THE TESTIMONY OF CARLENE – Former Jehovah’s Witness of 20 years
Growing up in a Christian home, Carlene enjoyed reading the Bible but was spiritually hungry because her questions were not being answered at her home church. When the Jehovah’s Witnesses seemed to have a answer for every question she had, she and her husband were baptized. Serving the Watchtower organization for over 20 years before Christ opened her eyes, she now has a heart to help others on their way out.
I grew up as a Lutheran. I gradually stopped attending church in my teens. I liked reading my bible, but didn’t feel that church services answered my bible questions.
At age 21, I dated my future husband whose mother had just become a Jehovah’s Witness. She gave me the “Live forever” book. I was thrilled when I thought that all my bible questions had been answered in that book. I then started studying with the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
After being married, my husband and I in 1972 were baptized. I wanted to be devoted to doing Jehovah’s preaching work. We eagerly set aside material things and career opportunities to go out in the ministry as much as possible since we needed to warn others that the end was coming soon (1974 or 1975).
My family opposed my religious move greatly, but I was warned ahead of time to not let them make me stumble. I had to cut off all former friendships. I felt that in time, they would learn the “truth” also. So, I was an active Jehovah’s Witness publisher from 1972-1993 and faithfully spent time in the door to door ministry. I was auxiliary pioneering and taking part in the weekly meetings.
During the early 1990’s, I started to feel like I wasn’t helping anyone spiritually. I began to question the Society’s numerous rules and regulations that seemed to be unscriptural, such as writing down the time I spent in ministry (door to door and such). It seemed like the experiences mattered, not the time spent. I also wondered why Jesus was not spoken of much at “meetings.” He seemed to take a secondary place to the Watchtower Society, which claimed to be the “channel” to God. No one dared to disagree with the Watchtower Society. If you didn’t understand a principle, you were told to wait on Jehovah and obey the rule whether right or wrong.
In the early 1990’s, I told my sons that the Jehovah’s Witnesses would have to change their interpretation of the scripture in Matthew 24:34, “This generation will by no means pass away until the end comes.” Sure enough around 1993, the Watchtower Society, in one sweeping moment, changed the meaning of this scripture from a literal generation to an indefinite period of time. That was my last meeting! I realized then that all Scripture interpretation was subject to change at the Watchtower Society’s whim.
For the next 10 years, I didn’t go to the Kingdom Hall or read a bible. I developed an alcohol problem. By God’s grace in 2004, I had to stop drinking due to my health. My son and daughter in law, who are Christians, were sharing Scriptures with me. I was amazed at what the Scriptures said. Eventually, I prayed for guidance and started to read the Bible and ask questions. There were many scriptures I had never read that explained who God is and His purpose for mankind. I was shocked and felt angry that I was deceived for 30 years by this false religion. Family members told me to pray, study, and go online and read other Ex-Jehovah’s Witness testimonies. I was amazed at how many other people had the same story I had.
After praying and studying for months, it was like a light went on. Following Christ became a joy, not a list of rules and regulations. I realized from the Scriptures who the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit really are. Redemption through Christ is the theme of God’s Word and through grace I have been saved. Sharing the gospel with all has now become my mission. I sincerely want to help others who are trying to leave the Jehovah Witness organization and know that I can only do this by relying on the Holy Spirit. Leaving the Jehovah’s Witnesses was truly like chains falling off.
Thankfully and greatly in debt, I have been a Christian now since 2005. I disassociated myself from the Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2008. This has come at a price since my husband and daughter are still a part of the organization. My husband will not discuss the Bible with me and considers me an “apostate.” He has also advised my daughter to limit association with me. It has been heartbreaking to deal with but with Christ all things are possible.
My daily walk with Christ is a joy. I have committed to being a follower of Christ and feel the Holy Spirit is working in me. I pray for guidance to set a good example for my family, study his Word daily, and have devoted myself to helping others learn about Christ. I am relieved that my sins are forgiven and I have hope of living with Christ for eternity. I know that my whole life will be a journey and I look forward to seeing where God leads me. I am thankful every day that God brought me out of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.