2016: The Year In Review – Part Two: Vanishing Books, Blood, Videos, Telly Awards, and Farewell to Brooklyn
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In Part One of our 2016 review, we managed to scrape the surface of some of the more significant articles which dealt with the ongoing and very troubling issues which have plagued the Jehovah’s Witness organization for the past several years. The reality is that these child abuse problems have actually been a scourge on the organization for many decades, but as it happens with such matters, it takes many years for the facts to come to light, just as it happened with the Catholic church and other institutions . Besides these critical issues, there were a significant number of events which occurred in 2016, and which affected the lives of Witnesses across the globe.

On a somewhat lighter note, on January 5th 2016, JW Survey senior editor Lloyd Evans captured the essence of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ belief that God is looking after their efforts to construct buildings, acquire materials, and even print books in the nick of time, while failing to credit God for the permission of the brutal tragedies which affect mankind of a daily basis. Evans pointed out the irony of Jehovah’s hand in providing sand for the Philippine hurricane relief efforts, while making one ponder why Witnesses died in that tragedy in the first place. In fact, the proportion of JWs who passed away was in fact higher than the general population.

Watchtower Scraps Literature- in a Big Way

In a rather shocking announcement as reported by Survey on January 15th 2016, Watchtower announced the discontinuation of multiple publications which were key doctrinal guidebooks for Witnesses, including the “Creation” book, the “Isaiah” books, and the infamous “Revelation” book. These resources were invaluable documentaries on their respective subjects, but were also highly criticized even by Witnesses themselves. I will never forget one elder who looked me straight in the eye and declared that he “just didn’t get” the Revelation book- the latest commentary on the book of the Bible filled with visions, beasts, and apocalyptic explanations of verses. These explanations directly linked scriptures in Revelation to Jehovah’s Witness conventions and proclamations in the opening decades of the 20th century.

The abandonment of the blue “creation” book was not as much of a surprise, as well established criticisms of this publication had already rendered this book a repository of misquotes and misinformation regarding scientific evidence for the evolution of mankind; and the Watchtower writing department was better off removing this item from their arsenal of literature.

 

Some of the publications that are now out-of-print

 

Russia

One of the most under-reported stories on JW Survey was the ongoing legal battles taking place in Russia, where years of religio-political tug of war have occupied the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ legal department nearly as much as their child abuse cases. Russian authorities in multiple cities have issues restrictions or bans on Watchtower literature, considering much of it to be subversive and extremist.

As reported by JW Survey contributor Susannah, The Russian city of Vyborg blocked shipments of Witness-ordered Bibles under the premise that they were extremist in nature. While JW Survey in no way condones censorship of  religious  or non-religious materials, the fact that Witness Bibles (and other literature) have been singled out is a powerful sign that Russia, like other European countries, is taking indoctrination seriously.

Among the most critical blows to the Witness organization has been the ban on its most powerful propaganda tool, the jw.org website. In a 2015 news release, Watchtower stated:

Seven months after the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation declared www.jw.org to be extremist, Russian authorities banned the official website of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The ban became effective on July 21, 2015, when the Russian Federation Ministry of Justice added jw.org to the Federal List of Extremist Materials. Internet providers throughout Russia have blocked access to the website, and it is now a criminal offense to promote it from within the country. Russia is the only country in the world to ban jw.org.

The fight for religious freedom in Russia will likely continue for many years for Witnesses, and while we support freedom of choice, there is a distinct double standard in place when Witness attorneys appeal to the Universal Declaration of Human rights, yet deny the Declaration’s mandate permitting a person to leave their religion without devastating consequences. The results include loss of friends, family, and complete ostracism and humiliation that accompanies the public announcement of a person’s disconnection from this religion.

Jehovah’s Witnesses in Prison

Following statistics gathered in 2016, Jehovah’s Witnesses released the chart below indicating just how many faithful followers have been jailed for their conscientious objection to military service.

For many pacifists, this is an agreeable and noble cause. But for Jehovah’s Witnesses, there is a sinister footnote attached to their objection to war: Until recent times they were banned from alternative services, forcing many into prison instead of performing substitute community service.

The 1983 Witness publication “United in Worship…” stated:

“An examination of the historical facts shows that not only have Jehovah’s Witnesses refused to put on military uniforms and take up arms but, during the past half century and more, they have also declined to do noncombatant service or to accept other work assignments as a substitute for military service. … Many of Jehovah’s Witnesses have been imprisoned because they would not violate their Christian neutrality.”  – United in Worship of the Only True God p.167  [bold ours. This publication has since been abandoned by the Watchtower Organization]

 

In his book I Wept by the Rivers of Babylon: A Prisoner of Conscience in a Time of War, author Terry Walstrom details his traumatic experience of being escorted to federal prison by sheriff’s sedan during the Vietnam war, despite being offered an alternative service job at a Texas hospital. Loyalty to the Witness organization was paramount, and enforced. Terry told JW Survey that his congregation elders sealed his fate by verbal coercion:

“It was private conversation with the Overseer and his assistant in the library of the Kingdom Hall after a meeting with the door closed. I was told that I couldn’t tell anybody that I had been instructed about anything–that I had come to the conclusions ON MY OWN conscience.”

Terry spent the better part of two years of his life in federal prison, was raped, abandoned by his girlfriend and his Witness friends, then finally returned to society with anything but a hero’s return.

As reported by JW Facts, Watchtower has since altered its policy on alternative military service, but only due to extraordinary political pressure initiated in Bulgaria to maintain their tax-exempt status as a charity. It seems their integrity is directly linked to financial gains rather than application of their once held principle of absolute neutrality.

Blood and Tears

In 2016, global tragedies came in many forms, but none so insidious as the senseless deaths of many  innocent victims of Watchtower’s long-held position on the non-transfusion of blood or blood components, a necessary medical procedure in the modern age.

We were introduced to a 13 year old girl from Australia named Phelicity Sneesby, who suffered from a congenital heart defect, which rendered her in need of specialized care. She was featured on the February 2016 JW Broadcasting program, where her parents were prompted to convey that Phelicity’s only hope for survival rested in the hands of an American hospital in Ohio. What they failed to mention was that this hospital was the one place where Jehovah’s Witness pediatric patients could receive critical care in a manner which avoids the use of any blood products. Instead of exploring every avenue of life-saving treatment, her Witness family pushed her through the horrific gauntlet that no parent would ever consider subjecting their child to.

Phelicity was interviewed and used as a propaganda tool for Jehovah’s Witnesses, having become baptized, then pioneered, which is the Witness equivalent of being a full time minister, devoting at least 70 hours per month preaching religious doctrine. When her body finally gave out, her final wish to return to Australia was facilitated by a GoFundMe campaign, which raised $248,000 US for the medically supervised return flight, after which she died.  We are deeply saddened at the loss of this young girl, whose life was cut short without the possibility of obtaining the highest level of care granted to children who have no religious restrictions on their medical care.

In the February 12th Friday Column article by contributor Karenne Gionet, we cried together when we learned of the disturbing death of Karenne’s brother Donald, who would have turned 58 years of age, were it not for Watchtower’s ban on treatment for his Leukemia, which would have saved his life. As Karenne pointed out in her article, Jehovah’s Witness elders stood watch, not out of deep concern for the welfare of her brother, but for the enforcement of Watchtower’s deadly blood policy, a practice which has continued to this very day, and has been refined into a globally organized team of enforcers known as the Hospital Liaison Committee. Donald passed away on February 2nd 1986

As if Watchtower’s homicide rate seemed it could not possibly get worse, the world was stunned on October 12th 2016 with the death of 27 year old Eloise Dupuis, a pregnant mother who was rushed to the hospital following complications from a midwife assisted birth. Her loss of blood was so great that there was but one solution a blood transfusion. This treatment was flatly denied by her husband, her father, and her alleged signature on a form which demands that no blood products be used in her medical treatment. This document is sponsored and produced by the Jehovah’s Witness organization, and enforcement of their medical treatment policies rests in the hands of an elite group of Jehovah’s Witness elders who descended upon the Hôtel-Dieu de Lévis Hospital near Quebec City.  As reported by several close (but non-Witness) friends of Eloïse, the elders and family did everything possible to enforce Watchtower policy, adding insult to deadly injury by blocking access to Eloïse until her untimely death.

The uproar over her death has led to a coroner’s and police investigation of this matter, and has caught the attention of lawmakers in Quebec Canada, who are stymied by the application of religious law. This edict has ended the life of a young and vibrant woman, whose son Liam will never meet his mother.

During the course of our investigation of the death of Eloïse, we were yet again dismayed to learn of the death of Mirlande Cadet, a 46 year old mother who died in a remarkably similar manner following a cesarean childbirth, and whose death is also under investigation by the coroner’s office of Quebec.

The case of Eloïse Dupuis has resulted in pronounced media coverage by the CBC of Canada and multiple additional news outlets, and has led to the formation of an active group of nearly 4,500 Facebook members who seek justice, and wish to honor the memory of Eloïse. This group is led by the aunt of Eloïse, Manon Boyer.

The Infamous Telly Awards

It was my final visit to Brooklyn Bethel before leaving the Witness organization, and our journey concluded with a 2 night stay in the beautiful  90 Sands building, where rooftop views of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges are stunning, together with the Manhattan skyline. Our missionary and circuit overseer friends escorted us into some very private areas of the Brooklyn Headquarters; but one area which was open to the public was the display of bronze and silver statuettes and certificates awards which were won presumably for excellence in video broadcasting and production. We were told that among those awards were several Emmys, which caught my attention immediately. I photographed the display, but it was not until a few years later did those photographs prove to be the key to unlocking a tragic deception.

JW.ORG Announces Victory at the 2015 Telly Awards

In the early months of 2016, JW.org featured and article named “Witnesses receive Telly Awards for Video News Reporting”.  And then it all clicked. The showcase full of awards displayed at Watchtower was filled, not with Emmy awards, but with Telly, Aurora, and an assortment of other certificates and awards from organizations with zero credibility, and whose sole function is to create the illusion of legitimacy by selecting multiple winners in multiple categories, then selling contestants statuettes and certificates to commemorate their “achievements.” JW Survey broke this story on March 12th 2016, and we can report that at this time. Jehovah’s Witnesses have removed their article from jw.org completely, without a trace. Multiple attempts to reach the Office of Public Information for the JW organization have gone unanswered.

The Worst Convention Ever

The summer of 2016 saw the morphing of the typical Jehovah’s Witness annual convention series from the routine literature-dominated 3-day summer assembly to an organized lecture program chock full of both short and feature length professionally developed videos. The convention theme “Remain Loyal to Jehovah” equated the concept of loyalty to God with loyalty to God’s “earthly  organization”- which just happens to be…Jehovah’s Witnesses.  JW Survey first received published advanced word of the convention series in the March 23rd article in which the program summary was leaked in advance. One of the first observations was the Orwellian nature of the program, which included the Friday afternoon discourse “Shun Unrepentant Wrongdoers.” It was clear that the organization was preparing to tighten it’s grip on followers to the greatest degree possible.

As the assembly series got underway, controversy ensued when a Dutch reporter was ejected from a JW convention when an assembly representative was asked about the Witnesses’s stance on homosexuality. On May 3rd 2016, JW Survey covered the related story where the Witness website JW.ORG published a homophobic children’s cartoon in which homosexuality was compared to baggage which must be left behind before a child (or any person) could make the journey safely into paradise earth the ultimate goal for nearly all Jehovah’s Witnesses.

While we could not possibly review all of the details of the 2016 convention within this article, it must be pointed out that the designation “worst convention ever” seemed fitting in view of the extraordinary emphasis on loyalty to an organization, which included highly emotional indoctrination videos featuring the shunning of one’s own son or daughter, the mandate to decline blood transfusions, and the frightening prospect of having to hide in a bunker during the imminent “great tribulation” which signals the end of the world as we know it.  Our articles included:

 

The Reluctant Apostate

My new book, The Reluctant Apostate, nears completion

A welcome relief amidst a sea of propaganda, horrific child abuse reports, and the generally bad worldwide news reports of religiously motivated murders and terrorist attacks, was the announcement that Senior Editor Lloyd Evans’ multi-year research project, the “Reluctant Apostate” was nearing the finish line. With a team of dedicated editors at his side, Lloyd announced  that his book was closing in on the goal of its first printing by Christmas, and we are happy to announce that this deadline was accomplished with the dedication of many individuals who supported this work through editing, moral support, and even donations which covered the cost of printing and distribution. The indiegogo campaign was a tremendous success, reminding us that the need for truthful, accurate, and heartfelt books on the subject of Jehovah’s Witnesses is greater than we ever expected. We hope that the success of this book will inspire others to tell their stories of hope and new life outside the walls of the Jehovah’s Witness organization.

 

Goodbye Brooklyn, Hello Warwick

The close of 2016 witnessed the sale of some of the few remaining properties in Brooklyn New York – a real estate empire which had been accumulating since the final years of Charles Taze Russell’s life, up through the buying frenzy which lasted well into the 1980s. Watchtower accumulated billions of dollars in property, then  began selling their assets a few at a time as they assembled a completely new empire in Warwick, New York.

Despite the capital gains from the sale of so many properties, Watchtower made it clear that it was in desperate need of cash to continue funding its transition out of Brooklyn, which was reported by JW Survey on March 4th 2016.  As pointed out by JW Survey editor Covert Fade, Watchtower saw their  shortfalls coming in advance, and launched a campaign which included the unthinkable: the appeal to young children to donate their ice cream money to further the work of this multi-billion dollar religious empire.

 On April 8th 2016, JW Survey further exposed Watchtower’s shameless appeal to children, exposing yet another campaign in the form of a children’s maze, where a young person could guide their coins from point A to the end of the maze, where their money lands squarely on Watchtower’s property and publishing empire.

The end of 2015 saw the slashing and sacking of long-time Bethel Headquarters workers around the globe, and the stalling of international Witness building projects – a desperate strategy aimed at funneling all assets into the new world headquarters project. Further cutbacks were initiated, and longtime “special pioneers” lost their financial allowance from Watchtower and were sent off to fend for themselves and find a job, while still maintaining their full time status as ministers of of the religion. One friend of mine lost his position at Warwick New York due to a pre-existing heart condition, which rendered him a financial liability which Watchtower was unwilling to assume.

Governing Body Member Sam Herd proudly displays jewelry

Meanwhile, Governing Body Members are living the life of ultimate control and luxury, flying around the world to exotic destinations, traveling business class, and wearing expensive clothes and jewelry on their multi-million dollar JW Broadcasting program. It seems the notion that Jesus Christ had “nowhere to lay down his head” has little meaning for these men. It appears unjust that while the Watchtower Organization discourages higher education, their higher-ranking members enjoy all the perks associated with wealth, but with none of the education to support such income. While these men report no taxable revenue, their frequent and plump green handshakes go unnoticed by  the federal government.

To conclude my review of 2016, I would like to thank all the supporters of JW Survey who have given us the encouragement to press on, to tell the truth, and to write about the things which we feel most passionately about. In 3000+ words, I have sadly omitted the many contributions of articles to JW Survey which have broadened the landscape  of our website, and reached hearts in a way that we could not do alone. To those who wrote about fear, indoctrination, Armageddon, abuse, dinosaurs, science, morality, utopia, misogyny, shunning, doubts, and how life has become so much more meaningful after leaving the organization, we thank you immensely.

A special thanks goes out to those who have leaked information from inside the organization – critical files which provide insight into how the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses operates, enabling us to demystify this religion and view it as objectively as any other faith-based religion.

I also wish to thank those who shared our articles, remembering that what we write is not to destroy, but to free Witnesses and their families from a lifetime of indoctrination, and the more people we reach, the better chances we have of setting someone free.

Perhaps the ultimate dedication we can make is to Jehovah’s Witnesses themselves. Every one of us who writes an article on this site has worn these shoes, and we never thought for one minute that we had anything but the truth. We were influenced, coerced, love-bombed, and ultimately committed to the very beliefs which are unraveled as easily as a kitten unfurls ball of yarn.

We look forward to 2017 with great anticipation, as we see an exodus from undue influence through education, awareness, and above all, kindness from those of us who have been there, lived the life, and lived to tell our stories.

Happy new year from everyone at JW Survey,

John Redwood

 

John Redwood

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71 Responses to 2016: The Year In Review – Part Two: Vanishing Books, Blood, Videos, Telly Awards, and Farewell to Brooklyn

  1. Rowland Nelken says:

    When I was a child Jehovah’s Witness in 1950s Britain, national service was still enforced.

    ‘Conchies’ were welcomed back to the Kingdom Hall as heroes after doing their 3 months in jail for refusal to be conscripted.

    I had composed, and even rehearsed for myself, a script which I would recite in court, when the time came, to justify my pacifist stance. It would be simple and focus on the ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill’ commandment.

    Great was my dismay, however when, after consulting an Elder, I realised I was mistaken. The official JW line was ‘diplomatic immunity’. Ambassadors from Jehovah’s Kingdom were not bound by local laws.

    By the time I was 18, however, not only had National Service in the UK become history, but I had drifted away from the Kingdom Hall, though the biblical fundamentalism implanted thereby was a troubling leftover for several years thereafter.

    Is the world of ever changing JW absolute Jehovah issued bible TRUTHS, is diplomatic immunity still the official Gov. Bod. directed plea?

    • messenger says:

      Roland to answer your question no. Today the gb would not consider you an ambassador for Christ, unless you claimed to be anointed. Otherwise they would consider you the lesser titled ‘envoy.’

      More specifically though, the word they use today as the reason to dodge the draft is neutrality, which usually applies to not participating in politics or the military, or supporting either of those institutions with money, or allegiance, or work. They get this idea from Christ saying his followers are no part of the WORLD. The WT defines the WORLD as having three parts: the world’s political, religious, and commercial systems.

      Have any of you out there ever seen a Watchtower Organization spread sheet that shows how heavenly they’re invested in the stock market? They may own millions of various stocks. Certainly their stock numbers are at least in the hundreds of thousands, in multiple dozens, maybe even hundreds of different companies.

      THE WT IS VERY HEAVILY INVESTED IN THE COMMERCIAL SYSTEM=BEING INVESTED IN AND SUPPORTING A THIRD PART OF THE WORLD.

    • messenger says:

      Roland evidently the superiority of the WT is weighing so heavily on me that it effects my writing. I meant to write they are invested heavily in stocks, yet sub-consciously I guess, knowing their superior position I wrote they are HEAVENLY invested in WALL STREET. Sorry for the slip.

  2. Ricardo says:

    Dear Team at JWsurvey.org, thank you so much for providing an avenue for us to understand what is happening in our organization. So many of us are talking among ourselves about how ridiculous the teaching of overlapping generations is, how disgusting were our leaders’ performances at the Royal Commission, and what is happening with the drying up of supply of our publications, branch workers, etc. Guess where we have found like-minded discussions but even more important: explanations? From you. And with the explanations come other discoveries: the Watchtower was an NGO with the UN?!! What! When we ask our elders for an explanation they yell at us that it isn’t true. But it is! We know it is… because of you, JWsurvey writers. I don’t know why our organization doesn’t want to explain things like that, or about the sexual abuse cases we have lost in the UK (Peter Stewart case) or the US (Candace Conti case).
    We are forced to look here for explanations.

    I don’t know if you are aware how much this site is a talking point among some witnesses and how much we incorporate the ideas here into conversations with other witnesses and even in our comments at the Kingdom Hall.

    Thank you for your insight into so many subjects. Please continue to give your comments on the JW Broadcasts. The only time I listen to them is when Lloyd comments on them. I find the JW edition too embarrassing to watch. And I can’t stand plastic face Steve Lett, he talks like we are kindergarden children. So it is great relief to see someone take the mickey out of these guys. I think the GB has made a mistake in appearing in these broadcasts; as we get to know them more, the more we see they are mentally-limited.

    Well done on the great network you have for the leaking out of Watchtower documents. It is always a thrill to see how much support you have from our fellow brothers and sisters.

    I look forward to further good work from you this year.

    • Rowland Nelken says:

      This is most encouraging Ricardo, that practising JWs are consulting this site, and thus confidence in the WT leadership is evaporating.

      Sure, it is salutary for us ex JWs to talk among ourselves, but to know that exposure of the duplicity, the mind control, the family breakups caused by shunning and all the other JW abuses is reaching current active JWs, is truly heartening.

      We can but hope this may be the beginning of the end for a corrupt money grabbing cult, and that the Jehovah’s Witnesses may soon be but a grubby little footnote in the history of Christendom.

  3. Vox Populi says:

    Thank you, JR, for the 2nd part of the 2016 review.

    I, like many others who visit this website, enjoy reading the articles as they bring to light what has been hidden from the rank & file. I too was a firm believer only to discover after many, many years we had been deceived on a number of levels.

    Keep up the good work.

  4. Thank you for exposing things I’d never know since I don’t have contact with my family or other Witnesses. I may not agree with secular sexual morality or care for holidays, but I know that this organization bears all the features of a cult. Without your work, people who have left wouldn’t see how the JW is sinking. I have confidence that leaving and getting in touch with others who have done the same is a practical approach to healing. I just can’t go back, no matter how lonely I’ve become. I’m looking forward to 2017 with you.

  5. Imgonaburn says:

    Thank you so much for all your hard work and effort producing these timely reminders on how corrupt this organisation is.
    As a person with family still practicing JWs it’s easy to end up questioning my own sanity. I sometimes wonder if I’m over reacting, after all, it’s to be expected that individuals are imperfect and make mistakes etc. However, when my JW family choose to act upon the direction given them by GB it highlights that whilst their shunning of me is their choice they are still ‘obeying orders’ from the organisation.
    I consider myself to be an honest person. I don’t lie to achieve my aims. But this organisations religious leaders are lying to my family and covering up their transgressions by removing publications that contain evidence of mistakes made and erroneous doctrinal reasonings. Then they blame the victim and announce that anyone who speaks against the gb is an apostate.
    My current situation has led to my seeking a divorce from my JW husband. He refuses to acknowledge that shunning someone (me) who has NOT been disfellowshipped is cruel and counter productive. We have been married for 30 years! My family is completely split in two. Sadly, it’s been confirmed to me by my JW family members that they’re never going to soften their stance towards me until I return to Jehovah. I’m not going to capitulate and they feel they have no choice but to shun me to get through Armageddon. I’m not going to remain in a marriage where I’m excluded from their lives. It’s a horribly cruel and unnecessary punishment. I’m getting out! Though it saddens me to do so. I’m terrified of what my life will be like without my husband but also pretty confident that it’s the right decision long term.
    I’ve just checked out JW.org one of the main articles is instructing parents on how to deal with a child telling lies. It’s ridiculous and the height of hypocrisy when the GB has lied repeatedly throughout history about what the ‘truth’ really is. Shameful!!
    https://www.jw.org/finder?docid=102014405&wtlocale=E&srcid=share

    • tranquillo says:

      dear Imgonaburn,
      nice nick! I completely understand your feelings. I have the same situation with my wife. We have been married for 23 years and it seems all ended now. She won’t talk of “spiritual” issues with me and considering that spiritual issue constitute about 99% of the life of a true Witness, it leaves really little to talk about. We spent a day together and there was hardly any conversation… It’s really amazing how the GB has been able to completely silence me, even with my wife there is no way to discuss any point.
      So, sadly, it seems that our life together has already ended. We have three kids, when they will leave our home, there will be nothing more to share between us….

      • Imgonaburn says:

        Hi tranquillo,
        My JW family are the same to a degree. They will talk about spiritual things (pioneers gotta get their hours in!) but if I question what they are saying it makes them panic that I’m turning apostate so we stopped talking about spiritual matters. The trouble is their constantly imploring me to return to Jehovah prompts an explanation as to why I don’t want to go back. They back me into a corner by asking why I no longer believe then shun me when I explain my decision. I can’t win! My husband refuses to demonstrate his disapproval of their shunning me by missing a few meetings til they ask why so he can say their behaviour towards me is stumbling him. However, if there’s a sporting event he wants to attend he’ll miss the meeting to go to that!!
        I can only take that to mean that he loves himself more than anything else. Second on his list of priorities are his ‘worldly’ friends that he sees regularly. Next is his secular work. Then the religion. Lastly his marriage.
        I deserve better imho.
        He isn’t opposed to getting a divorce and because there are no scriptural grounds he’s content to sit back and not put up a fight.
        I remember bk in the 80s when if anyone who was not baptised but chose to leave they would be marked as bad associates and treated as if they’re disfellowshipped. My pioneer partners sister was such a one. She (friends sister) wasn’t baptised but chose to stop attending meetings when she left school. My pioneer friend, her other sister and her mother (all JWs) stopped speaking to her whilst living in the same household along with their non believing husband/father. It caused a huge rift in the family. Then years later the GB abolished the practice!!
        This new shunning of baptised ones who’ve fallen away into sin ( insert ‘lead a normal life’) is a step back in the wrong direction.
        I hope that it stirs up as much dissent and the GB have to change this policy too. Unfortunately, it will be too late for me as the damage is now well and truly done.

        • fallingangel75 says:

          Imgonaburn: tears, hugs, and all the love I can send you for whatever it’s worth. As we have discussed before, I am also in a similar situation, but still trying to save my marriage. I still don’t know how successful I will be.

    • Jeff canning says:

      Me, similar position, very sad for both of us and thousands like us.. Maintain the rage…

      • Joe James says:

        Maybe you might ask the old men in NY why, since the world is ending, did they see the need for Warwick?
        Also ask why, if God is overseeing the building of Warwick, did God lead them to buy heavily contaminated property to build on.
        Also ask where the billion dollars went when they cashed out on the NY properties. They claim it went to operating expenses which is absurd. This money was a windfall for them.

      • ruthlee says:

        Hi imo,jeff and tranquillo me too I married my best friend and it was genuine we have had a good marriage though always a struggle with health and money. You get through that sort of thing but the loss of words we find ourselves in I don’t believe a word of the societies interpretation of scripture and he is still in love with Brooklyn so we have nothing to say anymore. I thing I will give the watchtower society a big gold star for destroying another marriage,. They didn’t get us with blood, sex, politics or persecution. They got us with spiritual lies and u turns at every corner with their stupid doctrines. Well done! gb you spoiled a really good marriage and a happy home . I do hope you are gleeful because I am not.. I will keep going in this silent marriage for as long as I can but like others when the kids are gone I know it is game over. The dried up spinster twigs have that evil glint in their eye awaiting my demise ie d’f and divorce. It all got spoiled and we got ruined believing a lie. Ruthlee

        • Imgonaburn says:

          Hi Ruthlee I feel your pain and disappointment. I understand your frustration. My husband and I have been through so many hard times over the years and made it through. I do believe that our both being JWs helped in that if I’m honest. We were bound not only in our love for one another but also in our shared love for Jehovah.
          My 2 children that are no longer attending meetings are my youngest (21 and 18). Only my 18 yr old lives at home with us as the 21 is away in education.
          Out of my 4 children 3 of them have chronic health problems. My younger 2 are also in the autistic spectrum. That all puts a huge strain on a marriage. Childcare was my sole responsibility. My husband was the breadwinner.
          As a family with kids having behavioural problems we always struggled to make friends at the Kingdom Hall. Other parents would shy away because they didn’t want their kids to imitate ours and didn’t understand that we needed to adjust our parenting style to suit our children’s needs.
          I remember one brother couldn’t bear to sit in the same room as us during book study group at home. He would place his chair just outside the doorway for the duration of the meeting and even answer up from there!! His 2 boys and his wife would sit in the room with the rest of us. His boys would be there with their books underlined and notated and smirk at mine when they answered up etc. My boys weren’t forced to pay constant attention during meetings and were allowed to draw in a small notebook as it helped them to listen. This infuriated this nut job brother and he couldn’t bear to sit with us. They were horrible and discriminated against us, yet our love for Jehovah kept us faithful and helped us overlook such prejudice in others. We were a very strong tightly knitted family of 6, with no extended family in the religion to support us. Some witnesses were kind to us and commended our efforts but still we only had 1 or 2 close friends at the hall.
          I was a reg pioneer but married out of the truth and was dfd for it. My husband was baptised and I was reinstated within 6 months of our getting married. Baby was born 8 months after the wedding day
          My 2 older kids married JWs and left home. Then within a year or so
          of that my Aspergers son admitted he is gay. I wasn’t about to kick him out of the family home. It caused trouble between my husband and I but I stood my ground and we both quit the religion at the time. We were in trouble with congregation. Everyone knew that my sons boyfriend was at our house and we became more isolated from the witnesses. After a few months my son left home at 17 and moved in with his partner. My husband retuned to meetings. We still found things to talk about even though I didn’t return to meetings but it was becoming harder as time passed. It drastically changed after the 2016 shunning talk when my older 2 JW kids decided to shun me. That was the final blow. After all those years of struggle, after seeing for themselves how hard we tried, 2 of my children turned their backs on me. I’m not disfellowshipped!
          My husband wasn’t bothered and just said they don’t associate with him neither. That’s because he’s chosen not to go on ministry for several years. He hasn’t been told by them that he’s not going to see them or our only grandchild like I have. He sees them all at the meeting if there’s no football match that day.
          I know it might seem unreasonable to some but I can’t shake the sense that his attendance at meetings condones their treatment of me. Why does he bother going if he doesn’t go on ministry or participate at meetings or pre study etc? He’s lukewarm- and we all know how Jehovah feels about that eh?!! It’s now become a massive issue that he’s still a JW and I don’t want this to be how it is for the rest of my life. Now, we barely speak. Cracks have been developing for a long time that were filled by our common love for Jehovah but now that mine has gone….our once strong marriage has crumbled.
          One of the spinsters will prob take him on. Good luck to them!
          I’m 53 and scared but feel like there’s still time for me to start a new life! How long are we to put up with all this bs before we decide enough is enough?! Haven’t we wasted enough time already?!
          I’m sorry this post is so long and so personal. It’s something only other ex JWs will understand. I was reluctant to post it tbh but it will unburden me and who knows? It may help someone else to see that they are not alone if they are in a similar position.
          Thank you for helping me to heal and move on. Where would we be without one another? X

          • Tranquillo says:

            hi ruthlee, imgonaburn and jeff.
            imgonaburn your story deserved all the words of your post. And what a story indeed! I can’t even start to imagine what means rising children with such health problems! All my respect also for taking side with your gay son.
            And our marriage also was a solid one, we went through our share of problems, health issues and diverging methods of bringing up children. So it withstand the test of time, only to crush under the shunning by WTS…

          • Imgonaburn says:

            Thank you tranquillo for your kind words.
            What I wrote was only the half of it lol! My son that you referred to sometimes has a look at this forum so I have to be mindful about what I say ( hi son!! X)
            It’s always been family first for me. I used to think if any of my children were dfd I’d toe the party line and shun them. I’m even ashamed to say that I told my daughter that one time so I prob shot myself in the foot there.
            We can’t ever predict 100% how we will react to future events. The fact that I stood by my son should be proof enough to my JW family of where my priorities lie.
            I am what my life has made me and I won’t surrender control of my future to anyone or any organisation again.
            For all of us who are struggling with the consequences of having been a part of this religion I say- be brave and strong! Take back control of your own lives and don’t let the b****** get you down! X

          • ruthlee says:

            Great post imgo!!! I’m around same age and also put up with crappy witnesses and my aspie kids. We just didn’t fit so did not stay around for panda paradise. Like you it was my love for God that kept me in it for so long now it is the same love for God that keeps me away from the cult. It is still the sense of loss in my marriage
            that will take time to readjust to. I don’t miss the friends now because that was conditional anyway . But I never anticipated not having anything in common with my husband. All the time I was the goody jw elderette and let him go and play it was ok but now I actually value truth it’s not ok. We just have to move on but like the deprogramming it takes time. Cheers Ruthlee

  6. messenger says:

    Thanks John. I appreciate all the effort you put forth in this cause.

    Best wishes!!!

  7. Chad Willis says:

    I share the sentiments of the long time witnesses above myself having been raised a witness by a believing mother but unbelieving father. As a young child. my family was close to the Letts and I even studied with Steve Lett before he went into the circuit work. Over the years I served as a Bethel volunteer a ministerial servant and a regular pioneer, I married into the faith and had three children. I started questioning things a few years ago in part because of an experience with an in law with regard to the blood issue I read everything I could find to try and make sense of the issue. I came to my own conclusion that this was something that should be a conscience issue, needles to say this didn’t go over well with my wife or the local elders. This lead to my researching and questioning everything, and all I can say is it’s no wonder the organization discourages independent thought. As many of you have experienced I have paid a high cost for leaving, I have lost my wife of over 20 years and friends and family, is it worth it? for me it was, everyone has to decide for themselves but I’m too hard headed to go along with something I no longer believe in. I would say to JW survey I appreciate your hard work and helping us see what’s going on behind the curtain at the emerald city keep it up.

  8. Eyes opened says:

    For both “2016” articles…Well done, well done.

  9. Ted says:

    I left the “religion” in 82, thirty five years ago, at that time they
    tightened the vice on any kind of dissent. Nothing but
    blind obedience was demanded, it wasn’t necessary to voice
    any doubts, even allowing the mind to entertain such doubts
    put you in Satans camp.

    However, the indoctrination was so powerful that it took me 30.
    years to get mind free of it. Had I made a mistake I wondered
    was it me that was at fault, was I not the right sort, as the Bible
    says. My wife and I even considered returning.

    Knowledge is freedom and ignorance is slavery. Getting on
    line was a great liberator, I was able to download Ray Franz’s
    book C,O,C, revealing the double standards of the gb, and how
    the Bible was rarely used and if it was used organisational policy
    always took precedence over it, also how certain members
    would wait to see how prominent ones voted then they would
    vote the same way. It was all, nothing but men, no Holy Spirit
    in sight.

    Then in 2012 I came across Cedars site ( which just gets better
    all the time) and it was like meeting a fellow traveller as it were,
    someone who knew what it is like to be me. That plus all the
    personal experiences and brilliant comments from even more
    fellow travellers has helped me get completely rid of the mental
    shackles.

  10. Sylvia Althof says:

    Thank you JR for the 2016 Year in Review part 2, and for all your hard work in bringing us information about JWORG which we would never discover if it wasn’t for people like you who cares. Your articles has been a great help to me an exJW who are still being shunned by my family even after more than 40 years.

  11. Sister drifter UK says:

    Can anyone find in the 2017 yearbook the number of memorial partakers in 2016?
    The numbers are usually published but I can’t find them. Thought someone on this site might know.

    • Openmind says:

      18,013

      • Big B says:

        To Openmind and Sister drifter UK:

        Just a question to both with deep respect; Is it just me or does anyone else concur that the 144,000 joint rulers with the Christ is a “symbolic” number? Doesn’t it stand to reason that if the tribes of “spiritual Israel” are symbolic, then the 12,000 members of each tribe of “spiritual Israel” are also symbolic? In other words a symbolic number multiplied by another symbolic number cannot equal a literal number.

        My hypothesis is this; if the 144,000 are literal then that number was filled by the end of the first century! Otherwise why would the mighty empire of Rome waste time, monies and legislation over just 144,000 people spread over their known world? Answer; they wouldn’t waste valuable resources over so small a number unless they perceived them as a threat! Why? Because, by the end of the first century, they (Christians) were in their millions and indeed, as far as they were concerned, a threat.

        In my humble opinion, and it is just that ‘my opinion’, the 144k are no more literal, and thus not worth tracking, anymore than the 24 elders who shuck off their crowns in front of Jehovah’s throne day and night spoken of at Rev.4:9-11.

        9)And whenever the living creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to the One seated on the throne who lives forever and ever, 10) the twenty-four elders fall down before the One seated on the throne, and they worship Him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying: 11)“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things; by Your will they exist, and came to be.”…

        As far as counting the Memorial partakers well, who cares how many there are? Instead of decreasing, as the Society said they would over time, they have increased an average of 500 per year (5,000) during the last 10 years.

        Has the all great and powerful Wizard of Oz (the so called Faithful and Discrete Slave) been able to explain these facts and numbers of increased partakers since they said during the 1930’s there would be no further in-gathering of anointed but just the ‘great crowd’ only? Or have they just cowered in their Emerald City of Warwick behind their curtain of silence spewing out purple smoke, threats and flashes of “New Light”?

        Numbers do not lie! So check out the Yearbooks for yourselves friends, especially those curious J.W.’s visiting this site. Numbers do not lie but I know who does and you should too. Just ask Dorothy who or what was behind the curtain. It certainly wasn’t a great and powerful Wizard but a shriveled up old fraud, indeed a humbug.

        • Openmind says:

          Big B – I absolutely agree with you.
          Of course the ‘society’ will say that most of those who partake are mentally unbalanced, so there we have it, they admit to having mentally unbalanced members in their midst. Though we know that anyway, don’t we?

        • JBob says:

          The answer to the 144k riddle is solved by asking “what does it take to get the spirit of adoption?” Once, you know that answer (and, it’s an open-book test–Romans 8:9-11, 14-16, Ephesians 1:13, 1 Cor 1:2, 2 Corinthians 1:22, and Galatians 4:6), it’s really not complicated.

          But, what is complicated is when we delve into where this 144,000 obsession derived. It’s a Second Adventist legacy feature, just like the sliding end-time date from 1874 to 1914 to 1925 to 1975 is a legacy from the original Adventist 1843/1844 failed expectations. 144,000 was taken as a literal number of expected “saved ones” as the time was rapidly approaching and short–these were the ones who clasped onto the Adventist message of Jesus’ imminent return. After the failed expectations it always became a quandry whether the “door was shut” or the “door was open” to “the virgins”–would there be room to take on more persons, and if so, why was it more than 144,000?

          This happened to the Bible Students in 1914, and again in 1925, as the numbers climbed near and past 144,000 membership. Enter the “other sheep” vision and the “two classes” solution from Rutherford & Co.

          But, you go do your research and determine if the “deposited spirit to cry out father” is limited or not…

        • Bret says:

          We could spend hours on the JW’s false teachings and I was an Elder for over 12 yrs and a scholar so to speak of their doctrines or mind control teachings you could say..
          I can answer this question easy…
          Read Rev 7:1-4….
          They teach the fullfiling of this 144,000 began in 33 C.E. at pentecost…
          But if you read carefully revelation 7:1-4 the Angel descends with the seal of God before the four winds of destruction are released and puts the seal upon Gods slaves…
          so according to Rev 1 Johns vision is of the last days, “The day of the Lord” so with that said this angel with the seal descends in the last days just before the four winds are released and he seals 144,000…
          Therefore if this number is literal then the 144,000 are sealed and alive before the destruction during the last days…
          so if there is only 18,013 now only 125,987 to go before the end…
          Oh God Im not sure I can stand to see that many Kooks roming our neighborhoods…

          • ruthlee says:

            I know we are limited here as to doctrinal subjects but if this comment is allowed my 2 cents worth. The Rev is in the Lord’s Day I do not think we are in the Lord’s Day yet so the ingathering mentioned in Rev 7 and Rev 14(two separate mentions on a time line), are they different? When we are in the LD then we may see what this is all about. All Christians now and those gone before us are born again no exclusions or exceptions. It is the Way. Which brings me to my final point. What gives or rather who gives this organisation the authority to preach the kingdom when the Gospel is about Jesus. The sons of a gun have jumped the gun. When the LD arrives then the kingdom will be preached by JC’s authority not an American wacky outfit. This is just my thoughts I have no inspiration but I am confident Jehovah’s twitnessess have got it ALL wrong. Cheers Ruthlee

        • Eyes opened says:

          Greetings, this of course is my personal view, but here goes. The number 12 is supposed to represent heavenly completeness. My view is that the number 144,000 (12,000 x 12,000) is just a way to say that the number who go to heaven would be complete, none missing. I’m not convinced that it is a literal number. I also feel that the special anointing for being kings and priests ended in the first century. In Matt. 24 Jesus stated on account of the chosen ones those days would be cut short. I have no opinion on whether or not people go to heaven when they die. My opinion is about the choosing Jesus spoke of with respect to the choosing of kings and priests? The FDS know they have a numbers problem and that’s why they are now teaching that they are the only ones that count.

          They are a completely self serving group of men. So many sad things happening to good marriages. This is incomprehensible! My heart goes out to these suffering ones and their families. This unforgivable act of shunning means everybody loses. I do wonder if those seven men can even sleep at night without drugs to help. If they need drugs perhaps an ignored conscience is lurking in there somewhere, if they don’t need drugs, well just further proof they are the ones mentally diseased.

          Regards

        • messenger says:

          Hello Big B
          Some Christians who are non JWs feel that those are literal Jews that accept Christ in the future. The point is, opinions about this scripture is not a salvation issue with most, or possibly even all Christians that are not JWs.

          Many Bible numbers are symbolic that didn’t describe actual historic events.

  12. Big B says:

    To All;

    Yes indeed, a great summation of the 2016 calendar year of events (or foul-ups) John. Many thanks to this site and its contributing writers. Hopefully, many more active J.W.’s will get the word and come on this site for finding the truth about the ‘truth’.

    I’m so very sorry for those who wrote above about divorce from their mates after all those long years. Remember however, its their own decision (with Watchtower coercion) to cut you out of their lives based on the organizations twisted misapplication of sacred scripture that has put them against you.

    “To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If a brother has an unbelieving wife and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13) And if a woman has an unbelieving husband and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14)For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his believing wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband”. 1 Cor. 7:12-14.

    Wouldn’t this scripture apply to those mates in a marriage who abandon Christianity as well as non-baptized unbelievers? Obviously not, according to the twisted, stupid doctrine of the Watchtower. If marriage is between two people isn’t the Watchtower an interloper, a third party causing disruption in the household? When one party in a marriage decides to listen to a third party instead of their marriage mate is this not a cause to seek redress in a court of law? If it were an individual, instead of a ‘religious corporation’, perhaps the seeking a ‘peace warrant’ should be looked into.

    “A peace warrant is a written complaint, submitted under oath, from a person who fears their life, or that of a child, or their property is under threat from another person. A peace officer (judge or mayor) can issue a warrant for arrest and the sheriff can bring the accused before a hearing judge to respond”. http://legalbeagle.com/6017218-peace-warrant.html

    Although not an attorney, I believe, that such cases have been argued that ‘third person’ (Church or institutional) interference in the reconciliation efforts of marriage mates could warrant such an action. Interesting if true. Can you imagine the Watchtower brought up on trial for perpetrating marital disharmony between a husband and wife?

    Anyway, as Ted stated: ‘knowledge is freedom and ignorance is slavery’. And along with the New Year, “LET FREEDOM RING!”

    • fallingangel75 says:

      @ Big B – As one who knows the issue every bit as intimately as those who are divorcing, none of the problems can be solved by logic or reason – be it legal or scriptural. The rifts that have formed are ideological and emotional.

      Love and loyalty between husband and wife are eroded through lack of common goals and objectives, hopes and dreams. Even little things like how you will spend a Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning.

      Not being able to talk to each other about things that matter is so damaging! My heart goes out to my husband. I know the pain of it cuts both ways.

      I see the fear in his eyes. He genuinely believes that I will die for this sin – lack of faith – and he is afraid for me and my stubbornness that now has me marked for death.

      All the little things that bound you to one another and made you remember your love begin to give way to strife and conflict or ultimately isolation and loneliness.

      At a certain point, your ‘rights’ and promises to each other no longer matter – especially when you don’t share common beliefs about current events and what they mean, or a common hope for the future.

      I’m earlier on in my marriage and also earlier in the the development of the rift between us than all of the others. Less than 10 years married and only one year since my awakening, so I’m still hoping there’s time for my husband to awaken as well before our union completely circles the drain.

      With all due respect, saying, ‘remember it’s their own decision’ is not a helpful statement. Although I believe you meant well, it’s kind of inconsiderate of the underlying causes and resulting emotions.

      I get what you’re saying and I agree that Watchtower has twisted scripture in a way that destroys marriages and family needlessly, but if any involved were thinking freely and with the love and wisdom Christ embodied, none of us would find ourselves with this problem on the first place.

      • Deo ac Veritati says:

        Hello Angel: Been meaning to reply sooner, but this is the first real chance I’ve had. I’m in a similar but opposite situation from you – I am in the process of leaving (not fully out yet) while my wife remains a fully “all-in” type. Married over 30 years. I fully woke up about a year ago and finally pretty much admitted this to my wife a few months ago. Our marriage has been on a downward trend for a while now, and this decision of mine seems to have only worsened it.

        What I really wanted to tell you is yours is the first comment that really described what it feels like. I’ve spoken to “worldly” friends about my situation – they’ve asked me “how much of it is the religion and how much of it is other things” that are hurting your marriage. I’ve never been able to really quantify it – it’s so hard to assign a “percentage” of my marriage woes to this awful religion. But your comment hit me like a ton of bricks! Especially when you said:

        “Love and loyalty between husband and wife are eroded through lack of common goals and objectives, hopes and dreams.”

        That one got me crying – it simply nailed it for me, and answered the question. I may not be able to assign a percentage of my marriage difficulties to the religion, but I can say this: it affects everything! Big things, little things – it tinges every commonality I had with my wife with a sour note. I wish I could express it better, as you did – but just wanted to truly thank you for your comment – it was incredibly helpful to me to show me exactly how things are for me as well.

        My prayers for you (I still believe in a Christian God) and my thoughts for you. Perhaps your spouse will eventually wake up – that’s indeed the hope all of us have on this board who are in a similar situation.

  13. Jeff canning says:

    Another great article as we have come to expect…Bravo John and JW Survey team…

  14. Imacountrygirl says:

    I add my own humble “thank you” to everyone who makes this site possible, as well as to those who leave such heartfelt comments.

    This is what real love and unity feels like.

  15. Whip It says:

    Big B, both my parents are no longer around, sadly, my Dad was never baptized, & i used that scripture to prove that he had Gods Favor due to how he treated my Mother, shot down many times over that one, All concerned this web site has been helpful in so many ways, the only problem i have now is i don’t believe anything, at least now i can deal with it & just sit back & watch the circus, all the best for 2017, cheers

  16. Bret says:

    Anyone notice the memorial partakers increased by nearly 3,000 from 15k to just over 18k….

    Newly hatched koo-koo birds….

    • Big B says:

      @ Bret;

      And you can best believe that the WTBTS will have at least two if not more explanations (i.e. NEW LIGHT) of the increase in partakers to cover their nonsensical malarkey (i.e. SCRIPTURAL UNDERSTANDING).

      However, will they say that the 144k is not a literal but a symbolic number? The answer; not just NO but HELL NO!

      I can hear their explanations now:
      “Those new partakers are just coming out of Christendom and babes to the ‘truth’ and mistakenly partook of the emblems”; or
      “we were ‘mistaken’ about the closing of this heavenly class during Rutherford’s presidency (dictatorship). The 144k were starting to be gathered during the first century and will continue to be gathered along with the “great crowd of other sheep”until they are whisked away to heaven; or more than likely they will CLAM UP and not say anything. (I would bet the latter position rather than the two former options).

      Anyway, their “prophecies” have never held water so why should any reasonable person expect otherwise?

      • fallingangel75 says:

        So I’m married to a ‘newly hatched koo-koo (cuckoo? Sp?) bird’. My husband partook for the first time last year and was counted in that number. I attended the Memorial. He had revealed his new calling to me about 6 weeks earlier.

        I was raised a jw and have never missed a single observance of the Lord’s Evening Meal. Even though I hated what my husband had told me and everything it meant if it was true. (Yes, initially I was unsure due to a lifetime of indoctrination and everyone around me telling me what a privilege it was for me and how excellent this new development would be for our marriage. *LIES!* Was I in the wrong? Was I looking at this from too human and personal a perspective?).

        I felt obligated to attend out of support for my husband and loyalty to Jehovah.

        And I felt like I would die. I was angry and bitter and resentful. I hated everything. EVERYTHING! Everything! Did I say everything? About the talk and the ceremony.

        I sat there thinking: I can’t believe I have wasted my entire life until now on this ridiculous collection of lies! How was I all-in for so long? This was always ludicrous.

        My husband is not new in the truth. He is baptized over 20 years, although only in his 30’s. I do still follow the explanations. I keep hoping that he will see or read or hear something that triggers the realization in his own brain that says: not it!

        • fallingangel75 says:

          BTW, I will not be in attendance this year.

        • Imgonaburn says:

          Wow!! That must’ve been sooo hard for you angel… I find it a bit odd that people can all of a sudden decide they’re anointed.
          It’s made to sound like such a great privilege! Ok- I admit…each year I would do like a mental check of my status in the vain hope that I’d been ‘chosen’ by Holy Spirit. I would say the words ‘Abba’ and ‘Father’ in my head over and over and listen intently to hear if it sounded ‘different’. Please don’t get me wrong I’m not mocking your husband I genuinely did check myself to see if I qualified to partake of the emblems. I hope I’m not the only one that did this!
          Your husband is clearly very deeply entrenched in the religion.
          It must have hurt you enormously that he sees his ‘forever’ life in heaven whilst you remain abandoned on earth.
          I cannot comprehend how that must be for you and I’m so sorry that this is how life’s treated you.
          Oh my goodness! The more I think of it the greater the ramifications!
          All I can say as a woman in her 50s looking back on my life. If I felt like I do now and I was only 10 years married I’d have gotten out years ago. One of the regrets I often find pecking at my head is that I should’ve left the religion when I was first dfd for ‘doing the you know what’ with the man who became my husband.
          I also think that whilst the religion helped us to stick together through the trials of raising a family with challenging health/ behavioural problems had we not both been JWs we would’ve split up a long time ago! If we had split up years ago or if I’d never gone back and dragged him with me after I was dfd our children wouldn’t have been raised as witnesses. My daughter might not have married a mother in law hating control freak and nobody would be getting shunned or judged. I know vision is 20:20 with hindsight. I know you’ve been tormented thinking about what you should and shouldn’t do. I’m in the same position but my decision is practically made now. I’m here if you need to communicate privately.x
          bibytybobyty@gmail.com
          Ruthlee. We have so much in common!! It would be lovely to chat to you x

          • fallingangel75 says:

            Thanks, Imgonaburn. And yes, this entire situation has been unimaginably painful. More than any of my JW friends understand or comprehend and more than any non-JW friends have any ability to grasp either.

            My husband wasn’t raised a witness and studied and was baptized near the end of high school. He never really expected to have a wife and family and he thought he would probably die young – before 30.

            So, everything we already had was bonus for him. Still is. Even with our current conflicts.

            He feels no sense of loss or disappointment. While I feel it keenly, acutely, daily.

            It’s not just the pain I would feel over our separation if he did go to heaven and I was left behind on earth. (I did go through a grieving process over that possibility at one point.)

            But now that I have thoroughly rejected the teachings and doctrines, I am still just as sad. I don’t believe in an afterlife. Which means I no longer have hope of seeing any of my dead loved ones again.

            Whatever time I had with them already is all I’ll ever have. I never desired heaven or was envious in any way of those who were going to heaven.

            On absolutely no level did I ever feel like heaven was better. Different but not better. I love life on Earth. I love being human.

            I did long for eternity though. Perfect life and perfect health? Yes, please!

            So I am still grieving that loss and coming to terms with knowing that this life is all there is for me. Whatever I don’t accomplish or experience in the time I have left won’t happen for me.

            There is no scenario in which me and my husband resolve things and we get to be together forever. Not in heaven or on earth.

            Even if I were to leave him and start over with someone else, I don’t get forever with that person either.

            I get the rest of our natural lives. That is all. I believe there is no forever for humans. That dream is dead.

            I don’t know if I will ever stop feeling sad about that. And I feel so isolated in my grief and my sorrow.

            Few people know what it’s like to grow up with the belief that you will live forever on earth in perfection and then to become completely disillusioned.

            I always read about people who say that they feel liberated and more alive knowing their life is finite. I don’t feel that way and given my emotional makeup, I don’t think I ever will.

            So I’m sort of resolved/resigned to living with a certain amount of grief and melancholy for the rest of my life.

          • Imgonaburn says:

            Hi Angel,
            I’ve just read your response. It made my stomach churn with compassion for you! There are sooo many men and women who are in great pain caused by the egregious circumstances this religion inflicts upon us.
            It’s true that most people don’t really understand how insidious the effects can be at times.
            I have days were I’m ok but most days my head and heart are battered by so many conflicting emotions. We must take courage!
            I remember when I was having a bad day whilst still a JW I would say to myself…this trouble will be just for a short while, I’ll get through it and things will get better. It was the hope of better times ahead that kept me afloat.
            I could pray then and that too helped. I no longer believe in that same hope. No garden paradise. No end to sickness and death. I cannot pray.
            I haven’t been to a meeting for around 4-5 years now. It’s hard to make a clean break when you have loved ones still in. But hey! They said if a person leaves Jehovah they’ll be miserable and god knows they try their damndest to make it so. I think the human spirit (our humanity?) does heal itself over time. We do bounce back eventually each at our own rate of knots. We are indomitable! We just need time for our brain to fire and reroute the synapses. I rejected everything to do with spirituality because once you think the truth is a lie then it’s easier to tell ourselves there is no truth!
            I don’t have any specific religious beliefs now but I’ve started to consider that this life might not be all there is. Just that one little glimmer is enough hope for me for now. We don’t need to belong to this or that religion but we have to relearn how to have hope. Even just the anticipation that things might get better is something to hold onto.
            If I get a divorce it could just as easily be ok as disastrous. I deserve some happiness so I’m going to fight to make it mine.
            You’re having a baby!!! I hope I’m not being presumptuous in assuming this is your first child. I can guarantee that having a little person dependant upon you will allow you access to a reservoir of strength you didn’t know you possessed.
            Take heart little sister, this trouble is temporary. There will be good times as well as bad. You’re stronger than you think. Xxx

  17. ruthlee says:

    Thank you team for this most valuable public service for cult survivors and those on their way out. I value all the comments here because as others have said we question our sanity and validity in the world because there has been a steady erosion of who we are. I think when it all gets reduced to dollars and how they fleeced every one of us, it will be a poignant moment. The fact that it was just money and just business. The society wove a most tangled elaborate web around us all for money. What a joke to play on humans and it didn’t matter that people died . All of us got hurt and it cost us to be “free” and the “happiest people on earth” . I hope many many more just quit this year 2017. I dithered for about 1 year but finally got free. Honestly if I could come out of the cult with the help of JW SURVEY and all the comments, then this great public service will help many more. So thanks for letting us comment and keep up the exposure of lies as the spearhead, whilst we who comment bring up the rearguard. Cheers Ruthlee

  18. Rodger Goode says:

    Thank you JWSurvey Team, Winston Smith, Big B, Ruthlee, Tara, messenger, outandabout to mention a few, you all sound like great people – always informative and entertaining discussions in 2016. We have a great platform here which can only grow from strength to strength. Oh I almost forgot – “lets review – its a cult!”

  19. Ted says:

    Regarding the kids ice cream money, I think it’s a question
    of planning for the future. Now that they are entirely
    dependent on voluntary contributions and the next generation
    to keep the clams coming in, they need to get the youngsters
    into the habit of tipping up. Train up a boy etc.

    Forget cuddling the Pandas, the wt, stake is firmly fixed in
    in this world. The fabulous new headquarters is a positive
    statement to effect.

  20. Ted says:

    ^ To that effect

  21. messenger says:

    “An examination of the historical facts shows that not only have Jehovah’s Witnesses refused to put on military uniforms and take up arms but, during the past half century and more, they have also declined to do noncombatant service or to accept other work assignments as a substitute for military service. … Many of Jehovah’s Witnesses have been imprisoned because they would not violate their Christian neutrality.” United in Worship of the Only True God p.167

    This statement from Bethel really demonstrates the sort of god’s the governing body think they are, and the absolute obedience they require of their creation which is all congregation members. THEY decide who is a Christian, and who is not, among all peoples who profess individually their belief and allegiance to Christ. THEY decide if a Christian has lost his faith in CHRIST and therefore must be thrown out into the road, like salt that lost its flavor, to be trampled on underfoot, not by the world, but by others THEY proclaim are TRUE CHRISTIANS.

    So, I guess Christian JWs were DFd for refusing to work in a hospital or accept other non-military jobs? Even though Paul directed Christians in his day to ‘obey the governments.’ And Jesus directed his disciples to go along with commands from the government, “if they tell you to go a mile,” Christ said, “go 2 miles.”

    The governing body members who enforced the DF-ing of JWs for accepting non-combative service should themselves be FDd for disobeying Christ, and for leading others-the elders- to do so.

    This is a very good example that proves why in the Bible Christians are taught not to follow everyone TAKING THE LEAD, or every inspired-and non-inspired expression, or every elder or body of elders. In short the BIBLE teaches not to follow anyone that comes up with a stupid idea that clearly violates “the things written” not in the WT but in the BIBLE.

    I remember the WT wrote some time ago that if in the future they give directions that, to YOU, don’t make since to follow, then follow their directions anyway; follow THEIR directions for your own good. Did the brothers that got sent to prison, and raped there, follow the governing body’s directions for their own good, or for the governing body’s own good. Christ said of such men, “They are having their rewards now.”

    Thank you for making this site available Lloyd, not only for the insight you bring, but also making it possible for others to express their thoughts. I haven’t read your book, neither do I remember your exact belief, whether agnostic or a non-belief in God at this point. But if you truly are a non-believer at this point, as some who express their opinions here, then I see a great irony in your work. Could it be that a non-believer is doing GOD’S work. If that thought proves to be fact, and not just an expression of thought, then it shows GOD does use who HE wants, even though all people have free will. FREE WILL is what the governing body takes from others. While professing one thing, they do the opposite.

  22. smd123 says:

    Dear All,

    Oh the hurt and pain I read above! Big warm hugs from the land down under – but I believe you will all come through your individual trials and burdens, and become stronger for it. I read a quote the other day: “Life is 10% of what happens to you, and 90% of how you react to it.” A little simplistic perhaps, but exactly the kind of simplistic positivity we all need from time to time. It tells me that while there are circumstances outside of our control (like family or former friends choosing to shun us = 10%) how we let it affect us is within our control (= 90%). Although I’m not a shining example here, I struggle too with a sister, aunts and cousins etc who choose to now have nothing to do with me – let alone the local congregation and their response. And they haven’t even bothered asking what is under my bonnet! But that is their choice, right? And it is my choice to let it upset me.

    Reading what you have shared about your personal lives has made me realise, yet again, how fortunate I am that I travel my journey WITH my husband. But I also now realise (thanks to your insights above) how it must have been for him in the years before I began questioning. Indeed, when events unfolded that led to my first realising the depth of his questioning (which is a story for another post at another time, trust me, it’s a classic JW pearler of hypocrisy and applying what scriptures we choose to, while not applying others) he revealed that he was terrified that I would leave him! I love my man too much to watch him in distress especially when I promised to be his support and confidante. So instead, I encouraged him to see a secular counsellor so that he could work through his inner turmoil with someone qualified to help him. I knew he wouldn’t get that type of help from the elders, rather, he would get condemnation and punishment. He needed support!! And I knew that I wasn’t objective enough to provide what he needed – all of a sudden I had horrible words, like the dreaded A word, running around in my head and I wasn’t sure what to do or how I felt about it right then. But seeing how everyone in the congregation responded to him after that really turned my stomach and I no longer wanted to see or spend time with such people.

    And then the Australian Royal Commission hit. I then started asking serious questions, that was really the catalyst for me.

    One of the writers above quoted scripture about a believer not divorcing an unbelieving spouse – and I agree with that. But why are some active JW spouses not applying any of the other many good and sound scriptural principles? Just because there is a difference in theological opinion does not mean that one should shut the door of their tender compassions on the closest person to them! Shouldn’t more compassion, more love be expended? And shouldn’t you have a strong enough faith that it can withstand listening to some questions? Aren’t we supposed to “reason from the scriptures”? If your faith isn’t strong enough to do that, then perhaps it is time to give it a good hard look. I mean, aren’t we supposed to display the fruitage of the spirit? Especially when you go from door-to-door, you don’t know what questions you are going to get asked – so why doesn’t this apply in the home? I know, I know, I am being way too simplistic again. But really, it should be simple!

    That’s what I reasoned anyway. My husband had some very confronting questions and I had had no idea that he had doubts about what we had been raised to believe so I was very shocked. But I decided not to back away from it but to look his questions in the face. I didn’t want to have a “silent” marriage and I knew he didn’t want to either – we have tackled so many other problems together over the years, this was not one to be avoided. And I have to admit that I didn’t have answers to all of his questions. Some things he had discovered didn’t bother me as much as they did him (and still don’t) but I have respect for my husband (aren’t I supposed to?) which means that I respect his views and am ready to hear them – no matter what. And he has respect for me so he doesn’t try to convince me dogmatically, he just states what he has researched and lets me come to my own conclusions.

    My conclusions are now pretty much aligned with his – it has taken about 18 months. Just last month he introduced me to JW Survey, just gave me the web address and let me go from there. I can’t stop reading!! And I am so comforted by the forum community. Melissa above said that she could never go back, despite how lonely she feels – that really resonated with me. I feel lonely too. I thought I had true friends but I now realise they were only ever conditional friends, conditional based on what they were indoctrinated to believe makes their friendship worthy! Blah! Anyway, I now realise that I do have true friends who really do understand where I am at because you have either gone through it or are going through it. I don’t feel alone anymore. Thank you!
    Love & light to all (apologies for the long ramble and Ruthlee, I am still laughing at Jehovah’s Twitnesses! Love it!)
    smd

    • fallingangel75 says:

      @smd, love this post. Thank you.

    • fallingangel75 says:

      @ Imgonaburn: Aww! Thank you so much! Those are some of the kindest, most thoughtful, most encouraging and compassionate words anyone has said to me since this whole trialsome ordeal began!

      I wept with gratitude upon reading them. You are correct. It is my first child and I am so afraid about how sad I am. I’m afraid our daughter won’t ever know the happy person I used to be, won’t know how much I adore her father, may eventually think about it when she’s older and imagine that she wasn’t conceived in love (which despite our other conflicts is very much not the case!) and worry that she was an unhappy accident because I am always sad and crying.

      I am literally a person who used to sing and dance around the house for no other reason than it felt good to be alive. And I was always surrounded by friends. I feel like a shadow of my former self.

      I don’t know what to teach her. I don’t want her to ever feel like I do now. I don’t want her to feel hopeless about the future, but I don’t want her putting all her eggs in the Paradise basket either!

      And I have talked to my husband about how he plans to have the conversation where he tells her that she must be faithful to Jehovah to have everlasting life on Earth, but Mommy is going to die forever and Daddy’s leaving for heaven and not coming back, but all of it is evidence of Jehovah’s love and superior wisdom.

      Yeah. Good luck with that! He admits he’s at a loss for how he will broach the subject when she is too old and too smart for him to pretend it’s not a thing…

      We’ll see how it all unfolds. I know he will love her deeply. I have no questions about it. I didn’t get pregnant to save my marriage. That is an unfair burden to ever place on a child. But now that I am expecting, there is a part of me that hopes his love for our daughter will make him question his new calling and other doctrines and practices like shunning.

      Could he really disown our child for something he himself did like sex before marriage? And yes, I mean after he was baptized, not while he was still in the world. (Long before we met, though.)

      I hope not. I hope his love for our daughter and desire to see her happy and whole helps him see how the ‘truth’ erodes self-confidence and makes children feel always unworthy and out of place. And for what?

      If perfect Paradise was real, maybe it’s sort of worth it sometimes? But overall not worth the guilt and shame over wanting to wear a miniskirt or kiss a boy when you’re 12. And all the other ‘transgressions’ that no one blinks at in regular society and not as a sign of moral depravity. People are just being NORMAL!

      So, yeah. Like I said we’ll see. Maybe I’m on the road to more heartache and sorrow or maybe by some fluke, less!

      • Caroline says:

        @fallingangel75, I once also thought I was going to heaven when I died and fortunately my husband refused to let me partake. He knew that I would be considered a coo coo too but at the time, I was angry with him for being so controlling.

        Now I realize that it was because I was so “into” the Bible and I felt like I was “one” with it. It’s hard to understand but it’s like when you read a good fictional book and you feel like you really “know” that character even though it’s not a real person.

        Many people feel the same thing when it comes to any other religion as well. Now I realize it as just an intense feeling I had at the time for a fictional character in my own mind. I didn’t pay any attention to the bad character traits of that god.

        It sounds like you really love your husband and would like him to “wake” up so you can be on the same page and be best friends for the rest of your lives.

        I wanted that too but I woke up about 2 years before my husband of almost 49 years of marriage died. Up until I woke up, we would talk for hours and hours and he was truly my best friend (even though there were times I wanted to kill him).

        But when I woke up from the indoctrination, I tried to tell him the things I had learned and he was devastated at my “apostasy” and wanted the elders to turn me around so I could live forever with him when he got resurrected.

        It was really sad and so when I knew he was going to die anyway (terminal cancer), I let up on trying to convince him but we virtually lived in silence for about a year before he died.

        What I want for you so badly is for you to stick with him if you really love him. It took me a good ten years of slowly realizing there was something wrong with the religion before I read Crisis of Conscience and saw on Wikepedia that the JW’s had joined with the UN before I started doing research and even then it took me months before I wasn’t afraid of Armageddon.

        This is just a thought but maybe it might be a crack in the wall but have your husband read Acts 7:43 where Stephen said that the Jews were worshipping Molech in the wilderness for 40 years and then have him read Numbers chapter 31 where Jehovah told Moses to go into Midian and kill all the men, women and little boys but to keep all the little girls alive for themselves and when you read it carefully, 32 of those little girls were devoted to Jehovah. Why keep the little girls and not the boys??? Make him answer what was to happen to those little girls, being devoted to Jehovah and put that together with Acts chapter 7:43. Were they burned to Molech or Jehovah??? Why would they be needed at the tabernacle for working there?

        Go to the Insight book #1 under Baal and it comes right out under #4 and says (7) Jehovah (Ho. 2:16);(8 false gods (Jg:11,13) so Jehovah is another name for Baal. When Stephen Lett says the Israelites were worshipping Baal, it was Jehovah they were worshipping even according to Watchtower literature. Molech was the god that those people offered up their own first born children as burnt sacrifices to him, which makes sense when you read Acts 7:43. Look up Molech in the Insight books to see for himself.

        Go to the Insight Book #2 under Bethel and it comes right out and says Bethel was the house of false worship. Those men in the Bible like Israel were worshippers of the God El, which was a false god of the Canaanites where Abraham went when he “first called on the name of Jehovah (Genesis 12:8) and that is why all those men’s names ended in el.

        Ask your husband what Enaim was in Genesis 38:14 where Tamar stationed herself and pretended she was a prostitute to her father-in-law Judah would see her and want to have sex with her and in Genesis 38:21 Judah asked where the “temple” prostitute was. Have him explain why Judah was going to a “temple” prostitute when the temple wasn’t even established yet in Exodus under Moses. Ask him why would Judah want Tamar “burned”. Why burned????

        He isn’t going to see how he’s worshipping Baal or Molech. Don’t explain it to him. Let him think about it.

        I’d bring up those things and drop it.

        Don’t leave him. Let him leave you. The Society lets a person do that now (if you are going to destroy his faith) but if you just bring up what the Bible says and what our literature says, you can see that he’s being led by a ring in his nose just like a man can control a bull and it isn’t you that is destroying his faith but it’s the Bible doing that.

        • fallingangel75 says:

          Thank you Caroline, I know that by default my posts here are one-sided, but I assure everyone following that our love is not.

          Yes, there are times we want to throttle each other but we absolutely always ‘kiss and make up.’

          He really loves me and continues to show me he does. He is consistently kind and considerate and has been no less so during my pregnancy.

          Getting up from sleep in the middle of the night to get me water or tea. Drawing me bubble baths, rubbing my aching neck and shoulders at 4am when I can’t sleep.

          He’s amazing. And even when we argue about religion he swears up and down he will never leave me.

          He is always more concerned that I will leave him and that he won’t be able to say or do enough to convince me he loves me and that I should stay.

          He says he doesn’t care if I disassociated or was df’d, he would stay married to me and love me the same no matter what.

          So I feel like there would have to be incredible, fundamental changes in his thinking and personality for him to leave me.

          And absolutely no one in our lives has suggested it. It is well-known among our friends what a beautiful love story ours is.

          Everyone wants us to stay together. But the flip side for me is that they all want me to ‘return to Jehovah’ and there’s the rub.

          And it is painful to me that he holds a core belief that says I will die if I don’t worship God the way he’s chosen to, even though it is a way of life we both followed.

          It is also painful to me that we planned on forever and it seems like he let go of that hope much more easily than I ever could.

          It makes me feel like he loves me less than I love him, but I don’t necessarily believe that is what it actually means….

          We’ve had a lot of conversations that are far too involved for me to touch on here that have given me insight into his emotional and mental state.

          I do actually understand how and why he has come to have such a strong conviction. And I also know that I cannot wrest it from him. He will have to let go of it on his own.

          Just like any crisis, at the time it feels like you won’t get through and it can seem that way all the way until things do improve and you get to the other side.

          I am a fundamentally optimistic person and that is what I would like to see happen even though some of my posts sound as if I have already given up.

          • Caroline says:

            fallingangel75, you are still thinking Watchtower.

            There is nothing in the Bible that holds out a great crowd inheriting the earth and only 144,000 going to heaven.

            Most people who consider themselves “Christians” strongly feel and believe that if they believe on Jesus that they will go to heaven when they die.

            It’s only Watchtower that put it into our heads that only those who feel they will go to heaven are going to be kings and priests over the earth.

            There is not one scripture that says a great crowd will live forever on the earth or that the earth will be turned into a paradise. The great crowd is in heaven in the book of Revelation.

            Your husband has a perfectly normal reaction to reading the Bible and believing it.

            I also thought I was going to go to heaven at one point in my life and I think it came mostly from reading the Bible about Jesus and the Psalms and thinking it was inspired of God when I read it. I never thought of myself as being a king or a priest and I would bet you anything that your husband does not think that of himself either but he might because of the Watchtower brainwashing JW’s to think like that. He wouldn’t come up with idea unless he got that idea from JW brainwashing.

            It’s not that he loves you more than the “truth”. It’s that he has a strong feeling that when he dies, he will go to heaven and I would bet you that you would also think the same thing if you really believed in the Bible when you read it that is God’s writing to you but because of JW brainwashing, you are taught to fight those feelings when you read the Bible. We were all taught that the Bible was God talking to us, that it was inspired.

            It’s Watchtower is what made us think we were crazy if we thought we were going to go to heaven because there was such a small number of people going to heaven and who were we to think that we were so “special” that we would arrogantly think that we would be called to be kings and priests over the earth.

            That is why there are so many more who are partaking at the Memorial. They are just going with that feeling. It’s not that they think of being better than anybody else who doesn’t feel they are going to heaven.

            It’s normal for your husband to think he’s going to heaven when he dies. It has nothing to do with how much he loves you.

            I don’t have that warm and cuddly feeling anymore when I read the Bible. I don’t have blinders on anymore. I pay attention to what it really says, not what I “thought” it said.

          • Imgonaburn says:

            I’ve just posted a response then seen this!!
            I am so glad that you and you’re husband still love each other!! That’s such a huge positive!! Awww I think you’ll be fine chuck. Hang in there. Relax with a bubble bath and shoulder rub! (The GB told me to tell you I’m not at all jealous! Lol)
            I totally get what you mean about how you feel about your ‘forever’ husband. I still have some love for mine. I still think maybe we could salvage something workable but then I get crushed again by the shunning policy. I haven’t started divorce proceedings yet. It’s not something I want but I don’t want the constant pressure from my family to return to Jehovah neither. Talk about Babylon the Great! A ruin A ruin A ruin is what the wbts has made of us.
            It remains to be seen if we can rebuild from the rubble.

      • Imgonaburn says:

        Hi Angel,
        I’m glad I was able to bring some comfort to you. I’ve been thinking about you quite a bit really.
        Before I was married, as a young woman (sister), I always insisted that I’d never have children. I used to see parents especially mums getting so stressed when their little kids would make a noise during meetings. They’d drag them out back screaming and fussing then you’d hear the child cry harder because the poor mite had been in the receiving end of some ‘discipline’!! The general census of opinion was children should be seen and not heard back then (early 1980s). I’m ashamed to say I would get annoyed- not at the punishment being meted out but at the child!! Nooo I wasn’t ever going to have children. Noisy disruptive snotty aggravating little monsters!! Imagine my horror when I found out 2 days before my wedding that I was pregnant!!! I was mortified and even stupidly thought it was punishment from Jehovah for being a fornicator!! I was a month into being disfellowshipped and a newly married mess!! I really struggled to accept that I was going to become a mother. My husband
        Was not baptised he was studying so I had to behave and deal with it.
        I don’t think you are struggling with being pregnant as such but I do think you are guilty of one thing that I have a tendency to do. Over thinking! Making everything seem catastrophic before it’s actually happened. I don’t mean this in patronising way. I just wonder if you are like me- if I have something on my mind I can’t shake it off until it becomes worse case scenario in every aspect.
        Yes, you’re likely going to face some challenges ahead. Every day I fret and worry about how I will manage on my own with no job no husband etc and yes at times it feels terribly daunting. I have to accept it won’t be easy but I know I’ll get through it. Look at all the things you’ve dealt with so far! Take a little credit for how far you’ve come. You’ve a child growing in your womb. Knowing what I know now about being a mum I can honestly say- You’re so blessed!!
        I know you’ve lost faith, we have that in common too, but don’t let your current situation cause you to lose hope.
        Your little girl will have YOU! You’re not going to die!! Who knows what will happen as far as your husband is concerned. I doubt he’ll get whisked off to heaven though!
        The love we have for our children is such a powerful thing!! After vowing never to have any I had 4!!
        My gay son was never baptised but the thought that his sexuality might mean he would burn at Armageddon was too much for me! Hence my name (imgonaburn) because if he goes- I go with him!!
        Maybe your husband will feel the same way.
        We just don’t know. In the meantime try to take comfort from knowing we’ve got you. I believe you can get through this whatever the outcome. Bide your time and grow your baby. You’re still the singing dancing girl. I know her well! I sometimes forget her name and have to give my head a wobble to remember. Ah yes her name is ‘Hope’.
        Don’t let go of her hand. X

        • Imgonaburn says:

          I just felt the need to clarify. When I said you’re not going to die, I meant at Armageddon. Of course you will die but hopefully not for a very long time yet!
          When I say I doubt your husband will be whisked off to heaven, I mean I doubt he’ll just disappear from the earth in the blink of an eye.
          I don’t presume to know who are going to heaven. I make no judgements about those who have faith. I don’t know what happens when we die. I just know it’s inevitable.
          I hope I’ve not caused anyone any offence. If so, I apologise it wasn’t my intention.

          • fallingangel75 says:

            @ Imgonaburn: totally ok. I took no offense, but in a real circumstance of my own life, my mother died at the age of 49. I was 19. She had me at 30.

            So, obviously when she died, the number/age 49 was a long way off. 30 years! No way the New System wouldn’t be here long before I turned 40, and probably before I turned 30! So, no worries!

            Well, fast-forward 20 years and we’re all still here and I’m expecting my own daughter on a 10 year delay.

            There is lots of cancer on both sides of my family and several close members (aunts, uncles, a sister and mother) have died between 40 and 50.

            So it’s not an imaginary, irrational fear. It is a tangible, observable one.

            Do I think the fact that they died from cancer mean that I will definitely be diagnosed with it and die? No. Not at all.

            But I do have increased risk, and the family history makes me keenly aware of my own mortality. Even before the pregnancy and before my crisis of faith, I would occasionally think: what if I have 10 years or less?

            If I did follow the family pattern, I would possibly not live until my daughter’s 10th birthday. And I think about that.

            I don’t obsess about it, but there is concern. Especially if my husband would survive me and became the only parent and was still in.

            It’s not high priority on my list of worries, but it is something I think about periodically.

  23. ruthlee says:

    @ falling angel As this is our only way to communicate Just hang in there. The baby needs you and you will survive. your joy when you hold that baby will be even more special because you have unknown love from us here. When love is intangible it is unconditional and new doors open because you can concentrate on you and baby and form a real bond of love. The thing I find here is that being respectful of other peoples beliefs makes it difficult to be specific but we are all cult survivors and that is the starting point. So although we don’t meet up yet just be reassured some of us think about you and your situation so even if it is not prayer it is love. Blessings and cheers Ruthlee

  24. Tranquillo says:

    FallingAngel, thank you for your posts. I can relate to them, being in a very similar situation. your coming baby may feel like an additional burden to an already difficult situation, but I can only quote the wisdom of ruthlee.
    Caroline, your quotes from the Bible are always so well thought and to the point, thank you for sharing them.
    your year of silence reminds me much of what our marriage has become. Talking small talks, loosing touch of one another… Sometimes I feel we are just fetching our love, a love dwingling and dying…
    thank you to you all, especially all the wise women that here can share so much – just the opposite as in Kingdome halls!

  25. fallingangel75 says:

    @ Caroline: I read your comments about going to heaven and whether it’s a normal desire. Did my upbringing as a witness form my opinion about this? Absolutely. However, I happen to be one of the individuals who has fallen on the atheist/agnostic end of the spectrum upon leaving ‘the truth’.

    I know many people talk about evidence of God in their personal lives and the wonders of Creation, but I don’t see it in mine. Everywhere religion has touched my life I feel loss and sorrow and grief. Not love or comfort or security.

    Has that outcome been fostered by my JW indoctrination? Absolutely. My JW indoctrination has left me completely estranged from God as they describe him. Upon rejecting their teaching and interpretation, I have also jettisoned my belief in the Bible, Jesus as savior, and also God.

    I recognize that most Christian people believe in God and heaven and I would never make a case for them to believe otherwise. Contrary to what it may seem, I’m not even trying to convince my husband that he isn’t going to heaven. I have tried to get him to see that the Witnesses are not God’s one chosen people and only channel of truth.

    It may seem like a minor distinction but I have a greater problem with the fact that he is ok with the separation that is inherent in his belief, not that his belief about whether he has been called has changed. But not because I’m envious – because it doesn’t make sense to me and it doesn’t seem fair and therefore it also doesn’t ring true.

    I don’t mean this in an arrogant way and I am not basing it on the fact that he has committed sins that I haven’t, and in a way it still ties in with what you said – from objective metrics about what makes a good and worthy person, I know intimately that he is not better than me.

    The notion that he would be chosen to go to heaven and I would be left behind only makes sense within the framework of JW doctrine.

    Most other major religions teach that the same type of merit-based reward is offered to family members and spouses who want to be together unless you disqualify yourself in some way. Not that you can do your best and remain faithful and still find yourself separated because God needs one as an administrator in his kingdom government, but not your lowly counterpart.

    Our arguments have centered on that problem.

    And let me be clear that I always had a problem with it even before it was under my own roof. I always thought it was unfair and unloving, but I had the idea that if other married couples accepted it and made peace, it was not my place to make waves.

    I found my life as a witness analogous to working for a factory in a town with one major employer. Maybe you disagree with some of the policies and perhaps the politics of the owner or corporation running it, but you need a job and they’re the only game in town.

    You know there are other places you could work, in other towns, but your family and friends all live and work here and you want to be with them. You quietly collect your paycheck and do your job.

    You believe that you will put in service until you retire and then you will get your pension. Until one day you discover the pension is a lie. And when you tell your friends and family who work there also no one believes you.

    Now, here is where I step back, and the analogy breaks down. I feel completely unqualified to tell anyone else (JW or no) that there is or isn’t a heaven or afterlife and they will or will not be going.

    I won’t be telling anyone that ever again.

    I haven’t even told my husband that. What I have said is, he should think about why he belongs to and loves a religion that teaches that he would go and I would stay behind. Something is wrong with that doctrine and it is a fundamental, core teaching.

    Can something that I find so painful and distressing to me on a personal level be the fate forced upon me by a God who knows and loves me?

    I do believe he should question it – the teaching, not his calling – based on the love we have for each other, the love he still says is eternal and strong and unbreakable. What type of God lets you find that love and enjoy that love and then makes you give it up with no hope of reunion?

    It doesn’t make sense to me and I don’t want to serve that God, but he still does and that is a point of contention.

    He does see it as unfair and has admitted to me multiple times in the language of our generation: it sucks!

    But he still believes that it’s Jehovah’s will for him and he must submit to it and that his only 2 choices are heaven (accepting the invitation/calling) or everlasting cutting-off at Armageddon.

    I disagree, but I understand! Really I do. The indoctrination has him boxed in. If I genuinely believed those were my only two choices, I suppose I would cling to the heavenly hope also.

    But I have said to him that the divisive nature of this doctrine seems to me to be incompatible with a loving God who wants happiness for his faithful servants. And that many core teachings of Witnesses are divisive and damaging to families to greater and lesser degrees.

    Hell, maybe he is going to heaven. But I don’t believe he is. Because I don’t believe in heaven.

    But in a statement that may also seem oddly contradictory, I accept and admit that my own personal belief about heaven does not dictate whether it does or doesn’t exist.

    How many people alive today and of all of the humans who ever lived and died on this earth do believe in it? Not for nothing, right?

    Of all the things I have questioned and abandoned in the last year, I am happy to report that my moral compass, my center, my sense of right and wrong is still wonderfully in tact.

    I don’t need to believe in God and eternal reward or punishment to be a good person or do the right thing. That makes me happy.

    So I am determined to continue on volunteering and helping others in small ways.

    If indeed, I am wrong and there is a compassionate, benevolent God who sees into our hearts, I would certainly hope that he could see how my association with the Witnesses made it impossible for me as an individual to believe and have faith in him, but that I am still a good person who desires to do the right thing by my fellow man.

    And if he would see to it that me and my husband do get to be together in the afterlife he designated, that would be fine by me, but I do not hold out hope for that. I will no longer defer dreams and goals I have for this life now because my religion says it is what I must do to earn the future reward.

    All of us know that JWs insist it is not enough to be a good person and do good works. I disagree.

    My current ‘good enough’ of showing love and compassion and support to fellow humans by being a generally good and supportive, honest and caring person will have to be ‘good enough’ to earn a reward if there is one.

    If it isn’t good enough or if there is no reward – that is also a reality I am powerless to change.

    • Imgonaburn says:

      Very well said Angel. I feel the exact same way as you do!
      I struggle with the concept that my loved ones (husband adult son/daughter) actually believe that I’m going to die at Armageddon but they will happily live forever on paradise earth without me. Yeah..good luck with that one!
      I know they’re programmed to believe this and that it’s something they too struggle with but it’s sooo frustrating to me!
      I’m tired of drawing comparisons between the right to excercise the religious freedom that JWs fight for but deny to their own members.
      My husband has sought advice from the elders at tonight’s meeting re my being shunned by my JW kids. He explained how it was causing major problems between us, that I’d been to seek legal advice from a solicitor and was giving serious consideration towards divorcing him. He said the elders were shocked by that! I could understand a little better if I were disfellowshipped but I’m not! Truth be told I probably would feel the same even if I were dfd. The elders response was ‘….she knows what she must do if she wants things to get better..’ (return to meetings)
      My daughter says because i haven’t yet returned then she must continue to shun me to ‘give Jehovah time’. Time to do what?? I’ve never heard anything so irrational in my life!! Punish me to teach me a lesson then keep it up til I ‘come to my senses’?! My son says ‘typical mum- being hasty!’ Oh my- I’m not a hasty person! I’ve been dealing with their p*ss poor treatment of me for over 3 years!
      I totally get your discomfort and sense of abandonment. My husband is a wishy washy
      Witness and yet still condones this behaviour by continuing to go to meetings.
      The elders response confirms that they approve of shunning as a form of emotional blackmail. I asked my husband if he thinks Jehovah would approve and he says it’s what the bible says. I disagreed and said it’s a misapplication of scripture. Grrrrr!! He’s been given no advice to work at our marriage and the elders have refused to encourage our older kids to relax their shunning of me. After my
      30 years of devotion I’m now worthless to them. I’m really fed up with it all and feel very down tonight. 🙁

    • messenger says:

      @falligangel75
      One of the greatest fallacies in WT teachings compared to New Testament writings is WT’s emphasis on works, that they claim are necessary for salvation. Churches that really understand the Bible’s message agree that Christ’s offering and God’s grace ( God’s free gift of forgiveness for sins committed and the resulting life ) are all the works necessary for a believer to be saved. And that work was accomplished by Christ alone.

      Let me explain their position this way, if peoples’ works are required to save them then there is no grace from God, because there is no free gift as soon as human works are attached to it. If your husband offered you a present as a gift and in the process asked you to work for it then it would not really be a gift. And the same thing applies to the present God offers. God offer it to all believers in Christ. Part of what destroyed your faith was a WT teachings that you must do and believe certain things to be saved….things that the Bible never claimed were required of you to be saved. If you read Paul’s writings I think you’ll see that. He wrote about that more than anyone else, but its also shown in Jesus’ example, especially as seen in the gospel of John.

      You write well. I hate to edit, so I don’t correct mine enough before I click the submit button. Try to relax and enjoy your relationship with your husband.
      Best wishes!!!

      • Winston Smith says:

        @messenger
        Your comment sparked this thought: Watchtower unwittingly does more to promote atheism than probably any other organization today.

        WS

  26. Fooledmeonce says:

    Excellent writing as always!

  27. David says:

    I grew up a Jdub. I left about 6 years ago at the age of 32. While I never emvisioned that I would leave due to the inculcation I had received, leaving has opened my world. It is with sad news that my ex-wife is still a JW and she is trying to reign my son in. Im doing all I can to help him stay out. I dont knkw what else to do, Im out of money after fighting, and all I have is hope and reading the work you do. I have hours and hours of stories to tell and I need an outlet to do so for some self therapy. I was IN the religion big time, was being made and elder when it clicked that I was done after hearing about some things in my local congregation that sent shockwaves through my system.

    I love the work you are doing and have done and will do!

    • Ricardo says:

      @David, that sounds very tantalizing. Please share the things in the local congregation that were so shocking. I love to hear how ridiculous things become when looked after by the men in Jesus’ right hand (showing Jesus’ has full control over them, according to our present teaching).