More and more JWs are starting to be faced with a difficult decision. They have found out about or suspect the falsehood of a number of doctrines that the Society claims are “salvation issues”. Some may think “where else would I go?” Really, to gain Christ’s approval there is not a place or an organization or church we need to go to. As Peter said in JN 6:68 “Simon Peter answered him: “Lord, whom (not where) shall we go away to? You have sayings of everlasting life”.
It is not a place or an organization we go to, or an “ark of salvation”. We must turn to our Lord and Savior Jesus. Some on learning this feel the desire to move on. They may form a home church with other sincere Christians. Some perhaps feel more comfortable in a traditional church. Others perhaps decide to stay with the Watchtower organization. Perhaps they want to help loved ones to leave before they themselves leave, or perhaps they believe that they will be better off spiritually if they stay. This is their decision and should not be criticized. Personally, I feel the need to eventually leave so as to continue my spiritual growth which would be difficult in an organization as authoritative as the JW organization. Others may feel differently.
What can we do to strengthen our relationship with God, maintain a clean conscience, and prepare ourselves for other difficulties if we decide to stay, whether it be temporary or permanently? I have a few suggestions.
- Make bible reading a priority. The organization inundates the publishers with so many publications and assignments to prepare for the meetings that often bible reading suffers. Limit your reading of publications so as to have more time to read the bible itself. During family worship night make bible reading the main thing you do. Use different translations. A Greek interlinear is also very handy.
- In field service use literature as less as possible. I believe this is a good suggestion even if you believe most doctrine taught by the JWs. Use the bible more and keep the message simple. Point people to Jesus and not to the organization. If your doctrinal convictions differ widely from the Society’s (as mine do) don’t use the Teach book during bible studies. Use just the bible or avoid bible studies altogether keeping spiritual-minded people as RVs.
- Some no longer report hours spent in the field ministry (Matt. 6:1-4). If you decide to report, I would suggest don’t keep track of hours or return visits during the month, just report a near average (around 10 hrs.) for your cong, varying it enough each month so as to avoid suspicion. Do not pioneer (even when the hour requirement is lowered to 30 hrs). If you desire to increase your field service one month, do so but do not sign up to receive special recognition as a pioneer.
- Examine yourself and start to purge yourself of undesirable and/or unspiritual qualities that are common for witnesses as a result of being in the organization, such as: being judgmental of others or of oneself, unremitting guilt for not doing enough, a possible lack of charity, suspicion of all people that are not JWs, a sectarian spirit, etc.
- If you have privileges of service or responsibilities start preparing reasons so as to step down as soon as possible.
- You probably do not want to be DFed but don’t make avoidance of disfellowshipping a top priority. Instead start strengthening your resolve to overcome opposition from elders or believing family members. Some have used with success calming and stress-reduction techniques.
- Start thinking of how you will react if you are found out and DFed. Will you prepare a letter that explains some of your views and why you are being DFed so that you can distribute it to the friends during the week before you are disfellowshipped? (The organization requires that a full week pass between the decision to disfellowship is made and the announcement is made to the congregation. If you appeal within that week you may have even more time.) If you decide a letter would be the way to go, you may want to start to prepare it today.
- Decide if you are going to try to “awaken” others. If so, who? and how?
- “…prove yourselves cautious as serpents and yet innocent as doves.” (Matt. 10:16)
- Seek encouragement from those who are like-minded. Perhaps on-line.
- And above all, make prayer a priority.
Does anybody else have suggestions?