To the editor,
Juliana Bunim’s column, “The Witnesses Next Door” (Aug. 8), reminded me of a day when Jehovah’s Witnesses visited my parent’s farmhouse in Pennsylvania in 1971.
The Jehovah Witness couple that came to recruit us seemed very nice. Within six weeks of studying the Bible with the Watchtower organization, my mom sat me down and told me I could never speak to our relatives again because, according to Jehovah’s Witnesses, Satan might be working through our relatives to keep us from learning the truth. In addition, I couldn’t have a single solitary girlfriend for the next 10 years, nor could I ever enjoy a holiday or birthday again. To say life became bleak is a monumental understatement.
I was baptized as a Jehovah’s Witness, dedicating my life as a child to a man-made organization, without the ability to understand the fine print. When I left the group at the age of 18 to pursue my own spiritual path, I was shunned by my family. My mother, brother, sister, four nephews and niece haven’t seen or spoken to me in 25 years now.
The Watchtower organization’s policy of shunning affects millions of people worldwide. Yes, Jehovah’s Witnesses are very nice — until you decide you don’t want to remain among them anymore.
Brenda Lee, Denver, Colorado
The writer is author of a memoir, “Out of the Cocoon: A Young Woman’s Courageous Flight from the Grip of a Religious Cult.”