This year marks the tenth year since I attended my last meeting at the local Kingdom Hall and I feel it is the perfect time to give some support to the community.
Why “Forever Awoken”? Let’s first have a walk down memory lane. I was born and raised as one of Jehovah’s Witness until I was fourteen. I was born in a multilingual family where we use to speak French, Spanish or even sometimes Portuguese at home, and Spanish at the Kingdom Hall. My father became familiar with the “truth” in his thirties and rapidly became an elder until he passed away almost twenty years ago. My mom became a JW at the same time, but she always believed more in God than in the “Organization”.
As many JW families, we came across different problems, some concerning directly the organization: disfellowshipping and so forth (lot of those happened after my father’s death). However, in my personal case, my Mom always considered family ties stronger than the commands of the Governing Body, so at the moment, I feel no need talk that much about that.
Even though we went through some difficult times, my Mom always insisted that we (her and I) had to go to the Kingdom Hall. When I was a kid, as for many kids, the two-hour Sunday meeting was the worst part of my weekend, and I was always wondering why was I trapped there. Of course, my Mom would always tell me it was important to please Jehovah in order to be reunited one day with my father and the fact that as some people go to Church, we, we would go to the Kingdom Hall (I would always agree with the third one, which seemed quite logical).
Growing up, obviously, I would understand better the messages given during the different talks at the meetings and assemblies, and I would say that by the age of ten I would struggle with every “spiritual food” that was given to us at the Kingdom Hall. For example, the fact that we couldn’t celebrate birthdays or Christmas (those were the very first thing I can recall, even before the age of ten), the fact that God would slaughter so many people just because they were not JW’s or the fact that we should shun people, even family members. Also the fact that it was not possible to question anything and on the other hand we had to go door to door to make people question their own believes. I felt those things, among others, were not right for the “Christian” people we were.
Until this moment on, I could say that I was Awoken, even though if at the time I didn’t know how to call my situation. As the Awoken person that I was, I would always do two things during the meetings: the first one was to take notes regarding the things I thought to be “bizarre” and not linked to my idea of being a “Christian”. Of course I have never showed those to anyone, and as many other things linked to my “JW life”, I have put those away from me. If you happen do the same thing, don’t make the same mistake as I did, keep them!
The second one, when it was too much for me to hear all these deluded things, was closing my mind by thinking in a different language than the one used at the Kingdom Hall. You might think this is weird, but if you’re bilingual you might have a glimpse of what I am talking about. I use to think in French whilst the talk was given in Spanish, and in my case this turned out pretty well.
Being Awoken allowed me to keep a critical mind and prevented me from getting baptized when asked many times to do so. Moreover, I always tried to talk to my Mom about the things that I thought were disturbing in a precise, non-confrontational way. Simply pointing to them innocently.
Later I also told her that when I would reach the age to make my own decisions I would stop going to the Kingdom Hall. And by the age of fourteen we went less and less to the meetings. My Mom is considered now as an inactive person and I still have siblings who are JW’s.
Now, I am 24 years old, atheist, graduated from college and ready to begin the rest of my life. I would have much more to say about the time I was raised as a Witness and even after, but this might be for another article, who knows.
In conclusion, I would tell you that if you are currently an Awake person of young age or not, it is always possible to manage not getting trapped in the “Organization”. Stand by what you think is right and never give up. It might be hard, but bear in mind that your well-being and your freedom (mental and physical) are at stake! If you have a chance to raise awareness among your friends or family, try to do so. If not, the online community might be a real “refuge” for you and there will always be people to remind you that this world is good and beautiful.
“Rien au monde ne peut empêcher l'homme de se sentir né pour la liberté. Jamais, quoi qu'il advienne, il ne peut accepter la servitude; car il pense.”