Just for reference I have added this recent letter to the elders of Jehovah’s Witnesses sent out on the 01/01/2017 – This may change. If it changes, I will leave it in as an archive of what they did in the past in cases of child abuse. Note how they do not say, Elders should report to the authorities.
Code words you will come across in this story are as follows, or as I call it Jdub speak.
Kingdom Hall – This is in effect a Jehovah’s Witness Church.
Field Service – This is what JW’s call the work they do when going door to door to preach to you, sometimes otherwise known as Ministry.
Pioneering – A pioneer in terms of JW’s talk is someone who comes to your door, but does it regularly. Over the course of the month an Auxiliary Pioneer was required to put in 60 hours of this work. A Regular Pioneer put in 90 hours of this work and lastly a Special Pioneer put in 120 hours of this work. ( I was the latter, and I’m so sorry I knocked)
Theocratic Ministry School – This was a meeting at the Kingdom Hall which focused entirely on how to preach, examples of how to preach and what to say to people at the doors, if they came up with a question. For instance – “I heard JW’s do not take blood” They would have a 20 minute lecture already prepared at this type of meeting, for just such an event occurring.
Book Study – Again another meeting but it would be looking at one of the JW’s books, reading a chapter from it and answering questions from it.
Bible Study – This would last approximately 1 hour in your own home, looking at the bible and looking at JW’s book Reasoning from the scriptures. This is a book that has the JW definition of the entire bible, from one chapter and verse to the next, their definition. Someone elses understanding of it, is not the truth in their eyes.
The Truth – This is what JW’s call their faith. They call it The Truth. Other examples I’m in the truth, when you have the truth. etc etc
Elder – A term used for an appointed member to shepherd the flock, meaning essentially a bishop or priest.
Ministerial Servant – This term is for members who are pretty much just trainee Elders.
Governing Body – The term for the people who sit at headquarters, a bit like the pope.
WTBTS – Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, this is the parent company of Jehovah’s Witnesses also known as Bethel. It’s in New York, USA where these headquarters are based.
144,000 – Also known as “The Anointed” These people according to JW’s have a heavenly place. Everyone else has an earthly place after Armageddon in a garden like paradise.
Armageddon – The JW’s belief is that only JW’s will survive this. It is Gods way of ridding the earth of all that is evil and wicked. This is anyone who does not do what it says in their bible.
New System – Means their garden like paradise here on earth, where no one dies, no one get’s sick or grows old, everyone is full of energy and get to play with the animals like lions and tigers and bears. (Oh My)
NWT – New World Translation – This is the Jehovah’s Witnesses interpretation of the bible. (Side note, many Greek and Hebrew scholars have said that the JW’s have not translated the bible correctly from Hebrew and Greek, to English. In fact even an ex Governing Body Member, had admitted this on tape before he died)
Partaking of emblems – The 144,000 are only allowed to do this. Every year around about Easter, JW’s hold what is known as a Memorial Service. Up on the stage there will be 3 cups and 3 plates containing Red Wine and Leavened Bread. This is to represent the passover. Anyone else taking these emblems who are not members of the 144,000 will be disfellowshipped.
Disfellowshipped – Meaning that you are cast out from the Jehovah’s Witnesses. You would still be allowed to attend their meetings, but only be allowed to sit at the back. You are not allowed to talk to any other members, and they are not allowed to talk to you, including blood family members unless on strict need to know basis.
Convention – A gathering of JW’s and is held over the course of 3 days. It is like the meetings only much more longer and dreadfully boring.
Shunned – The action of not speaking to a disfellowshipped member.
Apostate – A baptised member who has left the faith. In JW’s terms these people are mentally diseased, and try to form their own religions and draw followers after themselves.
The story starts in the year 1979. My parents had fallen in love with one another at work. Mum was a devout Catholic and my Father a Protestant. Mum was raised in an abusive household, where often she was physically abused as were her siblings. My Grandfather was an alcoholic. My poor Grandmother only stayed with him for the sake of keeping the family together. If she spoke out she would get beaten also. My Father on the other hand was raised in a broken home, were my Paternal Grandfather had left when he was 6 years old, leaving my Paternal Grandmother to care for 4 children by herself. Times were tough in the 50’s through to the 70’s. I admire her efforts.
So back to 1979 and roughly around the fall of that year, my conception started. Mum was a rebel, she constantly rebelled against her Father, so to find out she was pregnant with me, came as a bit of a shock and then anger hit my Grandfather. He told her to abort me, that I was just a foetus. Mum though told him no, and then went out and got married to my Father late 1979.
So about March, maybe April 1980 my Father was visited upon by two of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Whilst I was still in the womb, he was offered a free home bible study. Dad was interested in this because, the only bible he had ever looked at, had old style English language, which he failed to comprehend at times. I think it was the King James although I cannot be 100% sure. So to be shown this book, called New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, intrigued my father. It was written in plain English. Finally he could get to know God he mused.
The two Jehovah’s Witnesses, failed to call on him until 6 months later. I was born the Summer of 1980 so I may have been around 2 months old or less. Dad became more intrigued with the idea of these Jehovah’s Witnesses, who claimed to have “the truth”. He decided in wasting no time, after we had my first Christmas, which I have no recollection of, he decided he would get baptised. So that was that, practically everything I would learn from that moment on would be a life of misery which I will explain in a moment.
This is how I remember a week in the life of Jehovah’s Witness Cult.
7am – Up get ready for school (Read Daily Text, which was a scripture the WTBTS had outlined for all witnesses that day)
9am – School
3pm – Hometime
Homework and punishment exercises if we had any. These punishment exercises were writing out lines of maybe 100 “I must not do x,y,z” My father would double it.
5:30pm – Dinner
7pm – Study for the Tuesday Group Meeting
9pm – Bedtime
7am – Up get ready for school (Read Daily Text)
9am – School
3pm – Hometime
5:30pm – Dinner
7pm-8pm – Tuesday Group Meeting
9:30pm – Bedtime (Sometimes later if parents mingled with other witnesses)
7am – Up get ready for school (Read Daily Text)
9am – School
3pm – Hometime
5:30pm – Dinner
7pm – 9pm Field Service
10:30pm – Bedtime (Sometimes later if parents mingled with other witnesses)
7am – Up get ready for school (Read Daily Text)
9am – School
3pm – Hometime
5:30pm – Dinner
7pm-9pm – Theocratic Ministry School and Answering from the Scriptures talks at the Kingdom Hall
10:30pm – Bedtime (Sometimes later if parents mingled with other witnesses)
7am – Up get ready for school (Read Daily Text)
9am – School
3pm – Hometime
5:30pm – Dinner
7pm – Personal Bible Study
9pm – Bedtime
7am – Up and get ready for door knocking
9am – arrive at another witnesses house for a meeting before door knocking
9:45 – generally in cars by this point on our way to assigned territory (unsuspecting victims as I call them)
12:00pm – Stop for lunch.
1pm – Some carried on preaching (door knocking) until around 3:30-4pm and sometimes we done this also
5:30pm – Dinner Time
After dinner, personal time which was monitored by parents (not even allowed to listen to some songs and not even allowed to watch tv, did not have it)
7pm – Family Worship also incorporating the Watchtower magazine and prepare for the meeting the following day.
9pm – bed
I should add, sometimes on a Saturday, take out everything after dinner time, back out preaching until 9pm from around 6:30-7pm. On those nights, again a later bedtime.
7am – Up getting ready for meeting at Kingdom Hall, including personal hygiene requirements
10pm – Public Talk (An elder from another congregation usually came in to give this weeks brainwashing topic)
11pm – Answers from the Watchtower and Awake magazine. (I should mention these ones usually had a microphone going around where witnesses would sit in the audience, raise their hand to answer a question that the man on the platform would ask in regards and in reference to whatever was in the Watchtower magazine that month.)
12pm – Lunch
1:30pm- 4pm – Preaching (Uggh again!!!! no wonder I hated it)
5:30pm – Dinner Time
7pm – Personal time or watching a video (The Love Bug for the 56th time, the only video cassette we had at one point)
9pm – Bedtime
On Christmas Days, staring out windows watching children play with their new toys.
On Halloween, watching children go from door to door for candy. (I would have preferred that door to door) CAUTION TO THE READER! Please do not give money to the witness child standing at your doorstep. This money is not used for sweets,candy, etc. It goes straight into the donation boxes at the Kingdom Hall. It’s not taken off them, but the guilt trip is put heavily on them so they may just as well have taken it and put it in the box themselves. So please, do not give a witness child money at the doorstep.
The JW rules are a set of very unique rules, but bible based.
Spare the rod spoil the child!
Bad Association Spoils Useful Habits! (Outside influences, those who are not members of the JW cult are forbidden to form close relationships with JW children and adults)
No sex before marriage.
No drinking alcohol to excess
No speaking bad about the organisation of Jehovah’s Witnesses
There are loads more, but these are the few I picked out and what you can be disfellowshipped for.
We very rarely got to see grandparents, aunts and uncles. Outside influences, included family members who were not of the faith. However we never noticed, and I remember those times being absolutely brilliant, such a close knit family. We had a TV and mum would sit on nights watching her recorded episodes of Eastenders, Coronation Street, Brookside and a few others. These programs were on at nights when we would be away to meetings. Tuesday night 7-8pm Book Study, Thursday night 7-9pm Theocratic Ministry School and Sunday morning talk from 10-12am. Eventually the Sunday meeting changed from 4-6pm because of expanding numbers in the congregation making the 2 congregations who already shared it split into 3.
After a while of this, going on and going to Field Service on a Saturday morning sometimes Sunday afternoon too, my father was appointed a Ministerial servant. This is just in effect a trainee Elder, and Elders helps to oversee the congregation you know shepherd the flock. We were overjoyed at the fact Dad had become an MS. Mum was, you could see it in her eyes.
Mum got baptised in 1982. We lived in a big city, small apartment. It was a room and Kitchen with it’s own bathroom. Eventually my sister came along. So now that would be someone for me to have for company. In the Jehovah’s Witnesses organisation, they strongly oppose outside influences, so therefore, my sister and I would play endlessly in our own communal garden and in our house. We tried to play with the kids a few closes away, scared of doing so in case we got caught. Sometimes we got caught, sometimes we didn’t. If mum caught us, it was fine. She warned us to get back into our own communal garden before my father got home. As being strict goes and doing everything he learned from JW’s, outside influences, if caught we got smacked, sometimes by the hand, most of the time it was a slipper and on one occasion his leather belt. If we fidgeted or made any noise, or tried to talk to each other through a meeting at the Kingdom Hall, instead of listening to what was being said, we were taken out to the back where the men’s toilets were, which honestly stunk like you just walked past a Fish-mart. If the stench was not bad enough, the pants down and walloped on the bare backside was worse. It was bad on any occasion to be fair, but to have that smell also and being subjected to seeing other men using urinals whilst getting a beating. I remember a 7 month old baby, being taken out by her father. I still cannot get that babies screams out of my head. This was generally the last resort. Many of us kids had been either kicked in the ankles, pinched/nipped even punched in the Kingdom Hall for not paying attention, not sitting still, fidgeting and not being quiet. These punishments were done discreetly, so no other adult seen what happened generally speaking, but it was hard enough to leave a mark. Even if we whispered to each other, we got this punishment. It was a pick in mix of punishments. Take your pick of a punch, a kick to the ankles or being nipped. If we persisted in our “bad behaviour” that is when the last resort would come in. Pants down and walloped in the gents toilets. Generally the fathers doled out this punishment.
The above photograph is where we moved to in 1989. We lived in one of those top flats (apartments for americans)
My own little sister got this treatment at 9 years old. But he (dad) waited until we got home this time. We had moved to a 2 bedroom tenement flat by this point. On that night we had been at the Kingdom Hall on a Thursday evening. The meeting lasted from 7pm-9pm. Many of the witnesses liked to mingle. By this point my father was a ministerial servant, so it was like he had to mingle with the other witnesses. Of course in retrospect I now know why my sister done what she done. She had been sitting for 2 hours and had been as good as gold the whole way through. Afterwards when we were mingling a little boy was chasing her around the communal area. My sister trying to get away from him. They were both playing chase. The little boy was new to the congregation. His mum and dad had literally just joined and were someone else’s study. These were people who were not witnesses yet, but were studying to become witnesses for their baptism. The old Kingdom Hall was an old bowling alley/cinema house. So every so often you would come across the bowling alley floors. The little boy tripped on this shiny piece of floor and whacked his head to the point it was bleeding and had to be taken to Accident and Emergency. My sister got the brunt of it from my father, being blamed for playing chase. They were children in retrospect so any child who has been sitting for the length of time they were, wants to run off some steam. When we got home my mother and I were out in the hallway. Heard my father screaming at my sister as if this was all her fault. He produced the slipper. I am sitting in the hallway with my mother and I am counting 1,2,3,4,5, each and every smack until he got to twelve and I let out an almighty scream which echoed down the tenement flats we were living in. In fact the whole block heard my scream. He stopped slippering my sisters bare backside. I knew from then on that only I could protect her, that only I somehow, this little 12 year old who had started to be sexually abused by her father, could protect her 9 year old sister. Of course we were both trapped in a loveless home. Oh Mum loved us she did. But I just wish she had stopped that abuse. Left him for doing that to her daughters. She should have known better, considering she was physically abused as a child.
The old Kingdom hall Glasgow before it was bulldozed and rebuilt, from memory I have re-created it on The Sims and may not be to Scale or exact. From these you can see the main foyer. The bottom level of the building was not used for anything other than storage. You can see the dreaded back room the elders used to dispense punishment to those who would disobey the JW rules. Outside the ladies there was a feeding place, completely covered. To think what once used to be a place of joy for children, turned into a place that facilitated abuse.
Upon a bit of digging I found a website that shows the exact scale of things before it was demolished in 1992 and re-built as 2 new halls.
This is what it looks like now and I sadly helped build this.
This is one of many examples. The 7 month old baby was also a little girl. She fidgeted and was noisy. Her mother got “the look” from an elder. The look of, why are you not doing something about that child? Then the dad stepped in. As the baby passed by the row of seats, she grabbed a disfellowshipped persons scarf. It was Susan. She went out to retrieve her scarf. She got it back, but just as she was coming through the doors,
I started counting the skelps, 1,2,3 and this tiny defenceless baby screaming at the sting she just felt to her legs.
There was so much abuse going on within the walls of the Kingdom Hall. Doled out by parents and facilitated by the elders of each congregation and indirectly, the governing body of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. Many a time we heard the scriptures, Honor your father and your mother. Spare the rod, spoil the child.
My Uncle joins the cult.
My Father liked to talk a lot, especially to my Uncle, his brother. Eventually my Uncle after months possibly years of mind control and brainwashing, seen the ways that my father was following and decided to join in too. This caused an uproar in his already made family. My Auntie was not so keen. She hated Jehovah’s Witnesses. The only way for my Uncle to divorce though was if she committed adultery. To which she promptly went and did, because she did not want to be affiliated with Jehovah’s Witnesses at all. After hours of Family Courts, My Uncle and Aunt parted ways, my Uncle took my cousin to which he was appointed to oversee him from the courts, and My Aunt took my other cousin to live with her, a girl who was just 1 year older than me. So before his life had even started in Jehovah’s Witness rule, his life had already been torn apart.
As my Uncle came to more of an understanding of Jehovah’s Witnesses and WTBTS rules, eventually my Dad decided that TV had to go. TV was a bad influence on us, so no more Wizard of Oz for us. Dad had a very smart mind, so he took the Television Receiving Part of the TV out and then in effect it became a monitor, for just watching videos. Wow that hit us hard. No more CBBC, no more CITV for coming home to. I was about 7 years old when this one happened. A hard pill to swallow for a child so young. I started to hate my Uncle for that, but even more so started to hate the Jehovah’s Witnesses, if having Christmas, Birthday’s, Halloween and Easter taken away from us was not enough, this just tipped the iceberg. The times that we did actually get to go and see our non-JW family members were times I really looked forward to and treasured. The only time to be able to watch TV too. My maternal grandmother was a kindred spirit. She was lovely, had a very kind heart. I treasured the very little association we had with our non-jw grandparents, aunts and uncles. I treasured the moments we had, of playing with my non-jw cousins.
At the meetings in the Kingdom Hall, they emphasised quite a lot about looking forward to Armageddon and the paradise that would follow shortly thereafter. To be told that we would rejoice when the non-believers would be lying dead after Jehovah’s wrath was unleashed upon them, and that the birds would be feeding from their corpses, in my view is emotional and psychological abuse. I would spend many nights, tossing and turning, having nightmare after nightmare about my grandmother’s dead corpse lying there in a pile of rubble, whilst the birds were feeding on her. It was generally crows I seen in my dreams, or pigeons. I did not like pigeons much anyway, but to see them in my dreams, feeding from my grandmother’s dead body was one which still sticks out in my mind today, the ones I remember having. In each recurring dream, all JW’s including myself would be gathered around her dead body and smiling. I then wake up in sweats at how disgusting that can be to be glad of someone’s death, anyone’s death let alone someone so close to you.
Beautiful isn’t it? Imagine living in a world and having the hope of everlasting life somewhere like this. No sickness, no pain and above all else no death with people living in harmony with the animals. What a fantastic prospect a JW can look forward to, especially a young JW. BUT, it comes at a price. You have to do EVERYTHING the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society aka JW dot org, tell you to do. You are not allowed to question anything, you are to refuse blood transfusions and you are not to go against them, ever. If you do, then the bottom pictures show what will happen to you and your non JW family members. These pictures I was subjected to as a child.
Frightening aren’t they?
At the age of 7 though, even knowing that I did not want to continue down this path, I continued on. I wanted my parents to be proud of me, especially my Mum. She felt sorry for me on many an occasion but was only doing what was expected of her. To obey the rules of the master of the household. Around about the same time, my father started taking me out onto door to door field service. I hated going out around doors, being made to do a speech at the door. Another reason why I hated the JW’s so much, for making us do that. My father would take one very special lady out in the field service (bible bashing service). Her name was Susan. I did not much like this Susan. I was not very fond of her. But since then I realised it was because of her very smart intellectual brain. She was a bio-chemist, so she pretty much joined the truth (not truth) after going to college and university. She liked to associate strongly with one of our anointed members. To people who have no idea what an anointed person is, the JW’s believe that 144,000 people will enter heaven and the rest will be left on earth. Susan believed she was anointed. Something which they seemed to think happened to people when they spent too much time with one of the 144,000. Then came the news that Susan was dis-fellowshipped. I now feel sort of bad after having horrible feelings for this woman. I think maybe she just took up too much of Dad’s time. Maybe mum and Dad argued about the fact that they were always paired off together, I don’t know. After some time of this, and being clearly un-repentant as she partook of the emblems whilst dis-fellowshipped. Eventually this woman threw herself off a tenement flat, 4 stories up. She committed suicide. This is just one of the many examples of indirect murder the JW’s impose on people through their shunning practices.
We were not allowed to sing songs of our country, like the Flower of Scotland. In America that would be The Star Spangled Banner. In England that would be God save the Queen. We were not allowed to attend out of school activities, even though an elders son in my class was allowed. We were not allowed to attend the pantomimes, because it was being held in a church and according to JW’s we were not allowed to be inside a building that represented false religion. I felt an injustice that certain children of certain elders would be allowed to attend birthday parties, so long as they did not partake of the birthday cake or sing the Happy Birthday Song. I was told by an elder’s son, that he would be attending the Christmas party of 1989 at our Primary School. I begged to be able to go. I was not allowed. But I sneaked in a party dress anyway and attended regardless. I figured, seeing as the party was during school hours there was no way they would find out. We went to the gym hall first for some party games. I had lots of fun with my school friends, even Gavin Campbell the elders son was having fun. I felt included. We headed back to the classroom for snack. I opened my present from under the tree, we all got presents. I felt part of something. But was shocked when I got this little teddy with a Santa hat on it. I noticed another child (old school friend) who had a little plain bear with stripes on it. I offered to swap with her because I knew, the minute I got home, I would have been found out. We swapped, she was thrilled and I was happy too. We went back to the gym hall for more dancing and party games. Until I seen a face just at the door looking at me sternly. Shit, I’ve been caught. Wow, I got a beating for going to the party, after my father passive aggressively told my teacher that they did not celebrate Christmas and produced “The blue school handbook” He was quiet on the way home, then produced the slipper 😧😧 Even though Gavin Campbell the elders son got to go, I got punished for daring to go to a pagan festival. The beating I got for that one, was beyond anything else I had ever experienced up to that point in my life.
We moved from the little kitchen, 1 room with bathroom apartment to a 2 bedroom apartment, 1 mile down the road. Conveniently enough right next to my Uncle who had remarried at this point, to a devout JW sister. When I say devout I mean, this woman’s brother had been dis-fellowshipped. Her Elder Father disagreed with the dis-fellowshipping. And so did the rest of the family apart from my new Aunt. So the whole family apart from her received punishment, i.e. they were all dis-fellowshipped.
Things were ok for a while in the new house, I got to play with my new baby cousin, and got to see my big cousin too. I got to go out on my bike as long as I was with just my big cousin and my sister, no outside influences. I was heading into teenage, 1 year from reaching high school when it happened.
Something sinister happens in my life
(TRIGGER WARNING FOR SEXUAL ABUSE SURVIVORS)
This is very healing for me so bear with me whilst I go through what I remember. Between the ages of 11-15 I was sexually abused, by my father.
Me when I was 10, almost 11.
This is the part of my story that starts my exit out of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and out into the big bad world. Whilst in my bed one night, I felt something cold touch me. Awakening from my sleep I seen my Dad. He was touching me in places that should not have been touched by my father. I can remember what I felt at the time. I felt total numb, is this right I asked myself ? I don’t know if it is right or not. Are you meant to have these kind of relations with Dad? For a while I did actually think that. That yes you were meant to have relations with your Dad first. I don’t to this day understand how I came to that conclusion as a child. I think it was being so young, unable to defend myself and so naive about the ways of the world, is why I thought that.
I remember when I got really ill with gastric flu. It was a Sunday when the doctor came to visit me. I was lying on the couch, felt rotten. I had been spewing up and of course the other end was coming away from me as well. My father went to the chemist to get my medicine. He brought me home this cute little stuffed bunny rabbit, with a peachy white coloured floral dress and bloomers. I begged for mum to stay home and watch me and not go to the meeting at the Kingdom Hall. Alas, she went with my young sister anyway. As I was lying on the couch, my father scooped me up in his arms. I thought he was going to settle me into my bed. This was not the case. He took me to his marital bed, and molested me. He touched me in those places. He rubbed his genitalia against mine. I was wishing for it to go away. I was hoping mum would come home and save me. I felt numb, unable to speak. When he was finished, he carried me back through to the couch, got me a drink of diluting juice and made himself a tea. Then he sat on his computer until mum and my sister got home. I was crying – silently. I have since binned that bunny rabbit. It triggers that memory, in fact indeed any bunny triggers that memory. Such a cute fluffy animal, triggers such horrible disgusting memories in my mind. I hate him for that.
Another time, I remember I was in my room. I had mirrored sliding doors that hid a massive recess closet behind it. Similar to closets they have in America, only this was in a Glasgow tenement 2 bed flat. He was standing making me look at our naked bodies. Again, he rubbed his genitalia against mine. For this memory, I cannot for the life of me, remember where my mum was. I know it was during the day, and I know I was left alone with him. Since this time, I actually run out of diy stores in a panicked state if I ever see a mirrored sliding door.
We were in Perth, Scotland at the St Johnstone FC grounds for a convention that JW’s hold annually, around about summertime. It lasts for 3 days and you are there from 9am-5pm. There are public talks given, baptism candidates talk, and a drama of an old bible story. There are of course religious songs sung, which are written by the JW’s. It is not always held in the same place, for instance I have personally sat in the seats of Ibrox FC, Murrayfield in Edinburgh and even Hampden Park. Alas of course it was not to watch football or rugby, apart from one time after my exit. I digress slightly.
From around 1992 onwards, we had started to attend Pre-Con. Pre-con is where some of the JW’s, come to the grounds before the actual convention and work hard to set up tents for first aid, for cleaning, for the sound equipment to be working right. They were in charge of microphones and wires leading up to the stage. Something which both my father and my Uncle enjoyed doing. My Uncle used to work for the BBC, so he knew how to plug in and plug out a lot of wires. Even then, sometimes he mucked up. Which I found hilarious and the only highlight of a boring 3 day convention, I’d sit there thinking oops Uncle ****. Pre-con is also where I met my best friend, who was a JW at the time also. We disagreed on many things, but our friendship was a strong one. This was a result of my sister yet finding another baby to play with. Find a baby, you found my sister. It was like a magnet pulling towards the youngest members of our generation. She definitely had the maternal instinct from a young age, she just loved babies. As we were working up in Perth, we were too far away from home to be travelling back and forward. So we stayed there on a camp-site. I remember we were washed out one year, so we had to pack up the tent much to my relief, I absolutely hate bugs and earwigs crawling around about. I love nature, but I don’t like lying on the ground and getting dirty. And I defo don’t like bugs.
There was one bug I really did not like that year. My father. As my sister and mother were getting the caravan ready, I was left alone with my father. To help pack up the tent of course. But he had other things on his mind. There he tried to rape me. When I say tried, what I mean was he was interrupted, by an elder who knew nothing because you could not see what was going on inside the tent. Whilst he was there talking to my father, I fled to the caravan. I sat my mum down and asked her, “Do you think Dad would ever do such and such a thing to his children ?” To which she said, “What an awful thing to think of, your father is not like that. I could not believe it for a minute.” So of course I went along with his evil plan. I did not wish to upset my mother, did not want to break up the family home, because aside from the abuse mentioned at the hands of my father, I loved my mum and I knew I did not want her to be hurt. I never thought for one minute, that my silence would cause other people to be abused.
The very last time it happened was when I was 15 years old. We had moved by this point, to West Kilbride. A small village in a county called Ayrshire, Scotland. I can’t remember the full details of this event, just that it happened and it was the last time it happened. I remember clearly though what he said to me. “We can’t do this anymore. Jehovah will not be pleased with us” And that hit the nail on the head. He was blaming me for his actions. Inside I was happy that this was the end of his abuse. I was angry at him for blaming me. For a long time I felt, this is all my fault. I thought maybe if mum had paid more sexual attention towards him, maybe he would not have done what he did to me.
I have this very vague memory of when my mum was in hospital having my sister, or having just had my sister. I remember my auntie was watching me. But then she left. I remember being in my fathers bed. I don’t know if anything happened when I was this age, but I do know nothing happened in between then and the age of 11. I had nocturnal enuresis right up until the age of 12. When I had been completely dry at night beforehand. Of course my parents thought, with having my sister come along, that this was why I started wetting the bed. I was bullied at school for this. No matter how hard I scrubbed, I just could not get rid of that smell. People knew that I was a bed wetter. The kids teased me at school for it. Bad enough being a JW, but being a bed wetter and a JW was bad. Going by my behavior with pleasuring myself from an early age, I often wonder if something had happened then when I was 2 years old, almost 3.
I was also told never to reveal this information to anyone or I would be ripped apart by my father. This is what an abuser does, they have your complete trust, they betray that trust but to make sure that they don’t get caught, they threaten you. It is a result of grooming techniques. This continued for about 5 years more, before I turned 16. I was free, or so I thought. We had moved again, to a small village along a beach coast. It was lovely, peaceful and quiet. Perhaps too quiet, isolated further from the outside world. I had told my big cousins about this previously before we moved, and my sister. She knew right from the start, what had been going on. I had to tell her. I feared the same thing might happen to her, so to be on the lookout just in case. I hid the truth from my mother and I confided in my best friend, eventually. We were staying at Center Parcs one year, when I confessed everything to her. I could no longer keep it a secret from my best friend either. I never went to the police, never occurred to me, the thought never crossed my mind. And even if it did I was not going to, because of the way we were taught. We were taught to keep the family together, because together we are stronger. We were taught never to tell on anyone in the faith, and never to announce it publicly. For we would surely die at Armageddon for bringing reproach on their god Jehovah’s name. I believed these people were so powerful in the faith, that even the police services would not believe me.
A poem I wrote
When my best friends Elder father phoned to break the news that he knew about this, my heart skipped a beat. I thought OMG he is going to kill me and I shut my eyes waiting and saying to myself I’m dead, I’m dead but thankfully he never went that far, I was still allowed to keep my life. I seen my mum after that and the sight of her was a hard one. She was so upset, I thought this is my fault. I was called into the back room, in the Kingdom Hall, myself with 3 other elders. This was after my father decided to confess to the elders, everything that he had done. Whilst in there, I was shaking like a leaf. They wanted to know every single sordid detail. Everything!!!! They asked me questions like “Had I done anything to entice him” They asked me about my clothing outside and away from the Kingdom Hall, was it flirtatious clothing, did I show too much skin. Of course, I never wore flirtatious clothing. That was one of the things forbidden anyway, and would not have been something bought for me, ever. They asked if I had been dancing in a certain way, had I worn bikini’s whilst being on holiday. Basically all the questions, looking back was encouraging me to blame myself for what had happened. After meeting with the elders, I asked myself on many occasions, Why did I let my Dad touch me there? I can remember clearly the way I felt. I actually did feel this was my fault. That I somehow could have stopped it. Maybe if I had just said no to him, and let him spank me instead for not obeying him. I could have stopped it from happening. If only I had run away, maybe this would not have happened. Now of course I know there is only one person to blame for this. Still I kept up pretence. Going to the Doctors with Dad and Mum to discuss our problem. It now became mum’s problem, my problem when it was his fault. At the behest of the doctor, I had to attend counselling. But back then, I only went once. The problem had not been dealt with for my part. The elders encouraged me not to seek anymore counselling from the psychologist. They were concerned the psychologist would sway me into leaving the JW faith. The Elders, stripped my father of his MS rank. To which I must admit I slightly took pleasure in. Well he was bad so he deserved it. I thought that was ample punishment, obviously not realising that he could go to prison for this and be punished appropriately. I did not realise that this would cause more problems later on though.
The second attack
Furthermore, I am ashamed to admit that one of those Elders conducting the judicial committee, went a whole lot further than just shepherding the flock. I was 17, and up until very recently I had no idea what the law in Scotland said about 17 year olds. Engaging in sexual activity under the age of 16 is illegal
Over the age of 16, sexual activity is legal. However, the activity may not have been consensual, or the young person might have vulnerabilities and related needs. Furthermore, the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 states that young people under the age of 18 could be subject to a ‘sexual abuse of trust’ – for example, if the young person has had sexual relations with a teacher, hospital staff or residential care unit worker who has caring responsibilities for the child or for children in the institution in which the child is being cared for or taught and is over the age of 18. 3
I was out pioneering with this elder, at the age of 17. I looked upon him like a grandfather type figure. Indeed, us young ones all called him Uncle Charlie. His demeanour was of a kind nature, jolly and got on well with the young ones. He had a lot of advice, and was someone we cherished, loved and looked to for advice. As an Elder, he had special responsibilities within the congregation. The same special responsibilities that say a priest, a bishop, or even a teacher would have. He was in a position of trust.
After we were pioneering one night, both him and I went back to his house. This was normal, I never felt anything out of the ordinary, it is what this particular couple did. Him and his wife, would offer some food to the pioneers. However, what was abnormal about this one time, was that his wife was not in the country. In fact she was on holiday, in some Spanish island, or in Spain itself, I cannot remember where she was, just the fact that she was away. I found this to be irregular, because my family always went on holiday together. My mother and father were inseparable. Panic did not ensue straight away. I was quite comfortable and trusted this elder. I sat and ate my soup, and he had put on Braveheart to watch. We discussed the history, and as he was English, and me being Scottish, he apologised for his ancestors acting so brutally towards us Scots. To which I said that there was nothing to apologise for, because it was not his fault, that this happened. He then said, he had to go take a shower and I said ok.
The film dragged on whilst I was waiting on Uncle Charlie to drive me some 9miles home. Panic then rose within me, and I put my coat on. It was a grape coloured bubble coat, which had buttons. Stifling hot waiting on him to finish getting ready. But this was my signal that I wanted to go home. I remember clearly at what point the film was into, the scene where Murron is getting her head chopped off by the English soldiers, is when Uncle Charlie came out of the shower with just a towel wrapped around him. That was quite far into the film.
I remember it was getting quite late, and it was dark. Maybe around 7:30pm maybe 8pm I can’t remember every one of the specifics. He approached me with the towel wrapped around his waist. He asked me”Are you tickly?” and as my anxiety had been heightened, I told him no. He tried anyway to tickle me under my arms. “How about now?” he asked. Again I told him no. He then proceeded to undo my coat, put his hands inside and try again to tickle me under my arms. Again I told him I was not tickly. I then asked him to take me home, my mum would be worried about me.
He went upstairs to get ready. I felt so scared, that he might do something else. I was scared for his wife, how would she feel that her beloved husband was flirting with one of the youngsters. On the way home, he grabbed my leg in his car, and felt his way up towards my crotch. Once inside my house, still knowing fine well there was a sex offender living there, I ran upstairs into my bedroom and hid. I told both my parents and my sister. My father of course thought I had confused things, knowing fine well what he had done to me in the past. Unbeknown to me at the time, Charlie had offered to take both my sister and I to the Magnum Leisure Centre, in Irvine Ayrshire, to go swimming.
I begged my parents all week, not to let us go. To make up an excuse, thank him for the offer but the answer would be no. Unfortunately that is not what happened. On the way there, I made an excuse, that I was on my moon cycle and so therefore I could not go swimming. He asked, could I not wear tampax then, and of course this infringed on my somewhat private affairs, the ways of a woman. “No I can’t wear them,” came the reply. I still, feel somewhat guilty to this day, of letting my sister have to go swimming with this person, but I had hoped that seen as I was 17, he would not flirt with a 14 year old. Alas, he did, and I seen it for myself from the viewing window.
A meeting in my parents’ home was held with both Charlie and his wife. She sobbed profusely when she heard what had went on. I felt sorry for her, admittedly felt guilty. Now of course, I know that this person who she wed was the only one to blame for his actions. But as the rules of the Jehovah’s Witnesses go, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a taxcollector.” Matthew 18:15-17
Of course Jehovah’s Witnesses, view child abuse as a sin and not a crime. After this happened, Charlie was stripped of his privileges as an elder,and him and his wife fled to Edinburgh.
Up until very recently, I had no idea that Charlie had previously been an Elder and committed these evil acts in the past. It is the fault of the whole of the Jehovah’s Witness organisation that these have been allowed to continue, and those who have committed such evil acts, being allowed positions of trust, again and again to commit further atrocities onto the vulnerable young children and young adults. Even at 19 years old, I was not an adult. I still played with my dolls and lego, right up until I left home, nearly aged 19. I was kept gullible and naive.
Another poem I wrote
My first exit from the cult
When asked what I wanted to do with my life, by my parents after school life, I said I would like to become a nurse. After role playing it for many years as a little girl I thought I wanted to help others and make them well again. My father laughed and said “We won’t be needing nurses in the new system (paradise) maybe you should think of something that would be more valuable than a nurse. Remember the new system is just around the corner!!!” Ok so I ended up in a training course for Admin. Don’t ask me what my father thought Admin would be great for in the new system. Still to this day I have no clue. I also poured myself into pioneering work putting in 120 hours per month to go around doors and spread the JW message. (BTW I’m sorry I knocked, and sorry if I ever managed to sway people to this awful cult) So I was out pretty much any spare moment from work, “bible thumping” Eventually though I could no longer keep up pretences.
I tried leaving already, I had got my own house, claiming to the council that I needed somewhere to stay, that I needed to move out because of my father’s abuse. So I was given a house. Right up the street from the Kingdom Hall. Mum said it must be Jehovah working in mysterious ways. I was not far from my training course too which helped. I never actually left “the truth” then. I sort of faded slightly for all of about 2 months. I loved this new found freedom. I met my 2nd boyfriend, as my first was in high school (did I just blurt that out haha well now they know) Obviously as rules go, not allowed outside influences, so bringing in someone from the world to lodge with me was not good. I was reproved for that. For having outside influences and was advised to remove her from my lodgings. To which I never bothered with because although I was happy to be free, I missed my mum and my sister. I was worried you see, if I was not there then how could I protect my sister from a pedophile. I moved back in with them in January 1999, truly repenting in their eyes, but actually I was just pretending again. I was lying to myself more than anyone else. I had 2 faces. One for the JW’s, and the other for other people.
So my best friend left “the truth” I thought OMG she would not have done anything like that down to the fact her father was an elder in good standing. Nope she left, she told them she needed time to get herself together. On the way home from this time of visiting my friend’s family, which was 2 hours drive, I got into an argument with my father. I can remember why. Both my sister and I had sneaked off with my best friends sister, to meet her in the woods not far from her house. Of course, being a JW you are not allowed to do this. Apostate (someone who leaves a belief system behind) in the eyes of JW’s are “mentally diseased”. Again with the shunning techniques. So even though, she was my very best friend I knew I was not meant to be speaking with her. But I did not care less about this anyway. Because I loved her. She was my best friend, we were like soulmates. Obviously my father found out about this. So he started arguing with me. The way he would go on would be a lecture, quoting scripture after scripture, to justify his lecture and try to quell my behaviour. With each lecture that happened though, the more angry I would get. So this one time I remember that we were in the car, and I was clenching my teeth together, 18 years old and getting angrier and angrier the more he went on and on and on. I snapped, saying “WELL MAYBE I DON’T WANT TO BE AN F’N JEHOVAH’S WITNESS ANYMORE” He retorted “WELL I DON’T WANT YOU IN MY F’N HOUSE THEN”
Total Silence all the way home. Word vomit. Just would not go back in there. I knew what I had done when I said that. I basically had consigned myself to being without a home and no money as I had just gave him the very last of my dig money from work.
My final exit
If you are a Jehovah’s Witness, even if you did not have a choice to be one and you were raised as one and then years later, leave the faith then you are shunned. What I mean by that is, unless you have left silently and just no longer attend and you have written a letter of dis-association OR have been dis-fellowshipped for wrong doing (In my case my wrong doing was publicly announcing that the organisation behind these people, cover up cases of child abuse) then people who are of the faith are no longer allowed to speak with you. This includes members of the faith who are your own flesh and blood. They are not allowed to speak to you. If they see you in the street, they are meant to walk the other way. This is to try and get you to go back, because in some cases, peoples employers are JW’s, peoples landlords are JW’s and their friends are ONLY JW’s.
In my case, I was kicked out of home. June 1999 I left home and never went back. You see even though I hated my father for what he had done, he was still my father. I still wanted to belong to family. The prospect of trying to live alone, was one I had pondered over, had even left previously but I knew I would have trouble trying to make my way in the world. I was homeless overnight. It scared me, almost as much as the abuse. I was kicked out of the home, obviously scripturaly based. I was alone on many occasions, even in rooms filled with people. The only person I could really confide in was my sister, and she was not allowed to speak to me.
I had no where to go. I lost my job because I had no clue what to do, no money to get to work as pretty much everything had went on digs to my father. I could not even rely on a council house as I had left they lodgings already 6 months previously so I could pretend to be a JW again and try to protect my sister. And well, the worldly person I had brought in to lodge with me, had given up the house to move back in with her parents. I was banned from getting a council house for 2 years, as rules go, if you give up a council house perfectly good lodgings then barred for that amount of time. I was cut off from family, including my sister. I was not allowed to speak to them, and they were not allowed to speak to me. I felt more pain from being cut off, from my sister than my parents. Especially not my father, I hated that man. Never hated anyone as much as I hated that man at that time.
I was lucky though, I knew people in the area and after hearing my plight, I ended up staying with a family up the street. Things were ok for a while, then money went missing from someone’s purse. I got accused instantly. I never did anything of the sort I wailed. Nope these people would not listen to me thinking I had took this persons money when I had not. And I will swear blind to this day I had not done that. I would never have done anything like that, to jeopardize my lodgings, these kind friendly people who took me in, why would I want to. I ended up staying next door to her, another family, with children this time. I babysat whilst she went out on nights out, earning a bit more money than jobseekers allowance. Then one night I just could not do it as I had other plans, to which she was upset about. Homeless again.
Someone else took me in. A kind middle aged woman. They treated me, took me to fete’s, carnivals, it was as if I had adopted a mother. I loved this woman, not sexually I may add, just in the way a daughter would to her mum. I was also treated as an adult, so I could go to friends houses and drink, do drugs etc. Wild child springs to mind there. I had started to spiral out of control. A life of self harm, alcoholism and drugs. I must add I never went as far as taking cocaine or heroin. That stuff scared me, and knowing my addictive personality it’s something I was proud to say no to. Then one morning I came home to the ladies house, and went to my bed. I woke up, expecting to hear this woman up pottering around in the kitchen. Nope she was not there. I checked upstairs to see if she had maybe decided to have a long lie in. I shuggled her to see if she was awake, to let her know I would be going out and I would be back later. She was stone cold. I looked at her legs and they were greyish blue. I screamed, and her new found lover who was lying beside her, woke up and then I went running to her friends house, tears streaming down my face that this woman was dead.
I eventually ended up in a bedsit, there are people in this world who are so kind. And even although I hung around with people who were also drinking a lot and partying a lot they helped me. I could never thank them enough for that help. I moved about the place until I found my partner in the wake of 2000. The wake of the millennium, the year I thought Armageddon was coming. Nope no Armageddon here. I picked myself up, at the request of my new found lover and now Partner, to which we have 4 children. He helped me seek counselling for my self harm and other inner demons. I believe he is the reason I am still alive today.
I don’t have contact with my Father, he was jailed and have not seen him since. I have had contact with my mother since she finally left “the truth” a few years ago. I was shunned by her at the beginning, for being dis-fellowshipped and now an apostate. But I did not care at the time. I was an angry rebellious teenager, almost adult but not quite. I was not too happy with her anyway for failing to protect me from my incestuous father, who eventually had turned to my sister and done things to her as well. But I now realise she was just as vulnerable as I was. The shunning technique, that the JW’s use, hurt my mum as well. She was just doing what was expected of her. But she was missing me, then eventually she was missing my sister also. We went 6 years without speaking to her. We were lucky though that she had contact with her non-jw sister, who was also in contact with us. We re-built bridges and now we are as close as ever to our Mum. Mum has since said “Family is the most important thing in the world. Treasure it, because it is the only family you have”.
This is difficult for me to express in here but as of 2017 I no longer have contact with my mother or my sister. My sister has made things increasingly difficult for my family whilst we (myself and my man and kids) have been going through some family crisis. As I leaked my story publicly in the mirror and in a talk magazine, my family seem to have cut me off completely. After everything I done for my sister too, trying to get her away from a toxic relationship with an ex JW who is a child abuser himself, helping her by cleaning her house for her when she was in hospital and a myriad of other things. I certainly will not be taken for a mug like that again by anyone. Basically what I am saying is, the family I grew up with, despite no longer being JW’s have cut me off. It’s obvious that old habits die hard. But hey, I have my rock, my man, my saviour and I have my kids who will never, ever join a cult, especially not JW’s. So if you are reading JW’s? Don’t even try, I have my kids well warned about you guys.
That’s my story, it’s a sad one but with a happy ending. I will not say it is not tough because at times they are. There have been times where after I exited the Jehovah’s Witnesses that I thought I had damned my children to death at Armageddon. After reading a lot of truth about the truth, I realised this was not to be the case. I have battled depression, twice and nearly lost my life due to having my 4th child. Thankfully I had a blood transfusion something that had I been a JW, I would not have been allowed to receive and would have surely died as a result. All I can hope for is that my own children do not suffer the same childhood as me and my sister had. I am here to protect them from the evil cult Jehovah’s Witnesses.
I am now battling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, something that could have been avoided before my brain was no longer malleable. If I had the proper help, the proper therapy before my brain was fully baked, I would not be suffering from the horrendous flashbacks I currently endure. I thank Watchtower for making sure I never sought the right help for that. Hell mend them.
At time of writing this I have read Raymond Franz Crisis of Conscience, a must read for anyone who is leaving, left or is thinking of leaving the Jehovah’s Witness Cult.
All the family have exited this cult now, to which I am delighted to hear about.For more information on my story follow the youtube link.
Also could I take the time to acknowledge a very special person, William Bowen. He is the founding member of Silentlambs and without him, people like myself would not have been able to bring their stories before the courts. Especially in a country where religious freedom is in it’s constitution. It should be in my opinion religious freedom as long as no harm is done to another human being if I was making a constitution. Anyone wishing to donate, can follow the link to www.silentlambs.org
Thankfully this has been transcribed as the original paper cannot be found for some reason. The paper was ran in January 2002 before Panorama aired later that year.
Specifically about child abuse within the JW organisation, take a look at the following youtube video.
Meet a very special friend of mine Bo Juel.
“Raised in the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the product of his mother’s affair with a married man and the victim of sexual and physical violence from a young age, Bo Juel left off being one of Jehovah’s Witnesses while still a young man. He is shunned by his entire family to this day for that decision.
Today, Bo devotes his time to coaching, writing, and anti-cult activism. He is also dedicated to raising awareness about child sexual abuse. His hope is to help others escape their cult or any abusive situation, and achieve health and happiness once on the outside.”
If you would like to see how they operate for yourself, then you can read their magazines at.
If any other person has went through something similar, I wish to share with you a couple of songs that really help me get through my darkest moments.