A Short Life Story - Part 4 (Finale)
A continuation from part 3, which is here: https://www.jehovahs-witness.com/topic/4807117397557248/short-life-story-part-3#!#4918071166763008
My wife had settled into a routine of waking up at 6am each day, cleaning (so no chance of a lie in for me or our daughter with the vacuum cleaner going), eating very little, picking the skin off her lips while she sits there in a trance obsessing over things that are out of our control and dont matter anyway. She never did return to work. I didnt think she was capable to anyway. Her OCD was chronic. So much so that she would move into her grandparents house for a few weeks for "a break" from cleaning the house. This was also a break for me but i didnt tell her that. Our daughter would be passed from her to me on alternate days. Then she'd come home after a few weeks, last two days then move into her parents house. Come back again, last a few days then i'd get a call while at work telling me she's in hospital. So i go to the hospital and she's admitted herself into a mental health hospital. Apparently she took our 1yo baby to her mums house, left her in the lounge, didnt check to see if anyone was home or tell anyone, and wandered down the street on her own all disheveled. A neighbor saw her and asked if she was ok. She asked the neighbor to take her to the hospital.
My wifes mum called me to say that she came home to find our daughter crying on her own in the house. No one was home! I left work, picked up my daughter, comforted her, cleaned her etc. Then made my way to the hospital. The Drs said she needs to be watched. The ward was full of sorry cases. One woman just looking at the ceiling spinning around in a circle. Another woman lying on the corridor floor counting... whatever it was she thought she could see. It was like that film One Flew Over The Cookoos Nest. So i've got this going on, looking after my daughter alone and STILL the elders are on at me for meeting attendance, ministry, report slips and will i do a stand in talk?
Work kindly gave me a month off with pay. My wife came out of hospital eventually but wouldnt go home because she'd want to clean it, so she lived in her grandparents house. This meant that i had free roam to study and research. I'd never had any time to myself before. So when my daughter was asleep or with her mum and her family i'd binge on exJW YouTube channels. I'd seen this site but was terrified of reading it. This went on for about 6 months.
My daughter is now 2yo. My wife has been sectioned again, this time she tried to kill herself. As bad as it sounds i sometimes wished i could be free of her. I dont mean her being dead, but for me not to have to put up with this shit, and being in a controlling religion. I never referred to the religion as a cult at this point but i admitted to myself that it has "cult traits". I downloaded a PDF of Crises Of Conscience and started reading it when my daughter was in bed. It took me about a week. I was so surprised at the tone of Ray Franz's writing. He was sincere, honest and presented evidence for everything he said. I remember being 3 quarters of the way though it. I was on a bus taking my daughter to our favorite park in Liverpool (St.Johns Gardens), i felt funny. Like, nervous and a bit shook up. I'd come to the conclusion that the Watchtower Society is a fraud. By the time we were in the park and she was picking up pine cones and picking flowers i had another realization... i was in a cult. I remember it felt like someone had died. I sent a text message to my only two worldly friends telling them that i've left the Jehovah's Witnesses. They replied back surprised and asked what had happened. I rang them and filled them in briefly about me disagreeing with doctrine and the blood, and the child abuse policy. They were happy for me but also worried for me. They knew what happens when someone leaves the JWs officially.
I had a choice. Fade or disassociate. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to disassociate but then i'd lose my family. So i decided to fade. I signed up on this site and started posting. When my wife came back home i slowly dropped little thoughts into her mind like "have you noticed, it's impossible to leave this religion?". She'd defend it, but then a few days later brought the subject up herself and said i was right, it is impossible. Then i brought up birthdays, and that i think celebrating the fact our daughter was born is a good thing. She agreed.
Then one day our sister in law was babysitting our daughter, i was at work, my wife was visiting relatives. I got home and my in law was acting wierd. Like she was scared of me. She was polite but hurried herself out. I shrugged it off. (By now you'd think i'd notice the warning signs when people act that way around me wouldnt you?).
That evening was the last time i'd be at home with my wife and daughter as a family. If i'd known at the time i probably would have done something different. But we did what we always did, me studying something on the laptop, my wife watching TV and our daughter playing with her toys.
The next day i go to work. No text messages at all from my wife. Strange. At lunchtime im in town and decide to buy her something nice, she likes colourful clothes so i buy her an Adidas jacket (i like adidas), that looks like its been tie-dyed. She'd like that. As im making my way home my phone rings. It's an elder from my hall. I answer it.
Elder: ...does the name Pale.Emperor mean anything to you?
Me: Pale.Emperor. It means a few things depending on the context.
Elder: Why dont you tell me?
Me: Tell you what?
Elder: Where would i have heard that name?
Me: Well you're either a Marilyn Manson fan and like that album, or you're a history buff who's read about Constantius Chlorus who rejected the idea of any God, the Pale Emperor due to his complexion.
Elder: We know what you've done. We've read what you've written. We're disgusted. If you're spiritually weak you come to us, you dont go on apostate sites and spread your hateful words.
Me: What are you talking about?
Elder: We have pictures. Someone took pictures of your screen of what you written.
Me: Can you be more specific?
Elder: Look, talk to your wife.
So as you can imagine my heart is pounding. I ring my wife. No answer. I ring again, this time she answers it. I can hear her parents in the background, they suddenly turn the TV off (a clue that they're all listening).
She tells me that our sister in law had been on my computer, been on my internet history and taken pictures of what i'd written on this site. She then reported me to the elders. I could hear whispering. Then she tells me she going to stay with her parents.
I go home to an empty house. My family ring me in turn. They've each heard different things. My mum has been told that i've DA'd. (I hadn't... yet). She kept urging me to "talk to the elders!". One of my sisters was convinced i was leaving the witnesses just so i could have sex with girls (false, but actually, that would come later). My other sister never spoke to me, and still hasn't to this day.
Elders started calling me, texting me, emailing me, knocking on my door. I never answered. I just wanted to be left alone. How do i play this? I decided once and for all to decide what do i actually want? I certainly dont want to be in a relationship with an emotional leech who leaves me for having another beleif. I dont want to be in this cult either. So i wrote my letter of disassociation. It went like this:
This letter is to inform you that i no longer wish to be known as one of Jehovah's Witnesses or in any way associated with the Watchtower Society.
I mailed it to the PO. My phone almost blew up with the calls i was getting. One elder that i thought was ok, and who i'd helped out when he was homeless after moving to this country kept on at me. In the end i told him id meet him in a pub and talk to him alone. We met up and i told him i believe in God but not the org. He kept telling me how "loved" i was in the congregation, and how i could be an elder one day and that this doesn't mean i'd necessarily be disfellowshipped. And that i shouldn't be a "coward" by disassociating. He convinced me to speak to another elder to with him there to set the record straight.
So i turn up at the said date at the KH. I go in and it's actually three elders. Including the one i trusted. I'd just walked into a Judicial Committee. Looking back i should have just walked out, but there was one elder there that everyone was scared of because he was a hardball, no nonsense elder that inspired fear. I wasnt afraid of any of them anymore. The first hour was them trying to get me to say that this is the truth and im opposed to the WT society. Have i been to another church? Am i having an affair? Why do i hate Jehovah's Witnesses? After refuting all of this i brought up some of my own questions:
Is shunning an identifying mark of Christianity? If so, who did Jesus shun?
How does the GB receive new light?
Why would God allow us to believe a lie only decades later correct us?
If the org was called clean by Jesus himself in 1919, then isnt any new light was actually apostasy?
They refused to answer my questions and sent me out to deliberate. I knew what was coming. When they called me back in i was disfellowshipped. I left the KH as a free man. I was free!
What followed then was intense bible study using only the bible. Not the NWT, a real translation. I chose NIV. But i had lots of others. I highlighted scriptures i didnt understand and those i wanted to look up. I'd look them up using bible encyclopedias online and cross reference everything. I also studied the history of the bible, the Midrash, the Koran, Buddhism, Tao, Confucianism, Jain, Hindu, Pagan religions, Satanism and The God Delusion. The books that had the biggest effect on me was The Satanic Bible, The God Delusion and Teachings Of The Buddha. I came to the conclusion that there probably is no God. And if there is he isnt worthy of me. I taken teachings/ideas from various philosophy's and religions and implemented them. If they worked for me i kept them, if they didn't i discarded them. My beliefs are open to change and correction if im presented with evidence. And that works for me.
I still attended meetings for the first two or three weeks only because my little girl was there. In the end i thought "what am i doing?" I could spend my thursday evenings and sunday mornings doing something more useful. Or lying in bed! So i stopped going and have never set foot in a KH again. I have my girl 4 times a week. Which is more than most dads do so im grateful for that. I've met women, i've dated, i've had sex with women who want to have sex with me, i've made real friends, i've smoked the odd cigar, i use marijuana when im in Amsterdam, i swear from time to time, i've joined a political party and i discovered the real me. Im a sociable person who loves people and cant stand to see people oppressed or told they're not good enough. So although i hate the org, i dont hate JWs. My wife is still living with her parents. Her mum is still depressed, the congregation is still made up of cliques and the depressed and the elderly. My girl gets to celebrate her birthday and Yule (i dont do Christmas, Christ has no place in my home).I collect hindu idols, have Satanic books, studied the occult and have yet to be bothered by any demon. Drat!
Life is good. It's not perfect but all things must pass. One day i will die, that's a certain. But when i do, i'll have fucking lived.
Brilliant last line....just brilliant
Loved reading your story, thank you so much for sharing.
I enjoyed reading all 4 parts of your story. Thanks for sharing.
... She tells me that our sister in law had been on my computer, been on my internet history and taken pictures of what i'd written on this site. She then reported me to the elders ...
If your sister-in-law did not have your permission to use your computer (and then to snoop around) I hope you gave her a good tongue lashing!
I enjoyed your story....however not your suffering for want of freedom from this religion.
Thank you for sharing.
glad to read you got your leg over. always a great self confidence boost.
glad to read you got your leg over. always a great self confidence boost.
Quite a story PE! Wasn't it Churchill whom said 'when you're going through hell...just keep going'. Looks like that's exactly what you did, I'm glad you are truly 'living' now.
So happy you are free!
I still remember when you first came here and am so happy you have thrived since leaving the cult behind. It's not easy to untangle yourself from it, but is worth every bit of pain.
🍺to sunny days ahead