I was raised in the so-called "truth" from the time I was two and believed in it to the letter. I may not have been the perfect witness, but I always tried to be good. But what does one do when your best is never good enough and things that are not your fault are made to be your fault?
I will never blame my mother for my mess. She was only 19 when she had me, left the country where she grew up and met my dad, and had to get married fast. Not long after I was born, my sister came along. My mom was lonely and needed friends and something to believe in. My dad was too busy working to support his growing family to pay enough attention to her needs. So when
the JWs came to her door, she was vulnerable, as are many who get hooked into that mess as an adult. My mom was just as much a victim as I was of that religion.
I was molested and raped as a kid by the husband of a well-respected Pioneer. He wasn't in the religion, but always just studying. I was abused by the kids in my school who could not tolerate that I was different. Even my mom would have her moment of physical abuse towards me to save face in the eyes of her fellow sister, even if the "sin" was a minor one such as
saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, not being quiet, not being still...
Unknowingly, my mom got me further brainwashed into that garbage when she discovered I was looking for information from other religions. I had my doubts when I was 12 and wanted answers I knew my mom would never give me. She found all my research and books from other churches and in her hysterical manner destroyed it all and made me promise that no matter what happened I would never leave "the truth," even if I were tortured, even if she were to drop out, even at threat of death. I promised because I saw the love and fear in her eyes.
I remember the incident in Jonestown not too long after. I was already at the point where I knew in the back of my mind that if the faithful and discreet slave were to ever tell us to kill ourselves, I would be the first in line. Looking back now, I can see how sick this kind of faith really was. I was ready to believe anything they told me without question, even when common-sense wanted to smack me in the face a few times, I would deny it.
In my last year of high school, I moved to another state and lived with my aunt. My dad, who was not a JW, wanted me to go to college. I wanted to get
baptized, go to Gilead, and perhaps one day live at Bethel. Before I graduated from school, a teacher was observing me and asked me to see a school counselor who then deduced from her interview that I was a victim of sexual abuse. I ran out of the office because I did not want to face up to it. I already blamed myself for it. Then my mom was told. She told the elders, who pretty much said not to do anything about it as it would stumble that man who denied anything happened and if anything really did happen I was probably the one who initiated it.
That incident with the elders got my mom out immediately. I could not leave. I was getting baptized and in my first year of college. I thought I could walk the fine line and accept what the elders said. Then I got raped in college. I was the youngest person in the co-ed dorm (I was 17 and everyone else was over 20.) People were coming in and out of the building all the time. No one really paid much attention to anyone else's business. It was always so noisy and on the weekends people would carry on drunken parties in the hallway. It was one of those weekends that a person I casually knew on campus followed me to my room. He claimed he wanted a Bible Study, so I let him in my room to get his address so I could refer him to a brother. He locked the door and threatened me with a knife and raped me. Then, like nothing happened, he got dressed and left. I couldn't scream as I was in shock. I just sort of laid there almost all weekend
until Sunday when I had to go to the Kingdom Hall. I tried to forget it, but couldn't.
it took months, but that event was eating me on the inside. I confided in a sister who I thought was my friend. Like me, she was also a regular Pioneer. She was well respected in the congregation and highly opinionated. To say anything against her extremely narrow view of "the truth" could easily merit you the reputation and the dishonor in the congregation of being labelled an unworthy companion.
She said it was my responsibility to confess it to the elders and if I didn't I would bring Jehovah's rage against the congregation. So I guess it boiled down to swallowing my pride and taking the blame for my sin of getting raped so the congregation would be spared my sinful ways. At least that is what it seemed like. The elders cited a scripture in the Bible how a woman should scream or would be considered a fornicator. Thus. I was labelled a fornicator, albeit a very sorry one. I was on reproof and stepped down from Pioneer service and not allowed to mention to anyone why I was on reproof. Even when my good friends asked and I told two people, I was warned by the elders not to do it again.
I left that state in shame and wanted a new start, so I came back to live with my parents and would travel all over trying to collect myself. I was having a nervous breakdown that people tried to label me as a schizophrenic when in fact I had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Even my parents were about ready to give up on me.
I was told by many in the congregation that I was getting old enough and should move out of my parents home since they were not in "the truth" and my mom was an apostate. I was also strongly urged to do it quickly and not to communicate with my mom ever again. That was my last straw. The first thing I was ever taught was to honor your mother and father. This was not honor. Although my mom was trying to get me out for a couple of years, I brushed her off before. I started to listen, but never felt right about it, since I was still a believer.
After floundering in many churches, I finally was given the key to break free from the spell. One man in a Baptist church told me to just read the Bible and use the mind God gave me to understand it. I did and now am free from the JWs altogether.