Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mary Celeste - aka The Amazon

She was spotted near the Azores. Captain David Morehouse watched her flail for two hours under full sail, then elected to board her. 

The date was today's date, December 4, 1872 - one hundred and forty years ago. The vessel in trouble was the Mary Celeste, a sleek 100 foot brigantine registered in New York. Boarding found her unmanned and at full sail - the Captain, Benjamin Spooner Briggs, his wife Sarah their two year old daughter, Sophia Matilda, and a crew of seven able sailors, were gone.

She had deported New York harbor on November 7th, bound with cargo of 1700 barrels of alcohol to Genoa, Italy. Though crew-less, she was found basically intact, with one pump working and one failed. Inspection by the boarding crew, and subsequent inspection showed that 9 barrels of the freight were empty, the boat[s] were gone, and it appeared that all had left in a panic. The ship had clearly encountered rough water, the ship had taken on some water, the contents of the cabin was askew, the main 3 inch halyard was found torn and hanging from the bow. The boarders said that the entire ship was wet, the navigational instruments and charts were missing. The captain of the rescue vessel, The Dei Gratia, testified that the winds had been strong for 7 or 8 days previous in this region. He supposed that it would have been difficult for any lifeboat to have stayed afloat for long in those conditions. 

This historical account is a good example of what a mysterious tragedy can spawn in the way of speculation and conspiracy theory. This event has been fictionalized many times, with 'explanation' of what happened. Arthur Conan Doyle, seeking to get his writing career underway, was the first to do so - his short story "The Captain of the Polestar", a fictionalized account that veered far from the facts as recorded by history. Subsequent speculations have included attack by pirates, mutiny, even abduction by aliens. The court of Gibraltar found no significant reason to suggest any of those explanations. This ship was not the only one that encountered such a fate - though not commonplace, it was not a totally rare event for a ship in trouble, in rough waters, to be abandoned, and the crew never found.

All in all - I find this maritime tale interesting, even a somewhat compelling subject for investigation. But, these events always make me aware of just how far human imagination can stray to attach conspiratorial, even supernatural or extraterrestrial explanations to what was likely a tragedy with no witnesses remaining to render an account of record. 

Yet, in thinking about this, I can smell the salts in the air, the wind in my hair, and a yearning to the adventures that can be unveiled from the comfort of my chair in this digital world. Explore!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My Earliest Regrets

It has been nearly 3 three years since I visited this blogsite. I had nearly forgotten that I had begun writing here. I have nearly left my memories of Jehovah's Witnesses behind and found life without the pain associated with my original exit from that group - my entire perspective has changed not once, but several times since leaving, but never as profoundly as in the past two or three years. 

The nine years since leaving the cult have been full of surprises for me - a leopard really can change it's spots. Though the years for returning to my missed higher educational opportunities is pretty well past - I have amassed enormous personal education in many fields. That education has changed me in ways unimaginable just a half decade back. 

One of the very deep psychological issues that hangs on for most cult survivors is the inability to think independently. Cults thrive, and derive their power, from group-think. This is why when you meet one of Jehovah's Witnesses, you have met them all. Education is all but prohibited among them. If you would infiltrate the ranks of that religion you would find very few persons holding a college degree. I never met a Witness with a masters degree or a doctorate, in over 40 years of active association. And nearly unheard of are teachers, scholars, professionals. In fact, in doing research for this blog I came across the following, taken directly from their literature - viewed from their perspective as Theocratic Law. The quotes below represent the official view of the religion in the years in which I was entering high school and seeking to find my future. Needless to say, my direction was not toward the doors of the University:

Watchtower 1969 3/15 p. 171 What Influences Decisions in Your Life? [emphasis mine]The influence and spirit of this world is to get ahead, to make a name for oneself. Many schools now have student counselors who encourage one to pursue higher education after high school, to pursue a career with a future in this system of things. Do not be influenced by them. Do not let them “brainwash” you with the Devil’s propaganda to get ahead, to make something of yourself in this world. This world has very little time left! Any “future” this world offers is no future! Wisely, then, let God’s Word influence you in selecting a course that will result in your protection and blessing. Make pioneer service, the full-time ministry, with the possibility of or missionary service your goal. This is a life that offers an everlasting future! 

Watchtower 1971 9/15 p. 563 Set Apart from the World [emphasis mine]All worldly careers are soon to come to an end. So, why should today’s youth get interested in ‘higher education’ for a future that will never eventuate? The colleges are falling into chaos, anyway. The essentials of education for a useful life can be obtained by studying well at high school, and beyond that there is also the ‘highest education’ that Jehovah provides through his organization, preparing for a satisfying career of full-time service that goes on forever. 

In addition - during those crucial years of my life, my late teen years, one of my good friends was a man 20 years my senior. Charles was in fact, college educated. Later, after a short time in the military, and marrying, he became one of Jehovah's Witnesses. He spent many years, not speaking fondly of his college years, but instead downplaying his education. He never really used his degree. He 'overwrote' anything he learned in those years with 'theocratic thinking' - subsequently teaching his own children precisely what is written in the above quotes. None of them went on to college as a result. 

As I look back upon those years, I realize that what I admired about him was the one thing about which he was so embarrassed - his education. But he would rarely discuss it with me - he took the official position that education was dangerous, perhaps even the tool of Satan, as suggested by the Watchtower. I imagine he considered himself fortunate that he somehow got an education, yet still made it into 'Jehovah's organization'.

He was, however, a skilled private pilot, and part owner in a small airplane, housed at the local airport. This hobby - which I believe was an outlet for the potentially successful man seeking to break out in the open - was his single outlet to show the world he was more than a seller of religious journals. So, in my admiration of his skills in this area, I determined that I would go to school to become a commercial pilot after high school. But Charles saw things from the brain-sleep perspective of the religion and strongly advised me to void my application and instead 'pioneer' after my graduation. I did as he suggested. 

Those two things - higher education, and my pilot's licence were denied to me by this religion. Some would say in response 'you made those choices yourself'. If they say such a thing, they obviously have no idea how powerful the influence of this religion is on those who adhere to their teachings, as I did. Being 'one of Jehovah's Witnesses' is not about joining a group - it is more like being melted into the mass of that group, losing all shreds of personality and individualism. Decisions are not made in the conventional way, by weighing the personal benefits. All decisions are made by faithful Witnesses by looking from the perspective outlined by the literature and counsel given by elders and others in authority within the slurry of the melt. More powerful yet are the assertions of the religion that soon this world will end, and only those who have fully complied with the instructions of Jehovah, given from his earthly surrogates, will gain that life.

If I were to list my 'regrets' for having been inculcated into this religion [and I have tried unsuccessfully to avoid this, for fear of sounding more like a victim than the survivor that I consider myself to be] - these two would be on the top of my list. 

This is just where my thoughts took me today, as I sought to return to the world of blogging [again]. I hope to make a real concerted effort to make a couple or three entries each week. Though I feel relatively healed from my cult experience - I have become aware that perhaps thoughts about my former life need airing and consideration that can come best from my fingertips.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Early 1960's - Ripe for expansion!

The headlines in 1960 read like an invitation to edge-water Christian sectarianism. The cold-war between the East and Western blocs of nations is hard underway. Americans fear nuclear attack, Kruschev is threatening the UN, and tension is growing in Asian politics, a precursor to America's longest foreign engagement in Vietnam.

Back at Watchtower headquarters this does not go unnoticed. Beginning in November of 1958 and concluding in June of 1960, the Watchtower organization published in it's primary magazine called the Watchtower, a 40 part series entitled " Your Will Be Done on Earth". This series was a replication of the hard-bound book of the same name that had been released to Jehovah's Witnesses in the summer of 1958. The publication was filled with repeated references to 'the King of the North' and the 'King of the South', and contained many pages of text that began to settle Jehovah's Witnesses into a mindset that would make them eager to preach the message that only 'God's Kingdom', as of course endorsed only by Jehovah's Witnesses properly, would bring about a solution to all this world trouble. The UN was cited often in this publication as having significant impact on the outworking of God's purposes. Great urgency was given to the 'work at hand' - that work of preaching door to door and making converts to the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses.

While the world at large was preparing for a possible nuclear confrontation, those extreme religious bodies who were in the perpetual business of declaring that the Kingdom was about to show itself on the earth, like Jehovah's Witnesses, were busy selling the idea that all of mankind was about to face annihilation, not from nuclear bombs, but from God himself, for failing to come to his side [which is of course Jehovah's Witnesses side]. This was no new message for Jehovah's Witnesses of course. Beginning in the 1870's, they had delivered a steady diet of the same message, changed as the times required, saying that they had the 'truth', all the 'world' was destined to be destroyed soon, and only those who found themselves serving God with them would survive.

In the late 50's and early 60's, this message began to sell very well. Modern society was entering a new era. For the first time in history, man had weapons at hand that could virtually destroy mankind in a matter of hours. It is no wonder that many people began to put confidence in what this organization began to teach, when it made statements like this:

"The most serious obstacles to total disarmament are humanly irremovable. All international efforts, with or without the United Nations, are therefore doomed to failure. Happily, however, God’s Word, the Holy Bible, does not leave us hopeless. It enlightens, cheers and guides us with this reliable information: Universal disarmament, followed by a warless new world of righteousness, will come by the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of the God of heaven." - Watchtower 4/15/1960 page 241

While past efforts to recruit may have at times been mounted on the horns of a false dilemma, this historical moment was fraught with uncertainty, and the dilemma of potential world-war was indeed significant. The organization began to sink it's teeth deeply into this advantage. Between my birth in 1955, and the beginning of my school days in 1960, the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses had grown from around 650,000 to very near a million, a significant milestone that would be passed in 1964.

New Light - Superior Authorities 1962

Had I been older, a significant doctrinal shift in 1962 would have been significant. But I was only eight years old at the time, and much more concerned with other non-doctrinal matters. By this time I was in third grade, facing pressures that are certain for witness kids in school. I was dodging the flag salute, finding excuses to not stand out when I refused to celebrate the holidays, and trying to make cognitive sense of how a child was to avoid any friendships in school, associate with only witness children, when there were no other witness children in my small town.

In the November 15 issue of the Watchtower for that year the Watchtower rescinded it's long held view that the 'Superior Authorities' mentioned in Romans chapter 13 represented Jesus and Jehovah. They now admitted what most 12 year olds could have easily seen by reading the text in context, that these 'superior authorities' are the nations of the earth ruling over the people of the earth. I was likely in my late 20's when I was moved to take a look at this 'new light' doctrine more closely. I recall thinking at the time; "How could they have ever had this wrong? It is so simply stated. So clear as a bell. " My examination of the matter revealed that my religion had taught that the superior authorities were God and His son since 1929, and before that they had taught, like they were teaching now, that the superior authorities were the governments of the earth.

I recall wondering why Jehovah would turn on the 'new light' of understanding in 1929, then turn it back off in 1962? Surely, if it could be understood correctly before 1929, why would Jehovah change it? Why indeed? Of course this reflection took place long after the change - I had seen other doctrinal flip-flops in the meantime, and was heavily invested by the time I examined this one. There was simply too much to loose by my admission that this 'new light' stance uncovered a significant flaw - that flaw being that if God was influencing doctrine in order to move the organization closer to 'truth' - He had either missed it the first time, or had missed the second time. Why was this light-switch going on and off - wrong light being a doctrinal lock for 33 years? At the time of my reflection, this problem of cognitive dissonance made an impression, but was overruled by the concept that God had a single organization that represented Him in all the earth. This doctrinal change became a touch-tone to my eventual awareness that I resided in an organization that was far more similar to any other religion than I was willing to admit at the time. I wanted to believe it was the 'Truth' with a Capital "T". So I shelved this significant evidence in my mind.

As time streamed forward to the mid-1960's the organization would begin to orchestrate it's largest effort at recruiting ever undertaken. At the heart of this push would be a year that would go down in infamy for them - 1975. The years were drawing closer to doctrinal shifts that would highlight that year above all others within my lifetime. It would also be the spring to the trap that would hold me captive for almost 30 years after.

Stay tuned!

Returning to the 'blogwheel'

I see I have neglected this aspect of joy for me for a while now. I may return in a few days to this passion of blogging. I am trying to decide if I will do it here, or create a new blog.

I have outgrown the Jehovah's Witness subject in some ways. But I know that many can still benefit from knowing that they were not alone when electing to leave this religion, and that their history may be similar to mine on many levels, helping all of us to understand the reasons for our staying so long inside a faith that we now know was empty.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I Began to Learn - They Called it "Truth"

My mother quickly accepted a 'study' of the Bible from Jehovah's Witnesses. But we found out quickly that Jehovah's Witnesses never study with future recruits from the Bible directly. And the word 'study' is used by them in a somewhat falacious manner.

The first book I was introduced to was called "From Paradise Lost - To Paradise Regained". It was not the classic 17th Century volume and it's sequel written by John Milton. This one was a rather oversized, salmon colored 'Bible study publication' written by unknown author[s] sitting in the offices of a growing religious corporate headquarters in Brooklyn, New York.

As a lad of only four years old, I was impressed with the cartoonish looking artwork. The first chapter was entitled; "God Creates Mankind's First Paradise" and was followed by "God Creates the First Human Souls". Those chapters contained colorful drawings of the first man and woman in Eden. Adam was depicted as Adonis-like, and his companion Eve was beautiful. Adam was clean-shaven for reasons that I did not question at the time. Other pictures that would have impressed a young person depicted animals living in perfect harmony with each other. The six creative days were layed out, with some notable departure from typical Christian theology, as well as unprovable 'facts' about this early period of pre-historia that today, as a grown and well-informed man, I know to be either total bunk, or in the very least, without any basis in science.

That first chapter stated, as if it were absolute fact, that each of the six days of creation listed in the opening salvo of Genesis, were in fact each of 7,000 years length. Also, that the beasts we know today as predatory carnivors, were in the beginning peaceful, apparently grass eating herbivors. And that the sun, although created ahead of animals and man on the earth, was just a hazy light, obscured by billions of tons of water that enveloped the earth in a 'canopy'.

Right away, chapter 2 began to set the stage for some key doctrines that would influence much of my thinking. The writer asserts that the 26st verse of the Bible proves that Jesus was with Jehovah in heaven and assisting with creation. Such early influence prejudiced me for most of my life against more typical theology in Christianity. But at the time I had no idea how powerful these early teachings would prove to be for me.

I became the perfect Witness student. I could not wait for the next study session to arrive each week. I prepared as well as any four year old could. Years later, one of my early instructors in the religion told me that he recalled my sitting at the kitchen table, barely able to see over it and the books in our hands, raising my hand eagerly to answer every question. This even though I did not read at this point. These powerful drawings, and my mother's daily teaching of me what they meant, had transformed me mentally into a Jehovah's Witness long before I became one officially. I was 'hooked'. As I look back now, I realise the careful attention that went into these tools intended to begin the process of indoctrination early in life. The book was colorful. The illustrations were powerful. I was becoming entranced with these teachings at a very young age.

Although the Society later worked hard to deny by omission the doctrine of 7000 year creative days, it never left my mind. The imprint was undeniable.

During these early days, I was also subject to attending my first meetings with Jehovah's Witnesses. The meeting places were never called churches. Ever. They were called Kingdom Halls, because this was where we were supposedly taught to become good and faithful servants of the 'Kingdom', while we waited patiently for the return of paradise to the earth and our salvation. These meetings were very formal. All the male members, including those of a very young age, wore suits and ties. All the female members, including little girls, wore dresses. None of the men wore beards or mustaches. There was no 'Sunday School' classes or 'Youth Classes'. Youth were seated with adults in a single auditorium. There were five meetings every week. We were expected to attend all of them. Two hours on Sunday, an hour on Tuesday, and another two on Friday evening. Besides those mandatory sessions, which were quite boring to those too young to understand the deep subject matter under discussion, there were also several 'assemblies' to attend each year.

In spite of the seeming lack of youthful attractions, I was very attracted to this religion. I took it up with zeal, even at such a young age. We were becoming a family of Jehovah's Witnesses - and fast. My dad, who was never a JW, was for a long time a 'believer' in what they taught. Shortly after our 'study' began, my dad began to speak to a fellow worker and eventually 'helped' him to become one of Jehovah's Witnesses also. My mother was busy trying to convert her best friend. My little brother and sister and I were getting involved at our level too. It all seemed so wonderful. God was saving us. All the world, all religion was wrong, except for our religion. I recall developing a deep loathing for other religions. I remember walking past the local Methodist Church and envisioning lightning bolts destroying it at Armageddon. I remember gathering up all the Watchtower magazines in the house [the semi-monthly periodical of Jehovah's Witnesses] and using a hole punch to create a 'file' of them held together with string. The literature was taking on a Holy nature to me, as it does to most of Jehovah's Witnesses.

All of this happened before I started school. As I look back, I doubt I could have shaken my intense attachment to this religion, even if the family would have abandoned study by this point. Why do I say this? Because, that in fact is just about what happened. My mother became an 'inactive' Witness almost immediately after officially becoming one, and remained that way for most of her life. My dad never did become a Witness officially. We soon began to miss almost all the meetings, and our 'studies' were only hit and miss for years after that initial burst. Still, by the time I was ready to start school I was convinced that I had the 'Truth'.

My awareness of how powerful the insidious influence of this religion is has largely influenced my resistance to allowing my grandchildren [whom we raise] to have any interaction with religious literature or church attendance until they are much older and able to decide their opinion of it based on mature thought. Looking back, I know now that I was destined to accept this religion more because of my own disposition and youthful inability to reason, than because it offered anything close to cognitive support for it's doctrines.

While JW's [and other religions] argue in behalf of early 'training', I personally believe it to be wrong. It unjustly prejudices children to accept ideology that they cannot possibly be equipped to refute, no matter how dangerous it might be.

By the time I began school in 1960, I already willingly refused to salute the flag, say the pledge of allegience to it, stand for the national anthem when played. I did not celebrate my birthday nor any holidays. I would not accept a Valentine, or a Christmas card from a classmate. I was dismissed from the classroom every time a holiday party was underway. I already 'knew' in my heart, that when I became adult, I would refuse anything whatsoever to do with military training or war. I hated toys with war themes - I never had a GI Joe or a play gun. I was destined to become a loner.

I recall one time coming across a small American flag in a drawer in our home. I must have been less than six years old at the time. I had heard someone say that burning of the American flag was against the law. The disgust in my heart for this piece of cloth was immense though, based entirely on my indoctrination by Jehovah's Witnesses in the past year or two. I waited until dark, sneaked outside with a book of matches and the flag, and gleefully burned it in our yard behind the garage so that no one would see.

All of this in spite of the fact that my parents were not even practicing JW's! And in point of fact, they never were particularly strong JW's. I would eventually become one, a very zealous JW in fact.

My training was underway. Throughout the years, Jehovah's Witnesses have printed new tools to indoctrinate the young and impressionable children in their midst. They have always been colorful, filled with art and images that impressed doctrine with pictures upon minds unable to reason beyond what they were being taught. The titles of these books has changed. But the intention never has changed.

The very fact that now, fifty years later, these recollections are so powerful, is proof of how powerful these influences can be for children. If these children happen to be getting their training from a cult disguised as a religion, they may never escape. Or, as I did, they may eventually escape, but having wasted dozens of years of productive life before that happens for them.

Next: Momentous changes in the 60's. Armageddon is Near!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

1959 - The Year it Began for Me

Not my life, but my life as influenced by JW's began in 1959.

Nineteen-FiftyNine was a momentous year in many ways. It began with a bang as Castro overthrew the Cuban government and set up his own, Alaska became our 49th state, Charles de Gualle became president of France, and Bozo the Clown became a household word for millions of American kids. Transcontinental flight came to being when American Airlines flew from LA to NY, and the space age began in earnest as NASA selected the first 10 astronauts for the space program.

In that year too, there was much quieter activity going on by a religion that had not become too well known on the American scene. Up until just a few years earlier, they had been known as International Bible Students. Some called them 'Russellites', a reference to their founder. But in 1931, under the control of the second president of the group, they had adopted an odd name: "Jehovah's Witnesses". By 1959, the year first heard of them, they had grown from an upstart in the 1870's, to about 800,000 people proclaiming themselves part of the religion. It was one member of this small sect that introduced myself and my family to a new lifestyle, new doctrines, and decades of religious indoctrination.

The lady's name is not important. Let's call her Vivian, and she was about to change my life. I was but a four year old leader-adventurer in the lawn on a hot summer day when I spotted it: A big four door black sedan where it shouldn't be - sitting at the edge of our lawn, parked on the road. Sitting behind he wheel was a rather dapper looking man, fifty years old I suppose. My discovery of his car interloping into my world was startling. We didn't usually have many visitors, and none of them ever parked here. My poorly developed territorial instincts went to work to determine just what was happening here. Not long after my initial inspection of the front of the car, my ears caught the sound of voices coming from our porch. The lady, Vivian, was coming out of our house, and in what seemed to me to be a rather excited voice, was concluding a conversation with my mother. She was reading something from a book, and handing my mother some papers or perhaps a book.

In what was to become a tradition of sorts, she would often offer me some candy or gum from her bag, though on this first occasion I do not recall if she did so. Nonetheless, mom seemed to like her, and the visit ended with Vivian heading back to the big black car and leaving with her husband at the wheel. Little did I know that my entire world was about to change.

In 1959 Jehovah's Witnesses believed that the end of the world was very near. The escalation of the 'cold war' in the aftermath of World War II, and it's attendant fear, made many people receptive to the ideas they promoted. In some areas, the churches were loosing some influence, but these evangelical groups were picking up converts. They seemingly could answer any question posed, either scripturally, or with clever argumentation that was convincing to those who were looking for salvation from a freightening world around them. Jehovah's Witnesses believed that they alone were the vessels that bore the 'Truth', and that attachment to their organization was critical in escaping future calamity or destruction from the hand of God. Their arrogant position was evidenced often in their literature, like this quote from the January 1, 1959 official journal of the organization called The Watchtower:

"Jehovah in his wise and loving providence has provided us with new wineskins, a new channel or instrument especially adapted for our day, namely, the New World society of Jehovah’s witnesses. To all willing to taste of our refreshing new wine let us also by able speech, by continued zealous activity and by right conduct recommend the new world instead of the old world and the New World society instead of Christendom."

It was this primary doctrine, the idea that no other religion on the earth had God's blessing, that would override most of my thinking for the next 45 years of my life. This sort of scriptural gymnastics, as in this case, the application of Jesus' words at Luke 5:38 to themselves, though 19 centuries removed from the statement, would be something that I would observe as a regular part of my 'spiritual nourishment' for the next 45 years.

As Vivian and Raymond drove off that hot summer day in 1959, I had no idea that my entire life had just changed. Measuring in weeks and months, things would change drastically for our little family. And that change would affect us forever.

Tommorrow: What we began to 'Learn' from this new religion.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Five Year Journey

In January I marked my five year anniversary of my exit from the religion of my first 48 years.

Don't get me wrong. I was 100% Jehovah's Witness. I lived it. I loved every day of it. But over the course of more than 4 decades it is impossible not to know that there were problems with both the theology and the premise. Over the course of this bloglife, I will likely touch on many areas of my life that were/are affected by it's doctrines. 

When I left in 2004, I was bitter. It was far too early to write this account. When the body of elders here, after I had been gone from the religion bodily for almost three full years, elected to contact me, charge me with 'apostacy' and forced me to either face disfellowshipping [excommunication in Jw terms] or to legally resign from the religion I was bitter again. It would not likely have been a good time to write this account. In the course of this blog, I will possibly display some of that bitterness from time to time. Like gall that rises in the throat, it is quite impossible not to react at times to these painful memories. But these days, I am far less reactionary in my approach to the subject.

Why write it at all? The answer to that question is complex. But those who are reading, who have in-cult experience likely understand far better than those who don't have such experience. Forgetting one's experience in the bonds of a cult is similar to ever forgetting the high-school you attended, the early memories of childhood, or your past painful experience in a marriage that went stale in time. Much of what we are or what we become is forever dependent on what we were, how we lived, and the related decisions that we made in arriving here.

But I will not exclusively create this journal for the purpose of attack. That is not the purpose. I will speak the absolute truth in what I say, based both on my own experiences and on the facts as shown by history. I will attempt to be somewhat chronological in my approach here, but not exclusively. History after all, is a culmination of times, events, and their intertwined nature. So I may skip about in the timeline, but will try to resist losing the reader with wild meanderings of my mind and thoughts. 

I will refer throughout this blog to "Jw's" or to "the Organization", and those terms are interchangable with Jehovah's Witnesses as a people, and the Watchtower as the controlling corporation over them. The terms are forever connected. If you were 'One of Jehovah's Witnesses' or are one, you were also, or are, totally dependent on the Watchtower organization to direct and hold you. The terms are inseparable. 

Tomorrow: How it all got started for me.