Killing in the name of....
I grew up as one of Jehovah's Witnesses with all the normal complications which include but are not limited to: having no friends because the other kids are worldly and the other witnesses are not spiritual enough, being tormented every day at school for not saluting the flag, not participating in birthdays, not swearing, being a virgin and using the name of God. This was not only verbal and emotional torment but even progressed to physical abuse.
Through all this Jehovah was my only friend and I used to pray a lot, and felt that all of these things don't matter as long as I have him.
After school and starting work I met someone and we got married. We were baptised together which was wonderful. We devoted our lives to Jehovah; even getting rid of our TV and worldly music and attending every meeting. I even spent my holidays from work in the preaching work.
Even with this devotion I could not help feeling that something was wrong. It seemed there was a distance between me and Jehovah and I could not understand why.
Then came the crash......My wife cheated on me and she ended up telling me that our relationship was a lie. She became my wife and a Jehovah's Witness to get away from her parents. This was not my opinion but what she said directly! At this stage I was confused by the fact that someone could live such a double life, and that Jehovah allowed this to happen to me. I remember once feeling extremely depressed, praying to Jehovah for help and afterwards phoning the designated elder for help with no answer on the phone....I felt alone and abandoned!
Enter the Dragon: This faith shaking event was really a turning point in my life. I started questioning the society and its motives. How could Jehovah leave me alone and abandoned when I always tried to do the things pleasing to him? I ended up reading about the Watchtower society from secular sources which was a real eye opener. I started considering science, reason and logic seriously for the first time. The straw that broke the camels back came when I read Jehovah's Witnesses own Insight into the holy scriptures (encyclopaedia) entry under the topic "Jehovah" where they admit that the true pronunciation of God's name is not known! To someone who built their whole life on the Name, this was devastating!
After these events I lost my way completely, I started living with someone which caused my mom to treat me as dead. She would not talk to me or see me which went on for two years. So after feeling abandoned by God my mom also abandoned me which led to severe depression and guilt, missing 6 months at work (not sure how but managed to keep my job). I attempted suicide, and became severely violent. Sad times indeed.
I kept on searching for God and ended up studying the bible with Jehovah's Witnesses again, even attending meetings. My mom started talking to me and loving me again as a reward and things were looking up. Yet again something just felt wrong....When reading the publications the Name issue kept bothering me, when listening to the talks at the kingdom hall I did not get any satisfaction only more questions; like the spell the organisation had over me was broken. My bible study ended by me asking the elder doing the study: "If I study the bible on my own, but am not one of Jehovah's Witnesses does that mean that I am dead to God?" He did not answer but there was no need, because we both knew the answer was yes.
I decided that I was not sure anymore that Jehovah's Witnesses had the truth or Gods spirit and started studying the bible (trying to ignore what I was taught by them) on my own. This was one of the most enlightening, thought provoking and happy times in my life. It was like reading the bible for the first time; shaping my own ideas. I really felt like I was drawing closer to the true God. For the first time I could start worshipping him in spirit and truth.
End times: In the end I started feeling bound to the organisation by my baptism and this became an issue. I knew that if I resigned I would become "dead" to my mom again but I could not stay bound to an organisation that used a name that they were not even sure of! I went to my mom and it went something like this:
Me: Hi mom
Me: Mom I have to tell you something (her smile starts to change). You know I love you very much and you are always welcome in my life. Mom I love you but I am resigning from Jehovah's Witnesses.
Mom: Then I can not see you anymore (turns her back on me and walks away)
Even though I tried to prepare myself this was devastating for me and her. I haven't seen or talked to her since. The day afterward I drove to the kingdom hall and handed in my letter with contents basically saying that my devotion is to the true God, and not an organisation. Jehovah's Witnesses usually quote the scripture that talks about losing family for his names sake when dealing with disfellowshipping.....but I felt this was what I was doing, not them.
Not being able to see my mom causes me great emotional distress that I have to find a way to deal with that, but I have never felt closer to God and his son. I guess the world hates you when you want to worship God in spirit and truth; Jehovah's Witnesses being "the world" in this case.
In the end I realised that the true god was with me through all this, and he knew that extreme events were needed to break me free from the Watchtower societies spell. He brought me out of Egypt and I hope never to return.
I think former Governing Body member, Raymond Franz's In Search of Christian Freedom would really resonate with you:
Like you, Ray Franz also valued a relationship with God without the shackles of a corrupt organization like the Watchtower.
I wish you all the best as you continue to embark on your journey through "Christian Freedom".
Liberating, isn't it?
Your story was heartbreaking. You have been through such a lot. Thank you for sharing it with us. I'm glad to see that you are coming through it.
Leaving the Watchtower and the pain that goes with it feels like walking through fire sometimes, but you have got to the other side of it. You story is so encouraging to those of us with the same struggle.
I wish you so much love and good wishes for the future.
You have had a rough road...I'm sorry you have had to go through so much and for so little....and your mom's reaction is appalling....but as time goes by you will experience a lot of happy positive things....make a new life based on reality and beauty...compassion... Freedom is wonderful!
A parent turning their back on an adult child over a religious decree thought up by a high control religion that has no genuine love for their fellow man. It is heart wrenching the family damage this church causes. Hang in there and I hope things improve, we are all cheering for your success in this perilous journey.