Five books you should read about Jehovah’s Witnesses

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 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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

14 thoughts on “Five books you should read about Jehovah’s Witnesses

  1. 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. 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 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. 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?

  4. Jodie. I have left the JW’s. I know for sure when someone has been disfellowshiped they are shunned. You say Jehoveh is love. These elders are not showing love. I know they are shunned I was there. And what is the cussing about. I was personally and physically attacked by a sister and nothing was done about it. And no one knows when the end will come except Jehoveh.
    Thank you
    .. Emma

    the end will come only Jehoveh not the elders. I will return e

  5. ”You’ll never get sick. You will never grow old. And you will never die.”

    Although the above words come from the movie “Cocoon,” they could have come
    from the Watchtower Society because this is the same thing they have been proclaiming for decades as part of “the Creator’s promise of a peaceful and secure new world that is about to replace the present wicked, lawless system of things.”

    This very appealing prospect attracts many people to begin to study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. It then sustains them as they eagerly wait for the fulfillment of this promise.

    But during the course of their study they get drawn into an illusionary concept involving the Watchtower organization that gradually takes over their decision-making process and even their conscience without them realizing it. It happens because of a mistake that everyone makes before they decide to become a Jehovah’s Witness.

    “Captives of a Concept” identifies both the concept and the mistake that causes people to become captives of it. The book also offers a few suggestions about how to help Jehovah’s Witnesses correct their mistake and teach themselves the truth about their religion.

    The book is designed to help the reader understand the illusionary concept mentioned by former Governing Body member Raymond Franz in his “Crisis of Conscience,” which holds Jehovah’s Witnesses captive by dominating and controlling how they think and act without them realizing it..

    It explains how the leadership has been able to keep themselves (apparently) and millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses convinced that “the Watchtower Society is God’s organization no matter what the Bible says or what went on in the organization’s history.

  6. “A Few Books that Cause the Struggle”

    “Crisis of Conscience, by Ray Franz In Search of Christian Freedom, by Ray Franz Captives of a Concept, by Don Cameron The Gentile Times Reconsidered, Carl Olaf Jonnson These are critical books in understanding what’s going on with the Organization and the Governing Body, and how it relates to us as Jehovah’s Witnesses”.


  7. @Jodi the dead giveawy is the Jehovah’s Witnesses is an insular either/or religion and that’s reason enough to stay away from them. Your clever use of language on shunning, ” That’s another lie! Ask any Jehovah’s Witness and they will tell you that anyone, even ex Jehovah’s Witnesses are welcome at the Kingdom Halls,” shows your anything goes JW training.

  8. My wife and I are 3 weeks disassociated. A witness is going to argue all these books as apostate, it doesn’t matter if the information is documented. Especially as being an ex witness, we were indoctrinated to reject anything that’s not from the Society, how convenient. It’s a cult, I was a baptized witness for 19 years, the only regret I have about leaving is not leaving sooner. I can think for myself, don’t need Watchtower doing it for me. Jehovah’s Witnesses have no critical thinking skills, and yes, that was me for a long time!

  9. I’ve been studying with the witnesses, and feel they are showing me a different way of thinking, and living, which is free from this world which is full of suffering on all levels

  10. Curtis, That “different way of thinking” is not what you hope it will be. Thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses are leaving every year and there is a very good reason. They are recognizing that the Watchtower and its leaders are not focused any longer on preaching “the truth” or “The Good News.” The Watchtower is focused on gathering up as much money from contributions, sale of corporate properties and local Kingdom Halls (paid for by local JWs), and shaming members into transferring their personal assets upon their deaths away from their family heirs to the Society. The whole process is a “grab it and run” operation. It’s also a move from being a community church and gathering place for members – into a money collection and asset growth operation. But remember, you still have the “free will” to investigate and make your own findings and decisions. Do not feel that you are bound forever to that organization. Do some research on your own behalf and keep and open mind. Freedom is out there for you – all you have to do is investigate for yourself.

  11. Whatever you may think about the JW believer who commented, the core point was valid, you only recommended books from authors whose views of the organisation must be viewed with some suspicion because of their personal history. You could have easily avoided this, for example, by recommending the book by Chryssides. This would have the added advantage that JW sisters and brothers might consider reading it because the author was never a member, hence the rule, which prevents them from reading books by disfellowshipped authors does not apply.

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