A year after its release, the “Become Jehovah’s Friend” DVD continues to cause outrage – even among non-JWs

A year has passed since Sparlock and Caleb made their first appearance on the screens of televisions and computers in Witness homes all over the world.

In the weeks and months following the release of the “Become Jehovah’s Friend” DVD, the Ex-JW community was almost unanimously appalled by what many (myself included) saw as a blatant attempt at child indoctrination.

Some took to YouTube and tried to draw attention to the DVD by circulating excerpts from it. I uploaded my own song in protest. Watchtower responded by having this and a number of other videos removed citing copyright infringement, even though (1) copyright law allows for fair use and commentary, and (2) the DVD was intended for free distribution anyway, so no profits were under threat.

Despite Watchtower’s attempts at silencing myself and other JW YouTubers who were angered by the DVD, various videos continued to be uploaded faster than they could be taken down. This continued into the summer of 2013 when the infamous Lesson 2 of the DVD, where Sparlock is thrown in the dumpster, was uploaded under a new title – the “Obedience to God Cartoon.”

Watchtower’s attempts to silence the backlash from the video were ultimately thwarted

With this simple re-branding, which gave no hint that the cartoon was intended solely for JWs, the video attracted attention from a whole new community of YouTubers – the atheist community.

I don’t know how many views the “Obedience to God Cartoon” accumulated before Watchtower had it taken down, but it was enough to spark outrage among those who already had an axe to grind against religion, and saw the video as a prime example of indoctrination at its very worst.

From July onwards, prominent atheist YouTubers began uploading videos expressing their dismay. I have been able to count at least 25 such videos from various individuals, all of whom are not JWs, the majority of which are scathingly condemnatory of Watchtower’s video.

So far the combined views of these 25 videos are approaching the 300,000 mark after less than 2 months. Bear in mind that Jehovah’s Witnesses mustered 270,000 baptisms in 2012. At the present rate, it isn’t ludicrous to suggest that the “Become Jehovah’s Friend” DVD is putting off as many non-JWs as the organization is managing to attract through the global preaching effort.

When I first considered writing this article, my plan was to provide a list of all the videos so that readers could watch these for themselves. However, the problem is that the majority of the videos are filled with expletives, such is the extent of animosity towards the DVD. Considering that JWsurvey is as much for current JWs as for those who have left, I thought it would be better to produce my own video montage allowing JWsurvey readers to see the gist of the reaction in one viewing but without the swearing.

As you can see, even those not personally affected by the Witness faith have taken a strong disliking to the film featuring Sparlock. A number even described the film contents as a form of abuse, and I would obviously tend to agree with this viewpoint.

As I have already expressed on this website, it is one thing to mislead adults with self-serving propaganda, but it is another thing entirely to threaten the intellectual progress of countless children by instilling fears and false perceptions based on mere opinion and conjecture.

There is never an excuse for stifling a child’s development through shameless indoctrination

If you are a Jehovah’s Witness parent and you happen to be reading this article, please be sure to watch the above video and ask yourself: “If this video is so obviously wrong to total outsiders, many of whom do not even know the video was produced by Jehovah’s Witnesses, how can I embrace it as a tool for raising my children? Just because my parents indoctrinated me as a child, can I really justify making the same mistakes with my children? Do I really have my children’s long-term interests at heart by showing them material that robs them of the ability to ask questions and reason for themselves?”

The one comforting thing about the Sparlock video is that, as stated above, it is a terrible advert for the organization for any normal, thinking person. At least for now, it is arguably turning people against the organization at a rate that is the same or greater than the rate of new converts.

Even so, given a choice between Watchtower shooting itself in the foot with a blatantly appalling video and a new generation of Witness children being spared further indoctrination, I know what my choice would have been.






Further reading…

16 thoughts on “Sparlock a year later: Non-JWs in uproar on YouTube

  • September 3, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    I wonder how JWs really view this very video.. Given the fact then when it was first shown to some by their non-JW family before official release most of those JWs thought it was a fraud dedicated to bring a false testimony to their religion…

  • September 3, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    “At least for now, it is arguably turning people against the organization at a rate that is the same or greater than the rate of new converts”

    I don’t think they can get a foot right at this point! If they had five feet per leg they couldn’t step right, right about now….
    As one poster put it on the previous article:

    “The Watchtower has fallen!”

    And the inability to bully and control anymore (however grossly inappropriate to begin with let alone the potential Rights and legal aspect) lawful use of shared, fair use copyrighted and other materials on open forums just proves it!

  • September 3, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    I was willing to go along with all the witness stuff….until they attacked action figures. That was the end straw for me. I have a huge collection of them and was never in doubt I was serving Jah. But to attack the one worldly thing I love which isn’t harming anyone?!?! HA!

  • September 3, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    Another great video by Cedars. Great compilation. Thanks for all your work.

  • September 3, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    Holy s***, Cedars, you mean swearing ain’t allowed? ____ it!!

  • September 3, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    Great job, Cedars!
    I was unaware that the WTS re-released the video under a new name.
    Glad they did and that so many have been made AWARE of their indoctrination practices.

  • September 3, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    But JWs Parents watch “Warning Examples of Our Day” and women enjoy Phin′e·has the son of El·e·a′zar the son of Aaron the priest with a lance piercing both a man of Israel and a Midianite woman through her genital parts to rejoice Jehovah’s heart (Numbers 25:6-8)!!

    Expecting these women to be sound of mind is a mistake!!

  • September 4, 2013 at 8:33 am

    That last sentence pretty much sums up my feelings towards this Sparlock business. Thank you for another good article Cedars.

  • September 4, 2013 at 8:36 am

    When I first saw it, I too thought it was a very well elaborated piece of cartoon by someone mocking the Organization until I saw one of the Governing Body members explaining the video and the drawings were in the background. I could not believe that video. It is amazing how manipulative the video is and that if some thought it was another intent of apostates then saw it was a real DVD from the Society how easy they switch their minds to accept it. The singing reminded me of the movie Children of the Corn. LOL!

  • September 4, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Classic Psychological brainwashing through one sided ask and answer sessions with the authority(mom) indoctrinating ideas she was giving through a propaganda brainwashing video. Can you imagine if we could show this to any child under 8 yrs old and listen to their response without any influence or thought of being in trouble from their parents? I’m sure you would hear words like HUH! DUH! WHAT! in response to such a ridiculous video on being obedient to Mom and the cult religion she decided to follow. Sure go ahead Governing Body and use the special relationship that exists between a Mother and son to try and Brainwash the minds of the little ones. You are the Evil Slave of our Day. The modern day Pharisees who subvert the word of God in an attempt to put forward your own false ideologies. Lets face it your nothing more then mental and emotional abusers of these young children. In fact let me go further by saying sexual abusers as well as you don’t protect the children in your fold like you should from those who enter it and prey upon your flawed polices. Have you any conscience left? Your day is soon coming!!! To be examined by the true eternal judge of your works! May God have mercy on you but I really doubt it!!

  • September 10, 2013 at 2:06 am

    Please take a very close look at this video of Scientology leader niece as a child experiencing the “Sea Org” on Pierce Morgan:

    Does anyone see any similarities to common cult characteristics and behaviors? And especially Jehovah’s Witnesses?

    Discouraging higher education? (Although lying and giving lip service publicly…)
    Intensive indoctrination?
    Child labor and abuse?
    Separating families?
    Fear of publicity?
    Discouraging marriage and or children?
    Separating loved ones and potential mates…controlling, moving them about or hiding and withholding personal relationships?
    We already know of their shunning policy and other matters…
    See what else you can find:


  • October 3, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    I just want to know, where are the videos for the parents, instructing them on how to be loving, kind and attentive, and not overbearing, ego-maniacal, “let’s suck the life and happiness out of everything” autocrats who find any excuse they can think of to punish, berate, belittle, and downright abuse their kids? That mom in the videos comes across as harsh, angry, and perpetually irritated or disappointed with Caleb. Poor, poor Caleb.

  • October 6, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    “Caleb, Jehovah hates your toy.” “Even his name Sparlock has a Pagan and demonic meaning.” “Make Jehovah happy and throw out your toy how about if we burn it in the backyard this way it can be a sacrifice like in the Hebrew Scriptures where Abraham was told to sacrifice his son Issac.” “Jehovah will be so pleased…then we can come in and watch the Wizard of Oz!”

    Caleb””Awww Mom….”
    “Caleb listen to your Mom….Jehovah hates disobedience!”

  • October 6, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    Yes the Mom in the video is a haggered housewife but you would be too if you had to scrub the floor on your hands and knees then put on a dress for further indoctrination of your child. What I can’t understand is how in the world she can afford to be a stay at home mom who lives in a big house in this economy and only have a high school diploma! Then again maybe they can’t afford a mop due to their tight budget.

  • January 12, 2014 at 11:14 am

    It is so absolutely wonderful to hear everyone says these things they are saying and that wonderful video. I was once a jw. I feel like I have escaped a prison, we are prisons in our own homes. Women being told that their duty to their husbands is to have sex because it is a command. We can have only one type of sex, no oral sex because it is pagan. Our children are responsible to their bodies and that taking blood is wrong if taking it to prolong life, your life or anthers. It is better to die than to take ANY BLOOD PRODUCTS! That society is doomed and the ones saved after Armageddon will take over their houses! They look down on everyone because they are “Worldly” association and cannot be trusted. That Gods word comes before government. That our children should be baptized as early as possible so they are “held accountable” for “wrong doing”! They talk when their out in “Service” about how each one of these “goat like” neighbours will die at Armegedeon. They go to the “kingdom hall and weekly bible meetings to indoctrinate and brainwash only reading from one publication, questioning each member to see if they “studied” for the meetings. No other questions are allowed, only the questions in the articles given. No outside sources can be used accept to quote when giving answers directly from the watchtower, or the compact books containing “Daniel’s Prophesis”, “Life and times of Jesus”, “Book of Revelation” and the list goes on. It’s funny but they were careful to never have copies of all the old literature, there was a time where they were being examined by some outside sources (mostly “apostates”) and they lost in court battles. It just blows my mind that finally people are getting to really see this “Secret group”. If you are really keen on supporting an investigation into the violation of human rights then go to http://www.change.org/petitions/launch-an-investigation-to-determine-if-jehovah-s-witnesses-have-a-right-to-use-coercion-forms-of-mental-torture-to-force-its-members-not-to-leave?share_id=CGCptPTaac&utm_campaign=friend_inviter_chat&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition&utm_term=permissions_dialog_false

  • March 29, 2014 at 1:34 am

    First I’ve heard of this video but then I was disfellowshipped almost 20 years ago to the day. Born in 3rd generation. To say I cannot stand the borg is a mild understatement, my childhood I would not wish on my worst enemy, it was absolutely sheer hell growing up as a JW child.

    Beaten with a stick regularly (welts on my body regularly), beaten in public in the KH often, nobody ever stepped in to tell my father to stop, that was every meeting, year in, year out. Life at home was equally vile, I hated it. I just wanted to be like the rest of the kids at school.

    Didn’t matter what I did as a child, even when I used to think to myself as a young child if I do this to please my father he won’t hit me but hit me again and again and again he did. It was a nightmare childhood.

    Not to mention the constant talk of Satan and the demons. Demons this, demons that, the demons are out to get you Mark, what a bloody load of crap. Good grief.

    This video? Well, for once words almost fail me. I could say a great deal about it but what’s the point? It’s a load of bollocks.

    Years ago, when the Internet was first gathering pace I used to post on the exjw forums a great deal, Tishies Board anyone? Yeah that long ago.

    These days, it’s like a whole new generation are taking up the cause where many of us left off and moved on with our lives many moons ago.

    I do like to think I’m over the issues but even now to this day I’m still boiling mad at the JW’s. Not the R&F so much, just the borg itself. Crooklyn in particular. Someone give me a grenade launcher and I’d be quite happy to blow bethel up to pieces. The GB are nothing but a twisted fucked up bunch of old cronies living for free off everyone elses donations whilst wielding an iron rod to keep the flock in check. They’re nothing but a bunch of murdering bastards pardon my French.

    When you look at the sheer amount of blood on their hands down through the years, how on earth they have the sheer audacity to call themselves a charity, well I despair. Stupid is as stupid goes, I guess it is what it is. Bunch of fuckwits. (I’m sorry for the language, I’m Cornish, we swear a lot here and I’m seething mad at the WTBTS despite 20 years elapsing since I left).


    What bloody family?

    What is family?

    JW’s? Yrrr’ack.

Comments are closed.