The Friday Column: Why I don’t want to destroy Watchtower
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Kcj48ABcqI don’t want to bring down the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.

That might have a couple of you blinking in suprise. If you are one of Jehovah’s Witnesses reading this, you may have been told that so called “apostates” want nothing more than to destroy your organisation, and wipe your faith from the surface of the planet.

If you are an ExJW, you might think that someone who spends as much time as I do criticising Watchtower behaviour and policy must have the total destruction of the religion as an endgame.

Well, I don’t.

I believe that religious freedom is a fundamental human right, and that people should be free to believe whatever they want to believe. I disagree with virtually every doctrine held by Jehovah’s Witnesses, but I will defend utterly their right to believe them.

I draw the line, however, when religious doctrines directly call for behaviour that is actively harmful to others.

Thus we come to the point.

My goal is not to destroy the Watchtower organisation and convince every Jehovah’s Witness on the planet to leave the religion.

My goal is to force Watchtower to abandon specific practices that are causing significant harm to other human beings by bringing these practices to the attention of Governments, the media, the general public, and in some cases Jehovah’s Witnesses themselves.

What specific practices are these? I will outline them below, and state the specific conditions Watchtower must achieve in order for me to consider the matter resolved. I do not speak for JW Survey, or for my fellow activists in this matter. These are my personal opinions, and my person criteria for “Mission Accomplished” as regards my activism towards Watchtower.

Child abuse policies

Geoffrey Jackson appeared before the Australian royal commission to answer to concerns over child abuse mishandling

Geoffrey Jackson appeared before the Australian royal commission to answer to concerns over child abuse mishandling

I believe that no organisation can ever have a perfect record when it comes to handling child sexual abuse, and that it is absurd to pretend otherwise.

People are imperfect, systems break down, and sometimes, despite all best efforts from a religious community, a predator will enter the flock and attack a child.

But there is a big difference between a few bad apples slipping through robust safeguards despite the diligent best efforts of an organisation on the one hand, and a systemic failure from the top down to tackle an abuse problem that is a well known problem internally, but is carefully hidden from the outside world on the other.

As has been shown again and again, in open court, in government investigations, and in multiple documentaries, the policies that Jehovah’s Witnesses use to handle allegations of child sexual abuse are not only ineffectual, they are actively dangerous and harmful, both to the abuse survivor and the surrounding community.

The “two witness” rule. The policy of not reporting molesters to the police unless legally required to do so. The traumatising Judicial Committee process that sees a vulnerable victim forced to give harrowing details of their abuse to a star-chamber comprised of three untrained men.

All of these factors combine to create an environment that the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex abuse found placed the children of Jehovah’s Witnesses at “significant risk of sexual abuse,” and extends to affect the children of non-Witness parents sharing a community with an unreported abuser.

What is even worse is that most Witnesses are in the dark as to the details of these policies, and also to the scathing criticism these policies have been subjected to. They only see the casual dismissals by the Governing Body, who then warn Witnesses to flee from any news report or comment that shows the organisation in a bad light, and have no idea how prevalent child abuse actually is within their religion, or how vulnerable their children really are.

This situation cannot be allowed to stand.

  • Watchtower needs to be forced (via legal and financial penalties if needs be) to bring their worldwide child protection policies into line with what legal professionals and child psychologists believe to be “Best Practice” to safeguard children and prosecute molesters. 
  • Watchtower needs to admit past flaws in its policies, compensate and apologise to abuse survivors, and openly do the above in full view of its membership.

Blood Transfusions

I believe that an adult Jehovah’s Witness has the right to refuse a blood transfusion.

Surprised? You shouldn’t be. I believe that a mature adult has the right to decide what happens to their own body. A mature adult has the right to refuse any and all medical treatment they so wish, even if this results in their death. I may consider their reasons foolish and absurd, but I respect the right of a mature adult to make this decision for themselves.

However, at present, Jehovah’s Witnesses are not making this choice of their own free will. Every Jehovah’s Witness facing this choices knows that, should they choose to accept a transfusion and live, they may face a Judicial Committee. Should they be unable to convince three Elders that they are sufficiently repentant for taking blood and staying alive, they will be disfellowshipped.

It is hard to argue, therefore, that Jehovah’s Witnesses currently refusing blood are doing so without coercion. No one should be made to choose between death on the one hand, and life without their family and friends on the other.

  • Watchtower needs to make it clear that there will be no official or unofficial sanction should an adult Witness decide to accept a transfusion.

Additionally, every year, Jehovah’s Witness parents place the lives of their children at risk by refusing life saving medical treatment for their children on purely religious grounds.

The infamous issue of Awake that celebrated the deaths of Witness children who died due to Watchtower’s policy on blood.

This practice is actively encouraged by Watchtower, who once printed an article celebrating children who had died needlessly due their parents refusal of treatment. Additionally, any parent who disobeys Watchtower’s instructions may face discipline from the congregation, and possible shunning.

A child is not capable of giving rational, informed consent in this matter; especially not one who has been raised all their life subjected to the indoctrination of their parents, and who relies on their parents to make all other decisions in life for them.

  • Watchtower needs to teach that the refusal of blood is a personal decision for a mature adult, that a child is not capable of making the choice to refuse, and that parents cannot make it on their behalf. It should be made crystal clear that children are neither expected or encouraged to refuse blood.

Shunning

Shunning is rife among Jehovah's Witnesses - a practice that breaks up families

Shunning is rife among Jehovah’s Witnesses – a practice that breaks up families

I believe that Watchtower has the right to disfellowship and to disassociate people.

Yes, I will say that again.

I believe that Watchtower has the right to disfellowship and to disassociate people. Any private group or organisation has the right to decide who does and does not hold membership of their group. Sports clubs. Charities. Financial companies. Religions. Such groups have the right to remove membership from a member who is no longer considered to meet the requirements for membership.

What Watchtower does not have the right to do, however, is demand that those who have left their organisation be shunned by family and friends.

Of all the harmful practices currently employed by Watchtower, the practice of shunning is by far the most widespread.

Simply put, any who officially leave the religion, either involuntarily (by disfellowshipping) or voluntarily (disassociation) must expect to undergo the harrowing and cruel ordeal of shunning. Any family and friends who remain as Jehovah’s Witnesses are required to treat the leaver as if they were dead, to not even say a greeting to them.

Whilst there is an unofficial third option known as “fading” (to simply cease all Watchtower related activities and no longer attend religious meetings) this option is far from reliable, as Watchtower still considers such a person to be subject to their rules and regulations. Many examples exist of Witnesses who have “faded” for many years nonetheless being tracked down and disfellowshipped once they move in with an unmarried partner, criticise the religion, or celebrate Christmas. The testimony of Geoffrey Jackson during the Australian Royal Commission confirmed that this was possible.

Additionally, many faders find themselves effectively shunned regardless, with friends and family ceasing contact and treating them as dangerous association. This means that children who are baptised and then grow up to no longer believe the faith must choose between their beliefs and their friends and family. It means adults who wish to excersise their right to change their religion (or choose no religion at all) must make the same harrowing choice.

Shunning is essentially a particularly vile form of blackmail. “Believe what we tell you to believe, and do what we tell you to do, or you will never see your loved ones again.”

  • Watchtower must repeal the sanction of shunning as part of Disfellowshipping or Disassociation, and must take active steps to alter Witness culture so that Witnesses do not expect to shun or be shunned when a person leaves the religion of their own accord or is removed from it against their will. 

There are many other aspects of Watchtower doctrine that I dislike or consider harmful; Watchtowers teachings on divorce laws, sexual morality, evolution and so forth. But if the sanction of shunning were removed, these doctrines cease to be harmful to others.

If a beaten wife were free to divorce her abusive husband and remarry without being shunned…

If a gay Jehovah’s Witness were free to leave the religion and live according to their true self without being shunned…

If a Jehovah’s Witness was free to state that he felt the creation account of Genesis to be pure metaphor for the evolutionary process God set in motion without being shunned…

See? Without the threat of shunning, Jehovah’s Witnesses are free to genuinely make their own choices and live the lives they honestly think to be correct, instead of towing the line and flinching every time an Elder looks their way and flexes the “Shunning Stick.” Even if their choice means that the religion no longer considers them to be a member, that choice no longer costs them their family and friends.

Granted, relationships might alter if the family and friends are not broad minded enough to accept the change, but these relationships are not arbitrarily severed. And once shunning becomes a thing of the past, one can quite see Witnesses culture evolving with it, becoming more accepting of association with past members. Indeed, it would probably be instrumental in starting to erode the poisonous “us and them” mentality that Watchtower currently enforces upon its flock. The “information control” that Watchtower enforces upon its congregations would likewise erode once those who left were free to discuss their reasons for doing so with those who remain in.

In the 21st century, religiously enforced shunning is inexcusable. It must go.

Mission Accomplished?

boxIf Watchtower were to enact the changes I have outlined, I would be content to cease my activism against them.

I would still consider their religion to be full of doctrines and beliefs that I consider to be utterly without merit, but they would no longer be a harmful cult; they would simply be another religion whose doctrines a person was free to research, accept, or discard of their own free will.

Granted, it may well be hard to envisage a situation where such reforms took place within the Organisation. It may will be that such harmful doctrines continue to feature front and centre of Watchtower policy until the Organisation crumbles under the weight of legal and financial sanctions, public notoriety and a burnt out membership. Scientology is already going this way; Watchtower should take note.

Nonetheless, this is not my goal.

Whether this ignominious ending comes to pass is entirely down to Watchtower. I remain hopeful that legal, financial, and public pressure can in time make the Organisation cede some of the required ground in order to survive. Recent events have shown that the current leadership’s taste for public humiliation and hardship is significantly decreased. Russell and Rutherford used to face their opposers in public debates and in the courts. Today’s Governing Body flee in panic from both, and when forced to appear in public court they put in a performance that bespeaks a distinct lack of capability and vigour for the fight. Their PR attempts are weak willed and desperate for public adoration, and when placed under pressure their representatives react in a fearful, confused way.

Watchtower is on the wrong side of history in this battle, and lacks the stomach and the tools required to fight it. One way or another, it will lose.

Until then, whilst these damaging practices remain in place, my fellow activists and I  are not going anywhere.

We have work to do.

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175 Responses to The Friday Column: Why I don’t want to destroy Watchtower

  1. It'sJustMe says:

    I do not want to destroy watchtower too. How could I ? But if some governments felt like to confiscate some JW.Org infrastructures for real humanitarian needs I would not be sad. On the contrary I would be delighted even so much delighted.

  2. Paranoid Android says:

    Nice article CF.
    However;
    The WT sets up it’s members to suffer and die as martyrs.
    There is nothing noble, inspiring,or respectable about suffering and dying for an American publishing company.

    It is not holy sacrifice.

    It is merely a waste.
    It is just tragedy.

    The GB has the audacity to spread lies and inaccuracies worldwide, all the while demanding that it’s members give away their dignity, freedom and even their lives for it.

    In the more tolerant countries of the West, this happens through doctrinal sanctions as mentioned in the above article.
    However, if you live in Russia, or Saudi Arabia, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea and many other less tolerant nations, WT will demand that in the name of –
    False teachings
    False promises
    False prophecy
    and
    A false sense of righteousness
    – it’s members oppose the Governments, the law of the land.
    This leads to persecution, suffering, imprisonment, torture and Death.
    All the while the GB sit in the safety of their American Throne room, dictating who should die for them.

    There is nothing poetic about this.
    It is not honourable to suffer and die for a lie.

    Rather, it is just dreadfully tragic.

    How many have suffered ad died for the WT?

    How many more will suffer and die for the WT?

    The WT does not deserve a future.

    • Outandabout says:

      Bang on!! Tell it like it is. They deserve nothing!

    • Bad Penny says:

      The sacrificial altar of the Watchtower has claimed and destroyed so many lives.
      I found out this evening what an impact leaving the cult has had on our son. He was brought up as a witness from birth, he has known nothing else. Our leaving pulled the rug from under him. Everything he had believed in and worked hard to achieve within the org was now lost. He is trying to rebuild his life in a different world, a world where the future is not so certain, and he’s afraid.
      I agree with you Paranoid Android, the WT does not deserve a future.

      • Paul says:

        I agree with the general premise of the OP and with the comments above. There is so much obviously wrong with the JW view of the world and even more wrong with the GB view – that change is highly overdue. I doubt that the current leadership will change anything at all, anytime soon. That leaves the only option as more visible activism and exposure.
        I have been out for just 1 year, was born in and spent 62 years trapped in a cult that I did not see as such. A big waste!

        • Big B says:

          @ Paul,

          Glad you’ve have seen the light and found the courage to leave. Hope all goes well with you and your new found Christian freedom!

  3. GEM says:

    Bravo, Covert Fade.

    This skil(l)full piece of writing is “en pointe”.

    Can I add a point, please. If the early congregation could write “For the Holy Spirit and we ourselves add no further burden to you but these necessary things….” and bring a shed load of issues in line with the (then) modern world….why does the Governing Body hesitate to do so today?

    The Bible according to JW song and lore was written “as a protection and GUIDE”…

    so, many lives could have been saved by common sense and humanity.

    Thank you CF

  4. way forward says:

    Hmmm nice write up. Are you a free thinker? I mean do, you belong to any religion? Do you believe in the holy quaran, or in the bible? I’m asking because, its not just enough to give advise against, and not at least prescribe a way forward. Humans have this natural tendency to belong to a religion, at least in africa. So where is the way forward? Islam, Catholic, pentecostal, Buddhism, idol worship……..

    • Matias says:

      NONE. You don’t have to belong to a religion. That something is natural/common does not imply that it is the way it should be. Just get out of every religion and start thinking for yourself.

  5. way forward says:

    Hmmm nice write up. Are you a free thinker? I mean do, you belong to any religion? Do you believe in the holy quaran, or in the bible? I’m asking because, its not just enough to give advise against, and not at least prescribe a way forward. Humans have this natural tendency to belong to a religion, at least in africa. So where is the way forward? Islam, Catholic, pentecostal, Buddhism, idol worship……..

  6. way forward says:

    Hmmm nice write up. Are you a free thinker? I mean do, you belong to any religion? Do you believe in the holy quaran, or in the bible? I’m asking because, its not just enough to give advise against, and not at least prescribe a way forward. Humans have this natural tendency to belong to a religion, at least in africa. So where is the way forward? Islam, Catholic, pentecostal, Buddhism, idol worship……..

  7. way forward says:

    Hmmm nice write up. Are you a free thinker? I mean do, you belong to any religion? Do you believe in the holy quaran, or in the bible? I’m asking because, its not just enough to give advise against, and not at least prescribe a way forward. Humans have this natural tendency to belong to a religion, at least in africa. So where is the way forward? Islam, Catholic, pentecostal, Buddhism, idol worship……..

  8. Vinitha says:

    Rightful existence of watchtower as an organization would not be a debate if it stops proselytizing, especially to vulnerables kids through child indoctrination and targeting people of poor nation with little education. Ofcourse, it has the right to treat women has second class citizens if the women who join the organization are willing to submit themselves to it and agree to it. Just like this women have right to join the organization, the organization has its right to impose child abuse, shutting and mind controls or citizens who willingly submit themselves to the organization and vouch their loyalty to the GB puppets. How long would it take for them to twist the interpretation of the verse that Jesus has come to put sword between members of the family to become a literal translation of ringt to stab unbelieving family members. This cult and it’s indoctrination practices and teachings are dangers. Their right to exist and obtain charity status is a legal issue, lets us not confuse it and try to be magnanimous in justifying them for it vs human right abuse.

  9. Hakizimana Jean de Dieu says:

    There is no need to destroy Watchtower, it still has some secrets to share…
    *** g81 11/8 p. 21 Is the Bible a White Man’s Book? ***
    European nations, although claiming to be Christian, have quarreled and fought right through their turbulent history, this strife reaching a climax in this century in World Wars I and II, and now are making frantic preparations for World War III. And instead of proclaiming God’s kingdom, they look to a man-made political organization, the United Nations, as man’s only hope.

  10. Hakizimana Jean de Dieu says:

    *** g82 8/2 p. 21 La Bible est-elle un livre des Blancs? ***
    les nations européennes, bien que se prétendant chrétiennes, n’ont cessé de se quereller et de se battre tout au long de leur tumultueuse histoire. Ces luttes ont atteint leur paroxysme en ce XXe siècle avec les deux guerres mondiales. À présent, ces pays préparent avec frénésie une troisième guerre mondiale. Au lieu de proclamer le Royaume de Dieu, ils se tournent vers un organisme politique établi par les hommes, les Nations unies, et le considèrent comme l’unique espoir de l’humanité.

  11. James Broughton says:

    Sometimes it is difficult to stand back from an organisation with which one has been involved and write with such clarity but I believe Covert Fade has done just that. This is not just freethinking which is more about being all things to all people. Being critical is not necessarily negative when one can support one’s views in a balanced way with evidence. If those currently studying with the Witnesses were shown the points mentioned in the article then maybe they would think twice about joining.

  12. Mr Negative says:

    To a large extent, I agree with this article. But I’m just not 100% sold on the idea that everybody should have a right to believe whatever they want. When it comes to things that are contrary to established fact (e.g. evolution, global flood), I do not think people should have a right to believe this nonsense, nor should they be allowed to attempt to spread it to others. They should be called out on it and prevented from divesting it to others. Now, when it comes to things that cannot be known for certain (e.g. the existence of god or an afterlife), then fair enough, people can believe what they want.

    • Winston Smith says:

      @Mr Negative
      I understand your sentiment about people believing in and spreading flawed thinking, however to place any restriction on the freedom of thought and expression is a slippery slope that can easily lead to totalitarian control. After all, the restriction of free thought, is that not part of the issue with Watchtower?

      WS

      • Covert Fade says:

        Winston Smith’s post pretty much sums up how I feel on this, with far greater eloquence. If you muzzle freedom of thought, speech and belief for JW’s, you have created a muzzle that can (and history sadly teaches, WILL) eventually be used on everyone.

        • Cuthbert says:

          Hmmm.. Covert, Winston, you are entering very shaky ethical territory when you say that people have a right to believe what they want and express themselves in consequence. A 12 year old may believe that he is ready to engage in a sexual relationship; that’s not to say as a society we are to accept his beliefs and let him carry on regardless. I’m all for freedom of speech and expression, however when the freedom of religious expression extends to coercing minors into refusing blood, even when they haven’t been dunked, we are duty bound to intervene.

          • Covert Fade says:

            Cuthbert.

            I understand your point, but how do you propose outlawing belief?

            If someone believes something, and refuses to relinquish that belief in the face of all argument and logic, the only way to stop them believing it is to shoot them in the head.

            That doesn’t mean they are free to ACT however they want; if my actions are causing demonstrable and significant harm to others, then then my actions must be stopped or contained. Belief drives action, but belief cannot be regulated or contained like action.

            There are grey areas and difficult scenarios as a result, sure, but my point stands; a person is free to believe whatever he wants to believe. Thoughtcrime is not a concept I support.

          • Winston Smith says:

            Education is the most powerful tool in combatting dangerous thinking. Making information available on sites like this one as well as educating folks about cults and mind control are the best solutions. Trying to use force (or legislation with the threat of force) to change people’s thinking never works (and is ethically questionable). Just look at nations that tried to control the thoughts of their citizens – Nazi Germany, USSR, and others – freedom of thought always wins out.

            WS

  13. Hakizimana Jean de Dieu says:

    Keep it until Jehovah himself takes the courage to tell humanity why he created this religion! He needs to be assured that we will forgive and forget as we keep in mind that he regrets having created man (Genesis 6:6)!

    How can you explain that the same religions has written this?

    *** g93 10/8 p. 5 How Can We Protect Our Children? ***
    Tragically, adult society often unwittingly collaborates with child abusers. How so? By refusing to be aware of this danger, by fostering a hush-hush attitude about it, by believing oft-repeated myths. Ignorance, misinformation, and silence give safe haven to abusers, not their victims.

  14. ligniappe says:

    Covert Fade’s point on shunning is well illustrated by this experience and it has just happened in this last week in a Cong in the nearby hills of large capital city in Australia. An elderly woman of 86 years age, suffering early onset dementia, and being treated for mental illness and on medication, and being cared for by her family, suffered bouts of kleptomania due to the meds.
    This woman, a JW well enough, even though she, more often than not, cannot remember what she has talked about 2 hours beforehand knew that she had pilfered magazines and a vase from somewhere. I don’t know if the property was returned when the family became aware but I would think that that was what they did. There may have been other instances but all minor and silly, but this poor woman made the nearly fatal error of telling the elders what she had done and was so sorry about.
    What happened next was, the elders led by G off r, (name changed but persons who know will recognise) declared her to be unrepentant and that a judicial committee meeting was to be held, which it was and she was disfellowshipped. The announcement was to be made this coming Wednesday. The distraught family sought advice elsewhere from men who know what to do, advised the family to contact the Australian Branch Office for an appeal, since this elderly 86 year old has mental illness. In the meantime the family spoke to elder G r, and his reply that she came and saw the elders, and that she was lucid in ‘fessing up and that they saw no reason not to kick her out, and I might add, kick her while she was down as well.
    All of this fell on this elderly woman’s shoulders and she suffered a stroke from the pain of what they have done to her, and is in hospital as I type this. But what about the appeal to the Branch Office? Well, they are going to allow an appeal despite the 7 day time limit being well exceeded, because their concern was potential bad publicity if this gets out. Which they would deny if challenged. What a “great Organisation” makes you wonder why we haven’t joined sooner.

  15. Tara says:

    Terrible 🙁 that is so sad. You have to love the shepherds eh.
    A brother in my old hall… I haven’t been for half a year – yay me!…. has Bipolar. At times he was a real mess and would go off binge drinking. His wife is/was a shrew. Yelled at him, called him all the names under the sun, disrespected him, swore profanities at and about him…. yet he was the one who was df’d because he couldn’t bring his drinking under control. She was given support for having to live with him. I felt so sorry for him and most people did but the elders made the rules and out he went. I’m surprised it didn’t push him over the edge. He is reinstated now. I couldn’t tell you how he is doing as I have no contact.
    I hope the elderly sister gets support from genuine people.

    • Eyes opened says:

      The experience you have related and the one prior are heart wrenching examples of the grotesque injustice that takes place within this organization. Some Elders who probably have no authority over others except within the org let it go to their heads and become heartless and abusive with this perceived authority. And it’s nothing less than tragic when their victims suffer. They make it perfectly obvious that holy Spirit and the love of Christ have no place in their minds and hearts.

    • Winston Smith says:

      In general, congregation elders are simply unqualified to lead, shepherd, or teach. Some of them are kind fellows and others real rats, but I’d dare say that 99% are completely unqualified to serve the rank and file. I served for just under a decade and I was admittedly unqualified. And those I served with were similarly inadaquate.

      Without proper training (and not that acquired at KM school, I might add), elders are grossly ill-equipped to handle the issues faced by the congregation members. Couple that with the fact that the organization looks down on pursuit of an education in psychological studies, promotes ass-backwards reasonings, and only promotes organizational yes-men to the rank of elder and you have a recipe for disaster. Then add to the mix the handful of glory-seekers who want to play the prince and the problems really add up. No wonder cases like the ones above occur. Elders are inept at best and corrupt at worst.

      WS

      • Big B says:

        @Winston Smith

        I totally agree with you. All members are coerced into thinking that higher education is “a tool of the Devil”. So the results of these policies logically follows in that what you have at the Hall are the most uneducated, unqualified elders (who wouldn’t make deacon in Christendom) teaching Sheeple who also don’t know any better. If brain power were explosives the combined knowledge of the so called “Elders” couldn’t blow their own noses.

        A true case of “the blind leading the blind”.

      • Telescopium says:

        @WS & Big B
        “The blind leading the blind” is so true. In reality, the most qualified leaders in any organization are the reasonable, level-headed individuals that can get things done. I believe there are plenty of men and women in each congregation that could fill this role. However, the written material from the WTB&TS indicates they are not interested in promoting two out of three of those traits. They want brothers (only) who will serve as a local mouthpiece for the Organization and can get things done without question.

        I believe this is why we see so few elders that can be counted as qualified. For the ones that are “kind fellows” their genuine value to the congregation is stifled or watered down to the point that they just become cogs in the machine. It’s like witnessing the diminishment of the person as he relinquishes his mental faculties to someone else.

        I served only briefly as an elder, but the experience was enough to convince me that I couldn’t be a cog – my conscience wouldn’t let me. Needless to say, the other brothers did not understand or agree when I tried to explain why I was stepping down.

  16. Eyes opened says:

    @Matias, totally agree, we don’t need to be part of a religion. Being spiritual and being religious is are two different things. I do wholeheartedly agree with the watchtower statement that religion is a snare and a racket, including Watchtower. My spouse and I do strive to be spiritual people and we are liberated and much happier without Watchtower telling us what to think and how to believe and having the audacity to threaten our relationship with God if we don’t see it their way.

    Regards

  17. Startrekangel says:

    I would agree with the general sentiment of this article, except that the sad true is that the WT has moved beyond the point of no return. Is like saying you would give Nazis another chance of existing. Where they can practice everything they believe, so long they do so without actually pressuring or practicing what they preach. Sooner or later it will happen. There is no place for intolerance in the 21st century. Of any kind. If you go to a restaurant without shoes, you are not banned forever. You will be welcomed as long as you were shoes. You don’t have to put on a show of repentance. To say that JW can continue DFing people so long family ties remain, is only a small step in the right direction. Membership, is strictly speaking of membership, should dictate that, as soon as the requirement is met, you are automatically back in. In other words, I agree to some degree, but the culture is so engrained in them that many thing will remain the same. WT needs to go, there is no other way.

  18. M Saurus says:

    I have not read all the comments yet so someone may have said this already. If so, I apologize.

    My thoughts on reading this – you mention “free will” a lot in this article. Whoever uses their free will and CHOOSES to be/remain a member of this organization has to follow the rules. They cannot become a member then say “ok, I don’t like this rule or that rule – they need to change this or that”. No.

    One rule is no blood transfusions. Want to have one? Don’t become /REMAIN a JW.

    Another rule: when baptized members get disfellowshipped or disassociate, you shun them. Don’t like the rule? Don’t join the club.

    The only exception is the child abuse thing. None of the things I mentioned above are against the law. Child molestation is. If they condone it, they should be held accountable, morally and legally.

    HOWEVER – if the parents of an abused child CHOOSE to follow the elder’s advice and NOT notify the authorities… SHAME ON THEM. They have chosen this crazy religion and its crazy rules OVER THEIR OWN CHILD. They should also be held accountable, morally and legally.

    OK, some crazy church elder tells you not to report the abuse of your own child – if you CHOOSE to obey them vs. protecting/helping your child – then it’s on YOU. Not on the WT.

    • Eyes opened says:

      To a degree I agree with you. But how many adults who become members fully understand all the consequences when most of the negative side is tucked away and their exposure is to all the feel good things. Now with the extreme push for children to be baptized, how can they be expected to grasp the seriousness of such a decision. People are expected to be accountable for their decisions, but in witness culture no one is truly informed before making the decision. I know that people are told don’t worry if you don’t understand everything, it’s okay, nobody knows it all before baptism. That’s right. If people were better informed, how many do you think would continue to be baptized? When someone finally does begin to understand and perhaps disagree, now they are threatened with loss of family and friends. Yes I agree, don’t join if you don’t like the rules, but at least tell what the rules are.
      Regards

      • Holy Connoli says:

        To Eyes Opened: I agree with your point. In todays world it is all about transparency.
        In Real estate you MUST disclose all known material facts about a property or you will be liable if a hidden fact comes out.You cannot hide things of importance. You will get sued. In all business it is the same. In legal matters also.In banking also. In medical field also. THE WT DOES NOT disclose and is not transparent when they study or convert someone. Do they tell someone when they study ” if you ever leave this Org” your life will be destroyed! Your family if they are JW’s will not be allowed to speak with you, your friends will not be allowed to speak with you. You must curtail freedom of thought and speech and if you EVER DARE to say anything against our teachings you will be DF’d. You must die if you need a blood transfusion, also all the other craziness about not allowing your children to part take in school sports/activities etc.

        It should d all be transparent down to the minor details. The WT just sells you on the “new world” then adds tons of man made rules and restrictions after ur baptized but never explain the harshness to you until you are in the flytrap. One brother years ago likened being a JW to belonging to the “Mafia”! he told me once you join this org you just don’t leave whenever you want to. You just can’t leave without consequence happening to you! What a way to view your religion? Like Marlon Brando said in the Godfather,” I want to make you an offer you can’t refuse”. Welcome to the WatchTower. Now we own you.

        • M Saurus says:

          Holy Connoli – agreed. Except:

          (1) Real Estate, banking and other financial disclosures are business transactions that demand full disclosure (believe me, I know this first hand). WT is a religion. Not the same thing at all.

          (2) Other than children who are born in, any adult or young person who is studying and being told all the rainbows and unicorns stuff SHOULD have enough sense to research the org before joining. Remember, these people are not already witnesses so cannot be worried about “objective” research.

          If someone joins a religion (or anything else) blindly with no personal research, then they were not duped.

          In all this discussion, I am failing to see where any personal responsibility is being brought in. There needs to be some.

          • dee2 says:

            M Saurus,

            “WT is a religion. Not the same thing at all.”

            WT was a publishing company and now a real estate business, so Holy Connoli’s analogy is appropriate 🙂

            WT is definitely not a religion but a cult. Cults are well known to hide many of their more controversial practices from potential converts. A surreal picture is painted of the cult up front in order to attract converts. Many persons do not know up front what they are getting themselves into when they sign up.

          • Holy Connoli says:

            To M Saurus: True that the WT is a religion but full disclosure and transparency should be required if they are what they claim to be.
            My point was that in any relationship that involves your entire life there should be full disclosure by the ORG that claims to be the spokesperson for God. Perhaps today since the advent of the internet it is easier for many to make a wise decision based on their own research. In my case I was 19 years old and very impressionable and the internet did not exist. To go to libraries and book stores and do days of research was not practical at that point in most peoples lives. Also when you have undue influence by those around you that can also cloud things. In life also it sometimes takes time to see the entire picture and the false prophecies iver many years. Yes, we aLL HAVE SOME RESPONSIBILTY OF THE DECESIONS WE MADE TO BE PART OF THE WT BUT WE ALSO WERE DUPED INTO BELIEVING
            the WT teachings. I was never told that if I ever disagree with a teaching or play on a school sports team or have a beard or
            attend a wedding of a friend or relative in a church or do not agree with a change in the teachings that my entire friends and family would not talk to me?
            YEs, they are a religion but they are also a BIG BUSINESS also. Like getting a mortgage on a house you have to sign tons of disclosures or to invest in a bond or stick etc. You give more of your life to a religion than any bank so why should the WT NOT disclose any consequences to a possible convert of what happens if they leave the org? Now most people can do honest research on the internet yet the WT still converts some educated adults?
            In that case yes, they ae responsible but we have to remember that Religion and especially the WT preys on adults that have problems in their life and they pretend that they have the answers and that they care. I was coming to an airport a short time ago and the JW’s had their table out there with BIG letters and the heading What happens when a Loved on dies? There were 2 ladies sitting there and hoping someone would come over and talk with them. They acted like they cared. So they were preying on the emotions of others. I still say full disclosure from the WT should be the rule.

          • dee2 says:

            Most definitely Holy Connoli,

            “Religion and especially the WT preys on adults that have problems in their life and they pretend that they have the answers and that they care.”

            The JW recruitment strategy has always involved targeting persons who are at their lowest, most vulnerable moment in life.

            An elder once said: we need to keep going from house to house as we never know when a person will lose a loved one in death or some other devastating thing happens in their life for which they seek answers which can spark their interest in “the truth”.

          • dee2 says:

            Holy C,

            There’s a reason why cults don’t do full disclosure of their terms and conditions up front – if they did, it is very unlikely that they would gain recruits.

            Interestingly, when you read or hear about the experiences of persons who were once members of a cult, almost always, without exception, they relate that they didn’t know what they were getting into up front – this is a common theme in the experiences of just about every person who was formerly a member of a cult.

          • Bestium says:

            M Saurus you are
            so smart talking sitting in front of computer in America probably where you have internet since 1980’s and other benefits of civilization. But if you were living in another less developed country, where you don’t have access to info to research, and your life is a sh*t, you would agree to believe all rainbows and unicorns, because it would give you some hope for better life.

      • Bestium says:

        100% agree, they don’t open all rules. You learn all that horrible stuff later when you have no choice but to comply

        • M Saurus says:

          @Bestium –

          You ALWAYS have a choice. Always. The consequences of your choice may not be to your liking (i.e. shunned by so-called family and friends, or having to live in the real world like everyone else-minus the paradise fantasies) but the choice is up to you. No one is making you stay in this crazy cult against your will.

      • GaGaforJah says:

        You are exactly correct. I didn’t fully understand or appreciate the cult like ramifications and consequences endemic to this religion when I joined. Many, if not most, are in the same situation. Full disclosure is not presented to the newly indoctrinated. As time goes by, opinions and knowledge evolve and what you had initially agreed with turns out to be based on incomplete information. I had no knowledge of the bizarre former beliefs and the extent to which they were insisted upon. Beliefs such as taking on the personality of an organ or blood donor {among others}. Such spectacular ignorance and stupidity was, in this case, touted right up into the 1960s. The asinine and unscriptural blood policy, shunning, and the numerous man made pharisaic directives fairly scream cult. It’s also true that they snag many at low and vulnerable points in their lives. There should be an honorable way out of this religion/cult when someone wants to exit for reasons of conscience. For any thinking person, such reasons formulate over time as the full scope of what they have been baptized into becomes apparent. Shunning for such reason is simply a cult control mechanism, implemented in response to the the Ray Franz {and other high profile members} disfellowshipping of the early 1980s.

    • dee2 says:

      In the case of JW parents’ refusal of blood transfusions for their minor children, the law is involved to some extent since doctors have been known to obtain court orders in order to overturn the parents’ decision.

  19. Juli says:

    This cult needs to be destroyed completely. There is absolutely nothing about it worth salvaging.

    • Gameisover says:

      Nazism needed to be destroyed. Isis needs to be destroyed. They are not recuperable.
      Neither is the Watchtower. If they would completely reverse their murderous evil doings, they would no longer be Nazis, Isis or Watchtower.

  20. Koos says:

    Covert Fade, great article not taking a hard stance against watchtower. JW’s might stay reading.
    But how to convince JW-parents that mentally abuse their children by allowing them to notice horrifying pictures in their publications?
    Armageddon Art – Jehovah Will Destroy You!
    http://www.quotes-watchtower.co.uk/armageddon_art.html
    https://www.watchtowerlies.com/refusal_of_blood_transfusions_by_jehovah_s_witnesses.html

    Well said M Saurus, thank you!

    • dee2 says:

      “Armageddon Art – Jehovah Will Destroy You!”

      It’s meant to terrify children into submission.

      Some ex-JWs have relayed their experiences about the horrible nightmares about Armageddon which they had as a child; some relate how they always had dreams about dying at Armageddon and being in concentration camps.

      I read about one case where the child is so scared that he is always afraid to leave his mother’s side because he thinks Armageddon will happen while he is at school or at a friend’s home.

  21. Twmack says:

    Allowing blood fractions which were formerly banned
    in the Fred Franz era, ( The instigator of this flawed doctrine )
    Suggests they would dearly love to ditch this mill stone he put
    around their neck.

    It would very easy to produce scriptural reasons for abandoning
    the teaching. Most of the R & F I’m sure would welcome this as
    “New Light” and even congratulate the gb for perceived
    scriptural integrity.

    What though of the many, literally thousands, whose loved
    one’s were sacrificed to this man made law? would they not
    be extremely anguished ? over the senseless deaths of their
    precious children, wives, husbands,and others.

    Would the 7 autocrats, even consider these ones? no doubt
    they would. But would it stop them going ahead? I think not,
    the advancement of their empire,would take precedence.

    I know, at the present this scenario is merely speculation, but
    it could easily become a reality. An almost identical
    occurrence has already taken place. When the 13 year ban
    on organ transplants was quietly withdrawn. Said to be
    Cannibalism, then admitted “There was no Scriptural
    injunction against it”.

    • dee2 says:

      Twmack,

      The GB would perhaps love to abandon the flawed teaching banning blood transfusions but they are absolutely terrified of three words:……….wrongful death lawsuits.

      I suspect the move to allow blood fractions, which were formerly banned, was done more out of a fear of a backlash – the GB needed to stem the tide of needless deaths so as to cover their behinds and ward off any wrongful death lawsuits.

      • Winston Smith says:

        It is my understanding that blood fractions became allowable at or around the same time they were seeking legal recognition in certain Eastern European countries and getting blocked due to their blood sanctions. It was either in Bulgaria or Romania (can’t remember which) where the organization said that JWs could accept any medical treatment without fear of repercussions from the congregation. After gaining legal recognition, they quickly back pedaled on these statements.

        WS

        • dee2 says:

          Watchtower shenanigans at it’s best Winston!………….otherwise known as God’s holy spirit at work!

          One thing is for sure, there is always some reason behind any changes which the Watchtower makes and it usually has nothing to do with being directed by God’s holy spirit.

          • Grace says:

            Also, they have a lot of investments in bloodless medicine so while they have influence over the members they are going to protect their investments by keeping the blood ban. While at the same time covering their butts from lawsuits by allowing fractions.

            If you follow the money since ww2, you will see where the rabbit hole goes.

    • GaGaforJah says:

      I agree with everything you just said. Allowing blood fractions are indeed an attempt to end run around the blood transfusion prohibition. They’ve got themselves painted into a corner with no way out. To abruptly drop it would make 1975 seem small potatoes in comparison, and that’s without even factoring in the legal consequences $$$. ALERT: the WTS is a man made, self appointed, delusional, religious cult.

  22. Gary says:

    ‘Keep talking’, it’s that simple. Many thanks to the team for your efforts.
    https://youtu.be/-ithViBMF1k
    Oh look there’s a church between the statues.

  23. A.M says:

    Thank you for giving a voice to my silent thoughts! I was baptized at 13 even though I didn’t really believe any of the words coming out of the elders mouths. I was terrified of disappointing my family, congregation, and friends.
    I used to have panic attacks before any meeting, thinking about the “paradise earth/living forever”
    The idea of being disassociated / shunned was so unbearable I lead a very secretive alter life, I lied all the time.
    That put in many dangerous situations because I couldn’t call home for help.
    I still believe in, and love our creator. But I too wish religion, all organized religion, would stop using fear as a tactic to keep people in line. Stop the abuse of power, and turning a blind eye to those that use there power to prey on others!!!!
    Thanks again, A fellow X wittness

  24. Gary says:

    Everything considered, all differing points of views considered, it’s about heart. The Watchtower fails miserably, ‘please stand’.

  25. Gary says:

    Retribution?, thank you for your education Watchtower. Never, though I wish you would change, do I wish to be like you and for that I thank you for that.

  26. Gary says:

    Apologies for the missing words fudleded:-)

  27. Twmack says:

    The rescinding of the ban on organ transplants reveals
    a significant truth about the teachings of the WT ORG.
    Here is the verbatim announcement from the WT. —

    “there is no “Biblical Command” pointedly forbidding the
    taking in of other human tissue” WT, 15 / 3 / 1980, p31.

    Since there is no Biblical Command, from where did that
    command originate ? The answer is plain, and against
    which the Bible gives a very strong warning.—-

    “Their worship is a farce, for they teach man made ideas
    as commands from God”. Matt, 15/9 , NLT.

    • Average Joe says:

      That’s a brilliant observation and piece of research TWMACK!

    • Outandabout says:

      Well done! I’ve just had a quick look at google scholar and without thorough reading it looks as if blood is classified as either connective tissue or tissue. The Watchtower may have put there foot in it here and it’s a shame it’s taken so long for somebody to spot it.

  28. Outandabout says:

    Jehovah Witnesses are a group of people who can silently enter your family and infect any of them with the notion that to commit suicide for them is a noble thing to do. If this weren’t a religious group, what do you think the authorities would have to say about that? What if this were a communicable disease running loose in the community? Something is very twisted here. Beware of the evil that is the Watchtower!

  29. Covert Fade says:

    Thanks for your comments everyone, both those who agree and those who disagree with me. 🙂 Discussion always illuminates things.

    I have noted a lot of people here and in other comments sections online stating outright that they want Watchtower wiped off the face of the Earth and the religion gone forever.

    Okay, fine, I get that impulse, but I have an honest question:

    Can anyone who feels that way outline here a workable detailed, real world scenario in which that actually comes to pass, including a way of dealing with all the Witnesses who might never cease believing in their religion and will want to continue practicing it in some form?

  30. Holy Connoli says:

    Covert Fade: I don’t think there will be one size fits all if that ever happened. I think it could be like when Rutherford took hostile control over the WT back after the death of CT Russell. Many , many left and or stayed with Russell’s teachings. Some stared their own similar religions and no doubt many just stopped believing the entire thing or went back to nominal Christianity. As we know there are several groups even today that continue to teach Russells teachings, The international bile students still exist in different forms and groups.There was another similar group to the WT called the Worldwide Church of God led by Herbert Armstrong. It was an end times religion always making false predictions and having extreme control over the followers very much like the WT.When he died several other groups within that org began to form. May felt the existing org was not following his teachings and splintered off into several other groups. The actual religion that was the Worldwide Church of god ended up denouncing all of the original teachings and joined “Nominal Christianity” and took on their beliefs which they had for decades condemned as being false and “PAGAN”? Sound familiar? I can see that happening to the WT also.

    Maybe right now we don’t see it but anything is now possible with the internet and people having an awakening. If perhaps another GB member awakens and comes out of the WT grip it could have a major effect on the entire WT teachings and religion. Also many may just not want to be part of an organized religion anymore after being “BURNED” by the teachings of the WT. Some will panic and we can understand that bc they have given their whole life to something and realize it is a scam and don’t want another religion. Some may also go back to other Churches or other beliefs, It will be a rough time for a lot of JW’s if that ever happens. For sure it will go in many different directions.

    • Tara says:

      That would be me HC. I will have no part in organised religion anymore, not after the Borg. I prefer to think of myself as Spiritual now, not religious though I do still pray. We had an experience last night when a piece of equipment broke down in our house. My son in law called a JW friend who would use his work related skills to help us…. he told my son in law to call up his work company and go through those lines. End game. Basically it was unsaid but, ‘they don’t go to meetings anymore so I will no longer help you.’

      Conditional friendship. Who needs that. No more religion for me. as far as the WT I will be here for any JW that escapes. But I hope the organisation falls apart.

  31. Sunshineonarainyday says:

    Thank you for this article, I have never commented on here before although I have read all the articles and comments. I was raised a JW in a large, dysfunctional family. Even so 5 years ago when I left because of many doubts and a failed discussion with the elders and bethel on dress (tights under a long skirt or dress) my privileges were removed because I was labeled a “trouble maker” I then became disillusioned and left, met the love of my life who is an unbeliever married him and was subsequently shunned. A lady who knew my father told me whenever she saw him in the shops he would cry about me. I have since had a baby and he has not met him. Shunning is the worst! The organization is controlling and the elders feel they are the security team, with no training. The organization and magazine articles is their weapon that they wave around like bullies. Maybe WTS will eventually implode causing it to pop like a pimple that is festering … I can only but hope. Until then I will continue to read ur articles and enjoy my very happy life that I have found.

    • M Saurus says:

      Sunshine –

      I am so proud of you for having the personal fortitude and courage to leave – even though it meant losing family and friends.

      That is so sad about your father. But remember – it is his choice – he chose the org over you and his grandchild. That is no reflection on you and not your fault. Hopefully you have some new family on your husband’s side now who will love you unconditionally, not only if you belong to the same religion.

  32. Twmack says:

    Maybe not a swift end to this cult, but a continual decline.
    Which in many ways seems to have already begun.

    They’ve painted themselves into a corner with the now expired
    generation teaching, but clinging on desperately with the
    ludicrous “Overlapping” invention. Recently I asked my brother
    in law elder to show me, where in the Bible the overlapping gen,
    was indicated. He was flustered , and blustered and incoherent,
    I almost felt sorry for him. I don’t think he believed it himself.
    Time is not on their side !

    Another nail in their coffin could be the removal of tax exemption
    resulting in more cuts and less growth. Already people’s attention
    is being focussed on these billionaire freeloading “Religions”.
    there are calls right now for another investigation into Scientology,
    and if their exemption is removed, the dominoes could start falling.

    Life after WT. Well life goes on, people are resilient, many may
    welcome a new found freedom, and like some on this site, others
    may formulate their own philosophy. many who have left WT,
    have already affiliated with other religions.

    I totally agree with you CF that freedom of thought, freedom of
    religion must be protected. But when that religion and associated
    thought, not only support an ideology that has resulted in an
    estimated 50,000 deaths but actively preach and inculcate it.
    Should we then be overly concerned about such freedom?

  33. Average Joe says:

    Just came upon this in a Tweet from someone I follow. Seems a very balanced approach to teaching children about religion. Not to everyone’s taste but the author makes some very poignant statements.
    http://honeyquill.com/2014/06/09/redefining-faith/
    I’m not sure if it is really relevant to the discussion at hand (please feel free to delete it if not CF) but I found it very interesting and thought I’d share.
    AJ

    • ruthlee says:

      Hi AJ thanks for sharing this I found it very interesting. I am at the stage of the family splitting apart me and my little dude believe in god and heaven and read the bible and my husband and other child are ingrained jdubs who never pickup the bible and are expecting their panda prize at any moment now. For me and my heaven bound child, we have no affiliation as yet because I do not want to be bullied anymore. This is where the horns of dilemma lay because my little dude will have no jdub friends and it takes a while to establish new connections. The strangest thing is , is that i don’t grieve so much for my deadawake still in jdub family because even though they are believers they are not at peace or happy and now I’m through the fire I can say that I am at peace . It all takes time as many here have said and we all reach different conclusions. I actually would like to join a church but I do not want to get mired down in another set of ridiculous rules and nonsense and politics. One thing I will say is no matter how the jehovahs witnesses reform , regroup, change their mind, believe in all being born again etc, etc, I will never go back because they did too much damage and told lies and covered up their filth with more filth. That was never godlike or Christian.I still think that they should compensate all of us who were denied an education, or were victims of the 1975 scam, or were raped and not allowed justice, and that is just a start. If the society started giving it’s wealth away to us the faithful first and the victims of them then they may start storing up treasures in heaven. So putting their money where their mouth is would at least rub salve into a calloused collective conscience. Sorry ive gone on a bit cheers Ruthlee

  34. KaKaJones says:

    The way the JWs in my family act, think and speak causes me to think they would stone people to death like they did in the old testament if they could. They probably would if it wasn’t for man made laws. They find ways to get around good reasoning. Religion doesn’t have to be banned for the law through doctors and child protection to help people. For example I called C.P.S. on my family member because she was giving her baby to much alcohol to drink. The case worker saved that baby’s life as far as I’m concerned. My family wouldn’t listen to me but they are intimidated by C.P.S. The elders said to me it wasn’t a congregational matter and it was up to the mother to raise the baby in the way she saw fit. That really happened to me. I feel sometimes people need to be protected from themselves weather they are in or out of a religion or a cult. Children need to be protected from stupid people. Teachers, doctors, nurses have laws they must follow to protect children. JWs, catholics, athiests, christians, muslims, budists, satan worshipers, and also the cult of Mary need laws to protect their children. That applies to Any cult

    • KaKaJones says:

      JWs, catholics, athiests, christians, muslims, budists, satan worshipers, and also the cult of Mary need laws to protect their children. That applies to Any cult.

    • KaKaJones says:

      Some of the things I saw on The Cult of Mary on National Geographic reminded me of my JW family.

  35. Robert67 says:

    No, it definitely has to close its doors. It’s not a ‘religion’ it’s a ‘for profit’ printing company that uses scripture to brain wash those seeking Christ to eternally push their product to earn salvation and forgiveness (a free gift from Christ according to scripture)

  36. Quendi says:

    I haven’t read all the comments here, so what I say may have already been stated by others. There is a biblical adage that applies very well to the Watchtower: “As you sow, so shall you reap.” (Galatians 6:7) Should the Watchtower come to a disastrous but hardly untimely end, it will be well-deserved. While no impartial person would deny the organization has done good in the world, that has been outweighed by its evils–for evils they have been. The wreckage of broken families, sundered friendships and shattered lives speaks for itself. Any organization which is responsible for bringing these things about merits whatever end it reaches.

  37. Vincent Deporter says:

    I admit it.
    I DO want to destroy the Watchtower!

    Not ban it.
    Not physically destroy it.

    But I want to see this organization’s secrets and practices all over the news, blasted in all media.
    I want it shamed with a reputation SO demolished that the rank & file would defect in masses.
    I want to see the Borg shrivel up and disappear, left like a turd of a footnote in cult history!

    If I had the power to make that happen, I would.

  38. Feranmi says:

    Nice post. I totally agree with you. You absolutely spoke my mind!