Monday, February 1, 2010

An Open Invitation to All Jehovah’s Witnesses

Posted by Joel Gunz

If you are a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses, you are invited to join me in a private conversation about our divergent faith paths. The aim? To give you an opportunity to have your say with an ex-Witness and to hear my individual position, in a safe, respectful atmosphere.

When I was a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I spent many thousands of hours looking for people with whom to share my faith. Like all Witnesses, I approached everybody, getting to know Catholics, Buddhists, atheists, Wiccans and Satanists, as well as those who struggled with crippling mental illnesses and drug addictions. That variety made going out in service an enriching experience for me.

There was only one group that I, like all publishers, avoided: those who had left Jehovah’s Witnesses. The result? Most Witnesses know more about what makes a Hindu tick than they do those whom they once viewed as brothers and sisters. My experience is that misconceptions abound in this area. We are labeled “apostate,” “spiritually dead” “grossly immoral” and worse. That may be true of a small minority of ex-Witnesses. But as a blanket statement, it doesn’t fit.

I would like to set the record straight in this area and find ways to promote greater understanding of what it means to be a former Jehovah’s Witness. Too often, online forums quickly deteriorate into arguments and even petty name-calling. I doubt that a lot of good can come from this. I feel the best way to air our differences is to engage in a personal, face-to-face conversation.

Only two rules will prevail: (1) that we avoid trying to convince the other to change his or her views and (2) that the conversation be dignified, rational and respectful. For my part, I will respect your privacy. No one needs to know that you’ve talked to me.

If you are a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses, consider yourself cordially invited for a sit-down with me.