Thursday, April 24, 2014

Janet, a Wise Child, Even When Threatened

Contributed by Christian Sparlock Freedom
When I was about four years old, somehow my mother got hooked up with the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormons.  I’m guessing that because her contact with the Witnesses was a strong, tall, authoritative elder, she decided that the Witnesses were “the only true religion,” deeming them the only ones with the “truth.”

Oddly enough, even though she proclaimed them to be the right religion, there were things she didn’t want to follow.  We celebrated birthdays and for Christmas she would decorate with straw horses and other d├ęcor from her homeland of Sweden.  When the Witnesses came calling (usually on Sunday’s when we didn’t show up at the Kingdom Hall), Christmas presents were quickly stashed in the hall closet. When questioned about the Swedish decorations she told them they were to celebrate winter and had nothing to do with Christmas.  Poor old Arnold the Elder didn’t want to lose a convert, so he stayed quiet.

I worked hard to memorize the arrangement of the books of the bible and whenever a passage was called out, I found it faster than most.  I would read the verse silently to myself, along with the verses before and after, and that was my undoing. 

When I was ten years old, my mother got a job, so my brother and I went to Arnold the Elder’s house after school.  His wife looked after us and when Arnold came home at 4 PM, it was Bible study time.  Every day.

I will never forget the day he gave us a scripture to look up (I so wish I remembered which one).  As usual, I read what came before and what came after.  Then Arnold proceeded to tell us what that verse meant.  I was puzzled because, in reading the whole paragraph, it didn’t seem to mean what he said it did.  I told him I didn’t understand the verse.  He then whipped out one of those supplementary books they publish.  It had an entire chapter explaining that verse.  That book had us jumping all over the bible to read other verses that appeared to support his meaning of the verse.  After an exhaustive round of Bible gymnastics, he had us read the verse again. He was so proud as he proclaimed, “Now I’m sure it makes sense.”  I told him, "No, it still doesn’t make sense to me, based on reading the verse before and the verse after.”  Arnold’s face lit up and he said, “Oh, I see.  You're trying to read the Bible in context. It’s not meant to be read in context, every sentence stands alone.”  His answer made no sense to me, and I told him that.  I said it was part of a paragraph and it all flowed together, and I just didn’t see how it should be meant to stand alone.  That’s when his face turned red with anger and he stared at me like I was Satan, himself.  Then Arnold explained to me that I needed to be careful and not ask so many questions, because someone might decide I lacked faith in Jehovah and if that happened I could be brought before other Elders and disfellowshipped which would mean no one would be able to talk to me and I would be at risk of being destroyed at Armageddon. 

I WAS 10 YEARS OLD and I had questions! I didn’t understand why asking questions was so wrong. Shouldn’t the truth stand up to any question, even that of a child?  It was very clear to me that it couldn’t and that was the beginning of the end for me.  I wish I had only known then that the original languages of the Bible didn’t have punctuation.  No commas, no colons, no periods, everything was written as one long sentence.  I probably would have been tossed out right then and there and Arnold’s head would have exploded.
Contributed by Christian Sparlock Freedom

There is so much more to my life as a Witness, but this is where I began my quest to find the real truth.  I have a goal to write a simple, illustrated book that points out their flip flops and inconsistencies over the years, failed prophecies, etc. I especially want to show examples of how the Governing Body's "new light" is more like a strobe light. If anyone has read this far, thank you and if you have suggestions or points to put in this book, I’d appreciate it.