Why It’s Wrong to Ban Jehovah’s Witnesses
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The Kremlin is believed to be on the brink of banning Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia

Putin’s Russia has something of a history when it comes to harassing, intimidating and threatening to ban my former religion: Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Many are the reports of literature confiscated, of meetings disrupted and of incriminating literature planted by uniformed rent-a-thugs with the aim of framing the Witnesses as enemies of the state.

The latest news is that Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia are making a last ditch attempt to persuade the Kremlin to relent from any moves to shut down their organization. Vasily Kalin, described by the press as the “leader” of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia, has reportedly appealed to the country’s human rights council to this effect.

Masked Russian police spill out of vans to invade a kingdom hall in Nezlobnaya

 

At this point I should probably make it clear that though I have a great deal of compassion and affection for Jehovah’s Witnesses as individuals, I am not a fan of the religious hierarchy that leads them – not by any stretch.

Readers of this website will be only too familiar with my disgust at Watchtower’s heinous policy of shunning, which serves to needlessly break up families – including mine. Neither do I need to spell out my contempt for the deadly prohibition on blood transfusions, nor the systemic covering up of child rape.

With all that said, I want Jehovah’s Witnesses who may stumble on this website to be aware that I wholeheartedly support them in repudiating any attempts to ban their religious activities. If they were to arrange a protest against the Russian government tomorrow (since they are apolitical, this is unlikely) I would stand at their side and serve them hot coffees.

Why? Because even though I no longer believe that an invisible Jesus swooped down and chose Joseph Rutherford and his colleagues to be the inaugural “faithful and discreet slave” in 1919, I am a firm believer in human rights. And make no mistake: the human rights of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia are being trampled.

According to article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations (believed by Witnesses to be the wild beast of Revelation!) in 1948, all homo sapiens have been guaranteed as follows:

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

An inconsistent approach to human rights

In a sad irony, despite repeatedly appealing to the above entitlement when defending their own religious freedoms (i.e. conscientious objection, freedom to preach without restriction), the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses are quite happy to flagrantly violate this article when it suits them. For example, my wife and I are among countless ex-members who are being continually punished by means of shunning for our decision to walk away from our religion.

On a day-to-day basis, punishment is visited on us by a religion we no longer believe in because our JW family members are coerced into avoiding all contact lest they too are deemed evildoers destined for fiery destruction at Armageddon. One of the many disturbing side effects of this open denial of our right to “change [our] religion or belief” is that our daughter, Jessica, has yet to meet her grandfather – my father – who, as an elder, feels he must put loyalty to the “faithful slave” ahead of his paternal instincts.

Despite the infuriating hypocrisy of the Jehovah’s Witness approach to human rights, I refuse to count myself among some of the more embittered ex-Witnesses who believe JWs deserve to be similarly deprived of their human rights by thugs like Vladimir Putin.

I cannot, in good conscience, complain about my freedoms being violated while insisting that a group of people in Russia – whom I have never personally met and can only assume are decent, honest people – be stripped of those same freedoms. To behave so cynically and vindictively would make me just as hypocritical as the religious leaders I protest against.

Accusations of extremism

That is not to say that Russia is entirely wrong in labelling Jehovah’s Witnesses “extremists.” When most people think of religious extremism, they think of the Islamist terrorist who ignites himself on a crowded bus, or the black-masked barbarian who beheads journalists and aid workers in the name of Allah – but you don’t need to be violent in order for your views to be extreme.

Is it extreme to dismantle a family because one or two of its members no longer believe your dogma? I would argue, yes.

Is it extreme to expect someone to die rather than accept a routine medical treatment that you consider an abomination on religious grounds? Yes, is the answer.

Is it extreme to cover-up child rape because you are not satisfied there are enough people who can attest to the abuse? Most definitely.

Make no mistake – Jehovah’s Witnesses are extremists. It’s just that most people don’t know they are extreme because the unfathomable body count from the blood prohibition is unknown, and most people don’t have to personally deal with the gruesome reality of having their family needlessly dismantled, or seeing their molestation as a child swept under the rug.

So, with all that said, how should a democratic society approach an abusive religion that extolls and imposes extremist teachings and policies? There are three possible routes to take. Allow me to spell them out for you so that you can decide which one sounds most reasonable…

1. Support the abusive religion

In this approach, a government would indirectly promote and support an abusive religion by making it tax exempt, so that the movement can rake in donations unfettered by the normal financial constraints under which non-religious businesses and organizations operate.

A position of “hear no evil, see no evil” can be maintained, in which the abusive religion does not need to be transparent, is accountable to no one, and the leaders can get on with their cultish business without any checks or balances when they inevitably stray into visiting harm on people.

An especially supportive government might even extend charitable status to the abusive religion, imbuing it with the same kudos and respect as organizations like the Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières. In this way, the abusive religion can project pain and suffering on members and non-members alike while benefiting from the public perception that its work is “charitable.” It can also rake in extra money through incentives such as “Gift Aid,” whereby the government effectively supplements all donations received.

2. Ban the abusive religion

If you’re not feeling quite so generous, you might consider flat-out banning the abusive religion altogether.

Under a ban, members of the religion would not be able to meet together. They would not be able to print their literature. They would not be able to practice their faith if this involves preaching or proselytizing.

Members of the banned religion would get to feel vindicated that theirs is the one and only true faith because, especially in Christianity, persecution by the authorities has always been considered somewhat a badge of honor that is worn with great pride.

In addition to fuelling the religion’s pre-existing persecution complex and lust for isolationism, a total ban has the knock-on effect of bringing your country into violation of human rights per article 18.

But, meh! If you’re a ruthless dictator who thinks nothing of annexing sovereign states, blowing up passenger airplanes, hacking the elections of other countries and assassinating rogue agents with fatal doses of radiation as they convalesce in their London hospital beds, who gives a [insert Russian swear word] about human rights? Right?

3. Hold the abusive religion accountable

If the above two options are not to your taste, there is a third option that involves neither supporting the abusive religion, nor banning it.

You can simply hold it accountable.

You can allow yourself the epiphany that there is no good reason for ANY religion to be tax exempt. They are all, at their very essence, businesses. Their products are a giddying array of competing, conflicting brands of religious faith that, like cigarettes, fake jewellery, pet snakes and garden gnomes, are non-essential to human existence.

If you happen to crave the product, you get to donate to your church, mosque or synagogue, which must be allowed to flourish or flounder depending on how you and your brethren decide to support it. But your donations should be taxable because, bottom line, you may feel you need this product in your life but many, many others don’t.

Faith is a product, needed by some but not all; therefore churches are businesses and should be taxed accordingly

 

The upside to the “accountable approach” (apart from the fact that it just makes total sense!) is that no government who adopts it would end up inadvertently making itself the benefactor of any abusive religion. It goes without saying that the same would be true if governments (such as the government of my own country of birth, the UK) stopped extending charitable status to abusive religions.

If a religion wants to set up a charity that ONLY does good for non-members with no strings attached and no attempts to evangelize (or sell) their product to a captive, vulnerable audience, this could be deemed a tax-exempt charity – but only so long as there is full transparency and everyone is absolutely sure that no charitable donations can trickle their way into the religious arm of the organization.

Once you have buttressed your country against any involvement in supporting abusive religions, you can then start to think about proactively policing them and making it hard or impossible for them to inflict harm. And you can do this without any need to start throwing around bans.

You could, for example, criminally prosecute organizations found to cover up child abuse. You could also make it illegal for a religion that forbids certain medical procedures to send representatives to surround a believer’s hospital bed with the aim of coercing them when their life is in the balance. You could make it impossible, through legislation, for any kind of scenario in which a child dies from being deprived of certain medical procedures simply because this appeases the delusions of its parents.

JW elders should be prevented by law from ambushing believers in hospital to make sure they are willing to die rather than accept blood

 

For all the other detritus associated with abusive religions such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, such as religious books and magazines urging shunning and dissuading young people from pursuing higher education, you at least have the satisfaction of knowing that your tax dollars are not indirectly subsidising such backward propaganda.

If you want to be really progressive, you can take action to offset some of the harm caused by dangerous elements of the religion by funding resources for would-be apostates (such as safe houses and community support) thereby making it easier for them to leave. Another way of taking positive action is to implement critical thinking as part of the syllabus for all school children so that they can understand how abusive religions operate and how to insulate themselves against brainwashing tactics.

Do all of the above, set your watch, and see how quickly abusive religions wither and die. They are already operating in an asphyxiated environment in which, thanks to the internet, it is harder than ever for them to thrive. The last thing they are clinging to, their final crutch, is the undue deference lavished on them by governments bewitched by a legacy and tradition of religious reverence. It is this last pillar that needs to be removed – not the religions themselves.

Banning religions, however abusive, achieves nothing. But dragging them into their proper place by holding them accountable to the law and basic values of democracy and humanity would be a game changer.

Author of The Reluctant Apostate, now available from Amazon in hardcopy and on Kindle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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59 Responses to Why It’s Wrong to Ban Jehovah’s Witnesses

  1. Matías says:

    Sure there would be better approaches than banning, but if the net effect came to be a decrease in jws, so be it

    • Anonymous says:

      No, this will not result in less JWs. This will only make them more determined in their beliefs. This is validating their persecution complex and end of the world fears. I know this because of my friends and family. I had hoped that some would wake up, but then the world hit a serious patch of instability that is now confirming their religion’s doctrine to them. It is also making many fear gutting their support system even more at a time of such instability. I hate to acknowledge it, but I believe the world situation, including Russian persecution, has eroded the progress of many who were in the process of waking up and set them back decades in getting free. It is more difficult now than ever for many witnesses to wake up.

      • John Plummer says:

        you’re absolutely correct. Any persecution they suffer will be heralded as the beginning of the “Great Tribulation” and will be used as a recruiting tool. Officially banning J.W.’s will result in the opposite of what we all want.

      • Winston Smith says:

        Very true. It also reinforces the JW view that the world is in Satan’s power and their isolationist attitude, as the article stated.

        Think about how afraid the JWs are of the outside world in more or less “free” countries. Their fears are likely increased tenfold in a land where an oppressive government bans them. How can they ever contemplate leaving when they see no safe haven in the world outside the organization?

        WS

        • Big B says:

          @ Anonymous; John Plummer & Winston Smith:

          It will make no difference in their beliefs whether the J.dubs will be banned in Russia or not.

          I remember crying when I read the Soviet Union’s recognition of Jehovah’s Witnesses from the platform one service meeting before the fall of U.S.S.R. over 20 years ago.

          Now with the U.N. membership cover-up, the child molestation court losses and payouts, and the continuous shunning policy of those whose only ‘crime’ is a rejection and abandonment of their former faith, I say let the persecution begin and let’s see whether Jehovah (or whomever they put their faith in) stops it.

          Believe me they will ‘spin’ this persecution, as has been said earlier, either as ‘time of the end’ propaganda or if NOT banned ‘Jehovah is speeding the work up in Russia and needs to have a free moving organization to carry out his work so more can be saved before Armageddon.

          What definitely WILL NOT be said is this: ‘we are being reproved (scourged) by Jehovah because we supported the U.N. and joined the rest of Babylon the Great in its misguided support. Thus we have witnessed the persecution, the court case loses, the bad publicity and the non-growth world wide’.

          So I say, as they (G.B.) are so fond of saying, “let’s leave the matter in Jehovah’s hands”. Yeah, that’s the ticket! Let us do just that and we will see what happens; good or bad.

  2. ruthlee says:

    The best you have written so far Cedars. It says it all and if the governments held the org accountable they would soon sink under their own weight with little or no activism necessary. If there was a prenupt before baptism I wonder how many would bother? Especially if anyone below 18 had to have a written note from their mum and all the clauses well defined. (including the shunning penalty). I do hope we are on the home stretch of the demise of this ignoble religion. I can but live in hope. Cheers Ruthlee

  3. Cedars,I respect your opinion however organizations who continuesly abuse,harass and limit and punish freedom of thought and choice should be banned!Its similar who commits serious crimes to the people spend rest of their life in prison and such a laws we already have at place in democracy.

    There are many religions who practice same corporal punishment for individuals who try disagree or even leave and should receive same treatment as they were joining them.

    • Tranquillo says:

      Kamil,
      the point rised it that you can try killing abusive religions by banning them and you will not succeed. They will get more extreme. You will also act against human rights as well, becoming as the ones you are fighting.
      Abusive religions will die when brought to the sunlight, when they are held accountable for all what they make. If you lift tax exemption, they will have to keep audited books and will have to respond for all the money they get. If they have to publish their economic reports, everybody will see where the money ends.
      Religions in general are nests for child abusers, so they have to be placed under special scrutiny.

      • Look as a child I was growing up in Ex-Czechoslovakia and before 1989 it was communist regime and all churches was banned and trust me who even try do something was placed in jail or labor camp.My point is banned religions are literally dying and I saw that as a kid so very well still remember.
        If governments would review all religions who are beneficial for society and well being of It’s own citizens then we would have not many churches here and perhaps it’s going to happen one day.

    • konceptual99 says:

      Banning the Witnesses has never prevented them from preaching and recruiting. It only serves to reinforce their persecution complex.

      On top of that, the methods used by the Russian authorities are the same underhand tactics used to oppress all sorts of other people and minority groups.

      As Lloyd’s article points out, if the Russian authorities have plenty of legitimate mechanisms to expose the harmful side of the Watchtower Society without resorting to those which flaunt the ECHR and their own constitution.

      The Russian authorities have a long history of ignoring human rights when it suits them and it is unreasonable for those supporters of human rights to choose to limit who they feel is being oppressed just because they don’t like them.

  4. JOLLY says:

    You say : I am a firm believer in human rights. But you never talk about their homework
    You disgust of shunning, prohibition on blood transfusions, and child rape . But you support those who teach these crimes…
    Take a good lawyer …

  5. northstar83 says:

    The worst part of a ban is this: They thrive on “persecution”. It scares people into staying and it somehow proves they are the true religion under attack. It does nothing but drive them more into the cult and underground for the long haul.

  6. KTMmadBrit says:

    Thank you. Probably one of the best written, succinct, summaries I have ever read regarding the JWs.

    The logic is devastating. Now, how to get this article to Putin, Trump and May. Anyone got connections?

  7. armegeddonman says:

    What I can’t understand is why the orthodox church and the government feel threatened by this insignificant group. Like everywhere else their numbers have stagnated.

  8. Hmmm…I think the third choice is the best one John…for sure! But I still think…Mr. Putin and his helpers, should meet with the Gov. Body… perhaps on a park bench in front of their…”oasis and watch the birds”… Let them explain at length how they treat their “flock”… why the real, honest and kind witnesses, are all skinned and scuffed and bruised…and broke, bewildered….while the upper crustys live in their …”Paradisio” already…and say…Sell” Familia”goat to give to Jehovah…etc…..I feel for these poor Wts in Russia…Poutin should leave them be…come and see Toni Tight Pantz and rest of the leaders here in America…Can we start up a donation box for his air flight cost, to America….and perhaps throw in enough money for a good peroghi supper! Butter and sour cream…lots of! Course before one would know it they would be smoozin him like they did poor Donald! Before long they would have him reading their grey Bible …fake leather, well pineapples skinned as well as Mr. Putin! But hope he is wiser than they…interesting…apparently he and Donald got along….? Might be some hope yet…perhaps..”The End” is not too far away…….can only hope…

    • outandabout says:

      An ambulance at the top of the cliff is far better than an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, Cedars.
      Prevention is far easier than cure. Why wait for someone to be shunned? Why wait for someone to die for want of blood?
      Ban it now! It’s an extreme and harmful cult.

  9. michael pollard says:

    Excellent well balanced post Lloyd.

  10. Fooledmeonce says:

    Excellent! I totally agree!
    I’ve always wondered why the city governments don’t tax religious buildings?!? I’m not going to any of them, and I hate to see another mosque or some weird Christian evangelical church pop up, like mushrooms it seems, depriving our local governments of even more property tax. Then the newspapers catch the minister and his sons living in palatial mansions!!! That scenario was in The Toronto Star under Prayer Palace if anyone cares to read about it.
    There are much more effective ways of depriving these crazy religions and cults of their lifeblood, which is money, than outright banning them.
    Of course, we are well aware that it is some other, more powerful religion that is pressuring the Russian government to ban JWs. That’s why they cannot do the things that you have so intelligently brought out. They can’t have this backfiring on them, now can they?

  11. Tony Vida says:

    Your compassion for JW’s is admirable. I to am an Ex – JW who questioned their adulterous ties to the United Nations from 91- to – 01. Even Daniel the prophet felt remorse and pain when Jehovah showed him through Gabriel that the King of fierce countenance would be the one to destroy them in the end times – THESE TIMES. Da 8 Which includes, Revelations chapter 17. As in past times, Jehovah again will allow his nation to be Destroyed for not obeying Jehovah their God. Even prophets could not stop Jehovah’s destruction of old Jerusalem in 587BCE and 70CE. But like the days of old, Jehovah sends out messengers today to warn them and THEY HAVE. But, time is running out. You know the history of Jehovah’s unfaithful nations, only ALL TO WELL.

  12. Bryan Young says:

    Great post, Lloyd. It’s obvious to me that #3 is the right answer. That said, I would go only slightly further: I would eliminate the tax exemption for all religions, not just abusive ones. This is especially true for state-sponsored churches, such as the Anglican church. The ring-fencing of charitable arms would prevent these valuable services from being starved for funds, while protecting non-members from supporting religious activities.

  13. Jado says:

    Like any other threat to human well being, Jehovah’s Witness force is ignorance. It is lie HIV/AIDS, STDs, diarrheal, Cholera Etc. which we can prevent using simple means like using condoms for safe sex and washing hands.

    In one of their publication we can read “a physician named John Snow had suggested that cholera was caused, not by contaminated air, but by contaminated water. Another physician, William Budd, believed that a funguslike living organism carried the disease.” (g 10/10 p. 20)!

    Ignorance can cost lives! Imagine what would be life today if humans followed William Budd and cherish his beliefs on Cholera instead of John Snow’s!

  14. Hardy says:

    The higher ups in the JW religion need to be held accountable. Without consequences the people in the religion will continue to think they’re right. They wont learn and their actions wont change in private and they will continue to drag people in. They wont be enlightened and the problem will continue. Without serious consequences they will never learn. My brother is a taveling overseer in China. They baptise people in his bath tub. The Chinese authorities in a provence located next to him found a list of JW names and addresses. The authorities gave the JWs twentyfour hours to leave the provence or be arrested. My brother is an elder and is working underground. His congregation is growing. One of the governing body members visited him. We have to keep going after the higher ups in the organization to see changes happen for the good of everyone. The higher ups need to be forced to admit they’re wrong. That’s the only way to help everyone. This can be done by emptying out their bank accounts. As the law forces them to change their teachings they will call their changes new enlightenment. Education.

    • Ricardo says:

      @Hardy,
      Forgive me if I am wrong, but the Witnesses in China don’t seem to be doing a very good job. Going by the 30 other lands which are not individually reported in the Yearbook, and taking into account the thousands of witnesses in places like Egypt and Singapore, it can be calculated that the number of Witnesses in China would be around 30,000. That is quite pathetic, considering the number of people in China becoming Christians of other denominations.

      Your brother’s congregation may be growing, but in comparison it is still negligible. And given the number of sincere Witnesses throwing in the towel of late, then the preaching work in China is really going to stall, as it is worldwide.

      Having worked with Chinese brothers and seeing the difficulties they have to stay united, I’d say there are little break away movements going on all over the place in the congregations in China.

      A lot of Western brothers who go to China come away believing they are anointed. Which I think goes to show what caliber of brothers are going there: nut jobs. Just my opinion.

  15. Hardy says:

    Banning religion is like forgetting to press the elevator button and wondering why your not getting anywhere. People get baptised in banned religions. The funny thing is a lot of people are very comfortable saying, “Don’t tell me what to do” as a group. They’re happy to give up their freedom to do so in a Religion. The law will force the governing body to reeducate. The law will do that. It takes time.

  16. Doc Obvious says:

    I agree religions need to be held accountable for negative situations. Negative situations that are illegal. Rewarding bad behavior by giving them tax exempt status gives the religion more power. Remember. Historian and Politician John Dalberg-Acton stated in part, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”.

    Every time Watchtower wins a court case on First Amendment rights, the more power Watchtower has. With all the cases on child abuse and with Watchtower crying First Amendment and being overruled, the power is decreasing. Their religious standing is being questioned by the judicial system in the countries that have these issue. Every court case in the United States gets reviewed by the American Bar Association. Lawyers are under review by the Bar. If lawyers are not showing good code of ethics they are questioned by the local board and disciplinarian action is ensued. The worst discipline is disbarment.

    The judges saw how incredulous these Watchtower lawyers are. Opinions have been formed. Not good ones. This is a good sign. Finally progress.

    • Gameisover says:

      Do people that commit serious crimes have the
      right to be free, or do they have the right to vote
      or bear arms? Should the inventors and promoters of the hideous rules of the Jws be protected in order to ensure THEIR human rights? Judging by the congregations I have been in for nearly 50 years, there is a small percentage of fanatics. The rest are
      Just “hoping” something changes and they go through all kinds of pains to look very theocratic, while leading double lives.
      Should there be a ban, anywhere, the growth would be stunned, and most would disappear.
      Maybe 10 years ago it would have been different.
      Today things inside the congregations have changed drastically.
      Just last week I heard of an elder who was pulled out of the closet ( not came out of…) after 18 years of marriage, 4 children and untold privileges. I know him well. What a shock! But the number is legion.
      Isn’t it pathetic that one has to hide their sexuality in order to accommodate their friends and relatives and not be cast out as a leper! We can’t even imagine the suffering he has gone through. And the worse is yet to come!
      So, I hope this evil sect disappears and the good people in it open their eyes and start living.
      Utopia? Maybe. But things are changing very very fast.

      imagine the suffering he h

      • Doc Obvious says:

        The judicial system needs to start using B.F. Skinner’s operant conditioning and negative reinforcement on Watchtower. Once negative reinforcement is enacted, we should see more progress.

  17. Winston Smith says:

    Excellent article Lloyd! Your balanced approach to dealing with abusive religions reflects that the end does NOT justify the means.

    Too many apostates are so filled with hatred that they would like to see this religion taken down by any means, even if it violates human rights. If the rights of any person or group are threatened all our rights are at risk.

    I like your point that not only should the JW religion be taxed, but all of them. They are all businesses and quite wealthy. Imagine the good that could be done for the general public if they actually paid their fair share.

    WS

  18. Pandy57 says:

    Good afternoon,
    This is a contentious issue for me. Point 3 is admirable and would seem to do the trick. Unfortunately, it would also buy into the persecution complex that Witnesses crav.!
    I am not, per se, against the banning of Witnesses! This would help would be recruits to not be contacted in the first place. Thus cutting off possible new, generally vulnerable converts to this evil cult.
    Human rights is obviously an issue … However Jdubs don’t enforce any human rights within their cult so is it so bad to judge like for like?

    ‘Black cat, white cat, as long as it catches mice’

  19. Michael Young says:

    My concerns are several:

    First, I don’t feel as though Lloyd is the right messenger for this.

    Second, I would point out that Watchtower has a long history of manipulating remarks and weaponizing them. It’s going to come as a slap in the face when remarks from an “apostate” website are used to embolden Witnesses under repressive regimes to endanger themselves at WT’s behest and for WT’s benefit.

    Third, Watchtower has a long history of abandoning those in distress in foreign countries with repressive regimes. Perhaps it’s time to let that “nulite” shine down on the Russian organization–especially in light of WT’s current presumed cash hoard.

  20. Ted says:

    Rescinding tax exemption for all religions, I’d love to see that
    happen but I don’t think it ever will. Religion is too tied in with
    the political systems, Here in England the monarch is head of
    the church, in the USA, I don’t think there’s ever been an
    openly non-religious president, ( Would one even get nominated!)

    Politicians are all about votes, getting elected, would any person
    or political party care to be the first to risk alienating millions
    of Catholics or protestants. JWs don’t vote so no worry there.

    Another problem is, “How many politicians or officials are squeaky
    clean and not open to exposure themselves”? It’s been suggested
    that Scientology got its tax free status restored by using private
    investigators to check out the IRS, Would the WT org, stoop to
    such low level tactics? Recent scandals in the UK of MPs fiddling
    their expenses demonstrates their vulnerability.

    My own view is that religion will die a natural death or at least
    become a basket case as science continues to expose the folly
    of it. As Lloyd says in his video “Education in Critical thinking”
    needs to be taught to young people./. It may not be on the
    school curriculum at present, but there’s nothing to prevent
    parents helping their children in that skill.

    • messenger says:

      Hi Ted.
      A year or two ago I saw a show on Scientology. The thing seemed to last about 3 hour, at least I stayed up till about 3am watching it because it was so interesting. Leah Remini was not its producer, nor do I believe she was interviewed on it. But the main guy that is helping her on her show was one of the primary commentators on that show.

      In that show it was brought out that Scientology, and possibly individual members that were Scientologists, filed about 2400 lawsuits against the IRS and members who worked for the IRS. It claimed that’s why the IRS agreed to give Scientology religious status and forgive the back tax debt Scientology owed. If I remember correctly they owed about a billion dollars.

      Because I didn’t know that much about Scientology at the time, for me, the show was more interesting than Remini’s. I can’t remember the name of it.

  21. messenger says:

    Western societies are becoming more and more secular. Think of the influence the church had on people hundreds of years ago vs its influence now. Remember how and why the Anglican church was formed. The loss of the church’s effect on governments will probably eventually lead to government’s intervention into harmful religious policies at some time in the future.

    More immediate interference from governments might arise if is there is a terrorist attack causing a massive casualty count, due to their use of nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons. Because of oil Earth’s more powerful countries will not stop interfering with Islamic nations. Without the West abandoning their policies of interference there is no hope of preventing many middle easterners from retaliating with what the West considers terrorist attacks. Since most of these terrorists attach religious ideology to their cause, then an attack causing massive destruction might result in retaliation against Islamic religious practices by many western countries. Self preservation is one of mankind’s strongest instincts. It’s possible governments would look at unhealthful policies in other religions if this happens. They might ban WT policies that only effect members in a harmful way if something like this happens.

  22. Maurice Le Pavoux says:

    The big problem there is it’s”The 1st Amendment Of The United States” which gives almost total freedom to religions.The United States should amend the 1st Amendment so as to bring about restrictions.

    • Winston Smith says:

      @Mairice,
      The first Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

      So it basically says the government cannot create a state religion, preference for a specific religion, or interfere with someone’s right to exercise their religion. It is a very basic statement of human rights and any change thereof, would come dangerously close to totalitarian control.

      The problem is not with the first amendment. Rather it rests with enforcing accountability of each religion to “do no harm.” Further, the first amendment does not state that the government cannot levy taxes on religious organizations, so long as it is done fairly, without any sign of preference for one over the other.

      WS

      • Winston Smith says:

        “Maurice” apologies on misspelling your name.

        WS

      • messenger says:

        WS if a nuclear bomb ever goes off in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, or possibly even in Europe, after being set off by any Islamic terrorist group, then the 1st amendment won’t mean a thing. Laws, and even the Constitution, will only stand as long as people are willing to enforce them. And the US government will choose to protect itself, their lives, and the lives of their citizens before protecting one single provision in the Constitution. Let’s say if New York is blown to bits, the legislators and executives in Washington will do anything to prevent that happening to them. They will not sit in Washington and wait to be blown up without taking every preventative measure.

        Remember the Japanese citizens who were thrown into concentration camps during WWII? If terrorist use weapons of mass destruction against this country, the same type of self-preservation mentality will prevail against all opposing thoughts, especially if terrorist use nuclear against us.

        Western civilization has been characterized by conquest…might makes right…not the high ideals that are frequently debated in the political news. Conquest and colonization are the reality…while self-preservation is even a greater motivator.

        If the GT starts the way WT foresees it happening, then my guess is it’s set off by one or more than one massive terrorist attacks, the kind the world has not seen yet.

        • Winston Smith says:

          Messenger,
          On some level it seems you are referring to Social contract – the idea that individuals have “consented, either explicitly or tacitly, to surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority of the ruler or magistrate (or to the decision of a majority), in exchange for protection of their remaining rights.” And in times of crisis, such as you mention, folks will surrender more of their rights in order to feel safe.

          Of course, if you subscribe to Watchtower’s predictions of how the “end of the world” will play out, then you may end up with the scenario you have mentioned. I don’t subscribe to it, therefore I don’t believe the scenario is an inevitability. My personal belief system includes the idea that the creator has endowed humankind with the tools to better their existence and find solutions to their problems. My hope is that they will do so before it is to late; and that I may contribute in some small way toward the greater good for the majority. However, most of the advancements over the last 250 years have been positive, although they have not come about without many pains along the way.

          WS

  23. Frankie's Market says:

    Speaking as a former JW who left the Org 15 years ago: While I don’t support any ban on JWs, I don’t feel a compelling need to take any lead in fighting for their rights, either. I want to see how the 7 old men in Warwick handle this. I want to see how much of their own money and resources are going to be used to protect their brothers and sisters in Russia. Or if they’re going to idly stand by as cheerleaders like what happened to the brothers in Malawi. Good for the Russian witnesses if the Org effectively comes through for them. But if not, then maybe this will open up the eyes of the rank-and-file to realize how little of their contributions are going towards helping their brothers in need vs. the ungodly amount being spent on creature comforts for the GB in Warwick.

  24. Gayle McCurdy says:

    Education is key in exposure of cults.

    I think of how in U.S., maybe other countries, when someone breaks a driving law, they are required to spend a day in driving class, or are fined. Most choose doing the class. There are many videos to watch and some type of test at the end.
    Perhaps a government could require a day in class for JWs? Though maybe JWs would choose the fine or prison instead. Then if the government required prison, perhaps they could still require educational videos, about cults in general, or videos about Jws, (such as Cedars, and the multiple others anymore). Then, there probably would be translation issue. Also, I don’t suspect Russia would have a ‘gentle’ way of working on this.

    I am wondering does the Russian government and other governments have a control keeping any monies from religions to be sent outside of their countries,
    specifically keeping all funds from going the WT in U.S.?

  25. michael ardi says:

    Thank you for your honesty. It gives me a more balanced view of the cult I left.

  26. Lonnie says:

    There will be no shalom for those against Yahweh.

    “There is no peace,” says Yahweh, “for the wicked.”

    I would be extremely joyful when all religious organizations are banned!

  27. Freedom says:

    No money means no organization. Whether banning or making it culpable for its actions will not stop JWs from expanding in my opinion. Only shutting down the blood line (financial resources) that is keeping the organization alive will diminish the organization and eventually stopping it.

  28. Jeff Canning says:

    no way you would catch me standing by their side serving them coffee after the family destruction this evil cult has promoted…

  29. Mark Scott says:

    In my opinion,banning in most countries will not happen and rightly so.Taxes exempt will continue the way they are,although it makes total sense to punish these cults in taking the charity status away from them but then again who knows what kind of corruption goes on within governments and relationships with other parties.But that’s another thought.
    The only road we can rely on to bring harmful cults to an end is having sites like these and you tube etc.It will be a long slow process but another generation down the line will tell.My young jw grandchildren are not stupid and naive and will see what these so called religions really are because of the internet.And up and coming generations will not be so naive either.Patience is all that is needed now,not much more can be done.

    • Johnny Quest says:

      I understand that the Guinness book of records are keeping a close watch on the letter writing campaign to the Russian Authorities as it may surpass previous records. So JWs will make it into the book of records yet again.
      Remember the previous entries, no,
      well let me remind you
      1) publication and readership figures for the book “the truth that leads to eternal life”
      2) printing and distribution of the Bible
      JW.org is the most translated website with over 700 languages so that should be in the book of records too.

      How about magazine readership John.
      Go on to all the websites that list the top ten magazines in the world.
      What’s at number 2 and number 1
      Any idea?
      I’ll leave you to work that one out.
      But just in case you are too ignorant to find out, I’ll send one of the websites that do these surveys over
      to you.
      Enjoy! And then pass these comments over to your followers and Lloyd too, if you dare.

      Do you and Lloyd and all your tiny following ever get the feeling you are fighting a losing battle.
      One things for sure as well, not only are you losing this battle, but looks like you are going to be on the losing side in the Armegeddon War as well.

      Kind Regards
      ST

      • Caroline says:

        Johnny Quest, how many books and magazines were printed doesn’t matter at all. What matters is when people actually want those magazines and pay for them like the Reader’s Digest magazine.

        As a JW for 50 years, I know that we were coerced to have a magazine account at the magazine counter. We had to put in our “order” and when those magazines came in we were reminded to go and pick them up and we had to pay for them and then if we placed them we were to ask for a donation and then that donation was to be turned into the contribution box towards the world wide work so in effect those “donations” that we paid for those magazines were not voluntary at all. We had to pay for them and then ask the householder to pay for them as well so the Society was getting paid twice for those magazines and that is how all those big buildings were paid for and all those printing presses etc. and now it’s old people’s wills and their stocks and bonds being signed over to them at their deaths.

        Last summer’s talks at the assemblies the Witnesses were told that to make sure the Society got that money at those old people’s deaths they were encouraged to make out wills so that their families would not get their money.

        Now Witnesses are still encouraged to get the magazines and even though they aren’t charged for them outright they are still expected to pay for them like as if they were being charged anyway but for legal reasons (not to pay taxes) they are still paying for them and now that the magazines are practically nothing in content and pages, they are still forking out money for them every month and the same goes for the books.

        When we “placed” magazines at the doors it wasn’t because those people wanted those magazines. It was because they were being nice to us thinking they were helping us with food etc. like we were door to door salesmen. It was pity on their part when they take the literature. Most of the magazines ended up in our cupboards and then in not at homes anyway.

        Get real. You can’t fool us with numbers.

      • Shibboleth says:

        Silas Thompson/Johnny Quest/_____?

  30. Peter the Digger says:

    Ok a bit off-topic but I’m puzzled, why do JWs frown on beards – Jesus had one, Moses had one, Jehovah created men with them. Even more puzzled…..why are moustaches OK, but beards not – plenty of elders have moustaches, but never a beard. What’s the difference?

  31. ced masson says:

    Ce jeune homme qui a prêté ses traits à la rédaction du magazine va-t-il trouvé de bon gout l’utilisation douteuse que la jw. org en a faite?

    http://www.zupimages.net/up/17/07/r7rr.jpg

    la nauséabonde secte des TJs a donné dans le hard, une fois de plus, en se livrant à sa marotte subliminale dans le n° aout 2013 !

    Cette fois ci, un dessinateur de la divine Organisation américaine s’est amusé à composer une image ( en quasi 3 D ) en s’aidant des traits du visage d’un pauvre naïf qui s’est trouvé affublé d’un bien drôle de sac en peau de cuir du plus mauvais gout ……
    Mettre à jour: .
    .
    Ses copains de fac,ses amis, sa famille, sa copine ne doivent pas de gêner de lui faire remarquer son accoutrement douteux et risible !!!

    Pas sùr que ce pauvre étudiant (même TJ) apprécie cet abus d’utilisation de son image ?

    Je lui conseillerais de faire ” monter la mayonnaise ” en réclamant des dommages et intérêt à la richissime et malhonnête secte US

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