Eric: So, here we are in beautiful Switzerland. And we’re here at the invitation of one of the children of God. One of the brothers and sisters, that have come to know us through the YouTube channel and the growing community, worldwide community of the children of God.
And this is the beginning of our trip through Europe and the UK, which started basically on the 5th of May as we came to Switzerland. And we’ll end – all going well – on the 20th of June as we leave from London to go back to Toronto.
And I’m speaking, when I say we, I mean Wendy, my wife and myself will be enjoying the fellowship of brothers and sisters from Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Italy, Spain, Denmark – forgot one, France, then Scotland. And all the way down through the UK to London again.
So, I’m going to try to share with you, we are going to try to share with you our time with all of these brothers and sisters, because we’re calling this ‘meeting the children of God’, because the majority of us having been Jehovah’s Witnesses. Not all. But the majority have come to realize, that we were denied the adoption as children, which was our right as Christians, as those, who put faith in Jesus Christ.
And so, for many getting out of false religion, organized religion or religion in itself, organized or otherwise, is a real problem. And it’s a problem, because especially for Jehovah’s Witnesses, because of the difficulty imposed by the rules of the religion, that causes our friends and family closest members, even children or parents, to shun a person, resulting in total isolation.
Well, we want to show everyone, that that’s not a concern. Just as Jesus promised us: No one has abandoned father or mother or brother or sister or child for me, that won’t get a hundredfold more and even more than that. Everlasting life, of course with persecutions, which is exactly what shunning is.
And so, we want to show that this is not the end. This is nothing to be sad about. This is something to rejoice over. Because it’s actually the beginning of a new life. And so, we’re hoping to do that in this series, which we’ll share with you as we go from country to country and meet the children of God. Thank you.
So, I’m here with Hans, who is my new found brother. I just met him yesterday. And he flew in to be with us, which is wonderful. And he told me some very interesting things about his life. And so, Hans, please tell everyone about your life and where you come from, your background.
Hans: All right. I live in Berlin. And I was born in West Germany. When I was 25, I started a Bible study with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. When I was 26, I got baptized. And I was so enthusiastic about ‚the truth’, that I started to be a full-time preacher. So, in 1974 I became a regular pioneer. And we all expected in 75 to be the end of the world, right?
Hans: I thought, I invest my time and my energy into field service. I wanted to do nothing but studying and preaching. So, 75 nothing happened. And I stayed a pioneer for 12 years. In 86, I became a special pioneer and was sent to southern Germany. And in 89 I participated in the first European ministerial training school in Bethel Vienna.
Hans: Then, I was sent to an English congregation in Mönchengladbach, West Germany, near the Dutch border. And then the East opened up. The Berlin Wall fell in 89.
Eric: Right. It was exciting times.
Hans: And then the Watchtower Society started to send people over to help where the need is greater. So then, in East Germany I served in different congregations. And in 2009 I married and had to quit the special pioneer service. So, the last year, I started to doubt our leadership, our leading Governing Body, because of their vaccination propaganda. And I checked in the internet, whether they became …, whether they got money from the government.
Hans: The mayor of New York, Mario de Blasio, and a special television interview. He recommended Jehovah’s Witnesses by name.
Eric: Right. Very unusual.
Hans: Their cooperation in the campaign for vaccination. So in the Watchtower Broadcast they published, that 98% in the Bethel are vaccinated already. And then they expected the special pioneers also. And all the missionaries and all in all Bethel homes around the world. They were expected to be vaccinated. So, I didn’t like this propaganda. And I started to question and researched the organization in the internet. I discovered many videos, also yours. About ex- … From ex-witnesses about the organization. So, I started to study the Bible independent of the Watchtower. I only read the Bible and I listened to what others had to say, who knew the Bible even better than I did. This process lasted about six months. And then I wrote a letter to my elders, that I do not want to report any preaching service anymore.
Hans: My conscience, my conscience didn’t allow me to propagate false teachings. And I had to quit. Then they invited me for an interview. And I had the opportunity, for two hours, to explain to the elders, why I did not want to be a Jehovah’s Witness anymore. But after the two hours the only thing they wanted to know from me, was: Do you still accept the Governing Body as the ‘faithful and discreet slave’.
Hans: So, I expected them as shepherds to open up the Bible and to help me to understand the Bible. I told them all the false teachings, I had discovered about 1914, about the Governing Body in 1919, about 1975, about the 144.000. And how they falsely handle the memorial, where they hinder the people from taking the symbols bread and wine. So many wrong teachings, I discovered. Then I said: I cannot come anymore. I’m done with my Jehovah’s Witnesses. Then some days later, they invited me to a judicial committee.
Eric: Oh yes. Of course.
Hans: I refused to go. This didn’t make sense to me, since anything I told them, they did not accept.
Hans: So, this conversation was superfluous. Yes. And I just refused to go. And then they disfellowship me. They told me by the telephone, that I was disfellowshipped. And they couldn’t have any contact with me.
Hans: So, and then I searched for other true Christians. I was interested to get to know people, who are following the Bible, the pure language of the Bible without influence from any organization.
Hans: Since I knew from experience: Following men is the wrong way to do. My king, teacher, rabbi, whatever.
Hans: My redeemer is Jesus Christ. I came back to Jesus Christ. As Peter said: To whom shall we go? So, that’s what I did. I went to Jesus Christ, right.
Eric: And that’s where you are now right now.
Hans: I’m among people who follow the true worship according to the Bible.
Eric: Right. Exactly. And what I find remarkable is, that you did all this after a lifetime of service much like myself, even more so. And you did it because you loved truth. It’s not because you were following an organization or wanted to belong to an organization.
Well, I have a few questions I’d like to ask everyone. So, let me just run through them. So, you can express your own views on these things. Because the idea here is to find ways to encourage our brothers and sisters out there, who are going through the trauma of leaving the doubts, the guilt, that’s infused into the brain, through many decades of indoctrination. So, the first one is … We’ve actually already answered the first one. Let’s go to the second one: Can you share with us specific scriptural problems, that come to those who follow men rather than Christ?
Hans: A scripture would be Matthew 15 verse 14, where Jesus said to the Pharisees: Woe to you blind leaders, those who follow you will fall with you into the pit. When a blind person leads a blind person, both fall into the pit. So, that’s what the Governing Body does: They are blind leaders and those who follow them, because they don’t know better, they will end up in a disaster.
Eric: Yes. Yeah, exactly. Right. Good. What problems do you identify for the children of God leaving the organization? We refer to the children of God as all those, who have been adopted as through the faith in Jesus, right? How do you feel, that the children of God awakening around the world can best help or be helped to cope with the problem of being shunned.
Hans: Yeah. Once you are disfellowshipped …. Usually, your only friends are Jehovah’s Witnesses. Then you are all by yourself. You lose your friends. If you have a family, there is a split in the family.
Eric: Yeah, yeah.
Hans: You lose all your contacts. They don’t talk to you anymore. Many suffer from being lonely. Suddenly they fall into depression. Some people even committed suicide, out of desperation, because they were lost. They didn’t know, where to belong, where to go. They were so desperate, that they took their own life. This is major problem.
Hans: And those, who are in this position, we should help. We, who are outside already, we can offer them our comfort, our company, our encouragement. And they can learn the truth, the real truth, not taught by the Governing Body, but by the Bible, the inspired word of God. So, I recommend they pray. They pray for guidance, that God lets them have contact with real Christians. They should study the Bible independently from any organization. You can listen to different opinions. Then later you have to make up your own mind.
Hans: But it all should, all you believe should be grounded on the scripture.
Hans: Because the scripture is inspired by God.
Eric: Okay. Very good. I completely agree. Can you share a scripture with us, that you feel is helpful for those coming out of the organization?
Hans: A nice scripture would be Matthew 11:28: Where Jesus invited people to come to him. Come to me, all you are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. So, come to Jesus. Let him be your head, your king, your teacher, your shepherd, your good shepherd. That’s what Jesus also said: I am the good shepherd. John 10 verse 14. I am the good shepherd. Come to me.
Hans: If we belong to his flock, we are at the right place.
Eric: Very good. Very good. What is one piece of advice that you can share with those awakening and learning to follow Christ and not men?
Hans: They should stand on their own feet, not be dependent on a Governing Body telling them, what to believe. We can read the Bible all by ourselves. We have a brain. We have a mind. We have understanding. We can pray for Holy Spirit. And then we will see, what the real truth is all about. They should pray for Holy Spirit, wisdom knowledge and for God’s help to bring them into contact with the real Christian congregation. With people, who love Jesus above all.
Hansa: And take the symbols: Bread and Wine. That’s the commandment of Jesus. He said to his disciples: Do this always in remembrance of me.
Hans: The bread symbolizes his body, which he offered and the blood, the wine represents the blood, which was spilled. While he was dying.
Hans: For our sins.
Hans: He is our redeemer. He is the ransom. And we should believe in him and follow him and do at the memorial as he told his disciples, right, at the last supper.
Eric: Very good. Well. Thank you for sharing all that. It’s going to be very helpful to those, who are going through, what you’ve gone through, beginning to go through it or maybe have already gone through it. But are having trouble letting go of some of the power of that indoctrination, or the guilt, that comes from the thought, that, you know, you’re going to die, if you don’t stay in the organization.
Hans: We don’t need to be afraid, once we leave the organization. The Governing Body does not save us. We do not need to wait for any directions from the Governing Body. The ones who save us are Jesus Christ and his angels.
Hans: They are the ones, who rescue us. Not the Governing Body. They have a lot to do to rescue themselves.
Eric: Very good. Thank you very much, sharing all that with us. And now, we’re going to press you into service as a translator, because we’re going to now interview Lutz, who is our host here in Switzerland.