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Christ Is Lord
Free From Servitude - Testimony of Carl Yarbrough

It Is Truly Awesome To See The Lord's Will Be Done!

Testimony of Carl Yarbrough

Most of us grow up trusting in our parents, our teachers, the elders in our congregation. We look to them for help and guidance. But when it comes to matters of eternal life with our Lord Jesus Christ; who do you trust?

My parents were baptized as Jehovah Witnesses in 1947. They had just come through the trials of World War II. They were looking for structure and meaning in their lives. The Watchtower offered that, along with easy answers to any scriptural question that they could ask.

I grew up going to all the meetings each week, giving talks, going out in service on the weekends, vacation pioneering during the summer and attending those 8 day conventions that we all loved. We were active in the congregation and we had a lot of good friends. I had plans. I was going to pioneer and then go to Bethel and serve Jehovah, through the Watchtower, for the rest of my life.

Then something happened. It seemed like it came out of the blue without any warning, but looking back I can see that there were warning signs. My mother was disfellowshiped. My parents divorced. I was 16 and I decided to live with my Mother. She stopped going to meetings and so did I. No one called. All of my good friends stopped coming over. They didn't want to talk to me at school. Our carefully constructed life along with its false sense of security collapsed in an instant. I felt abandoned. Abandoned by my father, by my good friends and by Jehovah God. In self-defense, I withdrew. I decided that if that's the way they wanted to be, so be it.

I finished high school and started college. I dropped out of college after one year and I was drafted into the Army. I met Kim while in the Army in Korea. We got married and we have two sons. While the boys were growing up my wife, who had a Baptist, Buddhist background, wanted to take the boys to some kind of church. The only thing that I knew was the Jehovah's Witnesses and I didn't want to get involved with that again. So we did nothing about their spiritual education.

In 1980 my father suffered a sever heart attack. He was an elder in the Vallejo congregation in California and we were living in the Chicago area. My sons had never met their grandfather, mostly because I was still bitter about the divorce and how things had gone down during the break up. I thought that I should try and make amends and allow my children to get to know their grandfather before in was too late. So I arranged a job transfer to San Francisco.

My boys got to know their grandfather. He, being an elder, tried to talk me into going back to meetings and becoming a JW again. But I told him I wanted nothing to do with the Watchtower and I didn't want to discuss it any further.

He respected my wishes and never spoke about it again. In 1981 he had his last heart attack. During the funeral and during the family gathering afterward, my brothers and sisters tried talking me into coming back to the Watchtower. I felt bad about not having reconciled completely with my father and I agreed to start a "bible study" and started back attending meetings. Kim was happy with the Jehovah's Witnesses because they were so loving and so family oriented. The boys were happy with the new friends they were making and they didn't mind going out in service too much. They weren't happy about giving up birthdays and Christmas, but they went along with us.

As for myself I fell right back into the routine. Five meetings a week, field service on week ends, conventions and assemblies each year. I decided that If I was going to do this again I was going to give it 100%. After I got baptized I started Aux. Pioneering(60 hours per month door to door) after 6 months of that I started full time pioneering(90 hours per month). I pioneered for 3 years. At the same time my responsibilities in the congregation increased. I was appointed as a Ministerial Servant and then later as an Elder. During my eight years as an elder I was a book study conductor, Theocratic School Overseer and Watchtower conductor. I was active in giving public talks and have spoken at several assemblies.

I was active in field service and always tried to take the lead in the door-to-door work. I enjoyed talking with people about the Bible and the hope that Jehovah offers all believers. There were a couple of issues that I felt a little uncomfortable with. The main one was; I never felt comfortable with the Watchtower's view of Jesus. Another issue was the New World Translation. When I was growing up we always used the American Standard Translation, but now they were using this new translation and it was quite different from what I was used to. But I didn't let these "minor" things bother me too much I just went along with the program.

Once in a while in field service I would meet someone that really knew their Bible. I was able to go toe to toe with the best of them and I would never admit that they had a valid point nor would I concede any of my points. But after, when I was alone, I would think about what they had said and I would try to research their points. The Watchtower always had an answer. Which was very comforting. But I wanted to know why others saw the scriptures differently, why did they believe the way they did? Could they be right about the deity of Christ, the Trinity and other doctrines? I was afraid to find out. I knew what the Watchtower taught and I knew they were absolutely trust worthy. I knew that the Watchtower scholarship was pure and beyond question. Yet I wondered.

The society was very clear about going to outside sources. They strongly discouraged it. In fact in an article about those who dare question the Watchtower they said this:

*** w81 8/15 28-9 Serving Jehovah "Shoulder to Shoulder" ***
They do not want to serve "shoulder to shoulder" with the worldwide brotherhood. (Compare Ephesians 2:19-22.) Rather, they present a "stubborn shoulder" to Jehovah's words. (Zech. 7:11, 12) Reviling the pattern of the "pure language" that Jehovah has so graciously taught his people over the past century, these haughty ones try to draw the "sheep" away from the one international "flock" that Jesus has gathered in the earth. (John 10:7-10, 16) They try to sow doubts and to separate unsuspecting ones from the bounteous "table" of spiritual food spread at the Kingdom Halls of Jehovah's Witnesses, where truly there is 'nothing lacking.' (Ps. 23:1-6) They say that it is sufficient to read the Bible exclusively, either alone or in small groups at home. But, strangely, through such 'Bible reading,' they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines that commentaries by Christendom's clergy were teaching 100 years ago, and some have even returned to celebrating Christendom's festivals again, such as the Roman Saturnalia of December 25! Jesus and his apostles warned against such lawless ones.??t. 24:11-13; Acts 20:28-30; 2 Pet. 2:1, 22.

What is that "pure language" that Jehovah has taught His people in the past century? The Bible has been around for hundreds of centuries so they can't be talking about the Bible. They must be talking about the Watchtower publications. According to the Watchtower their publications are the "pure language" of Jehovah, not the Bible. Anyone who thinks otherwise is an apostate. I didn't want to be an apostate. But still, I had serious questions and I didn't have anyone to talk to about these questions.

I had noticed in the pages of the Watchtower that the society would offten use and referenced many different Bible translations and Bible commentaries and dictionaries. So I reasoned that if they could use them so could I. But this article made it clear that it was wrong to do so. I was confused and didn't know what to do so I did nothing and just let it slide.

Then one day out in field service someone asked me a simple question. Had the Watchtower ever made mistake in the past? And if so, could they be wrong about their teachings today? I knew that yes the Watchtower had made mistakes in the past but I had never thought about it like that before. Yes they could be wrong today if they had been wrong in the past. Maybe they weren't infallible after all. I knew they always said they were fallible, but they always spoke and taught dogmatically. They always insisted that they were to be believed and followed without question. But if they had been wrong in the past, it was possible that they could be wrong today.

So I decided that I would use the references that the Watchtower used. I figured that they would be safe ground, after all, they used them.

But the more research and study I did the more confused I became. The Watchtower and Christian Scholarship rarely agreed. Who was I to believe? Who could I trust? The answer was right in my hand. I was reading in the book of Proverbs 3:5

*** Rbi8 Proverbs 3:5-6 ***
5 Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding. 6 In all your ways take notice of him, and he himself will make your paths straight.

I had read this scripture many times and I had always equated it to Watchtower publications. But this time it became crystal clear. If I wanted true answers to my questions I must rely upon Jehovah, Jesus and the Holy spirit for guidance. I decided to take my confusion to God in prayer. I told our heavenly Father that it didn't matter to me if Jesus was God or not. I admitted that it was beyond me to figure out. The more I studied the more confused I became. I needed to know the truth, no matter what that truth was. I asked Jesus into my heart. I asked Him to fill me with His Holy Spirit. I asked Him to show me the truth.

From that point, I started studying the Bible differently. I started using the Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek text. I compared word for word the New World Translation with the literal English translation of the Greek. I began noticing some subtle but important deviations in the translation. Translators have some liberty when translating from one language to another, they are allowed to make minor changes to make the text more easily understandable but they are not permitted to make changes that actually change the meaning of the original text. I noticed that the Watchtower's translation had actually changed the meaning of the original text. One important example of this is the translation of the preposition "en". If you look and the binding page of the KIT, you will notice that there is a chart with a circle in it. In the circle and around the circle are Greek prepositions showing their relationship to the circle. This helps us to understand what the prepositions mean and how it is to be translated. The Greek preposition "en" is inside the circle. So we know that "en" means "inside of" and is usually translated simply "in." But the Watchtower has changed this simple preposition into the paraphrase "in union with." An example of this is at John 17:21 all references to the Father being in Christ and Christ being in each believer is obscured by the paraphrase "in union with." Why? Why take a simple preposition which is easily and correctly translated "in" and change it to a three word paraphrase? A word search on my computer showed that they had done this 104 times in the New Testament. I asked everyone that I knew about why they would do such a thing, but no one knew, or if they knew they weren't saying.

Then one day while I was reading a book by John Walvoord entitled "Jesus Christ Our Lord" he was discussing the attributes that make Jesus God. One of these attributes was the fact that Jesus said that He and the Father and the Holy Spirit are in each believer. If Jesus is in each believer then He must be omnipresent and if He is omnipresent then He must be God because only God is omnipresent.

Then it hit me why the Watchtower chose to paraphrase the preposition "in." they were trying to hide the fact that Jesus is indeed God, that the Father is indeed God and that the Holy Spirit is indeed God simply by the fact that they indwell each believer. Only God could do that.

The Watchtower would rather change the meaning of God's word than change their position on the deity of Christ and the Trinity. They must feel that their word is better and more correct than God's word. After all, they were the only ones given the "pure language of Jehovah in the past century." This realization shook me to my very foundation. This was clearly an act of sinning against the Holy Spirit, the only unforgivable sin.

I realized that I was in an apostate organization. The Watchtower had turned away from the true God long ago. They were just using God's word as a cover for their own interest. The question I had to face was, what was I going to do about it. All of my friends and family were JW's. Quitting would ruin my life and all the hard work I had done. But yet the truth couldn't be denied. So I stepped down as an elder and I stopped going out in service. But I wasn't strong enough at that time to disassociate. But I knew deep down that my days as a JW were numbered.

At about this time I got another wake up call. I was at work when I got a call from my wife that Jesse, our youngest son, had been admitted into the hospital and that he was in intensive care. It seems that he was suffering from a bleeding ulcer. He was living in his own apartment and had been sick for a couple of days. His older brother had tried to get in touch with him but couldn't and that worried him. He went over to Jesse's apartment and found him nearly unconscious. He rushed him to the hospital. It was bad. His blood count was around 9 and his blood pressure was null. The doctor told him that if he didn't take a blood transfusion he could die. Jesse refused the transfusion.

I came face to face with what I had taught this young man and what I had taught the congregation when we went through the Blood Booklet in the book study. On one hand I was proud that he had the courage of his convictions, but on the other hand I was ashamed of what I had taught him.

By the time that I got to the hospital the Elders were already there, making sure that he didn't take blood and if he did they would take action against him. I was still an Elder, so I was caught between a rock and a hard spot. I wanted to talk with Jesse, to convince him that Jehovah didn't want him to die. I wanted to tell him that the scriptures don't require his death. The Bible makes it clear that what is sacred about blood is the life that it maintains. Life is sacred to God. God gave his only begotten Son so that we might have life. But I couldn't speak to him about it.

As it turned out the doctors were able to stop the bleeding and they gave him blood expanders. He recovered. We were blessed that he was healthy enough to recover from so much blood loss. I was given a second chance to correct my error. I think that I was able to convince him to store his own blood in case this happened again. I wondered; what could give a 20 year old bleeding ulcers? Could it be the Watchtower life style?

Then two other things happened. In 1995 the Watchtower released the CD ROM and in December they made a major change in the 1914 doctrine.

Back in 1983 while I was doing street work someone came up to me and asked if I knew the Watchtower was using a spiritualist as a reference in defense of John 1:1 in the NWT. I asked who, he said Johannes Greber. I responded that yes I knew they referenced Johannes Greber but no I didn't know he was a spiritualist. He advised me to check it out, so I did. I looked up his name in the index. There were two references, none of these made any reference to him being a spiritualist so I just thought that the guy who told me was wrong and I forgot about it. Then later that year some one had asked the Watchtower why they had stopped using Greber in support of the NWT. In a "Readers Questions" article the Watchtower response was that they had used him in the past but in the 1980 edition of his Bible he stated that he had used his wife as a medium and had spoken to spirits who helped him with his translation. After finding this out the Watchtower stopped using him. That seemed reasonable to me, case closed.

Then one day while browsing in a used book store I happened upon a copy of Johannes Greber's translation, a 1937 edition. I read the introduction and in this edition he clearly said that he had used spirits to help him translate. I wondered if the Watchtower knew this. I couldn't prove it one way or the other so I just put in on the back burner.

When the Watchtower released their CD ROM I did a search of Greber's name and I came up with several hits going back as far and 1955. In 1955 the Watchtower had said:

*** w55 10/1 603 Part 3: What Do the Scriptures Say About "Survival After Death"? ***
It comes as no surprise that one Johannes Greber, a former Catholic clergyman, has become a spiritualist and has published the book entitled "Communication with the Spirit World, Its laws and Its Purpose." (1932, Macoy Publishing Company, New York)

In 1956 the Watchtower wrote:

*** w56 2/15 110-1 Triumphing over Wicked Spirit Forces ***
10 Says Johannes Greber in the introduction of his translation of The New Testament, copyrighted in 1937: "I myself was a Catholic priest, and until I was forty-eight years old had never as much as believed in the possibility of communicating with the world of God's spirits. The day came, however, when I involuntarily took my first step toward such communication, and experienced things that shook me to the depths of my soul. . . . My experiences are related in a book that has appeared in both German and English and bears the title, Communication with the Spirit-World: Its Laws and Its Purpose." (Page 15, Sec. 2, 3) In keeping with his Roman Catholic extraction Greber's translation is bound with a gold-leaf cross on its stiff front cover. In the Foreword of his aforementioned book ex-priest Greber says: "The most significant spiritualistic book is the Bible." Under this impression Greber endeavors to make his New Testament translation read very spiritualistic.

These articles make it very clear that the Watchtower knew that Greber was a spiritualist long before 1980. At first I thought that maybe the writer in 1983 hadn't done his home work. After all, 25 years is a long time ago maybe he just didn't know what had been written that long ago. I then looked in the new indexes to see if they made reference to these older articles. No, the index omitted all mention of the incriminating articles. There were only the two references that I had seen in 1983. This could not have been a mistake. The Watchtower prides themselves on the perfection of the indexes, they brag about how easy they make research because they contain all references to every person, place, or thing mentioned in any Watchtower publication.

It was painfully clear that they had lied about Greber and then they tried to cover it up by removing all incriminating references. My faith in the Watchtower took another big hit.

Then in December 1995 the Watchtower made a startling change in the 1914 doctrine. They had been teaching for the past 50 years that the 1914 generation was the generation Jesus spoke of in Mat 24:34 (Matthew 24:34) Truly I say to YOU that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur.

The 1914 generation would not pass away until the end had come. But the 1914 generation was getting very old and the end still had not come. So a change was needed. I had hoped that for once the Watchtower would be honest about their faulty chronology but that didn't happen. They simply changed the meaning of "this generation." It was no longer a specific generation but now it was a more generalized generation: the generation that is alive at the end. This was the way most Christians understood it in the first place. To support this change they used the same Christian commentaries that they condemned in the past. Obviously this was new light for the Watchtower, but it was very old light for most Christians. I wondered what other "light" Christians had that the Watchtower was blind to? I made it my resolve to find out.

It was obvious to me that the Watchtower could not be trusted. When the Bible proves Watchtower doctrine to be wrong, they simply change the Bible to suit their doctrine. When they make alliances with demon worshippers and get caught at it, they lie about it and try to cover it up. When Watchtower doctrine is proved false by the passing of time they simply change the doctrine to suit their needs.

I disassociated 1997. I knew that it would cost me. I knew that I would be branded as an apostate. I knew that it would cost me most of my relationships here on earth. However, I also knew that I would gain a very special relationship, a relationship that surpasses all other relationships, an eternal relationship with our Lord and our Saviour Jesus Christ.

I hope that others can learn from my experience. Ask yourself, who do you trust? Is your hope and trust in a human organization or do you put your hope and trust in a relationship with Jesus? He stands at the door of your heart wanting to come in. Trust in Him. Also, when something bothers you about what you are being taught, don't let it slide, don't be complacent. Don't just settle for the easy way. Take immediate action. Your eternal life depends upon it. (Ps 146:1-10, Rev 3:20)

God Is Love!