“Go, look it up yourself…”

…My dad used to say whenever i asked a question. My parents had a rather large library. A 38 Volume encyclopedia in Danish. From sometime before WWII, judging by the covers. A number of dictionaries and thesauruses. A few different editions of the Bible. Some older than others. An my mother’s collection of novels. Mostly those romantic ones. I never really took up reading those. It just wasn’t my thing.

Instead i read comics. Asterix & Obelix, Garfield, Footrot Flats and Calvin & Hobbes. Calvin & Hobbes slipped under the radar with my parents. They never really saw the philosophical angle in those stories. And the existentialism portrayed there. I did not catch that either, until much later.

“Go look it up yourself. You know where to look.”

I’ve heard it too many times to count. So i did. I got out one of the encyclopedias and looked up whatever i was interested in. At the end of every article there were the cross-references. I would look those up too. Just keep following the trail, so to speak. I can’t remember why, but once i looked up “Railway” and three or four hours later i had almost every volume out on the floor. I do not know how much time i spend this way. Those days i learned to look for answers myself. I also got a glimpse of the magnitude of information there is available, if you just look for it. And somewhere along the way i learned to research things.

I grew up in a very religious home. I might as well say it right now: I grew up a Jehovah’s Witness. I left 17 years ago. Occasionally i look back and wonder how things ended that way. My childhood was easy going. Not much to worry about. I blindly followed in the footsteps of my family and was for a long time convinced about JW. We were going to live forever, and everybody else were not. Unless, that is, they were saved. I also learned that the non-believers were trying to sway me from the truth. They were trying to raise doubts in my mind.


So be it. I moved out of my home by the age of 16, and into a dorm in another city. With a huge congregation. None of the members of the congregation volunteered to offer me a room. So me, alone, with 5-7 “bad” people. And none of them took up any religious discussions with me. None of them tried to veer me off the straight and narrow. They just accepted me. I tried to keep by the dorm rules and they left my religion alone.

That, however got me thinking. If those non believers were such bad people, why did they not try at lure me to the fallen side of Jehovahs Witness and the Truth? Something’s not right with this picture. I gradually started to observe those members of JW, to see how they acted officially and privately. To see if they really lived like they preached. I guess i got that analytical approach from my father telling me “ to go look it up yourself” too many times.


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