Marriage has challenges. My marriage is no exception. My husband has had at least two wives” in this marriage: a Jehovah’s Witness wife and an ex Jehovah’s witness wife
I started out as a devout Jehovah’s Witness woman engaged in the full-time ministry, a privilege reserved for few in the church of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The challenges of staying in the ministry full time as a Jehovah’s Witnesses became more challenging as I begin to think about marriage and starting a family. As my readers well know I have recounted in previous articles my troubled family life and how this affected my time in the organization. It also had a grave effect on my marriage. My parents and the congregation was supporting me to be the first woman in my congregation to pursue special ministry at the Jehovah’s Witness Headquarters ( Bethel). However, I wanted to pursue college and finally to have the family I always dreamed of: God- fearing, close-knit and loving. The closet alcohol and drug addictions of my Jehovah’s witness parents caused me to sour quickly on pretenses for the Jehovah’s Witness church. They were caught up in trying to appear to be Godly and to be busy ministers of our faith but my home life reflected the “worldliness” that the organization often warned against. The addictions, physical abuse, emotional abuse, fighting resulted in frequent police intervention at my home.
The Jehovah’s Witness church was aware of the turmoil my siblings and I endured however never intervened. At 20 years of age, I had finally had enough of the abuse and decided to leave with nothing. I can remember the gold-leafed bible my mother had (in which she preached often from mostly drunk and prepared to fight) and told me that if I left home without her blessing that I would NOT have “Jehovah’s” blessing and my life would calamitous. She hated Simon after finding out that he was formally requesting to date me within the Jehovah’s Witness church. My mother was severely annoyed and publically protested at the thought of me dating with the view of marriage. Simon the Zealot ( my husband’s online moniker) supported me in my decision to leave my abusive home. I had to give up the ministry to be with Simon because I was thrown into the streets by my mother after she found out I was talking to Simon and wanted to date him. In her eyes, I had chosen marriage to Simon and school over continuing to support my family financially and caring for the spiritual well being of my siblings while in the ministry. I left with a few garbage bags full of clothes, a fresh black eye from my mother and headed to the police station with my future husband and Father in law. (then an elder or pastor of my congregation).Simon stood by me through it all. I was sleeping in my car for weeks and Simon would sneak out nights from his parent’s house to watch over me as a slept in my car in a park.
I was saddened when so-called friends and family within the organization who told my parents to shun me and my then boyfriend after leaving the home to shame me in coming back to the house and the religion. I began to have serious questions about the organization that pressured Simon and me to be married quickly less we fell into wrongdoing be in “good standing” with the Jehovah’s Witness organization. Nonetheless, I found myself at my wedding with no family there (Simon’s family attended). I started to have a crisis in conscience and my faith as a Jehovah’s Witness woman. After enduring heartbreak in my home and later in my marriage I needed to reconcile my experiences with the hand of God and the organization that I was apart of. Until then I was determined to be a good wife of the organization ( rather than my husband, unfortunately) and pursue ministry, preaching and teaching to climb back up the organizational track.
But one day a Pastor, had the courage to open the door that Saturday morning and challenge my views. The trajectory of that conversation would change my life forever to the initial horror and dismay of my husband. He was very proud and adamant that he married a Jehovah’s witness and that is what he wanted……
(To be continued)