A page-turning glimpse into the lifestyle of a Jehovah’s Witness.
In sharing his memoir, Clark seeks catharsis and closure. Born and raised a Jehovah’s Witness in a particularly dysfunctional family, he describes his upbringing in a filthy, sometimes violent home with a mentally ill mother and an often-absent father. His early experiences ranged from shameful visits to Kingdom Hall, where his family sat at the periphery of the faith due to neglect, to visiting his mother in a mental hospital, a scarring experience. Reaching adulthood ill-equipped for the world, Clark entered a brief, failed marriage, turned back to Kingdom Hall, married again, then began a spiritual and emotional roller-coaster ride. After a lengthy struggle with the hypocrisy he perceived in the leadership and doctrine of his faith, Clark’s family finally left the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a jarring change that was part of the cause of the breakup of his second marriage. More ups and downs followed as he suffered through depression, financial ruin and another failed –an obviously painful and raw period, only briefly explored here. At last, Clark discovers peace in a new faith tradition and comfort through a third marriage. The story is engrossing, and the writing solid. Clark’s portrayal of the life of a Jehovah’s Witness is necessarily subjective, but it’s grounded in a lifelong experience with this often-mysterious faith; anyone who has received a Witness at their door will find his perspective intriguing. The tradition Clark presents is troubling at best, frightening at worst. Though an imperfect character in many respects, his ability to change course and seek out a truer relationship with God is inspiring.
One man’s successful return from a spiritual hell.