I was part of the fourth generation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in my family. Legend has it that my great-grandmother ran into some Russelites who were out street witnessing one day and brought home a Zion’s Watchtower. The rest, as they say, is history.
I grew up “PK,” or what is commonly referred to as a preacher’s kid. My father was an elder for most of my childhood, at least until I was about 15 years old. My mom would vacation or auxiliary pioneer (put in 60-90 hours per month in the door-to-door ministry work) when she could – if she wasn’t working. This meant, as we were reminded often by my father, that we lived “under a microscope.” Our family had to be above reproach in the congregation, because any misstep on our part would not only bring shame upon Jehovah, but it could cost Dad his position in the congregation. That would be really bad. A man with no position in the congregation was dismissed as a slacker, lazy, unmotivated, and certainly not “leadership material.”
An elder’s wife had to dress modestly, be in subjection to her husband, always have the children dressed properly, have meals on the table, support her husband in his congregational duties, and pioneer as often as possible. My own mother was expected to be a regular June Cleaver with a meek attitude.
As an elder’s child, I was always told that I was “to be seen and not heard.” My brother and I most often kept each other company in our childhood, as there was only one family that my father considered “approved association” for us. We were exuberant on those rare occasions that we would be allowed play dates on short school days with the sons of this family. Only twice was I ever allowed to spend the night at another girl’s house. My father was too worried that some ill might befall me or that they weren’t quite up to snuff in the spirituality department. It was a sad and lonely existence to have no one to confide in. My only alternative was imaginary friends and animals, which I kept a deep secret lest I be declared “demonized.”Read More