Awakening of a Jehovah's Witness: Escape from the Watchtower Society

Awakening of a Jehovah's Witness: Escape from the Watchtower Society



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Awakening of a Jehovah's Witness: Escape from the Watchtower Society by Diane Wilson

This tale of mind control, the use of fear to manipulate vulnerable people, and final escape from a suffocating cult environment is a revealing exposé of a secretive contemporary sect, as well as a true psychological thriller. Diane Wilson spent twenty-five precious years of her life, first becoming indoctrinated by the dogma of the Watchtower Society, and then struggling to free herself from its pervasive, intimidating clutches. In this probing, brutally honest assessment, Wilson describes how a childhood of psychological abuse and lack of self-confidence rendered her vulnerable to the seductive doctrines of the Jehovah's Witnesses. 

What she reveals about the goings-on within the closed Watchtower Society will shock the average person who assumes the polite, well-dressed people who pass out leaflets are much like any other conservative religious group. Wilson contends that membership in the Jehovah's Witnesses requires obedience bordering on psychological enslavement and complete suppression of individuality. Her engrossing memoir will be of great interest to former Witnesses, students of cult phenomena, and anyone who has ever had contact with Jehovah's Witnesses.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781573929424
Publisher: Prometheus Books
Publication date: 04/28/2002
Pages: 300
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Diane Wilson (Morgan Hill, CA) now works as a professional Sign Language Interpreter for the Deaf. More on her and her book can be found at

Table of Contents

Endorsement by Don Nelson
Endorsement by Rev. Peter Barnes
Foreword by Jerry Bergman, Ph.D., MSBS, L.P.C.C.
1. Groomed To Be A Victim
2. Hooked
3. Abusive Love
4. The Watchtower Society Plays God
5. "You Shall Know My Disciples By The Love They Show"
6. Excuses, Excuses, Excuses
7. Truth or Consequences
8. The Rubber Band Cycle
9. My Struggle to Stay In the Organization
10. Awakening
11. Compassion
12. My Struggle to Get Out of the Organization
13. Hiding Behind A Screen
14. Leaving The Guidebook Behind
15. The Vision
16. The Shoe Fits: A Cult-like Organization
17. Now You See It, Now You Don't: False Prophecies
18. Playing Follow-The-Leader: Zigzagging Doctrines That Affect Lives
19. The Guise of Spiritual Authority
20. Codependency Held Me Hostage
21. The Illusion of Choice: Mind Control
22. The Final Hurdles
23. The Last Straw: Rape
24. Escape!
25. Conclusion
26. Epilogue
Author Recommended Reading List
Appendix A, "Why Couldn't She Just Leave?" by Jerry Bergman, Ph.D., MSBS, L.P.C.C
Appendix B, "Discussion of Watchtower Beliefs" by Jerry Bergman, Ph.D., MSBS, L.P.C.C.

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Awakening of a Jehovah's Witness: Escape from the Watchtower Society 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 48 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My goodness what a truely refreshing book! I speak from experience I was once blindfolded for many years and claimed to be the only religion that lead to salvation in paradise. I was told who to associate with, how to dress and never to read any other literature that was not written by the Watchtower, discouraged from attending college and so much more. Oh and if your no longer a believer your branded an apostate never to be spoken to again, my own mother and sister haven't spoken to me in a long time. Bravo to the writer. We need more people strongminded who will not be psychologically bullied to step forward. And for those of you who down play the religion I understand because your still being brainwashed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Refreshing, the Truth of the truth! I wish I knew the author myself. We have a great deal in common. I did not want to stop reading. I appreciate the courage it had taken to be so candid! This book was healing to me! Mary
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was considering studying with the JW's because I really wanted to learn about the Bible. I was advised to read to this book by a young man whom I had just met at a book fair. he was a Reborn Again Christian, and I had discussed my interest in studying with the JW's with him. Everything in this book pointed to the real 'Truth' about Jehovah's Witnesses. This book is so well written, and gives a very true and poignant account of the author and her struggle to free herself from a cult. This is a true story of a former JW who for 25 yrs devoted her life to this religion, and not a disgruntled former member, as the Witnesses would have liked me to believe. I recommend this book for anyone considering studying with the JW's, and for all that are finding it almost impossible to break free from their grip. I still have not found what I am looking for in terms of Bible study, but I'm sure if I pursue it long enough, I will find it. In short, the WatchTower Society is without question a cult, though subtle in it's approach, and something to very much be aware of.
Stilokay More than 1 year ago
For those of you who are still blinded by the lies of the Watchtower Society, why don't you study the history of your own religion then you  give an unbiased opinion.  You will never find the real truth until you stop believing that The Watchtower Society is God's Organization...  A great book to read about this is "Captive of a Concept" by Don Cameron.  I guarantee you that you will NO Longer Be A Jehovah's Witness.  Other books that are equally excellent are:  Crisis of Conscience by Raymond Franz, 30 Years a Watchtower Slave and many other good books that just expose the Watchtower false teachings since they started in the late 18th hundreds... Don't be blind by your own illusion....
sassypickle More than 1 year ago
When I was a child, my heart ached with sorrow and fear whenever grandma would proclaim that she will receive everlasting life after Armageddon while the rest of her family will die because they did not learn The Truth. Today it sickens me that a person can become so deeply manipulated - to the point that, in some or most situations, that person does not think independently but keeps on reciting and believing garbage instilled into them by another human being. The Watchtower Society has definitely had some impact on me and my family, and I finally took it upon myself to learn in more detail about this "religion" which managed to infiltrate every part of our world. A "religion" which caused, and continues to cause, a dear family member to make some senseless decisions. The Society has always claimed that they teach "The Truth," but The Society's doctrines change constantly. For instance, on the topic of "accepting treatments involving blood fractions," The Society has changed its views at least 13 times during the span of just 44 years about whether or not Witnesses were allowed to use blood fractions. Ms. Wilson provides plenty of examples of the ever-changing doctrines and contradicting teachings. I find the book to be well written and most importantly, the facts well-researched. It is apparent to me that Ms. Wilson put a lot of effort into creating this incredible recollection of her life as a Witness. A nice addition to the book is Appendix A, "Why Couldn't She Just Leave," which provides a brief history of The Watchtower. Having been exposed to Jehovah's Witnesses' beliefs since I was little, I felt as if I could relate to what Ms. Wilson was going through, even though I never became a Witness myself. Overall, a very informative and moving book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thank the author for a book like this. The Watchtower has it clutches over millions of goodhearted people who follow it's well disguised lies. These people (JW's) truly believe that they are the only true Christians yet do not have the ability to experience a real relationship with their God. The Watchtower does not allow for them to accept the Holy spirit and in doing so, it makes them cut off from God. The most sad part it the members of this cult will only learn of what they are missing by seeking on their own, independent from the Watchtower propaganda...which leads to disfellowship. (Once you find out that your God is available to you without the translation of the Watchtower society, you might come back and let your friends and loved ones in on the little secret.) The indoctrination and alienation they subject the children to is almost unforgivable. Thank you for tackling this otherwise 'politically incorrect' subject matter.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Why is it all comments from all practicing Jehovah's Witnesses sound 'canned,' and reflect what psychologist, Eric Fromme states as 'automated conformity,' and its dangers. Fromme, as well, came from a very religious family, Orthodox Jew, but his father was cold and distant, ( the puritanical family structure) and his mother was depressed. Too bad Jehovah's Witnesses can't look beneath the complicated human root structure and dynamics beneath their religion, and realize, just memorizing scriptures, and being a prop in the script for the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society isn't totally what spirituality is all about. These past members have these experiences in this group, and should talk about them without being labled. Does the organization and its members want them to lie?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Author Diane Wilson has succeeded in writing a brilliant book that hits the bullseye, in terms of exposing the truly important things that would-be Jehovah's Witnesses need to know before committing their life to the Watchtower organization. Things that could cost them their lives. Things that the Watchtower tries to keep hidden. Things that need to be understood before one succumbs to the Watchtower's brainwashing. Read this book. You'll thank God that you did.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have suffered for years under the heavy oppression of the Watchtower Society. This book, especially the chapter 'The Guise of Spiritual Authority', has been the answer to my prayers! It has opened my eyes to see that the Watchtower Society's claim of being God's sole channel of communication to humankind has no basis in fact. For as much as the Watchtower puffs that they speak for God, there is absolutely no proof of God giving the Watchtower Divine Authority. Thank you, Diane, for releasing me from the bondage of the Watchtower.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jehovah's Witness leaders have been through a whirlwind of constantly changing beliefs, as this impeccably researched book clearly demonstrates. They claim God is the source of these changes, which are presented to Jehovah's Witnesses as 'New Light' from God. Included in the 'New Light' are also unique medical 'Truths' claimed to issue from God, as well. Examples of such are often hilarious, such as: 'Tonsillectomy is worse than suicide', 'The medical profession is demonized', 'Germs don't cause disease--disease is caused by wrong vibrations!', 'Radium cures what ails you', and many more. Watchtower leaders claimed that God told them these and other medical 'truths', which ended up costing some of the religion's members their lives. Probably not many people are aware of this comical, but tragic, aspect of Jehovah's Witness doctrine. If you think these things are hard to believe, think again, because the author has included full detailed documentation references of all her quotes. Read this book! It is an eye-opener.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For those of you with questions regarding the Jehovah's Witnesses, this will give you all the information you need and then some. You will learn about its beliefs, policies, and origin. Diane Wilson is speaking from her heart and draws upon her own personal experiences as a Jehovah's Witness. And, as a woman, she shares many experiences unique to being a woman, a wife, and a mother in this religion. If you are thinking about joining the Watchtower Society, read this first-hand account before you make this decision. If you have recently left the Watch Tower Society, you will find comfort in knowing that you weren't the only one suffering inside with self-doubt and fear. And you will also learn that, like Diane Wilson, you can live a joyful and productive life without the burden of the Watchtower Society.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is about one woman's escape from the Watchtower. If someone no longer wants to be one of Jehovah's Witnesses, he or she can not just quit going to the meetings like other religions. The elders will often visit you and pressure you to return to the fold under threat of being destroyed at the very soon coming battle of Armageddon, or they may even threaten you with disfellowshipping, i.e. excommunication. As Ms. Wilson demonstrates, if you have a family, the threat of disfellowshipping can be very traumatic. One who is disfellowshipped can no longer have any normal association with one's family and all of your friends that are Witnesses. This is especially painful because Witnesses are not permitted to have friends on the outside. Many people who study religion have concluded that Jehovah's Witnesses are a secretive cult because, even though all of their church meetings are open to the public, they have secretive meetings involving the elders where they judge members of the congregation--and, from my research, if the elders turn against you, they can be absolutely vicious. It is true that cults tend to follow a man (or in the case of Christian Science and a few other groups, a woman). Even though the Witnesses claim that their leader is Jesus Christ and his father, Jehovah, they in fact do follow a man--a composite man, i.e. the elite Governing Body---as Ms. Wilson shows. When I was at Bethel (Watchtower world headquarters in New York city), it was said the writing staff can argue all they want about a doctrine in a new Watchtower magazine, but when the Watchtower issue was approved by President Knorr, it is truth and not to be questioned. As for the charge of mind control, the Watchtower does control what one can read and if one's ideas move too far from orthodoxy one can be disfellowshipped, no small threat. And as for the freedom that they enjoy, Ms. Wilson does a good job of documenting the many extra laws regarding such things as dress, and even if a Woman must scream if she is raped in order to avoid being disfellowshipped. Jehovah's Witnesses do have some freedom but many decisions are made according to the Watchtower rules, not one's personal conscience. And, as Ms. Wilson documents, Jehovah's Witnesses are hardly the happiest people on earth today. As most all of the reviewers note, this book does give a very accurate picture of the Jehovah's Witnesses today.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a counter-cult counselor who has helped many escape from cultlike religions, including the Jehovah's Witnesses. The author's experiences ring true, as several of the Jehovah's Witnesses who came to me for help had experienced similar manipulative, controlling techniques at the hands of the Watchtower Society during their years as a Witness. One reason that many people find it impossible to leave these religions is because they are unknowinly under the influence of the religion's mind control tactics. Diane was unwittingly held in the Watchtower, despite her desire to leave it, because of this. As her book unfolds her research about cults, mind control, and Watchtower history, she realized what was holding her in and thus was able to escape the hold this religion had on her. Her experiences as a Jehovah's Witness show how the Watchtower weaves a sticky web around its converts that makes leaving it extremely difficult. Her excellent documented research of the Watchtower Society's own literature is the key that will release many from bondage to the Watchtower.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read Diane Wilson's 'Awakening of a Jehovah's Witness: Escape from the Watchtower Society' and found it quite enlightening. She has obviously done a great deal of research and as I read each chapter, I felt her pain and then her strength as she transformed herself from being a victim in this organization in to a woman of strength and peace of mind. Having been subjected to the J.W. teachings by neighbors and co-workers and that infamous knock on the door, it is nice to be able to site the hypocracy of their belief system by quoting their bible and the teachings of their elders. Her research was very well documented and her sense of humor throughout the book made it easy and enjoyable reading. I have been told often by J.W.'s that they are obviously the chosen people because the Bible identifies 'Jehovah's Witnesses'. To learn in Ms. Wilson's book that that name was not even adopted until the 1930's, over fifty years after the 'religion' was founded is more proof of the manipulation imbedded in their teachings. This book is so informative that I wish I could be a fly on the wall to hear how the organization will apply their form of logic to negate the many quotes taken directly from their written material. Since reading her book, I have kept it nearby my door and when J.W.'s have knocked, I open the door with the book in hand. I now think my address has been removed from their list. This is a great book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wilson's book is an affirmation of the silent dismissal that JW women were forced to endure. It also paves the way for understanding how self-appointed prophets get away with unconscienable deeds of supressing independent thought and successfully denies the freedom of having a relationship with God without going through their organization first. Wilson speaks the truth and it cannot be ignored. This book is a must read. Thanks to Wilson, I no longer have any doubts that leaving the JW's was the right thing to do.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think it is important for people reading these reviews to know that it is highly unlikely that the current Witnesses who have blasted this book have even read it. Jehovah's Witnesses are forbidden to read material written by 'apostates' (former Witnesses), at the risk of being disfellowshipped (excommunicated) themselves. Current Witnesses are merely engaging in attempts at damage control - not actually reviewing the book. This in itself is an example of the extreme amount of control that the Watchtower Society has over its members. Those who fault the book for being 'unbalanced' do not understand the dynamics of a high control religious group. Even the plain truth sounds unbelievable. Balance is difficult if not impossible to achieve. This is an excellent biography of someone who was a member of a high control religious group, and gives important insights on the inside workings of such groups.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have just read this book and the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders! Thank you Diane for helping me realize what I have always known but was afraid to admit. I am the gay son of a strict JW family and was brainwashed in thinking I was evil and I will die a torturous death. This horrible religion is all based on fear and manipulation. Diane is a honest and intelligent woman who struggled her way out of this horrible cult and after years of brainwashing and fighting your own personal demons this is an amazing achievement. I wept as I read Diane's heartfelt outcry to her psychologist ' how can I fight against the word of what god says' his simple reply was that ' you are fighting against what they say the word of god is'. This book is an absolute must for any guilt ridden non JW's in a JW family. The tables will certainly turn once you finished this book and you will soon realize how lucky you are to be a intelligent human being who wont be dictated to by mere mortal men.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thank the author for her extremely well-written, well-researched book. My adult daughter had been studying with Jehovah's Witnesses, and as a result of their influence, had isolated herself from the entire family. Fortunately I saw this book in the bookstore and bought it for her. At least my daughter had the presence of mind to read it before becoming a Witness. Diane's documented research of the Watchtower organization cannot be argued with, because she specifies exactly down to the page number what JW book she is quoting from. My daughter read with astonishment the Watchtower's many vascillating doctrines--some of which JWs had died obeying--because the Witnesses who were teaching her had not revealed this important information to her. I am relieved to say this wonderful book was instrumental in saving my daughter from being caught up in this destructive cult-like religion.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Diane Wilson gives an excellent idea of life behind the Watchtower walls. She correctly describes the stifling spiritual wasteland in this religious publishing company. There is some excellent information in the book which is well documented. Active Jehovah's Witnesses may find the book critical of their organization but they are trained to ignore what those who have left have to say. Those who are studying with the Witnesses or have family members who are involved will gain a rare glimpse into the mindset of Witnesses. In fact most active JWs will not even read the book but will claim (as they are taught to do) that it is full of lies designed specifically to make them look bad. Sadly this actually reinforces the points that the author makes about the control the Watchtower Organization has over its members. While the story is from a woman's perspective men will probably enjoy the clear, factual and unemotional perspective the author uses to present her story. Lee Marsh
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was a JW for 32 years and left last year after hearing about the child abuse issue (not covered in this book). Diane's story is VERY accurate. The mind control keeps one from seeing it until one has left the organization. JW's fit every characteristic of a cult or high mind control religion. It is difficult to leave unless you want to lose your friends and family who are JW's. You DO NOT just walk away from this religion. The indoctrination is so deep that it takes years to lead a normal life again. Diane's story is similiar to thousands of others who have left the JW's.In my opinion,this book will appeal for the most part to those who have left JW's as they can see through the mind control and deception; others are still too blinded to see the real truth. Those who haven't personally been a part of this organization will probably not understand the feelings and frustrations that Diane felt.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Diane's display of courage and perservance ultimatly served her well. Although the eyes of her mine were open to what she felt was the truth the manipulative powers that existed kept her from seeking the absolute truth. Thank God she woke up just in time. Of all the books I've read this ranks up there. I throughly recomend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Some people discover a talent late in life they were not aware of like Grandma Moses the painter. Diane Wilson is a very gifted writer, but her former lifestyle would have suppressed any individuality and creativeness she had. Her gift for writing and communicating was only discovered after she left the Watchtower. Her true inner feelings and writing come across in her book 'Awakening of a Jehovah's Witness'. When I first became aware of her book I was excited, not because it was another book that showed why the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society was cultic, but because it dealt with the feelings and emotions of a person who was trapped in a domineering society. Too many books on Jehovah's Witnesses just rehash the same failed prophecies, show where the society has changed their version of the Bible and show how to answer Jehovah's Witnesses. Most are cold theological discourses which don't deal with the emotional / mental / spiritual state of the Watchtower Victim. Diane Wilson's book though is different, and a well needed breath of fresh air for those of us who have a calling to research and help people out of cults, especially counselors. It is a hard book to put down, like an adventure novel it flows from one situation to the next and you feel you are almost there with her. You can live her journey with her through the Watchtower Society, see the twisted poison she is being fed, the lies she starts to believe and you want to call out to her 'Don't listen to them!'. You want to slap the ministry servants and elders of the Kingdom Hall she attends when they feed her uninformed medical opinions and cause her untold anguish and pain. You're praying for her when she begins to question and doubt all she has been told. This isn't just a book, this is an experience revealed through the eyes and mind of a Watchtower slave.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book gave me wonderful insight into the heart and mind of a Jehovah's Witness. This work is a valuable resource for anyone wanting to better understand the plight of those who go door-to-door for the Watch Tower Society.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great book for anyone interested in or having famly members in the jehovah's witnesses! Very balanced and meticulously researched & documented. A Must Read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a fantastic book for anyone who wants to know just how controlling the Watchtower Society can be and the emotional toll of giving control of your life and thoughts to people who clearly have an agenda and little concern for how their policies and rules affect people in the real world. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has the courage to find out what really happens within this organization who's followers attempt to paint such a rosy picture of life as a witness when they come to your door. Having been raised as a witness, I have seen first hand exactly what Diane portrays in her book. It took great courage to write this book and to share so candidly the personal pain that was caused in her life.