My parents divorced when I was seven or eight years of age, and I remember my mother, whom I now believe was very 'married' to the religion. It was horrible. I remember being forced to go to the meetings. No excuse would be accepted. Nothing I could feign would be good enough to stay at home, and I hated going there. There weren't any children my age to play with, just a lot of adults. Boring! I hated the songs, too. I hated having to dress properly. Dresses have to be at the knee. Nothing long and nothing short. You cannot dress too 'worldly!' I was told that if I behaved in a certain way, I was bad. I guess I was always bad, most of the time. I was always told that I was on Satan's side and I was making him happy when I was bad.
When I got older, I was still being told I was bad, but then they added that I was going to die at Armageddon! This went on for years and years and years. I was afraid to do anything! I was not allowed to play with school children, because they were 'worldly!' (not Jehovah's Witnesses) They were bad. So I had to play with children that were quite a bit younger than I. I was about fifteen years old and my friends were ages nine or ten. Basically, I really did not grow up as other children did. I seemed to be very immature.
Maybe this has had an effect on me as an adult. I know one thing for sure.....being in this cult made me less confident and made me very insecure about who I am. I remember going to the assemblies at Dodge Stadium in Los Angeles. The District Assemblies went from morning to night. I slept through most of the afternoon, because what normal child wants to listen to someone talk on and on? The only part I liked was the bible dramas, but those were not scheduled until night time. I hated having to sit in the hot sun.
After a number of years had gone by I had decided to not be a part of this group anymore. I had begun to think on my own. I wanted to go and spend Christmas with my father and step-mother in central California. When I was age seventeen, I bought my father a gift, with money I was paid for working a part-time job at the local library. It was a Backgammon game. My mother found out and she hid food from me. We lived in a small one-bedroom apartment. I would find some of the food she hid from me, but other types of food she would actually lock up, so I could not eat. My mother would berate me in front of others too. I don't know why, but I always thought the religion made her do it.
My older brother was allowed to go with school friends and play basketball, go to the movies or do anything he wanted. He had free reign, but not me. I was not allowed to do anything like that. I was always being punished for something, because I was bad! My mother would beat me with a cat leash so badly that I would have welts on my arms and legs. When we would go the Kingdom Hall, I was hoping someone would ask me about the welts so I could tell on her, but my mother always beat me to the punch, telling everyone that I was being disobedient and I had to be punished. For years, I endured this kind of torture, both emotional abuse and physical abuse. Not only that, but also, when I was a small child, if I went to my father's and step-mother's house to celebrate Christmas or any other holiday, I was bad! At first, it was okay because my brother and I got clothes and toys, but that changed and going to their house for any Holiday was bad and if I went, of course, I would be bad and again disobedient, along with all the bad words my mother would use to tell me that I was. Not a word to my brother, though. Go figure. If I stayed home and did not go to my father's house, then I displeased him. I was in the middle all the time, trying to please both parents, who were worlds apart. Then there was the part about going to the Kingdom Hall! I was forced to go there, even if I didn't want to go. Then I had to go to my father's church, Serbian Orthodox. My mother did not want me going there, so what was I supposed to do? No matter what I did, it was wrong!
When I turned age seventeen years, I could no longer deal with the bullshit anymore and I took a firm stand. I had to force my mother to understand and in a small way, I think she did, for once in her life. She saw the girls that I had wanted to be friends with ignore me and betray me. I was always left by myself, something I to which I had become accustomed. No longer did she force me to go to the meetings and book studies. I did not even want to go to the Jehovah's Witness gatherings, they seemed too fake and phony.
There did come a time when I was disfellowshipped, so of course, no one was allowed to speak to me, including my own family. I remember that day. My mother told me I had been disfellowshipped. It was because Jehovah's Witnesses are required to tell the elders what they did wrong, a confession of sorts. They were going to announce it at the Kingdom Hall that night. Most of the time, when that happens, the parent(s) do not attend. This did not hold true for my mother. She was sure to attend in order to get sympathy, because of the wrong I had done. It's been my experience that when a Jehovah's Witness is disfellowshipped, the elders do not go into detail, but they do say what the reason for the disfellowshipping is, in a general sort of fashion. It's my understanding that this is not the case in many congregations.
For years and until this day, I have not spoken to my siblings. My brother, who was five years older than I, committed suicide over this matter. He had met someone and had an affair. No one was there for him. He felt alone and shamed, but not one of the Jehovah's Witnesses gave a damn. I wish I had known. Maybe I could have helped. That is how the Jehovah's Witnesses are. They do not care. They are taught to hate, and call it love.
I am sure that God does not want siblings and family to not talk to each other. How can that be love? They are hypocrites. I have only seen my sister two times in more than ten years and my older brother maybe once in that same time or even longer. It is very tragic how this religion ropes people into becoming one of them and keeps them in line like a cult. They threaten you. They are mind-controlling people.
My brother's wife is very sick and apparently, no one in his congregation will help him. That is very sad, but maybe it is karma. Because of these people and my mother, I grew up sheltered from the world, afraid and full of mistrust. Damaged I am sure, because of their teachings. The only flesh and blood I have left are my nephews, nieces and cousins. Anyone who wants to join this cult should think it through carefully and be warned.
NOTE: If you are a former or Ex-Jehovah's Witness, who would like to have your case reviewed legally, concerning you or your child having been molested/raped and receiving no assistance from anyone in the Watchtower Society, you can contact William H. Bowen, the founder of silentlambs.org. For confidential contact info, check with Admin. in "The Truth Behind Jehovah's Witnesses" group on Facebook.