This September (2010) marks the eighth year since e-watchman.com first came online. Over the years since then, I’ve received numerous email inquiries about my identity, my history as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and my present relationship with the Watchtower Society.
Although The Watchman’s Post is not about me, it seems natural that I ought to provide readers with a bit of background. So, here is my story: Originally I published anonymously, but in 2004 that changed. In the Spring of that year I undertook a massive mailing campaign of an eight-page letter addressed to every kingdom hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia, and all 100-branch offices of the Watchtower Society throughout the world. I also handed a signed copy to my local elders at the Kingdom Hall on 8 Mile Road in Detroit, Michigan; informing them that I was publicly accusing the Watchtower Society of apostasy in connection with their secretive, 10-year NGO partnership with the United Nations and that I was calling for a formal judicial investigation of those at Bethel who were directly involved. That, of course, initiated my own judicial hearing with the elders for my supposed apostasy!
Amazingly, I was not disfellowshipped at that time; the reason being, that I had not spoken about this issue with anyone in the congregation. Admittedly, though, I had not made fully known to the elders the whole range of my issues with the Watchtower nor the extent of my anonymous presence on the Internet. However, later that same year I undertook another more modest mail-out of an open letter entitled: Is It Time (for the Watchtower) to Say ‘We Are Sorry’?
After some months a letter came from Bethel, again directing the local elders to initiate judicial action against me. At that hearing, I made known to the elders some of the unseemly, backdoor lawyering the Watchtower had been doing, such as denying in legal cases that overseers of Jehovah’s Witnesses have any fiduciary duty to protect the children of the congregations from the sexual crimes of fellow congregants. I also expressed my conviction that the judgment of the house of God did not occur in 1918, as the Watchtower Society teaches; but rather, the parousia of Christ is a future event, though imminent. I was subsequently disfellowshipped in the Spring of 2005.
But, as is the right of every disfellowshipped Jehovah’s Witness, I appealed the decision. I knew the outcome would likely be the same but I wanted to expose another three-member body of elders from another congregation to the issues I had raised. Perhaps the decision may have been overturned if I had expressed remorse over publicizing the Watchtower’s unseemly doings. But how could I renounce that which I knew to be true? Also, at the very time the appeal committee was considering my case, I let them know that I had just sent the manuscript of Jehovah Himself Has Become King to the publisher. So, I left them few options but to uphold the decision of the original committee.
I will state here and now that the elders treated me kindly and fairly and I harbor no ill will toward them. If I had been in their position, as I have been on a couple of dozen judicial cases that I had sat on as an elder myself, I would have made the same decision as they. I did not really want to be disfellowshipped but it seemed hypocritical for me to continue to publish anonymously – especially on the mailing campaign and the publication of a book.
Ultimately, I felt that the exposure of the Watchtower’s apostasy was more important than my good standing in the congregation. I was driven to speak out and try to shake things up, even at the cost of being branded as an apostate and losing a lifetime of friendships. Although I have suffered loss, I do not regret the actions I have taken. It had to be done.
Although I now have no face-to-face fellowship with Jehovah’s Witnesses, I do have many interchanges with active Jehovah’s Witnesses online and through e-mail, many of whom are disturbed or have been stumbled by the Watchtower in some fashion or another.
Ironically, since I have been disfellowshipped these last five years now, I have acquired a greater freeness of speech and credibility, particularly among those just studying the Bible who have questions and issues and the growing numbers of disassociated and disfellowshipped Jehovah’s Witnesses. I no longer am compelled to always defend the Society, but can speak the truth. In a very real sense, I have become the minister of the disaffected. But my foremost purpose in being online is to publish the insights that I have been given. After all, did not Jesus say that no one lights a lamp and places it under a basket? So, it is my intent not merely to expose the hypocrisy of the Watchtower Society, but to shine a light on the things to come by means of a fresh and unique presentation of God’s prophetic word in order to announce Jehovah’s soon-to-be-unveiled judgments.
But how did I arrive at the point of accusing the Watchtower Society of apostasy and what emboldened me to promote what some may feel are my own personal views?
I began studying with Jehovah’s Witnesses in the summer of 1973. Actually, I found the Watchtower Society before Jehovah’s Witnesses found me. Let me regress. Prior to that summer, I had been on a quest to find God. I do not know what it was, but as I was entering young manhood I developed an intense spiritual yearning. Although my parents were not particularly religious, as a child I had been sent to Sunday school. So, I was at least inclined to towards Christianity and the Bible when I began to have this spiritual awakening. I started to read the Bible for the first time. I was deeply moved by the life and words of Jesus Christ. (I also spoke about my becoming one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the #12 podcast)
Although I had long since stopped going to Sunday school, as part of my quest to find God I began going to a different church every Sunday to see if there were any that made sense. Sometimes I would stay for the whole service, other times I would walk out and scratch them off the list. I went to several Catholic masses. One Sunday I went to a Methodist church. One Sunday I went to a Baptist church. I also went to a Christian Scientists service. At one point I was invited to a Pentecostal church and they baptized me on my first visit and ‘tarried’ with me to try to get me to speak in tongues, which, fortunately for me, was unsuccessful. I frequently spoke with Jesus freaks – hippies who supposedly found Jesus. I even hung out with Hare Krishnas at the local Divine Light temple a few days and ate brown rice with them and listened to their spiel.
Then I came upon a Watchtower publication on a bookshelf in a lodge where we were staying while on vacation, my parents and I. The book was entitled: Things in Which it is Impossible for God to Lie. Just as it was said of Jesus, that he was a man who spoke with authority, unlike the Pharisees, I recognized the Watchtower also spoke with authority and knowledge. A few months later I met two individuals, a man and a woman, who had studied with Jehovah’s Witnesses for some time, but had since left off. Both of them gave me boxes of books and old Watchtower magazines and bound volumes. So, for weeks I read and read and read some more. I was fascinated with Bible prophecy particularly and devoured the Society’s books such as The Finished Mystery of God commentary on Revelation; The Nations Shall Know I Am Jehovah – based upon the prophecy of Ezekiel; Your Will Be Done explanation of the prophecy of Daniel; and Babylon the Great Has Fallen – God’s Kingdom Rules! I think I read pretty much every book the Society had published back to 1950.
About that same time one of Jehovah’s Witnesses knocked on my door and a formal study was begun. I also began attending meetings at the kingdom hall. And I started talking to others about what I was learning. I probably would have been baptized within a short period of time, but in December of 1973 the Watchtower instituted a no smoking policy and would no longer allow smokers to be baptized. And I was a smoker at the time. I was also a recreational drug user. It took me a few more years to get sorted out, as the saying goes. But I was finally baptized in April of 1977 at a circuit assembly on the campus of Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana.
It was a joyous day for me. I was so pumped up with the Spirit that immediately after getting baptized, while everyone else was eating lunch and chatting, I went out witnessing to the college students who happened to be sitting around on the lawn on the campus grounds.
When I first began studying I was working as a mechanic at a John Deere farm equipment dealership, but when I witnessed to some of the fellows during lunch, I was promptly fired. I would venture to say I offended a few Trinity devotees. But it all worked out for the best. I soon got a job with a brother in the landscaping and tree trimming business. A few years later the brother who owned the business, along with his wife, were accepted at Bethel. She was a computer programmer and the Society was turning everything over to computers back then. I ended up buying his business and equipment. Being self-employed, or self-unemployed as I termed it when the business was slow, I was able to spend more time in the ministry. And in 1981 I became a regular pioneer and also that same year I was appointed as a ministerial servant in the congregation. It turns out I had a knack for public speaking and so I was privileged to give regular public talks as a ministerial servant.
In 1982 I had had enough of the “Rust Belt” – as Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan were called back then due to economic stagnation, and I moved to Houston, Texas. Within a few months I met a pretty little sister and we were married in 1983. She too was a regular pioneer. In fact, most of our “dates” were in field service and afterwards when we stopped for coffee with many refills.
Over the years I studied with well over 100 individuals and families and about a dozen of them became baptized as Jehovah’s Witnesses. My pioneering, though, was an on-again off-again thing. I struggled with health problems and low energy and it was hard to run a business part-time and keep up with the ministry. I think I was on and off the pioneer list about four different times. In 1985 I was appointed as an elder and during one stretch when we were both pioneering the circuit overseer said he was going to recommend me as a substitute circuit overseer on his next visit. But alas, I was off the list by the time he came around again. As an elder, though, I usually served as the School Overseer or the Service Overseer.
I first began to suspect that something was not quite right with the Watchtower’s interpretation of prophecy back in 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed. I kept expecting the Society to revise their interpretation of the prophecy of the king of the north, but they never did. Even in 1999, eight years after the USSR had been dissolved, the Watchtower saw no need to revise their interpretation in their Pay Attention to Daniel’s Prophecy commentary.
But shortly after the collapse of the USSR I began looking into the conspiratorial view of history and current events. I first began reading the literature of the John Birch Society. Also I took up a more intense study of the work of Lyndon LaRouche. I have found the Executive Intelligence Review, of which LaRouche is the Founder and senior editor, to be very valuable.
In 1995 my wife and I moved to a small town in Oregon, Lake Oswego. We had moved a few times prior to that and I had always been reappointed. I knew that I had been highly recommended by my previous congregation, but it made no difference. I was not reappointed. And although the Society’s policy was that any elder who moves into a new congregation can still serve as an elder, for instance, giving public talks, even without being reappointed. He just can’t sit on judicial committees. No matter. The elders in my new congregation had their own way of doing things. Although I had more experience then some on the body, they considered me unqualified to do what I had been doing for the past decade, and that was that.
As an anecdote, because things became pretty intolerable there we moved to another congregation in the Seattle area. A few years later we ran into one the elders from Lake Oswego at a convention. He was an older man, a former Bethelite, whom I liked a lot. When we approached to extend greetings he suddenly burst into tears and wept. He didn’t say anything, but we both knew he felt terrible about the way I had been treated. As it turned out, the power-hungry elders that had refused to allow me on their body also turned on him and booted him off the elder body. What a disgrace. He was old enough to have been the other elders’ father.
As distressing as it was to me at the time – being prevented from serving as an elder by power-coveting brothers – I gradually began to appreciate that Jehovah has disciplining and humbling me in preparation for another assignment that did not depend upon having the approval of any elder body or Service Department.
Then in October 1996 I had a profound experience that changed my life. I was anointed by God’s spirit – called to the heavenly kingdom. I resisted at first. But after some months of wrestling with it and trying to ignore it, the Spirit convinced me. The way the Spirit manifested itself upon me at the time was, I suddenly developed an insatiable desire to read the Bible – and not just the Bible, the prophets in particular. Up until that time I was like most of Jehovah’s Witnesses; I concentrated more on the Watchtower Society’s literature and only read the Bible as part of the weekly Bible reading routine or when studying Watchtower material. But in 1996 I began reading the prophets every day, sometimes all day long. I started with Ezekiel, then Isaiah, Daniel, Joel, Habakkuk and others of the so-called Minor Prophets. I read some of the prophets 20 or 30 times.
But from the very beginning a new understanding opened up to me. For example, when reading Ezekiel chapters 26-32, I immediately discerned that the prophecy did not merely apply to Tyre and ancient Egypt, but that it was written in such a way so as to foretell the sudden, horrifying downfall of the mighty Anglo-American kingdom; the city of Tyre representing London and Egypt picturing the United States of America. The take-down of Tyre and Egypt must correlate with the death-stroke upon the head of the seven-headed beast of Revelation. I also discerned that Babylon represents the eighth king to come, which will be realized with the imposition of a tyrannical world government. These are the things that make up part of my writings now.
About that same time I also acquired my first computer and I began pecking around on the keyboard, writing essays and mailing them off to various departments and brothers at Bethel. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned this before, but one of my first research projects on the Internet involved looking up information about NGOs, because I had read that NGOs were being used by the United Nations to condition society to accept a world government. To my astonishment I saw the Watchtower Society listed as an NGO working in cooperation with the United Nations. This was back in 1996. I did not know quite what to make of it at the time, but I did take note. When the Guardian article came out in October of 2001, I was not surprised. Rather, I had been expecting it.
Prior to that time I also understood that the Hebrew prophecies, as well as Revelation, did not apply to Christendom as Jehovah’s Witnesses have been taught. But then I could not fully understand why Jehovah would so sternly denounce the Watchtower Society. But when the Society’s hypocrisy and treachery came to light in 2001, it all came together for me. And then in 2002, with Bill Bowen’s and the Silentlambs appearance on Dateline and other programs, it became even more apparent to me that the Watchtower had gone deep in dealing treacherously with Jehovah.
The child-abuse exposé did not really come as a shock for me either. As an elder I had had the unfortunate experience of dealing with several child abuse cases and I saw firsthand how the Watchtower’s legal department strong-armed the brothers and victims’ families to prevent them from going to the police. In one case I appealed an injustice to a circuit and district overseer, only to be told that their hands had been tied. Guess who tied their hands?
On another unsatisfactorily resolved case I wrote to a member of the Governing Body, whom I had met a few years before and actually had the privilege of working with out in field service. I explained to him how a brother had committed horrible sex acts with his own daughters over a period of years and instead of being turned over to the police and disfellowshipped, incredibly, the elders merely arranged for a Bible study with him! I received a reply from the Watchtower Society exhorting me to ‘wait on Jehovah.’ In 2002 when the many child abuse victims told their stories to the public most of them had also been told not to worry about the injustice done to them, but to ‘wait on Jehovah.’ As I recall, Bill Bowen had even recorded a conversation he had with a Bethel elder who advised him not to pursue a case but to ‘wait on Jehovah.’ It seems that ‘wait on Jehovah’ is the Society’s pat answer to all complaints against their unjust policies and practices.
Also that same year (2002) it suddenly dawned on me that “the appointed times of the nations,” about which Jesus spoke, could not possibly have been in reference to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 607 B.C.E. Jesus was discussing the future desolation of Jerusalem by a disgusting thing, not something that had already occurred. So, as I stated already, it all came together for me in 2001-2002. And that is when I determined to start a website and things have sort of developed from there.
I should also mention as well, that, in spite of my view that the leadership of the Watchtower Society has betrayed Jehovah, I continued on as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, going to meetings and out in service up until I was disfellowshipped; although, admittedly, not with the same innocence and unbounded zeal that I had formerly.
So that’s my story. It is rather ironic that I find myself heeding the Watchtower’s advice after all. I am still waiting on Jehovah. However, now I am waiting on Jehovah to set matters straight with the Watchtower, which I am confident he will do, and soon.