Anthony Morris (left) and Stephen Lett (right) feature in videos that have been leaked online
Anthony Morris (left) and Stephen Lett (right) feature in videos that have been leaked online

In late 2012 the Governing Body implemented a special “Kingdom Ministry School” – an instructional event to be attended by elders internationally.

As with almost anything elder-related, these schools are top-secret. Only elders who attend are privy to what is discussed. Normal publishers are not allowed to know how their elders were instructed, just as they are not allowed to read organizational correspondence, or look at copies of the “Shepherd the Flock Of God” elder manual.

But now, thanks to some bold spanish-speaking Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses, several videos that were used during the school have been uploaded to YouTube so that the whole world can get a fascinating glimpse at the instructions issued during the course.

One video, which I assume was intended to be shown at the beginning of the school, shows a typically animated and melodramatic Stephen Lett welcoming elders and reminding them of their responsibilities.

A noteworthy feature of Lett’s pantomime-like performance is his insistence that elders show obedience in carrying out their “very demanding” duties. After reading 1 Kings 3:9, Lett uses the word “obedient” three times, urging elders to return to their assigned congregations “with an obedient heart.”

Lett’s video was essentially a “Listen, Obey and Be Blessed” for elders. Watchtower is demanding total loyalty from its line managers, no matter what grizzly tasks they are asked to perform.

Also leaked was a video featuring Tony Morris, who I have discussed at some length in a recent article.

In this video, Tony laments that “to participate in judging a wrongdoer to determine genuine repentance produces anxiety for the elders involved.” Little regard is shown in the brief video for the stress and anxiety caused to the one being judged, with potential shunning and family estrangement the ultimate penalty.

Tony then rises from his spacious Brooklyn desk to pluck a bible from his sparsely populated bookshelf before reading 2 Chronicles 19:6. He uses this scripture to promise elders that Jehovah will be with them “in the matter of judgment.” In other words, God will influence and/or endorse any decision they make, provided they’ve prayed and consulted the bible first.

2 Chronicles 19:7 is then invoked to remind elders to be “decisive” in their decision-making. As an example, Tony alludes to a 42-minute demonstration video portraying a young publisher who commits fornication and tearfully confesses his sins to his elders.

During the course of his confessions, it becomes clear the young man has been withholding information regarding the extent of his actions. He is thus disfellowshipped as being unrepentant. Tony praises the committee, saying that they came to the “right decision.”

The video, embedded below, is entirely dubbed into Spanish so I am unable to provide any subtitles (not to mention the amount of time this task would involve). However, a summary of the video in English can be found by clicking here.

UPDATE:- As you can see, the above video has since been removed following a copyright claim from the Watch Tower Society, who evidently don’t want ALL Witnesses to have access to this particular “spiritual food.”

The Kingdom Ministry School in question was conducted over a year ago, so congregations around the world will have already felt the fallout from this hardline approach the Governing Body seems intent on enforcing.

Elders are to be obedient and fearless in acting “decisively,” confident that whatever decision they reach has the backing of both God and the organization (if the Governing Body would permit me to make a distinction between the two).

If the Governing Body fears some elders are perhaps half-hearted or reticent over the far-reaching judicial verdicts they are delivering, those fears are well-founded. Out of 16 serving elders who have so far taken part in our 2014 Global Survey, 1 in 4 confess to regretting a decision they have reached as part of a judicial committee.

Chart_Q30_140206Though some may find the levels of “decisiveness” in the above figures reassuring, only those who have themselves been disfellowshipped and severed from their loved ones can truly appreciate just how devastating a lack of mercy by a judicial committee can prove to be. And as I highlighted in a recent video, disfellowshipping as prescribed by Watchtower is not even mentioned in the Bible.

The practice of excommunication was even denounced as a “weapon” and instrument of “ecclesiastical power and secular tyranny” that is “altogether foreign to Bible teachings” in a 1947 Awake! article, which can be downloaded on these links: Page 1 | Page 2

Aside from the unsettling shift towards a stricter and more draconian approach presented in these videos, unquestionably the most intriguing thing about them is the fact that they have been leaked. For all their pomp and strutting around, the Governing Body cannot claim to have 100% control over their army of line managers while some conscientious elders continue to break ranks and leak out sensitive material for the world to see.

And those who insist this information should be kept confidential regardless of whether it is leaked or not will find no sympathy with me. The bible gives absolutely no precedent for secret information to only be circulated among a privileged few. The myriad judicial decrees and pronouncements in the bible, no matter how petty or pedantic some of them happened to be, were published for the benefit of every worshipper – be they priest or infant, apostle or newly baptized one.

The now rampant culture of secrecy and concealment that has been allowed to flourish in Watchtower’s murky gentlemen-only club over many decades is neither helpful nor laudable. It only serves to represent yet more evidence that Watchtower does not enjoy divine direction, nor can it ever hope to.

 

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Special thanks to Hildebrando y Otras Hierbas for releasing the information reviewed in this article. Thanks also to Nate Bennecoff for assisting with transcription.

100 thoughts on ““Be obedient and decisive!” – Governing Body instructions to elders leaked on YouTube

  • February 6, 2014 at 8:29 am
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    Thank you Cedars,
    “to determine genuine repentance produces anxiety for the elders involved…”

    1)*** w74 11/15 pp. 703-704 Questions From Readers ***
    Do lewd practices on the part of a married person toward that one’s own mate constitute a Scriptural basis for the offended mate to get a divorce?
    […] “fornication” is set forth as the only ground for divorce. … por•nei′a can rightly be considered as including perversions within the marriage arrangement is seen in that the man who forces his wife to have unnatural sex relations with him in effect “prostitutes” or “debauches” her. …For example, a wife may do what she reasonably can to prevent her husband from forcing upon her perversions such as are carried on in a brothel. Yet, due to his greater strength, he might overpower her and use her for perverted sex. So as not to be prostituted in this way at another time, a Christian wife may decide to get a divorce. She could establish with the congregation that the real reason for this is por•nei′a and then proceed to get a legal divorce on any truthful grounds acceptable to the courts of the land.
    If, on the other hand, the lewd practices were engaged in by mutual consent, neither mate would have a basis for claiming por•nei′a as a Scriptural ground for divorce. This is so because neither party is innocent and seeking freedom from a mate guilty of por•nei′a. Both marriage partners are guilty. Such a case, if brought to the attention of elders in the congregation, would be handled like any other serious wrongdoing.”

    Who can help to tell me how this work… How do elders determine BOTH, man and woman are guilty or a “MAN” is guilty!

  • February 6, 2014 at 9:19 am
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    This is great stuff Cedar’s! Thanks!

  • February 6, 2014 at 9:21 am
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    Great content Cedars, thank you!

  • February 6, 2014 at 9:25 am
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    This video is been showed again in the CO Visit, it looks like the Elders dint understand they need to DF the unrepented,The leak of this Video is huge couse the only one’s that have this Video are C.O’s and sub C. O.

    You and Hildebrando have the best Blogs on the net i think he also whent to mts or another spanish blogger.
    Keep on the good job i enjoy reading.

  • February 6, 2014 at 9:46 am
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    Powerful stuff. I hope it stays here and that the link is spread all of the internet for available viewing by everyone interested.

    • February 6, 2014 at 9:50 am
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      Thanks Brian. I’ve used Vimeo for the videos this time in the hopes that it will be slightly harder to take them down. YouTube can be pretty trigger-happy with DMCA requests, and the videos themselves will get less direct exposure on Vimeo.

  • February 6, 2014 at 10:00 am
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    Stephen Lett looks like a total tool, whats with the over dramatisation of every one of his actions? is he some frustrated actor? i wanted to punch him in the face and that’s coming from a pacifist

  • February 6, 2014 at 10:05 am
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    Thank you so much for making this secret information known to us. As they say “know your enemy”. It’s disappointing to see that the Society is becoming more and more strict, unloving, and like the Pharisees. The Governing Body completely lacks humility, has all but pushed out Jesus, and equated themselves with God.

  • February 6, 2014 at 10:22 am
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    After seeing the video of an judicial committee enactment I can honestly say that these people make me sick!
    Brings back so many memories of when I was 15 and dragged into a judicial committee by my parents after they found out I was “hooking up” with a boy but not before my mother beat me up some and then used horrific words against me. When the elders arrived and could not speak, I was terrified and in such a state shock that although I wanted to yell out for help I could not open my mouth. My lack of ability to speak apparently was enough to view me as unrepentant. I still remember that day as if it were yesterday and I’m 34 now. I have never and probably will never forgive my parents for that. At most vulnerable they essentially feed me tot he wolves.
    I live for the day this horrible and destructive cult is no longer in existence!

  • February 6, 2014 at 10:22 am
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    Is it still the GB policy to go and seek the help of the elders if one masturbates on occasion?

  • February 6, 2014 at 10:25 am
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    How sad it would be to sexually traumatize young ones that way.

  • February 6, 2014 at 10:54 am
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    What more evidence is needed to convince any JW watching, to NOT meet with the Elders…EVER?!?! They are NOT appointed by Holy Spirit. They are middle management for other self-appointed men. They cannot help you. They can only repeat company policy. You may be able to help yourself, based on some common sense and scriptural advice.
    In the end the Elders can only be a benign group at best, and an inquisition at worst. Even the good ones have no choice but to cower to the strongest personalities on the BOE, and the strongest are almost always worship the Governing Body/Corporation.
    The house always wins. All you can do is not play the game. Simply refuse to meet with the Elders. They are not open to any agreement. They do not want to learn from you. Why should they? They are dukes and princes. They are the “Stars” of Revelation. They are sheep who believe that they are shepherds! Avoiding them is the best policy.

    • February 6, 2014 at 11:06 am
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      Very eloquently put Spike. I wholeheartedly agree.

  • February 6, 2014 at 11:01 am
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    Spike, well said!!

  • February 6, 2014 at 11:21 am
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    Spike,
    Wonderful comment! Only “sheep” meet “other sheep” (elders)!!

  • February 6, 2014 at 11:24 am
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    I remember when I was disfellowshipped in 1981. I was in tears as I concluded that God was casting me away. I asked if it meant I would not be resurrected if I died before re instatement. It took them about 1/2 hour looking through the kingdom hall library before returning their verdict. No resurrection if you die disfellowshipped. They couldn’t sense that I was already repentant.I was reinstated 4 years later but left 10 years ago. I am now free from their judgmental scrutinies and my family still talks to me because I left after being re instated. That might change in the future though seeing that they are clamping down.

  • February 6, 2014 at 11:29 am
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    So many instructions on how to judge people! How can you sit in judgment of someone else, when Christ commanded, “Judge not, lest ye be judged?”

    Can anyone point to the scripture reference, where he makes an exception to this command?

    I am still in a state of disbelief that people actually believe the things these men say.

    • February 6, 2014 at 11:47 am
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      These men are pawns too, somehow thinking obeying all these orders will please God. We are taught that these men are placed by holy spirit, and we want to cooperate with holy spirit. We are told not to “pick our favorite elder” when we want advice. But having seen dominant elders determine the direction of judicial cases has really made me cynical.

  • February 6, 2014 at 11:41 am
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    I think the fact that this video even got leaked in the first place is revealing. Even at the upper level there must be some unsatisfied people. Surely but slowly they are losing their grip. Sad thing about it all is that Joe publisher has just got no idea of what is going on.

  • February 6, 2014 at 11:50 am
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    Traditionally I have thought that if I were asked to summarize Watchtower religion/practice in one single world, it should be “organization”.

    Perhaps I’ve been wrong. Perhaps “OBEDIENCE” was the word I wanted.

  • February 6, 2014 at 12:01 pm
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    Cedars, in your article you hint the idea that they pretend that the JC decisions are endorsed by Jehovah, as if you don’t totally agree with it.

    Now, I’m really offended … ! :-) How could you hint such a thing …

    In my case for example, I’m disfellowshipped and I truly believe that it’s a blessing :-) I have never been so free and above all, I have a choice now ! I do have beliefs and a genuine care for understanding the truth, but without having been disfellowshipped, I don’t know where I’d be today. Some degree of interest I had about the organization after many years quickly erodes with everything I’ve been recently discovering and it brings memories back, amongs which, my JC. I don’t think I would see things from such a “free” angle if I wasn’t disfellowshipped.

    So I guess, I must be grateful ….

    Well, I’m half-joking, but I know it’s not that funny for everyone and I do feel for the ones who are shunned. I lost a few friends, but actually they weren’t …

  • February 6, 2014 at 12:24 pm
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    I asked my Elder, “When a mistake is made by the BOE, who is to blame? Jesus? Jehovah? Holy Spirit?!? Doesn’t the holy spirit preside over your meetings?” I never received a satisfactory answer, just that hopefully things work…

    Consider this, the individual members of the GB unite to become the prophesied “Faithful Slave.” Is the composite theological arrangement of the “Slave” infallible? This is the foremost group of spiritually mature men on the earth, THE channel of God! How does the prophesied, spirit directed, channel of God, the most spiritually astute collective in all of human history make mistakes?? If the “Slave” is just as fallible as the members who form it, then why bother?? What’s the point of the ” Planeteers” forming an impotent ” Captain Planet?”

    The BOE’s are merely a reflection of the GB. The local BOE’s follow the GB, and the GB follow their own ideas. In reality the GB are guessing just as often as your local Elders who are trying to buy a lawnmower.

  • February 6, 2014 at 1:18 pm
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    Hi, I’m working with the subtitiles in English, it is a lot of work , but I’m doing my best. I hope to have them by the weekend. ;)

  • February 6, 2014 at 1:35 pm
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    The watchtower stated masturbation can lead to homosexuality. Statistics show at least 98 percent of males have at least once masturbated. So does this mean if 50 percent were continually doing it then they have a greater chance of being Homosexual?
    When you read this garbage for the first time you have to say what in the world are these Governing Body members thinking when they approve the writing of this stuff by those who hardly have a high school education?
    You call that a Ministry School? Its more like a ask and answer drama school.
    SUCH BULLCRAP!! Any right minded individual could see this.
    And they say were ” Mentally Diseased” LOL

  • February 6, 2014 at 1:36 pm
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    Recently an elder in our area was busted on having an affair for over 20 years with a sister who had pioneered for 10 years. He was well respected and considered a pillar in the district. So my question to my brother, who is still in was, if he had been doing this for 20 years does that mean that every Judicial Council he was a part of, every appointment of MS or Elder he approved, every prayer he gave was it backed by holy spirit? Should not the decisions on brothers being disfellowshipped, appointed or deamed fit to be baptized be reversed? What about the sisiter? Should her studies who got baptized be retaught being she was a hypocrite? His answer, “Jehovah will take care of everything in the end”.

  • February 6, 2014 at 1:36 pm
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    Spike, in the book “Crisis of conscience” page 362 by Ray Franz, there is a recount of an incident where a Circuit overseer not having any more valid arguments to trap Brother Franz said that he simply viewed himself as one who conveyed the things provided
    by the organization. Quoting his own words, he said, “I parrot what the Governing Body says.”
    It is certainly outrageouss that a CO had to say that.

  • February 6, 2014 at 1:43 pm
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    At John Cedars, I can see how excited you are in your posts about exposing these Nut Job’s. I have a few in my own family and after dealing with one after 22 yrs because my Mom died she is worse then ever up to being a crook in regard to her estate. It was my pleasure to see after being shunned after 22yrs how she was the one committing deceitful things in regard to other family members. Of course I wrote her a letter since I was the dis-inherited shunned son in her eyes and she has not even responded back to me. I guess we will leave it to the lawyers. Oh her husband is a Elder as well. Christian Not!!! What hypocrites!!

  • February 6, 2014 at 2:30 pm
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    John Baptist says:

    February 6, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    The watchtower stated masturbation can lead to homosexuality. Statistics show at least 98 percent of males have at least once masturbated. So does this mean if 50 percent were continually doing it then they have a greater chance of being Homosexual?
    When you read this garbage for the first time you have to say what in the world are these Governing Body members thinking when they approve the writing of this stuff by those who hardly have a high school education?
    You call that a Ministry School? Its more like a ask and answer drama school.
    SUCH BULLCRAP!! Any right minded individual could see this.
    And they say were ” Mentally Diseased” LOL

    Reply Yeah! They showed a demonstration where a young one seeks the help of an elder because of this supposed sin. Can you imagine our young ones going to seek the help from an elder who has abused children. Of course the child would never know because of the existing policies

  • February 6, 2014 at 2:42 pm
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    Its getting pathetically obvious to me that the GB are not servants of God, and their loyal congregation.

    Sly little devil is Satan!

  • February 6, 2014 at 2:53 pm
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    What a sweetheart you are!
    Thank you, jenny alia!! :D

  • February 6, 2014 at 2:53 pm
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    Withe reference to the following below:

    This guy is so false and it shows…… its sickening to think that some elders out there believe him!

    One video, which I assume was intended to be shown at the beginning of the school, shows a typically animated and melodramatic Stephen Lett welcoming elders and reminding them of their responsibilities.

  • February 6, 2014 at 3:02 pm
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    Cedars, I particularly liked this sentence – Tony then rises from his spacious Brooklyn desk to pluck a bible from his sparsely populated bookshelf

  • February 6, 2014 at 3:22 pm
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    is that what Jesus would say? He told us to do what is right NOW, while we are here, and CAN!

  • February 6, 2014 at 3:32 pm
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    I hope that young man leaves “the truth” and influences many, many others to do so also.

  • February 6, 2014 at 3:38 pm
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    Carrying on from Spike, correct! the wishy washy elders are always going to go along with the stronger more opinionated elders to keep the peace, its a fact! At the end of the day its like a board of Directors and the stronger ones are always going to influence the weaker ones. And what if an elder on a judicial committee had his wife leave him for immorality and he is now judging a sister in the same situation, how an earth can he be impartial? and what’s to say that person is going to decline upon grounds on what has happened to him, as they think they are over it and can cope (as its in the past) yeah right! (I have seen this happen to a friend of mine, she had a really hard time of it on a judicial with very unnecessary comments made towards her). Or what if an elder is judging someone who has wronged slightly a member of his family or even just someone he is close to, or his family is close to in the hall, I can’t believe anyone can go into the judicial process being completely impartial unless you are a very very mature elder with a lot of experience of which I am not sure many of them are, at the end of the day its human emotions! and they do sometimes seem to make some brothers up to elders rather quickly.. ok I’ve said enough I think, best wishes to all..

  • February 6, 2014 at 3:48 pm
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    Cedars, this is awesome.
    I have navigated several sites in the last few years only to find that after a while, the host tires out and suspends. This is what happened with both watchtowernews and letters from the governing body websites. I hope you don’t tire out because I really love this site. I don’t know how you obtain all this info but keep it up. Thank you.

    • February 6, 2014 at 4:45 pm
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      Yes! Keep up the fight. You have an army here with you.
      Thanks for your efforts and research. This website is helping many people.

  • February 6, 2014 at 4:39 pm
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    @Haki- The one with the guilty looking genitals.

  • February 6, 2014 at 6:02 pm
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    Stephen Lett in a constant state of surprise! The man doesn’t blink and always speaks as though he wants people to read his lips! I don’t trust a man that doesn’t blink, a liar may blink fast and look away at times. He seems to force himself from doing that!
    Ant Mo the turd, Has a black heart and eminates no warmth. He seems annoyed to have to take the time to make these videos as they are beneath him! The African busts are questionable!

  • February 6, 2014 at 7:35 pm
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    It is simple, Jehovah has nothing to do with this organization. Moreover, Rutherford said that “the comforter [the holy spirit] was taken away…since 1918” (Preservation, page 194). So, the elders are not following the faithful slave appointed in 1919. Rutherford was right, there is no holy spirit there with the Watchtower elders since 1918.

  • February 6, 2014 at 9:06 pm
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    Heheh thanx to Cedars and all those who helped release this top secret material. I saw the stiff-handedness and over zealousness of our elders in handling the flock. Totally misguided zeal and authority!

  • February 6, 2014 at 10:34 pm
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    Faithful Witness,
    Let me try with JOHN 8:4-11!
    “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of committing adultery. 5 In the Law Moses prescribed for us to stone such sort of women. What, really, do you say?” […] But Jesus bent down and began to write with his finger in the ground. 7 When they persisted in asking him, he straightened up and said to them: “Let the one of YOU that is sinless be the first to throw a stone at her.” […] But those who heard this began going out, one by one, starting with the older men, and he was left alone, and the woman that was in their midst. 10 Straightening up, Jesus said to her: “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She said: “No one, sir.” Jesus said: “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way; from now on practice sin no more.”

    I am sorry, they have judged the Bible itself and removed this from their new “SISTER PROOF BIBLE”!!

  • February 6, 2014 at 10:52 pm
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    @H.K. Fauskanger,
    For me, Watchtower religion/practice is an “organization”, an “Animal Farm”, a bunch/flock of “sheep” (anointed) and “Other sheep” where ” “All animals are equal” (they are all brothers and sisters).

    OLD LIGHT: “All animals are equal”

    NEW LIGHT: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”.

    REFLECTION: “All animals [JWs] are equal, but some animals [GB] are more equal than others”.

  • February 6, 2014 at 11:35 pm
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    Great article!

    How about that welcome to the Kindergarten class approach by Lett. He is fine if he is speaking to a bunch of 4-5 year olds. Spanish subtitles to an Aryan self appointed supremacist caricature of Mr. Rogers, that had to be really engaging to the Spanish speaking witnesses. So sorry I missed that one, Hitlers goofy brother giving speeches for the J.W.s and talking to adults like they are mentally handicapped. Ohh wait, if they were smart when they were young, they have been dumbed down by the teachings of the WT. This guy would creep people out if he was a greeter at Walmart with all of the over exaggerated gestures and goofy looking fake smile.

    I wonder if someone put goofy ears (Mickey Mouse’s dog) on this creep if he wouldn’t look like a pedophile hiding, Disney loving, mental patient.

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