The Iron Hand of Irony


At the age of fourteen I made one of my crucial life-altering decisions ever: I was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Five years later, I married a young lady who was also a Jehovah’s Witness. We would come to have four children whom we also raised as such.

After more than twenty years as a prostelizing minister, I submitted a letter to the elders of my congregation in which I renounced and rejected Jehovah’s Witnesses — their tenets and practices. All my concerns, doubts and disappointments clashed and culminated in my decision to repudiate the doctrines of that religion [eventually, I came to dismiss any and all religions].

Consequently, I became a pariah and was subsequently officially ostracized by Jehovah’s Witnesses. I was painted as a heretic and, as per their beliefs, I was to be treated as if I were contagious.  I was disassociated [which is worse than being disfellowshipped]. Any Jehovah’s Witness who even spoke to me would risk explulsion or some other form of punishment by the organization.

My children, for many years, however, would speak to me well into their adulthood. Though I was not allowed to walk my daughter down the aisle when she married nor attend her wedding reception, I still had a fatherly relationship with my children — albeit somewhat stilted at times.

Twenty-five years after I rejected Jehovah’s Witnesses, I wrote a book containing 116 short essays — 23 of which explained my perspectives about religion.  This polemic act exacerbated matters. My adult children [except one] rejected me and treated me as the other Jehovah’s Witnesses did.

To that end, I could no longer see my grandchildren. Thus, my grandchildren [except one] are growing up without knowing me. My children will not allow me to see or talk to them because I, as the consequence of being a heretic, was considered an untouchable.

The irony: I raised them to be Jehovah’s Witnesses and that they are. They follow the tenets of that religion. Once I rejected Jehovah’s Witnesses beliefs [now nearly 30 years ago], they choose to adhere to its tenets and reject me. How ironic!

They are faithful to their beliefs as I am to my beliefs as a deist. I will not “repent” and embrace that religion and apparently, they will not reject that religion. I am not angry at them; their mother and I raised them accordingly and only one of them has decided to live differently. So, only one grandchild will come to know me.  The rest, will only think of me as someone who is to be avoided.

Sometimes irony stikes as softly as cotton; other times it pummels you with an iron hand.  Short of one of us yielding or acquiescing, I hope my children miss me as much as I miss them because I love them preciously. Then, at least that would be some consolation and the iron hand of irony would not hurt as much.

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Published in: on December 2, 2013 at 5:29 PM  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Ahh yes…the pain of it all…

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  2. The pain is real; pain is always real. The restrictions that religious groups (such as the Witnesses, other tightly controlled religions, or “cults” [I use the term in place of a more precise one which I don’t have come to mind at the moment] such as the Branch Davidians, the People’s Temple, or Scientology [proferred as an example, whether one considers it a religion or not] ) place on their followers as a method of control are successful – or not – depending on the strength of will and the education of the individual.

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