Critics of Jehovah`s Witnesses/"Abandoning God" is an Immense Lie


The last time I wrote, you gave good advice on how my relationship with Jehovah God should be what I make it.

I read the Bible everyday, I think or meditate on what His Word means, and I still do research in my quest to find the Truth, but at the end of my day, I find myself unable to pray to Him,  embarrassed even, I'm sorry to say. I don't understand why I feel this way . How do I overcome this?

I hope you can shed some light on this uncomfortable situation.
Thank you.

ANSWER: Dear Lesley,

I could only guess what's behind your embarrassment about prayer, speculate based on what I and others have experienced before you. Try on these guesses and see if they fit:

1. For a long time, we were spoon fed unquestionable ideas about who God is, and we believed them. We thought we knew who God was. That is a little arrogant. Then we discovered that the system that spoon fed us was questionable after all, and by extension, that might mean we never really knew God the way we thought we did. Are you embarrassed about having been arrogant in the past and had a warped view of who God is? Having thought you already knew God rather than humbly seeking to know Him? That is a good reason to feel embarrassed, but it will pass. Ask God forgiveness.

2. When you discovered that the Witness organization and it's teachings are questionable after all, yet you previously believed them fully, this might mean that you once deluded yourself, or allowed yourself to be deluded about the nature of God. Is it embarrassing to have allowed yourself to be deluded, perhaps with a twinge of reservation that you might STILL be deluding yourself by wanting to connect with God through prayer, possibly thinking that this current desire is a holdover of something outdated? (You must discover for yourself whether it is so.)

3. The Witnesses warped our sense of independence. They taught us that it is right and proper to be 100% dependent on outside sources of guidance, and not to trust ourselves, not to develop or trust our own sound guidance, any inner voice, our heart and soul. Most people in the world recognize that as a misguided teaching. Are you in a state of recovering from having been artificially 100% dependent on outside sources of guidance (being unable to find your own inner voice)? That might understandably impair any real relationship with God you might hope to have, as such a relationship perhaps involves a balance of dependence and independence, perhaps requires us to find a healthy balance between these things. Are you embarrassed because part of you knows you have been excessively dependent on outside sources of guidance? (You may have to take a break from prayer and give yourself an opportunity to heal in this respect before you can return to prayer in an authentic way. This was the case for me.)

I would never want to TELL you what to think about God. That is such a private personal matter, and I suggest you not let anyone assertively tell you what to think about spiritual matters ever again, not even me. I am not trying to do that. Rather I'm trying to give some ideas that might help you do some soul searching and find out what's going on within you. I hope this is helpful.

Best wishes,

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you Andrew,

I think you've pretty much hit the nail on the head, as well , I feel like I don't deserve my prayers being listened to for abandoning God. Like you, I'm going to take a step back from praying and think on how to make God feel real to me.

Thanks again.

Dear Lesley,

Giving yourself time is a good idea; but don't let that time be spent idly in terms of your recovery. You do have to work at it in order to heal from this.

The one you mentioned is the biggest one. The Witnesses implanted in us the idea that if we ever left THEM, we would be leaving GOD (a control tactic); but nothing could be further from the truth. The Witnesses are not God, and have no special relationship with or claim to representing God. Their claim to be unique representatives of God is a complete lie. We were conditioned to accept that lie so thoroughly that it may have appeared true. But conditioning does not make it so.

As you work at recovery, make sure to give attention to this fallacy (among others) that they have implanted in you. This fallacy that, because you left them, you left God.

The Witnesses are alienated from God for three main reasons: (1) You cannot be a unique representative of the God of Truth if you routinely practice infinitely complex convoluted lies. (2) You cannot be a special spokesman for the God of Love if you do not know how to practice love because your form of consciousness knows only conditional love (which is not love at all). (3) Spirituality is a dreamlike experience that occurs in the right brain. You cannot be a spiritual person if you imagine, declare, and insist that spirituality is a matter of memorizing rote facts, developing intellectual prowess, or engaging in determined verbal swordsmanship, which are all left-brain experiences.

So by abandoning the Witnesses, you are potentially moving CLOSER to God. It will take time for that simple truth to absorb into your bones. Give yourself time.

I hope this is helpful.


Critics of Jehovah`s Witnesses

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I don't object to Witness theology, but rather their use of social pressure & deceptive manipulations to undermine family ties and control minds. (This may seem contradictory to Witnesses, who draw no distinction between spiritual belief and organizational policy.) I do not engage in theological debate. I support persons impacted by an experience with the Witnesses and advocate early education for everyone so that they can protect themselves from cults by understanding what to watch out for. (It's not what most people think.)

(Ex-)Witnesses: I know how upsetting it is to experience doubts (or anger) about your experience. Time does not heal this wound until you first remove the splinter, which takes more time and effort than you may realize. So, unless you have already put in that time and effort, don't be surprised if you are deeply affected long after the experience. But there is good news! You're NOT an enemy of God for doubting or for failing to meet the requirements of a human organization. An organization that lies cannot be the exclusive spokesman for the God of Truth. Tell me where you're at. I'll understand. I can show you how to begin or continue your recovery and make a life for yourself worth living.

Non-Witnesses: Describe your experience with your friend/relative who is (becoming) a Witness. I can help you understand the Witness indoctrination and social dynamics that are affecting him or her. I can help you put your options into perspective. Keep in mind that people do make their own choices (even though they may sometimes do so under outside influence) and you may not be able to affect this person's choices, even though they impact on you. After all, you do not have the arsenal of tactics that a cult does (and wouldn't want to). A few people manage to save their friend/relative, but don't count on it. What you can count on is navigating the maze more successfully by becoming more informed about your own options.


I was a Witness for 30 years, and a volunteer at their headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, for a year. I have attended meetings with many Witness congregations across the United States, a thorough cross-section, carefully observing patterns of behavior. Although being a Witness was difficult, and I gradually had more and more doubts about Witness teachings--I was a true believer, so I kept trying to make it work somehow. I stopped attending meetings in 1997 only after receiving an answer to a prayer about doing so, and have since been actively involved in recovery. This includes both my own and supporting others in theirs. Recovery can include reading books, communicating with others in recovery, and participating in support groups and/or therapy. It always involves reclaiming one's own mind and discovering the other sides of the issues that you have been blinded to in the past.

My gradual awakening was socially, psychologically, and spiritually tumultuous. I lost everything from my former life. My suffering was substantial.

But I have gained everything, so it was worth it. Only after beginning my recovery did I gain social, psychological, and spiritual healing and growth, peace of mind, and self-respect. Only then did I discover who I am; and--for the first time--the meaning of real brotherly love.

For more resources on this topic, try these web sites:

Like most Cult Recovery Counselors, I am a cult survivor. I have life experience, not professional training. Also I feel no need to apologize for that. People with professional training cannot understand what it is like to survive a cult unless they have been through it themselves, which few professional therapists have. Understanding what really happened and what works in this unusual social context is as important as psychological training. Most professional therapists are not specifically trained to support cult survivors. Those who are represent a rare and precious resource.

I sometimes refer people to professional therapists regarding deep personal issues. But surviving a cult is a broad experience with other dimensions. Professional therapy can be very helpful as part of your recovery process, assuming that you choose the right therapist. When choosing a therapist, remember that you are the client and they are a service provider. You are the one who holds authority about the relationship. You get to interview the therapist and decide which one to employ.

Be sure to ask what specific training and experience they have around recovery from cult mind control. Most therapists do not have relevant training. Some carry serious misunderstandings about what cult mind control is; and therefore will misunderstand your struggle. So it pays to be selective as a consumer of professional therapy services.

Past/Present Clients
The Witness organization is not like other churches. Most non-Witnesses really cannot imagine what it is like to be a Witness. The organization has unimaginably extensive rules and monitoring that affect every aspect of life, so there is no privacy and no sense of personal independence. "Independent thought" is considered their greatest "sin".

The organization insists on absolute conformity, and claims to directly represent God; so dissent is not tolerated, and authority is totalitarian. Being a Witness is more like living in China or the former Soviet Union than being a member of a religion as you know it. It was the research of Robert J. Lifton, who was studying--not religions--but totalitarian governments, who first began to illuminate the problem of religious cults around the world, which employ exactly the same tactics as totalitarian governments. His work remains a cornerstone for Cult Recovery Counselors still today. (This may be why many governments are tolerant of cults, to avoid exposing their own control tactics.)

Witnesses often experience unusually dysfunctional lives and an extensive array of personal problems stemming from broken family ties, stunted social development, inner unrest resulting from repressed doubts, inability to defend boundaries, and an extreme, persistent feeling of irrational shame. I can help people impacted by an experience with the Witnesses by revealing in detail the policies and social dynamics in the Witness organization that cause these problems.

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