The story of Nikos
At home, my wife received me in a state of silence while a very heavy atmosphere took over the entire house. Her overall psychology had been shaken, and this became obvious in the following months. Often, while standing, she would break out in tears and along with crying she would also get the shakes. I was unsuccessful in trying to console her, being very concerned about her psychological and mental health. I was beginning to feel inside of me an enraging hatred against this destructive organization. While feeling free of its chains and all its influence on me, I was now sensing that this antichristian fascist system of this organization was responsible for all my wife’s troubles. It was ridiculous! Instead of torturing me with the disfellowship, they were torturing this person of their own faith to the point of such a degree where she was in danger of being driven insane!
The next day my disfellowship had already become known, along with the distribution of my letter. The pseudo-presbyters of the organization had also already received the special letter which I distributed to them. While passing in front of my father-in-law I greeted him as always.
"- You will never greet me again!" He growled. "… You will never greet another “brother” again!"
"- I will not greet you again if you so choose! But you don’t have the right to decide for me what to do with the others!" I answered.
"- No one wants you to greet them!" He said.
"- That’s what you think! Some of them already kissed me when they heard that I was disfellowshipped!" I told him.
"- Who are they? You must tell me! This is serious, what they did!" He said angrily.
"- Why? Do I have you as a presbyter?" I said with the greatest cynicism possible. The only thing he could still do to me now was to dismiss me from my work. But I didn’t care anymore. I made a decision to sacrifice everything for the sake of the truth, including my work, my family and even my life if necessary. The more I was persecuted the more reward I would have from God!
After this my father-in-law did not speak to me for months, but they did not dismiss me from his business. It seems that deep inside them there was still some trace of conscience or perhaps, seeing that the more they fought me, the more I stung them and humiliated them to their peers. They decided to become more reconcilable.
In reality, there came a time where my father-in-law sacrificed much to keep me at work. I believe it is worthwhile to bring up this incident which is indicative of the fact that among the “witnesses” along with the unconscionable fanatics, there are also people who try to live conscionably even if their conscience does not function naturally. I worked at my father-in-laws business for eight more years! The fact that I still had people who informed me even about details pertaining to “presbyters” meeting proved to be very beneficial. Thus I found out that in such meetings, at times some pseudo-presbyters attacked my father-in-law verbally telling him that he shouldn’t keep in his business an apostate who does so much harm to the organization. I found out as far as this goes that my father-in-law and Vlasis defended me and these ill-natured attacks did not prevail. This pressure however was highly escalated when a fairly new hot-headed “area” pseudo-bishop named Tromaras threatened my father-in-law and my brother-in-law that if they didn’t fire me from my job, they would lose their “presbyters” privilege. It seems that they kept postponing and buying time until the end of his term. At every one of his visits, he kept demanding my dismissal.
I’m certain that my father-in-law and my brother-in-law felt very uncomfortable under their pressure of threats. It turned out that this man was so calloused that he had the audacity to enter my home as a guest and to dine with my family members, at my absence of course, and this with the very people he was trying to take the “bread” away from! Although I was aware of this, I did not react negatively, hoping to help his disfunctioning conscience. Unfortunately, he remained ruthlessly unconscionable until the very end.
Finally, I left this work on my own, especially since God provided something better (in the line of work), and I no longer wanted to be a burden for my in-laws! The irony was that at the time a “witness” appeared on television and (allegated) alleged that she lost her job because of religious discrimination. This very discriminating act however, used by some individuals against her arbitrarily, was now officially used by her own organization against me! Almost all my former co-faithful treated me inimically. In the beginning the exceptions were minimal. As time progressed however, more and more of them began to timidly greet me in secret, when not seen by other “witnesses”. Some of them would only greet me but would not speak to me. Others would speak to me but they would not greet me. Others would greet me and speak to me, but not about religious subjects. There were also those who spoke to me only about religious topics in their attempt to make me return to the organization. Naturally, there were also those who wanted to learn the truth about the deceptiveness of the organization. With these we had frequent contact in person and by telephone.
There was a married couple which would not greet me when they were both together. However, when either spouse was absent, then I was offered a greeting! They were afraid of each other! The organization had instilled the element of fear in entire families. You would never know who was used for espionage.
I also served as a spy some time ago, when I believed that this was the will of God. There was a period where not a week would go by without turning someone in to the “presbytery” of the organization, simply because I didn’t like something about his attitude or his life. These endeavors of course, were happily received by the pseudo-presbyters of the organization.
After my disfellowship however, I was no longer feared by the “witnesses”, who had soiled their nest and had plenty to hide from the organization. Being fully aware of my hate towards the iniquitous system of the organization, (not fro the people it deceived), they spoke openly in front of me about things that they would never reveal to their “brothers”. Thus I had the opportunity to converse with “fornicating, homosexual, lesbian, smoking and drug addicted “witnesses”. These were and still are active members of the organization, although they continued to be in bondage to their passions, without daring to talk about their problems to the pseudo-presbyters for the fear of disfellowship. Some of them intensified their sinning believing that they would perish in the coming Armageddon, and consequently they needed to “enjoy their life as much as possible up to that point”. They believed that God had written them off and they were in a state of religious despair. So I was explaining to them that God continued to love them and He would continue to help them to overcome their passions according to the degree of their efforts. The very fact alone that they were still aware of their fallen state was proof that the grace of God had not abandoned them totally. I explained to them that we don’t only have black and white, but an infinite variation of gray shades. In other words, we don’t only have eternal life and eternal annihilation, but there is an infinite graduated scale consequential of our present life, which will be manifest during the time of final judgment, as we will be receiving our new resurrected spiritualized bodies. (1st. Cor. 15: 38-44). It wasn’t just for God to punish the liar and the unrepented murderer or sadist with the same punishment, i.e., annihilation according to the teaching of the organization. In reality there was no annihilation. So the final outcome would be different for everyone. I showed them the verse which stated that “some will be beaten with many stripes, and others with few” (Luke 12: 47-48), and they understood that it was a mistake to sink deeper into sin. Some of them found the strength to struggle despite their moral decline, thus benefiting their soul.
The iniquitous teaching of the organization kept pushing them until then into more and deeper sin. The organization however was only interested in providing a great outer appearance to those outside, and not for the salvation of the people it deceived.
Despite the magnanimous contentions and boastful fanfare of the organization, its members are no different than any other people except that they carry out their sins in secret. And even though they give the impression to those outside that they are full of unity and love, they have their constant quarrels and their own rancors and cliques.
There are disagreements and disputes between families, employers and employees, not to mention great gossiping against others. They deny to some the opportunity to “work the streets” either because they lack proficiency or they do harm with the things they say or with their attitude, or (worse yet), because they are too old and they enjoy minimal popularity among the “witnesses”. Personally, I have seen people desperately crying because they were denied the most basic function of the congregation, the “work” (of the streets), making them feel inferior and worthless.
Today, almost after a decade, very few of the “witnesses” continue not to speak to me.
The day of my disfellowship ties and long term close friendships were utterly destroyed. Years were needed to elapse, to return with my wife to our old happy state. During the initial months she was seeing her friends go to the meetings with their husbands, while she had to go alone. No one was coming to our home for a visit, because I was disfellowshipped, and she would go by herself anywhere she happened to be invited. We only would go out together if there were no “witnesses” in our presence.
However, the biggest crisis was concerning my son. The system of the organization is conducive to fanaticize the children from infancy. Thus my wife was taking him to the gatherings even after I was dis-fellowshipped. There, they were telling him:
“Your daddy is “worldly”. He will die in “Armageddon”. You must not pray with him. You must not listen to him when he speaks to you about God. When he speaks to you about God, you must shut your ears!” They instilled this fear in him that if he would speak to me about God, he would also die in “Armageddon”. Thus, at the beginning of my disfellowship my religious isolation in my own home was absolute. Little by little however, as my wife began to reclaim her initial peace of mind, I began to try more intensely. My son was still very young and at the beginning stages of being brainwashed. So, little by little I was finding some opportunities to speak to him. He was seeing my constant requests to my wife to have a religious discussion and her denials, and he was sensing that she was afraid. “If they have the truth, why are they afraid?” I was asking him to make him more aware. So essentially, as he was growing up and his mind was emerging from the fog of infancy, he was becoming more receptive, to the point where he was coming with me sometimes (to church) and at times with his mother. Subsequently, when he began to read, I proceeded to show him analytically the premeditated falsifications of the Holy Scriptures undertaken by the “Watchtower” organization in their New World Translation. This was the determining factor. The child understood well that a religion that does not respect the Holy Scripture, does not respect anything else. So he began to refuse to join his mother with the “witnesses” and he would come to church with me. My wife found some consolation in taking my second and younger son, Constantine with her. He was also baptized Orthodox Christian at my own request when he became 10 years of age, and he began to follow us to the Orthodox Church and to partake of the Holy Mysteries, while he ceased to participate in the functions of the “witnesses”.
From my earliest memories of this world, I was always participating in some gathering. I enjoyed being in the company of the people of my faith and I took great satisfaction in learning new things. All this however changed totally after my disfellowship. At first I was going to the gatherings of the “Evangelicals”. But I was not satisfied from what I heard. The teaching was primarily dealing with some superficial analysis of scriptural verses with exhortations for a more Christian life. But I was mainly annoyed by the doctrine of the Trinity. As many times I as I brought it up to their preacher, he lacked the necessary answers. Thus I made my visits to them more sparse.
I kept occasional contact with George mainly via telephone. Regarding the Friskoula gatherings, they were too far out of my way. Nasos, the former Pentecostal, was the only person with whom I had satisfying discussions with and met frequently. He also believed in the Holy Trinity of course, but at least he had some answers to my questions regardless if I was not convinced. He had mainly specialized in the Old Testament prophecies about Israel. He was also suffering from the same spiritual loneliness and we consoled each other.
At the time I had a dream which left an impression on me which I remember to this day. I dreamt that I was outside this high building which was a congregation hall of the “witnesses”, with my mother and grandmother. In the dream I did not remember that I was disfellowshipped, so logically we should walk inside the hall of the congregation. Instead of this however, we needed to pass through an extremely narrow path around the hall. I was walking in front, followed by mother and behind her my grandmother. I helped them and we passed this path. At the end we were possibly the only ones from all those I was seeing that did not enter the building. A year late I understood that perhaps what I saw was the difficult journey of disfellowship, initially for me, and afterward with my help, my mothers and subsequently that of my nearly ninety-year old grandmother.
A few days after my disfellowship, Vlasis went to visit my mother. He sat down and told her:
"- The entire Salamina is mourning for Nikos disfellowship!, because he is such a nice man, so sincere, so faithful . . ."
"- But if that’s the case, why did you disfellowship him?", my mother asked.
"- But he wanted us to show him about 1914! Did we have time to search so many hours to tell him about all these things?"
"- So many years we spend hours upon hours, to find “the sheep” and bring them in the organization! And you considered it a waste of time to keep this sheep inside the organization?", she asked angrily.
"- Now, you “sister” must not speak to him at all according to the rules. But since you are disabled and you need his help, what can you do, you have no choice but to speak to him!", he said to her.
"- In other words, only for my self-interest?", my mother asked, distraught, as she also began to slowly see the true face of the organization.
The determining factor that would finally convince her presented itself during an incident with one of my uncles. He was the one who had sent us the money from America, when we were in dire straits. He was now back in Greece permanently. He was a “presbyter” of the organization and when he found out about my disfellowship, he wanted to help me to return to it. Thus he informed me that he was eager to meet with me and to help me. This however was to take place secretly. So we arranged to go to his home and that’s what we essentially did.
I expressed my appreciation for his initiative, since he seemed to be a man with noble sentiments. We began the discussion about 1914, but I quickly surmised that his level of knowledge did not permit him to understand such an intricate subject. Thus the discussion was transferred to the subject of the “great crowd”. In retrospect this is now my first choice of a topic in my discussions with “witnesses” which is simpler and more basic for them to understand.
When I proceeded to carefully analyze for him the first verses from the 7th chapter of the book of the Revelation, his face suddenly changed color. With his eyes popped out he asked:
"- Where did you learn this?"
"- From my study!", I answered. I showed him one more verse and then he suddenly threw the Holy Scripture on a nearby bed in a state of terror.
"- No, No! We cannot discuss this!" He said and he effused to be convinced no matter what I said. He was one more of these unfortunate slaves who loved the organization more than the truth.
After we returned home, my mother expressed the desire to depart from the organization. She was also disgusted by their hypocrisy and their terror to face the truth. I forewarned her about the treatment she would receive from the “followers of Watchtower” as disfellowshipped, but she was determined. Thus we composed together her letter of resignation. In it she was declaring that she no longer wishes to have a relation-ship with this organization after seeing their hypocrisy and their fear towards the truth. She expressed her deep sorrow for the forty years of her life she spent there, and she challenged them to discuss with me, in her presence, with the promise that if they had proof for their position, we would both return.
Of course, they did not respond to the invitation. Six months later my grandmother repeated this challenge in her own letter of departure, shedding the identity of a “witness”. Thus one year after my own disfellowship, three more people shook off the tyrannical yoke of this false religion: My mother, my grandmother and that man I had spoken to at the beginning, when I was still in the organization.
Simultaneously, I warned and stopped dozens of people who were ready to fall victims to the web of this religion, and I assisted dozens of others in their exodus from it. I had guided many people inside this organization. Now I needed to work out my atonement. I needed to help them escape from the deadly clutches of the “Watchtower”.