Watchtower announces new international conventions while “downsizing” district conventions for 2014

Watchtower has announced a lucrative new round of international conventions for 2014/2015 as news is leaked that district conventions will be scaled down next year

Watchtower has started recruiting delegates for a fresh round of international conventions in 2014/2015, to be held in eight countries. (To skip straight to the details, please click here) But the news follows revelations that regular district conventions in the USA for next year will undergo drastic cutbacks.

A local newspaper in the State of Washington seems to have inadvertently leaked information related to a surprising shift in strategy on the part of Watchtower for conventions in 2014, and possibly beyond.

Owners of a convention venue in Washington have been informed by Watchtower that no convention will be booked for next year due to “consolidation.”

Kris Watkins, president and CEO of the Tri-Cities Visitor & Convention Bureau in Kennewick, told the Tri-City Herald, “What they told me is the decision has been made nationally to downsize the number of conventions from 400 to 100. They’re simply consolidating.”

For some time now it has been rumored in online Witness circles that District Conventions will either be reduced in scope or phased out entirely as the organization continues to downsize. Although it is unclear precisely how Watchtower plans to slash 400 conventions down to 100, this revelation would certainly seem to indicate that drastic changes are afoot – at least in America, if not further afield.

Interestingly, the Tri-City Herald reporter failed in attempts to verify the development with Watchtower officials. “Multiple calls Thursday to the Jehovah’s Witnesses were not returned,” said the reporter, Loretto J. Hulse.

Despite being alerted to this change in strategy, Tri-Cities CEO Kris Watkins apparently remains hopeful that Watchtower will be returning to book her venue in 2015. “We were surprised, but not shocked. They’ve done this in the past,” she said. “It’s one of the larger groups to come to the Tri-Cities and really does affect many levels of our economy — retail shopping, hotels, dining, sightseeing. All those activities have a major impact.”

While it may be true that Watchtower has switched its local convention arrangements in the past, it certainly isn’t true that Watchtower is in the regular habit of scaling down conventions in America from 400 to 100. In fact, it’s unheard of. Watkins’ optimism that Watchtower will return in the near future to boost the local economy once more is therefore likely misplaced.

Why the changes?

Precise reasons for the change will always be speculative, but clues may be found in Watkins’ use of the words “downsize” and “consolidating.” It goes without saying that third-party convention venues are enormously expensive to rent. Though many see district conventions as money-spinners for the Society due to the three-day influx of donations, it may well be that the proceeds are either struggling to meet overheads or are otherwise failing to provide a justifiable profit margin for Watchtower. If that is the case, reducing venue rental costs would certainly make sense.

Nevertheless, the hinted changes leave many questions. For example, how can Watchtower slash 3 in 4 conventions next year, but still provide a convention program for more than 1.2 million American publishers and their families? Will Watchtower-owned circuit assembly facilities be utilized? If so, how will the Society justify calling these makeshift events “district conventions” when the program will be heard by, in most cases, a radically smaller local audience? And will these changes affect America alone, or other countries too?

Doubtless we will learn more details as future announcements are made, although it is unlikely that Watchtower will ever openly admit to changes being necessitated by financial difficulties. As evidenced by the recent spate of branch closures, ostensibly due to “improvements in communications and printing technology,” Watchtower is able to put a positive spin on almost every setback.


International Conventions for 2014/15 announced

Even if plans for district conventions in America in 2014 are currently something of a mystery, JWsurvey can reveal that Watchtower is well underway in its recruitment drive for next year’s International Conventions.

In a letter dated July 30, 2013 (addressed to all service committees in the United States branch territory), elders have received detailed instructions for those wishing to apply for next year’s events, which are to be held in the following cities…

  • Melbourne, Australia – October 2014
  • London, England – August 2014
  • Quito, Ecuador – January 2015
  • Frankfurt, Germany – July 2014
  • Athens, Greece – June 2014
  • Seoul, Korea – September 2014
  • Mexico City, Mexico – November 2014
  • Harare, Zimbabwe – August 2014

Prudence, or discrimination?

Of particular note in the instructions for new applicants is the insistence that those with significant health difficulties should not apply as delegates. As the letter to elders states on the first page…

“We ask that the elders be very open with those who are not in good health or are dependent on another person to function. If a person has poor health or frailties due to age or some other handicap, it is best to inform him that he should not apply. In the past, applications have been received from individuals with serious sight or hearing limitations not corrected by glasses or hearing aids. Others suffered from severe obesity and could not walk long distances or stand for extended periods of time. In such cases, long trips under difficult physical conditions could prove harmful to the person’s health and may also adversely impact the activities of other delegates. Therefore, all applicants are encouraged to give serious and prayerful consideration to their health limitations and personal safety before applying to become a delegate.”

Disabled publishers who want to attend the international conventions could find themselves subject to discrimination

It is understandable that the rigours of travel require that international convention delegates must have some degree of autonomy if they are to be considered for selection on an individual basis. Even so, the array of physical ailments considered prohibitive by Watchtower does seem overly restrictive, to the point of being discriminatory in some cases.

For example, if you are a deaf publisher who wants to attend an international convention simply to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the association, even if you cannot get the full benefit of the program, based on the above directions you could find yourself being dissuaded from applying by your elders.

And if you are a wheelchair user there is no way you will be allowed to go, no matter how independent you are. The “Applicant Instructions” document to be issued to all interested in attending stipulates: “All applicants should be in good health and not in need of the assistance of someone else, nor dependent on a wheelchair, an auxiliary oxygen supply, or similar health-related devices.” Surely Watchtower should not be arranging these events if they are not available to all, including those with disabilities?

Exemplary publishers only

Another intriguing feature of the instructions is that, as in previous years, selection is to be based on a publisher being considered “exemplary” by his elders. Approval to attend an international convention may even be withdrawn if the delegate loses this status, including up to the day of departure!

“If an individual selected to attend a special convention loses his exemplary status and is no longer qualified to attend, the delegate should be thoroughly informed of the reason for your decision. Such a person would be fully responsible for any financial loss associated with his abrupt disqualification as a delegate, even up to the time he was supposed to depart.”

It is remarkable to think that, having donated hundreds if not thousands of dollars to Watchtower in order to attend an international convention, a publisher can still be blocked from going if he is stripped of his “exemplary status” without being able to claim a refund. This direction flies in the face of Christ’s words at Mark 2:17, where he said, “Those who are strong do not need a physician, but those who are ill do. I came to call, not righteous people, but sinners.”

Convention accommodation cover-up?

Finally, one more strange feature of the instructions to elders relates to accommodation. As indicated, in order to become an official Watchtower delegate to an international convention, you need to part with hundreds if not thousands of dollars depending on where you are travelling to or from, and the grade of hotel you are staying in. This money is paid straight to Watchtower, who takes a sizeable cut before paying all your travel and hotel expenses themselves at a heavily discounted bulk purchase rate.

Now it seems Watchtower is prepared to let “longtime, faithful servants” with limited funds attend, but they don’t want everyone to know about it!

The bold and underlining in the following quote are the same as in the original letter…

Special rooming: Confidentially, we will be asking the host branch office to poll local brothers to determine if some might be able to provide limited rooming provisions in private homes. This information is not to be made known to the applicants in general. However, if the elders are aware of a longtime, faithful servant, perhaps with many years of full-time service, who is not able to fully finance such a trip, he could be encouraged to apply and the secretary can check the box on the electronic application that this delegate qualifies for the special rooming provision, if available.”

Jesus condemned those who seek to profit from worship of God

Though it is commendable that special allowances are being made for delegates who are not able to “fully finance” their attendance, it is astonishing that these provisions are to be kept secret from ordinary congregation members.

The only conceivable reason for withholding such information is because Watchtower wants to receive as much money as possible from those wealthy enough to bear the full cost, and seeks to give the impression that those without money cannot attend, when in truth they are admitting that it IS possible for arrangements to be made without hotels if sufficient organizational effort is put forth.

The whole thing smacks of the incident in Matthew 21:12 when Jesus overturned the tables of the money changers and traders who were profiting from those coming to worship at the temple. International Conventions are big business for Watchtower and an ingenious means of generating a large amount of income from a core customer base of wealthy publishers. The fact that deception is now being employed to yield maximum profits will not bode well with most sincere Witnesses who learn of this subterfuge.






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75 Responses to Watchtower announces new international conventions while “downsizing” district conventions for 2014

  1. Gayle McCurdy says:

    Thanks always for your info and evaluations.

    Maybe the WTS just intends to “rent” only for 100 Conventions at ‘City arenas’ (for circuits not close to an Assembly Hall), but all others (300 or so) will utilize the JW Assembly Halls, and keep the money “in house.” In the news medias for these Conventions the WTS would want to express all the “millions” of dollars they (JW) brought into the City and businesses. Ha-ha, as if the WT cared about such communities at all.

    Seems the very large Conventions will become something of the past (Except maybe for International ones). Looks like a potential lawsuit against the WTS for a handicapped JW denied to go to an International convention. (Of course, that person would have to be ready to leave JWs altogether)

    If 15 circuits, as average, shared an Assembly Hall, and they met 3x a yr. there, that would take up 45 weekends a year of an AH. Do-able. (13,546 congs in U.S.; 20 congs. per circuit = 677 circuits divided by 45 AHs = 15.) Of course, many circuits because of distance, would have to make other arrangements.

  2. JBob says:

    Funny thing–about 7am this morning the thought of Jesus and the money-changers tables popped into my head–I’m just checking my email notification of this new post at 11am Eastern.

    I agree with Gayle, the downsizing in this case is cutting back expense of renting large arenas in cities subject to unrest and other “dangers” for delegates. On Assembly Hall territories, the Watchtower can claim more “control” of the venue, even not engaging union/teamster required laborers. A smaller audience also means the body of overseers will have closer sphere of influence and identifying who is causing issues. With national security in USA and other countries being a real threat, it will assist in audience and crowd control. For example, in major cities where political conventions and other major events are being held, the local law enforcement and city government can declare the event level requiring extraordinary security measures which can include but not limited to body searches on the street of “suspicious individuals” or “suspicious” carried items. Think about all those thousands of JW “boys” carrying their book bags/attache cases into the convention hall. It’s a security nightmare. And, the convention sites in public venues would be subject to the “earthly authorities” dictates.

  3. John says:

    I begin this comment with quoting from Matt. 11:28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29″Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
    Now if you profess to be a Christian religion then why is your Governing Body writing and implementing restrictions on those with some health problems? Oh wait someone in that Governing Body must have received a online degree as a Doctor now? After all he was able to diagnose Apostates as “mentally Diseased”? So now they enable Elders to determine on a local basis to use discrimination as a basis for their selection of who gets to go or not. Lets put this all together now. First they act as Police officers for they are enforcing the policies of the Governing Body in regard to whether they have to report a Child Molestation case to the real Police or in most cases not. And now they are acting as health professionals in determining if a person is healthy enough to attend a convention. Again a organization who hold themselves higher then God himself by disregarding his actual written word.
    If this was Gods true channel for mankind then he would make sure every effort was put forth for the “weary” to attend. What example are they really given the world by acting this way? Not Christ like that is for sure!!

  4. KtotheRAD "Konrad" says:

    It’s likely a smokescreen…they’ve always had international conventions but this way they can obscure and convolute the real loss in the American and western side and pick up the international image, put on a big show of massive proportion to emphasize the illusion of enormity of this organization (in terms of people) by basically meeting in the middle. It’s a Grand Standing Hail Mary basically and also a budgetary measure here in the US and Canada as they close and concentrate District assemblies and people are footing their own expenses for the most part to do this!

  5. donny says:

    Any idea of what dates are the internationals and venues?;-)

  6. Thinking of leaving says:

    Firstly cedars, i thoroughly enjoy reading your articles, and I kind of get a bit excited when i know you have posted something new.
    About the international conventions. I smelt a rat straight away, and kind of thought that something was up. With out divulging to much so as to reveal my identity or location. A few years ago an international convention was held in this country. I knew some bros & sis who were from a developing country who had been invited to attend. I thought fantastic they can stay with me. Then I get told by an elder that the society had already made arrangments, and basically they had to comply. My reply was I wanted to show them hospitality and the spirit of brotherly kindness. I mentioned to these overseas friends what I had been told, and asked them to get in touch with the branch in their country, to see if it would be ok to not stay in the motels but stay with me instead as I was kind of excited with the thought of showing hospitality to these overseas visitors. They ended up staying in the motels. When I meet them I asked them what the branch office had told them. They informed me that they never got a reply. Apart from this been highly rude and inconsiderate, I felt it particularly sad because i knew how they lived and what a big sacrafice it was to come from their country, and also that they realy couldn’t afford to stay in the society motels. There were other motels just down the road that they also could of stayed in that were significantly cheaper to. I was curious to see if there were vacancies, and there were. So now it all kind of makes sense.

  7. Desiderio says:

    Could the downsizing of District Assemblies have to do the WTS anticipating a large exodus largely due to their change in doctrine which JW’s will be learning about in the upcoming Watchtower studies? I can’t imagine many JW’s sticking around after yet another flip-flopping of JW’s teachings.

  8. Zeebo says:

    Hi, Sorry to be dumb but can someone translate from NewSpeak to English? OK what does this mean? does it mean no summer 3 day district convention? or is it those other smaller 2day ones (circuit? conv). Also any news on if this is downsized for the rest of the world or just the US?

  9. kat says:

    they don’t have DC when they have international conventions for that paticular year, that is All.

  10. Jamie says:

    Just looked at the 30 July BOE letter and the hotel side bears a comment. The Branch Office requires the use of their approved hotel listing as they “ascertain in which hotel he reserved a room” . . . . and all but requiring a six or seven night stay. Granted it is nice to make it a worthwhile trip to that country, but that should be the applicant’s option and not overly emphasized by the JwOrg.

    “For convention lunches, in most cases, the host branch office will make arrangements with a vendor to provide a box lunch for the three days of the convention. In such cases, the delegate can defray the expenses by contributing a little extra in a contribution box at the convention site.”
    Ahh the changes from cafeteria hot food at 5 day conventions, to refreshment stands, to box lunches. Sometimes with food tickets.

    • JBob says:

      hot food at 5-day conventions? you are young. There were week-long conventions at one time. Saturday through Sunday? Tents–with kitchen and tables to stand, later to sit, and eat. The conventions dropped down to 4-5 days in the mid-1970′s with the gas crisis and 1975 drop-off. Hot food remained a constant until the middle of the 1980′s when mysterious white trucks started making an appearance with greasy hamburgers and cash disappeared for Watchtower scrip in the late 1970′s, as well. Money-changing disappeared completely in the 1980′s as food scrip had to be purchased ahead of time through KH. Any kind of solid food disappeared shortly afterward and smelly fast-food white-bread sandwiches and fruit packs made a brief appearance. Now, there are no meals provided in USA. It’s like flying a no-frills airline–bring your own ‘poison’. But, many of the working-class and middle-income JW’s were already leaving the convention centers to venture into downtown for classier casual lunch and dinner venues. Never forget when my devout JW relative sent me on a food run to nearest Burger King after politely re-wrapping a grease-bomb (or stale meat puck) after one bite.

      “Lord Jehovah, I hope there’s a pharmacy with some antacids right around the corner, too! Oh man that burns! Name of Jesus, Amen!”

  11. Hakizimana Jean de Dieu says:

    INTERESTING!!! I wish to share this from JWs publications FOR YOU TO JUDGE:

    *** w97 6/1 pp. 5-6 Secrecy in the Name of the Lord ***
    The Dangers of Religious Secrecy
    In view of such occurrences, is it any wonder that many people cast a wary eye in the direction of religious groups? Certainly no one would want to support a secret organization—religious or nonreligious—that misuses his trust and causes him to pursue goals with which he does not agree. What can people do, though, to avoid falling into the trap of involvement with secret societies of a questionable nature?
    Obviously, anyone considering membership in a secret society would be wise to ascertain its real objectives. Pressure from friends or acquaintances should be guarded against, and decisions ought to be based not on emotion but on facts. Remember, it is likely the individual himself—not others—who will be called upon to suffer any possible consequences.
    Following Bible principles is the surest method of steering clear of dangerous groups whose motives are less than honorable. (Isaiah 30:21) This involves maintaining political neutrality, showing love to others, even to enemies, avoiding “the works of the flesh,” and cultivating the fruitage of God’s spirit. Above all, true Christians must be no part of the world, even as Jesus was no part, and this course precludes participating in worldly secret societies.—Galatians 5:19-23; John 17:14, 16; 18:36; Romans 12:17-21; James 4:4.
    Jehovah’s Witnesses are earnest students of the Bible who take their faith seriously and try openly to live accordingly. Worldwide, they are well-known as a religious group that ‘seeks peace and pursues it.’ (1 Peter 3:11) Their book Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom correctly notes: “Jehovah’s Witnesses are in no sense a secret society. Their Bible-based beliefs are fully explained in publications that are available to anyone. Additionally, they put forth special effort to invite the public to attend meetings to see and hear for themselves what takes place.”
    True religion in no way practices secretiveness. Worshipers of the true God have been instructed not to hide their identity or to obscure their purpose as Jehovah’s Witnesses. The early disciples of Jesus filled Jerusalem with their teaching. They were out in the open as to their beliefs and activity. The same is true of Jehovah’s Witnesses today. Understandably, when dictatorial regimes wrongfully restrict freedom of worship, Christians must cautiously and courageously carry on their activity, obeying “God as ruler rather than men,” a situation that is forced upon them because of their courageous public witness.—Acts 5:27-29; 8:1; 12:1-14; Matthew 10:16, 26, 27.
    If it ever crossed your mind that Jehovah’s Witnesses might be a secret cult or sect, that was likely because you knew too little about them. That must have been the situation with many in the first century.
    Acts chapter 28 tells us of a meeting that the apostle Paul had in Rome with “the principal men of the Jews.” They said to him: “We think it proper to hear from you what your thoughts are, for truly as regards this sect it is known to us that everywhere it is spoken against.” (Acts 28:16-22) In response, Paul “explained the matter to them by bearing thorough witness concerning the kingdom of God,” and “some began to believe.” (Acts 28:23, 24) It certainly was to their lasting benefit to get the actual facts concerning true Christianity.
    Dedicated as they are to the open and public service of God, Jehovah’s Witnesses will be happy to reveal the plain facts of their activity and beliefs to anyone who cares to know the facts. Why not investigate for yourself, thus being in position to be properly informed as to their faith?

  12. Winston Smith says:

    In my area, there have been some rumblings about renting out the largest (and most expensive) stadium in the biggest city for the convention next year. We now travel to a smaller city with an small arena and have 4-5 English speaking DC with about 9,000 attendance in each. So renting the large stadium would reduce the number of conventions by the ratio suggested here. I realize that this is not the case in every area, since large metro areas already rent out large stadiums. And it’s hard to see how this would save a significant amount of money, other than some gained efficencies from consolidation. An alternative motive could be increased attention garnered from large-scale regional conventions in certain areas, fostering a feeling of “specialness” (and possible increased hardships) for the rank and file.

    • JBob says:

      WS, this would mark a semi-return to prior years’ practice of large-scale district conventions where English & multi-lingual service was offered in tents–probably now in conference rooms or adjoining facilities to convention centers and stadiums as most sports arenas now are part of a “city-complex” with basketball, baseball and other venues hosted in close-proximity. Even if there is not a close proximity, technology allowing networking audio and visual experience exists even to link to a representative delivering a sat-link presentation from Corporate HQ, if necessary. The impact, of course, is to minimize shrinkage and focus on the “growth” and strength of numbers. Going from 9,000 to 80-90,000 in attendance would “wow” newbie JW’s. And, like Walmart and other big-box stores attest, bargaining power lies in volume.

  13. george says:

    What on earth are the WS going to Zimbabwe for? The country is in a terrible state, with recent elections having been condemned as a farce! Do these people really want to support a dictator like Mugabe? I will be really surprised if the country is stable enough to have this convention. I know that witnesses are supposed to be politically neutral, but the injustices in Zimbabwe are public knowledge. I am sure that Jesus would be very upset for a large organisation to legitimise this corrupt administration.

    • JBob says:

      Less about supporting any political admin and more about lifting spirits of those in that environment. Regardless of the ridiculous nature of beliefs or draconian admin, Catholicism and other religious groups have the quirky nature of out-living the chaotic administrations surrounding them. And, in the case of the RCC, at times establishing the regimes regents.

  14. Thinking of leaving says:

    George I can perhaps answer your questions here, as I had this relayed to me by a brother from Zimbabwe. Apparently Robert Mugabe actually quite likes the witnesses. In fact he prefers to have them as employees and has employed a few of them in a none political role e.g gardeners, house cleaners etc. Why you may ask??? Because he realises the political neutral stand that they take, and he dosnt perceive them as been a threat. Having an international assembly there would benefit him in many ways e.g
    A good PR stunt in that he was sympathetic to a Christian denomination.
    It would bring in foreign currency into an already desperate local economy. The people benefit making him appear as a good leader.
    If it encouraged more of the community to convert to a politically neutral stand. Optimally this gives him more un-apposed power to do what he dam well likes.
    Trust me ol Rob ain’t no fool and he knows what side his bread is buttered on. He will be doing everything to make sure it goes off with out incident.
    Like I said at the start of this post. I have no hard concert proof facts, and have no way of been able to verify this account. However I had this story relayed to me while in a F/S car group by a brother who had just fled Zimbabwe because he didnt like Mugabe, and the way things were been run.

  15. JBob says:

    Sounds like another ruler who used Christian believers to benefit his dominion–Constantine?

  16. dawill says:

    I live in the Britain.
    I left the WT in 2000 since that time I have noticed the numbers attending the District Convention I used to go to, dropping. When I attended we would get approx 20,000, the last I heard was 12-14,000. Then last year I discovered they had switched to a smaller arena, than the one they had been using for a number of years prior. Considering they claim increase in numbers why the reduction in convention places?

  17. russ says:

  18. whatevs says:

    I call BS. If I’ve paid for a trip, I’m dang well going. What are they going to do, drag you from the airport and put you in Kingdom Hall prison? How do they expect to enforce this policy? If you’ve lost your “exemplary” status, then chances are you don’t care if Elder Bigshot goes off with his latest power trip. Go, and moon him out the plane window on takeoff, that’s my advice.

  19. Babs Mason says:

    Regarding special arrangements for those who need help with accommodatiions for a convention:
    The last year I was a witness and attended a district convention I asked for help from the elders for my hotel expenses. They put me through so much grief and scrutiny that I just found another way to attend the convention. They advertise that there is special help but it is not really there. They do not help the sick and disabled as I was when a witness. I got better after I left the organization and threw away all of the demonic literature. There is no way I would ever go back to that hateful group of hypocrites.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks for that personal note, Babs. I honed in on the statements regarding “feeling better after dumping the demonic literature” because I wondered if anyone had a similar experience. After turning to Christ and being away for months, years, I noticed my life and health would begin to suffer ills whenever some well-meaning JW left literature for me to read in door or inside my home.

      • Babs Mason says:

        The best way to keep them from leaving literature in your door is to write a letter to local Kingdom Hall and tell them you will prosecute if they do not respect your privacy.

  20. nicole says:

    So how many wheel chairs do you all see on travels of Jesus on such rugged terrain or the tours of Paul?
    Show pics of that.
    You want to call it discrimination but who is to be responsible for those who are frail and sickly requiring much assistance? You cannot make someone else responsible for them. And if the JW did that then you would still complain. BLAH BLAH BLAH.
    Do your survey among active Witnesses
    and then come back and write your column. That is the scholarly way to
    write. At least I was taught that at LSU.

  21. Judy says:

    Don’t be ridiculous – the reason the Society is not encouraging obese/infirm ones to attend the international conventions is because the itinerary will be tiring, there’s a lot of walking to do in tours included in the Convetion package and it is logical therefore that people need to be at the same mobility level so as not to encumber others. The schedule is tight around the programme and time is of the essence. Remember too that other organisations such as walking tours/sightseeing tours etc do not always encourage infirm or obese people to participate as again it would not be fair on others who are mobile and healthy. Some remarks on this blog are are very childish adn unhelpful. If you really do want to go to an overseas convention then just go (I do each year), make your own arrangements and enjoy, instead of trying to trip up the WT Society at every turn. Get over yourself.. and move on! And no one forces you to associate with the Witnesses, you can always join the Mormons/Methodists/Catholics – the list is endless..

    • JBob says:

      @Judy – I agree that the reason for infirm being asked not to participate in the Wt tours is that they hold back the rest of the group, but is that really the “brotherly love” that Wt Soc projects?

      Also, if you’re 2nd, 3rd, nth generation JW it is NOT the case that you have a “choice” to opt-in or opt-out of Witnesses and you know it. Once you buy into the JW system, there is no “out”–it’s like joining a gang. The only way opt-out is death, or being ostracized and marked as “unfavorable” and “undesirable”. This makes the Wt Society a cult, or at least a socially-acceptable form of gang. Why else do JW’s fight so very strongly and urgently to appear “normal”? They’re obsessed with being “normal” when all evidence shows they’re not mainstream, nor is the history of the Adventist/Bible Student groups that of being mainstream. Most Adventist mentors of Russell’s mentors were abolitionists–anarchy-raising, rebels, fighting the mainstream of slavery. And, when Adventists go rogue, they go full-out–Waco, Texas, Branch Davidian Seventh-Day Adventists. Jehovah’s Witnesses protesting war conscription and Babylon the Great loudly marched in front of mainstream churches. Doesn’t sound like a “congenial” group to me.

  22. KtotheRAD "Konrad" aka Kurt Hennig says:

    “And no one forces you to associate with the Witnesses, you can always join the Mormons/Methodists/Catholics – the list is endless..” ~ Oh, how loving and typically JW of late anyway, because we know from your perspective at least that they are all the same right? so one is as good as the other? As a typical “Governing Body Witness” you seek to defend the actions of a corrupt and criminal, unchristlike organization with that same unscriptural behavior in some vane hope that your time and effort with that organization will not have been wasted rather than simply (or painfully) dealing with reality!

    People, Speaking of reality? in light of what happened with the break in at my house over the weekend and the tenuous relationship I now hold with the Feds and continue to hold with the Watchtower Society due to their criminal behavior…I don’t think it is unrealistic to suppose that I could possibly turn up missing or dead at any point soon from any hand or another…farfetched? I don’t think so and have already been threatened, given the knowledge I have and have access to as well as how vocal I continue to be elsewhere on the Internet and will likely continue to be. I’m my father’s son, the son of Army Airborne and raised to be an individual who thinks and speaks freely and for what’s right I will always fight and swing until I can’t… but it doesn’t scare me in the slightest and I want to raise that possibility as it has certainly happened before…

  23. Judy says:

    Sorry but you DO have a choice – I chose to marry a non-witness and have never been ostracised, in fact the bros and sisters have been very welcoming to my husband. There has never been any pressure for him to join us either. True if you do decide to leave, initially it could be uncomfortable but people have busy lives to get on with so within a short period of time would be left alone to get on with it. Yes there can be visits by concerned elders from time to time but from what I have observed this does not mean that folk who have decided to quit are harrassed or maligned. I believe if you are really unhappy being a Witness just leave and perhaps move away if you have the capacity and live your life as you wish. We have free will so use it. You will soon make new friends.

    • JBob says:

      @Judy – I would say your experience is not typical, nor is it typical of most congregations. And, in terms of having a choice, yes, you can say a choice exists, but it comes with a very large price imposed on children. Do you have an experience with a child you opted not to join JW?

    • dawill says:

      Agreeing with JBob, being allowed to marry a non-JW is not typical. In my congregation, the two times this has happened the wedding was not allowed to take place in the Kingdom Hall. I also recall a brother being told by an Elder,he could not marry a non-JW, unless she became a JW. We all have the right to makes choices, but are those choices forced upon us? Those who quit the JWs are not “harrassed”, but are completely shunned by other JWs.
      Why should a person move away, just because they decide no longer to be a JW? I left the JWs,disassociated, because I could no long believe what they taught. I was told by my JW wife to leave the house and my family, she was backed by the Elders in this. Consequently she and two of my JW daughters have not had any contact with me since 2001. Yes, we can all make choices, to be free or live in bondage to an organisation.

  24. Judy says:

    Yes I do; both my daughters chose not to – my eldest never wanted to have anything to do with the Organisation from the age of 13 and I have respected that all her life. She is now 38 and still feels the same; and I love her first and foremost as my daughter and respect her decision. My youngest drifted away a few years ago and now she is a mum herself and is having 2nd thoughts about coming back to the fold (without any nagging from me) – she observes the state of this angry mean world and worries about what kind of place she is bringing up her little daughter in, and what future. A lovely sister has been visiting her (in Montreal) and she is not pushy in the least, my daughter thoroughly enjoys their long chats over cups of tea. I travel between countries and to date have not experienced or witnessed anything nasty from elders etc to those who have drifted away for whatever reason. Those who are inclined to judge – as you say, they do exist – are not worthy of bearing God’s name and will be severely judged by Him when the time comes. I always think of the example of Jesus’ parable of the lost sheep – and careful not to have the attitude of Jambres. Not worth it. I hope you find the peace you are searching for.

    • JBob says:

      @Judy – very slick. Maybe not Jambres, but Jannes throwing a serpent on the forum floor. [Turning to camera, as lions prowl the safari] What we’re watching here is the typical carrot enticement, as I mentioned in an earlier post, the logical thing for some families is to cling to a dissenter in the hope of reforming the person. “Seeding”. Thus, continuing their “ministry” and counting hours, if not themselves, off-loading it onto another publisher, approved by elders for such visits to inactive or former associates.

      This tactic is used by interrogators, too–control through kindness, a form of “good cop vs. bad cop”, to disarm the target or seize on perceived “opportunities” (weak points) to bring the target into confession, or in this example, align them to same viewpoint.

      So, it isn’t a choice, it’s a matter of manipulation.

  25. KtotheRAD "Konrad" aka Kurt Hennig says:

    @ Judy,
    I’m going to be perfectly frank with you…I don’t believe you or anything you are posting. I’m not trying to harass you or be abusive nor to pick a fight and I will not carry on with one. That is not my objective either but I personally see far too many details and a reaching for details that demonstrates a motive for the dramatic and it indicates from my extensive training and experience in dealing with people and their behavior that you are attempting far too hard to establish both credibility and believability but why? I suspect that you and “Jessica”, I mean, ‘nicole’ above very likely know each other (I know we have met before) and neither of you would put forth such exhaustive effort in defense of something without an agenda! I may be wrong and if so I apologize but I very rarely am…That’s how I see it either way…

    In response to Jes…er, nicole, I believe you know very well that the people followed Jesus “everywhere” with the lame and the sick and infirm and demon possessed to the point that he had to flee from them! There were no “wheelchairs” per se but they cut a hole in a roof at one point to drop someone in in a cot! How much more so for alleged lifesaving spiritual food? You have Bible translations ad infinitum there at Bethel including from the Johannes Greber Society which your “New World Translation” comes from, I recommend using them:

  26. KtotheRAD "Konrad" aka Kurt Hennig says:

    “I would say your experience is not typical, nor is it typical of most congregations”

    I know I was threatened with specific judicial action and I had certain other intrusive Human Rights violations simply on the prospect that I may!…may! have had a “worldly girlfriend” at the Union Hills congregation in Phoenix Arizona but was simply friendly with some waitresses and others or who were at least friendly with me…it was very clear that if I chose anyone outside of the organization it was a disfellowshipping offense since it was a scriptural command to marry “only in the truth” which they would not permit me to do either!

  27. Judy says:

    I do hope you find the peace you are seeking in your life Bob (not said with a patronising tone); same for Konrad. I wish you all the very best in your search.

  28. KtotheRAD "Konrad" aka Kurt Hennig says:

    (- :

  29. Maria Lima says:

    Is not real what you wrote. All my family is coming to the US for the international convention and it is nothing about money other than help us to globalize our spirituality.

  30. KtotheRAD "Konrad" aka Kurt Hennig says:

    In addition to Johannes Greber and his Spirit Medium wife, Here is still another extremely important as well as conveniently “forgotten” source to the Society’s beliefs and the “New World Translation”:

    • JBob says:

      @K2theRad – As I reviewed that link (gasp!!) I noticed it resembles the other views of a 3rd Awakening emerging group, the Christian Scientists who believed in similar notions of angels and spirit healing based on prayer alone.

      JW’s were “New Age” before there was a label for it.

      There was an intense belief among some persons from the late 1800′s to early 1920′s that seances and spirits communicated to the living. Nevertheless, the sanctuary was set in its proper state, as the old belief went, between 1914 and 1919, about 1914. Why the sudden uncertainty reflected in the NWT (versus the Old World Testament)? They lifted the imposition of appointment of a servant over belongings around 1914-1919, the next step is extending the period that things were “restored” which grants carte blanche on reorganizing dogma either to align with more orthodox views or more “new light” to hold to the unorthodox viewpoints.

  31. skally says:


    You and nicole would not happen to be from Canada and used to go to the old jw and EX jw chatrooms I used to create, to basically ‘stumble’ any jw that happened upon it? Where I would spend tidious amounts of time copying, cutting and pasting all the wt—URLS that were loaded with discovered and uncovered information that was continually being brought to LIGHT by people such as Randy Watters, Norm Hovland, Tom Talley [ his 'schtuff' was a real crowd pleaser and was always successful in clearing the room when needed; he and PROMINENT BETHELITE made quite the internet impression with their Absolute K-nowledge of "All Things That Are Corrupt About The Watchtower and their "Spiritual (Pimp)als." I miss those two and MOMMIE DARK [found on WATTERS site] the most of all since I took to TheFight over 13 years now. WITNET OBSERVER MR JOE MESKO was highly regarded, and many times forgotten now, as one of THE BEST EVER in TheFight. Rest his Soul now.

    In those rooms, many exer-jws did practice, and hold dear, DUE DILIGENCE, when it came to Fighting the criminal and moral corruption of the FRAUDULENT BOOK PUBLISHING and REAL ESTATE, K-RAFTY SHIFTERS OF PEDOPHILES WITHIN THE RANK AND FILE. Many exer-jws K-new what the inner depths of the WATCHTOWER IDEOLOGY was truly, Truthfully doing to anyone who came upon their deadly doctrinal policies.

    We set forth a great snowball before us and if I’m not mistaken, it Absolutely had the momentum of three locomotives barreling down three different tracks that led….to each other. It was really a great moment in TheFight, to WITNESS when they all hit each other head on and we really thought we had them by the balls. Yet, there always seemed and seems still, that something or someone, threw a wrench into the snowball and it was obliterated by the time it came to a stop.

    Here we are today Judy and I ask you: what does this HONESTLY mean when you state such head-shaking doctrinal political [policies] that you say with such ease, and not dis-ease. I’m referring to this from one of your posts above (which I actually haven’t read yet because I had a stop-the-presses moment and had to address such):

    it is logical therefore that people need to be at the same mobility level so as not to encumber others.

    Now please Miss Judy, explain exactly why their special needs would encumber you and your elders. And use logic when replying, unlike the statement I captured and quoted you from above. Incidently, my opinion is that the statement is NOT logical, in any way, shape or form. If I were you and your elders and your leaders, I’d be pretty embarrassed at such utter desparaging remarks. It really is shameful thinking Miss, if I may be so bold.

    Answer this too, if you care to: what about the jw children that “long to go..I WANT TO SERVE JEHOVAH”, to such an assembly yet are in wheelchairs, or blind {HOW MANY BLIND jws ARE THERE BTW?}; how do you end up telling them aand the other disabled jws that want to attend, that they will ENCUMBER THE OTHERS [you do know that disabled jws and exjws read your shamefulness, right?]? What do you actually tell them the REASON is that they cannot attend such a “loving provision from jehovah”, yet YOU CAN? How do you explain that your not-as-special-of-any-needs, is more special than the one who has “special needs?”

    I’ll end for now, yet you’ve got that snowball effect on me now woman. Pray tell I tell ya! :-)

    Sincerely, ~skally~

  32. skally says:


    You say:

    “As a typical “Governing Body Witness” you seek to defend the actions of a corrupt and criminal, unchristlike organization with that same unscriptural behavior in some vane hope that your time and effort with that organization will not have been wasted rather than simply (or painfully) dealing with reality!”

    My opinion, and with much evidence and witnessing it myself, this can be said for many supposed “exjws”. I am not speaking of exer-jws. We are of a different breed, if you will. Just my own eyewitness acoiunting of, and thusly, my expert opinion.

    I liKe what I read from your mind. Thank you for ontributing to TheFight in your stance of integrity. Salutations!!


  33. Babs Mason says:

    Thank you Judy for your comments. When I was a witness 8 months ago, on oxygen and walking with a walker, I could hardly find anyone to even give me a ride to the meetings. The elders preferred it if I stayed home and listened by phone. They never questioned me when I started doing service on the internet and hardly checked on me although they knew I lived alone with no family and no car. They cast aside the sick and disabled as it is just a hinderance to the publishing empire’s agenda. By the way once I threw away the demonic literature I started getting better. Have lost nearly 50 pounds, off oxygen, walking without a walker and went hiking in the mountains last week. Namaste

  34. KtotheRAD "Konrad" aka Kurt Hennig says:

    You are probably correct and this is such a veritable buffet of evil and pagan ritualistic blasphemy that one hardly knows where to start but one critical issue I took out from it in alignment with your comment is this (I highlighted the last sentence):

    “The Society at the time believed that some demons or fallen angels were honest and could be saved and return to God’s organization. [6] Angels and Women, they believed, was channeled or “dictated” to the author by one such fallen angel who was honest and told the truth about pre-flood conditions on earth. They said he shed some “light” on the subject. They therefore claimed to receive new “light” from a demon according to their published statements. This is unusual as all the automatic or channeled writings I have researched claimed to be from good spirits whether angels, extraterrestrials, or highly evolved spirits.
    >The Society appears to be unique in claiming to receive new light from an evil spirit or fallen angel”<

  35. KtotheRAD "Konrad" aka Kurt Hennig says:

    @ Skally

    Offensichtlich! (- :

    Judy says in part:

    On October 31, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    “A lovely sister has been visiting her (in Montreal) and she is not pushy in the least, my daughter thoroughly enjoys their long chats over cups of tea. I travel between countries and…”

  36. skally says:

    Well, I specifically recall a ‘LadyJudy’ back in the old yahoo useroom chatrooms days, before they all scattered. We would her JudgeJudy because of the caustic way she dealt with anyone who was an opposer. She even said my daughter will die b jehovahs hand. lolol That is when I created a TED JARACZ yahoo profile, pm-ed her and told her what a fine upstanding sister we had in the org. I had her for a while but revealing whom she was really talking to, an apostate, was more fun than pretending to be a little jw man.

    Kon, did you see my last post directed right to you? It is not here and when I tried to repost it, as I save all my postings in case there is a glitch, as cedasays there appears to be, at times, [select times; it SOMETIMES appears certain posts of mine are being deliberated on as to whether they be posted at all. Why some post immediately, and others do not, cannot always just be a glitch. ]

    Anyway, cedars should have that post, since it says i am duplby trying to repost .

    Thank you for the Salutations Konrad!

  37. skally says:

    Case in point, the above post went through, no glitch. What gives?

    • Cedars says:

      Skally, I’ve just been through some of your comments that were blocked. Hopefully they should appear soon. I can’t help but notice that you use some rather unorthodox spelling like “insereted” and “accoiunting,” not to mention a number of unusual character combinations, like “+++++++” and words with hyphens in the middle. Please be kind to our spam filter and try to make it as easy as possible for it to identify your comments as having been written by a human! :) I’m not suggesting those are the only reasons why there are discrepancies as to which comments are accepted, but I am beginning to notice a pattern.

  38. skally says:

    *duplby =duplicating by…

  39. skally says:

    Crude, yes, this JUDGE JUDY was from Canada. I even called her once back when landlines were all the rage! lol:-p But I hope this Judy replies.

  40. KtotheRAD "Konrad" aka Kurt Hennig says:

    skally says:

    On November 3, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    “Case in point, the above post went through, no glitch. What gives?”

    @ Skally ~ There are very tight spam filters on this site in which case you will usually be notified that it is being moderated but if you get no notification and the page flashes and reloads? We can pretty much figure it was hijacked and redirected by our hacker friends at the Society in which case Cedars may, usually still gets a copy (to give the appearance of normalcy I suppose) but it won’t post!

  41. KtotheRAD "Konrad" aka Kurt Hennig says:

    @ Skally ~ “We would her JudgeJudy because of the caustic way she dealt with anyone who was an opposer”

    The use of operatives and planted reps by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society on the Internet is nothing new by a longshot and in fact the JWforum on topix. com was set up as a puppet site by the Society for that very purpose…

  42. KtotheRAD "Konrad" aka Kurt Hennig says:


    And also, (Now that there are hopefully no one(s) commissioned to or deliberately attempting to divert attention away from this thread and derail it…)
    The Watchtower spawned all of the Bible Student organizations that are still in existence today in some form or another after the 1919 purging and house cleaning during that same time as well so all was not well… which by the way, was a nasty affair in which Rutherford employed the police and violence! In spite of the propaganda, they are very much alive and active as various Bible Student Churches and Societies although they may have changed names to evade their past and association…some still actually use Russell’s books still!

  43. KtotheRAD "Konrad" aka Kurt Hennig says:

    Also this as just one:
    [Evangelical link removed - Konrad, you know the drill. Don't let me down!]

  44. KtotheRAD "Konrad" aka Kurt Hennig says:

    Sorry, I thought it was more academic in this case…

  45. JBob says:

    @nicole, I believe Jesus had the infirm on cots/beds lowered down to him? Suffer the little children come unto me..

    Perhaps some of the wheelchair bound simply want to touch the hem of the GB’s garments? I dunno–just a thought.. just a thought..

    And, if anyone had an excuse to ban the infirm because they were “holding Him back” it would be the “I’m-on-an-urgent-mission-from-God-because-I’m-the-Divine-Son-of-God” Jesus, no? Yet, suffer the children come unto me, touch the hem of my garment, and lower the infirm to me..

  46. Judy says:

    Dear or dear, a lot of angry hogwash has been written pursuant to my comments. For the record, I live in Australia not Canada. My daughter lives in Canada. Re the 2014 international conventions: it is not just about attending the convention – there is an itinerary to visit places attached to the invitation, as part of a package. Common sense should prevail here not emotional outbursts decrying the Society at every turn.

  47. J Sherwood says:

    I inadvertently clicked onto this page and what a laugh I had!
    What a pack of lies, any real Jehovah’s witness would know that no-one is discouraged from coming to the conventions. If anyone is unable for health reasons then the genuine program recording is made available to them, not one of the apostate altered ones either that seem to circulate following conventions designed to unsettle weak ones.
    If anyone is deaf, then specific signing areas are provided.
    Yes, i heard the letter being read out in our congregation, and the edited version that is written out here is not that letter. However there was a mention to the whole congregation that those with health issues that demand dedicated the care of others which may put an unnecessary burden on others may wish to consider attending a local convention.
    As for consolidation, what a sensible idea! No sense wasting money is there. For instance we are now consolidated with another district meaning that now we have a fuller undercover convention rather than two half full stadia which are outside. This website is clearly apostate, listen to the tone, highly critical of the faithful slave. DO not listen to voice of strangers.

    • Cedars says:

      Welcome to the website J Sherwood.

      I assure you, I am not in the business of editing letters to make them say things they don’t say. I have more productive things to do with my time.

      It sounds from your comment as though you don’t know the difference between a District Convention and a Special or “International” Convention. Of course no disabled people are prohibited from attending a normal District Convention (I never said that in the article), but restrictions ARE placed on certain disabled ones who want to be delegates at an International Convention, as shown above.

  48. Sue says:

    Yes, J Sherwood, shame you did not read the article properly.
    Its also a shame that in accidentally finding this site you saw what you wanted to see to confirm your prejudice.
    I hope you wake up soon and do not waste your life in something that creates guilt and fear, intolerance and ignorance.

  49. 20Years says:

    I couldn’t agree more with Babs.

    In our congregation, we had a sister so zealous, that many new ones would look at her and think she’s of the anointed. Yet, what did she get for her zeal? She never married (she was a Witness through the 1975 scam) she spent a fortune in what she believed were ‘godly works’. She continued to attend meetings and ministry until the day she couldn’t walk.

    When she was house-bound, how many witnesses visited her? Not one elder, nor any of the flock, she told me when I once visited the withering sister. I was clearly apalled (but my devotion to the Watchtower would not let me see that at that point in time). She shrivelled away, alone, with no one around to alleviate her suffering in her final moments.

    One day, her unbelieving family members called a brother to say she had passed away.

    After a rather hypocritical funeral service (including the reading out of the Psalm that says In case my own father and moterh abandoned me, Jehovah himself would take me up), I heard one holier-than-thou regular pioneer lament, “What a pity she never willed her wealth and property to the Society!”

    Please, please, please, wake up to the what the Watchtower is really after, and the great price it craftily exacts from its followers.

    Babs, I hope things go well your way – peace and love.

  50. Alamo says:

    *I am curious how you would scrutinize US NAVY SEAL Training? From the inside or from the outside…?
    Doc. Alamo Reno
    BUD/S Class 142

  51. trish scott says:

    Absolutely rubbish .!! No momey is made at conventions. International or other wise.. here in Australia we will have on line link up and over 100thousand will be in attendance listening to and watching same programe! Modern day miracle.

  52. dawill says:

    Money may not be “made” at conventions but they sure do keeping asking for “contributions” during the days. here are according to 2013 report there are 66,918 JWs in Austraila. Line link to 100,000, who make up the other 33,000? Modern day miracle! Not anymore, its common place to do such things these days.

  53. Mandelay says:


    You said you married a non-believer and experienced no personal shaming, no shunning, or dirty looks. That must have been a while ago if your daughter is 38. I’m thinking the attitudes were different forty years ago.

    As many commenters here have already written, today, if a witness is romantically involved with a non-witness, they will be discouraged, marked and shunned. Something as innocuous as a Facebook photo of you and a non-witness, to whom you presently may or may not be talking, will initiate a judicial committee inquiry. They will ask you the most initimate of details, tell you no worldly person is capable of love and not to expect God to listen to your prayers if you marry a non-witness.

    This policy should be dissolved. It is a violation of a God-given basic human right.

  54. katbird_27 says:

    When I was growing up there was 2-3 weeks in the Tacoma dome with almost 30,000 people then it went to 4-6 weeks at 5-10,000 people AND the 4 weeks in Kennewick and 3 weeks in Portland. My guess is they will be going back to the big conventions.

  55. Judy says:

    It was 21 years ago; whilst it may be discouraged, ultimately who you marry is a personal choice.

  56. Excelsior, formerly known as George says:


    You are right. It is a matter of personal choice whom one marries.

    Just as it is personal choice to leave the WTBTS. However, in both instances, there will be repercussions.

    I am glad that you did not suffer any adverse effects from your choice.

    Sadly, others have not had that experience.

    Peace be with you


  57. Talmon says:

    So much misinformation, oversimplification and twisting of facts in this article and the following comments! So disturbing when disgruntled individuals obsese at stabbing truly good people on the back!

  58. Talmon says:

    Oops, “obsess” and “in”. :-)

  59. Excelsior says:


    Would you care to provide examples of the misinformation, oversimplification and twisted facts, please?

    John Cedars has stated that he will correct any mistakes that are brought to his attention.

    Here is your chance to set the record straight.

    How can “truly good people” cover up child abuse? Or domestic violence? Or force a rape victim to prove that they cried out and resisted or face disfellowshipping for fornication? The list goes on and on.

    As a truly good person, I am extremely disgruntled about the facts listed above.

    I do not stab people in the back. The WTBTS does by promising love and then shunning those who disagree with their decrees.

    Peace be with you


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