Being scared constantly is probably one of the strongest memories I have of childhood. Don't get me wrong, I have many good memories to think about, but there was always that undercurrent of dread, the fear of total destruction, millions of dead rotting corpses, persecution, not to mention the whole demon thing. I was scared shitless most of the time. I tell myself all the time; My son will not suffer the same.
Witness Kids - Scared silly by the WTBTS
In my post above, I did not intend to be "off key" or spiteful to Miss Peaches, or to anyone else. I'm sorry if my posting appeared that way.
There's one point that I forgot to mention and that is that the Witnesses tales of torture are really nothing but a variation on the old Christian martyrs stories. Without a doubt, there were indeed some Christians who suffered martyrdom for their faith; they died by the hand of people hostile to the Christian religion. However, as they exist in the popular imagination, these stories of Christian martyrs are exaggerated. For example, the Christian religion was never "illegal" uder the Roman Empire, as is imagined today. Before they built their churches, Christian met in private homes. The popular image ot them meeting in catacombs is largely a myth.
But the idea of martyrdom has always been - and still is - attractive to some people, especially members of the three "Abrahamic" religions: Judaism, Christianty, and Islam. Examples of martyrdom, and the attractions of martyrdom, are found in the histories of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. During the period of the Roman occupation of Palestine, there was a heavy focus on martyrdom in Jewish thought. Given that Christianity and Islam developed out of - and were responses to - Judaism, it's little wonder that they manifest a certain focus on martyrdom. In the minds of some Christian and Moslems, this focus becomes an obsession.
Jehovah's "Christian Witnesses," as they so fondly call themselves, are simply carrying on the tradition and imagining themselves to be at least potential Christian martyrs. By dscribing the tribulations of the "brothers" in Malawi, Wiitnesses are able to vicariously live the life of martyrs. Vicarious satisfaction is also a typically human trait. Parents especially experience satisfaction vacariously through the lives of their children. With a minimum of personal investment, Witnesses attain vacarious satisfaction in recounting tales of suffering and victimization. Is this a unhealthy attiude? Yes, it is, but it's a perspective with an old "pedigree."
i remember counting on my fingers how old I would be
when it would be 1975 and I would be tortured.
All I can say is that I had a deep intense fear of demons as a child. Every rumble, every light in the dark was a demon. I refused to sleep with the light offs - I HAD TO have a night light. And the idea of Armageddon, which never made total sense to me anyway, used to send me with a panic every time I thought about it. It took me a good three years to completely cease the "Armageddon" nightmares, I must have been about 21. Mind you, I was in college and was on my seventh psych course, and had spoken with a reknowned researcher that studied this type of behavior and I spent time with him. I wonder how someone who hasn't been able to get that type of help deals with changing their entire vision of the world, when their entire base/idea of life is based on such dogmatic ideology?
When people ask how is this belief system a cult, those are some of the reasons I think of; it's a type of psychological warfare/torture through fear and intimidation. I notice that even with exJWs, that sometimes they go through signs of anger, extreme bitterness, guilt, maladjustment to life in general, which I widely believe has to do with the withdrawal from such an atmosphere, especially if they have been in this since childhood.
I was concerned about this persecution business and needed to know more about what was going to happen. I decided to ask father about it all when we got home.
Looking at me gravely father explained. ‘Many of us would be tortured and killed. If you are captured and break down under torture you might give away the whereabouts of our Brothers and Sisters. You must be prepared to endure pain. Getting very cold going from door-to-door will help you to develop endurance, which will put you in good stead for The Great Tribulation. Holding out under torture will please Jehovah. If you pray hard enough and do as we tell you, he may protect you.’
Scary stuff. It was all a bit like The French Resistance but we were to be fighting invisible forces. ‘But what if I do breakdown under torture?’ I asked fearfully.
Father opened his Bible and read to me. ‘You will not be tested beyond what you can bear.’ ‘He that endures to the end is the one that will be saved.’ He showed me other verses confirming that The Great Tribulation was definitely on its way. It was all in the Bible so it must be true.
I can remember vividly during the late 60s and 70s how the meetings focused on the brutal treatment of witnesses in the concentration camps in Germany. Those A-holes loved to go into graphic detail about the abuses, beatings, rape, and starvation. Great confort for a pre-teen attending meetings. They then related this treatment to how were were going to be treated within the next few months during the GT.
They told us that we should be passive and accept the abuse because we are representing jerhoder.
To say I was frightened is an understatement.
I was old enough not to be scared but definitely became angry at the world for its overall cruelty according to Witness criteria. I remember writing all of those letters we were encouraged to send by headquarters in Brooklyn. Was Malawi true? Perhaps some aspects of it. On the Westcoast, congregations didn't focus on child abuse but religious persecution of adults.
What I was really scared of was the subject of sex! If you were a great looking kid back then it felt like prison being around some of the psycho's in a Witness environment! They completely tried to control every aspect of your personality. Heaven forbid if girls liked you! I laugh about it now, but back then I was quite scared, yes.
Yes I can relate too. There should be a law against it. I was told at 5 years old that I was going to die at armageddon because I was still talking to my DF'd brother. My father wasn't a JW was going to die at armageddon as well. Well this of course would make you closer to your physco/drunk mother because she is the only one who is going to live forever in your family.
I think the JW are run by a group of bastards!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I didn't want to have children when I got married because I remember the stories of the woman who was being persucuted. JW were banned in her country and the police man held her baby over the bridge. He said if she didn't tell him where the witnesses were meeting that he would toss her baby over the bridge. She didn't tell him and he tossed the baby. thankfully there was someone down below the bridge that caught the baby.
Now today I'm sure that story isn't true but then I thought it was. So I figured if I didn't have children I would never be in that situation. Because I knew that I didn't trust god that much to save my baby. I would have told the policeman the location and given him directions.
They tell you that you have to love god even more than your own child. That's not normal. Now I know it's normal to feel like you will fight to your own death for your children.
Thanks for sharing all your stories... I could relate so much! Trevor's story really hit home, when I spoke to mum about it she pretty much said exactly the same thing word for word and of course showing me scripture. 'Beyond what you can bear' - what the f... does that mean?
I was by no means upset by Rapunzel's response. The beauty of a discussion forum is being able to be honest about our thoughts and opinions. And whilst I understand where you are coming from, and agree that the JW's are not alone in doing this, as a small child you don't make those rational thoughts. The stories that are gruesome, like the ones you mention, i knew were fiction - worse written by wordly people. LOL. It was easy to take those with a grain of salt.
I have a dream, that more people will find this forum and read all the stories of manipulation and the hurt caused and it will open their eyes about 'the truth'!
what really blew my mind is hearing all these stories growing up, yet when Schindlers List came out our
PO continually stated that this movie was not for christians.
i mentioned that many brothers and sisters had to endure things shown in this movie, and even in the WT magazines there are some
pretty graphic descriptions of torture on the witnesses.
Nope, Schindlers list is not a good movie,
ever since that day I began to realize what a crock of garbage we were being told by the Po and his associates.