Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Coming Out of the Watchtower: Why Is It So Difficult?

Reprint from Jul/Aug 1991 Bethel Ministries Newsletter (used with permission)

By Randall Watters

"Why can't you just walk away from that religion and never go back? They don't have any hold on you!"

Have you ever said that to a person struggling with leaving a cult or manipulative church? If so, you were no doubt unawares of the degree of emotional and psychological control that cults have over their members. Why is it so hard for them to leave, even when they know that something is seriously wrong with the religion? And, once they leave, why is it so hard to be "normal" and go to church like anyone else?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Finding Jesus: Leaving the Watchtower and other False Practices Behind

Before my family joined the Watchtower Organization in around 1971-1972, my family was Roman Catholic. But we were not really good practicing Catholics. My family, especially my father’s side of the family was heavily involved in astrology beliefs and the occult. My father and my grandfather seemed to love the false prophecies of Edgar Cayce. We had books on meditation and visualization in our house. I read all these books. I used to go over to my aunt and uncle’s house and my cousin taught me how to use a Ouija board when I was 9 years old. I got my own spirit board and used a pendulum to talk to spirits. I got books on witchcraft and learned how to read Tarot cards. I was heavily into these practices by the time my mother began to study with Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

How My Father Rejected Jehovah’s Witnesses and Found Jesus Christ

This blog is dedicated to my father, Eugene Velasco who would have been 84 on September 25, 2016.

In 1972, after several years of studying Watchtower materials, my mother was baptized into the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, calling herself one of “Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Mom thought she found “the truth” and was very excited about joining. She had left the Roman Catholic Church, deciding that they were “pagan” because they taught the Trinity. Every church who taught the doctrine of the Trinity was pagan according to the Watchtower. In order to be truly serving God you had to give up all that was considered “pagan”, including celebrating anyone’s birthday.
My father did not embrace the Watchtower teachings when my mother joined the Watchtower. He continued to love her in spite of my mother’s “new love” in her life. Many times when one spouse joins the Watchtower, it feels like the spouse is having an affair with someone else. My mother was just “in love” with this new religion and it just consumed her life. My father however, fell into alcohol addiction, drowning his sorrows that way. Sometimes it seemed like such a vicious cycle. The more my mother dedicated herself to the Watchtower organization, the more unhappy my father was and the more he drank alcohol.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Everything I Know about Football and Cookies, I Learned from my Brother

Every time I watch NFL football on TV, I think about my younger brother. It was my brother who got me started watching football games with him and he was the one who taught me all about the various teams. He had an electric football game that he had received for a gift as a birthday or Christmas gift before our family joined the Watchtower. He used to quiz me and had me learn the names of each team and what city they were affiliated with. He also trained me what the various referee signs meant during the game. By the time I got to high school and played in the band at our high school football games, I knew all about the game. I was very proud to be one of the only girls who actually KNEW what was going on during the game. No one had to really explain much to me because my little brother had taught me so well. He was also (and I believe still is) a San Francisco 49ers fan; I remember very clearly a poster of quarterback John Brodie in his room.

Another thing my brother did for me was to get me started making chocolate chip cookies. Our mother was a fabulous baker. She could bake breads, cinnamon rolls, cakes, and pies. She was great at all of that, except cookies. My mother could never master cookies. Her cookies came out like rocks. I don't know why they did, perhaps she overbaked them or over mixed the dough. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Women Equipping Women

Recently, I was honored to be part of an online apologetics conference put on entirely by women! My part in the conference was to talk about Jehovah's Witnesses, or rather, "Refuting Jehovah's Witnesses with Love."

So go ahead and click on the link and listen to my presentation. It will take you to a page where you will see a PowerPoint presentation. There was a little technical difficulty in the beginning, but I just went ahead and spoke and someone else ironed out the wrinkles. Eventually everything was worked out. I think the entire talk was about 50 minutes.

If you are interested in hearing any of the other speakers, the archives are available for purchase for $16 for the entire conference. You will hear great speakers such as Nancy Pearcey from Houston Baptist University, author of Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, and Meaning. Mary Jo Sharp, founder of Confident Christianity and also from Houston Baptist University spoke on "The Women in Islam."

The link to purchase the entire series for $16 is at:

Friday, July 18, 2014

Remembering Tony

This blog is dedicated to my cousin Raymond Anthony "Tony" Burns who passed away on July 11, 2014 at the age of 53.

Being a few years older than Tony, I actually remember when he was born. I remember him being around eight months old and crawling around on the floor. Although his first name was Raymond, no one ever called him that except his mother, who was my Aunt Lucy. It seems that my Aunt Belen who was her older sister decided she wanted to call him Tony. And so the name Tony stuck. My younger sister Jeanette would occasionally hear our Aunt Lucy calling "Raymond" whenever he was in trouble. And Jeanette always wondered, "Who is Raymond and why is she calling him?"

My father used to call Tony "Antoine", by the French version of Anthony.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Christianity Created to “Control” People?

On my Facebook page recently, I had posted a video about the high control practices found in the Watchtower Organization. The video showed how the person trying to do the outreach to Jehovah's Witnesses was totally ignored as though he were not there. The host kept asking various Jehovah's Witnesses if they have "the truth" and they just refused to answer and did not acknowledge his presence. He was "invisible" to all the JWs who were there to attend their convention at the Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. Many of us former Jehovah's Witnesses know very well the shunning practices used by the Watchtower to control their people from talking to any of us who have the organization. The video can be found here:

Although some sects of Christianity can be considered very high control, in my experience all the denominations (six major evangelical denominations) that I have been associated with in the past 32 years do not practice high control procedures.