Fifty Years in the Watchtower!

(Transcribed from an oral testimony given in the 1980s.  There are lots of great references with links to other pages so we encourage you to check them all out.  This couple was involved from the 1930s and their family from farther back than that.)

Ray: We bring the love of the church from Florida and we are happy to be here. I would like to start out with Psalm 150: “Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty expanse. Praise Him for His mighty deeds; praise Him according to His excellent greatness. Praise Him with trumpet sound; praise Him with harp and lyre. Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe. Praise Him with loud cymbals; praise Him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!”  [NASB] [applause]  Praise the Lord!  [applause]

Well, I come from a line of Witnesses that goes back into the 30s.  My folks were Methodist.  Marilyn [will] tell you how her folks got mixed up with the Witnesses and how our lives were affected by it for 50 years.

“Mixed up” with the Witnesses beginning in 1911…

Marilyn: Mixed up is a good word! Back in 1911, my mother was about eight years old and she began attending what was called The Class. There were meetings that were held in halls rented by local International Bible Students. And my Great Uncle Ray, same name, was a Bible student. He wore a cross and crown pin [see cross and crown in heading of WTB&TS publication (scroll down to first scanned document) and again on the pyramid at Charles Taze Russell’s gravesite] in the lapel of his blue serge suit. This just intrigued me when he came to our house and I would touch this pin. I really remember that and I had an occasion to remember it vividly later.

1931, Judge Rutherford to speak…

In the summer of 1931, Judge Rutherford was going to talk in Columbus, Ohio, at the Ohio State Fair grounds. So Uncle Ray, in one of his frequent visits, came to see my father and mother and said, “You’ve to come and hear this.” My father and mother declined but they said they’d listen to him on the radio.

Decided to take the name Jehovah’s Witnesses…

So they listened on the radio and as he came to his final remarks where they took the name Jehovah’s Witnesses, my mother and father were swayed by this man and they decided to take the name Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Off to the kingdom hall…

So the next Sunday we were all swept off to the kingdom hall and we went for fifty years. I could just barely read but I remember that we went up to the third floor of this rented kingdom hall. Over here was the Watchtower study with the adults and over here was a little circle of youngsters and we studied The Harp of God book.

On Wednesday nights they had testimony night and everybody told how they knocked on doors and who was mean to them. They would sing out of religious hymnals and they would fan themselves with fans from the local funeral home because we didn’t have any air conditioning back in then–its a far cry from what is in the kingdom hall today!

Baptised…

In 1939, I was baptized in the Ohio River and I was ready to spend the rest of my life working for what I thought was God’s organization. Not only that, I thought it was God’s ONLY organization, but a lot of water has gone under the dam since then.

Walked away nearly 50 years later…

And what I thought was going to be a lifetime commitment ended in December of 1981 when Ray and I walked away from the Jupiter, Florida, congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, never to return again.

Leaving was traumatic…

They won’t let you just walk away, and our leaving was traumatic. There are only two ways out, whether physically dead or spiritually murdered. Now if you’re physically dead, they’ll do the funeral, but the other way, you’re on your own [laughter] and they’ll come and get you because they don’t just want apostates dead or alive, they want ‘em dead–and that’s the way they get them.

Uncle George of the heavenly class…

Ray: Uncle George came to our home quite a lot.  He was associated with the Bible Students, the International Bible Students, and was of the heavenly class, “the 144,000.”  At the time that he started talking to my folks, there was only the heavenly class.

Earthly class revealed in 1935…

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society didn’t realize there was going to be an earthly class because that wasn’t revealed until 1935! But they had to do something because in 1918 to 1922, all these people now came in, and they called them the Ruth and Esther class. They looked around and said, well, who are all these other people? There are only supposed to be 144,000 in heaven. Well they’re that secondary spiritual class, they are going to be in heaven, too, but as a secondary spiritual class [and they will not be sitting on thrones].

Then, after they took the name Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1931, in, I think, the Washington, D.C. convention, they decided that by 1935, these people they thought were the secondary spiritual class, the other sheep, the great multitude, were not going to be in heaven at all. But rather it was revealed from the lightning throne of Jehovah that there was going to be a class upon the earth to live forever in a New World.

Children studied The Harp of God

We had just started to study. My mother had written to the society; she had the letter at home and showed it to me at one time. In 1930, she said [in the letter] that she recognized this as being the Word of God and she wanted to know what she could do.

We started attending, like Marilyn, the kingdom hall. But the children met alone and one of the older ones of the remnant, so to speak, taught the children. This went on for quite some time and the book we studied was the same as Marilyn, The Harp of God. We learned what each string meant on the harp; that’s what we first studied in 1934.

Baptised in 1936; the beginning of joyless times…

In 1936, I was baptized in a creek just outside Zanesville, Ohio–all of our family. I have two sisters, and I was the baby of the family, my mother and father. That was what we thought was one of the happiest days of our lives which turned out to be the beginning of one of the most joyless times because afterwards all we ever knew were terrible happenings.

I’d even hear my folks come home from a kingdom hall meeting.  They would take people there with good will, but they would be mistreated.  Some of the things that the servants would do were not proper and it would just bother our folks something fierce, but this was just the beginning.

1941, Judge Rutherford said we children shouldn’t get married…

In 1941, we attended the St. Louis Convention and Marilyn was there. (I didn’t know Marilyn at that time.) Judge Rutherford was the speaker and it was one of his last conventions. He got the children together in the arena and we received a copy of the Children book. He let us know that we shouldn’t get married.

If we had any marriage plans, as the children of the New World, we should put them completely out of our minds because why should we marry a hank of hair and a stack of bones now?  Why shouldn’t we wait until the prophets come back, the ancient worthies, as they called them, and let them pick us out a marriage mate that would be suitable for us?  [laughter]

You can be sure that whatever they said, we did, so we didn’t consider marriage at that time. They said not to get married, we didn’t get married. They said to pioneer, I went pioneering. They said go to prison, I went to prison–for three years.

Sentenced to prision for dodging the draft of WWII…

I was sentenced to five years to Chillicothe Reformatory for not obeying the draft orders. I said I was a minister and I had the rights of a minister as any other minister and I should get a 4D. But the law of the land took a different course toward Jehovah’s Witnesses and said “no,” so I spent three years of a five year sentence in prison.  [While there Ray and several of the other Witness inmates wrote a booklet entitled 1,000 Years Well Spent.”]

“Don’t go to college…”

In 1946, when I was released, they said don’t go to college, so I didn’t go to college. All they said was it’s too late to get involved in things of this system because we are now standing in the portals of the New World. Don’t get involved in anything now, but go pioneering and place these magazines and these books, that’s the main thing.

So in the same small town that I returned to after being imprisoned, I did pioneering again which was quite a hard thing for me.  I went out knocking on all these doors after I’d made the front page of the paper by not going into the war and going to prison. While I was pioneering I was still on probation from prison.

Marilyn and I met and married…

I met Marilyn in 1947 and we were married. I stopped pioneering and I began my radio and television career at the same time. As a matter of fact, Marilyn helped me find my first job because I wondered what I could do. I hadn’t done anything but pioneer up to that time and devoted my life to Jehovah’s Witnesses.

But we decided that not only were we going to get married, we were also going to raise a family. We’ve been blessed by Jesus and we reared two sons, Barry and Randy, and a beautiful daughter, Susan. And we’re blessed now with five happy grandchildren–Christian grandchildren we should say, too. Last year the reason we couldn’t attend this convention was that we had a granddaughter. [applause]

We might not have had these children and grandchildren…

Marilyn: Had we listened to the unfaithful and indiscreet slave, we would be alone and we wouldn’t have these beautiful children. We’d be like all the other witnesses who are still waiting at the portals and watching the wrong signs.

Jesus came and got us!

I heard a funny story one time about a man who went out and drank too much. He couldn’t find his way home, couldn’t find his car, couldn’t have driven his car, if he could find his car, so he found his way into a phone booth and called his best friend. He said, “You’ve got to come and get me, I can’t get home.”

And so his friend wanted to know where he was, and he said, “Stick your head out the window and look for a sign and tell me where you are.” And he says, “I know exactly where I am, I’m at the corner of Walk and Don’t Walk.” [laughter]

So that’s the kind of signs we were looking at. Jehovah’s Witnesses are still reading those signs, but Jesus knew where we were and He came to the corner of Walk and Don’t Walk and He got us! [laughter, applause]

Things started to happen we didn’t understand…

I think about sharing this microphone–Ray and I have been sharing everything for about 38 years now. Things started to happen to us that we didn’t understand. They started happening about 1979 and looking back on it, you see it just fine, but when it is happening to you, you don’t hear His voice.

In the first place, we didn’t think we had any right to listen to His voice. They said there is no way you can be among those who are going to live in heaven.

Called into the judicial committee…

In 1979 I had been a real estate associate for a couple of years and I was doing alright. I decided I wanted to open my own business but I made a very bad theocratic mistake. I formed a corporation, and one of the corporate members was Jim Mort, a disfellowshiped ex-Jehovah’s Witness, and one of the other stock holders was my elder husband. Somebody turned my elder husband into the judicial committee. They called him in and they asked him some questions.

Ray:  Well, they asked me if I was in business with a disfellowshiped brother and I told them the truth, no, I wasn’t in business with a disfellowshiped brother, I was in the business of broadcasting and television. That has been my whole life long job and still is today. I’m a broadcaster in West Palm Beach, Florida, on a Music of Your Life radio station.

But my wife was operating the real estate business and naturally, as a husband, I had part of the stock because part of the money was mine that she used to form the corporation–no different probably than somebody would be an investor in General Motors.  You don’t know who is in General Motors, whether they are Christian or not Christian but if you have an investment there, it’s an investment there, that is the way it is.

After several meetings on this matter, the judicial committee determined that we should either buy out his stock or we should sell him ours. And so the corporation existed for only about five weeks because we bought him out. We didn’t want to tell Jim Mort why we were buying him out because he was beginning to come back in to Jehovah’s Witnesses. His wife, who was a member of another religion, was being studied with and he operated a real estate school.

Had we had any meals with Jim?

When we attended his real estate school, we got into problems. They asked us, “Did we have any meals with this person?” and we had had lunch because they have breaks because real estate school is an all day thing. We had eaten with Jim Mort so we had to say so. That wasn’t enough for our committee. Then they really were after us but good, now we that had had a meal with a person who was disfellowshiped. We didn’t want to tell Jim, the ex-brother, because we were hoping he was going to return to Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Is that a cross around your neck?

Marilyn: If they didn’t have enough evidence already to hang us, they brought out a picture of me that was in a real estate magazine and they said to me…

Ray: Now this is how much our brothers really trusted us. A dear brother in the Lake Worth congregation asked my wife in judicial committee meeting, “Marilyn, was that a cross that you had around your neck?” That’s…

Marilyn: It’s really a rose arbor in the blouse but as I had the jacket on all you could see… [laughter, applause]

Ray: And Marilyn asked this brother, “What do you think?”

Marilyn: And he says, “I don’t know, I want to know.”

Ray: I don’t know, but you see it was a [kangaroo court] no matter what you…when you are before those elders, they’re out to hang you. He said that was a cross.

Marilyn: His name was Brother Hanneman, but after the things they did to us, after the incident with the blouse, our children renamed him Brother “Hangman.” [laughter] And we pray for him now, but I have to tell you it’s still hard to call him by the right name. [laughter]

It was alright for Uncle Ray to have a cross and crown, but in 1979… 

And if you know anything about being a Witness and having a cross around your neck, is that not like getting caught walking into a church? It’s terrible, it was all right for my Uncle Ray back in 1930 to have a cross and crown but in 1979, it started to get us out.

Jesus was rescuing us…and our children…

Ray:  Of which we were happy about.  We couldn’t recognize that Jesus was coming after us and rescuing us from this cult, this organization.  So we’re really happy as to what took place and we’re happy about the way this brother treated us, because our children say the same thing, that injustice came out of that committee meeting of elders.

Two parents that they knew better, they knew the truth, and so that helped in our getting them out because, well, I’ll tell you just what happened. They read a letter on us. We went to the congregation that night and they said they were going to reprove us for conduct unbecoming a Christian and…

Because Ray was so prominent in radio and television…

Marilyn: Before they do that, they first they give a fifteen minute discourse on gross sin [laughter] and then everybody says, “Which one of them is going to get the divorce?” because they don’t know what happened. All they know is they are talking about gross sin and then they read this letter. And then they not only read the letter to our congregation, but they send it to at least two other adjacent congregations.

This is only done in a disfellowshiping but because Ray was so prominent in the community, in radio and television, and we had been Witnesses for 50 years, they wanted to get this reproof as wide spread as they could.

One of the overseers in one of the congregations said, “I am not going to do this. I’m not going to read this letter. I know these people and I am not going to do this.” But the other brother, [George Williams], read it and because his wife had been the realtor who had turned us in, and he read the letter, he was removed because he was told not to read the letter.

We just kept loving them…

And then just a couple of years ago he was 51 years old and [George Williams] died of a sudden heart attack.  We saw his brother-in-law, who was an elder, in the mall.  Where all our other friends had refused to talk to us, this brother did talk to us because we told him how sad we were about his brother’s death.  We just try to keep on loving them no matter what they do to us, we just try to keep on loving them.

Ray:  So anyhow, the letter was read in the congregation and we stayed that night.  We listened to all the letter.  They said, “Don’t you want to leave because we’re going to read a letter on you?”  We said, “No, we are going to sit right here.”  So we did.  We stayed in the meeting at that time and then of course, as Marilyn told you, the letter was forwarded on and we still tried to get back in.

I sat in the kingdom hall and cried for a whole year…

Marilyn: I cried for a whole year. I sat in that kingdom hall and I cried and I cried and I would sit there and I would read the Bible. And the only scripture I got any consolation from was in Hebrews where it says if the Lord loves you He is going to chasten you. I’d think, you still love me Lord because you’re still punishing me. That’s the only consolation I could get for a whole year. Then this brother talked to Ray in the [parking] lot…

Where else could we go?

Ray: We didn’t know we were still being pulled in by the pressure of the so called faithful and discreet slave who said, “we have only the words of life, to whom else can you go?” So you believe in these men out of Brooklyn, New York, who tell you that they are the faithful and discreet slave. They have the words of the Lord and they are the only ones that can understand prophesy.

So we figured all the rest of the religions in the world were of the devil and where else could we go? We had to try to come back, but they didn’t want us back. And we are so happy that they didn’t want us back. [laughter]  Jesus had been pulling on us for almost, I’d say for the whole time we’d been members of Jehovah’s Witnesses, what we saw going on in our childhood. He was calling, but we didn’t recognize the call.

They didn’t want us back as Jehovah’s Witnesses…

So one Sunday morning after the Watchtower study–this was in the spring of 1980–a brother, whom I had known for a good many years, met us in the parking lot at the kingdom hall in Lake Worth.  He had earlier tried to talk to the judicial committee on our behalf but the judicial committee was bent on keeping us out.  They did not want us back in as Jehovah’s Witnesses in good standing.  He had been on many judicial committee meetings himself handing out misery and he realized the hopelessness of our situation so he invited us over to his house.

“Just read the Bible…”

His name was Fritz Heinrick; he’s as German as the name sounds.  And he said, “My wife and I are reading the Bible and our eyes are popping open at the things we are learning.”  I said, “Really, Fritz, which one of the publications are you and Molly using?” [laughter]  He told me, “No study book, no Watchtower, just the Bible.  Come come over and we’ll show you what we’ve found out.”

No way, “you must be evil slaves!”

We thanked him and declined because we knew we were already in enough trouble.  Why should we get in further trouble and deepen our situation?  So as we crossed the parking lot, we said to one another, “He wants us to read the Bible without the Watchtower helps?!”  We’ve got to stay away from Fritz and Molly–they sound like evil slaves!”  [laughter]

(We can’t believe we said that!) 

Marilyn:  We can’t believe we really said that!  But we really did.  We laugh now when we talk to Fritz and Molly.  In fact, they send their love to all of you and they wish they could have been with us today.

We tried another congregation…

That was the spring of 1980, so in September of 1980, we sold our home and moved to North Palm Beach.  Ray had our cards sent to the Jupiter congregation which was even a little farther north than North Palm Beach.

When we’d go to this congregation, I told Ray, “They treat us like visitors” and he said, “Yeah, visitors from another planet.”  [laughter]  It was just about true, but by that time we were down to only attending the Watchtower and the talk on Sunday morning.

He and I were still doing door to door work without taking the Watchtower, we’d just go talk to people about God, or the flowers in the front yard or whatever they wanted to talk about just saying, “Isn’t this a great day to know your Heavenly Father?”  We didn’t turn any time in and then we stopped giving them any of our money.  We were sitting in a kingdom hall in Jupiter one Sunday and…

Ray leaned over to me and said…

Ray:  After I’d seen what this organization really was, when every time I went to the organization to be spiritually built up, when you go to the talk and the Watchtower study and you’re not built up, why go?  I felt worse for going than not going, so I told Marilyn, “I’m going home, do you want to go with me?”  So she followed me out to the car and then I told her, “You can keep on attending these meetings if you want to, but I am never coming back” and we never did. [applause]

At the same time, 29 other Witnesses left…

There is a funny thing that happened at the Jupiter congregation.  We didn’t know about it because we were just there trying to get ourselves spiritually built up, which we knew we couldn’t.  At the same time there were 29 other Witnesses, all from the same Tuesday night book study, that also left that congregation–29!  [applause]

As a matter of fact the Jupiter congregation got to be known as the apostate capital of Florida. [laughter]  And we didn’t have anything to do with it, although they blamed us for it!  We didn’t even know it was going on.

We were so alienated that we didn’t even know about this group…

Marilyn:  That‘s how alienated we were in this congregation.  All this was going on and we would have loved to have known about it–we didn’t!  The account servant, [Mr. Wellman], had a book study in his own home and with about 13 or 14 people.   They were bored with the study because they were going through this book for the–well you know how they sent you through the book for the second time.  If you were a little faster than somebody else, you had to go through the same book because they hadn’t assigned you anything new.

Reading the Bible, their eyes were popping open!

So they said, okay, we’ll just buzz it real fast because they said when we finish we can just all sit around and read the Bible.  They would do it [the book study] in 20 minutes and then they would all read the Bible. They all would bring a different translation of the Bible.  They even bought the little kids copies of the Living Bible and they loved it.  They were all sitting around–talk about your eyes popping open–they had 29 of them sitting there with their eyes popping open.

“Don’t drink the Kool Aid!”

There was no conspiracy, there was no talking it over.  All in the same month, all the families that were involved decided to quit contributing their money, quit turning in their time reports but just read the Bible.  They would go into the kingdom hall and they had this little thing they’d whisper to each other, “Don’t drink the Kool Aid!” [laughter, applause]

Nobody told us or we would have stopped drinking the Kool Aid sooner!  So when they stopped doing all this they sent an elder out to the book study to see what was going on.  He took a report back and as a result they removed the [Mr. Wellman] as an overseer.  They took the study out of his house and then there was a mass exodus out of the Jupiter congregation.

After we left, we were lost…

[Ray] will tell you what we did after we left because we were kinda lost after we left.  You know how when you’re used to doing ten hours in service, five hours of the meetings, pretty soon you are doing nothing and you get that strange feeling.

Ray:  For about a month, we didn’t read a magazine, we didn’t go to any meetings.  Our daughter wanted to get married–the one whose baby we just showed you.  She wanted to marry this young man who wasn’t even sure he believed in God!  But, he was absolutely certain that he didn’t believe in Jehovah’s Witnesses. [laughter]  So we wanted to talk to him about God and about the Bible but he didn’t want to hear anything, especially from the Bible of the Watchtower.

We began to read the Bible…

So we went down to a Christian bookstore and bought a eight translation copy of the New Testament.  Mark, our future son-in-law, had been raised a Catholic.  He had renounced the Catholic faith several years earlier.  We started to read with an open mind and, to our amazement, he started listening the same way.  Fritz was right about it, reading the Bible, when you start to read it, it does make your eyes pop open. [applause]

We’d been avoiding Fritz…

Marilyn:  So then we thought about Fritz.  We had been avoiding Fritz for two years.  I called him on the telephone and said, “Hey, Fritz, are you still reading the Bible like you did?”  He said, “No, we’re reading it more.  Come on over!”   He started telling me about an article in Time magazine about Ray Franz.

He gave me Ray Franz’s telephone number, he gave me Ron Fry’s telephone number, he gave me 20 tapes.  I went over to his house and I came back like this [heavy laden with materials] and I had 20 tapes from your convention.  And Ray said our telephone bill was starting to look like the national debt.  I called everybody!  [laughter]

I called Ray Franz (a former member of the Governing Body)…

So I called Ray Franz, “What are you going to do, start your own religion?”  He said, “What, do you think I’m going to jump out of the frying pan and into the fire?”  I said, “Well what are you doing?”  He said, “I’m just reading the Bible,” and I said, “Where do you suggest that an ex-Witness start to read the Bible?”  He said, “Why don’t you start in the book of Galatians.”  [Ray franz wrote a book entitled Crisis of Conscience in 1983, exposing the inner workings of the WTB&TS in the 1960s and 70s.  It has been updated four times, the last time in 2004, and translated into several languages.]

He had read the Bible through several times; he did some of it on the government time when he was in prison, but I had not read the Bible.  So I started with the book of Galatians and I’ll have to admit to you today, that I had never read a whole book of the Bible in one sitting, but I did read the book of Galatians.

We thought we knew everything about the apostle Paul…

A few years before, we had been in that drama that they did about the apostle Paul.  We thought we knew everything there was to know about the apostle Paul, but you know what, we didn’t really know that man at all.  We looked into the book of Galatians and we found out that Paul swore before God that it was three years before he went down to the “Governing Body” in Jerusalem the first time, then it was another 14 years.  This “district overseer” reported in twice in 17 years?!  [laughter] How did we miss all this?  [laughter]

I started just reading, reading, reading, and the only exercise I really got was going down to the Christian bookstore because I didn’t go to my office anymore.  I just couldn’t figure how to walk around and read.  Your eyes get on the wrong line or you stumble over all the books that are laying on the living room floor so I just sat there and I read and I read and I read and Ray used to get up at 4 o’clock in the morning.

Ray:  Well, that’s true.  I was the morning man and I had to get up early and Marilyn was staying up all night long reading the Bible.  She was reading everything that she could and our mailbox was always packed with so many letters and tracts that we had from Joan Warren, Randy Waters and Bill Cetnar, Duane Magnani, David Reed, Ed Dunlap, and Ron Fry.

We saw that Jesus had come into our lives!

Fritz and I started exchanging these tapes, we were off and running and we were seeing the Bible in a light we had never seen it in before.  The main thing we started to see is that Jesus had come into our life, Jesus had come into our soul!  [applause]  We love Jesus! [applause]

God was very patient with me…

Marilyn:  When I first started doing this reading you make terrible promises sometimes,  so I made this promise to the Lord:  “Lord, if You’ll just keep opening our eyes and You’ll just keep letting us see what is in Your Word, I promise you I’ll never believe in the trinity, I’ll never believe in hell’s fire, I’ll never believe in the immortality of the human soul.”

He should have washed my mouth out with soap!  But He didn’t, He was very patient with me and I as I look back on this, I thought how could He be so patient with me and I had been so impatient with Him?

The summer of 1983 was a battle…

Because I found out that Jesus was God in the spring of 1983 and Ray didn’t find out until the summer, it was a battling summer.  I did everything wrong, I said everything wrong, I argued with him, I cried, I’d wake him up in the middle of the night and tell him Jesus was God.  [laughter]  And I’d just say awful things to him, but he’d keep reminding me about Revelation 3:14.

He had this big mountain and on top of this mountain was this billboard that said Jesus was the beginning of the creation of God.  Look at Revelation 3:14.  He couldn’t get over that mountain, so I said all kinds of rotten things to him.  Like I’d say, “Don’t you know that the most important question in the Bible is the question Jesus asked Peter, ‘Who do you say that I am?’”  I said, “Do you think for one minute, even though you have learned all these other things about the Witnesses, that He is going to entrust a bunch of liars in Brooklyn with the only truth about the answer to that question?!”

And he said, “Well, how do you know that Jesus is God?”  I said, “Intellectually, I don’t know how I know it, but I just know it because He put it in my heart.  If you would forget that you were ever an elder, if you would take your foot off the land and start walking on the water with Jesus, He’ll give you the faith to know it!”  [applause]

I finally found out one cannot argue enough…but rather pray…

But when I finally found out that you couldn’t argue hard enough, or yell loud enough, or cry sympathetically enough to do it, but you could do it with prayer.  There is more power in prayer than there is in a fist pounding on a copy of the scriptures and it took me a long time to find out.

After making all these mistakes, in the late summer of 1983, we both had Him and we celebrated the communion in our home with the whole family.  And it was the most wonderful experience that we could have.

Our children and their spouses accepted Christ…

Our sons and their wives, and our daughter Susie, and yes, her husband the ex-Catholic, the ex-agnostic, is now a born again Christian!  [applause]  Fritz’s son, Walter, won’t listen.  And if you’ll pray for Walter, they’d really appreciate it.  He’s an elder in the Fort Pierce congregation and won’t listen to his mother and father, but all our children listened.  I think Jesus had Brother “Hangman” make it real easy for them to listen.

Our children started telling everyone what they found out…

Then [our children] started telling everybody else about what they found out.  Our daughter-in-law, [Carol], talked to her grandmother, Dorothy, who was a Witness.  [Carol] told Dorothy that we had all celebrated communion together.  And Dorothy said–and I guess I’ll never forget this–”If I thought I had to go to heaven, I would just die!”  [laughter]  That was in 1983–and she still doesn’t know that Jesus is our Lord and Savior.

But we used Duane Magnani’s material on her about Michael the Archangel.  She does know that He’s [Jesus] not Michael the Archangel, and she knows that if she thought He were Michael the Archangel, and if she prayed through an angel she wouldn’t be any better off than the Catholic that prayed through Mary.

So she’s learning some things.  She knows that there is only one mediator and it’s Jesus Christ.  And she went down to the bookstore and she bought the same Bible that Ray bought and we know she’s reading it because she calls us at 2 o’clock in the morning and she asks us questions.

A lot of changes in our lives…we want to serve Jesus!

We’ve been led to make a lot of changes in our lives and some of them we’re just making now and Ray will tell you want we are doing.

Ray:  We’re selling our condo, we have a penthouse at Old Port Cove, which is a nice community; we’ve lived there about five years.  We want to find a way in which we can serve the Lord a lot more.  I’ll be 62 next July and we want to maybe retire from my job, maybe do some part time work, but I want to do a whole lot of work for Jesus.  [applause]  So Marilyn and I are going to do that.

The Organization says Jesus is not one’s mediator, but…

I did want to say that any organization that tells you that Jesus Christ is not your mediator, has got a lot of ways to go.   A lot of Jehovah’s Witnesses out there today don’t even know that if they are the “great crowd,” Jesus Christ is not their mediator, when the Bible plainly says that there is only one mediator between God and man and that is Jesus Christ!  And here is an organization telling people that Jesus Christ is not their mediator.  That should wake up every one of the eyes of Jehovah’s Witnesses especially when they are trying to deny Jesus Christ as their mediator.  That is really something.

We had a little card made up here, we’re going to leave some back there with you, but Marilyn and I are just beginning to use some things as we are beginning to serve Jesus.

Marilyn:  We are sending these to the Witnesses that are still in there that we love so much.

Ray:  And this is what it says, “This is your invitation to visit us in our Father’s house any time after the rapture.  Should you need help to find the way, read John 14:6.  We were third generation Jehovah’s Witnesses for 50 years.  In 1983, we were born anew and the joy we found discovering our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ we are eager to share with you.   –Ray and Marilyn Marsh, 130 Lakeshore Drive.”  [applause]

So happy knowing Jesus Christ…

We’re so happy about knowing Jesus.  He has brought more joy and peace in our lives than the 50 years of turmoil and trouble that we had in the Jehovah’s Witness organization.  All we ever knew was sorrow and anxiety.  We had wonderful parents and they saw a lot of the hypocrisy in that organization because they used to come home and talk about it.  But that’s as far as it could go.

But I like the scripture, and this is the one that always lights up my life and, yes, I’ve gotten over Revelation 3:14, Jesus is Lord, Jesus is God.  The one that lights up my life is Acts 4:12, “And there is salvation in no one else for there is no other name that‘s the name of Jesus under heaven has been given among men by which we must be saved.”  Hallelujah, praise Jesus!  [applause]  Thank you for inviting us here, Bill [Cetnar].

Given at the Witnesses Now for Jesus Convention, New Ringgold, PA, October, 1985

Edited, condensed and annotated by Dawne Stanton Nock, March 2008 and approved by Marilyn Marsh, March 2008

Marilyn’s Disassociation Letter dated December 29, 1983

Ray’s notes entitled, “Will Many Now Living Never Die[?],” for a talk given about the material in the Watchtower publication, Millions Now Living Will Never Die, published in 1920.

Marilyn’s “Wake Up Cookies” recipe with video of her sharing about her Cookie Ministry.

It is with mixed regret and joy that Marilyn went to be at home with the Lord in the spring of 2015.  We miss her smiling countenance, her easy laughter, her deep commitment to helping others escape the bondage of the Watchtower.  We trust that she is rejoicing and praising God along with her husband Ray and others who preceded her to their heavenly home. 

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You are always welcome to contact us at:

  • Make Sure Ministries:  5059 China Sea Drive, Tavares, FL 32778; Todd & Betty: 352.508.6973
  • South Florida Support Group, Dawne: 360.821.1759
  • Email:  [email protected] (or see contact form in upper portion of the right sidebar)
  • Ex-Mormon Christians United for Jesus, Michael & Lynn: 239.565.3224

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