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Former Jehovah’s Witnesses and others creating a warm Christian atmosphere


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 Post subject: Hello, TowerWatch community!
PostPosted: Wed 14 Mar, 2007 10:26 pm 
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To all the brothers and sisters of the TowerWatch community --

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Please forgive me if this post gets a bit long...

First: I love what I see on this forum. I've been a frequent visitor over the last few weeks and I am happy to see the love of Christ alive and well among you, as well as the commitment you have to supporting one another and proclaiming the truth of the gospel.

Now, a little bit about myself. I am originally from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where I was raised in a Christian home by two awesome parents. After a period of internal crisis mid-way through my teen years, I accepted the Lord Jesus into my heart on February 11, 2000 at the age of 16, which brought a complete transformation in my life and personality. Of course, I have stumbled and doubted along the way as every committed believer does, but I still regard my faith as the most important thing in my life.

When I was in middle school, I began studying Spanish, and I was hooked immediately. I just couldn't learn enough about it. I continued to study Spanish all through high school and chose Spanish as one of my majors at Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA. I also majored in Education, and now I am a first-year Spanish teacher in Hagerstown, MD. I have now been studying Spanish for a total of 11 years. (Teaching Spanish in middle school is a tough assignment and some days I want to quit my job. I think if the Lord were not in my life I would have given up months ago.)

Part of being a Spanish major at Juniata is a mandatory study abroad experience in a Spanish-speaking country. For that reason, I spent my junior year of college (2004-2005) in central Mexico. It was the greatest educational experience in my life. It also was a time of great spiritual growth for me.

During my time in Mexico, I lived with a host family for eight months. Living with them was an experience more wonderful than words can describe. We spent many hours every day in conversation and, along with what I was learning at the university, solidified my knowledge and fluency in Spanish.

Living with my host family really forced me to do a lot of soul-searching about what I believed. The reason was that my host mother was (and is) a devout Jehovah's Witness. Through our conversations I learned about what Jehovah's Witnesses believe (and what they don't believe), and began asking myself if what I had learned in my mainline Christian church was really true. I stumbled upon the Towerwatch website as part of that questioning process and what I read there was a great help to me in seeing past the deceptions of the Watchtower Society. As the website states, I too admire many things about the Jehovah's Witnesses but completely distrust the Watchtower organization and the methods it uses to advance its cult-like goals. I attended a Kingdom Hall service once with my host family and witnessed the same thing: repeating over and over again Watchtower doctrine, proof-texting by cherry-picking Bible verses (as opposed to drawing interpretation from entire passages), and dry tape-recorded hymns, all fitting nicely within the Watchtower's bubble of interpretation.

My host family's house was full of Watchtower literature (in Spanish, of course, but still issued by the same organization). My host mother was a publisher and faithfully went to do her door-to-door service every weekend. Sometimes, when no one else was home, I would look through their literature to see what the "insiders" received from the Watchtower. I was frightened by what I found. I found a book that was like a script for door-to-door preaching that directed, "if they give X argument, you give Y argument." If that's not mind control, I don't know what is! Also, I read that the Watchtower forbids its members to read any non-Watchtower religious/Bible study materials. Out of respect for my host mother I never did any serious debating with her about these things, but I find the tactics of censorship employed by the Watchtower Society un-Christian and un-healthy.

In Mexico, according to what I've researched, the Jehovah's Witness movement is growing rapidly due to the slow-but-steady decline of Catholicism. Evangelical, Pentecostal, Mormon, Jehovah's Witnesses, and other Protestant movements are growing like wildfire. While I lived there I got involved with a Campus Crusade for Christ youth group and the excitement to be found there was infectious and Spirit-directed.

While I lived with my host family, I did a lot of witnessing to my host sister Daniela. We would talk until past midnight about spiritual things. She was raised as a Jehovah's Witness but at the time I lived there (and still today) she was questioning her faith and feeling like she was in spiritual darkness. I kept emphasizing that our relationship with God is not subject to any earthly organization but rather is a direct thing we have with God through Christ. Near the end of my stay things got more complicated when I realized that she and I had fallen in love. We became boyfriend and girlfriend although we were quite aware that when I returned to the USA it would be a long time until we could see each other again.

Two weekends ago, Daniela emailed me twice about how she was feeling more spiritually fulfilled since she had begun re-activating herself within her JW congregation and re-connecting with some old JW friends who had been disfellowshipped and then re-instated. From what I had learned about the Watchtower from this site and others, I knew it was time to make my exit from the romantic aspect of the relationship. I called her and told her that I didn't feel we could be an "item" anymore since I will NEVER be a JW and I am well aware that JWs are only supposed to date others of the same mindset. She took it pretty well and I hope our channel of communication stays open so that one day she may see the real Jesus.

I came away feeling very disgusted with the WTS for instilling the guilt in her that eventually led her back to participating in its empty rituals. I mean no disrespect to anyone reading who may be a JW but I will never see eye to eye with the Watchtower Society!! Not to mention the emotional and mental anguish I went through when I knew I would have to break up with the woman I loved with all my heart and soul because of the "faithful and discreet slave."

That is plenty long for one night. Peace be with all of you and keep up the love you are so diligently showing!

jacomo4jc

p.s. I would love to make some of the articles/testimonies on this website available in Spanish if anyone is interested in having me do some translation work.

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But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death when we were of no use whatever to him. Romans 5:8, The Message


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PostPosted: Thu 15 Mar, 2007 2:47 am 
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That was a fantastic message! It's interesting to see the point of view of someone who was exposed to the WTS in this manner...and you are right; there is alot of support for former JW's here on this forum.

Great comments on the WTS hold on it's members and telling them exactly what and how to say it.

You hit the nail right on the head there.

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PostPosted: Thu 15 Mar, 2007 12:08 pm 
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Welcome to the Tower Watch Discussion Board jacomo4jc. Brother that was a very well put introductory post, which made sense, we all can and should benefit (take heed) from it.
john

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Joh 13:1 Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.


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PostPosted: Sat 31 Mar, 2007 11:44 pm 
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I'm all tied up in knots right now. I just sent my ex-girlfriend Daniela, who recently re-connected herself with the Jehovah's Witnesses, an email and I am afraid about how she will respond. A little background information before I translate it so you can see what it says...when Daniela was a teenager she was repeatedly abused by her father, who to this day continues as a Jehovah's Witness in good standing. The rest of the background information can be found in my first post on this thread.

Here it goes...

"As always, I have to be honest with you...and the truth is that although we are not together as boyfriend and girlfriend anymore I still love you with all of my hear and soul. I felt a ton of anguish and sadness the day I called you to tell you that I felt we could no longer be together because of the decision you made to re-unite yourself with the Jehovah's Witnesses. As I've always said, I'm going to support you in any effort you make to get closer to God. However, the organization of the Jehovah's Witnesses makes me very uncomfortable and I'm going to tell you why.

"You don't know how much pain I felt in the innermost recesses of my soul the day you told me what your father did to you. It hurt me even more when you told me how the organization handled the issue. Although the organization is quick to disfellowship people for disagreeing with their way of interpreting the Bible, they did not disfellowship your father for the sickening crime he committed against his own daughter. From the moment you told me what had happened to you, I have read dozens of testimonies of sexual abuse committed by people in the Jehovah's Witnesses organization and their way of handling it was the same as it was in your case...they did not report the crime to the authorities and instead let the person go free where they could do more harm to others. I cannot forgive an organization that perpetrate frightening acts that inflict lasting misery to innocent people and at the same time condemn and disfellowship those who do things that aren't even sins. Especially since the WTS considers itself the only way to reach paradise.

"And, of course, you know all too well the theological issues I have with the way the Witnesses study the Bible, but that's another matter. What enrages me is that the organization allowed someone to hurt you, you who are one of the people I have loved most in my 23 years of being alive. Your father goes door to door preaching the good news of the gospel while you suffer the consequences of his sin and also suffer a spiritual confusion that distances you from God...and that is the most serious part of all. When you were most in need of someone to help you spiritually, the Witnesses left you totally alone to fight against your emotions and bad memories. I thank God that I was there to support you in your moments of spiritual crisis because I observed that for months and months not a single person among the Witnesses came forward to care for you. On the contrary, they said that it was YOU who needed to change. YOU needed to go to meetings, preach, study, etc. The message you really needed was that God loved you UNCONDITIONALLY and that your relationship with Him doesn't depend on what you do, but on the love He showed for you through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. I didn't perceive that anyone was giving you the message of love and forgiveness, but rather that they made you feel bad for not completing your religious obligations that they had taught you from the cradle.

"Daniela, please don't misinterpret me. If your spiritual path leads you by way of the teachings of the Jehovah's Witnesses, and you have a personal relationship with Christ, I'm not going to stop you. I wish you all the best of the whole world and above all that you have a connection with the living God and His Word that frees us from the power of the darkness. I have come to love you like none other in my life and I needed to explain to you how I see things. I don't criticize you but rather I criticize the leadership of the Jehovah's Witnesses that let such things happen within "God's Organization." Please don't get angry with me for having told you these things...I have always been able to confide my most intimate thoughts in you and I hope you feel the same way."

...my goal in writing her this stuff was to communicate my hatred for the Watchtower while also communicating my deep love for her. I just hope I haven't burned any bridges!!!!

Thanks for letting me vent -- I'll let you know what she says.

Jay

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But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death when we were of no use whatever to him. Romans 5:8, The Message


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PostPosted: Thu 05 Apr, 2007 11:59 am 
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Hey Jay,

Your letter shows a very unselfish love for Daniela. I am praying that the deception will not be so strong so as to keep her from the agape love of God and you as you speak truth in that love.

Stand firm and do not be discouraged!
Tami


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PostPosted: Sun 08 Apr, 2007 11:57 pm 
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Hello everyone,

I talked to Daniela today on the phone. I was quite relieved when she told me that she was not mad at me for being so direct about my criticism of the Jehovah's Witnesses and that what I wrote made her think a lot. She said she needed some more time to gather her thoughts before we talk about it in depth, but for now I am very glad that our lines of comunication are still open. Thank you to everyone who prayed about this.

HE IS RISEN!!!!

Jay

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But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death when we were of no use whatever to him. Romans 5:8, The Message


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PostPosted: Mon 09 Apr, 2007 12:26 am 
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That is encouraging to hear Jay. I will continue to pray for you.

HE IS RISEN INDEED!


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PostPosted: Mon 09 Apr, 2007 12:31 pm 
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Hi jacomo4jc,

What a beautiful testimony! Gave me goosebumps! The Lord is using you in a mighty way in young Daniela's life. I will pray that He continue to reach out to her through you and that she and her family will seek Him instead of an organization that pulls them away from Jesus.

AMEN, He is Risen!!! Gloria a Dios!

Blessings,

Mrs. R

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"He saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit" - Titus 3:5


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PostPosted: Tue 17 Apr, 2007 8:42 pm 
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I heard from Daniela today by email (see my earlier posts for the back-story). What she wrote was long and some of it was way too personal to post, but allow me to translate the part she wrote that concerns the JW organization...

"So, Jay, when you were with me [in Mexico] you came at a very difficult time in my life. After leaving my organization I forgot about God and I entered into a spiritual apathy and did many things I'm not proud of, I began to question many teachings of the Witnesses until I became totally alienated from God.

"OK, I know you have read a lot about this topic and that all the stories are similar and I understand your distrust of the organization. But it's also true that not only that [cases of sexual abuse] don't only happen inside the Jehovah's Witness organization but also in all religious organizations. Do you know why? Well, because human beings run them and that's why there is no true justice.

"And I know you're going to ask me why I re-joined the Witnesses, and the answer is this: I looked in many places and didn't find what I needed, until I meditated on Jesus' words of the Lord's Prayer -- the part where it says 'Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us'. I understood then that only through forgiveness could I have peace. And if there is an organization that also forgives, the Spirit of God is there. That's why I re-joined them.

"And I know that there are some things that still aren't totally clear to me about their religious teachings, but you know what, we are never going to know everything. That's why faith is so important, since it is based on things that one doesn't understand completely but in our hearts they make sense.

"I know that you might me annoyed with me because of this new attitude, but there is one very important thing for me, and that is what I've learned in the Bible about Jehovah. I think that the Witnesses, even with all their faults, are trying to do the will of God and I feel more and more close to Christ here [within the organization]."

...I am grateful that she laid out her case in such a detailed and articulate way for an "apostate" like me, and I think it is too delicate a subject to pick it apart any more than she and I already have. I think many of her points are good and valid. The only key thing I see wrong with her train of thought is what many of you have posted about in other threads...that the Jehovah's Witnesses teach that distancing oneself from the Watchtower is equivalent to abandoning God Himself. I see that running throughout what I posted above and through other paragraphs in her email that I didn't post here.

What are some of your thoughts on this new communication from Daniela?

I thank you for all the support you've given me and prayers you've offered on Daniela's behalf.

Jay

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But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death when we were of no use whatever to him. Romans 5:8, The Message


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PostPosted: Wed 18 Apr, 2007 5:52 pm 
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jacomo4jc wrote:
I heard from Daniela today by email (see my earlier posts for the back-story). What she wrote was long and some of it was way too personal to post, but allow me to translate the part she wrote that concerns the JW organization...

"So, Jay, when you were with me [in Mexico] you came at a very difficult time in my life. After leaving my organization I forgot about God and I entered into a spiritual apathy and did many things I'm not proud of, I began to question many teachings of the Witnesses until I became totally alienated from God.


What you mention at the end of your post is very apparent here, Jay. She sees questioning the teachings of the Witnesses as being the cause of her becoming alienated from God. So, to get close to God once again she feels he must go back to the Witnesses. She doesn't see the possibility of being close to God apart from the Witnesses.

jacomo4jc wrote:
"OK, I know you have read a lot about this topic and that all the stories are similar and I understand your distrust of the organization. But it's also true that not only that [cases of sexual abuse] don't only happen inside the Jehovah's Witness organization but also in all religious organizations. Do you know why? Well, because human beings run them and that's why there is no true justice.


While I agree that we are human and sinful, my problem with this is twofold: First, it's the Witnesses themselves that claim they are the "one true religion" and the only religion approved by Jehovah on Earth. If that's the case, then He is the one running the org (according to the WTS this is the case) and there SHOULD be justice. Second, yes, this does happen in other religious organizations. However, the issue we have with the WTS is the way they handle the crimes, not just the crimes themselves. Their policy of having 2 or more witnesses to a child abuse or sexual abuse crime is bogus; it certainly wouldn't hold up in a court of law, much less in the eyes of the Lord. And to handle this in the congregation, keeping law enforcement out of the picture so they can "keep the organization clean", not even telling the members of the pedophiles that are in the congregation because of the "reputation of the WTS" is as sinful as the crime itself. They cover up the crime because to them, the org is more important than the individual.

jacomo4jc wrote:
"And I know you're going to ask me why I re-joined the Witnesses, and the answer is this: I looked in many places and didn't find what I needed, until I meditated on Jesus' words of the Lord's Prayer -- the part where it says 'Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us'. I understood then that only through forgiveness could I have peace. And if there is an organization that also forgives, the Spirit of God is there. That's why I re-joined them.


Sorry, but I don't believe she "looked in many places". If she had she'd have found most Christian religions much more forgiving than the WTS. She has gone back to them, but they don't trust her. Cal can back me up on this: even after a person is reinstated, they are watched for a time to see if they "fall back into sin" so they can be disfellowshipped again. I don't call that forgiveness. Yes, forgiveness brings peace, but it's the forgiveness of the Lord, not the conditional forgiveness of the WTS that will bring true peace.

jacomo4jc wrote:
"And I know that there are some things that still aren't totally clear to me about their religious teachings, but you know what, we are never going to know everything. That's why faith is so important, since it is based on things that one doesn't understand completely but in our hearts they make sense.

"I know that you might me annoyed with me because of this new attitude, but there is one very important thing for me, and that is what I've learned in the Bible about Jehovah. I think that the Witnesses, even with all their faults, are trying to do the will of God and I feel more and more close to Christ here [within the organization]."


This is a typical JW response when they've been shown the truth but they don't want to see it, "it's not all clear but I won't ever know everything so I have to believe in the F&D slave that Jehovah will show me what I need to know through them". They have been force fed the notion that unless it comes from the org it isn't from God, so to doubt the org is to doubt God Himself.

jacomo4jc wrote:
...I am grateful that she laid out her case in such a detailed and articulate way for an "apostate" like me, and I think it is too delicate a subject to pick it apart any more than she and I already have. I think many of her points are good and valid. The only key thing I see wrong with her train of thought is what many of you have posted about in other threads...that the Jehovah's Witnesses teach that distancing oneself from the Watchtower is equivalent to abandoning God Himself. I see that running throughout what I posted above and through other paragraphs in her email that I didn't post here.

What are some of your thoughts on this new communication from Daniela?

I thank you for all the support you've given me and prayers you've offered on Daniela's behalf.

Jay


First of all, you aren't an "apostate". Only ex-JW's who now belong to what they refer to as "Babylon the Great" (meaning all religions except theirs) are apostates. You've never been a witness so she won't consider you an apostate. You're just a poor lost soul who will never see Paradise unless you become a JW or die before Armaggedon hits. Did that comfort you at all? ;-)

I think Daniela went back to the witnesses, not because she feels closer to Christ there, but because she feels closer to her family there. She's a young girl, and having her family reject her is very painful. It seems her faith is in the org; tumbling that tower will not be an easy task, but it is possible. Don't give up on Daniela. She admits there are things she doesn't understand - this is a good sign. You'll need to show her the truth about the WTS first, though. Until she stops believing in the Society, she won't be ready to look at much else.

We're praying for you, Jay. The Lord will give you the right words to say. (Psalm 121:1-2).

Blessings,

Mrs. R

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"He saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit" - Titus 3:5


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