Reason Number 3 – Should this happen in God’s Chosen Organisation?
My previous 3 posts dealing with this subject have discussed some incidents that played an important part in my waking up to the fact that I was part of a high control cult ,called by its members “The Truth”.
These events were not entirely responsible for my exit, but they added to a portfolio of doubts that I had subconsciously filed away in the “wait on Jehovah” drawer. Doubts such as, 7000 years of human existence, a worldwide flood, the legitimacy of a 150 year old religion, the killing of everyone except JW’s at Armageddon and changes in policies and dates.
It’s interesting that when a list of the concerns is written down on piece of paper it is very condemning. It’s amazing I didn’t see the fallacy of my belief system sooner. But I theorise that the subconscious part of the brain seems to be able to allow you to believe what you want to, it segregates everything and prevents connections being made. That is until the conscious part starts ringing the alarm bells. Suddenly everything connects and the light turns on. You may not like your conclusions, because they force you to make a choice. Either ignore what you have learned, file everything back the way it was and continue to live how you were. Or dwell on the connections, ask questions and allow the security of what you previously believed in to crumble away. High control groups are very good at making you take the option of ignoring the evidence, they use tools such as guilt, fear and social stigmatism. The events I am now going to described rang the alarm bells for me. Others involved, saw the same evidence as me, but they just added it to the “wait on Jehovah” file.
Like my previous accounts, there’s nothing here that will rock the world and bring the witnesses down, but hopefully active JW’s and “lurkers” will relate to or recognise similar situations in their lives and start to make connections and ask question for themselves.
Wobble made a comment on part 3, that this is probably quite cathartic for me, and he’s quite right, it is. In fact it is probably self indulgent, but I make no apology, even if doesn’t help or even interest anyone else, I don’t care – it is helping me, and for me that is what this forum is about.
Most people who know me don’t know that I have self esteem issues and cope poorly with too much pressure. I believe these issues stem from my Mother’s neurosis and the undermining of confidence that comes from trying to meet the impossible high standards imposed by WTS.
The result of this lack of confidence has been that during periods of change I can hit the self destruct button. One example of this was when my daughter was born, I suddenly could no longer cope with working for an organisation where I felt I owed them, and they were expecting too much in return. After 12 years working for the same company I changed direction completely and eventually started my own business where I could be in control of everything from my working day to the type of work I took on.
The downside of working for myself, is I don’t always know where the next project is going to come from and I am vulnerable to economic downturns. At the end of 2008 I could see 2009 was potentially a very difficult year and the first last quarter was going to be extremely tough since the contract work I was doing came to an end in October.
The last thing I needed at this time was additional stress. In order to make ends meet I was travelling a great deal on business and I was missing quite a few meetings. This resulted in me being criticised by the COBE (Bro. Slimeball). Brother Slimeball did not like me because I was not a member of his family or close friend and I didn’t always agree with him (in fact I nearly always disagreed with him). He also felt I had previously conspired against his best friend (Bro.Lapdog ) when I relinquished the Service Overseer role.
Bro. Lapdog wanted a role on the service committee so that Slimeball and lapdog could rule the congregation with an iron fist, and SO was ideal for him. Unfortunately his wife has a reputation as a trouble maker and the CO blocked Lapdog’s appointment on the grounds that she would spend more time upsetting rather upbuilding the groups. Both Bro. Slimeball and Bro. Lapdog knowing I had a good relationship with the CO assumed I had influenced him on this decision.
My missing some meetings gave Bro. Slimeball an opportunity to get his own back. During our last quarter elders meeting He got Bro. Lapdog to propose that I should be taken off the “Away Speaker list” since I was having problems getting to our meetings. He did this because he knew visiting other congregation to give public talks was the only thing that I really enjoyed doing as an Elder and because my friend Mike was the “Public talks coordinator” I got more than my fair share of away talks.
During the meeting when this proposal was made I robustly defended my position, and to my delight all the elders disagreed with Lapdog’s proposal and it was denied. Victory was mine!! The trouble was it made Slimeball even more determined to hassle me. Stress that I really didn’t need, especially as I was also landed with the 2009 memorial talk which would take place at the same time I would be working in London for very intense four week period of 14hr days. What happened when I was working in London, a week before the memorial talk , would be the absolute waking up for me, a blatant example of double standards and nepotism endorsed by the whole body of Elders and covered over by a bare faced lie.
I have always considered myself to be quite approachable, I try to be non-judgemental (although Part 3 shows that isn’t always the case) and I do my best to listen to people’s problems, and give honest, practical advice. These characteristics made me a popular choice for outpourings and “sound boarding” from congregation members. Whilst working in London I received a phone call from a Sister. Her daughter , Emily, was friends with Bro. Slimeball’s daughter, Tasha (an attractive and rather tarty, baptised 15 year old). Emily had an incriminating printout of a Facebook Wall conversation regarding Tasha and another Elders son in a neighbouring congregation. Emily was very sensitive to sexual misconduct, she had been abused when she was younger and felt that Tasha was being stupid especially as the boy she seeing was quite a few years older. She felt she was doing the Christian thing by reporting her friend.
Emily’s mother had spoken to Slimeball about this and he had demanded that she hand the evidence over. She was reluctant to do so because she didn’t trust Slimeball, she felt he would cover things up to protect his family, which she said she had seen happen before. When she expressed her unwillingness to Slimeball he got very angry with her, she didn’t know what to do and thus the phone-call to me. After establishing what the nature of the evidence was I suggested that she post the information in a sealed envelope through my letter box. I would take the train home that evening and look at the information.
I phoned Mike told him the situation and I that I would come over to his house we would open the envelope together and read the content to Bro. Slimeball over the phone. I did this for practical reasons. I wouldn’t be back till gone half past midnight, Mike lives 3 minutes down the road as opposed to Slimeball living 30 minutes away.I had to be up at 5 O’clock to get the train into London next day. Mike spoke to Slimeball, who told him this wasn’t acceptable we should no open it but pass it straight onto him. Mike pointed out that as long as it got to the body of elders Emily’s mother could use any route she wanted.
To be honest I knew a little of what was in the Facebook messages certainly none of the Detail. When Mike and I read it we discovered pretty much as full description of a night of passion in an elders house. Dave and I rang Slimeball read the content and waited for response. Absolute silence for about 30 seconds, followed by “its probably just a teenage girl’s fantasy”. I left the printout with Mike and said that the Boy’s father would need to know first thing in the morning, but as it was nearly 2 in the morning, better wait till he gets up.
I left the situation in the hands of the Mike, Slimeball and Father of the boy involved.
After the Sunday meeting there was an elders meeting to arrange a Judicial committee. The meeting was being chaired by Bro. Lapdog at Slimeball’s request since it was slimeball’s daughter involved. We were told there had been a confession and that it would be straight forward meeting. Mike suggested that I be on the committee since I was involved from the beginning and being the only elder with knowledge of facebook, I could do a thorough investigation. Mike was told by Lapdog there would be no investigation, there has been a confession and the result would probably be just restrictions (not quite the way things should be done). I wasn’t even allowed to put my hand up. The committee was chosen it comprised of Bro. Lapdog (chairman – best mate of slimeball), Bro. Really nice but dim (who always looks for the very best in absolutely everyone) and Bro. Remembers the days of the Congregation servant (who thinks Slimeball is god’s spokesman for the congregation).
I couldn’t believe it, a hand picked Judicial Committee. I was livid, but then it got worse. Bro Slimeball took over the chair and said
“we have another serious issue to discuss, a complete lack of judgement of one of our body. An elder in this body has deliberately coerced a sister to pass confidential information onto him for the purposes of discrediting another elders family”. This matter needs to be investigated and in the meantime I suggest we suspend Bro. Cantleave of his duties.”
WTF!!!!!!! I was being investigated?……..showed lack of jusdgement?............Duties suspended? Who did this guy think he was? What I did next was not the best move I could have done.
I stormed out of the meeting shouting “you nepotistic hypocrite” and slamming the door behind me. Of course 5 minutes after a Sunday meeting the hall was pretty full.
I will continue this in part V as it is now nearly half past midnight……………..