What sort of EX JW Book do you like to read?
thanks MW. I hope it's to your liking. Many of the contributers are our very own forum members.
Okay, based on what I think is popular...and I will do illustrations too....
My Kingdom Hell
Well, hello there, friends, Romans and fellow country peeps! My name is Paul, but you can call me Paul – or Jacko. I get called that a lot. Well, when I say ‘a lot’, I mean occasionally. Er – when I say ‘occasionally’, I mean – well, you get the picture.
I just invited you here because I have stuff to tell you.
Where to start? To start, where? Start, where to? To where start?
Here goes –
I don’t remember when I was first aware that I was a JW. It must have been a terrible moment. Perhaps I’ve blanked it out of my mind because of the trauma. I had been taken to the meetings as a baby. Dragged out on the’ ministry’ every Saturday morning. I had gone to school tired on a Wednesday and Friday because I had to attend the long, gruelling and pointless meeting on the previous nights. I wasn’t a hypochondriac, but I longed to be ill enough to miss the meetings or ‘ministry’.
I’d grown up with this as a lifestyle. I grew up being shy and painfully quiet. I guess I still am. People can mistake this silence for ignorance or indifference. Actually, I’m just thinking about things and maybe haven’t formed an opinion. Or, I’m so out of my depth that to speak would show my stupidity. Better to be thought of as stupid, than speak and prove it, wouldn’t you say?
1960’s: The Kingdom Hall was damp. The moisture would run down the chocolate brown glossed walls. Dad would stop me from drawing, with my finger on the wall. The side of my jumper would get soaked if I leaned against the walls.
I would get extremely bored sitting on those brown metal framed canvas chairs. They creaked when I moved. 2 Hours of excruciating boredom. It was boredom beyond boredom. Long meetings of a damp torture.
It wasn’t long after the Second World War. There were some curmudgeonly ‘brothers’ attending. Some worked on the railway. They carried pocket watches and seemed to carry their intense time keeping into the Kingdom Hall. A couple of them claimed to be of the ‘anointed’. They said they were of a literal number of those chosen by Jehovah to be with him in heaven. It made me wonder why Jehovah had chosen 144,000 oddballs to be with him in heaven. He had strange taste in companions.
If a ‘brother’ on the platform, was going ‘overtime’ on his item, one of these delusionary bullies would stand up in the middle aisle. Then bully would make exaggerated movements as he reached into his waistcoat pocket and pull out his watch. ‘Click’, the cover would spring open from the watch face. The bully would continue to look at the watch and back at the speaker until he concluded his item and introduced, ‘Brother Bully with a stimulating item entitled, Jehovah loves you and will lovingly kill you if you don’t obey the rules.’
Geoffrey frightened me. He was a fully grown adult. To this day, I don’t know what he suffered from. He was hunched and rotund. His hair was shaved around the sides but spikey on top. He looked like an Eastern European gangster. He had an illness, so I’d never mock him. It was sad. He could only speak a few words. He would shout out and scream during the meetings.
His father had died. His mother was a woman that had looked old ever since I remember. She brought him to the Kingdom Hall and they sat at the front. Her elderly brother looked after them. He was a very kind man. He had hearing aids that would whistle during the meetings.
Most meetings Geoffrey would give out a blood curdling scream.
‘Aaaaheeeeeeeeee,’ he would scream. His mother would try to calm the poor tortured soul. Then his uncle’s hearing aid would start whistling. It was like feeding time in the chimp house at a zoo, when it all kicked off. It was much more interesting than sitting through the turgid ‘Watchtower™ study’.
I nearly wet myself with fear each time I heard it. It was truly scary. When I was a young boy, I was relieved when they didn’t come to the meetings. Looking back, I see their struggle and it makes me feel unhappy for them. A shadow crosses my heart as I think of the struggle they had to get to the Kingdom Hall in Clarence Road. I suppose it doesn’t matter now because they’re at peace. Just moss covered graves mark their passing.
Mind you, Armageddon was coming soon after we all got persecuted, so it would be all right. Jehovah was going to make everything better using his amazing magical powers. I was told it would be here by the end of 1975, maybe even sooner. Not long to wait before ‘opposers’ would be shoving bamboo shoots up my fingernails to break my faith. This was a faith I had no understanding of.
It must have arrived invisibly; I didn’t see it. That summer I brought a motorbike, snazzy clothes and some LP records of my choice. I didn’t get persecuted. Nobody cared.
Awesome! Wish I could write anywhere near as good as that. Then again, I think I smudged most memories of my childhood out with very strong beer.....
Thanks AWOL. We are all the carpenters tools
I really enjoy personal experiences and what makes people tick. After COC and other books covering doctrine, I'm good on all that. JWs are throwing darts at the wall and don't know anything... got it.
But stories from individuals.. their thoughts, feelings, insights, experiences, like that. Probably why xJW books are most appreciated by other xJWs.
I let a UU friend borrow CoC. A chapter or two into it she couldn't follow it and gave it back.
Some things you go through only others from the same war can understand.
Phaedra. I agree with you. Ours is not a unique experience but in the context of jws...we get it.
''But stories from individuals.. their thoughts, feelings, insights, experiences, like that. Probably why xJW books are most appreciated by other xJWs.''
Really great down to earth guy.
I like facts, quotes, nothing fraught with emotion or horror. I don't like scary movies and when I see the anger or fear mongering, I lose credulity. It's kind of a quirk. I'm gullible and i know my soft spots, and weakness. OTOH, humor and jokes and funny stories would amuse me in small doses. I can't abide exaggeration and that comes from coming out of a cult that tells the story they want us to hear. I don't give a crap about what you are trying to prove. Don't feed me crap and call it chocolate. I know how bad the org is, but I have seen flat out mis-statements, too. I know that JWs have live through horrific families that were JW. Too many are totally true and I can't bear a whole book of that.
That's my truth
Beth & JWDaughter - Thanks for the insights. It's a wide range of tastes in a niche market.
I have a few youtube vids as punkofnice on my Cyril Quatermass account. I'll be using some of those for inspiration.
To be honest Punk I am all read out of exJW literature. I read COC which woke me up and CCMC to help me wake up my family. But for me personally I like reading things that are completely far removed from JW life. Sorry to say that, but there are plenty of forum members that would read your books
Keep going strong with your projects