Rebekah Vardy, the wife of Leicester City star Jamie Vardy of the English Premier League, spoke about her upbringing and what it was like growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness.
Vardy spoke about his childhood as part of a documentary for Channel 4 in England. She took on the role of reporter and interviewed several other former Jehovah’s Witnesses who have claimed to have had harrowing experiences as members of the Christian denomination.
The 41-year-old television personality described the faith as a «cult» in an interview with The Mail on Sunday.
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“People are manipulated, they are brainwashed, it is coercive behavior and it is passed down from generation to generation,” Vardy told the outlet. «Once you’re inside, it’s very difficult to see the big picture, which is wrong and immoral.
“I spent my childhood in fear, being told that we were going to die in Armageddon if we didn’t pray enough. I felt like I had to constantly strive for perfection so that God wouldn’t get mad at me.
«Jehovah’s Witnesses call someone who is not a witness a ‘worldly person.’ I am the worst kind of worldly person because I have had the courage, along with all the people brave enough to talk to me for my documentary, to speak in against this religion and they say it’s dangerous.»
Vardy said he was not allowed to celebrate Christmas or birthdays as part of the religion. They are just two of the restrictions on faith. The others include premarital sex, homosexuality, gender transition, adultery, drunkenness, drug abuse, and blood transfusions. Vardy said that if anyone cursed on TV, the show would be turned off.
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According to The Daily Mail, Vardy explained in the documentary that she was abused by an acquaintance in the family who was not a Jehovah’s Witness when she was 12 years old. for guidance. Vardy said she suggested that she «misinterpreted» affection abuse.
She added in the documentary that she was «basically manipulated into believing that it wasn’t the best thing to do to go further and take it to the police. The impact on me was savage.»
«I just blamed myself,» she told The Mail on Sunday. «I felt like I wasn’t good enough, I deserved it. It all goes back to that childish pattern of striving for perfection.»
Vardy said the impact had a tremendous effect on his life. She said she attempted suicide at 14 and started couch surfing at 15.
Jehovah’s Witnesses rejected some of Vardy’s claims. The religious organization told Channel 4 that the elderly are told to report any allegations of child abuse to authorities. The group also rejected the notion that being kicked out of religion can lead to suicidal thoughts.
«The courts have rejected the charge that expulsion and so-called rejection result in social isolation and discrimination,» the group said. «And it’s just misleading and discriminatory to imply that our religion is controlling.»
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Vardy married the footballer in 2016. He has five children from three different relationships.