I WAS EXPLAINING TO MY DAD why I no longer believed Jehovah’s Witnesses were “the truth”. “If you handed me two coins of the same size,” I said, “both painted black, and told me one was silver and one was gold, how would I know which was which?” The answer, I explained, would be by comparing their weight. The gold coin would be heavier than the silver one. “But,” I said, “that would assume you were telling me the truth about the coins being one silver and one gold.” I seemed to be suggesting that comparing Jehovah’s Witnesses to other religions was not a reliable way to tell if it is “the truth”. What if all religions are the same, that is wrong?
It was 1 am. I decided to go to bed, but couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned for a while. Before I knew it, it was 4 am. I got out of bed and walked downstairs to the kitchen. My old pioneer partner, Steve, was there. He looked worried. He asked me if my book, Believing the Lie—A Story of Cognitive Dissonance, was going to be released anytime soon. I told him it was almost ready to go to print. He asked me not to name him in the book. I told him he didn’t need to worry since I had used pseudonyms.
I found myself walking along a street with my dad and two Jehovah’s Witnesses from my old congregation. I was asking them to calculate the number of hours they would spend at Kingdom Hall meetings during their lifetime: 4 hours a week, times 52 weeks, times 80 years for a born-in JW like me. “16,640 hours of brainwashing,” I said.
My dad and I walked ahead together. All of a sudden we saw a spectacular sight in the sky above: Jehovah sitting on a throne, surrounded by angels prepared to start Armageddon. I was stunned. Had I been wrong all along? But then I noticed, alongside the road, a series of tables at which vendors were selling their wares. “Ah!” I thought, “It must just be an event of some kind.” That’s when I noticed it wasn’t God and His angels, but just a bunch of actors standing on a colossal scaffold high above the road. The scaffolding contained advertising. One advert read “Zedekiah’s Pork Pies”.
It was March. I was getting married at the end of the month. I was viewing a house with my fiance. It was really small with just a couple of rooms. In one of the rooms was a staircase that stopped at the ceiling. I climbed the stairs and began clawing at the ceiling with my fingers. The ceiling fell away in one piece. I continued climbing the stairs and discovered a load of other rooms above it, all with numbers on the doors. I remember seeing a number 6 and a number 8. I entered one of the rooms and quickly realised it was an apartment with people living in it. I ran back down the stairs putting the ceiling up behind me.
I found myself in the house next door sitting in a room talking to an old enemy of mine. We seemed to have made peace. All of a sudden my phone rang. A terrible accident had happened at the house next door. I grabbed a first aid kit and ran round to see what was happening. A young woman was lying on the floor with a broken nose. Two other women had rendered first aid. They had bandaged her nose but hadn’t checked her for other injuries. I carried out a head-to-toe survey and discovered she had an arterial bleed coming from her back. I put my finger in the hole to stem the bleeding. An ambulance was called. When the paramedics turned up, they were accompanied by a reporter from the local newspaper. The reporter wrote a piece shaming the first aiders as being incompetent for missing the arterial bleed. I didn’t think this was fair so I went to the newspaper office to set matters straight.
On the way home, I saw my old driving instructor. She told me I had been a terrible learner. A report of my bad driving had been sent to Bethel. I looked down at my feet and noticed I was wearing slippers. Then I began to fly. I landed in a large barn full of soldiers. They told me the enemy was going to be attacking soon. I flew up to the roof. Then I flew across the road to another building where I saw a large cannon. I spotted the enemy approaching and began to fire my cannon at them.