Ex-Witness discovers musical talents

(Russell Brewer shown top center)

Dear Mr. Watters,

        Please add me to your list. Thanks!! I am 31 years old. I live in Rohnert Park, CA - about 60 miles north of San Francisco. I  have a 3-year old daughter and am engaged to her mother. I was raised a Witness in Tennessee from birth. All I knew growing up was the Witness way. My father became an elder when I was 6 years old. Along with the other elders in our small congregation, over the years, he helped build a very large congregation that eventually split into two individual groups - due to the sheer number of people! The congregations are located in Knoxville TN, and both groups meet in the same hall at different times of the week. When our congregation began, they had this old building that was very run down. As the congregation grew, the brothers had the $$$ to build an even nicer Kingdom Hall. I remember being 16 years old, working on the "Quick Build" !!

I was disfellowshipped when I was 18 because of immorality. The reason I lost my faith and became so disillusioned with  the Witnesses was because of all the judgmental people and the harsh treatment of certain individuals. I was very active when I was a youth and at one point was being considered for an appointment as a ministerial servant. I auxiliary pioneered for years and my best friend later went to serve at Bethel. He died in 1992 due to an illness that affected his blood count. A blood transfusion probably would have saved his life!! This makes me very sad that so many people have sacrificed their lives on the alter of the "Society"!!

        I really believed and loved the Witnesses, but something just didn't seem right when I got older. I lost faith in everything and figured that if I was going to die for my terrible sins, then I was going to party as much as I could!!! This lead me into very dangerous situations, but I feel I was protected by Jesus because of my ignorance and misfortune. Now, I understand that the proclamations and prophecies of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society are incorrect. I feel that I can love myself again and stop the self hatred and abuse. Having a daughter and being close to my heartfelt friends has really helped. I am a much more whole person, nowadays, but it has taken me years and years to come to terms with what happened to me. My folks are still Witnesses and my father resides as a very respected elder. I was babtized when I was 14!! I can't believe that they held me responsible for a decision I made as a minor!!! It seems ridiculous!!

        Additionally, my own ministry is the ministry of music!! I have been playing the guitar for over 14 years now. I recently acquired a website for our band on MP3.com!! We are like yourself in many ways. I was "encouraged" not to go to college as a youth. Therefore, my skills in this world are very limited. The only thing I really know how to do well is play music! My music has helped me get through some very rough times, as I'm sure you are very familiar with. The name of our project is "Inner Rhythm". Our music is mostly instrumental music, focusing on positive issues. We are not an "anti-Witness" band or something dumb like that! I realize that life presents us all with challenges and my experience being brought up as a Witness was difficult and unfortunate, but I do not blame them or hate them. I feel the creation of music is a gift from our Heavenly Father and I am very thankful for his blessing. All the members in our project hold various views on the nature of consciousness. I feel that we all respect one another's view points and we create music in an atmosphere of mutual regard.

I invite you to please give ear to our song. The song is called "Back To The Mystery". You can listen to it by clicking on the link below. It would make my heart glad to know that people could know my story and perhaps could gain some encouragement from the sounds of of the Lords gift to me.

        I would like to thank you for all you have done on the Net!  I remember reading your story a couple of years ago and I felt a great heaviness lift from my soul!! Thank you so much. Your work is vital to helping people who have been cast aside by the organization. May the Lord's spirit guide you further. May His eternal peace dwell with you always!!

Your Brother,

Russell Brewer

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