ExJW Conference in Missouri this July!

Witnesses Now for Jesus MidWest Conference

You are invited to attend the Witnesses Now for Jesus Midwest gathering! Listen to sound Biblical teachings by noted Christian Apologists and testimonies by former Jehovah’s Witnesses to provide refuge for the oppressed and to edify and equip the Church.

Teachers include: Bob Gray, Ed Havaich, Steve Lagoon, Kay L. Kay Meyer, and Martin Winslow.
Testimonies of ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses include: Martha Kuderer, Julie McAllen, and Robin Ridlon. There is no registration fee, but a freewill offering will be taken.

Continue reading “ExJW Conference in Missouri this July!”

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Blessings from Baltimore!

 

The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.
The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous;
The right hand of the Lord does valiantly. (Psalm 118:114-115)

Joyful shouting. I did a lot of that over my two week vacation to Maryland in April. I spent Resurrection Sunday with some dear friends who are also former Jehovah’s Witnesses. We CELEBRATED the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, our freedom in Him, and just being the wacky, unique individuals He created us to be.

Earlier in the week we caroused several thrift stores and flea markets in search of the perfect hat for a friend. At one sale I had opportunity to speak with one of Jehovah’s Witnesses behind a literature cart. She invited me to their annual Memorial explaining it as a day set aside to commemorate Jesus’ death. I agreed with her on it’s importance and expressed my own appreciation for what Jesus’ death means to me. Then I asked her, “so at this service you have in which you celebrate His death, do you also celebrate His resurrection or do you have a separate service for that?”

And she actually said,
“OH, WE DON’T CELEBRATE HIS RESURRECTION.”

How sad. Not only do they reject the body and blood of Christ at their Memorial service, but they also go forth in their ministry boldly proclaiming there is no reason to celebrate His resurrection. Just what part of this is Christian? Continue reading “Blessings from Baltimore!”

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Discovering a Twist in Translation

 

…”But what about John 1:1?”

This was the question Sara and her sister posed to the Jehovah’s Witnesses  sitting across the table from them. The JW’s had attempted to convince them that Jesus was not God. According to the rendering of John 1:1 in the Watchtower’s own version of the Bible called The New World Translation (NWT), Jesus is “a god” but not “the God.” Then the JW’s introduced the Strong’s Concordance to these two sisters and endeavored to prove that the article “a” was permissible in the verse.

That was over 13 years ago. One of these sisters followed the advice given by those JW’s to be like a Beroean and “carefully examine the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11 NWT) avoiding the snare of Watchtower indoctrination, but the other one became a disciple of the Watchtower organization. Continue reading “Discovering a Twist in Translation”

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Leave the group, lose your beliefs?

Our ancestors understood that hunting, gathering, and building huts was easier within the tribe than doing it alone. When enemies approach, there’s also more security within a group than standing alone. And the survival of any group is dependent on some agreed upon structure. Therefore, groups often organize and unify under a belief system, deity, or common ideal. So religious ideals throughout history can be appreciated as a necessary force to unite a group of people for survival, but history’s pages are also full of examples that when groups gather in the name of their god, horrendous things can happen. As I was discussing this with a gentleman in a class I’m taking on “the history of religious intolerance,” he posed this question:

When the need for the group ends, does the need for the belief system also?

Continue reading “Leave the group, lose your beliefs?”

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Don’t Take GRACE Lightly!

Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 3-4)

I recently received a letter from a person who considers it a sin if we don’t keep the Sabbath on Saturday. We have exchanged letters through the years because she had questions about their neighbor who is one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. She had told me they attend church on Saturday and asked what I understood about that. Continue reading “Don’t Take GRACE Lightly!”

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XJW Fest 2016: A Sense of Community

WHAT IS COMMUNITY?

Community

noun, often attributive com·mu·ni·ty \kə-ˈmyü-nə-tē\

: a group of people who live in the same area (such as a city, town, or neighborhood)
: a group of people who have the same interests, religion, race, etc.
: a group of nations

Source: Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary

Within family, neighborhood, school, work, and organizations, we gain community. Likewise, with a divorce, relocation, or job change we suffer loss of a once familiar community. Imagine several losses at once. For many who have had to walk away from the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses, their losses include their family and social group, and may also include a change in occupation and adjusting to a new location as well. This is a significant loss of community.

The human heart desires community, yet it’s common for those hurt within one group to hesitate seeking another lest they get hurt again. To compound this, the Watchtower has inculcated fear into the hearts of it’s members to hinder their quest for help from counselors, clergy, ex-members, or friendly neighbors just trying to get to know them. Healing can not begin without some community. Continue reading “XJW Fest 2016: A Sense of Community”

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When the Church Wounds You

Visit any Facebook group for Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses or our Worldwide Meetup group, and you’ll see stories of a lot of wounded people. Many of them don’t even desire to step into a church and for those of us who do, there’s a lot of hurdles to overcome. And sadly, some of us have been wounded in the church as well as the Kingdom Hall.

Recently I shared an experience with those groups and it obviously hit a nerve based on the many comments I received. I’m thankful that the Lord chose to address this particular topic as I walked my dog and asked Him to speak into my life. Here is what He led me to write…. Continue reading “When the Church Wounds You”

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The Ministry of Music

May seemed to be a month full of discussion about worship music on our Meetup for ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses. I called to mind my 1984 edition of Kingdom Melodies, the songbook Jehovah’s Witnesses use at their meetings.

I mentioned the picture of bearded (gasp!) men singing with mouths wide open giving praise to Jehovah. Their arms outstretched and opened as well. I asked the group sarcastically “did anyone ever praise God that way while at the Kingdom Hall???”

Music and worship is an often overlooked topic. When we leave the Watchtower, it’s not just the difference in doctrinal matters that we notice. It’s startling to see the difference in worship music and styles upon taking that first brave step into a church. In fact, I didn’t even know what worship was when I first began attending. Continue reading “The Ministry of Music”

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Making Money the Watchtower Way!

There’s thousands of pyramid schemes and I’ve been approached by a few friends involved in these “businesses” and warned them — even pointing to articles and stories of ex-schemers on the Internet, yet that same ignorance exists in them that is in the cults. They simply don’t want to hear it. They found something that makes them happy and consider my “evidence” as faulty and assume I just want to kill their joy. Sigh. Continue reading “Making Money the Watchtower Way!”

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Springtime Harvest, A Time To Rejoice!

I love to share encouraging news like this. It’s another example of how God is the one making seeds grow that others have watered. Living in the Midwest, I’m familiar with spring time planting and an autumn harvest. But that’s life in the natural. In the kingdom of God, anything is possible, even a springtime harvest! Continue reading “Springtime Harvest, A Time To Rejoice!”

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The Philosophy of Popcorn

As with all on line discussion groups for ex Jehovah’s Witnesses, a variety of views about God and religion can stir up strong emotions. We encourage members in our Meetup to be honest about their doubts and to share what they’ve been led to explore in matters of faith without fear of being reprimanded. That means ALL views are welcome. Continue reading “The Philosophy of Popcorn”

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God Does The Work For Us

Too many Christmas goodies and late evenings had me off schedule and extending my morning coffee ’til noon in my pajamas. With my husband taking extra days off from work and a few trips tossed in, I struggled to remember what day it was. Perhaps you can relate to the holiday vacation slump? So December was winding down with a prayer for renewed energy since I personally felt like a sloth. But on the last Tuesday of 2015, a morning phone call turned into an entire day of connections and encouragement. Just the energy I needed. Continue reading “God Does The Work For Us”

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An Ex-JW’s Most Memorable Christmas

“I would love to correspond with other ex Jehovah’s Witnesses. I think it is great to have like minded people to come together and voice their opinions and to share with people who understand.”

That was a statement included in Ruth’s profile when she joined our worldwide support group in November of 2010. She had been one of Jehovah’s Witnesses for 36 years leaving behind six brothers and sisters still in the organization. Though she has been out now for over 20 years, Ruth echoes the words of many who were raised under the Watchtower rules in saying, Continue reading “An Ex-JW’s Most Memorable Christmas”

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Truth Takes a Licking and Keeps On Ticking

Sometimes when people come out of the Watchtower, their fear is that they will be expected by others to discredit ALL of it. But that’s not honest nor honoring of their decision at the time they accepted a free home Bible study from one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

I can honestly say I have some very good memories of my time spent as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and know I am a better person for it. Even though from this side of things I can call it a toxic cult, in reference to their own conversion to the Watchtower, I understand why some former members cling to it in their confusion claiming “the truth saved my life.” Continue reading “Truth Takes a Licking and Keeps On Ticking”

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Up Where We Belong

A sense of belonging. This is something our spirits long for with God and with one another. There’s no greater joy than to watch a new life born of Spirit take hold of their right as a child of God who belongs to Christ! (John 1:12; Romans 8:9) A need for acceptance is met as they begin their walk with God. With this, a hunger grows to fellowship with others as well.

Captives being set Free

Continue reading “Up Where We Belong”

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Will Suffering Ever End?

The hot topic on Meetups and Facebook discussions among former Jehovah’s Witnesses the past month was undoubtedly the investigation by the Royal Commission of Australia into over 1,000 sexual abuse cases within the Watchtower Society. While this is good publicity to share among those eagerly anticipating the membership of this cult to drop, I can’t help but think of the consciences of those who would “protect” the leadership who caused so much suffering to these victims. Don’t Jehovah’s Witnesses care about human suffering? Continue reading “Will Suffering Ever End?”

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Honoring Those Who Shepherd

Last month I shared how the past affects the present in dealing with authority in the church. You can read that article here: http://www.4witness.org/church-issues-how-does-the-past-affect-the-present/ Being in daily on line conversations with people who’ve been abused by parental, spousal, and church authority, it’s not surprising to hear their struggle to trust words in the Bible such as “honor your father and mother” or “obey those taking the lead.” It’s a challenge to share the love of Christ to hurting people without offending them with scripture when it’s been used in the past to manipulate their trust. None the less, I always endeavor to share the truth that God intends better things for us and offers an abundant life. This is difficult to accept when you’ve been abused by people who were “supposed” to represent God in their shepherding role. Continue reading “Honoring Those Who Shepherd”

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Church Issues: How Does the Past Affect the Present?

One of the recurring topics on our Meetup for discussion among former Jehovah’s Witnesses is “Church.”

After what we experienced in the Watchtower organization, many of us are hesitant to be involved with a church. Reasons vary. Some do not trust God or the Bible at all and therefore stay away. Others, like myself, have come to Christ for salvation, and have explored churches, yet find some practices unsettling.   Continue reading “Church Issues: How Does the Past Affect the Present?”

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An Interview with My Mother

In February I traveled to meet with Melissa Bramer for a special two hour interview at my mother’s apartment. Melissa and I both arrived in time for lunch with my mom and dad and sat around the kitchen table for several hours before the evening blogtalk radio show. Since Melissa’s “Hurting to Healing” first aired on blogtak radio in November 2014, my mother’s been a regular listener, even at the cost of missing her Tuesday night BINGO games! In the interview, my mother offered the unique perspective of what it was like for a parent to watch her adult child (me) join a high control religious group. As former Jehovah’s Witnesses, Melissa and I hope this will be used to inform the community about the dangers of this sect. We also hope it was encouraging for those directly affected by the Watchtower Society to hear that broken relationships can be restored. Continue reading “An Interview with My Mother”

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Special Guest Arlene and Julie McAllen

In this program, Melissa spoke with Arlene and Julie McAllen. Arlene is the mother of Julie McAllen the host of the Ex-Jehovah’s Witness Worldwide Meetup!  Learn what it was like for her to lose her daughter to Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Special Guest Arlene & Julie McAllen~Hurting to Healing w/Melissa

Check Out Religion Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Healing X Outreach Radio on BlogTalkRadio

Continue reading “Special Guest Arlene and Julie McAllen”

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