Growing up as an LGBTQ Jehovah's Witness is an emotionally challenging experience due to the conflict between your natural sexual orientation or gender identity and the religious beliefs and teachings of the Jehovah's Witness cult.
They judged you for who you are, for being LGBTQ.
You can equate it to judging someone negatively for other natural genetic and epigenetic traits such as height, eye color or tone of skin. You are labeled as an ‘abomination’ because of your orientation, because of which gender you are attracted to.
LGBT support and counseling. We understand you experienced a unique set of challenges.
You are understood and warmly welcomed here into your journey of freedom and empowerment.
Here are 9 emotional ramifications for born in Jehovah’s Witnesses:
Jehovah's Witnesses are known for their strict stance against homosexuality, considering it a sin. Growing up in such an environment can lead to internalized homophobia, where individuals may feel guilt, shame, or self-hatred about their sexual orientation.
Coming to terms with being gay can be isolating, especially when one is part of a religious community that condemns same-sex relationships. Jehovah's Witnesses often discourage close relationships with non-believers, which can further isolate LGBTQ+ individuals.
Rejection by Family and Community:
Jehovah's Witnesses have a strong sense of community, and many members are deeply committed to their faith. Coming out as gay may lead to rejection by family members and fellow congregants, causing profound emotional pain and a sense of loss.
Mental Health Struggles:
The emotional distress of hiding one's true self, experiencing rejection, and struggling with internal conflict can lead to mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
Suppression of Identity:
LGBTQ+ individuals in this situation often feel compelled to suppress their true identities in order to conform to Jehovah’s Witness expectations. This suppression leads to a lack of self-acceptance and can lead to in-authenticity in other areas of life.
Fear of Consequences:
Fear of being disfellowshipped (excommunicated) or shunned by the Jehovah's Witness community can lead to constant anxiety and stress. This fear can extend to concerns about losing social support, including friends and family, which can have serious emotional consequences.
Grief and Loss:
The conflict between one's sexual orientation and religious beliefs can lead to a sense of grief and loss, as individuals may feel that they have to choose between their faith and their identity, leading to a rupture in their sense of self.
Escaping the Faith:
Some LGBTQ+ Jehovah's Witnesses ultimately decide to leave the faith in order to live authentically as their true selves. While this can be liberating, it can also come with feelings of loss, as they often lose their entire social support network within the religious community.
The experience of growing up LGBTQ as a Jehovah's Witness has long-lasting effects on mental health, self-esteem, and overall well-being. It's important to recognize that feelings of guilt about being gay are not inherent or natural; they are a result of the homophobic indoctrination of the Jehovah’s witness sect.
Overcoming this guilt is a complex and ongoing process. Many LGBTQ+ individuals find support through EXJW therapy to teach them how to develop a more positive sense of self while navigating these emotions.
Lgbt counseling. Finding a safe and understanding space to heal and thrive is essential, especially if you're an ex-Jehovah's Witness who identifies as LGBTQ.
While I may not share the same lived experience, I am dedicated to providing a supportive environment where you can address the unique challenges you face and embark on a journey of personal growth and empowerment.
I understand that the intersection of your identity as an ex-Jehovah's Witness and LGBTQ brings a unique set of struggles and pain, and I am committed to meeting you with compassion, empathy, and specialized expertise.
While I may not personally identify as LGBTQ, I have undergone extensive training and education to understand the specific challenges faced by LGBTQ EXJW individuals.
Our therapy process is collaborative. Together, we will explore topics such as self-acceptance, navigating family dynamics, managing religious trauma, exploring your authentic identity, and fostering resilience.
You are not alone on this journey.
I invite you to take the brave step towards healing, growth, and self-discovery.
You deserve a space where your story can be heard, understood, and celebrated. Reach out today to begin your journey towards healing and reclaiming your authentic self.
Here Is John's Story:
At a young age, I realized that I was different from other boys, feeling drawn to the same sex while they developed crushes on girls. These unfamiliar feelings were confusing and overwhelming, but I knew deep down that I was different. By the time I turned 11, I had fully come to terms with my attraction to the same sex.
This self-realization led me into a state of depression, feeling like an outsider who couldn't fit in with my peers. I carried guilt and shame whenever thoughts or adolescent crushes on the same sex arose, leading me to hide my true self from others.
I sought solace in the teachings of the Jehovah's Witnesses, believing that their spiritual guidance could fix what I saw as a flaw within myself. At 14, I was baptized into the sect, hoping that this commitment would somehow change my feelings.
Throughout my teenage years, the fear of parental rejection kept me silent about my sexuality. I lived in constant terror of being thrown out of my home or subjected to severe punishment if I dared to speak my truth. The tense and at times abusive home environment further intensified my inner turmoil.
By the time I reached 17, the weight became unbearable. I made the incredibly difficult decision to leave my home while still in high school, seeking refuge from the oppressive circumstances I faced. Though I knew the road ahead would be challenging, a physical encounter with my father solidified my determination to never go back.
However, at the age of 26, I could no longer deny my authentic self. I came out to my wife and subsequently asked for a divorce. It was an incredibly painful and heart-wrenching process, but I knew deep within that living authentically was essential for my well-being and happiness.
Like many Jehovah's Witnesses, most of my social circle consisted of fellow believers. I ran my family's business, employing other Witnesses. When the Elders caught wind of my coming out, I was disfellowshipped. I lost not only my income but also my family and friends.
In search of career opportunities and a more accepting dating scene, I left for the city. Living an authentic life was both liberating and challenging. I soon realized that I had emotional issues that many of my friends did not share. It was in 2014 that I took the step to seek therapy at a local therapist's office and was diagnosed with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD).
However, I found that during my therapy sessions, I often spent more time discussing why the Jehovah's Witnesses are the way they are and what they believe rather than addressing my primary issues. It became clear that my past religious upbringing had left deep scars. I stopped therapy as I did not feel I was progressing further.
Then, in 2020, I discovered [https://www.ejwcounseling.com] and enrolled in their EXJW Thriver program after a few sessions with a therapist named Lisa Magdalena. It was during my fourth session that I began to feel comfortable enough to delve into the painful memories of my teenage years and early adulthood. I confronted hurtful incidents, such as being asked to leave the Kingdom Hall during my sister's wedding reception.
Completing the EXJW Thriver Program marked a turning point in my life.
I began to notice improvements in my 23-year relationship with my life partner. My parents and siblings, once strong mental influences, became distant memories. The shunning, while painful, allowed me to break free from the indoctrination that had shaped my identity for so long.
I now choose my family, friends, and loved ones. My life partner and I have been together for 22 years, and we cherish the life we've built together.
The EXJW Thriver Program at exjwcounseling.com worked for me. I had spent 20 years hoping that time would heal my wounds, but it was only when I was truly ready to confront my past that I could begin to heal. It was a challenging journey, but ultimately, it was the best thing I've done for myself. I now have an indoctrination free world view, and I love and accept myself completely.
My weekly therapy sessions now focus on enhancing my Emotional Intelligence. I am now in training to become a EXJW counselor at exjwcounseling.com, with plans to make more appearances in videos, blogs, and sessions in 2024 and beyond.
My story is one of resilience, self-discovery, and the power of healing, showing that it is possible to emerge from the shadows of a restrictive past and live a life of authenticity and love.
I invite you to discover the healing and empowerment that awaits you beyond your ex Jehovah's Witness experience.
Take the courageous step towards freedom and self discovery by booking your therapy taster session today.