(WT 11/15/63, p. 688)
“Contrary to what some may think, it is not unkind and unloving to lay bare falsehood and corruption.” (WT 3/1/66, p.132)
“When persons are being misled we should warn them; they may resent it, but that does not free us from the moral responsibility to give warning.” (WT 1/15/74, p. 35)
“Any organization that claims to be the way of salvation should be willing to submit to scrutiny and criticism.” (Awake 8/22/84, p. 28)
"We would not refuse to treat one as a brother because he did not believe the Society is the Lord's channel. If others see it in a different way, that is their priviledge. There should be full liberty of conscience." (WT 4/1/1920)
The difference between having questions and challenging their authority can be seen here:
Should a follower of the Watchtower Society find a discrepency in the teachings, he is encouraged to "ask the elders" at which point, they will try to persuade the questioner into agreement. However, in the event that he is not convinced, there is unconditional expectation that the individual must QUIETLY disagree, keeping his findings to himself and patiently wait for "new light" (official change in doctrine). Failure to do will result in accusations of apostasy, being "marked" and often leads to disfellowshipping and shunning.
Sometimes, even the nature of the questions can lead to stern warnings, being "marked," accusations of apostasy, etc. This is because the Watchtower Society has effectively sheltered the average JW from a great deal of negative information about their society. They've been repetitively warned through their publications and in public discourses that they are expected to steer clear of any information that shines a negative light on their Organization. So, when a JW asks questions that are regarding information that is not common knowledge to the average member of the congregation, suspicion quickly arises.
Anyone who believes that they may be teaching truth would be wise to pray, research and challenge away, before the stakes get higher! (accusations of apostacy, loss of family and friends, scarred children, the list goes on) And all in the name of "Unity!" For this reason and many others, the Jehovah's Witnesses are widely recognized as a psychologically and spiritually abusive cult.
Don't EVER stop questioning religious leaders.Acts 17:11 - Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.Did you catch that? The Bereans were NOBLE for questioning an APOSTLE, to see if anything he said wasn't accurate according to GOD's WORD!!!
So if is noble to question an Apostle, it is ALSO noble to question the Governing Body, pope, or any other religious leader. And any religious leader telling you otherwise should be a strong warning to run the other way! Do NOT be misled!
After all, Charles T. Russell agreed with this statement, and encouraged the same testing of his writings: To one who wrote a letter of inquiry, Brother Russell replied: "If it was proper for the early Christians to prove what they received from the apostles, who were and who claimed to be inspired, how much more important it is that you fully satisfy yourself that these teachings keep closely within their outline instructions and those of our Lord;—since their author claims no inspiration, but merely the guidance of the Lord, as one used of him in feeding his flock." - Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, pg 622
(Be sure to see the "Prophets? Prove it!" topic)
Here’s my story:
I didn’t come from the standard Jehovah’s Witness background, since I only had one parent who was a Jehovah’s Witness. She wasn’t raised as one, though. My mom was actually raised Catholic but her family wasn’t very religious. My mom was introduced to the Watchtower Society by her first husband’s family. Her brother-in-law and his wife were Jehovah’s Witnesses and her husband was beginning to study with them. One night, they offered to go out to dinner together, but they deceitfully took her to the Kingdom Hall, first. Initially my mom was angry about being tricked. However, since she had never been encouraged to build scriptural foundation for her beliefs, she was swept away charismatic presentation of twisted scriptures. As a result, my mom became a baptized Jehovah’s Witness. Her husband did not. Their marriage ultimately failed due to his ongoing affair with another woman. My mom moved back to her mother’s home, pregnant with her second child.
Shortly after, my mom became acquaintances with my father, a controlling man who had no religious beliefs or morals. I believe she was desperate for someone to take care of her and her children, and my dad took advantage of her vulnerability, weaseling his way into her life. Not long after, she was pregnant and disfellowshipped. My mom was 7 months pregnant with me when they were married.
I don’t know what transpired for the next five years, aside from hearing that my father was relentlessly cruel to my mom’s sons (my half-brothers) especially the one who was later diagnosed with Asperger’s, taunting him for his delayed development. I’ve also heard chilling stories of border-line abuse in the name of punishment. But I was completely unaware of this. He was actually pretty good to me until my pre-teens, and I was even a “daddy’s girl.”
When I was five, my mom was reinstated as a Jehovah’s Witness. At about the same time, my father got custody of his two sons from his previous marriage. (I have four half-brothers, two from each parent.) My mom had already started taking me and her sons to the Kingdom Hall. My dad’s sons only attended a few meetings before deciding not to go back.
I continued to go and a year later I was thoroughly indoctrinated. I was NOT at all like other children. My mom had already ingrained into my brain that “Bad association spoils useful habits.” This would include everyone who is not a Jehovah’s Witness (aka “worldly” people). Let me paint a picture of what that looks like in action. At age six, I had no friends at school since my two Jehovah’s Witness friends moved away. I remember sitting on a swing next to a “worldly” classmate and suddenly realizing that I was becoming friends with this girl. Immediately, I explained to her that I was not allowed to be friends with her. I also explained that sometimes I forget and asked her to remind me not to talk to her in the future. We were only SIX! My dad’s sons had friends, so we were allowed to play with them when they came over. However, my mom was very uptight about me playing with any boys. She always wanted me to be proper and scolded me for being playful and silly. And I was not allowed to make any of my own friends. If I got caught talking to a neighbor when my mom got home, I would quickly end the conversation and head inside feeling shamed by my mom’s disappointment in me.
So in just one year of attending the Kingdom Hall, I already secluded myself from society and I already knew the basics of the religion, including which Bible verse to share with other students about what God’s name “really” is (however, I now know this is false.) I would take WTS publications to school to defend my religion and try to win converts before I was even on the “big kids’ side” of the playground. I would ask to be removed from any classroom birthday or holiday activities. Sometimes, my father would encourage me to celebrate holidays, and twice I gave in. But I felt torn inside, because God was displeased with me for doing so. I sometimes laid in bed asking God to make my dad a Jehovah’s Witness so he wouldn’t have to die in Armageddon.
As soon as I was able to read, I was pressured into studying the WTS publications. I hated to read and often got drowsy while attempting to read their propaganda. But, I always strived to do what was right, no matter how difficult it was. I was also trained to answer objections to my religion and shut out any opposing views. Questioning the Watchtower Society, I was told, was the same as “Questioning God!” Three to five times a week, my mom would ask the same question: “Have you studied for the meeting, yet?” She was constantly hounding me and almost never had a nice thing to say. I was also taught how to go out in door-to-door service as young, trembling child.
I did have some good times during these years, most of which I attribute to my oldest brother (my mom’s son) who always looked out for me. He was the one who glued us kids together. We were a team, the kids versus the parents. He sheltered me from the chaos of my unblended family. However, the pressure built up to a degree that he could no longer take, and he buckled. My dad continued his verbal abuse towards my mom’s sons, and my mom countered using my dad’s son as a pawn. Their real dad was no better, treating them as second-rate to his daughters from the “other woman,” whom he married. It got worse. After he failed to stay faithful to his second wife, he ended his life, leaving my brothers (and even my mom) with scars I will never understand.
These events drove my oldest brother to drugs, alcohol and the type of friends that go along with that life style. At this point, he was an unbaptized publisher and was constantly being reprimanded by the elders and eventually he left, never to return. Being that I was still so young, I didn’t understand what was going on with him. All I knew is that he was “bad” because he “had ‘the truth’ and he left it!”
Now that the glue in our family had become undone, my life began to take a turn for the worst. Without him to make sure that there was fair play, my other brothers began to pick on me relentlessly. Even my mom wouldn’t stand up for me! Instead, she always told me just to ignore their taunting and scolded me for fighting with them. My mom was trying to turn me into a clone of herself. For as long as I can remember, she has been a down-trodden, non-confrontational people-pleaser. No doubt this demeanor is a strong factor in why she fell into the snare of the WTS. My mom would project this attitude onto me, expecting me to let everyone walk all over me. It wasn’t just with my brothers. My father would hypocritically spank me for not eating peas, when he wouldn’t even allow beets into the house. My mom said nothing. When I told her that the girls at school picked on me, my mom insisted that the other girls must have had a good reason for not liking me. (They did. It was my lack of social skills and odd religious behavior, but I was too young to comprehend this.)
No matter how much I wanted to please her (and “Jehovah”), it just wasn't in my nature to accept these injustices. I would have extreme crying bouts, shoving my face into the pillow and screaming at the top of my lungs, leaving my door open for all to hear. I always hoped that my parents would see how deeply I was wounded and come to my aid. They never did. This led to some very dark thoughts at the age of 10. Since it didn't seem enough to them that I was hurting so deeply, then I began to imagine "how sorry they'd be" if I were dead. I never had the guts to actually attempt suicide, nor did I want to displease God! But, I was so angry to the core that I often fantasized about the sorrow and regrets they’d have if I chose to go through with it. I wanted them to hurt to the same degree that I was hurting!
When I was about twelve, while visiting my uncle, he told me that he had a book with all these facts about CT Russell being a liar and a crook. I didn't dare look at it (for doing so would be “questioning God!”) but just the “what if” thoughts freaked me out. I felt sick to my stomach and couldn't sleep that night. I just couldn’t bear to think that I was wrong, that my mom was wrong, and that our congregation was wrong. And it was dangerous to toy with the idea. After all, I’d already been warned about “apostate lies.” I convinced myself that whatever that book said, it just couldn’t be true. I went back to trying to please "Jehovah" and my mom, JW-style. With time, I even repressed the memory.
At age 13, I began getting pressure from my mom to get baptized. Every time someone my age or younger was baptized, my mom would nudge me, as if to say, “What about you?” She thought it was admirable when an eight-year old was considered mature enough to make that decision, as did the rest of my congregation. Mature or NAÏVE?! The other two girls my age were already baptized and, in the eyes of my mother and my congregation, I was becoming a public disgrace.
I was constantly compared to one of these other girls, specifically. The other girl was far more sheltered and far more indoctrinated. Both of her parents were Jehovah’s Witnesses, her father was an elder, and she was home schooled. She was baptized at about thirteen. Her P.E. requirement was fulfilled by door-to-door service. She put so many hours into “field service” that she was considered a “pioneer” (I think it’s about 60 hrs a month) and her name was mentioned monthly in the Kingdom Hall. Of course, this would again result in my mom giving me the “comparison nudge.” This other girl was considered to be more “spiritual,” more “mature” than I was. After all, I was still an unbaptized publisher going out in service less than 15 hours a month. If my hours fell under 10 a month, I had an elder of the congregation calling my house asking to speak to me to find out why my hours dropped…… Oh, I don’t know…. Maybe going school, doing homework, studying for meetings three times a week and going door-to-door more than two hours a week is a bit much to ask of a thirteen year-old!
By age fifteen I started realizing that I’d never chosen my religion and began questioning my faith. Everything I’d done was a result from outside pressures, especially that of my mom. Thankfully, I had not yet been baptized! (This is an important fact. All the Jehovah’s Witness children who were baptized, even at the ripe old age of eight, suffered far more when they chose to leave. There are strict rules regarding former Jehovah’s Witnesses. They are considered apostates and “are worse than ‘worldly’ people because they had ‘the Truth’ and turned away from it.” They loose all their friends and even some family members refuse to speak to them. Even though I am not technically an “apostate,” JW’s who know my past will still avoid me like the plague!)
I had really dark thoughts about God. In fact, my favorite song at the time was "Blasphemous Rumors" by Depeche Mode. This was a result of being taught some conflicting ideas:
1) Never question my beliefs.
2) All non-JWs who don't question their beliefs will be killed in Armageddon.
See a problem? Yeah, it made me think that God, if He existed, was cruel! I wanted nothing more then to hope, against all odds, that evolution was the source of life. Since I was taught that there is no hell, I figured I was gambling, at most, an untimely and gruesome death at Armageddon. I felt "I'd rather die than serve a god like him." I refused to look at arguments for creation and always used this cop-out: "One day, I'll figure out what I believe. But for right now, I'm just gonna live life as I please."
My parents’ marriage was falling apart. By this time, I was fully aware of who my dad really was and I hated him! The elders deemed that my mom had grounds for separation since my father was verbally abusing my entire family and was sexually abusing her, driving her to a suicide attempt. I was thrilled when we moved out. Only three weeks later, my mom dragged my brother (with Asperger’s) and me back to my dad’s, crying and pleading the whole time. (Eventually, they divorced.) Since I realized no one was looking out for my best interests, I pinned them against each other, to break free from the control of the Watchtower. As long as I was living in my father’s household, my mom didn’t have the power to force me to go the meetings. I used my new-found freedoms to choose my own friends. My previous best friend, a Jehovah’s Witness was actually a bit pushy with me, but because she was the only JW in my grade level, she had become my best friend by process of elimination. But now, I had options!
I made quick friends with a classmate who had a crush on me. Although I wasn’t interested, our friendship grew. He was there for me when I needed to be angry and vent. He was there for me when I needed to cry. And he was there for me when I needed to laugh and for the first time in my life, I had someone to be silly with! It wasn’t long before we fell in love. My mom strongly objected to our relationship. But I’d never been able to gain her approval in the past, so her continued disappointment had very little effect. She kept hoping that I would return to the Kingdom Hall and stop dating a “worldly” boy. I did neither. After four years of dating, at age twenty, I married him!
My husband was raised Christian but wasn’t exactly strong in his faith during his teen years. As he got older, he began taking his faith more seriously. He also began praying for me on a regular basis. God honored his prayers. At age 21, God revealed Himself to me. He warned me that if I didn’t turn to Him, that I was headed for hell. I woke up shaking and crying. For the first time in six years, I prayed. I poured out my heart and begged God to show me who He really is. I began going to a Christian church and independently comparing it to the doctrine I was raised on.
My mom lent me some materials to aid in my research. One of the publications I borrowed was a Kingdom Interlinear (A Greek-to-English Bible translation). When I saw the discrepancies between the original Greek and the English of the New World Translation, I knew that the WTS had intentionally altered their Bible to conceal the Deity of Jesus Christ. In one moment, I knew they were a false prophet and couldn’t be trusted on any theology. And even though I became a born-again Christian, I still grappled with confusion over the indoctrination of my past. I still had to cover each issue, one by one, to figure out what was true and what was not.
My mom and I tip-toed around religion for five years. Recently, we reached a boiling point. This resulted in sending me back through the doctrinal differences, since I needed a stronger case to prove to her what I already know. This time, when I researched, I dug much deeper than before. What I’ve discovered was so sickening that it makes me physically nauseated. In addition to faulty doctrine, I discovered a long history of false prophecies. I also found a history of flip-flopping on their position regarding blood transfusions and organ transplants. They’ve even repetitively protected rapists and child-molesters and shunned the victims, labeling them as “fornicators!” Learning the depth of deception and the horrors that are taking place within Kingdom Halls, I finally felt free letting go of the legalism that I had been clining to, even after five years as a Christian. I now know the source of my unexplained depresion and I am beginning a journey towards true healing, that only God can bring. God's grace is overflowing in my life and I'm brought to tears when I realize how much He loves me. I'm figuring out who I am, and I like the person that God is turning me into!
Now, I actively work towards opening the eyes of the members of this horrendous cult, including my mom and one brother who are still active Jehovah’s Witnesses. I have a solid case, but they’ve been so indoctrinated to assume that any former member is spreading vicious lies that they refuse to even look at the evidence. I have not been disowned, though (which most former JWs are disowned by family members) and I look for open doors to share my faith.
Even my oldest brother, who never returned to the Kingdom Hall, still carries the wounds of his spiritual abuse, along with the other trials he’s endured. He’s into his thirties now and has achieved some level of stability. He’s now married, owns a home, works full-time, attends a trade school and has three dogs. However, he is still attempting to mask his pain with marijuana and alcohol. Deep down, he still believes in the teachings of the WTS. He can’t yet see that the god of the Watchtower is not the God of the Bible. As a result, religion is too painful for him to consider, at this time. It’s just recently that God has allowed me to see his inner pain and I am beginning to reach out to him, with positive results.
As a Christian, I am learning to forgive my father for what he’s done to my family. I no longer hate him but he has not changed, so I keep him at a safe distance. I worry about him and his sons the most, since they are all content with their Godless lives of depravity. Their names are often included in my very long “prayer list.”
See also: What is the True Gospel?
"True, there have been those in times past who predicted an 'end to the world', even announcing a specific date... Yet, nothing happened. The 'end' did not come. They were guilty of false prophesying. Why? What was missing? Missing from such people were God's truths and the evidence that he was guiding and using them." - Awake! 1968 Oct. 8 p.23
DO THEY CLAIM TO BE A PROPHET?
IDENTIFYING THE "PROPHET" -- "So does Jehovah have a prophet to help them, to warn them of dangers and to declare things to come? These questions can be answered in the affirmative. Who is this prophet?...This "prophet" was not one man, but was a body of men and women. It was the small group of footstep followers of Jesus Christ, known at that time as International Bible Students. Today they are known as Jehovah's Christian Witnesses...Of course, it is easy to say that this group acts as a ‘prophet' of God. It is another thing to prove it." The Watchtower, 4/1/72, p. 197.
OK THEN, MR. WATCHTOWER, ARE YOU A TRUE PROPHET OR A FALSE PROPHET?
"the Creator’s promise of a peaceful and secure new world before the generation that saw the events of 1914 passes away." —Awake! magazine, page 4, thru October 22, 1995In 1995, they removed the deadline, since their prophecy is failing to come true:
"the Creator’s promise of a peaceful and secure new world that is about to replace the present wicked, lawless system of things."—Awake! November 8, 1995, page 4Example #2:
Shortly within our twentieth century, the “battle in the day of Jehovah” will begin against the modern antitype of Jerusalem, Christendom. - The Nations Shall Know That I Am Jehovah - How? 1971 p. 216
JW's self-proclaimed "annointed JOHN class" (keep in mind, they don't consider themselves to be inspired prophets, yet call themselves after the names of inspired prophets) has no evidence, through miracles or any other demonstration, that God is working through this self-proclaimed exclusive channel to God. So, when they get foot-in-mouth disease, there is nothing to substanciate their claims that it was "just a mistake" instead of a false prophecy. To cover their tracks, they redefine the terms "prophet" and "prophecy" as they see fit, making qualifiers such as false prophecies must be made "in Jehovah's name" and so long as they admit they were wrong (whether before or after the fact), then it is "just a mistake." Remember, they made no such exclusions for "those in times past who predicted an 'end to the world', even announcing a specific date!"
They claim portions of prophet status when it's convenient, and squirm out of the inconvenient responsibility.... the BURDEN OF PROOF!!! The WT points to mistakes of the the apostles to excuse their own "mistakes." But the Apostles were hand-selected by Jesus, and anyone accepting the 66 books of the Bible as the inspired Word of God will not question that. The Governing Body proclaims themselves to have exclusive authority from God! The Governing Body has openly made outrageous claims, not out of speculation, but with boldness and certainty! These claims have been printed as "spiritual food at the proper time" and the food is clearly rancid!
Once again, here is what the Watchtower says about false prophets:
"True, there have been those in times past who predicted an 'end to the world', even announcing a specific date... Yet, nothing happened. The 'end' did not come. They were guilty of false prophesying. Why? What was missing? Missing from such people were God's truths and the evidence that he was guiding and using them." - Awake! 1968 Oct. 8 p.23
Not just a "mistake," folks!
Click for more documented WT false predictions
•1899 "...the 'battle of the great day of God Almighty' (Revelation 16:14), which will end in A.D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of earth's present rulership, is already commenced," (The Time Is at Hand, 1908 edition, p. 101).
•1916 "The Bible chronology herein presented shows that the six great 1000 year days beginning with Adam are ended, and that the great 7th Day, the 1000 years of Christ's Reign, began in 1873," (The Time Is at Hand, forward, p. ii).
•1918 "Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old, particularly those named by the Apostle in Hebrews 11, to the condition of human perfection," (Millions Now Living Will Never Die, p. 89).
•1922 "The date 1925 is even more distinctly indicated by the Scriptures than 1914," (Watchtower, Sept. 1, 1922, p. 262).
•1923 "Our thought is, that 1925 is definitely settled by the Scriptures. As to Noah, the Christian now has much more upon which to base his faith than Noah had upon which to base his faith in a coming deluge," (Watchtower, Apr. 1, 1923, p. 106).
•1925 "The year 1925 is here. With great expectation Christians have looked forward to this year. Many have confidently expected that all members of the body of Christ will be changed to heavenly glory during this year. This may be accomplished. It may not be. In his own due time God will accomplish his purposes concerning his people. Christians should not be so deeply concerned about what may transpire this year," (Watchtower, Jan. 1, 1925, p. 3).
•1925 "It is to be expected that Satan will try to inject into the minds of the consecrated, the thought that 1925 should see an end to the work," (Watchtower, Sept., 1925, p. 262).
•1926 "Some anticipated that the work would end in 1925, but the Lord did not state so. The difficulty was that the friends inflated their imaginations beyond reason; and that when their imaginations burst asunder, they were inclined to throw away everything," (Watchtower, p. 232).
•1931 "There was a measure of disappointment on the part of Jehovah's faithful ones on earth concerning the years 1917, 1918, and 1925, which disappointment lasted for a time...and they also learned to quit fixing dates," (Vindication, p. 338).
•1941 "Receiving the gift, the marching children clasped it to them, not a toy or plaything for idle pleasure, but the Lord's provided instrument for most effective work in the remaining months before Armageddon," (Watchtower, Sept. 15, 1941, p. 288).
•1968 "True, there have been those in times past who predicted an 'end to the world', even announcing a specific date. Yet nothing happened. The 'end' did not come. They were guilty of false prophesying. Why? What was missing?.. Missing from such people were God's truths and evidence that he was using and guiding them," (Awake, Oct. 8, 1968).
•1968 "Why are you looking forward to 1975?" (Watchtower, Aug. 15, 1968, p. 494).
Why is it that articles that have once been considered "Spiritual 'food at the proper time' " now look so rancid?
These are actual beliefs formerly held by the Watchtower Society.
- God's throne is Alcyone, a star in the Pleiades constellation
- The shape of your brain determines your desire (or lack thereof) to worship God
- Organ transplants considered cannibalistic
- Organ transplants cause "personality transplants"
- Beth Sarim, a mansion in San Diego CA, was to be a home for all prophets that would be resurrected in 1925.
- CT Russell previously believed that Jesus returned invisibly in 1874
- CT Russell used the Great Pyramid as support/evidence for his 1914 teaching
Was there ever "a proper time" for this "spritual food"?
Sure, human wisdom has numerous failures. But shouldn't it be different with an organization that claims God uses them ALONE for dispensing "the Truth©?"
Clearly, these teachings did not originate from the Bible, so it is no wonder that this "food" is so rancid!
See also: Prophets? Prove it!
to a select few of his followers?
For as many as
♥ are LED BY THE SPIRIT of God,♥
they are SONS OF GOD.
For ye have not received
the spirit of bondage again to fear;
but ye have received the
SPIRIT OF ADOPTION,
♥ whereby WE CRY, ABBA, FATHER.♥
But ye are not in the flesh,
but in the Spirit,
if so be that the
SPIRIT of GOD DWELL IN YOU.
Now if any man HAVE NOT
the Spirit of Christ,
♥ HE IS NONE OF HIS. ♥
Verily, verily, I say unto thee,
Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit,
♥ HE CAN NOT ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD. ♥
That which is born of the flesh is flesh
and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Marvel not that I said unto thee,
♥ YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN. ♥
♥ the SPIRIT OF TRUTH, ♥
♥ He WILL GUIDE YOU INTO ALL TRUTH. ♥
These words are not mine, but I hope you'll find them helpful! :)
All religions have one thing in common: they encourage their members to work as hard as they can to gain everlasting life, the celestial kingdom, nirvana, or whatever else they want to call it. Biblical Christianity, however, IS different.
As Jesus Christ was dying, he said “It is finished” because from that point on, all anyone had to do was to trust His sacrifice to cover their sins. Everyone needs this sacrifice because the Bible tells us in Romans 3:23 that we are all sinners.
We are in such bad condition that when we try to earn favor with God through our good works, Isaiah 64:6 tells us that our righteous deeds are like filthy rags to God. In Mark 10:27 Jesus is answering His disciples’ question, “who then can be saved?” He said, “with man, this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.”
God realizes that man cannot possibly save himself through door-to-door preaching or ordinances of a church. That’s why God did not send an organization or a church to offer us peace with God, but He sent His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but through me.”
Instead of earning our goal as a reward, it is offered to us freely as a gift through Jesus Christ as the perfect sacrifice, whose offering of Himself was complete to earn our way to everlasting life with God the Father.
1) It starts with prayer. Ask God to lead you to church where the Holy Spirit is present.
2) Investigate. Google the name of churches/denominations online to see if there is much controversy over their teachings. (Are they frequently called a cult? Do they have some obviously unbiblical teachings?) Does the church have a website? Perhaps you can listen to online sermons?
3) Study. Listen carefully to the passages used in a sermon. Is the focus on the Scriptures? When you get home, read these passages more in depth to be certain nothing was taken out of context. Perhaps, even look for online commentaries on the passages, to compare and contrast different views.
4) Trust God over man. If something doesn't feel right then leave, even if you've started to get comfortable at that church.
5) Continue to do your OWN study of the Bible so that you can grow in your relationship with God. The more you do this, the more clear it will be to you when something isn't right.
I can't emphasize this enough: It's ALL about searching for God and trusting Him! If you put your faith in Him (instead of religious leaders opinions), He will NOT let you down.
Links of interest:
Good and Bad fruit (5 minutes)
Examine Yourselves (4.5 minutes)
Only a suggestion: Many former cult members find Calvary chapels to be a "safe" place to start their search since Calvary pastors read straight from the Bible, chapter-by-chapter, so you'll know right away if something is being taken out of context. Don't feel guilty for being untrusting of preachers. It is noble to scrutinize religious leaders! (see Acts 17:11)
"Let us face the fact that no matter how much Bible reading we have done, we would never have learned the truth on our own... " Watchtower 12/1/90 p19
"We all need help to understand the Bible, and we cannot find the Scriptural guidance we need outside the 'faithful and discreet slave' organization." Watchtower 2/15/81 p19
"All who want to understand the Bible should appreciate that the 'greatly diversified wisdom of God' can become known only through Jehovah's channel of communication, the faithful and discreet slave." Watchtower; 10/1/1994; p. 8
"Unless we are in touch with this channel of communication that God is using, we will not progress along the road to life, no matter how much Bible reading we do." Watchtower, Dec. 1, 1981, p. 27
"It should be expected that the Lord would have a means of communicating to his people on the earth, and he has clearly shown that the magazine called The Watchtower is used for that purpose." 1939 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, pg 85
"Thus the Bible is an organizational book and belongs to the Christian congregation as an organization, not to individuals, regardless of how sincerely they may believe that they can interpret the Bible. For this reason the Bible cannot be properly understood without Jehovah’s visible organization in mind." Watchtower October 1, 1967 pg 587
But what does the BIBLE say?
Here are some examples, revolving around the Deity of Jesus -
KJV - "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and THE WORD WAS GOD."
NWT - "In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was A god.
1 John 5:7-8
KJV -"For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one."
NWT -"For there are three witness bearers, the spirit and the water and the blood, and the three are in agreement."
KJV - "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with HIS OWN BLOOD."
NWT: "Pay attention to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the holy spirit has appointed YOU overseers, to shepherd the congregation of God, which he purchased with the blood of his own [Son]."
("Son" was added in, to change the context, hence the brackets.)
KJV - "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist."
NWT - "because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him. Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all [other] things were made to exist"
("Other" was added in to imply that Jesus was the first creation, hence the brackets.)
KJV - "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon ME whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn."
NWT - "And I will pour out upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of favor and entreaties, and they will certainly look to THE ONE whom they pierced through, and they will certainly wail over Him as in the wailing over an only [son]; and there will be a bitter lamentation over him as when there is bitter lamentation over the firstborn [son]"
(Since the speaker is YHWH, the NWT replaces "look upon ME whom they pierced" with a third person "the one" implying that Jesus is seperate from the Father.)
Hebrews 1:8 -
KJV "But unto the Son he saith, THY THRONE, O GOD, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom."
NWT "But with reference to the Son: “GOD IS YOUR THRONE forever and ever, and the scepter of your kingdom is the scepter of uprightness."
(God is your throne???)
Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the New World translators "restored" God's name to it's orginal place. But, in all honesty, it was a far stretch of the WTS to put "Jehovah" into the New Testament. If you have access to a NWT reference Bible, here are some things that you should look into: Every time "Jehovah" is inserted into the New Testament, at the bottom of your Reference Bible, you will see J#'s. There are a few appendixes in the back that you should read to begin to understand what that means.
What are these j-versions?
From 1385 A.D. onwards, the New Testament Greek manuscripts started to be translated into certain Hebrew versions with the inclusion of YHWH. It is essential to understand that these have no connection whatsoever with the Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament manuscripts and were not translated until well over one thousand years after Jesus death.
Basically, those are the ONLY sources out of thousands of manuscripts that the WTS could find to justify replacing "Lord" with "Jehovah." In fact, the interesting thing about those documents, is that, not only are they much later copies translated into Hebrew, but they are actually TRINITARIAN-biased! These documents use the divine name for BOTH God the Father, and for the Son! Yet, the NW translators only borrowed from these documents where they felt is was appropriate (ie: agreed with their posistions).
My point being that, just because the NWT says "Jehovah" doesn't mean that God the Father is REALLY the subject of that passage.
This has allowed the NWT "translators" to obscure the Deity of Jesus. As an example, lets look an the context of the Revelation 1:7-8...... I will still use the NWT, only omitting "Jehovah."
"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says ???, "the One who is and who was and WHO IS COMING, the Almighty."
So who is speaking???
Let’s look at Revelation 22:12-13:
“‘Look! I am coming quickly, and the reward I give is with me, to render to each one as his work is. I am the Al′pha and the O·me′ga, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.’”
Jesus is coming. (Mat 24:30, Mat 26:64, Mar 13:2, Luk 21:2, Rev 1:7, Rev 22:20)
He has His reward with Him. (Isaiah 62:11)
He is the First and the Last. (Rev 1:17,18)
All the evidence points to the speaker in this passage being Jesus, making Him “the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.”
There is only one FIRST and one LAST, and from Isaiah, it is clear that the “First and the Last” is God Almighty!
Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. (Isa 44:6 KJV)
The more you dig, the clearer it becomes that Jesus is not “a” god, but God Almighty, YHWH.
A concise explanation of the "J" manuscripts
Scanned copies of the "J-text" manuscripts, proving the dishonesty of the NW "translators"
A defense for the King James 1611 translation
1881-1896: a collective servant, body of Christ ***
1896-1927: a single person, more specifically, CT Russell.
("Proclaimers" pg 142)
***This revert back to former "truth" is a violation of the "new light" rule, as established by CT Russell. He made it clear that such contridictions would prove his religion to be man-made.***
"If we were following a man undoubtedly it would be different with us; undoubtedly one human idea would contradict another and that which was light one or two or six years ago would be regarded as darkness now; But with God there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning, and so it is with truth; any knowledge or light coming from God must be like its author. A new view of truth never can contradict a former truth. "New light" never extinguishes older light," but adds to it…" (Watchtower, Feb 1881, p.3)
1 March 1896 Watchtower: "In our examination of this text we seem to have treated the term 'that servant' as though the Spirit had erred in saying 'that servant' when it meant servants (plural), and we applied it to all true servants of God. Since then we have been met from various quarters with objections to so general an application, and the suggestion that it would be wrong to allow modesty or any other consideration, good or bad, to warp our judgment in the exposition of the inspired Word; to which proposition we agree."
15 April 1904 Watchtower: "but since the servant mentioned is to dispense food to the other members of the body, his fellow-servants, the term seems to be limited to some particular individual."
He generally was cautious not to claim the title boldly, but he allowed others to identify him as such. For example, Russell as editor of the Watch Tower published letters from readers referring to him as the "faithful servant." (15 November 1915 Watchtower, p. 351)
In 1927, Russell's successor, Joseph Franklin Rutherford, published an article in The Watchtower to the effect that the "faithful servant" was a class of people, not an individual. Jehovah's Witnesses--Proclaimers of God's Kingdom concludes that "...the idea that Russell himself was the faithful and wise servant...came to be generally held by the Bible Students for some thirty years." (1896-1927)
15 September 1950 Watchtower p. 326 "The Father is the great Provider of spiritual food, and he delegates to his organization the duty of preparing and serving this life-sustaining 'meat in due season'. The table is the Lord's, he sits at the head, and the children seated at the table are waited on and served and helped by the mother organization.—Matt. 24:45; Ps. 23:5; Isa. 25:6"
For more detail, visit Wikipedia: Faithful_and_Discreet_Slave (with references)
In future posts, I will cover other areas where "one human idea would contradict another and that which was light one or two or six years ago would be regarded as darkness now."