Fear Of Religion

I grew up as a Jehovah's Witness, my mom joined when I was about 2yrs old. I didn't have a horrible childhood, I was lucky enough that my family was part of the "in crowd" in our congregation. Which meant bible studies were fun because it was like a social hour, assemblies equaled fun hotel stays with my friends, and we went on many fun activities/vacations with our witness friends. I never missed the holidays/birthdays and my witness friends and myself were very good at being good JW's while still balancing our secret "worldy" circle of friends. Although I didn't mind being a JW for the most part, deep in my heart I never really believed. I remember secretly wondering if there was something wrong with me for not being able to imagine or even desire a paradise on earth. I do feel fortunate that although my mother was very active, my dad only got baptised to keep the peace but he only did the bare minimum to make up appearances. I was never pressured to get baptised and never felt the desire to do so.

Although on the outside we were a good JW family, there were many secrets that we kept to ourselves. My parents were both closet alcoholics which brought much chaos into our lives the worst of which was domestic violence. My mom was good at keeping it hidden but she had so much anger that she ended up being verbally and physically abusive towards myself and my siblings. It was a vicious cycle that led to my using alcohol and having sex at a very young age.

Around the time that I was 14 my parents fighting was out of hand, I know that at one point my mom went to the elders in our congregation for help because of the abuse from my dad but they turned their backs on her. They were more concerned with what SHE did to cause it, their inaction made her livid. Not long after that she moved out of our house and left us with our dad. Knowing that she would soon be disfellowshipped she chose to disassociate herself. My dad, who was a horrible father but a very good dad, was left in good standing with the church although he was inactive for the most part once my mom moved out and filed for divorce. It didn't take long for him to get disfellowshipped after he moved his first girlfriend into our house.

I continued going to the Kingdom Hall with my best friend but it was awkward when people who I knew as my "brothers and sisters" would no longer talk to me. You could feel the judgement even though I personally hadn't done anything (that they were aware of) to cause them to think that I was any different than I was before my parents left the church. After that I had two turning points, one was being at the mall with my mom and seeing a "sister" who was like a second mom to me. I had grown up with her kids for most of my life. She looked at us and I almost said hi, when she put her nose up in the air and walked away like I didn't exist. I can still remember how crushed I felt. Shortly after that when I was around 15, a boy my age was snooping through my best friends room after a home bible study and he came across a letter that I had written that referenced the fact that I was sexually active. It didn't take long for the elders to contact my dad that they needed to come to our home to counsel me. I am not sure which was worse, having to tell my dad why they were coming or sitting in a room with three old men to discuss my sex life.

Thankfully, because I was never baptised they only counseled me but no disciplinary action was taken. That was my last contact with the Witnesses other than a brief relapse when I was a young married mom and confused as to how to raise my child regarding religion, two meetings and I was cured of thinking that it was the right path for me.

Although it has been around 25yrs since I considered myself a Witness, I still carry around some of the inner baggage that you are bound to have after too many years of brain washing. It has only been in the last 10yrs that I have finally admitted that it was a cult and have allowed myself to read up on information that is defined as "apostacy" according to the JW's. It has definitely opened up my eyes to so much that I wasn't even aware of. I still struggle with feeling at home in organized religion. I attend a Lutheran church with my children because I want them to have a faith home, and although I enjoy my new church I don't know if I will ever feel at "home" myself. My heart may always long for more peace when it comes to my relationship with God, my mind will always question any and all religions and I am 100% ok with that. In my heart I am at peace with what I believe, that God is a loving God and He forgives me for my wavering faith. Oh, and I can enjoy my relationship with God without feeling the need to shove it down someone else's throat. ;)
coffeemom73 coffeemom73
36-40, F
4 Responses Jan 17, 2013

It is sad that you had to endure what you did growing up.
It is also sad that GOD is left with distaste due to people’s interpretation of how to worship him.
That you still find time for our creator and to love is beneficial. Keep on keeping your love for human kind despite the action of others in our life.

GodBless you.

Interesting thoughts, and it's very interesting regarding the paths we take to find ourselves where we are.

Some people believe making a phone call to a HP is like calling a friend.

Do you have a personal relationship with the god of your understanding?

For example do you talk to each other every day ?

I think we have an understanding, I understand that it takes a leap of faith to believe that God exists and He understands if I don't feel the need to talk to Him everyday.