Shunned Jehovah's Witness Finds the Truth
By Audra Smith Haney
The 700 Club
CBN.com -“I can remember being 5 and getting my first Christmas gift from school; a purple and white unicorn,” Cynthia Cooper said.
Cynthia Cooper’s father didn’t allow gifts or celebrations.
“When he got home he immediately threw it in the trash and I remember being crushed because I didn't understand,” Cynthia said.
Cynthia’s mother and father were Jehovah’s Witnesses. Her father was an elder of the faith and strictly enforced all the rules of his religion.
“No celebration of holidays, birthday, Christmas,” Cynthia said. “Jesus Christ was just a prophet who came to the earth. They don't believe that God is able to talk to you.”
As a child, Cynthia was independent and curious. She struggled to understand her father’s religion but he would never answer any of her questions.
“I would ask him questions and a lot of the questions he wouldn't answer or he would get frustrated with me,” Cynthia said. “and he pretty much his response was ‘because I said so. I felt very left out at school. I felt very isolated. There was really no outside influence or opportunity to be social outside the members of the church.”
Cynthia carried her loneliness, doubts, and questions into her teens. She dreaded the exhausting work required by the religion.
“Jehovah Witnesses believe that you can get your salvation through works,” Cynthia said. “So the more hours you have in field service the more doors you knock on, the more new converts, the more valuable you are to the kingdom hall.”
“The older I got I would play sick every Saturday,” Cynthia said. “Just any little way that I could avoid doing the ‘works’ of the kingdom.
The more work her parents did for Kingdom Hall, the more Cynthia rebelled.
“I pushed the envelope more,” Cynthia said. “I went out and I did what ever I was big and bad enough to do. Sneaking out with my boyfriend, going places I had no permission.”
When Cynthia was 13, her older sister married a man who was not a Jehovah’s Witness. Her sister’s actions and her parent’s reaction finally brought Cynthia to a breaking point with the religion.
“My parents had literally thrown all of my sisters’ clothes out on the front lawn because she had gotten married,” Cynthia said. “I just began to think you know, 'this is your child, how can you say you love your child and you love God, but you are treating your child this way.' So I just began to question and it was just something inside of me that just said, this is not the love of God,’ so I began to search for God.
Cynthia secretly prayed to God and asked Him to reveal Himself.
“To talk to God for the first time was foreign because the Jehovah Witnesses had taught me that God doesn't speak to people, so here I am talking to this God that can't hear me. I don't know if he can hear me.”
Then, her junior year in high school, She says she experienced something she’d been taught could never happen; she believes she heard the voice of God.
“I actually had a pinched nerve,” Cynthia said. “I didn’t know what it was at the time.
So, I said, Lord if you heal me, I'll serve you. I don't know who you are, I don't know how to serve you but if you will heal me, I will. I remember laying back on my bed and I heard the holy spirit say, ‘Okay’ and so I turned my neck and something snapped in the side of my neck and immediately I was healed.
“I knew it was Him.,” Cynthia said. “Then immediately the peace that I felt once that came over me. It was awesome.”
Cynthia kept her personal experiences with God a secret until she moved out of her parent’s home. She knew there would be grave consequences. When she was 19 and living independently, she denounced the Jehovah’s Witness religion.
“I wrote a letter to one of the elders of the congregation and I told him that I no longer wish to be a witness,” Cynthia said. “I heard later on that they publicly disowned me at the service.
So did Cynthia’s parents.
“When my parents disowned me, it was devastating,” Cynthia said. “I remember my dad calling me out of my name, telling me I was not welcome, and I it just crushed me.”
There were so many different emotions but one thing that I kept in the back of my mind was that I had heard the voice of God, so if anything happens, I knew that he talked to me when he healed me. That was what kept me going.” Cynthia said.
A couple of months later, Cynthia met a pastor at her local gym and he invited her to church. Because of his invitation, she attended a Christian church for the first time in her life. At first she was afraid.
“I had been taught that all other churches were tied up with Satan, the devil, and to go in and embrace that would be basically worshipping the devil,” Cynthia said. “But, there was a peace that came over me that I knew it was God and I knew it was him leading me,” Cynthia said. “I didn't know how, but I knew it was him leading me.”
Her first day at church, Cynthia learned about Jesus and His plan of salvation. That morning, Cynthia gave her life to Christ.
“When I first got saved and I asked Christ into my heart, I felt clean,” Cynthia said.
“Going to the altar, it felt like I was being rinsed of everything. It was a freeing experience. It was indescribable.”
Cynthia’s new faith was genuine, her conversion to Christianity only widened the gap between her and her family.
“I fell into a deep depression,” Cynthia said. “I can remember having a bottle of pills and I called my friends and I told him goodbye because I was planning on killing myself. Right before that happened he knocked on the door, thank God, and he prayed me out of that depression.”
With the support of her church, Cynthia drew on God’s strength and encouragement. Cynthia’s victory over depression came when she started reading the Bible and memorizing scriptures. Cynthia says her hardships only made her faith stronger.
“I learned so much about who Jesus was,” Cynthia said. “From my provider when I didn't have money, my comforter when I was lonely...he was my peace when my mind would try to be confused. He has been my mother, my father...he has been everything to me.”
Today, Cynthia says that although she is still estranged from her family she has forgiven them and prays for them. She shares her life changing story in her book, “The Cost of My Salvation.”
“There is definitely a difference between a religion and relationship,” Cynthia said.
“I have a relationship with Jesus Christ. I live my life based on the relationship because I want to be pleasing to him and that is so absent from the rituals that come with religion that is no comparison.”
“If there is someone today watching and you want Jesus and maybe you were taught that he is just a prophet, I would encourage you today to just invite him into your heart...
“If you want to seek Him and you diligently seek Him, He will find you.”
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