|The Disassociation Letter of Linda
To the Elders of
the XXXXXXX Congregation
This letter has been written to inform you, the elders, and the XXXXXXX Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, and Jehovah's Witnesses as a religious entity, of my intentions regarding my position as an inactive member of this denomination, whose legal means of communication is the organization known as the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. It has been with tears and anguish in my heart and soul that I felt compelled to write, because this is a decision that comes at a price. Please understand that this course of action has not been made easily or without careful consideration. But know that first and foremost, deep, deep prayer and petitioning of God's divine guidance played the most crucial role in this decision. Prayer asking for the creation of a pure heart and a discerning spirit. And know that this letter is also being sent to friends and relatives who might find it relevant and to a member of the governing body of Jehovah's Witnesses, at the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York City, NY. (Hereafter referred to as WT, WTS, WBTS, or WTBTS.) I desire no secrets and no gossip in my regard.
As you are probably aware, I called one of our elders at home almost two years ago in dire spiritual crisis, and made a request to be disfellowshipped. My request was denied. However, one brother phoned me and asked to come and talk to me. I agreed to talk to him, but he never showed up and still hasn't. I'm not sure what happened, except on my part, I feel that the Lord was protecting me. My state of mind at that time would have made me an easy target of persuasion -- especially since this particular elder was also a personal and well respected friend.
Several years ago I discussed doctrinal concerns with another elder of our congregation. Although he tried to put my mind at ease and direct me on what he believed was a course of godly wisdom, he failed in being able to answer my questions. His counsel did nothing to alleviate the doubts and spiritual bankruptcy that had invaded my soul. I've always had an insatiable desire to read and study the Bible, but the more I read and studied it, the more inconsistencies I found between what the Bible teaches and what the WT teaches. Although I continued to attend meetings, I found myself unable to teach my children biblical truths as I no longer knew what truth was. I couldn't and wouldn't attempt to share truth with total strangers in the field service, as my darkness was even greater than theirs. For many years, I've been unable to discuss religion without becoming extremely emotionally upset. It has been profoundly disturbing to come to the realization that the whole basis for my belief system is false. I can't even begin to explain the mental anguish, fear and hopelessness that one feels on coming to the realization that their religion is not the beacon of Godly wisdom that they had been led to believe it was. If not for the love and grace of God, I believe my despair would have been too great for me to bear.
I became familiar with the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses in early 1973 at the age of 16. I studied the publication The Truth that Leads to Eternal Life. As an impressionable teenager, having no understanding of even the most basic tenets of the Christian religion, I embraced the WT teachings with little forethought. I was very innocent and trusting. It never occured to me that there were people and organizations that would teach falsehoods in the name of God. I find now that I must heed the counsel given in this same book, The Truth that Leads to Eternal Life, in Chapter 2, titled "Why it is wise to examine your religion", paragraph 5, where it says, "We need to examine, not only what we personally believe, but also what is taught by any religious organization with which we may be associated ... If we are lovers of the truth, there is nothing to fear from such an examination." And this further guidance offered by Joseph F. "Judge" Rutherford in his book, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, p.13, where he said "Error always seeks the dark, while truth is enhanced by the light. Error never desires to be investigated. Light always courts a thorough and complete investigation." I have found these statements to be very ironic considering the past history of the WT organization. And may we also consider the guidance offered in the following articles:
These appear to be great articles, but how does the WT really feel about people looking critically at their writings? Do these articles reflect the counsel given to practicing Jehovah's Witnesses? No, for Jehovah's Witnesses are admonished to give heed only to the WT ORGANIZATION. And this rule is enforced without exception.
In light of the above, my questions are: Why is it suggested, encouraged and taught that it's Gods will, for OTHER people to examine THEIR religion, but it is counseled against for members of the WT organization to do the same thing? By what right does the WTS refuse to be critically examined? Where is their personal accountability? Second Thessalonians 5:21 tells me, "But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good." (NASB). That suggests critical examination to me -- admonition from an inspired apostle. Why are those who examine WT interpretation accused of being under satanic influence, labeled as independent thinkers, and threatened with judicial punishment? Since when has TRUTH had to hide from critical examination? The scriptures tell us that darkness flees from light. Why are Jehovah's Witnesses not allowed this basic right and face harsh disciplinary measures if they do question the WT faithful and discreet slave? In my experience, only those who don't have the answers are uncomfortable under scrutiny -- they are intimidated when their belief system is in question. Why are those that seek truth put into the position of being "cut-off" from family and friends and treated as though dead? Please don't misunderstand. I do not condone behavior which the Scriptures clearly teach to be wrong. And I believe disfellowshipping to be necessary in certain circumstances, such as described by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians. But I fail to see why it's practiced on those whose only "sin" is searching for TRUTH. Is it the WTS's objective to exercise the absolute authority that the Catholic Church enjoyed before the Reformation? Why and by whose authority does the WTS believe they can exercise this type of authoritarian control under the guise of service to the Master? Where in scripture are we told to sacrifice TRUTH for unity -- or conformity? TRUTH is MY only objective.
The first fiasco, for me, after becoming involved with Jehovah's Witnesses was the "failed predictions" or "false hopes" surrounding the year 1975. I remember the fervor in the early 70's. There was much expectation for the year 1975. But just like 1874, 1914, 1918, 1925, etc., it passed with nothing of significance happening. Brother Franz said in a talk given at the District Convention in 1976 that Armageddon didn't come in 1975 "because YOU (he pointed to the audience) EXPECTED it." Now I don't know about you brothers, but I don't like being blamed for something that wasn't my fault. I didn't come up with this chronology. I didn't point to this date out of my own imagination. I didn't attach any special significance to it at all. Nor did I promote what it meant or didn't mean on God's time table. This information came from none other than the faithful and discreet slave. While I'm sure it's embarrassing to be reminded of all the speculation and predictions made in God's name by the WTS, the fact remains that Jehovah's Witnesses are required to believe, teach and preach whatever comes down from the governing body. And then for the WTS to blame the average witness for "reading more into it than what was said" was and is pathetic. (See WT. 7/15/76 p. 440-441.) No wonder so many left the organization after this. The statement by the Society where they say "at no time did we know the day and the hour" after encouraging people to sell their homes and property and plan to spend the "short time remaining" in the pioneer service, is irresponsible and dishonest. (See 5/74 Kingdom Ministry.) It is impossible to calculate the spiritual, financial, and emotional damage that was suffered by hundreds of thousands of brothers and sisters around the world. Many left after this, not because they were only serving Jehovah for a date, but because of the devastation the Society's "predictions" and "going beyond what is written" had on their lives. Trying to minimize the magnitude of this failed prophecy only makes the Society look more and more foolish, especially to those of us who were there!
We can be assured that although the brothers and sisters let the WTS tell them they didn't say things we all know they did say, and the members choose to develop "selective amnesia" about all the false claims made in God's name, God doesn't forget, and He will have His day of retribution.
For years I have had concerns about the WTS. I am one of those who never quite "made the truth my own". And believe me, I tried, but I always knew something was wrong. Of course the Society says if something isn't right, the fault lies with us, not them. My list of questions was endless. But now that I've finally sat down here to write this letter -- and although WT doctrine, when held up to scrutiny, doesn't pass the test -- I know that individual issues no longer matter, because after a critical examination, I've found the WTS seriously deficient. Although for years I thought something was wrong with me, by the power of God's Holy Spirit, I now know where the fault lies, and praise be to God, it's not with me for searching for Him on a grander scale. The WTS aspires to know what they are talking about, when the truth of the matter is that what they describe as tacking into the wind, is in reality, being tossed to and fro by the waves.
For instance ...
Will men of Sodom be resurrected?
Brothers, is this a case of "old light, new light?" Or maybe a "blinking" light? No. I respectfully suggest that this is a glaring example of "no light." This would truly be comical if it wasn't of such a serious nature. The nature of the problem being that Witnesses are supposed to commit their lives to an organization that can change it's position on a variety of issues at any given moment and faithful witnesses are just supposed to blindly follow. But in the mean time they're supposed to believe whatever the "truth" happens to be "at the moment." The Lord Jesus warned us against following blind guides.
Why doesn't the WTS just humbly admit they don't have a clue? And either give up or make this organization a place for people to fellowship together in love, not judgment, lifting up the name of Christ, instead of the faithful and discreet slave or the WT organization? Why can't they be as humble as they expect their followers to be? For me, that would be balm to my tortured soul. That would be being faithful and discreet before the Living Christ. Sadly the rank and file Jehovah's Witnesses don't want to know or understand the real issue -- they are afraid they'll be confronted with things they mentally can't handle and won't fit in with their narrow world view. I know a brother who said: "I don't want to hear about it because I WANT this (the WT teachings) to be the truth." It doesn't matter what WE want to be the truth. We should desire God's Truth at all costs. God's truth never changes. It is eternal. Can we say the same thing about the truth of the WTS? This reminds me of Jesus' words about how people would rather embrace the darkness than to come into the light. In the light, THERE IS NO DARKNESS, NO FEAR. I seek and must have God's truth, whether it be from the WTS or not. If not, then I must move on.
The WT organization has become a crutch to doubting Jehovah's Witnesses. They have become like women who stay in abusive relationships. They are told by the abuser that they have nowhere else to go, that the problem in the relationship is their fault, and that they should wait and believe that things will get better. The WTS consistently shifts the blame onto the Witnesses when their teachings prove untrue. Somehow they get away with this behavior, because the brothers and sisters are afraid of what can be done to them. They have low self esteem and fear facing the unknown because their life as Jehovah's Witnesses is all they know. Change scares them even more than knowing what they have is built on lies. Even though they know things are wrong, the fear of losing friends, family, the congregation and the organization are so great that they ignore the doubts and growing awareness of the "Truth's" lack of truth. The very thought of having to find their own way is more than they can take. And so they would rather preach what they don't believe and live a lie. They chose to stay in their "comfort zone" instead of giving up all to find the "hidden pearl." This is religious addiction -- no different from being addicted to drugs, food, or alcohol. When the practicing of a particular denomination becomes your hope for salvation, then the death of the Lord Jesus is of no value, because you've established your own righteousness. Except that scripture tells us that all our righteousness (our little rules and regulations, do's and don'ts, works and service, etc.) is as "filthy rags to God."
The ex-Catholic priest Johannes Greber was exposed to the Witness community as a spiritist in the 10/1/55, p.603 and the 2/15/56, p.110 WT's. He was reported as having translated a version of the New Testament by means of the spirit world, with the help of his wife, a self-professed spirit-medium. Six years AFTER exposing his involvement in spiritism, in the 9/15/62 WT, the Society acted as if they were unaware of such a thing and refer to Greber as a (much needed) biblical scholar in support of their own NWT rendering of John 1:1. But they didn't stop there, they proceeded over the years to refer to Greber's New Testament translation in support of their own translation and doctrinal positions in the following:
The Society also evidently referred to Greber in the 9/15/62 WT, p.554, even though the source wasn't identified except by the expression "a former Roman Catholic priest."
Then in the 4/1/83 WT, in the "Questions from Readers section", the Society attempted to make a defense of their use of Greber's translation, saying they couldn't "make use of a translation that has such a close rapport with spiritism." According to this answer, the Society did not realize Greber was a spiritist until they obtained the 1980 edition of his New Testament and read about it in the forward. Thereby implying that the 1937 edition did not reveal this information. Which we can see for ourselves is a lie as evidenced in the Oct. 1, 1955 and Feb. 15, 1956 Watchtowers. The Society knew all along that they were dealing with a spiritist, but being desperate for sources that supported their own version of the Bible (NWT), Greber's translation became a valuable asset to the Society until they were called on it. They not only "covered up" their misuse of biblical sources, they deliberately misrepresented the facts to the brothers and sisters.
The 4/1/86 WT. "Questions from Readers" section discusses the position the WT takes concerning "apostates." It had this to say: "Do we have scriptural precedent for taking such a strict position? Indeed we do! Paul wrote about some in his day: "Their word will spread like gangrene. Hymenaeus and Philitus are of that number. These very men have deviated from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already occurred; and they are subverting the faith of some." (2 Tim. 2:17,18; see also Matthew 18:6)." (Emphasis mine). The Apostle Paul seems to be describing the WTS -- it is guilty of this very thing. The WTS has set up an elaborate chronological system, which they know is seriously flawed, yet it remains mandatory for Jehovah's Witnesses to believe without exception. Instead of owning up to their mistakes, presumptuous claims and speculations, they continue to ignore the facts and build up further misconceptions to get themselves out of the mess they now find themselves in. And this they do, so as to keep the brothers and sisters from making a mass exodus. This same article goes on to say that these men could have been very orthodox in the rest of what they believed, but because they were wrong in this one area, that Paul rightly branded them apostates, with whom faithful Christians would not fellowship. So I ask these questions: Since it's the WTS's belief that they can't even be wrong in "one area" without being apostate, where does this leave them? The WTS teaches in direct opposition to numerous scriptures -- doesn't that make them "apostate?"
The organization has such a gripping mind-control over the minds of the brothers and sisters that all they would have to do is say: No, Paul's counsel doesn't apply to us, because we're the "faithful and discreet slave." And that'll be good enough for most Jehovah's Witnesses. I've often wondered HOW we know that they're the faithful and discreet slave. And the only answer is: we're obligated to believe it because they say so. That's circular reasoning. We are told that God has a faithful and discreet slave, so we say, well who is it, and they say, it's us, and we say, how do we know, and they say, because we told you so and we say, by whose authority and they say, by the authority of God and we say, by what proof and they say, we just know and we say, how do you know and they say, because we're the faithful and discreet slave. And around and around we go. There's no proof or validity to arguments like this. In effect, what they're saying is this: We're the boss, it doesn't matter if we're unfaithful to Christ by teaching heresy, just sit down, shut up, and believe what we tell you to believe or we will declare you dead.
But faithful Christians can't do this. It's the Christians obligation to search and examine all doctrinal, moral and new light teachings put before them. Never, never are we told in scripture to put our faith in an earthly object, be it a man or a group of men, a religious leader or a religious organization. For me, it's not enough to let the WTS do all the heavy research of scripture (6/1/67 WT, p.338) and me to just accept it upon their authority. This is not the impression I get from reading such passages as Acts 17:11. As we know now, Paul was an inspired Apostle, but I see nowhere in Scripture where these Bereans were rebuked for their unwillingness to just believe whatever the Apostle Paul said. In fact the passage says: "Now the Bereans were of more noble character", for their willingness to search out whatever was taught them. And isn't it true that in James 3:1, we find him saying: "Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment."?
You might call me rebellious or whatever term you choose, but I'm not willing to sacrifice real truth for what the WT refers to as unity, but is in reality conformity. The most important thing for the WTS is unity at all costs. The most important thing for me is TRUTH at all costs. Nowhere in scripture are we told to pursue unity at the cost of truth. We can't worship God in spirit and truth if we don't possess truth. There should be no fear in searching for truth out of a pure heart. We, as sinful humans, are constantly searching for structure and stability in our lives and unfortunately end up turning to other mere men instead of the One who can save us. You believe that to think freely outside of the WTS's control is demonic, but you are wrong. Our Creator gave us a mind for the express purpose of using it. Non-use of it will subject it to bondage. But Christ is still releasing those under bondage. He has set me free. And as a result I have chosen His authority and the authority of scripture over the WT organization.
In articles in the 3/15/72 WT, p189, 4/1/72 WT, p.197, we find the concept that the modern day anointed Jehovah's Witnesses are a composite prophet. In the 3/15/91 WT, in an article called Jehovah's Celestial Chariot on the Move, the WTS presumptuously claim that the prophet Ezekiel pictures the spirit-anointed Witnesses of Jehovah (translated modern day anointed Jehovah's Witnesses). It states that it's evident, from the facts of history. I would like to know how this is evident? The prophet Ezekiel was an inspired prophet. As such, he knew the test of a prophet as recorded in Deut.18:20-22. How can the WTS claim to be a prophet as pictured by Ezekiel and that what they teach at any given moment in time, we're obligated to believe and obey, while maintaining that they are uninspired (to justify the errors and doctrinal flip-flops promoted on God's behalf)? Either one is an inspired (true) prophet or an uninspired (false) prophet. There's no such thing as an uninspired true prophet. The WTS requires and expects the honor and submission given to a true prophet, but they refuse the responsibility. The Bible tells us that a prophet who presumes to speak in the name of Jehovah and whatever they say doesn't come about, they have spoken presumptuously. There's simply not enough time to quote all the articles where the WTS has claimed to speak "in the name of Jehovah" or as having "God's word or words in their mouths". But here are a couple so you'll know I'm not exaggerating.
Notice that the scriptures in Deuteronomy say nothing about being "inspired" or "infallible", but simply "speaking in His name" and having "God's words put in his mouth." The Watchtower Society has, in the Name of Jehovah, made statements which were incorrect, and particularly, have made predictions which did not come true. They have referred to themselves, the anointed, and the entire association of Jehovah's Witnesses including the other sheep (especially since the WTS teaches guilt by association) as a prophet. This is clearly proven in the WTS's own literature. Therefore, based on both the WTS's success rate with prophetic declarations, its declaring of itself a prophet, and it's published method for judging the truth or falsehood of a prophet (and the Bible's, since the two are essentially the same), the Watchtower Society is a false prophet. Any prophet who presumptuously claims to speak in God's name and what they say doesn't come to pass, that one is a false prophet, deserving of death. With their own literature, they have condemned themselves.
The WTS accuses others of being false prophets when they simply say something that didn't come true; i.e., guesses never come true (see above). By their own judgment, they've judged themselves. It was this same year, 1914, that the WTS said would see the "end", not the beginning of the last days. Doesn't that, according to their own word, make them a false prophet? By the WT's own counsel, "the people should no longer trust them as safe guides."
The fact is that the WTS did not embrace the 1914 date for Jesus' second presence until at least 1928 and possibly as late as 1943. Up until this time, they taught that Christ had returned in 1874. Does all this "guessing" on the part of the WTS make them a false prophet? And if not, why not? Why are they not judged according to their own judgment? I spent many years refusing to come eye to eye with this issue, knowing where such an admission would lead me. I knew the inevitable conclusion even though I fought it for so long. I can no longer fight it. I know it in my heart to be true.
The 7/1/43 WT. p.201-2 criticizes the Catholic Church for making the claim of being the only one that can interpret the Bible correctly. Notice the quote: "No creature or organization on earth can truly presume to sit as the supreme tribunal of interpretation of the Holy Bible." Even the 6/8/94 AW p.20 par.6 said that Jesus and the Apostle Paul did not view themselves as the sole authority on right and wrong. But what does the WT say about themselves, interpreting the Bible?
How can they criticize the Catholic Church for taking the same position that they themselves take?? And why do the JW's claim the Bible is their final authority, when in reality it's the WTS who is their final authority? This mirrors the Catholic position. The WTS has walked the same road the Catholic Church walked hundreds of years ago in establishing their own authority. Throughout history, Protestants have rejected that self-appointed authority. The Catholic Church claimed this position in order to control the masses. Why do you think the WTS has taken this position? Isn't it to control their followers?
In the 4/22/70 issue of Awake! magazine, the WTS once again takes it upon itself to criticize the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is deeply embarrassed about things in their past, but at least they admit their mistakes. Everyone knows that the Catholic Church has a lot of things to answer for, but what denomination doesn't? The WTS? Why is criticism of the WTS's claims and teachings always designated as an expression of intolerance, persecution and vindictiveness, while the Society's own relentless criticism of other Christian organizations and their teachings is always described as an expression of Christian love? Why is it considered the sole right of the WTS to be exposing "false religion", but consider it persecution when the same measures are practiced against them? Doesn't the Bible tell us that judgment starts with the House of God? Why doesn't the society quit patting themselves on the back and perform a critical self-analysis?? Such over-appreciation of self spontaneously brings to mind the hypocritical prayer of the Pharisee in Jesus' parable of the Pharisee and publican: "Oh God, I thank you I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unrighteous, adulterers, or even as this tax collector." (Luke 11:16)
In this same Awake!, in the article titled, Changes That Disturb People, p.8 it says: "One of the reasons is that people are disturbed by what is happening in their churches." Yes, millions of persons have been shocked to learn that things they were taught as being vital for salvation are now considered by their church to be wrong. Have you, too, felt discouragement, or even despair, because of what is happening in your church?
A businessman in Medellin, Colombia, expressed the effect the changes have had on many. "Tell me," he asked, "how can I have confidence in anything? How can I believe in the Bible, in God, or have faith? Just ten years ago we Catholics had the absolute truth, we put all our faith in this. Now the pope and our priests are telling us this is not the way to believe any more, but we are to believe "new things." How do I know the "new things" will be the truth in five years?"
WHY does this sounds SO familiar??? Remember, this insightful information is coming from God's only channel of communication on earth. It's scholarship like this that's causing so many to lose faith in God completely.
Later in the same article, it had this to say: "The effect upon many devout Catholics has been devastating. 'All these years I thought it was a sin to eat meat,' explained a housewife in the midwestern United States. 'Now I suddenly find out it isn't a sin. That's hard to understand.'" If you are a Catholic, can you understand how a practice that was considered by the Church a "mortal sin" can suddenly be approved? If it was a sin five years ago, why is it not today? Many Catholics cannot understand. When a woman in Canada was asked how she felt about the changes in her church, she replied: "I don't know. Maybe you can tell me. What are they going to do with all those people sent to hell for eating meat on Friday?" Not just a few Catholics have asked such questions. The change in teaching has shaken their confidence in the Church. Would you not feel the same way if what you had always been taught to be vital for salvation was suddenly considered unnecessary? Would you not be inclined to question other teachings of your church also? (Emphasis mine.) What hypocrisy! I can't even conceive of someone actually reading this and not applying it to the WTS. In the process of trying to destroy the credibility of the Catholic Church, they have inadvertently undermined their own credibility.
The WTS changes it's mind on a regular basis. In fact, Witnesses eagerly wait for all the "new light" coming out of Brooklyn. I fail to see how the organization, in good conscience, has the nerve to be so openly critical of others, considering the fact that they're guilty of exactly the same actions. For instance, in the 8/1/61 WT, p. 480 in the Questions from Readers, the question is asked: "Is there anything wrong in the Bible against giving one's eyes (after death) to be transplanted to some living person?"
The answer given said that there was nothing in the Scriptures expressly related to this issue, so it would be up to the individual's conscience, and there should be no criticism of their decision. But then in the 11/15/67 WT, p.702 in the Questions from Readers, this question was asked: "Is there any Scriptural objection to donating one's body for use in medical research or to accepting organs for transplant from such a source?"
This time the answer was that those who submit to such operations are living off the flesh of another human. And concluded that it was cannibalistic. And then, the faithful and discreet slave once again changes it's mind when in the 3/15/80 WT, p31 in Questions from Readers, the question is asked: "Should congregation action be taken if a baptized Christian accepts a human organ transplant, such as of a cornea or a kidney?"
The answer being, once again that there's no Biblical command pointedly forbidding the taking in of other human tissue. We won't even get into the Society's history regarding vaccinations and the allowable blood fractions. Can we expect Jehovah to shed new light on the issue of blood transfusions in the near future? How does the Society justify their: "nothing being in the scriptures" ... to ... "it's cannibalistic"... to ... "nothing being in the scriptures?" Notice what C.T. Russell said concerning "new light" In the WT. 2/1/1881 reprints, p.188:
Considering this, it's clear the WTS does have a way of making scripture say what they want it to say. And the faithful Witnesses accept change after change -- never even considering or too frightened to admit it's poison.
But let me ask this question: It is a damnable offense for the Catholic Church to make changes, but it's allowable and even expected from the WTS? Of course there's no comparison between the WTS's temporary ban on life saving procedures with Catholics being forbidden meat on Friday's. I'm sure no Catholic ever died from not eating meat one day of the week. Which the RCC taught as a discipline, not as dogma. We can't say the same thing in the matter of the WTS's former position regarding transplants, can we? I wonder how many people died or refused a transplant, during the time the WTS said it was to be considered cannibalism. Do you think God might hold the WTS blood guilty or responsible for declaring something forbidden that He didn't pronounce forbidden? Who do you think Jehovah is going to hold accountable for ruined lives?? Do you honestly believe God is going to sit presumptuous men of this magnitude on the thrones of Heaven to rule mankind? At what point does someone's claim to having a special connection to God become unbelievable? The WTS is self deluded and in the process has deluded millions of souls. Are we to believe that when Jesus said His disciples would suffer for the sake of the kingdom that He was referring to a bunch of man-made rules?
The reason we don't find many Jehovah's Witnesses openly posing questions like those cited by the Catholics is because Jehovah's Witnesses do not have the most basic freedoms that people of other denominations enjoy. We all know they would immediately find themselves outside the organization. Witnesses are forbidden and forcibly silenced under threat of being disfellowshipped. This is a double standard, to be sure. What would happen if the WBTS applied the same rules and principles to themselves that they impose on other religions of the world? Why is it that the WTS curtails in its members the freedom that it has fought so hard for in the courts of this country? What happened to freedom of conscience?
I found this next issue very disturbing. It is my understanding that the WTS has now moved away from the teaching that the generation that saw the events of 1914, with understanding, would be the generation that saw Armageddon. The teaching of 1914 has been heralded by the WT organization, in the face of Christendom and the world, for decades. I was taught that this "unique teaching" of Jehovah's Witnesses was mandatory to believe, and now I'm supposed to forget it and meekly accept "new light"??! But is it really because the faithful and discreet slave were given "new light"? Or is it because that generation is dead and the Society is now having to come up with some kind of believable concoction so they can continue to pull the wool over the sheep's eyes? I was taught that the 1914 chronology was a belief that was unique to the Witnesses and that it was not optional or speculation, it was presented as solid truth. I find it troubling that just a little over 10 years ago, the teaching on the generation of 1914 was "Jehovah's prophetic word through Jesus Christ" (5/15/84 WT, p.6&7) and eleven years later (11/1/95 WT) it becomes the speculation of "Jehovah's people".
What about the people who have been disfellowshipped for conscientiously being unable to promote the WT teachings concerning 1914? Are the brothers making a concentrated effort to find them and encourage them with these loving words: "Come back brother or sister, you were right all along, we love and miss you!"? THESE ARE PEOPLES LIVES WE'RE TALKING ABOUT!! Or, are they going to supposedly be punished for eternity, because they dared to "run ahead" of the faithful and discreet slave? Why did Jehovah change his mind about the 1914 generation? My Bible tells me that God is not a God of confusion, that he doesn't change His mind. But that is exactly what he did as evidenced in the "Why Awake! is published" masthead of the Awake! magazine. Prior to Nov. 8, 1995, the masthead read in part: "Most important, this magazine builds confidence in the Creator's promise of a peaceful and secure world before the generation that saw the events of 1914 passes away." Now the masthead reads in part: "Most important, this magazine builds confidence in the Creator's promise of a peaceful and secure new world that is about to replace the present wicked, lawless system of things." (Emphasis mine.) Why did the Creator's promise change? My God's promises never change.
This is history repeating itself. By subtly removing the pivotal date 1914, it's clear the WBTS is moving away from this most important date. Just as they've manipulated failed dates in the past, so they have yet again. The 1914 date is the backbone of the WTS structure. Is this going to be another of those teachings that fade into history? Will it soon be a disfellowshipping offense to believe in all the former things surrounding the year 1914? The fact is that if the year 1914 falls, then the WTS has no foundation. The organization's teachings are all centered around that year -- because if Jesus did NOT come back in that year, he did NOT choose the WT organization as his sole representative on earth in 1918, and the WT has no authority without the Son of God. I guess only time will tell. Which is exactly what the WBTS bought when they changed the teaching on the generation of 1914. JW's will one day have to face the fact that the teaching of 1914 is a "false doctrine." Which makes the Watchtower Organization a false religion. I can only hope and pray that instead of the total devastation that realization brings, that the individual Jehovah's Witnesses will turn to the authentic Christ. Which brings up this point:
Jehovah's Witnesses encourage others from different religious persuasions to abandon their religions because of their false doctrines and to join the JW religion -- a religion that is constantly changing. What the JW's should be teaching is this: This is what the truth is "today", and you HAVE to accept it to be pleasing to God, but tomorrow it might be totally different. What's amazing is that JW's are conditioned to believe that this is acceptable. BUT, only for them, not anyone else. We can open up almost any WT study book and be told that sincerity and zeal are not enough for defining true worship -- that it must be firmly rooted in God's word of truth -- the Bible. Yet, I have found that JW's have been obeying man as ruler rather than God, and are teaching doctrines of men rather than the word of God. Yet we are told to stay in "Jehovah's clean organization" anyway?! I know first hand what those outside the WT organization are told -- "FLEE!!" -- and yet, you still say false doctrine isn't grounds for leaving the "truth" -- that we should wait on Jehovah.
This is bound to be baffling to anyone that can think coherently. Those outside the organization are to "flee." But those inside are to "wait." Maybe if all Christians down through the centuries had just waited on God to straighten things out in the first place, instead of starting their own sects, there wouldn't be thousands of Christian denominations, of which C. T. Russell's was just one of many.
In the 2/1/38 WT, p.35, we find this statement: "The Lord revealed to his people the meaning of the parable of the sheep and the goats, showing how the "sheep" only would be spared by Jehovah when his wrath is expressed at Armageddon, all this information came not from or by man, but by the Lord God ..." In the 6/15/51 WT, p.368, we are told in an article titled, The Place of God's Word in Our Lives, "We are living at the time of the presence of Christ Jesus in his glorious kingdom, and one of the visible evidences of this is his separating of the people of all nations into two classes, sheep and goats, symbolically speaking. Mighty angels attend this separation work, for Jesus predicted respecting this time: "When the Son of man arrives in his glory and all the angels with him, then he will sit down on his glorious throne." Those angels are not just ornaments, but are with Jesus for some service in the work to be done (Matt. 25:31, NWT)." In the 3/15/84 WT,p.17, we are told: "With the beginning of World War I in 1914, the old system of things entered its "last days" (2 Timothy 3:1)." Kingdom rule also began in 1914 (Revelation 12:10-12). Christ was then authorized to begin separating the "sheep" from the "goats." Thus, God's holy spirit began to act mightily on his faithful servants. (Compare Acts 2:16-21.)
There are numerous articles presenting the separation work being done including the book, You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, p.183. Obviously, their interpretation in 1938 could not have been "revealed" by Jehovah since they're now admitting that their old "meaning of the parable" was wrong. In the Oct.15, 1995 WT, we find that the separation work isn't being done, has never been done and will not be done until Jesus returns in his glory. Tell me then, what exactly have Jehovah's Witnesses REALLY been doing all the years they thought they were doing the separating of the sheep and the goats? And since the separation work was one of the visible evidences of living at the time of Christ's presence, does this mean that Christ wasn't really present after all? If Jesus isn't heading this organization, who are we to believe is??
In the 2/1/51 WT, p77, par 13, the WBTS's position concerning military and alternative service is defined: "Because they are wholly dedicated to God by their vows to him through Jesus Christ, Jehovah's Witnesses are, according to God's Word, no part of this world which is governed by the political systems." For this important Bible reason they tell officials of the government that they conscientiously object to serving in any military establishment or any civilian arrangement that substitutes for military service." Just 10 years ago, an article in the 9/1/86 WT, p20, Christian Neutrals In A Bloodstained World, we were encouraged with these words: ":Hence, when Caesar demanded to have God's things, [Christians] acted in harmony with the principles stated at Acts 4:19 and 5:29. Whether the issue was shedding blood, non-combatant military work, alternative service, or saluting an image such as a national flag, faithful Christians took the position that there was no middle ground. In some cases they were executed because of this stand." Then in the 5/1/96 WT, in the article, Paying Back Caesar's Things to Caesar, the faithful and discreet slave has decided to change its mind and now it's allowable to accept alternative service.
I would like to ask about the brothers that were "executed because of this stand," before this position was reversed. And also about the brothers in countries where they are presently serving prison terms for their refusal to participate in alternative service. How are they meant to view the "new light?" Is it meant to be comforting to those brothers that have suffered needlessly? There are brothers that still have to finish serving prison terms, knowing now that it was never God's will for them to be there in the first place. Is the society taking measures to remedy this situation and working for their release along with clearing their names of a permanent criminal record? What about the brothers that have been killed for defending this position? Isn't the WBTS blood guilty? Or is that a term applied to everyone except the WTS?
I believe the Bible's counsel at Matthew 15:14 where Jesus tells us: "Let them be. Blind guides is what they are. If, then, a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit."; and Eccl. 8:9 where wise King Solomon recorded that "man dominates man to his injury." The sins of the WT organization "have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities." In the governing body's presumptuousness, they are bringing God's judgment upon their organization and those who refuse to "come out of her ... that you may not participate in her sins and that you may not receive of her plagues." While the WT organization inflicts the judgments of these scriptures upon those in Christendom, in the meantime, they aren't even aware of their own nakedness.
While all this new light contributed to my letter, it was the idolatrous worship of the WT organization that started the journey I now find myself on. After having read quotes such as:
How can the organization make statements like these and simultaneously make the following statements also? According to the WTS's own literature, they've defined themselves as worshippers of the WT organization. And as such, are idolaters. For instance, in the WT Nov. 15, 1981, p.21, where it makes this blasphemous statement; "Come to Jehovah's Organization for Salvation," and these articles:
Where in scripture are we EVER told to put faith in any man or organization? There is NO salvation in ANY organization, only in the person of Christ Jesus. Where in scripture are we ever told that Jesus is the mediator for the "anointed remnant" of Jehovah's Witnesses only? If you had thought this through, you'd realize that now you're left without a mediator, which means you're still in sin and the wrath of God remains on you.
These are just some of the things that caused my initial aversion to the authority of the faithful and discreet slave and made me question their authenticity. In my spirit, I knew the society was trying to replace Christ in the heart and mind of believers. It is a subtle, progressive manipulation of mind and soul which happens automatically when you hand over your free will and critical thinking to an organization, letting them do ALL your thinking for you.
Recently, there has been increasingly more emphasis put on loyalty to the "organization." They have successfully set up a "Golden Image." The WTS's false teachings are continually reinforced at meetings, where brothers and sisters are subjected to repetitive dogma prepared by the WT elite. I can't believe God ever intended for man to relinquish his conscience to man. Where's the scriptural authority for us allowing our God-given consciences to be sacrificed on the altar of the WT god (the organization)? By allowing a man-made organization to make your every decision, you end up being unable to make well reasoned and experienced decisions on your own -- like puppets on a string. God will never force us to obey Him -- He wants individuals who worship Him out of love and trust. He's looking for heartfelt devotion and sincerity -- not compulsion and fearful obligation.
Possessing Christian liberty doesn't mean we have a license to do whatever we want, but that we have the liberty to be who God created us to be. The WTS fosters an atmosphere that makes people co-dependant and afraid of freedom, by their construction of a "control" religion that successfully diminishes a person's ability and freedom to find the true God. Brothers, the organization is not our standard, Christ is. I've come to a place where I can no longer support the organization's self-glorification.
But God IS able and willing through Jesus Christ, our Lord, to rescue us. Through the power of God's Holy Spirit, the Father is still bringing people to His Son and in the process bringing believers to a place of true repentance and of having a broken and contrite spirit that is fully aware of how very much we need Jesus, and the Son is still baptizing believers with the Holy Spirit. When you turn to and depend upon Him, you find true peace and contentment. He has blessed me in allowing a very personal experience with His Holy Spirit. (Of which, only XXXXX XXXXXX is receiving a detailed account.) Whether or not you are willing to accept it or reject it, Christ STILL cleanses and baptizes with the Holy Spirit. Your rejection of it doesn't make it any less true. The scales have fallen from my eyes and my heart has been opened. It came as an unexpected surprise, but it was received in complete joy. And brothers, before you run the risk of blaspheming the Holy Spirit, I would suggest you heed our Lord's counsel at Matthew 12: 31-32: "Blaspheming the Holy Spirit is the unforgivable sin." Try not to judge and condemn something you know nothing about.
I have heard the rumors circulating about me. I want to take this opportunity to tell you that I haven't joined another church, denomination or religion, nor do I have any plans to do so at the present. I don't feel that I HAVE to go anywhere -- but I do desire to fellowship with other believers. Trusting God, I'm confident that with His grace and guidance I'll soon be able to start searching for fellowship -- and I'll find a place where true unconditional Christian love is evident. Where fellowship isn't based on how many hours one spends going door to door. It's truly tragic what the WTS does to the minds of its followers.
My experience with Christ and the Holy Spirit was in the privacy of my own home, after deep prayer and supplication to God and Christ for guidance and understanding. And of finally coming to a place, in my spirit, of TOTAL surrender to Him. Of course, it involved much more than what I'm saying here -- I realize you don't understand what I'm talking about, because it's the WT organization that provides salvation for the Jehovah's Witnesses. You believe WT teaching and association are going to save you, when the Bible explicitly says nothing saves but the wonderful grace of God through faith in Christ Jesus, alone.
I'm looking forward to the journey that God has mapped out for my life. There's a contentment in not having to have all the answers, but just trusting Him, knowing He's in control and knowing in my heart that no matter what our circumstances are or the trials each of us face each day, everything will work out for His glory and the believers' edification.
I haven't been to the meetings in so long, I can't say with truthfulness that I will miss it. The truth of the matter is, I don't even know many of you anymore. But to the few that I have been close to, XXXXX XXXXXX (whom I love beyond measure, she is the very best friend I've ever had and I will continue to love her, unconditionally), XXXX and XXXXXX XXXXXX (who under different circumstances, I know we would have been the closest of friends. I felt instant affection for them), these are the ones that my heart weeps for. And of course XXXXXX'X family -- sadly we've never been close with them because we weren't strong in the WT truth.
While JW's say it's not like that in their congregations, I know differently from being involved for so many years, that there's a very real "elite" class among them. If a person doesn't "fit", then they're left out. I never could make myself perform the WT shuffle that was required to "fit" in with the "elite" and the many cliques. I thank God that none of my family would ever listen to me. It's tragic that JW friendships are so conditional on being a WT robot. They don't show the unconditional love of our Maker, they use love like an evil tool -- "We'll love you as long as you're one of us." The weak and wounded are discarded and trampled upon. They suffer their rejection and heartache in silence in the midst of the happiest people on earth, who are citizens of Jehovah's spiritual paradise because they have been convinced by Jehovah's anointed that this is all there is and there's nowhere else for them to go.
Thank God we can go to Christ Jesus. He's the Good Shepherd. He's not partial and He came to save sinners like me. God doesn't require that we conform to a denomination and in the process lose who and what we are. God does accept us right where we are and then through the power of His Spirit, HE begins His work of gently and lovingly changing us, from within. Only in this miraculous way do we escape being whitewashed tombs, while inside still full of dead men's bones. We can only come to Christ as the Holy Spirit gently woos us. He brings us to a place where, out of a pure heart, we're able to honestly acknowledge our sinful state, be sincerely repentant, realizing our need for a savior and accepting that Jesus Christ is that Savior. Then it's our privilege and Christian responsibility to lift up the name and the person of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, as the only Savior of the world. This is not something Christians do to be saved but because He loved and saved us. All who belong to Him will come to Him. I rest in that assurance.
I would like to thank God for the experience of having been a Jehovah's Witness. I've wondered if I would have still made this long and difficult journey to the feet of our Lord, Jesus Christ, if it hadn't of been for the WTS. But then the Holy Spirit reminds me that it's the Father that draws us to the Son, not the WTS. He searches for His sheep until He finds them. And then He brings us to safety in His loving arms. God can and is willing to save us, in spite of the WTS or any other obstacle. The Spirit of God does not produce a spirit of fear, unlike what I experienced as one of Jehovah's Witnesses. I grew so fearful and paranoid of the world around me, that to this day, I have a hard time trusting others. Hopefully, in time, the fear and paranoia that has been instilled in me these past 24 years will by the grace and mercy of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, be put to rest.
God's Spirit is indeed moving in these last days. Until people realize Christianity is about a relationship with a Person, NOT a denomination, they will spend their lives "searching the scriptures, because you think that by means of them you will have everlasting life; and these are the very ones that bear witness about me (Jesus). And yet you do not want to come to me that you may have life." (John 5:39-40.) He has tried to make it clear to us. Brothers, Jesus is weeping for your darkness.
It is fascinating to see that "Christendom" is not the dark barren place that the WTS paints it to be. There is true knowledge and real scholarship apart from the WTS. They (WTS) want their followers to believe that there is nothing "out there." What is "out there" is better, more scholarly, more scripturally correct than the WTS wants us to believe. Not that there isn't error, but usually errors are not covered over and perpetuated as they are in the WT organization.
Christendom is the first to make judgment upon themselves for their shortcomings before their Master. Even in "Christendom", as in the WT organization, you have to be careful so as not to fall into the same trap. A person can accumulate all the "knowledge" in the world, but unless that knowledge is produced from a living relationship with Christ, it is useless. Brothers, Christ really does and will reveal Himself to those who love God. Glorifying the organization is idolatrous. What would you do if it crumbled tomorrow? Remember, only Babylon the Great says to herself that she will never mourn -- such a proud and haughty statement. Sticking your head in the sand and believing you're safe is a very dangerous position to be in. Refusing to look at the facts is exhibiting a proud and haughty attitude, by being unwilling to acknowledge that there's a great possibility that the WTS could be wrong. What are you afraid of? Can't the truth stand the test? The only sturdy foundation to be grounded on is the Rock. Please, don't stumble over it.
Although my concerns in this letter are many, they are by no means exhausted. There's just not enough room to put them all in a letter of this caliber. But suffice to say, my God is not a god that changes His mind or causes chaos and confusion and fear, so my God is not the god of the WTS. My God is not the father of the lie.
WT. 12/1/91 p.7; "A religion that teaches lies cannot be true."
It's interesting to read what the Apostle John had to say about liars. Revelation 21:8: "But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and muderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."
In the 5/1/73 WT, p.280, the following were the baptismal vows:
These were the questions I answered when I was baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, in the summer of 1973. I can still answer these questions with a resounding YES, with a clear conscience. This letter is the result of my conviction that I am dedicated unreservedly to God to do his will.
Concerning Christian baptism, this is what the 7/1/55 WT, p.411 had to say:
But we find this exact thing happening when in the 6/1/85 WT,
we find these questions asked before baptism:
I thank God that I was baptized before this change and never had to answer this question in the affirmative. My dedication and baptism identified me as a Christian only. What happened to Jesus' instructions to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit?? Where does the WTS get the authority to make these kinds of changes, totally ignoring how Christ taught us to baptize? This is indeed blasphemous. The WTS has now successfully slid their way into a place that is reserved for God only. I never vowed loyalty to the WT organization. This is evidence of how thoroughly the Society mixes up loyalty to itself with loyalty to God.
Well brothers, what now?? Now that I've confessed the magnitude of my "sin" and exposed the doubts and concerns from the very depths of my being? The tragedy and futility of this whole letter is that while I have brought up very thought provoking questions and have been as truthful as I can possibly be, what will matter most and what you will be saying is; "Linda doesn't believe the WTS is God's organization. She doesn't believe the JW anointed remnant is God's only mouthpiece on Earth." THAT IS ALL THAT MATTERS WITH YOU! After everything that I've expressed, none of it matters except the god of JW's, the organization. Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? Hasn't that always been the fate of God's people throughout history?? How do you justify "pressuring" people into believing something for the sole sake of "unity" instead of individuals believing something out of heart-felt conviction?? That's the reason there was such horrors as the Inquisition. And why people like Michael Servetus were burned at the stake. That's the reason the weak and doubting ones that don't accept and believe all the unique WT teachings (whatever they happen to be at the time) are hunted down, interrogated and disfellowshipped, if they happen to be vocal about their beliefs. Or else they have to live in hiding, never able to express themselves and never comfortable around JW's because of their obsession with the WT organization.
The organization and those taking the lead in it would rather the brothers and sisters just keep their doubts to themselves and believe lies, rather than explain the discrepancies and doctrinal flip-flops. If a person no longer believes something, then saying or pretending they do, to please someone else, is dishonest and would produce a crisis in conscience in any honest hearted one. William J.H. Boetcker once said: "That you may retain your self-respect, it is better to displease the people by doing what you know is right, than to temporarily please them by doing what you know is wrong." I would be lying to say I believe the WT teachings. I'm tired of pretending I do.
Self-respect demands that I at least be honest with myself. The saying of "To thine own self, be true" is of monumental importance. Do you think God wants us to lie to ourselves and go along with lies, just so an organization can save face? After all, God TRULY knows what each of us believe in our hearts, doesn't He?
In the 1974 WT publication, Is This Life All There Is? on p.46, we find this statement:
In light of statements such as this and considering the fact that I could just go on and on with quotes like this and since the WTS admonishes that a person can be considered "guilty by association" under the guise of "community responsibility" and even that "silence gives consent" (see 6/1/52 WT, pp. 344-6, 7/15/56 WT, pp.437-8, 440, 11/15/57 WT, pp.694-5, 9/8/87 AW, p.10), I find myself left with no choice other than to request that my name be removed from this congregation's personal records and from any other records the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society might keep. I no longer wish to be considered a member (although an inactive one) of the denomination known as Jehovah's Witnesses. I no longer recognize or accept the WTBTS or the elders in the local congregation or any congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses as representative of Christ's spiritual authority. I do not believe the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, under the direction of the WT anointed remnant, are God's sole channel of authority and communication to all people on this earth in these last days.
While I'll admit that the thought of freedom from organized religious guidance is frightful, I feel that this is the only decision I can make and the only path I can take at this time. It is my personal belief and consequently this is my Christian witness to you that the WTS is apostate from biblical Christianity, and indeed has never been "Christian" in the true sense of the word, and that our salvation does not depend upon our association with the Jehovah's Witnesses, the WT anointed remnant or the WT organization. Christ is not now, nor has He ever been the Head of this organization. Our salvation depends ONLY upon the person, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and no other.
While the WTS believes it has all the answers, real life is diverse and is not as black and white as they would have us to believe. What the WTS has really managed to manufacture is a packaged pseudo- Christianity. Believing you have all the answers is putting yourself in a position of great disappointment. "Let him who thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." I've learned this the hard way, the same way I've always had to learn all great and beneficial lessons in my life. My prayer is the same as our Lord Jesus when he uttered these words: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (NAS) May God Almighty have mercy on us all. At this point, I have the similar thoughts and feelings of Martin Luther when he said, "The Church may excommunicate me for disagreeing with their regulations but so long as the Lord Almighty does not excommunicate me for violating his word, what can man do to me?"
essentials ... unity
In non-essentials ... liberty
In all things ... charity
- St. Augustine