By Russ Bremer (husband) September 5, 1999
My name is Russ Bremer. My wife, Elizabeth Englishbee Bremer, was B&R and left the Truth in her late teens, after her parents were divorced. We met and were married when she was twenty-one. Going into our marriage, my wife had filled me in on the “Truth” and over the course of our thirteen year marriage I have learned about all of the baggage that goes with having been a “friend.” My wife and I are best friends, real friends. Her pain is my pain. Her tears are mine. I have come to hold the same resentments towards the “Truth” that she holds.
I married a woman that did not know love. A woman that could neither freely give, or receive love. She knew the word. She had heard it often enough. She had spent her life going through the motions, but never really FEELING love. There were always strings and expectations attached.
I married a woman who did not know her own beauty. She might have heard the words, but no one had ever made her FEEL beautiful. Informing her of her own beauty would have inspired her to be “worldly.” As difficult as it is for a rich man to get into heaven, I suspect that in the “Truth”, it is equally difficult for a beautiful woman. I suppose a woman’s beauty is an advertisement of her gender’s original sin and something to be stamped out. More likely, such beauty is too much of a distraction for the workers.
I married a woman afraid of her own thoughts. A woman continually wondering what she was supposed to think, looking for her ideas and beliefs in the expectations of others. A lifetime spent second-guessing herself. Confusion is instilled to ensure loyalty.
I married a woman who did not know trust. People always had ulterior motives. They always wanted something. They always wanted to use you in some way. Paranoia is instilled to ensure loyalty.
I married a woman that did not know joy. Happiness was always fleeting and never to be trusted. You paid for your joy with the sorrow that would soon follow. In front of every silver lining, there is a cloud. The glass is ALWAYS half empty. Better to be numb and not feel anything at all; it’s safer and easier. I call this “flat-lining.” Despair instilled to ensure loyalty.
I married a woman who did not know acceptance. She was never accepted for who SHE was, for her OWN self. Conformity was demanded and enforced with guilt and the threat of being shunned. Reminds me of my days in junior high. Inadequacy is instilled to ensure loyalty.
I married a woman that did not know independence. Self-sufficiency and self-reliance had been discouraged. Challenging the real world on its own terms, facing doubts and fears head-on, and braving all of the good and bad that life has to offer, was not an acceptable course in life. Huddle in meeting, keep your head down, don’t say too much, don’t say it too loud, don’t ask questions, and you might go to heaven by the grace of a worker, not God. Dependence and subordinance are instilled to ensure loyalty.
Some of you may ask yourselves why I would marry such a woman. The answer is simple: she survived. She got out with enough of her soul intact that she was still looking for answers. She got out with a heart strong enough to still hope that she would find those answers. I fell in love with the strongest woman I have ever known. We have spent our lives together looking for answers and growing in love.
Being an “outsider”, I do not pretend to understand all of the nuances of the “Truth.” I will not insult any of you by pretending that I can completely understand the feelings and experiences of those raised in the “Truth,” but I can attest to the results. I have seen, first hand, the devastation that this “way” can inflict on a human soul.
Over the years, I have been to several meetings and one convention. I have met many of the “friends” on these occasions and at family gatherings. Many of these people are fine, moral individuals who appear to be perfectly content and fulfilled in the “Truth.” I care very much for several professing members of my wife’s family. I will be the last one to try and rob them of their contentment. Perhaps, their experience in the “Truth” has been a “kinder, gentler” one. Perhaps some people just find it easier to not dig too deep into life or their own psyche; it gets messy in there, you know. It is always so much easier to simply follow the rules and not ask questions.
Perhaps this is a testament to the power of the human mind to rationalize any experience, even the invasion, and abuse of the soul. I have no answers on this score and I make no excuses for the “Truth.” I have seen the results. I have seen the pain that this “way” has caused in my wife and her family.
The sad part of this is that the “friends” will read my words and consider this a direct assault on them, or they will pity me as some lost sheep, another unworthy soul. What they will fail to see is that this is just another small example of ordinary people reaching out to one another, the way we all do, every day. It’s called love, even on the internet.
Thanks for reading,
Note: Elizabeth (Englishbee) Bremer is the sister of Wilma (Englishbee) Davis whose story is posted here also