The Hardship of being a Gay Jehovah's Witness
I was raised and baptised as a very serious Jehovah’s Witness. Every waking moment of my day was lived for Jehovah and his organization and for nothing else. I was also gay. Whilst I was told I could have Jehovah’s favour if I did not practice my homosexual feelings (like a straight person could whilst not committing fornication) I personally felt that it was different if you are gay. Regardless of how much self-control I manifest, I was gay. We are not people with homosexual feelings; we are gay people, gay to the core.
A heterosexual mans attraction toward a woman feels completely natural. For me and other gay Jehovah’s Witness, our attraction feels natural too - but for men. The thought to be with a woman is simply not there, for some of us it just isn’t something that could ever be considered.
When we overcome temptation, like the thought of stealing or viewing pornography, we can feel proud that we overcome it and have Jehovah’s favour. But despite not actually engaging in homosexual activity, just because we are gay, we are something that Jehovah apparently detests. It is such a struggle because we know (as many have said to me) we are not considered as normal and have to wait for Jehovah to fix us in paradise.
Can you imagine what this does to young men in the organization? Saying that being gay is not normal and we have to be fixed, especially when to us our feelings are completely normal and natural to us. It is not a learned habit or something you can overcome. Many times I have sat through meetings and the topic of homosexuality or homosexuals have come up and I cringe at what I’m hearing and I have to get up to go to the toilet just to stop hearing it, because I don’t want to be reminded how being gay is wrong and how gay people will be destroyed at Armageddon. Yes, I know it only refers to those who are practising homosexuals, but knowing how God hates homosexuals and knowing that I am one and can’t fix that is mentally debilitating.
I was baptised at 15. Sometime afterwards, I messed up and engaged in light homosexual activity. I kept it concealed and was eventually appointed as a pioneer. When I was 17 a brother from a neighbouring congregation and I formed a friendship and inappropriately touched each other. He confessed to the elders and we were both privately reproved. I felt my life was over. At this point I had not accepted I was gay and because of the judicial procedure the elders and my family had to be told. Rumours leaked out about it into the congregation. It was devastating to say the least.
A gay worldly couple started studying with Jehovah’s Witnesses up in Birmingham. They accepted it as being true and decided to separate in order to get baptised. They moved to different congregations to make it easier not to fall into temptation. Whilst impressed with their level of faith in order to do this, it is sad gay people are denied very basic human rights, the right to love someone and build a home with that person. These two men now have to spend a life forever alone, watching other brothers dating and getting married and growing old with their wives, whilst they stand around gathering dust. All gay people are in this situation. It is painful to watch your friends grow up and marry whilst you are left alone. You cannot marry; neither can you hang out with your friends as you once did, as that is what happens when they marry. It becomes a lonely life with no prospects in that regard.
I started to be stigmatised for being gay. Other brothers did not feel comfortable to invite me on holidays that they arranged. Several congregation events were organised, and I was asked to pick up a young brother from a nearby village. Every time he would cancel coming. I learned that his father did not want his son and me alone in the car. I may be gay, but that does not make me a pedophile. In fact, I was still a virgin and did not want to engage in sexual activity with any person due to my love of Jehovah. That this father thought I might sexually attack his son hurt deeply. He was not the only one. Soon, I was learning that all young brothers in the congregation had been warned not to be alone with me. I was not after sex, and had no plans to sexually attack these people, but because I was outed as being gay, people became uncomfortable with me. I lost any chance that a brother will house share with me or want to go on holidays. It became difficult just to make friends.
Some say it is no different than for a sister that has never married, but it is not the same. She still has the hope and possibility to find a marriage mate. A gay Jehovah's Witness never has that hope. Having friends in the truth does not make up for it. It is hard to buy a house, or even just to rent and pay bills when you have to do it alone without someone else to help financially. I cannot share with a sister, nor can I share with a brother. A brother and sister, even though their friendship is platonic, cannot be alone together. As a gay Jehovah’s Witness, I cannot be alone with either sex. So now I am left completely alone.
To sum up why the life of a gay Jehovah’s Witness is so destructive, you;
- have feelings of complete inadequacy because you are something detestable to Jehovah
- need to be fixed in paradise because you are abnormal
- live a life alone, watching all your friends set up family, knowing you will never experience love, hold someone or build a life with someone
- will have elders share your confidential information with members of the congregation, especially among your peer group, making it difficult to form any friendships
- will have parents keep their children away from you, making you feel like a sexual predator
Paul Grundy 2005 - 2018