“Crisis of Conscience”
Considered by most ex-Jehovah’s witnesses to be THE book to read in making the decision to leave the Watchtower organization. Written by Raymond Franz, who served on the JW Governing Body for 9 years before being pressured to step down and then subsequently disfellowshipped. This book is written with a honest and open tone that won’t scare away the JW that musters up the courage to read it. Ray Franz’s love and concern for people, even for ones that treated him wrongly, is clearly evident throughout the book. Also, his strong faith in God and the Bible makes it evident that you can still have a strong and moving faith once you leave.
“Combating Cult Mind Control”
The best book out there in understanding high-control groups. Steven Hassan uses his own experiences involving cults, plus leading research on recognizing their destructive tactics and helping people exit such groups. Hassan’s expertise is second to none. The latest edition (2018) includes a look at Jehovah’s Witnesses. NOTE: If you are planning on giving this book to an active JW, you might be better off getting his original edition (c1990) which DOESN’T make mention of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The reason being that you are more likely to get a JW to read it if it doesn’t specifically criticize his organization.
“The Reluctant Apostate”
One of the most prominent voices in the ex-Jw community, Lloyd Evans takes you through an detailed overview of the history of the Watchtower organization as well as his life as a Jehovah’s Witness. He covers areas of the organization that the average JW will have almost no knowledge of, including the scandals that have rocked the group in recent years. While probably not something a JW will read on his own (it has the word ‘apostate’ in the title) this is a fantastic resource for you to get a better grasp of the group than even they do. NOTE: Lloyd Evans is an atheist now after leaving the group. Though not a prominent feature in this book, it is something to keep in mind if you are trying to help a JW.
– Early Church History
History is not easily refutable. So it’s usually safe ground for conversations. Books and articles about the development of the Christian Church in the first few centuries A.D. are extremely valuable in showing the context of questions of theology (as long as it’s from a neutral non-religious source or it will be quickly dismissed as biased).
-Apostolic Father’s Writings
That’s just a fancy term for the letters and writings from the the period of church leaders from around 100-325 A.D. The earlier the better, as this shows a more contemporary viewpoint of those that actually knew the apostles. This is useful to know because Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that the Church “apostatized” from the true way that Jesus taught quickly after the last apostle died (around 100 A.D.) and the “truth” was only rediscovered when their organization founded in the late 1800s. So being able to show what the church believed immediately after the Bible was written is carries a lot of weight. I wouldn’t go past the year 325 A.D. because this was when the council of Nicaea officially laid out the doctrine of the Trinity in creed form, and so is considered by Jehovah’s Witnesses to be the time when the Church really went off the deep end and the Catholic Church was birthed. Such ones include Clement of Rome (c100), Ignatius of Antioch (c100), Polycarp of Smyrna (c125-150), Justin Martyr (c150), Tertullian (c200), Origen (c250) and others and works to numerous to mention from that time.
“Revelation: Its Grand Climax at Hand”
While Jehovah’s Witnesses are never shy about giving away their literature, there are a few books that aren’t given as much public attention. One of these is the Revelation book. This is a verse by verse commentary of the Bible book of Revelation published originally in 1988. Unless you can run across a hard copy somewhere, your best bet is to find a PDF version online (the printed book was recently discontinued by the organization even for JWs). The application of the majority of the verses is down right weird. From locust and hailstone plagues being interpreted to be the ‘hard hitting messages contained in Watchtower publications’, to the events of Jehovah’s Witness history in the early 20th century being the fulfillment of scores of prophecy in the book.
“Pay Attention to Daniel’s Prophecy”
Another publication not available in print anymore but can be found online. The Daniel book is useful in several ways. Chapter 6 contains one of the most detailed explanations of why Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that 1914 was the year of Jesus second ‘invisible’ coming and the start of the last days. The most interesting, and unusual, points are the applications of Daniel chapter 12 in which, like the aforementioned Revelation book, applies several prophecies to obscure events in the history of Jehovah’s Witnesses from the early twentieth century. Even saying that the final verses in Daniel were fulfilled by an article in the Watchtower in 1926.
The usual go-to website for the most detailed explanations and rebuttals of JW policies and beliefs. The amount of info and details contained in providing logical and biblical answers to Jehovah’s Witnesses is what makes this website very useful. If you need to the history and facts to arm yourself on different topics, this is the site to use.
-John Cedars YouTube Channel
John Cedars (the pseudonym of Lloyd Evans whose book I talked about earlier) has dozens and dozens of videos that calmly debunk different JW beliefs. If you have some time to spend, I would highly recommend bingeing on his videos with a notepad. His British accent makes it much easier to listen to.