Hi, my name is Erik. This is my first posting. I was a witness from the age of 2-18. I was baptized in 1990 as a Jehovah's Witness. In 1992, there were many things going on in my parents' lives and for whatever reason they stopped going to the meetings. Since they stopped going, I stopped going, partly because I was raised in the religion by my parents, and now they were no longer going. Also, I had never experienced the "world" so to speak, no dating, no parties, no football team, etc. We were to be no part of this world.
Now to present day...
Nine years later, I am now engaged. Happy times, right?....WRONG! September 11th came and rocked both my fiance's and my own life as well as the rest of the world. I remember being at work and watching those towers crumble and horrible aftermath that occurred. As I watched, I asked myself..is this Armaggedon or related to it! FEAR. Immediately, I called home and of course, my mom and dad were also scared. They were thinking the same thing. This was a cataylst for my mom and dad going back to the kingdom hall, and me too. I was thinking immediately, this is it! I need to go back to the true religion. Even when I was not going to the meetings, I felt as though they were the one religion that really stuck to the Bible. They are truly no part of this wicked world that Satan is in control of according to the Bible.
Immediately I started trying to preach to my fiance about the witnesses and their beliefs. I wanted to convince her that this was the true religion. Needless to say, this past month has been the most difficult period of my entire life. We were supposed to planning for a joyous wedding. Instead, we are arguing back and forth about religion. I was scared about her's and my eternal salvation. Every day since that day, we have been through every gut-wrenching emotion you can imagine. We were supposed to be married in three months and now have been talking about possible breaking up. I have never been so emotionally, mentally, and physically drained. I cannot eat, sleep, or concentrate on anything but this. The pain is unexplainable.
But, something happened and my fiance asked me to question my religion. And, I agreed. Everyone knows that it is not good for a witness to read apostate literature. They are speaking against God's organization here on earth. Needless to say, my conscience really bothered me and it still does. But, if one does not challenge his beliefs, how can one truly believe? I informed my brother, who is a JW and has never left, of what I was doing. He said, that was fine. He did say not to believe everything I read on the internet. He was right, not everything on the internet is true about the witnesses, this I know. For example, I personally have challenged some of the beliefs, when I was going to the meetings, and I was not treated with any ill will from elders and I was not disfellowshipped. Also, when I stopped going to the meetings, those witnesses that I knew who were still going to the meetings, continued to treat me in a nice manner.
This search of mine led me to some interesting finds. One in particular is the book of Ray Franz, Crisis of Conscience. First of all, I have questions as to whether he was ever really one of the annointed. In it he points out a lot of things that have happened in the religion since its inception in the 1870s by Charles T. Russell. Things such as the prophesying of the end of the system of things in 1914 and 1918, and the coming of the prophets in 1925, and the building of a home in San Diego to house these prophets upon their return. Alright, so I have found some questionable things about the witnesses such as the NGO thing, and some changes as far as blood fractions. The witnesses will tell you that they have made mistakes, but will point to Proverbs 4:18, "but the path of the righteous one is like the bright light that is getting lighter and lighter until the day is firmly established."
For as many questions as I have found about the religion, I still have many thoughts that make me feel as though the Jehovah Witnesses have the right religion. For example, unlike many of Christendom's religions, they do not celebrate Pagan holidays such as Christmas, Halloween, and Easter. They remain no part of Satan's world. This brings me to a quote that I read recently of a post by Leander. He mentioned that he cannot ignore the fact that the organization is growing while others are declining. I have seen that there has not really been a growth. In the time of the end, Satan will be trying harder than ever to pull God's people away. I get worried when I see something like what recently happened on September 11th. I see countries pulling together for a common goal of "peace and security" - reference President Bush's speech following the attacks. Everyone saw what happened to the economy, ie stock market, etc... So, obviously, I see these things and I get scared. I think that I need to go back.
I have talked to many people who have left the religion and started their own websites giving information against the Jehovah Witness religion. And, I have talked to a baptist minister, born-again minister, etc...Someone pointed out that you don’t need an organization, they pointed to Acts 2:38-41 where Peter pointed out that all that is needed is to repent and be baptized I the name of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the free gift of the holy spirit. However, if you keep reading, in verse 44, it says all those who become believers were together in having all things in common. This is unlike most every other religion, where you see today that there are various sects that separate from the core belief of the religion. You do not see this with the witnesses. The Bible also mentions that broad and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, cramped and narrow is the road leading to eternal life and few are the ones finding it. It is difficult to remain the follower of Jehovah, it is a strict religion, perhaps that’s why many leave…
I ask for any replies that can help me. As I am an emotional wreck right now, please help.
1. Why was there a change in definition of “generation”? Is it new light or is it that those who were alive in 1914 are passing away fast, so there is a necessity to change the view?
2. In Revelations, it says that 144,000 are Jewish, Men, perfect, and virgins. Are the apostles included in the 144,000? Who is really part of this number? Because I don’t think all the apostles were jewish, or maybe they were...but they all went to heaven…
3. The issue of the annointed. They know they are going to heaven, no question in their minds, they are Jehovah Witnesses.
4. The witnesses will point out they are no part of this world. You see churches throughout America hanging the flag throughout the churches…are they aligning themselves with the wild beast?
5. Are these times the beginning of a worldwide quest for “peace and security.”
6. Act 2:44 “that those who became believers were together in having all things in common.” I believe there are no changing of beliefs when you go from congregation to congregation within the Jehovah Witnesses vs other religions.
7. 607 B.C.E. vs 586/587 B.C.E.: Bible history vs. secular history? I have received a copy of Gentile Times Reconsidered, but as of yet I have not had time to read it.
8. Watchtower teaching on Revelation’s wild beast. It seems to make sense to me, but are there any other interpretations of what this wild beast stands for?
9. As far as people going to heaven or people being resurrected on paradise earth, some will say that the 144,000 and the Great Crowd both go to heaven. However, Jesus resurrected Lazarus (John 11) back here to Earth. If when you die you go to heaven, why would Jesus resurrect back Lazarus back here on Earth?
10. I have heard some arguments that organization is not necessary to find salvation. But, throughout the Bible, in particular, Acts 2:46, “day after day they were in constant attendance at the temple with one accord”, it seems as though there was an organization among those first century christians.
11. When does a fraction of a fraction of a fraction become blood?
12. Finally, holidays. This is a big question. If Christendom knows that Christmas as well as other holidays are pagan, why are they celebrating them? If there are any other religions other than Jehovah’s Witnesses that are Christian that do not celebrate the pagan holidays, what are they?