‘How do you tell your friends Armageddon is coming?’ – one man’s story of leaving his religion behind

PUBLISHED: 08:53 28 February 2017 | UPDATED: 08:53 28 February 2017

Jordan Carter and Tracey Bell.

Jordan Carter and Tracey Bell.

Archant

A Weston-super-Mare man who was forced to choose between living life as a lie as a Jehovah’s Witness or never speaking to his friends and family again has spoken out about his experience.

Jordan Canter, aged 34, was born and raised as a Jehovah’s Witness.

Jordan said: “It meant no to everything – no Christmas, no birthdays, no blood transfusions, no sex before marriage, no gays, no nothing.

“Growing up, you are expected to be perfect, and I was nowhere near.”

Jordan said life became difficult when he went to secondary school as he could not go to birthday parties or spend time with school friends who did not share his religion.

He said: “I felt like I was really living two lives and not fitting into either of them.

“My GCSEs were even worse – how do you tell people you’re not going to college or university because you’re going to go door-knocking because Armageddon is coming.”

When he was 20 years old Jordan’s mum left his dad, turning her back on the religion which meant Jordan was no longer allowed to have a relationship with her.

He said: “She worked in the shop next to where I worked, so I would walk past five or six times a day and see her – but I didn’t speak to her.”

At the age of 27 Jordan began questioning the world around him. He said: “I started thinking about all those things I was not allowed to do and it was like a house of cards falling down – my whole life had been a complete lie.

“At that point I had a decision to make. I had to leave my whole life behind.

“I left, knowing I was going to become a stranger to all my friends and my family. I moved in with my mum, which was lovely, because I got to get that relationship back.”

Seven years later Jordan is planning a wedding with his fiancée Tracey Bell and is sharing his story with others, most recently at a story-telling event at Loves Café.

Jordan told the Mercury he hosted the evening – called Beyond Words – in the hope of creating a safe space for people to open up and share their life stories, hopes and ambitions.

He added: “Whatever type of story you hear or have there will be people who may have gone or going through the same thing who will not have told anyone.

“If I can leave and build a new life, then anyone else in a similar situation can as well.”

For more information on Jordan’s storytelling project and future Beyond Words events visit www.facebook.com/beyondwordsstorytelling

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