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Experiences of Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses

The Bible Project: Or Help Rhonda Find Another Free Home Bible Study

 

Hi Julie, 
I was raised in a Baptist Church until I was a teenager then went to Harvest (with Greg Laurie in California) through high school. As an adult I had a drug addiction and was in and out of rehabs but also went to Bible camps.  I feel the Bible Camp made a foundation in my heart. I have been clean for 3 years and let me tell you a year and a half of that cleanses is because of the Jehovah Witnesses and me getting into my Bible. I've never understood my Bible before. It's like a window is opened up to me. I still continue to go to a non denomination church but am not committed to any one church. I haven't gone to the Kingdom Hall yet but am studying with Witnesses. I brought questions to pastors at churches which pushed me closer to more studies with the JWs.

I read the JW website a lot because I like the layout and the structure of it. I am a structure person somewhat. I need guidance.

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Discussing Manipulation on Hurting to Healing with Melissa

Discussing Manipulation on Hurting to Healing with Melissa

Manipulation is the art of controlling people or circumstance by indirect, unfair, or deceptive means-especially to one's own advantage.

Manipulation will guilt you into doing things tirelessly.  Manipulation will accuse when you disagree.  Manipulation happens when others demand unquestioning compliance.

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Risking "How To Have a Good Day Every Day"

I'm a morning devotional kind of person. You know, those little books you see on people's coffee tables? I've gone through several over the years, but currently my tabletops host Our Daily Bread and Oswald Chambers "My Utmost for His Highest."

These books were once forbidden to me as one of Jehovah's Witnesses since the Watchtower dictates that their members only read their publications, one of which is a daily devotional called "Examining the Scriptures Daily." I followed their program of reading their daily text, but was getting increasingly angry and depressed within the walls of that religion. And so I took a risk and picked up a devotional from a local thrift store because it's title sounded more helpful than theirs. The booklet was called "How To Have a Good Day Every Day" by Norman Vincent Peale. The contents revealed 7 vital steps in re-focusing my mind each morning to look on the bright side. When you're constantly fed pictures and words of an impending doomsday, that's kind of appealing.

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Happy New Year - Hurting to Healing with Melissa

Happy New Year on Hurting to Healing w/Melissa

Happy New Year!

We only have 9 more shows left until Hurting to Healing comes to an end.

Tune in to hear the line up for 2019 and a short message on Truth.

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A Hidden Lesson in Christmas Cards

Christmas 2018 is past and we begin a new year once again. I didn't send any Christmas cards out this year, but as I look at the ones received, most of them are from former Jehovah's Witnesses. For some it's become an annual tradition, for others it was a first rite of passage this year. I also receive cards from friends and family I've known since before I entered the Watchtower in 1996. There were no Jehovah's Witnesses in my family as I was growing up, so we celebrated Christmas. My folks would receive Christmas cards and read them to us since some would be from relatives we'd only hear from once a year. Those would usually include a letter to catch us up on the events of their year along with what they knew about others in our family circle. They wrote about who got married, who had a baby, who died, who got a new job, an award, or moved. That type of thing. This was all just normal to me.

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An Atheist, a Jew, and a Unitarian walk into a song....

Though Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, and Atheists aren't going to be celebrating the birth of Christ, the music at this time of year is unavoidable. You can hardly pick up a gallon of milk at the store without hearing a Christmas song or run into a bell ringer wishing you a "Merry Christmas." Christ is being proclaimed whether we agree with it or not. And even Jehovah's Witnesses are out this winter building their presentations on the fact that others are celebrating Jesus' birth. When I was in field service in the late 90's, we would present the publication "The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived" and talk about Jesus' birth with the householder hoping to stay in conversation long enough to introduce the idea that He was now a King. A lesson I have no argument with today, however I give no credit to 1914 as the date for His return. Though their intent is to draw people into the Watchtower organization, Christ is still being preached (in a distorted way). And it causes me to reflect upon others who have brought the message of Christ to many ears even when they themselves are not Christian.

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DISFELLOWSHIPPED = Guilty As Charged on Hurting to Healing with Melissa

Guilty As Charged = Disfellowshipped

Years later I'm still feeling guilty.  I am charged guilty and I agree. The charge, fornication according to the Jehovah’s Witness Organization. Guilty of having sex before marriage. There is no way to hide it, I am pregnant.

I stood guilty as charged. GUILTY AS CHARGED = DISFELLOWSHIPPED.

Are you guilty as charged? Do you worry about getting caught or found out? Do you wonder if you will ever be forgiven?

It's time to face it!  Let go of the guilt and shame and know that you will be forgiven!

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VOICE - Melody on Hurting to Healing with Melissa

VOICE ~ Compelling Voices ~ Courageous People ~ Hurting to Healing with Melissa

In this episode, MELODY gives VOICE to her journey out of the Jehovah's Witness Organization when she shares her Disassociation letter that she gave to The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in 2016.

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November: Cult Awareness Month

To my knowledge, there is no registered "Cult Awareness Month" designated to commemorate notable events associated with spiritual abuse. However, if I were to create such a memorial it would have to be in November. And that's what we are proposing to do this month through social media. Some of us are already engaged in bringing awareness to the public through our Facebook pages and speaking engagements, but some have good reasons to keep a low profile and that is understandable. For those who can participate, we're inviting you to make November CULT AWARENESS MONTH with us by posting more than the usual information about Jehovah's Witnesses and/or the psychological studies on shunning and cults in general on your social media pages. There is no shortage of videos, news articles, personal blogs, and websites like this from which to choose.

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INNER HEALING – Releasing Guilt on Hurting to Healing

What wounds do you carry from your past?  Are you struggling with guilt?

Releasing Guilt on Hurting to Healing with Melissa

"Thou salt not... "I don't recall hearing about the Father's love or how to live the Christian life.  What I learned was that a wrathful God would punish me if I didn't follow all the rules.  And there seemed to be rules for everything-including what I could read, what I could wear, and what I could do."

DISFELLOWSHIPED - Guilty As Charged

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VOICE - Ali Bogolin Bautista on Hurting to Healing with Melissa

VOICE ~ Compelling Voices ~ Courageous People ~ Hurting to Healing with Melissa

Totally convinced she was raised "in the Truth," active in the Watchtower organization, even avoiding college so that she could put Jehovah first, Ali reached out to a struggling Jehovah's Witness in hopes of bringing him back to the meetings.  When he replied to her questions with a list of problems and scandals within the Watchtower organization, she learned for the first time that the Watchtower had been involved as an NGO with the United Nations (which they consider the Beast of Revelation) and the Watchtower's cover-up of sex abuse cases, exposed by the Australian Royal Commission.  As she continued to study the problems her Ex-JW friend was sharing with her, she started asking questions to the elders, only to end up being rejected by the elders and scorned for her questions. Going into depression, Jesus met her in a dream.

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Why Does It Take So Long For Victims to Come Forward?

Wise King Solomon wrote there is
"A time to be silent and a time to speak."

It seems with the #MeToo movement, it is a time for women in particular to speak. Conversations abound on social media concerning rape and the general disrespect for women. The latest news to stir the pot concerns the sexual assault allegations that Christine Blasey Ford has brought forth on Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

I'm not normally one to jump into these debates on social media, but it's easy to see the most common counter argument for Ford's case against Kavanaugh is the time span between the alleged rape and her coming forward. As I was reading one Facebook thread, this comment was left by a man:

"To wait that long whether he's guilty or not is just too long it's done it's over move on nothing anyone can say or do will ever change whether it was right or wrong just move on."

A woman responded with,
"there is no statute of limitations on sexual assault here in Maryland... The law says you're wrong..."

And then it got ugly. He resorted to obscene name calling and wrote, "it takes you 40 years to realize you were raped ? You can't fix stupid ignorance ..."

That's when I considered responding to his ignorance in that thread, but chose to do so here instead.

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How Do Pastors Respond to Jehovah's Witnesses?

Being a Jehovah's Witness is an education that few will ever have. You really get to know the religious atmosphere of an area when you're forced to move past the small talk and bring up the topic of God with your neighbors. Even now as I drive past neighborhoods, I can recall certain people and conversations at particular houses. I can tell you who grew up Baptist, Catholic, or Lutheran. Who identifies themselves as Christian but believes in reincarnation or can't find the book of Genesis in a Bible. I remember the house where a Catholic woman told me they didn't need a Bible because they have the catechism. I remember how the other Witnesses in my car laughed harder than me when I told them about our conversation.

The truth is,
Jehovah's Witnesses make fun of Christians.

And talking with our Christian neighbors
on a regular basis only fortifies that position. 

Even when a doubting JW takes that brave step to talk with "apostates" in on line discussion groups, they will often point out that ONLY Jehovah's Witnesses are fulfilling the Great Commission by their thorough witnessing work. They'll note that Jehovah's Witnesses are KNOWN worldwide for their evangelism in contrast to others who identify themselves as Christians but are not engaged in such a work. And it's all too true. As a new Witness approved for field service, I was both eager and intimidated by taking my first door, but

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Baraboo to Bonne Terre

A joyful heart is good medicine,
But a broken spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22 NASB)

When I was one of Jehovah's Witnesses, my summer's were full of meetings at the Kingdom Hall, studying my Watchtower, door knocking, and of course, the District Convention. I had little time left for fun. But six months after my disfellowship announcement in 2004, I was at a week long Clown Camp in La Crosse, Wisconsin and have been filling up my weekends with parades and festivals ever since. I was released from my bondage and became a clown and caricature artist. Oh, I still attend "meetings" for spiritual instruction and worship, engage in Bible studies, share the good news of the kingdom, and attend summer conventions, but I've also learned to extract the F-U-N from what once was a dysFUNctional religious life. Based on these activities, some people might think I've not changed my ways all that much, but I beg to differ. Now when I begin a Bible study with someone, my purpose is not to get them to join an organization or "get religion," my prayer is that through the love and grace offered in the gospel they will discover who they are in God's kingdom because there is no greater joy than being released to become who God created us to be! When that happens, there's no holding back the fruit of His Spirit.

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Have We Seen Their Faith or Their Flaw?

As we pray for our loved ones in the Watchtower, it is my prayer that we focus on their faith and not their flaw. Their faith may be sincere, yet misdirected and therefore flawed indeed. However, I praise God for noticing the offering of every active Jehovah's Witness who prays and witnesses from a place of faith in HIM for I believe what He sees is far deeper than what we see. God treasures faith. 

She was in the wrong religion. The leaders she trusted took her offerings but did not shepherd her through her losses. She had little left to give and yet in her sincerity gave all because she had nowhere else to go. So day after day she spent her faith serving an outdated religion set for the fall. But some had already left it to follow the truth and watched her activities pondering the outcome as her insignificant offering was taken up by the shepherds fleecing their flock.

Stop right there. What is stirring in your heart? Do you run to tell her? Do you rail against her religion and it's leadership? Do you plead in prayer and ask Jesus to show Himself to her?

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"Hello. I Am An ExJW"

At this conference everyone is given a voice. Present, questioning, exiting and former Jehovah’s Witnesses as well as anyone who has been affected by the teachings and policies of Jehovah’s Witnesses organization. Whether you are a former witness for the Watchtower Society or a "witness now for Jesus," you are invited.

The second annual "Witnesses Now for Jesus: Midwest" conference is coming up fast the weekend of Friday, July 27 and Saturday, July 28. As with the 40th annual conference of its same kind in Pennsylvania (October 5-7, 2018), Friday morning will begin with introductions from all in attendance as the microphone gets passed at 9:30 am with "Let's Get Acquainted."

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VOICE – Andrea Bergin on Hurting to Healing with Melissa

VOICE ~ Compelling Voices ~ Courageous People ~ Hurting to Healing with Melissa


"I was never concerned about whether heaven or paradise earth was my ultimate destiny, but the question of sonship was huge to me...It was clear to me that the "Great Crowd" was left outside the family of God... We were truly seen as second-class citizens.  It was WAY more than a destiny question."

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VOICE – Gus Astacio on Hurting to Healing with Melissa

VOICE ~ Compelling Voices ~ Courageous People ~ Hurting to Healing with Melissa

Do you have a story? Have you ever wondered how the Healing X Outreach Blogtalk Channel got started?  Listen as we hear from the founder of Healing X Outreach and Learn the Real Story Behind the ministry scenes.

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Teen Depression? Awake!

Can I make a confession here? I still like the Awake! magazine that the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society publishes. As a former Jehovah's Witness, I no longer have a subscription so I'm not up to date on all of them, but when I do get my hands on one I usually enjoy the articles. They're rarely controversial and often upbeat and informative.

Recently I stopped to read the bulletin board at my local grocery store where someone had left 4 Awake! magazines. Likely the same sister I'd seen in the store that day. It was all the same issue, No. 1 2017 on Teen Depression. I took them all off the counter so no one else could have a chance to read them. Even though I don't consider the contents of those magazines very dangerous, they do serve as a lure to get readers interested in studying with Jehovah's Witnesses. Something I do find dangerous and deceiving. And so, I have 4 copies of the same Awake! magazine sitting at my desk.

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VOICE - The Two Witness Rule - Melissa's Story

WNFJ2018 WestCoast - The Two Witness Rule

At this West Cost "Witnesses Now for Jesus" Conference, Melissa shares her experience on how the "Two Witness Rule" of Jehovah's Witnesses affected her life growing up as a Jehovah's Witness. You can listen to all of the WNFJ conference talks on you-tube at: https://www.youtube.com/user/WNFJ2008

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Recent WNFJ CA Conference - Hurting to Healing with Melissa

Listen as Melissa provides Highlights from the recent Witnesses Now for Jesus California Conference in April 2018.

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ExJWs to Meet in Missouri: July 27-28, 2018

Back in 1979, long before Facebook or any Internet groups, Ex Jehovah's Witnesses managed to gather and put together a conference in Pennsylvania. 40 years later it's still going! Even those who've never attended have benefited from the recorded talks on YouTube given by those who shared their struggle and joy coming out of the Watchtower.

In 2017, another conference was added in Missouri for those not able to make the trip out east. And this year the west coast Witnesses Now for Jesus conference was introduced in Sacramento, California. "Life After the Watchtower, Now What?" was the appropriate title given to that conference held in April on the west coast. Now with the California conference behind us, it's time to make plans for the Witnesses Now for Jesus Midwest conference in Missouri this July.

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VOICE with Deb on Hurting to Healing with Melissa

VOICE ~ Compelling Voices ~ Courageous People ~ Hurting to Healing with Melissa

Do you have a prodigal son or daughter?  As a parent of a prodigal child are there times you have felt guilty or said "It's my fault, I should of done a better job!"  Are you at a place where you are losing hope for your child(ren) and wonder if they will ever turn back to Jesus?

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Life After The Watchtower - Now What? - Hurting to Healing with Melissa

Interview with Charles Kelly - Featuring the Sacramento California Conference ~ Life After The Watchtower, Now What?

If you've been affected in any way by involvement with Jehovah's Witnesses, either as a current or former member, or as a loved one, this is the conference for you. Come and  hear testimonies of how others have been freed from the Jehovah's Witnesses organization and moved on to happy, productive lives along with teachings on how you can do the same, or can help others to do so.

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Fully Present in the Spirit

I was in prayer this morning having a lot of thoughts about the difference between prayer and worship. In prayer, we often spend the time petitioning. And we are indeed called to do that. But petition takes us out of the present. It focuses on future desire, "God, please help so-and-so overcome..." But worship has no past or future but only brings you into the present. And a stream of thoughts was filling me on how to present this truth to you. As Jehovah's Witnesses we were very "thinking" oriented. And even now, as we engage in Bible study we are using our minds. But over and over we see Scriptures encouraging us to live in a place called Spirit.

3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.... unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:3-6)

Look back at that passage. Do you notice what the Spirit allows us to do? To SEE the kingdom of God. We actually ENTER it when born of Spirit. And that which is born of the Spirit is…. ?

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Communion Prayers


Whenever Christians find out how Jehovah's Witnesses practice their version of communion at the annual Memorial, they're usually pretty shocked. "You mean no one eats the bread or drinks the wine?" That's right. It's only for the remnant of the 144,000. A very small number in relation to the 8 million Witnesses who claim an "earthly hope." Most Kingdom Halls have no one at all who is "allowed" to partake that night. And so, bread and wine get passed from person to person with a very conscious decision not to partake. They are rejecting the sacrifice of Jesus Christ in favor of "Jehovah's arrangement" set forth by the Watchtower Society. 

I attended my last Memorial in 2002 or 2003. I'm not sure. But I do know when I first partook of the bread and wine with full understanding that the sacrifice Jesus made was for me. September 9, 2007 was a very joyous day and I've never stopped appreciating this remembrance ritual whether gathered with other believers at church or at home alone. 

But is it a mere ritual? To some, perhaps. But communion has become a form of prayer for me. And as I contemplate with sadness the upcoming Memorial of 2018 in which Jehovah's Witnesses will once again confirm their rejection of Jesus Christ, I'm reminded of the intimacy they will all miss out on and the lessons God taught me one sleepless night when I listened close to what His indwelling Spirit had to teach me.

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WOUNDED by God’s People Session 4 of 4 on Hurting to Healing with Melissa

WOUNDED by God's People on Hurting to Healing with Melissa - Wounded Session 4 of 4

"Dear wounded one, it's time!" Time to move forward and not look back.  Time to let go of the past and embrace what God has for you today and in the days to come!

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WOUNDED by God’s People Session 3 of 4 on Hurting to Healing with Melissa

WOUNDED by God's People on Hurting to Healing with Melissa - Wounded Session 3 of 4

Wandering... How long have you been wandering?

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VOICE - Kaci Robbins on Hurting to Healing with Melissa

VOICE ~ Compelling Voices ~ Courageous People ~ Hurting to Healing with Melissa

Kaci's husband Dan was raised as a Jehovah's Witness who then later gave his life to Christ and he was able to lead Kaci to Christ as well! Listen as Kaci gives "voice" to her testimony here:

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What Do You Think? Is The Watchtower Blood Guilty for the Recent Murder Suicide Case in Michigan?

The June 22, 1985 Awake! magazine states this on page 27, "According to the Bible, when we deliberately put someone's life unnecessarily in danger, we could become bloodguilty (Compare 1 Chronicles 11:17-19)"

Blood Guilty. Jehovah's Witnesses are accustomed to hearing the phrase in their publications and public discourses at their Kingdom Hall meetings. And so it's understandable if members of the sect consider Lauren Stuart blood guilty after the Oakland County Medical Examiner's Office and police determined this 45 year old wife and mother to be the murderer of her husband and children before turning the gun on herself.

On the morning of Friday, February 16, 2018, police responded to a call to check on the safety of this Keego Harbor, Michigan family of four.

Neighbors John and Jackie Tristani said they awoke Friday morning to hear police outside the victims’ home.

“My son said police were repeatedly calling out ‘Lauren, come outside,’ " said John Tristani. “When she didn’t respond they (police) went inside. A few minutes later, they came back outside, shaking their heads.”

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