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.

Read More

WTW Editor on “The Thinking Atheist” Podcast

Posted by on Nov 13, 2013 in Blog, Book Reviews, Media | 6 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!!!

Read More

Not an “Earthly Paradise”

Posted by on Sep 9, 2013 in Blog, Book Reviews | 6 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.

Read More

“It’s Going to be OK . . .”

Posted by on Jan 24, 2013 in Blog, Book Reviews | 3 comments

“It’s Going to be OK . . .”

As the editor of several websites I am frequently approached by former Jehovah’s Witnesses who have written a book about their life stories and experiences while involved in The Truth™ or escaping from it. Often I get news releases announcing that “a former JW has written a book about his life and how he left the Watchtower cult after discovering the ‘real truth about the Bible…’ ”

I will make an effort to read at least a sample of these books. On the other hand, I refuse to waste my time on any that are clearly stories of “evangelical awakening” by writers who claim to have “spoken to God” or have been “infused with Holy Spirit.” However, if  I find that a book is truly interesting – even if flawed in some ways – and I think it has value for my readers, then I will try to write an honest but mostly positive review.

On very rare occasions I’ll get a book that is that is truly unique like The Girl’s Guide to Homelessness by Brianna Karp. If I can “see the story” and imagine that I am right there “going along for a once in a lifetime ride,” then I will make the time to read it, write an honest review, and share it with my readers. It’s Going to be OK (but not like we thought) fits perfectly into that category.

Read More

Five Books Every JW Should Read

Posted by on Dec 1, 2012 in Blog, Book Reviews | 0 comments

Five Books Every JW Should Read

It’s very unlikely that the Watchtower Society would want you to read any of the following five books. In many Kingdom Halls, if the elders discovered that you’ve read or purchased one of these books, you’d likely be facing a very uncomfortable meeting with a Judicial Committee.

Why would the Governing Body want to stop you from getting your hands on any of these books? Are they are afraid of the facts that you will discover and the secrets that might be revealed to you?

Never “fear the facts.” The adage “the truth will out” is as valid now in the 21st century as any other time in our entire recorded history. Honest-hearted persons will search for the truth – no matter what its source might be. “Seekers of truth” reject the notion that anyone can choose or censor the books and media for them – whether by a totalitarian government or an authoritarian organization.

Read More