The following was a letter sent by an ex-Jehovah’s Witness to three elders who presided over the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses that he attended from child-hood into adult-hood.
I’m not sure why I’ve waited this long to send a message your way, but I guess I’ll get right down to it.
All three of you I have considered to be father figures throughout my life – in addition to my own father of course – and I just have a few things to say. Please give me your full attention through this. If your faith is as strong as you claim [it to be,] it should not bother you.
I grew up the child of an elder. My expectations were set for me when I was born. I would not have friends outside of the kingdom hall. I would not participate in activities that involved the outside world. I wouldn’t have a significant other until I had passed the “bloom of youth”. And I would not be allowed to celebrate the day of my birth. I was brainwashed into memorizing the books of the bible in order.
I remember once: I held a card from a popular children’s trading card game – and because of it’s bad reputation – my parents made me take it outside. I was not allowed inside until I promised to give it back to the child who gave it to me at school.
My father said, “You can take that card and be with satan outside if you want it so much.”
This was the kind of influential speech parents were being urged to use with their children for card games of the time, such as Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and Digimon. From the outside world people call that child abuse. I just wanted to fit in with the kids at school, feel wanted and have friends. But I was denied that chance because of an opinionated “brother” giving a talk at an assembly in indianapolis. To people who have surrounded their lives in this routine, this seems folly.
Well, maybe you should try looking at it differently.
In the last 12 years, I have had to experience the most lonely and trying times of my life. I cannot describe how alone I always felt – not because of my parents – but because as a child I was never invited – aside from Daniel, and occasionally Dillon – to join in the activities of the other witnesses of the North or South [Kingdom] Halls. I would spend countless hours alone in my room trying to keep myself happy. Because of this forced seclusion, I developed socially awkward traits. This made it even harder for me to interact with people when I reached my early teenage years. I hadn’t known how to deal with anyone because nobody even tried to deal with me.
Oddly enough, I rarely heard anyone talk about anything involving the bible, or the organization before or after [congregation] meetings. All I ever heard them speak about was their daily lives. The “Good News”, it seemed, wasn’t legitimately appealing to them.
I never even thought about my faith until I turned 15. And when I did, my life changed. I did just what Charles T. Russell did when he was a young scholar. He went to church and looked to see if they were teaching what the bible said. So, for 6 months I brought a notepad and compared the Watchtower magazine, public talks, and book studies to what was said in the bible. When I finished I was astonished at my results. Almost all of the time the information was either completely cherry picked, or it was wrong. For another half a year I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to die at armageddon but I didn’t agree with the material that was being teached.
Then I started highschool and something happened. I still remained faithful. I started biology class. With my Jehovah’s Witness attitude I assumed I would be fed complete garbage about evolution and that would be it. I was more wrong than I ever could have imagined. I was taught the functions of the human body, molecular structure in things like proteins, DNA, and enzymes. I was taught organ function. I was taught how the brain works and how they know how the brain works. I was taught how sexual reproduction works through a process called meiosis.
And then finally the big kicker was up: Evolution. I went into the lecture incredibly ignorant. And arrogant! My thoughts were, “Now I have to sit through this garbage for an hour.” What happened was incredible. I was taught evolution and it made sense.
“everything I believed was wrong”
Please don’t click off the email from here. I grew up my entire childhood sitting through your talks and lectures so you can at least give me the common decency to hear me out.
I had been taught my entire childhood complete lies about evolution. The biggest of which was abiogenesis which is the study of how life began. The big bang was always associated with evolution, yet it had nothing to do with it. The big bang has nothing to do with life. It only explains how the universe came to be how it is today. I was so confused. I told my mom and dad and they pointed me towards Watchtower articles. When I read those Watchtower articles you know what I found? I found misquoted information, or information that had absolutely nothing to do with science (For proof of misquoting: click here and click here). The information was used to sidetrack one from the subject of evolution and instead, would draw you towards reading about creation accounts. They never confronted the situation scientifically. That was when I told my parents I would no longer be studying for meetings.
Almost 3 months later I found out other things, particularly that Genesis is not scientifically accurate. Things such as civilizations that predated Middle Eastern civilizations. For example, something that hit me to my core was finding out that the story about Noah and his Ark didn’t even come from the bible! It was plagiarized from the Epic of Gilgamesh, regarded as the first great work of literature. I didn’t know how to handle this. I then studied Physics and Chemistry and found out about isotope decay and carbon dating. I found out that the earth could not be 6,000 years, or any denomination of 6. The bible talks about light coming after water (Gen 1:2,3), yet water would not have stuck to the earth without the heat of the sun to melt the surface of the planet from ice comets 4.5 billion years ago. Another issue is that the bible speaks of dry land forming (Gen 1:9). Yet, there has always been a point in which dry land has existed on the planet. There is not enough water on the planet to cover absolutely all of earth’s surface.
This brings me to my next issue: The flood.
I already said how the flood has been proven to precede the biblical story, being in the Epic of Gilgamesh. The other issue being that it is not physically possible for the whole earth to flood. And if the excuse is that Jehovah can decide to make water appear and disappear, then Jehovah is not orderly or perfect. Why? Because it would have been much more efficient for him to just kill off all of humanity.
Also, people have always said that something cannot come from nothing. However, something can come from nothing. This has been proven by the particle accelerator known as the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland. Therefore this argument is no longer valid. And, if that’s the case, God cannot exist because something cannot come from nothing, therefore cannot have always existed any more than the universe did. Not trying to argue just trying to show that what I was taught isn’t logically valid.
Then I found out that evolution was completely correct. It can happen and does happen. Jehovah’s Witnesses simply do not understand evolution. So they slander it. And when someone tries to teach them it, they reject it out of ignorance. If you choose to be ignorant, you are truly sad. Why would a God of perfection want his creation to not use the incredible brain that they have?
Christianity is so ignorant of the rest of the world. We never even question whether or not monotheism is logical or not. Or that we have only grown to like the religion we are in because it is of christian origin and maybe therefore, it’s easier for us to accept it.
These are questions that I had decided to ask because I knew that if I was truly bothered on Judgement Day, God would know regardless. I want to serve him of my own free will.
A year ago, I finally realized that everything I believed was wrong. So I stopped going to meetings. I was so afraid. I asked someone I knew from school if they wanted to get together and watch a movie. I was expecting them to be unkind. Instead, that person became my best friend. Over the last year, this friend has shown me so much kindness and has never betrayed me. I never got such kindness from Jehovah’s Witnesses. My friend truly cared. And then through him I made other friends. And those friends showed me the same kindness. I have lost my socially awkward traits and I have come out of my shell.
They love me and I love them.
I am becoming an adult and I am beginning to realize that I have to live my own life.
So this is goodbye.
I am only writing this letter because the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses n has scarred me. I may be scarred for the rest of my life. So I thought now would be a good time to let go for good.
The world is not a scary place. It’s filled with kind people and bad people. But Jehovah’s Witnesses also have kind people and bad people.
As my former mentors of sorts, I hope you all are happy with your lives and that you one day realize that you don’t need the organization.
I sincerely doubt we will ever meet again. The only thing I have left to say is live your lives every day as if it were the last day you were to live.
Keelah se’lai (Peace be with you)
The content above is the personal opinion of the individual(s) involved and does not necessarily reflect the opinion(s) of AvoidJW.org. AvoidJW.org has no connection to the individual(s) whatsoever except to relate their story on the website of AvoidJW.org.
The intent for publishing this content on AvoidJW.org is to highlight to the public the adverse effect JW.org (Watchtower) doctrine has on humanity.
Thank you for sharing your story about getting out of JW’s. You sound like an extremely intellectual person and I am interested in hearing what career path you chose. Congratulations on your freedom!
Much of the letter is good, but sometimes he seems to confuse Watchtower doctrine with ideas from (other) Christian fundamentalists. Strange that a former Witness should make such mistakes.
“I found out that the earth could not be 6,000 years …” Indeed it can’t and it isn’t, but any Jehovah’s Witness would instantly say that the Society teaches no such thing, either. This is Young Earth Creationism, but the Watchtower has adopted the Old Earth perspective instead. The book “Reasoning from the Scriptures” acknowledges that ancient starlight and radiometric measurements demonstrate an old universe and an old earth.
The Watchtower does teach that the human race is only 6,000 years old, Adam being created in the year 4026 BCE. This is of course much too late according to all scientific estimates; modern humans have been around for something like twenty times longer. But as regards the physical universe, the Witnesses have no problems with the scientific measurements. They would not necessarily accept them as final, so Watchtower literature would never state as fact that the universe is 13.7 billion years old and the earth 4.5 billion. But they would say that IF this or comparable measurements prove correct, it does not affect their doctrine in any way.
Well done. You speak of scars that we accumulate from being jehovah’s witnesses and I agree. One scar we carry is the society’s disapproval of higher education. I was raised as a witness but disassociated myself when I was 17. I didn’t seek education after high school- it just wasn’t a priority. I raised two children on low wage jobs. It wasn’t until I was 50 that I finally turned to education- mainly due to the poor economy. Currently I am a third year student at the University of Oregon majoring in geology. It turns out I enjoy being in a learning environment more than I thought possible, and I’m doing quite well. I am telling you this because it seems you have the interest and capability that a university education will only expand, perhaps to find a career in something you enjoy. Sometimes it takes a long time to root out religious influences we were subjected to as children, even after we have discarded the religion itself. Best of luck.
Que lástima tanto estudio para llegar a la conclusión de creer en la evolución. Si no deseas ser testigo, da igual, pero después de haber estudiado seglarmente y llegar a esas conclusiones simplemente es y ha sido una perdida de tiempo. El que no estés de acuerdo con muchas formas de enseñar de los testigos, esto se respeta, pero de eso a creer en la evolución, me parece fuero de la norma. Yo se que muchas citas son inexactas, se que han manipulado la biblia para su provecho, todo eso lo se, pero cuestionar a Jehová, me parece que no es lo correcto. Yo soy muy estudioso, y tengo muchas pregunta y he hallado muchas respuestas, pero ponerme a cuestionar a Jehová como si supiera mas que Él, eso no me lo permitirá. Si deseas escribir en español o por traductor automático, escríbeme a [email protected] , estaré deseoso de charlar con usted por e.mail. Te aclaro yo le hablo a todo mundo no tengo barreras porque es el hombre el que impone las barreras y muchos de estos hombres yo no los respeto. Puedes hablarme libremente.