.: JEAN – Why I left Jehovah’s Witnesses
Visit Jean’s Website: http://www.tutorsforchrist.org/
I was a third generation Jehovah’s Witness. We truly believed we could not earn eternal life unless we attended all of the meetings at the Kingdom Hall, witnessed from house to house, made return visits and started home “Bible” studies (actually, a Jehovah’s Witness book study). Our goal was to convince people we “Jehovah’s Witness” were the only people who had the “Truth” and that they must also become a Jehovah’s Witness to have eternal life. We encouraged them to attend all of the meetings at the Kingdom Hall and as soon as they were ready, we taught them how to go from house to house and leave the Watchtower literature (for a donation) and do the same things we did.
We did not celebrate holidays and birthdays. Every word written by the Watchtower was considered “truth” that must be followed to the letter, whether it’s taking a blood transfusion, voting, participating in war, pledging to the flag or attending a place of worship other than the Kingdom Hall, which was forbidden. To do otherwise was sinning against Jehovah, resulting in the possibility of losing our hope of eternal life.
I was married and had three children before I began to have serious doubts about the Watchtower being God’s only channel of communication to mankind. These doubts began to emerge as the Watchtower printed “new light” (a change in their previous teaching) in their publications. I wondered, “Why did Jehovah change His mind?” I held this thought as a series of events began to take place.
Witnesses are instructed to inform their doctors about their rule of abstaining from blood transfusions. We signed papers relieving the doctors and hospital of all responsibility if our babies were to die from needing blood. I had an Rh factor blood condition and in those days, they transfused the baby at birth in case a problem was to occur. Fortunately, I was spared, but I was ready and willing to let my children die! Why? Because I was convinced that the Watchtower had the “Truth” and that if I did differently, I would lose the hope of eternal life and so would my child.
One of the Watchtower changes in policy led us to believing that if we saw a Jehovah’s Witness sinning and did not report that person, we were guilty of that sin ourselves. So when I discovered that a sister in our congregation took a blood transfusion when she hemorrhaged at childbirth, the options I had were to report her and if I didn’t, I believed the sin fell on me. Both options bothered me! You see, I was uninformed about how to have a relationship with Christ, so I followed these people blindly, trusting them to be telling me God’s will. So, like a good Jehovah’s Witness, I reported this sister and she was forced to appear before a committee of elders. She was put on probation. I praise God she is now out of this religion and knows the Lord! This experience, along with other “new light” changes caused me to start thinking about “where and how” they get their “new light”!
I inherited a Watchtower library from one of my relatives, and began reading the older publications. I learned they had changed their interpretation many times. I took note that the modern literature often quoted from the older publications. Now I was able to pick up the very book they quoted from – and guess what? They often misquoted, took out of context, and misapplied their own writings! After two years of research, I realized I was following an organization led by man’s interpretation of the Bible. I studied my way out!
I stopped attending meetings, and all Jehovah’s Witness activities, but entered a state of spiritual loneliness. Where could I go if all religions are false? Who has “the Truth”? After a great deal of reading books about the different denominations and how they were started, we began attending a Christian Church. We enjoyed being there to a degree but still not knowing for sure if it was of God or of the devil. After all, the churches believe in the concept of the Trinity, hellfire, and a soul leaving the body at death. I didn’t believe any of these doctrines!
While I was trying desperately to sort out doctrines, the Watchtower got “new light” and decided that if any Jehovah’s Witness attended a Christian church, he or she would be disfellowshiped. Not knowing whether we were following Satan or Jesus, we submitted to the elders. When we were called to a Jehovah’s Witness committee meeting, we stopped attending church. We were not ready to be disfellowshipped and cut off from family and friends for something we were not yet sure of. Oh – how I yearned for truth! I continued to read and search.
Fifteen years later, my sister-in-law invited me to a special meeting to hear an out-of-town speaker. I had noticed a change in her life as she was talking about “knowing” Jesus. She was giving up bad habits such as smoking. She was aglow with something. I didn’t know what, but of course it was the Holy Spirit!
The speaker shared the love of Jesus in a way that I’d never heard before. Oh, how I needed this message! When he finished, he asked that we stand, join hands, and sing the Lord’s Prayer. Then, something much unexpected happened to me. Suddenly, I felt God’s liquid love pour over me from the top of my head to the tip of my toes! Without knowing what had happened, I instantly realized I had been searching for “the truth” in all the wrong places. I had been searching for what was the truth instead of Who was the Truth. Only the Holy Spirit can teach this way!
Suddenly, I understood what the song meant, “He was there all the time”! John 14:6 says, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father except by me.” Yes, Jesus is the Truth and “He was there all the Time!” Also, I thought of another song, “He Touched Me.” Oh how I wanted to rejoice but I restrained myself thinking people would notice a strange look on my face! I didn’t know “Who” the Holy Spirit was, but I experienced Him!
When we left, my friend said, “How did you like it?” I just started laughing – I couldn’t retain it in any longer! She said, “Something happened to you, didn’t it?” I replied, “Yes I can’t explain it, but I feel as though I’ve been cleansed inside and out!” I realize now that I was touched by the power of the Holy Spirit. God knew I could never find the Truth by searching through the definitions of words like “soul, hell, and Trinity.” I had my Watchtower blinders on. I couldn’t believe the simple gospel; I had to experience it!
I thought sure my new-found joy would be gone the next morning, but it wasn’t! I woke up anxious to read the Bible and pray! As I read through the book of John, I wondered when the word “Jesus” was added to so many pages – seems like I had never seen that before! On my knees in the privacy of my living room, I asked Jesus to come into my life. I would do anything He asked of me. Well, don’t pray this prayer if you’re not willing, for I had no idea what He had in store!
My husband liked the change in me. Then he was willing to visit prayer meetings, and finally, church. Yes, we were reported by a Jehovah’s Witness when we were seen going into a church. We were visited by two Jehovah’s Witness elders who told us we were being disfellowshipped. Yes! After being out for fifteen years! Since then, this practice has stopped, but the end results are the same – they are still ostracized.
My husband accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. The next year was spent in deprogramming ourselves. We had to learn everything over! Then the Lord put it on my heart to write a book of my testimony. I had no idea why I had kept all my research when I was reading the old Watchtower literature, but now I had it for the book I was destined to write. It is now on line at: http://www.tutorsforchrist.org/.
I was invited to appear on national TV along with three other former Jehovah’s Witnesses. Soon, all of us began receiving a ton of mail! I had not expected to go into ministry any more than I expected to write a book, but here I was living out my promise, “I’ll do anything!” Before I knew it, I was sharing my research and my learned orthodox views with hundreds of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Christians who needed to help loved ones in the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
I became a Christian discipler overnight! My Jehovah’s Witness discipline skills came in handy! I feel so very privileged to lead many Jehovah’s Witnesses to Christ. It was such a joy to explain to them who the true person of Jesus Christ really is! Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Jesus is Michael the archangel – that he was Jehovah’s first heavenly creation. The concept of the Trinity is very offensive to them. Jehovah’s Witnesses make good witnesses for Jesus when they are converted to the real Truth!
As I have co-authored a new book, I’m amazed how God has worked in our lives. My husband, Bill and I have done things we never dreamed would be possible. Betty Stephens, Bill and I went to Ecuador and helped missionary Bill McDonald hold a seminar for the local pastors. While there, I shared my testimony in many churches he had started. Bill McDonald was our first pastor in Lexington prior to going to Ecuador. Through our ministry, Tutors for Christ, we conducted many conferences in and around Lexington helping Christians learn to defend their faith against heresy. I’ve shared my testimony more than a hundred times in many different denominations and conferences.
We’ve attended many “Witnesses Now for Jesus” conferences at Blue Mountain Christian Retreat – a place where former Jehovah’s Witnesses come and enjoy fellowship with others who have found their way out. Blue Mountain has been a place where the presence of the Lord touched our soul. This conference was where we heard the real Truth (Jesus) preached. It was also a place where former Mormons as well as Jehovah’s Witnesses could become deprogrammed, unraveling the “different gospel.” Presently Bill and I are experiencing our golden years. Yes, they are golden in that we’re fortunate to have many good Christian friends in a church well grounded in the Bible. We’re fortunate that our two children are strong Christians as are their spouses. We’re blessed to have six grandchildren who are all born again and living out their faith. Bill and I are truly grateful for how the Lord has shown us the way, the truth, and the life! (John 14:6)
The Lord continues blessing us in ministry. Recently, He led me to write a book, “Bird’s-Eye View of the Bible,” with co-author Orpah Hicks. Many are finding this useful for not only defending one’s faith, but helpful to new Christians learning the fundamentals of the Bible. We were interviewed by Dave Reagan (lamblion.com) airing June 2011 on three national and one international networks. We encourage everyone to search for the “real” Truth as you would silver and gold. He will not disappoint you!