For Better or Worse: Religious Background Shapes Mickle’s Life

Weedsport Senior Lindsay Mickle Discusses Growing Up as a Jehovah's Witness

Lindsay Mickle, a senior at Weedsport High School, has what some people may consider to be an unconventional life. Although she recently turned 17 years old, it was her first time being able to celebrate her birthday – and every holiday after this will be her first as well. This is all because of the religion that she and her family follow: Jehovah’s Witness.
There are a lot of things that go into being a part of this religion as they strive to separate themselves from the rest of the world. People who partake in this religion believe in one God, named Jehovah, and believe that Jesus is his son. Lindsay revealed that the reason Jehovah’s Witnesses go door to door trying to convert people is that they are trying to save them from something; Armageddon. They believe that sometime soon, Jehovah will release Armageddon on the world and anyone who doesn’t follow this religion or live up to God’s standards will not survive. It is believed that after this the world will be converted into a paradise reminiscent of the Garden of Eden and anyone who was a Jehovah’s Witness or led a good life will be brought back to life in what is known as a grand resurrection.
Throughout her life, Lindsay has always been treated differently than the other kids she went to school with. When treats were brought in for people’s birthdays she couldn’t have any, and when there was a Christmas celebration at school she had to wait in the office for it to be over. Lindsay said, “While everyone was talking about what Santa got them for Christmas, I was the jerk who broke the news to them that Santa isn’t real.”
Lindsay was not allowed to hang out with anyone who wasn’t a Jehovah’s Witness and wasn’t even allowed to be on a sports team because of this. She would often miss school for religious events and since she wasn’t allowed to have friends that weren’t a part of this religion, group projects were often stressful for her – both of these things affecting her school work.
Lindsay feels like all of this really held her back from forming the same social skills as everyone around her and from forming early relationships with people who weren’t Jehovah’s Witnesses, but she knows that she can’t change anything now, saying, “I’ve accepted the fact that I can’t change the past, I can only shape my future.” This all changed when Lindsay moved to Weedsport.
During her sophomore year is when she started to break out of her shell; she made new friends, joined the track team, and can now say that she lives a pretty normal life. Regardless of this change, the isolation that Lindsay felt throughout her childhood still affects her to this day, though she can’t say for sure if her religion will continue on in her life as a positive aspect or a negative one.
In a more positive light, Lindsay feels like being a part of this religion has also opened many doors for her despite all of the struggles that came along with it, although not as many as it closed. She says that being a Jehovah’s Witness allowed her to reflect on herself and what she believed in very early on in life which played a part in her figuring out who she was and what her opinions were before most of the people around her.
Lindsay also said that a good thing about being a part of this religion is that she got to be immersed in a culture that’s different than one you would see anywhere else, one where people are so close to each other that it feels like family, just with some outdated beliefs. Lindsay said, “It also gave those who believed in what they were being taught such a strong sense of hope and happiness. They always had something to hold onto throughout life and something to look forward to even past death, and I think that’s something everyone needs to find in life.”
Regardless of all of this, Lindsay just couldn’t get past the teachings that she didn’t agree with and started to resent going to meetings as she wished she could just be there with the people and enjoy herself without having to listen to these teachings.
Lindsay knows that being a Jehovah’s Witness will impact her for the rest of her life, but what she doesn’t know is if it will be in a good way or a bad way. She said that as she gets older she is constantly learning new things and building relationships that she wouldn’t have been able to before, now that her family isn’t quite as strict about the rules of the religion. Lindsay knows that a lot of people see this as a negative barrier that she had to work through, but she tries not to let it impact her life too much and she doesn’t see it the same way other people do. She said, “I have a different perspective on things than some people but that’s okay. The world is built around diversity.”