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!