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TowerWatch Ministries
Helping Christians Reach Jehovah's Witnesses
with the Gospel of Our Savior Jesus Christ



Mrs. R's Testimony

Mrs. R's Testimony

I was born in the early 1960’s to Puerto Rican parents who had left their homeland to live in New York seeking a better life. My father was raised Catholic, though he had lost all faith in the Catholic Church at a young age. My mother was raised Evangelical, but was not a big churchgoer. My parents met and married in New York, and I was born shortly thereafter.

My mother, as most women of her generation, stopped working once I was born so she could be a stay at home mom and housewife. She was very lonely, having no family and few friends in New York. She took a liking to my father’s cousin, a sweet friendly woman who was a Jehovah’s Witness. When I was about 3 years old, my mother began attending the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, where they have their meetings. My mother was treated very kindly by the members, and she felt happy when she was there. Several months went by, and my mother requested an at home bible study. My father’s cousin asked the wife of one of the elders (similar to a deacon) if she would study with my mother, and she obliged. I remember the woman well. She was a kind lady, always smiling and pleasant. She had 3 sons of her own, who were good friends of my cousin’s sons. The lady came once a week to study with my mother, who was starved for adult companionship. My mother was also not well versed in Scripture, having attended different churches but never settling in any one. Mom believed in God but was not satisfied with religions. Once she began studying with the nice Jehovah’s Witness lady, she became convinced this was the “one true religion”. She was sure she’d found “the truth”. Convincing my father of this was a whole different story.

My father saw religion as a huge hypocrisy to begin with. He’d been an alter boy at the Catholic Church where he was raised, until the day he found the priest in bed with one of the more influential women in town. He was devastated, and refused to have anything to do with church again. He was especially against Jehovah’s Witnesses. He saw them as a business rather than a religion, simply sending the members out to sell books and magazines door to door. My father made it clear to my mother that he would not have his wife selling religious paraphernalia as though he couldn’t support his family. My mother continued studying, and devouring all the information that came from the Watchtower Society. To such an extent was her belief in this religion, that upon giving birth to the twins, my younger brother and sister, she had a life threatening hemorrhage and refused a blood transfusion because she’d been told it was a mortal sin to receive blood. She was prepared to leave me, a 4 ½ year old, and 2 newborns without a mother. But for the grace of God did my mother survive that ordeal. Despite this act of faith, after she’d studied for two years and made no commitment to the preaching work or to becoming a full-fledged member, the nice Jehovah’s Witness lady stopped coming. She needed to dedicate her time to people who were truly interested in becoming Witnesses, and though it was my mother’s sincere desire to do just that, she could not meet all the requirements of 5 meetings a week, preaching and giving bible studies with 3 small children and a non believing husband. Rather than accept that my mom was doing the best she could under the circumstances and help her out, they pretty much abandoned her. Mom, however, was still sure she’d found “the truth”. She continued attending meetings whenever she could, even attending summer assemblies, which at that time were held in Yankee Stadium in August and lasted anywhere from 5 to 8 days. My father remained adamant about her not becoming more involved with the Witnesses than she already was, but Mom adopted many of the beliefs in her own life, and consequently in ours also. My brother and sister and I were taught the Jehovah’s Witnesses beliefs from a young age. We didn’t celebrate birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other holiday. My dad could care less; it meant less money spent on what he considered junk. It was hard for us children, though, seeing other families enjoying the holidays while we would only get to watch the cartoons on TV, and even that ended after a while. Mom didn’t want us getting attached to the “false doctrines of Babylon the Great”, or all the false religions of this world (meaning any religion that is not Jehovah’s Witnesses). For the next 8 years my mother continued this way, teaching us that the Witnesses alone had the truth and if we didn’t accept their truth we would die at Armageddon. During this time my mother’s mother and her younger sister both became Jehovah’s Witnesses, and my aunt’s husband not only became a Witness but quickly moved up the ranks to become an elder. This gave my mother an even stronger incentive to become a Witness, but she still did not dare go against my father. Dad had threatened to leave her if she chose to become a Jehovah’s Witness, and with now 4 children (my youngest sister having been born in 1973) my mother could not imagine raising us on her own. She did, however, continue to raise us as though we were Jehovah’s Witnesses, with all the doctrines ingrained in our minds.

When I was almost 11 years old, my father’s cousin came to our house after having been out preaching in our neighborhood. She brought a 15 year old JW girl with her, who sat with me and started talking about the Bible and asked if I wanted to study with her. She was so nice, and after all hadn’t my mother said this was the only true religion and I would die at Armageddon if I didn’t accept it? It was 1974, and the Witnesses had foretold that the end of “this system of things” would be in 1975. I surely didn’t want to die at such a young age! So I immediately said yes, I would study with her. The young girl came once a week and studied a book entitled “Jesus the Great Teacher” with me. I loved learning about Jesus and all the wonderful things He did and taught. She began picking me up for meetings, until a nice older lady on our block offered to take me to Kingdom Hall since she had to go by my house anyway. What nice people in this Kingdom Hall! They were so friendly and kind. The older lady began speaking to my mother about studying again, and going to meetings regularly. My mother took advantage that I was interested and started attending all the meetings. My father was livid. He fought with her daily, threatened her, came home drunk, anything and everything to get my mother to stop getting involved with the Witnesses. But this time it was different. 1975 was too close, and the end was too near. My mother didn’t budge. She got baptized when I was 12 years old. Dad hit the roof. He left to Puerto Rico, leaving her with us and no money. When he came back a week later, thinking my mother had decided to leave the Witnesses and save her marriage, he found that she’d packed his bags and left them by the door. She was ready to end her marriage for her religion. My father was defeated; he knew she would not back down. So, as the old saying goes, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” My dad started attending Kingdom Hall, and we became a Jehovah’s Witness family.

At first I was happy to be going to Kingdom Hall and belonging to the Witnesses. It was better than not belonging but doing (or not doing) everything they said. At least now I was “one of them”. I went in believing everything they taught was truth. After all, isn’t that what my mom had always said? I was baptized at age 14, because I knew the Bible said it was the thing to do to show my life was dedicated to God, and I truly in my heart wanted to serve Him. But as time went by, I began to see things that I knew couldn’t be right.

I knew a young man, the baptized son of a Witness couple, who raped a retarded boy in the congregation. Rather than bring charges against the rapist, the elders took matters into their own hands by disfellowshipping the young man. This meant that he would be shunned by Witnesses everywhere, and he’d lost his chance for salvation. He could not speak to any Witness, nor participate in any Jehovah’s Witness activity. This was his total punishment, since the authorities were never advised of the incident. The mother of the mentally retarded boy was “strongly advised” not to go to the police, since this would bring shame to “the organization”. Several years later I found out the young man was in the police academy, studying to be one of New York’s Finest! A rapist who would be a cop! But no one dared say anything, because it would be bad for the congregation, and that would also cause loss of salvation. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe salvation is earned, not a gift from God. It can be taken away at any moment, and for reasons that are not necessarily Scriptural. Speaking against the organization would be grounds for disfellowshipping and loss of salvation, which no one would risk. But could God be so unjust, that this young man could be set free to continue hurting other children if given the opportunity? Shouldn’t he be behind bars for what he did? Did God hold his “organization” in higher esteem than the life and well being of children? It didn’t seem right.

There were also teachings of the Watchtower Society that didn’t agree with Scripture. For instance, Witnesses do not believe that everyone goes to Heaven. Only active and faithful Jehovah’s Witnesses will be saved when Armageddon comes, and only 144,000 total Witnesses will go to Heaven. This is based on the Scripture found at Revelation 7:4, which gives the exact number which they say alone will enter Heaven. However, verses 5-8 mention the specific tribes of Israel that these chosen ones would come from. Are all the 144,000 Jewish according to the Jehovah’s Witnesses? No, they claim this is symbolic. Revelation 14 also speaks of the 144,000, stating these would be virgins. Again, the Watchtower Society taught that this was symbolic. Why, then, if everything concerning the 144,000 was not to be taken literally, should the number itself be literal? I could not make sense of this.

The teachings of the Holy Spirit were not clear to me either. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe the Holy Spirit to be a person. Instead they believe the Holy Spirit to be God’s Force, His Power, similar to electricity. It is God Strength, which He uses to do everything He does. But that was not in line with the Scripture at Matthew 12:31 - “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.” How could it be that God would forgive all sins and blasphemy except if it was against His Strength? Isn’t His Strength a part of Him? How then could you sin against God and be forgiven but not against the Holy Spirit? I didn’t understand it, but I never questioned the teachings. I didn’t dare. To question the Watchtower Society would be like questioning God, since the Society claims to be the Faithful and Discreet slave spoken of at Matthew 24:45, entrusted by God to take care of the faithful followers. When a Witness questions the beliefs, they are counseled to try and “readjust” their thinking. If this doesn’t work, the person is marked, watched to see if they are going to start spreading their ideas amongst other Witnesses. If they do they are promptly reproved or disfellowshipped. Questioning the Society therefore was a no-no, and I didn’t want to cause problems for myself and my family, so I kept quiet.

What disturbed me most were the holidays. I could understand why some holidays were not celebrated. I mean, Halloween seemed evil, with all the witches and goblins involved. And days like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day were more of an excuse for the stores to sell rather than a day to thank parents. But I couldn’t see the evil in celebrating Thanksgiving. Why would it be a sin to get together with family and friends and thank God for all He’d done for us during the year? The Witnesses don’t celebrate Thanksgiving because they say it is a worldly holiday, not in the Bible. Yet the Bible doesn’t ever speak against gatherings that center on thanking God, instead it encourages it. What’s worse, it wasn’t optional. If a Witness was having company over on that day and served turkey, they’d be called before the elders to explain why they were celebrating this worldly holiday, even though there’s nothing scripturally wrong with it! Christmas also seemed extreme. If the Watchtower Society had stated that the story of Santa Claus was not in Scripture and therefore should not be included in the Christmas celebration, I would have been okay with it. What I couldn’t understand was not celebrating Christ’s birth at all! The Bible speaks so much about all the details of His birth, showing how the prophesies in the Old Testament came true in Him. Why shouldn’t this be celebrated? The Witnesses excuse: The Bible speaks of birthday celebrations twice, and in both instances someone dies, therefore they are evil. This just didn’t seem right to me. Yes, there were two birthday celebrations where tragedy struck. Does that mean all birthday celebrations are bad? If someone dies in a car accident, is it a sin to drive? And if celebrating Jesus’ birth is a sin, why would the Bible speak so much about it? I couldn’t make heads or tails of it, I didn’t dare ask anyone the questions that were on my mind, and it all weighed heavily on my heart.

School was very difficult as a Jehovah’s Witness. I couldn’t participate in any after school activities because they were all worldly activities run by worldly people. I couldn’t join the school chorus because they sang holiday songs and that was forbidden. I didn’t play in sports because it might take time away from meetings, studying and preaching. Besides, competitiveness was discouraged. It was like everything was bad except the things that came from the Watchtower Society. Worse yet, there were no activities for the youth of the congregation except field service (door to door preaching). Once in a while the families would get together and go on picnics or to the beach, but these were just certain cliques in the congregation, and it was not something the Society sponsored or even encouraged. It seemed like the only thing the Society allowed us to do was study their books and go out preaching. It wasn’t a fun life, and the other school kids looked down on us. It was no wonder so few Witness kids would actually admit to being Witnesses when in school. I had excellent grades in high school, but furthering my education in university was frowned upon. We were told the “end” was so near and we wouldn’t need those useless professions in Paradise, so why go on to college when there was preaching to be done? My teachers were extremely disappointed. I simply accepted it as my lot in life, as all the other Witness kids did. I would simply finish high school and look forward to living day to day until Armageddon.

As I got older and my mind opened up to new things, I tried to pull away from the Witnesses. There were so many demands, so many rules to follow, I felt stifled. Instead of feeling free, I felt trapped. I became rebellious at times, not wanting to go out in the field service or participate in the Watchtower magazine meetings. My mother, though, had a tight reign on me and would reel me in if she saw me getting out of hand. Mom would waste no time; she would go to the elders the minute she suspected I was drifting from “the truth”. I know she wanted what was best for me, and she believed she was doing the right thing. I couldn’t tell her my frustrating thoughts, because she’d run to the elders with that information also. The more my mother pulled me in the more I resisted. Yet my love for God was always there. I believed in Him, I believed in His Word, I just couldn’t get it all to make sense in my mind.

Once I graduated high school and began working I started hanging around with non-Witnesses more and more. There were moments I wanted out, but I knew it would mean my family would shun me. Shunning is the way the Witnesses keep the members in line. If a Witness decides to leave the organization, they are looked upon as dead. No one will so much as give them a greeting, even their own family. I was 18 years old; I didn’t want to lose my family. I just didn’t want to live under so many restrictions. Rather than keeping me faithful, my religion suffocated me and I turned away from all I knew was right. I started dating a young non-Witness, and before I knew it I’d gone to bed with him. I immediately felt tremendous guilt. I knew the Bible spoke against sexual sin, and I’d allowed myself to fall. What was God thinking of me? I’d lost my chance for salvation for sure.

I did what I believed was the correct thing to do: I went to my parents and confessed my sin. Mom, in true form, immediately called the elders. I was truly repentant, that I knew, and I expressed this to the elder that came to my house and to the committee that met with me afterwards. I told them I was no longer seeing the young man, and instead was dating a Jehovah’s Witness, as I knew was acceptable. Because I’d come to them and confessed, they chose not to disfellowship me. This by no means meant I was off the hook, though. I was marked. This meant that I would be watched at every moment by several members of the congregation. I was shocked to find they knew my every step, my whereabouts at any given time. It was frightening at times, but I felt I deserved what I was getting because I’d sinned. I also decided I needed to prove to God that I’d repented of my sin. I began auxiliary pioneering, which in Witness lingo meant I would spend a minimum of 60 hours a month preaching from door to door, in the streets, and giving in home Bible studies. Surely this would let God see how sorry I was for what I’d done? In my heart I felt He’d forgiven me, because although I’d made a huge mistake I recognized it and came forward. I was doing everything I was told: my mother knew where I was and who I was with at all times, I no longer had non-Witness friends, I was at all the meetings and I was going out in field service everyday. There couldn’t be much more I could do to show my sincere desire to please God. I decided I needed to take a further step to show my devotion to doing His Will. After close to 2 years, I signed up to be a regular pioneer, putting in 90 hours a month in preaching work. To my absolute shock and dismay, my request was denied. The presiding overseer (similar to a senior pastor in other churches) told me I could not be given such a privilege, since I’d not yet proven that I was truly repentant! I could not believe my ears. Were these men God that they knew what was in my heart? How could it be that I felt forgiven by Jehovah but I wasn’t forgiven by the congregation? I was devastated. I realized that “love” was conditional upon their acceptance. I was being judged for something that only God can judge me for. To top it off, my parents were having serious problems in their relationship. My father never fit in with the Witnesses and all their demands, so he never fully committed. The pressure was continuous, from my mother and from everyone in the congregation, for him to become a full fledged Witness, getting baptized and participating in all the required activities. My father just wanted to attend the Kingdom Hall and keep his family together. He too began falling away, and my parent’s marriage began to fall apart. The arguments were constant. My mother did what a good Witness woman was expected to do: she went to the elders with her problems. Unfortunately, elders in the Jehovah’s Witness organization are ill-prepared to help in marriage counseling matters, and Witnesses are not supposed to see “worldly” marriage counselors, so all they told my parents was that they needed to spend more time in the field service and in meetings. Not only were they unable to help my parents with their marriage problems, they made the situation worse. In no time the entire congregation knew of the problems going on in my home, with me, with my parents, and it was the #1 topic of conversation and gossip in our Kingdom Hall and in others in the area. I could not believe it. This was God’s “one true organization on Earth” as I’d been taught all my life?!? Where was the love that Jesus spoke of, that would identify His sheep (John 13:35)? I began suffering physically from all of the stress. I couldn’t eat or sleep, I cried at the drop of a hat, and my nerves were shot. My boyfriend wanted to get married, but since all he had was a GED and no college education, he had trouble finding work. When he did get a job he couldn’t seem to keep it. He was also a constant liar. I didn’t trust him completely as I should. Nothing was going right, and I’d had enough. A young man at work with me could tell I was going through some rough times. He was willing to listen, and I could talk to him about things I couldn’t talk with Witnesses about. One day I knew I just didn’t want to deal with it anymore. I packed my bags early in the morning, and left my house never to return. I knew the consequences would be severe, but I just didn’t want to live that way anymore. I was 5’4” and weighed less than 100 lbs. My co-worker found some friends who were willing to let me stay with them until I got on my feet. I was free of the Witnesses, free of the preaching work, free of the 5 mandatory meetings a week, but I was trapped in a belief that my destruction was imminent. Even though it was now 1986 and 11 years had gone by since the 1975 prediction of the end of the system had not come to pass, I still believed the Witnesses had the only truth, and it was just a matter of time before total destruction came for me. What was I to do? I couldn’t go back, because I knew I would be disfellowshipped this time for sure, and I didn’t want to go through the shunning. I’d already felt the lack of love from my “brothers”, I didn’t want them to talk about me but not to me for the next year or more. I felt like I’d lost it all, my life, my family, my friends, my chance for salvation, and God’s love. I was sure God was disgusted with me, and wanted nothing more than to be rid of me. So, I decided to do all the things every other teenager did but I’d never gotten to do. I partied all night long, drank too much, flirted with every guy that looked at me twice. I didn’t care about anything anymore, because I was sure God didn’t care about me. I was so empty it hurt. My life was falling apart, and I had no future. Just when it seemed as though my life was totally out of control, the unthinkable happened: I became pregnant. Oh, the shame I felt! I believed God was punishing me now for sure. It wasn’t until many years later that I realized God wasn’t punishing me, He was saving me. Who knows how my life would have turned out if I’d continued down the path I was on? Instead, I decided I needed to get my life back on track. The drinking and partying stopped. I worked hard and tried to look forward to the short future that I had. It was still very difficult, though. I refused to go back to a religion that I still believed was God’s only true organization, which meant that not only was I doomed to destruction but now so was my son. The guilt was terrible.

After our daughter was born, my boyfriend and I married. I looked at these 2 beautiful children, and it broke my heart that God would destroy them because of the mistakes I’d made in my life. I decided they needed some type of spiritual guidance, but not from Jehovah’s Witnesses. Despite the fact that I still believed their teaching that only Jehovah’s Witnesses have a chance at salvation, I chose to raise my children in the Catholic religion, which was my husband’s religion from childhood. It seemed like a safe religion; they didn’t put huge demands on the members, there were barely any restrictions to speak of, and my family could celebrate anything they wanted without fear. It seemed perfect on the outside, but inside I lived terrified of what was approaching. It was now the 1990’s. We’d always been told that we would not see the year 2000 in this “system of things”. I had horrible nightmares of Armageddon coming and finding my husband and children dead. Other times I’d dream that my husband would blame the death of our children on me, because I hadn’t continued in the Jehovah’s Witness faith and had destined them to destruction. The thoughts and fears wouldn’t go away. The Catholic Church’s teachings didn’t help, either. I would take my children to Mass, and I’d leave feeling just as empty as when I’d gone in. The teachings were superficial, the Bible readings weren’t explained, and all the rituals made no sense to me.

The worse part was the feeling that God had rejected me. I loved the Lord, but believed He didn’t love me. I’d left His organization, after all. He had no use for lowly little me. I didn’t feel worthy of even praying to Him and asking for anything for myself. Yet at times, when life’s trials were more than I could bare, I would ask God to please look after my husband and my children. I wouldn’t ask for anything for myself because I didn’t believe He’d bother with me, but whenever I asked Him for something for my family He’d come through. He never let me down. Perhaps He wasn’t so bad after all? Or maybe He felt compassion for my family who didn’t know Him because of me. Regardless, God always was nearby, even when I didn’t think He wanted to be.

I did my best to put the Witnesses behind me and enjoy what time I had left with my husband and children. Twelve years had gone by since I’d left the Witnesses, and in that time I had become a wife, mother, hard working employee and housewife. Though I wasn’t in any particular religion, I kept attending the Catholic Church for my children’s sake, and did my best to live a life that was clean and decent. Then something happened that would rock my world like nothing had done in years: My grandmother passed away. This may not seem like much to some people. After all, my grandmother was 81 years old, had gotten very ill and died. This happens all the time. But it wasn’t supposed to happen to my grandmother.

My grandmother had accepted the JW religion when she found out my mother was studying with them. My aunt had already accepted their teachings, but according to my grandmother, my aunt was gullible and would believe anything told to her. My mother, on the other hand, had always been the more discerning of her daughters, and so my grandmother gave it a try and became a Witness in 1968. She was 51 years old at the time, and was looking forward to Paradise living after the destruction of Armageddon in 1975. The year 1975 was significant to the Witnesses, since they prophesied that it was the year when Christ would visibly return. As the years went by the Watchtower Society denied ever saying that 1975 was THE year and that Witnesses had simply “read into” the publications that stated that 1975 COULD be a year when something important would happen. Many members left during 1975 and 1976. My grandmother, however, chose to stay and continued with the belief that she would never die, that Armageddon would come long before her hour of death and she’d enter Paradise alive. We all believed this to be true. The Watchtower Society teaches that Jesus had already come in 1914, just invisibly. They stated that WWI was the beginning of the end times, and the generation that was alive during that time would not pass away before the end of “this system of things”, based on the Scripture at Matthew 24:34. They claimed that a generation could only last between 70 and 80 years (see Psalm 90:10), and since people that were alive in 1914 would probably not live past 1994, the end of wicked mankind would take place before this. I hadn’t thought about it for such a long time, yet it occurred to me that my grandmother had been born in 1917 and had died in 1998 at the age of 81. If this was true, how old were the generation that was alive during 1914? Well into their 80’s and 90’s, for sure. How was it then that the end had not come yet? We were so close to the year 2000, yet so many of the prophesies that the Watchtower Society claimed should have happened, had not. It certainly put a wrench in the works. I kept it in the back of my mind, and pondered it every once in a while, but didn’t investigate anything further. I guess I was too afraid of what I would find.

The next few years went by as a blur. My youngest child was born, we moved into a new house, my older children finished their catechism classes, and life went on as normal. I, however, kept wondering about what the Witnesses must be teaching. It was 2002, two years after the Y2K scare, one year after 9/11, and Armageddon was nowhere in sight. What were they telling the Witnesses now? My curiosity peaked, and I went on the Internet to see if I could find any information on the subject. I googled “Jehovah’s Witnesses” to see if there was a website that would show me their teachings on the subject. What I found was a myriad of websites of ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses. Normally I would never have gone on any of these websites. As a Jehovah’s Witness, we were not allowed to read any religious propaganda that didn’t come from the Watchtower Society, and we were especially forbidden to read what is known as “apostate material”. Apostates, according to the Watchtower Society, are people that were witnesses but left to go to other religions and now speak against the Witness organization. I had been out so long I dared look at one of the websites, even though it was with trepidation. I found one website,, with a header titled “Failed Prediction – 1914 Generation!” I read from actual Watchtower publications what I could not believe. The 1914 doctrine had changed!!! The Watchtower Society had taught for over 60 years that the 1914 generation Jesus spoke of was the generation alive in 1914, which was why the end would HAVE to come before the year 2000. In November 1995, when they saw that their prediction was not coming true, they wrote in their Watchtower magazine publication that “eager to see the end of this evil system, Jehovah’s people have at times speculated about the time when the ‘great tribulation’ would break out, even tying this to calculations of what is the lifetime of a generation since 1914.” They went on to say that, contrary to what I’d been taught all my life and what had been taught decades previous, “the term ‘generation’ as used by Jesus refers principally to contemporary people of a certain historical period”, or the current generation. That was what most Christian churches had been teaching for years, and we’d mocked them because they didn’t have the truth that we had! How could this be? Had God changed His mind? Was He playing some kind of trick on His people, His “organization”? Why would God allow His “one true religion” to teach falsehood for so many years? At first I was speechless. Then I was angry. I felt deceived for so many years. My head was spinning. If they were wrong about something so critical in their teachings, what else were they teaching that was wrong? I felt driven to find the real “truth”. Was the WT all that they’d said they were, or was it all a lie? I was determined to find out.

I began by reading anything and everything I could find on the Internet. I didn’t want people’s opinions, I wanted facts. I found an excellent website, It had quotations from actual Watchtower publications that could be looked up and verified. I was absolutely floored. The teaching about 1914 was not the first nor the only time the Watchtower Society had changed a teaching! As a matter of fact, the “end times” date had been predicted numerous times! Even though Jesus Christ Himself had stated that only the Father knew the day and time, the Watchtower Society had taken it upon themselves to figure out the date, calculating and recalculating, and coming up wrong each time. How could Jehovah’s organization be so irresponsible? God couldn’t be pleased with this. I read about the history of the Watchtower Society, how it had gotten started, how they’d predicted the end of the world in 1925 to the extent of buying a mansion in California which they called Beth-Sarim, to house the “princes” such as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when they were resurrected! Of course, in the meantime it housed the president of the Watchtower Society, Joseph Rutherford! None of this had ever been mentioned in our Kingdom Hall, nor did anyone I knew know about any of this. The website was a thorn in the Watchtower Society’s side, and they sued for “copyright infringement”, forcing the website to shut down. My eyes were starting to open, and I was obsessed with wanting to know more.

One name that came up in every website that I visited was Raymond Franz. I vaguely remembered that in the early 1980’s there’d been a shake-up in Bethel, the Society’s main headquarters in Brooklyn, New York. We’d heard that some disfellowshippings had taken place because there were members who had become apostates, but not much else was said. One of the members of the Governing Body was removed for apostasy. There were not many details other than the fact that in subsequent Watchtower magazines there were various articles about staying away from those that employed “independent thinking”, reading the Bible on their own and interpreting it their own way. It was emphasized that the only way to understand the Bible was through the teachings of the Watchtower Society. This was accepted by the members as truth from Heaven, and that was that. Now I found that the Governing Body member that had been removed was none other than Raymond Franz, the nephew of the then president of the Watchtower Society, Frederick Franz, and he’d written 2 books, Crisis of Conscience and In Search of Christian Freedom. The books recounted his findings about false teachings in the Watchtower Society, the bureaucracy and dogmatism he’d experienced in the 9 years that he served in the main headquarters, and his subsequent removal. The books were hailed as eye openers by the many who’d read them. I wanted to read these books, but despite the fact that I’d been reading all this material and day by day was realizing the falsehood of the Watchtower Society, I was afraid to even hold the books in my hand. It had been hammered into our minds that this apostate material came from the devil himself. What would happen if I read these and it was all true? I knew it would be a point of no return.

It took me 4 months of deliberating before I dared order both books. I began reading Crisis of Conscience as soon as I received it. At this point I was more determined than ever to find out, once and for all, who the Watchtower Society really is. As I read page after page of this man’s discoveries, seeing how so many doctrines and dates were based on misinformation, quotes that were taken out of context so that they refuted Watchtower doctrine, and injustices brought against the members which were then reported as “persecution”, then when he tried to make changes was swiftly booted out of the organization which he’d dedicated 40 years of his life to, I found myself experiencing a gamut of emotions like I hadn’t felt in years. I was confused, shocked, appalled, and angry. I felt lied to and deceived. I’d been giving so much of myself to something that was man-made and not from God. What was I to do now? I had spent 36 years of my life believing this to be the one and only true religion, and now my belief system fell apart. Who could I believe?

I sat back and tried to think. I saw many websites of ex-JW’s who’d left the organization only to become atheists or agnostics. I didn’t fall into that category. My faith in God was intact; I didn’t believe that God was the problem. It was the organization that was trying to take the place of God in its member’s lives. My belief in the Scriptures was also solid. I fully believed the Bible to be God’s inspired Word to us. But with so many religions out there, which one was the truth? I thought about several Christians that I’d come in contact with during those “dark” years that I’d been so separated from God. These people displayed the love of Jesus in their lives. Their love was unconditional, like the Bible states God’s love to be. What did they have that I didn’t have? They went to different churches, belonged to different denominations, yet they all seemed so united in their faith. It wasn’t at all like I’d been taught Christendom was. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that there is only one true religion, and that everyone must believe the same thing. Anyone that teaches something different from what the Watchtower Society teaches is quickly removed so as not to spoil the rest of the congregation. How was I going to find that one true religion among so many? For the first time in many years, I prayed. I wanted God to show me what He wanted me to do. I felt led to start reading my Bible. I’d acquired a Contemporary English Version and started reading the New Testament. Whoa! There were things here that were totally different from what I’d remembered reading in my New World’s Translation, the official Bible of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the only one they are authorized to use. But there was no way I was going back to the Jehovah’s Witness Bible. I had read enough, from Raymond Franz stating that the translators had some knowledge of Hebrew and Greek but not enough to do the difficult translating of the Bible, to scholars who pointed out error after error in the New World’s Translation, to know that I wanted to find God’s truth in His true word, not a mistranslation. I remember when I finished reading the Gospel of Matthew, I cried like a baby, realizing for the first time just what Jesus had done for me. I’d always seen Jesus as mean, grumpy, tired of dealing with disciples that didn’t get what He was teaching and incredulous people who were trying to kill him. I’d failed to see the loving Jesus who taught the masses and wanted everyone to be saved. It wasn’t that this was not taught to us as Jehovah’s Witnesses. It had been the base message of The Great Teacher book that I’d enjoyed so much as a child. But for the most part Jesus was someone only the 144,000 could relate to. They were the “anointed” ones that Jesus spoke of repeatedly. Everyone else was of “the great crowd”, who just looked on and followed the “chosen ones”. As I read the Gospels I realized there aren’t two groups of Christians. We are all loved by Jesus, and He wants us all with Him. Why hadn’t I seen that before?

I felt changes happening in my heart. The more I read the Bible the more I wanted Jesus in my life. I’d never thought that way. I was told that we could only worship Jehovah, that Jesus was God’s first creation and was special because He’d come to earth to give His life for mankind, but at the same time He was Michael the Archangel, who could not be prayed to or worshipped. I was getting a totally different message from my Bible reading. Jesus was my friend, my brother, but He’s also my Redeemer, my King, my Savior. He was someone I wanted to follow, someone I wanted to imitate, and someone I wanted to live my life for.

I was in my car one day pondering all these things, and the radio station I was listening to was telling raunchy jokes and making fun of people. I didn’t want to hear this anymore and changed the station. The next station was just as bad, and the third station was worse. I decided to put God to the test. I prayed out loud: “Lord, I’m going to hit the scan button, and the first station that’s playing actual music is where I’m going to stop, and I’m going to believe that it is the station You want me to listen to.” So I pressed scan, and waited. Music came on, and I stopped the scanning. It was a Christian radio station, playing Christian music and teachings through different ministers. Was God really answering my prayers? I listened daily to the songs and the messages in them, and to the preaching from pastors from around the country. Everything they taught was exactly what I was reading in Scripture! What church was this? Surprising to me, they were from different churches but taught similar messages. The base message was the same: Jesus died for our sins. We need to give our lives to Jesus. We must ask for forgiveness of our sins, and ask Jesus into our hearts. We need to be born again.

Yeah, well, I’d heard about born-againers many times when I was a Jehovah’s Witness. They were supposed to be demon possessed, they claimed to speak in tongues but only said bad words when they did, they played loud and obnoxious music and didn’t have the truth like we did. Somehow, though, I got the feeling that was a lie also. The music I was hearing was neither loud nor obnoxious; it was filled with beautiful messages of praise. And the teachings made more sense than anything I’d heard before. But I still wasn’t convinced.

Where was the truth? I needed the truth! Traveling in my car on my way home, I asked God for the truth. At that moment a song came on the radio, “The Voice of Truth” by a Christian band called Casting Crowns. The chorus of the song goes like this:

The voice of truth tells me a different story,
The voice of truth says do not be afraid.
And the voice of truth says this is for My Glory,
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of Truth.

That’s when it hit me. I was looking for the truth in a religion, in an organization, in a place, when the truth is actually a person: Jesus Christ! I understood at that moment what being born again meant. I knew why I needed to ask Jesus into my heart. I did it right then and there, in my car, on the expressway. I gave my life to Jesus. Instantly I felt an overwhelming peace like I’d never experienced in my life. Jesus was with me! He would lead me from here on! My journey to find the truth had led me to Him. As the Bible says in John 14:6 – “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” It was so clear to me now. Since that day Jesus has led me to a wonderful church where the teachings are based purely on Scripture, where the love flows unconditionally, where anyone and everyone will gladly pray for one another, where forgiveness and mercy are abundant. I’ve come to understand Grace, a word not found in the New World’s Translation because it has been replaced with “undeserved kindness”. I know now that the Lord shows me more than just undeserved kindness. He is Love, and I feel loved by Him and by His Followers around me. He has also led me to several ex-Jehovah’s Witness ministries which have blessed me and have also allowed me to bless others who are seeking the true Jesus. My life is no longer empty, and my future is the brightest it has ever been. I thank the Lord everyday for taking me out of the darkness and bringing me into His Light.


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