.:THE TESTIMONY OF DAVID H. – Former Jehovah’s Witness elder who was involved 49 years
Raised as a Jehovah’s Witness in England and spending 49 years as a Watchtower captive, David and his wife Christine left to find true freedom in Christ. Going where the “need was great,” David had served in a number of leadership capacities within the organisation, only to find his efforts rewarded with unjustified shunning and a genuine “lack of love” among the “brothers” and “sisters” of the congregation. Only in a personal relationship with the Jesus did David and his wife find what they had been longing for all their lives.
From that moment on, my dad became a fanatical preacher of the Watchtower message. Before the War, my dad had been a nominal Catholic and my mother an Anglican, so I had been christened in both churches and then baptized as a Jehovah’s Witness when I was only seven years old.
Within six months, my father rose quickly through the ranks and was appointed as a Bible Study Servant (a position that is equal to an elder today). However, he was not happy serving in that capacity and really wanted a fresh challenge. During the mid-1950s, the Watchtower Society published a monthly newsletter called the “Kingdom Ministry.” It contained an article about “moving where the need was great.” So, we moved away and set up a congregation in a rural area.
Selling our large four-bedroom, Victorian house, we ended up living in a 22-foot Caravan (trailer) with no running water, no electricity and no proper sanitation. It was as if he was on a mission to save the world before Armageddon struck. He told us all that we would NEVER DIE and that we would soon be in a wonderful paradise.
After a short time, my father set up a Jehovah’s Witness congregation in Clevedon, Avon (West Country of England) where we spend the majority of our growing years dealing with many problems that accompanied living in that area.
At eighteen, I met my lovely wife Christine at an Assembly held at Wembley, London. After two years, we married and lived in Southampton, southern England. Over the next few years, we had two daughters and I progressed in the Watchtower movement, bringing our girls up in the faith. However, my wife suffered from terrible depression in the mid-1970s, and we realized that there was hardly any love shown to fellow believers who suffered from depression. If a Jehovah’s Witness had an illness, they were told NOT to bring their problems to the Kingdom Hall, as it could weaken others.
Regardless of this, I wanted to make progress in the congregation; I worked hard and was appointed as an Elder in 1975 at age 28. It was a strange year because many were leaving the organisation as the Watchtower’s Armageddon prophecies surrounding the 1975 date had failed to materialize and the end had not arrived. I remember my first Elders’ meeting when I was absolutely shocked to hear “brothers” (whom I respected and looked up to) shouting and shaking fists at one another. When I went home that evening, Christine knew something had shaken me. From then on, we realized that “all was not as it seemed” in the organisation.
I carried on in the capacity of elder for another twelve years, and I saw a lot of nasty things done to “brothers” and “sisters” (fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses) in the congregation — all in the name of keeping the congregation “clean.” During the early 1980s, we got wind of disfellowshippings in Brooklyn Bethel (New York, USA) itself, and I was very interested to find out the “real” reasons why.
I never really felt the same about the organisation after that. When we visited Brooklyn Bethel in June of 1981, we were given such a cold reception that when we got home to England, I wrote a letter to Jack Barr. Jack had just given a talk at Twickenham and brought the so-called “love” of the Bethel Family back with him. I explained in detail about the awful way we were treated and how we were not even given a drink on a boiling hot day. I did not use my position as an Elder to gain any “favours” when visiting Bethel, but I told him that if we had been interested persons visiting Bethel, it could have put us off. Deep down inside, I knew that there was something really wrong with the so-called Faithful and Discreet Slave organisation.
My wife became more and more isolated and did not enjoy attending any of the meetings at all. Yet, she is one of the most spiritual people I have ever met. When I first met her, when we were both Regular Pioneers. She actually told me that she would really love to go and meet Jehovah and Jesus in Heaven. I must admit that at that time, I had thought it was rather strange of her wanting to do that since she was not of the “anointed” class.
Later, we moved up to the northeast of England and served in the Stockton-on-Tee’s Congregation for two years. It was during our time in Stockton that I met a “born-again” Christian in my secular work, and he was very kind and considerate. This man told me about Jesus and that He was our personal Saviour. Then he told me that he belonged to a “House Church” and studied the Bible. Later, I met another two members of their “group” and thought, What wonderful people they are. However, we were locked into the Watchtower organisation, and both of our parents were Jehovah’s Witnesses as well as all of our “friends.” It seemed so odd that Christine totally believed that this organisation was the “truth,” but hated the meetings and doing the door-to-door work. While I did not totally believe it was the “whole truth,” I was diligent and loyal in going to the meetings and doing the preaching work.
After a couple of years, we moved yet again to another northern city called Hull, and we had many problems there because of jealousy and feuding in the congregation. I was appointed as Bible Study Overseer very quickly, and unknown to me at the time, there was a feud going on within the congregation. The organisation encourages competition by making Pioneers and appointed Jehovah’s Witnesses seem superior to the rest. Because I was a Regular Auxiliary Pioneer myself, I ended up siding with the ones I regarded as the “workers.”
But within 18 months, life became intolerable within the Congregation. Resigning as an elder, we decided to move to the Midlands where a Jehovah’s Witness friend of ours lived. During the six months it took us to move, we were virtually “cut off” by many of our so-called “brothers” and “sisters” and treated like lepers. Yet, their treatment of us was unjustified as none of us had been publicly reproved or disassociated.
We moved to Wolverhampton in the Midlands and again started attending the meetings. Both of our parents moved to Wolverhampton as well, so at least we felt that we had some friends around us. My dad was an Elder and still Pioneering with my mom, but my brother had been killed in a car crash and my sister had become mentally ill with schizophrenia. Therefore, we felt we were far from living in a “spiritual paradise,” but were more like living in a “spiritual hell.”
I would often debate with my father about the teachings of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, and had often said that they would someday change their generation of 1914 prophecy for the end of the world and that we would probably ALL die before Armageddon. Sure enough, my dad died with a sudden heart attack in January 1994, and I was left with the care of my mother and sister, who were both disabled. The Congregation was no help at all. During 1995, the Watchtower did indeed change their 1914 understanding (just as I had thought they would), and they changed the sheep and goats understanding as well. This was the change that really got to me! Rutherford had said that the “anointed class” had been fully chosen by the mid-1930s and that their leaders were supposed to be the “little flock.” Yet now, the Watchtower was saying that the sheep and goats HAD NOT BEEN SEPARATED yet. Since the definition of “little flock” is that they are “sheep” and not goats, I began to reason that if none of us were “sheep” yet, how could the “anointed little flock” already be chosen?
Gradually, we got more and more disenchanted with the so-called “truth” and (against organisational policies) in 1999, we even went to Malta on the 31st of December to celebrate the new millennium. In doing that, we felt a fantastic sense of freedom! However, we still could not bring ourselves to leave — even though I had been on the Internet and had read all the “apostate” material I could find about the history of this “cult.”
Christine was the one who defended them vehemently, so I did not want to cause a rift between us. Eventually, my poor sister died at the age of 49 in Sept 2000 and my dear mom died in January 2001. Seeing that all of my family now dead, I recalled how the organisation had taught us that we were supposed to live through Armageddon and never die.
When I learned about the Watchtower’s connection with the United Nations, I just could not believe it and sat Christine in front of the computer to show her the proof of their cover-up. It was around that time that I went to a meeting on my own, and Christine stayed home reading her Bible. There she found a Scripture in Matthew 8:11 where it says that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will be in heaven reclining at the table. We looked up the Society’s explanation and felt utter revulsion for their rhetoric.
During all of this time, I had been praying to “Yahweh,” “Jesus” and the “Universal Consciousness” (whoever he was). I started reading all sorts of material, some Christian, but mostly “spiritual” without being connected with any religious denomination. We even started to think that maybe there is “truth” in most religions and that it does not matter what we believe as long as we give God the Glory.
Finally, we left the Watchtower’s clutches in June of 2001 and were in a spiritual wilderness for around 18 months. We even traveled 20 miles every Sunday to a forest in order to pray amongst the trees in hopes of finding the real truth. In this manner, the forest became our “spiritual home” — until we were guided to the right place. Then, one Sunday morning in November 2002, I decided to go to a non-denominational church I had heard about. A man whom I vaguely knew and who had studied with the Jehovah’s Witnesses for six years also went there. I found out that these people had been praying for me for a long time.
Christine was rushed into the hospital with appendicitis and the whole Church prayed for her. When she came out, she eventually gathered up the courage to go to a “house group” meeting with me. Two weeks later, in November of 2002, I was saved. I accepted the Lord Jesus into my life — even though I still did not understand the “Trinity” or “hell” doctrines. My dear wife Christine also gave her life to the Lord. What drew her was the fact that, at long last, she had found Christians who prayed for each other, cuddled one another and showed “real” love — like Jesus showed. Amazingly, this is exactly what Christine had been praying all along. So, when she met these Christians, she realized that the Lord had guided us to them.
We were both baptised in May 2003. In May 2004, our youngest daughter and her husband followed us in baptism. Thankfully, both of our daughters are now out of the Watchtower cult and glad to be free. Since finding the real Jesus, we have been shown so much “real” Christian love that we are now learning not to be judgmental like the Watchtower teaches.
When we were Jehovah’s Witnesses, we had always struggled with the Watchtower concept that Yahweh was going to kill everyone on this planet if they were not Watchtower adherents. Now we know that the only TRUTH is Jesus (not an organisation). He is the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE and no one comes to the Father except through Him (see John 14:6). There is no other way!
Our mission now is to help many “honest-hearted” sighing and crying Jehovah’s Witnesses and others find the real Jesus Christ and give their lives to Him as their personal Saviour. None of us need an earthly “mediator” such as the “faithful and discreet slave” (organisation). We are ALL faithful and discreet slaves if we acknowledge our King and High Priest (Jesus Christ) as our ONLY TRUE MEDIATOR.
Love in Jesus’ Name,