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Helping Christians Reach Jehovah's Witnesses
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Ann's Testimony

Ann’s Testimony

Can you imagine a childhood without a Christmas tree, birthday cake or an Easter feast? Every child raised as a Jehovah’s Witness in the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society can answer yes to that question. Instead of opening Valentine’s cards teachers escorted me out into the cold school hallway to sit on the floor for the duration of the celebration. Considering the average public school elementary class is about 20-25 students, that adds up to about 3 birthday parties per month - another couple of hours in the hallway. Throw in the various holiday projects, songs, inappropriate books being read and celebrations and that adds up to a great deal of sitting on a cold, lonely floor on the other side of the classroom door! Although it was difficult to be separated and excluded from my classmates I truly believed what I was taught at home-that I was doing the will of God and they would all die for eating that holiday cookie. This is my story as I remember it. I may have gotten dates or little facts wrong, and if so I do apologize. I have tried my best to be as accurate as possible.


The first time that I came into contact with the Watchtower world was on a rainy Saturday morning when I was preschool age. Everyone else in the family was out or asleep, so I answered the door. There were two ladies there with big bags towering in the doorway smiling and asking me to get my mom. I told them she was asleep so they just came on in! They sat down at the kitchen table and one of the women put me in her lap and read a bible story to me. I really enjoyed that as it reminded me of Sunday school at the neighborhood church where we attended for awhile. This became a weekly Saturday ritual. They would ask me questions about my family and I am sure that I answered in vivid detail, as I was known for my talkative nature.

After some time, my mom started sitting in on the discussions, and soon my dad joined her as well. We slowly stopped celebrating holidays and birthdays. Within a year or two, they were baptized as Jehovah’s Witnesses and regular attendees of the meetings, as well as door-to-door service. This caused a great deal of friction with the neighbors, as my parents told them all that they couldn’t be friends with them anymore since they weren’t Jehovah’s Witnesses. They also told them they would all die in Armageddon unless they converted to the “Truth.“ Soon, I wasn’t allowed to play with my childhood playmates anymore. My dad built a tall fence and we were ordered to stay inside it, instead of running freely in the neighborhood like before. Their form of discipline with my brother and I became less emotional and harsh, and they began to use more reasoning and scripture. Friendships with Jehovah’s Witnesses were allowed, but not as often as we were busy with meetings and door-to-door which left little time for socializing. The rare overnighters at other Jehovah’s Witnesses houses were often disturbing as there was a great deal of physical, sexual and emotional abuse in many of the families that I visited. For example, one of my close friends would have to get up in the middle of the night and meet her dad in his study for “Greek” lessons. It always resulted in her returning shaking and crying, not wanting to talk about it. Another family the father beat the mother in front of me and on one occasion had her pinned over the washing machine with a knife to her throat. My family didn’t act this way with each other, but I knew enough not to talk about it with my parents, as these men were leaders in the Watchtower and my dad’s superiors. My best friend happened to be the CO’s daughter, and she was in the habit of lording this over the other children. She would often get her way with the other children by threatening to tell her father lies about us, so we would get disfellowshipped. As we were just children we didn’t understand the process of disfellowshipping yet, we just knew it was the worst thing ever, and the same as being dead. So she always got her way. We also understood her father had the power to do this to us, so often went along with her blackmail schemes, and she always got her way.

Cutting Off the Family Ties

The most profound change was with my dad’s family. They were devout born-again Christians and very upset about my parent’s conversion. On our visits they would all sit and fight about the Bible for hours. One day I was in my grandma’s den reading books and I found one on Jehovah’s Witnesses. As I was reading it I noticed that it was talking about all the lies they had told in the past. Well, my parents walked in and caught me with it. It was wild after that. Lots of yelling and fighting with words like apostasy and cult being thrown around amongst the grown-ups. It was soon after that we stopped visiting as much. After a rocky decade of silencing and fighting, we went to my grandma’s funeral and my parents wouldn’t sit in the family section as it was in a “church.” Witnesses are taught that churches are temples of “The Great Satan,“ or as they told the children “Satan’s Bad Castles.“ I remember being very terrified of walking in the church and expected Satan to jump out at any moment! We sat in the back row and didn’t participate, which upset my dad‘s family.


As I wasn’t allowed to be with anyone but Jehovah’s Witnesses I spent a lot of time alone in my room. I wasn’t allowed to ride the school bus, join in extra-curricular activities, go to sporting events or dances. I wasn’t allowed to date, or hang out with my friends. Little to no TV viewing was allowed and very select reading material was chosen for me. Most embarrassing was the practice my dad began in 7th grade of dressing me as out of style as possible to ‘be a witness’ for Jehovah. I wasn’t allowed to wear make-up, high heels, or shave my legs until years after the other girls started. I spent most of my early teens grounded for an attitude problem. I always wondered what I was grounded from, as I wasn’t allowed to do anything. All the rules seemed to be designed around preventing me from having or thinking about having sex, which I had no desire to do! I was baptized in the early 80’s at the age of 14, and was so excited, as I believed this saved me from death and ensured my everlasting life on paradise earth. As long as I didn‘t get disfellowshipped. Eventually, my extreme lack of freedom drew the attention from my school counselor, and then of the elders from the Kingdom Hall, and they had a talk with my dad. At 15 I was given slightly more freedom. My brother was the one that did whatever he wanted but no one seemed to care. He was the boy.

My parents did put some effort into creating a social life for my brother and I within the organization by hosting parties and dances for Jehovah’s Witness youth only. The music was from other generations though, and the enjoyment we received from these events would be likened to jail inmates being allowed to walk around the prison yard after weeks of confinement. The parents were lined up around us, with rules like 5 bible lengths apart during dancing, and no fresh air breaks outside lest we ‘sin.’ There was no comparison when I returned to school Monday and heard about my non-witness peer’s adventures. I took particular notice of the Christian youth groups stories, as they sounded so fun! The Kingdom Hall is designed for adults and children are expected to sit next to their parents for the two-hour services. There is no Sunday school, no youth group, and nothing to bring to distract a child during the agonizing length of time to sit. I was occasionally allowed to bring a notebook in which I could mark how many times ‘Jehovah’ was said during the service. This excitement soon wore off as my page filled with marks. ‘Jehovah’ it turns out, is said quite frequently! Sometimes my friends and I would arrange to meet in the bathroom to gossip, but we would usually get caught and bathroom breaks would be suspended for a few weeks, until the next violation. Needless to say, meetings were excruciatingly boring and usually ended up with me being taken in the back and spanked as I fell asleep or just generally misbehaved. At 16 years of age my father took me to the back of the Hall and spanked me during service while everyone turned around and pretended they weren’t watching. One of my more humiliating teen-age moments! My infraction? I had been resting my head on my hand and by doing this, displaying an attitude problem.

My dad had been given added authority within the Watchtower organization and soon advanced from Ministerial Servant to Elder. Being an Elder is similar to the Christian version of a Deacon. The Congregation Overseer is similar to the role of Pastor. As my dad was considered a leader in the Society the expectation of good behavior increased in the family. Unlike most of my Witness peers, I behaved well even when the Society wasn‘t looking. I didn’t smoke, drink, or experiment with drugs. I steered away from boys for the most part, except for friendships. I truly had a sincere desire to save myself for eternal paradise by my good behavior as I had been taught. I was teased a lot at school for being a Jehovah’s Witness, as I had to go door-to-door and knock on all the popular kids doors and tell them about how the Gospel of Jehovah, as they call it. Even some of the other Witness youth made fun of me for being ‘weird” as I read the Bible daily and studied the literature on my own. My Witness friends were also were known to exclude me from certain teen gatherings as they thought I would tell on them if I saw what they were doing, which I actually wouldn’t have done, but was relieved not to be put in the situation. Several times throughout my youth I was spoken to by the elders regarding my friendship with a close friend, who happened to be a boy. Our parents were very close friends and we were like family to each other. We were seen sometimes ‘hugging.’ He was never more than just a close friend, but mingling and friendships with the opposite sex was frowned upon as “one would tend to have lustful feelings and act upon them“ they said. I was once severely disciplined by my mother for ‘inappropriate’ behavior of a ‘sexual nature’ with him. It wasn’t true, and to this day I don’t know how she got to that conclusion, as it was innocent. We soon learned to stand far apart and keep our friendship distant in the presence of the adults, but maintained a close platonic friendship into adulthood.

At the age of 16 my family went on a summer vacation to Bethel, the headquarters of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in New York. We toured the grounds and met Bethelites as well as some of the Governing Body. This was very exciting for a young Witness, much like the average American citizen being able to tour the White House and meet the President of the United States. I had the dream of one day being a Bethelite, although that dream was discarded after being there as there was a very slim chance of a woman being invited. We also stayed at the farm where the printing of the Watchtower material was done.

Missions Trip

In my senior year of high school my parents sold our house, put everything in storage, and set off for a self-volunteered trip to the South Pacific. Upon arrival to a small island we stayed with the islands Congregation Overseer, an abusive and controlling man that kept his daughter and wife in severe isolation, while allowing his son to do what he wanted. I was also expected to follow along with the agenda of isolation. One night when our parents were out, I brought a “smuggled” tape of modern music out and soon we were innocently dancing and laughing around the house. The girl, who was 2 years older than me, said that was the first time she had laughed in years. Well, it was in that moment that our parents walked in and our mothers were crying. They took us to a back bedroom and locked the door. We looked out the window and saw the police, ambulance, and crowds of people outside. We weren’t told what had happened until hours later when the door was unlocked and we were brought out to the kitchen table and told the story.

Just yards away from the house was the Kingdom Hall. There were two missionary couples that lived above the Hall in an apartment. It turns out that one of the couples were in the process of a divorce, and the wife had left and was living in an apartment on the other side of the island. There were rumors of physical abuse by her husband, but no charges or action had been taken about that -she was being unofficially shunned for leaving her post. The Watchtower had abandoned the missionary couple by withdrawing all financial support, leaving them both stranded on this island. The husband had been sleeping underneath the church as he had nowhere else to go. Driven insane by the shunning and humiliation, he had waited inside the apartment until the other missionary couple came home and then viciously bludgeoned them to death. Apparently, he blamed them for the divorce and abandonment. He had then swam across the bay and phoned his confession into the police. The next few days were spent scrubbing the blood off the white stucco building and repainting the Kingdom Hall. The CO’s daughter felt that it was our fault as we were dancing during the murder and therefore couldn’t hear the screams. The police said that it all happened so fast, there was nothing that anyone could have done even if we had heard. Still, she refused to speak with me for the duration of my stay as she felt that was God’s punishment for her sin of dancing. I was devastated as I had gotten very close to Kitty, one of the murder victims. The murderer was put in solitary confinement, and we were told a few weeks later that “he had repented and he was not going to be disfellowshipped. His wife, however, was unrepentant for leaving him and so sadly she must be disfellowshipped. Again, they were just so sorry for her hard heart, but let’s rejoice in brother so and so’s repentance.”


Needless to say, the rest of my year on that island was awful. Although I was 18, my parents refused to let me leave their side and my father took all my money that I earned from my sales position at an island shoe store. This was a major betrayal on my parent’s part as they had promised me if I didn’t like the missions trip after three weeks, I could return with several other families that were leaving. When the time came and I begged them to let me leave they said I couldn’t go. I spent the rest of my time on the island grieving over Kitty’s death and bitter at my parent’s for their deception. Interestingly, that year I fell away from the beliefs I had been taught, as most of the teaching and literature from the organization that was available on the island was not in English. For the first time in 10 years I wasn’t being constantly bombarded with their teaching. This strengthened my desire to get out off the island and away from my parents stifling control. I was finally able to escape when they reluctantly allowed me to go on a chaperoned trip with the other witness graduates the day after graduation. That night when everyone was asleep I snuck off from the group, transferred my plane ticket and flew back to the United States with a carryon bag and $20.00 left to my name. I stayed with my parent’s closest friends, an elder and his wife. They had three young children whom I babysat that summer in exchange for room and board. I also took a job at a fish factory where I slimed fish to earn money for my own apartment. My escape and new freedom angered my parents as they had always maintained suffocating control of my life. In retaliation, they refused to let me use the family car which they had stored at the same house where I was staying. They also refused to let me into the storage unit to get my clothes and personal belongings, as they said they were afraid that I would steal their things. They eventually conceded to the car after pressure from the other adults involved, but refused to speak with me or release any personal belongings to me. They hung up on me when I called them to talk about it. I struggled along that summer and earned enough money to get my own apartment. That was very frowned upon in the Watchtower as I was a young woman living unsubmitted to a ‘man.’

First Year on My Own

Although I kept attending the meetings at the Kingdom Hall, my job at a local clothing store kept me very busy. The Witness girls that I had grown up with became very jealous of me as I had been overseas, was living on my own, and was being sought by many of the ‘brothers’ in the area. That first summer back I had seven marriage proposals. I really liked being on my own, though, and turned them all down. As their jealousy grew, they began to spread slander about me to their fathers; elders and leaders in the Watchtower. Each accusation was investigated with a great deal of enthusiasm, and countless disciplinary committees were called, and I was expected to attend each one of them or face automatic disfellowshipping: a fate worse than death.

One such slanderous accusation was that I was pregnant. I was brought before a committee of three elders and the accusation was repeated to me. It had been brought by three of my peers, all their daughters and once my dearest friends. I denied it, as at that point I had never even kissed anyone. I was 19. I was told that I would have to prove my virginity or be disfellowshipped. It was arranged for me to go with an elders wife to the gynecologist for an exam to prove my virginity. The doctor was horrified, but eventually performed the exam in the presence of the elder’s wife. She loaned me the money to pay for the visit, as the required exam was expected to be performed at my own expense. My virginity was officially verified and documented and put on file at the Kingdom Hall. The girls that had slandered me were disciplined privately within their families, but continued to lodge accusations. One time they said I was spending the night at a man’s house and the elders camped out in my living room all night waiting for me to come home. When I arrived at 7am they were sitting on my couch! They said they had caught me in the act of fornication, as they had been in my bedroom and my blanket was gone. As I pulled my blanket out of the dryer and explained that I was at work, which I could prove, they quietly got up and left. I was also brought before a disciplinary committee for allowing the cable man in and being alone with him inside of my apartment. As the accusations were lodged each one was investigated and unproven.

There was an older man in the Watchtower that moved from congregation to congregation. Rumors were circulating that he had raped several of the young women, although they had never been substantiated. This man had taken a particular interest in me, but I would have nothing to do with him. I had even asked an elder and friend to please talk to him, as he was following me around. Having no knowledge of my legal rights, or that stalking was considered a criminal offense, I trusted the elder to take care of it. The jealous Witness girls that used to be such close friends of mine heard about this man’s interest in me, and set up an opportunity to place him in my apartment alone with me while my roommate was at work. They stirred him up even more by telling him about my virginity exam. They asked my roommate to give them a key to my apartment, with a story about surprising me with a gift, and gave the key to him. He used it to unlock my window, and that night as I fell asleep in bed he slipped in the window and raped me. During the rape he calmly spoke about the virginity exam and how much that excited him. Afterwards he said that if I told anyone that I would be disfellowshipped, as I didn’t scream and dressed immodestly. (I wore my skirts above my knee.)

The next morning my roommate came home and found me bleeding and sobbing in the bathroom, she began to cry and apologize saying “I never thought it would go this far.” She took me to the hospital, but when the doctor and the rape team came in I wouldn’t give his name, as I was taught that anyone outside of the organization was “The Great Satan” and I still trusted the Watchtower to handle it. Also, I knew what the rapist had said was true, as the congregation elders had spoken me to about my skirt length, living alone with another woman unsubmitted to a man, and just general poor behavior in their eyes. Sadly, they did have a policy in place at the time that if a woman didn’t scream during the event it wasn’t rape and I hadn’t screamed. The girls that had set up the event lodged their accusations once again, and at the disciplinary committee I confessed and said that yes I had slept with brother so and so. We were both publicly reproved for immorality. I was shunned for a period of time, and very sufficiently humiliated. Eventually the reproof against me was lifted but everyone continued to shun me anyway. My reputation was destroyed along with my treasured virginity that I had been saving for my husband.

I was also continually stalked and raped again and again by this man. He would be by my car when I got out of work, or jump me from behind while jogging on a trail in the park. He threatened me that if I didn’t give him what he wanted sexually that he would rape so and so and do such and such to her. He would always name younger girls that I cared deeply for. My desire to remain in the Watchtower and my ignorance of legal rights caused me to allow him to blackmail me into a relationship with him. He told me that I really wanted it, I was just playing hard to get. He would often throw $100 bills on the table as he left, laughing. Although I kept his abuse secret, each time that I tried to end it he would bring one of the girls he had threatened to rape to my place of work and just casually talk to me with her by his side. It was his way of threatening me into staying. I soon quit attending the meetings at the Kingdom Hall as they always ended in disciplinary committees in the back rooms anyway.

Moved Away/Car Accident

I confessed the morbid rape story to a non-witness friend, and she was horrified. She explained my legal rights and that what he was doing was against the law, criminal even. This was all news to me! We soon became very close and rented an apartment together. This protected me from this man, as she stayed very close to me. I soon moved away to another state and told no one where I was going. I built a new life working at a ski resort, and found that all the stories about the non-Jehovah’s Witnesses being the Great Satan were not only untrue, it was the other way around! The ‘world’ for the most part was kind and knew how to have fun. My joy was short lived however when my car plummeted 80 feet into a ravine one snowy night on a mountain pass. A car full of a Christian youth group saw my car go off and climbed down to get me, fearing I was dead. They found me lying so far away from the car; it could only be called a miracle. I was rushed to a local clinic 2 hours from the accident and then rushed by ambulance to the hospital. They phoned my parents, and after my stay at the hospital released me into their care. I was kept on a great deal of painkillers and remember very little over the next few weeks, except that my mom stayed with me and took care of me. I was taken back home to stay with my parents, as I had broken both ankles and lost part of a fingertip, as well as just bruises, cuts, and neck and back injury. After 4 days with my parents, we had a big fight about my freedom to come and go as I please, which I wasn’t allowed to do. Instead of working it out, as usual I was told that if I didn’t do what they said that I could leave and never come back. So I called a taxi. The paramedic in the ambulance had given me his phone number and said if I ever needed anything to call him, so I did. He said I could stay at his house. My brother carried me down the stairs, and with my crutches in tow, he carried me onto the greyhound bus. The paramedic met me at the greyhound bus station and moved me into his house. I returned to my job at the ski resort and soon moved into a cabin with roommates and fellow co-workers from the resort.

 Moved Away Again/Disfellowshipping # 1

 I didn’t tell anyone back home my whereabouts, but after about a year a friend called and said that my family was about to file a missing person’s report. So I called my mother and told her I was fine, but I wasn’t coming back. Soon after that, two elders came into my work place and said that I was going to be disfellowshipped as I was living in sin with men. I pointed out that they were just roommates, not sexual partners, but they insisted it was sin and that if I didn’t move out immediately I would be disfellowshipped. So I rented my own apartment 30 minutes away, which I really couldn’t afford at the time. They continued to harass me about imagined accusations that weren’t even true. I finally lost my cool and told them all off. Once I got going I couldn’t stop. I said things like “Yeah that’s right! I DID have anal sex! (One of the many untrue accusations.) I had it with all nine of the men that I had over last night!” A great deal of profanity came forth during my tirade, which was very out of character for me. This of course had a negative effect on the course of events and I was disfellowshipped that night.

The next evening, one of the elders from the discipline committee responsible for my disfellowshipping came over to my house and began to tell me about the problems that he was having with his wife. He then proceeded to ask me to have sex with him. I declined. I called my parents to let them know that in one week they were going to announce my disfellowshipping. I was told that I was now dead in their eyes, and they would never speak to me again. This would make the fourth time that my parents had disowned me in the past 2 years.

The next few years were difficult, as I had no idea how to live in everyday society in freedom. I was soon taken advantage of by a swindler that had a habit of hanging around vulnerable women who were about to get large insurance settlements. He never really asked me out, just started helping himself into my apartment when I was at work. I would come home late at night and he would be on my couch. It never occurred to me to call the police, as I was raised that men could do whatever they wanted, basically. I would tell him to leave but he would just laugh and say, why? Soon, he was controlling every aspect of my life. I moved back to the resort where I worked and found new roommates to try to shake him off, but he just came to my place of employment and told my boss that I was stealing and I was fired immediately. It was a lie, but they all said the same thing, “why would he lie?” Labeled as a thief, I was kicked out of my apartment and his plan worked. With no money and no job I was forced back with him.

He told everyone that we were engaged and we left to go to another state and settled into an apartment. I worked and supported us. I was 20 and he was 33. It wasn’t long before I became pregnant, but he told the pregnancy counselor that if I didn’t abort the baby he would leave me. I told him if I was going to kill anybody that day it would be him! My insurance settlement had just come in, and I was confident that I would be able to use that money to support the baby and myself until I could work again. He took my money and ran, leaving me destitute. I hunted him down, trying to force him to take responsibility and return my money, but he became physically abusive and as I was shaking and crying in a dark church parking lot across the street, my parents showed up. He had called them. I haven’t seen him since, and it’s been 15 years. I later found out he had a history of this type of con, and hasn’t ever been caught.

Moved Home/Pregnancy/Reinstatement

With nowhere else to go and no money, I returned home with my parents. My father expected me to help him with his commercial janitorial business 30-40 hours a week up until the 9th month of my pregnancy. I was expected to give him my entire welfare check of $280.00 as well as purchase food for us with my food stamps. I was also to help him around the apartments that he was managing at the time. I wasn’t allowed to drive, although I believe it embarrassed him to have others see me walking so he eventually bought a car for me, but rarely let me drive it, and eventually took it away and sold it for $200.00. The conditions were laid out that they would continue to shun me as I lived with them, and I would attend all meetings and become reinstated. I was allowed no contact with any non-Jehovah’s Witnesses, and since I was disfellowshipped no contact with any Jehovah’s Witnesses either. Basically I wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone. I talked to some old friends that were disfellowshipped, as they hadn’t been on my list of ‘do not talk to’ but that was immediately stopped, and added to the list. I began counseling as my nights were filled with horrific nightmares that were so realistic I would wake up unable to breath. The meetings I attended at the Kingdom Hall were humiliating as I had to sit in the back and no one was allowed to look at me or talk to me. Children were slapped for staring at me. The little ones that I used to baby-sit cried and struggled to get to me, as they loved me and didn’t understand why they couldn’t hug me. I was brought to the back rooms for monthly re-instatement committees with the 3 elders, but each month they decided to keep me shunned. They stated my attitude as the chief problem. Some of the Jehovah’s Witnesses began to get upset and confront the elders, as it seemed like an extraordinary long time. I kept asking them about the length of time as well, and I was eventually told that they were waiting for me to have my baby, as they didn’t think that I should be rewarded with the love and support of old friends and family for having committed the sin of fornication. Another girl in the same congregation at the same time was reinstated after only six weeks - as soon as she had her baby. At the hospital, I was placed in a room several doors down from another Witness, who coincidentally had her baby the same day as me, from the same congregation. As the Jehovah’s Witnesses flooded through her room to offer their love and support, I was shunned and ignored. Some witnesses would cast fearful glances my way, but then quickly turn their head, as though caught in the act of sin. Even my own parents stayed away, except to stop in for a minute or two, and I was left all alone in my hospital room with my baby. My roommate had a big family, and to make matters worse had a steady stream of visitors and family as well, and they would cast pitiful glances my way. What should have been one of the happiest days of my life was clouded with humiliation and heartache. Two weeks after my baby was born, I was reluctantly reinstated with warnings about my attitude.


After my reinstatement, the sisters threw a baby shower for me, and they were very kind. I heard all the rumors that had been spread about me: that I had been in prison for selling cocaine, that I was a prostitute on skid row, etc. We all had a good laugh when I told them I was teaching children how to ski and was a runway model for skiwear. I hadn’t even smoked a cigarette! I quickly patched up old friendships and moved out of my parent’s house. This angered my dad and he refused to speak to me for a long period of time. He glared at me a lot along with the silent treatment I was so used to. I rented my own apartment where my baby and I could build our new life together. I resumed my door-to-door activities and remember that first year with my daughter as the happiest times of my life. For the first time ever I felt LOVED by someone. She was so happy, and beautiful! Through the whole pregnancy I believed that God truly hated me, and would curse me with a disabled child, or that she would die at birth. I hadn’t even thought of the possibility that I would have a healthy loving baby. It shook up my concepts of God’s feelings towards me. Surely He must love me to bless me with a beautiful healthy baby like my daughter. I was managing the apartment complex where I lived, and started my own business where I was able to take my baby. I also enrolled in college. However, this upset the elders again with the unsubmitted to the man thing, and they urged me to accept a marriage proposal that I had received. Well, the brother they suggested seemed nice enough and made great money, and he was very good with my daughter, so I agreed. I also was willing to do just about anything the elders asked at this point, as I wanted my daughter to know her grandparents. I knew that if I stayed disfellowshipped she would have no one but me for family, as her birth father had run out on us, and his parents had refused to acknowledge her as she was a ‘bastard’ child. After a long courtship of six weeks we married. As I was in the back waiting to walk down the aisle on my wedding day an intense feeling of dread came over me and I told the sisters surrounding me that I couldn’t marry this man. As I was sobbing and trying to leave they physically restrained me, and literally pushed me to the aisle. The tears I cried as I walked down that aisle were tears of terror not joy. I hated myself for allowing them to suck me back in to this strange, humiliating world, and hated them for what they were doing to me and my daughter.

Within days the marriage turned to a nightmare as the man became cruel and abusive. He had lied about everything including his income. His secretive activities included staying out all night and coming home angry. He agreed he had a problem and we went to the elders together. The elders listened to the details and decided that we just needed to ‘pray’ more and I needed to be more submissive. As that would include participating in sexual acts that were deemed disfellowshipping offenses by the Watchtower, I was confused. When I questioned that I was warned that I was treading on ‘thin ice’ because of my past.

After about two months of marriage, I called a crisis center and began to talk to a volunteer on the phone. She explained the legal system, that what the elders and my husband were doing was illegal in regards to me, and that there was a shelter for my daughter and me. I never knew this! He agreed to go to counseling. Within an hour his demeanor changed, he became enraged and came at me with a large chef’s knife. I stared him down and said God was protecting me, and he raced away in his car.

After four months of marriage, most of which he had spent out of town or away somewhere, I left that day with my baby to stay in the shelter. When I got to the crisis center, they said I didn’t qualify as my husband hadn’t hit me. Well, I insisted and cried and said he would kill me, which he had threatened several times. I stayed in the shelter and within two weeks had filed for divorce and rented my own apartment.


He continued his harassment of me, so I filed a restraining order which he violated on several occasions. During those court hearings the elders came to support him, sat by him, hired his lawyer, and even dug up my old rapist and tried to get him on the stand to testify that he and I were lovers and I was mentally ill. That I had a history of making up stories about sexual abuse. My husband was convicted of violating his restraining order anyway, and sentenced to donate $100.00 to the battered women’s shelter.

The subsequent disciplinary committee meetings that followed were like a really bad B movie. I was disfellowshipped for stirring up division or slander, I don’t remember which. He was promoted to a ministerial servant soon after that, and the congregation was told slanderous lies about me again and warned about my apostasy.

Ready To Fight

For some reason, I was not ready to take it this time, and contacted the headquarters about the injustice. Many different letters were sent back and forth where they requested documentation. I sent copies, instead of the originals they asked for. A special meeting was held with a ROOMFUL of elders and overseers, and some Watchtower big wig from a ‘neutral’ county far away. I presented my case, but it was more like the trial of Joan of Arc. I was outraged as they asked me questions designed to humiliate me, and soon realized they weren’t after the truth at all, they were just there to put the final nails in my coffin ~ the second death.

I went to the crisis center, and found out there were currently seven other witnesses willing to testify against the same body of elders for basically the same story. I had the best documentation and signed up for the court hearings as a witness. The elders got a hold of the list of names, and I began to receive death threats on my door and telephone. My ex-abusers never threatened me in this way as it wasn’t their method, they were more ‘in person’ threateners, not the sneaking behind my back type. Also, the elders took turns parking outside my apartment and watching me in pairs, like a police stake out. They hadn’t done that since I was 19! I was undeterred until one day I came home to my house having been broken into, and guess what was missing? All the documentation of the Watchtower’s guilt had mysteriously disappeared. I didn’t even bother to call the police anymore, as the elders had convinced them I was crazy and paranoid. Apparently the elders had intimidated the other witnesses into silence, as they all stepped down and refused to testify. The case was thrown out.

Moving On

For the next five years the Watchtower left me alone. I allowed my daughter to spend time with her grandparents, but they continued to shun me off and on, depending on their mood. I quietly tolerated it as we both loved them very much and she enjoyed her visits to their house. I soon found out that they were sneaking her door-to-door and to meetings when I had said they weren’t allowed to teach her their religion. They would lie and say they wouldn’t take her anymore, and then I would catch them again. It was causing a lot of friction between my daughter and I, as she was being told to lie and keep secrets from me. I would withhold visits for awhile, my daughter would cry because she missed them, we would start over and it would go on like that until I decided to move away. I was very tight financially, and in order to afford to move I had to sell the little bit that I owned to buy a vehicle, as I had not had a car in years. So I had a huge garage sale and sold literally everything but a few clothes and some mementos, and my daughters favorite toys. We made several thousand dollars from the sale, and I purchased a van and began to pack it up. My parents came over in the midst of this process, which took several months, and expressed their concern. I confronted them about their history of lies, control and manipulation, as well as their complete disregard for my role as my daughter’s parent. My usually silent glaring father exploded and threatened to take away my daughter if I tried to leave. I didn’t believe him, but within a week she wasn’t at school when I went to pick her up. I was informed that they had released her to my parents. They brought her back later that night, and laughed innocently and said that they didn’t think that I would mind. They just felt like seeing her. It happened again the following week.

An elder came to my door one day, someone I hadn’t ever met before. He said that he had read about my story in the files, and he could see that a great injustice had been done. He tried to convince me that the Watchtower had changed a lot since then, as they had hired a female attorney to handle the flood of abuse cases. He said that they had to do that to me as many other people left soon after I did, and questioned the elders about their decisions because of my outspokenness. He also warned me that my father was serious about kidnapping my child and had the unofficial support from the Society. Passports had been prepared and the arrangements were being made to smuggle her out of the country. A ‘large financial contribution’ had been provided. He urged me not to move away and ‘force’ my fathers hand in this matter. He posed this question to me: “If you saw a child drowning, and the mother was just standing there, not making any attempt to rescue her, wouldn’t you rescue her? That isn’t kidnapping, it’s rescuing.” I told him to get off my porch and never come back, and my daughter and I were on the road the next day. It was near the end of her school year, but she didn’t have much time to say her goodbyes. She was seven years old.

I don’t know if that elder was telling the truth or not, but I decided better safe then sorry. I went through a non-profit organization in another state, and they helped me to relocate about as far away as one can physically get, while still staying in the country. I haven’t had any further problems from the Watchtower, and the mind control and threats don’t work anymore, even if they did bother me. With seven years between me and the nightmare of the Watchtower, I have been slowly healing and learning about what freedom means.

True Freedom

There are no words to describe the joy of true freedom. A few years ago I prayed to God, and asked him to show me His truth, not through an organization or person. Just between God and I. He took me to the words of Jesus in the King James version of the Bible in John 10: 7-16 “I am the door...if any man enter in, he shall be saved...I come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly...I am the good shepherd...a hireling seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth...because he is a hireling, and careth not for the sheep...I know my sheep....they shall hear my voice...and there shall be one shepherd.” That day I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior and entered the door. I listen to His voice, and allow Him to Shepherd me. Never again will I let an organization, religion, or person dictate to me my standing with God and my future, but I rest in the arms of the Good Shepherd, Jesus, who died for me, so that I may live a joyful abundant life, and live with Him forever in heaven! I am not perfect, and mess up all the time, but now live under the mercy and grace of a loving God, that is ready and willing to forgive me and throw my mistakes into the sea of forgetfulness. I am forgiven and truly free! He promises to turn all things to good for those that love Him. He has already blessed me with two beautiful children that love me unconditionally, and the honor of loving them unconditionally! We have a home filled with laughter and mistakes. Big, noisy, careless mistakes that we stand back together and laugh at. No guilt, no shame and no more accusations. No fear of ‘not being good enough.‘ Thank you Lord!

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