A Catholic Priest Makes a Change
THE following letter, addressed to the headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Brooklyn, New York, was received in July 1979:
“To whom it may concern:
“This is just a note of thanks for your publications that are so full of vital and enlightening information. It was through your publications with the aid of one of your preachers from Newark, N.J., that I was able to find the real TRUTH. If there is a merit badge it should be issued to this little practicer of the truth, Ms. Janet Jones. I was at one time a very prominent Catholic priest and it was through this young woman that I learned that I indeed did not have the real hold on the truth but that what she showed me was. Again I want to say thank-you and if it be Jehovah’s will, I, too, shall become a preacher of Jehovah our loving Creator.”
At the “Living Hope” District Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Giants Stadium, New Jersey, this past summer, it was related how Janet Jones became acquainted with this priest. She explained:
“Last year I worked as a secretary at Seton Hall University. With patient witnessing I was able to start a Bible study with a young student, a woman who at one time had contemplated suicide. She progressed rapidly in her studies. Soon she advised me she would resign from her church. All along, unknown to me, she had been giving her priest photocopies of the material we were covering each week.
“The priest was very upset when he learned she had resigned from the church, and tried his best to persuade her to change her mind. Shortly thereafter, she returned to her family’s home in Florida, where she continued progressing spiritually. Meanwhile, the priest found out that I was the person with whom she had studied and requested to see me. He asked for copies of the books from which our study material had come—The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life and Is This Life All There Is? He told me that I had committed a grave sin by turning the young woman away from the Catholic Church.
“When I saw him a few times after that, he said that he knew there were many flaws in these books and that he would bring them all to my attention as soon as he finished going over the material. His many questions required much research on my part to answer him. Without telling me, he began visiting several Kingdom Halls and speaking with Witnesses who were in the preaching work, asking them the same questions he had asked me. He would receive the same responses again and again. I didn’t see or hear from him for approximately three to four months. Then I changed my secular job, moving to a different location. A few weeks later I received a letter from the priest, dated June 22, 1979. He wrote:
“‘I would like to thank you for the insight that you helped me to attain through those publications, “Is This Life All There Is?” and also “The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life.” I must admit that after that first meeting with you I did ask myself several questions as to the basis of my faith and I found that it was not on as solid foundation as yours is. So I examined it as you suggested and asked several questions of my superiors, who were unable surprisingly to give me a response as well as you did. It was at this point that I realized that there was something definitely missing in my life and I wanted to find answers. There is one of your houses of worship in Irvington that I frequented and it was there that I heard what I was searching for, “The Truth.” I also wanted to see if it was all that you said it would be. Well, my dear, you underestimated it!
“‘By the time you receive this memo I will have resigned being a man of the cloth, as you call it, and will probably be on my way back home to search out one of your kingdom halls so that I might attain more of this truth. You were like a bright light in a long dark tunnel shining ever so brightly, even to old dark tunnels like me. Whatever you do, keep shining. Never let anyone or anything stop you because I can truthfully say that God must truly be working with you.
“‘My superiors were surprised when I told them that after 33 years of service I would be leaving, but when they found out why they requested that I leave immediately if not sooner. But you know what’s funny, a few years ago one of the others left for the same reason and I vowed that I would never let anything come between me and the church. Now look at me! I feel as if a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders and as if I’m smelling fresh air for the first time in 33 years. How sweet and glorious and loving the Creator is, our God Jehovah!
“‘I do not know if we shall ever see each other again, but be assured that you will be in my thoughts and in my prayers always.’”
“After he resigned, one day I was approached at the office where I worked at the University by two of his colleagues. One asked if it would be all right if they came back to ask me a few questions. I agreed.
“A little later the two priests returned along with eight others, all dressed in their traditional garb. The priests ranged in age, I would estimate, from their early forties on up; the oldest probably being in his seventies. I am only 25.
“The priests seated themselves in the office and the discussion began. They questioned me regarding my belief in Christ, his death and about his being God’s son. The subject of the Trinity seemed to be of special interest to them. One of the priests told me that because of what I had done in turning others from the Catholic faith I’d be forever tormented in hell. I pointed out from the Bible that in ‘hell’ a person is conscious of nothing at all, and so could not experience torment.—Ps. 139:8; Eccl. 9:5, 10.
“During the entire discussion I noticed that the older priest didn’t seem to have any questions. He just leaned on his cane and gazed at me intently, especially when I used the Bible to try to answer the inquiries of the others.
“Finally one very exasperated priest said: ‘You don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re telling lies and wouldn’t know the truth if it walked up to you.’ With that the old priest stood up, and said: ‘Yes, she does. She speaks the truth, something we ourselves refuse to accept.’”—Contributed.
[Blurb on page 28]
One priest said: “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” But an older priest said: “Yes, she does. She speaks the truth”