great pioneer she was, not knowing the other side of her, a controlling and manipulative person.
I thought that I would get rebaptised, thinking it would help. After the second baptism, I thought things would be clearer, but they were not. I found things getting worse again and wanted to stop the studies. Iíd had enough and felt that going to meetings was harder to do. In the end, I became a Ďpeople pleaserí to others and the pioneers, just to get them off my back. Going door to door and talking to people was harder and I felt my heart racing, I felt like passing out, with hot sweats, clammy hands and needing a toilet frequently. I had other Witnesses stick their foot in peopleís doors, not knowing what NO meant and not considering the householder's wishes. I felt working with this pioneer sister difficult, because when someone said NO she continued. My respect for her and her family began to decline. I travelled with her only to be used and abused. The control on some trips was hard and I was glad to be in my own home again. Her son would create problems like shooting off a gun and driving around the area at all hours of the night. The son bailed me up against the shed door one night and was revving his car engine whilst moving the vehicle towards me. I could see that he meant it and I was scared for months. His mother and friend were woken from the car going down the lane and I approached them and told them what had happened. She denied that her son was driving through the farm at night, but I found out later that someone else had seen his car. Because I didnít go to the police, they could not charge him. I then kept my distance from this ex-pioneer like a good Witness, but was not happy about it.
After that I didnít go to too many meetings, because I could not handle it, with fear of Armageddon, being Ďdeadí if you donít attend meetings, shunning and wanting to die, every time I saw a Witness. Again another study began and you would think that I would have had enough, but another person who loved control, thought it would be good for me. I'd had it this time! My mind was not what it seemed and I felt I wanted to yell and scream, in the meeting. One of the elders told me that I could not get help from mental health, only the Bible. In the end, I found myself in a self-destructive mood.
I was involved with the St John Ambulance service. Witnesses call St Johnís Ambulance a Ďgrey areaí, because it involves another belief system and training in First Aid. The other first aiders didnít like what I did at assemblies and my ambulance work was effected, because of the blood transfusion issue. I was never on the ambulances again. I eventually quit, because the staff there were giving me a hard time.
Some Witnesses became jealous, because the person organising the first aid knew that I was capable due to my experience with St. John. It was like "Why are you chosen over me all the time?" a few others got on the bandwagon and I felt like I was being discriminated against. They had no shame about their behaviour and their jealousy became stronger. This began to tell on me over time and it effected my self-esteem, confidence and wellbeing. It was like being back at school and family, being bullied into submission, controlled and manipulated. As time passed, I didnít volunteer any more for first aid, because of their behaviour. I could see what it was doing to me.
I missed assemblies now, as I was just not interested in going. Jehovahís Witnesses can be their own worst enemy, not wanting themselves or others around them to be happy. Witnesses are very judgemental on themselves and others and some revolve their life around this. Some want to be noticed more than others, even though they are supposed to be equal in Godís eyes, as they say. I could not do right in their eyes, because I was experienced in first aid. Where are these Bible bashing, life stealing people themselves now?
My life as a Witness did have a few good points, like with first aid I was helping people, no matter who they were. One Witness told me "Be yourself and donít listen to what others think." I respected her for such a comment.
It goes something like this: "Nice to meet you and welcome to the Kingdom Hall (or study group), Iíll introduce you to some other Witnesses," and then you are sat down for the meeting to start. After a while it becomes repetitive, you say to yourself "I heard this months ago". Someone said that this is done so that we donít forget. It became boring after a while, the same information by new speakers who always juiced up the talks, so you didnít notice its repetitiveness. Some others may twig onto this but if you donít then youíll believe itís new.
You are not to meditate on worldly music, they would say, we have our psalms and other tapes, because if you do then Satan will come into your mind. Even the idea of hypnosis is not on their agenda because itís Satanís.
Talk about putting the fear into you, great job. Fear can be very soul destroying as the mind develops behavioural patterns, which you canít understand at the time. Placing words into your mind if you do wrong in Jehovahís eyes, this is what happens. No friends, no family, no life. They have just destroyed your capacity to live in the real world, only Jehovahís world.
I found my fear so far away from the real world that it nearly destroyed me. Control of the mind is a powerful tool to those who have this key. Even the word Armageddon used in the way the Witnesses use it feeds on your thoughts and behaviour. You have to be going from door to door with full devotion to God, Jesus and the organisation. A comment was made that even if you do all this you may still not get through that door to life.
Sometimes even events before you became a Witness can engage the mind into shame, creating more problems as it did for me. I felt ashamed of everything I was doing and this is guilt, which can take you down to the centre of hell. If you are single you should be a pioneer, as you have more time than a married person. Full time people do more volunteer-work and bring in money by selling Watchtowers. They play on this through all angles. I was an auxiliary pioneer, which is about 60 hours a month and not 90 as the regular pioneers do. It was very hard work, because I had only a fortnight to get as many hours as I could. In the end it was down to how to get the time in and just make it.
You feel you canít cope with the world of Jehovahís Witnesses and the out side world. Conclusion, SUICIDE FOR THE WITNESSES and that will take care of the outside world. I will die for them, but even if Iíve left them, where do I go? Iím not even allowed to seek medical help for my mind. At the time I was told that the Bible was the only answer for me. This elder didnít understand I needed help. I put my life on the line with a major health issue.
My own doctor mentioned that I needed surgery and she helped me through, but at the time she couldnít see the damage the Witnesses were doing. After the surgery, I Iooked for help quietly. I stayed with a Witness who was eager to help me, but I found her making me go to meetings. The hospital stay and surgery changed my life, in my not going to meetings. I could not understand why I nearly destroyed my life in this way, not being able to have children. But tumours needed to be attended to.
The help didnít come right away and I wondered what would happen now that I wasnít at the meetings. Guilt and shame, as mentioned before, overwhelmed me. My mind felt out of this world and I was in Ďfairylandí. My mind and behaviour towards the Witnesses were hostile angry and hateful. They took away the very person I wanted to be: to have self-esteem, confidence and a career with direction. Many years were lost to a cult-like Christian religion. Donít research their belief, or youíre out!
Witnesses felt that loving yourself and your appearance was distracting, Ďyes, look the part of a Witnessí, but your complete devotion is to God and not yourself.
If you had something happen to you like child abuse then God chose you for this and what youíve been through is to help others. Someone who I had respect for made this comment and I felt it very soul destroying and demeaning that I and others were chosen for such a lot in life, to help others. The Witnesses make you responsible for such crimes like rape and child abuse, as if it were your fault. You made it come upon yourself because of your behaviour, even if it happened within the Witness ranks. I began to wear these issues as being my fault for every day that I was involved with the Witnesses.
Some join so they can forgive their abuser or feel redeemed spiritually. They feel that if Christ can forgive then they can too. Being vulnerable and going to them is an invitation for a better life. We promise you a better God of love and a look at ĎParadise Earthí, where there is no violence, war, or any other problem. Itís a big promise, but you may find that itís not a bed of roses after all. Sometimes if you donít fit in their scene or if you feel you find it hard to reform to their ways, then the door is shown to you.
They do not want their members to research the history of the organisation, as they only want you to know what they tell you, only of Charles Russel and when the Watchtower started, not other historical information. Manipulative techniques are used like saying to you "This is the Truth and the Truth will set you free." Used along with Bible information this can flood the mind on a one way thinking course. Your mind becomes very confused with what you were taught then and what the Witnesses teach you now. "All other ways are false but not ours." They look upon all who leave the Witnesses as apostates, whether theyíve done wrong or not. I do know that if you donít go to meetings, then in their eyes you are Ďdeadí, you are not a Witness. At times Iíve noticed that those who fall away are looked upon as lost sheep that need to rejoin the flock.
At times the assemblies were crowded and overbearing. They were so powerful in the charisma generated, that you wondered whether it was really the Jehovahís Witnesses and yes, it was. These assemblies and special talks were to motivate you into action if you were Ďdowní or spiritually Ďlowí. You would go home all pumped up, ready for a new day and outlook. This in itself is powerful and trapping for you. Itís like you canít escape out of it and you become anxious everyday youíre not achieving a Witness goal, staying in the Truth and being a good publisher for them.
Field service in the end became a nightmare. Just going out to talk to people on the doors, I would lose my voice and not feel interested. I wanted to leave, as soon as possible, even to the point of missing the groups, which included the meetings. The field service made me feel faint as soon as we came to the map area to work and sometimes Iíd completely pass out, or cry on the footpath, but still I had to continue the fieldwork. I didnít continue, closing myself off even more from what was happening.
I had a householder pull a kitchen knife on me and that scared the shit out of me, the field service was never the same again and this did not help my anxiety. There was constant blame for "waking up the baby", "youíre stopping me from going out" and "Iím a shift worker." My field service fell away after this and I had no debriefing. Taking abuse is a part of the persecution that Witnesses should expect. Christ taught us that we should expect it.
I hadnít noticed that I left one destructive environment to be involved in another, coming from one abusive situation to another. Itís hard to believe, but true! Away from family abuse and into a form of religious abuse, Iíd been trapped by both. I thought I was helping myself.
Being in the world of Jehovahís Witnesses was a strain on my mental and emotional well being. I had worse thoughts of suicide, but the attempts were painful and I wondered whether I should or not. I was out of control and the kitchen wall was pelted with fresh eggs. My behaviour became self-destructive and I felt I couldnít do any thing right for them. I found myself on the way to meetings screaming in the car and many times. I wanted to scream in the meetings and tell them all where to get off. Youíre just a bunch of bastards! I mentioned to an elder that I needed help and he said "the Bible is all you need." They were very ignorant, particularly when I needed real help not the bloody Bible. I felt I needed help in a mental hospital and thatís what I did. The other Witness I spoke to said "They will change you to not being good and youíll stop going to meetings."
The most annoying thing is when they see you in the garden and recognise you. This Witness felt that it was her duty to talk to me but she didnít want to listen, I had to listen and be drowned in Bible shit. She mentioned "Well if I had known you lived here, I would call in every week," not respecting what I needed. She was an intruder so I moved. If you donít go to meetings, they force views back onto you, just when youíve had enough. For those who go back again, itís never the same. I felt that she was abusing her privilege by force. When a person says NO to being raped for example and when NO is applied to witnessing to others, it feels like rape. What is wrong with their hearing?
In the mid-seventies a couple always came late to the meetings, when they were starting. A few nights later at the meeting, there was talk of the husband committing suicide in the most horrific way possible, as the police described it. The Witness response and gossip was that he will never be resurrected and that God does not like people taking their own lives. The gossip never stopped and the wife moved on. This had an effect on me and the Witnesses didnít even ask how people felt or coped. Itís like that brother who sexually abused a relative and got away with it, that also had an effect on me, but no help was offered, Ďlife goes oní.
A young mother related her experience. She wanted no more of the Jehovahís Witnesses, because she was a single parent in the eyes of many Witnesses. Her husband was not a Witness and she felt left out on family outings. They always gossiped about how she handled her children and why her husband had not taken the Witnesses seriously. She is now happy with her life but it took a little time for her to let go of these clowns.
Some delay their departure from cults, but never delay it forever, or you will be trapped. Life after a cult is not easy at first because of regrets, loss of the group and the activities. There might be an emotional breakdown, guilt, shame, low self-esteem, loneliness and isolation. Fearing this some go back, but it is the same. Others go back in fear of Armageddon, as happens in the Witnesses. "Snap out of it!" many say. Please ignore them, they may not have experienced what you have been through. This is because of the intense indoctrination received by the cult you were involved with at the time.
It is an unrealistic approach to your mental well being. Adjusting every part of your life is not going to happen overnight. Shame is one of the invariable consequences of cult beliefs and this takes time to sort out within you. There are a lot of areas you may also need to think about, such as social skills, losing the authoritarian power hold, your belief systems, confidence and your own spirituality or interests.
According to Margaret Singer, those that pledge allegiance to mind controlling groups in their teens who leave in their twenties, seem frozen at the level of emotional maturity they had reached when they first joined.
Remind yourself that youíre smart but
also vulnerable, keep your emotional defences up and take time to be informed
of cults and their activities. Be aware of the social conditioning and
manipulation of all groups, even the Ďenlightened ones.í Be aware
of hidden agendas like the Amway groupís, who tell you that youíre "just
going to a meeting to learn how to make more money." To help yourself is
to have the ability to think critically and to have some knowledge about
cults and sects. This should help you, itís not completely foolproof, but
it will empower and strengthen you.
In 1945, Rutherford announced that there would be no more blood transfusions. He concluded that it was not allowed in the Bible. Blood transfusions are still a disfellowingshipping offence. In a sense they are appealing to your Bible-based conscience not take blood. If you do, then they will consider reporting it to your elders and then they would deem it necessary to remove you from the Kingdom Hall and other believers.
Before being involved with the Witnesses, the blood issue was nonexistent for me but since my involvement this became a major concern, despite not understanding why. Suddenly they used the AIDS scare in the early 1980ís to get this point across. At that time I felt that the Bible was true, no blood meant no disease. The Witnesses found doctors that would not give them blood.
In the eyes of the world this behaviour loses many people and children. Many say it is suicide, by those who feel there is no choice about this blood issue. In a sense it is suicide, by not doing something to prevent this epidemic, lives will continue to be lost. An interesting fact is that Jehovahís Witnesses condemn suicide and yet continue to let people die in this manner. God looks down on suicide and the organisation feels itís a cop out to take your own life, believing that those who suicide will not be resurrected.
When I was a Witness going from door to door, a woman who was a nurse abused me for letting someone die in the hospital at which she was nursing. "A Jehovahís Witness died this morning because she refused a blood transfusion", she was yelling at me. I was quite taken aback by this and didnít know what to say, so I said nothing and walked away. I felt her anger was directed at me and was distressed by these comments and the death of this person. I felt we were doing as the Watchtower told us on the blood issue, but I was still shaken. You see, you were not allowed to question any of the actions of the Watchtower Organisation, you were their puppets.
Blood taken from you before certain
types of surgery is also against the Watchtower policy as are kidney dialysis
machines, because itís taking blood out of the body and then returning
For people that are shunned, their lives are turned upside down by elders, friends and family if they are Jehovahís Witnesses. Iíve seen what this shunning has done to many I know. It depends on the situation at the time as to the severity of being kicked out. Recently I spoke to someone who was disfellowshipped. He told me and was quite distressed about it. He had spoken out about some Witnesses sharing partners and being a good Witness had told the elders, who did not believe him. He decided not to go to meetings any more, because they didnít believe him. Sometime later he was believed and they asked him to come back to the meetings, but he refused and was later disfellowshipped and then shunned by fellow worshipers. He told me that I would be disfellowedshipped and repeated to me that he was evil. While people were shunning him, his family grew apart and his wife divorced him. His life changed and he found another partner, then lost her through illness.
There are a number who were kicked out for the simplest reasons, like smoking dope and saying to the elders "Iíve had a puff and I thought I should tell you." Just imagine in your own mind what takes place: "You are a good or bad influence on the rest of Jehovahís organisation", they would say. Elders have quite often their own approach to people who they think can be disruptive. Many times these folk are not welcomed back and are devastated by this about-face by the Watchtower. Some Iíve spoken to came close to suicide and some actually killed themselves.
A young man who was disfellowshipped
told me that all he wanted was help from the elders, after his parents,
one an elder and the other a pioneer, separated. The bottle became his
friend when all he needed was some help. He lost his best friend and family.
Not only was he given no help, but he was shunned. The bottle nearly killed
him at any early age. They say they are very loving peopleÖ well horseshit
to them. There is no service to help you if you need it in the Jehovahís
Witnesses, only the golden rule book, the Bible, which can be very damaging
to your self-esteem and at times, your mind.
I myself at the time of being a Witness was in the home of a young Witness who was abusing his daughter, but I did not know this at the time. I wondered why he was so friendly and later I was told that his daughter went to the other elders and told them of the sexual abuse. They didnít believe her, so she moved away to another state to be with her brother, who was also a sexual abuser and Witness. With the JWís, you need two witnesses to prove a crime and this is mentioned in the eldersí book. Jehovahís Witnesses do not notify the police.
Out of this, the girl had a baby and the family was put through hell and blamed. All they could say was "Leave it in Jehovahís hands." The last I heard was that he was reinstated and his wife denied he had ever committed such an act of sexual abuse.
Emotional, physical, sexual and verbal abuse is widespread within the Witness organisation. Many people before joining the Witnesses had a good or reasonable family relationship. The Bible says that man is head of the household. Think about what happens when this power is given to a person, who has not used it before, this can and is dangerous, because abuse starts and then is out of control. In turn you have male control over women and children, where is the family unity in this?
Abuse occurs in all beliefs so be aware, be on the lookout for any signs: not wanting to be close to someone, anger, crying, self destruction, poor school work or ideas of suicide.
Consider why the elders want so much detail from you if you are raped or abused. What kick do they get out of this? They see you as the one responsible, simply for being a woman: "Youíre a woman, so what did you do to ask for rape or abuse? You must have encouraged it or led them on."
The Truth as many call it, is not truthful
and harm is done in creating a belief that women are always in the wrong
and men are not. Sexual abuse goes deep within Jehovahís Witnesses, but
they do not want the world to know. So they donít let you contact police
or lawyers or other agencies to help you. I wonder how many abusers are
going from door to door?
Today I find Iím able to write my story, but it has been very hard because involvement with Jehovahís Witnesses is like nothing in your dreams. Sadly many lives are lost for religion. I found that being a Witness has taken many years away from me, time lost. Being young and vulnerable from other abuses and trying to make a life can be a little hard. Somehow this vulnerability led me into a life of mind-control, control of the body and soul. During my time with the Witnesses, Iíve spoken to many who had been abused, before coming into the cult. Their personalities are not completely outgoing and they tend to be quieter. Iíve found some of these women never looked for help, but only the Bible. It shows on their faces, the pain they are going through inside. Iíve noticed that some of their husbands are not very comforting at all. You are not an individual at all but a clone of the Watchtower. These people think they are better than the rest of the world, because they feel a new paradise is near.
The clown has been really unmasked and behind it is a never-ending story of lies, suicides, abuses, manipulation, bullying and controlling. This behaviour is dangerous, the real you disappears into a world of Bible cult beliefs. Your dreams are stolen of a life you would like. Dare to step out of line or any type of misconduct and out you go, faster than you came in. The other belief is to forgive all wrongs done and life will be on its merry way again, think about this for yourself and what situations it applies to. Well if you want charisma and flair, the assemblies will give you this medicine. It gives you a high to get more deeply controlled in mind and behaviour. Control comes at a price for the Witnesses and this is abuse, whether itís seen or hidden within its ranks. Abusive behaviour by Witnesses is even seen in the supermarket, they are holy than thou people. Then they comment that we are all human.
I realised that leaving the Jehovahís Witnesses was going to take a little time, to readjust back into a real world. Changing slowly gives you thinking space, which is important. Sure you will miss people you like and if you left willingly or were disfellowshipped you might feel lonely andisolated. Some feel the need to go back and it happens often. The problems many have once leaving, is that their life is now all over the place. Take a step back and ask: "What do I need to know for my welfare today? Is it professional help if Iíve been in too long, or an experience within them to leave?" If I could have my life back to the time before joining the Jehovahís Witnesses, it would be great. TIME LOST is impossible to recapture. I am now on a journey of discovery, leaving behind the JWís. I had not planned to join them, but other issues in my life made me vulnerable.
You have a mind to do what you need,
take the path for a career and meet new friends and look at the fear in
your life, is it stopping you from moving forward? I found that seeking
the right help for panic and anxiety attacks good, because the Watchtower
instils this in you and many donít see it, and they wonder why they might
be going off their faces. Many suffer emotional problems, until they realise
help is out there. Look in the mirror and say: "I know who I am now, I
am real, the world is real, my life is real and the shadow is gone." Be
true to yourself and the freedom you have gained.
Since Iíve been able to use the Internet and library to look at religion as a whole, I see it today as part of society. People today seem to end up being conditioned by religion. To some people religion is Truth, simple in terms and useful. Emile Durkhiem (1858-1917) considered that religion performed an essential function in society. Others look at religion in terms of its origins.
Doctrine: belief system
Myth: stories about God
Ethics: values and code of behaviour
Ritual: worship, festivals etc.
Experiences: belonging, commitment, self, good and bad
Social: organisation of people
There was a diversification of religions both eastern and western, during the Roman Empire. Christianity has a very turbulent history, including the events of the Middle Ages right up to modern times. Western Religion originated from the Semitic groups like Islam, Judaism and Christianity. Prophets emphasised the revelation of God to men, from without the human spirit and included accepting goodness, redemption and transformation of this sinful world. Eastern Religions sprang from Indian roots in mystical ideas, emphasising the finding of God by man from within the human spirit. They look at the essential spiritual release of soul, rebirth, and reincarnation in this worldview.
Iíve seen first hand the Christian way of life and the after effects of my familyís abuse of religion towards me. Priests cannot control their desire for manipulation and abuse, because of the power that they hold over people. A child does not know what behaviour amounts to sexual abuse or that itís wrong. Their attitude is that "Itís our secret." I personally donít have a kind word for them.
I was encouraged to talk to a priest as part of the program, which involved facing my fears. I was able to talk to this priest and I expressed my anger, about what had happened to me as a child in the Methodist Church. This priestís comment was "After this, donít become involved with religion again." Remember this priest said not all priests are abusers, but for those hurt by them there is a difference. The tears and grief that you go through being involved with these people makes you wonder how people could be so cruel to fellow humans.
Religions have splinter groups, and what a splinter you get once you become involved. Itís like using a needle to remove this splinter, which at times is hard to get rid of. Bugger me I need to remove this splinter, which comes in the form of Christian cults and sects. Which one are you involved in?
A person once said to me: "The Bible is like a story to me and was written a long time after the events." Its accuracy is what we make of it today and we donít really know how accurate it is. I see it as a history of Christianity of only 2000 years. The Witnesses are a splinter in the arse and removing them and the emotions that follow can be easy for some, hard for others. Now that I have removed this splinter, stepping out into the real world of people is very good indeed.
For myself, seeking help away from these people gave me strength and courage. Panic and anxiety can control your life, if you donít control the thinking and fear that led to this situation in the first place. Find out what the trigger was, because the mind can make it ten times bigger. Mind control can play a part because the same thought is placed in your mind until you believe it. Like the only way of keeping the congregation Ďcleaní is to remove the sinner.
Look for yourself, help is out there.
Minimise the panic, anxiety and fear attacks, so life has meaning and a
future. Take courage and be prepared to change your life so that it is
advantageous to YOU.
THE LEGACY THE JW'S LEAVE YOU WITH:
FEAR OF DOUBT
FEAR OF LEAVING THE ORGANISATION
FEAR OF WORLDY PEOPLE
FEAR OF SUCCESS
FEAR OF LEARNING
FEAR OF THE DEVIL
FEAR OF CLOSE FRIENDSHIPS
FEAR OF APOSTATES
FEAR OF GOD
FEAR OF ARMAGEDDON
FEAR OF OTHER RELIGIONS
THE SEVEN STEP INDOCTRINATION PROGRAM:
1. GIVING YOU THEIR BOOKS
2. RETURN VISIT CALLING BACK ON YOU
3. YOU AGREEING TO A WEEKLY BIBLE STUDY
4. REGULAR BOOK STUDY EVERY SECOND MEETING
5. WATCHTOWER STUDY ON SUNDAYS
6. SERVICE MEETING, OR MINISTRY SCHOOL, FOR MORE TRAINING
7. BECOMING A PUBLISHER TO BECOME BAPTISED AS A WITNESS
SHAME OF PEOPLE
For the religion I wasnít belonging
Like all ups and downs
One thing did stand tall.
Itís role of discipline
If itís not written then itís wrong
And you skate with time
Many find their wrong doings not so well.
But walk away with words of shame
To find also they might have been wrong.
Itís so they say
There was no word of empathy or compassion
Three strikes and youíre out so they say
The written word was said,
Not from hearts but sad of heart
Many feel, theyíve done no wrong
They still donít belong, are treated without concern.
They are looked upon, shamed like those who were disciplined
For those who do not fit the line felt shamed upon too.
Right your wrongs, do it right they would say,
For if the mind and heart were not willing
Shame upon you also.
STRENGH NO MORE
The peopleís presence is felt in what is said and
I walk alone with in mind and in heart.
Ever feeling the words at heart, is it right, is it wrong.
Control or be controlled seems to be
For I know the guilt is high
And a price Iíve paid for turning not on what once was
It walks day and night with me now, a guilty heart is a guilty mind.
Thatís the legacy I do much feel.
I tried to be apart but couldnít find such strength at heart.
Hallucinations of mind came to be, heart could not see.
Away down I went a lifeline thrown but not far,
Guilt of everything came upon me.
So much so I wanted suicide most of all.
I became angry towards them all to suicide in front of them all
Suicide and anger more,
The body pains as I see them now
For the few who knew me the pain will always be to them.