by Vito and Annette Potenzieri
About six years ago, the Lord called me out of the Watchtower organization. To get me to where He wanted me, he awoke within me a strong desire to do an extensive research on the origin and early teachings of the Watchtower Organization. Initially, I believed, the reason for this research was to actually reinforce my faith in what I had learned, believed and practiced faithfully for over 30 years. Instead the research, in the early publications of the Watchtower, opened my eyes as to what this Organization really was all about; a cleverly designed scheme to lure many away from the Lord Jesus and the true Gospel to follow a manmade Organization. From the time of its existence in 1879, it had deceived millions into believing into a mythical Kingdom where only those who were faithful to this Organization would be the select few to bask under their fig tree and vine on a paradise earth. The promises were made over and over again, all of them ending in failure, and with each failure, blame would be thrust upon the followers who once again had misunderstood the Watchtower. But each failure brought a brand new set of dates with history repeating itself. It's teachings brought many into a life of servitude and mental anguish to Jehovah's New World Society.
I discovered with the Lord's help a history of prophetic false dates and strange teachings. This eventually brought me to the conclusion that I could no longer be associated with an Organization that has so flagrantly distorted God's Word and slandered the person of the Son, Jesus Christ. I say this to set the stage for what was to follow in the next one and a half years. My research was done secretly, not even my wife for the longest time was aware of what I was doing. The perplexing question now was How can I tell my wife who at this time had been a witness for 39 years that the Organization which claimed to serve God was a fraud? This was no easy task. I had learned from others who had left that this type of situation between husband and wife usually ended up in divorce. My research had taken so much of my time that I was neglecting my wife. I was so caught up with what I was learning, so fixed on the study of Scriptures that I began to develop a self righteous attitude, a judgmental one. After all, why didn't my wife Annette see what I saw? To me it was the most revealing thing that happened in all my life. To my wife, it was the most devastating revelation that was beginning to develop in her life. Her husband of 35 years, an elder in the Congregation for over 20 years had began to attack what she held dear to her heart Jehovah's Organization.
Lengthy discussions followed with usually each one of us not speaking to one another. Annette did not understand what was happening except that she was loosing grip on the situation and perhaps her husband. Eventually it began to erode into our relationship. We were no longer able to be completely honest toward one another. I was going places and meeting people by myself while she sat home wondering where I was. A great sadness and insecurity began to overtake her. Would we become a statistic of the day, would our marriage fall apart? It was at this time that I was leaving to pick up the grandchildren and bring them down for the summer from Oregon. At the same time, I had scheduled to attend the very first Witness Inc. Convention also being held in Oregon.
I took my leave and told my wife I would call her in
a day or so when I would get up there. At the retreat where the convention was
being held, I was unpacking my clothes, and there it was a letter several pages
long addressed simply "my husband" I feel that this letter should be
shared with the hope that it may help some of you who are going through a
difficult time in your marriage. We hear of too many stones of marriages
breaking up. Usually what is lacking is understanding, patience and most of all
cooling off. There is pain on both sides, there are tears on both sides, there
are casualties on both sides. We pray that this letter may open up some new
perspective of understanding even for those who choose to remain Witnesses.
Allow the Lord to work in their lives.
May 23, 1990
My dear husband,
First and foremost, let me say that my prayers and my love are with you that you get to your destination safe. I wish that I was with you as we have always been, but somehow lately we seem to be going on different paths, no not we but you because I'm still here but somehow, somewhere along the line we came to a crossroads, and we each had to choose which road to take. Sad to say that is where the separation came. Somehow after 33 years of marriage we don't seem to have anything in common anymore, or anything to say to one another. We were so close, we could read each other's thoughts, now I don't know what you are thinking anymore, or who you see or what you do.
We once were a united family, one goal, one dream, one faith; now we seem torn apart, your newfound faith instead of bringing u unity and peace in our family, it has put a wall between us. I don't know you anymore. I knew your every thought, I'm still the same, I've not changed, our friends are still the same. They're all concerned for you, they don't understand, how can they, when I don't.
All you seem to do lately is find fault with everyone. I go to meetings, and feel at peace. While there, I feel the love that surrounds me and when I come home its such a letdown, for it seems that while I'm gone your mood has changed, you question what I've learned, and whatever comment I make, you come back with a sarcastic remark. Why do you find it necessary to belittle my faith, why can't you be happy in your newfound faith and go on from there, why all of a sudden you have to be super Christian, making it your mission on proving the Watchtower Organization to be wrong, pick ing on every word that is said by a brother. Why don't you do that with the Mormons, or others? You're obsessed with reading and researching till all hours of the night, making notes and getting your material ready to expose those who did you no wrong, that seems to be more important, than one night going to bed with your wife. That's all right, I've gotten used to going to bed alone. It's getting easier and easier. I'm just afraid that our marriage will become a habit. It's getting very difficult to love a man that is so holy. It's as if there is no room in your heart for anyone except for your thirst for knowledge and this vendetta you feel is your duty to carry out.
............. The point is Vito, when all this started with you, it confused me at first, then it frightened me, but now it is a deep hurt which I'm sure with time will get better. I see a change in me, I'm withdrawing within myself. I found that it's not so bad being alone. I might as well get used to it even though I've never been good at doing things without you. Little by little the friends will stop including me. I think what hurts the most is Paul's attitude. He is young and the truth was never really instilled in his heart, and all he can see is that now he can have birthdays and holidays. Whatever you're teaching him now, he's still missing the point of what it means to worship the true God. How sad that makes me.
I know you think I'm blind to what is going on, and that all that you have shown me does not mean anything, but it does, you see Vito I don't look to men, they're only human. I put my faith in my God and His son Jesus and in due time He'll set matters straight. I'm not blind, Vito, I see many things that don't sit right with me and in time I'm the one that has to decide what must be done, and no one else, not even you can do that for me. So please stop trying to put my faith to the test because that makes me more determined to fight for it, and most of all don't put my love for you to the test, because right now its very fragile and frightens me to see us growing further and further apart. It frightens me that you are using the children as an excuse to go wherever it is you're going this weekend.
I pray to God nothing happens to you or us here, for I would not even know where to reach you. May God watch over you and bring you back safely.
Honey I'm so scared and confused, I don't know what will become of us. I love you so much and yet I don't feel close to you anymore. I'm afraid, have we grown so far apart that along the way we've lost something very precious? Can we ever get it back? How sad it would be if we could not recapture what we once had. I hope it's not too late for I feel as if I'm living with a stranger, that's how much you have changed. I'm sorry I had to write this letter, putting this burden on you while you're away, but this is the only way I can express myself, to let you know what I feel. I'm not able to do it when you're looking at me, I get too emotional, at least this way I can cry and you don't have to see my tears. That is something I've been doing a lot of lately. Can you believe it? me crying, I've always prided myself in being able to face anything that came my way, always relying on my God to give me strength and courage, but now my emotions are getting the best of me. I blame my health, it gets worse each year, what I fear most is losing you, fear of losing the only man I have ever loved, and ever want. Remember what our friends used to say about us " so perfect for each other". Maybe it's not too late, but if you feel you must follow this course then fine, I will not stand in your way. Let us keep our worship to our God separate from our marriage. I don't know if it can be done, but we can try. If I love you and my family, I don't need the outside world, I never did, even though we did have a full life being involved in the same faith.
Now we would have to rely more on each other and that also will be fine, after all we are getting older now and its good for us to seek comfort and companionship with each other. Vito I couldn't bear to face our golden years apart or in this confused turmoil that we are now experiencing. I just want to be here for you at the end of the day, I want our home to be a place of love and peace. I want it to be a shelter for you to return to at day's end, and I need you to be there for me also. Can we try? I think we can.
My heart is very sad, but it is also very full of love and hope. I always look to tomorrow and if we want to keep what we've had for all these years we will try.
Now my husband, may God go with you and guide you in all you do and bring you back safe here where I'll be waiting.
I love you and need you till the rest of my days, will you be there with me to hold my hand and wipe away my fears as you always have? I will always be here for you my husband.
I love you with all my heart and whatever the future we'll face it together (1 Cor 13: 1-13)
Love is the perfect bond of union, hurry home, honey.
Contributed by Vito and Annette Potenzieri
Love For The Truth
PO Box 888
Westminster, CA 92684-0888
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