During the appeal period of one week we sent the following letter to approximately 22 of our oldest and closest friends. I’m including it here because it conveys how we feel at present, looking back over the half-century of our lives.
This week it will be announced that we are no longer Jehovah’s Witnesses. We owe you, our friends of many years, an explanation.
We love and miss you deeply.
We are not upset over the human imperfections of anyone, being fully aware of our own imperfections. True, we have been hurt on occasion, but who hasn’t. We are not disgruntled or bitter.
Our withdrawal over the past two years is the product of over ten years of legitimate questioning and subsequent research, carried out prayerfully and objectively. We have not rushed to any of our conclusions.
We have not left God, his Son or his Word. Jesus warns, and Paul counsels, that it is our obligation to carefully evaluate religious affiliations and teachings. Thus, we do not believe we are sinning against the Holy Spirit by evaluating the organization and its teachings in the light of the Scriptures and fact. Genuine truth stands up to such scrutiny. The organization does not. Those who have gone before us in making such an evaluation have been slandered and vilified by those loyal to the organization. We expect to be treated no differently. However, we hope that this brief explanation will leave you with some understanding of why, in good conscience, we can no longer support the organization.
We are not driven by pride, as we are admitting the mistake of supporting, out of our own negligence and lack of information, for most of our lives, erroneous teachings, revisionist history, deception and unloving policies.
We are willing to wait on Jehovah, and we continue to do so. However, it is clear to us that waiting on Jehovah is not the same thing as waiting on the organization.
Shun us if you must, but please know that we will never judge you but will always accept you, love you and never forget you.
Frank and Barbara
We received a number of responses to this letter. Most of them were predictable. However, a couple of them were actually kind and non-judgmental.
The social vacuum that was created when we became inactive two years ago has been gradually filled with new friends, those who saw the light before we did, including our children, and our wonderful families. Although the first year was difficult for us, our newfound freedom was certainly worth the pain. Having more time to pursue art, music, travel and study has improved our lives beyond anything we could have imagined “in this old system.”
At this point, we have no desire to affiliate with any religious group.
Among the resources that we found very helpful were Raymond Franz’s two books and the website he contributes to, http://www.commentarypress.com. We also greatly appreciated the concise style of http://www.jwfacts.com and personal experiences and diversity of http://www.freeminds.org.
This board has been a tremendous resource. We are grateful to Simon and so many of the regular contributors. We have enjoyed forging lasting friendships with some of you and hope for the opportunity to meet many more of you.
Frank (fka DNCall)