[An Unstable Foundation]
I need to preface this piece by saying that the title above in no way is in reference to my family. I had a great upbringing, and a loving family; “An unstable foundation” refers to the religion that pulled my family away from God.
I wasn’t raised in a Christian home, and my family didn’t go to church. What we did attend was something called ‘meetings’ at a place called ‘The Kingdom Hall.’ If you know what I’m talking about, you’ll have clued in by now that my parents were in fact Jehovah’s Witnesses. My parents abandoned their religion when I was 12-13 years old, and have steered quite clear of all religion since. I’m currently the only member of my family who does know God.
I came to know God through my husband Andrew while we we’re dating, and I’ve been a Christian now for 22 years. (That story can be found Here).
Our family was drawn into this religious organization (which is often seen by Christians as a cult) during my grandma’s generation. If you go a generation further back into my family history, my great grandma was formerly a staunch Anglican, and my great-grandparents took their children to church every Sunday. From what I’ve read of my great-grandparents they were wonderful people. I was fortunate to have my great-grandma in my life up into my teens, but I never knew my great-grandfather as he passed before I was ever born.
It was one of my great aunts who was drawn into the Jehovah’s Witnesses and started to attend ‘meetings.’ at what they call the ‘Kingdom Hall’. Next my grandparents followed suit, and then finally my great-grandparents eventually became interested as well (When I wrote this paragraph the parallel to what I had written in ‘Made to Follow’ was so very striking.) My great-grandpa even lead the work crew that built the ‘Kingdom Hall’ that we attended.
Its difficult for me to understand how my great-grandparents went from Anglicans, to Jehovah’s Witnesses knowing what this movement believes. Its bizarre actually. Jehovah’s Witnesses obviously steer clear of any association with traditional Christian beliefs; church gets exchanged for ‘meetings,’ totally abandoning all meaning of the word church, which is actually a very significant word.
Church is the body of Christ. (This means those who have accepted Him and are a part of the family of God.) Church isn’t simply a place to ‘meet’ but it’s God’s family, and why I call myself God’s kid. When I accepted Jesus I became a child of God, and part of the church. Even without the church building we are collectively connected to each other, as well as to God, like family. This is a wonderful thing because it creates a closeness and loving bond between believers. We are what family is supposed to be if we truly know Jesus and follow His ways.
Jehovah’s Witnesses though, reject all the basic foundations that I believe make my faith strong and stable. In fact I felt very ill reading through all of the things they do believe. They’ve even come up with their very own Bible, changing the wording of Scripture, and these fundamental beliefs to suit their own misguided dogma. They also follow rules that were never handed down by God, like not celebrating the holidays, or birthdays–events that give us the opportunity to come together as family, and love one another as Scripture commands us to do (John 13:34).
Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t lead people to Christ; they don’t even believe that Jesus is God. (He was God in the flesh.) Scripture tells us that the Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:15) Jesus was their in the beginning. He was with God and He was God. (John 1:1) this is why those who were expecting Him called Him Immanuel, which means “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23) It was also Prophesied in the book of Isaiah that Jesus would be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. ( Isaiah 9:6) God the Father also referred to Jesus as God in Hebrews, (Hebrew’s 1:8). and the disciple Thomas declared Jesus as God, when He saw Jesus with His own eyes after His death and resurrection. The apostles clearly saw Jesus as well, which we can see in their letters to the churches.
“Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” –John 20:27-28
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
“Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
If you want to know God you have to get to know Jesus. Instead Jehovah’s Witnesses reject His deity. As well they reject that salvation is by grace–not works. This grace is Gods grace, which is through Jesus’ alone, and which helps us to learn to keep God’s law. Works then are the proof that our faith isn’t dead. (James 2:26) The law is the ten commandments that God gave Moses to give to the Israelites. We must still obey these laws today, (Matthew 5:19-20) but we have help through the Holy Spirit, as well as God’s grace and forgiveness when we fail to keep them. That means that when we seek forgiveness He is gracious enough to give us that forgiveness. His sacrificial death on the cross already paid for our sins.
Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t understand God’s grace. They can’t. In viewing Jesus the way they do (separate from God) They don’t know God. (Thus they don’t have the Holy Spirit, and can’t understand Scripture.) This is why they’ve had to alter Scripture and have very differing views on most of our basic and fundamental beliefs. To know Jesus you have to believe He is who He says He is. Scripture clearly states that He was there in the beginning and that all things were created by Him and that nothing that was created was created without Him. (John 1:1-2) Scripture also says that Jesus the Son, and God the Father are one. (John 10:30) To know the Son is to know the Father, thus to know Jesus is to accept that He is God. If you reject this you have no foundation to stand on. As Scripture puts it you are blind (2 Corinthians 4:4).
Don’t confuse this religion for Christianity because it isn’t. The more I read about what they believe and how wrong their theology is, it frustrates the life out of me. They should be viewed as a cult because they function precisely like a cult. They took something that never belonged to them (God’s word) and twisted it into something very different. They also lead my family away from God.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses have even gone as far as to change the wording of John 1:1 the true recording of it being this:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Instead they reword it to say: ( ...and the Word was a god.” ) The “Word” is Jesus Christ. The true translation of the verse also reads that the Word was God, meaning that Jesus is God. However they refuse to accept Jesus as being one with God the Father.
While writing this I was very bothered by the fact that my great-grandparents and grandparents may have believed something very different than I do, and therefore they may not have seen Jesus in the way He should be viewed.
So what do I do with all of this? I do the only thing I can do, like God had me write in Brighter Points on Darker Thoughts, I trust God and believe in His power. I believe that He never gives up, so I have hope that my grandparents, and great-grandparents did find and know Jesus as He truly is, despite the religion that pulled my brothers, and my parents (as well as myself) away from God. I also believe that those in my family who have yet to accept Him will come to Him–in time. I pray for them, and I keep praying for them.
Andrew said to me when my grandma passed away, “We’ll see your grandma and grandpa again. We’ll see your great-grandparents as well.” I choose to believe this is true. They did come from an Anglican upbringing so there’s more than a very good chance they understood fully the Trinity (God in three persons) knew Jesus as Lord and God, and had this teaching in their heart. Though I never knew exactly what they believed, if I had even the slightest doubt in my mind that they understood this incorrectly, I know my God, and I have no doubt that God kept working, even reminding them again of who He is when their time here was up. I also have no doubt they would have accepted Him. My grandparents were wonderful people, with big open and loving hearts.
I was never drawn into this religion myself because I was so young at the time, and spent most of the time at those ‘meetings’ drawing pictures while everything was going on around me. My mom did however read us Bible stories before bed, which I was able to recall when I was dating Andrew. This was something we talked about the night I said “yes” to becoming a Christian. So the seeds were there all along, just germinating for a spell before they were cultivated and started to grow.
I however realized something that did evidently make an impact on me. I always assumed that the name that I gave my doll (“Flower to Flower”) not only was inspired by my mom teaching me about the things growing in her garden, but I thought it came from my poetic nature as well. However, it struck me while editing, that it was going to those Jehovah’s Witness ‘meetings’ that influenced that poetic sounding name. It’s not poetic at all.
As I edited this piece I decided to reword a sentence in which I’d used the term ‘door-to-door’ to tell of how the Jehovah’s witnesses go knocking on people’s doors to share the message of their beliefs. That’s when it hit me. Being that Jehovah’s Witnesses even sing a song about going ‘door-to-door.’, and given my pull towards the message that music voices—It was a sudden revelation to me, it was my love of music that inspired, and influenced this name.
Though I was so little, clearly these words had worked there way into my mind, with a bit of a creative twist (the things growing in my mom’s garden). I also had a doll named “Plant to Plant” and another named “Rose to Rose.” Evidently I preferred going about the garden rather than door-to-door. My recalling (even just in part) the words of that Jehovah’s Witnesses song however, goes to show the importance of what children see and hear.
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
When my parents did disassociate from their religion it was often made very clear how they felt about religion, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. I learned from this to distrust religion myself, and it wasn’t until I was a young adult that I would start to experience religion, and question the truth of the existence of God and Christianity, which I talk about in Moving In.
Currently, I’m the only living member on my side of the family tree (that I know of) who has accepted Jesus, but this is not the end of the story. God is more than capable of doing things that man can’t, so I continue to pray for them.