Thursday, May 29, 2008

More Tom Cabeen :-)

In addition to the interview on EWTN Catholic Cable Television that I blogged about earlier, Tom was recently interviewed by Randy Watters of Freeminds. Randy and Tom have been friends for over three decades. Randy is an Evangelical Christian and Tom is Roman Catholic. Although their viewpoints on some subjects differ, they have great respect for each other.

The two-part interview can be found here:

Watt n' Cab

The page also includes a link to an article that Tom wrote regarding the Catholic doctrine of Hell, Tom's recommended reading list, and other goodies.

I am told that additional resources may be added later.

Check it out!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

From My Father's House to My Husband's House

The Divine Victory International Conventions of 1973 were eagerly anticipated events. With 1975 looming large on the horizon, many of us thought that these might be the last large conventions the Society would be able to hold before Armageddon. The convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico was scheduled for September. My girlfriend and I worked hard getting ready for the trip. I made all my clothes, and my parents loaned me a suitcase. I eagerly anticipated my first ever plane ride -- from Miami, Florida to San Juan, Puerto Rico. I was 20 years old, and this was the most exciting thing that I had ever done.

We were, of course, looking forward to the convention itself and to receiving whatever new books would be released. International conventions were always opportunities for new information to be made available, and this one would be no exception. But twenty-year-old girls have other things on their minds too, and I was a girl ;-). I was not allowed to date anyone who was not a Jehovah's Witness, since dating in the Witnesses is only for the purpose of finding a marriage mate and interfaith marriages are strongly discouraged. Since our congregations in Kentucky were small and young people (of both sexes) were relatively few, conventions always provided an opportunity to meet new friends and "check the brothers out". And this time we were going all the way to exotic Puerto Rico!!

I can't tell you without doing research what books were released at that convention. I can't tell you who the speakers were, besides N. H. Knorr and Fred Franz on the English side and Ray Franz on the Spanish side. But I can tell you this -- I met the love of my life in Puerto Rico in September of 1973.

He was a young fellow from Pennsylvania who had been baptized barely a year. He had come along with his best friend and the best friend's family (just as I had). He was a little shy. He waited until the night before we had to go home before he finally asked me out to dinner!

It took two completely full taxis to take all the people to dinner who accompanied us on our very first date. Jehovah's Witnesses believe in chaperoned dates, but even so this was a little much! The first question he asked me, in the taxi cab, was "What is your nationality?" My answer, of course, was "American, what else?" My date was Italian American. His grandparents had come to the U.S. on a boat; his father had been born in this country. Everyone in his family was Catholic, except him. He had left the Catholic Church to become a Jehovah's Witness.

I was fascinated by my new boyfriend. I was also amused by the irony of the situation -- I had gone all the way to Puerto Rico just to meet and fall in love with an Italian kid from Pennsylvania ;-). He didn't waste any time "following up" after we got back to the States. In December he proposed, in January he moved to Kentucky and I finally accepted. In April we were married in the Kingdom Hall. Most of his large Italian Catholic family came all the way to Kentucky for our wedding, which took place on the night before Easter. Of course, I had absolutely no idea of the significance of the Easter Vigil in April 1974. We planned the wedding for that weekend to allow Fred's family to have plenty of traveling time.

When I finally had time to sit down and think about things, I marveled at the fact that Fred's family was so loving to us both. They traveled almost 400 miles to be present at our wedding, put up with our Eastern Kentucky social graces (much different from their ways of doing things), and showered us with gifts and hugs and kisses. They never complained for a second even though I was later to find that they had never heard of a wedding reception without a dinner or without an opportunity for guests to dance with the Bride.

As the years went by and we all got to know each other much better, I came to truly love these wonderfully accepting folks. At the same time, may the Lord forgive me, I was constantly trying to figure out how I could turn them all into Jehovah's Witnesses. I felt that their genuine love and caring for us somehow had to be "in spite of" their Catholicism, since everything I had ever been taught about the Catholic religion was about how bad it was. I even had a thick notebook of research that my grandfather had put together documenting all the sins and travesties of the Catholic Church. So these wonderful people, I was sure, had to be the exception. I just happened to marry into a family of really nice Catholics, and I was sure it would not be long until all or most of them were Jehovah's Witnesses just like me.

Funny how life turns out sometimes...

Next: Marriage and Children

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Monday, May 19, 2008

Former Jehovah's Witness Tom Cabeen on The Journey Home (EWTN) Tonight!

My good friend Tom Cabeen will be Marcus Grodi's guest this evening on The Journey Home on EWTN. If you don't get cable television, you can watch the show live on the web at:

http://www.ewtn.com/

Tom and I have been corresponding for over a year and he has been a great help to me on my personal journey.

Please lift up Tom in your prayers today, and also all those who might listen and be moved by the Holy Spirit to find the One, Holy, Catholic Church.

NOTE 5/31/08 -- The archived audio of the show can be heard here:

The Journey Home -- 5/19/08 -- Marcus Grodi and Tom Cabeen

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Be Not Afraid, I go before you always

I've had this hymm playing in my head all morning. I found this while looking for all the words (some I couldn't remember).

Enjoy!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

If you are looking for answers --

If you are looking for answers --

Are you sure you are asking the right questions?

Introductions -- conclusions -- leading questions -- rhetorical questions: All these were elements of the "theocratic" training that I received every week as one of Jehovah's Witnesses. Equipped with books like Make Sure of All Things and its successor Reasoning from the Scriptures, I went forth to knock on the doors of my neighbors with the very sincere intention of bringing them the "good news of the kingdom". I was fully convinced that this was a life-saving work.

Repeatedly, through the pages of Watchtower and other publications, the leadership of Jehovah's Witnesses asserted that 1) God's Kingdom had come in 1914, with Jesus arriving invisibly and continuing to be present, 2) a great work of separating the "sheep" from the "goats" was being done by those who recognized the invisible arrival and presence of Jesus in his Kingdom, and 3) based on Jesus' words in Matthew ("this generation will not pass away"), the war of the great day of God the Almighty was imminent (Armageddon).* In the late 1960s and early 1970s, a Biblical timetable was drawn up and distributed through the pages of several publications (including Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God (1966) and Then is Finished the Mystery of God (1969)) that pointed to 1975 as the end of 6,000 years of human history AND THE BEGINNING OF THE THOUSAND YEAR REIGN OF CHRIST.

The beginning of the thousand year reign of Christ presupposed the fulfillment of Bible prophecies regarding the Battle of Armageddon, a war in which God would destroy all the wicked, all the “goats” who had refused to listen to the “good news” being proclaimed by Jehovah’s Witnesses. As I walked from door to door in field service in nice neighborhoods, I was sometimes shocked to hear my companion say something like, “THAT is the house I want to live in after Armageddon!!”. It did not seem very Christian to me to be anticipating the sudden apocalyptic death of our neighbors. (For further information about what the Witnesses taught about the year 1975, see “What Happened in 1975?” ).

In between the release of these two publications, the book The Truth that Leads to Eternal Life was released in 1968 amid much fanfare. Small in size and distributed for the small price of $0.25, this book was intended to form the basis for a six month Bible study program that Jehovah's Witnesses were urged to conduct in the homes of all interested persons. We were told that "Jehovah is speeding up the work" because "the end is near".

As my high school graduation in 1970 approached, I was torn between the hopes and expectations of my teachers and counselors and the admonition of my parents. As I was a good student, my teachers and counselors were very much in favor of my going to college. Because I was the recipient of a national award in my junior year, I received numerous scholarship offers from colleges all over the country. My father, however, was determined that I should devote myself to the “preaching of the good news”, especially in view of the “times and seasons” in which we believed we lived. Attending college would have meant forsaking my family and striking out completely on my own. I had never openly disobeyed my parents; following my graduation (as fourth in my high school class), I began full-time service as a “pioneer”, devoting one hundred hours per month to the door-to-door and Bible study ministry.

I was very successful as a pioneer. Over the next three years, at least three persons with whom I conducted home Bible studies were subsequently baptized as Jehovah’s Witnesses. In most cases, their families followed them. I had become expert at directing conversations by asking just the right questions, and following a scripture in one part of the Bible with a scripture written hundreds of years earlier (or later), tying the two scriptures together in the same manner that our literature did. It would be many years before I would, upon commencing a study of logic in college, discover that I was using poorly constructed arguments and logical fallacies to reach conclusions that were not in fact supported by the evidence.

In the Fall of 1973 I had the opportunity to travel, in the company of my best friend and her family, to San Juan, Puerto Rico, for an International Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Little did I know the many ways in which this trip would change my life forever.

_______________
*The Witness understanding of these doctrines continues to change over time, and their doctrine is somewhat different at present than it was at that time. What I describe is the doctrine that I both learned and taught during the time period being discussed.

Next: From My Father's House to My Husband's House

Returning to the Journey

With my next post, I am returning to the story of my journey of faith. Because no one travels through this life alone, my journey (especially from the point of my next post onward) will sometimes touch on other people -- people who may be still alive, still part of my life (or not), and certainly people who have no intention for their own lives to become public knowledge.

For this reason, there will be portions of my story that will of necessity be told in broad strokes, lacking detail.

If my story raises questions in your mind and heart, feel free to use the email link found in my profile to contact me. I will be happy to answer those questions that involve my personal history and belief system, in so far as those questions do not involve compromising the privacy of other people.

Also, because this is a personal account and not a research paper, I will not quote all sources or provide detailed background regarding such things as the doctrines of Jehovah's Witnesses (either then or now). Again, if you have serious questions, I will be happy to address them in private email as above rather than in the blog combox. I do have references and sources, as well as extensive personal experience, at the base of what I relate here.

As I point out in my profile, I am not an apologist. I am a born-again Catholic grandmother, who just happens to have a slightly different history than many who share that appelation. I pray that my personal history and experiences will resonate with someone else and help them in their "journey home", just as the experiences of others who have gone before me have been of inestimable value in my pursuit of the One, Holy, Apostolic, Catholic Church.