I’m recent here and thought I would properly introduce myself. I have posted a few times but mostly I like to read because I gather good insight into reaching the hearts of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Here is a little about me. The short of it is I was born into a large family of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Both my parents are alive but are not attending. My grandparents have died and passed on at death as a Jehovahs Witness. At present my brother and some family that are uncles and cousins are still deeply deceived. Out of all my immediate family only my brother is currently a participant in the cult. I was a member of the Watchtower religion for about 40 years until doubts starting to creep in. Reading the Gospels alone gave me a new understanding and this led to a path into religious studies. After several years I came across the Eastern Orthodox Church and fell in love with it. This is to also say that I came to know Christ also in a more profound way than before. Currently I am studying an Liberty University. My majors are Psychology and a minor in historical Christianity.
My devotion to my church then led me to have an impact on my daughter. When she left home at 19 to move closer to me, she made the decision to leave the Watchtower religion. I also believe that my love of Christ and my dedication to Orthodoxy created a stir in my sister. She was just recently baptised into the Roman Catholic Church this last Holy Saturday before Easter. Both of them were JW born-ins, as they say. Glory be to God and the Holy Spirit for using me to help others.
I have recently told my parents that I’m Orthodox Christian and it went well. They had a few questions. I don’t mean to steer them to my church but only to plant seeds of Christ in them so they may be guided as they see fit. I think anything is practically better than being inactive and just staying home not doing anything. I pray that one day they will understand the deeper things of the Bible and the real Gospel.
Anyway, I don’t take credit for these advances of Christ but only that the Holy Spirit will work through me and change the heart of people blinded by Satan’s Organisation (Watchtower Corporations), which leads me to the present.
I am an American currently living in Melbourne Australia. Yesterday the JW’s were on the sidewalk next to the bus stop. There were three of them and they had a table with books and Bibles on it. A long conversation ensued and I seemed to create quite a stir in them. My questions were thought provoking. Many times they did not have an answer. One woman got nervous and starting feel the pressure of me. Mind you, I remained calm and was not attacking them nor did I lead on that I was a former member. I used non JW code words when talking about the Bible. They seemed inept at getting to any scripture to try and refute me. They were presenting the, “What does the Bible Really Teach” book, and the NWT Bible.
My attack came from the approach of them being a modern day religion and they were no different than the Mormons, Seventh day Adventist, or Church of Scientology.
Here is some questions that stumped them and they could not answer without wiggling into another topic.
“If the year is 1800 where would you go this coming Sunday to worship God?”
“There are 30 000 different Christian denominations and counting. What makes yours the correct one?”
“Everyone has different interpretations of the Bible. What makes yours correct?”
They answered that they take the Bible in context and that they let the Bible speak and interpret itself. I then replied, “If the Bible can interpret itself, why are you printing other books to understand the Bible. All churches should just print Bibles and hand them out. If the Bible interprets itself, why do people misinterpret it?” No answer.
The one lady JW said, “We follow the first century church only”. I replied, “ That is a subjective statement. Every other church says the same thing.” I then added, “ if this is true then your Bible was compiled by heretics that lived after that.” Again no answer.
I then told them about Matthew 16:18 and said I believe the Church did not corrupt itself but throughout the centuries people just decided to believe other things and start another religion over and over.
I then said, “How do you know that your church is not corrupt now?” They snickered but could not answer again.
This went on for about an hour and was a very respectable dialogue. My girlfriend was with me at the time and she placed a small card in front of the one woman that just contained the information to an invite to our church. I could clearly see the woman pushing it back and we took it. Their comfort level was seriously inflicted. It was as if they thought it might be a demonised piece of paper.
They said they would like to talk with me more and I gave them my house address so they could come by. I don’t intend to have them start a study with me but I would like to have another chance to preach to them how wrong they are and how damaging the religion they are in.
Our topics varied greatly from Russell to the Millerites to Mormonism, the Soul, hellfire, and God’s kingdom. As usual they squirmed from topic to topic.
I really nailed the one guy on Eccles. 9: 5 that they use for teaching about the soul. I asked him, while pointing to a building in the distance if he was conscience of what was going on in there. He said, “no”. I then said that is the way the context reads in that verse. The dead are not conscience of anything on earth because they are in Hades (at the time of the writing). He was shocked. He did not have a comeback. And I said they have no reward either, meaning they do not gain no more on earth.
I thought about talking on the subject of mind control. Steve Hassan says talk about another group then relate it to them. For example I could talk about how Scientology is a mind control program and then ask if they know if they are being mind controlled. That might be too direct but I think you get the idea.
Would like to have some questions to ask them. Something subtle and thought provoking so they don’t feel attacked but I want to leave them thinking when it’s over, if you know what I mean. I know they are under mind control so I thought perhaps a few Hassan style approach might work, but anything will give me fuel for thought.
Give me some good questions. They are coming soon I suspect. I’ll post the results in more detail for later if they actually show.
Thanks for your help
I've invited the Witnesses to my house
Reading the Gospels alone gave me a new understanding
I have enjoyed a similar experience since leaving the cult . . . but still remain unaffiliated to any denomination.
I wouldn't worry about them labelling their visits a Bible Study . . . just so long as they don't hijack the visits to get you into a "book"
Steve Hassan says talk about another group then relate it to them.
I would be inclined to follow your original idea of drawing on the features of another cult . . . scientology would serve well as it is well known . . . just highlight those features which are similar to JW's . . . shunning, information control etc., and talk about the implications and how unchristian they appear. Take your time with relating it back to the JW's however . . . they may feel attacked and close off . . . they should be able to see the similarities themselves if you concentrate on them . . . just stay on those key points and ask for thier opinions . . . even be content to let them leave without the comparison being directly made to them . . . it will get them thinking.
If you've made any headway you'll soon tell . . . they probably won't be back. But the seed will be planted . . . only God will make it grow.
Hi maksim, good-luck with you visitors. I would ask them are if they consider themselves a cult or whether the WTBTS practices mind control? If they say no, then ask them how would you know? I would then have a copy of Steve Hassan's book "Combatting Cult Mind Control" and read excerpts to them about Steve Hassan's experience with the Moonies and the section "Four Components of Mind Control" in Chapter 4. They will either run away or start asking questions.
Peace be with you and everyone, who you love,
I would try to get them to understand that they don't believe in the bible, they believe in the society. I think it was steve hassan that said members of bible based cults don't believe in their theology, they believe they are part of a chosen group. But any witness would tell you they believe in the bible.
You could ask something like.
So you believe your religion is the one true religion, and those that aren't part of your religion are part of false religion? (They would have to say yes, all of christendom and babylon the great is false religion)
So you believe that your doctrines are true and those of christendom are false correct? (They may give some squirrely answer, but over all they would have to say yes)
If next months Watchtower changed a doctrine that you believe to be true, would you abandon that doctrine or abandon the Society?
If they abandon doctrine, then they don't believe in the bible. They believe in the watchtower.
If they abandon the society, the they are wicked apostates. Many have abandoned the society of changed doctrine.
It's a logical flow of questions that leaves them in a bind. They have to either abandon scripture and admit that they don't trust the bible, or show a lack of faith in the "Faithful and discreet slave". Cognitive dissonance may set in, but the point will be made.
Beautiful post Maskym!
I am an American currently living in Melbourne Australia. Yesterday the JW’s were on the sidewalk next to the bus stop. There were three of them and they had a table with books and Bibles on it. A long conversation ensued and I seemed to create quite a stir in them.
Is this a new way of preaching? I noticed that over the last few months they have been setting up a literature table on the main street in front of my old kingdom hall in Sydney. They even have a professional footpath banner.
I would ask them are if they consider themselves a cult or whether the WTBTS practices mind control?
No disrespect to ABibleStudent . . . but if you ask the average JW that . . . you will get absolutely nowhere.
Similarly, Any suggestion that they believe in the WT and not the Bible, will be percieved as an attack on thier faith (which it is) and will put up the defenses.
You need to be more subtle than that if you truly wish to get through. You seem to be on the right track in your opening post. Hassans suggestions are valid and worth persuing. But even then, a high degree of discretion and subtlety is needed including a genuine enquiring manner. If this doesn't work, a more full "in the face" approach won't either. Most of the work will be done in their own mind after they leave.
Congratulations on how far you got with them.
I then said, “How do you know that your church is not corrupt now?” They snickered but could not answer again.
They gave you a signal that they were in trouble and wanted another subject. Never give them one. If you have them squirming, you have the right subject. Don't give them an easy way out ......... ever. If you have an audience .... all the better.
Don't try to convert them to beliefs they have been schooled to hate. Take baby steps. Ask them to support faulty beliefs they already hold.
Your parents show by their responses that their hearts are no longer in the organization; although whether they are willing to move their feet completely out of the knigdom hall is another matter! It's marvellous that they can listen to you. I don't think this direct approach will be productive with the more committed JWs, though. But you are genuinely fortunate in that your parents ability to hear you is very promising indeed.
Thanks for the suggestions.
I noticed that they had a professional banner in front as well. The whole thing really looked done up. I wonder also if this is normal here in Australia. I have not seen to much of that back in the United States.
What next....will they set up island booths in the middle of the shopping malls?
I think the Steve Hassan approach is a pretty good route. I just don't have the book.