"Information withheld from members."
That was my shocker. Why the secret information and secret procedures? Why withhold information and appeals? Why the entrapments? That got me to distrust. And it it followed from there.
"My first exposer to the TATT was at age 9, in the revelation book, they were boasting about how conventions in the 1920s were the accomplishment of prophecies about the trumpets"
After being forced to "study" the Revelation publication for three boring times, that was getting a bit hard to swallow. You mean all that was written in the Bible had a 20th century fulfillment only in the WT organization?
Like I said, the more they kept drumming that into our collective heads how the WT organization was solely part of the Bible's prophesy that's started to seem funny to me. Why did they have to fight so hard to prove something like that? Maybe because I wasn't alone.
There were always little itty bitty things that added up less and less, but looking back it was realizing that evolution had to be true…
…and eventually figuring out the Truth about the Truth on my own.
I eventually started looking online for confirmation more than anything else.
Thats the funny thing about reading XJW material on the net…
…contrary to what the WTS says, it doesn’t turn you “apostate”.
It just helps you realize you already are one.
I notice that some of you mentioned that reading books by Ray Franz was a major influence. I purchased his Conflict book and read sections of it, but my impression was that much of what he said (such as claims of what took place in governing body meetings) are not claims which I could test. I was impressed by some other statements in his book, but not enough to prevent me from selling the book. What evidence did you folks find in Ray's books that was important to you?
Over time I had some doubts about what was claimed and what went on in practice and then the internet came along ,and I started looking at sites about JW`s ,and the rest is history.
I have learnt more about the religion of the WTB&TS / Jehovah`s Witnesses / IBSA , from sites like this one than I ever knew in my 32 years associating with them.
I had doubts on and off but nothing major.
than I became an Elder and the way the show was run disturbed me.
In a 'judicial(tm)' we prayed over a decision then, apparently, got God's own inerrant decision. Why were 7 days given for appeal? Was God wrong. Oh, and by the way, even in those meetings after we prayed and read scriptures, never once did I feel inspired or that God was infusing me with his will. I guess there is no God after all!
I think it is significant that I started having major doubts as a baptized JW at about age 30 (the same age that Jesus was allegedly baptized and began his ministry). People shouldn't be allowed to officially join a religion (especially a cult or cult-like one) prior to age 21, especially prior to age 18. In the USA people can't enter a legally binding contract until age 18, so they also shouldn't be able to officially join a religion prior to age 18 and people shouldn't be able to baptize them as babies (nor at any other time against or without their consent).
Major things that caused to seriously doubt the religion were the following (not necessarily in temporal order and not necessarily in the order of importance).
- The Revelation book claiming that the resolutions in the 1920s-1930s (or so) were the trumpet blast of angels (or Earthly fulfillments of such)
- Seeing increased evidence of biological evolution
- Seeing doctrinal changes by the WT during the years I was a baptized JW and learning more about doctrinal changes that took place before I was even born.
- Learning more about the history of the WT religion by studying the Proclaimers book which came out around the year 1995 and learning more about failed prediction of the WT.
- The WT specifically changing their teachings of: when the great crowd comes into existence, the generation of 1914, Christ coming in his glory and when the sheep and goats get separated, blood fractions, WT's former UN NGO status, etc.
- Learning things from the internet about the WT, including about Beth Sarim
- Noticing that the Great Tribulation hasn't started yet and that 2 decades (in 1995) had passed since the year 1975; changes regarding the length of the creative days
- Noticing the flawed process of appointing servants to the congregation, when according to the WT the appointments are made by Jehovah and that the elders merely recognize Jehovah's choice for the appointments.
- Noticing to prayer to Jehovah for help doesn't work, even praying for help to conquer a habit which according to the WT is disapproved of by Jehovah God.
- Learning from the internet that biblical scholars and archaeologists are overwhelmingly in consensus that Jerusalem was destroyed in 586 BCE or 587 BCE instead of 607 BCE.
- Seeing evidence in the WT's publications, including the way to quote non-WT publications, that show the WT is dishonest in many things they say.
There are probably more things I could add to this list, but I have to do other things now (nearly time to start getting ready to go to work) and thus I won't add the other things (if any) till later.
What woke me up. I don't know I can't really pin point the exact thing.
But probably around 2005, or 2006, When the internet became more and more readily available.
Because without the internet...hell I wouldn't even known about Ray Franz, or his books.
That's right. Without the internet and this forum, I didn't even know about this man and his 2 books.
After you read his books, that is that clincher. That clincher of 'doubt', which the Borg hopes you never get.
Especially when you read In Search of Christian Freedom, that was even more poignant than Crisis of Conscience.
What evidence did you folks find in Ray's books that was important to you?
For 26 years I ignored the prophecies and the scandals believing that the love within the organization compensated for these shortcomings. Sure, we weren't perfect, but we were all people seeking to do God's will!
Then I read Ray's book! I understood that the love I was after was not a fruit of the organization, but simply the people in it. While we judged people by their actions, we didn’t judge the leadership in the same manner.
While guilt was imparted to the short comings of individual man, leaders never took ownership for their actions as a group, no remorse, no regrets. And yet, being a group does not make them less accountable to act as Christians. For instance, how can someone be forgiven for a sin he expresses no regret about? Same goes with the leaders. What about the way they go about, disfellowshipping people who disagree with them on non-core teachings? What about all the rules they’ve put in place that go beyond the scriptures? They would never accept this if it was only one man. In fact, they despise the Catholic and their Pope for that reason. What they fail to understand though is that a group of man or one man are bound to the same judgment, same rules.
Based on this, it was clear to me that the Organization’s leaders were not the type of Christians that Jesus thought about. So, I left.