Health & Medical Self-Improvement

Jehovah"s Witnesses - The Happiest People on Earth?

My lifelong journey among Jehovah's Witnesses came to an abrupt end in 2008.
After years of serving as an elder, countless judicial meetings, Circuit Assembly parts, District Conventions, public talks and conducting the Watchtower, I was suddenly faced with a scandalous handling of my marriage and discontinuing my time as an elder.
In the first few months that followed, the many doubts and obvious 'wrongs' I had witnessed over the years began to gnaw at me.
The Bible verses that were so simple...
that were widely ignored.
The procedures I had been a part of myself, that had no basis in scripture.
The corruption I saw among the congregations leaders.
All of it was taking a toll on me for the first time in my adult life.
I had always been 'serving' and never taken the time to go deeper within the history of the organization.
I decided I needed to study.
I needed to 're-prove' that this organization, as well as it's teachings, were in fact chosen by God in 1919 to declare messages of hope.
I'm not someone that can walk away from something easily.
I'm driven by motive.
I've heard it compared to a good salesman: they can't sell something they can't believe in themselves.
With a new head of steam, it was time to find answers.
I was on airplanes flying out of the U.
S.
, all around the U.
S.
and Canada.
I paid a visit to Brooklyn Bethel (World Headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses) twice, I looked at public records, stock reports, last will and testaments, and even visited grave sites.
I dug deeper into the literature of the 'faith' I had dedicated myself to at the ripe age of 17.
With every site visit, with every page turned..
what I found was deeply disturbing.
Was it really true that those chosen by God had condemned aluminum? That they openly endorsed the Great Pyramid as a gift from God; featuring a fold out diagram showing how it revealed the end times in their main study book? They claimed they had the cure for cancer? They owned stock in weapon companies, cigarette companies and video games? Were members of the United Nations? Had a president that smuggled alcohol to headquarters during Prohibition? Made up the disfellowshipping arrangement in the 1950's?...
I could go on for an hour.
I was devastated emotionally.
My own experiences within the organization were nothing compared to the nuggets of insanity I found throughout every decade of the organization.
To make it worse, its ALL in print! I sat on it all for a brief time...
before eventually walking away.
I knew my decision to leave was sound.
I wasn't leaving to pursue a life of 'sex, drugs and rock & roll.
' I was leaving because I was part of something that was nothing short of a scam.
A successful scheme, filled with millions of pages of literature, multi-millions in real estate and a 'flock' that was completely ignorant to the truth about what they were loyal to.
When I left, I continued to ponder whether I could ever be happy.
Everything I knew was part of Jehovah's Witnesses...
from my family to my friends...
even my job.
How could I leave? I knew I had to...
I'm not someone who viewed my standing with God as a small matter.
I began to recognize that those that were loyal to God almost always stood alone.
I would have to do the same.
For a solid year I questioned whether happiness was in my future.
Could I leave and be happy? The answer was a resounding "YES!" "Indeed, in every country, Jehovah's people are the best and the happiest!" -- Watchtower March 1, 1988 p.
17 Even as I read that statement and many others like it, I'm left wondering 'how does one measure who is the best and happiest people on earth?' In my 40+ years among Jehovah's Witnesses, many of my adult years as an elder, I often wondered where this claim came from.
Was it an attempt at subliminal suggestion? Was it the bold claim of someone that was talking to God directly? Had a poll been taken? Who wrote this?? If you're born into a family that are practicing Jehovah's Witnesses, you are beat over the head with these bold statements at a very young age.
You come to equate all forms of happiness with your 'luck of the draw'...
birth into Jehovah's Witnesses.
For example "I love burritos! It must be because Jehovah wanted me to" or "Jehovah loved me as a baby more than he loved all those kids in Africa and Russia that have never heard of him.
" Why? "Because I'm so happy! We are the happiest and best people on earth!" "In fact, as a group, they are the most privileged, the most successful, and by far the happiest group on earth today, as you will see in the next article.
" -- Watchtower March 1, 1989 Mar 1 pg.
3 Only it's not even remotely true.
To begin, I often wondered, how did the writers of these bold statements get around to each and every culture, person, group, congregation, system, social gathering, etc.
to get this information? Did they visit the Korowai Tribe of Indonesia and ask them about their personal happiness? Did they somehow survive a landing on the island of the Sentinelese, unlike anyone else in history and have a little fireside chat? "Happy is the people whose God is Jehovah!" (Ps.
144:15) Those words describe Jehovah's Witnesses as the happiest people on earth.
" -- Kingdom Ministry Feb 2002 p.
1 par.
1 The Happiest People on Earth Second, even after years of teaching to hundreds, sometimes over a thousand people, I would wonder why "we" thought we had some specific rights to the Bible.
I was sure after much reading and study that it was meant for all mankind...
but for some reason...
at some point...
Jehovah's Witnesses thought they sort of owned the Good Book and it only applied to them...
specifically the anointed ones or member of the 144,000.
The rest of us that had the amazing good fortune to run into a Jehovah's Witness, study the Bible (read THEIR PUBLICATIONS) with them, were just fortunate to support the anointed in their run to heaven.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything that would indicate that was accurate, taught by Christ or anyone else for that matter.
Still, I would press on, boldly supporting such statements...
after all, I was among the most "happy and best people on earth.
" Only...
I wasn't.
Perhaps the single most damaging thing I experienced was the endless array of problems and pain that surround Jehovah's Witnesses.
As an elder, a man is 'privy' to the inside scoop on people's lives.
Why? Oh, its actually required by the organization.
You're pressed into confessing every sin, as well as talking to the elders about any and all problems in your life.
This may include everything from your strong desire to masturbate to every single, dirty, nasty detail of your miserable marriage.
Your mate wants to mix in oral sex? Let's go talk to the elders, because that is a disgusting sin...
even though the Bible never even mentions it.
You want to join the YMCA and get in a good workout? Uh oh, that is an organization of 'false religion'...
better get the elders.
You're sixteen years old and took a puff of a cigarette? Holy sins! I need an elder.
On and on and on it would go.
Night after night...
phone call after phone call.
Person after person.
And due to the close knit requirements of the organization, you would know people all over the world...
who...
guess what, wanted to discuss every single pain, sin and worry with their favorite elder.
The levels of depression among Jehovah's Witnesses is so high, it blows the experts minds.
Several studies from the 1940's, as well as the 1990's lists extreme cases of mental illness among Jehovah's Witnesses.
Suicides at the world headquarters, as well as individual congregations are on record.
Anti-depressants exist in every congregation.
Divorce is a common situation in many, if not all, congregations.
I can't even express how many hours; entire days of my life I spent trying to desperately save marriages.
"U.
S.
Religious Landscape Survey 2008" by The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life surveyed 35,000 people and presents findings on divorce/separation rates.
(religions.
pewforum.
org/reports as at 20 Apr 2008)...
the Witness rate of 14% was slightly above the U.
S.
average of 12%.
" Clearly, these are the "happiest and best people on earth.
" It wasn't until 2008, that I realized I had severe cognitive dissonance.
My brain and experience told me something was terribly wrong.
Why don't I feel happy? Why doesn't anyone else I know? It was time to explore why.
Surely, God's love would bless my efforts to find truth among this insanity.
I decided to dig and dig for the answers.
The result was a renewed energy.
I was finally looking at things without the lense of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.
No more was I just accepting statements like this: "Now Jehovah's witnesses are blessed above all others because they are the happiest, most peaceful and contented people on earth.
" -- Watchtower February 1, 1960 pg.
74 par.
17 Why share my personal journey? It is my sincere hope that all those that have grown up a Jehovah's Witness or are currently considering baptism into the organization, make a sincere and determined effort to study the history of Jehovah's Witnesses.
To compare the Bible against what you have heard or experienced.
But more than anything, I want people who do decide to leave this 'organization' to know that they can and WILL be happy! A person doesn't need to wander in fear of 'where to go' or what to do next.
I'm not going to claim it is going to be easy.
Because it won't.
Not at first.
It is difficult to consider leaving everyone...
everything you know behind.
But I hope you will at least consider that thousands of people have made the effort and live better lives! In the end, what do you have to lose by studying? Jehovah's Witnesses make the bold claim that they are the 'happiest and best people on the earth.
' If this is in fact true, you should either be experiencing that happiness...
or on your way to experiencing it.
If you feel as though something is missing...
or you're not experiencing that type of happiness, I encourage you to put out the effort to find the truth.
While you will likely experience a range of negative emotions at first, rest assured, by knowing the truth and dealing with what you find head on, you will experience freedom...
and more importantly, happiness.


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