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Testimonials

Romans 8:28 promises, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” NASV.  All of us desire to be close to our God Jehovah and his son, Jesus Christ.  We long for their comfort, guidance and encouragement in our lives.  We are promised in Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.” NKJV.  Yet when difficult and harsh experiences come, we sometimes feel alone and afraid.  In Hebrews 13:5 we read, “God Himself has said, “I will never, never let go your hand: I will never never forsake you.” Weymouth.  You are not alone.  Your heavenly Father and his Son are watching over you.  You are not alone.  There are others like you who have experienced hard trials and difficult experiences.  Take some time to share with us.  To tell your story.  To encourage others.  That is what this Testimony section is for.

504 comments to Testimonials

  • greg (Bible Student)

    Here’s a Journal Snippet from October 18, 2012

    (begin snippet)
    I will not be found guilty of The Silence of Consent. I know that self-invalidating messages do not speak truth. I know that the reality of others* does not have to be mine. I know that experience may bring confusing facts to light, but it takes earnest searching for truth to make sense of them. I know what my experience bears witness to, and I will not forsake my own experience, for how can I truly believe someone else’s then? No! The solution must lie within integration – not within the rejection of inconvenient truths.
    (end snippet)

    * Explanatory note: When I say “the reality of others” I’m referring to the sum total of 1) the other person’s experiences, b) their perceptions and awareness of their experiences, and c) the conclusions (or explanations) they make about their experiences.

    This is a crucial concept to have clear, and yet it’s also very difficult to express clearly. So another way of putting this concept into words would be: The beliefs a person develops arise from a) the facts they have, which are b) usually only a subset of all the facts potentially available, and c) what they tell themselves about ONLY the facts they have.

    While my experience itself is never liable to error, parts of my experience may escape my notice, and others parts may be flavoured by my previous experiences (parts of which may have also have escaped my notice), and so the reactions I have and the conclusions I draw about my experiences may or may not reflect the actual experience but may instead reflect more my somewhat distorted awareness of my experience. We often fail to make any clear distinction between 1) “that which simply is” and 2) the reactions we have about “that which simply is.” Worst of all, our reactions often prevent us from seeing a great deal of “that which simply is.”

    To learn to keep observation distinctly separate from evaluation is probably one of the most difficult skills a person can attempt to master. In my continuing search for truth, it’s also been one the most important skills to work on.

    -greg

  • greg (Bible Student)

    Here’s a very short (for a change 🙂 ) snippet from my Journal:

    (begin snippet)
    June 14, 2013

    I do not trust JW’s. And put simply, they are not doing anything at all to help me shift that. That’s it. Plain and simple. If anything, they’re doing LOADS to reinforce my fears!!
    (end snippet)

    -greg

    • just Stay Sweet and Good

      Greeg……….loved your last snippet! Yes, trust…….When we don’t trust sometimes we even aren’t aware of it. But, there are deffinate signals we’re not allowing ourselfs to hear. Does our blood pressure raise when we find we have to explain ourselves in order to survive their nod of disapproval? ding,ding,ding, (somethings not right). I found that just praising the greatness of Jehovah out loud at those times put my mind where it should be, namely “you are saved by grace STOP being slaves of men” . Happiness is the key, along with love for ALL mankind, when people are trying to polarize you into the “them” and “us” mentality. Col 1:27 Just stay sweet and good

      • greg (Bible Student)

        JSS&G,

        And I just love your reply!!

        Yes, there are many warning signs, and yes, we do often fail to notice–or even learn to ignore, stifle, deny, suppress, and minimize them. When ever we feel ourselves shrinking away, or we’re afraid to encounter someone, or afraid to playfully interact with someone, that’s often a sign that we are giving them–or allowing them to have–POWER OVER us.

        Just to be clear, seeking any form of POWER OVER another constitutes DOMINATION and, as you said, slavery. We all know who is behind domination structures. It surely isn’t Jehovah God or Jesus Christ, for they neither try nor desire to dominate others.

        I like what L.F. Celine said: “When you start hiding from people, it’s a sign that you’re afraid to play with them. That in itself is a disease. We should try to find out why we refuse to get cured of loneliness.”

        JW’s, it seems to me, try to convince themselves and others that their “illness” is some sort of incurable merit badge. It’s NOT TRUE. It’s a sign that something is deeply wrong and we need to make some changes.

        -greg

  • greg (Bible Student)

    This lengthy excerpt is one small chapter in the story of what it’s like to leave the JW’s.

    It includes three entries from over the course of a few days. There are many references to my work in Nonviolent Communication that may not make much sense to anyone but me, but I’ve mostly left them unchanged so I wouldn’t have to rewrite significant portions of my journal. I’ve already shortened and abridged as much as I dare. I truly hope my expressions herein are of some benefit to someone else.

    One more thing. Remember the 2012 JW Memorial invitation?

    It read: “How do you view Jesus? You are invited to hear the answer.”

    Talk about Dictatorship! When you’ve become so comfortable with telling other people what to think and believe for so long that you totally forget to even be subtle about telling other people what their thoughts, feelings, and beliefs are and should be, this is the result. They might as well have asked, “Are you hungry? Don’t answer. We will tell you!” Well, that’s kind of important to keep in mind as you read these Journal entries from March 2013.

    -greg

    (begin snippet)


    March 19, 2013

    [About 2 weeks ago] there was a knock at the door. I answered to find [two JW’s] whom I did not recognize offering me an invitation to the memorial. I played stupid and simply accepted it. I then hid the invitation away, out of sight so as to not be tempted to read it. I didn’t want a repeat of last year’s pain. Only the day before, on Thursday the 7th, I had braved the scary place known as the Watchtower website so as to find out the date of this year’s memorial. It’s on the 26th.

    [My wife and] I had also previously imagined a creative solution to the family’s complex needs: We were going to celebrate the memorial here at home by ourselves. Since then, [we] had agonized over [SO MANY sincere considerations in preparation. For example,] Do I buy the cheapest wine? Isn’t God’s son worth more than that? Do I buy the most expensive wine? What?!! Do I think I can buy my way into God’s favour that way? Do I buy something in between? Argh!

    …[I’ve omitted several more paragraphs of other sincere concerns and serious questions and considerations which followed]…

    I’m only saying all this to try and record the level of conscious care, anxiety, stress, and respectful difficulty with which we have faced the entire complicated situation. It hasn’t been easy.**

    [**Personal Note: The Memorial itself isn’t a complicated thing. But unlearning all the JW programming was very complex and difficult–especially when you’re first beginning to try to do it–.]

    It’s been a highly stressful, nearly overwhelming ordeal just to try and give a gift from the heart to our God, Jehovah. It’s been difficult to keep priorities straight. It’s been difficult to figure out this creative solution, one that meets the needs of our family, and one that still honors Jehovah and his son Jesus. It’s not been easy to do this all on our own, without outside support, without anyone to validate our thinking, our experience, our situation, our pain, our circumstances, our difficulties, our love for Jehovah, our conscientious decisions, our sadness, our frustrating limitations, etc.

    But then, [two days ago,] on Sunday, March 17th, while I was cooking in the kitchen (something else that’s very stressful to me) I heard a thump. Instantly concerned for her safety and well-being I asked D– if she was ok? She replied, “It wasn’t me. There’s someone at the door.”

    “Oh,” I replied. I went and looked and sure enough there were shadowy figures visible through the privacy glass of the door. Already feeling overwhelmed and conflicted regarding the stove being left on and the panic of concern for my family, I decided to answer the door.

    I wish I hadn’t.

    It was R– G– and some young fellow [whom I also knew].

    Dare I try and record the conversation? Argh! I dunno. For now I’d rather focus on the fact that it’s 3 days later and I still get the shakes, I still get angry, I still feel hurt, and I can’t stop thinking about it, replaying it in my mind, analyzing it, rubik’s cube solving it, trying to figure out what I might have done differently. It was extremely painful right from the second question asked of me. It began thus:

    RG: “Did you get an invitation to the memorial?”

    ME: “Yes, thank you.”

    RG: “So, are you going?”

    Me: Silence outside, while inside it’s “Ack! Sputter!! … ?? … … … ? … … … … Panic! … … ???????? … … Ack!!!!!??!!!!”

    Grrr!!!!! From there it was one painful trigger button after the other that [he] pressed. Through it all I stayed calm, peaceful, friendly, kind, grateful. In short, I was nice, but not because I was being a nice dead person. Rather, I was nice because I value connection, I value gratitude, I value human dignity, I value my own inner beliefs and core values. I acted with all the empathy I could muster, trying – futilely, I suppose – to establish a connection, to consciously steer clear of defensiveness, to avoid speaking from my pain, to avoid the overwhelming urge to throw a whole pile of pain-balls back. I’m pleased to say I succeeded in staying connected with myself.

    I’m overwhelmingly sad that I was, once again, completely unable to inspire anything remotely resembling compassion in the callers. Much like playing a game of speed chess, my mind was racing to deal with all my own internal pain that was being stimulated faster than I could cope, trying to sift through all the words that were coming at me faster than I could try to connect with the needs behind them, faster than I could sort through all my own thoughts and recollections of scriptures and NVC* principles I’ve [learned and practiced over the years]. [*NVC stands for Nonviolent Communication*]

    When the callers left, I returned to the kitchen, shaking, my heart pounding, my head spinning, hurt, with anger just starting to bubble forth. I haven’t had much more than a moment’s peace internally since then.

    I imagine that neither caller has lost any sleep since, nor thought for even a single moment about any of the delicious memnoons* I sent sailing gently past them in the emotional and psychological space between us that afternoon. [*memnoons is an Arabic word which roughly means, “The request that blesses the one who is asked.”*]

    But me, on the other hand, three days later and I’m still reeling, still hurting violently, still angry, still wanting to lash out in desperate frustration, still seething about how hopeless it all seems to me.

    I wanted to say to them, “Get behind me Satan!” and close the door on them. I wanted to say, “What was your name again? Eliphaz? Bildad? Zophar? No! I don’t want your kind of help, thank you very much all the same.”

    Grrr!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Jehovah?! Where are you? Where are people who share my values, who recognize Satan’s hidden influence where it has no place being? Why can’t I find someone like me? Why can’t I belong somewhere? How can I serve you in a conscientious manner, without seeming to have to also choose to return to what I now perceive to have been Demon-inspired beliefs and practices? I don’t understand. I don’t understand my role. I don’t understand what you want me to do. I don’t understand how I can proceed. I don’t see a way forward. Won’t you please, please, please show me what it is I can do? Won’t you please grant me wisdom, understanding, and opportunity?


    Follow up Entry from March 20, 2013

    Ok, so I’m still feeling agitated inside about the visitors on Sunday. I’ve done some work with the feelings and needs cards and identified some of the key needs I have in relationship to the the event…

    The needs were for things like acceptance, giving, sharing, validation, companionship, trust, safety, giving and receiving joy and nurturance, inspiration, soothing, warmth, softness, kindness, tenderness, honesty, vulnerability, openness, comfort, refreshment, rest, peace, presence, bonding, touch, candor, understanding, meaning, connection, commonality of interest and expression. There were other needs, too, but I can’t recall them at the moment.

    Most interestingly, by using the cards I realized why I was having such a difficult time figuring out what I was really deeply needing. My need is for opportunity, and… by opportunity I mean that I need an opportunity to be able to give, to be accepted, to be heard, to be understood, to be valued, to be appreciated, etc. I don’t expect I’ll ever get that from JW’s unless I first reject my treasured values and undeniable experiences in favour of their faulty (or at least distorted) explanations and meanings.

    I discovered that one of the things that was happening at the door was exactly what I was trying to communicate about**, namely, he was taking my words and “twisting them” by attaching HIS meaning to HIS imagined picture that my words stimulated in him–rather than hearing and understanding MY words to be descriptive of MY own picture with MY own meaning, and he then proceeded to speak from HIS OWN reaction and evaluation–not to reality, nor to what I said, but instead–to HIS OWN purely imagined point of view. [**This painfully confusing tendency we have to jump to conclusions and to react more to what we THINK or FEAR we are seeing and hearing–rather than to what the other person is actually doing or saying–is a very difficult thing to notice, and even harder to fully and accurately convey to someone else.]

    Another thing that occurred was likely an incongruence between intention and action. I don’t think the caller was aware of his intentions, nor aware that his actions were counter to his intentions.

    I also came to suspect that he was confused as to his role as a representative of Witnesses. I think he forgot that just because he has some limited authority, and just because he believes that authority to issue from God, that doesn’t mean HE IS the ULTIMATE authority, and I suspect he was greatly distressed because I wasn’t recognizing HIS authority as GOD.

    I recognize Jehovah as an authority, but not man. I recognize God’s authority because I trust God. I cannot recognize man as authority when man tries to place himself above or equal to God, or when he forgets that he is merely a representative (*hopefully*) of God.

    Also, man’s authority is NEVER above my own conscience’s authority. The two are hopefully in sync, but in practice, there can be a great deal of variance, and all of it can still fall well within the realms of scriptural acceptability. I have not forgotten that, but I suspect the caller has. I suspect his problem with me observing the memorial on my own is that he is attributing to my motive HIS meaning of HIS picture. I think he sees me as failing to recognize God’s authority, and as possessing an independent spirit, rather than comprehending that I am merely refusing to acknowledge his (the caller’s) authority over me, and instead remembering that I do in fact have a choice, and even an obligation to listen to my conscience and to put my relationship with God ahead of my seeking approval of mere mortal humans. Sigh.

    Yep. Sigh……………….. Nearly every spiritual thing I have come to value and believe was called into question in those few moments. It rocked me to the core. I almost lost my convictions, almost forfeited my integrity, almost gave up ownership of my experience, almost denied myself, and was sorely tempted to bow to peer pressure, sorely pressed to almost relinquish my loyalty to Jehovah.

    I reflect back on the call that Afternoon and several other thoughts come to mind.

    1) There was ZERO spiritual content in the visit.
    2) There was a horrible disrespect done to me, partly by my self at the callers suggestion.
    3) There was ZERO encouragement to be found in the callers message. Only blame and shame and judging was present. And that coming from someone who has not had any real, connection-based contact with me in over 30 years. And yet somehow he presumes to know all about me, what my problems are, and why I have them, and why I do (or don’t do) the things I do (even though he never sees me or anything I do), and to know my intentions for doing and not doing all those things he never see me doing or not doing, and to know what it is I need to be doing differently regardless of my circumstances.

    Ugh! The Rage of Frustration combined with hurt and desperation!!!!!!!!!!

    It sickens me to think that within the space of those few moments at the door with this caller I’m almost bullied into rescinding my entire life’s experience and instead allow him to hold such power over me as though he were Jehovah himself. Argh!!!!!!

    No!! NEVER AGAIN.

    A few other musings: No wonder U– G– can’t stand him. They’re both too much alike in forgetting that they are only pathetic, imperfect, humans, and in thinking that just because they claim to represent God (perhaps even doing a half decent job of it at times) it does not mean that all others must obey their every utterance.

    Nope!!! I NEVER want to hold an office of responsibility in the Witness organization. I don’t even want anyone’s approval – especially if it means I have to disapprove of myself, deceive myself, lie to myself, and doubt my own perceptions again, and ultimately betray my own clean conscience before Jehovah.

    It’s disgusting!! And yes, I’m still hurting. And I still want someone to understand how much I hurt and WHY I hurt. But it seems to me that Witnesses have this block, this impediment to caring. Oh, they talk big about love. But no one seems to know HOW to love. No one seems to care that they aren’t really doing it. They all seem to have this attitude that God is on their side, therefore they don’t need to examine themselves. They can instead busy themselves with judging everyone around them. And yet the irony is they don’t even know they’re doing it.

    I wonder: Am I judging them? What exactly does judging them mean? entail? How exactly does ascribing one’s own meaning to one’s own experience become forgotten, become distorted into the dangerous belief that my experience, and the meaning my experience has for me, must somehow be universal and infallible? Why do we not comprehend that we do so much harm when we fail to allow for someone else’s experience to be very different from our own, and for the meaning it has to be unique to the one experiencing it?

    More soberingly I wonder: Am I guilty of this?

    I can only answer with sincerity and humility, “Probably. But at least I’m consciously working to outgrow it.”


    Further follow-up from March 22, 2013

    Still more to reflect on regarding Sunday’s visitors:

    Why didn’t they celebrate with me regarding my accomplishments? Could it be because they are unaware of my accomplishments? Could it be because they were comparing ME to their expectations of themselves? (Compare Galatians 6:4)

    Grrr… I almost fired off an impulsive email to S– C– yesterday. I managed to stop myself part way down the stairs while on my way to do so. I was going to ask him to pass along a message to R– for me, saying, “Can you tell him to bring a knife with him next time he drops by to see me? I’m certain if he uses a knife next time it will be faster and less painful to me than when he uses his tongue.”

    Ack!!! Ugh!!!

    I’m crying and yet they don’t comfort me. I’m hurting but they don’t nurse my wounds. I’m frightened but they don’t console nor reassure me. I don’t trust them. I’m highly suspicious and very distrustful of JW’s because, for 25 years now, I’ve only received pain, only received serpents when I’ve asked for a fish, only received stones when I’ve asked for bread or eggs. Grrr. I’m starving and yet they only bring me canned food with no can opener. I’m cold, even freezing, but they only shoot flaming arrows at me.

    (end journal snippets)

  • greg (Bible Student)

    Another entry from my personal journal. This one was from June 10, 2013.

    (begin snippet)
    And if one member of the Governing Body can be accused of apostasy, why not others? And then who is to say which one(s) may have actually been apostate? Jehovah CAN intervene, but as scriptures and history shows, he often lets apostasy ferment for a while… sometimes a seemingly rather long while. I think of Eli’s sons, and King Saul, Mannasseh, and the Northern 10-tribe Kingdom of Israel. He also lets the righteous one suffer -even unjustly- sometimes. I think of Abel, Joseph, David, Job, Stephen, Jesus, and others.
    (end snippet)

    -greg

  • greg (Bible Student)

    This is a rather long “snippet” today.

    –begin snippet–
    October 18, 2012

    When no one knows the real me that exists deep inside, when they only know the me that’s the actor, when I pretty much come to realize that the only “me” they see is really only the mask I wear, how do I feel understood? How do I feel truly accepted? How do I feel truly connected to the other person? What part of me is it that can feel “belongs”? The real Me? Or the image they have of Me, whether by my deceit or their invention?

    In other words, I’m just an actor in their movie. A fake. A fraud. Pretend. Make-believe.

    I still hurt. And I’m lonely. And I’m tired.

    Page 356 of On Becoming a Person (by Carl Rogers)
    (begin quote)
    Another concomitant [to creativity] is the anxiety of separateness. I do not believe that many significantly creative products are formed without the feeling, “I am alone. No one has ever done just this before. I have ventured into territory where no one has been. Perhaps I am foolish, or wrong, or lost, or abnormal.”
    (End quote)

    And so the loneliness is two-fold. First because I’m an explorer, an adventurer, or perhaps a castaway. No matter how it came to be, the fact is that I’m here, now, in truly unique circumstances, a situation that is unique to me, peculiar in it’s form, and in my perception of it. Yep, alone. And by creatively finding a solution to my problem I end up creating a new problem or isolation: The inability to describe to others where I’ve been, the sights I’ve seen, the wonders I’ve beheld, the fears I’ve faced, the horrors I’ve imagined, the losses I’ve borne, the dreams I’ve had, and how I’ve seen them fade. So the need to communicate about my loneliness becomes a whole new cause for loneliness.

    Page 356, continued.
    (Begin quote)
    Still another experience which usually accompanies creativity is the desire to communicate. It is doubtful whether a human being can create, without wishing to share his creation. It is the only way he can assuage the anxiety of separateness and assure himself that he belongs to the group. He may confide his theories only to his private diary. He may put his discoveries in some cryptic code. He may conceal his poems in a locked drawer. He may put away his paintings in a closet. Yet he desires to communicate with a group which will understand him, even if he must imagine such a group. He does not create in order to communicate, but once having created he desires to share this new aspect of himself-in-relation-to-his-environment with others.
    (End quote)

    And so here I am, communicating the only way I know how: I write in my private diary, communicating with an imaginary audience. Perhaps God? Perhaps another part of myself? No matter, It’s still an isolating experience, a painful experience, a lonely experience. Not only do I have to invent in my imagination the kinds of responses I might like to get, but I have to imagine that those responses are somehow meaningful and helpful to me, when what I really want/need is to be reassured that I can trust my own thoughts, perceptions, feelings, conclusions.

    Sigh. Isn’t that where I began my conversation with P– C–? Yep. I showed him the words I came up with to try and describe what I discovered about myself:
    “When no one believes what I tell them, and when I no longer believe my own senses, thoughts, or perceptions, how can I believe in the possibility of a God who will believe me?”

    Personal Note: P– C– was someone who I had been close friends with (and even pioneered with) when we both teens and was now a local Elder. Out of desperation I had appealed to him for caring and support. By arrangement I met with him at the Kingdom Hall one evening. It was to be the last time I ever set foot in the Kingdom Hall. I’ll never forget what he said to me after I had showed him my scriptural concerns and anxieties. He replied, “greg, I’m only an elder. I do as I’m told.”) –end personal note–

    At the very least, you cannot enjoy an intimate relationship if you’re all by yourself. Remember Adam? Recall what Jehovah said regarding Adam’s isolation? “It is not good for the man to continue to be alone.”

    Time to simplify. I’m lonely. I’m tired of playing with imaginary friends. I’m tired of looking in the mirror and seeing no reflection. I’m tired of doubting whether or not I exist.

    Oh, Where is that video? I’m gonna try and find it. Got it. It’s called “amazing joke no reflection in the Mirror.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01XKCsyIZxE

    Yep, that’s apt. Story of my life. It’s all there.


    It’s similar to when I met [the girl who later became my wife], when I was a lonely teen, I just wanted to know that someone could see me. That I was real. That I was there. That I wasn’t just a figment of my own imagination. I spent most of life there. I won’t go back to it. Not after seeing A– R– end up in the same place as I just left. Not after learning how it was I came to be in that horrific place and learning that I now have a choice as to whether I let anyone put me back there again. Nope! no, I won’t go!!!

    –end snippet–

    *** Personal Note: The “creative solution” to my JW “invisibility” was to find and make new friends. It was scary. It was challenging. And yet now, looking back, I couldn’t be happier with all the Bible Student friends I’ve made since I wrote those words.

    Love and compassion to all the lonely, neglected, ostracized, shunned, and hurting ones searching for support and encouragement. I’m here and I really do care. I know it’s safe to say, “WE are all here, and we all care.”

    -greg

    • just Stay Sweet and Good

      Gregg, conserning you statement about being an actor. I was able to be free of those knee jerk reactions , that are just no more than a little kid not wanting to get into trouble, when I went and studied acting and found out I was very very good at it. It took me two years to “get over” stage fright and then I made up my mind.at that the time, I would only “act” when I would be on stage for money. Outherwise, I would just be very truthful, transparent about myself, “just another sinner saved by grace”. No one could then manipulate me into doing anything I didn’t want to do. I was still attending the meetings, but I was preaching the ransom for ALL everytine I raised my hand to comment. Soon, they wouldln’t call on me anymore to comment, but I still raised my hand sometime 6 or 8 times in one meeting. People noticed I was being ignored. I just shruged my shoulders and keep on keeping on. Undo influence is deadly. How many peole can really resist it? We have to train ourselves. Now they want people to sign away their rights to them if they are unconscience and will die if they need red blood cells. Pressure to conform is what we all need to learn how to resist. Only with the help of the holy spirit of love will be be able to endure his life. “He that is faithful to the end is the one that will be saved”

      • greg (Bible Student)

        JSS&G,

        I heartily concur with your expressions! Thanks so much for making them!

        And for those that haven’t yet figured out how to go through that “birthing-of-self” process, I want to acknowledge that it’s way easier to say (afterward) than to do it. While it starts with a choice, that choice is only the beginning of a very difficult learning curve. Arguably, some will find it easier than others. Just because I say it begins with a choice, it doesn’t mean that choice is necessarily easy to see, or easy to make.

        Prayer and determination are among the many vital ingredients, as are support, and encouragement.

        -greg

  • greg (Bible Student)

    Journal entry from June 10, 2013

    At what point is it actually essential that one questions one’s beliefs? At what point does one decide their religion is not good enough to please God?

    “Crisis of Conscience”. . . At what point does a crisis of conscience begin? climax? end? How does one resolve a crisis of conscience? How do disfellowshipped individuals (who still love Jehovah) go on? The Bible says Jehovah judges those on the “outside”. But if the “congregation” isn’t serving God properly, then what? Where is outside? Where is inside? Where is the “congregation”? What if the congregation really is infested with plague, sickness, wolves, and the like, only they’ve become so numb to it that they don’t even know it?

    Argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    At what point are one’s concerns validated, especially when that one is already particularly alone? Does belonging make everything right? Is belonging more important than truth?

    How many corrupt individuals does it take to make an entire organization corrupt? How much leaven does it take to ferment the whole lump. At what point does it make sense to reject one’s belonging to an organization in favour of truth and spirit? When does one get a pat on the back for leaving corruption behind, instead of being labelled as a dissenter and a rebel?

    At what point does apostasy occur, and when would it become intolerable? At what point does faith and belief turn into dogma?

    -greg

    • just Stay Sweet and Good

      Gregg..concerning your last snippet about doctrine/teaching…….My thought process was whipped into line after I heard Bob Carnegies utube talk “Are we really Bible Students?” where he pin pointed the fundamental truths br. Russell received from history. He started out buy using a phrase the bible students have repeated many times.”To us, the bible clearly teaches…….” and went on the define them. I. “Hear of Israel Jehovah your God is One” (no trinity) 2. The soul dies. Immortality is a gift not inherit (no hell fire) 3. ALL of mankind will benefit from the ransom of the dead because all are in Adam 4. The millinenium is the hope for most of mankind who never knew Jehovah their God. He is handpicking the corulers that will be the bride of his son Now. And my favorite If you love the people Jesus died for, you won’t kill them. Thats everybody! These are the truths we will stand buy. Everything else is conscience. Any teaching that undermines these basic truths is a perversion. Jehovah God’s promises are not like man’s contracts that give everything in the big print and takes everything back in the little print. ALL have been bought back. “AMAZING, AMAZING GRACE, HOW SWEET THE SOUND, THAT SAVED A WRETCH LIKE ME, I ONCE WAS LOST, BUT NOW I’M FREE, WAS BLIND BUT NOW I SEE” The’ll never be able to wipe that grin off your face now!!!!!

      • Nubby Tope

        Well said; I couldn’t agree more!!

      • greg (Bible Student)

        JSS&G,

        Yep, those “simple” basic truths sure do liberate us from so many hurtful things. Thanks so much for sharing your expressions.

        Jesus said in John 8:32 “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

        I’m always amazed at how much truth can secreted away in so few words.

        -greg

  • greg (Bible Student)

    Thank you, Nubby, Ted, Brandon, and Jacqueline for the encouragement to continue sharing. Because I vividly recall my own experiences, needs, longings, and lonely journey, I really do hope it’s encouraging and useful to others.

    Another snippet from April 3, 2013:

    Jesus said, “Where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name, I am there amongst them.” Let me see: myself – 1, my wife – 2, my daughter – 3. Hmmm… That’s 2 or 3 as I count.

    From June 06, 2013:

    Then, on a whim, I searched for “International Bible Students”. (It took ALL the courage I could muster.) What I found will likely haunt me for a long time to come– perhaps permanently… Time will tell. All of it leaves me confused, terrified. More over, on the one hand, it leaves me feeling not quite so alone anymore. On the other it leaves me more alone than ever… More distraught than I’ve ever been. More frightened than I’ve ever been. More confused and desperate than I can recall ever having been.

    Comment on above snippet: I no longer feel haunted, confused, nor frightened by what I read that day. At the time, the things I discovered were equally validating, reassuring, confusing, frightening, sobering, and isolating.

    Below are some of the links I recall visiting in the months leading up to and including that day in June 2013:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible_Student_movement

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jehovah's_Witnesses_splinter_groups

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Jehovah%27s_Witnesses

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watch_Tower_Society_presidency_dispute_(1917)

    https://www.watchman.org/articles/cults-alternative-religions/elements-of-spiritual-abuse/

    https://www.watchman.org/articles/cults-alternative-religions/elements-of-spiritual-abuse/

    http://undermoregrace.blogspot.com/2009/03/understanding-cognitive-dissonance.html

    https://undermuchgrace.blogspot.com/2009/02/first-time-obedience-and-unquestioned.html

    One very powerful picture (of words) that I found very helpful (and scary) can still be viewed on a couple of the pages linked above, or here:

    https://yadi.sk/i/ObTy5d7x3XMcdp

    That powerful word “picture” from “Watchmen Fellowship” has this to say:

    PROFILE
    Spiritual Abuse Characteristics
    *Authoritarian: Over-emphasis on authority
    *Image-Conscious: Appearances validate members’ specialness to God
    *Suppresses Criticism: Questioning doctrine and leadership forbidden and punished
    *Perfectionistic: Performance and conformity is rewarded while noncompliance punished
    *Unbalanced: Majoring on minor Doctrine

    Until tomorrow,
    May God bless and care for each and every one of you,
    -greg

  • greg (Bible Student)

    I’m considering sharing some snippets from my Journal entries that I wrote over the years. Rather like photographs, they seem to me to capture specific moments of my own personal ongoing crises as I was struggling to fathom how to maintain my relationship with Jehovah God and Jesus while ending my relationship with the JW’s.

    If there’s any interest, I would be happy to make other short posts of similar snapshots. For now, here are a couple samples to start.

    From October 20, 2012

    Jehovah, are you listening? Reading? Searching in my heart? What can I do? How can I proceed? How can I avoid “bad associations”, protect myself and others, and also glorify you? Oh where are the Bible Students? Why can’t I associate with them? Sob, sob, sob. It hurts so deeply in my heart. It grieves me like nothing else.

    From April 3, 2013 (after having begged the local elders for years to come and help me, one finally came and begrudgingly stayed for not quite 3 hours)

    Last night I stopped at the Corner Store to get a stamp. The man behind the counter was from East India, and was telling a story to the woman in front of me oh a time many years ago that he needed a meager 25¢ for a stamp so as to mail an invoice to get money to care for his family. Try as he might, he could not beg, borrow, or earn the 25¢. In utter despair he put his head down on the ground and cried, “God?! I am your most beautiful creation! Am I not worth even 25¢??” Apparently he was given an opportunity the next day to more than care for his family for a very long time to come by essentially being “handed” a job contract worth $10,000.

    Still, as much as I was happy to celebrate with that man, I was also reminded of my own painful plight. “God?! Am I not worth more than 3 hours of someone’s life? Is that all my life and heart and efforts are worth to persons who claim to represent you? 3 hours? Just 3 hours of silence, incredulity, arguing, accusations, prejudice, pain, and discouragement?”

    I wonder. How much longer will I hobble around on two opinions? (1 Kings 18:21) Which two? Are JW’s really God’s People, or not? Do I keep hoping they’ll grow and change? Or do I give up, and move on? If so, where? Why won’t God clue me in? Argh!

    I will only post other snippets if others indicate interest.
    Much love to all you struggling ones because I well recall my own struggles.
    -greg

    • Nubby Tope

      Hi Greg,

      Your words are very encouraging and I’m sure a lot of us can relate to them – I know I can! More snippets please!

      Keep the faith Bro.

    • Ted R. (Bible Student)

      I think it would be encouraging for everyone going thru what you have been thru

    • Lee Anthony (Brandon)

      Greg,
      I agree with Ted, most encouraging indeed. I believe there are many who would read this and may very well feel as if it were from their own journal.

    • Just Stay Sweet and Good

      Gregg..I love your snippet….I don’t keep a diary but I remember when I had the answer to the question you were asking. It was when I realized the WTBS dosn’t own Jehovah God. Nobody owns Jehovah God he is sovereign and ABOVE everybody. He will discipline those he accepts as sons. The sons do not discipline him or rearrange HIS agenda to suit their conscience. We are to adjust to him. Concerning the problem of organization.. Jesus said where two or more are together, in my name, I am there. Thats an organization! A marriage is an organization. The Red Cross is an organization. The tower of Babel was an organization, all governments are organizations. That’s all it is…organzed. Nothing to worship just use. If I won’t worship the government or salute an image of it, why in the world would I pledge my alliegence to an organization? I was then free. Anyone who is truly a committed footstep follower of Jesus Christ is my organization. Just stay sweet and good

  • Ellis Green

    Nice words Greg; had a run-in with 2 elders yesterday and looks like I’ll be DF’d. I’m so glad I have you guys for support!

    • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

      Ellis I am so sorry you had to even talk to these men. I don’t, because I have always found them to be abusive and condescending. Don’t worry about DF, nobody but the small group of JW care about that. Jesus was put out by the Sanhedrin of his day and all the Apostles were condemned by the ruling religious body, sanhedrin. Are we better than Christ and the Apostles? No. Consider it an honor to be read publicly that you do not worship the governiong body of Jehovah witnesses.

      John 16:2 “They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.”

      We can speak with you on testimony meeting if you like, to vocally encourage and share our love for you. There are more than comment on here on that session.
      Take Care of yourself and since you have quit going to their kingdom hall for years what is the purpose of reading you off? Vengefulness and to scare the other slaves not to mess with them! Pray for the comforter to calm your nerves and hold your head up. God has called you to peace at last, it is final. Now you can move on after this Spiritual abuse. I am going outside to take a walk and think over these things, it helps to see his creation and birds flying and grass. Take Care.

    • Richard Tazzyman

      Hello Ellis,Do not worry,You have a world wide Brotherhood of real Bros & Sisters who love you.You will be free to Serve Christ & our Heavenly Father in spirit & in truth.THE Bretheren In the UK are only a phone call away to help you as well!We look forward to meeting with you soon! Your Bro In christ.Richard Tazzyman

    • Ted R. (Bible Student)

      Hi Ellis
      Just wanted to let you know the love of the brethren and of our Lord Jesus will be with you all the way. Any organization that goes to the extreme of shunning those who disagree with their doctrine, even cutting them off from family, does not follow scripture and is not worth getting upset about. If you have family, that is the hard part. Hopefully, by your example you can win them over and make them realize that you are not the wicked person the society tries to paint you as. Stay close to Christ and feel free to contact any of us if you need support. If you can, try to get to as many of the Bible Student conventions as possible, especially the General Convention in Pennsylvania. I hope to meet you some day.

    • greg (Bible Student)

      Ellis,

      I’m pretty sure I speak for all of us when I say that we are very glad to be able to support, comfort, and encourage you.

      Sincerely,
      -greg

  • greg (Bible Student)

    When I was exiting the JW organization, one of the challenges I found most difficult to navigate was the total distrust of self that I had been taught to have.

    Among the things I found most helpful, most courage inspiring, were words such as found in today’s daily Promise (for April 11th, and in reference to Psalm 23:2):

    “Let us discriminate, discern His voice, with its truthful accent, so different from the voice of error. Strangers true sheep will not follow, for they know not the voice of strangers. They do not like its money ring, or its worldly ambition ring, or its priestcraft tone, or its contradiction of the spirit of the Divine message and method.”

    Because I had always been TOLD (by men) that I should only trust THEM, and not to trust my own eyes, ears, thoughts, memories, senses, etc., I found it very difficult to integrate into my cognitive map that I actually was hearing errors from these men who told me I could not trust myself.

    Words such as I quoted were very reassuring to me, and comforting to me as I learned to develop a greater trust in my actual experience and as I learned to put less trust in the mere words of mere men. The words I quoted helped me take some of my first tentative steps in the direction towards thinking for myself, and trusting in my perceptions.

    I would not wish to be heard as saying I now consider myself to be above making mistakes. No! But the errors I may have yet to uncover in myself are not as likely to persist as errors that I have been TOLD by others to ignore. So I’m in a much better place to uncover errors, to question my own beliefs, and to continue seeking truth and satisfying answers now. Whereas before, as a JW, I had been taught to just ignore the errors and wait and let someone else correct it.

    So I very much appreciate the words of today. Not because they are a new voice telling me things I like better. Rather, I like them because they encourage me to keep watching for possible errors, and keep trying to grow and learn from my own continually accruing experiences.

    This, I believe, was Gods plan for each one of us right from the very beginning.

    I wish and pray that Jehovah God and His Son Jesus will continue to help each one of you who are grappling with internal voices, self-doubts, and fear of man to recover your autonomy and agency. Jesus said “The TRUTH will set you free.” And from my own experience, I believe that with my whole heart.

    And if anyone needs or wants, I’m here to listen and care and converse. I’m NOT here to tell, to dictate, to dominate, to indoctrinate. I’m not even here to teach. I’m only here to loan you a bit of my confidence as you learn and discover for yourself.

    Compassionately,
    -greg

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