The following showed up on my Facebook news-feed and was not written by me. Nonetheless, it is a vivid and terse description of life growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness. And if it didn’t happen to me, it happened to a kid I/you knew in my/your Congregation.
No birthday cakes. No birthday wishes. No friends in the ‘world’. No parties.
No cupcakes in class for other kid’s birthdays. Sit in the hall like a bad kid.
No veterans day parade outside your elementary school.
Stay in the library. librarian resents me. She’s pissed that she has to miss the parade because I’m forced to be weird. No words to tell her what is happening.
No Saturday morning cartoons; No rest. No popular movies. No christmas movies. No christmas.
No answer for what did you get?
No Thanksgiving. No Halloween. No Halloween costumes. No Halloween friends. No Halloween candy.
No sports. No school clubs. No privacy. No freedom. No personal ambition.
No first love in high school. ripped away. never the same.
No mother’s day. i would’ve loved to tell you i loved you. I wrote you a poem in class for you and you punished me for it.
No father’s day. I hate you. I hate all of you. I can’t get out. Help isn’t coming. Disassociate. Dive into deep imagination. I am safe behind the darkness of my eyes. I can see shapes and colors. I am alive. I am alive.
No math dreams
No way to tell math teachers why i couldn’t remember the rules even though i understood the concepts. Too many rules.
I always forget some of them. I’m going to get whipped. I do not know how to do fractions but i swear i get what you’re talking about
No time for homework
No comfort when grades came back as Fs. It’s my fault I didn’t get to study. Let’s call it ADHD and acting up. Bad girl!
No answers to screams for help. whipped til bleeding. my fault.
No sympathy when i show my mom my whipping wounds. My fault. You get what you get
No help when my best friend tells the leaders of the cult that i am getting whipped. We love your dad. He’s a great leader and very smart. Be pretty and never cry. You are disgusting to us. Trust in Jehovah. To hurt you more for year hehe
No drawing in the meetings. 7 hours of meetings per week plus school. act normal. don’t cry at school.
No falling asleep during 16 hours of loud indoctrination speeches in big arenas on holiday weekends
No stories to write for “what did you do this holiday” school assignments. Make something up. Maybe make it funny. There is no way to get through this.
Help isn’t coming.
No drawing to stay awake. take notes. It’s 10pm on a Tuesday and you are 9 years old and have homework but take notes and don’t get sleepy and do NOT complain or play with your fingers like they’re dolls.
No short skirts. No sorta short skirts.
No way out of having to perform this sick play in front of thousands of cult members. Scripted lines with zero artistry. Who wrote this garbage?
No one to tell when mom is pinching chunks of my arm skin to keep me from acting like a kid in the chairs that you sit in in front of thousands before you go up and do the fake play
No help. No love. No rest.
No cheer-leading. Even though I’m getting good at gymnastics.
No dance squad. Even though my kicks are super high and I’m having fun and I like the uniforms!
No riding the bus to school. other kids. others. be scared of the others.
No summers. recruit door to door. act cute. know all the lines. Go home and read indoctrination literature to study for the indoctrination test tonight. No summer.
No spring break
No friends from school at your graduation party
No blood transfusions. carry this card in your pocket to school that says if the school bus crashes you don’t get blood. Your life is worth less to us than our interpretation of a single sentence in the bible that we didn’t even try to translate right
No carols. No jingle bells. No curse words. No bad thoughts.
No selfish prayers. Jehovah needs his dick stroked constantly. It’s called gratitude and shut the fuck up.
No selfish cars. only cars for door-to-door recruitment
No dignity. knock on schoolmate’s doors and say they will die in Armageddon. do it or you will die in Armageddon.
No walking to school with the neighbor friend. i liked Randy.
No Harry Potter. sit outside while class reads it. Feel sad when schoolmates talk excitedly about it. And they look at me weird. Like i don’t want what they want.
No pep. rallies No student council.
No minutes after school ends to talk outside
No concern for schoolwork. write a bible play and do it in front of all of us. don’t ever be bored.
No long bathroom breaks. where were you?
No buying food from concession stands inside arenas that were rented. must get the watchtower a good deal. bring your food
No buying ice cream from ice cream guys outside. must corner the food market for the watchtower
No taking your badge off after the conventions. go to olive garden looking like that. act proud. smile harder you stupid idiot.
No sitting together if you’re not married. No friends from the opposite sex
No gay friends No gay you. Don’t ever wonder.
No gay Cassie. she went away. where did she go?
No point in having children once you’re married, Armageddon is coming. wait your whole life out. slave away. recruit.
No saint patrick’s day. No musicians of other religions allowed in the band
No approval. recite that you are a good for nothing slave. say it out loud with your brothers and sisters in brainwashing camp
No point in saying don’t show me pictures of decapitations and other torture methods because they will anyway. every day.
No therapy. she’s clearly depressed. says she has no friends. let’s leave. they can’t help you. you’re just a test from the devil.
No one to be sad to. nobody cares
No grandma No grandpa No extended family. we do not talk to them
No accepting gifts. give it back
No volunteer work. jehovah’s will take care of Katrina victims. you are wrong for wanting to help.
No crosses. it wasn’t technically a cross and now we gotta make a big fucking deal about it.
No school presentations about the actual topic, turn it into a recruitment effort. weave the watchtower agenda into your schoolwork. recruit.
No breaks for inclement weather. write letters instead.
No writing your own letters. Only hand write letters from scripts.
No attending funerals at churches. No weddings at churches
No way of knowing if I would die for going into the church across the street from my high school during a bomb threat
No blood transfusions. No respect for life.
No power of attorney. every year sign the paperwork. give to watchtower
No way to get out of cleaning. No fun until you pull all the weeds out of the property of the watchtower. this is fun. why do you want to do other things?
No materialism. do not want clothes.
No speaking to your brother because he slept with his adult girlfriend at the adult age of 26. shun him. do not look him in the eye if you see him at Walmart. he will die in Armageddon if you do not hurt him.
No smoking. if you try it you will be shunned.
No interesting comments. raise your hand. wait for the microphone to come to your seat. say the answer we put in the paragraph. no thoughts of your own. even if they push our agenda. say it our way
No school dances No dates No movies with the others. no friends on the outside
No accepting valentine’s cards in class. give it back
No giving valentine’s cards in class. No eating valentine’s candy
No Christmas cookies. those cookies are shaped evil. bad sprinkles! bad!
No Family Matters. her skirt is too short No Simpsons. Bart said a bad word
No guarantee you will be allowed to live in your house before you graduate high school because you’re falling in love and touch each other and they are interrogating you…me. interrogating me. over and over and over and over and over again hour after hour after hour after day after week. What exactly did you do? tell us in graphic detail even though you don’t understand it yourself. love is wrong.
No Britney Spears. get interrogated in the small room by 3 old men about watching a concert on tv. you knew she was a whore. now you are too.
No giving blood. no extra credit for giving blood even though you really need it because no time for homework
No talking bad about jehovah. don’t tell your teachers you feel bad. you feel great. you are happy. you’re going to paradise! Take these pills.
No sympathy from anyone. why are you so weird? why are you bothering us? you’re ugly and fat and stupid. No way to prove that I don’t believe that. I know deep down that I am not those things. I don’t know how or why I know. I just do.
No time for real homework. go to IT systems night school with your brother. dad is teaching. look how great and smart he is. you will spend your whole life getting smarter than him just to spit in his face. i guess it works out.
No evolution. No evolution homework. If you fail the class, oh well. You’re not going to college anyway.
No “good job!”. No “way to go”
No “what would you like to do today?”
No patriotism. No voting. No military service
No saluting the flag in class. stand there weird. everyone thinks you’re a piece of shit for it. teachers especially. no crying. be proud of what we forced you to do. learn to explain it perfectly. learn perfect english. be perfect.
No school plays. No singing contest. show business is evil
No being a fashion designer. Your drawings are stupid
No regular music in the van while you are forced to drive around with old people recruiting new members. you’re the bait. look how cute she is and she seems happy huh? see? you can join our cult! You better not cry you little cunt.
No way to explain to my best friends in high school choir that i am not allowed to go to their house. they do not understand why. just let them meet us! they’ll see we’re nice. they won’t. but i will arrange for us to sneak out of class and grab liquor in Mexico. y’all my bitches. thank you for the nice people.
No crying when people throw things at you while recruiting. No crying when they spray their water hose at you and pretend they missed the grass.
No Googling your own religion. everything you need to know is in these books that we wrote ourselves. all outside information is evil and you will die in Armageddon if you read it.
No alibi for where I was when I was singing Christmas Carols with the school choir. Have to be sneaky. Get really sneaky.
No explanation for why the Christmas music sounded so beautiful to me and the cult songs did not. I must be bad. I am going to die in Armageddon.
No privacy. Don’t forget Jehovah hears every single thought you have. And if you have a bad one you might die in Armageddon.
No sandals when it’s 100 degrees outside. Preach in pumps. Look professional always. No college, but look like you know shit. Btw never try to know shit
No way of knowing which natural disaster is the absolute sign of Armageddon coming in the next 3 seconds, but every time one happens we get closer and closer and closer. Be afraid always
No vacations without indoctrination meetings. You can go to Disney land if you go get indoctrinated in the morning. Gotta remember to avoid the ones with themes of magic. Magic is bad
No posters on the walls of celebrities. That’s idolizing people and you should only ever aspire to be like Jehovah who you have never seen and causes you endless suffering while forcing you to pretend to be happy
No under-cooked red meat in case there’s a little blood. Spooky spooky blood
No Disney movies. Too much magic. Actually, as adults we are all tied to the wonderful childhood memories of us watching certain Disney movies, so those are ok because we simply can’t give them up. You give up everything though, ok? And don’t cry.
No hell. Because we want people to see us believing in one reasonable thing so we can trick them into the cult and the recruitment effort.
No softball for your niece even though she is very good at it. Softball for her little and big sisters because they do not have a cult dad. Don’t cry Kaylee. It’s wrong to cry. You are chosen. To suffer.
No crushes. Pray it away. No kissing. Bad
No talking about doubts
No talking to your niece, that you changed diapers for and taught and drove and sang to sleep and planned parties and talked to teachers for…no talking to her because the science demon bit you and you are disgusting and bad for her. And you will both die in Armageddon if you talk
No you cannot write a letter saying you want out. That’s only for people who were officially IN. Would you like to begin the process of ignoring your schoolwork to learn 100 indoctrination questions so that you may be officially in so that you may then officially request to be out? Great! Let’s get started. And you have to.
No you can’t go to therapy you have to go do extra indoctrination work with an especially manipulative older lady who is known for cracking tough cases like you
No you will not get punished for physically breaking the glass on the indoctrination artwork painting because we are totally freaked out that you just pulled that off the wall in church and broke it. But we will find other ways to torture you
No you cannot be fingered on your period. Some scripture …idk we twisted it and basically we just don’t like the idea of period sex so feel bad about being horny on your period.
No oral sex. Even for married people.
No your mom will not be attending the baptismal ritual she forced you to neglect schoolwork to study for and be interrogated about … twice… yeah. It was everything to her but you kissed your fiancé alone and ya…she can’t make it now. Fiancé flowers thrown on my bed. Silent treatment for no reason
No your brother will not be ok. He got a girl pregnant in high school and now armageddon is coming and we’re going to cry like someone fucking died instead of supporting him. And then the kid will become our golden child. Tortured just like you! But she’ll be better. You turned out to be a real disappointment.
No rock music with guitar distortion. No rap
No pranks. Come get interrogated. You put something funny on someone’s car and now you’re going to die in Armageddon for it.
No end to the apologies. Apologize for a year by sitting in the back of the room while the only 100 people you were allowed to talk to shun you and refuse to look you in the eye…do it for a year with a smile and we MIGHT let you back in. If you’re ACTUALLY sorry for x,yz,harry potter, britney spears, love, doubts, any shit we make up. Just be sorry forever. We’ll call you when we see you’ve been sufficiently broken down. And then welcome you back with lots of hugs like a good little golden shepherd! Good boy!!
No putting your sun umbrella facing the street to hide your face as you recruit in your neighborhood during puberty.
No feeling embarrassed. How dare you be ashamed of how you’re being publicly abused. Bad dog!
Show everyone that you’re proud to be forced to recruit. We’re so happy! We’re gonna be saved!! Wee!!! No problems or critical thinking for us!!
No 4th of July. No fireworks.
No New Year’s Eve. No watching the ball drop. No watching the parade on tv.
No being satisfied. Why aren’t you learning Mandarin or American Sign Language to help us recruit better? No rest! Get up!
No toys on the floor. Even if they’re organized. Dad comes in and confiscates them. Throws into trash bag. Says it’s because I’m messy. Laughs at me the 2nd time he does it and I say fine then go sell my barbies for some computer shit. They had no value to him. He was just taking them. And then I found out that he hid the bags of barbies and barbie cars and dollhouse things I loved…just had them in the garage. The messy garage. It was only to hurt me.
No hamsters. Anymore. We gave them to you but you didn’t take care of them perfectly so now we’re ripping them away from you forever. We know we didn’t tell you how to take care of them while doing all your acting and fake law school for kids. Bye bye hamsters! 🙂
No masks. Best diy paper plate mask in class. Bring it home. Bad girl. No masks
No divorce for any other reason than cheating. Physical violence is kind of ok to escape but jehovah hates divorce so much, you are not allowed to ever get married again after your spouse beats you up and you leave
No costume parties ever. Even just for fun and no holidays
No your dad will not give you a hug even when you get on your knees and beg for one. Multiple times
No you can’t divorce your pedophile husband who emotionally abused you for 7 years. He gets all over the local news for molesting his high school students.
No it’s not wrong for your dad to visit your pedophile ex-husband in prison. He is a “brother” and you are a traitor
No you cannot play in the band with your brother and pedophile ex because you divorced him and that’s wrong
No saying lucky. No saying bless you. No being bored
No rest. No crying. No hope
Help isn’t coming
No we won’t send you any money after you escape to California to get away from a guy who locked you in a warehouse and punched you and choked you. “We can’t keep supporting your lifestyle”
No you can’t take that good job in Southern California. You can’t borrow the car. There is no Uber in the area. Stay with your cult grandma or go back to the guy who locked you in a warehouse. Guess I’ll go back. At least I can drink freely there.
No foul language
No swimsuits. Wear a big shirt over. Your body is shameful.
No skirts without multiple control top pantyhose because my butt jiggles too much when I walk and that’s disrespectful to the men in the cult who apparently have no self-control
No love for the rest of your life.