Holidays were spent
Some friends were having a BBQ that we were invited to, I went down and asked to see if there were by-products in the wieners.
I was baptized at 15.
I asked to be baptized at 12 and to humor me they let me take the test. To their surprise I actually aced it but the elder convinced my parents that I was still too young.
I would run lemonade stands in the summer time and donate the proceeds to the hall
I would routinely give my allowance to the hall for donations
I would informally Witness to anyone and everyone.
I was twice used as an example at district conventions and twice took part in the experiences of ďYoung Christian MinistersĒ
At my baptismal I got the CO to sign a program that I framed and hung in my room.
I commented at least 5-6 times each meeting had my hand up for almost every question.
I have a picture from grade one of what I want to be when I grow up. Any guesses? An elder at Bethel.
I could name all the books of the bible from memory at the age of 8
I was on the fast track to becoming a Ministerial Servant.
Despite all this I did like to have a fun time and would go hang out with everyone. Even though personally I didnít do anything wrong I didnít really snitch on others. My thought was that god was judge, not me so why bother ratting others outÖ theyíd get what was coming to them.
My dad was a very charismatic elder when I was younger. He was looked up to and frequently asked to give talks in our hall and others. He was the down to earth elder that would weave humor into his talks that people appreciated. When I was about 10 my dad stepped down from being an elder and I was mortified. That was the best service that a brother could give, that was, leading the flock.
It wasnít until much later that I learned that my parents were having major marital problems. I never really learned much more about it and still donít care to know.
I would study and research constantly to bring up new points in my talks. The older sisters in the hall just loved when I would give a talk because I would try to approach it from a different angle.
The biggest turning point for me was when I was in service discussing relief after natural disasters. Witnesses are so proud of the humanitarian aid they provide to disaster relief that it was the feature on the cover of the magazine.
One door I knocked on cornered me on the issue that the relief is handed out to Witnesses first and to others after if there was anything left over. I hadnít really thought about that. Yes we hear of rebuilding homes of Witnesses and getting the hall back up, but what about everyone else? I asked the elder I was with why we didnít help everyone equally and he used the illustration of family members caught in a fire with worldly people, who would I save first?
I replied that I would save the worldly people first since my family had the resurrection hope.
That was not the answer he was looking for and brushed off the conversation. So I was minorly stumbled over this perceived selfishness and wanted to do some more research. It was our belief that we would be the only survivors of Armageddon and the rest of the world was wicked. This just didnít sit well with me as I had been taught God is love. Asking my mother she said that if anyone had true good heart, the angels would direct us to them.
I just couldnít reconcile this in my head. An elderly woman that is taught as a Catholic and goes to church every Sunday and lives a good life may reject Witnesses because she feels that sheís doing Godís will already. Was she really deserving of death? Was being a good and honest person really not enough? All my questions and research led me to believe that yes, that person is still wicked.
That just didnít sit right with me. Questioning the GB is akin to apostasy so I really didnít have much to do but just sit there at the meetings feeling discouraged. While at one time a champion of the truth, I didnít feel right knocking on peopleís doors and preach something that I was questioning myself.
I had asked my parents, I had asked my elders and I had researched the publications. My faith which had at one point been rock solid was now starting to waver. I remembered the scripture paraphrased ďA man with blind faith is worse than a man without faithĒ I needed a good boost to my faith so I decided to put it to the test.
If Jesus could allow the devil himself to tempt him to test his faith, I could start to look at my religious choices and only find myself strengthened, right?