Desperate, Marilyn called a local Columbus, Nebraska attorney and asked if she could meet with him. It took over an hour for her to explain what her life had been like, particularly for the last five years. A second meeting was scheduled, and then a third. Marilyn finally summoned the courage to do what she knew she had to do. She didn’t want a divorce, knowing that adultery and death were the only two ways to end a marriage per Jehovah’s Witnesses’ rules. At the same time she did not want to live with Carter or let him reside in her house.
When the papers were served and Carter was forced to move out of the house, Marilyn heard from the elders at her Hall immediately. They wanted to meet with her right away because what she had done did not match with the Bible and their rules. The elders advised her that she would have to take him back if she expected to “stay in good standing with Jehovah.” They suggested that she and Carter should then take their problems to Jehovah God and He would help them mend their marriage.
Marilyn again asked, “So what if I take him back and he really does kill me this time? Then what?”Read More
Shortly after my father began studying with Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1971, my family’s life changed radically. Within the span of a single year we completely immersed ourselves in local congregation activities. Dad sold our rural house and moved us into town to be closer to the Kingdom Hall. We started attending all of the meetings and participating in field service.
Convinced that the end of the system would arrive in 1975, my father quit his job, started pioneering, and took on cleaning jobs. As you can imagine, this odd new lifestyle required some accommodating measures, so we began what Dad called an “austerity program.” We had to make do – or do without.Read More
In November, 1958 my family moved to Columbus, Nebraska. Like all the homes we lived in while I was growing up, there was only one bathroom for our family of six. Marilyn would take forever to do her business, so it could be a challenge if you really needed to go.
One day I pounded on the door, pleading for her to finish so I would not pee in my pants. Finally, she opened the door and walked out. I rushed in and opened the toilet lid. After several seconds of boyish deliberation, I decided that I would start calling her the “Little Logger.” That nickname stuck with her until the day she died.Read More
Oregon resident David Shurtleff decided to clear his conscience, tell his personal story, and begin 2013 with a fresh start. So he made a video and put it up on YouTube so that the world could hear his confession.
I can assure you that Dave’s often tragic story is not that unusual. Thousands of former Jehovah’s Witnesses in the United States alone have had similar experiences and are still living through the trauma that comes with being true to themselves and exiting the religion. Unlike most former Witnesses, Dave decided to stop holding it inside and share his story of both pain and redemption.Read More
I am often asked why I wrote Growing Up in Mama’s Club, why I blog and why most of my modern-day heroes are ex-JW Internet vigilantes who aggressively attack the unjust policies of the Watchtower Society. The answer is deeply rooted in Marilyn’s Story. First published in The Ghosts from Mama’s Club, I have rewritten and adapted it so more people can benefit from her story, as follows:Read More
It was November 1965 when, while still in my early twenties, I walked out of the Kingdom Hall as a disfellowshipped person.
Because I had come to disagree – quite strongly, in fact – with many of the teachings of the Watch Tower Society, I was summoned before a judicial committee to give an explanation for myself. They probed and questioned, and questioned me again. Surely this was all just to cover up some other wrong-doing, some immorality? No, it was not. It was simply what I said it was – my disagreement with Watch Tower teaching.
The Judicial Committee had to do something, but they were reluctant to disfellowship anyone for “not believing.” They did, however, have two other killer questions for me. Would I agree never to speak of these things with anyone else? And would I agree to break off all contact with a friend who had been disfellowshipped by another congregation?
I could not in good conscience agree to either of their demands.Read More