Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I will not be silent. I will not vanish.

Not today.

Today, the day that was designated "Wear Purple for Tolerance" day.

As pretty much everyone who has met me knows, I am a former Jehovah's Witness. My parents are still, and so are my two bio brothers.

I spent two years in therapy to learn to accept that my parents will never truly love me unconditionally. I wasn't allowed to attend either of my brother's weddings. I don't have what most people consider a "normal" relationship with my bio family.

Instead, I have my family-by-choice. Parents, brothers, a sister. I've built an awesome circle of friends, who treat me far better than my bio family does.

I've also been a member of an Ex-JW Recovery forum on Yuku. This community has been an absolute savior for many, including myself. It's a place we can go and vent about the crap we deal with because of that fucked up religious cult and everyone KNOWS what we're going through. Because if you haven't been through it, you really don't know.

Several days ago, someone posted about the gentleman who took a very unusual path to dealing with the pain of loosing his religion. The same religion I left.

This was the article posted. About Richard Ivey III, who found inner peace by hanging from six hooks from a tree for four hours.

Now most everyone on this forum is atheist/spiritual, and very accepting of others choices/beliefs/lack of beliefs, but a couple of those that commented on this post mentioned how it looked like he was on the 'wrong path', that hopefully he wouldn't continue down this 'wrong path'.

So two days ago I stepped up on my soapbox.

I asked WHY it was the 'wrong path' for him to take? Who are they to judge him? Many people who had normal childhoods are into pain, tattoos, and bdsm. Just because it's outside of what is considered mainstream, people who are into this tend to hide it from the outside world. Because it's not acceptable, it's not 'normal'.

It's because of things
said like this that there have been 5 suicides in the LGBTQ community. Because someone says something judgmental and kids hear this, and it tells them that they're not worthy, they're not acceptable, there is something 'wrong' with them for feeling this way or for liking certain things (like pain). It's not like we haven't had enough judging from the fucking religion we all have in common.

Stop the cycle of judgment.

That's a paraphrasing of what I posted. I used the word fuck exactly twice, and not once did I verbally attack a person. Their words, yes. That's the major rule on our forum, never do personal attacks. I triple checked my post to make sure there were no personal attacks. Because I was really angry when I wrote it. Because 5 teenagers have TAKEN THEIR LIVES because of shit like this.

Yesterday evening, a full day after I had posted, and after logging in several times during the day yesterday, I tried to log on, and discovered that I was banned, and I have no access to the forum anymore. Today I discovered that the guy that runs the board has unfriended me on Facebook.

I was given no warning, there was no email telling me I had been banned, either for 48 hours (as is common for first offenders) or permanently.

So I contacted the co-admin. She finally got an answer from the main admin who runs the site, who said, yes, he was aware that I had been banned, there was no mistake, and he wasn't going to talk about it. She went to look for the offending post, and it is no longer on the forum, not even in the locked thread part that no one sees. It's just gone. Vanished. Like it never existed.

I still don't know if the ban is permanent or not.

The irony of being kicked off the forum that's a haven for escapees of one of the most judgmental religions for telling people to be less judgmental has not escaped me.

But for it to happen on today was extremely painful.

Today was "Wear Purple" day, to stand up against intolerance, to stand up for unity despite differences.

Today I bleed from a cut I was not expecting. A cut given to me by a place that has been a refuge from intolerance.

I guess it's not anymore.


Dan said...

Their loss. You're loved.

They're afraid of words, and you use them skillfully.

Keep being you, and if I ever join in others telling you to join in judging, please kick me hard where it hurts.

I know you will, and that's another reason I think you're great.

Xavier Onassis said...


How can someone be upset about the guy hanging from hooks? Apparently they've never seen the medicine lodge initiation scene from "A Man Called Horse". Hanging from hooks goes way back.

I guess the fact that this forum's admin uses the exact same disciplinary actions (banishment) that the JW's use proves just how deep that indoctrination and conditioning goes.

You would think they might have a policy that "we will never banish anybody". Just because.

I've never told you this, but I have always been in awe of you and how you not only escaped and survived that crap, but created a new family to replace the one you lost.

You rock!

Anonymous said...

WOW Janet....I'm so sorry that happened. I'm shocked that he banned you. I've been pretty verbal in the past as well, and often do not hesitate to tell certain ones what I really think, yet I've not been banned. I suppose this particular issue may have escaped his level of understanding, or perhaps he has a personal issue with it on some level. Either way, I don't think it was about you. Your far to open, honest and certainly the most non-judgemental person I know on that forum. So sad to not have you with us anymore. Hopefully, you will receive an appology from him and be "reinstated"....LOL...your right...gotta love the irony! Ha! -Tiffany (bethsarim)

Janet said...

It's not the board in general that banned me, it's the one admin guy. He's the one that has the issue with me.

Because he was the one that was posted immediately before my rant. My post wasn't directed toward him specifically, but he was one of the ones it was directed to.

The Moral: Don't tell the Admin dude that he's a self-righteous hypocrite, even if you say it nicely.

Catherine V said...

I'm so sorry that happened. I so appreciate all your posts that draw attention to our need to be non-judgemental. You call it like you see it, and that's really refreshing.

Travel Sheila said...

That's awful and so hypocritical. I think Anonymous is right - for the Admin to delete every last trace of you post, it must have struck a personal chord with him somehow - NOT that that's an excuse for his behavior!

If I was a forum member and found out about your ban I'd want to go elsewhere for support. I have zero tolerance for hypocrisy myself. Have you considered creating a JW Recovery Forum yourself? That way you could benefit from continued support and be in a position to prevent unjustified banishment. I don't know much about forums but wonder if maybe you could make it private in an attempt to prevent the Ex-JW Recovery Admin from exacting revenge on anyone who leaves his forum for yours?

Janet said...

Sheila, I actually am a member of a private forum, and I do go there, but there's just a few of us (less than 10), and at least one of our members is an admin at the forum that banned me.

I'm actually considering not even going there anymore, because it just reminds me that I don't have access to the larger one (which has over a hundred members).

I'm in contact with a lot of ex-jw's on facebook, so that helps alot, even though it's not quite as private.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say that this happened to me as well. I disagreed with the admins in regards to the nature of debates... and was promptly permanently banned. I was a long term member as well, with a few thousand posts (not known for being short) and many other contributions. I was a chat room moderator and suggested the formation of a new board that was adapted by the forum (and became a big success). The admins are still stuck in the cult mentality.