MY JOURNEY FROM BEING A JEHOVAH’S WITNESS TO BEING A CHRISTIAN.
by Max Hatton
MY EARLY YEARS:
My name is Maxwell Francis Hatton. I was saddled with that name from birth. I was raised a Methodist. I was saddled with that religion from when I was christened shortly after my birth. I could have become a Roman Catholic for my father was from that faith but he kindly said to my mum, “We won’t argue over religion you bring the children up in your religion.” I am amazed at how rigid some people are about the religion their parents chose for them. It doesn’t seem to matter what is right or wrong, they won’t budge. So as soon as we were able my sister and I were bundled off to Sunday School. We enjoyed it but I never learned much about God and the Bible there.
At about age 14 I left Sunday School behind and soon after became a man of the world – smoking, drinking alcohol, gambling. These were my foolish years which ended considerably when I met and married my lovely wife Merle.
MY MIDDLE YEARS:
By age 28 I was the Shire Clerk of a lovely coastal town in Western Australia. It became necessary to appoint an Assistant Shire Clerk and a young man about my age was the successful applicant. He and his wife and Merle and I soon became close friends. We had our eldest child Christened previously and now it was our sons turn and we mentioned this to our new friends one evening after we had eaten our evening meal in our home. They asked why we were going to have our son Christened. This was a surprise to us and I guess we were just following a tradition. They informed us that Jesus was about 30 years of age when He was baptised and that there is no evidence for sprinkling babies in the Bible. Baptism is by immersion. They asked did we have a Bible and after some searching we found an old copy.
These things were shown us from the Bible. The consequence was that we cancelled the christening which caused some consternation among family members. The other consequence was that we continued Bible study with our friends and learned that about a year previously they had become Jehovah’s Witnesses. We were more concerned with what the Bible says than with prejudice so we soon accepted their teaching hook line and sinker and were baptised also. After a while we decided to go over to Melbourne in order to “Serve where the need is great” this was at the request of the Branch Servant of JW’s.
Just prior to leaving West Australia I was confronted by a Seventh-day Adventist wanting to study closely with me the Watch Tower chronology leading from 607 B.C. to 1914 A.D. I was happy to accept the challenge but had to promise to respond to a paper he gave me on the subject after I had settled in Melbourne. This I did and the discussion went on by correspondence for more than two years. I wrote to scholar’s overseas and spent many hours studying the subject from every angle. I became quite troubled and wrote to the Watch Tower Society in America on several occasions seeking help on aspects of the subject but was shocked to learn the apparent ignorance of the Society on the subject because of the poor responses I received. This was perhaps their key doctrine and I was greatly troubled but nowhere near ready to surrender for I had mistakenly swallowed the Watch Tower teaching that it was the channel of communication from God. At about this time the SDA man, thinking that he had shown me quite sufficiently that I was wrong, wrote and told me I was being a hypocrite and that he would not continue the correspondence. I was genuinely sorry about this but continued to try and sort the matter out.
By this time I had considerable responsibilities in the Congregation we were attending. I was the Ministry School Servant and Book Study Conductor as well as other things. On Tuesday evenings I was responsible to lead in the study of a Watch Tower book. This caused mu quite a deal of internal conflict for I badly wanted to attend lectures held in the city by the Australian Institute of Archaeology. The subject was the Neo-Babylonian Empire. JW‘s are very much mind-controlled people under the spell of the Watch Tower Society. Reading literature not written by the Society or attending meetings of other than the Society are strongly forbidden. Anyway, on the fourth night of the series I bucked the system, gave an apology for not being able to attend the Book Study and went to the Institute’s meeting. I think now that God almost pushed me along to that meeting as part of the study had to do with the Lady Adda-guppi Stele.
Adda-guppi was the mother of Nabonidus the last king of Babylon. The inscription on the monument contains the names of all the kings of the Neo-Babylonian period that reigned for more than a part of a single year. The length of the reign of each king is inscribed and then the total for all of the periods of reign is given. This corresponds exactly with the chronology of the period established from many other secular sources. Unfortunately for the Watch Tower Society we have further confirmation of the fact that Nebuchadnezzar began to reign in 605 B.C. The Watch Tower has his reign commencing in 625 B.C. Their major problem is that they insist that the 70 years for Babylon described in Daniel and Jeremiah were 70 years of complete emptiness of the land of Judah when in actual fact it was 70 years of servitude to Babylon. They distort the Bible chronology in order to maintain their erroneous theory. They then count 2520 years from 607 down to 1914 A.D., when they say God set up His kingdom on earth. They have hung on to this system misleading their followers and those the followers are able to also convince for a hundred years. They have further confused and disappointed their followers by speculating on when Jesus would return on many occasions down through the years since 1914. Their predictive failures have caused many of their followers to leave their ranks and have further discredited them in the eyes of non-JW watchers.
The Watch Tower Society has mentioned a damaged copy of the Adda-guppi Stele for the purpose of trying to discredit it for chronological purposes. They deceptively fail to mention that a complete undamaged copy is also available and is perfectly reliable as use for determining the chronology of the period. I remained behind after the meeting and was able to obtain a copy of Anatolian Studies Vol. VIII for 1958 which contained an article by C. J. Gadd which discusses the Stele. See also later editions of Ancient Near Eastern Texts published by Princeton University Press for details of the texts I have mentioned.
The information on the Adda-guppi Stele was the final straw for me. I had never heard of it before. However, I could not any longer deny the evidence that I had tried to refute. Additionally, I could no longer accept the Watch Tower claim that it is God’s Channel of Truth. In fact I then believed that it is an imposter a deceptive false prophet misleading and confusing millions of innocent people all over the world. The new information now available to me coincided exactly with every other legitimate piece of evidence provided by a great number of other independent sources available from the period following the Neo-Babylonian Empire. They all inextricably combine to prove that the accepted chronology for the period is undoubtedly correct and that the Watch Tower chronology is pitifully incorrect. The leaders must have known this for the letters I wrote to them sufficiently made this clear to them. It could be thought that I was quite deflated after the meeting I made the discovery of the Adda-guppi inscription, but quite to the contrary I was absolutely delighted. At last all doubt about the falseness of the Watch Tower Society was clear and fully accepted by me. I was free! I had come to accept the truth on the subject. I think I walked from the meeting about three feet above the ground. No more mind control of me by the Watch Tower – it is a false prophet without doubt. A false prophet that unmistakeably misrepresents God and despises all others who disagrees with them. They claim to be Jehovah’s Witnesses but the name Jehovah was never heard in the ancient world. It was introduced about a thousand years after Jesus walked the earth. The correct Old Testament name for God was Yahweh and the Watch Tower people have admitted this but they follow their tradition of proclaiming a false name – incredible and unforgiveable.
MY CHRISTIAN YEARS:
Immediately after making my new decisions I wrote to the head of the local Congregation resigning my association with JW’s. This caused us considerable discomfort for now none of our former friends wanted anything to do with us. The bottom had dropped out of our world so we decided to return to Western Australia where I was able to secure the position of Shire Clerk in a small country town. At this time I decided to write to former friends who must have wondered whatever had happened to us. I shared with them a rather large paper which I named 1914 the Touchstone of the Watch Tower (Available on the Internet per favour of my good friend Doug Mason). This must have caused quite an upset for one of the leading men was sent all the way from Sydney to interview us. He and another man came to our door and asked me to attend a meeting of the local congregation so that my actions could be considered. I replied that I did not know anything about a local congregation or any of its members. Also, that I had resigned from the JW’s nine months earlier and I had no intention of attending any inquisition that they might like to set up. A day or so later they called when I was at work and asked Merle if a JW came to our door would she try to convince them about 1914? Her response was that she hadn’t thought about it. When pressed further she admitted that she probably would. A few days later we received a letter advising that we both had been disfellowshiped. I had already resigned but their get rid of us attitude was obviously to shut us up for no JW would have anything to do with us at all now, they would just shun us.
It is now almost 50 years ago that these events occurred and of course the Christian thing to do would be for someone to seek us out and try and rescue us from having gone astray, but not a soul has ever attempted this. They seemingly ignore the Bible teaching that a good shepherd leaves his flock in order to try and rescue a lost sheep. I feel so sad for the ordinary JW. They usually start off being nice decent people, but they are soon brainwashed into being Watch Tower footstep followers. They blindly follow their leader.
My story is getting long so I will just mention that Merle and I decided that what had happened to us was not God’s fault and that the Bible was not to blame either – we had been very innocent victims of a falsehood which we were too poorly informed to counter. We needed to get back to square one and start again. So for more than a year I concentrated almost solely on the Trinity Doctrine desiring to know who and what God really is. I came away from this study a thoroughly convinced Trinitarian and I have remained so ever since.
Following this our studies led us into accepting the Seventh-day Adventist system of beliefs. I am stronger on some of these than of others. I am absolutely convinced of the Gospel and rely exclusively upon Jesus for salvation. Following salvation I accept that I need to walk in harmony with God, not that I need to do this in order to be saved but because I have been saved and love Jesus so much that I want to be like Him.
I studied for the Ministry and served in New Zealand, New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria. After retiring I relieved Ministers who were on long service leave six times in Western Australia, New South Wales, and Queensland. I have had published a book titled Understanding the Trinity while another book The Trinity Doctrine for Seventh-day Adventists was published on disc by our Headquarters here in Australia. I have written a number of papers including some on JW teachings exposing them with the truth. While I cannot personally help JW’s I can help others to try and help them.
Merle and I have always believed that God allowed us the experienced we had with JW’s for His honour and glory and so that our experience would equip us to be of indirect help for JW’s. There is much evidence to show that some have been enlightened by our material. We praise God for that.
I am now 83 years of age and have a number of health problems that limit me but we still love God and praise Him for His wonderful goodness to us. He has blessed us greatly in so many ways. We look forward in eager anticipation for the return of Jesus to rescue us and all who truly love Him from this very sad troubled planet.
It is my sincere prayer that anyone who reads this may surrender themselves completely to our Saviour and enjoy too the wonderful relationship and blessings we experience with Him.
May God richly bless you dear reader as you consider your relationship with our great and wonderful God.
Editor’s Note: Max has also contributed much of his original research to present on the site. These are highlighted in the section: “Analysis of the1914 Teaching – Biblical, Secular, Historical”
- Jehovah’s Witnesses and their Mythical 1914 by Max Hatton [pdf], 24 pps. NEW! Must See! 95 pages of Max Hatton’s letters, 1962-66 (primarily to/from Watch Tower Sociecty)
- 1914 – The Touchstone of the Watchtower by Max Hatton [pdf] (archive.org), 181 pps. originally written 1965!