Elders and Governing Body

A Watchtower Wake Up Story

JW Story – by Mama Bear Spike

How I was recruited

We had just moved to a new town.  We owned a three-family home.  The first tenant I rented to happened to be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.  She would talk about the Bible with me.  Having been a Catholic, I knew very little about the Bible.  I wanted to know more about the Bible and enjoyed our discussions.  My tenant invited me to one of her meetings where I met several Witnesses and thought they were very friendly.

One of the women asked if she could sit in on one of our Bible discussions.  When she came she convinced me to have a study with her.  She brought different women with her for the study.  I liked them all.  One of them was my age and also pregnant.  We became good friends.  I became especially close to another woman she brought because that woman did extra research to answer my many questions.

I had gone to the library to find information against the Witnesses.  I knew my family and my husband’s family would not be pleased to hear I was studying with the Witnesses.  I could not find much information.  At that time, we did not have the internet.  We did not even have computers with windows.  Computers were just for businesses then.

paradiseearth2As a Catholic I had questions and was told to have faith.  So I liked being able to ask questions.  I remember being told that those from Beroea (Acts 17:11) asked questions of Jesus’ disciples.

There were many things that appealed to me:

  • That God really is a God of love and not responsible for the death of children, war, etc.
  • That he is not going to burn us forever in a place of hell fire
  • That we do not have to go to purgatory to atone for our sins before our final reward (earth or heaven)
  • That we can live on a paradise earth
  • That there was no prejudice

There were things that bothered me, but I eventually accepted the explanations:

  • Not accepting blood transfusions (by the time I was baptized I had three sons), so this took a lot of research, but the explanations really sounded good
  • Disfellowshipping (see the Shunning category for more information)
  • Not doing the holidays and birthdays
  • Not giving to charity other than the WaterTower and Bible Tract Society, the local congregations and of course for assemblies and conventions
  • The belief in the 144,000 since I was no longer supposed to believe in the Saints and angels in the same way

Of course I was warned ahead of time to expect trouble from family and friends.  When I tried using scriptures to defend my choices, one person even went so far as to say “If you are going to play word games, what even makes you think there is a God.”  That was powerful.  There must be something to this if someone would go to the point of blasphemy to stop me from studying.

But doing God’s will was always important to me.  And somehow, I started believing they had “The Truth.”

But I had three little ones.  Meetings were sometimes challenging.  I had always valued being on time, but with the little ones that now became difficult.  When I was late, I was often marched down to the front rows which made it difficult to get up to take the kids to the bathroom when needed.  It was very embarrassing to say the least.  I guess that was done to deter me from being late.

We had one car and my husband often worked late.  Friends would pick me and the kids up for meetings and bring us home.  Everyone was so nice to us.  When I went out in Field Service the friends would help me with the kids.

We hardly ever missed a meeting.  We were always out in Field Service on Saturdays.

We went to all the conventions and assemblies.  I got out in Field Service at least once during the week.

We went to our assigned hall cleanings and spring cleaning for the Memorial.  We helped with renovations to our hall:  Painting, reupholstering chairs, wallpapering, etc.

We were good obedient Witnesses.

When my children (now four) were all in school, I increased my time in Field Service and would occasionally Auxiliary Pioneer. In time I increased my Auxiliary Pioneering and was working toward becoming a Regular Pioneer. I often had the kids from the hall out in field service with me and my kids.  I tried to encourage everyone to go out more.

I studied the Bible Story Book with my children many times a week.  We would read the stories at bedtime and talk about them.  We eventually studied the Live Forever Book and then the Worship book together.  Three of my children got baptized.  I was really hoping the boys would become Ministerial Servants and eventually Elders.  I was encouraging my daughter to pioneer with me.  I really thought that was a good spiritual goal for them to pursue.

baseball-1613355_960_720

Extracurricular activities are typically off-limits for families of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

But I was a little bit of a rebel.  My husband definitely wanted the kids to go to college and secretly so did I.  I saw many of the friends struggling to make ends meet.  I often thought if one of them had an education and a good-paying job, the other could Pioneer.  The lack of higher education did not sit right with me.  Fortunately all four of my children went to college and got their Bachelor’s Degrees.

I also hated not letting them get involved in after-school activities.  I definitely would have taken them to the games, etc.  But being a good Witness I tried very hard to keep their friendship within the Witness community.  I went out of my way to have their friends over to the house even going and picking them up, and taking my kids to their homes.  And I tried to be careful even in the congregation because not all were considered good association.  I was so judgmental.

We were considered a good example in the congregation and of course were interviewed on stage.  By this time, my husband, despite much objection from his family, had become baptized.  For a brief period of time, we had family studies and went out in Field Service together.  But my husband recognized that this was not “The Truth,” and eventually left.  He made his leaving public and insisted that he be disassociated.

That changed things a lot.  We used to have the friends for meals, but of course we could not do that anymore.  We had to be careful if we did have any of the friends over to do so when he was not around.  Effectively we were punished too.  Oh, the friends felt bad for us and had us over for meals and parties, etc.  But the change was very hard to deal with.

But we still went to all the meetings and were out in Field Service regularly.  I was either conducting or going on a lot of Bible Studies.  One of my sons (SpikeR) was a Ministerial Servant.  He eventually became an Elder and the Coordinator of an elder body.  All of my kids went on many of the quick-builds.  I eventually joined the RBC and went on many quick-builds myself.  I really enjoyed the association and tried to encourage others to join.

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Actual pic from a JW building site.

But I saw problems with the RBC (Regional Building Committee) too.  I would see some of the pioneers talking and playing around while many of the older sisters were working very hard.  Also there were many time when we would have to wait for assignments.  This was discouraging because I had so many things I could have been doing at home, etc.  Plus sometimes one elder or overseer would tell you to do something one way and then another would come along and tell you to do it another way.  And they did not want to hear what the first elder had said.

One of the things I liked upon learning “The Truth” was that we are all fellow workers.  That the elders were there to serve – minister means to serve.  But with time I found that not to be so.  There definitely was a hierarchy.  When I saw this, I remembered that even Jesus’ disciples were imperfect and often argued over who was the greatest among them.  So I chalked mistakes up to human imperfection.  But more and more I saw the organization teaching one thing and many times doing another.

But I still wasn’t awake.  I bought the party line.

How Did I Wake Up?

Spike helped.  His life was falling apart around him.  As a Mom, it was killing me.  I tried getting help for him.  You could say I just about turned him in.  I never thought he would leave.  But I was so worried.

I often worked with the CO’s wife and expressed my concerns to her.  I tried getting help from various elders in various Kingdom Halls.  But during this time due to minor health problems of my own, and ongoing electrical and other problems at my house, I started missing meetings.  Of course, I listened in on the tie-line.  But missing meeting gave me time to do research to help Spike.  I wanted information to show that the organization was right about 1914.  That really opened a can of worms.

I tried to avoid what would be considered apostate sites by the organization.  I thought I could just find historical evidence that would agree with the WaterTower and Bible Tract Societies literature.  Of course that did not happen.

I really struggled as I dug deeper.  I did not want to leave the organization and I did not want my son to leave.  But the evidence was mounting and I was becoming enraged by the things I was learning.  I was still going to meetings and out in Field Service, but less and less.

Let me say here that I love the friends.  I think most of them are sincere.  I think some who no longer believe stay in the organization and go to meetings or at least the Memorial because of family ties.  The disfellowshipping policy is a strong deterrent to leaving.

13263839_10154245507772628_343589911278686685_nThe things that bothered me and caused me to stay away

  • 1914 – Overlapping generation?  It does not make sense.  It makes Jesus look bad.  Plus the Bible tells us not to go beyond the things written – I do not see overlapping generation in the Bible.
  • 1975 – The friends were blamed for jumping to conclusions.  In looking back in the literature, the organization definitely pointed to this year as being the end and that they should be serving Jehovah to the full.  Many sold homes and left jobs to pioneer.
  • Child molestation problems within the organization that have been hidden.  Geoffrey Jackson was interviewed on this matter by the Royal Australian Commission.  Its’ a government video – not apostate literature.
  • Finding out that the friends in Malawi were being persecuted, raped and killed because of not paying for a political card for a one-party system while the friends in Mexico were allowed to bribe officials for a card saying they were trained for the military. (See this website for more information.)
  • Finding out that the friends in Mexico stopped singing and praying at their meetings, not because of persecution but to keep their property – Daniel prayed from the top of his roof when told not to even though it could have meant his life.
  • Sending the Bethelites out of the New York Bethel to the congregations.  I am sure that many of them thought they would be going to Warwick.  Many of the older ones who gave their lives for decades and thought they had a permanent home at Bethel had to leave – wise use of donated funds.  No more special pioneers.  Could the problem be all the lawsuits the friends do not know about?
  • Learning that the friends who have been working on the Warwick site have risked being exposed to Nickel.
  • Seeing the Governing Body building their own palatial palace while the friends are encouraged to have a simple eye.  I have seen elders adding to their homes while again the friends would be asked “Why are you doing that since we are so close to the end?”
  • Discovering the hypocrisy on level after level.  The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society has had many articles on the faults of churches and governments while not looking at the same things that are happening in their own organization.
  • Finding out that the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society was an NGO member of the United Nations while we were studying the Revelation Book which condemns the UN as being the Beast to which the governments will turn their authority for a short time.
  • The unchristian policy of Disfellowshipping and Disassociation.  Jesus disciples asked him how many times they were to forgive.  Jesus’ answer showed that it was unending.  He did not categorize it or ask:  Who knows about it, and what are the intimate details of what happened so that it can be determined how serious the crime was.  The concern was whether the person was repent or not.  King David was forgiven repeatedly.  Peter was forgiven.  Manasseh was forgiven.  The Prodigal son was forgiven.  Of course in the Society’s video on the Prodigal son, he had to go before a judicial committee.  I did not see that in the Bible.  I must have missed that point.  I also thought if a person were repent, he (she) would not be disfellowshipped, but that is not entirely true as demonstrated by the above.
  • Also that there is a prescribed amount of time for which a person has to be disfellowshipped.  I thought they could come back when they became repentant.
    • On waking up I started to realize there are many similarities between Hitler with his New World Order and the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.
      • Children and parents and friends were encouraged to tell on one another.
      • Education was restricted – books were burned.
      • They could not freely ask questions for fear of reprisal.
  • Realizing how many rules there were.  The Bible says “The truth will set you free.”  That is not really so if you are a Witness.  There are rules on
    • Dress and Grooming
    • Attending Meetings, Assemblies and Conventions
    • Going out in Field Service
    • Reporting Field Service Time
    • Not have gatherings of large groups
    • And believe it or not, not setting up Bible study groups as friends studying together
    • Telling on friends and family (for their good)

This has been my journey

Each person has to decide for themselves what they will do.  Thankfully there is now a wealth of information available for those wanting to do research before making any decisions.  You do not have to look at so-called apostate literature.  Just look at older books and magazines to see the inconsistencies.

Things that helped me were

  • Reading Ray Franz’ book Crisis of Conscience.  He had been at Bethel and on the Governing Body and had done the extensive research for the Insight book among other books.  As a Governing Body member, he saw how things were done.  Not exactly what we were told; for instance, the meetings were not the prayful with God’s Holy Spirit guiding them.
  •  Reading Barbara Anderson’s story (she had been at Bethel and had access to literature that many do not see)
    • Both Barbara and Ray sounded like real Christians concerned with the truth.  They tried to make a difference within the organization.  In their writings you could sense their love for God and for the friends.  Neither of them wanted to leave the organization, but they hoped that corrections would be made.
  • Watching video’s on Mike and Kim’s site.

Other books that helped that would not be considered apostate are:

  • Steven Hassan’s:  Combating Cult Mind Control.
  • Also I read another book about someone else’s struggle in a journey from Islam to Christianity.  Reading about his struggle, helped me with mine.  Nabeel Qureshi’s book is Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus.

Remember the Bible encourages us to “keep making sure” we are in the truth, to use our powers of discernment.  We do have the internet now and there is a wealth of information available.  There are actual letters to and from the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society showing the inconsistencies.  Several scriptures in the Bible tell us “to keep seeking and you will find.”

God wants us to know him.  If you are making this journey, I hope that this is helpful to you.

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7 replies »

  1. Spike I think many JWs were recruited in the same way before the advent of the Internet . I know I was. I wish the Internet had been around in the 1970s & 1980s. I have awakened but because of family I am being careful & still attending meetings for fear of not only shunning but trying not to break up my family because they love the GB !! Crazy to worship men ! Especially Uninspired men !!

  2. An organization with a hidden agenda cannot promise that ‘their truth’ will set you free! After having been raised as a witness..and seeing first-hand some of the totally unchristian behaviour they condemn so freely in others makes my conscience writhe! Besides I finally feel that in time following my disfellowshipping, I have regained my inner peace and sanity!

  3. I too have faded only due to my mom being one. I want to thank you for your bravery. I had those very thoughts as I was researching, I kept saying give me a sign that this is not true, unfortunately, the evidence and my common sense won out. If we would only use our free will and think for ourselves, we all would wake up. The message is so clear and quite frankly, easy to comprehend. I celebrated my first thanksgiving with my family last year, wow! It was about being together and enjoying one another with good food and family association. Again thank you. You explained it so well.

  4. 1. To Society Watch Tower, Watchtower and corporations
    2. To Jehovah’s Witnesses and all assemblies
    3. To all whom this concern

    Declaration on termination of membership to a religious community of Jehovah’s Witnesses

    I was baptized in 1977 at the age of 17, then a minor. But, in good faith I answered the following two questions just before baptism, which is symbolized my dedication to God in terms of the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses religion.
    At that time (before the change of June 1 1985) questions have read as follows;
    A) Have you repented of your sins and converted, recognizing yourself before Jehovah God as a condemned sinner who needs salvation, and have you acknowledged to him that this salvation proceeds from him, the Father, through his Son Jesus Christ?
    B) On the basis of this faith in God and in his provision for salvation, have you dedicated yourself unreservedly to God to do his will henceforth as he reveals it to you through Jesus Christ and through the Bible under the enlightening power of the holy spirit?

    Since I have over decades closely followed the changes in various aspects of activity of this religion, I noticed some frequent collisions (1 John 4:1; 1 Th 5:21). It is visible in: a) the content of the various interpretations; b) in the theory and practice of action in everyday life issues. Overview of many historical aspects of the spiritual heritage, which the organization has, since its inception in the 19th century, left to its members-followers, and wants to cover it up, revise and incorrect display, is astounding. Who wants to drink a water from a cup in which there is a single drop of dangerous substances?
    The purpose of my statement is not to explain doctrine and practices of society and the board of directors, who are disturbed my conscience and reasoning within the love, faith, knowledge and understanding that I feel and I have to God and Jesus Christ and to the people, so I will taxatively single out only a few of them (Rom 14:4). These are obvious example, on the one hand, theological acrobatics from the main church body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and on the other hand, their dishonesty and practice in which one they are learns, and other they are works;
    1) Confusing conceptions about their own identity (Who shared spiritual food? One servant, all 144 000, a composite body or the governing body …,)
    2) Pragmatism in changing dogmatic interpretations before the change was “firmly biblical established”, such as a series of explanations about the “generation” …,
    3) Speculation about the meaning of biblical statements and how they should be understood. More than once the revised interpretation were in style of YES-NO-YES-NO; then this year’s “changed approach to the interpretation of reports from the Word of God” …,
    4) Switching of responsibility from the governing body and their representatives on the ordinary believers in respect of the decisions and attitudes that members should be carried out, when it becomes apparent that they were endangered spiritually, mentally and literally health of fellow believers (eg, multiple expectations of Armageddon, Malawi and Mexico of the 1970s, questions about blood, juvenile members / Bulgaria /, neutrality …,)
    5) Co-operation and association with political organizations such as the UN and the OSCE.
    6) Increasingly open calls for financial donations and contributions to the funds of the corporation.
    7) Careless and unkind treatment of victims of pedophilia within the congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses

    Regardless of how, as collective or personal, members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses will treat me after this letter of resignation, considering the worldwide-known practice of ignoring and avoiding (shunning) that Jehovah’s Witnesses apply to all who are outside of their religion (“worldly” people, dissociated and disfellowshiped) – I with fully conscious and reason declare still this; My relationship with the people / persons in the Jehovah’s Witness religion and those who are not, is based on the words of Jesus; “Love your neighbor as yourself”; “Love those who hate you”; “Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them.”

    I expecting from you, that any kind of information which is stored anywhere, in connection with me and has my full name, such as personal files, or any other files you immediately destroy!

    Zagreb, July 27/2015 Srećko Šoštar ————-
    Verified by notary public

  5. I really enjoyed reading your article but I am very sorry you and your family have been through so much. There are so many similarities between our stories. I find it amazing actually that a group of people can get away with so much for so long. They really must be stopped now as they ruin people’s lives and families. Life is short enough!

  6. Great article! Thank you for sharing this with us!
    All the best to and your family for 2017. Love from Marty and Karen in Glasgow/Scotland XxX

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