I am an ex-JW, just coming into the Catholic faith


#1

I was raised as a JW, and I left when I was 17, almost to the day, when a judge approved my request to become an emancipated minor. The JWs accuse all other religions of brainwashing. And it’s funny now that I think of it, because that’s exactly what they did. When I left, I felt guilty for a long time, and I knew that if I ever were to go back to religion, it would be JWs, they were the only ones that could possibly be right. And somewhere inside me, I knew they couldn’t be. So, over the next couple of years I decided to be agnostic. I did once try to get my then-husband to study, when we first got married. But it just didn’t feel right, and so we quit.

In the 10 years that have passed, I have avoided religion completely. The one good thing the JWs gave me was peace knowing that this world was all there would be for me. Hell is nothingness to them. So, I buried it all, and lived my life as I wanted.

Recently, I began dating an absolutely amazing man, who happens to be Catholic. Now, he accepts me completely as I am. He’s never pushed me, but he’s said some things that really touched me. He is the first man who has ever shown me true love. No strings, no judgements, no changes in myself. And the love that he’s shown has spread to other areas of my life. When the Pope became ill recently, I started asking him questions. It started as just casual questions. And then, 9 days ago now, those casual questions turned into so much more. I began to come home every night and all I did was look at biblical information, mostly Catholic. I think this change in me came because he showed me that the Church is all about love. And I’ve been raised to believe that of all churches, the Catholic Church was the worst, and the least loving. I’ve seen differently now, though.

I have really struggled with all of this. I had sworn off religion completely. And here I was, looking into it. At first I told myself that it was just out of curiousity - after all, I needed to understand what my future husband believes in. Then I decided that it was a point of healing from all that I’d experienced as a JW. And let me say, it truly has been liberating in that aspect. But, there was a feeling inside of me that this search was becoming more, and that terrified me. I couldn’t stop though, it was just an impossibility.

Then I began to notice what I now believe may actually have been Divine Guidance in my search. It’s really difficult for me to say that, because of my past. But, I noticed things were falling into place too conveniently for it to be otherwise. For example, I wrote my boyfriend an email one evening and I talked about how I wasn’t sure I could ever pray. The next day, when I got online to continue my quest, for some reason, I opened the website for the local Diocese, and there was a new Bishop’s Message. I had already been all the way through this site, and there were so many others that I knew had information I wanted to read, so I’m not sure why I went there. But, I opened this, I read that message, and the Bishop spoke of prayer. And the way he said it touched me, it sparked a light inside of me. I am stubborn, and even though I knew at the time that it was what I needed to hear, I swore I couldn’t let that happen yet.

Last night, I came here. And I read a thread about JW’s. And once again, this happened right at a moment where I was struggling with the subject. That thread linked me to a site about ex-JWs, and I found a few more after that. I cried over several of these stories, I could feel what the author felt. And it was so healing. I let go of so many things that tied me to the JW’s, even when I tried so hard to cut the strings. I knew they were wrong, I knew their teachings were wrong, I knew what they did hurt me and my family to the core. But still, they held invisible strings on my heart. Some of my thinking still needs to be changed, because it’s hard to know what ideas were real, and which weren’t, since I had honestly studied the bible before, and thought I knew it’s meaning. (cont’d)


#2

I have done a lot of writing about all of this. I love to write, and so I have been writing about what I’m feeling, and then also writing daily about what I’ve learned, and what questions I had. I also discussed almost all of it with my boyfriend. But, I realized last night that I had so totally and completely avoided saying that I had faith in God, and avoided even thinking about prayer. But, it was there. And I decided to sit down without distraction and give honest thought to those two ideas. When I was done, I admitted to myself that I did have faith in God, and that I was going to have to let Him help me with my past, and guide my search into His ways. The only way to do that was by praying to Him. And so I did.

I’m told that the local Catholic Church has classes Tuesday evenings, and I’m trying to contact the lady in charge of them, so that I can begin attending. In the first week of May, I will be attending Mass with my boyfriend, for the first time. He and I live far apart, and I don’t want to go for the first time alone. After that, I imagine I will become a regular attendee. And I don’t intend to stop this search. Because, even though I think I’ve found God’s Church, I know that I haven’t found all of God’s Truths yet. And that need to know just won’t be silenced.

I would really like to talk to anyone here who ever used to be a JW. I’m still very scared, and it would be nice to find someone who might understand.


#3

I think you have just found the Treasure spoken of in the Parables.

catholic-rcia.com/Parables/Hidden_Treasur.html

and this parable that speaks about our Church, who we are, and how we all need healing.

catholic-rcia.com/Parables/Tares.html

You also have a mother who has been searching for you as well, not a mother that we worship, but a mother that we adore.

catholic-rcia.com/pages/cMary_page.html

I was Mormon and I found this faith five years ago.
here is a bit of my story
If only my parents had known God
catholic-rcia.com/pages/Forgive.html

** When you go to Mass go up with your arms folded and receive a blessing if you can do this. This is where my journey began. I began to hunger for the meal that others were recieving. Good that you are here.**

Peace in Christ
www.catholic-rcia.com


#4

MistyF,

I was never a JW, but you can tell by my screen name that I have been in a religion that has a lot of similar aspects as your former one. I went on a quest to prove to my Catholic wife two years ago that the LDS Church was the one true Church, and that the Catholic Church was the apostasy that I was taught it was. I came to the opposite conclusion after much study and prayer. I do understand what you are going thrrough and if have any questions I would be more than happy to point you in the same direction that I looked.

God bless,

ex-mo


#5

Thank you both for answering me. :slight_smile:

catholic-rcia - I’ve not been to a Mass before, so can you explain what you mean about folding my arms and receiving a blessing? I have a general overview of what Mass is like, and I’ve started watching a video of one on the local diocese web site, but the connection isn’t good and so I’ve not made it very far in, yet.

ex-mo - Living in Utah, I’m around a lot of Mormons. They are definitely an interesting bunch. In just watching them on my own, I think they are a bit screwed up in their ways. But, I’ve never really heard anything all that bad about them, except that their beliefs seem so strange. Are they pretty cult-like, too?


#6

Hello, I was a Church of Christ before God called me to the Church.I see he is working with you:) I understand your feelings and the resisting feeling you have.But as I have found out in my journey home to the Catholic Church is God had been totally misrepresented to me in my life,so the resistance was not towards God it was towards who you thought God was.The Good news is God knows this.God bless you on your journey to Him.


#7

Misty,

WRT going up to communion with your arms crossed, she’s suggesting that you join the communion line and process up with everyone, except you don’t receive (which you definitely should NOT do unless and until you convert to Catholicism through formal reception into the Church). So, by with your arms crossed, essentially what you do is put your left hand on your right shoulder and visa versa. This will indicate to the Eucharistic Minister that you are not looking to receive communion.

Good luck with your continued seeking for the truth,

CARose


#8

[quote=CARose]Misty,

WRT going up to communion with your arms crossed, she’s suggesting that you join the communion line and process up with everyone, except you don’t receive (which you definitely should NOT do unless and until you convert to Catholicism through formal reception into the Church). So, by with your arms crossed, essentially what you do is put your left hand on your right shoulder and visa versa. This will indicate to the Eucharistic Minister that you are not looking to receive communion.

Good luck with your continued seeking for the truth,

CARose
[/quote]

Oh, thank you for the explanation. Things may change when the time comes, but for right now, I don’t think I would be comfortable doing that. I am even waiting until my boyfriend’s trip here to even go the first time because I’m so nervous about feeling ackward at times like that, and stuff like making the sign of the Cross. I did know that I cannot receive communion, I’ve read the articles on this site about becoming Catholic, and a bunch of stuff on that elsewhere, too. But, overall, I really know very little about the ritual side of the Catholic Church, I just fell like my study of the bible is pointing me there.

That’s why I am looking so forward to the classes I was told about on Tuesday. I called the Church today, to find out more about the RCIA classes, but I don’t think those start until September. But she told me to call someone else and said something about these classes on Tuesday. I think that they are kind of like a prelude to the RCIA, but I don’t know.

I figure that I can do pretty well on figuring out specific beliefs from looking around on the internet for answers, and comparing the explanations with what the bible says. And hopefully these classes will teach me more about the Church, and allow me to ask questions when I’m not able to fully understand on my own. The first thing I need to do though, is get a bible. I don’t have one, and it’s frustrating sometimes to look everything up online. I’ve tried 3 times now to go get one, and each time it hasn’t worked out. I don’t drive, so that adds a difficulty factor. But my roommate said she might be able to help me tomorrow.

Ack! I’m writing novels here! Sorry about that, time for me to go write on my blog I think. LOL :slight_smile:


#9

[quote=MistyF]Thank you both for answering me. :slight_smile:

ex-mo - Living in Utah, I’m around a lot of Mormons. They are definitely an interesting bunch. In just watching them on my own, I think they are a bit screwed up in their ways. But, I’ve never really heard anything all that bad about them, except that their beliefs seem so strange. Are they pretty cult-like, too?
[/quote]

MistyF,

Cult-like is a good and bad definition of JW and LDS. If you look at both from their history, origins, and early teachings, then yes I would use the term cult-like. If you look at both of them with their modern teachings and their tendencies to throw away their past and embrace more and more modern Christian beliefs, then I would say no they are not cultish on the surface. The one thing I can say is they both have a foundation a mile wide, but only an inch thick.

Both religions, JW’s and LDS, have a lot of similarities with regards to their origins in 1800’s religion. They both believe(d) that their founders were true Prophets thats received direct revalation from god, even though many of their prophesies did not come true. They both preached that salvation can come only through their church, taking away from Christ’s attonement for our sins. They both taught that all religions other then theirs are great abominations to god and his plan ect, ect…Leaving both religions and finding the simplicity of God and his works in his church (Catholic) can be challenging in the sense that you have to deprogram your self and start to look at facts. Faith is important, but it has to be complimented with truth. Believing fully in the JW and LDS Churches requires faith in men and ignoring their history and real facts.

When you learn about Catholicism you will find that faith in God has guided her for 2000 years. She has had her less then stellar roles in western Civilization, but she has not covered up her history and rewritten her doctorine and beliefs as a result of this. You will find the bible used in it’s full context and not beliefs taken from scriptures taken out of context. It is a wonderfull journey your about to take and I hope you will find what I found, a true love and understanding of God. Read the quote in my signature, I don’t think I could say it any better then St. Patrick, and thats not just because I am from Irish decent.:smiley:

God bless,

ex-mo


#10

MistyF,

I believe your story is indeed proof of how God works to touch each and every one of us. I do not have any advice or stories relating to conversions to share with you. In fact, I would be a poor source for advice as I was born into the Catholic Church and shunned Her at one point in my life. But, the Lord had other plans. I have been welcomed back, forgiven and cherished.

I cannot explain, in words, the feelings I have. Love, joy, elation…none do justice.

Maybe I can relate a story. I won’t go into great detail. Two weeks ago our Pastor asked two recent Catechumen’s (converts under instruction before receiving Baptism) to speak at Mass. Let me just say the love that poured out of these peoples hearts left nearly every person teary eyed. They explained how their lives felt empty and unloved until joining the Catholic Church. MistyF, I don’t weep easily but I did that day. I think it was the first time in my 41 years I ever cried for anothers joy. I believe that was because I have finally felt that joy myself.

These are the feelings you will experience in the Catholic Church. They will certainly move you to tears. Tears that are generated directly from your heart with Gods love.

God Bless you and best of luck with your Catholic education!


#11

Hi MistF -

I’ve been a Catholic since the cradle, so I can’t share your journey. However, like you, I fell from my faith when a teen. Through much suffering and God’s Grace I came back and will never leave again.

I see from many posts on this and other forums that there are many people seeking the truth. It only convinces me more that Catholicism is the right way to go.

I pray that you complete your journey to Christ and find that the Catholic Church brings you to Him.

God bless,
Subrosa


#12

Misty,
There is one gentleman who posts here occasionally and has appeared on EWTN - he is a former JW and has converted after spending a great part of his life to the JW religion. He has set up a support group for JW’s coming in, filled with resourses, conversion stories, and other great things. His site, I believe, is www.catholicxjw.com If that doesn’t work, try changing the .com to .org or something, but I think that’s it. I’m giving a talk next Wednesday at our parish on how to evangelize to JW’s and Mormons when they come knocking, so it was refreshing to read your story as I prepare my outline. Take care.


#13

Welcome! If you want to observe Mass - go to www.ewtn.com and check out the Live internet-cast of the broadcasts. Daily Mass is on at least 3Xs per day - you can watch on your computer (they are also on many cable companys and on Dish Satellite TV).


#14

MistyF:

My name is Jeff Schwehm and I am an ex-JW too. I run a website to help JWs investigate the Catholic Church. My website is www.catholicxjw.com

Also, I sent you a private message with some information so that you can contact me if you ever need someone to speak with about the Catholic faith.

Jeff Schwehm
Fellowship of Catholic Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses
www.catholicxjw.com


#15

Hi Misty F!

Thank you so much for sharing your faith journey with us. It is really beautiful and very moving. Conversion of heart is very powerful and life-changing. Christ’s Love does shine through His Holy Church, yes! and His Love is so healing and this healing changes our lives. You are blessed with a Catholic boyfriend! Please keep us posted about how things continue to unfold for you. I, for one, am better for reading your posts today. Many blessings!

Geraldine


#16

The local diocese has Mass on their web site, and I’m going to watch that. I also have caught a few minutes here and there of EWTN on tv.

Jeff, the site I originally mentioned about JW’s was yours. I’ve read quite a bit of what’s on there. There is so much I want to learn, to fill the void of what I used to think I knew, and replace the views that I haven’t been able to discard yet. And your site definitely made a huge difference to me in accomplishing that, because I realized that I even needed to. And the story of “The Little Frog is Resurrected” was so incredibly inspiring. Thank you for the work you do.

Nightrider, I think I am very blessed to have him, too. I came to a realization this morning how much of a difference he’s made in my life since I’ve known him, even before there was anything romantic between us. I believe that God’s love came to me through him, and made my life better even before I came to have any faith in God again.


#17

MistyF, I would reccomend reading some of the Church Father’s views on the Mass, the Eucharist and other aspects of the Church. They were the guys who were around during the time of the Apostles and Jesus Christ or at least close to then.


#18

[quote=JackmanUSC]MistyF, I would reccomend reading some of the Church Father’s views on the Mass, the Eucharist and other aspects of the Church. They were the guys who were around during the time of the Apostles and Jesus Christ or at least close to then.
[/quote]

Is there a specific source for that? Where would I find that information?

And I am for now studying biblical stuff, mostly (because it seems easier for me to know where to find info and to understand) - and looking a little into the traditional aspect of Catholicism. I’m hoping to start the classes at my local Church, and then the RCIA classes in September, where I am hoping I’ll learn more about the traditional things.


#19

Keep reading through Catholic.com, there is much commentary that has suppliments from the Church Fathers added in to support the apologetics. Ask around also there are many here who know about where to find other resources.


#20

Welcome, Misty. Look for a PM from me. netmender


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.