Interview with Tamosan
In this world, there are a few places you would consider yourself safe from harm; Your home, your school, your place of worship...
But what happens when that no longer holds true...?
Below you will find an exciting interview with the author of the controversial two part manga series ('The Day I was Forced to Marry God' and 'The Day I Divorced God'), which details her experiences growing up - and eventually leaving - the cult religion known as the Jehovah's Witnesses.
When you produced and published this work, did you experience any pressure from Jehovah’s Witnesses?
I did not.
One of the precepts of Jehovah’s Witnesses is that you must not associate yourself any more than is necessary with those who have abandoned the faith.
This rule exists to prevent information from those who have quit to have a “bad influence” on those who are still believers. It also exists to isolate former believers who have left the community, in an attempt to encourage them to return because of it.
For me however, it served the purpose of allowing me to act freely.
Your son’s circumstances were ultimately what persuaded you to leave the organization.
If he were to want to join it himself, would you accept it?
I have done my best not to conceal any of my reasons for quitting the religion from my son.
I have also told him that we have relatives who still believe in it, and that disharmony has arisen as a result of that before - but I still don’t love them any less.
If - knowing all of that - he were still to choose that path, I wouldn’t have any right to stop him. Of course, I would be sure to fully explain the risks of following that faith, but my son and I are different individuals, and I don’t believe I can step in and make life decisions for him.
Whatever road my son may choose, I intend to watch over him, and offer help should he ever need it.
Through your work, I came to recognize the many irrationalities of this religion.
What do you think prevents average people from recognizing this?
Among those who come to believe in Jehovah, I feel that many are earnest, kind, and lonely. Furthermore, believers are taught to conduct themselves in a pleasant, friendly way.
If someone suffers from loneliness – feeling as if there is no place they belong – and suddenly they hear a kind believer tell them, “You’re working so hard, and God loves you,” then I think they’re likely to swallow it down, even if there are a few things that don’t make sense.
I believe people only see the world they want to see.
If they find a place that makes them think, “This is where I belong,” then they may push aside the opinions of outsiders and instead begin to perceive thing in a manner that suits them best.
This organization effectively uses of this mentality by manipulating new recruits into believing that they are the chosen ones and that the outside world is evil.
I believe that, with the publication of the English translation, your work will have an influence on many believers overseas.
Do you have a message for them, and if so, would you care to share it?
The first thing I want to convey is that these are my personal experiences in manga form, and it is not meant to say that all religions are bad, nor to attack people who simply hold religious beliefs.
People have the freedom of religion, and what you believe is a personal choice.
That said, there are people who are unable to choose their religion because of the circumstances they were born into. These are the people who are referred to as “second-generation” members of a religion.
Their life path has been determined in advance, according to their parents’ religion, and they are forced to swallow it, even if it doesn’t feel right. Some of these people even end up broken, body and soul, because of it.
If they have the freedom of religion, then they should be given the “freedom not to believe” as well, and I hope that reading this book gives them a chance to consider that.
Are there any plans for a continuation?
Not at the moment.
I feel I have drawn everything I wanted to draw. However, if my abilities, experiences, and knowledge can be helpful to society in some way, I will gladly continue to share them.
For a more in depth look, be sure to check out Tamosan's upcoming titles 'The Day I was Forced to Marry God' and 'The Day I Divorced God' when they release later this year!
eBook editions now available~!