Experiences of Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses

Join Us for Testimony Tuesdays

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary - Psalm 107:2 NASB

There is a stage most questioning or former Jehovah's Witnesses go through in which we eat, drink, and sleep every book, blog, discussion group, and video of those who've passed through the exit struggle before us. Listening to the survival stories of others plays a vital role in maintaining a vision of hope that there really is life after the Watchtower.

Hebrews 12:2 informs us that it is Jesus who authored our faith stories. Therefore, every believer's testimony is the testimony Jesus wrote. Just as the Holy Spirit preserved the stories in the Bible for our hope and endurance (Romans 15:4), our own stories were written to encourage others. In fact, the Holy Spirit dwells in us for the purpose of testifying about Jesus (John 15:26)!

It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.  -- 1 John 5:6 NASB

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Covid Can't Stop This Conference!

The covid can't stop this conference!
The annual Witnesses Now for Jesus Conference in Bonne Terre, Missouri is on for July 24-26, 2020!

Click Here for More Details on the Witnesses Now for Jesus July 2020 Conference
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Are Jehovah's Witnesses Right? Man Has No Immortal Soul?

In 1996, I began my free home Bible study with Jehovah's Witnesses in their publication
"Knowledge That Leads to Everlasting Life."

Picture of Julie in 1996
Picture of Julie in 1996

Under the chapter heading of "What Happens To Our Dead Loved Ones?" in their Knowledge That Leads to Everlasting Life book, the Watchtower endeavors to answer the question "What is the Spirit in Humans?" In paragraph 4, they point out that Adam did not have a soul; he was a soul. They highlighted Genesis 2:7 from their New World Translation of the Bible as "Jehovah God proceeded to form the man out of dust from the ground and to blow into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man came to be a living soul." The paragraph ends by telling us that the Bible speaks of "the force of life" that is active in earthly living creatures. --Genesis 7:22. This is a key set up for their next paragraph that went on to explain what this "force of life" is. In their own words, "it is the vital spark of life that God put into the lifeless body of Adam. This force was then sustained by the breathing process." And thus, the Knowledge book explained to me that Adam became a living soul due to God's sustaining breath in his nostrils and calls this "the force of life." Then it went on to ask what the spirit is since Psalm 146:4 refers to it as "going out" or departing. They explain that "when the Bible writers used the word "spirit" in this way, they did not have in mind a disembodied soul that continues living after the body dies." -- Knowledge That Leads to Everlasting Life, page 81, paragraph 5.

Did you catch that? It's subtle but they just managed to persuade the reader to link soul, spirit, and life force all into one category. The spirit is not a "disembodied soul." Whoever said it was? Yet because the spirit can't be a disembodied soul as they say, it has to be something else. They call that "the force of life."

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The "Mighty God" of the New World Translation

Jehovah’s Witnesses have many publications produced by the Watchtower Society to inform them of their beliefs and also promote those beliefs to the public through the distribution of literature. One book that many JWs have bound into the back of their New World Translation (a biased Bible translation produced by and used among Jehovah’s Witnesses) is Reasoning from the Scriptures. This resource organizes topics and suggests presentations for the JW to use at your door. With each topic is a section titled “If Someone Says -” which the JW can use in the event that the householder tries to stumble them with a question.

Under the topic of Jesus Christ, several pages are devoted to dismantling the Deity of Christ.

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When Miracles Aren’t Enough

“If there is a god, why does he allow such suffering?”

In the midst of this Coronavirus and the fears and inconveniences that follow, I got a message from a former Jehovah’s Witness with whom I’ve had contact for close to two years now. He asked that question after a friendly hello to inquire how my family was coping. I told him our quarantine and sanitizing routine. He was surprised and wrote back “Why? I thought you trusted God.” I explained that I wear a seatbelt and it’s my custom not to jump from cliffs too. Did he think being a Christian meant we were impervious to disease and accidents?  Then he wrote “it’s the end of humanity” and asked the infamous “if there is a god” question.

Perhaps you’re thinking what a great opportunity for me to share the gospel.
But you see, he’d already heard it.
He also has been the recipient of answered prayers for a miracle.
But, he’s looking for something else.

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Three Conferences for Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses: April, July, and October

California --- Missouri --- Pennsylvania!
Spring -- Summer -- Fall

Spring, summer or fall, there's a conference to go to. Three locations are now offered for former Jehovah’s Witnesses to gather for networking and support. A chance to meet in person with old friends you’ve met on line and introduce yourself to some new ones too! All are welcome. Stay for the whole weekend or take in just an hour or two. It's your choice.

California will host the first conference of the year in April with the theme "Life After the Watchtower, Now What?" This two day conference promises to be a great resource for networking with a variety of Ex-Jehovah's Witnesses on the journey of discovering the good life after the Watchtower.

Annual Witnesses Now for Jesus Conventions – West Coast – Midwest– East Coast

Then Missouri will host it's 2nd annual weekend in July designed to equip the church to better reach out to Jehovah's Witnesses through teachings and testimonies from Ex-Jehovah's Witnesses and Christian Apologists.

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Praise God for His Perfect Timing!

Jan 15, 2018
Hi, you may not remember me, but we 'spoke' online a few years ago about JWs and Jesus. I was hoping to have contact again and maybe have some support. I still struggle at times but mostly believe in Jesus. That's about all that's clear to me: I have to have faith in Jesus.

Thanks,
Cyndi*

And so, Cyndi was back in my life.

As she wrote, we had talked online a few years before that. What I remember from that email exchange was a lot of topical questions as is common when people first leave the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses. They want to know about the Trinity, the 144,000, and the end of the world. At that time, our discussions  just served to frustrate and confuse her more. She was obviously looking for a new truth to replace the one she left. Naturally, she thought this new “truth” would be a convenient list of doctrines she could now obey and thereby recognize falsehoods. Though it would be easier to just hand someone a list of Do’s, Dont’s, and Doctrines, I've never been interested in directing people to more religion. Sadly, that’s what many former JWs have been trained to look for. When they don't find the perfect church, they give up. For this reason, I’ve never advised joining a church as the answer. It’s much more important to SUPPORT and DISCIPLE a person until the One who is greater than any human teacher has their trust. Yes, it takes many hours of prayer and patient teaching, but that is the privilege of co-laboring with Christ.

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Jesus Take The Wheel: Adventures in the Mobile Prayer Closet

Apparently it's not normal to pray for several hours a day. To organize lists of individuals, groups, and situations for a weekly prayer binder is just weird. But I remember when it began over a decade ago and have only God to blame. I was driving in my car when God spoke to my heart saying "you don't know how to pray."  It perplexed me for a few days not knowing what more there was to prayer than I'd already been doing, but the words persisted so I took the bait and submitted by asking "okay then, teach me to pray." From that day forward, the Holy Spirit took me on a prayer journey. And I became one of those weird people known as an intercessor. I guess. I don't know, I just know I'm goofy and I pray a lot. The title of "Intercessor" somehow makes it sound  more dignified.

As the hostess of this ministry's Prayer Meetup from 2009-2017, I can honestly say I've prayed for hundreds, quite likely thousands, of active and former Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, their family and friends, and those who minister to them. 

During most of those years I also worked as a house cleaner which afforded me the silence to pray while scrubbing other people's toilets. Yes, intercession is sometimes that glamorous. In addition to the Prayer Meetup, I was also hosting the discussion groups for former Mormons and Ex-Jehovah's Witnesses and as the ministry emails and phone calls mounted up, I slowly let go of my day job.

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Evil Looks Appealing Like A Big Frosted Gooey Delicious Cookie

January is an excellent time of year to use such a title. Perhaps cookies are beginning to look evil to you too? If you're like me, those enticing Christmas concoctions from December have got you considering a gym membership and a 40 day fast to start off the new decade. Sigh. As the saying goes "a moment on the lips, and a lifetime on the hips." Perhaps calling Grandma's double chocolate fudge cookies "evil" is a bit extreme but we all can relate to regretting an indulgence that led to making wiser choices in the future.

But Is THIS the Picture of Evil???

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Getting Through to Jehovah's Witnesses in UNEXPECTED Ways

Getting through to Jehovah's Witnesses
Purchase Getting through to Jehovah's Witnesses at Amazon.com

It's Christmas. You're seated at the table ready to enjoy that meal together as a family. But there's an empty place.

No, not because someone died but because you have a relative who is one of Jehovah's Witnesses. And they don't celebrate Christmas. Maybe they joined the religion recently and this new decision of theirs is confusing to you. Or maybe it's been this way for  so long it's no longer worth bringing up. It could be an entire side of the family that has never joined hands with you at a holiday meal. Or maybe you're the one who broke away from the Watchtower and it's your first Christmas wishing there was a way to convince your family to also leave the organization and celebrate this day with you. In any case, you know there's a division in the family and it's most palpable this time of year.

Whether you're coming to this for the first time or it's been a frustration all of your life, are you looking for a change?

"The key to effective communication with Jehovah's Witnesses
is getting them out of their prepared presentations
by approaching Bible discussion in ways they won't expect." -- David A. Englund

No one is better prepared than Jehovah's Witnesses. Unlike most church services in which members passively sit listening to a pastor present a message, Jehovah's Witnesses are assigned active roles in their Kingdom Halls preparing presentations each week well aware that the person on the other side of the door just might raise a potential conversation stopper. If it's a predictable one, they've already practiced it at the Kingdom Hall or can look it up in their REASONING FROM THE SCRIPTURES publication from the Watchtower Society.

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Are Jehovah's Witnesses A Cult?

YES or NO?

As a former member of the Watchtower Society, I was fully aware that people considered my religion to be a cult. Yet I maintained that I was in “the truth.” That’s not surprising to hear from current members as they are regularly instructed never to view any material that holds the Watchtower up to scrutiny. The only explanation of what a cult is that members will ever read comes from the official website of The Watchtower Society who has answered the question for them.

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Happy Pumpkin Spice Season!

"Is it alright for a Christian to put up Halloween decorations and celebrate it? I was always told it was the devil's holiday."

As soon as pumpkin spice and flannel shirts replace the store aisles of back-to-school supplies, questions like this become the hot topic in discussion groups for former Jehovah's Witnesses. Christians of various denominations also have conflicting opinions on what to do with this season. Do we send our costumed kids into the neighborhood for candy or offer a Trunk-or-Treat day at church? Furthermore, should we even call it Halloween or just say we're having a Fall Festival?

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Major Lawsuit Against the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses

Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses Have Been Named Defendants in U.S. Court

The sins of some men are publicly known,
leading directly to judgment,
but those of other men become evident later.
(1 Timothy 5:24 NWT)

It's ironic that the verse quoted above is set within the context of a Bible passage used to guide the elders of Jehovah's Witnesses in defending the rights of child molesters within their congregations. Known as the "two witness rule," no one is to bring an accusation against a man unless there was at least one other witness present at the alleged assault. They base this rule on this verse from their New World Translation,
"Do not accept an accusation against an older man except on the evidence of two or three witnesses." (1 Timothy 5:19)

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Laughter is Good Medicine!

You've probably HEARD it said before, but have you EXPERIENCED laughter as good medicine to what ails you?

As a former member of the Watchtower Society, I have. Proverbs 17:22 came to life for me 6 months after I was disfellowshipped. I began 2005 as a shunned and depressed ExJW, but midway through that same year I slapped on a happy face and went off to vacation at Clown Camp. I've since grown into that smile and am joyfully still clowning around.

My mother nurtured the clown in me as a child with her own love for practical jokes. Creativity was welcome in the non-JW home I grew up in and by middle school I was voted "most humorous" and also "most artistic." Those two attributes were overshadowed by a more serious nature, however, when I stepped into a newly created character called "JW Julie" in 1996 as a baptized Jehovah's Witnesses.

Even as a faithful JW, however, I could not completely snuff out my true identity and appreciation for a good joke. One night as I entered the Kingdom Hall, a sister asked if I'd be available after the meeting as she had something important to show me. When the meeting ended, she invited me to walk to her car. As she led the way in the parking lot, she was laughing while confessing that I was the only one who could appreciate what she had to share. She could hardly control her giggles as she took a small paper bag from her back seat.

Picture if you will, two well groomed women in skirts
standing in the parking lot of a Kingdom Hall
playing with what Linda had recently discovered
through her grandson.

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Testimonies that Turn the World Upside Down!

And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd. And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” (Acts 17:2-7 ESV)

As our website's name suggests, we are Witnesses for Jesus. Like the apostle Paul, we proclaim that Jesus is the Christ. And because of it, some call us apostates and attack our ministry of reaching out to Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons. Those types of letters are to be expected, but I can't remember a time when we were accused of "turning the world upside down" due to our testimony. Until last month.

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Final Show on Hurting to Healing with Melissa

Final Show on Hurting to Healing with Melissa

In this program, Melissa shared her heart and final farewell on Hurting to Healing with Melissa.

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Blocks ExJWs face in Coming to Christ

“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?"

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Dealing with Forgiveness - Hurting to Healing with Melissa

Dealing with Forgiveness - Hurting to Healing with Melissa

Did you know that if you harbor unforgiveness in your heart, your physical body can be affected? Listen as Melissa shares her own experiences with unforgiveness and how her body was healed when she turned the situation over to Christ in forgiveness toward the people who hurt her and her family. Learn how a lack of forgiveness torments you and brings about a lack of peace, manifesting in problems with various relationships and physical difficulties. Learn how releasing this burden to Jesus can heal you physically and emotionally.  Listen, pray and walk way free!

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A First Time Visit to the Memorial

It continues to amaze me that Jehovah's Witnesses make such a special effort to invite their neighbors to their annual observance of Christ's death called the Memorial. What impression does this make on a new visitor at the Kingdom Hall? Here is one man's comments from the evening of his first Memorial. He posted this in a Facebook discussion group for former Jehovah's Witnesses and the responses that follow give greater insight to this annual event which many of us now refer to as a "Black Mass." One contributor to the discussion also shared her recording of the Memorial event which she attended this year.

Sean:
I went to my first WTBTS "Memorial" Service on Friday.

Apparently, this is their most important service of the year.
I found it to be quite depressing.

It was only an hour long lecture about denying the full deity of Christ,
why they only observe Jesus's death and not his Resurrection (Both are very important),
why he was "for certain" crucified on a wooden pole and not a cross......

and the main event,
reflect on who the 144,000 are who should partake of their annual communion,
and why you shouldn't.
They spend most of the time convincing you that you aren't,
but you can still live eternally on Earth
(sounds like the equivalent of "Purgatory." Bliss, but not the full glory of The Lord.)

So, you see the unleavened bread and wine passed down the isles,
and no one takes it....NOT ONE!
So, a reflection of Christ's atonement while rejecting it?
And this is the highlight of their year? How sad!

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Should You Go to the Memorial This Year?

Should I Go to the Memorial this Year? Hurting to Healing with Melissa

So many questions...

Should I go this year? What if I do? What if I don't?  Am I suppose to observe or partake? Can only the 144,000 partake?  Who can take of the bread and the cup? Are their requirements to take of the bread and the cup? Is there anything I must do before I take of the bread and the cup?

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Interview with Steve Hays on Hurting to Healing with Melissa

Interview with Steve Hays on Hurting to Healing with Melissa

I AM EXCITED FOR THIS ONE! Interview with Steve Hays (Stevo) from Happy Life.

Stevo is who God made me. H.E.L.P. is what God has called me to do. Years ago, when I was released from my career job, I asked God what He wanted me to do with my life. He gave me a super clear picture of the acronym H.E.L.P. He then explained it. “I am sending you out to H.E.L.P. others by bringing Healing, Encouragement, Laughter and Ponder to the people I send you to.”

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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 Suicide on Hurting to Healing with Melissa

Discussing Suicide on Hurting to Healing with Melissa

It was 1988 and I was 14 years old and I remember these words, do you?

- "Critical times are hard to deal with."

-"Does the physician understand and respect the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses?”

-"Well at least we have the hope of seeing her during the resurrection.

What does the Bible say about suicide?  Let's see if we can find some answers.

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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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