I am the youngest of four children and was around six years old when my parents began to study the bible with Jehovah's Witnesses. We four children had our own separate study from a pink book called, "From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained."
I can honestly say that from the moment I learned about Jehovah, I loved him and was going to serve Him forever! I remember in grade 2 when I was 7 years old, a fellow student told me, "You will not be in that religion when you are older." I was shocked! "Yes I will!" I remonstrated.
Throughout school I was proud to be a witness of Jehovah and was very open about my beliefs, having lots of scriptural conversations with teachers and students. In year 9 when I was around 15 years of age, I was having one of my usual intense discussions with my history teacher, Mr Redpath, when he commented, "You won't be in that religion when you're older." Once again I was shocked! Why would someone say that to me? Can't they see that I will never leave my faith?
I was baptised at 16, left school and began pioneering (full time preaching) at the age of 17. I loved the ministry! I married my childhood sweetheart at the age of 21 and he joined me pioneering. We had a great congregation and we spent a lot of time with the young ones and forged great bonds with them. At the age of 28 we felt moved to answer the call to 'serve where the need was greater' and left Melbourne, Australia to go to Sydney. Once again we had some great times there in the ministry and made wonderful friendships with many whilst at the same time enduring unloving and unkind treatment by other sections of the congregation.
We then moved to country Victoria and ended up in an ideal congregation with equally ideal preaching opportunities. We loved being there! During this time, we were invited and trained to be substitute Circuit Overseer and wife (a travelling ministry.) We thoroughly enjoyed meeting new brothers and sisters in this role.
In the year 2000, we were invited by Bethel Australia to go on the Circuit work full time and we were thrilled! We loved our brothers and sisters in the faith and wanted to be of assistance. This was a dream come true! However ..... out of the blue we became the targets of a vicious and slanderous hate campaign for seemingly no reason. A 16-page letter was sent to Bethel by my husband's fellow elders accusing me of all sorts of things including being manipulative and unsubmissive. I was even called 'Jezebel' which was excruciating in the extreme for me since I had striven all my life to be exemplary in everything I did. The lies written in the letter were sent to Bethel and within 4 months, we had lost every single privilege we had ever had. My husband was deleted as an elder and Circuit Overseer because he was supposedly 'not presiding over his household in a fine manner'.
We appealed the decision, all the time being fully convinced that the truth would be revealed and that these slanderers would be dealt with and the congregation would be 'kept clean'. However, all the processes we followed led nowhere. No one cared. Everything was 'pushed under the carpet'. Even the letter that was sent to Bethel by the local elders was burned and wiped off their computers! We were dumbfounded! We both decided to leave the matter in Jehovah's hands in November 2000 and moved congregation to keep our sanity.
In the years that followed, I fell into a deep depression as I equated the disapproval of men (Elders, Circuit Overseers, Bethel representatives) as disapproval from Jehovah himself. I was shattered to think that Jehovah did not approve of me. How could this be? I did nothing but love my brothers and sisters! I felt like my universe was collapsing! I studied and prayed more than I'd ever done in my life. And I cried so many tears that I felt completely exhausted. After many years of doing this, I began to understand that Jehovah did not disapprove of me. These men did not represent Jehovah. How could they? They were liars and my God is the God of Truth.
It was extremely difficult not being able to tell anyone the truth about what had been done to us. We endured so much gossip - all of which was untrue. My husband kept comforting me with these words, "Jehovah knows the truth and we know the truth. That's all that matters."
Eventually we moved right away from the area and started a new life elsewhere in the country and continued to be very active in the ministry and made lovely friendships in our new congregation. However, over the years we became increasingly concerned with the discrepancies we had found between the WT and what the bible actually said.
We were aghast at the convention drama portraying the Gehazi story which was blatantly unscriptural. It seemed that no one else noticed these things.
We were particularly disturbed at a WT that indicated that Korah would be resurrected whereas JUDE 11-13 indicates otherwise. (WT May 1st 2005 page 15)
Another WT explained the reason that Jesus came to earth with these words, "Jesus' entire life course demonstrated that he came, not simply to be a great teacher or a miracle worker or even just a self-sacrificing Savior but to uphold Jehovah's sovereign will and bear witness to God's ability to fulfill that will through the Kingdom." (WT 1st DEC 2007 page 27 par 8) JUST a self-sacrificing Savior?! The whole bible shows that the main reason Jesus came was to give his life as a ransom for mankind - an outstanding gift of love from God and Christ.
The Watchtower went on to say in paragraph 10 of the same article, "While Jesus achieved many things by his life and death, was it not primarily for settling the issue of Jehovah's sovereignty that Jesus came to earth?" NO! JOHN 3:16 would have to be the most well known scripture in the world and it says, "For God loved the world so much that he gave his only begotten son, in order that anyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life." If the primary reason for Jesus coming to earth was to uphold Jehovah's sovereignty, it makes it sound like Jehovah had a selfish motive in sending his son rather than it being the great act of love that it truly was.
Furthermore, upon contemplation, how did Jesus death settle the issue of Jehovah's sovereignty anyway? As Jehovah's Witnesses, we were always taught that it was the passing of time that would settle the issue of sovereignty, as humans were given the opportunity to rule themselves and the consequences of such would become apparent. JER 10:23
Another Watchtower said that 'the day of Jehovah' was 'the Lord's day' which is blatantly contradictory. (WT 15th FEB 2013 page 18 par 4) 'Jehovah's Day' according to Jehovah's Witness teaching is Armageddon. 'The Lord's day' according to Jehovah's Witness teaching is a day belonging to Jesus and began in 1914 with his enthronement. How can 'the day of Jehovah' be 'the Lord's day'? Despite this glaring contradiction, everyone answered the questions happily and enthusiastically - all proud to be supporting the Watchtower study without a single thought as to whether this statement matched what had been taught previously or not.
These are just a few of the discrepancies that appeared in the WT. There were so many!
What was happening?!
We prayed and studied even more and felt that an apostasy was taking place. We however felt that it was still Jehovah's organisation and thus we had to stay. It was difficult to go to meetings and hear people proudly announce their complete trust in men and the organisation, but nonetheless we felt obedience demanded that we keep attending.
In July 2015 though, everything changed!
I stumbled over a link to a court case involving Jehovah's Witnesses and a child abuse victim - Candace Conti. I was shocked to the core with what I learned. As someone who takes their worship very seriously, I began an intensive research campaign to identify the truth of matters and what I discovered was life-changing!!! The first things I discovered are found on the 'Purpose of this website' page.
Please be assured that no matter how painful learning the real truth about matters is......the reward for those who love God and who love truth is WORTH IT!!! There are some very basic Jehovah's Witness teachings that are not correct scripturally and hinder us from finding a 'a pearl of great value.' Please don't let human ties and peer pressure stop you from examining the scriptures yourself and being a true Beroean. ACT 17:10,11
I can honestly say that although everyone in my family now refuses to speak with me (even though I am neither disfellowshipped nor formally disassociated) and out of all of our friends gained over many years, only two who are still in the organisation keep contact, I am truly happy! In fact I am thrilled!!! I have found the 'pearl of great value'! I feel so blessed! I now understand what that illustration means for the first time in my life and I hope that I and the others I've now met who have also found this 'pearl' can help you find it too! 😊
The information below explains the details surrounding our leaving and includes:
1. The letter my older sister sent me
2. My letter in reply.
3. An outline of our Judicial Committee Meeting