The Thief of Always

by YinzerDad 31 Replies latest jw experiences

  • YinzerDad


    A brief precursor about myself. I've been lurking around for almost 2 years. I'm 31 and was a born-in, but unbaptized member. My parents were fairly gung-ho about anything Watchtower related and of my three older siblings, I have one sister that is still in and was, at one point, a baptized publisher and special pioneer. When faced with baptism after studying the "Knowledge" book, I realized that there was no backing out after I took the plunge, so... I simply elected to not do it. I went to college, partied and experienced quite a bit of freedom... that I was ultimately unprepared to deal with. Now I'm married and have a small child. We don't have anything to do with the Witnesses but I'm realizing there are quite a few residual problems starting to pop up that come along with growing up Dub...

    The Thief of Always

    When I was in 7th grade our English/Grammar teacher assigned the book "The Thief of Always" by Clive Barker (check out the Wiki article) to us for a reading assignment. The gist of the story is that a young man by the name of Harvey Swick realizes how unhappy he is in the world. Then, one day, a man named Rictus flies up to Harvey's bedroom window and introduces him to this wonderful place called the Holiday House. The Holiday House is a place of perpetual fun, a place with Christmas and Halloween every day... essentially a place where every childlike desire can be fulfilled. So, Harvey, being as gullible as a child can be, decides to follow Rictus to the Holiday House. Harvey steps through a mist like fog and, lo and behold, there it is. Everything Rictus promised. At the outset, Harvey had quite a bit of fun and even made some new friends. He ended up staying for about a month, really a blink of the eye in the big scheme of things. But after a while, the reality of the situation started to shine through to Harvey and he realized that Holiday House wasn't everything it was cracked up to be. Harvey realized that the House's creator, Mr. Hood, was actually imprisoning the children and sucking their souls away. So, Harvey decides (and actually manages) to escape. But once he gets back to the old world he realizes that his parents have aged drastically and he's basically missed out on his entire life...

    I won't spoil the ending, but... sound familiar?

    I'm Approaching 32 and in Group Therapy

    Well, there it is. I've been attending a group therapy session for the past 2 months because I have anxiety and depression I just can't shake. So, it's helpful for me to talk to others about it. In speaking with the therapist, I realized the crux of most of my issues stem from... you guessed it, being raised in a high-control religious setting. But, until last night, it didn't really hit home. Our therapy sessions usually have a theme. Last week, we took turns role-playing the therapist. This week, we were put on the spot and asked to sing a song (kind of like karaoke). The purpose is to make us uncomfortable as a means to get us to honestly assess our current situation. After one group member got up and sang, the discussion started. 'Why aren't you getting up and singing? When has this happened at other times in your life? When have you been too afraid to make a choice and missed out on an opportunity?' For many in the room, it wasn't an issue of missing out on an opportunity, but rather making decisions that didn't work out for the best. One person in particular made a series of poor decisions and is having a difficult time mentally recovering from the consequences. But he then offered to us a certain hobby that he does that gives him a great sense of passion. Something that, when he does it, he does well and he's in the zone. He has the proverbial fire in his belly.

    The therapist turned to me and asked "YinzerDad, what gives you this fire in your belly?" I broke down. 31 years old and I burst into tears in front of complete strangers. Because I've never been confronted with the reality into which my upbringing placed me. "I don't know. I don't have anything I'm passionate about... because growing up I was never afforded the opportunity to plan for this point in my life. I ride to work every day to cash a check. I'm not passionate about my job. I have no plans for my future."

    Because I was taught, from an early age that I wouldn't live in this world this long. I was promised a Holiday House (sans those pesky pagan holidays!) where everything is perfect. And it was great. Until I realized that not everything was as it seems. I found Mr. Hood and I didn't like how he treated people. So I left. But once I finally managed to break through the mist surrounding my own personal Holiday House, I realized that life was passing me by. And I didn't know how to cope with it. And I still don't know how, but I'm trying...

    The Thieves of Always?

    We talk a lot on this forum about how the WTBS mentally enslaves people by hijacking family relationships and hiding pedophile abuse. Which is all true and all very serious. But it also robs us of things we can't get back: time and imagination. I can reinvent my career right now if I choose. Gods willing I have 50 or 60 more years on this earth. But some people can't. Like those in their 70s or 80s that have seen the "generation" teaching get so freaking bright they just can't see anymore. Or don't care to. What I can't get back is my childlike ability to imagine what I want to be when I grow up. Because that's what kids do. And it is a fundamental point in childhood development because that's when you develop a passion for something. It could be a passion for leadership, for sports... something. I was never afforded the opportunity to do that. Because the end was nigh. When studying the "Knowledge" book, I asked the Elder "When is the end going to happen."

    His response, "We don't know when, but soon."

    "Will I graduate high school?", I asked.

    "That's debatable."


    "Probably not."

    Well, I did graduate college. And graduate school. And now, I'm 31, at a perfunctory job, attending group therapy and honestly cannot answer the question "What are you passionate about?" Because I was robbed of something I can never get back.

    Thanks for reading.

  • DesirousOfChange

    Trust me, I'm not trying to minimize your feelings or your situation when I say: Been there. Done that. Bought the T-shirt.

    You summed up many of the feelings I've also been coping with much better than I could have. They (JWs) robbed me of the best years of my life. I have already come to realize that I don't do anything "for me" because I was putting off living my life in anticipation for "the real life" in the New World. I have no hobby. I have no passion (nothing that puts the fire in my belly). I just had not connected that fact with the years being a JW. Evidently it also drained all the passion for life right out of me.

    I offer only one different perspective to you. I'd give my "eye-teeth" to be awakening to all of this at 31 years old. I'm TWICE your age. The only good thing about being my age is they send you a check every month. If you've been robbed of all of your life, . . . then they've stolen TWO lifetimes from me. Plus you already have a decent education. I never bothered with college since there was no time left in this system of things for me to finish college if I started in. (May 1969 Awake) Even more important is the fact that you have enough life left in you to use your education to better your position in life. Focus on your child (and any others you may have). My kids and grandkids are my new passion or "fire". I do not have sufficient time remaining in life to make any dramatic changes to the path I find myself on, but I believe I can have a great influence for bettering the lives of my kids/grandkids.

    Good luck,


    The greatest revenge is living a happy & successful life!

  • Giordano

    YinzerDad I feel your pain but I also have to say that your in a much better situation then many.......... your young and educated to start with. But in varying degrees most of us have been hurt by the JW Dogma as they have been and continue to be reckless with thewell being and education of their followers.

    Allow me to illustrate: My child bride and I faded out of the JW construct in the mid 1960's. there was no internet of course so I had no way of understanding why I didn't think it was the truth. I, like you perhaps, sensed that it wasn't the truth. That the blood policy was foolish and Armageddon was cruel.

    We were both pioneering where the need was great and I was being used for weekly hour talks in the circuit and handling 3 congregational positions. We moved and managed a dignified fade.

    We had one C average High school diploma between us, no job skills other then pioneering. Our families demoted us to insignificant status. The KH I grew up in turned their backs on us.....understandable but hurtful.

    Vietnam was raging and the butchers bill was being paid by people my age. When I stopped pioneering I lost my draft protection. And oh yes the wack jobs at the WTBTS announced that 1975 was going to be the year billions now living would die. To be honest of all the things I had to fret about ..........1975 was the least.

    We started a long and very slow slog to to discover who we were and how to live. It took about 7 years to achieve balance, get reeducated especially for my wife, become a professional, make friends, continue to raise up our son (the wonderful boy that kept me out of Vietnam and as he often says thank you for keeping me out of the JW world).

    I retired at 60 (keep busy with community volunteer work). I fulfilled my dreams number one that I helped make this world a little better, nothing that anyone not living in our small city would notice, but still.....something. Our extended family is well educated, healthy and for the most part happy. My wife and I enjoy a loving relationship with my son's family and our grandchildren and close friends.

    We taught ourselves everything we learned, we experienced everything we wanted to experience.

    Here I am in the twilight of my life 7 decades old, here you are becoming, searching, for who you are and what you want to be.

    My advice........ is stop embracing problems and start to embrace solutions.

    You owe it to yourself to become the person you need to be or do as so many have done here......... reinvent yourself and become the real person you are.

  • KateWild

    Yinzerdad, welcome to the board and thanks for your story. I have lost passion for life too. I know how you feel.

    But I do find joy in life each day. I have my ups and downs.

    Keep posting and join in a might find a passion.

    Kate xx

  • tornapart
    Welcome Yinzerdad, you make some fine points and the book is a very interesting comparison. I would say as the others have, being almost twice your age and feeling very down about the wasted years, you have many years still ahead of you. You have a child and that alone gives you a passion for life. Bringing up children is the most wonderful experience there is. Don't waste it. Children grow fast and before you know it they are grown with children of their own. Spend valuable time with your child, playing, exploring, learning. try and see life through their eyes and make wonderful memories with them. Enjoy life with your child and give them the childhood you never had. It's never too late!
  • clarity

    Yinzer .... very glad that you have found this site & welcome!

    Loved your writing ...I could feel your dilemma & your angst. Truth is we have been harmed in ways big & small that add up to problems.

    I woke up rather late in life but my most precious possession in all of this FREEDOM ! So whether we are young or old, while there is still life in us is good.

    Yes we have been robbed & if we are being shunned & lost our families, we have been beat-up and left for dead!

    But still life insists that we go on. We are not rushed by "Armageddon is coming" so take your time Yinz...all anyone can do is live one minute at a time. Live in the moment .... do not worry about "what you will be when you're big" .... if you know what I mean. All those minutes add up to a life of your creation. Love your family passionately ... exercise those feelings that you never developed. We basically were turned into zombies!

    Wishing you well...


  • Doubting Bro
    Doubting Bro

    Welcome!! Look forward to your contributions here. I think many can relate to what you are dealing with. The reality is we have had real passions and dreams taken from us and replaced with an imaginary panda petting paradise. The good news is that you are still young and you have not only a chance to make a great future for yourself and your wife but also an opportunity to give your kids the kind of upbringing you didn't have!!! It's ok not to know who you are or what you want to do. Hell, I'm still not sure and I'm in my mid-40s!!!

    You are right, you can't get back that child like imagination about what you want to do. But that doesn't mean that you can't see the world through your kids eyes at least a little. To me, that's the coolest thing about having kids. You sometimes get to experience their imagination vicariously. My kids have tons of opportunities that I never got and I love to see them play sports and do other activities that I was never allowed to do.

    Looking forward to hearing more from you. Love the opening story by the way!

  • Wasanelder Once
    Wasanelder Once

    Be concise so more will read your post .

  • Vidiot
    I read that book way back when I was still in, and felt a kinship with the character.
  • EdenOne

    YinzerDad, welcome! Your experience and analogy with the "Thief of Always" (of which I didn't know about) is poignant. In many ways, I can relate with your story. But, as many have said, you're still young, you have an education, and you have a family. Lots going for you. Work from there to build up an interest and then a passion. You have time. This 'system of things' ain't going anywhere.


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