Welcome XJW4EVR and thanks for sharing.
Hi blsrose, welcome to the forum!
It would be cool if someone would publish a book of stories of former JWs.
As I mentioned before the move back to Taos was the single most important factor in me leaving the WT. There are a number of reasons, but they have to do with attending high school sport events, a trip to Denver, CO & getting a TV in my room.
When we moved back to Taos (winter of 1982), I was on restriction from Cong. privledges due to my Private Reproof status. However, my dad walked into a hornet's nest. The Cong. was in the midst of planning for a new Hall. This Hall was not the typical boilerplate Hall. There were unique zoning requirements, the first that it had to have the "adobe look." Secondly, a JW architect had moved into the area, and decided to add some unique solar heating technology to the building. So there was a lot of work that needed to be done on the planning stage. Thirdly, the entire Elder Body was removed, and one Elder was DF'ed for issues that had happened prior to our return. So my Dad walks into this situation, knowing nothing of building (the one elder in charge of the building committe who knew anything about building was DF'ed), having to manage every element of the day-to-day business of the Hall. He rant the TMS, handled all the parts in on the Service Meeting that required an Elder, conducted the WT study, and delivered a number of the public talks. Take over the business from my sick and elderly grandparents. He finally got some of the other Congs. to send Elders up to give the Public Talks, but had to practically beg people to show some evidence of hospitality and host these families for lunch. Finally, after about 5 months of this, the Circuit Overseer, Billy Ford. An obnoxious redneck, with the intelligence of a june bug, finally decided that my dad needed help, or as this redneck would say, "He'p."
What was sent was no better. They sent an obnoxious and overbearing jerk named Wes Cheatham. Cheatham had been on a construction crew at Bethel. He was also being groomed for the Circuit work. He and my dad got along great. They were both "Organization men," and I saw my dad transform into an arrogant jackass just like Wes Cheatham. It was during the reign fo these two that going to any sporting event was outlawed. The reason? Everyone goes and gets drunk afterward. They cultivate the spirit of competition. You have to salute the flag. So the only fun thing to do, other than going to a movie was ripped for the R&F of the Cong. The weekly Sunday night roller skating outings were discouraged, because people were coupling up, and that could lead to fornication. This led to a number of the teens to start sneaking out to the various campgrounds and getting high or drinking.
During this time, the Hall got built, and a whole group of MS's got promoted to Elder. Cheatham finally got promoted to a sub CO, and I think finally became a CO. It was because of how dad handled the situation that he was asked to teach the Kingdom Ministry School for the elders in New Mexico. His traing for this school was held in Denver, CO, and it was here that my exodus from the WT$ began in earnest.
Hello I too am new to the forum Your story parrellels mine in many ways I too was adopted well actually my sister and I were adopted . My parents were still studying at the time . I beleive they were baptized in 78 I was around 5 years old . I wish I could say I had as many fond memories of my chikdhood as you . I hva learned to make the best of things thogh , asfter many years of seperation from my parents I now have a wonderfull relationship with my birth mother . So i guess there are happy endings after al
Welcome to our playground.
Great story, keep it coming.
So the only fun thing to do, other than going to a movie was ripped for the R&F of the Cong.
Our 80-year-old P.O. (when I served as an elder) was this sort of thinker. He used to discourage virtually any type of activity among the friends outside of meetings and field service. He didn't even like it when families got together for Watchtower studies in their homes.
"Why one time at one o' these things IMMORALITY broke out!!!"
Turned out this had happened about three years before I was born. He still used it as a reason to discourage get-togethers.
Eagerly waiting for the next installment!
I have placed certain memories here for perusal, not to try and paint the WT$ as all evil or all good. I have posted memories that I believe were instrumental in my exodus from the slavery under the GB & Elder taskmasters. While I am not so egotistical to think that my experience is unique or the norm, I do think it is reflective of what many have gone through. Based on the feedback I have recieved this appears to be true.
All in all, I hope that some good will come of this.
As I mentioned before, my Dad's trip to Denver, for direction in being an instructor for the Elder's school was very important in my exit from the WT$. This was around 1983/84. My mom and I were able to go to Denver with him, and enjoy a nice vacation.
During this time my mom decided that we should spend a morning in field service. No big deal for me because I wouldn't run into any of my "worldly" friends. So off we went into one of the Denver suburbs. During the morning, mom and I had a great time. We talked to a number of people, and it was the first time in long time that I actually enjoyed knocking on the doors of people. Then we got to a home where there were a lot of little children. The toys and tricycles were strewn across the lawn. This was my door. I knocked and a rather pleasant lady in her early to mid 30s came to the door. I went into my presentation, and she stopped me with an upraised hand and said (I remember her words exactly), "You only do what you are told do by your leaders in Brooklyn. You believe only what you are told to believe by your leaders in Brooklyn." She then politely stated that she was not interested, and my mom and I turned and walked away.
I didn't speak about what had been said to my mom, or to my dad later that evening, but I hit me like a ton of bricks. I had never encountered any "opposer" that ever said that to me or anyone else I was with in field service. Any "opposer" I ran into usually went for the Bible or the dumb doctrines of the WT$, and all that ever served to do was prove that I was right. I was never prepared to deal with this sort of attack. The attack of being a mindless automoton. I also think that the reason this struck me, was that I was reading George Orwell's 1984. In the book I saw many parallels to the top leadership in the WT$. I saw parallels to Winston's reeducation at the hands of O'Brien in Room 101, to my experience with the JC in Red Bluff. I saw the teaching of family member's turning in one another for the purity of the JW religion to be akin to the Parson's children being part of the Spies.
It was after the Denver incident, that my dad gave me a black & white TV for my room. I was also given a cable outlet, and I was given the freedom to whatch TV without being in the front room. It was on a Saturday night that I ran acroos John Ankerburg, Laurie McGregor & Walter Martin. It was here, in my room, that the hold of the WT$ began to break. I learned so much about the dishonesty of the WT$'s past. I won't go into it since most of you know it. My search to at first deny what McGregor & Martin said led me to my dad's extensive WT library. Dad looked at this as a good thing, since I never told him what I was researching. Soon the effort to deny the statements of McGregor & Martin turned into affirming what they had said. Learning that everything I had been taught since a baby was a lie. My faith in the Borg was shaken to its core, however the one burning question was never answered by this TV show, or the research I was doing. That question was "Where do I go if the WT$ is wrong?" Since this question was never answered, and the fact that I was only 16 when this happened I was not going to leave. I knew my dad's loyalty was to the Borg & not the family. Where was a 16 year old to go? So I stayed, but I knew that I was living a lie.
There is a funny thing that happens to you when you live a lie. You begin, unconsciously, to sabotage yourself. I got involved with drugs, and drinking. I also, and quite by accident, became a bookie at the high school. I also began shoplifting, at first to get the albums & tapes I wanted, but eventually to make more money to get loaded or drunk with. I also got a job away from The Burrito Wagon. This helped me in not having to go to meetings on Tuesday or Thursday. I'm low man on the totem pole, I told my dad, I can't ask for those nights since someone with more seniority had those nights off anyway. THis was n't true, and in fact, I specifically asked to work those nights. I was basically a functioning addict. I knew that I couldn't get high or drunk before work, but I wanted...no, I needed to stop the mental & emotional pain that I caused myself by looking at "apostate" material. I needed to stop the pain caused by parents that cared more about a religion, than me the son they chose.
Then in the summer between my junior & senior years, I was given a great gift. My parents decided that I should spend the summer here in L.A. I was 18 at the time. I was a year behind due to the move from California to New Mexico. I won't get into that now, since it is not germaine to this story. It was during this time that I saw, and called the number for Bethel Ministries (what is now known as Free Minds). I went to Christian Book Stores and bought all the anti-WT$ books I could find. It was that summer that the Trinity brochure came out. It was this book that changed my mind again. After reading it I determined that regardless of the past of the WT$, they are right on the Trinity, and I figured stick it out, and the rest of the stuff was junk. It was during this time I realized how good it was to be free in a large city. I determined in my heart that once I finished school I would move back to L.A. and just fade away. I got this attitude from a friend of my dad's. I lived with him while I was in L.A. that summer. He never attended meetings, just the Memorial & the District Convention. He frequented Las Vegas frequently. I went with him, and he taught me poker, blackjack & horse racing. He smoked cigars, and cussed. I could do as I wished, and it never got back to my parents. I stayed out all night, I went to night clubs, I indulged in freedom. It was great
However, my current course of drinking, drugs & gambling was leading to self-destruction. That chapter soon.
cool, Dr. Martin was amazing wasn't he? I learned so much from listening to him also in the beginning of my exit out of the org.
you are a talented writer. I can't wait to hear the rest of your story....