Mother of Disfellowshipped Children
I guess I'm having a "crisis of conscience" I have been a witness for 24 years and have raised 5 children teaching them that this was the "truth".
I started feeling that something wasn't right when my oldest two son's were in their teen years and were considered "bad association" so the other kids were not encouraged to spend time with them. It really pushed them further in the direction that we were supposed to think was wrong. Having "worldly friends" or having NO friends those were their choices. When they left home we were supposed to be very disappointed in them because they did not choose to be witnesses but I loved my sons and felt that they were good people even if they did not choose to become JW's. Even though I felt that way I was convinced by others and my husband that I should limit my contact with them and also limit contact between them and their three siblings left at home. I felt that I could disapprove (or not agree with) of some of the decisions they made in their lives (such as living with their girlfriends they both married these girls eventually) but still be a part of their lives. This went on for years. When my 15 year old daughter became pregnant (by the son of another witness family) we were devastated (she was baptised) the elders determined that she was repentant and did not disfellowship her but instead publicly reproved her.(what is THAT!!)two weeks later my older daughter felt guilty and told us that she had slept with her "worldly" boyfriend. (we didn't know about him) Being good "witness parents" we advised her to confess to the elders. She broke it off with her boyfriend which was very hard for her to do because she felt she was in love with him but she wanted to do what was right. So she met with the elders and "they" determined that they could read her heart and she was not truly repentant so they disfellowshipped her. She was so depressed for so long that I was afraid that she might harm herself. She lost all of her lifelong friends and was guiltridden!! She was still living with us so our relationship didn't change.
She went to all of the meetings and did everything she promised to do and since when we did research we didn't find anything (scriptual) that stated an amount of time before she could be re-instated we encouraged her to write letters within a few months. We felt that if she was repentant in the first place why would time make her more repentant???? When she wrote the first letter the elder laughed at her saying that it was way to soon!! It seemed like forever to "her" she was marking the calender with the days since she had been DF'd. She was devastated!! We kept encouraging her to keep doing what she was supposed to and write another letter in a couple of months. They kept rejecting her. In one of the meetings they had with her they told her she was doing everything she was supposed to but she needed to dress more modestly!!!!! We took her shopping and tried to pick out clothing that might please THEM this was expensive!! In the meantime our younger daughter was getting larger and larger I was so proud of her as she walked into the kingdom hall at 15 years of age pregnant and unmarried with people shaking their heads (how shameful!!!) Oh and the boy who was the father of the baby was not baptised so there was no punishment for him.(he was from a different congregation)
After about a year the elders finally broke down and reinstated my older daughter she was 18 when they finally got around to it. It has been 3 years since these events, there have been more things that have happened but these are the things that got me wondering if this was really Jehovah's organization. My daughters are 20 and 22 now, the younger daughter is married (not to the father of the baby) he is not baptised but has been studying for about three years since before they were married, we pushed them into marriage even though we didn't know him well, we didn't want her to commit fornication and be disfellowshipped!! We found out about a year after they were married that he was mentally abusive and controlling. We feel responsible, she may have not married him if we didn't push it. Now if she divorces him she will not be "free to marry". My older daughter is living with her boyfriend but not disfellowshipped, she no longer attends meetings. I've decided that if they do I will not change my relationship with her, I don't think that is what God wants me to do. I talk to all of my children regularly and am very involved with their lives I LOVE THEM AND AM PROUD OF THEM!! Even if they do make mistakes (I make them too!) None of them are promiscous (SP) they have been very loyal and faithful to their mates.
I can't talk to anyone about my doubts but my husband knows how I feel, he loves me very much and will respect my feelings even if he doesn't completly agree with them. He does see some things though that he feels aren't quite right. But he isn't where I am at yet. I am still going to the meetings but feel that I would be a hypocrite to go out in service. I have not gone for at least 4 months. I know the elders and others at the kingdom hall are getting concerned, they are trying to pressure me into going in service I know a shepherding call is inevitible. I'm not sure what I will tell them.
I want to tell my kids Im sorry. I thought I was doing the right thing. I'm sorry they didn't get to have friends, that they didn't get to play sports or go to the dances at school. I'm sorry they had to feel inadequate and guilty like I have for years (I never felt that I could really be a "good enough witness") Im sorry to make them feel that they were a disappointment to us. It doesn't seem like enough though just to say sorry!! I love them very much and have tried to be a good mother to them, they are wonderful people and I am proud to be their mom!!
Well this is the first time I have expressed these things fully. It feels good! There is so much more to say
Thank you for listening