butterfly leaves cocoonI came across a fascinating (but too short!) biography of a brother who used to post on a well known JW forum. He went far in the organization, reached many goals and milestones, but like many of us, realized that things weren’t lining up with the Scriptures. The apostle Paul had this to say about his journey:

I was making greater progress in Ju′da·ism than many of my own age in my race, as I was far more zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called [me] through his undeserved kindness, thought good 16 to reveal his Son in connection with me, that I might declare the good news about him to the nations, I did not go at once into conference with flesh and blood. 17 Neither did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles previous to me, but I went off into Arabia, and I came back again to Damascus. (Galatians 1:14-17, NWT)

The study Bible notes for verses 13-14 give this comment:

Paul communicated three things to his readers: (1) he had advanced much farther in Judaism than those who had distorted the gospel, (2) he was far more zealous for the Jewish traditions than these false teachers, and (3) ironically, Paul’s zeal and advancement in Judaism led him to persecute the church before his conversion.

So Paul was zealous and excelled in his religion, but was without accurate knowledge, even ignorant to some degree. This was in spite of his obviously being an intelligent person. Then when he was called by Christ, he woke up to his errors, and changed his religion and violent past. He channeled his zeal in a superior way, and was used by Jesus in a wonderful capacity and as an example to us.

How much of this parallels our situation? Perhap more than we realize. A point comes for many of us where we see that there are major problems within the Organization. We may come to realize that “we have been called through undeserved kindness” or by grace, into the light of TTATT.  And so we face a crossroads in our life. Do we fade quickly or very slowly? Do we fade at all? (See the article How Many are/were Elders and Ministerial Servants?) Can we just stay in the Organization, trying to bury our head in the sand and ignore the worship of the Governing Body and the failed prophecies and other glaring problems? Some can, and that is their Christian conscience and I don’t judge that choice.

So back to this brother and his story. He used to post quite a lot on JWnet but doesn’t anymore. This seems to be a natural progression for many that wake up from being asleep inside the Watchtower Organization. It seems many of us go through a “life cycle” so to speak, like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon.  As we awaken from the WT template and way of thinking the realization that there are major problems hurts and bothers our conscience. We see the problems are systemic- they are not limited to just our particular neck of the woods like we used to think. “Oh, the brothers in this hall are imperfect, that’s all it is”, does not explain things away anymore. It doesn’t matter how many congregations you move to, the same situations and problems will probably be found there. A systemic flaw is just that- one that affects the whole system. Once we break free mentally, cognitive dissonance (See the article Is Your Faith Based on Facts or Feelings?) forces us to look for relief from the discomfort. We need to understand and then process what we have seen and been taught, holding it up and examining it using the light of God’s word. (Psalms 119:105)  For many of us that starts with books like Crisis of Conscience by Ray Franz, Combating Cult Mind Control by Steve Hassan, and others. Knowledge is power, and our decison-making  and critical thinking skills may be in a very weakened state. Websites, blogs, and forums on the internet can assist us in processing what has happened to us, and help us to cope. Balance is needed of course, and some sites tear down and do not build us up. (Philippians 4:8) We can then begin finding fellow brothers and sisters that can relate to our struggle and we can befriend. A good subject of prayer is that we can keep intact our faith in God and Christ, and our love for the Bible will abound and grow in light of this dramatic change in our thinking. And so the next stage can then begin:

After a period of time, we reach a place where we do not allow the “experience” to define us anymore. We lose the bitterness, the fear, anxiety, and other associated baggage. We find Christian Freedom and we are the better for it.  (John 8:32) At least that’s the plan anyway- it may take some of us longer than others to get there and to work it all out, but we certainly know that our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus will assist us in our journey along the narrow road that leads to life. (Matthew 7:13, 14)

Below is the brother’s story. We wish him well…wherever he is…

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Joined: [2001] 10 years ago

Post Count: 4540

Year of Birth: unknown

 

Here is my story:

I’m a 39-yr. old black man, I was raised as a jw from about 5- gave up college scholarships to pioneer for months and I went to bethel served there about 7yrs
I truly enjoyed bethel
Got to learn so much about the org
I hooked up with a Former DO while I was there who was my mentor- he works the Service desk now in Patterson
He trained me how to be an Excellent Society Man as he stated:
“Love the bros. and learn Organization Procedures like the back of your hand”
He would say all the time: “You may not be liked by some but you will ALWAYS BE RIGHT”:
Because you can back up everything you say from one of the Society’s publications he would say
When I left bethel as a MS I had a collections of Shepherding Material that I had put together and he had given me that was about as good if not as good as the one the avg. CO has in the field
It consisted of 2 large 3 ring binders with copies of all kinds of KM and wt articles dealing with youth, marriage, jobs – almost everything you could encounter as an elder –I had it at my FINGER Tips-
IT WAS ALL indexed so with the flip of a few pages I could REF at anytime — this was before the Society sent out a “how to Index” sheet
I had it all in this binder: “WHAT THE SOCIETY’S VIEW ON A MATTER WAS”
We used to call that being a “Good Society Man”
I settled in a Congo with 4 former bethelites
I made 5th elder
We ran the Congo like Bethel
Everyone loved it –things were done on time all the time just like we learned at bethel
It was called by some in the circuit as LITTLE BETHEL
We used to have friends from nearby Congo who would come just to see our Service meeting and School
No person was allowed on the platform unless they had rehearsed their part Sunday before an elder- just like they do it at the assemblies
I WAS APPOINTED AT 27 AS AN ELDER—–was on the District program at 29 and started working in the Chairman’s office at 30
I was one of the youngest guys up in the “SKYBOX”
While all the friends sat on hard seats in Richmond and the Capital Center in MD for the convention my wife and I was up in the Skyboxes with AC chilling out
While other friends could not get a cool drink of water at their seats
We had a MS who would run down to the food stands and bring us up our food and drink, which we enjoyed thruout the ENTIRE program
My wife never stood in line to use the bathroom we had one in our skybox
As they say at bethel
I was on the FAST TRACK.
FOR MANY on the net I see their exp. and they felt they were cut short or dealt with unkindly by the elders AND FRIENDS, yes they felt that they got DOGGED, yep THE SHAFT
Or they were just the outcast of their Congo
So when they come to the net they are mad as Hell
That was not the case for me– I was loved and well respected
Almost ALL of our CO’s were former bethelites and they always made sure that any former bethelite got parts on the Circuit and District program
Not much was the result of “God gave him that assignment”
MORE LIKE —“Who you know”
The CO’s just like giving parts to all the former bethelites— as one CO told us
“I know you guys are trained”
So for me I was happy as a lark, fine wife, ok job, well respected elder who was on the fast track
So why in the world would I as one of my bethel buddies put it:
“Bite the hand that feeds you”
Well it all started back in 95 when The Boys in Writing Dropped the Generation doctrine
One night 3 couples all former bethelites we were sitting around talking about it and it’s implications on what we teach
You see bethelites have always to some degree questioned the org more than most Local bro do
Then The Writing Dept dropped the Separating of the sheep and Goats
Then They dropped the “Alternative Service” rule– WHICH USED TO STATE that you could not take any substitute job in place of going to the army – if so you would be DFed)
(I had a very good friend an older Elder when I was in New York who went to Prison for 3yrs instead of working at the hospital due to that rule.
He has had some problems since being in prison, now I have NEVER ASKED HIM AND I NEVER WILL but from everyone I know who should be in the know –
Tells me that this bro was raped repeatedly while he was in prison as a 19 yrs old kid and I will never ask him directly about it.
I stated that to say this:
When they changed the alternative service rule he called me up and he broke down and cried
The Society has tried to present this as “their CONSCIENCES WERE JUST VERY STRICT IS WHY THEY WENT TO PRISON”
WHILE THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS that IS A LIE
As he put it —during the Vietnam War all the young bro were getting draft letters
Him and his mama went to the elders to get advice and they shared with him the Current position in the wt—- where basically it stated if you are Loyal you will not take the alternative job–GO TO JAIL OR BE DFED—POINT BLANK–
So as he put it —IT was not a conscience matter —he thought he was being loyal to god
To this very day he has slowed down and step aside as an elder
He still wants to hold on to WT world, but he is a crushed man
So after the last elders school I told my wife I can’t take it anymore
The school mainly focused on DO MORE DO MORE, BEAT THE FRIENDS, BEAT THE FRIENDS
And judicial matters is mainly what we talked about.
IF YOU COULD SEE the elders flock book and you look up in the back of the index the word “LOVE”
YOU WILL NOT FIND IT THERE
Just think the most important book elder carries and it does not have one subject line on LOVE
Then I bought me a computer and went up on the Net
I felt that if I have the truth it will stand the test
Well after trying to defend the Boys in the Writing Dept
I realized how little I knew about wt history.
So I stop going into chartrooms and forum –I just found sites where there was no commentary just wt history- and READ AND READ AND READ
I ordered Rays’ book and I read both in 10days
Then I cried for 10 more DAYS–smile
ALL THE hopes and dreams I had as a result of the wt begin to crumble right before my eyes
You see I personally know almost every bro Ray mentions in his 2 books
I used to laugh and talk with all of those guys at bethel
I looked up to them as being used by Jah in a mighty way due to the heavy responsibility they had at bethel
We used to call them “Bethel Heavies and we called ourselves BetheLITES”
IT’S AND INSIDE JOKE AT BETHEL, BASED ON WHERE YOU WORK–HOPE YOU GOT IT
cleaning- painting dept , etc = bethelite
Writing dept, Convention office, Executive office = bethel “heavy”
WELL at that point I knew what I had to do – being an elder at the time I knew how the Program works for apostates/anyone questioning the boys in writing.
So I started giving up my assignments one at a time
HVC, Circuit acct overseer, SEC in my hall, STOP Giving public talks outside of my hall and finally I stepped down as an elder
I told the body of elders I was so busy with work that I could not do a good job as an elder and it’s not fair to my bookstudy , Congo etc. for me to continue to serve at this time
The night I turned in my Flockbook was the last time I stepped in a Hall-
And we used to get a lot of phone calls from jw we knew
In fact folks all over the country esp former bethelites called when they heard I stepped aside
Then just recently we built a home in another state and moved
A completely new area and we love it
My wife and I are now back in college and we run an IT biz
So we are busy and we are making all new friends and it’s hard at times my father-in-law has decided to leave as well as my mom is on her way out
My mother in-law refuses to even talk about it, but is starting to warm up a little———-my dad was never a jw
My mom told me that 10 yrs ago she knew something was wrong and she was afraid to say anything to me because I was an elder: a “SOCIETY MAN”
She said I knew you would tell my elders and they would df me
So she never said anything to me or my wife about her views on the org all those yrs
DAMN I could have gotten out sooner
Smile
So I have a very rounded view of the Org and how it operates that the Avg. jw will never see
And how sad
– At this point for us we have decided to take a break from the bible and religion after over 60yrs of wt world arguing with folks over whether Jesus died on a “Telephone Pole or Light Pole”
We feel we need a break
I didn’t mean to ramble on and on
But I felt that sometimes when you put a life exp behind a handle it makes all the difference in the world
For me I had the support of my wife
Due to wt dogma we have no kids
Along with all the former bethelites in my old Congo
3 of them are shooting for the traveling work since they are out of bethel
So I HAVE BEEN THERE– DONE THAT -BOUGHT THE TEE SHIRT SMILE

James

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8 Comments on An interesting biography that shows us what’s ahead

  1. Good post JJ,

    I found the following quote very telling;

    “IF YOU COULD SEE the elders flock book and you look up in the back of the index the word “LOVE”
    YOU WILL NOT FIND IT THERE
    Just think the most important book elder carries and it does not have one subject line on LOVE”

    If the most important book the Elders and others in charge carried were the bible, then things would be so different. God’s word is all about LOVE.

    Dennis

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  2. rus virgil says:

    After reading this story I am a little dissapointed by this man…
    I presumed that all his work and ascension as Jehovah’s servant was because of his love for God
    now, at the end of this story I couldn’t discerne if he
    -remained a Christian (or moved ahead as a Christian)
    -finds God true
    -loves Father and His Son, the King
    -and “seeks first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness…”

    I think a person who’s path (in his life) is as described in Proverbs 4:18 should fit the “criteria” written above.

    I think I understand the reason Jesus warned this way the angel of the Ephesus church – Rev 3 :
    4. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.
    5. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
    6. But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
    ———————

    “the love you (we) have first” is necessary to be manifested after finding TTATT.
    Though, there is one good thing :”You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”

    Here, “the practices of the Nicolaitans” stands for the high hypocrisy practiced by the GB, the “writing comitee” and all persons “in posotions” who “worship the beast” , or have the same “spirit” as the first ones.

    So, to the “hating the practices of the Nicolaitans”, we, Christians ( aware of the TTATT ) have to add “the love we had at first” in order to get into God’s Kingdom !

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    • rus virgil says:

      Here, “the practices of the Nicolaitans” stands for the high hypocrisy practiced by the GB, the “writing comitee” and all persons “in posotions” who “worship the beast”

      I’m sorry for misspellings
      not “in posotions” but “in positions”

        (Quote)

  3. But rus virgil, consider this:

    The whole time the WT Organization is cultivating this man, growing him, training him for service, (remember he was RAISED in the religion), did he mistake their intent, or did he get it right?

    All of the education and training he received was to benefit the WT Organization. I’d say he got the message they were sending.

    If the WT Society did not pass along direction regarding what someone’s true motivations should be, don’t they bear some blame, also?

    A lifetime of religion, and the man was (if you are correct)never taught to love God and seek the Kingdom. To be sure, the WT Organization communicates exactly what is important to it: servitude and obedience. To what end?

    In this man’s defense, his road out did actually begin by scrutinizing doctrine, so at some point, the truthfulness of what he was teaching and believing must’ve been important enough for that.

    One does not exit a life of serving the Organization without some scars, I’d imagine. Those of us raised in it know well that no real relationship with God is endorsed or encouraged or taught. If it happens, it happens in spite of the Org. – not because if it.

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  4. jacqueline says:

    I am speechless. We all have the same awakening/ I hope he reaches back and help others and not miss the call. I have a son just like him, riding that train.
    May God have mercy on him.

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  5. DanielB says:

    Those who congregated themselves against Moses included Korah, Dathan, and Abiram (Numbers 16) . Now , our Savior is Jesus and not Moses . “In turn Jehovah spoke to Moses , saying : ‘Speak to the assembly , saying , “Get away from around the tabernacles of Korah , Dathan , and Abiram ! ” ‘ Numbers 16 : 23 , 24 . NWT

    If the WTS congregates itself against YHWH , what shall we do ?

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  6. francesmartin says:

    just finding your input…on my own struggle to challenging their authority….your experiences are timely and appreciated.

    frances

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