a repost from the ChannelC forum
I realize that I tease you and that in writing perhaps it doesn’t come off as such. I imagine myself to be your little sister. You might not be in need of a little sister, and I can stop treating you as such. I just loved the image of the folks in the neighborhood and popcorn and such.
Anyway, since JVB opened up, I will too.
I don’t think that I’ve ever been an agnostic truly, I imagine I more simply lost my faith, and drew close to it as it goes hand-in-hand. I’ve mentioned previously having used the phrase “if, given god, then…” in my conversations.
Here’s my story…
I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness, baptized young by my own fruition. Immediately persecution began. Becoming a teenager, it seemed all the boys honed in on me all at once, worldly, and those who were in congregations thanks to their family, but weren’t what one would call “witnesses” especially. Meanwhile, my body has always worked against me; take that for what you will.
I was also married young, and was proud to have successfully married a virgin. When I saw young, I mean young. I’d just gotten my drivers license that year. I married a brother who was from a congregation far away in another state, our families knew each other from ancient history though we did not. His congregation adored the idea of he and I, it was something of a ‘homecoming’ bringing me back to their hall briefly, the hall my parents were baptized in and where I had been a toddler a dozen years before, literally.
Turns out this brother was abusive. He knocks the glasses from my face the first week of marriage. There’d been no signs, but suddenly after marriage it was as if I was something to be managed, reminiscent of his grandfather’s military style or something…? Progressively it worsened, until four years later I wrote wretched poetry conceptually speaking of losing a baby, written while he sat at the hall and I was left behind at home crying.
It had been my habit as a teenager to take my problems before the elders for help. I was an elders daughter, and family name is written in United States history as well as in the Society’s publications. I did everything I could to live up to the name, but I as hard as I tried, it seemed I was always finding my way into need for counsel.
I took the abuse before the elders and it became a judicial committee. Somehow it strangely ended up that I would be rebuked, counseled not to provoke him, not to make him angry. (Several other attempts and in multiple congregations were made, to no avail.)
After one night finding myself on the floor, curled up in the closet where he’d left me be after having kicked me, the thought struck me that while I didn’t believe in divorce, I was certain Jehovah didn’t see me as a Jerry Springer episode wannabe either.
I mustered up my courage and took matters into my own hands, sitting him down on the couch and explaining that this had to end. He said he’d leave, and suddenly I was left all the responsibility, and he walked away scot free.
I was reproved and counseled for separating from my husband.
Meanwhile in between there’s a horrid story which added to my judicial history where I was raped, and it was also handled so lovingly as a judicial matter. Worse yet having returned home after the bewildering experience—I only received private reproof for not having screamed, though I couldn’t be certain of anything that had happened, and they felt that was simply my being deceitful, my husband decided to make certain it was noted that he ‘forgave me’, if you know what I mean.
So it was that I fell to weakness. People in the hall had no idea what was going on, nor what I had endured for years at all, they would try to comfort me. I would simply be sitting there and people would come up and say things like everything would be alright, and that he’d come back to me. (I guess they thought he’d left me?)
That thought terrified me. I guess I acted like some kind of a panicked animal and let someone ‘do’ something to me. Just something enough that as I understood it, I would be ‘free’.
I took it to the elders and was disfellowshipped as they called it premeditated. All-in-all I can tell you what happened was a perverted action on the basis of preservation and behavioral instinct.
I spent a year outside and never quite recovered from the experience. It was something of an emotional concentration camp. I associated with no one, speaking only at work as I had formerly to my worldly co-workers. It was a year in silence.
Reinstated I immediately moved away, half-way across the country. I look back and now realize it was the easiest way to deal with the reality of the shock of being without family and suddenly having them replaced. They didn’t know much of what had gone on, as a husband leaves his father and his mother and the two become one—I hadn’t told them, and we were all good witnesses who abided by the rules of the committee’s decision; disfellowshipping.
If we fast forward, my glossing the details into a blur so as to keep from details which identify me, suffice to say that eventually I fell out of the congregation as a whole. The network of Jehovah’s Witnesses are worldwide, and your reputation is carried with you in an impressive gossip network. As hard as I tried to fit in anywhere, having moved twice, coincidence is far too ‘coincidental’ for my taste. One day, I’ll explain. For now, just now that once you’re disfellowshipped you can never overcome that disgrace, or at least it seemed in my case.
So I finally made a mistake again, it was probably 5 years down the road, and there I am kicked out again. You know, history.
Those damned records that would follow me, making forgiveness of sins seemingly impossible.
Can you imagine a moment life inside my mind? I only knew the organization to be Jehovah, and Jehovah is the organization. To be kicked out once could have been a mistake, because he knew my heart and knew me, but twice must mean I had been forsaken. I hadn’t felt his holy spirit active upon me since—hmmm—seems that it coincided with getting baptized.
Since he’d abandoned me, left me to be raped and beaten, for which I was chastised, rebuked, privately and publicly reproved, and disfellowshipped, each time a response to my having sought help from the elders to escape the hell that was my baptized life… well I thought I was no longer worthy and stopped pleading in prayer. I simply stopped one day, and didn’t pray for years to come.
Here I will simply offer what I came to learn after that time period through which I lived that Joe urges you to explore. I was still the good Witness girl, so I didn’t read any other material, and I didn’t study on my own. I just simply disappeared into a new state, lost in a crowd, a sea of faces where occasionally I’d see a Witness and was relieved that they’d have no idea—that they knew nothing of me.
One day I intend to tell the full story, the ending is nearly impossible to believe. Unfortunately I still feel urgency to protect my identity, and I’m toeing the line as it is.
In the end it seems so clear now that there was a war going on of which I was, or am, simply a pawn.
Water doesn’t wash you clean.
It’s just the beginning of a journey.
Satan tried everything he had to break me, and meanwhile God wanted me to break free from enslavement.
I was tried and persecuted but sustained it, even though I was faithfully righteous.
Then for nearly 8 years I was left in the world, a different phase of the journey, where I learned as Solomon would believe. It’s all vanity. As far as ‘the world and worldly’ I had been called long ago, and it was up to me to respond.
You see being a part of an organization is being apart, as I believe, Babylon. Christendom.
Christendom. You know the word. It’s a bad word where we came from. Have you thought of it much since?
It happened something like this for me.
One day I looked it up in a cheap dictionary and it said something like it meant “being a Christian”, or the whole of Christianity.
So I thought to myself, well then, wouldn’t Jehovah’s Witnesses be…?
Nearly a year an a half-later the thought hit me, isn’t Christendom kind of like saying “Christ’s Kingdom”? A contraction, I mused?
The thing is that I never left the thought of Christendom as being Babylon in prophecy, the only difference was that I saw the Watchtower as hypocrisy.
And if Christendom was a label as silly as it might sound reflecting the concept of Christ’s Kingdom, then it would be the rider of the white horse who came to conquer.
Otherwise, I pondered, who would be the prostitutes born from the mother of all whores depicted in Revelation?
I learned that “catholic” meant “universal” and understood suddenly could see clearly that the man of lawlessness was the one without law… and isn’t that Christianity?
Water doesn’t wash you clean.
Insidious? Heresy? Oh honey, how I love etymologies of words!
What does Christendom mean, the meaning having changed over time, as the word remains the same? Christendom: the state of being a Christian, -dom meaning “judgement, state, condition, authority, jurisdiction”.
Can anyone really believe that the Watchtower is not a part of Christendom? Had I not repeatedly submitted myself to their judgement, living in the state and condition of being a Jehovah’s Witness, under their authority and jurisdiction?
And I lived a lawless life, in deed. Despite my good intentions, I seemed in no way capable of fighting off the desires expressed in flesh.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
Oh. Duh. I thought he wanted me to worship in a kingdom hall. I thought he rejected me and kicked me out of the truth.
Something happened one day, and I started praying again. There was no Watchtower and it was just me and him. There wasn’t anyone around to judge me in any way. I was an adult, single, independent and free, it only be me to ‘save me’. Except I realized I still believed. Maybe not so much, because I even prayed with acknowledgement that it was more of an ‘if you’re up there’ kind of way, but I knew that there was much more to it than simply praying and giving it a measure of faith.
It seems the time between now and then is all simply a blur. It’s a year and a half later, and I’d tell you that I have it all together, and I’m dying to share.
You see, at least for me, it turns out it’s true. Babylon the Great, the mother of the whores, well it seems that Babylon fell and then was transported by cart to Rome. Apparently a guy had already figured that out, and wrote The Two Babylons. I don’t know, never read it, all this stuff just seemingly popped into my head. All I know is that two Roman emperors carted the great statues of the god’s of Babylon all the way to Rome. That I recently had read. Then Constantine came along and created the universal church, and from that jurisdiction comes nearly every church. So it turns out my musings weren’t so far from the truth.
Now if everyone of the Christian religions are apart of Christendom, and it isn’t Christ’s kingdom, then what was?
I took the Watchtower org chart and revised it based on scripture, I posted it here and it made it quite clear.
This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood.
And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.
I would tell you simply to relax, have a glass of wine with your bread. Remember that you’re loved, and Christ is your head.
And when you go to buy that wine, don’t worry so much about the bread—honestly, I spent way too much time pondering what kind of matzoh, maybe, it might be I should buy? Turns out that a glass of red wine goes best with the bread in your hand—God’s Word who came in flesh, and sits on your bed stand.
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
Only after my journey, starting with baptism of water, followed by my personal persecution, recognition of the head and authority, and baptism of spirit—and my joyful ritual of remembering (what would an alcoholic do, I wonder?) did finally the scriptures seem all truth.
I now understand that nothing can separate us from God’s love, unless it’s a man.
Don’t let a man stand in the way of your inheritance. Holy spirit is yours, but it’s up to you to seek and accept it.
But don’t worry—nothing can separate you from God’s love. It’s a decision that is yours and yours alone.
So drink a glass of red wine—Life is about living a good life, and thus having good deeds with which to be judged, and if you want more, then it’s all yours.
Only the wicked die, and those who deny Christ.
The only question for you, how would you like to be rewarded?
So relax. Seriously. Relish in the love, drink a glass of red wine in remembrance, and think about his blood.
You’ve been dunked in water—but water doesn’t purify. It was simply a symbol that you were ready to try.
Ask for holy spirit. You won’t be denied.
Nothing Can Separate Us from God’s Love
If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Romans 8