Confessions of a "theocratic liar.™"
9.15am. May 16th 1965. Hampstead Gardens Primary School. Adelaide. South Australia.
My first memory of "making a stand for the truth™" was when, on May 15 1965, I lied to my teacher to avoid taking part in the daily salute the flag ritual.
I remember it like it was yesterday. It was my 8 th birthday. The teacher turned to me and asked "is it your birthday?" A violent home had rendered me shy of adults. My head was buzzing with anti-birthday doctrine and I just decided to lie. I said NO. She asked again and I compounded the lie by again denying that it was my birthday. In those days birthday boys and girls were given the honour of holding up the Australian flag while the class welcomed the school day by singing that time honoured classic God Save The Queen.
That memory haunted me for ages. I had lied before and been belted hard for it. I didn't care if I got caned at school but I did care that I had lied instead of being able to explain my new religious beliefs.
We had recently abandoned our Methodist faith and had become Jehovah's Witnesses, which suited my alcohol loving father and fire and brimstone mother just fine, but my parents remained clueless of the torment it put me through at school. I was popular but the lone JW and continually caned and punished by teachers and headmasters for failure to sing Christmas carols, refusing to salute the flag, sing the national anthem, celebrate Australia day, ANZAC day, Remembrance day, the Queens birthday, Easter, and numerous other crimes against the state.
Teachers back then thought nothing of using my bum for "cricket practice" (being "hit for six" with a cricket bat is not for the fainthearted - but I took it bravely for Jehovah and NEVER once cried lol).
As I approach half a century of life, 8 years old seems preposterously young to be involved in war strategy but this was a pattern of things to come. Years of bullying by my parents, teachers and Elders helped me developed passive resistance to an art form. Skills I later used to good effect in escaping from the cult.
It turns out I needn't have carried that guilt throughout my JW life because, unknown to me until several years before “leaving the truth™” the watchtower openly approved of and encouraged such lies:
J ehovah's Witnesses ™ are not: "under obligation to divulge truthful information to people who are not entitled to it." Insight on the Scriptures Volume II p. 245.™
"for the purpose of protecting the interests of God's cause, it is proper to hide the truth from God’s enemies… This comes under the term ‘war strategy ™’." Watchtower 1960 June 1 p. 352™
Yes, I remember exactly when I first “got the truth™” how about you?