Awakening of a Jehovah's Witness:
Escape From the Watchtower Society

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Endorsement by Don Nelson, former Watchtower missionary
Endorsement by Rev. Peter Barnes
Foreword by Jerry Bergman, Ph.D., MSBS, L.P.C.C.
Preface
Acknowledgments
1. Groomed To Be A Victim
2. Hooked
3. Abusive Love
4. The Watchtower Society Plays God
5. "You Shall Know My Disciples By The Love They Show"
6. Excuses, Excuses, Excuses
7. Truth or Consequences
8. The Rubber Band Cycle
9. My Struggle to Stay In the Organization
10. Awakening
11. Compassion
12. My Struggle to Get Out of the Organization
13. Hiding Behind A Screen
14. Leaving The Guidebook Behind
15. The Vision
16. The Shoe Fits: A Cultlike Organization
17. Now You See It, Now You Don't: False Prophecies
18. Playing Follow-The-Leader: Zigzagging Doctrines
That Affect Lives
19. The Guise of Spiritual Authority
20. Codependency Held Me Hostage
21. The Illusion of Choice: Mind Control
22. The Final Hurdles
23. The Last Straw: Rape
24. Escape!
25. Conclusion
26. Epilogue

-Author Recommended Reading List

-Appendix A, "Why Couldn't She Just Leave?"
by Jerry Bergman, Ph.D., MSBS, L.P.C.C

-Appendix B, "Discussion of Watchtower Beliefs"
by Jerry Bergman, Ph.D., MSBS, L.P.C.C.

-Glossary


EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER THREE:


The Organization also instilled in me a terror of demons. The Witnesses I knew spent much time talking among themselves about Satan and the earthly activities of his invisible wicked spirit followers, the demons. One evening I was at a social gathering with other Witnesses, some of whom told accounts of persons who were studying with Jehovah’s Witnesses being attacked by demons who wanted to keep them in Satan’s realm and out of the Truth. I was assured, though, that if I were ever assaulted by demons, shouting the name “JEHOVAH!” repeatedly would frighten them away.

That night I laid in bed awake, my blankets pulled up to my chin, worrying if demons would ever come after me. “At least now I know how to protect myself”, I thought, trying to comfort myself. Just then, as if some unseen existence could read my mind, I heard a noise. I felt the presence of something under my bed. It moved. It skittered across the slick waxed hardwood floor and bumped into the wall. I was terrified—surely it must be demons! I shouted, “Jehovah! Jehovah!” but I was so frightened that I could barely utter a sound; my words were but a faint whisper. Then I heard the noise again, coming from the opposite direction this time—the sound of fingernails scraping against the wood floor. Something slid underneath my bed, slamming into the wall with a thud. I was paralyzed with fear, yet I managed to call out, “Jehovah! Jehovah!” with fervent determination. Yet still I felt something in the room with me. A chill went up and down my spine as the invisible presence now came from several directions at once, colliding with one another, then scattering in diffused directions about my room. Then I heard a loud knocking sound coming from the inside of my closet. Petrified from this unseen attack, I screamed, “Jehovah! Jehovah! JEHOVAH!” What was wrong? I was calling on the name of Jehovah—I just couldn’t understand why the demons weren’t frightened away.

The activity persisted for what seemed like an eternity. Suddenly I recalled a Witness telling me that demons love darkness, but hate light. If only I could reach up and turn the lamp on, I reasoned, the demons might flee. Trembling with great fear, my fingers groped for the lamp switch; finally locating it, the room was at once illuminated, and I found myself face to face with the “demons”—a horde of mice!

Some Witnesses were so fearful that they even left Watchtower magazines strewn about their homes, hoping to ward off demon attacks. Even Witnesses’ daily conversations were liberally sprinkled with the name “Jehovah” to keep the demons at bay. When the Brothers prayed audibly for the congregation, many used the name “Jehovah” repeatedly, almost superstitiously, throughout their prayer.

During Assemblies, Brothers often told stories about demons attacking Witnesses who left the Organization, as they were then outside the realm of Jehovah’s protection. Demons were said to cause them to go crazy, to become depressed, or to lead debauched, meaningless, poverty-stricken lives full of misery and sorrow. The Society reinforced this belief at nearly every Assembly by featuring the testimony of a person who had either left the Organization, or had been “disfellowshipped” (ousted from the Organization) and had now been reinstated. Invariably, they would tell of how horrible life outside the Organization had been, and how Satan had influenced them to become prostitutes, drug addicts, or to do all manner of immoral or illegal things. They would always emphasize that returning to the Organization had been the only way to straighten out their lives and obtain relief from the demons. Watchtower Society literature at times even described how their missionaries in remote foreign countries were the only missionaries able to stay alive despite deadly curses put on them by demonic tribal witch doctors.

Telling demon stories was a favorite past-time at Witnesses’ social gatherings. One Sister exclaimed a demon once grabbed her while she was in the kitchen cooking dinner, and had spun her around in circles. Another said that the beautiful sofa her sister gave her was demonized, as everyone who sat on it developed an impulsive urge to kill someone. Yet another told of her Bible student who owned a blanket possessed by demons; whenever she would beckon it to cover her, it would creep up her body and snuggle itself up around her neck. All such stories were told in hushed undertones, for fear the demons would overhear. The Witnesses believed that anyone showing too much interest or curiosity about the demons would be the demons’ next target. The Witnesses lived in obvious fear of demons; these stories always ended with the group agreeing how thankful they were to be Jehovah’s Witnesses, as Jehovah would always protect them from these invisible adversaries. Telling and listening to these stories served to reinforce the need to stay closely involved in all Organizational activities as a protection against these evil, invisible demonic forces.

I noticed the Witnesses’ obsessive fear of demons also manifesting itself while in the
house-to-house preaching work. Occasionally a householder would want to give the
Witness a religious pamphlet from her own church; while often the Witness would refuse to accept it on the basis that she already had the Truth, at other times another Witness might accept it. However, as soon as we were out of sight of the householder, the pamphlet became like the proverbial “hot potato”—the Witness couldn’t get rid of it fast enough! Some Witnesses feared that even touching the pamphlet could cause a demon to transfer itself from the pamphlet to themselves. This fear stemmed from their belief that Jehovah’s Witnesses represent the only true religion on Earth, thus all other religions are false and under the control of the Devil and the demons; consequently, they believe all literature from another religion to be contaminated with demonic forces. While some Witnesses insisted that burning the pamphlets was the only safe way to dispose of them in order to avoid demon attacks, others seemed relieved to simply drop them into the nearest trashcan. I found it odd that Witnesses, who claimed to be representatives of God in doing His work, would be so frightened of a mere pamphlet.

I observed many Witnesses become nervous and abruptly scurry away from talking to a householder who talked too much about Jesus, exclaiming:“Did you notice his eyes? He is obviously demonized!”

Witnesses often frequented garage sales, as most Witnesses were not well off financially, in large part due to the Brothers urging them to work only part-time so as to have more time for the witnessing work. I noticed that Witnesses were fanatical about the articles they found at these sales, worrying that demons might have attached themselves to the items; bringing such things home would be an open invitation to demon attack. Often I watched as Witnesses, before buying something at a garage sale, peered into the eyes of the people selling the desired objects, to see if they had the “special look” individuals who were demonized were thought to have—if they did, the Witness would immediately put the items down in order to avoid likewise becoming demonized, and would breathlessly beat a hasty retreat.


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BOOKS

Prometheus Books January 2002 Hardcover, 327 pgs. Social Science/ Current Events
AWAKENING OF A JEHOVAH'S WITNESS: Escape From the Watchtower Society
Factual story of the author's 25 years in the Watchtower Society as one of Jehovah's Witnesses.

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