There is a war going on among apostates, but it is no reason for gloating by Jehovah's Witnesses
There is a war going on among apostates, but it is no reason for gloating by Jehovah’s Witnesses

At the beginning of October I produced and participated in a video featuring 62 Jehovah’s Witness apostates from all over the world. The video has so far attracted more than 24,000 views.

Our message to believing JWs was simple: apostates are NOT your enemies. Apostates are simply JWs who have summoned the bravery to subject their cherished beliefs to objective scrutiny and logic, based on which they have decided to reject irrational, corrosive teachings and practices, and start afresh.

As should by now be obvious, I am (and always will be) a proud apostate. I am immensely relieved to have discovered, while still relatively young, that the beliefs passed on to me by my parents were false. I also derive great pleasure and personal satisfaction from being involved in raising awareness of the harm caused by cults such as Watchtower through my activism work.

But being a JW apostate does not mean I support and endorse the behavior, methods and agenda of ALL other JW apostates. Just because I come from a cult in which “unity” of thought and action is demanded, this does not oblige me to nurture similar “unity” to some mirror organization or community.

For example, a year ago I took the decision to distance myself from apostates who engage in aggressive forms of activism after I noticed an increase in videos being shared on Facebook showing certain individuals harassing Jehovah’s Witnesses on the street and at their places of worship.

Even though I didn’t name any names, or target anyone in particular, by merely stating the obvious on this issue (i.e. aggressive confrontation of cult victims is not conducive to their rehabilitation) I was subjected to a barrage of abuse and slander culminating in my being labelled a sexual predator, a stalker, a cyber bully, a cult leader and a wife beater by two individuals in particular – Mike and Kim Brooks, of New Mexico.

Since then, Mike and Kim, while insisting that I refrain from any criticism of them, seem to have set up camp as “Cedars Haters HQ.” Over the past 12 months they made two more videos with me as the subject, and have attracted a small army of similarly-fixated, mostly-Christian evangelical “haters” from across the ex-JW community.

In one of these videos, Mike Brooks threatened me with physical violence if I ever set foot in New Mexico. The “crime” that warranted a violent attack on me was my failure to apologize to another person for something within an arbitrarily-defined time period.

In the second video, both Mike and Kim condemned me for giving away an unauthorized copy of Crisis of Conscience to my YouTube subscribers. Though the pair bemoaned the breach of copyright represented by my unauthorized copies, which were printed by a friend, both seemed oblivious to the fact that copyright laws are equally applicable to digital PDF copies, such as the PDF copy Kim Brooks admitted to having in the same video (and which was even being distributed on their website when their video was uploaded).*

A ‘community’ divided

Since first getting involved in activism work in 2011 I have had to deal with an unrelenting tide of criticism from fellow ex-JWs. Even my first attempts at setting up a survey of Jehovah’s Witnesses, which led to this website being launched, attracted controversy. Mike and Kim’s crusade against me, which is so clearly driven by deep resentment of my atheist views, is just the latest in a long line of aggravation I have become accustomed to dealing with.

I have repeatedly acknowledged that the majority of criticism of my work comes, not from Watchtower, but from my fellow ex-JWs. This, in my view, underscores just how damaging and corrosive the Watchtower cult is. Those who leave can be riddled with so much resentment and frustration that many can’t help but re-direct it at their fellow ex-members, who in their troubled minds become more worthy of criticism than Watchtower itself.

At times these “haters” get me down. I am, after all, only human and susceptible to sustained threats and abuse directed at me and my family. At other times I am able to shrug off the negativity and press on with my work. But with this latest “copyright” fiasco I feel something has changed, which is why I have decided to write this article. I assume my readers and YouTube subscribers value my treating them like adults and telling it like it is, and by pointing out the elephant in the room I will hopefully prepare you all for what lies ahead.

I have long understood that the so-called ex-JW “community” (I prefer to call it a movement) is composed of factions. You might be unaware of these factions if your only interaction with ex-JWs is brief forays on social media or forums. But when you deal with ex-JWs on a day-to-day basis as I do, the factions are all too obvious, and encompass two principle areas.

The Activism Spectrum

The first area, or spectrum, concerns activism. The following graphic gives you a rough sketch of the various mindsets…

activism-spectrum2At one end of the spectrum you have aggressive activists, who advocate confronting JWs on the street and in kingdom halls. A common defense of aggressive activism is: “All forms of activism are equally good, and different forms of activism work on different kinds of people.” My reply to this argument is that it overlooks how complex and deeply-entrenched cult indoctrination can be, and the delicacy and sensitivity required in disentangling someone from it.

Saying that all forms of activism are equally good is like saying all forms of dentistry are equally good. Just as a bad dentist can end up doing more harm than good, so can an activist who believes in storming into kingdom halls and berating cult victims as a means of helping them.

On the opposite end of the activism scale you have anti-activists, including JW apologists for Watchtower (but also some apostates) who oppose any attempts to wake up JWs from their indoctrination. You may consider it unthinkable to have such a mindset, but I have an awakened uncle who embraces it unashamedly. The attitude of awakened JWs who are against activism can be summed up as: “Thanks to the work of activists I’m now awake, but waking anyone else up through activism is distasteful. All the Witnesses still inside can fend for themselves.”

“Strategic activists” are those who take full advantage of online resources, including blogs and social media, to make it as easy as possible for Jehovah’s Witnesses to awaken without resorting to harassment or confrontation. You don’t need to have a blog or YouTube channel to be a strategic activist. You can get involved in strategic activism simply by supporting and promoting other strategic activists, or by sharing links to important articles or videos that may prove helpful in prompting JWs to start thinking for themselves.

“Armchair activists” is my description for usually-anonymous ex-JWs who for various reasons don’t do any activism themselves, but who offer guidance on how they would do it from the sidelines. Armchair activists can exert either a positive or negative influence. Their guidance ranges from constructive criticism and helpful advice to fierce attacks on the methods, motives and character of those actually involved in activism. There is at least one forum I can think of where armchair activists seem to be in the majority.

Non-activists are those, like my wife and many other friends of mine, who are simply grateful to have escaped Watchtower with their wits intact. They neither criticize activism nor involve themselves in it – they just dust themselves down and get on with their lives.

The Belief Spectrum

The second area of “factions,” and perhaps the area that effects me the most personally, is that of belief.

And it is much simpler to explain.

evangelical-atheist

Over the last four years, many will have noticed the tone of my articles and videos follow my journey from skeptical Christian, to agnostic, to agnostic atheist. Throughout this journey I have always striven to be as respectful towards believers as possible.

I understand that some people need religion in their lives, and though I find it both obsolete and in most cases repulsive, I personally cannot envision a world where everyone is atheist and nobody is religious. I also acknowledge that the majority of JWs who find themselves on this website will recoil if they feel coerced to abandon belief in God altogether.

It is for these reasons that JWsurvey has, and always will have, a “religious neutrality” policy displayed in our comments section, whereby it is prohibited to evangelize either religion OR atheism on these pages (i.e. “This belief system works for me – and everyone else had better embrace it too!”).

But, though I try to be as respectful and accommodating as possible towards believers, there is an evangelical Christian faction within the ex-JW movement, and it does not play by the same rules.

While some Christians jumped to my defense over last year’s aggressive activism debacle, rightly acknowledging that harassing cult victims is anything but loving and Christlike, they were worryingly few in number. Aggressive activism and evangelical Christianity, it seems, usually go hand in hand.

Worse still, though I hate that this is so, as of this moment I can probably count on one hand the number of friends I have who are both Christian and genuinely respectful of my lack of belief, including my right to criticize religion on my YouTube channel.

And I can understand the reason for this.

Though there are liberal Christians out there who embrace a “live and let live” approach, and who aren’t remotely concerned as to whether others around them embrace their beliefs or not, the simple truth is: evangelism is a part of Christianity. It is mandated for Christians by Jesus himself. (Matthew 28:19)

Christians who take their faith seriously are supposed to think that anyone who doesn’t share their belief in Jesus as savior has slightly (or radically) bleaker future prospects than they do. In that context, promoting one’s beliefs when the opportunity presents itself, such as when others are discussing religion on a website or forum, is only to be expected. In their minds, they are doing us all a favor.

But rather than its members simply extolling their own understanding of God and his requirements for humans, for some time now the evangelical Christian faction has adopted a troubling new approach: stamping out the fledgling ex-JW atheist faction wherever it manifests itself.

Again, I only need to dip into the way my mind was calibrated as a JW, and the motivation behind this offensive by the evangelical wing is as clear as day.

As a JW, apostates were not just slightly-misguided fellow creatures who were pitied but still worthy of respect. They were the enemy. The gloves were off. Apostates were agents of Satan himself who were to be, not just avoided at all costs, but resisted and repudiated if they made incursions into God’s organization and its all-important kingdom work.

It doesn’t take a genius to see that the same righteous indignation fuels the hate-strewn rants of the likes of the Brooks’ and Alun Williams (another even more eccentric would-be spiritual mentor), to name only a few. They will not share the same space with unbelievers. They can barely tolerate the fact that unbelievers exist, but the moment an ex-JW unbeliever such as myself opens his mouth and criticizes their cherished beliefs on a suitably well-subscribed YouTube channel, this constitutes an act of war. I become “fair game” (to coin a Scientology expression), and any tactics no matter how underhanded may be brought to bear.

No perceived flaw or slip-up is too trivial to warrant an avalanche of criticism. Even giving away an unauthorized copy of a book is to be treated with horror and disgust, and responded to with character assassinations of the most severe kind – even if the one doing the criticizing is guilty of the same indiscretion.

By this point you are probably thinking: “Ok, I get it. There is an evangelical faction in the exJW community, and it has its knives sharpened for anyone like you who espouses atheism. But what is different? How has anything changed?”

The Christian evangelical faction has, to my knowledge, always been mostly populated by demonstrably-eccentric conspiracy theorists, obsessed with freemasonry, subliminal images and the illuminati, who are almost a parody of themselves. But, like Donald Trump, against all odds they are gaining in influence, and have already attracted a respectable portfolio of more eloquent, credible spokespersons to rally to their banner.

This latest copyright fiasco came as a surprise, not because of the ferocity of the attack over such a trivial issue, but because it succeeded in duping a number of fellow activists – including a couple of respectable Christians I was hitherto friends with, who gave me bear hugs last time I met them in person, and who have featured on my YouTube channel.

I was previously unaware of there being any animosity between this couple (who I can’t name) and myself, and they were even friends with me on Facebook. But one of them made it clear in a private email exchange with a mutual friend that, because I offered an unauthorized copy of a book on my YouTube channel, I am to be considered “toxic,” a “liability” and “bad for business.”

The vitriolic tirade in which these sentiments appeared was apparently an ill-judged attempt to use the copyright issue as leverage to turn my friend and certain other fellow activists against me and my work. The person was, in effect, outing themselves as a “Cedars hater” and siding with Mike and Kim Brooks.

Again, you are probably thinking: “So what? Why do I need to know all this? Why do you even need to write about it? By writing about it you are only exacerbating an already fraught situation, and possibly putting off JWs who will leap on all this as evidence that life outside Watchtower is full of bickering and turmoil.”

I am writing about this situation because it matters – or should matter to those who value free inquiry and intellectual honesty over religious zealotry and unfounded dogma. Things will not improve by ignoring the underlying problem, the elephant in the room. Whether I like it or not, a bitter war between the evangelical and atheist factions in the ex-JW community is raging – and it has just escalated.

A war I don’t want

I did not sign up to be an activist four years ago because I sought confrontation and controversy. Believe it or not, I loath confrontation and will avoid it where possible. But whether I like fighting or not, fighting – if only of the defensive sort – is precisely what I must now do if I am to continue despite sustained efforts to silence my atheism by those who insist everyone should believe as they do.

What matters to me is not power, prestige, money or popularity. If I wanted those things, there are far easier ways of obtaining them than being a secular-minded ex-JW anti-cult activist. What matters to me is one thing, and one thing alone: the fight for truth. It is a fight that has been going on for centuries, fought by great minds and inspirational individuals who have made immense individual sacrifices to birth a society as tolerant and progressive as the one we now enjoy.

But nothing can be taken for granted, and those who insist on inflicting their ignorance on everyone else are far from disappearing in the rear view mirror. The struggle continues and effects all of us, whether it is creationists rallying for equal time in the classroom, or gays and lesbians being denied equal rights, or jihadists trying to burn civilization as we know it. And in my own corner of this global battlefield, I refuse to keel over and capitulate to evangelical thugs such as Mike and Kim Brooks or those they succeed in enticing to flock to their anti-intellectual crusade.

That is why I wanted to let my readers and YouTube subscribers know that, from now on, I will be more open than ever about my atheism, and my channel will feature more videos specifically on that subject. It is painfully apparent from my interactions with Christian evangelical ex-JWs that many of them are completely unaware of the arguments for unbelief, and I want to do my part to redress the balance.

JWsurvey, meanwhile, will remain for the most part as it is now – a welcoming environment for both the religious and secular-inclined alike. Scriptures will continue to be freely cited where necessary, because even though Christianity is objectively without evidence as a belief system, it just so happens that the bible is still in conflict with the teachings and practices of Jehovah’s Witnesses in a plethora of areas.

Finally, a message…

To my critics I say: Get off my back, or prepare for a long and bitter struggle, because I didn’t break free from years of cult servitude to be told to “shut up,” and I won’t be bullied. And even if you should succeed in silencing me, ultimately the wind is in the sails of free inquiry, science and reason. Others will pick up my baton when I finish, and I am already far from alone.

To my friends I say: Thank you so much for your support, but PLEASE refrain from attacking those who attack me. By doing so you only bolster their persecution complex, and rather than take out their frustration on you they will only escalate their onslaught.

And to Jehovah’s Witnesses who might be reading this, I say: The fact that ex-JW apostates are fighting each other is not evidence that you are not in a cult. It only means that Watchtower indoctrination has a range of extremely unpleasant side-effects, which include suspicion, paranoia, jealousy, anger and bitterness. All of those things can be found in abundance in kingdom halls of Jehovah’s Witnesses, but at least those of us on the outside have the ability to choose who our friends are for ourselves. And the longer you stay in the cult, the more pronounced those characteristics may be when you are finally able to walk away.

 

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*For the record, I do not say there was nothing wrong in my offering an unauthorized copy of Crisis of Conscience. I merely say that apologies need to go to those to whom they are owed, and any breach of copyright is strictly an issue between me and the copyright holder. And if you insist on besieging me with complaints on the matter, if you are fair and consistent you must similarly rebuke everyone who has involved themselves in downloading or distributing a PDF of the book – something the copyright holder has hitherto done nothing, to my knowledge, to halt. Others have complained that the JWsurvey.org logo has been added to the copy I was giving away, but the logo was added by my friend, not me – not that I think doing so was the heinous crime people are framing it as. And if you are to chastise me simply because my website is advertised on someone else’s copy of a book, you also need to level similar criticism at the owner of the JWfacts.com website, which is also endorsed.

Further reading…

Related video…

259 thoughts on “The trouble with apostates (and why it shouldn’t put you off being one)

  • December 3, 2015 at 1:01 pm
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    Lloyd,

    Great read, no worries, your battle is already in the win column.

    My perspective lengthy comments last night is still under – admin review.
    Go figure.

    Here’s the deal, your blog jwsurvey rocks, mikey & kimmie videos theirs don’t.

    You have nearly 2 million viewers, from Brazil (1st place currently) your attracting many viewers, 38.%. Jwsurvey Global Ranking 231,370 compared to 1 billion websites.

    Here’s the answer, or problem with mikey & kimmie., its the meth, the remnants from Breaking Bad.

    I hope this comment gets through.

    You have my support.

    “Unity in Freedom for Thruth” is my belief and perspective of JWSURVEY.org

    Peace out.

  • December 3, 2015 at 1:05 pm
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    You missed my faction

    “The watchtower is definitely a cult and truth is in the Bible and the gospel, not in organized religion.”

    • December 3, 2015 at 1:19 pm
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      I would like to add my faction: “I cant wait to see the new Star Wars movie and enjoy a cigar after – and if the Org ever brought back cheese Danishes and Orange Juice to the Convention I might consider coming back” faction.

      ^ trust me. That’s a real faction. There is one of us so far and we are mighty lol

      • December 3, 2015 at 1:23 pm
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        I’ve already purchased my tickets for opening night. I’m down for oj and a cheese danish, take a pass on the cigar.

      • December 3, 2015 at 2:10 pm
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        I am with you on the cheese danish, and will add the egg Mcmuffin, remember when we used prepaid food tickets for a few years?
        But on the dark side was all those mothers with children in diapers under the bleachers making hoagie sandwichs…guaranteed to give one “D.C.flu”

        • December 3, 2015 at 2:14 pm
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          Wait a minute. …to make this comment relevant to subject. ..we did not call it a egg Mcmuffin @ we called it a muffin egg….

      • December 3, 2015 at 5:58 pm
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        I got my ticket for opening night! I wasn’t around when they did food but it still wouldn’t tempt me…. or the cigar actually…. How come we can watch star wars but not LOTR? I actually found the Hobbit more violent and with a tonne more magic…. of course Kili helped.. poor Kili :(

        • December 5, 2015 at 8:55 am
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          @Tara,

          When I was still in there was a whole group of us that were into LOTR. I must have read the books about 20 times since I was a teenager. We simply knew which of the “friends” you could mention LOTR to and which you could not. It was the same way with Star Wars (most of the same folks who were into LOTR were also in SW). Some “brothers & sisters” you just knew you shouldn’t mention it to. The way the Watchtower condemned most sci-fi and fantasy in general, coupled with the fact that there are just some people who need something tangible to condemn, leads to people having issues with fairly innocent entertainment. I also remember some of the folks having an issue with something as innocent as The Smurfs. (JW “Urban Legend” states that a possessed Smurf Doll actually walked out of a Kingdom Hall).

          And as for the violence in The Hobbit, much of the Old Testament (oh sorry, I mean Hebrew Scriptures, LOL) is far more violent.

          WS

      • December 3, 2015 at 8:05 pm
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        Ha! I loved those cheese danishes!!

        • December 4, 2015 at 7:45 am
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          Haha I am in my early 30’s but remember when we had food at the conventions. I was joking when I said I would go back for food – just trying to make everyone smile =)

          And idk – but many of my JW friends Loved LOTR when I was in. There was always two types of witnesses – the foam at the mouth anything pg-13 is the devil – and then “Meh – if I want to see it I will.” I was definitely the latter.

          Now that Brooklyn is up for sale lets pool our money together and get a big “Read JWSurvey Daily” sign up. and Replace all JW.Org with JUSURVEY.ORG
          I would over see this project while wearing the tightest pants I could squeeze into and eating an Ice Cream Cone from money I didn’t donate.

      • December 5, 2015 at 3:43 pm
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        Haha I loved those cheese Danishes! The chicken cutlet sandwiches were pretty good as well

  • December 3, 2015 at 2:06 pm
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    I just realised why I would not be a member of the JWNet forum. There is a whole thread just made to trash Cedars & his blog. I don’t get why they are doing this. It’s one thing to criticise his writing (I don’t have anything against that) but I think that rehashing what he did or didn’t do years ago before my time isn’t helpful. I don’t know what the history is between these people & him but if you weren’t there when it happened then it just comes across like bitterness & jealousy to those that weren’t there because they weren’t emotionally involved in it in the first place so they won’t understand it.

    I personally don’t like to judge people on what others have to say about them & their past. I like to take people how they are now. Everyone makes mistakes. I think that they should stop bringing it up. I just don’t think that it is helpful for people who might be doubting & need somewhere to go to find themselves.

    All of the websites & videos help someone, they may not suit everyone but the rehashing personal fights about things that happened before my time puts me off & I feel at times it’s just dwelling on the negatives. If I were still waking up I would see that as just proof that apostates are bitter & just click off.

    As for the Crisis of Conscience thing, we can all be a bit self-righteous about things but let that be Lloyds problem if there is one, I don’t know the ins & outs of that either. To me just reading the articles & everyones comments is what I am interested in. I’m not here to judge anyone.

    Just my 2 cents.

    In the words of our dear friend Exscellior
    “Peace”

  • December 3, 2015 at 2:25 pm
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    FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real

    • December 5, 2015 at 11:33 am
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      @ a4,

      Watchtower Corporation motto:

      ‘Don’t ask – don’t tell’

      In contrast,

      JWSurvey = “Unity in Freedom for Thruth”

      Peace out,

  • December 3, 2015 at 2:48 pm
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    Lloyd, I’m not mega active in the comments, but I want you to know your activism is of great help. It’s been a couple of years now and I’ve finally began to address some issues myself on my own blog.

    When you can, take a look at my first blog post, speaking about the matter of being shunned, that I’ve even shared publicly on my Facebook page! A huge step!

    http://www.boonfoxx.com/shunning/

  • December 3, 2015 at 3:11 pm
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    Cedars, I woke up a few years before I actually started doing the research. I didn’t know why the organization was wrong, I just knew it was. Your website and JW Facts were the first resources I came across and have educated me tremendously since then. I eventually friended Mike & Kim and enjoyed their videos but I found it a bit disheartening to learn that they had a disdain for atheists or any non Christian for that matter. Like you, I find the aggressive activism a huge turnoff. I don’t feel like it does any good other than satisfying in a small degree the frustration and anger these individuals understandably have. I am not understanding what other result they hope to achieve. When I was “in” I never would have let them engage me especially in public. Education is the key. Encouraging critical thought processes and questioning without heated confrontation is the only way. Honestly, I don’t see how anyone could have a place in their heart for any organized religion after escaping the cult. But I understand it is a need in a lot of people. Please keep up the good work and understand that you do have a lot of folks on your side.

  • December 3, 2015 at 3:24 pm
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    I watched two mike and kim videos, and made a comment but just deleted it because the lack of coherency in the way Mike speaks shows he’s just someone who enjoys to hear himself rant. And I enjoy how they do an entire video that “is not meant to bash you” but then bashes you. It reminded me soo much of the back bitey, nasty passive aggressive way that would drive me crazy when I was in the congregation. I’m glad that I didn’t know who these people are and will not think of them again. Keep up the good work John, and don’t ever let the ankle biters stop you from your activism.

    • December 3, 2015 at 7:51 pm
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      @ David, – cool name – the beloved one.

      This proves my point, I mention on a previous comment, of which mikey and kimmie are having anger issues, due to – the meth, remnants from Breaking Bad.

      Jwsurvey = “Unity in Freedom for Thruth”

      Peace out,

  • December 3, 2015 at 4:21 pm
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    Lloyd;

    As always a great read. Sorry that you are taking a lot of “grief” from the haters. However, I for one, always look forward to coming to this site to hear what all of the other ex-JW’s are saying and thinking. After being in this cult since 1957 and having recently faded with my wife and son; this site has been a great source of therapy for me and I hope for others as well.

    Please continue your inspirational work.

  • December 3, 2015 at 4:33 pm
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    Cedars I am a believer in God and just becuase your atheist doesn’t affect me at all. Keep up the good manners and continue the excellent work you’ve done all this time. Haters are always gonna hate.

  • December 3, 2015 at 5:17 pm
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    I feel how Lloyd does. Ive been explaining common sense material from the bible to my friends and also people who aren’t JWs. I can get them thinking and I have even peaked a couple interests. One of my friends just got disfellowshipped and I showed him and he’s having trouble accepting it. One of my other friends decided to hold off getting baptized. I kinda consider myself like an undercover agent against the GB. I want them stopped and I won’t give details but they have destroyed my family, so i feel like I have to take them fown.

  • December 3, 2015 at 6:28 pm
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    Until reading this I had never heardof these Brooks people and am still not sure who they are or what is there connection to this site, but to be blunt it really doesn’t matter to me.

    I will say that it is sad to me that you have become atheist, butnot surprising as it is a frequent occurence among escapees from the WTS.

    I can understandyour frustrationat those people who do very unchristlike things in the nameof Christianity. As a Christian, they very much annoyme, too. However, there is also very much a militant atheist wing every bit as despicable and vitriolic as these ones that you seem to not be noticing.

    Admittedly, I am not an avid reader of your site nor do I watch your videos so maybe you have made mention of this fact previously. Either way, they do exist, and I hope that you continue to post factual information about the misdeeds of the WTS so that some may be helped to awaken.

  • December 3, 2015 at 7:14 pm
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    Drew…I would suggest you listen to all the Australian Royal Commission investigation…its not apostate…its news on u tube… if that doesnt make you question what your being taught then I think you may be a very happy JW….it is shocking… and you are disfellowshipped if you say you no longer believe in ‘The Truth’… it happened to someone who lives near me recently.

    • December 3, 2015 at 11:23 pm
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      “……..and you are disfellowshipped if you say you no longer believe in ‘The Truth’……”

      The GB is allowed to change their minds however many times about doctrines and it is called ‘new light’ but a rank and file JW is not allowed to change his/her mind about WT doctrine without penalty.

    • December 4, 2015 at 10:33 am
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      Have read it viewed the videos amd so on so on. One congregations mistake does not determine that all witnesses practiced that same viewpoint. As a parent of 4 if ever that were to happen we are encouraged to deal with it lawfully, if it can not be handle within the congregation. Every religion may have pedophiles, murders, or worse that have been made new so to speak by adopting and applying the teachings, and clothing themselves with christlike personality. If they havent repented and turned away from that course they are persecuted. Did not david commit a great sin amd still became Jehovah’s friend, did not king menasah or whatever send his kids to the fire and turned around, did not saul a top rank Pharisee who persecuted christlike ones even approving the stoning of stephen change also.

      • December 5, 2015 at 11:48 am
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        @ Drew,

        Please look up your notes on scriptures used at the international convention (2014) and this past summer (2015).

        Do you see a trend.?

        How many scriptures were used focusing on the gospel of Jesus Christ.? (Just about all of them – focused on the gospel of Jesus Christ)

        However, how many scriptures did they use, to defend there man-made rules and or beliefs, zero my friend. This means Nada – zero scriptures were explained to show why we protect child abuser’s for the crimes against children, teenagers and adults.

        Again your comments are worthless, and meaningless, because We All know the scriptures better than you.

        Task at hand – if you want to make any connection here, then focus on explaining the man-made beliefs that Watchtower Corporation has your undivided attention.

        Peace out,

      • December 6, 2015 at 3:41 am
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        @Drew

        I’m sorry but your answer does not address the issue of the Royal Commission. You answer is that of someone who has actually not seen the videos but just been told a distorted version of them by other witnesses.

        If you had seen the videos, you would know that it was not “one congregation’s mistake.”

        The 1006 abusers not reported to the police, and the horror stories told by the two survivors came about because of DIRECT INSTRUCTIONS FROM THE GOVERNING BODY.

        I will say that again.

        The GOVERNING BODY institute the rules and practice these elders followed TO THE LETTER that the Royal Commission clearly demonstrate harm and continue to harm children and survivors of abuse, and allow predators to continue to abuse.

        GB Member Geoffrey Jackson confirmed that these were the rules Watchtower followed in his testimony. So yes, ALL WITNESSES DO HAVE THE SAME VIEWPOINT. You have to, unless you want to be disfellowshipped.

        The facts show that these abusers did not “put on the christlike personality” and change. Many of the 1006 were repeat abusers about whom nothing was done.

        The Watchtowers OWN EXPERT agreed that once a person has abused, they are very likely to continue abusing, and that WT policy falls very far short of best practice.

        Please respond to these specific points.

  • December 3, 2015 at 7:23 pm
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    Lloyd, I’ve been an ex JW for 6 years. Until recently I wasn’t aware of the depth of lies and outright insanity that watchtower has been responsible for. Your site and videos have been very eye opening, I really appreciate all you do. I don’t get involved in activism but I’m glad that you do.

    Regardless of what anyone believes, any ex JW should be happy that people like yourself are taking the initiative to educate active jw’s.

    It amazes me that in the year 2015 so many people refuse to embrace the idea of accepting everyone’s beliefs as long as they are not causing harm to others.

    For those of you that believe in God then I’m assuming you also accept the idea that God gave us free will.

    Keep up the amazing work Lloyd!

  • December 3, 2015 at 8:09 pm
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    I support, supported, and likely will support your activism, even financially, but your time is best spent ignoring the Mike and Kims. They are only relevant to other Mike and Kims. This article was quite a surprise, never expected it here. I certainly hope that you focus on things that are more important.

  • December 3, 2015 at 9:09 pm
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    Hang in there Lloyd! You are a great secular voice for ex-JWs who aren’t interested in becoming evangelical Christians. Your site was a great landing place for me.

  • December 3, 2015 at 9:48 pm
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    Haters gonna hate. Remember when you would silently groan and die a little bit inside when you found out you would be in a service car group all dang morning with certain people? These are those people trying to join in on your internet super highway car group!!

  • December 3, 2015 at 9:50 pm
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    Haters gonna hate. Remember when you would silently groan and die a little bit inside when you found out you would be in a service car group all dang morning with certain people? These are those people trying to join in on your internet super highway car group!!

  • December 4, 2015 at 12:56 am
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    @Vivian

    LOL aint that the truth

    @ Loyd

    I appreciate your work and am on your side. I don’t have the time to set up a website right now and since you have done such a great job and have excellent journalistic skills, I probably never will. I am like you an atheist and don’t at all dislike nor feel the need to change anyone’s beliefs. Rather I am here to help any who may be waking up from JWs or needs help.

    As for Mike and his threats of violence, I wouldn’t worry much. He only said those things because he knows you live thousands of miles away. I am confident that he is a cyber bully, which is by the way a criminal matter in the United States. It is not a copyright infringement, it comes with some real jail time.

    http://www.stopbullying.gov/laws/new-mexico.html

    The website is the U.S. government website listing the laws pertaining directly to New Mexico. I imagine you probably have already read them, however I am sure Mike hasn’t, because he strikes me as someone who has the bad habit of speaking before he thinks, or doesn’t do his homework and complicates his life by publishing his unfiltered thoughts on the web.

    Here is a note for Mike, since I am certain he will read your blog and the comments.

    @ Mike

    I was raised by a man who loved violence. With a mother who was a pacifist and lover of Jesus. I was rarely conflicted in my youth as to what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be like Jesus in every way possible. However, practicality and the desire to survive my father’s determination to turn me into a professional fighter meant I had to learn to defend myself and learn to fight. One of the most important lessons my dad taught me growing up was, never fight someone out of your weight class. When I entered my teens I was light, 135lbs, I would never think of taking on Mike Tyson, Ali or any of the heavyweights.

    Mike, you are out of your league, Cedars towers over you intellectually. You have lost, that is why you make idle threats of violence to someone that will never have a reason to come to New Mexico. I would tell you how ignorant that is, but well….. you wouldn’t believe it and everyone else who reads this already knows how ignorant it is.

    @ Loyd

    Final thought. If Mike and his wife threaten violence again, drop me an email, I will gladly go to New Mexico and hand this matter over to the proper authorities. I will be sure to make time for that.

    @ Mike

    Final thought. You have went to far. Do yourself a favor and pretend like you never heard of Loyd and get on with your life and leave him alone or you may end up facing serious criminal charges that you cannot escape. If you don’t believe me, google it and look up what your state has to say on the matter.

    @ All the good commenters and article writers on JWsurvey

    I look forward to my time reading and listening to your stories as well as viewpoints. You all are a delight!

    Warm regards to all of you.

  • December 4, 2015 at 2:13 am
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    @ Loyd

    I just looked at the vitriolic tirades of some of the people who do not like you. I hope you will choose to ignore these people and move forward and not get bogged down in to many more articles like the one you just wrote.

    If you in fact have been wronged or have been threatened with bodily harm, there are laws that govern such matters, please take the time to find which ones provide protection for your situation and then take advantage of them for the good of yourself and your family.

    This is your website and you can choose to block or delete my comment, however I truly have your personal best interest at heart and not the JWSURVEY website as my interest. It appears to me, you are trying to hard to control things that are out of your reach. This may be the residual effect of the JW religion or something else. However focusing very much time or energy to that is like getting caught in quicksand. Imagine that you go to a baseball game and one of the players is being taunted by a bunch of fans from the opposing team while he is at bat. What should he do? Focus on the ball and forget about the fans of the other team. For your own good, don’t wrangle with the fanatics. Do you what you do best, hit the ball.

    I feel that you are a good man that has been hurt and working at doing your part to see that it does not happen to others. That is how most good causes get started. I like others on here want you to succeed. Loyd, please relax, take a deep breath and then move forward, in a couple years none of this will matter.

    My mother said it best, if you ignore them, eventually they will tire of what they are doing and go away. You know what? She was right.

    P.S. if you feel I am wrong and feel the need to respond with a defense, please don’t, just delete my comment and I will not take offense. I would have emailed this, however the only email I ever sent you got no response. I am not sure if the problem was on my end or what, or if it just wound up in your spam filter.

    Best regards

  • December 4, 2015 at 2:51 am
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    I am so sorry to read about the vile hatred that has been directed at you, Lloyd. I am also deeply saddened that a lot (most?) of it has been by so-called Christians. Saddened, but not surprised. I am an ex-JW who has found a wonderful, loving home amongst British Baptists (not to be confused with US Southern Baptists!) and I am happy to say that we embrace tolerance for all people – believers and non-believers. I have found great solace and inspiration from your web-site. Although I left the Org about 15 years ago I could not shake the guilt and fear fully until I started reading your blogs, etc. Of course it saddens me that you have rejected God, but it is your fully considered choice, and I fully respect that. I will continue (if I may) to read your writings and share them, when I can, with those who are still JWs. Just remember – just because someone calls themself a Christian does not make them one; to paraphrase Jesus: not all those saying “Lord, Lord!” will enter into the Kingdom. Anyway, no preaching! – Just want to assert my support and say a huge thank you for all your work – and hope that maybe my support will allow you to count the Christians who profess friendship with you to extend to two hands!

  • December 4, 2015 at 3:53 am
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    Great read Lloyd. Everyone should choose the life they want to live. You does a great job addressing the issues that our religion has and are kept under the carpet. Take care for your self, your health because we live only once! Take great care for your relatives also, they are the most valuable asset you have, isn’t it?
    So, go on with the great work, I have great respect for you.
    Gorby

  • December 4, 2015 at 4:57 am
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    @Drew, I have cut and pasted all your comments and read them over carefully and I think you are a Watchtower troll. Your comments sound just like what an elder would tell somebody who would be newly studying with Witnesses to throw them off the track and make them think that the Watchtower is open-minded when it comes to examining the religion in depth. You even misspell your words to make it look like you maybe a child or a person from another country, to throw us off the track to make it look like you are for real but we can see through the rouse.

    Any one of us know that if you were to read Crisis of Conscience by Ray Franz that you would be told to stay away from books like that. We were all told not to accept literature from people at the door that might be critical of the Watchtower or had scriptures in those tracts that were not Watchtower scriptures. We were always warned about taking literature at the doors from the householders. We were always warned not to get into debates with householders. We were always warned against listening to any religious shows on television. We all know the drill so you can’t fool us into thinking that Witnesses are allowed to listen to the other side.

    You say you were in the “truth” when you were young and then fell away and then came back and it changed your life for the better so we know you have a full understanding of what it is like to be a Witness.

    If what you are saying is the truth, then you are still in the love bombing stage until you decide you want to be a full-fledged Witness again. If that is true and you haven’t fully rededicated yourself to the “truth” again, then you are in for a rude awakening when you do decide to come back full force and get baptized or at least rededicate yourself once again to the organization. You will be expected to follow the Governing Body’s dictates completely and if not, kicked out on your heels. We all know that is the case, even if you haven’t come to that realization just yet. Wait until you get either rededicated or baptized and you will see what we are all talking about here.

    What you need to do is some real extensive research into the real history of the organization around 1914-1919 when the Society says that Jesus came to the earth and examined all the religions of the world and picked out the Bible Students and decided that Jehovah would only speak through that organization as his mouthpiece to the earth and anyone not subscribing to that religion would be killed at Armageddon.

    What were they preaching at that time? You admitted that they were celebrating Christmas, birthdays and the cross, so what changed? Obviously if Jesus chose that as the only one true religion, then that religion has apostatized from the one that Jesus supposedly chose in 1919. Think about it. The JW religion of today is an apostate religion from the one that Jesus chose. That isn’t new “light”. It’s apostasy and you are being fooled into accepting apostate teachings as coming from Jesus when Jesus chose a different religion if what the Society says is true about Jesus choosing the Bible Students in 1919 as he one and only spokesman on earth.

    Examine the articles in the 2011 Watchtower about if Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 or 586/587 B.C.E. Look at the footnote in those articles where it said that no other authority agrees with them that Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 B.C.E.

    Why is the Society deliberately lying about 607 B.C.E.? Do you accept that the Society would deliberately lie to you? Most Witnesses would never think that to be the case. They would not believe that the Society would deliberately lie to them. Is that okay with you, that the one and only “truth” would tell lies to you? It certainly isn’t okay with me and it should not be okay with you. If they lie about 607, then what other lies are they willing to lie about to trick you into that religion and to keep you in that religion?

    Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions before you rededicate yourself. Don’t get involved if you don’t know what you are really getting involved in. If you change your mind after that, you will be kicked out and you won’t be able to talk to any of your friends and relatives in that religion again. Even now, if you decide not to get involved and stay out, you will be shunned. You can’t fool us into thinking otherwise. We have been Witnesses far to long to know that is how it works.

    As to the book Crisis of Conscience, it is such a shame that it isn’t being published legally by the Franz family because it is so expensive to get your hands on one now. I wished they would start printing that book again so all of Jehovah’s Witnesses and anybody interested in the religion could read it. Nobody who reads that book, would want anything to do with the religion ever again.

    That is why you (Drew) will be told not to read it. The Society knows full well what is in that book and that is why I hold the Governing Body responsible for all the lives lost to that religion and all the lives lost to blood transfusions and and I can’t forgive them for that. They are blood guilty for thousands, if not millions of lives lost to that cult.

    If you still want to belong to a religion like that, then do it but don’t expect us to buy all that you said in your posts. We know how it works, better than you think we do.

    • December 4, 2015 at 11:29 am
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      Lol sorry to confuse you by the typos, working overnight and sleep writing on.the phone to your comments can be overwhelming at times. I left cause of questions and early on like most if we are honest felt I was missing out on things of the world. I read all your comments about bloodguilt and transfusions and so on, by far me I cant be considered to be brain washed lol the bible is the truth, history books, documents and so on have proved it to be accurate. The prophecies of Daniel alone are so accurate, but truthfully in honesty none of us would no right until in my case WHEN Armageddon comes or in some of you guys viewpoint IF Armageddon comes. My post are my freedom to speak on.what I see within my congregation, I invite you to come see for yourself. See if the force is strong for brainwashing. On the blood transfusions thing there are non witnesses that refuse to comply to that as well becuase of one’s who have had family members go through those procedures and come out not feeling right. Look my thinking is not troll like what I spoke or commented to anyone have been.my interpretation of the bible based truths not watchtower. Im.a proud jw an.unbaptized publisher moving to next step and always asking questions cause that is what we are commanded to do within.the bible. Seek and you shall find. But thank you for your comments.

      • December 4, 2015 at 1:51 pm
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        Drew, since you are not baptized, I am begging you to do some research into the organization before getting baptized.

        You are being led along right now by love bombing to get baptized. We were all there, just like you and we all thought it was the “truth” and nothing but the “truth” too.

        Please do some independent research like to read Crisis of Conscience or Gentile Times Reconsidered or just go to any library or google into when Jerusalem was destroyed.

        Can you find even one scripture in the Bible that says that the earth will be transformed into a paradise? Where are the Great Crowd? If Jesus was Michael the Archangel and he was created in the image of Jehovah, then Jehovah has to be an angel.

        There are so many scriptures that the Society either leaves out of the New World Translation or they interpret it the way they want to to make it fit their doctrines, that we could write down here, and if that is what you are looking for we can start to list them.

        Look up the history of the organization in 1919. Please do some research into the real history and ask any of the elders in your congregation if they can prove to you that God is directing the organization.

        Just printing literature isn’t enough and going from door to door isn’t enough to prove that a perfect God is directing the organization.

        If God was really directing the organization, they wouldn’t be making any mistakes about anything like the generation teaching when Armageddon was going to happen or having to be constantly coming up with “new light”, in other words, finally getting it right. Why would God withhold vital information from them, if it means our eternal life?

        In the Bible, Jesus said that “all authority” had been given to him in heaven and earth but the Society says that “much” authority has been given to him, calling Jesus a liar.

        All the love that you see in the organization is conditional. If you mess up or find out later that you have been lied to and want out, you will have that love for you evaporate.

        Be warned.

      • December 5, 2015 at 3:07 am
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        @Drew, before you commit yourself to a religion that will forbid you from ever changing your mind, can I ask you to do something?

        Download Crisis of Conscience. You can find the .pdf online still, I think.

        Print it out.

        Sit down with the elders in the congregation and ask if you can all study it together.

        Watch their reaction. Do they agree to study the book and debunk Franz’s claims in detail? Or rather do they simply refuse to even look at it, and tell you to do the same.

        Now ask yourself two things:

        1: Why do JW’s encourage people of every other religion to critically investigate their faith, but forbid it for their own?

        2:Why would a religion that thought powerful obvious truth be so scared of people reading anything that disagrees with it? Surely truth can resist enquiry and questions?

        • December 5, 2015 at 11:58 am
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          @Drew,
          You mentioned that history has proven the Bible is true, especially the book of Daniel. I was always impressed with those prophecies about the world powers and the messiah as well. But what about prophecies that fail to come true?

          Deut 18:20-22 (NWT) ““‘If any prophet presumptuously speaks a word in my name that I did not command him to speak or speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die. However, you may say in your heart: “How will we know that Jehovah has not spoken the word?” When the prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah and the word is not fulfilled or does not come true, then Jehovah did not speak that word. The prophet spoke it presumptuously. You should not fear him.’”

          The Watchtower society has a history of failed prophecies. And after the prophecies fail, they try to blame others for making assumptions or they attempt to hide their failed predictions.

          Originally, the end was coming in 1874 (Russell accepted this although it predates publication of the Watchtower). Then the new understanding was that the last days began in 1799, 1874 marked the start of Christ’s presence, 1878 when he began his rule, and 1881 when the anointed began being resurrected to heavenly life. It was all going to culminate with Armageddon in 1914. When that failed, the new understanding was that the end would come by 1918, then 1920, then 1925. There were only a few “months” remaining before Armageddon in 1942. Then the end was coming in 1975. Don’t believe me? See if your congregation library has a book called Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God written in 1966. Read the first chapter to see what it says about 1975.

          I was born in the 1970’s (nearly an “Armageddon baby”). During my formative years we were all told that the end would be here before the generation of 1914 dies off. We were referred back to the “landmark” statement in 1920, “millions now living will never die!” How many people 95 to 100 years old are still alive today? Well less than even one million, let alone millions.

          How does all this fit with the scripture is Deut 18?

          As the others have suggested: please do some real research before you commit to this group.

          WS

  • December 4, 2015 at 5:52 am
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    The trouble with a balanced position is that there is every way to fall.
    The trouble with the middle ground is that they come at you from all directions.
    Extremists have the ‘other’ all to one side or the other, simple.
    Trolls are internet vermin that get everywhere, not just your site.

    I have some atheist friends, though I am far from being such myself.
    To me it is ‘All things bright and Beautiful….’ . Nature proves a God the Bible seconds this by identification & etc, etc,. God gave the Bible for free, Man makes religion for control.
    Two thing have struck me of late about atheism…
    1. The ‘christian behaviour’ of many to the immigrant crisis in Europe, a large proportion who will/must be atheist, means many have retained some of the best Christian aspects in their behaviour to the needs of others. [nice]
    2. So many among ex jw seems to suggest a corrosive effect on the individual’s belief. [sad]

    • December 4, 2015 at 7:38 am
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      You can see the Watchtowers exploitation of Christians in order to move their brand. Sadly being in this cult will strip away many of the Christ like behaviors of one of Jesus followers. They call themselves Christ presence on Earth, very hard to picture Jesus doing what these false prophets do.

      They will make you hustlers, liars, boasters, glorified snitches, apathetic, ignorant; both secularly and spiritually. They are far removed from Gods son.
      Thank God for sites like these that free mental captives of this cult.

      • December 4, 2015 at 7:44 am
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        Forgot to add there is a big difference between what many here describe as an “apostate”. Having in mind what the Watchtower calls an apostate, which is a person that stops believing in their web of lies.

        The Bible on the other hand describes an apostate as someone who came to know Christ and now rejects him. That is not the case for many of us, as can be seen in the comments.
        We can best be described as JW survivors or Ex Jehovahs witnesses in relation to the activism, never as an apostate.

  • December 4, 2015 at 8:09 am
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    John Cedars, I am sorry for the abuse you have gotten from the wacko couple in New Mexico. Just know that all Americans are not bias, hateful people like them. You and Paul Grundy have helped me so much see the truth in the “Truth”. You and Paul’s mild temper and kind manor is why I stayed at your websites. I left the JWs because of the lack of love but then found out how wrong they are with their teachings. Every time I come to a YouTube video where the person starts their conversation with a rude, derogatory or self-righteous voice I turned it off. The world doesn’t need more hate it needs more love and understanding. Thank you for the work you do. Mary

    • December 4, 2015 at 7:07 pm
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      Dee, that link didn’t work for me. It could be a problem on my end, but if anybody else has any trouble, here’s a link to a version you can read straight from the browser:

      [link removed]

      When it opens, click on Standard View or Full View (if necessary) and scroll to move through the pages. It also has an option to download the PDF file, but you’d have to sign in and pay 9 bucks. The money may not go to the people who really own the book.

      Drew and others, this book reveals more about the Org than you could imagine. It shows how dishonest they have been about their own history, and it show how dangerous and even deadly following the ever-changing JW doctrine can be. But rather than being vitriolic, it’s beautifully written with a humble and warm tone.

      Another thought on Lloyd’s giveaway: I suspect that MANY people have bought legal copies of Crisis of Conscience because of this site that Lloyd founded. He and the rest of us constantly recommend it. I’m sure the owners of the book are happy for it to have so much exposure. I downloaded a free copy of it years ago, and then bought the hardcover on Amazon. I’ve heard others say that. I think it may be a common thing. I treasure my copy of it.

      • December 4, 2015 at 8:58 pm
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        @JB R
        I am just noticing that an error message is displayed when I clicked on the link which I provided for downloading CRISIS OF CONSCIENCE. I have personally downloaded this book from this link in the recent past so apparently the link has been removed.

        Also, Cedars did provide this same link when he recommended CRISIS OF CONSCIENCE for further reading in his post of October 23, 2015 (Highly-secretive “Talmudic” Correspondence Guidelines document leaked by Watchtower insider).

        I have a suggestion: as I may not be able to continue participating in the comments for an extended period, perhaps you could upload the pdf copy which you have to google docs? You could then be able to recommend the link to others as the need arises from time to time.

        I do note however, that Ray Franz’s other book: IN SEARCH OF CHRISTIAN FREEDOM is still available for download (free of cost) at https://www.watchtowerlies.com/linked/in_search_of_christian_freedom_franz.pdf

        • December 5, 2015 at 7:39 am
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          Absolutely, Dee. The link you provided has surely been working until very recently. When I Googled “Crisis of Conscience”, it was in the top few links that came up, and I saw that it had been used here too. Don’t sweat it. The link I used has been around for awhile, and has been used here too, so we pulled together and got it done.

          I’m not ready to be the guy who actually uploads a copyrighted book for others to download, but there’s a big enough boat full of people providing links to existing ones so that I feel comfortable enough doing that. If they like what they find at that link, they can take out a 2nd mortgage on their home and buy a physical copy of the book on Amazon, lol. (They are “slightly” more expensive than they were when I bought mine.)

          As for you leaving for an extended period: Permission DENIED, Dee.

  • December 4, 2015 at 9:40 am
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    Great article, Lloyd. Your YT channel and JW Survey are such a great help to so many. Unfortunately, I’ve seen Mike, Kim and gang’s vindictive and childish behavior myself. They attack everyone that refuses to go along with their disgusting and abusive actions. One of their most staunch minions is a woman with the initials B.S. (so very fitting for her). She is one of the biggest sh*t pot stirrers of the lot. Their jealousy is so obvious, it’s sickening. Thanks for helping so many wake up and please don’t let these people get to you. Their misery already shows in their personalities. I’ll stick with the positive activists. Thank you.

  • December 4, 2015 at 10:19 am
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    Mike & Kim and their circle frighten me…thus I am posting this even more anonymously than usual. I don’t want to end up a target.

    I enjoy many articles on JWSurvey, but I am not in the “pro-Cedars”–nor am I in the “anti-Cedars” camp. Consider me neutral.

    Reading this article though gives a good, though not complete picture of the activist spectrum. However, I do not believe there are only the two categories of the belief spectrum between Evangelical Christians and Atheist. Like the activist spectrum, I believe it is more nuanced.

    BTW…here in the States, the term evangelical means fundamentalist and charismatic Christian groups who are typical very conservative. Whereas there are other Protestant denominations that fall outside of this who are “mainline”. Plus there are the Catholics and Orthodox churches. I’m not Catholic, but I want to point out some Catholic Bibles, in fact, can be scholarly works, and reading the footnotes can give a person a good education on how various Bible books were put together that would not be appreciated in the Evangelical community.

    It is the Evangelical Christians and Evangelical Atheists that have the loudest voices, but I believe there is indeed a “silent” or “quiet” majority in those communities, as well as a whole continuum between.

    For instance, there are many mainline, progressive/liberal believers of differing belief traditions and they are free to choose how they derive and interpret various beliefs. Many of these embrace science and scholarly research of the Bible (or whatever compilation of texts belong to their tradition). Many embrace gay marriage and other human rights issues. And I’m sure there is similarly a continuum and diversity that falls under the broad brush of the labels ‘agnostic’ or ‘atheist’ that are nothing like the sterotypes of the shriller voices in these camps.

    I believe this progressive/liberal diversity across this spectrum should be encouraged. It should not be reduced to a binary choice.

    I also want to point out that many in the “anti-Cedars” camp are in fact agnostic or atheist. For instance, many on the JWN forum, which is very pro-atheist, would fall in this camp. I believe Mike & Kim’s daughter no longer identifies as Christian–of course, I’m not sure what she is believes now because I quit watching anything of theirs after their first anti-Cedars rant that clearly revealed themselves as unstable.

    Thus, I do not agree with the message this article seems to present that most ex-JW Christians embrace conspiracy theories/hidden images and thus this is the anti-Cedars and that this is a Christian/atheist issue.

    • December 4, 2015 at 10:54 am
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      I said that the anti-Cedars camp is “mostly” Christian evangelical, I didn’t say that it was ALL evangelical. I am aware that some who have been won over by the Brooks’ do not profess belief, but hopefully the point is clear that unbelievers are tolerated only so long as they keep their mouths shut about their reasons for unbelief.

      And I have also explained that Christian v Atheist is not the only dynamic at play. Some “armchair activists” who criticize me, such as on the forum you mentioned, do so simply because they are suspicious and/or jealous of any perceived authority figure who they disagree with. In my submission, they are damaged by their cult experience and react disproportionately to anything that prods at their cult experience, such as an individual with a large following voicing contentious ideas.

      Finally, I’m sure “evangelical” means the same thing in every dictionary.

      Thanks all the same for your observations.

      • December 4, 2015 at 1:55 pm
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        This Christian loves what your doing Loyd. Here all roads lead to exposing the Watchtower lies.

  • December 4, 2015 at 11:08 am
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    Lloyd,
    I wondered how long it would take for you to respond to Mike and Kim. I’m glad you did with a well thought out and respectful message.

    When I first left the cult I wanted to believe something so badly. I subscribed to Mike and Kim an also to your channel. As I’d listen to each side, I noticed your kind and intelligent manner of speaking. It really drew me in. Then with Mike and Kim, they are always so snotty and condescending about everything. I felt almost embarrassed for them at times. I felt in my heart that if that was what Christianity does to you then I want no part. I’m not the kind of person to feel I deserve a better future than anyone else because I’m a wee bit holier.

    Your channel, your mellow activism and your intelligent discussions truly drew me to research atheism and get more in tune with science. I sincerely look forward to more videos centered around atheism. I still love your rebuttal videos tho :)

    Oh, can we endorse making an “I side with Cedars” shirt? Perhaps put an ad on the back of a book… :P

  • December 4, 2015 at 11:18 am
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    Excellent composition. Your objectivity in a crisis is commendable. Those who criticize you write like primer school mentalities and are mudslingers without doing the research that you have displayed. The adage is true when we speak of them: “You can’t handle the truth!” The fact that they are willing to resort to violence corroborates their caveman intellect. As for me, I continue to worship God, but with my tongue in my check. I’m like the motion picture actor WC Fields on his deathbed in the hospital. He was paging through the Bible, and responded when asked what he was doing: “Looking for loopholes.”

  • December 4, 2015 at 11:19 am
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    As an ex-evangelical, I can say that many of the things that are wrong within the JW’s are also wrong within evangelical circles. For instance, evangelicals do a horrible job with child abuse. They escape national attention because their churches operate as independent entities unlike the Catholics and JW’s. Evangelicalism as a whole is less controlling than the JW environment but it is no panacea. You are doing good and necessary work, don’t let the haters discourage you. Please know that you are an encouragement, even to ex-evangelicals as myself who have a similar experience within a controlling/abusive group.

  • December 4, 2015 at 12:09 pm
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    I have read the article above with great interest. Until today, I had very little knowledge of atheism.

    According to the Watchtower’s Governing Body, Jehovah is a god of love who has let evil angels loose upon the earth to cause death, suffering and mental anguish to human beings. Eventually, Jehovah will kill these evil angels and 99.99% of the human population in order create a paradise earth for Jehovah’s Witnesses who are of the “other sheep” class.

    Next, there will be an earthly resurrection of all human beings who did not die at Armageddon and they will be given a second chance at gaining eternal life on earth.

    (The Watchtower date for the heavenly resurrection of the portion of the 144,000 anointed ones who have already died with a heavenly hope has varied through the years, however, they seem to have finally settled on the year 1918.)

    Finally, the remnant of the 144,000 anointed ones still on earth will die and go to heaven, where they will join those of the anointed class who died before them, to rule forever as kings and priests with Jesus Christ. Problem solved — or is it?

    “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?” — Epicurus.

    These questions have never been adequately addressed by the many books and Watchtower and Awake! articles that have tried to rationalize how a loving and just god could allow evil to exist. Below is an article that I have found to be very informative:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism

    • December 4, 2015 at 1:22 pm
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      @ScotWm:

      “(The Watchtower date for the heavenly resurrection of the portion of the 144,000 anointed ones who have already died with a heavenly hope has varied through the years, however, they seem to have finally settled on the year 1918.)”

      I have always found it interesting that the WT teaches that there are some JWs who ascend to heaven at their death yet at the same time they rebutt Christians who teach that persons go to heaven at death by quoting John 3:13:
      “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven–the Son of Man.”

    • December 4, 2015 at 1:52 pm
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      That question of how god could allow this evil to live was answered in genesis when satan challenged Jehovah s right to rule. If you are a parent no doubt u have been questioned the samething by your kids in your household. Would you continue to fight all there battles after the continue disrespect an ungrateful attitude they have shown to you, in return them not learning anything or allow them to find out that stuff stinks when they step in it. Its written jesus or Michael at the time wanted to end it but Jehovah said no cause his sovereignty was questioned. I mean we can all learn from the account of job where ever one else gave up faith and told him to curse god job did not and he was blessed. Just my thoughts!

      • December 4, 2015 at 2:13 pm
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        Drew, in the Bible, can you name even one person that Satan killed?

        • December 5, 2015 at 9:44 am
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          @ Drew,

          Your fever with JW cultness is alive and well. As I mentioned before, we all went down this road and exited from the merry-go-round. And that’s Not a bad thing.

          We all fought hard to defend the JW cultness, however, the problem Your having Is Not to defend the indoctrination, Your Problem is You can not explain or defend the the JW cultness of Man-Made beliefs, that are Not found in the gospels of Jesus Christ.

          For example; have your elders share with You the ‘elders book’, and have them explain, why do they have so many chapters – a freaking book. Chapters about oral sex, what you can and can not do in Your Private bed.

          Why they still use the 2 witness rule in the book of Moses (Deut.) To protect crimes against children, teenagers, and adults. Worse they Do Not report the hediuos crime to the police.

          And the list of JW Man-Made beliefs are unfounded in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

          These are the serious issues your having to grasp. Your having a problem in handling the Thruth.

          However, we in this blog – understand this action. We did the same thing.

          Do you not agree with Jesus Christ, when he said, “I give you a New Commandment, (this expression means everything else would be null and void – No other law before or after Him would matter) to Love one another.”

          To Love as I have Loved you, you must Love one another.

          In summary, to you really believe in all your heart this level of expectation of ‘Love’ of which Jesus Christ speaks of resanates in your congregation, or is it conditional.?

          Understand, we get it – your better off with your live as one of JWs. We will not question your faith.

          However, explain the JW Man-Made beliefs not founded in the gospel.

          JWSurvey = “Unity in Freedom for Thruth”

          Peace out,

          • December 5, 2015 at 11:13 am
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            @minion
            Have u ever visited my congregation, have you ever not seen love in my congregation? No until then how can you speak of my congregation. You do however talk about men of the GB and bAck it up with letters, pages from books or videos. So on and so on, I tried to get a copy of the crisis of conscience to read a mans viewpoint on why he left, but a 100$ dollars for a book that someone wrote to help express truths or to help people escape a “cult” I would think would be free. Jesus did say the greatest commandments are love for your father and love for your neighbor’s, but when a man asked him that was not versed on the law didnt he break down the other commandments to him. Then you speak of man made beliefs, stick it to the man, dont listen to the man, but in return some of you guys ask for an open ear to leave the watchtower by following a man!!! Join a group of exjws who are men. Every religion has a “man” I simply say take the “man” out and live by the bible based principles, is my congregation doing that from my eyesight to my insight, minions I tell you they surely are. Now when.I was young and in a different congregation some “men” were not. But this two rule on all this stuff in my studies with an elder, now if ever any of the stuff happens he said if it cant be worked out within the congregation you are to bring the authorities in, because ultimately it would be a worldly crime. Right?

            In all due respect my fever is to not slander a group based off of a man, an imperfect man or imperct men’s actions. I don’t say screw all apostates cause they are all evil, screw catholics cause they beliefs are different than mine, please let me save them from “drinking that kool aid” No when I comment to you or answer to any other sheep that needs a hand I use the only thing that truly matters, God’s word! I dont speak to you or comment to you from the watchower or from any publications printed from the organization. So please enlighten me I pray for wisdom to understand not only for me but others as well. I have friends in peurto rico and they say something different than.what the media says,have friends who went to bethel, walkhill or wherever and they in return say something different, have ones who read the book from franz and they something different and still serve as a witness. Had a sister who served throughout the holocaust and still remains firm throughout the so to say “false prophecies”. But then again all those things if I listened I would be listening to “men”. But to you minion keep questioning cause no one truly knows until that appointed time.

        • December 5, 2015 at 10:40 am
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          @caroline
          Well directly would be jobs children, but indirectly you could say adams descendants, or when herod killed all boys trying to get to Jesus, then jesus himself when satan entered judas.

          • December 5, 2015 at 12:25 pm
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            @ Drew,

            I’m happy your one of JWs.

            This conversation is done.

            Never forget this motto:

            JWSurvey = “Unity in Freedom for Thruth”

            No one in more than 115,k congregations, can’t stand up and shout JWSurvey stands for Unity in Freedom for Thruth.

            If you they do, please report back to us, We would All Love to hear the effective it had.

            Peace out,

  • December 4, 2015 at 4:59 pm
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    Good on you Cedars! I don’t usually comment (guess I’m in the non-activist faction, I’ll raise some points with witness friends if they seem to be asking for it, but otherwise I prefer to be a contradiction to the “apostates are out to destroy your faith” propaganda) … but I just want to say I’m really glad there are people like you who are actively broadcasting a voice of reason. Sorry to hear you’ve been under attack.

  • December 4, 2015 at 5:46 pm
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    I haven’t commented here before, but this time I feel inclined to do so. I want to let you know that I’m really happy with the work you’ve been doing, it’s helped me and my sister (who was disfellowshipped two years ago) immensely.

    It baffles me (although I’m not judging) that people can retain a shred of religious inclination after breaking free from the WT, and much more so when they leave, only to become Christian evangelicals. Your decision to start discussing your agnosticism in greater detail has my full support!

    Keep up the good work, and don’t worry, it’s well appreciated!

  • December 4, 2015 at 8:42 pm
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    First time commenter here. And really, all I wanted to do is express my appreciation for what Cedars does and has done. It helps people more than you know. So many people like myself just silently lurk through these articles and YouTube videos. I myself haven’t broken free yet, and I’m not even sure what to believe at the moment (as far as atheism is concerned). But I continue to do open minded research on everything. It’s people like you and jwfacts.com that have helped push people like me in the right direction, so thank you.

    • December 5, 2015 at 11:00 am
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      @Elijah,
      Congrats on your first comment. I was a lurker for many months too, before I gathered the courage to start commenting. And kudos on doing open-minded research. It sounds like you are mentally breaking free from the JW Cult. Physically breaking free takes time. Some folks make a planned exit or others (like me) simply fade away.

  • December 4, 2015 at 9:40 pm
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    Cedars, I have been reading you for several years.
    It helped me immensely. After nearly 50 years I mustered
    The guts to leave knowing full well I would lose absolutely everything that matters: friends of a lifetime, children, gracile run. Most people who leave the cult become atheist. I’ve heard it to be c.70%
    But what’s wrong with finding comfort by being Evangelical (I’m not) or Catholic or Buddhist or whatever.
    And what’s wrong with sharing the happiness with others?
    We are all in need of surviving this tragedy and people find different ways. Naturally we don’t want to use this blog to preach and recruit. We have already done that to last us for ten lifetimes.
    I can see why you are upset about the vicious slander.
    I was surprised
    that you would write about it extensively,
    alerting others to this. I didn’t know anything about these people but now I checked out some of their tirades.
    They remind me of many people in the congregations I’ve been in (the number is legion) who were malicious gossipers, envious, back stabbers, and outright nasty.
    These two just changed religion and continue to do what they do best. They are pathetic. I sort of feel sorry for them.
    This article is a little out of character of the way I envision you. Defending yourself just adds fuel to their fire.
    Life has taught me that silence is the strongest weapon.
    Your wife is wise beyond her years.
    Keep doing what you do so well.

    • December 5, 2015 at 12:16 am
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      Gameisover,

      I agree. I have noticed that Lloyds biggest critics are some not all with other websites or blogs. It just seems glaringly obvious that there is jealousy & competition.

      I would not like to get on the wrong side of those ones that are on that JWnet forum site that trash him. God! Those people scare me! They seem to be the vindictive types & to be honest a bit full of themselves that think that they’re beyond making mistakes.

      I was a bit offended that one even said that there a few that would like to see him (John) go down. That just put me off the whole site & I don’t want to read another thing from there. There are a lot of good contributors there at times but I feel that the few that seem to be really nasty, ruin it. I had enough of people like that in the congregation. The backstabbing, jealous type.

      The way that they speak about him is not justified & that saying rings true; “when you’re pointing the finger, there is 3 pointing back at you”.

      If they thought about it. He hasn’t damaged any ones lives but has contributed to helping people finding their way out of cult. And whats he guilty of over there? He spoke down to some people so they say. So what! Wow, they need to get over themselves.

      I’m sorry I have had to say something because I’m just sick to death of it. This site suits some people & not everyone & no we are not blindly worshipping the man, we just appreciate the platform he has given us.

      Thank you, rant over.

  • December 4, 2015 at 9:47 pm
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    ….grandchildren..

    • December 5, 2015 at 10:49 am
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      @Gameisover
      Dang autocorrect, eh? I was wondering what gracile run referred to. Thanks for clarifying.
      WS

  • December 5, 2015 at 8:22 am
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    Folks,

    My previous comment has been removed.

    It looks like my absense from this site will continue.

    Lloyd,

    How many copies of Crisis of Conscience were published by your friend?

    Were they available for sale?

    Did you get the copyright owner’s permission to publish them?

    Are any fees due to the copyright owner?

    It would be of benefit to me to know why my previous comment has been removed.

    Peace be with you, Excelsior!

    • December 5, 2015 at 9:57 am
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      Excelsior, are you sure it was removed? Usually there will be the name and a reason why a comment was removed.

    • December 5, 2015 at 10:06 am
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      Good to hear from you Excelsior, my old compatriot. I hope this thing works out, and that you do return more frequently. You are missed.

      Sorry to jump in, but I’ve wrestled with this issue a bit lately. I think that it really does come down to the fact that realizing the JW religion is a cult can literally be a life and death issue.

      Whoever does own the rights to this lifesaving book, they don’t seem to be taking even the simplest steps to make it more easily available and affordable. Some of the books offered for a high price aren’t even the newest (4th) edition. There’s an easy way to physically publish it through Amazon, and an even easier way to publish it electronically there, and probably elsewhere.

      I think the vast majority of people seeking this book would happily pay a reasonable amount for it if it were easier to do so somewhere. If I owned the rights, I’d have it available everywhere I could AND have my own website that popped up in the first few links when you search “Crisis of Conscience” on Google. I’d offer it at a reasonable price, or even at a reduced price due to the importance of it.

      None of us can speak for Ray Franz, but rather than say he would want everybody getting it for free (which is certainly possible), I would more confidently say that Ray Franz would at least want the copyright owners to take some very simple steps to make it more easily available and affordable.

      However, if it turns out that there is some legal entanglement making that impossible, then the profound importance of the material, to me, justifies alternate means of acquiring it.

      But I know this doesn’t directly address your specific concerns regarding Lloyd and the fellow who printed a copy of the book. This is just something I’ve been thinking about lately, and thought it may have some relevance here.

      Again, it’s good to see a comment here from you, my friend. I hope to see more of them.

    • December 5, 2015 at 4:03 pm
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      Your comment was not “removed.” It was sent for moderation, and declined – and you were emailed with the reasons why it was declined. I cannot be fairer than that.

      And why the sudden interrogation? Why am I being asked to answer for my friend? All pertinent details on this issue have been posted in the article. Your questions also indicate a lack of knowledge about how copyright works, so perhaps it would be better to educate yourself rather than ask me to fill in the blanks.

      It’s a shame that, for whatever reason, you seem to wish to add fuel to the controversy. I held you in higher esteem than that.

      • December 5, 2015 at 4:26 pm
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        Lloyd,

        Firstly, I want to apologise for asking why my comment was deleted. You did indeed send me a private email, and I thank you for it.

        I am saddened that you believe that I have added fuel to the controversy. I apologise if that is what I did in my comments.

        Transparency is the key to peace over these multiple issues around M and K and yourself.

        The copyright owner has said that she wants to make Ray Franz’s work available again. I hope that this will allow everyone to obtain a copy of his books that has no controversy or issues surrounding it.

        I hope that the good work done by many activists, whatever their belief or non belief will be respected.

        Peace be with you, Excelsior!

  • December 5, 2015 at 9:36 am
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    Lloyd,

    I appreciate this post and I will say that I agree with you on all counts. I don’t consider myself an atheist; I consider myself somewhere between a deist an a non-denominational Christian. What that means for me is that I believe there is a higher power as well as benefit in the Scriptures and in applying Christian values (especially those in the Sermon on the Mount), but I also recognize that there is a need to balance what you read in the Scriptures with reason and science.

    Secularly, I consider myself a scientist (hold a Bachelor’s of Science, working on a Graduate Degree) and as such I recognize that many of the stories of scripture do not fit with what we know of science (specifically geology, archaeology, biology, and evolution) and really should be looked at as allegory. The fundamentalist (as well as JW) view to accept everything found in scripture as literal without exception is quite flawed. I also feel that someone can be spiritual, without being religious, and there is no need to belong to a specific religion or to attend specific religious services. I also have respect for members of non-Christian religions (provided they do not try to force their views on others) as I see all religious ideals as an attempt to rationalize our place in the cosmos. It’s a basic part of the human experience. As such, I respect everyone’s right to believe in what they will or to choose not to believe in anything.

    The extreme Christian fundamentalists, in my opinion, can be as dangerous as members of militant Islam who attempt to operate through terrorism and violence. JW members who leave the Watchtower to join an extreme fundamentalist group are merely trading one cult for another. In fact, it has been noted by several experts (including Hassan, I believe) that people who leave one cult or high control group are vulnerable to become involved in another cult or high control relationship. Since many JW’s are deprived of an education (beyond the basics) and lack critical thinking skills, they are quite susceptible to other high control groups.

    Extreme and borderline violent methods to try to awaken current JW members is counterproductive. In fact the Watchtower uses this behavior as a way to try to prove that they have the truth, being persecuted just like the early Christians were. This method is also unloving and unchristian. I feel the most fundamental teaching of Christ is summed up in the Golden Rule: treat others how you would like to be treated.

    As for copyright issues over Crisis of Conscience, this is really a case of ‘making a mountain out of a mole hill.’ With the advent of the internet and digital media the entire concept of copyright has come into question. Another consideration is that Mr. & Mrs. Ray Franz are deceased and never had any children, so you are not depriving them of need income. Also, as a JW fader, at the time of my awakening (and even now to some extent) I could not risk bringing a hard copy of Crisis of Conscience into my home because of my JW wife, so without the PDF version I would not have had access to this valuable resource. I am of the opinion that vital information should not be hidden, but shared freely.

    In closing, I very much appreciate the JW Survey website and your work as an activist. It is regrettable that some ignorant individuals are attempting to make trouble for you. You have my support as I well as the support of many other ex-JW’s.

    On a side note, based on your comments about atheism as well as religion and science, check out some of the writings of Michael Shermer and Donald Prothero. Shermer is an atheist and the editor of Skeptic Magazine and Prothero a paleontologist/geologist. Both have taken a stand against extreme fundamentalist and creationist dogma.

    WS

    • December 5, 2015 at 10:20 pm
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      Finding that balance between faith and undeniable science requires a lot of study and an open mind. The country I live in was founded by men who found a balance between secular and spiritual knowledge, in fact the great universities of this country were established to cement and protect the faith. All of its professors were ministers prepared to equip its students with knowledge of the Bible.

      I also believe that being a jack of all trades, master of none is a frustrating thing. This applies to the ex-jw activism we do. The prices for Crisis of Conscious and In Search of Christian Freedom are a necessary learning tool, but are a bit too steep in cost. If someone can make them more affordable it’s all the better for the purpose they were intended for.

      I already own both, but would love to see them available in print at a much cheaper price that would allow searchers of truth with little means to click on the buy it now button. Both brother and sister Franz have passed away and it’s their life’s work we should worry about protecting, which is the exposing of Watchtowers family and life destroying lies. Whatever the means.

  • December 5, 2015 at 9:47 am
    Permalink

    Drew,

    Your fever with JW cultness is alive and well. As I mentioned before, we all went down this road and exited from the merry-go-round. And that’s Not a bad thing.

    We all fought hard to defend the JW cultness, however, the problem Your having Is Not to defend the indoctrination, Your Problem is You can not explain or defend the the JW cultness of Man-Made beliefs, that are Not found in the gospels of Jesus Christ.

    For example; have your elders share with You the ‘elders book’, and have them explain, why do they have so many chapters – a freaking book. Chapters about oral sex, what you can and can not do in Your Private bed.

    Why they still use the 2 witness rule in the book of Moses (Deut.) To protect crimes against children, teenagers, and adults. Worse they Do Not report the hediuos crime to the police.

    And the list of JW Man-Made beliefs are unfounded in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    These are the serious issues your having to grasp. Your having a problem in handling the Thruth.

    However, we in this blog – understand this action. We did the same thing.

    Do you not agree with Jesus Christ, when he said, “I give you a New Commandment, (this expression means everything else would be null and void – No other law before or after Him would matter) to Love one another.”

    To Love as I have Loved you, you must Love one another.

    In summary, to you really believe in all your heart this level of expectation of ‘Love’ of which Jesus Christ speaks of resanates in your congregation, or is it conditional.?

    Understand, we get it – your better off with your live as one of JWs. We will not question your faith.

    However, explain the JW Man-Made beliefs not founded in the gospel.

    JWSurvey = “Unity in Freedom for Thruth”

    Peace out

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