The Worst Convention Ever – Part 5: Friday
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Part 5 of the Worst Convention Ever series shows some of the most disturbing material to-date

Part 5 of the Worst Convention Ever series shows some of the most disturbing material to-date

I don’t mind admitting it. When I decided to make a series of videos to compliment articles on JWsurvey about the “Worst Convention Ever” (the “Remain Loyal to Jehovah” 2016 regional convention) I bit off way more than I could chew.

I’m honestly not sure I would have committed to it if I’d known in advance there would be so much work involved.

The idea to do a video rebuttal series came to me after a Circuit Overseer leaked a batch of material intended for use at the convention, including 46 videos, to myself and a number of other exJW activists.

As overwhelmed as I was by the overload of digital cultish manipulation, I figured the videos could be grouped together into six parts, and thus dissected relatively easily.

But then, last month, we had an extra leak – and it changed everything. We now had three days’ worth of “official” video footage filmed at one of the conventions showing, not just the dramatization videos, but how the Governing Body wants them to be presented.

This turned everything on its head. A six-part series became a nine-part series as we scrambled to accommodate the extra material.

So, rather than being (as it was intended) a straightforward summary of the miscellaneous material not covered in the previous 4 parts, Part 5 is now arguably one of the most shocking videos in this series so far.

Why? Because it now deals with the talks given on the Friday of the program. And, well, there’s no easy way to put this: the Friday material alone proves that Watchtower has gone full-on cult, and unashamedly expects to be able to control the minds of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Loyal in thought

Arguably nothing screams “cult” and “mind control” like a charismatic speaker emphatically urging his audience to have “tight control” over what enters their minds. In Jose Cintron Jnr,* a raven-haired bethelite with a hypnotic glair, a creepy grin and a penchant for melodrama, that is exactly what Watchtower have given us.

Despite his talk, titled “Maintain Loyalty in Thought,” being scripted for him by the Governing Body’s teaching committee (as is the case with almost all convention talks), Jose throws himself into it with gusto as though he had written every word himself.

Here is a man who has zero qualms in asking thousands to “bring their thoughts into captivity” and fill their brains only with Watchtower’s endless flow of propaganda.

Jose Cintron Jnr seems to revel in his opportunity to tell convention audiences to bring their thoughts "into captivity" to Watchtower

Jose Cintron Jnr seems to revel in telling convention audiences to bring their thoughts “into captivity” to Watchtower

 

The most cringe-worthy moment come when Cintron Jnr, who also makes an appearance as Sennacherib in the Hezekiah drama, deviates from his script slightly to ask his audience whether they would hesitate for a moment to dial 911 if they were to discover an intruder in their homes in the middle of the night.

The irony should be glaring to anyone who is aware that calling the police is precisely what a Witness is NOT supposed to do if they become aware of a far worse crime than breaking and entering – the sexual molestation of a child by a fellow Witness.

Don’t ask questions!

Jose’s talk was the first of a three-part symposium emphasizing the need for loyalty to Watchtower in thought, word and action. Chosen to handle the second part, dealing with loyalty in “word,” was the rather more robotic Cameron Haynes.

The main thrust of Haynes’ talk, as evidenced by the dramatization video, was to remind Witnesses not to speak against the elders. Apparently, no matter how poorly-behaved your elders are, if you have a grievance against them the last thing you should do is discuss this with others. After all, elders answer only to Watchtower, and not those they are appointed to serve.

Cameron Haynes stresses the need for Witnesses to support Watchtower teachings even when they don't understand them

Cameron Haynes stresses the need for Witnesses to support Watchtower teachings even when they don’t understand them

 

A more intriguing application of the need for loyalty “in word” arose in comments apparently directed at those who may question “new light,” or organizational adjustments, such as the recent scrapping of the much-loved Theocratic Ministry School (which has been replaced with a bible reading and door-to-door practice session).

Haynes admits that such changes might test the loyalty of Witnesses, but reminds them to greet these with “excitement” nonetheless. He then cites the example of the apostle Peter pledging his loyalty to Christ in John 6, when many disciples are repulsed by his teachings. This, apparently, establishes that Witnesses should support Watchtower doctrine even when they don’t understand it.

This chimes with what we have already seen with outrageous teachings such as that of the overlapping generation, which is based on an explanation that makes no logical sense. The Governing Body wants its followers to know that they don’t owe any coherent breakdown of their teachings. The role of rank and file Witnesses is to follow – not question, or even understand.

 

Better than life

The final talk of the Friday morning program has the telling title: “Jehovah’s Loyal Love Is Better Than Life!” The speaker used in the official convention footage, Reginald McCoy, seizes his opportunity to remind the audience that being a Jehovah’s Witness is indeed better than one’s very existence.

“Life without Jehovah’s loyal love would be meaningless and purposeless, which really doesn’t make for much of a life at all,” he says. “Jehovah’s loyal love does not change. That is why it is in fact better than life… having Jehovah’s loyal love is worth more than our own existence.”

Bear in mind: ordinary members of the public are invited to Witness conventions (at least in theory), meaning non-Witnesses are expected to stomach being told their lives are meaningless unless they pledge themselves to the organization.

Reginald McCoy admonishes his audience to view their lives as secondary to their relationship with Jehovah's organization

Reginald McCoy admonishes his audience to view their lives as secondary to their relationship with Jehovah’s organization

 

It’s probably worth stressing that such clearly ridiculous rhetoric comes, not from the mind of the speaker, but straight from the Governing Body – as shown from the following screen grab from the final part of the speaker’s outline…

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 15.19.12

Hence, even though convention audiences will assume McCoy was giving a heartfelt plea based on his own thoughts and experiences, he was in fact parroting his masters – Watchtower. And Watchtower wants Witnesses to believe their very lives come second to the privilege of being in “Jehovah’s organization.”

Feel abandoned by apostates

The Friday afternoon of the convention offers a double-whammy of cultishness with two symposiums. The first presents the 7-part Sergei video series, while the second emphasizes the need to shun disfellowshipped family members using a trilogy of videos featuring the fictitious Sonja.

In one of the videos of the Sergei series, Sergei’s friend is shown vanishing in ghost-like fashion from a congregation meeting, which is supposed to represent his turning apostate. I was intrigued to see how Brandon Harkey, again using the outline provided for him, would present this material.

xxx explains why Witnesses should take it personally when people leave their religion

Brandon Harkey explains why Witnesses should take it personally when people leave their religion

 

It turns out a very clever strategy is being deployed by Watchtower in further stigmatizing those, like myself, who decide to leave the organization for conscientious reasons.

Witnesses are not only supposed to fear and loath apostates like me as “mentally diseased.” They are also supposed to feel personally offended and insulted that they have been “abandoned” by their former brethren.

Harkey reads Matthew 10:35-36 where Jesus warns that a man’s enemies will be “those of his own household,” and applies the verse by saying: “Yes Jesus acknowledged here that a person’s own family, their own friends, might very well abandon them for choosing to serve Jehovah.”

Though this verse was indeed describing a scenario in which a Jewish or pagan family might expel one of their own for becoming a Christian, this has nothing to do with a Witness waking up from Watchtower indoctrination and deciding to walk.

In such a case it is the family, under orders from Watchtower, who shun the one making a conscientious stand. Far from viewing them as “enemies,” the apostate will generally continue to love his family despite the difference in beliefs, but is denied a relationship with them.

But because Watchtower recognises the manipulative value of helping Witnesses feel like victims, the verse in Matthew 10 is turned on its head. The apostate is framed as the aggressor, the one who has attacked his believing family by rejecting their faith.

Amazingly, even non-JW family friends, perhaps work colleagues or unbelieving spouses, are expected by the Governing Body to refrain from rejecting or questioning Watchtower teachings.

“Perhaps you’ve felt the abandonment that results when an unbelieving family member or friend ostracises, criticises us, ridicules us because we choose to serve Jehovah,” says Harkey, without explaining why it is incumbent on those who aren’t Witnesses to validate the beliefs of those who are.

Even current Witnesses who grow lukewarm in the face of Watchtower’s increasing cultishness, the recently-dubbed “Kevinly Class” (a nod to a character from the bunker videos), are rounded on as causes of personal anguish to devout Witnesses.

“Even within the congregation, we may at times feel a sense of abandonment perhaps by a friend who seems to withdraw from us as we’re striving to put kingdom interests first and do more for Jehovah,” bemoans Harkey.

“You turn to your friends for help, for support, as you’re striving to do more, as you’re putting spiritual goals first, but maybe you notice some seem to withdraw. Why? Well your goals, what’s most important to you, may now be somewhat different from theirs.”

Witnesses are again asked to feel affronted and attacked if those around them fail to lavish them with “support” in their quest to give everything for the organization. Such coercive rhetoric is easy to see through once you’re on the outside, but for Witnesses who are sufficiently desperate to feel oppressed and persecuted, it will work only too well – leaving countless relationships even more unsalvageable.

Martyr yourself for Watchtower

Readers of this website will already be familiar with the disturbing finale to the Sergei series, in which the main protagonist likely terminates his life for his beliefs by refusing blood. It falls to bethelite Jared Gossman to drill home Watchtower’s message that Sergei made the right choice by placing Watchtower’s interests ahead of his instinct for survival.

xxx makes it clear that Witnesses should be prepared for end their lives for the sake of their beliefs

Jared Gossman makes it clear that Witnesses should be prepared to end their lives for the sake of their beliefs

 

Gossman begins his talk by following the outline’s call to stigmatize as cowardly, thoughtless and selfish those who would “be disloyal to [Jehovah] in an attempt to preserve life.”

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 17.44.31

After reminding Witnesses of the importance of keeping their medical documents signed and up-to-date (heaven forbid they don’t get second thoughts when the time comes), Gossman urges them to make the ultimate sacrifice if called upon to do so: “How sad it would be [if] in an effort to extend our life just temporarily we sacrifice our loyalty to Jehovah and lose out on life for an eternity.”

Any Witnesses who may squirm at the idea of martyring themselves for Watchtower are urged to think happy thoughts: “Even if we did lose our life in this system we can think about the resurrection hope that we have when circumstances get difficult. We can think of ourselves experiencing the blessings Jehovah has in store – perhaps blessings we’ve told others about for many years – but we can see ourselves there enjoying them as a reward for our loyalty.”

Since it’s impossible for dead Jehovah’s Witnesses who died refusing blood to come back and confirm they were resurrected into a paradise earth, you will have to take Watchtower’s word on this.

Shun your family

It’s no longer a secret that the second Friday afternoon symposium contains some of the most potent pro-shunning propaganda we have yet seen on a JW convention program. But kudos to New Jersey elder Josh Sable for finding a way to stamp his own creativity on Watchtower’s message of hate.

xxx argues that the growth cycle of the lilac sets a precedent for JW families to shun disfellowshipped loved ones

Josh Sable argues that the growth cycle of the lilac sets a precedent for JW families to shun disfellowshipped loved ones

 

After the video is shown where Sonja is disfellowshipped and her mother won’t even pick up the phone when she calls, Sable comes up with a bizarre horticultural analogy to drive the point home.

“Did you know that it’s a pronounced cold snap in the dead of winter that triggers the lilac to bud and bloom come spring? Those frigid temperatures do something deep inside that plant to heighten its sweet fragrance, and to enhance the beauty of that cluster of flowers. When we look around Jehovah’s organization some of the most beautiful and sweet-smelling Christians are those who have allowed this internal process, or this chill of discipline, to make significant changes in their thinking and conduct. The result is nothing short of spectacular!”

Apparently when Jehovah’s Witnesses show love to one another, this is evidence that they are Christ’s true followers in fulfilment of his words at John 13:35. But when they treat their own flesh and blood with coldness and cruelty in obedience to their religious leaders – worry not! This can be justified due to some random plant’s growing cycle.

 

Inform on your brothers

It wouldn’t be a festival of Orwellian, cultish ideology without at least one incitement for the faithful to report on eachother to Big Brother should anybody fail to show loyalty to the hierarchy. Step forward bethelite Timothy Blazek to issue the necessary reminder.

xxx reminds Witnesses to inform on each other when wrongdoing is detected

Timothy Blazek reminds Witnesses to inform on each other when wrongdoing is detected

 

“When it comes to our friends, this might be an area that tests our loyalty – particularly when a friend gets involved in wrongdoing that should be brought to the attention of the elders,” says Blazek.

“Never would we want to allow misguided loyalty to a friend to overshadow our loyalty to Jehovah. If you recall, as we heard earlier the definition from the Greek language of loyalty carries the thought of holiness and righteousness, so what would the loving and loyal thing be to do if a friend was in such a circumstance? Approach the friend, urge him to seek the help of the elders and the parents and to speak to them. And then tell him that if he does not do it within a reasonable period of time – you will.”

Unlike Sable with his poetic lilac illustration, Blazek is here reading directly from the manuscript furnished him by the Governing Body, with only a few minor deviations.

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 21.21.24

Thus, immediately after the shunning symposium is ended, instructions are issued that will help add to the number of those shunned.

Not a moment’s thought is given that whatever the perceived wrongdoing is, which could be anything from sexual activity to smoking a cigarette, the punishment will almost never fit the crime.

Only in the case of a crime such as child molestation could an argument be made for family estrangement being appropriate (along with prosecution by the authorities, obviously) – but ironically elders require two witnesses to take any such accusation seriously.

By contrast, at least on the evidence of this talk, when it comes to a teenage Witness having a sexual relationship with the girl nextdoor, one snitching friend is enough to set things in motion.

Counting the cost

I’ve heard it said that there is nothing new about much of the material being pumped into the minds of Witnesses at this convention. Indeed, though I never paid as rapt attention at conventions as I was required to, I can vaguely remember frequent talks similar to those listed above.

The reason why I believe this is the “worst convention ever” is because, for the first time, the Governing Body’s hate-filled manuscripts are not deemed enough. As their video production resources have swollen in recent years, they have spotted an opportunity to enhance the already-potent propaganda at their conventions with sleek video dramatizations to make sure their message about the need for absolute obedience sinks in.

As much as I would like to think all of this cultic manipulation will drift over the heads of the majority in attendance (though in many cases, surely it will), we would be naive to think this. Jehovah’s Witnesses on the whole take their faith extremely seriously, and there will likely be real-world ramifications to the talks given at this convention.

People will start being shunned who weren’t shunned previously, and people who were hitherto mentally on the fence about blood transfusions will resolve to kill themselves by refusing blood if the opportunity presents itself, as a direct result of this convention. Make no mistake about that.

The awful videos promoting shunning, hatred of apostates and martyrdom, combined with the torrent of overt calls for unquestioned loyalty, even at the expense of one’s life, convince me we have never seen a Watchtower convention worse than this. I only wish I could say with confidence it won’t be the worst of all time.

 

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Further reading:

Translations: Romanian | …

*All name spellings of speakers have been guessed at, and may not be exact.

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194 Responses to The Worst Convention Ever – Part 5: Friday

  1. rob says:

    I too have family members who have distanced themselves from me due to the fact that I am no longer a witness.

    I used to feel angry about this but now I just feel sad for myself and for them that we are missing out on sharing our ups and downs and successes and failures and life in general. But i do have my memories…

    I really feel cheated by this religion that destroys families and like you I will never ever go back.

    I know that God and Jesus don’t endorse shunning or man made rules or corporate policies disguised as a religion or anything that the witness religion has been doing that violates basic human rights or violates the protection of innocent children.

  2. Andrea says:

    “Did you know that it’s a pronounced cold snap in the dead of winter that triggers the lilac to bud and bloom come spring? Those frigid temperatures do something deep inside that plant to heighten its sweet fragrance, and to enhance the beauty of that cluster of flowers.”
    Well now I know what my mom meant when she said this years convention had a talk on ‘flowers’ that she thought I would of loved… Oh well at least at least they’re still talking to me. None the less, thank you I was a bit curious what she meant.

  3. Tara says:

    Sorry bit off topic but woke up this am to find that some jw’s are posting on fb the ‘Putin ban on evangelising’. As you can imagine the comments surrounding this are all to do with ‘It’s started, just like the convention said it would!’ theme. I guess hardware stores will be booming this am with JW’s buying steel doors and motion sensors in case the feds come calling. Walmart shelves will be emptied as they stock up on survival food stuffs to last for months while they hide in their bunkers….

    So when I read this I laughed and said ‘Yes!’…. is that wrong?

    • dee2 says:

      It would certainly be hilarious if the JWs started to react in this way Tara.

      According to the GB, God will put it into the heart of the UN to destroy Babylon The Great/”false religion” FIRST. The JWs will be attacked LAST:

      Watchtower of 9/15, 2012, pg.3-7:
      “How This World Will Come to an End”.

      It seems God has changed the script. Now the JWs will be attacked FIRST……………..

    • Chiafade says:

      That’s funny for so many different reasons. The first thing they most blatantly ignore is the fact that they aren’t the only ones being banned. Of course if they focused on that inconvenient truth it would take away from their persecution complex and their feelings of special status with God.

    • MJ Bachman says:

      Lol Tara. JW’s in Cuba went through severe persecution from the 70-90’s and nothing started then just like nothing is going to start now.

  4. Paranoid Android says:

    I’ve just sent my brother a letter to try and see if I can prompt his critical thinking skills into action.
    He is shunning most of his family now, including his daughter, after advising her that there would be more comfort in her being dead, then in her current position as disfellowshipped.
    I’ve used various sites and information sources (including this one, thanks Lloyd) to put something pretty conclusive together regarding the Society’s complete lack of direction from God.

    There is so much proof available.

    Regarding disfellowshipping, it quite clearly states in an AWAKE of 1947, that the Society, directed by holy spirit of course, believed excommunication to be pagan in origin, and that it was not supported by any bible teaching.
    It condemns the Catholic Church for practicing it, calling it a ‘weapon’ used to attain ‘ecclesiastical power’.

    Then… 5 years later… in 1952, the society changed its mind and said….

    ‘Actually…. we think excommunicating people is awesome, and God totally wants us to do it’.

    Some time later in 1974, they relaxed the rules a bit and said if a disfellowshipped person was living a decent lifestyle, even if they hadn’t been reinstated, witnesses shouldn’t feel the need to shun them anymore….

    However, just when relationships had been mended and people were happy again, in 1981 the Society changed the rule back to strict lifetime of shunning for all disfellowshipped ones.

    Check out this link for the full breakdown, it’s a real eye opener.

    http://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/disfellowship-shunning.php

    • dee2 says:

      Ex-GB member Ray Franz’s follow up book: IN SEARCH OF CHRISTIAN FREEDOM, also has a detailed discussion about shunning and disfellowshipping.

  5. FullyAwake says:

    Lately the GB has had an axe to grind with music and music careers. First with Sergei and the violin at the regional conventions and then this week the video “Choosing a career with an eternal future” was played during the mid-week meetings. They are going to great lengths to get teenagers to choose pioneering and shelving any dreams that they have. The video depicted a young man going to guitar class and his students and teachers encouraging him to pursue what he wants. Then the scene shows him performing a pop song in front of a large audience and judges that looked like copy cat American Idol judges. Now, realistically, how many really get an opportunity to make it successfully into the top picks of such competitions as the video depicted?
    These videos are really trying to narrow down the life of JW’s. I mean that in the sense that the fully indoctrinated R&F will do anything that the GB tells them or now shows them what to do and are judging others who don’t follow through on their instructions. Really, what is wrong with being a concert violinist or pianist? What is wrong with singing and making other people’s lives feel good and happy with their talents? They are demonizing everything they can out there. I really liked the comment made in an earlier post from a comedic movie that said “Everything is the DEVIL to you Mama!” because that is what it amounts to with this religion.

    • Peggy says:

      FullyAwake,
      can I get that video online? I had these friends in the cong. who have kids that play drums and guitar. Got paid gigs and all. What will they do?

      • FullyAwake says:

        The video can been found in the JW app under publications, videos, teenagers.

        They do have the young man teaching guitar at the end of the video so that he can support his pioneer ministry. Nothing is shown about performance other than the desire to become some pop star. But, the message of the video is pretty loud and clear.

        I just personally feel that people need to make their own decisions on what they want to do with their lives without undue influence. I view the mid-week meetings and videos like this as sale pitches to get people to work for them. Pioneering or preaching for that matter is not for everyone. Some people love it, many others don’t like it. Even the scriptures say that “some” will be evangelizers and others teachers, etc. so even the scriptures acknowledge it is not for everyone neither everyone has the ability to do it well or the desire to do it.

    • Bad Penny says:

      It wasn’t long ago that the Society were ‘singing the praises’ of all the talented musicians who contributed to the new song book recordings. Were they JWs or did they pay professional musicians to play for them? Whatever, music is ‘a gift from God’.
      There are many young ones within the org. who, given the encouragement, could become very accomplished musicians. How sad that they are discouraged from using their talents in order to spend their precious young lives chasing ‘spiritual’ goals. Preaching the lie that the Kingdom of God is already here!

  6. Vivian says:

    Every year during the conventions the guys up there in NY have an opportunity to change and better the group by chilling out and relaxing some of the bad ugly policies. They could simply maintain the goofy paradise on earth and mass resurrection belief and hold enough religious uniqueness to secure a following. Get rid of the general strictness and unnecessary day to day limitations set upon members lifestyles.

    • Big B says:

      @ Vivian:

      What?!

      Give up the authority and mind control of approximately 8 million people?

      How would they (sheeple) survive without the wise, spirit begotten, ‘faithful and discrete slave’ class (Governing Body) telling/reminding the flock (rank & file) how to live their lives every waking second?

      Without the endless Pharisaic rules and regulations, from the Governing Body, the flock would be hopelessly lost, aimless, a ship without a rudder and a life without purpose in the fields or stormy seas of Satan’s world.

      Yes, the sheep must serve Watchtower….(oops) Jehovah wholeheartedly without reservation or second thoughts to be saved from _________(fill in the blank, “Satan’s machinations”, “Armageddon”, etc.) in order to_______________ (fill in the blank, “live forever on paradise earth”, “see your loved ones again in the resurrection”, etc.)

      I agree with you Vivian, you are absolutely correct. However, the chances of that happening are astronomically small as my tongue and cheek comments are meant to reflect. 🙂

  7. rob says:

    I believe that the powers that be within this religion will never loosen the rules and adopt a more mainstream approach, as this would mean that the witnesses would appear to be just like everyone else.

    They want the rank and file to think that they are martyrs and that they are different from worldy people and that they are united in not celebrating holidays, not taking blood, shunning, knocking on not at home doors, etc.

    The problem is that many people, just like myself, have seen the many problems associated with the man made rules and how they do not correlate with the Bible and the example set by Jesus.

    It appears that the powers the be within this religion are just too arrogant and are relishing in the power that they think that they hold over 8 million or so people, and they are enjoying their cushy lifestyle which is funded by the rank and file. What they do not see is the dissention which is occurring right under their noses within the rank and file.

    I believe that tyrants only have a limited shelf life and that shelf life will one day come to its expiry date for this religion.

    • Winston Smith says:

      I agree with your assessment, and it may be that the group is reaching a plateau in membership. Sadly, there will always be people want to be told what to do, what to think, etc., by some group of holy men. However, based on the growth slowing to just barely keeping up with the population increase, the religion may be at a point where it can no longer attract and maintain enough members with its current set of values and rules. So then the leaders have two choices: dig in and settle for no further growth (which seems to be where they are headed) or ease up and become more mainstream in order to continue to grow. The next couple decades will be very interesting for this group.

      WS

      • Big B says:

        @ Winston Smith:

        They have no choice in going ‘mainstream’. That would mean lightening up on Holiday celebrations, birthdays, etc. like mainstream Christian religions.

        J.W.’s will be a fringe group long before the next couple of decades pass by as no one pays much attention to them now. Just my observation.

        • Winston Smith says:

          It certainly seems to be where they are headed. Going mainstream would be a real 180. But you never know – The Worldwide Church of God did just that.

          WS

  8. No Body says:

    That’s why WT’s directed that the ministry change from “Hi. Have you ever wondered, etc.” to “Stand there until your shift is over or until trouble starts in which case just pack up and leave.” Invite the “worldly people” to take an interest in any of THESE publications or THIS website or THIS application of a Bible verse. But think about how arrogant and intellectually cowardly it is to say, ‘We’re not here to learn from YOU. We’re here to teach those willing to learn from US and if that’s not you then we’re not really interested in talking’? What kind of person will someone who looks at the world that way eventually become? Is being part of the least culpable religious group you can find more important than, as an individual, being able to say that you’ve established a track record of hearing all sides and changing your course accordingly?? Are there not still more questions worth asking? Is Jehovah going to destroy people who’ve had the courage to investigate where powerful men have told them not to? Has it ever worked out when people followed powerful men and not their own God given power of reason employed in the analysis of indisputable fact; facts that may not have been available prior or even deliberately kept from them?

    • Bad Penny says:

      Like your comments No Body –
      ‘Using our own God given power of reason employed in the analysis of indisputable fact, etc.’ It amazes me to think that that is exactly what I thought I was doing for thirty years in the org., not of course having the real facts available as you say, they had been deliberately kept from us.

    • Winston Smith says:

      It is somewhat news to me that the message has so significantly changed since I started fading almost 4 years ago. That is really something if it has changed to that extent. Part of what helped me wake up was the interchange of thoughts and ideas that I actually enjoyed having with those I met in the door-to-door work. I was of a mind that if this was the truth it ought to stand up to any inquiry or alternate reasoning. My assessment was correct. However since it was NOT the truth it failed to stand up to such scrutiny. Thus a well built experiment that exposed a faulty hypothesis.

      WS

  9. Twmack says:

    “Choosing a career with an eternal future” is a line
    they were handing youngsters decades ago.

    WT 1969 March 15, p171 described school counsellors
    who were encouraging higher education , as. —
    “Brainwashing students wth Satan’s propaganda” /
    ( Jaw just dropped in disbelief )

    AW, of that same year in May 22 issue p 15 said. “As a young
    person you will never fulfil any career that this system has to offer”.
    Youngsters of, say, 17 or 18 at the time will now be at retiring age.

    Ones who were taken in by that pitch will likely now be
    dependent on those, “Who chose to take up a career”.

    My grand daughter ( Un-baptised ) wants to be a dancer but her
    brainwashed father is against it. It’s sheer cruelty to crush
    a young persons desires and substitute them for a life time of
    door knocking. I’m sad for the children and I’m angry at
    these Life Robbers.

    • FullyAwake says:

      This is true. The video presentations have a much deeper impact on peoples emotions and attitudes. The indoctrination is getting much deeper by the use of these videos. In the end these videos will prove to be much more harmful than the printed page than anyone may realize. These videos are showing me with eyes wide open just how controlling the organization really wants to be towards its adherents.

      Keep watching….

      • Winston Smith says:

        Here’s an interesting thought: Do you think Jesus would have needed to make use of such videos if the technology was available in his time period? It seems his words were sufficient to gain a following. Had he used videos then the scripture might read: In the beginning was the Video and the Video was with God and the Video was God. (Oops I forgot the indefinite article -LOL)

        WS

        • Big B says:

          @ Winston Smith,

          “Do you think Jesus would have needed to make use of such videos if the technology was available in his time period?”

          Not as long as he could feed the multitudes from a couple of loaves and a few fishes or raise the dead or heal the sick or walk on stormy seas, then calm those seas with a word.

          Which do you think would have the greater impact on your audience, a slick video or the miracles he is said to have performed?

          This is why Christianity bothers me. Wouldn’t it have been easier to find the “TRUTH” and those that possess it if God had allowed the gifts of Pentecost to be passed on until the second coming?

          Personally speaking, I don’t believe he (Christ) had an invisible second coming (presence) in 1914.

          Instead we have to rely on imperfect human interpretation and ‘faith’. Really? How’s that working for all of us?

          • Winston Smith says:

            I recently read an interesting article that tries to make the argument that Jesus was actually a natural theologist (see http://christiandeism.com/archives/natural-religion/the-natural-religion-of-jesus/).

            They feel that his teachings were that you didn’t need a priest, or a holy book, or anything. If you could get the grasp of the two greatest commandments: Love God and Love your neighbor, then you were well on the way to grasping the kingdom of God. They feel that he was only later deified by the Pauline theology as well as that of John.

            I certainly agree that there was no second presence or coming at all, nor should one be looked for.

            WS

    • Bad Penny says:

      Twmack – Just another form of child abuse.
      I too feel saddened for the young ones whose lives are wasted in door knocking activity. They will grow up unfulfilled and depressed.
      Try to encourage the dancing if you can. What is wrong with it? You could use a scriptural reason in her defense. (Colossians 3:21 is a good one).

    • FadingJosie says:

      I can only imagine how it must feel for those who were taken in by all the hype around 1975 who subsequently awoke to realise that’s all it ever really was…hype. My husband’s parents were among those but despite the disappointments they are still very much “in” though most of the childen, my husband inculded, are “out”. It is one of my husband’s greatest disappointments that a) they were never encouraged to put effort into their school work (the end will be here before you even finish school) and b) higher education was very much taboo in their household.
      Subsequently he has been very encouraging in terms of our children’s academic and sporting pursuits. When our son was identified by a soccer coach as having a natural ability for the game and invited to train with a local age group squad, he gave him the opportunity to do it. I, at the time, was very uncomfortable with it (no time for meetings and field service) but now that I myself have come to realise what the org is all about I am so grateful that my husband was so supportive of my son. He may not be the next Messi or Ronaldo but he has something and the life lessons he will learn during the pursuit of this dream (teamwork, discipline, effort, working towards a goals in life) will stand him in good stead for the rest of his life even if he doesn’t reach the highest level.
      But when I think of how many “Sergei’s” have been denied opportunities to pursue their talents because of what the org has said about it, I find it quite tragic.

  10. Linda Cody says:

    My JW parents robbed me of self esteme. I was raised a JW from birth. We lived in rural farm land. I was thirty and I married a worldly man. It was 1988 and there were no single brothers where I lived. After I married I became inactive. It got to where I could only stand to be around my parents one day once a month. Every time I visited my parents my parents would say, “I wish you didn’t have that job so you would do more in the truth.” “I don’t understand why you have to have such an independant spirit.” “Why didn’t you take the truth into your heart?” “Where did your mother and I go wrong?” My father said, “Maybe I should have spanked you more while you were growing up.” My father said to me, “I think your sick, sick, sick, sick, sick.” The funny thing is after my mother passed away my father couldn’t handle being single and he did exactly the same thing I did when he got married. He married who he fell in love with. Out of truth. He remained active in truth and remained very judgemental. He didn’t live around a lot of people where he lived. My dad passed away in 2008. I’m glad I returned into truth and got myself active again because I found out I couldn’t stand being around JWs because they are sacarine sweet. They know how to sell themselves as being sweet to get people to like them in order to bring people into the truth. They are hateful. I became inactive again but I feel better and happier because walking away from them is my choice. My JW family can shun me and I don’t mind because I don’t want to be apart of their way of life any more. It’s nice I returned and saw through everything now that my eyes are open. I really do feel better and happier. I feel calm. I don’t feel angry. JWsurvey helps the awakening process. My JW family does what they want and I’m no longer afraid to speak. I know I feel better than they do. I can’t be around them to much. I don’t need the stress. Without them I have less stress in my life. And this is very true.

    • KayGH says:

      @ Linda Cody

      Well I guess you are living your life in peace not in pieces like this brother I know personally.
      He lives just across the street, unfortunately he is a victim of shunning because he has been disfellowshipped and as a result is no longer an elder.
      An unbaptized publisher who is my coworker attends meeting in the same kingdom hall as the brother related this incident to me that one day after the midweek meeting at about 9:45PM, he was walking home with a mature sister when they got to the main road, this former elder was stuck in the middle of the unable to move due to a mild stroke he is suffering from.
      The sister told the unbaptized publisher she cannot do anything to help him because he was disfellowshipped. The unbaptized publisher was amused at her words because the brother’s wife is the best friend of the sister in question. Upon seeing a car approach he rushed to help the brother and even paid a taxi so that he could be sent home conveniently.
      This is how far the indoctrination on shunning could go. Not reaching out to help when the need arises. I guess she forgot what Proverbs 3:27-30. Take care.

  11. Harry Cadanza says:

    @Linda, I’m happy for you.

  12. Harry Cadanza says:

    @Linda, I’m happy for you.

  13. GEM says:

    @ Linda:

    Thank you for your honesty and perspicacity.

    Once we see things for what they really are, the spell breaks… the weight lifts… and, the smiles return unconditionally.

    May you continue to enjoy your journey on the Highway of Life. Best wishes.

  14. Tara says:

    I’m confused… actually I say that tongue in cheek. Can someone please explain this to me… daughter df’d for marrying outside of ‘truth’. An older sister marries outside of truth – huge marking talk. Elders daughter marries outside of truth…… nothing. R&F counseled on allowing children to take part in sports etc that bring them a tad of lime light….bad, bad, bad. Elders granddaughter wins beauty pageant, local news, papers…. nothing.

    • Winston Smith says:

      Tara,
      It all depends how the hierarchy is set up in a particular congregation. I have been in congregations where that would not stand and the elder would be removed. I have been others where the body would be on the fence and not take any action because they were not sure what to do. And finally the third case where a particular elder has so much clout that he can do just about anything he wants and no one questions it because he is brother so-and-so.

      An interesting side point: many years ago my best friend’s older sister got engaged to a worldly man. Automatically, people in the congregation began to shun her. The presiding overseer proceeded to give a talk about how we were NOT to shun someone for marrying outside “the Lord.” Of course he was one of those more liberal elders who believed in going to college and so forth. Also this was during that period in the 90’s when the organization was easing up some of its control.

      WS

      • Average Joe says:

        That sounds like my kind of elder Winston. I still believe in God but my faith in the WTS is fading rapidly. I don’t think we should shun anybody. If someone doesn’t belong to your circle of activities then association is reduced anyway. EG. If you change jobs, over time you don’t hang around with your old workmates as much, as a general rule. They are not shunned, you just don’t have the same thing in common anymore (the job) and you certainly have the option to see them again if you wish. That is how it should be with the JWs. Those who don’t want to be part of the organisation anymore should be left in peace and certainly not hounded for their decision.

        • Winston Smith says:

          @AJ
          The elder I described above is the same one I described to rob below. He tried so hard to help the friends in the congregation, but he was always at odds with the other elders who wanted to lord it over them. Remind you of anyone? Jesus and the Pharisees perhaps? Men who desire power over others seem to cause more misery than is imagineable.

          I appreciate that at last check you were still serving, AJ, and trying to help the friends. That’s a tough position and I don’t envy you. If you think you can continue such a course and bring some sort of balance and rationality to the JWs in your congregation, then I wish you the best and hope you can do some good. If you find you do need to withdraw or step down, then that’s your decision to make and you should feel no guilt about that choice either. From your comments I can tell that you really want to help the R&F JWs. But from my personal experience, when it comes to the JW leadership: no good deed goes unpunished.

          WS

  15. Twmack says:

    Bad Penny, Thanks for your empathy and suggestion.
    It’s like walking a tightrope isn’t it? We want to rescue
    our little grandchildren before they’re completely lost
    to the cult. But we risk alienating their parents, who
    are also our children whom we love. But reasoning from
    the scriptures seems the best way to go about it.
    Thanks again for Col,3:21.

  16. rob says:

    I remember a couple of elders who were really empathetic to the challenges faced by teenagers and had empathy for those who were single parents and these two elders did not judge me when I attended university. They appeared to be genuinely interested in people and spirituality and gave wonderful encouragement.

    But unfortunately in our particular congregation there were a majority of elders who appeared to be quite power hungry, played everything by the society rule book and who ruled with an iron fist. They were in tight with the circuit overseer. In their personal lives they were pretty much nobodies, but in the congregation they obviously felt like they were somebodies and people kowtowed to them. I heard them on a few occasions make fun of the two elders, inferring that they were weak and that they were pushovers.

    Guess what happened to the two elders? One stepped down and the other moved away. I asked the one who stepped down why he stepped down and he confided in me that he could not stand the politics within the elder body.

    From my personal experience, this religion is not about love or understanding or empathy. It is all about appearances, judgement, pretentiousness and who appears to be the most spiritual and most of all control and power.

    There are some very wonderful people who make up the rank and file but they are the silent ones.

    • Winston Smith says:

      @rob
      I totally agree with you. Yes, once in a while you would find the occasional elder who really cared about people and really tried to help them. They were like rare gems or desert roses. But by and large they eventually would either step down, be removed, or be relegated to a place of inconsequence by the remaining two types of elders: the power hungry wannabes and the organizational yes-men who followed them.

      I came of age under the tutelage of one of those amazing, rare gem elders and tried to emulate him when I served (although I don’t think I did it as well as he did). I watched him be abused and berated by those other types of elders and finally end up in a position inconsequence until he died.

      WS

      • Bad Penny says:

        Winston –
        I remember one of those rare, caring, elders, (he professed to be anointed).
        Some words of wisdom from him that I will never forget were, “When in doubt, always do the loving thing.” So simple, so right!
        If only we could all live by it!

        • Winston Smith says:

          You have got it. What I find to be one of the most profound passages of scripture: Mark 12:32-34 “Then the scribe said to Him, “You are right, Teacher…love [God] with all your heart, with all your understanding, and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself…[Jesus] said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.””

          What basic, simple, yet profound reasoning. There is no need for anything else. No priests, no ceremonies, no manmade rules.

          WS

        • Fooledmeonce says:

          Unfortunately, there were a few good elders, weren’t there?!?
          I say unfortunately, because by having some good men around, it confused me, and others, I’m sure, about who really represented this cult; the few good ones or the majority of the stupid, power-hungry or ‘yes men’.
          I believe that The Society is losing good people at a fairly steady rate so that all they will have left are the ‘bad elders’. That should make it more obvious to people like us, that the jws are nothing but a twisted cult.

      • Telescopium says:

        Winston,
        My grandfather had some kind of experience similar to the one you mention.

        He was well-liked and reasonable, but at one point there was a disfellowshipped individual in the territory who needed regular transportation to the meetings, so my grandfather stepped up to help. This was met with the ire of the majority of the elder body, as the direction (at the time) was to NOT provide assistance like that. Ultimately there was a confrontation with a district overseer, at which time my grandfather stepped down or was removed and never served again.

        I know he was approached about serving again in a different congregation after he moved, but he declined. The damage was done.

        Just thought I’d share.

        • FullyAwake says:

          Yes, Rules are the rule of the day with this organization. They go above helping anyone in need. Funny thing, this is exactly what Jesus condemned the Pharisees for.

          • VictorE says:

            VictorE

            The Watchtower a few years ago had this to say about elders. There are elders who have the mind of Christ and then there are elders who have the mind of elders. Whoever wrote that in the Watchtower had insight and was describing two types of elders. Unfortunately, today, most elders do not have the mind of Christ but do have the mind of elders. By their fruits you can identify them.

            Do you think that this shunning policy is coming from one having the mind of Christ or one having a mind of an elder?

            I know, to easy!

  17. Escaped & Educated says:

    Lloyd, I am so glad you bit off more than you could chew! My parents are at the convention this weekend and, of course, talk excitedly about it at the end of each day. It is difficult for me to stomach their excitement so the comic relief you provide is invaluable.

    Quickly about me: I am 47 years old. My mom has been a pioneer since I was four years old and married my step-father, another long-time pioneer who eventually became a circuit overseer, when I was 7. While I believe in the sincerity of my parents thinking they are helping people, the teachings and actions of the organization have outraged me since I was young. Until I left my parents’ house and “The Truth” at two weeks shy of 18 years old, I spent most meetings furiously listing all of the injustices, inconsistencies and plain nonsense I was hearing spew from the platform.

    I have only one disagreement with your commentary–I don’t think this is the worst convention ever. I have been to every single one, sometimes more than once, from 1969 to 1987 and there were some real doozies! I cannot count the number of times I was at a convention when I heard something that made my jaw drop and my face search the faces of those around me, hoping to find another expression of can-you-believe-he-just-said-that-and-we’re-just-going-to-sit-here?

    Truly, thank you for all of your time and effort doing this work. Are you in the US?

  18. MJ Bachman says:

    Jose Cintron looks like a conniving creepazoid.

  19. Markw1509 says:

    I know that ‘the public’ were invited to the convention. I wonder what their reaction would have been if they had attended out of curiosity, and this would have been their first immersion into WT teachings? Cult teachings, or what?!!!!

  20. Wip it says:

    Speaking of rules, check out the September Study magazine, not the one to study in September but the one dated September, article on dress & grooming, para 17-20, subject Beards, it will be interesting to see how it will be handled, i have 2 Elders here who won’t talk to me, due to my Facial Hair, “They Invalidate the word of God through their traditions”, this year i am also able to wriggle out of the DA, yay, my crap meeter can’t take it.

  21. Jerry O Connor says:

    Hello to all.

    Thank you Lloyd for putting up that video. I have just watched #5 and have yet to see the others. At first I thought it was the same rubbish that I listened to for years. But this was a seriously cranked up assault on critical thinking. Consider the lilacs!!! It is apparent that we who are shunned have caused great distress to the shunners. Better dead than not being one of the sheeple. Ninety nine per cent of the World’s population live meaningless lives. Think happy thoughts if you are dying because the gb says no to blood transfusions. Loyalty does not exist outside of watchtower. Poor Simone, she really had a terrible day. Her poor kids had a worse one listening to absolute drivel all day long. The violin player, Sergei loyally obeys dad. Did he have any other choice. Mythical beings are evil and lead you astray. This is one that I agree with 🙂 The two guys introducing the indoctrination specialists: O Dear! Cult. Cult. Cult. It would be extremely funny if the results of these brainwashing marathons were not so deadly in so many way`s to so many.

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