By definition, an apostate is a person who forsakes his religion. If one leaves Islam and becomes a Christian, that person is an apostate to Islam. If a person leaves Christianity and enters into Islam, that person is an apostate to Christianity.
If a person disassociates himself from membership with the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, he is an apostate to that organization. But the Watch Tower Organization does something more.
They carry the definition of an apostate to a new level. An unfair foul stench is placed upon the individual who departs from that organization; even if one leaves the organization voluntarily. It is almost as if the organization does not want you to leave unless you given them an accuse to put you out. Yet, to leave under your own steam is an anomaly. It still has to lay a stench on you so others within the congregation will find you repulsive.
Persons like myself who was a baptized Jehovah's Witness for nearly twenty years within the Watch Tower organization, made the decision to cease membership with it.
I began to realize that the voices from it's headquarters in New York – as expressed through the many publications and talks – were not the same voice I was hearing when I read from Scripture – the voice of our Master, Christ Jesus.
The voices that I was hearing were demanding and aggressive. Demanding adherence to rigid protocols of meeting attendance and spending a set number of hours in field service each month; these being a measurements of ones love for Jehovah and ones level of spirituality.
The organization was teaching me what to say and how to say it. It told me who to associate with and who not to associate with; and what to read and not what to read. Association with the "wrong" persons would be met with the punishment of disfellowshipment out of the organization. Caught reading bible-based information other than that produced by the Watch Tower organization could lead to disfellowshipment if one is not re-adjusted in his thinking. This re-adjustment was done by studying a selected Watch Tower publication.
The organization conditioned be to rely upon it's many publications rather than the Bible itself. When counseled, it was the organizations publications that were opened up before em rather than the Bible.
When I had issues with things appearing in the publications or things spoken from the podium that appeared to conflict with what was written in Scripture, I was told that this is "Jehovah's organization" and as time moved on, it would all be made clear. I only had to wait.
I began to realize that the Watch Tower organization was standing in a position it had no business being in; a holy position that belonged to Jesus only.
It even called itself "the truth." A popular phrase known to all Jehovah's Witnesses in "in the truth." Yet, I read from Scripture Jesus saying that he is the truth. (John 14:6)
In hindsight, I remember my baptismal vows as a Jehovah's Witness. When I revisited those vows and re-read them, I was disturbed in my spirit.
The dedication and vow I made was to an organization, not to Jehovah Within the baptismal vow statement, the organization had taken it upon itself to decide who was and who was not a servant of Jehovah.
In other words, the vow statement essentially said that as long as I remained in association with the Watch Tower organization, I was a servant of Jehovah. Leave the Watch Tower organization, and I cease to be a servant of Jehovah.
Here is that baptismal vow. It comes from the pages of the June 1, 1985 issue of the Watchtower magazine, page 30:
On the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, have you repented of your sins and dedicated yourself to Jehovah to do his will?
The second is:
Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization?
I began to wonder what would cause any organization on earth to arrogate itself to decide for themselves who and who is not a servant of Jehovah?
I thought to myself, "Do we not belong to Christ? Are we not his sheep? Why would any human agency take that which does not belong to them and decide for itself that persons are or are not Christs sheep? Would that not that decision be made by the owner for those sheep – Christ Jesus?"
It powerfully dawned on me, that the organization had made itself mediator between me and God.
When persons – because of conscience reasons – voluntarily leave the Watch Tower organization, an announcement is made before the entire congregation in which that person was a member. The other congregational members are told that the person leaving was either disfellowshiped or that they disassociated themselves with the organization.
That is it. No reason is given.
Those remaining in the organization are left with the impression that the person leaving must have done something wrong.
Yet, the bottom line is that the person leaving is marked with a fowl stench and members within the congregation are not to having any association with that person. Not to speak to or greet that person. A cold attitude towards those persons leaving is put in place. All Jehovah's Witnesses know the routine and how the game is played.
If the organization labels a person as an apostate and if you are caught speaking with them or reading any literature they produce, you will be reproved or as a last measure, disfellowshiped from the organization.
In mind, if the Watch Tower claims it has the truth, what does it have to fear? Does not truth have the strength to confront error?
It became obvious to me, that by placing an element of fear over its congregational members, it could act as a deterrent from them speaking to those the Watch Tower labels for them as apostate; a phrase almost all Jehovah's Witnesses blindly use.
If a member of the Watch Tower organization is heard speaking in a manner contrary to Watch Tower teaching, he is reported to the Elders.
Many Jehovah's Witnesses do not realize that in their day to day conversation, the keyword phrase "the organization" is used more than Jehovah or Jesus.
The organization had made itself everything. Thinking outside the confines of the organization would be dealt with.
The organization was imposing and it held me captive and in fear of being kicked out. All Jehovah's Witnesses know this too but will not verbalize it for fear of being kicked out.
With the help of Jehovah, I was able to free myself from the shadow casted over me by the Watch Tower organization. What a blessing?
Unlike others who were former Jehovah Witnesses, I hold no animosity towards those who are members of the Watch Tower. I love them as I am obligated to love all.
It is with the thing that holds them captive – as it once held me – that I have issue.
I will never engage in heinous attacks against Jehovah's Witnesses or members within any religious organization. I believe Jehovah's Witnesses, in general, are good, dedicated, hard working and sincere persons who believe what they believe. Yet, so do members of other religious groups. Those descriptions are not the issue with me, it is the doctrinal differences between the teachings of the organization and those of Christ Jesus.
I know how I will be viewed by members of the Watch Tower organization. I know – and they know I know – that they have been told to avoid websites such as this because "that person is an apostate."
That is not to say that there are not former members out there who hate the very mention of Jehovah's Witnesses. They seem to hold a grudge against the Watch Tower and they really go sour. I am not of that sort. I am actually grateful to Jehovah for allowing me to experience the Watch Tower organization for the nearly twenty years. I came out of it wiser. I see clearly what is wrong with it. I know what it is.
I also know that there are no religious organizations on earth to run into – Watch Tower included. What stands outside all religious organization on earth is God's Son, Christ Jesus who is "The Truth." It is to him that we must come before if we are to have access to the truth and access to the Father. Religious organization hinders this.
Religious organization imitates the exact behavior as the Serpent in the Garden of Eden: Preventing Adam and Eve from gaining life.
Given that Jesus said that he is the way, the truth, and the life, religious organization stands in a position where the one who said he is the life is to stand. They make themselves the way, the truth, and the life.
Since the life is not within any human or human agency, all religious organization can offer is what the Serpent offered Eve: lies which lead to death.
It is not wise for anyone to imagine for themselves that they are "in the truth" because they are a member of a religious organization. They should remember and cling to the words of the one who said that only he is the truth. (John 14;6)
I will uphold Scripture. If by upholding Scripture conflicts with the teachings of the Watch Tower or any other religious organization, it is Scripture – not me – that provokes.
I have learned that many persons who call themselves Christians, will engage in hateful attacks and say hateful, demeaning, and condescending things only because you are either no longer with them or because they somehow believe that you yourself have been misled; not the other way around. They may feel sorry for you and tell you that they will pray for you. Such self-righteous attitudes are simply the product of what they have been fed. While they themselves feel comfortable in the belief that they have "the truth" or are "in the truth" there is something deep inside that gnaws at them; like an itch that cannot be scratched. What is it?
It is that voice out in the wilderness calling out to you. Respond to it and listen to it. For it is your Lord and Master calling out to you. The organization has all but muted that voice of truth by because it stands in a holy place that it ought not be in. And, in this position it disseminates loud messages via many voices making the hearing of the one true voice unhearable.
But be still (deactivate and unplug yourself from the program) and then listen. You will hear the voice of our Master and Lord Christ Jesus.
Read more about me – the person – and servant of the Most High God Jehovah and His Christ.