Monday, December 18, 2006

How I Got To Where I Am - Part 1

I thought it was about time I wrote down my testimony. So, here it is!

I grew up for ten years thinking that I was a Christian. I was told that my family was a Christian family, but little emphasis was ever put on Christ. This is because I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness: I attended Kingdom Hall on Sunday mornings and Thursday nights, and house Book Studies on Tuesdays. In addition to this, I went out in service nearly every Saturday morning with one group of people or another. Yes, I was one of those out knocking on doors; most people tried to avoid us by pretending not to be home. I had an advantage as a cute little redheaded kid, but that would only get us so far. Many times doors would get slammed in our faces, or we would be interrupted in our pitch to give away all the Watchtower and Awake magazines that filled the briefcases of the adults. All this resistance really made me feel persecuted, like we were doing something right for God.

Feeling persecuted was a sensation very familiar to me. My stepfather, the head of the Jehovah’s Witness household, was not only a man highly regarded in the church, but he also managed to be an abusive alcoholic on the side. As his step-daughter, I bore the brunt of the abuse because I was the only child in the house that he didn’t have a hand in producing. I had three sisters, and I could never figure out why I was the only one who had to get up early in the morning before going to first grade, and clean the house. I didn’t know why the rest of the family could go watch a movie after dinner, but I had to do all the dishes for six people. To my knowledge I wasn’t physically abused after the age of three or four, because by then I would be able to articulate my story to someone. However, I was emotionally and spiritually abused, and remained terrified of my father, turning me into a shy and withdrawn child.

My mother was the other one in the house who bore the abuse. For her to escape the pain of her marriage, she dulled her senses with prescription drugs. It helped her to run away in her head, but it also meant that she wasn’t really able to help me get out of that situation. For ten years I struggled to survive in my own house, a house full of the dichotomy of cult religion mixed with abuse, screaming mixed with prayer, oceans of terror defied by tiny drops of hope.

TO be continued...

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