First of all, I would like to say "Hello." to everyone here. My friend, smoldering wick, informed me of this board and this is my first time here. So, thank you for having me and also, please bear with me as I am sure I can be pretty long winded about things.
Now that that is out of the way I would like to take some time to get down in writing some things that have been on my mind for the past year and some change. I saw an interesting post from this board about "When did you stop being a JW?" and to be honest, I can't really pinpoint that date for myself. I was disfellowshipped, so I suppose in a sense, the day that was announced I stopped being a JW. But, as anyone from the organization will tell you, the heart condition is the most important thing, so if I really was repentant and striving to be re-instated, then I would still be a JW in my heart I'd just need to finish some paperwork. But I would like to tell you about my first honest words.
I was born in 1974 to two parents who were JW. I am the 2nd of 4 children; two brothers and a sister. From that day on, I was "raised in the truth." I remember very little about my childhood and what I do recall is scattered and disjointed. There is no time frame and I'm sure I get events out of order. Suffice it to say, when I was 8 years old my parents divorced. Actually, my dad went to work one day and when he got home at 3 P.M., we were gone. He was a drinker, and a cheat and that was a combination my mother had decided she'd had enough of so she split with the 4 of us and we traveled from Houston to Memphis, TN. We lived with her parents (Methodists) for about 2 years, then moved into our own place and for the next 7 years we moved in two year increments. The only constants being my mother and the Kingdom Hall. There were alot of generous people. Two in particular, Larry and Nancy. Larry was an elder in our congregation and he and Nancy become my mother's best friends. Since she was a single mother of 4 you can imagine the work hours she kept and that meant alot of our time was spent in Nancy and Larry's home.
In 1989, just two days after my mother's 42 birthday, something unreal happened. She had gone into the hospital to undergo a precedure involving her Thyroid, with which she'd been having problems. The procedure went well but during recovery (so far as i can piece together) something went wrong and she went into a coma. The blood issue never came up, there was no need for it. Anyway, my mother held on with the help of life support for a week, and then , when tests showed there was no brain function, the switch was flipped and my mother was turned off. Here, again, my mind is fragmented, but I can remember some situations with painful clarity. Some boy from our hall coming to me at the funeral and informing me "Your mother's skin feels wierd." Hearing people muttering at the visitation about how they heard "she'd lived for 16 minutes after the machine was turned off." Seeing my mother in her casket. Buying clothes to wear to her funeral when she wasn't techincally dead yet. One of my mother's final wishes was that the 4 of us remain together and remain in the "truth." This meant that we could not go to any of our blood relatives because none of them could take 4 kids at once, nor were any of them JW's. So Nancy and Larry, bless them, stepped up to the plate and took the 4 of us in.
The next 6 years were very strange. Obeying 2 people who are not your blood because you've been taught your whole life to respect your elders. Not to mention, what would that say about me that I chaffed at the outcome of my mother's last wish? Anyway, to make a long story short, Nancy and Larry were very strict. But I really couldn't blame them. They took on 4 teenagers all at once. Larry put me and my 2 brothers to work around our kingdom hall and we had a huge hand in helping out with our congregation's quick build project. There was not one day that went by that we weren't working on that site. Even after it was built. It became a source of frustration for me. I felt like no one would ever help us out because they knew the "boys" (meaning us) would take care of it. Anyway, These things started piling up and the fact that I was an excellent student of the bible, baptized, delivering talks and prayers, and on my way to being a Ministerial Servant, did not offset the frustration. I did not like going out in service. I did not like going to the meetings. In retrospect, I don't think I liked very much of what I was being told to do at the time. I was labled by Nancy and Larry a "back-talker" because I would balk at some of their demands. Around the time I turned 16 or so, maybe older, I began to notice girls and have very strong feelings toward them. I didn't just want sex, like any other guy, I wanted love. I wanted bonds of affection, I wanted ....wedded bliss. What every red-blooded JW boy wants. But Nancy and Larry forbade me to date. "Too young!" They'd say all the time. By the time I was 18, however, there was little they could say.
I began seeing a girl named April. April was from a Southern Baptist family, she fell in love with me or maybe just the idea of me, and she wanted a way out of her very irrational and abusive family life. I was that way out, promising her a glorious life of service and reward and fellowship provided she studied and became baptized. Maybe she realized something that I didn't at the time, because the 1st couple of studies went ok. But then, she started acting out. Becoming irate, refusing to cooperate and essentially making it look like all hope was lost of converting her. I stood my ground and helped her to see that a life with me lay along the JW path and not long after that she was baptized and we were planning our marriage.
Plans aside, we wound up going to a judge's house at 8 p.m. on August 5th 1995. I had slacks, a shirt and tie on, she was wearing a kingdom hall dress. We paid for the ceremony with a $50 check that bounced. There were no pictures. No witnesses. No family, no friends. But, I was in love and I thought she was too. The marriage started disentegrating immediately. April became abusive and refused to work, she left me on the day of our 1st wedding anniversary and moved back in with her mother, informing me she was pregnant. I was stuck living in a 1 bedroom apartment that reminded me of a jilted prom date. I had 2 cars that didn't run. I was walking to work at a video store making minimum wage, desperately in love and lost and all the while hearing the words of all of my peers "That's what happens to you when you turn away from Jehovah. Unevenly yoke yourself with unbelievers."
About 2 reconcilliations later, I had been reproved (privately) for a true moment of weakness, but no one seemed to either know, nor care, that my wife had left me. No one wondered how she and I were doing. No one asked, no one would talk to me about it if I mentioned it. "Not my business" they would say. And then it happened. I found a girl I feel for on the internet. In a chatroom meant for JW's on AOL. She arranged to meet me by driving from Texas and since I was thoroughly unhappy, I left my wife and my son (Who, by this time was living with Nancy and Larry.). This time, I did have sex with some one other than my wife and when I got back from this tryst I knew my goose was cooked. And thus the stage is set for what I have come to believe were the first honest words I have ever spoken in my life.
To be continued...