Eleven out of one thousand
So now what? Even though I said I can’t do it anymore, it’s not like I had a plan of any kind. I didn’t want out of the marriage just out of the religion. I loved my wife and never even once thought about leaving her. She had been the first and only girl I had ever been with. We had been together almost thirty years.
I was in limbo for sure.
She was in Washington staying with her friend. I was alone in Portland. The rumors were flying around the Kingdom Hall. What was said? What was done? Did someone cheat on someone? In our small community of just a hundred or so people the gossip was flowing hot and heavy. The brothers and sisters were having a field day with our separation. Since, I was well like by some. Many thought she was crazy for leaving me. Of course, those people didn’t know about all the doubts I was having about the organization. She knew of course about some of them.
I just didn’t know what to do. Should I take the blue pill and crawl back to her and the church and beg for forgiveness. Or should I head into the great unknown. Both options seemed devastating, just like I had told my psychiatrist, a few months earlier.
Funny, my father had told me something interesting one night. He was sitting in my living room, and after he had finished off his cognac. He made this interesting announcement.
“I believe it, I just can‘t live it.”
I looked at him and said. “Well… I can live it. I just don’t believe it anymore.”
This was the first time I heard about why my father and why he was no longer an active Witness. He certainly had spent many years of his life living it and definitely not believing it. I believed my father had done everything under the sun except maybe for murder, by this time and that was even a possibility. He had been out of the organization for almost forty years.
Of course he couldn’t live it. His favorite movie was “The Godfather” and he lived his life as if he was one. My father like to lie and stretch the true his whole life. I really think he made this statement because he thought it was something I wanted to hear.
However it was his compliance and not standing up to my mother that got our whole family in trouble with this religion in the first place. Yes, he was “the king” of living the life as a witnesses and not believing it.
“A person is as much responsible for the evil he commits, as the evil they permits.”
This problem that he was a part of would take the next two generations of our family to get rid of. It was too late for his lame excuses.
It was time for some epiphanies. Sometimes in life they come all at once and other times years go by and nothing at all. I was ready for sure.
“When the student is ready the teacher appears!”
I had an acquaintance named Mark Wiedcamp, he was going to get married at The Flying M Ranch on September 2nd. 2001. I had worked with Mark at Western International Forest Products for a number of years. I say he was an acquaintance because he was a “worldly” person. He couldn’t really be considered a friend. Even though he still invited me to his wedding. If I had still been with Debbie at the time we probably wouldn’t have gone to it. Thought it’s not forbidden to go to worldly weddings, it is highly discouraged and frown on for sure. They are just like High School reunions.
If you went or not was something the Jehovah’s Witnesses call “A matter of conscience.” What does that mean? I means that when the society doesn’t want to come right out and tell you that you can’t do something, because it will make them look totally ridiculous. They will tell you it’s “A matter of conscience” and that technically you can decide for yourself, what to do in any situation. However there is a catch.
For example, they won’t come right out and tell you that you can’t go to “R” rated movies. They will however quote you scripture after scripture on the evils of doing just that. Yes, you can make a decision to go to any movie you want but if you choose incorrectly you will be considered spiritually weak and a branded as bad associate. Of course most the time this is done behind your back.
Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984. Yes, there are those who love absolute control over every action and thought of its people through propaganda, secrecy, constant surveillance, and harsh punishment and sometimes shunning.
“War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”
“The best books... are those that tell you what you know already.”
I decided to go to Mark’s wedding since I knew Big Brother probably wouldn’t be there. I’m glad I did go because I had two major epiphanies there that would change my life forever.
Of course over the years I had been to many events where there was many non-witnesses in attendance. This one proved to be very different. I only knew one person, the groom there. It looked like there was at least four hundred people in attendance, enjoying the festivities.
They were of all ages. There were families and singles, many married couples with children running and playing. They did have one thing in common, done of these people were Jehovah’s Witnesses. I’m sure I was the only one there. I walked among them like a ghost.
Most of these people were from Mark’s church. A really nice looking group of people. If you hadn’t known it, this could have looked like any witness wedding.
My first epiphany happened when I was sitting on this small hill taken it all in. I couldn’t help but noticed a married couple in the buffet line wanting for their food. The woman was standing behind her husband and put her hand on his back. As if to say, I’m so happy to be here with you.
I hit me like a lightning bolt. I never really experienced that with my wife. I never really felt wanted by her. Long before I started doubting the church and from the very beginning there was that spark that was missing from our relationship.
Looking back I don’t think I was her first choice. Maybe I was just a ticket to get away from her crazy mother. The woman who chased away other boyfriends in her life before me.
Our marriage felt almost like brother and sister. I realized we never had any real passion in our marriage from the very beginning.
How would I know what passion was? She was the first and only girl I really was ever with. The society told us the purpose of dating was looking for a marriage mate. It was very clear dating was not for recreation. So in some places if you had more than three dates with a girl, you better start thinking about an engagement ring real soon.
Because there was no sex before marriage there was a lot of teenage marriages and if you weren’t married by the time you were twenty five there was something wrong with you or you were at Bethel.
This of course is a recipe for disaster. Young people with little or no experience getting married way too young because they were hot to trot or just want to get out of the house.
Since you were only getting married once and since your first sexual encounter would be most likely on your wedding night, you were really rolling the dice on sexual compatibility. Sadly many realized there was definitely no sex before marriage and sometimes little or no sex after marriage too.
Bottom line there is just as much infidelity and divorces in the Jehovah’s Witness organization as any other churches. Maybe there is even more with all that sexual repression going on.
I knew then, that last night before she left me for good. When she gave me that last kiss on the cheek. When there was no words spoken. I knew then that was the end of our contract together. I knew it at that moment and on some level I think she knew it also.
I have no regrets about my time with her. I wish her the very best and hope she finds happiness with her new Jehovah’s Witness husband.
My second epiphany came when I looked at these beautiful people at the wedding. I couldn’t help but think to myself what if what I was taught to believe was true. If it was true then all these people would of course be wiped out in the battle called Armageddon that could take place at any day. All because they weren’t Jehovah’s Witnesses.
I couldn’t hurt anybody and I couldn’t hurt these people but yet I was worshiping a god who could.
I couldn’t help but think back to the large district conventions when we had ten thousand Jehovah Witnesses all sitting in an auditorium. I looked out over this vast see of humanity and I thought to myself. What if all these people, represented the entire population of the planet Earth. What percentage would be Jehovah’s Witnesses? There are over seven and a half billion people on the planet now and over eight million Jehovah’s Witnesses. So if you do the math, that means there would be only eleven people in this entire auditorium that would be a Jehovah Witness and thus be saved. The other 9,989 of course would be going away. That’s a lot of dead people.
Then I thought to myself since I was basically born into the Jehovah’s Witnesses what were my odds of surviving Armageddon? Probably pretty good. However what would be my odds of survival if I was born in to a non-Witness family in Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland. One in 9,989. The math isn’t working here. Maybe there is nothing wrong with the math. Maybe… just maybe it’s my reasoning is all wrong.
What if Jehovah isn’t going to kill those four hundred people at the wedding? What if he isn’t going to kill four thousand people or four million or even seven and a half Billion people?
My second epiphany was this. I was raised to be pacifist yet the god I was made to believe in wasn’t. He was an angry and jealous god who would have no problem wiping the vast majority of the Earth’s population.
Yes, I remembered the picture in the “Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained” book when I was only nine years old. The picture of the little girl falling into the great abyss at Armageddon with her dog and doll in hand.
At that moment I knew in my soul it was all bull shit.
I’m afraid Mark Wiedcamp’s marriage didn’t last but I will carry the memories of that insightful day to my grave.
Oh, by the way I no longer want to in their band. There are many people making beautiful music all over this world. Millions of other bands. I just need to find them.