My believing mother, with whom I've recently reconnected after twenty years, and I had a mostly pleasant conversation this weekend. I had planned to visit one of these weekends before the weather gets rough and she called to warn me away this weekend - a vicious storm was coming through.
She mentioned that my UBER-DUB sister and her family would also be there. I carefully and calmly explained that being there at the same time would Not Be A Very Good Thing. This is the sister who briefly friended me on Facebook and then melted down when I posted a highlighted Watchtower article on shunning along with some rather tart commentary by me casting aspersions on the practice.
"Well, I guess they* hope that people will come back to Jehovah's love," my mother offered. I mentioned that quite a bit of shunning is based on rumors and illustrated the point that my UBER-DUB sister believed I was cast out of the congregation for fornication (untrue). And then I said, "I am not trying to debate you on this and we'll move on. Iiiii'm not saying anything more."
But of course, once you get a Witness talking about The Truth(tm), the cult mindset kicks in and nothing else matters. My mother spent the next ten minutes lamenting the fact that the congregation is mostly elderly and shrinking. They're down to 30 people now. "But," she added brightly, "we just had So-and-so's son baptized. He's ten or twelve."
"Mom," I said, "do you really think a child is able to dedicate his life to Jehovah at ten or twelve?" I asked, possibly a bit too incredulously.
"Iiiii'm not going to say more," I finally stammered, "I do not want to lose my family again, but...good God, Mom."
Thankfully, we disengaged from the topic and managed to reschedule my visit this fall. I've got a care package set up for her and ready to go. My heart says lead a life of quiet example. Don't push this.
But I think we both saw the elephant in the room at last. And it winked at us.
* Curious pronoun choice here, now that I think about it. She didn't say "we". Interesting!