Paul Grundy — My Story
(Investigator 132, 2010
I was raised a
Witness, my aunty and uncle, many cousins and grandparents are
Jehovah's Witnesses. My father is a Circuit Overseer and my sister and
her husband left Bethel a few years ago to have children. I grew up in
an old-fashioned congregation that was strict and fundamental — Jehovah
personally directed the Organization and soon would destroy anyone that
was not a Jehovah's Witness. As promoted in the Watchtower I thought I
was never going to die, I did not even expect to finish school prior to
arrived by the time I matriculated so, unusually for a Witness, I
obtained a University degree. To justify obtaining a higher education,
I studied part-time and whilst regular pioneering. I did not end up
doing a professional year, as after university I went to Bethel.
gregarious, I came
know personally over a thousand Witnesses. What always bothered me is
that many of these Witnesses were doing shocking things, and many
'worldly' people I met were very nice. I could not reconcile why God
will kill the worldly ones and save the Witnesses simply for a label.
The worldly people generally knew nothing of Jehovah's Witnesses, so
they could hardly be judged evil rejecters of Jehovah.
my time at Bethel
that convinced me that the Watchtower Society does not have Jehovah's
direction. In 1994, a Bethelite friend of mine became an elder, whilst
he was committing adultery. It was later discovered that this had been
going on for 7 years. This proved to me that God's holy spirit is not
involved in Watchtower congregational appointments.
I did not know enough about Watchtower history or alternate doctrinal
viewpoints to know whether the Watchtower at least taught the closest
truth about the Bible. I was too afraid to find out, afraid that if I
read anything not from the Watchtower I would be influenced by
apostates, afraid that if I left I might be wrong and would die at
Armageddon, afraid of being shunned by my family and friends and very
afraid of entering the world knowing no one, and believing that the
world is an evil and depressing place to live.
1994, I left Bethel
feeling that the Watchtower may not contain truth. I started to wonder
what would happen to the Organization in 20 years time when the last of
the 1914 Generation died out without Armageddon coming. I could not
imagine the Watchtower shutting up shop in 2014 saying, "well the last
one has died, we were wrong", so expected a new Generation doctrine
would be formulated. It was still quite a shock when this occurred in
1995, and I took this to indicate that the Governing Body are not
confident that the end is really just about to happen. However, out of
fear of the loneliness of leaving I still chose to attend meetings. The
constant derogatory statements about the world and worldly people began
to irritate me and I started to miss more meetings, until by 2004 I was
almost inactive and could see no point in life either.
at that time that
the elders started to pressure me to reactivate myself, wanting to know
what my problem was. I told them that I had little faith so they told
me to prove the truth to myself by studying more. It finally dawned on
me that I already knew more about Watchtower doctrine and policy than
most people did yet I had never properly studied the Bible outside the
single point of view of the Watchtower.
started to research
numerous sources. This all happened at the time of the Tsunami in
December 2004, so one of the first subjects I looked at was
earthquakes. I cannot express enough the shock I felt at the deception
in the Watchtower in this regard, as the (so-called) increase in
earthquakes was one of the foundation points of my faith.
next few months I
became consumed by research and the shock and disappointment with the
Watchtower Society was well compensated for by the amazement I felt at
finally being able to think and learn. Most Witnesses question the
validity of at least some Watchtower doctrine, but as they cannot
openly question any Watchtower doctrine cognitive dissonance arises. I
had spent my entire life suppressing contrary thoughts and
regurgitating prescribed Watchtower beliefs. To finally be able to
evaluate information rather than blindly input it was quite literally
mind blowing and I now see freedom from mind control as vitally
meetings early 2005 and attempted to slip out. Leaving was
exceptionally difficult. I went through posttraumatic shock, becoming
very emotional and finding it difficult to concentrate, losing my job
in the process and experiencing two very difficult years financially. I
continued to devote myself to researching Watchtower doctrine, feeling
the need to prove I had not been "blinded by Satan" or misled by my own
sinful ulterior motives. The more research I did the angrier I became,
and determined to help my family see through the manipulation and
falsehood. I did not understand the power of mind control, and rather
than assist them, all that occurred was to create alienation and
started to locate or
out about all my childhood witness associates. I found that of 40
people over half were disfellowshipped. Some had barely been contacted
by their parents for 20 years. Others were racked by fear of
Armageddon. An examination of Watchtower publisher records identifies
that Witnesses have one of the highest turnover rates of any religion,
with 100,000s adversely affected through shunning. Other statistics
show that Witness divorce rate is on par with the general population,
they have the lowest level of education and lowest income levels of any
established religion in developed countries.
wanting to assist people find objective and factual information in an
easy to follow format, in the hope of helping other Witnesses avoid the
confusion I felt for the 10 years prior to leaving. I have found many
that leave need help to get over the ingrained guilt and fear that
results from being raised a Witness. It is also important for Bible
studies to have both sides of the Watchtower story prior to baptism. It
was difficult teaching myself to present objective information.
However, I believe to be most effective the information I have
presented must be accurate and honest and I always look forward to
emails from people that help me rectify any errors.
anonymous, but about 6 months after my last meeting and the site going
live the elders found out about it. They arrived one night at my
doorstep, advising that I was to attend a meeting on the charges of
apostasy. I wrote a letter requesting that instead my baptism be
annulled; presenting that as a minor I was not in a position to make
such an important commitment to an organization, one with lifetime
ramifications. They refused to accept my reasoning and went ahead with
forming the judicial committee. This meeting was traumatic and
eye-opening. In my request for annulment were a number of points
outlining why I could not accept Jehovah's Witnesses taught truth, but
throughout the meeting, they refused to discuss a single issue raised.
It was readily apparent that there was no concern about whether I still
believed the Bible or God, rather "did I accept the Watchtower Society
to be Jehovah's Organization?" It was announced shortly afterwards that
I was "no longer one of Jehovah's Witnesses."
next six months
even more emotionally traumatic. Overnight, I was cut off from my
family and network of friends. Yet at the same time, I experienced an
incredible high. I was 36, and for the first time finally felt real,
alive — Free! I had not understood how depressed I had been for many
years as a Jehovah's Witness. I could now see beauty in the world
around and in "worldly" people. I now felt connected, rather than an
observer. I was free from the perpetual negativity the Watchtower
instils, needing to reconcile everything as the evil Last Days, filled
with evil people God must destroy. However, I could not overcome the
deep hurt of losing family or stop my mind constantly replaying what I
could do to change things. The only way I was able to control my
thinking was to spend time with a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist.
leaving was that I realized that I could not trust any of my beliefs.
Virtually everything I believed had been dictated from birth. In my
research, I had come to understand the way the Watchtower presents
fallacious logic to manipulate the conclusion readers' draw. It became
necessary to learn how to evaluate information, and then overtime
re-evaluate every belief, moral and ideal.
strongly against any
religion that manipulates its members and look forward to a time when
atrocities are no longer done in the name of religion, whether they are
in the form of terrorist acts, religious wars, violence, shunning
family members, refusing medical treatment or just control of beliefs
and emotions through fear and guilt. I am optimistic for the
minimization of injustice in the name of religion through education,
seeing the Internet as the tool to increase availability of education
over the coming decades.
the years that I
questioning things I had no desire to bring children into this world.
Since moving on I now see family as an important part of life and so
after 10 years of marriage and at the age of 38 I have had my first
baby — Zac. Looking after a baby and watching him change daily has been
the greatest joy of my life.
Reprinted with permission
of Paul Grundy
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