I have actually been on this board for a few months and never really posted how I ended up here. Maybe it would be healthy,,
I was raised as a witness, my dad was an elder and my mom vacation pioneered, eventually she was an auxiliary pioneer, so witness activities were always going on. Our house was a hub of activity as I grew up, I had 3 younger sisters and we always had other witness kids over (never worldly kids). I didn't hate it, it was all I knew. Missing holiday's never bothered me, but I was good in school and I did want to go to college. Of course this was discouraged. I actually took summer courses and graduated 1 1/2 years early to become a regular pioneer. My first summer out of school was spent knocking on doors and seeing a brother from a neighboring congregation. He was much older than me and seemed nice enough. We were never alone, once. I actually kissed him the first time on the day he asked me to marry him. We got married 5 months later and I moved to a remote coal-mining town in Kentucky. Eventually we moved to Alabama and I continued to pioneer.
At first I didn't work at all, but I was really into fitness and started teaching aerobics. I got a great job at the University of Alabama teaching classes and that was my first experience making worldly "friends". The gal that befriended me was so nice, it didn't make any sense to me that she was going to die at Armageddon, so I witnesses to her a lot. (poor thing). After I got that job I started feeling a little independent, plus I was 21 years old. (growing up). Well, this didn't set well with my domineering 32-year-old husband and occasionally he would get physical with me, but mostly he tried to make me feel controlled. He had to know where I was every minute, unless I was in service.
I hated feeling controlled, by the organization, my parents, my husband, other people's expectations...Everything came to a head at once when a young girl in our hall was disfellowshipped. I was still pioneering , but inside I was so much rebelling. I made eye contact with her one night as she sat by her Mom on the back row. My stomach just felt sick. I told my husband when we got home from the meeting how I felt, and he slapped me. It totally woke me up. I laid in bed that night and decided I didn't want to do this anymore. When he left for work the next morning, I packed one suitcase and went 3 hours away to another town. My committee meeting was with elders in that town that I didn't know and the meeting lasted a little over an hour. Like most of you here, my life changed 7 days after that. I lost every childhood friend and most of my relatives, they all are serious shunners. My mom calls occasionally to wish me back into the organization...but that is about it.
I went to college in 1994 at UT and got a degree and now I live in the Pacific Northwest. Going to school was something I had wanted all along, now I make my own decisions. I now know why the organization discourages secondary education. College opened my eyes to a lot of things. Philosophy classes were profound to me. I totally loved school! I was the happiest when my sister left the organization a few years after I did. We live 3,000 miles apart but it's nice to have someone in my family that talks to me. I finally got married a couple of years ago, he is awesome. We have an equal relationship and he let's me be who I am and vice versa. This board is great because the one thing I don't openly share is my past...so I get to talk about it here. Whoever started this - thank you.