You hear a lot of stories about ex-Christians and ex-Catholics, even ex-Mormons, but not too many from ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses. Aside from stories about how JWs refuse blood transfusions for themselves and their children, even if it is the only way to save their lives, I honestly don’t hear much criticism about the faith.
Vicky Simister was kicked out of the JW Church for reasons that have nothing to do with blood transfusions, though, and her story is just incredible:
… Our stepfather didn’t know how to deal with kids who “answered back” and I remember constant shouting and endless arguments about how to raise us. He always got the final say — “I’m the head of this household!”
This might have been the end of it, if it weren’t for how he treated my little brother. I would not allow him to be belittled, bullied and, as happened occasionally, struck by our stepfather. I would jump to my brother’s defence, full of the righteous indignation instilled in me by the faith. It only added to the tension. Of course, the elders intervened, offering prayers, Bible study and “counselling” (disciplining to you and me). For me, this was the turning point. I had always believed the Witness religion to be fair. Yet it wasn’t my stepdad bearing the brunt of the disciplining — it was me. As a girl, it wasn’t my place to challenge my stepfather. The elders would help him, I was told, but in the meantime they were concerned about my lack of “submissiveness”. Earlier I had been selected to be interviewed on stage at a national Witness convention — an example of a faithful young Witness who preached to her peers at school — but as a punishment for my lack of submissiveness I was removed from the line-up.
What happened when Vicky met her first (non-Witness) boyfriend and his welcoming family? She decided to come clean to congregation elders:
They wanted to know everything — had I smoked? Drunk? Committed fornication? I told them yes, yes and yes — and, finally, that it was no longer any of their business. They called it a confession — I said I hadn’t done anything wrong. They gave me the “chance to repent” — I said I had nothing to repent. As predicted, I was to be excommunicated.
Everyone should just wear that label with pride:
But not everything worked out for the best. Vicky lost ties with her family after that, including her siblings. While it’s upsetting to think she can’t talk to her brothers anymore, I don’t feel as bad about the loss of contact with her mother and stepfather. Not every family tie deserves to be preserved. You’re better off getting away from parents who give you life only to control so many important aspects of it.
(via New Humanist)