It's been quite awhile since I've been actively involved in the jehovahs-witness.com or .net website, and I'm grateful that my time away from the Watchtower people and mindset has brought me peace. But I thought I'd throw out the experience with my parents from this past August.
I "woke up" almost 11 years ago, broke the news to my mother a little over 9 years ago, and she, my father and the rest of my family haven't been willing to see me for about 8 years.
I live in Mexico now. I was going back to Michigan for my high school class reunion and my parents are in their early 80s. I thought, although it was a longshot, maybe I should reach out anyway just to see if they'd like to see me. So this is the letter I wrote:
I haven’t contacted you in some time, since I don’t want to disturb or irritate you, but I’m flying in to Detroit tomorrow evening. I’ll be driving up to Tawas for my 30 year class reunion on Thursday morning, but will have some time if you or my father would like to see me. I’m understanding of your reasons for not wanting to see me, but I live in Mexico now, and since I think I may not be back in Michigan for another 5 years and, in consideration of your age, I thought offering to meet was the decent thing to do.
I land in Detroit at 6:25pm tomorrow, and will be staying at a hotel in Novi on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. I’ll also be in the Detroit vicinity on Monday (8/25) late afternoon and evening before my flight out early Tuesday.
I hope you and my father are well,
Seven days later, my mother sent this:
"Jon, if we could ever get a communication from you saying you were returning to Jehovah's Organization, we would travel any number of miles to see you, but until then, we must continue to obey the command in 2 John 10 (NIV "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them.")
So, I finally made my case on this subject in my response:
"Thanks for your reply. While I have no interest in pursuing this subject with you, I’ll admit it feels somehow wrong not to at least address what I recognize as the facts pertaining to it—just so your perspective is not the only one presented.
-April 20, 1966: You gave birth to me, and introduced me to a world in which the only perspective offered is that of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.
-Early 1983: After telling you I didn’t think I was ready to become baptized into the Watchtower Society (WTS), you told me that if I didn’t get baptized as a Jehovah's Witness, you wouldn’t pay for the computer classes at Mid- Michigan Community College we had discussed. I acquiesced.
-June 1983: I submitted to the baptism.
-Late 2003: After 37 years of living within the WTS perspective, (and 20 years after baptism, including 3 years as a ministerial servant and 3 as an elder,) I gave myself permission to conduct an objective investigation into the facts concerning this organization’s history and the Governing Body's claims of Divine appointment.
-September 15, 2004: After a year of investigation, I come to the shocking conclusion that the WTS is not what it purports to be, namely the ‘sole channel of communication from mankind’s Creator,’ or “Jehovah’s Organization."
-Early 2006: I informed you by telephone that I no longer believe the WTS represents “Jehovah’s Organization.”
In your email of August 25th, you wrote, "if we could ever get a communication from you saying you were returning to Jehovah’s Organization we would travel any number of miles to see you.”
But it is you who considers it “Jehovah’s Organization”; not me. I have never attempted to change your opinion of this—unless you consider stating the reasons why I myself disagree with this assertion as ‘another teaching.’ You simply declare that “the teaching of the Christ” equals acknowledging the WTS as “Jehovah’s Organization.” My position gives full respect to your personal opinions and conclusions. Your position gives no respect to mine.
I do not blame you for item number one in the above timeline. I know you only did what you considered right, but as we have now come to the end of our relationship, I would do you no good by humoring you.
You introduced me to a mindset, which you thought was the only correct one. You then pushed me into baptism against my wishes, at an age when I was in no possible position to identify a religious organization as being “Jehovah’s Organization.” And when I later decided it was not, you soon cut me off from all contact. So it isn’t just that I don’t recognize the WTS as being what you think it is; it’s that I discovered this after baptism. A baptism you’d pressured me into. I had effectively been trapped as a child in a sort of contract, in which I had no way of fully understanding.
This may correspond to the dictates of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, but it amounts to nothing less than an arrogant and gratuitous assertion. I find no evidence that any of this extends from logic or reason, but primarily from an untested emotional attachment to a religion. Yes, you may have done what you thought was right, but although you have fully bestowed your mind to the leadership of this organization, you are the one who must accept full responsibility for your actions in this regard.
I hope your association with this organization brings you comfort and positive things.