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.