Jehovah's Witnesses Kidnapped My Jesus, June 9, 2002
I don't know anybody that hasn't at least asked the question, "Why are we here?" I didn't know the answer to that question for most of my life. I just took for granted that not knowing the answer must have meant there was no answer and that we were here probably by some freak chance of nature. I wasn't raised in a Christian home but my family did attend some services growing up. So, we were exposed to the idea that there was a God and I guess we were suppose to figure it out for ourselves the how's and why's.
When I first started seeking the Lord,
I was unaware that I was really doing so. There was a very interesting
book that had come out called The Bible Code by Michael Drosnin
and Doron Vitstum that caught my attention. The book is not necessarily
about the Bible from a religious point of view, but one of a scientific
point of view. It claimed that there were hidden messages in the
Bible that related to past events and possibly future events,
although the future events could not be found until they actually
happened. For example, after the J.F.K, Jr. plane crash, the bible
code web sites were filled with the hidden codes of the event
even going as far as telling you what was the actual cause for
the crash. Apparently, the events are there but you can't find
them because well, they haven't happened yet.
So what led me to find an interest in this book if it wasn't spiritual? It was the mathematics. Apparently, mathematics explained how the hidden messages worked the way they did. At the time, I was coming close to receiving my degree in mathematics and knowing that I would be attending graduate school for my masters, this seemed like an interesting topic to have for a thesis. So I dived in hoping to uncover the reasons for this bible mystery. I didn't get too far into my studies when I realized that it referred to scripture often and I wasn't going to get anywhere not knowing a lick of scripture. I had to read the Bible.
I sat down one morning with one of the only Bibles I owned and began to read. I didn't really understand or know of any meaning behind the scriptures but I enjoyed it from a historical perspective. I actually found it so fascinating that I read constantly for the next few days as if it was the latest hot romance novel you just couldn't put down. About five days later, I came to the Book of Matthew. It started to get even more interesting! I came upon the scriptures referring to Jesus' baptism. At the very moment I read Matthew 3:15: "Jesus replied, 'Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.' Then John consented." (NIV) I suddenly felt as if a whoosh of understanding started to sit in. WOW! I started to think back at all the days I fought against baptism. My daughter was basically baptized without my consent and I never understood why our Presbyterian church was even practicing baptism. I hated the idea and never understood its purpose. I never went to a church where baptism was practiced. I thought it was a Catholic thing to do and I never felt comfortable with Catholic practices. But now, I understood. It wasn't just a Catholic thing. It was a beautiful thing. I cried throughout the rest of Matthew, my heart filled with joy and happiness. I started to get the feeling that Jesus was actually with me. He was tugging at my heart and telling me to read on. I did and I came to know many new things. For example, I never knew that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were four different accounts of Jesus' life! And that he performed so many miracles! I was in my mid-twenties and I was just finding this out! I had to know more. I read through the rest of the New Testament, although, with not much understanding. But, I did come out of it all with a new view on life. I wanted to know more about Jesus. By the way, I threw out all the Bible code research. I felt that if there were hidden messages in the Bible, perhaps God didn't mean for them to be found.
I didn't have much spiritual growth over the next few years. There just seemed to be nowhere to go and eventually my spiritual need was stifled; suffocated by the poor and suffering ministry our Presbyterian church was going through. Sure, I had scoped out a few ministries in my area but I never went to any of them. I knew that there were differences between denominations and I wasn't sure which one was the one for me. I never made a service with any of them, but neither did I forget how Jesus touched my heart.
After Christmas in 2001, I met a woman
at my home. Her family, who lived down the street, had stopped
by interested in adopting one of the kittens we had running around
our yard. As I tried to capture one of the little creatures, I
began to talk to the mother of the family, Anne, about her running
around in her high heels. She told me she was just coming back
from the Kingdom Hall. At the instant I heard Kingdom Hall, I
felt that old feeling of wanting to know more. I didn't know what
the Kingdom Hall was, but it sounded like a good place to me.
I didn't say anything except that I would capture the kitten and
bring it to her home. Within ten minutes, I had a kitten and raced
down with it, eager to know where this Kingdom Hall was and what
it was all about. As soon as I walked into her home, I saw piles
of Watchtower and Awake magazines. I thought I hit a jackpot of
information. This is exactly what I needed to know more about
the Bible and Jesus. She stocked me up on a handful of issues
and we exchanged phone numbers.
For the next five months, I studied vigorously with Anne. The majority of the studies were no less than three hours occurring at least once a week, sometimes twice. I was eager to learn all that I could about Jehovah and what he required of me in order to be acceptable in His eyes. I was longing for salvation and I felt that this was the right place for me. I found out who Jesus was and who God was. They had all the answers and it was so black and white I agreed that this must be "the Truth."
Over the five months, my family took many turns. My husband and I, already suffering with our own marital problems were now facing more. Everywhere I turned, I found fault with everything and made it known that things had to change. My eyes were opened to everything as to whether or not it was a Christian thing to do, watch, or read. Easter came and went without my participation. My husband went out near midnight the night before to buy the kids baskets for the kids. The next day, I happily suffered through the persecution of the family whispering in front of me obviously in disgust at my new change of attitude. It strengthened me. I could see the scriptures scrolling through my mind reminding me that we, as Christians, would be persecuted for our beliefs.
When I cleaned the house and found something that wasn't acceptable it went right into the garbage. I threw away anything that was related to a holiday including cookie cutters, ornaments, books, baskets, stuffed animals, and cards. I also threw away many things that had any image of a cross, angel, or biblical character including books my children owned of bible stories because they were false teachings and I didn't want my children learning a false religion. These things had to be thrown out and not given away as well. Giving them to somebody would be like ruining their possibilities of salvation by encouraging him or her to use them. It was a very interesting change of events as the house was spiritually cleansed of all demonic items. The fear was that anything of those natures could possibly have a demon attached to them that would either limit my spiritual growth or have my family attacked or harassed by Satan's demons. We would have none of that.
Although I was very interested in everything that was taught to me, I always made sure that I understood everything and that it was correct. I bought Hebrew and Greek dictionaries to understand some of the ancient scriptures and surfed the net for anything related to the topics I was learning. Most often, I just took for granted that it was true or if I wasn't quite sure I read it over and over until I convinced myself it was true. I came upon a few sites that didn't favor Jehovah's Witnesses very well, so I bought some literature on them. But, I found myself debating the literature as to why IT was wrong. Reading ex-witnesses testimonies online became a battleground in my heart. I thought them selfish and undeserving of paradise but then felt sorry for them. Why would they give up their salvation for such petty things like family or bad habits?
Eventually, I went to the memorial and attended Kingdom Hall meetings on Sundays. It was wonderful. I admired the simplicity of it all. The service consisted of an opening prayer, a hymn, a one-hour talk given by an elder of the church, a one-hour Watchtower discussion, another hymn and a closing prayer. That's it! No sermons, no unnecessary pomp and circumstance. Eventually, I attempted to attend Monday book studies and Thursday's Ministry School. I wanted to become a publisher. I wanted to speak out! I wanted to tell everybody I too was with Jehovah and I wanted to tell the world.
It was about the time that I started the Monday and Thursday meetings that I began to start feelingwell, just weird. It was getting scary. I kept thinking, is this the way I want to go? It had to be the way to go. If I didn't become a Jehovah's Witness, then I wouldn't make it into the earthly paradise promised to God's chosen organization. I kept remembering that I was taught that once you came to an accurate knowledge of the Truth, you couldn't ever leave the organization. That leaving would be the worst thing to do and that Jehovah would never forgive you. You would be turning your back on Jehovah and it would be a long road coming back, if at all possible. So, I had to be certain. I had to be sure that if I went in that I wasn't ever going to come out. But I still wondered, is it the Truth? Is it possible that this is the only way?
I was faced with the decision to begin studying the questions for baptism. The next weekend there would be a district assembly and I was going to go. I was going to get to see new witnesses baptized and hear many spiritual talks. I was getting excited. I thought perhaps this assembly would finally help me with the decision to be baptized. But, I never made it there.
I had been searching the Internet looking for any kind of answers I could find about being a Jehovah's Witness when I came across the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry web site (www.carm.org). It was here that I came to the conclusion that perhaps I was going the wrong way. It was different than the other sites I had visited in the past. Most sites would be either pro Jehovah's Witnesses or against Jehovah's Witnesses. Here I found answers to questions I remembered wanting about the Bible and Jesus before I met Anne and answers about Jehovah's Witnesses. As I read through the many pages, I started to question whether or not what I knew was accurate. I searched through the discussion boards and found Jehovah's Witnesses losing arguments that I once thought was common sense. I left a message on the discussion board (To JW or not to JW?) and telephoned Anne. I wasn't going to the assembly because I wasn't quite sure if I wanted to be a part of the organization after all. Immediately I was hearing the shock and disapproval of my decision but I told her that this was my salvation at stake and I wanted to be sure. She couldn't argue the fact that I had to go into the organization 100% and even though she encouraged me to participate claiming I was forsaking the gathering of the people of Jehovah, I stood firm and told her I needed that weekend to figure some things out.
I studied all weekend long, barely getting any sleep. This time, however, I craved to study Christianity and other viewpoints to the Bible. I came to realize that there was many contradictions to what I was taught and "the Truth" was nothing but HALF the truth. I got calls at night from Anne about the assembly and I debated with her about what I had learned from the Bible. She said I was "stumbling" and offered me more study aids and additional Bible studies that would include the elders of the church. I didn't see how anything at this point would help me back to "the Truth." I was scared. I agreed to make a list of questions for the elders to review and possibly discuss. Again, it didn't get that far. Within two days, I had learned some shocking truths about the organization and I had a letter to the elders declining membership into the organization and why.
At this point, I am still looking for answers. I am still much in the dark about many things and highly questionable now on the things I still think I know since Jehovah's Witnesses taught them to me. There are a few things I am definitely sure about though. One of them is that I am saved by grace through faith in Jesus. With all my heart, I know that Jesus is walking with me and leading me to the Father. Everyday I think about what he went through so that I would have this free gift of salvation. Thank you Jesus.
Another thing that I am sure about is that I would never want anybody to be trapped by Jehovah's Witnesses. For five months, I lived in fear that I was not acceptable to God and that I wasn't doing enough to win his favor. Worse, I was losing the relationship I had begun with Jesus many years before. I remembered how I came to know him, but the importance he had in my life had diminished. It just was not stressed enough. It was less important, somehow, to consider Jesus a part of the big picture. Well, in the mind of a Jehovah's Witness, he technically isn't in the picture and I was almost beginning to think the same way. Forgive me Jesus and thank you Jesus. I was straying from your flock but you helped me back. Praise God!
I highly discourage Bible studies with Jehovah's Witnesses now. In fact, I would not even accept their publications and go as far as request that they not witness at your home again. Their material is highly convincing and designed that way for a purpose. That is, to make the individual feel dependent on the organization in every aspect of their life (including the marriage bed and the people they associate with) and work door to door not to educate but to search out more members for the organization. Their whole life is governed by a false sense of security that if you endure to the end times you will be rewarded with the salvation that only God can give you.
View the letter Deanna submitted to her elders at the Kingdom Hall
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