OVER 1,000 DAYS have passed since I started JWStruggle. It was not for publicity or accolades. It was not even for the noble intent of blowing the whistle on Watchtower Corp and letting sincere Jehovah’s Witnesses worship God free from the crushing rules of the governing body pharisees. These men have wielded the elders like a dull axe in the local congregations, bludgeoning so many “little sheep” with WT policy and rules.
No, it was for therapeutic reasons of my own that I began to write a blog. I had almost no one to talk to.
To date, the videos covering my judicial tribunal before three elders have been viewed over 60,000 times. The amount of minutes viewed is over 600,000 minutes, which is more than 10,000 hours of watch time. A huge number of comments have been received via YouTube commnents, email, and other methods. These have been overwhelmingly positive and continue to trickle in nearly every day. However the Watchtower defenders or “JW apologists” commenting on my YouTube channel are on the rise. They are doing this in direct disobedience to their Governing Body leaders. (See The Watchtower of July 15, 2011 page 16) This is actually quite encouraging to me, as it shows that people are thinking for themselves more and more, even if they are operating from a position of ignorance on some points.
Some of these rogue Jehovah’s Witnesses that are trying to defend “The Truth” are sincere. Unfortunately many of them are also bullheaded and arrogant in the way that they try and make their case.
I am writing this article in hopes to help you approach your friends and family with The Truth About The Truth (TTATT). The perspective I’m approaching from is how we can read their non-verbal cues to help us to wake them up. Also if you are still attending meetings or having contact with Jehovah’s Witnesses, how can you avoid telling them too much if you are being questioned and/or how to read their non-verbal communication to know when to stop talking and “back off?”
Many of you have read that the Watchtower Society and its writers have taken quotes out of context, or even completely misquoted an expert or a book altogether to justify their policies or doctrines. This article illustrates a similar example that goes back over 40 years…and still has not been “fixed” by Watchtower. In fact […]
Londo recently wrote an article entitled “Apostate Boogeymen” and it was well received by many. A friend of Londo’s liked the article on his Facebook, which prompted a lady we will call Gina to comment negatively about the article. She stated in so many words that we should all just leave the Witnesses alone and go on with our life. (Which of course is precisely what we are trying to do!) Positivity will triumph just as light always prevails over darkness, so we do not need to be stuck in the negative, and we are trying to shed the many years or even a lifetime of bigotry and judgementalism towards others that believe differently than us. That’s why we are here, posting our articles and comments so that we can “figure it all out”.
Anyway, her response made me wonder what was going through her mind, especially after finding out that Gina herself was DFed some 5 years previously. She was OUT of the Watchtower organization and no longer one of Jehovah’s Witnesses! So why the negative comment? I decided to message her, and here is the exchange:
A poster on JWnet made a very thought provoking post and I took his excellent idea and made an informational graphic to illustrate his point. It is heartbreaking that these few men of the governing body of Jehovah’s Witnesses have so much power and yet use so little of it for true good. Some have postulated that Brother Herd (a current member) is in favor of removing the blood ban but does not have the required 2/3 majority vote to affect change in JW policy. Whether this is true or not we do not know, nor probably ever will. In the meantime, each year an untold number of brothers and sisters die for refusing the medical use of blood.
What we do know is that silence and the failure to act when people are dying and being harmed all around you is immoral to most people of conscience. One current governing body member used to be what I would consider a friend of mine, and taught my pioneer school many years ago. But how could I call him friend today while the brothers and sisters in the Kingdom Halls are leaving by the tens of thousands? How could I call him friend when he has the power to stop the shunning of millions of people? Or at the very least recuse himself from further participation in something that is “crooked and cannot be made straight”. (Ecclesiastes 1:15)
Apostates are a figment of the JW imagination. Not necessarily the dictionary definition of the word apostate, which simply means a person who leaves their religion–for by that definition everyone who leaves any religion to become a JW is an apostate–but the JW conception of the APOSTATE, both as an individual and as a ‘group’ is imaginary. For starters, the Watchtower goes beyond the definition of merely leaving the religion. According to the September 1, 1980 letter to all circuit and district overseers, if a person “persist in believing other doctrine” than what the Organization currently teaches, they are “apostatizing”. The Watchtower meaning of Apostasy therefore includes heresy, dissension of any kind, and is designed in such a way to prevent schism and grassroots reformation.
Taking a page straight from the book 1984, they hold that any dissenting thought is a “thoughtcrime” and paired with the informing system where deviant thoughts are reported to the elders, it makes millions of JWs “thought police”.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are again doing their tract campaign to invite everyone to the “most important day of the year”, the memorial of Christ’s death. They are covering their territories as fast as they possibly can, in an effort to get a flyer into everyone’s door. It has only been in the last 15 years or so that the Watchtower has decided that everyone is invited. Prior to this the friends were instructed to be careful who they invited, and that a Bible student could be invited but you should explain to them first why so few partake of the emblems, etc. The general public was certainly not invited as is the case today. Most Witnesses take this time of year very seriously, and would not think of missing the memorial meeting at any cost other than a hospital visit.
The new March 2013 Awake magazine pages 10-11 (Available online at JW.org the official site of Jehovah’s Witnesses) has an article about a woman that studied and then converted from Judaism to Jehovah’s Witnesses. There are three key points in the article that actually encourage those with discernment to go against the Watchtower ban on books written by those with dissenting views.
I would like to start by introducing myself to the brothers and sisters and friends who visit this blog and thanking many of you who have helped me in my struggle. I go by C M here on the blog they are my biological grand-fathers initials, since it was my step grand-father who claimed to be of the anointed class who introduced my father to “The Truth”. My parents have been Jehovah’s Witnesses for over 30 years my father has served as an elder on many occasions and now he and my mother have been Regular Pioneers for over 15 years. In my years growing up as a JW I saw a lot of hypocrisy and so many things I can sit down and write volumes of the terrible things I have seen growing up as a JW, it was because of these things that I became inactive for quite some time I was a gang member I did drugs, women, etc. But I needed structure so I came back to the place I always believed to be where I belonged and attended the meetings and just helped the brothers in the congregation.
Lately, more and more asleep Jehovah’s Witnesses that are “true believers” are coming to my site and my YouTube channel to defend their Governing Body and their Organization. Should this bother me? Should it bother any of us?
I think it’s great…and also very interesting, because their own leadership has told them that they are NOT to watch or read or comment on anything produced by dissident or former Jehovah’s Witnesses. According to Watchtower dogma, they should not be going to any internet websites except JW.org, the official site for Jehovah’s Witnesses. There they will find thousands of pages of unchallenged rhetoric espoused by their unique channel, called by Witnesses the Governing Body.
I most certainly cannot read your mind, and it’s likely that no one else on earth can either. However, if you happen to be seeking reinstatement into a congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses and are here on JWStruggle reading an article like this, then it becomes quite easy to guess what’s on your mind: You have begun to awaken to the serious problems within the Watchtower Organization and religion, and you are thinking about how to get reinstated so as to again have access to asleep JW family members and friends. We here at the Struggle “get it”, and you are not alone. In fact our good friend Londo (who wrote the article The Myths of Disfellowshipping) successfully gained reinstatement recently for that very reason, and his experience and impressions will be shared in a later portion of the article. To be sure though, the elders that sit in judgement when a person seeks reinstatement can’t read minds either. Nor can they read a person’s heart.
I wanted to share just a fraction of the feedback I have received, as much of it is quite encouraging. The few negative comments have literally constituted less than one percent of what has been said regarding the YouTube videos making up my entire Judicial Trial process and documentation of it.
Recently I spoke at length to an active JW elder who is asleep in the movement. We needed to speak on a business matter, but yet he was the one that began asking me questions about my trial. At one point he said,
“I heard you put your judicial committee meeting all over the internet and lied to the elders- is that true?”
Birthdays have been on my mind a lot lately. Now that we as awake JWs and former JWs know that birthdays aren’t wrong, we can be free to be more “normal” and just enjoy this benign personal holiday for what it is. One great place I found online that demonstrates the extremes the JWs go to regarding birthdays is www.WatchtowerLetters.com. Go there and then click on “More Info”. This site is a great resource! The whole thing started when this JW man James had doubts about a global flood being scientifically possible, and how he wrote the Watchtower Society on this, but ultimately it was the issue of birthdays that got he and his wife cast out.
A new video has been published on YouTube entitled, “Sins of Omission and Taking Responsibility For Our Actions”. I have been thinking lately about the Nazis, and how their principle defense at Nuremberg was to blame Hitler. They claimed that they were just following orders. They had to do what he told them to do, and so tried to shift the blame for the atrocities committed solely onto him.
That court, as well as history and people’s sense of right and wrong ruled against them. You cannot blame someone else for your own actions. Even under duress we have a choice. For those of us that were congregation members, regularly attending the Kingdom Hall and practicing the Jehovah’s Witness religion we can relate to this.
One of the things that I used to read regularly was the Daily Text. That’s what most Witnesses call it in everyday speech, but it’s formally titled, “Examining the Scriptures Daily”. It used to be read before field service meetings, however that is no longer done. When I was little I remember it used to be bound into the back of the Yearbook. At any rate, I read “The Text” regularly, and often looked up the Watchtower article the theme scripture was taken from, and research the verse in other translations and read the context also. This was something my mother inculcated into me at an early age and it seemed like a good thing when I was an active adult member to do. It was a way to daily feed on the Word of God and I used it for that purpose. When I was a Bethelite the family even received it in a “tear-off block”, sort of like a daily calendar that’s gummed on the back, so they could grab the individual sheet without having to tear it out of a booklet and ruin it.
Water baptism is a very important step in a Christian’s life. It is a solemn oath to dedicate yourself to do the will of God and his appointed king, Jesus. For this reason it is taken quite seriously among many people of Christian faith, including Jehovah’s Witnesses. Notice the following quotes from the New World Translation Bible on the importance of this step:
Matt. 28:19, 20: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.”
Acts 2:41: “Those who embraced his word heartily were baptized.”
Acts 8:12: “When they believed Philip, who was declaring the good news of the kingdom of God and of the name of Jesus Christ, they proceeded to be baptized, both men and women.”
Over the last year or so I have had a number of visitors to the site ask me how they can help. Specifically most have asked if they can contribute funds to keep the site going. I have always thanked them and declined the offers because in financial matters I had been doing okay and was able to cover the website expenses myself. Also I feared the perception some could have that JWStruggle had turned into something commercial and I was operating it “just for the money.”
Unfortunately for the first time in years I find myself in a place where I barely have enough to cover my own needs. I received the quarterly bill from my hosting package and web domains recently, which was charged onto my nearly-maxed out credit card. I cringed when I saw the emailed bill. The cost to maintain the site is modest compared to many websites, but never in my life have I worried about bills like this until just now.
My judicial trial is now over. The elders were not arrogant or mean spirited. Mutual respect was shown by all four of us, but these men were compelled to follow the Watchtower policy playbook, and by those standards of men they had no alternative but to disfellowship me. I do not blame them, and harbor no ill will towards them.
After much prayer I felt that I had to let my light shine, and that the Lord was with me, giving me the words that I should say. I was found guilty of “apostasy” as defined by the Watchtower Organization, and they will be announcing that I am no longer one of Jehovah’s Witnesses on Tuesday the 25th of September. I am not devastated, nor downhearted. Quite the contrary, as literally hundreds of people have been expressing their thanks and prayers in my behalf. It is overwhelming and very much a humbling experience for me.
Are you disfellowshipped, dear one? Do you now feel lost, bereft, and directionless? If so, know that when Jesus looks down from heaven, he feels toward you exactly as he felt toward individuals during his earthly ministry. Matthew 9:36 says regarding him: “On seeing the crowds he felt pity for them, because they were skinned and thrown about like sheep without a shepherd.”
By his life course, Christ our Exemplar showed us how to live. (1 Peter 2:21) There is no record of him of shunning anyone. In fact, he did just the opposite, eating with individuals from God’s dedicated nation who had strayed–sometimes severely so–and this is what gave such ones the strength to turn their lives around. (Luke 15:1, 2, NIV). Should we not then imitate our Lord in all things? In carrying forth Paul’s admission in Corinthians not to worship as a group with an unrepentant sinner, could we break God’s instructions to us given through the life course of his Son? Should not the Lord’s example be the overriding factor, especially in regard to repentant wrongdoers?
There are a great number of problems to be found inside most Kingdom Halls:
Gossip, cliques, favoritism, nepotism, good-old-boy networks, hidden sin, arrogance, etc.
Do you agree with this statement? How about this one:
There are a great number of problems to be found inside most Christian churches:
Gossip, cliques, favoritism, nepotism, good-old-boy networks, hidden sin, arrogance, etc.
If they are both true, then what does that mean? If both statements are oversimplifications and exaggerations, then what does that mean?
There isn’t a single person or large organization that can say they don’t have any secrets. Everyone has hidden something about themselves at one point in time or another. But no matter what those things are, our Creator knows about them. And in his great love he has appointed a righteous judge, our Lord Jesus. (Acts 10:42; John 5:22-23) We also know that sins and secrets often have a way of coming to light, whether by accident or divine direction. Jesus himself famously said:
“What I tell YOU in the darkness, say in the light; and what YOU hear whispered, preach from the housetops. And do not become fearful of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. “ (Matthew 10:27, 28, NWT)
Longtime Christian minister Wilbur Lingle wrote an excellent book in 1994, and then updated it in 2004, entitled “Approaching Jehovah’s Witnesses in Love”. This book analysis and review contains some thoughts about what and how Mr. Lingle wrote his book, and the ways it has been encouraging and instructive to me personally as someone who has close friends and family members that are asleep within the Organization.
As most of you know my goal (which is shared by many of us here on the JWS site) is to gain Christian Freedom from what mortal man or a man-made structure think or say. Another goal of mine is to help others among my JW brotherhood (especially friends and family members within the movement) to see that there is more than one rigid way to serve God besides underneath the banner and tutelage of the Watchtower Society. And it is for this reason I feel that the book helps in both ways.
How far does our world-wide brotherhood extend? Is it limited to just ONE Christian group? Is it limited to all EXCEPT a particular group? Can we personally judge a denomination as genuine or not genuine, while accepting the fact that Christ is the judge and individuals from this or that group may be sharers in the “one hope” to which we were were called? (Ephesians 4:4, ESV) I certainly don’t have the answers to these questions. These are complex notions to contemplate and perhaps impossible to answer definitively.
It has been mentioned to me (and I agree) that this place is not necessarily a final destination on our Christian journey as servants of the Father and our King Christ Jesus. But no matter where we go online or in the flesh, we continue to try to upbuild our fellow man, and especially our fellow Christian brothers and sisters. (Galatians 6:10, NIV)
Have you ever been invited to someone’s home for dinner, but not eaten any of the food? Only sat there and watched them eat? What purpose would that serve? That is exactly what the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses do. They invite millions of people around the world to come to the Lords Evening Meal…and […]
My goal with the site these days is for it to be a beacon and an aid to all that have been associated with the Watchtower Organization in one way or another. Some are disgruntled and are struggling to contain their anger, while some are doubting “the truth” and not sure what to do.
“Should I continue to attend the Kingdom Hall or fade out and stop?” wonder others.
Some have been out for many years and are disfellowshipped. One young lady that wrote me (who had never been a one herself) was simply dating a Witness and trying to learn more about his religion and how she should proceed with the relationship. And then others want to move beyond this site, and put the J.W. mindset behind them. If it is positive and healthy for them to do so, then by all means do so!  So our heart goes out to all these groups.
We’ve all heard comments about Jehovah’s Witnesses being “brainwashed”. That always seemed like an outrageous claim to make. And of course there are the comebacks, such one a circuit overseer used to use the comeback, “The world is such a filthy place- maybe our brains needed washing out when we came into the truth!”
The idea of brainwashing goes back many years. Here is a comment about its possible origins:
“During the Korean War, Korean and Chinese captors reportedly brainwashed American POWs held in prison camps. Several prisoners ultimately confessed to waging germ warfare — which they hadn’t — and pledged allegiance to communism by the end of their captivity. At least 21 soldiers refused to come back to the United States when they were set free.”