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From Jehovah's Witnesses to Jesus:
Gus Astaci


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I was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, June 6, 1986; I was 14 years old, on fire with what I felt without a doubt in my mind was the truth. Just a naive young Puerto Rican from New York City. My father was what we would dub a worldly man. My mother, a tireless worker in the family was provider, homemaker, and spiritual leader. My sister when she was young was more into friendships but like a 2nd mom. You could still find them both zealously pioneering and pillars in their congregations. My sister married a great husband and brother-in-law of mine.

     When you are occupied with your weekly studies of WT literature, spend many hours of door ministry and have to deal with the problems I faced, it can be consuming. As a result, life’s pertinent questions are forgotten in the distractions of a JW’s busy life. The devil wants the ringing phone of the Lord to go unheard, so he tries to occupy your mind into ignoring it. Fortunately for me I was not one of the many who allow the ringing to go unheard. It was distant at times but eventually I picked up the phone. I felt since we have the truth why should I cower to some ex JW’s. 1 Peter 3:15 says, "Sanctify the Christ as Lord in your hearts always ready to make a defense before everyone that demands of you."

Another thing that always stood in my mind also was that we had always taught that the generation of 1914 would not pass away before seeing the end of the world. The WT society constantly (at assemblies and in the WT magazines and other literature) made estimates on what age a person during the time of 1914 had to be to be coherent of the events of that year. I remember reading 15 years of age and then later it was changed to being born in 1914. Of course I now realize several ages were used as a barometer. I also now know 1975 was a date predicted to be the year for Armageddon’s coming. Well like those who sold their homes because they implicitly believed Jehovah was speaking through the pages of the WT, I also felt without a doubt that Armageddon would come before the generation of 1914 would pass. It was my hope that I for a surety knew would come. As a young person the one thing I always feared more than anything in this world was death and old age, but with this hope of 1914 I was assured this could not ever happen. The average lifespan for people at their best is maybe 70 to 80 years old. I did the math just like many other JW’s. If you were born in 1914 and lived let’s say to be 90 then you and all those born in 1914 would live to the year 2004. And that is a stretch! I will be 33 years of age and in my mind walking into a paradise Earth. I always figured by 25 or 35 I would fulfill Rutherford’s talk on ‘Millions Now Living Will Never Die!’ The concept of death was a very remote thing in my eyes unless I suffered from some catastrophic ailment or disaster.

     My wife lost her mother when she was very young over the blood ban teaching JW’s hold. At times I can feel her pain. Many JW’s have suffered needlessly over keeping hold of doctrines that have been dropped like the latest fads. When I hear, read, and see the testimonies of my brothers and sisters earth-wide whom have lost family, homes, and lives over these off and on teachings it tearfully pains me. It reminds me of what is said at Isaiah 5:13,"Therefore my people will have to go into exile for lack of knowledge; and their glory will be famished men (the governing body) and their crowd (the rank and file JW) will be parched with thirst."

After 5 years of marriage I was disgusted by the fraudulent acts of spirituality by brothers just to get a title of what they felt was a glorified position. When I was young I was taught there is equality in the organization unlike the churches which have titles like Reverend and Bishop. That is clearly an empty statement because in the mind of many brothers they seek the titles in our organization for their own glorification. And responsibility is measured with authority. Many develop fraudulent relationships with Elders and Circuit Overseers to gain a position. Also door ministry hours increase but after they have received their title usually you find those hours leveling off. I always felt if I strive for a position it would be to serve the flock not for self importance.

     Another reason for my change in desire was once again my hopes and dreams were stripped from me. In 1995 at the ‘ Divine Teaching’ convention the WT society made a major change in doctrine. They now defined the statement ‘the generation will not pass’ as not meaning those in 1914 would live to see Armageddon. They now said it meant this wicked generation. Well this wicked generation has existed for centuries. I suddenly felt the same sense of betrayal those in 1975 must have felt. I always felt that teaching was like my ROCK of assurance that I would never grow old and die. Apparently thousands of other JW’s felt it was their barometer and countdown for paradise like I did because in the ensuing years the attendance has dropped at the meetings worldwide. I can only pray that this is a wake up call for many JW’s that we cannot trust in the utterances of men for our hopes. Dates, times, and generations have come and gone along with their hopes of a better tomorrow. (1874, 1914, 1915, 1920, 1925, 1975, the generation of 1914 that was to never pass, promises given in the name of God Deut. 18:20 22.)

I then got a stable job, having worked the strenuous hours of restaurant management for 4 years. While on the job I would surf the Internet for sports. One day I was surfing the net, and I typed in JW’s. To my amazement there were many XJW websites. This gave me an opportunity to respond against people I was raised to detest. I began a quest for truth to destroy the dark sayings of the devil for good. I labeled myself ‘The Berean’ ready to answer and expose untruth. At home I wrote long articles for each claim. I found on many of the claims against the WT I could easily find a reason but on doctrinal issues it became evident there were serious flaws. This became even more evident on a website of associated JW’s for reform which clearly exposed in great detail, scripturally and medically, the blood ban as an unreasonable stand.

     I wanted to feel secure in the religion I’d chosen despite my disappointments. It all boiled down to the purity of what we call truth. Truth exposes darkness not the other way around. As a result, truth was becoming clearer and clearer and this truth was not what was being taught by the WT society. The scriptures were opening themselves to me as never before. Yet my pride was preventing me from accepting some truths. Through all of this my life was being torn apart but I still could not stop. I confided in my wife and mother on all of the changes I was going through. For those that may read the next few sentences I do not want to impress upon any the need to accept the things I have but urge all to investigate and examine all things you may be taught by the WT or any man. 1 John 4:1 says, "Do not believe every inspired expression but test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God, because many false prophets have gone forth into the world."

In the last week of June, 1997 right before our District convention something phenomenal occurred. I’d already realized through a thorough study of scripture that many of the doctrines we lived by were flawed, but I was adamant against the teaching of the deity of Christ. So adamant that I publicly exclaimed to my wife, "I could believe anything but I could never believe in the trinity." Yet the weight of mounting flaws in our present teachings led me to an examination of this teaching, too. I read as much as I could on it yet couldn’t understand the concept of God being in heaven and on Earth. No matter how it was explained by others, even with scriptures, I could not understand. I then did something that never occurred to me before. I went in prayer to my heavenly father and asked him to give me understanding of any truths concerning him. I denied all men and their self accredited knowledge and pleaded that he teach me through the holy spirit. I felt deep conviction for my sins against him and begged his forgiveness for my lack of reliance upon him in the past. I openly acknowledged my failure to come to him and asked that I now be like a child in his hands, following him to all doors of truth and not men. While in this prayer I found myself constantly referring to him as my father instead of calling him by name. I felt a closeness to him I never felt before. It was a spirit of closeness as described in Romans 8:15. I confessed Christ as my savior and asked him to come into my heart. I prayed all of these things in his name and recognized that salvation comes by his name.

     Afterward I went to sleep and awoke at an unusually early hour of the morning. I was drawn to reading the first 3 chapters of Colossians. I came across Colossians 2:9 and it read, "the Fullness of the deity dwells down in him bodily." I went to work, came home, went to sleep that night and awoke again at an early hour. I was drawn to reading the 1st chapter of Hebrews in my 8 translation Bible and in every instance it stated, "Your throne O God is forever." Well, I went to work still unconvinced but befuddled; came home and went straight to sleep. I was tired mentally, being unable to stop thinking about what I was reading. Well, I awoke this time about 1:00 a.m and I was drawn to reading the Bible. Ironically it was just an old fashioned NWT. I turned to Rev. chapter 1 for some odd reason. Jehovah in the NWT is the Alpha and Omega and speaking, but John says he turned to the voice that was speaking, indicating this voice was behind him. Well, he turns to Jehovah’s voice and sees Jesus! What men in their intellect could not teach me was now being taught by the Spirit of God. John 5:39-40, "You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life." That night I wept and denounced all men and their teachings and vowed to follow where the Holy Spirit would lead me. In Jesus I have the Bread of everlasting life and I can call on him for all things! John 14:14 states, "If you ask ME anything in my name, I will do it!"

Today I am swimming in the peace of having a loving relationship with my heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I love my family so much and only want the best for all of them. They all fully know the reason for my stand. I can only hope and pray that one day they answer that distant ringing phone and hear the beautiful voice of Jesus. While organizations, societies, and men come and go Jesus is always there unchanging and faithful. I have formally disassociated myself but am thankful for the time spent as a JW. It has made me appreciate the liberty of being a Christian that much more. Math. 7:8, "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened." Romans 10:11, "For the Scripture says,
‘Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.’


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