.:HOW CAN I GET OVER THESE FEELINGS OF GUILT AND FEAR THAT I LEFT THE TRUTH?
“I was raised a Jehovah Witness and left at the age of 18. Ten years has passed and my mind-set has not changed. I have been married to a “worldly person” for five years now. He is a wonderful man, so caring and patient with me. We have been talking about having kids, but I cannot imagine trying to raise children when I cannot figure out what is right and what is wrong—the simple basics. I thought that with time things, would get better, but I still feel “controlled” by the religion. I am not sure how to get past this. I feel like I have this dark shadow over me. Many times I feel like maybe they were right, and that I have strayed and should go back. According to them, my not going back is giving up my chance for living forever in paradise on earth after Armageddon. I feel foolish and guilty for wasting ten years of my life when I could have been helping others learn the “truth”. So, I have this constant battle going on in my head, and I don’t know how much longer I can take it. I desperately want to move on. I crave Sundays without guilt, Christmas and holidays without feeling like I am doing something wrong. Please, please help me!”
RESPONSE FROM ANNE MARIE:
You sound so afraid! I know how scary it feels to think that all “they” taught you is true—that, bottom line, you are going to die by Jehovah’s hand at Armageddon if you don’t “get right with Jehovah” and rush back to the Kingdom Hall and fall down on your knees to the almighty ELDERS and “confess” to them that you are a terrible “sinner,” and that you are SO SORRY for all that you have done, and beg them to “forgive” you. I too lived with this fear when I first left.
Once you have been thoroughly indoctrinated, especially as a young child, the indoctrination runs deep. It does not “go away” just because you have physically left the Watchtower. It stays inside of you, festering, waiting to re traumatize you over and over with more of the doubts and fears and feelings of “guilt” that you were “programmed” to feel if you ever decided to leave.
I have to say it now—though I am sure that you may not believe me—just because you have to know. You are not “wrong.” Though the Watchtower told you that THEY were “The Truth,” they have lied. I do not say this as a “wicked apostate,” as you have also been programmed to think of me, but I say this based upon all of my personal research into the background of the almighty Watchtower Organization, and from reading so very many accounts of former Jehovah’s Witnesses, and from many high-ranking former Jehovah’s Witnesses. I have met former elders and circuit overseers, as well as ex-Bethel workers. But more importantly, I write to you from my own experience.
I, too, went through many years of fear; many years of just trying to “get on with my life,” many years of telling myself that I had “plenty of time to go back, if that’s what I had to do,” though I did not want to ever “go back.”
Okay, just a few thoughts for you, okay?
When Jesus was on the earth, talking to His disciples, He told them (and us) what they (and we) needed to know in order to HAVE (not “hope for”) everlasting life, but to have ALL of our sins forgiven, to be WASHED CLEAN, and to be RIGHT before Jehovah God.
Now, I am not going to go into what Jehovah God’s plan of salvation really is, but I will tell you that the Watchtower never wants YOU to know what it is because if you did know it, the Watchtower Organization would not longer have the incredible hold it has upon you that it does!
Here’s my point. If joining the Watchtower Organization was NECESSARY for us to attain everlasting life, and more importantly, to BE SPARED at Armageddon, don’t you think that Jesus would have mentioned it? But He only said:
“Come to me, all YOU who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh YOU. Take my yoke upon YOU and learn from me, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and YOU will find refreshment for YOUR souls. For my yoke is kindly and my load is light.” —Matthew 11:28-30 **
Jesus not only told us to “COME TO HIM,” He clearly told us:
“If YOU remain in my word, YOU are really my disciples.” —John 8:31
Then, He promised that by doing this:
“YOU will know the truth, and the truth will set YOU free,” and that “if the Son sets YOU free, YOU will be actually free.” —John 8:32, 36
I would like to encourage you to throw your fears upon God, and sit down and read the book of John. Just read it without Watchtower glasses, and you should be able to pick up the real truth as Jesus promised God’s “word is truth” (John 17:17).
All spiritually abusive religions use fear, shame, and guilt to control their members. Add to this their severe rules and restrictions upon information, being told what to believe, what to think, who to associate with, how to live your life, and top all this off with the fear of being “thrown out from before the face of Jehovah” if you don’t remain “in good standing” with the congregation’s elders and you have a powerful mix for control and manipulation! But this is not the worst of it. No! It’s the FEAR OF DYING AT ARMAGEDDON that keeps the rank-and-file Witnesses in line, and why is that so very important to the Watchtower Organization? It’s because, again, if the rank-and-file Jehovah’s Witness ever knew the TRUTH—the TRUTH about “The Truth” —they would lose their power!
Remember Psalms 146:3. It says:
“Do not put your trust in nobles, nor in the son of earthling man to whom no salvation belongs.”
Does this Scripture show that we have to join some man-made organization in order to be right with God? Again, where is that in the Bible? Did Jesus—our Shepherd, our Teacher, our Savior—ever tell His disciples, “Oh, by the way, there’s going to be an organization that’s going to come along in about 2,000 years that you are going to have to join, even though they will cause much pain and heartache, not to mention change their teachings many times over the ensuing years, and that you will be required to follow this organization with blind obedience no matter what, or my Father will DESTOY you”? No, He did not!
In Acts 1:8, Jesus said, “YOU will be witnesses of me …to the most distant parts of the earth.” Followers of Christ were never meant to be called, “Jehovah’s Witnesses.” We are to follow Jesus, because He is our Savior, the One who died to free us from the curse of our sin, to show us the truth, (John 14:6), and to “set us free” (John 8:31-32, 36)!
Please, read for yourself the book of John, and the book of Galatians. You will learn much from God’s Word, instead of living in fear of what the Watchtower Organization ingrained in you to believe. Begin to educate yourself. It will be difficult, but it is your road to freedom!
In warmest Christian love,
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** All Scripture quotations are taken from the New World Translation Bible.
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