Out of the JW's--Dawn's Story

I was one of Jehovah's Witnesses for 15 yrs. In the last year, I have left "the organization." In November, 1999, my 16-year-old daughter was found out to have been kissing another young boy in our Kingdom Hall. As you probably know, this is a horrible act for a young person as they are not to be alone but always to be chaperoned. We chastised her so intensely--as we were following what the Watchtower Society had taught us--that she felt like dirt. She ran away leaving a note that stated that she was so bad and couldn't live up to our expectations and would not have any more problems since she was going to be gone. Praise God we found her within 36 hours but 600 miles from home.

She returned in such a depressed state that she needed to be hospitalized in a psychiatric institution and was on suicide precautions, thus having to sleep on a mattress in front of the nurses' desk for 8 days. She then continued to remain there another 8 days. My husband and I were told by her therapists that we needed to allow her to do more of the things a "normal" teenager does. I was willing to change, but my husband was not. I then realized that I could not risk my daughter's life anymore, so she and I left him. My husband begged and cried for us not to leave. He requested a meeting with the elders, and I agreed. Because if they could help us, I would be happy about it. But by the 3rd meeting with them and no changes from my husband  of 18 years (who is my daughter's father), the elders told me that if I left I was not accepted by Jehovah!!! Nonetheless, I left.

Over the past year, we as a family struggled with the separation and divorce proceedings and decided to get back together, but my daughter then ran away again because of the harshness of her father. He staunchly stuck to the Watchtower way. Fortunately, again we found her, but she was hospitalized again. The elders continue to haunt us. They come to my apartment and trying to get information with which they can disfellowship me. I will not give them the satisfaction of giving them any information. I am not under their authority but God's authority! My daughter lives with her aunt now, and she came to visit her father last weekend, and he took her to the meeting. The elders requested a meeting with her. Her father was asked to be present also. In this meeting, they asked her personal questions about the time she ran away. She had stayed with a boyfriend, and the elders asked her if they had had sex!! If she thought it was wrong, why she did it, if she was going to meetings, why not. Imagine, a 17-year-old girl being asked such personal questions by 2 grown men in front of her father, and he allowed it. She is very strong, independent, and intelligent. She stood up for what she believes to be right, and she told them she didn't want to go to meetings. She told them that if they felt they needed to "cleanse" the congregation then go ahead!!! Bravo!!! for her. These teachings are so insidious--so twisted. It has been a long struggle and continues to be a struggle to break free of them. It is support like your website that affirms my belief and my conviction to let go of these teachings.

I have not given up on My Saviour. I have accepted Him and been born again. I am happy to say that I have a loving open relationship with Jesus now--much more so than before. I felt so blunted in my relationship with Him when I was a Witness. Now I feel open and free, loved, and not condemned. Thank you for your loving concern.

Thank you, Dawn