Hello there. My name is Jaymes Payten and there I am in that recently taken (January 2014) dodgy picture to your right. I grew up in a fundamentalist religion that many people don’t actually coin as a religion at all, but rather as a mind-controlling cult; I grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness.
As a Jehovah’s Witness, I was taught that every word in the Bible is true. I was also taught that the leaders of the religion, known to us as the Governing Body, were super righteous men that communicated with Jehovah. We had to do everything they asked of us. If they asked us to jump, we would ask them how high, as I’ve noted in this article which discusses if Jehovah’s Witnesses are really “free.”
You must understand that living in this environment requires a considerable effort, especially from someone like me. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always asked “but why?” to anyone that asks me to do something or says something that doesn’t make sense to me. So you can imagine what it was like for me being at school as a four year old with the whole class celebrating the birthday of one of the kids while I had to sit out in the corridor while the rest of the class wished little Simon a happy birthday and indulged in sweets and treats.
I remember sitting out on the bench in that large, damp corridor, wishing I was in the classroom with the rest of my friends, eating and enjoying the sweets that the kids parents had bought for the class. That was the first real disappointment I felt as a Jehovah’s Witness. I remember it vividly. You see, I had no preconception as to what a “birthday” was. After all, my mother’s friends were all Jehovah’s Witnesses and so were their kids.
When Christmas rolled around, things got a little spicy at school, you see, my mother was (and still is) a fanatical Jehovah’s Witness. She wrote a note and told me to hand it to the teacher. Being only four, I couldn’t read and therefore am not entirely sure what the note said. I do remember what my mother told me;
“You give this to your teacher. You must tell her that you are a Jehovah’s Witness and that because you are a part of the only true religion, you cannot do anything in the classroom that has anything to do with Christmas! Okay?”
The look on the teachers face will remain with me forever.
Ms. Bevan told me to sit down as she would have to leave the classroom for a short while. A few minutes later, she returned with the Headmaster, Mr. Henley. He called me over and told me that my mother would be coming to the school.
My mother did come to the school. Again, I was out on the bench in the corridor whilst Mr. Henley, Ms. Bevan and my mother discussed the note.
On the way home, my mother told me that the teachers didn’t understand why I wasn’t allowed to take part in anything that had to do with Christmas.
“Satan is so powerful. He has blinded even the teachers”, she reminded me.
Yes, even the teachers…
So, you can sort of grasp what I was dealing with. Oh I truly hated birthday parties, Easter and most of all, Christmas.
Christmas Eve was by far the worst time of year as I wasn’t even allowed in the classroom. Instead, I had to sit with the school nurse, or the Headmaster’s secretary. I lied though, I have to admit that the worst of it wasn’t the fact that I had to miss out on all the fun. It was having to explain to the rest of the children why I couldn’t take part.
Yep, you guessed it! I wasn’t Mr. Popular. I was a “freak.”
As I mentioned earlier, I always ask “why?” if something makes little or no sense to me. I remember going over the My Book of Bible Stories as a youngster. No matter how mother spun it, I just couldn’t understand the story about the flood. All those animals were stuffed into that ark? And what about the kangaroos? How on earth did the kangaroos get back to Australia?
This continued up until I was around 14 years of age. Something though went off in my mind. Looking back on it now, it reminds me of the instance in which Ricky Gervais tells the first lie, in the film, The Invention of Lying. You see an electrical charge firing off in the depths of his brain. I don’t want to brag, but what is shown on film is an understatement of what happened to me. It was as though I had Voldermort in my head. From that point on, I told myself that I would suffer no more. Since that tender age of 14, I have rebelled against what all Jehovah’s Witnesses call “The Truth.”
Unfortunately, at the age of 15, I succumbed to the massive pressures the Watchtower places on young ones to get baptised. I even failed the baptism questions twice before Derek Keeves, the Bowes Park (North London) congregation Presiding Overseer and Bowes Road caretaker, made sure I passed the third time, so save my family from embarrassment. A lot of my friends in the hall had gotten themselves dipped and the pressure was on, big time. So I was christened a Jehovah’s Witness.
Even after my baptism and even though Jehovah’s Witnesses are shown great ways at preventing negative thoughts, I kept thinking of life outside the Jehovah’s Witness religion. I, like the rest of my Witness friends, were kept busy with mountains of reinforcing literature and plenty of busy work to keep us out of trouble but I still kept finding myself daydreaming during the meetings, imagining what it would have been like to have never been born a Jehovah’s Witness.
Many years passed before I decided to fully commit to what my mind was telling me. It wasn’t until the age of 28, that I decided to stop being a pawn. I stumbled upon a neat new device. It’s called the “Internet,” you may have heard of it? I spent an entire weekend going through Google as though it were going out of fashion. As Johnny Number 5 put it in the film Short Circuit, I needed input! I sponged everything there was on the information about the Watchtower Society – the organisation behind the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The final nail in my life as a Jehovah’s Witness
Even though I had spent a lot of time on research, nothing hit me more than the truth that Jerusalem did not fall in 607 BCE. This was the earthquake that tore me in two.
How could this be? My life, as I knew it, came crashing down on 12th July, 2008. You see, as a Jehovah’s Witness, we are taught that in 1919, Jesus chose the Jehovah’s Witnesses as his mouthpiece. From that point on, God would only communicate with these few humble men, the Governing Body. Hence why I made the earlier comment of asking how far they wanted us to jump, if indeed they asked us to. You just don’t argue with God’s representative, do you?
Well, I suppose that depends on whether or not the Governing Body is God’s spokesman. The Watchtower arrives at 1919 by first arriving at the door of 1914. Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught that Jesus started his heavenly invisible rule in 1914. How does the Watchtower arrive at 1914? It’s long and convoluted, but I’ve explained it here for you - from 607 BCE to 1914.
Now get this; if there’s an issue with the Watchtower’s dates, then they’re not God’s mouthpiece, right? So if Jerusalem wasn’t destroyed in 607 BCE, the mathmagical algorithm the Watchtower uses will hit a brick wall. So guess what? Yes, you guessed it – Jerusalem wasn’t destroyed in 607 BCE, causing a domino effect. No 607 BCE, no 1914 and no 1919. Can you imagine the bombshell I felt after realising that I had been lied to my whole life?
After that, everything I read about Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Watchtower Organisation, made me mad, angry and above all, upset. I had been born into a cult!
From that point on, I decided to remain “in the faith”. You see my wife was a Jehovah’s Witness at the time of me figuring out what the Watchtower Society was all about. In fact, we had only been married a month. One can’t simply announce that they renounce their faith in the Watchtower without suffering the serious repercussions. If a Jehovah’s Witnesses starts spouting off the truth about the Watchtower, they are branded an “apostate.” So you see, I couldn’t make any rash moves, which was such a pain as I really wanted to. I needed to curb my enthusiasm or I would have brought great strain on my family – possibly even lost it. Therefore, I decided to slowly fade.
The launching of JWB
I started up this website, publishing my first JWB post on 3rd January 2010. I wanted to help people that were studying with the Witnesses as well as current and ex-Witnesses by relaying everything I knew about the Watchtower into humorous articles. Due to the whole ‘not wanting to be disfellowshipped’ thing, I used various pseudonyms such as Carlos Scienza and an anagram of my name, Teeny Pyjamas.
Going to the meetings after I had launched JWB was killing me to be honest. I had to endure mind-control sessions that Jehovah’s Witnesses call “Meetings”, Cultfests they call “Conventions” and the hypocrisy that reeks from each and ever member of the Jehovah’s Witness clang. Well, in the end, it proved too much to me to bear, after all, there’s only so much loaded language you can listen to before you break out in a cold sweat. I came clean with the wife (which wasn’t easy – no seriously, it was torture) and after a while, she started to understand my position. All in all, it took a good two years for Alexia to fully realise her own plight. The good news is that she’s completely out now too.
I did break the news to my parents (who live in the London, England Bethel) that Alexia and I would no longer be going to the meetings because we simply didn’t believe in Jehovah any more. My mother’s response was; well, I’ll let you decide:
“In the new system, I will have many other children and will call one of my sons Jaymes. It will be difficult to forget you at first, but after thousands of years of living, I’ll start to forget you. After millions of years, I won’t even remember what you looked like. All my other children that I’ll have will love Jehovah and I will love them so much.”
Now tell me, does that sound like the sort of thing a non-brainwashed mother would say to her son?
Why do I bother with Jehovah’s Witnesses?
I am asked this question regularly by current and ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses. Simply put, I won’t stop until the Watchtower stops harming people. I have received regular emails from readers that were on the verge of suicide after they were shunned by their parents and friends due to their disfellowshipping. I cry every time when I read in their emails that something they read on JWB or another website helped them save their lives.
If I count the emails that I’ve received since January 2010 from families that have thanked JWB for playing a part in them leaving the Watchtower Society, I would have to say that we’re talking about nearly a thousand people. I started JWB with the sole aim of helping at least one, yes one person wake up and smell what the Watchtower is shovelling. To have played a minor or major part in so many leaving gives me the confidence to continue. That’s why I do what I do.
The Internet is playing a massive part in waking Jehovah’s Witnesses the hell up. I am all for others to get involved, either with JWB or by creating their own websites. The more websites condemning acts of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the clowns that run that circus, the better.
Let’s not forget the ones that are studying with the Witnesses. Again, many have contact me, either via email, Facebook and Twitter and asked me if they should continue with their ‘bible study.’ If you’re studying and feel something’s not quite right, get in touch!
Steve is the author of three fantastic books, The Cure for Fundamentalism: Why the Bible Cannot be the “Word of God”, Falling in Truth: The Education of a Jehovah’s Witness and Layers of Truth. Steve’s an active author here on JWB and has his own website. He’s also a great guy and good friend. Check out Steve’s amazing story here, which details how he joined the Jehovah’s Witnesses and then left them when he realised something wasn’t quite right.
One final thing
Before I go, I wanted to ask if you’ve seen the film, The Matrix? If you have, you’ll remember the scene when Morpheus is giving Neo his options. Does he take the Blue Pill, which will leave Neo in his current mind-state, or does he take the Red Pill, which will answer the question of “What is the Matrix?”, by removing him from this make-believe world.
I will continue to post and promote this and other sites that spill the truth about the Jehovah’s Witness Organisation.
For your own sake, please take the Red Pill.
“You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged, and many of them are so inert, so hopelessly dependant on the system, that they will fight to protect it.”
- The Wachowski’s
Be sure to check out the JWB FAQs and Glossary. Hope to speak with you soon!