A lot of this I haven't ever discussed with anyone. This is virgin territory into Kwin's head. For those on the board who know me (family and friends) I would appreciate if this could stay on the board as it has taken quite some time to build the courage to write some of this.
I guess I am somewhat of a 3rd generation JW, however my Mom and Grandmother became JW's in the mid to late 70's, shortly before I was born in 1978. My mom was 16 when she had me. I've met my mom's sperm donor a handful of times, but never built a relationship with him (more later).
I lived with my mom, Grandma, Grandpa and uncle for the first 4 years of my life. It was like I had 3 parents, as I looked at my Grandma and Grandpa as parent figures. My uncle was more of the "big brother" type. I can still remember lying in bed awake, scared half to death, after him telling me stories about, and dressing up as the boogie-man, as well as the endless searching he sent me on for something called a "schnakenbocker" although I still don't know what one is. It's this "big brother" who brought me to this page when I didn't know where to turn this past year. Thank you.
This time of my life was also a troubling time for me as I look back at it. I remember nightmares ... Satan coming to get me ... falling from the clouds ... is that something a 4 year-old normally dreams about? I'm sure there were more dreams like this that I've forgotten but that's one that still stands out in my head. I remember going to the Kingdom Hall, and thinking that while we were in there that Armageddon would come and everyone in the world would be gone, and we'd leave the KH and there would be sunshine, flowers and animals everywhere, just like the books show!
When I was 3, my mom met someone who she married when I was 4. He adopted me and he was my dad. My dad was not very successful or smart, seemed lazy, was totally whipped by my mom, but generally had a good heart. Later I had a brother and a sister. We moved to another city, away from my Grandma and Grandpa, yet we visited them often.
More troubling thoughts. I remember being told that only Jehovah's Witnesses would survive Armageddon. Also, God will resurrect EVERYONE who had died, even if they were Jehovah's Witnesses or not. Of the people I knew, only my mother, father and grandmother were Jehovah's Witnesses. I remember privately praying that God would either make my other family members become Jehovah's Witnesses or kill them. This obviously is not a normal thought process for a child who is 6, 7, 8 years old. A few years later, a second cousin on my father?s side died. He was a year younger then me, and I felt guilty, thinking that my prayer had something to do with his death. That's messed up.
So we were still living in another city from my grandmother and grandfather. I was totally a JW. I loved every aspect of it (as much as a kid who was in grade 2-4 can). I loved going door-to-door and talking to people. I went out every chance I got. My summer vacations March break, every weekend. It was what I did and who I was.
During this time, I began to desire to know who my birth father was and talked to my mom about that. I was told to send him a letter. He replied. We wrote back and forth monthly. Eventually I got the opportunity to meet. I met him a handful of times and then he moved, and didn't leave a forwarding address. My mom and dad told me that obviously he didn't care for me at all because of it, and suggested I forget about him. This saddened me.
While we were living there, my parents went out one night and left my brother, sister and I with a babysitter. An elder?s son named Teddy (it was actually Theodore, but everyone called him Teddy) who was in high school, and the older cousin of one of my best friends. He told me that he wanted to play a game with me that he played with my friend, his cousin, and he molested me. Afterwards I felt that it was my fault for participating, and that I would get in trouble for it, so I didn't tell anyone about it, and blocked it from memory.
A short time later my Grandfather died of a sudden and massive heart attack. I felt guilty for this too as it was something that I prayed for. It was one of the saddest times of my life, as my Grandfather was a father to me, and I still miss him to this day. Shortly after we moved back to the city of my birth, a few blocks from my grandmother's house, to be close to her.
A year after we moved back, my cousins (non-JW's) told their parents of their experience in the past of being abused by a babysitter. This brought back the memories. I spent several months struggling with this secret. I was getting in trouble at school constantly, and was being told by teachers, "Something?s bugging you. You have to tell someone." These teachers obviously talked to my parents as they talked to me about the need to discuss problems with others. Eventually I told them.
My parents called the local elders, and they came quickly. I still remember the feeling of being interrogated, but I was only in grade 6, so didn't question it, I just went along. I was offered no counselling as talking to the elders was support enough for me. Nothing was done to my abuser, even though I had made the elders aware that he had abused at least one other child. After this meeting with the elders evidently I was miraculously cured of my mental anguish, and the issue was never again discussed between my parents and I to this day. Since then I have only discussed this with Mrs. Kwin on two occasions.
Things went well in my life after that, and I had a fairly ?normal? JW life until my late teens. That's where my first life story post is located here:
and then the sequel to that is here:
Sorry for bouncing around a bit.
Mrs. Kwin (then Miss GF Kwin) was introduced to me a few months before I was disfellowshipped. She was studying with a sister from another local hall. We started a relationship together. When we found out that I was being disfellowshipped we weren't sure what was going to happen between us. Thankfully, she stayed by my side, and was an amazing support for me through such a lonely period of time in my life. We fell in love.
That?s when the elders stepped in. She was studying, wanting to progress to baptism, and I was DF'd. That couldn't be. It was a catch 22. She couldn't get baptized while dating a DF'd person; I couldn't get reinstated while dating someone not baptized. We were forced to break-up. We did, as difficult as it was, but in all honesty found it too hard to handle, so kept things going on in secret. I was reinstated and Miss GF Kwin was baptized. A month or two after Miss Kwin was baptized; she found that she was pregnant.
Well what can we say? Busted! So, we went to the elders and spilled the beans. We were both
questioned interrogated separately, and of course things didn't keep secret. It didn't take long before the JW rumour-mill got going and everyone knew. Of course they'd know eventually, but I thought that JC meetings were to be private, and they were the ONLY persons we talked about it to. Anyway, we were publicly reproved, so then of course everyone knew what went on. The congregation was very supportive of us though, and many did help.
A month and a half before our baby was born; Miss GF Kwin became Mrs. Kwin as we had long planned to do. This was one of the happiest days of my life, and even though we've had some rough patches, especially the last 2 years, I don't regret it at all and love her more. Two and a half years later our second was born. We were the perfect JW family, on the outside. Inside, my heart wasn't into the JW's. I didn't know why, I tried everything to get motivated but it didn't work.
Years went by. The child abuse scandal broke. We just plugged along. Mrs. Kwin happily, me so happily, as not to ruffle feathers. Just going with the flow. Then there was an article in a local independent paper called "Leaving the Fold" (http://www.thecoast.ns.ca/archives/250903/feature.html) detailing someone's struggle to leave the JW's. In it he mentioned the book "Apocalypse Delayed". Finally I had somewhere to start to research the church I belonged to all my life from a different perspective! I booked it out of the local library and read it. I stopped attending meetings. In the book it mentioned CoC, and mentioned Ray Franz, ex-GB member. I had never heard of that. A GB member leaving? What would cause him to leave? So I bought the book. I then started looking at some online sites such as freeminds.org as well as others.
All this was behind the back of Mrs. Kwin. She noticed my change in attitude, and the fact that I wasn't going to meetings was fairly obvious, as she had to bring the two children on her own. So, to find out what was going on, she logged onto my online account and searched my history. Here she found all the "apostate" sites I had been to. She confronted me about it, and I told her I was done with the religion. Of course she didn't believe a thing I told her, and pushed it aside as lies, "apostate propaganda." She ratted me out (hehehe love you honey) to the local elders, of course she was genuinely concerned so it's nothing I hold against her, however at the time I felt is was a huge breach of my privacy and trust. This was a start of a long year.
Two elders made a sheparding call on me. I asked questions looking for answers, and they didn?t come. I was told the same BS I?d heard for a long time?the GB are imperfect men, trying to do their best. Hmm. I asked about the UN situation. ?I don?t believe it, if it concerns you so much, ask the CO when he comes next week.? Then they said, ?We?re not going to go around in circles all night, so we?ll get going.? Sorry, I just didn?t buy their answers. I was done.
Anyway, that?s my story for the most part. Nothing happened the next year between Mrs. Kwin and I until about 3 months ago when the floodgates of discussion opened. Now Mrs. Kwin and I again have similar points of view. Our marriage, almost of 7 years now, is stronger then it has ever been. I can attribute this mostly to people like everyone on this site. Those who selflessly spend hours supporting those with questions, giving them answers, giving them the truth about ?the truth.? I thank every one who reads this for your part in it.