Not that this is news exactly, but religion teaches some wacky nonsense. And Jehovah’s Witnesses are up there among the looniest of the toons.
One ex-Jehovah’s Witness named Misha Anouk decided to pen a letter to the LGBT community detailing his journey from the other side. It’s an important reminder that we all have the power to open our minds, no matter where you come from or what you’ve been taught.
Here’s how he tells it:
Dear LGBT-Community, I was a homophobic assh*le for two-thirds of my life. I am 33 now and it is time for me to apologize.
You see, I was born into a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I was a member of this organization for nearly 21 years. I got baptized when I was 14 and left Jehovah’s Witnesses on December 16th, 2003.
Let me get this straight: Individual members Jehovah’s Witnesses are not bad people per se. Most of the former spiritual sisters and brothers I had contact with were great guys who wanted the best for their family, their friends and – believe it or not – the people they visited to distribute their Watchtower and Awake! magazines. I know this for sure because I was one of them.
And that’s why I firmly believe that Jehovah’s Witnesses as an organization are a homophobic cult…
Of course, Jehovah’s Witnesses claim not to judge the individual – but who are they kidding? As soon as you start judging the actions of an individual you automatically start judging the person behind the actions. Especially if you associate these actions with labels like “unnatural sexual perversion”, “hate”, “perverted desire”, “condemn”, “abhorrent”, “sexually degrading” – or even compare it to the sexual abuse of children.
Most of the Jehovah’s Witnesses I knew agreed with the sentiments displayed in above quotes. I know that for sure, because I agreed with them.
I am ashamed to say that for the better part of my life I detested Homosexuality, thought it to be a sin, something bad. I viewed Homosexuals as perverted and used gay as a swear word. I wasn’t the only one. When my Jehovah’s Witness friends and I watched a movie with gay protagonists we felt sick and made no secret of it. We were convinced Homosexuals would die in Armageddon and we believed they deserved it.
To be honest: I did have a bad conscience, even back then, whenever I looked down on Homosexuals, because I knew it was only the actions that were to be judged. But then again I had read in the Bible that Jehovah hated Homosexuality so it couldn’t be that wrong to detest them, right?
On December 16, 2003 I was disfellowshipped by Jehovah’s Witnesses. My former friends have shunned me since then, my brother hasn’t spoken a single word to me since then and what I have with my friends is what I would call a relationshipwreck. I experienced first-hand what it means when people look down on you because they don’t agree with your lifestyle. That is the first lesson I learned.
The second, much more valuable lesson I have learned in the past 11 years is that everything I learned about life from Jehovah’s Witnesses is a big pile of sh*t. I grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness and turned into a homophobic assh*le because of that.
And I am proud to say that I am this assh*le no more. When I stopped being a Jehovah’s Witness I learned to have respect for all walks of life. I learned that you can choose who you sleep with and how you dress, but you do not choose your sexuality or your biological gender. I grew up in a binary world. But when I left, the diverse world beyond Jehovah’s Witnesses grew on me, and I learned to love it. I have a bunch of friends from the LGBT community and they all welcomed me into their lives despite of my past. Their example touched me and showed me what a jerk I used to be.
I have no idea how many people I have hurt in my life through my beliefs and homophobic or sexist slurs I may have uttered. It doesn’t matter because it is enough that I even entertained these kind of thoughts for the better part of my life. I am honestly sorry I was this kind of person. I know for sure that Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t tolerate crimes against Homosexuals. But they don’t realize that hate speech like theirs is a breeding ground for crimes against Homosexuals. I am so happy that I had the chance to change. I will never be able to make up for what I once believed. The least I can do is to apologize for having been part of a movement that contributes to intolerance. And I will do everything I can to contribute to the making of a world where everybody has the same rights as I no matter where they come from, what they identify as or who they love.