John a former Jehovah's Witness

Introduction

I had been associating with Jehovah’s Witnesses for more than thirty years I was an active witness for many of those , I officially walked away in 2009 and resigned after spending a number of years in the wilderness. This is my condensed Testimony of my entry and final exit from believing and acknowledging that the Watchtower Society and it’s Organisation was Gods Channel.

Would any of us admit we are being deceived, even if it was spelled out to us ? I remember watching countless TV documentaries on religious cults over the years and congratulating myself for not being deceived. What does it take to awake and realise you are not in control of your own faith? Personal experience? The suffering of others? Losing ones Faith? Or Belief that God has called us to Repentance before we come to our senses? Can we admit this to ourselves only to lose family or friends?

Hind site is a wonderful thing but can be painful! I was deceived to my shame by a man made religious cult and Corporation, This is my testimony.

I was Born in 1957 , in Hammersmith, Nth Kensington London, to a working class family .My parents were not religious, weddings and funerals were the only time I ever saw inside a church. My mother was not a church goer but I know she believe in God, my Father was and still is a ‘don’t know’.

God first touched my life after my Father bought me a pair of binoculars for my birthday at the age of nine. I would spend hours in the summer gazing on rare clear nights at the sky in absolute awe and vividly remembering saying , I know God is there! And from that time on I knew he was in my heart.  I always had an inquiring mind and would drive my father mad with questions, he was not the sort of man to answer such questions if it wasn’t English history or football related, my mother was always busy.

My school education was poor, my school seemed to be focused only on the bright and promising, I had trouble reading and mathematics was a complete mystery to me , [these days there are fancy medical names for this, in my school days you were labelled slow or thick!] however I had a very good memory and I loved Art. I left school at fifteen. I landed a job in a photographic studio learning to print and develop film , deliver prints to clients in the west end of London in the early seventies. After a while one of our clients offered me a job in his advertising agency, with the prospect of attending St. Martins Art College once I had satisfied entry qualifications and gained more experience, it wasn’t an empty gesture, my boss recognised I had a natural gift. Within eighteen months I was working on some very expensive accounts with more mature and experienced artists, not bad for a lad with no formal education! It was different in those days people were willing to take a chance on you, now is all degrees just to make the tea! and graphic computers. Over work and dead lines were taking it’s toll on some of my colleagues,  unfortunately this finally happened to me ,I became ill with a physical problem and aggravated an existing mental disorder I already had, but had not yet been diagnosed, I landed in hospital.

After rest I was advised by my GP to take a job doing something less stressful until I recovered, but my heart was in art. My boss left my job open for me as I know he felt guilty and partly responsible for my situation. I found a temporary  job working in a builders yard loading  and unloading lorries, it nearly killed me! But it was keeping me fit.

However a new development would now completely change my perspective of life, it would cloud my ability to think independently for years, on a then vulnerable young man. It would be a journey which I thought would lead to the ‘True God’, although gaining a lot of experience and meeting some genuine people on the way, would inevitability lead to disappointment and as a result would eventually lead to a new journey of Grace.

It was at this time that some of my questions about God would appear to be answered. I remember the guys at work talking about a fellow sitting in the corner of the yard at lunchtime with his head in a book. whatever you do they said ‘don’t ask what he is reading!” I think they were talking from personal experience, they went on to say ‘he is one of those Jehovah’s.’  I ignored their advice and boldly approached him, I think I took the wind out of his sails because I asked him, ‘what are you reading‘? Looking up at me in surprise he said ‘The Bible.’ I’ve got some questions for you, I said. He was not the sort of person you would normally make a friend of unless someone owed you money. He told me straight away that studying the Bible was transforming his life. Of course this aroused my interest further, we spent many lunch hours talking about God and the Bible and I was impressed by his knowledge and many of my questions that had always bothered me seemed to be answered. I think he used a different tactic on me as he had frightened the others away. It was only about the third week he handed me a little blue book entitled ‘the truth that leads to eternal life.’ and said he was studying to be one of Jehovah’s witnesses. I read the book and told him that I couldn’t put it down.

He asked me if I wanted to have a Bible study, I said that I would think about it.

This was the second time I had heard the name Jehovah’s witnesses, the first time was about1969 when a footballer I think his name was Peter Knowles, became a JW and retired at the top of his career, I thought at the time ‘what a waste.’ Reading this book I could now understand the attraction, it all seemed to be very nicely packaged a simple but very powerful book. A few weeks later I said yes to a Bible study using the little blue book as guide. Studying brought me comfort, to think that I could have God as a friend, that is something I had always wanted, if only I could believe that the Bible was true. After many months I was learning a lot about the Bible and gaining confidence in what I thought were Gods promises, however as I was studying with the aid of watchtower literature I was also learning JW doctrine without having anything to compare it with, I soon realised from other JW books I was reading the watchtower teaching demonised every other religion. This did not overly bother me as I had a low opinion of organised religion anyway, stories of blood shed in religion and the JW’s stand on war and neutrality appealed to me, I thought they were different.

The person that was studying with me was baptised a few months after we met. I started attending the kingdom hall meetings and the small groups, the people seemed very nice and friendly. I learnt about how important it was to not miss any meetings, five meetings a week and going out on the field service or [ministry] knocking on doors was the most important task of the witnesses and placing [selling] their literature and recruiting. In fact the witnesses believed they would be blood guilty if they failed to do this. This was powerful stuff being a witness would be a big responsibility. Could I really believe this teaching? Did I want to be seen as a bible puncher? time would tell.

My understanding at the time was ,God was using an Organisation run on earth by The Watchtower Society which later included the Governing Body a small group at headquarters in New York U.S.A. which was part of a larger  group called The faithful and Discreet Slave or servant, scattered throughout the earth. These were also called Anointed who would rule with Christ in heaven after their death because according to JW’s , Gods Kingdom began to rule after 1914 AD. The rest of us had the prospect of Living on a paradise earth if faithful to the end. Although one could ask for Gods Holy Spirit to study the Bible and for endurance, the contradiction was, according to JW’s The Holy Spirit would only direct you to the watchtower teachings ,they made it quite clear it was this Anointed Class that had the Enlightenment! At the time this didn’t seem to ring any bells, this teaching despite it’s  contradictions was new and exciting .  

Much later I realised that so called ‘NEW LIGHT!’ [either prediction or scriptural understanding] was not enthusiastic speculation in the hope it was Gods direction which could be discussed, but ‘WAS’ Gods Spirit of Direction, that could not be challenged, questioned or sincerely and constructively criticised openly or in private, even if later this .‘TRUTH’ was admitted to be in error [or as they like to call it ‘Adjustment’ ] they would play down any former understanding and down play it’s importance and often blame every one else for looking into something that was not there!  The label of disloyalty was stamped on the individual, or even the accusation of apostasy! It was also many years later I realised the Governing Body and writing committee were calling the shots and the rest of the so called faithful slave class world wide, had no input in teaching or spirit of direction at all! they could also be labelled apostates as well if they challenged ‘New Light’. [interestingly most of the writing committee were and probably still are, of the so called earthly class!]       

The person that was studying with me, we will call his name Tom, was baptised a few months after we met. I was going to my weekly Bible study, I met Tom coming out of his flat, he was looking awful and looking down at the floor he said ‘John I can’t study with you any more, I have been disfellowshipped,’ ‘what’s disfellowshipped I said?’ Tom said he had fallen back into his own ways and although he was sorry the elders believed he wasn’t sorry enough and removed him from the congregation, which means he could no longer talk to me.[ I didn’t dare ask him what he had done but just stood there confused.] Tom smiled at me and apologised and asked me to keep on with my study. As I walked home I thought to myself , this disfellowshipping is hard to understand, I remember thinking about what I had been reading in the Gospels about Jesus teaching on forgiveness and not to judge people, forgiving up to seventy seven times. Surely it was up to God to judge or to forgive and for men to look for opportunities to show mercy.? Later it was explained to me that it was to keep the congregation clean. However I never felt very comfortable with this, but remembered the other powerful  things  I had learned had me totally hooked. It was 1976 no one appeared to want to study with me, I thought maybe because I had been a study of a disfellowshipped person? Later on I realised it was not a good time to be a Jehovah’s witness, they were to busy dealing with a massive disappointment and were reinventing themselves, it wasn’t until a year later that someone would study with me, up until then I had been attending meetings indoctrinating myself. And learning about the disappointment of 1975. Despite this, Cognitive self destruction was happening to me already!

It was during this period I met my wife to be. She had been born into the religion with deep problems and difficulties within her family, which made her lose trust and confidence in the organisation. Although she believed in it and had faith in Jehovah, she had difficulty trying to separate the problems going on in her family life from the watchtower organisation. But she did have a faith in Jehovah. She saw in me, a young man making spiritual progress and in this the possibility that her own spirituality and life could change for the better. As our relationship blossomed I could see she had a genuine deep down desire to please God, but she was still in a very dark place. We decided that we wanted to get married, her family were not so much interested that she was in no fit state to get married, rather they and the elders were more interested she wanted to marry a person that was not baptised. Although we could understand the issues involved we both did not see a problem as she was not marrying an unbeliever, but a person who was progressing toward baptism. If the elders had genuine concern for her, [up to that time their actions proved otherwise] and her father who was particularly against it had shown maturity, we both would have been willing to wait, as we were not in the best position or condition to get married, but under the circumstances I just needed to get her away from that environment, I feared for her mental health, she was already very thin and she was losing weight, she was six stone, no one seemed to care.

I could not understand how the elders did not identify these symptoms for what they really were, not a rebellious natured young woman, but an underlying problem in the family. I was also taken aback by her fathers anger and aggression towards us both, if it was simply because he had a genuine concern for his daughters spirituality, although aggressive, I could have understood . I knew there was something more behind this. I could not believe the intensity of his violent temper towards us and the hatred in his eyes. I thought to myself, ‘is this what she has to endure every time he loses his temper.’

You would expect that in a so called Christian home and environment, there would be a genuine concern for our situation as it was not an ideal one, warm fatherly advice and counsel would have been appreciated, instead I came away from the house feeling that I had met the very devil himself. I knew I had to get her away from that. The rest of the family including her mother knew more than they were telling. Her father clearly liked to control his family by using a very strict religion to hide behind, he had an unnatural control over his daughters. The elders in the congregation also knew more than they were willing to share but lack the backbone to confront him about his behaviour, as his field service record and report was good, it was convenient for them to believe him! they were clearly scared of him. We finally got married in a registry office, most of her family attended apart from her father, shortly after that we moved out of London. After thirty three years we are happily married and have a lovely grown up daughter.

My father in laws behaviour was always brushed under the carpet. He would continue to have a Jekyll and Hyde relationship with us down through the years. To this day the family like to cover over these experiences and even paint a rosy picture of life at home,  not only to others but also to their own family ,Why ? out of forgiveness?  Because they are still JW’s ? As a weapon to use at a later date? Or just the normal reaction of victims that DENY and COVER UP!  

Settling into a new town after a few years when I was ready, [all these experiences had set me back] an elder agreed to study with me, not long after that I was baptised at a circuit assembly in London. I was now an official baptised publisher of the good news. A Jehovah’s Witness.  [I was baptised in  recognition of a spirit directed organisation not in the name of the Holy Spirit! That issue would come to haunt me years later.]

All the problems we had faced so far and many of the challenges to come, we would put down to human imperfection, after all I had plenty of faults myself, in time we believed Jehovah would put right any wrongs in his organisation after all we had the ‘TRUTH’. My mental health was up and down and it wasn’t long before I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder [O.C.D.] a little know disorder at the time that even my G.P. was not that familiar with, only that he recognised symptoms of anxiety, depression and panic attacks. 

Keeping  a spiritual balance was not easy and although I had an evangelising spirit, I did find myself missing field service and meeting attendance. The elders could see that I had a zeal for the work but they could not or would not accept that there were times I could not face anybody at the kingdom hall, let alone bang on doors talking to people. When I tried to explain this to them they just told me I had a lack of faith. When you are told enough times that you have a lack of faith although you do not believe that’s true, mud sticks.

I remember working along with the Presiding Overseer, [ the head boy] of the congregation on the door to door ministry  and by this time I had given up trying to explain my difficulties, but he asked me how I was, I said that I was making a special effort to come out today as I had not worked with him before. I told him I was not feeling very well and in fact my G.P. has referred me to a psychologist and went on to explain my mental disorder, in my naivety  I was expecting him to say  “well I am sorry to hear that John, but I am glad you are getting some help please keep me informed and I will pray for you”  {in my dreams} the answer I got instead was “whatever you do don’t tell the psychologist you are a JW!. This confirmed to me that despite watchtower publications by that time had covered mental health issues, this attitude was to protect their reputation. The less outsiders knew the workings of the congregation the better, they called it confidentiality and possibly bringing reproach on Gods name. I called it ‘PARANOIA’ [they needed to see psychologist] I realised  the watchtower society and organisation was giving mere lip service to it. And that there would always be a tendency to stigmatise anyone with any kind of mental disorder including O.C.D.

I started on medication and self help therapy and what ever discussions with the psychologist remained confidential. It seemed to help, I made some improvements. During my therapy sessions it appeared that I had had this disorder from a small boy and was told that in many cases O.C.D. can be cured and of course there are so many different types and causes, but the longer you have it the harder it would be and in some cases it cannot be cured. But with self help therapy and medication I would be able to manage it and keep it under control. At that time self help groups were starting to surface and I was recommended to go on one of these. However I refused because if the congregation had found out it would enforce their opinion of me that I had a weak mind due to lack of faith. I have always regretted that decision.

The watchtower organisation feels that the door to door work and meeting attendance is the measuring line for your faith despite the fact that you may have a negative attitude towards others. For those who are ill either physically or mentally this is the cure all, any problem that you may have can all be solved by the field service and meeting attendance. Most witnesses realised that you are only as good as your last report. Despite this I did have a genuine desire to help people come to a knowledge of the Bible and to get to know God and his purposes and I sincerely believed that this was Gods will and his organisation, despite sometimes illogical reasoning by the society. 

My door to door ministry and talking to people on the street, casually at work was productive and I was getting results and starting Bible studies my witnessing was successful. [Even if the odd study that was  responding well, were taken from me by elders at the request of some pioneers, for the feeble of reasons, ‘you are not always very well’ [not ill  enough though to go out and get them in the first place!]

I continued to be fruitful despite my O.C.D. and my ups and downs physically and mentally regardless what some thought of me. I had my faith and I was serious about my belief.

Although I believed this was Gods organisation and continued to put problems down to human imperfection, concerns and issues were always there with me. 1/ why despite Jehovah’s witnesses claiming in general to be a kind considerate people, were there such consistent and deliberate negative attitudes and character assassinations towards one another?, for people who believed they enjoyed exclusive worship of God.  2/ why was there a need for us to do a monthly report of our service and keeping an account of ourselves to men? 3/ I knew that there were failed predictions and disappointments in the organisation and I learned ‘The Famous Justification’ that it was a ‘loving adjustment’ or ‘a test of our faith,’ a ‘wrong expectation’ producing ‘new light.’ I had often explained to people that the understanding of Gods word is ‘Progressive’ [which I still believe] But the problem was, I would try to explain [justify] to them [and to myself] that the watchtower organisation was ‘not Inspired’ although is ‘spirit directed.’ much later I began to realise that this was  just double talk and actually didn’t mean anything at all!

Concerning field service reports a sister once told me that she had gone to a fellow sister  in the congregation who she knew had issues with her, however no matter how she tried, the sister would not make peace. The sister decided she would have a quiet word with an elder and explained the situation, the elder responded by saying “ well! this sister has an excellent service report, perhaps if yours was as good you would not be complaining so much sister.”  this was by no means an isolated case and much more serious issues and heartbreaking consequences resulted due to this policy and reasoning.

I was a keen Bible student and studied the Bible and watchtower publications with enthusiasm ,I did like studying the Bible on its own, I liked reading the King James. Some Scriptures I started to have trouble with, it was as if I was looking through a different lens than the lens of the watchtower organisation, I had a pocket book with my  independent research notes which I concealed from others as I knew the watchtower organisation did not like you doing personal research without their publications. I used to think that was for my protection, but in the quiet moments I had, I thought if my faith was that strong and I had ‘The Truth’ what was there to fear? I felt compelled to do this for many years and started to build up many Scriptural contradictions with the watchtower society but still believed that God must be using the organisation for there is no where else to go!

One of the issues I had is when I read the letters of Paul I felt compelled to apply his counsel to myself and in my discussion with  a few close friends  an elder said, following Paul’s letters and counsel was commendable, but remember some verses do not apply to us because we are not of the anointed and only prospective members of the other sheep [earthly class] It was a predictable answer that I knew was coming , I felt I was reading someone else’s letters. I found it difficult in my mind to know where I stood with Jehovah and Christ. If all of Paul’s words did not apply to me, how could I be a true Christian. I knew I was not of the anointed class or rather we were told we were not a son or a child of God, [heavenly class], so what really was my standing before Jehovah? Was I just a friend or was God telling me and others something else? These concerns worried me and I left them alone for a while. This went on for years.

Looking back over the years, studying the Bible through the lens of the watchtower I realised I had been taking my Bible study at face value and there was no real depth to serious Bible study, I was allowing the watchtower society to do most of my research and my thinking for me. I used to think that this was a loving provision and the slave class who ever they were? had my interest at heart. Later I realised the so called slave class did not have any say in watchtower teaching, this right was only for the Governing Body and writing committee who were the Scriptural authority, or I should say the watchtower authority. The Watchtower Society does not tolerate any Scripture input or constructive criticism from their own so called anointed slave class! So what hope for the rest of us who were told  their own anointed brothers had no more insight into scripture than the rest of us! They seem to me to be hijacking The Spirit for themselves and denying the right of all to pray for insight and understanding, recommended even in their own magazines, even worse replacing The Holy Spirit! In recent years it seemed the expressions  ‘Be loyal to the governing body! Be Obedient to the governing body! Follow the governing body! Trust the governing body! was being transferred from expressions normally directed to the entire faithful servant class, which was also incorrect anyway! Good leadership should be directing us to, The Holy Spirit through The Spirit Inspired Word of God! as the Final Authority!

They were clearly seizing more control as they had done during the eighties when they took more control over from the watchtower Bible and tract society and corporation, the governing body was the society the society was the governing body , the governing body was the faithful servant or slave! it seemed. However in hind site it was all false! A very deceptive cult!                

Regarding report cards I remember a past incident when my wife gave birth to our daughter, because of her history I expected her most likely to get post natal depression, however this developed into clinical depression which I was not expecting. All my wife’s past came flooding back with a vengeance. I can’t even  imagine what she went through and even to this day, twenty seven years later she still can’t talk about what she experienced in detail. This depression went on for quite a few years but she never really got over it. I remember the elders living up to their usual reputation, ‘can I have your report’! throughout this time the elders hounded her month after month until she started to attend meetings again and there she was completely ignored by many of those who were in the hub of the congregation. It took a number of years for my wife to get back to a routine in the congregation.

On another occasion my wife decided to build her field service hours up as she wanted to auxilliary pioneer, she knew she would be treated better and no longer ignored by those who were ‘doing well’. Pioneering was considered a privilege, this involved spending sixty hours a month on door to door work.

I had been made redundant, this had not been the first time and was not the last, I secured a job but with poor wages. So to make ends meet my wife reduced her field service hours and took a part time job. Three weeks into the job she twisted her pelvis prolapsed two discs and trapped nerves in her back and collapsed. [I know many thought this was because she reduced her service hours] The local G.P. recommended bed rest as he thought she had just badly sprained her back. Despite repeatedly calling him out he insisted it was only a sprain! And recommend after some bed rest,  she move around and carry on. When she did this she collapsed and back to bed she went. This went on for eight months until a specialist came and was appalled at her condition and immediately called an ambulance to take her to hospital, he was angry at the local G.P.’s for not diagnosing her properly she should have been in hospital and been recovering by now with physiotherapy, this neglect set her back and she would often have relapses as a result, which effected her ability to work for many years.

A few months before she went into hospital she was in a bad state and two elders decided to visit and encourage her to the memorial of Christ’s death the following week, [which JW’s celebrate once a year] they could clearly see that she was unable to sit and was laying down and in pain. They asked ‘Are you Going? as it was important to be there!’ I said would it be possible for the elders to bring over the bread and the wine so they could pass it to her? [ as most Jehovah’s witnesses do not partake of the bread and wine they just pass it]. I knew they made allowances for those of the so called anointed who partake if they were ill or in hospital.

The answer was ’NO’ they could not do this. I then said  ‘It seems strange to me that if  my wife did not partake of the bread and wine Christ had not really invited her! she was only an observer’ The elders said that was a negative attitude, and then to add insult to injury they suggested that perhaps I could  hire a van and put her on a stretcher and get her there! By this time my O.C.D was raging and so was my anger I managed to take a deep breath and pause and calmly said sarcastically O.K.! If I could get her onto a stretcher and into a van could they possibly remove the kingdom hall roof and I could lower her down.! The elders were not amused but neither was I,  I asked them to leave.

Also during and after this period she was being hounded for reports of field service, this left her distressed and in tears, the elders offered no prayers for her, or words of comfort, they were as hard as nails!

This unbalanced view and uncaring attitude stemmed from the leadership, this ongoing tradition of working for your salvation and their paranoia and obsession with expecting reports each month from members of the congregation was to control, to judge peoples performance and faith. later on the incident concerning the memorial would also have further implications regarding my exodus from the organisation.

After some years we moved home to a new area, by this time we turned a corner I was an expert hiding my OCD from the congregation, I had learned from past experience, it was not out of choice. It was a smaller congregation and a family business, appointments were not for outsiders although they didn’t always have a choice . They seemed to be more laid back and have their own little way of doing thinks which was ok with me! However members of the congregation seemed to get away with things a bit more particularly the youngsters and elders family members ,the family feuds were serious, woe betide anyone caught in the cross fire! Anyway I got down to business, still having my concerns, but again put it down to just human imperfection, waiting on Jehovah was still the best course of action .

I was appointed as a ministerial servant, I was not doing anything else different as far as I was concerned, it was because some new elders had moved in and could not understand why I was not appointed before! I felt I could make a difference by serving my brothers in a different capacity and to be honest it felt good to be valued, [well at least by some.] The appointment was to open up my further understanding of how the society worked, even though I was not an elder it’s surprising what you find out.

Still this loss of confidence in the watchtower society with many scriptural issues remained, but I convinced myself, there was no where else to go!. This must be Gods organisation and The Truth!

I would go on shepherding visits and unofficially obtained  what I called [The Idiots guide to shepherding the Flock ] or the flock book for short, I could not believe some of the stuff in this book. [The new one is apparently even worse.] There were some sincere elders that did their best but the instructions from the society would dominate the visit with very little time for the real needs of the individual, I often heard comment by the person visited ‘I don’t know why they bothered.’

I had often heated discussions with elders which looking back if I had been anywhere else I would have been accused of ‘independent thinking’ and asked , DO YOU OR DO YOU NOT BELIEVE THAT THIS  IS GOD SPIRIT DIRECTED ORGANISATION! I could have been in trouble for discussing  The Word of God !   For years I convinced myself I had freedom of thought and my loyalty to any religion would be relative, I had the right to disagree if my conscience was uncertain, more importantly if I felt they were in scriptural error . Wrong! it was a self deception!

After numerous circuit overseers visits,  [these were representatives of the local branch office that would visit the congregations] they always shuffled us ministerial servants out of the room far to early so the grown ups [elders] could talk, this surprised me because it was the ministerial servants that had the ear of the publishers that is the [ The so called rank and file witnesses] would confide in us and tell us personal concerns they would not necessarily tell the elders , but wanted us to comment on their behalf,  I was not questioning the scriptural arrangement and knew elders had a greater responsibility but I felt they were to dogmatic.  The circuit overseers and elders were not interested in what we had to say ‘That’s for the shepherding visits’! they said. One or two elders over those years had a sensible attitude and were more down to earth, but this type of elder did not seem to last and left for another area. One elder who had left and had not long been appointed as presiding overseer as they were called then, actually wrote to me from his new congregation and told me he felt like he was ‘back in the truth again.’ However I thought to myself how long would that last? he was just pushing the problem further back and delaying the inevitable, these legalistic policies and procedures came from the leadership!

After four years things finally came to a head, after my last ministerial servant and elders assembly, I could not believe the arrogance, self righteousness and conceitedness of much of the counsel given from the platform with the sound of rapturous applause. I seemed to be the only one that wasn’t clapping. Where was the love? Where was the genuine concern for the flock of God? Was this Christ’s congregation or was it the governing body’s? They seemed to be more concerned with watchtower policies and procedures than caring for the real needs of those in their care. One talk included the need for all to work toward the average hours per month and reaching targets [as if that identified true Christians] and why it was a serious matter not to report each month! Another talk covered not speaking to relatives who were disassociated or disfellowshipped in any circumstances apart from important family matters. However the society is notorious for turning a blind eye to extreme, totally unbalanced interpretation of what is important family matters. I have known Families totally shunning other family members for over thirty years, not even informing  individuals their own father or mother have died. I realised without the Holy Spirit to put Gods law of Christ in peoples hearts, the society needed  pharisaic laws to keep control. And saddest of all, witnesses went along with it. It seemed strange that many things I had been concerned about were starting to be confirmed in my mind or maybe it was The Spirit talking to my heart, why now and not before was it becoming clearer than ever?  I came home that evening, I slumped in the chair and said to my wife, enough is enough,!

In that very moment I think I had mentally walked away and lost absolute trust and confidence and  belief in the watchtower society! ‘Was this really the TRUTH ! I was sick of falling for that old chestnut time and time again ‘we are only imperfect’! as an excuse for unloving legalistic policies and procedures that was                                                                                                  really harming people and killing them off spiritually. I realised my experiences and that of my wife’s  were minor compared to what was happening to others in the congregations .

While the elders were waiting on Jehovah to do something, maybe it was Jehovah waiting for them to do something, as it was their responsibility to shepherd the flock,  I thought not for the first time, perhaps Jehovah was not with this organisation and this was not Christ’s Congregation at all.

After that we started to fade and decided we would move home just to get away so that we could get our heads together. The new area that we moved to was not too far away but it gave us the excuse just to visit the odd neighbouring kingdom halls as visitors and to read the magazines to keep informed as to what was going on, I found myself in the wilderness for a few years. That’s when I started to do some real research and home work. The penny finally dropped , I could not go back! The Watchtower Society and Organisation with it’s Governing Body was not Gods Spirit Directed Channel, It was not the Truth! I knew then my exodus had already begun months before .

My Exit     

I knew by now it was their ‘Truth’ not mine! This was not Gods Organisation but I needed more confirmation, in fact it was the Watchtower magazine, The Proclaimers book, legalistic politics and to some measure The New world Translation, not so called apostate literature that made me finally wake up. I remember articles on being Born Again! What it means to be Holy ! Christ’s Mediatorship ! And the Blood issue! They seemed so transparent and two dimensional now. I had lost my fear and I was no longer looking though the lens of the Watchtower Society, [Deut 18:21,23.] however I  knew I could not wipe away over thirty years of indoctrination over night but it was a start, I was breaking the Cognitive Dissonance.

I did not want to throw my faith and belief in God away, I believed in God before I became a Jehovah’s witness, I know I could still do now! But were do I go ? what can I do? This went on for some time.

My prays to God had always been sincere, but I started to pray like  never before, I was desperate! 

My daughter insisted I look on the internet on articles on the Watchtower Organisation , I found myself defending it again! But I continued and found  Barbara Anderson’s web page on silent lambs, also the History of the Watchtower Society ,[The JW  Proclaiming Gods Kingdom book as I suspected, was a white wash] I started to look at Free minds, JW facts and other JW recovery sites, I read about the distress and the plight of ex Jehovah’s witness stories and JW’s still in who felt trapped and couldn’t get out [no it wasn’t all lies!’] Yes there were some angry people out there that had also lost their faith in God and I really felt for them, but I was also distressed they had also played right into the hands of the  watchtower lie,  ‘If they [The JW’s] did not have the Truth no one did!’ I was angry! What deceit! There were also many who were still unsure and really hurting. Thankfully I also found many  Brothers like me who had kept their faith in God and now had become Born Again Christians! I realised that it is not WHERE I GO!, but TO WHOM I GO,! The Lord Jesus Christ Himself! who said  “I AM THE WAY THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE” John 14:6 NWT. [How many times had I read that before!] It took me back to the time when my wife was ill and the elders thought it most important to attend The memorial Celebration or [The Lords supper] not as quests but only as observers, passing the bread and the wine, symbols of Christ’s Body and Blood , not a soul in sight  partaking! it seemed so absurd now, [almost occultist.] The Lords instruction was clear! ‘I AM THE LIVING BREAD THAT CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN. IF ANYONE EATS OF THIS BREAD, HE WILL LIVE FOREVER. THIS IS MY FLESH, WHICH I WILL GIVE FOR THE LIFE OF THE WORLD. I TELL YOU THE TRUTH UNLESS YOU EAT THE FLESH OF THE SON OF MAN AND DRINK HIS BLOOD, YOU HAVE NO LIFE INYOU. ’John 6:50-51  6:53. NIV. Christ is my Mediator! not a So called faithful and discreet slave, governing body, watchtower society or organisation.

The watchtower has managed to convince millions to reject Jesus! By failure to recognise his true Identity and by not  partaking of Christ body and blood  and coming to Him for Salvation! Their distorted doctrine formulated  during  Rutherfords watchtower societies presidency, have mislead and denied communion with the Lord.

I had been watching revelation TV. and I saw real Christians discussing the Word of God and I started to build up a picture of what True Christianity was all about. I contacted the Reachout Trust and they helped me through some difficult times , I had a lot of baggage. I met some great friends who knew what I was going through as they had walked this path before me,  I was very uncomfortable with a lot of Church teaching’s I felt that the history of Christendom’s failure to put God’s Word before human tradition was why there were so much sectarianism and wars over the centuries and atheism, it also left a door open for religious cults who claim to put Biblical Scripture first as their final authority!, including the watchtower society. So there would be certain issues I would always be unhappy with, [but not with the True Teaching of Christ that’s where True Unity lay.] Their advise was to ‘let The Lord speak to you through the Scriptures.’ I knew The Holy Spirit was helping me through this difficult time, I began to see that Jesus Christ was not a created being, but He was God! This helped me to understand the enormity of what his sacrifice was all about, for the first time I understood the magnitude of Gods Grace. I had some knowledge of what others believed and argued skilfully against it. It hit me! I had knowledge! But I did not ‘KNOW HIM’ All those years wasted! A person who became a good friend  who had walked away from the JW’s before me said ‘John, nothing is wasted if you have learned and gained experience from it. The Holy Spirit was always talking to you but waited for you to be ready, when he new you were ready he called you out!’  After some months I repented of my sins and for being enslaved to men, I gave myself to the Lord who I knew had invited me to be his child. I knew I had become Born Again! I had come home. I was not looking to secure what was not mine, the Lord was giving it freely! a gift for those putting Belief and faith in his Name. After a while and a lot of prayer I started looking for the body of Christ to fellowship with and met some great people on the way, from many different churches and nominations, I knew the body of Christ [The True Church] were in many places. I was learning, religion can divide or control, including cults,  but the body of Christ unites.

I started very cautiously attending my local Baptist Church and experienced for the first time a warm Spirit filled environment and slowly realising  things were very different! [But somehow not strange.]  I had not been to a church like this before!  I was expecting traditional worship, which I know has it’s place [not all traditions are bad] but this was different it was evangelical in spirit and a mixture of both, they also took the word of God seriously! There were many really spiritual people there, not like I was lead to believe, there was no love bombing just peace, the prayers were very moving, not long but warm, people were praying for each other all the time, there was a prayer corner, I could not remember the last time anyone prayed for me apart from my wife and daughter and our new friends. Their were some traditional hymns but most were modern songs centred on ‘HIM’ not on a governing body! Of course once I got over my self righteous nit picking, I realised the work that was being done in the name of the Lord was humbling. I felt ashamed, the very people that I was taught to vilify were teaching me what true Christ like behaviour was, [yes despite their human nature being imperfect.] My mind then went back to all those people I had witnessed to over the  years, ones I had studied with and some who had become JW’s   ‘O’My!’ The Christians who I met were working hard, but not for their Salvation because they already had Received it by Gods Grace! FOR THERE IS NO CONDEMNATION FOR THOSE WHO ARE IN CHRIST JESUS !    Rom.8:1 NIV.                                                   

The people I met were under no illusion of their need to maintain Godly devotion and understood their responsibility toward The Lord and each other and were living by faith and not works alone! They did not  need  a big brother or mother watching and dictating their every step, for they have true Christian Freedom and are at one with The Holy Spirit and God’s Word. They understand the issues within their own church and the problems of the world wide Church. I spoke to many of my new friends and some in my local church who admitted the churches as a whole need to move on,  In fact so many individuals are moving on. They believe there will be a massive test of faith and loyalty for the churches in the near future and many believe it is happening already. However there was no doubt in my mind The Holy Spirit it’s at work among these people. The point that was interesting to me,  they saw a distinction between relative loyalty to the membership of a church nomination or religion and absolute loyalty to ‘The Lord.’ I realised  it was ‘The Body of Christ’ The True Church to seek! not Church religious nominations and sectarianism. It was unity I was seeking and found, not uniformity I had as a Jehovah’s witness.

Reflection and Conclusion

On reflection I did sincerely believe that God had an Organisation, although having strong faith and was willing to die, if need be for my belief, I never felt safe, like most Jehovah’s Witnesses we were encouraged to do more and more on the door to door work and maintain a high level of meeting attendance to hopefully attempt to secure ourselves. The powerful doctrine on a young impressionable mind had a great impact on later life. My concern regarding certain teachings and policies of the Watchtower Society emerged quite early, fear of man and concern it was Gods Organisation and The Truth! kept me from researching too deeply when opportunities surfaced. From the very beginning I had allowed myself to believe there was No ‘Where Else to Go!’, encouraged by the watchtower cult. The watchtower literature was not just an aid to Bible study as I initially was lead to believe and later convinced myself of, but  IS THEIR ‘FINAL AUTHORITY’ and used the Bible to disguise the fact. [Although they would never admit this to themselves, I didn’t!] The Watchtower Society and Governing Body, had replaced the Holy Spirit and successfully hijacked my faith and Conscience!        

Living with a partner with depression and suffering with O.C.D myself didn’t help and was never understood. As time passes I cannot expect watchtower thinking not to raise it’s head from time to time. Learning this new found Christian freedom of understanding and conscience would allow me to question teachings I feel my spirit is uncomfortable with and feel is in Scriptural error, no matter where it comes from and look to The Holy Spirit that was denied me as a JW. This was the accurate knowledge I was seeking, ‘Really Knowing  Him!’ God was there all the time. The Father, The Son and Holy Spirit are faithful! I realised The Spirit was leading me to repentance. God was revealing his True Self and never gave up on me or wrote me off, like men had done! The Holy Spirit [not a man made organisation] showed me the immense measure of The Fathers Grace through ‘Christ Jesus our lord’ and the ‘True Body of Christ.’ The Holy Scriptures opened up like never before and I found ‘The True Lord!’‘He was THE TRUTH!’ ‘It was all about Him’ ‘To the Glory of God ’ Amen !    I was baptised with my dear wife, ‘In the Name of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit’ ! On September the 12th, 2010. I had finally come home.

An old journey has ended  a new one has begun, looking back I had no issues with any individual only sadness for those left behind, the leadership is another matter. My anger and disappointment has gone, Gods peace has replaced it, I have moved on and the Lord is giving me more important things to do. But deception and injustice needs to be exposed, I cannot keep silent. There are people still trapped. As my friend said to me,  ‘nothing is wasted if you learn from it.’ I have gained a very long and painful experience which I know will serve me well, hopefully to guard against ever being deceived again and to recognise false Christ’s, prophets, teachers and general religious charlatans, churches and organisations. My first advise to any individual considering studying with Jehovah’s witnesses is. ‘RUN!’ My second is. ‘DO YOUR HOME WORK FIRST, use all available search engines, look at the true history of the religion and be careful of watchtower propaganda, check out what others believe. DON’T BE AFRAID TO CHALLENGE THEIR TEACHINGS BECAUSE YOU THINK THEY KNOW MORE THAN YOU ON THE SUBJECT!’ [You won’t get the chance after your baptised.] And most important of all. PRAY TO THE LORD FOR HIS GUIDANCE!

[1]My long years of association with the watchtower organisation is already bearing fruit against this deceptive religious cult and corporation. I have not forgotten the brothers left behind, who desire to worship God in Spirit and Truth but are still enslaved to men, both those who are semi conscience and those still fast asleep. I realise any criticism of the watchtower will be painful to some and will call this testimony a lie, Jehovah’s witnesses will take it as a personal attack on them and view it as persecution, this is certainly not my intention. But I can’t walk on egg shells and not tell the truth of my story and journey, just because it might upset someone. In fact I have held back so many things I could have really said but have used Christian restraint and have tried to keep confidential.  Remember this testimony is based on my personal opinion and experience. In conclusion it is my prayerful wish that any who read this condensed testimony can relate to my experience and hope The Lord in his Grace and Mercy comforts you in your exodus out. EX. 5:1. And for others to think again about starting a so called Bible study with this cult. MT.24:4.                                                                     

 

                                                                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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