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"As if I was from another world" - Sophie's escape from the Jehovah's Witnesses | Switzerland


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German Sophie Jones explains after leaving the sect.

15.09.18

Sectarians who dare and create the exit from their community are often stigmatized or even traumatized. After suffering in the sect follows the path of suffering the exit. That is why most of them lack the strength to resist the sect.

Recently, however, more and more dropouts of Jehovah's Witnesses have dared to publicize their painful experiences and sensitize and educate the public. The number of critical publications has increased in recent years.

What is new, however, is that younger people have the strength to stand up to the witnesses. The courage to do so has also the 23-year-old Sophie Jones from Leipzig. She describes her way and the exit in several noteworthy videos and articles, which attract a lot of attention. In an interview with Watson, she describes her motivation to come out and engage in educational work.

Was alienation from Jehovah's Witnesses a slow process or did a dramatic experience make you realize that you were living in a sectarian faith?

After I was baptized with the Jehovah's Witnesses at the age of 17, the elders, the governing body, imposed a ban on my dad, who had previously been expelled. I did not understand it. This painful experience gradually opened my eyes.

How long did the process take from the first doubt to the conviction that you need to free yourself from the constraints of Jehovah's Witnesses?

I have always had doubts, but as a child or adolescent, they are nipped in the bud. There is still a lack of power to rebel. As you get older, you can classify everything better and automatically seek out contacts with people outside the community. Then I slowly realized that many things were misrepresented and I fell victim to a mistake.

How did your parents and elders react when you realized that you were turning your back on the denomination?

The elders sought contact and wanted to talk to me, which I vehemently rejected. When my mother found out, she immediately wanted to discuss it with me. Since I had never had a close relationship with her and moved out, it was not difficult for me to block these talks.

Have you been plagued with self-doubt in the process of dissolving, have you developed fears of betraying Jehovah?

ZThere are always moments when you are not sure if what you are doing is the right decision. You completely lose the previous life: family, friends, and faith in all promises of salvation. In the beginning, everything collapses over you.

When did you first feel that the exit is an act of liberation?

When I told the first Jehovah's Witness in my environment that I would not be coming to the meetings.

Did you quickly find your way around the outside world or was integration in the "satanic society" a painful process?

It was awful. Everything was new and unknown, I was constantly guilty and afraid to be watched. I felt abnormal as if I was from another world. It took a very long time for me to feel that I had arrived.

Did you feel the need to let off steam after exiting and trying out everything that was forbidden or frowned upon by Jehovah's Witnesses?

A little bit already. Doing the whole "bad things" was very exciting. I felt this kick to do something forbidden. Nevertheless, there were always inhibitions and feelings of guilt, which slowed me down a bit. I had to find a healthy middle ground.

What made you decide to make your video exit public?

Even after my departure, I was ashamed for years, for what I was and what I experienced. But I'm a completely new person now, and the past is part of my life. I want to help open people's eyes. At the same time, I hope to encourage many witnesses to quit their own.

Have your relatives and Jehovah's Witnesses already responded to the videos you posted?

Not yet, but I'm curious what will happen next.

 

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