This book is the story of my childhood experience of growing up in a home of zealous Jehovah’s Witnesses. My mother’s family currently has five generations of dedicated Witnesses. My father converted at 20 years old. None of his family converted. I stayed with the group until my early 30s and my children are part of that fifth generation.
There are many things going on behind the scenes inside the Witness organization. This book is describing why I chose to leave. It also is describing how I was able to unravel the mind-control of this trapping system. I am planning to include analysis sections at the end of each chapter with references from cult recovery books.
I love my parents and my family. I needed to get my children and I out of the Witnesses. I knew the cost was going to be losing my family and community.
Notes on structure:
I use italics and capitalization to mark words that have specific meanings to a Jehovah’s Witness. I am working on the glossary with my understandings of those meanings.
I am working on analysis and quotes from cult recovery books to be woven into the book. Perhaps at the end of each chapter or perhaps a separate section at the end of the book. I am also working on the voice of the analysis section(s). I am not really settled about this question. One thing that has occurred to me recently is to shape it as a conversation with my father…the conversation I wish we could have had before he died and didn’t.
Due to the sensitive nature of my story and the potential impact on the people I grew up with I am not using people’s names. I am obscuring the details of the other kids experience. I was witness to a lot of pain and harshness. This story wants to be told with great care.
Therefore I am naming people with ‘identifier’ names i.e. “John-Wayne-Mother”. I chose names that convey something important about the person involved or their role in the story.
I want to reach this portion of my potential readers. Speaking with a cult member requires great care. If the Loaded Language is triggered it is like a bomb going off in their thought processes. By using so much language of the Witnesses and by inserting with great precision my points about the Organization I was able to Reach her Heart (to use Witness terminology) when I was talking with my Nana in <insert link to “You Remember I am an Apostate, Right” and “If It Is the Truth, With a Capital ‘T'”>.
It is like defusing a bomb. I was handling her with kid gloves. I needed to increase her safety in order to connect with her in a way she could hear me. This is an essential part of consentual cult recovery work.
For this reason, I want to reach the families and friends of people who have joined the Witnesses. I want to help the outside family to understand what is happening inside the Organization and give them some ideas for how to try and connect with their lost family. Many of the things they (Worldly People) naturally do and say, are specifically designed to trigger the circular logic Thought-Stopping process. Most often this results in their loved one retreating further into the cult. Sometimes leading to the cult member cutting the Worldly family (and friends) completely out of their lives. Additionally the memeber will often deny their Worldly family access to any children the member has. Thus isolating the children from access to family and perspectives outside the group worldviews.
I want my language to be accessable to other types of cult survivors. The techniques used by Trapping Systems (cults) are similar and I believe the unwinding of one such system can be helpful in the examination of other groups. It has been for me in my recovery.
I want to be accessable to therapists and other interested people seeking to understand what happens inside a Trapping System and the process of deconstructing mind control. Hamish and I have discussed extensively the overlap between this and what manalive calls the Male-Role Belief System.
Madame and I travel and teach at various kinky conferences. Currently it has been kinky conferences anyway. I am looking for areas to expand this work. I would love to present at comic conferences, ecology/social justice conferences, therapist groups, etc..
I am happy to finally have space in my life to give my artistic voice space. It has taken a long time and a lot of work. I am afraid about losing clarity for my readers in my love of language. For this particular book it is especially important to me that I have optimum clarity for my readers. I would love feedback around this issue of balancing my voice as a writer and accessability to the reader with the information.
I am also developing a Consent educational program with Dossie Easton and a community of educators. Dossie is a well known author, educator, and therapist in the kink/sex-positive community. I am editing the teacher’s manuals and the various handouts we are giving out. After this first year of development in the Bay Area I am planning with my crew to take it on the road. We are planning a training program to bring this idea to other places in the sex-positive and kinky world.
I believe this book will travel well with this program. They are very related topics…’ violence and how to stop it’ as I hear Hamish say.
My goal is to have this manuscript completed by next year.
Some of the feedback I have already received is around the consistancy of authentic young child voice. I agree with that feedback and am in the midst of making those changes. When you read places that the voice sounds older than the age being used I am happy to know that …and I am aware of the problem and am working on fixing it.