Kim Ju-hwan faces a prison sentence for conscientious objection
Kim Ju-hwan faces a prison sentence for conscientious objection

Kim Ju-hwan is a 24-year-old with an uncertain future. His beliefs as a Jehovah’s Witness have brought him into direct conflict with the conscription laws of his country – South Korea.

He now faces a year-long jail sentence if his appeal to his country’s Supreme Court does not prevail.

All Witnesses are raised to abhor violence and follow the Bible admonition to “love your enemy” to the letter, which means that military service of any kind is out of the question.

South Korea does make some modest concessions to conscientious objectors by offering alternative non-military service, but this doesn’t go far enough towards appeasing the Witness faith.

“There are jobs in the military that don’t require you to be out in the frontlines, like working in an office,” says Kim. “But nonetheless, you still have to go through five weeks of basic training, and this is what I and other conscientious objectors refuse to do. I think if this training was replaced with an alternative service, then we wouldn’t have a problem with serving.”

South Korea has rightly been criticized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights for failing to recognize the rights of conscientious objectors. But rather than simply being a human rights issue, there are more complex reasons why South Korea must review its approach to conscription where Witnesses are concerned.

Fueling the persecution complex

Of all the governments in the world that should be intimately familiar with the insidious nature of totalitarian regimes who use undue influence to wrench unquestioned obedience and unflinching devotion from their subjects, it should be South Korea.

Locked in a perpetual state of war with its North Korean foe, which is cited as one of the reasons for its strict conscription policy, South Korea should be well versed in undue influence and how cult-like movements both political and religious thrive on the slightest hint of persecution or aggression to stoke the indoctrination of their minions.

Jehovah's Witnesses thrive on the notion that Satan's world is out to get them (image from Nov 15, 2013 Watchtower)
Jehovah’s Witnesses thrive on the notion that Satan’s world is out to get them (image from Nov 15, 2013 Watchtower)

 

But, for whatever reason, South Korea fails to see the irony that by embracing such draconian and backwards measures in its attempts to stave off one authoritarian regime, it is putting wind in the sails of another. For if there is one thing that plays straight into the hands of Watchtower’s propaganda machine, it is the notion of Witnesses like young Kim being persecuted for their convictions.

Human rights à la carte

A further irony is that, in riding to the defense of repressed adherents such as Kim, Watchtower invokes the same human rights Declaration that it routinely violates.

As has already been pointed out on this website, Watchtower rides roughshod over article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees that every person has the “freedom to change his [or her] religion or belief.”

Rather than recognizing this freedom and allowing disenchanted Witnesses to leave freely, Watchtower coerces their family members to shun and have ill-feeling towards them, thus cynically using loved ones as a sadistic method of punishment in furtherance of its agenda.

Click here for a convention recording in which Jehovah’s Witnesses are urged to shun family members who leave.

But this doesn’t stop Watchtower from beseeching the UN Human Rights Committee in pressing for the freedom of worship of South Korean conscientious objectors who happen to be Witnesses, as the following yearbook quotes attest…

“On several occasions, the United Nations Human Rights Committee has condemned South Korea for violating the right to freedom of conscience. New applications are currently pending before this Committee and before the South Korean Constitutional Court in an attempt to resolve the matter.” – yb13, p.41

“In the meantime, on March 24, 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) ruled that South Korea violated internationally recognized standards of human rights when it imprisoned 100 conscientious objectors who are Jehovah’s Witnesses. (These 100 brothers had appealed to the UNHRC for having been imprisoned.)” – yb12, p.37

“To date, the Korean National Assembly has not considered any bill on alternative service. The brothers are awaiting decisions from the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations, which ruled favorably on two applications.” – yb10, p.22

“Progress is being made in South Korea, where the government has refused to recognize the basic human right of conscientious objection to military service… To date, 488 applications have been filed with the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations, which ruled favorably on two applications in 2006. In the meantime, our brothers hope that the government will follow through with its intention to enact a law that provides for acceptable alternative civilian service.” – yb09 p.23

Watchtower may not be as violently aggressive as the North Korean regime, but it is every bit as effective in using undue influence to control its subjects
Watchtower may not be as violently aggressive as the North Korean regime, but it is every bit as effective in using undue influence to control its subjects

So while the South Korean government may feel its stringent conscription policy gives it a further bulwark against the despotic whims of another Kim and his cronies, it would do well to consider that its draconian treatment of conscientious objectors does little more than fuel the persecution complex of cult victims not just in their country, but globally.

Young Witness men like Kim who are raised in the faith don’t have the luxury of seeing the broader picture.

They simply cannot know that they are pawns in a global propaganda campaign, or that their year in jail to escape crawling through mud for five weeks does nothing more than provide Watchtower’s writers with tear-jerking yearbook fodder.

But the South Korean government can (or should) be wise to both sides of the story, and by dismissing the concerns of the United Nations and neglecting to bring their conscription policies into conformity with human rights they are playing straight into the hands of the very sort of manipulative regime that menaces their border.

 

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Further reading…

92 thoughts on “Why South Korea needs to stop giving Jehovah’s Witnesses reasons to feel persecuted

  • April 30, 2014 at 2:15 pm
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    I appreciate your efforts but feel this blog post is a bit strained. You basically end up saying: “Don’t give JWs a persecution complex by persecuting them.” Well, if a group is being persecuted it is natural that they should develop a “persecution complex.” That’s just the way people tend to operate. The real issue is simply stopping human rights violations — not “exposing” a cult.

    • May 1, 2014 at 9:14 am
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      JB – your argument misrepresents the point of my article, which I wonder whether you have even read beyond the title.

      I do not merely argue that religious intolerance by authorities GIVES Witnesses a persecution complex, I argue that the same FUELS a pre-existing complex, which is built entirely on fiction (i.e. the world is under Satan’s control, JWs are God’s chosen people, therefore the world seeks to single out JWs for persecution).

      As to your jab about human rights, I suggest you read the article in full. If the organization you so vehemently defend is interested in upholding human rights, getting rid of its own shunning policy would be a good place to start.

  • April 30, 2014 at 3:12 pm
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    I was a (non-baptised) short trousered child door knocking JW in the UK of the 1950s, when conscription was still in force.

    ‘Conchies’ were welcomed back to the Kingdom Hall after doing their 3 months in jail.

    I had anticipated the day when I, too, would, in an English Court, declare my adherence to Jehovah’s commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’.

    I was dismayed to discover, though, that that commandment was not the official JW declaration. ‘Diplomatic Immunity’ was to be invoked. Ambassadors from Jehovah’s Kingdom were not, apparently, subject to the laws of England and Wales.

  • April 30, 2014 at 3:58 pm
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    And apostates really need to get over themselves if someone has a different principle than they do! It seems if you are not pro gay rights, pro immorality etc. you are ostracized by them much like the “oppresive” JW’s. Just ask the meme group on FB.

    • April 30, 2014 at 11:47 pm
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      Hi hobgoblin. You are clearly one very conflicted person if you frequent apostate Facebook groups and blogs like this in clear violation of Watchtower rules but still defend it. Have you considered seeking therapy? FYI – being kicked out of a Facebook group is nowhere near as bad as having your loved ones turned against you and made to hate you purely for choosing a different set of beliefs. You immediately lose credibility when you make such ludicrous assertions.

  • April 30, 2014 at 4:13 pm
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    1You say that as if it is acceptable to be anti-gay rights. It’s not. Tell me, are you pro black rights, pro women’s rights?
    2 Not being a JW does not instantly mean you are pro immorality. I know that, you know that, we all know that. This is a cheap and baseless shot.

  • April 30, 2014 at 4:13 pm
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    He never said their stance is stupid, only that the government should lay off. No one is saying you need to like gay sex or become a slut. Why is it always about sex with you people?

  • April 30, 2014 at 4:46 pm
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    As I was reading your article I was waiting for the spin on it then Woop there it is on shunning. No doubt they make their own rules as they go along in regards to almost anything. I.E. Mexico and Malawi double standard debacle. So when the heat is on them they cry foul and sometimes rightly so but use it as propaganda tool. In business it’s called Leverage and when you get down to it that is just what they are, a Business.
    But on the flip side it’s ok to control the minds of their adherents to the point of violating the human rights of dissidents by shunning them. So the same agency (UN) they seek help from, they also disregard their policy’s when it comes to human civil rights.
    To anyone not indoctrinated by them and looking from a outside perspective they then appear as hypocritical in nature.
    I really feel sorry for these weak minded people who have their minds overtaken by this occult.

  • April 30, 2014 at 5:38 pm
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    Apostates you say? Oh no. Not according to god Cedars definition they’re not. How dare you call them out for what they are. Malcontents who are not content leaving but also want to try to drag others down or out with them. This isn’t a drive by either. My email address is [email address removed] if anybody wants to reply directly.

    • April 30, 2014 at 11:41 pm
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      A word of caution about our good friend “Response.” I have blocked his IP, but he has figured out a way of bypassing our spam filter and thus continues to post regardless. Anyone who decides to email him does so at their own risk. We are dealing here, not with your ordinary run-of-the-mill mud-slinging apologist, but with a determined pro with trolling experience.

      Consider this a kind warning from your “God” Cedars.

  • April 30, 2014 at 6:35 pm
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    Response – put your real name out their and I will email you. But questions? Are you telling me if you had a bad experience with something you would keep your mouth shut? Really say you ate at a bad restaurant and got the runs(diarrhea) afterward, would you let your love ones or friends go eat their? You go to a hotel and it has roaches in the room and bed bugs would you let your love ones or friends stay there? If you saw your children, friends, family members or whoever hanging around a wrong crowd would you just let them do it. After all of the above incidents your “out” of the situations I guess you would just keep your mouth SHUT and let others you know and don’t know face the consequences. After all according to you it would be malcontent to warn them from such situations or incidents.

  • April 30, 2014 at 8:23 pm
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    Care to define “gay sex”? From what I’ve seen, heard and experienced, sexual preferences (what one likes as an active or passive act) overlap among those who prefer different gender and same gender interactions. Also, some individuals who prefer sexual activities with same gender refuse the label of “homosexual” or any classifications in lieu of “I am sexual,” or “I am sensual”.

    To use any innate traits, or personal creeds, or beliefs, to castigate and marginalize someone from society, a cultural group or silence their community voice would seem equal to the “evil” of mind-control experienced within the borders of Watchtowerdom.

  • April 30, 2014 at 8:54 pm
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    It was the hypocritical double standard of the Malawi-Mexico fiasco (for any jws please do your research) that nailed the coffin on my 30 years of service in the jws. That I was horrified is an understatement. People died, the wt was to blame, simple as that, while they made a deal with Mexico and watered down their stance on neutrality in that country. In Sth Korea peoples lives aren’t at stake but the same principle applies. I know how separatist and elitist jws feel from the rest of the population, and persecution of any kind from the smallest to the most horrendous feeds this feeling.

  • April 30, 2014 at 8:56 pm
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    “Conchies” – cute..

    It’s interesting this discussion did not include jobs/vocations where one is working in government or defense industries, whether as a janitor or some other highly functional operative. On that matter of conscience, I recall some JW’s had no issue with holding a post on military bases or facilities with subsidiaries doing business with military machinery, yet drew a line in the sand at enrolling and serving in any capacity with the armed services. Also, most businesses are involved with trade to militia because of the large funding those government entities gain.

    The issue, as I see it, is that this is no longer a matter of individual decision when the group chooses to enforce a form of punishment on those who decide they can give an accounting on J-Day with serving in the military. Thus, there is no individual growth in application of faith and God’s love in molding a person’s thinking and actions when that person simply needs a task list of “do’s and don’ts”. We’re back to the Law and its condemnations of all as “falling short”–screw Golgatha, or Calvary, just obey, or follow madly like a lemming what everyone else does for their conscience and avoid any individual study of God’s word in guiding a decision.

    On the matter of inequities–Mexico vs. Malawi, it is interesting how this would play today where in the USA, many governments allow purchasing a motor vehicle driving license/photo id to equate to voter registration. So, where person’s died rather than register to vote and choose a party, millions in USA sign for voter registration, probably electing to be “independent” than declare a political party, yet automatically register.

    Likewise, when the Americans dropped conscription and instituted a volunteer service, but required registration of men of a certain age, the Watchtower did not object, even though its obvious that non-registration becomes a “mark” by which young men could be denied other government services for refusing to register for conscription during a crisis.

    CObj’s in the USA often faced prison terms because the military/government would offer them non-combative roles, and as noted above, most men drew a line in the sand and refused any duties supporting military operations, facilities or personnel. This action put a bulls-eye on them for prison term. Ironically, many of these men were refusing to serve during the Korean War.

    It’s also curious that the Watchtower doesn’t have squalms letting so-called men with “blood on their hands” serve in leadership roles whereas (*ahem*) “scriptural precedent” banished King David from laying a stone of the temple.

  • April 30, 2014 at 9:15 pm
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    @ Response latinenchantment22@yahoo.com
    @ Hobgoblin

    Sorry I didn’t respond sooner, I was bowing down to my image of “God Cedars” We closed our evening as we do every night, with the happy dance.

    “Response” you have a flare for irony. Calling Cedars a God when he has made no such claim. The GB self appointed themselves Kings and Priests and you do not feel compelled at all to provide evidence to support that claim. Rather you distort only your own mind.

    Here is a novel thought. Cedars responds when you talk to him. He actually has an opinion that he expresses and allows you to express your own. If you disobey the rules on here, sure you may be blocked but your family isn’t called and brainwashed to hate you. He also is not the author of war nor rape that your mute God is. How about the test at Mount Carmel that Elijah supposedly made. He made fun of their mute God as the tale goes and then his God reigned fire as proof of his being a man of the “living God”. Your GB God’s do not have one shred of evidence to their arrogant claims of authority and supremacy of being “kings and priests”. They do not let you question their ridiculous claims either or you are excommunicated and your family is turned on you.

    Looks to me like you have been on here before broke the rules and are now using another user name so you can rant. If you love Jehovah or the GB, why are you on here?

    “Apostate” literally translates, out of position. By commenting here, you are not accepting the direction of the G.B. to stay off of these sites, therefore you are setting your personal choices above those of the “spirit appointed men”. By elevating your thinking above theirs you are out of position with them, you are a son of Korah and an apostate.

    Last thought, whatever immoral thing that you are doing or have done and not telling. Isn’t that the real reason you are on here. You figure you are unworthy for everlasting life, however you will rescue sheep from the mouth of the apostates and be a hero since you are going to die anyhow, now you don’t have to feel bad, your a hero and a vigilante. The fact that you have not studied the Bible all the way through like you were told, nor have you studied the history of your religion (not the JW proclaimer propaganda) but the truth about the truth which is easily proven. Those facts are what make your comment not bad, but sad. Your life is one of guilt, totally unnecessary and a waste of human life the greatest treasure you possess.

    I respect your right to choose how you live, but you don’t have the right to spew ignorance and hate on what you do not know. Your comments are only regurgitated Watchtower rhetoric designed to make a person opinionated and ignorant (mission accomplished)

    Gotta go, I need to march in a gay parade so my wife and I can get home in time to fornicate with our neighbors, Yeehawwww!!!

  • April 30, 2014 at 10:19 pm
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    They CALL themselves apostates on the Apostate Jehovahlarious meme group on FB! They are not ashamed of the title. BUT…if one has principles against gay rights…they they disagree with them, they are mocked and ridiculed then banned. It is like the group feels that they were repressed for so long that when they leave they swing in the WAY other direction. Morality is lost and it is anything goes.

  • May 1, 2014 at 12:28 am
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    So, Hobgoblin, assuming you are a JW, you feel it perfectly fine and dandy to look forward to the day of Armageddon, the mega execution of all those billions of your fellow humans for the capital crime of not obeying, to the letter, every edict of a bunch of self appointed, controlling old men in New York.

    Can you explain the reasons for your irrational and obscene conviction?

    When you have done that perhaps you could supply evidence to back up the WT Gov. Bod’s claim that they are ‘The Faithful and Discreet Slave’ as referred to Jesus in Matt. 24.

    Upon this unevidenced claim lies the entire authority of the little group that has the lives and minds of c. 8 million in thrall.

    No JW I have asked has ever supplied any evidence to support this claim. Could it be that there is no evidence and that the authority of the WT Gov. Bod. is totally fraudulent?

  • May 1, 2014 at 6:58 am
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    This is to Response and Hoboblin238. Since you aren’t “afraid” to troll this website which is set up for JW’s who need support for how they have to deal with the fact that they have wasted years of their one and only precious gift of life on a false and evil religion and which is not set up for people who chose to support a religion which they know is false and can’t stand up to Bible doctrine, I challenge you to also watch a video on Youtube which isn’t by an apostate but a person who has done a lot of real research of the Watchtower history (not like the fake history in the Proclaimers book) called The Watchtower: Roots, Shoots and Those in Cahoots by Tim Martin. It will take 1 hour and 15 minutes but in that video one very interesting fact that you won’t find in the Proclaimers book is that one of the reasons some broke off from Rutherford in 1918 is that Rutherford was saying that the Bible Students should be buying war bonds and so one of the groups that broke off and formed their own religion was called the The Elijah Voice Society. That group thought it wasn’t right to buy war bonds. Do you think today it would okay to buy war bonds? Rutherford said yes and that other group said no. Which group today do you think Jesus would point to and say it was the religion he would have put his stamp of approval on? Defend this religion and can you give us back our lives? How much do you think our lives would be worth? How much is your life worth? We can’t have our lives back. According to Revelation, liars will be thrown into the lake of fire. Come back and defend this evil religion after you have done some real research on the history of your religion or stay off this website. You obviously are lying or you have never even looked at the history of your own religion.

  • May 1, 2014 at 8:40 am
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    @ anonymous

    Very nice point I did not know that

    @ Nelken

    Solid as always

  • May 1, 2014 at 9:15 am
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    where is the The Elijah Voice Society today?

  • May 1, 2014 at 9:27 am
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    I don’t know much about them but if you google Elijah Voice Society, a lot of information comes up about them and how they were an off-shoot of the early Watchtower.

  • May 1, 2014 at 10:55 pm
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    Response seems like he or she needs attention of ANY kind. Perhaps this person should spend the time necessary to cleanse their soul of so much negative emotion. Clearly something is amiss.

  • May 1, 2014 at 11:07 pm
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    Good article Cedars,
    “… Watchtower coerces their family members to shun and have ill-feeling towards them, thus cynically using loved ones as a sadistic method of punishment…”

    They are copying their god Jehovah for just a couple of examples:

    1) (2 Samuel 12:11, 12) . . .This is what Jehovah says: ‘Here I am bringing against you calamity from within your own house; and before your own eyes, I will take your wives and give them to another man, and he will lie down with your wives in broad daylight. 12 Although you acted in secret, I will do this in front of all Israel and in broad daylight.’”

    2) (Amos 7:17) . . .Therefore this is what Jehovah says: “Your wife will become a prostitute in the city, and your sons and your daughters will fall by the sword. . . .

    Has anybody read such stupid words elsewhere! JWs look their god and imitate it!!!

  • May 2, 2014 at 4:45 am
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    Hey, I was just checking this blog entry again to read the comments and I had the surprize to find out that I have a namesake !

    Just wanted to make a quick note that I’m the “other JB”, I posted on quite some other threads too, all this time without knowing that I had a namesake. So on this thread, please be aware that there are two distinct JB’s :-)

    Good luck with identifying us :-) Well I guess Cedars can differentiate us by our email addresses.

    Cheers

    • May 2, 2014 at 4:53 am
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      Thanks for clearing up the confusion JB! ;)

  • May 2, 2014 at 4:46 am
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    Hobgoblin? You realize that character represents one of the disgusting creatures that watchtower publications like to cite in their opposition to Halloween, right?

  • May 2, 2014 at 4:54 am
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    Folks,

    I would confidently say that most ex Witnesses on this site support full civil rights for Gay, Lesbian and Transgender people.

    I stress civil rights.

    If an individual wants to read a book and see in it that Gay, Lesbian and Transgender people are worthy of death at Armageddon, and think that is right, well…we can deplore their decision but it is their decision. I hope that they will come to change their minds. Many Christians no longer take this view anymore. I don’t think that Jesus would want to kill anyone, but that’s just my opinion.

    I would remind those people who do believe that Gay, Lesbian and Transgender people are worthy of death at Armageddon that it is God who will judge, not you. You are commanded by your Saviour to love your enemies, and to treat all people with dignity.

    On the point of South Korea. I believe that any penalty for a conscientious objector is wrong. People must be allowed to follow their conscience. I agree with Cedars that persecution of this kind fuels the fantasy that Satan is attacking them personally.

    I hope that we can all come to understand that Gay, Lesbian and Transgender people are just…..people. The same as all of us, we are all just human beings trying to live their lives.

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

  • May 2, 2014 at 7:01 am
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    Folks,

    I find it fascinating that a professional level troll is out to get us! What a victory!

    As soon as these people have to stoop to these levels their argument is lost. If we were simply disgruntled ex believers, then there would be no need to bypass spam filters and such. This level of effort and toil tells me that the WTBTS are fearful of sites such as these. They should be.

    Gone are the days of individual ex Witnesses, who could be shut out and down easily. Now, thanks to the internet, we have an entire community! We can assist each other to enjoy our lives out of this ridiculous cult.

    Well done, Cedars! See response and their ilk as a badge of honour. Their very presence on this site proves that you have them afraid. They fear you.

    Peace be with you

    Excelsior!

    • May 2, 2014 at 8:23 am
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      Too right, Excelsior. Prior to the internet, and, in particular, http://www.exjw-reunited.com/ , I had wondered whether my detestation of the WT outfit was my problem. Even my own sister was willing to follow the outsider line that they are simply A N Other bunch of religious enthusiasts who should not be condemned but, if anything, should be admired for their dedication and tenacity.

      Now I realise I am part of a global movement, and many ex JWs had a far worse time than I did. I merely suffered, as a child, Armageddon nightmares and a feeling of sadness that I was not free to enjoy the world, indeed a feeling of guilt that I did in fact like it.

      The WT bosses and the believing rank and file (what percentage are they? How many simply go through the motions for fear of being shunned?) have no idea what to do. The Theocratic Ministry School, and even the high falutin’ Bethel training is useless when confronted with those of us who know the ways of this grubby little cultish corner of Christendom.

      JW defenders sometimes seem itching to put us right. The desire to spout their pathetic and inadequate defence of the utterly indefensible must be very strong indeed for them to flout the edicts of ‘Jehovah’s exclusive earthly reps.’ and engage in exchanges on ‘apostate’ websites and Facebook pages.

      Do they not fear a zapping at an imminent Armageddon for defying the decrees of the ‘Faithful and Discreet Slave’?

      JW growth has all but stalled. As Africa, the only current growth area, gets steadily better networked, the truth about JW TRUTH will be universally available, and, hopefully, put the cult into terminal decline. Keep up the good work, Cedars!

  • May 3, 2014 at 3:28 am
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    Persons who stand in opposition to Jehovah’s Witnesses seem to use this idea of religious liberty rather freely. Yet it seems this might be a misunderstanding or misapplication. Freedom of religion as a legal principle is designed to protect the ability of individuals to worship however they wish without interference by the **government**. To equate jailing by the government with refusal to associate is confused. Refusal to associate is a right all people have. If a Muslim wishes to not associate with a Hindu person, this is unwise and potentially offensive, but is not a violation of the Hindu’s religious liberty. Finally, it must be acknowledged that Biblical injunctions regarding refusal to associate with heretics/apostates are in the text of the Bible, and have been interpreted in different ways throughout the history of Christianity – excommunication is hardly new to the witnesses.

    • May 3, 2014 at 3:40 am
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      Hello DOTF, welcome to JWsurvey. I hope you will allow me to observe the irony that the organization for whom you have stepped forward as a defender forbids you from doing so on websites such as this. I would be interested to hear your justification of your “selective” approach to observing the commandments of your masters, the Governing Body.

      Your claims that JWs do not breach human rights because “refusal to associate is a right all people have” is ridiculous, and bypasses the fact that JWs only shun disfellowshipped/disassociated family members because they are expressly ordered to do so by their leaders. You obviously find it convenient to overlook the role of coercion and manipulation, and the organizational liability this entails, but I have far fewer reasons to do this as someone who is free from the undue influence that clearly continues to grip your thinking.

      And if, as you claim, the Bible mandates the shunning of family members who stop being Witnesses, by all means show us your evidence. Whatever argument you make, it would be in contradiction of at least one Awake article (1947), which described disfellowshipping (excommunication) as an instrument of “ecclesiastical power and secular tyranny” that is “altogether foreign to Bible teachings.” Scans of the article are on the links below in case you don’t believe me…
      http://jwsurvey.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/excommunicated.jpg
      http://jwsurvey.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/excommunicated2.jpg

    • May 3, 2014 at 11:39 pm
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      You, Defender, have chosen to defy the edicts of your ‘divinely appointed’ JW bosses, and associated online with JW ‘apostates’.

      Why do you defend the rules of this organisation if you feel free to flout and break them?

      ‘Jehovah’ must know what you are up to.

      Will he execute you next time he does one of his Armageddons?

  • May 3, 2014 at 4:16 pm
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    Defender,

    You are quite right in stating it is each individual’s right to choose with whom to associate. If someone finds another person distasteful for whatever reason, religious belief system included, then they have the right to avoid that person.

    However, this individual choice is not the condition that exists within the organization. The society has a policy that tells individuals within the organization who has been deemed to be worthy of casting out. This determination, done by others, is then enforced by threats.

    Ironically, even viciously, it is said to the common publisher that it was the outcast person who ‘made the choice.’ This is completely odious. The person who has learned about the organization has to make a choice indeed; get ignored by family and lifelong friends or continue to fein worship in a system he no long believes. It’s a choiceless choice, one that is foisted upon them by the edicts of men.

  • May 3, 2014 at 5:59 pm
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    Defender,
    What is so ironic is that the Society even acknowledges Charles Taze Russell as the founder of the JW’s because when Judge Rutherford became the president of the Watchtower Society, he changed the religion so much that it was almost unrecognizable from what it was when Russell was the president, except that he kept some of Russell’s teachings such as a mortal soul, no hellfire and no trinity. That is why so many broke away from the Watchtower at that time. They couldn’t accept his autocratic changes from Russell’s teachings. That would explain why the Watchtower never quotes from any of Russell’s books but it’s Rutherford’s doctrines that are the mainstay of the religion today. If anybody was an apostate, it was Rutherford and his off-shoot religion he named “Jehovah’s Witnesses”. Anybody who is going to defend the Watchtower should not be afraid to do some research into the history. If you really have the “truth”, it will stand up to scrutiny. Just because a magazine says it’s the “truth” doesn’t make it the truth.

  • May 4, 2014 at 9:00 am
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    Indeed one can argue very well that Rutherford, not Russell, was the true founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses as we know them today. Most of what remains from Russell’s time are “negative” doctrines (do NOT believe in trinity, hell or immortal soul), plus an idea that there was “something” prophetically important about the year 1914.

    Rutherford abandoned almost the entire elaborate chronology (backed up with pyramidology!) that was the heart and soul of Russell’s system, only maintaining 1914. It was Rutherford who came up with the name Jehovah’s Witnesses, starting emphasizing the supposedly crucial importance of using the name “Jehovah”, filled 1914 with its current meaning (the START, not the END of the endtime period), and presented the notion of the 144,000 as a “heavenly class” whereas the rest of the saved stay on earth. It was also he who instituted door-to-door evangelism for all members. These have remained defining traits of Watchtowerism to this day.

    Russell is just as much the founder of the various splinter groups you will never read about in Watchtower magazine. Some of them preserved much more of Russell’s doctrine than the main (Rutherfordian) “strain” of the movement.

  • May 4, 2014 at 1:38 pm
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    My point is that encouraging the government to intervene against religious practices you disagree with is a very slippery slope indeed. Perhaps some countries will take such action – but growing up with the religious freedoms common to United States citizens it is almost unthinkable for the government to force a change in religious practice unless there is physical violence or something of the kind. Take your recommendations to their logical end. First, will the police hold the witnesses down and force them to be in the presence of persons in a disfellowshipped state for a certain amount of time? If you want the government to ban the witnesses because they have doctrines and practices you don’t like, where do you draw the line? Should atheists demand all religions be banned? How much better to let each person make their own choice about what religion to associate with, free from governmental constraint. Each member of the witness community chooses willfully to uphold the disfellowshipping arrangement. To paint them as needing to be “rescued” is to strip them of their dignity.

    • May 4, 2014 at 1:47 pm
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      The full cruelty and obscenity of JW practice, Defender, only becomes apparent once a JW is baptised. Many JWs are beguiled into baptism in their teens.

      Once they learn the truth about JW TRUTH, i.e., realise it is nonsense, the bosses try and blackmail them into remaining with the outfit via the threat of shunning.

      That is the practice that should be outlawed. It denies the individual freedom of choice in religion.

      Such is the mastery of the dark arts of cult mind control by the JW bosses that many family members who would like to associate with an ex JW family member or friend, genuinely believe that such association contravenes the law of God, rather than simply the cruel diktats of a bunch of control freaks in New York.

    • May 4, 2014 at 2:21 pm
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      Defender, I think the line is the human conscience. No religion is above it, otherwise how could anyone convert for becoming a JW – right ?

      My human conscience says such extreme shunning is unloving and against any law, including biblical one and human conscience. Other things as well, which result in unhappiness and pressure upon many JW’s are beyond that line.

      In an extreme comparison, some rather unwise people were engaged in rituals killing animals, like cats, because they said they worship Satan. Should they be allowed for doing this for their religious freedom ? Where do you draw the line ? Killing a cat, or act as if your son, daughter doesn’t exist anymore, just for the sake of loyalty, not to God, but to the WT organization ?

      I think that everyone has right to exercice their beliefs and continue living a balanced, decent life, without being forced losing things from their lives. Also JW’s deserve this ! As much as the “no-longer JW’s”. It’s a right for everyone, not for some … It’s not up to GB to decide this, we’re all subjects to principles above us all.

    • May 4, 2014 at 2:27 pm
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      I am not calling for government intervention in changing the beliefs of cooky religions like the Witnesses. My ideal scenario would be for governments like that of the United States to impose sanctions on any religious organizations whose practices violate human rights. A good place to start would be tax exemption, on which Watchtower thrives. Why should it get off the hook so lightly financially by playing the “religion” card when it is using coercion to break up families and drive people to suicide? There are myriad ways to make cults think twice before you need to even consider banning them. Not rolling out the red carpet for them through granting tax exemption is a great place to start.

  • May 4, 2014 at 1:46 pm
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    And one other thing regarding the anti-excommunication quotes you provide: as you well know, such has not been the doctrine of true Christians for many decades – it was corrected by a fuller appreciation of the Biblical arrangement of withdrawing association with unrepentant sinners – especially those who have apostatized. 2 John 10 and Romans 16:17 are passages many believe apply in this regard. Some may well disagree with the application of these passages, but it is for each person to decide their faith and act in accordance therewith. For capable adults who have knowingly and purposefully taken the difficult decision to uphold the disfellowshipping arrangement, it is outrageous to suggest some sort of police action ought to be taken against them to force them to compromise their ideals.

    • May 4, 2014 at 2:43 pm
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      Spoken like a true Watchtower drone.

      “The light gets brighter you know, even though there are no scriptures to support God giving false information to his servants in previous decades. We’re just improving all the time, because we’re God’s organization. And even if we go back to doing or believing something we once did or believed but later rejected, that’s still an improvement.”

  • May 4, 2014 at 1:51 pm
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    It is not the ‘ideals’ of the individual that are at issue; it is the diktats of the JW bosses.

    Stop pretending, Defender of the Faith, that a teenager, often under parental pressure, is fully aware of the implications of baptism into JWdom.

  • May 4, 2014 at 1:54 pm
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    Defender, you have failed, yet again, to explain why you feel free to defy the diktats of your Jehovah appointed bosses and engage in dialogue with apostates.

    Please explain why you defend the practice of shunning as ordered by the JW bosses,, and thus the denial of religious freedom which you claim to support, yet defy the JW bosses by engaging with apostates.

  • May 4, 2014 at 2:14 pm
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    Rowland – I am not sure why my replies are not threading properly. But anyway I am not trying to argue, just to show that “Cedars” is replacing reality with a fantasy world that is not ethically consistent or even well thought out. The *reality* is that a judicial appeals panel of some of the most highly trained jurists in the country considered these matters years ago, and found that:

    “Although we recognize that the harms suffered by [the disfellowshipped person] are real and not insubstantial, permitting her to recover for intangible or emotional injuries would unconstitutionally restrict the Jehovah’s Witnesses free exercise of religion… The constitutional guarantee of the free exercise of religion requires that society tolerate the type of harms suffered by [the disfellowshipped person] as a price well worth paying to safeguard the right of religious difference that all citizens enjoy.”

    Obviously these appeals judges were not Jehovah’s Witnesses. But they uphold the inherent religious freedoms that I have been trying to explain.

    • May 4, 2014 at 3:19 pm
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      By your ‘logic’ re. Freedom of Religion, Defender, you would defend the right of Al Quaedr who, through loyally and faithfully following the commands of their God, delivered by the Angel Gabriel to Mahomet, and set down in the Holy Koran, to prosecute violent Jihad until such time as the world is, in its entirety, subject to God’s own Sharia law.

  • May 4, 2014 at 2:25 pm
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    For Response: Are you “scared” to read Crisis of Conscience” Is your faith that weak?

  • May 4, 2014 at 2:28 pm
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    Response, when I read your loving humble comment, the first thing I feel like doing is running to the nearest KH to be among loving brothers and sisters, just like you. I say “here are the real followers of Jesus, look, they do exactly like his example !”.

  • May 4, 2014 at 2:38 pm
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    As you can all see, I’ve deleted Response’s comment in which in true diva fashion he published his email exchange with me (publishing private emails without permission, by the way, I consider as extremely low).

    I may not be able to block him but I can sure as hell delete his silly comments from JWsurvey and thus sabotage his agenda in some small way. I will leave it to the discretion of you good folks as to whether you interact with him further, but experience tells me that when you have a determined troll the best policy is to ignore and thus deprive him of his audience, which is what he craves.

    Suffice to say, we must be doing something right if characters like this are going to such lengths to defy their Governing Body masters and troll this site.

  • May 4, 2014 at 2:40 pm
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    Response, I think your comment was deleted, I still have it on the update emails, but let me still make one more comment just for your benefit :

    Your comment 2, about blood transfusions show that you really don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Someone else’s blood ??? What about organ transplants ? They are fine by the organization but it’s someone else’s organ and besides, the guy is probably dead …

    I don’t know if the docs in Houston would laugh or not but the rest of the world would laugh with your comment. Sorry for being that direct about this.

    • May 4, 2014 at 2:45 pm
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      Thanks JB, hopefully you can agree with me that his email was simply too outrageous to merit a comprehensive rebuttal.

      You can’t fix stupid.

      • May 4, 2014 at 2:48 pm
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        Totally agreed Cedars, and you’re right that it’s best to leave such attacks unanswered. The blood issue just pushed a wrong button on me, I couldn’t help it :-)

  • May 4, 2014 at 4:27 pm
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    For Defender and Response:

    This is concerning disfellowshipping and blood. We all understand disfellowshipping for unrepentant wrongdoers who are a danger to the congregation but the problem is that in order to establish grounds for disfellowshipping, there has to be either 2 witnesses or the person has to confess to the wrongdoing. Disfellowshipping is to protect the congregation. There are no prohibitions in the Bible that family members have to shun a person in their immediate family, but I know of countless families who are suffering because at least one person in their family is disfellowshipped and that disfellowshipped person has no intention of ever faking it to go to meetings just to get back into the congregation so they can associate with their family or former friends.

    We have all been convinced by the Watchtower that we have to shun anyone who is disfellowshipped because that is the only way they will come back into the “truth” and thus be saved through Armageddon. I see people who have been disfellowshipped who do come to meetings and get re-instated so it happens but did any and all family members truly shun them? How are we to know for sure? Logically, it would work against a shunned person to have love for an organization that would treat them so cruelly. Jesus said if a little sheep got lost, that the shepherd would leave the 99 and search out for the lost little sheep. That to me, seems like the Christian way to treat a person who has gone astray. The Society’s answer to it is to let them go and when they see how horrible it is on the “outside” that they will see how wonderful it is “inside” the organization and want to come back to the shepherd (Organization). Unfortunately it rarely works. A lot of people that leave, find the shackles have been lifted and the love was conditional and even though they miss their familes, it’s worth it to be freed of the weight that the Society placed on them.

    Most Jehovah’s Witnesses think that they are “special” because they think they are the only God approved religion but that makes a lot of them arrogant too. So, then that is why they think it’s a “privilege” to be considered a Jehovah’s Witness. But are they the only religion that is God’s only organization that God approves of? I’d encourage you to watch a video by Peter Gregerson on Youtube called “Is The Watchtower God’s Only Organization” even if it’s to prove to yourself that it’s God’s Only Organization.

    Now let’s say you were a child that had been molested by someone in the congregation or a wife that had been beaten but there weren’t any other witnesses who witnessed the molestation or the beating. If you are a child and you tell your parents and you and your parents report to the elders what happened or you are the wife and you tell the elders what your husband did to you. The other person denies the molestation or the abuse and so the person is still in good standing and you have to go to the meetings and see this person being treated well and you know in your heart that this person has committed a crime against you. How would you feel? The elders tell you that yes, you can report it to the police but since this person is still considered one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in good standing, they have no choice but to support that molester and not support you. If you show up in court accusing this person, you see that the elders and others in the congregation have shown up in support of your molester or abuser. How would you feel? Would you feel supported by your elders and congregation or would you feel let down by your congregation, the elders and even Jehovah? Maybe with all your hard feelings, you would lose faith in the Bible, in Jehovah and the Organization. If for any reason, you have lost faith in God and the Bible, you would naturally lose faith in the Organization since God is supposed to be directing the Organization. In order to qualify to be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the first requirement is that you have to have faith in the Bible and in God. It only makes sense that you can’t go from door to door preaching about Jehovah God and the Organization if you have lost faith in Jehovah and the Organization.

    When you got baptized, you did have faith in God and the Organization but now that faith is gone and technically you are no longer one of Jehovah’s Witnesses since that is what we are called because we “witness about Jehovah”. If you no longer believe in God then you also don’t believe in God’s backing of the Organization. Do you think that the elders should disfellowship you now because now you no longer believe in God or the Bible? They can disfellowship you if you tell them your feelings. You believed in God and the Bible before you became one of Jehovah’s Witnesses but because of the way they treated you, you have lost faith in the elders, the Bible and maybe even God. Jesus said that anyone who stumbles even one of his little sheep, it would be better for that person to have a millstone put around his neck and he would be thrown off a cliff. When an elder stands up in front of the congregation and says “so and so is no longer one of Jehovah’s Witnesses” that person is considered disfellowshipped and will be shunned by the congregation and treated as a “wrongdoer”. That is the problem that we hold against the Organization. If a person loses faith in the Organization for any reason, what is evil is for that person to be shunned for it and he or she can’t explain it to anybody why they lost their faith. The Society does this to protect itself. They fear that people will find out about all the lies and coverups about the Watchtower’s past and if they were free to tell others about it, there will be a mass exodus out of the Organization and rightly so.

    All of us were never told about much of anything like those for- instances when we got baptized. It was only after we got baptized that we found out we were “trapped”. You can never say that any of us were fully informed before we were baptized especially children. The reason we all got baptized, is because we were all convinced by the words in the Watchtower publications that it was “God’s only approved” religion and if we didn’t get baptized, then if Armageddon struck in our unbaptized state, we’d be killed. The Watchtower instills fear into children as soon as they are born to get baptized. I don’t consider it an informed decision but a coerced decision.

    If you defend this organization, then you need to do research about it’s history and then come back and defend it. We’d all love to hear how we haven’t been lied to.

    As far as blood transfusions go. It is so easy to talk about how we can’t take blood unless it’s our child’s life or our life that’s on the line. That should be a conscience thing and not left up to a bunch of imperfect men’s opinions. They aren’t inspired to tell us what the Bible means when it says to abstain from blood. If they were inspired or “God directed” they wouldn’t make any mistakes. Oh, yeah, they don’t make mistakes do they? Their light just gets brighter. According to the Bible, Jehovah hates arrogance. The Bible says that over and over again. I don’t see any humility in the Governing Body or they’d humbly apologize for the “mistakes” they have made. They can’t admit to any mistakes because then that would call into question that they are “God directed”, wouldn’t it.

    • May 6, 2014 at 12:36 pm
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      I’d add this : At some point I heard Cedars bringing out a point about shunning of close family members. What about a husband and wife ?

      Yeah, you can shun your own son or daughter, but when it happens in a couple, it shatters the marriage right away.

      Maybe there is a verse that supports this “exception” ? If yes, I’d like to know it. On the other hand, let me remind the commandment “honor your father and mother”. Kids, don’t shun your parents.

      That’s where, I thought, the shunning policy crumbles down …

  • May 4, 2014 at 8:41 pm
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    @ Cedars re revoking tax exemption for Jehovah’s Witnesses:
    I wholeheartedly agree that disfellowshipping as practiced by JW’s is cruel, manipulative, and counterproductive to people exercising their religious liberties by being freely able to express themselves or to leave on their own accord without heavy handed repercussions.
    However, I do understand the reluctance of a nation to impose such sanctions. If I am not mistaken, in the case of France, where tax exempt status was revoked, a backlash was created, the European court of human rights decided against France, and France was portrayed as a repressive villain. Indeed, the case was made that Jehovah’s Witnesses would be effectively shut down in France.
    Moreover, the Witnesses used this as an opportunity to point to this as just another example ‘of the nations’ persecution of God’s people in these last days,’ in much the same way as Korea’s handling of conscientious objectors might be seen as playing into Watchtower’s propaganda machine.
    I wonder if there is some middle ground solution whereby a state could acknowledge religious freedom and STILL impose some sanctions to voice displeasure at specific human rights violations, as in the case of disfellowshipping?
    In some sense, courts have already done this in the case of blood transfusions, as the rights of adults to refuse transfusions for themselves, however medically unwise, on religious grounds, is upheld, whereas the rights of children are defended by ordering transfusions for children of Witness parents. What say ye?

    • May 4, 2014 at 10:04 pm
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      Middle Ground could involve tax exemption for genuinely charitable activity.

      Some churches do genuine charitable work. CAFOD from the Roman Catholics is an example. Many are patrons of the arts and education.

      Thus, expenditure on patronage of arts, education and charity could secure tax exemption, but religious practice per se would not.

      Could the JWs possible make a case for the educational value of the Theocratic Ministry School? Education, by etymology from ‘educare’, i.e. to lead out (from the darkness of ignorance to enlightenment) demands enquiry. JW methods shut enquiry down. So, were the blanket ‘religion = charity’ assumption universally dumped then the uncharitable, philistine and anti educational JWs might be struggling to secure tax advantages for any of their activities.

    • May 4, 2014 at 11:24 pm
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      Yes, the irony of the France tax situation is that France was right to revoke Watchtower’s tax exemption and the ECHR was wrong to overrule it. Only by the ECHR’s interference was Watchtower given a victory to crow about. The ECHR, by the way, is by no means a paragon of common sense and rationality. We have had problems with it in the UK after it prevented us from deporting a radical Islamic cleric with links to al-Qaeda. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Qatada Sadly, bureaucracy and flawed perceptions of what religious freedom means can get in the way of countries taking meaningful actions against religious fanatics.

  • May 5, 2014 at 7:37 am
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    Defender you say “For capable adults who have knowingly and purposefully taken the difficult decision to uphold the disfellowshipping arrangement…” What if this disfellowshipping is against a child, someone under 18? Do you feel 10, 11, 12 or even 13 is old enough to make a lifetime commitment to one religion? Someone who has never researched anything for themselves? Do you consider them “capable” of doing this? Do you feel a 12 year old is “capable” of marriage or signing a legal contract? I would bet your answer would be no so why are they “capable” of being baptized and then held liable when they mature and realize that this is not for them?

    • May 5, 2014 at 7:54 am
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      Will ‘defender’ go the way of all JWs who try and defend JWdom on ‘apostate’ websites?

      Never has a believing JW offered a credible defence of this indefencible cult.

      JWs’ Theocratic Ministry School, or even Bethel training, equips them only to prey on the innocent and vulnerable, both adults and children.

      The internet, fortunately, is making life difficult for the JW recruitment business. Potential unpaid WT mag. distributors can now discover with a few mouse clicks, what a cruel and hideous racket is the whole Watchtower organisation.

      Have you anything to add, ‘Defender’? Have you any evidence whatsoever that the JW Gov. Bod. is God’s sole earthly rep? Can you answer Cedars’ point that there is no freedom to abandon the cult when the bosses use family as a weapon? Granted the JW bosses are smart enough to have mastered the dark arts of cult mind control, but is such a grubby achievement really worth defending?

      Of course it is not. It needs to be condemned and wiped from the face of the earth!

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