My Story

by XJW4EVR 86 Replies latest jw experiences


    The night that I became a Christian was August 29, 1991. That night changed my life. I walked out of the service free. Free of all the guilt, free of all the self-loathing, and free of the WT$. I knew that I would never be the same. I came home and my wife remarked that there was something different about me. I didn't say a word about where I had been. The following Sunday, she was going to the circuit assembly. I told her that I was not going to go because I had something to take care of (I went Saturday, and hated it). She left early, and after she left, I got dressed and went to my first church service.

    I had thought that the church that hosted the crusade, was located in the church building that the crusade was held in. I parked in the lot, and began to walk towards that building when the Associate Pastor (Mario) saw me, and directed my to the right building. I walked in and it was a gym, and it smelled of sweat & super flowery deodorizer. The chairs were second hand, and there was four long pieces of carpet. Three on the aisles, and one in front of the stage. I sat down, and Mario brought a few of the guys over to meet me. It was quite pleasant. I sat down, and waited for the service to start.

    The worship team got up, and they prayed. This was not any ordinary prayer. I had never heard anyone pray to God like that. The young lady prayed to God like she really knew Him. Then came the singing. I was expecting one song and sit down, but they sang about 7 different songs for about 30-40 minutes. People lifted their hands. Others began to cry. It was a very exhilarating time. I was in awe that these people showed an intensity of love for God in such an unashamed manner.

    Then Mario walked on the stage and asked for those with needs to raise their hands, and he also mentioned some pressing needs. Again what stunned me was the prayer’s familiarity with God, and the expectation that God would perform a miracle in the lives of the people. He didn’t ask for “God’s will to be done.” He quoted scripture, and asked God to hold to His word. I had never heard a prayer like that before.

    He then went on with the service. This entailed asking for first-time visitors, and I raised my hand. A bunch of people came around and shook my hand, but I didn’t feel “love bombed.” He then announced that the church was having a lunch for the new people. He said that it was a time to get to know the Pastor and the rest of the leadership. I thought to myself that this was unique. As a J-Dub, I never saw people really go out of their way to make people feel welcome.

    Then the Pastor was introduced, and up came this short little Mexican guy, and he spoke about the history of the movement (Victory Outreach), and it’s mission in the community (to minister to the gang member, drug addict, prostitute (male & female) and the utter dregs of society. He taught out of Isaiah 43: 2,3, a verse that referred to Cyrus the Great, but that had been given to this movement’s founder as a promise for what type of people God wanted him to reach.

    When the service ended, Mario brought me up to meet the Pastor (Arnie), and I was impressed by the humility mixed with confidence. Being a Dub, I was very wary of any “man of the cloth.” I was taught that they only wanted your money, and had no interest in you. Unlike the J-Dubs, which are only interested in your time and not you.

    He then explained that most of the people at the church came out of gangs, drugs, or prostitution, and that they were the “treasures out of darkness” he had spoken about in Isaiah. We then walked across and ate lunch. I have never been more impressed with the humility and simplicity of people. On that day I knew that I had found a new home.

    More to come.

  • JAVA

    xjw4evr -- I checked back to read more of your story, and look forward to "More to come." :)

  • OpenFireGlass

    Hi EXJW4EVR, I know we don't see eye to eye on some subjects...

    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.

    I guess this is one of the quotes that make us unique individuals... For me it was so clear, I didn't care where I went as long as I didn't have to live at home...

    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, 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.

    and yet another reason I can't see eye to eye with you is case, even though I did drink and do other drugs besides cannabis, I never resorted to stealing.... I also had not read any apostate material until about the year 2000...

    just wanted to drop in and comment on your "story" thread, and let you know that I have read it, and though we came out of simalar situation, that everyones experience is different in the end..

    Much Respect, MIke

  • OpenFireGlass

    BTW I can so relate to your "shool bus" experience... for me, I wasn't so much afraid of the bully, I was more afraid of the ass whoopin' my dad would have given me for bringing reproach on jehovah..

    PEACE, Mike

  • Sparkplug
    Wes Cheatham.

    LMAO...I went out in "service: with him all the time! What a small world. He was in the congregation in Corrales NM when I got baptized Or very close to that time.

    Oh and I just went to the congregation call thread and saw that you were in Taos the same time that my sister was there and her exhusband was an elder I think. Her name is Annie, his was Tim. How absolutely funny. If you know the clan you pm'ed me about, then you know my brother also..


    It has been over a year since I have written on this subject. The reason for the delay is that this portion will deal with a very traumatic time in my life. It deals with the death of my mother, and the absolute resolution I had to never go back to the J-Dubs regardless of the circumstances. I had begun my fade, and was even attending a church during this time. The word had gotten back to my parents of what was going on with me, but they had not shunned me. I had gotten the obligatory letter from my dad telling me how "disgusted" they (he meant himself) were in the path I had chosen. I had turned my back on "the Truth" and exchanged it for Babylon the Great, yadda, blah, etc. I kept that letter for a long time, and often would read it to reflect on the venom that it contained.

    ANyway, I spoke to my mother once a week on the phone. We went back and forth on the religion issue, but I never made it an issue. I did not evangelize them, because I knew that it would cause more heat than light. Though I prayed for both of them daily. I prayed that they would come across someone that would be able to show them the love, the true love of Christ. As time went by, my parents had arranged to go on a trip with my aunt, and other members of their (my old congregation) to visit Bethel. She called me and we talked for a bit on the Saturday before they left. We had a good chat. I told her that I loved her, and that I was proud to be her son. I asked if she was proud of me, and she said that other than the religious thing she was. She also said that she was sorry that I did not have the education I could have had, but that she knew that I understood why my father was the way he was about higher education. I told her that was fine. I had made it this far, and I would make without his help in the future. She told me she loved me, and we hung up. That was the last time I spoke with her.

    On Wednesday of the next week, I got a call from my dad. He couldn't speak, and handed the phone to my aunt. She told me that my mother had suffered a massive brain aneurysm, and was on life-support. The aneurysm happened on the bus the group was traveling on near the Arkansas-Tennessee border. They had my mother on a life support machine waiting for a neurologist from Vanderbilt University to examine her. My aunt told me that my dad had already made the decision to remove my mom from life support if the neurologist concurred with the Memphis doctors. I then made the decision that I regret to this day. I decided not to immediately fly out to Memphis, and say good bye to my mother.

    OK, I need to stop for awhile.

  • BFD

    I have not read your entire story yet, just this last installment. I just want to say that I am very sorry for your loss. It sounds like your mom was a beautiful person and I am sure you miss her very much. Don't beat yourself up too much.



  • jgnat

    ooooooooh. You missed your goodbye.

    Could you talk to her as if she were right beside you now, in heaven? If you knew she were listening, could you pour your heart out?

    You don't have to bare your soul on the board, but maybe a diary would help.

  • OnTheWayOut

    I opened this thread and decided to read from your story from the beginning. I am so glad
    that I didn't wait a year to get an installment. Don't wait a year to finish the story of your
    mother. Thanks for sharing.


    Thank you all for your kind words. They mean a lot to me. It's getting close to my birthday, and my mom would always call on my birthday. Of course it wasn't a "birthday call," but it was always meaningful, so I am feeling a bit blue this week. Couple that with the fact that the anniversary of my Mom's death is a couple of weeks aways, I am a cauldron of swirling emotions.


    My aunt called the next day, and let me know that the Vanderbilt neurologist (she was considered the leading expert in brain aneurysms in the south at the time) concurred with the opinion of the Memphis neurologists, and said that there was virtually no hope of her regaining consciousness. The blood vessel that ruptured did so much damage that only the machines were keeping her alive. My aunt, speaking for my father, who at the time just couldn't speak without losing control of his emotions, explained that they decided that it was best to remove her from the life support, but that they he wanted my input. Though I had differing views, I did not wnat to bring an uneccessary burden on to my father by being a dissenter on this issue, so I gave my approval to the decision. I asked that the telephone be laid by my mother's ear so that I could at least tell her goodbye and that I loved her, just on the off chance that she had some consciousness. I wanted her last thoughts to be that her son loved her and appreciated everything that she did for me. My aunt did so, and I said my peace. My aunt picked up the phone, and I asked to speak with my dad. I told him that I would handle everything, and that he should only be concerned about getting mom home for the funeral. He stated that he was going to cremate her, and bring the ashes back, and I agreed with him. That was what she would have wanted.

    Before I go on, I want to tell you a bit about my mom's final hours on this earth. The bus was filled with other Dubs, as they were going to Bethel. During the trip, the various Dubs were giving their experiences. It was my mom's turn. My aunt told me that she said, "Then I met Kenyon (My dad)." Took a deep breath, and passed out. Simple as that. The driver radioed for a police escort, and one of the passengers, who was a nurse began CPR. They got into Memphis, and made the final determination. If there is such a thing as a "happy death" I believe my mom had one. She had always wanted to go to Bethel. Though she was in New York City for the last big International convention in 1958, she never got to go to Bethel. So she was accomplishing a huge dream in her life. That, and her last words were about the love of her life, my dad. I honestly believe she died happy.

    Back to the story. The next few days after my mom's death are a blur. I began calling everyone I could think of that knew my parents. Money and food began pouring in. Not from the Dubs, but from my church family. And I am not talking about $20s. I got $100 handshakes. Checks for hundreds in the mail. All told I recieved nearly $2,000 from my church family. These are not rich people. Most of them were drug addicts, gang members and prostitutes in their prior lives. Most have large families, but they gave. I had enough money to fly back to New Mexico. My then wife, was going to travel back with her parents in their camper. I got to New Mexico two days before my dad, and I spent those two days making sure that everying at the Hall was prepared for her memorial service. I went to the various members of the business community that my dad had dealt with and informed them of her death, and when the memorial service was to be. I went to the Chief of Police, who my was studying with, and asked if the police department could lend a hand in traffic control. I spoke with a Dub that owned a hotel and motel, and asked for discounted rates for the people that would be coming in from out of town and state. He complied. Needless to say, both of his hotels were packed out two weeks later, for mom's memorial.

    All except my mom's oldest brother, and his children came for the funeral. They had just buried my aunt who finally succombed to a long bout with breast cancer. They simply no longer had the emotional strength to go through another memorial. It was understandable. It was during this week, that I gained the resolve to never go back to the J-Dubs. I had gone to New Mexico, with mixed emotions. I felt that my actions of fading and becoming a member of another church had placed undue strain on my mom, and that this caused the aneurysm. I spoke with her doctor about it, and he said that was not the case. These things just happen, and that there was no way of knowing. I still questioned God. I was, I was PISSED OFF at God! I remember driving to various secluded spots to pray and ask God for strength and understanding. I was at the end of my rope, and I was in the middle of a second crisis of faith. I was teetering on the edge of going back to the Dubs, in spite of all the prayers, and support I recieved from my church family, I was drawn back to the familiar of the Dubs. I had decided at that point to leave my church and go back to the Dubs. Then something happened. Something that made me see them, the Dubs and my Dub family for what they are. People that only care about appearances, and could not care less about the emotional traume a person is going through.

    I had been gone a good portion of the day, and during my time away, two of my Dub uncles (Chuck & George) arrived with their tribes. It seems that my dad (at a prior time) had spoken to one of my uncles (Chuck & the only other elder in my mom's family) about the situation I was in, and he took it upon himself to talk to my other uncle (George, who is a joke) about me, and the two of them decided that they wanted to confront me about my fade and church membership. I pulled into the driveway, and walked into my dad's house, and started to make me sommer dinner, when the two of them came in and wanted to talk about things. I supposed thay wanted to talk about the memorial arrangements, so I got my notebook with everything, and sat at the dining room table with them and began to explain the memorial. "No," Chuck said, "that was not what we want to talk about." They wanted to talk about my new religion. The memorial would take care of itself, besides, he said, "Your mother is dead, and the service is not going to benefit her at all." It was at that point that something sprung inside my soul. I stood up, and looked Chuck dead in the eye, and said, "How dare you say something like that about your sister! That woman cared for you! She cared for your brats, and she cared for your b*tch of a wife, when her dad died, and you have the audacity to sit in her home and speak of her in that manner?!" What is more," I said, "how dare you think that you can talk to me like I am some ten year old kid that doesn't know $*&t from shoeshine." I then preceeded to really tell them off. They left the house shaken, but undeterred. They both came to me again after the memorial to do the same thing, and got a much more levelheaded response, but just as scathing response.

    Long and short of the story, is simple. We packed out my old Hall. We had to set up speakers outside for the over flow. The recieving line at the end of the service took nearly two hours to mill through. In looking at the guest book, we had over 500 people. My dad recieved about $750 from the dubs, and over $1500 from "worldy" business associates. mind you the Dubs outnumbered the "world"by 10 to 1, but outgave the Dubs by over 4.5 to 1 (including my church family, which I gave the remainder to my dad after I paid for my airfare). The giving did not stop their, when I got home, I had a check for $3,000 in mail mailbox. I had taken a one month leave of absense from work. One of my co-workers, was a member of my church, and told the leadership, and they came through with that to assist in paying my expenses. Now the Dubs had been out given by over 8 to 1. Something I later pointed out my my then wife, and my father.

    When everything was finally settled, and my dad was back to work, I flew home. My then wife, picked me up, and took me home. I spent the next ten days in bed, and the next six months in depression. I was totally exhausted. I felt I had to be strong for my dad, and for the family. I did not want anyone to see me grieve. I stuffed my emotions down the deepest and darkest hole in my soul. They finally caught up with me when I got home. I thought I had broke something, because I could not cry. I shut myself off from everyone. I did not want to have to be responsible again, and I acted in a rather irresponsible manner. I sank to the depths of destructive behavior that I will not detail here. Finally, my then wife, called my Pastor, and asked him to interviene in the path I was on. She knew I would have nothing to do with the Dubs, especially after I told her of my uncles' actions. She had tried to get me into counselling, but again I wouldn't have it. She had no other choice, if she wanted to change my self-destructive behaviour.

    The intervention was held, and I eventually got the counselling I so deperately needed. I moved with my life, and that is a story for another day.

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