YEAR BORN: 1960
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: FINLAND
HISTORY: HEAVY-METAL MUSICIAN
I grew up in a working-class neighborhood in the seaport city of Turku. My father was a boxing champion, and my younger brother and I were also actively involved in boxing. In school, I was often challenged to a fight; I never hesitated to use my fists. As a teenager, I joined a notorious gang, which got me into even more violent conflicts. I also discovered heavy-metal music and started to dream of becoming a rock star.
I bought some drums, formed a band, and soon became the lead singer of the band. I liked to go wild on stage. Because our band was aggressive and had a wild appearance, we gradually received much publicity. We started to play in front of large audiences, and we made a few recordings, the last of which received favorable reviews. In the late 1980’s, we traveled to the United States to promote our band. We performed in New York and Los Angeles a few times and established some contacts with music-industry professionals before returning to Finland.
Although I enjoyed being in the band, I longed for more meaning in my life. I became disillusioned with the harshness of the music industry and became frustrated with my frivolous lifestyle. I felt that I was a bad person, and I was afraid of burning in a fiery hell. I tried to find some answers in all kinds of spiritual books, and I also prayed intensely for God’s help, even though I felt that I could never please him.
HOW THE BIBLE CHANGED MY LIFE:
To support myself, I worked at the local post office. One day, I found out that a workmate was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I bombarded him with questions. His logical, Scriptural answers intrigued me, so I agreed to have him study the Bible with me. After I had been studying for some weeks, my band was offered an attractive recording contract with the possibility of releasing an album in the United States. I felt that this was the chance of a lifetime.
I told the Witness who was studying with me that I really wanted to make one more album and that after doing that, I would seriously apply Bible principles in my life. He didn’t express his opinion; he simply asked me to read Jesus’ words recorded at Matthew 6:24. The verse says: “No one can slave for two masters.” I was stunned when I realized the meaning of Jesus’ words. But after a few days, it was my Bible teacher’s turn to be stunned! I told him that because I wanted to follow Jesus, I left the band!
The Bible was like a mirror that revealed my flaws to me. (James 1:22-25) I saw that my behavior was brutal: I was proud, full of unquenchable ambition. I used bad language, and I fought, smoked, and drank heavily. When I realized how much my lifestyle contradicted Bible principles, I felt as if I had run into a brick wall. Nevertheless, I was ready to make the needed changes.—Ephesians 4:22-24.
“Our heavenly Father is merciful, and he wants to heal the wounds of those who repent of their mistakes”
Especially in the beginning, I was overwhelmed with remorse for my past wrongs. But the Witness with whom I was studying helped me a lot. He showed me what the Bible says at Isaiah 1:18: “Though the sins of you people should prove to be as scarlet, they will be made white just like snow.” This and other Bible verses convinced me that our heavenly Father is merciful and wants to heal the wounds of those who repent of their mistakes.
When I came to know and appreciate Jehovah as a Person, I wanted to dedicate my life to him. (Psalm 40:8) I was baptized in 1992 at an international convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses held in St. Petersburg, Russia.
HOW I HAVE BENEFITED:
I have made many good friends among Jehovah’s worshippers. Now and then, we get together to play decent music and enjoy this gift from God. (James 1:17) A special blessing has been my marriage to my beloved wife, Kristina. With her, I have shared many things—the joys and challenges of life, as well as my deepest feelings.
Had I not become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I might not be alive today. In the past, I constantly drifted in and out of problems and crises. Now I have a real purpose in life, and I feel that everything is in place.