Five books you should read about Jehovah’s Witnesses

April 10th, 2009

Are you currently a Jehovah’s Witness or someone studying with the Witnesses and considering being baptized? Maybe you are a non-Witness family member who wants to get more background about the religion. Or are you an ex-JW wanting more information to support a decision to remain outside of the Watchtower organization?

Here are five great books that we can easily recommend that are available through local bookstores and Amazon.com. We feel that these books are educational and informative about the Witness religion and history, but do not present the facts in an angry or totally negative manner.

In our order of preference [click on book title for more information]:

  1. Crisis of Conscience – Raymond Franz; Commentary Press, 4th Edition (2002): Raymond Franz paid a heavy price after more than forty years of faithful service as a missionary and Bethel family member – and finally as a member of the Watchtower Governing Body. His tone is not harsh and he does not try to pick apart every teaching or belief that the Witnesses preach. His account of the final ten years of his service exposes the hypocrisy and politics that went on at the Watchtower Headquarters. If you read only one book, be sure this is it.
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  3. Apocalypse Delayed: The Story of Jehovah’s Witnesses – James Penton; University of Toronto Press, 2nd Edition (1997): In this second edition, an afterword by the author brings us up to date on events since this book was first published in 1985. Penton considers changes in doctrine, practice, and governance on issues such as medical treatment, higher education, apostates, and the apocalypse. As a former member, Penton offers a comprehensive overview of a remarkable religious movement. The book is divided into three parts, each presenting the Witnesses’ story in a different context: historical, doctrinal, and sociological.
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  5. Jehovah’s Witnesses: Their Claims, Doctrinal Changes, and Prophetic Speculation. What Does the Record Show? – Edmund Gruss; Xulon Press (2001): One of the best documented and most devastating critiques of the Watchtower ever written. This book contains thousands of quotes from official Watchtower sources that prove the Watchtower made scores of totally false predictions. Considered by some reviewers as the most definitive work ever published on the Watchtower’s many false predictions.
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  7. Growing Up in Mama’s Club: “Revised and Expanded Third Edition” – Richard E. Kelly; Richard Kelly (2008): A very accurate and moving account of Kelly’s life as a child growing up in a Jehovah’s Witness family. His book is more of an autobiography than a critique of any particular religious belief. The story begins in the late 1940s and ends in the early 1960s. Unfortunately, as bad as things were at times for young Kelly, things have not changed for the better since then for most Witness children. The book is an easy and enjoyable read, but you will at times be shocked when Kelly reveals what his life as a JW child was really like. His “behind the scenes” anecdotes will make it very hard to put this book down once you start reading it.
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  9. Awakening of a Jehovah’s Witness: Escape from the Watchtower Society – Diane Wilson; Prometheus Books (2002): Only someone who has lived as a baptized Jehovah’s Witness can fully understand what is it like to be a dedicated member, or trapped because the spouse is a member, and why leaving will mean the loss of one’s family. Diane Wilson’s account will give the reader an honest and accurate feel for what it is like to live as a Witness. Outsiders often have a hard time accepting the reality of what it is like living under the control of the Watchtower Society.

Categories: Book Reviews

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  1. Jodie Weaknees

    These books are all by apostate, sinners who are kicked out of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They all have their own ax to grind and they are haters of Jehovah! If you read the Bible you will see that only the Watchtower tells the truth. Armageddon is right around the corner and everyone but faithful Witnesses of Jehovah will be destroyed. If you want your bones to be scattered all over the earth and if you want your skin and eyes eaten by bird and reptiles, go ahead and follow these haters of Jehovah. The Watchtower tells the truth because it is the TRUTH! and the TRUTH will set you free! Come to the Kingdom Hall and find out for yourself and you will see that only Jehovah’s Witnesses have the real truth and love and not hate like the people that wrote these books. They accuse Jehovah’s Witnesses that they tell lies and point out that 1925 and 1975 were prophesyed to be Armageddon. No Jehovah’s Witness ever said that. Go ahead and ask the next one that comes to your door if they ever prophesyed that Armageddon would come in 1975. That’s a lie and everyone knows it! They say that Jehovah’s Witnesses shun their family members who left the Kingdom Hall. That’s another lie! Ask any Jehovah’s Witness and they will tell you that anyone, even ex jehovah’s Wintesses are welcome at the Kingdom Halls. Why would they go out and knock on stranger doors and try to convert people and then throw them out of the Kingdom Hall and as you say shun them. This webpage and ever one just like it is just full of BullS##t and you all know it. Come to the Kingdom halls and find out for youselves. Hey folks I’m trying to save your everlasting lives here! You will be sorry if you don’t listen and get down on your hands and knees and beg Jehovah to forgive you.

  2. Editor

    My goodness, “Jodie” (I like your obvious choice for a pseudonym – quite appropriate, actually), what flavor of the Watchtower Society’s kool-aid have you been drinking? Lemon? Or Sour-Grape? Boy, oh boy! They’ve really got their hooks into you.

    I’m not going to bother arguing with you about your view of the “truth” of the Watchtower. Everything on this website and in the books that I’ve recommended is well documented and can be checked online or by simply going to your local Kingdom Hall and browsing through the old Watchtower magazines. Their prophecy of 1975 can be verified by looking at Watchtower and Awake! magazines from 1966-1975. It’s true that asking current JWs if “they” ever preached the 1975 prophecy, they would say “no” THEY haven’t – because most active JWs will have been born or joined after that happened. But you can see and hear many of the speeches on YouTube.com and other websites. It happened alright and it was even more pronounced before 1925 when Judge Rutherford preached “Millions now living will never die!” – but of course, everyone living at that time are mostly all dead now.

    You say that everyone is welcome at the Kingdom Hall and there is no “shunning” being practiced by Jehovah’s Witnesses? What planet have you been living on for the past 28 years? Shunning is one of the major teachings of the Watchtower and it is emphasized, reinforced and refined every few months in meetings and Watchtower studies.

    Your description of what will happen to those of us who reject your fallacious thinking is quite unnerving, I must say. That you would try to use fear to drive us to become JWs is typical and exposes one of the real truths about the Watchtower Society: They rule and control by fear. Missing meetings? You’ll die at Armageddon! Not spending enough time out in field service? You’ll be destroyed! Reading “apostate” literature or looking at ex-Jehovah’s Witness websites? You’ve turned away from Jehovah! Reading the Bible on your own or with friends? Going ahead of Jehovah and his “earthly organization.” Meeting with ex-JWs or seeing your disfellowshipped family members? Ignoring Jehovah’s commandments and worthy of destruction!

    It’s mostly fear that they sell – sprinkled with a little hope for a better life in the future. Thanks, but no thanks – I’ll take my chances on the outside.

  3. anna in houston

    i feel the same way about some of the sad things i have read… my only conclusion is the devil has won them over @Jodie Weaknees -

  4. Ali Webber (formerly Alice Naujokaitis)

    I know for a fact the JW’s were obsessed about 1975 because I was part of that religion as a teenager during the 60′s and that year was a huge focus for talks and assemblies for years……and I now know it was to increase number of JW’s before the upcoming battle of Armageddon!! I can’t believe that other JW’s who lived through that period so easily forgot all the emphais placed on 1975!! Of course, any person who joined after 1975 are led to believe that the WTS did not make this prediction…..but they did!! I got baptized around 1968 or so (was strongly encouraged to do so, despite my being 16 yrs old). I have been disfellowshipped since 1971 (the best thing that ever happened to me aside from the birth of my daughter!!!) but I once asked my mother, a practicing JW, what she was told when 1975 came and went. She said that the WTC explained that “they had made a mistake”. I thought, really? An organization that gets divine information directly from God through the Holy tSpirit got it wrong? I asked Mom if that upset her…..she said “No”……she had to accept the explanation, end of story. Yup, 1975 was a huge topic once, but mistakes have to be covered up, don’t they?

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