Rhona's Story

My story goes back a long, long, way. Back to living in South Africa before we came to live in Australia. My mother was an Anglican and my father was a Fremason.We were sent to Sunday School and I prayed to God every night as a child.

When I was in my early teens, my mother bought a book from a Seventh Day Adventist, it was"The Bible Speaks" and it had thousands of questions and answers and also have beautiful illustrations. I loved drawing and later on became an artist myself.

Then one day two Jehovah's Witnesses came to the door and my mother agreed to have a "Bible" study with them. I used to read their books and sit and listen at the study. Then we stopped the study and I left school and won a scholarship to study Art at College. I did very well and then my parents got divorced and I did not finish my studies and had to go to work to help my mother.

I was very unhappy and then met an older man and got married to escape my misery. However, I realized that it was a loveless marriage and I was even more unhappy. Then my sister also started to study with the Witnesses and I decided to do the same. Both my sister and her husband became J.W.s and so did my husband and I after two years of study. However, my husband was not happy about the anti blood transfusion doctrine, and he never accepted it.

When we emigrated to Australia, we still went to the Kingdom Hall and did door to door work. Then a J.W. couple had a car accident and one of them died refusing a blood transfusion.

My husband did a three month study of the teaching of this ban on blood transfusion and then wrote a tract against it giving scriptural reasons and also realizing that no one dies to give blood and therefore, there is no harm in taking blood, it is not blood that is sacred, it is LIFE that is sacred!

The Watchtower sent three letters and then disfellowshipped us for "starting a sect" because we went public with our tract. My J.W. sister cut me out of her life and that was in 1968. It is now 2005 and she in her 70's but will still not speak to me. That is what the "shunning" teaching does to family members.

We had to recover from ten years of conditioning and I started searching to find out where the "true" Christians were and if there was such a thing as a true church or group.

Years later in 1975 I met an ex Mormon and she gave me a book to read "The Marvels of Grace" By Oswald Smith and that night when I read the book, I saw a scripture and looked it up. John 5:39"You search the scriptures ( J.W.s do that) for in them you think you have eternal life:(they do think that "taking in knowledge" will save them from Armageddon) and they do testify to Me (Jesus) but you will not come to ME for life (That is go directly and speak to Jesus in your mind and heart) in order to be given Life...........................
That night I did give my life to Jesus in my room and I felt the joy of salvation. Since then I have found many others who have found faith in the same way.

There is no one True church or group in the world, just those who have found a relationship within their own heart and mind. This is the true "body of Christ" not in a building but with others in fellowship, world wide. I have also grown in my faith and have as a mature age student obtained a Degree in Religious Studies in order to learn more about religions of the world and how to understand them.

I value my freedom to think and say what I believe and have made a better life for myself. I have also grown in my life as an artist, painting in oils, water colour and also taking part in Art Shows and selling many paintings which have brought joy to many people.

I feel that with the Internet, and the exjw web sites we can share our stories and help others to leave controlling cults and gain freedom and a second chance at life and love.

Thank you for the chance to share my story.