Good day to everyone. After reading and benefiting from the numerous experiences posted here, I thought it would be proper for me to share my story too.
I was born and brought up as an Anglican Church member. I was never really strong in my Anglican faith, despite my dad being a lay priest. If I had to think why, I would probably say that I wasn’t to convinced at the ritualistic manner of praying out of prayer books and the whole sit stand kneel thing. I hardly attended church.
About three years ago I became involved with Jehovah’s Witnesses. My experience here will differ from most of the experiences recorded on this site. There was no knock at my door. I became involved in a relationship with a JW woman who basically swept me off my feet. Of course as most of you would know, the command to marry only in the Lord is one that you will not easily overcome and so my Bible study commenced.
Immediately I was in awe at what I was learning and even though the picture of Jesus on a stake in the publication gave me an uneasy feeling, the rest was answering all my doubts I ever had about Christian faith. Or so I thought at the time. One thing led to another and within 6 months I was baptised and a month later I was married. Within a month of being married we were expecting our first child. I felt happy and comfortable at the time and was truly at peace with what I was taught and practicing. If only this feeling would last.
After a while I began to notice certain things that were not right. Because my wife’s father was an elder, I would normally receive the latest news on the conduct of members. Even said elder was accused of domestic violence and medication abuse. The depression of the family members also made no sense, because they are supposed to be “the happy people”. I think I would always compare these people with that of my ‘worldly family’ and more often or not it was not the worldly family’s conduct that was bellow bible standards.
At one stage I was researching stuff and made contact with an ‘apostate’ site. I felt it necessary to defend my new faith here, but I only did this for a few weeks before I went on holiday and during the holiday I decided not to return to the site. This however would prove to be detrimental to my witness faith, as one just cannot unlearn the things mentioned there.
Months went by and I progressed well in ‘the truth’. That is until something triggered me to read Raymond Franz’s book: CoC. I lived in denial for a few months later but that could not last. I then did thorough research, something I should’ve done a long time ago. I read COC, Captives of a concept and gentile times reconsidered. I listened to the audio book of Combating cult mind control. I visited sites such as JWN, JWFACTS, JWSTRUGLE and many more. I was now truly one of the biggest apostates at heart.
About 7 months ago my wife became pregnant again and we are expecting a son. Our daughter is now 20 months old. I was considering how long I can live the lie, but unfortunately I am not very good at acting, nor at lying. This weekend my wife confronted me about my changed attitude about ‘the truth’ and then it happened. I became a talking JWFACTS. I did this in a calm manner and tried reasoning and use of questions, as taught in the school. It is here that I appreciated Steve Hassan’s work the most, as her responses such as, “to where will we go”, “but this is God’s organization”, and the usual dribble about apostates all made sense to me.
It took my wife about 24 hours to report me to the elders. It took her another 6 to decide to leave me.
So here I sit. All that truly matters to a man, my family, has been ripped away from me. My sin? To seek the truth and to “ Test everything. Hold on to the good.”(1 Thessalonians 5:21 - NIV)