Skip to comments.Can It Be? (Testimony of a former Jehovah's Witness)
Posted on 04/03/2010 3:12:52 PM PDT by NYer
This is my 16th Easter.
For the first 38 years of my life I did not celebrate Easter because I was one of Jehovahs Witnesses, a pseudo- Christian group with a very strange economy of salvation. It is not easy to describe life in a cult like Jehovahs Witnesses. It is very dark. Even their light is darkness.
Jehovahs Witnesses do not believe in the Trinity, so they do not believe in the deity of Christ. They believe that Jesus was Michael the Archangel before he came to earth, and that after he was resurrected, he went back to being Michael the Archangel — but with the name “Jesus.” They do believe Jesus died (but not on a cross) to save mankind from sin and death by atoning for the disobedience of Adam. Jesus had to be a perfect man, to match Adam in every respect, and thus he takes Adams place as our father. I know this is weird — not to mention the whole ontological problem of how he is an angel, then a human, and then an angel again — but Im telling you about it because I want you to know that I had an idea that I could call myself a Christian and believe Jesus died for me, without conceiving of Jesus as God.
Most of you reading this are like my grandchildren who have heard all their lives that Jesus died for you and that Jesus is God the Son - true God from true God. It has never dawned on you, because it was always the light that you lived in.
But it dawned on me.
In 1993, after a long and harrowing period of life disruption, searching for the peace and transformative power that I read about in the New Testament, I had an encounter with Christ.
Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and natures night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
I did not know then that he was Deity, but I knew that he was not who the Jehovahs Witnesses said he was. I knew that I would have to leave the religion that I had grown up in and known all my life. I would have to walk away from every relationship of my adult life. I went to a church.
Now to you, that might seem like the most natural thing in the world for me to do. You want to know about Jesus, you go to a church. But for me it was terrifying. I had always been told that churches housed demons. Jehovahs Witnesses do not even like to turn their cars around in a church parking lot. But that visit to a church set me on the road to learning the truth about Jesus. It became pretty clear, pretty quickly that Christians worshiped Jesus. The fundamental fact of my religious upbringing had been that you only worshiped God (Jehovah), who is Jesus father. To worship anything or anyone else was to be guilty of idolatry. But there was a tractor beam on my heart. I had to figure out who Jesus really was.
Having left what I recognized to be a religion of error, I was very leery about falling into error or being misled once again. But I knew that I had to open my mind to the witness and the arguments of Christians around me in order to untwist the distorted way I had learned to read scripture.
A humorous skit put on one time at a meeting of ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses illustrated what I was facing. It featured a “Christian” trying to “help” a recently-exited Witness. When the ex-JW expressed confusion about Christian doctrine, the Christian said, “Oh, it’s easy. Just believe everything the opposite.”
“What are you talking about?” the baffled ex-JW asked.
“Well, you didn’t used to believe in the Trinity, and now you do. You didn’t used to believe in the deity of Christ, and now you do. You didn’t used to believe in the immortal soul, and now you do. You didn’t used to believe in going to heaven, and now you do. You didn’t used to believe in celebrating Christmas, and now you do. See, everything is the opposite. It’s easy.”
The appreciative laughter with which this was greeted gave testament to the fact that it is not easy! And the more you care, really care, about the truth, the harder your struggle is. If you have always lived in the truth, you can’t imagine how hard it is.
For a while I lived in a partial shadow. I was in love with Jesus, but still didn’t know what to make of all the Christian adoration of Him? How could I explain this phenomenon if he were not God?
I found some relief by latching onto the biblical image of the Church as the Bride of Christ. After all, what would be more natural than for a bride to be focused on her bridegroom? Of course Christians sang love songs to Jesus! It was the Jehovahs Witnesses who were strange — like a bride who ignored her groom and tried to give all her affection to her father-in-law instead.
Meanwhile, I was participating in Christian prayer and worship to the best of my limited understanding. I also asked questions, and I studied… and studied and studied. Finally I was turned on to reading the Early Church Fathers. It started to became clear to me that this teaching — that Jesus was Divine, was God in the flesh — was really Christian teaching from the beginning, was the apostolic witness.
There was just one problem left in my mind: If Jesus was God, then that man on the Cross was God.
It would mean that God had died.
It would mean that God had died… for me.
For all time, there will be no more astounding, no more elevating, no more humbling proposal to a human soul than this.
And can it be that I should gain
an interest in the Saviors blood!
Died he for me — who caused his pain –
For me who him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be
that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
He left his Fathers throne above
(so free, so infinite his grace!),
emptied himself of all but love,
and bled for Adams helpless race.
Tis mercy all, immense and free,
for O my God, it found out me!
Amazing love! How can it be
that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
The sun had come up in my life.
[The lyrics are from the hymn, "And Can it Be (Amazing Love)", by Charles Wesley. Enjoy the lovely rendition here.]
Jesus IS Lord
It’s on my front door
They don’t even bother to knock.
We have a pastor here who calls them the “Jehovah’s False Witnesses.”
Careful now, if you let the old JWs learn you’ve returned to “Apostate Christianity”, you’re bound to get some skeletons from your closet unleashed.
Good post, saved for further reading. My daughter is a member of that cult and I pray that God removes the scales from her eyes to see His true glory. I went with her to their “Memorial” service a couple years ago and found it very strange that when they passed the bread and wine I wasn’t supposed to touch it - only select members could partake in the meal. And it did seem very dark in there - no windows.
JW’s sell ‘Jesus on a stick’ not a cross!
They initially believed they were the true
remnant The 144,000 spoke about in Revelation.
With 6 or 7 million JWs around the world this could pose at the very least a statistical problem.
save for later
Thank you for this. I teach at a Christian homeschool ministry and two of our children are JW. We had an Easter Celebration - not a party, but truly a celebration of Christ and these children had to sit by themselves and not participate. This helped explain to me where they are coming from and why they look like deer caught in headlights when we have devotion time.
We must be doing/saying something right because we have not scared them away yet and they keep coming back week after week. I hope Jesus has captured their hearts. Thanks again - I now know where to focus my prayer!
http://www.catholicxjw.com/ A great site for Catholics dealing with JWs.
If it’s not the same Jesus as the bible, its not Jesus.
Very good info, thanks!
For me, seeing how the issue of Easter was the result of a government edict (upon pain of death) in 325 AD, I preferred to return to the faith practiced by the Apostles. I cannot find the word “Easter” in the NT and it is not in the Greek. The only word is the one translated “passover” every place else. That is what I practice and I am not alone. In fact, aside from the JW’s position on Easter, there are a number of Churches of God that observe the Passover instead of Easter.
This is not only time that a church has been co-opted by government. In recent history, the LDS church changed their position on plural marriage right after the US government held Utah statehood hostage. I suspect that the Roman Catholic Church may have a “revelation” about married priests if the sexual abuse scandal gets much worse and governments hint of severe criminal sanctions. I also suspect that some Protestant churches may have revelations to permit gay “marriage” about the time that governments start to enforce equal rights laws.
In the case of Easter, Emperor Constantine presided over the Council of Nicea in 325 AD and decided the issue in favor of observing Easter and condemned anyone observing the Passover on the 14th of Nisan to be an apostate worthy of death.
While others may bend their knee to church doctrines decided by worldly governments, even if they are rubber-stamped by church delegates, I will politely reserve the right to come to my own conclusion.
There are various ways of sugar-coating this, but the history on this point is far more settled than is AlGore’s GlobalLukeWarming.
PRAISE GOD. JESUS IS VICTOR.
Dr Walter Martin documented his research that convinced him that the JW founders
DELIBERATELY CONCOCTED A SHAM OF A RELIGION
TOTALLY AS A MONEY MAKING POWER !!!!CONTROL!!!! SCHEME over other people’s lives.
Totally and only . . . that it was a sham from the foundation up.
Lower down the ranks, they had no idea that was what it was created to be. But the top ranks knew—because they’d done it.
My Dad is caught in that cult so I’ll bump the thread thanks for the nice read
By your comment you must not have respect for God, or His
Son, or the Scriptures. I am not a JW, but I do study the
Scriptures. You might learn something if you did, too.
In the Greek New Testament two words are used for “the
cross” on which the Lord was put to death.
The word ‘stauros’ means upright pale or stake.
The other word ‘xulon’ denotes a piece of dead log or
wood or timber, for fuel or for any other purpose.
It is not like ‘dendron’ which is used of a living
or green tree. The verb ‘stauroo’ means to drive stakes.
Our English word ‘cross’ is the translation of the Latin
word ‘crux’; but the the Greek ‘stauros’ no more means
‘crux’ than a “stick” mean “crutch”.
Stauros never means two pieces of timber placed across
one over the other at any angle, but is ALWAYS of
one piece of alone. There is nothing in the Greek
of the New Testament even to imply two pieces of timber.
Acts 5:30- The God of our fathers raised up Jesus,
whom ye slew and hanged on a tree ‘xulon’ (dead
timber or stake). The present day understanding
of the cross was introduced by the Roman Church late in
the Forth Century. It has no basis in the Bible.
E. W. Bullinger-The Companion Bible.
I often call it Resurrection Sunday.
theBuckwheat: “There are various ways of sugar-coating this, but the history on this point is far more settled than is AlGores GlobalLukeWarming.”
Why would you burden people who celebrate Easter by talking about its history? So what if it was ORIGINALLY created by government edict? We don’t celebrate Easter by government edict. We celebrate it because it means Christ is risen.
I guess I’m trying to make the point (probably not very well) that I think you are mistakenly burdening believers. You are trying to hold them to a standard that has absolutely nothing to do with what they actually believe. We are supposed to be free of such laws of men.
What matters is what people think and feel in their hearts when they worship right now, not what some government did over a thousand years ago. Christians are simply celebrating Christ’s resurrection. There’s nothing wrong with that. Lighten up, brother!
In the JW book, the admit the following verse speaks of Jesus:
“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12
Yet their denomination is built on Joel 2:32, which says, “Whoever calls on the name of Jehovah shall be saved.”
Either there are two ways (and two names) to heaven, or Jesus is Jehovah. Jesus is Jehovah!
I don’t see were it says to use toilet paper either. So your upset about a word that describes what happened in the Bible. But it is not in the bible. So I guess no words should be used to explain it outside the bible?
Helping Jehovah’s Witnesses Find Freedom in Jesus:
(Yeah, well you can't find the word "Bible" in the Bible, either...I'm sure that doesn't stop you from reading it, does it?)
Some JW's were walking the street knocking on doors.
They approached me and asked if I wanted to take a Watch Tower magazine. I am very familiar with their "religion" having read Dr. Walter Martin master work "Kingdom of the Cults" several times.
I calmly and in a very friendly manner explained to them if they wish to have a discussion they will at an very large disadvantage as I am well versed in their cult and the error of their doctrinal positions.
Both walked off.
I looked around for my kid and he went inside after I told the guy he belonged to cult, he thought we were going to get in a fight LOL
No answer. She just stood there speechless. I walked away and said “Have a nice day!”
I have a young man in my RCIC class, his father is JW, I get the feeling that might have caused the divorce between his parents because Mom is Catholic.
Excellent response! Truth is powerful indeed!
Easter was already celebrated, all they settled at the First Conference of Nicaea (other of course than the matter of the Arian heresy and the Creed) was how to calculate the date of Easter.
And if you read the Venerable Bede's History of the English Church and People (which I highly recommend, by the way) you will find that the word "Easter" is just an Anglo-Saxon happenstance. It was the name of an old British goddess that nobody remembers a thing about, other than that her festival occurred around the time of Easter. Bede's mention of her is the only mention anywhere, by the way, and some people claim he made it up. No reason to question his credibility, I think that the various godlings of a non-literate people tend to fall by the wayside because nobody writes them down.
The English had a second controversy over the calculation of the date of Easter somewhat later, which was resolved in 664 at the Council of Whitby. The Irish didn't get on board until a hundred years later or so.
So it really isn't worth worrying about at all.
You can't get too exercised about the minutiae of translations into your native tongue, if it bothers you go read the Greek Testament and the LXX and the Vulgate.
***There is nothing in the Greek
of the New Testament even to imply two pieces of timber.***
If it is just an upright stake, what do the Greek Orthodox believe it is? A cross!
Bullinger also believed that ONLY the last few letters of Paul are for the “body of Christ” today and that the church began at Acts 28, when Paul journied to Rome.
Well of course you won’t find the term Easter.
What you are looking for is PASCHA. And you find that from the death of Christ onwards.
It makes not one whit of difference what the Greek Orthodox
believe or any one else. It is what the Bible says is
important. The word stauros translated to English as
cross, is a pole, not a cross. Anything not based on
the Scriptures is man-devised, by definition is not
holy or pure or perfect. That’s all.
Anything not based on
the Scriptures is man-devised, by definition is not
holy or pure or perfect. Thats all.***
So, why did the Greek Christians of the first centuries always show a cross! I would imagine that they knew what it meant. All the iconography shows a cross.
Does anyone find it interesting that anytime the JW’s are brought up .. there is a hateful like rhetoric from others, sorta like the crap that is spewed about the tea party folks?
I see the word ‘Cult’ thrown around when referencing these folks .. Not to be un-kind but I could say the same about Most religious beliefs and the Catholic religion would truly stand out.
(1) A particular system of religious worship, esp. with reference to its rites and ceremonies. (Not lacking among the catholics, for sure)
(2) An instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, esp. as manifested by a body of admirers (Of course we could include the Pope here, couldn’t we?)
Take the Plank out your own eye people!
TOTALLY AS A MONEY MAKING POWER !!!!CONTROL!!!! SCHEME over other people’s lives.
I helped D. James Kennedy open his very first 'church' .. way back in the late 60's.
It was an old firehouse station on commercial blvd. in Fort Lauderdale.
Some years later, I was invited to a debate by Dr Kennedy and Dr. Martin.
As close as the two of these gentlemen were as friends .. their beliefs were not always in agreement!
I could write a book denouncing just about any religion but .. so what?
Money Making and Power?
IF that were such a bad thing then Dr Kennedy would have never been able to build his "Palace" of a church that sits on some pretty expensive real estate now.
(Federal Hwy and Commercial Blvd)
Money? I'm sure Dr Martin made quite a few dollars in his lifetime.
All religious systems or belief systems are not exactly the same, either in foundation or practice.
Are you saying there are no differences between any of them? One thing that always creeps me out is Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Halls never have any windows (that I’ve ever seen).
Darkness prefers to avoid the light . . . in my experience and observations.
I’d guess that you haven’t been in very many? (halls)
They are built kind of like schools that I went to.
Windows are usually rectangular, running around the top of the walls.
Like schools, they help to avoid distractions.
(I wont bother to comment on that other post, (not yours) .. It wouldn’t be right to do so on Easter, would it!?)
I’ve never been in a Jehovah’s Witness meeting hall. Just seen from the outside.
All religious systems and beliefs are not the same either in practice, beliefs or foundation.
I have never seen one that didn’t have some truth it in; some more, some less. Some a lot more, some a lot less.
The problem that We All find ourselves with is that Christ himself clearly stated that there was, One Way and One Truth.
There is the Broad Road leading to destruction, (eternal death) and the Narrow Path that leads to eternal life.
My belief is that he was talking about God’s word and his commandments.
Satan started the idea of another religion in the Garden of Eden.
I believe that he is the author of confusion and the creation of uncountable and numerous separate beliefs and religions are his tools to lead us all astray.
Wasn’t it Paul .. Talking about the Thessalonians who said .. “truly I bear them witness that the have a True love of God ‘but’, Not knowing the righteousness of God (Truth, way).. They seek to establish their own righteousness and in doing so .. they make themselves an enemy of God”?
I admit, I am paraphrasing here and am not entirely sure if it was the Thessalonians that he was talking about but the premise is correct.
We HAVE to search out the Truth of God’s word, wherever it is.
ALL religious beliefs cannot be correct .. If they are not in accordance with each other and with God’s word.
(compare religions .. Most conflict in their teachings/beliefs with each other)
Saying that you believe that the Christ died for our sins is just not enough .. We Must know WHAT his message was and follow his way or .. His message would have been relativly Short, huh?
Satans two tools: Having us believe that he doesn’t exist and False Religion.
Ask your daughter if she feels comfortable about the JW heiarchy allowing convicted child molesters to do door to door ministries on unsuspecting homeowners. She’ll be baffled.
Actually, they believe that a select group of 7 million JWs make up the 144K that go to heaven. The rest of them live forever on the earth.
3.the object of such devotion. 4.a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc. 5.Sociology. a group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols. 6.a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader. 7.the members of such a religion or sect. 8.any system for treating human sickness that originated by a person usually claiming to have sole insight into the nature of disease, and that employs methods regarded as unorthodox or unscientific.
6 and to a lesser extent 8 describe JW beliefs.
"a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader."
There is a problem here, actually a few problems: Who does the considering here?
You,The Rev. Al Sharpton .. The Pope, Who?
"under the direction of a charismatic leader"
Again, this would fit in nicely with the Catholics and the Pope
On your number eight: "... treating human sickness...employs methods regarded as unorthodox or unscientific" .. Other than the abstaining from the use of blood .. What other unorthodox or unscientific medical practices do the JW's engage in?
If outside of conventional society is a Bad thing, would you please explain why? Actually .. Please just explain WHAT that means!?
Every JW that I know of ..live in homes and go to normal jobs just like you and I do.
They shop in the same markets and go to the same banks.
If they have compounds anywhere .. I'm not aware of any?
(Hey .. I can do red too) LOL
I remember ‘studying’ with JW’s long ago, being raised an atheist, I didn’t know better.
Anyway, they believed that the 144,000 were special chosen from among their ‘church’, and at that time, the 144,000 ‘spots’ had been ‘taken’. This was late 1970’s early 1980’s. They also believed that when those 144,000 had died, the millennium age would come.
I was lucky I didn’t become a JW. I had known about an early prophecy of theirs, and asked for the ‘study book’ from that time. I found their prediction, and then knew that they weren’t true.
It much later that God convicted my heart and I accepted Christ.
Is that a part of his comedic routine or .. as I suspect .. He teaches derision as a defense against people who mean no harm.
So .. as in the days of Noah .. well, you get the idea.