Why People of All Kinds Are Becoming Jehovah’s Witnesses
AS CRIME, violence and tensions mount earth wide today, many people feel the need of something to give them a solid hope for the future. Others feel that the best thing is to ‘get all they can out of life now.’ They try to escape grim realities through alcohol or drugs. True, some have tried to find the answer in religion. But all too often they have been disappointed by the actions and teachings of Christendom’s churches. There have also been those who yearned for something better and found it. How? Let some of these persons themselves tell how it happened.
A REASON TO LIVE
Consider the case of a woman living in Chicago. She had children and had been living for twenty years with a man to whom she was not married. She felt that her lot in life was hopeless. Describing her situation, she says:
“I only thought about dying. I could not see any joy in the life I was living. I sought the aid of a spiritistic ‘reader and advisor’ who I thought would be able to help me. Instead, I only received more discouragement, because the three visits to him cost me $100.00, and he tried to get me to commit immorality. I was a nervous wreck. I started to drink excessively, trying to find the peace that I so desperately needed. But that did not help. Finally, I decided that death would be the only way to escape the seemingly worthless and vain life I was living.
“But I guess I still had a desire to live. And in one desperate attempt to find a reason to live I turned to God; I prayed to him to help me.
“A few days later Jehovah’s witnesses knocked at my door. I immediately told them to go away. But then I decided to call them back. A study was arranged and I soon began to attend the meetings of Jehovah’s witnesses with my sons.”
What did this woman learn through her study of the Bible over a period of two years that changed her outlook on life? She came to see that Jehovah God has a marvelous purpose for mankind, namely, to remove all wickedness from the earth in this generation and to administer earth’s affairs in righteousness through his kingdom by Jesus Christ. She also came to appreciate the need for meeting the requirements that God has outlined for those who are to receive his approval and blessing. So she married the man with whom she had lived for over twenty years and in other ways brought her life into conformity with God’s Word. Commenting on what has happened, this woman states: “I am glad to say that I am dedicated and baptized. Now my sons and I are all serving Jehovah together.”
COMPLETE ACCEPTANCE OF GOD’S WORD
Have you heard persons express themselves as being disillusioned about their church’s not sticking to the Bible? In some cases this has contributed to their getting into a way of life completely contrary to God’s will. Relating his own experience, a man from Texas states:
“After about two years of marriage, my wife and I decided that we should find some church and start attending. I knew that the one I had gone to before we were married was not the one for me. So, then, we tried the church my wife had attended—once—that was all we could take. So we just didn’t go anywhere.
“We were in a rut. We didn’t have any close friends and our only association was with our relatives. This wouldn’t have been so bad, except nearly every time we got together we would end up drunk.
“I felt a need for God and the Bible. But at the same time I didn’t feel I had the right to pray, because of all the bad things I had done. Remembering what a man had told me (‘If you just pray for knowledge, God will help you’), I decided to try. It was Saturday night. My wife and child were asleep. I prayed: ‘Dear God, if there is a God, help me find the religion that is right.’
“The next morning I got up and walked to the front door. Looking through the glass in the door, I saw a piece of paper being blown across the porch. I couldn’t figure out where it had come from, because we had cut the grass and cleaned up the yard the day before. Anyway, I went outside and picked it up. It was an invitation from some church, I thought.
“I got excited, believing God had answered my prayer. I told my wife that I was going to that church at four o’clock. She didn’t want to go. But I knew that, if I said I would go whether she went or not, she would change her mind. She did.
“At 3:30 p.m. we pulled into the parking lot. The sign read, ‘Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses.’ I had never heard of Jehovah’s witnesses. Walking toward the hall, I had second thoughts about going in. My thoughts were, ‘Maybe they are the ones that get the “holy spirit,” as they call it, and roll around on the floor.’ I wanted no part of that. So we started back to the car. Then we said, ‘What if this is the right religion? If we leave now, we may never come back again.’ So we went inside.”
What did they see at the Kingdom Hall? What impressed them about Jehovah’s witnesses?
He continues: “We found a simple and modestly decorated room. After finding a place to sit we began looking around. Everyone was talking and they really seemed to care about one another. It wasn’t long before they were coming over and introducing themselves. After about fifteen minutes of having questions answered, I was convinced that these people had the truth about the Bible. Things like no paid preachers, no collection plates, actually going from door to door telling people about God, and the real concern they showed for us impressed me.
“One man came up and asked us if we would like to have a home Bible study. Naturally we accepted.”
SEPARATENESS FROM THE WORLD
From your own experience you know that members of Christendom’s churches are regularly involved in politics. But what of the Bible’s admonition to ‘keep oneself without spot from the world’? (Jas. 1:27) Jehovah’s witnesses appreciate that their prior loyalty must go to God’s kingdom by Christ, and they do not mix in with the world’s politics. Realizing this has made a deep impression on truth seekers.
While calling on people at their homes, one of Jehovah’s witnesses in the state of New York met a friendly man who said: “I have two questions to ask, and your answers will determine whether our conversation will go further or whether you will leave. The first question is, Do you believe in anything other than the Bible as truth?” The Witness assured him that Jehovah’s witnesses believe only in the Bible as inspired truth and not in man-made traditions or creeds. “You gave me the right answer to the first question,” said the man, “but you probably won’t answer the next one right. I am looking for a religion which has absolutely nothing to do with politics. Do you have anything to do with politics?” Informed that Jehovah’s witnesses keep separate from all politics, not even voting, the man was indeed surprised. Eventually a Bible study was started with him and his wife. Now both of them are baptized witnesses of Jehovah.
CONFUSED ABOUT CHURCH PRACTICES AND TEACHINGS
Still others who are now Jehovah’s witnesses were perplexed about the teachings and practices of their former churches. Though sincere, they just could not find satisfying answers to their questions. A woman from Chile relates:
“From the age of nine years I wanted to serve God and, being a Roman Catholic, I admired the priests and nuns. At twenty-two years of age I entered the convent to begin my training as a nun. The teaching of the Trinity perplexed me and the explanation that it was a mystery was not satisfying. However, I took my first vows of silence, poverty, suffering and chastity. Then disillusion really began. I thought that serving God as a nun would be a constant source of joy and happiness. How wrong I was! The Bible was considered a book of magic and not to be touched; the vows of silence meant that we could not talk, only pray; we were given food unfit for humans; each of us was required to go to our cells and remove our clothing and, using a whip, beat ourselves. Some fainted while punishing themselves. I could not help but wonder if God really required all of this. Thereafter I made up my mind to leave. While the Mother Superior was away I left for home.
“One day I learned the Second Commandment, which was against the worship of images. This surprised me, as image worship was a part of our daily life in the convent. This awakened in me a strong desire to learn the Bible. I earnestly prayed to God that in some way I might obtain a Bible and have someone teach me. (It was at this time that I had decided, due to fear, that I would return to the convent.)
“Shortly thereafter a man came to our door and said: ‘Good morning, we are offering free Bible studies to the people.’ I was speechless. My prayer had been answered!
“A Bible study commenced. What marvelous things I learned! For some time I did not tell the Witness that I had been studying to become a nun, for fear that he would not continue the study. However, when I revealed to him this fact his joy was as great as mine in helping me to free myself from such great imprisonment.
“Now I have learned that serving Jehovah is what I always thought it would be, a real joy and pleasure.”
At times, because of former religious training, some have had a prejudiced viewpoint as to Jehovah’s witnesses. But disappointment with their own church contributed to their putting this prejudice aside and listening. From a woman in Finland comes this experience:
“I had a strict religious upbringing. While I was young, my father prayed that none of his children would ever become Communists or Jehovah’s witnesses. When the time came to choose a career, I decided to become a servant of the church. So I enrolled at the Christian Folk High School. There we students were repeatedly warned against Jehovah’s witnesses. They were said to be heretics who even deny the ransom.
“When deaconesses were sought from among us, I was prepared to accept. This required further education. Of course, I was anxious to learn as much as possible and so I kept raising questions about many things. My teachers did not like that. They did try to handle me gently, though, and said: ‘It is good that you ask about these things, but imperfect humans can never fully understand the Bible. You have no doubt noticed that its writers, such as the apostle Paul, for example, were just as imperfect as we are. The Bible is not all God’s Word; there are also men’s thoughts in it as well.’
“God became more distant and unknown to me, but in spite of everything, after six years of study I received the bishop’s blessing to start my career as a deaconess. I was, however, unhappy. In this work my personality became torn apart and I came to a spiritual dead end. I can say that the Bible was practically torn apart before my eyes and in my hearing. Some time later I got married and this was partially my salvation. My husband was unprejudiced and so, on one occasion, he invited two of Jehovah’s witnesses in. At my husband’s wish a Bible study was started in our home. Due to my earlier training, I looked on Jehovah’s witnesses as unclean Samaritans, but to my surprise I soon discovered that they regarded the whole Bible as God’s Word. It was not long before I eagerly joined in the Bible study. Soon the whole family accepted the truth and now we rejoice in Jehovah’s pure worship.”
SAW EVIDENCE OF GENUINE LOVE
Besides observing that Jehovah’s witnesses teach what the Bible says, many have been impressed by the way they treat one another. A woman from the state of Florida relates her impression:
“I heard about Jehovah’s witnesses—about how loving and kind they are. So I decided to go to the Kingdom Hall. I had no idea what Jehovah’s witnesses did, what they preached or how they prayed.
“When I first walked into the hall, I was very nervous. I started to go up to one of the men to say something to him. Then I turned around and saw a woman on whom I had waited in the drug store where I work. Right away I felt relieved, because at least there was someone with whom I could talk more about this religion.
“After the meeting I thought that probably everyone would get up and walk out. But everyone came up to me and asked me what my name was and how I enjoyed the meeting. I could see that finally someone really cared about how I felt about something. It made me feel good to see how kind they were. They didn’t know anything about me—what kind of person I was. Yet they were nice to me.”
Are you one of the many today who are looking for people who are endeavoring to live in harmony with the Bible? Why not visit a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses at your earliest opportunity? What you observe and learn there can give you renewed hope in God and in his provisions for human happiness.