How do psychopaths deal with Jehovah's Witnesses

23 years with Jehovah's Witnesses - "I've lived through many hells"

23 years with Jehovah's Witnesses - "I've lived through many hells"

The 41-year-old man from St.Gallen belonged to Jehovah's Witnesses throughout his childhood and youth. At the age of 23 he broke radically. Almost two decades later he says: "Only now do I live a self-determined life." Protocol of a breakout from the clutches of a sect.

The childhood: proselytizing from house to house

“I was a little boy, seven years old, and on my afternoons when I was off school I moved from house to house with an adult. We rang the doorbells, talked to the people about the approaching end of the world Armageddon and the subsequent eternal life in paradise for all who submit to the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses. I hated these field services. Especially the road service where you stand with the watchtower - the brochure of the witnesses - on a street corner. Every time a classmate passed by, I felt ashamed. Back then, I was out and about for up to twelve hours a month on behalf of Jehovah's Witnesses to save lost souls. It was bad, this peddling, but I believed what we said with deep conviction.

The family: Denied contact with the mother

My father and stepmother lived with me and my twin brother and older brother in Wuppertal, Germany. I was denied contact with my birth mother. She disappeared from my life when I was about five. To this day I have hardly had any contact with her. I know she broke with Jehovah's Witnesses and slipped into alcoholism and unemployment. I had no real contact with other people outside of Jehovah's Witnesses.

I went to public school, but we weren't allowed to maintain close contacts; no birthday parties, no parties, no disco and no relationships with girls, because sex before marriage is taboo. After all, you couldn't trust the non-witnesses, the cosmopolitan, as we called them. In our eyes it was all people who would be destroyed in Armageddon. Eternal life was only assured to us witnesses. We lived only for this.

The Ministry School: Thinking for Yourself is Not Desired

In the ministry school - the Witness services on Friday and Sunday - I learned, as soon as I could write, how to give short five-minute lectures on a biblical subject. That was just as much a part of it as the weekly book-study meeting in a private apartment. There we worked through books with questions about biblical life. The answers were all neatly noted down. Thinking and questioning for yourself was expressly not desired.

The black sheep: in a basement room

The older brother was a disappointment to my parents. He turned away from the witnesses, drank alcohol and listened to heavy metal music. From an early age he led a separate life without contact with the family in a room in the basement. This room was taboo for us. Our brother too. I had no contact with him. Sometimes when no one was home I would sneak into the basement room and look around. Our oldest brother was with our grandmother a lot. She cried a lot and had no chance to get through to my dogmatic father. My eldest brother was part of the right-wing extremist scene at times.

The apprenticeship: Profession does not matter

After school I started an apprenticeship as a chemical technician. I hated this job. But I was convinced that the end was near and it didn't matter what kind of job I was learning.

Marriage: just quarreled, without love

The next chapter that should never have been: I got married at the age of 21. We weren't ready for it. We got closer physically, it was strictly forbidden before marriage. I believed that God could see everything, even read my mind. We had to confess and - we got married. At the same time as I was planning marriage, my twin brother fell in love with a girl outside of the Witnesses and was excluded from the close community. He was my most important person to me and I wasn't allowed to invite him to my wedding party. Dropped Witnesses are the worst thing for the congregation because they have deliberately turned away from the only truth. In their eyes they are even worse than murderers or rapists. My wedding day was hell, my worst day. The marriage also turned into a catastrophe. We just fought, weren't mature enough, didn't love each other. The connection lasted two years.

The break: guilty and damned

My twin brother, who now lived far from the Jehovah's Witnesses in Passau, Germany, kept looking for contact with me during this time until I visited him. Together with him, I went to a gothic party for the first time at the age of 23 and fell madly in love with a girl. It was the reason I broke with Jehovah's Witnesses, with all of my old life. I quit my job, got divorced, and completely broke off contact with my parents' house. It was not the belief that the Witnesses were wrong about their worldview. On the contrary, I felt guilty and damned. I was sure that now I am lost. I couldn't look at myself anymore, I was convinced that God hates me, painted my face white, my lips black, drank me away with absinthe and whiskey every evening and became a Satanist - if God hates me, the devil must love me.

At the same time I had a huge thirst for freedom and occupied myself excessively with magic, occultism and Satanism. I wanted to know everything and somehow fill this huge black hole in me. The relationship with the new love, a woman with borderline syndrome, lasted three and a half years. And then I got to know Carl Friedrich Frey - called Akron - in St.Gallen. He is the reason why I live here in St.Gallen. I had a student-teacher relationship with him for 17 years. He helped me to think for myself and to question myself, he helped me to destroy my old worldview in a long process and to believe in my own freedom. It was a key encounter in my life. After his death last year, he bequeathed me his amulet, which he wore all the time.

The new life: finally able to enjoy

The relationship with my next girlfriend then lasted ten years. During this time I started to gamble, living completely in an artificial world through these games. In addition, I was constantly concerned with death. The Witnesses believe that life really begins after Armageddon. The present life is only the preparation for eternal life in Paradise. At the age of 30 I started another apprenticeship as a media specialist. I am now 41 years old and I would say that for two or three months I have been ready to finally enjoy life, I am able to try new things and I am finally able to relate. My twin brother also found the right path after a stay in a psychiatric rehabilitation clinic. He made up his Abitur and is now studying philosophy and would like to do a doctorate. I've seen many of the hells people can be in. I can therefore empathize with people very well. There will probably always be phases of depression in my life, but I won't give in to them anymore. "

InfoSekta: Most inquiries about Jehovah's Witnesses

In 2017, 2,400 people sought help from the specialist office for sect-related issues. As stated in the latest InfoSekta report, the department has been receiving the most inquiries about Jehovah's Witnesses for years, increasingly from insecure members who are still members, dropouts and those who have been excluded. A big topic is the sexual abuse of children in the closed system of Jehovah's Witnesses. Legal proceedings are pending in several countries for sexual assault against members of the Christian fundamentalist community. Helplessness in the face of the blindness of those affected, fear of the family breaking up, creeping alienation up to breaking off contact and fear for the well-being of children who are under cultic influence are the most common reasons for asking InfoSekta. Infosekta is a denominational independent advice center for questions about sect-like groups and related topics. The department has existed since 1991. (chs)

www.infosekta.ch