I Had To Lose My Husband & My Religion To Truly Find God


We both entered our relationship broken, but we seemed to agree that I was worse off. I had daddy issues, mama issues, heartbreak, you name it. And he came along and accepted it all.

Later, he introduced me to the Watchtower Society, also known as Jehovah's Witnesses. I had always valued spiritual things and sought out God, but felt overwhelmed and jaded with the idea of churches. The Kingdom Hall seemed like a breath of fresh air and I thought it was exactly what I needed to truly make my spiritual walk real.

But that never happened for me.


For those who are unfamiliar with Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs), here are a few facts: 1) Jehovah is God's name and JWs primary goal is to make that known to the world, hence Jehovah's Witnesses; 2) JWs believe in Jesus and that he is Jehovah's son, and consider themselves true Christians; 3) JWs do not celebrate holidays, birthdays, or take/accept blood transfusions. This is by no means the full scope of the organization and my article is not intended to bash it in any way, it is to simply share my experience with it in my life.

I was blessed with exceptional comprehension and communication skills, so I was able to retain the doctrines, memorize scriptures, bible accounts, etc. enough to go out in the field ministry and preach. I was also surrounded by other witnesses who were extremely talented, loving, and passionate about helping people find Jehovah. When I tried to tap into that passion for preaching and going in the ministry and just living as a JW overall, I always came up short.

The feeling like this was where I was supposed to be never really came.

My heart wasn't in it because this was not my path.

Reflecting back on the early years of my relationship with my husband (then boyfriend), we were making typical young adult mistakes. But when we started to deal with the outcome of those mistakes, that's when it really hit, and it was more than we could handle. One in particular was miscarrying our first child. We were both young, crazy in love, and enjoying one another so much that we threw caution to the wind. And then came the positive pregnancy test. Next came panic, stress, and anxiety. Finally, bleeding, and no more baby.

It was heartbreaking for both of us. The response we both had was to cling to Jehovah by means of "his organization" and speed up the timeline on getting married. And that's exactly what we did.

I was 22 when we got married, he was 23.

We had no money saved, no plan to get out of debt, no solid career goals, and we were pretty spotty even when it came to spiritual things. We were stuck in auto-pilot. Going to work, to bible meetings, in field service and home. Occasionally we had date nights, but we never really nurtured or developed ourselves or each other. Our focus was on appearances (even if we never admit it) and because we did pretty well at keeping our appearance shiny and new, no one could see how broken we really were.

In my reflection of that time, I can see that we made leaps and bounds to change the things that are apparent at the surface level. We quit watching horror films or even movies that were excessively violent, had any magic in them, or were rated R. We stopped celebrating our birthdays and holidays and we rarely missed bible meetings or field service. But we weren't consistent in praying together as a family, we went through our weekly studies very casually. It was obvious that even though we wanted to be good JWs and allow "the truth" to touch our hearts, it never really did. .

To clarify, I do believe a lot of what JWs preach. There are just some issues with interpretation that I couldn't move past and that is the same with any religion.


I can remember smiling through awkward conversations about why I didn't vote or why I refused to take blood, or why I wouldn't sign someone's birthday card. It was exhausting, but I was convinced that this was what I needed to develop a relationship with God and sincerely know Him.

Eventually, I stopped believing that.

I started to see that no matter how much I prayed to build that desire to be a dedicated to the ministry and being one of Jehovah's Witnesses, something was holding me back. My heart wasn't in it because this was not my path. I went through the appropriate processes to get help from the elders when the issues in marriage became too much to deal with, but to no avail. The disintegration that I was now seeing in my marriage was parallel to the distance I felt from my newfound religion.

It was then that I knew I had to leave him and the organization in order to be free and finally find peace for myself. I decided that I would not return to the Kingdom Hall shortly after realizing I no longer wanted to be married.

For a few weeks, I felt guilty when I would get text messages from concerned "friends" wondering why I had abruptly stopped attending meetings, but I also questioned where that concern was when I was figuratively drowning.

I knew that as a JW, I could not seek to leave my marriage unless one of us cheated, which we had not. But in my heart and mind, I could not accept that the Creator I believed in would make me remain in a situation that had become toxic for all parties involved.

I have not been to a Kingdom Hall in about nine months and I feel closer to God than I ever have.

This past March, I celebrated my birthday for the first time in seven years. It was amazing to say the least. I was surrounded by new friends and enveloped in a community of love, support, and empowerment. That weekend confirmed my choice to uproot my life and make a sharp turn in the opposite direction -- not only leaving my husband but also leaving the organization we worshipped through.

I meditate on a consistent basis and am more in tune with my energy, as well as how it affects those around me (also vice versa). I'm also more in tune to God and how He is directing my life. I'm doing creative work that I love and making a name for myself. I'm building genuine relationships with strong like-minded women, and learning more about what I want from a future romantic relationship.

The best part of it is, this journey has been more spiritually enlightening than any time I've spent as a JW, or any church for that matter.

xoNecole is always looking for new voices and empowering stories to add to our platform. If you have an interesting story or personal essay that you'd love to share, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us at submissons@xonecole.com

Featured image by Prince Akachi on Unsplash

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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