My mom and dad were baptized almost exactly one month to the day of my birth, in 1970 at a district convention in California. And spent the first two years after my birth as full-time pioneers (no that doesn’t have anything to do with the 19th century travelers.) So… I don’t remember a day we weren’t considered Jehovah’s Witnesses.
After my sisters were born though, my mother’s health became increasingly poor and although we continued to go to the Kingdom Hall and participate in field service, my parents zeal for “the truth” was never the same.
April 20th of 1985, I was baptized. If ever there was someone who lead a “double-life” it was me. I wanted to get baptized for the sole purpose of showing my parents that I was grown up, that I could do what I wanted to do. I wanted desperately to move out of their house and away from my mother, with whom I had a progressively more strained relationship.
I’m sure that there are plenty of Witnesses out there who would say that I left the Jehovah’s Witness faith because I had never “made the truth my own”. I don’t believe that this is the case. I believed, for 28 years that I had the truth. I was sure of it! Positive that it was the only way to salvation.
I also believed that I was not good enough to live up to it. That there was nothing I could ever do, no amount of prayer or service work or meeting attendance that would ever make me a good enough Witness. I just didn’t think I could ever be good enough. And yet, the Watchtower Society pumped out more and more magazines that said that Jehovah might save you. Even if you were doing all that you could do, he only “might” save you.
Once, while in an elder meeting, begging for their help with a serious problem I had gotten myself into, I explained to them that I felt that I would never make it to the “new system,” never make it to “paradise,” because I had done some pretty awful things that I was in no way proud of and I was sure that Jehovah would never be able to forgive me, one of the elders said that that was a very good possibility. To say the least, I was devastated. Worse, was that not one of them offered me comfort or encouragement. Not one of them prayed for Jehovah to heal my wounds or allay my fears.
Instead, they prayed that I make a right standing with Jehovah and the Watchtower Organization. When I left that meeting, I felt more empty and more alone than I ever had in my life. I wondered if Jehovah was really that cold and impersonal that he didn’t care if I was hurting and scared, but only if I was doing the “right things”. Did he only want to see me following along, like everyone else at the Kingdom Hall? Did he only want me to act like I was a follower of him and not feel like I was?
Needless to say, I left for the last time just six months after that meeting. My life as a follower as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses had no meaning. It was pretty much in the bag that I wouldn’t be saved. Why put myself through all the suffering of having nothing here on earth and then, dying forever to boot!
However, even after leaving “the truth” for good, I couldn’t believe that there was another way. Jehovah was Almighty God. He was the end all and be all. I may never be able to live up to him or be saved, but I knew I could never not believe that he was anything other than I had been taught.
That was, until I met someone who challenged my beliefs. See Disassociation Letter for the official details of my leaving the Watchtower Society.
Why do I feel it necessary to tell any of this? Contrary to what some believe, including my mother, who is still a Jehovah’s Witness, this is not about persecution. I am not attacking anyone. I have a deep concern for all the brothers and sisters I was associated with in group or in person. I don’t want to leave, not even one, without a chance of knowing my Savior, YHWH, through the work of His Son, Yeshua. The Messiah of the Bible, not the Jesus of the Watchtower Organization.