Letter Of Disassociation

10-21-2000 By Rhett Bourland

To Whom It May Concern:

You took my youthful innocence, by telling me that the world was wicked and was about to end. No growing up thinking about what I’d be when I get older because the new world that still isn't here was just around the corner because another one of your prophesies fell through. You took my grandparents away telling me that they were evil and were about to be killed in Armageddon because they didn't accept your brainwashing. No loving Christmas memories with family. You took my friends away telling me how they would all corrupt me and lead me astray. Nobody to sit with on the bus home from school. You took my childhood away, brainwashing me with your lies. No baseball for me, because of the worldly association and no competition. You took my education from me because what could I learn at a school that could equal in value to what I could learn in the ministry. You would have taken my life from me to live up to some ancient commandment about not eating blood as a form of appetizer. No matter that I had to see my grandmother die early because she wouldn’t bend. Not any more.

You controlled the first part of my life. You told me what to think, how to feel, what to believe. You planted seeds of doubt in my mind about what it would be like outside your organization, how I would fall apart and not be able to handle life without your lies. You know what, this is the happiest I’ve ever truly been. I get to search out what I believe. I get to find the truth for myself and not have a group of nameless faceless men in New York telling me what they think it is. I get to have Jesus as my link to God, not a group of men (and don’t tell me that only the anointed are the only ones that Jesus really died for either). I have friends that honestly care for me in good times and bad and don’t reevaluate their friendships with me on a weekly basis depending on if I make it to the weekly brainwashing sessions or not. I can go and do as I please with whom I please without having to worry about who will see me or what they may think or who they may tell. I live my life outside of just another doomsday cult

(Charismatic leader - Russell, all members are told that they are part of a great fight to bring down Satan and his evil system. Members aren’t allowed to listen or read any material critical of the organization. Outsiders are lied to - people at the door are never told that they’re trying to be converted even though that is the sole reason for going door to door. Severe cutting off of ex members, don’t even try to say that’s for their own good either, its to protect against opposing, logical viewpoints. People are told about the horrors of greed in other religions in the same breath as being told that they should be happy to make donations to the one they’re in. All outside connections including families are to be cut off if they’re not totally supportive and joining in the new beliefs. Whenever something doesn’t make sense to you its your fault for not having enough faith and not the leadership’s fault at all, everything is thought of in black and white. When people get disheartened from a failed prophesy, its their own fault, because of their “wild imaginations”, while none think to ask where they even got such crazy ideas, as to when the world was going to end in 1914, 1925, 1975, 1994. You think such actions are only in crazy cults. The same actions are in your cult too.)

You may have robbed me of the first part of my life but you couldn’t take my spirit. I’m not talking about a soul or anything like that. I’m talking about my desire to live a happy, normal life free of religious beatings. The part of me that demands that I think logically.

At one point you actually had me convinced that I was evil, that I was just a burden to you, my family, even to God because I had a girlfriend. Imagine that, a 16 year old boy has a girlfriend and kisses her. Because I was trying to be normal you almost drove me to the edge of suicide. I almost killed myself because of your control. In fact, the only thing that saved me wasn’t your loving kindness or some kind thing that a JW said to me. It was my sister, who has had to put up with frustration after frustration, because she divorced an abusive, alcoholic, adulterer whose Father just happens to be an Elder.

This old system of things isn’t ending in the way that you think it is. Its over now. This big wonderful world with all of its shortcomings is way better than anything that you have ever promised. There are many good people who are Jehovah’s Witnesses. But as long as you try to push your lies on me, know that you are not welcome in my house, around me, my wife, or, most importantly, my son. From here on out you have absolutely no control over me or my thoughts. For whatever reasons, you still have my parents and sister and her family but you will never have me under your oppressive control again. You will never make me feel guilty for doubting you or questioning you again. The only thing that I feel sorry for, is to all the people that I lied to while going door to door all those years. If there was anyway that I could apologize to each and every one of them I would. But I can’t. My parents may have sacrificed me and my life to your lies when it was theirs to sacrifice. Now its my life and not only am I free from your lies and all the false expectations that go along with it, I will do everything in my power to make sure that my son will never know all the pain that I knew being a Jehovah’s Witness. I am not an apostate. I am in no way rebelling against Jehovah or Jesus. I am not an antichrist. I love Christ. If you try to say that I am apostate I will sue you for slander faster than you can say 1914. I just no longer recognize any type of authority you ever had over me and never will again.


Rhett Bourland