The date of May 1st has come up in many conversations in the last few months. In fact we planned for this day. But not in the ways you might be imagining.
A normal Sunday for many. Definitely not for our little blended family of 6.
See . . . We have joint 50/50 custody of my two children and Clint’s two young girls meaning that one week our house is bursting at the seams, full of the laughter of 3 beautiful girls ages 7, 9 and 9 as well as the cunning yet hilarious household commentary from my smart ass but amazing 14 year old boy. Then . . . the following week we are completely kidless and we do life together as a young honeymooning couple.
Our weekends without kids consist of making a list of 100 things we want to get done around the house, and then deciding that snuggling on the couch and having a naked day sounds much more appealing. (This likely sounds way more saucy than what it is I promise . . . . well sometimes 😉
This morning was spent laying on the couch cuddling talking about our night. . . catching up on our week . . . . flirting a bit . . . . then chatting some more.
If you knew Clint . . . . you would know that he is a thinker. He tends to go into what we call “Clint Land” often. You can always tell he is thinking deeply about something when he has scrunched his eyebrows a bit and rubbing the tip of his thumb to the tip of his index fingers in a small circular motion. (cutest nervous habit EVER! And always a dead giveaway)
Now I am NOT this overly inquisitive and nosey wife (well . . . almost wife) that asks what he is thinking about because I am insecure and thinking that he has another woman on his mind . . . . or porn . . . lol. I actually am genuinely interested in what he thinks about because our minds work so differently and I love and respect how his brain works through things and only wish mine did the same.
Most of the time when I ask him what he is thinking about I expect something to come out of his mouth that is very deep and profound . . . most of the time its something very scientific like about black holes and distant galaxies or chemical compounds and reactions. At this point I usually tune out and hear wha-wha-wha-wha and my artistic creative right brained self-goes into totally ADD land (aka Leah Land.) Sometimes I get from him deep concern and worry. Other times I get to learn about a moment in his life that has impacted him that he revisits. I get to learn about moments I wish I was there for . . . good and bad.
A tad bit of back story . . . Clint is Jehovah’s Witnesses call an apostate http://thewatchtowerfiles.com/what-really-is-an-apostate/ . He was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, became baptized as a minor, and was held to a lifelong contract to remain in that faith for the rest of his life. After much research and contemplation he determined it was a cult and wanted nothing to do with it anymore. He “turned his back on Jehovah” and became a “spiritual danger” to his wife and children and was excommunicated. Not only excommunicated, but he actually came home from work one day to find his wife and children gone. She left. Filed for separation. . . . kept him from his children. (This is story all on its own)
Sooooo. . . THIS morning. . . . THIS time when I asked what was on his mind . . . tears began to trickle down my cheeks as he spoke. . . .
He told me that he was remembering the first weekend he was allowed to pick up his girls for a visit. How he had to pry them out of their mother’s arms crying. How they held hands in the back seat…crying…no…bellowing as they looked at each other and then back at him nervously…in complete fear of this monster of a father that was driving them to his house full of demons. He told me how his children were taught by the JW faith to fear and hate “apostates”…that soon he would die at Armageddon. They were damn near trembling in fear to leave with him. Then she has the nerve to tell him to “do the right thing” and leave them with her and not come around until they are comfortable.
Watching this man tell this story. . . seeing the pain in his eyes. . . feeling only a fraction of the pain he would have felt. . . . hearing the struggle in his voice to even talk about this experience . . . All I can do is hold his hand and tell him how strong of a man he is to have made it through this and gotten his girls to where they are today.
They have come so far. He has fought so hard.
He was able to get the parenting coordinator to actually put in a formal order that clearly states that neither him nor his ex wife would disparage the other parent in any way, through any medium, whether directly or indirectly. And although the courts wont keep her from taking the kids to meetings at the kingdom hall or JW conventions, she has been warned many times that she is not to take them to any meetings or conventions in which the children will be taught in any way shape or form to shun their father.
So it is May 1st. A day we have planned for.
It’s not our weekend to have our children which means his girls are at their meeting and we know what they will be studying at the kingdom hall today. The JWs release what is going to be studied on their website ahead of time. We know they will be teaching the congregation the proper way to shun an apostate basically. We know that his girls are going to be sitting in the front row and hear that speaking to apostates is forbidden, and that the only way to mend that relationship is for that person to “return to Jehovah.” In other words…emotional blackmail. If you can cause enough pain to your excommunicated family member by treating him/her like they don’t exist…the pain may drive him/her to come back to the organization. We know this because their mother refuses to follow the courts rules. She thinks they don’t apply to her. She places “Jehovah” (JW doctrine and rules) above all else. She places this cult above EVERYTHING including her children. We KNEW she would be there. We knew that we had to emotionally prepare for their homecoming. Because not only is it heartbreaking to see two children try to navigate two homes and two lives that are so completely and utterly different. . . . But its even more heartbreaking when they come home after being bombarded, barraged, and overwhelmed with his evil programing that causes them so much guilt over loving their father that it literally makes them physically ill.
So after a morning to ourselves. . . cuddling . . . talking. . . crying together. . . . Now, I cant help but think about these two little girls and what they are doing right this second.
RIGHT NOW THEY ARE BEING MADE to listen to stories about how their father is evil. RIGHT NOW they are hearing stories about why they should do everything in their power to distance themselves. They are taking these stories to heart . . . Right NOW they are listening to people being praised for their shunning their loved ones in order to bring them back to Jehovah. People are cheering.
Below is paragraph 7 from the lesson that was studied during their meeting today.
7 A conflict of loyalties may arise when a close relative is disfellowshipped. For example, a sister named Anne received a telephone call from her disfellow- shipped mother. The mother wanted to visit Anne because she felt pained by her isolation from the family. Anne was deeply distressed by the plea and prom- ised to reply by letter. Before writing, she reviewed Bible principles. (1 Cor. 5: 11; 2 John 9-11) Anne wrote and kind- ly reminded her mother that she had cut herself off from the family by her wrongdoing and unrepentant attitude. “The only way you can relieve your pain is by returning to Jehovah,” Anne wrote. —Jas. 4:8. Watchtower Study Addition Feb 2016
Notice the example of how a young woman ignored her mother’s plea to have a relationship. Instead, this young woman wrote her mother a letter, explaining that the shunning would continue and that it was her mother’s fault that she was shunned at all. She was the one who had been excommunicated therefore she has brought this emotional pain upon herself. The only way to “relieve” the pain was to become a Jehovah’s Witness again.
People are cheering for those who have learned to limit their love. Let’s think about this. . . . People are currently clapping and praising one another for their ability and strength to refrain from speaking to their own mother. . . their own daughter. . . . their own sister . . . their own father. Conditional love based on how well a person tows the organizational line is lauded.
While some of us have kids in church this morning hearing about unconditional love. . . . tolerance. . . . acceptance. . . . forgiveness. . . . these poor babies are being programmed to take away their love. . . . to limit their love . . . to distance themselves from any and all who are “bad association” or to flat out not speak to anyone who has “lost their way” and “turned their back on Jehovah.”
RIGHT NOW these little girls are thinking in their little heads . . . . “Am I wrong for loving my father? Should I try to stop having fun with him? If I treat him like these people do in these stories . . . maybe just maybe he will return to Jehovah and we can all be happy again. I bet if I try what they did maybe I can save him. . . . But what if I fail? What if I don’t save him? What if I keep being nice. . . keep talking . . . keep having fun over there . . . and keep loving him? He won’t learn! He wont ever go back to Jehovah then. . . THEN HE WILL DIE. He will be killed at Armageddon. He will be struck dead and it will be my fault for not saving him!”
How is that for a beautiful warm Sunday May 1st morning?
-Leah (fiancé of an apostate)