Friday, February 27, 2009

Religion is like Candy

Candy One by Diana

Religion is like candy. The way that it’s wrapped determines who will eat it. If I like shiny silver wrappings, I will go after the candy wrapped in silver. If you prefer multi-colored wrappings, you will grab that. But then there are some people who are like children in that they’ll just simply eat anything as long as it's sweet. Presentation is everything and the reason why I bring this up is because the Jehovah’s Witness religion (which they say is not “a” religion but the “one true” religion) was presented to my sister and I in the most appealing wrapping we had ever seen. It promised that we would see our mother in a paradise on Earth. She would be resurrected from her sleep when God awakens all those in their memorial tombs. Now this may very well be so, but the fine print was the key. The only way we would be able to see her is if we became part of and followed along the lines of Jehovah God’s only organization on Earth. Of course that would be the Jehovah’s Witness religion with its many rules and regulations. We were taught and believed that the rules and regulations really weren’t burdensome but were for our benefit, protecting us from Satan’s world and the harm that it would exact upon us, being that we, as Jehovah’s Witnesses, were Satan’s number one target. All my little sister and I cared about was seeing our mother again and at that point, we would do whatever it took to do so. Thus we started our Bible studies.
I will be speaking about my experience with JW’s (Jehovah’s Witnesses for short) because they played a major role in my life as I lived as a baptized Witness for a decade. It is important that people in abusive relationships with children see how unprotected and opened to the world and its many vices their children will be if they died at the hands of their abuser. I am just sharing my experience as a girl who was orphaned when my father killed my mother after years of abuse. I was very much an open field to the world and most of the confusion I endured was at the hands of my extended family and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Sister P, the wife of the Presiding Overseer who studied with my grandmother, was a very stern woman who walked painfully upright and looked as if she was in anguish every time she smiled. Smiling and looking happy is a must for all Witnesses because to the world, they should always appear be the happiest people on Earth since they are, in their words, God’s chosen people. Also, “worldly people” should be attracted to the Jehovah’s Witness religion when noticing how sterling and jovial they are in comparison to the rest of the ailing world. Anyway, I wanted to share one of my latest poems with Sister P. I was very shy as a child and didn’t share my poems with everyone. Sharing one of my poems with someone was sharing a piece of me, a piece of my soul. The poem is entitled, “Valley of My Eye”. It was born out of the utter sadness I felt losing my mother and the continuous struggle to stay afloat without her.

Valley of my Eye
I took a trip, up a mountain, the highest
Steep was its full mass
Dents, chasms the wretched I topped
I bathed in glory at last

But behold an abyss, depth and width
As spacious as the sky
Where solid fog stayed still and slept
Valley of my eye

Grassy green half staffed and stunted
Grief’s whirlwind now loom
But look I saw another pang
Black roses in full bloom

Weeping willows stood their ground
Robins lost their soft song
Salty streams of tears came forth
Why do they flow so long?

And then a tremor shook the earth
A godly sight to see
My traveling companion, my steps of fear
My mountain majesty

I must climb again, this thing the highest
Echoing one steep cry
To come upon it again, I dread
Valley of my eye

When I finished reading, Sister P began to laugh. And the laughter got louder and more condescending. She then said, “Mountain majesty?”, and started laughing again. My heart sank as I looked at her. I was already in the process of indoctrination so I automatically thought, ‘What did I do wrong?” She told me that only God can have the title of Majesty and then she proceeded to go into her Bible to show me scriptures to back this up. This was a routine that I would be subjected to on a regular basis; having the Bible used as a tool to whip me into shape. Sister P also saw a short story I was writing for school which was set in Ancient Egypt and involved Pharaoh’s and mummies and Egyptian gods and she told me this was an absolute no no. “A Witness of Jehovah can not entertain or be involved in idolatry and essentially false religion.” She said as she pulled out the Bible and in seconds, found the scriptures to back her up. I wanted to do what was right at all times and fit into the religion, (it hurts to even write this) so I severed ties with my best friend that I had since I was 6 years of age. My friend who stuck with me and carried me through the most difficult times of my life – Writing. As I wrote at the very beginning of this blog, writing was my defense mechanism. It was very valuable to me, but if I wanted to see my mother again in the near future, I had to align myself with Jehovah God’s “one true” religion. From that point, I didn’t write as a hobby for ten years straight.

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