The Friday Column: Governing Body Issues Apology to Abuse Victims, Announces Radical Policy Changes


April 1st 2016

Breaking News

In an unexpected turn of events, the Watchtower Organization has issued an apology to victims of child abuse who were denied justice over the past 50 years, and has authorized congregation elders, ministerial servants, and individual members to contact child protection authorities and law enforcement immediately upon learning of any accusations of abuse to a minor child.

In a letter to elders, the Governing Body has agreed to rescind  its infamous “Two Witness Rule”, but only for cases involving children who have come forward about abuse which took place while they were minors. The 7-member panel cited suggestions from the Australian Royal Commission and other child protection experts as the basis upon which the policy changes were made, stating that these alterations do not conflict with their Christian beliefs and principles.

In related policy changes, the organization has announced that it will no longer require minor children to submit to the extensive Jehovah’s Witness baptismal procedure, which includes a grueling 80-question vetting process performed by 3 different elders. Children will still be allowed to be baptized, but without  the 80 questions, and without being publicly required to answer yes to the following question:

“Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization?”

The net result will be that children may still follow the religion of their parents, but without the severe consequences of disfellowshipping and  shunning if  they become adults and choose to exercise their right to change their beliefs.

Attached to the new Governing Body directive is the revised blood transfusion policy, which states:

“The Governing Body has concluded that while we still believe blood to be the sacred embodiment of life, it will be up to each Christian to decide whether to accept a blood transfusion when deemed necessary. Significant advancements in science, along with the understanding that Jehovah’s command to the Israelites and early Christians applied to the original Law Covenant, has revealed to us  that transfusions are a personal medical decision. We trust that all of Jehovah’s people will respond positively to our increased understanding of the scriptures.”

In addition to these major changes, the Governing Body has announced that it has added one member to its executive leadership counsel, presidential candidate and New York billionaire Donald Trump.


governing body trump
Donald Trump joins the elite Jehovah’s Witness Governing Body



OK, by now you realize that it is April 1st, and none of the information above is true.

To the outside world, such changes in policy would seem to be a very reasonable compromise, particularly in light of increasing media scrutiny of the caustic practices of Jehovah’s Witness leadership. Throughout the world, tens of thousands have lost their lives in hospitals, where trained Witness elders swarm to the side of patients in need of blood, preventing doctors from doing the one thing they are trained to do: save lives.

Children are subjected to years of propaganda in the form of books, videos, and peer pressure from fellow Witness companions, who are themselves victims of this process. Before they reach puberty, they are dragged into the public eye every weekend and forced to knock on doors instead of going to soccer, football or baseball practice. Relentless conditioning batters their desire to excel in academics or sports, leaving no alternative path but the one which results in a water baptism. Once baptized, there is no turning back. A child who recognizes later that he or she has made a mistake has no recourse – if he chooses to leave, he will be abandoned by every friend he has ever known, and every family member including his parents.

For those young ones who were touched, abused, neglected, or beaten by adults inside the organization, there is no due process. Criminal offenses such as these are treated as “sin” first, and must be reported to elders, rather than legal authorities who are trained to intervene and protect such children. Only when forcibly compelled to contact police will Witness elders comply with the law, and only then after contacting the legal department of the Watch Tower Society.


What is the solution?

If you are one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, perhaps even a member of the New York headquarters staff, give some thought to the opening paragraphs of this article and ask yourself whether such changes are unreasonable.

If God is the giver and preserver of life, would he really oppose the transfusion of blood? Would he allow a Witness to die, when membership and preaching is considered so critical in these turbulent times? God has apparently already given permission to Witnesses to accept blood fractions, which are derived from whole blood. Do you really believe the Almighty looks with favor on parents who fight the transfusion which would save a baby’s life?

On the matter of child baptism, do you truly believe it is just and righteous to place the heavy burden of baptism on a child, considering the fact that every teen or preteen is so easily influenced by his peers and parents? Why not permit a child to leave the organization, instead of holding his family and friends as hostages should he decide to take a different pathway? While you may believe that his course will result is his drift from God, do you really have the right to penalize him for his free will?

And finally, when it comes to justice for those abused, would it violate God’s law to report cases of abuse to the police and child protection authorities? Would this not benefit others, including non-Jehovah’s Witnesses who may have been victimized by the same perpetrator? Certainly there is nothing unscriptural about protecting children and allowing qualified secular authorities to handle the matter.

Consider this a sincere appeal to the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses to strike down the influential policies which have redirected and stolen the lives of millions over the past century, all in the name of loyalty to God and one organization. Remember, the JW religion claims to be a volunteer faith. By definition, this means one can enter and leave at will. But this is not the case. Joining comes at great cost, and leaving is even more expensive. Let these people go; release them from medical suicide, release them from child indoctrination, release them from abuse. As Moses said to Pharaoh:

Let my people go.


John Redwood






Mark O'Donnell

Mark O'Donnell is a former Jehovah's Witness turned whistleblower after discovering the disturbing child abuse epidemic within the religion. His story, along with the revelation of a secret database of child molesters were featured in the March 2019 online issue of the Atlantic Magazine: O'Donnell continues to investigate allegations of child abuse within the Witness organization, and works with law enforcement, attorneys, and survivors of abuse, writing about his findings on and other outlets.

199 thoughts on “The Friday Column: Governing Body Issues Apology to Abuse Victims, Announces Radical Policy Changes

  • April 1, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    Hahaha you totally got me. Good one but you make very valid points. I’m sure many wish it wasn’t a prank but WTS being what it is we can’t expect any better.

  • April 1, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    These are matters involving ruined, destroyed lives. I personally know several people that have committed suicide because of these issues.

    Making light of such things is disrespectful to those that have suffered and to those that are still struggling to rebuild their lives. Sorry to be the curmudgeon here, but these matters are far too serious for such foolishness.

    • April 1, 2016 at 1:32 pm

      I do understand your feelings but please remember that sometimes it does us good to laugh as well as cry. As someone who was abused both as a child and an adult by the witnesses I can hand on heart say that sometimes it is nice when things are not taken too seriously and I don’t feel like a ‘sad person.’ I hope that makes sense, I do tend to ramble on!

      These matters are serious and I think John Redwood was making a very serious matter in to something easily understandable. What he has written shouldn’t be an April fools and the fact that it is is ridiculous and this article highlights that point very well.

      I am really sorry that you have lost people to suicide, please accept so much fellow exjw love.

  • April 1, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    Soo reasonable I was about to throw a party!!! I kid you not. My son is being held hostage by this organization. So I am still, Silent Red Sonja

    • April 1, 2016 at 2:49 pm

      I felt the exact same way. I too have a son being held hostage. I thought “oh my gosh maybe my son and his family will have a chance”. I have to keep quiet also.

    • April 1, 2016 at 5:18 pm

      I almost started to cry when I read the child baptism part. I thought maybe my daughter wouldn’t hold my 13-year-old baptism over my head, and consent to let me see my grandchildren. But alas . . .

  • April 1, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    I don’t mean to be rude but I found that article to be in very poor taste. People have died.

    • April 1, 2016 at 1:51 pm

      Dear Gary

      Thank you for your viewpoint. I agree with you that many people have died, and this is exactly why I am drawing attention to the fact that the Watchtower organization could easily revise its policies to save lives, while still maintaining beliefs which do not harm or influence people unjustly. As you know, at JW Survey we do not take death lightly, and we endeavor each day to seek out ways of ending the devastating influence of this organization. Please read the 2nd half of the article again; I am sure you will understand that we are very concerned with ending controlling influences which have done so much damage over the years.


      • April 1, 2016 at 11:10 pm

        I’ve lived the second part of the article.
        If your saying it’s my fault for not reading the whole aricle so be it but that’s not the point I’m making as my comment a few moments later reveal. Cheers.

      • April 2, 2016 at 12:05 am

        Hi Redwood, can you please explain what JWs beliefs do not harm or influence people unjustly? Do you believe in God? If you don’t believe in him, why would you like that an organization teach such a lie? Thanks.

        • April 2, 2016 at 9:38 am

          Dear Starlight – I am not sure I understand your question, can you re-phrase it?

          • April 5, 2016 at 2:40 pm

            @Redwood: You said “I am drawing attention to the fact that the Watchtower organization could easily revise its policies to save lives, while still maintaining beliefs which do not harm or influence people unjustly”. What are those beliefs you would like the society maintain once they revised their policies? Do you agree on any degree with the JWs teaching?

          • April 5, 2016 at 6:11 pm


            Thanks for the question. Notice that I said that the watchtower could change its policies, not that I would change them.

            My point here is that they are free to practice their beliefs in peace, so long as they do not interfere with or violate human rights.

            I am indifferent as to what happens to the organization once we as a society conquer undue influence and halt the spread of shunning, indoctrination, and forced application of the blood policy on minors.

            In other words, once these practices are done away with, I will not have justifiable cause to actively oppose the beliefs of this religion, such as the belief that there will be a resurrection, or that there will be a paradise earth in the future. They have a right to these beliefs.

            As for your 2nd question, that is a very broad question, can you be more specific?

            I don’t want to get too off topic with my personal beliefs, as this is not about me, it is about the subject of ending the tragic influence of the JW organization.

            If we can put an end to these destructive policies, those freed will be able to live their lives, educate themselves, and believe whatever they wish.


  • April 1, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    I was fooled right up to the Donald Trump announcment.

  • April 1, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    You had me going all the way up to the part about Donald Trump. Those things are so reasonable. It is not too much to ask.

    • April 3, 2016 at 4:45 am

      For them it would be too much to ask indeed,for they would have to ackowledge a huge error on their part that caused the unnecesary deaths of many followers and they would lose credibility not only with new prospecting members but with old alike.

  • April 1, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    My apologies. . I was so happy and thought we had achieved (all) a huge success. I was so disappointed to read Donald Trump:-(
    Such joy so short lived.

  • April 1, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    I joke of very poor taste!

    • April 1, 2016 at 3:03 pm

      Dear Stan

      Your comments are welcome here. Please let us know why you feel the article was in poor taste. If you read the entire article, you will understand that this is not a joke. We would like to see these headlines in the future, but so far Watchtower has failed to revise their policies in a way that does not cause harm. The final part of the article is a request to the Governing Body to think rationally of their rules and policies, and to change them. Certainly this is no joking matter



  • April 1, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    Good article. It shows how people are thirsty of seeing the justice for the oppressed…

    (Matthew 5:6) . . .“Happy are those hungering and thirsting for righteousness, since they will be filled.

    Let us keep “hungering and thirsting for righteousness”!!

  • April 1, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    Even if the joke part of the article were true (not the Donald Trump part) it doesn’t absolve them. If they did change the blood policy to a conscience matter it would mean that yet another apology BETTER immediately follow. For those who went along with it.Too many have died because of the stupid blood policy.

    • April 1, 2016 at 4:52 pm

      @Chia – as upsetting as it is when groups destroy lives–groups being corporations, governments, gangs, cults, or charities–it is also as disenchanting to realize that with a policy change comes realization that the cause of deaths, pain & suffering, and other issues and scars was moot and easily could have been made a non-issue. Just think of the lives that could have been saved if the knowledge being spread that blood components is an alternative to whole-blood transfusion was not a matter of conscience (leaving everyone confused as to what is “right”) or that the entire issue of medical treatment was NOT a matter for control and influence.

      The offense could be taken at the perpetrators of this control and abuse not those who satirically highlight the absurdity–its sisyphean nature. Those who think nothing of the thousands if not millions lives they impact with a swipe of the pen and a whim of interpreting scripture, imposing their man-made views onto others with the threat of disavowing and shunning at the slightest hint of variance yet knowing with full conscience these matters of enforcement are subject to change and even a completely opposite viewpoint–whether it is Sodom and Gomorrah being resurrected into the Kingdom of God or the flag salute. Nothing is “core” truth, even if it has existed for 100+ years as such.

  • April 1, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    Grrr… It’s april 2 here in Oz. So wasn’t expecting a joke, and thought for one fleeting moment.I migjt reconnect with family who shun me. Not to be sadly. But it was written tongue in cheek so well done as it highlights how much this demonic cult has cost us… Mr Trump would be a fantastic addition to the. GB. He would slot in seamlessly.

  • April 1, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    The whole article could have been framed without the insensitive ‘April Fools’ joke premise. Misleading readers for the first half of a post on a topic relating to child abuse and death was neither witty or appreciated.

    • April 1, 2016 at 2:56 pm

      Dear Fading Truth

      We appreciate your comments, and we hope that you will look more deeply at the meaning behind the article. The intent is to show how Watchtower does indeed have the ability to change its own policies, but the lack of change has contributed to many abuses and deaths over the years. As you are aware, we are trying to effect change and raise awareness of serious issues which influence and damage lives. There are many paths leading to change, and sometimes humor can be a useful tool in making people think about serious issues and how we can address them



      • April 1, 2016 at 5:35 pm

        Yes, but John, I had my heart in my throat for the first few paragraphs. It was like someone telling me that I might get to see my daughter again, letting me hope as I’ve not hoped before, and then to read that you’re just kidding–no, I won’t get to see her or my grandchildren again. It’s been almost three years since I’ve seen them, and I miss them so much. Can you not begin to see how this might play with people’s broken hearts? I do understand that the last half makes a good point, and I really do appreciate all the articles on here, but it was a mean thing to do, even though the intention was good. Please reconsider in future.

        • April 1, 2016 at 5:53 pm


          Your story is hearbreaking, and we are doing everything we can both behind the scenes and in public to end the corrupt policies which have led to your separation from your family. I was hoping that given this was released on April 1st, most people would realize right away that this was not real news. Also, I made sure that people understood why I ran this article in the 2nd half. I apologize for causing any grief, and know that we are doing everything we can to reconnect you with your family


          • April 2, 2016 at 7:01 am

            Thank you, JR. And thank you for adding the disclaimer at the beginning. This will give people a heads up. :)

          • April 2, 2016 at 9:52 am

            Thanks Ren!

            Unlike the Governing Body, we care about and respond to the feelings of our readers. Not everyone will agree with every article or viewpoint, and this is to be expected. But we write with integrity and honesty, hoping that uncovering truth and logic will awaken people to the undue influence of this religion.


        • April 3, 2016 at 5:23 am

          I also agree with you Ren on. Humor and satire can be used for certain things ,but in this case its in poor taste and uncalled for….I also was saying to myself as I read,” wow, this is major! Im calling mom as soon as i can and ask her opinion since my step dad had died by lack of blood” when I read the trump part and the thought, ” oh really!” and felt like a fool on april fools. Would anyone make a joke of the 3000 + dead in 9/11 just to add a funny note to aleve the sadness? Dont think so.

          • April 3, 2016 at 5:41 am

            I’m simply amazed that people are invoking atrocities such as the holocaust and 9/11 in trying to validate their anger over a piece of satire about Watchtower failing to make straightforward changes to protect children. The levels of desperation people will sink to in order to service and add momentum to their hurt feelings is just astonishing.

          • April 3, 2016 at 9:07 am

            Dear Ronnyb

            You can’t use the comparison to 9/11 – this was a horrific and tragic event which occurred in the past and cannot be reversed. However the destructive policies of the JW organization are very much ongoing; they are playing out like a slowly executed terrorist plot, killing one victim at a time. Hence, the satire directed against this organization is very valid and is intended to STOP the madness and help victims.

            I am deeply saddened that you lost your step-dad to the blood policy. This is exactly what we are trying to stop, and we take this very seriously. The Trump comment punctuated the satire, reminding us that this is not real. This should be a wake-up call for any who want to help us speed the process along and end the religious bullying and indoctrination which has affected so many lives. We don’t just want to preach to the choir – we want the choir to join us.



      • April 3, 2016 at 1:17 am

        John: You could have raised awareness in the exact same manner had you prefaced the article with something like “Could we imagine some day, in the near future, the governing body sending all congregations a letter like this?”:

        If we have not been abused as a child we don’t know how it FEELS, or the worthlessness that lingers on and on.

        I really believed it until you mentioned April 1st. That is because we have trusted you so much. Big let down.

        Then you criticize those that were offended by it. Whatever happened to being respectful of everyones’ feelings and opinions?

        We long so much for things to be the way you wrote. Making everyone think it had happened was not humorous. It was no joke. It was not funny.

        I know you meant well. And you are a superb writer as is Cedar. The points you make are excellent.
        But all of us who have escaped that lager are burnt out. Emotions are not a game.

        • April 3, 2016 at 3:22 am

          GAMEISOVER – “Then you criticize those that were offended by it. Whatever happened to being respectful of everyones’ feelings and opinions?”

          Ah, yes. Expressing a different opinion = lack of respect, bullying, oppression, stifling free speech… etc, etc. If I had a dollar for every time I heard this kind of reasoning from exJWs…

          If you don’t like something, you are free to express your opinion and move on. You don’t have to beat everyone into submission until they agree with you.

          • April 3, 2016 at 12:07 pm

            Do you have a ghost writer? This comment doesn’t sound like
            Your kind-natured self.
            Sorry if I offended you.

    • April 3, 2016 at 6:32 pm

      Observing some of the “I’m offended” replies, I note that the offense I initially held seems to stem from being “suckered” into believing the Watchtower was making a 180-degree turn and issuing apologies and acknowledging its misconduct in handling child abuse, and sexual assault cases. I had to ask myself where that “sting” comes from, and it is really misdirected anger, because deep down, I am angered at a corrupt enterprise from which I feel I’ll never get an apology I strongly desire.

      And, by acknowledging that I’m clinging onto a system that continues to control and keeps me powerless, I’m acknowledging that I need to make a break and continue my journey which is daunting and intimidating but not an impossibility.

      Also, this apology felt empty, where was the change needed to show repentance–am I right elders who’ve sat on reinstatement committees?–what policies and procedures have been adopted to check elder cover-ups of misbehavior? The above article’s information underwrites my fears and frustrations.

      On the other hand, if the Watchtower has issued an apology–which I did desire, what is left? why am I still hurting? why do I continue to feel the victim? Maybe the apology doesn’t provide total healing, it did affirm that I was hurt and harmed, but why am I still needing external authorities to validate me or my feelings?

      But, let’s call the apology a step forward on the healing journey–a call to action. The remainder of that journey is on me, and again, fear, intimidation and the daunting discomfort of leaving my comfort zone to seek out healing, gives me heartburn and leaves me feeling vulnerable and exposed similar to the feelings I had when I was abused.

      Am I being mocked and ridiculed? Harassed? These feelings are the same as when I was assaulted, thus I am angry. Cedars’ website victimized me–again. Or, did it?

      After realizing I was “suckered” I immediately linked to feelings I had when I realized the corrupt enterprise would not give me justice in the case of my sexual assault, or that certain teachings were flickering lights not guiding lights. I’m not in that place where I can look back and laugh about that dark place I was, so I am lashing out in defense mode.

  • April 1, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    Omg you guys!!! I totally almost had a heart attack! I literally choked on the peanuts I was eating while reading this article! GOOD ONE! you really had me going…I was so excited…until the Donald Trump part…hahaha…then I had to laugh at myself for actually believing anything that great could ever happen in that sick cult! But I will continue to dream it could happen!

  • April 1, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    As soon as I read the title of the article…”Governing Body Apologizes…” I knew it was a joke. The GB has NEVER and will never apologize for anything. They are too proud and full of themselves.

  • April 1, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    Good article as always John,

    You had me going until the Donald Trump part. These “changes” were so reasonable it was almost a dream come true. Unfortunately, I don’t believe I will live long enough to see any of the above come to fruition.

    These hard headed morons (read “faithful and discrete slave”) are blood guilty for the medical deaths of thousands of adherents due to not only the blood transfusion issue but the organ transplant procedure which at one time was considered “cannibalism”. That’s been changed now (New Light strikes again!) but it was strictly enforced during my childhood back in the late 50’s and 60’s.

    Thank’s for the refreshing April Fool’s take and the informative article which brightened up my day. To those who found this article offensive I say for God’s sake “lighten up”! Nobody reading this article believes that the W.B.T.S. is not guilty of mind controlling, zombie producing, doomsday fanaticism, and religious intolerance. However, its good to wish that they would change. So I will continue to wish/pray for change in one hand and defecate in the other and see which hand gets filled up first. :)

    • April 1, 2016 at 6:52 pm

      They will never change their policies because doing so means they are admitting they were wrong and acknowledging their bloodguilt…that would mean expensive litigation. Who cares about people’s lives?!?! So disgusting.

  • April 1, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    desde el primer perdón emitido por jw supe que iba dirijido a recrear la simple salida que estos personajes tienen y que obviamente JAMAS elegirian
    disfrutaron de cada comité morbosamente que me hicieron preguntándome intimidades comunes de la vida sexual 4 hombres. Para mi es caso cerrado los dirigentes de la jw buscan hombres con características de represores y violadores son los hijos de un dios macabro

    • April 3, 2016 at 1:23 am

      What’s this? An automatic translation?

      • April 3, 2016 at 6:50 pm

        @Gameisover–you’re being a contemptibly obnoxious person; copy and paste the comment into Google Translator, if you want to know what is being said.

        • April 5, 2016 at 7:19 am

          Actually more than obnoxious I am ignorant. Never used google translator.
          I’m closer to 80 than anything else.
          Not my generation. Sorry.
          But thanks for the compliments. You and Cedars have had a field day.
          My cup runneth over…..

  • April 1, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    Not a good April Fools joke! I was elated and nearly brought to tears that they are finally going to help victims of child abuse……. No such luck.

    They want it this way. They would rather harbor, thereby, encourage child abuse, than upset a child molester.

    Welcome all child molesters and rapists- you will have free reign to terrorize children within the JW Org!

    • April 1, 2016 at 4:50 pm

      Mama Joy

      Thanks for your comments. Child abuse is no joking matter, and the purpose of this article is to draw attention to ways in which the JW organization could alter its stance on abuse handling as well as child indoctrination and the blood policy. Some who read this will feel strong emotions on these issues, as you did, and the fact that Watchtower has not resolved these problems should further inspire people to speak out against these policies. Each time we draw attention to these problems we are one step closer to solving them



      • April 1, 2016 at 9:21 pm

        One day justice will be served. The JWs show their “fruits” by choosing who to support. The victims or the perpetrators.

        They will always be a cursed people. That is why God allows the Org to take their children away from them (through disfellowshipping, no blood, etc) They distance themselves from Christ (not partaking the body/blood, having no part of Christendom (Christ’s Kingdom)). They make the Org. their God (calling the Org the Truth instead of Jesus). They are a cursed people and always will be. That is why they allow pedophilia- it IS THEIR FRUITS!

        The children that leave or are kicked out are blessed with freedom from this satanic cult.

  • April 1, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    This article needs to be removed before one more WT child abuse victim reads it. Not funny, very hurtful.

    • April 1, 2016 at 5:54 pm

      I was very upset by this article as well. I don’t think it should be removed, but should be rewritten so as not to play with our emotions.

      I don’t know think the writer knows what it feels like to have been abused, or has had a friend refuse a blood transfusion and die… If he had, he would realize humour doesn’t work in this case.

      To the writer, please stop making excuses for why the article is fine. That’s what the Governing Body does. They don’t apologize either.

      • April 1, 2016 at 6:23 pm

        Dear Katie

        I will be happy to amend the article as you suggested so that readers are not led to believe that the opening paragraphs are in fact true. I apologize for any offense caused, and I believe your request is reasonable. And yes, I have been personally affected by all of these issues, which is why I am working with other activists to put an end to the harmful policies of Watchtower



        • April 2, 2016 at 2:37 am

          Well, thank you John

          I was about to say the same thing as Katie

          Plus, until you do ammend it, you’re undermining your and this sites’ credibility, and harming the cause

          The headline got me, the initial stress on it being written on 1st April tipped me off, not everyone would have got that

          What about them?

          Even if everyone did, that initial, or forever long a person was believing it, is enough to trigger PTSD and/or give a lot of people a cruel emotional
          roller coaster

          I’m glad you finally apologised for that, because you were starting to sound like the gb

          Though actions speak louder than words

          Personally, I would save it, take it down immediately, amend it, then repost it

      • April 1, 2016 at 8:17 pm

        I was upset too. But this article should be removed.

    • April 1, 2016 at 6:08 pm


      It was not my intention to make light of victims of child abuse. As you know, we are also working hard behind the scenes to end the harmful policies which have hurt so many children as well as adults. I made it very clear right away that Watchtower is not changing its policies at this time, and made a plea to the Governing Body to consider how reasonable my arguments are as stated in the opening paragraphs. We are attempting to lead them to the right decision,to do the right thing.

      The article is a rather short article, and I trust that those reading will read all the way to the conclusion and agree with my viewpoint. If not, remember it is just an opinion.



  • April 1, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    You had me right up until the Trump line. Well done. Sorry for anyone offended by this. I thought it was brilliantly done. Point well made.

  • April 1, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    He’s making the Watchtower great again lol!

  • April 1, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    I did know as soon as I saw it that it could not be real. Right now I am thanking the God I believe in that my son is df’d because his baby girl is in hospital and has already had one blood transfusion with many more to follow. If he had been in the ‘truth’ we would no doubt have lost her by now. I am truly blessed right now that the Dr’s and nurses are fighting to save our precious girls life. No doubt I will be asked if they let her be transfused and I will tell them (elders, minions) to mind their own business. No doubt I will be spoken to for spending time, above and beyond, with my df’d son, they can sit and swivel. Cry freedom and let slip the dogs of war.

    • April 1, 2016 at 6:56 pm

      p.s yes I know it’s Havoc but for me crying freedom is bliss.

      • April 2, 2016 at 5:20 pm

        You go, girl. Family is first.

        • April 2, 2016 at 5:25 pm

          Thank you Holly :) I believe in a God that would put children before doctrine.

  • April 1, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    John Redwood, you need to temper your jovial mood sometimes in light of your chosen subject.
    In other words before you make light of a range of subjects of a very serious nature, which have impacted many others in a very negative way, you need to make a serious minded judgement as to weather it is appropriate.
    I other wise find your contributions very good, but that give you no rights to be thoughtless at other times.

    • April 1, 2016 at 10:39 pm

      I have to agree with everyone else here. I eagerly await new articles from this website, but this really rubbed me the wrong way. This column is harmful to say the least. If I need a laugh, I know where to find it. Just imagine this being the first thing read from this website as a newly disfellowshipped person. It would push them away. Next April fools, maybe be a little more flamboyant and ridiculous with the joke? At least that way I won’t be sending quotes to my sister, asking if she’s heard anything about it. The relationship is already strained enough as is.

      • April 2, 2016 at 9:35 am

        J Mitchell

        I appreciate your criticism, however we do not believe the article is hurtful. That being said I have added a disclaimer at the beginning of the article so that anyone reading will know that the headlines are wishful thinking and not reality (not yet).

        At JW Survey, we are not trying to be flamboyant or funny. There are traces of humour at times, but this is the exception. The only item which I felt was humorous was my comment about Trump being added to the Governing Body. JW Survey is not a satire site, but the opening paragraphs of the article are written as satire to make a very strong point – that the Governing Body could and should make these changes, but they don’t.

        I am sad that you sent quotes to your sister without reading the article. This was certainly not my intention. I did everything possible to make people aware that this was an April 1st satire. I specifically added the date April 1st to the beginning of the article, which was the first clue. Second, I added the photo of Trump on the Governing Body, which was the only photo inside the article. I knew that anyone seeing this would know that it was certainly not true. Lastly, I made the article very short so that you could read the opening paragraphs, see the Trump photo, then immediately get to the point of the article. There was no intention to mislead, only to make a point and get to it quickly. I apologize if this did not work for you, and I have added a disclaimer at the beginning of the article to assure readers that the headlines are not real.

        I hope one day we can end these dreadful policies and restore your relationship with your sister



  • April 1, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    Yup, how ridiculously sad that the first part of your new post is just an April Fool’s joke, when it is exactly what the borg needs to do NOW! When the only reasonable, humane, moral course of action will never be taken by them. Jeeeeeeez

  • April 1, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    Uncool, dude. You made jest what happened to me and thousands of others. This site was so instrumental in my learning TTATT and I am forever grateful, but it is sinking into quasi-literate opinion fetishes and ill-considered satire. Lloyd, please bring the quality back. This was appalling.

  • April 1, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    In view of the serious issues raised, this April Fools joke was not funny. I have supported just about everything, but this one was uncalled for.

  • April 1, 2016 at 9:38 pm

    If Trump took the job he’d fire all of the GB for incompetence. Then he’d build a wall around Warwick and keep all the JWs in.
    Voilá, the world is a better place and the problem is solved!

  • April 1, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    The article is a bit like,
    A child who has gone missing and a person saying “hey here’s little Johny walking up the path, April fools!”

    • April 2, 2016 at 9:22 am


      I respectfully disagree, but I hope we can understand each other’s point of view. I have had multiple people message me, many of them writers who have been personally victimized by child abuse, shunning as well as death of family members due to blood transfusion policy. They all agreed that the article was beneficial and made a strong point. However there are a few who became upset with the opening paragraphs – perhaps the false hope for those brief seconds was just too much to bear.

      The reality is that most people got it- and some did not. I can’t fault those who did not get the point, or who believed what they were reading immediately without finishing the piece. It is not for me to analyze how people process information, but I will say that I am surprised that anyone would believe what I wrote so quickly, then immediately get upset when they got to the middle of the article. I did not think anyone would believe this, especially JW Survey readers who are very educated on matters of the JW organization and the Governing Body. Trust me when I tell you that if any of that information were true, Lloyd Evans would have an article and video up quicker than you can say Donald Trump.

      I absolutely respect your viewpoint, but I disagree with the comparison to announcing that a lost little boy was found. You know the article went much deeper than that, and it included a plea to the Governing Body. We want people to understand how easy it would be for the GB to make sweeping changes that would end these horrible policies – so I wrote those changes myself and released them on April 1st. No harm was intended to any victims, and I hope you understand my point just as I understand yours



      • April 2, 2016 at 10:44 am

        “I did not think anyone would believe this, especially JW Survey readers who are very educated on matters of the JW organization and the Governing Body.”

        Many readers of JW Survey come here because they find – correction, found the content honest and ethical. JW’s are used to being manipulated emotionally by WT publications, but JW Survey had been refuge from that.

        Why wouldn’t you expect your readers to believe you? Lloyd Evans has spent years building this site as one that could be trusted and respected in all aspects.

        Now, we’re treated to a clickbait title and a cruel April’s fools joke of an article.

        Regardless of whether no harm was intended, you continue to harm many with your dogged refusal to change the way the article was presented.

        No one is disputing that the article contains important content or that the message needs to get out.

        It’s the horribly manipulative way it was presented that everyone is at odds with.

        Thankfully, there are other writers who contribute to this site, and I sincerely hope none write anything as wreckless and insensitive in the future.

        • April 2, 2016 at 11:09 am

          Fading Truth

          Two matters of correction – first, everyone is not at odds with the article. There will always be those who disagree with an article or the way it was presented. But the positive feedback I have received here and privately has been very encouraging. Hence it is not even close to accurate to say that everyone is “at odds” with this piece. Generally speaking, negative comments reflect a tiny minority of those who object, whereas the thousands of readers who enjoyed the piece often see no need to comment since they were not upset in any way.

          Either way, we will not silence the voices of those who object as long as they do so respectfully according to the guidelines for the site. Criticism is accepted. Feel free to appeal to Lloyd Evans. He understood and shared the article, as did many others.

          Secondly, I apologized to any who were offended, knowing that a few just did not understand the nature and point of the article. Furthermore, I immediately changed the article to include a disclaimer at the very beginning which explains that the headlines are not a reality. Please read for yourself, and thank you for your comments


      • April 2, 2016 at 11:02 am

        If I had a £ for every time I put my foot in it I’d be richer Donald Trump!
        No problems John, we (all) will win this fight

  • April 2, 2016 at 12:05 am

    From all the reactions &comments so far it just goes to show how deep & hurtful & cruel the Watchtower organisation has emotionally & physically affected the lives past,present & future.
    We would all like to see the above article by John Redwood to become a reality.
    Sometimes satire will touch very deep emotions & can make people be even more determined to see justice done .
    I have been affected by the issues mentioned & when written like John Redwood has done makes me realise the stupidity & crassness & yes wickedness of these 7 men who at the stroke of a pen can make policies that wreck so many people’s lives & then quite easily revert those policies with another stroke of a pen go back to the original policy like with organ transplants .
    Madness to the extreme.

    • April 2, 2016 at 9:08 am

      Thanks Alicja!

      I appreciate that you really got the point of this article. As you say, with one stroke of the pen, the Governing Body can destroy lives, as it did for example in Malawi. Anyone reading the article should know that these are not joking matters, and that we are working daily to Make the April 1st headline a real headline year-round. Cheers


      • April 2, 2016 at 11:31 am

        JR. Thank you for your comment. & you have a hard task being an author of a website especially one like this with so many logging on who have been damaged badly by the JW organisation . It’s not easy because so many hundreds of thousands , maybe millions have been separated from loving families But sometimes controversial subjects will provide the most hurt responses because of the tremendous pain suffered.
        I am sure we are all on the same side. Please let’s all stay united in our fight against this organisation which is the real cause of our unhappiness.
        Take care all of you .

      • April 3, 2016 at 6:13 am

        John,way back in the 40’s there was a radio program that featured Orson Wells ,”War of the Worlds”. The program started like this, ” Flash,we interrupt this program for an emergency bulletin…Martians have landed on Earth and an invasion is imminent!!!” Well no one knew it was a new program and the histeria caused major panic in some cities. Not that your joke caused this kind of histeria, but people thought the WT had come to its senses after all these years, after all the hurt only to find out it wasnt true. You can say to people ” dont be offended” but you cannot say to people ,” do not feel hurt” emotional pain cannot be controlled, and thats what happened here, some people who relived their heartbreaks and felt some vindication,only to find out it was just a mirage in a vast desert. Please understand their point of view and their hurt. Thankyou.

        • April 3, 2016 at 8:37 am

          Dear Ronnyb

          I understand the hurt of those affected by all of the issues which I covered. In fact this is why I draw attention to them. For those offended, I apologized for causing any hurt feelings, and even added a disclaimer at the beginning of the article.

          By the way, I am quite familiar with War of the Worlds; as a child I owned a cassette tape of this program and played it many times. I remember the limited hysteria which was caused. However, remember this – the hysteria was localized to those persons listening in to what nearly everyone knew was an entertainment broadcast. The hysteria was not caused by the program, but by the naive persons who over-reacted to that which was an obvious spoof on the news. Some of these people tuned in during the middle of the program and didn’t think twice about questioning whether the program was real or entertainment. These people could have easily dialed to a different station and realized that there was no news coverage of any Martian invasion whatsoever. The hysteria was completely blown out of proportion by individuals who seemed out of touch with the difference between real news and entertainment and satire.

          The same thing happened with my article – several persons over-reacted when they read the title and the first few paragraphs, without understanding the point, and without comprehending that this type of news would have broken simultaneously around the web, around the world, if it had been true. Articles would have dominated the news headlines, not only on every ex-JW site, but even the major news outlets across the globe would have covered this story.

          Just as with War of the Worlds, my headlines sounded almost believable. And that is my point- the Governing Body has the power to write these headlines and effect these changes, but they don’t. And if a few paragraphs of hope and inspiration were dashed to pieces by the harsh reality of the truth, this cold splash of water to the face might be enough to get someone off the couch and attempt to make a difference.

          Think about this – apparently some of those offended are admitting that they believed the opening paragraphs, even if for but a few moments, but were bitterly disappointed when they found that this was satire. This may on the surface feel painful to these individuals, but they also need to understand that the changes they desire will NOT happen under present circumstances, and that they should direct their anger, not to JW Survey, but to the organization responsible for the atrocities. We encourage those victims to direct their efforts in support of activism, against the common cause of all of these issues, and to work with JW Survey to end the destructive policies which were the subject of this article. We will make the mirage a reality


  • April 2, 2016 at 12:53 am

    I have to say this article just opened the wound that many felt was healing.

    Bad move. The Editorial team needs to start Triage immediately!

  • April 2, 2016 at 3:13 am

    John Redwood –
    You had me there, I thought this was too good to be true. A big Aargh went out when I discovered it was not real! I too read it a day late!
    Donald Trump on the GB is not too far fetched when you consider the Freemasonry link. (Has anyone else noticed the hand gestures and poses of the GB? They are being more careful about their rings and tie pins lately, but I’m sure they are part of that other secret society and always have been from the days of Russell).
    Anyway John, I think the article was hard hitting as well as a little humorous. God knows we all need to lighten up a bit these days. Unfortunately, the Watchtower removed the chuckle muscle from most of us and it can be very hard to get it back when abuses have been carried out.
    Keep up the good work. We are little fishes in a very big pond trying to bring to book these wicked men.

  • April 2, 2016 at 3:23 am

    I even believed the Trump part, knowing that nothing is
    beneath them and most of the R & F will accept almost
    anything. They only have to pull the the “New Light”
    nonsense and claim its in the interest of the ” World wide
    work” and the sheep will go cockadoodledoo.

  • April 2, 2016 at 3:23 am

    I even believed the Trump part, knowing that nothing is
    beneath them and most of the R & F will accept almost
    anything. They only have to pull the the “New Light”
    nonsense and claim its in the interest of the ” World wide
    work” and the sheep will go cockadoodledoo.

  • April 2, 2016 at 5:55 am

    William Draper … Very interesting , insightful , but maybe not best on April 1st , that I personally would agree with some of the others , it was convincing because of its reason , so I can see how some that take this forum very seriously , may find this a little bit off key …….. for me I prefer to refrain from things like April Fools Joke Day , but I would suggest not to take the criticism to hard .

  • April 2, 2016 at 6:28 am

    Dear Mr Redwood oh dear! a can of worms and a bit off colour. Its okay to make april fools of us in recovery. But what is sad was that split second when YOU gave us hope. That moment of wow could this really be true. When we got to Trumpy or as I call him the last Trump before that hair gets raptured, and started to laugh it did take me down another thoughtline. We know the gb’s minions read all these sites and make notes because they are nasty snitches and vindictive by nature. You Mr Redwood played right into their hands for several reasons. Firstly it has divided us, some hated the article and some loved it causing a squabble amongst us in recovery. (that will get the spies hand clapping in glee) The other point I want to make is such false hope gave some genuine pain as they were being duped which in turn would give the GB genuine pleasure as it feeds into to their sadistic and narcissistic natures, So I agree your sentiment was bona fida but the resulting reaction and response was not anticipated . I think you did not really think this through enough. It played into the nasty hands of witnesses who really like to see people in pain, so don’t do that again as you are helping their cause not ours. Thanks for listening and I hope you don’t mind me saying such things regards Ruthlee

    • April 2, 2016 at 10:54 am


      Thanks for your comments, which are always welcome here. The one thing which I did not think through was the idea that educated JW Survey readers would not immediately know satire when they see it, especially on April 1st. This surprised me. Perhaps the manner in which I wrote the article sounded very believable, as if the words might actually be coming from the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I was in the organization for many years, so I wrote from the perspective of how they might re-write their policies if by some miracle they ever did change them.

      As for playing into their hands and dividing ex-jws, I honestly believe you are giving the organization more credit than they deserve. I think most of those in power in the organization are deluded and believe they are doing the right thing, and that most of them do not care what “apostates” have to say about them. I personally don’t believe that most Witnesses want to see people in pain, but I do agree that there are some who are “nasty” as you say and are sadistically attracted to the downfall of ex-jws and all other “worldly” people which the organization teaches will be destroyed at Armageddon. Not very compassionate is it? Thanks again


      • April 4, 2016 at 12:11 pm

        thanks John for your reply to my reaction and all the others. On reflection you actually have written probably the most thought provoking article up to date, because everyone has had a reaction to this. It really tapped into the psyche and elicited a response. Good , bad or indifferent. What is shows to me that once we wake up from cult thinking there is no going back. You actually shook some of us out of the dead zone. It is one thing fading but another thing standing up and being counted. To be hoodwinked even for a split second that the gb would humble themselves and retract the nonsense , would send some of us back straight into their loving arms and that vicelike grip. So to satire such subjects in the way you did actually had a good effect in that it gave me a reality check. In the future we may look at this particular article as a defining moment in the waking up process. Especially if they did have a huge policy change because we will accredit it to you and this article as you printed it first and they copied you! (no I know that won’t happen). So thank you for this article don’t remove it and keep up the good work cheers Ruthlee

  • April 2, 2016 at 6:28 am

    @John Redwood

    Well crafted article, it read believable till it didn’t. John, you have a gift! Sometimes we all need to step back and smell the roses when life is rushing by. Being too focused can and does cloud one’s judgement. Humor can help relieve stress. I admire your sensitivity to others. Also, this forum provides an excellent group talk, much of it on target and in tolerance guided by a steady hand.

    On a personal note I am not a JW or will I ever be one. More of an outsider watching the calamity brought on WT and GB. Why my interest? In short, I ran into a JW Elder while walking the dog. Some, year & half of home visits, exchanging literally 100s of texts and emails in trying to prove “the truth”. Simply an epic failure in salesmanship by the Elder or knowing what I know better? As a point of interest we spent time reviewing changes to the 2013 version versus the 1984 NWT. I’m still flabbergasted that an apostate had a derogatory label of “mentally diseased” then suddenly toned down to “obsessed” with a new and improved version. Since there are multiple versions of the NWT can a JW be just as true living only in the 1984 version? I had to jab the Elder if new light in the next multiple revision(s) of NWT would be conservative versus promoted as progressive currently. We had mutual respect for each other but seriously it was a clash of cultures, an unconvincing one at that! He tried to prove JWs are more happy lot than others till divorce rates where brought up. Those pesky stats! It all stopped now except for the occasional disaster headline with link from him. I had fun with the 1914 paranoia too. I’ve only skimmed over a tiny fraction of the highlights, don’t want to tip my cards to the Elder that might be watching!

    Great site Cedar and looking forward to your book.



  • April 2, 2016 at 7:38 am

    Great article, JR. Don’t listen to those spewing vitriol. In my opinion, your article has an outstanding “hook” and makes people want to read it. (1) It draws attention to these very real problems currently in this cult and that is, i think, the entire point. (2) I can imagine some active or passive JW’s being suckered into reading this post and then unknowingly coming away with the Truth about the Truth. These two points are valid enough to prove success in the writing and posting of this article.

    I knew, and hopefully other folks with any past experience in the JW Cult knew as well, that the title was a joke. Considering the day it was posted and the fact that the GB has NEVER issued an apology of any kind and in any form during their past 125+ year history.

    Again, good job and keep up the great work.

    • April 2, 2016 at 7:59 am

      Justin: No vitriol here.

      I just think, that given the now very wide audience, this article was a bit like feeding Port Pate to a recovering Alcoholic.

      If you have ever met an AA fighter you will get the point!

      The Satire is better placed after the Victory… not whilst so many are yearning for the Revolution.

      • April 2, 2016 at 10:09 am


        Thanks for your comments. In your illustration, you suggest that the article was ” a bit like feeding Port Pate to a recovering Alcoholic”. I disagree with this comparison because in your analogy, Port Pate is the article, meaning that you feel a destructive substance is being fed to someone suffering from a disease. But this is not the case – I presented a solution to the disease, both in the opening headlines, and in the closing arguments. Both the opening and closing sections of the article present a SOLUTION to the disease, not the problem. The first solution is the one which the Governing Body SHOULD announce, but does not. The second solution contains the logic which the organization ought to use to end their invasive and dangerous policies.

        Hence, we are not feeding “Port Pate” to an Alcoholic. If we were, we would be advocating dangerous life altering policies such as are promoted by the Governing Body. Our solutions are alcohol-free, as it were.

        As for the satire being placed AFTER the victory – well if we obtain a victory, there will no longer be a need for the satire.



        • April 2, 2016 at 10:16 am

          I guess it is a matter of fortitude of mind… having lost a close member of the family in the early hours of this morning… and seen the effect of Port Pate on a recovering Alcoholic…perhaps it is not the best time for satire of this nature…for me.

          I cede place to the more cynical minds amongst us.

          Best wishes

          • April 2, 2016 at 11:30 am

            Dear Gem

            Please accept my deepest sympathies for your loss. This kind of tragedy trumps all other matters, and my thoughts are with you at this time.


          • April 2, 2016 at 5:32 pm

            Dear Gem, so sorry for your loss xxx

  • April 2, 2016 at 10:34 am

    John made some real good points. Unfortunately, some people took it the wrong way. John did apologize to those affected adversely. This web site is a serious web site and visitors were caught off guard. John has created very insightful articles in the past and John made a mistake. At least John is open and apologizes for his indiscretion. You can’t say that for Watchtower. When was the last time they apologized? Let’s move on and continue to spread TTATT.

  • April 2, 2016 at 11:08 am

    Hi John,

    This article is certainly a credit to your talent as a journalist. This is evident by the many and varied strong emotional responses you have elicited.

    Your humility in addressing the need for a qualifying opening statement and offering the apology is commendable and appreciated.

    As a writer your hands should not be tied. Words are too powerful. Used to the best advantage we the readers with feel encouraged, strengthened, even fired up in a good way. So many are hurting and in pain, may your talents be a part of the healing.

    Looking forward to more of your articles.


  • April 2, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    I can’t help but feel saddened, not by this article, but by some of the comments it has elicited. Yes, we are all entitled to an opinion, and I think John has been very gracious in fielding opinions far more diplomatically than I would have. My only criticism is that a disclaimer was added that says what should be self-evident – that this article is satire having been published on April 1st.

    I have read and re-read the article, and see no disrespect to survivors of child sex abuse. What I see is a brilliant piece of writing that skilfully uses humor to shame Watchtower by showing how easily they could rectify their damaging policies if they had the slightest concern for the welfare of children. The fact that they jump through hoops to avoid urgent reforms is indeed a joke, and this article highlights the joke in a dignified, poignant way.

    If all this isn’t glaringly obvious to someone, I can only imagine it is because they are itching to find offence, or perhaps because they haven’t given the article sufficient thought before pulling the “I’m offended” trigger.

    Cults like Watchtower deserve to be mocked and ridiculed, and comedy is an invaluable tool in laying bare how despicable Watchtower’s policies are. In fact, it is a tool that is not wielded enough in my opinion, and judging from some of these responses I am beginning to understand why this is. Perhaps a sense of humor is a rarer commodity among cult survivors than we might expect.

    And one final point (and I will try to be civil as possible) – words of anger against this article carry far more weight when they come from those who have taken the opportunity to praise this website elsewhere, especially in its relentless efforts to raise awareness of child abuse in recent times. I cannot help but raise an eyebrow when I see scathing comments from people who have neither commented favorably about my recent 90-minute child abuse film, or lifted a finger to help promote it, despite being personally affected by the issues raised therein.

    That’s just my two cents. You are all free to flame me for giving John the support he deserves, but given how much I’ve been flamed recently on the most trivial of issues you can imagine, I’m starting to lose any reticence over whether I offend people. Offending people seems inevitable whether I try or not.

    • April 2, 2016 at 4:54 pm

      Well said.

    • April 2, 2016 at 5:58 pm

      And I am not angry Lloyd. It IS a brilliant piece of writing usual. And I so see your point of not supporting your article and video on child abuse, and then having words of anger against this article. I will absolutely spend time looking into that. But while the WT deserves mockery and ridicule, in my humble opinion, that doesn’t serve our collective cause as well as just pure information and fact collecting, and then revealing! You have done a most incredible feat in your investigative journalism and I thank you for all you have done

    • April 3, 2016 at 6:40 am

      I agree,well said. I have to say I’m shocked at the response of some of the readers. I’m new to JWsurvey and I believe this article is in the top 2 of my favorites thus far. I’ll admit the writer had me at first, but after reading the entire article it did make you think how a couple of SIMPLE changes would positively effect the lives of millions. This is coming from an ex witness whose family has personally been effected by shunning, suicide and child abuse at the hands of the WT.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: