Episode Two – Jerry is shunned by the Mennonites



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Imagine growing up in a very tight knit community where everyone is sheltered from the outside world. Your personal business is the business of the community and they feel that it reflects upon them. What if your mistakes were brought to the light in front of everyone that you knew and they had to vote right in front of you on whether you would be shunned or not. What if you tried so hard to be “good enough” but just couldn’t make it no matter how hard you tried, no matter how much you relied on your faith. This is Jerry’s life story, a story of struggle and eventual freedom.

Jerry’s chosen song is This Is The Time by Superchick:

 

Other Resources Mentioned:
John Eldredge – Wild At Heart
John Eldredge – The Journey Of Desire
Michael John Cusick – Surfing For God
Henry Cloud – Boundaries
Song: JJ Heller – What Love Really Means
Song: Jesus Culture – Your Love Never Fails
Podcast: The Mental Illness Happy Hour

14 thoughts on “Episode Two – Jerry is shunned by the Mennonites”

  1. Thank you for sharing your story Jerry! It’s amazing how many similarities are shown between faiths which practice shunning as a means of control.

    I’m glad you have found a more emotionally and mentally healthy path in the post-cult-afterlife.

  2. Very powerful testimony. I was a member of that church for nearly 20 years. When he talked about church discipline I found my heart pounding and feeling anxious. They control with guilt and shame. They are largely blind to what they are doing because they are all products of the system. There is a Japanese saying “the nail that sticks out gets hammered down”, the only tool there ministers have is a hammer so every problem looks like a nail.

    1. Thanks for the kind words David. It is true that they are largely blind to what they are doing. I liked what you messaged me the other day about feeling angry that for 20 years you felt like less of a man than you really are because you could never be good enough. Boy can I relate to that! I realized when you said that that the same is true for me. Now I know that I am enough, thank God!

  3. Jerry,

    Awesome story. Very relatable. As a JW, I also confessed things to the elders several times that brought myself embarrassment, restrictions, and eventually disfellowshipping and shunning. Had I kept my mouth shut, nobody would’ve known the wiser. After I woke up, I also worked toward getting reinstated for the sole purposes of leaving for the “right reasons”.

    JWs have a hierarchy, culminating in a small group of leaders (the Governing Body, today seven men) which decide for the millions of JWs matters of doctrine and organization, as well as what people can get disfellowshiped for (which can include associating with disfellowshiped people). Everything is decided from the top down.

    Who ultimately leads the group you were apart of?

    1. Chris,
      Thanks for sharing! It always helps to know that others can relate to the things we’ve gone through.
      That is a really good question. The answer is there is no one. There are committees and chairmen of various functions but those are on a rotation so no one stays there forever. What my wife and I came to call it is a headless beast. Everyone there is a product of the system and the system keeps everyone under his thumb as no one is exempt from church discipline.

      1. Wow Jerry, thanks for sharing your story. “Headless beast” is the perfect depiction for it. I have called it the “faceless hordes” to my therapist. Because it’s impossible to put a face to the system. Wish we could sit down and chat with you guys someday. Thanks for your courage and honesty.

        1. Julie, right?
          Thank you for your kind words. We too would love to sit down with you and Cam sometime. Hopefully someday… sooner rather than later. 🙂

  4. I came away from your story feeling like I want to spend an evening listening to music with you. I learned a lot about how we aren’t all that different and I’m so glad to hear that you are learning how and have the opportunity to enjoy life. Thank you for being so open about everything!

    1. Jenny, that would be amazing and I would love that. That’s actually a pretty cool idea. I’ve started keeping a list of the songs that have brought meaning to me. Another significant one that to me depicts the cult that you and I both came from is “Sound of Silence” by Disturbed. Pull up the youtube video. It’s pretty dark but I think you’ll get what I mean.
      Thank you for validating and supporting my being open as I had a serious case of vulnerability hangover after we recorded that.
      Here’s to maybe getting together sometime.

  5. Hi Jerry,

    G’day from the land Down Under! I just finished listening to your story. Wow. I was struck with the similarities between the Mennonites and the JWs. And I could relate to your experience in many ways. My hubby and I have left being JWs only recently too. It’s one hell of an experience, excuse the pun!
    Anyways, just wanted to say thank you for putting your story out there. Your wife sounds amazing so please say a big hello from me to her……..

    1. Sherrie, G’Day to you! Glad to share my story and glad to hear that you could relate. It is a “hell” of an experience. Being shunned I am used to, this being the 4th time that I was excommunicated. And the last thankfully. Assimilating into normal life and being in charge of my own decisions in all things is one of the biggest adjustment and was quite terrifying at first but it’s a lot easier now. I wish you and your husband the best.

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