I was a Mormon and quite discouraged with my faith because of the abuse I had suffered as a child. So, I had been agnostic for about 5 years.
I was in a difficult marriage and just had my first child. I was suffering from postpartum depression. I did not know what was wrong with me. I was so sad that I felt suicidal. One day, in desperation, I prayed out to God for help. I remember my Mom had been suicidal and there was no way I wanted to put my daughter through that. So I prayed out loud to God for help and begged him to send someone to me to help me spiritually. I promised Him if he did I would raise my daughter to believe in Him.
I realize now that it was the demons who heard my prayer. They sent Jehovah’s Witnesses to my door. Well, because they showed up the next morning I assumed it was the answer to my prayer. I let them start a Bible Study with me. The path to hell was not paved with good intentions with them.
Right from the start they informed me to expect persecution. They influenced me not to tell my husband I was studying with them. What sort of religion attempts to destroy a marriage? If only I had not been deceived. If only I had not been so innocent.
Very quickly they made me aware of the bedroom rules. This caused my husband to look elsewhere for affection. We did stay married another 4 years but he eventually left me for another woman. He was the love of my life. I got married at age 16 and we lasted 8 years. It is horrible when you lose your love and your child to a cult.
The year was 1975 and the WT society was ablaze with new Bible studies. I was a pioneers dream come true as I was so hungry for Bible knowledge. I wanted to study twice a week and they were long 3-4 hours sessions. What a dream for a pioneer in cold Alaska!
The person who studied with me told me years later they could hardly keep up with me as I was such a sponge.
I am convinced now in retrospect that if I had any prior Bible knowledge I would have quickly dismissed Jehovah’s Witnesses as a cult. But as a Mormon, you do not learn a lot about the Bible.
Lately I have gone through quite a spiritual struggle inside with anger at God for letting this happen to me. But now, I think, He allowed it to happen so I can help people online who are trapped by religious cults. Oddly enough I now put in more time doing this than I ever did as a regular pioneer (70+ hours preaching per month) or auxiliary pioneer (50+ hours preaching per month).
I have found the training I got going through pioneer school – twice – has enabled me to be a better online counselor for depressed young people. I do free online counseling in honor of the memory of my daughter who was a victim of domestic violence by this cult at the tender age of 23. The police report in Alaska said she took her own life but I have my doubts after my own investigations. The elders told her she had to go back to her husband or be disfellowshipped. We lived in separate cities and I did not know what was going on. Of course the witnesses had to tell me all the sordid details after it was too late for me to do anything.
Tanya married in 1996 and I married again a few months after she did. I had decided a long time ago that I would finish raising her and keep her safe until I sought another mate. It was a lonely 17 years and I kept busy by lots of ministry work, volunteer work and helping others.
I did many things Jehovah’s Witnesses never knew about, as I knew they would not approve. I did volunteer work to help the handicapped and the vets of Vietnam. I operated a non-profit food bank in Alaska out of my own pocket for 4 years. I fed many poor people in the Matanuska Valley.
I fought mental health rights in Alaska and kept counseling open for children. Imagine! There was a politician inside of me and it makes me sad to have not done more with my life.
So back to 1996, Tanya married someone on the rebound after a broken heart. I married a brother who had been baptized a year but seemed nice. However, it turned out that he was a pedophile and the elders did not warn me. He was a very abusive man and did things to cause a rift between my daughter and I. This meant that she did not speak to me for a year before she died. I still feel if we were speaking she would still be alive. Both of us might have left the organization in 1998 together. But “what ifs” can only drive you crazy. Typing this is hard on me because it is bringing up all the pain in my heart that I try to bury.
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