Father, please... forgive me...
Dearest JW.com posters... may you all have peace!
I wish to share something with you that I had NO idea of until just a few minutes ago. After listening to my Lord direct me to go back and read and read and read, I must say, dear ones, that I knew Robert and Janet (Jannie) Bryant from Shingle Springs, CA, personally. He was the grandson of my good friend, Laura, the 96-year-old sister who held my hand the first time I ate and drank in the kingdom hall, and who stood by me as my persecution started, standing up for me. Until the elders moved her to a 'rest home' in Placerville (next door to Shingle Springs), were she died within months. And no, she was not sick! I had asked if she could come live with me and my family (they had been granted conservatorship of her by her JW family), and they said, no, that I was not a good influence on her... or she on me. So, I had to drive 50 miles one-way once a week to visit her.
[Please bear with me... my heart is breaking, right now...]
When I was still in the organization and first started to tell folks that I was 'hearing', and what I was hearing, Robert came to see me. He lived just 'up the hill' from me (I live in Sacramento). Why did he come? Because he was 'hearing', too. And he had had a couple of visions, which he understood very clearly, but was afraid to tell anyone about. He had heard about me, and at the behest of his grandmother wanted to see what I was about and maybe talk to someone who could understand what was happening to him. This was in 1997.
We shared a lot of experiences... and fears. I told Robert that I had been told by my Lord that they would eventually expel us (there were others...), and he agreed. Shortly thereafter, my 'meetings' started, and soon, so did his. There was one difference, though: while I had a total of 14 meetings with no more than 3 'elders' present, Robert only had a few. But... at times there were 12 elders at his... and they 'railroaded' him, dear ones... BIG time! He would call me, terrified, and I tried to be supportive and comforting, but eventually, he told me that he was just going to be quiet, forget what he had seen and heard and go along with the elders. The reason for this is, he said, he couldn't take the pressure: his uncle, Clinton Hedberg (YES! I NAMED him and will name him again!), a former PO of mine whose congregation met in the same hall as the congregation I attended at the time... headed applied the greatest pressure.
I knew Robert was faltering, and I tried to offer him all of the support... and love... I could. I did not condemn him for his fear, for I understood it: those boys can be QUITE intimidating, especially if they are family, and especially if you are a meek and timid man such as Robert was.
[Oh, God, this would have killed Laura! Robert, Jannie and their kids, were her LOVES... her ONLY family that treated her with any modicum of love and kindness. The rest thought her crazy and difficult, because she professed to be anointed, to 'hear' and 'see', and didn't just roll over for the brothers.]
I don't know what to say... I am at a loss for my COMPLETE AND UTTER HATRED for those men right now has no words. I will repent and ask for forgiveness for my hard heart later... and I WILL forgive them... but right now I cannot help it!
I guess Robert finally took a stand; I mean, I know that even if one wishes to deny the Master and the gifts, one can only do so for so long, before one will want to die... because for US... there IS no other life. I do not know what pushed Robert to this action, and no, I offer no excuse for it other than I understand what it is like to be as we are (he and I and others), and live in denial. Had I let those men... and some here on jw.com and other places... talk ME out of what I know to be true, I cannot say that I would not have sunk to despair as well. Maybe not to the same level, but life would be pretty unbearable.
Dear ones, they took everything from him, as they have from many others: his family, his livelihood... and his hope. Truly, what is left? Yes, I know... the family he killed. Oh, Robert!
Merciful Father, JAH, Holy One of Israel and Creator of the heavens and earth, I beg you, through my Lord and Master, your Son and Christ, JAHESHUA MISCHAJAH, that if these men are responsible for the depth of my brother's despair, that you not hold this error against such men, and that you also find it in your large heart to have mercy upon Robert and remember him and his family. Yet, let not my will, but yours take place. For the Robert I knew would want it that way.
For any of you who don't understand, I am sorry. I am. I have no justification, for there is none, truly. I only wished to share with you what I DO know, of the man Robert Bryant... and what COULD have made him become so desperate. I leave the matter in my Father's hands.
A [VERY sorrowful] slave of Christ,