Behind the Curtain: Realities of Shunning

Posted by on Sep 16, 2014 in Blog, Featured, Media, Shunning Policy | 4 comments

Behind the Curtain: Realities of Shunning

The leaders of the Watchtower Society do their best to deny that their extreme shunning policy harms anyone. They describe it as simply a way to keep their organization “clean” and to keep “evildoers” and “fornicators” separated from faithful Jehovah’s Witnesses. Former Jehovah’s Witnesses (most who have not committed any “serious sin” but have simply disagreed with the Watchtower’s ever-changing teachings and predictions) know the truth about how enforced shunning divides and destroys families.

In the following video a young British school girl, just eleven years old, and her mum share their experiences and feelings about this subject. No longer Jehovah’s Witnesses, but still believing Christians, they know the real pain and frustration of having close family members not only avoid them, but also accuse them of “harming Jehovah” and “making Him sad.” Listen how they describe how young and impressionable children are being brainwashed into believing the very worst of their own close blood relatives.

This is a video you will want to share with your friends – especially those who have no idea how destructive the Watchtower’s extreme shunning policy really is. This is a video you won’t soon forget – nor should you.

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Behind the Scenes: “Witness to Murder”

Posted by on Aug 25, 2014 in Blog, Book Reviews, Featured, Media | 1 comment

Behind the Scenes: “Witness to Murder”

The Documentary, “Witness to Murder,” for ID Discovery Channel

By Jim Kostelniuk, a participant

As the father of two murdered children, Juri and Lindsay Kostelniuk, it may seem difficult to understand how I can be objective about the documentary. However, I didn’t produce the show, wasn’t in on the editing process, and there are some things I only had an inside track on.

What I did do was gather a team of family friends and experts together (five other persons besides myself originally connected with the case) to be interviewed in Vancouver by a film crew from LionTelevision in New York City.

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Discovery ID presents documentary about JW murders

Posted by on Aug 20, 2014 in Book Reviews, Media | 1 comment

***IMPORTANT MESSAGE***

Airing Wednesday, August 20th in the United States a new documentary produced for television on Identification Discovery (ID) channel, based on Jim Kostelniuk’s book, Wolves Among Sheep: the true story of murder in a Jehovah’s Witness community.

DEADLY DEVOTION SEASON 2: the episode “Witness to Murder” will be shown Wednesday, August 20, 2014 at 9:00 p.m. EST as well as Thursday, August 21st at 12:00 a.m. (midnight)and Sunday, August 24th at 10:00 a.m.

For those who subscribe to cable systems (Comcast, Cox, and Time Warner) the program will also be available on “On Demand” and other similar services after the show airs on ID Discovery (“Discovery ID” in some markets).

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Why are you still a Jehovah’s Witness?

Posted by on Jul 12, 2014 in Blog, Featured, General, Shunning Policy | 6 comments

Why are you still a Jehovah’s Witness?

The facts are clear. Being a Jehovah’s Witness is not fun. The Watchtower offers nothing to its members. There is no joy in their Kingdom Halls. Preaching door to door has become passe, not to mention being nerve-wracking drudgery.

There really isn’t anything for young JWs to do and their pool of friends is often quite small. They can not look forward to birthdays or holidays, engaging in school sports, clubs, or other after school activities. Instead of getting a college education, they need to learn to become janitors and window washers. Having “wordly friends” like kids at school or in those living their neighborhood is discouraged – and by some JW parents, strictly forbidden.

Jehovah’s Witnesses are always on the lookout for “bad influences” – constantly on guard against anyone who might be “an apostate” or an expelled JW that must be “shunned.” Witnesses can not have deep theological discussions even between themselves, because they might venture into “apostasy” or generate self-doubt about their beliefs as they actually do honest research.

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Remembering the Watchtower’s Victims

Posted by on Jun 4, 2014 in Blog, Child Abuse, Featured, Shunning Policy | 4 comments

Remembering the Watchtower’s Victims

Several support groups providing support and education services to former Jehovah’s Witnesses and their families have set aside July 26, 2014 as “Watchtower Victims Memorial Day.”

Bo Juel, a former Jehovah’s Witness (and himself a victim of the Watchtower’s cruel and unjust child abuse and pedophile protection policies), has been a leader in educating the public. Based in Norway, Bo has made his presence and feelings known by getting his message out throughout northern Europe and North America. Whether he appears on television or before local news reporters, he refuses to “pull his punches” and is very straightforward in describing his disgust with Watchtower leaders and policy makers.

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Why is it Hard to Start Over After Being a Witness?

Posted by on Jun 4, 2014 in Blog, Featured, Life Stories | 6 comments

Why is it Hard to Start Over After Being a Witness?

A few days ago while I was walking my dog around my neighborhood, I saw a group of familiar looking faces.walking toward me.  The men were dressed in suits and the women wore modest length skirts with sensible shoes. All were carrying what looked like book bags.

As my pup and I began passing them, one of the men made a point of glaring at me while one of the women whispered to the other next to her, furtively glancing at me. Wow! I thought to myself. The group looked familiar – but then again, I live in a small neighborhood – so that’s not unusual. But these people definitely knew who I was and were none too happy to see me!

As I walked up the steps to my building it finally occurred to me who these people were and that I knew them at one time.

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My Path Out of the JW Cult

Posted by on Feb 16, 2014 in Blog, Featured, Life Stories | 5 comments

My Path Out of the JW Cult

My parents were active in the Methodist church and they loved and trusted their minister.  The minister once told my dad to never listen to the Jehovah’s Witnesses because they were a “cult.” But Mom did not hear his warning.

In fact, Mom actually disagreed with their minister about which books of the Bible were authentic.  His opinion was that only two of the gospels were likely to be true.

Shortly after my brother was born, two Jehovah’s Witnesses came knocking at our door.  Mom asked them if they were the group who gave “free home bible studies.”  She started her indoctrination (studying) to be a Witness in 1974.

Dad was curious about what the JWs had to say, so he soon began talking to them. He was impressed with how quickly they could find scriptures in the Bible. When they challenged Dad to find where in the Bible it talks about people “burning in hell”  he searched but could not find anything.  After that he started listening to them and what they had to say.

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Should You Leave the Watchtower?

Posted by on Jan 6, 2014 in Blog, Featured, General | 9 comments

Should You Leave the Watchtower?

Every month I get emails and contact messages from Jehovah’s Witnesses asking me whether or not they should “take the leap” and try to leave the Watchtower organization.  I wish it was easy for me to answer their questions – but it’s not. I know that while I have a very strong opinion, leaving has to be a decision that each person must ultimately make for oneself.

What I do try to get them to understand is that they will be just fine – no matter what their ultimate decision might be. If they are happy being Jehovah’s Witnesses (and many are quite content in that lifestyle), then I would be the last person in the world to suggest that they leave and face the complications that come from making that decision. On the other hand, if they are unhappy and really want out, then I urge them to set aside their fears. I want them to know that even though their lives will change, they will survive through everything they may have to face by making a decision to leave.

Many Jehovah’s Witnesses won’t admit it publicly but would really like to get out. No one knows the actual numbers for sure, but there are far more than the Watchtower would admit. Because the religion promotes and encourages shunning of those who leave, Jehovah’s Witnesses face issues that many people simply can’t deal with. Even many high-profile former Jehovah’s Witnesses have had to face the effects of shunning by family, friends, and even close business associates. When their own parents, siblings, and children are willing (or are forced) to break off all connections – and then say that it is the fault of those leaving – many Jehovah’s Witnesses simply feel they can not choose freedom. It’s a price too high for them to pay.  They would rather stay in the cult and live with the pain than face being shunned by their own family.

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WTW Editor on “The Thinking Atheist” Podcast

Posted by on Nov 13, 2013 in Blog, Book Reviews, Media | 5 comments

WTW Editor on “The Thinking Atheist” Podcast

In mid-September I received an interesting invitation from a journalist calling himself “The Thinking Atheist.” He told me that he had seen one of my websites and was intrigued by my take on the Watchtower Society and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Part of my appeal, he said, was that I did not seem to be “angry,” nor was I busy trying to promote some other religion as my preferred substitute for Watchtower doctrine. He asked if I would agree to be a guest on his podcast scheduled for Tuesday, September 17th. I enthusiastically said “Yes!”

My segment was actually recorded a short time before the broadcast via a telephonic hookup. Seth Andrews (his real name) assured me that he could edit for any serious technical issues or interruptions that might come up during the recording session. That turned out to be a good thing. During the recording call my little Maltese lap dog saw someone walking their Golden Retriever in front of our house and started yapping at the top of her voice for about 20 seconds. As you can tell when you listen to the edited podcast, he did a great job. Other than that small glitch, what you hear was our totally unrehearsed and non-scripted conversation. Absolutely!!!

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Not an “Earthly Paradise”

Posted by on Sep 9, 2013 in Blog, Book Reviews | 5 comments

Not an “Earthly Paradise”

As a Jehovah’s Witness teenager I was always hoping that someday I would be found worthy enough to be accepted as either a missionary and go to Gilead school or become a Brooklyn Bethel volunteer. I knew being given such a privilege would make my parents proud and would forever seal my reputation as a “faithful Witness of Jehovah.” I also figured that when I returned home from those assignments I would likely be promoted to become an elder (called “servants” in those days).

Fortunately, neither of those opportunities came to me and in my mid-20s I was pretty much done with being a Jehovah’s Witnesses. That did not make my parents proud of me, but my life became a lot more enjoyable and productive. Reading Brock Talon’s new book made it clear to me that I made the right choices.

“Brock Talon” would be a great name for a fictional Marvel Comics’ superhero.  But “Brock Talon” is actually a real person with a real story to tell. And now, after reading his story, he’s definitely a hero in my eyes.

I’d never met or even heard of Brock Talon until a couple of weeks ago. Until I received a pleasant email from him suggesting that I check out his new book, I didn’t know he existed. While I still haven’t met Brock (and maybe never will), I feel that I know him as well as my own brother.

His new book, Journey to God’s House, is exactly as the subtitle describes it: An inside story of life at the world headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the 1980s.

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