Monday, June 25, 2012

An example of what being in a cult is like...

Trigger warning

This post is meant to show people the control exerted over every aspect of the cult member's life. This has been edited for time as the talk droned on much longer than this, but these are quoted as well as I could do as I was typing out a transcript. They are not allowed to be successful, or to feel good about success they may have...

Jehovah's Witness District Convention Talk "Avoid Testing God in Your Heart"

Higher Education: 

"How do we feel when there is council or direction on how we should view higher education? Jehovah's Organization is very clear on this subject, but have we taken a stand like the world around us and reason in our minds that this is the only way we can have a secure future? Even if I have to sacrifice my spirituality, higher education is the way to go? Could we be testing God in our heart by doubting his organizational view in this matter?"

Disfellowshipping (Shunning):

"Have we taken the view that Jehovah's Organization does not have the right or scriptural authority to take such action? Could we be testing God in our hearts by secretly doubting the organization's view on disfellowshipping? We must guard our hearts against murmuring about any organizational procedures or adjustments in our understanding."

Information Control:

"Some feel that the spiritual food received from Jehovah's Organization is not enough. They need more. So some have taken it upon themselves to provide more. A few have pursued independent group studies of Biblical Hebrew and Greekin order to analyze the accuracy of the New World Translation. Others have produced websites and chat rooms for the purpose of exchanging and debating scriptural views. Still others feel the need to produce publications to supplement what is already provided by Jehovah's Organization."

Thought Control:

"As a reminder: Jesus said at Matthew 24:45 that he would appoint a faithful and discreet slave to provide food at the proper time. Jesus would appoint them over all of his belongings. Imagine thinking that we would know better or that we could somehow supplement the rich spiritual food coming from Jesus' faithful and discreet slave, those whom he has appointed. With that in mind the slave class does not endorse any literature, meetings or websites that are not produced or organized under its oversight. There is only one official internet website where one can find all the information one needs on Jehovah's Witnesses... and that is Now I exhort you brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that you should all speak in agreement and that there should not be divisions among you but that you may be fitly united in the same mind and the same line of thought. Doubting theocratic appointments even in our hearts could weaken our confidence in decisions being made."

"Watchtower November 1, 2006 "Submission to Christ also involves our showing proper respect for the men used by him to take the lead in the work he is now doing. We do well to examine our hearts in this regard. This will help us to guard against any critical thinking which could easily evolve into an apostasy."

"You see apostates like Kora complain and rebel against the truth and they reject what Jehovah provides. Our paying attention to such apostate propaganda or negative comments can cause us to doubt those taking the lead and the value of the spiritual food coming from Jehovah. That doubt could lead to disaster."

Thoughts from a former JW:  

"I grew up in the 1980's but I didn't understand that the great purge was a result of them taking Jesus away from us like I do now." "What's the best way to control information? Anyone finds out the truth about the truth, disfellowship them and keep the rank and file isolated."

Friday, June 22, 2012

Siblings, let us be wiling to help the victims.

They are lonely, confused, hurting, deceived and controlled.

Yes, some are innocent.

"Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people." --Romans 16:18

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Saturday, June 16, 2012

“So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs." --Matt 10:26-27

Monday, June 11, 2012

Receive him

When I was in that organization I used to read John 1:12 and wonder why it seemed so easy for them and so hard for me. It just didn't seem right; didn't mesh with God's perfect justice. What do you think?

"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."

Thursday, June 7, 2012

My Life in a Religious Cult

I have studied the Bible my whole life. I believed that Jesus died for my sins and that without his sacrifice I had no hope. I was baptized in 1990, symbolizing this belief and dedicating myself to doing the will of His Father. I acknowledged that baptism identified me with “God’s spirit-directed organization”. I was told that my religious organization was the only group of True Christians who worshipped correctly. I really thought that everything they teach is based on the Bible. I worked hard trying to prove my worthiness to God so that I would survive judgment day, spending much of my time on Bible study and preaching. In fact, since I was taught to put God’s Kingdom first, I felt guilty when doing anything else. 

While in the organization I felt so low and full of inadequacies... My mom would send me emails twice a week telling me she feared for my life because my meeting attendance wasn’t good enough. At meetings we were admonishment to do more, more, more and to make kingdom preaching a priority no matter what your circumstances. We were told that we might not make it through the  the Great TribulationF if we miss one meeting, or if we weren’t regular in kingdom preaching, which is considered “faithful in least”. One little girl said she wouldn’t play with my daughter because she didn’t see her attend meetings often enough. I suffered from health problems and depression, and had babies with special needs. I just couldn’t perform for them. We had no friends.

Eventually we were tired of being alone and have decided to make friends elsewhere. My mom was very upset with me for having friends who are not part of the organization and allowing my daughter to have them. She says I will fall away to Satan and God will destroy me in Armageddon.6 I tell her that I don’t see any bad influence from our new friends, (which means they are not bad association) and I don’t listen to her.
I noticed that some Christian friends of mine were praising God for answered prayers. I thought that they must be deluded. Surely God wouldn’t answer their prayers, I was taught that they don’t pray to the true God, and besides, He didn’t even answer mine. I was taught that we should “work in harmony”2 with our prayers, and of course, I was always failing, so I stopped praying altogether, knowing that I didn’t deserve God’s help. So you see I was both humble and proud, that is how cults work. Proud that I was in an elite group, the only ones with the truth, but humbled because I was never good enough for God’s approval. Fear and shame keep people in the cult. But you would never know that when I would argue my faith, with a scripture for every question, sure that I was right and everyone else was wrong, so sure that they needed the "truth".
I found that many within the congregation influenced us to be judgmental, causing unloving actions towards others, calling those outside of the organization “worldy”, “dead”, or “goats” and those within the organization “weak”, all of which are “bad association”.3 I was thinking that maybe the problems I have seen are just in the congregations that I have attended. I thought that perhaps this was a test of faith. If God has a people then surely he wants me to support them, and the new literature printed by the organization was impressive. I decided to strengthen myself and my family to withstand the destructive influence of the congregation. So I started doing more Bible study and concentrating on that first. Then when we were ready I would be sure to comment, always pointing to God’s personality; I thought maybe I could be a good influence, help to readjust the congregation’s thinking.

Gradually I started to see holes in the cult’s theology. One of the first things I noticed was the emphasis on fear of the great tribulation and armageddon, and gradually I saw that this did not just come from the congregation, but from the printed literature, especially the picturesF. I kept thinking that surely God is in control of the end times and doesn’t hate me enough to destroy me. I would read over the accounts of God's judgment and see that He stays in control and saves His people. The Jews that obeyed and fled Jerusalem were not involved in the suffering of the great tribulation.

Later a Christian showed me 1 Thessalonians 1:10. This scripture planted a seed. “To wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.” I realized that the Bible says that there is no reason to fear the great tribulation. Later I found 1 John 4:17-18 and sent it to my mom when she told me that she was afraid that my family would be destroyed.By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” She told me to be careful. Using scripture to argue is exactly what apostates do.
I was always confused about Old Earth and creation so I did some research on these topics so that I would know how to teach my kids. I was warned by friends not to read anything written by Christians. These writings are a part of Babylon the Great, so they preferred teaching their kids evolution from secular sources. They warned that the organization publishes everything I ever need to read.5 I did not let them stop me. I was impressed with what I read and began to believe that God uses these Christians too. I used to join in with the secularists who would attack and abuse Christians because Jehovah’s Witnesses strongly denounce all other religions and had taught me to hate them. But now I started defending them.

I met someone who was raised in the cult, but was never baptized, so there wasn't a rule keeping me from talking to her. She was becoming a Christian after years of angry atheism. I was trying to convince her to come back to the Jehovah’s Witnesses. We talked about the Trinity and she says that the ransom means so much more to her since accepting it, and she never felt close to God with the teaching of Jesus as a separate created being. She is now drawing close to God and no longer an atheist. Why would I weaken her faith by talking her out of a doctrine that has helped her see God's love? I start to think that the Trinity doctrine isn't as evil as I was taught. (see 1 John 2:23 and John 5:23)

I know that going to the meetings just makes my depression worse and I can't bring myself to do it. My mom and her friends wouldn't leave me alone. Here is an email that I received during this time:

“Are you guys having trouble getting to the meeting,etc.? I'll tell you, from our own experience that the longer you stay away,the easier it is to not get back, and, like I've told you.....your kids will get where they won't want to go, and, that ought to scare you,thinking about that, cause I know you do know it's the truth and you surely want life for them, if not yourself. Don't fool yourself into thinking that you 'still' are a Witness,if indeed,you don't attend our 'training sessions' at the Kingdom Hall for survival.

This is a good reminder from my notes at a meeting, read it and meditate:
"Then the brother said, "It is hard to catch a fish that is full". - Why?
Because when they are full, they are not as interested in the bait. Spiritually, if we stay well-fed, prepare, meditate, attend our meetings, and participate in the ministry whole-souled, we will be spiritually full and therefore Satan's enticements will be less alluring."
You know,by not doing anything,if that's the case,you are showing Satan and Jehovah how little your relationship with Jehovah and being 'a part' of his organization means to you, and that's a scary place to be in,anytime,but,it's suicide,now!!!! But,even scarier is the fact that it's not just you and your husband who are going to lose your lives,if it continues,but your precious children, too.....who are a part of you and him,and,who look to you for direction and to lead the way. I love you and your family, and just wanted to share a lesson that we learned the hard way..............if you don't go to the meetings and participate and be 'a part' of it, then, Satan will move in and influence you, him and the kids,too! Don't doubt it!" I don't want anyone to have to learn that lesson ,and, maybe even be too late for your kids and husband ,if you come to your senses!

Interesting. Now as I read this I also see her referring to the organization as “the truth”. Didn’t Jesus say “I am the truth”? Going to meetings is going to give me life? Didn’t Jesus say “I am the life”? I also notice that I don't see personal Bible reading and prayer in this quote from a meeting. I think of two different points about this, and write a reply to the email:

I know of people who did all of the above as evidenced by their participation at the meetings and they were enticed by Satan's bait. Let's see I can think of 5 pioneers, one of which was an elder.
I pray and read my bible a lot more when people aren't scaring me with doom and gloom predictions of the Great Tribulation that Christ died to save me from. You are going to assume that I have a bad attitude... but I have a closer relationship with my heavenly Father right now than I have had in years.

Me, follower of the faithful and true witness.

I began to question why I should listen to uninspired men on these matters.8 I have been taught that they were chosen by Jesus to be the “faithful and discreet slave”. I decided to find out about this.

2. see Watchtower 7-15/1997 Prayers Require Works
F. see one example in the Watchtower 2/15/95Saved Alive Through the Great Tribulation
The great crowd must maintain their righteous standing before the Son of man without letup, which requires staying watchful right up to the end.
To succeed in standing before the Son of man, we must have his approval, which we will not have if we allow ourselves to be influenced by the thinking of this world... or to become so weighed down with life’s problems that he no longer keeps Kingdom interests first. He could become inactive (this means missing a month out in door to door publishing) or jeopardize his place in the congregation (notice the emphasis on the congregation, not God) by committing serious sin, perhaps even displaying an unrepentant attitude.
To that end, Jehovah has provided what we need by means of his Word, his holy spirit, and his visible organization. We must take full advantage of these. Further, we must be prayerful and obedient to God if we expect to have his favor. For one thing, we must develop a strong hatred for what is bad... limit association with those not dedicated to Jehovah. Thus, we will be assured that at Armageddon, Jehovah will not sweep us away in death along with the ungodly.
It is exciting to contemplate survival of the end of this system of things and the possibilityof never having to die. By serving Jehovah faithfully now, we have the assurance of life everlasting in his new world.
Watchtower12/15/1962 p.763 The person who permits a seed of discontent against Jehovah’s organization to grow until it becomes a poisonous root puts himself in a dangerous position… The loyal “sheep” see that the way to life is with Jehovah’s faithful organization.
Watchtower9/15/51 p. 556 “So work for salvation.”
6.  "Did not Jesus speak of worldly people as being spiritually dead when he said: "Let the dead bury their dead"? (Matt. 8:22) All who have begun walking the narrow way to life are spiritually alive in God’s eyes; whereas those walking the broad way to death are spiritually dead while they live. Why, then, should the living seek close association with the dead?"
"Seek right associations by staying close to the New World society."
"It is not the person whose mind is on the things of the world that can help you to be among those who will survive the end of this old world. He will hinder, not help you walk the narrow way that leads to life in God’s new world. If you maintain close association with such persons this side of God’s war of Armageddon, you run the greater likelihood of not reaching the other side of it... Why seek as friends persons who will have no place in God’s new world? Do not endanger your future with such bad associations." -- Watchtower 7/1/1961 p. 403

5. "There are now more than 350 books in circulation setting out such "creationism" dogma. Jehovah’s Witnesses reject the unreasonable theories of "creationism" in favor of what the Bible really teaches about 'creation.'"-- Watchtower 9/1/1986 p. 30 "Would you like to grow in knowledge, obtaining an education of even much greater value than can be received "in any college? You can do so by reading regularly this magazine and its companion, Awake! "-- Watchtower 6/15/1983 p.31
"This journal and other publications of the Watch Tower Society expose the unscriptural teachings of Christendom and the rest of Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion, while upholding the truthfulness of God’s Word, the Bible."-- Watchtower 9/15/1997
8. "Proving faithful, this "slave" class would be appointed by Jesus at his second coming over all his belongings. Yes, also by means of this "faithful and discreet slave" Jesus has been with his followers.—Matt. 24:45-47.... To stay with Jesus Christ is to stay with those whom he is pleased to use. Outside the true Christian congregation, what alternative organization is there? Only Satan’s organization consisting of his political "wild beast" and his Babylonian world empire of false religion.—Rev. 13:1, 14, 15; 17:3-6.
How can we give expression to our gratitude? In more ways than one. We can show it by cooperating with the ‘faithful slave’ in preaching and in making disciples. We can show our gratitude also by eagerly feeding on the spiritual food that this "slave" provides in the form of books and magazines, as well as by attending the congregation meetings. Nor to be overlooked is our privilege of praying that Jehovah’s spirit guide and strengthen that "slave" class for the work that He has for it to do. And according to our means it is also our privilege to contribute in a material way to help to defray the expenses incurred by that ‘slave’s’ worldwide activities. Yes, in all such ways we can show that we appreciate the way that Jehovah God is using and blessing the "faithful and discreet slave," thereby also demonstrating that we have a living, active faith that proves itself by its works.—Jas. 2:17, 26."-- Watchtower 3/1/1979 p. 23

“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Romans 4:5

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Jehovah's Witnesses, if you have ears to hear:

What you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, forgiveness of sins. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

That all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.

“Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”

Paragraph 1: Acts 17:22-28; Paragraph 2: Colossians 1:13-20; Paragraph 3: Colossians 2:9; John 5:23; Paragraph 4: Ephesians 2:18; Colossians 1:27 Paragraph 5: Acts 17:29-31

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Jesus is always faithful

I just couldn't stop hurting yesterday and didn't want to be reminded. When the conversation turned to Jehovah's Witnesses and their mistranslated Bible I had to get away. I walked and cried out to God for comfort. I don't know how to comfort myself Lord, do something, anything. Reach down and pull me out of this like you have before. My husband's cousin came to check on me. I was able to share my feelings a bit. I found a place to pray.

My Psalm started going through my mind and I prayed my way through it. Once again I was filled with the joy and peace that only He can give. Remembering the strength of the Lord is always with me, was with me when we were being cast from the cult, hated, feared and finally shunned for loving God's word and choosing Jesus over man's organization. I can do all things through Him who gives me strength for when I am weak, He is strong. (Philippians 4:13, 2 Corinthians 12:10) He has proven this over and over.

Here is Psalm 73 that brings me such comfort, that rings so true, that I was once asked if I wrote it:

I was so foolish and ignorant—
I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.
Yet I still belong to you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
leading me to a glorious destiny.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
I desire you more than anything on earth.
My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
He is mine forever.

Before coming to Jesus, crying out to "God" didn't do much, but Jesus is always faithful to His promises.  May the true God also bring you comfort through cousins and sisters, family and friends, His Word and the Holy Spirit.

Friday, June 1, 2012

It still hurts...

I see a lot of people still full of anger or fear and I think I am doing so well, we are so social now and there are prayers answered and joy that I have never had before, but this still hurts. And yes, of course, don't they deserve anger? They kept me away from Christ,The answer to the hole in my spirit, my life, my love, my strength, my everything! They are still doing it to others including my loved ones.
They are breaking up families and ruining lives. But anger is not the main emotion I feel. That was only for a few days.

We had a Christian couple visit us yesterday and encourage us to attend church and I very much enjoyed the fellowship. They also told us that they have one of our old JW elders calling on them so we talked about how to try to plant seeds there, and I cried... I love him.

Then I had a dream about my mom last night. She just wants to see her grandkids. I know that this hurts God too, these people being deceived and kept away from Him.