Joyce's Story

Dear JW Files,

It was with great interest and understanding that I read the account of your life and efforts to leave the Watchtower Society.

I had a very similar experience many years ago, and am still praying that my mother, stepfather and sister's family will one day allow themselves to think and know the real truth.

I am a 64 year old grandmother who was born into a family of Jehovah's Witnesses making me a third generation Witness. My grandfather was in the early Bible classes near Pittsburgh where this all started under Rutherford, then Russell. When I was 24 with 3 small children and a loving husband who was Ministry school Servant of our local congregation, I began to research the teachings of the Watchtower myself, without telling my husband, because I had some serious doubts concerning some of the doctrines being taught at that time, especially the teaching of the second coming of Christ and the date 1914. Our three children had the chickenpox, one after the other, which allowed me to be confined to the house with no one to control my mind and my thinking. It was during this time my husband came home with a box of books given to him by a fellow teacher who had collected them over the years and was about to retire. These were very old Bible Commentaries of traditional Christian religions. One in particular was a commentary by Lamsa, whose name I recognized as having been quoted in the literature at some past time. I sincerely prayed for guidance not knowing what I would do and to what conclusions I would come. I began to realize and deeply believe that if I continued on witnessing in the manner the Watchtower Society was leading us to believe, I would be a false prophet, for I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that they were not who they claimed to be, Jehovah's one and only organization.

I decided, after much prayer and study, to tell my husband, and then allow myself to be disfellowshipped, regardless of what he said or did. To my happiness, after his initial shock and surprise, we sat down together and researched the scriptures, asking for Jehovah's guidance. He had been my high school teacher and it was through me that he had accepted the teachings of the Watchtower. Together, we decided to disassociate ourselves for a while so we could think clearly and pray and study the scriptures for ourselves. He became like the prodigal son, to his family. I became like an outcast, as you well know to mine.

When the "committee" came to visit us they never even opened a Bible. They were afraid to discuss anything with us. They told us that Satan had us, and of course we were disfellowshipped.

In spite of the fact that I didn't see my father for 16 years and my relationship with my mother and sister was strained, to say the least, and we lost all of our friends, we began a beautiful journey of faith which has not ended to this day.

We are now retired, quite active in our church, enjoying a free life and knowing that we did the best we could do for our three children who now have children of their own.

I wanted to say to you, that our life has been beautiful and we have been blessed beyond our dreams with peace of mind and a realization that Jehovah never abandoned us. We still serve him through Christ and trust the promises in his Holy Word.

We spend our winters in Florida, and do visit back and forth with my family there. We don't discuss religion with them but are here for them whenever we are needed.

Because of the blessings of having a husband and his family who were understanding and caring, even though I did experience many of the same "withdrawal symptoms" of leaving a cult, mine were not as severe a many that I now read about.

My tears and broken heart were for my family and friends, who didn't understand how I, out of conviction, had no other choice than to follow my conscience. To do less would have been a terrible sin on my part, which would have ruined me as a person and deprived me of any self-respect.

I must admit, I was relating this story to a group of Christian women a few months ago and again felt the pain and tears flow, not for me, but for them.

I sincerely admire the efforts of all those who are actively helping the poor hurting lambs, injured by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.

With Christ's love,