Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ed Grainger

Hello and Happy Saturday!

I wish to thank Christian Mengele for his very interesting interview last week. I very much enjoyed reading your answers and I thank you for sharing with us Christian!

Today we have a new interview so please welcome Ed Grainger. Ed is an ex-Jehovah's Witness and I know you'll enjoy his interview as well!

Here Is Ed Grainger's Introduction:

My name is Ed Grainger. I am 40 years old and grew up in the Jehovah's Witness faith. My parents and sister are still Jehovah's Witnesses, while the rest of my extended family is not and never has been. I left that faith 3 years ago primarily due to the crushing burden of guilt and exhaustion of trying to fit into a system of worship that did not, and never did, fully resonate with me. After leaving the faith (and being 'disfellowshipped' - which means that I cannot have any contact with my parents or sister and have not had any in over 3 years as a result), I have learned that the Witness faith fits all of the psychological markers of a classical 'High Control Mind Control Group' (see Lifton for his unbiased explanation). I have gone through a tremendous period of anger, resentment, grief, hostility, rage and loss coming to terms with the many ways that I was deceived and hurt by this group. I still have the loss of my immediate family to deal with on a daily basis and that is the price I had to pay to exit the faith. My purpose in writing this will not be to 'expose' the Watchtower Society (the legal entity behind Jehovah's Witnesses) - I am simply going to answer the questions completely truthfully - in exactly the way that a typical Jehovah's Witness would THINK about a matter internally - but not necessarily VOICE to the outside world. There is a very clear duality of mind, a 'compartmentalization' of the mind that is necessary to be a member of any cultlike group, and that was certainly the case for me. I am going to answer the questions as any 'mature' Jehovahs Witness would - and in exactly the same frame of mind when I was at the deepest level of my involvement and zeal in the organization - while I was serving as an "Elder" in the organization. I hope this information will help others to understand what it truly feels like to be a part of this group and to see it for what it is.

1) What religion do you practice?
I am one of Jehovah's Witnesses. We do not view our 'religion' as a 'church' in the traditional sense, as we view it as the only Truth or salvation to reach Jehovah God. Therefore we simply refer to it as "The Truth" because we believe this particular Christian sect is the one and only path to everlasting life and salvation.

2) Are you a convert/revert or were you raised within this religion? If you converted, what did you need to do to convert? And what did you practice prior to converting?
I grew up in this faith. My parents were converted when I was one year old.

3)Within your religion are there degrees of observance (ie. Orthodox,conservative, moderate, liberal)? What are the defining differences between the degrees of observance?
There are no 'official' levels of observance - and we do not have a 'clergy/laity' class - at least in theory. On an informal level - we do not believe that you can be a TRUE Christian (which means being an active Jehovah's Witness) and not maintain complete adherance to all of our teachings on morality and doctrine, as well as spend a minimum of 10 hours per month volunteering to go door to door in imitation of Jesus Christ in order to rescue others from this dying world under Satan's control. If you do not maintain at least 10 hours per month, you are informally known and referred to as a ' weak ' publisher, and rightly so because you do not have the faith to imitate Jesus' self-sacrificing example in preaching and teaching others this life-saving Truth. Everyone is expected to report on your hours spent each month in preaching, as well as how many magazines (Watchtower/Awake) are placed, books, brochures and any Home Bible Studies that are conducted. The information is tallied by an Elder called the Congregation Secretary and submitted to the local Branch Office for compilation in the country and worldwide totals reported each month in an internal publication titled "Our Kingdom Ministry" Each witness is also expected to attend 2 meetings per week - a 2-hour Sunday meeting and a 1.45hr mid-week meeting, discussing various publications. At an 'official' level - there are many 'levels' of observance or 'positions' within the group - and this can be described in a simple hierarchy. We do not use the term hierarchy to describe our organization, but it is what it is. At the top end of the scale are the Governing Body - a group of peer-elected male overseers numbering around 12 - that make all decisions on organizational policy and doctrine. Scattered throughout the world there exists what is called The Remnant - the surviving members of the 144,000 of Anointed that will become co-rulers with Christ in Heaven after their death here on Earth. The number of remnant has been holding at around 9,000 in recent years. Below this you have: Zone Overseers - full time missionaries who organize work on a country-level (Overseers may be married or single) District Overseers - full time missionsaries who organize work over large areas of a country or countries and give talks at annual District Conventions. Circuit Overseers - full time volunteers who visit different local congregations each week to upbuild and encourage, and take the lead in any judicial or organizational matters. They are direct representatives of the Governing Body. City Overseer - a local Elder who takes the lead on city-wide issues and acts as a representative for the Society. Bethel Elder - Full-time volunteers who work at a branch office or world headquarters Bethel office in the capacity of an Elder. Elder - volunteers who take the lead on a congregational level. Pioneer - a full-time preacher and teacher who spends a minimum of 70 hours per month going door-to-door to spread the Truth. Auxiliary Pioneer - a part-time preacher and teacher who spends a minimum of 50 hours per month in door-to-door preaching. Ministerial Servant - a part time volunteer (similar to a 'Deacon') who assists Elders to handle congregational details. Regular Publisher - a part time congregation member who spends at least 60 minutes a month in preaching door-to-door (if phyiscally possible), or via telephone or letter-writing campaigns. Most publishers work secularly Monday-Friday and go door-to-door evenings and weekends. Irregular Publisher - a part time congregation member who has not spent at least one hour a month in Field Service (preaching) every month for the last six months. Inactive Publisher - a part time congregation member who has gone more than six months without reporting any Field Service activity. Unbaptized Publisher - a person who has not yet publicly proclaimed himself as a Jehovahs Witness, but who identifies with them and goes in Field Service on a regular basis. These are usually children and youth that are not yet old enough or ready for water baptism and dedication of their life to Jehovah. Anyone who falls into gross misconduct (as defined by the Bible and judged by the Elders), can have some or all of his or her privileges revoked and may become 'marked' by the congregation to avoid association with them - either publicly reproved in an announcement, or privately 'reproved' for their bad conduct. Some of these privileges include commenting at meetings, giving talks, or volunteering to help at gatherings, handling microphones/sound system, praying on behalf of others, etc. The thought is that the public or private reproof may be enough to 'shame' the person in order to see the error of their ways and to avoid bringing Jehovah's name into disrepute and by extension the congregation. It also helps to rescue them from straying too far from the 'flock of God' and may help them to avoid becoming 'disfellowshipped' for gross misconduct without repentance. Disfellowshipped Person - someone who has been 'excommunicated' from the Truth and must not be spoken to or associated with on any level, even by immediate family (unless it is for a family 'emergency'). This is to protect the remaining family members from being corrupted by their wayward, independent thinking and to shame and guilt the offender into taking steps to right the wrong, ask for forgiveness, and seek reinstatement into the organization. Jehovah's organization has the highest standards in order to differentiate itself from other worldly religions that are really just demonically-inspired falsehoods. Apostate - someone who used to be an active Jehovah's Witness but has either willingly disassociated themselves, or has been disfellowshipped, and practices or promotes hatred or resistance against the Truth - either in public or in private.

4)Within your religion what degree of observance are you ((ie. Orthodox,conservative, moderate, liberal) ? Why did you choose this degree of observance?
All Jehovah's Witnesses are "Conservative" Christians with a strict code of morality based on the Bible. I have served as a Ministerial Servant and Elder and enjoy helping others to come to an accurate knowledge of Truth.

5)What is the Afterlife within your religion? For example: what happens when a person dies? Are there places for reward/punishment? (such as a Heaven/Hell concept)
According to the Bible, there is no afterlife. There is only God's 'Memory' that would allow him to resurrect someone to life on Earth if he so chooses. A select few are resurrected as spirit creatures - based on Revelation 7, a specific number of 144,000 are so resurrected upon death to immortal heavenly life as 'undershepherds' with Jesus Christ in administering his Millenial Kingdom. The rest of humanity is termed the "Great Crowd" and is a finite number of people, far less than the world population, that will gain Jehovah God's approval for survival past Armageddon (the near judgment of Earth's politics and religion by God) into the New Order. We believe that most, but not all, practicing Jehovah's Witnesses form the bulk of this Great Crowd. We do not believe that anyone who is not a baptized Jehovah's Witness will qualify to survive Gods judgment and will instead be destroyed forever.

6) In your opinion, does everyone make it into heaven/paradise? If they do not, why?
Only those making the Truth their own and accepting all the refreshing waters of Truth from Jesus and distributed by the "Faithful and Discreet Slave" will survive into paradise on Earth. This can only be those that baptize themselves in the name of Jehovah, Jesus and pledge their allegience to his Spirit-Directed Organization here on Earth today. This organization of Jehovahs Witnesses is the Truth and descends directly from the first-century Apostles and imitates their faith in preaching the Gospel to others in order to avoid 'bloodguilt' by warning others about the upcoming Armageddon judgment. There is no 'middle ground'. There is no 'neutral' side - even if someone were a so-called "Christian" in their mind, and had good morals, and did good to others - it would not qualify them to survive Armageddon - only baptism and ordainment as a Jehovahs Witness would accomplish that. Unfortunately this means that almost all of the world's current population of over 6 billion will be wiped out at Armageddon - including women and children. There are only 6 million Jehovahs Witnesses worldwide - and even all of those might not pass Gods judgment.

7) What makes your religion a good fit for you?
Yes and No. While every Jehovahs Witness will say they are happy - internally I am not - I believe on the one hand that I am doing everything I can to survive 'by works, not by faith', I cannot know for sure if Jehovah will find my sacrifice worthy enough to survive his judgment. As such I live in a constant fear of displeasing him in some way that will make me classed as having committed the 'unforgivable sin' - blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

8) What are your holy days and what do you do to celebrate them?
We have no holy days per se. We follow the first-century apostolic example and do not celebrate birthdays, Christmas, Easter, New Years, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Valentines Day, or Birthdays. There is no recorded evidence that Jesus or his apostles celebrated holidays or birthdays. To do so would 'elevate' ourself and would lead to pride and unnecessary attention being paid to us - the lowly creation of God - rather than to Jehovah God. The most holy day for us is Nisan 14 (from the 1st Centruy CE Hebrew lunar calendar) that roughly corresponds to "Easter Friday" - the day Jesus died and shed his perfect life and blood in order to 'ransom' or buy back imperfect humans like myself for Jehovah God's grace. That celebration is known as "The Memorial" and involves a short talk followed by passing unleavened bread and unfortified wine among the gathered, in order to commemorate his death and the opening of the way to salvation.Unlike Catholic 'mass', only those of the 144,000 are allowed to 'partake' of the bread and wine - we do not believe in 'transubstantiation' - the bread and wine are merely symbols of Jesus Christ's body (bread) and blood (wine) as poured out on our behalf. Related to this, we believe according to Acts and the Apostle Paul's writings that taking in any blood transusions or eating blood in any manner constitutes the highest act of treason and apostasy from God - he declared Blood to be sacred and as such we carry a "Medical Directive" card in our wallet to tell emergency medical personnel to not, under any circumstances, give us or our loved ones, blood transfusions - even if it may save our life. We would prefer to lose our physical life now and be faithful to God's wishes, rather than buy 'a few years' in this Old System of Things only to be locked out of Jehovah's Book of Life and lose out on the prize of Everlasting Life on Earth!

9) Do you consider people of other faiths to be your friends?
No. They cannot be, as they are a 'part of the World' of wickedness that we live in. It is ruled by Satan The Devil and there is no part of the world that will escape God's judgment. We cannot, nor do we want to, have friends outside of the Truth - associating with them will 'spoil our useful habits'(1 Corinthians) and take us away from the important life-saving work of preaching and teaching.

10) Would you ever join people of another faith to celebrate one of their holy days? Please explain why?
No. the Bible (New World Translation as published by Jehovahs Witnesses) specifically forbids Interfaith. We would also never want to be seen attending an event such as a wedding or funeral in a worldly church building, as it may 'stumble' one of our brothers or sisters. We have the Truth - there is no reason why we would want to poison our minds and hearts with false teachings.

11) What are your thoughts on the burka, and Shariah Law?
We believe that we should be in submission to the "Superior Authourities" (the worldly governments under which we live. As such, we can and should follow their civil laws ONLY if they do not violate our Christian command to preach and gather for worship, as well as other principles from the SUPREME authourity - Jehovah God. As such - no Jehovahs Witness female would wear a Burka or practice Sharia Law as it violates Bible principles. However, we respect those who have their own religious beliefs no matter how misguided they may be.

12) Are women allowed to hold religious office (priest, minister, rabbi, iman etc) in your religion and how do you feel about it?
No. The Apostle Paul specifically 'forbade a woman to teach' in the Church. As such we follow the First Century example. However, sisters can give talks as long as they do not address the audience directly, and sisters take the lead in the Field Service and in showing hospitality in many other ways that make women a valued part of our community. Sisters cannot have other 'privileges' in the congregation (such as handling various departments) if there are mature brothers available.

13) Does your place of worship segregate? If yes, how does this make you feel?
No. All Kingdom Halls are generally built in a 'Quick-Build" method over a few days by all-volunteer labour. They share a similar layout and there is no segregation between sexes or ages. In fact, young children and babies are encouraged to bring their own study materials to the kingdom hall and follow along with the speaker and have comments in order to train them in Christian life.

14) How much does your religion affect your daily life and how much thought do you give it when making a decision? Does it affect in any way your decision on abortion, gay marriage, etc?
It supersedes everything on a personal level. There is no 'personal' decision for a JW - except in some cases of a 'conscience' decision - for example whether to watch a certain movie that may or may not stumble or offend another person in the Truth. Bible principles are clear for all moral decisions and we all follow the same code. Some thinking has changed over the years, such as changes in how we view smoking, or blood transfusions, but these are simply clarifications of the "light getting brighter" (Isaiah)

15) How would you react/feel if your child wished to marry outside your religion? It would be a major blow and setback and would endanger their position of good standing within the organization. They could not have the traditional wedding ceremony service held inside the kingdom hall surrounded by their friends, as they were marrying 'outside the Truth' to a worldly person. It would be very damaging for my child as they could easily be corrupted by wrong, misleading thinking that could pull them out of the Truth into the darkness of the World outside where there is no hope or future or light of God.

16) In your opinion, if someone is not of your faith, will they go to hell?
Yes - they will not survive Armageddon. The only exception are for those that have died in the past and did not have a chance to get to hear the Good News of the Gospel. They will be resurrected after Armageddon to help rebuild Earth and make it livable for the few that are left into a global paradise. After the 1,000 year Millenial Reign of Christ, they will face one final test by Satan and any failing the test of loyalty will be destroyed forever. However, we do not believe in traditional 'Hell' as a place of tomrent - the Bible shows that hell is simply death - non-existence, with no 'soul' surviving the body.

17) Who do you think is not a practicing ----- in your religion and why? ie who in the public domain claims to speak for your religion? Do you agree with them or not?
There are some famous persons that are claiming to be Jehovahs Witnesses - such as Venus and Serena Williams, Michael Jackson and Prince - but they cannot possibly be TRUE Witnesses because they live a lifestyle of self-glorification and do not have the time to attend all of the congregation meetings and engage in field service.

18) Have you ever been the target of a hate crime? Please explain.
Not really. We meet a lot of resistance and apathy in our field service work - a lot of rejection - you get used to it! However in the past in Nazi Germany for example, JWs were targeted to be broken by Hitler for their resistance and strict policy of neutrality - very few would compromise their faith and were sent to the gas chambers for it! All they had to do was sign a paper renouncing their faith and they would be free to go - but most held fast to Jehovah God.

19) Do you ever feel like your religion devalues you?
No - it rather gives us an elevated view of the World that shows us what God really requires and what the future really holds - it is a precious gift from God.

20) Does your religion give you peace of mind?
As I said before, yes and no. It is wonderful to think about the future everlasting life we will inherit in the paradise earth. However I personally harbour self-doubt that I can reach that goal, and as such there is always that nagging self-doubt that my works have not been enough to supplement my faith.

21) Do you believe in reincarnation? Why or why not?
No - the bible does not teach reincarnation. The belief in life-after-death of the soul is a lie spread by Satan and his demons to misdirect people from the Truth about everlasting


  1. The big difference between Jehovah's Witnesses and Christians is that the Watchtower Society's central core creed proclaims Jesus second coming in October 1914.
    They sometimes try to obscure this today and say that he came *invisibly*.Yes,all other Christains are awaiting Jesus return,the JW say he ALREADY came in 1914.
    Watchtower society membership data is compiled by them,there is no way to verify.Interesting that they have recently admitted to losses in almost all industrialized countries.
    Reports from TIME Magazine-*An even more extreme example of what might be called *masked churn* is the relatively tiny Jehovah's Witnesses, with a turnover rate of about two-thirds*.
    That means that two-thirds of the people who were raised Jehovah's Witnesses no longer are.
    Jehovah's Witnesses are the highest loss of any religion.
    *tell the truth don't be afraid*--Danny Haszard

    1. Hi Danny,

      I don't think that numbers is an issue with the Jehovah's Witnesses. If it was the fastest growing religion on the planet it would be reason for concern for them. (See scripture below). They are genuine people with a strong devotion to their beliefs. Unfortunately they are also inclined to be closed minded and are taught not to question or challenge the religions teachings.

      Matthew 7:13 "Enter through the narrow gate.

      For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and ... the
      road is spacious which leads to destruction, and many are those who are going
      in it.

  2. Jehovah's Witnesses reject Birthdays all holidays,Thanksgiving even benign Mother's day.
    The Watchtower leaders want to be 'different' for the sake of being different.Jehovah's Witnesses are a dysfunctional group from the get-go .
    Christmas-Jesus was not born on exactly Dec 25th,but he also did not have his *invisible* second coming in the month of October 1914,a falsehood that is the core doctrine of the Watchtower religion.
    *tell the truth don't be afraid*--Danny Haszard

  3. sounds like there is no room to breathe in that religion. no wonder people are fearful all the time. afraid to turn left or right without someone telling them where to turn..

  4. Having studied the religion to some extent, there are several issues that concern me.
    The first being that they believe that those found to be righteous will survive an event which they call Armageddon, and will live for all eternity in our fleshly human form, right here on earth.
    There is no scientist in the world that will consider this as being a possibility.
    In the first place, not even the earth is going to be here for all eternity. The sun is a star which will ultimately 'burn out' like all stars do. Obviously no sun means no Earth.
    God created everything to have a certain life span. This includes animals, insects, trees and everything else on the planet. Why would he now change this and have humans living forever while everything else carries on with its natural life cycle. These life cycles are the foundation for the survival of every living thing on the planet. One of the greatest joys is having children and watching them grow up. To avoid over population, this would very soon have to come to an end if nobody is dying.
    Raise this topic with any Jehovah's Witness and they will probably reply that Jehovah has many surprise in store for us and the possibility of populating other planets is a very real one.
    My personal opinion is that humans are mortal according to Gods plan and always will be.

  5. Ed Grainger seems to believe that The Jehovah's Witnesses might actually have the right beliefs but feels that he can not live up to the required standards.
    Remember that if you believe what the JW's teach, every other religious organization forms part of 'false religion' and those practicing in these religions are condemned to death as they are of the Devil. This would include every one of the hundreds of thousands of different religious beliefs and sects that we have today.
    How are they able to declare their beliefs as being correct and all others as being false?
    Anyone wanting to discover the truth has got a huge problem. In fact several problems.
    With the religious turmoil of today, it is impossible to investigate all possible religious beliefs and decide which is the right one. It would be like trying to study for an exam on which your life depends and having thousands of different text books to choose from. Each text book is different from the other and interpretations of the same events are depicted differently.
    It would be absolutely impossible to pass this exam.
    Does this sound like something that a God of love would want for us? Absolutely not, but It would most definitely suit the plans of Satan the Devil. Many will find what they believe to be the true religion and devote their lives to following the cultures and beliefs of that religion. Not all will be so arrogant as to condemn all other beliefs but clearly some will.
    Once you have joined the religion by dedicating your life through babtism, as Ed Grainger discovered, there is no easy way out. Anyone within the organization finding fault with the beliefs or asking the wrong questions will be found guilty of Apostasy and will more than likely be 'disfellowshiped' or 'cast out' from the organization.
    How is it possible to evaluate the beliefs of a religion?
    There is much that we don't know but God has given us a brain and he expects us to use common sense along with prayerful guidance. To simply believe that Christ is our savior is not enough. When certain fundamental beliefs are incorrect, what does that say for the rest of the teachings of a particular religion?

  6. Does God exist or did we evolve from microbes which came into existence entirely by chance?
    The Bible doesn't give us much detail on creation. In fact the account in Genesis is an over simplified version of the scientific marvels of creation. One thing is clear however. The creation process took place over millions, if not billions of years. The fossil records have proved that less than a fraction of a percent of creatures that have lived on the earth are still alive today. We could say that the modern day creatures that share our planet with us are the result of millions of years of divine intervention of the evolutionary process. We are designed to evolve and change with the planets changing conditions. Unlike Darwin's findings, without divine intervention, the planet would not be a beautiful place. Living creatures do not need beauty to survive. Everything could be brown and ugly, we could get by with a very reduced number of living things. Fruits could have been edible without having any taste. Let your imagination go wild. The planet with its diversity was obviously created for our pleasure and enjoyment. Evolution without guidance would have led to chaos.
    How do we know that God exists? For me, the only proof that we are not alone as the only form of life, comes from spirit mediums. The uncanny ability of these mediums to make contact with those that have died is beyond the realm of trickery. Some say that the ability to make contact with spirits that have crossed over to the other side is the work of the Devil. I personally don't believe this to be the case but even if that were true, it still proves that there is a devil and therefore there has to be a God. If we have determined that there is a God, many other questions arise.
    Why has everything that he has created and planned gone awry?
    If he is this almighty, all knowing, all loving being, why was he not able to predict that he was creating creatures as his work force that would turn on him. When he created the angels, they were created as his loyal servants. Firstly one of his most powerful angels being Satan the Devil turned on him and decided to become a villain. Then amazingly, one third of the Angels chose to follow the Devil over God. We as insignificant humans have never met God or his son Jesus but we are expected to love him and dedicate our lives to him. One third of the heavenly angels who were created by god and lived with him in the heavens chose not to do this but directed their loyalties to Satan the Devil. How is this possible?
    God went on to create man in his likeness. The very first humans that he created were influenced by the devil and sinned. Could God not have foreseen this?
    Things got so bad from this point that he decided to wipe out all humans from the planet by means of a global flood. The only human survivors of this flood were Noah and his family.
    There turned out to be no point to this destructive act against mankind as sin very soon returned. Here we are now at a time which many say is near to judgement day. Once again God is preparing to judge mankind by his deeds. Will he once again destroy those who he judges to be wicked. What would be so different this time that mankind doesn't return to his sinful ways?

  7. When we look at some of the teachings of the Old Testament, it is hard to believe that intelligent individuals would believe that these stories were actual historic events.
    Take the flood of Noah for example. How can anyone believe that all of the earths creatures could be contained on a boat? Yes it makes for a very good story that a pair of each and every living creature was taken on board the ark and thereby survived a worldwide cleansing deluge, but could this have actually happened? The Jehovah's Witnesses along with many other religions believe this to be the case.
    'Science Daily' gives the following approximation of the number of species that we are dealing with.

    "That is a new, estimated total number of species on Earth -- the most precise calculation ever offered -- with 6.5 million species found on land and 2.2 million (about 25 percent of the total) dwelling in the ocean depths."

    6.5million multiplied by two gives us 13 million insect, plant and animal species that Noah had to locate, get on board the ark and then take care of. It might be argued that plant species could survive outside the ark just like the water creatures such as fish. If we keep in mind that the bible says that the entire surface of the earth was covered with water, where would the plants and trees have survived? In some cases, water born seeds would probably have survived along with many species of water creatures but it is the length of time that the earth was covered with water that would have been the issue for many other species. The rain lasted for forty days but the surface of the earth was covered with water for at least a period of six months. Noah and his family with all earths creatures, were evidently in the ark for a period of just over a year. It is just not possible that a small group of humans could have looked after and fed millions of earths creatures for a period of a year in the confinement of a relatively small boat. The food requirements would alone have needed a hundred arks and a large team of very specialized people to carry out the task of feeding and looking after these creatures. At the end of six months under water, the earths surface would have looked something like the surface of the moon. Devoid of life.
    Of course there are many other aspects such as the fresh water and salt water creatures all being in one large body of water. Many fresh water species are completely intolerant of salt and many salt water creatures cannot live in fresh water.
    I was amused with an article that I read recently were the scribe insisted that dinosaurs were on the ark. Yes he was serious.