part eleven

A few days after the wedding disaster R showed up at my house to talk. We ended up going to a local park and chatting. He wanted to marry me again. I said “No, I don’t think so.” We talked some more and I was ready to go home. We were back in his car, he leaned over to kiss me and my mother pulled up beside us.

Seems someone had called for me and it was important. It must have been to get my mom out of her chair. I went home and returned the call to the brother who’d studied with my brother and I as children. He’d been made an elder during the last several years and wanted to see me and R. I told him we’d have to wait for my brother but we’d be up there when he got off work. R agreed to stay and go with me.

My brother got home and agreed to go with us. When we arrived at the home of this elder, he invited my brother to go into the house and visit with his wife whom we’d known forever. He then escorted me and R out to this little trailer he had out back so we could speak in private. I have no idea how long we were there. I don’t even remember the entire conversation. I do, however, remember the most important parts of it. They went something like this:

D:  So, you called off the wedding.

R: Yes.

T: I did not but yes it’s over.

D: (to R) Am I correct in assuming that you’ve decided you really do want to marry Traci?

R: Yes.

D: (to me) Traci, you do know that since you agreed to marry this young man, you are already married in Jehovah’s eyes. I know there’s been some issues the past several days but since he’s come to his senses so to speak, you are spiritually bound to marry him. If you do not marry him, you will not be scripturally free to marry someone else either.

T: (sits back in dumbfounded silence)

D: Since you two have been ‘together’ for awhile now, it’s probably wise not to put the wedding off any longer than necessary either.

I’m sure there were a few more platitudes uttered however I couldn’t remember them if my life depended on it I think. Just writing that conversation out like that has triggered some fogginess for me at the moment.

We left the trailer and went into the house to eat dinner with the family and after we were done we returned to my home. R picked up his car and told me he’d be picking my engagement ring up from the safe at his dad’s house and he’d bring it to me the next day. I just said ‘Ok’ and went inside. I told my mom the wedding was back on and went upstairs. I never offered an explanation for the change of heart and my mom never asked until many years later. I think she knew what I’d say and neither one of us wanted to think about it more than necessary.

It was decided that the wedding would take place the next weekend. We already had the marriage license and the dress and everything else. We notified very few people and prepared to go ahead with it. My aunt Bonnie was the only one who said “Trace, are you sure you want to do this?” I remember telling her I had to.

R’s parents were back to completely ignoring him. If he married me, they were going to pretend neither of us existed. The afternoon before we were to be married, R received a phone call from an elder in the congregation we would be attending after our marriage. Our attendance was required at a judicial meeting immediately. We got a chaperone to ride with us and went to the Kingdom Hall. Three brothers were awaiting our arrival. We were escorted into the back room and seated. The inquisition began.

It had been reported to them that we had engaged in sexual activity over the summer and the report needed to be addressed before we could marry in the Kingdom Hall. The questions were unbelievable. I could probably list them all if I thought about it long enough but I don’t want to. The ones I remember right this moment are listed.

Did you engage in sexual intercourse? Did you have any type of penetration with anything other than a penis? Did you engage in oral sex? Did you touch her breasts? How many times? On it went for what seemed like hours. I’d never even heard of most of the things they asked about. (remember my birds and bees talk with my mother?) I had no idea what they were talking about.

What it came down to was this: My father-in-law-to-be was angry that R was marrying me. He took this story and called several people with it in an attempt to get R not to marry me. The story was repeated to the elders in the congregation and even though we’d done nothing that could be considered scripturally improper, the fact that so many in the congregation knew about it now meant that we had to be made an example of. We could not be married in the Kingdom Hall the next afternoon and we could not have any elder perform the ceremony either.

We met an aunt and one of my cousins at the apartment we would be living in and while they were out chatting with R and a couple other people, I entered the spare bedroom that by now held almost all of my stuff. I don’t remember much after that but I do recall being lifted out of the curled up fetal position I was found in later. I was a mess. My past history had trained me well however. I may have been a mess, but I was numb enough all over to not even notice. I made it home somehow and when I got up at about 4:30 the next morning (sleep was difficult to say the least), the phone rang. It was a dear friend in S.C. and we talked for a bit. My mom got up and asked me what I was going to do about the wedding. I just looked up at her and said “I don’t know. I guess we have to find somewhere to get married now.”

My mother took over at that moment thank god. She called a wedding chapel in town and reserved the space for us later that afternoon. My dad was furious of course and still wouldn’t come. I ended up going into town to dress at my aunt and uncle’s house. My grandfather ended up giving me away. I had no idea at the time how oddly, sickeningly prophetic that was. We got married. We had a small (very small) reception and went home to our apartment. My brother and some friends came with us and we all chatted and ate until something like 3 a.m.

When everyone left and it was time to go to bed, I was quite literally sick to my stomach. My new husband was very sweet about the whole thing but we accomplished nothing sexually for days after we married. I think that must be the definition of true irony. We were punished for something we didn’t even do until we’d been married almost a week.

to be continued


7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Boston Pobble on Monday, May 21, 2007 at 5:30 pm

    Traci, I can’t find your email address. Please remedy. Thanks. 😉


  2. So much for such a young woman. So very much. I’m here, Traci.


  3. Wow, I just caught up.

    Your story is so interesting and painful at the same time.


  4. Wow Traci..i thought i knew but i had no idea… love you girl…


  5. I think I’ve expressed my disgust about cults/JWs. I can’t believe how you and many others are treated. Set up to fail … what a way to teach about God.

    Damn. I’m hoping this process will help you shed the ugliness and move on. You’re worth *so* much more than they have made you believe. I’m sending a hug.


  6. What a crazy-making bunch. You MUST get married now, because you’ve made a promise before God, and if you don’t, you can’t marry anyone else, say the same people who won’t allow you to get married in their sanctuary. Nuts.


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