I was recruited via the door to door ministry when I was around about 19 yrs.
I then broke my parent’s heart by literally running away from home, together with my younger sister, (as they forbade us to carry on studying with the ‘Witnesses’ while we were still living at home), this caused a massive scandal within the Italian community in which my family and I lived, here in Bedford, UK.
We eventually ended up returning home to my parents on the condition (after having lived away from home for 9 months and causing lots of upset and problems within the family) that they allow us to live our lives the way we wanted, which was wanting to follow this path with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I ended up getting baptised whilst my sister decided not to. I was now on my own, the only JW in my family.
I was a JW for 15 years. I belonged to a local Italian congregation.
Circa 1988 I went on holiday to Italy to visit family, during that holiday I met my future husband who was a JW elder (he later stepped down as an elder, due to health reasons). I moved to Italy in the April of 1990 and we married in the November of that year.
My husband had a condition called Oesophageal varices and had been in and out of hospital for this condition since he was a young boy of 9. Being a minor, and his family also not being JW’s, papers were signed by his parents for him to have a blood transfusion for his condition. Sadly this resulted in him having contracted Hepatits C which caused long term liver damage. Over the years he underwent many surgical procedures (including the removal of his spleen) all of which did little to improve his condition. Despite this though, he carried on with pursuing his life as a JW, until he sadly passed away in the April of 1992.
We had been married only a short time (17 months) when I fell pregnant in the October of 1991. I returned to the UK shortly after his passing and gave birth to our son 3 months later in the July. I think the turning point for me, in questioning the veracity of the organisations teachings, came following my husband’s death.
The injustice of his death at such a crucial time in our marriage and the way in which he had suffered, throughout his life, provoked in me, initially, a scathing anger towards this god called Jehovah, despite these feelings, combined with sadness and a complete feeling of being utterly alone, I continued attending the meetings, going out on the house to house ministry and pretty much getting on with my life as a JW.
Over time, I began to question the teachings of the organisation and eventually ended up disassociating myself sometime in 2001 (I remember it must have been around that year as we celebrated my son’s first birthday when he actually turned 9).
Although I was no longer a JW, I still continued believing in the god of the bible and in fact joined an Evangelical group, in Cardiff, I had re-married in August 2003 and moved to Cardiff, called Calvary Chapel. However, for some reason, I still felt niggling doubts about certain teachings within the church and about certain biblical passages and began to see this god of the bible in a completely different light. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I began to research lots of bible related subjects, the origins of how the bible was put together being one of them. I learned that the bible of today was pretty much a ‘pick and mix’ of so called holy writings selected by a council of Christian bishops convened in Nicaea by the Roman Emperor Constantine in AD 325. I continued to learn many things and learned that not only was the Bible inherently flawed (not the inspired word of God at all) but so too, were the many religions of the world. All claiming of course of theirs being the only true path to salvation.
Where am I today? I’m now in a never ending process of learning new things. I consider myself to be a more open minded kind of person, more tolerant of others and their lifestyles, and no longer as judgemental as I used to be when I was a JW/Christian. Do I have the answers to all of life’s deep mysteries and questions? No, I don’t. Do I fear death and hellfire because I have rejected religion in all its forms? No. Am I at peace with knowing that there are some things I will never have the answer to? Yes. Am I still a kind, compassionate, loving individual who strives to do her very best when it comes to interacting with my fellow man, despite me not believing in a ‘God’? Yes I am.
Thank you for sharing your story LS, a truly moving account – Chris