I was born and brought up as an Anglican Church member but like many I was never really strong in my Anglican faith, despite my Father being a lay priest. I guess if I really analyse it, I would probably say that I wasn’t really convinced with all the tradition and ritualistic manner of praying out of prayer books and the whole sit, stand, kneel thing. I very rarely attended church, I didn’t see any need.
Then it happened.
A number of years ago I became involved with the Jehovah’s Witnesses; it wasn’t a knock at the door though that sucked me in to this mind controlling cult. No I became involved in a relationship with a JW woman who basically swept me off my feet. Of course as most of you would know, the command to marry only in the Lord is one that you will not easily overcome and so my Bible study commenced.
It was so different. Almost refreshing! I was in awe at what I was being taught and even though the picture of Jesus on a stake in the publication gave me an uneasy feeling, the rest was answering all my doubts I ever had about Christian faith, or so I thought at the time. Things moved on at a bewildering pace and within 8 months I was baptised, and 3 months later I was married. Within 6 months of being married we were expecting twins. I felt happy, relaxed and comfortable at the time and was truly at peace with what I was taught and practicing.
But as with anyone who has an inquisitive and questioning nature soon doubts, no not doubts, questions I couldn’t get satisfactory answers to started making cracks in the foundations of my new faith. I then began to notice certain things that were not right. My father-in-law was an Elder I was privy to information I should never have known, all served up with glee at the regular weekend family meals. It was always about different members of the congregation and their conduct. He even divulged nuggets of information on the other Elders. I recall once he told me of an Elder who had been accused of domestic violence and medication abuse! How was I supposed to respect him or my father-in-law ever again? Of course the information only flowed once a bottle of red wine had opened, he even told me that I’d be ok to have glass or two of wine before driving home! Even if I was alone in the car I wouldn’t but with his daughter and his grandchildren? I thought it was a test at first but he always offered the option of a glass at every meal.
The other thing I really couldn’t get my head around was the depression of not only my Wife’s family members but those of other families in the congregation. It made no sense because they are supposed to be “the happy people”. The talks from the platform, the information from the Watch Tower publications was so doom and gloom! ALL OF THE TIME!
I would always compare these people with that of my ‘worldly family’ and more often or not it was not the worldly family’s conduct that was bellow bible standards.
I began to look at other resources for comparison as by now I was sick of the Watch Tower Society’s gloom. At one stage I was researching stuff and made contact with an ‘apostate’ site. I felt it necessary to defend my new faith here, but I only did this for a few weeks before I went on holiday and during the holiday I decided not to return to the site. This however would prove to be detrimental to my witness faith, as one just cannot unlearn the things mentioned.
Months went by and I progressed well in ‘the truth’. That is until something triggered me to read Raymond Franz’s book: CoC. I lived in denial for a few months later but that could not last. I then did thorough research, something I should really have done a long time ago. I read COC, Captives of a concept and gentile times reconsidered. I listened to the audio book of Combating cult mind control. I visited many different ‘apostate’ sites.
I began questioning myself, how did I end up here? I was a level headed guy who researched everything and yet I had been so easily sucked in, hook, line and sinker. I knew this was not the so called ‘Truth’ and I knew that I had changed, no I had woken up. I knew that I was now truly one of the biggest apostates at heart.
About 7 months ago my wife became pregnant again and we were expecting a son. Our twin daughters are now 2 years old. I love my Wife and children, very much, so I was considering how long I can live the lie, but unfortunately I am not very good at acting, nor at lying.
So we move on to ‘the showdown weekend’ where my wife confronted me about my changed attitude about ‘the truth’ and I couldn’t help myself. I started by talking actual facts, an encyclopedia of real truth. I conveyed the information in a calm manner and tried reasoning and use of questions, as taught in the school. Her responses such as; “what else is there?”, “but this is God’s true organization”, totally as expected along with the usual dribble about apostates.
It took my Wife 48 hours to report me to the elders. It took her another week to decide to ask me to leave me. So there I sat, in a motel room, innocent of anything other than to seek the truth and to “Test everything. Hold on to the good.”(1 Thessalonians 5:21 – NIV). All that truly matters to a man, my family, was been ripped away from me. Jehovah’s Witnesses, home wreckers.
Two torrid, dark days went by. I got a text from my Wife who asked if we could go somewhere for coffee to which I agreed. The subject quickly changed to my ‘disbelief’, I had done enough research prior and during my incarceration so I used the questioning method. I asked things like; “How do you personally feel about events not being fulfilled?” and “How do you feel about organ transplants being banned, then the stance changing?” followed by “What do you think the victims feel?” then my favourite and I feel most relevant “Why do you think someone would quote sources to support their theories but they don’t quote the whole sentence?” and finally “What would you think if any other organisation did this?”. Fair and proper questions I felt.
A cult controls the mind, but it is more than that. It permeates the whole being. You see each and every time a bond is created, it is quickly cut off by reasoning such as, “this is God’s organisation”, “to where will one go”, “God has always had an organization – be it kingdoms or physical organizations”. On the last question I then asked her to explain who that was at certain time intervals.
While we were speaking an Elder phoned me and asked for a meeting. I was hesitant at first, but thought I could use this to ‘slow things down’. I had not intended to bombard my Wife with this information in the first place and especially not before the birth of my son. Later in the day when I phoned my Wife to tell her I would pick up my daughters after the meeting, to my delight she told me to pick them and her up, she loved me and wanted me to come home.
Three days later, a Friday evening, I met with two elders and they told me that questioning was normal and that I should pose my questions to them over a period of time so that they can research and answer me. This obviously gives me a lot of time. They went on babbling about how great the Bible and the prophecies were and the mentioned Daniel. They also read from chapter 12 where Daniel is said to seal up the book etc. They also mentioned the formula of a day for a year and how this was used to calculate prophecies. When reading, they also read the one thousand two hundred and ninety days and one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.
I asked them, “does the formula of a day for a year work for all the prophecies like the two you just read”, to which after some confusion one of them answered yes, (this is wrong). So I asked him directly, how many prophecies in Daniel had a double fulfillment. After a long time he said the one of seven times (obviously). I then asked why 1 Thessalonians 4:16 uses the Lord to reference to Jesus, and the footnote says Jehovah (this is used to explain why Jesus is Michael). He was not aware of this.
Shortly after this the meeting ended with the request that I compile my questions one by one, and they would then get back to me. I took my time putting together a comprehensive list and we agreed to meet again one month later.
The conversations with my Wife began increasing, we established that our love for each other was just as strong, her world fell apart when I initially ‘challenged’ everything she had ever known. But then she approached her father with some of the questions I had posed to her. He wasn’t involved in the meeting as he was related. I think he didn’t want to be made to look foolish in case I brought up our conversations.
Anyway my Wife was astonished that whilst with her parents neither of them were able to give her a ‘satisfactory’ answer. In fact they were at loggerheads with their own understanding – my Mother-in-Law is an intelligent woman who had a career as a journalist before falling pregnant and finding her faith, so this was of interest to me. Cat among the pigeons? Perhaps.
D-Day soon came around I presented my 30 page document two copies for each to allow for studying. Questions and the reasoning behind the query. I think they were somewhat baffled and taken aback, I hadn’t meant for the document to get so big, in fact I had halved it and was saving the rest for later – I wanted to see their response.
We agreed to leave it until after baby number three was born and as a family were settled.
For reasons unconnected to my questioning we began to miss meetings, my wife was tired from the pregnancy and my fatherly duties increased, of course. My son was born, a healthy 8lbs 11 ounces [I know female readers would want that information], and Wife and baby did well. Soon we were home and into a new routine. It is amazing how much your life changes when you have more children than hands!
I had wondered if family ties may be strained but they have not. My Wife’s parents are clearly chuffed with the new edition and as Grandparents take good opportunity to spend time with all of us.
However, my answers went unanswered for sometime; possibly because our attendance is nigh on non-existent. I am working on drifting away completely. My Wife and I have spoken many times and she agrees that there is something not quite right, in fact her mother hinted at something similar. I don’t know what will happen. I don’t care. As a family unit we are strong and close-knit. We have made the move away, metaphorically and may do so literally.
The company I work for have opened an office in Bermuda, I have been with them 23 years and my name has been mentioned to head up the project. We are looking at 6 months before anything happens which is plenty of time to put things in to place. My Wife’s parents are coming up to retirement so if we did go and fell in love with the place, who’s to say they won’t retire out there? Living the dream [free from the shackles].
I no longer have the time or energy for religion, my Wife understands and respects this. My Wife hangs on to some parts, which I respect, but with three small children she is kept very busy and I think the drifting is helping her in a way. She certainly seems happy enough and her ‘worldly’ associates have mentioned she is less uptight so this is good.
I realise this is not as shocking as some of the stories on here, but that’s us.
Thanks for reading.