Why I Can’t be a Jehovah’s Witness

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Transcript of OnionUnlimited podcast episode 060

HELLO AND WELCOME TO EPISODE 60 OF ONIONUNLIMITED—THE PODCAST. I’m your host, Daniel Torridon. Am I wrong? Am I so far gone I can no longer see? Has Satan blinded me? (2 Corinthians 4:4) What if Jehovah’s Witnesses really are “the truth”? What if by rejecting Jehovah’s Witnesses I have rejected a very real God, Jehovah, and my only Saviour, Jesus? What if I really am wicked? What if I have sinned against the holy spirit? —Mark 3:29.

Good or Evil?

Surely, if I were a bad person, an unspiritual person, I wouldn’t be analysing myself like this? The fact I am still able to question myself shows I’m not just some kind of rabid, mentally diseased “apostate” consumed with blind hatred? Surely it is apparent that I am a truth-seeker, a spiritual person, even a good person? I must have good reasons for rejecting Jehovah’s Witnesses?

Jehovah’s Witnesses now call me an apostate because I don’t believe what they do, and especially because I speak out about it. I write blogs, post on social media, and present podcasts where I outrightly say I believe Jehovah’s Witnesses are not the truth. What’s more, I teach other things, things that are completely different from the doctrines I used to promote as a Jehovah’s Witness. This is frowned upon. I am viewed as dangerous, wicked, evil, and deserving of death at Armageddon. There is no way back for me. I have sinned against the holy spirit. 

The thing is, “apostate” is just a definition for someone who has renounced a religion or a belief. There is nothing intrinsically wicked about being an apostate. In fact, every Jehovah’s Witness that used to belong to another religion is an apostate. Being an apostate could in fact be a good thing, a noble thing, certainly if your previous belief was wrong or dangerous. And speaking out about your change of belief, highlighting what you perceive to be the errors of religion, is really only what Jehovah’s Witnesses themselves do.  So what’s the problem with me doing the same thing?

Doctrinal Error

To be a genuine Jehovah’s Witness, you must accept the Bible—all of it. You must believe it is 100% the word of God, inspired and infallible. Assuming this was how I viewed the Bible (I don’t), straight away I would run into a problem because what Jehovah’s Witnesses teach is not what the Bible teaches.

A number of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ doctrines and policies are not supported by Scripture, including:

  • the 607/1914 doctrine;
  • the governing body is the faithful and discreet slave;
  • mandated shunning;
  • treating those who disassociate the same as disfellowshipped ones (there should be an elegant way to leave without losing all your family and friends);
  • mandated refusal of blood transfusions

Idolatry

If I believed the Bible, if I still identified as a Jehovah’s Witness, then I would be obligated to view idolatry as wrong. The Bible condemns idolatry. (1 Corinthians 10:14) Yet the governing body is idolised. What they say is accepted as the very word of God. They say they are neither inspired nor infallible, but these are merely words to fall back on when their interpretation of Scripture is found to be wanting. 

In real life, the governing body is viewed as if it speaks for God under the direction of his holy spirit—sounds like “inspiration” to me! The members of the governing body are viewed with such high esteem that you can criticise God, but if you dare criticise them you are viewed as an apostate.

The next time you watch the governing body on JW Broadcasting, ask yourself how you feel. Does it seem like they are being presented as your leaders? (Matthew 23:10) Do you feel uncomfortable? Does something seem “off”?

Child Sexual Abuse

Jehovah’s Witnesses’ handling of child sexual abuse within their midst appals me. I can not support an organisation that:

  • avoids reporting abuse whenever possible;
  • shuns abuse victims who disassociate;
  • lies under oath (eg. the Australian Royal Commission’s investigation into historic child sexual abuse within the organisation);
  • and attempts to avoid joining redress schemes

Levels of Disbelief

My disbelief is not limited to Jehovah’s Witnesses’ claim to being “the truth”. As explained above, I can not be a Jehovah’s Witness due to 1) their doctrines being at odds with the very Bible they claim to live by and 2) their cruel and unscriptural policies and procedures, but my disbelief extends to no longer believing in the Bible itself.

Don’t get me wrong. I do feel there is evidence of divine inspiration and truth within the Bible—as well as other “holy” books—but the Christian Bible is a library of 66 books (or more depending on your religion). There are passages in some books of the Bible that I have a real problem with, including the advocation of slavery, genocide, and rape. I can not in good conscience swallow the entire library as the “good book” to live my life by.

Moreover, the character of Jehovah (Yahweh) in the Old Testament seems to be at odds with the “Father” that Jesus taught, and the apostle Paul’s writings appear to be little more than an attempt to recreate a ruled-based Judaistic religion around Jesus—something I don’t think Jesus himself would have approved of. 

The Golden Rule

Of all the thousands of verses in the Bible most, I feel, are superfluous at best. Only one stands out to me as a truly reliable guide to live by and that is Jesus’ Golden Rule. Yet I don’t need Jesus, Christianity, God, or even the Bible to appreciate this Universal wisdom. All major religions and spiritual systems contain a version of the Golden Rule. For example, the Buddha taught in the 6th century before Christ, “Whatever is disagreeable to yourself, do not do unto others”. If I live by this most important rule surely Jesus and his heavenly Father—if indeed they exist—will approve of me, regardless of my religion or lack thereof?

Spirituality, Not Religion 

I reject not just Jehovah’s Witnesses but all organised religions as man-made, a means by which the powerful of this world control the masses. Religion stifles a person’s innate spirituality. I advocate for spiritual autonomy and love of neighbour. 

I would like to see religious people, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, change their outlook and choose spiritual autonomy over organised religion. I would like to see them unitedly withdraw their support for Religion and allow it to collapse. 

The world would be a better place without Religion—a more tolerant place, a spiritual place.

These are the reasons I can not be a Jehovah’s Witness.