Lisbon, February 24th, 2018
Cherished Body of Elders of the XXXXXXX congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses
I hereby express my unequivocal desire to officially withdraw from the religion of the Jehovah's Witnesses and to no longer in any way be bound to the Association of Jehovah's Witnesses.
I made this decision because I was aware that, after being called to a Judicial Committee because of my disagreement over many of the Watchtower Society’s teachings and to have it publicly expressed in various ways, this would be the correct step to give. Not that I feel compelled to do so, but because I want to make my position clear before the congregation and the community.
As a former elder, I recognize that most elders in the congregations strive earnestly to do the best they can for the sake of their brethren, although I also recognize that they often do so mechanistically and legally. This happens because of the bureaucracy and rules imposed by the Watchtower organization, where little room is given for true Christian love and merciful compassion as our excellent shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ set the example.
(Read the article: http://www.desperta.net/reflexotildees/uma-mensagem-a-todos-os-anciaos-e-servos-ministeriais)
The process that led me to this position in relation to the religion in which I was practically born and raised was, above all things, due to a question of conscience. I have nothing, past or present, against individual brothers and there are many people who have known me while I was an active Jehovah's Witness who can attest it. I have always striven to be loving, compassionate, and I never let pride over privileges or positions of responsibility make me act like anyone's ‘master of their faith.’ I have always dedicated my energy and capabilities to what I believed to be the "truth".
The process I have gone through, which I believe has been similar to many thousands of others who end up in these circumstances (I personally know many like that), resulted from a deep dissatisfaction with certain organizational teachings and procedures that led me to thoroughly research our doctrines and their history, objectively looking at what this religion really is and what it claims to be.
Still as an Elder, it took me years of intense study and research to understand and find consistency in certain teachings that persistently bothered me. I acquired a generous Bible library, which along with the Watchtower publications, were instrumental in taking a very deep plunge into the 'Word of God'.
In doing so and comparing Watchtower’s teachings with what the Bible actually says, I have encountered various discrepancies and dubious interpretations, the most recent being the various changes with respect to the teaching of "overlapping generation."
Read this article: http://www.desperta.net/reflexotildees/membro-do-corpo-governante-explica-doutrina-da-geracao-sobreposta-mateus-2434)
I believe all of you, brothers, have had the same feeling that certain teachings seem to be 'forced' and adapted to the whims of the Governing Body. But unfortunately, for those who believe that this is the "true religion," it simply strives to stifle such unsettling feelings or doubts and moves on.
After all, we tend to reason, "Jehovah will reveal more information through the Slave." But how can Jehovah reveal anything to someone who is not inspired by him and simply tries to understand the Bible, just like any other human being?
(Read the article: https://www.facebook.com/notes/desperta/o-corpo-governante-admite-que-erra-e-que-n%C3%A3o-%C3%A9-perfeito/520043348193707/)
Of course, for someone who really loves Jehovah and His Son and desires to have an intimate relationship with them, one cannot but continue to desire to know and obtain biblical knowledge as to whether what we learn in our religion is in harmony with His Word. As the organization itself said:
“Since we do not want our worship to be in vain, it is important for each one of us to examine his religion. (…) We need to examine, not only what we personally believe, but also what is taught by any religious organization with which we may be associated. (…) If we are lovers of the truth, there is nothing to fear from such an examination.” – The Truth That Leads To Eternal Life, page 13
Could it be that we may be deceived by people who, although they may be well intentioned, are themselves deluded by a false conviction? Yes we can!
And what conviction is this?
It is the idea of having a special role in God's purpose, leading others to follow them as "prophets" in a deceptive way.
I believe there is a "messiah complex" in these cases. Many of the leaders of sects and destructive groups fall into this kind of psychiatric problem, leading others to believe that only they hold the key to knowledge and salvation. Unfortunately, in many cases this has resulted in death, pain and tears (e.g.: Jonestown, Davidian Branch, Heaven's Gate, among others).
(Read the article: https://www.facebook.com/notes/desperta/o-que-%C3%A9-um-falso-profeta-segundo-a-b%C3%ADblia-e-como-identific%C3%A1-lo-parte-i/507077362823639/)
I firmly believe that Jehovah's Witnesses fit into this type of sects or destructive groups, where the demand for blind and unconditional obedience to the religious leadership’s whimsical interpretations results in harmful personal choices, even choices of life or death, as, for example, in the issue of blood.
(Read the article: http://www.desperta.net/reflexotildees/serao-as-testemunhas-de-jeova-uma-seita-destrutiva)
In fact, what good comes out of knowing the Bible like the back of your hand when many of the interpretations that Watchtower’s leaders choose for their teachings are distorted, decontextualized, and even often opposed to what it explicitly says. Take the case of the interpretation of the mediation of Jesus Christ.
While the Bible categorically affirms that Jesus is the mediator of ALL mankind (1 Timothy 2: 5), the Governing Body asserts that he is only the mediator of a small elite of Christians: the 144.000 anointed; and then these anointed place themselves as mediators between us and Jesus Christ. This is simply a theological aberration, not to say a blasphemy against Christ!
(Read the article: http://www.desperta.net/reflexotildees/quem-e-o-mediador-das-testemunhas-de-jeova)
The Watchtower, that has criticized so many other religions, especially the Catholic Church, for the creation of extra-biblical dogmas which are in opposition to the clear teachings of the Bible, has fallen into the error of doing exactly the same, in order to support an ideology of power and supremacy, in order to legitimize its ecclesiastical authority before the religious community.
After all, what should be the standard for our faith?
Should it be what the Bible says; or what is interpreted in particular by someone who has shown to be inconsistent and incoherent in the way he interprets biblical matters?
Just count how many tweaks, changes and complete reversals in teachings have already occurred in the history of Jehovah's Witnesses! Hundreds, and those will continue to morph as their false prophecies are not fulfilled or change will be required for purely strategic reasons, as in the case of blood, etc.
(Read this article: http://www.desperta.net/reflexotildees/category/significado-proverbios-418)
And the question is not only in this teaching, which I consider central, and which calls into question the individual salvation of those who claim to be Christian. If Jesus isn’t our mediator and if we’re not in the New Covenant, what justification do we have before God to be saved? The mediation of Jesus is the basis for salvation!
The Bible is clear when it shows that those outside the New Covenant do not have the perspective of salvation in Christ. In the Bible, there is no middle ground.
Either one is within the New Covenant and we benefit from this arrangement or we are out and we can’t reap the benefits from it.
No human can fill the place of Christ in this aspect! The following passages clearly show what I have just mentioned:
“But YOU are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for special possession, that YOU should declare abroad the excellencies” of the one that called YOU out of darkness into his wonderful light. For YOU were once not a people, but are now God’s people; YOU were those who had not been shown mercy, but are now those who have been shown mercy.” - 1 Peter 2:9, 10
“By means of him we have the release by ransom through the blood of that one, yes, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his undeserved kindness.” – Ephesians 1:7
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold on to our public declaration of him. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tested in all respects as we have, but without sin. Let us, then, approach the throne of undeserved kindness with freeness of speech, so that we may receive mercy and find undeserved kindness to help us at the right time.” – Hebrews 4:14-16
“Not that we of ourselves are adequately qualified to consider that anything comes from us, but our being adequately qualified comes from God, who has indeed adequately qualified us to be ministers of a new covenant, not of a written code, but of spirit; for the written code condemns to death, but the spirit makes alive.” – 2 Corinthians 3:5, 6
“How much greater punishment do you think a person will deserve who has trampled on the Son of God and who has regarded as of ordinary value the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and who has outraged the spirit of undeserved kindness with contempt? For we know the One who said: “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again: “Jehovah will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” – Hebrews 10:29-31
Merely these biblical passages show that it is a serious responsibility to accept and be within the New Covenant established by God and mediated by Jesus. Hope of salvation depends on it!
Other teachings have conditioned the lives and future of generations of Jehovah's Witnesses, such as the ban on civic service that have led to unnecessary imprisonments of many young people. They spent years in jail because of yet another misinterpretation of the Governing Body!
Has anyone heard an apology from these not inspired men, but who act as self-proclaimed "spokesmen" for God?
Also, what about past teachings in which vaccines, transplants and even fractions of blood that are now permitted were in the past vehemently prohibited? Please don’t argue that the historical context was different, because such prohibitions were imposed by an organization that claimed to be the "mouthpiece" of Jehovah and his "prophet" on earth, with supposed divine authority and sound biblical basis!
The brethren, who at the time obeyed unquestioningly to the point of losing their lives, believed that they were doing the will of God. But was it really the will of God or the will of men who at their leisure played the role of "gods" on earth, going beyond what God had decreed?
I leave here only a few examples of quotations from the publications of that era that prove this:
“The public is not generally aware of how large an industry is the manufacture of serums, anti-toxins and vaccines, or that big business controls the whole industry. (…) every little while the boards of health endeavor to start an epidemic of smallpox, diphtheria, or typhoid that they may reap a golden harvest by inoculating an unthinking community for the very purpose of disposing of this manufactured filth.” – The Golden Age, January 3, 1923; p. 214
(Questions from Readers) “Is there any Scriptural objection to donating one’s body for use in medical research or to accepting organs for transplant from such a source? – W.L., USA.
[…] When there is a diseased or defective organ, the usual way health is restored is by taking in nutrients.
The body uses the food eaten to repair or heal the organ, gradually replacing the cells. When men of science conclude that this normal process will no longer work and they suggest removing the organ and replacing it directly with an organ from another human, this is simply a shortcut.
Those who submit to such operations are thus living off the flesh of another human. That is cannibalistic. However, in allowing man to eat animal flesh Jehovah God did not grant permission for humans to try to perpetuate their lives by cannibalistically taking into their bodies human flesh, whether chewed or in the form of whole organs or body parts taken from others.” – The Watchtower, November 15th 1967, p. 702-704
(Read this article: https://www.facebook.com/notes/desperta/as-testemunhas-de-jeov%C3%A1-e-o-charlatanismo-em-assuntos-m%C3%A9dicos/452865578244818/
Fractions and use of blood as transfusion therapy
For me, this was the turning point in the way I came to see this religious organization, perceiving the doctrinal zig-zag regarding the use of blood, and the criminal way the Watchtower has led millions to believe that God condemns eternal destruction those who accept certain components of blood while allowing eternal life to those who accept only the blood components allowed by the Watchtower organization. As if an artificial separation of blood were approved or frowned upon by Jehovah!
Let's look at just this example of doctrinal zigzag with respect to fractions of blood.
Nowadays, almost all of this regarded as history gone by and although thousands of people have died and suffered from organizational policies and doctrines, the Watchtower has never had the courage and humility to ask for forgiveness from its victims; just as it has not had the courage to ask forgiveness from the victims of sexual abuse in congregations that have come to the public to seek justice because at the time their cases were covered up and they were pressured not to reveal their cases to the authorities because that would tarnish the organization and Jehovah’s name.
What a shame, my brothers, to belong to an organization that has this past, where the trail of blood and suffering has been enormous. According to statistics, more than 50,000 people have already died, only in relation to deaths caused by the interpretation of the blood by the Watchtower, since this doctrine was imposed to the community. These deaths far outweigh the collective suicides that have occurred in other destructive sects.
Such blood guilt!
Jehovah's Witnesses continue to be taken to the slaughterhouse in a symbolic sense and presented to Jehovah as a sacrifice on the altar to a pagan god, something that certainly did not even rise to the heart of Our Heavenly Father (Jeremiah 7:31).
All it takes is to look at the loving and compassionate way Jesus dealt with people who violated the Mosaic law in their day, from the marginalized by society, the sick and sinful people. Jesus openly showed that the life and health of people was more important than obeying the "letter of the law." He himself quoted Scripture when he said, "I desire mercy, and not sacrifice" (Matthew 9: 10-13; 12: 1-7).
Jesus applied what is still a rabbinic tradition, called pikuach nefesh.
The Jewish rabbinical concept pikuach nefesh, is a millenary concept that defends the value or sanctity of human life above any religious tradition or doctrine. According to this concept, a life must be preserved at all costs, and it is therefore the obligation of a Jew to save his life or that of another, even if he has to violate a religious law or command.
For example, if someone is in danger of life, applying the pikuach nefesh means, for example, violating the Sabbath so that this life is saved, perhaps traveling by car that day to take the victim or patient to the hospital. It also enables, for example, a Jew to eat food that is not kosher if his health or life depends on it.
It’s important to realize that for the Jews, the Mosaic Law continues to play an important role in their lives. This includes how its prohibition of consuming meat with its blood. Therefore, Orthodox Jews wet the flesh in water, salt it and then drain it in order to draw out all the blood. In this respect they are much stricter than Jehovah's Witnesses and thus they have a careful and select kosher diet.
It’s also pertinent to realize that, while continuing to follow the Mosaic Law's commandments regarding blood, Jews are allowed to receive blood transfusions. There are therefore no Jewish religious groups that prohibit blood transfusions. Thus, the preservation of life prevails over the observance of Mosaic Law: a principle known as pikuach nefesh.
Similarly, Muslims are also prohibited from drinking or eating blood and blood products (haram), but transfusions are allowed as a way to save their lives.
Obviously, the use of blood when a person is at risk of life would be pikuach nefesh; that is, putting one's life above a religious law or commandment. Although Jews do not regard the use of blood in medicine in the same way as Jehovah's Witnesses, even so, if lives were at stake, it is clear what decision they would make in the light of this biblical concept.
Just read the Christian Greek Scriptures and note the compassionate way Jesus used this principle. Should not this be the model of everyone who claims to be a Christian?
To die at Watchtower’s altar for a doctrine that has already changed over time and will continue to change ... for what? To satisfy the ego of men who live in a near perfect world where they lack nothing and where all the pleasures and luxuries of this world are available to them?
It's incredible how indoctrination works in people's minds and makes them do what a human being would never do in their normal state. Dying and killing in the name of God becomes banal and even praiseworthy!
(Read the article: http://www.desperta.net/reflexotildees/transfusoes-de-sangue-porque-as-testemunhas-de-jeova-estao-erradas-em-rejeita-las)
Experts in sects and destructive groups explain this process very well, calling it "undue influence" or the more common term "mind control," where the critical process is kept to a minimum and people become captive of sectarian thinking, where everything the leader teaches and says is regarded as if it were God himself saying it. He becomes the "spokesman" and a kind of incarnation of the deity.
(Read the article: https://www.facebook.com/notes/desperta/influência-indevida-uma-ameaça-significativa/520739778124064/
I could present here many more reasons that led me to dismiss this religion as the "only true religion." As I said, this decision took years to be taken, under prayer and much research. A lot of research!
I know that the brothers will come to regard me as an "apostate," a "mentally ill," a "son of Satan," and "gangrene," simply because I have come to openly disagree with the pharisaical dictates and wrong doctrines of an elite of men operating as a collective papacy, well in the style of the Catholic Church whom they have so much criticized in the past.
But fortunately I know that my conscience is clear in the eyes of God and His Son Jesus Christ. As Paul said:
“Now to me it is of very little importance to be examined by you or by a human tribunal. In fact, I do not even examine myself. For I am not conscious of anything against myself. But by this I am not proved righteous; the one who examines me is Jehovah.” – 1 Corinthians 4:3, 4
I want you to know that I don’t have nor want to have ill feelings towards anyone. I love all the brothers! It is this same love that led me to expose what I knew about this destructive sect and that will lead me to continue exposing facts that prove how people are manipulated by their top leaders in this and other destructive sects.
As told by Raymond Franz, a former Governing Body member and author of two beautiful books revealing the hidden side of the Watchtower and its leaders, we’re all "victim’s victims" in this pernicious cycle of proselytism, which turns us into mere pieces in a game, whose contours and rules we don’t fully grasp.
The concept of "organization" has become a 'golden calf' for the Jehovah's Witnesses, while they look upon it as a symbol of salvation and unquestioning obedience, the 'symbolic ark' that will save them through Armageddon. This amounts to nothing more than idolatry, similar to what happens in other religious groups when they think that their religions, their icons and their saints will save them, forgetting that this role only belongs to the Christ.
The organization has itself said, years ago:
“We cannot take part in any modern version of idolatry — be it worshipful gestures toward an image or symbol or the imputing of salvation to a person or an organization. (1 Corinthians 10:14; 1 John 5:21)” – The Watchtower, November 1, 1990 p. 26
"Do not think of this as confining yourself to those who attend places of worship or engage in some form of religious service or practice. If a person renders service in obedience to somebody or some organization, whether voluntarily or compulsorily, considering as something in a superior position of dominion and with great authority, then one can say biblically that such a person is a worshiper." - The Watchtower, 01/03/1962, p. 141. (Portuguese edition)
We have been like puppets in the hands of imperfect men who act as "gods" on earth, commanding at will millions of people and whose unconditional obedience must be maintained at all cost under penalty of "social death", since the law does not allows the maximum penalty: physical death.
Just like other sects, by using the practice of ostracism of former members, the organization uses psychological bullying towards people who leave the religion to force them to break down emotionally and to "go back to Jehovah" (read: the organization). The Watchtower thus exerts an emotional blackmail, violating several international conventions on religious freedom and human rights, causing emotional and psychological damages, both on the targets of ostracism but also on the family of former members. Everyone suffers — simply because the leaders of this religion have interpreted and distorted biblical texts in order to protect the "holy organization" from those who might eventually threaten it in some way.
Consequentially, this causes the separation of previously united and loving families and the breaking of marriages and blood ties, for the sole reason that the former members no longer belong to the religion and consider themselves submissive to it. The leadership violates innumerable biblical principles and especially the nature of Christianity itself which is in its essence compassionate and forgiving (Matthew 5: 44-48).
(Read the article: www.desperta.net/reflexotildees/desassociacao-sera-que-as-testemunhas-de-jeova-a-praticam-de-acordo-com-a-biblia)
It is therefore very hypocritical for the organization itself to write such texts in its publications:
"No one should be compelled to worship God in a way that he finds unacceptable or to choose between religion and family." - Awake! July 2009, p. 29
The same organization that encourages and directs family members to ostracize those who decide to leave it for reasons of conscience and religious divergence, hypocritically publish articles for the public that give the exact opposite image of what happens in it.
I pity the children and teenagers who, like me, were baptized at an age when their emotional and mental training did not adequately enable them to take the baptism, when the consequences of such a step go far beyond an alleged unconditional dedication to God.
Baptism, as currently practiced by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, is an unconditional and perpetual dedication to a religious corporation that will do everything to keep them captive, even under the threat of ostracism, so that later, when they really know the past and present of religion, they cannot leave without any penalty. No wonder the baptism of increasingly young and immature children. It is simply shameful what is happening in a religion that has so heavily criticized the baptism of infants and children in the past! Both they and their parents will be more victims to join the thousands of others that this sect already caused.
(Read the article: www.desperta.net/reflexotildees/torre-de-vigia-promove-o-batismo-de-criancas-em-novo-estudo-da-revista-sentinela
Finally, I would like to mention that I no longer wish to be contacted by any representative of the Watchtower, whether it be an elder, circuit overseer, or any other with the goal of returning to the organization. Notice from now on that if there is chatter or slander regarding me, I will activate the legal means to hold the person responsible.
I sincerely hope that the brothers who read this letter will reflect well in your role as parts of a heavy, hard and inflexible gear that have destroyed so many lives. Do not forget that the plagues that in future fall upon all religions that displease God and misrepresent Him will also fall upon those who served as the principal instruments of these (Rev. 18: 4).
I pray that our Heavenly Father, through His Son, will help you to "awaken" from the manipulation that you have suffered throughout your sojourn in this religion and to help you find the true freedom that is only in Christ Jesus our Lord. In my case, I am convinced of the words of the apostle Paul:
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life nor angels nor governments nor things now here nor things to come nor powers nor height nor depth nor any other creation will be able to separate us from God’s love that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38, 39
With Christian love,
My story in Jehovah's Witnesses can be read here:
* pseudonym of António Madaleno
Aqui você terá acesso a testemunhos de vários irmãos em Jesus, filhos do Senhor Jeová Deus, os quais têm vindo a libertar-se da religião...