DISPEL THE DARKNESS – Tom and Pat McGovern
For thirty years, I (Tom) was the slave of an organization that calls itself Jehovah’s Witnesses. Since I had sincerely given my life to Jesus as a teenager, how could I have fallen prey to their deception… and for so long? I believe it was because I never associated with a church on a long-term basis and was not discipled so as to understand the difference between biblical teaching and cultic propaganda. I am grateful to the Lord that He has delivered me.
I had been raised in a home that was largely religion-free. My mother, who was a Christian, had died at the time of my birth and I was raised by my father and his parents. By the time I was about 12 or 13, I had probably been inside a church no more than three or four times. I was very curious about God and religion, and accepted a “Bible course” from the Seventh-day Adventist church. I accepted Christ as a result of the presentation of the Gospel that was made in that course, but only attended the SDA church for a short time. It wasn’t very long before Jehovah’s Witnesses knocked on my door. As an immature Christian with many questions and a deep desire to spend my life serving God, I was easy prey for false teachers who seemed to have all the answers.
I was baptized as a JW in 1969, at the age of 17. My first desire was to become a “pioneer,” which, at the time, required spending 100 hours per month in the door-to-door and follow-up ministry for which the Witnesses were so well known. I was allowed to be a “vacation pioneer” (a temporary, month-by-month assignment) almost immediately and finally achieved my goal of being a “regular pioneer” (which is an ongoing assignment) in 1972. Around the same time, I was also appointed a “ministerial servant” in the congregation, a position roughly equivalent to a church deacon. Unfortunately, in 1973, I received a “public reproof” for misrepresenting the amount hours I put in on the door-to-door ministry, so my privileges were removed.
I married in 1978, and was again appointed a ministerial servant in 1979, but served only about a year in that position, since I moved to a new congregation and was not reappointed because of taking a stand on a particular issue that differed from the opinions of the elders in the new congregation.
Prior to my marriage, however, I had hit a snag that was to eventually result in my leaving the Jehovah’s Witness organization. A married couple in my area had been allowing me to conduct a “Bible study” with them (really a study of Watchtower publications) with a view toward bringing them into the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Being inquisitive individuals, they were very interested in a program conducted in our area by Bill and Joan Cetnar, former Witnesses who had left the organization and who now had a ministry of teaching churches how to deal with Jehovah’s Witnesses.
My students came back from these meetings with many questions about the Jehovah’s Witness organization’s history and teachings that I was unable to answer. I began digging for answers immediately, but it seemed that the more I dug, the deeper the hole became. The evidence I uncovered seemed to prove beyond a doubt that Jehovah’s Witnesses were false prophets and could not be God’s one true organization, as they claimed. This was not a fast process. It took years for me to determine to my complete satisfaction that the Jehovah’s Witnesses did not have the truth, and more years beyond that for me to separate from the Watchtower organization.
Once I was mentally free of the organization’s teachings, I knew that my life had to change. One day, I believe it was in 1995, I drove my car to a lonely spot on a mountain and spoke with Jesus, telling Him that I wanted to serve Him with my life, but that I needed His help in bringing that about. It took a while, but He came through.
The problem was that I was married and raising a daughter, and knew very well that the organization’s policies toward those who leave would result in the end of my marriage and breakup of my family. It was only after my daughter grew up and married in 1999 that I felt able to walk away from the Watchtower completely. As expected, my Jehovah’s Witness wife filed for divorce the following year, mainly because I would not return to active status in the organization.
Since then, I have been greatly blessed. The Lord has given me much to do in various types of teaching ministries. I have been blessed by the opportunity to earn my Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies with Moody Bible Institute, and by my marriage to my wife Pat, who was my high school sweetheart, re-connected after 30 years apart.
I have been able to work with both churches and individuals that have been touched by the unbiblical doctrines of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I am presently active in a Christian and Missionary Alliance church in the town where I live, and in Dispel the Darkness Ministries, which I have founded for the purpose of inoculating Christians against false teachings. All praise goes to our Lord, Jesus Christ, for the wonderful work that He has done!
WHAT MY MINISTRY DISPEL THE DARKNESS OFFERS:
Since the year 2000, when the Lord called me out of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, I have felt the need to use the intimate knowledge that I gained as an insider to inoculate churches against the false teachings of this group and of other groups and individuals who contradict biblical doctrine. I have founded Dispel the Darkness Ministries in order to advance that effort.
No one prepared me for Satan’s subtle twists of God’s Word.
Cult members were waiting at my door when I needed a friend. They took only a few small detours from the truth at first, and I accepted it because I wanted to believe them. When truth was perverted further and further, I had lots of new friends to walk the path with me. Soon the organization was my whole life. Christ’s love, mercy and grace were but a distant and clouded memory.
But that is not the end of the story.
Christ does not forsake His children. I now serve Jesus by sharing what I learned with others. I would like to offer you the opportunity to hear more than a testimony. I would like to share with you the tools that can crack a cult’s armor I show people how to plant seeds that may lead a cult member to salvation.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Tom McGovern went home to be with Jesus April 2019. He is survived by his wife Pat.