This website is primarily geared towards those who claim to be Christian, but deny essential Christian truths. After just a few seconds of browsing, you will notice that I primarily deal with the teachings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Why the focus? While I do address other topics from time to time (such as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), there is a reason for the focus on JW’s.
During my undergraduate studies, I was presented with an opportunity to do some in depth Sociological research of the religion of my choice (other than my own). By this time, I had been studying apologetics for about 5-6 years with comparative religions playing a very minor role. I knew very little about JW’s, but I always had a fascination with this seemingly mysterious group. Their places of worship had very small or no windows, people described them as a cult group, and I had never spoken with one. So why not choose this group I knew so little about? My Sociological research was to be purely academic and involved confidential interviews with JW’s in my area. While not required, I chose to attend a few meetings at their Kingdom Hall to get a better understanding of their culture.
When my research was completed, it came as no surprise that these JW’s wanted me to study with them. At this time, I still knew very little about their beliefs. After all, that’s not what my Sociological research was about. I agreed to the study because I grew in my love for these people and desired to reach them with the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
In the following 3-4 years, I was participating in several different book studies with JW’s who did not know about the others that I was studying with. I was also going to some meetings throughout this period as well as attending various conventions and events. This provided the opportunity to not only learn their teachings (from the horse’s mouth!) but to get an inside glimpse of their culture. From the beginning, I knew I would develop some kind of special ministry for the JW’s. At this time I had read a number of books critical of the JW’s. There were several things I noticed from these readings:
- The books from ex-JW’s, while extremely valuable, were sometimes from perspectives that I did not always agree with. For example, Ray Franz has written several books that I couldn’t recommend more highly. However, Franz held to views that I do not hold.
- The books from non-ex-JW’s, while extremely valuable, didn’t have much to offer in terms of an insider’s view. At best, they had some experience with speaking to JW’s at their door. Few, if any, ever immersed themselves into the culture and got to know these people on their own turf. While well researched, they lacked some credibility that placed them in more of an ivory tower position.
At the time (late 2,000’s), I didn’t see too many voices in book form or even the internet who could offer a non-ex-JW perspective, but still have a good insider’s perspective. Why was being a non-ex-JW so important? Because a faithful JW will not speak or listen to an ex-JW. But they would talk to me and listen to me. This led me to becoming a bit of a unique voice; one who could speak to the JW and ex-JW community alike while also having some experience within their culture. While I will never have the same level of insight an ex-JW would have, I do have some experiential insight as well as a true outsider’s perspective.
This led me to creating a website and a podcast. What you see on michaeljfelker.com is the result of years of study and experience. Not only did I study with JW’s, but I also formally debated them. If you know anything about JW’s, it’s a very rare thing for any to agree to a formal debate of any kind.
So what happened to the JW’s I studied with originally? One simply faded away and lost contact. One found out what I was doing online (back then, I was writing blogs on Myspace about my experiences with the JW’s) and decided to ignore me. Another decided to end our study because it wasn’t going anywhere. Thankfully, this last one ended on decent terms.
Overall, i’ve learned a great deal from this decade or so of experience with JW’s. And while there have been times when I really tried to pursue other avenues, the Lord would bring JW ministry opportunities my way again. In other words, I can’t seem to get away from a JW focus no matter how hard I try! So for now, this is where the Lord has given me the most opportunity for ministry and it’s where I will continue to focus until other opportunities arise.