Thursday, August 27, 2009

Seven things you probably don't really want to know . . .

Val from monkeys on the roof has given me this Kreativ Blogger award. Thank you Val, so kind of you. Receiving an award is certainly an honour, and as I am finding out, entails some responsibility and a bit of time too. I have to reveal some "interesting" things about myself and choose 7 other bloggers to whom I wish to pass on the award.

This is the Kreativ Blogger award and the rules are:

1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.

2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.

3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.

4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.

5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.

6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.

7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.

So here are seven things about me that you probably don't know and I will leave it up to you to decide whether you find them "interesting":

1. I live in Quebec, Canada the part of Canada populated by descendants of French immigrants. French is the official language of Quebec. Our children all attended French elementary schools and they are now perfectly bilingual. My husband and I have friends who are bilingual, unilingual English and unilingual French. We conduct most of our business affairs in French. When I go shopping, for example, all the conversation with storekeepers, etc. is in French. I did not study French in school and only began to learn it when I moved to Quebec after getting married. I have an English accent when I speak French, whereas the rest of my family have no accent - because they learned the language from an early age.

2. While I appear fairly gregarious, I actually lean more to being an introvert. I am not a social butterfly, preferring small intimate gatherings over larger ones. I have learned in this extroverted North American culture to function on a similar level - but I really need and treasure my quiet, alone time.

3. I have a good sense of humour (some call it "wicked") and love to laugh and make others laugh. I probably spend too much time in the right side of my brain.

4. I love Japanese food. Italian food ranks up there too. Montreal is a fabulous city for dining out. Here, you do not eat and then proceed to a concert or a movie. Dining out is almost a religion among French Canadians, and the dining experience is meant to last the whole evening. We go out with the same 2 French Canadian couples every Friday night to try out new and different cuisines and restaurants. Come to Montreal and we'll show you a fine time!

5. When I was a child and teenager, I believed I would live forever on earth, that I had a direct line to God and to Truth, and that it was my duty to warn people that if they did not change their ways they would be destroyed at the Battle of Armageddon. Crazy? Delusional? Perhaps. More likely, misled and indoctrinated by the religion I was raised in, which would be known to you as Jehovah's Witnesses. Yes, I was one of those people coming around knocking on your door to get you to buy little religious books and magazines.

Every member of my immediate and extended family was a J.W., except for my father, who finally disappeared from our lives, to get away from the religion's choking clutches. I hated the meetings, Bible studies, and especially the requirement to go door-to-door. I was a shy child/teenager, and it mortified me to have to disturb people with information they clearly did not need or want. I felt trapped - unable to articulate my questions or preferences in an environment that discouraged any critical thinking. It took me several years to work up the courage to leave, because I knew none of my friends or relatives would be allowed to speak or associate with me if I did. My family and friends were fine people and I had difficulty contemplating a life without them.

It seemed my only choices were to pretend I wanted to be one of them and thereby keep my family and friends whom I loved; or, speak my truth, leave, and be cut off by my family and friends. I had already lost my father. I was loathe to lose my mother and sister and everyone else I held dear. I chose to stay for a while, but truly felt I was killing something inside by so doing.

6. I finally left the Witnesses when it came time to train my first child in their ways. I could not. I would not. I was considered an apostate for choosing to leave their God and their Truth, and as I expected was shunned by all my friends and family. My mother and sister did (against counsel from the religion's elders) maintain a friendly but superficial relationship with me. It was difficult at first, but I am so happy with the choice I made and my children often thank me for having made it.

7. Because of being raised a Jehovah's Witness, I am a late bloomer. Witnesses discourage higher education. They know it will expose you to a world of information and expose them as being the very false prophets they decry. And although I was offered scholarships for university, I went along with the "programme" and immersed myself in their door-to-door and Bible study activities. It was stultifying. Once free, I then proceeded to get a good education a little behind schedule - but better late than never. I did my graduate degrees at a French university.

There you go - more than you ever wanted to know about me. I introduce this information about my religious background, because one of my interests is the effect of fundamentalist religion on people who are indoctrinated in childhood. I will probably post on this at some point in the future.

And now, I am to pass this Kreatif Award on to 7 other bloggers. There are so many deserving people I don't know where to start and I know some people are not keen to receive these awards feeling they have already received enough. So I will choose 7 and if, per chance, you do not want to participate, that is of course up to you.

1. Aysegul at Turquoise Diaries

2. Steven at the golden fish

3. Expat From Hell

4. Calli at within shades of grey exists a place

5. Jill at Sneaky Momma Blog Design

6. Nancy at Life in the Second Half

7. Delwyn at A Hazy Moon


  1. Congratulations on yet another award! Thank you so much for passing it on to me. :)

    Thank you for sharing your past with us. I love how 'French' you are. I find it fascinating to learn about others, especially those who do not speak with a Texas twang.

    Sounds like it took a great deal of courage to break free from your religion. I cannot imaging having to break ties with those I hold near and dear. Sounds a little silly to me that that has to be the case. Kudos to you for having the courage to follow your own path. :)

  2. Hi Bonnie

    Well done you on receiving the Kreativ Award
    and thank you for passing it along my way...

    I loved learning more about you through this post and thank you for sharing yourself.... I have learned that you are awoman of courage and independence, following the call of her own life's plan...I can't imagine having to choose the way you did...
    I wish I spoke fluent French...

    Happy days

  3. I am envious of your paternal Grandmother is French Canadian - her parents were born and grew up in Rosemary Canada, my great-grandmother spoke limited English with heavy accent...she was a charming little french lady...I loved to listen to her speak.

    Thank you for sharing so much of your background, your courage is inspiring!

    Congrats on the award!

  4. Bonnie, thank you so much for this award. I truly appreciate you even thinking of me! I was amazed at your courage in leaving all you loved to follow, what you knew in your heart, was the right course for your family. I lived next door to a J.W. family, so I know what you mean about good people. Naturally, from a family science perspective, this fascinates me, and I look forward to hearing more. I would love to run something by you, if you would like to exchange e-mails. Mine is posted on my profile. I also understand if you would like to keep anonymous at this point. I was Lover of Life until very recently, and only just posted my e-mail a few weeks ago.

    Thank you again for the award.

  5. fascinating life story's amazing what paths we all take isn't it? many of my spiritual direction clients are from fundamentalist backgrounds & i spent some time there myself so i can's intriguing to work with people who want to completely change their concept of God..

    thank you for your honesty.

  6. Very interesting. I've known others who've grown up in the JW world. Sounds like you've done a great job at breaking free but not breaking contact with folk who matter. Well done.

  7. You are a woman of character Bonnie...that must have been such a hard choice...but fitting that you chose not to pass on what you considered a your own children. I admire you and your honesty even more.


  8. Sneaky Momma: Thank you. Each life demands courage, don't you find? I know you are sharing on your blog a health issue with one of your girls that requires so much courage.

  9. Delwyn: Thank you - and you are welcome for the award - you can add it to your long list of awards.

  10. An Open Heart: Thank you. Interesting to know you have roots here too.

  11. Nancy: Thank you so much. What is a Lover of Life - it's the capital letters that make me wonder if it is some sort of group or sect??

  12. ROBERTA:

    Thank you - I'm sure you do have a great deal of insight into this kind of challenge.

    Roberta, do you remember the comment you left on a previous post here where I asked what people saw in a painting of mine. It was a painting with four human figures standing at different angles together. You said you saw three people at anothers door with the child figure saying "Do you want to buy my Watchtower magazine?" I nearly choked when I read your comment - wondering if my unconscious had actually created my previous plight on canvas. I was amused and intrigued. I called up my husband and we had a good laugh.

    You have EXCELLENT observational skills!!!

  13. Wanda: Yes, you have nailed it. It seems I did not have the courage to act for myself - but only when it came to my children. I would not subject them to what I had been through.

  14. Congratulations on your award, it is richly deserved. And thank you for sharing a bit of your background. My wife had a good friend who was a Jehovah's Witness when she was growing up, who went through many of the same struggles you mention.

  15. Bonnie Thanks for the award. I am honored. I will soon write about my 7 things.. By the way your history with JW was very interesting..

  16. I admire your ability to leave and do what you felt was right to protect your children. It takes a lot of gumption to pick up and change your life.

  17. Very interesting Bonnie. First of all, I couldn't agree with you more about dining in it!!!

    I appreciate your comments about being raised Jehovah's Witness. I went to elementary and junior high with a girl who was and probably still is J.W. I was amazed at how restricted her life was (she had to stand in the hallway while we did the National Anthem and Lord's Prayer every morning). Laurie was a very quiet girl, very introverted but very friendly. I liked her very much. I just couldn't understand how this quiet, shy, retiring girl could knock on doors and have them slammed in her face. Rude comments she must have received. Hearing your side of this has given me a much wider understanding of this group. Thank you.

  18. Thank you so much for sharing your background. I had a slight taste of that growing up as a Baptist but certainly not as harsh or strict as yours! There is life after fundamentalism! Yay!

    Julie Magers Soulen Photography

  19. Great post! I always enjoy when a fellow blogger gives a little insight into who they are. I was raised in a very restricting, fundamentalist religion also. Not as bad as the JW but I know when I went off to college, many of the the church people, especially my peers, would not have anything to do with me from then on.
    But I'm very glad I chose to leave.

  20. Turquoise Diaries:

    You are welcome. I will be checking in with your blog to read the 7 things about you.

  21. Sandra: Funny, I was so flooded with fear, sadness and guilt - I never noticed any "gumption". Thanks for the reminder that some must have been there.

  22. Sherry Lee: What restaurants do you like here?

    I did that very thing - having to find a way to be a bit late to class every day so as not to have to stay sitting in my chair when they played the national anthem. And although Witnesses have nothing against the "Lord's Prayer" = they are just not allowed to say it with anyone who is not a J.W. It was a source of deep stress for me every single school day.

    I so hated and feared talking to people at the doors, that I often would just pretend to ring the door bell - stand there for a while - tuck a pamphlet in the door - and go to the next house.
    I felt tremendous guilt for being so duplicitous.' Lots of double bind situations.

    Thanks for your interest and understanding.

  23. edifice rex: Hey - a fellow liberated fundamentalist! And look at what a strong, independent woman you are now. Bravo!

  24. Julie: Who'd a thunk it - a reformed Baptist! There is life after dogma - Yayyyyyyyyy!!!!

  25. Hi Bonnie, I have no idea why you got that message when you tried to e-mail me. I received something from a "re-twitter company" last night on my e-mail and I just tried a testing and it went through! Ghaaa

  26. Great post Bonnie. I've often wondered about fundamentalist religions, I can't understand how people manage to stay, and I can only imagine the courage it must take to leave everything - and everyone - you've known behind.

  27. WOW Bonnie! What an amazing story and what a brave woman you are to leave all that you know and follow your spirit. That's so impressive but so sad that you have had to lose so much to do it. I never knew this about JW's. It reminds me of the shunning by the Amish of their own who leave. I applaud you for everything you've become and thanks so much for sharing this with us. Now I understand more about your post the other day about loss.

  28. I love learning new things... and now I know where to go for a good dining experience!! Interesting too, to learn about JW and its effect on you. Congrats on the award... well deserved as I read your words...

  29. Excellent blog, and congratulations on another well deserved award. It was getting to "meet" you. I live in Spain but am now in Portugal for the summer. I am a painter and a children's book writer and illustrator. And I started blogging about 3 months ago. Your blog is a true "find".

  30. Bonnie~ Thank you so much for the lovely award. I am honored and appreciate that you thought of me. I love awards, but shied away from posting them awhile back, but just knowing you bestowed one upon me is very sweet.

    Thank you again~ I love these last few posts of yours. You came from quite a background and I am in awe of the changes you made in your life. I absolutely love coming here and hope to do so again very soon. I put you in my blog roll so that I can keep up with your latest posts.

    Have a great weekend! We are soul sisters, absolutely!

  31. Bonnie, I was compelled to write my expereince with childhood religion after reading your post..unfortunatly I could not locate your email addrress so I will post here.. The effect of fundamentalist religion on people who are indoctrinated very early childhood is something that needs to be explored further..and information needs to go out about the isolation a child will feel when he/she does not connect with the religious beliefs of thier family..I went thru was very painful and similar to what you wen thru....I will be following your wonderful blog, which I found thru Nancy at Second Life! Hope to hear more on this subject!

  32. My parents were both raised in a fundamental faith, and I thank them often, to this day, that they chose to give us exposure, but to let us decide for ourselves what we believed. Because of that, when I did start my faith journey, I had no tapes playing in my head and I am so much more spiritually evolved. I can't even imagine having to chose between family and faith, and applaud you Bonnie for following what you knew to be your truth, no matter how painful. Blessings to you.

  33. Truly fascinating facts. What a journey you've been on in this life.

  34. I stumbled apon your blog, and read with interest your experience with religion as a child.
    I have a grown daughter who has joined a church that I find disturbing. She did so because it was the only way she could justify taking back her cheating husband. She now acts nothing like herself, and when you said "superficial relationship" with your family, I got cold chills. Yes, that describes it.
    I look forward to hearing what you have to say about the effects of this kind of religion on children.

  35. Dearest Bonnie, Your posts are endowed with such knowing, such honesty, openness and generosity of heart. You have provided a welcoming circle for reflection and expression. Your awards are well deserved. Congratulations to you and congratulations to those who have recognized your loving contributions.

    In friendship,
    Rose Marie
    APOGEE Poet

  36. Congratulations on this award! Lots of interesting information that you shared! It's great that you are bilingual. It helps to be immersed in the language.

    You were very strong to break away from the clutches of a religion you didn't believe in, but the rest of your family did. That must of been hard.

  37. How interesting (said with some kind of accent).

    You are amazing.

    Love Renee xoxo

  38. Hi Bonnie,
    I like to think of myself too as a late bloomer, graduating from my degree at 32.

    I have always been fascinated by JW's and must admit have often chatted on the doorstep with them. My mum had a very hard Christian upbringing with 'the fear' instilled and as a result we were brought up without any religion but with a big curiosity about all religions which I carry to this day.

    Thank you for your honest post and congrats on your award.

    Have a lovely weekend,


  39. I went to Montreal twice and Quebec once and loved both places. Actually I truly enjoy going to Canada - we went to Newfoundland last year and are going to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in a couple of weeks. It was interesting to learn about your upbringing within the JW. I had never heard of them until I came to this country – I believe, unless it has changed, they are considered a “cult” in France. My parents decided to let me grow up and then decide on my own if I wanted/needed a religion but I can understand that if that was your family’s value, it must have been quite difficult to leave. I also believe that children should not be indoctrinated in strong religions, but then I am from Europe which is not at all like in the USA …which is the most religious country in the western world – I don’t know about Canada, but the French Canadians are certainly a lot more religious than their counterparts in Brittany or Normandy. I was raised in a tolerant family and find that here, in the South (at least away from the large towns), if you are not a strong Christian and belong to a church it is very difficult to have friends, so it is new and nice for me to have friends in the blogging world.


Comments are always read and appreciated.

(I am grateful for all awards received. However, I ask that this be an "award-free zone" and meme-free zone. Thanks for understanding!)