Doubts over organizational solidarity as disturbing video on handling suicide is leaked

Two more instructional videos have been leaked to JWsurvey by a Watchtower insider

Two more instructional videos have been leaked to JWsurvey by a Watchtower insider

A week ago this website covered the leaking of several videos that were used during a recent “Kingdom Ministry School” – a special training event to which only elders are invited. The videos were apparently leaked by Spanish-speaking elders.

Two of the videos showed Governing Body members Anthony Morris and Stephen Lett reminding elders to be “obedient” and “decisive” in carrying out their duties.

The other 42-minute video was a dramatization showing a young man coming forward and confessing fornication to his elders before finally being disfellowshipped.

The trouble was, the disfellowshipping video had been completely dubbed over in Spanish, making it difficult for non-Spanish speakers to get a proper grasp of what was happening. As a result, a few days ago two friends of mine set to work on creating an English transcript with a view to releasing a subtitled version of the video on JWsurvey.

As much as their efforts were appreciated, you can imagine my surprise and delight when, completely out of the blue, I received an email from a Watchtower insider offering to send me the English version of the film. This person didn’t like the thought of us exerting efforts making subtitles when we could have the original.

An interesting email dialogue ensued resulting in my contact sending not just the English disfellowshipping video but also a previously unknown video instructing elders on how to go about “shepherding” a suicidal widow.

To view an ASL version of the above video, click here.

Spurred on by hypocrisy

The main reason given by my source for sending the judicial committee video was his indignation at the hypocrisy shown by the Governing Body through its judicial policies.

The Governing Body expects Witnesses to face punishment for wrongdoing while accepting no responsibility for its own failings

The Governing Body expects Witnesses to face punishment for wrongdoing while accepting no responsibility for its own failings

As my source pointed out, the Governing Body has been allowed to repeatedly make all manner of mistakes over the decades, many of which have far-reaching consequences. But they always shield themselves from the fall-out from their own errors, or from taking responsibility for their actions.

Meanwhile, if a Witness comes forward honestly confessing some indiscretion he is leapt upon and potentially given the worst possible punishment – estrangement from his family.

In the case of the disfellowshipping video, a young man named Robbie confesses to fornication in a one-night stand, blaming a “worldly” girl for having “seduced” him using, erm… her aquarium (don’t ask!).

Robbie initially covers up the fact that he has been having sex on numerous occasions with the same girl over the past two months, but this detail is later revealed following persistent questioning from the elders. It becomes obvious that the main motivation for Robbie in his concealment of the full extent of his actions is his intense fear of Watchtower’s shunning policy and its consequences on his family and friends.

The video also goes to great lengths to remind elders that any elders who can be identified as being friends with the wrongdoer are not to be considered suitable for serving on the judicial committee. The reason? Elders need to be “objective.” The idea is that if an elder is good friends with the accused he could be biased, and would likely not reach the correct decision EVEN if he is not a relative.

Watchtower doesn’t want too much mercy being shown in these situations.

It is also painfully obvious when watching the video that Watchtower values its elitist “eyes only” approach to disseminating information. Elders are shown consulting their Shepherd books while Robbie is not in the room in order to decide on his fate. Moments before Robbie is due to walk in the room they put their books away – books containing rules that he is not privy to, but which affect him profoundly.

As I pointed out in my previous article – how can secret information affecting all but available to only a privileged elite be biblically justified?

Disfellowshipping video – Part 1

Disfellowshipping video – Part 2

The above videos are likely to be removed by Watchtower, so you are welcome to download them if you wish… Judicial 1 | Judicial 2 | Shepherding

Dangerously negligent instructions

But perhaps more disturbing was another video sent to me, also utilized during the Kingdom Ministry School and replete with similarly horrendous acting. This second video depicts the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ way of shepherding a woman in the congregation who has been recently widowed.

Unfortunately, though the latter depiction is supposed to be the correct approach, thinking viewers will be horrified at the negligent way the woman is handled by her elders using the “Watchtower-approved” technique.

The advice being given to elders on how to handle suicidal individuals is alarming

The advice being given to elders on how to handle suicidal individuals is alarming

Two elders arrange to visit the woman named Mary after she tearfully approaches one of them at the end of the meeting. Before the visit, the elders meet together to strategize over what they will say.

The older of the two decides that the visit will be all about convincing Mary to be an “integrity keeper” (a loyal Witness), and this is exactly how the resulting discussion pans out.

At the start of the visit Mary reveals that she is so desperate following the loss of her husband, Don, that she has been contemplating suicide. She even has a plan involving asphyxiating herself in her garage using exhaust fumes.

This should set off major alarm bells for most thinking persons with one iota of common sense. If a person has sunk to such desperation that they have planned the manner of their death, surely they are urgently in need of help that only professionals can provide?

So, what advice do the elders offer?

First, the older elder lectures Mary about Job and how this bible figure set the example as an integrity keeper. The elder insists that Job had just as many reasons to be “messed up” as Mary, and gives a perplexing illustration involving a needle going “into the red” to show the difficulty of Job’s situation.

Mary is then told to repeatedly chant “I am an integrity keeper, I am an integrity keeper” next time her suicidal thoughts surface. She is also advised to “read a little from the Psalms,” and equate suicidal ideas with immoral thoughts.

Finally the other elder bizarrely gives Mary a homework assignment, as though she is some kind of errant school child. She is told to memorize a certain verse in Jeremiah as yet another form of incantation for the next time she is feeling suicidal.

Armed with this outrageous pseudo-psychiatry, Mary excuses herself from the conversation to get some cookies for the elders. The older elder seemingly takes this as a sign that they have done their jobs well and mouths “thank you Jehovah” heavenward as the other elder looks on.

I realise the above sounds too ludicrous to be true, but this is really how the video plays out. The Governing Body seriously expects its elders to handle such delicate life-or-death matters in this way.

Elders are not to give out numbers for suicide hotlines or encourage a suicidal person to seek professional help. Instead they are to give bible-based lectures, urge the uttering of incantations, and hand out homework assignments.

These videos show only too clearly why Watchtower, so hopelessly out of touch, is having an increasing problem maintaining its organizational solidarity. As mentioned in my previous article on this matter, the Governing Body cannot claim the total loyalty and respect of elders and bethelites while a small number continue to defy them by leaking their nonsense for the world to see.

I sincerely thank my contact within the organization for following his instincts and realizing that this material needs a wider audience. Hopefully, as more damaging material seeps out of Watchtower’s porous walls, more thinking Witnesses will realize just how unworthy the Governing Body are of their blind loyalty and obedience.









Special thanks to my contact, as well as to Daniel Ward and Adriana Wolmers-Petty even though their hard work eventually wasn’t needed.

UPDATE:- As expected, on Feb 21 2014 Watchtower had its leaked instructional videos removed from this page through a complaint to Vimeo. The videos have since been re-embedded from a different third-party host. Below is a screenshot of the email received by JWsurvey for one of the videos to prove that Watchtower does NOT want the above “spiritual food” to be viewed by all Witnesses.


Further reading…

Bookmark the permalink.

199 Responses to Doubts over organizational solidarity as disturbing video on handling suicide is leaked

  1. Jae says:

    Having seen both videos all the way through, I’m quite incensed about stuff here and need to let off some steam.

    Yes, there were gaping wholes in both videos. But I can see where they were going with the first one about the disfellowshipping. The young guy, Robbie, incriminated himself from the start.

    As in a court of law (since the elder made that comparison) if you don’t tell the whole truth from the outset, you’re likely to get a guilty verdict. If Robbie had told the whole story, rather than holding back, then he might have gotten a more lenient ruling from the JD. That being said, I’ve never been before a JD, so I don’t really know what it’s like to be in such a situation. I have confessed stuff to elders before, but it’s never gone as far as a JD.

    As for the second video about the suicidal sister, the whole thing shows that WT have not the slightest understanding of what’s going through someone’s mind when they’re that low they want to end their life!

    I’ve had thoughts of suicide myself – considered throwing myself out of the window, hanging myself, throwing myself under a speeding train and taking a whole pack of Cocodamol with a bottle of whisky.

    I’ve also had to console friends who were suicidal.

    To compare suicide with an immoral thought is the most insensitive thing I’ve heard. When I heard that, I was like, “WHAT!!!?????”

    As for the “self-murder” thing and suicide being a sin, WT always seem to forget that when someone actually goes through with suicide, they are so far gone, feeling in such excruciating pain – emotionally, mentally, spiritually and perhaps even physically – that death is a release to them. So, a suicidal person who’s about to end their life would not be in a place of thinking, “I must be an integrity keeper!

    And, anyhow, even if it is a sin, it does say in Romans that when someone dies they are “acquitted of their sins.” WT have conveniently overlooked that scripture. And if Jehovah is really that compassionate and merciful and really does see all, then surely He’d not be so heartless as to condemn someone to everlasting cutting off because they sought a means of release from the excruciating agony they were going through!

    And, in real life, if the woman was having such thoughts, she would’ve been a hell of a lot more distraught – inconsolably so! The last thing she’d be concerned about is what The Bible says, or what some guy who lived 1000’s of years ago went through!

    And they gave her lots of false hope – that she’ll see her late husband, Don, again and be able to remarry him. That’s not what they teach about remarrying in the New World. So, why put it in a video?

    The first video, I could see where they were going and the young guy did just incriminate himself by what he said and did not say. It was clear that he was more cut up about losing his family and friends (which is very understandable) but he might as well have held up a sign saying, “disfellowship me!” as he clearly wasn’t sorry for shagging the girl (and neither should he have been!)

    The second video has really gotten me incensed. Suicide is something I feel strongly about, having been close to it several times myself and also having seen others who’ve been there – and one even going through with it!

    WTS have not got the slightest clue and are, therefore, unqualified to be dealing with the subject – certainly not the way they have portrayed in this video!

    • John says:

      I’ve been before a judicial committee twice. I was baptized as a witness when I was 9. I was a regular pioneer, bethelite, and ministerial servant. Long story short, when I messed up the first time at 31 years old, I called the coordinator/presiding overseer 30 minutes after I messed up. I told them every single thing and minute detail. I even told them I took one puff off a cigar I found in my grandpa’s house when I was 11 in order to fully clear my conscience. They even laughed at me during the meeting talking about I told them to much. I’m reinstated now ,but I still got disfellowshipped then. So all that about forgiveness if you tell them everything is a bunch of BS.

  2. Jae says:

    Oh! And what was the elder looking up to the sky and mouthing, “Thank you Jehovah!” for??

    Was it because they’d helped her? Clearly, their reasoning was way to feeble to have helped a woman who was seriously contemplating suicide!

    Or was he saying “Thank you Jehovah!” because she’d remembered to go fetch the cookies???

  3. seunex says:

    U’re mentally sick!

  4. Simon says:

    I’ve worked you out. Basically you have a problem with authority and being disciplined. Anyone on your blogs who takes a different view from you, or tries to offer advice, is mocked or insulted. Once you have grown up you will see that you are just barking down an empty tunnel. You can tell you don’t beleive half of what you say as you never look into the camera for more than a micro second. Shifty eyes ?!?

    • Cedars says:

      Simon – I won’t lie, I DO have a problem with authority – authority that is self-proclaimed and imposed upon me without any supporting evidence or justification at all. And so should you.

      You sound very sure of yourself, so if you can handle my “shifty eyes” for more than a couple of minutes, please watch the following video and by all means take up my “Cedars Challenge” by giving everyone on this website evidence that the 7 blokes in New York deserve to dictate what you do with your genitals and with whom, to what extent you acknowledge your own date of birth, and to what length you should allow your facial hair to protrude…

    • Rowland Nelken says:

      Simon – you appear not to understand the purpose of authority. In some areas of life it is benign, indeed essential. The authority that compels those of us who drive cars to keep them in safe and roadworthy condition, to pass a test of competence before driving them unaccompanied, and thereafter to obey speed limits, one way systems and to remain sober. That sort of authority helps prevent deaths and injuries on the roads getting even worse than they are at the moment.

      If you sell food, practice medicine, or any number of trades there are authorities which endeavour to make sure the specific tasks are carried out in a safe and satisfactory manner. I have not read, on any piece by Cedars, that he has a problem with authority of that type.

      Indeed his every post has focused on one source of authority only; the authority of the Jehovah’s Witness leaders, the Watchtower Governing Body. Their authority is thoroughly malign and needs to be held to account. The only results of their authority, quite unlike the types listed above, are negative.

      Here are afew: Nightmares about an imminent Armageddon – always predicted but never arrives. Deaths through the blood transfusion ban. Split families through shunning. Paedophile protection through the two witness rule. Stunted lives through the frowning on education beyond the level required to read JW lit. and parrot its contents on the doorstep or at the mag. stand.

      And on what is the JW leadership’s destructive and murderous authority based? A claim that the Gov. Bod. are the Faithful and Discreet Slave as referred to by Jesus in Matthew 24.

      I have asked countless Jehovah’s WItnesses to provide evidence to support this claim, the claim upon which the entire authority of JWdom is based. None has supplied any.

      There is a reason for this.

      There is no evidence. The claim is bogus.

      Do you, Simon, accept the authority of the JW Gov. Bod, to dictate every aspect of your life?

      If so, why? Please explain. A comprehensive answer to Cedar’s challenge would help.

  5. Mike says:

    AS a former Jdub that is faded away now BUT was one for over 40 years and a Ms and almost an elder before I faded . I at the time would have found this completly ok and normal way of living…….NOW i see it for the mind control and wacked life it really is

  6. JOVIN KAJUNA says:

    The video was just an ART WORK made with the aim of running a school in between JWs! All other salty ideas are useless LOL! This website will soon be reported of breaking INTERNATIONAL RELATION Rules! (Just wait)

  7. Rowland Nelken says:

    Please explain yourself, Jovin Kajuna. Your comment makes no sense.

    It may be better if you write in your native language. What is meant by ‘running a school in between JWs’?

    Dangerous advice by the unqualified to the suicidal is a bad idea in any circumstances.

    What ‘International Relation Rules’ are being broken?

    When is an idea ‘salty’?

    Where is there any artistic merit in the vids. under discussion?

    If you can answer those questions in a language of your choice, readers may begin to grasp what you are trying to say.

  8. JOVIN KAJUNA says:

    The Book KS never hidden!! Only that it is scheduled to Run a school!! All its content are found in another Book called OD!! If you had ever been a W then you will actually agree with this or Go on posting blasphemy!! (Read Roman 12:19)

  9. JOVIN KAJUNA says:

    It seems you dont poses the Meaning of International Relation Parse! If you are a journalist Then you must investigate the issue before you publish it! If you are an apostate then Read ROMAN 12:19 … Good day!

    • Faithful Witness says:

      Jovin: Thanks for taking time to comment. I don’t understand your statements and accusations, but it is good to see JW’s who dare to explore both sides of a very important issue. Do you have information to share, in defense of Watchtower policies on this issue?

      What personal knowledge or experience can you share, to shed light on what appears to be a heartless and cruel way of counseling a sincere and broken hearted servant of Jehovah’s organization?

      Cedars, your website is doing good work. It would be refreshing to have someone share some facts, that would actually show that the Watchtower Society is doing more good, than harm.

      :Jovin:Aside from name-calling and accusations, what evidence do you have? The video speaks loud and clear, and it is only one of many incriminating shreds of truth about “The Truth.”

      When they get backed into a corner, the society’s only defense seems to be to deny their own words, and accuse anyone who doubts. Anyone who insists that you trust them with your life, should not be afraid of examination.

      Jovin, I hope you will continue your search for facts about Jehovah’s organization. I wish you only the best.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Comment posting guidelines:

Kindly observe the following requirements before posting any comments to our articles or pages:

  • ABUSIVE COMMENTS - Do not post comments that include swear words or may be considered abusive, lewd, blasphemous, obscene or threatening
  • ILLEGAL COMMENTS - Do not post comments that condone or propose illegal activity, or that breach copyright law
  • OFF-TOPIC COMMENTS - Do not post comments that are off-topic and bear no relation to the page or article
  • RELIGIOUS NEUTRALITY - Do not post comments that are evangelical in nature or may be construed as imposing one person's religious beliefs (or lack thereof) over those of another
  • LANGUAGE - Visitors from all countries and language groups are welcome. You may post comments in languages other than English, but we would appreciate if you could make any such comments brief. We would also be grateful if you could run any such comments through Google Translate and convert these to English, but this is not an absolute requirement.
  • LINKS - You may post links to third party websites, so long as (1) you limit these to 2 links per comment, and (2) the content on these links doesn't contravene ANY of the first four points. Specifically, you may not post URLs to websites that are evangelical in nature. Our links page has an extensive list of such sites for any who are curious about Christian beliefs in the context of Jehovah's Witnesses. thanks all visitors in advance for respectfully observing these guidelines. Any who persistently fail to do so, despite warnings, may find themselves blocked from making further comments at the discretion of the site moderators, whose decision will be final and not open for debate.