I’m a 30 year-old agnostic/atheist and stopped attending the WCG around age 16. I haven’t given the church much thought over the past 10 or so years but after stumbling onto this blog and reading all the posts, so many memories of that stupid church have flooded my mind and I feel compelled to tell my story as well. It might be somewhat therapeutic for me because I’ve always held a grudge with the church, but had no real audience that would understand… until now.
I grew up in the church with both my parents. My mother was born into the church as well, and my father was baptized into the church before they were married. Most of my Mom’s family was also in the church at the same location so to me, it seemed normal… until I started school. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t go to other kids birthday parties, couldn’t participate in any extracurricular activities because of the risk of violating the precious sabbath. I couldn’t even do class activities for all the “pagan” holidays. There always seemed to be a Jehovah’s Witness kid that would color some bullshit picture with me while the rest of the class colored pumpkins, or christmas trees. And then the Feast— how do you explain that to your friends and teachers? I remember doing hours and hours of homework in the car ride and hotel, going to church every day, what kind of vacation is that? Everything about the church was abnormal but I didn’t know any better. Two-hour services, taking notes on the sermons as a child— WTF? Complete fire and brimstone preaching with zero tolerance, lake of fire bullshit, fucking “place of safety”, are you kidding me? The church made up about less than 1% of the Earth’s population and we were the ones that knew better! We were the ones that would be saved from Armageddon? That last one never made sense to me even as a kid. When I brought it up, I was shot down and told to have faith, faith, faith. How the fuck could a grown adult ever be so naive? I’m not really mad at my parents because obviously they weren’t the only ones being swindled; we actually have a good relationship now and they are terrific grandparents… but back to venting.
My early life was greatly affected by the WCG. I am a shy person by nature and being in the church just made it near impossible to have good friends and relationships at school. The WCG separated itself from the world and me along with it. The rules were intolerable, no holding hands, no kissing, no sex before marriage, no activities of any sort on Friday night (Really? the best night of the week to go out and I’m stuck at home and can’t even turn on the TV.) No Saturday college football, no pork, and then there was the tithing. I had to tithe my fucking allowance growing up, for what? So some crook in Pasadena could get rich off us, that’s why. I didn’t have my first girl friend until almost the end of my Junior year of high school. The biggest concept that comes to my mind whenever I think about the church is that I was cheated out of a normal childhood. Luckily I had just enough time left in High School when I left the church to start making friends. Life got better instantly, and it didn’t take long before I made some really good friends that I still hang out with 13 years later.
I will say that there were some good people that attended my location, and I did enjoy the YES and YOU sports. The dances and activities were always train wrecks though. I’m so happy that my children will not be exposed to such a separatist, fanatical organization. I’ve learned that you don’t need spirituality of any kind to be a kind, contributing member of society. I’m a very brief and concise man and this is where I’ll stop for now, but I could have gone on for just about forever. Thank you for reading this.