I was raised in the Methodist Church and loved the Lord. At one point I was even teaching Sunday School. One day I questioned a lesson plan as it didn’t seem to teach what the Bible said. I asked the minister about it and he said that I didn’t have to understand it, just teach it. I realized that I needed to get to know the Bible better, so I quit teaching the class and joined an adult Sunday School class. But even there, I didn’t receive answers to my questions as the class seemed as confused as I was.
Soon after that, the bulletin announced that they were starting a comprehensive Bible study. I eagerly walked the three-mile distance to the church for the class, but arriving a little late, I was surprised to find that there was no one in the classroom. When I inquired at the church office, I was told that only one other lady showed up for the class, so they had decided to cancel it. I was also informed that the Women’s Auxiliary group was making fruitcakes to sell for Christmas and that I could help. So I went over to the kitchen and found what must have been about thirty women there. When they put an apron on me, I got very upset. I hadn’t come to make fruitcakes! I wanted to learn the Bible!! I ran outside and immediately headed home, earnestly asking God for direction to a new church that taught the Bible.
LIFE IN THE WATCHTOWER:
The very next day there was a knock on my door and there stood two smiling ladies from the local Kingdom Hall. They said that they had come to offer me a “free home Bible study”! They even gave me a book entitled, The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life. I was so happy. God had answered my prayers (or so I thought). Finally, I was going to learn the Bible. Well, this meeting started a two-year study with Jehovah’s Witnesses. I knew nothing about them except that they really knew their New World Translation Bible. They taught me things about Jesus that seemed different than what I had learned before, but because I thought God had sent them to me, I trusted them. Using scriptures from their Bible, they answered all of my questions, so I thought I was learning “the truth.” I spent the next 24 years of my life, faithfully trying to please Jehovah and the Watchtower organization with my works, going door to door, attending all the meetings, and raising my two sons “in the truth.”
From Southern California, I moved to rural Montana and continued in the door-to-door ministry of Jehovah’s Witnesses. But I had no joy, and I was starting to burn out. I came to the conclusion that no matter how much I did, it would never be good enough to please the Watchtower organization. At one point, in desperation I cried out to Jehovah and said, “You might as well kill me right now, because I can’t knock on one more door, or sit through one more oppressive book study, parroting the answers….” I felt so lost and defeated. I just couldn’t measure up to the standards setup by the Watchtower Society—God’s “chosen mouthpiece.”
Their control was oppressive to me and I was getting physically ill. I didn’t know what to do. I told a trusted elder of my doubts and fears and asked for help. Boy, did the elders come down on me! I was not allowed to question the organization. No “free thinkers” allowed in this organization! Now, I was REALLY questioning the power and control the Watchtower has over people’s lives.
MY ENCOUNTER WITH THE REAL TRUTH:
On my own, I purchased a New King James Bible with Jesus’ words in red. I asked Jehovah to show me the REAL truth. And did He ever! As I read, Scriptures started to jump off the pages at me, and they were all about Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I couldn’t get enough.
The Holy Spirit himself was teaching me! I underlined these scriptures and wrote them on 3 x 5 inch cards. Finally, I had found the truth after 24 years! But I still had to break free from the mind control of all of those years of indoctrination in the organization. The Lord helped me there as well. He got me a job in an office, working with a wonderful born again Christian in whom I confided my doubts and fears. She prayed with me and encouraged me so much.
Then, unexpectedly that job ended and I found myself working at home sewing. One day, I discovered a Christian radio station called “CSN International” which broadcasts the Bible teaching of Calvary Chapel Pastors all day long. So, while I sewed, I listened and grew spiritually. I was learning the Bible and the Witnesses couldn’t stop me!
One Sunday I cautiously ventured out to the local Calvary Chapel, hoping that none of the Jehovah’s Witnesses saw me enter the church. I liked what I saw and heard. People were praising and worshipping the Lord with smiles on their faces and the Word was being taught. I wanted to experience what they had.
One morning, a pastor on CSN radio asked if anyone would like to invite Jesus to be their Lord and Savior and to have their sins forgiven. I knew that this is what I wanted more than anything, so I prayed and asked Jesus to be my Savior. I felt like a great weight had been lifted off of me. I was finally free, and my heart was filled with love for my Lord! Later in July of 2000, I was baptized, not into a church, organization or religion, but into the real spiritual family of God. Finally, I had the joy in my heart that had been missing for so long.
LIFE AFTER THE WATCHTOWER:
My life with Christ is soaring, but my life with my two sons is not. One son is a Jehovah’s Witness elder and the other is a ministerial servant. They simply don’t understand me becoming a born again believer. I was officially disassociated from the Watchtower organization (which means I am shunned by all Witnesses, including my sons, their families and my three precious grandsons). This is the painful and cruel punishment one receives for leaving this cult. The following statement from the Watchtower magazine pretty much sums up their distain for those who choose to leave when it states:
“Moreover, if a dedicated servant of Jehovah were to entertain such a deceptive teacher in his home, he would become “an accomplice” in the “wicked deeds” of that person. (The New English Bible) Therefore, no loyal modern-day witness of Jehovah would greet a disfellowshipped or disassociated apostate….Surely, there would be grave accountability before God if a believer extended hospitality to an apostate and this resulted in the spiritual death of a fellow worshiper of Jehovah.”—The Watchtower, April 1, 1983, p. 24
It has been five years now since I left the Watchtower organization. Over these years, God has surrounded me with many faithful Christians which include my neighbor who prayed for my salvation for five years, my many new friends at Calvary Chapel where I fellowship on a regular basis and my friend Marci who left the Jehovah’s Witnesses when I did. Together, she and I have endured the refiner’s fire and have continued steadfast in the love of our Redeemer. I am learning to rely completely on my Lord and Savior and to keep my eyes focused on Him. He sustains me and surrounds me with His love. I pray daily for my family and have placed them in God’s hands. As long as I live, I will continue to wait on the Lord all the days of my life. Thank you Lord Jesus!
MY DESIRE TO HELP OTHERS:
My friend Marci and I are currently involved in reaching out to active and former Jehovah’s Witnesses and are encouraging them to seek our Lord for true healing and forgiveness. We earnestly pray for our Jehovah’s Witness families, and we have been supporting each spiritually, for the past 5 years, in order to remain strong to our Lord, no matter what opposition we encounter. We have seen Marci’s sister, Linda, who was disfellowshipped many years ago, come to the Lord Jesus. So, we are fighting the fine fight together!
When I was in the process of breaking free from the grip of the Watchtower, God brought many wonderful Christians into my life who lovingly supported me and helped me keep my focus on Jesus Christ. Now my heart is tender towards others who need the same encouragement. I have lived the experience and have asked the Lord to use me to help others as I was helped. This web-ministry seems to be an answer to that prayer.
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