A Jehovahs Witness set free

Jehovahs Witness set free from JW Religious Cult. 

Jehovah's Witnesses Victims of Deception by retired police Captain Ralph T. Miller

Ralph T. Miller is a veteran of a western Kentucky police department. In his nearly 20-year career he served as patrol officer, narcotics detective, Public Affairs and Crime Prevention Officer, and lastly as Chief of Operations with the rank of Major, the equivalent of Assistant Chief of Police. He retired in 1990 with the permanent rank of Captain.

 

Chapter 1

 

1958 was a very eventful year in my young life. It 
was the month of June and I had just celebrated my 
seventeenth birthday and, with my mother's written 
permission, I had joined the United States Navy. In 
June of the previous year I had quit school and 
found that jobs were not very plentiful, so the Navy 
seemed like a good opportunity for excitement and 
adventure and the means to earn a livelihood. 
Almost two years later, in 1960, while on military 
leave in my home town of Indianapolis, Indiana, I 
met and just three months later married my wife, the 
former Linnie Jane Gilreath. After being transferred 
a number of times, I was assigned to the Naval Air 
Station at Jacksonville, Florida.
 
It was the early summer of 1963 and Linnie and I 
were now the proud parents of two beautiful blond 
headed boys: Daniel Patrick, age two years, and 
Anthony Scott, age five months. My family and I had 
transferred to Jacksonville from Long Beach, 
California, where I was stationed on board the U.S.S. 
Bayfield, a Marine troop transport. We had just 
moved into a newly redecorated home located on 
Lavin Road, not far from the Naval Air Station. The 
house was an FHA repo that we were able to 
purchase with no money down and small affordable 
monthly payments. My wife and I were very elated to 
be moving into our very own home. During our three 
years of marriage and nomadic military lifestyle, we 
had always lived in apartments or government 
housing with very little room for our growing family. 
We had been transferred and had to change 
residences four times thus far, and we were looking 
forward to an assignment at a shore installation, 
where I expected to be stationed for at least two 
years. We were very happy at the prospect of a 
comparatively normal lifestyle, where I would be able 
to come home almost every evening and spend time 
with my family.
 
However, we wouldn't have been so happy if we 
had known what the future held for us. We didn't 
know it yet, but this was to be our last duty station 
and the end of my promising career in the U. S. 
Navy. It was also the beginning of problems and 
difficulties that would plague our entire family for the 
next thirty years.
 
I returned home one day after work at the Air Base 
and was advised by my wife that there had been two 
women there earlier in the day who professed to be 
ministers. They had told my wife that they were 
engaged in a "great separating work" for God, 
informing people about an impending disaster that 
was about to come upon the entire inhabited earth. 
"Armageddon," they called it, "the War of the Great 
Day of God the Almighty." They told my wife that the 
only way to be saved was to become a member of 
God's organization, which was the Watchtower Bible 
and Tract Society of Jehovah's Witnesses. Everyone 
who didn't belong to the organization, they said, 
would be destroyed. I could tell that this revelation 
frightened and intimidated my wife. At the insistence 
of these ladies my wife had invited them back the 
following week to study the Bible with us, at a time 
in the evening when I would be home from work. I 
objected to this Bible Study that was being imposed 
on us as neither my wife nor I had any experience at 
all in religious matters. Linnie and I were both just 
twenty-two years of age at the time and had never 
read the Bible. We had received a King James 
Version of the Holy Scriptures as a wedding gift and 
it was sitting on the coffee table in the living room, 
gathering dust. Neither of us had come from families 
who placed much importance or emphasis on going 
to church, or were what you would refer to as 
"religious." We both believed in a Supreme Being of 
some kind. However, like a lot of other people, we 
just didn't give it much thought.
 
I didn't want to be disrespectful or unkind to these 
women representing themselves as ministers of God. 
But I also wasn't interested in studying the Bible. I 
informed my wife that she could do whatever she 
wanted to. However, if she elected to study with the 
women, she would have to do it without me. I would 
see to it that I wasn't home.
 
The following week, the day arrived when the 
ladies were to study with us. Just before the 
designated time for their arrival I went outside to the 
car to leave. It was pouring down rain and, as luck 
would have it, my car wouldn't start. I was still in 
my automobile trying to start it when the two women 
pulled in behind me, blocking my route of escape. I 
decided that I was trapped and might as well make 
the best of it. I cordially greeted the ladies and 
invited them into the house, where my wife 
introduced us. One of the women was a very elderly 
person, with white hair and I would guess her age to 
be in her mid seventies. Her name was Emily 
Sassard. However, she said that everyone just called 
her "Sassy." The lady accompanying her was rather 
matronly looking and appeared to be in her late 
forties or early fifties. Her name was Una Fremont 
and she was obviously the one in charge of the two, 
as she immediately took control of our study.
We informed the ladies that we had our own Bible, 
the King James Version, and we would use it to 
study from. Una replied, "That is fine." However, 
she was quick to point out that there were many 
better translations of the Bible, explaining that the 
King James Version was written in archaic English 
and was difficult to understand. However, Una did 
concede that you could get the truth from any Bible, 
as long as it was interpreted properly.
 
As I recall, we proceeded to take turns reading, 
starting in the Old Testament with the book of 
Genesis. Una explained the creation account to us, 
stating how God intended for mankind to live on a 
paradise earth forever and what God purposes to be, 
will ultimately come to pass. When it was Una or 
Sassy's turn to read from the Bible, they read from a 
modern English translation called the New World 
Translation of the Holy Scriptures. After they had 
read several times from their modern English 
version, I had to admit that it was easier to 
understand and I asked Una how we could get a copy 
of this Bible. This seemed to please them a great 
deal and they told me that when they returned the 
following week they would bring us each a copy. 
After several hours Una concluded the study with a 
prayer.
 
After Una and Sassy had left, promising to return 
on the same day and at the same time the following 
week, my wife and I talked about how nice they were 
and how knowledgeable concerning the Bible they 
seemed to be. Una especially impressed us with her 
enthusiastic and articulate manner. She was very 
encouraging, complimenting us often on how quickly 
we learned and how smart we seemed to be. Una 
made over our babies, lamenting that she only had 
one grown son and that she seldom even saw him. 
Una also related that her husband was now deceased 
and that they had not had a good marriage. She 
further stated that her husband had not been one of 
Jehovah's Witnesses and that he had been an 
alcoholic and very abusive of her.
 
Una explained that she was a "pioneer" for the 
Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. She voluntarily 
put in many hours going from door to door 'just as 
Jesus and his disciples had,' doing this great 
separating work for Jehovah God and the Society. 
Una further explained that the work consisted of 
separating the "sheep" from the "goats." The 
"sheeplike ones" were God's people who were 
teachable and would listen and respond to the 
Society's message and join the Watchtower 
organization. The "goatlike ones" were those who 
would not listen or respond to the Society's message. 
These were "worldly people," or Satan's followers. We 
were told these goatlike ones were to be destroyed at 
Armageddon in the very near future.
 
Very punctually, the following week, the two nice 
ladies appeared at our door, Bibles in hand. Just as 
they had promised, they brought us each a brand 
new copy of the New World Translation of the Holy 
Scriptures. Also, they had brought us each a copy of 
a book entitled Let God Be True. Una explained that 
this was a "Bible study aid" written and published by 
the Society, which we would be using. She further 
explained that the Bible was a very complicated book 
and that no one could understand it without help 
from the organization. The only cost to us was a very 
small contribution to the Society, just to defray the 
cost of printing. I gave Una two dollars for the four 
books and thought it quite a bargain.
 
Over the next several weeks we learned many new 
and exciting things from our Bible study, about God 
and what his purpose was for mankind and what he 
expected from us. We learned all these things from 
the Society's "Bible study aid," occasionally looking 
up scriptures in the New World Translation of the 
Bible, which supported what they were teaching us. 
Some of the things that we learned were that God's 
name is Jehovah and that his true followers always 
call him by that name. This was also part of the 
proof that Jehovah's Witnesses were God's only true 
people. No other religious organization called God by 
this name, we were told. Linnie and I also learned 
that there were two classes of followers in Jehovah's 
organization. There was the "anointed class" or the 
144,000 who would go to heaven to rule with Christ, 
and there was the "other sheep class," the millions of 
other followers of the Watchtower Society who would 
be permitted to live on a restored paradise earth, 
forever, after Jehovah cleansed the earth by killing 
off all the wicked. The wicked, we were taught, 
consisted of all those who were not part of God's 
organization, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society 
of Jehovah's Witnesses.
 
It was further pointed out to us that the wicked 
included all of the religions of the world, together 
with all of the churches of Christendom. The 
churches of Christendom were especially evil in 
Jehovah's eyes, because they were teaching the 
people "God dishonoring" doctrines such as hellfire 
and the Trinity. Una and Sassy also taught us that 
the churches were responsible for the majority of the 
wars that had been fought in history and that 
Christendom has always supported the evil 
governments of the world, prostituting themselves in 
an effort to gain favor and power. It was also shown 
to us from the Scriptures, how all of the world's 
military forces would be bought into direct opposition 
to Jehovah by Satan the Devil and would be 
completely destroyed at Armageddon. Needless to 
say, this information made me feel a bit uneasy, 
since I had intended to make a career of the military.
 
During the course of our studies, with the 
coaching of our teachers, we determined that we 
were of the "other sheep class" who would inhabit a 
restored paradise earth after Armageddon. After all, 
Linnie and I reasoned, we had no real desire to go to 
heaven, a place that we knew virtually nothing 
about. The mental picture our teachers gave us of 
what the earth was to be like was magnificent. No 
more wars, sickness or hunger, and even death 
would be done away with. Everyone would have a 
beautiful home of their choice and man and animals 
would live in perfect harmony together, under one 
world government. I remember thinking, "Who 
wouldn't want to live in a wonderful world like that?"
 
We were later to find out that the worldwide 
government they were referring to would be the 
Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses. Elders in 
each congregation were portrayed as "Princes in the 
Earth" who were preparing to govern and carry out 
orders directly from the Society's headquarters in 
Brooklyn, New York. Loyal followers, who would be 
the survivors of Armageddon, would be expected to 
take commands and direction from the elders or 
'Princes,' without question. Those who opposed this 
arrangement in the "New World Order," we were told, 
would immediately be executed.
 
After studying with Una and Sassy for several 
more weeks Una advised us that we should be 
attending the meetings at the "Kingdom Hall," in 
addition to our weekly home Bible study. She 
explained that the "Kingdom Hall" was what they 
called the place where individual congregations met 
to study the Bible and the Watchtower publications 
as well as worship Jehovah. Una likened the 
attending of these meetings to "taking in spiritual 
food." She said that there were five meetings a week 
and that we should try to arrange our personal 
affairs in an effort to attend them all.
 
Una explained that on Sunday mornings there was 
a Public Talk that lasted for one hour. The second 
meeting immediately followed the first and was for 
the purpose of studying The Watchtower magazine, 
one of the Society's monthly publications. There was 
an article selected from this magazine each week and 
everyone in attendance was expected to study the 
article in advance and be prepared for the question 
and answer session. This meeting also lasted for one 
hour. On Tuesday evenings there was another Bible 
Study that everyone was required to attend. The 
congregation was broken up into small groups and 
met at the Kingdom Hall, as well as private homes. 
 
Each group had a study conductor who was either 
an elder or some other "servant," as their leaders are 
called. One of the Society's books was studied at 
these meetings which lasted for one hour. You were 
also required to study prior to this meeting and be 
prepared for the question and answer session. 
Everyone was expected to participate. Then there 
were two meetings on Thursday nights. They were of 
one hour duration each, one following right after the 
other. They were called the Theocratic Ministry 
School and the Service Meeting. Basically these 
meetings were used for the purpose of teaching 
Jehovah's Witnesses public speaking, and 
demonstrations were given on how to effectively place 
the Society's literature and solicit donations from the 
public. Una taught us that to miss any of these 
meetings, unless it was absolutely unavoidable, was 
a sin.
 
In addition to all of these meetings, Jehovah's 
Witnesses are expected to spend as much time as 
possible in "service" to Jehovah and the organization. 
This "service" is to be done to the exclusion of 
secular work, such as overtime on your job, 
extracurricular activities such as sports, Scouting or 
hobbies, or even obtaining a higher education. 
"Service" involves going from door to door, witnessing 
to people about Jehovah and the organization and 
placing the Society's literature, soliciting donations 
and attempting to start Bible studies, in an effort to 
gain converts. The donations received from the sale 
or placement of their magazines, books and tracts 
are sent to the Society's headquarters in Brooklyn, 
New York. This procedure is still in effect today, just 
as it was in 1963 when we first became associated 
with the organization, only with a slight twist. The 
Watchtower followers today are expected to donate 
money out of their own pocket for the publications 
when they first receive them; then if they are able to 
obtain a contribution at the door, that is also 
required to be sent to the Society. For persons going 
out in "service," usually arrangements are made to 
meet in car groups at the Kingdom Hall or some 
other designated location.
 
There are maps available of the area to be 
canvassed and this "territory," as it is called, is an 
area within a specific circumference of the Kingdom 
Hall. Detailed records are kept of interested persons 
with the "territory." Interested persons were 
basically defined as people who have accepted 
literature and/or made contributions to the Society. 
This is done so that some other Witness working the 
"territory," perhaps the following month, might call 
on that same person again. These records are also 
used to make notations about problems at certain 
addresses. For example, it might be noted that a 
person is violently opposed to the witnessing work, or 
that someone harbors a vicious dog that could pose a 
danger. The next Witness working that "territory" 
might wish to skip the house in question.
 
A record of the amount of time put in by individual 
Witnesses, or "publishers" as the average rank and 
file members are also called, is very important and is 
turned in on a monthly basis to the Society's head
quarters in Brooklyn, New York. The Society suggests 
that regular publishers should put in at least ten 
hours per month. "Pioneers," that is, persons who go 
out in "service" full time, are supposed to put in at 
least sixty hours per month. The Witnesses teach 
that the amount of "service" that a person performs 
has a direct bearing on their eternal salvation. Even 
though Jehovah's Witnesses believe in a type of grace 
doctrine, through the blood of Jesus Christ, they also 
believe that their followers must zealously pursue the 
works program formulated by the organization. 
These works must be vigorously and faithfully 
performed in order to be worthy of salvation. Each 
"publisher" and "pioneer" is required to turn in a 
written report of all their activity each month: the 
number of hours they have spent in the door to door 
ministry, as well as the hours spent conducting Bible 
studies and a detailed breakdown of Watchtower 
publications they have placed. These individual 
activity reports are compiled into a congregation 
report by one of the elders and then forwarded on to 
Society headquarters.
 
Chap 2
 
Sunday morning, promptly at 9:30 a.m., Una 
pulled into our driveway in her ancient and 
dilapidated Ford. The first meeting, the Public Talk, 
started at 10:00 a.m. and it was decided that we 
would all ride in Una's car for our very first visit to 
the Kingdom Hall. It was especially difficult for my 
wife, getting herself and two small children ready for 
the occasion, and Linnie and I were both 
apprehensive about meeting a lot of new people.
 
After loading ourselves and the babies into Una's 
compact automobile the drive to the Kingdom Hall 
only took a few minutes. Una wanted us to get there 
early so she could introduce us to everyone.
 
The Kingdom Hall was a very unpretentious 
building, plain looking in fact, located at the end of a 
dead end street. It was not like any church or 
Synagogue that I had ever seen, and there was really 
nothing to indicate that it was a place of worship, 
except the large sign near the entrance that said, 
"Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses." I used to 
think that all Christian congregations exhibited a 
cross on their building or place of meeting. However, 
Una had explained to us in our studies that the cross 
was a pagan symbol that came into use by the 
churches when Satan the Devil seized authority over 
them. Una also informed us that Jesus Christ had 
been "impaled" on an upright "torture stake," without 
a cross beam. As we entered the building, Una was 
busy introducing us to almost everyone there. I 
thought it amazing that Una knew so many of the 
people in attendance, and I wondered how I was 
going to remember all of their names.
 
Everyone there was very neatly dressed and well 
groomed. The men and boys were almost all wearing 
suits and ties, and I felt slightly conspicuous in my 
casual slacks and sport shirt. I determined then, 
that if I wanted to fit in I would have to buy myself a 
suit at the earliest opportunity.
 
Everyone was extremely friendly and courteous 
and it seemed to me that everyone had a smile on 
their face. I remember thinking, "What a happy 
looking bunch of people!" It wasn't long until a voice 
boomed over the public address system and stated, 
"Brothers and sisters, it's time to find a seat and 
begin the meeting." After just several minutes, 
everyone had been seated and it became very quiet.
 
The speaker was introduced and began his talk.
There were approximately one hundred people in 
attendance and they all appeared to be paying close 
attention to what the speaker on the platform was 
saying. However, at this point I was more engrossed 
in looking over the inside of the Kingdom Hall 
building and the people sitting around me.
 
The speaker didn't sound anything like the 
preachers that I had heard the few times that I had 
been in church when I was a youngster. The speaker 
was very businesslike and well polished and you 
could tell that he had some kind of formal training in 
public speaking. After approximately forty-five 
minutes, the discourse was concluded and everyone 
applauded. The applause took me by surprise and 
somehow it didn't seem appropriate in a place of 
worship. However, I joined in, since it was apparent
ly the accepted thing to do.
 
The speaker then announced that there would be a 
ten minute intermission before the next meeting 
began, and he encouraged everyone to stay for the 
Watchtower Study. Apparently this break was to give 
people the opportunity to go the rest rooms and to 
stretch their legs. I excused myself and went outside 
and lit up a cigarette, along with a number of other 
men. It seemed like no time at all that I heard 
someone announcing over the public address system 
for everyone to take their seats, as the Watchtower 
Study was due to begin. After the Watchtower Study 
was finished and everyone dismissed, Una introduced
us to the "Literature Servant," so we would 
know whom to obtain the Society's magazines, books 
and tracts from when we started going out in service 
on our own. Una also showed us how to fill out the 
Monthly Activity Report form that everyone had to 
turn in at the end of each month.
 
From that point on, my family and I started 
attending the five required meetings a week on a 
regular basis. We discovered that it wasn't easy 
being one of Jehovah's Witnesses. Linnie concluded 
that attending the meetings, going out in service, 
taking care of two small children and a husband, not 
to mention cooking, cleaning and taking care of a 
household was no small task. I found it very difficult 
as well. However, we were determined to be loyal to 
Jehovah and his organization, so we continued to 
endure.
 
After about six months of diligent study with Una, 
sometimes twice a week, in addition to all the other 
activities and meetings, it was decided that we 
should be baptized. Una advised us there was a 
District Assembly of Jehovah's Witnesses that was 
being held at one of the sports arenas in Jacksonville 
in a week or so, and she felt that we were ready for 
baptism. Linnie and I were both rather elated at the 
prospect. Baptism to us meant, among other things, 
that we would be full fledged members of the 
Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Jehovah's 
Witnesses; we would be God's people and perhaps 
deemed worthy of our family being spared at 
Armageddon. By this time, we were well aware that 
our salvation hinged on our faithful obedience to the 
Watchtower organization. We had been taught that 
after baptism we would be required to continue 
faithfully attending all of the meetings each week, 
going out in service from door to door as much as 
possible and placing the Society's literature and 
soliciting donations. We would also be expected to 
start Bible studies with interested persons, in hopes 
of bringing them into the organization, and keeping 
abreast of current teachings through our own 
personal study. This would be a formidable task for 
anyone. However, I was soon to find out that I had 
an even greater challenge ahead of me that was 
destined to change the course of our lives forever.
 
Jehovah's Witnesses had taught us that the 
military establishments of all the earthly govern
ments would be in opposition to Jehovah and would 
be completely annihilated at the Battle of Armaged
don, when it occurred. As a result, Jehovah's 
Witnesses were conscientious objectors, refusing to 
be in the military or even perform alternative service. 
We had been told that some of the brothers had gone 
to prison, rather than serve.
 
Then there was the dilemma of saluting the flag. 
The Witnesses had taught us that saluting your 
country's flag was an idolatrous act, and I had been 
maneuvering now for several weeks, attempting to 
avoid locations where I knew there was an American 
flag. This was no easy task, when you consider that 
I spent eight to twelve hours a day on a military 
installation where there were a great number of 
American flags. Also, needless to say, my superiors 
were not very understanding as to why my Christian 
conscience would not permit me to render the 
required salute when the occasion called for it, and I 
had already been taken to task several times for 
failure to do so. In addition, as soon as it became 
known to my comrades in arms, that I was refusing 
to salute our country's flag, I became the object of a 
campaign of patriotic harassment. Each day when I 
reported for duty, I would find various pamphlets on 
the history of the American flag, all over my desk. 
When I went home in the evening I would find more 
pamphlets and pictures of American flags all over my 
car. Also, people at work whom I once considered 
friendly and took coffee breaks with, would no longer 
speak, and they made it abundantly clear that they 
didn't want to associate with me.
 
I was feeling totally ostracized and rejected by my 
peers. When I talked to Una and the Congregation 
Overseer about the situation, they explained that this 
always happened to true followers of Jehovah. They 
showed me scriptures in the Bible where Jesus said 
that his followers would be persecuted, just as he 
had been. This persecution I was suffering further 
assured me that the Witnesses were truly God's 
people, and it gave me the courage to do what I did 
next.
 
I wrote a letter to the Chief of Naval Operations in 
Washington, DC, via the proper chain of command, 
requesting that I be discharged from the U.S. Naval 
Service, due to my new found religious convictions. I 
explained that I had come to believe that fighting 
wars, which resulted in the killing of my fellow man, 
was contrary to Bible principles and the teaching of 
Jesus Christ. I further stated that my Christian 
conscience would no longer permit me to be a 
member of a military organization. The congregation 
overseer wrote a letter in my behalf and I submitted 
it, along with my request.
 
When I turned the letter in to my supervisor, he 
read it and sneeringly stated, "You really don't think 
this request will be approved, do you?" I advised him 
that I didn't know if it would or not. However, to 
satisfy my Christian conscience, I had to try. My 
supervisor then informed me, "If it is approved, you'll 
probably be given a ÔBad Conduct' or ÔDishonorable' 
discharge. They may even give you some time in the 
brig." Needless to say, these possible repercussions 
pointed out by my supervisor, were not very 
encouraging. However, I had done what I believed to 
be right and what Jehovah and the organization had 
inspired me to do. Whatever happened now, I would 
just have to accept the consequences. I was told by 
my supervisor that it would take several weeks to get 
a reply to my request, so I resolved to wait.
 
A day or so later, as I was busily engaged in some 
typing at my desk, the Chief Personnelman who was 
my supervisor, called me over to his cubicle and 
informed me the Base Chaplain wanted to see me in 
his office. I got my hat and quickly walked the two 
streets over to the building where the Chaplain's 
Office was located. I had anticipated this happening. 
The Witnesses had warned me that Satan the Devil 
would try to keep me from leaving his domain. What 
better way, than to have one of Christendom's 
ministers of false religion try to talk me out of the 
decision that I had made to get out of the military.
 
I was very nervous as I walked into the Chaplain's 
Office and told the receptionist my rank and name 
and that I had been ordered to report to the 
Chaplain. The receptionist advised the chaplain over 
the intercom that I was there, and he directed her to 
show me into his office. As I entered, the Chaplain 
was sitting in a large overstuffed chair behind the 
desk, smoking a pipe. The aroma from the lit pipe 
tobacco permeated the air, and he puffed several 
times as I briskly walked to the front of his desk and 
stood at attention. I informed the Chaplain of my 
rank and name and that I had been ordered to report 
to him. He advised me to stand at ease and directed 
me to sit down in a chair across from his desk.
 
The Chaplain was a slender built man, probably 
around forty years of age, starting to gray at the 
temples, with a stern, "no nonsense" look about him. 
I don't remember his name, but I do recall that he 
held the rank of Lieutenant Commander. The 
Chaplain informed me that he had been asked by my 
commanding officer to talk with me about the letter I 
had submitted, requesting to be discharged from the 
Navy. The Chaplain began to ask me questions 
about Jehovah's Witnesses and their beliefs and 
wanted to know how long my family and I had been 
associated with them. He also asked me numerous 
questions about the Bible, in an obvious effort to test 
my knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. I fully 
expected the Chaplain to try to convince me that 
what the Witnesses were teaching wasn't the truth 
and hysterically denounce the organization in some 
manner. Instead, the Chaplain very calmly asked 
questions and took notes concerning the answers I 
gave, occasionally taking a puff from his pipe.
 
After questioning me for what seemed to be an 
eternity, but in reality was probably forty-five 
minutes, the Chaplain very politely informed me that 
that was all he needed from me and that I could 
report back to work. As I walked back to my office, I 
was slightly perplexed and disoriented by the 
encounter that I had with the Chaplain. Surprising
ly, he didn't even try to talk me out of my course of 
action, and never said a disparaging word about 
Jehovah's Witnesses. I remember thinking, surely 
Jehovah was watching over me.
 
Chap 3 
 
 

The time for the District Assembly came, and 
Linnie and I were baptized. The Congregation 
Overseer said it was permissible for me to go ahead 
with my baptism, inasmuch as I had made a formal 
written request to be discharged from the military. 
Una was very happy and elated and told us how 
gratifying it was for her to have brought us into "the 
Truth." We were very fond of Una and since Linnie 
and I were both so far away from our own families, it 
was natural for us to feel very close to this maternal 
woman who had befriended us. Una advised us, now 
that we had been baptized and were members of the 
organization, it wouldn't be necessary to continue 
our weekly Bible study with her. She informed us 
that now we should be trying to cultivate our own 
Bible study to bring others into "the Truth." This 
didn't come as too much of a surprise, but we still 
felt like the mother bird was kicking us, her young 
fledglings, out of the nest, and it gave us both an 
insecure feeling. We had come to depend on Una as 
our spiritual guide and mentor. Now it seemed we 
were on our own. However, we didn't realize just 
how much alone we really were until that fateful day 
when I received the reply to my request to be dis
charged from the Navy.

The Chief of Naval Operations' reply was very brief 
and to the point. It simply directed that I be honor
ably discharged immediately, from the U.S. Naval 
Service, with all veterans' benefits in tact. As I read 
the letter, I didn't know whether to be happy or to 
cry. However, my supervisor didn't have any such 
mixed emotions. The Chief Personnelman very an
noyingly related that he just couldn't believe that 
they would give me an "Honorable Discharge" and 
was really surprised that the Chief of Naval Opera
tions hadn't ordered me to be court-martialed. My 
supervisor further asserted that he was going to 
"check it out" with our Commanding Officer before he 
started processing me for separation. A short time 
later my disgruntled supervisor returned and very 
disappointedly advised me to report back for duty at 
0800 hours the following day, and he would have my 
discharge papers ready.

I was in shock as I drove home from the base that 
evening. Everything was happening so quickly. I 
had completed six years of service toward my retire
ment and I was a Second Class Petty Officer (E-5), 
making a comparatively livable salary, not to men
tion the fringe benefits: medical care, commissary 
privileges, longevity pay, family allotment pay, etc. 
All of that would be gone tomorrow morning. Now I 
had to figure out what I was going to do for a living. I 
had a wife and two small children who were depend
ing on me to take care of them. The Navy had 
trained me to do clerical work, teaching me how to 
use various office machines, and I could type -- not 
exactly what you would call "high paying skills" in 
the civilian labor market. Also, I had heard that jobs 
were scarce in Florida, and I began to wonder now 
just how I was going to make those "easy monthly 
payments" on our house, car and furniture.

When I arrived home I broke the good news to my 
wife. Effective tomorrow morning, I would no longer 
be a member of the U.S. military, which the Wit
nesses had taught us was in opposition to Jehovah 
God. The bad news was that I would also no longer 
be among the gainfully employed. Linnie's reaction 
was also one of disbelief, that things were happening 
so quickly. However, she encouraged me by reason
ing that, because it did happen so quickly and since I 
was to be discharged honorably, with no time in the 
brig, and had retained my veterans' benefits, surely 
these were signs that God's will was being worked 
out in our behalf.

The next morning I reported to the naval Air 
Station, Personnel Office, promptly at 8:00 a.m. I 
had brought all of my uniforms and other equipment 
that I had been issued and was instructed to turn 
them in to the Base Storekeeper. Upon returning to 
the Personnel Office, I was handed my DD-214 Form 
(Statement of Service), a set of Military Orders, and 
an Honorable Discharge certificate signed by the 
Commanding Officer. That was it. My military 
career was over. I felt a deep sadness and apprehen
sion as I stopped at the gate and watched the Marine 
guard motion me through for the very last time.

The next six weeks or so were spent pounding the 
pavement and driving from place to place, filling out 
applications and going to job interviews. I didn't 
have much experience in job seeking, inasmuch as I 
had been in the Navy since I was seventeen years 
old, but I was learning fast. For example, I learned 
not to make known the fact that I had been dis
charged from the Navy as a conscientious objector. 
The first interview that I mentioned this, the inter
viewer gave me a very disapproving look and advised, 
"We'll call you." He acted as though I had just 
divulged to him that I was a Russian spy. Needless 
to say, he didn't call. After that, when inquiry was 
made concerning my military record, I simply told 
them that I had been discharged honorably.

I also found out that employers didn't like to hire 
high school dropouts. At one job I applied for with 
the railroad, I had to wait for an interview for almost 
three hours. When I finally got in to see the man 
doing the hiring, he looked at the application I had 
laboriously filled out and stated that he couldn't use 
me because I hadn't finished high school. I vigorous
ly protested that I had an equivalency certificate. I 
informed the interviewer that I had received a high 
school level GED while in the military. Apparently 
the interviewer wasn't impressed. He simply 
shrugged and stated, "That isn't good enough," and 
that was the end of the interview.

All the time that I was looking for a job, we were 
still faithfully attending the five weekly meetings and 
going out in service as much as possible. The only 
time we saw our good friend and mentor Una was at 
the Kingdom Hall meetings, and occasionally Linnie 
would accompany her out in service. Everyone at the 
Kingdom Hall was friendly enough and sometimes 
they would even inquire as to how I was progressing 
in looking for a job. However, that was about the 
extent of their concern for us. No one came to visit 
us at our home or offered us assistance of any kind. 
I was beginning to feel abandoned by God and the 
organization, and my previously felt enthusiasm for 
"the Truth" was starting to fade.

My perseverance in job hunting eventually paid off 
and I landed a job with Ryder Truck Lines as a clerk 
and teletype operator. I don't remember what the job 
paid. However, I do remember that it was con
siderably less than what I was earning in the Navy. 
After several more months, due to my period of 
unemployment, coupled with working at a job that 
paid less, we were starting to get behind on our 
house, car and other financial commitments. This 
development necessitated my getting an additional 
job, working nights and weekends as a store clerk for 
Seven Eleven Markets, in an effort to try to catch up 
and to "make ends meet." I was working so many 
hours now, I no longer had time to attend the 
meetings and go out in service. I wasn't able to do 
anything except work, eat, sleep, and become more 
and more disillusioned and depressed.
When it became apparent that I wasn't attending 
the meetings, the Congregation Overseer inquired of 
my wife if there was a problem. Linnie explained to 
the Overseer that we were having financial difficulties 
and I was required to work seven days a week at two 
different jobs, in an effort to take care of our 
obligations. The Overseer advised my wife that he 
would talk to me concerning the situation very soon, 
explaining the seriousness of missing the meetings 
and my "spiritual food."

The next afternoon, as I was preparing to go to my 
second job at the Seven Eleven Market, the Overseer 
knocked on our front door. I invited him in and 
apologized that I was running late for my second job 
and that I couldn't talk very long. The Overseer 
informed me that he understood and advised me that 
he wouldn't keep me. The Overseer then handed me 
a fifty dollar bill and related to me that he was sorry 
that my family and I were having such a difficult 
time. However, I would just have to do whatever was 
necessary in an effort to get back to attending the 
weekly meetings on a regular basis. After all, he 
explained, quoting from the Scripture, "What would 
it profit a man if he were to gain the whole world and 
forfeit his life?" I interpreted this to mean, What 
good would my jobs do me, if I were destroyed at 
"Armageddon"? I graciously thanked the Overseer 
for the fifty dollars and very timidly informed him 
that I would do the best that I could.

The following day at work, came the proverbial 
straw that broke the camel's back. Around lunch 
time I was told by my supervisor at Ryder Truck 
Lines that there was a man in the front office who 
wanted to see me. When I went to the front office I 
was confronted by an abrasive, rather muscularly 
built young man who informed me that he was from 
the finance company where I had financed our 1958 
Volkswagon automobile. The young man reminded 
me that I was two payments in arrears on my 
account and that he had instructions to repossess 
my car. The man further stated, in a rather cavalier 
manner, that we could do it the easy way or the hard 
way, indicating that if I didn't give him the keys, he 
would "hot wire" the car. I was stunned and 
extremely embarrassed. Nothing like that had ever 
happened to me before. In a clumsy attempt to act 
nonchalant in front of the office secretary, who was 
taking it all in, I removed the car keys from my 
pocket and tossed them to the man and told him, 
"You might as well do it the easy way."

I had to take a cab home that evening after work. 
When I arrived and explained the humiliating way 
that we had lost our car, our only means of transpor
tation, I also informed my wife that I just didn't feel 
like we could "make it" here in Florida. I had talked 
to my mother and stepfather, who lived in Taylor, 
Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, and they had 
consented to our staying with them for a while -- until 
I could find work and get us back on our feet 
financially. I felt that there were more numerous and 
higher paying jobs to be had up North. My wife was 
devastated and very unhappy at the prospect of 
giving up the only house that we had ever 
purchased. Linnie asked, "What are we going to do 
about the house and furniture?" I informed her that 
our credit was already ruined, due to our falling 
behind on all our payments, and inasmuch as the 
finance company had just repossessed our auto
mobile, we might as well let our creditors repossess 
the house and furniture as well.

However, what I didn't tell my wife was, in addition 
to trying to better ourselves financially by moving to 
Michigan, I was also trying to distance myself from 
the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses. I had come 
to the realization that I just couldn't live up to the 
demands that they had imposed on me and my 
family, and I was beginning to resent the fact that I 
had to give up my career in the Navy. I also blamed 
the Witnesses for the financial problems we were 
having and the humiliation that we were suffering as 
a result. I just wanted back the peace of mind and 
security that we once had, before we became involved 
with Jehovah's Witnesses. However, I still believed 
that the Witnesses were God's people and the 
Watchtower Bible and Tract Society was God's sole 
channel of communication here on earth, just as 
they had taught us. At the time, I had no reason to 
believe otherwise. I just felt that I was weak and 
inadequate and as a result, I would surely be 
destroyed at "Armageddon."

After the embarrassing day that my car was re
possessed, I never went back to work at Ryder Truck 
Lines. I resigned by telephone and asked that my 
final pay check be sent to my Mother's address in 
Michigan. I called the Federal Housing Administra
tion, where our house was financed, and informed 
them that we would be moving out of state and we 
would have to let the house be voluntarily 
repossessed. I then called the loan company that 
held the lien on our furniture and informed them 
that we couldn't pay for it and they should come and 
pick it up. Surprisingly, within just a few days, all of 
our affairs were settled and we packed up what few 
possessions remained and shipped them via rail to 
Taylor, Michigan.

Prior to our departure for the railroad station to 
begin our long journey north, Una and the Congrega
tion Overseer came to our house to bid us farewell. 
Una hugged us and our baby boys and told my wife 
to be sure to get started back to the Kingdom Hall, 
just as soon as we got settled in Michigan. The 
Congregation Overseer shook our hands and very 
sarcastically informed my wife that if he had known 
we were going to leave, he wouldn't have given us the 
fifty bucks.

Chap4

 

The long, tedious journey to Michigan by rail took 
three days and two nights. I had told my wife Linnie 
that travel by rail would be a little more expensive 
than by bus. However, it would be a lot more 
comfortable, especially traveling with two small 
children. I was very much mistaken.

Anthony Scott, our youngest, was now around 
eighteen months old and had a fungus infection in 
one of his eyes. He was obviously very uncom
fortable and he let us know it at every opportunity. 
Linnie had to hold Scott on her lap constantly, and 
he fussed and cried almost the entire trip to 
Michigan. To add to our discomfort, we couldn't 
afford the sleeper car and had to spend the entire 
trip sitting up or lying across the seats, whenever 
there was room. We also couldn't spare the money to 
eat in the diner car, and Linnie had packed us 
enough food to last the trip.

It was an extremely miserable three days for us all 
and we were very glad to reach our destination. 
When we got off the train at the station in Detroit, 
my mother and stepfather were there to greet us. It 
was an especially warm and loving family reunion, 
and my mother and stepfather were particularly 
happy to see their grandchildren whom they hadn't 
seen for quite some time.

The following day, after getting my family settled 
in, I borrowed my stepfather's car and set out to look 
for work. I wanted to get a job as soon as possible, 
so that we could rent our own house. My parents 
were being extremely generous to us, and I didn't 
want to take advantage of their kindness and 
hospitality. However, there was another considera
tion that really bothered us. My stepfather Elburn 
was a newly ordained Primitive Baptist minister and, 
according to what the Witnesses had taught us, he 
was part of Babylon the Great, the world empire of 
false religion. Linnie and I believed that Dad was a 
very kindhearted and considerate person. However, 
based on what we had been taught by the Witnesses, 
my stepfather was being used by Satan the Devil to 
mislead people through false religious teachings that 
would ultimately end in their eternal destruction at 
Armageddon. This made us feel a bit uneasy living 
in his house, and we knew that the Witnesses 
wouldn't think well of us staying in that situation 
any longer than was necessary.

The very next day after our arrival I was able to 
find a job as a teletype operator with a company 
called City Car Terminal. The firm was an auto
mobile loading and shipping operation for Chrysler 
Corporation, located in the Detroit railroad yards. 
The only drawback to the job was that I had to work 
eight to ten hours per day, seven days a week. I 
knew from my experience in Florida that working 
seven days a week was not a good situation for a 
family man, or for one of Jehovah's Witnesses who 
was required to attend five meetings per week. 
However, the pay was adequate, so I took the job 
with the expectation that perhaps I could find some
thing better later on.

After several weeks of living with my parents, my 
mother informed my wife and me, in the nicest way 
that she could, that our staying with them just 
wasn't working out. She further advised that she 
sensed an "undercurrent" between us, due to our 
drastically different religious views, and she felt that 
it would be best for all concerned if Linnie and I had 
our own place. My wife and children had started 
attending the meetings immediately after our arrival, 
and it was necessary for my wife to ask for rides from 
the brothers and sisters, to and from the Kingdom 
Hall. On one of those occasions a Witness sister 
came to the door, to assist my wife with the children, 
getting them to her waiting automobile. The woman 
evidently whispered something derogatory to my wife 
concerning the fact that my stepfather was a 
preacher. My mother overheard the remark and was, 
understandably, quite upset.

Because of this incident and other related prob
lems, my mother, along with my wife, set out the 
following day to find us a house to rent. My mother 
and Linnie were able to find a suitable two bedroom 
house on Penny Road, located in Dearborn Heights. 
Dearborn Heights is a small town adjacent to Taylor 
and also a suburb of Detroit. My mother paid the 
first month's rent for us and we moved into the 
house several days later. My mother also loaned us 
an old bedroom suite that had belonged to my 
stepfather's mother, and we were able to buy some 
other items of furniture that we needed, second 
hand.

The next problem to be dealt with was transporta
tion. I kept watching the newspapers, and one day 
found a used 1952 Chevrolet automobile advertised 
for sale. The seller was asking only $89.00 for the 
vehicle. However, when my stepfather and I went to 
look at it, I couldn't believe my eyes. Words cannot 
describe what horrendous condition this car was in. 
It lent new meaning to the term "used car." The old 
Chevy was dented and banged up all over and had so 
many holes rusted through the body that it looked 
like a sieve.

Dad and I couldn't determine how many miles the 
car had been driven, because the speedometer was 
completely missing. The worst problem was that the 
floorboards were rusted through in the front, and 
you could stick your legs through the holes and 
touch the ground with your feet. However, the 
engine ran fairly well and the tires weren't completely 
bald, and I figured that I could put some pieces of 
plywood over the holes in the front, to keep our feet 
from dragging on the pavement. Besides, I reasoned, 
what could you expect for only $89.00? And, 
inasmuch as we couldn't afford anything more 
expensive, I decided to go ahead and purchase the 
car.

Since there was no Kingdom Hall in Dearborn 
Heights, my family was assigned to attend meetings 
in another adjoining town called Inkster. The Inkster 
Congregation was made up almost entirely of black 
brothers and sisters, which at first made us feel 
rather conspicuous at the meetings. It occurred to 
me that we must be feeling the same way a black 
couple probably feels when they are the only blacks 
in an all-white group. I had known quite a few black 
people, having grown up and gone to school with 
some in Indianapolis, Indiana. Also, I had met and 
worked with black people in the Navy.

My wife, on the other hand, had been born and 
reared in McCreary County, located in Eastern 
Kentucky. Linnie had never laid eyes on a black 
person until she was thirteen or fourteen years of 
age -- and that was from a distance when she and her 
family were visiting relatives in Williamsburg, Ken
tucky. There were no black people where Linnie lived 
in Pine Knot, and it was many years later before she 
came into contact with any again.

I don't know if the people in the Inkster Congrega
tion were unusually friendly to everyone, or perhaps 
they were trying extra hard to make us feel welcome, 
because we were different. Whatever the reason for 
it, as a group they were the warmest and friendliest 
of all the Witnesses that we had ever encountered. 
There was one family in the Inkster Congregation 
that we were especially fond of. Their last name was 
Reilly. Brother Reilly was of unusual stature. He 
was almost seven feet tall and weighed over three 
hundred pounds. I felt almost like a dwarf next to 
him. In stark contrast to his imposing appearance, 
he was an extremely soft spoken and gentle man.
I very seldom went out in the door-to-door ministry 
after we moved to Michigan and only attended the 
meetings when Linnie nagged me or there was a 
special event such as the annual "Memorial Celebra
tion," the "Lord's Evening Meal." The next several 
years in Michigan were not very happy ones for our 
family, primarily due to my immature and fatalistic 
attitude, which had been implanted in my young, 
impressionable mind by Jehovah's Witnesses. The 
Witnesses had taught us that, in order for a person 
to be saved from God's wrathful vengeance at 
Armageddon, he must adhere to certain moral ethics 
and vigorously apply himself to the works program 
prescribed by the organization. That consisted pri-
marily of meeting attendance, literature placement, 
and the Society's proselytizing activity.

The Witnesses had convinced my wife and me that 
they were God's sole channel of communication -- 
that they, in fact, spoke for God. Even though intel
lectually I felt that what they were teaching us was 
"the Truth" because it seemed to be so logical and 
was based on the Bible, for some unexplainable 
reason it just didn't seem right for me personally. 
Because of this feeling I had concluded in my heart 
and mind that I probably just wasn't "teachable" or 
"sheeplike," as the Witnesses termed it. Therefore, I 
constantly carried around a vague dread of God's 
judgment and a fear of Armageddon. I had no hope, 
and this generated an attitude of, "Eat, drink and be 
merry, for tomorrow we die," that would adversely 
affect my life and those around me for many years to 
come.

My wife Linnie's attitude was just the opposite of 
mine, and this caused a great number of problems 
for us that sometimes resulted in extremely fierce 
arguments. Linnie continued to attend the meetings 
faithfully and went out in service whenever she could 
arrange it. She conscientiously studied the Watch
tower and Awake! magazines, as well as all the 
other books and publications that the Society re
quired us to read. Linnie's unswerving dedication to 
the organization, in addition to caring for the needs 
of our two small children, left her very little time for 
me.

There were many occasions when I wanted my wife 
to accompany me to Christmas festivities, New Years 
Eve parties and birthday celebrations, as well as 
other social functions with family members or other 
persons that I had become acquainted with. How
ever, Linnie's conscience wouldn't allow her in most 
cases, because The Watchtower had taught us that 
almost all worldly holidays were of pagan origin and 
true Christians wouldn't participate in celebrating 
them.

Also, Jehovah's Witnesses have an attitude of 
superiority toward other persons who are not "God's 
People" or "in the Truth." The Witnesses are taught 
that everyone who is not a member of the Watch-
tower Bible and Tract Society is under Satan the 
Devil's influence, so they do not like to associate with 
people outside the organization. This exclusivistic 
mindset shared by my wife wasn't confined to just 
strangers. This "us and them" mentality applied 
equally well to family members. As a result, my wife 
spent as little time as possible with my mother, 
stepfather and also my sister who had moved to 
Dearborn Heights from Indianapolis, Indiana. To a 
certain extent Linnie's superior feeling also applied to 
me, since I had "fallen away" and didn't seem to be 
measuring up to the Society's standards. Because of 
this situation Linnie and I never had any friends in 
common. It was always "Linnie's friends," who were 
Jehovah's Witnesses, or "my friends," who were 
usually acquaintances from work. On occasion I 
would consent to socialize with the Witnesses, but it 
was rather awkward, because they viewed me with 
suspicion since I infrequently attended the meetings 
and no longer went out in service.

However, as strange as it might seem, even though 
the majority of the time I resented the organization 
monopolizing my wife's attention and energies, 
sometimes I actually encouraged Linnie to attend the 
meetings and participate. This was because, in the 
back of my mind, I truly believed that her loyalty to 
the Watchtower would result in Linnie and our child
ren being saved at Armageddon. The Society had 
taught us that as long as one parent of the marriage 
was a member of God's organization, any children 
resulting from that union would be saved.

Another problem that Linnie and I encountered as 
a result of our religious beliefs was the occasional 
confrontations that we had with my stepfather 
Elburn Dorris. As I stated previously, Dad was a 
recently ordained Primitive Baptist minister, and we 
had been taught that he was being used by Satan the 
Devil to promote false worship, as were all of Chris-
tendom's ministers. Fortunately for us, my step
father was an unusually patient person and he and 
my mother tried to pretend, most of the time, that 
our unorthodox religious beliefs didn't bother them. 
However, when we discussed religion and Dad would 
quote a passage of Scripture to prove a point and 
Linnie or I would contradict him with the Watch
tower's interpretation, he would sometimes become 
annoyed.

On a number of occasions my wife Linnie and I 
unequivocally informed my parents, as diplomatically 
as possible, that the Watchtower Bible and Tract 
Society knew more about the Bible than anyone else 
in the world. We further explained that the Society 
had brothers at the headquarters in Brooklyn, New 
York, who had devoted their whole lives to the study 
of God's Word, in an effort to inform their followers of 
the proper understanding and interpretation of the 
Holy Scriptures. After all, we explained, the Watch
tower had millions of followers worldwide, and we 
were convinced that they were Jehovah's only true 
organization, doing his work, separating the "sheep" 
from the "goats" in these "last days" prior to the final 
Battle of Armageddon. "Who else was doing this type 
of religious work?" we reasoned.

After a number of similar discussions, I believe my 
stepfather finally saw the futility in arguing with us. 
What probably hurt my mother and dad the most 
was the fact that we wouldn't allow our children to 
attend church with them. They were very fond of our 
two boys and wanted to show them off to their 
friends. However, we had learned from the Wit
nesses that to allow our children to enter a place of 
false worship would have been a terrible and idola
trous sin.

After approximately six months at City Car Ter
minal my sister Donna Cable helped me to get a job 
as an office clerk at Clark Equipment Company, the 
Brown Trailer Division, where she was employed as a 
secretary. The job was better paying and it was only 
a five day work week. After almost two and one half 
years working at the Detroit branch, the position of 
Office Manager became available at the St. Paul, 
Minnesota, office. I applied for the job and was 
accepted. Once more, my family and I packed up, 
and we moved to the Twin Cities.

Chap 5

 

It was the winter of 1968 when my family and I 
arrived in St. Paul, Minnesota. My wife and I had 
flown there a week or so earlier, courtesy of Clark 
Equipment Company, and had rented a nice three 
bedroom house located on Hurley Drive. We then 
returned to Michigan and made arrangements with a 
moving company to have our furniture and the rest 
of our household effects shipped to our new home. 
We were all very excited about the move -- an 
opportunity to see new places and meet different 
people and a promotion, making more money.

When we first arrived we liked St. Paul very much, 
even though the weather there was much more 
severe than what we had been used to anywhere else 
we had ever lived. During the winter months in St. 
Paul, which were basically September through May, 
there was always lots of snow and the temperature 
sometimes dipped down to seventy and eighty 
degrees below zero. It was so cold, it was necessary 
to purchase an electrically heated oil dip stick for our 
automobile, which we parked in front of the house 
overnight. We then ran an electric extension cord 
from the car to an electrical outlet on the front porch.

If you forgot to hook up this device before retiring for 
the night, you could rest assured that the oil in your 
car would be so thick the next morning that your 
engine wouldn't even turn over, much less start.
I learned about this situation "the hard way," the 
same way that I learned about another problem, 
which seemed to be peculiar to our new surround
ings: when they are forecasting a large snowfall at 
night in St. Paul, it isn't advisable to park your car 
on the street. Through my lack of experience I made 
this fateful error, and a snow plow came down our 
street before dawn the next morning and completely 
buried our car in the snow. At first, I thought the 
car had been stolen, and then I realized that it was 
still in the same place I had parked it the night 
before, only now it was buried under several tons of 
snow. Needless to say, I was quite annoyed, and it 
took me all of that day and part of the next to dig my 
car out.

However, on the "up side" of life in our new 
environment, it seemed as though the sun shone in 
St. Paul every day. This was a refreshing change 
from the usually cloudy and dreary winter days that 
we had experienced while living in Michigan. Also, 
the restaurants in St. Paul and Minneapolis served 
the best food we had ever eaten. The seafood in 
particular was especially prominent and plentiful in 
that part of the country, and Linnie and I dined on 
our favorites, lobster and shrimp, as often as 
possible.

My new job as office manager involved a lot of 
responsibility, which kept me occupied, working long 
hours through the week and a lot of weekends. 
Linnie and our sons attended the meetings at the 
Kingdom Hall and went out in service, and things 
went pretty much the way they had when we lived in 
Michigan. I attended the meetings occasionally, and 
there was a young couple that came to our house 
once a week to study with us. However, I was 
progressively becoming dissatisfied with my job, due 
to the company's growing demands on my time and 
energies. In addition, because of the tremendous 
stress and pressure connected with my job, I was 
beginning to develop stomach ulcers as well as other 
physical ailments. I was twenty pounds overweight, 
due to a lack of proper exercise and poor eating 
habits, and I was drinking alcoholic beverages to 
excess.

I had frequently imbibed, beginning some years 
before, while in the Navy. However, after we became 
associated with Jehovah's Witnesses, which resulted 
in my untimely discharge from the Navy, as well as 
many other problems, my drinking increased in both 
quantity and frequency. Instead of going home after 
work at night, tired as I was, I would make the 
rounds of the bars and nightclubs, drinking and 
dancing, looking for what I believed was a good time.

I wanted to experience all the fun that life had to 
offer, before my annihilation with the rest of the 
wicked at Armageddon. Moreover, this "fast lane" 
lifestyle that I had adopted was beginning to take its 
toll on my wife's patient and loving nature, and it put 
further strain on our already deteriorating marriage.
Some time around March or April of 1970, my 
mother wrote and informed us that my stepfather 
was going to retire and they were planning to move to 
a town near Dad's place of birth in Kentucky, called 
Madisonville. Madisonville, my mother wrote, was a 
nice place that had a small town atmosphere, yet 
was large enough to contain sufficient stores, 
restaurants, and gas stations, etc., for convenient 
living. My mother lamented in her letter that she 
missed us and the grandchildren very much and 
wanted to know if we would consider moving to 
Madisonville as well. Mom further related that Dad 
had bought two Sinclair Service Stations and that he 
would provide me with employment, assisting him in 
managing them. My mother also wrote that my 
sister Donna Cable and her family, who were 
presently living in Tennessee, had already decide to 
join them and move to Madisonville as well. Mom 
thought it would be really great if we all lived in the 
same location for a change, instead of being spread 
out all over the country.

My wife Linnie was thrilled at the prospect of 
moving back to her home state of Kentucky. She had 
been homesick for some time, missing her parents 
and her six brothers and two sisters, and 
Madisonville was only about two hundred miles from 
McCreary County, where the majority of Linnie's 
family still resided. I thought it would be interesting 
to be in business with family members, and even 
though I knew I would be making considerably less 
money, the small town life sounded appealing as I 
conjured up mental pictures from the old television 
show "Andy of Mayberry." After living in the "rat 
race" of big cities all my life, with the accompanying 
traffic jams, crowded stores and rampant crime, I 
decided this would be a good move and an ideal place 
for us to settle down and raise our family.

It was May 3, 1970, when we arrived in Madison
ville, Kentucky. The exact date is very clear in my 
mind, because, coincidentally, it was also our tenth 
wedding anniversary. My mother had already rented 
us a small three bedroom house, located on Loven 
Lane. The house wasn't as nice or as large as the 
house we had left behind in St. Paul. However, it 
seemed adequate for our immediate needs and we 
were very happy to be there. It took us several days 
to get settled and I immediately started to work at 
the service stations with my step father and my 
brother-in-law Jerry Cable. I worked with Dad and 
Jerry, running the two service stations for over a 
year. However, as things progressed, it became 
apparent that Dad was quite set in his ways and we 
didn't seem to get along any better when it came to 
business matters than we did concerning religion. 
That being the case, I decided that If I wanted to 
keep peace in the family, it would probably be in 
everyone's best interest if I were to seek employment 
elsewhere.

It was August of 1971, when I read in the local 
newspaper that the Madisonville Police Department 
was hiring patrol officers. I had thought about a 
career as a policeman with the Detroit Police Depart
ment when we moved to Michigan from Florida. 
However, my wife and mother talked me out of the 
notion due to the high mortality rate of Detroit police 
at the time. Back in the sixties, law enforcement 
officers in large cities all over the country were being 
ambushed and killed at the alarming rate of 
approximately one per month. However, that was 
some years ago, and since Madisonville was a com
paratively small town with a population of around 
20,000 residents, I felt it couldn't be as dangerous or 
difficult to police as a large city such as Detroit. 
After further consideration I decided that this would 
be a good opportunity to begin a career in law 
enforcement, so I applied for the job and was 
selected.

During this time, Linnie had become pregnant 
with our third son, and he was born, Andrew 
Christopher, on December 17, 1971. Again coinci
dentally, Chris was born the same day that I 
graduated from the Police Academy.

Linnie and I both had started back to the Kingdom 
Hall shortly after we moved to Madisonville, and I 
regretted that I hadn't been living in accordance with 
Bible principles and the Society's high standards, 
and I made a commitment to do better in the future. 
I was determined to take a more active and 
aggressive role in the "preaching work," perhaps even 
becoming a "servant" or an "elder" in the congrega
tion. I rededicated myself, "turning over a new leaf," 
resolving to work hard in an effort to win the 
approval of Jehovah and the organization, so that I 
might survive Armageddon and live on into the "New 
System" with my beloved wife and children. The 
Watchtower was continuing to predict that Arma
geddon was just a scant few years away now and 
would likely occur in the Autumn of 1975.

I began attending the meetings regularly and going 
out in service as much as time permitted. I was even 
conducting a Bible study with a troubled young teen, 
whose mother was a Witness and thought that her 
son might be impressed and favorably respond to a 
policeman teaching him the Scriptures. However, it 
didn't work out, and I had to discontinue the study 
when the young man was arrested in a stolen auto
mobile several months later.

Some time after that study abruptly terminated, I 
was brought into contact with another disturbed 
seventeen-year-old boy, who lived with his mother in 
the Madisonville government housing projects. One 
of the elders in the congregation, whose wife was 
studying the Bible with the boy's mother, came by 
my house one evening and asked me to accompany 
him to the woman's home. The elder explained that 
the woman had evicted her son from the residence 
earlier in the day, due to some type of misconduct, 
and was refusing to allow him to come back into the 
house. The now homeless lad had no other family in 
the area and no one he could turn to. The boy had 
contacted the elder's wife in desperation, hoping that 
she could talk his mother into letting him back into 
the house. The elder wanted me to talk to the 
woman in my official capacity as a police officer, 
thinking it might shake her to her senses.

It was after dark when we drove up in front of the 
woman's apartment, and I told the boy to wait for us 
in the car. The woman immediately responded to our 
knock on the door and, recognizing the elder with 
me, invited us in. The woman appeared to be around 
forty years of age, with long brown hair, combed 
straight back. She was neatly dressed and well 
groomed, and she smiled at us as we entered the 
living room. I was pleasantly surprised as my eyes 
scanned the nicely decorated apartment with its 
freshly painted walls and new looking modern 
furniture positioned around the room. I was 
impressed. Most of the project apartments I had 
been in weren't nearly as nice or as clean as this one.
I showed the lady my badge and identification and 
watched the pleasant smile on her face turn into a 
frown, as I explained to her that I was a police officer 
as well as one of Jehovah's Witnesses. I further 
explained to her that I was there at the request of the 
elder with me, to talk to her about her son. The 
woman's face was now turning beet red with anger, 
as I tried to make her understand that she couldn't 
legally throw her under-age son out of the house with 
no way to care for himself. I further informed her 
that, as far as the law was concerned, the lad was 
her responsibility to care for until he was eighteen 
years of age. The elder then pointed out that the 
woman also had a moral obligation to care for her 
son, as well as a legal one.

At this point, the woman began to expound in a 
very loud voice how her son wouldn't "mind" her and 
how the boy's father had deserted them. The woman 
also complained that, because of the boy's size, she 
could no longer physically control him. This brought 
us to another problem that I needed to discuss with 
the lady. On the way from my house to the woman's 
apartment the lad had made allegations that his 
mother and father used to punish him by tying him 
face down to the bed and beating him across the 
back with a belt. When I confronted the woman with 
this accusation, she readily admitted it. She acted 
as if there was nothing wrong with punishing a child 
in that manner, and I was appalled at her callous 
attitude. After questioning the boy's mother further, 
it became quite apparent that she had no affection 
for her son and she obviously didn't want him 
around anymore. Suddenly, I found myself dis-
gusted by this woman who, just moments earlier, I 
was beginning to feel sorry for. I was extremely 
saddened that the boy had to return to this unloving 
and uncaring environment. However, I reasoned that 
it was better than living on the street, and at least 
the boy was big enough now to physically protect 
himself from his mother. All the boy had to contend 
with now was his mother's verbal and mental abuse.

While the elder went to the car to retrieve the boy, 
I informed the woman that I would be checking back 
periodically, to see how she and the lad were getting 
along. I knew that I should probably make a report 
to Child Welfare and let them follow up. However, 
since the woman was studying with the Witnesses, I 
thought that perhaps her learning and applying Bible 
principles in her life might eventually straighten 
things out between the woman and her estranged 
son. Before departing, I gave the boy my telephone 
number and my address and told him to contact me 
if he had any further problems. As it turned out, the 
boy had quit school when he was sixteen years of age 
and he didn't have a job or anything else to occupy 
his time or energies, so he ended up spending a great 
deal of time at my house. I thought this would be a 
great opportunity to "save" the wayward young man.

I resolved to start a Bible study with him, teach him 
"the Truth" and bring him into the safety of the 
Watchtower organization.

We began our Bible study on a weekly basis at my 
house, with the rest of my family in attendance. The 
boy's mother had discontinued her study with the 
elder's wife, and I was very disappointed to hear that 
she later joined a Pentecostal church. After the 
young man became eighteen years of age, legally an 
adult, I was able to get him a job with the city Street 
and Sanitation Department, and he eventually was 
able to rent himself an apartment not too far from 
where my family and I resided.

Some time later, as I was working the midnight 
shift, I heard over the police radio that one of the 
other patrolling units had found a young man 
prowling around behind one of the businesses in the 
downtown area. The suspect told the officer that he 
was just looking for a Coke machine to buy himself a 
cold drink from. The suspect also informed the 
investigating officer that he was a personal friend of 
mine and that I could vouch for him. When I was 
given this information over the police radio, along 
with the suspect's description and name, I signaled 
the officer back that the boy was "all right" and that 
he could release him. After all, I reasoned, the young 
man wouldn't steal anything; I was studying the 
Bible with him. Due to my vouching for him, the lad 
was released from custody.

The following day it was determined that the 
business my young friend was found behind had 
been burglarized. When police questioned the boy 
several days later, he confessed that he had broken 
into the building, and upon conducting a search of 
the boy's apartment, the officers found the items that 
had been taken in the burglary. Needless to say, this 
was very embarrassing for me, and I was angry that 
my young friend would use me the way he had, after 
all the kindness my family and I had shown him. 
Inasmuch as this was the boy's first offense, he was 
given probation instead of time in jail. The young 
man didn't come to our house anymore for our Bible 
study, and I didn't seek him out after that. The next 
time I saw him was six or seven years later. He was 
married and had two children of his own.

Chap 6

 

The fact that Jehovah's Witnesses do not celebrate 
any holidays, other than wedding anniversaries, 
caused our family a great many problems all through 
the years. Even though we tried our best to explain 
to our small children the reasons for not celebrating 
the holidays, they were just too young to fully com
prehend. Of course, what made it especially difficult 
for our boys was observing all the other children 
doing things that they weren't permitted to do. 
Christmas, New Years, Easter, Thanksgiving, birth
days, Halloween, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Valen
tines Day and St. Patrick's Day were all holidays that 
were either "of pagan origin" according to research 
published by the Watchtower, or shouldn't be cele
brated simply because "worldly people" celebrated 
them.

For our sons Daniel and Scott, who were both 
attending public school now, it meant being excluded 
from many activities and functions and made them 
feel very conspicuous and alone. For example, 
whenever Valentines Day was close at hand and the 
children at school would make Valentines and give 
cards to their classmates, my wife would have to talk 
to the boys' teachers to make sure they didn't have to 
participate. The teachers were usually very under
standing and would excuse the boys, sending them 
to the office, and then my wife would have to pick 
them up from school. This procedure took place 
anytime there were holiday related activities.

In addition, our sons were taught that it was 
wrong to salute the American flag or sing the 
national anthem, as this was considered an act of 
idolatry by Jehovah God. While everyone else in 
their class would stand with their hand over their 
heart and recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, 
the boys would simply sit quietly in their seat. Our 
sons were also instructed that it wasn't really accept
able for them to play with children who were not 
Jehovah's Witnesses. They were taught that all the 
other boys and girls were bad associates because 
they were "worldly" and part of Satan's organization. 
If there were no other Witness children in the boys' 
classes, which was usually the case, they were 
instructed to play by themselves. This applied to 
recess, lunch period or any other social occasions. 
However, my wife sometimes made exceptions to this 
rule at home, to allow the boys to play with neigh
borhood children under her watchful eye and close 
supervision.

Our second oldest son Scott recently revealed to 
me that, because of his refusal to recite the Pledge of 
Allegiance to the flag in grade school, some of his 
classmates called him a "Communist." Scott jokingly 
related that, even though he wasn't sure what a 
Communist was at that young age and he doubted 
that the children calling him the name did either, it 
still hurt his feelings. Of course, just by virtue of 
being "different," the boys were ridiculed and ostra-
cized by their classmates, being made fun of and 
called names on occasion. Even though it saddened 
us to see our sons mistreated, we tried to make it 
clear to them that we were true Christians who had 
to endure persecution for our beliefs, and someday 
soon we would receive our just reward for being 
faithful and obedient to Jehovah and the Watchtower 
organization. In addition, we continually explained 
to our sons at our family Bible study and on other 
occasions, how all those people outside God's organi
zation -- some of whom were making fun of them now 
-- would be destroyed at Armageddon, and we would 
be saved.

As our sons became older, they were not allowed to 
participate in extracurricular activities at school. 
Sports, Scouting, hobbies, etc., according to the 
Society, were all a waste of valuable time. Our 
children's energies, we were told by the organization, 
would be better spent in going from door to door, 
warning persons about Jehovah's impending judg
ment at Armageddon. The Society sternly warned us 
constantly that this lifesaving work was more 
important than anything else we could spend our 
time on. When Armageddon occurred and someone 
was destroyed because they didn't have the oppor-
tunity to learn "the Truth" due to our being neglectful 
of going out in service, Jehovah would hold us 
accountable, and that person's blood would be on 
our hands.

In addition, if it were perceived that the total 
number of hours spent in service for the month for 
the entire congregation was less than what the elders 
thought it should be, we were always reminded that 
"those who don't use their time wisely now won't 
have any time in the New System." The obvious 
implication was that if you didn't put in sufficient 
hours in service to Jehovah's organization now, you 
wouldn't live to spend and enjoy time in the New 
System of things after Armageddon. You would be 
destroyed along with the rest of the wicked.

Abstinence from celebrating the holidays was 
especially difficult for the boys at Christmas time and 
on their birthdays. Our boys would hear their class
mates at school talking about the presents they had 
received at Christmas or on their birthday. In an 
effort to lessen our children's disappointment of not 
receiving Christmas gifts, we would take advantage of 
the after Christmas sales, buying our children toys 
and gifts at reduced prices. These presents would be 
given to our boys, not as part of the worldly holiday 
celebration, but rather just because we loved them.
When it came to birthdays, we basically used the 
same scheme, presenting the boys with gifts after 
their birth date, not in celebration of the occasion, 
but simply out of our love for them. Linnie and I 
both sometimes felt that we were being dishonest by 
this subterfuge. However, it appeared that all the 
other Witnesses we knew did the same thing, so we 
continued the practice.

Chap 7

 

As the year 1974 faded into history and 1975 
began, there was a heightening climate of anticipa-
tion among Jehovah's Witnesses. The Watchtower's 
publications had been pointing toward the Autumn 
of 1975 as the time of Armageddon and Christ's 
cleansing of all the wicked from the earth before 
restoring it to a paradise condition. It was almost as 
if everyone was holding their breath, waiting for that 
first worldwide, earthshaking event that would signal 
the beginning of the end. The Watchtower had been 
telling us that world political leaders would turn on 
organized religion and there would be worldwide 
anarchy.

In addition, there appeared to be a "speeding up" 
of the separating work taking place, as Jehovah's 
"sheeplike ones" clamored to join the organization. 
There was a phenomenal growth taking place, with 
people reportedly being baptized in unprecedented 
numbers. This was further proof to us that Arma
geddon was just months away and God's Kingdom 
would soon reign.

We had heard and read about brothers and sisters 
all over the world selling their homes and quitting 
their jobs so they could "pioneer" for the organization 
during the short time remaining in this old system of 
things. The Society commended them in their pub
lications and stated that these faithful "pioneers" 
were setting a fine example for the rest of us. Also, 
we had heard locally of Witnesses doing other things 
in anticipation of the end of this system. Some were 
using up their savings, cashing in insurance policies, 
and going into debt unnecessarily. Others we knew 
had put off decisions concerning marriage, having 
children, buying homes, and having needed surgery 
performed. I am sure there were many other impor
tant decisions that the Witnesses made which were 
duly influenced by the coming world's end.

I remember wondering, several years prior to 1975, 
why we were planning to build a new Kingdom Hall 
on Aubry Prow Road. After all, I reasoned, Armaged
don is just a year or so away. Weren't we running 
the risk that the product of all our expense and hard 
labor might be destroyed with the rest of this old 
wicked system? When I mentioned my misgivings to 
one of the elders in the congregation, he looked at me 
like one might look at a ten-year-old who had just 
asked a very foolish question. The elder then matter-
of-factly informed me that, "Jehovah wouldn't de
stroy one of His own buildings." I felt embarrassed 
at asking such an obviously idiotic question, so I 
simply shrugged and smiled, then replied, "I guess I 
didn't think of that."

As the prophetically marked year of 1975 faded 
into history and 1976 began, everything seemed to 
be "business as usual." The foretold great event had 
not occurred, and I was feeling disillusioned and 
betrayed by the Watchtower Society. As time passed, 
with no immediate explanation from Jehovah's 
organization and sole channel of communication, my 
disillusionment turned to anger. At that time I quit 
going out in service altogether and only attended the 
meetings with my family sporadically. It wasn't long 
until the Society started making excuses for their 
failed prophecy, and ironically they put the blame on 
their followers. They stated that some of the 
brothers, in their enthusiasm for God's Kingdom to 
be established, misinterpreted statements made by 
the Watchtower Society. The organization also indi
cated that this may very well have been Jehovah's 
way of testing his followers' loyalty to see if they were 
truly sincere or were simply serving God to a specific 
date. That was "it" for me. I wasn't buying into their 
excuses. I had enough, and I was though with the 
Watchtower Bible and Tract Society and Jehovah's 
Witnesses. However, as it later turned out, they 
weren't through with me.

Sometime in 1976, I made a conscious decision to 
leave the organization, just as I heard numerous 
others were doing. I didn't write them a formal letter, 
notifying them of my decision; I simply stopped 
attending the meetings, and I had already ceased my 
door-to-door witnessing activity. However, my wife 
Linnie loyally continued, seemingly undaunted by 
the Society's false prediction. Linnie seemed to over
look the Watchtower's shortcomings concerning 1975 
by accepting another of their standard excuses: that 
they were just imperfect human beings and, as such, 
were subject to error. I, on the other hand, had lost 
my faith in the Bible, in the Watchtower organiza
tion, and in Almighty God himself, and I was back to 
my old attitude of "eat, drink, and make merry, for 
tomorrow we die."

In an effort to replace the lost spirituality in my 
life, I turned to secularism and became totally 
dedicated to my police work. With the appointment 
of a new Police Chief and a subsequent reorganiza
tion of the department, I was promoted to Detective 
Sergeant. I was assigned to work on dangerous drug 
and narcotic cases for the newly formed Investigation 
Division, working long hours on surveillance and 
development of drug informants.

It was now sometime in the Fall of 1979, and I was 
getting dressed to go to work on the three-to-eleven 
shift at the Police Department. My wife Linnie came 
into our bedroom and informed me that there were 
two elders from the Kingdom Hall in the living room, 
and that they wanted to speak to me. I asked Linnie 
if she knew what they wanted. My wife had a very 
puzzled look on her face and replied that she didn't 
know. I couldn't imagine why they would want to see 
me. I had not attended a meeting in several years 
and only had occasional contact with the Witnesses, 
usually when they came to the house to visit with 
Linnie or when I met one of them on the street.
I walked into the living room and greeted our 
visitors. After they had introduced themselves, we 
shook hands and I invited them to sit down on the 
couch, opposite me. Both men were dressed in 
business suits and ties, wearing overcoats, and 
appeared to be thirty to forty years of age. One of the 
men was tall and slender looking, and the other man 
was of medium height and stocky build and had 
several scars on his face. I remember thinking they 
looked more like Mafia hit-men than elders of Jeho
vah's Witnesses. Their ominous appearance and 
nervousness, coupled with the fact that I didn't 
recognize them as members of the local congregation, 
concerned me.

When I asked the two men what I could do for 
them, they informed me that they had been sent 
from California to Madisonville by the Watchtower 
Bible and Tract Society. They further stated that Je
hovah's Spirit was being hindered here in Madison
ville, as evidenced by the fact that there had been no 
growth in the congregation for some time. Their job, 
they informed me, was to determine what the prob
lem was and to take whatever action was necessary 
to correct it. The men further related that they felt 
that perhaps there were people in the congregation 
that were involved in wrongdoing which was grieving 
God's Holy Spirit. At that point, I asked the scar
faced man doing most of the talking what that had to 
do with me. The man replied that it had been 
brought to their attention by members of the 
congregation that I had been seen smoking. The 
scarfaced man then brazenly informed me that, even 
though I was inactive, I was still considered to be one 
of Jehovah's Witnesses. If the report about my 
smoking was true, I would be given a short period of 
time in which to correct the problem and, if I refused, 
I would be disfellowshipped (excommunicated).

I felt humiliated and embarrassed by these 
complete strangers' accusation, and I could feel my 
face growing flushed as the resentment welled up 
inside of me. I had willingly "kicked" the cigarette 
habit back in 1973, when the Society had ordered all 
of their followers to stop using tobacco in any form. 
The organization had determined it was an "unclean 
habit" that was injurious to people's health and 
therefore a sin to use it. I had started smoking again 
in 1976, when I stopped attending meetings and 
going out in service. However, I really didn't think 
that these two coarse looking characters from the 
Watchtower Society had any right to come into my 
home and dictate to me how to live my life.

Looking at the two men with the hardest, coldest 
stare I could muster, I reached into my inside coat 
pocket and pulled out a cigar. As I lit up and puffed 
several times to get it started, the two men abruptly 
stood. The man with the scars on his face angrily 
stated, "Well, I guess you've made your decision." I 
calmly retorted, "I certainly have, and now it's time 
for you to leave." I got out of my chair and followed 
the two men as they quickly walked to the front door 
and exited our house.

After the elders' sudden departure my wife came 
out of the bedroom where she had been waiting and 
asked me, "What happened?" After I informed Linnie 
what had transpired, she became very annoyed with 
me, contending that I had treated the elders badly. 
One of the reasons the elders' visit and domineering 
attitude upset me so greatly was that, just a year or 
so before, Linnie and I had had the worst altercation 
of our entire marriage. It was so serious that it 
resulted in my moving out of the house for a short 
period of time. The quarrel and resulting temporary 
separation was over a Watchtower magazine article 
that dictated what sort of contact was proper 
between husband and wife in the marriage bed.

I was sick and tired of the Watchtower Bible and 
Tract Society interfering in our personal lives, and I 
told my wife that, since I was going to be disfellow
shipped by the organization anyway, Jehovah's Wit
nesses were no longer welcome in our house. Being 
disfellowshipped by the Witnesses means that you 
will be completely shunned by former friends and 
associates and even family members not living in 
your household. They will no longer speak or have 
anything to do with you.

The Thursday night following my confrontation 
with the elders, my wife and youngest son Chris, who 
was now seven or eight years of age, attended the 
Ministry School and Service Meeting at the Kingdom 
Hall. When they returned home, my wife somberly 
informed me that one of the elders had made the 
formal announcement that I had been disfellow
shipped. I was disconcerted by this news. Not 
because of being disfellowshipped; I was expecting 
that. Rather, I was offended and annoyed by the way 
the elders had vilified me in the presence of my 
youngest son. I am sure that Chris was too young to 
fully understand the proceedings and everything that 
took place. However, I was equally sure that Chris 
got the distinct impression that his "Daddy" had 
done something very bad. According to my wife, the 
elder making the announcement didn't state the 
reason for my being disfellowshipped. That was left 
to the imagination of the congregation, to figure out 
what terrible sin I was guilty of.

After my being disfellowshipped, I had no further 
contact with Jehovah's Witnesses for the next four or 
five years. Even though my wife Linnie continued in 
the organization as a member in good standing, 
because of my being disfellowshipped none of the 
Witnesses ever visited her in our home. I continued 
my career with the Madisonville Police Department, 
having been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, 
assigned as the Department's Crime Prevention and 
Public Information Officer. Our two eldest sons, 
Daniel and Scott, had grown into manhood and were 
no longer active Witnesses. Only our youngest son 
Chris, who was now a teenager, accompanied his 
mother to the meetings at the Kingdom Hall.

It was October 1984, when the greatest tragedy 
that had ever befallen our family occurred. Our 
beloved first-born son Daniel was killed in an 
automobile accident. Daniel was twenty-three years 
old and had been married just over a year to a girl he 
had known since they were teenagers in high school. 
Daniel and Patricia had been blessed with a delight
ful baby girl, Catherine Michelle, who at the time of 
our son's demise was only five months of age. Our 
daughter-in-law, the former Patricia Sidman, and all 
of her family were devout Catholics. As you might 
imagine, this presented us with some problems that 
had to be dealt with at a very difficult time.

Our daughter-in-law wanted her family's Catholic 
priest to perform Daniel's funeral, and Linnie wanted 
one of the elders of Jehovah's Witnesses to officiate 
at the ceremony. Even though I had been disfellow
shipped by the Witnesses, I sided with my wife. I felt 
that Daniel had been reared as a Jehovah's Witness, 
so it seemed appropriate that he should be buried as 
a Witness. However, I also believed that Daniel's 
young wife and her religious preferences should be 
taken into consideration.

In an effort to resolve the dispute, the funeral 
home director suggested that the ceremonial pro
ceedings be split or shared by the Catholic priest and 
the Witness elder. This seemed like a plausible 
solution to the problem, and the Catholic priest was 
willing to compromise. However, the Witness elder 
asserted that he wouldn't participate at all, unless he 
was permitted to conduct the entire funeral 
ceremony. The elder further stated that the Society 
wouldn't approve of his being a party to a joint 
service of any kind with a teacher of false religion 
who was a member of Satan's organization. Inas
much as Linnie was so adamant that the Witnesses 
conduct our son's funeral, our daughter-in-law 
reluctantly conceded, permitting the Witnesses to 
take charge of the entire proceedings.

There were over three hundred people in 
attendance at our son's funeral, with a great number 
of them being Jehovah's Witnesses. As is customary, 
after the funeral many of the people approached my 
wife and me to express their condolences for our 
tragic loss. Some shook our hands and others 
hugged us. However, even though I was standing 
next to my wife, the Witnesses completely ignored 
me. Many of them I had been acquainted with for 
years, and they treated me as though I wasn't even 
there. Naturally, this hurt me a great deal, at a time 
when I was extremely vulnerable, and only served to 
add to my already deep feelings of grief and pain.

Chap 8 

 

The next six years of our lives were reminiscent of 
a chapter directly from the Bible Book of Job, and 
after our young son was killed Linnie and I both 
came to believe that Jehovah had completely turned 
his back on us. Just six months after our son's 
tragic death, my stepfather Elburn Dorris suc
cumbed to his second heart attack and died. Dad 
had been ill for several years, and the whole family 
felt that Daniel's untimely demise was just too much 
for Dad's already weakened heart.

Then in 1988, my father Joseph Miller, who was a 
retired railroader living in Port Charlotte, Florida, 
passed away. My father was hospitalized at the time 
for the removal of a spot from one of his lungs. Even 
though the surgery was deemed a success, complica-
tions were later encountered, resulting in heart 
failure, and the doctors were unable to resuscitate 
my father.

Next, in 1988, my wife Linnie and I and our 
youngest son Chris were on a mini-vacation in Hot 
Springs, Arkansas. While on an amphibious sight
seeing bus called "the Duck," we were hit head-on by 
an automobile traveling at a high rate of speed. 
Miraculously, no one was killed in the accident. 
However, Linnie and I both sustained severe neck 
and back injuries requiring a short stay in the 
hospital and eight months of physical therapy.

As our misfortune continued to mount, in 1989 it 
was learned that it was going to be necessary for my 
wife Linnie to have a complete hysterectomy. It was 
during this time that we had our first real encounter 
with Jehovah's Witnesses' so-called "blood issue."

The Witnesses do not believe in taking blood 
transfusions, citing the Bible Book of Leviticus that 
placed dietary restrictions on the Israelites, from 
eating blood. The Watchtower teaches that taking a 
blood transfusion simply bypasses the digestive 
process and directly nourishes the body. All Jeho-
vah's Witnesses carry a signed Medical Card on their 
person, directing emergency medical personnel that 
they are not to be transfused with blood under any 
circumstances. The Witnesses carry this card, which 
constitutes a binding legal document, in the event 
they are found unconscious or for some other reason 
are unable to make their wishes known. The 
Witnesses are taught by the Watchtower that, rather 
than violate God's Law against taking blood, it is 
preferable to die. They reason that if you should die 
because of refusing a blood transfusion, you will 
have proved your loyalty to Jehovah and the organ
ization and in all probability, will be resurrected in 
the New System.

The Watchtower Society has recently formed 
"Liaison Committees" that accompany Jehovah's 
Witnesses to the hospital, who consult with medical 
staff to ensure that no blood is used, should surgery 
be performed.

Linnie consulted with her gynecologist, relating to 
him that she was one of Jehovah's Witnesses and 
explained her religious views concerning blood trans
fusions. The young doctor arrogantly informed my 
wife that he wouldn't perform the operation, guaran-
teeing her there would be no blood transfusion. The 
doctor further elaborated that if he felt it necessary 
during the procedure, he would get a court order and 
force a transfusion on my wife. The doctor's insen-
sitive attitude upset my wife and only added to her 
apprehension concerning the needed surgery.

We looked for another gynecologist who would be 
more understanding and accommodating concerning 
our religious stand. We were finally able to locate 
another doctor, who was very kind and under
standing of our plight. The doctor was a very reli-
gious person himself and even though he didn't agree 
with the Watchtower's teachings on the matter, he 
consented to perform the surgery without a blood 
transfusion. However, it was necessary for my wife 
and me to sign waivers relieving the doctor and the 
hospital of all liability in connection with this 
"bloodless surgery." The doctor explained that after 
we had signed the necessary documents, there would 
be no turning back. Once Linnie was anesthetized 
and the surgery was in progress, I could not change 
the decision she had already made. This information 
frightened me because, in the back of my mind, I had 
already plotted that if an emergency arose and the 
doctor thought that a blood transfusion would save 
Linnie's life, I would give my consent. I reasoned 
that under those circumstances, Jehovah and the 
organization couldn't hold my wife responsible, and I 
was already disfellowshipped, doomed for destruction 
in any event. Fortunately, as it turned out, my fears 
were allayed, as the surgery was successfully 
performed with no complications requiring a blood 
transfusion.

Linnie recuperated nicely at home for the next five 
or six weeks, and I was able to take time off from 
work to care for her. Also, Linnie's mother Eva 
Gilreath was able to make arrangements to stay with 
us for several days during Linnie's convalescence. 
Unfortunately, as fate would have it, that was the 
last time we were able to visit with my mother-in-law. 
Some time later, after Eva returned home, she 
suffered a stroke and was rushed to the Lexington, 
Kentucky, Medical Center. She passed away three 
days later without ever regaining consciousness.

After her mother's death and all the other losses 
we had suffered, Linnie became very despondent and 
withdrawn. She was extremely depressed and at an 
all-time spiritual low in her life. Because of this, 
Linnie discontinued her door-to-door witnessing 
activity and no longer attended the meetings either. 
In Linnie's words, she felt as though she had hit 
rock bottom.

In July of 1990, after almost nineteen years of 
service, I retired from the Madisonville Police Depart
ment. I was a Shift Supervisor at the time, holding 
the rank of Captain. Normally, I wouldn't have been 
eligible for retirement for another year. However, I 
had been diagnosed with a hearing impairment that 
interfered with the performance of my duties. I had 
been fitted with several different types of hearing 
aids, one of which was hypoallergenic. However, 
they all still produced an allergic reaction and I 
wasn't able to wear them. This partial loss of my 
hearing ability prematurely brought my career as a 
police officer to a close. A short time after my retire
ment, I secured part time employment, working as a 
security officer at the Regional Medical center in 
Madisonville. It was during this time that I turned to 
God once again.

However, this time it was completely different from 
the several previous occasions that I had vacillated in 
and out of the Watchtower organization of Jehovah's 
Witnesses. For some unexplainable reason, I was 
feeling a great love for God and wanted to please 
Him, whereas before I felt only fear of his Divine 
retribution. I had an overwhelming desire to truly 
know my Creator, and I felt drawn by Him. This was 
especially perplexing to me, because up to this time, 
due to all the misfortune we had experienced during 
the preceding six years, I felt betrayed and alienated 
from God. I even cursed Jehovah in a drunken fit of 
rage one night, shortly after my son's tragic demise 
and asked God to take my life as well. I was grief-
stricken and depressed and I blamed God for my 
son's senseless death. At the time, I no longer 
wanted to live.

The only way that I knew how to fill this great need 
for intimacy that I was experiencing was through 
prayer and study of God's Word the Bible, just as the 
Watchtower organization had taught me so long ago. 
I had ample time since my retirement, and I began to 
study the Bible with a passion, often reading for as 
long as six hours at a time. The compulsion I felt 
was similar to physical hunger, and in a very short 
time I had completely read the Holy Scriptures 
through twice. However, even though I was praying 
to Jehovah regularly and taking in knowledge, as the 
Watchtower taught, I still felt that there was some
thing missing.

A short time after my employment at the hospital, 
a long-time acquaintance named Ray Peach, who 
was also a retired police officer, became my coworker 
in the Security Department. Ray was a Christian 
and a student of the Bible, and during the next year 
or so, we had many interesting and lively discussions 
concerning the Holy Scriptures and our different 
beliefs. Ray and his wife Brenda were both Baptists, 
and even though I professed no particular Christian 
denomination at the time, I had studied for many 
years with Jehovah's Witnesses and had accepted 
their teaching and interpretation of the Bible. This 
led Ray and me to be mostly at odds in our many 
verbal encounters. Nevertheless, Ray and I became 
close friends, and one day he invited me to his 
church's weekly Bible study.

Ray informed me that they met every Wednesday 
evening at 6:00 p.m. in the church for study and 
discussion of the Holy Scriptures. I was reluctant, at 
first, to accept Ray's invitation, reverting back to 
what the Witnesses had taught us: that the churches 
of Christendom were evil and teachers of false 
doctrines. However, I finally consented, reasoning 
that I was disfellowshipped by the Witnesses anyway, 
so what did I have to lose? After the mistake the 
Watchtower organization had made concerning the 
occurrence of Armageddon in 1975, I was confused 
and wasn't sure what to believe anymore.

I informed my wife Linnie that I was going to a 
Bible study at a church with Ray and Brenda. Linnie 
didn't approve of the idea. However, inasmuch as 
she wasn't attending the meetings at the Kingdom 
Hall herself, she didn't object too strenuously.

Wednesday evening arrived and Ray and his wife 
picked me up around a quarter of six. When we 
arrived at the church, Ray introduced me to the 
pastor and several others, and promptly at six o'clock 
we began our study. The first thing the pastor stated 
was, "The Trinity consists of God the Father, God the 
Son and God the Holy Ghost. If you don't under-
stand it or you don't believe it, that's just too bad, 
because that's the way it is."

I was completely taken back by the pastor's 
adamant assertion, and it seemed almost as if his 
declaration was made specifically for my benefit. I 
had been taught, and Jehovah's Witnesses believe, 
that the Trinity doctrine of Christendom is of pagan 
origin and that it dishonors God's sovereignty. We 
further believed that Jehovah and Jesus Christ are 
two separate persons, with Jehovah being the 
superior of the two. The Holy Spirit is Jehovah's 
invisible active force that He simply uses in 
accomplishing His purposes -- certainly not a person 
as the churches of Christendom teach.

I felt offended by the pastor's remarks, and I 
resolved then and there not to return. After the 
study, driving home, I thanked Ray and Brenda for 
inviting me to accompany them. However, I also in
formed them that because of the pastor's distressing 
statement concerning the Trinity, I wouldn't be going 
back again. Ray advised me that he was annoyed as 
well and was surprised by the pastor's blunt 
statement. Ray further informed me that he had 
contacted the pastor prior to the Wednesday night 
meeting and had told him that he was bringing a 
friend who was a Jehovah's Witness to the study.

Ray had specifically requested the pastor not to 
mention the Trinity, because, through our numerous 
discussions, he knew that it was a very sensitive 
issue with me. This revelation disturbed me even 
further, as it then became apparent that the pastor's 
abrupt statement was planned and was made in an 
effort to shock or annoy me. If that was the pastor's 
intent, he had succeeded. I then informed Ray and 
Brenda that I was thinking of returning to studying 
the Bible with Jehovah's Witnesses again. After all, I 
reasoned, even though they obviously weren't perfect, 
who knew more about the Holy Scriptures than the 
Watchtower Bible and Tract Society?

When I arrived home, I informed my wife about my 
negative experience at the church and how I just 
couldn't understand how any informed person could 
believe in the Trinity doctrine. Naturally Linnie 
agreed with my sentiments, and it was then that I 
informed her that I had decided to return to studying 
the Bible with Jehovah's Witnesses. Linnie was 
surprised and elated at the idea, and she confided in 
me that her conscience had been bothering her since 
she became inactive several years earlier. After some 
further discussion Linnie and I resolved to start back 
to the Kingdom Hall together, that very next Sunday.

Our return to Jehovah's organization and the 
Kingdom Hall was a momentous occasion. My wife 
Linnie was gladly received and appropriately treated 
like a "long-lost relative" that was returning home 
after being absent for a very long time. Brothers and 
sisters in the faith clamored to shake her hand or 
hug her, welcoming her back into the fold. However, 
I was treated with the same coldness that I had 
experienced at our son's funeral some years before. I 
was greeted with blank stares and complete 
indifference, and no one spoke to me or even 
acknowledged my presence. It was a strange feeling 
to be shunned in that manner and, in some ways, it 
was almost comical. I remember thinking of the 
humor in the situation and the lyrics to an old Chris 
Christopherson song, "Are you a figment of my 
imagination, or am I a figment of yours." I was 
beginning to wonder if I was really there.

Linnie and I dutifully took a seat at the back of the 
Kingdom Hall, because that was where disfellow-
shipped persons were expected to sit if they were 
being properly humble. After the Public Talk and the 
Watchtower Study adjourned, we were approached 
by the Congregation Overseer. He was a middle aged 
Afro-American who, we later learned, had recently 
been transferred to the Madisonville Congregation 
from Illinois. The elder's eyes nervously jumped back 
and forth between Linnie and me, as he asked 
questions and made comments. Since none of the 
Witnesses were supposed to talk to me due to my 
disfellowshipped status, our conversation was similar 
to speaking through an interpreter. The overseer 
looked directly at my wife as he asked, "Is he really 
sincere in wanting to return to the Kingdom Hall?" I 
answered in the affirmative to my wife, and Linnie 
shook her head "Yes" to the overseer. This procedure 
continued during several more questions, and then 
the overseer abruptly terminated the conversation 
and walked away. The overseer's last comment was 
that he and one of the other elders would pay a visit 
to our home in a few days to discuss with me the 
procedure for being reinstated.

Several days after we had attended our first meet-
ing at the Kingdom Hall, the overseer called my wife 
and asked if it would be convenient for him and 
another elder to come to our house that evening.

After consulting with me, my wife arranged for the 
brothers to meet with us at 7:00 p.m. I was 
extremely nervous all through supper, wondering 
what I was going to have to do, in order to win the 
brothers' approval and reinstatement to Jehovah's 
organization. At approximately 7:00 p.m., the 
brothers arrived, and I invited them into the house.

The overseer introduced the elder accompanying 
him, and all four of us were seated in the living room. 
The overseer immediately asked Linnie if she would 
mind leaving us alone. After my wife excused herself 
and left the room, the Congregation Overseer asked 
me if I was still smoking or used tobacco products of 
any kind. I assured the brothers that I had quit 
smoking almost a year earlier and didn't anticipate 
any difficulty in continuing to abstain.

The overseer then informed me that, in order for 
me to be reinstated to the organization, the first 
thing that I would have to do is write a letter to the 
Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. In the letter, 
the elders instructed me to state why I was disfellow
shipped initially and to request that I be reinstated.

Next, I would have to faithfully attend all of the 
meetings at the Kingdom Hall that I possibly could, 
for an undetermined period of time. This was to 
show my sincerity, and during this trial period I was 
to exhibit a repentant attitude by sitting in the back 
seats of the Kingdom Hall. In addition, I was not to 
speak to anyone else in attendance, nor would they 
greet or speak to me. I was informed that these 
conditions would prevail until such time as the 
elders saw fit to reinstate me. I willingly agreed to 
the conditions and then very timidly asked if it would 
be possible for someone to study with me. The 
overseer advised me that until I was officially 
reinstated that wouldn't be proper. However, just as 
soon as I won reinstatement to the organization, one 
of the elders would be assigned to study with me and 
my wife. After the elders left, I immediately sat down 
and composed a letter to the Society, requesting 
reinstatement just as the brothers had directed me. 
I put the letter in the mail the very first thing the 
following morning.

After almost six weeks of faithfully attending the 
meetings at the Kingdom Hall, I was standing in front 
of the bulletin board located at the back of the 
building, casually glancing over the various an
nouncements posted. It was Sunday morning, and I 
was just passing the time, waiting for the Public Talk 
to begin. Linnie was sick that morning and had not 
accompanied me, and there was little else to do, 
since I wasn't permitted to speak with anyone. There 
was another brother standing next to me, also 
looking over the various notices stuck to the board.

He too looked as though he was just "killing time" 
until the meeting began. I recognized the brother as 
someone I had known from some years before, when 
my family and I had previously attended the King-
dom Hall. My wife had earlier informed me that this 
brother was a disfellowshipped person as well, and 
that he was also attempting to be reinstated to the 
organization.

 

Suddenly, I felt a kinship with this man whose 
circumstances appeared to be very similar to my 
own. He too was an outcast that no one would speak 
to or associate with. I thought of what an 
unbelievable situation this was, for grown men to be 
treated like adolescent boys, being punished for their 
mischievous behavior. As I stood there, I envisioned 
the two of us being made to stand in a corner, 
wearing dunce caps on our heads. As I looked over 
at the brother I smiled and said, "How are you?"

Without ever turning his head toward me, the 
brother slyly looked back at me out of the corner of 
his eye. Through a sheepish grin he whispered, 
"Pretty good! How are you?" At that, I turned and 
walked away from the brother, smugly feeling as 
though I had just gotten away with the crime of the 
century. I returned to my seat at the back of the 
Kingdom Hall and waited for the Public Talk to begin.

Immediately after the meeting, the Congregation 
Overseer confronted me as I was going out the front 
door. It really took me by surprise, inasmuch as no 
one had paid the slightest attention to me in six 
weeks. The overseer very accusingly asked me what 
I was doing talking with that other disfellowshipped 
brother. I replied that I didn't think there was any 
harm in speaking to another disfellowshipped per
son. After all, I attempted to reason, weren't we "in 
the same boat?" The overseer sarcastically informed 
me that we were not "in the same boat," and he 
reiterated that I wasn't to speak to anyone at the 
meetings. I subserviently informed the elder that I 
was sorry and that it wouldn't happen again. Driving 
home, I thought to myself how humiliating it was to 
be treated like a child, and the incident made me 
realize just how closely I was being watched.

After a total of almost three months of continuing 
to faithfully attend all of the meetings at the Kingdom 
Hall, one Thursday night meeting the Congregation 
Overseer instructed me to wait and see him after the 
meeting. I wondered what I had done wrong now.

When almost everyone else had left, the overseer 
ushered me into a small room that doubled as an 
office and a library. Accompanying the overseer was 
another elder, and after the three of us were seated I 
was instructed to turn in my Bible to Chapter 
Eighteen of the Book of Matthew. I was then told to 
read along silently, as the overseer read aloud verses 
twelve and thirteen. It reads, "What do you think? If 
any man has a hundred sheep and one of them has 
gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the 
mountains and go and search for the one that is 
straying? And if it turns out that he finds it, truly I 
say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the 
ninety-nine which have not gone astray."

After the overseer concluded reading the foregoing 
verse, he abruptly closed his Bible and said, "Ralph, 
you are that lost sheep." With that the overseer 
stood up and stuck out his hand to me and said, 
"Congratulations, brother! You've been reinstated."
As I stood and shook the brother's hand, I felt sur
prised and delighted. Finally, my shunning period 
had come to an end, and I would now be able to 
fellowship with all of my brothers and sisters in the 
congregation. The overseer also informed me that 
one of the elders, who was designated as the Ministry 
School Servant, would be studying with my wife and 
me. This was considered to be somewhat of an 
honor, as that particular elder had the responsibility 
of instructing the entire congregation in the art of 
public speaking as well as witnessing from door to 
door. Before I left that evening, arrangements were 
made to study with this elder for one hour every 
Wednesday evening.

The following Wednesday at the prearranged time 
of 7:00 p.m., the elder arrived to start our study. As 
I directed the brother into the kitchen, where we had 
decided to conduct the meeting, I felt a mild sense of 
excitement and anticipation. I had been looking 
forward to studying the Bible with the Witnesses 
again for some time, because I still believed that they 
were genuine Bible scholars and, in fact, the final 
authority in matters pertaining to the Holy Scrip-
tures. I hungered for the Bible knowledge that, we 
had been taught by the Society, would lead us to 
eternal life. The elder informed Linnie and me that 
we would be studying a Watchtower publication 
entitled You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth. 
He provided Linnie and me each a copy of the book 
and after saying a prayer asking Jehovah's guidance 
and direction, our study began.

Linnie and I progressed well in our studies, and 
after several months I was informed that arrange
ments would be made for me to start going out in 
service once again. Linnie was advised that she 
could go out on her own. However, apparently it was 
felt that I needed some type of special supervision.

The first few times that I went out were on Sunday 
afternoons, and I was accompanied by several of the 
elders. This was acceptable to me, inasmuch as I 
really didn't feel confident enough to go out on my 
own just yet. For the most part, the elder I was 
paired off with did the talking and I simply stood 
there and listened.

At almost all of the meetings there was great 
emphasis placed on the door-to-door witnessing for 
Jehovah and the organization. The "pioneers," who 
put in sixty hours or more each month in service, 
were held in very high esteem and were constantly 
praised as excellent examples for the rest of us to 
emulate. After a time, I began to be aware and to 
take note of a constant barrage of what I considered 
to be threats. Sometimes they were subtle, and in 
other instances they were extremely direct and to the 
point. One incident stands out in my memory quite 
clearly, involving the Congregation Overseer at the 
end of the Service Meeting one Thursday night. 
Addressing the entire congregation from the plat-
form, the elder indicated that we were becoming lax 
in the number of hours that we were devoting to the 
door-to-door ministry. In an elevated and ominous 
tone of voice he stated, "Brothers and sisters, lives 
are at stake and perhaps even your own." Everyone 
there understood the implication of this threatening 
statement. The overseer was relating that people 
outside the organization were in danger of being 
destroyed at Armageddon, if we didn't spend 
sufficient time in service, offering these people salva-
tion through the Watchtower Society. If we failed in 
this important separating work for Jehovah and the 
organization, we too would be deemed worthy of 
destruction.

These constant threats irritated me, and I told my 
wife that I didn't like the way the elders were always 
trying to intimidate us. However, even though the 
threats annoyed me, I reasoned that this was God's 
work, so I resolved to try my best to comply, and I 
was determined to start going out door-to-door as 
often as I could. In an effort to increase my service 
hours, in addition to the Sunday afternoons that I 
had already been going out with the elders, I decided 
to also go out with a different group on Wednesday 
mornings. I knew that the elders would be proud of 
me when they noticed that my time in service had 
increased, and perhaps they might even consider me 
for a more responsible position in the near future. 
This was called "reaching out."

Several weeks later the elder we were studying 
with arrived at our home for our usual weekly Bible 
study. After the meeting was concluded the elder 
looked at me and very sternly asked, "Can I speak 
with you frankly?" "Sure!" I replied, thinking to 
myself that the elder was just joking around. The 
elder slammed his book shut and angrily announced, 
"You've gone against the theocratic order." I was 
shocked and dismayed at the elder's accusation.

When I meekly inquired as to what he had reference 
to, the elder informed me that I had gone out in 
service without asking him first. This indicated an 
independent spirit on my part. I was truly be-
wildered by this surprising allegation, and I defended 
myself by pleading ignorance. I advised the elder 
that I wasn't aware that it was necessary for me to 
obtain his permission, and I thought all the elders 
would be pleased that I was displaying some 
initiative. The elder then very dogmatically warned 
me that, even though I had been reinstated from 
being disfellowshipped, I was still in somewhat of a 
probationary status. After the elder's departure, I 
was rather disheartened, and I concluded from the 
incident that I was still being watched very closely, 
and anything that I might want to do that was not of 
the usual routine, I had better ask permission from 
someone first.

While out in the door-to-door ministry one Sunday 
afternoon on the dusty back roads of Hopkins 
County, we came upon an old "Block House." It was 
fairly isolated, setting back off the road, and there 
were no other houses close by. Even though it was 
inconvenient, it was part of the "territory" that the 
elder accompanying me had selected, and inasmuch 
as we were taught that everyone should have the 
opportunity to learn the "truth," we dutifully pulled 
off the road up towards the house. As we drove 
nearer, the house's decaying and deteriorating 
condition became more apparent. If it hadn't been 
for the very old truck parked at the side, I would 
have concluded that the house was deserted.

As we walked from our automobile to the front of 
the residence, I could see the outline of a man 
standing in the front doorway. As we got nearer, I 
could see that the man was unshaven and very 
shabbily dressed. He was of medium height and very 
slender build and appeared to be approximately 
forty-five years of age. As the elder and I reached the 
doorway, the man politely greeted us and asked what 
he could do for us. As the elder introduced us both 
and began his spiel in an effort to place the 
Watchtower and Awake! magazines, I could detect 
the repugnant smell of body odor emitting from the 
man. The householder advised us that he would like 
to have the magazines. However, he didn't have any 
money to give us for a donation. The elder and I 
both assured the obviously indigent person that it 
was quite all right, that the donation wasn't always 
required and that he could have the magazines if he 
would read them.

The man assured us that he would look at the 
magazines and invited us into the house as the elder 
continued his persistent prepared discourse in an 
effort to lay the groundwork for a Bible study, or at 
the very least gain the man's permission to return at 
another time. As we entered the dwelling and I 
looked around, there appeared to be only four rooms. 
The small house was even more decrepit and dirty on 
the inside, and the only sign of furnishings was a 
mattress on the floor of one room and a single worn-
out looking overstuffed chair in what I guessed was 
at one time a living room. There was a wood burning 
stove near the center of the room we were standing 
in, and I saw a double barrel shotgun leaning against 
the wall in one corner.

The man apologized for not having any place for us 
to sit down, explaining that he was getting his 
belongings together to move his residence. The man 
further related that he was out of work and his rent 
was due and he didn't have any money to pay it. 
When I asked the man if he had any family who 
could assist him, he informed us that he was 
divorced from his wife, and they had a grown 
daughter. However, the man elaborated that his 
daughter was married and had two small children of 
her own and really didn't have the means to help 
him. I then inquired of the man where he was going 
to move to. He replied in a desperate sounding, 
almost sobbing voice, that he just didn't know what 
he was going to do. In addition to all his other 
problems, this destitute individual informed us that 
the power company had sent him a final notice 
before turning off the electricity to his house. As if 
these problems weren't enough, his old truck was in 
need of repair and the man had no means of 
transportation or the money required to obtain the 
necessary parts to fix it.

In the face of all this adversity it seemed ludicrous 
to me to continue attempting to impart anything 
spiritual to this poverty stricken "down and out" 
individual. However, the elder accompanying me 
seemed undaunted by the man's pitiable 
circumstances and continued quoting him the Bible, 
chapter and verse. After the elder finally concluded 
his dissertation of the Scriptures, I asked our host 
how much his rent was. He replied that it was only 
forty dollars per month. I glanced over at the elder, 
thinking perhaps he might suggest some practical 
solution to the man's immediate needs. I thought 
possibly there might be some sort of monetary funds 
available at the Kingdom Hall for just such emer-
gency situations. The elder didn't comment, and 
judging from his unconcerned attitude, it became 
abundantly clear that if this man was going to 
receive any relief, it would have to come from me 
personally. I reached into my pocket and pulled out 
two twenty dollar bills from my wallet and handed 
them to the man. The man was obviously surprised, 
and he thanked me profusely all the way to the front 
door as we made our exit. As we departed, I advised 
the man that I would return the following day to 
check on his welfare and see if I could assist him 
further.

As we drove on to the next house, the elder said 
nothing concerning the incident. However, I got the 
distinct impression that the elder thought that I had 
been foolish in giving the destitute individual my 
hard earned money. The Watchtower Society doesn't 
place any great emphasis on helping needy persons 
outside the organization. After all, everyone who is 
not a member of the Watchtower Society is part of 
Satan's realm. I knew that I certainly wouldn't be 
criticized concerning my monetary gift to the man, 
and it would be considered a good deed by the elders, 
even though the recipient was a "worldly person."

Nevertheless, the Society's thinking was that the 
preaching of the Kingdom message which leads a 
person to eternal life was the greatest gift that we 
could give another person. That was considered to 
be much more important than anything of material 
value. However, in my opinion, it seemed almost un-
Christian to see a person in such dire circumstances 
and not do something in a practical way to help.
This incident later made me wonder just what the 
Watchtower Society did with all the money their 
followers contributed. With over four and one half 
million Witnesses worldwide, the organization surely 
received millions of dollars in contributions each 
week. I determined to ask one of the elders con-
cerning the matter at the next available opportunity.

It wasn't long after the episode with the indigent 
householder that one of the elderly widowed sisters 
in the congregation invited Linnie and me to dinner 
at her home. The sister also invited one of the elders 
in the congregation and his family to join us. After 
enjoying a delicious leisurely meal together, the elder 
and his wife and Linnie and I adjourned to the family 
room. It was suggested that the four of us play a 
game of cards while our host and the elder's two 
daughters cleaned up the kitchen. As we played 
cards and engaged in casual conversation, I thought 
this might be an opportune time to ask the elder 
some questions concerning the finances of the 
Watchtower Society.

I began by inquiring of the elder if he had any idea 
how much money the organization received in the 
form of contributions each year. The elder eyed me 
rather suspiciously and replied, "Why would you 
want to know that?" I informed the elder that I was 
merely curious and that it had occurred to me that I 
had never seen a financial statement published by 
the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. I further 
explained that hypothetically in terms of simple 
arithmetic, if each of the four million plus member
ship were to donate as little as two dollars per week, 
that would amount to eight million dollars. In a 
month's time that figure would increase to thirty-two 
million dollars and, over the span of one year, it 
would multiply to three hundred eighty-four million 
dollars.

I further stated that I felt that the estimated two 
dollars per person per week figure was probably low, 
as I believed the Witnesses to be very generous in 
their monetary contributions to the Society. In 
addition, that wasn't taking into consideration 
donations received at the doors from those outside 
the organization. I couldn't even venture a guess as 
to how much revenue that generated. I also pointed 
out that the expenses involved in producing the 
Society's books, magazines, and other literature were 
extremely moderate. We had read in the Watch
tower magazines how all of the people who worked 
at the headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, were 
brothers and sisters who volunteered. The workers 
were provided with their room and board and a small 
monthly allowance of eighty dollars. In addition, the 
Watchtower owned and operated a farm and a dairy, 
which provided the bulk of the food required for their 
work force and staff.

The elder's entire demeanor had changed by now, 
and he was obviously on the defensive. The elder 
informed me that the Watchtower published a 
financial statement every year in a publication 
entitled the Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses. I 
replied that I was familiar with the publication he 
was referring to and it didn't contain what I would 
call a financial statement. The information that the 
elder was alluding to in the Yearbook was a list of 
some expenditures made by the Society on behalf of 
the organization's traveling overseers and pioneers.

I explained to the elder that what I was curious 
about and wanted to see was a ledger of some type 
listing the annual amount of money taken in by the 
organization and all the monies paid out and what 
those expenditures were for. I further explained that 
I would also be interested in seeing a list of the 
Society's assets, to see what properties and other 
holdings they owned. I elaborated that these seemed 
like perfectly legitimate questions to me, that might 
be asked by anyone who solicited and personally 
made contributions to the organization.

By this time I perceived that the elder was 
becoming quite annoyed by my inquiries concerning 
the Watchtower's finances, and it occurred to me 
that he probably knew just as little about them as I 
did. In any event, the elder abruptly brought the 
matter to a close by sternly informing me that there 
had never been a "money scandal" in our organiza-
tion, such as there had been in the churches of 
Christendom. Furthermore, the elder strongly 
indicated to me that I probably shouldn't concern 
myself with such matters. I concluded that, in view 
of the elder's indignant and hostile attitude, it would 
probably be in my best interests simply to drop the 
subject. I was very much aware that, if my questions 
and comments were to be interpreted by the elders 
as "critical thinking" concerning Jehovah's organiza-
tion, I could be disfellowshipped once again. 
Inasmuch as the atmosphere had now become rather 
strained, a short time later we thanked our gracious 
host for the meal, and we took our leave.

 

Chap 9 

 

It was June of 1992, and it was once again time 
for the annual District Assembly of Jehovah's 
Witnesses held in Louisville, Kentucky. Linnie and I 
had been making plans for several months now, 
having made hotel reservations well in advance to 
ensure we would be able to get a room. There would 
be thousands of Jehovah's Witnesses assembled at 
one of the sports areas, to receive spiritually uplifting 
information and enlightenment. The program usual
ly consisted of the releasing of a new book produced 
by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, as well as 
public talks on a variety of Bible topics. They also 
customarily enacted dramas or plays, depicting 
various Bible characters acting out different stories.

I had been to assemblies a number of times in the 
past and I really didn't like attending them. Among 
other things, the seats were usually uncomfortable, 
the food served was atrocious, and I had an aversion 
to crowds. As the time for the assembly drew nearer, 
I began to dread attending, more and more.

One evening after our Tuesday night study, I 
inquired of the elder conducting the meeting, why we 
were required to attend all those assemblies. My 
questioning came as a result of the earlier proud 
announcement by of one of the sisters in attendance, 
that she had quit her job when her employer 
informed her that she couldn't be absent from work 
on the days the assembly was scheduled. The elder 
had commended the sister for her steadfast loyalty to 
Jehovah and the organization.

In an effort to reason with the elder, concerning 
the mandatory attendance of the assemblies, I stated 
that everything that takes place at the gatherings is 
recorded and published in subsequent issues of the 
Watchtower magazine. Therefore, if you're not able 
or don't want to attend, you really don't miss any
thing. The elder advised me the Scriptures clearly 
admonish Christians not to forsake the gathering of 
themselves together, as some have the custom of 
doing. Then, in an obvious effort to further intimi-
date me and those others listening, the elder stated 
that under the Hebrew Law those who failed to 
attend certain meetings were put to death. "That's 
just how serious the matter is."

This comparison with the ancient Mosaic Law and 
our possible failure to attend an assembly, in my 
opinion was ridiculous. I retorted to the elder's 
comment that, inasmuch as we gather ourselves at 
the five meetings every week, I failed to see how we 
could possibly be lacking in "gathering together." I 
then facetiously inquired of the elder, "Just who 
decides how much gathering we're supposed to do?"

Obviously failing to see any irony in my question, the 
elder staunchly replied, "The Faithful and Discreet 
Slave, of course," meaning the Governing Body of 
Jehovah's Witnesses. Once again, I could see that 
my questions and comments were irritating our 
Study Conductor to the point of anger, so I just 
dropped the subject. After a number of other 
encounters with the elders concerning questions that 
I had about the teachings of the organization, I began 
protesting to my wife that there was something very 
wrong with the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society 
of Jehovah's Witnesses. I couldn't put my finger on 
it yet, I informed her, but it was really bothering me.

It was like an itch that you couldn't scratch, and I 
was beginning to become very disturbed over the 
feelings I was experiencing. On one occasion, when I 
admitted to the elder studying with us that I 
sometimes had questions and doubts concerning 
some of the organization's beliefs, he advised me to 
just set my questions aside for a while. The elder 
assured me that, eventually, Jehovah would grant 
me understanding of those things, and that we all 
had doubts occasionally. I had been attempting to 
comply with the elder's suggestion. However, my 
questions and doubts had reached the point that I 
could no longer set them aside. I remembered that I 
had never had this problem before, when we had 
studied with the Witnesses years go. I had simply 
accepted what the Society had taught me, without 
question, and I wondered why this time it was so 
different.

Certainly I was older and more 
experienced, and perhaps all my years as a police 
officer caused me to be suspicious and not to accept 
things at face value. Whatever the reason for my 
misgivings, it was beginning to take its toll on my 
faith in the Watchtower organization. The time of the 
assembly in Louisville arrived, and even though I had 
no desire to attend, my wife and I dutifully made the 
long journey east to the big city. When we arrived at 
our hotel and checked in, we were very disappointed 
with our accommodations arranged for us by the 
Society.

In addition to the linen on our king-size bed 
being soiled, the carpet was full of cigarette burns 
and didn't appear as though it had ever been 
cleaned. The lamp hanging from the ceiling was 
dangling by one wire and wouldn't light when you 
turned on the switch. However, the worst of it was 
that the air conditioner was malfunctioning and 
wouldn't blow cold air. My wife and I would have 
preferred to try to find another hotel room. However, 
unfortunately because of the assembly being held in 
town, finding a vacancy elsewhere was not very 
likely, so we decided we would just have to make the 
best of a bad situation. That evening, while eating 
dinner in the hotel restaurant, we encountered a 
number of Witnesses from the Madisonville congre-
gation, and many of them were also very unhappy 
with their accommodations.

The next morning, we 
arose bright and early. The assembly was scheduled 
to start at 9:00 a.m., and we wanted to get there in 
advance of the crowd, to enable us to obtain seats -- 
preferably close to the front due to my hearing 
disability. Unfortunately, everyone else seemed to 
have the same idea. We had to park our car, what 
seemed like miles from the stadium, necessitating a 
long hot walk to the entrance. When we finally got 
inside, the only seats still available were high up in 
the bleacher section. I grumbled to my wife as we 
trekked up the steep ramps, that if I had known we 
were going to have to sit so far from where the 
program was taking place, I would have brought my 
binoculars. We finally found two seats together and, 
after squeezing our torsos into them, I mused to 
myself about how some of the overweight brothers 
and sisters were going to fare in these very small 
seats constructed so close together. I was glad when 
the meeting finally got underway and my attention 
was diverted from the already intense heat and our 
cramped and uncomfortable surroundings. As I 
recall, the program started off with a public talk.

After several different subjects were expounded 
upon, the speaker made a startling announcement 
that really shocked my sensibilities. This declaration 
he made brought about a turning point in my life 
that would eventually lead my wife and me out of the 
tangled and twisted web of Watchtower deceit for
ever. The speaker stated, "You brothers and sisters 
who have friends outside the organization that you 
have witnessed to, and they haven't accepted the 
'Truth,' you should now completely disassociate 
yourselves from these people." "After all," the speak
er continued, "bad associations, spoil useful habits."

That statement didn't surprise me too much, since 
the Witnesses felt that everyone outside the organi
zation was being led by Satan and shouldn't be 
associated with. However, then the speaker contin-
ued, "And you brothers and sisters who have family 
members that you have thoroughly witnessed to, and 
they haven't accepted the 'Truth,' you should now 
spend as little time as possible with them also." The 
speaker's statement almost caused me to stand in 
protest, and I looked around me, expecting an outcry 
from members of the audience. However, everyone 
just sat there quietly, some busily fanning them-
selves due to the heat, and others with a bored 
expression on their face. I couldn't believe the 
speaker had made such an incredible statement.

I leaned over to my wife and asked in a whisper if she 
had heard what the speaker had said, about spend-
ing as little time as possible with family members 
outside the "Truth." Linnie replied that she had 
heard and, sensing that the statement had annoyed 
me, attempted to "soft pedal" what the speaker had 
meant. Linnie clarified that the speaker's declaration 
didn't mean for us to totally shun our family mem
bers. We needed only to limit our time with them to 
necessary contact. My wife's interpreting for the 
speaker irritated me even further, and I couldn't 
believe that a person as intelligent and kind as my 
wife couldn't see this for what it was.

I sat through the remainder of the program in 
resolute silence, just waiting for the noon break for 
lunch. As soon as we were dismissed, Linnie and I 
returned to our hotel room to eat lunch and rest 
before the afternoon session began. During the drive 
to the hotel, I informed Linnie that I was outraged by 
the speaker's assertion that we spend as little time 
as possible with family members who were not 
Jehovah's Witnesses. I asked Linnie if she realized 
the full implications of what the speaker was 
advocating, inasmuch as we were the only Witnesses 
on either side of our family. It meant spending as 
little time as possible with our now grown sons, our 
beloved grandchildren, our parents, and all of our 
brothers and sisters. I reminded Linnie that a great 
deal of what was wrong in our society today was a 
result of the disintegration of the family unit, and I 
couldn't believe that any Christian organization 
would attempt to further alienate its followers from 
their families. After all, I further asserted, wasn't the 
family arrangement ordained by God, for the benefit 
of mankind? It also occurred to me -- and I related it 
to my wife -- that this business of isolating people 
from their families and friends outside of their 
religious group was a favorite tactic used by religious 
cults. With outside influences drastically limited, it 
is easier to control people. I recalled that 
"isolationism" was the same strategy used by the 
infamous Jim Jones and the resulting tragic 
Jonestown massacre.

After arriving at our hotel room I informed Linnie 
that I had no intention of returning to the assembly, 
and that I didn't want anything to do with a group or 
organization that advocated separation of the family.

I further advised Linnie that, if she wanted to take 
the car and return for the remainder of the assembly 
after the noon break, she could. However, I would 
wait at the hotel. Linnie advised me that she didn't 
want to go back to the assembly alone, so we decided 
to just pack up and drive home that afternoon. 
While we packed, I once again adamantly asserted 
my misgivings concerning the Watchtower Bible and 
Tract Society and repeated my earlier statement to 
my wife, that there was something terribly wrong 
with their organization.

However, what I failed to recognize until sometime 
later, was that this strategy of alienation of family 
members outside the organization of Jehovah's Wit
nesses was not a new revelation or teaching, as I had 
thought. I had not been exposed to the Watchtower 
and their doctrines for some time, during my period 
of disfellowshipping, and I had all but forgotten 
about their "Us and Them" mentality. I also recalled 
that this Watchtower policy had been more of an 
attitude and, until the assembly in Louisville, I had 
never heard it verbalized that I could remember. 
That was apparently why no one else seemed to be 
upset or offended by the statement, including my 
wife.

When we arrived back home in Madisonville, I 
informed my wife that I was going to undertake a 
thorough study of the Holy Scriptures on my own. I 
announced that I would no longer read or be 
influenced by the Watchtower publications or their 
teachings, in my search for the real 'Truth.' I then 
surreptitiously purchased a copy of the New 
International Version Study Bible and a Bible 
dictionary from a local bookstore. I still wasn't 
confident enough in my newly proclaimed 
independence to venture into a Bible bookstore, as I 
was still concerned about being seen by one of the 
Witnesses and turned in to the elders.

I continued to accompany my wife to the public 
talk at the Kingdom Hall on Sundays, and my 
feelings of paranoia made me wonder if any of the 
elders noticed that I was no longer carrying or using 
the New World Translation Bible to look up the 
scriptures referenced during the meeting. I knew 
that eventually someone would notice the New 
International Version Study Bible I was carrying, and 
I would be confronted by the elders. However, before 
the matter ever came to light, another very 
unexpected tragedy befell our family. My elderly 
stepmother, who lived in retirement in Port 
Charlotte, Florida, fell suddenly ill. My wife and I 
were required to travel there to be with her during 
her serious illness and remained to take care of 
family matters after her subsequent demise. It was 
during our extended visit to Florida that God very 
decisively intervened in our lives. The Lord took us 
by the hand and very lovingly began to lead us out of 
the darkness of Watchtower deception.

Chap 10

 

After my stepmother's unexpected death my wife 
and I set about taking care of various business 
matters that required attention. My stepmother's 
house in Port Charlotte had been willed to my sister 
and me jointly, and it was decided that we would 
attempt to sell it. Subsequently, it was determined 
that Linnie and I would move into the house 
temporarily and dispose of it ourselves, rather than 
placing it in the hands of a Realtor. This idea 
appealed to me for several reasons. We could save 
money on the Realtor's sales commission, and it 
would give us a long break from the Watchtower 
organization. Also, during this time, I could study 
my new Bible without the Society's influence, and I 
could even get away with not attending the meetings. 
However, after several weeks of absenting ourselves, 
Linnie's conscience began to bother her, so we 
located the closest Kingdom Hall and, for her benefit, 
started attending the Sunday morning public talks.
After being in Port Charlotte for some weeks, I was 
still laboring over the Watchtower Bible and Tract 
Society's claim of being God's organization. If the 
Society wasn't God's sole channel of communication, 
as they claimed, and they weren't teaching us the 
truth concerning Jehovah and His Word the Bible as 
I suspected, who was? The Watchtower had 
convinced us that if you left the organization there 
was nowhere to go. They had taught us that all of 
the other religions of the world were evil and 
satanically controlled. All of these nagging questions 
and pondering over the matter was causing me a 
great deal of stress and anxiety.

It was then that a very simple solution to the 
problem occurred to me. I would just ask God to 
resolve the issue for me. After all, I reasoned, why 
should I try to figure this all out on my own? I was 
sure that God wanted me to know the truth about 
Him, and furthermore, I was certain that the 
Supreme Sovereign of all the universe, who created 
man and the rest of heaven and earth, would have no 
problem in providing me with the answer to a simple 
question.

Also at this time I had a vague recollection of a 
book that I had heard about once, many years ago, 
that the Watchtower Society had sternly warned us 
not to read. They said the book had been written by 
an evil apostate who was attempting to draw a 
following to himself. The organization informed us 
that the reading of this corrupt book would be 
comparable to reading pornography in Jehovah's 
eyes. I remembered that the book had been written 
sometime back in the 1950's and was entitled 
something about being a slave to the Watchtower.
That was all I could recall concerning this elusive 
book, and I thought that since the Society forbade us 
to read it, there might be some information in it that 
could be useful to me in my quest for the truth. 
However, I concluded that the book had been written 
so long ago that I doubted I would be able to locate a 
copy of it. The publication in question was probably 
out of print by now, having been written thirty or 
forty years earlier, and I was amazed that I even 
remembered the Society's warning about the book. 
In any event, I decided at my first opportunity I 
would check the Port Charlotte Library and any old 
book stores that I could find, in an effort to locate a 
copy.

I began to pray every day that God would somehow 
place a copy of the forbidden apostate text in my 
hands and inform me in some manner if the 
Watchtower Bible and Tract Society was or wasn't 
His organization. I diligently appealed to God to 
reveal to me the truth. I also resolved to stop 
agonizing over my questions concerning the 
Watchtower Society of Jehovah's Witnesses and 
simply placed the matter entirely in God's hands.
Sometime laterÑit could have been days or it 
could have been a week or soÑmy wife and I were on 
our way to the shopping mall. As we drove north on 
U.S. 41A, the main thoroughfare in Port Charlotte, I 
spotted a large flea market set up on a vacant 
parking lot. I asked my wife if she wanted to stop to 
see what they had for sale. Linnie informed me that 
she wasn't interested and suggested that we just 
continue on to the mall. I advised Linnie that I was 
looking for some used tools that I needed at our 
temporary residence, and that it would only take a 
few minutes to check at the flea market to see if they 
had anything that I needed. I turned onto the 
parking lot and pulled our automobile directly in 
front of several tables laden with large stacks of 
books and magazines. As I exited the car I stepped 
up to the table in front of me and absent-mindedly 
picked up a red colored book from the top of one of 
the stacks. As I casually glanced down at the gold 
lettered title of the book, I was totally dumbfounded 
at what I read. The book was entitled Thirty Years a 
Watchtower Slave
 by W. J. Schnell. As soon as I 
was able to speak, I gasped for air and then shouted 
to my wife, who had wandered on across the parking 
lot, to "Come quick!"

After Linnie hurried to my side, I very excitedly 
showed her the publication I had found and informed 
her, "This is the book that I have been praying for." 
As I frantically waved the book in Linnie's face, I 
further excitedly announced, "It's here in my hand." 
I was in shock. There was no doubt in my mind that 
God had intervened and this was definitely the 
answer to my prayers.

However, Linnie didn't share my gleeful feelings, 
and she quickly informed me that I shouldn't 
purchase the book. In a disgusted sounding tone of 
voice, my wife informed me that the book was 
"apostate literature" and she didn't want anything to 
do with it. Linnie later confided in me that she was 
actually very frightened at the thought of my 
purchasing the book and bringing it into our house. 
This was due to the Watchtower teaching that 
possession of apostate writings could lead to 
problems with demons. However, nothing short of 
Armageddon could have dissuaded me from 
purchasing this book that I knew God had provided 
me with.

After finally regaining my composure, I asked the 
young woman selling the books how much money 
she wanted for the one I was holding in my hand. I 
didn't want to let go of the book and held it 
protectively to my chest. The girl's reply was, 
"Twenty-five cents." I chuckled maniacally to myself, 
as I groped in my pants pocket for change. I was 
sure by this time, due to my eccentric behavior, the 
young lady probably thought I was deranged. 
However, what the woman didn't know was that I 
would have paid a hundred dollars or even more to 
own that very special book.

After finally arriving back home, I read the book 
from cover to cover. It took me all that evening and 
almost all of the following day. What eye-opening 
information the book contained! The author William 
Schnell divulged a great many facts concerning the 
many "seedy" inter-workings and dishonest practices 
used in the establishing of the Watchtower Bible and 
Tract Society in its early years. Schnell's book 
thoroughly convinced me that the Watchtower 
organization was shrouded in lies and deceit and 
that it was more of a moneymaking scheme for those 
in control than a religious organization dedicated to 
teaching people about God and the Bible. It was 
little wonder that the Watchtower Society forbade its 
followers to examine this publication and the finding 
and reading of this book gave me the courage I 
needed to investigate further.

After Linnie and I had concluded our business in 
Port Charlotte, Florida, and returned home to 
Kentucky, I began to search the Bible bookstores. I 
found and read several more books concerning the 
Watchtower, authored by a former Jehovah's Witness 
elder by the name of David Reed. After studying 
these publications as well as several others by 
different authors, I arrived at the conclusion that the 
Society was nothing more than one of the false 
prophets that Jesus Christ had warned his followers 
against. I further determined that the members of 
the Governing Body of the Watchtower were wolves in 
sheep's clothing and the organization was just one of 
thousands of religious cults in the world. Now came 
the difficult part. I had to convince my wife.

I knew that it would be extremely difficult to 
convince my wife Linnie to consider any of the 
derogatory facts that I had uncovered about the 
Watchtower. At first, I attempted to get Linnie to 
read the books I had found. This was to no avail, as 
the Witnesses teach their disciples that it is a 
disloyal act to read anything critical of God's 
organization. Inasmuch as Linnie couldn't or 
wouldn't read the books for herself, I began to read 
them out loud in her presence. At the onset, Linnie 
pretended that she wasn't paying any attention. 
However, as time went on, I knew Linnie was 
listening, because occasionally she would refute 
something I read by quoting a Watchtower 
publication or their Bible. This reading and 
bantering back and forth went on for several days, 
until I finally reached the point of just giving up. I 
felt as though I just wasn't getting through to Linnie 
and I was simply wasting my time and energy. Then 
it hit me! In view of what had taken place in Florida 
concerning my finding the book by Schnell, the 
solution to my problem was obvious. I began to pray 
every day that God would open my wife's eyes and let 
her see the truth about the deceitful Watchtower 
organization.

Three or four days later Linnie and I were in the 
kitchen of our home, and she was preparing our 
evening meal. I decided that I would make one final 
attempt at convincing my wife that the Watchtower 
Society was not God's organization but was in fact a 
false prophet and a religious cult. I don't remember 
which book I was reading to Linnie from, or even 
what the subject matter was. However, I do 
remember very vividly the surprised and dismayed 
expression on her face. At the time, my wife was 
standing in front of the microwave oven, waiting for 
the timer bell to signal that the food she was cooking 
was finished.

Shortly after I began to read to her, Linnie very 
suddenly turned toward me wide eyed and aghast, 
and in a very excited tone of voice stated, "You're 
right, they lied to us. I can't believe itÑthey actually 
lied to us." My wife acted as though someone had 
just flipped a switch on in her head and she 
suddenly understood that the Watchtower had been 
deceiving her all these years. Linnie began pacing 
around the kitchen in somewhat of a daze, 
mumbling, "Oh my God, what do we do now?" and "I 
can't believe the Watchtower would ever lie to us. 
This is terrible." Obviously, my wife was disoriented 
and in a mild state of shock, and so was I after 
observing her reaction.

Once again, God had intervened in our lives, 
having very decisively revealed the truth to my wife, 
and I was witnessing my second unmistakable 
answer to a prayer.

From that point on, my wife seemed to lose her 
fear of the Watchtower and began to read the books I 
had found, for herself. The more Linnie studied, the 
more she became convinced that the religious beliefs 
that she had held to be "the Truth" all of her adult 
life were false. The so-called "Truth" of the 
Watchtower organization was nothing more than 
Bible verses taken out of context, half truths and 
damnable lies.

Chap 11

 

There were many things that we learned through 
our investigation of the Watchtower Society that 
assured us that the organization had been deceiving 
us. First and foremost were all the false prophecies 
made by the Watchtower Society. We knew that the 
Witnesses had mistakenly prophesied the end of the 
world in 1975, because we were part of the 
organization at the time. However, what we didn't 
know was that Charles Taze Russell and the Watch-
tower Society he later founded had made that same 
false prophecy on at least six previous occasions: 
first in 1874, then in 1878, again in 1910, 1914, 
1918 and 1925.

According to the books we read, many of their 
followers were badly hurt because of these false 
prophecies made by the organization's leaders. Some 
sold their homes and farms, depleted their savings 
and liquidated other assets to enable them to go on 
the road pioneering for the organization. These poor 
souls had erroneously concluded that the New 
System would soon be established, ending all of their 
problems. Linnie and I had observed, first hand, 
some of the same reactions to the false prophecy of 
1975.

These false prophecies of the Watchtower were not 
only physically harmful to their adherents; they were 
spiritually harmful as well. I had experienced the 
resulting spiritual abuse of the Society myself when 
their 1975 prophecy failed and it caused me to lose 
my faith in God. I was convinced, at the time, that 
the Watchtower spoke for God, and when their 
prediction for the end of the world failed in 1975, it 
was basically the same as God lying or committing 
an error. Either way, I concluded that God could no 
longer be trusted. Because of the mass exodus from 
the Society in 1976, I am sure there were many 
others who had arrived at the same conclusion I had.
Naturally, the Watchtower Society attempted to 
explain away their failures with a number of flimsy 
excuses and arguments. However, the indisputable 
fact remained, that the organization was guilty of 
making numerous false prophecies, condemning 
them in the eyes of God. Deuteronomy 18:20-22 
states, "But a prophet who presumes to speak in my 
name anything I have not commanded him to say, or 
a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, 
must be put to death. You may say to yourselves, 
ÔHow can we know when a message has not been 
spoken by the LORD?' If what a prophet proclaims in 
the name of the LORD does not take place or come 
true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. 
That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not 
be afraid of him."

The next shocking revelation our investigation 
revealed was the Watchtower's counterfeit Bible, the 
New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. The 
Society translated its own version of the Holy 
Scriptures in the 1950's, making additions, deletions 
and changes as necessary to support their 
unorthodox doctrines and beliefs. Further, the 
Watchtower Society refuses to identify the members 
of the Translating Committee for their Bible, stating 
that they wish the credit for their great literary work 
to go to God, rather than men. However, the obvious 
reason they wish the members of the Translating 
Committee to remain anonymous is that they do not 
have the linguistic credentials for such an 
undertaking.

We found out from a book entitled Crisis of 
Conscience, written by former Jehovah's Witness 
Governing Body member Raymond Franz, that the 
Translating Committee consisted of Nathan Knorr, 
Frederick Franz, Albert Schroeder, and George 
Gangas. According to Franz, none of the 
aforementioned members of the Watchtower Society 
had any formal educational background in the 
original ancient Bible languages. The only exception 
being Frederick Franz, who is reported to have 
studied modern Greek for two years in college and 
claimed to be self-taught in Hebrew. In addition, we 
viewed a video tape entitled "Witnesses of Jehovah," 
produced by Jeremiah Films, that contained the 
testimony of Dr. J. R. Mantey, an eminent Greek 
scholar. Some of Dr. Mantey's statements 
concerning the New World Translation were "A 
shocking mistranslation," "Is biased and deceptive," 
"Deliberately changed words, to support their 
doctrines," "Obsolete," "Can't get the truth from it," 
etc.

According to other Bible scholars there are over 
three hundred translating errors in the New World 
Translation Bible that appear to have been done 
deliberately, in an effort to support Watchtower 
doctrines and teachings. Also of interest is the fact 
that the Society has often quoted a former Catholic 
priest by the name of Johannes Greber in support of 
their erroneous translation of the Bible. In a book 
entitled What You Need To Know About Jehovah's 
Witnesses by Lorri MacGregor, we found that 
Johannes Greber was a person who dealt in the 
occult and his wife was a spirit medium. As all 
Jehovah's Witnesses are aware, dabbling in the 
occult and spiritism is in direct violation of God's 
law. Leviticus 19:31 states, "Do not turn to mediums 
or seek out spiritists; for you will be defiled by them."
Another startling disclosure our investigation 
revealed, from several different sources, was that the 
founder and first President of the Watchtower Bible 
and Tract Society, Charles Taze Russell, used 
measurements from the Great Pyramid of Egypt to 
arrive at some of his erroneous prophetic dates. A 
book entitled Jehovah's Witness Literature written by 
David A. Reed and the video entitled Witnesses of 
Jehovah produced by Jeremiah Films both detail 
how Russell arrived at specific dates for the end of 
the world and the Battle of Armageddon through 
some of the internal measurements of the Great 
Pyramid of Jeezeh. Each inch, according to Russell, 
represented a year in mankind's history, and he 
regarded the Pyramid as the second greatest witness 
of God, the first being the Bible. According to our 
information, Russell died in 1916 and was buried 
with his tombstone adjacent to a replica of the 
Pyramid, which served to identify a section of the 
graveyard set aside for Watchtower headquarters 
staff.

The person who succeeded Russell as the second 
president of the Watchtower Society was Joseph F. 
Rutherford. He was an attorney who embellished his 
credibility by giving himself the title of "Judge." 
Rutherford reportedly usurped the presidency of the 
Watchtower organization through legal maneuvering 
and seized power after forcibly removing four 
opposing members of the Board of Directors. They 
were replaced by Rutherford's own loyal supporters. 
President Rutherford, who apparently had expensive 
tastes, had a mansion built in San Diego, California 
in 1930 and christened it "Beth Sarim." In Hebrew 
"Beth Sarim" means "House of the Princes."

According to our information Rutherford very 
deceptively informed his followers that this mansion 
was being constructed to house Abraham, Isaac and 
Jacob, as well as "other worthies of old" upon their 
resurrection from the dead. This resurrection, 
according to Rutherford, was to take place at any 
time. Rutherford even went so far as to place the 
deed to the mansion in the name of Abraham, Isaac 
and Jacob. However, in the meantime, guess who 
resided at the palatial estate during the winter 
months, no doubt to avoid the sub-zero weather in 
Brooklyn, New York, with two sixteen cylinder 
Cadillac automobiles at his disposal? If you guessed 
President Rutherford, you guessed correctly. 
Rutherford died at "Beth Sarim" in 1941.

In our continuing investigation, not only did we 
find numerous false prophecies and other deceptions 
perpetrated by the Watchtower Bible and Tract 
Society, but we also found they pave the way for their 
followers to tell lies, camouflaged as "theocratic war 
strategy." For example, the Watchtower magazine of 
May 1, 1957, page 285, states: "Did she tell a lie? 
No, she did not. She was not a liar. Rather, she was 
using theocratic war strategy, hiding the truth by 
action and word for the sake of the ministry." In the 
Watchtower magazine of June 1, 1960, page 352, it 
states that "for the purpose of protecting the 
interests of God's cause, it is proper to hide the truth 
from God's enemies." And again in a Watchtower 
publication entitled Aid to Bible Understanding, page 
1061, it states in part, "While malicious lying is 
definitely condemned in the Bible, this does not 
mean that a person is under obligation to divulge 
truthful information to people who are not entitled to 
it."

Even though the majority of the average rank and 
file Jehovah's Witnesses are scrupulously truthful, 
the Watchtower's teaching concerning "theocratic 
war strategy" is sometimes abused, perhaps mis
interpreted by some individuals purposely, to enable 
them to further their own objectives or those they 
perceive to be the Society's. For example, one of the 
Witnesses that I have talked with recently in 
confidence informed me that he knows the truth 
concerning the majority of erroneous Watchtower 
doctrines, but he and his wife are afraid to leave the 
organization or speak out because he knows they 
would be disfellowshipped for apostasy. This would 
place them outside the organization and hence 
among God's enemies. If that were to happen, his 
children, who are prominent in the congregation and 
zealously dedicated to the Society, not only would 
shun him and his wife, but they would also not allow 
them any contact with their beloved grandchildren. 
For that reason, they were remaining in the organi-
zation. I informed this former brother that in the 
State of Kentucky there are now laws that protect 
grandparents' rights, and that he could take his 
children to court, if necessary, to secure visitation 
privileges with his grandchildren. The former 
brother shocked me by informing me, that wouldn't 
work because his children were so "brainwashed" 
and loyal to the organization that they would use 
"theocratic strategy" to keep him and his wife from 
seeing their grandchildren. The former brother 
further elaborated that his children wouldn't hesitate 
to lie, under oath in a court of law, perhaps 
fabricating charges of neglect or abuse by the 
grandparents to keep them from ever seeing their 
grandchildren again.

During our study of the history of the Watchtower 
and its ever-changing doctrines and sometimes 
bizarre interpretations of the Bible, it became 
abundantly clear to Linnie and me that the Watch
tower's teachings can be very hazardous to your 
health, and for some they have been deadly. For 
example, between the years of 1931 and 1952, 
Jehovah's Witnesses were forbidden to be vaccinated. 
It was the Watchtower's interpretation at the time, 
that the Bible forbade persons or their children to be 
vaccinated against the prevailing diseases of the era, 
equating it with the eating of blood. However, in 
1952 according to the Watchtower organization "new 
truth" or "new light" -- as they call their ever-changing 
doctrines -- surfaced, and it became acceptable for 
Witnesses to be immunized.

Then between 1967 and 1980, the Watchtower 
decreed that organ transplants were akin to canni
balism and they, too, were forbidden. Then, once 
again, "new light" flashed up and in 1980 it became 
"a matter of conscience," meaning that Witnesses 
might decide the matter for themselves. Discovering 
this incredible information made us wonder just how 
much misery, pain and death was inflicted on 
Watchtower followers because of these faulty inter
pretations of the Bible. Jehovah's Witnesses' con
stant shifting and changing of doctrines also makes 
one wonder how soon the Watchtower will change its 
stand on blood transfusions. Perhaps never. One 
book we read put forth the idea that so many 
Witnesses have died as a result of refusing blood, 
that the Society may never have the courage to 
reverse its erroneous ruling on this issue.

Also in our investigation I found some interesting 
figures relating to the Watchtower's finances. Some 
time ago, I had asked one of the elders in our 
congregation if the Society published a financial 
statement for its members. The response I received 
was one of suspicious indignation. However, in a 
publication entitled Comments from the Friends 
written by David A. Reed, I found information 
indicating that the Watchtower Bible and Tract 
Society is wealthier than I could ever have imagined. 
The figures I found are far from being a complete 
financial statement, but they are revealing nonethe
less. The publication stated, "The Watchtower head
quarters complex in the Brooklyn Heights section of 
New York City consists of more than thirty buildings 
with a current real estate value of $186 million."

This is only the Watchtower holdings in Brooklyn, 
New York. Keeping in mind that the Society is an 
international organization, I am sure they have 
property and other holdings all over the world.
Also from the same publication I found figures 
taken from a credit reporting service that states the 
annual sales for the Watchtower Bible and Tract 
Society of New York, Inc. for 1991 was 
$1,248,000,000.00. According to the report, this 
was up $1/4 billion from just over $1 billion in 1990. 
The article went on to relate, "The figures, not 
published for the sect's members, are evidently 
provided to credit reporting services, so that the 
firms doing business with the Society will extend 
credit."

After finding this information, naturally my 
original question resurfaced in my mind. Inasmuch 
as the Watchtower Society doesn't provide medical 
care for the indigent, shelter for the homeless or help 
to feed the starving millions of the world, what are 
they doing with the vast fortune they have obviously 
accumulated through the efforts of their followers?.

In all of our revealing research and investigation 
concerning the Watchtower Society, what really 
angered me the most, was when I came to the 
realization of the diabolically clever way in which the 
Society causes the majority of its follower's to 
actually reject Jesus Christ's sacrifice made for 
them. The Watchtower Society taught us that there 
are two classes of Christians: the "144,000" or 
"anointed" class, and the "other sheep" class that 
makes up the majority of their followers. Only the 
"144,000" or "anointed" class, who will go to heaven 
to reign with Christ, are deemed worthy to celebrate 
the annual "Lord's Evening Meal" and partake of the 
bread and wine that Jesus used to symbolize his 
body and blood.

Every year, for many years, when the bread and 
wine cup were passed to me, because of what the 
Watchtower had taught us I refused to partake and 
simply passed it on to the person sitting next to me. 
After studying the Bible without the Society's faulty 
interpretation, I determined that there are no 
distinctions among Christ's followers and the 
ordinance that Jesus gave to "keep doing this in 
remembrance of me," was directed to all Christians.

I was devastated when I realized that the Watchtower 
had in effect, caused me to symbolically reject Jesus' 
wonderful and loving sacrifice for me. I felt as 
though I had been pushing Christ away from me all 
those years, and I was conscience stricken.
Linnie and I had been home from Florida for 
several weeks, and because of the many derogatory 
things we had learned concerning the Watchtower 
organization, we both decided that we wouldn't 
return to the Kingdom Hall. I advised my wife that if 
any of the elders should inquire as to why we weren't 
attending the meetings, we would simply inform 
them that we didn't want to discuss the matter.

After all, I reasoned, this is still a free country and 
the Watchtower Society doesn't own us. The fact of 
the matter was, even with all the faultfinding 
information that our investigation had revealed about 
the Watchtower, proving to our satisfaction that they 
were not God's organization, we still felt intimidated 
by them. My wife especially felt apprehensive 
concerning any confrontation with the elders, due to 
her life long association with the organization. Until 
just recently, Linnie believed with all her heart that 
the Watchtower spoke for Jehovah and any confron
tation with the elders, would be comparable to 
defying God.

It wasn't very long until one afternoon, one of the 
elders pulled into our driveway. My wife was busily 
engaged in sweeping the front porch, as the elder 
walked up the steps and very unceremoniously 
demanded to know why we hadn't been attending the 
meetings. The elder accusingly informed my wife, 
that he had observed our car in our driveway on 
several occasions, revealing that we had returned 
from Florida several weeks earlier. Linnie very 
timidly advised the elder, that I was in the house and 
that he should discuss the matter with me. I had 
noticed the elder walk up to the porch and I was now 
waiting for him in the living room.
As the elder entered the house, I greeted him and 
invited him to sit on the couch opposite me. In a 
very stern and unfriendly tone of voice, the elder 
once again demanded to know why we hadn't been 
attending the meetings. I politely informed him that 
I would rather not discuss it with him. Refusing to 
accept my unwillingness to discuss the matter, the 
elder continued pressing the issue, until I finally 
informed him that we had some questions about the 
organization that we just couldn't resolve. The elder 
smugly replied, "If you think you know something 
that's wrong about the Society, don't you think that 
sharing it with the rest of us would be the kind and 
loving thing to do." Feeling myself becoming more 
and more annoyed by the elder's insistence, I finally 
blurted out that, "One of the problems is that the 
Watchtower organization takes the place of Jesus 
Christ in its followers' lives, amounting to worship of 
the Watchtower." At this blatant accusation of 
idolatry, the elder was obviously outraged. His face 
turned red and twisted with anger, as he slowly and 
deliberately replied, "I don't worship the Watchtower.

I worship Jehovah!" The elder jumped to his feet and 
as he walked toward the front door, he mumbled, "I 
guess this conversation is over," and out the door he 
went. Well, so much for "sharing information," I 
thought to myself. It then became abundantly clear 
to me that we were not going to be able to simply 
walk away from the Watchtower organization. They 
weren't going to let us.

Sure enough, the very next evening, two other 
elders from the congregation showed up at the front 
door wanting to talk with us. After inviting them in, I 
informed the elders that because of a great deal of 
derogatory information that my wife and I had 
uncovered, concerning the Society, we could no 
longer believe that it was God's organization. In fact, 
we had no intention of ever returning to the Kingdom 
Hall. I then confronted the elders with all of the 
Society's past false prophecies. The only response 
they had was to laugh off my accusation and remark, 
"We don't call ourselves prophets." I didn't argue the 
point, even though I knew that the Witnesses had 
referred to themselves as "Prophets" many times in 
their publications. The organization also claimed to 
speak for God. However, when their utterances were 
proven false, they would expect their followers to 
simply overlook it by claiming that, after all, they 
were just human and therefore weak and imperfect.
One of the elders then asked me if I remembered 
what the Apostle Peter said to Jesus when all of 
Jesus' disciples were deserting him. Jesus asked 
Peter if he was going to leave him too. Peter's reply 
was, "Where would I go Lord; you have sayings of 
everlasting life". I thought it was ludicrous that the 
elder would make such a flimsy attempt to convince 
me that I shouldn't leave the organization because 
there was nowhere to go, by quoting a Scripture so 
obviously out of context. I informed the elder that 
the Apostle Peter was talking to the Lord Jesus 
Christ, not to the Watchtower Bible and Tract 
Society. I also advised the elders that was another 
problem we had with the Society: the fact that the 
Witnesses were required to give to the Watchtower 
organization their loyalty and obedience that right
fully belonged to Jesus Christ.

The elders made no reply to my verbal assault and, 
after looking at the floor for several seconds, asked 
me if I would be willing to give them a letter detailing 
for them why I was leaving the organization. I 
informed them that I didn't know if I would or not. I 
would discuss the matter with my wife and get back 
with them. The elders then informed me that if we 
refused to give them a letter of disassociation, they 
would need to have a hearing before a judicial 
committee and we would be disfellowshipped for 
apostasy. I replied, that if they had a hearing we 
wouldn't brother to attend, as it sounded as though 
they had already judged us guilty and sentenced us. 
I then asked the elders if my wife and I were to give 
them letters disassociating ourselves from the 
organization, would we then be disfellowshipped 
also? The elders replied that we would. I countered 
with, "So it doesn't really matter if we give you a 
letter or not; we will be disfellowshipped in any event.

The elders looked at each other momentarily, then 
one of them smugly replied, "That is correct."
As soon as the elders had left, my wife went to the 
kitchen and pulled several large garbage bags from 
the cupboard and proceeded to our bedroom. When I 
walked after her in an attempt to discuss what had 
just taken place with the elders, I found Linnie 
throwing all of the many years of accumulated 
Watchtower books and magazines into the garbage 
bags. When I inquired about what she was doing, 
Linnie replied that "it's time to get rid of all this junk.

They've been taking up valuable space long enough." 
I couldn't believe my eyes. My wife had always 
regarded all of the old books and back issues of the 
Watchtower and Awake! magazines with an almost 
"reverence," refusing to discard any of them. In the 
past, when I had suggested we throw out some of the 
older Watchtower publications, to allow us more 
space on our bulging bookshelves, Linnie had always 
protested that we might need to refer back to them 
sometime. I began helping my wife, and within a 
short time, we had piled all of the hundreds of 
Watchtower books and magazines into our garbage 
bags and removed them to the trash dumpster at the 
back of the house. The removal of all the Watch
tower's false religious publications from our home 
was a very therapeutic experience, and afterward 
Linnie and I both felt "cleansed".

After appropriately disposing of all our Watchtower 
publications, my wife and I talked matters over and 
decided that even though we were "fed up" with being 
bullied by the Watchtower Society, we would rather 
quit than be kicked out. So we decided to give them 
the letters they had requested. Linnie and I both sat 
down and composed letters advising the the Watch
tower Bible and Tract Society that we no longer 
wished to be associated with their organization, and 
some of the reasons for our decision. I put the 
letters in the mail that evening, to the home address 
of one of the elders, thereby terminating our almost 
three decades of affiliation with the Watchtower Bible 
and Tract Society of Jehovah's Witnesses. The big 
question now was, Where do we go from here?

Chap 12

 

The first feeling that we experienced after severing 
our ties with the Watchtower organization was a 
great sense of relief and freedom. Linnie and I both 
felt as though a great millstone had been removed 
from around our necks. God had graciously shown 
us the truth about the Watchtower organization, and 
the truth had set us free. Free from attending 
numerous boring meetings, parroting repetitious 
questions and answers, in an effort to "brainwash" 
ourselves with false Watchtower doctrines. Free from 
guilt feelings for failing to spend sufficient time in 
service, propagating the Society's erroneous 
teachings from door to door like some itinerant 
peddlers. Free from the monotonous required 
reading of all the many books, magazines and other 
publications of the Society. Free to read any 
translation of the Bible on our own, without the 
faulty interpretation of the Watchtower. And we were 
free to socialize and associate with whomever we 
chose. But most of all, we were now free to pursue 
our worship of Almighty God in Spirit and truth, and 
that's what we were determined to do.

It wasn't long after leaving the organization that 
Linnie and I began to experience feelings of remorse 
concerning people that we may have favorably 
influenced or deceived on behalf of the Watchtower 
Society and its flawed teachings. We decided that 
family members, neighbors and persons we had 
studied the Bible with should be informed of our 
decision to disassociate ourselves from the Witness 
organization and our reasons for doing so. Linnie 
and I were very fortunate that neither our grown 
children nor any other family members had accepted 
the Society's teachings. We knew that we would be 
disfellowshipped by the organization any day now, 
and if we had family members in the Watchtower, 
they would be required to shun us as well.

It was just a short time after we had mailed our 
letters of disassociation that it became apparent that 
we had been disfellowshipped. Linnie and I were 
shopping one day at a local grocery store, when we 
met an acquaintance from the Kingdom Hall. Since I 
had been disfellowshipped for smoking some years 
before, I knew what to expect and was prepared for 
what happened next. However, my wife Linnie had 
never experienced the humiliation and the feelings of 
rejection at being shunned.

As we passed the former sister in one of the 
grocery aisles, my wife threw up her hand in a 
friendly gesture and said, "Hello." The former sister 
didn't so much as "bat an eye," and she hurriedly 
pushed her shopping cart on past us, while looking 
right through Linnie as though she wasn't even 
there. The former sister didn't smile, gesture or utter 
a word. This experience was very upsetting for 
Linnie, and after this had happened to her on several 
occasions, she just couldn't contain her feelings of 
hurt and repudiation by these people she had known 
and associated with in brotherly love for many years.

After one incident in particular, when Linnie was 
snubbed by a woman that she had considered a close 
friend for twenty years, she came home, went in and 
closed the bedroom door and cried for a very long 
time. I tried to comfort my wife and we discussed 
how we should feel pity for these poor misguided, 
uninformed souls, rather than anger. The Watch-
tower's disfellowshipping of us for apostasy was just 
their very clever way of keeping us from informing 
our former brothers and sisters of all the detrimental 
information we had uncovered about the Society.

 

It was then that we decided we would write a letter 
to everyone in the congregation, setting forth the 
reasons for our leaving the Watchtower organization. 
We knew that they had been instructed not to read 
anything from us "apostates." However, if we left the 
return address off the envelope, they would probably 
open it before they realized who it was from. Hope-
fully, human nature and curiosity would prevail, and 
even though they were forbidden to read the letter, 
perhaps some of them would. It was worth a try, in 
any event, and we wanted our former friends and 
associates to know that we hadn't done anything evil 
or wicked, and we felt a Christian obligation to warn 
them about the Watchtower's deceptive and false 
teachings.

Our letter was four pages long, and we managed to 
obtain the addresses of seventy out of approximately 
one hundred members of the Madisonville Congrega-
tion. Unfortunately, we never received any responses 
to the letters we sent, and we continue to include the 
Witnesses in our daily prayers. We are hopeful that 
God will someday open their eyes and set them free 
from their enslavement to the Watchtower, just as He 
did us.

Linnie and I continued our study of various trans-
lations of the Bible, as well as other books that we 
had found about Jehovah's Witnesses, trying to 
figure out what we should do now concerning our 
spiritual life and our worship of God. It would have 
been plausible at this point to simply put our 
unsavory experience with religion and the Watch-
tower Society behind us and, as one well-meaning 
relative advised, "Just get on with your lives." If we 
turned our backs on our Creator now, we would be 
playing right into the hands of the Watchtower 
organization and Satan the Devil himself. That's 
what they wanted us to do, and we were determined 
that they weren't going to destroy our faith in God.
Another problem we were experiencing at this 
point was that no one really understood what we had 
been through. The few friends we had outside the 
organization, and our families, really couldn't 
empathize with us, never having been members of a 
religious cult and never having been deceived and 
mistreated the way we had been. Linnie and I kept 
lamenting to one another that "they just don't 
understand."

Inasmuch as all of Linnie's friends had been Wit-
nesses, she was becoming very lonely and wondered 
if there were any other former Jehovah's Witnesses 
living in our area that we could talk with. Linnie and 
I had just finished reading a book entitled Why We 
Left A Religious Cult
 by Latayne C. Scott. The book 
contained the experiences of six different former cult 
members. The one that interested Linnie the most 
was written by a lady named Joan Cetnar. Joan and 
her husband Bill had been reared as Jehovah's 
Witnesses, and they too had left the Society after 
observing the hypocrisy, mind control techniques 
and deceptive teachings of the organization.

According to the book, Joan Cetnar was presently 
residing in Kunkletown, Pennsylvania, and I encour-
aged Linnie to call her on the telephone. Joan was 
very kind and understanding, and it helped my wife a 
great deal, just talking to someone who was sym-
pathetic and really understood our situation. Joan 
also informed my wife that there was a former Jeho-
vah's Witness living in our area, by the name of Paul 
Blizzard. Joan further informed Linnie that Paul and 
his wife Pat were former third generation Jehovah's 
Witnesses, and that Paul was now a Baptist minister 
pastoring the Reidland Baptist Church just outside 
Paducah, Kentucky. A week or so later, Linnie and I 
decided to pay an unannounced visit to Paul 
Blizzard, to see if he could counsel us or give us any 
advice on what we should do. Inasmuch as Paul 
Blizzard was now a Baptist minister, it occurred to 
me, perhaps that was the true Christian faith we 
should be following.

It was Saturday morning, and it was only about 
seventy-five miles from Madisonville to Paducah. We 
arrived around noon and, after eating lunch at a 
restaurant on the Parkway, we obtained Paul 
Blizzard's telephone number from information, and 
my wife called him from a pay phone. Linnie intro-
duced herself and explained to Paul that we were 
former Jehovah's Witnesses who had just left the 
Watchtower organization and that Joan Cetnar had 
recommended that we get in touch with him. Paul 
very graciously invited us to meet him at his church 
and gave us directions on how to get there. Our 
meeting with Paul was very warm and friendly and 
lasted for approximately four hours. It helped Linnie 
and me to meet and talk with someone who really 
understood what we had experienced and were now 
feeling. The only problem we had with our visit was 
that Linnie still had a real fear of being inside a 
church and, upon entering the building, broke out in 
a cold sweat, and she later confided in me that she 
felt uncomfortable almost the entire time we were 
there.

Paul had no "earth shaking" revelations of truth to 
relate to us concerning our worship of God, now that 
we were free from the Watchtower Society. However, 
Paul did help us a great deal, simply by sharing his 
experience with us concerning Jehovah's Witnesses 
and by confirming the unsavory information that we 
had already uncovered about the organization. Also, 
Paul didn't attempt to portray the Baptist denomina-
tion as being "the only way," as I suspected that he 
might. Instead, his advice to us was to keep 
studying God's Word the Bible and praying. Paul 
assured us that, if we allowed ourselves to be led by 
God's Spirit, He would guide us to where He wanted 
us to worship and let us know what He wanted us to 
do.

In addition to the sound advice, Paul put us in 
touch with a fellow Christian by the name of Joe 
Kreisle, who resides in Hawsville, Kentucky, not far 
from Madisonville. At the time of our meeting, Joe 
was in the process of starting a support group for 
former Jehovah's Witnesses and for persons who 
have family members trapped in the Witness organi-
zation. Attending the support group meetings was 
very helpful, and it was interesting comparing 
experiences and sharing information with other 
former Witnesses like ourselves. However, we were 
shocked at some of the stories of misconduct and 
immorality on the part of some of our former 
brothers and sisters of the Watchtower. For an 
organization that claims to be and portrays itself to 
the world as "morally clean," "God's organization," 
"God's people," etc., there seemed to be quite a bit of 
evidence to the contrary.

In support group meetings as well as other gather-
ings for former Witnesses we attended, Linnie and I 
heard numerous heart wrenching stories. One was
related by a woman whose husband was an elder in 
the congregation who had abandoned her and their
small children for another woman. A divorce followed
with the elder subsequently refusing to contribute
anything to his ex-wife or their children's financial
support. All during this flagrant immoral behavior
on the part of the elder, he remained a member in
good standing with the Watchtower organization.

Another incident involved a young man who
became enamored with a married woman in their
congregation. After a brief affair the young man
became conscience stricken because of his indecent
actions and after breaking off his illicit relationship,
he approached one of the elders, seeking advice and
solace. Upon confessing his sin, the young man was
harshly rebuked by the elder and informed that he
would probably be disfellowshipped. The distraught
young man committed suicide that night.

Another woman, who had been married to an elder 
in her congregation, reported tales of drunken physi-
cal and verbal abuse from her husband, who was 
also a "closet cigarette smoker." Upon reporting the 
violent actions of her husband to the other elders in 
the congregation, in an effort to obtain assistance, 
the woman was informed that she was causing the 
problems in their marriage and that she should be 
obedient to her husband. The abused woman was 
now divorced and had been disfellowshipped by the 
organization.

After being a police officer for almost twenty years 
and dealing with other people's problems daily, I 
realized that there are always at least two sides to 
every story. In all fairness, we had heard only one 
side. However, these sordid accounts, as well as 
others, caused me to conclude that the moral 
character and integrity of Jehovah's Witnesses as a 
group was certainly no different than any other. You 
always find both good people and bad people in every 
group or segment of society, and apparently that was 
also true of the Witnesses.

All during this time, Linnie and I were attending a 
different Christian denomination or church every 
Sunday, and we purchased a book entitled Hand-
book of Denominations
 in the United States by Frank 
S. Mead. Linnie and I attended the services at the 
church selected and then went home and read what 
that particular denomination professed to believe. 
We attended eighteen different churches in all and 
found the experience to be educational and spiritual-
ly uplifting in most cases. One of the important 
things we learned from attending so many different 
churches was that the people of "Christendom," as 
they are referred to by the Watchtower, are very kind 
and there is so much more unconditional love and 
acceptance in the churches than in the Watchtower 
organization. Everywhere we went, we were wel-
comed and treated with genuine warmth and affec-
tion. This was a welcome change after the authori-
tarian and unloving treatment accorded us by the 
Watchtower Society. The Witnesses had always 
inculcated in our minds the notion that if we ever left 
the organization there was nowhere to go. We 
discovered first hand that this was just another 
deception promoted by the Watchtower in an effort to 
vilify the churches of Christianity and keep Jeho-
vah's Witnesses enslaved.

Linnie and I found that studying the Bible without 
the Watchtower's influence gave us an entirely dif-
ferent scenario. We were both particularly amazed at 
how the Bible supports the churches' teaching that 
Jesus was in fact God Himself in the flesh. The 
Witnesses denied the deity of Jesus Christ and had 
taught us that Jesus was not Almighty God, but 
rather Michael the Archangel sent to earth to redeem 
mankind. After making this discovery, it became 
obvious to us that, in the true sense, Jehovah's Wit-
nesses are not even "Christians." They are not 
followers and worshippers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It also became apparent that the Watchtower 
organization is guilty of teaching "another gospel," 
which was soundly denounced by the Apostle Paul in 
his letter to the Galatians. Chapter One, verses six 
through ten, states: "I am astonished that you are so 
quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace 
of Christ and are turning to a different gospel which 
is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are 
throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert 
the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from 
heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we 
preached to you, let him be eternally condemned."

The Watchtower magazine of May 1, 1981 flagrantly, 
almost boastfully admits to preaching another gospel 
and states in part: "Let the honest-hearted person 
compare the kind of preaching of the gospel of the 
Kingdom done by the religious systems of Christen-
dom during all the centuries with that done by Jeho-
vah's Witnesses since the end of World War I in 
1918. They are not one and the same kind. That of 
Jehovah's Witnesses is really 'gospel' or 'good news,' 
as of God's heavenly Kingdom that was established 
by the enthronement of Jesus Christ at the end of 
the Gentile Times in 1914." This gospel of the 
Watchtower certainly is different from the simple 
message of the death, burial and resurrection of 
Jesus Christ taught by Christianity as the gospel, 
since its inception. This information, in turn, 
brought us to the further conclusion that the Watch-
tower Society is an "apostate" organization, in that 
Jehovah's Witnesses have fallen away from the 
original true teachings of Jesus Christ and His 
Apostles. Also, just as the Pharisees of Jesus' day, 
the Watchtower falsely teaches its followers that 
taking in knowledge is required for everlasting life.

However, Jesus informed these teachers of the Law 
in the Book of John, Chapter Five, verses thirty-nine 
and forty, that "You diligently study the Scriptures, 
because you think that by them you possess eternal 
life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me. 
Yet you refuse to come to me to have life."

We were further amazed to learn that it isn't the 
name of Jehovah we should be calling on, as the 
Watchtower has erroneously taught us all these 
years. In the Book of Philippians, Chapter Two, 
verses nine through eleven, it teaches very clearly: 
"Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and 
gave him the name that is above every name, that at 
the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven 
and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue 
confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God 
the Father."

It was the proper understanding of the aforemen-
tioned scriptures, as well as many others, and 
information provided by former Jehovah's Witnesses, 
that brought Linnie and me to the realization that 
the only way to true salvation and eternal life was, 
not through any organization or any good works or 
service we might perform, or how much Bible know-
ledge we acquired. It is simply a free gift out of 
unconditional love, just for the asking from our 
heavenly Father.

Not long after separating ourselves from the 
apostate Watchtower organization in April of 1993, 
Linnie and I sat together in the privacy of our home, 
held hands, and prayed for Jesus Christ to come into 
our hearts and become the Lord of our lives. Words 
cannot express the overwhelming sense of freedom 
and love we experienced in coming to Christ. We 
know now that we are completely free from the 
pseudo-Christian cult of Jehovah's Witnesses 
forever, and we are happier now than we have ever 
been in our lives. Linnie and I are both very grateful 
to our Lord Jesus Christ for intervening in our behalf 
and permitting us to escape the religious cult of 
Jehovah's Witnesses.

One of the many important things we learned from 
our experience of being liberated from the Watch-
tower organization was that God provided me with 
evidence divulging the truth about Jehovah's 
Witnesses, only after I had turned the matter entirely 
over to Him. It was when I finally realized and 
admitted that I was totally and completely dependent 
on God and that I should be relying on Him to 
resolve my questions and misgivings concerning the 
Watchtower Society, that He so lovingly provided me 
with the information I needed. The same was true of 
when I was trying so desperately to convince my wife 
concerning the faulty Watchtower teachings. It was 
only after I turned the problem over to the Lord in 
prayer that Linnie finally saw the light. Because of 
these two prayers that God so decisively answered for 
me, as well as many others since that time, Linnie 
and I have come to realize just how beneficial it is to 
approach God daily in prayer, relying on and 
consulting Him concerning everything in our lives.

Our positive experience with prayer also proved to us 
that our heavenly Father takes great delight in 
answering our questions and helping us with all our 
problems, much as our human fathers might and as 
the scripture so aptly states in the book of Hebrews, 
"God is the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him". 
Our newfound Christian faith has ultimately led 
Linnie and me to a close personal relationship with 
the Lord that we never experienced before as Jeho
vah's Witnesses, and it is a very warm and secure 
feeling.

However, even with our newfound freedom and 
happiness, Linnie and I are sometimes troubled and 
sad when we reflect on the number of Jehovah's 
Witnesses we have spoken with clandestinely since 
leaving the organization. These individuals informed 
us that they know the truth about the Watchtower 
Society, but are afraid to speak out or leave the 
organization because they know they would be 
disfellowshipped and suffer the loss of association 
with their entire family. Because of these former 
brothers and sisters being held against their will, as 
well as all the other Jehovah's Witnesses who have 
been deceived and are in bondage to the Watchtower 
organization, Linnie and I have concluded that it is 
the Lord's will that our Christian ministry be 
dedicated to continue speaking out and helping other 
Jehovah's Witnesses to come to Christ for salvation.

We also feel an obligation to educate and warn others 
about Jehovah's Witnesses in an effort to spare them 
from becoming helplessly ensnared by the organiza-
tion just as we were so many years ago.

In connection with our ministry, I have made a 
thirty-minute audio cassette tape of our Christian 
testimony, detailing how Linnie and I escaped from 
the Watchtower and were led to Jesus Christ. We 
have distributed approximately fifty copies to area 
churches and other newfound Christian friends and 
acquaintances. Linnie and I have given our testi-
mony in person at six area churches thus far, and we 
periodically mail information to Jehovah's Witnesses 
in our area, revealing the deception and error of 
Watchtower teachings. Also, we are attending 
services regularly at Grace Fellowship Evangelical 
Free Church here in Madisonville, where Pastor Mike 
Huckins and the congregation are very supportive of 
our ministry.

It is unfortunate that there are still many people 
who are laboring under the misconception that 
Jehovah's Witnesses are merely another denomina-
tion of Christianity, harmlessly going from door to 
door, evangelizing and peddling their Watchtower 
and Awake! magazines, books and tracts. People 
have little or no idea of just how diabolically clever 
and deceptively enslaving the Watchtower's false 
religious teachings can be. It is therefore our sincere 
desire that everyone who reads this book will have 
found the experience of our escape from the religious 
cult of Jehovah's Witnesses both informative and 
spiritually uplifting but will also regard it as a warn-
ing, so please take heed. Even though you may feel 
that you are not in any danger of being misled per-
sonally by the cults, there are many unsuspecting 
persons all around you who are. They may be friends 
or family members, or they may be inexperienced 
young persons -- such as Linnie and I were almost 
three decades ago -- who have little or no knowledge 
of the true teachings of Jesus Christ and the Bible.

There are also persons of all age groups who attend 
church services regularly but don't take the time to 
study their Bibles and are therefore not well ground-
ed or knowledgeable of the teachings of true Christi-
anity, rendering them vulnerable as well. This is 
evidenced by the fact that Jehovah's Witnesses boast 
of gaining 65% of their converts from the churches.

In any event, the next time you encounter one of 
Jehovah's Witnesses at your door or any other place, 
please don't be impolite or unkind to them. It would 
only reinforce what they have been taught by the 
Watchtower organization: that you are under Satan's 
control, doing his bidding, and that they are God's 
people who are being persecuted. In reality, the 
Witnesses are just poor unfortunate souls that have 
lost their way. They are being manipulated and used 
by an unscrupulous religious cult, to promote its 
lies, deceptions and false prophecies. Pray for them, 
and help them find the truth if you can.

John 6:35 & 37

Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty." "All that the Father gives to me will come to me and whoever comes to me I will never drive away." 




Resources



Recommended reading and source material for 
persons interested in learning the truth concerning 
Jehovah's Witnesses and other religious cults:

BOOKS

Thirty Years A Watchtower Slave by William Schnell

How to Rescue Your Loved One from the Watchtower 
by David A. Reed [out of print, but available on CD]

What You Need To Know About Jehovah's Witnesses by Lorri 
MacGregor

Index of Watchtower Errors by David A. Reed

Why We Left A Cult by Latayne C. Scott

Jehovah of the Watchtower by Walter Martin & Norman Klann

Heart To Heart Talks With Jehovah's Witnesses by Homer Duncan

Jehovah's Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse by David A. Reed

Understanding Jehovah's Witnesses by Robert M. Bowman, Jr.

Reasoning From The Scriptures with Jehovah's Witnesses by 
Ron Rhodes

Jehovah's Witness Literature: A Critical Guide to Watchtower 
Publications

by David A. Reed [out of print, but available on CD]

The Sign of the Last Days -- When? by Carl Olof Jonsson & 
Wolfgang Herbst

Crisis of Conscience by Raymond Franz

In Search of Christian Freedom by Raymond Franz

PERIODICALS

Comments from the Friends -- P.O. Box 819, Assonet, Massa-
chusetts 02702 -- David A. Reed

Quarterly Journal -- Personal Freedom Outreach -- P.O. Box 
26062, St. Louis, Missouri 63136 -- Keith A. Morse

Mount Carmel Outreach to Jehovah's Witnesses 
-- P.O. Box 756, Rock Falls, Illinois 61071

Free Minds Journal -- P.O. Box 3818, Manhattan Beach, 
California 90266 -- Randall Watters

MacGregor Ministries -- News & Views in the World of the Cults -- 
P.O. Box 294, Nelson, B.C. V1L 5P9 Canada

VIDEO TAPES

Witnesses of Jehovah -- Jeremiah Films

Witness at Your Door -- Jeremiah Films