The Ghosts from Mama’s Club

I am currently writing a sequel, The Ghosts from Mama’s Club. The book is an autobiography of my life after Bethel, and it prompts the question, “So what are these ghosts?” In my story, they are dysfunctional behavior patterns, residue from the time spent in a highly controlled religious group. These ghosts can be toxic and debilitating roadblocks to a full, happy life after leaving the Club, if they’re not identified and exorcized. They are:

  1. Prodigious amounts of misinformation acquired wittingly/unwittingly.
  2. Constant guilt due to thinking one is not pleasing God. This occurs when old religious fears are not properly cremated.
  3. The loss of cognitive thinking skills, an inability to think for oneself.
  4. An insatiable need to have other people or groups do one’s thinking.
  5. The inability to articulate well-thought-out religious/philosophical beliefs.
  6. A potentially unhealthy attraction to high-control fundamentalist groups promising God’s truth & the correct interpretation of the Bible.
  7. The inability to tolerate the insecurity of anything outside the sphere of physical science and a person’s conscious experiences.
  8. A need to control other people. (When you’re abused, you can abuse)
  9. A lack of self-control related to sex, alcohol or drugs.
  10. The inability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time.
  11. Black and white thinking, as answers were always found in the WT.
  12. Difficulty understanding that the only things a person can control are one’s beliefs about events, people, circumstances, etc.
  13. Difficulty assimilating into mainstream society due to JW phobias.
  14. Stuck on constantly blaming the organization for robbing the best years of one’s life and unable to acknowledge one’s duplicity.
  15. Obsessive time and energy spent on projects intended to topple the organization. (Expose them, yes. Toppling them isn’t going to happen as JWs fill a market niche for people in need of heavy-duty structure.)
  16. A propensity to underline in ink key points in magazines and books.
  17. Suffering persistent shunning by JW family and friends. (For many people, this is the most brutal ghost, and can be severely debilitating.)

I believe the most invasive of the ghosts is misinformation. Shedding “things a person knows that ain’t so” is a very challenging task. It requires cremating old religious fears. It may take years. But it can be done. If I were to leave the organization today, my recovery plan would include reading the following six books, in this order, and here’s why:

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An Interesting Twist in a Child Custody Case

Although a bit apprehensive at first, I was recently asked to help a non-JW mom in a child custody hearing. Due to my story of Growing Up in Mama’s Club – A Childhood Perspective of Jehovah’s Witnesses, she believed I could help convince the court that her three school-aged children should not be baptized as JWs, if that was their choice, until they were 18 years old.

She had married a disfellowshipped JW and early on made a non binding verbal agreement with her husband that the kids would not be raised as JWs. After their divorce, the dad had a change of heart. He was reinstated and began attending meetings sporadically. Several months ago, he started taking the kids to the Kingdom Hall on the Sundays he had custody. As soon as the mom found out, she filed a complaint.

The mom did her homework and provided good documentation to the court to support her concerns. And, she petitioned for me and another ex-Bethelite to be her expert witnesses. The questions and our testimony were to be as follows:
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Helen’s Response

My wife, Helen, walked out of her last Kingdom Hall meeting in 1986 after spending thirty years as a JW and has never looked back. While her story and more is told in an upcoming sequel that I’m writing, Ghosts from Mama’s Club, I want to share an event that happened to Helen two weeks ago. But first, I’ll need to share a little background information.

While Helen was never disfellowshipped, her JW siblings treated her departure like she was. When my step father passed away in 2001, Helen and her JW sister had a pleasant two-hour conversation after his funeral. Still miffed by the silliness of it all, Helen said sarcastically as her sister announced it was time to go, “See you in another fifteen years Esther.”

In July of this year, I organized a meeting with my JW brother, who is ironically married to Helen’s sister, to persuade my JW mother to move into an assisted living facility. Esther joined us and the hour-plus conversation preceding family business went well. Lots of laughs, hugs, and conversation you’d expect from family members. It prompted my mother to say to me later, “You could really see the love Helen and Esther have for each other.”

Two months later, Helen received a letter from Esther and a copy of the September 2006 Watchtower, featuring the article on page 17, “When a Loved One Leaves Jehovah.” Esther wrote, “My intentions in sending this is not to upset you, but rather is out of love and concern for you and Dick, (me) especially in view of the worsening world conditions and the nearness of Armageddon.” She went on to underline the following expressions:
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Six Screens Conference Call

Six Screens of the WatchtowerRick Fearon of Six Screens of the Watchtower called me last week and asked if I would like to be interviewed on his Saturday, September 26 Conference Call Show. He told me that fascinating people from all over the world call in, including both former and active Jehovah’s Witnesses, and many other people who are “touched by the tentacles of the Watchtower.” While it sounded interesting, I knew little about his group. So I told him that I needed a few days to think about it before deciding to participate.

I did my research and talked to several friends. As it turns out, Rick and his wife, Inez, are fully committed to a very unique ministry that exposes the false teachings and hypocrisy of the Watchtower Society. It didn’t take me long to decide to appear on his show.

Fearon’s site, along with FreeMinds.org, Ex-JW.com, and BRCI.org , to name just a few, are all doing a great job sharing the truth about this dangerous cult.

I dialed into the show at 6:35 PM and listened in on an active conversation between several ex-JWs and people studying cult behavior. One of the alarming observations came from a disfellowshipped woman whose son was a known pedophile. She knew that he and society would be better off if he was in jail, but his local congregation’s elders were protecting him. They had no intention of reporting him to the local police because they believed his confession and resolve to stop his sordid behavior was enough evidence for them to forgive him of his sins.

At 7:00 PM, Rick closed the outside lines so that only the two of us could talk while assuring his phoned-in audience that there were hundreds, perhaps thousands, of listeners already listening to the call.

Rick spoke for twenty-five minutes, sharing the goals for the Six Screens Ministry and reporting new developments in the activity and loss of members for Jehovah’s Witnesses.

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