Testimony of Jean-Claude, Former Jehovah’s Witness Proclaimor.
It was in 1991 that I met the Jehovah’s Witnesses at my door. One of them asked me a question about the Bible: The Bible offers us a wonderful hope, that of a safe future for our family. Sir, who do you think could establish peace in the world? It is God who will stop the wars, I replied, I believe in God since the age of 7. All right sir, that’s the right answer! He then quotes me a biblical verse in Micah 4:3:4, « There will be no more aggression of one nation against another, we will no longer practice war… ». When he showed me this I was very happy: « … more war, everyone will cultivate in peace his vine and his fig trees. » Then he showed me a book with the title: « You can live forever on a land that will become a paradise » and opened it on page 20 by letting me see by illustration the beautiful paradise I have long dreamed of. From that moment on, I started going to their meetings. In the Kingdom Hall, I meet sincere, very kind, smiling people with good handshakes. I was very happy to have found the truth!
My painful story.
Let me tell my painful story now! Suffering from deafness, 80% hard of hearing, I had trouble understanding the speeches, I was in the front row to read on the lips of the speaker who was very difficult to understand and I wanted at all costs to know what Jehovah was saying. It was all very trying for me; my eyes were tired of all the attention it required. That’s why I sometimes missed meetings. So an elder came to see me, astonished at my absences. I told him how hard I struggled to follow the teachings. He said to me, « That’s true, but you have to go back to the hall of the Kingdom because it is Satan who is trying to discourage you. » « No, » I replied, « it has nothing to do with Satan, it is my handicap. » Seeing my irregularity at meetings, a sister Jehovah’s Witness said to me: « You are not worthy of Jehovah! » This word really shocked me. I was offered to learn sign language and attend meetings suitable for the hearing impaired in a place further from home; 60 kilometres round trip, three times a week. That was a lot, I didn’t have a lot of money, but I was happy to do it for Jehovah. Every 6 months, a supervisor comes to give a public speech and control the organization and attendance at the meetings. But I couldn’t come because my wife had just given birth to our little Diego. For them, this did not justify my absence, while I was still going out to the Hall of the Kingdom or preaching door to door, leaving my wife always alone with the two elders.
One day while my wife was picking me up, a brother told her that her husband, if he persevered to the end, would be saved, while she, if she did not come to meetings, would be destroyed at « Harmaguédon » that is to say at the end of time. It upset me! So I cried and begged my wife to come to meetings, but she said « no! ». The thought that it would be annihilated made me very unhappy. That’s when the doubt began to rise in my heart.
One day we were going door-to-door with a brother, a very old woman opens her door. Holding her canes with her canes, she said: « Have mercy on me, I have nothing to give you ». -« We come to bring you good news: we want to talk to you about the problem of insecurity… » -« Have mercy, I’m not interested, I’m tired ». And the woman closed the door. So I asked this brother, « Will this woman be saved? » – « No, she will be destroyed because she has not listened to our message. » So I felt sorry for this woman, thinking that she would be destroyed like my own wife! I wondered then: « Is God really a God of Love to destroy all men SAUF the Jehovah’s Witnesses? »
At a large assembly in Lens, in front of the gate of the Kingdom Hall, stood a small group of people protesting and shouting: « Give us back our children! » I did not understand this reaction because it did not seem to me that we Jehovah’s Witnesses were closed. The next day, seeing in the newspaper the photo of the leader of this group, I contacted the A. D. F. I (Association for the Defence of the Family and the Individual) in Lille. I was sent the testimonies of former Jehovah’s Witnesses. Normally, it is forbidden to read books of these « apostates ». A bit like Nicodemus, who went to see Jesus at night, I too went to inquire in secret and attend meetings that reveal the lies of the Society of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Inner shock I was marked by the testimony of Christelle, a blind lady, who denounced the prophesied dates that had not come true. Here are some: 1874 and 1914: « it will be the return of Christ and the end of the kingdoms of this world » 1918: « it will be the fall of Christendom » 1925: « it will be the resurrection of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob » This same lady sent me the book « The Witnesses of Jehovah, the other side of the scene » written by Ken Guindon who was thirty years slave of the « Tour de Garde ». It was a great inner shock to discover that everything I thought was true was based only on a lie. As a verse in the Christian Bible says: « If this prophet spoke in the name of the Lord, and his word remains ineffective and is not fulfilled, then the Lord has not said that word. The prophet spoke with presumption. You don’t have to fear it. » Deuteronomy 18:22 (Jerusalem Bible).
Then I received other testimonies including that of Julien who sent me those of Jean-François Blanchet and Nicolas Hesse who wrote: « If the Jehovah’s Witnesses come to see you » No one … I then received a visit from a Jehovah’s Witness, and explained to him that Russell and Rutherford were false prophets and proved to him that the translation of the « New World » was falsified. He reacts as if he did not hear and did not understand, as the prophet Isaiah describes it. « Lord, who believed in our word, and the arm of the Lord, to whom was it revealed? He blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so that their eyes would not see, their hearts would not understand, they would not convert and I would not heal them. » John 12: 38-40.
This brother denounced me and an elder came to me and said: « If you don’t hang yourself I won’t shake your hand and no one will say hello to you ». I said, « How can I repent if the Society is not inspired by the Holy Spirit since it has given so many false dates that do not come true? » Moreover, you say that « If you realize that your religion teaches something inaccurate, you should turn away from it » (Watch Tour July 1, 1958, page 289). And that’s what I did! And I showed him a verse from St. Paul to the Corinthians (2Corinthians. 17:5): « Examine yourself and see if you are in faith, experience yourself. » Already in the time of the apostles, when they were seeking to know the day of the end of time, Jesus replied: « It is not for you to know the times and moments that the Father has set with his sole authority. » Jehovah’s Witnesses do not respect what Jesus asked for as they continue to search for dates (Acts of the Apostles 1:6-7 and Mark 13:32). I could see his gaze become furious, his hands trembling with anger, he was out of it! This other verse reinforced him in his confinement: « You scrutinize the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, and they are the ones who bear witness to me, and you do not want to come to me to have life! » (John. 5: 39-40). And I resumed this verse of John 12: 38 to 40, « He blinded their eyes… » He was no longer able to listen to me. He jumped up and gave me one last handshake signifying the final farewell. I was alone with my Bible, distraught. When I met Jehovah’s Witness friends in town, no one shook my hand and everyone ignored me. Lord Jesus, have mercy on me.
And I was starting a depression. I didn’t know if it was me or them who were right. I was very worried about a lot of tension and worry. As soon as there was a storm, I was stressed, I was in anguish at the thought that it was Harmaguédon and that I would not be saved. Fortunately, Christian and Pascale supported me in this ordeal. I was crying, screaming that I wanted to kill myself. So I began to pray, to shout to God: « Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, help me, I am tired of my research ». Praying to Jesus was idolatry for the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Opening the Bible, I then read this verse of John 6:37: « Jesus says: He who comes to me, I will not throw him out. » Then I understood that I had left the Society but not the Lord, my Savior! And little by little, I returned to the Church. I realized that the Jehovah’s Witnesses had broken my childhood faith. I was helped to regain my trust in God, discovering that I had a community on which I could rely. « It is the Lord who walks before you, it is He who will be with you; He will not abandon you and he will not abandon you. Don’t be afraid and don’t be afraid » Deuteronomy 31:8. « You will know the Truth and the Truth will free you » John 8:32. I end with this song that spoke to my heart!
No matter the country you come from, and the time it took you to find your way, it is the cry of your heart that counts for God, it is not the color of your skin, nor of your eyes. He was not on the right side of the centurion of the Gospel in this country, in this city which he had the mission to occupy, but he knew how to be loved even in his place of officer and to save his servant, he gave himself with all his heart. Thus the gods of the centurion did not live the same history but he changed his memory by discovering the other horizon because he knew how to say to Jesus, when everything seemed lost: If you want, from today, your servant will be healed. We remember the centurion who said, « I am not worthy to dare to make a sign and welcome him into my house » but others will come like him from all sides, from all countries, for it is to the people of the whole world that the news is announced. Jean-Claude (Pas-de-Calais).
Former Jehovah’s Witness proclaimor.