Episode 3 - Life At Home As One Of Jehovah's Witnesses
This episode is heavier than the first two as I delve into the personal life at home in my family of Jehovah's Witnesses. You will learn some of what really went on, as opposed to the appearances that were always kept up, as that is what Jehovah's Witnesses often tend to focus on. Direct Download Here [expand title="Click Here To Show Transcript"] All right so now let's go and talk about home life not the bugs and such that I mentioned were a problem for me when we first moved but the actual dynamics of our house I'm going to say now that I'm going to try to keep this story as close to the whole Jehovah's Witness narrative as possible. My family was dysfunctional as can be. But I'm going to do what I can to stick to the witness story here not the personal one though obviously they're intertwined. Some parts are going to be necessary to the story and I'll get into those. But out of respect for my family I'll leave a lot of things out that aren't necessarily pertinent to the subject at hand for some reason I still have respect for them even though they're shun me and act like I no longer exist. My goal is to be better than that. As a loving human being something that I've actually been able to become since I left the call. [00:02:45] So let's get to it. I already mentioned that holidays went away. And I believe that last Christmas that I refer to previously was truly my last holiday period. That was it. What the absence of holidays that meant that we no longer saw our extended family much if you think about it. That's actually when everyone usually gets together. I didn't see many of them for decades. In the end they weren't Jehovah's Witnesses and were therefore not really the best Association anyway we could do better. Doesn't that sound horrible. But that's actually how you kind of start to feel the US versus them attitude is a race to the bottom and someone starts being seen as almost inhuman in order to justify the behavior. Us versus Them or paranoia about them being against us is the hallmark of any good cult though. As I stated before I was told that my parents no longer needed an excuse to get me gifts and that I could get them any time not just on specific dates so we didn't need holidays anymore. Well I'll let you guess how many presents I got after that. Even birthdays went away. No celebrations no presents nothing. Speaking of presents let's talk about toys. Things like my GI Joes having guns or weapons on other toys suddenly became an issue. Even water guns are a thing that many Jehovah's Witnesses never have. Toys also aren't supposed to be anything that they might deem spiritist like wizards or sorcerers or ghosts or anything like that. Entertainment suddenly became a big deal as well Joe. [00:04:33] Witnesses aren't supposed to watch anything that might even suggest sexuality violence or obscene language. So you learn to really watch what music you listen to the lyrics and to judge for yourself that liking that song with the great music and lyrics because one line says something that quote Jehovah or God in their eyes won't approve of you start to judge yourself for for what you're drawn to. I remember one talk at the Kingdom Hall about how we should consider that if we wouldn't listen to or watch whatever entertainment it is if Jesus was in the room then we really shouldn't be entertained by it period. This applies to any entertainment videogames as well. We did have games throughout the years but they were usually just sports games for the most part and games like Mario. Things that are fairly innocuous though I guess. Actually if you've got deep enough into the Mario game I'm sure you can find something wrong with it. I borrowed a game that had I had to give back at one time because it was too violent and it was very mild but I don't know maybe you had like an army scene or something like that. We're talking eight in Tendo here so it couldn't have been very graphic or gory. My parents also decided that country music was the only acceptable music they deemed it clean enough to listen to now myself. I love pop and rap music before then leaning toward rap. That's something I always enjoyed. [00:06:10] But that that went away. My parents would no longer let me listen to that. After that it was it was all of my achy breaky heart. So I remember one time my grandparents actually I don't know exactly how old I was but the same mid-teens I remember. [00:06:31] For some reason they had bought me a Walkman or we went out shopping and I bought a Walkman and they paid for it. [00:06:42] But I remember that my mom and dad when I got home and they found out that I had a Walkman. They made me take it back because they quote couldn't know what I was listening to. So again we go back to that level of control over your children. I think it was that last spring that I was talking about on the last episode that needs to be crushed. I had to be controlled. And so even what I listened to in private had to be controlled if at all possible. Again we had to watch anything that could be seen as spirit cystic as well. Like I think Scooby-Doo even though I think it was obviously just someone in a ghost costume that was usually the culprit but things like Scooby Doo with ghosts in it are more notably things like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. [00:07:40] That stuff was seen as being linked with demons so it was out you really weren't supposed to watch those things. In fact there were entire articles in the Watchtower publications devoted to things like that. [00:07:55] So let's talk about demons real quick. Jehovah's Witnesses were often afraid of buying things at yard sales because they might be demon possessed. You know maybe the person who owns that piece of furniture or whatever. [00:08:10] I also had a Ouija board and they they practice that. [00:08:13] And so they invited demons into their house and in demons inhabited this piece of furniture there was actually this is going to sound farfetched but there was actually a story that circulated through many congregations about a smurf doll you see Smurfs weren't really something we were supposed to be watching anyway. I guess I don't remember the narrative of that story. I watched Smurfs when I was little but I guess somehow it was seen as spiritist But regardless the legend was that a child brought a smurf doll purchased at a yard sale to the Kingdom Hall or the witnesses church and this poor kid was about to have to sit through two hours of an indoctrination session aimed at adults. But he brought this also. He could have his little toy as the legend has it the Smurf doll supposedly jumped out of his hands ran up the aisle and out of the Kingdom Hall. Yes. This was actually circulated. And yes grown human adults actually take this seriously and perpetuated the myth. Our next door neighbors the Jehovah's Witnesses claimed to have a chair. I think it was a chair that they thought had demons. I remember that once as an adult. My wife and I went to eat dinner with friends an older couple from our congregation. [00:09:45] We were in our thirties. [00:09:48] They were in their let's say 50s. [00:09:53] It was Father's Day it just happened to be Father's Day when we went out to eat and that kind of caused an issue because people were come home the waiters would come by our table and they thought maybe the husband of this other couple was one of either my father or my wife's father. [00:10:12] And so you know of course we can't celebrate Father's Day so there was a little trepidation over all that but this particular restaurant had hired a magician and this magician came by our table and he joked around with this little bit and then he. [00:10:31] He wanted to tell our fortune and he threw down something on the table called Between my wife and I think we've determined it was called a fortune fish. I couldn't honestly tell you what it really was at this point. It might as well have been a live rattlesnake because the couple that we were with Again grown people in their 50s would not touch this fortune fish. It was some sort of little piece of paper or a toy or something. And so my wife seeing that they were completely freaked out. Quickly I reached over grabbed the fortune fish and cooler heads prevailed. But you would have literally thought that they threw a live snake on the table because they were absolutely petrified of this. In fact I remember there was a big thing among Jehovah's Witnesses if you go to a Chinese restaurant will you eat the fortune cookie or not because that's a pretty big deal there. If you read that fortune so demons were a huge scare for us as Jehovah's Witnesses. But think about it as kids we were having this stuffed drum this stuff drummed into our psyches. My parents were studying one of the publications with a family they had met while knocking doors and the family was telling us all kinds of things about how they thought they had demons. And I remember as a kid sitting in their living room while my parents would study with this couple strangers and I would think I saw stuff move in the house obviously it was just confirmation bias. [00:12:08] I'm sure the heating and air conditioning system kicked on some air was blown in the house and some leaves moved on a plant or something and I'm sure I thought that was demans because that's what I had been told. I'll get into more teachings as such in the next sections about my life actually at the kingdom hall meetings as one of Jehovah's Witnesses. But it was applicable to this part of life at home and how things changed. Everything is kind of so intertwined that it's hard to separate these different issues fully in these episodes. Back to our family. Our parents had to start studying the Bible with us each week. Well not the Bible necessarily but one of Jehovah's Witnesses publications and they were supposed to study with us weekly. [00:12:56] But in the end it ended up being pretty sporadic. My dad as the husband was to take the lead in this our studies were excruciating. My mom never knew when it was her turn to read a paragraph out of whatever book or magazine it was what we were studying. Then my dad would get upset with or we kids would answer questions to show that we were learning to the best of whatever ability we had. My mom was very emotional and she was really into this information. My dad was an emotional desert and he pretty much just seemed like he wanted to get it over with and do his duty as a Jehovah's Witness father. If everyone wasn't pissed off by the end of this study or someone hadn't cried chances are we weren't doing it right. It was absolutely miserable. When I got older my dad liked to wait until I was about to go out and do something with my friends. [00:13:51] And then he announced that now it was time for us to sit down as a family and have our family study. I hated it. And honestly by that time I hated him. My dad was a very emotionally abusive man. [00:14:09] I remember being told once that his own mother told my mom before they got married that quote that boy has never loved anything or anyone. And you think he loves you. Now he never hit us or anything. He was just an absolutely miserable man that made everyone else absolutely miserable in his house. However he was a totally different person at home that he was in public and especially at the meetings of Jehovah's Witnesses. He would be happy and everyone at the Kingdom Hall loved him. They thought he was great. He was a great Jehovah's Witness. He moved up through the ranks he became an elder in the congregation. Again one taking the lead. The only problem is that one taking the lead was supposed to quote and then this is according to Scripture the Scriptures that they use as qualifications for those taking the lead as elders. He should have been presiding over his household in a fine manner Well I'll tell you. My dad never fit that description. He treated us like garbage. Then he would be assigned a public talk. The 45 minute discourses that are given on Sundays for the public and of course. Well primarily the witnesses at the Keenum hall he will be given a talk to give and an outline on how to have a happy family life then he would get up and he would give his talk about how wonderful family was while of course we kids. We sat in the audience and rolled her eyes. My mom It got so bad at times she would have to get up and physically leave the auditorium. [00:15:51] It was easy to see that even as a kid Jehovah's Witnesses valued performance and appearance over substance one of the first memories I have as a Jehovah's Witness is that we were up on stage at a big assembly in front of thousands. [00:16:08] And when I say we I mean myself I know I had at least one younger brother at that point maybe two. [00:16:17] In the end there were three of us brothers. I was the eldest had two younger than me and also had a sister who had it up to 20 years younger than me. [00:16:28] But anyway here we were our perfect little Jehovah's Witness family in front of thousands at this assembly and we were giving a well-rehearsed demonstration of how our family was a great example of a young Jehovah's Witness family. We were sitting there with some brother who was interviewing us or performing an example of how a family study should be handled. [00:16:59] And of course it was all a farce. I was a kid. I don't know how old I was but even then I knew it was just an act. My mom would get upset about my dad and she would go to the congregation elders about him. That's something that you need to know about Jehovah's Witnesses so the elders in the congregation are essentially they've been set up as who you are to go to with any of your problems. So if you have marital problems you go to the elders. If your child has told you that someone in the congregation molested them you go to the elders not the police. You go to the elders. [00:17:42] Everything is funneled through the congregation first and that is seen. I mean that's just so indicative of the cult mentality that they had. So in this case my parents are having issues between them. My mom would get so upset about my dad she would go to the corrugation elders about him. She was hoping that they would either help him or at least take action to remove him as an elder which they had the power to do. [00:18:13] However my dad did anything the elder elders wanted him to do. You know if there were little jobs to be done around the corrugation or a talk to do at the last second or anything my dad could not say the word no to them. In fact he once told me that if I was ever asked to do anything I should just say yes without even thinking about it because I should want to show that I wanted to serve Jehovah. [00:18:41] Of course this wasn't really about serving Jehovah or the name for God as Jehovah's Witnesses teach. This was about serving the organization serving the elders serving the congregation. [00:18:57] It is really a lot of it was just petty work. It was a lot of it was busy work. [00:19:04] So think about that just just think about what it tells a kid to watch his parents completely submit to this organization and to be taught explicitly that your needs don't matter your desires don't matter whatever you are asked to do. That is what you need to do. [00:19:31] It's something I still struggle with today giving weight to my own needs and wants in life. [00:19:40] So my mom is talking to the elders about my dad. And guess what they want to talk to me. They weren't going to just take my mom's word for it. They need a corroboration of some of the stories she told. Well I told them all kinds of things. They didn't care. They didn't care for years when I was in my late teens maybe 18. [00:20:02] They finally removed him as an elder in the congregation. I don't know why but they did. Nothing seemed to have changed. Maybe there was something that happened that they couldn't overlook anymore and had to take action. I don't know really what forced their hand there. I was never aware of anything though. In the end it was all a farce because he was removed as an elder. And then within X amount of time I don't know how long exactly but give it a year or two. [00:20:31] He was an elder again. [00:20:36] So this being caught in between an emotionally abusive father and my mom not to mention my own relationship with each of them was extremely stressful. We were a part of an organization that claims to have the happiest families on earth because they all know the quote truth from the Bible. But we were not happy. And frankly neither were most of the other families that we knew. There is so much drama in those congregations. Most are just completely unaware of it. Now I did have some friends at the Kingdom Hall. [00:21:13] I couldn't have any school of course but I was lucky to have other young people in my congregation. [00:21:21] My wife on the other hand grew up in a congregation without any other young people other than her four sisters four younger sisters and she never really had any friends to speak of. Well there was one girl but that girl moved in and was only her friend for a couple of years before ditching her. [00:21:38] I on the other hand had a good group of guys. [00:21:41] Notice though that I said guys you see boys and girls if they were to get together then they're going to fornicate. I mean sex is immanence. Something that has to happen if a male and female are in the same room. So there are really no reasons no good reasons for people of the opposite sex to be friends. It just really wasn't ok in my corrugation and it was a feeling through most of them though very varying levels of the extreme. I was probably in my late teens before I even spoke to a girl at our Kingdom Hall and it was just to give her some books or magazines or something that you know some job that I had in the congregation. [00:22:25] They really kept us apart. [00:22:29] I was lucky enough to have a great friend who lived right next door. You see the Jehovah's Witnesses that introduced us to the call that a son my age we did just about everything together and we would you know play toys out in the backyard. [00:22:42] We played basketball. We'd make games we'd when we when I got older I drove I had a car. We go places together. We did all kinds of things together it was awesome. I'm glad that I had him. Or it would have been so lonely although I had other friends at the Kingdom Hall Like I said I did have a group of guys. It isn't like we could just get together all the time. Having a friend next door was awesome. [00:23:10] It thinking back I remember that my grandfather bought us a basketball go. I loved basketball. I would have played all day everyday if I could. [00:23:22] But I remember that the goal that he bought us was sitting in a box for a long time at our house. I think it sat for so long the box was getting torn out probably from us kids just playing around or maybe wondering what's inside that box. [00:23:38] I would ask my dad to put it up. And of course he never would. [00:23:43] So I remember one time a neighbor across the alley put up a hoop on the garage in the alley so I wasn't even in their yard. [00:23:50] It was in the alley. Some kids were playing on it and I wanted to play so bad. I remember going in. I asked my parents you know can I go out there and play ball with them. I was told no I can't remember crying and being devastated. I wanted to play basketball. I didn't care that those other kids weren't witnesses. I just wanted to play but that's all the cult cares about. If you weren't one of us we simply couldn't associate with you without absolute necessity. [00:24:21] Sure. Now we could come to your door and preach to you. But really that's all any of you were there for. We had a name for you. Yeah you. Whoever's listening to this you were called worldly people. Now in the real world worldly is a term that is that is looked upon with some measure of admiration. You know a worldly person is a person who maybe is well-traveled has great perspective on life has learned a lot of things are done a lot of things worldly people for Jehovah's Witnesses or people of the world people outside of our little group Jesus had said in the Bible to be no part of the world. And that's what we were trying to do. We were no part of you so you couldn't be any part of us. So a kid might not be able to play basketball with your kid depending on how strict His parents were interpreting such things. Most would at a minimum most are going to stay away as much as possible. [00:25:31] Now although I had friends you have to know something about Jehovah's Witnesses you see people often think that we must have had a great community as witnesses. I mean especially you've got that whole US versus them mentality. So US must have been awesome us must have been so close. [00:25:48] We called each other brother sister so it must have been like a family. Well no we weren't. Because remember this is a performance based cult. People were constantly trying to one up another. I've actually heard a term called Jesus juking that somebody mentioned in another religion once just trying to outmaneuver the next person to look better. You have to think this is a world where everyone is pretty much being forced to be the same. So how do you feel special. Well you feel special by maybe getting to know someone with a position in the congregation or maybe attaining that position yourself maybe you put in more hours and knocking on doors than somebody else or you have more Bible studies or you give better talks or you comment more at the meetings. Just any little thing that could be done in Jaida life if you could do it just a little better a little more maybe you commented at the meetings in your own words instead of reading it from a paragraph. And so you showed that that you know you really believed you know just little things like that to try to one up one another. [00:27:08] There are also a lot of big families in the cold and different areas. And those families tend to gain prominence and Jehovah's Witnesses are known for being very cliquey. [00:27:18] There are a lot of cliques in the corrugations there's always an in crowd and then everybody else is picking up the crumbs trying to fit in the cool club. [00:27:28] The flipside of that is that everyone is watching everyone else you see there is necessity laid upon the brothers and sisters to quote keep the congregation clean. [00:27:41] So we can't have any bad influences in the congregation so friends might turn in friends to the elders if they listen to a bad song or maybe if I saw you coming out of a movie theater where some rated R movie was playing well it's not just I'm supposed to keep the corrugation clean but they use different scriptures to essentially say that if I don't tell on you that I am a sharer in your wicked deeds. So you know I don't want God to be mad at me. And I want to keep the congregation clean. So yeah I'm going to go tell the elders that I saw you doing this thing. And yeah I did it. Of I think everybody did at some point it's just what you do and especially if you're trying to be a good many people actually feel so much shame over things that you will wait for somebody else to turn them so turn them in they turn themselves in. And now we're not talking about kids here we're talking about grown people going to corrugation elders and telling them what we did and when we're not talking about a confessional where you're sitting in a booth or maybe you don't see somebody you don't know who's on the other side or whatever. We're talking face to face. I did this. If you don't want to be punished for whatever it is you have to show repentance. You have to show that you're sorry and that you won't do it again. [00:29:12] And of course that gives those men those elders tremendous power because they get to determine whether you're sorry or not as if there's any way they could actually tell you are at their mercy. So just let that sink in for a minute. Think about the indoctrination it takes and how powerful it is to make grown people go grovel because they watched a movie they shouldn't have watched or had. There were people I knew a young brother who had he had a quote problem with porn. So he he would go Tumwater himself to the elders and be like I watched porn. And then he would they would deal with him. However I don't know the details don't care. It's creepy. So there was a ton of pressure for me as a kid with my family dynamics but adding in all this cult stuff made it horrific as a kid in middle school I was under so much stress that I developed shingles. I had a that my right cheek burst out with all these fever blister looking things I don't know if my mom didn't want me to know that it was shingles or if she was just being weird but she would always talk about my herpes zoster outbreak. That's the technical term for shingles. I have to wonder if for some reason she didn't want to say the word shingles out loud because it made it real. It literally wasn't until a couple years ago that I looked up the term that she was using to find out that shingles is what it is. I didn't even know until a couple of years ago. [00:31:05] So imagine going to a middle school with a side of your face blown up with what looked like fever blisters all over as if I wasn't weird enough already by not being able to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and just all the things that I mentioned in the school episode had now had this looking back those teacher I had some teachers who kind of gave me a looks of pity. And you know at the time I figured it was just because I looked like a freak. But maybe they actually realize that I was a kid with shingles and knew that there had to be some reason behind it. And usually what brings on shingles is tremendous stress. [00:31:46] To give you an idea of the environment in my house I like to say that we had the three ups. These were favorite terms from my dad. [00:31:55] The three ups in no particular order were grow up buck up and shut up. [00:32:02] Did I mention that he gave talks from a platform as an example of the head of a happy family. Those three ups were the answer to just about anything. I think I mentioned earlier it was a total emotional desert. I believe that I mentioned earlier also that I hated my dad. I truly did. [00:32:21] I was a sensitive kid and my dad had zero emotional sensitivity as evidenced by the witness the wisdom that he's dispersed through these three ups at night when I was really little I would cry myself to sleep. I would sometimes write notes and leave them out for my dad to see. I don't know if he ever did see them but I would leave these notes. My guess is that my mom intercepted them and took them down. Obviously when I was younger. Eventually I just learned to become dead inside and show no emotion. So there were points in my life where the rage started to show through my best friend once told me that I had no heart because he told me something pretty emotional. And I did not react at all. Looking back I can't remember what it was but I remember what he said. I remember him pointing out that I had no heart. It really hit me. I think maybe somebody had died and I seemingly didn't care. And you know I don't know at that time I probably didn't. [00:33:23] On the other hand my mom was very emotional. I would say too much. OK. I did say too much so when I was a kid something changed with her at a point in my childhood. [00:33:38] Now again my goal here isn't to exploit the personal issues of people that I was close to. I'm trying to only mention things that tie into the plots of the whole Jaida narrative. But I do feel that this relates I'm going to try to write a line here and we'll see how I do. I've actually got this written out pretty much word for word because I'm trying to be sensitive but it does apply. And I think you'll you'll see how Suffice it to say that my mom went from a very vibrant person to what could only be described as catatonic when I was in my early teens. I think it was my early teens some around there. She spent some time in some facilities trying to get help for whatever was going on. She would be gone for weeks at a time. I remember being at the meetings and she would just sit and rock during the meeting with a vacant look in her eyes. It was honestly pretty scary as a kid. She would disappear into the back rooms of the Keenum hall during meetings. And I remember watching elders running back there after her. I didn't really know what was going on but I didn't know that something had changed things changed. Nobody was talking about it. And we were just expected to sit there and pay attention at meetings like good little Jehovah's Witness kids like nothing was going on. There was a certain amount of denial that always hung over my family. And honestly Jehovah's Witnesses in general nothing to see here move along. It's all about appearances. [00:35:23] Let's make it look good. I mentioned already that we had neighbors on one side that had a horded yard and some of the issues that we felt. [00:35:33] Arose from pests and things like that. I also mentioned that the neighbors on the other side were witnesses and the mother next door study with my mom and they were friends. But what I didn't say was that the mom next door was pretty abusive to us. At one point she accused my mom of gouging her couch if her kids came home from school or just it just happened that they had lice. [00:36:03] She would come over and accuse us of giving it to them and wanted to check us all for lice and of course my mom would acquiesce because she couldn't stand up or because they always talk down to us like a lesser class of people. And the lights must have come from the US those those kids next door. Not that there's any shame in having lies. I mean it happens it can happen to anybody. It's just that this is one of those things especially when you have kids at school they get transmitted. But we never had it. Not that that stopped her from blaming. She was going to blame us. It was always our fault. My friend next door and I played too much at my house. Then the complaint was that we were playing too much at her house. There was always some complaint and she was always pushing my mom around. Honestly I could not stand her. [00:36:57] But my mom always defended her. [00:37:01] I would say or I have said and my wife and I joke that that she almost worshipped her. [00:37:08] Now I believe there was a reason for that. I never understood this. [00:37:15] It always completely baffled me other than maybe you know here's a person who's a bully and here's a person who's a victim but without getting into the gory details within the last year in reconnecting with people and hearing stories and things like that let's just say that there was there was abuse. [00:37:42] That's my mom likely or allegedly went through as a child. Well there was also abuse next door. Not only did they treat us poorly but our houses were three feet apart and the walls are paper thin. So we are all kinds that thing is going on. There was always someone screaming or yelling. [00:38:05] There was a garage in the back where the kids would get punished and you hear some kid get in Scream screaming while he was being hit. The one time I was in the backyard playing with my friend next door and I heard his parents fighting. She was screaming at him like she often did. I believe she slapped him and then I heard a boom and a thud. He hit her back. I jumped the fence went home got my mom and it was handled I don't remember if the cops are called or what. But but regardless there was a lot of there were a lot of things going on next door. [00:38:44] That doesn't mean it was all potentially prosecutable. But abuse doesn't have to be prosecutable to be abuse. Actually though one child did go to jail for specific abuses Well it just so happens as things sometimes do. [00:39:08] There's a certain synchronicity in life abusers and abuse victims seem to find each other somehow. [00:39:17] I don't know if it's an energy they put off or what but it happens all the time. I feel that my mom stuck up for the mom next door so vehemently even though she treated my mom like a dog because she just had that abuser vibe and it made my mom feel at home in some way. It seemed to be almost destiny that led our family down the path of becoming Jehovah's Witnesses. Everything fits together in one perfect storm of dysfunction and crazy. [00:39:48] I'm going to take a second here and say that the experience of writing this all out recording it talking about it it's not real easy. It's not easy to talk about people that you know. I don't know that that you care about you. [00:40:05] You wish things could be different but them's the facts. This is it. [00:40:11] And so I'm trying to put it out there and be real because this is the reality behind the appearances that so many of Jehovah's Witnesses put on. [00:40:26] It's kind of hard to see that decades of my life were impacted so deeply because of a chance real estate transaction that led to moving next door to Jehovah's Witnesses who just happened to play roles that fit with the roles of my parents and then kind of took everything in a horrible direction. [00:40:47] But moving on we didn't really have much money. My dad often just worked a low fairly low wage factory job. [00:41:04] The company he worked for was horrible. He would have nightmares later in life even after quitting working there about that company because of the conditions there they would go on strike quite often so when the company went on strike we would have no income. And honestly if it wasn't for someone leaving bags of groceries on our car after a meeting one time I'm not sure what we would have had to eat that week. So you know props to the Jehovah's Witness who did that that reached out like a good human being and did help. Let's also admit that because your home was with us it would feel well you know of course we did that because we're this worldwide brotherhood and we take care of our own well and they like to pat themselves on the back. But let let's just admit that there are lots of nice people out there that if they knew of a situation like that with a family with kids would have helped by sharing some groceries with them as well. So it's not not specific to Jehovah's Witnesses but I will give whoever anonymously did that props for doing so. Jehovah's Witnesses are discouraged from working overtime or giving any more to their employers than necessary because they have responsibilities to the organization or to God as they see it. [00:42:27] My dad had a ton of things to do in the corrugation. He was an elder. So in addition to working full time he had those meetings for an hour. Tuesday night two hours Thursday night and two hours Sunday morning that we all went to. He also made sure that we went out in field service. That's the term for going out knocking on doors of field service or field ministry. So we would go out in service knocking on doors on Saturdays from 9:30 to noon or maybe 12:30 because he was an elder Sometimes he would then have special meetings that he had to attend with other elders on Saturday afternoons to handle you know like official corrugation business. And then Sunday after the two hour meeting we would go out in the field ministry again for an hour after eating lunch. [00:43:15] So it's not like he had a lot of time or energy to devote to getting us out of the hole to be honest. I've often wondered who and what my dad would have been if it wasn't for the pressures that he was under as one of Jehovah's Witnesses as an elder and as a father of a family that was growing. I don't know if it's just a confirmation bias of my own that I remember this this happy year dad before we ever became Jehovah's Witnesses. Maybe that's not actually true. I don't know. But things certainly did change and I do not remember a happy. That is one of Jehovah's Witnesses maybe I was just getting older as well I'm more observant. [00:44:08] But anyway he did not have the time or energy to get us out of the jam that we were in. In fact it was our tax returns every year when it was tax return. That was our Christmas. There was no celebration. But when we got a tax return it bailed us out of whatever James we were in. Look we can we could finally get an oil change on our car. You know the one annual oil change we could get some used clothing maybe some school supplies. There was other kids that usually kept me afloat in school with like paper and pencils and stuff. I would quote borrow from them. Obviously I never returned it. I couldn't I didn't have anything to give them but tax return. There was a good time and we did have fun times though. [00:45:04] You know like I said it was hard to find time. My dad was pretty militant about us always being at all those things. All those meetings going out in the ministry on Saturday and Sunday none of it was optional. At one point I noticed that it wasn't really like we made a choice to do any of these things anymore it was just compulsive. It was just what we did. And then if the opportunity came up to go fishing or something. Usually we'd turn it down because you know dad said we had to go out and service Saturday morning so we couldn't go fishing. Most families I will say that my parents brand of Jehovah's Witnesses. They took things rather literally. They really they were perfectionistic had some degree in their pursuit of this though that really is the admonition from the organization. There are just some people that blow off certain things eventually my grandfather who bought that basketball goal for us that sat in a box for what seemed like eternity. Eventually grandpa went ahead and paid somebody to come out and install it for us after he saw that my dad would do it on occasion. My dad would actually even come out and play with us. He played basketball. He throw a baseball with us sometimes and that was that was absolute magic to kids who just were looking for any kind of positive attention from their dad. We would go fishing sometimes the local modern league baseball team had free tickets all the time. It was never sold out so we could go to those games. [00:46:43] My mom was good about trying to make sure we had things to do she'd she'd squirreled away change in and we go on little adventures at times or she just go up the street and get us McDonald's is a treat. She was the only chance that we had of reasoning with my dad. His answer to pretty much everything in life which actually now that I'm saying this like literally now while I'm recording is ironic because my dad what did he tell me to tell the elders if I'm ever asked to do anything in the congregation. My answer was to be an automatic yes. [00:47:18] My dad's answer to him. I don't say literally everything let's say 98 percent of things at home hey dad cannot. No no was the answer to everything for him. [00:47:35] So my mom was a pretty good buffer. She would run interference sometimes. I wish she could see that he was in a bad mood and tried to make life a little better. [00:47:49] If you saw us outside you'd think things were great if you saw us at the meetings. You would think things were awesome. But it's behind closed doors that monster hard not out in the open. [00:48:03] Jehovah's Witnesses are no different though they put an absolute premium on appearances in the next episode. [00:48:10] I'm going to get into what actually happened in my life as one of Jehovah's Witnesses as a young person. What happened at those meetings. What was it like to go knocking on strangers doors. How are we taught to view the world around us. [00:48:26] There are so many things that we were taught that had lasting impact that there are literally people who have been out of the organization for decades that still struggle and can't shake certain things that they were indoctrinated with even though they're free from the cold. [00:48:48] So I really do appreciate you listening if you like this or think that it might help somebody else please subscribe so that you can get each episode as they come out and tell others about this. I'm putting this out into the world to be of help and it's not going to help anybody. Obviously people don't spread the word. I don't have a big podcast network behind me. I don't have the cache of Leah Remini. That allowed her to do a series on Scientology. I'm just a guy that lived a certain life that wants to expose what literally millions of other people around the world have gone through. There are over eight million Jehovah's Witnesses and scores of ex Jehovah's Witnesses out there. There are millions more that have family or friends that are Jehovah's Witnesses that they might be concerned about take this to them so that they can see what it's like. And if nothing else maybe it just helps somebody to feel less alone. Visit my site at w w w dot this J.W. life dot com if you want to discuss this further. I'll even post some pics and other information there that will add to the story if you like. If you look now you'll find some of my childhood before things changed. Some pictures from that there will be a place to comment below each episode that I put out so there can be a discussion. Ask questions give suggestions or if you want just say hi I might answer them on another podcast or maybe have fun you know. [/expand]
22 Jun 2017
Episode 4 - What Do Jehovah's Witnesses Believe?
What is the hierarchical structure of Jehovah's Witnesses? What happens at those meetings in the Kingdom Hall? How do Jehovah's Witnesses view the world around them and how history has unfolded? What does the future hold according to Jehovah's Witnesses? Are you ready to learn "THE TRUTH"? I'll break all of this down for you in this episode. Direct Download Here [expand title="Click Here To Show Transcript"] [00:00:01] There are over eight million Jehovah's Witnesses Jay Dubbs or J-ws worldwide. I wasn't born one was introduced to it around the age of 8 or 9 and would spend the next three decades trying to process what I had unwittingly become involved in ultimately leaving and costing me dearly. This J.W. life is my response to the encouragement I've received to write a book about my life. In my story you're going to learn about this called and why refer to it as such rather than as a religion. You're going to see how I went from suicidal and incredibly anxious to free and happy. Why I put on 50 pounds and how I took it off while my wife and I owe the IRS fifty five thousand dollars and how we paid that off in 18 months. And while that wasn't even the biggest win to come from that time there are lessons to be learned here whether you're in a Colts or you're just your average person living life for the SJ doves out there. I hope you find comfort in knowing that you're not alone and maybe this helps you process your own pain for those who have family that are Jehovah's Witnesses. I hope this gives you a glimpse into what they're both involved in and up against. For those that have no ties I hope this broaden your horizons maybe sheds light on the human experience a little. And if there are any current Jehovah's Witnesses that listen I hope this gives you something you need for wherever you are now in your journey. But in the end I hope you find happiness and peace. [00:01:24] You've been through a lot and you deserve it. I'm not a professional producer. I'm a professional housecleaner. You'll find out why that is. And as well as how it is possible even to save my life later I'm recording this as a podcast as a fitting way of telling my story as it was podcasts and audio books that helped me awaken to the realities of the life I was given as a child and that I tried to live up to for decades including as an adult. [00:01:51] I want to take a minute at the beginning of this to thank everybody that has listened so far. I've had over twelve hundred downloads and that's amazing. I really didn't expect that. I've also had a couple of iTunes reviews and I can't tell you how much that is appreciated. If you enjoy this podcast please leave a positive review on iTunes. It helps with the ranking and the higher the show ranks the more people will find it. My wife and I are doing all we can to promote this but it is hard. I'm not doing this for monetary gain. In fact this cost me each month to keep us posted and online for everyone to access but I know Jehovah's Witnesses though and I want to make it clear that my motives here are pure and not for any personal gain. So if you can leave positive reviews on iTunes please do. If you can share this podcast with others please do. I'm doing this to help people and by doing so you get to help me help others. Again I am not doing this for any monetary gain. I also want you to know that I've appreciated all the messages I've received on my site through sites like Reddit or there's a forum I'm a member of it's called Jehovah's Witness dot com. That's my jam. That's where I started all this in the first place. The first quote apostate web site I ever went on was Jehovah's Witness dot com and that message board helped me a lot. [00:03:19] So I received good messages there I've received messages on Instagram Twitter just all the places. It means a lot to me that people want to share this with me and you know whether it's telling me that they appreciate my story or whether they share some of their own story. [00:03:37] You know I think it's kind of awesome that people want to share. So here's what I'm going to do. I'd like to invite anyone that has questions or wants to tell their story to email me at this. J w life at gmail dot com. Again that's this. J. W life at gmail dot com. You can also go to my Web site at the bottom right of the home page or probably either page. There's a button that shows the email address. If you can't remember this J.W. life at gmail dot com for some reason. If I get enough questions and stories maybe I'll save them up and do an episode entirely devoted to answering your questions. Or [00:04:22] I'd love to tell other people's stories as well if I could do that at the end. [00:04:28] And finally I know I had originally said that I'd put some pictures and such up on my web site and I didn't do that at first because I didn't have time. But upon further review I think I'm going to have to decline that offer with good intention but I have noticed that I have limited photos. Well first of all I do have limited photos that I received before my shining. It's not like I can go ask for more pictures and some of the photographs I have had family members in them and it's not something I'm comfortable doing in relationship to this show to put pictures up like that. I just don't really feel right about it. There is also some issues that I played around with and there were some issues with formatting them for my site. So for now I'm just going to focus on the podcast itself. Getting the message out there and give people like you opportunity to participate by asking questions or sharing your story if you like. But for now I'm just going to back off the possibility of images. All right. Now this next part of the story really overwhelmed me when I was making notes for it last week so overwhelmed me emotionally because I was reliving some ugly parts of my life growing up at home. But this week I want to take you into the beliefs that Jehovah's Witnesses have and how my life as a witness grew out of it and the path that it took. [00:05:56] There was just so much to discuss that this is going to have to be broken up into at least two episodes maybe three depending on how it breaks out. I spent hours just organizing my notes alone on this and trying to make it understandable to those who haven't been there. So what do you know about Jehovah's Witnesses and what they believe. The first thing that usually comes to mind is there those weird people that don't celebrate anything. And obviously you're correct. You've already discussed that or maybe you know that they believe only 144 thousand of them are going to go to heaven. So you know what's that mean for everybody else. I've always heard that question if only 144 thousand go to heaven. Where is everybody else going to go. Kind of limits the playing field if you have the dichotomy of an afterlife that consists of either heaven or hell and you are right. They only believe that one hundred forty four thousand go to heaven. But you know maybe the only thing that you know of Jehovah's Witnesses are those nice people that come to your door and wake you up on a Saturday morning and again you'd be right. However you'd know so little about what Jehovah's Witnesses really teach. Most people really have no clue. There's a lot of information online and on different podcasts and programs about Scientology or Mormons. But there's really not a lot about what Jehovah's Witnesses are really teaching what really goes on in their culture. I have a feeling that you're going to learn some things in this episode that you never knew unless you were at one time one of Jehovah's Witnesses. Again though I'm going to try to approach all of this through the lens of my life experience personally. [00:07:48] Now let's go and talk about that Jehovah's Witness life a little bit. What we believed and then eventually I'm going to take it to the life as me as a child. And then how I grew up through adulthood and into married life to do this. Let me first give you some idea of what the Jehovah's Witness schedule was. I think I've touched on this a little bit before. But remember this is a very performance based cult. So there were things to do and my family did them all. [00:08:21] I want you to understand the basic setup of the congregation the meetings and what we did when we were knocking on doors. This is effectively what my new life as one of Jehovah's Witnesses at the age of eight or nine began to revolve around on Tuesday night. There was the corrugation book study that was typically at an individual's private home. People would volunteer their homes for these books studies. These studies were one hour long in duration and they would alternate what books we would go through we would go through a book about Revelation let's say and then once we went entirely through that book we would go through the Greatest Man book about Jesus and his life. So it was a question and answer session as a lot of these meetings are. And these were small groups usually 10 to 20 people in some congregations maybe they didn't have enough private homes that were volunteered. So they would do these books studies at the corrugations Keenum all Thursday night was the Theocratic Ministry School and the service meeting. This was a two hour meeting. The Theocratic Ministry School was a program designed to help Jehovah's Witnesses be more effective preachers when they were going out door to door it never really made sense to me how some of this was supposed to translate for brothers. [00:09:56] Brothers had talks such as the bible reading where they would get up for five minutes and read a portion of the Bible there's not a lot I don't know about you but going up to somebody's door and reading for five minutes would be kind of awkward. But this is what they did and I understand they just wanted us to be effective readers. There were also other talks especially of course brothers. I think we're really just being groomed to be effective public speakers. And if you ask a lot of extra ho as witnesses that's about the one thing that we got from this this call when we left that we could take with us was the ability to do some measure of public speaking if we if we wanted to for sisters and the congregation they were to get up and give demonstrations their talks. They were given a subject and the setting and some sort of a setting like going door to door or on a Bible study with a single mom or something like that and they would sit up on the stage with another sister who would be their householder. So one sister would be basically preaching to the other sister. And of course in these scenarios and it was always funny to me anyway that the other sister if there was a magazine or any literature being presented or whatever it always ended up in the best case scenario of course and you know nobody ever said in these parts get off my porch before I call the cops. [00:11:34] But you know this is how they were to be give and it was to be encouraging to the congregation so sisters would get up and give these parts with one another. At least I have to say at least that in some way mimicked what went on in the actual ministry when you were knocking on doors what the brothers had to do had nothing at all to do with such. Then there was the service meeting the service meeting on Thursday night was again about an hour long this was a two hour meeting Theocratic Ministry School was an hour and the service meeting was an hour and the service meeting was taken from the king the ministry the king the ministry is a pamphlet that baptized members of Jehovah's Witnesses receive and it has announcements from the branch office it has specific articles on subject matters. [00:12:38] If for instance it was the end of the year we might have articles encouraging us to preach to people around the holidays whatever seemed relevant at the time or if there was a need for Kingdom Hall is to be built in certain areas there would be a call in there to help with this. There were just different things like that that would kind of stress what the organization wanted you to either help with or to know as well as doing that the Kuna ministry would have parts called the local needs. And this was an opportunity for the local brothers your congregation to decide what it was everyone needed to work on or an issue that was presenting itself in your territory and so the elders would get up for 15 minutes or whatever and and give a talk about that. There was also the announcements where you would learn about who was whose turn it was to clean the Keenum hall that week or to mow the grass or who the speaker was going to be Sunday coming from another congregation or who messed up and had to get disfellowshipped they would announce that during the announcements as well at times or sometimes they would say that to the end of the meeting it just depended on how it works at that particular congregation that particular night. On Sunday there was the two hour meeting. It was the public talk which was typically a 45 minute talk given by one of the elders. It's just a general bible subject. [00:14:18] Maybe like I had mentioned before my dad got to give plenty on how to have a happy family life so whatever the subject matter that's what a talk would be given on and then the Watchtower study followed that which was the question and answer part going over the Watchtower lesson that had been assigned for that week. So each Watchtower had two or three lessons in it to be studied at the congregation. They were question and answer parts. The conduct would stay in the congregation someone would read the paragraph up on the stage and then the conductor would ask questions we would answer them and he was to lead us down the path that the Watchtower lesson wanted us to understand. [00:15:08] There were some unique features to the meetings. There was absolutely nothing for children. [00:15:13] There is no Sunday school no daycare no nothing. There was a mother's room at the congregation that I went to I don't know that they all had them. The mother's room and the creation I would see was almost a soundproof room with black scented glass where mothers could take their children back there and breastfeed or beat them if the children were behaving during the meetings and other congregations that I was a part of. We didn't have the mother's room but there was always rooms in the back where people could take their kids if their kids were acting out or have a little privacy if they needed it. There was no collection plate. There were just these boxes in the back. For private donations you could walk by and donate. This was a this is a big selling point of the meetings Jehovah's Witnesses like to brag about how you know there's no collection plate. You'll see it on their signs sometimes as opposed to those awful religions that pass the collection plate. Of course in years since they resorted to passing out paper slips and usually around something they want the creation of participate in and making people pledge to donate X amount per month for whatever it is that they want. So yeah they don't pass around a collection plate but come on they're passing around slips of paper for people to pledge monthly donations to. And although no one is technically going to know if they don't make follow through with that donation the individual knows and they're going to feel complete shame if they can't keep up. [00:16:51] There's a lot of guilt and shame in this organization and out of me talking heavily on that at some point. [00:16:58] The question and answer parts that were at these meetings were so dumbed down that virtually anyone could participate. It was always encouraged to answer the questions in your own words not just to read the sentence that was the answer from the paragraph word for word but there were so many people who did it was like this mind numbing call and response Keenum halls themselves if that wasn't boring enough Keenum halls themselves are drab and boring. There are often few windows of jokes before us probably so you wouldn't see outside at the colors and beauty while we sat inside and this completely sterile environment. The chairs are boring. [00:17:44] The decor is boring and you know I will say now that the parts on the meeting are abhorring though when I was a fully indoctrinated Jehovah's Witness I wouldn't say that I actually enjoyed it. Some of the parts because the meetings were laid out ahead of time with myriad materials to go over at each one. We were supposed to study before every meeting so that we knew the material and could go participate in this call in response call in response to really kind of dominated a lot of the meetings. There were no like rituals or anything that you could connect to emotionally. There was nothing that most people would I guess kind of refer to as the term spiritual. There really wasn't anything of spirit. It was a lot of intellectual exercise. And this call in response we were also supposed to do Bible reading every day. That's the encouragement at least from the organization I'm not going to say that everyone did. [00:18:58] In addition to that there was a daily text that we could study so that we could it was a little booklet that each witness had so that we could start every day with a verse and an explanation of that verse with whatever point that narrative they wanted to tie this into from some Watchtower publication of the past. And so if you haven't noticed already through the call and response through the study before the meetings through the daily Bible reading through the daily text through the personal study or family studies that were encouraged the indoctrination is so strong here. With meetings spread out like that spiritual food as they called it you really never got away from the messages that were being pounded into your mind and heart they were ever present. And then of course you had assemblies and conventions. I think I mentioned them on an earlier episode briefly but these were either one two or three day events. There was one of each throughout the year and during these there would be much greater crowds. So instead of at a book study you'd have 10 to 20 at a Kingdom Hall you might have 80 to 100 120 for like Sunday meetings at assemblies you might have anywhere from oh I don't know a couple of thousand to eight to 10000 depending on how it was broken up in that particular area. And during these I have to say you know they were kind of enjoyable. [00:20:40] OK the conventions themselves weren't that enjoyable but it was cool. It was one time where you could get dressed up go to another place you could see people you hadn't seen in a long time. As a young person you would see your friends that maybe went to another congregation and kind of hang out. That was cool. But the actual indoctrination sessions were basically it was a full time job you would start at 9:30 in the morning the program would start and it would be over at 5:00 p.m. and there might be an hour lunch. So these were heavy indoctrination sessions in and of themselves. And it just furthered their narrative. There is a hierarchy in the corrugation. Jehovah's Witnesses will claim that they're not elders like to claim that they're just there to serve the congregation. So they're the lowest among the brothers but that's completely not true. The elders have the ability to decide whether or not you get shunned. So there's some power dynamics that are going on here. And I just thought I'd lay out briefly who these people are what the labels are for the different types of people that make up your average congregation. [00:22:02] First you have the rare person that is just the study. Maybe it's just a kid in the creation of one of the families or maybe it's a Bible study someone is studying with someone that they met knocking on doors or at work or whatever that person is interested in comes to the meeting. Then you have what are called unbaptized publishers. So a person that start studying with the witnesses is expected at some point to start participating in the field ministry work. [00:22:32] That person is not baptized they're not a full fledged witness but they can still be an unbaptized publisher the publisher name is a throwback to the fact that this is or was the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York. They were essentially a publishing house for all these magazines and books and back in the day those magazines and books were actually sold door to door and there were people who took commissions on them. That's not necessarily how it happens anymore but there were people who supported themselves doing that back in the day. And so the term publishers still used you also have the baptized publishers. Now these are full fledged Jehovah's Witnesses who are regular in going out and knocking on doors. Beyond that you have the auxilary pioneers. These are people who have devoted I believe now it's 50 hours a month that they can sign up on a month to month basis whenever they want to go out for 50 hours that month they're announced from the platform. So Brother so-and-so or sister so-and-so is an auxiliary pioneer and they get some accolades for that and get to feel good about themselves. Regular pioneers are people who basically sign a contract to devote. They used to be a thousand hours when I was doing it I think it's like 840 now and it breaks down to like 70 hours a month or something. But anyway that's what a regular pioneer does now. And then there are a ministerial servants who can only be brothers and the congregation. [00:24:20] They are brothers who handle various responsibilities around the creation whether it be handing out literature or handling microphones for the call and response sessions or running a yard crew for the Keenum all maintenance or just any number of things giving territories out to brothers and sisters to work out in the field ministry. Beyond that you have the elders. That's what ministerial servants are essentially aspiring to be they're working their way up. Elders are of course all brothers and they give the public talks. They handle all the important corrugation manners matters like the accounts they handle the direction of all of the meetings. They are the ones who would like conduct the Watchtower study call and response sessions or the book study in someone's home and they make all of the judicial decisions. [00:25:29] You know most of the judicial That's because Jehovah's Witnesses have their own judicial judicial system. [00:25:39] Beyond that you have the circuit overseers the circuit overseers visit congregations on a six month rotation essentially and just make sure everything's in order and basically check in on everybody and give specially encouraging talks during which the congregation members fall all over themselves and laugh at every dumb joke they make and think that they are the most awesome person in the world and all the brothers wear full suits instead of slacks and sport coats so that they can they can you know look the part of you know present themselves best when a circuit overseer comes it is a big deal for a week and all of a sudden the attendance spike at the congregation and there are so many more people there than there ever are on any normal week and everybody loves everybody and everything is great. And then he leaves and the next week there is nobody at the meetings. And the brothers can't find their suit and suddenly they're aware that that those ugly dress pants with ugly sport coat that don't match. That's how it happens. [00:26:49] Beyond that there are district overseers. They essentially manage the circuits in the circuit overseers. Occasionally they make accommodations. [00:26:58] I don't know exactly how long they get around it is before they get around all of them. But of course when they do it's the same festivities as when the circuit overseer is. And now now we're going to talk about the magnificent seven magnificent seven are the governing body of Jehovah's Witnesses that reside in New York state one time at the end of the Brooklyn Bridge. There was the Watchtower headquarters there was a big Watchtower sign. Since then they have moved to I think it's Wallkill New York maybe wrong on that regardless. Who cares. I'm not going. The governing body the Magnificent Seven these seven men are responsible for the organization. They have recently even come out and labeled themselves the guardians of doctrine. [00:27:52] What's that spell. Guardians of doctrine. G O D. I kid you not. This is from their own mouths. They are the guardians of doctrine. [00:28:06] And so these men are responsible for essentially everything that goes on in the organization today. Now originally the organization started with one man Charles Taze Russell and it was then eventually he died and then Rutherford took over. [00:28:28] Kind of in a hostile takeover. He wasn't supposed to. And as you go down through the history eventually they decided that rather than just one person. Just like in the congregation there's a body of elders. They decided to have this governing body. This group of men who would lead the organization. Now right now it's the Magnificent Seven. And other times I believe there have been other numbers of people on the governing body. And people can be appointed to it. There is a whole political thing there and it's all done up in New York and it's not like members of the congregations vote on it. It just happens. There's a new person and they participate. When I was growing up no one well people could find out who the governing body was. But you really didn't ever see them in the last few years they become extremely public. They go to conventions and people flock to them as though they were talking to the ODIs themselves and get their pictures taken with them. And they're special and they give these talks and they've really put themselves at the forefront of the organization. It's just kind of an interesting development over when I was young and they were in the background and nobody really knew who wrote what or who said what. Now they have really come to the forefront and gotten attention. All right now let's talk about field service now Field Service. Again that's when we went out knocked on people's doors. [00:30:09] There were meetings at the Keenum hall every day during the week Monday through Friday usually at around 9:00 on Saturdays we would meet for field service at 9:30. That way you could sleep in you know get that extra half hour. And then on Sundays after the meeting the meeting usually ended around noon and then around 1:00 we would go out for like an hour or something like that the field service meeting was a 15 minute meeting conducted by a brother who would give some sort of bible topic that was relevant to maybe one of the magazines they were placing that that week or one of the books for the month or whatever the case and they would organize people in the car groups find out who had plans with who they would divvy up territory and send everybody on their way. There was always a break and that was like the best thing about field service was that there was a break usually around 11:00 11:30 people would go to a spot maybe particularly agreed upon a restaurant for us. For years it was McDonald's. Everybody would meet there. Drink coffee generally be extremely cheap and pay very little money to the actual McDonald's but sit around and swap war stories from that morning in entirely too loud of a tone for the people who were sitting around and kind of dominate that restaurant while paying for very little food or anything. So now you can get. I understand. I don't know if that's I don't know if that's boring to the average person or not but I wanted you to understand kind of you know how these things function and what the structure is now that you understand that. Let me tell you briefly what they believe. [00:32:07] First let me say that Jehovah's Witnesses have a term for their system of beliefs. [00:32:13] The truth in all caps envision it with a little trademark sign behind it. The truth. [00:32:20] Kind of like the Ohio State University if you're a sports fan out there this is the one the only truth from God's one and only true book the Bible. If you believe anything other than this you are wrong. There is true religion. Jehovah's Witnesses have it there is false religion. That's what everybody else has not. Not only are you wrong but you are blinded by Satan the Devil himself. If you don't take to the truth when we come to your door and present it to you I don't know how to emphasize this anymore. People ask one another when did you learn the truth. How did you come into the truth and so on people struggle after leaving Jehovah's Witnesses sometimes years or decades after. They don't even believe it anymore. Not to refer to it as the truth. I believe this is one of the most simple and ingenious methods ever thought of for indoctrinating someone. Once you have that truth do you really need to even consider anything else. Why would you. You are locked down by this one little name. [00:33:38] The truth. [00:33:41] So are you ready. Are you the listener ready to learn the truth. I'm about to break it down for you. All the years of human existence that have ever been or ever will be. [00:33:55] Here we go. Jehovah is God's name and Jehovah alone is the all mighty Jesus is his son sent to Earth by him to die for our sins. The Holy Spirit is God's active force that he uses to accomplish things. Now we are all pawns in a bet between Jehovah and Satan who was once an angel but wanted all the glory for himself so he rebelled against Jehovah Satan wagered that man was best off by managing himself and didn't need Jehovah's input Jehovah set out to prove that man apart from him was incapable of ruling himself and needed Jehovah's guidance. Satan has been trying to pull man away from Jehovah to serve him or anyone but Jehovah ever since this wager between the two of them impacts all of us. We live in sin and imperfection and since perfect lives were lost in sin. Adam and Eve only perfect life given without sin. Jesus Christ could balance the scales of justice yeah perfection is only batting 3:33 but that's good in the majors right. And yeah only one perfec life was given to balance the scales of what was lost by two perfec laws and it took a special person and God's only begotten son to come down from heaven to do this not just a regular perfect human but was a half price sale on perfect justice that they so we'll call it even. So ever since the world has struggled under Satan's control as God has backed away. [00:35:45] Thus proving that Jehovah has a right to rule and that we need him God's plan to write this starts with Jesus death and then the year 1914 through some very creative prophetic prophetic math involving the book of Daniel and several completely incorrect predictions that nobody wants to talk about. They arrive at 1914 as the beginning of the last days of this wicked system of things since World War 2 happened to start that year. They really think they've landed on the correct year this time of course. Originally they thought that the world was actually going to end in 1914 but when that didn't happen the organization does decided that well it must be the beginning of the end. It's as just as good right. So in 1914 Jesus supposedly began reigning in heaven over the earth. It is an invisible rain for now. A pair of C-A or presence of course because you know no one likes a bragger. In 1919 Jesus chose the International Bible Students as Jehovah's witnesses were called back then as his people his only people to dispense truth and to this world. Of course back then they smoked and celebrated holidays and did all kinds of things they would never do today. But I digress. The changes thereafter have been seen as a refining work. At some point imminently and by eminently Apparently they mean any day now for over the past century something called the Great Tribulation will break out. [00:37:27] It will start with the destruction of Babylon the Great taken from Revelation the world empire of false religion. Jehovah will put it in the heads of world leaders to eradicate all religion from the earth. Because that will eliminate things like holidays. The merchants will beat their chests in horror and frustration as they can no longer sell things like they once did. Money will become worthless. [00:37:53] People will be throwing it in the streets at that point. The world will descend into chaos. All religion will cease except one. Can you guess which one that you can't help. Jehovah's Witnesses will stand alone continuing to do their thang despite any persecution because of this. The nations are going to turn on them and when they do it will be like touching God's eyeball and he will immediately react with a day of his fury. Armageddon in which billions of people will be slaughtered mercilessly because they didn't listen to the warnings given by Jehovah's Witnesses once everyone is dead. The world will start to grow back to perfection as will the members of Jehovah's Witnesses. They will spend the next 1000 years growing back to perfection and cleaning up this earth. Don't worry the birds are going to pick apart all the billions of the dead so they won't have to handle the bodies of all their dead loved ones. [00:38:50] Be kind of rough you know stepping over grandpa to get to you know one of your kids who died. I mean you know you weren't supposed to care about those people anyway. They were worldly as I explained on a previous episode so you know what I ever how. [00:39:08] They will all live in a beautiful paradise as the earth goes back to the state of the Garden of Eden. Everyone gets a panda and a lion you see and all their artists depictions of this of this paradise people are playing with lions and pandas. Animals will no longer be dangerous and there is no fear because of that. The animals I guess are going to be perfect. No fear no pain no tears just pure bliss and lots of Jehovah's Witnesses the dead will be raised from the memorial tombs and a great resurrection that will take place during these 1000 years. It will be a resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous. They will look the same as they did before so that we can recognize them. Otherwise we're just talking creepy zombies. We can have that a scripture says that the wages of sin pays is death so death is therefore the equalization of their sins. They get a do over so to speak if they listen to Jehovah's Witnesses and study with them at that time they can possibly live forever if they don't. Well you know Joe was going to have to kill him again but yeah. Oh well that happens a lot with Jova. He likes to kill people. After that 1000 years humans on earth will be perfect. Now at that point you think that everyone could breathe a sigh of relief and maybe you know I don't know. Be happy. Nope during that one thousand years Satan and his demons were bound up in an abyss. [00:40:45] But at the end they are going to be let loose to try to tempt humankind one more time. Humans still will not have proven themselves worthy gods pretty insecure like that. So he will unleash them. They will tempt mankind and the carnage and fallout from that will be as the sands of the sea. Innumerable deaths as mankind falters once again now in the end. [00:41:10] Whoever is left over gets to live forever this time. For reals I guess. Unless of course they turn on God like Satan did because like he was perfect and he turned on God so that Jehovah did give his creatures free will after all. He just doesn't really like them using it. [00:41:29] So if they were at that point to exercise free will and do something that Jehovah doesn't like. Then again he can smite them. So that's the story in a nutshell. That's what they believe and what I believed for so many years. [00:41:44] In the next episode I'm going to get into the things that they don't advertise in their books not just doctrine but the actual culture of the organization. You see that is the most damaging part of the organization. I'm going to introduce two methods of control that are used by cults to keep people in line. It is observed in what has been termed religious abuse but it's also seen in other forms of abuse and it's a very important subject that you know whether you've ever been in a cult or not. You've likely seen at some point in your life essentially how people control other people and get them to do things that they otherwise probably would not do if left to their own base humanity. [/expand]
2 Jul 2017
Episode 5 - Enter The FOG - The Culture Of Jehovah's Witnesses
The most damaging part of Jehovah's Witnesses is their culture that keeps people held captive to a concept. You will learn about the FOG and BITE models of control in this episode, and how JWs use it specifically. Direct Download Here [expand title="Click Here To Show Transcript"] [00:01:51] Last week I went over some of the structure of Jehovah's Witnesses and the general narrative. However that's just a fraction of the story and like I said that isn't even the most damaging part. The culture of Jehovah's Witnesses is where the real story lies. Because what you believe is one thing what you live on a daily basis is an entire different level. [00:02:13] So now I'm going to discuss the call through to cold models that are often used in abusive relationships of any type. First let's dive into the fog fear obligation and guilt if you can get people into the fog. They tend to find it hard to ever see their way out. I'll take this one by one and break down how Jehovah's Witnesses use the fog. With some examples. So let's start with if or fear now. I've already discussed in previous episodes the fear of demons. And obviously that's one pretty big fear. Another fear is the almost paranoia that you are constantly being watched. Jehovah is watching you judging your every move. And he can read your heart and innermost thoughts. So are openly exposed at all times. Satan is watching you. Roving about like a roaring lion seeking to devour someone as they like to quote from scripture. [00:03:15] Now according to them beliefs he can't read your thoughts but he is watching your actions and always studying you looking for a chink in your spiritual armor to exploit every time you go knocking on doors to the grocery school work or anywhere in the world people are watching you. [00:03:35] And we were told that someone likely has seen us before and knows that we are one of Jehovah's Witnesses. [00:03:40] Are you being a good ambassador for Jehovah could whatever you're doing right now bring reproach upon Jehovah's name members of the congregation are watching you to making sure that you stay in line. Your family is watching you. [00:03:58] And of course probably the most damaging of all you are watching you are relentless internal struggle that can be worse than anything. [00:04:08] So this gets us to crime and punishment and the congregation. What if you do slip up what's going to happen. Well it depends on who finds out and how bad it was having sex with someone's wife is different than getting caught watching porn or a movie with some violence in it. So there's a spectrum first. Whatever happened will be reported to the elders through which everything in life has funneled you will then be talked to by two elders. Usually after a meeting in a private room in the back of the Kingdom Hall It's never a good feeling when someone comes up to you and says hey could you come back here I'd like to talk to you about something. [00:04:50] Doesn't matter how big or how small. It's just never a good feeling. I guess it's it's kind of reminiscent of going to the principal's office let's say in school. It's not a good feeling. They're not usually calling you back to tell you how great you are. So when you go back into this room it's usually going to be a fact finding mission. A preliminary investigation of sorts. It might be that what you did was a minor offense and you'll just receive some counsel right then and there. They'll rageous some scriptures and make a big deal out of a minor offense but tell you to do better and how you've disappointed Jehovah right now. If it's a bit major There may be more meetings with those same elders and you could be reproved. This can be done either publicly or privately. Private reproof means that there's no announcement made to the congregation through a talk but maybe you can't do something anymore for a time like raise your hand and comment at the meetings or give a talk from the platform or even go out door to door. Which is funny because they see going door to door does ministry work. They see that as a biblical mandate. Yet somehow they get to take that away. So God is said has commanded that you go do this but if you piss off the wrong person in the organization they can actually take that that right that command that responsibility away from you which is something that never really made sense to me. [00:06:18] Now rest assured that although this proof may be private remember people are watching you so others will notice that you're not commenting or you know your brother or sister or so-and-so I overheard them comment a while. [00:06:32] I haven't seen them give a talker. I don't see them at the meetings for field service so people will be talking and although it's supposedly probably that somebody is going to know something about you. Jehovah's Witnesses are kings and queens of gossip as could be expected from such a small and tight community public reproof usually happened if someone in the congregation knew about what you had done and it was out already. So they have to make a little more public spectacle out of you. They have to let other people know that they're dealing with it. So in addition to whatever limitations of what you could do in the congregation they might give a talk about avoiding whatever it was that you fell into and then people can surmise what you did. That's that's a great thing to do to a human being. If what you did was serious enough you were then put before a judicial committee if you remember it was on a last episode I mentioned. Jehovah's Witnesses have their own judicial process. So in this three elders would determine your fate you would be super detail questions about whatever it was you did about everything they want all of the details. [00:07:46] From what I've heard if it was something sexual they want all of the details who did what. How many times did anyone enjoy it. Did someone climax. What happened. Who who initiated like they would like every detail so they can determine if you were really repentant or sorry for what you had done. Because everything hangs on your repentance you're proving to these men that you are truly sorry. [00:08:19] Now were you just caught up in a moment of passion or was it something willful unplanned. I've read so many stories of this it's truly horrifying. And I think as much as it is these men trying to figure out if you're repentant Honestly I think it a sexually repressed culture. It's dirty old men getting off on the details. And I'm not the only person that think this. It's really very creepy. Now again remember though this doesn't have to be a sexual thing though let's face it. And this community of Jehovah's Witnesses that's often what it is. It could be something like lying stealing. There could have been violence. Maybe somebody was caught out and was drunk and other people saw it. Anything that they deem to be a major sin. You can end up with your fate resting in the hand of three men that you have to go before and plead your case if they find you repentance. [00:09:19] You may be subject to it or that private or public reproof depending on who knows what. If you're found unrepentant you will be disfellowshipped. [00:09:30] And when you are disfellowshipped they will read your name at the next meeting announced the brothers sisters Smith is no longer one of Jehovah's Witnesses and then the shining will start and we're talking absolute shunning here. [00:09:44] You are dead to them and they are not to even say a greeting to you even if you're there who your son your daughter your mom your dad your husband your wife they are not to even utter a greeting to you. [00:10:00] Family Sean's family even if you're in the same home there's going to be some degree of shunning though. You know if you have a husband and a wife oftentimes they just you're maybe not supposed to have any spiritual conversations because they don't want that this fellowship person to influence negatively the quote spirituality of the person who's still in the only real reason that witnesses are ever really supposed to talk to you if you're disfellowshipped is what's called quote necessary family business. This is a term that they've coined so you know what exactly that means is left to some degree of interpretation. Essentially they really just don't want you to talk to that other person but there might be some reason for many Jehovah's Witnesses that I've known what that actually means is that the Jehovah's Witness family member can come to you the disfellowshipped person if they need help for whatever reason. So that would be deemed necessary family business. But of course if you needed something from them if the disfellowshipped person were let's say to become homeless they're not going to help you. This is a one way street as far as who gets to determine what necessary family business is. There are often times where these still end Jehovah's Witness maybe needs some money so they go to the disfellowshipped person and ask for money or they need a job or they need just some some thing in life some legality that they need help with they might go and ask the disfellowshipped person for that. But I guarantee you when the disfellowshipped person ends up homeless and ask the witness for something it will be seen as well. [00:11:53] You brought that on yourself. You know you should never left the truth. Your insight and system of things now and whatever happens to you happens. Honestly they're going to kind of hope that you as this disfellowshipped person hit rock bottom because if you do then they're hoping that you'll come crawling back myself after my dad died my mom reached out to me to get me to sign some legal documents for the estate essentially I guess it released whatever it's my mom because she needed that signature but I've never heard from her again. So now let me go ahead and explain. So you've been disfellowshipped and you want to come back. Well there is a process for reinstatement. You know as I said it's a process. Now we all know the prodigal son story in the Bible son goes out acts a fool does some bad things comes back home and his dad immediately runs out to greet him and accepts him back simply because he retired not here not in the cult of Jehovah's Witnesses. [00:12:54] You must come back meet with the elders and then do whatever they say. A person has to come back to the meetings and it's and all of them and they will watch him make a note of her attendance of course when you arrive you should arrive when it starts that way you don't make everybody else uncomfortable with your disfellowship presence and they don't have to shun you as hard. Now you're going to sit back in the back row. That way nobody has to see you. And when it leaves you are to leave immediately. Obviously speaking to nobody. [00:13:28] Usually you're going to have to do this along with meeting with the elders to discuss your improving spiritual state for at least six months. I mean six months would be a pretty short time usually at least a year or more if you do what they want. They will eventually announce that Brother Sister Smith has been reinstated and is one of Jehovah's Witnesses and the shining ends. [00:13:48] So can you see why this fear looms daily over Jehovah's Witnesses. You better not slip up. Oh and you see this play out. You get accustomed to watching people disappear and never come back. [00:14:03] They also like to tell stories about how you can't hide from what you've done. For instance there was this one brother that was doing something. I don't remember now what they said he was doing but a story that circulates that supposedly while he was giving a talk from the platform he broke down and admitted he admitted his guilt. God's Spirit has worked on him in front of everyone to keep the congregation clean. He just admitted something awful up there in front of everybody. They just want you to know that it will come out whatever it is that you are hiding. So that way they can keep that fear in you. If that's not bad enough we were constantly told stories of how world situations can change on a change on a dime. There are countries like Russia where Jehovah's Witnesses have been banned. In those cases persecution occurs in some countries. I think there was a big deal in Malawi in the 70s or 80s I can't remember but people were displaced from their homes they were raped they were killed etc. just just because of their stand as Jehovah's Witnesses on some particular ground. [00:15:20] If a country bans them they will continue to do whatever they do underground and if caught they may be jailed or worse. Jehovah's witnesses refuse military service even in countries where that's mandatory. So in those countries they're imprisoned even in the United States where it isn't mandatory they would tell us how that could change that could change any day now. They're always harping on that fear it could change. They love to promote fear and a persecution complex. It could come at any day now you have to be ready to give up everything even your life. The Nazi persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses was often used as just one example. There's there's nothing so innocent as scaring little children into believing that they might have to lose mommy or daddy some time and go be faithful little Jehovah's Witnesses on their own in a concentration camp somewhere. Isn't that nice. And of course as I've already mentioned there is the impending Great Tribulation which will come in our lifetime during which all religion is destroyed and Jehovah's Witnesses will have to shine and stand out and be persecuted. [00:16:32] After that is Armageddon which is depicted in horrific hardest illustrations throughout their publications. From the time you're a child you are shown these horrible things that will occur when fire and brimstone comes down from the heavens to kill everyone on earth but you. You are supposed to stand tall during this knowing that your deliverance is here. I don't know about you but if you can stand tall and proud while everyone around you has slaughtered you are a psychopath. They try to deaden your normal human feelings though and honestly they do a very good job of it. Armageddon is always coming tomorrow. Obviously that can't happen in their timeline but the feeling is always there. They like to talk about how you wouldn't want to slip up today and do something you'd regret. If Armageddon came tomorrow because you know you can be a faithful servant for decades and do all the right things. But if your imperfections shines through. One time on the day of Armageddon you will be destroyed forever. [00:17:37] So fear rules. Jehovah's Witnesses. All right so now let's discuss Oh for obligacion as I mentioned before Jehovah's Witnesses believe that they have the truth by default. Everything else is false and from Satan so your obligation is to do whatever they deem necessary for survival through Armageddon to be counted as righteous Jehovah's Witnesses aren't supposed to go to weddings or funerals that take place in churches. Those are houses of false worship their obligation is to the organization that they're a part of only as the Scriptures say for what fellowship does the light have with darkness. If you want a freakin Jehovah's Witness out when it come to your door ask them to pray with you or take some of your religious literature. They hate that they don't believe that you're praying to the true God and they can't mix them with you and your worship. Although of course it's OK for them to come to your door and offer you their literature. They're not going to take yours if they do they're just going to they're just going throw it away. Then again of course let's admit it. What is it you did when I left the Watchtower and Awake with you. You probably threw it away too so I guess I can't really blame you. I used to though when I was a kid my grandpa had a solid gold antique Hamilton pocket watch that had a gold chain and a gold knife and he had promised that to me when I graduated from high school. [00:19:10] Unfortunately he died before I reached that age. So my parents kept watch for me in their top dresser drawer. I loved that watch. I loved what it stood for love that it was my grandpa's. I would go pull it out of its little velvet palette and just look at it open the knife wind it watch it run well the day came when I earned that watch. I graduated high school when I went to go get it the watch was gone. I immediately went and asked my mom where it went. [00:19:40] She told me a story that she found amusing and that I didn't so much and still don't. She told me that one day she thought it had a false religious symbol on it. I don't know what it could have been. Maybe it was like a cross or something. I don't know Jehovah's Witnesses don't believe in the cross. [00:19:57] She never specified whatsoever what it was she she thought it had a false religious symbol on it. So she she grabbed the watch and she threw it in the front yard. That makes sense right. Well when she later realized that she was wrong and went out to get I to take it. Imagine that. I'll just leave it there. I'm not going to elaborate it on much more because I can't do so without getting a little hateful. But so that is how deep the ingrained notion is that you have to stay away from anything that could be deemed false religion. If you think something might have a false religious symbol on it you better throw it out. In fact I remember there were people who would be criticized for having fluorides. So we had some friends who had these curtain rods and at the end the knobs were like these Fluor Diddley's. And I guess that was seen as like a fertility symbol. And I don't know some culture and people they would get criticized because someone came over to their house and noticed they had a flu or Dilley at the end of their curtain rod. [00:21:06] That's how petty and stupid it gets. So we were obligated to stick with what we saw to be true worship only. Here are some other obligations that Suppose a true worship involves. There was strong pressure to be at every meeting. Children had nothing to do at the meetings but were obliged to sit there and sit still for two hours and be bored. All Jehovah's Witnesses are obligated to abstain from blood transfusions. Basically they take in a few verses in the Bible that were about specific situations in Bible times and made modern day laws about bought blood transfusions. Even children are obligated to know this doctrine and how to explain it and you better. Because if you should ever need a transfusion as a child you might have to explain to doctors or a judge why you cannot take one. This is serious business. Many people die because of this refusal. Children and adults alike especially pregnant women. There is a lot of risk there and at times blood is needed and if they refuse them both they and the baby may die. All Jehovah's Witnesses carry a card in their wallet that acts as a legal document says on it. Real big no blood so they refuse blood. If they can't speak for themselves in the case of an emergency this legal document essentially speaks for them. It is one of the most despicable and dangerous doctrine doctrines that they teach. [00:22:40] In fact they have a hospital liaison committee or HLC a group of brothers that visits Jehovah's Witnesses and the hospital to help them or watch over them to make sure that they don't give in and take blood and that if they do they find out so that they can disfellowship that person. [00:22:59] Actually I believe that this is seen as an automatic disassociation. I haven't talked about disassociation yet. I will add my own story because that's what we did. It's an interesting concept but for the purposes of this subject let's just say that if a person does something like take blood to save their life or maybe join in military and military service that is mandatory in some country. Something that would make Jehovah's Witnesses look bad if they disfellowshipped a person for that. [00:23:27] I mean come on you know like here's a pregnant woman in labor and she needs a blood transfusion. And she takes one to save herself and her baby and she's disfellowshipped for that. I mean how awful is that going to look to any outsider. Of course it's going to look horrific and it is horrific. And they know that. So what they say is that person has taken it upon themselves to disassociate by that action and then that way they can save a little face as an organization and put all the blame on that person for what they did. [00:24:05] One that takes blood is seen as being blood guilty. This is an actual term blood guilt. One can also be guilty by not preaching to someone shrinking back from taking an opportunity to witness to them. Also if your car was in disrepair and you were in a wreck and hurt or killed someone you could be bled guilty in some cases like taking blood you would be kicked out of the organization. But in other cases like shrinking back from witnessing to somebody because you were dissed you were not comfortable in doing so at the moment. [00:24:39] It will be strictly between you and joho. But either way you're you're always at the mercy of someone else. There's always this obligation and you're trying not to be a guilty Jehovah's Witnesses are also to engage in what is called spiritual warfare. Again this is an actual term. [00:24:59] In other words if it is necessary to lie to protect the organization you are obligated to do so. Yes it happens yes. Again that is the term Here's another fun time. New Light new light. So basically whenever Jehovah's Witnesses find out that they are wrong about something rather than admitting they were wrong they come out with an article about quote new light as they claimed the light gets brighter as we go throughout the end of this system of things towards Armageddon. Jehovah opens their eyes to more and more. And when they have to change some doctrine often some place where they predicted something that didn't come true and they look stupid income's new light. Jehovah's Witnesses are obligated to accept new light whatever they believed yesterday must change today even if they don't understand it completely. If they don't they clearly don't trust Jehovah's organization and maybe they should be shunned if they don't shut up and keep it to themselves. If you don't keep up with present truth get another term that's a lariats presence truth as they call it. [00:26:11] This is and then again this present truth is also subject to change. But if you don't keep up with it if you disagree with it. If anyone knows that you disagree with that then you can be labeled an apostate and that's Fellowship's you can be disfellowshipped and kicked out for what you believed yesterday. That's pretty high stakes for something for truth that subject to change. I have to take a second here to say that as I say these things out loud even though I said them before and I've written them down for this. It's hard to believe that I ever was a part of this. It just goes to show how strong this is the power of the fog the fear obligation and guilt when natural disasters strike. Jehovah's Witnesses are obligated to try to help but they only help their own. The organization will send relief teams in with food and water clothes even help rebuild homes. Of course there are always going to go rebuild the Kingdom Hall. If that was destroyed first. That sounds pretty awesome right. I mean what's wrong with that. And it's all volunteer too. So where's the obligation. Well after they help their brothers and sisters something that a lot of people don't know is that they send in teams to speak to the effect of brothers and sisters to strongly encourage them to turn over their insurance checks. [00:27:41] So the organization that just helped them see their organization benefits they have free volunteer labor brothers and sisters that put up their own money their own tools in their own time to go into these affected areas so that they can help out the brothers and sisters there that are local. And then on the back end the organization swoops in and says hey we just helped you out. We being other people but volunteers. But whatever we just helped you up. Don't you think maybe you ought to hand over that check so you can see there where the sense of obligation comes in. [00:28:26] Now they do help people that aren't Jehovah's Witnesses on occasion but usually that's only if they are well. Well I'm going to call here Derbe adjacent and other words maybe they live next door to Jehovah's Witnesses or Jaida and they think that by helping them maybe they can convert them. There's almost always an ulterior motive. And we're talking about disasters here. Jehovah's Witnesses have no obligation to help on a daily basis in any other way. They do nothing but their preaching work for charity. That is their charity. That's what they see as the ultimate assistance. There's no feed the homeless program there's nothing to clothe the needy and there's certainly no program to provide Christmas presents to poor kids. [00:29:08] Speaking of those obligations to one another in the congregation you'll find that a lot of Jehovah's Witnesses work for other Jehovah's Witnesses. There are lots of service based business owners in the organization as well as a lot of people that fall into various MLM schemes. Now of course there's no doctrine of working for one another. But there's a huge culture of it. People look to their other brothers and sisters for work. It often ends poorly with the workers wanting to take advantage of the witnesses that own the business with kind of an expectation where they'll take care of me. And then there are a lot of Jehovah's Witness business owners that pay really low wages and treat their employees poorly. I've seen both sides personally in the end though witnesses are not allowed to see one another that is actual doctrine as a result many dirty deals are made. Also this all kind of gets back to the keeping up appearances which is yet another obligation we had to make sure that Jehovah's organization looks pure and clean and is never to smirch besmirch to the world. You've got to keep that name shined up and sparkling. So not only is this in the world that has to be done but also inside the congregation also with one another. Again it could even be in those employer employee situations. I remember when I was I don't know I was like 17 I was a high school for electronics. I hustled up some of my homework on the side and was fixing cars and microwaves and such. One of the brothers in the congregation had a broken VCR. [00:30:50] So he came to me and asked if I could fix it. Of course he wanted a deal. You know which is going to happen in that kind of a situation. But on the other hand he said that you know if I couldn't fix it it wasn't like it was a huge issue. It was broken. So you just buy a new one. But if I could fix it though and fix it cheap that be great. So I took it to my little workshop at my grandparent's house and got to work on it. Ultimately I replaced the belt. I did some other work on it. I put money into it but it just wouldn't work right. I couldn't fix it. It was beyond my expertise at the time when my parents found out they were super upset with me. I mean how dare I take this broken VCR and sell the brother that it was still that broken. They made me go buy him a brand new VCR. I have my own money and give it to him which he was happy with. But he kind of thought was strange. And they took my car away for a month. I learned not to do work for people at the Kingdom Hall anymore. After all I was working for minimum wage and couldn't afford to risk on every piece of equipment that was greater than what I could have ever actually like save. You know and made by fixing it. So I had to make my parents look good. And most importantly the organization another obligation. [00:32:10] A lot of people on the outside don't know about is that of turning in a field service report every month. You see every time a witness is talking to an unbeliever they are watching the clock and trying to figure out how long it took. They tally up that time and write it on a report that they must turn in each month to show that they're regular and witnessing. You can't be much of one to much of a Jehovah's Witness If you don't actively witness if you failed to for even one month you are deemed irregular and the elders might want to meet with you after six months you're deemed inactive. These are their terms a regular and an active anyway. They keep these reports on you forever. And the organization loves numbers and they compile them to show what they've done. How many hours you were out knocking on doors your report how many magazines you left with people how many times you went back in on someone that had taken literature and spoke to them. That's called a return visit. And then if you can get somebody to study with you out of a book you write that information down as well. And now for the big one this is the biggest obligacion dedication and baptism This is when everything gets real. The pressure to get baptized particularly for kids is huge. Joe what is it like to brag that they don't sprinkle infants into the church like Catholics do and they mock them for it. After all how much can a baby understand what's going on. They don't even know what they're doing. It's not like they made a choice to get sprinkled on the other hand. [00:33:47] Jehovah's Witness is a great pressure to their own kids and promote stories of 8 year old kids getting baptized and what a great example they are for the young ones. Eight year olds are well known for their decision making capabilities. Nobody knows better what they want to do with their life than someone that would eat cake for breakfast cookies for lunch and pie for dinner with ice cream for dessert. OK I'd probably do the same but whatever. Anyway Jehovah's Witnesses may not baptize infants but it's not like they're setting the bar high. Jesus was was 30 when he got baptized and he was perfect and the Son of God according to them. If you are baptized by your mid-teens people will start questioning your spirituality if you aren't by the late teens. People start labeling you bad association for their own kids and start avoiding you at some point there's something called quote the age of accountability that comes into play. There's no set age. But if you're old enough to understand the doctrine then you're old enough to be accountable to God and the organization. In other words you might as well get baptized after all. Jehovah sees you as seriously as if you were anyway. You see baptism is where Jehovah's Witnesses really get their claws into you. They give talks about how baptism is actually for your protection. God will give you his spirit to help you not fall into temptation. What really happens is once you are baptized they can now use the threat of disfellowshipping and Schoeni against you before then they can't do so. [00:35:23] So it's all a power move and a very effective one. Once you're baptized all obligations are in play. [00:35:32] Now we're going to talk about the G in the fog. Gilt guilt is the thought that I did a bad thing. Shame is the feeling that I am a bad person when standards of performance are as high as Jehovah's Witnesses impose upon their members. Guilt often becomes shame. So I did a bad thing. Easily becomes I'm a bad person. First let's explain the Jehovah's Witnesses moralize everything human imperfections or predilections are seen as though you sat down and decided to choose them. I also want you to realize that Jehovah's Witnesses have things that they see as black and white laws and other things that are principles. Here's another witness term conscience matters that is basically when they allow you to use your own conscience. How kind of them to determine what you'll do on such a matter. For instance having any sexual contact with someone that you aren't married to is wrong. [00:36:36] Watching a movie that has some sexual content in it is a matter of conscience as to how much is too much whether it's on screen or inferred if nudity was involved or not. But they're going to still let you know that you should feel guilty for saying any such content. They like to make rules out exactly making rules if you know what I'm saying. They they like to let you do something but I did tell you that you really shouldn't think guilt and shame comes out many ways. One of the things that I hear from Jehovah's Witnesses the most is that when they were Jehovah's Witnesses and honestly a lot of times even thereafter they feel like they're never enough. They themselves are not enough as a human being. It's a claim that rings true with just about everyone. Again let's remember that this is a performance based religion with perfectionistic aims. They expect you to be at all of the meetings and if you miss one even for good reason you feel guilty. Of course now they have an electronic system by which you can call in and listen even if you're sick. You really have to be a horrible person not to at least do that right. Don't you appreciate the spiritual food prepared for you lovingly by the brothers. Are you starting to see how this works. What do you mean you went with friends on to the lake on Saturday instead of going out in field service guilt's everything you do is under constant constant scrutiny from other people. Like I mentioned earlier and one of the most damaging is doing it to yourself. [00:38:18] Did you picture that person naked in a sexual way. Guilt. Jesus said that anyone looking at a woman so as to have a passion for her has committed sin in his heart. Oh now we're getting to the heart and that heart is a part of you. Remember guilt is what you do. Shame is about who you are. Now we're talking about you and how you really are the hardest treacherous who can know says the Bible. So we learn not to trust our heart our gut feelings or even our thoughts by doing so. It was easier to get us to let the organization decked out dictate how we should be I think that one of the most damaging impacts the organization on a person with respects to guilt and shame is actually in sexuality. One of the most personal aspects of any human being masturbation is flat out condemned. They even had talks on it. I had to give one of those talks once if looking at a woman with lost in one's heart is horrible. I really feel for any in the organization that were gay or they claimed that it was OK to have gay thoughts. It was just wrong to act on them to do so would get you disfellowshipped. I knew someone who was gay and committed suicide due to the pain of facing who was inside the organization. And I know he was not the only one. Sex is only to be experienced between married people and the marriage bed is to be kept without defilement. Oral sex anal sex anything other than basic sex could be defiling. [00:39:58] This was always a big taboo in the organization and as teens we would search for information in the publications about what the rules were because we had heard things and of course had no experience. You weren't going to be disfellowshipped for having oral sex with your spouse. But if you had privileges in the congregation as a ministerial servant or an elder you could actually be removed from your position in the congregation if that was found out somehow. Now it's not like they had cameras in people's bedrooms. What if someone told someone else about it in confidence it could come to light. I've actually heard crazy stories about people that felt so guilty afterward that they self-reported. [00:40:38] And these are talks these things are openly discussed in talks from the platform with children present those who are disfellowshipped for serious wrongdoing of whatever type usually leave in shame not guilt but shame at that point. They aren't condemning merely for their acts. By not being deemed repentant though they're actually speaks as to who they are. They're not sorry. These three men and their congregation have decided that they are not sorry. [00:41:14] And so they are a full shame at that point. And when you think about about the way back about being forced to go to every meeting while being shunned like a leper back in Bible times what a horrible situation to be in. Many still feel shame decades after leaving some commit suicide. Jehovah's Witnesses literally shame someone to the point of suicide. The fog sometimes wins even after somebody is kicked out. That is how strong the fog is. [00:41:54] There's another model that called experts relate when discussing how a person becomes controlled. I'm not going to spend as much time on it but I want to put it out there as well because it's absolutely relevant. It's often seen as an abusive situation of any kind. It can be seen in relationships as well as in any kind of abuse. [00:42:15] It's called the bite model. Basically if I can control your behavior your access to information what you think how you feel. Behavior information thoughts and emotions. You are being abused by me and in a very healthy unhealthy place. And that is what Jehovah's Witnesses do. Now a lot of these things overlap. You know something that hits the bee might also hit the ER or the T or the. But a good example of all of them is found in a poem that I'm going to read you that made the rounds among Jehovah's Witnesses. In fact I was once taught a form of Jehovah's Witnesses when I discovered this and I was the only person to object to it. I was I was still in but I was waking up and I was just absolutely dumbfounded when I read this. But this is indicative of the culture of Jehovah's Witnesses how they see other people. [00:43:19] All right it's called marrying out of the truth. He or she doesn't love Jehovah. So this is about this is a warning about a person in the congregation who would meet someone who's not a witness and get married to them. This is how they see the world this is this is a good microcosm of things. Marrying out of the truth doesn't set you free. I'd like to tell you a story about true love at last. It's very informative and has an interesting cast. So pay close attention. Sad but true. And don't ever think this can't happen to you. I met him during lunch break on a sunny day. He sat next to me and smiled as I was about to pray. We talked on and on. He was such a gentleman. I wish this moment would never end. But then it came to be the end of my lunch hour. I'll tell you when he stood up he looked just like our we met again and again our souls began to cling. I pondered in my mind is this the real thing. He doesn't smoke or drink or gamble away his money. He doesn't do drugs or things like that and he's nobody's honey. Let's face it he's fine and he's got a really great bod. The only thing that's missing is he doesn't serve Jehovah God. I'll just give him a chance he'll change in time. I don't mind being his. If he'd like to be mine my friends tried to warn me. I didn't listen or care. [00:44:47] Little did I know my life would be one of despair. The wedding was fine. The judge married us in the fall. You see I couldn't have a wedding in a Kingdom Hall. My dad. No. He didn't give me away with the pain in his heart. He didn't have much to say. Mom listens to me. Please don't cry and whine don't worry about us. We'll be just fine. I've got a good man and he has a good job. The only thing is he doesn't serve Jehovah God. Everything is going fine. But recently at night when it's time for the meeting we just fuss and fight he says Who is this God breaking us apart. Don't go tonight dear. Please follow your heart. So I listen and stay to keep peace at home. But now often times I feel so all alone. I don't associate with the friends much at all to keep peace at home. I don't go to the whole service meetings. All that is history today. I decorate at my first holiday tree. The holiday celebrations are now part of my life. You see I must obey my husband for I am his wife. The brothers would call. I wouldn't answer the door. I don't read the magazines. Reading is such a bore. Marrying out of the truth really set you free free from Jehovah's love that once was in me. I just got the news I'm having a little one. I can hardly wait to tell my dear hon. He was in a bad mood. He lost his job that day. [00:46:17] He told me as he hit me that's just one more bill to pay. Then he apologized. I'm sorry please forgive me dear. You see I've heard those words more often than I'd like to hear. I have two jobs now I must support my household. My husband says he'll find work but now that's getting old. I'm tired I'm stressed. I'm feeling very strange. My schedule at both jobs. I'll have to rearrange. I should be very happy. The baby is due any day. Things just have to get better somehow some way. I'm married to this man for better or for worse. The only problem is he doesn't put Jehovah first. The baby came today. She's so little and so light. She's not crying or making noise. Something's just not right. What could be wrong. I thought aloud as I lay in bed in came the doctor looking sad and then he shook his head Mrs. unbeliever's said there's something I must confess. You and the baby tested positive to the new HIV test. I started crying. I couldn't believe the words the doctor said to know that in a very short time my child and I'd be dead. Listen to me. All of you. I'm telling you to your face. To marry an unbeliever is a total disgrace to Jehovah our loving Father who provides for his sheep. That's why he sets the guidelines for us to hold and to keep wait on Jehovah and his due time he'll set things straight. Be patient and he'll give you a theocratic mate one who loves Jehovah and you know that he'll do right. [00:47:53] One who will be there with you when it comes to meeting night. A worldly man has nothing to offer really nothing at all but in happiness sadness sorrow and a very serious fall. So why is my sister. And please don't try to rush things. Wait patiently on Jehovah and accept the blessings he brings don't look to worldly men as mates at your job or at the mall remember brothers that serve Jehovah or at the Kingdom Hall Wow that was a rough read. [00:48:28] I hope I did it justice. So do you see the bite model there the behavior control the information control. You know here here's here's how you should behave. Don't marry unbelievers. Information control can be seen and that they are telling you how these people are who are on the outside. And then of course start an emotional control they're painting a picture of this man outside the cult as a wife beater with HIV who is going to treat cheat on her. This is given as an example of what's out there in the world apart from the cult. I thought I go ahead and give some snippets of other things that fell into the model and were a part of our daily lives as Jehovah's Witnesses. I'm sure listeners that were in it can relate and can probably add their own. I learned to trust no one outside the congregation. I learned that keeping the congregation clean was paramount and that I had to be judgmental jerk and I wanted to do so. I learned to look to the organization for what was right and wrong. And so there are publications for help on life's decisions regarding everything from employment to what games I should play. I learned the art of cognitive dissonance and how to shove back my doubts through thought stopping techniques such as the following. Well everything else they've told me is true. So this must be. And who am I to run ahead of Jehovah. [00:50:00] There must be a reason for this. [00:50:04] I learned the good things in life were blessings from Jehovah that had little to do with me but bad things. Those are my fault. I learned that education isn't important unless it comes from the organization. I learned to be different and proud of it to the point where I felt special in a twisted way. I look down on outsiders I'm not proud of that. I learned that ultimately everything in life came back to serving the organization. Recreation was OK because it recharged our batteries so that we could serve more whole heartedly. I learned that this is the worst time in human history and that things are more urgent now than ever. Through twisted facts and stories I've since learned that I'd rather live now as opposed to oh I don't know like ending up in a Roman Coliseum or at some point in the crusades or like living and suffering from some awful plague. But I digress. I learned that my clothes should make me blend into a crowd never standing out or detracting from the message which was the most important thing I learned that facial hair was allowed only as long as it was a mustache and at the ends of the moustache must not descend past the lower corners of my mouth. I learned that tattoos were bad. I learned that a sister wearing a large shiny pretty brooch on stage was bad because that was attracting unnecessary attention to her. [00:51:29] I actually heard that counsel from the platform before I learned that a person wouldn't want to put their arm around the person that they were dating at the Kingdom Hall because you might make a single person without a mate feel bad. I learned that getting married in and of itself is a bad idea. Unless of course you absolutely had to in order to express her urges because you could do more for the organization if you weren't married. I learned that having kids in this world was probably an unnecessary burden because if the end came and persecution with those children those kids are going to be a liability. I learned to rejoice on some level when catastrophe struck such as a natural disaster because it was a sign of the times and proved that our deliverance was near. I learned that when any news came out that was negative about Jehovah's Witnesses I was to avoid it because it was nothing more than say Tanak lies. Of course if positive media came out I was to take that in and see how wonderful the organization was. Satan only lies on one side of things. I learned that I should be friends with or associate with only people that thought and believed and felt exactly as I did. Nobody builds narcissists quite like Jehovah's Witnesses. I learned that wishing someone good luck was bad as well saying bless you after a sneeze. Both had spirit cystic origins. I learned not to say you too when someone wished me a Merry Christmas at a store I couldn't say Merry Christmas back. But even saying you two was basically saying Merry Christmas. So I learned to say thank you. It's so ridiculous. [00:53:12] I learned that dating was only for the purpose of marriage and that what really mattered in a mate was finding someone spiritual someone that went to all the meetings and studied their Watchtower magazine and that commented at meetings. I learned that those were the important things in a married life. On the other side I learned that divorce was only acceptable on the grounds of adultery one could be separated for something like severe abuse but that's about it. If a couple divorced and it wasn't for adultery neither was free to remarry. And so the other admitted to having sex with someone else or marry them thus breaking the original marriage. Failure to comply could lead to disfellowshipping either and that the Internet was dangerous. Could tell ridiculous things like just typing the letter P into the search bar. Could flood your computer with pornography. There is such technological idiots since learned that the Internet is now just fine so long as you go to their Internet their official Web site says they now have one and consume all the entertainment videos that they now provide. I learned that televangelists as such were all evil. But now that Jehovah's Witnesses have their own J.W. Broadcasting Channel I've learned that such things are OK after all. I learned that dinosaur bones were put there by the devil to throw off seekers of truth from finding God because the Bible doesn't say anything about dinosaurs. On that note I learned that carbon dating is completely flawed and that evolution is as well. Ultimately I learned to be a horrible and ignorant human being. Lacking any empathy and in the end I hated myself. You have just received a master class on how to control manipulate dominate and destroy the lives of others. [00:55:06] You can start your own code if you wish. I don't recommend it though. I think eventually you believe your own garbage and just get as wrapped up in it as the people you victimize. That's what I see in the leadership of the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses today. Next week I'm going to get into how all of these things specifically inform my life as one of Jehovah's Witnesses from the time my parents started studying and into adulthood and married life and add more of my story into it. You'll see how I went from a young Jehovah's Witness to the year of 2008 when yet another strange moment started changing my entire life. This time for the better and toward a healthy course. [00:55:49] So I really do appreciate you listening. If you like this or think that it might help somebody else please subscribe so that you can get each episode as they come out and tell others about this. I'm putting this out into the world to be of help and it's not going to help anybody obviously. People don't spread the word. I don't have a big podcast network behind me. I don't have the cache of Leah Remini that allowed her to do a series on Scientology. I'm just a guy that lived a certain life that wants to expose what literally millions of other people around the world have gone through. There are over 8 million Jehovah's Witnesses and scores of ex Jehovah's Witnesses out there. There are millions more that have family or friends that are Jehovah's Witnesses that they might be concerned about. Take this to them so that they can see what it's like. And if nothing else maybe it just helps somebody to feel less alone. Visit my site at W.W. this J-ws life dot com if you want to discuss this further. There will be a place to comment below each episode that I put out so there can be a discussion. Ask questions give suggestions or if you want just say hi. I might answer them on another podcast or maybe have fun you know. Of course I'll engage in a discussion there but maybe there's something that can help me to even change this podcast to make it better. Remember that others are fighting things that you might not realize and give them the benefit of the doubt. [00:57:14] Love others do no harm and go be happy. [/expand]
9 Jul 2017
Episode 10 - Announcing "shunned"
In this final episode of This JW Life I discuss where things are going after my story has been wrapped up. Click here to check out ShunnedPodcast.com Direct Download Here
6 Sep 2017
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Episode 9 - Let's Send This Thing Out Right - Where We Ended Up
After leaving the cult of Jehovah's Witnesses we learned even more eye-opening things about it. Then we applied the same scrutiny to the book that everything we ever believed was based on. Where did we end up? How is our life now? How will I end this last episode of my story? Listen to find out. Direct Download Here [expand title="Click Here To Show Transcript"] [00:01:59] I'm going to break down the nearly two years since my wife and I left the call in different sections to tie up some loose ends and and report on what life has been like after the call. So let's just jump right in. First section we're going to talk about is what I've learned since leaving the cold about the cold admittedly Jehovah's Witnesses know very little about the religion that they pledged their loyalty to. As far as history goes and they also honestly don't know a lot about what is involved in it. Presently you see a good magician only shows you what they want you to see. They don't slow things down and show you the sleight of hand used to make the allusion appear seamless to your naked eye. I've had time now to slow things down to get away from the indoctrination and to get that detailed look at things that I never even had any clue were going on. Around the time that I was coming out there were two big events that happened in the Colts. First the governing body of Jehovah's Witnesses. Again these are the leaders of the cult. They started coming out from behind the curtain. Now when I was growing up. One of the selling points of the cult was that our leaders were unknown to us. So it couldn't be a call right. You know these people were behind the scenes they weren't doing it for personal glory. So it wasn't like we were following some man. Well those men have now decided to make themselves known. And it is glorious. [00:03:28] Now I'm just going to sit here and take shots at them unnecessarily. But if you've ever seen a picture of them or if you ever hear them speak the mental illness in them just drips off their words one of them looks like a caricature of Cecil the turtle from the old Bugs Bunny cartoons and speaks about like him. It is so creepy. Others have he's really flat facts as though they are dead inside something that kind of tends to do anyway to people by robbing them of their humanity. But they are truly caricatures. Now one day around when I left there was a huge meeting that was broadcast throughout all the congregations. This was a big deal. [00:04:11] It was a special thing and everyone flocked to their kingdom halls to watch this live stream on video screens of the governing body during a special meeting. This [00:04:21] wasn't something that the average Jehovah's Witness ever got to see. [00:04:26] There were these annual meetings that were held up at Bethel or the headquarters in New York in New York City. But this wasn't something that the average person got to participate in. But they took the opportunity to come out pretty much to great fanfare to be seen on these video screens that each congregation would either buy or rent so that they could show the members this live stream now this is a great chance. [00:04:58] The governing body could speak to anything they wanted anything in the world. They had their subs subjects were captive they could encourage them in any way they wanted. Would you like to know what the highlight from that meeting was Anthony Morris one of the governing body members used his 15 minutes of fame to go on a rant about tight pants tight pants. [00:05:25] In fact he is no now as tight pants Tony he could have talked about anything he could have encouraged single parents that were going through tough times. He could have encouraged young people that had to live a messed up life in the cold. But instead he chose to harp on things like how tight the pants were that people were wearing. And if you don't like it as he is so fond of saying take it up with God because you know that's right there in the Bible in the book of fashion you know the chapter about how tight your pants should be. He he talked about those Spanx as he called them just to show how out of touch he is. He talked about those Spanx as he called them that women used to work out in. And how appalling it was that they would ever wear those out of the house. Then he went on to talk about how the homosexuals that design men's pants want to see you in those tight pants the more slender dress pants as opposed to the pleated pans that looked like balloons were. Remember those as I remember when I was younger you'd wear these pleated pants a little balloons in your crotch when you sit down. Well you know these homosexuals they're just making you wear these tight pants so they can see your bold young men. That's what it's about. You could see how out of touch these human beings are what their world view is like in just a few statements. It doesn't take a lot. [00:06:51] You don't have to get to know these men. This man is a God. A G O D or a guardian of doctrine as they literally referred to themselves as at one point. What a shame that instead of helping people. All he did was put more burdens on them like the Pharisees in Jesus day that Jehovah's Witnesses liked to poke fun at that talk helped to wake a lot of people up. He even went on a rant about the socks that brothers wore with crazy colors on them or designs really now also around that time was the live streaming online of the Australian Royal Commission. The FARC is investigating religions in Australia and how they deal with childhood sexual abuse in their organisations. Now it isn't just Jehovah's witnesses that were being investigated but it was the Jehovah's Witnesses that got special attention not just from those of us that were watching. Ex Jacob's but from the commission itself you see ANGUS STEWART Now a hero among us ex SJ Dubbs was not fooled by the court's appearance and persona. He went in prepared in part because the ex Jehovah's Witness community reached out and gave him things that helped him to prosecute the witnesses in his court. I'll let you in on a little something regarding Jehovah's Witnesses and child sexual abuse or honestly abuse of any kind. Let's say that Little Susie claims that a relative molested her she tells her Jehovah's Witness parents first her parents will go to the elders not to the police but to the elders as that is pretty much how everything is handled in the creation's. [00:08:38] Then once they're little Susie would have to sit down in front of men elders and tell them what happened. Faced probing questions into it again. I think I mentioned earlier they want to know all the details. Then the elders would call the legal department at Watchtower headquarters for advice on how to proceed. Now Jehovah's Witnesses will deny that this is the case but the case is that Jehovah's Witnesses have always been discouraged from going to the police. As a general rule remember they're concerned more about appearance than anything and they will avoid the courts because they don't want the organisation to look bad publicly just like they'll encourage people that seek psychiatric care. So then please don't disclose that you're one of Jehovah's Witnesses because it reflects badly on them. So Susie has now been through this ordeal and the elders would then go confront the relative in the congregation that was accused of molesting her. Often it would come down to a judicial hearing and the little girl would have to face the person that she accused often an adult and likely a man in this scenario in front of three men in the end unless the accused confessed. There could be nothing done unless there was a second witness. Now how many times do you think someone witnesses such predatory behavior. So the relative goes free to molest others and only if another person comes forward later. Will they then have their two witnesses. They have what's called the two witness rule. They take it from one particular verse in the Bible out of the mouth of two witnesses and they use it in this particular scenario. [00:10:27] And because people aren't going to the police it really causes a lot of problems and there's a lot of behavior that has repeated There was an elder that was being shaken down by Angus Stewart that was on the stand in the course of questioning Mr. Stewart asked him what he was doing to protect the general public. Her he got all indignant and was like well you know of course we care about other kids but how could we protect everyone. Well Mr. Stewart beautifully pointed out that by keeping everything in-house and avoiding taking matters like this to the police they were at best only trying to protect those in their own cult and that even if the abuser confessed and was disfellowshipped that did nothing to protect the community at large from a predator. The elder as if thinking about this for the first time in his life thinking about other people he turned blood red and was humiliated. You see Jehovah's Witnesses are so full of themselves that they don't even consider outsiders. This was an eye opener. In the end over 1000 cases of pedophilia were documented and not one was ever reported to the authorities. Jehovah's Witnesses have a policy of also destroying notes taken during such questionings of abuse cases and when questioned on the stage on the stand as to whether or not they would continue doing so. They said yeah that's our policy because again it's policy over people. Now people have even been threatened with disfellowshipping if they were to take these accusations of abuse to the police. Justice McClellan who was presiding over that court pointed out that Jehovah's Witnesses were the worst organization that he had seen in dealing with this. [00:12:22] And the quote was defiance at every turn in areas where they were expected to cooperate. They even hired an outside expert to sing their praises. That was snowed by them as to what the reality was. [00:12:36] And then when this woman gets up on the stand she looks like a complete tool because she had to admit as their own hired expert that they were not doing what they should be doing at all. [00:12:49] She didn't realize what the real situation was and so she got on the stand. She had gone by what the organization had told her. All the flowery things about how wonderful they are and then when she got confronted with the reality of it she had to admit what that reality was she was absolutely taken apart on the stand. [00:13:11] In fact it's also funny that they have a woman up there as an expert in the first place. [00:13:16] We all know as the Jehovah's Witnesses at least know that only those with a male appendage know anything of use. They're the only ones who could be an expert for them to actually put a woman up there. It's just so counter to who Jehovah's Witnesses are. In fact the court was hoping that the court would allow women to hold a role in these types of abuse cases particularly where girls or women were being abused so that they didn't have to go speak to men about it. And of course the court declined to consider that I could go on and on. I could do an entire podcast about the RCC alone but I'll leave it there. The organization of Jehovah's Witnesses actually has a database of thousands upon thousands of such accusations of pedophilia and even known pedophiles who have confessed to what they did. They have a database of thousands upon thousands of these situations around the globe that they keep secret. The court is not co-operative and holds those databases close even redacting basically any information they want when forced to cooperate by the judicial system. Further showing how little Jehovah's Witnesses regard outsiders was another event that happened at the time there was a massive earthquake in Nepal that killed thousands and injured tens of thousands. It was a nightmare it was all over the news well the way the witnesses react it bothered me so much as I was waking up. That actually put a post up on one of the SJW forums in a thread entitled they only care about themselves. [00:15:02] I said I've watched the reaction to the Nepal disaster for the first time with eyes open. What do I see. [00:15:09] Lots of comments about praying for the brothers and sisters affected the official release on the Web site because the witnesses main web site they actually have kind of like a media section where they address things that happen in the world regarding them. [00:15:26] So there is this official release on their Web site references only the sister and her two children that died along with the impact on the brothers there. That's it for an organization that is supposed to be marked by love for all of the gum flapping about how much love for neighbor they show. They can't even be bothered to shout out to the thousands killed and their families and friends. Would it be too much to even acknowledge that other people you know the ones that you supposedly love so much that you go and preach to them door to door even exists. [00:16:00] I understand taking care of your own but you don't have to ignore everyone else like calous Narcissus. [00:16:07] So that's the end of my post that I had made. I just couldn't believe how they wouldn't even acknowledge that other people were impacted. There was literally no mention of those other people. It shows again how little they care about anyone that is outside their group. Here's some other random things that I've learned since being out. I came to realize that there is now no concept of grace in the Colts. They don't use the term grace. That's something that I heard for the first time outside of Jehovah's Witnesses Instead they use the term undeserved kindness so that you always know that you're not really worth anything. I also realize that they they use a lot of weasel words like the word evidently when about to make a point that requires a huge leap and has no real basis. They like to make leaps tobacco whatever ridiculous thing that they're about to posit. So they'll use a word a use word like evidently to get you to make that leap with them. On that. No. They often use the term present truth and the other does speak term present truth to let you know that you have to obey because whatever they're telling you is true but that truth is subject to change. [00:17:29] I learned that they are involved in all kinds of things that they would never allow their members to be a part of or even given the appearance of association with. The biggest example of this is the United Nations now. Jehovah's Witnesses are not even supposed to join the local YMCA because it is a Christian organization not affiliated with the cult and thereby it is false religion because remember they and they alone have the truth. But the colt which claims that the United Nations will eventually cause the nations to turn on and shut down religion and which they see as the scarlet colored wild beast in Revelation. They Jehovah's Witnesses actually became an associate an NGO or a non-governmental organization of the United Nations in 1992 the Guardian and the United Kingdom actually broke the news in October of 2001 that the Jehovah's Witnesses were a member of this organization that they claim to be the scarlet colored wild beast of Revelation. [00:18:38] And that very same month the cult withdrew and disassociated as an NGO member of the United Nations. They are hypocrites of the highest order. If you look up the company of Rand cam that's R.A. in the space s.a.m Aranda cam if you look at their SCC or Securities and Exchange Commission information as a traded company in the United States you'll see that the Watchtower holds a large stake Rand's cam makes engines and is involved in the defense industry the war machine something that Jehovah's Witnesses are opposed to. [00:19:16] Do they think do you think that they would have let you as one of Jehovah's Witnesses do anything that even sniffs such an industry of course not years ago Jehovah's Witnesses aligned themselves with the well-known televangelist Jimmy Swaggart and listing themselves as a quote friend of the court during his case regarding sales tax on books sold. You see Jehovah's Witnesses used to sell their books and magazines from door to door. We would go and we would sell them we would collect money for them. Well one day we got a notice from the top at one of our meetings that we were so blessed by Jehovah that we were going to start relying on him to make this organization go. [00:20:01] We would show our trust in him by going to a donation arrangement instead of charging for the literature we were given suggested donations and proof that Jehovah was backing us would be demonstrated as the organization would have an abundance materially under this new system of getting funding through voluntary donations instead of charging for our literature. [00:20:22] This was God ordained right. Well what they didn't tell us and what I found out later was that the government decided that selling books like this should be taxed and they didn't want to pay taxes. [00:20:34] So that is the real reason that the donation arrangement came about it wasn't blessing from Almighty God. It was prompting by the almighty dollar. In the end it is the members of the congregation that donate the money for the literature that they then go out and give away for free. Most of the time they jilted their members into funding all of it. Well-played colt. Well played another great play is this. It used to be that every congregation was its own entity and own its own property including the building the local brothers and sisters would donate money to the upkeep of the building. They donate money to pay the mortgage or eventually save money for a down payment on a new building if needed. Well the organization often funded those mortgages and the local congregations would get a loan for their Keenum hall that they would you know them be so proud of well Watchtower headquarters decided that they were going to be nice a few years ago. They sent out a letter only part of which was read to the creation and part of which was for the elders eyes only and which they forgave all the mortgages those congregations that had a loan with the organization we're now debt free. That's awesome right. [00:21:53] I mean really how can you mess that up. Well as with just about anything. Read the fine print. What they actually did was to forgive the loans to be sure but they had all of the properties turned over to them. They now owned everything including Keenum halls that were long since paid for. They scarfed up all the properties. [00:22:17] They also told the Koreans that since they were taking care of everything now there was no use in the individual congregations having much money in the bank. So they took everything over a certain amount of basic operating costs. There are creations that had tens of thousands of dollars saved up and earmarked for a new building and all that money was just taken to sweeten the deal for the cold even more. [00:22:42] They told the members that you know what since you've proven that you can pay X amount for your mortgage over these years you know whatever they had previously been paying for the mortgage you could just keep donating that amount through a pledge. And what they did is they handed out slips of paper for everyone to write down how much money they would commit to giving each month so that they knew that they would still be getting their money. In other words don't think you can relax and not keep donating just because you don't have a mortgage anymore. They weren't about to take that foot off the throat of their members. [00:23:15] This new arrangement is forever. So yeah you don't have a loan anymore but you have a commitment in perpetuity to pay at least the same amount. And oh yeah that's took all of your money out of the bank and they took your property too. Again well. [00:23:32] Well played in fact one of the things that Jehovah's Witness has always bragged about was that every month we would have this accounts report that was read from the platform. A brother would get up the account servant who took care of everything. And you know so how much money was donated he'd tell how much you know went to the electric bill the gas bill the water bill it's maintenance on the creation. And I mean you know to be honest to you know give them props for this. [00:23:59] They were very transparent on the local level and when they go to conventions they have a much less detailed accounts report that they go over. [00:24:11] But has anybody ever seen an accounts report for the entire organization. Has anybody ever seen where all of that money goes. Because all they would ever say at the local level is we had X amount that was donated to the quote worldwide work a catchall for the money that was given to the organization. [00:24:31] And you know this was beyond the money that was given to the local herniation. So there was a lot of transparency locally. [00:24:39] But all of the funds that went to Watchtower headquarters said he didn't know where all that money went. [00:24:46] But not until 1961. [00:24:51] Changing the subject. Jehovah's Witnesses could say blood transfusions without penalty. [00:24:57] There were brothers and sisters who you know got a blood transfusion that maybe even save their life. In 1961 it was made a disfellowshipping offense. Eventually as I stated in an earlier episode it was deemed to be an automatic disassociation so that they could put the entire blame on you for being out. [00:25:18] If you took a blood transfusion that saved your life instead of looking bad themselves for kicking you out for taking such a life saving measure over time they have now decided that certain blood fractions are OK to say how many died or were disfellowship during their changes in beliefs. And yet no apology was offered. [00:25:39] And if you are disfellowshipped for taking a fraction to save your life prior to their change in doctrine you would still remain disfellowshipped because ultimately the real problem is that you didn't submit to their wishy washy doctrine. I always wondered when they would start letting sex fractions be OK. There are a lot of witnesses who question that fun fact at one point Jehovah's Witnesses considered organ transplants to be cannibalism. [00:26:08] Here's some other fun facts. The cult was started by Charles Taze Russell. He was associated with the millwrights and the Seventh Day Adventists and he bought into their predictions of the end of the world with specific dates. He is rumored to have had involvement with the Knights Templar Freemasons. He used pyramid ology to try to predict things like 1914 using the dimensions of pyramids. Speaking of 1914 they arrive at that date for the beginning of the end of this system of things based on calculations starting from the fall of Jerusalem in 6 0 7 BCE only do a quick Google search and you'll see that Jerusalem wasn't destroyed in 6 so seven BCE 587 is the accepted date. For its fall for any exodus out there that haven't looked that one up yet. Take a look at that that dates 1914 that Jehovah's Witnesses hold so dear as the date that Jesus took his invisible reign in heaven. Just waiting to come and crush this this world or at least the non Jaida on it. That day was based on 6 0 7 BCE and then other speculative ridiculous calculations but six so seven BCE. Pretty much according to Jehovah's Witnesses they're the only ones who say that that's when Jerusalem fell. I mean it doesn't really take much research. Anyway back to Russell. Charles says Russell is buried in a cemetery adjacent to Masonic property and there's a large pyramid monument nearby his grave that Rutherford the second president of the call is rumored to have put their Russell was involved in something that was a scam a called Miracle Wheat as well. [00:28:00] At one point it was said that God lived on a star in the Pleiades constellation Jehovah's Witness has purchased two properties under the direction of Rutherford the second president one called Best Seram and one called Beth Shan. Both I believe were in San Diego. Best Seram meant the house of princes princes and these properties were supposedly purchased because they believed that the faithful men of old these princes like Abraham or Mose's they believed that these men would be resurrected to the earth and they wanted to have a nice place for them to stay. Yes I'm serious. It is well-documented. You see photos of the place. There was rumor that Beth Shan How's the bomb shelter some sort of bunker for the impending Armageddon. Most Jehovah's Witnesses don't know anything about these matters. I never did. Another thing they don't realize is that they are being played in the literature often the use of an ellipses. [00:29:05] Those few dots you'll see something said then dot dot dot and then some more things said. Usually when you see one of those ellipses those few dots indicating that part of something usually a quote we're left out there often hiding some very real lies and manipulation of quotes for instance Jehovah's Witnesses don't believe that Jesus died on a cross. They believe it to be an upright stake like a pole. Here is a partial quote that the cult gives to support its position on this upright stake taken from the Imperial Bible Dictionary. Now first I'm going to read what Watchtower's says in their book. Reasoning from the Scriptures on the subject and then I'm going to read what the actual dictionary says. So here's what Watchtower's says that this book says the Greek word for cross rose properly signified a steak and upright pole or a piece of paling on which anything might be hung or which might be reused in impaling or fencing in a piece of ground. Dot dot dot dot. Even amongst the Romans the crux from which our cross is derived appears to have been originally an upright pole. All right so if you read this. Sounds like the Greek word for cross-bow star rose. It was a stake and so that would be used in impaling right. Even the Romans appeared to have used a cross that originated from an upright pole. All right. It's a pole. It's not a cross Well let's see what the quote actually says. [00:30:42] It says the Greek word for cross star rose properly signified a stake an upright pole or a piece of paling on which anything might be hung or which might be used in impaling or fencing in a piece of ground. Now here's the dot dot dot dot. The ellipses but a modification was introduced as the as the Dominion and usages of Rome extended themselves to Greek speaking countries even amongst the Romans. The crux from which the word crosses derived appears to have been originally an upright pole and always remained the more prominent part but from the time that it began to be used as an instrument of punishment a traverse piece of wood was commonly added. Not however always then there can be no doubt however that the later sort was more common. And that about the period of the Gospel age crucifixion was usually accomplished by suspending the criminal on a cross piece of wood. Honestly if you continue going through the dictionary there there are several places where it talks about the cross and how it was a cross. But the witnesses have manipulated the quotes to mean something else. [00:31:53] In fact I remember one time this isn't actually in my notes. I tried to find it but at one time there was an expert that they used. You know he was some scientist that they used to explain something. [00:32:11] I don't know about how you know things were really here by creation not by evolution. You know this former evolutionist or something. What they failed to mention was the person that they quoted was one of Jehovah's Witnesses who used to be a science as that's what it was. [00:32:28] And then when caught on it they took the entire part about that out. So you know they have no qualms in bending the truth and claiming to have the truth if they are changing the words of others to fit what they want they will do the same in their own publications. If you were to go look at their publications today the cult keeps them online for easy access part of that easy access that they can change things in their own written word without anyone noticing. In fact if you go look at what they allow people to see now they only allow you to go back to like the year 2000. Everything before then is gone as though it didn't happen. All the crazy things that they said are just gone. [00:33:18] In fact they often will try to get rid of older books and try to destroy them so that the average person can't come across them you see with all the books that they've produced over the years. [00:33:32] They were caught on a lot of things that they predicted and got wrong. For example the cult said over and over and in many ways that the world would end in 1975. There was even a saying stay alive till 75 people were encouraged to give up their worldly possessions and to spend more time preaching the message of salvation. Door to door because the time was near for Armageddon the biggest increases the organization ever had were during the years leading up to this. People sold off everything. They quit their jobs they quit basic education like high school and devoted everything to the cause. I'm guessing you realize that since we're still here they were wrong yet again. Let's look though at how they change the past through their written word. [00:34:22] There was a book released in 1968 around the time when they kind of started pushing the rhetoric about this 1975 thing and the book on page 88 paragraph 11 says during and after World War II widespread. Now I should say first sorry the title of this chapter. [00:34:46] This book is called the truth that leads to eternal life. The title of this chapter is God's Kingdom comes to power. OK. So supporting the when God's kingdom will come in. And of course God's Kingdom coming in means Armageddon the end of this current system of things subparagraph 11 says that during and after World War 2 widespread food shortages added to the distress. [00:35:09] Shortly after the war look magazine observed a fourth of the world is starving today. Tomorrow will be even worse. Famine over most of the world now is more terrible than most of us can imagine. [00:35:22] I wonder what it says there anyway. There are now more people hunting desperately for food than at any other time in history. More recently the book entitled famine in 1975 said concerning today's food shortages. Hunger is rampant throughout country after country continent after continent around the undeveloped belt of the tropics and subtropics. [00:35:45] Today's crisis can move in only one direction toward catastrophe. Today Hungary Nations tomorrow starving nations by 1975 civil disorder Anarky military dictatorships runaway inflation transportation breakdown and chaotic unrest will be the order of the day in many of the hungry nations. [00:36:08] So you see there they were already starting to point to 1975 is this time when all these bad things are going to happen right. Well and I think it was like 1980 they revised this book. So let's look at what it said after 1975 during and after World War 2. [00:36:31] Well I'll just skip the first part. Shortly after the war. [00:36:35] Look magazine observed and then it goes on about how the world is starving today. And to me it just goes. More recent reports have shown that a constant lack of adequate food resulting in chronic malnutrition has become the major world hunger problem today. [00:36:49] The London Times reported and then it just goes off into some you know random quote having nothing to do with 1975. [00:36:59] So the previous the original iteration there was a quote from a book entitled famine 1975. And in that book it actually pointed to 1975 as when chaos would ensue. So they will do anything they can to try to avoid admission of being wrong even changing their own written word. [00:37:21] And now they can do it with impunity because they can do it online on their own Web site where they control everything. [00:37:30] Now I initially they blamed the members of the organization for making up the whole 1975 thing on their own and they blame them for running with it when it was actually them the organization that mentioned it over and over suddenly putting it out there like the manipulative people that they are. Speaking of books through a crisis of conscience by Ray Franz the former Governing Body member I learned that beliefs and policies are actually voted on now. I mean he kind of makes some sense is not a huge revelation you know but let's play that out. That means that there are members of the governing body today that don't even believe their own teachings. If you or I believe something different and others found out it could be grounds for a ruling of apostasy and we could be disfellowshipped. [00:38:19] However those men are voting on things that impact people's lives their real everyday lives the decision not to allow the brothers and sisters in Malawi to purchase a party card because of their stand on political neutrality cost thousands their lives and they were brutally raped and mutilated and tortured because the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses would not allow the brothers and sisters in Malawi to purchase this party card. They said it would not be showing neutrality as it turns out. Malawi only had one party so they wouldn't have been taking sides. And this car costs very little it was like getting an ID and the brothers pleaded with Jehovah's Witness headquarters because the ruling made no sense. In the end a lot of people were slaughtered. Lives were ruined. People were tortured and Jehovah's Witnesses have a lot of blood on their hands. I came to realize that that whole field service work that we always did it's not to make converts. [00:39:26] It's to keep you the publisher going from door to door so that you stay in the colt. [00:39:33] You see human beings have a need for internal consistency we need our thoughts and our actions to align or or we'll start going a different path because they don't match up. But if they can get us to go knock on doors investing so much time and energy when they're teaching can't come up in our head that maybe it makes sense or or the cold asks us to do something ridiculous. We were more inclined to just brush it aside because we were investing so much into this. In fact the Jehovah's Witnesses and I looked this up. I forgot about it just now come to mind. But there's a quote in a recent magazine where essentially the governing body has written that there's going to likely come a time in the future when the governing body is going to ask Jehovah's Witnesses to do something that may not seem prudent or may not seem to be the smartest decision given the circumstances. But it's a matter of obedience and salvation to go ahead and follow that direction. [00:40:46] They they basically have set them up to tell their people anything they want and people can't question it. They're supposed to just go along with it. I mean how sick is that. Additionally there are a lot of people that leave the cold that end up going Buchwald. Why. [00:41:09] Well you might think it's because they've been pent up for so long in a restrictive call and you know you'd be at least partially right in some cases. [00:41:16] However if you think about it the cult tells people that those on the outside are basically having sex with anything that moves taking every drug getting drunk constantly just leaving and living the the life of every sort all the time so when a lot of Jehovah's Witnesses leave the Colts they think that's what's expected of them to fit in. They often go far wilder than anyone around them because they've been told that's how it is and they're just trying to fit in and they've been given a false vision of what that means. The hope is that yeah they'll go wild and ultimately they'll implode and come back to the Colts. So coming and going they've got you brainwashed. They then use those people on convention parts as examples of of the person that went out into the evil world and found that there was nothing good out there for them. Well it's a self-fulfilling prophecy inserted into the consciousness of members that is then played out when they leave. If you want to know what it's like to live in a cult I would encourage you to read the book 1984 by George Orwell. [00:42:29] I'm not going to spoil it for you but there are so many phrases that are used in daily life like Big Brother is watching those phrases come from this book. If you are an ex Jehovah's Witness you have to read this book. It is a very dystopian novel. [00:42:45] And honestly once I was done reading it I felt dirty like I needed a shower. [00:42:51] Realizing that it was largely the life that I had lived didn't quite help that feeling a whole lot. It's just gross. The manipulation of human beings all right now we're going to move on to Section 2. This is something that that people actually often ask me and that's all you know where are you now spiritually or you know what do you believe now. So I'm going to talk about where I am spiritually and how I got there. In fact if you think about it just the end of last episode when I came out I was seeing God's praises I even said that I was closer to Jehovah then than I'd ever been in my entire life. [00:43:34] I saw I thought I saw God's hand in so much of what was changing my life for the better. I thought I was being blessed and it blew my mind that I was doing things differently than what I had been told I needed to do in order to be blessed. The coach said that I could be blessed for things that I was doing that were now turning out in my favor as my life was changing dramatically for the better. [00:43:58] Jehovah's Witness who can quote quote scripture the scriptures as they've been shown and the narrative that has been woven through disparate verses is something that they're very good at. [00:44:08] However they don't know much about the book itself or at least I didn't and I know a lot more now than I ever did as one of Jehovah's Witnesses. Just like with with the cold itself. I have gone deep on a lot of things after leaving. So after taking apart the cult that I pledged my allegiance to for so long I realized that my faith was all built upon the Bible which you know makes sense. [00:44:35] But the same thing that was true of my religious faith was true of this book that it was all founded upon. [00:44:42] I never really examined the book itself. And so I sat down and looked at it with fresh eyes. Now while I woke up in large part because of how the cult was so unloving and harsh and how it was mentally and emotionally unhealthy my wife if she was telling her own story right now she would tell you that it was actually the Bible itself that woke her up while I was diving deep into the side of things. [00:45:07] She was trying to double down on her Bible reading so that she could prove the truth to herself and God's word. We really approach things differently. But there's a saying that atheists are atheists because they've never read the Bible. They are atheists because they actually did. [00:45:24] Now this is where I'm going to relate a part of my journey that could be somewhat uncomfortable for some of you. It's not my goal to attack anyone's faith. [00:45:34] You have a right to feel or believe anything that you want to believe or look at the evidence however you want to look at it. [00:45:47] I'm going to keep this somewhat brief because my goal isn't just to tear down the beliefs your beliefs but this is a part of my journey. This is my story. This is real and I'm going to share it. This is this is the progression of everything for me. [00:46:02] For those of you who are out there that feel a need to save me through your faith I will respectfully tell you that although I appreciate where you're coming from and your intent because we've had many people since we left to have something else that they want us to get in I'm not really interested unless you can come to me with evidence. [00:46:20] You see I lived a faith based life for three decades and then it was actually different facts that started waking me up to things that I actually had faith in so it was now time for me to really take a look at this book and the facts of what it contained and the facts surrounding its composition. These were things I never really looked. [00:46:42] I just kind of accepted on faith that the Bible was true from day one. I mean that was a foundation that was something that was given to me. And I mean I never even had a chance to look at that. [00:46:55] So I'm going to be blunt. I'm going to be quick here and then we'll move on to my life after the cold and what my life afterward has been been like including some key events that happened there. [00:47:06] So these are the things that my faith in the Bible the way first of all in Genesis the plants are created before the light sources. That's bass ackwards God. That's kind of the wrong way. There is a literal talking snake but the creative days were supposed to be figurative. When Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden there was an angel placed to guard it with a flaming sword swords weren't even invented back then if you take Bible History is written if all of the scientific evidence is right and man has been here much longer than 5000 years. Then there was no Adam and Eve according to Bible chronology and thus no original sin and no real need for a redeemer. And the whole narrative falls apart. The Marians also had very similar stories before the Bible was written and the Bible is very similar to many of those because I was curious as to how I had always been told basically that the Bible was the original not necessarily the facts Noah's Ark. I mean come on. [00:48:15] There are too many species of animals to take them all and not only to but to you. But if you read on some were taken by sevens it depended on clean versus unclean. [00:48:25] Really they all fit on that ark. What about the dinosaurs. Where were they in any of this. How did all of the aquatic life not die. [00:48:36] Because if the waters really rose above the entire surface of the earth as stated then the mixing of salt and fresh waters would have killed everything in the sea and destroyed their habitat. [00:48:49] Afterward where did all that water go. So they had to go somewhere and the last time I checked I'm not living in Atlantis underwater. Why did God kill all of his creation that wouldn't fit on the ark. Isn't that cruel. Why are we supposed to respect his creation when he doesn't. Why is there no fossil record of kangaroos anywhere but Australia to know a swing by there and drop them off at some point. [00:49:14] Or how did they get there. [00:49:17] Another thing that woke me was that Scripture were 40 something kids make fun of a Lycia was saying go up you baldhead. [00:49:24] And then God sends two she bears out of the woods to tear the kids to pieces. Really God really was that really necessary it let's face it. The old testament god wasn't very kind. He ordered his people to dash the children of a conquered nation on the rocks they would conquer and take the virgins as their own. I'm pretty sure they weren't taking them just because they wanted to give them a better life. Women were concubines and those with God's favor that led his nation. Lot of the Kings had lots of concubines violence. Massage any infanticide all at God's direction. It has been pointed out that God kills way more people in the Bible and say it never did. [00:50:11] The Messiah was supposed to come through the line of David. Joseph was indeed in that line but Mary wasn't and apparently old Joseph had no hand in the matter as far as the pregnancy with wit and for that matter Mary was a virgin. So how was Jesus through that lineage. I mean if it was so important and would prove that he was the Messiah shouldn't God make sure that Joseph was involved in some way if you know what I mean. I mean like that's one of the main prophecies. [00:50:41] How can it not be straightforward. Read the accounts of the resurrection of Jesus in Matthew 28 1 through 10 and open another Bible and read the account of the resurrection of Jesus and John 20 1 through 18. [00:50:59] Read those two accounts together side by side and compare them. They aren't quite the same. There are scriptures in the Bible with clear direction on everything from not mixing certain materials and fabric to how long a woman was ceremonially unclean with the flow of blood to warnings against beast reality in very specific language. Yet I've never found any scriptures specifically protecting children the most vulnerable human beings against sexual abuse and this kind of hit me one day and it kind of seems like a big oversight there God. I mean where is it. [00:51:40] You point to a scripture about fornication or something like that. But I mean if that's the case and it's just about how not having sex with some one you're not married to the while the Scriptures on reality. I don't think you're married to your dog or whatever. [00:51:54] Where are the verses to specifically condemn child sexual abuse when so much else is spoken about. [00:52:09] The Bible was voted on to see what books would be included. It was written by men and the accounts of Jesus were written well after the fact Mark was written first and the original copies did not contain mentions of the virgin birth or anyone seeing Jesus after his death. Though it appears the latter was added and some translations later it is as though other things were added by later writers to make the story more appealing. Romans Chapter 9 talks of God as a potter and starting at verse 20 it says. But who are you O man to be answering back to God. Does the thing molded say to it's older. Why did you make me this way. What does not the potter have authority over that collates to make from the same Lumpe one vessel for an honorable use another for a dishonorable use. Just think about those words. It kind of sounds a lot like that whole free will thing. Was it quite so free. If you can't you know God can make you this person a vessel for honorable use this one for dishonorable use. How is that fair. And then you know another thing that always caught me was the book of Revelation. [00:53:25] But that doesn't mean all the book of Revelation I mean come on. If our salvation is Shearman's hangs in the balance of understanding the Bible. Why put such insane riddles in it. God has been described as a loving father. The superlative example and the bible is supposed to be his love letter to us. If that's the case then why couldn't he make it more clear. Shouldn't any good father understand what his kids need in order to understand something. Shouldn't he know our abilities and limitations as humans if he created us. [00:53:58] And what good father gives his book gives his kids a book of riddles and then if they can't figure it out to his liking destroys them. [00:54:09] The final thing that I'll say is there's a lot of circular logic used when discussing the Bible like well we know the Bible is true. Just read this scripture here at well that's not a basis for belief. You can't use the bible to prove the Bible that that's that's bad logic is circular logic. That doesn't mean it's true just because it says it is. So where am I now own I guess pretty much my wife too though I guess I got let her speak for herself. As far as myself I simply can't have faith in the Bible or the God of it. I just can't. Now does that mean there is no God. Well not necessarily though. It absolutely could mean that there is no God. And you know at this point I'm not seeing a lot of evidence of it. But you know I don't claim to know everything anymore. See I I spent my entire life thinking I had the truth about my entire life thinking that I didn't know at all that I didn't know that there was a God that this book was his word too was. But as I've gotten to examine those things with fresh eyes it just doesn't add up. Now there might be a God that loves us and wants to offer us everything we've ever dreamed of on this earth or maybe in heaven or some other planet. I don't know. Maybe I can believe in possibilities. I can believe that I don't know everything and maybe there is something else there also might be a god that just walked away and is indifferent. [00:55:47] Or there could be a god that's malevolent and hates us and wants bad things for us. We look around there's a lot of bad stuff that goes on. You know it's always funny. Always look that you know what I called creation for evidence of this loving god. You know I would talk about the beauty of creation. It shows there must be this god of love. [00:56:08] But what I never bothered to look at was the absolute cruelty of the animal kingdom and the parasites and diseases the critters that get an utter critters and eat them from the inside out that are just as much a part of that creation. [00:56:25] There's there's a yin and yang to a lot of life. There's there's you know these different extremes. [00:56:34] Now at this point I guess I'd have to say that I'm basically an atheist. Some might call it an agnostic atheist I mean I'm open to possibilities and I'm open if there is a god out there and you can open my eyes and I can have some evidence not faith. Not just the faith that I have my entire life where I have to make leaps. But if he if I could find any easy evidence that there is truly this god I'm open to that. But there just has to be more proof for me to ever put my belief in something again. [00:57:16] I just can't do it. [00:57:18] Now you might say. But what about all those blessings that you just said. You know in the last episode you said you experienced all those blessings firsthand while you were exiting the coal the van that was running the you know the things that happened as you made yourself available to get more work and all that. [00:57:35] Well here's what I'll say. I learned better things I did better things and better things happened in my life. It would be just like if I played a game of basketball but didn't know how to play the game would be pretty ugly for me wouldn't it. But if I concentrated on my handles I'd learned how to dribble. Then I worked on my form I learned how to shoot if I figured out how to position my body on defense so as to limit the mobility of the player in front of me. I'd have a much easier time on the court. Now God didn't help me I help to me. I finally reached out for better tools. I worked on my life. I did better things and therefore I got better results. Just like if I worked out or anything else if God was helping me and I have left God and basically become an atheist why hasn't my life spiraled again. It hasn't because it wasn't God in the first place or at least that's my take on it. You're you know you're welcome to have your own. And I can appreciate that now. We don't all have to think of field together. I'm no longer the same. I'm no longer in a Colts so we can have those differences and that's fine. We're part of the beauty of this world is that we don't all have to be the same and we aren't all the same. In fact I now appreciate the beauty of each day. I still appreciate the life around me. [00:59:06] In fact I can look at my life today as the miracle that I was waiting for my whole life to happen to me at some point in the future after death or when the world ended or whatever. I'm so much more in tune with life now around me. I realize it just for me to be here today doing this podcast there was such a statistically improbable scenario that the sperm and egg that made that happen made it happen that time. Just the fact that I survived two full term birth that I was born without complications that nothing catastrophic happened in my childhood that I learned to drive and drove like an idiot as a teenager without disaster that I didn't take my own life in my darkest moments and that I made it out of a cult. I am in heaven now. I mean I'm not really you know I don't believe in a heaven but so to speak. I'm in heaven now I've experienced hell. I made it out. I'm not going to spend my time now dedicated to things that have no real proof attached to them. I can't. Now that doesn't mean that I don't marvel at the complexity of everything. I was listening to a podcast or something. I believe it was Adams but it was said that scientists could put an atom in one room and another atom in another room. They can stimulate the one add them to vibrate at a certain frequency and the other one in the other isolated room were spawned by very vibrating at the same frequency. That is amazing stuff there. I can still marvel at things bigger than me. [01:00:50] Like the universe and I don't claim to know everything but a lack of answers doesn't mean that the answer is God. [01:01:00] I live a beautiful life now. [01:01:02] Now speaking of that let's go ahead now. We're going to go to section three and I'm going to talk about my life after the colt. All right. So when we first left the coke it was like my wife and I were aliens being dropped in this planet and we had to figure out a lot of things we are still doing that at times. For instance someone gave me a birthday card and a present the other day because this Saturday August 12th I turned 40 years old and it was so cool and unexpected. I thanked the person personally while I was there very sincerely Oh am I supposed to send a thank you card as well. I don't know. I don't know if you bring presents to a birthday party for an adult. I mean people did to ours but like or from our wives. But it was you know her for her first birthday. I've heard different things. There are so many things that we have to figure out. We decided this year to celebrate the Fourth of July here. You know here in America I don't know where everybody is listening from. And we want work walked into a a large fireworks superstore and we had absolutely no clue what anything was in that store other than sparklies those labels might as well been in a foreign language to us. We didn't know what a jumping this was or a fountain or whatever it was we had no clue. [01:02:24] Though you know we experimented and we know a few things now but there are so many things that I think other people take for granted that we just don't know. I can still remember going to our first cocktail party. [01:02:37] I didn't know how we should dress or what we should expect to do. We don't drink so I didn't know what. [01:02:45] You know how we were going to fit in but we ended up having a great sob. We've had to do so many new things and it's scary. Like when you go just to do you know do anything for the first time. But as we do more and more new things and they continue to work out we've had greater comfort as we've done other new things. I want to say this what we called worldly people those people outside of the call there are nothing like what we were told. I just want to take this moment right now to thank all of the beautiful people that have helped us that have been on this journey with us not just watching but actually taking an active interest in helping us. Thank you so much. We have the best friends and you know we would call many people family. [01:03:36] We disassociated from the call in September of 2015 and that November we celebrated our first Thanksgiving one amazing family that we work with invited us to their Thanksgiving to be a part of their family. And that was huge for us. In fact we now have two families that we visit on Thanksgiving that we've been adopted by. I can't tell you what that means when you've lost everyone that meant anything to you. [01:04:02] We've had people take us on trips like pay for our meals and drive us to places and share their lives with us. These were people that we cleaned for just another amazing worldly family. [01:04:17] You know I hate that term but I'm using it just to show the contrast. [01:04:22] We've also reconnected with extra witnesses that we knew back in the day. [01:04:26] And it's so great to have those links to our past as everything was stolen from us by the Kalt other groups of friends that you know maybe weren't people we cleaned for links to our past as Jehovah's Witnesses have become friends too. It's really cool to look at our friends list and see people that we made friends with that we didn't already have some sort of connection to now with that said among others there is a struggle that my wife and I both face and it seems to hurt my wife the most. [01:05:00] And that is that we just don't have roots anymore those people like your family that you know that you could just go talk to and reminisce about the past with just relax with be transported back in time for my wife and I. [01:05:15] There is no back in time. Well I guess this podcast is a version of back in and I'm sharing it with you but I can't share it with the people who were there. They're all gone. [01:05:27] There's like this it's like the foundation to our lives that just disappeared one day. It's like waking up one day and everyone you knew was killed in a car accident only They're still actually out there. But they're unwilling to even say hi to you. Imagine that all of your friends from high school or college and your family was gone tomorrow who would be your friends. [01:05:51] Who would you talk to who would you go for who would you go to for things. It's so strange and it's it's hard to convey what that feels like. Unfortunately because we had a family in the coal it will always be a part of us if nothing else. I once heard that leaving a coal and de-programming. It's kind of like if you have an image on your computer and you delete it well you may have deleted it or sent it to the trash bin or whatever but it isn't really gone. It's somewhere in the background and on your hard drive and new data is written over it bit by bit little by little but it's still there and it's retrievable. If you have the right software the cult of Jehovah's Witnesses will always be a part of us. It will always be with us. [01:06:44] We're linked through family that is still in. And you can't have your formative years co-opted by a cult without certain neural pathways being built in and emotional pathways. [01:06:56] The one major struggle for me since being out is the thought of death. Honestly a lot of times before I go to bed at night when my my mind is quiet I think about dying. [01:07:13] It's not the thought of being dead that is the big deal or at least the way I see it. I think it was like a man I'm blanking on who wrote it Tom Sawyer or something. We've all been dead already before we were ever born. So I like that thought but the thought of there being an end to all of this that I might not wake up tomorrow at some point. That's that's pretty hard to swallow. Realizing that I wasted so much time probably half my life in a cold. You know assuming my life continues to go well physically you know the fact that I wasted so much time in a hole with time being you know the real precious commodity of life that's pretty hard to swallow. The fear that we had when we were Jehovah's Witnesses It was never of a fiery hell. The fear we actually had was of dying and just being dead forever. That was the punishment. Either you become a good Jehovah's Witness and live forever on this paradise earth or you die forever and there is nothing else which was always a terrifying thought to me. And honestly now I know that the only evidence there is out there is that's what it is. One day I'll die I'll be worm food and that's it. There's there's no do overs there's no to be continued. There's there's nothing there still you know these feelings while real they're not enough for me to reach out. [01:08:52] You know for faith in something that you know just to me feels unsubstantiated just to make myself feel better or give myself some sort of prospects for the future. The Buddhists actually teach impermanence from the start. And [01:09:07] I was actually taught the complete opposite I was taught absolute permanence that I wouldn't ever have to die that I will walk right into a paradise earth where I could live forever and I was taught this since I was a child. I wish I had been taught impermanence it would have would have been so much more healthy for where I am today. It's so hard to shake that fear of nothingness when that was always the fear that I had above all others and now I'm about to turn the big 4 0 this weekend something that I never really ascribed a lot to because age didn't mean anything to us. We didn't even celebrate birthdays so we didn't even pay that much attention. [01:09:49] And you know now I realize that yeah I'm about to be 40 and you know if I if I can stay healthy you know maybe I make it to 80 or so. [01:10:02] You know that would be cool. So at least I've got to have a life to do it over. But it's still just a tough thing to to face it's like for the first time I'm facing my mortality. It's like I left the call and I found out I was going to die. You know I mean how would you feel if you found out you were going to die in X amount of time. Well that's that's kind of what I found out which seems so odd. I'm sure that the average normal person out there. But when you've been taught your whole life something else it is tough to contend with still. [01:10:39] You know despite all that you know we do have struggles from it but our lives are beautiful. We've heard so many beautiful lessons. My wife and I still work together we still clean for amazing human beings every day. We try to start out every day in the van by doing two things. First we discuss where we are that day you know kind of like what our moods like what side of the bed we woke up on how we're feeling. Things like that so that we know where each other is coming from for the day. [01:11:08] It kind of helps to head off misunderstandings when you work together every day. [01:11:12] And you know you're married to after that we do our Happy's what we do is you know in our happiness we just go back and forth trying to name things that we're happy for. Whether it's you know big or general things like you know I'm happy we're out of a cold to small things like I'm glad I can fill up my gas tank now and not have to look at the amount of worry that I can't pay it. Or it might be something you know just around us like man I'm so glad the sun is out this morning or or we're going over the river to work and there's a fog over the river just trying to be present and appreciate life around us in that moment. It's a really great way to start the day. Now people were there to support me in April of 2016. [01:12:04] That was a rough little rough patch for me after we we'd gotten out of the call just seven months after we left it. [01:12:11] I got a call from my mom that my dad was in hospice care. I was cleaning a house and I mean the phone rang. I was shocked to hear from her in the first place. In fact not 100 percent sure I knew it was her. But nobody ever calls me. [01:12:26] So I just let it go to voicemail. Figured it was just a telemarketer. But she left a message and told me that I was able to come up if I wanted to to see my dad one last time. I have to admit that that was a very difficult decision by that point I'd been officially shunned for seven months. [01:12:48] But unofficially I've been Shaun for I don't know probably about a year or so. My wife called my mom to get the details. My head spun with the possibilities. [01:12:58] And what I should do. I appreciate the opportunity. There are many ex Jehovah's Witnesses that never even get that. Some actual witnesses actually find out after the fact that a parent is that often you know from someone else because that's how cruel the cult is. But I really wasn't sure what to do with this opportunity. I really thought about it a lot. And in the end I decided that you know this is a new path I was on was one of being authentic. So I decided to be me. I didn't want to let external things like the Colts or whatever dictate my reaction or my family than what I wanted to react to in a way that was just purely me. So I decided to go. [01:13:50] I wanted to be a good person. I wanted to show love where it hadn't been shown to me. I wanted to end on a better note than that horrible conversation where my dad yelled at me for defending the gays. [01:14:03] So my wife and I went to a hospice and there were some Jehovah's Witnesses there already. Mom had told us on the phone that they had said that they wouldn't be there if we were there. [01:14:16] What a horrible thing to do to leave like that. So we arrived on the floor. My dad was on and my mom kind of seemed to try to get my wife and I to go around the corner from the elevator to talk you know the one elevator everybody goes up and down. Well I didn't quite move where she wanted me to and there I saw a brother and sister leaving down the elevator away from my dad. [01:14:41] These people that wouldn't be there if I was present that wouldn't be there if I was in the room with my dying father where people when I was a kid would buy me clothes at times because we were poor so I would have something cool to wear. [01:14:57] They were friends and now they wouldn't even look at me. And in this time even in a hospice. Jehovah's Witnesses are enforcing their rules and can't be human. [01:15:09] In fact that my mom caught a bunch of crap from those people over letting me come up in the first place. [01:15:15] She later told me that she might have even lost a friend over it. So props to my mom for letting her humanity went out even if only temporarily and oh screw those other people to say it was awkward to go in and see my dad is the biggest understatement ever. [01:15:34] I mean come on what were we going to talk about. They didn't want to know what we were up to. It was not like we were up to anything they would or even THEY would you an object to. We didn't leave the coat and go off and you know like that spring that I think I mentioned in one of the first episodes where you crush the spring you let it off. It just bounces all while we didn't go wild when we left. We just weren't in the cold anymore. That's it. We're still up. Actually we're a better version of us with much more kindness and humanity and love. But anyway so we stood there in the room with my dad. [01:16:13] We we watched TV game shows a bit. We caught up on the fact that my dad had to go into the hospital. I don't remember a couple of months earlier for a heart attack. [01:16:25] Apparently he had actually had many heart attacks but because of the neuropathy from his diabetes. My dad never felt any of them. [01:16:33] They had done tests on his heart and it was operating very minimally. Now my dad was alert and honestly he was pretty much himself when we visited him. He was pretty much just what you would expect but well. I guess I should say he was himself in public. He wasn't the other version of himself. But anyway he had fallen and broken his thumb while he was in rehab for the hard stuff. [01:17:04] And my dad had basically just decided to go ahead and give up. He said he didn't want to do dialysis anymore. [01:17:12] Dialysis is very hard on your heart anyway. And he just he was just done. So he chose to go off dialysis and end his life. Now while we were in the room in hospice joking about some things and you know we were all doing our best version of acting I guess trying to keep the mood light. You know painful and just then I don't know. [01:17:39] An awkward situation to be in a hospice room with somebody you know whether no matter how you feel about the person or if you had to go into hospice and talk to a complete stranger it's just not it's not easy. [01:17:53] So we were trying to keep it light. [01:17:57] I'm not sure why but the nurses walked in to go over some of life stuff. It's almost like we were purposely included in that somehow. It's very strange. I really don't know why. Anyway one of the nurses spoke up and said that she just could feel the unity and love in the room because we have been laughing and joking and I guess she had heard us when she came in or maybe she says that to everybody I don't know. But you know if I had been drinking water at that time I could have done an amazing spit take because when she said that I just it just struck me in the moment in this awkward uncomfortable horrible moment. [01:18:39] And I just literally snickered aloud. I was caught off guard and I ended up getting dirty looks from the family. Come on. Like there is no unity there and there was very little love. You know I was I felt like at least I was the only one trying to come out of love. [01:18:59] I'm not I don't know I'm not even 100 percent sure. Why they left me up there. I was actually talking to a client about it and a friend. Not long after that and she said you know it kind of shows that they know shunning is wrong because if they didn't why let you back in at that moment in time if if shunning was the right thing to do then she should be the right thing to do. [01:19:33] Even in a moment like that even in this moment where my dad is in hospice they're shunning is the thing that I should have been shouldn't I shouldn't have been asked to come up there. [01:19:44] But I think it's just again just that little glimpse of humanity that lays beyond or behind the cult personality. [01:19:54] So after they left the nurses left I asked my mom and sister to leave as well. My wife stayed in the room. I told my dad that we had to go but that I respected his decision to go ahead and accept his fate. I told him that we all had our choices to make in life some that weren't easy. Obviously referring to my own choices that I had to make and that all we could do was respect each other's autonomy and free will. I told them I was sorry it had to end the way it did for him and me. It for the first time probably ever. I gave him a hug told him I loved him. [01:20:31] I left the room and I was in with him went back to work. [01:20:38] I felt good that you know I had been authentically me and that I try to take the high road in this situation. However I kind of alluded to the possibility of coming back again. [01:20:49] You know when I was there in that room and I thought you know you know maybe maybe if I had another day and he was still around in a hospice you know maybe maybe tomorrow I could go by as a thought about things. [01:21:02] I realized that I pretty much left this the best possible way and that going back couldn't really serve any good. I left it pretty much perfectly and I should just leave it alone. So I texted my mom to let her know that we probably wouldn't come back only to be told that basically nobody expected me to do so anyway and it seemed like I wasn't welcome back. So basically I was accepted back for that 30 minutes to an hour and then it was back to being shunned. In hindsight that really messed with me emotionally. [01:21:38] I mean not like it wasn't bad enough that you know my dad was dying. No matter how I felt about him he was my dad. And you know I had quite a history with them. And you know to have this in and out shunning thing going on as well this is really messed up while I am glad that I went on the one hand. I'm not 100 percent sure that I'd do it again if given the chance. On April 11th 2016 my dad died. [01:22:10] I was not invited to my dad's memorial service. My mom called me rather than inviting me to the service. She called me to ask if the speaker could use my name and that of my wife. In the talk where they you know kind of go over who he was survived by and I said well yeah I mean that is factual you know kind of in the tone of yeah. Like it or not I am your son and she is your daughter in law. But anyway so yeah they could use my name it was an odd request. Now my mom was never a very direct person. [01:22:45] Very. A lot of passive aggression. But she made it clear that we talk again sometime probably soon. And that was it. She didn't tell us anything about the memorial. And it was pretty clear she didn't want us there and look I could have gone. [01:23:02] It's a public place. I'm sure I could have shown up. However all eyes would have been on me if I had gone. It would have been remarkably uncomfortable the first. Mom didn't seem to want me there. She'd invited all kinds of people but she didn't speak a word to me about the time or date of location. Though I knew where it would be. Jehovah's Witnesses have a penchant for for saying the ugliest thing to people like me in situations like this I'm sure to have heard what a disappointment I was to my dad how I needed to return to Jehovah. How they they thought I was better than that. That wouldn't have gone over well especially with the emotions of the circumstance. I also didn't want to go back to the Keenum hall where it all started to hear the service which is nothing more than a sales pitch for the call usually with very little personal information about the deceased. And there were a few elders there that would have caused me to lose it if they spoke to me because they were just awful human beings and all that would have taken with a quip from the wrong one. [01:24:16] One or two and something very probably would have happened. [01:24:20] So on the flip side of this treatment though so you know. That's Jehovah's Witnesses. There you go. There you have them again in a nutshell. That's what they do to people. On the flip side we have been invited to go camping with some friends that said that Sunday when my dad's memorial service was going on and my wife and I decided let's go you know let's just let's just go we hung out. We made a new friend who came along to it got our minds off the things that were going on back home with our family my dad's death service all that. It was still on my mind. But at least I wasn't alone. The next day Monday you know we went to work as per usual that week two clients though really did things that I'll never forget. [01:25:11] One family texted us on a Wednesday and where we cleaned three houses their house is the middle house. The day they texted us and told us to keep the check for the week. They have theirs sent automatically from the bank. But they told us just keep the check and take the time off. Just don't come clean. They did not want me to come clean. They wanted me to take some time now now it only gave us you know it gave us a couple hours off in the middle of the day and I was like well you know I don't know maybe I'd just rather work because you know kind of keeps my mind off things. [01:25:48] But boy did I need that. A couple hours off. I had no clue what I needed at that time. I didn't know that I even what to do with that time off but my wife and I just drove to a restaurant that I'd always wanted to try. We ate we just relax. [01:26:06] I couldn't believe that they had done that for me and I made sure I didn't waste that opportunity. Later that week on Friday a lady stayed home at the last house just to give me some once talked to. In fact she was under the weather that day. She had some errands to run that day but this kind soul stayed home just to give me an outlet again. I didn't know that I needed it but I did. She's dealt with a lot of death in her family and also her friends throughout the years and she gave me the listening ear that I needed maybe more importantly she asked questions. She drew me out which I needed and she let me talk. I had no clue what to do with everything that was inside. The fact she she would later give us a rosebush as a gift and to commemorate you know everything in my dad's. So I planted that rosebush at the corner of our house and you know it's something that I see every day. And and I remember where that rosebush came from. It has been well over a year since that time. Honestly you know not believe me I'm not living in denial. I wouldn't. I hate that. And so I wouldn't do that. I am truly moved on very well from all of it. I've never heard from my family again other than seeing my brother at the concert that I had mentioned him being shunned by them. [01:27:45] When my mom called me one time she actually did call me one more time to let me know that she needed some paper signed for the estate. So legal documents. So that was nice. And you know I signed those papers and sent them on in. My wife has never heard one word from her family since we went to see my brother in May of 2015. They never had the guts to say anything to her. They never tried to to you know tell her that they loved her. They never tried to save her. Nothing. She's never heard anything from her family even before we disassociated. [01:28:33] But you know again life moves on. My wife has been able to connect with some of her extended family that you know maybe she had lost contact with aunts uncles grandparents whatever that has been awesome. I know. I've enjoyed getting to connect with those people too. I've also been able to reconnect with with some of my family and that's helped in July of 2016 my wife had her first ever birthday. We were out a space and together we threw her the best birthday party we could as two people that had never thrown a birthday party in our lives. [01:29:09] We invited everyone we could and we had about 70 people show up. I was so happy that people brought gifts because everyone should get to open presents at least once in their life and I wanted to see my wife get to experience that I had that as a kid. [01:29:28] My wife never ever got that chance. My wife got all kinds of cards for 1 year olds. [01:29:36] She got you know gifts ranging from things for little kids to like you know strawberry shortcake dolls practical gifts. You know she would like and it was just so cool to get to see my wife enjoy herself like that. She had a huge cake that she picked out. We had a photo set up where people could use mass and and take photos and we had some games out there as well. People seemed to have fun and it was the first ever party that we had ever thrown of any type. [01:30:08] Beyond that we had my birthday and then we did our first ever Halloween and Christmas celebrations all in 2016. We made lots of friends. [01:30:18] And honestly we just had a great time. I mean life is amazing when you're not living in what is basically the dystopian society of the book 1984 that I mentioned earlier. Just yesterday my wife and I went to our first ever a pasta fest. It took place near Indianapolis and it was a gathering of Jehovah's witnesses from all over. We had people from Pennsylvania Ohio Florida Georgia Indiana just a good group of people. And it was a diverse group of people. I mean we had people of different races social statuses sexual orientations. It was just the icing on the cake. [01:30:55] This journey to sit with people that understood where we had been I would take the second will give a shout out to Alex as he was asking if he kept asking if if know this was going to be mentioned on the podcast so you've made it on this J.W. life podcast. Alex you are a star. I look forward to going again next year maybe meeting new people. [01:31:20] You know it's just cool too. One of the really cool things about leaving a call is seeing other people who have left the call that are also having these happy lives. [01:31:31] And you know it's it's not like everything I'm mentioning here is just about you know Jehovah's Witnesses or actual witnesses again remember you know most of our friends are not actually witnesses. You can get out in this world and make friends of all types and people want to know your story. [01:31:55] You know as I implored you before please tell your story. You can you can connect with other human beings when you're vulnerable like that. And I don't know. I just I just want what I have had and what my wife has had I want that for everyone. [01:32:17] You know I am going to take a minute though I've got to speak to my ex Jaida peeps out there. I think it was two episodes ago when I was telling you to share your story. [01:32:27] I just told you to share your story you know with others who were never x Jehovah's Witnesses. [01:32:36] But what I also want to do is take a second. And I really I just want to tell you do meet with other extra witnesses as well. [01:32:47] My first year that we were out of the coal I tried to do something for my first official show on a nursery in September of 2016. [01:32:55] I tried to have a get together for that and only one person came and I have to say that you know honestly it kind of hurt. [01:33:05] I was hoping for some support and I kind of felt like I needed it from the show was what this community but as I've been in this community I've seen a lot of people just try to walk away and they don't really deal with their stuff. They just want to forget it. Move along. Live their new life. If that is you I just want to tell you that you can run but you can't hide. [01:33:32] You went through something that was awful. And of course you want to run from it. It's traumatic but it's not healthy to run from that trauma. Now I can't speak for you know for anyone you know who's out there. Everyone has their own circumstances. But if there is a group like an apostrophe in your area or if you just sign up on Meet up dot com and try to get a group together. And if enough x Jehovah's Witnesses who are listening to me right now would go and experience something like that and share their stories it can help you to walk away and leave some of that behind. Don't try to carry the burden yourself. Don't try to live in denial like I watched my family do. That is still in the cold. [01:34:22] That's what that's what I'll do. It'll get you in a coal. [01:34:26] Now whatever you are carrying. Start to look at it. And as you look at it you can gain the strength to put it down. Reach out online at various ex-state of sites or are Facebook groups that cater to Jehovah's Witnesses or get reach out to me. I'll be there. Just don't try to go it alone. [01:34:50] I know that it might not seem like a big deal at times because it was just your life and what you went through. It probably felt you know it felt normal to you probably while you were going through it. It was just your life. I get it. [01:35:03] It doesn't seem special but it is special. It was messed up from any normal human standpoint. And once you can see that and you can start tearing down those foundations that were so messed up you can start to put new and healthy foundations in and those foundations will help serve you for your new life. You know it's hard. [01:35:26] Oh I hate to do this because you know it's reminiscent I feel like I'm preaching from the Bible and being one of Jehovah's Witnesses. But you know it's the illustration of the house that's built on the different foundations. You know you build it on it on sand and it's not going to do real well. You have to build it on you know a firm foundation. [01:35:47] That's honestly the way life is. You've got to get healthy tools. You've got to get healthy ways of being healthy perspectives. [01:35:57] And then when you put those things in and you start rooting out all of the garbage that was fed to us as Jehovah's Witnesses you can find happiness. You can find beauty in this life and you can even accept it. You know if it's how you choose to see things that this is all we've got. So go make the most of it. I hate to stop talking here but I guess it's time. I'm never going to feel like I said everything that I had to say. There's always going to be some other point that I want to bring out or some other way I want to help. Today when I dropped this last episode of my story there are more than eight thousand two hundred downloads this podcast. I am so thankful that so many of you have taken the time to drop me a note on everywhere from Reddit to Facebook Instagram Twitter even you know my own site of your life dotcom or the Jehovah's Witness dotcom forum that I'm a member of. [01:36:53] Everywhere I've posted and shared this to try to reach people I really hope that this has helped you specifically in some way. [01:37:01] Even if I never hear from you I won't be taking this podcast down. This is here to stay. This is my story and it can help people and I will pay to keep it hosted an up on the various podcast sites so that more people can find it. Share this with others that it can help. Please please give this positive reviews on iTunes so that others can find it if the algorithms hit and notice that I'm getting some momentum and that will help it spread. Because you know I can only do so much to spread the word and so many people need to hear this. [01:37:37] And you know once I quit producing podcasts under this name then you know I just don't want to see it just completely die out. [01:37:48] If we continue to spread the word I will continue to share it on various sites over the you know over the coming years so that new visitors can can you know find it enjoy it. Be helped by it. In fact stay subscribed to this podcast. I know I said this is the last episode but not quite. There's going to be one more episode. [01:38:11] It's not going to be about my story anymore but in this 10th episode that will come out I'm going to let you know about where I'm taking this. I've had so many people reach out hoping that I'll continue. [01:38:24] And you know obviously I can't keep going with my own story. [01:38:30] But I do have an idea for another podcast that I'm going to spin off of this where I'll help other people to tell their stories again. Details will come in episode 10 of this although episodes about my story you know maybe kind of done for now. My story certainly isn't done so stay subscribed. Maybe I'll also release updates as time goes by as something happens you know my life goes on and it's great already. I can't wait to see where it goes. I've learned so much I've grown so much and I have such a beautiful life now with beautiful people and it on this coming Saturday August 12th I will turn 40 my wife and I are going to go backpacking the Adirondack Mountains of New York for the first time ever to have a little adventure. We picked that area because afterward we're going to swing by Manhattan to see my brother and his wife for the first time since we've been out of the cold. Last time had just got to shun this it can be a celebration. I had a shirt made that says on the back it says eight million people shun me. My story at and then uttered it has the logo for this podcast with Dot dotcom under it. New York was the home of the headquarters for Jehovah's Witnesses for a century or so until they recently moved away. They still have their literature cards littering the city everywhere and I am looking forward to walking around with my shirt on and New York City the former headquarters of Jehovah's witnesses maybe visiting a quarter to and seeing what attention it draws. [01:40:04] Remember I'm not a guy that likes attention normally but I don't know there's just something bigger going on here. This whole podcast has opened up things to me. I've made so many new friends and if you are in New York and you see a bald 40 year old walking around in a T-shirt with a logo on it that says this Jaida of your life that's me. Come up and say hi. Now for the like the last week or two. I've been trying to figure out you know how am I going to send this podcast out. How am I going to end it. This should have an obvious. I want to thank my wife for being by my side through this whole ordeal from my depressed state where I'm sure I wasn't the absolute joy that I am today to live with to where we are now. I want to thank her for trusting in me when I brought up my doubts and knowing that I wouldn't have done so without good reason and for being willing to be open enough to start dissecting our lives and to go for this bumpy ride with me. I want to thank her for taking the leap to find herself because I know that is a scary process when everything you thought you were is taken away. [01:41:15] I now get to experience her as her true self not the cold version just like she does with me. Life is beautiful and I'm glad I get to finish this right out with you Jenny and our newfound freedom and that we can finish this thing out. However we decide. [/expand]
8 Aug 2017