I was raised an evangelical and that ultimately led me into a cult. The doctrine of hellfire did a number on my young impressionable brain. I would classify child indoctrination as a form of emotional abuse. I am not saying my parents abused me, or that if you raised your children with religious dogma, you are abusive. I passed it on to my children as well. The system of child indoctrination, which is part of the required belief system, is abusive. Making children fear hell and Armageddon is emotionally taxing on a developing impressionable brain. Children should not be worrying about their death and or potential suffering.
Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t teach that the “loving god” will burn you forever, and with that small tweak, I was sold. I was 18, pregnant and my parents had to move 3000 miles away because of a job situation that was unavoidable. I had leaned towards agnosticism in my teen years because of the hellfire doctrine, but being pregnant and without support so young, that old child indoctrination set in. Will I burn forever in torment because I’m bringing a life into the world out of wedlock? Enter love bombing and a whitewashed version of the bible’s ruthless teachings, I started down a path that led me here. I raised my kids while working full-time, attending religious meetings and volunteering my spare time to try to help other people “come to Jesus/Jehovah” and be “saved.” The hamster wheel didn’t allow for me to question my beliefs; it wasn’t until there was a major scandal that I stood back and took and reassessed my beliefs. At first, I was just examining the grave issues that have recently come to light in the organization that I’d been supporting all these years, but ultimately that led me down a path to discover what the Bible truly has to say.
I went through a brutal round of shunning when I spoke out against the organization I gave 21 years to. It was the hardest year of my life but ultimately it made me stronger, and I gained my personal power back. In retrospect, I have to say the journey was beautiful. Freedom of mind and dogma is the greatest gift I’ve ever given myself and my family.