Velta And Joe's Story

Joe and I were JWs for almost 50 years. He was an "Elder" from the time he was 17. He stepped down as an Elder in 1981. He said that when he did that and sat in the meetings as just a spectator, he began to see a certain hypocrisy in the Elders. They said that they loved, but did not do it. In 1983, we began to read the Bible with another sister after the Watchtower study. We just read the New World Translation without using a WT book. As we read we began to see scriptures in a different light. When we got to Luke 11:11-13 we found out we could ask for Holy Spirit. This was a new concept to us because the WT says that the "Other Sheep" cannot have Holy Spirit. That this is the anointing that only the "Little Flock" can have. This scripture says: God will give Holy Spirit to ANYONE asking. Luke 11:11-13

When an article came out in "People" magazine, Ray Franz was telling what he believed that was different from JWs and somewhere in the article it said that the "Great Crowd" that it speaks about in Revelation 7 were in heaven. We had known Ray for many years. He was a close friend of Joe's brother who had known him in Bethel. I thought he had gone crazy. I believed that the Bible taught (without any doubt) that the "Great Crowd" was on earth. I had remembered that the Watchtower said that Brother Russell (The one who started Jehovah's Witnesses) had prayed for Holy Spirit to guide him, and now that I knew I could ask for Holy Spirit, I decided to find out the truth for myself. I asked God to show me the truth about this and started reading the Bible (the New World Translation). I read it three times and found that without WT explanation, there is not proof that the "other sheep" or "great crowd" is on the earth. As a matter of fact, the Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the WT shows that without a doubt, the "great crowd" is in heaven. It says they are "in sight of the throne", in the "divine habitation" of God. This was the beginning of Holy Spirit leading us out of the WT. We began to see that this was not the only place where the WT had changed words from the original Greek to prove their doctrines. I began an intensive search of the scriptures, with the aid of Strong's concordance to find out the truth. I was still using the New World Translation, esp. the KIT.

During this time, I was finding out that the 144,000 were said to be from the 12 tribes of Israel, it did not say they were "spiritual" Israel. I was beginning to understand that the "faithful and discreet slave" seemed to be talking about an individual and not a "class". Things that I had read a hundred times before began to be seen from a different perspective and I could see that Holy Spirit was teaching me the truth.

I started missing the meetings because the things I was beginning to understand was revealing to me that the organization that I had believed, from childhood, to be God's organization, was not teaching the truth of the Bible. After about three months, Joe asked me to come to the Memorial. I went. This was the last meeting I ever went to. After that Joe started missing meetings also. Many people stopped by and asked why we were not going to the meetings. We told them that we had questions about what they were teaching. Most of them went to the Elders and told them. Some very close friends came to visit from out of state. We discussed some of the things that we had doubts about. When she got back to Montana, she wrote me a letter and said that I should go to the Elders with our doubts. I wrote her back and said we had gone to several and they had no answers for us and I cited several questions that we had that they could not answer.

In December 1983, we received a call from the Elders in the congregation telling us they wanted to meet with us accusing us of "alleged apostasy". Joe and I talked about it and said "Why should we go?" because we knew already they would not listen to us. But we decided to go to show them that we would stand up for our belief in God. They did not bring any witnesses, merely said that certain ones had told them what we had said, including our friends from Montana. They said they had a letter from them accusing us of apostasy, but could not, or would not, produce the letter. They would not listen to any scriptures that we tried to show them. They said "We are not here to discuss the Scriptures, we are here to see if you are "apostates"." We appealed their decision and came before a "judicial committee" of 6 men who upheld the first committee's recommendation and we were disfellowshipped for apostasy on December 24, 1983. Immediately, the news was sent to all the congregations in the Sacramento Valley and we were shunned by all the friends that we had made in our lifetime.

We have 3 daughters that are not Witnesses, although we raised them as such. The only ones of our children still JWs are our son and daughter-in-law and their children and a great-grandson. I have a sister and her family that are still JWs also.