I have a relative who is now about 73 is a really cool, smart old guy a Paul Newman look alike who has led an interesting and successful life, traveled the world and raised a large family. He was raised as a Witness by his Mother whose husband left the family when she became a Witness. Many of his siblings and relatives have gone on to be Circuit Overseers, Gilead grads and Bethelites but he left the TRUTH when he was in his teens. He left home suddenly, barely made it through High School, did odd jobs, even lived in his car until getting drafted into the army and going off to fight in Korea.
He and his wife are a very good looking, well to do old couple, very modern and fun to be around. All through the years, because of the Witness thing, they and their kids have only been invited to major family events such as Weddings and funerals. He has taken under his wing, any of the witness relatives who have left the TRUTH and has included them in his family and helped them to make their way after they had been abandoned by theirs. After we left the TRUTH ourselves and the barriers came down, we have gotten to know him mucn better. One hot summer night, we were sitting out on their deck enjoying the evening just talking and getting to know them better. I made a comment to the Uncle about how well he had done for himself over the years.
Uncle: "Well....I guess I've done OK for a guy who never went to College"
Aunt: "You would have if it weren't for....." She stopped herself suddenly in mid sentence.
Uncle: "Now M....don't go into that"
Aunt: "Well, it's true...they said the world was going to end any day.... they didn't even want you to go to bother with High School"
Of course we knew immediately what she was talking about. We'd always sensed that the Aunt had a lot of resentment toward the Witnesses over how her husband was excluded by his family but she was always very gracious to everyone. We told them that we to had recently left the Organization ourselves and understood the whole "end of the world...don't get and education" mindset all to well. We told him about what finally made us leave and the impact it was having on us.
As the evening wore on, he told us something painful that he had up until that very moment, only revealed to his wife. You could still see the shame and embarasment on his face all these years later as he told the story. It turns out that back in 1953 when he was about 15, he was doing some odd jobs for a Sister in his Congregation. After he was finished working, the "sister" led him into the house where he thought he was going to be paid. Instead, as he put it, "she led me into her bedroom and taught me the facts of life" The woman was Married and had small children who were at home in another room.
Long story made short. He coldn't live with the guilt and embarasment over what he'd done. Being only a Boy, he took the responsibility for what happened upon himself instead of realizing that he was only a kid and the older woman was the one at fault. He carried the burden himself. He couldn't stand seeing her at the Hall sitting next to her husband and kids answering and giving talks as if nothing happened while he was being eaten alive with guilt. Because of the nature of what happened and because it was the 1950's he couldn't tell his mother who was struggling to make ends meet, or anyone else...this wasn't something people talked about back then, especially Witnesses. No one knew then and still don't know why he left home suddenly and went off to war. Can you imagine how it was for this young former Witness kid to find himself in Korea with a machine gun in his hand. Thankfully he made it through the war alive. Over the years He'd only set foot in a Kingdom Hall for a Neice or Nephews Wedding or for his Mother and Brothers funerals. None of the Witnesses relatives would attend his children's weddings at his wife's Church over the years which really hurt them. Of course we can't tell anyone about all this, he would still be terribly embarrased. He's of that generation that keeps thier burdens to themselves, but I hope I'm around to see the look on their all of their faces if this ever does come out someday.