New World Translation of the Jehovah’s Witness Religion:
My name is Ricky. I am 36 years old. I have been married for almost 10 years. I have two beautiful kids, a 7 year old son and a 5 year old daughter. I am the second of 5 siblings. My mother, my step-father, my older brother, my younger brother, my 2 younger sisters, my 2 aunts and their husbands, 4 cousins, 4 nieces and 3 nephews are all either members or associated with Jehovah’s Witnesses. I lost all of them on the night of July 24, 2014. There was no freak accident that took all of their lives, but I do mourn them all.
You see, I was disfellowshipped that night as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. This religion strongly encourages its members to completely shun anyone who has been disfellowshipped, for whatever reason. It does not matter what it was for. One can draw this conclusion because when someone is disfellowshipped, a formal announcement is made in the congregation that So-and-So has been disfellowshipped. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. A member could have molested a child and got caught. A member could have cheated on his or her spouse. A member could have started smoking or is doing drugs. Or, a member could have put in a letter of disassociation to formally distance himself from the religion. But none of these reasons would be announced.
Could there ever be a logical, reasonable objection for someone to leave the religion? In the eyes of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the answer is unequivocally NO. In my case, I was disfellowshipped for the Jehovah’s Witness crime of apostasy – the most heinous crime one of Jehovah’s Witnesses can commit.
I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness since I was a young child. My mother began studying with the Witnesses when I was in kindergarten. She was a single mother of four. The Witnesses contacted her when she was in a vulnerable state. To make matters worse, she met another man who grew up around the religion. They saw this as fate and were married. Together, they began studying with the Witnesses. We moved frequently as I grew up, and I can remember my parents staying in touch with a certain man, always studying with him no matter where we moved around in the metroplex.
As I grew older, my mother was the first one to be baptized. My step-father put spiritual things to the back burner while providing for a family of 7. But eventually he and I were baptized in the same year: 1994. My older brother wanted nothing to do with the restrictive religion. Eventually, 15 years later, he embraced the religion and was baptized as a Witness. But the rest of us fell in line. Since my parents could not find the time to study with us 5 kids individually, nor as a collective family, I and my younger siblings were assigned to study with someone from the congregation. I really enjoyed the company of my bible teacher. As a teenager, he was 15 years older than I was, but he really took me under his wing. He took a sincere interest in me. He has been one of a few good friends in my life. He later went on to marry my wife and I in 2005.
Growing up, we didn’t have an abundance materially, but we always had just enough. Fortunately, in my congregation and in the neighboring congregations, there were enough kids my age, and we were always doing things together, whether it be sports or having “get-together” parties. I look back on my childhood with fond memories. My parents were not super restrictive compared to many other Jehovah’s Witness parents. Most of the elders in our city were relatively young and relaxed. With families of their own, they were always trying to keep their kids, the other kids and the teenagers active and involved. For that I am very grateful.
My older brother was always the black sheep of the family. He didn’t want anything to do with the religion and was kicked out of our home when he was 17 years old. I was 15 years old at the time. I can’t say that I missed him too much because, growing up, he never wanted to play with me or my younger brother. He always wanted to play with older, “worldly” kids, “worldly” meaning non-Witness kids. He didn’t associate with us when we played sports with other Witness kids, nor did he want to go to our lame Witness parties.
But in my senior year of High School, I began to envy the “double life” of my best Witness friend. When I say “double life”, I speak of the loaded language term the Witnesses use to mean when a Witness acts one way around other Witnesses, and a totally different way when they are not around other Witnesses. When I graduated high school, my older brother asked if I wanted to move in with him, since he offered me a job and I started working with him. I agreed. This “unsupervised-by-the-Witnesses” time, along with the influence of my “worldly” brother, caused me to live the “double life” I envied. I got into trouble and lived like any typical 19 year old would away from home for the first time.
But deep down, I couldn’t fully enjoy myself because the “truth” was still in me and it made me feel guilty. Eventually, I returned to my Witness senses and went to the elders seeking help. What I got in return was a disfellowshipping. Talk about coming out of left field! I was devastated and shocked. For about 12 months, I just didn’t care. I didn’t want to be a Witness any longer. But again, I came back to my Witness senses and returned. I missed my old friends and the only relationship I had with my family was with my “worldly” brother, and that was a very much strained relationship. So, I returned and was reinstated after 6 months of regular attendance.
Six months after reinstatement, I moved away to another city and began attending another congregation. I don’t think these new elders took kindly to a new and improved 21 year old single brother who was just reinstated. I was accused of dating a sister in the congregation who was not a baptized Witness. Firstly, we were not dating. Secondly, since she was an UNbaptized publisher, she was still considered “worldly”. Therefore, I was in violation of the Witness interpretation of marrying only in the Lord. To make a long story short, I had been reinstated for no longer than 12 months before I was disfellowshipped again.
This time, the elders made sure that I suffered to the extreme, wearing “sackcloth and ashes” for an unbearable amount of time. It took 2 years and 5 letters requesting reinstatement for me to be welcomed back into the congregation. I was at my wit’s end. If my reinstatement request was denied for a 5th time, I would have given up. But finally, all the hard work paid off. I was ready to stay on the straight and narrow road leading to everlasting life.
I started dating a baptized sister in the congregation. I made sure that I did things the right way: the Jehovah’s Witness way. We were married in 2005. We became parents in 2007 and in 2009. She went from working a full-time, well-paying career, to working part-time in 2007 when we had our son. Then, in 2009, she quit altogether to be a full-time mother when we had our daughter. She became a regular pioneer that year also. That spearheaded me to become a ministerial servant.
2009 was a special year for our Jehovah’s Witness family: my wife eschewed the world and quit her well paying career to become a stay at home mother and pioneer. We had our second child. I was appointed as a ministerial servant. In the Jehovah’s Witness world, we had it all and we were the perfect Witness family. However, it would all come crumbling down beginning in March of 2014.
In march of 2014, a discussion of a sexual molestation case involving Jehovah’s Witnesses was brought to my attention by a co-worker. It made me investigate what really happened. That investigation began a domino effect of trying to prove my religion right. However, I could not stop the domino’s from falling – one after another until there were none left. It was also like removing a foundational card from a house of cards – the whole thing collapsed, and the crash was great indeed.
My conscience could no longer allow me to follow a religion that calls itself “the truth” when I knew it was all a lie. Due to my spouse’s insistence, I talked to the congregation elders Friday July 4th, and discussed some of the research I had done. No harm, no foul done. I was expecting the worst. They did ask for me to relinquish my privilege as a ministerial servant. I did so unhesitatingly in lieu of being disfellowshipped and labeled an apostate.
Two days later, after a Sunday meeting, I received a call from one of the elders stating that they wanted to meet with me. This was because some of the other elders had a hard time believing that this was coming from the Ricky they knew. I agreed to meet with them the following evening. What I walked into was an FBI style interrogation. It went from relinquishing my privileges to being a threat and a danger to the congregation in just 3 days! These men, whom I considered good friends of mine, spied on me over internet and printed out comments that I had made. They turned their back on me in a matter of 3 days. Out goes over a decade of friendship. Their perceived threat of me in 3 days of spying overshadowed years of friendship. All I did was investigate facts. All I did was investigate the history of my religion. Yet, that was enough for good friends of mine to turn their back on me.
Not only did those church elders turn their back on me, so did my spouse. So did my family. So did my in-laws, both Witness and non-Witness. As you can quickly gather, I am on a lonely island, like the movie Castaway. No one wanted to hear why I was in this situation. My friends, the elders who disfellowshipped me, promised that I would be able to speak freely about all of my concerns. The reality was that all they wanted to know was if I believed in the 7 leaders of the religion or not. No one would let me do a little explaining. I could not explain why I could no longer put my faith in the religion any longer. When my wife did let me explain, she choose to believe the elders. She choose the religion and their lies over me. She did zero investigation for herself to see if I was lying to her or not. She did nothing to see if her religion was lying to her or not.
I was disfellowshipped for apostasy, therefore anything I said was a lie or satanic propaganda designed to lead her and all other Witnesses to spiritual ruin.
July 24, 2014 was the day my daughter turned 5 years old. On the same day, my son gave a 5 minute bible reading discourse in front of an audience of 25. It was his second time doing that. Most of my family were there to support my son in spite of being warned what was going happen that night. My wife had a lot of Witness family in town to attend a convention and were planning to see my son deliver his bible reading discourse also. When my wife told them what was going to be announced that evening, they chose not to attend. I could have chosen not to attend myself. But I was not ashamed for making an informed decision based on facts and research. If the elders wanted to crucify me and, in effect, silence me, then so be it. I was going to hold my chin up and take their punishment like a man.
There was a funeral on the night of July 24, 2014. Someone died that night. In fact, there were many casualties that night. The Witnesses in my congregation mourned the death of Jehovah’s Witness Ricky. I mourn, and continue to mourn the living dead – my friends and my family. Jehovah’s Witnesses will speak to murderers and child molesters in prison but cannot, and will not, speak to me. They fear me. My own family has told me to stop contacting THEIR family. Am I such a horrible person that my own family feels the need to sever all ties with me forever, or until I am reinstated as a Witness? That speaks volumes as to the control the religion as over it’s members.
When someone dies, there is a mourning period. The loss of a loved one creates a hole that can’t ever be filled again because that person is never coming back. Imagine having that void, but the person is still alive. I cannot fully explain, nor can I put into words what the Jehovah’s Witness shunning does to a person. The closest thing I can explain or compare it to is mourning the living dead. I am dead to them. The religion tells their followers to view me as such, part of their tough love that amounts to emotional blackmail. Is my family dead to me? Sometimes. Just like you can never see your dead loved one again, I know that I can never see my family again. Unless they are freed from the enslaving religion known as Jehovah’s Witnesses. That day may never happen. It is possible that I could spend the rest of my life mourning the living dead, my family.
This religion has stolen my family away from me. My parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews all shun me. They don’t answer my phone calls. They don’t respond to emails or text messages, and when they do respond, it is to demonstratively tell me to never contact them ever again because they are choosing to be loyal to Jehovah’s side. In reality, they are choosing to be loyal to the crazy and radical mandates of 7 men in New York, whom they have never met, nor have they or are they willing to investigate what a fraud these men are. It has torn away all of my friends, including my 2 best friends – the man who married me and the best man in my wedding. It has destroyed my marriage. It has taken me away from my family. I went from seeing my wife and children every day of my life to seeing my children 12 days out of the month. It has destroyed the relationships I had even with my non-Witness in-laws, as they have even began to shun me based on whatever my wife and other Witness in-laws have shared about me. They can take their “silver sword” and keep it. It has destroyed too much in my life as it is.
This is my 2014 edition of the New World Translation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Religion.
The content above is the personal opinion of an AvoidJW.org columnist but does not necessarily reflect the opinion(s) of AvoidJW.org.
The intent for publishing this content on AvoidJW.org is to highlight to the public the adverse effect JW.org (Watchtower) doctrine has on humanity.