I started studying the bible with Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs), when I was 14 years old, and was baptized at age 16 years. At that time, the Communist regime in Russia was in decline, allowing religious freedom to begin emerging.
I had been intrigued by the Bible for a while and wanted to understand it. I wasn’t aware of many options apart from the traditional Orthodox church, which did not work for me.
One day, a JW revealed to me their truth about this world ending in Armageddon. I was terrified with the news and for few days couldn’t think of anything else as I was in a great shock.
I understand now, so many years after, that I was very impressionable and emotionally vulnerable at the time.
Some things the JW couldn’t prove to me and I was told that this was something I would just have to believe in.
After a few years working in the full time ministry, as a pioneer, I was getting physically and emotionally exhausted with all the JW activities. Approaching my 20's, I was eager to find a life partner and to get married. I noticed that these thoughts weren’t encouraged among members of the congregations. Quite the opposite, people were saving themselves for “The New World.” Even if some people did get married, they weren’t eager to have children, as they were waiting for Armageddon to happen any day. This and many other things just didn’t make sense in my head.
Gradually I began to stop JW activities and meeting attendance, to fade away. I felt incredibly guilty for not serving God anymore. I couldn’t deal with it anymore, so I refused to think about it for many years. All I thought was: “God will forgive me for trying to be happy in this world. God is love and He will understand that I’m only human.”
Deep inside of me, I realized that something was wrong with the organization, as there was no love, no real support. I thought I had many friends there, but none of them came or phoned me after I stopped going to the meetings. Instead I heard many rumours about me from my neighbour, whom JW were preaching to. They already were talking badly about me and putting me as a bad example… I was furious. I phoned an elder and complained. To that he said: “So why don’t you come back to the meetings and prove us all wrong then?”. I felt disgust and anger. Even my neighbour friend , who wasn’t Jw, supported me and didn’t believe any of those stories Jw were telling about me. It was a tough and confusing time.
After few years, I got married and had my first baby. I was so happy and decided to phone my JW friend. She sounded happy at first, but then she got back to me after a while and said: “I can’t be friends with you anymore as you are a bad influence for me and you’ll tempt me into turning away from God as well.” I wasn’t even disfellowshipped, I had only started a family! So, she didn’t want to see my baby after all...
Soon after we moved away to the United Kingdom and tried to settle. I went to get some advise from elders in Russian speakers meeting in London. I wanted to know how to deal with the domestic violence I was being subjected to for some years. Their advice was: “Pray to Jehovah and place your hope in him, He’ll resolve it all.” Then they turned away from me and left me to figure out my problems on my own. Also we had financial difficulties, as my husband was studying and working. I couldn’t help as I was looking after our baby. We reached a point when we couldn’t cope anymore and were about to become homeless. We approached elders in Smethwick congregation in Birmingham and explained our situation. They encouraged us to pray to Jehovah. One of them put a £5 note in my husband’s pocket…
After a long struggle, we sorted our problems on our own, because our congregation wasn’t interested in how we got on. They keep saying they love each other, but those are only words, with no action on their part.
That was the final straw in my involvement with this sect.
I’ve been JW-free for 14 years now, living happily with my new husband and three children. I still believe in God, but not the Watchtower Society of Jehovah's Witnesses. Only now, gradually, I realize what a scam it all is.... a publishing company behind a God’s holy name.
I don’t know what to believe anymore and what the future holds for us. All I know is that God is great and He loves us. Maybe it’s not meant for us to know exactly what will happen, but only to try and live in harmony with our world that we have today.