My 13 YO opened up to me about her memories of attending a memorial service

by nonjwspouse 8 Replies latest jw experiences

  • nonjwspouse

    She was only around five when she last attended. It was just when I began the "for real" investigation about the JW and Watchtower, previously believing the public face. I would agree to go with my husband so his Mother could show off her grandchild. She even attended a half day two different times at a convention, at her father's request when she was 3 and 4.

    For some reason my usually now reserved young-teen daughter decided to ask about the religion her father was born into, but does not currently practice. I am careful in how I describe. I am not painting a picture of bad people, but a dangerous organization. I do not mince words when they are needed, such as high control, the BITE method, and cult. I explained one of my biggest fears is loss of freedom, and the shunning that is practiced.

    I explained there are more than just religious organization that fit this model. I gave her "Twisted Scriptures" to read when she was younger, explaining how her PE teacher is related to the woman who wrote the book.

    Interestingly she recalled for me how she felt when attending the memorial. With great interest I listened as she relayed how she felt as soon as the service began , she felt like running out if there. She remembered how very odd it was that her Dad kept telling her, over and over, not to touch the bread and wine. ( She attends a Catholic Church and Catholic School) She remembers how exceedingly boring it all was. (That is something when a Catholic has mass sometimes over an hour and she isn't calling that exceedingly boring.)

    She also remember some feelings about the convention time when she was there, and they were not good feelings, but strange and wanting to get out of there.

    So even way back then as a small child she could feel the inappropriateness and negative vibe from the JW service.

    She asked if her dad was going to ever get baptized. I told her I can't know anything for sure, but I really don't think so at this point, though during that time he was planning to. She asked if I told him he couldn't. I told her no, but he does know how I feel about it, so in a way, maybe it did. I told her if he is depressed because of not pursuing it, that I will have to just live with baptism and not interfere. I made sure she knows that to hold someone else hostage emotionally is not fair or loving, no matter how good intentioned it is.

    My stress level went down a good bit knowing she has a grasp on the situation, and knowing the education I have been providing her these past few years about the dangers of high control groups has paid off. WHEW.

  • LisaRose

    Good for you for making this a learning experience for your daughter. You could have been very negative, but instead you let her express herself and think through her experience and let her come to terms with it. It could have been something toxic in her life, as things which are sensitive subjects are sometimes not talked about and become more damaging as a result.

    My daughter was raised in it and she still knew that something wasn't right.

  • days of future passed
    days of future passed

    Good for you also, on showing respect for your husband's possible baptism. People make decisions on all sorts of things that we may not agree on but things are far better if we recognize it's their choice and respect it. (something I'm a little behind on)

    My mother was a JW from when I was 5 and often showed disrespect for my father. She made her religion a point to feel superior over him and made us look down on him too. Not that he didn't have any faults. She never had to work an 8 hour day because of her worldly husband and enjoys all the benefits his lifelong hard work gives her. I'm regretful that now when we are out, his mind is going and it's very limited on how we can a deep conversation with him.

  • nonjwspouse

    Lisa, thank you for that.. It is so very difficult but it is also so very important to remember we have no control over anyone but ourselves. If we attempt emotional control we are no better than the borg we all despise.

    Integrity and respect is crucial in all relationships. All of them. I am glad my daughter is being guided correctly, at least I hope so. :-)

    Days, I am so sorry for the disrespect you saw as a a child. I fear sometimes I show this towards my husband for various reasons. I know it is crucial for a child not to see this, and for a married couple not to feel disrespect. it is easier said than done, unfortunately.

    I'm glad you are still trying to have those conversations with him. You never know when he is soaking in the words and really understanding them.

  • zeb

    " and negative vibe .." did the young lady give any details..?

  • Xanthippe

    Sound like a great conversation nonjwspouse! You showed her how to treat other people respectfully and what the basis of a great marriage is as well as getting her feelings on the religion.

  • nonjwspouse

    Zeb, she used those teen vague words, " creepy" and I don't know, I just really didn't like it and wanted to run out.She remembered the passing of the emblems clearly as being very uncomfortable.She also said the people acted weird. hmm. That fake love bombing was obvious to even her little self.

    Amazing that at such a young age she felt those things. It was not taught to her by me by any means. I was only just beginning to really research. I was the one to offer to go, and was happy her grandmother had her there to show her friends.

    She has also attended an Independent Baptist Church for her cousins baptism. It happened to be "Homecoming " weekend. This means the services are super long, hours. This church is also a cult type church. Lots of BITE model going on there, all kinds of rules not to break, clothing type is dictated, shunning happens, and not associating with others ( except family evidently because they associate with us). That service was so wild, yelling and crying from the men preachers. I looked at her often to see how she was reacting. She just watched and occasionally began drawing sometimes on a notebook I had for her there. I asked her if that scared her, later when we were alone. She said not really, but sometimes the men startled her when they would suddenly begin yelling. She thought it strange and didn't have any need to go back, but she didn't feel like running out of there. She was about seven by that time.

    Xan thank you! I try my best. I go over conversations in my head until I get something that seems to fit the bill for when an opportunity arises. I don't always remember them at the opportune times, this one just happened to come to me. I was especially pleased that she opened up about her fathers religion. The power over people with the JW lies in the ignorance of the reality of the organization. For her that power is all but not there. Which was my goal to do that without being negative about her father. I had to come to the help of my child through education, and allowing her to conclude for herself. That way, regardless of what his family members might try, she has been inoculated with education. whew. whew. Years of planting seeds with her, and open discussion ( well talking on my part mostly) has finally paid off. The Scientology series was a fantastic sounding piece. We watched it together and had some discussion about that.

  • zeb

    Thanks for your reply. Was just wondering.

  • Xanthippe
    Xan - I had to come to the help of my child through education, and allowing her to conclude for herself. That way, regardless of what his family members might try, she has been inoculated with education. whew. whew. Years of planting seeds with her, and open discussion ( well talking on my part mostly) has finally paid off.

    Good job, you worked hard for the sake of your child.

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