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The following is an experience that a girl nicknamed Crumpet sent me. She was on the internet asking for information about her auntie and uncle and I recognised that they had at one time been in my old congregation. The sad thing about this experience is that I tried to contact Crumpets uncle and auntie to see if they would talk to her and found out that the auntie had died several weeks earlier whilst in her forties. Just as Crumpets family never told her that her own sister was married or that she had a third young cousin, she had not been told that her auntie had died.

I am so excited to have received that message from you! I haven't seen my aunt and uncle since I was about 9 I think. My uncle married his bride Auntie Susan (name has been changed), who I adored, on a world tour honeymoon when I was 9. I am Disfellowshipped so my family does not talk to me, though my Dad does send a sms every few months, and so I found out that I have cousins.

I miss all of my family desperately - all of them are Jehovahs Witnesses apart from my Dad's sister who I recently got back in contact with. So to bridge a gap with one of them would be fantastic. I'll understand of course if my uncle doesnt feel he can be in touch with me, but would be so grateful if you could pass him my email address.

I was a third generation witness. At age 10 my parents removed me from school and worldly influences which was my only connection with the real world (my sisters were still allowed to go to school though). I was baptised at 13. I ran away at 14 and so was marked until 15 for bringing reproach on the organisation; the runaway escapade involved two county police forces spending a night hunting for me. So there was no socialising for me at all. I left home at 16 because I would not attend meetings nor abide by house rules. That same year I was disfellowshipped for attempted murder. The murder was a failed attempt to kill myself.

I was reinstated at 17 but drifted back into worldly habits a few weeks later as I realised that being reinstated didn't mean I could socialise with my friends and that I was still ostracised. Thus I got disfellowshipped a second time at 18 for as many things as I could think of to do short of stealing or killing. After staying away for a few years I tried to rejoin the Jehovahs Witnesses and after months of attending meetings on my own and getting to see my beautiful sisters and parents again I was reinstated. Ironically I got reinstated just as I had given up hope that the elders would reinstate me and began smoking again when having my first social night out in a year at an evening work meeting. Resigned to the fact that I really wasn't meant to be in the New Order - that I simply wasn't and couldn't ever be good enough and that my family had a better chance of survival without me I went back to the world and at 18 got disfellowshipped for a third time at the next meeting that they could make the announcement.

I met a Scotsman full of humour and patience and have been with him for the last 7 years. I'm learning so much with him and through him - what real love is about - forgiveness not constant beration and judgement. As my eyes are opened wider and I'm gradually becoming aware of the many lies I was taught as truth (the kind that make the Santa Claus lie pale into insignificance) my abnormalities are being ironed out. I'm still rubbish at social skills - having spent the best part of my childhood in my room being punished for one misdemeanour after another and most of my adulthood being shunned out of love but am feeling happy for the first time in my life.

Its great that some of your family still speak to you despite you being disfellowshipped - wish mine would. My middle sister got married over two years ago but I only found out by accident through a friend that I identified on www.jehovahs-witness.com that I grew up with! The site has been rewarding and revealing in so many ways to me. Its so wonderful to speak to someone who knows my family - you've told me more about them in this brief exchange than I ever could have hoped to have learned any other way.

Thank you so much Paul.