Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What was like like with the Jehovah’s Witnesses in early life?
Diana Bucur: I was born into the Jehovah’s Witnesses so I didn’t really know any different. My parents made it sound as if I had a much better life compared to the other children. However I didn’t feel comfortable, I could never understand why I couldn’t celebrate birthdays and I wasn’t always comfortable around other children my age.
Jacobsen: What seems like some of the pivotal moments in that early development regarding the Jehovah’s Witnesses?
Bucur: In my mind, I used to question many things but I was inside the community, I couldn’t really talk to anyone about my concerns and I was comfortable within the community so I didn’t examine my faith thoroughly. I remember once I read some articles online, about JWs, written by ExJws. I told my father what I read and it made me think but he said I should never read things like that as it’s forbidden.
Jacobsen: How did you begin to question your personal faith in the Jehovah’s Witnesses?
Bucur: I used to have questions as I was growing older but the turning point was when I researched articles about the JWs Russian trials. The information on JWs website (JW.org) was very biased and different compared to what the other newspapers were saying. That is when I thought we are not presented with the true facts. Afterwards I spoke to my Aunt about what I read and how different jw.org presents the facts and her answer was: well surely the other newspapers are lying. That was a significant point when I started to realise how mind controlled we were.
Jacobsen: What are common signs that one has psychologically and emotionally left the faith?
Bucur: I believe it starts with a feeling of Anger, discovering that one’s been lied and manipulated for so long. Then it is the da disappointment felt when people that you believe are friends and family abandon you suddenly, even if they don’t know why they do it. It’s enough for someone to tell them not to speak to you, they won’t try and look for explanations. That is when you realise that even your parents love has been conditional. There is obviously a loneliness that is very painful.
Jacobsen: What are some peculiar experiences of those once deeply within the Jehovah’s Witnesses who have left them – stories only ex-JWs know?
Bucur: I got in touch with some friends who left the religion few years before me, and got to find out their real story. When they left, the JWs in my local congregation invented so many lies about them (that they burnt the literature in a ritual, that they are actually gay etc). They picture the ones that chose to leave as Mentally ill people, wicked, people they only try to hurt you. And it’s only when you leave and get to speak to them that you realise they are loving and caring.
Jacobsen: Any final thoughts or feelings in conclusion?
Bucur: My main regret is that my husband is still a JW and he refuses to look at the organisation in an objective manner. My marriage has been happy but the problem created by this religion created a huge strain on our marriage.
Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Diana.
Image Credit: Diana Filip.