Sarah Braasch, a summer legal intern for the Freedom From Religion Foundation, recently wrote about her experience leaving her faith — she used to be a Jehovah’s Witness.
Thankfully, she’s not anymore.
This is really a disturbing story:
I lived in a constant state of terror as a child. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Satan the Devil and his demon hordes are real. They espouse a near hysterical fear of demons, even though this is not always as evident in their literature. According to Jehovah’s Witnesses, demons reside upon and rule over this world. They believe that demons may attack humans, psychologically, physically, and sexually.
As a result, I was wracked with guilt and beset by fears. I was tortured by horrific nightmares of demons trying to kill me. I thought I saw Satan the Devil in my room at night. I thought I was incessantly under demoniac attack. My parents never hesitated to take advantage of this threat as a means of punishment and disapprobation. I would cry to Jehovah in my prayers, begging him not to let demons hurt me, promising to be good. I would pray for hours on end. If, in the middle of a prayer, a swear word or pornographic image would pop into my head, then I would have to begin my prayer again, beseeching Jehovah to forgive me for my evil thoughts. Every time I thought a worldly thought or did something un-Jehovah’s Witness like, I thought a demon was going to assault or molest me. I would sort of chant to myself, over and over, something akin to, “Jehovah loves me. He isn’t going to let anything bad happen to me. I don’t want demons to come into my life. Jehovah isn’t going to let demons hurt me.” I would even sleep with my hands over my genitals, lest a demon rape me in the middle of the night.
I left for college, armed with federal student loans and scholarships, and I never looked back. I haven’t spoken to either of my parents since I was a teenager. The very last thing my father told me was that I would never amount to anything without him. But, I knew I was capable of standing on my own two feet. I knew that I was the equal of any man, despite being taught the contrary by the bible. I obtained two engineering degrees, and I’ve made a great life for myself, but it hasn’t been easy. I’ve traveled the world, I’ve read the great philosophers, and I’m in law school studying international human rights and constitutional law, and, sometimes, I still get afraid of demons in the middle of the night. And, I’m still afraid of the dark.
Then, try and make the case that faith is a virtue.
There are people who will claim their religion is nothing like that. Perhaps they’re right. However, those people sit back, saying we should respect other beliefs, and let those faiths continue to destroy lives.
There is nothing respectful about a faith that puts people like Sarah through that much emotional torment.
Everyone should be speaking out against this.
For all the women like Sarah who are strong enough to leave the faith, I fear there are many more women who feel they cannot do that. We need to help them by letting them know they have support, they are not bad people, and they are doing the right thing.
(via Freethought Today)