I grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness. I felt like I had The Truth (always capitalized) my whole life. I didn’t doubt it, at least not often. My mother was the one who brought me into the religion, when I was born. My father and she had been Catholic growing up. I suppose my dad stayed that way, though he wasn’t very active. My mother was not the most active JW either, at least not in comparison to others in our Kingdom Hall. I always thought of this as a good thing, especially as a teenager, since she was much more open minded than some other kids’ parents.
JW children are raised to believe that they shouldn’t associate with kids of other religions because they are “bad association” as per scripture. As the scripture says, “Bad association spoils useful habits.”
Now imagine being one of the JW kids in high school and having another JW say that to a non-JW student, or “worldly” kid, as we called them. Pretty embarrassing, right? I was always the more balanced of the Witnesses who I associated with, at least I felt that way. I dated, and not just JWs, I had multiple ear piercings, my mom was awesome!
Now, in my early 30’s, I have started a true spiritual journey. I’m not just working within the confines of my religion anymore; I have gone completely outside of them and am walking my own path. I will always maintain that *most* JWs you meet are decent people who just want to help others. When we went out in service in the door to door ministry it wasn’t to annoy you, despite what you might believe. It was because we genuinely felt we were saving people by bringing them a positive message from the Bible.
I could have kept going to my Kingdom Hall and no one would have been the wiser about my life and my choices. I could have lead a double life. There are *many* who do that. I know of several just in my own old Kingdom Hall. But I don’t want to be a hypocrite, and I feel it does a disservice to that religion and the kind people in it for me to be two-faced and pretend to be someone I’m not. I didn’t want to be that person.
I want to be authentically me.
And that is why I’ve begun searching for something spiritual in my life, not necessarily religious. Though I do identify very closely with the core beliefs of Unitarianism. I like it’s all-encompassing view point on things and how a lot of the church meetings are centered around learning about different religious beliefs and simply bringing something back to your community.
My son, who is five, wants to go on this spiritual journey with me and I couldn’t be happier! He has always been a sensitive kid. He decided on his own that he believed in God and that he wants to say prayers when the mood strikes him. I have so far only been able to take him to UU church and to a Catholic service. He thoroughly enjoyed both, and I enjoyed watching him learn about other people’s beliefs.
My personal belief is that it’s so important that he feel free to go on this journey with me. And who knows? Maybe he will open *my* eyes to new and interesting things I may not have noticed before. That’s what’s great about looking through the eyes of our children; they show us such wondrous things. And really, if I were to believe in the strictest sense of God, what other miracle but my son, my miracle baby, to show Him to me?
I’m not sure what I will discover along the way, but I know I am really ready for this journey. After all, it’s not the destination, but rather how you get there that’s the worthier part.