.:I FEEL LIKE I’M GOING CRAZY! HOW CAN I GET WATCHTOWER THINKING OUT OF MY HEAD?
“I’ve been baptized as a Jehovah’s Witness for 12 years, but I haven’t been to a Kingdom Hall for over 3 years. I just got tired of feeling guilty because I never felt like I measured up to the standards of ‘the truth.’ Now, after seeing all that I have been learning about the politics of the organization, I doubt I’ll ever go back. But I’m not sure how to deprogram my thoughts. I’m overwhelmed and I don’t know what to believe anymore. Deep down inside, I really feel brainwashed that God will surely reject me since I’ve turned away from the organization that is supposed to be His. How do you change that frame of mind? I feel like I’m going crazy! I felt guilty as a Witness and now I feel guilty for not being one. Please give me some advice.”
My name is Chris. I know what it’s like to be where you are. I was a fourth-generation Jehovah’s Witness for 29 years until 1996 when I learned that this religion is not “the truth” and left. I know what it is like to try to get free of their indoctrination. It is one thing to walk out the organization; it is quite another thing to get the organization out of you. Randy Watters of Free Minds ministry once put it this way:
“ ‘Deprogramming’ yourself is a reverse process, one of cleaning up a lot of files in your mind that contain misinformation, either revising them or tossing out the files. It is also a process of re-examining hasty conclusions that were based on the so-called ‘truthful’ information stored in these files…. If you want to be free of the past and the hold the Watchtower has on you, you need to do your research. Study every subject imaginable that they claim as their exclusive ‘truth,’ and you will find it to be either a half-truth or a down-right lie. I am not exaggerating. It will probably make you angry as well, as the Watchtower is well aware, and you thus may become an ‘angry apostate.’ In actuality, you have been victimized by them, much as in the case of a very controlling mother or father. You have a right to be angry, so whether you act on this or not is perfectly normal. I chose to kick myself… for trusting them for so many years. Life goes on. As you may have noticed, I do not carry much animosity against them, but still feel the facts need to be told to warn others.” —Free Minds Journal, Nov/Dec 1997, pp. 3-4
What Randy shared above is so true. In order to become free from Watchtower indoctrination, we must start over from scratch with just our love for God and His Word and re-examine everything we have been taught to determine what is true and what is not.
However, if you worry about many doctrines and beliefs all at once, this can consume all your time and energy and take its toll on your health. When you first start your research, you will likely feel confused about what to believe on many things such as:
- Should I go to church? If so, where?
- What Bible should I to use? What is God’s real name?
- Who should I to pray to? Should I even pray now?
- Can I celebrate holidays, birthdays, etc?
It can be overwhelming. So, our encouragement for those who are just now leaving the Watchtower Society or are, like you, just now beginning to re-examine your Jehovah’s Witness beliefs is to at first:
Don’t Sweat The Heavy Stuff!
This is easier said than done, but you need to take some time to sit back and re-focus. It is important to get yourself on an even-keel both mentally and emotionally first. You need to take some rest and settle yourself after the trauma you may have experienced when you left the organization. You don’t need to have the answers to all of these questions all at once. Remember, it took some time to learn and see everything from the Watchtower point of view, so it will take some time to effectively “de-watchtower” (deprogram) yourself from it.
Right now, you have before you, an invitation to discover who Jesus REALLY is, and to leave the erroneous and disrespectful teachings that the Watchtower Society enforced about Him behind. You may be asking, “Why all this Jesus stuff?” Well, the real truth is that Jesus Himself said at John 14:6:
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” 1.
This is very straightforward. It says that no one anywhere, regardless of who they are, can progress to correct spiritual life with the true God without first coming to Jesus. So, take some time now to discover Who Jesus really is. It will help to begin by reading the book of John in the Bible. This gospel account defines the true nature of Jesus Christ and it will be an eye-opening experience for you.
There will be time later to concern yourself with the idea of a triune nature of God’s existence, so don’t get stumbled over this idea immediately. This applies also to the issue of using God’s name. Remember that even Jesus did not use God’s name when He gave His model prayer, saying “Our Father…” at Matthew 6:9. So, don’t concern yourself right away with these “heavy” topics.
Some continue to use “Jehovah” in prayer, and some simply use “God,” “Father”, or “Lord”. I personally use “LORD”, but again, this is something you can address later on down the road. If you are comfortable with any of these terms, then use them. Eventually, as you pray, (yes, we can pray regardless of what the Watchtower told us when we left), you will be helped to see the true meaning of what Jesus declared when He promised that He would send a helper, that is the Holy Spirit:
“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever — the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” —John 14:16-18
“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” —John 16:13
Jesus does not leave us on our own, and we definitely no longer need to subject ourselves to the Watchtower Society to learn His TRUTH! The Holy Spirit will aid us by teaching us what we must know. So, be content now that you no longer need to comply with the forced adherence to error-filled doctrine in the Watchtower Society.
You were created with the ability to reason and to think on your own, and now you can use these abilities freely. So take advantage of these gifts, take a deep breath and just relax. You can’t unlearn and relearn everything about the real truth in one week, so just start by reading the Word of God in any of one its sixty-six books.
As you read the Bible, keep notebook list of the “trigger” words of Watchtower thinking that blow-up in your face with fears and phobias whenever you hear them. Words like:
Write these words down and whenever you run across anything in your personal Bible reading that talks about these concepts, write these verses down in your notebook and see what the Holy Spirit will reveal to you about them. Get to know Jesus, the REAL Truth (John 8:32, 36), and let His Holy Spirit guide you into all truth. Naturally, no one grasps everything immediately, but overtime, you will learn and see the beauty of His Truth. Remember, should you ask Him, Jesus is there to help. He loves you! Yes, He does! Even though the Watchtower Society said God rejected you when you left.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”—Romans 12:2
The following articles links on our website may also be a help to you:
1. All Scripture quotations are from the New King James Version of the Bible.
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