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Misconceptions of a Faith

Updated on May 15, 2009

I grew up in a dual-religion household. My mother came from a strict Catholic background, while my father was raised in a Methodist home. Religion, in our home, was strange. We didn't talk much about it at home, but I knew, come Sunday morning, I'd be going to mass with my mother. I have a brother, three years younger than me, and I don't remember a time in history when he was made to attend mass. If so, it had to be for a relative's funeral.

When I moved away from home, out on my own, I still- pretty much- clung to the Catholic faith... not, so much, because I believed in the teachings, but because that's all I really knew. I was permitted to go with friends of mine to their respective churches, growing up; however, the teachings were very similar to what I'd been taught in the Catholic church, so... taught me little.

I searched many years for the "true" religion... the one that would teach me the truth, and not just some teachings made up and rehearsed by a bunch of preachers. In my opinion, the Catholic church was not the answer. The baptist church provided very little for me, in the way of spiritual education. If anything, it just confused me more. I attended the methodist church a couple of times, with my grandmother, but it was too much like the Catholic church for me.

One thing I could not get over was the fact that, at many of these churches... if you didn't "fit in," you were nobody. Wasn't I learning, though, that God and Jesus thought I WAS somebody? Very hypocritical and sad, to me. I had the opportunity to attend several, different AME (African Methodist Episcopal) churches, which- at first- I wasn't too sure about. For one, it was definitely not your average, run-of-the-mill Catholic mass! It was more upbeat and LOUD than most churches I'd been to. Then, I discovered a Pentecostal church. The majority of the people here were very friendly and kind; however, it was just as LOUD as the AME churches I'd attended (with the exception of one, friendly little church... way, out in the country).

During the time I was going to the AME churches, a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses came by my house. I remembered, from childhood, being told that "those people" do not like me... because, I was Catholic. The whole bate-and-switch game, or hiding and pretending you're not home game... these were things I grew up seeing, when it came to "these people." As a kid, I just didn't get it. So, the day they showed up on my doorstep... I wasn't sure what to say/do. I tried to think how I would feel, if I were them, coming to a stranger's home solely to talk about Jesus and his father, Jehovah God. So, I invited them in. We talked for a bit, but it never really went anywhere. I simply said, I wasn't interested.

Fast-forward at least a decade later. We'd moved out of state and, again, were searching for that "right" religion/or church. I think we were here about 6 months or so, and... what do you know? Two more Witnesses show up on my doorstep! I simply invited them in (two very kind and sweet older ladies), so we could talk. This time, there was something about what one of the women said that made me think. I can't recall what that "something" was, but... I will say- every single time I asked them questions regarding their faith, the state of the world, other religions, why people were the way they were, they, both, used their bibles as reference to answer my questions. NO OTHER RELIGION I'm aware of does, or is able, to do that. I was thoroughly impressed!

I began studying the bible with these wonderful women, and learned so much. Everything I learned solidified my faith that there IS a God, what he is (and what he's NOT), and how life began, in the heavens, even before man or animal or plants were created. We studied in two, different books (using the bible every step of the way!). When we finished studying, I knew what I wanted. I wanted to be baptized... baptized one of Jehovah's Witnesses. So, in 2006, I made my dedication to God, via water baptism. It was only the second best thing that's happened in my life... after the birth of my son!

Many of the same questions and comments come up (from people of other faiths, complete strangers, people we talk to on the telephone and people we meet in the ministry), and I would love to have the opportunity to answer some of them.

One thing I'm asked quite a bit, is, "Why do you call God Jehovah?" That's simple. I have to begin by saying, if you look in the bible at the scripture found at Psalms 83:18, this is the 1st reason why... because, it's in the bible. Some of the newer bibles, however, have taken the name Jehovah out of the bible. Just a little bit of research and you, too, can discover the truth of the matter. When we say "God," that is not a NAME, per se. It's a TITLE. Jehovah is God's NAME, and that is why we use it as much as we do. Can you imagine having your own, personal name, but everyone continues calling you "mom?" Seems kind of silly, since mom isn't your name. Mom is simply a title given to us; however, is not the NAME we were given at birth.

Another question people ask, is, "You don't believe in Jesus, as your savior, do you?" I will answer this the same way I do if you were to ask me in person! OF COURSE I DO! This is the basis for why we believe what we do. Jesus is our randsom sacrificer, because he loved us so much he gave his own life for us. So, when people infer we don't feel that way... not only is it saddening to us, but is also insulting.

We get a lot of people who wonder why we don't celebrate holidays. Without going into specific, extended details (which I would want to do, if given the time), I will say it like this: Take St. Patrick's Day, for instance. Many people celebrate this holiday (which is not found in the bible, and one reason why we do not celebrate it) for "fun." The same way with Halloween. The holiday is not in the bible, and- if researched- is obviously fraught with evil (ghosts, goblins, werewolfs, witches, etc.). Then, there's Memorial Day... a politically-motivated, man-made (like most holidays) day. We do not celebrate anything having to do with politics, the military or war. The bible surely does not say for everyone to fight, battle each other and cause unnecessary bloodshed. Quite the opposite!

One thing I will say, is this: Witnesses are highly misunderstood, and misjudged. They, as a whole, are a very peaceful, kind and happy people. If ever you see a Witness on your doorstep, walking down the street or attempting to talk to you while you're out, in public... take the opportunity to say, "Hello," and not just run away. It's not necessary to curse, call names, yell or result to violence when dealing with these people. Simply say, "I'm not interested." We do it to the telemarketers, the Girl Scouts, the survey people. What's the difference? There is none. Who knows... if you really start talking to a Witness and finding out what they're really about, you might just like us!


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    • audreana71 profile image

      audreana71 8 years ago from WV

      Sonja... I don't know how I missed this, but... in your 1st comment, regarding God's names... something very interesting about the program your paster is teaching, is... God is NOT a name. It is a title. Many people are confused by that. I know, I was. Another thing, is... all the "names" your pastor is teaching you about... those, too, are NOT names (except for God's true name, Jehovah- found in the bible at Psalm 83:18. Some bibles- especially the newer versions- will have God's name removed, but if you look in many of the older bibles, you will see it is still in the verse!), but titles. It's sad that preachers teach things that just aren't true, or that are misleading (to say the least). The real truth is in the bible and, unfortunately, many preachers aren't even aware of that.

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      Heather 8 years ago

      Dear Sonja,

      Thank you for your post. Yes... many people do not open bibles or study Jehovah God's word the way they should. You can't merely walk into a building, sit down and allow some person (preacher) to TELL you what the "truths" of the bible are. YOU (each one of us) need to do the investigating and studying, and learning about Jehovah, Jesus and the other characters throughout the bible, on your own! Unfortunately, many, many well-intentioned people get sucked into believing and trusting in false doctrines and other misinformation. I clicked on your link ( I don't know if this is the church you are affiliated with, but- at a glance- I noticed a few things on the site that were, either, not true or incorrect information. For one: under Family, it says that man and woman are EQUAL in God's eyes. In know that's not the truth, so I continued to read further. On down, it said, The woman must be obedient to her husband, as he is the HEAD of the household. Obviously, those two statements are in contrast to each other; therefore, not accurate. I didn't want to sit there and pick apart the entire site, so I didn't. Another thing the bible tells us is, to live simply... not striving for fame and material possessions. One thing that really saddened me on the site were the pictures of the church, itself. First of all, the sheer enormity of the place. Living simply does not imply spending lavishly on a "thing" (in this case, a place to worship). I couldn't believe all the different rooms in the place and what they were all used for! They have a playplace, like McDonalds!!! I honestly believe, if Jehovah were to show up tomorrow and view the extravagance and the great lengths people surely went to to construct such a place, he would not be impressed. Simplicity is just that... living SIMPLY. That is why you will find, as Jehovah's Witnesses, we construct small buildings... not with fancy materials or 50,000 square feet, because in the end, we know, Jehovah is not pleased with us for being "showy." There is no need, than for the bare essentials, to worship Jehovah. If you want to get technical, we could worship him outside in the parking lot... if we so chose. The point is, if we have a command from Jehovah to do something or to live our lives pleasing to him, then as the children and servants of our Grand Creator, we need to follow his lead... not our own. I also noticed on the site, it spoke of talking to others about the "religion." The scripture actually reads, "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the father, the son and the holy spirit." Notice the word GO. That implies leaving our comfort zones and going into the community to "make disciples." If we were merely to talk to people we knew, then, surely, Jehovah would have said, "Stay... and make disciples," etc. We talk to many, many people about these things, each and every day. It's not just ONE, small thing that you question (then, you know your religion is not the truth), but it's a series of things. If you have 3 or more, major teachings that just don't make sense/add up, then you need to start doing your own research. Too many people, in Christendom, go to church, obey what they preacher says, listen and believe everything he says (just because he said it) and go home, and go about their usual business. This is NOT what we are told to do. God's word (laws, commands, etc.) are NOT burdensome (also in the bible). When people say, "You know, my pastor said, 'xyz,' and I just can't make sense of it. I can't find it anywhere in the bible. Every time I ask someone, they put me off or give me another explanation that doesn't make sense," we- as Jehovah's Witnesses- are concerned. I grew up Catholic, so I can tell you, as I sit here today, there are SO MANY different doctrines of the church that are false and flat-out, blatant lies. Now, that is SAD. Unfortunately, it's the truth with most, other religions, as well. If I could show you a diagram of the history of religion, you would see that, all other religions are a branch off of Catholicism. First Catholic, then Protestant, then something else... all the way down, until you reach the very last, major religion. Knowing that, and knowing the Catholic doctrines- and how false and contradictory they are- we, as people who strive to do the right thing by Jehovah God- we MUST take these false and inconsistent teachings and DIG until WE find the truth. I have been through every religion I know of (Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Pentacostal, AME), and I will tell you what: I absolutely did NOT, without a doubt, find the TRUTH among those religions. Having said that, I pray that you, and other honest-hearted ones, do that research and open your hearts to the truth. Sometimes, the truth is not something we want to hear. It was like that with me, in the beginning, until it was in my face and I just could not deny it any longer. I had to do the right thing... for my conscience and for my heavenly father.

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      Sonja 8 years ago

      Sorry for all of the typos. Should have proof-read before posting.

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      Sonja 8 years ago

      I don't know when you posted this? I agree with you that many churches don't even crack open a Bible during service. I am blessed to attend one that does, constantly. And it is doen in a way that hold your attention. Right now the pastor is doing a series, "Hello, My Name Is: 'God'" and he goes through the Bible and explains the different names given- Jehova Rophi, Jehova Jireh, El Shaddai, Jehovah Shammah, Jehova Nissi, Jehova Shalom.

      The July 19 is online in the Media section under Video Archive.

      P.S. your photo reminds me of Margaret Becker