Sunday, May 10, 2015

Jennifer Melody's Open Letter to the Governing Body

Contributed by Christian Sparlock Freedom
There is no way for me to begin to explain how my time in the organization and subsequent departure and shunning has affected my life.  I preface this by saying that the Jehovah's Witness organization of today barely resembles the one that I grew up in.   I was devout, attending 5 weekly meetings regularly and spending as much time in the ministry as possible.  This was at age 14 years.  The brothers and sisters then were meek, humble, kind people that made me feel protected, as they were all I associated with.  They were definitely not the loud-mouthed, boastful bullies that post on social media, mocking those that question, calling them names, acting more worldly than those they are bullying.  

At any rate, the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs) ensures that your whole life and world is theirs, reprimanding those that have any associates that aren't in "the truth" (what the Watchtower Society's religion is called by JWs).  The Governing Body demands ultimate respect for the elders, which I did unquestioningly and faithfully, until at 13 years of age, an elder molested me.  I didn't say anything for over a year, as that would be disrespectful and the elder made sure to point out that I wouldn't be believed.  

When I caught him alone with a 2 and 3 year old set of sisters, I couldn't stay quiet anymore.  I knew I was telling the truth, though, and expected some sort of protection.  What I didn't see coming was the large gathering at the Kingdom Hall, where I was handed a microphone and told to describe the abuse.  Then he was allowed to question me, which he did and ultimately determined that it was my fault that he touched me, not because I asked for it or anything, but because I must be psychologically damaged.
Two other girls had initially come forward with eerily similar stories.  Their fathers were elders as well, and so was my father.  The night I was put on the stage to answer questions, they were supposed to be there by me.  They were not.  Their fathers wouldn't let them come forward, they answered for them, one saying his daughter had experienced a bad dream after hearing what happened to me.  The other father said his daughter had simply made it up to stick up for her best friend, me.  Within a week, those two fathers were still elders; mine was not.  

As far as what this convicted pedophile elder in his 40's did to me, nothing was ever admitted, and I didn't receive an apology from anyone.  No one protected me, no police were called, as it might cast an unfavorable light.  The pedophile elder was reproved, and I was punished by being restricted from participating in meetings.  His punishment ended before mine did.  I was told that I was punished because I didn't scream.  Again, I was age 13 years, he was married in his 40's.  He is still an active member and I shudder to think how many other girls have been touched by him, which probably continues now.  

Where in the Watchtower Society's New World Translation does any of what I've just described fit in with what you say you teach?  

After that happened, I was a pariah.  Again, 13-year-old molestation victim here.  My father lost his position as an elder.  Why?  To shut us up?  Yet, I continued in "the truth" until, at age 16 years, when I couldn't stand the hypocrisy anymore.  That's when my first suicide attempt occurred.  I was disfellowshipped shortly thereafter, so the other attempts weren't on your watch, although Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs) were as much a part of them as if you shoved the pills down my throat.  

I lost the people I loved, the true witnesses that were loving, understanding, kind, and that believed a great wrong had been done to me. I lost my grandparents and parents, family, friends, and I'm told the congregation was told to turn me away if I asked for any help. So to recap, YOUR Elder that I was forced to respect and obey messed me up so badly I wanted to die, and your kind, loving, Jehovah-approved response was to turn your collective backs on me, tell my family to do the same, and welcome the pedophile back into your midst so that he could continue having unsupervised contact with minors.  That is what Jehovah taught you to do, correct?  
My life since has spiraled downward from time to time.  I battled addiction and settled down with a man that beat me physically and abused me mentally.  Why wouldn't I do that?  Because according to Jehovah's Witnesses that's what I deserved, because I was bad and needed to shut up and just do what was told of me.  

I am just now, years later, speaking of this for the first time.  You see, for all this time I considered that it would be wrong of me to tell anyone, it might make the organization look bad.  That's what I was told.  But the Governing Body didn't care how I looked, did you?  You didn't worry about my mental state after going through all of that.  You didn't seem to think I might have a lapse of faith and that perhaps you should be kind and forgiving, as it says to do EVEN IN YOUR BIBLE, unless you've changed the words again to reflect your lack of mercy and penchant for unjust behavior.  No, you chose to disfellowship me and throw me away.  

I am in a different place now, and local Elders have tried to speak with me several times.  Funny, even years and states away, they knew the story of what happened to me.  They seemed genuinely nice, but I won't trust again.  

So the bible you preach so fervently does say that you reap what is sewn.  It seems, with all the litigation that has been successful, that you are finally having to make some amends.  Yet the members of your congregation are brash and rude to the public, they seem to take great pride in being nasty to anyone brave enough to ask a question.
Contributed by Christian Sparlock Freedom
Your bible also says that pride goes before a fall.  With the Internet, you can't hide how your organization truly is any more.  There are so many of us whose lives and psyches have been destroyed because of being thrown out like trash by a religious sect that is supposed to emulate the one true loving God, Jehovah.  Do you see the problem here?