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Friday, July 18, 2014

The Story of Susan Gaskin-Fusco

I was born to two wonderful parents in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  My mother was born in Austria and my father in Guyana (South America) and despite their seventeen year age difference, they were happily married.  The year after I was born, they began studying with Jehovah’s Witnesses and within a short time, believed it to be “the truth,” as the religion taught by the Watchtower Society was referred to by Jehovah's Witnesses, and they were baptized into the faith.

Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs) taught that the end of the world (Armageddon) would occur in 1975, which was, at that time, just a few years away, and JWs were compelled to preach this message to everyone.  My father even quit his profitable federal government job, with which he had supported our family of five, to take up preaching from door to door full-time.  The Watchtower Society did a good job of forewarning JWs that most people would reject their preaching, which was a form of persecution, so when it happened, it only served to convince them even more that they were doing God’s work, and that Satan was responsible for any resistance they had.

The Watchtower Society really pushes the preaching work on their members, and when the public doesn’t respond favorably to the message being preached, JWs are instructed to cut off association with them, including even family members.  The end result is that the only friends and associates that JWs have are fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses, which is what any cult would want, since there's no one to turn to, if a JW leaves the Watchtower Society.  As a child, my parents always told me that it was my relatives who cut us off once we became Jehovah’s Witnesses, but I have since learned that it was the other way around.

I remember waking up as a young child on January 1, 1975, and being surprised that the end had not come.  I have no idea what I was expecting exactly, but I’d been subjected to countless pictures of people being killed by God in numerous Watchtower publications, so I was expecting some kind of mass destruction of the world.  The year 1975 came and went, yet it didn’t seem to phase my parents one bit that the Governing Body was wrong with their prediction of the end, though returning to the work force was difficult for my father, and at his age, he was relegated to janitorial jobs for the rest of his working life.

We moved to the west coast of Canada and it was here where I met Janey. She was my best JW friend and almost literally stuck to me like glue, never letting me out of her sight.  At the age of fourteen, she told me she would be getting baptized into the faith, and the “sheep-like follower” that I was, I followed suit.

Janey and I were both top students in high school and each won many awards and scholarships, yet the Watchtower Society (WTS) frowned heavily upon higher education, so there would be no university or good paying jobs for us, to the shock of our teachers.  The WTS taught that the end of the world was "right around the corner" and billions of lives were at stake unless we warned them by preaching door-to-door.

When we graduated from high school, Janey immediately began preaching full-time, or "Regular Pioneering," as it was called.  I had been offered a well-paying government job, but had planned to turn it down, in order to Pioneer with Janey.  At the eleventh hour, I took the job at my parent’s insistence, which resulted in Janey completely cutting me off as a friend.  By this, I learned that Jehovah’s Witnesses’ friendships are only conditional. because they will drop you in a heartbeat should you ever fail to tow the "party line."

In the interim, I was enjoying life without Janey and met some wonderful guys.  Unfortunately, none of them were JWs, so dating them was out of the question, as we were only allowed to marry within the faith.

When I was age twenty-one, I was considered to be too old to be single, for a girl in the Watchtower Society, in that part of the world, and I married a fellow believer.  He was a good person.....I thought, but he turned out to be a terrible husband.  He had some severe issues that made living with him very difficult and hard on me.

I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, an illness of the nervous system that makes walking increasingly difficult with time, and I began to feel desperate to do something.  I thought that maybe if I became a Regular Pioneer, things would improve.  Unfortunately, things got much worse at home.   I’ve never been one to ask for help, but decided to ask the Elders for assistance with my husband on a few occasions.  They promised to help me and they realized there was a problem, but did nothing.

A friend of mine within the congregation invited me to go to the Watchtower Society's world headquarters in Brooklyn (Bethel).  My husband had no interest, so the two of us went with a group that tours the Bethel complexes, but my friend and I wanted to stay on afterwards for the weekend in Manhattan.  We didn’t realize that there was a national US holiday then and there were no hotels available.  When we called Bethel and told them our dilemma, we were told to call the hotels on their recommended lodgings list.  We had already made phone calls to all of the hotels and there were no vacancies, so we told them that we were Pioneers and asked permission to stay at Bethel.  The "brother" on the phone asked us what kind of pioneers we were.  We told him that we were Regular Pioneers and would be happy to pay for our stay.  His reply was that if we were “Special Pioneers” or Missionaries, then we could be helped, but nothing was available for us, and with that, he hung up. This experience really soured myfeelings toward the Watchtower Society.  I felt that I had slaved for it all my life, with an untold amount of self- sacrifices, yet because we weren’t the right kind of Pioneers, we were kicked to the curb, and then we were treated like they didn’t even know us.  They were happy to take all of our donations of money, energy and time, yet the one time we asked for needed assistance, they refused without even a care.  This was colder than any “worldly” (non-JW) organization and certainly did not feel like the loving motherly organization they portray it to be.

As I became disheartened with the religion, my marriage and my health, I took some time off from work and started spending time on the computer.   I set up my own website and would practice speaking French to random people.  In time, I met a few guys and carried on a bit with them in a flirting manner, although I never hid the fact that I was married.  I met one guy who stood out to me, yet no plans were ever made to meet or be with him.  I knew it wasn’t right, and frankly, I had no idea what I was doing, but by that time, I really didn’t care.

My husband, who, at this time, rarely went to meetings and never went out in field service, discovered what I had been doing and reported me to the Elders.  Immediately, they met with me and scheduled a Judicial Committee meeting in the dreaded back room of the Kingdom Hall.  There were three (!!!) Judicial Committee meetings, one after another, within one week.  I asked for more time in between the meetings, so that I could think about my life more clearly, but they refused my requests and insisted on rushing to their next meeting of judgment upon me.  The reason they gave was that people within the congregation were talking.  Remember, these were the same Elders who had no time to help me, yet seemed to have all the time in the world to judge me.  They had no idea what to do with me, because I had many bible students.  One of my bible students had just been baptized and a few more were on their way to baptism in the near future.  Additionally, I was asked to be on every convention program and I did a lot within the congregation.  I told the elders that I wanted to leave my husband.  They agreed, appeared to be understanding and approved of my decision, but when I refused to remain single for the rest of my life, they disfellowshipped me.

My being disfellowshipped was a huge blow.  I immediately drove to my parents’ house and gave them the news.  My father, also an Elder, thought it was ridiculous and refused to cut me off the way the WTS forces JWs to do when someone either leaves the WTS by choice, or is disfellowshipped.  My parents wanted me to appeal the decision, and I was determined to return eventually, but at that point, I just wanted a break from it all.  The shunning from fellow Witnesses began immediately.

I stopped visiting my bible students, because I didn’t want to "stumble" them, and soon learned from them, since they eventually contacted me, that an Elder’s wife lied to them about what had happened to me.  Clearly, she was embarrassed about my ridiculous disfellowshipping.  When I told these bible students the truth, this same Elder’s wife began spreading malicious rumors about me that I was now an "apostate," actively taking my bible students with me.  Of course, this was all lies, because I had no interest in doing that of which I was falsely accused.

Soon thereafter, I ran into a JW "brother," in a coffee shop, whom I had known since we were teenagers.  He had heard about my disfellowshipping and invited me to dinner so we could chat.  He ended up lending me his two Ray Franz books.  I’d heard of them and was scared to read them, but thankfully, I did.  They were written with no anger and were so convincing that I couldn’t put them down.
Created on imgflip.com by Noel Parsons
When my father died, it was the first time it hit me that I was going to die too!  It is unconscionable that a religion actually teaches that you will not die.  The religion had a famous slogan: “millions now living will never die," but that was a Watchtower Society proclamation from 1925 and all of them are dead now.

The “memorial” held for my father at the Kingdom Hall was a low point in my life.   It was difficult enough to go to my father’s funeral, a man I had always loved dearly and respected, but to be shunned by former “friends” at the event only added to my grieving.  One “sister” who was hosting a tea in the back of the Kingdom Hall actually made a phone call to my mother to say that I was not welcome at her tea, and if I tried to show up, they would have to escort me out!  Even my mother was disgusted at the hardheartedness shown.   I had no intention or desire to show up at her stupid tea party.

It has taken many years to deprogram myself from the teachings of the Watchtower Society of Jehovah's Witnesses, but I am forever grateful to be out.  I believe it now to be a harmful cult, responsible for the break-up of families, countless suicides (I know 6 personally from ones who had been disfellowshipped), and a lifetime of lies, false prophecies and broken promises.  I want to help others who are waking up and suffering from this cult, and also, to educate the world regarding their harmful practices.

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.

If you would like to have your CHILD CUSTODY case reviewed, William H. Bowen also founded the Jehovah's Witnesses Child Custody website to provide information and assistance for former or Ex-Jehovah's Witnesses with child custody issues. 

If you are a former or Ex-Jehovah's Witness in need of counseling concerning you or your child having been molested/raped, please go to the Silent Lambs website for assistance.  http://www.silentlambs.org/assistance/index.cfm

Want to know where to find the concrete evidence against the Governing Body of the Watchtower Society of Jehovah's Witnesses?  Here's a few links to get you started:
 
Facts About Jehovah's Witnesses

Silent Lambs

Watchtower Documents.Com

Watchers of the Watchtower World

Advocates for Awareness of Watchtower Abuses (AAWA)

Ex-Jehovah's Witnesses Online

^^^ The above website includes "An Elder Shares His Honest Opinions"
http://ex-jw.com/elder-shares-honest-opinions  (THAT should be an interesting read!)