My Reverse-Shunning Letter To My Mother
I mailed the below letter to my mother a few weeks ago. I did share it on the ex-JW Facebook group but thought i'd post it here.
Basically, she's shunned me since day 1, has little or nothing to do with my 3yo daughter and told my sister "i hope <my daughter> becomes a JW when she's older so i can welcome her into the family". Well, that was the last straw for me.
I wanted to set the record straight, leave it on a high note and highlight how happy i am. I dont miss her, i dont miss my former-family or former-religion. Notice that i used her first name and not "mum". She's no mother to me. She ever really way. The cult always came first.
This is the last you’ll likely hear from me so I wanted to write to you and leave it on a good note. It’s been just over a year since I last spoke to you. I did see you in McDonalds with Danny but decided not to speak to either of you because I know your religion doesn’t allow it.
I hope you are well, and the rest of your family. Ben has been ringing me almost on a daily basis since I left the witnesses but I’ve recently requested him not to contact me anymore. The same goes for Liz and Danny. I haven’t heard from Becky since day one. I hope the kids are well too. They must have changed lots since I last seen them.
I’ve had a very good year. It’s not always easy navigating the real world after leaving a high control group, and I had very few friends who were non JW. But that wasn’t so bad because I didn’t have any JW friends even when I was in! ha. I’ve been to Holland twice, Germany, Belgium and various parts of this country visiting other exJWs and I have a new family made up of exJWs from all around Europe. So I’m ok. I’m good. I don’t know if you were concerned (or even bothered) but I wanted to put that out there to you just in case. I’m part of a support group here in the North West that helps people recovering from cults and helps them leave. There’s some really messed up people out there. Former Mormons, Christadelphians, Moonies, Worldwide Church Of God and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Some JW’s I remember from parties I’ve been to with Becky and Liz have contacted me and asked for help. I give talks now to victims of the Watchtower Society. People who were molested by elders who were protected by Watchtower, parents who have kicked their teenage children (under 18) out of their house, parents who have let their babies die for want of a blood transfusion only to learn later that their child could have had it if the elders didn’t intimidate them and threatened them with shunning. There’s at least one apostate on Liz’s Facebook that she has no idea is trying to leave. Two on Ryans.
I know you do what you do because you think it’s what god wants and that’s ok. I hold no resentment or ill feelings towards you or any of the family. That’s why I’ve cut off all contact with Ben, Liz and Dan. You want to shun me so I will respect your decision. But I did try to give you all a chance first, I would hate to think my old family were telling people “Mark broke up the family” when in fact I’ve tried to include you in it. I have no intention of drawing you away from a faith that you’re happy in. Dan recently told me he didn’t want to go anymore and invited me to his. I did go but I refused to discuss religion with him. I was concerned a the state of his apartment and the way he is living. That boy needs his finances sorted. I was planning on helping him with that but, seeing as you’ve probably had a talk to him about me it’s not likely I’ll be seeing him again. I don’t regard losing a family as a loss. I hardly seen you all as it was, I never had any of you to rely on or to support me when I needed it. I was almost homeless in 2016 and you all did nothing. If it wasn’t for “worldly” people who helped me find a place to live Id’ve been living in a hostel. But again, I don’t hold that against you. You do as a magazine tells you and that’s what you think is the right thing to do. No harm done in the end.
For a time it did irk me that Celine, Sophie, Ben _____ and Laura _____ still have a very close and loving relationship with their mother. I know Celine, Sophie and Laura aren’t disfellowshipped, but according to the elders guidebook they should be being shunned – im glad they’re not – but it’s strange don’t you think? Their mothers love is so strong that their natural affection wins out. According to the elders guidebook Shepherd The Flock Of God, page 116 paragraph 6:
So you see, nothing would have happened even if you did have any association with me. And, it’s against the law (and human rights) for a religion to command it’s members to shun family. That’s why the clause is there in the elders book. Of course, the average congregation member wouldn’t know this because you’re not allowed to own or read their guidebook. I have a copy of the elders guidebook and the circuit overseer guidebook. How nice to see that this isn’t a secretive religion with information hidden from its members.
But you should know that I would have returned to the witnesses if I wasn’t being shunned by my family. I think you all would have encouraged me to go to the meetings. But being shunned for not having the same beliefs just made me see how very similar it is to a cult. Scientologists do the same thing. Anyone who leaves for any reason is “disconnected”. In fact, it’s one of the hallmarks of a cult. I wouldn’t want to be a part of it. And I certainly wouldn’t want to be a part of something which could one day tell me to shun Erin. As far as I know, there’s nothing more natural than a mothers love for her child. I think the bible calls this “natural affection”. Any religion that would distort natural affection and sever that bond is not worthy of my time and certainly has no business calling itself Christian. I can’t think of a scripture where Jesus shunned or told people to. And I’ve read the bible in its entirety twice since leaving and I know Paul didn’t use the word shun or disfellowship. Reading the bible on it’s own there’s no way I would come out with 1914, shunning, blood transfusions or birthdays – unless there was a magazine to accompany it. But I don’t think the bible was intended to have magazines accompanying it. But regardless, I don’t believe the bible so it doesn’t matter to me.
My Rejection Of God
So please understand that I won’t be returning, not because I’m bitter or upset, but because I don’t believe in any god. And even if I did I certainly don’t believe it would be Jehovah. And even if it was Jehovah I’d still reject him for the terrible things he’s done. I seem to have higher morals and appear to be more forgiving than him. So I wouldn’t regard him as worthy of my attention. For me, harming a child is the worst thing anyone could do. Jehovah killed the firstborn Egyptians after he himself hardened Pharaoh’s heart. He also commanded the Israelites to slaughter the Canaanites and their children. Then later he commanded them slaughter Babylonian children, babies and even pregnant women. (Isaiah 13:16, 18) Even going so far as letting the Israelites rape the women. (Zechariah 14:1-2) (Jeremiah 51:22)
Is this the kind of god I’d want to be associated with? No! So before any of you wish to speak to me you’d need to explain to me how infanticide, genocide and rape is ever acceptable.
I was raised in a high control religion that forbid studying any other religion, of researching it’s own history, of questioning it’s governing body and not allowed to mix with non members. So it was inevitable that I’d join myself when I got older. I have JF Rutherford to thank for making me stop believing the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I read all of his books. Not one of them is ever quoted or mentioned in the Watchtower anymore. Here is “gods mouthpiece on earth” telling me:
That the prophets would be resurrected on earth in 1925:
"Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old, particularly those named by the Apostle in Hebrews chapter eleven, to the condition of human perfection" (Millions Now Living Will Never Die, pp. 89-90).
That Armageddon would arrive in 1942:
"Receiving the gift (the book Children), the marching children clasped it to them, not a toy or plaything for idle pleasure, but the Lord's provided instrument for most effective work in the remaining months before Armageddon." (Watchtower 1941 Sep 15 p.288)
So either Rutherford wasn’t being lead by holy spirit, or Jehovah fed him lies, or he was making it up as he went along.
But let’s talk of better things. I wanted to leave you with my happiest memories. That surprise day when you got me Crash Dummies (remember them?!), the time I was collecting a magazine called “Bugs” and you came home from shopping in Kirkby town centre with issue 5 for me (I don’t remember why that sticks in my head but it does). Walking you down the aisle. The holiday in Cyprus. And when you visited Rachel despite her being disfellowshipped when Erin was first born. That was really nice of you and Rachel appreciated it a lot.
Rachel and I are fine. We get on a lot better than when we were married. You know I was so stressed when I was with her, what with dealing with OCD and having to fix problems all the time. And going to yours and feeling I needed to leave early all the time. But things are miles better now we’re separated.
I’m so much happier now, I have Erin and I have freedom. And there’s no reason in the world why I would ever have to shun her. And even if there was I still wouldn’t. You see, I love Erin. More than the idea of living forever, more than god (even if he did exist). I would happily die in Armageddon just to see her. That, to me, I real love and I do love her and she knows. Why would I want to live forever without her?
So that’s it. I hope you and Dave have many long and happy years together. As for the rest of the family, I’m sure more of them will leave the witnesses as the years roll on. When they do, please tell them to still not contact me. They can go on JWFacts.com or Jehovahs-Witness.com for support. Not to me. I’m declaring myself no longer part of your family. So I will leave you with the same words I said to Dan and Liz. “Be happy”. Seriously. We’re in this world until we die, so we might as well spend it being happy and loving one another than doing as we’re told from a magazine publishing company that changes it’s mind every couple of years. (I hear the JWs are baptizing children now?). The religion has changed so much in just the year since I left. I see JW.org everywhere. When I was little, we prided ourselves on not having a symbol like Christendom does. But, whatever, I don’t believe it anyway and it’ll probably not exist in another 50 years.
I love you (no matter what religion you are).
Yikes....I hope she reads it.....
what a shining expose of shunning and also of the strength to 'push-back'.
Might I add a thought. I suggest when your shunners find themselves up the creek financially and come begging for your hard earned funds you might suggest they contact the wts or the elders for financial assistance.
You sound like you have healed a lot since some of your earlier postings. Live long and prosper.
Zechariah 14:1-2King James Version (KJV)
14 Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.
2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
Jeremiah 51:22King James Version (KJV)
22 With thee also will I break in pieces man and woman; and with thee will I break in pieces old and young; and with thee will I break in pieces the young man and the maid;
Wow. That is a powerful letter.
Wishing you and your daughter, Erin, everything of the best for the future.
That's a powerful letter and it must have been a cathartic experience to write it.
.One day, I want to write something very similar to my evil brother and sister (elder/pioneer)
I think I might be sort of in your neck of the woods btw. Well, not that far away, anyway,
They say the best revenge for leaving the Watchtower is to be happy.
So I wish you - and you daughter - all the happiness in the world. You deserve it.
It just breaks my heart that a religion can have rules and regulations that are truly family destroying, to hear you say goodbye to your mother is killing my emotions toward this evil religion. No human is meant to ever write such letters, O'Pale I hope this hastens your healing process and you can come to terms with being an orphan. We all on here my friend are blessed to ride this journey with you and we WILL help enrich your life. I find it so difficult to comprehend a parent shunning a child, again hang in there, also I know what you did put your mother on notice and as a son you couldn't of done anything else.
Excellent! Very well thought out and very well written.
I hope your mom reads it all the way through.
Wishing you and Erin the very best life possible!
My Reverse-Shunning Letter To My Mother
You`re Not Paying Attention.
In WatchTower World...
She won't read it, also the cult has away of making people just shut off. It's so easy for JWs to shun relatives it's almost automatic. So sad that no ones thinks for themselves in that cult.
It's a long beautifully written letter. I just hope they read it all. I wish you all the best.
I am in agreement with you about if and when the "shunners" ever come looking for money they should be told to contact the elders or WT for financial assistance. I noticed somebody gave your post a dislike...Well, too bad about them.. Even though I have no family in the religion, I certainly don't want any needy JWs looking my way either. All these people who criticized me for my full-time job can go ask their "spiritual" friends for money.