The picture below seems to depict some Hollywood stars being killed in Armageddon. The one on the lower right appears to be actor Will Smith, and on the lower left, John Lithgow. The man in the upper right with the gun looks like Dan Aykroyd, while the one in the middle appears to be Sylvester Stallone. This is from the 9/1/97 Watchtower magazine.
Does the above picture frighten you? If you are a member of the Watchtower organization, also known as Jehovah’s Witnesses, this probably will put some fear inside of you. The Watchtower has purposely instilled phobias in their member’s minds in order to create fear in them. Think about it – this is a control mechanism designed so that their members will be too afraid to leave the Watchtower Society. The leaders of the Watchtower are very adept at manipulation.
While I was a Jehovah’s Witness and growing up as a teenager, my mother would always tell me that I wasn’t going to make it to the “New System,” the paradise earth that was supposed to be after the horrific battle of Armageddon happened. She told me that since I hadn’t changed my personality enough, Jehovah God would allow me to die in this situation, never to be resurrected or heard from again. I was supposed to put on the Watchtower version of a “new personality.” If I didn’t change enough, then I would be destroyed at Armageddon.
For some reason, I never quite believed that the God I believed in was such a mean and horrible Being. I couldn’t see why God had created me the way I am, but did not accept me the way I was born. How could that be? Was this God, the one I’d been told was a “God of Love” according to the Watchtower, really a vindictive god who just wanted to get even with everyone. The fears and phobias I had about Armageddon were really irrational – if He truly is a God of Love.
I’ve noticed that many Ex Jehovah’s Witnesses have a great deal of trouble trying to reconcile themselves to the fact that God truly loves them. It’s a very difficult concept, if you have been raised in an organization that teaches that God hates you if you sin, and is always ready to kill you if you make even one mistake. That “walking on eggshells” is not a good feeling to reckon with constantly.
This “walking on eggshells” concept is what drives many out of the Watchtower Organization. Perhaps they haven’t found out about the Watchtower’s false doctrines and prophecies, nor had any disagreements with the elders, or anything else like that. They may wholeheartedly believe that the Watchtower is the “faithful and discreet slave,” but they feel they can’t measure up to what the Watchtower says that they should be doing. They feel there is something wrong with themselves – not the Watchtower organization. Even disfellowshipped JWs often feel it is their fault that they can’t be a part of the Watchtower Organization and actually often defend the Watchtower’s actions against them. Many times I’ve run into former JWs who say, “I stopped going to meetings many years ago, but I still believe that the Watchtower is the only organization teaching the truth.”
These same people, who often have led lives that were very self-destructive, feel that (just as illustrated in the above picture) they are doomed to die in Armageddon. They live without hope because they have the erroneous belief that the only truth is found in the Watchtower. So they muddle through life aimlessly, holding no hope for the future or in themselves.
This is why it is so very important for former Jehovah’s Witnesses to find some kind of a support system of friends. Sometimes, finding another church to attend is just out of the question for many Ex JWs. On the other hand, a support group made up of other Ex JWs might just be the answer for them. When someone goes lives with the Watchtower’s language and thoughts, the only other people who can speak your language and totally understand where you are coming from are other former JWs!
A support group should be a healthy environment where the facilitator knows how to effectively moderate the group and allows for healthy discussions between the members. It should be a safe, loving, and warm environment to help the members make new friends and lead them toward a better emotional state.
I facilitate a support group in southeast Los Angeles County that meets on a monthly basis – usually the last Sunday of each month. Some of the members have been out of the Watchtower for many years, and some have been out for less than a year. This group has been quite successful and I’ve noticed that everyone gets along very well. This group is Christian based, because I am a Christian. However, I don’t push my beliefs on others who might not believe the same way that I do. The decision of attending another church is best made by each individual. If someone has a question about what I believe, I am glad that I now know the real truth about God and the Bible and can give a person a loving answer from the Bible.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) Jesus is the one who has the real truth, not the Watchtower! The Apostle Paul said in Ephesians, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Eph 2:8,9)
Just remember – there is no need to be afraid of dying in Armageddon. God does love you and wants you to have a good life! Go get yourself a good education if you don’t have one. Find a hobby, or a group of new friends to hang out with, even if it’s just some neighborhood friends. I would hope that some of you find a good church to go to so that you can have a place to worship God – if that’s what you choose. Attending a church is also a good way for making friends. Sometimes the church atmosphere isn’t for everyone, but try to visit some churches every now and then – even if it is just for holidays.
There is no more need to fret about death, earthquakes, famines, along with doom and gloom. You have the rest of your life ahead of you. Now make it a good one!