Why is it that there are so many books written about and by former Jehovah’s Witnesses and their religious practices floating around on the internet? A check on Amazon or any internet search engine will yield literally hundreds of them. I am particularly interested too in why so many former members feel compelled to write about their experiences and ordeal in leaving the Watchtower Organization?
Over the last few years I have accumulated over a dozen different books of this kind, and thoroughly enjoyed every one of them. Here are just some of them:
• Ray Franz, Crisis of Conscience and In Search of Christian Freedom
• Nancy Sage, Going Undercover to Rescue My Daughter from the Cult of Jehovah’s Witnesses
• Ron Frye, My Christian Quest
• Richard Kelly, Growing Up in Mama’s Club and The Ghosts of Mama’s Club
• Brock Talon, Journey To God’s House
• Mark H. Miller, Nazarene Prophecies
• Steve Hassan, Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults, and Beliefs
• Wilbur Lingle, Approaching Jehovah’s Witnesses in Love: How to Witness Effectively Without Arguing
• William J. Schnell , 30 Years a Watchtower Slave: The Confessions of a Converted Jehovah’s Witness
• Don Cameron, Captives of a Concept (Anatomy of an Illusion)
• Edmond C. Gruss, The Four Presidents of the Watch Tower Society
• James Zimmerman, Deliverance at Hand! The Redemption of a Devout Jehovah’s Witness
• Dan Hall, The Armageddon Cult1
A book I’ve recently finished and the second book in my list is, “Going Undercover to Rescue My Daughter from the Cult of Jehovah’s Witnesses”. 2
Mrs. Nancy Sage (the author) was kind enough to send me a copy, and I am very glad that she did. As I began to read I stopped, got out a pad of paper and began to actually jot down notes. I felt compelled to share more about it with you as it is quite a story. Mrs. Sage tells the harrowing account of how she and her family escaped the Witness mindset and cult-culture, and then went back inside ten years later to rescue her adult daughter. Yes you heard that right. She went back in, became a “JW” again, to rescue her beloved child.
The book is written in a very readable and sincere way. The most unique aspect of course is the fact that she got reinstated and spent some two years helping and ultimately saving her daughter Gloria from the cult of Watchtower and her abusive JW elder husband who was also a pedophile. 3
I am hoping to do an interview with Mrs. Sage the author later this month and can’t wait to put it up on the JWStruggle YouTube channel; stay tuned for more on this exciting book and the lady behind it! My summary and notes of the book are below and will hopefully whet your appetite for the whole book:
Notes on Going Undercover to Rescue My Daughter by Nancy J. Sage
Intro and Chapter 1, “A Time for an Awakening”
The whole family was in the WT movement for 40 years, the husband progressed to elder status. In 1983 they realized it was a cult. Comparisons to Jim Jones and the 900 followers that drank the Kool-aid were fresh in her mind. Ultimately the whole family left except her oldest daughter Gloria and her two children.
In 1993 after seeing the Waco tragedy on TV and all the cult followers of David Koresh die a fiery death she determined to go undercover and get her precious daughter back!
Chapter 2, “Cults, their history and destructive power”
Cults defined as any group that believes differently and controls its people. Examples of cult-like groups throughout history are given, up to the 1800s and 1900s, such as Adventists, Mormons, Christian Science, The Millerites, etc.
Brief history of Russell and then Rutherford in the WT movement, then in 1931 her fmily heard Rutherford from a sound car recording. When she was baptized in 1941 it was not so much n all-controlling cult (as today) but more of a family of “Bible Students”.
The JW religion evolved in the 1940s and forward to less of an indidivual’s religion into a “group management” corporate structure.
Chapter 3, “Organizational structure and operations”
Explanation of the organizational structure and methods of control. The congregation’s publisher record card for each member serves as a “passport”, tracking them wherever they go.
When most of her family decided to leave the movement in 1983, their oldest daughter Gloria did not. Also, her younger sibling Tami was a teenager and had many friends in the local congregation and so decided to wait and see and try and shore up her doubts and questions through a Bible study with an elder’s wife.
One day she asked her close Witness friend that if the GB asked her to drink poisoned kool-aid would she do it? Her friend answered that she would, because “The GB is God’s one chosen channel on earth.” Tami resigned shortly after this shocking statement, realizing that what else could these people be but a cult?
Nancy’s mother and daughter faithfully followed WT protocol and shunned them. Since Gloria lived in Tennessee while the rest of them lived in California, no one-to-one communication was even feasible and she almost had a nervous breakdown over the strain of not seeing her daughter and her grandchildren those first few years.
Chapter 4, “Before going undercover”
A bombshell shook the family in 1990. Tami began to remember memories of being molested by Gloria’s husband at around 11 years of age. By the way, this man was serving as a JW elder while these memories surfaced. Nancy planned a trip to Tennessee and shortly before leaving, a police officer contacted her explaining that they were going to inform her daughter Gloria that her husband was facing serious accusations.
A very tense meeting occurred, with the husband refusing to allow Nancy in to see her daughter. She spoke through the door to her briefly but Gloria would only answer in yes or no statements. He called the police and she reluctantly went back to her motel and cried bitterly.
She then went on the OFFENSE! Nancy called the other elders in her pedophile son-in-law-elder’s congregation. They curtly told her, “We will look into it.” She then phoned the local newspaper and a very sympathetic reporter took her story. They later printed a very positive story about the horrible trials that the JW religion had put Nancy and her family through.
Nancy found out later that her oldest granddaughter Gina had run away from home at 15 (likely due to being abused herself) and ended up in foster care. Her pedophile elder father participated in having her DFed from the congregation.
Chapter 5 – “Going Undercover”
Faced with the moral dilemma of having to lie. She ultimately felt justified since many Bible characters lied and had God’s approval in doing so. Rescuing her daughter and granddaughters from this cult and their child molesting father superseded all else.
She boldly marched into the Kingdom Hall right before the meeting was scheduled to begin, not having set foot inside one in over ten years. She met with the elders and explained that she had been influenced to resign by her husband and that she was terribly unhappy living “without Jehovah in my life.” She attended every meeting without missing and after five months was reinstated again as a “(Publisher’s) Card carrying Witness”
Her first call was to her JW daughter Gloria, and they both cried tears of joy and made plans to be reunited. During that phone call Nancy was thinking, This is just the beginning of my journey to rescue you!”
Chapter 6 – “After my reinstatement”
Nancy reunites with her JW mother and oldest daughter in California and the tears flow. She must bide her time until the right moments to share TTATT.
The author comes for a lengthy visit to her daughter Gloria’s home in Georgia, and is now living under the same roof as the pedophile son-in-law-JW-elder. He is quite wary of her presence. She discovers that her granddaughter Gina had been abused by her father for many years and that her mother had gone to the elders to report him. They offered no help since their fellow-elder (who we know had already molested his wife’s sister many years in the past) denied it. They said there was nothing they could do because of the “two-witness rule” policy in place by the Governing Body, and it would have to wait for Jehovah to reveal it in his due time.
When Nancy revealed to Gloria that her sister Tami had also been molested those many years ago she was livid and went straight to the local elders. Again she was turned away because her sister Tami was an “unbeliever” and not to be believed.
Chapter 7 – “Disclosure”
After being gone for a month on a business trip, Nancy returns to live with her JW daughter, who is contemplating leaving her abusive husband, without the permission of her elders.
The molester-husband goes on the attack, smearing Nancy as a trouble maker and saying that she is lying to her daughter, his wife, about him. He brings in other elders to try and intimidate and harass her into leaving but she doesn’t budge. It finally comes to a head and Gloria stands up for herself and in front of a room full of her husband’s JW friends she pounds her fist on the table and tells them that he is a child molester and she is leaving him.
Chapter 8 – “Exposing Falsehood”
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Chapter 9 – “Re-location”
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Chapter 10 – “A Successful Rescue”
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Final notes / impressions
The joy and happiness of being reunited with her daughter and granddaughters is hard to convey in a book, but Mrs. Sage does it with truth and alacrity. The enormous sacrifice and effort of living through this nightmare was finally worth it in the end. An immensely satisfying story that can be read in an evening and will lift your spirits, but for anyone that has endured the clutches of a cult, it will stay with you far after the last page has been turned.
This is a courageous story of how far someone will go to rescue their loved one from the Watchtower Organization cult. A timeless story about the love of a mother that never gave up on her daughter.