I lost my religion the day I was born to a beautiful young woman abused by her mother’s god. At the age of sixteen this innocent was raped by a Brother—a married man with children. The Elders voted to excommunicate the girl—my mom. So there should be no wonder why I abhor Jehovah’s Witnesses. Even though my mother had been disfellowshipped, this religious faction dictated my adolescent life. My mother, although she was unwelcome in the Kingdom Hall, and despised the religion, she still feared the wrath of Jehovah. So, she allowed her parents to take me to bible studies, and assemblies in Pontiac. My dad didn’t like it, but he followed my mother’s lead. Why? I don’t fucking know.
I remember feeling a great sigh of relief when I told my mom and dad that I no longer wanted to have anything to do with Jehovah. My parents promised me that I would never have to step foot inside a Kingdom Hall ever again. I’m nearly 39, and every time I drive past a Kingdom Hall, my heart sinks into my belly. I don’t like to generalize groups of people. Anyone who knows me knows that I am an open-minded person—I typically dislike labeling as a whole. But Jehovah’s Witnesses hold a special place in my heart.
Half of the JW kids my mother grew up with have committed suicide. I remember when my mother was living in Texas, she’d call me up and tell me about so and so hanging themselves, or swallowing the barrel of a gun. It freaked mom out, because these people were her age, and their actions gave her ideas of escape. My mother has slit her wrists and overdosed more times than I care to count. And I know the root of her problem is her own mother, and that fucking religion.
It’s that fucking religion that guided my grandmother in raising her children. My mother isn’t the only one permanently fucked up—my uncles are a mess. At least my Uncle Kenny is a functioning member of society. He’s more than that, really. My Uncle Kenny is my favorite man, besides my dad, and my husband. Uncle Kenny is soft spoken and kind—but he hurts, and he says, “Up yours!” to the Kingdom Hall. Aunt Denise always supported him. Now she’s gone…and I worry about him. My Uncle Kenny and Aunt Denise were always a united force—Denise being the foundation.
Uncle Kenny came over the other night. It was a great surprise to me, him knocking on our door at 8:30. Before he left at 2 a.m. he said, “You’re Aunt Denise was fierce. She was a warrior.”
And I thought about Blood into Ink. All of us at Blood into Ink are warriors. I wish my fellow writers could have known my aunt. She had to overcome much. And she was always proud of me in life; I know she is proud of me now—what I stand for.
Aunt Denise wasn’t the sort who shoved religion down throats. She believed what she believed, and respected whatever the fuck anyone else believed. Unless they were Jehovah’s Witnesses. Because like me, she’d witnessed the destructive properties of that cult. After my mother had been raped, and disfellowshipped, Aunt Denise spoke to her parents, and they allowed my mother to move in with them. My grandparents are pieces of shit, as far as I am concerned—the rape was never reported to the police.
My mother and my Aunt Denise had been best friends since high school. When Aunt Denise passed, I thought my mother would totally break. But, she and her brother, Kenny, have one another, and they are both managing, together.
When Uncle Kenny was at my house the other night, I finally had the chance to tell him, one on one, that I missed Aunt Denise. I at last told him my final words to Aunt Denise before she was gone. And he cried. He’s never cried in front of me. He said, “Aunt Denise was with you when you were talking to her. She’s always been proud of you.”
Next month, just before Thanksgiving, and Uncle Kenny’s birthday, is Aunt Denise’s death day.
I don’t pray to a god for the well-being of her soul. She is a part of the Universe now, and she visits me in my dreams frequently. I know Aunt Denise is existing in a state of peace, and she reaches out to show me she’s okay.
Don’t tell that to a Jehovah’s Witness, because they’ll say I’m league with Satan. According to Jehovah’s Witnesses, a person who dies does not release a soul; they are simply dead, buried in the fucking dirt, and if they are a Witness, they will be resurrected like Jesus was, to live on a paradise earth after Armageddon has passed. Think of it! If you’ve ever found a JW pamphlet at your door, you’ll know what I’m talking about—people living amongst tigers and elephants and shit. Fucking lambs sleeping with lions on your front lawn. Asians and Latinos smiling like morons alongside the whites and blacks, they may as well be unicorns. The Watchtower and Awake! always depict Asians and Latinos chilling with wild animals. For real, how many Chinese Jehovah’s Witnesses do you know?
Propaganda, folks! That’s what this fucking cult comes calling with when they knock on your door on Christmas Eve.
Christmas Eve/ Christmas isn’t even holy to Jehovah’s Witnesses.
You know why JWs don’t celebrate the birth of Christ? Because their bible doesn’t tell them to.
JWs don’t celebrate anything their bible doesn’t explicitly say to celebrate. So, they don’t celebrate Christmas. They don’t celebrate their own birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, ANY holiday. They do not observe Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, or even Labor Day. Any calendar holiday is off limits. JW children don’t recite the Pledge of Allegiance because JWs believe that only Jehovah deserves allegiance; a JW does not willingly serve in the military.
My grandpa (my mother’s dad) was in the ARMY. He married my grandmother. I remember seeing his ARMY photo when I was young. I wonder, after he converted to Grandma’s religion (because she was a pushy bitch), if he was ashamed of his service. I’d like to think he wasn’t ashamed, though I do recall that he spoke against the military. Jehovah’s Witnesses are not permitted to enlist in any faction of the military, as pledging allegiance to anything other than Jehovah is blatant defiance.
It’s late, and I’m babbling. I’ve lost sight of what this entry is supposed to be. I’m listening to The Cranberries. Each song means something different to me—
I guess what I mean to say, in the long winded way, is that I don’t like Jehovah’s Witnesses. For personal reasons. And probably for fundamental reasons, too.
P.S. Yes, I’ve had a few drinks. It’s Sunday Funday.