Joshua Miller loses his religion
BY Michelle Garcia
January 16 2007 1:00 AM ET
Jacob and Joshua Miller of the pop rock band
Nemesis Rising defied their Jehovah’s Witness
past by coming out together on national
television. Unfortunately, their risky yet entertaining
venture caused the Witnesses to disfellowship, or
excommunicate, the duo in late December. Joshua,
the “free spirit,” elaborated about his ordeal.
Coming out on national TV was risky, knowing that
the Jehovah’s Witnesses would not be very
accepting. Why did you do it?
We knew that they wouldn't be accepting going
into it. I had already decided I wasn't a
Jehovah’s Witness, and that at some point you either
have to step up or shut up. I wasn't that concerned about
that because I knew the repercussions of coming out
and the possible repercussions with my family.…
It wasn't that I was worried in that way, but I was worried
as far as the music industry, and making sure that Jacob and
I would be able to find an audience that would be
willing to listen to our music even though they saw
that we were gay.
How did you hear about the Jehovah’s
Witnesses’ decision to disfellowship you
One of the oddest parts was that we didn't have
any discussion or communication with them, which is
procedurally very unusual. I was born and raised as a
Jehovah’s Witness my whole life until I was about 24
years old, when I decided it wasn't for me. It just was
an announcement that was made, without contacting
Jacob or me, even though they had access to us, as
some of the elder body are family of mine. So I
thought that was strange.
A girl friend of
mine wrote me a text message that said, “I’m
really upset right now. I can't believe you didn't
warn me that they were disfellowshipping you
tonight.” And my stomach just dropped. So I wrote
her back and said, “They’re not. Nobody said
anything to me. That’s not happening.”
And then she called—she was crying—and said
that they just announced it, and she ran out upset
when it happened.
Have your family or friends reached out to you
despite you being disfellowshipped?
Nobody in any official capacity has called,
which I still find unusual. My parents were on
vacation when it happened. During their cruise,
several people came up to them and thanked them for doing
such a great job on the television series [Jacob
and Joshua: Nemesis Rising on Logo] and
maintaining such composure, and for being such cool
parents. They were surprised by that because they're not
used to people recognizing them.
But then they
arrived home, and all of this had gone down without them
knowing, so I think they were upset. It all happened so
quickly while they were out of town. I haven't spoken
to my dad at all, which I do find a little bit
strange. I have talked to my mom twice. The first time was a
very emotional conversation. She was upset and trying to
figure out how all of this could happen without anyone
being around. It’s one of those weird things
for her, Dad, Sarah, and Jordan. They’re lucky
because there’s the little loophole for
immediate family—they can have only very
limited contact with us, but at least they can speak to us.
Like yesterday, my mom said a piece of mail she had
sent me was returned, so that was an excuse to call.
very hard on them. As far as my other friends go, I haven't
spoken to any one of them on the telephone. The one girl who
called and told me what had happened said she was
getting pressure—crazy pressure—but she
was going to try to maintain the relationship with us.
Looking forward, is there anything that you might
do to help others who may be in your position?
I’ve gotten so many e-mails, letters, and
MySpace messages from people of all ages who admire us
and want to share their stories. It’s actually
overwhelming. I’m still trying to wrap my head around
the impact we're able to have. I’d like to find
something a little more organized to be a part of that
may be helpful to others. I’m lucky to have Jacob,
who is my identical twin brother, and not to be
completely alone, but I think most people in this
situation are alone. Also, Jacob and I live in West
Hollywood [Calif.], which is a support structure in and of
itself. Many people don't have that. If my story
helps, and I hope it does, I definitely want to reach
out to more people as soon as I figure out how to do
- WATCH: Alabama Jails, Fines Minister After Performing Lesbian Wedding
- Where in the World Are the Happiest Gay Men?
- Poised for Perfection: Sgt. Shane Ortega Puts a Face to the Transgender Military Ban
- 15 Queer Documentaries That Helped Define Us
- New Report Underlines Savage Inequalities Faced by LGBT Americans
- Over 100 Photos Of DC Black Pride