Setting the Record Straight
First of all, this is literally an objective blog as I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness and can tell you a lot about the good and the bad. This is in NO way a slight to the Organization because I truly LOVE Jehovah and, like most religions, there are good parts and bad parts. I have experienced the bad parts but the bad parts usually come because NO ONE is perfect and sometimes they don’t do what Jehovah wants them to do.
There are many things that people like to say about Jehovah’s Witnesses that are not true:
Women can only wear skirts
Yes, women can wear pants, people tend to get JWs mixed up with the Seventh Day Adventists. They are not the same.
They can’t celebrate anything or have parties
LIE! Let me tell you something: When I was a kid, we had a party for EVERYTHING. Sure, we didn’t celebrate the pagan ones (that a lot of people are now jumping on the bandwagon of NOT celebrating) but we had Back to School parties, 50s parties, Dance parties, Movie parties, Spring parties, Cinderella Balls, we did it all! AND the boys got to go camping and come back all dirty every year.
They kick you out if you marry someone that’s not a Witness
Nope. They just advise against it. And, as a child that was raised in a split religion household, I agree wholeheartedly. TOTALLY agree! My mom was baptized as a JW when she was pregnant with me. With that, everything changed for our family. My two oldest sisters, who were used to celebrating Christmas and all that, no longer could do that. What they once did was taken from them and my dad didn’t understand it.
Marriage is hard enough without the added stress of differing opinions when it comes to religion so I totally get it, especially if children are involved. My parents fought over my mother going to the meetings and taking us. My dad used to get mad because, when he wanted to do “manly” things with my brother like mowing the lawn on Saturdays or teaching him about cars, we were with my mother. We witnessed a lot of arguments and the like that we didn’t need to hear or see. So yeah, I totally agree with that.
They are a cult
No, they’re not a dang on cult. If you think they’re a cult, then you haven’t watched real cult documentary. Definitely not a cult. You do what you want and whatever you do is between you and God. BUT if you tell on yourself or it comes to light, accept the consequences (you’ll hear more about this later).
They don’t accept medical treatment or blood transfusions
Um, they DO accept medical treatment. Like, come on. I read charts for a living and I can tell you they sure do. I get tons of JW charts and I laugh because it just seems like I catch them first. As for the blood transfusions, this is correct. They are advised not to. Now, someone lied and said someone got disfellowshipped (we’ll talk about what that is later) for getting a blood transfusion. No, no one gets disfellowshipped for that because it is a conscious decision. You live with your choice. But this has been a suggestion for a long time because people were getting diseases from blood transfusions in addition to it being spoken of in the bible (I’m not looking it up for yall so don’t ask).
Because of this belief, many doctors have found and learned other ways to treat anemias and hemorrhages without transfusions. Among them are doctors that just happen to be JWs. They also have a committee that works with hospitals to educate them on these measures.
My mom almost died from a stomach hemorrhage some years ago. I had to make the medical decision on her behalf NOT to get a transfusion. Her issue would have been cured with a simple transfusion. But I was not going to ignore her wishes. And I didn’t. And she is still alive. They call her a “miracle woman”. She had pernicious anemia and many strokes. We spent a New Years Eve in the ICU. When I tell you that God was there and that he comforted me while she was in that hospital, I mean it. You can feel it. It’s hard to describe but you know it when you feel it.
They think that only 144,000 will live
Now, lets look at the logic here. If only 144,000 are going to survive then…. why even be a JW? There are MILLIONS of JWs all over the world. So that means they’re all preaching to people and trying to save people knowing that they’re going to die? Why preach if the person you help might take your spot? LOL No, they do not believe that only 144,000 people are going to live. They believe that that’s the number that are going to heaven to rule with Jesus (oh, and yes, they believe in Jesus. He is God’s son) and the rest will live forever on earth that they will build into a paradise. They believe that people will be resurrected in this time as well.
I didn’t have a bad experience growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness. And I have been on both sides of the coin with them. I HAVE been disfellowshipped before. I can tell you for a fact that I understand the logic and I brought it upon myself. I brought it upon myself because I have a conscience.
You see, when you are a JW, they teach you about having a clear conscience. They also let you know that, when you are out, you are representing God. So, if I’m out here hoeing around and people know that I’m a JW, guess what they’re going to say “They’re not good. I have an friend that is a whole hoe but she calls herself a JW”.
So I told on myself because I had sex at the age of 20. I told. And I got disfellowshipped. People think that the Elders make that decision. NOPE! They don’t. I truly believe that God was in that room when I was discussing my sin with them. I felt it especially when one elder spoke.
And it’s not FUN for them to disfellowship people. They HATE it! They CRY! They hate it so much that they try to talk to you in different ways. I had gotten pregnant with my daughter while I was disfellowshipped and they would talk to me through my infant daughter. They would say things like “Tell your mother to come back.” I might be int he bathroom and no one else was around and a sister might say “I know I’m not supposed to talk to you but I miss you and love you.” It’s not fun for them to have to disfellowship people.
And the logic behind it is this: In order to keep the congregation from stumbling and being influenced by another’s wrong actions, it’s best to put them out. You can still come to the meetings and all that. They just can’t talk to you and you can’t comment.
Baptism is NO joke to JWs. They do not baptize their kids as soon as they are born. Why? Because the decision is the child’s and the child has to know what they are getting themselves into. I was 16 when I was baptized. So, when I got baptized, I knew that if I did some mess that would bring reproach on Jehovah’s name and was not repentant (repentance is very important), I was going to get disciplined. PERIODT!
You don’t just get baptized all willy nilly with no responsibility. You are making a SERIOUS pact with God when you get baptized. Had I not been baptized, I would not have been disfellowshipped. But, with sound mind, I made that agreement with God and I failed.
Do I harbor any resentment for being disfellowshipped? I sure don’t. I was reinstated and it was like a whole party. They hugged and cried and all that. They WAIT for people to get reinstated. I GET it! Also, disfellowshipping is NOT the only means of discipline as a JW. There are THREE types of discipline but people tend to only remember the one where you get kicked out.
Now, because they feel that it’s better to be married to a fellow JW, people do. And, so as not to get disfellowshipped for having sex outside of marriage, many of my friends were married by the age of 20. Smart move, right? Not really, many of them didn’t last due to the fact that they were married at a young age and really didn’t understand life. It’s not easy.
And lets not talk about being married as an older person. Listen, I am 40 (about to turn 41) and I feel so bad for the JW women that want to be married. Yes, THE WOMEN, because they greatly outnumber the men where I live. Many people have to go to other states or even countries to find a JW mate. And the older you get, the slimmer the pickings are. I’m being honest here. If I choose to get married at my age, it would be to an old old man or a man who is a widower. Unless you get “lucky”. Marcus Houston from Immature became a JW and married him a nice, younger girl. They don’t want us old hags. Especially the ones that have been out in “the world”. Many men (of any religion) want an easy woman and the younger ones (not little kids) are easier to deal with.
I’m being very honest here. This is not a slight. I truly have seen women waiting for men to get baptized so they could snatch them up, no lie. I ain’t fighting for a man PERIODT! So I’ll be that old, beautiful, hag with no husband. I’m good with it. LOL
This is a HUGE issue. As a JW child, I was sheltered. We operated in a little bubble. Although I lived kind of in the hood and could look at the people surrounding me, I had no real knowledge of the world.
Parents that were NOT raised as JWs (or in “the Truth”) see this as a safety mechanism to prevent their kids from making the mistakes that they did before they became JWs. I get it and I know that many parents want their kids to have a better life than they did. But some go overboard.
I can say that my mother did go overboard with it in some aspects. Even as an adult, I tried to verbalize this to her. I feel that parents that got to do all the stuff and THEN get baptized don’t understand what it’s like to feel like us.
They didn’t get made fun of for being “knick knockers” or for not being able to play sports, go to school dances, etc. They did try to make up for it in other ways. As stated before, we didn’t celebrate Christmas but that didn’t mean that we didn’t get random gifts for no reason. We did. Some days, we would wake up and have a gift at the end of our beds for no reason at all. It’s why I give random gifts to this day. I don’t’ need a calendar to tell me when to appreciate someone or to do something nice.
One day, my mom and her friend had a movie night for the kids. We watched Short Circuit and ate pizza and cupcakes while the parents were upstairs wrapping gifts for us. After the movie, we went upstairs and came upon the best gift I probably got as a child, a Cornsilk Cabbage Patch Kid. I even had a Bear Party because I loved bears as a child.
These are the good times that I associate with being raised a JW. People think it was all bad and the like. It wasn’t. Sure, it was different but I met so many people, learned so many things, was extremely smart (hey, you read the bible a lot), and a good child.
Knocking on Doors
I will say, I wasn’t fond of going door to door as a kid. Sure wasn’t. Won’t lie about it one bit. Half the time, I didn’t want people to come to the door. I was a kid. And I certainly didn’t want someone I KNEW to come to the door. But I liked being out because I got to hang with my JW friends and talk while going door to door. That part was fun. We got a lot of exercise too. I walk Owens Road as an adult as exercise but we preached on that long street when I was younger. Maybe that’s why I was so skinny.
People made fun of us and tried to do stupid things to “scare” us. Or they would hide. As an adult, I tell people that if they don’t want JWs to come to their homes, don’t be rude about it. Just tell them that you would like to be added to the list of people who don’t want JWs to come to their homes. They will put you on that list. But throwing things, cussing, coming to the door naked, etc is so unnecessary. They are doing what the bible told them to do. And, if you assault them, well, I’ll just say that just because a person is a JW NOW doesn’t mean they weren’t out on these streets beating folks up in the past so be very careful with that. No one wants to tell folks they got beat down by a JW. And Jehovah protects his folks so you get the life scared out of you. Don’t fault them for doing what they were told to do.
Feeling Like You Truly Don’t Belong ANYWHERE
As a teenager, this became extremely hard for me. When you are a teenager, your “world” is your peers. And it was crazy, I was “popular” with JWs but I was a total NOBODY among my school mates.
I might have mentioned how observant I was so as not to make some of the mistakes that my peers in school made. My friends were getting pregnant, coming to school drunk, smoking weed, and going through a lot of things that I wasn’t trying to get caught up in. Because of that, I stayed under the radar. I had a lot of popular friends in school but they accepted me as a person. They would constantly invite me to do things during school hours and all that but, because I saw what happened with my sisters skipping school and getting caught or whatever, I stayed away from it.
My mom, however, felt that I was going to turn out like my sisters and was pretty hard on me. One day, a friend of mine called before school to see if I wanted to skip and hang out. I have a conscience and am not a liar. So I heard her out, acted like I was going to thinking about it knowing full well that I wasn’t going to even try, and got off the phone. When I got off the phone, my mother approached me angrily. You see, she was listening in on the call. Why? Because she trusted no one, male or female, in “the world”. She had a problem with the fact that it sounded as though I was being persuaded and might possibly skip school. She failed to hear when my friend literally said “You NEVER do anything with us”. I resent my mom to this day for not trusting in me to make the right decision. I do.
So, Are You a JW Now?
What prompted me to write this blog was the fact that I attended the meetings lately and they talked about “inactive” people. I am what you would consider “inactive” as I do not go out in field service or preach to people. I haven’t had sex in almost 6 years now, and I don’t do anything I’m not supposed to do but I’m not “technically” a JW at this point.
The next question would be “Why?” I actually talked to the friend that had the movie party today after the meeting and I told her why. One of the reasons is my mother. I am still working on getting past this right now because I just feel as though nothing was good enough for her and I resent the fact that she lied on me a lot.
Another reason is that I don’t want to go door to door because, in all honesty, I don’t like people. I really don’t. And I can’t say that I care if they get everlasting life. I can’t say that I care if I even get everlasting life. I have spoken about being suicidal in the past. I have also talked about my triggers and my temper. I might be that JW that punches you for saying something that I didn’t like and then that would bring reproach on ALL JWs because that’s what people do. Everyone wants to repeat the bad things they see when it comes to JWs but they won’t talk about the good.
They forget that they risked their lives for one another in other countries as they are all around the world. They forget that they were the second largest group imprisoned during the Holocaust (“Purple Triangles”, look it up). Tribal warfare doesn’t stop them from helping their brothers and sisters. They are in Russia being beaten and imprisoned for preaching or even just meeting in their own homes to study the bible.
Yes, there are some crappy people out there that happen to be JWs but that’s not all of them. Someone recently yelled at me talking about molestation in the Organization. You cannot judge EVERY JW for the trash that sometimes comes out. They are all human and I can say that we never had those issues growing up over HERE. It was like a big family. And if you did something wrong, please believe that just as I got disfellowshipped for having sex outside of marriage, they get at those that are accused of said crimes. But you have to tell them.
There are some things that I don’t agree with though and feel that sometimes they can be judgmental but, as someone told me today, “You are serving Jehovah, not a person. If that person dies tomorrow, who will still be there?” She made a good point. Not gonna lie. But I have some demons to contend with before I can go back. My mental illness is one of them.
I do NOT want this to come off as an apostate blog because it isn’t. As I said in the beginning, PEOPLE are what can sometimes ruin the reputation of a religion but don’t lump them all in just because you knew of one or two instances or were told of some instances where a person of a certain religion was not performing up to par with the teachings.
Again, thank you for reading and I hope this has opened your eyes to a few things that many people truly don’t know or understand about being a JW and why things are done the way they are. Also, understand that I still respect and love Jehovah and would NEVER allow a soul to lie on them because I have been there. Listening to stories won’t always tell you the real truth. I have plenty of friends that have stories like mine. We don’t talk much anymore but many that grew up as JWs are still JWs and are happy. Some got disfellowshipped and some didn’t. But it is not a miserable existence being a JW. Sometimes it’s the most loving environment you can be in. And if my mean behind can say it, you know I’m not lying. LOL