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Waking up from a Cult – “The truth will set you free”

(I have mixed feelings about this featured image. Most of them bad, though the goal was to humor the organization’s art style and belief)

 

Good afternoon!

It has been a while since I wrote a blog post and, more specifically, one about the Jehovah Witnesses. According to my list of posts, since the 15th of July.. allow me to apologize to those who follow me for such topics. Here’s an early Xmas gift, from someone who never celebrated it.. to other people who probably have to celebrate it themselves too!

Humor aside, since I’m terrible at it (though that has never stopped me from trying), today’s topic I feel is of most importance: The process that has lead some people to leave the Jehovah Witnesses.

 

Synopsis

 

Though everyone is an individual, with their own reasons and thought patterns, it’s important to note that the topic has become more of a focus. We are living a crucial point, where Scientology has been mostly scowled apart and reprehended by their own former members and the media. This is an opportunity to come forward, to share, to speak. But most of all.. to aid others. So let us avoid dramas among ourselves as best as we can and, as cliché as it may sound.. think of the victims. We are all victims here, but experienced ones at that. We need to provide psychological aid at least to the inexperienced that have just left the cult or are considering it.

Many are the reasons as to why people leave the cult. However, besides opportunity, it is a fact that the cult has been bleeding their numbers. (Look, my country is red! From those -149, I was one of them that year!) 

While it’s true that, overall, they are still growing despite it being at a much slower rate.. their growth is insignificant compared to the growth of the world population. Meaning that, in truth, the percentage of Jehovah Witnesses in the world, compared to the 100% of the population, is lower.

 

Photo example of Cart Witnessing

Again, many are the reasons as to why. One of them being that their newest method of preaching their belief is.. ineffective. Dare I say, in my unprofessional view as a mere spectator, it has made their publishers lazy in the long run. Though they still preach door to door occasionally, this form of evangelism doesn’t convince the majority of the population to stop, listen and to take their words for granted.

Another culprit being the internet itself. Everyone has access to information nowadays. It’s easy to search for any kind of information we desire and many have become aware of the true nature of this cult. Many voices are speaking, on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Reddit and so on. Those voices are hard to ignore and Watchtower has been struggling to keep their members away from such exposure. It has mattered little that they shout “apostasy”, their members are watching and reading blog post such as these in silence.. besides other more effective forms of media. Watchtower is aware that the internet has been their greatest issue, has seen in their broadcast on November 2017.

Speaking of the Broadcast, it has also been a tool for their own demise. It has become easier for the internet to refute most of Watchtower’s teachings in video format, given that the cult has provided such medium to begin with. Their inadequacy is open for criticism, to be witnessed by anyone who is willing to watch a single video on their broadcast. Their speech hasn’t resonate to the major audience, quite the opposite. It exposed the type of cult it actually is to the world at large.

But most of all, the way they have handled child abuse has been shameful. The ARC (Australian Royal Commission) has shed some light about the way this cult deals with troubling predicaments within their own halls. Avoidance, deceitful, outright lying and victim blaming.. they have resorted to Theocratic Warfare strategies to keep their name intact while ignoring the root of the problem: Pedophilia. Their lack of empathy has been astonishing.. and one can easily gain access to such videos. Though the videos are long, I will share a beginning to spark some curiosity – Governing Body member, Geoffrey Jackson, lying to the authorities. This is not exclusive to Australia, as other countries have become aware of such issues within the cult. Their unwillingness to change the “two witness” policy to justify any action between their members, without involving the authorities, has been proven more than once.

 

The Watchtower—Study Edition | March 2018 (Page 8-9, paragraph 2)

The Jehovah Witnesses’ golden age has been long gone. What follows is the unavoidable downfall of their numbers. They are aware of that, which is why they’ve changed their focus to the current Jehovah Witnesses to be more persistent with their child indoctrination, as seen on the Watchtower’s March 2018 Study Edition.

They are pressuring their children to baptism and, as many are aware, it is the worst mistake one can make within the cult. Baptizing means that you’ve signed a verbal contract with Watchtower for the rest of your life. That you will listen to them, act the way they want to.. without question. That, if you decide to do or say something outside of their expectations, you will be disfellowshipped. Which translates to the complete ostracisation from the cult and their members to those individuals.. including family members.

It breaks families apart. Which is why the idea that they are pressuring their children to baptism more so than ever, is repulsive. Another form of child abuse, besides pedophilia itself within their own cult.

 

Again, I believe that now it is the time to focus on Watchtower’s short comings. I’m not a professional activist.. but I believe now it is the opportunity to speak. Share your personal experiences to the world, expose the cult. Use your voice, be honest and protect others from doing the same mistakes as we did. Tell the world what you’ve learned, find a way to do so. If the internet is not your preferable place, speak to your friends at least. Help other disfellowshipped people.. or even those who are Physically In and Mentally Out (PIMO).

Don’t fall for anger, for resentment, for a complete victim narrative. I am aware how easy it is to fall for such dark emotions, I am guilty of so many of those emotions that you, too, are familiar with. But this isn’t about you. It’s about a cult, several victims and a warning to society that needs to be aware. Do NOT attack individual witnesses, they are not to blame.. for their are also victims in their own way. It is to Watchtower, the Governing Body, that one should direct their outrage to.

 

As for myself, I do not believe that I am an activist of sorts. I don’t intend to extensively talk about such issues, despite being aware and not shying away from it. I speak my mind now and then on social media, on this blog, to the very few followers that I have. It’s the minimum I can do, given that there’s another bigger issue in my life than just being a former Witness. That too needs addressing.

Nonetheless, I want to give an example. I don’t want to be the type of person that tells others what to do and not do it myself. I will, too, share my own process of “awakening” from the cult.. on this very same blog post.

 

A few disclaimers:

  • First, this is going to be a long post. It’s unavoidable.
  • Second, I’m Portuguese. My native language differs from the one I’m writing. Though that has never been an issue thus far, I feel that it is a fair warning given the length of this blog post. The longer I write about a particular subject, the more dull, simplistic and predictable my choice of words and expressions gets.
  • Third, I’m Portuguese. I know I just wrote that earlier.. but it is an important fact to say that these events happened within Portugal. Culture and context is important, for even Jehovah Witnesses can differ a little from region to region. Not by much, but no one is immune to one’s surroundings and societal norms.
  • Fourth, I’m Transsexual. Male to Female.  I am a woman but, to my own self deprecation, the cult saw me as a boy for all intents and purposes. Another aspect to take into consideration and, by all means, a “unique perspective” from the cult that may differ from others.
  • Fifth, it’s hard to talk about the cult and not involve other aspects of my life, that may not be related to the topic at hand on face value. Though I will try my best to focus on the main topic at hand, I do apologize for any explanation or slight off-topics here and there.. but I believe they relate in one way or another in the greater picture.
  • Sixth, do not use this information to harass individual Jehovah Witnesses.. or anyone for that matter. Again, your energy should be wasted to aid others who actually WANT to break free from the cult and to the Governing Body (in the United States).

 

 

 

Waking up from a Cult – “The truth will set you free”

 

My online pseudonym is SapphyDe90 (Sapphy-Dee-Ninety, for those who have issues speaking it out loud. I’m also fine with just being called Sapphy). I was born on the 2nd May 1990, hence the number on my pseudonym. My real name isn’t too far from my pseudonym, though I wasn’t always called by the name I currently have.

 

I grew up in a household made up of two parents and an older brother (seven-nearly-eight years apart). The three of them Jehovah Witnesses by the time I was born. My brother was too born under such circumstances. We both were indoctrinated the moment we were born, though the lineage of indoctrination only began with my parents.

The Jehovah Witnesses only began to exist within my country somewhere in the 1950’s. It was a dictatorship back then, under the rule of Salazar. My parents grew up under such political climate, the Jehovah Witnesses were heavily persecuted by the government. During that time until April 25th in 1974, the Jehovah Witnesses in my country feared the government which, at the time, even had their own secret police. Think of it has our own version of the Gestapo, which was named PIDE. My parents were preached during that time, my father being the first one when he was 10 years old. My mother, though later, was preached in her early 20’s. Though my country has roughly 48.000-49.000 Jehovah Witness Publishers today, my father was part of the first 2.000-3.000 Publishers within the country.

As such, expectations were high for me and my brother. My father was an elder for around a decade when I was born, given how he was known by many within several local congregations. Everywhere he went, at least a family or two knew him and would greet us kindly.

 

When born, unlike my brother, my mother quit her job to take care of me in the first few years. She suffered Postpartum Depression. I was a late-term pregnancy, forced labor.. she needed more time to be with me and to heal from her depression.

My early childhood was one lived within the house. A late talker, doing so at the age of 3 because, as I’ve been told, I was “too lazy to talk” since I didn’t need to talk to get what I wanted (my first word was “Pai” though, which means Father in Portuguese). In short, I’m spoiled I guess. Little I engaged with other children, being quite pleased with the company of my own family. Within the Kingdom Hall, I acted like a normal child. As in, I used to sit and try not to misbehave during meetings and, once it was done, be a little more childish. I was reprehended a few times for misbehaving.. though that stage didn’t last long.

The other Jehovah Witnesses treated me correctly, as any adult would to someone else’s child. There was a strong sense of community and I was love bombed early on. People had high expectations on me, as I’ve touched upon briefly. The one who taught me (as in, the one who used to do my bible study) was my father.

 

Things changed when I was six years old, when I started going to Primary school (1st to 4th grade). I was forced to deal with other children on a wider context, which didn’t end well during the first two years. Given gender dysphoria and the usual social norm of children dividing themselves by gender and being disgusted by their counterpart, I was ostracized and bullied because I thought “everyone was dumb” and I didn’t like to play with the boys that I was forced to. I preferred the company of adults, which I could only find and have a proper interaction within the Kingdom Hall. This furthered my indoctrination and pushed me to actually start paying attention to the meetings.

I did my first “public speech” when I was six years old, on top of a cardboard box. As in, I read the bible to an audience of sixty-seventy.. can’t remember the number of people. Of course, as expected, I was the cutest new promising witness on the congregation because of it. That furthered my interest for the teachings, turning into a Publisher at the age of eight.

 

During that time, I saw the people at my local primary school as the “worldly” people I had to engage with daily. Though the bullying during that time ended once I found a single common interest with my peers at the time (gaming, which was an activity introduced within the household by my brother), I was already indoctrinated to believe they were odd. Gender Dysphoria didn’t help as it further aggravated my inadequacy with other children of my age. As a child, I didn’t thought gender/sex was the issue, even though I wanted to be a mother and then later, since I learned I could never get pregnant, to be a Obstetrician-gynecologist.. or as I would like to say “the doctor that delivers babies”. I thought that the issue with my inadequacy and suffering was not because of gender.. but because “they were dumb worldly people”.

Amusingly enough, there were other children in my local Kingdom Hall. Though only four stood out (besides myself), two boys and two girls; the two girls never engaged with me significantly (despite being from separate families from different elders too) and the two boys belonged to two different families in troubled households and backgrounds. There were a few teenagers, though I felt that I didn’t belong in the same circle of friends that my brother had. It was intimidating.. though there were a few special moments that I can remember fondly.

 

I progressed as a Publisher which, in return, got the attention of the adults. The adults were “nice” and other children were “dumb”.. and since most children I knew were not Jehovah Witnesses, somehow that furthered my indoctrination. I always commented during meetings, becoming infamous for getting mad if I didn’t get the chance to comment. Most people thought it was amusing and took it as a good sign that I was progressing as a Jehovah Witness.

At the age of eleven, I got baptized (15th February 2002). Based on one of the study articles from one of the Watchtower study articles at the time (to be honest, I’ve wasted hours trying to find the exact article and magazine but I fear it will be almost impossible. I do remember however, a specific picture.. one I wasn’t able to find yet), I was motivated to dedicate my life in prayer and to symbolize it by baptizing. The magazine talked that there should be nothing to fear, that even people who got baptized often used to do mistakes. For me, it was a big step but the magazine made me believe that I shouldn’t fear. Because what mattered is that I believed that the things I was taught of were true. And “the truth” is what made people nice, while the “worldly people” were “dumb” because they lacked “the truth”. That such was the reason for the bullying outside of the Kingdom Hall.

When I spoke to my mother in the Kingdom Hall’s bathroom, after that same meeting (right after the last prayer of the very same meeting), I told her about my desire for baptism. She was thrilled, yet she wasn’t completely sure. My father learned such a few minutes afterwards, sharing that he felt that I was too young to make such decisions. Yet I was spoiled and, like a toy I really wanted, I pressed on my desire to do so. My father, though an elder at the time, asked advise from the other elders of the congregation. They shrugged among themselves and came to the conclusion that I was a well behaved child, more mature than the others and, thus, saw no problem with my desire. Though my father never got over his doubts over my youth, my mother soon shared the same sentiment as the other elders.. and I was allowed to be baptized.

… My father was right. When I look back, I can say that I was too young, naive and spoiled by the love bombing I always received during my early childhood. Both within the Kingdom Hall and within my family environment. In fact, ironically, my parents were once alerted by a circuit overseer that they should be more careful with the way they spoiled me. No one is perfect.. I never said I was.

 

After baptism, I was already in either 5th or 6th grade. A new school, new people.. new bullies. It didn’t help that my overall attitude wasn’t the most appropriate. At the time, there was a boy that I wanted to get closer to. But given that I disliked his friends, I often made myself a victim in order to turn that boy against them. Which worked for most part, at least in what I desired. I was the child that was well mannered and “looked like a saint and transpired innocence”, which made it easier when I overreacted to any form of criticism or hint of roughness on the other end. Again, I never said that I was perfect. And the consequence, though wrong for them to have done so, was to have bullies that lasted all the way to 12th grade. This to say that bullying only made me believe that the “worldly people” were “dumb and mean”. Ignoring the fact that my best friend at the time was the very same boy I mentioned earlier, a “worldly person”.

Within the Kingdom Hall, after my baptism, the spotlight was on me and on my family more than ever. Most Kingdom Halls have that one or two “golden” families that are considered the prime example of a “true christian household”. However, it alienated me from every other child of my age within the very same Kingdom Hall and.. even circuit. They felt that I thought I was “too good” for them. Given their behavior and reasoning, I still didn’t thought it was a “gender issue” but the fact that I was simply more mature than the other children of my own age within the congregation and most of the circuit.

The reason why it took me long enough to identify my dysphoria was because of the indoctrination imposed on me. Most people of my age mocked me because I did felt that they were simply.. dumb. Though I would never say it out loud, my overall behavior did made it seem that I highly disapproved their definition of fun and amusement. When I look back, I see that it was a misconception. What I believed to be an issue with “the world” and “the people of my age” wasn’t their lack of intellect. I believed that because I was led to believe it was, given indoctrination. In return, people of my age noticed that I didn’t liked them, which created bullying. And thus the cycle continued as I would go back to the Kingdom Hall and feel better about myself and the belief taught to me.

 

At the age of twelve, I earned the task of carrying and handling the microphones. A year later, directly using the sound equipment. I used to study every meeting during that time, on a congregation that was suffering. I would peek the magazines held by a few other Jehovah Witnesses, noticing that they didn’t had underlined their paragraphs. I would comment about it to my parents which, in return, would hear that some of them actually had depression and a few other problems within their houses. It was a congregation that, by Jehovah Witnesses standards, was “spiritually weak”. Many people were suffering from psychological issues, real problems that, now that I look back, makes me feel upset. From such scenario, I could only think about how they didn’t had their magazines filled with notes.

Strangely enough, I look back at that congregation fondly. I have a few good memories, cult teachings and manipulation aside. I have to admire the fact that they endured soo much in their lives and still.. they found time to stroke my ego. I truly was a brat disguised as an angel..

 

When puberty came, when the changes started to occur, I began to notice the effects of gender dysphoria to a much complete sense of the symptoms. Jealousy took part of most of my thoughts at the time, though I was told by my religious peers that what I felt was love.. since I would never tell them I was jealous. They merely based their ridiculous assumptions on the way I behaved towards other women. Though deep down, even those gals knew I didn’t like them that way. And I didn’t.. because there was a boy that I had a crush on within the local congregation. It was mild.. but it was there. He had the greatest smile~ though later I found him to be so easy to manipulate and lacking a firm position.. easily drifted by whatever direction the wind blew. What a pity..

Such remarks about my sexual attraction by my religious peers made it harder for me to identify my ever growing dysphoria. And to even figure out that I actually had a crush on the boy I’ve mentioned. I only found out many years later, when I was already disappointed at the boy.. as odd as that sound but, to be fair, this isn’t a normal story and I realize my experience is quite abnormal.

 

 

Between my twelfth and fourteenth birthday I also had my first (and only) bible study, to a child around my age. It was given to me, by my mother. She had a bible study with his mother, so both thought I should be the one conducting a bible study to her child.

 

I was.. a lousy Publisher that somehow always got away with my lousiness. I hated preaching door to door, talking to random strangers. It made me nervous, as a shy young girl. Insecure, since you never knew what would come out of those doors. I never revisited people, I simply accompanied someone, talked a few times to hand a magazine or two.. and never went back to those very same doors again. I would always pick the most experienced pioneers, servants and elders to go with.. in hope they had a bible study to sync a few hours without the need to talk to random strangers. Bible studies used to be my favorite aspect of preaching, since it was inside people’s houses, people knew each other and it was easier for me to add a few things to the conversation when I felt it made sense to.

Either way, with my bible study, the victim of my attempts was a boy around my age.. that felt dragged by his mother to do so. I could easily tell how boring that was for him, though I didn’t allowed it to discourage me from trying. I tried to not be dull with my approach, making efforts to have him express himself without having to directly read what was written just to fulfill the questions directed at him. I tried to talk rather than preach. Given that he liked video games (just as I still continue to like), I tried to get close to him based around that.. since it always worked in the past every time I had to deal with boys around my age. That got out of his shell for a while and he began to understand that I was not there to bore him about things he didn’t really cared about. I wanted to please him while, at the same time, share the message that I believed to be right.

He… never took steps to assist the meetings, since his mother never did too. Eventually, my mother abandoned her bible study and told me to do the same. The memory is hazy on those regards to the exact reaction and conclusion to that study.

 

During those years, I was also part of a convention drama (theater), together with my family. Very few were selected on my former congregation, though the role that my family and I had were simple: We were just there to make numbers, to be part of a fictional crowd with other people. Nearly five thousand people saw us that day, furthering my indoctrination and “social status” alongside my family.

 

 

Later, somewhere between my fourteenth and fifteenth birthday, my congregation was dissolved. The Witnesses from my congregation were spread between three different congregations, one congregation being new. However, me and my family were sent to one of the two already existing and established ones. Me and my family welcomed such change, each of us with our own reasons. Mine being that I feared to be spiritual affected by the overall depressive environment from the former congregation. The audience was lowering on numbers, a congregation that used to have eighty to seventy.. was now struggling to even have fifty people present in a meeting. This fear was based on the fact that I desired for the love that I used to feel when I was a child.. but was being crushed by the rising difficulties within the congregation. The mood was affecting me and I wanted to be love bombed again, as crude as it sounds saying it now with today’s knowledge of the situation.. for those weren’t the exact same words I would think of even telling anyone.

 

Within the new congregation, the environment was much different than I’d expected. Simply put, the established congregation saw us as some sort of impostors to their “inner politics” (elders…) .

In the new congregation, there were more people around my age. Some of them I already knew of, others I did not. One in specific, for some reason, saw me has a rival of sorts.. which is incredibly adorable to think about since, back then, I didn’t understood why he was acting in such a loud, over the top clownish, attention seeking moronic way. Looking back, I realize that his mother used to pressure him and tell him that he should be more like me. Some mothers used to do that in my childhood… it’s horrible. You’re basically asking for your child to think less of themselves and, some cases, outright harass the one you want your child to be as. Don’t do that, it’s just evil, love your child.. not other people’s child.

My family noticed that the new congregation wasn’t as inviting as we thought it would. We talked about it several times, pointing examples of Jehovah Witnesses being extremely patronizing and passive aggressive towards each others. The politics at play, the alliances between Elder A and Elder B who disliked Elder C and D. Those who liked Elder A and B and how terrible they were for liking that Elder while spreading rumors about those on Elder C and D side. And how Elder A has shady business in his workplace while preaching about good behavior at the top of the podium. It was.. a mess and it made me realize that not every Jehovah Witness was nice, even though they all believed in “the truth”.

At the same time, as I saw the few members of the former congregation that joined us on this particular new congregation doing, we justified and fortified our indoctrination by saying that we were not here for men.. but because of the god we believed in. For “the truth”. During that period of time, I started to create my own forms of thought as to why I was a Jehovah Witness in the first place. That it wasn’t about the people, or congregations, or elders. About being loved, a hug or a mere gesture of affection. That we were on harsh times and that the only reason that had made us Jehovah Witnesses.. was “the truth”.

 

The focus had changed from the people themselves (the community).. but to the teachings. “The truth” is what mattered. That.. is when the seeds of my awakening began.

 

Every time that the circuit overseer came, we hoped that he would solve the issues within the new congregation. But I learned that the Circuit Overseer only becomes aware of the issues if someone tells them of such. But given that they have but a week every six months and, during such week, everyone was at their best behavior and trying as much as they could to please the overseer.. it slowly made my hope fade. But we had “the truth”.

Every time someone was unfair to me or to my family, we hoped that they would change their ways eventually. That maybe an article would help them become self conscious. Or maybe their favorite elder would actually start acting like an elder and kindly inform them in private to cease their behavior. That never happened. But we had “the truth”.

Every time an elder got to make a speech and began to reprehend the opposing aisle of their political shenanigans, we hoped that they would someday be stripped away from their privileges for being such insufferable and insensitive morons. That sometimes happened.. but never cleaned the rats’ den. But we had “the truth”.

 

Given the flaws within the congregation and the elders (my father included), I learned that not every elder was worth the attention and that there was politics involved. How they abused their power at times, that such behavior didn’t align with the teachings.

That form of thought and realization allowed me to do a minor form of critical thinking and have a different perspective on certain aspects of the faith in question. For example, entertainment and the internet. I always thought it was strange how they shunned specific movies, books, games and titles because they exposed certain aspects that they didn’t like. The example of an apple that is partially brown on one particular side from the inside, tossed away completely because of it.. no. Don’t toss an apple just because a tenth of it is a little rotten while the rest is healthy. Cut a good portion of the rotten part away and eat the untainted area. It’s a waste of potential. And even what is rotten can be used to fertilize the ground. Plus, it is important to note the difference between fiction and reality.

Such thought allowed me to take joy in forms of entertainment that other Jehovah Witnesses would frown if they knew. As a geek, gaming was the source for most entertainment that they would shun away. But we had “the truth”. And the truth is, it’s just fiction!

 

 

As I grew and began to suffer ostracisation from both “worldly people” and the people within my congregation, I also began to notice that a few of the Jehovah Witnesses that still praised me and my family.. never really cared for me. That what they were after was the approval of my father rather than genuine interest in my well being. At the time, to avoid further bullying, I had decided to not go to college and opt for a three years long professional course (after 9th grade) that gave me a high school diploma regardless, to be better prepared for the world.

The people of my age were also terrible, from both sides. Which, together with everything else already described, made me suffer from depression for a few years. After an unexpected shout from my part as my father drove us to meet the boy that I used to have a crush on, as I informed that I didn’t wish to visit him, my family began to worry and they searched for a psychiatrist. Though the psychiatrist was flawed, he lead me to meet the psychologist that I still visit to this very same day, after more than ten years. In my family, we take mental health seriously for reasons I would rather not dwell on. She is a wonderful professional and I am.. soo grateful for her to be part of my whole recovery and.. mess. Besides myself, she’s the one that knows me the most.

I survived my depression at the time, though it took years to do so. I maintained my belief in the cult, against all the odds at the time. Because we cared for “the truth”. We had it.

 

More years passed, I wasn’t able to progress as a Jehovah Witness. Though I believed and still did everything and even a little more, I was never given further privileges. Nor did I wanted them to be fair. I never fought to have privileges, I only wanted to be liked and understood, to relate and be related. Given internal politics among elders, the spotlight was taken from my family and placed on certain individuals that had the approval of the major political faction of elders. Including a certain clown, as he got to be a servant. I laughed at that back then, further underlining what I already suspected about the inner bicker among elders.

However, my inner belief in the cult also desired to purify the congregation in anyway I could. So I talked to one of the elders about my disapproval of the new servant and was given suggestions on how I could become one myself. I didn’t cared for those, so I grasped for that specific elder’s dark past and cornered him: That the reason why he got to be an elder in the first place was “because he acted like a spoiled child that didn’t got his toy when he was a servant”, so the elders took pity on him and gave him the title. That made the elder go silent, but he got the message. And no, I didn’t learned about it because someone had told me such. But because he was part of my previous congregation.. so I saw it when I was a child since he and his family were close to mine. Still! He was one of the best elders from the congregation.. besides my father himself (as biased with “rose tinted glasses over my daddy” as that may sound. Look, I am a daddy’s gal deep down and though I did spend most of the time with my mother and despite the fact that he does have his flaws, he’s still the best!)

 

None of these were enough to shaken my belief over the cult. It did changed my perspective, without a doubt. But we had “the truth”.

… But what if others don’t care about “the truth”?

 

 

When I was twenty, I was getting increasingly worried. I still suffered deep down given my gender dysphoria. It had been years and I had suppressed it for quite some time. I became aware of it finally and did my own research on the subject. Though it took months of research and soul searching.. the nightmares ever increasing, I finally came out to my psychologist first, when I was twenty one. A day later, to my mother and, in an hour or so, to my father. My brother learned a few hours after. Tears were exchanged, my mother being the one who had the worst reaction while my father merely hugged and cried with me. My brother, on the other hand, was just confused and probably didn’t even understood what was being said until a few days later.

 

When I told them about my predicament, I did informed them that I did desire to transition. However, I wanted to know the opinion of the cult, given that little information existed on the subject within their publications. Such lack of information baffled my father as well and we asked a special pioneer for his advice. He didn’t knew either, which lead me to talk to another elder (besides my father).

The elder, though he was part of an “opposing political spectrum within the elder war”, was the one that I had chosen to share the predicament. Because I genuinely was already tired of the bickering and by trusting him with a subject so personal to me and to my family would, hopefully, make the elders unite for once. The elder lacked knowledge on the subject as well, but he told me and my family to stay silent and to not tell anyone else about the subject. To simply trust god, to have hope for paradise, where everything would magically solve somehow. Since I had the same faith.. I believed him, but I feared him.

The fear that I felt.. I cannot truly explain. I.. think I feared that god wouldn’t solve the issue. Not because I didn’t believed in paradise but.. because I feared that god would please everyone else but myself. That everyone that knew about the subject didn’t actually loved me but only wanted me to suppress myself. And, to satisfy everyone that “loved me”, he would change me to something that I was not, since it would be easier to everyone else.

I didn’t like that thought. I ignored the elder’s advise and did something else. I talked to the circuit overseer, since I already knew I couldn’t trust the elders given past experiences. The circuit overseer lacked knowledge on the subject as well.. but he did advised me something: To write in English to Brooklyn, since I knew how to do so. And I did, eight pages of it. After nearly two months, this was the answer that came:

The answer provided mixed feelings. On one hand, their speech appeared kind at first glance. Second, they shown some knowledge on the subject to the point that I was pleasantly surprised! Honestly, they did had some grasp on the subject.

However, their decision and overall reasoning to maintain such position against a treatment that could aid me (and it has thus far) was.. severely lacking. The scriptures were far-fetched to explain their logic. Excluding Deuteronomy 22:5, given that’s a law that doesn’t even apply to this situation and simply tells “You can’t do this”, without proper explanation, I focused on Genesis 2:23, on the definition of the word in Hebrew. The definition of the word isn’t enough to suggest anything that they perceive to be sound logic. Words are a combination of syllables, each with their own meaning to create an entire new word and meaning. It doesn’t mean literally what it sounds when you break it down to syllables. Plus, a man with a womb? I thought everyone was female regardless at first.. and then later, biological men become men after being a woman first within the womb. Anyway.. small rambles in my mind during the time.

The rest of the letter is merely drivel, advises for aid.. though they fall flat if one doesn’t justify their sentence first. That’s how I used to work. Make me believe that your ridiculous demands are right, then I will accept your suggestions.

 

From that point forward, I decided to do my own thing, regardless of what others told me. Because, after sharing the letter with the elders, they weren’t open for a conversation about the subject. They wanted me to follow the letter’s advise, without questioning. It was not what I was expecting, since I had doubts about what was told on that decisive letter. I was told not to write back, to simply suppress my thoughts and pretend that nothing had happened. To not mention this to anyone.. to keep being a good Jehovah Witness, that later in paradise, god would solve the issue. But given that the supposed single channel to god said I couldn’t and that I wasn’t a woman, I knew that something was not right.

I searched for aid and evidence that my condition was true. Appointments with doctors, psychological exams and blood tests.. I wanted to rub on the elders’ faces that I was right.. because I am. I also stopped going to the meetings, started dressing up and growing my hair in a different way. Not strictly feminine.. but something I look back now and shiver to how silly I looked. Every Trans Woman goes through THAT stage, that we want to change our appearance but we still are too afraid to do it so we opt for something not feminine but also colorful and more.. flamboyant? It was strange.. not proud of that stage, though a necessary one.

I searched for an LGBT community, having more of a double life on the internet. Opting the pseudonym of Sapphire, which was the same pseudonym I was heavily criticized during my fourteens for being a female name. On the internet.. I was Sapphire. In real life, I was being tested with the desire to bring evidence to the elders so that I could make my transition and not be disfellowshipped. Because I had “the truth”, not THEM.

 

 

After two years, I made the mistake to go to a meeting under my family’s pressure to do so, despite my appearance and how shocked everyone felt in the congregation about it (the snobs with the monocles and the royalty falling for their thrones because someone dared to dress differently for the occasion. HOW DARE THEY?!) The elders suddenly were reminded that I existed.. even though my father told them to aid me time and time again.. and they arranged a judicial committee. I can only imagine how they went home that day after the meeting and the outrage behind the scenes because I dared to appear after more than a year! Can you feel the love? Because for me, back then, it only underlined the fact that they didn’t cared for me. They didn’t even greeted me, how quickly they forgotten that I was once their prodigy.

Either way, I accepted to go to the judicial committee. I was very afraid, given that I lacked any physical evidence on my hand for my own defense. But, most of all, I feared to lose connection to god. I still believed, I was still indoctrinated.. against all odds. Three men stood in front of me, from different congregations since no one trusted the elders from my own congregation to reprehend me. I stood there, defenseless. They judged me, they were intolerant. One elder tried to be nicer while another one played the role of the “skeptic”. The third one hardly contributed, trying to play the role of the voice that pretended to be my conscious and guide to the right answers. The skeptic didn’t believed when I apologized. Because, in his perspective, I didn’t actually felt remorse for what I was doing. He was right.. I did not. I didn’t understood what I did was wrong, thus couldn’t apologize. My mouth said “Sorry”, my eyes cried.. and my feet couldn’t feel the floor. It felt as if I was dying on that spot, because I feared them. I feared god.. and I love my family. But my mind said “They are wrong and cruel.”

They stripped me from my privileges.. as if those mattered to me. But the worst act of all.. was that they demanded me to cut my hair between that very same Monday and Thursday.. just in time for the meeting. I still fought against that demand, saying that I just went to the Hair Salon that former weekend (and I did, so it wasn’t a lie). Nonetheless, they were not open for negotiation. If I truly regretted my actions, I would need to cut my hair, get a suit and go to the meeting on Thursday with a smile. I had.. no choice but to comply, together with the idea that I would need a “recovery study” (I apologize, I have no idea if this is the correct English counterpart for such). At least they offered me the dignity to choose which elder would.. and I ended up choosing the very same elder I confronted years ago about his dark past that got him to be an elder in the first place.

 

I was at the meeting on Thursday, with a new hairstyle. One that made me die even more inside the more I looked at the mirror. I wore a suit.. after for nearly two years, though that really wasn’t the worst experience comparing to everything else that I was forced to do. I felt traumatized, genuinely. I felt that I lacked life, a spark within me. It felt as if I had witnessed a horror and was trying to coop with a shocking mental picture. Like a child that just witnessed a murder, innocence taken away. As if I was pale and shaking in the cold, starving and bare bone, naked. Trying to pretend that I was alive by the command of a dictator that would crack their whip behind my back if I didn’t perform according to what everyone paid the tickets for. The trick being.. a smile, of how grateful I was for their mercy. Adding insult to the injury, they announced to an audience of nearly one hundred Jehovah Witnesses that I had been reprehended, without context.. though I’m sure most knew why exactly.

The fake smiles that came to greet me, like the bourgeoisie that wish to take a picture with the poor and misfortuned. To look good for the greater picture, for the elders. Handshakes and empty words, I was used to that even beforehand. The type of people that want to please your family and others but don’t actually care for you. It’s about social status, the privileges within the religious community. I was aware that their words meant.. nothing. I knew “the truth”.

Worst of all, even more ignorance from their part, was when they decided to strip away my father’s privilege from being an elder. They announced a week after, without any proper context. Of course, they had used me for their political wars among elders. They couldn’t wait to find a way to get my father out of their royal court, so they used me. Yes, because my father is to blame for the fact I have gender dysphoria apparently! They never provided a reason to me.. but it was obvious. If it were for any other reason, they had many years and opportunities to do such and not a week after my reprehension. It WAS politically motivated, more backstabbing in the great elder wars in a region that nobody cares about. Though such action had not only make me question and grow even more upset.. but my mother has well was upset and confused to the reason and, though my father hid the reason from me, I could tell that he too was upset for losing his privilege. It affected him greatly to this very same day.

 

My family was proud of me.. and I tried to please them. I accepted the aid from the elder that was given the task to provide me with the study. I wanted to give them a last chance, that maybe I was wrong. I wanted to be proven wrong, so that I could believe that god could provide me what I truly needed and desired. But I also feared that their definition of a “study” was.. going to be torturous. And I was right.

I used to predict and joke to my psychologist about the fact that I’d hopped their definition of aid wouldn’t involve forcing me to stereotypical male activities and tropes.. such as watching sports while drinking beer, going out fishing and playing football. Though it wasn’t as absurd, it was quite close in their own subtle and special way. Mostly, the elder came to me in order to talk about topics that I already knew about. Reminders and a large focus on my own predicament. Specifically, in how to dress, the only colors a man should wear, how a man should act.. .. .. things that made me sick inside pretty much even just by thinking about it. And also the absurd amount of time he used to.. bad talk about his own wife and how “certain women in the congregation” were bad because they dressed in a way he didn’t aprove of. No.. I’m not joking. That was actually a thing for months.

Are you, reader, familiar with that feeling of having to hold yourself from figuratively releasing your claws.. even though you are wincing within your mind quite badly? That’s how I felt, I felt that I was a cat that was ready to pounce (once again, figuratively) and scratch all over his face. I haven’t felt such a thing since then.

 

… Still, after a month or two.. I couldn’t resist. I went back to my double life while avoiding the elder in question. I slowly stopped going to the meetings again. I gave them a chance.. and they failed. I was not going to pretend that they were right. Clearly they weren’t up to debate. They didn’t cared about “the truth”.. the truth about the subject. Like a house of cards.. it all felt. “If they are wrong about my specific predicament.. what else are they wrong about?”. I searched the web, videos from DarkMatter2525 (among other youtube users) helped me question religion has a whole, not just my own. I avoided Ex-JW’s in specific at the time, since I feared being called an apostate.

It all felt that.. they really don’t have “the truth”. The truth about “the truth” is that there is no “truth”. Anyone who claims to have all the answers is delusional, there is no way to prove anything that most religious believe in. That’s why it’s called a belief, it’s not backed up with empirical evidence.

I also started to actually seek LGBT communities outside of the internet.. though that’s an entire different subject that has lead me to personally avoid LGBT communities in general once I also found out about the current political climate.

I also resumed my appointments with my doctors with the goal of moving forward with my transition, instead of waiting for a miracle from the cult.

In short, I no longer cared what happened between me and the cult. They no longer held credibility after all the things they had said and acted.

 

 

Another year had passed, three new elders came to the congregation. Apparently my predicament had unraveled a series of events between the elders, which was a pleasant surprise. Glad to had helped.. I think? Oh wait, no I’m not. I don’t like to be used as a political tool for other people’s chess games. Though it was amusing to see two of those three new elders taking up the privilege of being the new Coordinator of the Body of Elders and Service Overseer (a rank that my father had a few times in the past) while the “opposing political party” had to sit on a bench, thus nobody “won” their chess game at the end.

The new elders noticed that I actually existed and paid a visit, to bring me back to the meetings once again. However, I already had decided to start my transition regardless of their thoughts. I gave them the evidence I thought would be enough.. but they ignored it in favor of pushing the former letter from Brooklyn forward as the last word that could not be argued against. Once I made it clear that I wasn’t going to fall for their demands, they shifted their attention to my parents that were present that time. Suddenly I didn’t exist on that room, even though I was there. I was ignored, told by two men in a suit that my parents would now face a challenge. That they now had to deal with it, not to tell anyone about their suffering. May I underline that I was there in silent listening to them simply describing me as basically the source of all suffering for my family from that point forward?

Nonetheless, it was my mother that surprised me that moment. She decided to bring the question as to why my father had stopped being an elder. My father joined in and said that he too was confused with how things were handled. The two elders became defensive and I shared what I thought.. since I had nothing to lose. One of the elders shouted at me, asking “Why are you using this as a means to justify your actions?!” I wasn’t.. but I didn’t dignify him with an answer. I was just upset that they used me just to break a long term elder’s heart. He really liked being an elder, it made him happy that people enjoyed his aid.. Cult and thoughts aside, I wish my father was still an elder. He is in his middle 60’s, he’s not young anymore, it made him active and willing to go an extra mile. It feels.. strange that he no longer is, it crushed part him.

Before they left, after informing my parents that they simply didn’t knew the reasons since they were not part of the congregation during that time and for my father to contact the elders that took part on the decision; they told me they would inform me of a day for a new judicial committee.

I was ready for it.

 

On the 15th of March from 2016, the judicial committee took place. Unlike the first time, that I didn’t knew what to expect, I was prepared. I knew what was going to happen. I knew my decision, I knew that I was right. I no longer believed in the cult, in organized religions. The people I would lose never loved me anyway.. since they never knew me to begin with. I had friends outside of the cult (acquaintances that I had met within the LGBT communities and a few former colleagues from the professional courses that I had took in the past). My family was a mystery.. but a price I was willing to take.

I was.. completely calm and spoke in monotone. Not because I disliked them.. but because I was in court and wanted to make myself clear one last time. I tried to reason with them, provided my evidence once again. They weren’t willing to listen, they were ready to judge me. I remember one elder shouting at me the following “We don’t care what science has to say!”. From that point forward, I knew it no longer mattered. I was in full control of the situation, which only result in their pretentious act of felling sorrow over my decision. They didn’t felt sorrow, one of those elders never liked me and my family anyway while the other two were the very same ones that visited me a week or so earlier.

… And thus I was disfellowshipped. I had but a week to write a letter to appeal in case I desired. If not, it would be announced in the following meeting after that deadline. I didn’t.. why bother? “We don’t care what science has to say!”, which is something I’m glad was finally admitted. It is the same as saying.. “We don’t care about the truth.”

My parents were there, outside. They were called after the sentence and I waited patiently. We went back home that day silently, with the exception of my mother asking if I was going to write that letter, to which I answered no. As a conclusion, she merely said “So, you are just going to give up then..”, to which I did not answer.

Still, I slept well that night. Quite peacefully in fact! My conscience was clean.. or maybe, the actual truth about “the truth” set me free~

 

 

 

Last words

 

Somehow, I was allowed to stay at home with my family. Though I never knew the reason as to why I was allowed to.. we can only imagine. A month after I was disfellowshipped, my family moved to another congregation, to reasons we can all only imagine as well. And on the 15th of December from 2016, I started my transition officially.

 

I would like to thank you for reading this blog post. It was quite long.. and exhausting! Remember the disclaimers and, again another reminder. Now it is the time. Share your stories as well to the world. Find the format you feel most comfortable with. Don’t harass anyone, only approach those that wish to be approached, that want to be free from the cult!

I do not blame the elders.. individual witnesses involved. I blame the Government Body, in the United States. Jehovah Witnesses listen to them and most of their thoughts are not their own, but willingly taken for granted from the mouth of those they have believed to be superior and the link to god. Remember my story. I was bullied when I was younger, and that only aggravated my indoctrination rather than aiding me. Jehovah Witnesses thrive on persecution, for it makes them believe they are right since the “world hates them” given their believes. They are victims too, just as much as I am.

I was lucky, given my own predicament. One that I have yet to fully solve. It allowed me to think critically of what I was told to simply follow with a smile.

 

Again.. thank you for reading this. I cannot wait to hear my followers’ stories too! Be sure to share them as a response to my tweet and Facebook page post.

Pages:

[English and Portuguese] HEY! Watchtower!

(I know this featured image is kinda of a mess but I really enjoyed creating it regardless!) 

(Para quem não sabe ler Inglês, a versão em Português encontra-se no final.)

 

ENGLISH

 

 

Hello everyone. Another African heat wave for this weekend, hope you are taking care of yourselves by staying fresh!

Speaking of heat, today’s topic is no other than our beloved cult, the Jehovah Witnesses! Let’s get started right away because my fingers are eager to release what’s going on in my mind and how naughty and cruel some Jehovah Witnesses have been. In short, it’s time to expose and express!

 

As some of my readers are well aware, I have been officially “disfellowshipped” for nearly a year and a half. If you are unaware of what that exactly means, I have wrote a few blog posts about it. This is not the blog post to define and reinforce expressions and aspects of my experience with this cult that I have already done so on other posts! If you somehow get confused and you don’t seem to understand what I’m going to write here.. it’s easy. Go read those other blog posts.

 

As people are also aware, despise being “disfellowshipped”, I am still allowed to live with my parents. The elders in my parents’ new congregation are aware of that and they don’t advise or pressure them to abandon me. In fact, quite the opposite! The reason is obvious. I lack the necessary income to live on my own and I’m doing my transition.. so I can’t be on my own and need to live with someone in the meantime. Plus, my parents love me too much to just.. abandon me.

Obviously, I am very grateful that they have moved to another congregation which, fortunately, have elders who are more kind and merciful. They did the right thing when they changed congregations after I was “disfellowshipped”, since the local congregation on which I and my family belonged.. is quite toxic (even for Jehovah Witnesses’ standards). That also includes most of the congregations that reunite in the same kingdom hall; who share the same petty, gossiper and judgmental mentality. In this new congregation, however, they now go to another kingdom hall entirely. And from what I’ve heard, the Jehovah Witnesses there are much nicer people. I’m quite glad and pleased to know that, I hope my parents are happier there (and from what I can tell, they are)!

 

However, there has been something that has been annoying me of late. Annoying me? Perhaps it’s best to say that I don’t remember being this annoyed over someone or some group since my teenage years and the usual school dramas! It could be because of my current “pseudo puberty”, I won’t exclude that explanation as to why there’s a certain need to expose and do something about this injustice.

 

To better explain what’s causing this anger within, it’s best to keep in mind as to what being “disfellowshipped” actually means and translates to my daily life. It means that Jehovah Witnesses can’t talk to me, that I lost every contact with them. All my friends, that are Jehovah Witnesses, are gone from my life; without a proper farewell.

Just that by itself, knowing that their reasoning for “disfellowshipping” me is quite pathetic and incredibly ignorant (I got “disfellowshipped” because I decided to transition.. basically), should be enough to make most people’s hearts turn sour and bitter. Fortunately, given that I still have my family, I got fairly used to the idea that most of those people no longer talk to me. Like I’ve said on another topic, the only people that I dearly miss from this cult.. are that one family I met in the United States. Besides that, I really don’t care that much. It’s their lost, not mine.

Some people might think this approach is quite cold and that I don’t really attach myself to every person in my life that easily. That some people are easily forgotten, that will never be missed.. even though they have been in my life for a long time. I honestly don’t attach myself to every person in my life, nor do I get bitter enough to the point of hating those who do me wrong. Hate is a strong word that I try to avoid and, even when I use it sometimes (as I did once on this blog not so long ago), it’s mostly me venting a frustration and a way to inform people that they have done (or are doing) something terrible and utterly despicable.

I don’t have time to hate people. I blandly ignore their existence (if I can) and move on with my life. So, in a way, the fact that Jehovah Witnesses are supposed to ignore my existence is, by itself, not wrong in my eyes. What is wrong is the excuse as to why they are doing so and demanding that every member of the cult to do so as well.

But, like I said, I got used to it. As long people don’t remind me of those that I really miss, I lead a “mostly normal” life and don’t think about these things at all! Why bother? I have more things to think about. My family, my (true) friends, my job, my transition, my hobbies, my future, etc..

 

 

But now I’m actually angry. I’m mad. And I’ll explain why.

It has come to my attention that these local Jehovah Witnesses, from the same kingdom hall where the local congregations reunite (as in, not my parents’ new congregation and kingdom hall), have been, bluntly put, talking shit about me and my family.

Alright, so let me get this straight:

  • You “disfellowship” me. 
  • You can’t talk to me, I can’t talk to you. Harsh but alright, if that makes you happy.. sure.
  • If I say anything “bad” or that goes against your believes, I’m an apostate. Okay.. sure.
  • But you are free to gossip and slander me and my family’s name across the globe.

Okay, now you are just pushing your luck and the boundaries of what I find acceptable or, at least, bearable!

Listen here, you cultists. I am fairly aware that you are, indeed, slandering me across the globe. I know that as a fact since people from (quite almost literally, no joke or exageration) on the other side of the world, have came to me out of nowhere, to talk to me and, among other things that we’ve talked about, they have said that they have heard things about me.. from YOU. Bad things, though they didn’t went to specifics as to what exactly or who said it.. except “the local Jehovah Witnesses“. Fortunately, these people were kind enough to warn me about it and they did say they didn’t enjoyed hearing my name being slandered like that.. which is why they’ve talked to me. How ironic, that these Jehovah Witnesses, from the other side of the globe, came to talk to me about how terrible you troublesome fools are!

I ask, is there a need to spread your poison, about me in specific, to another continent?! These people would never likely interact with me ever again anyway, given how unlikely that would be (they live on another continent, they are Jehovah Witnesses, I’m “disfellowshipped”. The odds were incredibly low). Why did they need to be tainted by your venom? Tell me, you cultists, is there a need to slander me this hard all the way to another continent with an entire opposite timezone?

 

You know why you are incredibly comfortable being this shitty? Because you believe to be justified, self righteous. That being this petty and scummy is fine when you do it, because “god is on your side”. And because you know the moment I decide to open my mouth publicly about your cult.. you are going to label me as an apostate and those slanders will become more believable to the gullible!

And you KNOW I can’t really do that at the moment, because if I do open my mouth, my family is going to be pressured by the elders to.. abandon me. Since I would be labeled as an “apostate”. And that would ruin my livelihood. You manipulative assholes!

 

By the way, what’s with this gossiping that I’ve heard about you telling each others that my family is now “less spiritual” or “spiritually weak” because they have me around the house?

Let me tell you something, my lovely local cultists. Even for Jehovah Witnesses standards, you were always terrible. Which is why, even when I was devoted to your cult, I never liked spending time with you. It’s not because I was different, or because I was spiritually weak or whatever silly thought you may have in your indoctrinated brain. It was because you (local cultists) were the most toxic pieces of flesh I have ever had the misfortune of dealing with! And I have dealt with a lot of trash in my life, including schizophrenic radical vegan feminist sociopaths!

Fortunately, my parents are mature and know better, thus ignore those slanders. They turn the other cheek. Because they are good Jehovah Witnesses. So yes, by the use of your own meaningless buzzwords and immaturity, my parents are and will always be “more spiritual” than you, local cultists. Take that as you will and get mad for all I care, because reality doesn’t care for your feelings. Also, fortunately, they are in a new congregation that appears to be “more spiritual” than yours. So what are you going to do? Spread your venom there? I would love to see you try, you cretins.

 

 

Hmm.. but you know what? You actually got me truly disturbed and upset!

No.. you crossed the line of what’s acceptable. And you crossed the line of what is tolerable. And you crossed the line of what is bearable!

You have become.. insufferable. And not many people get this.. far.

Like I’ve said earlier, I usually just ignore people’s existence when they hurt me long enough. That usually helps and makes those same people go away from my life eventually. Because they either give up or they understand that I don’t want them in my life and also step back.

But you, you are different. I thought that, when you “disfellowshipped” me, there would be silence. I no longer had to think about your existence, or to endure your negativity. To tolerate your tomfoolery. You were mostly gone and that made things easy for me to move on.

 

You just can’t get away from me, can you? You have to still influence my life one way or another, the people around me. And that’s why you’ll become relevant enough to the point that I’m thinking of biting back! Because I cannot stay idle for too long. It is incredibly difficult for people to actually get me this upset, disturbed and angry over something or someone! And.. what can I say? You reached it. You’ve done it. And I’m going to do something about it!

Do you actually believe writing these blog posts is the worst I can do? No, these blog posts provide entertainment, a way to vent my frustrations and to share my thoughts with the world. In short, this website is my public pillow. I have no shame in that, in sharing what I share. It’s incredibly liberating, in fact! It’s a diary, it’s fun to look back and read some of the things I wrote!

 

 

Oh no, dear cultists.. once I’m ready to do so, you’ll hear it from me. It may take a while.. but you’ll hear it and you are not going to like it.

I’ll wait a few months, wait for my life to become more stable. Plan ahead, cool down my anger and try to rationalize and form coherent thoughts and ideas. I don’t think this is the best time of my life to go around and expose your cult for what it truly is. But once everything is settled, I will do so.

And while you wait, make sure you clean your own house from the pedophiles you have hiding in your basement before you try to slander people whose only crime was existing and have the misfortune of having a disforia. It’s incredibly hypocritical and embarrassing..

 

 

 

PORTUGUÊS

 

Olá a todos. Outra onda de calor vinda de África para este fim de semana, espero que estejam a cuidar de vocês mesmos por se manterem frescos!

Por falar de coisas quentes, o tópico de hoje não será nada mais e nada menos que o nosso culto favorito, as Testemunhas de Jeová! Sem muitas mais introduções, iremos começar já por falar desse tópico visto que os meus dedos estão empolgados por descrever o que está a acontecer na minha mente e como algumas Testemunhas de Jeová tem sido mázinhas e cruéis. Por poucas palavras, está na altura de expor e expressar alguns problemas!

 

Como alguns dos meus followers estão bem conscientes, e fui oficialmente “desassociada” já faz quase um ano e meio. Se não souberem o que isso significa, Eu escrevi alguns blog posts que falam acerca disso. Este não é um blog post onde irei definir ou reforçar expressões e aspectos da minha experiência de vida com este culto pelo qual já o fiz noutros posts! Se ficarem confusos e não tiverem capacidade para entender o que irei descrever aqui.. é fácil. Apenas têm de ler os outros blog posts.

 

Como as pessoas também devem de saber, apesar da minha “desassociação”, eu ainda tenho permissão de viver na casa dos meus pais. Os anciãos da nova congregação dos meus pais estão bem conscientes disso e não aconselham ou pressionam eles para me abandonarem. Pelo contrário! A razão é óbvia. Eu não ganho o suficiente para viver por minha conta de forma independente e estou num processo de transição.. portanto não posso mesmo estar por minha conta e dependo de outros para viver a minha vida por enquanto. Ainda mais, os meus pais amam-me muito e nunca me iriam.. abandonar-me sem mais nem menos.

Obviamente, estou muito grata de que eles mudaram de congregação que, felizmente, tem anciãos que são muito mais amorosos e sensatos. Eles fizerem bem quando decidiram mudar de congregação logo após a minha “desassociação”, visto que a congregação local onde eu e a minha família pertencíamos.. é bastante tóxica (mesmo dentro dos padrões e expectativas das Testemunhas de Jeová). Isso também incluí muitas das congregações que se reúnem no mesmo salão do reino; que partilham o mesmo comportamento mesquinho, fofoquice e julgamenteiros. Nesta nova congregação, por outro lado, eles estão num novo salão de reino. E pelo o que eu ouvi, as Testemunhas de Jeová lá são muito mais simpáticas. Estou feliz e grata por saber disso, e espero que os meus pais sejam muito felizes lá (e pelo o que posso presenciar, eu sei que estão)!

 

No entanto, existe algo que me tem deixado indignada ultimamente. Indignada? Se calhar é melhor expressar de que eu não me lembro de alguma vez estar assim tão chateada com alguém ou grupo desde a minha adolescência e a vida escolar! Pode ser devido à minha “puberdade forçada”, não vou excluir essa hipótese de ser a razão desta vontade de expor e de querer fazer algo perante esta injustiça.

 

Para explicar melhor o que está a causar esta fúria, é melhor ter em mente o que significa estar “desassociada” e como isso se traduz na minha vida diária. Significa que as Testemunhas de Jeová não podem falar comigo, que perdi todo o contacto com elas. Todas as minhas amizades, que são Testemunhas de Jeová, já não fazem parte da minha vida; sem tempo nem mesmo para despedir deles.

Só isso por si, sabendo que o raciocínio por detrás da minha “desassociação” é bastante patético e ignorante (eu fui “desassociada” devido à minha transição.. basicamente), seria o suficiente para fazer os corações de algumas pessoas ficar amargo e desgostoso. Felizmente, visto ainda ter a minha família por perto, eu fiquei habituada a essa realidade. Como disse noutro tópico, as únicas pessoas que eu sinto mesmo falta que pertencem a este culto.. é aquela família que conheci nos Estados Unidos. Para além disso, eu não estou assim tão transtornada. Eles é que ficaram a perder, não eu.

Algumas pessoas poderão pensar que esta forma de estar na vida é bastante fria e que eu não me apego às pessoas com tanta facilidade. De que algumas pessoas são fáceis de esquecer, que nunca sentirei falta delas.. mesmo apesar de estarem na minha vida durante muito tempo. Eu sinceramente não me apego a todas as pessoas na minha vida, nem fico com rancor suficiente ao ponto de as odiar quando fazem algo de mal. O ódio é algo forte que eu tento sempre evitar e, mesmo quando uso essa palavra por vezes (como o fiz num post não muito longínquo), é mais uma forma de transbordar a minha frustração e uma forma de informar as pessoas de que elas fizeram (ou continuam a fazer) algo muito terrível ou completamente horrendo.

Eu não tenho tempo nem paciência para odiar de verdade alguma pessoa. Eu apenas ignoro a existência delas (quanto possível) e sigo em frente com a minha vida. Por isso, de certa forma, o facto das Testemunhas de Jeová terem que ignorar a minha existência não é, por si mesmo, mau no meu ponto de vista. O que é mau é a razão de estarem a fazer isso e esperarem que toda a gente do culto faço exactamente o mesmo.

Mas, como disse, eu habituei-me a essa realidade. Desde que as pessoas não me façam relembrar daquilo que sinto mesmo falta, eu consigo ter uma vida “dentro da normalidade” e nem penso muito nessas coisas! Porque razão iria eu? Tenho mais coisas que pensar e preocupar. Na minha família, nas minhas (verdadeiras) amizades, o meu trabalho, os meus passatempos, o meu futuro, etc..

 

 

Mas agora estou mesmo zangada. Estou furiosa. E irei explicar porquê.

Chegou à minha atenção de que estas Testemunhas de Jeová locais, do mesmo salão do reino onde a congregação local se reúne (por outras palavras, não na nova congregação e salão do reino onde os meus pais agora pertencem), estão, de forma directa e rude, a dizer merda acerca de mim e da minha família.

Portanto, a ver se eu percebi bem:

  • Vocês “desassociaram-me”. 
  • Vocês não podem falar comigo, eu não posso falar com vocês. Doloroso mas tudo bem, se vos faz sentir felizes.. continuem.
  • Se eu abrir a boca e falar “mal” ou dizer algo que vai contra as vossas crenças, sou apóstata. Okay.. interessante.
  • Mas vocês estão livres de criar fofoquices e de caluniar a mim e ao nome da minha família pelos cantos do mundo.

Okay, agora sim estão a abusar com a vossa sorte e os limites daquilo que eu acho aceitável ou pelo menos, suportável!

Oiçam-me bem, seus cultistas. Eu tenho consciência plena que vocês, sem dúvida, estão a caluniar-me nos cantinhos do mundo. Eu sei disso como facto absoluto porque houve pessoas que (quase literalmente de forma plena, sem exageros) vivem no outro lado do mundo, que falaram comigo do nada e, das várias coisas que falámos, eles expressaram que ouviram coisas com respeito a mim.. de VOCÊS. Coisas ruins, apesar de não me terem dito o quê e quem em específico.. excepto “as Testemunhas de Jeová na localidade”. Felizmente, estas pessoas foram simpáticas o suficiente para me avisar com respeito a isso e disseram que não gostaram nada das calúnias que foram ditas contra mim.. sendo uma das razões pelo qual falaram comigo. Que irónico, que estas Testemunhas de Jeová, do outro lado do mundo, vieram falar comigo acerca do quão horríveis e problemáticos vocês, como tolos, são!

Eu pergunto, existe mesmo necessidade de espalharem o vosso veneno, acerca de mim em específico, a um outro continente?! Estas pessoas nunca iriam interagir comigo de qualquer forma, seria muito improvável isso acontecer (eles vivem num outro continente, são Testemunhas de Jeová, estou “desassociada”. A probabilidade era minúscula). Porque razão eles precisavam ficar envenenados com o vosso veneno? Digam-me, seus cultistas de meia-leca, existe alguma necessidade de caluniar-me desta forma tão agressiva para o outro lado do mundo com um horário quase oposto ao nosso?

 

Sabem porque razão vocês sentem-se tão confortáveis apesar de serem tão repugnantes? Porque vocês acreditam que o vosso comportamento é justificável, seus hipócritas. Que serem tão mesquinhos e reles faz sentido quando são vocês a sê-lo, porque “deus está no vosso lado”. E porque sabem que, no momento que eu decidir abrir a minha boca e informar o público com respeito ao vosso culto.. vocês vão me acusar de ser apóstata e as vossas calúnias vão ser mais fáceis de serem engolidas pelos incrédulos!

E vocês SABEM que eu não posso fazer isso neste momento, porque se eu abrir a minha boca, a minha família vai ser pressionada pelos anciãos para.. me abandonarem. Porque seria acusada de “apóstata”. E isso iria arruinar a minha vida. Seus manipuladores de merda!

 

Já agora, o que é isto de estarem a dizer entre vocês de que a minha família agora é “menos espiritual” ou “fraca espiritualmente” só porque estou na casa deles?

Deixem que eu vos diga uma coisa, meus queridos cultistas locais. Mesmo dentro dos padrões de moral das Testemunhas de Jeová, vocês foram sempre terríveis. Essa é a razão porque, mesmo quando acreditava e estava zelosa no culto, eu nunca gostei de estar com vocês. Não porque era diferente, ou porque era espiritualmente fraca ou seja lá qual a razão estúpida que vocês poderão estar a pensar dentro da vossa mente doutrinada. Era porque vocês (cultistas locais) foram os pedaços de carne mais tóxicos que alguma vez tive a infelicidade de conviver! E eu já lidei com muito lixo humano na minha vida, incluindo vegans feministas radicais esquizofrênicos sóciopatas!

Felizmente, os meus pais são maturos e melhores pessoas, logo são capazes de ignorar essas calúnias. Eles viram a face a esses comportamentos. Porque são boas Testemunhas de Jeová. Portanto sim, utilizando as mesmas palavras imaturas e insignificantes que vocês mesmos usam, os meus pais são e continuarão a ser sempre “mais espirituais” que vocês, cultistas locais. Podem encarar essas palavras da forma como quiserem e ficarem zangados comigo, não me interessa. A realidade não se interessa pelos vossos sentimentos. E, felizmente, os meus pais estão numa nova congregação que aparenta ser “mais espiritual” que a vossa. O que vão fazer perante isso? Tentar espalhar o vosso veneno para lá? Gostaria de ver vocês a tentarem, seus cretinos.

 

 

Hmm.. mas sabem que mais? Vocês verdadeiramente me chatearam agora!

Não.. vocês ultrapassaram a linha do que é aceitável. Do que é tolerável. Do que é suportável!

Vocês se tornaram.. insuportáveis. E muitas pessoas não conseguem chegar a esse.. ponto.

Como disse antes, eu normalmente apenas ignoro a existência das pessoas que me maltratam durante algum tempo. Isso costuma ajudar e faz com que essas mesmas pessoas depois sigam em frente e continuem com as suas vidas longe da minha. Porque eles desistem ou compreendem que eu não as quero na minha vida e por isso também acabam por se manterem longe.

Mas vocês, vocês são diferentes. Eu pensei que, quando fosse “desassociada”, existiria silêncio. Nunca mais teria que pensar em vocês, de suportar a vossa negatividade. De tolerar as vossas criancices. Vocês estiveram bem longe e isso fez com que as coisas fossem mais fáceis para mim seguir em frente.

 

Vocês não conseguem seguir em frente sem mim, pois não? Vocês ainda conseguem influenciar a minha vida de uma maneira ou de outra, as pessoas à minha volta. E é por isso que vocês estão a se tornar relevantes o suficiente para fazerem-me pensar que vos tenho de pagar algo de volta! Porque não posso ignorar estas questões por muito tempo. É incrivelmente difícil as pessoas fazerem-me sentir tão zangada, transtornada e chateada contra uma pessoa ou algo! Mas.. o que mais posso dizer? Vocês chegaram a esse ponto. Vocês causaram isto. E eu vou fazer algo com respeito a isso!

Vocês acreditam mesmo que escrever estes posts de blog é o pior que posso fazer? Não, estes blog posts providenciam entretenimento, uma forma de fluir as frustrações que sinto e de partilhar algumas ideas com o mundo. Em poucas palavras, este site é a minha almofada pública. Eu não tenho vergonha disso, de partilhar o que partilho. É incrivelmente libertador! É um diário, é divertido olhar para trás e ler algumas coisas que escrevi antes!

 

 

Oh não, meus queridos cultistas.. assim que estiver pronta para tal, vocês vão ouvir de mim. Poderá demorar algum tempo.. mas vocês irão ouvir-me e não irão gostar do que irei dizer.

Irei esperar alguns meses, esperar que a minha vida se torne mais estável. Planear bem, ficar mais calma e tentar racionalizar e formar ideas e pensamentos mais coerentes. Eu não acho que esta seja a melhor altura da minha vida para expor ao mundo acerca do que o vosso culto realmente é. Mas assim que a minha vida ficar estável, eu irei fazer isso.

E enquanto esperam, por favor tenham a certeza de que limparam bem a vossa casa de todos os pedófilos que têm escondido dentro das vossas caves antes de tentarem caluniar as pessoas pelo qual o único crime que cometeram foi de meramente existirem e de terem uma disforia. É incrivelmente hipócrita e embaraçoso..

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Jehovah Witnesses – Just another Cult

(This is one hell of a flawed featured image. I just really want to write and not lose too much time)

 

Good afternoon, dear readers!

This blog post has the goal to explain and to bring awareness to the people that lack knowledge about this religion and has to why it is a Christian Cult. I will try to leave aside my personal grudges and biases into this post and write what I know about this very specific cult, based on my experience and from what I’ve heard of other people.

 

But before I get to write this post, recognizing that some people that read my posts are unable to understand English and that I apologize for not translating every post that I make on my website, I would like to talk openly to a few people about the last post I’ve made about my Transition.

When I wrote that post, I was aware that there are a few people that read those posts. The same way that I’m aware that some won’t, despise the fact that I know some of them are going to ask about my transition once I face them.. even though they are on my social media circles and could easily read those specific posts. After all, that’s why I share them on my Personal Facebook.. so that I don’t have to talk to everyone about everything. And that is perfectly fine, people are busy with their lives and may lack time to read such giant walls of text on the go!

However, with that specific post, I have noticed just how large and influential those posts can be to some people. After I wrote that post and shared it, there were a good number of people that talked to me in private by the use of Facebook’s Messenger. They’ve exposed their feelings to me about what I wrote and all I can say that the response has been all positive and touching!

I do feel kinda guilty however for not giving the necessary attention to every single person that approached me during this week. I work during the week and, when I’m not working, I do spend some time to maintain my appearance (I know.. I’m vain and I spend a lot of time on that but it is something that I like and need to do!). Which allows me to have 1-3 hours per day to do what I want during workdays. And usually, during those days, in general, I’m already somehow tired and, though I do still answer people and am aware of the things being said, I may not give the necessary attention and care that I know I should provide to the people that have approached me in private, worried and exposing their own problems to express their empathy. I am sorry. I am far more free and approachable on weekends though!

The people that I knew would approach me, did. The people that I didn’t expect to approach me.. didn’t (though clearly, there was an impact even to the silent ones since I’m very aware there are a few silent ones that do read my posts either way. Their subtle change of behaviors is enough to prove it). However, there were a few people that did surprised me and approached me.. including someone that I haven’t talked to for more or less 7 years. I’m very glad that this person did, though I do admit that it was very out of the blue and completely off my wildest predictions!

And yes, there were also a few of “those” that I predicted that would ignore that post and.. well, try to “support” me in their own way shortly afterwards. That was genuinely funny, but I’ve held my pride and ignored their attempt. I feel it’s time to take a stance against those type of people. I don’t need your crumbled pieces of bread, go away with dignity please? We all know your “aid” is temporary and you are going to wound me sooner or later. And right now, I can’t allow myself to be exposed to such recklessness from those who feel the need to do their “charity”. Take your “charity” to the puppies and kittens out there without a home or to those that suffered from the fire at Pedrogão Grande. You can go ahead and wave your virtue signaling there, for your cheap and instant gratification dose of “I’m helping”. Because on those cases, though you are doing so for your own egos, at least it helps someone regardless!

All in all, I do really appreciate those that did approached me in private to talk to me about what I’ve posted and shown genuine concern, exposing their own experiences as a way to show empathy. To also that one person that talked to me after all those years! To the family members that I haven’t also talked to in years. To the few local neighbors (they too read) that tried to arrange a place where we could talk and have some coffee. This is the kind of aid that I love, given by everyday people that, too, have suffered in their own way and, though the experiences aren’t similar, the feelings can be understood.. if even not relatable (because who said that you need to have the same exact experience to feel the same emotions?)! Because this is what makes me feel that I’m not that unique and special, that cannot be understood. It makes me feel.. human, like everyone else and not some special unicorn that can only empathize with other special unicorns.

It’s.. funny. How some people celebrate and make sure that everyone knows that they are different from everyone else.. and I’m here, writing in the walls, saying “why did I had to be so different and unique, why couldn’t I just had a simpler life”.

Thank you! 🙂

After that initial sidetrack, I would like to expose the reason as to why I’m writing this blog post in specific. Some people have somehow questioned me about this cult that I was born in and was part of my childhood and even early 20’s. Clearly there is some misconceptions about this cult, given that it is easily seen as just another religion. Since that most of the cult’s behavior remains hidden to those who are not part of it.

And it makes sense. The people that belong to that cult do give the overall impression that they are impeccable people. Overall nice, the model citizen that does no wrong. Saints among the crowd. No one is a saint and this cult is not just yet another Christian religion whose only quirk is that they bother you on the streets or knock on your doors to talk about the one true savior. And that their major controversy is blood transfusions.

No. This blog post is to give awareness as to why this religion is, in fact, a very well successful and large world wide CULT.

 

 

First of, let us define the word “Cult”. What is, exactly, a cult?

Many people would define a cult as a small group of religious people that isn’t large or popular enough to be considered a religion. Others hold the belief that a cult is one of those problematic religions that commit mass suicide or hold strange rituals in some abandoned distant area. Others still insist that a cult is a group of people that, stereo typically, wear the same robes, mumble the same words and lose their own self of identity.. like a hive mind that gave up on their previous lives to worship an unorthodox deity or the antagonist of the perceived Maker of the universe (bonus points if they have a creepy stare and hold candles while mumbling broken Latin).

There are other people who have a broader definition for the word “Cult”. That cult can be used in sports, politics or just about anything on which can gather enough people to form a very restrictive echochamber that demonizes the opposition and isn’t open for debate. In short, a more dangerous form of Tribalism.

For me, a Cult is (as I’ve read and find to be more precise and rational than most other definitions I’ve heard) a group of people that met the following criteria:

  • A clear and established hierarchy within the group that disregards outside influences and societal norms and rules that go against the group’s ideology;
  • Complete and total obedience to the very same hierarchy;
  • Communication and forming contacts outside of the social group is frown upon (if not punished);
  • Different opinions and ideas within the group are frown upon (if not punished);
  • Specific ranks within the hierarchy have the power to influence and supervise their members’ personal life; including their friends, families and sexual activities (and are the ones that can judge);
  • Make their members believe that everyone outside of the group is morally reprehensible and should never be fully trusted with anything;
  • Inflict paranoia and “purity tests” within their own group over everyone, including their own;
  • Ask for their members to give everything they have for the group and, if they do not comply, emotionally manipulate them to feel tremendous guilt over their lack of complete devotion;
  • Demonize every member that decides to separate themselves from the group (if not punished);
  • Teach their members to constantly monitorize and punish themselves over their own actions, words and thoughts to better fit the mindset of the group without the need of other members to do so;
  • The need to recruit more members to the group and indoctrinate their own children (while they are still young and easy to mold to the group’s best interest);
  • Inform everyone that their group is the only one that holds the truth and the only path to true happiness;
  • Everything that contradicts the group’s views is inherently wrong and evil. Researching literature or to consider information from the outside is extremely discouraged and frown upon (if not punished);
  • (Optional but also a sign) The group has a strange obsession over money and material possession;

All in all, a cult is a totalitarian delusional paranoid closed hive mind group that completely antagonizes everyone and everything outside of it. Yes, it sounds awfully crude but it can be applied not only to religion, but even politics, sports, fandom, nationality, etc.

With the criteria exposed, I’ll now present my case as to why the Jehovah Witnesses are, indeed, a successful yet extremely harmful cult.

 

 

A clear and established hierarchy within the group that disregards outside influences and societal norms and rules that go against the group’s ideology

The Jehovah Witnesses have made it clear time and time again that they are, in fact, a theocracy. As such, given that they are Christians, God (which they call Jehovah since that’s the name they have established to be the easiest yet accurate translation of YHWH) is the absolute ruler of their religion. They use their own translated version of the bible as their guide.

However, the most powerful men in this Christian cult, who are the ones that receive direct order and guidance from Jehovah, is no other than the Governing Body. As of currently, if I’m not mistaken, it is composed of seven men. These men lead the Watchtower (Watchtower Bible and Tract Society); and these lead and make all the necessary adjustments to their own cult’s ideology.

Bellow the Governing Body, you have other ranks. One rank always above the other. However, if you are an average Jehovah Witness, you’ll, at best, only have to deal with those within a congregation (a specific location where a specific group of people regularly meet in a Kingdom Hall for their meetings). From there, you have the Elders and, right bellow, the Ministerial Servants. Right bellow, you have those who are Baptized. Even bellow, those that Preach. You become a Student once you decide to study the bible with a Jehovah Witness.

When you study the bible with a Jehovah Witness, the hierarchy becomes clearer. You learn that there are those you have to respect, to listen. Because they are, though imperfect humans, chosen by God and automatically know better than you. And their knowledge, which they claim to come from God itself given that they use their own interpretation of the bible, must be obeyed.. even if it goes against the law or societal norms (Acts 5:27-32).

Clearly, the Jehovah Witnesses must respect and fully obey their hierarchy, above any form of government or status quo. However, when there is no contradiction between Watchtower’s teachings, they are told to obey Cesar (Mark 12:13-17). But once there is a contradiction, they are told to obey God at all costs.. even if that means losing their own lives (or, in other words, Watchtower’s interpretation of what is right or wrong which they say to be based on the bible).

 

Complete and total obedience to the very same hierarchy

Given that the Jehovah Witnesses believe that Watchtower (the Governing Body) are the only representatives and direct link between God’s will and humanity. Given that they are told to obey at all costs, even against any form of government or group. It is to no surprise that Watchtower does indeed expect complete and total obedience from their Witnesses.

To make things worse, if a Witness does not do so, they are punished for their actions or words. The worst penalty that Watchtower can give to a Witness is what they call “Disfellowshipping”, which means that those who have been disfellowshipped need to be shunned by every other Witness (including friends and, most of the time, even family). Witnesses must not talk to a disfellowshipped, engage with them, befriend them. Unless for business related encounters. Given that Watchtower tries to supervise most interactions that their Witnesses do and the constant paranoia among their members, shunning is immediate and almost every Witness will, without a doubt, shun the dissociate at every moment (Romans 16: 17, 18 and 1 Corinthians 5:11-13).

This form of excommunication is defended by Watchtower as an act of kindness, to keep the cult “clean from impurity” and, as an act of love, it is a punishment that the dissociate must meditate and, Watchtower hopes, will bring them back to their cult. And, thus, they are able to keep their members’ complete obedience.. even if some of their members do so with the fear that, if they do not, they too will be disfellowshipped and destroyed in Armageddon (by God’s hand).

 

Communication and forming contacts outside of the social group is frown upon (if not punished)

From the cult’s perspective, the whole world is wicked.. except for those that follow God’s word (1 John 5:19 and 1 John 2:15, 16). It is wicked, given that they believe that it is ruled by Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4). By their logic to not associate themselves with “bad associations” (1 Corinthians 15:33), it becomes clear that creating contact with those who are “worldly people” (as in, non-Jehovah Witnesses) is frowned upon.

The more obvious it becomes to the rest of the Witnesses that a member of the cult spends a large amount of time with “worldly people”, the risk of the Elders to act upon it rises and the more they will try to inflict guilt to this specific member. If they believe the member is no longer as “pure” as they were, they may be punished; by the removal of privileges and, in some cases, even disfellowshipping their cult member. All that it takes to keep control over their Witness.

To add more to the subconscious of a Witness, they may be told that it is pointless to pursue a deeper relationship with “worldly people” given that they will be destroyed in Armageddon (Psalm 92:7) either way. That it is better to invest more time in the activities and other members of the cult.

 

Different opinions and ideas within the group are frown upon (if not punished)

The hierarchy within the cult makes it clear that the only acceptable truth (knowledge) is which originates from the top. In short, only Watchtower (Governing Body) is allowed to interpret the bible and come to the conclusions or make changes to the Jehovah Witnesses’ doctrines (ideology).

Given the nature of the cult, to shun those who deviate from the cult’s teachings; it is no wonder that any opinion and idea held by one or more individuals, that is slightly different, is quite frown upon. If this opinion and idea is wildly spread, the individual(s) are labeled as Apostates (2 Peter 2: 1-3), irrational men and women that deserve to be killed in Armageddon (Jude 8-11). Obviously, these cult members are going to be disfellowshipped.

 

Specific ranks within the hierarchy have the power to influence and supervise their members’ personal life; including their friends, families and sexual activities (and are the ones that can judge)

The controlling and protective nature of this cult is evident once an individual starts to take a more active role within the local congregation. Within the congregation, the Elders and Ministerial Servants are those who serve as Watchtower’s loyal judges and helpers. Or, as they call it, shepherds (1 Peter 5:1-3).

Specifically, it is the Elders that decide and supervise all the actions of the members of their local congregation. Including their interactions with others, words, friends, family, personal life, sexual activities.. anything that is revealed to the Elders. This is done so in order to keep the cult “clean from wrongdoers” and to inflict guilt or to punish their sheep into obedience.

Within the culture of the cult, other non-elder Witnesses (which includes family members) have the duty to warn the Elders if they learn that someone is misbehaving (Leviticus 5:1 and 1 John 5:16, 17). As such, the cult is effective at keeping control over their followers and to act immediately once an individual deviates from the ideology.

 

Make their members believe that everyone outside of the group is morally reprehensible and should never be fully trusted with anything

As said earlier, the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one (1 John 5:19). Satan controls it (2 Corinthians 4:4). “Bad associations” are to be avoided (1 Corinthians 15:33). These will be destroyed (Psalm 92:7). The world hates the Jehovah Witnesses (John 15:18, 19).

Thus, with such interpretations of the bible, the paranoia is settled and their members are told to be “apart from the world” (John 17:14). “Worldly people” are never to be fully trusted, since Witnesses are told that the “world is wicked” and hates them deep down.

 

Inflict paranoia and “purity tests” within their own group over everyone, including their own

To top it all, Jehovah Witnesses are told that there are wolves among their own (Matthew 7:15-20). And, as such, they even judge their own heavily. Fearful that, not only the world hates them.. but also there are those among them that also hate them just as much. Nothing needs to be said more.

 

Ask for their members to give everything they have for the group and, if they do not comply, emotionally manipulate them to feel tremendous guilt over their lack of complete devotion

Within the cult, their members are told to always place “God’s Kingdom” in first place, above all (Matthew 6:33). Among several aspects of one’s life; a career/job becomes secondary for, otherwise, it may get in a member’s way to reach the ultimate goal (Mark 10:17-23).

Through out a member’s life as a Witness, they are given examples of those who have given their all for “God’s Kingdom” (Watchtower), including real life cases of those who were unfortunate but still managed to attend every meeting and invested entire days of their life preaching. Biblical characters are also reminded now and then (Philippians 2:19-22).

Jehovah Witnesses are told to not compare themselves to others (Romans 14:10-12), this, by itself, does not relief the paranoia and the culture that is built around “purity” and suspicion among each others (1 John 5:16, 17). Thus both of these doctrines contradict each other, as one tells to look for the “wolves” among them and be a witness to one’s actions and words (to judge others, in short) and the other tells to not be harsh on their judgement towards their own. There is a rather thin and not a very clear line to what is deemed as being naive or too judgmental.

Given the constant pressure by the peers, a member of the cult is left with a feeling that they are not doing enough. Not perfect enough. That they haven’t sacrificed enough and aren’t, truly, placing “God’s Kingdom” first in their lives.

 

Demonize every member that decides to separate themselves from the group (if not punished)

As mentioned several times, shunning is the ultimate punishment that a Jehovah Witness can suffer. The only thing that is worst than a “disfellowshipped”, is being labeled as an apostate. An apostate, according to the cult, is someone that does not speak lightly of Watchtower’s teachings and doctrines (2 Peter 2: 1-3). These will surely be destroyed in Armageddon (Jude 8-11).

“Disfellowshipped” members and apostates are, without a doubt, demonized by the cult (Romans 16: 17, 18 and 1 Corinthians 5:11-13).

 

Teach their members to constantly monitorize and punish themselves over their own actions, words and thoughts to better fit the mindset of the group without the need of other members to do so

Witnesses are told to avoid listening and pay attention to their hearts’ desires (Proverbs 28:26) and that they, themselves, cannot rationalize and think for themselves without the constant aid and counseling from Watchtower (Jeremiah 10:23). To always renew their mind (Romans 12:2) whenever it starts doubting or deviating from the Watchtower’s teachings. To always renew their personality (Ephesians 4:22-24), based on the doctrines and teachings of the cult.

Pairing up with the constant shame that a cult member feels when they act on their supposed imperfection (Romans 6:21) and that, doing all of this will make God happy (Proverbs 27:11). The fear of being punished and shunned, losing all the social contacts within the cult (friends and family members), losing every contact because they are told not to waste time with “worldly people”.. Jehovah Witnesses are more than tormented within their own minds to always give their all and to be as perfect as possible.

It is no wonder that Jehovah Witnesses are, more than average, likely to have depression and suffer from a mental illness.

 

The need to recruit more members to the group and indoctrinate their own children (while they are still young and easy to mold to the group’s best interest)

Jehovah Witnesses are very well known to preach (Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19, 20). Publishers are the ones that can officially do so.. and those do not need to be baptized to do so. If a Jehovah Witness does not preach, they are “Bloodguilt”; an expression that means that, if a Jehovah Witness does not inform or aid someone that is perceived as “wicked”, the “wicked” continues to “sin” and the Witness that did nothing is also seen as guilty in the eyes of God (Ezekiel 33:7-9).

To add more to the constant paranoia and mental pressure, Jehovah Witnesses feel the need to preach as much as they can. This includes their own children, when they are quite young (Deuteronomy 6:5-7). Watchtower doesn’t shy away from aiding Witness parents to indoctrinate their young ones (as proven here). Including mimicking popular forms of art style and storytelling to attract the attention of their children (as proven here as well). Teenagers are also part of the demographic that Watchtower takes great interest in (as proven here).

 

Inform everyone that their group is the only one that holds the truth and the only path to true happiness

Besides what has already been said, that every “worldly person” is wicked, the paranoia against every non-Witness and even among themselves, the cult members are told that being a Witness is the only path that leads to happiness (Isaiah 30:20, 21 and Psalm 37:9-11).

Matthew 7:13, 14 is one of the few biblical texts that give the hope and motivation needed for cult members to keep going on the path that Watchtower as deemed to be the only true answer to life and everlasting happiness. Watchtower, on their website, claim to be the only true religion (as seen here). And they make sure that everyone outside of the cult knows about it (Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19, 20).

 

Everything that contradicts the group’s views is inherently wrong and evil. Researching literature or to consider information from the outside is extremely discouraged and frown upon (if not punished)

This is perhaps one of the major issues with Watchtower and the Jehovah Witnesses as a cult.

Jehovah Witnesses provide the information needed for their Students to learn more about the doctrines and teachings. However, the Jehovah Witnesses expect their Students to take steps and to prove themselves that they are serious about their studies. They are open, to answer every question asked by the Student. But they will ask of them to attend the meetings. And in the meetings, they are expected to be surprised and to be overwhelmed by the perceived love shared among Jehovah Witnesses (on a superficial level).

From there, the Student may be asked to consider becoming a Publisher. The Student becomes a Publisher and continues to study the teachings of the cult, while reinforcing their new believes onto their neighbors, family and friends.

It is impossible for someone to truly know and have knowledge of every teaching and doctrine that the cult has and expects everyone to comply. But the danger lies when the Publisher decides, without any perceived pressure by their peers, to Baptize. Baptism is a very important decision, for it is a lifetime contract with the cult on which they dedicate their entire lives for Watchtower. There is no way to avoid this verbal contract once it has been done and this is where the perception of the cult, to the recently Baptized, changes with time as they continue to learn more about the cult they are now required to follow until the end of time.. no matter what. Only people who have been Baptized can be officially “Disfellowshipped”. If a Publisher decides to leave the cult before baptism, in peace, they will not be shunned.

Given that it was the Publisher that decided to Baptize, everything that they do, say or think.. it is on them. Which then, from that point forward, guilt is the most defining tool used by the cult to maintain control. Because it was the Publisher that decided to Baptize, it will forever be their own fault (no matter what) if they fail to remain submissive to Watchtower.

Again, besides everything that as already been said about the cult’s belief and perception of the world (non-witnesses), there is a fear to consider or hear opposing information. Given that the cult members are treated as sheep, who are easily manipulated by a mere cough or doubt, it is no wonder that they avoid talking and engaging in debates with those who have knowledge of the cult’s doctrines and teachings beforehand. Though Witnesses are expected to preach strangers, they do so given that most people lack the nuance to what the cult actually believes and demands from their members. Those who oppose the Watchtower’s teachings, that know the details of their cult, their teachings and doctrines.. are immediately labeled as Apostates (2 Peter 2: 1-3).

It is no wonder that Watchtower, among other things, strongly discourages teenagers to pursue higher education (as proven here). To avoid listening or watching videos, articles or even blog posts just as this one. Because, in Watchtower’s eyes, I and other people are deceitful.

 

(Optional but also a sign) The group has a strange obsession over money and material possession

For a Jehovah Witness, “God’s Kingdom” is always in first place (Matthew 6:33). Pursuing a career or material possessions is quite frown upon given that they interprete those desires as not placing “God’s Kingdom” above all (Mark 10:17-23).

Though donations aren’t a requirement for their members at all, Watchtower still urges their members to give their all for “God’s Kingdom” (1 Timothy 6:17-19). Those who have gathered a fairly sized wealth are pressured by biblical text (just as Luke 21:1-4) and real people within the cult that have contributed their belongings and even entire heritages to Watchtower. Plus, Watchtower doesn’t hold back in expanding their members’ options on how to donate their possessions (as proven here and here).

Plus, oddly, they do sometimes feel the need for their members to know how much money have they spent on certain events or expenses. Further complicating the cult members’ need to always give their best no matter what which, when hearing certain values, will begin to feel the need to donate generously on their own accord.

Even more oddly is how they are told to shun those who are “Disfellowshipped” and still, when it comes to business, Jehovah Witnesses are then allowed to talk to those former members of the cult. Hmm..

 

 

IN CONCLUSION

Given that the Jehovah Witnesses provide more than enough evidence that they are, truly, a Cult; it would be unfair to compare it to the many other religious institutions who do not apply such drastic measures to keep their followers on their side and fully obedient.

 

The Jehovah Witnesses use guilt and fear, luring new members into the cult by providing them information little by little. However, the truth about the “truth” only becomes clearer further ahead when the cult member has already been Baptized and it is too late for them to leave the Cult peacefully.

Thus the Baptized Jehovah Witness is either forced to lie to themselves, to doubt themselves over their own thoughts, to be devoid of any critical thought that contradicts the teachings and doctrines from Watchtower.. or face grave punishment in the form of shunning.

The fact that they set themselves apart from the “world”, from forming meaningful contacts with others outside of the cult, to only befriend and spend time with those who believe the same; leaves the Jehovah Witnesses without any form of social life the moment they are officially “Disfellowshipped”. For some of those former cult members, it becomes an emotional blackmail that results on some of them to try their best and rejoin their former cult in tears.. because the cult holds their friends and, most of the time, even family members.

The psychological effects and traumas the cult has on their members can be.. witnessed (hee~).. even after they leave the cult. Skepticism, avoidance, perfectionism and doctrines that have been ingrained on the mind of those who were exposed quite young (such as hearing the news about a possible war, natural disasters, political swifts and so on; which may trigger the doubt that maybe Armageddon is real, despise no longer believing in it).. are just a few examples.

 

So yes, the Jehovah Witnesses are, indeed, just another CULT.

 

 

Thank you for reading this blog post, it was a bit exhausting but I’m glad that I wrote this!

After some thought; I feel that, between the many experiences I’ve already had in my life. Though I could be more active and talk about my transition more often, or about politics.. I feel that those issues have already enough coverage and attention from other better and more popular sources.

I have tried to reach several types of communities, to engage with people on the web about the topics that concern me. From all of those topics that concern me.. I feel that I should be more focused on this cult above all other topics.

 

The “Ex-JW community” (pretty much any former Jehovah Witnesses), in general, has been more open and willing to engage with the things I write and share about the cult. Including youtubers who have made a name by criticizing this cult’s activity, doctrines and teachings. Though this community is small; it is incredibly fractured into people who still believe in a god, those who don’t, those who are more thoughtful, those who are more vindictive, etc..

I’m not the type of person to talk about facts, to do a deep research into the cult’s past and activities, to debunk into detail every single word. I have my own experience with the cult and I feel that what I can offer the most to those who have suffered by Watchtower’s influence.. is to be a listener and provide the emotional support to those who are still trying to understand this (true and only) reality.

I will try to reach this community and see how things go from there~

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