Author Available for Conference
on “How to Win Jehovah’s Witnesses to Christ.”

A majority of families have a relative who is under total mind control of the Watchtower Society., parent organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Here’s help in my new book, Rescuing Slaves of the Watchtower. Based on the book I teach a workshop on “How to Win Jehovah’s Witnesses to Christ. If you learn how to win them, you can win anyone.
Saturday 6 hours with a lunch break; . Sundays, 3 evenings of 2 hours each, or 4 or 5 Sunday mornings 1 hour during Sunday school time, or set your own schedule.

 

Testimony of Joe B. Hewitt

My Testimony

By Joe B. Hewitt


Description: JoeBMugshot 1X2.jpgI was raised a Jehovah’s Witness.
At age ten I sold The Watchtower magazine on street corners. I faithfully went from door-to-door distributing Watchtower books and literature. Like a begging deaf-mute, I handed my “Testimony Card” to each person who answered the door. The card proclaimed me to be a “minister of the gospel, ordained by Jehovah.” I carried a windup phonograph that I played, for those who would listen, a recorded message in the tinny voice of Judge Joseph Rutherford, president of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.

        My experience as a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses began two generations earlier when my maternal grandfather, John Gordon, a cotton farmer near Henrietta, Texas, became a follower of Charles Taze Russell, founder of the Watchtower

Society. Russell denied the existence of Hell and believed the millennial kingdom of Christ was dawning.
After Russell’s death in 1916 and Rutherford’s ascension to the presidency, the Russellites, or Millennial Dawnists refused to go along with Rutherford, so they split off. The split also occurred in my family. My maternal grandfather, John Wright Gordon’s two oldest sons, my Uncles Jim and Al went with the new order called Jehovah’s Witnesses. The youngest son, Alfred, convinced that the followers of Rutherford denied that Jesus was the Son of God, stayed nominally with the Millennial Dawnists for a time, married a Methodist, and gradually drifted away from the Russellite beliefs. His children became Baptists. His daughter, Retha Gill, led him to Christ six months before he died at age 91.
John Gordon’s three daughters married and went the ways of their husbands. My father, Joseph Benjamin Hewitt, was the son of a cynic whose father and grandfather were Methodist preachers.
My father’s agnosticism influenced John Gordon’s youngest daughter, my mother, Grace, away from any religious practice.

During the first nine years of my life my parents’ marriage held and we lived a somewhat normal life. We celebrated Christmas, birthdays, and other holidays. But all that came to a stop when my mother reunited with the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
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Visitors were rare to our isolated 80-acre farm near Bergman, Arkansas, so I remember well the woman, carrying a book bag who walked up the sandy road to our house. I kept about my business of playing around the smoke house with my mostly-collie dog named Fat but did notice what happened. The lady came back many times on other days. What looked like a small suitcase: turned out to be a phonograph on which she played the voice of an unseen man speaking what were to me big, strange words.
“Are you sure this is what my father believed?” Mama asked. The visitor eagerly assured her that is was. Later I remember mama telling people how she was now satisfied that she had found what her father had believed.
Mama had come a long way from her marriage to a “rich man” twenty-one years before. He had just come back from France after World War I. He had had an oil well a Cadillac and lots of royalty money. A short time after they met, they fell in love and married.

        Now 20 years later, his fortune had gradually dwindled to an 80 acre farm in Arkansas and a new car, high perhaps for depression standards, but like many other men of that day, he had abandoned his family. “That blasted religion” had been the final excuse for the break, but the marriage was on the rocks long before the lady with the phonograph and book satchel showed up.

Daddy moved us to the little town of Pyatt, Arkansas, and left Mama there with us three kids and a five dollar bill.

        Daddy played the fiddle quite well, and often entertained at barn dances. Just before he left, he gave me his violin and bag of foreign coins he had collected.

We could buy milk for a dime a gallon, and we could buy a wagon load of wood for a dollar, if we had a dollar. Sometimes that winter we burned bits of coal I had gathered from along the railroad tracks.

        Pyatt was even more isolated than Bergman. At least Bergman had a railroad station and a paved highway. When a car passed through kids would run out to see it. On a busy day eight cars would pass through on the gravel highway, which was also the main street. Few would stop at the only filling station and buy gasoline, pumped by hand through a glass measuring tank atop the gasoline pump.
Some of the Jehovah’s Witnesses from Harrison brought food. On one occasion they brought some wheat. Mama boiled it; we put milk and sugar on it and ate it as cereal.

It was at Pyatt that I first saw people pray before a meal.  I was invited to supper at a friend’s home. The entire family sat down at an oil cloth-covered table around a simple but plentiful meal. I notice that the family sat with hands in their laps and looked expectantly at the father. He was dressed in blue denim work clothes, and his tanned face was lined by daily hours of labor in the sun. He surveyed his family then bowed his head. They all bowed their heads, so I did too. The man began to talk to God.
Perhaps I had heard people pray before, and I was just now big enough to understand it, but this was the first time I can remember hearing anyone pray. The man was strong. His family looked up to him, respected him. He talked to God like he knew Him, but with deep reverence. I felt as if I had, for the very first time in my life, come into the very presence of God. Hearing the prayer and eating the food that had been blessed was the most religious experience of my young life.

        My mother had been spiritually destitute. Her children had visited the Oregon Flats Baptist Church, but in her time of religious crisis, that church had not visited her. She had visited the Bergman Methodist Church, but in her time of need she was not visited by that church. Someone else, carrying a phonograph and book satchel, had walked up that sandy road to fill the void in Mama’s heart.
In Pyatt we were physically destitute. There were Christians around who loved God, but it was the Witnesses from Harrison that brought the wheat that kept us from starving.  
The Witnesses came regularly and had “Bible studies,” using the Watchtower magazines and the Watchtower books. The Witnesses made heavy use of the words, “Bible study,” But in reality they study the Watchtower magazine and Watchtower books. In years past many people have read only the Bible and decided that the right church for them was Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, interdenominational, Catholic, and many others. But none have ever read just the Bible and decided that the right church was the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

My mother called her brother, Al Gordon in Augusta, Kansas, for help. He and his son-in-law came pulling a trailer behind a 1936 Terraplane car. Al held an auction sale on our front porch and sold everything that wouldn’t fit into the trailer.

The Wichita, Kansas, Kingdom Hall congregation took up an offering for us, $82.00. It was enough for Mama to rent a large Victorian house. She divided it up into apartments and sleeping rooms, and the rent provided our living.
Uncle Al was treated with reverence by the other Witnesses. He was one of “The Elect.” Mama explained to me that the Elect were those who would go to heaven when they died. There were only 144,000 of them altogether, she said, and they included Uncle Al and leaders of the Watchtower Society.

After we had been in Wichita a year, my father came with divorce papers for Mother to sign so he could remarry. Before he left with the signed papers, he told me to return his violin and collection of foreign coins.


Description: JWbooks.jpg A local Jehovah’s Witness, Ray Alexander, who had been in The Truth a long time became acquainted with us and was a help in many ways to the newly displaced grass widow and her three children.
Ray owned twelve acres of land on North Arkansas Avenue in Wichita and planned to build a trailer park there for the Witnesses. Many Witnesses lived in travel trailers and spent most of their time going door-to-door placing Watchtower publications. They were discouraged from forming any permanent attachments
At the Kingdom Hall, Mama was warmly welcomed. Uncle Al was regarded as a deliverer.
We never again received charity, but we were on more of an austerity program than we had been even in Pyatt. Mama bought day-old bread for six cents and loaf and allowed each of us one slice each at a meal. We had enough, but the idea of such strict rationing was unsettling. From the time in Bergman, Arkansas, we never observed Christmas. We were told that it was pagan, as were all holidays.

I should have suspected something was up between my mother and Ray Alexander when he built a house for us on his acreage. My sister, Rose, and brother Gordon were quiet surprised when Mama announced that they had been married for two weeks.
Ray moved in with us. He had never been married and knew nothing about raising children. His idea of discipline was to beat a kid with a belt and sometimes with his fists. I made it my mission to make life as miserable for him as I could.

The most exciting thing we did as a family was to attend a Watchtower Assembly or Convention. At the St. Louis Convention I made a vow to myself that I would never sin again in thought, word or deed, by commission or omission, in order to be in a right standing with God and gain eternal life. I was baptized in a swimming pool in St. Louis at age 12.

        The Society had a program called the “Theocratic Ministry” in which every male was encouraged to enroll. I enrolled at the age of eleven, was taught to prepare and deliver “talks,” and with fear and trembling soon made my first well-rehearsed six-minute talk to an audience of about two hundred Witnesses at the Hall.
During my years as a Witness, at least one, and sometimes two or three times a week, we would go to downtown Wichita street corners to “put out” the Watchtower. (We were careful not to call it “selling.”) We carried the magazines in canvas shoulder bags on which were emblazoned in red letters, “Watchtower.” We were instructed to hold up a copy of the Watchtower magazine and say “Watchtower” to each passerby and to add some phrase such as “Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom.”
During my years as an active, door-knocking Jehovah’s Witness, no person I visited ever tried to present the Gospel to me. Some cursed me. Some turned their water sprinklers on me. I was often ordered off the property. Many people told me, “I’m a Catholic” or “I’m a Presbyterian,” or “I’m a Baptist.” The most common reply was, “I’m not interested.” Sometimes they didn’t say anything and just slammed the door.
Description: Resolve.jpg        There was, however, a quiet witness given me by the mother of one of my best buddies, Lerman Atchley.  Mrs. Atchley was a dedicated Christian and was a member of a small Pentecostal church. She knew I was a Jehovah’s Witness. I could tell she didn’t approve. But she showed no disapproval of me personally. She treated me with Christian kindness. I couldn’t believe that Mrs. Atchley worshiped Satan, even though the Society said she did (because she didn’t pray to Jehovah by name.) Like the man I had first heard pray, Mrs. Atchley had a profound influence on my life.

I always dreaded Christmas because the anticipation and joy the other children felt was so conspicuously absent in our home. It was also an embarrassment in school when the teacher asked everyone to tell the class what they got for Christmas.

        On one occasion, six boys tried to force me to salute the flag. They caught me in the gravel driveway of a neighborhood gasoline station-grocery store, where kids hung out to drink soda pop and gossip. The boys surrounded me on the gravel driveway and told me I was going to salute the flag. I told them I was not.
“I respect the flag and what it stands for, but I will not salute it, because it would be bowing down to a graven image, which is against the Scripture,” The boys didn’t let me finish my often-recited explanation but cursed me and my parentage and with fists and feet beat  me to the ground. They held me there while one boy held up a tiny, soiled American flag stapled to a stick and ordered, “Now salute it!”
        I refused. Fists and feet beat my face down into the driveway. They also denigrated me because the Jehovah’s Witnesses refused military service. I quoted the stock JW answer: John 18:36, “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight. . .”
I wouldn’t have saluted the flag if they killed me (which for a time I they ought they might.). They finally gave up and left me. Skinned from head to toe and sore all over.
I felt hatred for the young thugs, but I also felt heartsick that such conflict had to exist, especially when deep down, I felt it was unnecessary.

Why could I not be a good Christian, pleasing Jehovah and a patriotic American at the same time? I felt that God was being unfair to me.
Then I did something that was the beginning-of-the-end of my discipline as a Witness, I read the Scripture in context. I looked up the verse that we had used to “prove” we should not serve in the military.

The context showed that Jesus stood in the judgment hall before the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate who asked, “Art thou the King of the Jews? . . . Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?”  Pilate was asking why, if Jesus were King of the Jews, His own people would deliver Him to be judged, and why His disciples did not defend Him to keep Him from being taken to be put to death.
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”
The Witnesses had memorized the first half of the verse and ignored the rest. They had lifted the verse out of context and taught that it meant something other than what Jesus said.
Jesus was not talking about military service. He had come into the world to die for our sins, not to set up an earthly kingdom at that time. The Society had been using the scripture dishonestly.
I looked up other proof texts and saw that they were dishonestly taken out of context as well.
.
The Watchtower had been lying to me. I was through being a Jehovah’s Witness. But I was afraid to say so to my mother, because it would break her heart.
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Sometimes  she would weep and say, “I’m afraid I won’t get life (The Resurrection) because I have failed in raising my children. (My sister Rose had quit doing Witness work before I did. She just gave out; she couldn’t keep up the pace.)

         I had been working that summer as an oil field roughneck (I lied about my age) and had a pocketful of money, so I went with my girlfriend to Oklahoma. A few months later, in Enid, Oklahoma, I lied about my age and joined the army. I said nothing to my family and as far as they were concerned, I had just vanished. The break was complete.
When I threw away the Watchtower discipline, I also threw out common morality. As a result I got drunk often and got into trouble.

        I came home on furlough for a visit. My step-father, Ray Alexander warmly greeted me. When I extended a hand to Uncle Al, he turned his back on me. I had violated the Watchtower dogma by joining the Army. I was to him “as one dead.” There could be no communication with me. Al had not been ordered by the Society to do this’ he had done it on his own.

        I got into trouble. The Army voided my enlistment because I was still only 16 and not old enough to enlist. After arriving home as a civilian, Ray said, “Joe B., I love you as if you were my own son.” I was taken aback, shocked. Grateful, but astonished. Why couldn’t he have said something like that years ago?  

        Twenty-five years later, Mama and Ray would be ordered by the Society to do the same. I would be declared as one dead.

   Later I fell in love with a beautiful young woman who became my wife. She had a profound influence on me. For the first time in my life, I found that I had a future. My wife was raised in a Christian home. She and her parents prayed for me and invited me to Church. Still confused by the Watchtower teachings, I was dubious of all churches. Finally I agreed to go to a small church in Fort Worth. There I found people were civilized; I found no evidence of Satanic worship. They seemed to truly loved God and others. One evening, the third time I attended, at the close of the church service, I started walking down the aisle of the Church to go outside. The pastor took me by the arm and said, “Joe, don’t you want to be saved?" He sat me down in a pew and showed me in Acts 16:31 that “. . .believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved,” applied to me also. That night, kneeling at a prayer bench in the little church, I prayed and trusted in Christ as my Lord and Savior. I felt that a tremendous weight had been lifted from me.
During the next ten years I worked as an investigative reporter for the Lima, Ohio, News, owned and published weekly newspapers and a printing business.
Description: JoeBJournalist.jpg

Then God called me to preach the Gospel. While still in seminary, I started a new church in Richardson, Texas.

   A few years later, my wife received a letter from my mother asking if I had been disfellowshiped from the Watchtower Society. A few months later, I received a phone call from an elder in the local Kingdom Hall. He asked if I had been one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. 
"Yes, and I'll be happy to tell you why I am not still a Jehovah’s Witness."  He was not interested. "That's all I wanted to know", said. Now, the excommunication of the society was official. My mother could not communicate with me.

Many years later, when she was near death, my mother asked the elders in the Kingdom Hall to allow to me to visit her. During my visit, she said that she was sure Armageddon would come in the fall of 1975 as she had been taught.
I told her that in the autumn of 1975, the Society would already have printed millions of books, saying, "We never said for sure that Armageddon would come in 1975."

Description: IWRAJW First Ed.JPG   After the death of my mother, I finished writing my book, I Was Raised a Jehovah’s Witness. It was published in 1979 by Accent Books, Denver, Colorado and sold 40,000 copies. It was also translated into Chinese and published in Taiwan.

Description: IWRAJWchinese.jpg   Much later in 1997, another publisher, Kregel Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan, published a revised edition that sold another 5,000 copies of the book.
Description: IWRAJW2ndeD.JPG            Many people who read the book left the Watchtower and gained Christian liberty.
           
In 2011 my new book, Rescuing Slaves of the Watchtower, was published by Hannibal Books, Garland, Texas This book teaches Christians to lead Jehovah’s Witnesses out of the mental control of the Watchtower Society and guide them to faith in Christ.
            If you can win a Jehovah’s Witness to Christ, you can win anyone. The book constitutes an apology, a defense of the Christian faith against error. It teaches basic Christian doctrines that every Christian should learn.
            As my preaching and seminars are important parts of my ministry, so also are my books. Please pray with me that they may be used to bring many people to Christ.

 

  Description: Book Cover2.jpg

 

ISBN 978-1-61315-0061 ; 260 Pages. 6X9 inches.
$14.95; Ordering information:

 

Joe B. Hewitt, PO Box 808, Fate, TX 75132
972-771-8208

  

 

Para testimonio en espanol, toca aqui.

Rescuing Slaves of the Watchtower contains endorsements from:

Dr. Bob Dean
Executive Director Dallas Baptist Association.
.
Dr. Rudy Gonzales
Dean, SWBTS.

Dr. Jimmy Draper, President Emeritus, Lifeway.

For a list of Joe's books, fiction and nonfiction, click here.