Conscience and Courage
Without his books, the real truth about the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society would have been more difficult to uncover because those facts would still be hidden under layers of bitterness, revenge and animosity. Ray’s candid writing about his disbelief, disillusionment, and eventual disassociation from the Watchtower organization, made a lasting impression on all who have had the courage to read it.
Sure, the Watchtower leadership blacklisted him and tried their best to cover up what happened. But you’ll notice that “God’s Organization” filed no charges – nor did they take any legal action – to clear their name of the “slander” they accused Ray Franz of dishing out at them. Doing so would have been even more extensively damning to them. They knew he was right and went into their standard-issue damage control mode, casting both Ray and his wife out of the organization – as well as anyone else who befriended them.
To start over again at his age (in his late 50s) with basically nothing to his name – save his conscience and moral ethics – was one of the most courageous things I’ve ever seen. Think for a minute how difficult it has been for many of us who left the WBTS – our pain and suffering, the loss of our family and friends, not to mention an entire way of life suddenly being gone.
Raymond Franz tells his own story…
Ray knew the resources the Society had at their disposal. He knew he could not financially afford the expenses to defend himself. But what he had was all the defense he needed – the truth about the Watchtower. Once he had a chance to let the dust settle, his conscience continued to plague him, leading him to pen two volumes that would change the lives of thousands of wondering, wandering Jehovah’s Witnesses.
I sincerely hope his widow will find some comfort in the words of support written by people like us – through our letters, emails and online communities. Our love and gratitude for their sacrifice and honesty runs deep and has been expressed as freely and openly as his was. This must have brought them both a great deal of happiness – maybe not financially, but morally and spiritually.
We’ve all lost a member of our family, our patriarch. May we continue to help others with the same spirit of selflessness that Ray Franz demonstrated. That was his most wonderful gift.
The author of this article has asked to remain anonymous, but she is known as “watersedge2009” on several Jehovah’s Witness discussion forums. [Link to original posting.] When “Watersedge” gave me permission to republish her thoughts about Mr. Franz on Ex-JW.com, she added the following comment:
“Like so many, his writings had a profound effect and enabled me to check out of the Hotel Watchtower much more easily. The title of the book [Crisis of Conscience] does such justice to it’s contents and to Ray’s motivation and intent.”