Jeanne Morrow is my mother. I was just
recently disfellowshipped after having been raised a Witness by my stepmom and
Dad. I have already read Crisis of Conscience, which my mom gave me and
saw this other book by Ray on your website. To explain...
I was previously living in Arizona, but have moved
to Canada within the last month to be with my family up here. I was kept from
Jeanne for the last 24 years, having seen her only twice since I was three.
Since she was disfellowshipped for "apostasy" back in 1976, and
knowing the stand the Watchtower Organization takes towards disfellopwshipped
people, including family members, I think you can know what happened without
me even telling you. My dad was an elder since they started the elder
"arrangement" and up until just recently, after stepping down, has
been a strong advocate for family shunning of disfellowshipped members. Now he
has to walk in those shoes, and as far as I have been told (he says "he
has no need to talk to me except on an emergency basis", typical JW
attitude) he has been in touch with the Society on this matter. I'm quite sure
he's not the first, so it probably won't get him anywhere. But needless
to say, coming here is a way to start over. A few years back, as a JW, I
turned down a full scholarship at Arizona State University to study music,
which kinda aggravates me when I think about it. So I have come here to make
new friends, family, and beginnings. School is already in the works at the
University of Victoria. I am studying privately under a violin professor. (By
the way, not that you care, but my dad was the guy who did the latest song
book for the JWs) Music is huge on my dad's side of the family, so it comes
naturally. After college I am looking into med school, hoping to specialize in
music medicine. It's kinda like sports medicine, only for musicians. It's a
new but rapidly growing field, so there's a huge market for it. So that, in
short, is where I am now, and what brings me here.
So like I said, Jeanne is my mom, and I am staying
at the time with her and my stepdad in Canada until immigration goes through.
By the way I have been visiting your site for some
time, even before I was disfellowshipped. I have argued the JWs as a whole
since I was 13. But I am sure you know how it is. Fear makes you grow through
the motions anyway. "You might not have the hope of the
resurrection" otherwise, or some other load of feces they try to feed
you. At any rate keep up the good work. There's a lot of good material there.
It is extremely helpful, especially to those of us who are still new at
surviving the dark world of Christendom outside of the Society... just
kidding. It is helpful though. I have been disfellowshipped for 10 months now.
I have no intentions of going back. I was glad they did. After 25 years
of being around it, the freedom I have now as a person with a mind of it's own
(the horrors, imagine that) is something I hope never to take for granted...
Here's to living each day with a real
UPDATE 10/23/00 in
response to friends and family
It has come to my attention that there are many
who are aware of my posting on your website. Some are upset, some are angry.
I would like to take this opportunity to expand on what is on the website,
and to explain why I feel the way I do. At least this way, if there
are those who choose to be upset with me, they can do so fully knowing
where I stand, rather than going on emotion based on assumptions.
I will begin by saying that I am not here to
bash Witnesses. I strongly believe that the organization provides, for some,
a certain type of spiritual need. This would go for just about any organized
group or system of beliefs. Could it possibly be that one of the reasons
that there is such a prevalence of organized religion is that this is God's
way of trying to say, "Hmmm. Well, you don't understand me if you think
of me like this, well, maybe try to think of it like this instead?" I
think it was a Franciscan monk who said that if we could understand
God, then he wouldn't be God. So he appears in different forms.
People have different reasons for going to a
church or practicing a religion. Some people don't feel they have
the intellect or the confidence to approach God without some mediator. Some
like the beauty of ceremony that a church can provide. Some like the
feeling of community. Others need to be told how to think and
what to believe. And all this and more is in part, what organized religions
provide. A routine. A method. An explanation. There is a great security and
sense of comfort gained in having answers. So when I think of the Witnesses
and the Watchtower organization, I say, if it helps you to draw closer to
God, if it helps to make you a better person. If it provides steps to make
your life better, then mission accomplished.
I know Witnesses claim to have the
"truth". Fact is, so do many other religions. We all would like to
think that we have some "right on the money" understanding of
Scripture and prophecy. I am sure that if I performed my own set of
Scriptural acrobatics, I could come to some sort of conclusion as to
how my life fulfills certain prophecy and that here is
what it all means. I have decided instead that any conclusions I come
to - or anybody else for that matter - are wrong. We have to
recognize our own fallibility. If we are to suggest sole spokesmanship
for God, we better have it right.
There are the endless debates that can be held
regarding doctrine. I am not here to argue dates, question the liability to
be had by the Society for their ignorant approach to medicine, hash up old
history of 'so and so did this,' or any of the other common approaches to
arguing the Witnesses. It's been done so much, most of what one hears or
finds is simply redundant. Besides, most of the mistakes that can be found
within the Watchtower organization, are ones that can be found in any other
group. So I don't think that misconstruction of doctrine, or personal
matters where one is wronged, in itself, significant as they may well be,
are the markings of a group I want to stay away from.
For me it is not so much what the
Witnesses think as is how the Witnesses think. When you approach
the organization epistemologically, it forces one to look at how they come
up with what they do, and what it produces. I see paranoia. I see
self-righteousness. I see a strange hybrid of love and hate that encourages
an unhealthy sense of exclusiveness and contradicts natural law. I see the
power of God in the hands of men. I see hypocrisy. I am sickened by the type
of thinking epitomized by one elder that would repeatedly refer to the
Witnesses, both in prayer and in talks, "as the greatest people in the
world." The fact that no one would challenge him on this point speaks
for itself. Sure, Witnesses might make great neighbors, but that doesn't
make them the all-encompassing solution to every single problem on earth.
I am saddened by the tremendous loss of innumerable
friends. Those that know me are aware that growing up was tremendously
difficult. I am not here to air out dirty laundry. It would only serve as an
embarrassment to my family and others, and I feel it would not accomplish
anything. To those of you who know what I am talking about, you have
been a priceless source of support and help. I feel bad that my decision may
be taken as turning my back on you, as in, 'after all that has been done for
me, how can I say what I can?' The answer is simply because I know
what I know and I have seen what I have seen.
So do I feel that I have transcended some way of
thinking or that now I have some bit of spiritual truth gone unseen
by all these JWs? Not at all. Such thinking is arrogant, proud, and
spiritually dangerous. It is one thing to say that such and such is what I
believe, knowing that this is probably going to evolve. It is something else
to have someone dictate this for you, mandating that you goosestep right
along with the rest of those of whom you assume to be of like mind. The
critical finger that is pointed towards all these other groups (valid as it
may be) is one that can be pointed right back at the Witnesses. They
shouldn't be surprised, and I don't think they are, when it is.
So, where am I going from here? Well, not to
sound cliche, but this is a journey. I will always continue to explore the
Bible and theological thought. I am not turning my back on God. Just an
organization that puts itself in that position.
With love to everyone,
back to Stories