A support group in Finland is concerned about the shunning practices of Jehovah's Witnesses
A support group in Finland is concerned about the shunning practices of Jehovah’s Witnesses

A Finnish non-governmental organization (NGO) has issued a report to the country’s Ministry of Justice calling for an investigation into the judicial practices of Jehovah’s Witnesses – specifically the practice of shunning as a punishment meted out by judicial committees.

According to its official website, one of the stated aims of the UUT (the Support group for the Victims of Religions) is to ensure that “religious communities would obey the law and respect human rights acts declared by the United Nations.”

They also insist that members of religions “should also have the right to leave the community without threats or fears of retaliation.”

On Saturday the group released a report criticizing the internal tribunals used by Witnesses, and the way those deemed punishable by disfellowshipping are “harassed, bullied, publicly reviled and isolated from loved ones.”

Justice Minister Anna-Maija Henriksson will be looking into the report
Justice Minister Anna-Maija Henriksson will be looking into the report

The report cites firsthand accounts from 18 former members as evidence of the harsh penalties that can be imposed. Shunning is identified as a practice that is “exceptionally cruel and a violation of human rights,” which can lead to severe health problems and even attempted suicide.

When asked about her immediate reaction to the report, Justice Minister Anna-Maija Henriksson expressed her concern about the idea of two judicial systems operating side-by-side in Finland.

“Of course it cannot be in Finland that we have another system outside the regular judiciary,” she said.

“It’s extremely important, also in religious communities to respect fundamental individual rights and freedoms. And that also includes thinking about our own behavior and practices from the perspective of respecting others.”

Henriksson admitted to reporters at “yle” that courts are the final authority on whether or not the organs of a religious group are operating legally or illegally, but she indicated that she would be looking into the UUT report in greater detail and may discuss the matter with the minister responsible for church matters.

Finland currently has around 18,700 Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Finnish Branch also manages organizational affairs for Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – all countries whose own branches have recently been closed down.

Here at JWsurvey we applaud the UUT for its bravery in addressing this important issue, and we call upon similar organizations in other countries to follow its lead.

Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly stipulates that everyone should be free to leave his or her former beliefs if they so choose. The practice of shunning those who disassociate themselves from the organization as implemented by Watchtower in 1981, and the breaking up of families through coercion that this entails, is a flagrant and obscene violation of these basic inalienable rights.

 

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Further reading…

116 thoughts on “Finnish NGO urges governmental investigation into Watchtower’s judicial policies

  • May 7, 2014 at 6:36 am
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    I implore anyone that is studying or thinking of joining the JW organization, and especially teenagers and young adults to seriously consider the choice you are making.
    My 20 year old son was baptized in the last 2 years and now will not speak or see me because I disassociated myself almost 15 years ago when he was just a young child.
    Through direction from the Governing Body and the congregation, he doesn’t maintain contact with his step father (a non-JW) and his younger half sisters, and even his brother who is 17 and is lost without him. The little girls are devastated that the brother they have loved all their little lives, has not seen them in almost a year, never calls and responds minimally to their texts, email and phone messages. Mother’s Day is this Sunday and I as I type this I try to hold back the tears, mourning the loss of my beloved first born.
    Is this godly love? SHUNNING is not Christlike! This is cruel and horrible treatment of former members who have chosen to leave the organization.

  • May 7, 2014 at 6:58 am
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    Folks,

    The fact is that an individual has the right to decide with whom they will associate or not associate.

    A religion has the right to set rules and regulations.

    The crime here is the disconnect between what is published in the Watchtower and other media, and the facts about shunning hidden in the Shepherding the Flock of God elders manual.

    The public voice is shun and shun hard or you will make the baby Jesus cry, or some such nonsense.

    The secret voice is that it is a personal choice, and that no one can be disfellowshipped for associating with a disfellowshipped family member.

    Cedars, perhaps it would be a good idea to highlight the passage in the “Shepherding” book that deals with the consequences of associating with disfellowshipped ones, and contrast and compare with their increasingly hysterical admonishions to shun and shun hard, with no email exchanges etc?

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

  • May 7, 2014 at 8:30 am
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    A religion has the right to set rules and regulations without causing harm and damage to people especially when a person just decide to walk away without causing any problem.

    They cannot have total control, they must comply with human rights that everybody have.

    Also I cannot see how their behaviour can be even Christian.

    God should be worshipped willfully with complete heart not because of evil blackmail and retaliation. People should be attracted by love not by such maniac behaviour.

    What kind of Christian religion is when people are forced to stay? Is this a pure organisation? Do they represent God with this behaviour?

    It is like a rotten apple with a beautiful appearance.

    I think this is another example of human stupidity and wickedness.

  • May 7, 2014 at 9:04 am
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    Hi, Tipper,

    Please do not become angry with me because of my asking you following : Why have you decided to dissociate yourself ? Why not simply fade ? If someone still trapped in the JW.org begins to realize that this “American Business & Religious Company” is a cult, why should this person take the time to write a letter and spend money to buy a post stamp to contact them for asking to be disassociated, knowing that taking such an initiative would automatically cause the JW.org to order their henchmen to arrange a shunning of the person wanting to be disassociated. Furthermore they would not fail to do it even if this person has children still trapped in their cult.

    The repeated and pathological interfering behaviour of some “elders” in my own family brought me after fourty years of regular activity to decide to stop attending meetings in the Kingdom Hall. By more thant two years of non attendig meetings and stopping associating with JW, I could use my own brain to demanipulate myself and could realize by careful studying old WT magazines, books talks, and videos, that the JW.org is nothing more than an “Amercian Busines Religious Company”, or in other word a mere cult. Thanks to my good knowledge of English I could study old WT material not available in my own mother tongue. One thing I became aware of : it takes time, study and willpower to become really demanipulted from of a cult, especially after many decades in.

    Of course by fading I have lost contact with almost all my previous “brothers” and “sisters”. But it is not a real problem. Because I have not lost contact with my children still in the “truth”. They think one day I will come back to the “truth”. Why should I deceive them, as they are not able now to understand my new position before God ? I still consider my JW baptism as valid, because it was done with a good conscience and with respect for God. What is not valid anymore is my attachment to the JW.org.

    By fading I feel so free now, after so many decades, Oh my God ! Thank you ! And I do not feel anymore the obligation of making a separtion between non JW people of myself to protect me. When walking anywhere out of my house I feel free. Why should I protect myself from hypothetical dangerousness ? If some JW is knocking at my door to try to bring me back from inactivity, I always find an excuse to avoid contact. I am not angry with them, but now I prefer to spend time and money learning music and using my own brain to learn so many things about people, animals, geography, English language, etc.. without beeing anymore manipulated. As I feel really free now, my love and respect for God, for my neighbours and my children is increasing every new day.

    Fading and Free begin with the same F.

    All the best, dear Tipper, and take care.

  • May 7, 2014 at 9:12 am
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    Tipper on sokiran sam vasim iskustvom ali mogi vam reci da sam i ja postao jehovin svjedok sa 21godinu . Sada vise nisam svjedok . Mladost ima svoje faze , savjetujem vam da uvjek ostanete pozitivni i dobri prema sinu . Kao svjedok sigurno ce imati materijalne i dusevne krize i tada vise budite uz njega . Tako ce brzo prepoznati tko mu je prijatelj . Rijecima necete uspjeti da ga spasite ali djelima hocete . Ni slucajno nemojte da ga kritikujete , tako ce te ga samo odbiti . Puno srece i morate ostati pozitivni . Ps-google translate .

  • May 7, 2014 at 9:33 am
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    These are such good points. However, it is hard to regulate or govern a belief system. As much as I agree with everyone here about the WTS abuses and bully-boy tactics, you cannot govern a personal belief, even in the most repressive regimes (aka North Korea, Islamic Countries, etc.). My heart goes out to all who are suffering the truly unchristian practice of shunning family and friends. As Defender has implied, government intervention will only embolden the knuckle-heads at the WTS headquarters to say, “See! See! The satanic world government is coming to get us! The world is coming to an end! Get ready! It’s just around the corner!” Oh boy! Here we go again!

    The best way to putting an end to this destructive, mind-control cult is by the way Cedar’s and others like him are making information and education available for all to see. Information and education are the governing body’s worst nightmare. Look at the way they are publishing recently. Why do you think they discorage higher education and threaten those who read information other than their own material? Free information THREATENS their power, control, and most of all, monetary wealth. They want ‘mushrooms’; kept in the dark and fed a steady stream of governing body crap!

  • May 7, 2014 at 11:39 am
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    Hi Interrogative,
    To answer your question regarding my choice to DA rather than fade away – It was “suggested” to me from my local elders to disassociate myself so that they would not have to DF me.

    This was after 2 elders came to visit me wondering why I hadn’t been attending meetings, etc, and to discuss an accusation of wrong doing. I shared with them my feelings towards the organization, the policies and procedures, which I am sure they found very enlightening. I explained to them that there was no way I could go door to door and talk to people about the “truth” and sell better future for them inside Gods Organization when I didn’t believe anymore that my life as a JW was a meaningful one and I disagreed with many practices.

    I still believe my choice to DA instead of fade away was the right one for me. From what I see now and remember during my time inside, “faithful” JW’s will still choose to shun me, since I now celebrate worldly holidays and celebrations and hold views they they would claim to be apostate!

    My son chose baptism because of other familial JW influences; my hope is that one day he will begin to question and reason for himself and see that this is not God’s chosen organization.
    Sincerely,

  • May 7, 2014 at 2:08 pm
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    Hi Tipper,

    To avoid United Nations’ anger and severe restrictions will the JW.org. decide one day to put and end to their practice of shunning, to be in tune with the Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights , and give as pretext for their flock to act in full compliance with a new light ? Who knows ?

    Thank you for your kind information about your choice to DA instead of fade away.You are having a rough time now, but I am sure you will be able to keep your life in balance.

    Try to bring your son to read the third paragraph of the following link :

    http://www.jw.org/en/jehovahs-witnesses/faq/shunning/

    The 3rd paragraph says :

    “What of a man who is disfellowshipped but whose wife and children are still Jehovah’s Witnesses? The religious ties he had with his family change, but blood ties remain. The marriage relationship and normal family affections and dealings continue.. ”

    I know this 3rd paragraph is not applied in general by the JW.org elders and other JWs, but your son may be surprised by this paradoxical behavior of elders and other JWs and decide to review his point of view about “blood ties” and “family affections”.

    All the best and take care.

  • May 8, 2014 at 9:03 am
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    There is a magazine quote that infers that were it possible – execution of WTS dissidents would still take place. With this stance the WTS has put itself on a par with the most cruel regimes in the world eg North Korea
    btw “Only Just Realising” I am also “Seffrican” – formerly Gauteng – now Cape Town.

  • May 8, 2014 at 12:22 pm
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    Defender of the Faith – Here is something that is not even mention on this thread. When dis-followshipping and shunning was used in the bible it was something(sin) EVERYONE knew had occurred. It was not a meeting in back room by three older men and they make the decision and come out and everyone must follow. Even in the case of Paul and the man sleeping with his mother-n-law. It was well know as it had gotten all the way to the Apostle Paul who was not even in that town. I would have to say that conduct was pretty bold and probably deserved such reproof. Now let me walk you down a very slippery sloop which no JW has been able to answer. Jehovah is the only one who can determine what is sin. His standing on sin has never changed. But a person can be disfellowship and told he has sin against God and lost his relationship with God based on a judicial committee(and you do know according to JW elders I have talked to this means this person has lost his chance at everlasting life, I thought only God could determine that). Here is the eye opening moment. The GB changes what can be a sin. People were dis-fellowship for organ transplants and various other things which are no longer considered “sin”! Wow so people were shun and disfellowship and told their relationship with God was damage only to have the GB changed what was sin years later. The bible clearly says God does not change, therefore what is sin is sin. Do not use the tired old adage it is new light. That excuse is a catch all for not be willing to admit mistakes.

  • May 8, 2014 at 7:41 pm
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    Only just realizing, I offer my love and support to you.

    What that fine Christian put you through is unimaginable. That was a cruel touch to remove you from his contacts. How can they possibly believe that Jehovah is pleased at their hatefulness? Your proved yourself to be a true Christian, even being concerned not to stumble him!

    The love you thought was unconditional is only an illusion. I know your mind is reeling from all the emotions you are going through, but I promise you, it will get better.

    You have not doomed your son to death, you are giving your son and yourself freedom from a life of servitude to the GB. You are taking back the control over your own life.

    Many of us on here have been where you are now. And we have survived and became stronger.

    There are those whose pain has been so deep, they have become bitter and angry. But it is a choice they make. We can only encourage them to let go of their anger, for they cannot be angry and happy at the same time.

    I won’t lie to you, there will be pain and it will not be easy. But you can do this. Disassociating yourself will not be the end of your life. It is only the beginning of whatever kind of life you choose for yourself and your son.

    Please know that you are not alone. Not everyone believes in Jesus, but I still do. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Jesus is our judge and he is our Savior. The Watchtower tries to bypass Jesus and think they can get salvation directly from Jehovah. They are in for a shock…when they find that won’t work.

    Keep the faith my friend.

  • May 8, 2014 at 11:07 pm
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    Interrogative?

    I am afraid your “demanipulation” will be longer than you think. How are you enjoying contact with your children who are still in what you call a “cult”? Whose children are they, yours or the cult’s?

    You seem to think you “Fading and Free begin with the same F”? What are you now? Are you free?

    “By fading I feel so free now, … When walking anywhere out of my house I feel free… If some JW is knocking at my door to try to bring me back from inactivity, I always find an excuse to avoid contact…”

    If this is what you call to be “free” I hate it!!

  • May 8, 2014 at 11:55 pm
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    @Searcher, You are right! Education is the only solution. see how they mushroom in poor countries and especially after armed conflicts saying “these are signs of last days”. It is a shame an “American company” finds power in ignorance and feeds on poor people they have made slaves…

    *** w05 3/15 p. 16 “You Were Bought With a Price” ***
    The provision of voluntary slavery in Israel was a foregleam of Christian servitude

  • May 9, 2014 at 2:48 am
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    Whoever shuns another person is offending God and has missed the purpose of life. Jehovah has made clear his point of view: “Honor men of all sorts” (1 Peter 2:17).
    Formerly when I had been active in the congregation, I always felt uncomfortable realizing that there are obviously first-class, second-class and even third-class people. But I did away these feelings, brainwashed, immature, considering myself on the right path. How grateful I am to God that he helped me start thinking by myself!

  • May 9, 2014 at 4:36 am
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    I hope everyone reads the links, heartbreaking stuff that most of you have experienced personally. The point is, Finland gets it. Cedars, thank you again, you are truly a good and very caring guy.

  • May 9, 2014 at 5:23 am
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    The behaviour of JWs is truly unchristian.

    This is an organisation that is a century old and thinks that can destroy families and people lifes without consequences.

    Christian discipline is in the Bible but the organisation bends it to satisfy their needs.

    The same thing they do with Bible teachings. For example they were wrong with the generation teaching. Now they say that Jesus refers to two generations. No single scripture says that.

    One day this proves wrong and they’ll change it again. What’s the problem? God is a clown for them.

    Same for discipline. According to the Bible there are steps to be taken until a person is punished. At the punishment should be accordingly to the sin.

    But often JWs disfellowship although the person promptly reported the sin and repented.

    Not only that, they apply the same punished regardless of the gravity of the sin. I talk for personal experience and I know the same thing happened to many people.

    Also Jesus taught that we are all sinners so when we judge other we must take account of that.

    To shun a human being for a year or more without family and friends contacts for often not serious sin it means they are perfect, they are without sin.

    I think they are approach is totaly wrong, does not show fear and respect for God.

    For sure governemts will not turn against them (this is just their paranoia) and I do not have nothing against them but God surely will.

    I truly love them, I only hope that they start acting Christian like to other human beings that only want to follow their conscience.

  • May 9, 2014 at 6:01 pm
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    @ Only just realizing. You obviously have strength and yet like all of us have feelings that are very strong. Don’t give way to fear, things will get better in time. In the meantime I would like to offer a few observations.

    1. You are in the right place, this is a place of education and a very supportive community. Some of the other ex JW websites you may find are helpful as well.

    2. Along with the support group here, continue to educate yourself about the organization and don’t approach it with fear. You never fear the law of gravity, it is an absolute truth that keeps you grounded on the earth and nothing you learn will ever change that fact. If what you were taught like the rest of us is truth, then it will not fail under the light of scrutiny. That is the most basic truth that you must learn. The idea that listening to verifiable facts will cause you to change your mind on an absolute truth, is ridiculous. If what you were taught is as they say “truth” or absolute truth being from God as they claim, then nothing you read will change those facts. However if it all is a lie then it will fail miserably and their is nothing to regret, you are free.

    3. In a third world country the head Shaman of one of the smaller tribes teaches everyone to fear what is outside the tribe. To trust no one but the leaders of their tribe. He claims to have connections with spirits that will attack them if they leave. They even fashion whips and hold a week long ritual where they shamelessly whip younger tribe members. They have done this for centuries. There is no monster outside when you leave, the monsters are all on the inside using fear to keep you from leaving. Your son will likely see it before you do. You did not keep him from Paradise, you gave him the opportunity to live a full life, not one dominated by self appointed witch doctors (GB) who want to control him and take his best years from him (“rejoice young man in your youth” “the beauty of young men is their strength”) They recite such phrases because they are determined to sheer his youth from him and his strength for their own gains.

    3. One day your son will thank you and reassure you in ways you could never imagine. He will not have the oppression of his mind to keep him from examining all the facts. My children have taught me this. You have given him the ability to live a whole life, to build his life from his younger years, so that he may have days of rest and peace when he grows older, not worry of how he will pay for his retirement that he was told he would never need.

    4. I only know Cedars by his blogs and comments, but I feel confident that you are welcome here and will enjoy his articles and so many of the good comments here. Also in time you will find friends that are not witnesses that you can be honest with and be closer to than any witness you knew. The freedom to be honest about who you are, what you have done both good and bad without the judgement of someone who has likely done worse, is not only freeing, but helps give you your self esteem back. You will find out in the future that no one will ever be able to hurt you like this again. So to you I say, well actually

    Excelsior says it best “Peace be with you”

  • May 10, 2014 at 4:10 am
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    to Interrogative

    I agree with you on the fading. I to faded over 15 years ago despite my wife and daughter still in the “truth” and they go to meetings and pioneer.
    MY sons do not attend anymore and want nothing to do wit it. I agree it takes a few years to deprogram yourself and for some it takes much longer. I can now enjoy the human race again and not view everyone outside the JWorg as “worldly” and Bad. I can enjoy a nice walk, a sports event, A theater, Music, hiking, a vacation, reading. talking with others without GUILT? The WT programmed everyone to feel guilty if they were enjoying themselves with anything outside of door-door work oe promoting the WT ideas.Most people do not understand how much power a cult can have on your thinking and actions. Fading quietly is a great alternative for Many people. As far as friends go, the WT brothers and sisters are not really your friends…they are associates of yours as long as you tow the WT line. No matter how good of a person you are and try to be it means NOTHING if you decide to disagree with the WT and announce it or express it.The friendship you thought existed will be cut off once you DA or DF yourself! it is over! even if you were a JW for decades it means nothing. There are many decent and good individuals inside the WT but the way it works is everyone has to TOW the line and agree with anything they say.The POWER of the Cult will over rule them…

    Now you can use your own Brain to think ad feel and experience without the WT henchman knocking on your door and questioning you. In a Strong way I really felt like the WT had become like the former East German Government. I saw a movie a few years ago, can’t remember the name but it was about living under Communism in East Germany in the late 80’s. Everyone was spying on the other person it seemed, even family members and Girlfriends were dual agents etc. Few could be trusted and they even “BUGGED” a suspects house to see if they could catch him talking negative about
    the government or hanging out with anti-government people. It made me think that was exactly what the WT does to people mentally. The control over the people is immense. They take your God given freedom away and replace it with totalitarian rule and call it “FREEDOM”. I am glad you Faded and have found peace.Enjoy the life God gave us.Peace to all others as well.

  • May 10, 2014 at 4:32 am
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    Hakizimana Jean de Dieu

    For Interrogative..You are right, It could take Interrogative more time than he thinks to Deprogram himself but we got to give him credit for the first initial steps. It takes time and his family is still in it so everyone has a different situation and approach it differently. I am sure the very thought of DA himself even a short time ago was Extremely Scary and full of guilt and intimidation by others.
    The fact that he did it is positive and shows strength.

    Each passing day will get better for him. We all experience this in different ways. I too, needed to fade and for me it was the best way to deal with a bad situation especially bc I had some family members’ and wife was still a active JW in fact a pioneer and still is. I had to take it slow as it was Extremely mentally and emotionally difficult. Now several years later there is not a problem at all except I hate seeing others under the Power of this Cult.We need to support him in his fading and let him know that things get better over time.

    Perhaps for you it may not have worked the same way as for him but everyone has a different situation. For me, it did work very well to fade away.
    Interrogative will find many new and good friends along the way and they won’t be dependent on his toes to the WT.

  • May 10, 2014 at 7:25 am
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    Hi Holy Connoli,

    Thank you so much for you encouragement and very friendly thoughts. The movie you are talking about, is it “The Lives of Others”? I have got the DVD in German language (it’s not my mother tongue but I master it, just as I master English).

    I was baptized between 25 and 30 years old, now I am retired. It was easier to deprogram myself within a period of two years and an half, even after 40 years in, for the simple reason that I was not born in.

    The fact that I can remember my life before I was baptized as JW is of great help. And the fact that I have been living in different countries and continents, and familiarized with different cultures is of great help too. And English is a must to have access to old WT material (available only in English) to better understand the ups and downs of the WT history.

    Thanks again Connoli. All the best and take care.

  • May 10, 2014 at 12:00 pm
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    interrogative

    I to was not a born JW but became one when I was about 20 years old.My father warned me back then but when you are 20 years old you don’t listen much to others plus , the “END” was just a few years away back then! So I also remembered my life before becoming a JW so it was easier for me to fade than for many others bc Inknew all thet were not JW’s wer actually pretty good people so I did not buy into the “we are so Happy” as God’s people or we are the happiest people on earth bc I could see and experience that they were not. As a former Elder for
    over 13 years I knew what was really happening and as time went on it kept becoming clearer and clearer
    that this was a scam or at least a controlling Cult that thinks they are right. I am about 5-6 years from retiring my kids are grown and for the last 17 years or so I have really enjoyed life without the JW or WT “watching” like the East German Police. I live in the San Francisco area of California. My wife was born in Europe so I have spent time over there and my kids are both USA and European citizens. It took me a while longer to truly clear up my mind from the programming bc the JW’s were still around back then with my wife’s activity but now I have no problem at all with talking with them. I even have a few JW friends that I discuss these things with and they know I am right but are just to entangled to make changes bc they are afraid of being shunned. I know
    some that won’t go door-door bc they cannot teach something they don’t believe anymore but they still consider themselves Jw’s? It will be interesting to see how this Organization tries to continue in the next 5-15 years? My JW friend from Sweden says he thinks they will just become a real part of Christendom and another religion o n the corner?

    They have no accurate record of anything they predicted being true so what do they have to go on?
    A few different doctrines and that is it. Since Armageddon never came on their timetable and prophecies what do they have to tell people anymore? Glad you are doing well.

  • May 11, 2014 at 1:18 am
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    The apostate focuses only on himself – his own desires, needs, pleasures, and obscene fantasies. He does this believing that he will gain happiness. However, the God who gives true happiness casts him asunder. When the self is all the apostate cares about, God will leave him to it. It is then that he realizes the cruel irony of his apostasy: the self is all he will ever have, yet it will never be enough to make him happy.

    • May 11, 2014 at 1:37 am
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      “Defender of True Faith” – congratulations. You have had your wish come true and are now banned. Enjoy reveling in the persecution that is being heaped upon you by no longer being able to spew your regurgitated Watchtower propaganda on this website.

      • May 11, 2014 at 9:59 am
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        This is your site, Cedars, and I respect that. I had thought, though, that ‘Defender’ was serving a useful purpose here.

        He demonstrated very clearly the abjectly self righteous and negative mindset of a believing JW as well as the total inability of a believing JW to show to those of us who have been inside the outfit and left, that there is any truth in JW TRUTH.

        Might not the absurdity of his rantings have served as a warning to any doubters not to get involved with JWdom, or, for those already attached, to cut ties forthwith?

        • May 11, 2014 at 10:13 am
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          …which is why his ridiculous ranting will remain part of this site indefinitely as a testimony to his ignorance.

          I know what you’re saying, and I appreciate the suggestion, I put a lot of work into this site and there is only so much troll-graffiti and apologist mud-slinging I will tolerate before my patience is exhausted. I hope you understand. ;)

          • May 11, 2014 at 10:37 am
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            Point taken. The guy never answered questions and failed to defend the indefensible. Obviously I have no idea how much true believing JW BS comes the way of this site. Afew reminders of the tragic JW mindset are instructive, but I can see how they might, en masse, blanket the entire site with recycled WT drivel.

    • May 11, 2014 at 4:29 am
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      According to this definition I’m not an apostate, because reading your comments I feel sorry for you.

  • May 11, 2014 at 2:40 am
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    Dear “Defender of True Faith” people who disagree with other men are not apostates. The real apostates are those who lie consistently to God by interpreting the Bible to justify their men made system that is destined to end like for the Pharisees.

    Even spending a second talking about your cult is a waste of time but we are here to defend our freedom and our rights.

    Many people who left JWs are Christians but you shun and insult them (Matthew 25:37-40). Shame on you!

    This is what God thinks about real apostates:

    “If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him” (Deut. 18:22).

    Being Christian means worshipping God and following Christ but you call apostate those to disagree to 7 men (proven wrong over and over again). Obviously this is foreign to the Christian message. Even the Apostles did not make such a grandiose claim.

    Please understand that you speak presumptuously and your theories are total nonsense instead start trusting only Christ who is reliable and stop following charlatans.

  • May 11, 2014 at 2:46 am
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    I have been dispel low shipped now for 5 years. Immediately my family stopped talking to me, any friends that were JW’s dropped me like a hat. I had 2 friends who never got baptised so they keep in touch with me. My life in the last 5 years has been very hard because I’d been brought up as a JW and had never really been taught how to think for myself. I live now with a fear of making the wrong decision and again losing anything I have. Its a very depressing situation to be in because I no longer have some one I can turn to even just to express my feelings as I’m afraid of what reaction I would get. Changing a law to stop JW’s from disfellowshipping people will probably won’t change much but at least it will highlight it to the world.

    • May 11, 2014 at 4:08 am
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      Richard

      I appreciate and understand how you feel but please remember the JW’s or WT cannot control your feelings anymore. They were never your true friends. They FORCE people to stay by intimidation and Guilt. According to to the WT Why is it ok for and even encouraged by the GB for anyone to leave their religion and become a JW but it is a DF act for someone to leave the JW’s for conscientious reasons or Scriptural reasons? Richard this site may not be perfect but you can express yourself on here and find advice on here as well.Many people on here will have a listening and understanding ear.

      My thoughts are with you

  • May 11, 2014 at 4:11 am
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    Defender: The Watchtower Bible and Tract Societies of New York, Pennsylvania and England are very big corporations. Do you know who these people are that run these organizations? What religion are they? Can you vouch for them individually? The Bible says at 1 Cor. 5:11 to “quite mixing in company with …..extortioners”. In other words disfellowship them. Who are the real apostates? One thing about the Watchtower is that it taught us to use our Bibles to figure out what is wicked and what isn’t wicked.

  • May 11, 2014 at 4:32 am
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    Defender of the Faith, must have had is WT study on selfishness, however that study was directed to JW not apostates or exJW, how selfish of Defender to be here spitting out his hatred of himself on others because he is soooo selfish not to obey the GB on posting with DF ones.

    Defender of the faith is a very selfish JW, at least most on here have had the balls to get out rather than be the hypocrite like defender and defy his GB.

    We need ones like defender they are actually the Gb worse nightmare., keep posting defender you keep the hypocrisy in the front line.

  • May 11, 2014 at 4:48 am
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    The WTs portraits all who leave as sinners and people who stopped loving God. Because it is convenient to them.

    This is for many cases simply false.

    If it was the truth I wouldn’t ever changed. But if you study carefully their past and present interpretations you realise that they cannot be the truth. Simply impossible.

    If you really love God and other people you cannot preach distorted teachings that change like fashion.

    Just an example, they says that if a kid plays with a magic toy this will make God upset. Showing an image of Adam and Eva next to him.

    But how is it possible that the same God gave them the biggest privilege to be the only true religion if when Christ inspected religions they were teaching Pyramidology. They taught that for 35 years! for another after 20 years Jesus has supposedly chosen them.

    Not 1 year, not 10 years, but 35 years!

    They needed 35 years to understand that! This is unbelievable!

    How can a real Christian teach that? How can a real student of the Bible not understand that this is against God principles?

    The founder is even buried under a pyramid with many occult symbols.

    How is this possible? is God of double standards?

    So if I now find out about this and no longer trust them who is the apostate?

    People who conscientiously cannot preach their lies or them who had and still preach fantasies?

    When I say fantasies I am not talking about Bible teachings but about their distorted interpretations.

    Can I have the right of following what is right without loosing my family members? I think I have this right, and I’ll fight for this right.

    The WT have the right to operate even if many people do not agree with them. Today exists many other cults like Mormonism, Scientology etc. They are free to believe what they want.

    But these people cannot destroy families or force people to stay inside.

    So JW please understand that we have nothing against you, we are not selfish, we do not want to make our own religion.

    We just want to follow our path without being discriminated and without losing our loved ones.

    You may say: What have you got better to offer? I have got Christ. is Christ not enough or I need a cult?

  • May 11, 2014 at 5:12 am
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    Just when I was beginning to have fun with Defender of the Faith who could not even use the bible to defend teachings. Or just plain ignore the hard questions.(Even the Devil use the bible. He may have twisted the scriptures, but he used the bible.) Let me tell you something funny to show you how Witnesses do not even look at their own history. I was talking to my Mom about disfellowshipping and at onetime ( she must not have heard the one time) people could get dis-fellowship for organ transplant. She said she could see the scriptural reason behind that. I said Mom, I said at one TIME they disfellowship people for organ transplants not any more. This is why Witnesses should study their history. In the end a person relationship is with God and his Son not a man(men).

  • May 11, 2014 at 5:48 am
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    I’m not an apostate, according to Defender, yay!

    I care about the folks affected by the WTBTS. Therefore, I am not an apostate. Thanks for that, Defender!

    I am glad that you took the time to comment.

    Your inability to answer questions is there for the record.

    Your inability to respect others is there for the record.

    Any normal human being comparing your comments with ours will surely come out in favour of our side. Thank you for adding to our body of proof!

    Now, as one who does care about others, I urge you to stop fighting with us. I urge you to read the articles on this site with an open mind and heart. By all means, pray for guidance. Carefully examine whether you are in a religion that truly honours God and Christ.

    I wish you well in your journey and I hope that you, too, will join us in our goal to secure safety for women and children in the WTBTS.

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

  • May 11, 2014 at 11:16 am
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    Richard, I am sorry to hear you are still having difficulties five years after you were disfellowshipped. The damage the GB has inflicted on people is mounting clear to the heavens themselves.

    I saw a video just yesterday that explains who so many of us continue to have problems. We may not realize it, but to some extent, it is possible we are still under the control of the GB. How can that be???

    For some of us, including me, I have been trying to sort out the truth about what I was taught at the KH from the truth in the Bible.

    The GB has just enough truth in it to cause lingering doubts about everything. It is only by reading the Bible yourself that you can come to a true understanding about Christ Jesus, what he actually means to us and about his Heavenly Father.

    For most of my life as a JW, no disrespect intended, the GB overplayed Jehovah and underplayed Jesus, so I never felt much of a connection to Jesus. That has been a grievous mistake on my part, which I am happily now changing.

    Some have chosen not to believe in God anymore. Some don’t care one way or another. Most of us are probably somewhere in the middle of all that.

    As for myself, I believe there is a powerful intelligent force behind the existence of the universe, which would include us here on the third rock from the sun.

    To deny that, would be like me trying to stop the waves of the ocean. Or trying to reach up and grab one of those pretty sparkly things in the sky at night. Some things by their very existence….just are.

    I choose, by faith in something I cannot see, to call that intelligent force God. I choose to put my faith in the Bible, though there are many many things I do not understand and cannot explain in the Bible. Frankly, some parts are indefensible and repugnant to me.

    I do know this. By believing in the Bible, I am a far better person because I care about others and I show love to my fellow man. I now know the only way to get salvation is to believe in Christ. It’s just that simple. It also gives me a hope of something full of mystery for the future, other than my few years on this earth.

    If my few years on this earth is the end of me, so be it. I’ll never know any different because one day, all that is left of me will be dust.

    If my faith is rewarded, I have the opportunity to live forever. I will not be on my own, I will be serving the will of my Savior, Jesus Christ, somewhere in the heavens above, or if He chooses, here on earth. Wherever He wants me to be, I imagine unspeakable joy in that future.

    Some see that hope of a future as laughable. Let them laugh. In the end, one of us will be right.

    Please take an hour and watch this video. At the end of it there will not be a doubt left in your mind about the Faithful and Discreet Slave or the Governing Body.

    You will be set free from doubt.

    I wish for you everything that you wish for yourself Richard, and; please know that you have many here who will give all the love and support to you that we can, no matter what you choose to believe.

    Above all else, we respect each person’s right to choose. Everyone is accepted…that is unless they behave like Defender of the Faith and fail to show respect.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=or72IKBkmHM

    (Cedars, there seems to be a problem staying signed in and in posting replies…in fact I hope this is not a double post…I have no way of knowing yet. It’s always a good idea to copy your reply before you post it…or reply in a word document, save, copy and paste in case you have to post it again. It is so disheartening to spend your time on a reply and then lose it, especially if you have put your heart into writing it)

  • May 11, 2014 at 1:47 pm
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    it is very curious the way the JWs interpret Matthew 24:45. How exactly this selection happened? How do they know they have been selected?

    Because of the importance of the claim obviously they must be sure that the selection is absolute truth otherwise JW will be accountable to God of a lie and liars cannot inherit God’s Kingdom.

    Now, if Jesus has selected them in 1914 they would have known for sure who was the recipient of this selection.

    How is possible then that the interpretation has changed some many times?

    1. 144000
    2. Russell
    3. Jesus + 144000
    4. 144000
    5. Governing Body

    Especially for the last change, how it is possible they come up with a new idea after 100 years?

    JWs, are you sure that Jesus really meant to choose 7 mens 2000 later? or he meant something else?

    Consider a scripture like Matthew 23:10
    “Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.

    or

    Luke 22:26
    But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.

    Now forget apostates, opposers and everybody else.

    Just between you and God….When you talk to you him, when you pray and think about how Jesus died for us, think…

    can you teach the JW interpretation of the faithful slave as absolute truth?

    are you ready to put your life and your family lives at stake because of that interpretation?

    Are you sure to call apostate a person that believes that Jesus was talking to all Christians being ready for his coming and that’s it?

    Everybody makes his own decisions but if we really love God and justice we must be careful of how we treat other people.

    We’ll be accountable to God if we damage people based on wrong interpretations. There maybe not opportunity of going back when the damage is done.

  • May 11, 2014 at 3:29 pm
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    The thing most people don’t understand is the complete loneliness you get left in. Its hard to recover when your on your own.

    Thanks for the kind words. I’ve held off leaving messages on here because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to talk to anyone about my past as a JW.

  • May 11, 2014 at 5:10 pm
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    Richard I think all of us can relate to that feeling of complete loneliness we are left in. Most of us have struggled for years all on our own…until we found our way here. Or to some other ex-jw site. It seems we are reaching out to look for and support and be supported by the only other people who can possibly know what it feels like to be an ex-jw.

    It is one of the hardest things I ever had to do…rebuild my life from scratch since we are discouraged from having “worldly” association…while at the same time grieving over the loss of my family. My family who is not even dead yet, but I am dead to them. All I can do is pray and hope that their eyes will be opened one day and we can unite as a family in what little time we have left on this earth.

    This is a safe place to share your past as a jw. Anything you want to share, anytime you want to share, I can guarantee you someone will respond to you. And someone will care. I think that is because of the great pain that we have all been through, mostly by ourselves. Love motivates us to care and to comfort one another.

  • May 11, 2014 at 6:23 pm
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    Apostates are lonely because they are alienated from God. If they were to demonstrate sufficient works of repentance, they might again come to feel His love.

    • May 11, 2014 at 9:09 pm
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      So, Defender of Holy Faith, your analysis of apostasy loneliness certainly makes sense.

      If you apostasise from the Church of Rome (or Shiite Islam) and join, say, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, you will no longer be recognised as a Christian by your erstwhile Catholic contacts, and may be literally hunted to death by your old Shiite buddies.

      Some sects of Christendom, such as Methodism or the Church of England, will continue to welcome you as a fellow human being, whatever your views on God.

      I was raised in a singularly odious little sect in Christendom, the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They have a very nasty way of dealing with apostates and are responsible for split families, depression and suicides as well as loneliness.

      Changing your views about the unknowable should not, in a civilised society, lead to ostracism. Amish, JWs, Mormons, Shiites and others, have yet to learn this.

  • May 11, 2014 at 6:24 pm
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    Apostates are lonely because they are alienated from God. If they were to demonstrate sufficient works of repentance, they might again come to feel His love…

    • May 11, 2014 at 6:56 pm
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      to Defender of the holy Faith:

      If what you are saying is true then why are so many JW’s lonely and depressed? Why are there are there so many suicides amongst JW’s? I as a 110% Elder for over 13 years and one that was on building committees and wife as a pioneer saw and experienced it so MANY TIMES. The percentage of JW”s that are lonely and depressed is much higher than the general population.You and I both know that this is true. As an Elder I cannot tell you how much time I spent trying to encourage the depressed an lonely despite the fact they were 100% active in the JW world as publishers and Regular meeting attendance.

      I had so many late night calls of depressed JW’s just wanting someone understanding to talk to and many feeling that they had wasted the primary parts of their lives serving the WT and pioneering. AT the time I would try my best to encourage them and be a friend but after so many experiences I began to see the reason why they felt that way.

      1. They were serving men wh were putting inhuman demands on them claiming to be spokespersons for God Almighty.

      2. They were putting their faith in men and not in Jesus Christ who clearly says, “I am the way, the truth and the life”. No one comes to the father EXCEPT through me!
      Not through an organization, not through works, not through the WT, not through following man made rules.

      SO many JW’s are unhappy, so many depressed, so may do not know where to turn. They are caught in a spin wheel like the mice or rats running in circles trying harder and harder but not getting anywhere?

      I speak to you in sincerity my friend. Not in disrespect.
      You and I both know the burdens the WT and gov body put on the flock. It is not scriptural. It is not kind, it is not love. In my experience I would say that at least 35-50% are depressed or unhappy? People of the “WORLD” are generally happier than the average JW.

      Does that mean theat the Majority of JW’s are alienate from God bc they are unhappy?

      • May 11, 2014 at 7:08 pm
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        Defender.

        What does works of repentance mean to you?
        Does it mean returning to something that has no proof of truth or accuracy? Does it mean returning to prophecies that have NEVER PROVEN true? Does it mean putting faith in men that change doctrine every few months and do the flip flop on TEACHINGS and doctrine whenever they have the notion and demand that you agree with them 100% or we will ex communicate you and anyone you know or have known in this religion is NOT ALLOWED to talk with you or say help to you ever again even your own blood and your own spouse?? Is that what repentance means? Just sayin.

    • May 12, 2014 at 3:01 am
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      If you really want to defend the holy faith, as your moniker suggests, you’re not doing it. Many people reading these pages got it all, they won’t give a moment of thought for the things you say.

      It may work with REALLY lonely people at the KH’s being love bombed, in the beginning, but not with many folks here. Also, you’re writing on automated pilot mode, nothing is coming really from your heart, you’re just “complying”. This is why your words are quite tasteless to me, I’m sorry to say it, but it really is so.

  • May 11, 2014 at 8:16 pm
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    Holy Connoli–very, very well said. What you say is 100% truth. There’s is NO DENYING the fact that MANY JWs live life in depression. To the contrary, it’s quite interesting to note that Jesus said that his yoke was kindly and light and that his followers would find REFRESHMENT for their souls–Matt 11:28-29. It is MEN who make the yoke of Christ a burden, and that accounts for much of the depression that the average JW experiences.

    • May 11, 2014 at 9:25 pm
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      To William:

      I always read that scripture when I was a JW and thought to myself why id it that I do not feel that “this” load is light that the JW’s carry? I always felt that it was a burden and I was weighed down? Even as a prominent Elder for many years who gave talks at assemblies and taught the theocratic school for many years in my heart I always felt that the “LOAD “the JW ORG put on the publishers and the demands they expected were Heavy and I could see it when I spoke with them. It was almost like a Capitalistic company that kept trying to get more and more production out of the Workers! You need to produce more and more, your hours are down, you do not have enough Bible studies, you missed 2 Meetings in a row,
      you are not making enough return visits! How can Jehovah bless you if you are not trying your hardest?

  • May 11, 2014 at 9:46 pm
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    A Scripture that the WT likes to use applies to them very much. Proverbs 29:25 “Trembling at Men is a snare.” But the one trusting in Jehovah will be protected.
    Why should we “fear”men anymore? Enough time has passed to determine if what they say is true and beneficial? Please Gov body can U give us 1 correct prophecy that you have uttered? Please just one?
    1799,1874, 1914, 1925, 1954, 1975, 2000? King of the North? king of the south? Parousia, Presence, Separating of the sheep and goats, Last days, generation, Organ transplants, Blood transfusions,607 BCE. Overlapping generations?, anointed, ingathering completed in 1931, great crowd in 1933, Beth Sarim, Beth Shan, Partakers would decrease? In fact they are increasing,
    Baking in the sun is good for you, Faithful and discreet slave, Who are they now? Only Gov body? then they only began to exist a few years ago with the new light of “understanding” where were they for over 2000 years? The Superior Authorities, who are they now? My friend this is but a small example of the CRAZINESS of this teaching that they think they have divine authority to make decisions an interpret scripture at random on any day and any time and to change the meaning on a daily basis. Does God and the Holy Spirit work that way? Is there any evidence in the Bible that the Great Jehovah EVER worked that way? Please, Please give us just one SOLID evidence or scriptural fulfillment that they have prophesized? Just one!

  • May 11, 2014 at 10:45 pm
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    Defender of the faith, is so lonely he/she has to come onto an apostate site for company, maybe he is DF and no JW will talk to him, so he takes it out on what he deems as apostates.

    The very fact that his GB would deem him as mentally diseased and borderline apostate for even being here, he is a hypocrite that is probably why he is so lonely.

  • May 11, 2014 at 11:56 pm
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    Two Judicial Systems, which is superior….?

    *** w74 11/1 pp. 671-672 Questions From Readers ***
    In ‘recommending himself to every human conscience,’ the Christian, of course, rightly will endeavor to gain such legal recognition by the State in marriage or in divorce. (2 Cor. 4:2) But that legal recognition is not the vital factor; God’s judicial decision is. This being so, and since the non-adulterous mate’s decision to forgive or not to forgive is the crucial factor in the dissolving of a marriage, what can the guilty mate do when faced with a situation in which the non-adulterous mate has not forgiven him or her and yet will not formalize the dissolution of the marriage before Caesar? The guilty mate could take action to establish the fact that he or she has actually been rejected by the non-adulterous mate. This should first be done before the elders of the congregation, presenting them with the evidence that a definite, consistent—not temporary—rejection has taken place. Then the one whose mate refuses to forgive could seek legal recognition of the rejection in Caesar’s courts, using whatever truthful grounds for divorce such courts will accept, thereafter becoming free to remarry. In lands where there is no provision for divorce, his or her procedure would follow that described on page 151 of the book True Peace and Security—From What Source?

  • May 12, 2014 at 2:31 am
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    Defender,

    Oh dear, yet more ill informed comments!

    Tell me, have you ever met an “apostate”? You seem to know so much about a diverse group of people, and yet you know nothing.

    I am not lonely! I have a great many friends who love and respect me for who I am, not for being a member of a religion. They love me unconditionally, unlike the love shown in your faith.

    Really, Defender, you need to meet some of us, so that you can post comments that don’t make you look ignorant and ill informed. I am sure that there are ones you know personally who could help you with this lack of knowledge.

    We are not trying to carry off the sheep. We’re not amoral or immoral. We want to help.

    Why don’t you read some of the articles, and, just for a change, answer some of the questions you have been asked?

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

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