Thank a Teacher!!
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16-05-2013, 08:37 PM
Thank a Teacher!!
When I was in high school, I was a devout believer in the Jehovah's Witness faith. I mean there wasn't anybody that was going to steer me away, or lead me down the path of destruction. I was 15 years old in Grade 10, and heard a few stories of dread about a certain teacher - a former pastor - who taught a class called Man and Society.

The class material covered basic doctrines from various world religions as well as discussions regarding social issues, such as gender equality, religious bigotry, violence, and so on. The teacher would get students to choose a topic and present it to class, and then have peer evaluations. He wouldn't criticize your work, but he would ask you questions about it and have you defend your position or rationalize your point of view. At the time, it was gruelling and I really didn't appreciate what he was doing. Over the years though, I came to understand that he wasn't telling us what to think, but teaching us how to think.

I've had his phone number on a post-it note attached to my monitor for a couple of years, wanting to connect and thank him for planting some seeds that finally grew after many years. For some reason, today was the day that I decided to call.

He answered the phone almost right away, and when identified myself by name, he said "I remember exactly who you are." He had company at the time, but promised he would call back shortly, and about an hour later he returned my call. He said that he saw my name on the Caller ID and was astonished. He wanted to know all about my life since high school - almost 35 years worth of history. I did the Readers Digest version, where I've lived, when I got married, my family, my education since high school, my nursing career, and finally I told him that I left the Jehovah's Witnesses almost 20 years ago. I told him that I owed it to him for getting me to start thinking outside that little box. He was absolutely delighted.

I told him some of my horror stories from around the time of my deconversion from the JWs. About how I had severe postpartum depression and rather than offer comfort and support, the JW elders arranged for my home to be inspected for "demonized objects" without my knowledge or consent. They criticized me for seeking professional help from a psychiatrist rather than spending more time in personal Bible study, prayer and going door-to-door in their preaching ministry. I told him about the time when I poured my heart out about my doubts to a JW whom I regarded as my best friend at the time, and she told me, as serious as a heart attack: "If you're going to turn your back on The Truth, your three beautiful children would be better off if you took them out in the back yard and blew their heads off with a gun. That way they'll have a resurrection in the paradise and they won't go down with you at Armageddon." Mr M was horrified. He said "How is that love? How is that the love of Jesus?" I couldn't disagree with him in the least. But those lessons he taught about thinking critically started to come back to me then, and the seeds started taking root and growing. Once the process started, I couldn't stop it. I didn't want to stop it. The more I examined the doctrines I had been taught, the less my beliefs made sense and I had to abandon them.

He wanted to know if I was being shunned by my JW family, and I told him that for the most part, yes, I am. We talked about his experiences as a pastor having to deal with the human outcry of his parishioners whenever a sick child of Jehovah's Witnesses died in the small community because the parents refused a blood transfusion.

We talked for over an hour. He told me that he always suspected that I was too open-minded to stay with the JWs and he was thrilled to hear that what I learned from him made such a hugely positive impact on my life. I have a standing invitation to visit him and his wife.

I'm so glad that I made the call - I wish I'd done it sooner. He thanked me for making his day. He made my day too. Smile

. . . all the gods were stories we told the children to make them behave. ~ Thoros of Myr (Game of Thrones, Episode 3:06)
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16-05-2013, 08:49 PM
RE: Thank a Teacher!!
Awesome teacher is awesome.

I don't have any teachers like that, I think. Possible exception being my history teacher...

The people closely associated with the namesake of female canines are suffering from a nondescript form of lunacy.
"Anti-environmentalism is like standing in front of a forest and going 'quick kill them they're coming right for us!'" - Jake Farr-Wharton, The Imaginary Friend Show.
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16-05-2013, 09:59 PM (This post was last modified: 16-05-2013 10:04 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Thank a Teacher!!
Christopher Cherniak and Raymond Martin had a tremendously positive influence on the development of my own metaphysics going on some 30 years ago now. I thank them for that.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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16-05-2013, 10:26 PM
RE: Thank a Teacher!!
Awesome story, I love it! Thanks for sharing it. I don't have a great teacher or proff that stands out, but I have many good ones. I've had a couple great mentors and friends.
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