Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I've MOVED!!

Hey All!

I have moved to a new site! Please visit and bookmark for all future posts and updates!!

Thanks everybody! See you soon!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Response to my Anonymous Coward

Yesterday, I got a comment on this post from someone who apparently thinks she (or he) knows me.  Here's what she (I say she, because the verbiage used strikes me as female) had to say:

Stephanie,You conveniently forgot to mention how old you were when you had sex..... Got pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl out of wedlock! Your mother attempted to protect you with loving advice that turned out to be on point....(Not slighting your daughter in anyway[sic]) YOU are a hypocrit's [sic] hypocrite! I mean that in a loving way.... Don't get it twisted..... If you can dish it out... You should be able to take it! Sorry... You may be able to fool the unaware.... But you can't fool Jehovah! One other thing..... Eve was perfect (unequivocally brilliant just as her husband) when as you stated she was deceived by Satan.... You are six thousand years removed from her in imperfection and in lack of intelligence.... But all of a sudden YOU have it all figured out? (Pun intended) You have not been deceived by the same clever person who happens to be 1000 times more brilliant than Eve and 100,000 times more intelligent than us? Stephanie. ..... Your mother loves you dearly..... Much more than you are willing to admit at this time.... You are hurt.... You are lashing out.... You are still very young and have lots to learn.... Time heals..... Allow that to take place. You may never re-up your relationship with your family or Jehovah which is frightening within itself.... But you will realize The Truth as Eve did..... He said they would die and they are dead! Will that be your realization? I remember seeing you and your beautiful daughter at the 2009 or 10 convention in Fort Worth.... Happy to see that you were tending to your spiritual needs and that of your daughter..... Don't let your new husband ( Jehovah and your family have known you longer and much more so) and your unforgiving emotions prevent you from giving your two daughters a chance to make a choice as you have... Remember as you said to check consumer reports....or the blue book value.... Because the stance you have taken would not afford them the same luxury. ....I have NOT said any of this to offend you or start a debate..... Unless I have overlooked.... I don't see any opposing views..... And I hope you will not remove this one.

Well, since you decided to leave this heavy comment and "conveniently forgot" (to use your brilliant terminology) to stand by your ridiculous accusations by leaving your name I have chosen a fitting pseudonym for you: Coward.

So, Coward, you asked that I not remove your comment.  Not only will I allow it to remain, I am posting it here for the world to see. Because, you see, I have nothing to hide.  Clearly you do, though, or you would have been woman enough to lend credibility to your statements by telling me who you are.

So, let's break this down point by asinine point.

You conveniently forgot to mention how old you were when you had sex..... Got pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl out of wedlock!  
I conveniently forgot? Are you serious?  Never once have I denied the presence of, and absolute true beauty of my firstborn. Everybody is privy to this fact. I had sex for the first time at 18 and had my oldest daughter at age 19. Yes, as a legal ADULT. What exactly does my age have to do with it?  The fact is this: I was completely unprepared for the world outside the Watch Tower cult.  Witnesses children are told so many ridiculous things about sex, even questioning the normalcy of being attracted to the opposite sex.  I am not sure what point you are trying to make here, but you failed--miserably. 

Your mother attempted to protect you with loving advice that turned out to be on point....(Not slighting your daughter in anyway[sic]) 
Protect me from what, exactly?  If you are saying she tried to protect me from having my daughter, then you are slighting her in every way.  You are insulting her very existence. 
And what loving advice do you claim to know she gave me? You mean loving advice to NOT go to college? Loving advice admonishing me that it was abnormal to be attracted to the opposite sex? And then "lovingly" trying to tell my daughter the same thing? Lovingly blindsiding me with elder visits every time I had an associate (even a FEMALE friend) that wasn't a Jehovah's Witness? Oh and after getting pregnant, again lovingly calling some elders that I had never even met without even telling me? Only to have them perversely quiz me about the positions we used, how many times I had an orgasm, how much heavy petting there was, and if he touched my breasts?  Yeah. Okay. 

Again, the fact is, Jehovah's Witness children are grossly uneducated, controlled to a fault, and not given any real world application for any doctrine. My mom's "loving advice" was to do exactly as the elders say. Even so much as to protect a molester from punishment.  Wow, Coward--you really do know nothing.  

YOU are a hypocrit's [sic] hypocrite! <--this statement is meaningless. when you follow it with--> I mean that in a loving way.... 
I'm a hypocrite?  How, exactly? I have put my story and situation out there for the world to see, and put my name to it.  Yes, I had a baby at 19, but what exactly does that prove? She's an amazing girl and she and I are as thick as thieves...What about that is hypocritical?  It is hilarious that you can hurl such an absurd insinuation at me without even copping to who you are. Again, you're a coward, and by far, the only hypocrite in this situation.  

Don't get it twisted..... If you can dish it out... You should be able to take it! 
I am taking it. I have no problem with criticism, if there's actually a point being proven.  In this case, there isn't. 

Sorry... You may be able to fool the unaware.... But you can't fool Jehovah!  You're right. I can't fool Jehovah. Because he doesn't exist.  As far as fooling the unaware, again--what exactly are you referring to? The only thing you've mentioned thus far is having a child without being married.  Everyone knows this already. They also know about the subsequent Judicial Committee I sat in at age 19, being questioned by perverts. Did you think you were exposing some sort of breaking news? Again--fail. I suppose you should be used to failures since the corporation to which you are enslaved regular fails in both prophecy and doctrine.  

One other thing..... Eve was perfect (unequivocally brilliant just as her husband) when as you stated she was deceived by Satan.... 
From where are you getting this information? Where does the bible say Eve was unequivocally brilliant? And furthermore, when have I ever said that Eve was deceived by Satan? You're kidding me, right?  

I have said numerous times that:
a) The Adam and Eve story is nothing more than a myth  
b) When you look closely at this myth, you find that Eve wasn't deceived at all.  She was told the TRUTH by a serpent.  Nowhere does Genesis say the serpent was Satan.  
c) Eve was NOT intelligent.  Neither she, nor Adam even knew right from wrong until they ate from the tree of KNOWLEDGE of GOOD AND BAD. They didn't know they were even naked. And what does Genesis 3:22 say?  Your god says 'oh wow look at them, now they are just like US knowing good and bad (serpent told the truth).  Let's banish them before they stretch out their hand and eat from the tree of life and try to live forever.'  God never purposed for them to live forever anyway... UNLESS they ate from the tree of life.  Get your facts straight, Coward.  You're sounding more and more foolish with each sentence.  Your elders would be so proud.

You are six thousand years removed from her in imperfection and in lack of intelligence.... But all of a sudden YOU have it all figured out? (Pun intended) First off, that wasn't a pun. At all. Boy, you're really proving the perils of foregoing an education, here.  

Secondly--you honestly think that humans have only been around for 6,000 years?  Well that explains a lot.  I just about fell out of my chair laughing at this scatterbrained lie, nonsensically guised as a point. Homo sapiens (the scientific term for humans) first appeared on the scene approximately 200,000 years ago. You were so close! Only about 194,000 years off... All the while further emphasizing the point that Jehovah's Witnesses have no education whatsoever.   

But to answer your question, yes I am more intelligent than Eve, because Eve didn't exist.  And even if she did, I don't need a mythical tree to use my brain. I certainly don't need to eat a fruit in order to distinguish when I am being deceived, which is precisely why I left your cunningly fraudulent cult.  Furthermore, just from an evolutionary standpoint alone, humans today are more intelligent than the first (though, your lack of mental acuity is causing me to question that theory), which is why we have had so many scientific and technological advances, such as the car you drive, and the computer you used to type your laughable diatribe. 

You have not been deceived by the same clever person who happens to be 1000 times more brilliant than Eve and 100,000 times more intelligent than us? Once again, I don't believe your god Jehovah exists, which also means, I don't believe his boogeymen (Satan and his demons) do either.  But it bears repeating--in the Adam and Eve myth, the serpent did not deceive Eve.  It told the truth. Your god lied. So your equations equal exactly ZERO.  

Stephanie. ..... Your mother loves you dearly..... Much more than you are willing to admit at this time....
My mother has no idea what love is.  She is living under the Watch Tower mandated affection with conditions.  Even without the addition of that cult in our lives, she didn't ever show me much love.  Mostly because she didn't know how.  She wasn't shown much love by her dad and was completely warped by her upbringing.  As was I.  I just decided to take matters into my own hands, instead of leaving it in those of an imaginary deity.   

You are hurt.... You are lashing out....
Yes, I am hurt. Lashing out? No way.  If you know me as well as you think you do, then you would know what I am capable as far as lashing out.  What I am doing is giving people some knowledge they may not have.  What I am doing is encouraging people to think for themselves!  They have incredible brains... I am encouraging individuals to use them.  It has nothing to do with getting back at anyone, and everything to do with helping myself and others. 

You are still very young and have lots to learn.... Time heals..... Allow that to take place. You may never re-up your relationship with your family or Jehovah which is frightening within itself.  
What is frightening is the fact that I have to abandon actual science, and go back to a destructive cult that believes that humanity started 6,000 years ago, and that Jerusalem fell in 607 BCE, protects child molesters, and flip-flops on the generation not passing away-- in order to have a relationship with my family.   

What is frightening is the fact that because I decided that your cult is not appropriate for my life, my family is commanded to shun me. Not by god, but by eight men in Brooklyn.

What is frightening is how long I was forced to be a part of a deceptive, thought pillaging organization even after I realized I didn't want anything to do with it.  

The thought of not having a relationship with a make-believe man in the sky doesn't frighten me.  What frightens me is seeing quotes like this in your November 15, 2013 Watchtower, page 20:  
"Lifesaving direction that we receive from Jehovah’s organization may not appear practical from a human standpoint. All of us must be ready to obey any instructions we may receive, whether these appear sound from a strategic or human standpoint or not. Now is the time for any who may be putting their trust in secular education, material things, or human institutions to adjust their thinking."   So no matter what instruction you receive from your masters, the Watch Tower Society--you must obey it.  You must abandon all your education or knowledge and blindly obey.  Even if you know it is unsound. Now that is frightening.

But you will realize The Truth as Eve did..... He said they would die and they are dead! Will that be your realization? 
That's all you've got?  "He said they would die and they are dead!" <cue uncontrollable laughter> In the myth, god told them in the day they ate the fruit, they would die.  What a scare tactic.  Sounds eerily similar to what the Watch Tower Society is telling you.  However, did they die the day they ate the fruit? Nope. They became just like god.  Eventually, they did die, though.  Just like every other living thing does when it reaches the end of its life.  However, god was a little off on his math... Turns out they lived another 930 years, give or take. 

And yes, that will be my eventuality.  I will die one day.  So will you.  The sad part is that you truly think it's feasible that you will be resurrected along with literally billions of other people worldwide that have died over the hundreds of thousands of centuries of human existence.  It saddens me that people like you, my mother, and my brother are giving your one chance at life in controlled service to a corporation propagating such nonsense.  You will spend the rest of your days awaiting a day that will never arrive.  I am truly disheartened for you.  

I remember seeing you and your beautiful daughter at the 2009 or 10 convention in Fort Worth. 
Wow, this is getting creepier and creepier.  Well, I suppose I should be glad you're such a fan.  

Anyway, I was at a convention with my mother in 2009, because I wanted to support HER, and really TRY to do something to improve our relationship. Sadly, I could barely sit through it without nausea and bile rising in my throat.  You are speaking about things you absolutely do not know. Oh and by the way, who are you, Coward? Lots of judgment and damning going on here, with no name associated with it.  

Happy to see that you were tending to your spiritual needs and that of your daughter.....
Again, you truly know nothing.  I am guessing that you know my mother at least somewhat.  If so, she will be the first to tell you that I have never bought into that religion.  She uses the phrase "Stephanie never made the truth her own," regularly.  You should ask her.  

Leaving the Watch Tower cult was my tending to my spiritual needs and very much the needs of my daughter. 

Don't let your new husband ( Jehovah and your family have known you longer and much more so) and your unforgiving emotions prevent you from giving your two daughters a chance to make a choice as you have... Remember as you said to check consumer reports....or the blue book value.... Because the stance you have taken would not afford them the same luxury. 
Are you saying what I think you're saying?  That I should afford my children the opportunity to become mentally enslaved to your cult?  That I should give them the "luxury" of conditional love?  That I should expose them to innumerable falsehoods? Wow, there was a lot of malarkey in your tirade, but this takes the cake.

My children were a huge part of the many reasons I left.  I have a responsibility to teach them to use their minds, to use their intuition, and to gain actual knowledge. I have a duty to my children to ensure they believe they can do and be anything in the world. I would be doing my daughters a huge disservice raising them in that cult.  A cult that literally hates women.  A cult that teaches that females are less than men, and should respect and obey only those who possess penises.  Get out of here.  Just the very thought of it sickens me.

My husband and I are teaching our children how to research, and come to their own conclusions.  My oldest just did an entire research paper about the numerous gods and deities that predate Jesus, but have exactly identical stories surrounding their births and lives as your dumbed-down Americanized fictional hero--Jesus. My children are not commanded to believe this or that--or else.  They are afforded the opportunity to think for themselves. Which is all I've ever wanted for myself, and for those I love. 

I have NOT said any of this to offend you or start a debate
Wow, for a supposed Christian, you really lie a lot.  You definitely said these things to offend me.  And if you know me as well as you claim, then you definitely would know the result.... 

Unless I have overlooked.... I don't see any opposing views..... And I hope you will not remove this one. 
You didn't look hard enough.  There are definitely opposing views. I welcome them.  Can you say the same? I doubt it.
The summary is this:  You came to my blog and left a long, very offensive comment. You claim to know me, but just like the rest of your Jehovah's Witness brethren, remained anonymous.  Why? I know exactly why. It's because you are scared of being called out by your owners, the elders.  You're specifically commanded to stay off of any other websites that criticize the cult, and you went against your orders. You're hiding behind the veil of anonymity, not because you are afraid of disappointing your god...your god reads hearts right? He knew you were going to write that comment before you typed the first word. You've already sinned with him, and that's okay with you.  What you're really afraid of is sinning against your true masters.  The Watch Tower Society.  You're sad in the most duplicitous way. You're spineless.

If not, then leave your name.  It's only fair.  You can spout all these fallacies here,  at least stand by them. If you truly believe what you wrote here, then make it credible.  Tell me who you are, and how you know me. I'll even sweeten the deal.  You don't even have to leave your name here.  If you know me, then text me who you are. Email me. I'm sure you have my contact information, or can obtain it from my mother.  Tell me who you are privately so your rulers won't know.  It's clearly the men you're worried about, not god. So I challenge you to that.  I doubt you will, though.  As I said before, you are just like every other witness. No backbone.  You make all kinds of strong statements but can't even back it up enough to put your name next to your beliefs.  Prove me wrong. I dare you. Coward.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Shunning the Shunners

I recently heard a portion of a talk being given at the God's Word is Truth District Convention of Jehovah's Witnesses, entitled:  The Truth brings "Not Peace, but a Sword given by Steven Bell of the Watch Tower Corporation, Walkill, NY.

Here are some jewels from that talk:

"What does Jehovah want from us when our family member is disfellowshipped? What does Jehovah expect out of us even if the situation is so painful that we have a family member who is disfellowshipped? What does he want?  Loyalty. That's what Jehovah wants.

Disloyalty to Jehovah's arrangement is not going to work.  For example, when someone is disfellowshipped, one of the reasons they want to come back to Jehovah's organization is to associate with the brothers and sisters in their congregation, and likely to associate with their family.  So, if we associate with them when they're disfellowshipped, we could actually be taking away from them a motivating factor for wanting to be reinstated.

Regarding family members who oppose us, or family members who are disfellowshipped, the vital question is: To whom am I going to be loyal? To whom do I have greater affection?  If we have more affection for anybody on this earth, whether it's a father, a mother, a son or a daughter, than we do for Christ Jesus, we are not worthy of him."

So let's face it:  The shunning is NOT going stop.  Our families are being taught that it comes down to loyalty.  Literally it is between us and their Almighty deity--Jehovah.  However sad, unfair, and just plain wrong this might be, the fact is--we cannot compete with their God. Even though their god is truly the Governing Body of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, our family members believe they are the vehicle the Almighty is using as their mouthpiece and mandate giver.  It's time to face the music.  That's a battle we just cannot win.  Logic does not prevail in this case.  Neither does emotional appeal.  So what are we to do?

Being cast out and shunned by your family members is like enduring a death.  A death of not just one individual, but everyone you know and love. And even a death of the person you used to be. It really is a grieving process like no other, because the ones you are grieving are still alive.  How ridiculous is that?

A picture is being painted of us--the disfellowshipped, or disassociated family members. It is so funny when I see the illustrations in the Watchtower literature depicting the "faithful Jehovah's Witnesses" painfully watching their child walk out of the door, or staring at a photograph of the object of their shunning with a grief-ridden expression on their faces. You never see the pain and agony the shunned one has gone through. The focus is on the fact that our Jehovah's Witness counterparts are the loyal ones and the life that we have chosen on the "outside" is worthy of excommunication, shunning, and even death.

Because many of us have been raised in, or at least exposed to these teachings for majority of our lives, our first instinct is to believe that, on some level, they're right.  We are not worthy.  We did something wrong by not choosing to continue to have our minds controlled by men, and therefore we deserve to be exiled, and ostracized by the very people who birthed us and have even claimed to love us without conditions.

The majority of negative comments on my YouTube channel  are from disfellowshipped ex-Jehovah's Witnesses who are actively being shunned! They are angry at me for speaking out against it, because--they truly believe they deserve this abuse.  It's all they know.  And in essence, although they are technically out of the organization, they are still bound by its chains.  But is that the case? Are we bound, and even getting what we deserve?

Not at all. Think about your family. These are adults we are talking about.  Yes they're being controlled by a government of eight men in Brooklyn, but they are adults, and as such, they choose to shun us.  They choose the Watch Tower corporation over their children, brothers, sisters, etc.  Why in the world should they be pitied? They chose to shun you because they don't like the decision you made. Just as you chose to leave the cult. 

So let me get this straight:  you chose to leave, they don't like it--and they feel the best and only option they have is to ostracize you from the family.  Where does that leave you?  Do you like their decision to shun you?  Do you not have a say in what happens in your life, and who gets to control it?

Let me give you a quick example.  My mother has been actively shunning me for nearly 3 years.  She doesn't speak to me, doesn't call me, doesn't answer my cards, emails, or messages.  At the same time, though, she routinely attempts to contact my daughter, send her emails, messages, or comments on her photos.

At first I was so hurt by the shunning, and the suddenness with which my family disowned me, that I allowed her to do this.  But then I realized something...  my mom's life hasn't changed.  She gets to shun her daughter, treat her like she's dead...and still have a relationship with her grand-kids. Meanwhile confirming her smug sense of "rightness" in following the Society's commands.  Works out great for her!  And every time my daughter got contacted by the woman that treats me as if I do not exist, I would feel worse and worse.  More and more slighted, and it fed even more into the feeling that maybe I deserved this treatment--and worse yet, that my mom deserved to still be in my children's lives all because she was still in the cult.  But that's not how I truly felt.  That's what the Watch Tower Society propagates.  They want you to be unhappy.  They want you to come crawling back so that you can finally associate with your family again.

The last thing they want is for you to move on.  And even worse than that would be to--shun the shunners. Yes, that's right.  Shun the shunners.  In the case with my mom--as I said before, she treats me like I'm dead.  So be it.  I'll be dead.  But guess what?  She's dead too.  She doesn't get to be among the living in my family.  It's only right.  She doesn't agree with my disassociation from her cult, so she shuns me for it.  I don't agree with her decision to let some guys in Brooklyn tell her that she can't speak to her daughter, so I'm shunning her for it.  And with that--comes restrictions.

She can't speak to my children.  My father (who has never been a JW, but is still married to my mom) can come down and visit, stay with us, play and take pictures with my kids.  She is not welcome in our home. She is blocked on my daughter's social media, and unless my father shares photos with her, she doesn't see them.  She doesn't get to disown and ostracize me, and go on with the same privileges she had before making that asinine decision. If I am dead, then the only way I can move on is if she is dead too.  In a figurative sense, of course.

I always have heard that just because someone shares your DNA, doesn't make them family.  It doesn't make it okay for them to hurt you, or destroy your soul.  They can only hurt you if you let them continue to do so.  They're just people.  People who can be removed from your existence.  

Once I came to that conclusion, I started feeling better.  Immensely.  I started truly sensing the power that I had given away, returning to me.  Because really, who has any power over any of us?  No one but US.  I started living on my own terms and realized that just because the Watch Tower society deems me inappropriate for association with my own family, it doesn't mean they are right.  They are nothing to me.  Their thoughts, controlling words, articles, and talks mean absolutely nothing in my existence.   They can only affect you if you let them.  And that is what they want.  It's the result for which they're waiting.

And just think about it.  If you did return to the cult solely for the purposes of associating with your family, is that really right?  I mean, why in the world would they even include that in the talk?  If you're not returning for "Jehovah", then are you really authentic in your faith?  I think not.  Shame on them.  Emotional blackmail at its worst.

So my advice is to get your power back.  Don't wither away, and wallow in this pain, guilt, and feelings of unworthiness.  Do something about it.  You don't deserve this treatment.  You don't deserve to be told that you're only worthy of love as long as you are doing what others want you to do.  Do you really want that energy in your life?  If not, let it go!  Shun the shunners.  Don't go crawling back and succumb to their ultimatum. Live your life.  You only get one!  Think about how you want to spend it.  Trust me, I know it's hard. I still have my tough moments, but it's getting better every day.  The sun has risen again, and it will do the same for you! But only you can decide whether you want to go out and see it.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Without This Man, You Would Have Never Become a Jehovah's Witness

The other day, I happened upon a British television program called QI, which stands for Quite Interesting.  It is a panel-type quiz show which explores factoids that most do not know, and many would find, well, quite interesting.  Anyway, this particular episode was very intriguing to me because of the subject matter.  Take a quick peek here:

William Miller?  The Millerites? A cult that predicted the end of the world would come in 1844, and then failed?  And from that cult, emerged another--Jehovah's Witnesses, which also predicted the end of the world several times and failed?  QI definitely lived up to its name in this instance.  I had to know more.

William Miller was born in 1782 into a relatively poor family. He was the firstborn of 16 children, and because of the time period, had become quite a laborer. There was not very much education available at the time, in the Millers' town of dwelling, Low Hampton. In fact, it only provided about 3 months worth of education.  His father was a war veteran, and his mother--a devout baptist.  Needless to say, in that household, there was little to no room for questions from a young boy who had a thirst for knowledge.  His mother, however, did teach him to read--and in a very short time, William Miller had developed a ravenous appetite for books.

He would read anything he could get his hands on, and often would be awake all night doing so.  His father, who William assisted in the farms during the day, would wonder if his reading all night would eventually interfere with his work.   As a result, his father commanded William to go directly to bed at the same time he did.  William could not bear that, though.  He would wait until everyone else was asleep, creep down to the fireplace, light a fire, and read as long as he could.

Eventually, William married and moved away to Poultney, VT in 1803.  There, he continued his journey of education through books.  He didn't spend as much time reading as he would have preferred, as he now had a wife and household to support.  He spent much of his time in the farming business he had learned from the time with his father. However, William's wife greatly encouraged him to continue in his pursuit of reading and educating himself.

During the time of this self-taught education, he began questioning a lot of the things he was being taught and seeing in the Christian churches.  He withdrew from them, because above anything, he wanted to find something noble in character before anything else!  He even wrote in his own memoir:  "The more I read, the more dreadfully corrupt did the character of man appear.  I could discern no bright spot in the history of the past.  Those conquerors of the world, and heroes of history, were apparently but demons in human form.  All the sorrow, suffering, and misery in the world, seem to be increaded in proportion to the power they obtained over their fellows.  I began to feel very distrustful of all men.  In this state of mind, I entered the service of my country.  I fondly cherished the idea that I should find one bright spot at least in the human character, as a star of hope--a love of country--PATRIOTISM."

So it was no surprise that in the war of 1812, William Miller received a commission as captain and entered the army.  He lead an infantry regiment at the Battle of Plattsburg.  They were extremely outnumbered by the British, and Miller had no idea how they could possibly win.  But, by what he deemed as divine intervention, they came off victorious. Miller believed, then, that God stepped in to save him for a distinct purpose.  And because of this victory, and came out as a hero and was very respected among his counterparts.

This all sets the stage for the events that would unfold.  Miller was highly regarded among his community, he was a self-made educated man who was known for his knowledge on a wide variety of subjects.  So, when he took to reading and interpreting the Bible in its entirety, he had credibility on his side.  People listened.

What was of particular interest to Miller was the End of Times, as described in the book of Daniel, and--he believed--it would be fulfilled in the book of Revelation.  He took passages from Daniel that refer to 1,260 days, transformed each day into years, and used the beginning point of the rebuilding of the Jewish temple and arrived at the year 1843 for the end of the world.

He was likable, trustworthy, and so convincing, that his "prophecy" gained lots of momentum.  He utilized the technology available in that era--the high speed printing press to produce pamphlets, and employed a gentleman named Joshua Himes to promote the movement into a mass "organization" called the Millerites. Two of the pamphlets produced and promoted by Himes and Miller were entitled Signs of the Times and Midnight Cry. Take a gander at one of the flyers produced and dispensed by this organization.  Looks like something right out of Jehovah's Witness publication, Revelation--The Great Climax is at Hand, doesn't it?

Interesting to note, at this time, the Millerites were admonished to keep away from, and not have any association with those who would nay-say, or those who were deemed "evil" so as not to distract them from God.  Miller was even a freemason at one point, and chose to remove himself from the group, stating that he did so to "avoid fellowship with any practice that may be incompatible with the word of God among masons.  He even wrote a letter to his followers to treat Freemasons "as they would any other evil".  Starting to sound a bit familiar, yet? 

Obviously, the year 1843 came and went, with no Apocalypse.  What gives?  Well it turns out that Miller had miscalculated.  He failed to add in the year which BC turns to AD.  So all he had to do now was simply move the prophecy forward one year.  He even pegged it down to an exact date.  October 22, 1844.  This new date extended and greatly increased the excitement.  At this point, there were over a million Millerites awaiting the end of times, and anxious for Christ to come sweep them up to heaven. 

The day, forever after called the Great Disappointment, arrived and passed.  People had literally given everything they had as a result of belief and trust in this prophecy.  They had sold their homes, farms, and even given their lives awaiting it.  When the day came, and Christ did not appear, there was incredible dismay.  The Millerites were literally traumatized, frenzied and utterly disappointed.  Ultimately the group disbanded.  

Note some glaring similarities
  • Only the Millerites had the truth.  All other churches, and religions at the time were regarded as Babylon the Great.
  • Christendom was called the whore (harlot) of Babylon the Great.
  • Millerites stopped their educations, and sold or gave away their possessions in enthusiastic anticipation of the Great Day of God--the end of times. 
  • Millerites produced and dispensed large amounts of pamphlets and flyers to gain awareness of the prophecy.

Though William Miller did issue a heartfelt apology (which is definitely more sincere than the arrogant use of "new light" employed by Jehovah's Witnesses), he did continue to warn that the end was still near.  The signs of the times were still there, there's just no exact date.  So it makes perfect sense why Charles Russell, a Millerite at the time, proceeded with the same fervor in his creation of the Bible Students, which later became the organization we all know as Jehovah's Witnesses.   This group, which employs some of the exact tactics used by William Miller to keep people "anxiously awaiting" a day which has, and most certainly never will, come. 

Truthfully, it seems to me that William Miller was at least genuine and earnest in this movement.  He sincerely believed the end would come in 1844, and he was greatly disappointed along with his followers when it never came to pass.   I believe Charles Russell--in the creation of his organization, and failed prophecies to come--was also very sincere.  However, the leaders of the organization have progressively evolved into something much less sincere, and much more controlled.

So there you have it, people.  William Miller--the man without which, we would have never even heard of, much less become Jehovah's Witnesses.  Kinda makes you sick to your stomach a bit, doesn't it? Ah, I digress. 

I'd be willing to bet that there is little more than a handful of active Jehovah's Witnesses who actually know where their organization comes from.  That it actually is a direct derivation of a previous "last days" cult which also failed at predicting the end of the world.  This is why I keep stressing to do your research.  Find out the truth about the corporation in which you are involved.  The answers are there. The history is there.  All that is required is to open your eyes.  

My silver lining in all of this is if I had never been exposed to the cult of Jehovah's Witnesses, I wouldn't be in the place I am right now.  I wouldn't be writing this blog, and I wouldn't have the insatiable desire to find actual truth.  I would be much more susceptible to what others believe and accept it as factual without reason, and research.  It is because of the Jehovah's Witnesses that I have realized the fallacy of taking the opinions of others as my own.  It is because of their arrogance that I the humility to say how little I know, and how much I have to learn.  So for that--thanks, William Miller.  My life would have been completely different if you'd never existed.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

I'm a Human Apostate--and so are YOU!

My thoughts about the talk that is being given at the 2013 "God's Word is Truth" District Convention.  It's absolutely ridiculous, desperate, and just sad... and this is why. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What is the "Blue Book Value" of being a Jehovah's Witness, and How Much Will it Cost You?

Let's say you're looking to purchase a used car.  You haven't decided on a make and model yet, but you go to a dealership to see what deals, if any, you can find.  The dealer shows you a car and says how amazing it is.  You have to admit, it is a great color, nicely sized, and even fits your family very comfortably.  You ask the dealer for more details; Has it been in any accidents? Obviously there's been previous owners, what did they have to say about owning the car?

The dealer doesn't answer your questions. Instead, he tells you again how wonderful the car is.  He advises you once more how nicely it fits your family, and repeats to you that you like the color. He then tells it handles great and drives smoothly.  You find it strange that he didn't answer your questions, but since he mentioned how well it handles while being driven, you request a test-drive.

The dealer declines.  He says you have to buy the car before you can drive it.  Again, that seems very odd to you. What is this guy trying to hide? you think to yourself.  You tell the dealer you'll think about it and get back to him.  He gives you a brochure about the car on your way out.  As you open it, you read the exact same "wonderful" things he had just said. You thank the dealer for the brochure, but inform him that you'll be checking out Consumer Reports, some reviews of current and past owners of the car, and even researching the blue book value.

The dealer's eyes darken.  He tells you that you are forbidden to do independent research.  The only reliable source of information is himself, and the brochure you're holding in your hand.  What would you think? What would you do?

Most people would find this scenario laughable.  Anyone with any wits about him would immediately diagnose the dealer as mentally unsound and walk out of the dealership.  Everyone knows you're allowed to do independent research when buying a car.  In fact, most would argue that it would be crazy not to do a thorough examination before any large purchase, or major decision in one's life.  And to be told that you are forbidden to do so--well that's just ridiculous.

Isn't it? Wouldn't it be just as crazy to commit your very life to an organization without hearing both sides of the story? What would you think about someone who told you that you couldn't do independent research about said organization in any materials but those produced by that very group? Would you not think there was something wrong with that picture?

This scenario is exactly what plays out in the cult of Jehovah's Witnesses.  Our car dealer, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, forbids reading, viewing, or even discussing anything that criticizes or just plain disagrees with the materials it publishes and dispenses.  It also readily forbids questioning the organization. Don't believe me?

"The 'faithful and discreet slave' [Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses] does not endorse any literature, meetings, or Web sites that are not produced or organized under its oversight.  For those who wish to do extra Bible study and research, we recommend that they explore Insight on the Scriptures, All Scripture is Inspired of God and Beneficial, and our other publications..." (Our Kingdom Ministry September 2007 Question Box)

"How is such independent thinking manifested?  A common way is by questioning the counsel that is provided by God's visible organization." (Watchtower 1983, 1/15, p. 22 par. 21)

What about if you meet someone who is a former Jehovah's Witness? Would you not want to understand why they left? Wouldn't you want to know their experience, so you can make an informed decision? Well what does the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society tell us about that?

"We do not receive them into our homes or greet them.  We also refuse to read their literature, watch TV programs that feature them, examine their Web sites, or add our comments to their blogs." (Watchtower 2011, 7/15, p. 16, par. 7)

Okay, so you are strictly forbidden from talking to others who used to be involved with the organization.  Can you at least do some research on your own?
"The scriptures warn against isolating ourselves, thinking that we can figure out everything with independent research." (Worship the Only True God, Ch. 3, p. 26 par. 8)

Well what happens if you find out that there are things that the organization has been just plain wrong about in the past? Shouldn't you be able to make up your own mind as to what you believe?
"There are some who point out that the organization has had to make adjustments before, and so they argue: 'This shows that we have to make up our own mind on what to believe.' This is independent thinking.  Why is it so dangerous? Such thinking is an evidence of pride... If we get to thinking we know better than the organization, we should ask ourselves:  'Where did we learn Bible truth in the first place? Would we know the way of truth if it hadn't been for guidance from the organization? Really can we get along without the direction of God's organization?' No we cannot!" (Watchtower 1983, 1/15, p. 27 pars. 19, 20)

When you think about it, this is just as ridiculous as buying a car and being told that you cannot research anything about it, and you cannot speak to anyone who has ever owned it.  If you wouldn't take such a gamble with a purchase, why would you take a gamble with your life, and family? 

The truth of the matter is, like the car dealer above, the organization doesn't give you the opportunity to test-drive before you buy into it.  You are not told what you are getting into before you accept.  Some of us were born into the religion, and were thus forced to accept and conform.  Why? 

What happens after you become a Jehovah's Witness, and then find that you no longer agree with their teachings and practices?
"We now come to the matter of being loyal to Jehovah's visible organization.  Certainly we owe loyalty to it, including the 'faithful and discreet slave,' through which the Christian congregation is fed spiritually.  Suppose that something appears in the Watch Tower publications that we do not understand or agree with at the moment.  What will we do? Take offense and leave the organization?  Loyalty includes waiting patiently until further understanding is published by the faithful and discreet slave." (Watchtower 1996, 3/15, p.17 par. 10)

"It may be that you left Jehovah's organization because you had a different understanding of some Scriptural point.  Perhaps the point has been clarified, either being changed or established by further Scriptural research under the direction of God's spirit.  Would it not have been better just to have stayed with the organization, waiting on Jehovah?" (Watchtower 1988, 1/15, p. 22)

"What if we individually have difficulty understanding or accepting a certain point? We should pray for wisdom and undertake research in the Scriptures and Christian [Watch Tower] publications.  Discussions with an elder may help.  If the point still cannot be understood, it may be best to let the matter rest.  Perhaps more information on the subject will be published..." (Watchtower 1996, 7/15, p. 17 par. 7)

So, no matter how much you might be struggling to buy into what the organization is selling, you are admonished to suppress it, and wait for them to correct themselves.  What if this never happens? What if you decide to leave? Can you just walk out and let that be that?  Well if you make your doubts known to the elders they must give you firm and direct counsel.  If you still continue to have doubts, and make them known, you risk being disfellowshipped (removed from the congregation and subsequently shunned by all, including your own family).

"Any with sincere doubts should be helped. Firm, loving counsel should be given.  If one obstinately is speaking about...false teachings, this may be or may lead to apostasy.  If there is no response after a first and a second admonition, a judicial committee should be formed." (Shepherd the Flock of God, p. 65, 66 under subheading: Deliberately spreading teachings contrary to Bible truths as taught by Jehovah's Witnesses)  So really, you don't have to disagree with the Bible to get removed. It's about disagreeing with doctrine as taught by Jehovah's Witnesses.  And once you are expelled from the congregation, it is as if you are dead to their members.  People you once called "friends" will no longer speak to you, greet you, or even look at you if you pass their way.  Your family members are instructed to follow the same course of action:

"What if we have a relative or a close friend who is disfellowshipped?  Now our loyalty is on the line, not to that person, but to God.  Jehovah is watching us to see whether we will abide by his command not to have contact with anyone who is disfellowshipped... Think of that if you are ever tempted to violate God's command to not associate with your disfellowshipped relatives." (Watchtower 2012, 4/15, p. 12)  This applies to those who disassociate themselves from the religion as well.  It does not matter whether you are involved in "gross sin" or just merely disagree with the teachings.  If you leave, you fall under the same umbrella, and you will lose your family who remain in the organization. 

These things are not told to people who are contemplating joining the religion Jehovah's Witnesses, nor those born and raised inside the organization.  The thousands of children who get baptized every year thinking they are doing the right thing or gaining their parents' approval are not told that if, at a later time, they choose to leave the religion--they face the harsh reality of being cast out and shunned by the very ones they trust and love the most. 

I know this from experience.  I have been disowned by my brother, grandmother, aunt, uncles, and even my own mother. This is the same actuality also suffered by thousands upon thousands of others who have left the Jehovah's Witness religion.

You should not have to choose between a religion and your family.  It says so right here regarding those who are considering leaving their religion and converting to Jehovah's Witnesses:
"No one should be forced to worship in a way that he finds unacceptable or be made to choose between his beliefs and his family." (Awake! 7/2009, p. 29) Why, then, should the rules change when you are considering removing yourself from the religion of Jehovah's Witnesses? "Really, what your beloved family member needs to see is your resolute stance to put Jehovah above everything else--including the family bond... Do not look for excuses to associate with a disfellowshipped family member, for example, through email." (Watchtower 2013, 1/15, p. 16)

So, please, test drive before you buy! It is your right! This is your life. Check the "blue book value" of this religion, and really consider if it is worth surrendering your children, family members and freedom.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Wait a second. It's a SIN to be a pig-humper?

Right around the age of 5, I received a gift from my grandmother. A stuffed pig.  It was of medium height, pink, and pretty firm for a stuffed animal. I loved it! I would sleep with it at night, and would pretend I was riding it around the room sometimes. It would carry me from my bed, to my closet, to my tea-set, and back around again.

One day, my ride was a little different.  As soon as the pig touched a certain spot between my legs, I instantly felt a warm, pleasurable, but also truly indescribable sensation.  The first time it happened, it shocked me. I immediately jumped off of the pig, and looked at it. I wondered, What was that? What caused that feeling? and then I thought, Could it happen again?  I was curious. I got back on top of the pig, and once again, instantaneously, that exact feeling came back. It was amazing. I was onto something. (No pun intended.) At that young age, I had absolutely no idea that I was masturbating, nor that it was even sexual in nature.  I just knew that if I got on top of my pig in just that way, it would feel really good for 2 to 3 seconds. I couldn't even describe the feeling.  I just liked it. A lot. So I kept doing it. (Thanks, Nana!)

A few years later, by around age 7 or 8, I had graduated to pillows, or I would sometimes ball up the sheet or blanket in my bed and lie on top of it.  It would only be a few seconds before that feeling would come back. I enjoyed it. I felt no guilt about it, because I didn't even know what I was doing.  I thought of no one while I was doing it; I hadn't ever seen a naked person other than myself.  Boys were still gross to me, so my mind never connected the pleasure I felt with sex. I didn't even know what sex was, much less an orgasm. And since I couldn't articulate the feeling I was getting, nor what part of my body I was stimulating in order to attain said feeling, it never occurred to me to talk to anyone about it. I thought, in my young mind, that I was the only one who happened upon this experience. It was my golden nugget.  That is, until my mother approached me.

She took me into my bedroom, and sat me down on the bed. 

"Stephanie, I have to ask you a question," she asked with a pained expression on her face.

"Ok," I answered. I was confused, and scared. I wondered what I had done to make her so sad.
She hesitated while I mentally ran through everything I had done that day that could possibly be the reason I was about to be in trouble.  I couldn't think of a single thing.

Finally, after what seemed like ages of silence, she asked, "Have you been mastur..." she paused... "masturbating?"

Masturbating?  I asked myself. What is that?  I had no inkling. I had never heard the word before. Well since I don't know what it is, then that means I probably haven't done it, I thought.

"No, mommy," I answered. "I don't think I have." And I was being honest. Even at that moment I still did not equate what I had been doing with the subject matter at hand.

She continued. "You haven't been..." more hesitation, "touching yourself?" I noticed her hand motion at her crotch area moving back and forth toward her pants and away again as she asked the question.  My cheeks flushed.  I felt embarrassed, but didn't know why. To that point, I had never used my hands to "touch myself" as she put it, so I still didn't completely make the connection. 

"I only touch there when I'm washing my bottom in the bathtub," I said nervously. I didn't comprehend what she was asking me, but I still felt like punishment was inevitable.

She wasn't satisfied with my answer. She looked more aggravated as she continued the interrogation, "You don't do anything that gives you a funny feeling down there?"

Just then, I understood. My face turned red, I could feel my heart race, and my clasped hands began to sweat.  What I had been doing was bad? Oh no, I thought, I really am in trouble now.  I started to cry.

"Yes, mommy," I stammered through the tears, "I lay down on my pillow or my sheet sometimes." I sniffled, and wiped my tears away with my hands. "Am I in trouble?" I asked awaiting my sentence.

She winced. "Let's see what Jehovah thinks," she said as she reached behind her back and pulled out a little red book.  No, it wasn't the Bible from which we would read Jehovah's thoughts.  It was another book with the title stamped in gold lettering, "Your Youth--Getting the Best out of It."
It was a book we got from the Kingdom Hall [church or meeting place of Jehovah's Witnesses] so that meant what I was doing was not only bad to my mom, it was bad to God! I was even more frightened as she flipped the book open.

She landed on Chapter 5, and told me to read the title.

"Masturbation and Homosexuality," I read aloud, instantly perplexed. I had just learned by context clues what masturbation was, although I still didn't really understand. But what in the world was homosexuality? I didn't even know what sexuality was in the general sense.

We continued reading the chapter together, which contained information like: 

"The apostle writes of those who 'gave themselves over to loose conduct to work uncleanness of every sort with greediness.' (Ephesians 4:19) In his letter to the Colossians...Paul mentioned “covetousness,” and in this text, “greediness.” Really, masturbation expresses both of these undesirable qualities. How? Well, it is an expression of desiring something that does not rightly belong to one. God has provided marriage as the arrangement in which to satisfy sexual desires. But the person who practices masturbation is, in effect, trying to obtain that satisfaction without paying the price." (Youth book, p. 37, par 6)  How do you explain to a child, who had never even heard of sex, and has no clue what marriage means, that she should stop masturbating because sexual desires are only able to be satisfied by married people? Needless to say, "God's counsel" fly yards over my head.

The book went on to insinuate that if I masturbated, I would become homosexual, saying, "Weakly giving in to sexual desires by masturbation will certainly not give you strength when faced with a situation tempting you to commit fornication—or even homosexuality. Just the opposite, it cultivates wrong thinking and wrong desire. In fact, masturbation can lead into homosexuality. In such instances the person, not satisfied with his lonely sexual activity, seeks a partner for mutual sex play.

This happens much more frequently than you may realize. Contrary to what many persons think, homosexuals are not born that way, but their homosexual behavior is learned. And often a person gets started when very young by playing with another’s sexual parts, and then engaging in homosexual acts." (Youth Book, p. 39, pars. 9,10)

I felt awful.  I still had zero understanding of what I was doing, and I most definitely had no comprehension of what a homosexual was, but all of it was sinful according to what God (The Watch Tower Society) said in the book we had just read. And since this instruction was ultimately coming from my mother, I had no choice but to trust it.

It was only then that I became burdened with guilt, often contemplating whether I would die at Armageddon for doing what used to seem very natural and normal and good to me.  I didn't stop masturbating though.  I just decided that I would never again tell my mother that I was doing it.  I didn't want her to be disappointed, and I most definitely didn't want to endure another excruciatingly uncomfortable "lesson" from another piece of literature she had in her arsenal. 

Over the next few years, she would often ask me, "Stephanie... are you still doing the... 'master'?" while doing the hand-to-crotch motion she had done the first time.  She never said the full word. It was a shortened "code" that only she and I knew. 

"No," I would tell her, hoping she couldn't see I was lying.  If she did, she never let on.  That would be the end of the questioning, and I would breathe a sigh of relief. 

As time went on, I would periodically see articles about masturbation written in the Watchtower and  Awake!* magazines and would instantly feel that same discomfort as I when I was a child on the bed with my mother.  As a matter of fact, it is such a big deal to Jehovah's Witnesses that if you were to search their literature, you'd find "masturbation" or "masturbate" mentioned 435 times. That's 435 times the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society warns of how "unclean" and "immoral" you are for exploring your own body and finding satisfaction doing it. 

The Watchtower even warns that if one masturbates, he would not be qualified to acquire any higher rankings in the congregation, " If a man...masturbates, could he measure up to such standards? The habitual practicer of in danger of succumbing to still more serious wrongs.  He is hardly in a position to serve as 'an example to the flock.'" (Watchtower September 15, 1973, p. 569) I find it very interesting that a man who masturbates is not deemed worthy to have a position of privilege in the congregation, but no policies are in place to remove one who is accused of child molestation.

As the years passed by, I found more dignified ways of pleasuring myself, and realized that with time, and education, my guilt about it faded. It kept me from being promiscuous. I didn't feel an overwhelming need to "fornicate". When I was aroused, I would handle it myself, and move along with whatever I had to do that day.  While my other friends were rushing to get married at 17 and 18 years old, I didn't feel the need.  As such, I was able to take my time and figure out who I was before jumping into a quick, superficial marriage only to have sex. 

My mother was still thinking about it, though.  Even into my adulthood, she persistently mentioned the "master"... and how it was condemned by God.  At one point, she even let herself into my apartment while I was at work, and found a vibrator I had in one of my drawers. She actually confronted me about it, complete with quotes from various Watch Tower literature! When I asked what she was doing in my apartment in the first place, she explained that she wanted to "help clean" before I moved out. 

Exacerbated, I replied, "Look, Mom. If I'm not allowed to have sex with someone, then I am most definitely going to do it with myself." She sat there in stunned silence for a moment. Then she got up, and walked out of the room.  That was the last time we spoke about it. 

All of this just really emphasizes the amount of control the cult of Jehovah's Witnesses attempts to exert upon its members.  There is something utterly wrong when an organization decides what its members do with their own bodies in their own bedrooms; and endeavors to guilt them into confession, and ultimately cessation by threatening to remove higher privileges.  It is sad that more Jehovah's Witnesses are not able to realize their own sexual potential, and prowess because they are made to feel so guilty, and even downright sinful. 

Silver Lining:  
I truly believe that we, as humans, enjoy sex as much as we do because we are supposed to have it! And if a subject is kept incredibly "taboo", it is only logical that it would pique the interest of most people (especially the young and inexperienced).  Mine certainly was, and I'm glad for it.  I really got to know my body. I know what I do like, and I know what I don't.  When I did finally have sex, I was much more confident,  because I already knew what I wanted to feel.  

My husband has definitely benefited from that as well.  He has said numerous times that "he's never met a woman who knows her body" like I do.  That makes him more comfortable as well.

All-in-all, I say masturbate, or don't.  It's completely up to you. Not your religion.  Take back some control! It's your life. Your body. Know it. Love it. 

*The Watchtower and Awake! are bi-monthly magazines published by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. These magazines are studied, taken as doctrine, and peddled door-to-door by Jehovah's Witnesses.