jwstudentParticipantMarch 29, 2017 at 6:13 amPost count: 17
Hello everybody, I would like to introduce myself and tell you a little bit about me. I won’t give my real name but I go by the moniker JW Student. I had my first introduction to Jehovah’s Witnesses when I was about 5 or 6 years old, (and throughout this introduction when I say Jehovah’s Witnesses, I am referring to members of the religious organisation of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, what most people understand by the term Jehovah’s Witnesses.) My father was studying with the Jehovah’s Witnesses and one day he took me to a Kingdom Hall meeting. All I remember of that meeting (and it was the only one I went to as a child) was a plain looking room, a platform, a microphone and lots of men wearing suits and ties. I also remember my father giving me a copy of a little pink book called “Listen to The Great Teacher” (or something vary like that). Though I didn’t recall what the words in that book said, something that stuck in my mind for the rest of my growing up were various colour images within. I believe it was through this book and my father that I first learned about there being a God and a Jesus. My father never completed his studying with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I believe my mother had something to do with that as she really was against them, and, as far as I am aware, she still is.
The next contact I had with Jehovah’s Witnesses was when I was 14. I was home alone and a couple of Jehovah’s Witnesses knocked on my door. They spoke to me for a moment and I told them I was interested in hearing more and invited them in. However, wisely, they declined my invitation seeing as I was a 14-year-old boy, but they said they would come back that night when my parents were in. They did, and unfortunately my mother answered the door and chased them off. In the many years that followed (I am now 48) I often thought about the Jehovah’s Witnesses and felt vary intrigued by them and their religion.
In 1992 I joined the military (initially as a medic – 11 years, before transferring to the military police – 13 years). In 1994, whilst on leave I met up with an old schoolfriend who had become a “born again, Bible-thumping, Hell/Trinity believing” Christian. I listened to what he said and I became one myself. I attended many different evangelical churches and services and events in my time and loved it. However, there were a few things that I just could not understand/accept. One being the doctrine of Hell and the other being Jesus is God in human form. I stayed with this religion for almost 20 years. In 1998, I brought my first house, and when I looked out of my bedroom window I could see a small building that had “Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses” on the side of it. This piqued my curiosity about Jehovah’s Witnesses. I did approach that Kingdom Hall one Sunday with the intention of going in and seeing what a service was like. But as I approached it I got “cold feet” and walked right on past.
Then in January 2011, I was at home when there was a knock at the door. I opened it to see a well-dressed elderly man smiling at me. I can’t remember the conversation that ensured but he did leave me with a copy of a Watchtower magazine. It was green and had a picture of Adam in the garden of Eden on it. Back then Watchtower magazines were 2 or 3 times as many pages as they had nowadays. I really enjoyed that magazine and when the Witness came back a week or so later I asked him to regularly drop the magazines though my door. I explained I was in the military and that there would be periods of time when I would be away from home for 6-9 months at a time. Sure enough the Witness did this and I would often come home after 9 months away to see a veritable pile of Watchtower and Awake magazines to read though.
In May of 2013 I started a formal Home Bible Study with the Witness. However!! Between January 2011 and May 2013, I spent that two and one half years engaged in personal study of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I did this by reading the magazines the Witness left me, downloading and devouring many of the books available of JW.org, and purchasing out-of-print books written by the WBTS. But!!! I also looked at websites, forums, and books that were hosted/written by ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses, and some that were written by people who were never Jehovah’s Witnesses but felt they knew enough to write a book/website about. Some of the books I read were, “30 years a Watchtower Slave”, “Crises of Conscience” and various others. I visited such websites as JW Facts and Avoid JW. Some of the books and websites/forums I looked at were clearly written by disfellowshipped JWs who were vary bitter and out to cause as much trouble for the JWs as they could. Others were actually vary fair in that they just gave their story without trying to turn people against JWs. I did all this as I really wanted to learn about Jehovah’s Witnesses from both sides of the trenches, so to speak. So, I do genuinely feel that I have not come into this blind, or without life experience or indeed without experience of religion. I am certainly not naïve in this area. Neither am I gullible.
So, in May 2013, I started a Home Bible Study with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Due to my still being in the military and spending extended periods of time away from home, the what I call “official” study (the books “What Does the Bible Really Teach”, and “Keep Yourselves in God’s Love”), took me two years to get through with my Bible Study Conductor.
In about August of 2105, when we had finished those two books the Study conductor explained that I could not progress beyond “Bible Student” and become an unbaptised publisher, as I was still in the military. He suggested we start a third book to study (“God’s Kingdom Rules”). I declined this offer and said I wanted to do some self-study. During my two-year Bible study, I had regularly attended Sunday and mid-week meetings, assemblies and even the International Convention in the UK. Now that I had stopped the Home Bible studies in favour of self-study, I continue to attend these meetings/events. Why did I want to do self-study? Because I wanted time to digest all I had learned over the past two years, and to go back to what I called “Anti/Ex-JW books and websites, to learn as much as I could.
In January 2017, having been convinced that the Jehovah’s Witnesses were the religion I wanted to be part of, I left the military. Two months later, about four weeks ago, I was announced as an unbaptised publisher. I am convinced that, overall, the Jehovah’s Witnesses teach and preach the truth. Do I think they have everything right? No, I don’t. I struggle with the whole 1914 doctrine for a start. I also do not accept their pushing JW kids not to go onto higher education, but to take up ‘dead-end’ jobs for the rest of their lives just to be able to go out and spend as much time as possible knocking on doors. Why am I happy with the Jehovah’s Witnesses even though I do not think they are right about all they teach? Because I don’t care what religion or domination or “cult/sect”, or whatever, you belong to, not one of them has everything 100% right. I find that the rank-and-file Jehovah’s Witnesses are, overall, vary nice people who have genuine good hearts. I enjoy associating with them and I enjoy attending the meetings/assemblies/conventions.
Thank you for reading this, and I am sorry if it got too long or boring. Please feel free to ask me questions.Robert KingKeymasterMarch 29, 2017 at 7:43 amPost count: 33jwstudentParticipantMarch 29, 2017 at 7:56 amPost count: 17AnderiegaParticipantMarch 29, 2017 at 9:27 amPost count: 4JustinthinkingParticipantApril 15, 2017 at 7:42 amPost count: 3ChickwitParticipantApril 27, 2017 at 6:21 pmPost count: 1
I enjoyed reading your story and history of the path to becoming a Jehovah’s Witness. My Grandmother raised me and she was a believer and identified as one but for some reason she never was baptized. I’ve considered asking for a bible study again. I stopped when she became sick and I took care of her while dealing with family drama.
This gives me much food for thought. Thank you for sharing.
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