I was born and raised in the Jehovah's Witness cult. Looking back at my childhood growing up in the organization and seeing the results of my own life, and dealing with the consequences of indoctrinating my own children with these beliefs, I am sickened and disgusted. It's never too late to learn, however. The part that makes me the saddest is that there are no do-overs once action has been taken, the damage is done to a child, and you are left with fragments of what a healthy and whole person might otherwise have been. The horror lies in the realization, "holy shit, I did that to these beautiful children. It was me!" The realization that you were abused and deprived, that you unwittingly did the same to your child under the guise of love can be unsettling when you take a good hard look at what has actually been done.
The truth really does set you free, however. Today, I can tell my children how wrong I was. I can tell them honestly what a terrible parent I was, a truly shitty parent. I can admit to them how I systematically fucked them up for the sake of brainwashing them into a lifetime commitment to peddling WTBTS publications. And if I am ever in the unique position to parent young children again, I know I am completely free to really love them, eduate them, and with far more compassion and tenderness. Their understanding and compassion is much more than I deserve. Their forgiveness, however, has not been as liberating as you'd think, and they have forgiven me generously. I am left, still, to find a way to forgive myself.
*** w06 7/1 p. 27 par. 6 Youths, Make It Your Choice to Serve Jehovah ***
“6 Are Christian parents unfairly influencing their children when they raise them in “the discipline and mental-regulating of Jehovah”? No. Who can criticize parents for teaching their children what they consider to be right and morally beneficial? Atheists are not criticized for teaching their children that God does not exist. Roman Catholics feel duty-bound to bring up their children in the Catholic faith, and they are rarely criticized for endeavoring to do so. Similarly, Jehovah’s Witnesses should not be accused of manipulating the minds of their children when they raise them to adopt Jehovah’s thinking on basic truths and moral principles.”
As with any and all religion, it is vitally important for the WTBTS to get their hands on the young, tender, observant minds of children as soon as they possibly can. They justify this process with Scripture.
*** w06 7/1 pp. 27-28 par. 8 Youths, Make It Your Choice to Serve Jehovah ***
“8 The apostle Paul wrote to the young man Timothy: “Continue in the things that you learned and were persuaded to believe, knowing from what persons you learned them and that from infancy you have known the holy writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through the faith in connection with Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:14, 15) From Timothy’s early childhood, his mother and grandmother had firmly grounded his faith in God on knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. (Acts 16:1; 2 Timothy 1:5) Later, when they became Christians, they did not force Timothy to believe but “persuaded” him by means of sound reasoning based on Scriptural knowledge.”
The purpose of this process (from infancy) isindoctrination, not education. It is vital to prevent exposure to other ideas that may inevitably call their irrational conclusions into question. Religious indoctrination is an assault on children, an assault on their capacity for individuation, curiosity, self-validation, and critical thinking skills.
The harm is this; if I have all the answers, why would I bother to continue searching for the answers?
The harm also lies in a parent’s justification for brutality, violence, and other abuses. Religious indoctrination is always accompanied by trauma inflicted upon a child. It instills an irrational fear of something that does not exist. Fear is the polar opposite of love. Fear is paralyzing and deprives the child of the psychological need for parental bonding and the development of healthy boundaries, and will ultimately result in a child who grows up with depression, emotional instability, and the child begins to inflict these terrors on others. It is all a made up story to justify a parent’s cruelty to children.
“Religion is fundamentally a scar tissue of emotional trauma – a form of post-traumatic stress disorder – which forms around the fears of abandonment and punishment that children experience if they dare to question the superstitions of their elders.” – Stefan Molyneux