This former Jehovah's Witness discusses the 1975 prophecy
Freedom from Fear
In the fall of 1968, a special meeting was called at the Kingdom Hall in New Albany, Indiana. Everyone was expected to be there. I sat in the front row with my best friend. We always sat there. We were ten years old and as good little Jehovah's Witnesses, we believed that all new light sent to us from the Governing body was straight from Jehovah God. There was going to be new light passed on to us tonight.
You could have heard a pin drop as everyone sat in anticipation waiting for the speaker to talk. He started by telling us of new light sent to all congregations world wide, from the Governing body in Brooklyn, New York. He said that in the fall of 1975 the great Battle of Armageddon would take place. He told how the society had come up with this date, but I was too young to understand. But I knew exactly what Armageddon meant. That was something I had heard about all my young life. But tonight, it seemed so real. I was so very scared. I automatically started to figure up how old I would be in 1975. I would be 17 years old.
I can still remember the long ride home. It was a quiet ride, with each his or her own thoughts. Mom and dad said nothing to each other. Everyone's face was emotionless. It was as if even my little brother and sisters, ages 8, 6 and 4 knew that something very serious was about to happen. Of course, they were too young to understand, but when I looked at their innocent little faces, my heart was aching. They're so young, I thought, surely Jehovah will not let anything happen to them. Then I started to think of my unborn sibling that was due in a few weeks. I couldn't keep from crying.
From that day on, we were at the Kingdom Hall everytime the doors were open. We never missed a meeting. We were constantly in the field ministry trying to bring as many as we could into the "truth" before it was too late, all the while hoping Jehovah would look favorably on us a Armageddon. School work or material possessions were of no importance to us. Just the basic necessities, because the time was short. For the next seven years, the elders were constantly talking of how we should be working as hard as we could for Jehovah, so we would be prepared for Armageddon.
The Watchtower and Awake had graphic pictures of what Armageddon would be like. I can remember sitting for what seemed like hours, looking and studying every detail in these pictures. The little babies being destroyed, old men and women sucked into the earth, people screaming with their arms outstretched, as if pleading for help. I did not see these as being wicked people like the society told us. I felt sorry for them. It broke my heart. I had nightmares all the time for several years. I worried constantly that myself or one of my loved ones might not be good enough to make it.
I can still remember the first day of 1975. This was the year. I was a junior in high school. Everyone was anxious and we were all walking on eggshells. Everyone was careful not to do anything that could get them disfellowshipped, and also ones that had been disfellowshipped were doing their best to get reinstated. Every Thursday, it seemed there was someone getting reinstated. The time was getting shorter.
I can also remember the date December 31, 1975. This is one of those dates that will be frozen in my mind forever. The Watchtower Society had said that they could not see beyond 1975. This had to be the day. Mom made all of us go to bed early that night. By this time, there were six children. I lay in my bed wondering what the world would look like the next morning. I never ever for even a moment doubted that the end of the world would come this night. While everyone that I went to school with were out celebrating the coming of the new year, I laid in my bed with tears in my eyes and my pillow over my head, silently praying. Please, Jehovah, keep my family safe, I prayed over and over, until finally I fell asleep.
When I awoke the next morning, much to my surprise, everything looks the same. Nothing had happened. Armageddon did not come. I was so confused. What happened? Mom and dad, nor any of us kids talked about it. It was never mentioned. But something had happened. I didn't realize it at the time, but a small crack had developed in the foundation of my belief of the so-called "truth". This crack so small, that I didn't know it was there, would grow to the point that one day I would be able to free myself from the bonds of the Watchtower Society.
Even though I was left with a feeling of being lost after the prophecy of 1975, I never thought for a second that Jehovah had failed me. My faith in Jehovah was not tarnished at all. But I looked at the Society with new eyes. I prayed to Jehovah more than ever, because I knew that I had lost some faith in the "truth." But I knew no where else to go, since we were taught that all other religions were evil. So I prayed for God's personal guidance in my life.
Many events took place in my life over the next ten years. I was married in 1978, at 19 years old, to the true love of my life, a man who would also be my best friend in the world. He was a Christian, but by event, made possible by Jehovah, my parents gave us their best wishes. A few years later, we started a family. We had three beautiful daughters followed by a fourth a few years later.
There were many things that happened during the time that I would like to write about, but space would not permit. I will write about them at a later time. Most of these events took place because I had pretty much quit going to the Kingdom Hall. My husband and myself moved to another town but it wasn't long before the witnesses found us and were knocking at our door, trying to get me started going to the meetings again. They said it was very important because the time was very short. I tried to avoid them. I would go visit one of my friends on days that I expected a visit from the witnesses. I remember one time taking my three girls into the back bedroom when I saw the ladies pull into my drive. I was not ready to talk to them. I just wasn't strong enough.
The pressure that I got from the Witnesses and from my parents never ceased. I couldn't help but wonder how that they could still believe this to be the truth after the 1975 prophecy, but I never asked for fear of being disfellowshipped. I did not think I could handle being shunned by my family. Whenever I was around my mom or other family members and they brought up the Watchtower or anything to do with their beliefs, I would either change the subject or very discreetly go into another room. I never wanted to do or say anything to make them suspect that I was having doubts. I prayed for help and guidance. Sometimes depression would take over me to the point that I didn't know if I could go on another day.
I wandered if I was the only Witness in the world with these kind of doubts and thoughts. I knew if I told another Witness about my feelings, I would be disfellowshipped and I couldn't handle being rejected by my family. So I kept them inside, only talking to my husband, who was always there for me with an open ear and a very loving, understanding heart. I know that Darryl was definitely sent from God, because without him, I don't think I could have handled all this pain I was in.
I thought, if only I could meet another Jehovah's Witness that feels as I do. A short time later, when I was almost at the end of my rope. I happened to turn on the Oprah Winfrey show and there was this man on television talking against the Watchtower Society. I had never heard anyone speak out like this. I turned the volume up as high as it would go, I was so afraid of missing even one word. He said that he and his wife had been Witnesses all their life, but had finally found true peace and happiness in Jesus Christ. I listened intently as he told about the horrors that I had known my entire life. I broke down in tears, because everything he said was exactly how I felt. But this man looked to happy. He had found peace and joy outside the Watchtower. I wanted to know this joy. I wanted it so badly. I prayed that I too, would be truly happy one day as was this man.
I couldn't wait for my husband to get home from work. I told him what I had seen. I was so excited like a little child who had just received a gift she had wanted for a long time. I told Darryl, "I have to meet this man!" I didn't realize it but many miracles had already taken place, yet many more were yet to come. I did meet this man. His name was Paul Blizard. He had the answers to all my questions. I knew I had to hear this from someone who had been down the same road as I had. Paul, myself and Darryl sat in a small room and talked for what seemed like hours. I was nervous, scared and happy all at the same time. My body shook uncontrollably. I was so happy, finally I had heard these doubts and thoughts from another Witness.
That night we sat in Mr. Blizard's office and we prayed. I prayed a prayer I had never prayed before. I asked God to forgive me for all the years I had spend worshipping a religion and not him. I asked him to come into my heart, the tears flowing down my face. Instantly, I felt a release. The only way I can describe it is that I felt like a thousand pounds had been lifted off my shoulders. I had never felt such a feeling before. But I knew what it was. I knew I too had found the joy and peace and happiness that I saw in Paul. I will always remember leaving that office that night. Paul told me that all the angels in heaven were dancing and rejoicing because another lost soul had been saved. I never knew what the term "saved" meant. But I now knew this is what happened to me. Praise God, I was saved! My life has never been the same since that night. I have found the joy that I never knew was possible.
My only prayer is that one day my entire family will come to know this joy, that one day they too, will be able to experience this wonderful freedom that only comes from putting your entire faith and trust in Jesus. I will never stop praying for them, because I know one thing - miracles really do happen.
About four months later, I got a visit from two of the ladies from the local Kingdom Hall. They had come to invite me to the Memorial. But this time I didn't run into the back room. I wasn't afraid. I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. I invited them into my home. After their invitation to the yearly Memorial, I told them that I would not be there. I told them that I no longer believed in their religion. I had too many doubts. They said that what I needed was to get back into the weekly meetings. That I needed to have a private Bible Study in my home. They said that they would be back in a few days.
Three days later, they did come. This time it was not two, but three ladies. The third was a girl that was my age. We had known each other since we were young girls. The four of us sat in my dining room. The oldest lady asked me what kind of doubts that I had, saying she had brought her Bible to show me scripture to answer any questions I might have. The first thing I asked her was why did the elders prophecy that the year 1975 would be the year of Armageddon. I told her of all the years I had lived in fear every minute of every day because of this lie. The words flowed out of my mouth until I had voiced all the things I had wanted to say for so long. Her response was that this prophecy was never made. She said that maybe some of the brothers got a little zealous but at no time did anyone ever say that Armageddon would come in 1975.
I could not believe my ears! I was speechless. How could they sit there and lie. I was there! I heard it. This was unbelievable! I turned to look at the girl that was my age. She tried to hide her face, but she could not keep me from seeing the tears flooding down her face. She was there, too. She knew it had happened. She was reliving all of the nightmares that I had. Suddenly, the other lady got up and took this young lady out to the car. They left shortly thereafter.
Three days later, on a Saturday morning, as Darryl and I were having our morning coffee, the doorbell rang. Darryl answered the door. It was a couple of the elders. They boldly walked into our home and told my husband that they needed to ask me a few questions. For some reason, I was not nervous or scared. They did not intimidate me. Funny, because just a few months earlier the thought of an elder coming into my living room would have made me a nervous wreck. But not this morning. I felt a calmness go over me. The Holy Spirit was there with me again. They began to ask me questions such as, had I been going to a church, and how I felt about the truth. I told them that I no longer believed it to be the truth, instead it was much the opposite. I told them I no longer worshipped men and an organization, that I worshipped Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.
Then they asked me if I no longer wanted to be associated with the Witnesses. I replied that I no longer wanted anything to do with their religion or their organization, but I was not going to disassociate myself from my family. They said I had no choice, that to do one was to do both. They then got up to leave and informed me that at the following Thursday night meeting, I would be formally disassociated.
It was finally over. I had nothing more to hide. I was not afraid