I guess I must be famous, because I finally have received my first piece of bonafide hate mail. Well, maybe hate is too strong of a word. It would take someone actually wishing death upon me or giving tacit approval to my destruction to–oh wait, okay, so… yeah, hate mail pretty much describes it. Here’s the message I received a few months ago, right in time for Christmas…
Found your apostate site accidentally, and you are posting inaccurate stuff. But that doesn’t surprise me, since you are an opposer of true Christians (Jehovah’s Witnesses), and thus are an opposer of the Almighty God, Jehovah, and his son, Jesus Christ. And at 28 years old, I suppose you think you know everything, when in fact, you know nothing.
So you were raised in the truth and now you’re an apostate? Cool. Your parents must be ashamed of you, and grieved, knowing you will die at Armageddon. What’s it like knowing you are now a part of Babylon the Great?
Anyone who has been disfellowshipped and has come back, can tell you it was the worst experience of their life, to be out in the world and away from Jehovah’s organization and loyal worshipers. Even those who were raised in the truth and left at a young age, realize there is nothing out in the world. So if people like you want out, then GO. No one is forced to stay. Good riddance.
And for your information, quite a few young ones go to college. They may not pursue years and years of higher education, but that’s only because, unlike YOU, they view serving Jehovah and Jesus Christ as much more important.
Who do you now pray to? A three-headed god? Do you now believe in Santa Claus and the Easter bunny?
Do you now believe you will go to heaven WHEN YOU DIE? Really? Or, WAIT! Maybe you believe in the RAPTURE??!! Where you are actually taken up to heaven BODILY??!! Even though the bible clearly states that flesh and blood will not inherit the kingdom?
And you believe that all those who died before Jesus, such as Moses, Abraham, King David, etc. are now in heaven, despite the fact that the bible clearly states Jesus was the first to go to heaven?
Do you now take blood transfusions, despite the face that the bible says to ‘abstain from blood’?
Do you now commit fornication? Oh! I forgot! You are married. Did you marry a good Christian woman? Or did you not care, since you are ‘saved’ anyway? I mean, “once saved, always saved”, right?
Do you now kill your fellow man in war?
Do you now salute the American flag and sing “God Bless America”? Tell me: Since Rome was the ruling power in Jesus’ day, did he tell his followers to sing “God Bless Rome”?
Do you now worship the cross, despite the fact the bible says Jesus died on a stake, or tree, and that the cross is actually a pagan phallic symbol, in the shape of the T for the pagan god Tammuz?
Do you now have no friends?
So tell us: What’s it like to be FREE?
Well, fortunately this message didn’t ruin my Christmas as perhaps RoseMayBud may have hoped, since I didn’t receive it until months after the fact :)
In all seriousness, I kinda regret not responding sooner as perhaps this person might not have had time to block my e-mail by then. Most likely, though, they’ve had their e-mail setup this way for some time. When I tried to reply privately, this is the response I got back…
*** ATTENTION ***
Your e-mail is being returned to you because there was a problem with its delivery. The reason your mail is being returned to you is listed in the section labeled: "----- The delivery status notification errors -----".
The line beginning with "Diagnostic-Code:" describes the specific reason your e-mail could not be delivered. The following lines contains the RFC822 header of the original email message.
Please direct further questions regarding this message to your e-mail administrator.
----- The delivery status notification errors -----
<firstname.lastname@example.org>: host core-dbb004b.r1000.mail.aol.com[172.29.48.161] said:
554 5.7.1 Your mail could not be delivered because the recipient is only accepting mail from specific email addresses. If you feel you received this in error, please contact the recipient directly and ask them to check their email settings. (in reply to end of DATA command)
So, normally I try to be charitable and go out of my way to respect the anonymity of individuals who message me privately–regardless of the content of such messages. However, RoseMayBud here has effectively blocked me before I’ve had a chance to properly respond. Given their cowardice, I felt it fitting not to let them hide in the shadows with their vitriol and thus I have published their e-mail address on my website (not that it isn’t already posted elsewhere online). With such strong words, I don’t see why they would be afraid to stand by them…
So, without further adieu, here is my (now public) response:
Thank you for taking the time to write to me. I am sorry I didn’t respond earlier, but I don’t check this inbox nearly as often as I should and most of the e-mail I get is automated spam of one type or another.
Now then, I would like to think the best of you and imagine that in some twisted way you think you are helping me with your letter, despite your apparent tone. I take it you wish to chastise me as an older person as you specifically mention my age. It’s rather ironic that you say that “at 28 years old, [you] suppose [I] think [I] know everything” when the only way you could have found my age on the website is on the same page where I explicitly state “I still have a lot to learn about God and life.”
That being said, I’m guessing you are older than myself and seek to set me straight. In that regard, I invite any correction you might offer and I am glad to engage you in discourse. I really hope this isn’t the end of our conversation and I truly look forward to hearing from you in the future. So, with that being said, I’d like to individually respond to the points you have made…
First you observe that my parents must be ashamed of me, grieved, and knowing I will die at Armageddon. For someone that claims to be a Christian, I cannot help but observe myself that that is shockingly cold. I feel compelled in Christ to rebuke you for it. If you are truly older than me, then your years do you shame. Seriously, you should be ashamed of yourself for having written something so cruel in the name of God. Personally, I can’t help but find that anything less than blasphemy.
At the same time, I have to admit I am quite amused by your brash assumptions, because the reality is both of my parents love me unconditionally. Now, I have experienced some distance from some loved ones, but that doesn’t really bother me so much as the treatment my mother has received after asking my grandfather–an elder at the time–some questions, but I digress.
It’s also funny to see you mention “Babylon the Great.” It’s funny to me for two reasons:
1. The kind of bondage represented by Babylon is precisely how I view the Watchtower.
2. Babylon the Great as depicted in Revelation riding the scarlet colored wild beast which the Watchtower has taught for years to be the UN. Meanwhile, as alluded to above, the Watchtower itself joined the United Nations and maintained its NGO association for years until its complete and utter hypocrisy was unveiled in 2001.
If this is the first time you’ve heard of this yourself, here’s a link…
Now, in regards to your subjective observations about what it is like not trapped inside the Watchtower’s diabolical cult, I will offer you my own testimony of what it’s been like: It’s been AWESOME! God has blessed me in so many ways since leaving. Officially disassociating myself was cathartic. Exploring my new found faith in Christ has been exhilarating. Pursuing higher education has been edifying. And marrying the woman of my dreams who loves the Lord like I do has perhaps been the best part of all :)
So, I can’t speak for what you may have heard, but my experience has been great for me. Who I am today, the things I’ve been able to accomplish, and where I am in life now would have simply been impossible had I still been shackled to the Watchtower. I also know dozens of ex-JWs who would adamantly tell you the same.
Of course, experience is subjective, and I don’t expect you to be convinced by my witness any more than you can seriously expect me to be swayed by your vitriolic commentary. So, moving on…
Who do I pray to? Jehovah God Almighty. Sometimes I cry out to Jesus as Stephen did (Acts 7:59-60). Other times I pray simply “Father” as Jesus did (i.e. John 17). I do believe in the Trinity. I do not believe in a Triad as you’ve described with “three-headed god.” That might do well to describe the Mormon God, but it does not describe the God of the Bible. Here’s a quick study for you from a wonderful ex-JW Christian named Kevin Quick who I have the honor of now knowing on Facebook…
Jehovah is the only true God (undisputed).
Jesus is the creator (Gen 1:26-27, Is 44:24, John 1:3, Rom 11:36, John 1:10, Eph 3:9, Col 1:15-16 [cp. Ps 89:27, Gen 41:51-52, Jer 31:9], Heb 1:8,10, 3:3-4) and sustainer (Col 1:17, Heb 1:3) of all things. He is the Savior (Is 43:11, Is 45:21, Hos 13:4, Titus 1:3,4, 2:13, 3:4, Titus 3:6, 2 Pet 1:1). He gives things that only God can give (John 1:12-13, Rev 2:23). He is the judge of all (John 5:22,23, 2 Cor 5:10) and has authority to forgive sins (Mark 2:5-7,10, Luke 5:21, 5:24, 1 Cor 8:12, Eph 4:32). He is all-seeing (1 Ki 8:39, Rev 2:23), omniscient (1 Ki 8:39, Matt 9:4, 12:25, Mark 2:8, Luke 6:8, 9:47, John 11:1, Col 2:2-3, Rev 2:23 [cp. 1 Ki 8:39]), and omnipresent (Matt 18:20, 28:20). Jesus was eternally preexistent (Micah 5:2, John 1:1, Col 1:17, Heb 7:3) and He never changes (Heb 1:8,10, 13:8). It is proper to serve Him (John 12:26, Rom 1:1, 1 Cor 4:1, 2 Cor 5:15, Gal 1:10, Phil 1:1, Col 3:24, 4:12, Jas 1:1, Jude 1), to pray to Him (John 14:14 [Kingdom Interlinear], Acts 7:59-60, 9:14, 9:20-21, 22:16, 22:17-19, Rom 10:9, 11-13, 1 Cor 1:2, 2 Cor 12:8-9, 1 Ti 1:12, Rev 22:20), to give Him glory (Is 42:8, 48:11, Dan 7:13-14, John 1:14, 5:22-23, 11:4, 13:31-32, 16:13-15, 17:5, Acts 3:13, Phil 2:9, Col 1:16, 2 Thess 1:12, 2 Pet 3:18, Rev 1:5-6, 5:11-14), and to worship Him (Matt 2:2,8,11, 4:10, 14:33, 28:9,16-17, John 9:38, Heb 1:6, Rev 5:8, 14:7 [cp. Acts 10:25, Rev 19:10, 22:8-9]). Jesus is Lord (Deut 10:17, Matt 12:8, John 20:27-28, Rom 10:9,11-13, Eph 4:4-5, James 2:1, Rev 17:14, 19:16) and is sovereign with His Father (Matt 25:31, 28:18, John 3:31,35, 13:3, 16:15, 17:10, Phil 2:9-11, Heb 1:2, 2:8, Rev 22:3). Being the Son of God (John 5:18, 10:28-33,36), He is also truly God (Deut 32:36,39, Is 9:6, 10:21, 43:10, 44:6 [cp. Is 48:12, Rev 1:17-18, 2:8, 21:6-7, 22:12-16,20], Matt 1:23, 13:41, John 1:1, 2:19,21 [cp. Acts 2:24], 5:18, 8:19,28,58-59 [cp. Ex 3:14; LXX], 10:28-33, 12:44, 13:19, 14:7-9, 15:13, 18:4-6, 20:28,29, Acts 20:28, Eph 3:19, Phil 2:6, Col 2:9, 1 Ti 3:15-16, Titus 2:13, Heb 1:3,4,8 [cp. Ps 45:6], 3:1-4, 2 Pet 1:1, 1 John 5:20, Rev 22:1-4) and Jehovah (Zech 2:8-11, 11:12-13 [cp. Matt 26:14-15], 12:1,10 [cp. Rev 1:7], 14:3-5 [cp. Matt 25:31, Acts 1:11-12], 14:5 [cp. 1 Thess 3:13], Matt 3:3, Mark 1:2-3, Luke 3:4, John 1:23, Luke 1:76 [cp. Is 40:3], Matt 21:15-16 [cp. Ps. 2:6], John 17:11,12, Rom 10:9,11-13 [cp. Joel 2:32], Phil 2:9, 1:4, 1:8,10 [cp. Ps 102:22-25]), together with His Father.
The Holy Spirit is a Person (Matt 3:16, 10:20, Mark 1:10, Luke 12:12, John 1:32, 14:16-17,26, 15:26, 16:7-8,13-15, Acts 1:16, 5:3,9, 10:19-20, 15:28, 20:23, Rom 8:16, 1 Cor 12:11, Eph 4:30, Heb 3:7, Heb 10:15, Rev 22:17), and is God (Gen 1:2 [cp. vs. 1], Matt 12:32, Luke 12:10, John 14:26, Acts 1:16 [cp. Heb 1:1], Acts 5:3-4, 28:25 [cp. Heb 1:1], 2 Cor 13:14, Heb 10:15-17) together with the Father and with the Son.
The Old Testament in several places indicates plurality in the Godhead (Gen 1:1,2,3, 1:26, 3:22, 11:7,9, Gen 18, 19:24, Ex 23:20-23 [cp. 1 Cor 10:4], Is 48:12,16, 63:7-14, Zech 2:8-11, 3:2]). As mentioned above, the Bible indicates both the deity of Christ and the personality and deity of the Holy Spirit. These factors, together with the deity of the Father (undisputed), produce a description of the Godhead in trinity. Especially in the New Testament, these three Persons are repeatedly spoken of as cooperating collectively (Matt 3:16-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21-22, Matt 28:19, Luke 1:35, John 3:34-35, John 14:26, 16:13-15, Acts 2:32-33, 38-39, Rom 15:16,30, 1 Cor 12:4-6, 2 Cor 3:4-6, 13:14 [cp. 1 John 1:3], Gal 4:4-6, Eph 4:4-6, Heb 10:12,15, 1 Pet 1:2).
I’m guessing your additional questions about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny were more mocking than serious of course, but if you are effectively asking if I celebrate Christmas and Easter–yes, proudly.
Do I believe I will go to Heaven when I die? Yes. That is a basic part of the Christian faith. As Paul wrote: “We are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).
Do I believe in the Rapture? Yes. Again, that’s also scriptural as Paul writes: “We who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
The precise timing and nature of the rapture is somewhat a matter of speculation and debate, and it would be rather peripheral to go into my particular views on eschatology with you, but suffice it to say at some point Christians believe we shall be “caught up” hence the term “rapture” from the Latin “raptus” which means to be “carried away.”
Now, you go on to observe that “flesh and blood will not inherit the kingdom” which is indeed a biblical sentiment. You’re alluding to Paul’s sentiment in 1 Corinthians 15:50 where he writes that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” Of course, Paul also clarifies what he means in the very next clause “nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” “Flesh and blood” is a singular composite term for our current state with a body that is subject to entropy and decay, wherein sin remains in the flesh. Paul speaks of the necessity for our current body of “flesh and blood” to be changed into a supernatural body of “flesh and bone” as Jesus had (Luke 24:39)–the mention of “blood” notably absent.
You ask: “You believe that all those who died before Jesus, such as Moses, Abraham, King David, etc. are now in heaven, despite the fact that the bible clearly states Jesus was the first to go to heaven?”
Yes, I do. Hebrews 11:10 implies as much when it is observed that “For he [Abraham] was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” You are also right, of course, that Jesus was the first to go to Heaven. As Jesus Himself stated in John 3:13, “No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man.”
Of course, if you understood the tradition of the Harrowing of Hell, and the implication of Matthew 27:52–“The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised”–then you would see there is no contradiction. Christ only ascended into Heaven over 40 days after His death and resurrection. But in the mean time, He descended into Hell for three days and 1 Peter 3:18-19 indicates He even preached while He was there: “Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison.”
In Jewish tradition, Sheol is the realm of the dead. This is what’s called Hades in the Greek (not to be confused with Gehenna in which no one is just yet). In this great underworld, there is a great chasm separating the righteous from the wicked. The wicked are in torment, but the righteous remain in a walled garden called “paradise” (the word being derived from the Persian for literally “walled garden”) or otherwise known as the “bosom of Abraham.” This is why Job prayed to go there and rest with his fathers.
So, in consideration of Matthew 27:52 we derive the tradition that when Christ died He accordingly descended into the realm of the dead and brought up the ancient saints back to Earth, raising them from the dead as indicated, and gave them the same eternal life in the spirit that we have as Christians–as they were reconciled to God with Christ’s death upon the cross. Presumably these ancient saints were raised with natural bodies since we all await to be changed at the same time according to 1 Corinthians 15. Accordingly they still died again, but when they did so, their spirits came into the presence of God directly. From one paradise in Hell awaiting resurrection to the great paradise of Heaven awaiting resurrection.
Moving on, you then ask: “Do you now take blood transfusions, despite the face that the bible says to ‘abstain from blood’?”
I haven’t had to have a blood transfusion for anything, thank God, but should I need one I will gladly take one, yes. See, your shallow understanding of Acts 15:29 is–with all due respect–quite pitiable. I say that quite literally, because I sincerely hope for your sake that the Watchtower’s confusing blood policy does not cause you to reject adequate medical treatment should you need it. Now, to address your concern directly…
You neglected something in your quote “abstain from blood.” The Bible simply does not say that–even in the NWT. Your quote instead should read “abstaining… from blood.” Oh, so an ellipsis. Big difference, you might be saying to yourself. Well, it is a big difference. Something very important is being omitted by that ellipsis (which is common when the Watchtower quotes scriptures, but I digress). Here’s a more full quote from Acts 15:29 (NWT) — “keep abstaining from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication.”
Other translations specifically state “food” or “meats” rather than “things” as that is the clear implication of the key Greek word here ειδωλοθντος (eidōlothytos) which Strong’s defines “sacrificed to idols, the flesh left over from the heathen sacrifices.”
So, if the first thing mentioned here–“food offered to idols” (NASB)–has just as much an all-time all-place prohibition on it as “blood” does, why does Paul state that eating things offered to idols is–in fact–perfectly acceptable?! Check it out…
“Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him. However not all men have this knowledge; but some, being accustomed to the idol until now, eat food as if it were sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. But food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat.” – 1 Corinthians 8:4-8
So if that can be said of things sacrificed to idols, how can we be so sure that the same is not the case for blood?? Are you going to bet your life on it?
See, the truth of the matter is that the prohibition in Acts 15:29 was specific to that time and place, and in the context of Jewish-Christian relations and especially with regards to Gentile Christians. A problem was raised when the sect of the circumcision insisted that Gentiles must be circumcised and charged to observe the Law of Moses. The answer was a flat “No!” James and Peter and all were in agreement.
However… James went on to state that we should not “trouble the Gentiles” but rather simply write to them the very thing we read in Acts 15:29. Why? James explains “For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath” (Acts 15:21). The Gentiles were expected to observe certain things in the presence of Jews out of respect and in fact I actually like how the NWT itself states “keep abstaining” for it was things the Gentiles were already doing!
The thing in itself was not wrong, but it would unduly offend the Jews. This is somewhat of the same principle that Paul outlined in regards to not stumbling one’s brother in 1 Corinthians 8 regarding eating foods offered to idols. It is effectively fine, but not if it stumbles the conscience of a recent convert who may have formerly worshiped idols. Seeing you eating such food might lead him back to idol worship, even if only in his heart. Nevertheless, “we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one.” And when idolatry no longer becomes an issue of stumbling, eating in itself is likewise no longer an issue.
And, let us not forget that all of this comes down to DIETARY restrictions. NONE of this has anything to do with contemporary blood transfusions. Very conservative orthodox Jews go to great lengths to bleed their meat to keep kosher–meat that is often ignored by JWs who do not bother to discriminate ironically enough–yet at the same time these Jews will accept a blood transfusion! Why? Because they understand that a blood transfusion is not EATING!
Please, for your own sake I pray that you will consider the above words carefully as your life may very well depend upon it some day. Don’t let the Watchtower play games with your life.
And just think: Yesteryear, the cult said you couldn’t have blood at all. Now you can in part! On the one hand the Watchtower says it continues to be opposed to any transfusions of “whole blood, red cells, white cells, plasma, and platelets” you *can* have hemoglobin. What is hemoglobin, you ask? That’s essentially the contents of the red cell emptied from its sack. And you can then have the sack split up in pieces and have that too! Meanwhile, no plasma when plasma is 90% water? Color me stupid, but I don’t get it.
It’s like saying “You can’t have any BLT sandwiches! And that also means you can’t have any bacon, lettuce, tomato, or bread. Of course by ‘bread’ if you take the crust off, that’s okay, and the other components if likewise broken up into ‘fractions’ can be consumed as well…”
What kind of extra-biblical nitpicky nonsense is this? Are you really going to play around with your life with his stupidity? Please, for the love of God don’t. Get the best medical treatment you can get, and leave the Watchtower out of your personal decisions for how you pursue treatment.
Your next question about my marriage I effectively already answered, and yes I am against fornication and adultery. It is the Watchtower that struggles routinely with immorality, as it seems the whole organization is infested with child molesters and rapists of every kind at every level of the organization. There have been numerous reports of overseers and elders being arrested for their terrible behavior. So much for God’s “clean” organization, eh?
You ask: “Do you now kill your fellow man in war?”
I am not in the military and I have no plans to go to war, and I do not believe that all the wars our nation has wrought have been justified. Nevertheless, I do believe in a doctrine of just war, just as I believe in self-defense and capital punishment. I am not a pacifist, and neither was Jesus (Luke 22:36). Cornelius was a soldier and apparently remained as such, even as he became the first Gentile believer (Acts 10).
John the Baptist as well instructed soldiers simply to be treat people fairly and “be content with your pay” rather than insisting they leave the military altogether (which is apparently why they asked John what to do in the first place) –> Luke 3:14.
Moving on again, you ask: “Since Rome was the ruling power in Jesus’ day, did he tell his followers to sing ‘God Bless Rome’?”
Should there have been such a song at the time, I wouldn’t doubt if He would have encouraged His followers to sing it, absolutely. Think about it: Jesus instructed His followers to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). That’s a lesson that was apparently lost in my judicial committee meeting, where one of the elders told me he hated me “just as Jehovah does” but I digress…
Yes, I think Jesus would have had His followers singing such a song. And, you know what? I think God *did* bless Rome. The city remains to this day, as do its people effectively. It is not the barbaric pagan empire it once was–in fact it was effectively conquered by the Church.
Let’s not confuse the State with the Nation or the Land. We should be subject to the State per Romans 13:1-7 and we should pray for those in government per 1 Timothy 2:1-2, but our real allegiance is to the nation–the people of this great land. Our cause is the welfare and security of our fellow men. And just as we suitably have greater affection and concern for our immediate family than we do other families, likewise we have a bond of brotherhood with our nation than for other nations–though we should wish them well too.
Yes, God bless America, land that I love–but more pertinently the people that I love here as well. I pray for my fellow Americans, and if you claim to be a Christian you should too.
Finally, you ask if I have no friends. Yet another stab at my experience leaving the Watchtower I take it…
Well, I have lost friends indeed. And that’s a sad thing. But I have gained so many in return as well! Jesus promised His people that “everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life” (Matthew 19:29).
And the greatest friend I’ve gained? Jesus Christ, my God and Savior (John 20:28). Oh what a Friend there is to be had in Jesus! (John 15:15)
I don’t know if you’ve made it this far or if you’ve bothered to read this letter at all, but I’ve enjoyed writing it to you and–as I mentioned before–I really hope to hear back from you. I’m willing to answer any more of your questions. And I wish you very well. It is my fervent prayer that God leads you into the real Truth (John 14:6) and that you would know Him yourself.