My mother became a Jehovah's Witness when I was about five years old and my dad followed her example by the time I was about fourteen years of age. All of a sudden, there was no more Christmas, no more birthday celebrations, no Thanksgiving, no Easter....
Contributed by Noel Parsons
When I was sixteen years old, my brother, sister, and I were all baptized. It was the biggest mistake of my life, but I was being told that I would be looked down upon if I did not, so I did. I just never wanted any part of the religion ever. I hated going door to door (preaching in field service) and I never told my school friends, because I was so embarrassed! Not to mention that my parents suddenly no longer allowed me to associate with my school friends, which was terrible! Having no other choice, I went along with it.
I married at twenty-one years of age to another Jehovah's Witness. What I was thinking becoming married would do for me, I do not know, but since everyone around us was being married, once again, I went along with it.
It was not a happy marriage for long. My husband became a Ministerial Servant and, from the outside, things looked fine. On the inside, there was terrible mental and physical abuse. I became "inactive" and was told daily what an embarrassment I was. At that point, I went on a mission to get disfellowshipped! I tried everything.... smoking, heavily drinking, going out with work friends, not coming home, my husband reported all of this to the Elders, and there were countless Judicial Committee meetings, regarding my activities, but nothing worked. They actually made my husband step down as a Ministerial Servant. Too bad!
I began working at a bar (saloon) and met someone and we began dating. When my husband found out, he and my father followed me for a night and reported me. Nice, right? I received a call from an Elder to please show up for a Judicial Committee meeting about this matter. Personally, I did not see the point. I had left my husband and knew I was not sorry. I saw no point in my taking off from work to go, so they disfellowshipped me over the phone. I did not even listen to the whole message. My husband and I were divorced and six weeks later, my now ex-husband was remarried. Obviously, he was also cheating on me, but no one seemed to notice that. My whole family went to his wedding. What a betrayal!
My boyfriend called my parents, whom he had never met, to tell them. What a mistake! My parents came in and stopped all procedures being done, since they do not believe in taking blood. Apparently, at sixteen years of age, I had signed a power of attorney and a blood card and, since they were my relatives, they could call the shots. Unfortunately, my boyfriend was blindsided, I had never told him that Jehovah's Witnesses do not take blood!
I was at this point in a coma, so instead of getting blood to help to even find out what was wrong, they had me on some silly medicines that did nothing. I was dying and my parents were fine with it. For that, I will never forgive them. Thank God for my amazing boyfriend, they thought he was going to take those news laying down and he didn't. He promptly got a lawyer, who specializes in this particular issue and was ready to take my parents to court.
Then I woke up. I could not speak, but with my boyfriend's help and the help of the doctors (who were on our side), they asked questions and I squeezed their hands, once for yes, twice for no. They asked if I wanted blood, was I a Jehovah's Witness and did I understand what was happening. I did. I was rushed to surgery. I had toxic shock syndrome, meningitis, and all my organs were shutting down. Thankfully, I received the blood transfusion which I needed. Eight surgeries and two months later, I went home.
When I woke up and was told what my parents had done, I was beyond horrified. A religion is more important than my life? I was no longer a Jehovah's Witness and they did this anyway? I was in shock. My boyfriend also drew up a new power of attorney (POA), which stated everything my parents' POA for me had in it. My friend, who is a notary, and two other friends rushed to the hospital and we signed and got the document legalized. What a relief!
Things are stable now. I still need one more surgery, but I just have to wonder... 'What if I could have had surgery that day, instead of ten days later, because my parents were blocking treatment? What they did is unforgivable to me. They not only almost killed me over their stupid beliefs, they treated the man I love, who was trying to save my life, terribly. They were so rude, yelling at him, trying to talk to doctors behind his back... They were horrible. The friends I made, after I left the Watchtower Society, were all there, my parents and sister kicked my friends out and told them it was their fault that I was ill, because they corrupted me. As if someone can give you toxic shock syndrome! All of my friends wanted to wait for my sister in the parking lot and beat her up!
It has been a long road and still is not over. Thankfully, I have an amazing man by my side, who protects me and his family is my family. They have made me realize that family is not about blood relations and I love them dearly! Leaving that cult was the best decision I have ever made and I have never turned back!