They ignore the fact that the Old Testament scriptures apply to the Jews and to Israel. Our story starts with Dorothy and Ray Banks of Rotherham (Yorks, UK), who have been committed Christians for about thirty eight years. Dot is in her late 60s and her husband is in his 70s. Being members of the older generation they have a wealth of experience.
In 1968 some JWs knocked on Dot's front door. She had heard about them but had not previously met any. She bought a copy of the Watchtower because she was too shy to say no. She flicked through the magazine and later her eyes fixed on an article entitled Why Are You Looking Forward to 1975. It claimed that 1975 would undergo a terrible war called Armageddon and that the only people who would survive would be JWs.
Three weeks later two lady members of the JWs turned up on the doorstep asking if the occupants had read the magazine. Dot had flicked through it and remembered the 1975 article. She asked them about it. This was when the ladies started reading the scriptures taken from their own version of the Bible. Dot was impressed that they knew so much.Later another lady from the Kingdom Hall brought a small blue book entitled The Truth That Leads To Everlasting Life. From then on Dot was "hooked". Her home was used for "bible studies" for the next six months.
She became a JW and was raring to go for the organisation! She did what the leadership instructed by going door knocking to win converts. But her husband, Ray, did not accept the way things operated and questioned the JW beliefs and practices in his meetings with male members.
In her door to door work Dot managed to get a young woman named Susan interested to start a "bible study", but she had to travel by bus to meet her. Susan lived opposite a Pentecostal Church. Dot was warned by the JWs not to venture into the church building as its members were considered to be demon possessed. Amazingly a few years later Dot did go through the front door of this forbidden church to surrender her life to Christ.While still in the JW organization Dot read about a Bible Exhibition that was to be held in Rotherham.
She and Ray plucked up courage and went. Dot noticed a number of different Bibles on display. As she and Ray were looking at them a gentleman inquired about their interest in Bibles. During the conversation, Dot asked him her favourite question, "Do you use God's name, Jehovah?" The middle aged man's response was by way of an explanation that God has other names as well as Jehovah. This intrigued both Dot and Ray. The group who organised the exhibition were the Christadelphians.
Doubts began to weaken Dot's resistance to true Christians and she began to worry why God was not answering her prayers - not even one! She became despondent and unhappy. She wanted a break from the JWs to find her bearings. About this time Ray bumped into the local vicar who listened to his concerns about his wife getting deeper into the teachings of th JWs. He invited the vicar to visit their home to talk about the situation.
The vicar talked to Dot about Jesus, whom the JWs teach was an angel like Michael the archangel and is not to be worshipped or prayed to. They consider Jesus to be a man like Adam mentioned in the book of Genesis.In the spring of 1971 Dot befriended another young JW woman called Wendy who tried to keep her in "the fold".
Later Wendy married and moved away. Dot tried to remain committed but it didn't work out. She decided to take a complete break. She felt a sense of relief but at th same time some confusion. Had she done the right thing? She prayed for a sign of approval but her prayer was not answered.In September 1971 Ray noticed an advertisement in The Advertiser, a local newspaper, giving details about a house exchange at the seaside town of Bridlington.
The idea of living in a seaside resort excited them and their children, who were still at school. Ray applied by letter and a few days later there was a knock on the front door in response to the application. The lady, whose name was Joyce said she had a family and that she was a Sunday school teacher at the Pentecostal Church in Bridlington.Children of JWs do not attend Sunday school nor are they allowed to attend any public or private School assembly. Their members are forbidden to enter any Pentecostal Church.
However, the lady asked Ray if she could pray for his back which was troubling him. Ray accepted and Joyce prayed for him. Arrangements were made to visit the home at Bridlington to discuss the house exchange. The warm welcome from Joyce and her husband Melville, plus a strange feeling when grace was said before refreshments, had their effect.
They talked about exchanging houses but the subject diverted onto spiritual things such as prayer and answers to prayer. Joyce and Melville had been Christians for 38 years. Dot shared that she was a Jehovah Witness and still believed that they were God's people. However, Melville and Joyce told Ray and Dot that they knew Jesus in a personal way.This was the beginning of many meetings in each others' homes and the sharing of the scriptures.
Another Christian couple called Albert and Elsie, also from Bridlington, came to view the house in Rotherham. Dot and Ray just could not get away from Christians. What was God doing?To cut a long story short one Thursday night when Dot should have gone to the JW's Kingdom Hall she accompanied Joyce to the forbidden Pentecostal Church where among other things they sang that great hymn Guide Me O Though Great Jehovah.
This disturbed and shocked Dot as she thought JWs had the exclusive use of that name. That evening in the Rotherham Pentecostal Church the Gospel of Salvation through Christ was preached and the "scales" on Dot's eyes began to fall off. The Holy Spirit was at work. Before leaving the forbidden church, she met the pastor, David Powell. Both Dot and Ray were affected by this tall and gentle man.
This encounter, plus the hearing of God's Word and being amongst Christians, who loved and cared for one another and for visitors, opened the eyes of both Dot and Ray. Amazingly, and yet inevitably, one Sunday evening, at the Gospel Service in that Pentecostal Church, they together surrendered their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ after hearing the Good News.
The Lord Jesus had come by invitation to live inside the hearts of two people who were seeking the truth.Dot, Ray, and their family never moved house to live in Bridlington, and Dot never entered a Kingdom Hall again. She dispensed with the false teachings and prophecies of the Jehovah Witnesses. They were now both born again, spirit filled Christians. (JWs would call them demon possessed).
But later on in their walk with Jesus, they were to warn people about Jehovah's Witnesses. God's ways are past finding out.Dot recalls from her experience among the JWs, that at first they prophesied Armageddon would happen in 1914. Different dates have been given over the years with the final being 1975. Before 1975 arrived some JWs stopped having children, sold up their homes, and stepped up door to door knocking with their warnings.
1975 came and went and nothing happened that was predicted in their Watchtower and Awake magazines, which they so eagerly sold or gave away.The JWs predicted that the prophets of the Bible were going to be resurrected in 1925. A mansion called Beth-Sarim was purpose-built for these prophets to live in when they arrived. By today's standards and prices, this would have cost millions, all paid for by JWs. Of course it never happened.So for Dot, there was no more being a JW whose aim is to live on Paradise Earth; no more false ideas that the Holy Spirit is just an active "force form" of God; no more teachings about there being no certainty of life after death, except for the chosen 144,000 JWs for whom heaven is only a feeble hope; and definitely no more insular practices, such as JWs keeping to themselves except for going door to door knocking for converts. Instead, Dot and Ray for the next five years absorbed the true Word of God and the teachings of Jesus in order to put them into practice.
Dot still could not get completely away from the Jehovah Witnesses and held a deep burden and concern for them. She sought help from a Christian, Eric Clarke of Kent in the south of England, who had written a Gospel tract entitled Who is Jehovah - The Mystery of God. Dot responded to a questionnaire: Are you a JW? Are you an ex-JW? Do you have a desire to win JWs for Jesus?
Eric already had a recognised ministry to deal with the cult of the JWs. He gave Ray and Dot a box full of Help Jesus and Warning tracts.At the time there were other Christians seeking to win JWs for Jesus. Paul Acuri, living close to Eric, ran The Help Jesus Ministry and yet another, Maurice Coveney of Canada had an established ministry that had been operating for several years.
The jigsaw was being put together by the Lord. Eventually Eric, Paul, and Maurice all contributed to the establishing of Ray and Dot's own ministry of reaching out to JWs.Dot recalls:Following my conversion to Christ it took two years and a lot of encouragement from my husband Ray before we achieved enough courage to push tracts through the letter boxes in the Rotherham area.After placing advertisements in a local newspaper and the Christian journal New Life fruit began to appear. JWs and people started to make contact asking for help, and the way forward for their lives.There are many JWs out there who are seeking help.
Others remain in bondage to what is commonly called "The Organisation". Some of God's people are confused by what they have been told by Jehovah's Witnesses and they need help. So let us who are Christians, do our bestto reach out to these lovely sincere, but deceived people, and keep them continually in our prayers - just as Dot and Ray have done and keep doing.For more information visit http://www.helpjesus.co.uk
Author John Shipton
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