I’m Not Going Back


I got a text message from my mother this morning. The few times she actually decides to send me a message, I can’t help but remember how seldom it happens.

This is what it said (I’ve translated it from Spanish):

“I love you. If you wish to come back someday and you need our help, we will be here.”

I waited about two hours to send a reply. I didn’t know how to say everything that I felt inside. The only message I really needed to convey was simple: “I’m not going back.”

Somehow, though, I couldn’t say it just like that. I read my mom’s text over and over, each time hearing her kind voice speaking. She has always meant the best for me, whether most people think it’s right or not. I know my mother better than anyone else. She means well. She loves me, and I know that. I’m sure of it.

But, before I could realize her good intentions, I wrote a draft. This is what I wrote:

I love you too and I appreciate your follow up, but I believe it would cause you more pain and unrest if I lead you to believe I will be returning to the congregation in the near future.
My knowledge of the congregation remains unforgotten and I will always cherish the education you set before me, but I have learnt over the last few years that my mentality and point of view seem to no longer conform to that of the Christian Congregation.
I dedicated my heart and soul to the congregation in an attempt to clear my sins, but it did not do. I saw as I fell deeper and deeper into sin until I simply could not be a Witness anymore. I will never forget how abandoned and rejected I felt even while I was in the congregation doing what is wrong according to the Bible. I remember very well the injury of the judgement on the part of those who thought they were better than me. I did nothing but think about others and whether they were pleased, including my parents. I spent my entire youth trying to redeem a stepfather that didn’t want redemption. I built a religious refuge for myself while my family was not there for me, because the pain of unresponsive and uncaring parents was too unbearable. In the end, however, I failed to live by the norms and standards which I had sworn to abide. I was the only one devoted when no one else cared. My innocence and kindness allowed me to forgive what no one else could, and when things seemed to get worse instead of getting better, I put hope before my own interests and opinions. That was a long time ago.
I swore I would never become the monster that reeked havoc in my family all those years, but I failed. Now, in this day and age, I get a phone call that I should not contact or even attempt to contact my parents unless I am bedridden and in the hospital. Just like when I wrote all those letters pleading Emilio to come back and make a change of heart, right? Just like all those times I knew very well he would cause us pain again and yet I was the first to give him another chance.
In conclusion, if you both made the decision of calling me to let me know that you would not speak with me unless I was bedridden, it would be best to set the record straight in regards to whether I will return to the congregation.
I know that you are both trying very hard to sanctify yourselves and live lives of discipline and devotion, because that is what people of guilty minds set forth to do. I wish you both the best and hope that you continue to live the life I can no longer follow. Do not cause yourselves anymore pain, because in the end it just pains me in the process.

With love
–always here if you decide to accept him–
Your son,

L.D. Davis

I sat and read it a few times and realized how unfair it would be to send all those words to my mother. She doesn’t care what I do with my life or if I want to go back, although in her mind she knows that’s the right thing to do. All she said in her message was that she loves me and if I do so happen to go back one day, they will be waiting for me. She will be waiting for me. I suppose I forgot her kindness because it’s been such a long time since I’ve spoken with my mother in person.

You see, I don’t judge Jehovah’s Witnesses, because that is who I was once. It still makes me who I am, whether I like it or not. So, to criticize them simply because it just didn’t work out for me, well, it’s just ludicrous.

So, what did I send to her?

Thank you, mom. I love you too, but I can’t lead you to believe that I’m returning to the congregation. I don’t want to cause you any more pain, so I must be honest.

I’m Not Going Back

Parental Guidance or Religious Belief?


Empathy and compassion– elements of human morality–are innate and passed on from generation to generation.  Our parents, whether religious or not, set before us their lifetime experience and beliefs with the hope of making us better members of society—people of good reputation and moral standing.  That is not to say they didn’t partake in their share of mischief and wrongdoing with wild revelries as is characteristic of youthful behavior.  In the end, however, when the time comes for children to be raised, a more serious environment is prepared, one seemingly more suitable for the creation and development of successful and reputable persons.  To some, religion plays a fundamental role in the development of children and teens as they make their way into adulthood.  Many seek the kind of guidance that philosophical and religious belief systems and institutions provide, be it because they fail to provide said guidance on their own or because the traditions that their predecessors have followed is so embedded in their lives that they require its presence.

In any case, I do not seek to judge or advise as to which path is the wisest or most ideal to follow.  I would, however, like to tell my own story.  It is the story of a young Jehovah’s Witness whom in the end failed to live by his beliefs.

(To be continued…)

Parental Guidance or Religious Belief?