Tell us about your early life as a JW:
As a child, I was taught what is typical of JW’s to teach their children, Armageddon will come and Jehovah is going to destroy all the bad people.
I grew up in fear of that day, I would always think of that day. As I turned 12/13 I was faced with the baptism question, when will you get baptized?? I got baptized for 2 reasons. First, because of course my parents were expecting me to do it, and yes, I stilled believed everything this religion taught, so fear always made me want to do it. Second, I wanted to stand out in my congregation, because there was a girl that always treated me like shit because she was an elders daughter. She was still not baptized, so I wanted to beat her to it if you can say it like that,(stupidest reason ever).
After my baptism I started to get into wanting a boyfriend. I had like 3 boyfriends during my teenage years, all JWs of course, but like always my parents managed to interfere in my relationships because none were worthy and were non spiritual. I got to a point were I was so unhappy.
To make things worse, my parents took me out of public school to do home school, because they thought I was gonna rebel against the Org. That ruined my life completely because I was always a good student. I never failed a year. I only got to 8th grade. Homeschooling sucked, I hated it. So I gave up, because I wasn’t learning anything. My mom told me to stop studying, because I didn’t need it, the end was near; that when I would get married my husband was the one who had the obligation to provide economically, so I didn’t have to worry. I regret that so much now.
Then the sisters started pressuring me into pioneering, so I did, for like 3 years, auxiliary and regular. I even went to pioneer school, but I was never happy.
I wanted to try to be spiritual, but I was never happy. Plus, I started hiding things from my parents, like dating guys, but they would always find out and elders would get involved.
I was so tired of everything that I planned to run away from home and I was ready to do it, but again, my parents found out and called the elders on me.
My life as a JW sucked so much. This religion oppressed me so much.
Socially, I never had real friends in the congregation. My only real friends were the ones from school when I used to go. But my life as a believing JW was horrible.
How would you describe your family life while you were a JW?
All my family is JW. So of course, everything JW was involved. Meetings, service, family study. My sister married a guy that later on became a C.O substitute (he is a C.O right now) so she was the example child for me to follow.
Technically I had to be spiritual and look for a spiritual mate later on and they expected me to get involved in everything, even the cleaning of the kingdom hall, which I hated. Yes having a witness family affected my growth (and) development til this day. It still haunts me. I’m married and faded, but having a JW family in the Spanish culture is really hard.
How would you describe your level of devotion to the organization prior to waking?
It wasn’t 100% devotion that’s for sure. Like I said, the reason I did things was for the fear I had of being destroyed in Armageddon. I wanted to be spiritual so badly, but something inside me always went towards what’s considered bad, in everything to what I watched, what music i listened to, what video games I played. It got to a point where I didn’t care anymore, so the only reason I acted spiritual was to keep my family at bay and they would leave me alone. So i was living a double life. Sometimes I felt really bad about that, but it grew in me to a point that I didn’t care anymore.
If baptized, why did you decide to take that step? If not, why not?
Like I mentioned before, only two reasons.
I got baptized was because I feared being destroyed by Jehovah, and to stand out in my congregation because of a brat that was an unbaptized publisher and elders daughter that treated me like shit every time. I wanted to beat her to it. I did, and now I regret it soooo much. No one knows what getting baptized gets you in.
If born-in, what kind of Jehovah’s Witnesses were / are your family?
My two brothers are out of the religion. One disfellowshipped, the other faded.
But my sister (Regular pioneer since the age of 12 still is and married to a C.O) and my parents are very devout. Specifically my dad now that he is a ministerial servant. They get crazy for everything this religion does or says, and they get brainwashed more every year. There is no way they will wake up.
Are there any particular experiences or circumstances while you were a believer that come to mind now that you’re awake?
I did Auxiliary pioneering (and) regular pioneering for a period of 3 years, and pioneer school. I hate preaching. Hated then, hate it now. I thought that being a pioneer would help me be more spiritual, but it never did. It just help me see the hypocrisy that exists between sister pioneers, (the) spirit of competition. There is no real love. But that’s pretty much it.
Was your waking up journey sudden or gradual? Describe it for us.
It was gradual. It started when I realized I was faking being a spiritual person. And doubts started coming to my head. And I have a disfellowshipped brother, so I hate the way that JWs shun disfellowshipped people.
Did you ever have so-called “doubts”? If so, what were they?
Yes, to how things were managed in the congregation. Especially with how the elders treated my hubby and me for “how we were living”. (How) his night job was killing him spiritually since he was a ministerial servant, and how they keep saying Armageddon is so so so so close. I started to watch cedars and (read) jwfacts.com, so that completely woke me up.
Did you share your so-called “doubts” with anyone, and if so, how did it turn out?
I did, with my husband, but not immediately. It took me a year to tell him I had doubts. At first we did fight a little for what I was telling him, but I gradually would tell him things here and there until I showed him the Australian Royal Commission on child abuse, and that woke him up. It was like a bucket of ice got thrown at him. But I’m glad he is fully awake now. He supports me I support him, and we are in this together.
Are you currently being shunned / ostracized by any Jehovah’s Witnesses?
Not technically, but they expect me and my husband to go back to the meetings since we have been out for like 8 months already. But they haven’t shunned us yet.
What has changed in your life since waking up?
Everything has changed, I see so many things clearly now. And I can finally be myself and get back on track with my education. My husband and I are more open with each other and closer to each other. I realize Religion causes so many problems in a family life.
What does the future hold for you now that you’re awake?
Hope for the best to come and just live my life happily with my family, because I do want to have kids, and I don’t want them to live what I lived. Like its said, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
What would you like to say to doubting or questioning JWs who might be reading this?
Don’t just rely on Watchtower publications. There is so much information out there from trustworthy sources that will open your eyes. Not every apostate is bad, look for John Cedars on YouTube, and (read) Jwfacts.com. All the info they use is straight from watchtower publications, that’s what opened my eyes.
Give them a chance, don’t be scared to learn new things. If you feel a certain teaching is shady, research research research!!! You wont regret it.
Educate yourself as much as you can.