Posted by on Jan 14, 2013 in Blog, News | 26 comments

Everyone has a bad year now and then. We all have to contend with illness, accidents, unemployment, natural disasters, family problems – events that can really mess up your life for a while. Governments, corporations, and other large entities face the same issues.

Last year was a difficult year for the Watchtower Society and Jehovah’s Witnesses, a year I’m sure they’d love to forget. 2012 would have been bad as it can get for any corporation, but for a religious organization like the Watchtower it was a disaster.  In a few years we may look back and mark 2012 as the “beginning of the end” for our favorite cult.

Do I expect the Watchtower to suddenly shut down operations, send all their volunteers home, sell all their Kingdom Halls, and tell all their followers to become atheists or join another church? No. I can assure you that none of those things will happen next year or in my lifetime.

Based on their performance in 2012, one could hope that the Watchtower organization might consider making major changes in their policy and doctrine – at least enough to allow them to survive through the rest of the 21st Century.

In order to illustrate just how bad things were, I’ll review just a few of the major events that involved Jehovah’s Witnesses over the past twelve months. Then I”ll try to predict how the future will shape up for them if they don’t make substantial changes.

January 2012:

Besides many existing JW discussion websites, 2012 saw dozens of new bloggers and YouTube videographers appear each month to criticize, belittle, and expose the truth about the Watchtower Society’s history, false teachings, and failed predictions. Classic websites and forums like JWN (jehovahs-witness.net) and Freeminds.org saw continued growth and participation. What was also surprising (and gratifying) was the number of new readers and bloggers who indicated that they were still active or associated in some way as JWs. This trend continued throughout the entire year.

One new website in particular made its presence known – JWSurvey.org. Originally created in September 2011 to act as a shell for “John Cedars’ ” Global Survey of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the site became one of the fastest growing and visited new JW discussion blogs. In January Cedars published the results of the four-month “2011 Survey.” The final numbers were generally unfavorable for the Watchtower – even among those participants who claimed to still be “active Witnesses.” Check out the final tally for yourself at http://jwsurvey.org/global-surveys/2011-jw-survey/survey-1. He arranged for UPS to deliver the results by certified package to the Governing Body at Brooklyn, New York on February 15, 2012. As expected, the Watchtower Society neither acknowledged or ever commented on the survey in any way.

Possibly the one positive note for the Watchtower was the dismissal of a federal lawsuit filed by the former elders of the Menlo Park (California) Kingdom Hall. Although the lawsuit failed and three elders involved were all later disfellowshipped, the extensive and well-documented trial transcripts became publicly available, clearly exposing the Watchtower’s  power  and intent to grab control and ownership of all North American Kingdom Halls – even existing Halls that are privately owned and were locally financed. Some of the evidence in the trial transcripts was quite revealing beyond the focus of the trial. During testimony a Watchtower attorney made one damning statement that contradicted the Watchtower’s claim that they were different from all other religions when he testified, “[as a hierarchy] we are no different from the Catholic Church.” Read the court records for yourself at http://ex-jw.com/menlo-park-elder-tells-all-1 .

February 2012:

The Watchtower’s UK branch came under fire by the press as a result of being investigated by the National Charity Commission. See article: http://jwsurvey.org/general-information/where-is-the-public-benefit. The real question for the commission to decide was whether the Watchtower organization could be defined and qualify as “a charity” under the guidelines of UK national law. While the Watchtower qualifies as a non-profit religious group in most countries, its “charitable works” often do not fit the usual legal definitions. They don’t spread their money around to help any non-Witnesses as most other churches do.They have no outreach for the benefit of non-Witness members of the local community. In some cases, helping to reconstruct damaged branch offices and local Kingdom Halls was the only “charitable works” delivered to communities that suffered from major disasters. It has been reported that even local JWs and their families can not get money, food, clothing or shelter through funds provided by the Watchtower. If and when they do, they are often obligated to pay back any funds received or turn over insurance checks to the Watchtower.

March 2012

Several newspapers around the world began publishing articles referring to the July 15, 2011 Watchtower (study edition) that called apostates and former Jehovah’s Witnesses “mentally diseased.” Countries such as New Zealand, Sweden, Denmark, and the UK all have local and national laws that might be applied to this statement and treated as “hate speech.” The uproar over this particular article continued for months around the world.

 

April 2012:

The Watchtower announced that starting in January 2013 the public version of the Watchtower and Awake! magazines would be reduced from 32 to 16 pages and in size. In June, 2012 the Watchtower’s official websites would be merged under the single domain JW.org and that site would be completely redesigned (they pushed this out to late August). Several foreign branch offices would be shut down and properties sold off.  It was also announced that all Brooklyn Bethel properties would eventually be put up for sale. http://jwsurvey.org/cedars-blog/branch-closures-and-fire-sales-a-growing-trend-for-the-society

In a “Mini-Survey” conducted by JWSurvey.org only 3% of respondents agreed with the Watchtower’s doctrine and practice of “shunning” disfellowshipped and disassociated former members. Even more surprising was their response when individual JWs were asked what they would do “if the Watchtower discontinued shunning”: 54% replied that they “would leave the organization and not return.”  It’s encouraging to know that possibly half of all Jehovah’s Witnesses would leave if they could do it and not lose their friends and family. At the same time, it is a sad commentary on the real reason so many JWs stay in a religion they don’t really believe in – the Watchtower’s use of their family as hostages to keep them in.

May 2012:

The 2012 summer district assemblies were held throughout North America and Europe using the theme title “Safeguard Your Heart.”  Jehovah’s Witnesses were treated to three days of speeches, plays, testimonials, and music that constantly emphasized that they should (1) be obedient to the organization, (2) spend more hours in service, and  (3) donate more of their money to finance the world-wide preaching work. More of the programs were tightly scripted, pre-recorded, and sleep-inducing. There was one major release that turned out to be an embarrassment:

On Saturday afternoon, just before that day’s sessions ended, a new DVD was released to the attendees. Designed for children under ten years old, the “Become Jehovah’s Friend: Listen, Obey, and Be Blessed” DVD contained three cartoon segments. Governing Body member Anthony Morris III introduces two very short animated films that feature Caleb, a little boy of undetermined age. The animation is in the style of Disney’s “Toy Story” films. The point of both cartoons seems to intend to cripple critical thinking and reasoning by children. One story shows Caleb goaded by his mother into throwing away a plastic toy wizard named “Sparlock” given to him by a friend. Why? “Jehovah hates it and it makes Him sad.” The other cartoon segment focused on obeying parents and what might happen to a child if they disobey. The last part is a Kingdom Song sung by a children’s choir illustrated in a style similar to  cheaply made 1950s TV cartoons.

Within hours of its release, all three segments were on display on several YouTube.com locations. Within a week, dozens of satirical versions were online and Watchtower critics worldwide were adding “Sparlock” to their screen names. There were “Sparlock” T-shirts, videos, blogs, and even a comic book or two. Before the second week of district assemblies began, Sparlock and the new DVD video had spread around the world. In spite of that fact, for the next several weeks, Jehovah’s Witnesses attending the assemblies acted like they had never heard of the DVD and vigorously applauded when they heard an announcement about its release.

The Watchtower Society embarrassed themselves by issuing and enforcing DMCA takedown notices through YouTube.com , Vimeo, and individual websites. That action forced critics to reconstitute their own videos and used the Fair Use Act to create satirical and comedic versions. Technically and legally the Watchtower won this battle – but ultimately lost the war against its critics. Dozens of satirical versions of those videos are still available on YouTube.com. Here is an excellent review of the effects of this video.

June 2012:

On June 14th, an Alameda County Civil Court jury found the Watchtower guilty of protecting pedophiles and putting children in danger in Kingdom Halls. Candace Conti, a 26-year old woman molested by an active JW when she was 9 and 10 years old, decided that she would not quietly accept a settlement from the Watchtower and then go quietly into the night forever keeping her secret. She found a highly qualified attorney experienced in these kinds of cases and asked him to file suit – but not to accept any settlement offers – to expose the truth about the Watchtower’s failure to protect its own children and to demand that they change their policies. The jury came back with a verdict of “guilty” and awarded Miss Conti $28 million in combined compensatory and punitive damages. (This has since been reduced on appeal to $11.8 million.)  Miss Conti’s is the first successful case of this kind against the Watchtower. The pedophile who molested Miss Conti is reported to still be a JW in good standing in a central California congregation. More importantly, dozens of secret documents revealing the Watchtower’s continuing policy of protecting pedophiles and punishing parents who report criminal activity to the police have been made public. You can read as well as see and hear Ms. Conti and her attorney tell their story in detail: http://ex-jw.com/watchtower-embarrassed-in-court and http://jwsurvey.org/cedars-blog/the-watchtower-punished-society-loses-legal-battle-over-child-abuse-case .

July 2012:

The Watchtower is allegedly attacked by “Anonymous,” an infamous, but often successful, Internet “terrorist.” While no one is physically hurt by Anonymous’ adventures, he/she/it/them have had some level of success in getting past passwords and encryption methods to get access to hard drives and databases. In this case, Anonymous claimed to have been able to crack through the Watchtower’s defenses and access secret databases containing the names of 23,000 alleged pedophiles and other criminals in Kingdom Halls and in responsible positions among Jehovah’s Witnesses throughout the world. It is not clear if this was a hoax meant to disorient the Watchtower’s IT department, or if it was actually successful. There was some evidence presented online that someone had managed to get access to the Watchtower’s database at some level at one point. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ob7vynx8eVg and http://jwsurvey.org/cedars-blog/jw-org-on-alert-anonymous-attacks-the-watchtower .

August 2012:

A set of eleven videos documenting a live discussion about the Candace Conti case are uploaded to YouTube.com and several other websites.  Recorded at a private conference held in the San Francisco Bay area of California, these videos present Candace Conti and her attorney, Rick Simons, as they describe the events that led up to her historic trial in Oakland, California in May and June. http://ex-jw.com/candace-conti-videos-now-online.

The Watchtower announces that several foreign branches are being shut down, combined or moved. One of them is the branch office in Ireland, one of the oldest European branches. Properties will be sold or transferred. http://jwsurvey.org/cedars-blog/anthony-morris-iii-attends-2012-special-convention-in-dublin.

September 2012:

The new JW.org website officially goes online. Completely redesigned with a pleasing format and color scheme, the site offers regular articles, e-book and PDF versions of most current magazines, study aids, and other publications. It also provides meeting and assembly schedules and Kingdom Hall addresses and phone numbers. Other Watchtower domains and websites are either shutdown all together or redirected to the new website.

The new website introduces ASL (sign language for the deaf) videos on a host of Jehovah’s Witness doctrines, policies, and other subjects. One of the ASL videos goes viral on YouTube as the signer describes the Watchtower’s policies and treatment of masturbation. The videos unintentionally turn out hilarious, especially to non-ASL viewers. The typically puritanical Watchtower falls back on DMCA to try to put out the fire, but within days the videos have gone worldwide and even turn up on comedy TV shows and YouTube sites. Read about it here and here . Watch one American comedian describe his reaction to the video.

The Watchtower Society’s Legal Department files an appeal in the Candace Conti child molestation court case in Oakland, California. The court ruled on portions of the appeal, but orders the Watchtower to post a bond of nearly $18 million.

October 2012:

In an obvious response to the Candace Conti court case, the Watchtower sends out an “elder letter” that tries to clarify the “two witness rule.” Unfortunately, the letter only confuses the subject and reinforces Governing Body and Service Department positions on reporting suspected child molesters or criminal acts within a Kingdom Hall or by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Read commentary here.

During the Watchtower Society’s annual meeting, they put more emphasis on “obedience” to the Society and the Governing Body. Then during a series of talks by several members of the current Governing Body, they explain what the “faithful and discreet slave” is and what its responsibilities are. Finally they announce officially that the “faithful slave” is the Governing Body, not the remaining members of the “anointed” class. That makes the Governing Body the most powerful group of men in Watchtower history and in third place of universal authority after Jehovah and Jesus Christ. Read the entire story here.

The Watchtower’s Legal Department appears before the court in Alameda, California and tells the court that the Watchtower is basically “broke” and can not afford to post the bond. They offer to put up the Society’s property in Patterson, New York as collateral. Conti and her attorney object to the offer and demand the court order the Watchtower to post a proper bond.

November 2012:

Whitney Heichel, a young Jehovah’s Witness woman in Gresham, Oregon (near Portland) disappears after being kidnapped on her way to work at a local Starbucks coffee shop. Within a couple of days, local police have a suspect, a weapon, and Mrs. Heichel’s body. Surprisingly, the alleged murderer is a Jehovah’s Witness in the same Kingdom Hall.  According to news reports, Jonathan Holt confessed to the crime but has entered a plea of “not guilty” in court. A public memorial was held and the local Witnesses turn it into an opportunity to do some public witnessing. Dozens of Bibles and other literature are “placed” at the memorial site. The non-Witness community provides support and grieves along with the Witnesses. Several local reporters note that while this display of support is very common among the public when a tragedy like this occurs, Jehovah’s Witnesses never come together as a group to show their support in similar cases involving non-Witnesses. Several members of the public who attended the memorial complain that “it was less about Whitney and more about them wanting to convert us.”

The suspect, Jonathan Holt, is first described by the elders as “an occasional visitor to the Kingdom Hall.” Turns out that both he and his wife are regular publishers there. According to police, Holt admits to having child pornography on his computer and this is later confirmed.  Holt’s wife requests and is granted a divorce in record time (less than two months). Anonymous Jehovah’s Witnesses in the area stated that the former Mrs. Holt was told that she can marry again “because when her ex-husband had sexual relations with Mrs. Heichel before murdering her, he ‘committed fornication’ – thereby making her free to marry again.” If Holt had only killed Mrs. Heichel, but not forced her to have sexual relations with him beforehand, then under strict JW rules, the former Mrs. Holt would not have been free to marry again. To do so would have made her guilty of fornication.  Figure out the Watchtower’s logic with that little bit of “theocratic” policy making…

Anonymous Jehovah’s Witnesses have also alleged that local elders were aware that Holt had a problem with viewing pornography, but were probably unaware of the fact that his tastes also included child pornography.

Shortly after the Heichel case begins to wind down, another case of child abuse by a Jehovah’s Witness was reported. A JW sister, if convicted, faces several life terms in Tennessee for molesting and raping her own children, including one that is disabled. Surprisingly, she also resides in the Gresham, Oregon area and is likely considered a “sister in good standing” in a Kingdom Hall located there – probably the same one that Mrs. Heichel and Jonathan Holt attended.

Later that month, the Appeals Court in the Candace Conti case told Watchtower Legal that the Patterson headquarters buildings could not be used as collateral. California law does not allow the use of out-of-state properties. If they choose to use property as collateral, and the court agrees, the Watchtower might have to put up every Kingdom Hall in the San Francisco Bay area – assuming they can actually prove they have legal ownership. This leads us to wonder if Candace Conti might eventually own the Menlo Park Kingdom Hall? We can only hope so…

Mark Sanderson, 47, was confirmed as the eighth member of the current Governing Body (according to the “newest new light” – making him third in line after Jehovah). With his appointment, and the fact that over 12,000 attendees to the 2012 Memorial Celebration also partook of the wine and bread emblems,  any pretense that qualified acceptance into the “anointed class” was closed in 1935 by Jehovah has completely evaporated. This is in spite of the fact that Joseph Rutherford decreed it, Nathan Knorr and Frederick Franz confirmed it – but now it clearly does not apply. (Poor Hayden Covington!) Local Kingdom Halls may have to buy more wine and crackers to feed everyone who attends the next  (2013) Memorial Celebration.

December 2012:

A tragic bus accident at the International Airport in Miami, Florida took the lives of two Jehovah’s Witnesses on their way to a local district assembly. Several others were injured, some seriously. Here is a detailed news report from a local Miami TV station:  http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/Hundreds-Pay-Tribute-to-Man-Killed-in-Airport-Crash-182688091.html . Surprisingly, the Watchtower Society apparently felt this accident as an important event for Jehovah’s Witnesses was not particularly newsworthy – especially when compared to other far more mundane subjects and events. In fact, they didn’t mention it at all on their on their own website’s news page.

Australia and Norway take on the Watchtower Society

In Australia, the Watchtower faces up to $3 billion in fines and fees for ignoring Victoria State Child Protection laws.  The Watchtower claimed that the law did not apply to them because their local Kingdom Halls did not manage schools, sponsor scout troops, or have Sunday Schools in their churches. The Society’s official position was that they were exempt from the law, even though all other churches were complying. The Watchtower took this position in spite of the fact that several Kingdom Halls had recent cases of child molestation. This case has been going on for a couple of years, but now the government’s attorney general is getting involved and promises action against the Society. (Interesting note: The Governing Body was called to appear before the court, but has so far refused. Also called was the “Faithful Slave Class.” The Watchtower’s legal representative stated in response that the Faithful Slave did not actually exist – it was only a “theological arrangement.”) Read more here. …  Also here.

Norway is now in a “take no prisoners’ attitude. Unlike most other countries, Norway’s media and press is unflinchingly going after the Watchtower. Over the past few months, major newspapers and TV stations have broadcast stories exposing the situation in that country. Read about Norway here. One former Jehovah’s Witness, Bo Juel Jensen, is connected to the media in Norway and has shared his personal story on YouTube.  We’re sure to hear a lot more from him in the next few months.

So What’s the Verdict?

Looking back I’m sure we all agree that 2012 was rather unpleasant for the Watchtower Society! You have to ask yourself, “Can Jehovah really be blessing this organization? Did he really choose them as his earthly representatives? If so, why is he treating them so poorly?”

Where do we go from here? I for one will continue to report along with many of my associates on new developments as they happen. The rather long list above only scratches the surface. There are many more serious and ongoing problems within the Watchtower that I didn’t even mention in this lengthy post. I assure you that I will keep you informed of events and updates as they happen. Come visit Watchtower Watch often and feel free to comment on any of our articles.

26 Comments

  1. 1-14-2013

    Thank you for your news review covering the demise of the Watchtower Society in 2012. I am looking with great anticipation for more expose’ in 2013.

  2. Richard E. Kelly
    1-14-2013

    John, this is your signature piece as a journalist. Is it now time to take this story to the world of public opinion? To decide if the Watchtower Society should be labeled, like cigarettes, as dangerous to your health?

  3. Richard E. Kelly
    1-14-2013

    Okay. let’s call a spade a spade. The Watchtower Society is a necessary evil in a free society. A legal insane asylum for those people unable to cope with reality, afraid that they will die someday.

  4. 1-15-2013

    Thank you for a fine summary of our “anti-theocratic” of 2012.

  5. 1-15-2013

    The very thought of the possibility that one of the members of the Ding Bat Governing Body may be forced to walk in to a Court of Law in 2013 along side their hired guns at Watchtower Legal just makes life worth living!!

  6. 1-18-2013

    The WatchTower Society may be feeling ill pressure of its long history of deceit based upon its January 1, 2013 Watchtower magazine. On page 8, the WatchTower Society for the first time, though half-heartedly, admits wrong in making false predictions for the end of the world. In the process of this damage control, the WatchTower Society blames Jehovah’s Witnesses for eagerly spreading lies: “Jehovah’s Witnesses have had wrong expectations about when the end would come.” The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, Inc. will fail. The heart condition of individual members will be extremely critical in determining his and her mental, physical and spiritual survival.

  7. 1-20-2013

    … And this excellent article does not mention a new (big) French book about homophobia of the Watchtower, the first book of this kind, available since September 2012 : “Témoin de Jéhoovah Homosexuel” (http://www.temoindejehovahhomosexuel.fr/). A MUST READ !

  8. 1-25-2013

    As long as you are concerned about everything the WT Society does, they still have a hold on you. Let it go and move on – they will never change, but you can. Be truly free by not being constantly in need of seeing the JWs fail in some way.

    • The Editor
      1-26-2013

      Diane – Believe me when I say that I’d like nothing better than to leave all of this behind me and go off and write my book about my days working for the telephone company. But “moving on” would not be the right thing to do. I can assure you that the Watchtower Society has no more of a hold on me than the Mormons, Scientologists, or the Moonies. The reason I focus on the Watchtower is because I still have family who are Jehovah’s Witnesses and I’d like to be able to talk to them as I would any other family members and friends. They are locked inside and I am locked outside. I love them and deep down I think they love me – the only thing that keeps us apart is the Watchtower.

      If I felt that the Watchtower was all it claims to be and was truly a loving Christian religion in the manner of the early apostles and disciples, then I would be less critical. But knowing what I know makes me realize that the Watchtower is not, and never has been, a religion that Jesus would have approved. A truly Christian religion would not protect pedophiles, steal inheritances and privately paid for Kingdom Halls, and break up families. Jesus always spoke of love when discussing those who followed him, both Jew and Gentile. He said that he came to “fulfill the law” and left us only two commandments to follow, one of which was to “love your neighbor.” The Watchtower is trying to reinstate the old Mosaic Law and merge it into their millennialist thinking – and then force it on their followers.

      As long as I draw breath and the Watchtower is misrepresenting itself not only to the world at large, but also to its own followers, then I will be a part of this educational effort intended to inform both JWs and potential converts as to the real truth about the Watchtower. No, they may never change, but maybe I can do something to change their growth from a tiny little plus sign to a huge negative number before I pack it in forever.

      Maybe someday I can sit down to dinner with my JW relatives and enjoy a good meal, share some laughs, and end our visit with big hugs and lots of kisses for everyone. It is not me preventing this from happening – it is the Watchtower and its harsh unchristian rules.

      • Richard E. Kelly
        1-26-2013

        John, you have said it so well. And I might add that what you are doing brings comfort and hope to many of those people trying to get out from the oppression of that terrible religion. Keep up the good work. And keep in mind Lincoln’s wise advice, “There will always be a flew fleas that a dog can never reach.”

      • 2-9-2013

        2cor. 11:14 Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light,
        and the watchtower keeps coming up with “new light”..
        do you see the connection?

      • 2-9-2013

        Diane is clearly a concern troll. Do not give up.

    • 4-9-2016

      Speak for yourself I’m enjoying this

  9. 3-22-2013

    I agree with most of what you said, but I take issue with this statement: “It’s encouraging to know that possibly half of all Jehovah’s Witnesses would leave if they could do it and not lose their friends and family.” I respect jwsurvey.org, and find Cedar’s blog interesting to read, but this statement shows skewed statistics. JWs, according to the material published by the society, should not be on that website. Therefore there is a huge bias in the statistics, since everyone who votes is already going against the society. Sure the statistics are interesting, but they cannot be used to make statements about how JWs in general feel.

    I disagree with the Watchtower society on many levels, but we should not stoop to the same level as them by misrepresenting statistics.

    • The Editor
      3-22-2013

      Anonymous – I appreciate your standing up for those unrepresented Jehovah’s Witnesses who were not able or chose not to vote due to Watchtower restrictions on them. Unfortunately for them, since they make the choice not to be heard, then we have to go with the responses we get. That is like saying that Mitt Romney would have won if all those voters who would have voted for him had voted for him instead of not voting for him because they figured he would lose anyway. You either vote or you have no say in the matter. Failing to vote is not the same as voting “no.”

      Cedars’ survey is set up to give every participant complete privacy and anonymity. If a JW wanted to express his or her opinion, as many did, they could without fear of exposure.

      There is another reason that I can write this article with confidence. Every month I get dozens of emails and other communications from Jehovah’s Witnesses who are in, out, and fading. While some will occasionally send angry complaints about something I’ve written or published, by far the majority actually agree with most of what I publish and write. Over the past three years many have shared their feelings with me, and have told me that they wished they could have the freedom to get an education, get a decent job, and see the world. They only remain Jehovah’s Witnesses and live their unsatisfying lives because they can not bear the thought of losing their families and close friends.

      Others have made it clear they can unconditionally believe what the Watchtower is teaching, but feel that personal decisions should be based on an individual’s conscience, not fear of being disfellowshipped. Do you seriously think that families should be split up because one or more simply have expressed that they can not believe in the 144,000, or 1914, or the generation teaching? Most Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that serial fornicators, child molesters, criminals, and pornographers should be excommunicated and shunned. But they have very serious issues with shunning doubters, someone who dates an unbeliever, or those who might attend a wedding or funeral at a friend’s church.

      One “active” Jehovah’s Witness ended his email to me like this: “If we could only say what we were really thinking. If we all spoke our minds with one voice the windows at Patterson would shatter and the Governing Body would be diving for cover. But we don’t. That’s why they call us ‘the other sheep.’ “

      • 3-22-2013

        I agree that surveys like this mean something, and I agree that there are probably many active JWs who would find this site and vote. But I know I wouldn’t have even known the site existed a month ago before I finally decided to act on my doubts and see what was real and what wasn’t, because we aren’t supposed to be on this corner of the internet in the first place according to the society. Those who would disagree with what Cedars was saying would be the ones to avoid the site, and hence never get the opportunity to cast their vote. I’m not saying the surveys are worthless, I’m just saying that it should be more clear that the results are skewed, and could be prefaced with something like what you said in response to my comment. I took a class on statistics which made me more conscious of that kind of thing, but many have not and might take the % values at face value.

        The 54% goes to show that many of the people who come to websites like that want out, but it is not a representative sample of JWs as a whole. There is a huge difference between voting for a leader and voting on a survey. I agree, someone who doesn’t vote forfeits their opportunity to have a say, but when we are conducting a survey, we want to find out facts about peoples’ viewpoints/etc. Unlike voting, a survey is a form of a scientific study, which is used to form opinions.

        Please don’t take this as an attack on you or Cedars. I really enjoyed this article, and I think more JWs should be aware of this information. I just don’t want to legitimize the society’s demonizing of sites like this even in a small way by presenting misinformation.

  10. 7-25-2013

    Please leave us alone. All you opposers are worldly and will be destroyed for not following the Governing Body.

    We believe that Christ and reading the Bible is not enough. You must accept God’s Organization to have a relationship with God.

    • The Editor
      7-25-2013

      “km” – While I’d like to criticize your lame comment, I won’t. You exhibit the classic symptoms of someone who is truly trapped in the cult. You are simply parroting what the Watchtower says about former JWs without thinking for yourself. You have no real idea what kind of witness that gives to those leaving the Witnesses or to those considering joining. Those are just the words of a robot programmed to say a few simple phrases.

      If you were to show up at my door tomorrow with a Bible and Watchtower pamphlet in hand, I would ask you to please come in and show me in my Bible or yours how that second paragraph you wrote could possibly be supported scripturally. Jesus rebelled against the official Jewish organization of his time. David stood up against Saul. The early prophets spent their lives pointing out the sins of the Israelite and Judaean kings. If something is clearly wrong and fueled by harmful lies, true Christians and other critics have a responsibility to speak out. The Watchtower has clearly demonstrated that it has no unique relationship with God or Jesus. They have not given the Governing Body any unique ability to properly predict world events. Nor based on the number of elders who have been revealed as child molesters and wife beaters – would the facts indicate that the choices for WT leadership is ever directed by holy spirit. Remember that at least two (and reportedly three) of the original Governing Body members (1970s-80s) had to be removed because of their questionable sexual preferences. But again – just show me in the Bible where it says that we must all accept the Watchtower Society and the Governing Body as something special in order “to have a relationship with God.” Whatever happened to simply going into your closet and praying privately to God? That is what the Bible says and nothing in that chapter would indicate that somehow you would have to fit the Governing Body in there with you.

    • 8-2-2013

      “Destroyed for NOT following the governing body.” Where in the Bible not the NWT does it say to follow the governing body. The last time I checked in the NASB, NIV, NKJV, KJV, and pretty much every other copy of the Bible it says to humble ourselves and pattern our lives after Christ, to follow the example of Jesus. Jesus and the governing body are not and will never be the same. I was a JW for over 20 years and I am proud to say that I attend a great and loving church now, (in fact I am the pastor) A graduate of one of the best seminary schools in America to. I am so thankful to God that He reached down to me and helped me through some of the most difficult times in my life. As a side-note anyone can have a meaningful relationship with God, it’s NOT just open to JW’s. Have a blessed day.

  11. 2-14-2014

    I married a JW two years ago – against the elders advise and my family’s. Since the newlywed glitter has worn off, now she is saddened every day about my non conversion. Although I attend meetings with her, I still believe in Salvation through Christ’s blood. Any advice for our situation? It breaks my heart that her love is now conditional on me studying to be a JW. She shuns me regularly on this. Thanks,K

  12. 7-4-2014

    I remember that during this time, the elders kept on saying to be careful not to be stumbled on what the internet says about JWs…

  13. 7-20-2014

    I am former JW of more than 30 years (by disassociation). What I find common with so many ex-Witnesses is an agenda to “besmirch,” “get even with,” and expose the teachings of the Watch Tower. It has become a life’s mission for so many. I find this unnecessary.

    There is a higher road to take here. One should count it as a blessing that they are no longer “captives” to the organization; indeed any religious organization.

    Now the question is what does one do with their new freedom? I say continue to worship the One True God and serve The Master Jesus [the] Christ, but as an organization says one should but God through his son says we should. (Luke 9:35)

    It will be The Most High who will expose and crush the things taught that are not true. We don’t have to. (Acts 5:33-40)

    likewise, if what any are teaching is the truth, there is nothing anyone can do to stop it.

    The WT and JWs are not the whole problem in the world. Rather, it is the entire world itself and everything in it: Its political systems, educational systems, religious systems, etc.

    I say leave the WT,JWs, and all of the other religious systems in the world alone. God will deal with them if they are not teaching the truth.

    What we can do is focus on the things that The Master taught (as he is still with is according to Matthew 28:20) and use our WT experiences to help others come to those teachings of Christ so that they will adopt them. No religious organization needed.

    No, we do not teach them the Bible. We teach them Christs teachings. The Bible is a later occurrence and an impostor. It is not The Word of God, Christ is.

    That the Bible is being promoted and taught as the Word of God, makes those who promote it as such blasphemers as ONLY Christ is the chosen (by God) and authorized (by God) Word of God. Not a book.

    When one focuses on trying to do all THEY can to make the WT and JW go out of existence, they waste their time and it is unloving and not the manner in which Christ taught and conducted himself.

    Whether a person is a Mormon, a JW, a Seventh Day Adventists, etc … it should not matter. These are people!

    Rather than condemn them (even tho’ they may condemn you), show concern for them as Christ would.

    An analogy: I am a well traveled ex-JW who happens to be African American. If a small White child with his parent looks up at me and calls me by the N-Word, I do not fault the child, I fault the parent who either taught the child the word or heard his parent use the word.

    Likewise, persons within any religious organization are like that small child, they are child-like innocent and only do and say as the “parent” directs them.

    Those of us who have been “released’ from captivity must be smarter than the way many of us think and behave.

    The religious organization leadership directing the masses are false leaders (misleaders), false teachers, false prophets and bad “parents.”

    We have a unique privilege to “wake many of them up” and help them to see that Christ – who is the truth – has NEVER been within ANY religious organization as that would be enslaving. Rather, he is “without of them.” (Hebrews 13:13-14)

    So we can help millions to “see” that membership to religious organization is not necessary to be a disciple of Christ. We can help them understand that it by “individual” approach to God through Christ the we become worshipers of God and slaves of Christ. No “organization” can do that for us as none of them have the keys of life and death as they claim they do.

    We can help them to see that ALL religious organization that has fancy titles attached to themselves that their members adopt are all adulterers. Christ NEVER told his disciples to take those names upon themselves.

    Those religious organizations are like an adulterous woman who is marries a man, but takes upon herself the name of another. Christ never told his disciples to be called JWs, Mormons, Catholics, Baptists, etc … or even Christians.

    He simply told them to be called disciples, his disciples. Any other name or title one takes such as Christian, Mormon , JW etc makes one an adulterer with regards our Head, Lord, Master, and Owner – Christ Jesus.

    Those foreign names “marks” one and identifies who ones true owner is and who they are membered (married) with.

    Jesus never used the expression Christian, never called himself Christian, never called his disciples Christian and his disciples never called themselves by that expression or any of the expressions used today. (Jesus never called God Jehovah either. He always addressed him as Father).

    We can open the eyes of even more millions to help them see the invisible God and the invisible Christ without use of the physical eye and use of the false portrayals of them and others in literature (and art and film).

    Religious organization – including the WT – has actually shut up the Kingdom of God by misleading persons to visualize it as something partly “earthly and physical.” If they have effectively shut up God’s Kingdom, then they are not teaching the truth. But like I said earlier, God will deal with all religious organization and “there will be light.”

    God is a Spirit and he cannot be worshiped or accesses through physical and visible religious organizations or a book called “The Bible.” (John 4:23-24)

    He can only be accessed through the one who ascended and who is also invisible: Christ.

    Yet, most of mankind insists on trying to access God through religious organizations. This is no different from the practice of idolatry.

    Religious organizations – in particular the one men call Christianity – is a modern-day Golden Calf. It is a counterfeit. An impostor. (Matthew 24:4-5)

    The bottom line here is that a unique opportunity lies in front of those released from religious organization. Sadly – once released – find themselves consumed and taken captive by something else.

    What about getting on with the important work Christ command us to do: Make disciples.

    But we must know what it is to be his disciples before we can make others disciples.

    1. Must listen to his teachings. (His teachings not those of any religious organization claiming to teach them.)

    2. Christ must be the Teacher. Not a religious organization or a book it has authorized. This makes us his disciples. We will take upon ourselves the name of any religious organization. (Matthew 23:8-10)

    3. Continued listening to Christs leads to a “knowing” of the truth as he is the truth.

    4. As we listen more and more to him, we are set free. Set free from what? Free from fear of being punished for all eternity or losing our lives if we do not join religious organization.

    Christ never condemned anyone. So why is religious organization doing it?

    The WT has a three convention that is initially a warning if one does not join “them” those persons will die. I find this shameful and unloving.

    One should note the WT cleverly deviates from the “loving things” Christ said and did for persons not his followers. Instead the WT focuses on particular passages in “The Bible” (not words of Jesus) that wreak of destruction for those who do not join them.

    So we have an issue here of what Jesus taught as opposed to what “The Bible” says. We have two Words of God. One real the other fabricated. Two Masters, one real the other fabricated.

    The fabricated one is preferred over the real one.

    On look at the WT official website makes it clear that the fabricated one is preferred by that organization.

    Yet, I maintain that its membership are innocent, child-like and kept kindergarten-level.

    R. Jerome Harris
    e-Prophetic.com

  14. The Editor
    7-20-2014

    Mr. Harris – thank you for your comment. In the future I would suggest that you keep your comments shorter, not more that 6-700 words. Also, please do not preach. This is not a place for you to proselytize or promote your personal religious beliefs. While I agree with most of what you say about being more loving and charitable, the rest is just warmed over JW, Mormon, and evangelical mush. You really haven’t moved on from your JW evangelism, you’ve just changed brands. You really haven’t educated yourself about the Bible, history or science since you left the JWs, you’ve just moved to something that you think might be more palatable and acceptable to more people, especially in the USA.

    You begin your comment by saying: “… What I find common with so many ex-Witnesses is an agenda to “besmirch,” “get even with,” and expose the teachings of the Watch Tower. It has become a life’s mission for so many. I find this unnecessary.”

    You may feel our path is unnecessary, but we don’t. Just read some of the other articles on this website. Look at those who have been able to escape and start new lives. At the same time look at those who have seen their live permanently damaged and their families destroyed by the Watchtower Society. That is not “besmirching, getting even, or hating JWs,” but you are right about “exposing the teachings of the Watch Tower.” Yes, that is our goal and currently our life mission. So I’ll score you 50% on that comment.

    If you knew that a local butcher was selling bad meat, rotten and out of “due season,” wouldn’t you tell your neighbors and family to not “buy his goods”? Do you want them poisoned, sickened, and maybe die due to believing that he was selling fresh and healthy food delivered straight from the supplier? But maybe he isn’t buying it straight from the supplier as he claims, but rather digging most of it out of the dumpsters of his competitors? You’ve seen him do it. You’ve eaten his meat and become sick yourself. You’ve seen your family get sick from eating his meat. Would exposing his lies and bad practices that endanger the lives of his clients be wrong? Would that be “besmirching him”? Should someone “just move on” after getting sick from eating his foul and sickening products? Would not the right thing to do is to expose his dangerous practices and report him to the authorities? Would you actually remain silent and just move to another grocer, as you have with your move to another evangelical religion, but actually try to get people to stop buying his dangerous “meat in due season”?

    That’s why we do what we do. We honestly believe the Watchtower is selling rotten meat, poisoning their customers (JWs and their unbaptized family members) and then pushing them to bring in new customers to eat that same meat.

    Thank you for stopping by and offering your opinion. But quite frankly, my friend, all you are doing is acting as an apologist for a religious group that even you don’t believe in any more. Why don’t you move on and continue your own personal evangelism? Don’t feel you need to step in and defend the Watchtower. Quite frankly, what they do in truly indefensible and like the butcher in my illustration, unrepentant. JWs are now realizing that and that’s why as many that can build up the nerve are leaving as fast as they can – and not a bit afraid that they will be judged harshly by God – only their families.

  15. 8-31-2014

    I think that insanity is a binding order of hegemony. Those that free themselves from one form of slavery are often ripe to run directly to the next set of chains. This being said, as creatures of conscience…was there ever any other reasoning except our own? Can you think for yourself? If so….think! If not, think on why you cannot think for yourself…..then …THINK! After all….if you have a conscience and consciousness, aren’t you supposed to think for yourself? Our lessons should not be about petty concerns that befall all humans. However, you will find the answers to your questions in the origins of what you believe to be true. Hence, in the discovery of lies, you will know the truth. The secret my friends , in the philosophy of Christ is simple. Walk in the sun, cover your head in the rain, be kind and true, and have some respect for fine aged craftsmanship ( planet Earth) Segue, stage right.

  16. 11-12-2014

    Homosexuality has been and always will be a SIN according to the Bible and Christian teaching, regardless of how you may feel about Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    Don’t confuse “search for truth” with “embracing of lies.” God remains God and our Lord Jesus remains Jesus, with or without the Watchtower Society.

  17. 3-21-2015

    Sad….You spend all your time helping to really advance Jehovahs name. Thank You! 24 comments to date. You’re really hitting the base audiance, uh? Continue your work, for me anyways, I love how you try to slam the organization, only to bring more light to the heavy hearts of the disfellowshiped. Diseased mind is a hate crime. What a minute… I had to stop laughing. Okay, show me one legal precedent for your argument. A Sparlock example to you, and yours.

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