The Luckiest Boy in the World

by Chuck Doherty

 When I was a child, I learned I was one of the most special people in the world. I knew that all of the big problems of life did not apply to me. I was so special that I was never even going to die. And, I knew everything that would happen in the future!

 How did I know all this? Well, fortunately for me, my mother was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, having become one just before I was born. They were the only true religion on earth, and let her in on all the secrets. As I grew up she would pass these secrets on to me. I learned how everyone in the world (except for Jehovah’s Witnesses) were evil, and that God was soon to show His boundless love and undeserved kindness by destroying all of them with fire and earthquakes. Some would even get eaten by bears. Just about everyone was going to die, including our neighbors (on both sides), all my school friends and teachers, and especially my Father, because he did not want to be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and should have known better. But my mother and I, and the people from the Kingdom Hall, were going to live forever and get to play with tame tigers. It was going to be a New World, and it would be here soon.

 I also learned the truth about stuff that the other kids were lied to about, like Santa Claus. I knew there was no such thing, and that all the other kids were stupid for believing that there was. Some of the kids at school got upset and wouldn’t believe me when I told them about Santa, but it was the truth. God hated everything about Christmas, and was going to destroy it along with everything else soon. I just had to be very careful not to do any Christmas stuff, so I wouldn’t get destroyed too.

 God hated so many things, it was hard to keep track of them all. It was easier just to think that God hated everything except what they taught at the Kingdom Hall, and He hated everyone that didn’t go there. Especially Priests and Nuns. And Trick-or-Treating. And flags. I learned that if you ever salute a flag, or stand up for the National Anthem, you are doomed. You have to sit down even if everyone in class thinks you are a dork, and it doesn’t matter if the tough kids spit on you. You’ll get even because God will destroy them even more awfully when he destroys everything else. And, God will make sure that they know that they are getting destroyed extra painfully just because they were mean to you.

I also heard about the people who were out to get us. There was a secret society called the Evil Slaves, that plotted on how to turn God’s people against him. These people are easy to spot, because they gnash their teeth. There are also Apostates, and they are even worse. They were taken over by Satan, and made to turn against God. I even knew one that came from my own Kingdom Hall! They look just like regular people but are controlled by Satan, just like when Admiral Nelson in Voyage To The Bottom of the Sea has an alien life force take over his brain.

 But worst of all was Satan, who was in charge of just about everything. He ran the Governments and Churches, operated Ouiji Boards and, according to my mother, wrote most of the Science Fiction books I liked to read. Just about everyone in the world was under the control of Satan and his demons. Demons did the real dirty work, and would make things move around your room at night, and hide your book bag when you were supposed to go out in service. People at the Kingdom Hall liked to trade demon stories with each other. One man had demons who would untie his dog at night and let it run loose. Another lady had wind chimes that were possessed, and had to be burned. Even though demons possessed a lot of different things, we didn’t have any superstitions.

 When I was about 12 or 13, they let me in on the biggest news of all; the world was going to end in 1975! The way they figured this out was by interpreting some prophecies in the bible that pointed to that year exactly. I was no dummy, but this stuff was so complex that I couldn’t follow it at all. I was told that it was put into the bible that way so that only those who were truly God’s people could find it and understand it. Since the people in the Governing Body told us about this at the assembly and wrote it in the magazines, it could not be wrong. It was impossible for God to lie, and I knew that He did His talking through the Governing Body.

 Since Armageddon was going to happen in 1975, I did not have to even think about finishing school. Instead, I spent a lot of time in door-to-door preaching, since if I didn’t, I’d get destroyed. If I was lucky enough to know that the end was coming, I had better not blow it all by being lazy.

 I also had to be very careful about what I read, especially if it was about God’s Holy Organization. Anything that was written about Jehovah’s Witnesses but did not come from the Watchtower Society was the worst stuff of all. Satan is a liar, so everything he writes is a lie, even if it seems true.

 As it got closer to the end of the world, I became more afraid of doing something wrong and getting disfellowshiped or reproved. Being reproved meant that they made an announcement at the meeting telling everyone at the Kingdom hall that you did something bad, thereby embarrassing you into better behavior. To me, this would have been even worse than being disfellowshiped because I would have had to sit through it and feel everyone’s eyes upon me. Each time one of the Elders wanted to "talk to me", I got a knot in my stomach and was sure that I must have done something terrible. One time, I got in trouble for kissing some girl, but only got a talking to and didn’t get formally reproved. A good friend of mine did get reproved for drinking a few beers one night, after the elders made me "testify" about the incident just like I was in front of a grand jury. They gave me immunity from prosecution in exchange for my fingering him. I’ll never forgive myself for doing that.

 As I reached my late teens, I began thinking about life with a new perspective. It became apparent that I wasn’t so special after all, and that there were many people in the world who lived good and moral lives, despite what I had been taught. A loving God certainly wasn’t about to crush them all into dust. As I started to drift away, my mother told me that my mind had been corrupted by reading too much Science Fiction when I was young. The Elders told me I was headed down the road to ruin. My friends at the Kingdom hall began avoiding me as if I had leprosy. Still, I could not go back. Like so many others, I went through a period of disbelief and denial in which I could not accept that so much of what I knew about the world was wrong. But as the years passed, I saw things more clearly, and realized that most of what I had been taught as a child was simply not true.

 Now, almost twenty years after stepping out the door of a Kingdom hall for the last time, I still consider myself to be one of the luckiest people in the world. Not because I expect to live forever, but because I have experienced first-hand how deceit and mind control work, and am fortunate enough to have come through it intact. While I hold no bitterness toward those who still choose to live within the Watchtower’s world of broken promises and gossamer logic, I hope that my experiences can be of help to those who decide to leave and begin new lives.

 Chuck Doherty


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