Christian's Story

Hi JW Files,
Here is the letter I wrote and sent out to about 30 fellow witnesses when I was about to be DF'd. I was trying to both explain why I was leaving and cause some self-examination in those I sent it to. It was the last contact with them I would ever have... I wanted them to have both sides of the story. As it turned out, copies of this letter floated around secretly for some time after I sent them out. It was almost a year after leaving that I heard from a family I had not even sent a letter to. They had gotten a copy of my letter, and started their own investigation, and wanted to thank me for writing the letter. To me, it was the best compensation for leaving loudly rather than just fading away.

Dear xxx,

Though I wish that our first contact in some time would be under more pleasant circumstances, I am afraid that this letter will be more serious than a social call, as painful to write as it will be to read, but please know right off that it is my affection and respect for you that compels me to send this letter, as well as the highly-regarded principles espoused in the January 15, 1974 WT that are my justification.

Having grown up as one of Jehovah's Witnesses has given me a unique perspective on the world, as it does for many who are raised as Witnesses. Since I was five years old, I have personally witnessed from door-to-door, making my own "presentations," communicating with people of all religions and backgrounds and circumstances. I have experienced everything from having my life threatened at the door to seeing firsthand the joy of someone thrilled at discovering this marvelous volume of truth known as the Bible. I believe it has given me an exceptional amount of empathy and understanding of most people I come into contact with. You know personally how fascinated I have always been with comprehending why we as people are the way we are, and only when we truly understand someone and their needs can we help them if they need help. Jesus Christ, of course, cast the sterling example for us in that regard. Another principle that has been ingrained in me since a very young age has been my respect for truth in the face of so many lies in the world. I have preached to people all my life that they should have an open mind, that if one is a truth-seeker, then one will find God. I still believe that that is important.

After having so many stunning emotional and financial set-backs this year, I've been reevaluating many things in my life that I felt I was taking for granted. One of those things has been my spirituality. Even though I received a great letter of recommendation from W. Woodland Hills, I asked the brothers here not to use me for any responsibilities for awhile. During the '88-89 year of probably the most active spiritual life-style I ever led, several things I have believed and taught started disturbing me. In the past, I just ignored what seemed to be troubling contradictions and paradoxes, but the more active I became, the more they bothered me. When I moved up to Las Vegas for the second time last April, since I was starting over in so many ways, I thought this was the time to answer these nagging questions once and for all, if, in fact, they could even be answered now. Not wanting to discourage those close to me, not to mention avoiding being labeled as having a "bad attitude," I kept these concerns to myself. I have talked with several young witness friends on many occasions about why we are Jehovah's Witnesses, and the implications of that firm stand that we took when we were younger. We've discussed the importance of staying active in the organization, of doing extensive research, and being able to make a defense of our faith. We've said "Where else could we go?" (John 6:68) But one thing we only broached once or twice, partly because it seemed so unthinkable, was the question "What if we're wrong?"

In the past, we have brushed that aside quickly, displaying our volumes of literature and reassuring ourselves that someone, somewhere in this organization has all the important answers and knows why this just has to be "the Truth." So we gratefully rely on these aged men at Bethel to do our research, to make our interpretations, to direct our lives, all the while holding up the Bible as their authority to do this. But revolving my entire life on this assumption is something I have never fully contemplated. At last, this question has come up in my life now at an age where I can finally look at it with the objectivity and emotional distance that I didn't have preparing for baptism at fifteen years old. This question "What is the truth?" is such a big question. And all my life I was absolutely, positively sure I just knew it. Never a moment¹s doubt at the core. Until now. Why? Is there something wrong with me? Am I prideful, arrogant? Do I have an independent, fault-finding attitude? Am I a stubborn, reviling, haughty, lawless one? Am I guilty of selfish reasoning, with suspicious ambitions and desires? Demandingly impatient, maybe? After all, aren't these the only possible reasons I could be even considering that my life-long religion is not God's sole channel for communicating with mankind today? (August 15, 1981 WT, pp. 28-9; March 15, 1986, pp. 16-20; read them and judge for yourself) Forgive the sarcasm, but the irony is that it was when I started increasing my activity in the ministry out of high school that these disturbing thoughts even came to me. Continually, I would plead with return visits, studies, and initial calls to recognize the possibility that their lifelong religion was not the right one. Have an open mind, I would say. Consider that you may have something to learn, that those funny-seeming people known as Jehovah¹s Witnesses may have The Truth! Wouldn't it show a humble attitude when they did respond to those pleas for equitable examination of our religion? Countless Watchtower articles have scripturally supported that argument. (January 15, 1974 WT, pp. 35+, November 11, 1984 AW, pp. 3-10, January 15, 1989 WT, pp.3-7) And haven't we had to overcome those same close-minded objections, such as "Don't listen to Jehovah's Witnesses, not even for a minute! They're literature is poison; they're a sect; they twist the scriptures; if you study with them, you will be betraying God and His true Church!" And when our return visits have garnered the courage and conviction to heretically examine our teachings, to trust that the search for truth need never be destructive of faith, that every effort to know and uphold truth will, instead, strengthen the basis for true faith, then we praise them and encourage them, reassuring them that even though they receive much reviling and persecution from family, friends, and clergy, that they are doing the right thing. With strong conviction, I still believe that I have never done anyone any wrong in convincing them to at least examine our religion, to know the facts, as it were, about who we were and what we believed and why. I have been raised with that deep-seated respect for truth and a willingness to at least hear out the other man's point, that shining the light on all sides of the issue gives us the clearest, most honest picture of the situation. And nothing has instilled that conviction more in me than my experience as one of Jehovah"s Witnesses. It would be anathema to go against that principle, which espouses even the Golden Rule. And yet I now see for the first time in my life what it is like to be on the "other side," so to speak. I have been warned by elders and the Society itself in its publications that making an honest examination of my life-long religion, to reassure myself that I have the Truth by examining the arguments of those who may, in fact, offer the most valid case for leaving, is heretical, disloyal to God. How can I rectify this double-standard in my mind? Oh, I could have continued to ignore it, pretend it wasn't there. Just hope against hope that I was doing the right thing going out in the ministry many hours a week encouraging people to upheave their lives to become Jehovah's Witnesses, or at least spend substantial amounts of time studying our literature with us, blindly ignoring the fact that what I was asking them to do, I would not be willing to do myself. One word for that kind of position, I believe. (Matt. 23) Sorry, but aren't we the champions for boldly publicizing double standards within religious organizations worldwide?

But what about avoiding "apostates?" According to the few scriptures that allude to that position, what is an apostate, exactly? The context of both First and Second John seems to indicate they would be "anti-Christs." What is an "anti-Christ" then? The "Insight" book points out that it embraces all those who deny that "Jesus is the Christ," and who deny that Jesus is the Son of God who came "in the flesh." Many of those who have left Jehovah's Witnesses for conscience reasons that we arbitrarily term "apostate" still believe that the Bible is God's Word and that Jesus is the Christ. More accurately, all could agree that they are indeed "apostates to the Watchtower organization." But this applying of the "anti-Christ" term to them simply by extension doesn't seem scripturally valid, does it? Then any religious organization on earth could use the same criteria and scripturally ban all their members from having any dealings with us at the door by saying that any, say, Catholic who looks for truth outside the Catholic Church would be an "apostate" to that organization, and therefore an "anti-Christ" such as John speaks of! Still, how about Romans 16:18, noting that anything "apostates" say will sound good because of their "smooth talk and complimentary speech." True enough. But just who is who here? Couldn't those very same texts be applied to us? Not necessarily should, but could? I mean, look at Ephesians 4:14. Isn't it remotely possible that Jehovah¹s Witnesses are the ones being carried "hither and thither by every wind of teaching by means of the trickery of men, by means of cunning in contriving error," by every wrong prediction, by every acrobatic combination of vague scripture to support a certain thought, by every "false" teaching that was "adjusted" to "present truth?" What is that term "present truth," anyway? What does that mean? If ever a term sounded Orwellian, it's that one. It's certainly not used in the Bible the way we mean it. Yet we do use it with startling frequency. (Remember how many times it came up at the District Convention this year, especially Saturday afternoon.)

When I was fourteen, I remember picking up a Time Magazine with an article on Raymond Franz, and why after a year of "No comment," he was finally talking to the press about why he resigned as a member of the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses and was a year later disfellowshipped as an apostate after nearly fifty years in full-time service, including nine years on the Governing Body. And I remember wondering, why would a member of the Governing Body leave Jehovah's one true organization? (As you know, among Jehovah's Witnesses, there has always been an air of mystique and wonder at these men who served in such important positions.) Was he crazy? Did he want to die? Of all people, he, as a member of the Faithful Slave "Class," would know why this organization had to be the truth, right? Well, didn't he? And then the "explanations" came! Not in Watchtower publications directly, only through rumors: he was haughty, arrogant, thought too much of himself. Unfounded hearsay, but we had to justify his leaving and our not finding out the real reasons why, right? With all the other parallels in the Bible, there had to be a "Judas" in our time too, didn't there? So I let it go. Until about six months ago. I remember thinking, "I have been lazy and foolish. I've taken so much for granted in my life, trusted people who I have shouldn't have trusted just because of who they were." But I can't keep abdicating responsibility for things I need to investigate thoroughly anymore. This has got to stop.

The above-mentioned former Governing Body member wrote a book called "Crisis of Conscience" in 1983. In it, he gives the side of the story we've never heard about why he left the Watchtower organization, and to my surprise, dealt with many of the same questions and problems I've had with what I have been taught and disturbed with. And he raised several more I had never even considered. Strangely, he didn't seem bitter. This was no "450 years a slave of the Watchtower" diatribe. But the observations he made and the documentation and data he related, including revealing double standards and hypocrisy within the organizational policies, and major doctrinal errors where the Watchtower had strayed from the Bible, seemed to me to be accurate, reasonable and irrefutable. The question is, what if he's right? From what I can tell after months of investigation from several sources, the most important factor is this: If the year 1914 does not have the significance that the Watchtower Society says it does, then everything else tumbles, including the absolute necessity to look to them for spiritual leadership. If 1914 was not the year that Jesus was established as King in heaven, then he did not choose the Watch Tower Society as his "faithful slave" in that year, or in 1919, as they teach. If they weren't chosen at that time, then they were grossly presumptuous for saying they were that "slave" if they weren't. Or when they take positions of doctrine on matters that the Bible is not explicit about, and then at a later time have to change their position because of "new light," then they have not really "waited on Jehovah" because they took a position on something that shouldn't have been presumptuously taken in the first place. They could be a governing body of imperfect men who are claiming the right to speak for Jehovah when Jehovah may never have given them that right in the first place, let alone the "new light" they claim to receive somehow. And something else I discovered in my investigation: various teachings and doctrines that the Society has held throughout its existence have most always been changed for political reasons, not "scriptural." When I say political, I mean that an old position was changed to ward off a forseen dilemma because the facts simply became too obvious to sustain "old light" as credible, and therefore had to be changed to avoid embarrassment, or because it was advantageous to the Society's well-being in some other way. This is not the same as a humble brotherhood looking for answers, admitting mistakes and then attempting to correct errors, because when the Society takes a position that certain ones cannot conscientiously go along with, those persons are labeled as "murmuring, rebellious, and presumptuous." They are to be disfellowshipped, cut off from friends and family because they could not believe as "fact" what the Society teaches even if that teaching has no truly solid scriptural foundation. Case in point? 1914.

There is, in fact, an overwhelming amount of evidence against the argument that Jesus came in 1914, that the Governing Body actively suppressed in the late 1970's. The suppression of this evidence (researched by a pioneer-elder from Sweden who sent it in to the Society) was one of the main catalysts for Raymond Franz (who wrote the "Chronology" section in the "Aid" book) and several higher-ups leaving the organization in 1980. It has been published as "The Gentile Times Reconsidered" (Commentary Press, Atlanta, GA) and the documented evidence simply blows away anything I have ever read by the Society on the subject. My question is why did the Society feel so threatened (?) by this information that they wouldn't ever address the arguments side by side with theirs, but sent letters to this brother simply imploring him to "humbly wait on Jehovah," rather than "presumptuously" doing research on his own? But if this research is as accurate as it is documented, then Jesus didn't come in 1914, and therefore did not appoint a "slave" three years later. Why would the Governing Body not openly examine this evidence, rather than condemning this brother for "pushing ahead" and then impugning his motives? I'm pretty puzzled myself, but apparently the reasons were distressing enough for almost fifty people in various ranks back at Bethel to leave in 1980.

I cannot obviously present the evidence here in this letter; it would take literally hundreds of pages, but I will tell you my conclusions after careful consideration of the facts available:

The Society bases the date 1914 on the date 607 B.C.E., the year they claim Nebuchadnezzar desolated Jerusalem and began the "Gentile Times of the Nations". But the overwhelming evidence points to a date some 20 years later, in 587 B.C.E.. There are literally thousands of documented records from the Neo-Babylonian period that substantiate 587 as the correct date. It would have taken a virtual conspiracy on the parts of hundreds of scribes and businessmen from the three enemy nations of Babylon, Assyria, and Egypt with no apparent motive for doing so to "conceal" 607 as the correct date. Mind you, these historical facts do not conflict with the Bible; the Society's interpretation of Bible prophecy does, however. They are trying to force a date into a mold that does not fit by trying to cause doubt about the reliability of the evidence, such as claiming that kings often altered history to make themselves look good or that the actual evidence is "scanty"; the Society unfortunately does not point out that the Neo-Babylonian time period is considered by historians to be one of the most reliable, well-documented periods in history, noting that Babylonian writers were very candid about their defeats as well as their victories, and left clear records on thousands of cuneiform tablets verifying all these things. Actually, there are several independent lines of strong evidence to support 587 as the correct date, and that the "seventy years" prophecy in Jeremiah was one of servitude, not desolation, but time and space do not permit me to elaborate here.

So even if the fundamental chronology is wrong, couldn't we at least go by the "sign" that Jesus gave concerning the last days? Wasn't 1914 the turning point for world conditions, just as Jesus predicted? Haven't we seen more wars, famines, pestilence, and earthquakes, to name a few, than at any other time since Christ? My whole life I had taken for granted that things were worse now than ever before, that what I read in the Watchtower publications was verified by almost anyone else who kept an eye on world events. I was quite startled to discover, however, that I had been very misinformed. Did you know that there has been significantly less famine and pestilence in this century on a global scale than in any other since Christ? Did you also know that earthquakes and their deaths per capita have actually decreased slightly since 1914 compared to previous centuries, and that no reputable seismologist in the world claims that earthquakes have increased in this century? Were you also aware that World War I was not the first world war? Nor was it the first "total" war, as the Society also claims. Historians say the first world war was in the eighteenth century, and was followed by three more world wars in that century alone, some of which involved more nations and more deaths than World War I, which is considered by most to have been actually more a European war than a world war. What is truly shocking, though, is the lengths the Watchtower writers have gone to keep this information concealed, presenting only "evidence" that helps support what they claim, and in fact presenting information in such a way as to make it appear something other than it really is. But this is merely a sampling of the evidence against the idea that things are much worse now than ever before.

If we are to interpret Jesus prophesy as indicating that these things would be part of a composite "sign," then we are definitely not living in that "generation." But if we truly heed Jesus' warning at Luke 21:8, we will not go after those who claim that "the due time has approached" when that is not to be known beforehand, and that even though wars, famines, false Christs (or possibly by extension, people claiming to represent Christ), etc., come and go, don't be alarmed - this is not the sign! With the exception of the Watchtower Society, Billy Graham (who wrote "Hoofbeats Approaching,") and Hal Lindsay (who wrote "Late, Great Planet Earth"), almost no notable Bible commentators believe Jesus was saying that those things would be the "sign" of Jesus' coming. A closer reading of that chapter in Luke, and its parallel in Matthew reveal something else entirely.

So if both the chronology and the assessment of world events by the Watchtower Society is inaccurate, then what can be said of 1914 and its significance? Only that because of what I have seen and heard, I can no longer believe that 1914 is what the Watchtower Society claims it is. And for this reason, judicial action went into motion a few days ago for me to be disfellowshipped next week. (Interestingly, the Society taught for almost 50 years until almost 1930 that the date that Christ began ruling and that the "last days: began was in 1874, not 1914!) The elders have hesitated taking action this long because I have been so up front with them about what I was reading and not tried to be "subversive" in the congregation with "weaker" minds. I asked the presiding overseer point-blank in front of my parents and sister Kelly at a recent family "encouragement" meeting if I could be disfellowshipped for simply not believing in the significance of 1914 and the Society's position as "Faithful Slave," though not sharing my disbeliefs with others. He said I am a potential threat to the health of the congregation and its "cleanness," and so, yes, I could be disfellowshipped for persisting in believing "apostate" ideas. (Since when has "potentially" sinning been justification for a scriptural disfellowshipping?) Then he kindly thanked me for my honesty, openness and cooperation with the elders so far. This is getting really bizarre!

In fact, most witnesses know very little about the true origins of our movement and its development. The Watchtower has actually re-written much of its own history by phrasing things in a certain way or omitting certain facts that would put a whole new light on a situation. Growing up as a Witness, I know the power and importance of how things are stated, how to phrase a question in such a way to elicit an answer other than a clear reading of the scripture actually allows for. I have done it all my life in order to support whatever was written in the paragraph of the many colorful books that we stick to like glue in our "Bible" studies. Some conclusions?

Really, when asked about the two greatest commandments, Jesus responded by saying that love for God and neighbor were the primary considerations. In fact, on these two commandments, "the whole Law hangs, and the Prophets." Jesus was trying to teach people how to love, and all the patience and tolerance that true love allows for, and that every "prophet" since then and after that was commissioned for that consideration. In fact, doesn't Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians declare that "knowledge puffs up, but love builds up?" And these considerations have made this scripture at Matthew 11:25 so interesting to me. Was Jesus looking for people who could figure out intricate prophecies to discern when He would return and gain this special "knowledge" that only they would have, or was He looking for people who exemplified true love and compassion in their lives to the best of their ability, that not what their label was but who they were, as people, determined whether they were part of the flock of Jesus? I honestly don¹t think of myself as "intellectual" when it comes to spiritual things. Like Paul, my knowledge is quite "partial," though someday it will be "complete." (1 Cor.13:8-13) But I do know that love "bears all things, believes all things, and hopes all things." So rather than "knowledge" being the identifying sign of Jesus true followers, I am comforted by the Scriptures indicating that something far more sure and wonderful is the "sign" - love. And wherever two or three are gathered in Jesus' name, there he is. This is not to downplay what the scriptures do emphasize as "accurate knowledge," but rather to note that so many things beyond what the scriptures explicitly declare as "truth" must be considered speculation and not "present truth," which might be altered somewhere down the line by imperfect men.

I feel a great sense of relief at coming to grips with these things. In fact, Ray Franz wrote me a very kind, comforting letter, encouraging me to weigh my decisions carefully and not rush into 'leaving the organization' without honestly evaluating all the evidence on both sides, and making sure my motives were proper in the first place for making this examination. Makes sense, doesn't it? Or is there no possibility that he is not "the evil slave" and I am being "seduced" because of some selfish motive of his and mine? Should I follow that advice? I have yet to have anyone of all my loved ones answer me other than with "loyalty" appeals or ridicule for "disloyalty to the organization." Can you blame me for a being a little frustrated at all the un-answers I've been getting? Please let me also emphasize that I am not trying to cop an "attitude" or be "arrogant" at all. I really want to be sensitive to it; how else can I ask these questions and not appear arrogant to those who cannot fathom that God may not have a religious authority structure on the earth today?

As I have been taught as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, I will not hold back in revealing to people what I see as hypocrisy in their religions, and ask that they fairly examine the evidence (Jan 15., 1974 WT). You might say, like the Society, that I should just "wait on Jehovah, ie. the 'faithful slave,' " but, again, if their chronology is wrong, then they have no right to ask me to trust them, since they could be the ones violating Luke 21:8. This is not really something to be taken lightly; millions of people rely on their spiritual guidance from an organization that may actually be quite misleading. I mean, have you ever personally researched some of the assumptions they make in something other than Society publications? A few Witnesses have garnered the courage to take that action, and what they have found is quite devastating. But don't take my word for it; you must live your own life and make your own decisions. Anyone can choose not to look at all the evidence; indeed, he or she will be liable for "disfellowshipment" if they did, in addition to great personal, family, and congregational pressure insisting that they're betraying God and his True church., but I personally don't believe the God of Justice and Fairness opposes making this type of honest, open investigation if one's quest is for truth and God¹s glory. If new evidence comes to light even after someone has taken a firm position, would pride or stubbornness prevent that person from reevaluating things? (See Chapter 3, Live Forever book) Would God condemn a person for taking a humble position on matters and not assuming they have to be right no matter what other evidence is presented?

I must point out though that the most disheartening thing about this whole turn of events has been the total and complete turning away of those I most spiritually trusted and respected. The frustration I have known over the years when people at the door would quickly hush me up and send me off before even glimpsing what I had to say as possibly of some value was amplified a hundred times when I with great concern went to the people I felt were honest truth-seekers to ask them about this new information that I had discovered which put a whole new light on things, and their subsequent refusal to look at it.

I could not believe the utter and paralyzing fear that overwhelmed my family, a couple close spiritually "mature" friends, and a few elders when I attempted to get them to consider this information on the real significance (or lack thereof) of 1914. I guess I had sort of expected them to have the same open mind to new evidence that we so anxiously wished for in the householders that we met at the door. Mind you, I have never been on the "fringe" organizationally, often one looked up to as a sort of spiritual role model for the youth in the congregation. I figured I might have some credibility with even one of these people, without ranting or raving or pleading or begging; that someone would listen to even the possibility that we have been wrong all these years!

I guess I can empathize with them; I used to have that same absolute terror of being disloyal to Jehovah by considering "apostates," that somehow even physically touching these "apostate" books would cause Jehovah to send me straight to Gehenna. Looking at it from this vantage point, it appears blatantly superstitious (hence, the suggestion by almost everyone, including one elder, that I immediately "burn" these books with fire, I suppose to give the same comforting feeling as those who burned witches in old Salem once desired.) It seems to me that Jehovah¹s Witnesses must live paradoxically; on the one hand, we often fight for free religious inquiry and against religious persecution, we claim the search for truth in the face of lies to be one of the highest callings a Christian could strive for, we denounce much religious hypocrisy, and herald that the love among Jehovah¹s Witnesses is the purest and most Christ-like available, while at other times we trash these very same ideals, principles, and values when they become inconvenient or politically undesirable. This situation, in itself, is not so startling. What keeps me in such a constant state of amazement is how so many apparently intelligent, logical, sensitive and loving people could be so totally oblivious to the fact that these are indeed double standards! I mean, even when I was a loyal Watch Tower adherent making excuses for some contradiction or inequity, I was aware that that's what they were; my reasoning at the time was that I just wouldn't let these things "stumble" me, or so it goes.

I honestly don't think I can stay a Witness, even if they tolerated me. Having spent my whole life telling others that they should "get out" of false religion, I find it difficult to justify staying in an organization I know to be false and pretending to be someone or something I am not. The issues of integrity to God, honesty and openness, and love and mercy are more important than my own social or emotional comfort. I do feel much more tolerant of other religions, even ones as equally or more tainted than this one. But I don't think that there is really an organization out there that I would feel comfortable in, as suspicious as they always seemed, now including the Watchtower Society. The Bible is truly correct in saying that man rules man to his own destruction, not only politically, but religiously as well. As difficult as it will be emotionally (and has been preparing for it), I know that there is life outside the Watch Tower organization. I will now learn what a truly personal relationship with Jehovah and Jesus means, without the subtle priestly intervention from a select few imperfect men. In the faces of many hundreds of "worldly" people that I did have opportunity to talk to at the door or informally, I saw a genuineness in their care for their neighbor, real appreciation for honesty and truth, and who lived life as "best" they could, or thought they could, no matter how misguided I thought they were at the time. Those ones were always the hardest to say good-bye to because I would feel drawn to them, viewed them as "meek," and thought what a senseless waste it was that they were "blinded" and would be destroyed at Armageddon because they didn't become Jehovah's Witnesses. According to Watch Tower teaching, they couldn't have good "hearts" because obviously Jehovah wasn't drawing them to accept our publications and accompanying "Bible study." (Dec. '81 WT) Intellectually and emotionally, that never seemed right, as long as I can remember, and I believe that dilemma was the spark that eventually led to my point-of-decision this much later. The overwhelming evidence against 1914 and therefore the Watchtower Society not being the "faithful slave" was the catalyst for the fruition of my decision to not appeal the elders' decision to disfellowship me next week.

Believe me, almost every question that will come into your head I have asked, every Society "reasoning" on these matters I have carefully considered, and still I have found better, more scriptural answers to what the Society claims is the correct "understanding." Investigate things yourselves and you will likely come to the same conclusions. Stuck to my bulletin board in my room, I have a quote I cut out of a local magazine many years ago. The quote, by a man named Whately, reads, "It is one thing to wish to have truth on our side, and another to wish sincerely to be on the side of truth."

Which one are we?

All my love and Jehovah's blessings on you and your family. I am sending you this letter because I feel compelled that you know my reasons for not protesting this disfellowshipping. I will miss your friendship and hope that you recognize that each person is responsible for their own life course­one cannot blame anyone else for misleading them because we all choose to follow the paths we do. If it is more than God¹s Word asks us to, then we have really missed out on true Christian freedom.

Warm Regards,