My Story pt1
I escaped from a cult and I lived to tell the tale.
You are about to read something I have kept to myself for many years. Something that I have only recently begun to come to terms with. I received therapy as part of my recovery process. But I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t gone through any of this. It will take me sometime to write it all up, so your patience is requested. I am sure that you understand it isn’t an easy process. I welcome your comments, so please leave your marks below, they help.
I would also like to thank my wonderfully supportive wife and children. You really are my everything.
To my siblings and any other members of my family I say the following; I would like to state that at no time do I mean any disrespect to, or apportion any blame to my parents for anything other than being guided by circumstances, and sucked in to a very controlling cult, albeit by well meaning members who I am sure totally believed they were ‘saving’ them.
I believe all religion is harmful, whatever flavour. Personally, I have no time for any of it. My parents faith is what it is.
If you feel this will offend you then I suggest you stop reading now.
I was born in February 1972 in a hospital in Basingstoke, Hampshire, that no longer exists. My Mother and Father were hard working normal folks. Dad was born and bred in Basingstoke with a basic education but with great street sense, one of seven or eight children (I don’t know for sure – you’ll see why shortly). Mum was from Peckham and moved to Basingstoke quite young as part of the governments relocation program from London*, well educated (state not private) and one of six kids.
Anyway, I digress. I had one Christmas, but I do not remember it as I was only months old – apparently I had one birthday too.
Then it happened. One day there was a knock at the door and our lives changed forever.
You need to know first off that Mum’s family were religious, mainstream Christians. I know that my Grandmother was very religious and regularly went along to her local church. Others in the family also enjoy a Christian faith to this day.
Dad not so. I barely knew my Grandad as right to his last breath he was an arse – but maybe this wasn’t all his fault, I’ll never know, he died of throat cancer when I was 11. My Nan wasn’t much better. All I recall from my childhood is that the whole side of my Dad’s family hated each other, so I have no idea who my Uncle’s and Aunties from that side are. To this day I could pass my cousins in the street and not know them.
Mum and Dad had been involved in a massive car accident, a hit and run by a drunk driver, a Freemason who got off scott free by bribing the local judge and constabulary. Mum and Dad were in their late teens I think, so they must’ve gone through hell – they were on a scooter and stationary when this drunken bastard slammed into them finally stopping 3-400 yards up the road. Even now that makes me so mad. They were not in the same ward so woke up in hospital not knowing what the fuck was going on and because of the policy of no mixed wards, couldn’t see each other – ok, hold up, let’s just take a minute to imagine that ladies and gentlemen.
We’re with my Dad.
You have a shave, splash on some aftershave, put your best threads on, you check the mirror ‘looking good’. You grab your keys, jog down stairs, helmet on, jump on your scooter and buzz down the road the short journey to your girlfriends house. It’s a warm summers evening and life’s good. You’re 18 and you’ve got your whole future ahead of you. You pull up to your girlfriends gaff and do your best James Dean impression. Light up a cigarette, and chill, you’re the man! You knock on the door and exchange pleasantries with her Mum who you get on well with, she likes you, and she’s kind of cool too. Then the reason you are there comes down the stairs. She’s a vision of beauty. You chat for a while and then take her arm and grab her helmet. You both get on the scooter, helmets on and off you go out on a date. Your girl squeezes you tightly around your waist as you pick up speed, but hey your a sensible lad, and besides, having other bikers in the family you know full well how quick shit goes down so you keep to the speed limits. It is a suburb after all. You pull up at the traffic lights and are chatting away happily, this girl means the world to you, and she feels the same way, life is good. Then BANG. Your life is changed in a split second.
Neither of them could walk, they were bed ridden for 18-24 months and had to actually learn how to do this again. Mum had pins and all sorts in her legs, and out of the two she spent the longer time bed ridden. She still can’t walk properly to this day, what with one leg shorter than the other.
I’m guessing loneliness, depression, hopelessness and fear were dished up on a daily basis, that and in the 1960’s most hospitals dished out all sorts of prescription drugs that are now banned, or better are much better controlled. I know for a fact my Mum was addicted to Pethadine. After 2 years they were both out of hospital and were later married. I guess that even that young, being that close to being six foot under, you kind of decide life’s too bloody short not to get things in order. But the mental and physical scars were there, and being newly weds at a young age it cannot have been easy with all that shit going down.
So my Mother was ripe for brainwashing.
Then the knock at the door came. A friendly lady called Elsie was at the door, she was a Jehovah’s Witness. After 3 or so visits my Mum began studying the bible with them. Soon things progressed at a pace, as is their way. Dad wasn’t interested, being self employed and a ‘painter & decorator’ by trade he worked with a few tasty geezers. One of whom told him he was or had been a JW, he had either been ‘disfellowshipped’ or had ‘fallen away’. I’ll explain what this means and their terminology shortly.
After sometime a nice chap called Eddie befriended my Dad. He and Dad became good friends and Dad began studying the bible too. He initially just wanted to prove to Mum that all religions were the same, that these guys as nice as they were weren’t any different. Little did he know that their mind control tactics and his own vulnerabilities meant he had no chance.
Don’t get me wrong, positive changes came along with it, Dad learned to read, he took on his family responsibilities with a new found confidence and gusto, he found friends, and left behind his gang orientated lifestyle (and his facial hair – JW’s have a thing about facial hair). Another baby came along. He began settling down. Soon he had a mortgage a Wife and four kids.
Now please understand, my childhood was OK, I wasn’t beaten or abused or anything awful by my parents. My parents are wonderful, and they cared for us all equally and we all loved each other very much. It was a quiet boring life – but I was happy, and of course I knew no different. As a family we were disciplined and driven by adhering to ‘God’s Word’. Every Tuesday and Thursday Evening, and then every Sunday Morning we went to Christian Meetings. Not to mention the door knocking every Saturday morning. Oh and of course I didn’t go into school assemblies because they were religious and I may be taught incorrect or man made doctrines! When I went to Senior school I was pulled out of Religious Education lessons as this conflicted with what I was being taught at ‘church’. To be honest R.E was a joke anyway so no loss there! Frustrating and so embarrassing. But Christmas, Halloween, Valentines Day and Birthdays were the worst part. It was so embarrassing explaining to class mates why you couldn’t come along to their party. And then because of the mind control – you must preach to all at all times – programming, blurting out inappropriately that Santa wasn’t real, that Jesus wasn’t born in December, that you were a Devil worshipper if you celebrated Halloween, and a sex maniac if you sent a Valentine’s card! 😉
So my upbringing was uncomfortable, embarrassing and very sheltered, yes. Boring definitely! But that was that, and I lived in a happy lower middle class family. I had good friends at school, but I wasn’t allowed to associate with these after school. Though very rarely I did spend some time at some of my pals places after school, but for a few hours at a time, and whenever it was useful to my folks. My school friends and their parents were deemed worldly and I was often reminded of the scripture in 1 Corinthians 15 v 33 where it talks about bad association or bad company. Whilst at school I had girlfriends, but no relationship could ever develop because my parents choice of lifestyle and religion meant I could never go out after school or at the weekend. Trust me I tried, I was a horny teenage boy and wanted to do what any normal lad wants to do!
I listened to my friends talking about what they had gotten up to or what their bigger brother was up to, and because of my upbringing in my mind I judged them, but I was also jealous. Why? Because by now I had started senior school and began growing up. I regularly walked home with a local girl and we became great friends. I fell in love with her, and I recently found out she felt the same way. But because I never asked her out nothing ever happened. Of course, when I left school, I am ashamed to say I totally lost all contact with my school friends and pretty soon they became distant memories. Despite this I often thought about her. I only had the sinful release of masturbation, and then of course the guilt that racked me afterwards knowing that ‘God’ was watching me and was shamed by my actions. Him and his chosen 144,000 heavenly people and the Angels. Bloody perverts the lot of them!
The brainwashing now started to take full effect.
So I had left school, naive, a virgin, and having to make alien decisions. This is where pressure from the cult started mounting. From my Mum and Dad (of course they wanted the best for me), the Elders, other well meaning Witnesses, public discourses and from the mighty, never wrong, Watchtower magazine. I have to make a decision, I am delaying, I am being irresponsible. I must, no, I need to get baptised. Understand please even though I was 18, I was so confused at the many decisions, my own doubts, the change from being at school, to being on an apprenticeship et al, and this pressure to make such a decision, that I didn’t feel I had any choice.
I didn’t want to disappoint my parents, Mum really pushed (no blame here, I understand she wanted what was best), every article in the WT we studied seemed to give accounts of young witnesses getting baptised. My peers too were getting ‘dunked’.
So I went through the questions and it was decided I was ready.
To explain I have used a public source, the following is an excerpt taken directly from Wikipedia – I can confirm its accuracy;
To become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, one must first follow a systematic Bible study course. In time, one must participate regularly in the preaching work, and attend meetings. One must also accept Jesus’ ransom sacrifice and repent of sins, and make a personal dedication to God.
The elders ask a series of questions to ensure that the person understands and accepts the beliefs of the Witnesses in preparation for baptism.Baptisms are normally performed at assemblies and conventions. At these baptisms, candidates make “public declaration” of their prior dedication to God.The speaker asks the candidates, “On the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, have you repented of your sins and dedicated yourself to Jehovah to do his will?” After the candidates answer with an affirmative “yes” and agree that their dedication and baptism “identifies [them as members] of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization”, they undergo water immersion.
So that was me then. At just 18 years old, I became a baptised JW. Having a job was fruitless because god was about to wipe these evildoers from the earth, and despite having a fantastic opportunity at IBM after completing a two year apprenticeship I left there and went to work part-time at a Q8 petrol station. My responsibilities were serving customers, taking payment for fuel, dipping the tanks, handling and managing stock, and avoiding getting anywhere near my smelly boss’ hands after he’d gone in to the one and only toilet on site for a ‘wank’. I was shell-shocked by the culture change, though one of my colleagues Jill had absolutely fantastic boobs. But you know why nothing happened there, despite her interest in me. God how I would’ve loved to tap that ass!
So, if I wasn’t at work fantasising about shagging Jill, or bored out of my skull, I spent the rest of my day door knocking and hounding people with my religious beliefs. I became a Regular Pioneer. I wanted to get into Bethel (their HQ) and serve as a ‘drone’. Travel the world serving ‘my god’. Then in time I was going to marry a beautiful ‘sister’ (JW speak for female minister), have some children and settle down in a congregation and become an Elder (their name for deacons) in my own right. My whole life was mapped out for me.
Fuck me, pass me a bucket someone.
Anyhow. I couldn’t stomach the non-stop door knocking (see what I did there). It wasn’t natural and it was so fruitless – I mean come on! It is proven that there are bucket loads (and again) of better ways to contact people, through Media, Social Networking, Flyers, Local Community outreach schemes. But this is a cult that use the tried and trusted methods. It also keeps you ‘on the straight and narrow’ and not thinking for yourself, because you are constantly referring to the Watch Tower Society’s dogmatic publications to prove their doctrines. Thinking for yourself soon becomes impossible. (I often think back and liken my life then to the Matrix).
Who really gives a fuck about god anyway!? So I traded the Jetta in, bought a decent quick car and fabricated my CV a little to get a decent job. Time went by, I did what I needed to to get by in my local congregation. I constantly battled with holes and inconsistencies with what I was being taught, but if you questioned you could be out (again I will explain all shortly). I mean what about the Dinosaurs? or Fossils? How do you explain away Oil and Limestone? Aargh! Mind-fuck!
So, I spent my summers at Twickenham Conventions desperate to find a partner. Trust me it was totally like a massive single JW’s dating game meet up!
But as it happened I ended up ‘courting’ (I know, WTF) a sister from one of my local congregations. This didn’t last too long (even though we were engaged to be married) as her Mother was a psychopathic freakazoid! So that was that. I learned later that my ex-fiancee had run away from home with a married man who she babysat the couples kids for. The Mother who had lived in Basingstoke for many years, up and left. Ay carumba!
Then the very next Summer at ‘Twickers’ as they call it, I was pounced upon. The sister in question had decided I was the one. My expensive new suit had done the trick (boo yah)!
She was a bit naughty and very soon frowned upon sexual misconduct ensued (ah the memories). A car is a good place to fondle you know! Parks too! You know all that stuff a normal couple would have done as teenagers! My Dad caught us once, god that was embarrassing! (and it went unreported – bless him). At least they didn’t know we shagged a few times downstairs in the early hours when she was over, not to mention the phone sex LMAO!
Before I knew it I was married and in a love triangle. Not that sort, unfortunately, Me, Her and Her kids from her previous failed marriage. I became a husband and a step-dad in one foul swoop! Don’t get me wrong her kids were lovely little treasures, aged 5 and 3 at the time, and amazingly great kids (I have no idea what their mental state must be now as last I heard she was on to husband number three – a younger model). Anyway, she was attractive, and we were in love and lovers. But Jesus H Christ she was an absolute fucking bitch when she wanted to be. We rowed every week (even on our honeymoon) and when we made up (I always enjoyed that part) things would be ok, for a bit.
Please understand we were both totally institutionalised in this cult arrangement. Despite her being married previously, divorced, disfellowshipped, re-instated and then free to marry yours truly. We NEVER had free will. You can’t in a cult can you?
So, my life was this; Monday to Friday 9-5 shit job. Then every Friday I would have to drive from Basingstoke to Haywards Heath pick up her kids from her ex-husbands house or from their school, and then them drive home. Then the round trip every Sunday, after we had been to our morning church service of course, I would have to take them back home. It was fucking exhausting! And it began to put a strain on the marriage. I wasn’t prepared or fucking ready for this shit, how could anyone be!? But I loved her, so the flashy car went and two new ones were purchased. The credit cards got ‘maxed’ out and dealing with the debt was a nightmare. Because none of my JW friends really liked her (I know why now – cheers for not warning me beforehand you fuckers) I quickly became a lonely bastard, you know – get up, go to work, come home, eat, go to ‘church’ , come home, shit, go to bed …. blah fucking blah.
But that wasn’t all, then I got made redundant, I got another job, I got made redundant, I got another job, I got made redundant, I got another job – totally unlucky or what!? I wasn’t doing enough in the congregation (she wanted the Kudos of being married to a ministerial servant, after all, her sisters had husbands were ‘moving on’ in the organisation) so pressure pressure pressure. As far as she was concerned I wasn’t earning enough in this world which was imminently about to ‘pass away’ and I wasn’t doing enough in the congregation, I was juggling this shit with trying to be a Dad to two lovely, but clearly troubled (by the divorce and remarriage of both parents – not to mention that all four parents were JW’s and bad mouthing each other – well you do don’t you, no matter how hard you try). I also had my suspicions that although we were married, and things in the bedroom department were good (fuck it I was and I quote “fucking amazing in bed”) something wasn’t right. Allow me please to explain.
Every couple has their highs and lows. But I couldn’t deal with her brazen flirting with other men, JW’s or otherwise. The fact that she now wanted to have separate bank accounts, mobile bills, etc. As her husband and spiritual provider (I mean for fuck sake who thinks this shit up) I talked to her about it (she told me to fuck off basically – it was all in my head apparently – yeh right just like her not coming home some nights because she slept at her mothers place due to migraines, but they knew nothing about it – hmm) I talked to my Elders for advice – I won’t even bother you with the advice I was given there, useless twats. I had no friends to turn to because she had driven a wedge between me and them, and me and my family (I did have one good friend, but for reasons unknown to me at the time he and his missus moved back home up North – he was a good pal, he has since told me of his own regret at not telling me to run the fuck away from the bitch before I got married).
So what could I do. She flicked from being on my dick all the time, then to physically assaulting me every time we argued (this was her mistake as I went over to her parents one time straight after to seek advice from her father about her erratic behaviour – it was classic, I opened the gate and he saw the blood pouring from the scratches down my neck and said ‘What the hell happened to you?‘ ‘Er your daughter’ says I, ex-father in law rolls eyes and admits ‘she’s always been a handful’), to throwing herself down the stairs and threatening to go to her family and the Elders and say I beat her and her kids! She was the one who took to the bottle whenever ‘I’ was getting too much!
Then there was the episodes where she had to be taken to the hopsital, or I had to drive her to her mothers as she was so ill, heart failure, cancer you name it it was going to happen!! Can I just say that before she poisoned them I got on really well with her family, especially her Mother. A lovely lively lady, and a family that were fun to be around. Shame that I had to marry the wrong daughter.
Let me be straight. I have no idea why I put up with her for 7 years. She was hot, she was fun to be around, sex was great. She was a bitter-sweet-psychopathic dick tease.
She bled me dry financially, took my house and anything that was worth money, took a shit load of money (some I had borrowed from my parents) and cheated on me. I came back after a row just before the Christmas break to find the locks changed and the shit she didn’t want on my back lawn.
Anyhow, I moved in to my parents place. The Elders were not interested and to be blantantly truthful complete and utter fuck wits. I was then a divorced individual who wasn’t their problem anymore. I had pissed off at least five of the nine Elders in the congregation over the years so they were practically cumming in there pants over the thought my ex-dick warmer was now free, single and in need of compassionate spiritual guidance. Fucking perverts.
So I walked away.
Only you can’t just walk away. You could have written a letter, not been anywhere near one of their Kingdom Halls for 20 years and they would still make your life an absolute fucking misery, such is their way.
I became pretty self destructive.
And then got together with a good friend who was also going through almost exactly the same shit. He introduced me to the delights of the internet, and off we went to Bournemouth and much beer was consumed!
After about 18 months I met a wonderful girl, fell in love, got her pregnant and got on with my life (she is now my wife, soul mate, friend and we are very happily married. oh, and we have five fabulous children – ’cause bedroom time ROCKS).
Anyway……..suddenly out of the blue I get a phone call from an Elder who I viewed as a good friend asking me to come by the KH and meet him and another Elder to see if they can help me back. I think fuck it, my missus is intrigued to know what they are all about having read Watchtower magazines in the past, I think I should go back too, after all I have a kid on the way. Brainwash! Brainwash!
So I go back, meet them, they ask if I am repentant – err no I am in love and have a kid on the way, what’s to be repentant for dumb ass!
They give me a week to put my life in order. A WEEK! By get in order they mean of course to get married. I hadn’t even properly met her Dad FFS!
So they ex-communicate me, known by their terminology as disfellowshipping.
Being disfellowshipped can result in serious emotional side affects because those that continue to believe Watchtower doctrine are told that whilst disfellowshipped they are condemned to everlasting destruction; whereas those who become unbelievers, with no intention of returning to the Watchtower Society, realise they are unlikely to freely associate with Witness family and friends for the remainder of their lives. A lot of ex-JW’s that are disfellowshipped commit suicide.
The Watchtower 1981 September 15 pp.22,25 explains:
“disfellowshiping” is what Jehovahs Witnesses appropriately call the expelling and subsequent shunning of such an unrepentant wrongdoer…. a simple “Hello” to someone can be the first step that develops into a conversation and maybe even a friendship. Would we want to take that first step with a disfellowshiped person?”
It was not until 1952 that Jehovah’s Witnesses introduced disfellowshipping as it is now practiced and the following few Scriptural principles involved show that there is no Biblical justification for the extent to which the society practices this unchristian form of manipulation. Though there is Scriptural precedence to limit association with brothers practicing wrongdoing, their application of disfellowshipping seriously deviates from Bible guidelines in a number of ways;
2 John 10 says ‘not to greet the Antichrist’. The Watchtower Society uses this single scripture to support not even saying ‘hello’ to a disfellowshipped person. At Scriptures such as 1 Corinthians 5, the apostle Paul outlined limiting association with Christians that practice wrongdoing, but never disfellowshipping and strict shunning.
Jehovah’s Witnesses disfellowship for practices never even discussed in the Bible such as smoking, gambling and having a blood transfusion. Disfellowshipping is extended to prevent immediate family members associating with their disfellowshipped relatives.
The punishment applies forever, or until the Watchtower Society formally reinstates the person. It is considered irrelevant whether the person no longer practices the wrongdoing they were disfellowshipped for.
So I married my wonderful 2nd wife, and hung around the cult on the fringes for a bit. Then I found the real truth….
This section Written 5 October 2012
I wanted to share with you some feedback sent to me by from others who have left the cult:
Mr. AR – “Love the “Boobs” hyperlink! Only halfway through gripping stuff!”
Ms. SB – “Wow, what a journey. U have made it a gripping read indeed…thank u for sharin :-)”
Mr. MP – “A good read, but its made me feel sad, I recognised a lot of similarities to my own story in that. When all the anger and everything else dissipates with time, I think whats left is great sadness over lives that should never be this way.”
Mr. MS – “very good read–i see so much of my past life there. thankyou for sharing. “
Mr. BB – “Wow …. so many points ring true! 1cor 15:33 it’s the only bible shit I can still remember! Keep thinking I should write my story down too”
Ms. AR – “Very well written, and funny how you talk about your ex :p I am imagining the harlot and all the elders running after her ready to get their you know whats out 😉 xx”
Mr. LK – “Really well written, witty, funny and so strangely familiar – thank you so so much for sharing. I have been thinking about doing the same and will be emailing you. I realise now how important it is to share our experiences; to warn interested people and to help others cope with their own trauma. Thanks again Chris, your bravery is an inspiration”
Thank you everyone who has shared their thoughts. I will of course continue my story shortly. Much love. – Chris