In Search of Truth - Testimony by Bill Blatz Former Jehovah’s Witness Elder

It was only by the grace of God that I was set free after walking in the Watchtower for some fifteen years. My story is an impossible dream come true. Impossible for us, but not for God. As a Jehovah's Witness I prayed for God's truth and light. He answered my prayers, but in a much different way than I had ever dreamed possible.

Coming to know Jesus Christ and developing a close personal relationship with Him has changed my life drastically. You might say that I have been turned inside out. I found Jesus in the New World Translation of the Bible (The Bible printed by Jehovah's Witnesses) only by reading it without any Watchtower literature to guide me.

The Witnesses teach that reading the Bible alone without Watchtower study aids leads a person into darkness.

Contrary to what they claim, I found that when I read the Bible alone I was allowing the Holy Spirit to be my teacher instead of the Watchtower Society.

My story starts in 1941 when I was born and raised in a small town in Northwestern Connecticut. I was raised as a Roman Catholic, and had a real love for God as a child. I was an altar boy and active in the C.Y.O. When I graduated from high school I wanted to be a priest, but my father asked me to go to college first and make my decision to become a priest after college. So I went away to college, joined a fraternity, and started to study the philosophies of men instead of the ways of God. I accepted many new things I was learning without questioning them. From the time I started college in 1959, I never attended any regular religious services until 1974 when I came in contact with the Watchtower.

In February of 1974, my job transferred me from Virginia to Chicago. I moved into a boarding house that was run by Jehovah's Witnesses. The man that had the room next to mine was a Jehovah's Witness and very friendly. One night we started talking about the Bible. As a Catholic I didn't read the Bible, but I knew it was God's Word. Everything he showed me in his Bible I believed. The things he showed me sounded so good: a paradise earth, peace earth-wide; perfect health, and a resurrection of our loved ones!

Everything sounded so good, even the teaching that you receive these blessings from God through the "only channel" God uses: the Watchtower Society. Because I did not have any Bible knowledge to speak of, I bought the lie of the Watchtower, hook line and sinker.

I studied with this man for five months, then I was transferred to LaGuardia Airport in New York. Then I studied with an elder and his wife, finally getting baptized in March, 1975. I just had to get baptized because I believed Armageddon would be coming in 1975 and I wanted to be in Jehovah's Organization when it came. When Armageddon didn't come in 1975 as predicted I was disappointed and wondered about it, but I loyally accepted the Watchtower's excuse that WE (not the society?) had been mistaken.

What I did when I was baptized by the Jehovah's Witnesses was to allow myself to be chained, giving up my thinking ability and allowing the "Mother Organization" to do my thinking for me and allowing her to direct my actions.

Among other things, I was no longer allowed to choose my own friends, was forbidden to vote, join the armed forces, choose my own music or entertainment, send my children to college, take blood transfusions, celebrate any holidays, etc.

About a year later I was appointed a Ministerial Servant (Deacon), then eight years later, I was appointed an Elder. My doubting that the Watchtower was God's only organization on earth today started at the first elders' meeting I attended. I found for the most part nothing was really accomplished at the elders' meetings. Most of our time was spent on how to get field service hours (door-to-door proselytizing) and meeting attendance increased: non-spiritual matters were discussed more than spiritual matters. There seemed to be no true love or genuine concern for "the friends" in my estimation.

Another big eye opener for me was serving on judicial committees made up of three elders who determine if someone has sinned and if he or she is "repentant" or not. For the most part, it seemed to me that we were out to get the person that was on trial, not readjust them. As I traveled to other congregations to give public talks I noticed some things that disturbed me.

I noticed the love for one another seemed to be on the surface, and not from the heart. I saw this in congregation after congregation. The words of Jesus kept coming to me right from The New World Translation "By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves."(Jn.13:35) I did not see this type of love among Jehovah's Witnesses. It was this lack of love for one another that started me on a search for the God of Love.

Another brother and I started a study of the Bible without any Watchtower literature. He progressed much faster than I did. He started to speak out about some of the the injustices he saw in the congregation and was ultimately disfellowshipped. At this point I still felt the Watchtower Society was God's only organization, even if they appeared to he harsh at times. For the next two years I studied by myself every morning from 4:30 to 6:00 am using only the Bible (NWT). In the meantime another man I knew quite well was disfellowshipped. His wife was also in a position of being disassociated, though she was guilty of no crime other than to say the congregation was wrong for the way they handled her husband's case. With all of this, besides many other factors weighing on me, I now knew the Watchtower was not God's organization, but couldn't pull away from it as much as I tried. The mind control was that strong! I started earnestly praying for God to open my mind and show me His light and truth.

One day this second disfellowshipped man showed up at my place of employment to discuss with me a letter that was written to the local body of elders concerning his wife. I welcomed him with open arms even though I knew this was wrong according to the Watchtower. During our discussion he invited me to his home to watch a video concerning Jehovah's Witnesses. I don't know why, but I accepted.

After seeing the video and reading some other information about the Watchtower, I knew in my heart that the Watchtower had deceived me. But even knowing all of this I still couldn't pull away form the organization. The strength of their mind control is unbelievable and seemingly unbreakable. BUT...

Three days later while I was reading the Bible, about five o'clock in the morning. I had a strong urge to kneel down and pray. So I did, right in my kitchen. I asked Jehovah for forgiveness of my sins; then I prayed something I didn't remember ever hearing before. I told God that I accepted His son Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, and asked Jesus to come into my heart - something Jehovah's Witnesses are never encouraged to do!

At that very moment it was as if someone came up in back of me and put a blanket around me and then put their arms around me. At that very instant my mind was opened up to all the false doctrine of the Watchtower, and I knew who Jesus Christ really is; yes, Jesus is God! I believe with all my heart that the Lord wanted me to get out of the Watchtower Society.

I knew I had to leave the Watchtower at once and I wasn't going to waste any time in showing my obedience. I did this by writing my letter of resignation that very morning and I handed it in on Sunday to the Presiding Overseer. As I walked out of the Kingdom Hall that Sunday morning the "chains of the Watchtower" fell off and my thinking for myself was restored. Now as I submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, I was being taught by the Holy Spirit. Since coming out of the Watchtower I have found the true Love of God I had been looking for, for so long, in the Body of Christ.

All the credit for my salvation goes to our Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit for teaching me, all to the glory of our heavenly Father. Praise God! You too can receive Christ. Your sins can be forgiven and you can have eternal life now! Start by reading the Gospel of John today. You will discover how Jesus Christ died for your sins and rose from the dead to offer you the free gift of salvation.

If you will confess that you have sinned (Rom. 3:23 1 Jn. 1: 9), and accept God's remedy, the free gift of His Son (Jn. 3:16; Heb. 10:10), then God will accept you as His child (Rev. 3:20; Jn. 1:12). Please, do so now. Do not trust man. Trust God's Son. He will not mislead you (Jn. 14:& Rev. 7:16, 17).

Jesus said,

"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.." John 14:6

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