Continued from http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/7/107302/1.ashx
After 10 years in the "fultime work" my wife and I left Bethel and moved back to Missouri to serve where the "need was great". Mark had was about 17 and had put his foot down about going to the KH but his dad still pushed. There was a lot of tension in the house. This was not good for my father who was in his fifties nor for my brother, who now received approval only from his "worldly" friends. I offered a place with us up north for Mark to live so he could have a new start away from home. It seemed to go well at first since one condition I put on Mark was that he go to the KH with us. He made friends with another wayward young man at the hall, got a job in construction and had his own car.
The strange thing is that the liquor in the cabinet seemed to be disappearing. It became more obvious when my expensive Drambuie was emptied which I saved for very special drinks. Then one night Mark didn't go to the meeting because he was too tired. On our way home on the rural roads a State Trooper dashed in front of us with lights on and moving fast. That was a little unusual since we didn't have much trouble out our way so I continued home with a sense of excitement. To my surprise he pulled down our private road shared by a few neighbors and even more surprised to see him pull in our drive way. What had happened to Mark? He was inside the house (mobile home) drunk. That was a depressing moment. And why had the Trooper been called? Apparently Mark had tried to leave before we came home but was so drunk he closed his car door on his thumb. The neighbors told me later that they thought a wild cat was killing someone so they called the State Troopers. I guess Mark was too smashed to realize his screams carried deep into the wooded hollers.
Confronting Mark, he admitted to sneaking my liquor. To my shock he admitted to being an alcoholic for several years. The Trooper was satisfied that my Christian fundamentalism would prevail in this family matter and left politely. I sympathized with my brother regarding many of his problems but laid the law down firmly regarding his future behavior. This wasn't going to happen again and what's more he owed me for the cost of the liquor. I now wish I had more understanding of alcoholism at that time. But why did I need to know that stuff. I had the "truth" and Bible counsel was all we needed to fix any problem. If only I could have imagined what it might be like for him to believe the JW dogma and yet only find acceptance in "the world". Maybe I could have understood WHY he, like so many other young Watchtower rejects, was turning to altering chemistry to escape.
Well after many trying times and long talks creating unfounded hopes, Mark was suddenly laid off from his job and chose to move back to St. Louis to try it there again. After a DWI and a heavy fine for Destruction of Public Property he landed in a local hospital in their rehab program. This was the best thing to happen to Mark in several years. He came out dry, physically fit, got a good job and was even getting along at home with his parents. But an alcoholic is always an alcoholic. I wish now I would have understood what that meant.
At age 18, after only three months of success in the rehab program, he yielded and got drunk. He took a taxi to the house where he grew up, lite it on fire, and laid down in his old bedroom to die. I know he was not my son and I am not responsible for his choice, but I also know I was the only one he leaned on who could have helped him. Yet I did not have the mindset necessary to meet his needs. Instead I screwed the JW clamp tight like a good do bee elder. I wonder more than ever, now that I've left the WT, what we would be like as a family if we had never been JW's. Maybe not great either way, but cult thinking and constant rejection certainly do not produce balanced young people.
He died believing the JW's had the truth and that he was sh*t in Jehovah's eyes. This disturbs me. I sometimes wonder if he had thought that his family would love him and accept him instead of disapprove of him, even if he fell off the wagon, if he would not have chosen to go to his old bed room and end his life that night? I wonder if he had felt accepted and loved by his friends and congregation who amounted to his very life at age 14, if he would have felt the need to escape through alcohol?
I also wonder if the Watchtower will EVER realize how much harm they cause? And I wonder what I can do to stop this cycle. Can we stop this cycle? Shouldn't we try?
Someday, ask me about little Wit. That's another story, but let me cry over Mark for a while before I face any more grief.
Cathartic Finish to Painful Memories of Mark
Continued from http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/7/107302/1.ashx
That's sad Steve, unfortunately the WTS has victimised thousands of people like Mark but their conscience has been singed and they have no scruples. The sooner they fall the better.
Steve, I remember another story you posted some time ago about a young woman... seems that some of us must be hit in the head repeatedly with the WT's cold-heartedness before we wake up. I'm sorry about Mark. I'm glad you're not still slaving away trying to make the WT edicts feel true and right.
So sorry to read this Steve, thanks for sharing. My heart goes out to you
Thank you so much for courageously sharing this story and your brother's life with us. I am weeping with you (literally) over Mark. Yea, I've heard lots of bad stories but this one is just sitting on my heart for some reason, making me ball like a baby. It won't help Mark now or ease your pain but I wanted you to know I hear you. I connect with your pain in whatever limited way that a "stranger" can. I honor your brother Mark. Whatever his story can teach us, let it.
Love and Light,
It would've taken an incredible stretch of super-human ability for you at the time to see past the Watchtower doctrines and recognize that the cult's advice wouldn't be the best advice. So sorry this happened to your family, but the blame for it doesn't lie with you.
Forgive me Steve, as I do not mean to pry overmuch, but had Mark been giving out signals he was thinking of killing himself? By that I mean had he spoken of wanting to die, or even told you of a plan he had?
I ask this because Nina's father did send out big signals for months before he shot himself. I ask too because it might help someone lurking who might be in a similar situation.
In Bill's situation, we got him to see a psychiatrist who mixed behavior therapy with anti-depressants. For a couple of months Bill was close to his old self; that manic depressive energy was gone. Sadly he quit seeing the psychiatrist and stopped taking the anti-depressants because they interfered with his drinking wine. He too was an alcoholic, and addicted to prescription medication, and he missed the buzz.
I would say something about not feeling guilty, but I know all too well what that feels like; the sense of responsibility and a nagging woulda-coulda-shoulda that haunts years later. I will say it is appropriate to grieve. His death, as with others who have taken their life, is a waste and a loss.
I apologize if I am overstepping as I realize I am intruding into a delicate thread.
I 2nd what Brigid said:
Sending you many hugs today and as many as you need until you have some "peace".
This religion takes away our right to "grieve" and we find ourselves floundering with emotions that should have been resolved sooner. (I have my own story about that one as well)
I agree, the sooner the better.
Thanks, the other threads were about Jane. Yes she killed herself too and again I missed a chance to help. I had dealt with a lot of child molestation in the WT but didn't realize how extensive it was until I listed them. Now I'm wonder about the extent of suicide that goes on in the WT, as I'm making a mental list that is scary. The past thread about Jane is at
I know he was not my son and I am not responsible for his choice, but I also know I was the only one he leaned on who could have helped him. Yet I did not have the mindset necessary to meet his needs. Instead I screwed the JW clamp tight like a good do bee elder. I wonder more than ever, now that I've left the WT, what we would be like as a family if we had never been JW's. Maybe not great either way, but cult thinking and constant rejection certainly do not produce balanced young people
He died believing the JW's had the truth and that he was sh*t in Jehovah's eyes. This disturbs me. I sometimes wonder if he had thought that his family would love him and accept him instead of disapprove of him, even if he fell off the wagon,
Sometimes I wonder about my first ex-husband who was tortured growing up as youth who did not want to be stuck in a JW world. For him, he was tortured that he had been told that his thoughts, desires and emotions were WRONG.....that there was only one RIGHT WAY to think, act and believe. He had been inactive at one point before I met him, put on reproof many times and df'd twice during marriage. Even at 30 years old, his parents were still trying to make him tow the line and SO WAS I.
There were other issues which caused our divorce but I often wonder if I had not been so pioneer minded and WT led, what would have happened. Maybe if he could have gone out with his wife in normal situations, if were weren't called to waste our weekends, maybe he would never have turned to such wayward people in the 'world' ..... maybe then he would have opted out away from drugs if his own wife didn't tell the elders on him and supported him instead to live a good life just not have to be a JW.
The WHAT IF'S can plague you.