Kim: I was raised a Jehovah Witness. My mom started studying with Witnesses in the mid 60’s when I was a toddler. I am the oldest of 4.
Mikey: My parents started studying in 1972 when I was 11 yrs old.
We met in Jan of 1979 when Kim was 15 & Mikey was 17 at the Prescott, AZ congregation. By March we were engaged and had to wait until after our birthdays to get married. [Kim’s parents decided to sign the permission form and allow her to marry at 16- Instead of us getting into trouble]
My elders gave us problems because of our age, so we had to use Mike’s kingdom hall in Cottonwood, AZ. Because of trouble from the beginning with elders, it’s made us stronger as a team.
Even though, we were both unbaptized we were able to get married in the Kingdom Hall on Sept 15th 1979. [rules were different back then]
After we were married, an anointed brother started pressuring us to get baptized, so we got baptized together in Dec 1979.
In Nov of 1982 we found out that we were pregnant and Shyla was born on July 23rd 1983.
We missed our first summer district convention in 1983 because Shyla was due any minute.
We tried our best to be good Witnesses, by attending meetings regularly, field service, all of the conventions, but , because of hypocrisy, politics within the congregation, problems with elders lying and some major cocktail parties we saw going on with heavy drinking, including Mike’s parents, we gave up alcohol and started fading away, becoming inactive.
[If we would have only known then…]
We really can’t remember what in particular got us re-activated but we came back to the org. and trying to make up for lost time became gung-ho Witnesses. Mikey’s dad became an elder and we made friends with a new family from MN that were great. Our first real friends within the org, so we became close friends.
Mikey worked to become a Ministerial Servant and regular pioneer. It was great because we were in the ‘hub’ of the cong. But we still had problems with elders. 2 weeks after being appointed a MS, Mikey got dragged into a battle between the elders. One side wanted our friend removed as the Presiding Overseer, using lies and coercion and the other side didn’t want to get involved and fight for what was right.
Finally, a new Circuit overseer came in and removed our dear friend as the PO and in our opinion, put his puppet elder in. This CO became notorious for having a “Boy’s club’ and only using HIS brothers for talks on the conventions. They tried to drag us into it, but we, as usual, fought them.
This was a very difficult time for our family because Kim volunteered to work full time so Mikey could regular pioneer. So she got her GED and a job as an office manager of a fence company & kid’s playground store. She was working 50-60 hours a week sometimes 6 days a week to support the family. This wasn’t good enough for the Elder’s, they needed Kim to be in service every Saturday. So she cut her hours down to at least go out with the cong. 2-3 times a month. So we started having financial difficulties because of this.
Shyla decided to become a regular pioneer also and joined her father.
Kim did not complain about this, because she was proud of them and happy to be supporting them. But then the Elder’s hauled Mikey in the back room and started putting pressure on him that she still wasn’t being a good example to the congregation and that it seemed she had lost her joy.
[BECAUSE OF THEIR CONSTANT NAGGING!]
She was still having to do about 90% of everything at home [cooking, cleaning, shopping etc] because they were making Mikey do everything. Between trying to get his time and parts every week on Thurs night meetings, we were stressed.
We finally decided that Mikey had to come off of the list or we were headed for divorce & bankruptcy. When he told the Service Overseer that he had to come off of the list, he told Mike “Well it’s not like you were getting your time anyway.” But they did allow him to go to pioneer school that year.
Shyla didn’t fare as well. 2 weeks into the new service year, she fell out in service and tore open her knee. She was laid up for 6-8 weeks. So of course she got behind in her time. By the next summer she was 130 hours behind her pioneer hours and the elders refused to allow her to go to pioneer school.
[There was an elder’s daughter that was 140 hours behind, but she got to go]
The elder’s also gave a ‘marking talk’ about regular pioneers not making their time. It was a vow they made to Jehovah. Yes, we made a scene jumping up and leaving the meeting.
So about this time, Mikey’s privileges were pulled once again and he was removed as a Ministerial Servant. We put our house up for sale and moved to Wisconsin.
Kim got chemically poisoned at work in 2002 and by 2003, could not walk into a Kingdom hall with all those dry-cleaned clothes & perfume without her throat & lungs closing up and having a major asthma attack.
In that area of WI, their phone tie-in was like a #900 and it cost us $8 on our phone bill to get 1 meeting so we couldn’t do that. We tried sitting out in the car in the parking lot and the elders broadcast it out to us thru the radio. This didn’t work too long either… WI gets down to -40 below in the winter time. We couldn’t run the car because of the fumes… our family felt very alone, but it made us stronger as a family and very close.
Then Kim wrote a book. Yep, for those of you who have seen our elders come for a visit video.
We were in trouble again.
My little brother Scott committed suicide in June 2003, We believe now, because our mom was shunning him for reading apostate literature
Kim started having problems with the cold weather and her lungs, so her specialists told us we would have to move back to the Southwest to a warmer dryer climate.
We didn’t want to go back to AZ, so in 2006, we moved to New Mexico. We found a beautiful piece of property with 12 acres.
We were 47 miles away from the nearest city and kingdom hall. But they found us and got us the phone tie-in and literature. Within a month of them finding us, an elder showed up unannounced at our house and was asking us about a family we were becoming friends with and also had chemical sensitivities.
They drug us into a witch hunt!
Then when we told the brother that the elders were out here asking us about his family and he asked them about it, they lied and said they weren’t even out here! What is it with elders & lying?
Fast forwarding to the summer of 2010, Shyla found James and they wanted to get married.
Yep, more problems with elders.
Oct 2012 a friend of ours came for a visit and told us TTATT using the Reasoning Book on pg 89, the rest is history as they say and that part of the story most of you know thru JWStruggle’s videos and ours.
Most of you who have seen our videos, know the story of our disfellowshipping. Mike showed his brother some subliminal images in Watchtower literature who in turn, showed their mom, who immediately called all of our family and the elders.
We were disfellowshipped Sept 18th 2013.
2 days after our 34th wedding anniversary. Best gift ever given to each other… Our FREEDOM!