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Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Recently, I was transferring my documents from one laptop to another.  I found a document called "Hi", written in January of 2009.  Had no idea what it could be.

I forgot that I wrote a letter to my mom.  Well, was writing a letter to my mom, at least.  The last conversation the two of us had, I told my mother that I had a number of serious doubts about the things I was taught as a Jehovah's Witness.  She asked for specifics, and I said that it was too much to bring up at that time.

That night, I started writing her a letter.  Five hours and 4200 words later, I saved the document and went to bed.  I didn't even begin to explain my objections to a lot of the doctrine I had previously believed.  Had no chance to get into the blood issue, or anything concerning 1914 or 607 B.C.  I very quickly realized that finishing the letter was pointless.  My mother probably would have never read it anyway.  What was the point in writing the apostate equivalent of War and Peace?

Considering my state of mind at the time, I'm surprised at how logical I was with my writing.  Didn't curse even once.  Read for yourself, after the jump.

*Interesting footnote:  Spell check programs do not recognize the words disfellowshipped and disfellowshipping.  Interesting....


I don’t really know what to say or how to start. By the time this email is complete, it may be pages long, so I’m sorry if I start to ramble.

I just wanted to start off by saying that you raised a good kid. You would really be proud of the man that I have become. I’m a loving and thoughtful husband. I’m a good dad. I even voluntarily change the poopy diapers. I’m faithful to my wife. I don’t drink, don’t smoke, still have not done any drugs, and I am a nice and considerate coworker and neighbor. You always told me that my integrity was worth more than $1.65, and I have always remembered that. Even to this day, I am honest to a fault. If I give the cashier a 10, and she gives me back change for a 20, I let someone know.

I have always had issues with what I was taught as a kid. I know that as far as the Society is concerned, I’m still a witness. I’m counted as one of the members when they do their annual report in the yearbook. I’m just considered “inactive”. I have actually been debating whether to send an official letter to disassociate myself from the organization for ten years or more now but it’s been a tough decision to make. On one hand, it has been bothering my conscience to stay affiliated with a religious organization whose policies and doctrines are flawed, in my opinion. On the other, I know that it would be the “nail on the coffin”, so to speak, when it comes to having any relationship with my immediate family.

I want you all in my life. I really do. I want Lennon to be able to get to know her grandparents, her aunt and uncle and cousins. I guess the main reason why I walked out 3 years ago was because I was tired of living a double life. I had to do that for most of my life while in the organization, and then after leaving it, had to continue playing the game. For more than a decade, you and I had a “don’t ask don’t tell” policy when it came to my personal life. Because of that, you have no idea who I really am, or what kind of a man I have become. You’ve heard and seen what you and I both have wanted you to see. Truth is, until just the last couple of years, I had no idea who I was either. Things that you know about yourself on the simplest levels were a mystery to me. After leaving, I had the hardest time even figuring out my taste in clothes, or my taste in music. I would question everything. I didn’t know if I liked something because I truly liked it, or because I was rebelling against my upbringing. I was so confused. It’s sad, but I wasn’t even sure about my sexual orientation until I had a chance to take a few steps back and really be honest with myself.

When I ran off to Vegas in ’96, it was for the same reason. I just couldn’t take living the lie anymore. I had no idea where I was going. I went to the ticket counter and asked for the cheapest one way ticket Delta had. I had every intention of blowing through the money I had in my checking account and ending my life when I got broke. I didn’t think there was any other option available to me. When I was at the airport here in Phoenix, I bought a postcard to send you. On the back of it I wrote, “I’m sorry, but I just can’t do this anymore. I love you.” It didn’t hit me until I was already in Vegas, but I put it in the mailbox without a stamp on it. I didn’t want to be found. I didn’t want anyone to know where I was. So, I didn’t send another postcard. Around my third day there, I realized that suicide wasn’t my only option. I had no idea who I was, or what I was going to do, but I knew that something had to change. At that time, I wasn’t even sure what needed to change. Was it my job, my family, my religion, myself that was making me unhappy? I didn’t know. But I was willing to start living my life and finding out.

I did make a couple of honest attempts at coming back to the congregation. The friends at the Squaw Peak hall were really encouraging. I made a couple of friends there, and that helped. There were a couple of really nice elders at that hall. They seemed genuinely interested in how I was doing, and not just in my meeting attendance. Believe it or not, there are a few things that I remember fondly about growing up as a Witness. There’s a part of me that misses the District Conventions. To hear 20,000 people singing together just gave me chills, and I always looked forward to the dramas. I also liked going door to door in the rural territory. It was at a much slower pace. It gave you a chance to get away from the noise and all the people.

When I moved to Boulder, I really thought it was going to give me a fresh start spiritually. I just couldn’t do it after a few weeks though. There wasn’t anyone at the hall that I really connected with, and no one really seemed genuine. I realized after a couple of months that it was a chance for me to get a fresh start, though. It was nice to be able to walk around Pearl Street, or go to the mall in Denver, and know that you won’t accidentally bump into someone that knew you. It was liberating in a sense. Gave me a chance to try to figure some things out without any interruptions. It was while I was going to the meetings in Boulder that I realized that my life as a Witness was over. Two brothers came over to the house on a shepherding call. I had told them about how bad my depression was getting. I told them that I was suicidal at times, and that I just felt hopeless. Their response was the straw that broke the camel’s back. They didn’t tell me that I should get some psychological help. They didn’t tell me that I ought to see a doctor or a therapist. They told me that I should pray to Jehovah for his help. Now I remember being taught that God doesn’t act on an individual level anymore, and that miracles haven’t been performed by God for thousands of years. He may help out in steering his organization in certain ways with the Holy Spirit, but when it comes to your personal issues, you’re on your own. That showed me that either these elders A) had no idea what they were talking about, B) were just trying to pacify me and not offering any real solutions, or C) were wholly unqualified to deal with the issues many members of the congregation were facing on a daily basis. So I left the church.

When you and dad called me and asked me to come back to Phoenix, I had no reservations in coming back. Denver is one of the few places where I have ever felt like I’ve belonged, but I thought that we were helping each other out at the time. You’re family, and I would have rather worked for you than having some stranger come in off the street that you couldn’t trust. Sure, there were times when dad and I didn’t see eye to eye on some things. There were times when we got into it. But I have no regrets. I don’t resent you because I left Denver. It was a good job. It taught me responsibility, and gave me the opportunity to do something that I may never be able to do for a living again. I’m sorry things didn’t work out with the business and the way that it ended up for you guys in the end, but I did my best with you and with the family in mind.

Another reason for me to walk out that day was because of Jessi. I knew from our second date that I would be spending the rest of my life with her. I knew she was going to be my wife. Up until that time, my history with relationships was horrible. I couldn’t get a relationship to last more than three to four months. A lot of that was because of me living a double life. There were a number of women that I really had a connection with, but there was something about them that I knew I wasn’t going to be able to hide from you. There was something about their lifestyle, or their personality, that was eventually going to come to light. Either that, or when we had the discussion on how we would raise our kids, things would end because they weren’t willing to negotiate when it came to how holidays and birthdays would be celebrated. I wanted them to play the game too, which was very selfish of me. The relationships that lasted the longest, that seemed to be the most successful, were with women I had nothing in common with. I was not attracted to Keely or Jenny at all, but I knew that they were the type of girl that you would approve of, and at the time, your approval was more important than my happiness. Then Jessi came along. I knew how you had badmouthed some of the women I have dated in the past. You even called a couple of them whores. And, even though you were right a time or two, I wasn’t going to stand there and let you talk that way about her. You had always told me that you wished that dad would’ve taken your side instead of his mother’s sometimes. You always told me to stand up for my wife, to be there for her and take her side, even when no one else would. I followed your advice.
I wasn’t planning on writing this much until now, but you needed an explanation as to why I walked out when I did. I hope this helps. There are a lot of reasons for me leaving the organization, though. More than the one I just listed. That was my original intent of this email, but I got a little sidetracked. Again, I apologize for the length of this but I feel that I need to put everything on the table, and if for some reason we never speak again, I would like you to know why I feel the way I do.

The first thing that comes to mind is the policy on disfellowshipping. I know that you feel that it is a way of keeping the congregation clean, but, based on my experience; it’s basically a way of scaring those in the congregation to stay in the congregation. I knew from before I was baptized that I was eventually going to be disfellowshipped or end up disassociating myself. But, looking back, what else was I supposed to do? I got baptized at 14 or 15. I felt pressured from everyone to get baptized. The pressure didn’t just come from you, but from a lot of people in the congregation. On a regular basis, people would come up and say, “So, your sister got baptized. When is it going to be your turn?” I couldn’t have come to you back then and say, “I don’t believe in this. I can’t get baptized”. That was unthinkable. Sure, I thought about saying something a couple of times, but I kept my mouth shut. I knew that if I ever said something, I would probably be kicked out of the house. I was just a kid. How can anyone expect a child to make a lifelong obligation to a religious organization? The Witnesses say that one thing that sets them apart from other churches is the fact that they do not baptize babies. But Jesus didn’t get baptized until he was 30. And no one could argue that he didn’t have the proper knowledge or education as a child. He was found preaching to the priests in the temple at what, eight? From what I can remember, there is not one example of a child or a teenager getting baptized in the bible. It was only grown, adult men and women. By witness standards, a 14 or 15 year old is not old enough to date. They believe that one should wait until they’re past “the bloom of youth”. But it’s okay to enter into a permanent relationship with God and his earthly organization? Wouldn’t you think that that would be a decision that requires more contemplation and soul searching than one of a romantic nature? Even by the world’s standards, at 14 you are too young to vote, drink alcohol, or even get a job, depending on where you live. At that age, you’re too young to drive, and you can’t even take the test to get your GED for another two years. That makes no sense to me. And then, if later in life you falter, or decide that you no longer want to be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, you’re shunned by everyone you know.

Let’s say that you own a Dodge. One day you see an advertisement for Toyota. The advertisement tells you that the Toyota gets better gas mileage, has more horsepower, and is cheaper to maintain than your Dodge. It invites you to look closely at the performance your current car is giving you and consider getting a new car. You look into it a bit. Your aunt owns a Toyota, and there are a couple of people at work that own one too, and they seem really happy. So one day you go to the dealership and get a brand new 2009 Toyota. Now you have this car for a number of years, and for the most part, it’s been all right. But you think back to the advertisement you read years ago and remember that it said that the car gets 32 miles per gallon. You save up a couple of gas receipts and realize you’re only getting 24 miles per gallon. And then there’s a recall for your specific model of car, but Toyota doesn’t notify you. And then you look at the contract you signed years earlier and see that it says that you can only get the car serviced at your local dealership. You read further and see that per the contract terms that you are not allowed to read Consumer Reports ratings on Toyotas. In fact, the only reference material you are allowed to read is the owner’s manual that came with the car. And then you read that you are not even able to question the information that was given to you in the dealership concerning mileage, or any other aspect of the car. Doing so would result in the car immediately being repossessed. And, as stated in the contract all Toyota owners must sign, if a fellow Toyota owner has their car repossessed, or trades their Toyota in for a different make because the car they purchased years ago no longer fits their needs, all other Toyota owners must immediately cut off any communication with them. This applies to both family and friends. How much sense would that make? Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that I was sold a lemon necessarily, but I don’t think that the dealership told me everything I needed to know about the car before I bought it. And, as I got older, it no longer fit my individual needs.
Disfellowshipping is supposed to protect the congregation. It destroys lives. People lose their jobs in some cases. They lose their families and friends, their entire support network in most cases. What if I was a heroin addict? I get disfellowshipped. The organization looks down on therapy or rehab. I’m not allowed to go to Narcotics Anonymous, and everyone I have ever loved is forbidden to talk to me. How would you expect me to get better? Where is there any support? At what point should a friend or a family member step in and do something to help out? Just the thought of being cut off from everyone kept me in the congregation years longer than I wanted to be. It scared me into the religion. I intentionally tried to “fade out” of the picture so that it wouldn’t be such an impact on me. But, I’ll always have family. I used to take the Witnesses’ side when the subject of disfellowshipping came up. Becoming a father changed my viewpoint on it though. I can’t imagine ever cutting off, or even threatening to cut off communication with Lennon because of something she did. I may not always agree with the choices she’ll make as she gets older, but she is still my daughter. I will always be by her side, and she will know that no matter what she does, or how she may disappoint me, I will always be there for her. You can pick and choose who you have friendships with, but you can’t do that to your own blood.

Of all things, ever since I was a kid, I’ve had an issue with dinosaurs. Wow. That sounds really silly looking at that statement. Let me explain. In a nutshell, Witnesses believe that God created everything a few thousand years ago, no one ate meat until after Noah came out of the ark, and that dinosaurs pretty much became extinct because of the flood. As early as I can remember, maybe at 6 or 7, I would go through the indexes of the bound volumes looking for anything that had to do with dinosaurs. I was so fascinated by them. I couldn’t find a thing about them in Watchtower publications though. It was almost as if they didn’t exist. Everything I learned in school and read as a kid and a teenager completely contradicts what I’ve been brought up to believe. And then I realize: If humans and all animals were vegetarians until after the flood, and all dinosaurs died out when the flood came, why are there countless fossils that have been discovered with bone fragments from other dinosaurs found in the stomach area of “meat eating” dinosaurs? Why have there been fossils and bones discovered of injured dinosaurs, some with bite marks in their bones? Why haven’t there been remains found of humans in the same vicinity of dinosaurs since they both died at the same time when the flood came? I remember seeing that example of the mammoth that still had the food in his mouth at the time it died. It’s been used a number of times as proof that the flood came, but that’s it. No more evidence. I can’t imagine that the hundreds of thousands of specimens that have been discovered, and studied, and dated over the last 150 years are all erroneous. That every conclusion made about these hundreds of thousands of examples is wrong. That one chapter in one book written five thousand years ago is correct and the tens of thousands of books and papers published on the subject are not. I don’t understand how you can believe that. I never did.

For many years, another thing that has bothered me was the paradise. I have always had a number of questions about it that were never answered. Let’s say that there are six million Witnesses in the world right now, and that all six million make it through Armageddon. It’s going to be up to those six million survivors to clear out all of the rubble from what was destroyed, bury or burn all of the bodies that are scattered across the globe, and start to rebuild the earth to prepare for the resurrected ones to come back. Now, the survivors are not going to instantly be perfect, but they’ll progress toward perfection as the years go by. Out of these six million survivors, only a fraction of them are “able bodied” men. There are women, children, and the elderly in the mix too. The vast majority of them are not engineers, or architects, or doctors. In fact, a very large percentage of them have no more than a high school education. But they’re expected to bury over six billion people that were killed during Armageddon; that’s a thousand bodies for every man, woman and child that survives. They’re expected to remove all of remnants of the worldly system of things. They’re expected to build houses, schools and places of worship for not only themselves but in preparation for the resurrected. All of this without electricity, earth moving equipment, cars, planes or computers to use. And that’s just here in the States. I don’t have any idea how many Witnesses there are in Asian or Middle Eastern companies, but I would imagine there aren’t many. Just as a guess, I would say just between China and India alone, there are only 50-100,000 Witnesses, if that. The population of India is almost one billion, and China is approaching two billion. That would mean, at most, you would have 100,000 people responsible for cleaning up the remains of almost three billion dead. That’s a ratio of almost three million bodies to every survivor that makes it through, without any know how or resources available to do what they’re commissioned to accomplish. And there won’t be any planes to transport survivors from other parts of the world to help out. How is that paradise?

The purpose of the preaching work is to give everyone a chance to make a decision as to which side they’re on, Jehovah’s or Satan’s, before Armageddon comes. I’ve heard talks back in the 90s that said that the preaching work was almost complete. How can that be possible? Even in lands where Witnesses make up a greater percentage of the population, the general public knows nothing about Jehovah’s Witnesses. If you ask a group of people in the U.S. what they know about Jehovah’s Witnesses, 99% of them would say that they don’t celebrate Christmas or birthdays and that you see them going door to door. They have no idea about God’s purpose for mankind or for the earth. They have no idea about God’s kingdom being established here on earth. Most of them don’t even know that Witnesses believe in a paradise and not heaven or hell. When I would go door to door, I would very rarely talk about those things myself. I would usually talk about an interesting article that was in the Awake magazine, because the Awake was a lot easier to place than the Watchtower. That’s not giving people an honest chance. And God is going to destroy all of these people? Witnesses make up .01% of the overall world population. That’s one Witness for every 1,000 people worldwide; possibly one to every two to three million in other parts of the world. Obviously, there are billions of people that have never seen a Jehovah’s Witness, let alone have had a chance to make a choice. The bible says that “god is love”. It also says that he “loved the world so much that he gave his only begotten son”. It doesn’t say that he loved his followers only, but the entire world. Would a loving and just god slaughter six and a half billion people, 99.9% of the human race, most of whom had never had the opportunity to know him? There are more than six million people in Los Angeles; about 5 million just in Phoenix. Imagine every man, woman and child outside of Maricopa County dying. I’m not okay with that. I can’t imagine a god, who created us in his image, doing that. That would be like taking the number of people killed during the Holocaust and multiplying it by a thousand. I’m sorry, but I can’t be part of an organization that is practically counting the days until that happens.

Ghandi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world”. He also said, “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ”. In Matthew chapter 22, when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment of the Law was, he said two things. The second was to “love your neighbor as yourself”.