Former Witnesses are banishing the Watchtower stereotype of angry, bitter apostates in a new video
Former Witnesses are banishing the Watchtower stereotype of angry, bitter apostates in a new video

This Spring saw a concerted effort on the part of Jehovah’s Witnesses to invite as many as possible to their memorial gathering on April 14, 2014.

One article in the Kingdom Ministry (a newsletter circulated among the Witnesses) even tried to frame the occasion as being potentially the final memorial before Armageddon.

Many like myself were invited but chose not to attend. Why?

Because the memorial celebration as prescribed by Watchtower is essentially a publicity exercise – a means of introducing otherwise indifferent members of the public to a controlling religion through a one-off event.*

A different campaign

But unknown to the Witnesses, during the frenzied build-up to the memorial an entirely different enterprise was underway.

Former Witnesses from six different countries with varying ages, beliefs and backgrounds were combining their efforts with one aim – to show the world how happy they are now that they are free from the confines of Watchtower with its endless rules and rituals.

They did this by dancing to the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams in total contradiction to Watchtower’s stereotype of apostates as being miserable and bitter.

I was proud to be among them, as was my wife.

And so yesterday, on 16 April 2014, the resulting video was released on YouTube.

At the time of writing the video has been up for a little under 24 hours and has already attracted more than 2,100 views.

The comments show that many former Witnesses watching it can identify with the inner peace and sense of elation that comes with being free from mental servitude to an organization that has self-promotion and self-preservation as its key motivations.

A life-affirming project

Such is the interest in the video that some are already asking when the next one will be made. Though I have no immediate plans I am intrigued to see how well this video does in getting its message across.

I have already been approached by an apostate of a different cult entirely to see if I would be interested in collaborating on an inter-cult video project to the same music. I think this would be an exciting opportunity if it can be arranged.

If nothing else, I’m sure I speak for my fellow dancers in saying what a sense of achievement is to be found in unleashing your inner joy in this way, and spreading it to others. This project is the antithesis of Watchtower’s memorial event – a celebration of life and freedom rather than a call to serfdom and an obsession with death and the end of the world.

With so many organizations and individuals seemingly bent on dragging mankind backwards by exploiting people’s fears and uncertainties, it is life-affirming to fight this tide of negativity with some simple joy and happiness.

May this be the first of many opportunities to do just that.

 

new-cedars-signature2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further reading…

If you have a Google account and would like to subscribe to my YouTube channel, you can do so by clicking here.

*Many who profess to be Christians also object to the memorial event on the grounds that there is no scriptural basis for dissuading people from partaking of the emblems, namely the bread and the wine. For proof that the distinction between “anointed” and “other sheep” is entirely unfounded in scripture, please click here.

112 thoughts on “Two days after the memorial – Apostates reveal the secret of happiness

  • April 22, 2014 at 1:02 pm
    Permalink

    I guess Christ dance around and performed hippie song in the bible but not doubt I will see hypocrisy emanating like the WT in this block and get banned for stating my minds so typical when somebody does not agree with the views of many individuals in this forum. too may crush egos in this place.

    • April 22, 2014 at 1:50 pm
      Permalink

      I don’t know, but the only thing I can tell upon the accounts related to Jesus’ life is that people surrounding him didn’t feel that miserable did they ? They seem to feel quite happy and enthousiastic.

      Don’t know much about dancing but Jesus sure didn’t mind providing some wine and that, through a miracle recorded in the gospels anyway.

  • April 22, 2014 at 6:17 pm
    Permalink

    If my outside family did not reject me because I am no-longer one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, why yes I do believe that I would be relatively happy despite my illness.

    My life and of the life of my immediate family, would be so much better that is for sure.

    This is what they count on with this shunning business, that they will make it hurt so much because you feel so isolated that you will come running back to the organization.

    Of course you have to do so much penance before you finally get reinstated again.
    God’s forgiveness as viewed by the organization is very slow indeed, unlike the father of the prodigal son parable who was all to willing to forgive immediately when he viewed his sons return even at a distance.

  • April 23, 2014 at 3:20 am
    Permalink

    semur,

    The bible, which I presume you view as the inspired word of God, has many examples of people enjoying themselves. These revelries included dancing. There is nothing biblically wrong with listening to music and dancing.

    Jesus attended a wedding feast, and provided wine for the guests. I should imagine that it is quite likely that the guests danced.

    Being banned for not agreeing with the group is akin to disfellowshipping and shunning. Do you disagree with these?

    You will not be banned from this site if you follow the forum rules. We all have to, not just you!

    Crushed egos? Yes, you are right. When an individual is denied his right to a conscience and free will, then the ego will inevitably be constrained. Your point?

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

  • April 24, 2014 at 12:49 am
    Permalink

    New Qualified young Priest in the Vatican approaches the Pope:
    “Holy Farter (he’s Irish).. is it true that every word, every letter of the good book is true… only, this life of single life is difficult for a young Fellah..”
    Pope: “It is true my son… it is true…”
    Priest: “Only, you know it is very difficult this life of abstinence… very difficult… are you absolutely sure, Hoy Farter?”
    Pope: “The good Lord, may he be blessed, left us with every good word and true…”
    Priest: “But, Holy Farter… could the Scribes and Priests not have made… just one mistake…?”
    Pope (now visibly agitated at the persistence of the Young Priest): “Look! My Son, we have a whole library here… you can go check for yourself…”
    Priest goes to the Library.

    Priest returns, dejected, to see the Holy Father:
    In tears he croaks…

    “Celebate,…. Celebate!!!… there was an R missin’!”

    :)

  • April 24, 2014 at 8:48 am
    Permalink

    Not at all sure why the comment I posted last Monday hasn’t been allowed, but I guess I’ll try again!

    I was excited to see Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado in the video – it’s not far at all from where I live! I’d love to meet up with Ms. Lee for lunch or something sometime, if she’d be interested! She can find me by Googling “Ladybug Lodge Denver”.

    Thank you so much, Cedars, for your well-researched articles and for this site! It’s truly helped my sanity and my long-overdue and much needed transition out of the org. I was raised around the Truth (not quite in) and when I was widowed (twice, actually, before turning 40), I’d expected the congregation to be emotionally supportive and be my “family”… One day I was in my car in the parking lot crying over yet another insensitive Watchtower study article and praying hard, and I just felt the answer radiate throughout my entire being, that I did not have to keep putting myself through this, I did not have to do it anymore… and I felt an almost tangible weight lift off of me. That was only last May, and I have found such happiness since then, happiness that I’d always thought wouldn’t be possible outside of the org. Life just seems so much more peaceful now, too! And the people I’ve met – from all over the world – from renting out part of my home as a vacation rental in order to make ends meet, have only confirmed to me how truly happy people who aren’t JWs really are!

  • April 24, 2014 at 11:42 am
    Permalink

    Veja o que foi publicado pela na Despertai 22 de março de 1993, pág 4 no asterisco ao pé da página, que disse: As Testemunhas de Jeová, devido ao seu anseio pela segunda vinda de Jesus, sugeriram datas que se mostraram incorretas. Por isso, há quem as chame de falsos profetas. No entanto, nunca nesses casos presumiram que suas predições eram feitas ‘no nome de Jeová’. Nunca disseram: ‘Estas são as palavras de Jeová.’ The Watchtower (A Sentinela), publicação oficial das Testemunhas de Jeová, já disse: “Não temos o dom da profecia.” (Janeiro de 1883, página 425) “Nem desejamos que os nossos escritos sejam reverenciados ou considerados infalíveis.” (15 de dezembro de 1896, página 306) A Sentinela disse também que terem alguns o espírito de Jeová “não significa que os que servem agora como testemunhas de Jeová são inspirados. Não significa que os escritos nesta revista A Sentinela são inspirados e infalíveis e sem erros”. (Setembro de 1947, página 135) “A Sentinela não se diz inspirada em suas pronunciações nem é dogmática.” (15 de agosto de 1950, página 263) “Os irmãos que preparam essas publicações não são infalíveis. Seus escritos não são inspirados assim como eram os de Paulo e dos outros escritores bíblicos. (2 Tim. 3:16) E assim, às vezes, tornou-se necessário corrigir conceitos, conforme o entendimento se tornou mais claro. (Pro. 4:18)” – 15 de agosto de 1981, página 19.
    Diante destas afirmações do próprio “Escravo Fiel e Discreto” como saber quando um artigo escrito na Sentinela foi divinamente inspirado ou não?

    Por outro lado vejam o que diz a Sentinela de 1 de junho de 1997, pág.10, parágrafo 13:

    Jeová falou aos primeiros cristãos por meio do seu Filho, Jesus, que os fez saber segredos divinos. Jesus disse-lhes: “A vós é concedido entender os segredos sagrados do reino de Deus.” (Lucas 8:10, 11) Paulo, mais tarde, chamou os cristãos ungidos de “subordinados de Cristo e mordomos dos segredos sagrados de Deus”. (1 Coríntios 4:1) Hoje em dia, os cristãos ungidos continuam a servir como tais, constituindo a classe do escravo fiel e discreto que, por meio do seu Corpo Governante, fornece alimento espiritual no tempo apropriado. (Mateus 24:45-47) Se temos muito respeito pelos profetas inspirados de Deus dos tempos antigos, e em especial pelo Filho de Deus, não deveríamos também respeitar o instrumento humano que Jeová usa hoje para revelar informações bíblicas tão necessárias ao seu povo nestes tempos críticos? – 2 Timóteo 3:1-5, 13.

    Ou seja entendemos que no que diz respeito a ensinos, devemos encarar o Corpo Governante, da mesma forma que encaramos os profetas e até mesmo o próprio Cristo,isso contradiz o que foi dito anteriormente na Sentinela:”Não temos o dom da profecia.” (Janeiro de 1883, página 425), e ainda: “Os irmãos que preparam essas publicações não são infalíveis. Seus escritos não são inspirados assim como eram os de Paulo e dos outros escritores bíblicos.(w15 de agosto de 1981, página 19).
    A Sentinela 1/9/81 pág. 29 disse: O “escravo” não é divinamente inspirado, mas continua a pesquisar as Escrituras e a esquadrinhar cuidadosamente os acontecimentos mundiais, bem como a situação do povo de Deus, a fim de entender o cumprimento progressivo das profecias bíblicas.Se tiver de haver um ajuste, esta classe é bastante humilde e dócil para admitir isso e para fazer tal mudança, como evidência de sua fidelidade a Jeová e à sua Palavra.
    Portanto pra mim está é a prova definitiva de que nós, simples publicadores, temos todo o direito de questionar alguns entendimentos do Corpo Governante, principalmente concernente a assuntos os quais a Bíblia não é muito específica, e estes, por serem “humildes e dóceis” não poderiam nos acusar de apóstatas, desleais ou “espancadores” do escravo bom.

    Se ficarmos passivamente aceitando tudo o que vem do Corpo Governante como verdade inquestionável, estaremos nos comportando como “leigos” e tratando-os como uma “classe clerical” e sobre esse assunto veja o que disse a Despertai 22/2/77 pág.27:”Bem, será que o aparecimento duma classe clerical profissional resultou nos melhores interesses dos membros das igrejas? O mensário jesuíta Études declara que tal classe “mantém ‘os fiéis’ num estado de ignorância e irresponsabilidade”. Isto não é exagero. Como parte da classe leiga, as pessoas em geral tomam pouca iniciativa de verificar o que a Bíblia diz e de crescer em compreensão espiritual. Simplesmente deixam isso para seu clérigo, assim como confiam seus problemas de saúde ao seu médico…. os fatos estabelecem que as distinções entre clérigos e leigos da atualidade não se baseiam nas Escrituras Sagradas. Na realidade frearam o crescimento cristão, por desencorajar a iniciativa espiritual”

  • April 29, 2014 at 7:48 pm
    Permalink

    What happened to “flipping a bird” at a Kingdom Hall

    • April 29, 2014 at 11:35 pm
      Permalink

      I personally loath that practice. I find it disrespectful, juvenile, and deliberately inflammatory for Jehovah’s Witnesses – the very ones we should be trying to help.

      • April 30, 2014 at 1:07 am
        Permalink

        Is this a new version of Flappy Bird ? :-)

        I think I miss some history, is this an activity or something like this ?

  • May 2, 2014 at 9:20 am
    Permalink

    This actually made me cry… out of happiness. I want to be friends with all of these people, and dance in the next one. Where can I audition?

  • May 2, 2014 at 3:56 pm
    Permalink

    I’m a chubster and I have to say, fat people are more jolly.

  • May 5, 2014 at 4:27 am
    Permalink

    Cedars

    Just curious what is flipping “a” Bird ? Is that the same as flipping “the” Bird? Maybe an British way of saying the same thing? If it is I agree with you Cedars. Why do something inflammatory or hurtful to the ones we are trying to help. It would be digressive and give those in power ammunition. We can do better than that. Just tell the truth and have nothing to hide. The “truth” shall set us free!

  • May 10, 2014 at 6:46 pm
    Permalink

    I am sorry if this is a double post, but my comment never showed up. I didn’t break it, honest!

    Cedars, Great video! I love it. Even thinking about it now makes me smile. Made me want to dance around too….and I can’t even dance.

    I love reading all the comments, they remind me what a brotherhood we still have. I feel like we are all survivors of some cataclysmic event, clinging to each other, since we have so much in common. I always feel better when I come here! The GB can’t take that away from us…they have no more power over us!!!

    Thank you for that information on “Peter Gregerson – Is The Watchtower God’s Only Organization”

    I watched it, and I thought…DUH. I read “Crisis of Conscience”, why didn’t I ever put it together like Peter did? I remember reading about that “Great Revealing Truth of all times” about the…TRAIN.

    BTW, I put both of his books on my wish list at half.com and I eventually got both of Raymond Franz books at really great prices. Next to my Bible, they are my most prized possessions. His books are the most expensive I’ve ever seen on that site, where most books are 75 cents, someone is asking over $150.00 for their copy of “Crisis of Conscience”. I think I paid $10.00 for “Crisis of Conscience” and $15.00 for “In Search of Christian Freedom.” To me they are priceless.

  • May 17, 2014 at 3:00 am
    Permalink

    So many happy apostates! :-) Watchtower is certainly terrified and dismayed how it is possible. :-)

  • May 21, 2014 at 5:04 pm
    Permalink

    This just makes me happy :)

  • May 24, 2014 at 10:09 am
    Permalink

    Aren’t you trying to convince yourself that you are happy with this video?
    People might think that all this is a consequence of your frustration because you discovered people can people can be happy in or out of the organisation. Otherwise,why would you do that?

    • May 24, 2014 at 10:18 am
      Permalink

      “Convince” is a loaded word. We’re showing people you CAN be happy outside the organization. We’re dispelling the stereotype that Watchtower loves to spread – that of bitter, angry, frustrated apostates.

  • May 28, 2014 at 4:45 am
    Permalink

    I ❤ apostates! My favorite brand of people! Keep up the good work John!

  • June 2, 2014 at 11:49 pm
    Permalink

    It took me 50 years to wake up, my loving husband never being part of this organization, but always trying to show me the hypocrisy gently and kindly. Then finally I came to realize I will never be good enough, spiritual enough, or do enough time in the witnessing work for them. So a heart renching decision was made and for a year I beleived ‘so I’m going to die in armageddon’. Then I suddenly realized I was feeling HAPPY which was something I hadn’t felt in …..forever. How did I not see what I can now see. Thanks for a lovely, happy video.

  • June 3, 2014 at 12:00 am
    Permalink

    Except for your very sad and unfortunate widowhood, your experience sounds very similar to mine – after trying with all my heart to do my best, I was told, once again that I wasn’t doing enough for Jehovah. The answer came and since then I have met and got to know such wonderful people (something we are told don’t exist outside the organization) I hope your life continues on the happy path it has taken as I will endevour to continue on mine.

  • June 9, 2014 at 3:31 pm
    Permalink

    I definitely agree with this Cedar.

    I have a “friend” within the organization who messages me on the down low because she is afraid to leave. She thinks she won’t be happy. The truth for me is, I have never been happier.

    It is possible, no matter how afraid you are to leave.

  • July 7, 2014 at 8:02 pm
    Permalink

    I loved it!

  • September 20, 2014 at 12:21 am
    Permalink

    ATTENTION PLEASE! There will be a new dance video by the “Happy Apostates.” Following on from the success of our Pharrell Williams “Happy” video, which has so far attracted more than 14,000 views on YouTube, a video is to be released this Christmas of apostates dancing to the song “Brave” by Sara Bareilles (see below, if you’re unfamiliar with the song). Rules for video submissions are as follows (please read BEFORE recording your submission)…

    1.It’s important that you ENJOY YOURSELF doing this, and that this comes across in your performance. The aim of this video is to show that you can be happy after being brave enough to leave Watchtower, and this needs to show! So please, smile for the camera!

    2.Try to record your submission with the highest quality video possible. Most smartphones and tablets should record decent quality footage if you don’t have a HD camcorder. Just remember – the grainier the image, the less your performance will stand out. We want this video to be a home run.

    3.Wherever possible, try to film your dance routine OUTDOORS. There are two important reasons for this,–(1) you are showing how BRAVE you are by dancing out in public, preferably at a local landmark or well-known location (be imaginative!), but if you’re really shy you can do it in your garden or out in the countryside, (2) LIGHTING – good videos are well lit, and nothing beats natural sunlight in that regard. If people can’t see you properly, or it’s dark, gloomy or fuzzy, it will affect the quality of the video.

    4.It is important that your record your submission in LANDSCAPE (horizontal) – not vertical, so that our completed video is as professional as possible once all the submissions are together.

    5.Your video submission can be as short as 10 seconds or as long as 5 minutes (please, no longer than that). I will edit the parts of your performance that are a good fit for the overall production.

    6.You can have as many or as few people in your dance routine as you like. In fact, if you can organize a special meet-up so that you and your friends (including non-JWs) can appear dancing all together, this would be perfect. But individual dance submissions are just as valued.

    7.The final deadline for submissions is Sunday, November 9th, midnight. But PLEASE try not to leave it until the last minute! The earlier you get your submission in, the better.

    8.Send your submission either as an attachment to the email address provided on our “contact us” page, or by uploading to YouTube and emailing me the link. If you upload to YouTube, please don’t lock it (make it private) unless you authorize my Google account ([email protected]) to view it. If you don’t receive confirmation from me that I have your submission, either by PM or email, please let me know (just in case I missed it).

    9.If you haven’t done so already, please join our “Happy Apostates” Facebook group for updates and further announcements.

    10.Please share this announcement as widely as possible among Ex-JWs, if you feel so inclined!

  • October 3, 2015 at 5:25 pm
    Permalink

    Todos ustedes que an dejado a Jehova son unos invidiosos de la verdadera felicidada que tenemos ustedes se sienten solos claro porque quieren pero nosotros estamos unidos y esa union es la que nos hace feliz no es la cancion lo que da felicidad es que servimos al dios feliz sory por haverlo sentir solos y sin sus hermanos verdaderos

  • December 31, 2015 at 5:15 am
    Permalink

    Heya i am for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It really useful & it helped me out a lot.
    I hope to give something back and help others like you helped me.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: