May 10, 1999

To The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society and the Twin Palms Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses:

I taught the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses to many people over the years. I encouraged them to do what I had not done; to examine the religion one is associated with. I used these publications to teach:

The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life says on page 13:

We need to examine, not only what we personally believe, but also what is taught by any religious organization with which we may be associated. Are its teachings in full harmony with God's Word, or are they based on the traditions of men? If we are lovers of the truth, there is nothing to fear from such an examination.

You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth says on page 31:

The mere fact that the Bible is used by a religion does not of itself prove that all the things it teaches and practices are in the Bible. It is important that we ourselves examine whether they are or not. Persons in the city of Beroea were commend- ed because, after the Christian apostle Paul preached to them, they checked the Scriptures to make sure that the things he was telling them were true. Then on page 33:

Therefore, if you learn that you are doing what God says is wrong, will you be willing to change?

Knowledge That Leads to Everlasting Life says on page 47:

If you knew that someone had deliberately poisoned your water supply, would you go on drinking from it? Surely, you would take immediate action to find a source of safe, pure water. Well, an accurate knowledge of God's Word equips us to identify true religion and to reject impurities that make worship unacceptable to God. And on page 51:

With a desire to please God, each of us needs to examine our worship to make sure that it is not contaminated by ungodly practices or that we are not omitting something that he considers vital.

It has always been my sincerest desire to please Jehovah God. My 27 years in association with Jehovah's Witnesses taught me many good things about the Bible and how to please my creator. However, upon closer examination, I have come to see that in many areas I had not been taught the truth. In some cases this involves teaching "commands of men as doctrine"; going beyond what is written in scripture. In other cases it involves, as mentioned above, omitting something that God considers vital. I do not feel the need to go into detail about areas of false teaching on the part of The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. Much has been written exposing their inaccurate teachings and the Watchtower literature alone does a good job in that area as well. The publications are full of false predictions and flip-flops in doctrine that have negatively affected thousands of peoples lives.

I was baptized on July 28, 1984. The change in baptismal questions is clear for all to read in the June 1, 1985 Watchtower on page 30. Because I was baptized prior to the change in questions, I did not answer the second question in the affirmative. I am not identified as one of Jehovah's Witnesses per the Watchtower Society's own definition. I do not feel the Society is God's "spirit-directed organization." However, because of my association with Jehovah's Witnesses in the past as a publisher, I have had connection with them.

I have not attended meetings for some time and have been inactive much of the past 4 years. I am not disassociating myself from Jehovah's Witnesses, because I did not dedicate myself to an organization. I did not feel the need to inform the local congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses of my thoughts because I do not view my self as under the authority of The Watchtower Society. I do consider myself to be one of Jehovah's Witnesses in the true spirit of the Biblical text found at Isaiah 43:10.

I do not accept the Watchtower Society's definition of "apostate." I believe in God and I worship him daily. I believe in salvation through Jesus Christ. If you consider me an apostate, that is your own opinion. I have not committed any Biblical sin worthy of shunning mentioned in 1Corinthians 5; therefore, disfellowshipping me would be unscriptural.

I have many good memories from my association with Jehovah's Witnesses and I love many of them as my family. They are good people who really believe that what they are doing is right. I also love my immediate family who are Jehovah's Witnesses. No matter what they do about my decision, my feelings for them have not changed. I made this decision after months of research (both secular and Biblical) and most importantly after many hours of heartfelt prayer.

I believe that the Bible, even the New Testament or Christian Greek Scriptures, was written to all mankind and not to just primarily to 144,000 individuals. Jesus promised that if we asked, the Holy Spirit would reveal understanding to us. (John 14:26, 1John 5:14, 20) This promise applied then and it most certainly applies now. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." He did not say, "except through an organization which will show up on earth 2,000 years from now." I believe his words with all my heart.

Sincerely,

T.H.


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