This is my first post. I have been reading the forums for some time, but have not posted til now, as it brings painful memories.
My experience with the JW's began in 1967, when my mother was killed in a car crash, and my father married a JW six months later. We were a ''blended family''. For privacy reasons, I will call her ''Stepmonster". She had two girls, my Dad had three kids. Together they had a child.
My Dad was a Baptist, but had stopped going to church, and was an alcoholic. We lived in a very small Midwest town, with one Kingdom Hall, which was an old farmhouse. This was in the sixties. I was three years old when we were first taken there. Every Sunday. My memories are of sitting through the long meetings, and afterwards, being taken to the car and slapped in the face for some terrible wrong I had committed. It always came with the comment, ''You Little Witch''!
Stepmonsters kids never committed violations, but my sister and brother and I sure did. As time went on, things got worse, the beatings came, violations or no. At one point, I decided that I would get beaten, regardless of my behavior,so I really began acting out.
It would be many years before I could sleep soundly at night, as we were taught that demons inhabited our house. I had nightmares most every night. I was forbidden to have any contact with my Dad's side of the family, because they were ''worldly''.
The Kingdom Hall was attended by mostly poor, uneducated families, and was a very strict congregation. Our town was small, and everybody knew everybody elses business. My siblings and I were reported constantly to the elders for various reasons. Stepmonster rareley went out on service, drank at the american legion on weekends, and had periods of inactivity. She was never bothered by the elders, and if she was confronted, blamed it all on my father, and us kids.
At the age of 17, I had had all I could take and moved out. I never looked back. After the last of the kids moved out, stepmonster divorced my father, and married a JW. Looks like her weekend visits to the American Legion are over!
The family unit is totally gone. Her daughters go to the ''memorial'' once in a while, which is just enough to keep them on good terms with the hall. They're mother has little to do with them, and nothing to do with us. She called out of the blue last year, probobly to try to preach to me, but faded away when I mentioned we are Baptist.
She is a very manipulative woman, and most people who know her think she is of good character, if they only knew...
Most of the young people left the congregation as soon as they could, and I am happy for them. I know of one girl who stayed, and even though she wanted a family of her own very badly, has decided to delay having kids untill the ''new system''. She is now in her forties, and is a pioneer.
Another family became missionaries, and their son nearly died of malaria. They have not returned to the states.
My sister has had an on again, off again relationship with the JW over the years. But now is free and out for good. I am glad.
Well, thats my story, thanks for listening.