The End is Nigh...Again! (But this time we really mean it.) Now Published


Just wanted to congratulate you on writing the funniest book I've read so far, I don't think I've ever enjoyed a book as much as I enjoyed yours!!

I just want to say that your book is fantastic! and I've never been a jw (just pretended to be one once) :p I have never laughed so much reading a book!! :D

This book is so full of interesting information, once you've started to read the first page, it's very difficult to stop.

Love, Love, Love, the book and your writing style♥ I recommended it to a group of 8 women from Ireland...

I highly recomend Douglas's book......its a thoroughly enjoyable read!! :)

I loved this book........its a great read for any ex witnesses out there......Douglas`s writing style is fabulous and most people here will be able to relate to Dougs upbringing....hilariously funny as well as heart breakingly sad . 5 stars from me

OMG, I nearly just drowned myself in the tub...laughing at your book. My hubby thought I'd gone off the deep end (no pun intended). This is the best fun I've had in a while :D

Hi Douglas! I read your book in one day. I loved it! I laughed a lot at many parts of your story and can relate so much on what it is like to grow up JW. You put it so wonderfully ...

I've just received your book in the post last night. So far I've read 2.5 chapters...Gordon, I am in stitches. So, so funny!!! I love the references at the bottom. I can't help but LOL. My son thinks I'm going crazy :)

Love, love, love the book. The description you give of the creation account in Genisis is hysterical. I especially love the part where you recognise that God must have been a confirmed batchelor.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Sample from Chapter 3, Sin, Sex and Self Abuse. (Watch out for the footnotes.)

At some indistinct point before the arrival of my teenage years, the Jehovah’s Witness society released a book designed to assist every young witness in all matters of their faltering salvation. The creative writing department had proudly and originally named it “The Youth Book” and typical of the society’s literature, it was unnecessarily thick and stuffed to the hilt with boredom. Thus, having met the required criteria, it became the natural study choice for our Tuesday evening meeting.
It was released during one of our large assemblies where thousands of eager witnesses gathered to hear the latest revised date for the end of the world from the society. In a moment of perverse generosity Dad bought us all a copy and as I thumbed through the pages I noted that for the most part they exhorted young people to be good Christians, to preach the good news rather than to marry, to preach the good news rather than to go to university (1) along with many other practical suggestions aimed solely at swelling the rank and file of the faith. There was one chapter, however, that particularly caught my eye. Its theme was that of sex and self-abuse, and was filled with many practical ways in which the witness youth could avoid partaking of those evil practices.
“That’s going to be an interesting evening.” I thought to myself, as undoubtedly did every other witness the world out. As it turned out, I wasn’t at all wrong.
I have to admit that before the release of the ‘Youth Book’ I wasn’t really interested in sex and was completely oblivious of what masturbation was all about. I had heard people calling one another ‘a wanker’, but hadn’t really understood its meaning. For me it was just another one of those prohibited words that people used in public and the witnesses used out of earshot of everyone except, of course, God.
So it came as quite a revelation to me when, during the Tuesday book study and with all ages present, we began to plumb the murky and distinctly icky depths of just how the society viewed self-abuse. Of course, much of the language used in the book was deliberately cryptic, for example, when they needed to mention the penis or, heaven forbid, the vagina, they would use their favourite biblical expression which was to call them ‘the bodily members’. Although the majority of us had an idea of what they were referring to, it did tend to confuse the very youngest amongst us who would immediately start to examine their fingers in a new and guilt ridden way.
This none descript wording was brutally clarified, however, through the subsequent references made to some of the most sexually graphic scriptures contained in the bible. Leviticus described, for example, the undeniably colourful yet gruesome activities performed by those who would certainly not inherit the kingdom. To list them in brief, there were the adulterers, (2) the fornicators, (3) the men who lay with men, (4) the men who lay with beasts, (5) along with a plethora of other repugnant yet, I suppose to us all, quite intriguing sexual pastimes. As a group, I think we were pretty much confident that none of us engaged in any of those activities, and breathing a sigh of relief, we all looked ahead to a full inheritance of the kingdom thingy. Unfortunately, our momentary complacency was shattered to pieces when the publication went on to warn us of a worrying catch 22 situation. It seemed that we could be equally guilty of all of these unspeakable acts without actually having done them, a shocking discovery that was a cause of great consternation within our little group present that particular evening.

“How could that be?” we all wondered as we watched our beloved paradise earth and everlasting life slip through our fingers like K.Y. jelly. According to the book, the sexual act itself was merely the physical manifestation of our own filthy premeditated thoughts. To help clear up any doubt about this, we were counselled to consider the famous scripture that admonishes, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Apparently, this meant that the very act of thinking about what it might be like to do bad stuff was just as bad as actually doing it!

If this was the case, I thought, then the lot of us were buggered and right up to the hilt at that! I certainly had been thinking about men in all kinds of positions, as I was sure, had everyone else. We were, after all, studying it in profundity! What on earth did they expect to happen? In today’s modern world it’s widely recognised that telling someone not to think about something makes them automatically think about it. For example, if you say to someone, “Don’t think about a black man’s penis.” the first thing that will pop into their mind is that very image. Try it out on your friends; it’s a lot of fun. Knowing that now, however, makes me realise that we were all on a hiding to nowhere. We were being forced to first learn all about the terrible things that we couldn’t take part in and then we were being told not think about them.
As the meeting progressed we moved on to the chapter about self-abuse and the ramifications of the wanton spilling of seed. A quick look around the group told me that all of us were beginning to feel quite uncomfortable about the direction in which things were going. Many of the older children were noticeably squirming in their seats, cheeks aflame and heads bowed down expressly avoiding any possible eye contact with the elder leading the meeting. This, one would suppose, had to do with either the acute guilt they felt for already having abused themselves, or the acute excitement at the thought of giving it a bash as soon as they got home.
As we waded through the chapter we were given lots of practical advice on how to avoid putting ourselves in situations in which we were more likely than not to masturbate. It was recommended that we didn’t sleep on our back, for example, as the position could possibly encourage uncontrollable hand wandering. Then the totally ineffective use of cold showers was also suggested as well as having your parents strap boxing gloves to your hands before going to bed. It was rumoured that although this was common practice, many of us, in desperation, had learned to do it with our feet.
Sharing a room was a further recommendation, allowing us the opportunity to engage in some uplifting Christian conversation if ever the mood to crack one off the wrist were to come upon us in the night. One other suggestion was that, if we really couldn’t control our urges, then it would be best for us to get married! In essence, then, the advice to us youngsters was that if we were so desperate for a shag that we had become a persistent willy wanker, then all we had to do was throw ourselves headlong into wedlock. Sound advice, don’t you think?

1. When I asked my Dad if I could go to university he said, “No way son, you’re going to get a proper job.” I was so upset by that that, just to spite him, I became a civil servant.
2. Adulterers were those who shagged around whilst being married.
3. Fornicators were unmarried people who just shagged in general.
4. These were men who laid men.
5. This was a mutual agreement where chickens laid eggs and men laid chickens.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Sample from Chapter 2 on "The Dreaded Preaching Work" (Watch out for footnotes)

Every witness was expected to go out on the preaching activity each week and so every Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon we were out in the street come rain, hail and shine. Naturally, living in the U.K. meant that shine was as rare as a Rabbi’s foreskin, but that was okay. We children loved the inclement weather because it gave us a genuine reason for wearing our hoods up, hiding our true identity from anyone who might have recognised us. As mentioned previously, Angus wore his up when it was sunny too, something which tended to scare the elderly and the occasional small child.
I hated the preaching work with a passion and just before going out into the street the emotions that flooded through me were akin to how someone must feel just before throwing themselves from a plane with their 'packed by someone else' parachute strapped optimistically to their back. You see, there’s a strange irony to the preaching work. Firstly, the witnesses know perfectly well that the public don’t like them, but that’s okay; they like us even less. Secondly, knocking on a stranger’s door to warn them of their imminent death is not the most fun part of life as a witness. Credit where it's due, they fake it well whilst out there, with their super-Christian smiles and happy-go-lucky (1) demeanour. Yet, despite appearances, they don’t preach for the love of it, nor for the love of you, even though that’s what they might tell you. They do it only because it’s the law. They believe that it’s a direct command from God and that if they don’t warn the nations of their imminent death, then they’ll be joining them in the final destruction at Armageddon. In all fairness, as a job, it’s a bit of a bummer, and the only real way of managing the stress is to develop good coping mechanisms. During the twenty years I spent preaching, I managed to come up with boatloads of them!
As said, at first I only ever went out preaching with my Dad. For me, the whole thing was truly horrible but, as he was the one who did all of the talking, I guess I just resigned myself to it. So it hit me as hard as an unexpected brogue to the testes (2), when he informed me, one day, that the time had come for me to take part in the preaching work. I was around seven years old and still in the ‘wrap me up in cotton wool’ stage of my development when he dropped that bombshell. Frankly I couldn’t believe it! I had never begun to imagine myself actually talking to people about this religion thing. I’d lived, I suppose, in the patently naive belief that I could have continued forever as the no-mark Christian I so enjoyed being, allowing my Dad to spread the Good News, whilst I supported him morally yet very much from the rear.
He was insistent, however, repeating with nauseating frequency, as he often did, that my passage to paradise depended upon selling the societies magazines. In truth, the only passage that worried me was my back one, which twitched every time I pictured having to talk to someone. It wasn’t that I had to do anything terribly difficult, of course. Young witnesses start their door-to-door training by simply distributing the society’s literature. Primarily, this consists of the infamous Watchtower and Awake magazines, which are released on a monthly basis, rather like versions of the Hello and Heat magazine but without any of the sex, stars, gossip, photos, entertainment or interest.

After much coercion on his part and an equal and opposite reluctance on mine, I finally agreed to give it a go. It really was less an agreement and more a capitulation on my part as I wasn’t sure what was actually worse, having to knock on a door, or having to listen to Dad wittering on about my doing it over and over again.
I can recall as though it was yesterday the moment in which I actually gave the door knocking its first go. The whole episode began with a number of false starts, due to the rigid criteria I’d set in place beforehand. I had told Dad that I wasn’t going to do the door if it was answered by a man, a woman, or a child. I was, I clarified, only going to do it if an elderly person answered. The aged, I felt, were too focussed on the next life to be particularly bothered about what was happening in this one. This somewhat limited range of acceptable householders dramatically cut down any chance of a smooth start to my preaching career and to give Dad his due, he managed to step in at the very last moment as each door was flung open to reveal someone of the incorrect gender or age.
After about twenty minutes without having spoken a word my good luck took a turn for the worst and it finally happened. I rang the bell whilst I clutched manically at my two magazines which were now completely wrinkled and damp from the sweat that had been oozing without pause from my shaking hands. The door opened slowly and from behind it appeared a small wrinkled old lady who looked like someone had shrunken her in the wash. She smiled at me pleasantly and then looked at Dad in the clear expectation that he was going to be the protagonist in all of this. But this, I knew, was to be my show and Dad took a couple of small steps backwards to emphasise that this time he was keeping well out of it. Taking a deep breath and then holding it, I launched headlong into the pre-prepared speech, my trill explosion of a voice puncturing a hole in the silence, “Good afternoon” I squeaked, “My friend and I…”

Before we go into what happened next, it might be useful for the benefit of you the reader, to describe a little of the training we witnesses received before being sent out on the work (3). We were taught from youngsters a standard introduction which was to be used when greeting the householder which, word for word went like this:

“Hello there, my friend and I are just doing a Christian work in the area…” (4)

This lead in was perfectly designed to, firstly, create a nice flow at the beginning of our presentation, explaining why we were there and secondly, to show the householder that, well, even though we were witnesses, we still had some friends. Occasionally, when deciding who was going to work with who, we’d find that there was an odd number of us, meaning that one person would have to go on their own. This was when the problems would start, for despite being alone, that standard introduction was so entrenched in our physique that we would inadvertently say, “Hello there, my friend and I”… there would then be an interesting pause whilst the householder, somewhat intrigued, would look from left to right wondering just where the devil this friend was. Realising their folly, the lone witness would have no alternative than to blindly continue with the presentation, unable to move from the rigid script that had been rehearsed a thousand times before. We became very well known for this and apparently people would see us coming up the street and say to each other, “Ah look, here comes ‘my friend and I’ ”.

1. Because ‘luck’ was associated with gambling, it was seen as the work of the Devil and so every witness had to drop from their vocabulary both the word ‘lucky’ and the word ‘fortunate’ This left quite a gap in their language and they found themselves obliged to find an expression that maintained the sense of the word lucky without any of the demonistic connotations. ‘Jammy’ seemed to be the favourite innocuous replacement and so these days it’s not uncommon to hear one witness remarking to another, “Brother Smith… you are one jammy little bastard!”

2. I’ve only once been accidentally caught by a rogue brogue in the testes and it was for me, a truly life altering experience.

3. The Freemasons give the name “work” to their secret rituals in which they regurgitate word for word what it says in the little book produced by their society. With startling similarity, the witnesses have their “work” too, which is made up of phrases regurgitated from their books. Unfortunately for us all, they are by no means secret about it. Many wish they were.

4. Every Thursday evening we had an hour’s training on how to preach correctly during what was called the Ministry School. This involved each of us taking turns to make a presentation to the whole congregation from the bible. We would then have our typically shoddy performance picked to bits in front of everyone by the Field Service Elder. Years later, following the same principle , the X Factor was invented.