“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. (Matthew 23:13)
Have you ever shared the gospel with an active or former Jehovah’s Witness? Have you noticed a BLOCK preventing them from hearing it? According to Jesus’ own words here in Matthew 23, it was the RELIGIOUS LEADERS who were preventing some from entering the kingdom of heaven. What Jehovah’s Witnesses have been fed by their leaders also serves as a block to their entrance. I absolutely LOVE Christians who invite Jehovah’s Witnesses in and share the gospel with them, but I know how confusing it can be for Christians to talk to these people who regularly read their Bibles and already profess a belief in Jesus Christ and yet watch the gospel fall upon deaf ears as they continue with their Watchtower presentation. What prevents them from hearing the simple truth?
I invite you to listen in on a discussion amongst former Jehovah’s Witnesses who were asked the question,
“What currently is or was the major block you had
in coming to Christ for salvation due to your JW background?”
Teri: I had to remember the Yeshua of the WT wasn’t the Yeshua of the bible.
Carol: Walking into a church and communion.
Julie: For me it was the 144,000. The concept that there was still a remnant on earth kept me under Watchtower authority even after I left. I had to find another explanation for who these people were. It was while reading Romans 8 that the Holy Spirit began to speak to me on it and tell me to stop attributing to THEM the promises He was speaking to me as a child of God.
Amanda: Romans 8 was EXACTLY how I joined a church. I walked in when they started the study and sobbed through the whole services. Gods will for SURE! The JWs took God from me – and believing that it was not about rules/legalistic ways that I won God’s grace. Also, CHURCH in general. I told my pastor – don’t be offended – but this not about you. You can’t give me God but you can’t take him away either. It took me 3 years before I was baptized.
Michelle: I took too long to find answers so by the time I did I was really ready to find the truth and just didn’t want more lies. It was more freeing than anything. What kept me from finding truth was that old hang up of all other religions/beliefs are false and part of Christendom so I doubted I’d be able to find any truth.
Lucy: I identify with what kept you hung up. It was the same for me though I had been physically away from the Witnesses for 30 years. Also, the other thing that slowed my progress was the fear of what if this was God’s “channel of communication” and sole “spirit directed organization” on earth.
Michelle: I’m sure it was wonderful to find out that we are God’s channel. He works through every saved believer. I am so glad we both found the truth eventually.
Robert: Feeling damned and destined for destruction…. Like what’s the point. But Christ washed those feelings away! Glory be to Christ!
Carol: The church I was saved at was held in a Gymnasium…. Lol… The day I went, (I only went cos it was in a gym…and a good friend had been inviting me for a year…long sorry but, I went to get her off, my back. And the Lord did the rest!
Emily: It has to be the doctrine of the Trinity. I knew all the objections to this very well as a Jw and was very opposed to this teaching. When I discovered that the WT was a false religion I thought like many “what now”? I thought there’s no way I can fellowship at a Church because of their “false teachings” but then I realised that the WT had lied to me on so many other things, what if they lied about this too, like hell, immortality of the soul etc. So I decided to try my best to look into this Trinity teaching with a fresh slate. What I found was quite surprising to me. I do understand it now and believe it, however there’s always a part of me that wonders if I have it right. I think it’s a case if once bitten twice shy.
Diane: Every believer wonders about the Trinity, even if they were raised believing it from infancy. I really don’t like when I see discussions and someone is confused about the Trinity and everyone else is like, “It makes perfect sense to me.” No, it doesn’t. The Trinity is a strange mystery that doesn’t really make sense, but neither do other mysterious ways of God. Like it also doesn’t make sense that God is uncreated and has always existed. I accept it, but I can’t wrap my brain around it and i have believed this from the time i was a young child. Another one is that God created everything from nothing. Again, I accept it in faith, but it doesn’t make sense. So mysterious are the ways of God!
Emily: Diane, it actually makes sense to me though. I don’t see it as a mystery and it’s not confusing. The best explanation I had was by an ex Muslim who became a Christian apologist Nabeel Quereshi. I watched the video and I just got it. However the main issue for me is at times I feel what if I’m wrong. It’s only been two years for me so I’ve got a long way to go, I’m still re- learning
Julie: Wow that’s cool. A former Muslim helped you understand the triune God. Cool.
I was reading John’s gospel one day and it slowly crept up on me. By the time I got to chapter 10 I was cornered! Got on my knees and repented for my former beliefs and sent the shortest email to my pastor friend (he was used to very long emails as I was detoxing from the Watchtower lol). I had to tell him “Jesus is Jehovah!” and he got it. Later I sent a longer email explaining the process lol. It was super special to me. I even wrote down the date lol. April 6, 2007, that’s the day I understood the Trinity lol.
Karen: I love this God is good
Ashley: I felt confused about the bible, God, Jesus, religion in general, could any truths ever be found, dealing with my anger from believing so much to the core of my soul and feeling betrayed, I lacked confidence that God, Jesus and Holy Spirit would even acknowledge me (I thought I needed someone like governing body or a priest to show me), feeling like I have no clue where to look, and questioning /doubting myself every step of the way.
Becky: Judgement. When you’re taught your entire life that every other way of thinking, feeling and believing is bad compared to the way you think, feel and believe, you can’t look at anyone with gratefulness or acceptance. Therefore you think “what can they offer me?” It literally took Al-Anon due to a loved ones alcoholism to help me to start looking at others without judgement. The constant judging of others has made me unable to make friends, maintain relationships and has created a fierce internal saboteur.
Ray: None … once I met the person who witnessed Christ, to me. Wasn’t instantaneous, by any means; but when I came to Him, ***I*** came to Him!
Michelle: The fear of being trapped by another cult.
Michael: In 1976, when Armageddon didn’t come in 1975, and then the Society tried to blame us for being “overzealous.” We realized there had to something better, and my mother resigned in 1977. I then converted to orthodox Christianity in 1979 at age 17.
Mick: Not feeling worthy of God’s love and afraid I would wind up in another cult.
Carol: not feeling worthy was a biggie for me too! Thank God he showed me grace! By his sacrifice alone am I saved!!! Thank you thank you thank you Lord Jesus…
Sharon: What if I am wrong? Jehovah’s wrath would be upon me. Not knowing what walking out in faith meant, I was scared I wasn’t doing what was right. Then I left and did walk out in faith but only knew I did that when after it was done someone told me that was what.
Carol: yes the “what if I am wrong” … Oh yes… I always loved God! and just felt like…. I deserved to die. I told God and myself I needed to go back to him because I loved him not because of fear! He loves us…never stopped. The organization kicked me out (thank God) not Jehovah.
Carol: Perfect Love Cast out fear… And God is love
Karen: Fear– I remember the first time standing in front of a church back in 1998 and the nurse I worked with for a year who helped plant the salvation seed in me kept inviting me to her church . I kept putting it off- we stood there in front of that church, she knew I was scared to go in. I told her once I go in , there is no going back. Once I enter into a church I will lose Jehovah’s favor and Ill die at Armageddon. I really thought demons were going to spew off the wall and Jehovah would forever hate me , because we were not allowed to attend churches. I didnt even think people in churches owned Bibles. My friend took me by the hand and she said these words ” Karen if you die today believing as a Jehovah Witness there is no hell then you have nothing to fear is that correct , you will be just dead you will know nothing? I said that is correct, she said Karen but lets just say there is a heaven and a hell and my friend the Bible does teach there is a hell, she said my friend if you die today and have never received Christ in your heart as your Lord and Savior and asked him to forgive you of your sins and save you, then my friend you have everything to worry about” At that moment I let her words sink in, I dried my tears and walked into the church the most calmest and welcoming feeling I had ever had and Lo and Behold People had Bibles AND the preacher that day spoke of the name of Jehovah , I had been taught churches do not know Gods name.. Conviction started and one week later I was saved
Diane: Love it!
Julie: Karen, I love what you expressed. Thank you for sharing this. It contains the truth of so many XJWs who struggle with fear of church. It shows the power of another Christian to take us by the hand and gently but firmly reason with us. Thank your dear friend for me! I hope this encourages more Christians to WANT to help!!!! And it shows the unsurpassed power of the gospel you heard in that church. Your friend planted the seed, the church watered it, God made it grow! Hallelujah! And you were saved!! Powerful.
Carol: Karen, I praise you Lord … You are so Good!
Sharon: Karen, thank you for sharing this. It is all to formula, the lies we believe that scare us from the ‘real’ true about God. My first visit to a church was with my therapist, (she was afraid I’d end up in a church like the one I left, WT) I cried in her arms the whole time thinking I am going to die. I wasn’t going to make it home. I ran out of there with all the lies yelling in my head. What did I do? I went back the next week and the weeks after that. I wasn’t going to let the WT, (Satan) win.
Zach: As a JW I could not wrap my head around the Trinity; I met a young man who was a Christian when I was out in service one day and he illustrated the Trinity to me with an egg. Later that evening at the Thursday night meeting I told the experience to an elder and he was more or less like, ‘He didn’t influence you, did he?’ My way to Christ came with time, a suicide attempt, a broken marriage, and finally meeting someone who had a true love for Jesus. I admit I am a sinner and have backslid but am doing as much as I can every day to draw closer to the Lord.
Diane: I never thought of an egg. Good illustration.
Julie: Zach, I think a lot of Christians do more harm than good when they start with the Trinity as a focus. Even so, God knew how to reach you in His time. You belong to Him now and I praise Him for that!
Joe: Another religion. But was I wrong. He is the greatest person in my life. Its not religion, its relationship. 👍😎😊
Brittany: Believing everyone else served Satan and was scared to sell my soul to the devil. Also the Trinity. Believing I had to clean up my life before being saved which also went along with feeling like God never heard me or cared enough about me personally.
Julie: Brittany, yes that fear of having to clean up before God would care. I can relate to that. I had an attitude of having to “do” something for God when in reality He had already done it all for me!
Debbie: Julie and Brittany, even though I was never a Jehovah’s Witness, I also wrongly believed for years that I had to clean up my life/get my act together before I could be good enough for God to save me. Praise the Lord that when my life was falling apart before my eyes and I had no where else to turn, I turned to God and Jesus heard my cries out to Him and drew me up out of my miry pit. I finally came to the realization that my sin separated me from God and there was absolutely nothing that I could do on my part to be saved, Jesus had already paid the price and rescued me. The worst day of my life became the best day of my life when the Lord saved me!
Julie: Debbie, I’m glad you added that because it is a common problem even among Christians and not just JWs. That ol’ works mentality is in a lot of people. But we can testify to His grace and victory over that! Yes!
Kathy: I was a Christian before so really I was confused and miffed when they pushed him out of the equation. When I started to wake up I went back and listened to all my stuff I did before. It is a relationship and not a religion. Religion is man made and Jesus was not about the man when he was already the way..
Julie: Kathy, I’m praying my sister wakes up and gets miffed too. She’s a Christian and knows Jesus is the way and yet because her husband became a JW and she’s submissive to him, she goes to the meetings and is all tangled up and confused. I so want the Holy Spirit to break through and yell from within her “ENOUGH!!!!”
Kathy: Yeah for me they got me when my mom died and forced me to marry my roommate. Even though we were dating we were taking it slow. I went to my church and sometimes he went to meetings as he was raised that way. I followed got baptised as it was pushed by the elders that what my husband said I was to do.. Even though he was not pushing me to do anything that was not in the Bible, in fact when he started to see where they were disagreeing with the BIble that lead to research. And us leaving. I now do Bible journaling as a way to cope and I am blessed with a great man that even though we were forced to marry, is my best friend and partner. Think “Love comes softly” and you will get it. Now I listen to Carman, Amy Grant, WOW 90’s and K-Love. If she is having a relationship with Jesus still… TRUST ME he got this! She will wake up.
Jason: Believing God’s Grace and love. Always feeling worthless deep in my soul.
David: I think that’s caused in part by the fact that in the WT teaching, Jesus didn’t die for us because he loves us. Rather, he died in order to vindicate Jehovah’s sovereignty in the battle with Satan.
Jason: David, yes I think so too! That’s a big part of it. Makes you feel like you really don’t matter.
Karen: Jason, I so agree as a jw it was always a struggle and I always felt i was having to work so hard just to get a at a girl to Jehovah and each time I failed I was made to feel I would never make into paradise …when I got out and disassociated myself accepting Gods grace
Vicky: For me, the brainwashing that all of “Christendom’s” religions were false. It was like, well if the Witnesses aren’t right, nobody is! I was so afraid! I tried believing that I was an Atheist but I just could NEVER shake God. I knew that even though I didn’t know Him, that didn’t mean He wasn’t real. So I went looking for Him. Look d everywhere. All kinds of religions and schools of thought. Oh! But when I found JESUS!
Wendy: The trinity, i couldn’t get my head round that, it took God opening my eyes before i could see it
Julie: Wendy, yah I couldn’t understand it with my fleshly mind just reading the words, it took an act of Holy Spirit to teach me. Then it was plain as day! That’s why I personally don’t think it’s a good place to start with JWs, I don’t believe it can be understood until they’re born again and can be taught by the Spirit.
Wendy: Its funny but its one of the first subjects they start on lol
Karen: Julie, I so agree Julie I would say the Trinity is probably the subject that we all struggled with in the beginning
Paula: Understanding the Trinity and being an Apostate … but I’m good now 👍🏽
Christine: Trinity. And holidays like Easter & Christmas.
Cynthia: Fear of being struck w lightening going into a church!
Larry: For me, the salvation part was easy, trying to reconcile my experience with the JW dogma was difficult.
May: After being Df’d and attempting 4 times in 8 months to be accepted back in by the elders only to have them turn me away and claim I wasn’t truly repentant, was when I walked away from everything and for good. I cursed God and the Jehovah that I was raised to believe, didn’t want anything to do with religion, faith, God and decided life was mine to live and I was gonna live it free and full of all the things I wasn’t supposed to do as a JW LOL! During the period of what I call my “crazy” years, God pursued me hot and heavy and used every resource, person and situation He could to woo me to Him. I turned Him away at every turn – it scared me to be honest with you. I’ll never forget the first time I went to a home Bible study that was hosted by my boss at the time, ironically her name was Eve and wore a necklace that said, “try God” on it. Everyday at work it would go something like this; Eve – “Morning May….you wanna come to bible study with me this week???” Me – “Morning Eve…still a nope from me!” ha/ha. Finally she had beat me down enough to the point where I caved and told her I’d go to her stupid bible study if she would just leave me alone from then on. I went in, grabbed a plate of food, sat on the ground and a guy with a guitar prayed and then started playing his guitar and then everyone broke out in singing….but not like “songbook” singing…this was different and I started getting goosebumps and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up and I felt a heat come over me. That was the first time I experienced the presence of God, the living God, the real God and it freaked me out! I got out there and never went back. It took a few more events of that magnitude before I surrendered to Him and had an encounter with Him that I couldn’t turn my back on. It was only after that experience that I knew I could never go back to being a JW, I knew too much now and I had to know the truth. I quit my job and went to Bible school where I studied the bible, world religion, hebrew and Greek so that I could “know that I know” the truth and never be enslaved again!
Julie: Hallelujah! Love it! Thanks for sharing that with us. Soooooo encouraging!!!
Terry: It put me off of the Bible for a few years, and anything that seemed based on it. I was sort of lucky I guess, though, that by the time that Jesus as Saviour was presented to me, I was able to accept that, despite not being sure what else I believed about God. It wasn’t much later that I just sort of “got” the Trinity (inasmuch as a human can get it…lol), and a lot of things followed after that.
Where I’ve noticed the biggest problems that stem from having that JW background from day one, has been in what I expect of myself and everyone around me. It took me so ridiculously long to realize that I was so hypersensitive to controlling behaviors that I started seeing malicious cultish behavior where there was just mistakes or strong emotions and personalities. And then I’d look back with that lens, and anyone who was nice to me had “really” been love-bombing me, the pastor asking about my home life was trying to get dirt on me, etc. It was crazy, but because I’d never really dealt with my childhood, I didn’t know how else to interact with the world :/
Daniel: Grace alone, and being a sinner… I couldn’t stop working and falling flat on my face..
Carrie: I have a block right now because so much about Christianity is too similar to the JW. Stay faithful even in the long dark night of the soul. Praise God in suffering because its only temporary. Just wait, because there’s an eternity of bliss ahead… Promises with no proof. Suffer and wait. And if I share my feelings I get accused of not being sincere.
Diane: It’s the WT who stole and twisted that from the Bible to use for their own selfish gain. God is God and his promises are true even if false teachers misuse and distort God’s teachings.
Keep yourself in God’s love,
Some of the names have been changed to protect privacy.