Tell us about your early life as a JW.
BORING. I hated the Thursday meeting and hated the Sunday meeting and hated hated hated field service. I did like the book study and the watchtower because those needed brain work and they were rather hard esp the older years (90s, early 2000s). I also liked the kings and chronicles and similar books, action and cool stuff happening. I was shocked at the story of the guy in judges who let his concubine get gang raped and chopped her to bits after she died and started a civil war because of it. I now feel even more shocked at how the bible could be considered appropriate for children. I did like to go through the chronology. I was very confused also as I grew up at the discrepancy between watchtower chronology and real world chronology. I didn’t answer properly!
Ok life was not too bad, my parents weren’t really strict. We watched R rated films, never played kingdom melodies at home (hate those!!), did not hound me about anything. But I put restriction on myself. I also felt very ashamed and isolated at school. I had to keep playing mental games, like when at school I had to hide JW aspects while not breaking any of the laws. And when with JWs I had to be a good JW though my character is more independent.
How would you describe your family life while you were a JW?
My dad was an elder (still is actually). My mom was a pioneer when I was a kid then she stopped. Of course like a dumb kid when asked what I wanted to be when I grow up, I would say I want to pioneer. My dad and I used to call my mom the mosaic law cos she was the disciplinarian. She was strict as a mother but she was also concerned that I would be doing well and happy. My dad was mainly an indifferent parent. My dad’s family were all witnesses, none of my mom’s were. There was always some awkwardness around Christmas time.
How would you describe your level of devotion to the organization prior to waking?
Meh, mostly liberal. My dad is a liberal elder. My mom rather strict. I’m rather perfectionistic so I cared about doing things right and proper and as it should be. I wanted to be good and right and perfect and the good happy strong witness I was supposed to be. Since I like history and learning I also liked the books like Revelation and Daniel. Loved the prophecies, went through the chronology, like did the calculations myself. But I wasn’t too hard on myself. I never ever pioneered, always refused to, and never felt guilty about it. I also used to invent hours and didn’t really feel guilty about that. I secretly hoped someone would take interest in me like personal interest to why I was so shitty in the ministry, never had studies, etc. I was basically an elder’s daughter and 3rd gen. witness with my uncles in congregation positions too, so I could coast through.
If baptized, why did you decide to take that step? If not, why not?
I was 12. I don’t know. I was eager. I was dumb. My dad was against it but he didn’t voice much objection. He believes baptism should be at 18. I thought that was the right thing to do, the next milestone. Puberty hadn’t hit yet. It hit when I was 13. I went downhill from there. I mean in my personality and emotionally. If I had waited one year, I never would have gotten baptized.
If born-in, what kind of Jehovah’s Witnesses were / are your family?
My mom is devout. My dad is pretty liberal. He thinks baptism should be at 18, is against shunning. He didn’t break contact with his nieces when they got disfellowshipped. He got removed as an elder for going to a disfellowshipped niece’s wedding. He got restored after and still hasn’t broken contact with them. My uncle was in the local bethel but got disfellowshipped then reinstated. My other uncle was CO but he got removed after his son got massive debts and disfellowshipped, his daughter got disfellowshipped too. My aunt has her 3 children disfellowshipped. However, my other aunt and her children were all not witnesses but in the past few years her and 3 of her children are witnesses. My grandma was a pioneer for centuries, I think they kept her as honorary pioneer til she died at 97.
Are there any particular experiences or circumstances while you were a believer that come to mind now that you’re awake?
My dad once told me when I was a kid: If you cause trouble for your mom, she will get angry, and if she is still angry at night and Armageddon comes, she will die. So I had to behave because Jehovah would punish her for what I did. You’re not supposed to talk like that with a kid.
The story of the guy in judges should not be permissible for kids to see.
You’re not supposed to say bad thoughts or weakness out loud because then Satan will hear and use it to make you leave Jehovah. So when I would be depressed or anything I wouldn’t dare speak out loud even when alone in my room.
Was your waking up journey sudden or gradual? Describe it for us.
Gradual I would say. There were sudden bursts too. Like evolution 🙂 When I was 15 I was getting ready to pray before lunch, I was alone, I thought no one is listening to this. I didn’t pray and never did pray alone again. I never fully fully believed. I don’t what it was exactly. It was always a mix. I think I believed the historical things like the chronology. But over time the hold was weaker and weaker. It was meaningless. And then I made friends online who confronted me about evolution and resurrection. Evolution made sense. Random mutations over billions of years that survive or die. My objection had been who does the selecting in natural selection? but it’s natural precisely because no one is selecting. I do blame the wording of the scientific literature. Also resurrection is basically life after death. Also how does God really get all the parts back together. The UN thing was a strong point too.
Did you ever have so-called “doubts”? If so, what were they?
I don’t know. Can’t remember so well.
Did you share your so-called “doubts” with anyone, and if so, how did it turn out?
Nope never shared anything with anyone. I can’t talk about any of this without getting really really angry. Actually I did mention about the UN thing once during lunch but there were no comments. I’m not very good at argumentation and can’t think on my feet very well so if I can’t win the argument better not get into it.
Are you currently being shunned / ostracized by any Jehovah’s Witnesses?
Yes. I live with my parents so no shunning there. If I happen to bump into a jw we will just say a hello but otherwise yes shunned by everyone.
What has changed in your life since waking up?
I can be honest with myself instead of living in hypocrisy which I was doing. I feel clean. I am one person again instead of being two which I was all my life.
What does the future hold for you now that you’re awake?
What would you like to say to doubting or questioning JWs who might be reading this?
Research. A single source is no source, just as one witness is no witness. If it’s the truth it should hold up. Be humane. Think of individuals and how they’re impacted rather than principles and organization. People come first, not organizations.
What would you like to say to still-in believing-JW family and or friends who might come across this?
None will haha. Same as above I guess.
Do you have anything else to share?
It was really hard to answer this and I think my answers haven’t been very good or coherent. There’s so much I left out. Too many things left unexpressed for too long. I haven’t properly unpacked all these things.