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


Mrs. R's Testimony
Natalie Matina
Tom Cabeen
Sharon Kennedy
Mark Christie
Laurie's Story
Kim's Testimony
Jean Eason
James Caputo
Don Nelson
Debi Zweifel
Cynthia Hampton
Cal Lehman
Burt Noyes
Brian Cole
Angie Gallagher
Alex Demayo
Ann's Story
They Cost Me My Family

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My Testimony – by Natalie Matina

 Natalie Matina's Testimony

My mother was a devout Catholic and opera singer. My father a high school music teacher. My mother became a Jehovah's Witness when I was a little girl. I only have a couple of memories of going into a church and had no concept of what it is to be anything other than a Jehovah's Witnesses.

My parents were more lenient than most. I was able to remain in class during classmates birthday parties, but did not salute the flag, join Girl Scouts, celebrate holidays such as Christmas, Easter, or Birthdays. Nor would I ever take a blood transfusion, associate with "outside worldly people", enter churches, or believe in doctrines like life in heaven, hell, trinity or even the deity of Christ.

I have one brother that is 4 years younger than I, and his wife and him are involved very deep in this cult, as much of my family is. I never knew anything else. I was a preppy girl in high school and did well. My school friends I distinguished from what I called my "real friends" at the kingdom hall. After all..... the worldly friends were only going to die at Armageddon.

They knew what I was allowed and not allowed to do and respected that. I use to feel guilty for seeing how close I could cross the line in high school. For example, I would go for cheer leading tryouts... but would / could never be one. I remember being so envious when my friends went on to college and knew that it was not acceptable for me to do the same. I so much wanted to be a grade school teacher.

Still..... I believed in my heart I had the true religion. My school vacations, such as Christmas, Easter and summer, were spent in the pioneer service and upon graduation from high school I devoted my time to the full time ministry. I was trained to debate many religions and was taught the bible in a manner to solely convert others to what we called the "truth". I literally was a walking theologian.

Jehovah's Witness girls, at that time especially (early 70's) married very, young. I suppose there was not much else to do. You were not suppose to work full time as that was considered materialistic endeavors and college was pursuing worldly knowledge. So you pioneered full time, married or both. I was engaged at the age of 17 and when I turned 18 the following October I was married. I had three children.....two of them before I was old enough to vote. Yet for the age , I was very mature and hard working. I pioneered with children in tote or used babysitting arrangements held by fellow sisters at the kingdom hall.

I still believed biblically they had the truth.....but truly felt I was being weeded out by God. By 1982 I was disfellowshiped which is what many call shunned. I had no one in the outside world to talk to...... and no one in the world of Jehovah’s Witnesses would even look at me. I mean that literally. My mother and brother have not really talked to me in over 20 years except on what is deemed acceptable occasions like weddings or funerals. The exchange of words is cordial and their demeanor left me feeling unworthy and ravaged with guilt.

I can't find words to explain what it feels like. To know and believe that God detests you, will not hear your prayers and that you WILL die at Armageddon. You are nothing more than the dog that returned to his own vomit. My mother would scream and call me the whore of the devil and I carried a huge amount of guilt for the pain it caused the family. I didn't know how to interact with people in the outside world and could not find my place in life in the outside world.

I lived in limbo away from God for almost 16 years. It was always on the back of my mind, but I knew HE did not want me. How could he? I had left His true organization. All the bible knowledge I had from being a Jehovah's Witness never left me. I had great fear about God. It was a fear I had as one of Jehovah's Witness. He was a God that expected exclusive devotion. Love was not talked about much, nor was salvation through Jesus. Salvation came from adhering to the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses. So I respected God, but did not like HIM.

I will never know why on a spring night in 1996 I laid in bed and got out my New World Translation of the bible. It was all highlighted, footnoted and underlined from my old Jehovah’s Witness ministry days. I began to read it and felt so unworthy. Night after night I would get in bed and pull out my bible and read and cry. I was compelled to do this and didn't know why. I was being driven by something I could not identify. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe in the Holy Spirit as part of the God head so I could not identify what was happening to me. All I knew was, that at all costs, I wanted God in my life again and wanted the real truth. The more I read, the more I could not believe how different the things were I was reading from what I had been taught my whole life as a Jehovah's Witnesses. I use to ask myself..."How can this be? Who am I to question God’s only true organization on earth?

Brainwashing is a very complex thing. While suffering panic attacks from being shunned a consoler told me there was no cure for brainwashing. He described it like the death of a loved one. You never forget, but the pain fades in time. I battled my inner brainwashing and studied everything I could read and get my hands on for over three years. I could not get enough yet could not find the infinite answers I needed.

Then in July 1998 my father passed away from not taking a blood transfusion. That is something commanded by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I felt responsible for his death as he wanted to take the blood transfusion and keep the secret between him and I. Though I had not been a Jehovah's Witness for almost 16 years, I could not tell him to do such a thing. Despite the hurt I had experienced from this organization, I still wanted Jehovah God's approval for myself and those I loved. I didn’t want my father to miss out on the resurrection hope for taking the blood, and I selfishly did not want to break this rule in hopes I still had a chance of surviving Armageddon. He died a day later. I still hold pain in my heart for not telling my father the new things I was learning from reading the bible. I was still under the influence of mind control after all those years. His death deepened my quest for the real truth.

At work I met a co-worker who was a Christian and he invited me to attend a Calvary Chapel church. He had to enticed me with a paid for breakfast if I would go with him. I actually thought I was walking into satan's den!!!! When they raised their hands in praise and worship I felt I was going to faint. I had been taught that such things came from demons. I left feeling guiltier than when I entered, as I liked what I heard and it was about what I had been reading in the bible. I was finally hearing the real truth. Questions were being answered.

Still.... I wanted to belong... desperately to somewhere. Catholics are glad they are Catholic.... Methodists glad they are Methodists......Mormons glad they are Mormon. I could not find where to belong or what to join and was feeling that perhaps I should return to the Jehovah's Witnesses. They would shun me for a period of time and there would be several meetings with their elders. Only when they deemed me repentant could they chose mercy and decide to reinstate me into their organization.

A scripture in Gen 6:6 brought me to know God like I had never known Him before.
It read: (NWT)
"Jehovah felt regrets that he had made men in the earth, and he felt hurt at his heart."
the (NIV) reads:
"The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain."

God had a heart! His heart hurt that the people in Noah's day left Him and did not love Him. It pierced my heart as if a knife cut through me. I was in Fort Myers, Florida when I was shown that scripture. On my return trip home I would not stop reading the bible. Over and over the scripture in Genesis resounded in my mind. I had a huge experience being born again on that airplane. All thanks to God that he reached me after 3 long years. I got it..... finally got it!!!!! I was free from all the brainwashing. My mind was free!! I cried hysterically and told Him how I loved his son Jesus Christ and asked for forgiveness for my sins and for hurting him.

It was so clear to me that I was the one who had left God. I had hurt His feelings just like the people in Noah's day. He had never left me!! I had believed all lies. I finally understood I did not have to belong anywhere. I belonged to HIM. He was my best friend... my Savior .... my King.... My God.

I did not have the answers to biblical doctrine questions all at once. All I knew was that I understood Grace.....and the gift of God. The heavy burden of earning my salvation was removed. I did not have to count my hours a month in the ministry for Him to love me. I did not have to stand on street corners converting people to be saved. I did not have to attend 5 meetings a week at the kingdom hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses to have His love. I did not have to worry if I would be in His kingdom. I now knew I would. I was no longer under condemnation. The Throne of grace was there for me too.
Most of all........I finally LOVED HIM. No more unhealthy fear.....but a respect and TRUE love from my HEART. I finally knew Him, instead of just knowing all about Him. I trusted Him to fill in all the missing pieces I didn't understand.
It was October 27,1999, the day after my birthday, that I became born again and finally knew Christ.

The spirit realm is very real to me. Christ is very real to me. His kingdom is very real to me. I never cease wanting more. Now I go to church several times a week.....because I "want" to, not because it is required of me. Now I preach the truth about Jesus because my heart moves me, rather than needing to fill out a time card. Now it is no longer about me.. but about Christ. I no longer feel I need to earn my salvation.

Ephesians 2:4-8
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith...
and this not from yourselves,
it is a gift of God,
not by works,
so that no one can boast."

Titus 3:5
"he saved us
not because of the righteous things we have done,
but because of his mercy."

Romans 11:6
"And if by grace,
then it is no longer by works;
if it were,
grace would no longer be grace."

Mostly, for the first time, I understand Philippians 4:7
"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts
and your minds in Christ Jesus."

The heavy yoke was lifted and I now enjoy a life of peace in Christ Jesus, The Prince of Peace. My heart's desire since, has been that all, including Jehovah's Witnesses, come to understand the gift of grace through Jesus Christ.
In Christ,
Natalie Matina

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