Growing up in the Jehovah’s Witness religion as a child, I went through all the fears and scariness that a child goes through in that cult. The usual thoughts that most children and teenagers have when brought up as a member are:
- Will I make it into Paradise?
- Am I good enough?
- What will happen to my Grandmother, who is not a Jehovah’s Witness?
It was a sad way to grow up, especially when you are regularly thinking that all those you love are going to die at Armageddon. Thinking back now, it turned me into a very judgmental little child. I would tell everyone and anyone about the Paradise, but I would also them that they would die if they did not become a Jehovah’s Witness.
I was not allowed to participate in any extracurricular activities, or associate with any children who were not Jehovah’s Witnesses unless, of course, I was studying the bible with them. So, I made up Bible Studies….lots of them. In fact, it landed me on stage at a circuit assembly. I was supposed to be an example for other young Jehovah’s Witnesses who yearned to have lots of Bible studies! Oh, if they only knew!
I lived my life in fear. Fear! Fear of my Father, fear of the Elders, fear of Jehovah, fear of doing anything they considered wrong. No mistakes could ever be made. It is a lot of fear and anxiety for any child to go through. But, I still believed what they preached even though I had many many doubts.
I was baptized at the tender age of ten. And when the heavens did not open up to me, and I felt no different than before, I thought there was something wrong with me. I truly thought I was harboring evil.
The Klonopin Journals
I think I need klonopin just to write this part.
My father, who was a Ministerial Servant, molested me multiple times. He used the same old tactics a lot of sexual predators use:
“Don’t tell anyone or I will kill your mother and sister.”
Because he had strangled my mother and beat my sister, I had no reason to doubt him. Also he had a Knife collection. So, I didn’t tell anyone. I kept my mouth shut.
Fast forward to the age of fifteen years.
I was raped on my way home from working at the local CVS Pharmacy. I knew my attacker. He was a guy who had asked me out on a date previously but I had vehemently said, “NO!” I guess that just pissed him off. Knowing how much “justice” the Watchtower Society was capable of, I kept my mouth shut for as long as I could. That lasted about three months. Then I ran away.
Because I was thinking all worldly people were evil, I assumed one would murder me. Well, he did not. He picked me up in the fair city of Boston. He took advantage of me, but it was still better than being molested and raped.
Eventually, I returned home. Soon afterwards, I made a really good attempt at suicide. I was unconscious for days in the hospital. Then I ended up in the Psychiatric ward. That was a blast, but at least I was out of the house. My father was obviously nervous because he did not have access to me to threaten me. But I was too scared to tell on him because I was not home to protect my mother and sister. I actually got the hospital to talk my parents into having me live outside the home for a while. Granted, it just had to be a sister in the Kingdom Hall with whom I stayed, but it was a somewhat brief vacation. I still saw my sister in school. I later found out that she took the brunt of our father’s anger while I was away. So, she was none too happy with me for a while.
The Almighty Elders’ Meeting (The Judicial Committee)
The Elders held a Judicial Committee meeting for me when I was age sixteen years. It was set up because I was molested, raped, taken advantage of and suicidal. What was their main concern? From my perspective, it seemed that they were only interested in all the dirty little details. They even had me draw a diagram of what the penis looked like. Questions they asked me included:
- Did I like it?
- Did I scream out loud when I was raped?
Well, due to the circumstances, I just could not be sure if the screams were in my head or out loud. There did not seem to be any concern for my suicide attempt. No Elder was there for me in that matter. Furthermore, while I was in hospital, there were no visits from anyone at my local Kingdom Hall. All these elders wanted to do was disfellowship me.
Th Judicial Committee informed me that I was going to be disfellowshipped for:
- Attempting suicide
- Running away
- Having a brief tryst with a gentleman in Boston
As regards being molested and rape? That wasn’t a concern for these elders.
A Year of Hell
The other Jehovah’s Witness children in school were harsh. They threw rocks at my head on the bus and they also threatened my life. The Elders told me that I was getting what I deserved. Why? Because I was displeasing Jehovah.
It took me a year of hell to be reinstated as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Even my teachers, who were not Jehovah’s Witnesses, were offering me their homes to stay with them! These were meant to be “worldly people” who do not care about anyone, according to Watchtower!? But I just could not leave my sister and mother.
During the time in which I was disfellowshipped, my parents put me in the basement to keep me separate from my sister. I was only allowed to come up for meals. I was not allowed to speak. You see, I was considered to be bad association at that point.
The irony of the matter is that for me to be re-instated, I had to admit to something that was not true. Why did I bother? I truly did believe the lies. I needed to be reinstated to make it into Paradise. If the end of this “system of things” came before I was reinstated, I would die. I lived every day with that fear.
During my senior year, I was finally reinstated and was back to being a “good little girl.”
Marriage & Pregnancy
An unexpected flood forced us to leave Massachusetts. We ended up moving to the State of New Hampshire. It was here that I met my future husband, a Bethelite. I know what you are thinking. Bad marriage, right? Actually, we are still happily married and we both left the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses together.
After we had been married for approximately a year, I became pregnant. When I gave birth, all my memories of being raped and molested came back full force. I was having nightmares, daymares and flashbacks.
I forbade my father to come to my house. So he became my “stalker.” My mother doubted me and my claims of him molesting me. I am sure it is because she felt guilty. She defended the organization. This is the same organization that would do nothing about my situation. Why? Because of the “two witness rule,” which states that there needs to be two witnesses to an act in order to disfellowship, unless there is a confession. But who molests a child in front of an audience? Or who admits to child molestation when it’s one child’s word against an adults?
It took a few years but eventually my father was disfellowshipped. He was not disfellowshipped for molestation or child abuse. No, it was for committing an act of fornication. No justice for me, but at least my mother got her scriptural divorce.
Tragedy & Agony
Later, in 2010, we lost our six-year-old boy in a tragic car accident. The donations poured in to help us bury our son. The grief and anger was overwhelming. It was difficult to breathe … to sleep … to eat … to speak.
I wish this agony on no one.
It was actually people’s insensitive comments that really affected me:
- “You should be happy! Your son has a one way ticket into the Paradise!”
- “Oh he is just sleeping until the Paradise and is better off.”
Lots of comments like those were made. They pushed me over the edge and caused me to finally, truly question how I was raised:
- Why is it that my son was better off dead?
- If that is the case, then maybe I am better off dead as well?
That started me on a very severely spiraling depression. I tried suicide again and ended up in the hospital with a nervous breakdown. I even had Shock Therapy Treatment, which helped a lot, but I still had the nagging feeling that this “better off dead” thinking was very strange and wrong. It was almost “cult-like”. So this got me thinking and gave me the urge to research my religion.
My research led me to my new belief that if God is real, he has no part in what we do or believe now. I do not believe that he will murder good people just because they are not Jehovah’s Witnesses, which is what the Watchtower Society teaches.
My wasted childhood has led me to a brand new life.
I am at peace. I am happy. I am strong.
– as told by Sondra Dumont
Originally posted on Open Letters For The Governing Body
(Reproduced with permission)
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