Many people think that studying with and later joining Jehovah's Witnesses is just like joining any other Christian denomination. As you know by now, it differs significantly from most traditional Christian religions. But the difference in teachings is not what this article is about. It is about the personal cost you will have to pay if you were to become a Jehovah's Witness.
The highest cost you would have to pay if you were to become a Jehovah's Witness, would be your ability to think freely. Consider how your study conductor currently encourages you to critically study your old religion, and how he or she wants you to compare it with your newly found faith. Unfortunately after you become a Jehovah's Witness you will not be allowed to freely research other religions any longer. You will also not be allowed to research the Watchtower's own history independently. If you were to question any teachings and publicly voice your concern, you would be labeled as rebellious. Now if you have been attending Jehovah's Witness meetings you probably already know that independent thought is something to be shunned. This is the same independent thought that brought you to the Jehovah's Witness religion in the first place, but it is not allowed or approved of after you have joined.
Think about the congregation answers at the meetings. Haven't you noticed that they all follow exactly the same pattern? Haven't you noticed that the paragraphs from the Watchtower articles are mostly answered almost word for word from the article text? This is because the Watchtower organization does not want independent followers. They want obedient slaves. Now you could argue the following: Why would I want to independently research my new found beliefs or any other religion for that matter when I know that the witnesses have the truth?
The unfortunate fact is that if you were to scratch the surface you will find lots of theological and historical problems with the Jehovah's Witness religion. Now you might be a happy Witness for your entire life, or you might find problems within the religion during your membership. If you do, what then? The personal cost will become even higher and here is the reason why:
There is no honorable way to leave Jehovah's Witnesses. If you leave because you have found problems within the religion and you resign outright, you will not be able to speak to your Jehovah's Witness family and friends again. They will not speak to you because the Watchtower organization instructs all loyal followers to cut off people who have left. You will never be able to discuss what you have found with them, and even if you could, if they have decided to follow the Watchtower counsel not to use their natural capacity for independent thought, you will not be able to reach them anyway.
In conclusion, if you still want to continue your journey to become a Jehovah's Witness, just remember that it is better to research the religion thoroughly before you commit to it, rather than after you have joined. Carefully calculate the cost of joining, because like with all life altering choices, there is always a price to be paid.
Greetings, and good luck.
Watchtower Information South Africa