Testimony of Peter Gregerson
In 1933 my dad was persuaded to become a part of the group called “Bible Students” at Clinton, Iowa. They were sweet older people. But change was in the air. I was the oldest of eight children and was taken by my dad to all the meetings and later participated in activities which included, not saluting the flag, wearing sandwich signs in parades and standing for hours on street corners with a sign reading “Religion is a snare and a racket.” Mob action resulted where I saw heads smashed by protesters. Later on, in 1949, in Wyanet, Illinois I was beaten until I was blinded temporarily.
My “pioneer” work began at age 20 and I was soon the “company servant” at Dixon, Illinois. A year later, I was sent to resolve problems at Peoria, Illinois as congregation overseer and city servant. Then, two years after that, I was sent to Davenport, Iowa with similar instructions, and a few years later later on to Champaign-Urbana, Illinois in the same capacity.
My career in the supermarket business gave me important buying power for purchasing food for conventions and so I became personal friends with people at headquarters including Colin Quackenbush, editor of Awake, Ray Franz, a main writer and governing body member as well as David Olsen and Malcolm Allen of the Service Department.
In December 1976 I was called to a special and confidential meeting to address the Societies concern with losing Witnesses due to the 1975 failed prophecy. One day was spent on injustices and cruelty as a product of the judicial system. The heart breaking problems were widespread. I went home very concerned and determined to renew my belief in the Watchtower as God’s only organization.
As a result of my in-depth study, I came to the terrible realization that the Watchtower was a fraud!
Years later I wrote my booklet, “Is the Watchtower God’s only Organization?” which covers my study of their own literature.
Ray Franz was visiting at my house when I told him I would be leaving the Watchtower I had some previous conversations so he knew my feelings. He suggested that we have some extended private time together. We did and he spilled out all his concerns and reservations. Soon he was forced out of the governing body and left Bethel. He and Cynthia had no place to go so I provided a place for them to live with a job. I offered an office job in my company but he wanted to do outside work.
He lived on my property and almost daily I urged him to write a book about our conversations. He kept saying it would take a year, so I paid him his salary for a year to write Crisis of Conscience. (He was disfellowshipped for eating a meal with me, a “wicked man” who had left the organization.)
I had to face the problem of a wife and seven children who were 100% in “the truth”. Most of the key employees in my Supermarket chain were elders! And of course I had many dear, dear friends as a result of a lifetime of serving in the organization, which included teaching the elder school in Alabama congregations and serving in the administrations of large conventions. I faced a terrible loss of friends.
My relationship with my familial sisters and brothers was very close and so it was tough when one of my sisters told me “Peter, I love you but I will never speak to you again as long as I live.” Another brother took the same position. So I empathize with those who lose brothers and sisters, father and mother and children. I count it the greatest blessing to have helped my wife and all seven children out of the organization!
I have written several booklets which are intended to help ex-witnesses face the future as Christians. Subjects such as the importance of doctrine and that God’s Kingdom is on earth, (which is not a Watchtower exclusive) and that the “no hellfire” teaching is not theirs exclusively either
The response has been gratifying and has given me a sense of purpose for my new life. For several years I have been serving in a jail ministry which too has given me great satisfaction and has been a real blessing.
True, I learned some good things as a Witness but as a result of my in-depth study, I now know that their claim to be God’s exclusive organization is an absolute impossibility! It took time to unravel fifty years of their indoctrinations but I thank God every day that I’m free and now have a real relationship with Him and his son Jesus Christ!