Has your husband, wife, son or daughter become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses? If this is so, you have probably experienced turmoil which has disrupted your family. The “face” of your family has probably changed because of his/her belief which prohibits participation in Birthdays, Mother’s Day, Christmas, Family Reunions, etc. This cult’s influence has broken family ties that you once held sacred and dear.
How many times have you tried to convince your loved one to leave the Watchtower organization and ended up arguing and asking why he/she abandoned family and friends? Outside of knowing Jesus as Savior and Lord, nothing is more precious than enjoying God-ordained family ties of love; and now, the Watchtower organization has set family member against family member because of its rules and restrictions.
Here are some steps you can make to assist your loved one exit out of the Watchtower. These steps will require time, patience, love and will set the foundation for a successful witness!
Step 1: Learn about the Watchtower organization and how it uses mind control techniques which influenced the character and personality of your loved one. Everyone closely associated with the Witness family member will need to understand this “world” in order to understand him/her. The book Winning The Witnesses (Chick Publications) will reveal why your loved one’s personality and character has dramatically changed and why your witness faces barriers.
Step 2: Identify issues and areas where problems have always existed within your family. If the family structure is in disarray, your Witness loved one will let you know that in his “new family,” there is acceptance and love. He/she will also ask you, “Why should I return to my family where there is [alcohol, drugs, fighting, arguing, whatever issues apply to your family] when the Witnesses live by Biblical principles and God-given values? Who would you rather be with?”
Step 3: Once personal issues have been identified and acknowledged, work on focusing and improving family relationships. This way, the Witness will see that change is positive and that you are making positive steps to improve your life and family life. Strong family ties are much stronger than the conditional love which exists in the Watchtower, especially from a healthy, loving and spiritual family. When the decision for change is made to leave the Watchtower, he/she will see that change is positive and healthy. After all, look what change did for you.
Note: Cult groups exploit the human need for association, belonging and for family. This is especially true for those who are starving for attention, love and acceptance. If it can’t be found at home, this acceptance will be found elsewhere! The Watchtower’s success in recruiting is dependent on finding those who struggle with self-esteem or are experiencing life changing events such as the death of a loved one, divorce, loss of job, etc. The Watchtower will capitalize on those needs where his/her family is perceived to have failed.
Step 4: Love the family member unconditionally. The Watchtower organization is a cult that loves conditionally depending on how hard the member works for the organization. Your Witness family member will soon learn the Watchtower failed to live up to its promises. Be loving toward the witness. This will remind him/her of the love that he/she received before being recruited into the Watchtower. This will have a long-lasting impact emotionally and will make him/her homesick for your affection once held dear.
Step 5: The book Winning The Witnesses (Chick Publications) outlines effective witnessing strategies designed to plant seeds of doubt in the minds of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Patiently, introduce these thoughts into the mind of your Witness family member, but only after trust has once again been re-established. Be sure you are prepared during this phase of your witnessing.
Step 6: Over the course of time, periodically go over step 5 by reinforcing the Watchtower is not inspired of God, nor does it claim to be. You will need to interact with him/her to see how their thinking is progressing once you have acquainted yourself with the language of the Watchtower he/she uses.
Remember: the Jehovah’s Witnesses have surrendered their identities to the Watchtower and only use Watchtower-approved language and model Watchtower behavior individually and socially under the watchful eye of a very powerful organization.
Your goal is to re-orient him/her back to their pre-cult identity – the place where there were no rigid rules to live by to be accepted. This is why it is important to take care of family issues before you reach out to him/her before you begin witnessing. (Refer to step two)
When the Witness leaves the Watchtower, your continued love you showed will assist him during his transitional phase back into the family and reality. This will greatly quell any fears or concerns during his/her exodus from the organization. Remember: his/her world was only understood through the lenses of Watchtower interpretation. Upon exiting the Watchtower, many Witnesses experience emotional and spiritual trauma because of the loss of their identity as a Witness. Your love would have already been there to minister to him/her and make the transition much easier.
The Jehovah’s Witness will not leave the Watchtower for two reasons: guilt and fear.
Guilt: The Watchtower organization will list a host of reasons why it is important he/she needs to stay in the Watchtower by using guilt as a means of control.
Fear: The Witnesses are taught that the world is under the devil’s control. To leave the organization is to fall under Satan’s control. To leave the organization would also mean being ultimately rejected by God and his/her Witness associates who has become family. Because the Witnesses are taught that Armageddon could arrive at any moment, he/she would be destroyed at Armageddon if they were to leave. The Witnesses believe that the Watchtower organization is God’s “Ark of Salvation.”
God’s grace will deal with any residual guilt the ex-Witness experiences. God’s grace will be seen through your listening to him/her, by being patient and kind.
God’s love will deal with any fear; and that love will start with you and those closest to him/her. You want to prepare and build a bridge for his/her return. Your patience and love is the key.