By Richard E. Kelly
Although a bit apprehensive at first, I was recently asked to help a non-JW mom in a child custody hearing. Due to the story of my own childhood, Growing Up in Mama’s Club – A Childhood Perspective of Jehovah’s Witnesses, she believed I could help convince the court that her three school-aged children should not be baptized as JWs, if that was their choice, until they were 18 years old.
She’d married a disfellowshipped JW and early on made a non-binding verbal agreement with her husband that their kids would not be raised as JWs. After their divorce, the dad had a change of heart. He was reinstated and began attending meetings sporadically. Several months ago, he started taking the kids to the Kingdom Hall on the Sundays he had custody. As soon as the mom found out, she filed a complaint.
The mom did her homework and provided good documentation to the court to support her concerns. Then she petitioned for me and another ex-Bethelite to be her expert witnesses. The questions and our testimony were to be as follows: