Saturday, March 29, 2008

Quick Links About Jehovah's Witnesses

Do Jehovah's Witnesses use deceptive recruiting tactics? This news article addresses that question.

The charity status of Jehovah's Witnesses is being challenged in the UK. Apparently, they want charities to actually do charitable work and be a benefit to society. This could be a big problem for the Watchtower publishing organisation. Go here for a discussion.

My video blog has received a legal threat from a director of the "Knocking" documentary. I explain the circumstances here.

Religion and Child Abuse is a great blog for current information about this tragic problem. See this label link for articles about Jehovah's Witnesses.

To Verdener (Worlds Apart) is a new movie in Danish that portrays the disciplinary procedures of Jehovah's Witnesses and its impact on families.

Who was the first President of the Watchtower Society? Jehovah's Witnesses say it was Charles Taze Russel. This is incorrect. You may enjoy this article about their forgotten first president.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Jehovah's Witnesses Lose a Legal Battle in the Murrieta Molestation Case

Jehovah's Witness elders have refused to testify in the Murrieta Molestation case, on the basis of clergy confidentiality. Now a judge has ordered them to testify.

This case involves a judicial hearing. Judicial hearings aren't strictly confidential. Details are shared with the headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses and with appeals committees. They are very different from a private confession to a clergyman. This makes it difficult for Jehovah's Witnesses to apply the principle of clergy confidentiality to this kind of situation.

This news article discusses the details of this important development. This page at Silent Lambs provides general information about this case.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Dress and Grooming for Visitors Touring Bethel

One sign of a cult is that they try to exert a lot of control over their members, even in small things. This is the case with Jehovah's Witnesses and it appears to be getting worse.

Jehovah's Witnesses now have a tract to explain how visitors to their headquarters (known as Bethel) should dress. A scanned copy can be seen here, along with a discussion of it.

Bethel includes factories where their literature is published. They are asking visitors to wear some pretty fancy clothes for factory tours. What about people with health problems who may require comfortable shoes? Isn't it demeaning to women to insist that they wear a skirt instead of pants or even dress slacks? They claim to welcome the public to tour their facilities, but I doubt they will feel welcome in that overly strict environment.

This tract claims that we have to be careful about offending or stumbling others. Personally, I'm offended by any religion that tries to control their members' lives with endless rules and regulations. It is OK to encourage someone to use their conscience. However, it appears that the leadership of Jehovah's Witnesses is trying to be so controlling that their members don't need a conscience.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A "Theocratic" Routine

The evidence suggests that Jehovah's Witnesses have a very high rate of depression and mental illness. They are kept in fear of the world, Armageddon and demons. They are also kept very busy. Consider a common schedule for a Jehovah's Witness who is a father, but doesn't have a position of responsibility in his congregation.

A typical day of work. He comes home tired, but has to study for the book study the following evening.

A typical day of work. He comes home tired, but has to shower and get ready for the book study. He helps his wife get the kids ready. He may not have enough time to eat a proper supper.

A typical day of work. He comes home tired, but has to study for the Thursday night meeting. He doesn't have to prepare a talk this week, so he gets to "relax" a little bit.

A stressful day of work. He has to work late and and doesn't have time to eat before going to the two hour meeting that night.

A typical day of work. He comes home tired, but looks forward to the weekend. He knows he should help his children prepare a presentation for the door to door ministry and prepare one for himself. He watches TV instead and feels a little bit guilty.

A day off. He helps his wife get the children ready for a morning in the door to door ministry. He tries to help his children work up a presentation between doors. He just wings it at his doors. Afterwards, he gets caught up with work around the house. The children play by themselves.

Another day off. He helps his family get ready for another two hour meeting in the morning. Afterwards, he is tired and watches TV with his family and dreads the start of the next workweek. That night, a couple of elders come by for an "encouraging" shepherding call. They are concerned about him and his family. He admits that he has had a hard time conducting a regular family study and realises that he forgot to do that this week. He also admits to being behind in his personal study and his reading of the magazines and books they receive on a regular basis. The elders talk to him about the serious responsibility he has as the spiritual head of his family and read this scripture at 1 Timothy 5:8, "Certainly if anyone does not provide for those who are his own, and especially for those who are members of his household, he has disowned the faith and is worse than a person without faith." (New World Translation)

This is just a regular publisher. If he was an elder he would be far busier with preparing talks, attending elders meetings, doing paperwork, going on shepherding calls, getting late night calls from troubled congregation members and so forth. Jehovah's Witnesses can never do enough and are often depressed about their failures. This makes them much more vulnerable to mind control techniques that depend on fear, guilt and fatigue.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Startling Statistics About Jehovah's Witnesses

A new report was released today by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. It provides fascinating insights into religious life in America. It turns out that the religious landscape is very dynamic with a high percentage of people changing their religion during their lifetime.

The survey indicated that 28% of American adults have left the faith of their childhood for another one. If you classify different Protestant denominations as different faiths, then the number goes up to 44%. The figure was much higher for Jehovah's Witnesses. The study showed that two thirds of the adults who reported being raised as Jehovah's Witnesses are no longer in that religion. This helps to explain why they spend so much time knocking on doors. They have to make up for their high turnover rate. See this news article for more information.

See also this intriguing new video about Jehovah's Witness statistics.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Jehovah's Witnesses and Their Deadly Blood Policy

Jehovah's Witnesses have a confusing and complicated blood ban. This has resulted in thousands of deaths of members who have been pressured into refusing necessary blood transfusions. Please see this post at one of my other blogs to learn about a recent, highly publicised case where a fourteen year old died after refusing blood transfusions.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Some Angry Followers of Scientology

This is a very interesting and disturbing video. It would appear that Scientologists don't like to be videotaped.

Angry Followers of Scientology

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Watchtower Comments (Comments You Won't Hear at the Watchtower Study)

Every week, Jehovah's Witnesses from around the world study the same information in the Watchtower magazine. It's a mind numbing exercise (following a long Bible discourse, now mercifully shortened to thirty minutes) that involves reading a paragraph from the study, asking questions, and then answering them from the same paragraph. Sometimes, out of context scriptures are also read. It is an important part of their indoctrination process and is often the medium they use to announce their frequent changes in doctrine.

Recently, Jehovah's Witnesses have split their Watchtower magazine into a public and private edition. In theory, you have to attend their Kingdom Halls to receive the members only edition. There has been a lot of speculation that the new private edition will contain stronger, more mind controlling language to tighten the control on their members. So far, the scanned copies floating around the Internet seem to support this.

I have family in that cult and am very concerned about these ominous changes. They already enforce ritualised shunning of former members. They also require allegiance to a suicidal blood policy. What are their plans for the future?

Of course, Jehovah's Witnesses are sadly mistaken if they believe they can shield their private Watchtower from outside scrutiny. One example is an excellent new video series called Watchtower Comments. It analyses the Watchtower lesson for each week, pointing out inaccuracies, logical fallacies and efforts at mind control. Here is the introductory video.

Watchtower Comments (Introduction)

I will be posting this series on my video blog, as the videos become available. Please click on this label link to see the videos posted so far.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Minneapolis Scientology Protest (2/10/08)

It was a frigid day for a protest. The temperature was far below zero Fahrenheit and the wind was brutal. Still Minneapolis, Minnesota was well represented in the worldwide day of Scientology protests. I was able to visit the protest and hand out some fliers. It was dignified and orderly. I saw a few Scientologists inside the church across the street. They were looking at us with blank expressions on their faces, but didn't try to disrupt the protest. I'm very impressed with how many people were willing to endure the cold to warn the public of the dangers of this organisation. Somebody already posted a video of the event.

Anonymous Minneapolis Scientology Protest 2/10/08

For more information about the dangers of Scientology, see Operation Clambake.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Scientology and its Tax Exempt Status

Yesterday, I ran across a petition to have the Church of Scientology's tax exemption status removed. Today, I came across a New York Times article on "Scientology's Puzzling Journey From Tax Rebel to Tax Exempt".

This is an important and complex topic. My own research suggests to me that Scientology is more of a business than a religion. If you want evidence of this, just check out the official Scientology website and look at the prices they charge for their books and courses. (Google "dangerous cult", that should get you there pretty quick. I won't link to that website.)

My opinion is that tax exempt status can become a type of government support. This is a serious concern if the organisation's activities are harmful to society. I consider Scientology's disconnection policy to be particularly offensive, especially since it breaks up families, the basic building block of civilization.

I'm more knowledgeable and personally involved with the situation of Jehovah's Witnesses. They are a giant real estate and publishing corporation. They don't give a public account of their finances and they don't have any charities. (It's true that they provide some assistance in disaster areas. However, they often ask the recipients to sign over their insurance checks. Since the labor is provided by volunteers, this could be a lucrative money making scheme.)

They also have a severe institutionalised shunning policy. As a taxpayer, I'm offended that the tax exempt Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is using its resources to publish literature that slanders former members like me and tries to intimidate their friends and family from having any contact with them.

Well, I hope recent media coverage of Scientology will prompt a more energetic debate on tax exemption for cults and high control groups. All tax payers and members of society have a right to be concerned.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Protests Against Deadly and Abusive Policies

On February first I will be calling the headquarters of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (Jehovah's Witnesses) to protest their policies, including institutionalised shunning, protecting pedophiles and a confusing blood ban that causes thousands of deaths. This is part of an informal campaign that designates the first day of each month as a day to protest their policies. If you would like to join in, you can find the phone numbers and contact information here:
(I'm sorry, you'll have to copy and paste the url. I won't support that site by linking to it.)

I also heard that February 10 will be a day of protest against Scientologists. I haven't been personally affected by Scientology, but I plan on at least calling a local Scientology church to let them know of my disapproval of their disconnection policy (a form of ritualised shunning). Here is a link with more information.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Message to Scientology

It appears that some people are really upset about Scientology. If you watch this video, you'll know what I mean.

A Message to Scientology

You may also enjoy reading this article about the movement. I think we all have good reason to be concerned about cults and high control groups. We never know when a family member or friend could get involved and shut us off. They often threaten the unity of families, the basic building block of society. I am personally being shunned by most of my family because of simple disagreements with Jehovah's Witness teachings. I am committed to fighting the power of cults and high control groups and applaud others who are doing the same.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Secrets of Pedophilia Among Jehovah's Witnesses

Jehovah's Witnesses claim to take a very strict position against pedophiles in their religion. Unfortunately, their policies (many of them secret) have served to protect pedophiles from the police or prevent their members from finding out when there is a pedophile in their congregation. There are also loopholes that have allowed many known pedophiles to be appointed to positions of responsibility.

Lawsuits have resulted and the Jehovah's Witnesses have recently settled some of these out of court. The victims were required to sign gag orders. Barbara Anderson has helped to uncover some fascinating and very disturbing information about this multimillion dollar settlement. She has compiled a CD with about 5000 pages of court documents that can be purchased at her website. She has also made available a nearly 100 page summary of these documents that can be downloaded for free at these links: Watchtower Documents, Freeminds Site, Danny Haszard's Site.

If you are a Jehovah's Witness, I plead with you to find out the truth about this. Your religion teaches a concept of community responsibility. If you support an organisation, you bear some responsibility for its sins. Willful ignorance is not an excuse.

See also the Silent Lambs Website, this video and this discussion at JWD.

Fun With Covers, An Amusing Video Series

Humor can be a refuge. Jehovah's Witnesses distribute millions of magazines and brochures in their efforts to spread their peculiar teachings and make converts. The fact that these publications can be a source of endless humorous comments hasn't gone unnoticed. I hope you will enjoy this video.

Fun With Covers 1

This series currently contains twenty videos. You can watch the entire series at my video blog by following these links:

Videos 1-5
Videos 6-10
Videos 11-15
Videos 16-20

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Jehovah's Witness Discussion

Jehovah's Witness Discussion (JWD) is a great discussion site about Jehovah's Witnesses and related topics. It is very active and has some great researchers, so if you have a question, you're likely to get a lot of help quickly. It's very useful if you are trying to recover from cult influence and are looking for support. It's archive is very extensive and has a useful search feature for research.

First Post

Well, I wanted a place where I could write about things like religion, cults, atheism, and agnosticism. Life is a journey and my recovery from a cult is an important part of my journey. However, there is much more. I want to continue to grow and learn and share with others. Thanks for dropping by and feel free to comment.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

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