The Worst Convention Ever – Part 5: Friday
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Part 5 of the Worst Convention Ever series shows some of the most disturbing material to-date

Part 5 of the Worst Convention Ever series shows some of the most disturbing material to-date

I don’t mind admitting it. When I decided to make a series of videos to compliment articles on JWsurvey about the “Worst Convention Ever” (the “Remain Loyal to Jehovah” 2016 regional convention) I bit off way more than I could chew.

I’m honestly not sure I would have committed to it if I’d known in advance there would be so much work involved.

The idea to do a video rebuttal series came to me after a Circuit Overseer leaked a batch of material intended for use at the convention, including 46 videos, to myself and a number of other exJW activists.

As overwhelmed as I was by the overload of digital cultish manipulation, I figured the videos could be grouped together into six parts, and thus dissected relatively easily.

But then, last month, we had an extra leak – and it changed everything. We now had three days’ worth of “official” video footage filmed at one of the conventions showing, not just the dramatization videos, but how the Governing Body wants them to be presented.

This turned everything on its head. A six-part series became a nine-part series as we scrambled to accommodate the extra material.

So, rather than being (as it was intended) a straightforward summary of the miscellaneous material not covered in the previous 4 parts, Part 5 is now arguably one of the most shocking videos in this series so far.

Why? Because it now deals with the talks given on the Friday of the program. And, well, there’s no easy way to put this: the Friday material alone proves that Watchtower has gone full-on cult, and unashamedly expects to be able to control the minds of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Loyal in thought

Arguably nothing screams “cult” and “mind control” like a charismatic speaker emphatically urging his audience to have “tight control” over what enters their minds. In Jose Cintron Jnr,* a raven-haired bethelite with a hypnotic glair, a creepy grin and a penchant for melodrama, that is exactly what Watchtower have given us.

Despite his talk, titled “Maintain Loyalty in Thought,” being scripted for him by the Governing Body’s teaching committee (as is the case with almost all convention talks), Jose throws himself into it with gusto as though he had written every word himself.

Here is a man who has zero qualms in asking thousands to “bring their thoughts into captivity” and fill their brains only with Watchtower’s endless flow of propaganda.

Jose Cintron Jnr seems to revel in his opportunity to tell convention audiences to bring their thoughts "into captivity" to Watchtower

Jose Cintron Jnr seems to revel in telling convention audiences to bring their thoughts “into captivity” to Watchtower

 

The most cringe-worthy moment come when Cintron Jnr, who also makes an appearance as Sennacherib in the Hezekiah drama, deviates from his script slightly to ask his audience whether they would hesitate for a moment to dial 911 if they were to discover an intruder in their homes in the middle of the night.

The irony should be glaring to anyone who is aware that calling the police is precisely what a Witness is NOT supposed to do if they become aware of a far worse crime than breaking and entering – the sexual molestation of a child by a fellow Witness.

Don’t ask questions!

Jose’s talk was the first of a three-part symposium emphasizing the need for loyalty to Watchtower in thought, word and action. Chosen to handle the second part, dealing with loyalty in “word,” was the rather more robotic Cameron Haynes.

The main thrust of Haynes’ talk, as evidenced by the dramatization video, was to remind Witnesses not to speak against the elders. Apparently, no matter how poorly-behaved your elders are, if you have a grievance against them the last thing you should do is discuss this with others. After all, elders answer only to Watchtower, and not those they are appointed to serve.

Cameron Haynes stresses the need for Witnesses to support Watchtower teachings even when they don't understand them

Cameron Haynes stresses the need for Witnesses to support Watchtower teachings even when they don’t understand them

 

A more intriguing application of the need for loyalty “in word” arose in comments apparently directed at those who may question “new light,” or organizational adjustments, such as the recent scrapping of the much-loved Theocratic Ministry School (which has been replaced with a bible reading and door-to-door practice session).

Haynes admits that such changes might test the loyalty of Witnesses, but reminds them to greet these with “excitement” nonetheless. He then cites the example of the apostle Peter pledging his loyalty to Christ in John 6, when many disciples are repulsed by his teachings. This, apparently, establishes that Witnesses should support Watchtower doctrine even when they don’t understand it.

This chimes with what we have already seen with outrageous teachings such as that of the overlapping generation, which is based on an explanation that makes no logical sense. The Governing Body wants its followers to know that they don’t owe any coherent breakdown of their teachings. The role of rank and file Witnesses is to follow – not question, or even understand.

 

Better than life

The final talk of the Friday morning program has the telling title: “Jehovah’s Loyal Love Is Better Than Life!” The speaker used in the official convention footage, Reginald McCoy, seizes his opportunity to remind the audience that being a Jehovah’s Witness is indeed better than one’s very existence.

“Life without Jehovah’s loyal love would be meaningless and purposeless, which really doesn’t make for much of a life at all,” he says. “Jehovah’s loyal love does not change. That is why it is in fact better than life… having Jehovah’s loyal love is worth more than our own existence.”

Bear in mind: ordinary members of the public are invited to Witness conventions (at least in theory), meaning non-Witnesses are expected to stomach being told their lives are meaningless unless they pledge themselves to the organization.

Reginald McCoy admonishes his audience to view their lives as secondary to their relationship with Jehovah's organization

Reginald McCoy admonishes his audience to view their lives as secondary to their relationship with Jehovah’s organization

 

It’s probably worth stressing that such clearly ridiculous rhetoric comes, not from the mind of the speaker, but straight from the Governing Body – as shown from the following screen grab from the final part of the speaker’s outline…

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 15.19.12

Hence, even though convention audiences will assume McCoy was giving a heartfelt plea based on his own thoughts and experiences, he was in fact parroting his masters – Watchtower. And Watchtower wants Witnesses to believe their very lives come second to the privilege of being in “Jehovah’s organization.”

Feel abandoned by apostates

The Friday afternoon of the convention offers a double-whammy of cultishness with two symposiums. The first presents the 7-part Sergei video series, while the second emphasizes the need to shun disfellowshipped family members using a trilogy of videos featuring the fictitious Sonja.

In one of the videos of the Sergei series, Sergei’s friend is shown vanishing in ghost-like fashion from a congregation meeting, which is supposed to represent his turning apostate. I was intrigued to see how Brandon Harkey, again using the outline provided for him, would present this material.

xxx explains why Witnesses should take it personally when people leave their religion

Brandon Harkey explains why Witnesses should take it personally when people leave their religion

 

It turns out a very clever strategy is being deployed by Watchtower in further stigmatizing those, like myself, who decide to leave the organization for conscientious reasons.

Witnesses are not only supposed to fear and loath apostates like me as “mentally diseased.” They are also supposed to feel personally offended and insulted that they have been “abandoned” by their former brethren.

Harkey reads Matthew 10:35-36 where Jesus warns that a man’s enemies will be “those of his own household,” and applies the verse by saying: “Yes Jesus acknowledged here that a person’s own family, their own friends, might very well abandon them for choosing to serve Jehovah.”

Though this verse was indeed describing a scenario in which a Jewish or pagan family might expel one of their own for becoming a Christian, this has nothing to do with a Witness waking up from Watchtower indoctrination and deciding to walk.

In such a case it is the family, under orders from Watchtower, who shun the one making a conscientious stand. Far from viewing them as “enemies,” the apostate will generally continue to love his family despite the difference in beliefs, but is denied a relationship with them.

But because Watchtower recognises the manipulative value of helping Witnesses feel like victims, the verse in Matthew 10 is turned on its head. The apostate is framed as the aggressor, the one who has attacked his believing family by rejecting their faith.

Amazingly, even non-JW family friends, perhaps work colleagues or unbelieving spouses, are expected by the Governing Body to refrain from rejecting or questioning Watchtower teachings.

“Perhaps you’ve felt the abandonment that results when an unbelieving family member or friend ostracises, criticises us, ridicules us because we choose to serve Jehovah,” says Harkey, without explaining why it is incumbent on those who aren’t Witnesses to validate the beliefs of those who are.

Even current Witnesses who grow lukewarm in the face of Watchtower’s increasing cultishness, the recently-dubbed “Kevinly Class” (a nod to a character from the bunker videos), are rounded on as causes of personal anguish to devout Witnesses.

“Even within the congregation, we may at times feel a sense of abandonment perhaps by a friend who seems to withdraw from us as we’re striving to put kingdom interests first and do more for Jehovah,” bemoans Harkey.

“You turn to your friends for help, for support, as you’re striving to do more, as you’re putting spiritual goals first, but maybe you notice some seem to withdraw. Why? Well your goals, what’s most important to you, may now be somewhat different from theirs.”

Witnesses are again asked to feel affronted and attacked if those around them fail to lavish them with “support” in their quest to give everything for the organization. Such coercive rhetoric is easy to see through once you’re on the outside, but for Witnesses who are sufficiently desperate to feel oppressed and persecuted, it will work only too well – leaving countless relationships even more unsalvageable.

Martyr yourself for Watchtower

Readers of this website will already be familiar with the disturbing finale to the Sergei series, in which the main protagonist likely terminates his life for his beliefs by refusing blood. It falls to bethelite Jared Gossman to drill home Watchtower’s message that Sergei made the right choice by placing Watchtower’s interests ahead of his instinct for survival.

xxx makes it clear that Witnesses should be prepared for end their lives for the sake of their beliefs

Jared Gossman makes it clear that Witnesses should be prepared to end their lives for the sake of their beliefs

 

Gossman begins his talk by following the outline’s call to stigmatize as cowardly, thoughtless and selfish those who would “be disloyal to [Jehovah] in an attempt to preserve life.”

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 17.44.31

After reminding Witnesses of the importance of keeping their medical documents signed and up-to-date (heaven forbid they don’t get second thoughts when the time comes), Gossman urges them to make the ultimate sacrifice if called upon to do so: “How sad it would be [if] in an effort to extend our life just temporarily we sacrifice our loyalty to Jehovah and lose out on life for an eternity.”

Any Witnesses who may squirm at the idea of martyring themselves for Watchtower are urged to think happy thoughts: “Even if we did lose our life in this system we can think about the resurrection hope that we have when circumstances get difficult. We can think of ourselves experiencing the blessings Jehovah has in store – perhaps blessings we’ve told others about for many years – but we can see ourselves there enjoying them as a reward for our loyalty.”

Since it’s impossible for dead Jehovah’s Witnesses who died refusing blood to come back and confirm they were resurrected into a paradise earth, you will have to take Watchtower’s word on this.

Shun your family

It’s no longer a secret that the second Friday afternoon symposium contains some of the most potent pro-shunning propaganda we have yet seen on a JW convention program. But kudos to New Jersey elder Josh Sable for finding a way to stamp his own creativity on Watchtower’s message of hate.

xxx argues that the growth cycle of the lilac sets a precedent for JW families to shun disfellowshipped loved ones

Josh Sable argues that the growth cycle of the lilac sets a precedent for JW families to shun disfellowshipped loved ones

 

After the video is shown where Sonja is disfellowshipped and her mother won’t even pick up the phone when she calls, Sable comes up with a bizarre horticultural analogy to drive the point home.

“Did you know that it’s a pronounced cold snap in the dead of winter that triggers the lilac to bud and bloom come spring? Those frigid temperatures do something deep inside that plant to heighten its sweet fragrance, and to enhance the beauty of that cluster of flowers. When we look around Jehovah’s organization some of the most beautiful and sweet-smelling Christians are those who have allowed this internal process, or this chill of discipline, to make significant changes in their thinking and conduct. The result is nothing short of spectacular!”

Apparently when Jehovah’s Witnesses show love to one another, this is evidence that they are Christ’s true followers in fulfilment of his words at John 13:35. But when they treat their own flesh and blood with coldness and cruelty in obedience to their religious leaders – worry not! This can be justified due to some random plant’s growing cycle.

 

Inform on your brothers

It wouldn’t be a festival of Orwellian, cultish ideology without at least one incitement for the faithful to report on eachother to Big Brother should anybody fail to show loyalty to the hierarchy. Step forward bethelite Timothy Blazek to issue the necessary reminder.

xxx reminds Witnesses to inform on each other when wrongdoing is detected

Timothy Blazek reminds Witnesses to inform on each other when wrongdoing is detected

 

“When it comes to our friends, this might be an area that tests our loyalty – particularly when a friend gets involved in wrongdoing that should be brought to the attention of the elders,” says Blazek.

“Never would we want to allow misguided loyalty to a friend to overshadow our loyalty to Jehovah. If you recall, as we heard earlier the definition from the Greek language of loyalty carries the thought of holiness and righteousness, so what would the loving and loyal thing be to do if a friend was in such a circumstance? Approach the friend, urge him to seek the help of the elders and the parents and to speak to them. And then tell him that if he does not do it within a reasonable period of time – you will.”

Unlike Sable with his poetic lilac illustration, Blazek is here reading directly from the manuscript furnished him by the Governing Body, with only a few minor deviations.

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 21.21.24

Thus, immediately after the shunning symposium is ended, instructions are issued that will help add to the number of those shunned.

Not a moment’s thought is given that whatever the perceived wrongdoing is, which could be anything from sexual activity to smoking a cigarette, the punishment will almost never fit the crime.

Only in the case of a crime such as child molestation could an argument be made for family estrangement being appropriate (along with prosecution by the authorities, obviously) – but ironically elders require two witnesses to take any such accusation seriously.

By contrast, at least on the evidence of this talk, when it comes to a teenage Witness having a sexual relationship with the girl nextdoor, one snitching friend is enough to set things in motion.

Counting the cost

I’ve heard it said that there is nothing new about much of the material being pumped into the minds of Witnesses at this convention. Indeed, though I never paid as rapt attention at conventions as I was required to, I can vaguely remember frequent talks similar to those listed above.

The reason why I believe this is the “worst convention ever” is because, for the first time, the Governing Body’s hate-filled manuscripts are not deemed enough. As their video production resources have swollen in recent years, they have spotted an opportunity to enhance the already-potent propaganda at their conventions with sleek video dramatizations to make sure their message about the need for absolute obedience sinks in.

As much as I would like to think all of this cultic manipulation will drift over the heads of the majority in attendance (though in many cases, surely it will), we would be naive to think this. Jehovah’s Witnesses on the whole take their faith extremely seriously, and there will likely be real-world ramifications to the talks given at this convention.

People will start being shunned who weren’t shunned previously, and people who were hitherto mentally on the fence about blood transfusions will resolve to kill themselves by refusing blood if the opportunity presents itself, as a direct result of this convention. Make no mistake about that.

The awful videos promoting shunning, hatred of apostates and martyrdom, combined with the torrent of overt calls for unquestioned loyalty, even at the expense of one’s life, convince me we have never seen a Watchtower convention worse than this. I only wish I could say with confidence it won’t be the worst of all time.

 

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Further reading:

Translations: Romanian | …

*All name spellings of speakers have been guessed at, and may not be exact.

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194 Responses to The Worst Convention Ever – Part 5: Friday

  1. Sardec says:

    We didn’t go because I found the one online soon enough. My husband was watching some of Friday’s session, made fun of the 911 call comment, and proceeded to shut off the video. And he’s mentally still in!

    • Ready 4 to Fade says:

      I found the 911comment ironic for other reasons. Here in the US at least, there is a first aid department at conventions which usually consists of a nursing home aide, a dental hygienist and two elders overseeing them at any given time. The elders are always far too busy to be in their seats with their families you know! There is typically an explicit instruction given from the platform NOT TO CALL 911 under any circumstances, but to alert the nearest ministerial servant who will be divinely inspired to save your poor old grandfather as he keels over with a massive heart attack or stroke. Obviously the “golden hour” has no meaning in the context of a regional convention. Better to let an elderly JW die or be permanently disabled than to distract from the true life-saving which is obviously already in progress on the platform. Besides, a newspaper article about someone dropping dead at the convention doesn’t attract the right type of attention.

  2. Chiafade says:

    “Full on cult mode”, indeed Lloyd. I gave a talk on the same symposium with Jose Cintron a couple of years ago when I was still in. He’s in the Arabic field now. He has strange mannerisms and is a HUGE brown noser. Everything out of his mouth is “the slave this and the slave that” and “the slave is really taking care of us”. Which indicates one of his biggest problems and why men like him are so useful in cult indoctrination.

    Jose and his wife travel ALOT. They also receive a pretty penny on a weekly/bi weekly basis. How? Several green handshakes that amount to $500 to $1000 dollars a week, tax free! How do I know? My brother entered Brooklyn bethel at the same time as Jose. I’ve heard and seen this for myself.

    He’s not the only one. Men like this say and to an extent by means of the confirmation bias they receive through green handshakes, experience”Jehovahs loving hand in my life”. Whereas the bethelites who are not charismatic and have frumpy looking wives and are generally just not that special are given the boot with zero resources to show for it. They NEED men who can influence others.

    Great article Lloyd. So much content.

    • Grace says:

      Yuk, that man looks like a glazed eyed cultist for sure. His eyes look devious to me. He looks as though he’s acting when he gives the talk. It just doesn’t look genuine at all.

      • Telescopium says:

        Opinion: I think he blinks too much.

        That tells me something, although I’m not quite sure what it is. Hiding something…?

  3. Oubliette says:

    I think it’s interesting that rank & file JWs are told not to criticize the elders because the “elders answer only to Watchtower.”

    After all, the WT leaders view themselves as exempt from any such accountability:

    “I do not answer to Watchtower”Gerrit Lösch declaration revealed!

    http://jwsurvey.org/cedars-blog/i-do-not-answer-to-watchtower-stunning-gerrit-losch-declaration-revealed

    Let’s review: It’s a cult!

    • Winston Smith says:

      That one – unquestioning obedience to elders – struck me as well. It makes me think of the concept of social contract, and the mandate that our leaders govern by and for the will of those governed. This is not the case with Watchtower. The leaders are appointed by God and therefore infallable (until they are removed that is – I guess even God makes mistakes?). Much like the kings and lords of feudal times. And the rank and file are nothing but lowly serfs. Serves to prove that the Watchtower is a top-down organization.

      WS

      • Big B says:

        “Much like the kings and lords of feudal times. And the rank and file are nothing but lowly serfs. Serves to prove that the Watchtower is a top-down organization”.

        Winston, when the WTBTS attorney says in open court, ‘we are a hierarchy just like the Catholic Church”. Then the observation you made is crystal clear. They are following a format and a successful one at that. The Catholic church is being emulated by the Governing Body (including pedophile protection) from its cardinal system down to the way they coerce their flock (serfs) into obedience. How? Thru incorrect, twisted, Pharisaic teaching of biblical doctrines and fear, obligation and guilt…oh yes, especially FEAR.

        The problem the J.W.’s are finding is this: the Catholic Church has been around a lot longer, is a lot wealthier, has 800 million adherents and will out live this ‘papist wanna be’ by years. The Catholic Church has been playing politics forever and one phone call from ‘His Holiness’ is welcomed with respect around the world. A phone call from the Governing Body of J.W’s ….not so much.

        So how long will the serfs continue to chafe under the bonds of this totalitarian excuse for a religion before leaving or splitting away remains to be seen?

    • Deep Thought says:

      “I do not answer to Watchtower”Gerrit Lösch declaration revealed!

      In fact, this is a correct statement. The Watchtower answers to Gerrit Losch and the other Governing Body members.

  4. “having Jehovah’s loyal love is worth more than our own existence.”
    An amazingly absurd claim! If we don’t have existence, then not only would we be unaware of Jehovah’s love, but there would be no “us” for Jehovah to love! (His loving his memory of us does us no good at all.) Our own existence must come first, as any love that benefits us is contingent upon our existence.

    It sounds like the same sort of message fanatics instill in suicide bombers.

    • Big B says:

      @ Steve McRoberts:

      Firstly, great article as always Lloyd.

      ” It sounds like the same sort of message fanatics instill in suicide bombers”. You are right on target (no pun intended) Steve. 🙂

      I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t start handing out Kool-Aid at the assemblies as a sort of drill to see who follows instructions and drinks or refuses. Then one day the Kool-Aid will be laced with poison as a shortcut to Paradise when they “wake up” in the New System.

      As wacky and insane as this sounds does “Jones Town” or “Heaven’s Gate” strike a familiar note? Is there no end to the propaganda from this mind controlling, pedophile protecting, Bible thumping, self-righteous bunch of hypocrites?

      Thank God my family and I left when this malarkey started, my parents sure picked the wrong denomination when they started shopping religions in the late 1950’s. Can you imagine a religion with absolutely NO holidays? That should have been a big red flag right there! All that time and treasure (gas, lodging, food, dry cleaning, shoe leather etc.) wasted, and for what? Armageddon is ‘a commin’! Anytime now, just you wait and see! Yeah, right.

    • Erikius says:

      @ S. McRoberts

      Good point! When it comes to philosophy and a deeper understanding of the human mind,
      there is much to be desired in the Watchtower world. Their own one-dimensional rationale seems to be agreeable enough for them, even if the discrepancy is obvious. By the way, philosophy can be dangerous and a very frightening topic for Jehovah’s Witnesses.
      I have on many occasions argued with them from a philosophical viewpoint and at the same time given some thoughts from C.G. Jung concerning the subconscious mind etc, Abstract subjects like these make them anxious.
      Ok – my own views are a bit complex and perhaps ‘far out’ and not for this forum. 

      • Matias says:

        Ooh look at me, look at me, my views are too complex for this forum

        Just kidding 😛

        • Erikius says:

          @ Matias
          True, complex (irrelevant) for the forum and complex for myself.
          I often make a lot of confusion in trying to explain what I mean, ’far out’ as I said, and my own mind goes astray with its own contradictions. It’s not easy. 🙂

          • Roman Castañeda says:

            Meditating out loud helps sweep away the contradictions. Then ones thoughts are far more convincing to oneself and others

  5. John Merriman says:

    The photos of these young corporate salesmen is sickening. Wake up you Watchtower Witnesses ! It is a business nothing more. Remain loyal to the money making publishing/video/tv company. It reeks of glorification of the chief executives (GB). IT IS A TOTAL SHAM !

    • JBob says:

      LMHO You got it JM, if we were to take this 1940-50’s corporate propaganda styled film out of context and insert let’s say a video from Pennsylvania Railroad [notorious for its embezzlement and mismanagement, plus government issues, that sent it spiraling into bankruptcy] which lauded the board of directors and executives as unquestionable and requiring absolute obedience, not one employee in today’s environment would buy it. We have learned that people are people, and people are strange and crooked, sometimes. So, too, we have learned since the 1950’s and 1960’s, and especially since 1970’s, that it is best to question authority and not necessarily in our best interests to follow without question, even when the authority wraps itself in the bible and the glory of heaven.

      Also, for those of you truly interested in raising lilacs with sweetly fragrant blooms I would research horticultural advice from the experts. The buds appear in the fall and fall dormant in winter, they bloom in spring. If the winter is too harsh, these plants like all flora will wither away.

      Again, this ranting about loyalty is simply watching Granny Watchtower getting her sagging teat caught in the wringer again. When the numbers slump, especially after what the “leadership” (be it GB or the various corporate committees) deems “new light” or “organizational changes,” the group pounds on it chest regarding its 1914-authority-grant [moot since they cast that off last year or whenever] or browbeats the remnant r/f about straying from the _only_ source of Truth–insidiously asserting and inserting themselves into the place of the only-begotten god.

      An easy insertion when one considers how the group tears down other churches and religions, governments, corporations, charities and anything else that is not “Watchtower” or supporting Watchtower endeavors.

      They can run to the mountains of upstate New York, even Carmel, NY, or to the bottom of the sea, in the swamps of Florida with its gators and pythons, and even if a vast army drives them off the Internet, God’s justice–Justice–will find ’em {Amos 9:2-4}.

  6. After leaving Jws it’s going to be 2 years now I have absolutely no regrets of my best decision in my life to disassociate.
    The Watchtower started war and it will end in war when you fight them back in legal case and I can tell you they will loose.
    The government will or already acknowledged Jehovah’s Witnesses deviding and break families and community and they will have to carry consequences.
    I just want to encourage anybody who is dealing with this abuse report to authorities and fight them back. That is only answer to them.
    Even my mother couldn’t explain to me to shun even inactive ones. It shows how much hate they have to anybody who did not submit of slavery to their dogmatic religion.
    One day it will stop.
    My mother knows if they will start on her to shun me and my sister it will have serious consequences for them in court. I think that’s the proper answer.

    • shun me and my sister it will have serious consequences for them in court. What does that mean (CONEQUENCES/court? What does this all mean. If members don’t shun inactive/fallen away/disassociate witnesses, what will happen to them? Will they be dsf to for not obeying…..I am not clear on what all this means. please someone TY

  7. Harry Cadanza says:

    Lloyd Evans does an excellent job at presenting the facts in a way that helps people get a true and honest understanding about the JW religion.

  8. Chris Obs. says:

    Hi Lloyd,
    thanks a million for your precious articles and videos about this shameful convention, we should try to suggest them to always more journalists and newspapers in order to sensitize the public opinion. I would like to tell you something I thought and maybe this could be interesting to consider: 1) Interviews to psicologist and psichiatrists commenting about some of the obvious mental manipulations could be great and shocking thing for many JWs. 2) Declaring yourself clearly as an atheist could be ok for many people like me, but could be a psicological wall for mant believers or the JWs even if they are doubting about the WTS, the bible and they are ready to reconsider everything. For some people that have grown up as a believer could be much more comfortable to know that you have some kind of spiritual belief even if this has nothing to do with a religion or a sacred text, but maybe is simply something like the impersonal God mentioned from some famous non-atheist scientists and psicologists, now I remember just Einstein and Jung. After all, several non-believer psicologists has a similar approach with the believers just to don’t create a disconnection with that person. Don’t forget that even if people change their mind about a belief or God, that mental set remains for many years, sometimes forever, unless they get a help from a good therapist. Please let me know what do you think and thanks again for everything you do.
    Chris

    • Cedars says:

      Thanks for your observations Chris. I am always interested in involving more professional opinions, including those of mental health professionals. However, it must be pointed out that the counselling community in general is, at present, woefully behind in understanding the cult phenomenon, taking it seriously as a means of thought reform, and implementing recovery processes. There are some working behind the scenes to fix that, but there is still a lot of work ahead. As to the question of my atheism, obviously I am not a psychologist and don’t pretend to be. I suppose when it comes to the question of whether I will be able to play a role in waking up Jehovah’s Witnesses despite being open about my atheism, the proof will have to be in the pudding. I actually feel that my lack of veneration of the bible as a sacred text gives me more freedom to criticize ALL areas of Watchtower dogma – for example, including their anti-gay teachings, which Christian evangelical exJWs tend to be less vocal about. I think there is something to be said for treating people like adults, telling it like it is, and leaning on people’s intelligence and willingness to listen to other opinions that differ from their own – which, of course, is the exact opposite approach taken by Watchtower.

      • Sven says:

        It doesn’t matter one iota to me if you call yourself an atheist/agnostic, or not. Since there’s no way of proving or of disproving the existence of a God/gods there’s no harm being done. Besides – true or untrue THERE IS NOTHING WE CAN DO ABOUT IT!

        • dee2 says:

          If there is one good thing about the JW religion is that it has certainly proven that God does not speak to anyone or lead/direct anyone which certainly makes me wonder about God’s existence – it certainly seems to me that God is playing a game of hide and seek.

          • Winston Smith says:

            While I don’t believe that this was divinely inspired, I do think it is a profound thought: Acts 17:27 “He did this so they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.”

            Organized religion, and the Watchtower in particular, have made “finding God” an arduous task that you cannot do without them. When in reality, for those who chose to believe in such a deity, it should be no more difficult than opening your front door and looking at the wonders of creation.

            WS

          • dee2 says:

            WS,

            The wonders of creation may be a signal to some persons that God exists, but apart from this perceived existence, does God really communicate with humans, leading them and directing them as we have been told/led to believe?

            I think the Bible provides a clear unequivocal answer to this question.

            The writers of the New Testament (NT) did not consider the Hebrew Canon closed or aligned with today’s 39 books. They freely cited Hebrew texts that are today considered NON-CANONICAL. The most influential of the Hebrew books was that of Enoch. It exercised a greater influence on the NT than all the other non-canonical books put together. It was eventually rejected by the Jews and subsequently Christians, yet quotations from the book of Enoch can be found in Jude and verbal echoes are found in Matthew, Luke, John, Hebrews, Thessalonians, 1 Peter and Revelation and probably in other books.

            Roman Catholics claim that the Bible contains 73 canonical (authentic) books, while most Protestants accept only 66 because they reject the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books. The Orthodox Christians accept 76 books.

            The Ethiopian church, which traces its roots to the fourth-century church, claims a Canon of some 81 books.

            Several ancient biblical manuscripts include non-canonical Christian writings.

            It is commonly held by Bible scholars in recent centuries that mistakes were made with the selection of books for the NT Canon.

            http://www.jwstudies.com/Why_Does_WTS_Accept_Christendoms_Scriptures.pdf

            The Bible is a book of contradictions, inconsistencies, discrepancies, forgeries, myths, folklore, plagiarisms, midrash on scripture, revisionist history, failed prophecies or pretending to write prophesy when the writers were actually writing old history and not prophecy, morality that is incompatible with current standards of morality and ethics, inaccuracies – it is at odds with science and archaeology and historical facts in some instances; lots of writers of the Hebrew Bible, with editors/redactors trying to make the texts appear as though there were less writers; a nationalistic/political agenda propped up by god-talk which has led to the land-grab problem in the Middle East.

            Yet we are told that God directed the thoughts of the men who wrote the Bible and inspired the wording of the Bible.

            As far as I can see, God may exist as you claim, but he certainly is a silent God – he does not communicate with anyone, or lead or direct anyone as we have been told/led to believe.

            Regards.

          • Winston Smith says:

            dee2
            For the most part I agree with your assessment of scripture. I also think that many of the men who wrote the Bible desired to understand the Creator and what we read is their assessment and feelings on the matter. They were, of course, limited by their knowledge (or lack thereof), their misconceptions, and even their culture. Could we call them inspired, yes, but no more so than if you or I were to right down our beliefs, or perhaps lack thereof, in a creator or a purpose to the universe.

            Does God speak to anyone? Certainly not in the way we were led to believe by the JWs. But to the natural theologist, the creator speaks to us all the time through that which was created. And you don’t need a church, a prophet, or a holy book to hear it. To hear one must simply listen.

            WS

          • Winston Smith says:

            Apologies: Should be “write down” rather than “right down”

      • Chris Obs. says:

        I understand, adults must be treated like adults that’s sure, but blind followers of a propaganda are maybe a different talk 🙂 so sometimes it needs a huge extra effort to transmit them a concept but we all know how hard it is. I have found interesting a public talk of a psicologist about faiths, he said that the faith is like a nail that most of the people are grasped to it to feel safe or even to feel alive, if you detach that nail from the wall they will just fall down so you are not doing a favour to them, unless they really trust you, then you can help them to climb down slowly from it. Have a great day Lloyd! 🙂

        • dee2 says:

          Chris Obs,

          You are right.
          Indeed, one of the major purposes of faith is to make people feel better; it is a way of making believers feel that they have some degree of control over their lives especially in situations that are beyond their control.

          Human beings have always been, and still are, at the mercy of a complex and often frightening world. It is only natural that people in such circumstances would be eager, even desperate, for a way to calm their fears and give themselves confidence, and this is what faith provides. It gives believers a connection to the highest power in the universe, the one whom they are told is on their side and will make sure everything turns out all right for them. This ability to cope has always been one of the major perceived benefits of religious belief.

          Faith also helps persons to feel good about their mortality.

          Given the psychological hurdles regarding faith which you have mentioned, and your concern about Lloyd being open about his atheism, perhaps this is an opportunity for you to step up to the plate and launch your own website to help the blind followers extricate themselves from the Watchtower’s propaganda?

          Regards.

        • dee2 says:

          I find it interesting that people would have such implicit, unwavering trust in a God who doesn’t really seem to have their interest and wellbeing at heart:

          According to Revelation 12:7-12, God cleansed the heavens to protect his spiritual family by sending the demons down to the earth. Now his physical family has to fight them. It was important for God to get rid of these pesky demons from heaven but then he gave them to mankind to deal with and we now have to fight them.

          Why would a loving God release a plague of demons upon his creation to terrorize/torment them and wreak havoc in their lives?

          Or according to the account of Job, God can just ruin people’s lives as he pleases and deliberately cause tragedy and disaster as a way of “testing” the faith of his believers, even though by definition he knows what the results of the test will be ahead of time.

          • Telescopium says:

            Dee2,
            My wife and I were just talking about these types of injustice. We came up with:

            All mankind being held responsible for Adam & Eve’s sin.

            Humans being assaulted by the Nephilim, leading to a flood that kills attackers and victims alike.

            Job’s life was protected, but his kids’ lives weren’t.

            Job’s successful completion of the test didn’t put the issue to rest. Satan continued to victimize countless other humans.

            All women must learn in silence because Eve was deceived. (Never understood this, as Adam was not deceived and therefore more culpable, right?)

            The anointed are supposedly already judged righteous before they die (1 Tim. 4:8) but the great crowd must prove themselves through a horrific event called the Great Tribulation. Poor Kevin.

            And then there’s a final-final test after one thousand years, at which point everyone ‘finally’ found faithful will still have to face a mob of well-dressed, bandana-wearing, stick-wielding haters. (The new reality show: “When Bethelites Attack”)

            Speaking frankly, it seems there is great effort put forth to make humans VERY insecure about their prospects for a happy, endless future. Zephaniah 2:3 even says “Probably YOU may be concealed in the day of Jehovah’s anger.”

          • Winston Smith says:

            @Telescopium
            “well-dressed, bandana-wearing, stick-wielding haters.”

            I remember that picture – was it in the Revelation Book? What does God have against bandanas? By today’s standards, that would convey the concept that God is somehow against cancer patients.

            WS

          • dee2 says:

            LOL Telescopium, you’re way too funny ☺:

            “The new reality show: “When Bethelites Attack” “.

            Always wondered who those people in Revelation 20:9 would be who would “surround the camp of the holy ones”………..now I know…….lol.

  9. Caroline says:

    I watched your video two times Lloyd and I had to laugh both times over the “Laxafaith” and both times I had to laugh with the voice over with Jose Cintron Jnr. screaming “Jehovah” during his talk.

    I think those clips you showed of him during that talk, make him seem really devil-like in the way he looks and talks and acts.

    It is very obvious to me, that he is a wannabe actor and thinks he is so good-looking, that if he just hadn’t been born a JW, he could have made it in Hollywood but the next best thing as a JW, is being an actor for the Society’s talks and dramas.

    Sad little person, that guy is, wanting to be famous and being stuck in a stupid little cult that nobody gives a crap about.

    The talks are so scripted that it makes me wonder why would anybody even have to go to the assemblies? Why not just print them out to save the Witnesses the bother and expense? They do it to make money off of them with their donations and just to make sure that all the Witnesses get the point of shunning, they are forced to go to the assemblies and sit through hours and hours of the most boring talks anybody could possibly have to endure.

    If
    witnesses don’t show up at the assembly, they are made to explain it to everybody when they ask if they got there and they didn’t see them and unless they have a death in the immediate family, no excuse is good enough for them so Witnesses have to go or they are looked at with suspicion and the gossip starts.

    Lloyd, you are a very talented guy and an excellent writer. Thank you so much for all your hard work and those who have helped you with your articles and videos. This video in particular made me laugh out loud and we need to laugh sometimes.

    • Ex-Pionner says:

      Caroline,

      Jose Cintron’s glazed eyes are really disturbing! However, it is important to remember he is also a victim and deluded as much as his GB leaders.
      I lived in the Brazilian Bethel branch and met several young men like Jose. The environment at Bethel gives such young men an opportunity to shine in their small communities and congregations. They are often perceived as “celebrities” and a some of them enjoy a few perks because of their position such as free boarding when they travel or even airline tickets to travel abroad.
      I met so many talented people that gave up on their dreams to pursue a life as a bethelite. A significant amount of them were young talented men from lower income families who felt privileged to live in a beautiful place such as the branch and get their “15 minutes” of fame when they were invited to represent Bethel at special occasions.
      Lloyd would have a lot to write about the psychological factors that usually draw such individuals to the organization.
      I was one of them. My desire to explore the world and travel abroad made me dream about attending Gilead. Others excelled in public speaking to get the attention of sisters or to be invited to the homes of rich Witnesses.

      • Grace says:

        Ex-Pioneer,

        That would be an interesting subject to explore.

        Maybe you could offer an article to be submitted to the website.

  10. Tara says:

    Praise the lord and pass the Kool aid.

    • Older and Wiser says:

      No Tara – it’s Praise Jehovah and pass the Kool aid.

      • C says:

        Yes, we must put Jehovah above all

        • dee2 says:

          “We must put Jehovah above all………….except the Flying Spaghetti Monster (Parmesan be upon him) of course!”

          – 2 Spaghettios 8:15

          Prayer of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (Parmesan be upon him):

          “Our pasta,
          Who art in strainer,
          Whole wheat be thy grain.
          Al-Dente done,
          Thy sauce be yum,
          At home, for dinner at seven.

          Give us some wine,
          Some garlic bread.
          And forgive us our slurping,
          As we forgive those,
          Who talk with their mouths full.
          And lead us not into overdone-ness

          But deliver us from mush.
          For Thine is the meatball,
          The sauce and the pasta,

          Forever and ever,
          RAmen.

          These are the words of His Noodleyness, may His meatballs ever be saucy.”

          —The New Colander 4:20

          “He Boiled For Your Sins.”
          – The Book of Fettuccine 7:16

          “And so it was at the last supper that he took a piece of Asian Noodle and said “this is my noodle broken for you take and boil it”. In the same manner he took a jar of Ragu “this is my sauce spilled for you, for when you consume this noodle along with this sauce you are forgiven”. ”

          – Ragu 9:11

          • Winston Smith says:

            Love it! When I was in college (yes, college – naughty little Jdub that I was) some religious club on campus (not JWs of course) tried to have some sort of Jesus rally in the campus commons. They were there spouting of gospel when some other student positioned himself about 20 feet away (6 meters for those outside the US) and started reading aloud from the gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was hilarious!

            WS

        • dee2 says:

          ಠ_ಠ

        • dee2 says:

          “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, though shalt have no other God but the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
          Our almighty Monster is all things to all people”.

          – Acts of the Apastasles 3:15 – 17

          ಠ_ಠ

          • Tara says:

            Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa….. flagellates ones self… but not too hard, it is summer after all.

  11. Stumpy says:

    This is the beginning of the Kevin Class:

  12. Michael B says:

    To borrow your expression, nothing screams ‘cult’ more than the need to use heavily coded words when simpler and more accurate words would suffice. Understandings, for example, are never changed; rather, everything is ‘adjusted’.

    Oh, and ‘complement’ rather than compliment in the first paragraph (I think it was.)

    Given the number of videos – and their length – I can understand the effort that goes into producing these. I’m sure there is plenty of acknowledgement from others but I’ll just add again that it’s much appreciated and I for one admire the work you put into ensuring the Watchtower is held to account for what it does.

  13. ruthlee says:

    Thanks Cedars for yet another public service and saving us the bother of attending this year’s drivel. I have wondered if mankind in it’s growingup and progress needed cults for some herding reason. But now we are fully in the information age they are at the end of their usefulness. watchtower as always slow on the uptake maybe one of the last cults standing. Cheers Ruthlee

  14. Willows says:

    Who was it that said… Do unto others as you want them to do to you?

    The speaker was calling into focus the need to treat people with respect, and continue a dialogue.

    After all if we call into focus sin, who is without sin? The speaker would not have had dialogues with people if sin was a problem!

    On the other hand reasonable dialogues with people can
    make a difference as his example showed about how people should be treated.

    Many responded to his reason and benefited.

    The Watchtower would do well to follow his example. And stop trying to take out the speck in the eye of others when they have a rafter in their own eye. First take out the rafter then will be able to help remove the speck.

    Unfortunately the Watchtower has a myriad of problems.

    • Big B says:

      @ Willows:

      “Unfortunately the Watchtower has a myriad of problems”.

      Truly, an understatement however, I agree with you.

      For example: joining the U.N. for ten years while at the same time denouncing the World Council of Churches for their support of the same organization is the height of hypocrisy!

      Saying that they do not suffer pedophiles in their congregations yet do everything to cover up information that the authorities need in investigation by non-reporting is nothing less than criminal. Not only are pedophiles free to roam in the congregations unabated but also their communities are vulnerable to their perversions.

      To any and all J.W.’s reading this a heartfelt message from me to you: GET OUT NOW or be prepared to be disappointed, disgusted, disillusioned, discouraged followed by your death believing in an unfulfilled delusional dream of a perfect Paradise earth that no one will ever live to see.

  15. Sarah says:

    Thanks Lloyd. Of primary importance is the need to think. It’s in Proverbs – develop thinking ability, understanding, discernment etc. DO NOT accept any teaching from WT without checking it. If you don’t understand it, then there’s something wrong with it. In Acts it says people checked what the apostles told them to make sure it was so, and they were commended for doing so.

    Christians only shunned those who were wicked. If we automatically assume someone is wicked because they leave the organisation we become judges, which we are told not to do. I left, I should know.

    As for reporting someone, the advice should be to make sure first you’ve got it right. Check, check and check again. Reporting someone and getting it wrong is slander. Again we are told not to judge. Christians assume their friends are doing the right thing. Otherwise you get a totalitarian empire. No-one should be in fear that their actions will be misinterpreted.

    If the fruitage of a religion is fear, slander and abused children then the religion is wrong. Elders who disfellowshipped Ray Franz acted ‘according to procedure’. Then the procedure must be wrong.

    I suspect one reason for abolishing the Ministry School is to keep women off the platform.

    I really hope GB spies read this. Thanks Lloyd.

    • JBob says:

      The assumption is that persons leave because they’re seeking freedom “to sin without judgement.” After all, this is THE Light, so only a sinner would leave to darkness.

      The rules of operation assumed by this convention are that individuals will remain under the limited access to information that clouded judgement for the century prior to the Internet. Thus, it’s appeal to loyalty comes from a heavy-handed punish-those-who-are-“traitors”-to-the-Cause rather than an attempt to address issues creating questions, or lacking an attempt to validate doctrinal points.

      Even the leadership seems lacking in ‘deep thought’ to create a well-documented argument or thesis presenting articles of faith. Normally, a thesis presents the assertions, then also examines counter arguments point-by-point to refute those. No allegations from so-called “opposition” are examined in these convention speeches.

      Also, we can tell by the facial ticks and inflections of voice that the delivery is meant to “shame” those still subject to influence into submission. The philosophical argument fallacy of emotional appeal rather than reason.

  16. Idontknowhatodo says:

    What an amazing presentation!…timely for me…anyone who has been following me knows I have been fading for a few years and am now inactive….I have spent my time quietly leaving because I have a husband …born in to the cult like me…. who is totally commited to JWs…my children though grown and married living away from home are also totally commited and I think would shun me….I love my husband so much and he loves me but disassociation would inevitably lead to a coldness in our relationship that Im not sure I could bear….however I have now recently been diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer and there we have it…the issue of blood transfusion rears its head…my husband wants the HLC involved…I have spoken to my consultant and said I want the issue of blood transfusion only discussed with me…my hisband wants me to get an HLC pack and fill a form out and wants to sit in on my next discussion with my Oncologist…I dont think my husband will like what he hears…and I dont think he will be able to stop himself reporting me..so in the midst of this health dilemma…with an extremely operable cancer…I may be cut off from the humans I love the most…my children and enter the coldness of a marriage to a lovely man whom I love..but who loves JW.org more than me…please any advice would be helpful…my next consultation is looming large and I dont know if my husband will take no for an amswer.

    • Caroline says:

      @Idontknowhattodo. Are you getting Chemo therapy? Chemo destroys red blood cells but there are shots Witnesses can take but I would do exactly as you are doing. It should be between you and your doctors what you do. Witnesses bring in the HLC because they think the HLC has the answer for getting the same results without blood and they don’t know anymore about what to do in those situations than anybody else does.

      The Society likes the Witnesses to think that no matter how bad the situation is, if you put your trust in Jehovah, then you will survive the operation but it’s simply a blind trust because the Society will never release how many people have actually died from not getting the right medical treatment.

      Witnesses will take the blood fractions but they are denied from donating blood and that is unbelievably hypocritical to say the least. If it’s wrong to take whole blood, then taking fractions should also be wrong. They come from the same source. You can put manure into a juice extractor and extract all the fluid, but would you drink it?

      • Ready 4 to Fade says:

        The “shot” is called Procrit or Epogen Alpha and actually can increase risk of some cancers, a fact that Watchtower never highlights surprise, surprise. An oncologist/hematologist is called in to weigh the risk-benefit ratio any time it is ordered and has to sign off an official document in our hospital stating why it is being used. Most healthcare organizations have social workers on staff 24/7 and I would encourage you to call on them for support in establishing help outside your immediate family now in the case that you become abandoned in your time of need. My heart goes out to you.

        • Idontknowhatodo says:

          Thanl you…good practical advice..have contactd outside agencies and surgeon has said his team will respect my wishes…again thank you.

    • VictorE says:

      VictorE
      When a friend gets sick with something serious I tell them to get a second opinion. When they get cancer I tell them to check out http://WWW.cancertutor.com for information.

      It saved my life and so far, everyone with cancer that I referred it to has been cured. When I tried to tell elders who had cancer or wives with cancer, they didn’t want to here it because it didn’t come from Watchtower. They really don’t have much interest in being overly concerned about one’s health except if you take blood to save your life. They have paradise where all will be cured. Their arrogance really prevents them from investigating anything that doesn’t come from Watchtower. Perhaps this is this a result of the hospital committees. They want nothing to do with this kind of information. I’ve quite trying to tell them because they make me feel that I’m almost apostate just giving people in need this information. Maybe those who have left W. will benefit more.

      Hope this helps!

      By the way, just heard from a long time elder and previous circuit overseer that the Society is disbanding many congregations for no good reason and selling their halls and keeping the money. Members of these congregations are all saying the same thing, that the Society is lying to them and stealing their money. The awaking is going to happen much faster than I first thought. When current elders are now calling the Society liars and thieves, it’s getting pretty serious and W. won’t be able to hide their filth much longer. Donations from these will go down drastically. The light sure is getting brighter is it not?

      This site has surely shined a great big light on Watchtower and is helping a lot of people. Keep up the good work.

      • Bright Lightbulb says:

        If this really is true it could be likened to any corporation who is closing down locations who are not profitable, or profitable enough.

        • Big B says:

          Hallelujah! I hope this is true.

          Soon the J.W.’s will be meeting in one central location like a circuit assembly hall with fire sales on all Kingdom Halls! Several congregations merged into one 500 member church.

          Yes, they are selling their doctrines but no one is buying! With older ones dying out no one is replacing them. Younger generations and others are leaving in droves and attendance at yearly Memorials verify this.

          That is why the halls are being “cookie cutter” constructed so they can be easily converted to doctors offices, clap clinics, abortion clinics or Catholic charity offices. 🙂

      • dee2 says:

        Sign of the times – Kingdom Halls for sale in Jamaica as well:

        “Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Properties For Sale – Rising Costs Force Religious Group To Go Small”

        http://jamaicagleaner.com/article/news/20160410/jehovahs-witnesses-properties-sale-rising-costs-force-religious-group-go-small

        • Winston Smith says:

          Contributions are down because they have encouraged all of their members to pursue careers as window washers and other careers that don’t require any advanced education.

          As funds continue to dry up, it will be interesting to see if there is new light about higher education, where it starts to be encouraged. I doubt it of course. Far be it from the GB to be practical – I think they may actually believe in the snake oil they sell. Also, it’s sort of a double whammy: the more people are educated the better they can sharpen their critical thinking skills and see through the lies.

          WS

          • Big B says:

            @ Winston Smith;

            Exactly, talk about a ‘Catch 22’ (a dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions).

            Should the G.B. encourage higher education with the chance of higher salaries among members thus speculation of greater contributions or would that chance result in the losing of more adherents due to their gaining critical thinking skills?

            The ‘faithful and discrete slave’, if they had the TRUTH, should release its hold on the r & f and let the chips fall where they may.

            However, this scenario would be impossible as they are a CULT, allowing the friends have a choice in their secular lives would be an anathema to them.

          • Rose Graziano says:

            There is a new video entitled “We lead a simple life” that was played a couple of weeks ago at the mid week meeting. This video depicts a young JW couple who are working full time jobs and making good money. They are portrayed as being bogged down and stressed out. They proceed to quit their jobs and start a small window washing business. They also sell their home and move into an apartment. This scenario is very similar to the one that is depicted in the bunker video. Now more than ever this is being “encouraged”. The GB obviously has learned nothing from the past by continuing to promote such lunacy. The older generations in the “truth” have nothing to show for all the sacrifices they have made. They have no retirement savings and because they sold their homes they have no nest egg of equity to live off of. They are broke!! What a disgrace….

      • JBob says:

        The Watchtower is a big thief because most Kingdom Halls were built using local funds and a “loan” from Watchtower. But those “loans” were raised by donations from the same r/f. Prior to the 1980’s building funds drive, local congregations often got a Kingdom Hall through generosity of a local r/f member donating land and then raising funds to construct. So, the Watchtower used arson to burn down those facilities throughout the 1990’s to force congregations into the new mode of buildings. Then as we are hearing now, it seized title throughout the 2000’s.

        Last year I believe, as Cedars documented, the Watchtower laid down “giving requirements” for funds from each congregation every month. Failure to meet those requirements is leading to disbanding congregations as “non-profitable” or “unsustainable”. Ultimately, many outlying congregations which were convenient locations are closing and forcing members to commute greater distances.

        And, all those donations of time, and labor–remember the quick-builds are based on regional building committees (placating offices and posts used as “awards” and “rewards”)–treated as nothing. This is a continual pattern for the Watchtower over the years, even with HQ staff.

        HQ staffers were expected to subjugate their sexual needs and natural desire for children in the “old days” but then suddenly the leader marries. A lot of older staffers were dismayed especially when told “who told you to listen to a man?” Today, it is very much the same, you are told (encouraged) to abandon pursuit of personal goals and education, and if you do not, the group is encouraged to pummel and bully you. Yet, in the height of stupidity, the leadership often polls for expertise requiring advanced learning and training in specialized fields.

        In fact, elders and middle leaders are encouraged to target those specialists for recruitment into the group with enormous leniency and boundaries which creates an elite spectrum of individuals that the HQ fawns over and lavishes admiration to encourage the individuals to donate their “gifts” and talents.

    • QuietObserver says:

      Idontknowhatodo, so sorry to hear you have gotten cancer. It truly is a wicked disease. But the first thing I would suggest to you is DO NOT let the HLC get involved. They only thing they do now is monitor you to make sure you do not take any blood products that are not first run past them. They are NOT there for your comfort or to support you and your husband, but are there in the capacity of policemen. My hubby and I are good friends with a brother who used to be on the HLC where my hubby grew up, and his advice is to not let them get involved with your case at all. If you know personally one of the men on the HLC, possibly you could suggest to your husband that this particular Elder makes you very uncomfortable and you don’t want him knowing your personal situation. Stand firm and don’t let them push you. My heart goes out to you! As to suggestions, when we were dealing with cancer, we followed the suggestions of a NaturoPath and a dietician who were versed in handling cancer. You may have to ask around at the hospital (ask the nurses and office staff) if they know of someone you could go see. Be strong! You can beat it!

    • dee2 says:

      Hi Idontknowhatodo,

      Sorry to hear about your diagnosis. Do hope you will be able to beat it though.

      You may find the following website to be helpful as you discuss your treatment options with your doctor and husband – this website provides info about transfusions, transfusion alternatives, transfusion reactions etc.:

      http://transfusionontario.org/en/cmdownloads/categories/bloody_easy/

      (Homepage: http://transfusionontario.org/en/ )

      The suggestion to assess/modify your diet seems to have some merit to it as I have heard about persons who have done this and it has contributed to their cure.

      There may be a support group which you may be able to join either online or in person.

      Best wishes.

      • dee2 says:

        Idontknowhatodo:

        Sadly, when people are indoctrinated, they will only listen to what the GB says. Nevertheless, in the event of a transfusion, you could perhaps try to bolster your position by using the following arguments if you find them useful:

        The “abstain from blood” command in Acts 15 was based on the Mosaic Law****** and the Mosaic Law had nothing to do with blood transfusions:

        The Law stated that blood was not to be eaten which was with regard to the blood from DEAD animals, not from humans (Genesis 9:4, Leviticus 7:26; 17:10, 12-14; 19:26, Leviticus 7:26-27); blood must be poured out onto earth, in reference to DEAD animals not humans (Deuteronomy 12:16, 23, 24).

        So the law was not concerned with blood coming out of a living person or animal. The bible talked about the blood of an animal AFTER it was sacrificed, AFTER it was dead.

        As far as I know, it is for these reasons that the Jews, who are descendants of the writers of the Hebrew scriptures, and who adhere solely to the Hebrew scriptures, do not ban blood transfusions as a religious rite.

        In any event, when a person donates blood to be used in a transfusion, they are alive not dead. Their life has not been taken away as in the case of the animal that was sacrificed.

        Further, even when meat is properly drained, there is still some blood in the meat, so anyone who eats meat, also eats blood. So it’s not possible to not eat blood as per the Mosaic Law if you are a meat eater. The reason why meat is a source of iron is because of the residual blood in it, which is why persons (including JWs) eat meat as a source of iron. It certainly is odd that you can eat meat as a source of iron because of the blood in it, but can’t get a needed blood transfusion.

        _______

        ******The command at Acts 15:28 was based on the ceremonial and moral obligations of the Mosaic Law. The Council at Jerusalem had issued a formal resolution counselling Christians to “abstain from meats offered to idols and from blood, and from things strangled, and from formication” because they had treated the ceremonial and moral obligations of Moses as of equal force.

        Proof that the Mosaic Law is the basis for these commands, can be seen when the apostle Paul quietly, though without referring to it, set this resolution of the Council at Jerusalem one side, and, having vigorously condemned the fornicator, radically declares that meat is not polluted because the animal from which it is taken had first been sacrificed in a pagan temple – 1 Corinthians 10:25.

        Paul’s radical response at 1 Corinthians 10:25 had to do with the issue of the Jews who thought that, by eating meat which had once been offered to idols, they participated in the idolatrous worship; and the Jewish Christians held the same view. The Gentile Christians, on the other hand, saw no harm in buying and eating such meat as they had always been accustomed to do.

        Incidentally, there was actually an irreparable gulf between Paul and the Jerusalem Church as Paul was teaching his Gentile converts that with the advent and mission of Jesus, there was no longer a requirement to observe Jewish practices such as their dietary constraints whereas men from Jerusalem were telling Paul’s Gentile converts that they had to follow the Laws set down by Moses. These men were teaching that as followers of Jesus, Paul’s Gentile converts had to be Jews:
        http://www.jwstudies.com/The_Watchtower_s_Achilles_Heel.pdf

        Best wishes.

    • Winston Smith says:

      Not sure where you live, but in the US we have HIPPA laws that protect the privacy of patients. Any information about your treatment is between you and your doctors and cannot be shared with anyone without your explicit permission. So you can stipulate that under no circumstances are doctors to discuss your treatment with church elders or clergyman. It may mean that you have to keep your husband in the dark about some of your treatment. I am sure they have similar laws in other developed lands.

      WS

    • fallingangel75 says:

      @idontknowhatodo, my heart goes out to you. My mother died from breast cancer, thankfully not due to any issues with refusing blood transfusions or opting for bloodless surgery.

      I am approaching the age she was when diagnosed, within 5 years, and so far I am cancer free, but my sister also died from cancer and several aunts also had it but survived.

      So, it definitely looms large in my mind that this is a challenge I might face, and an illness that may take my life.

      It would be hard on my marriage regardless, but even more so now that we are religiously and ideologically divided.

      I truly can imagine what it would be like to be in your shoes. And I am so sad for you. My heart breaks to hear this.

      I don’t really have any useful advice other than to say: it’s your life and your body and as much as you love your husband and may have relied on him until now and/or may want to rely on him through this ordeal, you may not be able to and the stakes are just too high.

      Most communities and hospital systems do have support groups. Anything you can become a part of that is comprised of health care workers and volunteers and mental health professionals, join. Join now.

      You will need people who have more experience than you dealing with this. But always do what you think is best for your physical, emotional and mental well-being regardless of what your family members say.

      And create a support system from secular sources so you don’t have to face this alone.

      • Idontknowhatodo says:

        Thank you…you are right…Im standing on my own 2 feet… its a good feeling…grown up at last.

  17. SIRIUS says:

    I wonder what effect this will have on practicing JWs in Russia if and when this law is passed?

    Russia’s Newest Law: No Evangelizing Outside of Church

    …Christians in Russia won’t be allowed to email their friends an invitation to church or to evangelize in their own homes if Russia’s newest set of surveillance and anti-terrorism laws are enacted.

    The proposed laws, considered the country’s most restrictive measures in post-Soviet history, place broad limitations on missionary work, including preaching, teaching, and engaging in any activity designed to recruit people into a religious group.

    To share their faith, citizens must secure a government permit through a registered religious organization, and they cannot evangelize anywhere besides churches and other religious sites. The restrictions even apply to activity in private residences and online….

    in part & credit to http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2016/june/no-evangelizing-outside-of-church-russia-proposes.html

    Interesting view that religious recruiting could be viewed as proselytism an anti-government action.

    IMHO

    dogstar

    • Harry Cadanza says:

      Personally I don’t want to ban them but I want to see changes. If you want you can read more about this in some online newspapers. http://www.themoscowtimes.com July 26, 2015. explains Russia is a monolithic culture by repressing religious minorities. Also if you want you can read wwwthewashingtonpost.com November 23, 2015 issue it’s title reads, sixteen Jehovah’s Witnesses on trial in Russia as extremists. The sadest newspaper article online about this is at http://www.independent.co.uk December 1 2015 being one of Jehovah’s Witnesses is a six year prison sentence in Russia as extremests. The couple in the news article are elderly. They’re a married couple and their names are Alexei and Lyubov Koptev.

    • Winston Smith says:

      As much as I disagree with the JW org and their coercive control, two wrongs don’t make a right. This Russian policy is an oppressive trampling of the rights of all free people, not just Jdubs. Does this law also restrict concerned citizens from going door-to-door with petitions and similar concerns? What you teach and practice in your own home or share online is your business, not the government’s. The whole thing seems very Soviet and KGB to me. When the rights of one group are threatened, the rights of all are threatened.

      WS

  18. Julian G says:

    For anyone who has already woken up or is starting that process, it’s really easy to see the coercion, lies and brain washing propaganda presented in the convention right from the start. It is disgusting actually.

    But what do you do when those still immerse in their indoctrination come out at the end of the sessions feeling that, in their own words, it’s the best convention ever and that it’s food at the proper time?

    What I’ve noticed, and clearly it is the case of my wife and most witness friends, is that they actually do not listen to what it’s been said. This time round, I actually put attention on how the people around me behave during the talks, and I was convinced that the reasons why most witnesses remain indoctrinated are because they

    1. do not actually listen to the program, they are physically present but constantly looking at the clock to mark lunchtime
    2. do not actually read the literature, they scan it and never open it again
    3. watch the videos, but they do not make the mental link between fiction and reality, perhaps because the videos are intentionally made to influence the emotions rather than reasoning
    4. do not process the information presented after the sessions, i.e. they just assume it’s right because it comes from the WT
    5. go to the assemblies to hear the latest gossip, show off their latest purchases, or to meet potential boyfriends/girlfriends

    It’s really sad to see people who are intelligent and bright in other aspects of life become like zombies, when found themselves in contexts like this one; it’s like they switch their brains OFF as soon as the music starts.

    • Big B says:

      @ Julian G;

      Absolutely correct in your five point synopsis of all conventions that I have ever attended. A giant Bore-a-thon; hours and hours of mind dulling nonsense. I remember looking at my watch, closing my eyes and praying for lunch. ‘Oh sweet merciful God please heavenly Father, let it be lunch’!

      The last convention I attended, before my family and I completely faded, was back in 2013 at ‘God’s Word is Truth!’ District Convention.

      The very last talk on the Friday afternoon program
      was entitled “Believe Inspired Truth, Not Inspired Error”. I thought that this would be the talk where the G.B. would finally come clean and admit their past failings. Really? Who was I kidding, no such luck!

      The whole talk devoted to the 3 unclean demonic frogs and their Satan inspired expressions in Revelation. (Jesus, really?) I had about tuned out (mesmerized into a brain-dead coma of boredom) when my son directed my attention to the speaker who said, in no uncertain terms, that ‘those that seek a higher secular education were making themselves tools of the Devil’. Same old song and dance, ‘Give more time to Jehovah as the time of the end is approaching’. What an insult to anyone (including myself and my son) trying to better themselves for taking care of their family’s physical needs!

      The majority of young people searching for mates or listening to the latest gossip (#5) were outside at the time and did not hear this exhortation to remain uneducated, thus be in a perpetual state of holy mendicancy.

      Needless to say, that idiotic talk did it for all of us. That was my absolutely last convention address.

      “No more for me, thanks I’m full!”

      • Winston Smith says:

        @Big B and Julian G:
        Great points. It is amazing how some of these speakers can talk for so long and really say nothing – or at least nothing of value.

        But you are right, most really don’t pay close attention. They are there for the social aspect, to be seen others, etc. if you were to ask them what new thing did you learn today, you will probably get a blank stare. Or otherwise some psychobabble repetition of JW nonsense that they already knew but forgot they knew.

        WS

        • Big B says:

          @ Winston Smith;

          Yes indeed. How about those long winded Temple dedication prayers given at the end of the sessions?

          Everything was mentioned, every talk, every single point ad nauseum.
          ‘God bless the buzzin’ of the bees and cigarette trees, the soda water fountain, the lemonade spring where the blue bird sings, in the Big Rock Candy Mountain’.

          How many times I sat down in disgust before those long winded old goats concluded their Pharisaic prayers must be in the dozens.

          Thankfully I will never attend any meeting or assembly ever again!

  19. Michaela says:

    Thank you for all your work in creating these resources. Although I “woke up” a long time ago (I’m a so-called fader), your research and exposés have helped me track what my parents have been getting fed with and contextualize behavior and talk from them with the scary new material coming out over the last few years. After watching the “Sonja” shunning section of your series, I wrote my parents an email asking for their reassurance that they would not shun me based on the new “unrepentant wrongdoers” line. They did give me that assurance, but that was before they actually went to the convention–I think they’ve just finished yesterday. You’re right–the frame in which they’ve placed the vids is alarming in its brazenness, and truly shocks the conscience. But the perverse script-flipping on shunning–that JWs should feel abandoned, insulted and victimized by those leaving the org–has been there for a while a little more subtly. The one thing the WT has always been good at is convincing people they should never feel a thing without checking to make sure it’s the way they “should” feel and adjusting accordingly. My own mother invokes “our different goals” to justify her lack of contact with me, and has expressed her felt “pain” that I “abandoned” the Truth. Even in her assurance that she won’t shun me, she blurted, “You’re going to die!” I fear now that she will retrospectively look at my previous email plea as a temptation straight from Satan, and renege on her promise to me, now that she’s sated on her “food at the proper time.” Although I can’t see anything but condescension, illogic, and coercion in these talks, I have to recognize that they look at these talking heads as deliverers of God-given “encouragement”: a chilling word, considering that the organization is encouraging people to kill themselves.

    • Candlestick says:

      Michaela – I totally understand your situation. My mom and sister just attended their convention a couple weeks back. Just a few days ago my sister blew up my phone (with 17 texts) about how the convention was so great and how there’s still time; “we love you, and Jehovah loves you […] even more the time is critical right now even you see it. […] we want to help you but you have to help yourself. we love you so much and we want to see in the paradise along with us. […] the brothers all they talk about is getting into Paradise. The things we see are fading away and our outlook to paradise is eternal.” Ugh.. for one, she has health problems, so I feel a little bit of an excuse for her, as intellectually she’s not really a mature adult. But, my mom is also giving me strongly worded text messages about coming back. They actually suggested i watch the videos at jw.org. Haven’t told them yet that I saw them even before they had. This is THE WORST CONVENTION EVER! preying on the followers and keeping them in-check; and trying to get them to go after their family members, cause they can’t keep their own rank and file. All the best to you Michaela. Hang in there. I hope your mom doesn’t go back on her word. Sadly, if she’s an indoctrinated one to the core, she likely will.

      • Michaela says:

        Thanks for the supportive words Candlestick 🙂 My dad said he would never shun me, unless I became a serial killer; my mother was more equivocal and said she was a “flawed Witness” because she couldn’t do it. I asked her if that meant all she needed was to become less flawed and she would, and she said sheepishly that she would never be that good of a Witness. I could barely even say to her that not wanting to shun your children means you are NORMAL, not flawed, for fear she would think I was trying to apostasize to her…the position they put people in is so absurd.

        • Candlestick says:

          Wow.. that’s insane. Similarly, my mom mentioned not too long ago that her best friend (JW) was giving her a bit of the cold shoulder. I asked why. She said ‘well, I think she is bothered that I still have a relationship with you’.. so my JW mom is some-what being shunned by her own bff, cause she has a relationship WITH HER DAUGHTER! how upsetting! i told my mom ‘wow, i’m sorry you have such a sucky best friend mom. Who would be upset with their friend, cause they continue to have a relationship with their child?’ — my mom sheepishly agreed, and then slowly changed the subject. Fast forward to now, when all my mom wants to do — post the WORST CONVENTION EVER — is to ‘bring me back’. I will not ever go back to that cult. I just wish they weren’t so sucked in to see the reality that stares them square in the face constantly.

          • Michaela says:

            That really sucks! I sympathize. My parents sent me and my my sister (unbaptized lesbian with a wife who my parents refuse to recognize) “Return to Jehovah” brochures and letters…it was so tone-deaf…sigh.

            I hope that our parents surprise us and one day they call us, breezily informing us that they realized it was all nonsense and they’re ready to live rather than continue to enslave their brains and emotional lives to the WT, and won’t you come visit? I feel like at least some people have got to be having those conversations! This scary doubling-down has got to be making some people feel like, “Whoa, this is not what I signed up for.” Not all, of course, but some. One can hope 🙂

  20. Twmack says:

    The way to develop loyalty to JHVH, according to one
    speaker, is to “prayerfully study the Bible”. Which
    in truth means prayerfully study watchtower publications.

    Studying the Bible on its own is something they definitely
    discourage. They know if you did this their fruitcake
    doctrines would crumble.

    You would look in vain for any reference to an overlapping
    generation. Ask any JW to point this out to you in the
    Bible and I guarantee they’ll be tongue tied.

    I couldn’t resist putting one elder on the spot with this
    (My own brother in law, a 50 year plus JW). He was
    flustered and blustered and was completely
    incoherent. I was embarrassed for him although I must
    admit I chuckled inside to see him squirm.

    I’m a little Devil !

    • Winston Smith says:

      Twmack,
      Although I am a deist and I consider the bible the work of men, I still find value to studying it. I recently reread the book of Daniel and for the first time it actually makes sense. Now that I can read it without the JW prejudices, and consider the scholarly notes and references associated with it: recognizing that it was compiled around the time of the Maccabees and most of the “prophecies” have to do with the Seleucidian rule of Palestine makes everything fall into place. I could never makes heads or tails of the King of the North vs King of the South when I tried to use Watchtower’s interpretations. Now that I see it was the rivalry between Syria and Egypt it makes a lot more sense.

      WS

      • dee2 says:

        WS,

        Because the WT refuses to admit that the author’s(s’) prediction in Daniel 11 regarding the death of Antiochus Epiphanes (Antiochus IV), the Seleucid king of Syria was wrong, the WT has, over the years, created various predictions of the fulfillment of the failed prophecy in Daniel 11 by identifying who the “King of the North” and the “King of the South” is in its various publications. The collapse of the Soviet Union has seen a cooling off of WT predictions:

        http://ed5015.tripod.com/JwKingOfTheNorth25.html

        The author of Daniel accurately refers to two campaigns which Antiochus Epiphanes (Antiochus IV), the Seleucid king of Syria, led against Egypt, but then speaks of a third, after which Antiochus was predicted to die on the coast of Palestine (Daniel 11:40-45). This did not happen. Whereas the writer had been accurate up to 165 BCE, from that point on he revealed ignorance of the movements of Antiochus Epiphanes, so betraying the fact that he was writing prophecy and not history.

        The prediction concerning Antiochus’s final battle and place of death “between the sea and the holy mountain” (Daniel 11:45) was inaccurate, and so we know that this prophecy was completed before the news of his death reached Jerusalem. Antiochus
        died in Persia, in late 164 BCE.

        Prior to Daniel 11:40, the author(s) has been recording past events under the Babylonian, Median, Persian and Greek empires. In Daniel 11:40-45, he really attempts to predict the future. He prophesizes that a king of the south (of the Ptolemaic dynasty) will attack the Greeks in Judea, under Antiochus. The Greeks will win, will lay spoil to all of northeast Africa, and return to Judea whereAntiochus will die. The end of history will then occur. The author(s) appeared to be a poor psychic because none of these events actually happened. Antiochus did die in 164 BCE, but it was in Persia.

        This is one of the give aways that the book of Daniel was apparently completed before 164 BCE, during the Maccabean period and that the author of Daniel was writing history and not prophecy.

        http://www.religioustolerance.org/daniel1.htm

    • JBob says:

      @Twmack please don’t insult a wondrous dessert and Xmas treat such as sweet, rum-ful, moist fruitcake!

  21. Doc Obvious says:

    Laws are what defines people. There are many laws and law givers. Some good, some bad. Every country in the world has laws. Even God has laws. Sometimes God’s laws conflict with the world’s laws.

    God in the Holy Bible states that he is a God who demands exclusive devotion. What does the word, “exclusive” means? According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word “exclusive” means not shared : available to only one person or group.

    So the question arises, why would God want to share his devotion with another source? Watchtower has a legal department inside their religion. My question is why would God want to share his laws with another set of laws made by someone else?

    It kind of defeats the whole “exclusive devotion” principle mentioned in the Bible. In my opinion, Watchtower wants the best of both worlds scenario. They want to be known as a “religion” that stands for “freedom of religion” and at the same time they believe they should be no part of the world.

    Another interesting point is that in the United States, the Supreme Court of the United States (a.k.a SCOTUS) is part of the Federal Government. A government, that according to Watchtower, is part of Satan’s organization, or part of the world.

    Watchtower has been involved in SCOTUS over 50 times. Their even proud of this “accomplishment”. Their latest SCOTUS victory came when a mayor in Ohio determined that Jehovah’s Witnesses should register at the local government office. Watchtower states that this infringed on their First Amendment rights, or Freedom of Religion.

    Now with the latest Child Abuse scandal, if people reported to the police incidents of child abuse and the Jehovah’s registered with the local government, the community would be protected from unwanted guests who are criminals. But, this is not the case. I believe it would be right to retry this case in the SCOTUS with this new evidence and see if SCOTUS would reverse their decision.

  22. finallyfree says:

    I am worried about my younger brother being subjected to all this in a week or two. He’s half in, being pressured by the still-in family but not enjoying life as a witness.

    Regarding “spiritistic medicine” I think reiki is one of the treatments included in this, and hypnotism. I was warned against reiki specifically, because it’s a “spiritual healing” .. a bit like getting prayed over. Rubbish and nonsense!

  23. Wt faithful says:

    Cedars you always pick on JW’s

    • Eyes opened says:

      Is it really picking on someone to expose harmful teachings that have such a profound and ruining effect on others. As a Wt faithful aren’t you picking on people’s religions when you engage in the ministry? I would consider these Watchtower exposes as a potentially live saving warning, like a tornado warning or hurricane warning. People are allowed the choice to heed the warnings or not. At least they can be presented with enough facts to make an informed decision that’s right for them.

      Regards

    • Winston Smith says:

      WT faithful
      Please review the about JW Survey page. It says that part of its purpose is so that individuals “can give their honest opinions about Watchtower and the increasingly cult-like direction in which it is headed.”

      With this purpose in mind, do you expect the articles to be supportive of Witness Doctrines and the teachings and actions of the GB? Sorry you feel like you are being picked on, but the nature of this site is to allow the editors and commenters to voice their criticisms of the org, which they are not allowed to do within the typical JW settings without being labeled apostates.

      I’d suggest you develop a bit of a “thicker skin” and not be in a hurry to feel offended when someone voices an opinion contrary to your own.

      WS

  24. Dan says:

    I really appreciate this website Lloyd. I was raised as a JW in the 1970s, drifted away at the age of 15 and thought I had sorted out my head about it all. I realise now that I hadn’t, and that I am still (at 52) quite angry about some things. I have siblings who were terrified as kids by the ‘armageddon’ pictures in the books, and by lurid descriptions of ‘the demons’ (are they still around??) and what they did, as described from the platform. Even so, I have always tended to defend them a little bit from the worst criticisms – I never really thought they were a cult. It was hard to square that notion of a cult with the mostly quite nice, inoffensive (if slightly weak) people I remember in the congregation. I can see it now, no question.
    Two points to make: one is a question, and I genuinely wonder what you think about this – I’m not trying to stick up for them. What do you think is the motivation of the members of the governing body (and others in positions of influence in the JWs?) Is there a financial benefit for them, or is it about status? Or do you think they are genuine but misguided? I was never sure how the finances of the organisation worked, or how the people running it made a living. I’m not aware that they have lavish lifestyles out of the money that goes into those ‘contributions boxes'(!) but maybe I’m wrong.
    Secondly: I wonder what the record is for the ‘longest shunning’??! I have a relative who was ‘shunned’ at a family funeral by a JW after being disfellowshipped (basically for being a normal teenager) 40 years before. Perhaps there should be a prize…

    • Paranoid Android says:

      Hi Dan
      Good question.
      What motivates any cult leader?
      The position of power.
      The adoration.
      The GB are the rockstars.

      Power and influence are an extremely addictive combo.

      I imagine they live very comfortably and want for nothing, but in my opinion, based upon the documented motives of what drives most cult leaders, it’s the heady rush of superiority that motivates the Watchtower leaders.

    • Elijah says:

      My guess to your first question would be a combination of both being completely deluded and loving the status/power that it brings. My wife has sometimes made the point “well, they’re not living in mansions and don’t have a lavish lifestyle, etc”. But they’ve insulated themselves in a world where they are revered around the world. All of their travel expenses are paid for. They don’t pay a cent for anything. Fancy watches. The best suits. That’s all from donation money. They don’t have jobs. They don’t know what it’s like out in the real world, and if they have had some previous experience in it, it’s been all forgotten.

      So, even though they may not live in mansions (but cushy accommodations near a remote controlled lake isn’t bad either), they do live a lavish lifestyle, in my opinion. Who wouldn’t want to not have to pay for anything and be surrounded by people day in and day out that will basically respond to your beck and call?

      • Dan says:

        I guess you and paranoid android are right..they have created their own very comfortable little world where they really matter. And I suppose going round thinking God chose you to be his mouthpiece on earth must do something for your ego. And they do always look very well turned out, with the expensive looking suits. In fact every JW video I see features JWs in very comfortable middle class homes (apart from the poor woman who was asked to clean the toilets and was supposed to be OK with that…I
        wonder if the GB members take their turn at that particular chore??)

        • FadingJosie says:

          @Dan
          The first question you raised is exactly something I have wondered over the last while…what is the motivation – it seems too simple to say that it is money or power though that may be exactly it. Further to that, do they honestly believe their own interpretations and ideas or do they know deep down that they may be fleecing everyone (if money or power were the motive then possibly they do?). We know that they are deliberately hiding the child abuse allegations – no articles in the jw.org Newsroom proclaiming their innocence or persecution by Satan’s system – all very quietly kept away from the adoring members! What is their reason for doing that…power, money and continued influence surely play a part here…I am still pondering.

        • Winston Smith says:

          Ray Franz pointed out that the GB are victims of a concept. And that concept is the organization itself. They are convinced that this organization (created long before any of them and yet perpetuated by them) is lead by God and is therefore infallible. As individual men they admit they are fallable. But when they are together they react as almost a hive-mind mentality where they believe they can do no wrong.

          BTW, Ray Franz was a great example of someone who was willing to give up his cushy life as a JW “rockstar” and earn a living by the “sweat of his brow” in order to be true to his conscience. At nearly 60 (when most men are thinking about retirement) he left his cushy GB post to take a manual labor job, rather than to violate his conscience.

          WS

    • ScotWm says:

      Regarding the motivation of cult leaders: “If you see me as your savior, I’ll be your savior. If you see me as your God, I’ll be your God.” — Jim Jones.
      http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/transcript/jonestown-transcript

  25. Twmack says:

    Does ‘the faithful and discreet slave’ [Watchtower organization] endorse independent groups of Witnesses who meet together to engage in Scriptural research or debate?—Matt. 24:45, 47. No, it does not. K,M, Sept, 2011 p

    “Thus the Bible is an organizational book and belongs to the Christian congregation as an organization, not to individuals, regardless of how sincerely they may believe that they can interpret the Bible. For this reason the Bible cannot be properly understood without Jehovah’s visible organization in mind.”—The Watchtower, October 1, 1967, p. 587

    “In Jehovah’s organization it is not necessary to spend a lot of time and energy in research, for there are brothers in the organization who are assigned to that very thing, …” Watchtower 1967 Jun 1 p.338

    3 quotes from wt showing that private study of Bible is discouraged.

    So what’s the point of individuals praying for gods spirit if the bible is
    not meant to be understood by individuals? And don’t waste energy
    we’ve got brothers here who will hand you the answers on a plate.
    So again what’s the point in praying for gods help?

    You can rely on me100% the con man said to the sucker.

    • Telescopium says:

      Twmack,
      I remember the sinking feeling I had after reading the September 2011 KM.

      I was still in at the time, but even then I couldn’t fathom how the Organization could say something like that in one statement, and then in another laud C.T.Russell for his zealous Bible study.

      Maybe they’re afraid someone will find spiritual food on their own… In which case the Governing Body would be out of a job.

    • Chantal says:

      I remember that too… I was in and at the meeting. Just thinking, one more nail in the coffin….how controlling!!

    • JBob says:

      @TWmack @telescopium – if I may flex my muscles a bit.. The fallout of Ray Franz being booted from the Governing Body, then disfellowshipped for eating a meal with a d/f individual (who now hosts his own YouTube channel), was that individual study groups around HQ were targeted in the 1980’s in a massive “witch hunt”. Ed Dunlap and others who had contributed to a “new wave”–a refreshing liberation from traditional twisting and wedging of scripture into the 144,000/”other sheep” archetype model–ignited a focus on scripture. These “secret studies” also resulted in “secret Communions” but in typical fashion the leadership began to squash it.

      This paranoia from the leadership trickled down to local congregations so that any events “organized” without the oversight of elders or “approval” might be construed as a “sign of rebellion” resulting in disciplinary action.

      To this day, a wedding reception, an entertainment “gathering” or other event that is “JW”-saturated (usually meaning JW-only invites) is scripted and approved by the “party bloc leaders”. About the only “event” that isn’t scripted is a small group of JW’s meeting for lunch/dinner and even that is wrapped in an opening prayer heavily doused with J*’s and Watchtower-centric references.

      So, literally, eat, sleep, and poop Watchtower 24/7.

      • Winston Smith says:

        @JBob: “So, literally, eat, sleep, and poop Watchtower 24/7.”

        Tried it. Quite unpleasant. Never again!

        WS

        • Telescopium says:

          Oh no! Not the Watchtower Diet!

          Tons of fiber – but leaves you with no energy at the end of the day.

  26. Outandabout says:

    Go, Watchtower, go! This is all good news. To me, this shows their desperation and lack of options. Post 1975 again, only this time they have the internet to contend with.
    Surely they must know that all this will only shine the light on them even more at a time when what they really want is to just quietly exist in the background and let all those child abuse lies die down and just let them continue doing what cults do.
    What a position to be in, aye.

    Lets review: it’s a child abusing, victim silencing, pedo protecting, baby murdering, suicide inducing, family busting, public purse sucking death cult.

  27. Paranoid Android says:

    Good work Cedars.
    Thank you for this.

  28. Average Joe says:

    Hi Lloyd. I can’t remember if this was Friday as it was all a blur to be honest but what shocked me most was this: getting guilt tripped for making friends at work. The sister (part of the bunker videos) married to the elder of the group was relating her story and she ended up keeping all her workmates at distance, even resorting to not have coffee breaks with them “keeping contact to the minimum”. It may seem bizarre to readers on here that that is the main point that gets my goat but I view all the others as just ludicrous and think that nobody in their right mind as a genuine human being would follow through on. However, I believe that even genuinely nice JWs could be guilt tripped into isolating themselves at work and thus cutting themselves off from real life and real people.
    You’re spot on as always with the analysis Lloyd. Cheers!

    • JBob says:

      @Avg Joe – yes, there goes that “contradictory” and conflicting goals of the Watchtower stuff again. They want you to do “casual witnessing” to office mates, yet at the same time discourage social interaction.

      Back in the “old days” from which “Mad Men” (the tv show) derived, coffee breaks would be replaced with “going out for drinks” at lunch or after work. Allegedly one trip out with coworkers would lead to a night of libertine an lascivious behavior with the wafting scent of gin and regrets in the morning.

      Here’s to the ladies who lunch… ‘cuz everybody dies.

    • Winston Smith says:

      @AJ
      I totally get your revulsion to this video. It is one of the more subtle and insidious methods of control. Perhaps the most cult like and dangerous of them all. Cut them off from all outside contact and only fill them with Watchtower sanctioned thoughts.

      WS

  29. dee2 says:

    @Idontknowhatodo:

    Sadly, when people are indoctrinated, they will only listen to what the GB says. Nevertheless, in the event of a transfusion, you could perhaps try to bolster your position by using the following arguments if you find them useful:

    The “abstain from blood” command in Acts 15 was based on the Mosaic Law****** and the Mosaic Law had nothing to do with blood transfusions:

    The Law stated that blood was not to be eaten which was with regard to the blood from DEAD animals, not from humans (Genesis 9:4, Leviticus 7:26; 17:10, 12-14; 19:26, Leviticus 7:26-27); blood must be poured out onto earth, in reference to DEAD animals not humans (Deuteronomy 12:16, 23, 24).

    So the law was not concerned with blood coming out of a living person or animal. The bible talked about the blood of an animal AFTER it was sacrificed, AFTER it was dead.

    As far as I know, it is for these reasons that the Jews, who are descendants of the writers of the Hebrew scriptures, and who adhere solely to the Hebrew scriptures, do not ban blood transfusions as a religious rite.

    In any event, when a person donates blood to be used in a transfusion, they are alive not dead. Their life has not been taken away as in the case of the animal that was sacrificed.

    Further, even when meat is properly drained, there is still some blood in the meat, so anyone who eats meat, also eats blood. So it’s not possible to not eat blood as per the Mosaic Law if you are a meat eater. The reason why meat is a source of iron is because of the residual blood in it, which is why persons (including JWs) eat meat as a source of iron. It certainly is odd that you can eat meat as a source of iron because of the blood in it, but can’t get a needed blood transfusion.

    _______

    ******The command at Acts 15:28 was based on the ceremonial and moral obligations of the Mosaic Law. The Council at Jerusalem had issued a formal resolution counselling Christians to “abstain from meats offered to idols and from blood, and from things strangled, and from formication” because they had treated the ceremonial and moral obligations of Moses as of equal force.

    Proof that the Mosaic Law is the basis for these commands, can be seen when the apostle Paul quietly, though without referring to it, set this resolution of the Council at Jerusalem one side, and, having vigorously condemned the fornicator, radically declares that meat is not polluted because the animal from which it is taken had first been sacrificed in a pagan temple – 1 Corinthians 10:25.

    Paul’s radical response at 1 Corinthians 10:25 had to do with the issue of the Jews who thought that, by eating meat which had once been offered to idols, they participated in the idolatrous worship; and the Jewish Christians held the same view. The Gentile Christians, on the other hand, saw no harm in buying and eating such meat as they had always been accustomed to do.

    Incidentally, there was actually an irreparable gulf between Paul and the Jerusalem Church as Paul was teaching his Gentile converts that with the advent and mission of Jesus, there was no longer a requirement to observe Jewish practices such as their dietary constraints whereas men from Jerusalem were telling Paul’s Gentile converts that they had to follow the Laws set down by Moses. These men were teaching that as followers of Jesus, Paul’s Gentile converts had to be Jews:
    http://www.jwstudies.com/The_Watchtower_s_Achilles_Heel.pdf

    Best wishes.

  30. Free Willy says:

    Hi Cedars being from America and listening to your commentary . I must say I really like your British accent . You are a a very articulate speaker and very interesting to listen too. I wanted to ask you . When you were one of Jehovah’s witnesses where you considered a good speaker?

  31. Dwc says:

    @John Cedars,

    The treatment they are speaking about which is “questionable” is “Reiki”.

    Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one’s “life force energy” is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy… from http://www.reiki.org/faq/whatisreiki.html

    This is a popular therapy with a lot of Brothers and sisters. Hence not WT approved, hence from the Devil Bobby Boucher!!

    • Winston Smith says:

      Sounds an awful lot like kinesiology which was the latest fad in a JW congregation I was in about 20 years ago.

      WS

  32. Harry Cadanza says:

    It may be, people who feel they are weak, feel they have to have a group (G.B.) control their every thought and move. Fortunately the G.B. enjoy being alive because they love the control they have over people so they like to live, like being in charge. I feel they have the magnificent seven set in place and in charge in case someone gets to big for their britches. If you know what I mean.

  33. Mindshadow says:

    You wish it *won’t* be the worst of all time?? *confused*

  34. Gulp says:

    No surprises Radiohead.

  35. Gulp says:

    Ah the fake plastic trees, my iron lung.
    (Sure there was an article about an iron lung, with respects, in the Awake).

  36. Harry Cadanza says:

    Their shunning policy makes it one of the most unlovingest religions ever. My niece went to the hospital because of a brain aneurysm. Her disfellowshipped husband called my sister (her mom). My sister ignored the call because he is disfellowshipped. My sister said she would find out later from her daughter why he was calling. My sister was irritated. Later my sister found out her daughter had died when she finally returned his phone call three days later. She picked up the phone because he wouldn’t stop calling. It is an unloving organization.

    • Harry Cadanza says:

      My sister doesn’t realize the fault lies with the society. She blames her disfellowshipped son-in-law for the fact she didn’t answer her phone. She wishes she had been with her at the hospital. She is Soooo brain washed.

      • Candlestick says:

        What? What fantasy land is she living in? he was trying to call her and she wouldn’t answer? Goodness, this really get’s me PO! How can they be so blinded? I guess I was too, so I shouldn’t be so cruel. But it’s right in front of them. If only they could wake up. Then your sister might have had one last time to at least hold her daughter. 🙁 Ugh, it’s sickening. But, regardless, I’m very sorry for your loss.

        • Winston Smith says:

          “It’s right right in front of them”

          Yes, but bear in mind they are wearing “Watchtower goggles” (somewhat like “beer goggles”).

          WS

  37. Jeremiah Law says:

    I’ve just begun watching your convention footage by recommendation. I have to say, after six years of being disgellowshipped, I went through a string of emotions. After a year and half of therapy from an extremely reputable religious trauma therapist, out of Oakland Cal., I thought I had it licked. Not so. They are certainly putting the screws to the sheep. I first felt humor, then quickly to anger because I can’t believe I stayed as long as I did. Born in, I lost 38 years of my life. If I’d had known I’d be this happy out side, I’d have left when I told my mom I wanted out. I was about 15. Right before I got baptized.
    Thank you sir for your arduous labor of love. It has greatly helped me! Peace and love my friend.

    • @ Jeremiah

      Thanks for posting, I can totally relate. As a born-in sometimes I wonder how I could have ever believed such nonsense! Im just happy that even tho I was a pioneer at one time I never actually studied wth anyone who got baptised (guess i was a lousy pioneer )Would you mind sharing the name of your trauma therapist? I live in the SF bay area as well.

      • Winston Smith says:

        For us born-ins, we were fed this malarkey from day one. Reality was hidden from us. We were told not to trust our teachers or our friends. Only the Watchtower really cared for us, so long as we obeyed their wishes. We were imprisoned on threat of losing our families and told horror stories that if we left terrible things would happen. No wonder it took so long to leave. I was likewise imprisoned for 38 years in this cult.

        WS

  38. rob says:

    The pharasiacal rules in this religion defy all logic.

    Not answering a phone call from a child or relative is simply ignorant in my opinion. How do they not take into account that the call may be urgent or an emergency situation?

    Following the rule of shunning may lead to major regrets on the part of the one who is doing the shunning when they realize that they have wasted an entire lifetime of what could have been a wonderful relationship with wonderful memories.

    Instead they have a non-existent relationship with someone who they think is not worthy of their time. This to me, is the epitomy of arrogance and self importance.

    • Candlestick says:

      well said, Rob. I am struggling right now with how to tell my mom (again!) that I am NOT coming back to the religion. And that if she wants to put up this big wedge in our relationship again (after 15 years ago doing so) — then she’ll be the one making the choice to walk away from what i considered to be finally a healthy mother-daughter relationship. She was FINE . . . up until this stupid WORST CONVENTION EVER! The JW org is losing so many members that they are hell-bent on guilting the ones they have, and trying to coerce them to get the ‘lost sheep’ back again into the fold. I cannot believe it is working so well. Well, for the indoctrinated it’s working. I’m not EVER going back!

      • rob says:

        I too have family members who have distanced themselves from me due to the fact that I am no longer a witness.

        I used to feel angry about this but now I just feel sad for myself and for them that we are missing out on sharing our ups and downs and successes and failures and life in general. But i do have my memories…

        I really feel cheated by this religion that destroys families and like you I will never ever go back.

        I know that God and Jesus don’t endorse shunning or man made rules or corporate policies disguised as a religion or anything that the witness religion has been doing that violates basic human rights or violates the protection of innocent children.

    • Winston Smith says:

      My grandmother was raised a JW. Her older brother wanted nothing to do with the religion from a young age (smart guy). So she spent the next 60 years shunning him. He is now long since dead and she is pushing 90. A few years ago she lamented that she didn’t get to have a close relationship with her brother. Talk about regrets! And the religion claims that they don’t disrupt families! What a load of BS.

      WS

  39. EAZ says:

    Cedars, im sorry but you’re pathetic. Why dont you get a life? Complaining is useless

  40. Twmack says:

    WT, often states that “God gave us free will because he
    doesn’t want to be worshipped by Robots”.

    But that’s precisely what he gets from this religion, Androids,
    every part of their life is micro managed. –,

    From life and death issues involving medical treatment, to
    relatively minor ones like giving a child a birthday party
    or even allowing facial hair to grow ( A perfectly natural process
    for men). Very little of life is left that is not covered by some rule.

    The R & F believe they are exercising their free will by following
    these edicts. But they are being forced to comply by what
    amounts to mental and emotional torture, “The act of Shunning”.
    Rejection by family and friends, and by God.

    • Winston Smith says:

      By their logic God doesn’t want robots, merely humans who act like robots.

      WS