Just stopping in again. There is so much information here I was up half the night trying to try to feel up to speed. So many changes, I last attended the KH back in the early 90's and even then I was only a teenager and one who tuned out most of the meetings so there is quite a bit that I don't know. I did find many things that I plan to share with my mom. I am also thankful that I don't have to deal with the deep seated guilt and pain that must come from completely believing in JW's teachings.
There definitely is a difference in being RAISED a JW as opposed to BEING a JW. For my mom, there is her own personal issues as well as the guilt that comes along due to her abuse towards us. I think the reason abuse is so easily conceiled is because it is so easily tolerated. As a young child, I if we were to fidget during a meeting I would get pinched, God forbid that I winced or made a movement after the pinch, because if I did I would be hauled to the restroom for one of many spankings. My mom wasn't the only one who spanked but she definitely led the charge. She would look down on anyone whose child wasn't a perfect little statue and she would make sure we sat in the very front rows so that our family was always on display. I have no idea why she felt we had to be the example of perfect JW children, it's not like my dad was even an elder. Maybe that is why, because everything was such shit underneath the surface, our behavior was the one thing she could control.
It got to the point that one kindly elder actually addressed the spanking situation during a talk and discouraged it because honestly it was so disruptive you could hear the spankings during the meeting. In hindsite maybe he wasn't being kind, most likely just covering their butts in case there was a complaint, but to me he was my hero. The worst part about the spankings was the looks that you would get from the other mothers as if you had just kicked a puppy or something. The constant spankings at church, belt beatings at home and belittling verbal abuse would have completely broken my spirit if I didn't have amazing grandparents that would let me stay with them many weekends and most of my summer vacation. It was the one thing that got me through it. Sometimes I wonder if they just became JW's so that my mom wouldn't have any objections with letting me stay such long periods of time with them. They (my grandparents) didn't often go to meetings, but they would have home bible studies at their house with a family who would bring their young children to play with me. My grandparents definitely made being a JW bearable during those times. Not all JW's are as extreme as my mom, but the fact that she could openly be abusive and not worry about being condemned but instead be admired for her actions definitely made the situation much worse than it might have been.
Well, I apologize for my rambling. Just so much to think about and hard to know what to do with it all.