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of Former Jehovah's Witnesses
I have read thousands of experiences and letters from former Jehovah's Witnesses. The similar treatment suffered by so many people, including myself and close friends, shows the behaviour of Jehovah's Witnesses is prescribed by the leaders. The following experiences will break your heart. Failed prophecy, changed doctrine and doctrinal irregularities aside, these stories are proof enough that Watchtower is damaging and unchristian.
Paul Grundy is the story of the author of jwfacts.com. It includes an overview of my life as a Witness, my judicial committee meetings, the letter I wrote requesting my baptism be annulled and how I obtained my personal files from bethel.
Leaving a high control religion is an extremely difficult experience, due to the control technique of shunning, and the fear and guilt of a life time of indoctrination. To show that leaving is worth it, Life After Leaving contains short experiences describing how life can end up in the long run.
(Most of the names that follow are Internet nicknames.)
Barbara Anderson writes about her experiences as researcher and writer for the Bethel Writing Department in Brooklyn, particularly in regards to the Proclaimer's Book and on to topic of pedophilia. Her conscience no longer allowed her to be associated with the Watchtower Society, due to the Governing Body's resistance to changing Watchtower policy that protects pedophiles. For a overview on Watchtower policy on pedophiles and the damage this has caused, see Paedophilia.
FreeGirl2006 is an experience of the treatment meted out to a pedophile victim.
EFFECT OF SHUNNING
One of the most destructive aspects of high control religions and cults is that they almost universally insist on followers limiting contact with 'worldly people' and shunning former members. These invariably includes family. Family are the foundation of society and I can only hope governments start to outlaw religions enforcing such behaviour. For a detailed look at why shunning family is not scriptural please see Disfellowshipping.
A number of short experiences showing shunning in action are collated in an article at Shunning Experiences.
Adam's letter to Mom regarding being shunned is remarkable in its ability to outline what is wrong with shunning, and how unfair it can be for those raised as a Jehovah's Witness.
Merry This story is devastating but beautifully sums up the evil of a religion to impose strict shunning on its followers.
Crumpet Witness children are strongly encourage to be baptised as teenagers. Often they are disfellowshipped whilst still teenagers, at the time in their lives that they most require love. I came across Crumpet on the Internet. She lives in the UK and was enquiring after her uncle in Australia, a brother from my old congregation. I contacted him in an effort to have him contact her.
Moanzy This experience shows how a Witness parent will put the organization ahead of their own children, equating the Watchtower with God.
Sundawn Regardless of their age a accomplishments a shunned child will feel that their parents consider them a disappointment and failure. The intimate questions the elders asked Sundawn at her judicial committee are attested to by many people I know, and are highly traumatic for a teenage girl confronted by three older men.
Disassociation - Who Shuns Who? presents the experience of a son that disassociated. Terrence O'Brien, Director of Watchtower's Australian branch, made the audacious claim that those that disassociate are shunning the congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. This experience provides evidence regarding the reality of that claim.Courtesy of FadingTruth
BETHELITES & GILEAD GRADUATES
People from every level of the organization come to realise that the Watchtower Society does not preach truth. This includes Governing Body members such as Ray Franz, Bethelites and Circuit Overseers. Here are experiences from Gilead Graduates.
Raymond Franz has had quite possibly the single most important role in the Watchtower religions decline, after leaving the Governing Body and releasing the book Crisis of Conscience in 1983.
All Time Jeff Jeff graduated from the 119th, 2005 class.
Awakened at Gilead Lance was in the 2003 class and has published a series of YouTube clips about his experience.
Moyle vs. Rutherford contains the letter Moyle wrote to Rutherford regarding his unjust, alcohol fueled management of Bethel and discusses the subsequent legal action.
Former worked at Bethel in 2009 producing educational videos and writes about his disillusionment at the whitewash the Watchtower does of its history.
Mr & Mrs Stumpy worked in Bethel and where the "need its great." Regardless of their incredible amount of experience, when they left no one was interested in knowing their reasons, family included. The experience wonderfully describes the process of leaving, and also the hope for an improved life afterwards.
DISASSOCIATION LETTERS & JUDICIAL COMMITTEES
People that disassociate themselves generally have done so after considerable research and thought. Disassociation letters are full of valuable information about what is wrong with the Watchtower Society, and show the heartfelt desire of the person to do what they know is right.
AK Jeff A very well written letter describing the double standard of the Watchtower Society and its political involvements.
Littletoe was an elder that disassociated himself whilst delivering a public talk on mercy. This is the transcript of a recording of his talk.
LeavingWT's PDF disassociation letter. LeavingWT was a former Bethelite. His letter explains his reason to leave due to the Watchtower doctrine on blood transfusions and other changing medical standards.
ConradWest This is the transcript from a judicial appeal committee. It is unusual because the original committee was formed for charges of apostasy, but as there was no concrete evidence of apostasy this was changed to 'loose conduct', on the grounds that he was disrespectful to the elders in the meeting. The appeal supported the 'loose conduct' charge by bringing up prior patterns of conduct. The end is most interesting.
Twinkletoes Letter to the elders discussing the UN, blood, false prophecies and paedophilia.
LETTERS BETWEEN WITNESSES AND THEIR FAMILY
When active Jehovah's Witnesses write to family members that leave the Organization their letters contain none of the careful phrasing of Watchtower articles. These letters gives great insight into reality as understood by the Witness mind.
My Darling Son is a letter from a Jehovah's Witness mother to her son David. The delusional, passive aggression of the letter is heartbreaking.
Morwen Inactive publishers can be treated as though they are disfellowshipped, such as being experienced by Morwen.
HadEnuf disfellowships her family for shunning her.
Coolhand Luke - A beautifully written letter saying goodbye to family.
Daughter to Dad - A daughter's letter to her father about being shunned, and his typical reply.
Letter to Mom and Sisters - A detailed letter explaining why the writer cannot believe what Jehovah's Witnesses teach, yet that it should not affect the family tie.
Crimsonbleu - Witnesses can be so convinced their opinion alone is correct that they cannot accept members that leave will not return one day. An email from a Witness that is revealing in its dogmatism and an equally strong response showing why many that leave would never consider being a Witness again.
GROWING UP GAY
These are some of the most heart-breaking experiences. Since homosexuals usually come to that recognition as young teenagers, their youthfulness makes them especially sensitive to being described by the Watchtower as disgusting perverts that need to control their Satanic urges. At a young age, these youths need to contemplate a lifetime without a partner, or a life without their Witness family, and they are unable to see any way forward. The result on a developing teenager is invariably depression and contemplation of suicide.
M0nk3y Growing up as a Gay Jehovah's Witness in Australia.
Kevin - PDF Kevin came out in 2013 at the age of 19. The reaction of his family is very normal for those within the religion, and shows how Jehovah's Witnesses become devoid of natural affection and thinking ability. A couple of quotes:
I halfway expected them to say that they didn't approve of “homosexuality” and that they found it disgusting, but what I didn't expect them to say was for them to tell me that “Gay does not exist.”. There is no such thing as homosexuality. I was not prepared for that at all. It baffled me, and then the more I thought about it, the more it enraged me. They equated all of my feeling, all of my desires to simply me being controlled by Satan and wanting to have sex with a man. There is nothing else to it, according to them. …
I love you little brother - but I don't you love you more than jehovah.
backseatdevil.com is a link to a website containing a mesmerising story of a gay Jehovah's Witness that went to Bethel, with tragic consequences. Warning - the story is long and very explicit.
The following video is one of the best interviews with a former Jehovah's Witness. Howie was an elder and Bethelite who served as carer to Governing Body member Karl Klein. He provides special insight into the inner workings of the Organization, the struggle Jehovah's Witnesses go through with never feeling good enough, and his journey as a gay Jehovah's Witness.
See the Research Gate paper Inside and Outcast: Multifaceted Stigma and Redemption in the Lives of Gay and Lesbian Jehovah's Witnesses for a detailed look at growing up as a gay Jehovah's Witness.
Family of Newly Converted describes the havoc caused on families when a member becomes a Jehovah's Witness. Rather than being considered a personal improvement, the Witness rules and behaviour are seen as unchristian, unloving and hypocritical.
Mother's Manga Memoirs is Tamosan's story, who was raised as one of Jehovah's Witnesses in Japan, and left after being faced with the decision of whether or not to allow her son to have a blood transfusion for a rare illness. It links to an interview and her two Manga books, "The Day I Was Forced To Marry God," and "The Day I Divorced God."
Physically In, Mentally Out (PIMO) at 60 shows the difficulties of realizing it is not the truth later in life. Sadly, this story contains no resolution or happy ending. It is here to echo the feelings of many readers, and highlight that putting off the hardship of leaving early in life leads to even greater hardship later in life.
Life After Leaving contains short quotes from people that have taken that fearful step of leaving the religion, and how their life has turned out afterwards.
Random Short Experiences is a list of comments I have taken from emails and jehovahs-witness.net. It shows the similarity of fear, guilt or suffering that many Witnesses have experienced.
The Struggles of a Born In Non-Believer shows how unfair it is to be born to Jehovah's Witness parents, if you don't believe. From Jehovah's Witness child, to living in her car, to successfully moving on with her life, this incredible story will be all to familiar to many raised by parents devoted to the Watchtower.
Letter to Bethel shows something most brothers are not aware of, that Bethel usually does not respond to letters, but refers them back to the congregation elders. The eventual response shows the attitude that we must not question the Governing Body, regardless of how logical the question may be.
Michael Jackson An article quoting biographies that outline Michael's experiences being raised as a Jehovah's Witness and the time during which he disassociated.
Darklighter Short and to the point, this article answers the questions common to many Jehovah's Witnesses, identifying the fears they have of leaving, the process that occurs and the affect afterward.
CoffeeBlack The sad story from Debbie Shard regarding Arvid Einar Moody's death on refusing a kidney transplant whilst prohibited by the Watchtower Society.
Disfellowshipped Wife This experience highlights the injustice of disfellowshipping, and how it forces people that do not believe in the Watchtower Society to get reinstated for the sake of family.
Mother of Disfellowshipped Children The guilt of a mother for shunning her own children.
Just As I Am feared Armageddon for 20 years after leaving. Guilt and Fear can stay with a former Witness for life. It is important on leaving to spend time researching the history and doctrine to prove to yourself that Jehovah is not using the Watchtower Society and is not going to destroy you at Armageddon.
Chaka The only way to ever clear Watchtower thinking is to research the religion, otherwise moving on will leave chards of wrong thinking that continue to eat away at you for life.
NanaR NanaR relates an experience regarding blood transfusions and the changes in doctrine over the decades.
Enlightened Mind A typical story of how growing as a Witness, being disfellowshipped and then shunned by family opens ones eyes to it being a cult.
Nonamegiven A sad story of a family that lost their child.
Sk8erboi The thoughts of a 17 year old coming to the realisation the power of indoctrination does not make it truth.
Paul Grundy 2005 - 2021