Contributed by: Raye France
It occurred to me for the first time that the Watchtower might be using undue influence when I heard, “Apostates are not sincere….they are mentally diseased…” That was what the speaker said at the July 5-7, 2013 District Convention in Long Beach, CA.
I wrote a note and passed it to my wife. “ALL apostates are mentally diseased”?
She wrote back, “Generally speaking.”
I nodded and went back to note taking, but a few moments later, it started bothering me.
I asked myself, “How could the Governing Body of the Watchtower Society know the motives of everyone called an apostate?”
Huffington Post reports on British inquiries…
The elders come after my wife and me
Several months later, I had the feeling that we might be experiencing undue influence again when my wife and I were called into the back room of the Kingdom Hall.
With the door closed, the elders informed us that they had heard disturbing reports. An anonymous person had reported to the elders that my wife was communicating with her disfellowshipped daughter-in-law, Dorothy. That was not true. In fact, my wife had faithfully obeyed the organization’s mandates, had not spoken to Dorothy, or even said a greeting to her or her son (who had also been disfellowshipped).
My wife denied the accusation. She told the elders that she had received a “cry-for-help” text message from Dorothy about being mistreated by an elder in another congregation – but that was it. And my wife had dutifully replied via text that she should go to her local elders about the matter and pray on it.
The elders were satisfied with her answer, and we left.
My wife and I agreed it was strange behavior. But we filed it away under human error.
A second meeting
But then the elders asked us to visit with them in the back room a second time.
“The person still feels you are communicating with your daughter-in-law. Are you?”
Again, my wife denied the accusation. Then the elder turned to me and said that if I wanted to be sure about things I could check my wife’s phone records and look for any strange numbers.
Now I was really irritated. But I said nothing at the time.
So we went out to the parking lot and got in the car. No sooner did we shut the doors when my wife turned to me and said, “Are we in a cult?”
I said something like, “I know. That was weird. Who is so afraid of you hearing what Dorothy has to say about another elder? ‘Check your wife’s cell phone records’? It seems like someone is afraid of getting exposed for something.”
I call a third meeting
I invited the elders to a third meeting to discuss our concerns. They saw we were upset and promised not talk with us about the matter again.
I could not get the situation out of my mind, fearing there was some truth to what Dorothy had said in her text message, which reported that her sister and (elder) brother-in-law were plotting to take custody of Dorothy’s teen-aged twin daughters.
After experiencing these traumatic back room meetings, I started to wonder if all closed-door meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses went like this. That’s when I decided that YouTube might provide the answer.
Discovering Raymond Franz
While watching one of the videos, in which the accused man hid a camera and recorded the entire event, the accused mentioned a book written by Raymond Franz titled Crisis of Conscience.
It wasn’t that I didn’t know about Ray Franz, as he is the ultimate “apostate” in the minds of most Jehovah’s Witnesses. In fact, he was one of the original elite members of the Watchtower Society’s Governing Body.
However, it appeared to me that it was finally time to hear what Ray had to say. So I ordered his book and read it in a week.
The amazing thing was that he too had wrestled with every doubt and every unanswered question that I’d ever had. I was so relieved to find that someone else thought as I did. His approach was reasonable and surprisingly respectful toward an organization that suddenly discarded him. What had been his crime? Sharing one meal with an ex-Witness.
Ray Franz’s decades of volunteer service suddenly turned to ashes. But his story, his logic – it all just made too much sense to me.
I was so scared that my wife would find the “apostate” book that I hid the book in my duffel bag. I wanted to reread the book and make my decision without the worry of getting disfellowshipped, which is what would have happened if I had been caught reading the book.
While reading the book again, it dawned on me that I would be late for a dentist appointment if I didn’t stop. So I put the book in my duffel bag, but failed to zip the bag up all the way. While I was gone, my wife decided to vacuum the room. When she picked up my duffel bag, the book slipped out.
After finishing my dentist visit, I ran a few errands. When I arrived home and opened the door, what did I find? My wife was sitting on the couch reading Crisis of Conscience.
She smirked and told me that she was enjoying the book. She also said that months earlier she had come across a portion of the book online, but was afraid to read it. She said that as she clicked the mouse her hands trembled. I was relieved to discover that we were both on the same page with this.
We talked briefly about the need to examine all the evidence, even the inconvenient pieces. Then I was off to work, elated that my wife was open-minded enough to follow the facts – where ever those facts might lead.
To make a long story short, it did not take us long to figure out that the Watchtower Society is a master at using undue influence to control the minds and hearts of its members. And we knew that we had to start in earnest to learn to think for ourselves.
“Raye France” is the pseudonym of a man trying to figure out how to reclaim his critical thinking skills. A transitioning ex-Jehovah’s Witness and writer, he wants to share his story with the non-JW World and explain why he believes the Watchtower Society must be exposed for its use of undue influence.
Back in the late 90s we also had exactly the same experience after our daughter had been Disfellowshipped in 1995. In fact the WT does not even say we must cut off all DF relatives, unless they have changed their evil rules yet again. This religion is a CULT that is also based on Masonic MIND CONTROL and is nothing like the Lord Yeshua taught…thank the Lord that this dear couple are breaking free, I hope they do not blame the real truth, Yeshua for this….the Bible tells us that Jesus is the WAY the TRUTH and the LIFE, not a man made Cult….Bless all readers of this….David
Brother “France” it’s a good thing you and your wife kept your heads and used your 3rd eyes to ascertain the elder’s hidden agenda to those idiotic meetings. For future reference to any reading here who are still in, the next time an elder(s) want ot speak with you based on anonymous tips, tell them you refuse to continue with their “meeting” until they disclose to you who this informant is. They are not the police department and you are not criminals. Back in ’69 Ron Baity called me in the room telling me a sister claimed she saw me smoking a cigarette. I was only 12 (not that 12-year-olds didn’t smoke back then) and newly baptized. I told him no, which was the truth. But if I knew better I would have demanded to know her identity.
This also happened to me recently. An elder “from another hall” put a very eager to please elder who likes us at “our hall” up to questioning me about another anonymous JW who had ‘found’ evidence of me commenting on an “apostate” web site. So many secrets. People each trying to hide but still accuse and control others. What a load of… He happened to catch me in a poor mood. I did tell him no more meetings for me, and please ask these unknown to me people to “step out of the shadows and reveal who they are”. Where in the bible is this kind of witch hunting approved of? I also wonder if some JWs are so unfulfilled that they are amusing themselves by spying on their brothers and making ‘I’m just concerned’ reports on each other? It’s just too creepy for me, and I’m tired of making excuses for other people every time I get hurt. The elder was surprised, caught off guard by my attitude. He said he just needed to read from some articles to me…poor guy.
Thank you for sharing your story, Ray France! I’m so glad that you and your wife saw things at the same time. Much easier to transition out of a cult when you have loving help.
Fantastic account. Congratulations! I too was impressed by the objectivity of the book.
Thank you for sharing.
“traumatic back room meetings”! I was called like five times but what I remember traumatized me is:
Your wife has told us you bit her…
Your wife told us she is not sexually satisfied…
A girl visited you in the absence of your wife…
It became beyond what I could bear when now an elder started to abuse me in public helped my wife and in the middle of the shame war the elder waged against my dignity hand in hand with my wife, UNBELIEVABLE “traumatic back room meetings” again!! I all, I thought I would change things by telling the truth and any meeting was a more traumatic experience. Now …
You wife told us you force her for ANAL SEX
You child was born with GONORRHEA…
This time I gathered my strength to run away, I was about to lose my head. I started to search in JWs literature to understand the strange behaviors of my wife and the elder. When I read the following, I understood that the cult is demoniac. They write STUPID THINGS TO HAVE MORE STUPIDS ELDERS OBSESSED BY SEX WHO USE AND HIDES BEHIND SEX TO DESTROY FAMILY USING CAPTIVES WIVES….
*** w74 11/15 p. 704 Questions From Readers ***
circumstances could arise that would make lewd practices of a married person toward that one’s marriage mate a Scriptural basis for divorce. For example, a wife may do what she reasonably can to prevent her husband from forcing upon her perversions such as are carried on in a brothel. Yet, due to his greater strength, he might overpower her and use her for perverted sex. So as not to be prostituted in this way at another time, a Christian wife may decide to get a divorce. She could establish with the congregation that the real reason for this is por·nei′a and then proceed to get a legal divorce on any truthful grounds acceptable to the courts of the land.
My iPad doesn’t allow me to make comments on YouTube so not expecting this to work either!!
Not funny. In fact downright frustrating.
Ephesians 2 Ministry Jehovah’s Witnesses 101 on Youtube has different parts of video exposing false prophesies, new light, shunning, scandals and other things about JW. The woman in the video has old JW booklets and other resources exposing the lies and JW changing their views or rules after sometime in order to do mind control on people. They said in 1914 that God would come on Earth and you can bet the JW has a new date or views when they believe God will come and it’s all lies as usual. The Videos are great resource to expose all the lies of JW and I highly recommend it.