I joined a few weeks ago and have been adding my comments etc. When I first joined, I did say hello and say I was new and I have to just say I really appreciated your kind comments and you welcoming me to the site! I promised I would tell my story and so here goes: I hope this doesn't end up being too long winded!
I was born into the "truth" as my parents were studying when I was born. They were both baptised when I was 1 year old, therefore I knew nothing but the religeon. I have to say I had an extremely unhappy childhood as my Mom was extremely abusive and my Dad was always just trying to manage her so it was a very confusing time for me growing up. I was beat on a regular basis as it seemed to be their answer for everything (I just HATED the whole "use the rod" scripture as you have no idea what that meant to me). I have hardly any fond memories of growing up. It was just a blur of service, meetings, harsh and cruel discipline, feeling very ostrasized etc. I honestly am still coming to terms with it and can hardly speak of my childhood...so I will move on, thanks for your understanding!
One of my first teenage memories was a certain family study - I know that family study was supposed to be a time when families come together to discuss whatever matters pertain to the family and then go over the bookstudy for the week or watchtower, whatever (at least this is what was encouraged from the brothers giving the talks). However in my family it was used by my mom to nag us about what we were doing wrong and it was so degrading that it made the mood of the following study very bleak and discouraging. She would yell and scream and threaten us. I dreaded those family studies!! If we didn't show a certain level of enthusiasm and comment with insight and understanding she would go into one of her fits of yelling, rage and possibly worse. Anyhow, I was barely 12 years old when this particular study took place. It started with her attacking me saying, "you don't want to get baptised!". What? I hadn't really thought about it much to that point b/c I was just a kid and in no way was I ready. However, this wasn't going to be an easy discussion. She ranted and raved and the discussion deteriorated to the point where she and my dad actually said I would be kicked out of the house if I didn't take considering the step of baptism (and soon) very seriously. Well, nothing strikes fear into a kid than not having a place to live so voila, I suddenly determined I was ready to get baptised! My dad talked to the elders for me and they set up a meeting with me to go over the baptism questions. I was sincere and thought I was doing the right thing so obviously the elders seen this and they determined I was ready to be baptised. Honestly, in my heart of hearts, I knew I wasn't ready yet but I loved Jehovah and was very excited. The praise from my mom and dad didn't hurt either! I have to say this was one of my first moments of knowing things weren't right...couldn't Jehovah's holy spirit show the elders I was just a child and I wasn't ready for this? Apparently not.
Fast forward to my later teen years. My last year of high school. I was in a work experience program with my school and I was doing admin type work for a very prestigeous oil and gas company. When my term was almost over, I was approached by one of the executives at this company and told I should apply for a certain FULL time position which they would put a good word in for me and I would most likely get. I was sooo excited! I remember thinking on my break I should call my mom and tell her. I was so nervous though. Why? Well, I called her and told her what I was told by my superiors at work and how happy I was to be considered in this way. Whoa. Wrong thing to say!! She went crazy and said I was expected to regular pioneer after I graduated and I would be kicked out if I didn't. She yelled and screamed and threatened. I was 17 years old at the time. I didn't know what to do. There was a certain young brother in my cong. at the time that she always compared me to and again said I should be like him and pioneer like him, how dare I embarass the family etc. etc. etc. I got home that night and she had worked my dad into a frenzy in the mean time and he backed her up. Pioneer or I'm out. Hence, I started pioneering.
It was at this time I fell into a deep depression. I had obtained part time work and was pioneering. My whole life was work, service, personal study, service, service, service, service. I just couldn't take it any more. I was deeply, deeply depressed. I went to pioneer school and decided shortly after to just aux. pioneer. About this time I started to "stray" a little and began to make a few "worldly" friends at work etc. I started to see someone who wasn't a witness and we fooled around a little. We didn't ever sleep together but we were doing innapropriate things if you catch my drift...
I'm going to stop here and post more shortly...thanks for understanding.