From Jehovah's Witness to Deist

 

The below article is by a former Jehovah's Witness who was freed from that mind numbing "revealed" religion by his God-given reason and Deism. Reason is in everyone, all we have to do is let them know about Deism and let natural progress take its course. To read this article in Spanish please click here

 

From Jehovah's Witness to Deist

by Fred Thompson

In Spanish by Jaime Cornejo


I am a Deist. Even now it sounds strange to me, when you consider my background. I am 56 years old and in 1951 I was born into a Jehovah’s Witness family and raised in the teachings and practices of the Witnesses, by very faithful and well meaning parents.
 
As a toddler I would accompany my parents in the “field ministry” as the door to door work was known. My job was to hand a tract or invitation to a Witness meeting to a receptive house holder. I mean, who could resist the smiling face of a little toddler? I handed out many a tract in my early years.
 
As Witnesses, you are expected to progress and it wasn’t long before I could knock on your door, give you a 5 minute sermon with four scriptures and answer many of your Bible questions. Jehovah’s Witnesses had a book called “Make Sure of All Things”. It was arraigned by subject so if someone asked you why you didn’t believe in the Trinity, celebrate Christmas, whatever, you just looked under “Christmas” and there was a little rebuttal, neatly laid out, with supporting scriptures and all.
 
Many Witnesses had it conveniently bound in with their Bible. So, it looked like they were talking from the Bible exclusively, looking up scripture from memory, all the while giving you a well thought out explanation.  Since most “Christians” are not very Bible literate, a lot of Witnesses dazzled many householders with that little “cheat sheet”.
 
In addition to the day to day indoctrination you get from your parents, you attend five meetings a week. There was one on Tuesday, held in a private group where you would meet for an hour to study a publication assigned by the Watchtower Society, which we referred to as the “Book Study”. We had the Thursday night Theocratic Ministry School and Service Meeting, each one hour  and the Sunday Public Talk and Watchtower study, also each an hour.
 
So between ”field service” on Saturday and often on Sunday before or after the Sunday meeting, preparation for these meetings and personal study on subjects that interested you, the Witnesses pretty much monopolized your life. As a kid, when you add in school, we had little free time.
 
At age 6 in June of 1958, (I turned 7 in August) I became a member of the Theocratic Ministry School. This is a school where you never graduate. You are assigned to give a talk or Bible reading from specific material. My first “talk” was a Bible reading from Psalms, given to a congregation of approx. 150. Over the years I became a proficient public speaker, one positive thing I did get from the Witnesses.
 
Another positive thing was that I really have no fear in speaking to people. You develop this by week after week, year after year going to strangers doors with an unpopular message. In school, you’re always different, but having the strong personality that I have, this situation only made me stronger. I can’t say I never had any fear, but I stood up for my beliefs and am a stronger person as a result.
 
These two things, being a trained public speaker and having no fear in talking to anyone about anything have served me well through my entire life.
 
When the Beatles burst on the public scene in 1963 and came to the US in 1964 my life changed. I was 12 and instantly became and still am a huge Beatle fan. I bought a guitar and learned to play somewhat and started to become involved in some little garage bands. The Beatles and rock and roll were an “influence of Satan”, so the inevitable conflict with my parents began. As a result, I resorted to the “secret life”, as the Witnesses call it. You’re a good little Witness while other Witnesses are looking, but you carry on like a “worldly person” every chance you get. I even went so far as to be baptized at 16.
 
I smoked pot, had “worldly”, (non Witness) girlfriends, played in rock bands and generally was your typical 60’s teenager. I hid most of this from my parents, but it was evident to them that my Witness enthusiasm was waning, although they were not aware of all that I was doing. Having been indoctrinated since birth, I did have the occasional bout of conscience, but as a rule, I was a 60’s wild child.
 
The majority of the Witness kids did then and do now live that “double life”. At one point, I even smoked pot and played in a rock band with several Witness teenagers. In fact, I was seduced by an elder’s wife at 17. She was 32 and after a few weeks, her conscience got the best of her, and she confessed to the Elders. Since I was baptized, I was subject to disfellowshipping or excommunication. But, I was only 17 and “jail bait”, meaning she would have been guilty of statutory rape. So the whole thing was swept under the rug. However, the news spread like wildfire among the Witness kids. The Elder and his wife eventually left the area.
 
The whole incident confused me somewhat, as the Elders did not stick to their principals when it came to publically embarrassing one of their own. What should have happened was that she and I should have been publically disfellowshipped. In that case, though, official word of the incident would spread, embarrassing their fellow Elder.
 
It continued this way until I got out of high school and came to the realization that I had to make a decision. The Witnesses discourage college so I decided that I was not going to College (which I eventually did anyway) and instead dedicate my life to be a Witness. I mean Armageddon (the war in which God kills all you who are not Witnesses) was right around the corner, so why mess with college. That was part of the world that was going to be destroyed by God.
 
So, at 19 I married an 18 year old “sister” and settled down in “the Truth” (that’s how the Witnesses refer to their religion) and awaited Armageddon. I mean, it was coming and coming fast!!
 
As a side point, many Witnesses marry very young, with disastrous results. If you can’t have sex outside of marriage, the next best thing is marriage. I mean teenagers as young as 16 were and STILL ARE getting married.
 
But, we wanted to remain in Jehovah’s favor and be saved through the big war of Armageddon.
This is what we were reading in the late 60’s early 70’s
 
From the Watchtower, October 15, 1969, pages 622-3
"More recently earnest researchers of the Holy Bible have made a recheck of its chronology. According to their calculations the six millenniums of mankind's life on earth would end in the mid-seventies. Thus the seventh millennium from mans creation by Jehovah god would begin within less than ten years. Apart from the global change that present-day world condition indicate is fast getting near, the arrival of the seventh millennium of mans existence on earth suggests a gladsome change for war-stricken humankind.. In order for the Lord Jesus Christ to be Lord even of the Sabbath day, his thousand-year reign would have to be the seventh in a series of thousand-year periods or millenniums. (Matt 12:8, AV) Thus it would be a sabbatic reign. Since early in the existence of mankind Satan the Devil has been on the loose, making the human family to toil in hard bondage, causing the earth to be filled with violence before the global flood of Noah’s day and inducing the same old earth to be filled with even greater violence today. Soon now six millenniums of his wicked exploiting of mankind as his slaves will end, within the lifetime of the generation that has witnessed world events since the close of the gentile times in 1914 till now, according to the prophetic words of Jesus in Matthew 24:34. Would not, then, the end of six millenniums of mankind's laborious enslavement under Satan the Devil be the fitting time for Jehovah God to usher in a Sabbath millennium for all his human creatures? Yes, indeed! And his King Jesus Christ will be Lord of that Sabbath."
Notice that “the end of six millenniums of mankind's laborious enslavement under Satan”, which was to end in 1975, “the six millenniums of mankind's life on earth would end in the mid-seventies.” The Watchtower asks “Would not, then, the end of six millenniums of mankind's laborious enslavement under Satan the Devil be the fitting time for Jehovah God to usher in a Sabbath millennium for all his human creatures?”
It answers” Yes, indeed! And his King Jesus Christ will be Lord of that Sabbath."
Note the definite article “the” fitting time, not “a” fitting time. “The” fitting time would be a time excluding all other times. It was coming!!!!
We were also reading articles like this from “Our Kingdom Ministry, May, 1974, page 3:
Yes, the end of this system is so very near! Is that not reason to increase our activity? In this regard we can learn something from a runner who puts on a final burst of speed near the finish of a race. Look at Jesus, who apparently stepped up his activity during his final days on earth. In fact, over 27 percent of the material in the Gospels is devoted to just the last week of Jesus’ earthly ministry!—Matt. 21:1–27:50; Mark 11:1–15:37; Luke 19:29–23:46; John 11:55–19:30.
“By carefully and prayerfully examining our own circumstances, we also may find that we can spend more time and energy in preaching during this final period before the present system ends. Many of our brothers and sisters are doing just that. This is evident from the rapidly increasing number of pioneers.”
“Yes, since the summer of 1973 there have been new peaks in pioneers every month. Now there are 20,394 regular and special pioneers in the United States, an all-time peak. That is 5,190 more than there were in February 1973! A 34-percent increase! Does that not warm our hearts? Reports are heard of brothers selling their homes and property and planning to finish out the rest of their days in this old system in the pioneer service. Certainly this is a fine way to spend the short time remaining before the wicked world’s end.—1 John 2:17.”
These are but a few quotes that we read in the Watchtower Society’s literature previous to 1975. Add to this the anticipation among “the brothers” and the comments made at Witness meetings and conventions and you can get an idea of what the mood of the Witnesses were. Honestly, I had my doubts. The Bible says “no one knows the day or the hour” except for God, and at that time, as a Christian and Bible believer, I thought that was somewhat of a conflict. Never the less, I was confident that Jehovah was about to destroy most of you then living in vicious global carnage.
Well, as you know, nothing happened. After January 1, 1976, on the surface, the Witnesses just kept on their routine with nary a peep from the Watchtower Society, who had months before spoke glowingly of those “brothers selling their homes and property and planning to finish out the rest of their days in this old system in the pioneer service.” I, for one, anxiously awaited the momentary announcement, some explanation, something, and anything from the Watchtower Society concerning 1975.
In its issue of July 15, 1976, The Watchtower, commenting on the inadvisability of setting our sights on a certain date, stated: “If anyone has been disappointed through not following this line of thought, he should now concentrate on adjusting his viewpoint, seeing that it was not the word of God that failed or deceived him and brought disappointment, but that his own understanding was based on wrong premises.”
 
I was stunned!! I lived this. The Watchtower set 1975 as the date, not the membership! We all bought it and then they say “Don’t blame God”. I was shocked!! This was the beginning of the end for me. I stayed a Witness, but became ever more disillusioned. Five years later, the Watchtower gives us this:
 
From the Watchtower of March, 15, 1980, in the article “Choosing the Best Way of Life “the following:
In modern times such eagerness, commendable in itself, has led to attempts at setting dates for the desired liberation from the suffering and troubles that are the lot of persons throughout the earth. With the appearance of the book Life Everlasting—in Freedom of the Sons of God, and its comments as to how appropriate it would be for the millennial reign of Christ to parallel the seventh millennium of man’s existence, considerable expectation was aroused regarding the year 1975. There were statements made then, and thereafter, stressing that this was only a possibility. Unfortunately, however, along with such cautionary information, there were other statements published that implied that such realization of hopes by that year was more of a probability than a mere possibility. It is to be regretted that these latter statements apparently overshadowed the cautionary ones and contributed to a buildup of the expectation already initiated.”
 
Sort of an explanation, but still not taking any responsibility, admitting no wrong doing and certainly not giving the faithful a substantial explanation. Again, I couldn’t believe what I was reading. The organization that I trusted and put complete faith in as God’s mouthpiece, was plainly wrong and had no clear explanation.
As much as I did not want to accept it, the unmistakable conclusion was that there was no explanation, no rationalization. They simply prophesied falsely. I went back and read everything I could about the 1975 debacle and I could not resolve this issue. There was no other conclusion. God’s chosen organization was wrong.
So how could it be God’s chosen organization?
By the early 80’s, I was pretty much a Witness in name only. I had too many family and business ties to the Witnesses. Besides we all lived in fear of being “disfellowshipped” or excommunicated. That was the tie that binds. Witnesses live in fear of that. Once, disfellowshipped, every Witness shuns you, friends, family, everyone. I was not ready for that so I was content with just maintaining my position. I did not participate fully in congregation activities, I had sporadic meeting attendance and I rarely went door to door.
However the one thing that really opened my eyes was the Internet. Suddenly, we had instant access to so much information. Ex Witnesses, or “Apostates” were quick to see this as a tool to spread “their Satanic message, against God’s chosen people”. Realizing this, the Witnesses relentlessly counseled and admonished the membership to avoid any contact with such websites.
For example, from the Watchtower, 5/1/2000, page 10:
“Some apostates are increasingly using various forms of mass communication, including the Internet, to spread false information about Jehovah’s Witnesses. As a result, when sincere individuals do research on our beliefs, they may stumble across apostate propaganda. Even some Witnesses have unwittingly exposed themselves to this harmful material. In addition, apostates occasionally take part in television or radio programs.”
“Avoiding all contact with these opponents will protect us from their corrupt thinking. Exposing ourselves to apostate teachings through the various means of modern communication is just as harmful as receiving the apostate himself into our homes. Never should we allow curiosity to lure us into such a calamitous course!”
Of course, I immediately began to look at these sites and see what they had to say. Why would the true religion fear its members looking at opposing views? Wouldn’t the “Truth” withstand any challenge? The attitude of the Society made no sense. If they had the truth, it should stand up under any scrutiny.
I decided that I really didn’t want to discuss any theological points. It seemed futile. “This scripture means this, etc etc.” The Witnesses feel compelled to explain every word in the Bible and come up with some really loony applications. Since I doubted some of the Witnesses theology anyway, I was interested in more provable concrete facts, like contradictions in their literature and their flip flops on important issues.
I dug into these “apostate” sites, avoiding any theological points, just focusing on the history of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Organization’s own literature. Having been a Witness for decades, I had accumulated quite an extensive library as well as most of the Watchtower Library CD’s.
I was astounded at the amount of false prophesies, flip flops, outright loony and hypocritical statements, as well as the actual editing of embarrassing information out of the literature.
For example, the Witnesses predicted Armageddon would come in 1914, 1925, 1941 and 1975. I found this on “Apostate sites” but confirmed it with my own original copies of the Watchtower Society’s literature.
An example of what I term a loony statement was this, from "The Truth Shall Make You Free" (1943) pp.284-285, ch.XXii "THE TIME OF THE END"

"Man on earth can no more get rid of these demonic "heavens" than man can by airplane or rockets or other means get up above the air envelope which is about our earthly globe and in which man breathes. God alone can and will deliver humankind from such demon powers of control."
Basically, The Watchtower Society says man cannot go into space by any means. I would think God’s organization would have been advised by God that this was not true. I have an original "The Truth Shall Make You Free" publication. This is an exact quote.
 
There are many examples of the editing of wrong and embarrassing information. I have an original single Watchtower as well as a bound volume of the Watchtower from Jan 1, 1989. The bound volume is all of the Watchtowers for a particular year, put together in one book. Both on page 12, par 8 the last sentence says of the Apostle Paul, "He was also laying a foundation for a work that would be completed in our 20th Century"

In the 2006 CD, the same sentence, from the same Watchtower says "He was also laying a foundation for a work that would be completed in our day."
 
The work referred to was the Jehovah’s Witness preaching work. It continues today, in the 21st century. It did not stop in the 20th Century as the 1989 publication said. The implication that all Witnesses understand is that when their preaching work stops, Armageddon comes. This is a very significant point. Thus the need for the edit in later publications.
 
By the mid 90’s I was done. I still was not out. I can only say that I lacked the guts. The disfellowshipping threat is very powerful and I still had the family and business ties. I still considered myself a Christian, although I had some real questions about the Bible. My relationship with my wife I had married at 19 had never been very good and by this time it was worse. We separated in 2001 and we began talking divorce.
 
Since I had considerable assets, we began dividing them. I completely left the Witnesses and divorced my wife and what I had dreaded all these years happened. I was disfellowshipped.
 
Much to my surprise, rather than being the horrible experience I had imagined, it was quite liberating. In fact, it was exhilarating! I felt like I had been released from prison! My mind was free. I could look at things far more objectively without the Watchtower filter. I began to see how I had been mislead for so many years, how I was “in chains, never knowing I had the key”, to steal a quote from the Eagles.
 
Still a Christian and still a believer in the Bible, I began to wonder if there was a true religion and if so, how could I find it. Of course, it had to be Bible based, no doubt. But, it occurred to me that in our Judeo/Christian society, we take certain things for granted. Most people believe that the Bible is God’s word. People seem to skip over the part of proving weather the Bible itself is true and accurate and accept it verbatim as God’s word.
 
That made no sense to me. So, I decided to start there. Was the Bible true? Astoundingly, I found that it’s not. There is not one shred of evidence that God wrote the Bible or that in fact Jesus ever lived. Obviously, approximately 2,000 years ago a Christian “movement” started in the Middle East. That’s historically apparent. So while there is no proof that Jesus was a historical figure, this movement had to be started by someone. But, 600 years after that, the Muslim religion was founded and is presently also a very large religious movement. That is also an historical fact, but in terms of which religion is true, these facts prove nothing.  
 
The Bible has a lot of problems. Again, I am not concerned about theological arguments. You get as many interpretations from the Bible as you have readers. Many learned men labor their whole lives over this ancient text, each forming conflicting opinions. Theology is meaningless.
 
The basic concept that God, in his wisdom would communicate with mankind via the written word, when 30% of the world’s adult population is illiterate, seems ludicrous. Continuing on this line of reasoning, if a picture is worth a thousand words, than why bother with the thousand words? Particularly if they are in a cryptic book that has thousands of adherents, each claiming exclusive right to its understanding from the Almighty God. On top of all this, each sect claims that the loving and merciful God they worship is going to punish or kill all you other non believers in a most horrible way.
 
The Bible is fairly historically accurate, but glaringly inaccurate, confusing and contradictory in many other ways. For example, Hebrews chapter 11, verse 1 describes the faith that all Christians must have as: “Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen” Hebrews 11:1, (The American Standard Version of the Holy Bible.)
 
So you have to believe in things you cannot possibly prove. You have to be sure that things you hope for will happen and convinced that things you have not seen are real. Just exactly how do you do that? Hebrews chapter 11 goes on to describe examples of faith namely, Abel, Enoch,  Noah,  Abraham and his wife Sarah.
 
The interesting thing is all of these people, according to the Bible, saw some pretty fantastic stuff. Most spoke to God and saw demonstrations of his power. They did not have the same faith as Christians are required to have, described in chap 11, vs. 1. They allegedly SAW evidence of the Almighty. We are left with “hoping” and “convincing” ourselves.
 
If according to the Bible, God appeared to anyone of us and did the things in our presence that he did for Abel,  Enoch,  Noah,  Abraham and his wife Sarah, it would be easy to have faith.  But here the Bible shoots itself in the foot.
 
Religion needs faith because it is short of facts. I also investigated claims that the Bible is scientifically accurate and as expected, these too are baseless.
 
But I felt that there was a God. The wonders of nature and the universe could not have happened by accident. I am convinced blind, accidental evolution is illogical and unscientific. It would be more logical that God started and guided the evolutionary process. There is little evidence that our world and universe were created in a short span of time.
 
I just didn’t see where any religion represents God. It was while I was researching religion and the Constitution for a book I am writing, that I read a biography of Thomas Jefferson. It was then that I first read the term Deist. Jefferson was a Deist as were several of the Founding Fathers, including Thomas Paine. I suddenly realized that I was a Deist. To me, nature and science prove God’s existence. But Religion, specifically Christianity, cannot prove that the book they base their faith on is true and from God.
 
I realized that while I was spiritual, I was not religious. No religion speaks for or represents God. Religion has been a curse on mankind, promising peace and comfort and delivering oppression and human suffering.
 
I am at peace with my world and with God. I do not need anyone talking to Him for me or telling me how I should worship. I feel compelled to tell the world my story, if it cares to listen. I am writing a book entitled “I’m Spiritual, Not Religious”. I also have a blog by the same name. Deism has brought me peace.

 

 






Main Menu
News of Interest to Deists
A recent survey on religion shows there are 34 million Americans who are classified as "Nones", that is they do not embrace any of the "revealed" religions and the vast majority of them are not Atheists. In actuality, the vast majority of the "Nones" are actually Deists!

The survey shows a giant step forward for Deism in the fact that it actually uses the word "Deist" and for the very significant raw numbers it shows as representing the number of people who are Deists.  In reality, the number of Deists is actually higher than the survey shows because the survey uses an outdated definition of Deist. For a more accurate definition please see our Deism Defined page.


Click here to read the actual survey. (It's in PDF)
Astronomers report a recent study strongly indicates the Universe is infinite.
One of the reasons the freethinker Giordano Bruno was tortured and murdered by being burned alive by the Catholic Church during the Inquisition was that he said the Universe is eternal and infinite which violates the superstitions in the Bible found in Genesis. This new study vindicates Bruno.

Obama is making the mixing of church and state worse than ever before.
Obama supporters forget that when all is said and done, Obama is just another politician. This article shows he's proving that he is nothing but a politician by doing more than any other president to mix religion and government, especially through giving tax-dollars to religious organizations.


Help Get the Word Out About Deism! Thank You!