“I am going to get better. Jehovah knows I love him Spencer and daddy is going to go to back to the hall and leave this stuff alone”
My mother screamed across the house ” DO NOT BRING UP JEHOVAH’S NAME you crackhead apostate! I want you out of my house today!”
Yes, my father had voiced a few differing views but he was far from an “apostate” or ” “heretic” by the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
I found out my father who had privileges at the time within the Jehovah’s Witnesses was hiding a dirty secret. He was addicted to crack cocaine. It explained the weird and combative bible studies we had together while he was trying to go cold turkey. I never understood why I was whipped for arguing that Jesus did not return invisibly to the world in 1914. He made us cry on these studies. My mother would leave in disgust and as she drank her 3 fingers of liquor she would say “your father has a demon because of his crack habit. He is under demonic influence and is in darkness. Why don’t you stand up ( revolt) against your Father because this is not Jehovah’s way.” So many times as children we were put in this postion of choosing sides between my mother and father. My father was desperate to study and attend the Jehovah’s Witnesses services. He had obviously hoped that it would prevent him from going to the crackhouse the day before the services. But it never helped obviously as my parents decided to hide his habit from the congregation.
“Why don’t you stand up ( revolt) against your Father because this is not Jehovah’s way.”
None of us dare move. We all knew that my Father took great delight in stripping us down and whipping us girls and then would make us return to the family study hour. My mother, however, would make us pay for choosing our Father the next day while he was gone or the weekends he would relapse. She was a mean abusive drunk. She spouted the rhetoric of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Bible all the time while high. If we disagreed she would get testy, then angry and then resort to horrid name calling. I remember my father ( who was also physically abusive) pulling my mother off of me as she had jumped on me and proceeded to hit me. She was to be obeyed, feared and agreed with as if she were Jehovah or the Leaders of the Jehovah’s Witnesses themselves. She made that very clear early on.
So how did I find out my Father was on crack?
During a public physical yard fight with my high parents that resulted in police intervention. “YOU RUINED EVERYTHING !” shouted my mother. As she was the African American Stepford wife wanna-be in the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Never mind my father was on drugs and had a lot of money from his job to support it. Never mind his job was taking him to court for tens of thousands of money missing. She did not want the congregation to know. We were threatened never to tell anyone about the abuse or my father’s troubles.
But one day I decided to be brave and wear a sleeveless shirt to the hall to show everyone the dark bruises my parents gave me. To my parents’ horror, they had to do nothing to bear it. The stares from the other Jehovah’s Witnesses, the gasps, the rumors. I don’t know why I had done it because I received the whipping of my life by my embarrassed Father. Ultimately I was tired of being a punching bag. But at least the congregation started to ask questions…