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.
Advocates for Awareness of Watchtower Abuses* is an organization formed to provide support to Jehovah’s Witnesses and their families who are looking for help, counsel, and honest answers to their questions. AAWA is quite unlike any other support group in this category as its primary purpose is to give those who want to escape “a clear path to freedom from the Watchtower.”
[Adapted from: Wikipedia: Underground Railroad]
AAWA will be for 21st century Jehovah’s Witnesses an escape route very much like that historic “underground railroad” that allowed so many enslaved persons to find “a road to freedom” during the 19th century.
AAWA is a group of unpaid volunteers dedicated to helping those looking for answers, support, referrals, and escape from the cult we know as the Watchtower Society. It will be both educational and proactive in its approach to dealing with the Society. The effort will literally be world-wide in scope with active members in North America, Europe, and Australia. Some of the names will be immediately recognizable as long-time critics of the Society. Others may be unfamiliar at first – but will soon become well-known for their future involvement in this effort. Some AAWA associates go by their given names and others use pseudonyms – depending on their personal preferences or individual circumstances.
In addition to its support services to Jehovah’s Witnesses, AAWA will also act as a conduit to news agencies, media outlets, and other community activist groups. When appropriate, AAWA will provide online videos, handouts and pamphlets, and speakers for groups or organizations.
I’m proud to say that I am one of the founders of AAWA and look forward to my involvement with such an elite (but not “elitist”) group of dedicated volunteers.
AAWA’s website, AAWA.co, is now online and will soon expand its reach and available services. Please take a moment and go check it out. Then tell your friends and ask them to get the word out as well.
If you are a current or former Jehovah’s Witness, or have family members who are, feel free to contact AAWA and find out how they can help. AAWA is non-sectarian “in purpose” and “in fact” and will never promote any religious belief over another. Several volunteers are available to discuss the history and reasoning behind certain Watchtower teachings and policy, but none will preach or try to indoctrinate those who comes for help.
Read more about how the AAWA was formed..
Please note: This article was revised and updated on May 1, 2013 to account for both name, website and organizational changes by AAWA since our original publication date. AAWA’s purpose and Mission Statement have not changed.