We Found the True Way to Love, Joy and Peace
MY WIFE and I are today going to conduct a Bible study with a young drug addict. Each time we visit him we wonder if he will be in the depths of depression or anguish. Perhaps that is what those who studied with us in 1970 used to wonder, for we were then hippies, living the same kind of life as this young man.
Though unmarried, Romy and I, along with five other young people, lived in a large flat in Rome, Italy. We wanted to discover the meaning of life, to know how to make people understand love, peace and truth by exploring architecture, music, drama and even cartoon strips. Besides using hashish and LSD, we practiced transcendental meditation and studied the occult. However, instead of solving our problems and finding the answers to our questions, we were getting more confused.
Seeing that things were going from bad to worse, we considered forsaking society, the city and the Establishment. With our companions, we organized a journey that would take us to Polynesia, where we counted on living close to nature, making with our own hands what was needed to support ourselves. That was our last hope.
Before leaving, Romy and I wanted to get married to please our respective families, though legal marriage mattered little to us. To meet my girl friend’s parents, we went to Switzerland in 1970. Romy had been brought up by her mother. Her father had divorced and remarried, but now he was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. According to Romy, he would bore us to tears with the Bible.
A VISIT AT ROMY’S FATHER’S HOME
As soon as we arrived at her father’s home, he told us that we could smoke only in the kitchen or outside and that one of us would have to sleep downstairs and the other upstairs, since we were not legally married. Such firmness made us think.
We were really determined to point out to him that the Bible is just the threshold of spiritual development and does not teach the purification of the soul that enables one to live in harmony with the universe and one’s fellowman. My future father-in-law, however, explained to us that all our efforts to elevate ourselves spiritually actually served the Devil’s purpose, and that we opened the door to him each time we emptied ourselves for transcendental meditation. Interestingly, our experience with drugs and the occult had convinced us that the Devil existed, for, during our meditations, we had really felt evil vibrations enter us. In our concern we had spoken about it to our initiator. He simply told us that, to attain purification, we needed the courage to pass beyond the evil within us.
Romy’s father warned us about the mental void that enables the demons to possess someone. He read from Luke 11:24-26: “When an unclean spirit comes out of a man, it passes through parched places in search of a resting-place, and, after finding none, it says, ‘I will return to my house out of which I moved.’ And on arriving it finds it swept clean and adorned. Then it goes its way and takes along seven different spirits more wicked than itself, and, after getting inside, they dwell there; and the final circumstances of that man become worse than the first.” My own experiences had given me a foreglimpse of the truthfulness of what the Bible said.
After this discussion, Romy and I took the risk of revealing to each other our mantra, the secret formula essential for meditation. Hardly had this word come from our lips when each of us felt numbed with cold, petrified. Something had just left us that, while rushing away furiously, gave us the feeling of being caught in a whirl. Terrified by these manifestations, we woke up Romy’s father to get help. Seeing our state of terror, he offered to pray immediately to Jehovah for us. That night we were able to sleep peacefully, though separately, as Romy’s father requested.
BIBLE STUDY BEGINS
Shortly after our return to Rome, we went to the branch office of the Watch Tower Society to ask if we could study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. Still we intended to remain hippies. But we were then taking drugs less often, out of fear that we might be troubled by the Devil.
The welcome extended to us at the branch office and our tour of the building made a deep impression. No one frowned at our hippie clothing, though it was shocking, whereas in the street people used to turn around and hurl unkind remarks at us. Before departing, we left our address so that someone would call on us for a Bible study.
At first, two young people visited us to discuss God’s Word. As they were younger than we were, Romy used to laugh at them. Later, a Witness who was older and much stricter than the two young Witnesses called on us. Although he repeatedly found us not at home, he kept coming, waited a long time and left notes fixing further appointments. He did not let himself get discouraged. Right from the first visit, this Witness said a prayer and asked us not to smoke during the study. He would often invite us to eat at his home, for he knew that we did not eat well.
With firmness and love, he made us aware of our pride and our air of superiority, caused by our mistaken philosophical concepts. He convinced us of the urgent need to break free from wicked spirit forces. An analysis of Acts chapter 19 and Deuteronomy 7:25, 26 led us gradually to get rid of certain books, including those on the occult, and clothing used for initiation sessions.
Yet we still felt as though we were caught in a net. Unknown to us, letters a friend of my wife had written were a source of trouble. In the dark these letters gave her a clear sensation of the presence of superhuman beings whose eyes would stare at her. As soon as we would turn on the lights, all these manifestations would cease. Generally, it was enough to pronounce the name “Jehovah” out loud. As soon as we invoked God’s name, the demonic influence went away, to return a few hours later. This continued until we destroyed the letters.
One night, as we were both dozing, my wife suddenly had the premonition that I was going to kill her. And I did feel an irresistible force take hold of my arm to make me commit the crime, against my will. Although I resisted with all my might, this force was relentlessly pushing me. Only by pronouncing God’s name “Jehovah” without letup was I able to restrain myself. To prevent the worst, I told my wife to get dressed quickly and to run to the home of a Witness, an elder, who knew our problems. Shortly afterward, I joined my wife at his home. It was three o’clock in the morning. Having understood the situation at once, he listened, reassured us and said a fitting prayer, after which he offered to let us sleep at his home. The next day the Witness who studied with us accompanied us back to our home.
REACTION OF FRIENDS
In the meantime we had begun to speak about Bible truth to our friends who were on drugs. We had given them a Bible and the publication The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life. But these friends prevented me from progressing in the Christian way of life. They kept criticizing the truth and ridiculed me for wanting to get my hair cut and to stop taking drugs. As for me, I couldn’t help thinking of 2 Corinthians 6:14-18: “Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers. For what fellowship do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what sharing does light have with darkness? Further, what harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what portion does a faithful person have with an unbeliever? And what agreement does God’s temple have with idols? For we are a temple of a living God; just as God said: ‘I shall reside among them and walk among them, and I shall be their God, and they will be my people.” “Therefore get out from among them, and separate yourselves,” says Jehovah, “and quit touching the unclean thing”’; ‘“and I will take you in.”’ ‘“And I shall be a father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to me,” says Jehovah the Almighty.”’
But breaking with these friends was not easy for me. I was particularly fond of one of my friends who was so shocked because I had my hair cut and began to work on a regular basis. Everything I undertook shocked him deeply. This troubled me very much. Then, later on, while returning from the school where I worked, I was whistling and singing on my motorcycle. I was so happy. That same friend, at the wheel of his car, lowered the window, amazed to see my happiness. My joy caused him to realize that drugs were making him more and more unhappy.
As a result, that very day he, his 16-year-old wife and his cousin came to the Kingdom Hall. Impressed by the welcome extended to them and the happiness of those in attendance, they began to study the Bible with the Witness who was studying with us. They also got baptized in the same year as we did. We rejoice that, of our friends who were on drugs, four have as of now dedicated their lives to Jehovah.
Among Jehovah’s Witnesses we have found many true friends and real love, joy and peace. We will never forget the patience shown by the wife of the Witness who studied the Bible with us. She taught Romy how to cook and to keep our home neat and clean. Thanks to her, my wife can please Jehovah also in these areas of a Christian’s life. (Prov. 31:27) At last, we are truly united in a happy marriage relationship.—Contributed.
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Our experience with drugs and the occult had convinced us that the Devil existed
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Legal marriage mattered little to us
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Only by pronouncing God’s name “Jehovah” without letup was I able to restrain myself
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My joy caused him to realize that drugs were making him more and more unhappy