Survivor of Child Abuse and Jehovah Witness Cult
|A father of the fatherless is God in
"Don't feel sorry for me. This life is but a fleeting moment of our eternal life in glory with our Father. I praise God for letting me survive so I might share his faithfulness with others."
My father was a violent alcoholic. Of the seven siblings in the family, we all left home prior to our 15th birthday. Growing up on the streets of Kansas City there were many missions that served the drunkards and homeless. I remember as a child of 9 when I was led through the sinner's prayer by a lady in the mission. I was so excited that I had to tell someone. My mother scoffed at me and I didn't want to tell my dad. I do believe with all my heart that I was saved that day.
I was raped at the age of 10 by a next door neighbor who was just released from prison not long before his assault on me. I tell you this to tell you that I have never told either one of my parents that this ever happened. This should clearly give you some indication of the lack of parental bonding that we had.
I don't remember getting very many hugs from either one of my parents. My dad never did tell me that he loved me. I hitchhiked from Kansas City to California to Oregon and back three times from the age of 11 to the age of 13 by myself. They never asked me why or even seemed concerned that I was gone. At one time my mother considered letting a family adopt me but my dad rejected it.
I left home when I was 13 but I would come back every now and then. For the most part though, I grew up on the streets of Kansas City, MO living in vacant apartments. I had my own apartment when I was 16. My dad was too violent to live around. All the money I made in part-time jobs, e.g., throwing papers, delivery boy, etc. was given to my dad. I worked since the age of 10.
The only regret I have about my childhood is that I didn't obtain the skills to raise my family. Even though all my children profess Jesus as Lord and are saved I have terrible regrets about things I did to them as a young adult father. I have asked them forgiveness and they have forgiven me. I still have trouble forgiving myself.
I don't remember a time when my mother wasn't a Jehovah's Witness [hereinafter referred to as JWs]. It is my opinion that the JWs offered her some refuge from the violence and turmoil in her life. At best it gave her some purpose. She is still living and still a JW. I stayed in the JWs until I went into the Army at the age of 18.
Once I left for the Army, as the Army was my refuge, I knew that I was cut off from "Jehovah". I was disfellowshipped from the JWs. You see they don't believe in joining the military or honoring the flag, i.e., standing for the national anthem. They also don't believe in celebrating Christmas, birthdays or any type of religious or national holiday. They believe that only the chosen 144,000 should ever take communion. This is a very sad and misleading cult.
It is hard to explain the amount of GUILT that I suffered. I remember a time in Germany that I listened to a reel-to-reel film of Billy Graham. At the end of the film they played "Just As I Am" I wanted desperately to run to the altar and accept Jesus as my Savior. The devil was telling me, "Too late Bud, you had your chance and blew it."
I came home from Vietnam in the fall of 1969. I was discharged from the Army and had every intention to make amends with the JWs and ask them to let me come back into the fold. But when I made allegations that one of their "144,000" made a pass at my then girlfriend (this actually happened although it was denied), I was officially disfellowshipped. I was told however that I could come back should I show repentance. I chose not to. I went back into the Army. My mother didn't talk to me for 6 years.
I served twenty-four years in the Army and neither one of my parents ever attended a military function where I was given an award. The day of my marriage they left town to go to a small town 50 miles from where I was married in Kansas City, MO. I can count on one hand, with fingers to spare, the letters I received from them while I was in the Army. I really don't hold any bitterness. I feel sad that they didn't have the joy to share in their son's accomplishments.
In 1979 a young Christian brother and I would argue about "religion". Surprisingly I would always take the side of the JWs as that was all I knew. After a while though he started to make sense. I asked Christ to come into my life in the spring of 1981. At that time I went to several "renegade" charismatic churches. I got caught up in the "look what I can do, speak in tongues, heal, et al." This experience didn't last long. However, my accepting Christ did! Praise God.
My alcoholism, coupled with my post traumatic depression kept me away from the Lord for many, many years. I was divorced and attempted suicide. But glory be to God--I remarried my wife who is a callused knee-bending woman of God. (Can I get an "Amen!" here??).
Regardless of circumstances, I always prayed. I would catch myself praying constantly. I wasn't praying because I wanted to or started a prayer willingly it would be as if the Holy Spirit was leading me in prayer and I wouldn't be aware of it until the end of the prayer. I know this sounds weird but this is the way it happened.
I am a fifty year old man now. I have a wonderful family who has given me the cutest grandchildren this side of heaven. My wife is God's gift to me. I love the Lord with all my heart, mind and soul. My wife and I now attend the Church of the Nazarene. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in praising the Lord I break out in chills. GLORY!
On July 4, 1996, my dad died as a JW. I really don't know much about my dad. I realize that may sound strange but I never had a father and son talk with him. And certainly nothing remotely related to his faith. I know that he put alcohol and his pleasures before his family. I didn't grieve his death. I flew back to the mainland to attend his funeral; however, I never felt any sadness at his passing. This may sound very hard or even cruel but I can only tell you the truth. I have prayed for him many, many times. I still have trouble with his passing. There were many issues that I would have liked to have made closure on before he died.
My sister is on fire for the Lord and was rescued by our Lord from the JWs. She is also married to a minister. The JWs "wrote" their own "bible". The vile that spews from their lips in creating their Zombies is incredible. The only thing I can offer [for witnessing to a JW] is keep praying. Ask the person who you are talking with to pray as well and ask it in the name of Jesus. Please don't get me wrong, I love the "lost" ones. I don't want you to think that I am showing hatred towards any of the JWs, just the evil one.
I believe my rescue came from my prayers as a youth, coupled with the prayers of the brothers and sisters throughout the world. [Editor's note: This should be a rallying cry for us Christians to pray for those who are hurting all around us--seen and unseen. We must also be willing to help where we see a need. The Bible speaks much about the fatherless and the widow--we must show mercy on their plight in tangible ways--shelter, food, a kind word and, of course, the good news of Jesus Christ. Let's break out of our "comfort" zones and reach out to a dying world in Jesus' name.]