Transcript of OnionUnlimited podcast episode 044
HELLO AND WELCOME TO EPISODE 44 OF ONIONUNLIMITED—THE PODCAST. I’m your host, Daniel Torridon. Well, it’s time for me to move on to my next level of spirituality. What do I mean by that? Well, I’ve always felt like I’m on a journey, a spiritual path, and I still am. My journey started as a child, obviously, born into the Jehovah’s Witnesses organisation. For some 50 years, being a Jehovah’s Witness was all I knew. It was my identity. It’s where I belonged, or tried to belong. It’s where I sought approval, and validation, but I never really felt like I fitted into the group. I felt alone in a crowd—a misfit—and I was okay with that because I always felt there was something more for me.
Beyond the obvious social benefits of belonging to a group, I never felt the religion itself offered me what I was searching for spiritually—you know that deep feeling of connection with All That Is? It was a religious life, for sure, but not a spiritual one. I always felt there was something missing and when I searched for that “something”—when I questioned the beliefs and teachings that I’d been indoctrinated with since childhood—I attracted criticism. I was viewed as pushing ahead. I was expected to hold back, to believe what I was told to believe by the governing body, to be just like everyone else in the group, but I couldn’t. It was like Jesus’ illustration about the new wine in the old wineskins. Spiritually, I was bursting with enthusiasm, but the religion I was in was suppressing me, suppressing my spirituality, trying to turn me into a clone like most Jehovah’s Witnesses are. I was like a square peg in a round hole and so it was inevitable that I would eventually leave, one way or another. Simply put, I outgrew the religion of my birth, which led me to become an ex-Jehovah’s Witness.
Now I find myself questioning what that means. Ex-Jehovah’s Witness—does that mean I now belong to a new group, an ex JW “community”? Clearly, such a community exists. Many ex-JWs refer to themselves as belonging to the “ex-JW community”, but not all of us feel that way. I certainly don’t. As soon as I start to feel that I might be part of a group with a common agenda I begin to feel uncomfortable. I feel my autonomy slipping away, just like I did as a JW. I start to feel certain things are expected of me, least of all to feel a certain way, and while some ex-JWs may deny this, claiming that we have total freedom to believe what we wish to, there is still an implied sense of “we”. This becomes very noticeable when a situation arises where you’re expected to choose between one of just two very strong opinions. You are expected to take sides as if there is no third or fourth option. This definitely happens when members within a group set themselves up as leaders or representatives of the group. Now, don’t get me wrong. I totally understand why this happens. People like to feel part of a common cause. Birds of a feather often flock together, and within any given group there will always be those that rise to the surface as leaders or spokesmen or representatives. There will always be those with opinions and those who are opinionated. It’s human nature, but I question whether this is for me, and honestly, I don’t think it is. I don’t belong in a group. I’m an ex-Jehovah’s Witness, but that doesn’t define who I am. It simply says what I’m not.
The ex-JW community has been a very negative place the past few days. Again, I understand why. Things have transpired which have unsettled ones who feel they belong to this community. Things have been said on both sides of a very public “argument” that have generated strong feelings, even hatred, and this has got me questioning. Am I part of this group? Do I want to be part of this group? I think the answer, again, is no.
On my journey, I’ve been blessed to meet some very nice ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses that have become close friends, but I’ve also met a few quite nasty ones, ones who have simply carried their JW conditioning over to a new life. They remain petty, judgemental, gossipers, unloving, not open to agreement, and really quite unspiritual. Again, I understand why some might be like this. As ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses we’re all “damaged goods”, victims of an abusive cult, myself included, but these are not the kind of people I want to spend my life with. Looking at my Twitter account I’ve tended to follow anyone that follows me and I don’t think that’s been a particularly good idea. Each day I have been greeted with a Twitter feed of over 1300 people’s opinions, not all of which are positive. Again, that’s not necessarily a criticism. Some things that need to be expressed simply can’t be positive. Many of the things I’ve said about Jehovah’s Witnesses as an organisation in the past are very negative—by nature of the subject matter itself—for example, the governing body teaching lies or hiding child sexual abuse. That’s never going to create positive vibes. I get that, but do I want to keep tuning into that level of negativity each and every day? I think the answer is no. I’ve blocked my fair share of “followers” in the past, simply because as an empath I don’t like confrontation. It unsettles me. I think all the while I keep concentrating on a flow of negative information—justifiable or not—I am not able to move forward in what is, I feel, my real purpose in life. I’m not an ex-JW activist. I’m not a leader. I’m a creative empath, a spiritual teacher, a guide, a wayshower.
Of course, I have an opinion. I could weigh in and express my opinion about what’s been happening in the ex-JW community, but I don’t feel I need to. It won’t make any difference. It wouldn’t be heard among the “noise”, and I fear even if it was, people on both sides of “the argument” would start attacking me because my opinion is based on my belief that all things should take place with Love. I’m not sure if that’s a particularly popular opinion at the moment. So I will refrain from being drawn into expressing my opinion and concentrate on my true purpose which is my spiritual path.
Up until now, my purpose has included speaking up about the untrue doctrines and cruel policies of the Watch Tower organisation. I’ve had to do this to distance myself from the organisation, to make things clear in my own mind where I’m headed, and hopefully to undo some of the damage I did while I was a Jehovah’s Witness. I hope what I have shared has been of some help.
I’ve told my story of how I was born into the cult, how I became an unbaptised publisher at just 4 years old, and how I was baptised at 16 without fully understanding what I was entering into. I’ve related how I married the wrong person, how I served as a ministerial servant and elder, and the spiritual awakening I experienced in 2004 which I interpreted as being “anointed”. I’ve spoken about my disfellowshipping for apostasy in 2006 and being reinstated 3 years later for the sake of my family. I’ve told of my shortcomings and how ultimately I was disfellowshipped again when my marriage ended in divorce.
As far as the Watch Tower is concerned, I’ve told the story of how Jehovah’s Witnesses as an organisation developed from the teachings of Charles Taze Russell, and more so Joseph Rutherford. I’ve explained how they were a cult from the beginning, exposed by the likes of BH Shadduck in The Seven Thunders of Millennial Dawn. I’ve highlighted the erroneous chronology of the Watch Tower—how 607 is wrong and 1914 has no relevance in scripture. I’ve explained in detail how Jehovah’s Witnesses match the BITE model and how it is so very clearly a cult. On my website, I’ve posted numerous quotations from The Watchtower showing the hypocrisy of the governing body and how the organisation is now rampant with child sexual abuse.
But after all is said and done, I’m not an ex-JW activist—I’m just not. I’m a spiritual teacher who has spoken the truth about a cult I used to be a part of. That’s it. My duty in that regard is done. My words stand for themselves in the form of podcasts, blog posts, and social media posts. Now I have to concentrate on my path, my journey, my ascension to higher planes of consciousness, and I can’t do that while ever I have ties to Jehovah’s Witnesses—even if those ties are via the ex-JW community.
I may, in the future, have other things to say about Jehovah’s Witnesses or religion in general, but for now, I don’t see any benefit in producing a continual stream of ex-JW content just for the sake of it. I’ve said what needs saying and I’m sure there are people out there that will continue to produce content by the bucketload. By its nature, this content will be negative. After all, it’s highlighting the errors of a high control group or cult. Naturally, that’s not going to be a positive subject for conversation, and I feel there is a danger with repeating these things that the negativity might rub off on me. That’s not how I want to live my life. I’ve made my own fair share of mistakes and I don’t wish to spend my life pointing out the mistakes of others—even if they deserve it—even the mistakes of the governing body for who I have absolutely no respect. I’ve spoken out against them, very vocally. Now I’m moving on.
Simply put, I’m not a JW, but I’m also not an ex-JW.
Watch Tower, is now irrelevant to me. There’s nothing more I want to say about how rubbish it is. As I say, some things might pique my interest in the future—I may feel obligated to speak up again, and if so I will—but I need to be true to my purpose, which is as a spiritual teacher and guide. That’s always been my role in life, and I’m fortunate now to be in a relationship with someone who shares my outlook, a natural-born spiritual healer. Together we are on a journey of self-discovery, a positive spiritual path. It’s not about what Watch Tower is or isn’t. It’s about what true spirituality is. That’s our focus. Moving forward it will be the focus of my podcast, my blog, and my social media posts. So, if you’re only here for ex-JW content now might be a good time to unfollow, but if you would like to continue to accompany me on my spiritual journey, I’d be more than happy to have you along for the trip.
And so I wish to bid ex-JWs as a community farewell for now. I will always be grateful to those of you that helped me when I exited the cult. I will continue to follow individual ex-JWs who I find to be a positive force for good, friends that have interacted with me since my exit from the cult, and even one or two of the more controversial accounts just to keep an eye on what’s happening in JW land. But in general, I’m choosing to move forward with my life now without Jehovah’s Witnesses and without an ex-JW community en-mass around me.
So, so long, and thanks for all the fish!