Paradise Lost

by Perry 20 Replies latest jw friends

  • Perry

    Thinking back to my most earliest of memories, I remember the wonderment of life. I can still smell the pugnent floral breezes and experience being mesmerized into hypnosis watching the white linen sheets dance to an unheard accompaniment on the clothes line. Mother seemed like a god to me the way she hung that laundry so effortlessly and happily. The cool grasses beneath my naked arms and legs tantalized my senses as I watched eagles soar on the early summer convections of rising thermals.

    Admidst the beauty of a budding canopy of pecan and oak trees, I felt the full impact and enormity of the gift of life and promised myself that I would do everthing in my power to feel like I did at that moment forever. I was not yet five years old and it seems like yesterday.

    Whether it was that day or another one, I do not recall. But it was in that state of mind of total appreciation and ectasy that I had my first bible study. Mom took a seat with me on the ground and we started to study the Paradise book. My reality was soon shattered. I learned about hatred. I learned about murder..... murder of little children like me. I learned about fear and revenge. Of course mother was a gem and did her best to save me from being destroyed.... she only wanted the best for me. She told me how to avoid such a fate. I loved my mother but my fear of the terrible scenes and pictures in the book were greater. They bothered me a great deal. They still do to this very day.

    On that day I ceased existing as a human being and became a human doing. That wonderful and magical state of being was usurped and replaced with a state of perpetual doing....doings meant to avoid such a terrible fate as the children in the Paradise book.

    Over the Christmas holidays recently, I reflected on my good fortune of being introduced to such a world view. I decided to pull out that old Paradise book and simply catagorize the nature of the illustrations. I certainly couldn't read at age 4 (this was before phonics friends), so I read through the pictures.

    Here's what I found.

    Murder ........................... 32 images showing hundreds of killings, many of children

    Violence ........................ 2

    Paradise ........................ 10

    Witnessing .................... 4

    Bible ............................. 4

    Misc. ............................ 14

    Sin ................................ 5

    Sadness ....................... 1

    Political Domination ........ 1

    Fear ............................... 2

    Betrayal ......................... 2

    Prayer ............................ 1

    Christ ............................. 5

    One image stuck with me above all others..... all through these years. It was one where the earth opened up and swallowed dozens of people. One of the people falling to their death was a little girl about the same age as I was at the time. She was holding her little doll who was falling down with her to her death. Her little puppy also didn't make it, he was falling too.

    Fully fifty percent of the images were terribly destructive for a young developing mind. No wonder my feelings of security soon vanished. Looking back, I feel like I had been raped. A childhood that was meant to be experienced as peaceably and secure as possible was stolen by a bunch of greedy religionists who never even had children of their own.

    What the hell were they thinking?

  • Shutterbug

    All religions use fear tactics, and the WTBTS is no different, but trying to scare children is deplorable.

  • Dawn


    I know EXACTLY what you mean! There was an older book for children - I think it was yellow cover if I recall (this would have been 30+ years ago) and the pictures in there scared me to death.

    My parents gave my daughter (then about 3) the "My Book of Bible Stories" - they were a little upset when I gave it back to them. Of course they used the excuse that it's just stories about the bible. I pointed out the terrible violence depicted in the pictures and told them that no little child needs to be exposed to that kind of fear of God. I went to the bible book store and found a wonderful little bible story book for toddlers - then I showed it to them and pointed out how positive those stories and pictures were - much more age appropriate. To my suprise they agreed with me.

    I did not get out soon enough to spare my older child from that fear - although he is now almost 17 and no longer goes to meetings or wants to be a JW he still has the fear of Armageddon and death. My little girl will never have to experience that.

  • Mary

    Yep I remember that picture in the Paradise book too, but the one I remember most is the one showing a man's foot stomping on the head of a snake with the caption "He will bruise you in head and you will bruise Him in the heal."

    That picture, coupled with the prophetic "I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed" made me think that that's why we all hate snakes and that snakes are all Satan in disguise.

    (yes they are!!!)

  • Brummie

    Great- yet sad- post perry, great style in writing too!

    32 images showing hundreds of killings, many of children

    That just about says it one other organisation that has unleashed such horrifying pictures into the minds of kids through their literature. I can think of none

    Thanks for sharing


  • calamityjane

    Excellant Post Perry. Are you a professional writer? If not you should be.

    Paradise Lost is the book my mother used to teach me to read, and at age 5 I was reading to her everyday.

    I recall that picture. Unfortunately I discarded most of the publications years ago. I am not sure if this is the same picture , but I remember buildings toppling, and people raising their arms to protect themselves, and yes the ground opening up and people plummeting to their deaths. These pictures stay with you your whole life I think. When 9/11 occured, and I saw the events on TV, that picture, instantly came to mind. Yes, what a way to instill obedience to a cause, then to scare you into submission.

    My wife when she was a child, age 5-6, had nightmares over that picture, and others, including the heel and the serpant. She woke up on many a night, crying, dreaming her bed was being overrun with snakes, afraid she was going to perish at Armageddon. Why ? Her parents had stopped going to the KH over personality conflicts in the congregation. She pleaded with her parents to go back to the KH so she would not die at Armegedon. Unfortunately for them, they relented. Fortunately for me, my wife is out, but her parents continue to be chained to the treadmill, running the race, that can never end.

    The WTBTS alway bragged, that they never preached eternal hellfire. I suppose the thoughts and images that the pictures in Paradise Lost conjured were from a kindler and gentler god !


    xjw_b12 & calamityjane

  • Brummie

    xjw_b12 & calamityjane I have read your introduction posts and still forgot to say helloooooooooooo & welcome. You have great stories and glad to see your wife finally joined this den of addiction lol. She's well and truly hooked....good! cus you both make great posts.

    BTW your bang on, those images are installed in us from an early age, and they bring nothing but destruction onto a young mind, how they have the audacity to call their literature "Food at the right time" is beyond me. Who needs that sort of food when it give such bad indigestion all through the night.


  • Perry

    Thanks for the comments everyone. And, welcome to the board calamityjane. All I can say is I'm so glad that their phobia tactics didn't work on you nice folks. I would still like to have that little childish innocence back though. Funny thing is, now that I am free of the burden, I occassionally get that feeling back from time to time.



    Edited by - Perry on 18 January 2003 4:30:11

  • La Capra
    La Capra

    I was right in between the Paradise book (Dry Tang colored as I recall) and My Book of Bible Stories (Suspiciously the same gold color as the vinyl upholstery on the Kingdom Hall seats). I couldn't quite read when I was regularly handed the Paradise Book. But I understood the pictures. My mother was a kindergarten teacher and she held it to be perfectly appropriate for her 3 year old child to view the graphics. I have no clue what she was thinking. I regularly awoke in the night from nightmares of armageddons, holocausts, war, death and destruction. I felt guilty for those nightmares-as though if I had been a good enough little girl I wouldn't have to worry about that kind of end. I could never tell my mom what they were about. When she asked, I wouldn't answer and then whenever she would name something, I would just say that was what it was.

    Then when I was 10, My Book of Bible Stories was released (international convention, Candlestick Park $2.50 "donation"). By that time my reading was well beyond the text and I found it tremendously condescending. But I did use it not to pay attention at meetings and assemblies. Interestingly, a few weeks ago, while at my parents, I went in search of one. I wanted to have one again to remind myself of my younger ideas of G-d and such. I searched everywhere one might be in the house. I couldn't find a single one. I was dumbfounded. I have two young nieces that spend a lot of time with my mom. I was surpised to see she didn't keep one around for them. But after reading these posts, maybe my mom figured it out that some of the images really are too violent for kids.

    I can't wait til the next time I am there, I am going in search of the Paradise Book too. Would not surprise me at all if that one is AWOL too.


  • refiners fire
    refiners fire

    Hey brother perry if you got a scanner, put up that picture from the paradise book of those buildings falling in to the street and all the screaming people about to die. I never forgot that image. Its a shocker.

  • onacruse

    Perry, that was just an incredible post. I've never paused to think about this. But, now that I do, it reminds me of how the WTS always harped on how bad worldly entertainment is because of all the negative and spiritually downgrading content. And here they're putting exactly the same stuff into the minds of their own followers. Classic hypocrisy.



  • Gizmo

    I never really realised before the impression these sorts of pics have on a child, not being a parent myself, it must take away the innocence far too early. It's so subliminal, and so carefully orchestrated.

    Like the song goes: You've got to be taught, before it's too late, before you are 6, or 7, or 8, to hate all the things your relatives hate, you've got to be carefully taught, you've got to be carefully taught!

    *** From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained (book) 1958 pp.208-209 *** From Jehovahs witnesses quotes site.

    Hate MONGERS! Thanks for spoiling my childhood WTS!

  • refiners fire
    refiners fire

    Giz. Youre the best.

    I havent seen those pictures in a long time. Gawd almighty......

  • freedom96

    Wow!! That was very strange looking at all those pictures. Flashback to some memories I really didn't think I wanted to look back on.

    Some of those pictures are so long ago, but amazingly still vivid in my mind. I recall them exactly. How scary is that? When you really think about it, those pictures are horrible. I must have been in grade school when I saw those.

  • Gizmo

    That was the first book I ever studied, I now know exposure to the above as a child has only had a disastrous affect on how I have viewed life.

    Children need positive pictures of life, HOPE, LOVE, GOODNESS, Not Violence, hatred, and fear as the above pics so vividly depict.

    The real world is sometimes bad enough and as a child we need to remain innocent and have Joy not exposed to manipulative pics as the above, why did we have to grow up so quickly. Look at that little girl in the hole with a puppy, No wonder I was a miserable Child and have turned into a miserable adult.

    This has brought back so many painful memories, that needed to be brought to the surface.

    I know my parents meant well, of that I have NO DOUBTS, it's not their fault, they were victims as much as any of us here.

    Thanks Perry

  • Perry

    Thanks Gizmo for scanning those. As bad as the pictures are, the text is even worse. After describing in detail the many different ways people will be murdered, the survivors (good little kids) have this to look forward to:

    "....the bodies will be like...fertilizer on the ground". p210. par. 29

    "To all surviving flesh, the dead bodies will be disqusting, hateful things. Worms will not stop swarming over the millions of bodies until the last body is eaten up". - p. 210 par. 31

    Can you imagine Jesus saying such things as he coddled the children in Israel? What a hateful, death oriented little cult we all used to belong to!

    Edited by - Perry on 18 January 2003 4:57:17

  • Perry

    BTW, is it just me or does the guy in the picture with the ground opening up look a little like Elvis with his famous hip gyrations? In 1958, he would have definitely been view as worthy of destruction.

  • iggy_the_fish


    Nope, it's not just you, you're dead right. That fellow is a lot like a young Elvis.


    Edited to add... You have to admire Elvis' professionalism here. He's falling into the fiery gehenna, but he's still performing! Now that's star quality!

    Edited by - iggy_the_fish on 18 January 2003 9:9:5

  • Gopher

    Perry, that does look like The KING! He looks "all shook up" in this picture (sorry).

    But of course Armageddon was to have happened in 1975, 2 years before Elvis' physical death. So he was SPIRITUALLY dead in 1975. HOWEVER, since he didn't survive alive until the PHYSICAL Armageddon, he obviously will be resurrected by God into the New Order to thrill millions of New Order women.

  • FreeFallin

    Excellent post, Perry.

    Truly chilling pictures, I never realized just how much they shaped my thinking.


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