Holy Spirits! Tony Morris, Alcohol, and Jehovah’s Witnesses
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He wears a crumpled tan trench coat, stretched tight against his protruding belly; his blue shirt hangs open at the top, un-tucked at the bottom. Black pants hang loose- all the way down to the ankles – where his feet seem to scream in agony. Dress shoes have been replaced with black flat-bottomed slip-on sneakers with white borders.

Pushing a shopping cart full of whiskey bottles, he glances up at the collection of Jameson Scotch and remarks “You can’t go wrong with it.”

He’s not homeless. He’s not hungry. He’s Tony Morris, and he’s the brash, outspoken, often controversial co-leader of the worldwide religious movement known as Jehovah’s Witnesses.

When Tony’s not seated at the helm of the multi-million dollar internet program “JW Broadcasting”, he’s jet-setting around the world in style, wearing pin-striped suits, gold jewelry, and silk pocket squares.

Governing Body Member Tony Morris

But not today.

Today Tony is just a man slipping across the border between New York and New Jersey, purchasing at least a dozen bottles of very expensive alcohol at the Ramsey Bottle King on Route 17.

“I used to just test ’em out and taste ’em” he says to another customer. “Yeah, … I’ve been to Scotland a number of times…I’m a little Scottish and Irish, so..I’m not prejudiced.” He gets a laugh from the customer.

It’s raining hard in Ramsey. Tony, wearing a black ascot cap, waddles under his own weight while pushing the bottle-laden shopping cart into the parking lot. By now, he’s discarded the ornate boxes which come with those pricey containers of scotch, and he’s managed to squeeze all that booze into the back seat of his white Cadillac. He drives off, presumably back to the multi-billion dollar corporate headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It’s Sunday morning. 11 AM.

It all seems so indulgent.


It’s no secret that consumption of alcohol at Jehovah’s Witness branch offices around the globe is not only a favorite pasttime – it’s a rite of passage.

Witnesses take their cue from the Biblical passage at 1 Timothy chapter 5, verse 23, which says:


“Do not drink water any longer, but take a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent cases of sickness”

It’s a free pass to drink, stomach ache or not.

The caveat is: moderation. But moderation is just a word, and its definition is subjective.

My closest friends graduated high school back in the 1980s. One by one they applied and were accepted – not into university- but into the World Headquarters complex of Jehovah’s Witnesses. This was considered the highest goal a young Witness could attain. Some of them are still there.

I grappled with pressure to apply for “Bethel” service. I was torn between the JW-endorsed meccas of Brooklyn and Wallkill and the freedom of life in the real world. One elder in my congregation, who had spent 6 years there, told me: “Bethel is no paradise, make no mistake. It’s full of politics, homosexuality, stress- and you’re not likely to get the job you want.”

The cons outweighed the pros- and I did not apply.

For years I trekked back and forth from Baltimore to spend weekends inside the Brooklyn complex, exploring the tunnels and bridges which connected the still-expanding network of real estate. It was purchased for many thousands, later sold for hundreds of millions.

I envisioned unity, kindness, friendships- a paradise amidst the unsettling and violent world around me. I loved the clean, manicured buildings – maintained in part by my friend Raymond. Ray was a gifted writer – yet found himself dangling from scaffolding each day of the week, pressure washing the filth which coated Watchtower’s wealth. He hated that job.

Raymond and my other friends quickly acquired a taste for alcohol in Brooklyn.

I had never even considered that this was a thing, but it was.

It was, for me, confirmation that Bethel was no utopia. While the female housekeepers were instructed to report any “questionable” music or reading material found inside the dorm-style rooms, bottles of whiskey and bourbon were left untouched. Alcohol was their coping mechanism.



Rutherford

The history of alcohol at Watchtower headquarters goes back a long way. Tales of Watchtower president Rutherford’s drinking are legendary. According to Watchtower historian Jim Penton, the Canadian Branch Overseer Walter Salter penned an open letter to Rutherford in 1937, in which he accused the president of heavy drinking and hypocrisy.

Joseph Rutherford Watchtower President Drinking Beer
Watchtower President Joseph Rutherford

“Salter claimed that [Rutherford] had purchased ‘whiskey at $60.00 dollars a case ‘ for the Watchtower president ‘and cases of brandy and other liquors, to say nothing of untold cases of beer,’ all with the society’s money”

Penton goes on to describe Salter’s grievances regarding Rutherford, stating that “he sends us out from door to door to face the enemy while he goes from ‘drink to drink’ and tells us if we don’t, we are going to be destroyed.”

Rutherford, an attorney and fill-in judge, acquired control of the Watchtower organization following the death of Charles Russell in 1916. One year later, Congress proposed the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which banned the manufacturing and sale of intoxicating liquor. Congress ratified the Amendment in 1919.

Rutherford was furious.

The “judge” used his religious platform to attack the Anti-Saloon League (ASL) – the organization which lobbied for Prohibition. The ASL was inspired largely by evangelical Protestant groups who felt that alcohol was responsible for the decay of society.

The Watchtower President became increasingly critical of the U.S. Government, and in 1930 he gave a speech named “Prohibition, League of Nations – Born of God or the Devil, Which?” This speech was transcribed into a 66 page booklet bearing the same name as the speech.

Prohibition League of Nations Born of God or the Devil- Which - Joseph Rutherford
“Prohibition” Speech and Booklet by J.F. Rutherford

Says Rutherford:

“The Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is clearly in violation of God’s expressed law, and especially so because America claims to be a Christian nation…

“I have submitted to you a number of Bible texts plainly stating that Jehovah God approves the making, possession, or use of wine. There is not one text to be found in the Bible that prohibits the making, possession, or use of wine.”

In 1933, Congress adopted the Twenty-first Amendment, repealing the Eighteenth Amendment. Prohibition ended. Rutherford celebrated.

Within ten years, Rutherford was dead, and the new president of Watchtower, Nathan Knorr, expanded the Jehovah’s Witness religious empire. Knorr launched the “Gilead” missionary school while soliciting money from Jehovah’s Witness members to purchase more Brooklyn real estate- including the massive Squibb complex.


Knorr

Knorr’s presidency marked a new era in the development of Jehovah’s Witnesses. For the first time, the religion’s management was divided into two distinct domains: organizational and spiritual.

Knorr became the business end of the JWs- and Frederick W. Franz emerged as the Religion’s oracle.

While Franz pontificated on the visions of Ezekiel and Revelation, Knorr sent missionaries into the field, launched the Theocratic Ministry School, and gobbled up more and more property in Brooklyn.

Like Rutherford, Knorr knew how to take the edge off.

In Apocalypse Delayed, third edition, author Jim Penton states:

“Since Rutherford’s death, drinking has continued to be common at Bethel and Watch Tower officials who can afford to do so will have cabinets well stocked with expensive liquors. Even the business-like no-nonsense Nathan Knorr is still renowned among Bethelites, Witness missionaries, and former personal friends for the twenty-year-old Bell’s Scotch Whiskey which he would serve to favoured guests. The use of alcohol therefore holds great social value at Bethel, and many workers, including high Watch Tower officials, drink regulary on a social basis.”

“Also it is well known that several prominent Bethelites, including the wife of a member of the Governing Body and the wife of a senior member of the society’s Service Committee, have had problems with alcoholism.”

Richard Kelly arrived in Brooklyn in 1962, full of optimism. He stepped off the train, haled a taxi, and by the afternoon he received his first assignment: smashing bottles.

According to Kelly’s 2008 autobiography Growing up in Mama’s club: A Childhood Perspective of Jehovah’s Witnesses:

“They sent me to work right away, breaking beer, wine, and hard liquor bottles into unrecognizable shards. This was done so that the worldly people who picked up the trash wouldn’t see how much alcohol was consumed at Bethel, which was significant.”

Kelly soon discovered that the use of alcohol went straight to the top of the Jehovah’s Witness religion. He continues:

“By mid-afternoon, with the sounds of breaking glass still reverberating in my head, I was escorted to a nearby five-story brownstone. Here my job was to clean the apartment on the second floor. About thirty minutes into my work I realized I was cleaning Hayden Covington’s Home. He was the [organization’s] attorney and a keynote speaker…But that day, in the presence of his redheaded wife and small children, Covington wore a suit that he must have slept in the night before, looked like he had been drinking, and rattled off expletives… This was my first exposure to the double standards for the [organization’s] top officials.”

Kelly’s instincts regarding Covington proved to be accurate.

Hayden C. Covington was a Texas native, born in 1911, and died November 21st, 1978. While Watchtower recounts his legal victories with great admiration, his legendary alcoholism was omitted from the pages of the organization’s literature. As was his disfellowshipping for the same vice.

Covington served as Watchtower’s chief counsel from 1939 to 1963, and was, according to Jehovah’s Witnesses, the only non-“anointed” Governing Body member in Watchtower’s history.

There is no doubt that his alcoholism and subsequent disfellowshipping eliminated his chances of a life-history profile in the pages of the Watchtower, but his wife Dorothy Covington did receive an honorable bio in the JW.org “newsroom” when she passed away in 2015.

Nathan Knorr, Joseph Rutherford and Hayden Covington


Franz

John Young sits quietly in his Kentucky home, waiting for his husband to come home from work. “That’s my therapy dog” he says jokingly, as he pauses for a moment, recalling events from 1989, while petting Lucy.

“I put them in a box,” says John, referring to his mental images and recollections from the year of his life spent at Watchtower’s headquarters in Brooklyn. “Most of the memories I cemented in a vault like Yucca Mountain.”

As we spoke, he opened the vault.

John was just 19 years old when he arrived in New York. He was raised by a devout Jehovah’s Witness family, and while battling his own issues with alcohol, he suddenly found himself in the one place which was not an alcohol-free zone:

Bethel

“Bethel had its own alcohol-abuse program,” said John, “and I volunteered to go see one of their doctors.”

John described the assortment of in-house medical personnel at Brooklyn headquarters, a hodge-podge of physicians who worked for free, and catered to the thousands of Witness workers who swarmed Brooklyn Heights.

“Then they assigned me to Franz. I was considered one of the more spiritually-exemplary young Bethelites back in 1989, and they designated me as a babysitter for President Franz.”

By the time John had arrived in Bethel, Franz had replaced Knorr as president of the Watchtower Society, following Knorr’s death in 1978.

He describes working a full day at headquarters, then immediately running over to the Watchtower president’s residence to sit with him during the 6 PM to midnight shift. He would do it all over again the next day.

“I was just 19 at the time, and it was against the law to drink*. So it distressed me very much that the president of the organization would frequently call me over and say ‘grab me a beer from the fridge, son- and while you’re over there, grab one for yourself.'”

[* In 1985, the State of New York raised the drinking age from 19 to 21. Persons under 21 were prohibited from purchasing or possessing alcohol with the intent to consume, unless given by their parent or legal guardian.]

John described Franz’ refrigerator.

“It was a full-sized fridge- not one of those tiny ones we Bethelites had. But they brought Franz his meals, so there really wasn’t any food in the fridge. Just a few snacks. And beer. It wasn’t unusual for him to drink 4 or 5 beers.”

It seemed a foregone conclusion that everyone working at Bethel would not only handle their liquor – they would embrace it, and Watchtower’s president was no exception.


In Vino Veritas

It means, in wine there is truth. Inhibitions are lowered, and for those given to regular consumption of alcohol, there is truth in this axiom.

A few years ago, Raymond, now a Circuit Overseer, and his wife Leslie sat in my garden, adjacent to the running waterfall. We were relaxed, closing out the day with a meal grilled outside. The weather was perfect, and so was the wine.

Earlier that day, Leslie told me that a bottle of wine gifted by another friend was very nice. She lied.

She hated it. Of course, I would never have known this, had she not sipped her way into that confession.

We enjoyed a different bottle of something she really liked, so much so that her inhibitions melted quickly, and by the end of the evening, she was slurring her words, emphatically proclaiming how horrible that home-made bottle of wine was, much to our surprise. The addition of expensive Scotch and Grand Marnier surely played a role in her abrupt honesty.

Raymond was right there with her- a missionary and well-respected traveling elder – savoring the fine spirits. The same sort approved by Governing Body member Tony Morris.

On another occasion, Raymond and Leslie took me to the apartment of a Circuit Overseer in Columbia, Maryland. The lovely couple prepared a nice meal for the six of us. The moment we arrived, we were obliged to answer but one question.

“Do you drink gin and tonic?” the traveling Overseer asked.

“I’ve never had one” I replied, “But I’ll give it a try.” And so we drank. And drank. And ate. And before long, the in vino veritas principle kicked in, and I found myself listening to two Circuit Overseers debate why so many Jehovah’s Witnesses were now declaring themselves “anointed”- or heaven-bound brothers of Christ who believe they will soon be immortal. I’ll leave that story for another day.

Raymond was my best friend during my high-school years, and somewhere between his departure for Brooklyn Bethel and subsequent graduation from Gilead Missionary School, he had acquired an upscale taste in alcohol. It all seemed to correspond to his increased responsibility in the JW organization. Pioneering. Bethel. Leaving Bethel. Pioneering. Missionary School. Africa. Circuit Overseer. Stress. Medication. Alcohol.

The more he was expected to do- the more he drank. And I suppose when you examine the life of Tony Morris, it’s not much different.

Tony’s rise to the top was meteoric and unexpected. You see- he’s older than me, but oddly enough I’ve attended meetings at least three years longer than Tony. He was baptized July of 1971, just four years before Watchtower’s inferred Armageddon date of 1975.

In Morris’ own account of his life, he recalls the horrors of Vietnam, where he served as a medic:

“As I sat behind the Kingdom Hall where no one could see me, the memories of Vietnam—the smell of burned human flesh and the sight of blood and gore—began to overwhelm me. ” – Watchtower, May 2015

Tony no doubt returned from Vietnam as did so many others- with post-traumatic stress. And this often leads to alcoholism. Whether or not he suffers from this disease-, we can’t say. But one thing is certain- Morris seems transfixed by death and destruction, and projects this upon 8 million loyal followers worldwide.

In 2018, Morris described Armageddon to a crowd gathered in Trinidad and Tobago:

“So here in Trinidad…[there’s] gonna be dead people everywhere…oh yeah. It’s gonna shake you up. You’re probably gonna be down on your knees. But that’s what’s coming- it’s a reality.”


I often ponder what goes through the mind of someone who has witnessed the bloodshed in Vietnam, then projects the very same violence upon the entire world, but with God as the architect of death.

While uneducated, poverty-stricken Jehovah’s Witnesses languish in Eritrean and Russian prisons, and Witness children are urged to donate their ice cream money, Morris and his seven co-leaders sip Whiskey and enjoy the wealth of a multi-billion dollar religious organization, nestled in New York’s lush and tranquil Sterling Forest.

I see nothing wrong with sharing a drink with friends. But for what it’s worth, if the end of this world is imminent and lives are at stake, I’d think this religion’s spiritual leader might show a little more discretion, and a little less indulgence.

But I’m not Tony.


Editor’s Note:

While the Alcohol culture at the Jehovah’s Witness global compounds is cause for concern, JW Survey does not endorse the opinion that all Witnesses drink or abuse alcohol.


Additional resources:


Alcohol Culture at Bethel
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122 Responses to Holy Spirits! Tony Morris, Alcohol, and Jehovah’s Witnesses

  1. messenger says:

    Mark and Kimmy,

    A few months ago I read an article on Zalkin Law firm’s website you might be interested in. I don’t know if that article is still posted. It stated there was recently a new law passed in New York state that allows adult child sexual abuse victims who were prohibited from filing a lawsuit because their statute of limitations has expired to now file a case. If they do so by a certain date. I can’t remember the time window that was open and closes to file such cases. If you are interested I am sure Zalkin’s law firm can tell you when the window expires.

    A lot of the lawsuits you wrote about attached the Watchtower corporation and/or The Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. So it appears they attached WT for it’s decisions made from New York state, or because of it’s influence from the state of New York over elders in other states . Although I can’t remember what the window is that is allowed, I do remember there is one. So if you plan on checking it out I would do so right away.

    Take care.

  2. messenger says:

    DO YOU WANT TO SUE WATCHTOWER?

    A few months ago I read an article on Zalkin Law firm’s website that read New York state passed a new law allowing child abuse victims that previously were prohibited from filing lawsuitS because of the expiration of statute of limitations can now file their cases. However, the law places a certain window on filing such cases. So, anyone that is interested should look into it asap, as I cannot remember how soon such a case needs to filed to be within the allotted window.

  3. messenger says:

    Is that what I said Outandabout, or are you still making assumptions about what I believe and stating those as fact? I find that some here make assumptions about things not stated by others, assumptions they can’t wait to pass on to readers. What’s the reason for that? Is it a lack of comprehension? Or is it an agenda to further their unbiblical position? I don’t know.

    One thing I do know about your comment and how it will be viewed by viewers here in relationship to scriptures is that they will know it is scripturally incorrect. See Outandabout, most of us were baptized as a Jehovah’s Witness. That means WE know what the scriptures say about such matters as, who is a Christian per the biblical definition. Some of us might no longer believe it, but we all know those type of simple biblical definitions. So, go ahead and look up your DICTIONARY definitions. The difference between those and biblical definitions will be obvious to all of us that are or used to be Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    But answer this. Why have you attributed what you claim are MY BELIEFS to me, when I didn’t state that belief? What’s your game? Don’t I write enough of my own beliefs on this site, and don’t I show how those ideas are biblical but don’t originate with me? Did I say every Christian was contacted by God or experienced his miracles? If not what did I say?

    And your dictionary definitions will not impress readers here for the reason I mention above. They are too biblically informed to fall for that. If you want to impress show me up using my book, the Bible. That will get the attention of some readers here, if you can do it. But that’s a big if.

  4. messenger says:

    Outy you didn’t prove your point. My point is you make statements about what I believe that are untrue to progress your unchristian beliefs on this site. Does, [ he has always anointed people providing that proof through miracles.(Your words, messenger)] mean the same as what you claim I said by your statement as presented here, [So you’re saying that nobody is a Christian unless a miracle has been performed? ] (Your words outandabout). I take it that readers on this site are intelligent enough to know the statements are not interchangeable. And that the meanings are quite different. But without reading what I wrote for themselves in context I could see some here believing your false assertion about my teachings. So why is it you assert I said something when I didn’t? I suspect to progress your unchristian agenda.

    Is it because you have ABSOLUTELY NO FACTS to back up your claim that there is no God. And you are forced to accept FACTS that contradict your belief. When those facts are put in your face you have to resort to deception and assumptions.

    1. Fact- thousands of intelligent humans who have never been diagnosed with any mental illness testify they have been contacted by God, or a supernatural agent of God, and/or have seen miracles they attribute to God.

    2. The most prominent of all men having such contact IS the most influential person in all of human history.

    Outandabout, you cannot deny those facts. But you can make assumptions and put forth false statements as a diversion to readers who hear them.

    Have you read the article Village Atheists, Village Idiots that reveals many of the most prominent atheists have become lunatics? I wonder why. And it does raise the question, is it possible that they were already on the verge of lunacy when they became famous because of what you consider, their contributions to humanity?

    So we have intelligent people, the most prominent historical figure, and a book that predicts the future on my side of the argument. And on your side you have lunatics; and even the teachings of those lunatics offer not a single fact to support your assertion God does not exist.

    Maybe you should start reconsidering who is wearing the short suit here, you or me.

  5. outandabout says:

    Messenger, whether a person believes in God or not doesn’t necessarily depend on intelligence. I thought you’d be intelligent enough to know that by know.

    When I look at my three JW family members I can see they’re all in for slightly different reasons. One was always superstitious and gullible, one was always a needy and sensitive kid and fell for the love bombing and the other was born in and brainwashed at birth. The common denominator seems to be is they all need certainty in their lives and are black and white thinkers. As a consequence of their beliefs they’re always subconsciously afraid because they never know if they’ll ever be good enough but put on a positive face that doesn’t fool me and are always on the lookout for negativity in the world to bolster their beliefs. They say they wouldn’t be as presumptuous as to say the big ‘A’ is coming soon but subconsciously they’re hoping it does because if they die before the big A comes they also have to believe all their atoms will miraculously come together again and that’s stretching their faith a bit so they need the big A to come soon but are also terrified of it. Welcome to religious fundamentalism and the healthy minds it produces.

    As for you messenger, you spent decades believing as fact that CT Russell predicted the arrival of Jesus in the flesh and when that didn’t occur it was ok for him to say he has actually arrived but he’s invisible. I imagine the conversation went something like this;
    “hey, Charles….where’s Jesus?”
    “umm, err, I’ve re-consulted the scriptures and it looks like he is indeed here, but he’s invisible”
    “What!!…. Invisible!!?? How dumb do you think we are!?
    “Dumb enough for me!”
    “Oh, ok, well tell us what to think now then”.

    Welcome to your world messenger, and you wonder why people raise an eyebrow at you. And further to that, Jesus went on to inspect all the other religions in the world and declared Russell to be correct while everyone else was in apostasy but the funny thing is, while you were a Witness you failed to notice that none of Russells words, which were as good as the words of Jesus, were being taught. You were denying Jesus and at the same time thinking you were holier than thou. Now you are trying to formulate your own interpretations and still thinking you’re holier than thou.

    How’s that suit fitting?

    And if you want to talk about intelligent people in your world, lets talk about Ken Ham who spent 100 million and scored an own goal, Ray Comfort who thinks that a bibliophile is a bible believing pedophile, Liberty University and their 6000 yr old dinosaur bone, Answers in Genesis and Creation Ministries who give two answers to the same question and obviously have complete faith in the dimness of their readers that they won’t notice it and there’s all the paranoid fundamentalists who stockpile guns so that the government can’t take them off them. I’ll say that slowly….they collect guns……to stop the government…….from taking them off them. And to them, that makes absolute sense. Obviously on a deeper level, they have no faith that god will protect them.

    I wonder what nationality Timothy McVeigh was? Mexican? Is there a chance he was a fundamentalist, a white supremacist and a member of the NRA. Welcome to religious fundamentalism.

    And gods do not exist.

    • messenger says:

      Outandabout,

      Talk about a Black and White thinker? For the biggest one look in the mirror. Claiming you know what everyone else believes about everything , and what their motivations are. Maybe it’s not an agenda with you but a personality quirk. Others have had those quirks that visited this site.

      So I guess according to you every Christian is White, there are no Mexican Christians (what about Black or Asian ones?), every Jehovah’s Witness believes ALL of Russell’s teachings, every Jehovah’s Witness has every fear and desire you outlined above (plus those you outline in your other comments), and every Jew (including Jesus) and Christian throughout history professing miracles or God contact are as looney as the scientists that went nuts, those scientists you follow.

      Well from reading the work of some people who profess seeing miraculous events, and from being aware of how the world you live in views them, both you and I know your world holds them in much higher esteem than it does you. How do you wear that suit, to be considered by your world much less than those you hold in contempt? Because like you, your world honors men, not God, and because of that many of those men you distain are placed heavens above your arms reach.

      Yes you are a real Black and White thinker. And you are the one (not me) with not one fact to support a belief you claim as fact, and try so hard to prove by presenting nothing.

      [“And gods do not exist.” a quote from outandabout.] Even his looney scientists cannot provide him with any evidence to support his idea. Because if they have don’t you think he would have shared that by now. Surely he is capable enough to do that. Isn’t he?

      Like I said buddy, you want to make a point with Jehovah’s Witnesses or people who have been Jehovah’s Witnesses you better use some facts to do it. And those facts better be facts and not just someone’s opinion, yours or another’s. Do you think people who read from this site are stupid?

      • outandabout says:

        messenger, old buddy, I think I’m in a position to judge my own family. I know what why and how they believe. I know their personalities.

        The point about Russell was that JW’s do not believe Russells teachings, not that they do but if you had done what you should have done and researched Russell you should have noticed that what Jesus approved of was not being taught which should raise a red flag about the honesty of WT. You fell in headlong using feelings, not facts.

        So what is the crime of using a dictionary? And what are library’s for. I read what you recommended and noticed you yourself regurgitated what someone else had said. Tsk tsk.

        The majority of fundamentalists are white. My point with McVeigh was that native born people commit more crime than immigrants. That is a fact and you can check it out.

        Just who are these looney scientists? Name them. Do you mean the homosexual who invented this computer and committed suicide because of being judged by christians instead of god. Or is it Francis Collins, a christian, who headed the team that sequenced the human genome and declared his findings align with evolution and said religion is doing itself no favors by trying to deny that.

        • outandabout says:

          Out of thousands of scientists I guess there has to be a looney or two and those creation scientists at Liberty come to mind. Where are the press conferences and peer reviewed papers. Looks as if nobody wants to align with them and ruin their career. To be a real scientist one has to produce something worthwhile and their sole purpose is to prove creation (even though they swear it’s real and doesn’t need proving) and the rest of the scientific community is just going about their work and religion doesn’t even come into the picture. No scientist is out to debunk religion and they wouldn’t even get funding for it but science makes religion extremely uncomfortable. Very telling about ‘absolute truth”.

          I think you’re wrong about my world holding yours in a higher regard than me. We swear on the bible in court but if anybody tries to quote scripture as any sort of proof or evidence they’re immediately thought of as having lost the plot. The world just pays lip service to religion because christians vote but when push comes to shove there’s no place for legend, dodgy stories and myth.

          A book that predicts the future? My daughter was five when she asked what will happen when there’s too many people. Jesus was supposed to have said the world will see trouble like it’s never seen before but my five year old could predict it also which makes Jesus’s prediction no more astounding than the rising of the sun.

          God does not exist.

  6. messenger says:

    I just watched Lloyd’s video on Tony Morris and booze. And having not viewed his videos for a while it was a pleasure to be reminded of his casual style, and clever wit. If you haven’t seen it check it out. Especially interesting to view was the list of topics Lloyd claims he thought of including as a message to Tony Morris, but then it climaxed to the video’s ending with glasses and bottles up. A message Lloyd feels will more likely get Anthony Morris’ attention.

    Statements were also shared reminding us that we are all people. And we are all experiencing much of the same things. And that should make a difference in how we treat each other. What if what should be could be?

    • outandabout says:

      Thats right, messenger. We should all remember that 99.9% of people just want peace, three meals a day, a roof and a safe environment in which to raise children into successful adults. Raising offfspring and perpetuating the species is the goal of every living thing on Earth and just as the the lowest form of life exists, the highest form exists also, which happens to be Us.

      Of course if we listen to WT, we are led to believe that 99.9% of the world is wicked and the rest are JW’s.

  7. James Broughton says:

    One of the best reviews on alcohol that I have read. Thank you John.

  8. James Broughton says:

    A well-researched article. Thank you, John.

  9. gruntled says:

    A message to the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses

    https://youtu.be/QykFu8rsyk4

  10. messenger says:

    Eric Wilson, the founder/owner of a conglomerate of websites that discuss Bible theology and compare their thoughts to WT beliefs was recently disfellowshipped for causing divisions in the congregation and undermining the authority of the elders. He was summoned to a judicial hearing, and notified he was charged with apostasy prior to that hearing.. Even though he hadn’t attended the Kingdom Hall for four years, nor expressed any desire to do so. Still he was on trial for apostasy.

    Eric posted elsewhere his combined sites are getting about 40,000 views a month. He taped what happened when he showed up to his apostasy trial. A link to that video is attached to his most recent article at Borean Pickets Watchtower Reviewer.

    There were six Witness guards guarding the outside of the Kingdom Hall ‘s lot and building when Eric showed up for his hearing. It was at a time no other meeting was scheduled. The guards stated on the recording that it was a private meeting ONLY for Eric.

  11. messenger says:

    Eric Wilson, founder of Borean Pickets Watchtower Reviewer, was recently disfellowshipped on the same charge WT is threatening to bring against Mark and Kimmy. And like Mark, Eric stopped attending the Kingdom Hall 4 years ago.

  12. messenger says:

    Eric of Borean Pickets recently got disfellowshipped on the same charge WT is threatening to bring against Mark and Kimmy. Eric made a video showing his interactions with WT personnel overseeing his judicial hearing and included a link to that video in his most recent article.

  13. messenger says:

    A couple questions:

    1. Has anyone out there ever read of a lawsuit succeeding, in any country, that any JW or ex-JW brought against WT on the grounds that they were disfellowshipped?

    2. Has anyone out there ever read of a court case that was initiated by an INACTIVE JW against WT because they were disfellowshipped? And if so do you know the result?

    Based on current WT actions answers to those questions become important to have.

    • Big B says:

      Answer to #1: No. The Watchtower brings out their literature showing their procedures of handling misconduct and says that everyone knows their procedures before baptism. Thus the courts dismiss the charges brought by disfellowshipped ones.

      Answer to #2: No. I have never heard of such a case. Most inactive ones are left alone unless, of course, they promote “apostasy” then they may be disfellowshipped. However, I think the same thing would happen in the courts view as #1 above. Courts do not want to involve themselves in the inside workings of any religious organizations as a matter of course. In the U.S. it’s a separation of church and state.

      • Holy Connoli says:

        BIG B. That comment is not exactly true bc the WT when you study with them never goes into detail and “DISCLOSE” if you ever publicly speak against the WT or publicly disagree with the GB you will be DFD and your family will never be allowed to speak with you again or your children or your friends. Sure they tell you about DFing to keep cong clean and from “immoral Sex’ but they never fully disclose all the many things you can be dfd for. B-days, Xmas, Going to another church, even a “Bad ATTITUDE” or speaking against ANYTHING they teach. There should be a LONG List of any and all the dozens of items you can be dfd for. It is the bait and Hook syndrome. They are so focused on getting you Baptized they really dont explain the other items and then after you are baptized KABOOM they got you and then you begin to see the more weird stuff come out and you listen to those talks over and over and they try to make you “SCARED” to say anything. If they fully and honestly disclosed on a long list of things you could be dfd for and explained the repercussions 75% would not get baptized.

        I mean who would and for what reason?

        • Big B says:

          Holy Connolly:

          Quite true and very good points. Full disclosure on what you can be disfellowshipped for is not to be expected from this soul sucking cult especially before baptism. Once you’re in only then does the “truth” of your dedication become quite clear. Surprise! And what a ungodly long list it is!

          Over a half century of servitude, for me personally, and I bless everyday that my family and I left. Freedom is never free; it always comes at a price be it disfellowshipment or shunning from family and friends. Only your true family and friends except you as you are not what a religious organization expects you to be or act or believe.

          What amazes me is someone like Ricardo (Ricky Boy) knows all of this but like a beaten spouse or abused dog returns to his abusers for more of the same! Hopefully, he will get the professional psychiatric help he needs so he can truly break free of this nonsensical Adventist mendacity calling itself Gods earthly organization.

      • messenger says:

        Thanks Big B. I have just come to the same conclusion after looking at a video containing the first half of the Hall case in Canada. A string of lawyers filed amicus briefs and contributed oral arguments in that case. Either one of those or a WT lawyer stated that here in the USA what you stated is true. The courts will not adjudicate disfellowshipping cases. Precedent has already been set in WT’s favor.

        Holy Connoli, Big B is commenting on the law, which is what I asked him to comment on. Opinions about what WT is are does do not legally matter. What the laws say it has a right to do is what matters.

        Legally this is how it works. All religions have a legal right to discipline members and decide on membership. Which means they can kick members out if they decide to. And unless there they are breaking some state law, like a property rights law or civil rights law the courts will not butt in if that happens. WT doesn’t legally have to tell it’s members all the detailed ins and out of how they decide on matters to retain that legal right. All religions have it. And the idea just doesn’t apply to religions, it applies to private groups that people voluntarily join. Just like you can be kicked off a basket ball team you can be kicked out of a religion.

        • Big B says:

          Messenger,

          There was a case where a disfellowshipped brother ran a business and tried to sue Watchtower because the shunning policy which, he felt, was ruining his business dealings with the individual congregations and individuals within the congregations. This amounted to losing more than half of his customer base.

          Whether it was here in the States or in Canada, I don’t remember. But the shunning severely impacted his business. The courts refused to consider the case I believe.

          • messenger says:

            Correct Big B. His last name was Hall. And it was in Canada. We discussed that case on Borean Pickets Watchtower Reviewer.

            Thanks for the input.

          • messenger says:

            Thanks Big B. That case might have been Randy Wall in Canada.

  14. messenger says:

    Watchtower recently dfd Eric Wilson for the same charge they hit Mark with. And Eric hadn’t been attending the Hall for years.

  15. messenger says:

    [“In the end, religious groups are free to determine their own membership and rules,” Justice Malcolm Rowe wrote in the decision, adding that courts will not intervene in such matters unless it is necessary to resolve an underlying legal dispute.] an excerpt quote from the Wall case decision by Canada’s Supreme Court.

    Following is the case’s history as reported by Global News:

    “In a submission to the Court of Queen’s Bench, Wall said that his real estate clients — about half of whom belonged to Jehovah’s Witness congregations — refused to conduct business with him any longer.

    A judge concluded the court had jurisdiction to hear the case on the grounds that being shunned had an economic impact on Wall.

    The provincial Court of Appeal upheld the decision, and the congregation then took its arguments to the Supreme Court.

    In its decision, the high court said the purpose of judicial review is to ensure the legality of state decision-making. However, in this case, the congregational committee was not exercising statutory authority.

    “Private parties cannot seek judicial review to solve disputes that may arise between them.”

    The claim Wall made against WT was REVERSED by Canada’s Supreme Court. So the claim by Wall against WT that shunning effected a lose of business, and thus a lose of economic revenue giving him a legal right to sue was struck down by the supreme court.

    However, The court might hear a case that involves breach of contractual obligations, criminal activity, or civil rights abuse. That idea was thoroughly discussed in this Supreme Court hearing. I haven’t read about it in the court’s decision. I haven’t read the whole decision, just that part that I posted above. WT’s lawyer agreed that contractual obligations, or criminal activity within a religion should be accepted for litigation by the court. If so, “Tortious interference”, also known as intentional interference with contractual relations, probably can be litigated within a religious group, IF THERE IS A CONTRACT. TORTIOUS INTEREFERENCE in the common law of torts, occurs when one person intentionally damages someone else’s contractual or business relationships with a third party causing economic harm. If WT or elders tell someone not to honor a contract that claim might prevail.

    But no doubt WT will claim in such a case that it does not tell its members to disengage in business relationships, but that those decisions not to associate, and more precisely the decision to breach a contract in a case of Tortious interference was made by the individual who breached, with no encouragement by WT to do it. WT might prevail in this claim as from what I remember WT does, and has allowed it’s members to work for disfellowshipped members, and do business with them.

    As a side point in contract law if one party acts on the promise of another party’s promise to engage in some action in return, then there is a legal obligation for the promising party to fulfill his obligation. That law is named promissory estoppel. Therefore, a TORTIOUS INTEREFERENCE case might prevail if elders or WT caused a party to back out of fulfilling a promised obligation in certain circumstances. And those circumstances would include the party that received that promise, acted upon that promise. Not just that a promise was made.

    Unfortunately for the average shunned ex-JW the Courts in the USA and Canada have ruled in WT’s favor. Those courts say WT has a legal right to shun you, and tell your friends and relatives to shun you. That issue has been litigated already. And it was brought up in that Supreme Court hearing, although orally just briefly considered. But you should know motions by all parties explaining their positions along with legal arguments were submitted to each judge for their examination before oral presentations are made. Decisions in Supreme Courts are almost always made because of the written documents submitted, and oral arguments usually do not change the mind of those judges.

    I am not a lawyer, and the information I offer about the law should not be taken that I am offering legal advice. That is against the law for me to do, as it is against the law to practice law without a license. I built a business and managed it for twenty years. The points I know about the law I learned through engaging in contractual disputes, while protecting my business interests. I worked closely with my lawyers while doing that. But that and my legal research on the internet hasn’t bought be a two dollar doughnut on a courthouse step for offering advice to others. It has helped in winning awards totally several hundred thousand dollars though for me and my family members.

  16. outandabout says:

    I see Christians playing God again in Alabama. On the subject of abortion we need to ask ourselves two questions; are we that woman and are we God? Answering no to both those questions means it’s not our business.
    What do we do in the instance where ‘gods will’ has produced an ectopic pregnancy where the baby cannot survive and the mother is in grave danger.
    How many unborn babies did god kill while killing millions of people as outlined in the bible.
    How many unborn babies did god kill in the Flood.
    How many unborn babies will god kill at Armageddon.

  17. gruntled says:

    Killed at Jonestown: 909.
    Killed at Waco: 76.
    Killed in Heaven’s Gate suicides: 39.
    Killed by the Watchtower Society’s no-blood-transfusion policy: about 900 per YEAR (1993 data).
    Killed by suicide due to depression / molestation PTSD / disfellowshipping, among Jehovah’s Witnesses: unknown.

    FACT: The Watchtower Society is the WORLD’S BIGGEST DEATH CULT.

  18. messenger says:

    Hello John Redwood.

    About an hour ago I sent in a comment that was disallowed, though it wasn’t outside the posted guidelines for commentary. Have you extended your criteria for censorship? If not do you know why the post was disallowed? I know your site received it. Because I’d copied it, and right after I sent it off and saw it was not posted I sent the exact same comment again. A message appeared on your site saying I had sent a duplicate copy. Which was true, but the first one was never posted. Neither was the second posted. Maybe you can look into whether or not the censorship guidelines have been extended, and if so explain why. Thanks.

  19. messenger says:

    To all atheists, disfellowshipped JWs, disenfranchised brothers and sisters remaining inside the congregation, and THOSE THAT ARE JUST AGAINST THE DISFELLOWSHIPPING (SHUNNING) POLICY OF WT.

    Eric Wilson, the owner of the website Borean Pickets Watchtower Reviewer, recently got disfellowshipped. He hadn’t attended a Kingdom Hall for four years. WT accused him of the same charge John Redwood is now being accused of. Eric has an appointment with a civil rights attorney on Tuesday, and if the attorney feels he has a winnable claim I’m pretty confident he will file a lawsuit against WT, FOR DISFELLOWSHIPPING AND TELLING OTHERS TO SHUN HIM.

    Eric lives in Canada, but should such a case there prevail it could effect WT’s policy on shunning internationally. It could also open the floodgates to a host of similar lawsuits. Canada’s Supreme Court has ruled that they will hear cases against WT if:

    1. A criminal law was violated against the plaintiff.
    2. The claim involves property rights or a LEGAL contract.
    3. Or there is a CIVIL RIGHTS violation.

    It’s possible Eric might prevail in area three, while also claiming defamation of character, which applies to area one.

    I am asking YOU to contribute. Eric is retired. He has a large internet following that you might not be a part of. If not donations to a legal fund for this purpose can be made on his site. If you contribute on his website for this purpose you can inform him to apply your funds only to his legal claim AGAINST WT.

    By himself Eric might not be able to fund this whole case. I don’t know, because I only know him like I know some of YOU. But it’s my belief that together, if all of us contribute something, the case can be funded.

    ARE YOU WILLING TO HELP?

    THE ONLY CHANCE TO CHANGE WT’S DISFELLOWSHIPPING AND SHUNNING POLICY IS THROUGH THE COURT SYSTEM OR LEGISLATURES. THIS IS ONE OF THOSE CHANCES.

  20. messenger says:

    I just tried for a third time John after adding a bit more to the original post, which meant it wasn’t a duplicate. That too was not posted, It appears there’s censorship happening. It wasn’t an extremely lengthy post, but of average length.

  21. Whip It says:

    They can dis fellowship for causing divisions, so if you say the wrong thing to the wrong person then look out, the Elders are Company men instructed to keep bad eggs out of the Congo, their is a fair bit of talk here based on the ARC, & yet we had a veiled message from a CO, stating the slander coming from the Courts, some people talk, because its all black & white.My reasoning is then if the ARC is slander what about the other religions, are we supposed to think they are being slandered. So the Company men are being brain washed that this is all a satanic trap.

  22. gruntled says:

    “And I saw, and Look!, New Jerusalem coming down from the sky, and its walls were adorned with Wiser’s whiskey bottles, gleaming in the sun. And within its walls flowed streams of milk and vodka. And I saw a great crowd, which no inebriated man was able to number, and the Faithful and Alcoholic Slave drinking 144 Proof Jamaican rum. And the 12 tribes of Israel were singing a new song, ’Hava, hava tequila, hava tequila, hava hava hava tequilaaa!’ And down the Great Dragon was hurled, down to the vicinity of the Earth, where he secured a talent agent and got a recurring part on Game of Thrones. Then Gog of Eggnog and his armies surrounded the chosen ones, but Jehovah consumed them with a heavenly Flaming Drambuie. Then the angel weaving around in midheaven opened the seven seals to the seven bottles of Schnapps, and there was much rejoicing in the land. Amen.”

    • Stephajn Szekely says:

      Now this is a version of Revelation I would gladly read over and over! Well done good sir/madam!!

  23. DBL says:

    Re: para. 2, line 2

    Jameson: not “Scotch,” but Irish whiskey.

  24. Laura Himes says:

    There was a liquor store closer to the towers at Bethel New York that had plenty of foot traffic for alcohol in and out of that and the Columbia Heights Building and now that they’ve all moved I’m wondering if the poor guy has any business at all

  25. Unbelievable says:

    you are an absolute down right liar mate if I may say so – you risk a class action against you….hahaha….the Constitution doesn’t allow for set up and slander – you are an apostate like Judas…so there you go. anyone against me God has said he will be against…what proof do you have that poor bro Morris actually wasn’t set up with the trolley in the first instance???, just because that person who interviewed him interviewed him in front of the trolley that the interviewer more likely filled up (You damn apostates!!!!)(almost proper circumstantial evidence) poor Anthony was just expressing his experience and view – you are vial!, everyone take note of the trolley as poor Anthony is at the counter and also the trolley near the car – lol doesn’t look as big as these nothing to do so and so’s suggest!! dont believe such trash its all lies to help you to miss out on everlasting life and is promoted by their god Satan..

    • Pieta Morgan says:

      Unbelievable, I’m sorry to have to bring this to your attention, but based on your comment it’s quite clear that you are delusional; refusing to see the truth when it is right in front of your face is the epitome of delusional. I personally would love to see this matter go to court, but Tony Morris would lose, and that’s why he’s not answering to the evidence. Tony Morris will not pursue those that have recorded the footage and posted online, he dare not! He is cunning enough to keep his mouth shut lest he be called a liar and the offspring of satan 🙂 .

      Your shepherds are leading you JWs to slaughter, as all shepherds do, and to top it off, you’re embarrassing yourself with your delusions! Everyone except Derro (who has also been called nuts by an elder in his local congo) can see the truth of the matter, but those without ‘eyes to see’ will remain blind.

    • messenger says:

      Unbelievable Christ said any word spoken against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but you say anyone speaking against Tony Morris III is going to hell and follows Satan? What if they believe Tony Morris follows Satan? According to you, are they still going to hell in that case? Is Tony Morris the WAY to God? If so prove that by scripture. Because if you cannot you prove yourself biblically illiterate or that you spoke presumptuously, which means what you claim has no value, not even to yourself. So prove Tony Morris III is the way to God. You’ve got an audience, the megaphone, and the attention of all readers. We await your revelation. Prove it! And please don’t chicken out if you can’t. If you can’t admit you cannot, and therefore admit you are probably wrong.

      And I’m wasn’t addressing your assertion Tony wasn’t really buying all that booze and it was a set up. But I do wonder how you would know that unless you were there or in on setting him up. But never mind that. Prove he is the way to God.

    • Ricardo says:

      @Unbelievable, I agree with you. Tony Morris, as a glorious one, should not be criticized. As the elders would say, the only thing stopping him from ruling the universe is his flesh. As Derro would say, he is a dear, loving, wonderful brother. Who has a fetish about tight pants and human hot dogs. But 2 Peter 2:10 says the elders can never be criticized, including the members of the GB. If they go into bottle shops, let’s not criticize them. If they kill people, let’s not criticize them. If they rape our little brothers and sisters, let’s not criticize them. Don’t go to the police, leave it all in Jehovah’s hands. They are the untouchables who nobody can say anything negative about. Let us just stick our heads in the sand, and meditate on how the Communist China social credit scores could work very well in the Kingdom Halls.