Home > Books & Book Reviews > Awakening of a Jehovah's Witness: Escape from the Watchtower Society -by Diane Wilson

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

February 26th, 2002 Leave a comment Go to comments

“The public needs to be warned,” says ex-Jehovah’s Witness Diane Wilson about the religion she once embraced. In Awakening of a Jehovah’s Witness: Escape from the Watchtower Society, Wilson recounts her quarter-century in the movement, making the usual case that the Society is a cult, that it exercises unhealthy control over the minds and behavior of its members and that it grooms followers to become victims.

Certainly, her story is sad, particularly the part about being encouraged to shun her own daughter for several months, but it is hardly a balanced or even very perceptive book. (One of the most interesting elements of the narrative is that Wilson seems to have transferred the near-divine authority that she once vested in her church to her therapist, whose words are sometimes reprinted here in boldface.) Sadly, few objective accounts exist about the Jehovah’s Witnesses; little stands in the middle between polemic and apologetic. Readers are left with classic studies such as M. James Penton’s Apocalypse Delayed, a rare book that seeks not just to discredit and refute the Watchtower, but to understand it.

Categories: Books & Book Reviews
  1. juliea dupre
    December 19th, 2011 at 14:55 | #1

    @juliea dupre
    i was told your daughter is happy get over your self

  2. juliea dupre
    December 19th, 2011 at 14:54 | #2
  3. Zaeb
    May 25th, 2011 at 11:48 | #3

    for all those that has all this negative talk about jehovah witnesses being a cult ….all religions are mind controling cults ….they all prey on your fears and sentimental sides … this world would be a much better place without religion and its false messages .

  4. ChristianPeper
    March 19th, 2011 at 21:20 | #4

    In 2004, I lived with a Jehovah’s Witness roommate that slowly, through fear, manipulation, love bombing, and blackmail ended up controlling me. The Jehovah’s Witness Watchtower organization can rightly be called a “Cult” because it uses the psychological tools of mind control. I feel for all those that have lost loved ones to this organization.

  5. June 6th, 2010 at 17:21 | #5


    am sorry to hear such a sad story about your life. Please contact me at 1876- 298-1714 as soon as you can. I will make sure i call you back, i just want your number. Nevertheless look to God and he WILL help you.

  6. carol
    September 20th, 2009 at 14:59 | #6

    hello there I have been away from the witness for a year and half. It is difficult to stop thinking the way they do. Iwas dedicated to the organization in 1974, and in 20007 ended it. I had a talk with someone who was an elder in one of congreagations I use to go to. He was raised up in it , a good friend to with my kids. So he was around me and my kids all the time. So when we finally found each other last year he began to tell me things. I can’t begin to tell u how upset I became. To the point that I called my son who is in the Navy and told him I was so sorry for taking him to kindom hall. Also I hadn’t talked to mydaughter for 8 years, then on mothers day 2007 she called me. I told her I was upset with the organiztion . I also told her i was so sorry for the pain it cause her. Let me tell u it is still so hard for me. My husband of just 4 months is a christian, he reads king James. I have a difficult time but am trying to be resonable. I want so much to know what really is the truth. I know witness is a business only!! The president only care about money and power, he calls all the shots. Nothing is publishe that he doesn’t oversee. If anyone doesn’t like it they are soon to be put out of the organization. The scares I have are so deep. My daughter had tried to kill her self 2 times when she was 13, 16. I have a beautiful grandson that I love . My daughter wasn’t married when she had him, The witnesses gave me hell over all of it . No support, lost my marriage of 20 years my son went int the Navy. So seems I have lived in hell for a long time and I want to stop it. Please help me !!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  7. Sonja Cowart
    October 19th, 2007 at 19:32 | #7

    My daughter has become a Jehovah’s Witness, and her five year old son as well. They have left our home town in Missouri and moved to Florida to get away from the family. Her e-mail is cindiroo@hotmail.com and anyone who can help her return to the person, who loved God AND her family, it would be greatly appritiated. She still loves us, but seems to shun us and be “different”. I have a great deal of difficulty believing that God encourages us to leave our loved ones behind. I also have a hard time believing that “paradise earth” is our highest hope, I believe in Heaven.
    Sonja Cowart

  8. Ruth the Ex-Witness
    April 29th, 2007 at 03:54 | #8

    I read Diane Wilson’s book. She did well getting her story across. As an ex-Jehovah’s Witness I felt some of the things she comments on were exaggerated and made more significant than I found to be true. Though there is a lot of various experiences with in the JW’s community some better than others. I applaud her in having the courage to tell her story, it is not easy.

    I am one of the unfortunate JW’s who had a child to die because of the blood policy. Had he received a blood transfusion in time my son would not have likely died. I appreciate very much those who speak out about this wicked policy concerning blood transfusions never being used to save a life. One day maybe those foolish and ignorant men called the Governing Body will wake up and change it.

    The book is excellent and well worth reading for anyone who has had the cult experience.

  9. Anonymous
    February 7th, 2007 at 17:34 | #9

    Here is an excerpt from chapter 3 in Diane’s book.
    Believe me,it’s true and it’s hilarious!

  10. Dr Thaddeus Irvine
    June 23rd, 2006 at 16:08 | #10

    Hi Diane!

    Great book!

    A ‘must’ read!!!!



  11. October 24th, 2005 at 08:58 | #11

    Awakening of a Jehovah’s Witness, an excellent book….

    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.

    Diane’s story tells of how she nearly lost her baby due to Watchtower error, suffered medical mishaps due to the societies misunderstanding, had her mother / daughter relationship taken away, then had to treat her daughter like she was dead when her daughter rebelled and left the Watchtower. Diane tells of the fake enticing love she was shown before she committed to become a Witness, and the cold hard treatment she received as soon as she was baptized. She shows how she was coached to smile and shut up, even though everything in her was screaming to get out. She shows how the Watchtower not only enslaves your mind, but also controls your body and spirit. She skillfully weaves some of the watchtowers thought stopping techniques into her story and we can recognize it when we minister to witnesses. A good example is found on page 95:

    “If you have doubts about the organization, it is because Satan is causing the doubts; however, because Satan only attacks true Christians, your having doubts proves that the organization is the truth!”

    Incredible logic!. Her thoughts began to fold in on themselves and this is shown in many examples where she became nothing more than an automation for the Watchtower. She explains also on pg 95:

    …I succeeded in burying my doubts and disagreements to the point of feeling I had none.

    and on page 103:

    Constantly repressing my true feelings, submitting to the organization, and putting up mental roadblocks to avoid death-dealing independent thinking was a lot of hard work which resulted in my feeling stripped of my own personality and little more than an automation.

    Diane put up with this for 25 years, fear being the force that kept her there. She shows how Jehovah’s Witnesses have no assurance of salvation, and strive constantly to work harder in case the vengeful god of the Watchtower should be displeased with them and destroy them at Armageddon (which is always just a short time away, so work hard!). She illustrates this on Pg97 with the image they were given of a man rowing and struggling in a small boat about to be swept over a large waterfall and the terror on his face, and that unless he rowed harder he would be destroyed. These kinds of images litter watchtower publications. Along with the picture given, we are told the elders used to ask “How do you know if Jehovah has forgiven you?” to which they would reply “You won’t know until Armageddon, but we have to keep trying, or else we will be truly lost”. What a contrast to the teaching of Jesus who said “Come to Me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest”.

    Later in the book Diane begins to give more insights into the Watchtowers zig zagging doctrinal positions on many medical issues, much of which are neglected by other researchers, and are invaluable information for those in the medical profession (eg: May Witnesses accept Hemodillution in lieu of a blood transfusion?). She pulls back the cloak of darkness the Watchtower doublespeak uses to confuse the media into thinking they had lifted bans, making things a matter of conscience. The ‘matter of conscience’ she shows us, really means “Do this and you will never ever see paradise, your family and friends will never talk to you again and Jehovah god will destroy you and you can’t come into one of our Kingdom Halls again or associate with another Jehovah’s Witness”. Certainly an easy choice to make isn’t it, especially when life hangs in the balance!.

    If there’s one thing this book has given me, someone who’s studied and taught about the Jehovah’s Witnesses for over 11 years, it’s an insight into the minds, the fears, the double thinking and emotional suppression Watchtower victims suffer. I believe this is a classic and should be on the shelf of every counselor and pastor that deals with Jehovah’s Witnesses, and ex Jehovah’s Witnesses. To those in different countries where I have taught classes about cults, I recommend this book, not only for it’s insights into Watchtower life and mindset, but for insights into any mind controlling cult, it is a classic example.

    Diane, this is a masterpiece, your heart shows through this and it says to every Jehovah’s Witness “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed”. To any Witness who reads this review, Diane doesn’t hate you, she isn’t spreading propaganda, she isn’t an apostate walking in darkness under the control of Satan, she wrote this because she understands you and loves you, and knows how it feels to be trapped in circular reasoning, thought suppression and fear to the point of having dangerous physical manifestations. She wrote this book out of the love of Christ that is truly in her and she wants to share with others
    Shaun Aisbitt

  1. No trackbacks yet.
Subscribe to comments feed Note:To prevent comment-SPAM it's not possible anymore to post links in comments. Sorry for any inconvenience caused by this measure.