I was raised Jehovah’s Witness. I was taught that women had their place in the home and in ministry. Here’s a scripture that used to scare me when I was only a child. Even then I knew I couldn’t be this. Was I born defective? Was Satan himself pervading my soul? I have highlighted the areas that made me feel shameful of who I truly was.
1Peter 3: 1-22 – Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands
Yes that was what I saw and what I was taught, Be perfect, be beautiful, be quiet and do what the man asks of you. But read that scripture again, it also states that if my man turns “bad”, its my job to woo him back into goodness. WTF! This repulsed me even at a young age but soon enough it would start to seep in and contaminate my wild thoughts. I became tamed. I submitted and went with it.
I recall, while recently doing inner child work, just how awkward I felt among the Jehovah Witness people I knew. As a JW, you were not allowed to associate with “worldly” people. They made the world outside the religion seem scary, almost like a war zone. But of course, it wouldn’t be a religion without the fear. The women were submissive, small and quiet. The men were dominant and the rulers. Women still are not allowed to be anything but pioneers in the religion. (Those are the people knocking on your door Saturday mornings).
I’m going to state it here for my whole family to see, if they choose to look. I am a Pagan Witch! In the world of the JW’s, that’s basically me saying I’m the devil himself. But, this was not a conditioning due to turning my back on the very religion that turned its back on me. This is me returning to the human I was born as, before all the conditioning. If I am an immoral sinner for my ways, then it is you who birthed an immoral sinner, because my heart has yearned to be this woman I am since the day I was born.
Let me state exactly why I say I am a pagan witch. Pagan- because I believe mother nature, the stars and sky are my god. Witch – because I use energy work in what I do to help people. Wow, I’m such a sinner! HAHA
I wish I could say that, at age 16 when I chose to no longer participate in the JW teachings, that I was free and began living my true authentic self. But no, the way I was taught was there corrupting my strength and my voice. For the next 20 years I would continue to find partners that would make me feel small and insignificant. I was attracting my match because, even though the desire to be who I am now existed, she was buried by my biblical training.
Its taken 23 years to undo the 16 years of training. I tried to drink it away, smoke it away, fuck it away. It wasn’t until I found my god, the god that raises goddesses up to be honored, that I would finally find my way out of the jail inside of my head. The jail created by religion. I do not have a hatred for religion. It works for many people. It allows them a feeling of belonging. It gives them a community of like minded individuals to feel safe and comfortable with. Religion does save people. But to think it is one size fits all is where I will argue.
Let me rewind to where I said I turned my back on the religion that turned its back on me. When you are baptized (thankfully this is a choice you make somewhere around the teen years if you where raised JW) you make a promise to live a biblical life. If you sin from a long list of certain sins, you are disfellowshipped. This results in your family and friends not being allowed to speak with you or even be at the same events as you. I remember seeing disfellowshipped people as the plague. In order to repent and be forgiven by the religion, you must prove your loyalty in silence. You would be trapped between worlds, not allowed to be part of either. Everyone you loved and knew ignored you.
I was never baptized so I was never disfellowshipped. But I was the child of 2 parents that became disfellowshipped. At age 15 both my parents were cast out of the only world I was allowed to know. As a result, so was I. My friends parents cut off the friendships and many family members abandoned us. This was an awful way to gain the freedom to leave but so be it, I was finally out!
Thank you Jehovah’s Witnesses! You taught me to be shameful of myself, to feel guilty for the slightest imperfection, fear abandonment and to be untrusting. You gave me ZERO tools for navigating the world. But I forgive you. Even though you can only forgive me if I crawl back begging, with a quiet heart and submissive mind….. No thank you! I may not be up to par for your promised “Paradise on earth at the time of the end, when god destroys the worldly people” but I am at least able to live in my own heaven right now. Being the woman god created me to be, unaffected by the labels created by fearful men of religion. I am perfect just as I am.