Jehovah’s Witnesses Testimonies

Life is not over once you leave the Watchtower.  Read the inspiring testimonies of former Jehovah’s Witnesses who found life after leaving the organization. Click here to learn more about our San Antonio EX-Jehovah’s Witness Support Group.

I was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses for about 18 years. I grew in the organization going from a publisher, to a ministerial servant, pioneer, an elder and congregation secretary. Although I felt a close relationship to the organization, I didn’t have or feel I had a close relationship with God. I had an unsettling feeling in the back of my mind and in my heart that something wasn’t right. I tried to explain this away with ideas such as thinking, “We are imperfect men and things would change and get better later.” I wanted to believe and support what I felt was the only truth in the world. But at the same time, I also noticed that there was, what I perceived, a lack of love in the organization. I kept reading in the Bible that God is love, and reading scriptures that explained that love was essential to be pleasing to God, but I went away from our meetings not feeling built up, and feeling as though I wasn’t doing enough and would have to work harder to please to God.

As Witnesses, we were taught that we would not be acceptable to God until after Armageddon. Then comes the one thousand years to become perfect, then the Devil is released again, and after that final test. If we measured up to His high standards, then we could be reconciled to Jehovah (maybe). I kept rereading beautiful examples of God’s love and how much God loved us by sending His only begotten Son into the world. I read over and over that Jesus said this love would be the identifying mark of His congregation.

I was misled!

Now I am a Happy X-Jehovah’s Witness. You see, I have found the love I was looking for and now I see love in the people with whom I share my life. These people care for me for what I am, not for what some organization says I have to be. I have learned that you can have a different opinion and still be right with the Lord. The truth that the Bible brings out is so simple, just love and accept Jesus and ask Him to forgive your past sinful life, repent and follow Him.

That is the only work a Christian has to do. Amen and Amen.

My name is Doug Campbell, and I’m a HappyXWitness!

Doug Campbell Kerrville, TX

Although I was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses for more than 18 years, I never felt truly comfortable with some of the things that I was suppose to know or to be teaching people. I found myself avoiding those subjects at the door because I simply could not convince anyone of some things when I really didn’t believe them myself. I knew something was wrong with the date 1914, supposedly Christ’s invisible return, but I couldn’t bring myself to do a lot of study on the subject, because I was afraid of what I would find. I couldn’t convince anyone that Armageddon was right around the corner.

I started hating going to the meetings. I couldn’t enjoy field service because I didn’t believe half of what I was taught to believe. I started counting all the depressed people in my congregation and comparing them to Christian people I knew who were not Jehovah’s Witnesses. I realize that the Holy Spirit was crying out to me to pay attention to my doubts. The truth can withstand examination, but a lie always reveals itself. Listen to that inner small voice that tells you to examine what you think is wrong. Don’t let any organization tell you what to read, what to pray, how to feel, what to study. The Holy Spirit kept after me until I paid attention.

I started doing independent research, but after years of belonging to a cult, I felt I had to pray to God to forgive me for not believing the Organization. I was sure that God was displeased with me for my doubts, but I had to do something so my mind would be at peace.

I finally came to understand how simple Biblical truth really is. It doesn’t require reading books or magazines or attending countless hours of instruction so that a person would know what they were “required” to believe. I didn’t have to feel guilty for not wanting to do more, be more, study more. I always called it my “daily dose of guilt,” and I am thankful to Jesus for lifting this burden.

I am growing in my relationship with the Lord and am learning more day by day. I spent years learning a lie and now I am anxious to learn what the Bible really teaches about many other subjects. Most Witnesses are mislead people, little lost sheep trying to find their way, having doubts, but being afraid to follow the direction of the Holy Spirit instead of their organization in New York.

Thank you, Jesus, for showing me the real TRUTH.

My name is Marcia Campbell, and I’m a HappyXWitness!

Marcia Campbell Kerrville, TX

I am happy today because I don’t operate in fear anymore, but rather in faith. As one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I operated in the law of sin and death because my only motivation was fear. Fear only exists where there is no faith. I couldn’t have faith in the God I’d been told about because I believed myself to be His enemy! But that day at my mother’s house, God spoke to my heart and everything changed. I’d been “saved” for 22 years by then! But Satan had such a stronghold in my way of thinking, I was still in bondage to his lies.

I am only able to receive all that Jesus died to give me, because I finally realized I’d believed a lie about the nature of God. He’s proven Himself in my life to truly be my REDEEMER! The little girl who was never allowed to celebrate a birthday is today a party clown for children’s birthdays….is that not awesome? The thief came and stole my childhood, but because of Jesus, God is restoring to me seven times what the enemy stole!

Are all of my circumstances great? No way! I have a son in jail, another son resents me and lets me know it….we have too many bills to pay and lots of aches and pains….but it’s while in the midst of these kinds of painful situations that faith grows and we truly come to KNOW the awesome nature of our God, and no one can lie to me about Him again…ever!

My name is Pam Dickson, and I’m a HappyXWitness!

Pam Dickson Valpariso, Indiana

I was a Jehovah’s Witness for 26 years. I learned that the Watchtower is not what it claims to be. Their belief system is burdensome. You never know when you’ve done enough of their works to be sure of eternal life. Jesus said of those who come to Him, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

When I first left the WT in 1970, I struggled to find someone else who shared my thoughts about how wrong they were. I knew of no one. I searched the library. I gradually began to find some. Walter Martin, Bill and Joan Cetnar, and Ed Gruss were some of my favorites. I prayed that God would raise up someone to shine the light. Soon after praying, a young Christian man (David Henke) in Columbus, Georgia (a three-hour drive away) somehow heard about me, called me and wanted to meet me. We arranged to meet half-way between us and we talked. He was considering starting a ministry and wanted to get my opinion on it. I encouraged him to do so. He did and he started Watchman Fellowship, which grew and today has chapters in many states.

Now, and for many years, I have been a happy, well-adjusted, born-again Christian. Happier than I ever was as a Jehovah’s Witness. I know that I have eternal life. I have the “peace that passes all understanding.” (Philippians 4:7)

My name is Floyd Erwin, and I’m a HappyXWitness!

Floyd Erwin Gadsden, Alabama

I was born and raised one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I was baptized at 16 and was very active until about the age of 20 when I married outside “the truth” and fell away for about seven years. I came back to the organization and spent several years as a pioneer and ministerial servant. I learned Spanish and was asked to serve an isolated Spanish group in Western Kansas. It was during this time that I really realized that things I thought I just didn’t understand, I really did not believe, and that began bothering me a lot.

I stepped down from the full-time ministry and as a ministerial servant, and finally left the organization in 1998. It took several years before I could go to a church, but I have found a wonderful church home. A church home where my knowledge is put to use and I am well-respected. I attend a United Methodist Church and chair the Christan Education ministry. I am also on the church council.

It was difficult at first because most of my family and all of my immediate family are still Witnesses. I now have a far better understanding of my faith than ever before.

My name is Dennis Irwin, and I’m a HappyXWitness!

Dennis Irwin Emporia, Kansas

Joe and I were Jehovah’s Witnesses for 50+ years. We were perfectly content until about 1982 when some things happened that got us thinking. For one thing, we began reading the Bible (New World Translation) without the aid of any Watchtower book. In our reading we came across the scripture in Luke 11:11-13 which says that “God will give holy spirit to anyone asking.” When we did this and read the Kingdom Interlinear Bible (a Watchtower translation with the Greek and English translation on one side) we found many places where they had not followed their rule of one English word for each Greek word. Also they had added words in the translation.

We were disfellowshipped December 24, 1983. In 1985 I began to associate with a group of interdenominational women called “Women Aglow.” Then I joined a Foursquare Church. Joe did not do anything for 10 years. God put it in my heart to tell him, in 1994, that I was not going to church anymore, but was going to spend my time with him. He began going to church the next week. He attended a Promise Keepers conference soon after, and came home wanting to become a pastor. He was accepted by Foursquare even though he had not attended Bible college. We are now in a non-denominational church and he is still a pastor. We have found that what God wants is for us to love unconditionally and encourage other people. One of our sons is still a JW and does not talk to us, and our daughters believe in God, but do not attend church. We know that God has a plan and they will come to know Jesus as Savior.

My name is Velta Maes and I’m a HappyXWitness!

Velta Maes Antelope, California

My name is Natalie and I was a third generation Jehovah’s Witness. I believed in my heart I had the true religion. My school vacations were spent in the pioneer service, and upon graduation from high school I devoted myself to the full time ministry. I was trained to debate many religions and was taught the Bible in a manner to solely convert others to what was called the “truth.” I literally was a walking theologian.

I was engaged at the age of 17, and when I turned 18 the following October, I was married. I had three children and pioneered with children in tote.

I believed biblically they had the truth, but was tiring out and felt I was being weeded out by God. By 1982 I was disfellowshipped which is what many call shunned. I had no one in the outside world to talk to . . . and no one in the world of Jehovah’s Witnesses would have anything to do with me. My mother and brother have not really talked to me in more than 20 years, except on what is deemed acceptable occasions like weddings or funerals. The exchange of words is cordial, but their demeanor left me feeling unworthy and ravaged with guilt. I can’t find words to explain what this feels like; to know and believe that God detests you, will not hear your prayers, and that you will die at Armageddon. You are nothing more than the dog that returned to his own vomit (2nd Peter 2:22). I lived in limbo away from God for almost 16 years. He was always in the back of my mind, but I knew He did not want me. How could He? I thought I had left His true organization. I had great fear about Jehovah. He was a God who expected exclusive devotion. Love was not talked about much, nor was salvation through Jesus. Salvation came from adhering to the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses. So I respected God, but did not like Him.

In 1996, I decided I wanted God in my life at all costs, so I got out my New World Translation of the Bible. It was all highlighted, footnoted, and underlined from my old Jehovah’s Witness ministry days. I began to read it. The more I read, the more I could not believe how different the things were I was reading from what I had been taught my whole life as a Jehovah’s Witnesses. In the past I would ask myself, “How can this be? Who am I to question God’s only true organization on earth?” Then in July 1998 my father passed away from refusing a blood transfusion. That is something prohibited by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I felt responsible for his death, and hold pain in my heart for not sharing with him the new things I was reading in the Bible. I was still under the influence of mind control after all those years. His death deepened my quest for the real truth.

Through a co-worker, I was invited to attend a service at a non-denominational Church called Calvary Chapel. I felt very guilty going there, but I liked what I heard since it was what I had been reading in the Bible. I was finally hearing the real truth and questions were being answered. Still, I wanted to desperately belong somewhere.

A scripture in Genesis 6:6 brought me to know God like I had never known Him before. It read: “The Lord was grieved that He had made man on the earth, and His heart was filled with pain.” God had a heart! His heart hurt that the people in Noah’s day left Him and did not love Him. It pierced my own heart as if a knife cut through me. I was in Fort Myers, Florida when I was shown that scripture. On my return trip home I would not stop reading the Bible. Over and over the scripture in Genesis resounded in my mind. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior on that airplane! All thanks to God, He reached me after searching three long years. I got it . . . finally got it!!!!! I was free from all the brainwashing. My mind was free!! I cried hysterically and told Him how I loved His son Jesus Christ, and asked for forgiveness for my sins and for hurting Him.

It was so clear to me that I was the one who had left God. I had hurt His feelings just like the people in Noah’s day. He had never left me!! I had believed in lies. I finally understood that I did not have to belong anywhere. I belonged to Him. He was my best friend, my Savior, my King, my God.

I did not have the answers to Biblical doctrine questions all at once. All I knew was that I understood Grace . . . and the gift of God. The heavy burden of earning my salvation was removed. I did not have to count my monthly hours in the ministry for Him to love me. I did not have to stand on street corners converting people to be saved. I did not have to attend five meetings a week at the kingdom hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses to have His love. I did not have to worry if I would be in His kingdom. I now knew I would. I was no longer under condemnation. The Throne of grace was there for me too. Most of all, I finally LOVED HIM!

No more unhealthy fear . . . but a respect and TRUE love from my HEART. I finally knew Him, instead of just knowing all about Him.

It was October 27, 1999, the day after my birthday, that I became born again and finally knew Christ. Now I preach the truth about Jesus because my heart moves me, rather than needing to fill out a time card. Now it is no longer about me, but about Christ. I no longer feel I need to earn my salvation.

Ephesians 2:4-8: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves, it is a gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Titus 3:5: “He saved us, not because of the righteous things we have done, but because of His mercy.”

Romans 11:6: “And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”

Mostly, for the first time, I understand Philippians 4:7: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

The heavy yoke was lifted, and I now enjoy a life of peace in Christ Jesus, The Prince of Peace. My heart’s desire since, has been that all, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, come to understand the gift of grace through Jesus Christ.

My name is Natalie Matina and I’m a HappyXWitness!

Natalie Matina Webster, New York

My brothers and I were raised from the very beginning as JWs and the memories are very dark: sitting with my head down at school during the pledge of allegiance, staying in the library while everyone went to see “The Nutcracker” at Christmastime, no school carnivals, sports, scouts, or friends outside of the Kingdom Hall. Those are my childhood memories, cloaked in the throat-choking hold of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. My journey out began when the world didn’t end in 1975 as The Watchtower had prophesied. My dad was an elder and an important part of the local ‘overseer’ group. I was only seven in 1975, and my parents had never owned a house, never gone to college, never made plans to do anything more important than pioneering.

So when the world didn’t end, my parents got on with their lives. I remember the circuit overseers, the elders and the other women in the Hall who came to our house repeatedly for months with graven faces and threats – which I certainly didn’t understand. We never saw our friends again. We never heard from our grandparents or extended family again. We never went back to the Kingdom Hall. We never did another family “bible study.” It was as if we had been sucked into a black void of nothingness. And no one in our family said a word about it.

To me this was a gift. I was young and it opened doors for me that my older brothers never had. I could hear God calling me from my earliest memories, and though I had no idea who Christ was, I sought Him relentlessly. When I was old enough to drive, I went to church with anyone who would take me, while at the same time becoming deeply consumed by sin, taking part in things that horrify me when I think of them today. Then God got my attention: several family members died and it shook my life dramatically. Then a friend’s little, old grandma cornered me one day in her living room. She looked me in the eyes and asked me if I was saved. I had no idea what she meant, but I knew that all I wanted was to be saved.

So I kept going to church with anyone who would take me, and I watched all the late-night preachers on television, and repeated the sinner’s prayer over and over and over. But I thought it would be years before I could bask in the glorious peace of Christ’s unconditional love and grace.

But the basking has come. Jesus is God. The Holy Spirit lives within me. I am saved, living an eternal life, and will praise Christ in heaven! God called me, met me, and now leads me every day. My husband and I are blessed beyond all human comprehension.

My name is Judy Martin, and I’m a HappyXWitness!

Judy Martin San Antonio, Texas
First, my background. I was once a devoted Jehovah’s Witness and raised by a very strict Jehovah’s Witness family. The religion falls back to five generations spanning grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. My dad is an elder in their congregation, my mother a pioneer when she could be. I mention this because I was not just acquainted by people of this religion. It was once my life. As I got older, I decided that I could no longer knock on doors and ask people to question their beliefs if I had not done the same myself. I was sure that my quest would do nothing but reaffirm my faith in the religion. What happened was the exact opposite.

I found that I had been completely misled and my zeal was in vain. I discovered a personal relationship in God and how “religion” is unimportant in comparison. I found a faith in God instead of faith in some religious organization. Don’t take me wrong: I find church a very important part of my worship to God. My reason for attending church is very different now, however. I enjoy uniting with fellow believers in Christ and worshiping God together with them. The difference is that the church does not make me a Christian. My personal faith in God makes me a Christian.

Now I have the “real life” (1 Timothy 6:18-20) the Witnesses always talked about. I have real Christian friends who truly care about me instead of judging me. I also see that same Christian love working in my family life. I have a peace inside and I always feel comforted no matter what the situation. It hurts to be alienated from my family, but God has been my comforter and Father. Leaving that organization was the best decision I ever made. I could never return.

My name is Renee Overholt, and I’m a HappyXWitness!

Renee Overholt Jackson, Mississippi
My parents became Witnesses when I was five years old, and all my family is still in the organization. I was an active, passionate JW for 12 years. I was disfellowshipped, and so then I went to the world and decided to “live it up” since I was going to die in Armageddon anyway.

I got married at 21 and didn’t become born-again until I was 37. As a JW, I was very restricted and controlled, but now I’m liberated because His grace has saved me. I do my good works now out of gratitude, not because I have to turn in my timecard.

I now have a relationship with Jesus and I’m not just following the rules and doctrines of men. I love that I can talk to Him and, pow! He hears me every time.

My name is Alex Villarreal, and I’m a HappyXWitness!

Alex Villarreal San Antonio, Texas
Growing up as a JW, I had the Watchtower way to God – trying earnestly to force myself to fit into an earthly organization, manipulated into endless hours of “field service” to ensure the possibility of surviving the imminent end of the world. I had the Watchtower “truth” – manufactured theology supported by a manufactured bible, translated by manufactured interpreters. I also had the Watchtower Life – anxiety, depression, insecurity, negativity, self-righteousness, and paranoia. It was this combination of the Watchtower Way to God that made up the veneer of my shallow JW misconception of happiness.

Fortunately, the veneer wore thin to reveal that the “truth” was a lie. Once I was willing to let go of my false misconception of who God was, I found the real way, the real truth, and the real life. He is a person, not a religion. Now I am free to really live, and happy to tell everyone about it. Life in the JW’s is more akin to a slow draining existence. Happiness begins when you are willing to use the mind God gave you and let Him show you the truth.

My name is Robert Wallace, and I’m a HappyXWitness!

Robert Wallace San Antonio, Texas
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