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What is (or was) your relationship with Jehovah and Jesus like as a Jehovah's Witness?

It confused me. I grew up in the 1950s in the NYC area. Generic Protestantism was in public schools. We said the Lord’s Prayer, a student, usually, me, read the Psalms in Assembly every day. Christmas time we had a Christmas pageant, celebrating Jesus’ infancy birth and Mary, the virgin. The Witnesses said all this and Easter was bad. <u parents were devout but would take us to Radio City Music Hall frequently. We loved the Christmas and Easter shows. My father ranted about how the Catholics were bad.Witness theology was never clear to me. Their opposition to every other faith was. Since I had no experience in mainline churches, I did not know Jesus was hardly mentioned. Witnesses are not truly Christians. They are Yahwehists. But Jehovah seemed like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum or far worse than Hitler. His plan to wipe out everyone but the Watchtower was so harsh that it appalled me. I did not like Issac’s sacrifice or how women and girls were treated. Jesus was an immense relief. Yes, I can love Jesus and have Jesus as my guide and role model.I tried and tried and prayed and prayed NOT to have questions or thoughts. What I learned in public school I could not unlearn. When I was young, I hoped all my teachers, neighbors, nuns, priests would become Witnesses and peace would reign. I went through the motions to be loved and accepted.Witnesses were against marriage at the time. It was a lower state. Singleness was better. No sex, no children. You could pioneer or serve at Bethel. We lived in the NYC area and Bethel had a long reach. My father and uncles married late rin life after serving at Bethel for decades. But I saw Roman Catholic teens get married and young girls dress as brides for their first communion. Oh, how wondrous were the gowns and flowers. Witnesses were forbidden to be married in the Kingdom Halls. My father would rant, but I saw how Catholic and Protestant kids were valued. They had Sunday Schools, sports teams, orchestras, plays, etc. And to dress as a bride in a lovely gown and carry flowers to serve Jesus. How heavenly! Sign Janice up now. I could not even dance. My father took away my mom’s classical music. We could only hear polkas. Bad ones.Jesus was my hero and Savior, not Jehovah. Jehovah was going to destroy me in utter horror and agony for having doubts about the Watchtower. Jesus loved me. Somehow I knew. He was kind and gentle. The man could be angry and powerful. He cared about the poor, me. He wanted me to learn and have friends. We lived in Newark. The schools became dens of violence. I prayed and prayed for a solution to the Witnesses. Remove my doubts. Make me a normal Witness with blind faith. Every night I got on my knees and prayed my heart out for my father to stop being abusive and mean. I implored Jesus to not send me to Barringer. High School for it had a reputation for drugs and violence. We owned a home. My parents never cared much for my education. They demanded straight As but stopped going to PTA bc of flag salute. I did. The first day of orientation at Barringer I sat and thought Jesus does not deliver, does he? My doubts increased as my education increased.To make a long story short, I had massive fights merely to finish high school. I went to every place with the ACLU’s phone number in my bra. My plan was to beg a principal to ask a judge to place me with a foster family in secret to be safe from my family. I tried to prepare myself to not see my mom and siblings. It was heartbreaking and cruel. I longed to see them, but NOT my father or the Witnesses. Witnesses were spying on me. My wish was to go to college, marry, and sneak back some day while my father was at work to show my mom, my baby. It was a ritual I enacted as a little girl. Things were very bad with my father, very severe and sustained abuse. For some reason, with every doll, Imagined a secret husband and I had no contact with my family. It was clear the infant or doll had to meet my mom. I would say hello to my brother and sister and then disappear into secrecy. He justified his violence and wacko control with the Watchtower. How I hated the Watchtower, their ignorance, and hatred of people. I loved people, peace, and concord. My father died. I was able to go to Columbia University and then NYU Law School with very generous and kind scholarships. It is never lost to me that my education came through my father’s death. The Witnesses were bonkers against the college. They remain so.While a Columbia student, I decided to see how they taught New Testament for one day. My mind could not comprehend how a secular university in NYC would teach the New Testament. I recall grabbing a seat near the door so I could run out. Certain Bible verses the Witnesses use traumatized me. I would weep hard if they were mentioned in a film or tv show or a book. Elaine Pagels was my prof. I stayed for three courses even though Religion was not my major. We learned the history and basic theology of Christian as historical thought. It was abundantly clear that Witnesses did not share much with standard Christianity. My, what a relief. I did not trust any church. My memories were so bad. But it freed my mind for Jesus.After graduation, I needed my college transcript in a hurry. So I went up to Barnard. The subway was out so I walked down Amsterdam Avenue, past the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. There was a placard stating that Cesar Chavez of the migrant union workers would preach. I was a grape boycott person. He was rarely on the East Coast. I drove in from my mom’s in NJ. Immediately I felt home in the cathedral, even though I was bewildered. It looked Renaissance. The procession and service were stately. I heard Cesar. But I spotted blue jeans and Birkenstocks on the clergy and acolytes. My kind of people. There were many Columbia people present. I had no clue such a place existed. It took me an hour and a half to get there from NJ, but I attended fairly regularly. Love was so tangible. It was anti-Watchtower.I was able to speak about my fears and distress. State my hatred and dislike of Paul. Ask questions without reproach. No one was controlling. I heard many leaders of western Christianity and even the Eastern Orthodox Church. Two things held me back. The frozen chosen, elite aspect of the church and no women as priests. I saw the frozen chosen aspect was a myth. Women started being ordained so I attended confirmation class. It was a shock when I first encountered Christianity that it need not be ignorant. I could use my brain and question as reformers had long questioned before I was born. Rather I stood in the line of great American patriot lawyers (my professional field) and church people. Paul, Augustine, Celtic leaders, Martin Luther, William Tyndale, Cranmer, Hooker, the Puritans, Presbyterians. I was a child of God. Christ died for me and loved me. He accepted me with grace. Would I respond to grace and accept acceptance? I work on it.I spend time every day reading the scriptures and trying to undo the damages of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It was cruel and grasping. My Witness family were very courageous. They refused to shun me as long as no other Witnesses knew about me. Their actions surprised me to my core. They loved me. I did not think they did, separate from the Watchtower activity. But they did. They risked eternal life. I decided not to preach to them. They were older and inflexible. Had little education. It would cause my aunt to have a breakdown. The only exception was when my uncle told me to shut up and listen to my Prodigal Son brother. My brother would disappear for decades. The man heard an earful about women, feminism, Jesus, Paul, and love that day. I try not to bandy or use scripture as a cudgel the way Witnesse do. We should consider the entirety and study the historical context. But scriptures sprang to my mind as I told him what male supremacy could do. And what Jehovah could do.To this day, God is problematic for me. For me, God evokes terror, hatred, rage, wacko thoughts. Christ evokes good things. I worship the Risen Christ. The trauma from the Witnesses will always be part of my inner life. But it makes me see Christ as the center. Christ, Christ, Christ. Did He call me out of Witness captivity and bondage or did I just stumble? People in church can get on my nerves about policies. But then I think of how the Kingdom Hall was and I tear up with joy about the church. I know God thru Christ and in Christ. Do I believe the Nicene Creed? Sort of. It is a human effort to explain the unknowable. I sympathize as a lawyer with the bishops who drafted it. I much prefer other Christology efforts, such as Richard Rohr or Thomas Merton. But it makes sense that a more modern writer speaks to me. I am certain that the Witnesses are very wrong. Christianity should focus on Christ. I refuse to cast them as evil as they cast me for not agreeing with them. Christ can deal with their leaders.The Witnesses have a very high rate of loss of people raised in the faith. There many Me,Too moments. The Internet changed a lot. I felt so lonely and isolated during my journey. It is different now. Former Witnesses encourage others to leave and help with setting up new lives. I was a late teen and college student when I left. Thank goodness.

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