Those who have been following my story will know that it was only as recently as last November that I decided to reveal myself and officially sever all ties with the Watch Tower Society, which happened a month later at my apostasy trial.
The breaking point that led to this life-changing decision was the news that my wife was pregnant.
We both agreed that it was inconceivable for us to raise our child as a Jehovah’s Witness, and we knew that if we stayed as Witnesses in name only (inactive) this would give our believing family some leverage to try to indoctrinate our child themselves.
As a consequence of taking our stand so emphatically, my wife and I have undergone tremendous emotional turmoil from our believing family members. Tears have been shed as we saw Watchtower forcing rifts in our family before our very eyes.
It must be gratefully acknowledged that some in our family have adjusted better than others, much to our relief. Even so, to be shunned by ANY loved ones who you once considered inseparable is a devastating experience – especially when it is over nothing more than a difference of beliefs.
Watchtower claims that shunning has spiritual healing benefits. It assures Witnesses through talks and literature that shunned family members will be more likely to realize the error of their ways and return to the arms of the organization. But I can testify that such emotional blackmail has the exact opposite effect on me.
Certain loved ones may hold out hope that I will “see the light” and come running back as a result of their cold shoulder treatment, but in actuality by demonstrating their mindless loyalty to Watchtower they are only strengthening my resolve.
The more I see clear evidence of the organization’s cruel unflinching tyranny in my own family, the more determined I am to insulate future generations from it. If my wife and I need to go through this pain so that our offspring never have to, it is a sacrifice worth making.
A reason for joy
It was because of this sacrifice that we decided our child would be named Jessica Liberty – the middle name serving as a reminder of the gift of free thought we have fought so hard to give her.
You can imagine our joy when, on May 7th at 11pm local time, Jessica Liberty finally arrived into the world. The magnitude of the event was such that I was inspired to make the following video by way of a tribute to our precious daughter.
I don’t know whether my family will ever see this video, but if they do I hope it will help them to at least partially understand why I have taken this stand. As much as my father professes to love me (and I am sure he does in his own way), his expressions remain valueless so long as they are not demonstrated.
True parental love is standing by your child no matter what they think, say, or do. It means acknowledging that we are all entitled to see the world differently and base our beliefs on evidence, and that the time and affection we show our children is not predicated on whether they share our religious views or organizational allegiances.
This is the opposite of shunning. It is unconditional love – the very least any child deserves, and something our daughter will always have from her parents.
- A Prisoner No More – The Story of Cedars
- My 21st Century Apostasy Trial
- A Beautiful Video from a Formerly-Religious Father to His Newborn Daughter
If you have a Google account and would like to subscribe to my YouTube channel, you can do so by clicking here.