“I Quit Smoking!”
IN THE first century James the half brother of Jesus wrote an inspired letter to those scattered about who wanted to serve Jehovah. Among other points, he counseled: “Become doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves with false reasoning.”—Jas. 1:22.
Just as in that century, persons today who learn about God’s will are becoming “doers of the word, and not hearers only.” Two experiences related at assemblies of Jehovah’s witnesses last summer illustrate this.
A Witness in Mississippi received a letter from a friend requesting that a call be made on a woman living in the area. The Witness made the visit and she was able to arrange to hold a Bible study with the family. The minister reports: “After the first study on the true God and idols, she discarded a large religious picture which had held a place of prominence in the room. Over a period of time I helped them to appreciate the importance of coming to the Kingdom Hall. But, alas, within a week they moved twenty miles into the country, and they refused to let me come so far to pick them up. Finally they obtained an automobile. The same week they attended the Sunday meeting at the Kingdom Hall.
“What was the result? A changed family. They were firmly convinced that this was the truth from the Bible and were amazed by everyone’s friendliness. It so impressed the forty-year-old daughter that she began to feel guilty about her bad habits. After her first meeting she said: ‘I quit smoking!’ She later commented: ‘After Jehovah gave me so much, how could I come home and do something he disapproves of? I was afraid to wait. We never know what will happen tomorrow, and if I waited I might never have the chance to quit and prove my love for Jehovah.’”
The Witness added: “The remarkable thing—this woman is crippled. Cigarettes have been like a crutch to her all these years, but from what she learned at the Kingdom Hall in one meeting she received the incentive to give up the bad habit. At the second meeting she held out her hand and said: ‘Isn’t it pretty? It’s not brown and stained anymore from tobacco.’ She is now a regular attender.”
At a convention at Rochester, New York, a couple explained about a Bible study they had held, saying: “The couple smoked heavily, and when coming home from the study we smelled like smoked herring. Gradually they started to attend meetings at the Kingdom Hall. Later they began to share in the field ministry and expressed the desire to be baptized. But their problem was that they were both heavy smokers.
“They thought that they could be baptized and then quit smoking. We told them that the fact that they had not broken the habit would not exclude them from baptism, but they might be sneaking smokes for a long time.
“They made up their minds to quit smoking in December, but then they procrastinated. Each time they tried to quit they got nervous and irritable. Finally one of the Witnesses showed them some articles in The Watchtower and Awake! dealing with smoking. When they realized the Scriptural aspects of the matter, they decided to quit smoking at the time of the coming circuit assembly. They stuck to their decision, but reported that it was trying for both of them as they were very irritable and nervous for the first two weeks. But as time passed the craving for tobacco subsided. At the last district assembly they were baptized in symbol of their dedication to God. And they did so with a clean conscience, having put away this filthy habit. Since then the wife has enjoyed the privilege of vacation pioneering twice, making her very happy.”