Anyone who’s been reading this site for a while knows how much I appreciate the work of Lloyd Evans, a former Jehovah’s Witness who continues to keep tabs on the organization and writes about their inner workings. I had only a vague idea of what the Witnesses believed a few years ago. That changed after I began reading his articles.
Lloyd just published his first book, a memoir called The Reluctant Apostate, all about how he left the Witnesses. It’s an incredible story about the difficulties of coming out and the impact that can have on your life — but don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s depressing. He also talks about why it’s so worthwhile to leave your faith anyway.
A few months ago, Lloyd asked if I would write the foreword to the book, and I jumped at the opportunity. An excerpt of what I said is below:
I have a lot of respect for anyone who walks away from the comfort of religion because they realize their once-cherished beliefs no longer hold up under examination. But, my goodness, think of the courage it takes to go public with your story so that others may one day join you on your journey. That’s what Lloyd has done with his website and videos, and that’s what he does in much greater detail in this book.If you are currently a devout Witness, I hope you can better understand what one well-meaning “apostate” has experienced. His criticisms are fair and deserve your responses. If you are a Witness who has doubts, realize that your concerns are valid and there are many, many people who have asked the same questions running through your mind right now. This book will show you that leaving the faith, while difficult, is also the beginning of a wonderful next chapter of your life.
And if you’re an atheist like me, let this book teach you about a faith that gets very little public scrutiny. Convincing people to start valuing evidence over dogma is meaningless if we can’t also help them deal with the consequences of that decision. We need to understand what Jehovah’s Witnesses go through to help them walk away.