In the midfifties, in a town in Sweden, a baby boy was born. Let’s call the boy Felix since it means Happy. Because this boy was, in many ways, just like every other little boy but in one special way he was different. You see, he had the rare luck to be born by parents who owned THE TRUTH. Yes, THE TRUTH, not just THE TRUTH with a capital T, but THE TRUTH with capitals all through. Felix would later be astonished about the incredible luck he’d had and he would look at THE TRUTH as a very valuable heritage, as a precious piece of jewellery made of pure gold, which didn’t just have a brilliant beauty when you looked at it, but also held quite magic qualities. With this piece of jewellery you could get simple answers to questions that wise brains had pondered on for thousands of years, with it you could gain health and happiness, yes, all sicknesses could be cured, and best of all, you could get what man have dreamt of and searched for in all times: Eternal life, eternal life in a wonderful paradise on earth.
The little boy Felix grew up, and soon learned to love THE TRUTH. He was taught that THE TRUTH had been given to mankind by God, who was called by the name of Jehovah. It was very important to know God’s name and to pronounce it the right way, because it was only then he’d listen to you when you prayed to him. He was taught that THE TRUTH was to be found in the holy books of The Bible, but that there were very few people who really understood it in the right way and so found THE TRUTH. These people had formed an Organisation and it was only by obeying all the things the Organisation said that you could remain in THE TRUTH. The Organisation published magazines and books, which for sure was not as holy as the Bible, but very close. It was only by reading this literature and obey all the things written there, that you could understand THE TRUTH and so live forever.
Eventually Felix learned that the Organisation indeed had been wrong sometimes, but now everyone who had THE TRUTH believed the Organisation had gotten the whole Bible clearly disclosed. Well, anyway, almost. The mistakes belonged to the Organisation’s “childhood” and we all know that children make mistakes sometimes. Now the Organisation was grown up and in any case it was led by God, so one had to be very stupid to think that one knew better than the Organisation. So said all the Friends, and especially the Elders, and more especially the Circuit Overseer. He came to visit the Congregation once every half a year and he was very kind and held nice speeches, so Felix admired him a lot.
Felix learned to read when he was five and soon he loved to read and study the Bible and all the fine literature that the Organisation published. When he was seven he began the Theocratic School, where he read a bit from the Bible and talked a little before and after. When he was seven Felix also started in the Field Service, and offered the magazines The Watchtower and Awake!, which both could be bought for 60 öre (approx. 10 c).
When Felix was about 10 years old, an exciting letter was read out in the Congregation. The matter was that the Organisation had published a small red book, that wasn’t yet available in Swedish. In that book it was calculated that in the year of 1975 it would be exactly 6 000 years since the time Adam was created by God. The Organisation thought that it would be very convenient if God let Armageddon occur at that time, so that the New Order could begin after that. 6 000 was such a good, round number. Every Jehovah’s Witness began now the countdown to 1975, and suddenly there was great hurry to get out in the Field Service as much as possible. The Organisation even published a small blue book that would transform people into Jehovah’s Witnesses in just a few months.
Felix grew up, and at sixteen he was baptised. Now he had promised to obey Jehovah and the Organisation all of his life. A year later he became a Pioneer and spent a lot of time in the Field Service. He was very proud that everything he said was to be found in the Bible, nothing of it were things humans had made up. Of course, he couldn’t exactly explain everything, but that was due to his youth and because he couldn’t grasp everything yet. But he read and studied a lot and learned more and more.
Once in 1974, Felix and some others were out in the Field Service together with the Circuit Overseer. This particular Circuit Overseer was a very enthusiastic person, he gave passionate speeches and said that only a few months now remained before Armageddon and only the baptised ones would survive, unless they were children. Many got baptised and began in the Field Service, why, they did not want to die in Armageddon! When they’re on their way to the place to preach, the Circuit Overseer sighed and said: “Only a fool would believe that this world will last until the end of 1975!” Felix looked out at the peaceful spring landscape, he looked at the houses and farms and the cows grazing grass, and didn’t quite find the world a place that would come to an end in just a few months. But who was he to question the Circuit Overseer?
Well, God must have forgotten to read the Organisation’s little red book, because Armageddon did not occur in 1975. Not in 1976 or 1977 either, in fact it has still yet to come. But Felix did not believe that it mattered very much, because at a Convention it was explained that God in fact had planned that Armageddon would occur in 1975, but then discovered that there were more people who wanted to be Jehovah’s Witnesses, but did not quite had had the time yet. And then God made his mind up and decided to wait a little longer. Well, they did not say it in that exact way, but an illustration was presented about a boat that was due to leave at an exact time but when the captain saw some people who came running and wanted to get on board, he waited a while to leave land, and Felix find that to mean the same thing. He found it a little hard to understand, because the Organisation had also said that God a long time ago had had the exact date fixed for Armageddon to start, and that date wasn’t changeable. But for God nothing was impossible, Felix knew.
Felix got married and had kids and did his very best to be a good Jehovah’s Witness and to be loyal to the Organisation. But nothing turned out the way he expected. Armageddon did not came during all of the eighties either and he got a lot of problems in his marriage, even though he tried to follow the advices in the Organisation’s Family book. Finally he and his wife got divorced and then Felix thought that it must have been her fault it had gotten so tough. Now, everything would be great! He had another go at it, went out a lot in the Field Service, studied with his children and got many Privileges in the Congregation. Soon he found a sister who seemed very capable and kind and married her. A year later, he became an Elder and a Service Overseer in the big Congregation he belonged to.
Since Felix now had a lot to do - he was recently married, had three children, rose every morning at 2.30 to deliver newspapers, worked as a cleaner in the daytime, was an Elder and went out a lot in the Field Service, and tried to do everything as perfect as he possibly could - he soon became very, very tired. He became so tired that he thought he would never feel well again. Soon he couldn’t manage to be an Elder anymore, he could hardly work or do anything else, sometimes he couldn’t do anything but lie on his bed and read or brood.
Felix didn’t quite know what was happening to him these years. The only thing he was absolutely sure of was that he just couldn’t manage anymore. And deep inside Felix, forbidden thoughts began to sneak in. What if THE TRUTH actually wasn’t the truth? In fact, he hadn’t even really examined it seriously. Could God’s Organisation really make so many mistakes and be wrong so many times? Why did God’s spirit lead it on such winding roads? Felix didn’t believe THE TRUTH had lived up to it’s promises. So far he’d blamed himself for it - he hadn’t been wholehearted enough, it was his imperfection, his weak and sinful nature that was to blame. But now, for the first time he began to think that everything was maybe not his fault. What if the Organisation was just ruled by humans? He’d once read in one of the Organisation’s magazines that “if something seems to good to be true, probably this is also the case”. What if that was the truth about THE TRUTH?
The Organisation had stipulated very strict rules about how the precious jewel THE TRUTH was to be treated. All Jehovah’s Witnesses were encouraged to admire it, show it to other people, use it in their lives. But no one was allowed to alter the jewel in any way, try to improve it or remove from it anything one believed being flaws. And the most forbidden thing of them all was to even consider beginning to scrape on the jewel to examine if it was genuine. Of course the jewel was genuine, pure gold all through! the Organisation said. Just a fool would question that! Don’t you trust God’s Organisation? Do you want to rise in rebellion against God, like the Devil? The Organisation firmly claimed that God himself had given it the sole right on the jewel THE TRUTH, copyrighted it.
Still, this forbidden thing was exactly what Felix began to do. He began to examine the jewel, examine it’s purity, compare it with the pattern that the Organisation claimed it was made of - the Bible. Eventually Felix, to his consternation, found that the jewel to a large extent was a forgery, a lot of it was just tinsel, yellow mica. It had a beautiful, glittering surface, but with time it became enfeebled, and if you scraped on it, there was nothing there but human teachings under the pretty surface. A book the Organisation published in 1999, on Daniel’s prophecies, made Felix understand that very much of the Organisation’s interpretations was nothing but human speculations and additions to the Bible. When he began to look closer on another one of the Organisation’s most wellknown teachings, the ban on blood transfusions, a teaching that had cost many Jehovah’s Witnesses their lives, he found that what the Bible said about the blood could not possibly be interpreted to mean that it was forbidden to receive a blood transfusion. After careful consideration, Felix threw his “blood card” where he had signed that he did not want a blood transfusion even if his life was in danger, away in the garbage.
Finally Felix did not feel that he got much out of visiting the Meetings in the Congregation. He liked the Friends, some of them were his very best friends, but what was said from the stage was things that he had heard so many times before. And now he couldn’t look at what was being said as beautiful descriptions of the precious jewel THE TRUTH anymore, why, it wasn’t genuine! He stopped going out in the Field Service, he couldn’t try to convince people to believe in something that he himself had discovered wasn’t true anymore. And at last the inevitable happened: The Elders got to know what he’d done.
In the beginning, the talks with the Elders were quite nice. They listened to Felix and reasoned with him, they tried to convince him that the jewel was still genuine even though it had some flaws. Felix on his part, admitted that he very well could be wrong, he was just an imperfect human being but that the proof he had found so far still indicated that the Organisation was wrong about some things. Then the Circuit Overseer came for a visit. Felix had hardly opened his mouth before the Circuit Overseer had made up his mind that Felix was an “apostate in the making” whom he with the most possible firmness had to “snatch out of the fire”. He got most indignant above all when Felix suggested that Jehovah may save some people who did not belong to the Organisation through Armageddon. Felix then understood he had gone too far. And when Felix said that he just tried to distinguish human teachings from the word of God, the Circuit Overseer called out: “So the propagandists say!”
Felix later realised that the Circuit Overseer had wanted to throw him out from the Organisation immediately, but that the Elders in his Congregation persuaded him to wait a little longer. A couple of months later the Elders wanted to talk to Felix again. Now some capable Elder brothers, two of the Organisation’s “Apostasy Experts” had come to interrogate Felix. After a couple of hours of questioning they had decided that Felix had become an “apostate” and had to be disfellowshipped from the Organisation. Felix really didn’t want to be disfellowshipped and he promised that he wouldn’t talk to a single person about the things he was sceptical about regarding the TRUTH, but at this point it didn’t make any difference. The Organisation had to be kept clean, they said, and what would happen with unity if everyone was allowed to believe in whatever they wanted to? Felix was disfellowshipped in January 2001.
Felix looked at what remained of the fake jewel. Should he throw it out with the garbage? Felix thought that even though he now knew that it didn’t have the wonderful, magic qualities he once had believed, maybe he’d still have some use for it. All his experiences, all he’d learned about God’s word and human teachings, about human lust for power and oppression; could he maybe have some use of this in his future life? And he still had many happy memories from relations with the Friends, from nice people he’d met in the Field Service, from everything he’d learned by reading the Bible. And he also realised that he’d been protected from quite a lot of harmful things thanks to the Organisation.
Felix felt very lonely now. Almost everyone he knew belonged to the Organisation and to them Felix should now be regarded as dead, as nonexistent, someone you weren’t even allowed to say “Hello” to. Felix didn’t quite know what to do with his life now, but one thing he did understand and felt happy about. He was free now, free to choose his own way, to use his own free will in a way he’d never before been able to, and he was determined to make use of that freedom for the rest of his life.