D. Robert Pike, PhD
I was raised in the Jehovah’s Witness faith. When I tell people this, I am often asked, what caused you to leave? Well, I would like to say initially that I had given up on all religion walked away from this faith in order to selfishly “walk on the wild side” for a while.
The way I handled the situation those many years ago was wrong and immature in every respect. Nonetheless, I was hounded by the JW Elders to meet with them, and when I refused to meet with them they took it upon themselves to kick me out of a group I had already left. This is representative of how they exercise control over their members.
Later on when I realized that “walking on the wild side” was not the answer to truth in living, I started investigating to see what was truth and what was not truth. I began this investigation with the premise that I was taught the truth, and that my investigation would confirm that. What I found was something totally different. I saw doctrinal issues with the teaching of Jehovah’s witnesses relating to the nature of God, the condition of the dead, the future of mankind, their doctrine of exclusivity, and their radical positions on several other fronts.
But, I have to say that this is probably not the reason that at that time in my life I did not return. What I found that really shocked me was the lies that I had been told. A powerful example of such tactics is found in the publication “Should you believe in the Trinity?” published in 1989. In its pages you will find deliberate attempts to deceive and mislead people about what is stated by others with regard to this doctrine. I have attached a link at the end of my testimony that will lead you to proof of what I am saying.
Additionally, this group displays characteristics of Spiritual Abuse of their members as is found in groups with cult like characteristics. I have also attached a link which illustrates this. I would encourage anyone who reads this to check out these pages. I believe you will be similarly shocked.
The way Jehovah’s witnesses have chosen to convince their members that their organization is God’s exclusive channel of spiritual enlightenment is based on a passage in the Olivet Discourse (Matt 24,25). It is found in Matthew 24:45-47, and reads as follows:
“’Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time?’ Happy is that slave if his master on coming finds him doing so! Truly, I say to you, he will appoint him over all his belongings”
It is from this simple passage that The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society Governing Body claims that they are exclusively “Jehovah God’s channel of spiritual truth.” They proclaim that anyone who gets outside of the words of truth expounded by them are in spiritual darkness, and that those who have left this group are apostates. As apostates, they are to be completely shunned.
One has no idea how degrading it is to have a member of your family sitting in the same room with you acting as if you are not there. There were times when I would be in the same room with my mother, and she would speak to my wife and tell her to tell me something, and I am sitting right there! This is typical of the treatment “disfellowshipped” individuals receive, and it went on for years. Unfortunately, my mother developed alzheimer’s disease and I lost her completely. Add to this, that my father and my brothers would not speak to me for years, and one realizes how devastating this can be. The goal of such interaction by the Watchtower Organization is to get people to ask for forgiveness and return to the organization.
Although I had learned that I had been lied to, and that there were theological issues with the organization, it was still tempting to go back, otherwise, my family would be lost. Even my own daughter ended up rejecting me….and we still have this rift between us to this very day, even though this happened over 30 years ago.
A friend of mine has as her life verse Mark 10:29,30 which reads:
Mark 10:29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.
This promise of Jesus has helped her having endured years of shunning, and it helps us all who have been in such situations of extreme rejection for following the example of the Berean Christians, who Paul said searched the scriptures daily to see if the things they were being taught were accurate.
The result of all of this was that I had enormous issues of trust, even with my wife, leading to severe marital difficulties. This lasted for several years, but has almost entirely subsided now. I say “almost entirely” because in the imperfection of my flesh, I still falter, but by God’s grace, it gets easier day by day. I also realize that God’s word tells us that in the flesh, our hearts are “desperately wicked.” (Isaiah 64:6) although these words were spoken to Israel, they also are applicable to the “flesh” today. But praise God, the Apostle Paul said:
Col_2:13,14 “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” Praise God for this! It has helped me to set this negative set of circumstances in my background.
Finally, by getting myself into a daily Bible Reading regimen, I found truth in the Word of God. Hebrews 4:12 tells us:
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
Yes, there is no need of an exclusive channel of communication by men! The Word of God is able to do this all by itself. Not only in my personal life have I seen this, but by being in the Gideon Ministry now for over 13 years, I have seen plenty of proof of this. People will find a Bible in a Hotel and read it and it will change their life!
And with this being said, the Word of God changed my life. Accepting the Lord Jesus as my Savior changed my heart. Now I joyfully proclaim that I am part of those whom Jesus spoke of in John 5:24:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”
Notice that this verse states that having eternal life for those who believe is a past event! I thank Him every day for what He did for me, saved by the Grace of God, as I continually put my trust in Him!
Now as I walk daily with him, in love and grace, I realize that the most important thing I can do is to abide in Christ. (John 15) For it is though him alone we have life, and we have it more abundantly!
Praise God! May His Word and his Grace continually be proclaimed!