After questioning the teachings, a woman shares the difficulty of moving on as a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Originally published on Niederrhein Nachrichten by Lorelies Christian on February 24, 2021

For me as an NN editor, letters to the editor based on reporting are nothing unusual. But then came a reaction that touched me very much: “It’s about your article about Jehovah’s Witnesses and their current activities. I admire that you want to report impartially on each religion. How should I put it … I found this report to be more of an advertisement for the religious community. And I think this is very dangerous.”

This naturally raises questions. I have now received many answers, but I had to accept that the woman in her forties wants to remain anonymous in this article (name is available to the editors).

She has been wrestling with herself for two years, questioning the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses. She practically “inherited” this from her parents. She grew up with it, based her life on it, with no ifs or buts.

“So that we understand each other correctly, Jehovah’s Witnesses are not fundamentally bad people. They are gracious, they live in a community in which one feels comfortable.” She breaks the lance for her family members, friends and members of the religious community. She knows that these people stand up for their beliefs because they think they are doing the right thing.

“I was Born into a Cult”

“Yes, until about two years ago I thought the same way. I really thought that Jehovah’s Witnesses were the only true religion. I thought that homosexuality was a sin, that blood transfusions are forbidden, and that God will soon step in and destroy all evil people. I believed that evolution was a lie,” she admits today and tries to explain how she could believe such a thing. “I was born into a cult. Something was imposed on me that – if I had recognized it in its full scope or its background – I would not have wanted at all.”

But as she dealt more closely with the doctrine, she realized that Jehovah’s Witnesses are a cult in which the same mechanisms apply as, for example, Scientology. “For me, my entire worldview collapsed,” she looks back. She wanted a new beginning for herself, a self-determined life in which she could freely decide what to think, how to behave, how she would like to live.

It means Social Death

However, with the break, she would also lose everything that has made her life up to now. She has to fear that her family will break off contact. “As a so-called renegade, I would be excluded, completely isolated. It is social death. Even my parents would break off contact. They would do this for love because they believe that as an apostate I cannot be saved. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that on a set day, Armaggedon, God will destroy all people who have not joined Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

In the case of this woman, her closest family members have also turned away from Jehovah’s Witnesses, but only to the extent that they do not attend meetings. Due to the corona pandemic, this is not really noticeable at the moment.

How is it working out? It’s going to be a tough struggle. The daughter who lives at home, who is already more open with her attitude, is already shunned by her former friends and openly stalked on Instagram.

Fears of Loss and Self-doubt

Your mother is still struggling with herself. “With every thunderstorm I thought, now is the last day, now I will not survive because only Jehovah’s Witnesses get in to paradise. It’s so deep inside of me that I couldn’t defend myself against this thought for a long time,” she describes her state of mind, which is so difficult to understand by others.

How can a tough woman who is like a “man” in her professional life and who seems to lead a “normal” life, allow herself to be manipulated like that? There is no clear answer to that. Mind control from an early age is certainly a reason. Fear of loss and self-doubt when thinking about critical thoughts are added.

An Exit is Hardly Possible Without Therapy

She cannot make the complete exit on her own. She still feels like a traitor, is afraid and feels guilty. She has therapeutic support to help her master her new life. The young woman is not ready to break with everyone (and certainly not with her family and relatives). But she wants to warn others: “There are so many inconsistencies in the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Thanks to the Internet, you can research a lot and track down untruths in teachings. I recommend the site Today she knows that Jehovah will not judge everything in her life, but that she must take it into her own hands.