The women that abandon “The Good News” are a large army. To be born a woman is a great disadvantage in many parts of the world and much more if she is part of a destructive sect like the Jehovah’s Witnesses where she is submitted to the “theocratic order” being the base that sustains the corporate pyramid, displaying submission at all times before male authority. Those of us that have been part of this cult can verify that the woman has to carry out a series of practices that for the rest of society is somewhat incomprehensible. I’d like to draw your attention to the act of head covering, if for any reason a woman has to pray in public while a male is present, who is not available to lead the prayer, she must cover her head because she wouldn’t be respecting the arrangement of authority if she didn’t. An example of this is when the male in question has been baptized. Also, the case could arise when there is a non-believing husband present at the instruction given by his wife, a Jehovah’s Witness, to their children. Although he is not baptized, she must cover her head as a show of respect to the authority of her husband as head of the family.
I’ll introduce my own personal experience of submission to the “The Theocratic Order” at this point. I had to give reading and scripture classes in the Kingdom Hall and I was obliged to cover my head because I had to show respect, as a woman shouldn’t teach; but as there wasn’t a qualified male to give the lessons, I gave them wearing a scarf on my head. I never understood exactly the reasons for this, but I always put my trust in the Organization and was its loyal and prudent slave and if they told me I shouldn’t teach (although that’s what I was doing), well, I accepted it without question and covered my head. Obviously, this is my experience and there are probably thousands of cases where women are humiliated and made believe they are inferior to men, even though they count on having sufficient intellectual capacity to help others imparting their teachings. The organization controls women excusing itself on the biblical principles of headship. There’s a text that has always unsettled me and it’s from Timothy 2:11,12 that says "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence". So, I thought: If the bible doesn’t permit a woman to teach, how is it possible that we can go out to preach and give bible courses? Isn’t that teaching? What does the organization have to say in respect to the place of women in the proclamation of the, so-called, “Good News”? The “Watchtower” of 15 August 2014, page 10, paragraphs 19 & 21 says the following: 19: That small group of sincere bible students has grown to approximately 8,000,000 Jehovah’s witnesses that currently exist and to this 11,000,000 people that attended the Commemoration of the Death of Jesus Christ in the year 2013. In almost all the countries, the majority of the followers were women. What’s more, in the whole world the amount of full-time preachers of the Kingdom is more than one million, and the majority again are women. As we can see, God has also conceded the great privilege to women of representing him. Truly, the words of the psalmist “The Lord gives the word, and a great army brings the good news” (Psalm 68:11). 21: There is no doubt that Jehovah blesses the evangelizing labor of the Christian women* and he supports them in difficult times. For example: He helped our sisters to maintain themselves loyal under Nazism and Communism. Many of them suffering and even losing their lives for obeying God (Acts, 5:29). Today, as in the past, all Christians, women as much as men, have chosen Jehovah as their leader. And he, as he did in the past with the Israelites, took their hand and said: “So do not fear, for I am with you” (Isiah. 14:10-13). Source: https://wol.jw.org/es/wol/d/r4/lp-s/2014603.
Now that I have read the article, I can understand the manipulation that is behind all this, by using the first paragraphs to argue that a woman should be submissive to the Organization and keep silence and, finishing off in the paragraphs I cited making special emphasis, in that the woman is a valuable instrument that Jehovah uses to “proclaim the good news” that in other words means the recruitment of followers. At the time I didn’t see it. I thought it was the will of Jehovah that I stay in the organization although I didn’t understand many things. The task of evangelizing by women is a triangular stone for rectangular people and the sect knows this. And because of this, women should be kept quiet and submissive because if they find out about their true potential, the JW Organization, as such, would disappear… maybe this affirmation I am making is too audacious, but it is my opinion. At the end I had to make a decision because I couldn’t continue in a place where the bible was used to control the minds of the witnesses of Jehovah and, in this case, of women. So, I left.
I’ll tell you the story of a sister around 60 years of age who I’ll call Pilar, who goes to the congregation that I used to go to when I was JW. At the end of a meeting in the Kingdom Hall I said hello to her. She lives some distance away and said she didn’t feel well and that she wanted to leave quickly to drink something. When, suddenly, the head of our prayer group came over and told us we had to do the cleaning. She said that she felt badly… the brother on hearing her asking to be excused for being ill, raised his arms in gesture saying “I don’t know” “I couldn’t care less” and he left… this left us with a bitter taste in the mouth because of the way he acted and she said: “Ah sister, I said I didn’t feel well, but I see that doesn’t mean anything here”. As you can see, the sister felt pressured to do the cleaning and that sentence stuck with me “that doesn’t mean anything here”. So, these kinds of attitudes and behaviors that are systematically repeated in all the congregations worldwide, at least in my case, made me open my eyes. When I left the organization, I realized there were many ex-witnesses that, like me, had been able to free themselves from the talons of the sect… What did we women have in common that made us understand that we had “wings” and could fly free from the cage and invisible bars that the JW Organization represents? I have chatted with some ex- witness friends and I believe that the sect brought us to the limits of our strength and for our emotional and mental health we had to say “Enough!” “I can´t take any more!” It was a very painful process that could have lasted years, including putting up with long hours under the sun preaching, or having to give up a love because he wasn’t a Jehovah’s Witness. Others have had to tolerate the character of the elderly that didn’t use empathy and some of us felt anxious to comply with a spiritual role that was difficult to fulfill. This, just to mention some situations that could arise within each of our respective congregations; but there are thousands of experiences that the ex-witnesses can tell. We are curious women that like to research a lot, imagine, think… I believe this way of being is what finally made us stop along the road and investigate the religion we found ourselves in. We have the advantage now of having technology, so that now women of all ages can have access to information that they didn’t have before. We have decided to take the risk and dive into the abysm of knowledge and find a goldmine.
The ex-witness women that I know (and there are a lot), are brave women, intelligent, rational, All warriors! And with every day that passes more and more women join us in this steady fight in letting it be known that the JW organization is a dangerous sect. To you, Jehovah’s Witness woman, that suffers in silence because you have to be both father and mother, getting by on a half salary to support your children and still fulfill the rhythm of spiritual activity that the JW Organization asks of you. To you Jehovah’s witness woman that has suffered in silence all types of physical and emotional damage by your baptized husband, that brought your case before the elders and weren’t listened to because you should show more respect and it was “your fault” that he shouted at you or beat you. To you Jehovah’s Witness woman who was sexually assaulted and didn’t have two or three witnesses to back up what you said, your aggressor still free and enjoying privileges within the congregation. To you Jehovah’s Witness woman who would give anything to enroll in a university program, but could never because you dedicated yourself to the ancestral norm, subsisting on menial jobs to then dedicate yourself to the nonpaid labor of making disciples. To you Jehovah’s Witness woman that never got married and have arrived at old age: as you now feel alone and anxious because you have given your whole life to an organization that hasn’t given you a hand in those moments that you most need now that you don’t have a family at your side. To you Jehovah’s Witness woman that has your own story of suffering and anguish, to you we say: The women that have abandoned “the good news” are a great army! Jehovah’s Witness woman that reads this, please investigate. My ex-witness colleagues and I invite you to see that you are valuable, brilliant, talented and with a heart of gold. You can wake up. In you, is the desire and will to be free.
Written by Aimée Padilla. Translation by Edward Duigenan
* Author’s translation from the femine Word Christianas.