If any of you have read my comments on one of my posts then you will see I was asked by a fellow blogger to be interviewed via email because I used to be a Jehovah’s Witness.
Here is the interview I copied and pasted from the email.
Let me know if you have any questions, comments or thoughts!
1. What were the circumstances that led you/your family to become Jehovah’s Witnesses? Why did you/they feel this was a good faith to pursue?
We became JW’s when I was in 3rd grade, about 8 years old. My mom and step-father were out selling Christmas Cards, door to door, and came to the door of JW’s. I was not with them, so I don’t really know what all transpired as far as the conversation. The next thing I knew, one day we were getting ready to go to a meeting (I had no idea what type of “meeting”). After that, all I remember is we were now Jehovah’s Witnesses. As time went on, I know they thought it was the truth, and so did I.
2. What are some of the basics of the faith you were taught? Were these beliefs presented to you as the truth?
They believe that Jehovah has an organization on earth that he set up, and that He gives them, and only them the true interpretation of the Bible. They supposedly have Greek and Hebrew translators at the head of the organization, that have correctly translated the Bible (the NWT). No other translations are correct, according to the Watchtower Society. They also believe that Jehovah “spoke to” Charles Russell, the founder of the Watchtower Society, and revealed the “truth” to him and used him to begin spreading “the truth” to others. Before Charles Russell, (late 1800’s) there was no true religion on earth! They use a counting system of some sort (I don’t have any of their materials any longer to show how they figure this) “from the bible” to show that there were so many years from Jesus death and resurrection until the return of Jesus that points to 1914 as his “return to Kingship, in a spiritual form” here on earth.
Their main teaching is that Jesus is not Jehovah. They do not believe in a triune God. One of the arguments they use is that in John 1:1, they say the correct translation of the latter part of the scripture is “…the Word was a god.” (note the “a” and the small “g” in god.) They honestly believe this is the correct translation. (Right now I wish I had kept some of their materials so I could use direct quotes from them.) So, right there is one of their own contradictions! They believe this scripture is talking about Jesus (and it is), so they teach that Jesus is a god! So is he a false god then???? They use many other scriptures to teach this as well which gets all very confusing when you know the truth.
Their teachings truly do not make any sense unless you use their materials! Doesn’t the bible say to let the Holy Spirit interpret the scriptures?!? Some of their other main teachings are that there is no literal hell, after Armageddon, only Jehovah’s Witnesses will be left on earth to clean it up and make it into a beautiful paradise. And that only 144,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses are going to heaven, as the “chosen ones”. Again, they use only their New World Translation to back this up. They use scriptures like “the meek shall inherit the earth”, which I believe is in Psalms, and Revelation 14:1, where it talks about the 144,000. They use many, many other scriptures to back up what they teach, which is why they get so many people to follow them and believe them, but remember the “scriptures” they use are only from their own translation, the New World Translation. They will not use any other translation and they can only back up their teachings with their materials!
3. Growing up, did you ever question your faith? Why or why not?
For so long, even into my early 30’s, even after “falling away”, getting married and having kids, I thought it was the only true religion, and that all others were the devil’s ploy to deceive you. We were afraid to enter into any other churches because they were full of demons, and we wouldn’t want to be caught in one when Armageddon came! We were taught not to talk to or let people of other religions (including Christians!) pray over us, because Jehovah doesn’t hear their prayers because they are demonized or deceived by Satan. They believe they are the only true Christians!
4. What, if any, were some of the difficult parts of being a Jehovah’s Witness? What, if any, were some of the positive experiences?
My childhood was difficult over all because I was molested by my step-father, and I think my mom felt that she couldn’t divorce him because she would be disfellowshipped and rejected by her friends at the Kingdom Hall. I think that is the most difficult part of being a Jehovah’s Witness; if you don’t measure up to their standards (ie. hours of time spent going door to door, or if you commit a “public” sin, or don’t go to all of the meetings, or don’t study the Watchtower for Sunday Mornings, etc.), then you can be “publicly reproofed” or disfellowshipped. If you are publicly reproofed, then you are not allowed to participate (ie. give talks, or answer questions) at the meetings, but other Jehovah’s Witnesses can still associate with you. If you are disfellowshipped, then other JW’s are not allowed to associate with you at all! (Where is the love of Jesus in that?!?)
5. What led you to reconsider your beliefs as a Jehovah’s Witness?
Long story short: I was “witnessing” to a co-worker/friend of mine and she was “witnessing” (the truth about Christianity!) to me. We often had discussions about the bible, and basically were having a Bible Study about basic true Christian teachings, and neither of us could convince the other our beliefs, so one day we decided to pray TOGETHER to GOD, through Jesus, and have Him reveal the truth to us! I honestly thought that her eyes would be open and she would be converted to a JW! But no. It was my eyes and heart that were opened to the truth and I began seeing the contradictions of their teachings right in their own bible and in their materials.
6. Explain the thing (or things) that made you completely change your mind (for example, a conversation, Bible passages, prayer, etc.)?
Well, obviously the above was the first step. Two other co-worker/friends of mine started inviting me to revival services at their church. I was so hesitant at first because I was scared to step foot into a church! But, because I was seeing all the contradictions in the Jehovah’s Witnesses teachings and the way they twisted things to fit their own doctrine, I finally gave in and went. I saw things that scared the you-know-what out of me! It was a Holy-Spirit filled revival service so there were people slain in the Spirit and speaking in tongues! I remember just standing there that first time, thinking “what have I gotten myself into?!?” But, I also remember standing there feeling so at peace and so loved!!! Almost everyone at that service was so loving and nice, and they accepted me just as I was! I didn’t have to “perform” or dress a certain way for them to love me, they just loved me. And as John 13:34-35 says, “they will know we are his disciples if we love one another”.
7. What did you do when you realized you no longer believed what the Watch Tower does?
One Sunday morning, my oldest daughter and I went to the Kingdom Hall. She was having a hard time understanding how I could “reject the truth” and start going to Church! But, God was working on her heart too, and began opening her eyes. Right in the middle of the meeting, we both looked at each other and knew we had to leave. We couldn’t believe the twisting of the truth we were hearing, and our spirits wouldn’t let us stay. We knew the TRUTH now and could see it. We walked out and never returned. I wrote a letter to the congregation, announcing my ‘disassociation’. Because my daughter never was baptized as a Jehovah’s Witness, she didn’t have to ‘disassociate’ herself. They don’t recognize you as a true JW until you are baptized as one.
8. Did this decision result in any positive or negative changes in your life?
Most definitely! Positively: I am part of a huge family of true Christian believers that have loved me and accepted me as I am! I have grown so much in the last 11 years in my relationship with Jesus and in my personal life! I have gained so much self-esteem and confidence, through the love of Christ! He has been my Strength, my Provider, my Councelor, my All-in-All, my Everything! And most of all I know He loves me, not because of what I do or don’t do, but because He created me!
Negatively: The only negative change is that the people I thought were my friends, don’t speak to me or even look at me when I see them in the grocery store or around town. I feel bad for them! I want their eyes to be open to the truth so bad, but they won’t even give me a chance!
7. How have your experiences as a born-again Christian differed from the faith experience you had as a Jehovah’s Witness?
It’s amazing the love I feel from God!!! I have a relationship with Him! It’s so different than being taught as a Jehovah’s Witness. As a Jehovah’s Witness you are expected to spend so many hours going door to door, and they keep track of them. You are expected to attend all of the meetings and bible studies. Their meetings and bible studies are basically for training you to go door to door. They use all of their materials to teach you their doctrine, instead of using the bible. As a Christian, I choose to read my bible, I choose to witness to others because I LOVE GOD and JESUS, and it’s in my heart, and it comes out of my mouth because GOD LOVES ME and YOU! My faith grows everyday because I ask the Holy Spirit to guide and direct me, and He does! I don’t need books or magazines to help me know and love God! His love is there for you to grasp and take hold of. He is waiting with open arms to receive you, just as you are, all your mess, all your imperfections, all of your sin. Jesus died on the cross for YOU, God sent him because HE LOVES YOU! Plain and simple, the TRUTH HAS SET ME FREE!!! I’m no longer in bondage, no longer decieved by wrong teachings! I am free to Love God and to love others, and to show them the true Love of Jesus Christ!
I pray right now in Jesus name, that if you are a Jehovah’s Witness or any other religion, or atheist or agnostic, or whatever, and are reading this, that you will take a moment and pray to God and ask him to reveal the TRUTH about Himself to you! He loves you so much, and He wants you to be set FREE by HIS TRUTH! All you have to do is ask. Don’t let the lies and deciet of Satan control you any longer!