I absolutely HATED going in service when I was little. I wanted to stay home on Saturday mornings and watch cartoons and would make up almost any story to stay home.
Did any of you ever try this: Making a deal with your parents to stay home Saturday morning and promise to go out in service on Sunday instead? Then, Sunday would come, and you'd waste your whole day away with the meeting and service. Then you'd get home and realize how much it sucked to waste a whole day. You then had to weigh the pros and cons: is it worth having a Saturday morning of Cartoons to spend a whole day doing spiritual things?
Anyway, my JW upbringing sucked. All holidays and violent toys were removed when I was five years old. That's when my mother became a JW. Just recently, she tried to remind me of all the birthdays I had when I was a kid. I told her, "I only had four of them!" She responded with "That was enough."
Anyway, I now had to stand out in the hallway for O Canada, and not participate in holiday crafts, plays, or music. My mother started many arguments with the music teacher who saw I loved music. My mother forbid me to join the school choir, even though the teacher tried to stick up for me and come to a comprimise of me just not singing "questionable" songs. I'd like to find that teacher and thank her for her effort to stick up for me.
I believed in Jehovah and that he was going to bring Armageddon, but I hated the meetings and conventions. I also hated how my mother always said "Don't do it for me, do it for Jehovah" to get her own way. I was also beaten often because Jehovah says to use the rod. Many times I was beaten for nothing of my doing, but because my mother was pissed off at my dad (or something else).
My dad didn't get involved in the JWs until after he got picked up for drunk driving. He had a "nervous breakdown" and stayed in bed for three days. My mother read him Watchtowers for those three days.
It was a shock when I saw my dad getting ready for the meeting. He said "It'll be good for me to go once". That's when I realized that my only exit from escaping the meetings - my father- was gone. We then became a true JW family.... except my dad just couldn't quit smoking, therefore he never got baptized.
Me and my dad ended up studying with a well-respected elder. It was during this time that I decided to give the JW religion a good effort, and I did. I became an unbaptized publisher.
At school, I was getting beat up on a daily basis because of my religion, and my ugly, outdated hand-me-downs. My mother forced me to wear them because "Jehovah's people are supposed to stand out". If I didn't want to wear them, I was threatened with a beating.
All the beatings from home and school caused me to develope Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Whenever someone in my vicinity would raise their hand, I would duck even if they were no threat to me. How was I supposed to answer when the person would ask, "What, did you think I was going to hit you?" Whenever I would duck around my mother, she'd ask me "Would you like a beating?"
I also developed the shakes from even thinking of going to school. I would uncontrollably shake all while I was at school, or when I was getting ready for school. I was a nervous wreck.
Daily, I would pray to Jehovah to protect me. He never would, and I would constantly get the shit beaten out of me from my classmates.
After this experience, my faith in Jehovah and his stupid religion started to go down the toilet. When I changed high schools, I began living a double life. Although I was enjoying a taste of a normal life, I started getting depressed and suicidal. My father told me that I might as well be out of the house if I didn't follow the JW religion. My mother was also going through all my personal belongings while I was at school. All of this combined made me want to kill myself. There were only two things that kept me going: having a worldly girlfriend and knowing that at age 18 I could make my own decisions.
When I turned 18, nothing changed. I was still forced to attend meetings. I felt that I was in a cage, and I didn't belong there. My mother had me study with a brother who was closer to my age. She thought that I'd be able to relate to him better. Instead, I rebelled.
This guy told me to throw out all my Led Zeppelin and Guns N Roses albums. I hated him. He forced me to sit beside him at the meetings by moving my books to the seat beside him. I was ready to punch this guy in the face. I hated his guts. It seemed the more I tried to pull away from the JW religion, the more I was being pulled back in. I still think it was funny when he came to pick me up for the meeting, but I had drove there in my own car.
Nobody would talk to me at the meetings. I hated arriving early as I stood at the back of the hall by myself. Occasionally, someone would come over and say Hi, but that was it. It was also around this time that I started smoking. I honestly didn't care if I got caught or not.
Then, one day, all the force stopped. My father had quit attending a few months back, and I was no longer being forced to attend the meetings. I was 18 1/2 years old by this time. I was actually honest when I got my shepherding call. I told them I needed to take a break. I was told in return that I would be toast at Armageddon. I didn't care. If I was going to die, I would die happy. I never went to another meeting (with the exception of one funeral).
This year in August I will be celebrating 10 years out of the org. I have the date written down of the last meeting I attended. I will be throwing a huge party this year... 10 years out and Armageddon hasn't come yet!
When I was seven years old, I was told that this system of things wouldn't last more than five years. I constantly lived in fear of Armageddon coming any day. I thought I'd never experience graduating high school, getting kissed by a girl, having sex with a girl, living on my own, having a job, getting married, and having children. I've accomplished all of those, except my wife is only 9 weeks pregnant with our first child.
Damn, that was long!