One of God's Witnesses

Two years ago, Kristin's oldest friend announced that she was studying with the J-dubs. Actually, she more like ambushed Kristin with the news. Set her up. Had her new J-dub friend (teacher) over so she could talk to Kristin about it, too. The talk did not go well.

This friend, let's call her Wilma, had been depressed and seeking solace for a while. So if this was going to make her happier, Kristin would have been happy for her. But it's been hard. Very hard. And you know what? Wilma's just been getting more and more depressed. But when we try to talk to her about it she just starts quoting the bible and J-dub philosophy at us. A distance has been growing. I've been finding it hard to listen to her trash pagans and false idols and such what with being Wiccan and all. Kristin's been having a hard time with the fact that her oldest friend, the one she bonded with because they were both non-mormons in very mormon neighborhood, has become a fundamentalist. We both wonder at what her husband REALLY thinks of all this. He doesn't talk about it much, but he agreed to the no holidays and birthdays thing because he feels that our culture is too materialistic anyway.

We haven't talked to them since March. But they have some of our baby clothes, and we've got some of theirs, and we'd like our stuff back. Plus we miss the them they used to be. So Kristin called Wilma and we agreed to go out to dinner tonight. Then yesterday we got an invitation to Wilma's baptism as one of the JWs. I guess not terribly surprising. But still. And to invite us. Of all people.

Well, actually, she really only wanted Kristin there. But we found that out later.

So last night Kristin called her because Wilma has a 6 month old who was born premature, and Julia has a cold (actually, today we discovered it's a sinus infection) and we wanted to give them that information so they could choose to cancel dinner if they'd like.

After talking with Wilma, re-scheduling dinner for next week, conversation turned to Wilma's baptism.

This call happened on a cell phone as Kristin was driving home. I was home, making dinner, talking to my mom on the phone when Kristin walked in. She was on her cell phone, very upset, using her "social worker dealing with an impossible client" voice. I thought she was talking to a client. But she was more upset than she normally is when talking to a client.

No. She was talking to Wilma. Wilma was telling her about her new role, and how she has been ordained by God to teach as many people as she can about God's word. About how the Bible was written by God, it couldn't possibly have been written by man. About how everything in the Bible is literally true. Adam and Eve, true. Creationism, true. And the rest of it. All true. All really happened just exactly like that. Science be damned (Wilma is a nurse...) So Kristin did it, she asked her what she believed about homosexuality now. And Wilma started quoting the texts in the bible that say gays should be put to death. The lines about abomination, and rejection, and hatred, and violence.

This is Kristin's oldest friend. This is the second person Kristin introduced me to when we got together. Up until 2 years ago we had thought that we would leave any child(ren) we had to her care if something should happen to us. Saying now that while she may not necessarily believe those things, they WERE written by God and she has a duty to teach them. It wouldn't be her intention to teach hatred and discrimination, but if that was a consequence, then so be it. It is God's work.

Julia and I weren't really invited to the baptism, even though Wilma really wants Kristin to be there. It would mean so much to her if Kristin would come, Julia and I, though, markers of Kristin's sin...

Kristin is not going. We're debating whether or not we will still do dinner next week. We really want our baby clothes back.

The sense of betrayal hit me hard last night and I've only been her friend for 5 years.

I just don't get it. She was our friend. She still claims to be Kristin's friend. She's been in our home, part of our family. How can she believe, how can she teach, this kind of hatred toward us, our family, toward Kristin, her oldest friend, the one who has stood by her through so many changes, so much grief? I just don't understand. I know it's not personal, but still... how could she just start believing those things, and be willing to spread hatred?

Posted by Trista @ 1:15 PM

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"How can she believe, how can she teach, this kind of hatred toward us, our family, toward Kristin, her oldest friend, the one who has stood by her through so many changes, so much grief?"

I don't know the answer to that question.

I'm so very sorry.

It's the same arguement that Islamic fundamentalists make justifying flying planes into buildings.... God.

I don't believe that God wants me to hate anyone. I believe in the "as I have loved you, love one another."

I've been trying to write something more profound, but I keep sounding stupid.

Not all those who are religious hate, teach hate, or believe hate. There are those of us who love and value the differences in the human condition.

Each person's individual spirituality quest takes them somewhere different. I do strongly believe in respecting other beliefs, and their spirituality journey. I don't believe that you would need to tolerate someone who, basically, finds your life an abomination, which it sounds like Wilma does.

(I guess I should be grateful she did not become a Mormom, because then I'd be facing, again, that someone of my faith was preaching hatred of others.)

FTR, this is not me.... (I'm just saying this because I had a preemie.)

Posted by Blogger WendyLou @ 2:22 PM #

oh yeah. Everyone. Wilma is not Wendy.

Funny, though, Wendy, because before Wilma started hanging with the J dubs, she was going to the LDS church. Even got baptized there, too. But she kept having problems because she didn't believe what they were teaching... so now here she is, saying she's at peace with that these people are telling her. But sounding more and more depressed and down and sad every time we talk to her.

Posted by Blogger Trista @ 2:31 PM #

As a Mormon who hates to be judged along with the rest of her "flock," it is with great reluctance that I say here that j-dub's scare me. Not just the religion, but the effect it seems to have on its members.

My LDS friends are, on occasion, annoyed with my liberal stance on every social and political issue out there, but when I point out that if I get to live the way I choose that everyone else should too; no one argues. Then, while they may not agree, they chalk it up to "Melessa just being Melessa" and move on. No one has ever tried to 'de-program' me, make me change my voter's registration, or really even disapproved of my differing attitudes. (Of course, I'm a Mormon here in Oklahoma and WE'RE the bad guys here.)

J-Dubs seem to be different. I've known a few and it's rare to hear them express a differing opinion from one another. As many churches as I visited growing up, I never experienced theirs; so I can't make much more of a qualified judgement than what I've already said.

I guess this touches a nerve with me because the older I get, the more liberal my views become. Wilma seems to be getting it backwards and it makes no sense to me. I'm sorry for how much this much be hurting Kristin. I've been on the receiving end of many a friend's rejection when their preacher suddenly decides to go off on Mormon's in some sermon and motivates them to first, try and save me; then to write me off as a "lost cause." It sucks and I feel that pain. (And I'm sorry for my mini-novel here. You definitely touched a nerve.)

Posted by Blogger Melessa @ 4:18 PM #

Friends can really suck and they can really hurt.

When M. and I got married in our church (Episcopal, and the cathedral for Western WA) we invited our friends, Tina and Peter. T&P were Episcopies too and we knew they were more conservative than us but we'd always had a good time with them and really enjoyed their company. They RSVP'd that they couldn't attend. No big deal because we hadn't necessarily thought they would come but wanted them to know they were invited and welcome.

The week after our wedding they had some sort of queer conference at our church and we were invited to speak. We picked up the packet for the conference. In the packet was a letter. From Tina and Peter. It was the the diosican council (big governing body over all of Western Washington) asking them to stop OUR wedding.

Somehow we hadn't found out that our friends did this. Our FRIENDS.

It turned out that the bishop was going to stop our wedding and the priest who was going to officiate stood up to him and told him she was going to do it no matter what. It also turned out that the wedding coordinator's husband had been present during our wedding because they had expected protestors.

I can't tell you the hurt and how deep. I mean just bone numbing pain. I'm just glad it all came crashing down after the event.

I'm so sorry Kristen had to go through this terrible, painful kind of betrayal. I'm sorry you are dealing with it too. It's not just about a friend not being a friend, it's about a betrayal of your family and all you've worked for.

I would communicate that you would like your baby clothes back, skip the dinner and have that be the end of it. Maybe somehow convey that Wilma's actions are deeply hurtful. It's HER job to make amends and she doesn't deserve any of your energy.

Posted by Blogger Sacha @ 7:52 PM #

I think there are people out there who really want to be told what The Answer is, they don't want to muck around in the confusing and gray and ever-changing complicated struggle to live a moral life.

And I think that a lot of those people end up in the J-dub church.

For her sake, I hope Wilma's marriage survives her conversion; it sounds like it already survived 1, so that's good. One of Levi's Grandmas is a similar personality and also a J-dub convert. She was pretty awful to her daughter when she first came out, but I'm under the impression that she has mostly agreed to stop saying all the hurtful BS and sending hurtful tracts.

I guess the biggest question is what kind of relationship, if any, Kristin wants with Wilma.

It might be worthwhile for her to write Wilma telling her how hurt and disappointed she is, and that if Wilma is going to continue to promote such hateful views, Kristen won't be able to continue exposing herself or her family to such hurt. Enclosed please find your baby crap, and we look forward to also receiving ours back by mail very soon.

But if the long-term nature of the relationship makes Kristen unwilling to take that level of action, your options are more limited. (More gray, more complicated, what IS the moral thing to do in this situation? See, the Internet is no better at providing The Answer than the j-dubs. Heh.)

Bottom line: Wilma will only change because Wilma wants to, but only you and Kristen get to decide how much hurt you're willing to be exposed to because of her.

And it utterly sucks and I so wish I could give you guys a hug. Whatevery you decide will be the best answer for your family, and if it needs to be tweaked in the future, so be it.

Posted by Anonymous Liza @ 8:51 AM #

wow. this is just so sad.

Posted by Blogger Calliope @ 5:48 AM #
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