Columbia, SC and Arleta, CA members - I need your help
My 18-year-old daughter in Columbia, SC ran away to Arleta, CA to move in with JW family. They are living together with the mother's permission in her house along with 10 other family members. She is surrounded by JWs 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Is there anyone in the Columbia area who would be willing to help me - maybe meet for a cup of coffee or FaceTime.
Is there anyone in Arleta who can give me some insight into the Temples there? His family is Mexican. Everyone speaks Spanish in the house except my daughter. She is totally dependent on them financially, for transportation, food, everything. She has no identification, credit cards or money. If she wanted to leave, is there anyone there she could turn to? We are three thousand miles away and can't get to her if she really wants to leave. I believe they would stop her before we got there.
There are no temples. Maybe you mean congregations?
Don’t take this the wrong way. I understand your vexation. But she is 18. There little to nothing you can do. I would take solace in the fact she is surrounded by “Mexicans”. Some of the most solid and caring and binding connections stem from the Hispanic culture. She will be cared for like a princess.
Yes I know it’s an Alamo of JWs surrounding her. But again they aren’t going to sell her into sex trafficking or anything close. She is going to be love bombed and feel wonderful. She will likely meet a dashing young Mexican brother who can play the guitar and speak fluently in 2 languages. They may marry and have 3 or 6 kids. And about a decade from now, realize they are in a cult and pull the whole family out, all while rekindling her relationship with you.
You have to have hope. It’s a very real scenario.
Also, instead of pressuring her or letting her know your desperation, think about becoming a counterintelligent ally.
Let her know you wish the best for her, want to know she is well and happy, and you will do everything in your power to help her. Offer to forward her her birth certificate and SS card if she has one so that she can get proper identification in the state. Never make her feel you think she has been captured by a dangerous cult and you are desperate to rescue her. It will only alienate her and push you and everyone else who is worried about her away.
You told her you were looking at JwOrg. You should also look at jwfacts, avoidjw, jwsurvey, watchtowerdocuments. Don’t ram it down her throat, but find subtle ways to introduce to her what you learn. Ask her questions and see if she can answer.
Chances are she is completely blinded by love(infatuation) and her boyfriend is not really into the religion. But his family is and they will do everything to reign her in to also save their son.
The “Mexican” boy she is enamored with might be your greatest ally. You might think he is a good for nothing twat, but he also may be her ticket out of the cult. Maybe they don’t feel they have any options. Have you offered to accept him and your daughters relationship? Offer them an escape route from the cult? California is pretty great, but living with a dozen family members is like living with fish. Smells after 3 days.
Tell her to come home and bring him so you can all talk. See how committed to the religion he is. The family ties will be strong for him, but Hispanic boys do not shy away from possible better lives, especially away from cult patriarchs in the family.
I know it’s a lot to contemplate, but sometimes you have to think outside the box to save your loved ones.
The girl next door -
Thank you for your advice. Please read my previous two posts. They go into much greater detail about the boyfriend and the entire situation. It isn't as simple as the post I wrote to find members in Columbia and LA.
Based on your brief posting history, you've apparently got a lot of female family members who pick up and run hundreds or thousands of miles away to be with their boyfriends.
Why do you suppose they do that?
I know it is a very serious situation, Jehovah's Witnesses being a cult and all, but it's more like what THE GIRL NEXT DOOR describes than you think.
She is considered an adult and JW's are not involved in illegal activities, nor are they a sex cult or a drug cult. The biggest issue you would have is her feeling there is no place to turn to if she wants to leave. So if you aid her, show some normal adult reactions to her situation, she will feel she could come to you. Offer to send her an ID or birth certificate so she can get an ID in California. Tell her that anytime she wants to visit, if you can help, you will do what you can to purchase a transportation ticket.
I would love to tell you she will tire of this situation and come home in days or weeks or months, but I don't know that. She may very well be in a loving environment.
Finding Kingdom Halls is as simple as going to jwdotorg and going to the bottom of the page somewhere to "FIND A MEETING." I don't see the need to discover which Kingdom Hall/Congregation she attends. I hate the cult of Jehovah's Witnesses, but I don't think she is in real danger based on that connection alone. If you don't plan to "turn her in for fornication" to the congregation (and I highly recommend that you do not turn her in) then it matters little which building she goes to and which elders talk to her.
Our opinions may change as this story develops, so please keep posting. It is not okay for JW's to tolerate fornication under their roof and it is not okay for her to progress toward becoming a JW in such a situation. So things will change for her. Continue to be there for her, but continue to learn what's going on with her- not so much in desperation, but be part of her life.
Otherwise, I pretty much agree with THE GIRL NEXT DOOR to offer to be helpful to her.
To sir82: I have only one daughter. She is the only one family member who has done that. Not several. We have suffered a lot a loss - Her father died last year.
Your posted message sounded rather judgmental. I'm here seeking help and support and am trying to learn to better understand what she is going through 3,000 miles away. I trying to understand what JW is about so I can help her. Please don't post anything else if your aim is to make me feel worse than I already do.
There was also this post:
I merely highlighted how striking it was that you have 2 young family members who have recently run away, over long distances, to be with a boyfriend - nothing judgmental in an observation, is there?
EDIT - never mind, I see that you modified the story on that first thread. There is no cousin, the only runaway is your daughter. Sorry for being confused.
OnTheWay Out -
Thank you for your response. Right now I'm trying to learn the best approach and trying to learn about JW.
If I turned her in, it would be the very last step. I hope you read my early posts about this situation. His mother told me she would not let them live under her roof and she is letting them. He owns guns. I've been the gun range with him and he taught both my daughter, youngest son and me how to shoot. He told me he was shunned for beating up a JW brother that made him angry.
My initial concern was that my daughter left home with a 22 year old. She had only four months left until she finished high school. Was accepted to four colleges and had her tuition paid for at all of them. (He got upset every time she got a college acceptance letter.)
I welcomed him into my home. Trusted him....and her. Considered him to be honest. Took him on the family vacation - a cruise. My daughter wanted him to have a special Christmas since it was his first one, so we made it extra special. Took him to our annual Halloween party, etc....
I was upset when they left because they woke me up on a school morning and announced they were leaving right then - no discussion. Would not talk about why. My initial concern was for her future plus I did not approve of them "moving in together." After they left, I uncovered lie, after lie, after lie. So, then my concern became that she was being emotional and mentally abused or manipulated. On Monday, I found out about her studying to become a Witness, so now I'm trying to wrap my head around it all.
As one person recommended, just "drop the rope" and don't get into a tug of war with her. I've dropped the rope, but that doesn't mean that I'm not exploring all options and educating myself.
I've told her that I've accepted that she wants to live in California.
We are here for her if she ever wants to come home for a visit or to stay.
Sunday night she called wanting to come home for a visit. She was sobbing. (all that is explained in a previous post). The next day, she doesn't want to come home and that is when she tells me about becoming a Witness. So now, I'm trying to "support" her decision by learning about it. That includes understanding the dos, the don'ts, what is shunning, - how JWs think.
Another member on here recommended that I post a request to see anyone on here was in Columbia, SC or Arleta for support. Currently, I don't plan to out him or her or his mom for letting them stay there.
Based on what he told me, there seems to be a lot of "drama" in his home. They might be outted not by me, but someone in his family and/or community.
Look, you're running around here posting strange "tricks" from the jump and now telling people what they can or can't post in response to you. People are trying to help but you're reeling and bouncing around and need to calm down from my vantage point. Nothing is on fire here.
The same person that told you to post looking for someone in the area also seemed to do so with the notion that you out your daughter to the local congregation but you already said you weren't going to do that. So then, why do you need someone?
You also left out that she doesn't have identification because you withheld it from her. She wasn't kidnapped. She chose to leave. She's not in the best situation for sure because she's involved with a cult, but it's not the end of the world and there may be more to this story that we don't know and won't get from you. People are trying to help and your loaded language from the beginning didn't help so you'll have to receive feedback whether you like that feedback or not.
There's a lot of drama for sure, but it isn't all coming from that home so far away. You mentioned your daughter's lies as a way to paint her as being manipulated. Maybe she's just a liar, maybe she is being manipulated, or maybe there's a reason she feels she has to lie to you specifically. Again, drama doesn't just live on one side of the country. Figuring out the "why" behind all of this may help more than the "what" and "where" of the current situation.
You're mad at them for taking her in, but you took him in. In fact, a lot of what you said above that you were mad about was about you, how you feel tricked by him. You were fine with all if this until it got out from under your control.
Please look inward because the only thing you can control is you. If you want her back, you have to be the person she wants to come to.