Making Kingdom Kids

Long long ago, when Mommie Dark was just a new young mommie and Papa Dark was still just a distant smudge on the horizon, Mommie was stunned by a love bomb and taken prisoner by a sincere JW elder and his family. She was encouraged to rid herself of every vestige of self, and to put on a new personality provided for her by the oldest strongest JWs, who live to this day in a big dark Tower that casts a shadow over the whole world. Her new self, her Kingdom self, was provided for her, they said, out of their deep love for her and for God. Mommie had to relearn how to be a good mommie, and the most-repeated lesson had to do with making good Kingdom Kids out of her two baby sons.

Mommie's baby boys were still suffering the effects of a year of trauma that began with the death of their sailor papa. The older baby had sacrificed his early walking and talking to his baby grief, and at 16 months he crawled, silently but with determination, into everything. The four month old, gestated three months on his mother's grief at papa's death and always sickly, had been ill to the brink of death for weeks, and cried and vomited most of every day. Mommie was grieving, and worrying, and her days were filled with care, and the nice sincere folks who dragged her into the 'safety' of the Tower's shadow convinced her that happiness would come when she had made good Kingdom Kids out of herself and her sad unsmiling children.

Thus began the oft-repeated ritual of using the 'discipline and mental-regulating of Jehovah' to mold the babies into good Kingdom Kids. The ritual begins and ends with the rod of correction.

The sister who took Mommie prisoner began to talk about the unusual energy and animation the older baby always displayed, and that the sick one showed as he moved back into robust health under Mommie's watchful care. She did not like this massive energy, and she took every opportunity to shame and scold Mommie for indulging the riotous rough-and-tumble the boys seemed to need.

She read several scriptures about beating children for their own good, and produced a wooden spoon with a blue bow tied around the handle. "Your rod of correction, "she announced, and told Mommie in a firm no-nonsense voice to keep it in her diaper bag for all meetings.

Mommie, Baby, and the Rod of Correction

Mommie's older baby was an adorable brown-eyed charmer who had taken a long hiatus from communication after his daddy's death. He decided that the place to begin talking again was in the Kingdom Hall during the meetings. Mommie's struggles to keep him quiet amused and dismayed several congregations over the next few years.

The first time Mommie took him out to spank him with the spoon, he threw himself back and forth in her arms so hard that she was knocked into a wall and stunned silly. Nose bleeding, she sat in the bathroom and cried while he crawled around unrolling toilet paper and eating silk flowers out of a basket.

One day the littlest baby, who was taking a new formula that his doctor guaranteed would help him gain weight, got very sick and fussy during the Sunday meeting. Mommie walked and rocked and soothed him all through the proceedings, and the sister who still acted as Mommie's keeper kept the older baby. Halfway through the proceedings the nice sister's sprayed coif was hanging in sweaty strings and her neat dress was rumpled and she had developed a nasty run in her hose. Defeated, she returned the smiling kid to Mommie just as the sick baby vomited a huge mass of cottage-cheesy formula down the back of Mommie's only nice dress. Alone, unaided, Mommie washed out her clothes and sat in the bathroom while the baby, crisis over, slept and the bigger baby trolled the trashcan.

As the kids grew and learned, the suggestions and 'help' became more frequent. If Mommie couldn't haul a baby out and smack him into silence, any number of Christian volunteers would do it for her. When she broke the sixth wooden spoon on a heedless diapered butt, an elder's wife gave her a ping-pong paddle with holes drilled in it. One cold winter's night, when Mommie arrived home after a circuit assembly that ended in a hair-raising ride home in a blizzard to find that she had one can of bean with bacon soup and an onion on which to feed them all, her adorable brown-eyed boy had the paddle broken over his backside after he poured a bottle of merthiolate on the carpet.

Shortly after that an elder gave Mommie a lathe-turned oak paddle with holes drilled along the business end. Her happy Kingdom Kids made it disappear within 48 hours. She found it a year later stuffed far down the back of a chair.

Both boys grew well, and became happy and funny kids despite being beaten during most every meeting they attended. They never learned to sit still or pay close attention to the things learned.

When they were big boys at school, having problems with sitting still, being quiet, concentrating, Mommie had them tested for learning or behavior disorders, and was told by a pediatrician that both boys had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a congenital brain dysfunction that can be alleviated by medication but not cured.

Mommie was assured that no amount of beating or punishment would ever enable the boys to sit still, keep quiet, and learn complex abstract concepts the Tower's way. Modifications for school work were suggested and implemented, with some success, but in the Tower's bastions, there are no modifications. Mommie was told to persist, that Jehovah would reward them all if she would just do what the elders and their wives suggested.

Eventually Mommie realized that there is no way to instill love through punishment, and she escaped from the Tower's influence. She began the long process of healing and learning real love with her sons.

Despite being beaten and yanked around during five meetings and also during hours of home study every week, Mommie's boys are today happy, nice, energetic young men. They are not Kingdom Kids, and the Tower has no shackles on their legs. They have forgiven Mommie, knowing that she was stunned by a huge love bomb during a time when she was already half-mad with grief and worry. She is proud of their strength, their resilience, their emerging adult values that spring from common sense and decency, not from fear of beating or ultimate punishment from Jehovah.

This is not a unique story. All over the world, well-intentioned mommies are beating their babies at the behest of the Tower's henchmen. Tell yourself it's just a fable, if it helps you. Next time you see a clean little boy in suit and tie going into a Kingdom Hall, tell yourself Mommie is just spinning a yarn.

But if you ask Mommie Dark's boys, you might have to start telling yourself some other lie.

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