many of you have asked about my story, so here it is. It's a bit long lol
So my mom was introduced to the JWs when I was 2 years old in Myrtle Beach by a sister named Ramona Mayo. She took to it instantly, her name is Rushell Bowling and I had a younger brother at the time as well. My mom was a single mother of 2 and had a rough life. I was born addicted to heroin and was having withdrawals if that tells you just how bad thing were (in the beginning) my middle name is Noel because while my mother was pregnant and in rehab a man named Leon convinced her to keep me, and Leon spelled backwards in Noel. (oh and I was also born on December 25th to make this whole JW thing even more ironic) So fast forward 2 years my mom became a JW and granted this is what she needed at the time. She had a bad relationship with her family and she needed help as a single mom.
She later met a brother from Loris named Jeff Bennie and they got married when I was 6. We moved to Spartanburg SC where I went to the Duncan kingdom hall and Spartanburg East. We ended up in Duncan permanently and when I was 14 my mother had another kid. I homeschooled thru high school and Aux pioneered, because that’s what you’re supposed to do right? My parents were somewhat strict, group gatherings that involved boys were frowned on so my interactions with young ones was limited because there were a lot of boys in our hall. Well when I turned 18 I started working in Greenville and this guy was showing me some attention. I was beyond flattered and soaked it up. I convinced I was in love with this guy! Who by the way was 22 years older than me!! How messed up is that. Other than talking to him I never “”sinned”” but when my parents freaked out I bolted to Myrtle Beach to live with my grandmother. I thought I was in soooo much trouble. (although now I realize, what I did wouldn’t have even needed a committee)
So here I am in Myrtle Beach at 18 living my life for the first time! I come across an old friend named Jeremy. His mom Lisa and my mother were Best friends in the Conway congregation so we kind of grew up together, and funny thing is I always had the biggest crush on him. We hit it off immediately, and it was so nice to have someone who was familiar with the witnesses. ( he never got baptized and his mother left the JWs several years prior.) We fell in love! It was like a fairy tale. I of course got disfellowshipped , and my parents and younger brothers one was 16 and the other was 4, had nothing to do with me. Also my grandmother Bonnie Bennie was suffering from breast cancer. So now I’m 20 and Jeremy and I have been together for 2 years now, my grandmother is dying and my brothers are now 18 and 6. My 6-year-old brother asked if Jehovah was going to kill me at Armageddon. I lost it crying. I missed him so much. So because of my family I decided to go back and get reinstated. This meant leaving the love of my life Jeremy. The day I moved we both were crying because we wanted to be together, but in order to be with my family I had to quit living in sin.
Once back in Spartanburg I started going to the meetings and I put my letter for reinstatement in 3 months later and it was accepted! I was so happy to talk to and see my friends and family again and my brothers! However I still loved Jeremy but because he wasn’t a witness I knew I could never be with him and have my family. I tried forgetting him, dated a couple brothers but didn’t work out. I then met someone named Clay Collins from the Ocean Side congregation in Myrtle Beach. He had a past like mine so we understood what the world was like and being out of the organization. We ended up getting married in 8 months. BUT I still loved Jeremy. I thought of Jeremy on my wedding day, but he wasn’t a witness so I had to forget about him. Clay and I didn’t have sex before marriage but we messed up and a year into our marriage things fell apart. I went to the elders to confess what we had done before our marriage and then Clay admits to watching Porn. So here we are 1 year married and Clay gets disfellowshipped and I get a private reproof. That put a strain on the marriage and we separated. I went back to Spartanburg for 4 months, but we ended up back together. During our entire marriage of 9 years Jeremy would pop up every now and again because he still lived in Myrtle Beach. We met a few times for dinner to talk but that was it. I still loved him. My marriage was horrible. Well around our 4th year of marriage I decided to leave Clay again and go to Spartanburg. This time I was not moving back to myrtle beach because being to close to Jeremy was hard. And yes Clay knew about Jeremy and my struggles with him. A year after being separated Clay and his family followed me to Spartanburg, and things were good for a bit, at least I was convincing myself of that.
Fast forward to November 2018 Clay tried to kill himself and was admitted for a week. Our marriage had gone from bad to worse. He was very controlling, heres 2 examples of just how bad. 1: he tried to kill my dog. I was unpacking some boxes in the office of my stuff and he was worried I was throwing stuff away (hes a hoarder) I reassured him I was just going thu my things. Well he told me to stop or hed open the door and let my dog run out into traffic (which we lived on a busy road) I didn’t believe him but sure enough that’s exactly what he did and once I ran after my dog he locked himself in the office. Example 2: He loves having a smart home so he bought some wifi controlled light bulbs that you control from your phone. I read at night so I use my lamp a lot, but I kept turning it on and off from the lamp knob. Now when you turn the lamp off it turns off the smart bulb so you cant control it from the app on your phone. Well Clay decided to take the knobs off my lamp forcing me to use the app which I didn’t want in the first place. Or I had to ask him every time to turn my lamp on. These are just 2 examples of how my life was. OH! He once tried to walk home from the kingdom hall in the rain in a suite! Made it 2 miles.
After his attempted suicide I was done. Nothing is worth him or I trying to kill ourselves. I asked for a divorce. He was shocked. My family was supportive though. They knew he was crazy and emotionally abusive. However, at the time I thought the only true way to get a divorce was to sin because we didn’t have grounds. So needless to say I reached out to Jeremy and told him everything. We met up and fell right back in love. I got disfellowshipped of course and am currently going thru a divorce. At first I was going to try be PIMO and come back and get reinstated but I just couldn’t live the double life anymore even for my family. So I finally told them I’m not coming back or going to try and get reinstated. Of course this upset them very much and yet again I am now shunned. My brother whos now 28 is POMO so we are getting reacquainted, he left several years ago. My other brother though who is 16 yet again im no longer allowed to associate with. Broke my heart but I couldn’t live the double life anymore.
After writing all this I realize just how screwed up my life was/is and it may never be normal. I missed out on so much and lost so much family because I was told they were bad association. Im trying to connect with them but I’m finding it difficult. I know things will get easier and maybe one day my parents will see the real truth about the organization. So that’s my story!