.:I WAS MOLESTED AS A CHILD IN JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES. DOES JEHOVAH EVEN CARE?
“When I was growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness, I was sexually abused by my father, who was an elder. When it came to light, it was swept under the rug and I was told to leave it in Jehovah’s hands. I waited with the expectation of a child, but nothing ever happened. Justice never came. Does Jehovah even care about my abuse and the long lasting effects I have because of it? As an adult I suffer from depression, eating disorders and serious thoughts of suicide. What kind of a loving God would let this happen to an innocent child? Loving God was the worst mistake of my life!”
Dear Broken Hearted Friend,
My name is Beryl, and I cannot exaggerate how much I understand your feelings. My heart has spent many years in pain and I have cursed God and shaken my fists at Him in outrage! I have tried two times to take my own life. I know firsthand what hopeless feels like.
If it is alright with you I would like to share a little bit of my story, just enough for you to have absolute confidence that I am not patronizing you or giving you false hope. I am truly speaking from my own life experience.
My parents became witnesses when I was 6 and very quickly Jehovah and his “organization” became my entire life. My parents were all about “serving Jehovah”. That was all that I knew. Then, when I was 14 we moved from Southern California to Tennessee, where there was a need for more full time pioneers, which both my parents were. Soon after moving there, my stepfather began to sexually, verbally and emotionally abuse me.
What is so important for you to know is that I was really in love with Jehovah. I was baptized at 12 and immediately began to auxiliary pioneer, putting in 60 hours of field service every month even though I was in school full-time. I did this because I wanted to. By the time we moved to Tennessee, I knew what my life long goal was and that was to serve full time in Bethel at the Headquarters in Brooklyn, New York. All I wanted to do was serve Jehovah.
Throughout the abuse, my love and service to Jehovah never waned. The abuse came to light right before I turned 17 and the response was for the elders to privately reprove my stepfather and me! I immediately went back into the full time ministry but my stepfather never returned to the organization once all of his privileges were restored.
I eventually got married to a Witness and thought that everything was fine. But then, around the time I hit 22 or so, I began to suffer with horrible depression and while it should have been obvious, I didn’t know why. I didn’t think that I had been affected by the abuse, and no one ever even hinted that I would be! My life became a roller coaster ride from that point on; really! And long story short, my husband and I ended up disfellowshipped, thrown out of the organization.
The next 13 years that followed were a living hell on earth. I kept trying to get back into the organization and kept failing to keep my “act together” long enough for them to let me in. The important thing for you to know about those 13 years is that I kept crying out to Jehovah, asking Him, “WHY?!?! Why did you let this happen to me when all I have ever wanted to do is serve You! I had my whole life planned and it was ALL about living for you. WHY DIDN’T YOU PROTECT ME?”
I spent a lot of those years so angry at Him. So angry about all the garbage the abuse brought into my life. So angry about all of the reproach that my partying, promiscuity and wanting to die brought on Him when I had just wanted to glorify Him with my life. That was truly the dream of my deepest heart… to make Him happy, to serve Him with everything that I was. How many people feel that way about God when they are little, how many have a real intimate relationship with him at 6?! But I did. I was IN love with Him. He was my world. But now my world was shattered and dark and hopeless. Why didn’t He protect a love that was so deep and real??? It made NO sense!
But all of those painful years of unsuccessfully trying to get back to the Witnesses finally lead me down a road of desperation that brought me to the doorway of a Calvary Church. It was an eight month long journey, full of confusion, fear, uncertainty and yes, more anger. But I was surrounded by the most amazing group of Godly women that just loved on me and prayed with me and FOR me. And at the end of my eight month climb, on April 3, 2003, I surrendered it all to my Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
It was in that moment that all of my questions that spanned years of my life… all were answered. The clarity of understanding was the most amazing experience of my life. Suddenly, I knew why He allowed, NOT CAUSED… but allowed the abuse. You see, if I had not been abused, I would have gone to Bethel and probably married some good witness man and I never would have allowed myself to ever consider another religion or belief and I would have ended up being eternally destroyed.
And if He had not allowed the abuse… I would not be able to understand your devastation, your loss, your resentment and your anger at God. I would not be able to offer you hope. I would not be able to offer you the truth that I have personally found. The truth that not only is there a God but He is the God…the GOD of love, of tenderness, of protection.
He wept over me every single time that my little girl’s heart was wounded. He wept over the spiritual abuse that I lived through on a daily basis for 32 years. He wept all the times that I chose to hurt myself as an adult by making self destructive choices, using drugs, sleeping with a lot of men, abusing alcohol and even literally trying to take my own life. He has been right here every single moment of my life since I was conceived.
He has never once turned His back on me; even though there were so many times that I was sure that He had; so many times that I was sure that He didn’t love me, He didn’t want me. And every single time that I thought that, I believed that, or I knew that, I was WRONG!! I spent a lot of my life “knowing” that I had all the facts and they only “proved” that God didn’t care. And I can tell you on the other side of a very long, hard, brutal road… that I WAS WRONG.
I can also assure you with absolute confidence that He weeps over you… He wants you to let Him make things right. But He will not go where He is not invited. I want to be completely honest with you… I still have periods where I struggle with trusting Him, BUT I can promise you that it is not the same as it used to be. Where most of my life was sad and ugly and hurtful, NOW my life is mostly peaceful and warm and safe. He has brought me to a wonderful place and put so many amazing people in my life. I am richly blessed every day.
And in some respects I think this is the most powerful thing that I can say to you. I have finally reached a point that if God came to me tonight and offered to reverse all the abuse and all the pain, however it would mean that I would lose the gifts of compassion, empathy and discernment that have all come because of my abuse, I would honestly say “No.” I would turn that offer down and I mean that with everything that I am.
That is the wholeness that He has restored to me, and that is the wholeness that He wants to restore to you. He is very patient and knows your heart better then you do, so you don’t have to do much, just open the door a crack, let Him begin to love you through people like me who really understand your pain. It is not an overnight healing but real, deep and solid healing; it is! Just open up a tiny bit, if you are like I was, you really DON’T have anything to lose but you have EVERYTHING TO GAIN.
If you are hurting and need some encouragement, please visit my website: www.daddyslittlegirls.net. You may also want to check out this website: www.silentlambs.org for information on what is being done about the abuse of children in the Watchtower.
FOR MORE INFORMATION SEE:
This post is also available in: Spanish