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Jehovah’s Witness missionary, for the first time in her life, she found she had the freedom to think.

dear_amber

CLICK HERE FOR AMBER’S STORY

 

Amber Scorah went to Shanghai as a Jehovah’s Witness missionary. But in one of the most restrictive, totalitarian countries in the world, for the first time in her life, she found she had the freedom to think.

Missionary work is illegal in China, and the government has recently toughened its response to proselytizing both clandestine and perceived. A Canadian couple living near the North Korean border were detained this August on suspicion of “espionage and stealing state secrets.” Although the accusations may not be linked to religious activity, the couple are actively practicing Christians. A broader crackdown on missionary work soon followed the couple’s detention.

Amber Scorah, of ChinesePod’s “Dear Amber” fame, first went to Shanghai as a Jehovah’s Witness missionary. Her goal: to save as many people from dying in Armageddon as possible. Back home in Vancouver, she dutifully avoided interactions with “worldly people” (non-Witnesses). In China, however, she had to hide her missionary work and develop relationships outside the faith in order to convert. In the process, she began to question the teachings of the church.

Scorah recently spoke to KCRW’s “The Organist” about learning Chinese, living abroad, and her spiritual transformation. Scorah also wrote about her Shanghai journey in the February 2013 edition of The Believer:

One of our purposes here at the Friends of JWs website is to help strengthen JWs with spiritual and Biblical faith.  Whether you remain a JW or leave, we want your faith and trust in Jehovah to be strong.  If you lose your faith in a human organization, don’t lose your faith in Jehovah and His Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ.

11 comments to Jehovah’s Witness missionary, for the first time in her life, she found she had the freedom to think.

  • Peter K. (admin)

    Amber,

    As a JW, did you ever have questions that you were afraid to ask?  If so, what were you afraid of?

    What impact – positive or negative – did being a JW have on your self image and impression of others either inside or totally outside of the JW Organization?

  • Peter K. (admin)

    Amber – What happened to your relationships with your friends and family inside the JW organization after you were disfellowshipped?

    What do you think is good and bad about the JW Organization and it’s impact on people’s lives?

  • QNA ....

    Sadly from reading Amber’s story I’m not so sure it would’ve mattered from what Christian faith she came from. She fell prey to a world that offered a different way of life and perhaps subconsciously she was adapting to their way of thinking. A world that viewed Jehovah and paradise earth as a myth. She didn’t just stop believing in the things she grew up with, she walked away from her personal faith with God. I don’t know if today she is looking for help but I hope somewhere deep in her heart she can see for herself that God and the promises he’s made is no myth.

    • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

      QNA, actually China has an information control and doesn’t encourage thinking outside of the collective so she should have stayed within her framework if she adopted their thinking, just how I see it.
      I had a similar experience as she did when I traveled with top entertainers. I got to know them and see that many were very spiritual but not in a particular religion because they saw so much. In fact an elder in the entertainment field and known worldwide would have women in his room just like the other entertainers and wasn’t aware that I was a witness. This caused me not to be able to push Jehovah witnesses.
      I was charged with the spiritual side of the tour as well as other duties and found I couldn’t condemn these people when they were more spiritual than many of the brothers in my local kingdom hall. They actually used the bible not books or what an organizational body of men said but what they could see. I learned more about the actual scriptures while having to research their different thoughts on scripture. Much like you did in your last comment.
      I LEARNED TO THINK FOR MYSELF WITH THE AID OF ONLY HOLY SPIRIT. The governing body couldn’t address these different views in the watchtower and I was as I say prevented by the conduct of this prominent entertainer and elder (still is) from presenting the JW view.
      We were kept separate to control our thought pattern and limit over time your ability to answer a question without checking to see what the watchtower said on the issue.
      Like Sarah when you are forced to have to solve a problem without the watchtower publications your brain cells awaken.
      So, I think it was not the fact that she was in China but the circumstances of having to see other people (her friend) as a person, redeemed by Christ, that she saw what God saw, someone if given a chance, who could serve him. No need to destroy everybody (unjust), without any hope and that the ransom is big enough to cover every man woman and child that has ever lived.

      • QNA ...

        Jacqueline, I say that because she was raised a JW and was probably pretty sheltered. Her intentions to find people to study with was sincere, but she said herself that she became great friends with her bible study. She had the freedom and opportunity to adapt to their lifestyle by socializing with her new friend. I’m not saying that it was wrong to become friendly outside of her studies, only that it played a part in how she started thinking. Why else would she believe that what she learned from the bible was now a myth? And yet, she is not an Atheist so there is hope?!? . Anyway, maybe I’m reading it wrong but that’s what I am getting from what she wrote. Now that I am thinking about it though, I won’t say anything else because to be honest it feels a little awkward to continue talking about someone without them being able to respond for themselves. I was only sharing my thought on her story because it was posted here.

        I know that you have a different outlook than I do on things but you understand why that is. You said once that I was in the sweetheart stage. Am I? I don’t know. It does seem like some of the things you say are not the things I know of this religion. Yes, there are no perfect brother or sister, and certainly everyone’s personality is different but nothing I’ve seen locally has caused me alarm. I too have friends outside the religion who are very spiritual. There are things concerning to me though. Like from the one who strongly believes in praying to Mary.

        Also, if my beliefs in the scriptures leads me to become a witness, will that mean that I would have ceased to think for myself? I know you don’t know me personally, but the one thing I can assure you of is that regardless of what happens, I am no pushover. Trusting anyone or anything takes me time. For me to accept anything as truth would mean I would have come to accept it deep down. Also, I might be as headstrong as…. (well, I’ll just leave that one up in the air and use no names!)

        The GB and whether or not they are being directed by Jesus is still something I am struggling with. I think everyone, including the lady I study with, is aware of that. I wasn’t sure even before coming to this site so what I read here, what I learn from outside sources, and what I learn from her will only partly help me in deciding who they are. Beyond that it will only be though earnest prayer! With him comes only truth and I believe I will find it. No matter what though, I hear what the BS’s are saying loud and clear, (Not that I am now agreeing wit it) but that I hear what you believe. That all will be given a chance during Jesus 1000 year reign.
        Thanks 🙂

        • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

          BTW: Sarah is seeing what everyone is saying about her. I guess when we get too crazy she is going to jump in here and set us straight.(:) I see she got smarter also and realizes that SILENT and LISTEN uses the same letters (:)
          QNA wow, I just saw your question on our having different outlooks. But I was shoveling snow today and was thinking on the very same thing and this is what I was going to write you before I saw this.
          I deal with the religion from an organizational and legal aspect. What’s on paper and what the law allows or disallows.
          You are looking at the same entity from a religious and doctrinal viewpoint. I don’t really care about a religion’s doctrine to a certain point as I can believe what I want, it is intellectual. Some people can look at the same scripture and see it from a different angle and I respect that. Also life can influence their thinking. That is why the thing to look for in a religion is whether they have “love among themselves”.
          Quite a few of the writers of the New Testament speak about letting each one speak and listen to one another discussing and digging, learning from the different exhortations. But the identifying mark is Love. I don’t really care what a religion says I go by how they behave. I rather see a sermon any day.
          I sat in the kingdom hall for years feeling it was a spiritual wasteland and a lot of rhetoric but I just didn’t accept it, no one was controlling my thought processes and my congregation was okay.
          But it got to the point I could no longer separate the message from the messenger and since I saw the organizational part as a fraud it was damaging to me to continue listening to what was being said from the platform, regardless of how nice and sincere the people were. It made me physically ill to read anything the hierarchy of the watchtower society said. I began to realize that it wasn’t getting me any brownie points with God and that I just might be offensive as I have seen the real beast in court and out. I have absolutely no respect for the ruling body (not individuals) set up of the witnesses. They say they are the only organization on the face of the earth that God talks to or deals with. That is not true. I sit among a group of Christian where I see the Holy Spirit of God at work. Rev 18 chapter indicates that there are still some of God’s people with Babylon yet the governing body says no.
          Luke approached Jesus life from a research and medical viewpoint. Matthew, Mark and John from yet different angles. You and I are like that I feel.
          I don’t try to influence persons in their belief system, i will make a defense to a certain point and give the person the opportunity to digest and come to their own conclusion and it does not have to be the way I see it. Christians should agree on certain basics and realize all are at different stages of development.
          I hope the internet complaints will help you have peace when you get baptized and disagree openly. Your thinking for yourself shouldn’t be affected, nor anyone. But I would love to see the reaction ( or be a fly on the wall)when you express your thoughts if different from what the governing body teaches thru the pages of the watchtower. Hopefully they now realize they can’t bully people and speaking out would not have been for nothing as you and others will be allowed to operate like the early Christians when assembled.One word of caution however is if you don’t agree with what they say just wait a year or now months and they will change. Even the song book is undergoing yet another change according to some of my relatives, it seems whoever is directing them just can’t get it right on that issue. See I am going from an organizational viewpoint not individual people. Take Care QNA until later.

          • QNA ....

            Jaqueline, thank you for explaining your position on the organization more clearly.

            Off topic:
            I want to say how glad I am that your site now identifies who the bible students are when a comment is posted. It’s a nice improvement.

  • Dundee

    This story resonates with me.

  • Jacqueline

    Amber, I saw some of the post to you on google plus but when I tried to post it wouldn’t let me change it to my name.
    But I want to say your story is compelling and I have seen it in other places also.
    It was a logical approach and you presented yourself in a precise manner.

    My journey or realization came over a longer period of time and I was not aware that the meeting with me in my home by one elder and a ministerial servant was a fact finding committee until 10 years later. Take Care and enjoy your life, it is a gift from God.

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