Kim's Story

I'm going to start my story from when my Mom got introduced to the "truth." I think it was late 1970s. She was still married to her first husband. He even studied for a while but didn't like the religion because of too many rules or something. It was before I was born, so I don't know. At any rate, they got divorced in (I think) 1980. She already knew my dad at that time, and married him in 1981. By that time, they were both baptized. I was born a little over a year later. I was the first child of their marriage, but my mother's sixth child and the first to be fully raised in the "truth" since birth.

We moved when I was four, thus changing congregations. I made some new friends there, but later found out they weren't all they pretended to be. I don't know when it started, but my mother told me that I bugged her about becoming baptized for a long time. When I was nine, the elders finally agreed to ask me the questions for baptism. I was baptized with my sister, on August 1.1992. My sister was 15, almost 16. We were baptized at the exact same second, which I'm told now is no longer done. (Something about the idea that you may be doing it for the other person, or as a show to other people, or something to that effect).

About a year and a half later, or so, my sister got disfellowshipped for dating a guy outside the religion and having a really bad attitude about it. (My Mom says it was more the bad attitude but I never believed that). She argued with my parents about going to the meetings since she couldn't talk to anyone or answer or anything. They, mostly my Mom, said that if she lived at our house, then she had to go to the meetings. Shortly after, she ran away with the guy that she was dating.

I don't really remember what happened within the next few years, but I do know that my Mom was never home. I'm not even sure where she was. My dad worked 2 jobs to support the family. By now I had 3 younger sisters, and 2 younger brothers. So he had his work cut out for him. He worked hard. Sometimes to the point of exhaustion. I basically took care of all my siblings all the time. This started when I was 11. The youngest of us was 6 months. I was left with all the kids on a lot of different occasions. Most nights, I made supper, did dishes, laundry, changed kids, gave baths, etc., etc., etc. Even though I had all these chores, and at the time it annoyed me, I am grateful in a way, and I know that that is what made me who I am now.

I started to not care at the meetings. Not listen, fall asleep, talk to my sister (who was 2 years younger than me) and for a while, we even wrote poems while there. We had a few friends there, but all of them were more or less "bad association" and my Mom had problems with me hanging out with all of them. Eventually they all fell out of the religion too, but that came later.

At school, I didn't act like a Jehovah Witness. Friends bought me birthday and Christmas presents, and I bought stuff for them too. I kept all this a secret from my mother. And she still to this day doesn't know. I was leading kind of a double life. I was an angel, like I was supposed to be, at the meetings. At school I was like every other "worldly" kid. No one knew.

I didn't go to dances, proms, parties, or anything. I wasn't allowed. It never really bothered me. This stuff was just not allowed. So I just complied in some kind of an effort to keep the peace with my Mom. I know I missed out on a lot. But at the time I really didn't care, or really fully realize that. I do now.

Anyway, at some point I graduated. A few months later I moved in with my older sister, who since being disfellowshipped before, got reinstated, disfellowshipped and reinstated once more. She only did it for my mother, she had moved back to the state, married, and had 4 kids. Even though she was reinstated, she didn't do anything. No meetings, no service, no assemblies. She just became "inactive." Of course, I became the same way. I realized that my getting baptized so young was done purely for my mother. I wanted her to be happy.

In March of 2001 my grandmother died. She was in the truth too, (Came in after my mother) but she wasn't as forceful as my mother. She even told me on occasion that if I chose to not be in the "truth" she would still accept me for the loving granddaughter that I was. I loved her. Earlier that week, my Mom and I got in a huge fight about me and the religion and how I wasn't afraid to die. I told her that the difference between 'life forever' and 'eternal death' was nonexistent for me. They both held the same prospects for me. Either one would assure that I wouldn't feel pain anymore, or be sad, or be depressed, or deal with other peoples death or anything. That was my reasoning. She didn't like it.

At my grandmother's wake, I asked her whether or not she mentioned our fight and what I said to my grandmother. I loved her, and didn't want her to feel hurt because I didn't choose her way of life. My Mom said yes. And while this bothered me at the time, later I thought of what my grandmother said to me once before. Shortly after that my Mom my sister, whom I had been living with, kept arguing a lot. And finally my Mom submitted herself to the psychiatric ward of a nearby hospital. She never said it outright, but in certain phrases she said, she insinuated that it was her children's fault for disappointing her and not following the truth like she had raised us. This put a lot of guilt on my sister. She didn't like being blamed for my mother's mental health because she didn't want to follow something that she didn't believe in. I agreed with her.

Six months later, my sister decided she couldn't take any more of this, and moved to Georgia so she could live her life the way she wanted. I would have gone with her, but I have a job here, and because I love it so much, refused to give it up. So in effect I was forced to move back with my parents. My younger sister had only a few months left of high school and was approved to go to a culinary college in Vermont. She too was baptized but not following the rules of the religion any more than I had. In fact she did worse things than me. My Mom and her constantly fought about her going to college. She said she had the potential and she wasn't going to throw that away to follow something that she doesn't really believe in. She had a full time job that required her to work nights a lot. So she missed all meetings except for the Sunday morning ones. When I moved back home, I told my parents that I was not ready to go back to the meetings. I asked if I could only go to the ones that Sarah, my sister, went to. Surprisingly enough, they, well my dad, agreed. With the exception that I would try to progress to going to more. LOL (Laugh out loud), that never happened. When my sister left for college, I didn't go to any meetings. I just stopped.

After a while, I met someone. We started dating. Eventually my parents found out. My Mom said she was okay with it, but later went to the elders and told them what was going on, or rather, what she *thought* was going on. They jumped to conclusions. None of them had talked to me about my inactiveness, since I started becoming inactive. No one seemed to care. That was fine with me. Until now. Now they have been trying to schedule a time to talk with me. I can only really assume about what. I have avoided them so far. Its been about 2 months since they started wanting to meet with me. One day online, I sorta stumbled into this AOL chat about "disfellowshipped JW's" or something like that. I met this really nice lady, who has had a lot worse problems with the religion than me. She introduced me to a few webpages about the religion, not for, against. I kinda knew they existed but had never really looked for them. So I looked at a few. One person offered to send me some information. He sent me 2 books and 2 videos and a bunch of pamphlets. I read all of the pamphlets, none of the books yet, I haven't had time.
All my life I was told so many different things to do and not do. What to believe, what not to believe. How to act, how to not act. I am done. I cant deal with this. I'm starting to realize that its just too much work. I have only hung on as long as I have so far because of my mother and her immense depression. I don't want to cause her more problems. If I get disfellowshipped then it will make it much worse for her. She will admit herself to the hospital again. At the same time, I know I cant pretend, and I don't want to. She has always thought that I was the good one of the 2 sisters before me and the one who just went to college. I was the one that just accepted, never argued. I cant be that girl anymore. I don't need the elders prying into my personal life. I am 20 years old now. I should be able to make my own decision and make up my own mind. My only problem is that I will not be able to talk to my family if I get disfellowshipped. I'm not worried bout my older siblings, or the one in college not talking to me because they don't follow the religion any more than I do. Two of my brothers claim to, but I know they both have been not as active as my mother would like. My sister in college is still baptized but inactive. The elders there have started to question her too. She too says she is done. My biggest worry is my younger siblings here, I love them. I don't want to not be able to not speak to them and especially my father. As of now, I still live here. I am looking for an apartment, that way, it will be easier for me to avoid the elders. I will just.....not be home, even if I am. Ill be another one of those "home but hiding" calls. LOL. As of now, that's my goal.

I hope I've made this easy to understand. There are many more details that I have left out that attribute to the problem I am facing now. It would take way too long to tell every single one. If there are any questions, please feel free to ask.