If I'm wrong, I die.
I cease to exist.
But I know what it's like not to exist.
Or at least I can imagine.
I didn't exist before I did.
For billions of years.
And Mark Twain was right.
It didn't bother me in the slightest.
But I'll give it a chance.
I will read Awake!
And I'll visit the Hall.
And I'll use your name for God.
But what if you're wrong?
You feel joy, love, peace.
Meaning, purpose, certainty.
Those things elude me.
But what else?
Fear? Guilt? Isolation?
A hatred that you call pity?
Those things are beyond my reach.
An education cut short?
A marriage too long?
"Don't talk to her.
It's for her own good."
What if it's not?
There will always be people trying to hurt you.
It's easier when they have God on their side.
"Two eyes saw this, but two others did not.
I'll take my reward now.
Did I mention I'm good with kids?"
What if you're wrong?
Sure, your Tower is tall.
It dwarfs my cathedral.
And it does.
I stand in awe.
Your Tower is tall.
It Watches all things.
And it does.
But is it tall enough to see Clearwater?
You know, Celebrity Centers and personality tests.
Cruise and Travolta.
Your names are different: Michael Jackson and Prince.
But the songbook is the same.
Leadership is accountable to no one.
Dissent is a **** that must be eliminated.
The world is out to get you.
And critical thinking is a trap.
Families are vital (until they aren't).
Our authority will not be questioned.
We make no mistakes.
But we do become more perfect over time.
"But it's not 'disconnection,' it's disfellowship.
And they're not 'suppressives,' they're apostates.
And we live in no bubble.
But we'd rather not debate you."
"Besides, they're new.
They're small and they're few.
They have strange beliefs.
That's what matters, right?"
But it's not.
It's not what matters.
And it's not in my nature to hurt people.
I can **** when it's justified.
But I don't know that this is justified.
And consider the life of a poor, worldly soul.
Fear is no friend.
Guilt is a memory.
(Guilt for things that warrant no guilt.)
We see the world as it is.
Science is no threat.
Solitude is a choice, not a lesson.
Education is full.
Abuse is reported.
We are slaves to no Slave.
Of course these things are foreign to you.
Your book precludes them.
And your book is infallible.
But so are all the others.
So thank you for visiting, but I'm hedging my bets.
I wish you the best, but I'd rather take death.
I was raised religious but am now an atheist. This poem depicts an imagined conversation between me and a group of Jehovah's Witnesses. The content is informed by a very dear friendship with a Witness and a personal interest in cults and other high-control groups.