Welcome to Apologists for Christ
My Story:Escaping the WT

Home | Debates | Classic Quotes | Rodney's Reflections | Controversial Issues | Cults | insights | Movie and Game Reviews | Music Reviews | Articles | Why Greasy Theologian? | Links | Yo Nick!

By Catiquity

My Story:
I was born in 1968 and was raised a 3rd generation Jehovah's Witness, as was
my husband. Until 2002, our children were 4th generation Witnesses on both
sides. My husband, children (only one is baptized) and I all quit attending
meetings and going in the field ministry in November of last year. This is
my story:

When I was 16, I decided I no longer wanted to be one of Jehovah's
Witnesses. My parents had always been "weak" in "the Truth". I saw so much
hypocrisy and fear among the Witnesses. I did not see these problems
existing among the "worldly" people I knew. I was having doubts about the
existence of God, the Bible as His inspired written word, and many other
issues. I could not date anyone at school, could not be involved in any
school activities, could not participate in any holiday celebrations, was
not encouraged or allowed to go to college.so much more. I was sacrificing
so much of my life, and for what? My parents saw the direction I was heading
and contacted an elder at our local Kingdom Hall. He arranged for his wife
to begin studying with me.

I hated the study so much at first, but the further we got into the book
entitled "You Can Live Forever In Paradise On Earth," the more I began to
enjoy it. I have always been a history buff and I remember that it was when
we got to chapter 5, "Is the Bible Really From God?", that I began to feel
that maybe there was a God and that the Bible really was His written word.
It was chapter 16 that convinced me that Jehovah's Witnesses had "The
Truth!", "God's Government Begins Its Rule." That chapter tells about how
God's earthly kingdom fell in 607 B.C.E. and that we can use the Bible to
pinpoint that Jesus began to rule in heaven over Jehovah's new government in
1914. I was amazed in particularly at the interpretation of "seven times."
By the time chapter 18 drove home the point that the generation that was
living in 1914 would by no means pass away until Armageddon arrived, I knew
I had to stick with "Jehovah's earthly organization" in order to survive
into His promised new world. I decided to dedicate my life to Jehovah by
water baptism.

At this time, I was writing a wonderful brother from another congregation.
He had grown up a Jehovah's Witness like me. His father had been the
Presiding Overseer for his congregation since he was small and his mother
had pioneered since he was 3. I was so infatuated with his wonderful
qualities and was especially happy to know that he wanted to have a family
and serve Jehovah. We went out on our first real date the day of my baptism
in 1985 and were engaged the next month.

After marrying in 1986 and moving to my new congregation, many things
happened to shake my faith. The problems that existed in the new
congregation were far worse than any I'd ever experienced before. If I
thought there was lack of love and hypocrisy elsewhere, wow. It existed
deeply there. It bothered my conscience terribly and I became very
depressed. A long-standing elder was disfellowshipped for molesting his
children while they grew up. There was bickering over positions and
appointments. On one occasion, an older brother who was a Ministerial
Servant went storming out during the middle of the Announcements, slamming
the door behind him, when a brother in my husband's family was appointed as
an Elder and he wasn't. For a period of 16 years while attending there, I
witnessed disgusting situations among the brothers and sisters in the
congregation and very much so among the Elders, Ministerial Servants and
Pioneers: sexual molestations, homosexuality, drunkenness, alcoholism, drug
abuse and addiction, arrests, jail terms, prison terms, premarital sex,
extra-marital affairs, babies born out of wedlock, divorces, and so much
more, it would spin your head. What is bad was that these things were not
occasional occurrences, but they were continual. I felt as if I was in the
midst of the very Sodom and Gomorrah described in the Bible that we would
gasp over and shake our heads in condemnation about when we studied them!
What was really awful is the constant divisions, cliques, and bickering.
Absolutely no love or brotherly affection, yet we were being told weekly of
the love that exists among Jehovah's Witnesses and is lacking in the "world"
and among "Christendom".

While I was trying to adjust to all of this, I was also trying to adjust to
being newly married. In our first year of marriage, we lost our first baby.
The following year, we had our first beautiful daughter. During the
pregnancies, I was dealing with other major issues among my family; all
Jehovah's Witnesses. I'd grown up with a tremendous amount of abuse which
continued after I left home. Sadly, while I was pregnant with my daughter,
one of my family members had an extramarital affair. This person was not
disfellowshipped, as they should have been. Everything was quietly swept
under the rug. I was told by my family, the elder in my old congregation, as
well as his wife (the one who studied with me) not to make a sound.

I wanted desperately to leave the Witnesses again. All I saw before me was
nothing like what the Bible said Jehovah's TRUE congregation would be like.
My husband kept lovingly trying to convince me that it was the imperfections of
men that left me feeling that way, and not a lack of having Jehovah's
precious truths. I swore to him then that I would try hard to overlook the
problems that existed, but the very day the Witnesses changed the
information on their interpretation of "this generation will by no means
pass away until all these things occur", I was done. I told him that if they
did that, they would just be trying to buy more time because they saw the
end was not coming.

The problems among my Witness family and among the congregation continued
growing worse. I was often left asking Jehovah, "Where is the love you
promised?!" (The identifying mark of true Christians!) I tried hard to
continue to plug along. I had two more children in 5 years. I became
clinically depressed, developed a severe panic disorder, and was eventually
diagnosed with agoraphobia. Besides these problems, I was also diagnosed
with numerous health problems. Meeting attendance and the door to door field
ministry, which your zeal and spiritual strength are measured by, were very
difficult for me. No matter how much I would bury myself in Bible reading,
study, prayer and service, the doubts about the Organization continued.

As a deep studier and researcher, I kept finding so many inconsistencies in
what we were being taught as Jehovah's Witnesses. I would share my findings
with my husband, but he says now that he was so afraid of displeasing his
family, who were such pillars in the Organization, that he couldn't dwell on
those doubts. He was having them all on his own accord and it was easier
just not to talk about them with me when I presented mine to him. I began
having a horrible time going in the field ministry. Why would I want to try
to get people to come to the Kingdom Hall, especially since I should be
telling them it is a place of love and refreshment, when it was actually my
hell on earth?

Then, it happened. The "new light" surfaced. We weren't understanding the
word "generation" correctly. I was going through a hard time when the new
information was brought out. I was not reading and studying and I had missed
the meeting when the information was covered. My husband was at that meeting
and was afraid to come home to share the news with me. He knew what it
meant. It was actually weeks later during a long drive that he finally
talked with me about it. He had been talked with his dad in the meantime
because he had learned that an elder our age in the congregation was also
struggling to accept the change. It was a belief that had shaped our entire
belief system growing up! It helped my husband to know it wasn't only me
that struggled with it, but also an elder as well.

Well, as my husband knew, I was done. I no longer believed what the
Witnesses taught regarding them being the only ones with Jehovah's
direction.the only ones promised salvation. The Witnesses didn't have "The
Truth." I knew it clear to my very bone. Yes, Jehovah's Witnesses do have
many good teachings, principles, etc...but so do many other religions. After
much prayer and discussion, my husband and I came to an agreement. He could
not give up what he was raised with and begged me not to plant doubts in our
children. He felt toward the Society as did Simon Peter felt toward Jesus
when he said, "You have sayings of everlasting life; and we have believed
and come to know that you are the Holy One of God...whom shall we go away
to?" I sympathized with him and said I would serve alongside him the best I
could and would raise our children as Jehovah's Witnesses because we didn't
know any other way. That began another new hell on earth for me. No one
should ever have to live a lie like that.

My husband buried himself in the congregation. He was a Bookstudy Conductor,
conducted the 2nd School, traveled to give talks on Sunday, made the talk
schedules, handled the stage and sound coordination, gave at least one or
two talks every Thursday night, read the Watchtower regularly during the
Study on Sunday, and was chairman. Add to that his personal study,
preparation, field service, and so much more. He felt if he did all this and
blocked out the things that were pulling at his conscience, he could
continue and not cause heartache for anyone outside of our household. As he
gained more responsibility and became more aware of the problems that
existed in the congregation and among the brothers, the more difficult it
became for him. He began to share his frustrations with me. I had to block
out the people and focus on the Scriptural information at the meetings, when
I could muster up the energy to go. But even then, I kept having all the
inconsistencies in the teachings come up. I was going crazy! I had no
friends and my husband was so busy with congregation matters. I stayed home
alone almost 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year with our four
children. (Our fourth was born in 1999.)

Last spring (2002) my husband finally said we had to move. He could not see
ourselves continuing like we were. I agreed wholeheartedly! Our children
were suffering, we were suffering, and it just had to end. There was no
finding happiness where we were. That is when we put everything in motion to
move out of state. We were blessed very quickly for our efforts. We had
always dreamed of living in the mountains and thought the mountains of
Tennessee/North Carolina were a paradise after visiting numerous times. My
husband was hired on his second phone call and was offered a job about
double his income. We truly felt Jehovah's direction and blessing! Our
agreement with one another was to try hard to start over in our new home. To
put all our doubts aside and give The Truth our best shot. We promised one
another (and Jehovah) to immerse ourselves in study, prayer, meetings,
service, making new friends in the congregation, and we did just that. We
jumped in feet first and started doing everything we were "supposed to do"
the very week we moved.

We have to admit that most of the Jehovah's Witnesses here in our new
congregation were very nice. They have been truly concerned about us since
we began missing the meetings and have called, stopped by, written us. The
congregation here is not what caused us to begin our independent, personal
research. It's the doubts that refused to be silenced. They continued to
pull at our consciences and would not stop until given our full attention.
We began to doing some very deep research regarding the Society's history,
the development of the Jehovah's Witness beliefs, etc. during the fall of
2003. We found things we never realized and, had we known them years ago, we
would have not continued on the path we were on before now.

We now realize that Jehovah's Witnesses are an off-shoot of the Adventist
religion with about 12 different sects stemming from Russell today,
including (besides the JW's) the original Bible Students who are still
active. There are still brothers leaving to this day and forming new sects,
just like other religions. (We were told that is a sign that other religions
belong to Satan's world!)

One of the things we learned that made us stop and say "Hmmm" was the
teaching that there would be a resurrection of ancient prophets to the earth
in 1925 and that the Society built two mansions in California to house them
in (Beth Sarim & Beth Shan). It was such a huge deal to the brothers and
sisters at that time. They were looking so forward to welcoming back those
earthly princes. At the convention where the name "Jehovah's Witnesses" was
adopted, there was a handout giving all the details of Beth Sarim. It was
the talk of the convention. Why did we never hear about that piece of
history, especially since we sure heard about the part of the convention
that the new name was adopted regularly?! My husband felt very silly because
he was always so out-spoken against other religions who claimed such crazy
things (Mormons in particular).

We have also learned that there have been so many teachings that go back and
forth from new light, to old light, to new light again. Many issues, such as
organ transplants, blood transfusions, etc, have been a matter of life and
death. If someone followed the information one year and died, the new info
the next year could have saved their life. We know God would not do that. He
is capable of giving His Truths and not leading His people on a wild goose
chase. He lets His yes mean yes, His no mean no. Why would God allow his
chosen servants to publish information that needs to be revised each year?

We also went back to see the history of the teachings regarding the end of
this system of things. It has been dated and promised again and again many
times over with nothing happening. Once, 75% left the Organization, and
another time 25% left.

After our research in the publications, we began to turn to news sources. In
some countries, brothers are losing their lives because they are not voting,
but then in another country the brothers are advocating bribing officials to
gain voting cards that makes them look like they voted even though they
didn't. We learned from the publications that now, even here in the U.S.,
voting is considered a conscience matter. This is new light that could have
saved many from serving long, hard jail terms and even others from losing
their lives.

One of the things that shocked us most was when we learned the Society had
recently joined as a member of the United Nations. The very earthly
organization we have been taught has dealings with the Wild Beast. What was
so interesting to us as well, is that there are many brothers leaving over
this issue, including many that are in the higher-ranks at Bethel. If they
are seeing these inconsistencies, then doesn't that tell us something? (And
if anyone has been that the Society joined so that they could use the
library, contact the United Nations and ask them if you have to be a member
in order to use it.)

Another issue that is saturating the news is the cover-up of
molestation...very similar to what the Catholic church has been facing. The
Jehovah's Witnesses have been so critical of the Catholic church, but
actually what has gone on in their own congregations is not any different.
Because these molesters have not been reported to the proper officials, many
children have continued or have become their victims. Members of
congregations are left unaware that molesters are in their midst, even
leaving their children in vehicles with them while they go to doors on calls
and Bible studies! This very thing has happened in the congregation we were
attending before we moved!!!

I could go on and on. There are just so many things and I can't begin to
scratch the surface considering all the research we have put in. We were
reading the minute we had a spare moment, and some nights we dug until the
next morning! We dug and dug down to the very letter everything we possibly
could. Neither my husband nor I had ever gone back and put it all together
like this. The very things we had been critical of other religions about
(Catholics, Mormons, etc.), we are finding the same issues exist in the very
religion we had been involved with!

We were left for awhile feeling betrayed, deceived, saddened, sickened,
shocked, angry, desperate. We will likely lose all of our loved ones over
leaving, but we can no longer be a part of this! We are leaving everyone we
have ever known (because of the seperation from the "world") behind us to
continue to exist in a cult.one that they would actually die for. What
scares us most of all is that we almost raised our children in it. We are
just so thankful that we have seen it for what it is and that we are making
our escape from it.

Our oldest child is baptized. We have always given her what we thought were
scriptural, Bible truths that were given to us from "Jehovah's earthly
organization." She made her decision to become a baptized Witness based on
what we, and they, had taught her. We feel it crucial to share with our
children everything we are now learning. Showing them and backing things up
with the Organization's literature, the news articles, etc. (Everything
we've read, including quotes, we always turn to the Watchtower CD and our
library to check and recheck to make sure everything is accurate. We have
not found one inconsistency in all our research!) Based on everything we
have shared with them, they see it just as their Daddy and I do. They KNOW
we are not leaving the Jehovah's Witnesses because we desire things of the
world, to be wicked people, etc. They know their Daddy and I have a deep
love for truth and righteousness. They hug us everyday and exclaim that they
are so happy we have researched and learned what we have. They feel just as
deceived as we do.

One of the things that disgusted my husband and I so badly through the years
was the talk that goes on among the JW family regarding other family members
that have left the
"Truth." The behavior of certain JW's at a recent funeral toward ex-JW
family members was repulsive and we were ashamed. What should have been a
time to remember our deceased family member with happy thoughts turned into
a time to be gabbing about "the apostates" and what audacity they had to do
this or that. Also, who of the JW family members hugged the disfellowshipped
family member and who didn't. Disgusting! We have contacted my ex-JW family
members and apologized for seeming to be a part of all of that. We now have
peace of mind and a clean conscience. We have found out that my ex-JW family
members have actually been assisting many to leave the Organization over the
years. We had no contact with them during our research period and before we
made the decision we have come to make. A family member, when suspicioning
that we were in contact with the ex-JW's, stated in an email to me, "All the
things that they have to offer are negative and they are not designed to
build up." Yet, we have not experienced that at all among them.only among
the JW family members!!! We have been embraced with love and forgiveness and
for that we are thankful.

We also have looked up the true definition of what an apostate is since it
is used to label anyone who leaves the Jehovah's Witness Organization. An
apostate is someone who abandons GOD. We have not abandoned our loving
heavenly Father. If anything, we are finally trying to develop a REAL
relationship with HIM based on our hearts without having to have someone
else develop that for us based on their ideals/interpretations. The peace
and liberation is one of the most amazing things we've ever experienced.

My parents kept pressuring us for an explanation as to why we quit attending
meetings so I emailed them to explain why and how I've come to where I am
today. I wrote them that the email and the information it contained was
private and that if they would abide by what the Organization has taught
them, it has been brought out many times that the sharing and forwarding of
emails and personal letters is not acceptable (another problem that exists
in the Organization). They had asked for my explanations and if anyone else
wanted to ask US, WE would provide it for them. Well, my parents went
spreading what I said to my Witness family and have told them that my
husband and I have disassociated ourselves! That lie continued to spread
through the brothers and sisters in various states here in the U.S. and even
to other countries. We were so angry and hurt knowing that these people
could go running around spreading things, including lies, and still be
labeled as good-standing Christian-Witnesses of Jehovah, bound for
everlasting life and that we will be the ones labeled with "apostate,
disassociated, shunned".doomed for everlasting destruction. Isn't that
amazing?! We are just thankful we don't have to be a part of that hate and
control any longer!

Our leaving the Jehovah's Witnesses certainly was not been an easy decision
to come to, nor will it be an easy one to live with. We aren't foolish
enough to believe that we will just live now without any consequence
regarding our stand. It will be painful at times, even though we will have
the peace of knowing what we did was right and good. It certainly wouldn't
be easy to live a life we felt was wrong either, and continuing as a Witness
would be doing just that. We hate the idea that eventually we made be
shunned...but we are doing this for US and our children. We cannot base our
decisions on what makes other people happy or secure, no matter how much
they want us to. We are keeping in mind these two very crucial scriptures
every single day to give us confidence that what we are doing is perfect in
God's eyes: Deut. 13:1-4 and Deut. 18:20-22. I encourage all Jehovah's
Witnesses to read them carefully and give them some heartfelt thought.

Thank you for reading