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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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!!!Read More
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.Read More
The Advocates for Awareness of Watchtower Abuses (AAWA) announced on May 30th the release of a new video that describes the ways the Watchtower uses horrific imagery to indoctrinate children of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Here is the link to original article on AAWA.co:
New AAWA videos highlight Watchtower’s child abuse record
Since the 1920s The Watch Tower Society has used terrifying illustrations in its literature to describe their view of what will happen at Armageddon to non-believers and Jehovah’s Witnesses who have left the organization. Earlier books were directed mostly to adults who could understand that some of those images were somewhat exaggerated and symbolic. Starting in the late 1950s the Watchtower began publishing books directed to and intended for children.
Many of those books provided simplistic Watchtower versions of basic Bible stories like the Garden of Eden, Noah’s Flood, and the ministry of Jesus. When the Watchtower began predicting that Armageddon might come in 1975, they reinforced their views of the coming destruction of the world and most of its people. More books and magazines were printed that included horrifying illustrations of average people dying in painful and agonizing ways.Read More
The organizers of AAWA (Advocates for Awareness of Watchtower Abuses) released a new series of videos that illustrate the damaging effects of the Watch Tower Society’s “shunning” doctrine.
Historically, “shunning” was applied and directed only toward baptized Jehovah’s Witnesses who had been “disfellowshipped” from the organization for committing adultery, some other form of “fornication,” drunkenness, or criminal acts. Since the 1950s, the leaders of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society have expanded the use of shunning to include almost any actions not approved by Jehovah’s Witness elders.
Starting in the early 1980s, “shunning” was extended even to those who had committed none of the usual “sins” that would typically result in someone being disfellowshipped. Added to the list of “sins against Jehovah and His organization” were engaging in private group Bible studies or questioning the beliefs, teachings and policies of the Governing Body. Shunning was applied to those “reproved” or put on probation for any number of minor missteps. In recent years, shunning has been extended to include non-baptized children of Jehovah’s Witnesses and other non-baptized publishers.
The use of “shunning” results in lasting damage to families, children, and relationships with spouses and close friends. Some who have been shunned are permanently scarred by the experience. Some try to reduce the pain of exclusion through the use of drugs or alcohol. A few eventually end their own lives.
Effective May 1, 2013 AAWA is beginning its first major campaign to educate the public about the Watchtower’s unscriptural application of shunning as a way to control every aspect of the lives of Jehovah’s Witnesses and their families. AAWA is releasing the following video in North America and Western Europe. The video is being translated in many other languages and will soon be available worldwide. WatchTowerWatch.com is pleased to be a part of this educational program.
Other Languages Available soon!Read More
In recent years there has been a noticeable exodus out of the Watchtower organization at all levels. Many Jehovah’s Witnesses do not want to be in the organization any longer for a myriad of reasons. Like the Israelites of old they want to get out of “Babylon” and experience the freedom to live a normal lifestyle.
While many were “born-in” or “married-into” Jehovah’s Witness families, thousands were converted into the religion when they were convinced that being a Witness was “the only path to salvation at Armageddon.” After having their eyes opened to the reality of their existence, many now want to escape and live more normal and fulfilling lives. But they find themselves trapped, forced to conform to the Watchtower’s often unreasonable interpretations of exacting biblical standards.
Many JWs – even among those serving as elders and traveling overseers – hide their true feelings knowing they can’t just leave because of the constant threat of losing connections to their friends and family. They are convinced that disassociating or being disfellowshipped would be a price too high for them to pay.
That is why many Jehovah’s Witnesses are looking for a way to escape. Some will want to be assured that leaving is the right thing to do, while others will want to ask questions about what the Watchtower teaches. They know that they can’t get honest answers from other Witnesses or by going to their elders. Many have suffered mental and/or physical abuse by their family or other members of their congregation – but have no one they feel they can to turn to for help.Read More
Let’s face it – without The Watchtower magazine this website would not be online. It would have no purpose. It would have absolutely no reason to exist. So thank you, Watchtower, for being who you are – so that we can be who we are!
We love those tiny little 16-page monthlies. The best thing that ever happened for us was the new JW.org going live last August. We live for the next issue of the Watchtower and Awake! magazines (and especially those wonderful PDF downloads). In fact, some of us can’t sleep at night without a Watchtower to read before bed. Some of our contributors simply can’t wait and have found a way to get copies in advance of their public release (see “New Light Watchtower…”). Since the magazines are dated three months in advance, it’s almost like getting the daily New York Times weeks before its front-page news actually happens.Read More