What happened when I left my religion, to follow The Rabbi?
February 24th, 2007. How could I ever forget this date? It was the day I got baptized, to become an official Jehovah’s Witness. I remember it like it was yesterday. I had been planning to get baptized. Today was the day. I’ll be honest. I saw my Watchtower buddies get immersed; TJ, Scott, Carl, Terrance, Sydney. I was like, “What’s preventing me from getting baptized?” So yeah, I was imbued by some positive peer pressure.
The night before, I remember practicing. As I was in the shower on February 23rd, 2007, I put my left hand to my right elbow, my right index finger and thumb to my nose, turned away from the running shower water, closed my brown eyes, and proceeded to lean my head back. Nailed it! I didn’t slip. I didn’t drown. No lifeguard needed. I’m ready!
I recall being, what I will call, “nexcited”. This is a portmanteau I just innovated. On the spot. Yeah. That just happened. I was both nervous, but excited! I could barely sleep that night. This was a big deal to me. I felt that my life was going to forever changed.
I had went through the 104 question Watchtower catechism. A rite of passage, for the pool of candidates, interested in being immersed. Pun intended. I was now at the building in Belleville, Michigan, for the Circuit Assembly. I, in my suit and tie, sat in the front row, alongside other Kingdom Hall goers, who were also, in a few moments, about to become official Jehovah Witnesses.
We were asked to stand. I stood. The elder on the podium asked us two questions, ensuring our commitment to the decision of water immersion. Both times, I answered in the affirmative. Letting out a full-throated, resounding “Yes!” Then we began to promenade to the respective restrooms, to do a wardrobe change. I had on a white tee shirt and shorts. I was over-engineering, overthinking about the temperature of the immersion water. I thought, “Is it cold? Arctic cold? Like,December in Alaska, cold? Is that really loving your neighbor as yourself? If they love me, the water will be warm.” I dipped my toe into the water cube. It was invitingly warm. They do love me.
I wasn’t in the water cube alone. There was an older white man, a silver-fox Jehovah’s…