Gary Busselman's Email and Feedback on his Writings

email Gary

Names have been removed to protect the anonymous. disclaimer


Hi Gary,
I have been reading your site today. I was a 'dumb sheep' for thirty five
years and like you have finally come to my senses.
I'm sorry about your terrible experiences as a child, I recognise them as
what has happened to a lot of us former JW children. I'm desperately sorry
for you about what happened to your first wife.

However, i've just been reading your 'okies' section and , please forgive
the rudeness, but I nearly wet my pants I laughed so much, in fact I'm still
laughing now. How true. I live in England, how different could that be? Yet
I've heard some of this stuff myself. Could be that I'll be laughing for
the rest of my life now so maybe all that browbeating and brainwashing was
worth it.
Best wishes for always. Keep writing 'the truth'. I's so glad you've found
your peace and relieved that I have finally found mine.
 

___

I have just read your article on 'Shunning' & felt
 that I had to express my gratitude to you for putting
 this in writing. I cannot tell you how this has helped
 me place things into perspective. I was
 disfellowshipped many years ago in the early '80's. I
 was born into the faith, my father an elder, my
 mother, 3 older sisters & myself all pioneers. All 3
 brother-in-laws elders.
 
 On the whole, I  feel that I have come to terms with
 the rejection of my family but from time to time the
deep pain returns & I feel like a little girl again,
 not understanding the hurt.......
 
 Whilst reading your article, I kept having to stop &
 read out portions to my husband, relating your
 comments to my own feelings & experience, ultimating
 with me pathetically crying in his arms (laughing at
 your reference to your sister-in-law)! I cannot thank
 you enough for sharing your thoughts so openly. For
 years I have felt so utterly rejected but with a
 strong sense of having been wronged. I cannot abide
 injustice. I know now that I am not alone in my
 feelings & feel justified in my feelings of
 intolerance to the witnesses' beliefs, without feeling
 guilty for doing so, due to your explanations.
 
 Thank you so much Gary!
 
 Regards
 

_____

 hi,i just read your shunning piece..fantastic..i
 especialy love the idea that they only have power if
 you play their game w/them..im going thru this w/my
 sister,a jw..an evil spinless person,but a baptised
 jw..i got disfellowshipped in 1990..my parents,{jw's}
 are getting old,and need much help.my sister wont help
 them,so i do..she constantly gives them grief because
 of them associating w/me..i was baptised in 1972,when
 i was 12...the world was gonna end in 1975,and there
 was a big push for baptism...i was so naive..i would
 have done anything to please my parents.so now,30
 years later,i pay..and pay and pay..thanks for your
 article,its nice to know that im not alone...
____________

 Mr Busselman,
 
 I am just nineteen, but have had similar experiences to your own, barring,
 of course, the horrific and wasteful tragedy of your wife's death on the
 basis of organ transplant, all the more horrible given the Society's
 flipflop just several years after. My sincere condolences are with you, I
 cannot begin to comprehend the impact such a tragedy could have had.
 
 However, my upbringing, and the resultant problems after "walking away"
 (age 17), bears many similarities to your own.
 
 I am from Dublin, Ireland, but 'fled' to Canada when I was 18, to enroll
 in a university there on a 'wing and a prayer'. I had a $5000 a year
 scholarship but that doesn't really help that much (international fees
 etc), I still owe a lot and this year am trying to arrange a part-time
 course load while working full time to pay off a chunk of the debt. I
 would not be in this situation if I had not been kicked out of my house,
 with no prospects at home and with completely insufficient funds (savings
 of two consecutive summers) to live and study in Dublin. I am essentially
 cut off from my parents, have not spoken to my mother in over a year, and
 barring occasional "official" e-mails to my father, there is little
 communication. I thought it better to get one year of university in
 Canada, away from everything, than to wait for years while working
 low-skill jobs in Dublin, moping around, and not particularly growing as a
 person.
 
 I think that perhaps we can help each other through discussing our
 experiences. Your story truly struck a chord. I hope we can talk soon.
 
 Sincerely

____________

Gary,
 
 I recently have been doing research on the internet regarding people who
 have left the JW's and what their life was like afterwards.  I was raised
 as one from the age of 5 until age 17 when I ran away from home because I
 could no longer stand the way my mother force fed me the beliefs.  She
 basically gave me the ultimatum to move out or do things "her way".  I am
 an only child and am now 36.  My father had died when I was 19 but let my
 mother always do what she wanted with me regarding the religion
 anyway.  Like you, I only have formed relationships with people who were
 emotionally or physically abusive to me.  I have no self-esteem and I have
 moved frequently.  I now live in Florida which is 1200 miles away from my
 mother but still she calls me several times a week and sends the local
 JW's to my door to contact me on a regular basis.  I feel there is no way
 I will ever convice her to leave the religion.  But frankly I feel like a
 failure to her and I am at a lost as what to do with my life since I am
 not doing what I was raised to do.  Can you offer me any help on how to
 deal with my mother and how to let go of the feeling that my life is
 meaningless because I will not go back to the Kingdom Hall?  Any advice or
 reading material you could send my way would be appreciated.

________

Hi Mr. Buss
 
I just read your report on Jehovah Witnesses with great interest.  I only have one brother and our parents died 6 and 7 years ago.
I am not married.  My brother met a girl who is Jehovah Witness as they both work at the hospital.  Now he is spending less and less time with me and spends all his weekends in going door to door and Jehovah Witness functions.  His wife never tries to befriend me. 
 
But I am a Christian and believe in the Bible.  It is important to know what happened with YOUR relatives.  I love my brother and
would much rather he was Presbyterian or a denomination like that.
 
Thanks very much for reading this.  Thank you for your article.
 
 

 ________

 Hello Gary,
 I am very impressed with your website about JWs. I came to the US In 2002
 with an aim of going to Pharmacy school. I met a JW man in class who
 introduced me to the religion. His mother, sister and step father are JWs.
 They all loved me. I fell in love with the guy later, and was getting
 ready to get baptized. Suddenly I realized something was not right and I
 went to the internet and what I read shocked me.
 Right now am branded an apostate due to my efforts to try rescue XXXX.
 I realy love him, even though they treated me very badly. It has been
 almost 4 months since he last talked to me. Is there anything I can do to
 rescue him and his family?
_____

Gary,
 I just read this on the web and laughed my scrawny butt off! That is wonderful work!
You have a real gift for this.  I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed it.
I was just e-mailing Randy a few minutes earlier with the idea of doing a parody magazine such as Botchtower or Jove's Witless Protection Program and lampooning the JW style, sending up their nonsense and such.
You obviously have a talent for this.  That is exactly the sort of thing I had in mind.
I think all of us should put together an "actual" (as opposed to virtual) magazine. I'd love to get a JW mailing list and send them out.
I personally believe JW's (at least the older one's who are savvy) would love to laugh at the Society whereas they would flinch at pure "apostate" sarcasm.
There is a fine line between one and the other.
If we could do it I think there might be a few who would relax long enough to rethink the whole nutty nonsense.
     The main problem borderline JW's have is NOPLACE TO GO!
Once you get use to being told what to do it ain't easy to go it alone and chuck the whole nonsense.
But, we all know that now.
Anyway, just wanted to tell you GREAT JOB!
I love it.


_______

Hello Gary, I hope you and your family are fine. 
 
I would like to tell you, that in my opinion, "THE INVINCIBLE DELUSION" it is the best article that I read, written by a former-Witness. 
 
Yours, 
 
São Paulo-Brasil


_______

Hello my name is XXX XXX.  I was born in Philadelphia on January 3, 1978.  I come from very humble beginnings.  My parents supplemented what me and my brothers lacked  materially with love.  My childhood was very similar to any other ghetto kid who may have grown up in Harlem, Chicago, or Compton.  We had a steady diet of Oodles & Noodles, Chinese food, home cooked meals and anything that could be made with government cheese!!!  My three brothers and myself were raised by both my parents who were devout Jehovah's Witnesses.  The core values of Jehovah's Witnesses follow Christianity and instill good moral value in member's of its organization.  I currently am not an active member of Jehovah's Witnesses, although I was baptized at the tender age of 14.  In addition to citing inconsistencies in the doctrines being taught, I still today harbor ill resentment toward the organization.  One of the reasons being that I was semi-molested by an "elder" of our congregation around 16 years old.  This "elder" was someone that I looked up to in a grandfatherly sense, as my grandfather on my maternal side was virtually non-existent during my childhood.  In addition he was a spiritual role model as I was an active member in our congregation.  The shock, embarrassment, anger, and shame of this event has permanently altered my transition from child to adult and is something I wouldn't wish on my greatest enemy.  Its one thing to endure such trauma from someone on the street, but from someone in a religious setting is infinitely worse.  The second matter of resentment deals with the fact that at the time of my teenage years as a Jehovah's Witness, the organization had a firm stance against its members attending college.  Members who did so were virtually treated as "worldy" or outcasts.  As a child I was diagnosed as mentally gifted at 6 years old and excelled at education in elementary, middle, and high school.  Academically I was beyond years in both mathematics and writing.  Once I graduated from high school, at the encouragement of my parents and our congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses I declined all college prospects and became a full-time pioneer and was elected a ministerial servant (a precursor to an "elder").  This meant that I would dedicate a minimum of 90 hours per month to the evangelizing work.  Around this time nature began calling and I started taking notice of the opposite sex in an adult way.  After engaging in out of wedlock sex, I was publicly humiliated in front of our congregation and had to step down from my positions.  I sought to date the correct way and contemplate marriage but at a rate of $5.75 an hour working at XXXX, it was an unrealistic dream.  I couldn't provide for myself yet alone a wife and any children that may have had come about.  At this time I still wanted to go to college, but the organization still took a firm stance against college or university activities.  My question today is that I know the Watchtower & Bible Tract Society relies tremendously on the help of Lawyers, Accountants, Doctors, Bankers, Artists, Writers, etc.. to run their organization.  Did they tell these people to forgo educational pursuits at this time?  If your reading this right know you may say to yourself,  why didn't you just ignore everyone and gone to college?  Well please do understand that a religion and/or cult can have a mental grip on people that makes them ignore their better judgment, let alone a teenager who has been affiliated for all their life.  The reason why I am bitter to this day is because these injustices to me affect me to this very day at 26 years old.  I did try to salvage the damage done at one point or another but only achieved (18) college credits due to the fact that I now have a family and am now working on my second marriage as well as juggling a music career.  Music was something I thought would be my Saviour and allow me to catch up to my peers who went on from high school to pursue their dreams.  I can still remember to this day how excited my teachers were with me going to college.  I lied to them and told them I would be attending Temple University knowing "the organization" had opted against.  I'm bitter today because as an under-educated Black man in America I struggle everyday to pay for the basic necessities of life.  I'm bitter because I know that if I would have went to college I would be able to provide for my wife and daughter financially.  In today's job market a high school degree is not enough.  Security officers need college degrees today as well as police officers!!!!!  Do you ever wake up some mornings and feel like life is passing you by??  Don't get me wrong I've experienced great things through music.  I have worked with some of the biggest names and traveled abroad, but when it stops and you come back into the regular world its like going cold turkey from Heroin.  Everyday I think to myself is this it?  Is this the way my life will be? Struggling day in and day out?  I mean I don't have to be rich but what kind of life is it to work 50 plus hours a week and still can't afford the basics (Rent, Food, Utilities).  If it is a God out there show me a sign and open up a door for me to achieve greatness and I promise to take care of mine and educate those I love thru my mistakes.  I don't mean to sound negative or pessimistic but I feel like I deserve more from life.  I am seeking legal help to sue The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society for personal damage, emotional distress, sexual abuse and punitive damages, as well as to expose them for the cult that they are.  Can you help me to find a lawyer and aid my case????

_________

Gary,
 
Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
 
This is the 3rd e-mail I've written, the others I couldn't finish.
 
I cried when I read a couple of your articles, for you & your dearly loved wife and suddenly for me as I read on. 
 
You describe my confusion/feelings in a few places as if I had written it myself.  I finally found a description and explanation for the things I haven't been able to vocalise.
 
After 7 painful years, the last 5 of which I've conned myself into thinking the mental readjustment is sorted, I found out what was wrong with me!!!
 
Thank you.
 
Would it be possible to communicate a bit? I need help from someone that understands from experience right now, maybe you could point me the right way if you are busy maintaining your life.
 
Thanks,
 

________

 The reason why you left the truth, the truth and not the "truth" like you
 people believe, is because you have no humility and no love. When people like
 you commit something wrong and get disfellowship you can't say to yourself "I
 was wrong, I messed up, me and only me," you can't say that because is much
 easier to go around blaming others for your own mistakes.
   When I was a child, my mother got very sick with cancer she also refused a
 blood transfusion because she new that if she would die Jehovah God would
 bring her back. She is still here today. I was only ten years figure that one
 out. You live for today, because is very easy to just be "free" without
 rendering an account to no one. Right? But remember before you continue to
 live that "free life" look up into the sky and remember that Jehovah
 Witnesses are the only religion that Jehovah permit to carry his name. The
 are the true religion and will be until the end of this system of things.
 Jehovah's Witnesses have die for what they believe in. It's in all the
 history book. Would David a Reed, Randall Watters, do the same? Is very easy
 to sit behind a computer and write lies against former friends and former
 believes, seriously, is very easy. I read all the junk about witnesses and
 there is nothing that would make me leave, nothing. Do you know why? Because
 I have made the truth my own. No one, no Satan, no Reed, no tapes, no
 parents, no friends, nothing can take it away.  Because it is mine and I
 would fight to the end for it to remain mine. It's a pity that you did not
 have the same conviction that the apostle Paul had. Romans 8:38, 39. " For
 I'm convinced that neither death nor life nor angels nor governments nor
 things now here not things to come nor powers nor height nor depth nor any
 other creation will be able to separate us from God's love that is in Christ
 Jesus our lord" this is the kind of conviction that keeps one in the truth,
 that keeps one humble. You might think that I need help that I have been
 brain washed. My answer is "yes I have been brain washed with bible truths."
 I prefer to be brain washed by the witnesses that by any other Religion or
 Apostate group.
 The end is near and we will soon know who is right and who in wrong. By the
 look of the world situation that day is not too far away. Thanks for taking
 the time.

_______

Hi Gary !!

I just checked out the Freeminds.org website, and really enjoyed your articles . I was a "Bible student" of the JW's for under a year before I left them for good last October ..... what an ordeal it was !!!  It took me two separate attempts to leave the organization, along with all the guilt, fear-mongering, and peer pressure from its members !!  I finally told them that I am quitting for good , and I feel a great sense of relief .  I am now attending a non-denominational evangelical Church here in Winnipeg , with my husband . The JW's are no longer harrassing me at work ,at home , or over the phone anymore !!!  Yahoo !!! 
I am so happy to be completely free of this organization and all of its control and paranoia !!  I am truly happy to be a free-thinking and strong individual now that I have left ..... my life is moving upwards and forwards !!  I am very thankful for people like yourselves for being courageous in informing society about the dangers of being hooked into mind-controlling groups like the JW's , as well as others .  Thank you for your insite and compassion in helping others to keep themselves safe !!! 

__________

Hi Gary,

Just wanted to let you know thanks for your website. I could relate to so many things that you talked about.
  I got baptized in 1996 shortly after a painful divorce. The lady who studied with me was a boss at work and was very kind and understanding. I was definitely love bombed. She let me know that "the truth" was the answer to all of my problems. Jehovah's Witnesses were the only religion that I was familiar with as my parents were baptized in 1974 but they only stayed in for approximately 3 years and then left after what I now think is because 1975 came and went. I even remember packing seal-a-meal packed food in large metal military canisters, because my father thought that the end was coming. I was about 10 at the time and did not understand that he had been provided special "insider" knowledge of the time frame via the watchtower magazine.
I just thought that this was another one of his crazy ideas to keep us kids working hard so we wouldn't have time to get into trouble. Even though; as far as I know; he never was diagnosed; I now believe him to be suffering with manic depression with all the very crazy behavior. I don't see him anymore but you can probably find him in Florida passing out tracts from his shirt pocket in between drinking and gambling binges.
Anyway, I stopped going to meetings this February. The last field service report I turned in was for January 2003. I've been going through so much emotionally. I finally stopped going not because of doctrine reasons, but because I was so lonely. I am a white female 39 divorced mother with a 13 year old son. I never fit in real well with the other witnesses.
The area where I live is predominately black. We recently had formed a new congregation with "some" people having to leave their congregation and go to the new one (others were so important that they didn't have to leave their congregation, i.e., elders, pioneers, and others related to "prominent " families). This meant for me that I left a congregation that was all black except for me and an elderly sister of 79 and went to one that was 1/3 white. This seemed like it was going to work out except that the whites in the new congregation were all related to the PO except us. We were never invited anywhere and barely anyone ever spoke except hi or right before the circuit overseer the PO spoke to my son.
The married sisters seemed to be concerned that I was trying to take their husbands; sometimes if I had a pretty dress on or looked nice some of the elders wives would stand in corner and looking right at me would whisper and actually point at me. If I looked at them they would sneer and let me know clearly that I was persona non grata. No, I didn't have anything immoral on. Everything I ever wore was tasteful and discreet. Painstakingly so.
The single black sisters (there were no white ones) seemed to be concerned that I was stepping into their husband searching territory. The untold misery that I have experienced could fill a book. Just as an example; I can remember being out in service, and the sisters talking endlessly about a formal dance that they knew I was not invited to. They talked about their formal gowns and how they were going to fix their hair and I spent the entire time praying to Jehovah and trying to manifest a spiritual demeanor in the face of people displaying their human weaknesses.
In reality I felt totally left out and alone. This wasn't the first time they had left me out, sometimes I felt that as the only white friend that had activity in the congregation that I had to pay for the injustices heaped upon them in the past by "white folk " such as back in the seventies when they were segregated and also it seems at one time they were treated as secondary by the organization.
Of course there a few very special, kind honest loving individuals that I really believe are trying to live by godly principles and I miss them so much. They honestly seemed to love me. I didn't really get to spend that much time with them because of time constraints i.e.; field service, meeting attendance, working a full time job, housework, raising my son, and OH NO! resting sometimes.
One day I burst out in tears and my son said what's wrong and I gave my usual response "nothing" then he said "Mom, really what's wrong" and I finally said it and it just came pouring out "I was tired of being lonely, tired of trying to please people that seemed, at best, indifferent to me."
I just didn't feel the love and concern that Jesus said was a mark of his true disciples.
I started looking on the Internet and reading "apostate" material. Boy was I surprised. Some of the same stuff I had misgivings about and just put on a shelf until Jehovah further enlightened me were being discussed.
I was especially shocked about the blood transfusions and the inconsistency with what is allowed. The sexual abuse cases and how these were handled were another shocker.
I decided to just try to slip away and become inactive as my son goes to school with some of the witness kids and they all ride the bus together and it would be awkward if I disassociated myself. Also I work with 4 of them and 2 are in positions of authority over me. Right now they are still talking to me even though they know I am not attending meetings. 2 of them are elders and one asked me if I was going to go back to my old congregation and I said no and he said I could if I wanted to, I just said really and kept walking so I'm thinking that they may make some kind of judgment since I'm not hiding the fact from others that I'm no longer a Jehovah's Witness. I can't tell you how many people are so happy since I can be their friend now, I'm really a nice person and fun to be around, but that didn't seem to matter to the witnesses as it seems the criteria there is not what kind of person you are but who you are related to or connected with. If you are prominent or came from Bethel or a Pioneer that is what makes you worthwhile.
There's so much I could tell you but primarily my reason for writing this email is I'm mad that I allowed myself and my son to be abused in this manner. For 7 years I allowed the elders, an organization, and people to judge me, to tell me what I could and could not do. To be so at their mercy trying to please people so that they would like me. For example auxiliary pioneering at the expense of time with my son. Not allowing my son to do things that were against the organization, holidays, both of us developing relationships with people that we had similar interests with. All these things were off limit to us. I'm so angry and hurt. I feel so betrayed and used. I feel stupid and duped. I have read Ray Franz "Crises in Conscience" and am reading his second book. These are truly eye openers.
I feel like I have lost 8 years of my life (including study time) and am struggling with figuring out the good from all this.
Thanks again for your hard work, if you have time for a personal response that would be nice as I would welcome your thoughts or suggestions. If you don't respond than I will understand that you are too busy. I would appreciate your discreetness with this email as I am not ready to come fully out of the closet so to speak. :)

With warm regard,
 

____________

Dear Gary, I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed reading your article. I too have witness relatives. I have been out of the organization for a long time (13 years) My father is an elder and I went through the same feelings of wanting to try my new found information on witness relatives. I had a four hour discussion with my father and he was more rational than expected. He just discredited me as his daughter (too young to know anything)  saying he had been a witness for 30 years and I couldn't possibly tell him anything about the organization that he didn't already know...Anyway my journey to where I am has been long..but your article just really summed up what I feel, and I am sure it helped others too. I just wanted to thank you. 

_______

Gary,
     I think that your views expressed in the article 'The Invincible Delusion" are quite profound and interesting. 
     Unfortunately, (in a sense), I was a JW for the first 22 years of my life.  I was kicked out for having sex with my present wife.  (I am now33.)  I, of course was encouraged, prodded and shunned into going back.  I knew that I could spend 6 months of my life and convince the elders that I was repentant enough to be re-instated.  That would have been the easy choice, and one that I began going through with.
     However, I had a difficult time doing that even though my heart ached for the company that my entire family immediately stopped giving me. 
     I now feel that I was fortunate enough to analyze the situation more deeply than it being simply staying in a given religion.  The amazing things in the Universe, the awesome Miracle of Birth, the wonderfully powerful influence we can have on people by showing our love and caring for them.......  all of these are extremely powerful yet quite easily taken for granted. 
     The TEACHINGS of Jesus are far more important than whether he was God, or God's son, or (heaven forbid that any Christians read this...lol)  just an ordinary man who understood the AMAZING POWER of the mind.  We can take virtually everything that Jesus spoke of and condense it as he did himself into the Golden Rule.
     As for myself personally, I decided about 4 years ago to start writing a book about my life and perceptions or theories on life.  The interesting thing is that when I started writing it I had only two strong convictions regarding the writing of it:  1)That its main purpose was for it to be therapy for ME!!!!!!!  and if other people after reading it found it to be good for them, then bonus, and   2)that it would not adversely affect my time with my wife and kids or harm us financially.
     It certainly has been therapeutic, due to me not allowing it to become, as you said, 'addictive or obsessive'.  Also, the funny thing is that originally I thought it was going to be 90% me saying how tough I had it in that religion and also in an abusive house and the other 10% bragging about how well I had done, considering what I had to work from.
     Due to the therapeutic benefits that I prophesied I would have, it has become about 10%, (not saying how bad I had it but letting people know briefly my life history) and also to lay a foundation for the other 90%, that being of how far I have come in the four years since and more so, how much farther I can go.
     I feel very much the way that you seemed to express in "The Invincible Delusion", that we are our own Devil and our own God.  If we take control of our own lives, IN A POSITIVE WAY, we take a step in the right direction of freeing ourselves from the snare of organized religion and thereby are a part of the big step of becoming a more peaceful society. 
     My feeling is that we should not deny Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, Gandhi or other peaceful men their place in history.  They all contributed greatly to reminding people to respect each other and their oneness and also their differences.  We should all also understand that we each have an incredibly great influence on the world.  May the people of the world continue to grow in their understanding of THEIR own awesome potential for good.
     Thank you, Gary, for sharing your deep thoughts and especially doing so in a non-condescending way.  I think you are on to something.  May you continue to have the peace that seems evident in your writing.
                                                 With Love and Respect

___________

Dear Gary,
For the last 7 months or so my husband and I have been reading with 2 witness that come to my home, as well as attending the Tues. night Bible study, and me going to the Sunday meeting.  At first it seemed to be so uplifting but very soon red flags kept coming up for me.  For my husband he did not have any conflicts because he was going to do only what he wanted to and no more.  For me I was having trouble with the need to talk bad of others in order to say their way was the only true religion, the truth etc...
I should tell you that I have 2 nieces and a sister in law that were born and raised as Jehovah witnesses. One of the main reasons I wanted to understand their religion.  I can't tell you the conflicts I have with it all, and instead of helping me get closer I am afraid once it is known of the conflicts it will do just the opposite. 
My one niece is 16 and currently seeing a boy (he is a witness) but my sister in law says they have no business dating until they are ready for marriage.  A few weeks ago they called and asked me if we could have a sushi party at my house.  I said yes.  Two other witness my sister in law the two kids, (my niece and her boyfriend) and my younger 7 year old niece. Once the eating was over my sister in law brought out a book and made the boy read from it and then they began to yell at him, ridicule my niece. What was said was bad enough but my 7 year old niece was up in the middle of all of it. 
 Well I freaked out to say the least.  I know that this is not a healthy thing to do to either girls but especially to the little one.  What kind of self esteem problem would this create in the 16 year old.
I told them my husband would ask them all to leave.  He was not home at the time.  I saw nothing wrong with them dating.  Come to find out later the other lady there in the car yelled at my niece more and told her "Do you think your aunt cares about you?  She would let you live on the street if you got pregnant.  Well let me tell you now the red flags are on fire and I am very upset that these people would think that this was the way to help this young girl. They have just made that young man more desirable to her. I could not believe he sat there and took it all.  I would have got up told them all where to go and walked out.  It was one of the worst nights of my life.  I have felt so bad for those children ever since. 
I have hardly talked to my sister in law since. 
Would you mind talking to me about this and giving me some of your experience and thoughts about how to handle this.  I do not want to loose my nieces.  I am afraid if I give up my studies with the witness I will. 
Thank you very much,

_______

Dear Gary,
I just read a lot of the articles u have written, and well I am sort of overwhelmed.  I have done the slow drift away form JW's .  I was born and raised a JW and DF 3x before I was 29.  I will not bore u with the details, for it is all ancient history now.  The problem is I can't leave these people.  Even though they have treated me like dirt and called names-I can't leave them.  I don't attend any longer and haven't since 96 (except for occ meeting and memorial).  I quit going out in field service in the late  80's b/c I would not be held responsible for ruining anyone else's life, like they had ruined mine. I have had years of mental health treatment-having been in therapy 14 years.
Your story really touched me.  I for years would not (like a loyal JW) look at any apostate material.  I even bought COC by Franz  2 years ago and then threw it away-fear of demons.  Finally I felt lonely enough, I went looking on the Internet.  I found a lot of things I don't agree with-some of the people who have left JW were just what the Society said they were-complainers who did not give u any hope. But what kept coming to my mind is-they did not do what they said in the pages ot the WT.  They hated people and love was reserved for the "in crowd" of which I was never one. I saw all the old H2o site and found some of it disagreeable.  I never thought to challenge the doctrines of JW.  I was reading the JWD board-which at times can be a little hard on a newbie-but I saw a link to your site.  When I read your story-I nearly cried.  The way u presented it-I could understand.  I did not feel threatned.  I understood what u meant when u said-your core personality was a JW.  So even though u had left were still a JW.  I read all the Armageddon Oakies stories and laughed till I nearly cried.  (I know some of these people.)
Thank u so much for putting up your story.  It was your kindness and realization that in your head were still a JW that got me to reading more on the freeeminds site.
Currently I am as I said just doing a slow drift away. I can't challenge them-but I can't go back.

____

I dont think I ever told you this Okiedude...but you and Randy were my HEEEE-roes when I was doubting everything in sight as a Dub in 1996 and found Freeminds and your hilarious stories!  Thanks so much big guy for setting me free, and letting me LAUGH at what a walking crock I was...how do I thank somebody for giving me my life back?

MUAH!
 

_________

I just went to your site. And although I am not an easily phased person, some of the things were so shocking and appalling.. it stuns me that someone recorded their being disfellowshipped, and I am so sorry about your first wife. I wasn't born until 1974, and that's when my parents really started being witnesses, so I think they must not have been exposed to all the contradictions around that time. However, to her credit, my mom did discuss with me that many witnesses thought armageddon would come around that time, and that many fell away when it didn't happen.

I really appreciated the paragraph you wrote that says "For people raised in groups as children, the pseudopersonality is actually formed after leaving the group. The underlying core beliefs implanted so long ago by the group are still there. That is why so many are compelled to return after being away from the group many years. That is why so many former members have problems with religious rituals like Christmas and political opportunities like voting in public elections."

The hardest possible thing for me, is that no one I associate with now, has any understanding of what it was like, and how I feel. It is so hard to break away from training that went so deep as to reach the heart. In my teenage years, any time I had fun, even doing something that was allowed, I become violently nauseous with guilt feelings. Combined with the fact that the only friends I was permitted were other witness kids, I spent my entire life isolated, in my room, reading books and listening to top 20 radio music (most tapes I bought were broken by my parents) and playing with my pets. Now, as an adult, I am in therapy for agoraphobia and borderline personality disorder, that results from having no social skills and never having been taught any respect for privacy. I had no privacy, and always believed as my parents taught me, that privacy equaled secrecy equaled sin. Since I mentioned the therapy, I should add that I have also been treated for years for depression, and attempts to integrate my personalities, having multiple personality disorder for most of my life. I never understood how I got that, before, because its caused by longstanding and intense abuse as a child, and I never could see my parents in that light. As an adult, I now understand how mentally and emotionally abusive my parents were, which my mom says was a result of being a JW. They have made a lot of progress themselves, too, to be better people.

I also noticed you ride a Harley. Both my mom and dad ride Harleys, in Hawaii. I am very sure that they would love to meet you, if you ever decided to visit Hawaii. Just thought I'd mention that. :)

Hope all these emails to you aren't pestering you. Thank you for all your replies.
 

__________

Dear Gary,
 
I read your very funny letters online. All I can say is they are the work of inspired genius. I'm glad I found your site.
 
Jeanne

______

I didn't read all your Okie letters yet but did read all the other spots.
 
The 'psuedopersonality' essay was especially eye-opening for me 'cause like you, I was 'born' into IT.  You hit the proverbial nail on the head for me.  It is giving me food for looking into myself.  I am now 50 and for the last number of years have been trying to find the real me under all the old (I use that word loosely!) paint.  No wonder I'm having a hard time!  I've never had a real me before the 'paint'!
 
One thing that I will do is write down my story for myself, in as much detail as I can remember and perhaps that will dump much of the garbage in my mind.  I have tried, and must say for the majority of the time, to help others with whatever was needed, my time, my ear, my love etc.  It helps me feel good that I can do that, however, at the same time it seems as though I am doing to prove to God that 'see I am a good person after all'.  The guilt that we (those in like position) carry around is at times overwhelming and at those times is all-consuming.
 
I have read so much in the last 3 days since finding silentlambs and freeminds that I am going to have to take a break to digest everything and to give my emotions (and eyes) time to calm down.  I must say though the Broccoli and Cheese Soup Memo was a great thing to read and has restored my humor.  The first couple of Okie letters are terrific and I am looking forward to laughing some more tomorrow.
 
Thank you for sharing and thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings as well.

______

 Hi!
 
 When i read your story, it so took me back!
 I was born and raised but left when i was thirty seven
 i was married to the Presiding Overseer for almost twenty years
 your story about the poor little girl being hit at the convention........
 ooooooooooh!
 that used to make me so mad
 i saw so much of that!
 i hate the way women and children were regarded in that organization
 anyhow, i am rambling
 i loved reading your story and god bless you!
 i am so sorry to hear the story of your wife, and it emphasizes even more
 my opinion that this organization ruins families and it ruins lives.
 i saw it for almost forty years.
 
 God bless
 

_______

Gary, Thank you for sharing your life experience. I wanted to cry. My husband was baptized at the age of 9. He gave his first talk at the age of 11. He and his former JW wife stopped attending after 1975. He and his former wife divorced.  When he and I (a non JW) began dating, it s@it hit the fan. His family raced to disfellowship him, but he disassociated himself first by letter. I told the JW's that came to the door that they dismembered my dear husband, they never came back. These sites have been so helpful for me in understanding what my husband went through and why his family has shunned him for over 19 years now. Keep spreading the real truth.  Thank you. 

______

 Dear sir: You indeed have an agenda hidden or not. I have been associated
 with JW Organization happily for many years now, i have not found a more
 bible based loving group of people anywhere . I consider myself a serious
 student of biblical knowledge and of many organizations who claim to claim to
 be followers of the true God.Out of all of them there is no question in my
 mind that Jehovah's Witnesses -- with all their human shortcomings (And they
 are real) are the Best path to Jehovah God.Pray to God to show you the true
 path to him , and if you are truly sincere your mind will be opened to the
 truth!!!!

________

Dear gary,
 
I just wanted to write a quick note to thank you for the humour and the common sense that you have approached the situation and circumstances of former J.W.'s
 
I too was 'brought up' a witness and am now living without contact of my parents and all of my  former friends.
 
Although I am not yet officially disfellowshipped (I haven't been to a meeting for 4 years) I could not believe that an organization that sees certain things go on could be from God.
 
The main sticking point for me was the supposed  annointing of elders. I was told by my parents not to question them, even when I saw some of the things they were doing as they were only human, but after an elder who I know well was accused of child abuse from before he was made an elder I could see that if Jehovah had chosen him, he chose an abuser as an elder.
 
I won't talk on for long, just long enough to say thanks for your time and effort and I offer my condolences for your first wife's un-necessary death. It's only what you see looking from the outside that affirms your belief that J.W's are wrong.
 
Kind Regards,

________

 Hello Gary,
 
 I just wanted to say I loved your stories and articles. The lighthearted
 and irreverent tone of them is just what an old ex-JW like me needs. I
 have my own story of twenty years to tell, but unless I do some serious
 editing, I'm afraid it will be as boring as those meetings I used to force
 myself to sit through. I was somewhat like you. From 73 to 93 I waited and
 waited (and kept my mouth shut) until I finally figured out that the
 'train ain't comin'. I never joined another religion and don't plan to.
 Life is exciting enough when you live just one day at a time.
 
 Anyway, thanks for the work you put into your articles. I agree that
 people would be better off if they never entered that belief system. They
 would save themselves a lot of mental strife.

_____

I don't believe that you were ever a Jehovah's Witness.  First of all, my parents are and they never beat me.  In fact, I believe that was your parents own stupidity.  Secondly, never ever have I heard of  "shunning" within the congregation.  We welcome everybody, not shun them away because they don't know.  Also, what you say about disfellowshipping a member of the congregation is wrong.  My brother was disfellowshipped because he was seen smoking.  Sure, you may think this is wrong, but he was a dedicated witness.  He knew what the consequences were.  His wife and kids were able to talk to him, including my family.  My sister-in-law was not encouraged to "shun"  him away either.  When a member of the congregation is disfellowshipped, they do have the opportunity to be welcomed back into the congregation by writing a letter or even having a private meeting with the elders.  Another thing that makes me believe that what you say isn't true is the fact that you said you remember a woman with children whose car did not start and again you did what you thought was right, you "shunned" her away.  Sure, we follow guidelines of what we think are right, but in no way are we cruel.  That would have never happened. 

By the way, I will be having surgery soon.  When I was talking to the elders of the congregation about blood transfusions they never said I would get disfellowshipped, they said, and we even looked up the scriptures, that God does not approve of this.  No, it didn't say blood transfusions, but it did say that blood is sacred and should be poured into the ground.  Also, their are other alternatives besides blood transfusions, which I will be considering to use.  So, just about 99% of what you stated was not true.  And I don't appreciate the fact that you are making it sound like our religion should not even be considered a religion, but rather a cult.  We have respect for your religion, have respect for ours.
 


back to Busselman