Saturday, May 31, 2014

Scott Edwards' Story (outside looking in)

Honestly, I was never a Jehovah's Witness, though I was married to one.  She was disfellowshipped about half of the time, but then got reinstated.  I had many discussions with the Jehovah's Witnesses, until they just decided to not discuss religion with me anymore.  I wouldn't accept what they told me and I was insistent on looking at the history of the Watchtower Society.  By doing that, I was labeled an "apostate," because that was not acceptable to them.   Every time I would bring something up like 1914, the first time the Watchtower Society declared that Armageddon would begin (end of the world) or *Beth Sarim, I was ignored and told that they didn't want to discuss things that had happened in the past, but only what the Watchtower Society was today (at that time, 1998 or so).  They wouldn't discuss anything with me, because they thought I should "know them by their works" and that I would naturally come to them.  I went to the Kingdom Hall for about five years; two hours on Sundays, one hour on Mondays, one hour on Tuesdays and two hours on Thursdays and still, I remained a Baptist. All I can really say is that it was an adventure.

Since I was labeled as an apostate and not really open to asking questions unless I was absolutely willing to accept their answers without any questions, I resorted to picking up the phone and calling Kingdom Halls, where no one knew me.  I had a conversation with a man, wherein I asked him, "If I lived on an island and never knew the Jehovah's Witnesses, but I did everything they do, although having no connection with the Watchtower Society, could I be one of the 144,000 (mentioned in Revelation) or survive to live on a paradise earth?"  His response was, "I can't make that decision..."  I said, "I'm not asking you to make a decision.  I want to know what you believe?  He said, "Well, I can't tell you because again, it's not my decision, but I can tell you this...You'd be taking a very big chance."

I was basically being told that the Watchtower Society was comparable to "Noah's ark," if you will, and for me to have salvation, I would need to be part of the Society.  This was, of course, completely absurd to me because I was an outsider.  I was raised as a Baptist and never had to have a "3rd party" avenue to God.  My avenue to God was direct prayer... nothing more.  This conversation obviously did not motivate me to be more inclined to listen to them.

There were many other discussions with them about the Trinity, Hell and various other subjects, but any discussion about past Watchtower Society activity, who translated their "New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, or anything else that wouldn't prove to be supportive to Jehovah's Witnesses or any attempt for me to gain knowledge of the truth about what they regarded as "the truth" (their doctrines), was off-limits.

In one of the last discussions I had with them about religion, they told me that everything was explainable through the Bible.  That I shouldn't have to accept anything on faith (part of the Trinity discussion), to which I responded by asking them to tell me who translated their New World Testament.   No one seemed to know.  Again I said, "Am I supposed to accept on faith alone, that anyone at the society headquarters knows how to read, or especially translate the book that I am risking my salvation on?" Yeah... that didn't go over very well... AT ALL...
Contributed by Noel Parsons

* Beth Sarim (Hebrew בית שרים "House of the Princes") is a ten-bedroom mansion in San Diego, California, constructed in 1929 in anticipation of various resurrected Old Testament biblical patriarchs or prophets such as Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah and Samuel.  It was maintained by the Watchtower Society, the parent organization used by Jehovah's Witnesses, and was also used as a winter home and executive office for Watch Tower president Joseph Franklin Rutherford, at that time.