The most recent submissions are posted at the top. When the file gets too large, the older stories will be added to "Relationship Story Archives."
see other similar files at: Psychological Issues
Comments: As a child I had grown up seeing various religious magazines around the house. Of course I didn't understand what was going on at the time but my mother was starved for something in her life. She was searching for something but I don't think she knew what that something was. It wasn't until we moved to another city that my life changed. It was a hot summer day just like many others in California. There was a knock at the door and two women holding the Watchtower and Awake magazine in their hands. That was the day my world changed. We never celebrated Christmas, birthdays, or any other holiday's again. My dad never did become involved with the witnesses but never tried to stop mom or us kids from groing to the Kingdom Hall. It wasn't long before the women were having a bible study with my mom and then we all had to go to the weekly meetings. Mom was convinced that the JW's were the only true religion. I remember her telling me that people may worship different Gods but there is only one true God and that is Jehovah. Fortunately my heart was never taken over by the witnesses. I would see things that concerned me but I was young and didn't have much faith in my observations. I ended up marrying an elder's son from the local Kingdom Hall we were going to. It wasn't long until my marriage turned sour. My husband was physically and emotionally abusive. I tried to leave him many times but was never able to stay away for very long. After many years I finally had the courage to go to my father-in-law. I was desperate for help and didn't believe that being beat was what God wanted to have happen to me. I will never forget the words he told me when I told him about my being abused. He said, "That it was my responsibility as a witness wife to obey my husband and if that meant being beat, then that must be Jehovah's plan for my life. I don't know where the courage came from but I told him that I loved God with all my heart and I did not believe that being beat was part of His plan. It was at that moment that whatever heart I did have with the witnesses was gone. My concerns were now a reality and I couldn't bury my head in the sand any more. I ended up leaving my husband, the Kingdom Hall and was considered a traitor by everyone. One day several elders showed up at my door and asked me to come back. I told them "No". The elders then told me that I had just murdered my children and we would all die during the battle of Armeggedon. These were elders that I had considered sensitive and understanding and now they were full of rage. I slammed the door in their face and told them to never call me or come to my house again. My husband ended up being disfellowshipped for becoming involved with a married woman. His parents are still involved with the witnesses. My mother still claims to be a JW although she hasn't gone to a meeting in years. The saddest part of all is that my youngest sister is studying with the witnesses again. I feel blessed that I'm no longer a part of that organization. And to this day I believe that the Lord had been protecting me from the witnesses so I wouldn't be sucked fully into their religious practices. It took a while to finda church that feels right but I have. I have a love for the Lord that is beyond anything I have ever imagined. And I'm praying that one day everyone in my family, including my mother will see that JW's are not who they claim to be.
Subject: relationship related
Comments: Jehovah's Witnesses, not God himself, have put many of us through difficult times. Many of us have found elders to be liars and we have been frustrated at false time-predictions (prophecies). We may also disagree with "policy", "suggestions", and principles that turn out to be more than 'laws unto oneself' but rather laws unto us, imposed by them. But remember that while people abuse their positions in an organization that imprisons it's members psychologically and/or emotionally, we DID learn much of the real truth YHWH has provided for those of us who have sought to be His friends.
So this experience that I have had for the prime 22 years of my life has taught me a few things that I hope you will conclude with me. 1) "We know that" Jehovah is faithful. He is there for us if we seek Him. 2) Christians love even enemies, as Jesus prayed for them, and we do not return evil for evil. 3) Prophecies do not spring from private interpretations, not yours, not mine. 4) Christ's followers encourage one another, rather than be a party to ridicule.It was the "inner garments" that he found himsef hating, those worn by religious hipocrites, not the persons themselves.
You know don't you that people do bad things at times when they do not even realize it, as many times within that organization as it has and will happen. So keep loving each of your former spiritual brothers and sisters, hoping the best and praying for them, because if you are truly a righteous person your prayers will have force. I thank Jehovah that He has enabled me to speek His intelligence to you. May He bless us until there is no more want. responses welcome,
My story is not as dramatic as those Iíve read on the internet and your newsletter, but here goes:
I began studying in 1968, just before the "Truth" book came out, and was switched to that book after the summer assembly (my teacher had got an extra book for me.) I encountered all the usual opposition from my family, in fact, when I was 8 months pregnant my husband threatened to divorce me, which, of course, he didnít. I was baptized July 31, 1970 at Hill Air Force Base near Salt Lake City, which always struck me as odd. We were supposed to keep our distance, even hate the military machine, yet it was OK to use the pool at a military base for baptism. This was the first of many internal conflicts I had in trying to get doctrine to line up with fact, but I was convinced this was the TRUTH so I put it out of my mind.
One of the things I liked about JWs was the way they took everything logically, step by step. I had been raised and confirmed in the Episcopal church, but had all these questions that had never been answered. For example, JWs explained to my satisfaction the concept of "original sin" and why Jesus had to redeem us from it. Also I had been raised with the theory of evolution as fact, so that the explanation of creation was so logical, alongside Jesus redemption it just made so much sense that I was convinced the JWs had the TRUTH! Another question I had was: What would I do in heaven? With the traditional concept of Christian art, sitting around on a cloud playing a harp just didnít appeal to me, so the idea of life on a paradise earth was very attractive. To understand the lure the JWs had for me, you have to realize that I grew up in the Las Vegas Valley in the 1950ís during the Cold War era and McCarthyism, when the above ground nuclear testing was being carried on. Due to our proximity to the Nuclear Test Site and Hoover Dam, prime targets for the "Reds," paranoia ran high. As a result, we had "bomb" drills as often as we had fire drills at school. I vividly remember sitting on the steps of the schoolhouse, watching a mushroom cloud rise over the desert. Consequently, I was convinced the world was headed for a nuclear holocaust, and since I had no satisfying concept of God or his plan for mankind, I was ripe for the picking.
Several weeks after my baptism, a sister, Jann, moved in across the street from me. We were the same age and both had small children. She had a forceful personality, whereas I was more subdued and compliant. I probably would have drifted away from the organization long ago, but my friendship with her helped keep me going to meetings on a somewhat sporadic basis. Even though she and her family moved around the country, we always kept in touch. Strangely enough, she was always questioning and objecting to things printed in the Watchtower, and this helped me keep a questioning attitude as well. Her husband had been to Bethel as well, and at that time was an elder. He eventually was unable to be an elder because of lies his father, also an elder, and stepmother circulated about them. So over a period of 6 or 7 years I saw a good deal that was not in harmony with the great love and truth that was supposed to permeate the organization. Still I hung on for 25 years because they had answered so many of my questions from the scriptures. In 1980 Jann claimed to have been "anointed" and I believed her because she was an excellent Bible student, reading the scriptures constantly and talking about them authoritatively. Eventually I allowed her to manipulate me into leaving my husband and moving to the city where she lived, because Armageddon was imminent. In actuality, I was "Jannís Witness," not so much a Jehovahís Witness. Well, finally after living in such close proximity to her, and observing on a daily basis her bizarre behavior, and have her accuse me of being "demonized" (apparently it was my fault that Armageddon hadnít come when she said it would; she implied I had brought demons to her that caused her to prophesy falsely, even though she had claimed it was coming before I got there!!) I was able to break free and reconcile with my husband, who had suffered enormously because of my idiotic behavior. However, in 1994, I had written a letter of resignation to the Society, so leaving her was the final step on the road to freedom. When you are a JW they constantly remind you that "the truth will set you free." Well, I have never felt so free as when I left that prison called "The Truth!"
Now I am just trying to get to know my real God and Jesus, but I still have a long way to go. My daughter persuaded me to go to her church, and I have attended several services there. In fact, my daughter is the one who told me about you. She listens to the local Christian radio station, and she heard you on Dr. Kennedyís show "Truths that Transform." I called them and ordered the tape on "Leaving the Watchtower" and the rest is history.
Subj: **SUBMIT STORY**
Date: 2/4/98 10:53:11 PM Pacific Standard Time
Below is the result of your feedback form. It was submitted by (email@example.com) on Wednesday, February 4, 1998 at 22:52:59
Subject: relationship related
Comments: Grandma Ingrid Sophia Hautamaki was my inspiration. She was my "Mother" after the age of 11. Grandma was loving and generous! When she died, I was scared! She told me of JEHOVAH and his NEW SYSTEM of doing things, when she was alive....now what(?) Her Finn friends came to me in comfort...all "I" wanted was to know "where" she was. There was a boost of KNOWLEDGE...then came UNDERSTANDING... which led to
WISDOM.......that's what is KEY
12/5/97 Blood, Shunning and Suicidal Tendencies
My name is Mary Jane. I am no longer a Jehovahís Witness. No one, other than other ex-JWs, can appreciate the extraordinary pain I have felt and feel since disassociating myself and losing my entire support system (family and friends). This is my story.
I was raised a Jehovah's Witness. As a little girl attending the KH, I always thought something was wrong when other beliefs were denigrated from the platform. I remember in particular a slide show in which, through trick photography, an elder made it appear that the steeple of local church was broken in two. I remember hearing the maniacal laughter of the congregation at the demise of "Babylon the Great" and the people who worshiped at this particular church. I felt it was so wrong of us to judge someone else.
Like many JWs growing up, the name of the game was pleasing the elders. My parents were constantly under the microscope as to whether or not they were raising us girls (five altogether) in the right way. My father was reaching out, which meant doing a lot of elder pleasing. My childhood was so unhappy. Needless to say, the "spare the rod, spoil the child" attitude led to years of physical and psychological abuse to ensure our growing up theocratically. Our family was happy only when stroked by the elders. It was very hollow.
Since JWs are supposed to marry only other JWs, I had an "arranged" marriage at the tender age of 19, compliments of an elder. I didnít want to marry this man but was admonished by the elders of his congregation not to lead him on and what a fine brother he was. My choices were to stay at home (abusive and unhappy) or marry (unhappy still but the opportunity to score points with elders) I couldn't have been more unhappy. The only good to come from this marriage were three children (son-20, daughter-15, son-10). I actually wanted to wait to have children and at 19 was told by my husband and an elder that it grieved Jehovah that I would deny my mate a child. I attempted to leave this marriage a couple a times but was admonished by the elders to make it work.
During this time, I was disfellowshipped but came crawling back and endured months of attending the Kingdom Hall and being shunned. I was reinstated and felt I should make it work no matter what. My happiness, after all, didnít matter as long as the family was serving Jehovah.
My daughter, at six years of age, (1989) was diagnosed with a heart defect that required open heart surgery. I was charged with finding a hospital that, in essence, would let her die if her blood count dropped. I have never felt so much stress and pain in my life. I wanted my daughter to live! I did find an institution in Houston, TX that would "honor" our request not to use blood at any cost. We didn't go there. I work at a hospital and was able to have the surgery done (successfully and without blood). Just the pressure of having a member of the hospital committee attend appointments and surgery to "encourage" (i.e. make sure we didn't break and consent to blood) was horrendous. I can remember at one appointment the surgeon asking us which products could be used to prime the heart-lung machine. You cannot imagine the surprise and shock on my face and the surgeonís when the hospital committee member included albumin in the list of acceptable products. Both of us knew that albumin is a blood product and just how this was acceptable and blood transfusions not escaped us. But, hey, I wanted my daughter to live and if that was OK then who was I to argue? The elders sat with us during the surgery. It was hell because I knew if it came down to it -- especially after the albumin "permission" there was no way I was going to deny blood. The stress was tremendous. Fortunately for my daughter, surgery was successful and no blood (other than albumin) was needed. However, this whole episode left an quite an impression on me.
The years of being a JW (blood issue, unhappy marriage, having every move subjected to the scrutiny of the "Christian" congregation) took their toll and on August 7, 1990, I felt the only out was to kill myself. I couldnít bear to disappoint my parents, congregation, organization, and Jehovah with my disbelief. I remembered all too well what it was like on the outside when I was disfellowshipped and things had become even more radical in the treatment of such ones. Fortunately, I got help. My failed suicide attempt landed me in the hospital and forced me to confront what MY beliefs were. In November 1990, I decided I would divorce my husband. His desires were to please the elders and progress despite the damage being a JW was doing to our family. I still hadnít decided what I would do with the Witnesses... leaving was so scary.
In December of that year, I was informed by the circuit overseer that I was to face a committee meeting because of my suicide attempt (I displayed a flagrant disregard for Jehovah and the sanctity of life). That was the last straw. I was distraught and psychologically at the end of my rope when that attempt was made. Now I was just plain MAD with the JW answer to encourage me by bringing me before a committee to determine whether or not I was fit to remain in the congregation. I never went to the committee meeting. I finally had enough. Instead, I informed an elder that I wanted nothing to do with the Witnesses again. They read a letter that I disassociated myself.
I left my husband, lost the only friends and family I've ever known. The children stayed with their father because I couldn't bear to see them treated the same way as I was. Getting divorced was stress enough for them let alone having everyone reject them as well.
Eight years later, I am married to a good man (never has been a Witness) and just had a beautiful baby boy (5 months!!). I see my other three children every weekend and frequently during the week. Their father occasionally takes them to the Kingdom Hall. So what's wrong with this picture?
I can't adjust to the fact that my parents and sisters (three) will have nothing to do with me or my family (including the children that stayed with their JW dad). Just this weekend, my daughter found out that my sister was in town and called to visit. Instead of me taking her to her grandparents house for the visit, my father picked her up. We were not welcome. My husband who has kept quiet through the years of rejection couldn't take it anymore. He called my sister and politely but emphatically told her how he felt about their behavior. (We also sent pictures of the baby with my father with the instructions that my sister could take whatever copies she wanted. All the pictures were returned. They want NO contact of any kind.) In talking with my mother a day later, she was angrier than I have ever heard. She spoke very poorly of my husband and said we would never again be permitted to hurt my sister ("Such a fine, outstanding Christian woman."). It doesn't matter the incredible pain they cause me or my family. I just shut the door to my office and spent the afternoon crying. Feelings of suicide came briefly back to mind.
My family often expresses that I've broken up the family by leaving. They have no choice but to reject me.
I have had Witnesses cross the street and glare. There are several Witnesses where I work. They will acknowledge the person standing next to me but not a word to me. Recently a gentlemen I have known for years and exchanged pleasant conversation daily asked me if it was true that I was a JW. When I responded that I used to be, he informed me that someone told him of my past association and current "status." He had recently become a JW and would no longer talk to me. I am still the same caring person he has known all these years. But all that was negated by some JW who happened to see him talk to me in the hospital hallway.
When shopping with my children and husband, a JW couple that I've known all my life came up and greeted the kids. They introduced themselves to my husband. When they ignored me, my husband said, "This is my wife, Mary Jane." He got no response. They continued talking and my husband again said, "This is my wife, Mary Jane." Without breaking eye contact with my husband, they responded, "We know who she is." He was livid. I have story after story like this.
When I first put my thoughts on cyber paper, I was very sad. However, I have found strength in the number of former Jehovahís Witnesses who Iíve come in contact over the last couple of weeks. You know what, there is life after JWs, and itís pretty good. I finally have peace. If you are a former JW reading this, YOU are not alone. There is a "brotherhood" of people who have experienced the same tragic shunning and come out on the other side. Here you are not judged by the number of hours you spend door-to-door or how your talk at the Ministry School was or how many times you answer at the book study or Watchtower study, or how many Bible studies you conduct. Iíve received some beautiful notes from people who accept me for me -- no matter what my beliefs.
I have not become a member of another church but consider myself to be a spiritual person. I still pray, I still talk about the Bible. I donít believe Jehovahís acceptance of my prayers is dependent on what any man on earth says about me or labels me (JWs think Iím apostate). I think Jehovah is so much kinder. I believe that He is a very loving God and embraces all who come to him whether JW, catholic, Protestant, Hindu, etc. After all, doesn't it come down to what is in our hearts?
Back to my JW family. The pain is very real and will always be there. But I can sleep at night because I love them unconditionally and stand with my arms open to accept them wholly at all times. After all, I left an organization ... not my friends and family. They are turning their backs and will have to deal with that. In a way, I hope the day never comes for them that JWs reverse their guidelines for treating family members. The years lost on shutting me out as their daughter and sister, and their grandchildren/ nieces/ nephews will be a very difficult, bitter pill to swallow.
I hope my story gives you hope and some measure of inner peace. I am especially appreciative to Timothy and Randy for shedding a little genuine "New Light" that proved I am not alone.
Peace and happiness
Mary Jane******************** Dear Randy,
Thanks for your e-mail dated October 8th. My experience with the Witnesses started back in 1979 when I was 16 yrs old. My mother met a couple of JWs that were doing some wallpapering on our house and they started talking about religion. Within a week we were attending meetings at the local Kingdom Hall. My mother and I were baptized about one year later in July 1979. Everything went okay for about two years when my mom decided she did not want to be a JW any longer. Well, in order to be a good Witness I decided that it was best not to talk with my mother because Jehovah's organization said that is the way it was supposed to be, needless to say that did not sit well with my mom or the rest of the family. So, for a period of about 4-5 years, my wife and I did not really have anything to do with my family.
Then my wife and I decided that it should be a personal choice who we associated with because it just did not feel right to alienate my family like that. We received a little resistance from others in the Kingdom Hall but not too much. We started to drift away from the organization over the next few years but always came back because of a guilty conscience or the fear that we would be annihilated at Armageddon because the Governing Body said it was going to be that way. It was in Oct/Nov. of 1995 that I really decided that the "truth" was not for me and maybe it just wasn't the "truth" after all. This decision came about because of the new light on the "1914 generation" issue and it just seemed too convenient to change a major belief like that when it was on everyone's mind that time was running out.
I received a lot of pressure to just trust in Jehovah and the Governing Body, but it was something that was nagging at me and would not go away. It was around this same time that I purchased a computer system and hooked in with the Net and started seeing all the things that the Watchtower Society had been hiding from the others in the "truth." It was no wonder that they did not want anyone to get on the Net, because they knew what type of information was out there. Anyway, it has been an up-and-down two years but I have finally made the break along with my wife and our four children and since we do not have any friends in the organization it has not made it that difficult in leaving. My wife still has her family in the organization but they really don't talk with us much because they don't approve that we have not been to a meeting in almost 18 months.
If you need any help with getting the message out about the JWs, I would be glad to help just let me know if there is anything I can do. Thanks again and I hope to hear from you soon.
Subj: **SUBMIT STORY**
Date: 11/26/97 5:14:04 AM Pacific Standard Time
Below is the result of your feedback form. It was submitted by (firstname.lastname@example.org) on Wednesday, November 26, 1997 at 01:12:28
Subject: divorce, violence, elders
Comments: Here's my experience...
I began a Bible study in May of 1994 with an old friend of mine who was a JW that I hadn't seen in over 10 years. I quickly grasped the concepts and doctrines that were being studied in the Live Forever book. I finished reading it on my own in one night and desired more books. I think I read at least 5 publications within two weeks of starting. I started going to meetings regularly about Sept 1994. I was "baptized" as a JW on Feb. 11 of 1995.
When I began my studies, I was separated from my wife. She had a terrible drinking problem, which highlighted her violent outbursts of anger. She was also a habitual liar, and drove us deep into financial trouble. I lost my job of 5 years because of the wage garnishments. Having a very young son only complicated matters even more. She never wanted to care for him, so I became both mother and father to him. I eventually had to seek financial aid just to keep him fed.
After getting absolutely nowhere with her as far as getting a divorce for almost two years, I began to pray in earnest to Jehovah about what I should do. I finally came to a conclusion that I would offer to reconcile our marriage if she agreed to at least begin a Bible study. She agreed and moved back in the first of Sept. of 1994.
Things went well for the first few months. I saw progress in her, and others were seeing a great transformation in me. I was able to give up smoking pot due to my faith. She was having success in giving up using alcohol in an abusive manner.
Sadly though, after only about two months, she began to revert back to her old self. She began drinking again, and had now picked up the habit of mixing prescription drugs with the alcohol. She spent all her time in the bedroom talking on the phone and watching TV. She would only come out to get food and to use the bathroom. She also again began to get both mentally and physically violent with me, and many times right in front of our son.
The elders had several meetings with the two of us about this time to try and help us with working out our problems. She was the one to initiate these "shepherding calls" at first. She wanted to let the elders know how terrible of a husband and father I was because I didn't have a job. What she didn't tell them was that she absolutely refused to come out of the bedroom to care for our son so I could get a job.
The elders asked her if I went out and got a job if she would start doing the daily things needed in giving proper care to our son. She agreed, so I went out and got a part-time job right away. With her ammunition against me now gone, she began getting even worse. Now she started accusing me of not being a loving husband and waiting on her hand and foot when she got a head cold.
She started refusing to have the elders come over after they were tactfully trying to show her various scriptures dealing with the family headship arrangement, its scriptures on alcohol abuse, etc. when I pointed out to her that she still was not taking care of our son while I went to work. She was ringing up enormous phone bills. I caught her stealing money I had set aside to pay for the utilities. I confronted her in the hallway by our front door one day after she returned from the mail box. We were expecting a rather large IRS tax refund check. I asked for the mail. She ran into the bedroom. I followed. She had grabbed a rather large ball point pen and threatened to kill me if I came any closer. I backed off. She left and didn't come home until around 4:30 AM the next morning drunk off her ass.
Two nights before I was to be baptized, she was threatening to show up at the Assembly Hall during the ceremony and yell out what a horrible husband I was and that they had no right baptizing me. It wasn't until the morning of the assembly that friends of hers whom she was studying with calmed her down and talked her out of it.
About two weeks later, she attempted to push me out of our car while going at least 35 mph after picking me up from work. She was mad because I had shut off all outgoing long distance phone calls due to the already huge bill from the previous month. Once again...in front of our son. We finally got to the house and she told me that she was going to go visit her sister, and she was going to take our son. Knowing that she would be drinking, I said that she could go but not with our son. I opened the door to get to my son first so she couldn't drive off before I could get to him. Her response was yelling, "Don't let Daddy take you!! He's going to hurt you!" Well, if he wasn't scared from the way she was acting in the car up to this point, he was absolutely terrified now. He was screaming.
I don't know if anyone else has ever had an experience such as this, but I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Here was my child, the son I had been the main care giver to his entire 3 years of life, whom I had never lifted a hand to, suddenly in one moment in sheer terror of me. I'm shaking right now as I type this. All I can say is thank God she drove away. He was kicking and hitting me, screaming and crying at the top of his lungs. I just held him close, crying myself as I assured him that I would never hurt him. It took me about 10 minutes to get him calmed down.
I could have put up with quite a bit until she kept threatening and attempting physical harm to me. I was afraid for myself and my child. She was totally out of control. I went to the courthouse and got a temporary order for protection against her. This gave me full custody of my son and included having the police physically remove her from the home.
Well, this action I took was not well received at all by the elders. Specifically the presiding Congregation Overseer. It was scripturally wrong for me to have initiated the separation. It would have been fine if she left on her own, but for me to cause the separation was just wrong. The scriptures he used were 1 Corinthians 10-16:10
"To the Married people I give instructions, yet not I but the Lord, that a wife should not depart from her husband; 11 but if she should actually depart, let her remain unmarried or else make up with her husband; and a husband should not leave his wife." 12 But to the others I say, yes I, not the Lord: If any brother has an unbelieving wife, and yet she is agreeable to dwelling with him, let him not leave her; 13 and a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and yet he is agreeable to dwelling with her, let her not leave her husband. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified in relation to [his] wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified in relation to the brother; otherwise, YOUR children would really be unclean, but now they are holy. 15 But if the unbelieving one proceeds to depart, let him depart; a brother or sister is not in servitude under such circumstances, but God has called YOU to peace. 16 For, wife, how do you know but that you will save [your] husband? Or, husband, how do you know but that you will save [your] wife?"
They knew about everything that she'd been doing. One of the elders who I'd become close to during all this initially tried to speak up for me, but backed down quite quickly when the PO spoke out against me. The brother who originated my study (who also happened to be a ministerial servant at a close by congregation) came to my defense asking what else I could have possibly done.
It didn't matter that she had threatened me with physical harm, was devastating the family financially and horribly abusing drugs and alcohol and was also doing all this in front of our son. Christians standards are Christian standards and I violated that when I initiated the separation. I stuck to my guns though, and refused to reconcile with her. She even had the audacity to have a meeting with the Presiding Overseer behind my back and told me that everything I was telling him was a lie. Even though I had mountains of evidence to prove that she was so destructive.
The PO had it in his mind that I was in the wrong, and nothing I, or anyone else for that matter, said was going to sway his belief. My attorney then advised me that it was in my child and my best interests at this point to file for divorce. I agreed. While doing research trying to find witnesses to her behavior to make my original restraining order carry greater weight, I also came across three different people who gave me testimony to her sexual behavior before our reconciliation. She had slept with at least six other people, including at least one other woman in a four-person orgy. Two of those witnesses gave me tape-recorded testimony. One who actually participated in the sexual act, and the other who was a roommate of this guy. The roommate came home from work to find them all engaged in the sex. I knew at this point I had the clear-cut, Biblical evidence I needed to have a Biblical divorce. I had two eye-witnesses of which one was a participant!
I called the elders together so I could present my evidence. The PO denied me that right to do so. He refused to listen. He said that because I had taken her back into the home and had sexual intercourse with her, that constituted forgiveness of her past sexual relations during our first separation and voided the testimony. It didn't matter that she didn't tell me about it (and I did ask her if she had before I took her back). Not only that, but he started ridiculing me for thinking that she could ever do any physical harm to me (after all, she's only a woman!), AND because I would never have anything more than a slight chance of getting custody of my son. It was also made very plain to me that if I continued with this divorce, I would never be allowed to have any congregational responsibilities, or to be remarried.
I made the remark during this meeting with the elders that even if I were to take her back, I would NEVER again have sex with her for fear of catching a disease. One of the elders said, "You can't deny your wife sexual relations. You can use a condom. You'll have no fear of getting a disease if you do." I'm still in shock over that response.
I wrote a letter to the Governing body PLEADING for help. I explained exactly what was happening. Two weeks later I got a letter back from them giving me nothing more than quoted scriptures of what the Bible's view of divorce was. Nothing else. No help whatsoever. It was as if I had been a nuisance to them in writing my plea.
I continued with the divorce. During the custody battle, she accused me of smoking pot on a daily basis. This had the effect of the judge court ordering the both of us to submit to a random urinalysis and drug evaluation program. I eagerly accepted, knowing that it had been well over a year since I'd stopped smoking pot.
Well, part of the program required us to begin attending a 12-step program (such as Alcoholics Anonymous, etc). After reading over the requirements and steps involved with this program, I saw that it was very religious and spiritual in nature, and my being a Jehovah's Witness would violate my Christian conscience since we were to be no part of any other religious faith or movement of any kind. The drug program director had a hard time with this at first, but allowed me to use the meetings at the Kingdom Hall instead, as long as I got a signature from an elder after each meeting to show I had indeed attended. I also had to get someone from the Jehovah's Witnesses to contact him by phone, mail or fax to let him know that my stand on this matter was indeed valid.
I asked the elders if they could help by writing a letter. They said that they needed to ask the Governing Body if they could have permission to do so. No permission ever came. I wrote a letter to the Governing Body. Nothing. No help of any kind was given me for taking a Biblical stand to not participate in "false religion." The elders, therefore, could not help. I still held my ground for doing what I believed was the right conduct for one of Jehovah's Witnesses. This did, however, cripple my getting full custody of my son. Instead of going down to a horrible defeat, I was forced to accept a giving her custody with me getting 50% visitation rights.
If the Governing Body, or even just one of my elders had just stated that participating in those 12-step programs and attending their meetings would be violating my Christian conscience, I would now have full custody of my son. Instead, he must be subjected to living half his years until he is 18 living with an alcoholic and abusive mother. What a fool I was.
I stopped regularly attending meetings about six months later. I stopped altogether around early October of last year. I disassociated myself from the Jehovah's Witnesses this July. I met a wonderful woman online back in January from a role playing game I play. We fell in love over the net. She moved out here and we were married in June. We now have a child on the way. She's been a great help to me overcome alot of the depression I've been dealing with. I've noticed that depression and anxiety are not all that uncommon for ex-JWs. I've been dealing with anxiety and panic attacks for a little over 4 months now. I hadn't realized until reading the testimonies of ex-JWs this could be one of the big contributors to this.
I have read the book "Crisis of Conscience" by Raymond Franz. It's helped me alot. I highly recommend it to every ex-JW. I was posting to a newsgroup recently flaming the JWs there by pointing out their closed minded hypocritical idiocy. It helped for awhile, but soon became frustrating.
So now, my search for the truth continues.
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