worst3article

“The way of the truth is the best way of living.”

So begins Kingdom Song 64, “Make the Truth Your Own.” This mantra is one with which Jehovah’s Witnesses are very familiar. In fact, it’s quite common to hear the mantra expanded on in the following way:

Even if this wasn’t the Truth, it would still be the best possible way to live.

If you’ve been associated with the Witnesses, you’ve probably heard a statement like this, often in response to doubts or challenges about how valid Witness teachings are. The narrative being presented is that even if Watchtower is wrong, living according to the Governing Body’s commands would still result in the most satisfying life possible.

It’s a win-win scenario!

But is this statement true?

Well, let’s take a look at how Watchtower presents Witness life in a series of videos being played at the 2016 Remain Loyal to Jehovah Regional Convention. The videos follow a character, Sergei, from childhood to most-likely, his death.

As we see his story unfold, I’d like you to keep in mind that oft-made claim:

Even if this were not the Truth, this would still be the best way to live.

Let’s see if the story of Sergei’s life supports that claim.

Sergei – When Young

Screenshot 2016-06-07 14.20.58Sergei’s story begins when he is a boy, and we fade in on him playing the violin with considerable skill. The narrative unfolds to show an exceptionally talented Sergei being offered special tuition by a music conservatory which would help him make a career out of the art he loves so much.

Great! Not many people get the chance to explore their gifts in this way, and it seems the young Sergei could be starting on a thrilling road of self-discovery and creative fulfilment. Who knows, maybe his artistic legacy will live on for centuries?

Except that Sergei’s father has other ideas. He dismisses Sergei’s musical aspirations by telling his son that the pressure will be something he cannot handle. He dismisses the idea of a young Witness making music “their life, their career.” Sergei is warned that he will have to compete with other musicians, that he will be surrounded by people who do not love Jehovah (sn: just like every day at school or work) and that he must show Jehovah he loves him first.

Apparently, Jehovah hates professional musicians.

If you didn’t know beforehand that the father’s position was the one that Watchtower was promoting, you could play this scene word-for-word, beat-for-beat, and the audience would see Sergei’s father as a closed-minded parent, brutally crushing his son’s dreams and aspirations. Indeed, it’s heartbreaking when the young Sergei pleads with his father, “But I really love it, and I’m not good at anything else! This is what I’m good at!”

I can relate to his plea.

The things I was really good at as a child, the skills and talents around which I would ordinarily have built a satisfying career in the creative industry, were not things I was allowed to make a career due to my Witness beliefs. Instead, I had to choose another road, one far less satisfying and interesting to me, and at which I simply was not as good. Granted, now that I have left the cult, I am trying to resurrect the career I should have started all those years ago, but the lost time and experience is something I will never recover.

So in summary, what do we see from the first video? Sergei’s dreams of being a professional musician are crushed, not because he lacks talent or the drive to succeed, but because his parents are Jehovah’s Witnesses that enforce Watchtower’s strict lifestyle choices upon him. Sergei the violinist will never exist, his potential works lost to future generations, and his dream future denied to him.

Now remember, we are exploring the following statement:

Even if this were not the Truth, this would still be the best way to live.

Do you think this video supports that claim?

Sergei – When Persecuted

Screenshot 2016-06-07 14.51.34We next see Sergei as a young man, conducting a Bible Study. As the scene progresses, it becomes clear that he is living in a country where Jehovah’s Witnesses are under ban. The Witnesses are risking arrest by practicing their faith and carrying out Watchtower’s commands. During the video, Sergei returns home to discover that the police are waiting inside and have brutalized his father.

(Possibly by subjecting him to their awful acting.)

The police demand to know where Sergei has hidden the Watchtower literature. Sergei refuses to answer the questions, and later, refuses to play the national anthem on his violin. This is not a random choice on Sergei’s part; Watchtower instructs Witnesses, like Sergei, that to do so would compromise Watchtower’s particular interpretation of political neutrality. (Never mind that Watchtower has compromised this doctrine on numerous occasions for its own benefit, often carefully ensuring that normal Witnesses never find out.)

As a result, the police incarcerate Sergei.

This is sadly an all-too-plausible scenario. In many counties across the world over the past century, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been subjected to horrific persecution for obeying Watchtower’s commands on political neutrality. From the savagery meted out in Malawi to the dreadful inhumanity of the concentration camps of the Third Reich, Witnesses have been incarcerated, tortured and murdered by repressive regimes. No one who respects the concept of universal human rights can do anything other than unreservedly condemn such barbaric repression.

Those who wish to sincerely practice their faith in a manner that does not infringe on the human rights of others, should always be free to do so, but obviously no one would wish to endure the kind of savagery Sergei encounters for serving a religion that was not true.

Now remember, we are exploring the following statement:

Even if this were not the truth, this would still be the best way to live.

Do you think this video supports that claim?

Sergei – When Tempted

Screenshot 2016-06-07 17.06.06Our next video finds Sergei still in prison, reciting scripture to keep his spirits up. The prison officials give him the tragic news that his father, also an inmate, is dying.

Weeping, Sergei requests permission to see his father, and the prison officer offers Sergei “an even better solution.” He offers to let Sergei and his father, both, leave the prison! All Sergei has to do is sign a document renouncing his faith.

Watchtower is unequivocal on this point. There is no room for an individual Witness to decide that the paper and “renunciation” are meaningless, okay to sign, and then continue worshiping as normal, once they are free. “Theocratic Warfare” may allow Watchtower leaders to lie in court when being questioned about not reporting child abuse, but it does not allow Witnesses to sign documents they give no credence to in order to alleviate terrible suffering and regain their freedom.

Witnesses are expected to refuse all such offers, no questions asked.

So, Sergei does what Watchtower expects and refuses to sign. Then, he is then dragged back to his cell where he is to serve out the rest of his five-year prison term, never to see his father again.

Now remember, we are exploring the following statement:

Even if this were not the Truth, this would still be the best way to live.

Do you think this video supports that claim?

Sergei – When Praised

Screenshot 2016-06-07 17.48.47We next meet Sergei some considerable time later, as a middle-aged man, serving as a substitute Circuit Overseer for Watchtower.

For those unfamiliar, a Circuit Overseer (C.O.) is someone who works full-time for Watchtower, travelling to visit a select, geographic group of congregations. They will hold meetings with the Elders, Ministerial Servants and Pioneers, give special talks from the platform, organize the Field Service for the week, and generally make sure that the congregation is running according to Watchtower’s policy. It’s an exhausting job, often requiring long days of activity for little remuneration, though the meals and board for a C.O are usually provided for by the host congregation. A substitute C.O is often someone training to be a permanent C.O, and they will step in when the regular C.O is ill or indisposed.

He is reunited with his old friends Alexia and Natalia, with whom, in the second video, he was shown studying. He and his wife accept and share a meal together with some friends. During the meal, Sergei is complemented on the quality of his talks, as well as his unwavering faith; those present infer that they wish he was the permanent C.O, citing a number of perceived flaws with the present one.

My personal experience, having met many C.O’s in my time, is that they vary significantly in quality and temperament. I’ve met kind, sincere men who genuinely cared about their flock, and I’ve met unkind, hard, cruel men who made the lives of those in their Circuit a misery. It’s common for a hard-pressed congregation to desperately wish for a change, especially if they’ve met one of the nicer C.O’s on the list.

How does Sergei respond to the conversation? Granted, it must be awkward for him to hear others complain about his colleague but how does he deal with these complaints, along with complements given to him?

He rejects them all. He refuses to take credit for any of his abilities. He has no sense of ownership for his achievements. With downcast eyes, he credits everything to Jehovah’s spirit. He also makes this point: “Jehovah chooses those who serve in the congregations” and this is a way to imply that such men are above criticism from the rank and file.

(Does Jehovah choose the Elders who’ve covered up child abuse, or Servants who are actually child abusers? Watchtower can’t have it both ways. Either the “appointed men” are chosen by God or they are not.)

Now, remember how excited and full of confidence little Sergei was in the first video? As a young child, Sergei had found his passion, his calling, and was full of confidence that he could achieve wonderful things with his music. He was good at it, and he KNEW he was good at it. He had full confidence in his abilities. The future lay before him, vast and glittering, before his father tore his confidence and dreams away. What do we find when we look at Sergei now?

A man working long hours as a religious administrator in return for very little compensation, his dreams of music forgotten, his father lost to religious persecution, along with apparently five years of his own life. A man so lacking in self-worth that he cannot even bring himself to take credit for the experience and skills that others see in him and admire.

Now remember, we are exploring the following statement:

Even if this were not the Truth, this would still be the best way to live.

Do you think this video supports that claim?

Sergei – When Tired

Screenshot 2016-06-07 18.08.16The next video finds Sergei at his place of employment, a factory or workshop of some kind, welding torch in hand, a far cry from the concert halls or recording studios in which he could have spent his life. He looks tired and drawn as he pulls off his welding mask, and is summoned to his managers office.

We find out that Sergei has been working to cover the shifts of others and is exhausted. Nonetheless, his manager barks orders for him to start attending a facility one hour away to cover another absent employee. Sergei protests. He has a family and religious responsibilities to attend to.

It transpires that the manager claims to show consideration for Sergei’s meeting times and religious duties, and Sergei doesn’t challenge this so we are left with the impression that this assertion is correct. Nonetheless, Sergei is given a choice. Go cover the absent employee or go find another job.

Sergei relents and makes preparations to attend the new work plant, but then ponders his Bible and remembers that he needs to attend his family Bible study that night.

He returns home to his family instead of work, and carries out the family study.

No mention is given about what happens to Sergei’s job, but given the attitude of the manager, and that he apparently just walked offsite without notifying anyone, one can safely assume that he was fired. However, in the video, no acknowledgment is made for this possibility and whilst Sergei’s family seem to be eager for the “spiritual food” they are about to receive, I fear that before long they will discover that physical food is rather important as well.

Now remember, we are exploring the following statement:

Even if this were not the Truth, this would still be the best way to live.

Do you think this video supports that claim?

Sergei – When Abandoned

Screenshot 2016-06-07 18.43.30The next installment of what is fast becoming “The Tragedy Of Sergei” takes place when Sergei is an older man, with greying hair. Once again, we meet Sergei’s friend, Natalia, though it seems that his other friend Alexi, is absent. Sergei asks if he can stop by and visit Alexi but a grief-stricken Natalia whispers,

You can’t.

Has Alexi died? Has he been dragged off to prison? Did he emigrate to Outer Mongolia?

No.

It appears that all that has happened to Alexi is that he stopped believing the Watchtower religion. (It’s not specified if he was Disfellowshipped, Disassociated or simply faded)

So good news Sergei!

You CAN go and see him! He’s probably at home right now and all you need to do is pop on round, ring the bell, and chat with your old friend who, despite no longer believing that Steven Lett represents God’s appointed channel on Earth, is probably the same guy you’ve known and loved all these years.

Except that Sergei is one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It doesn’t matter that his old friend is probably the same man he always was, Sergei is not allowed to judge his friends by  their character, but can do so only by their opinions on Watchtower doctrine.

Make no mistake, Sergei is now under orders from Watchtower: If Alexis has been disfellowshipped or disassociated, Sergei must treat his old friend as if he no longer exists, as if he has died. If he passes Alexi on the street he must not even say a greeting. Total shunning is to be enforced. Even if Alexi has successfully faded without Judicial Sanction, Watchtower makes it clear that unless Sergei has a very good reason, he shouldn’t be interacting with him at all.

And as of this 2016 convention, if the faded Alexi does anything on Watchtower’s prohibited list, like celebrate a birthday, attend a religious service, or give blood, then the shunning laws snap right back into place.

So Sergei, clearly devastated, turns his back on a man he describes as a second father, for no reason other than his religion expects and demands it of him. It is not Alexi who has abandoned Sergei, but rather Sergei who has abandoned his friend.

Now remember, we are exploring the following statement:

Even if this were not the Truth, this would still be the best way to live.

Do you think this video supports that claim?

Sergei – When Facing Death

Screenshot 2016-06-07 19.22.28“The Tragedy of Sergei” is drawing to a close. In the final video, we see Sergei in a hospital bed, gravely ill. His daughter, looking through his old photographs, sees young Sergei with his violin. She shows it to him and says:

I didn’t know you played the violin.

Sergei shrugs and replies.

I lost interest in it, I guess.

It’s no surprise to see that Sergei’s passions and talents have been beaten out of him over the years, given all that he has been forced to give up and to suffer on account of Watchtower commands and doctrine. He has lost his art, his father, five years of his life, his closest friend, and spent a life toiling in a punishing career that he clearly never wanted to have, a career that he possibly even endangered or crippled at one point due to following Watchtower commands about time spent at work.

Nonetheless, things are going to get worse. It’s made clear that unless Sergei undergoes an operation, he is doomed. The doctor advises him that the chances of surviving the operation are much lower if he refuses blood.

Again, Watchtower doctrines snap into place here. If Sergei is judged to have willingly and unrepentantly accepted a blood transfusion, he will be viewed as a disassociated person and shunned by all of his family and friends. Additionally, Sergei will have been indoctrinated all of his life to view such a transfusion as sinful, an act that could jeopardize his chances at gaining eternal life in the paradise earth yet to come.

Thus, it comes as no surprise that Sergei refuses blood, thus lowering the chances he will survive the operation. In the closing moments of the video, Sergei and his daughter both talk about their hope for the future, of being reunited in the Paradise Earth that Watchtower teaches is yet to come. We flash back through the key moments of Sergei’s life, where loyalty to Watchtower first set him off on a journey of hardship, denial and persecution, and Sergei faces what is potentially his death with a tearful smile on his face.

And thus we come to the point.

If Watchtower teachings are correct, and Sergei’s tragic life of missed opportunities, suffering, persecution and lost friends, has enabled him to get access to a wonderful paradise, where his dead loved ones are reunited with him forever, one can make the argument that his life of denial and pain was worth the sacrifice.

But if Watchtower teachings are wrong, then Sergei’s tragic suffering due to following their commands has been entirely without meaning. Quite simply, it is absurd to suggest, given what we have reviewed above, presented by Watchtower itself no less, that there can be any credibility in the statement:

Even if this were not the Truth, this would still be the best way to live.

If this were not “the Truth,” Sergei would have been far better living a normal life. Had he taken the other road, we could be looking at Sergei, the respected and successful musician, who was able to see his father when he died, who didn’t lose five years of his life to incarceration, who never had to shun his closest friend, who spent his life following his passions and not toiling in a workshop, and who is being assured by the doctors that there is a good chance he will survive.

Sergei’s story might be extreme, but it’s not uncommon among Witnesses, and even those who suffer less, still have to give up and sacrifice much on Watchtower’s altar.

Before one sacrifices the life they have now, in the hopes that they will gain a life to come, one needs to research both sides of the argument. There is too much at stake to do otherwise. If you are one of Jehovah’s Witnesses reading this, I urge you to study carefully the following places of information.

JWfacts.com is a great place to start your journey. I invite you to double and triple check every fact and assertion there made and compare them with the claims made at jw.org.

I invite you to do the same for the articles residing here on this website. Check our claims, check our sources, check our facts.

But don’t stop there.

Question everything, research everything, and take note of the fact that, should your elders become aware you are doing this, they will likely try to stop you.

And when that happens, remember this:

Truth has nothing to hide. Falsehood is terrified of questions.

For even more analysis of “The Tragedy Of Sergei,” please click on the link below, which will take you to the video companion piece to this article, presented by JW Survey founder Lloyd Evans

covert-fade-signature

136 thoughts on “The Worst Convention Ever – Part 3: Sergei’s Story

  • June 8, 2016 at 12:05 am
    Permalink

    excellent summary of a horrible set of videos which are only there to indoctrinate the rank and file to obey their master -the GB..

    what a waste of precious lives, talents and opportunities..

  • June 8, 2016 at 12:06 am
    Permalink

    Hope you don’t mind me stating another opinion. Sometimes we have to standup for what we believe. In the last world war millions died to prevent Hitler from taking over. This was not a good way of life for those soldiers.

    Sometimes people ask what would have happened if everyone was like the Witnesses and refused to fight. Would those millions of soldiers have lived longer lives?

    Don’t get me wrong. WT is hiding some very unlawful procedures which are destructive. I am going to stand up against this until it is corrected. This is not a good way of life for me but it will benefit others in the long run.

    However I was grateful to be able to consider all your arguments, thanks, Covert.

    • June 8, 2016 at 5:37 am
      Permalink

      @Sarah

      Your comment suggests:
      1). That Hitler could have been deterred/stopped by other means apart from war
      or
      2). He should have been allowed to take over the countries which were earmarked/targetted in his takeover plan.

      Do you think that 1) was possible? or that 2) should have been allowed?

      • June 8, 2016 at 8:30 am
        Permalink

        Yes…..
        1) probably! It certainly could have been tried
        2) no, of course not! But if the scenario was that everyone was taking the Witnesses position on taking part in warfare…. where would he have got his soldiers from?

        • June 8, 2016 at 10:29 am
          Permalink

          Meg,

          You are assuming that all the brethren are good wholesome people. Unfortunately, the majority of these people are selfish, judgmental, and in some cases criminal. Who would need Hitler and his brainwashing, when you have a group of men who are masters at similar types of brainwashing.

        • June 8, 2016 at 10:50 am
          Permalink

          @Meg Bailey

          According to http://www.historyonthenet.com/ww2/causes.htm ,
          efforts were made to secure peace through negotiation rather than war with Hitler/Germany:

          In May 1937, Neville Chamberlain became Prime Minister of Britain. He felt that giving in to Hitler’s demands would prevent another war. This policy, adopted by Chamberlain’s government became known as the policy of Appeasement.

          The most notable example of appeasement was the Munich Agreement of September 1938 which Hitler signed declaring ‘Peace in our time.’ When Hitler invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia in March 1939, he broke the terms of the Munich Agreement. Although it was realised that the policy of appeasement had failed, Chamberlain was still not prepared to take the country to war over “..a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing.” Instead, he made a guarantee to come to Poland’s aid if Hitler invaded Poland.
          _________

          The Witnesses are to be commended for their position on not taking part in warfare and so too the other religions which also do not take part in warfare:

          *Moravians (one of the very first Protestant religions dating back to the 1500’s)
          *Brethern (Dunkards) groups, including Church of the Brethren
          *Anabaptist groups, including
          – Mennonites (16th century group numbering 1.5 million)
          – Hutterites
          – Schwenkfelders
          – Bruderhof Communities
          – Amish (numbering approximately 200,000)
          *Society of Friends (Quakers)
          *Doukhobors – 17th century breakaway from Russian Orthodox
          *Molokans – 17th century breakaway from Russian Orthodox
          *Some Pentecostal groups such as the Pentecostal Charismatic Peace Fellowship
          *Seven Day Adventists
          *Community of Christ
          *Christadelphians
          *Worldwide Church of God
          *Pax Christi – A Catholic peace movement
          *Fellowship of Reconciliation – A group formed in 1914 to unite pacifists regardless of denomination.
          All major religious denominations have affiliated associations including
          *Anglican Pacifist Fellowship
          *Methodist Peace Fellowship
          *Baptist Peace Fellowship
          *Orthodox Peace Fellowship
          *Lutheran Peace Fellowship
          *Presbyterian Peace Fellowship
          (list taken from:
          http://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/war.php)

          * Jainism

        • June 8, 2016 at 10:52 am
          Permalink

          @ Meg

          Good point. Hitler would probably called in his political favors and asked His Holiness the Pope.
          (If he had asked nicely.) :)

          No, really. The Vatican had a standing army at that time. Now, other than the police of the City of Rome, the Vatican calls upon the Swiss Guard (with modern weaponry) to protect His Holiness.

    • June 8, 2016 at 1:19 pm
      Permalink

      I’m reminded of a quote:

      “I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.” – Bertrand Russell

      I think it’s a stretch to say that the soldiers motivation in fighting Nazi Germany in WWII was that they were standing up for their beliefs. Not only was Hitler a despot who needed to be stopped. The horrors Nazi Germany perpetrated against humanity, were objective facts.

    • June 8, 2016 at 2:55 pm
      Permalink

      Sarah,

      Point-counterpoint: What if only the Americans had refused to fight in WWII (like the Witnesses)? That was actually a very real possibility as most Americans at the time didn’t want to get involved with what was seen as purely a European conflict. Sprichst du Deutsch?

      The problem is that the JW solution only works if you can guarantee that absolutely everyone will abide by it. If you only have even a handful of oppressive folks who are willing to pursue power to the detriment of others, there will always be a need for war. Although horrible in nature, I feel that WWII was probably one of the most necessary wars. Should Hitler have been allowed to run unchecked, causing misery and suffering of countless millions? While a horrible reality for the soldiers who died fighting him, their lives are ones of honor as they stood up for the rights of others.

      WS

  • June 8, 2016 at 12:34 am
    Permalink

    Amazing summation of a truly horrendous piece of abusive propaganda.

    This religion is showing – in plain sight – how awful the life of a typical Jehovah’s Witnesses can – and often will – be.

    Meanwhile, in the ubiquitous ivory towers in New York, the leaders are shielded and protected from the hardships they foist upon the faithful, shifting and changing the rules as they see fit.

    • June 9, 2016 at 2:15 am
      Permalink

      I have also had the thought that they are making us think that it could be worse. I know many husbands and fathers including my own who have passed up promotions and raises because job duties would interfere with meetings and field service.

      And some who have been completely fired from jobs.

      Granted, secular work isn’t everything, and sometimes people pursue careers and chase money to the detriment and neglect of their families as well, and that is the other extreme.

      But I feel like this video is partially to indoctrinate (and reassure, and potentially guilt and shame) those who regret their choices. Or like in my case – their spouse’s or their parents’ choices.

      Because losing a job or missing a promotion is NOT as bad as going to prison or dying for lack of a blood transfusion. So I believe a deliberate effort is being made to compare and contrast.

      The GB propaganda machine is acknowledging that people are making constant sacrifices at their behest.

      Individuals are constantly making choices and decisions that are diminishing their quality of life now in the hopes of earning life in paradise.

      But I believe that they deliberately featured an extreme example to make the average JWs in Western lands feel better about the things that they have given up.

      I think the takeaway is this: my life sucks right now, but not as bad as Sergei’s did. If he cold put up with and remain faithful after losing almost everything, I can deal with the loss of one or two things.

      Health or career or material possessions or friends and family abandoned through shunning.

      It’s not so bad.

      It could be much worse.

  • June 8, 2016 at 12:59 am
    Permalink

    Don’t you just hate the dumb bastards…

    • July 1, 2016 at 9:29 am
      Permalink

      Depends on who you are referring to I suppose. There are a lot of very good people in the rank and file. The mythology of WT teachings has them feeling like being good is directly linked to following the vast rules and regulations of the organization that go far further than any Christian scripture. And it’s quite sad. And very literally sad – I had never known so many people who took anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications as I did when I grew up as a Witness. Nobody feels worthy. They are continually told they aren’t doing enough. This keeps the WT in control, but has its followers in a constant state of depression and anxiety.

  • June 8, 2016 at 2:07 am
    Permalink

    “The truth and nothing but the truth”.

    It’s a motto I keep to and which, I think, allows my mind the freedom to be open, search and to question.
    In Lloyds rebuttal video a scene is depicted (produced by Watchtower) at the Kingdom Hall where Sergei asks an old friend where such and such is so he can make arrangements to see him. . . Her reply is telling. . .”YOU CAN’T” (30:11)
    He, it appears,”has left the “truth” (a fate worse than death, q the mournful music)
    Because he no longer accepts Watchtowers version of “the truth” he is to be shunned, he is dead.
    All on the word of mouth of others. . . Shut the door on a life long friendship now without question!
    The reason I point this out is because twice this week I have been pre-emptively shunned because I don’t attend meetings regularly.
    There is another saying. . The truth will find you out.

  • June 8, 2016 at 2:11 am
    Permalink

    At least Sergei’s had a positive life :-)

  • June 8, 2016 at 2:29 am
    Permalink

    “Nobody in history has been more prolific at killing Jehovahs Witnesess than Watchtower itself”
    A stunning conclusion, thank you JWSurvey.

  • June 8, 2016 at 4:34 am
    Permalink

    I can’t believe how appalling these videos are, but I think they reveal more than Watchtower would like to admit. Some themes are coming through loud and clear (other than the usual two – fear and guilt.)

    Firstly, it’s clear that people are leaving. The real truth is getting out there and into the Kingdom Halls one way or another. I see in these videos Watchtower’s response to that trend – they are trying to frighten and threaten people into staying (ie. the bunker videos) and they are trying to severe the connections between those leaving and those still in so that those leaving can’t explain their reasons and what they are discovering.

    Secondly, they are trying to pre-empt and anticipate every scenario so that everything is scripted in advance. In other words, when you face this situation, or hear this from somebody else, this is how you respond, this is what you say. Don’t think about it, just do what we say. (Control, control, control!)

    I could say more but I have to go and vomit now – the emotive music and cheezy acting are making me feel nauseous.

    • June 8, 2016 at 9:51 am
      Permalink

      I agree with you Eric, people are no fools, the principles such as “the golden rule” and “blood is thicker than water” are built into our psyche from birth and are the basic principals that most of us live and die by.
      In my experience – I was initially disowned and viewed as dead by my friends and family after I left along with very strong worded and vindictive messages – I did not retaliate – my usual response was “please respect my choice as I respect yours”.
      Ten years later my family and a few former friends have apologized and admit that nothing should be allowed to come between us, it took time yes, but the penny eventually dropped that I was not the enemy as most leavers are portrayed as by the organisation.
      If we all take this stand along with our family and friends we will have the best weapon at our disposal against a cult – Love and Respect of your fellow man.

  • June 8, 2016 at 4:41 am
    Permalink

    My mouth is left wide open….I can not believe that for 40 yrs of my life I was a drone…I would’ve looked at this video and been shamed by the fact that Sergie was a better “brother” than me….and now that I’m out, I can’t believe how flagrant WT is shaming, repressing and stealing ones life away from people….all with our permission….and now I take back my life, my self worth and I’m angry…I shake my fist at that Tower of lies…and every time I drive by it in Brooklyn, I raise my middle finger and give them the salute they deserve.

    • June 8, 2016 at 5:13 am
      Permalink

      Soon they won’t even be in Brooklyn! A lot less people will be driving by their toxic headquarters in Warwick.

  • June 8, 2016 at 5:11 am
    Permalink

    The Jehovah’s Witnesses love the simple command, “You can’t”. I’ve heard that many times while I was still brainwashed but I would never swallow the fact that I couldn’t do anything. When I heard “you can’t” then that would propel me to go and do that very thing, and rub it in the faces of the ‘brothers’ who told me that I couldn’t.
    I’m not talking about doing something that was obviously wrong, I’m talking about how these power-hungry, and lofty JWs would try and keep you out of school, a career, a vacation or visiting someone who was disfellowshipped. I did all of that and now I don’t even bother to slow down to hear what they THINK I can or cannot do.

  • June 8, 2016 at 5:48 am
    Permalink

    Really fantasize that some radical would drive a truck filled with TNT into Warwick…

    …all those people who died on 9/11… I really wished they flew into the Watchtower headquarters instead.

    Born into the “faith”, once I could leave home I did. Needless to say I had to make a family as mine is silent.

    Anonymous, can you perform a DoSA on JW servers?

    Something needs to be done to combat this.

    • June 8, 2016 at 8:10 am
      Permalink

      I understand that Watchtowers violation of human rights are very upsetting, but I would be horrified if a terrorist attack were carried out up Jehovah’s Witnesses. It would be an appalling act of mass murder.

      Personally speaking, I don’t support DoSA attacks on JW.org either. I support freedom of speech. Jehovah’s Witnesses have the right to speak, and we have the right to criticise their speech with ours. Not a fan of shutting anyone’s speech down.

    • June 8, 2016 at 3:49 pm
      Permalink

      Consider too that an attack on Watchtower headquarters would only serve to make martyrs of the victims. They would be elevated to Saint-like status. Not the way to operate.

      WS

    • June 9, 2016 at 11:48 am
      Permalink

      @Jesse – this is one reason “just get over it” is difficult. Tons of anger, resentment and frustration without outlet. And, I’m not judging these emotions as improper or invalid. The issue is finding a positive outlet to defuse or release those bundled-up emotions.

      As the videos in this series indicate, for so long we were in an environment that portrayed ideals–ideal people–and dealt with people who judged us for not living up to those ideals that even they couldn’t meet 100%. Some got “free passes” while others did not.

      We grew up in an environment where there were so many contradicting goals and objectives and a lack of how to resolve these conflicting goals. Many of these goals flew directly against human nature–the God-given nature.

      I encourage you to seek out professional assistance–someone whom you can talk out your frustrations with reflective understanding on specific sources of anger, or frustration. This will aid you in moving away from indirect influence of the Watchtower, because even though you are physically away from this group, it still operates on your psychological core and emotional core.

      It is one reason–though I dislike the severance from family–I don’t oppose shunning, because it actually helps individuals get further away from a toxic spew from the Watchtower. And, sometimes, these JWSurvey articles which focus on the events in Watchtower-land are not the best readings for persons experiencing the anger/frustration phase of leaving. It helps when the articles dissect the material to explain how we were “unduly influenced” but no help if it beats the same drum of angst on material the Watchtower keeps repeating over and over and over without offering a roadmap out of the anger-cycle.

      Now, the positive news?

      You’re no longer handcuffed to the stob the Watchtower used on you as a baby elephant. You are free to roam. You’re even free to pursue whatever dream you wanted before being derailed by Watchtower “icons” in your local congregation.

      The best payback in this case is becoming a better you than the Watchtower envisioned for you.

  • June 8, 2016 at 6:00 am
    Permalink

    Ah those memories years ago,
    When life was full and rich with woe,
    To serve Jehovah you were hated
    But ha ridicule is overrated.
    You saddled up and on your way
    To preach good news and pray and pray,
    That you will live forever more,
    And not be killed or starve before
    The kingdom of love arrived
    And you would keep your eyes on the prize,
    Your pain was nothing, your hurt was good,
    The Watchtower said it,
    So it must be true,
    But don’t fear because Jehovah cares for you.
    So hide your pain and have no pride
    Keep suffering he’s on your side.

    • June 8, 2016 at 12:08 pm
      Permalink

      You sound like you could be a poet…….. good that you didn’t let the WT squash your talent! ☺

  • June 8, 2016 at 6:06 am
    Permalink

    In regards to the varying temperament of Circuit Overseers. I had a CO once named “Slicing Dyson”. He was notorious for deleting appointed brothers and regular pioneers, thus his nickname “Slicing”. If a pioneer didn’t have a bible study they got deleted. When he visited halls and had the elder servant meeting usually at 7PM on a non meeting night, he would lock the doors to the Kingdom Hall so latecomers couldn’t attend, as if these elders and servants didn’t have jobs rush to the hall from tgat provided for their families, for a meeting that only took place twice a year. Talk about being Christ like.

    • June 8, 2016 at 2:50 pm
      Permalink

      Yes, we had one like that too, known locally as “Bob the Bulldozer.” When it was announced to the body that we were getting him next, most of the older elders groaned in pain. One of them later said to me, “Bob may be a bulldozer, but we have to replant the roses he uproots after he’s been through.” Actually, in hindsight I’m glad I met him because he contributed a big way to my awakening. Bob the Bully more like.

      • June 8, 2016 at 3:56 pm
        Permalink

        An abrasive (and seemingly corrupt) CO contributed to my awakening as well. The kind of guy who would lie right to your face and not even flinch. Must have been his version of theocratic warfare.

        This is really sort of funny: we had him back when Facebook was just starting to get popular. He said that if any elder or servant or members of their household had a FB account they would be deleted. He then said that he had an account under a fake name to see who he could catch.

        WS

  • June 8, 2016 at 8:32 am
    Permalink

    Great article Covert Fade. A concise summary and comments on a possible productive life wasted on a covetous, time bandit cult.

    Hopefully, many active or fading Jehovah’s Witnesses that visit this site will come to the same conclusions that were summarized in the article. The Almighty Sovereign of the Universe does not want anything from his human creation other than love; which happens to be the first and most important of the Ten Commandments (which is why it is listed first).

    God Almighty does not expect anyone to have loyal love to a manmade organization of imperfect men. Sergei’s life shows what happens when a cult decides to control every aspect of a person’s life. “Serve Jehovah now, you have an eternity to follow your talents and dreams in Paradise Earth;” a hope that will never be realized in your lifetime.

    Persecuted for his “faith” in the faulty interpretations of imperfect men (the Governing Body of the Watchtower Corporation), we see Sergei missing out on a productive fulfilling life, spending five years in prison, losing his father, losing contact with a friend who has left “the TRUTH”, working at a slavish blue collar job for a dictatorial supervisor who demands more of his time than his religion allows, and finally, to add insult to injury, he is expected to die from an operation that requires him to refuse blood. What pathos, a wasted life built on false hopes and promises but Sergei has persevered and “fought the fine fight for the faith”. Or has he?

    What is even more saddening is the fact that this drama (bad acting set aside) typifies the Jehovah’s Witnesses cult to a tee. In answer to the statement, “Even if this were not the Truth it is still the best way of living” all Jehovah’s Witnesses need only to ask Sergei. Oh, sorry… he died; disappointed, discouraged, disgruntled, disillusioned, and unfulfilled. To bad, so sad. Hypothetically speaking, if he could travel back in time, knowing how his life turned out, would he do things differently? We would certainly hope so.

  • June 8, 2016 at 9:10 am
    Permalink

    Many years ago I was told by a fellow witness that we had to suffer if we wanted to gain everlasting life. That we had to give up things that we loved and had to make sacrifices to be approved for the new system.

    Why? God made the beautiful earth for us to enjoy, he made music, he made people who have wonderful personalities different from ours so that we could talk and reason with them and see a different perspective.

    But the witnesses cannot enjoy this earth, they cannot develop their talents for fear that they will not work hard for the corporate religion.

    They must shun anyone who does not think like them or act like them and who tells them that perhaps the witness religion has some flaws.

    All in all it becomes a life of waiting, not enjoying the great things that God gave us to enjoy, not allowing oneself to manifest and celebrate their own talents because that would be prideful and would be selfish. They must put the corporate religion first.

    So many people unfortunately never realize that their lives have passed them by. I wasted so many years telling myself that it didn’t matter if i passed up a scholarship or did not play on a sports team or did not take that holiday because of the convention coming up, or did not talk to my non witness family, all because I would be in the new system and could enjoy myself then – in the future – in a different world.

    Pretty presumptuous on my part to think firstly that just because I called myself a witness and attended meetings I would be saved and would be in the new system and pretty presumptuous to think that if I was not a witness I would not be saved.
    I was not charitable, I did not volunteer at soup kitchens, I did not help others in need other than to go to their homes on saturday morning and judge them unworthy for salvation because they did not accept the magazines.

    I finally freed myself from the shackles, although the scars do still exist and the pain from the shackles still manifest themselves from time to time because of losing lifetime friends and close family to this religion.

    I finally realized that in order to be a spiritual person suffering was not mandatory, but that suffering happens and affects all people and bad things happen to all people, but along with the suffering there should be moments of joy from experiencing life and living life and that God wants us to live our lives and develop our talents and just as Jesus did, talk to all people and just try to be happy.

    I was not happy as a witness. How could I be? I was constantly told that everything was bad – holidays – higher education – playing organized sports and the list goes on and on. Being a witness was an experience from which I learned to never let anyone tell me not to enjoy things which God made me to enjoy, because these moments of happiness are always interspersed between times of unhappiness and even tragic events.

    I feel bad for the witnesses who put everything on hold for the new system – who sacrifice everything for a religion that equates itself with God. Who feel that they cannot enjoy this life because something way better is in store for them. I just cannot believe that God would want people to be unhappy and even shun other people.

    I do feel that God has a plan for me in the future and I definitely try to now live my life as a charitable person and try to help others when I can but also have realized that God has given me this life and that is a great gift for me.

    • June 8, 2016 at 11:03 am
      Permalink

      @ Rob

      Very well stated and very true. If only our ex- brothers and sisters would see the TRUTH about the “truth”. Well there is always hope that someday they will do research, without the fear of men (Governing Body) thus seeing through this veil of deception and deceit.

    • June 8, 2016 at 4:14 pm
      Permalink

      Rob, you just summarised my whole life, thank you. It’s great to be alive (and free.) Rock on!

    • June 9, 2016 at 2:44 am
      Permalink

      @ rob, it seems so backwards to me that Witnesses go to such great lengths to tell people how wonderful the earth is, and our bodies, and nature. All evidence that we were designed by God to enjoy life on earth and not in heaven.

      All evidence of his great love for us.

      We are not supposed to suffer now to learn to be angels. This is not what Jehovah wants for us, for he is a happy God who wants us to enjoy life with our families.

      This belief is supposedly at the core of Witness doctrine.

      But, yet this same God asks us to defer every normal human goal and desire, to deny our presumably God-given talents, and constantly recommend that others do the same?

      To what end?

      THE END, obviously, but once you realize that isn’t the unassailable truth you’ve been told it is, the sacrifices demanded are not only meaningless, they are also harmful and cruel.

    • June 10, 2016 at 9:21 am
      Permalink

      It’s like hitting yourself in the head with a hammer… because it’s going to feel SO good when you stop.

  • June 8, 2016 at 9:40 am
    Permalink

    CF, Really excellent analysis and deconstruction of this bit of propaganda from the WTBTS.

    I think it was particularly effective the way you kept referring to your thesis: “Even if this were not the Truth, this would still be the best way to live” and allowed the account to answer for itself, a resoundingly obvious, “No!”

    That being said, I think we could also ask the question: “Even if this IS ‘the Truth,’ would this still be the best way to live?”

    My experience shows that the answer to that question is also a firm negative. What kind of God would require such things of his faithful followers? Not one worthy of my worship.

    The plain fact is this: the leadership of the WTBTS do not represent “truth” or any creator worthy of following. Their teachings and practices destroy lives and breakup families all for the sake of their own selfish gain.

    The members of the Governing Body repeatedly demonstrate that they are paranoid believing that the world is “out to get them,” when the fact of the matter is that the majority of humans could not care less about their religion. The few governments that have “persecuted” the JWs have either done so because of destructive behavior which the religion has brought on its members, or because those governments were persecuting many groups.

    The Governing Body members are clearly deluded, believing and forcing their followers to believe ideas with no basis in reality. Their behavior shows them to be mental ill. Anyone that follows them will inevitably exhibit the same traits: paranoia, delusional thinking, depression and abusive behavior towards others.

    This is why it is so important that those of us that have left educate ourselves on the methods of manipulation that were used on us. It’s an important part of our healing process and can perhaps help us help others that have faded or our beginning their escape from the clutches of this high-control, authoritarian religion.

    Let’s review: It’s a cult!

    • June 9, 2016 at 3:26 am
      Permalink

      @Oubliette, you ask what kind of God would require such things of his faithful followers?

      And then you conclude: not one worthy of your worship.

      I have said this to my husband many times of late and all he has heard is blasphemy and apostasy, as he is still all in and with blinders on.

      I have said to him: this person they are telling us is God. This person who demands these cruel sacrifices, this cannot be the same Creator who loves us.

      And if he IS the true God, and they have got it right, and he is simultaneously heartless and cruel and also supposedly the epitome of love, justice and wisdom and this is the way he treats us –

      If he constantly takes from us the basic things that would make us happy now and says that loyalty means we should give them up willingly and not even miss them, then I don’t want to serve that God.

      Not even if he IS eventually going to reward me with everlasting life in heaven or on earth.

      No thanks! The price of entry is too high.

      I’ll take my one short regular human life span and make the most of it, thank you very much!

      Even if I were to be proven wrong and the end is real and nearer than I believed and I will die for my so-called lack of faith, so be it.

      I’m taking a stand for my belief that the God they are selling is not worthy of my devotion.

      But it still pains me that we have this rift, my husband and me, because I do love this man that I married more than anyone I have ever known. And if we will not have forever together, like I once wholeheartedly believed we would, and daily anticipated, I wish we could find a way to be in sync again about the life we have in the here and now. :-(

      • June 9, 2016 at 4:30 am
        Permalink

        There is a lot of effort put in to making us believe that Jehovah (as described by the WTBTS) cares about us as individuals. We are constantly told to cultivate a close personal relationship with him through prayer and to have earnest belief that he hears those prayers.

        We are also told that he can see into our hearts and minds and he knows our emotions and thought patterns.

        Those of you who have followed my comments know that I stopped going to the meetings when my husband had a change in his hope of living on earth and told me that he is now of the anointed heavenly class.

        Ok, yeah, whatever.

        Everyone I’m in contact with offline in the real world keeps telling me that it is foolish to lose out on my reward because I don’t like the path Jehovah has chosen for me/us.

        But is it?

        I mean, really? Even within the framework of their belief system (which I have since abandoned) it stinks to high heaven!

        Because I can’t accept it.

        That is true. I literally can’t accept it.

        I cannot wrap my mind around it.

        I cannot believe that a God who loves me and knows me, and knows how long I waited and prayed for a love like ours, a marriage like ours, would let me have it for a brief time and then reveal to us both that our union is to have an expiration date determined by him when he takes my husband to heaven while I remain behind on the earth.

        Presumably to start over with someone else, I guess?

        Everyone says: but what if your husband died? Wouldn’t you remarry? What if he was unfaithful and you decided to get a scrptural divorce? Wouldn’t you move on with your life?

        Yes. Of course I would.

        But those are not equivalent scenarios. Not at all.

        If my husband was a jerk who mistreated or abused me, or dishonored our marriage by sleeping around, of course I would be happy to move on.

        But he is loving and kind and devoted to me.

        If he were to die due to accident or illness, also, no choice but to move on. Stuff happens to everyone.

        But the difference no one ever wants to address or acknowledge when I confront them is this: JW doctrine teaches that Jehovah chooses each individual that will rule with Christ in heaven.

        He calls them personally.

        So that means that Jehovah called my husband and chose to separate us, even though he knows that I would not be able to accept it?

        Even though he knew the level of my disbelief and disillusionment would be so great that I would not be able to serve him in the way that he has commanded through his one approved channel.

        But my inability to worship him in the prescribed way inevitably lead to my death, right?

        If he knows me, he would have foreseen this.

        One doesn’t even have to be God to observe a close friend or family member and know whether or not your actions will hurt them.

        We make choices all the time and refrain from actions like lying or adultery because we know these actions will cause irreparable damage to our relationships.

        Jehovah (as described) would have to know that anointing my husband would cause irreparable damage to my relationship with him.

        Irreparable.

        So what thought follows then?

        He decided that I was expendable after a lifetime of service and sacrifice and hopes and dreams deferred?

        As you would expect, not one person has had any satisfying answers for me.

        Except that I should adjust my viewpoint.

        If one more person tells me to watch the Important Reminder video, I swear to God….

        I have been told to focus on my individual relationship with Jehovah and ignore my husband’s delusion. And I have been told that even though Jehovah plans to take this husband from me, surely he will see to it that I get a better one in the new system.

        I have been told that I think my husband is the best I can do, but if I am faithful and loyal, Jehovah will prove me wrong in a spectacular way!

        Even if I do simply brush my husband’s new belief about his destiny aside as a delusion, it is still a delusion inspired and supported by the JW belief system.

        And no one is willing to talk about that at all!

        I don’t believe it is true, but I keep coming back to what it would mean for me and my relationship with Jehovah if it was true.

        What if it was the truth? Would this still be the best way of life?

        Continuing to serve the God who would separate me from the man I want to spend forever with out of fear I will be destroyed otherwise? Going through the motions and routines of coerced and practiced ‘loyalty’ in the hopes that the same God who is taking my husband will give me a new and better one some time in a hazy and indefinite future?

        Yeah, sure. Sign me up!

        I keep telling everyone that it’s not even about whether my husband’s hope changes back or whether he wakes up one day and decides he was wrong.

        I have still rejected the belief system that created and supported the delusion. It is part of how I came to recognize the doctrines as false, and I cannot come back from that.

        • June 9, 2016 at 3:39 pm
          Permalink

          ..the same principle applies to all who are married to a jw if they personally can no longer be a part of the religion. I’m out but my husband is still in. It’s a bit hard to take when I think that he believes that I’m going to die at Armageddon whilst he supposedly lives forever. How can he accept that I am good enough for him but unacceptable to Jehovah?? In their way of thinking I deserve to die because last year I had a Christmas tree and excercised my right to vote in the general election. It’s pathetic.
          I left the religion when I discovered my autistic son is homosexual. He was age 15 at the time. I couldn’t bear the thought of him being alone for the rest of his life and couldn’t accept that he was doomed to die at Armageddon. My first reaction wasn’t one of repulsion, shock or shame, it was omg if he’s going to die at Armageddon I can’t abandon him and let him die alone. I’ll die with him! I’ve since realised that it’s all bs. Yet it hurts me that they can bury their heads in the sand and rely upon Jehovah to see something in my heart that will redeem me. I’m no better or worse than any other human. I don’t believe in much if anything now! Why are they so blind and gullible? Why can’t they be moved with the natural compassion that we should feel for our family members and close loved ones and feel as I did about my son and choose me? Family should come before religion.
          I have come to the decision that I am worth more than that! If, after hearing the programme of talks and videos at this coming District Convention, the attitude of my adult jw children and my husband leans toward shunning me then I will walk away from them and start a new life for myself.
          We have a holiday booked prior to convention and already I’m thinking…’will this be the last holiday I take with my husband?’ I truly hope that it doesn’t come to that. I never believed it when worldy people would say that jws split families apart but I know for sure now that it’s true. I just hope that it’s not true for my family.

          • June 9, 2016 at 4:48 pm
            Permalink

            You truly sound like a kindred spirit, Imgonaburn. I would have made the same choice if I had a homosexual child.

            I have known and befriended far too many homosexuals to believe it is something they could or should suppress.

            Of all people I have known, homosexual and heterosexual alike, I have seen people who were promiscuous and unable to maintain stable relationships.

            It does seem better to be in committed and monogamous relationships and for children to have two parents who love them.

            But I have seen no superiority in families with one man and one woman.

            And of parents, same-sex couples rarely have children by accident. They have or adopt children mindfully and intentionally.

            I would put my family first also. Which is why it hurts me so much for me to see that my husband believes he was chosen and I was not and he’s not just as heart-broken at the thought as I am.

            Why is it not a complete non-sequitur that he can continue to adore me, and know that I am a good and loving person, but also believe that God has rejected me?

            How can he accept that God made us so predictably human, but that the same God would punish us for not being uncharacteristically transcendent?

            Even if I believed, I would not want heaven if my husband could not come.

            I ask myself every day if this means I love him more than he loves me.

            I’ve asked him too. He says it doesn’t. He says he’s taking the long view of what is best for us eternally and my view is too narrow and too human.

            Oh. Ok.

            Part of what I always loved about him even while we were both in is that he was on the more lenient and less conservative side in all things.

            He’s a little bit of a bad boy and a little bit of a rebel.

            He used to joke with me and say: if we ever get into trouble, let’s do it right and do it together. I never want to be without you.

            And I was always the straight man who said: let’s not get into trouble so we never have to make that choice.

            And now this: idealogically divided and I didn’t even do anything wrong.

            Punished and facing exclusion same as if I had.

          • June 10, 2016 at 3:07 am
            Permalink

            I am in similar position .im woken up .wife still in.as you say .one of my sons is gay and my brothers are not jws. Id rather be with family than with people who would treat you as dead just because of differing beliefs…ive been in 50 years now 72 but am free from mind control and ok with jesus and new life its so hard tho when partner is still trapped..this convention will be my last ive told my wife.

          • June 10, 2016 at 11:27 am
            Permalink

            @Imgonaburn
            BTW, voting has been relegated to a conscience matter per w99 11/1 pp. 28-29 Questions From Readers. They technically cannot make trouble for you over your choice to vote in an election.

            WS

          • June 11, 2016 at 2:20 pm
            Permalink

            Right? about voting. That totally went under the radar.

            Someone (probably more than one person) has said that a large part of the reason for the switch to the digital library online is that it will be easier to make changes and pretend like it was always the new way.*

            It’s a lot harder to do when you can drag out a bound volume or print something from the cd library that disproves the new understanding. Flatly.

            But the direction things seem to be moving towards, where their reasons basically boil down to: ‘because we said so and we were appointed by God to speak for him’ is going to make that moot as well.

            I wonder if they are going to have new light that ‘corrects’ that article on voting or if they will ignore it a while longer so as not to draw attention.

            I’m sure most current witnesses never read it, or read it and totally discounted it because of the part where it says to consider whether it will stumble others who find out.

            That usually means ‘you can but you shouldn’t’ in JWspeak.

            *when I first read that months ago while I was just beginning to see through the GB lies, I thought that was an unfairly cynical view.

            I believed the story about simplifying to save money and make resources go farther to better advance kingdom interests.

            I believed they were genuinely trying to make it easier for more people to have instant access.

            I feel so gullible now.

    • June 9, 2016 at 6:10 am
      Permalink

      Excellent assessment Oubliette!
      Following the GB seems to fit the scriptural concept: “Can the blind guide the blind? Won’t they both fall into a pit?”

      WS

  • June 8, 2016 at 9:55 am
    Permalink

    For those who have wondered where the Watchtower gets its video “actors”, the link below provides some answers. It’s interesting to see how cult members wrestle with their consciences when they are assigned to play roles of bad boys and girls.

    The video’s main bad boy actually does a credible job in his portrayal of a Witness gone wrong. The brother of the prodigal son is the worst actor of the bunch. This guy would have made a great Nazi. The young Witness starlets must be developing a fan base of congregation fan boys who would like to date them and have them to do a reprisal of their video roles.

    The ‘behind the scenes’ video interview and “The Prodigal Returns” can be found here:

    https://www.jw.org/en/publications/videos/prodigal-son-returns/

  • June 8, 2016 at 11:01 am
    Permalink

    They don’t want the poor chap to learn the violin because they will never need the sad music coming from his gifted hands. Boy they do have to work so hard for their paradise. Good luck to them I’m sure bunkering down with the uneducated and ignoramus elite will be just fine and dandy. Just a precursor to eternity and not a panda in sight . I hope someone takes a panda into the bunker or there will be some very disappointed children when they emerge .Can anyone tell me if any point of what we believed was true? I’m at a loss to find anything credible now (apart from the bible). Was it all really such bunkem. I hope people will see how living in a bunker is not gods plan. In thought, but not fear and trepidation. cheers Ruthlee

    • June 8, 2016 at 1:02 pm
      Permalink

      @Ruthlee: I think they were right about there being no literal hell-fire; that Christmas has pagan origins (as do most things); and about religion having been largely a force for evil throughout history.

      Pretty much wherever their beliefs match what atheists have been saying for centuries, they are spot-on.

    • June 9, 2016 at 12:21 pm
      Permalink

      @ruthlee – I have reached a point on my spiritual journey that puts the Bible into a different perspective than the Watchtower taught (and many fundamental/evangelical groups).

      Most of what the Watchtower taught I now see reflects on their goal to earn money for Watchtower, Inc. [albeit wrapped in “the new system is so close”]. This includes their steering younger persons away from immediate marriage and bearing children to focus on full-time ministry to their steering new converts to drop all non-Watchtower pursuits and transform into Watchtower, Inc. “agents”.

  • June 8, 2016 at 1:09 pm
    Permalink

    Does someone want to give an opinion on ‘Jehovah chooses the elders’? I like to read what you’re all thinking.

    My own view is that this is a piece of false modesty. An elder might like to think he was not appointed by men, but that God did. Are they forgetting Jesus telling them not to lord it over others, or that they are not masters of anyone’s faith?

    Does this belief in being appointed by holy spirit give these ones the viewpoint they are above, and better than, anyone else?

    Thanks, Covert, for starting the ideas rolling.

    • June 8, 2016 at 2:32 pm
      Permalink

      From a biblical point of view the answer, in my opinion, is no.
      The apostles were directly chosen by Christ and then appointed within the congregations as the older men no doubt to feed the new sheep, others would join them to be elders and then assist with congregation activity.
      Paul made the point to Timothy not to “hastily put your hands upon a man’ indicating responsibility and likely Eldership.
      That certain men would ‘slip in’ or ‘like the best seats’ shows that Holy Spirit appointments don’t happen and especially after the apostles died.
      Hence Christingdom was eventually born.
      For Witnesses to say they are appointed by Holy Spirit is in fact a falsehood similar to other churches.
      Furthermore even if a person was to be appointed by Holy Spirit it does not guarantee continued faithfulness.

    • June 8, 2016 at 2:45 pm
      Permalink

      The reason I believe the Jehovahs Witnesses say Elders are appointed by Holy Spirit is for ecclesiastical authority.
      Holy Spirit for instance appointed Watchtower leaders ‘over all the masters belongings’ in 1919.
      Either they are mistaken or the Holy Spirit is a lair.

    • June 8, 2016 at 2:56 pm
      Permalink

      If the 1919 appointment is false, as it surely is, then Watchtower is guilty of misleading the entire worldwide brotherhood into a false teaching.
      The alternative is that God is a liar.
      Never once, on any occasion, has the Watchtower admitted it’s ‘mistakes’ and apologised.
      1914
      1919
      1925
      1975
      2000
      and counting. . .

      • June 8, 2016 at 4:59 pm
        Permalink

        At the district convention prob 7 years ago I attended in Kamloops BC, brother lett from the platform outright apologized about 1975 and said they were wrong. Shocked the entire audience.

        • June 9, 2016 at 12:35 pm
          Permalink

          I guess I was there too!

      • June 8, 2016 at 11:41 pm
        Permalink

        Yes, thanks. At Pentecost everyone received holy spirit – men and women. John the Baptist was scathing about the Scribes and Pharisees who ‘seated themselves in the seat of Moses’. Jesus said we only have one leader and one teacher.

      • June 10, 2016 at 1:17 am
        Permalink

        To Gary: The WT wants everyone to “REPENT” and show remorse for their sins and apologize. Yet, Never, I repeat NEVER has the WT ever apologized for the horrendous false prophecies and harm they have done to the flock by pursuing a course of selfishness and falsehood. All those false dates I guess just keep “OVERLAPPING” each other! lol

    • June 8, 2016 at 4:55 pm
      Permalink

      Jehovah not Jesus nor the Holy Spirit choose elders or ministerial servants. I say this because there have been, for example, a kgb agent who infiltrated a congregation became and elder and had the other elders arrested. Did Jehovah appoint him through HS when God cannot do bad?

      Young ms who party hard and lead double lives… Does Jehovah choose them? Yet they are appointed.
      Pedophiles that go untouched and undisciplined yet serve for years and years… That’s not God nor Jesus not HS.

      Here’s what really appoints a person:
      1). Above the congregation avg. in hours
      2). Stellar meeting attendance
      3). Happy, subservient attitude

      You display those three things and you get appointed plain and simple. It’s bull shit!!

      • June 9, 2016 at 7:22 pm
        Permalink

        Because of the way the organization operates, about 80% of all elders appointed are simply organizational yes men. They are typically spineless moral wimps who will simply follow what they are told whether it be for the good or for the bad of the congregation (Ex 23:2?).

        About 10% are power hungry and want to lord it over others and that fuels their drive to have their position (Matt 20:25). And about 10% really want to help congregation members and serve them (Isa 32:2).

        Of course these are general statistics based on my experience. The mix in any one congregation is a crap shoot. Thus you may end up with a really loving body or a really aweful one. But either way the cult influence still exists.

        And they are decidedly NOT appointed by Holy Spirit.

        WS

        • June 9, 2016 at 11:33 pm
          Permalink

          That’s been my experience too. Elders will follow the secret rules set out in secret letters rather than do what the scriptures tell them.

  • June 8, 2016 at 3:34 pm
    Permalink

    Excellent article CF,

    I think that’s why there is so much depression & anxiety in the cult. So much sickness & paranoia from what I experienced because its constantly reminding to always dwell on the negatives in life like;

    The end is sooooo close.
    We don’t want to make Jehovah sad.
    The governments going to turn on religion.
    We must pack a go bag or find a basement to hide in until they come.
    When the authorities come after us, pray repetitively.
    We don’t want to practice what is pagan like anything that unites families. (because that’s showing favour to satan).
    Satan rules the world.
    The signs are there, the world is falling apart.
    No point having children in this system.
    Don’t pursue an education or career, there’s no point.
    If life is going good for you, you must be doing something wrong because satan is not attacking you.

    Argh, I feel depressed just writing this.

    • June 9, 2016 at 7:25 am
      Permalink

      @ Grace

      Yep, it’s the old FOG ploy/plan implemented once and for all time. It never changes Fear, Obligation & Guilt.

      Everything you mentioned is absolutely true. How many lives have gone unfulfilled in pursuit of talents, the joys of family and having children forgone, and having an education that will serve to be employed comfortably in a descent paying career abandoned. To what end, to what purpose?

      The answer is uncomplicated if Jehovah’s Witnesses would just open their hearts and minds and simply “see”.

      According to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society nothing in this life is worthwhile, “the world is passing away and so is its desires”, wait for Jehovah and the New System where the ‘real life’ awaits.

      Oh, and while you’re waiting for that New System cold call the people at their homes and ‘sell’ our message of impending doom and salvation by works and our literature. Oh, don’t forget asking for a contribution.

      None are so blind as those that REFUSE to see.

      • June 9, 2016 at 3:41 pm
        Permalink

        Big B,

        I remember back when I was trying to witness to my sister & I was trying to use the doom & gloom message to plead to her sensitivities. But she responded back with; “but I try not to dwell on the negative things going on in the world because I have enough to worry about with keeping my family together”.

        Then it dawned on me what Jesus had said about “his load being light”. I feel like the load is not light with this cult & I was just loading her with stuff that she wasn’t able to cope with. Not everyone has the strength of mind to worry constantly about the world & its dramas or even be in a position to fix it. Ramming end-times down someones throat doesn’t fix the world. Besides it’s not healthy & I was not in a healthy place myself. I was depressed.

        I realised looking back on that conversation, that I can’t fix the world by fearing her into becoming obligated to slave for the 7 little dwarfs in NY, she had her family to worry about.

        And me too, all that I can do is concentrate on making my world a safer place by being “spiritual” & being spiritual to me is being the best possible humanitarian that I can be. I always like the line in the movie “Pay it forward” or what Jesus tried to simplify the overloaded sheep with; “Love God & Love your Neighbour”.

  • June 8, 2016 at 7:15 pm
    Permalink

    Looks like the theme of this drama is give everything you have of value to us your talents your freedoms your relationships and in the end your very life and it will all be worth it in the end because you get to live in the fictonal paradise. All I can say is thank God I woke up before I let them take anymore life from me, I am so glad I left.

  • June 8, 2016 at 9:45 pm
    Permalink

    I enjoyed the summary and have a few observations to make. I was disfellowshipped eleven years ago and have not set foot in a Witness gathering for six years now. I’m glad to be out and free. Still, there are a few Witness tenets that I still believe in because they accord with my own personal beliefs.

    I refuse to salute any nation’s flag or sing its national anthem. I will stand out of respect when the colors are presented but that is as far as I will go. I agree with Albert Einstein’s sentiment that nationalism is “the measles of mankind” and that it has done irreparable harm to the human family. Therefore I have nothing to do with patriotic ceremonies or sentiments. My job as a school teacher finds me in positions where flag salute ceremonies are commonplace. I stand quietly and respectfully, but won’t place hand over heart or recite the words. Since I don’t make a big deal out of this, I have never encountered any problems from school officials.

    With respect to blood transfusions, I have fortunately never been in a position where one was called for. Should that occasion arise, I probably would insist on an alternative unless it can be shown that the transfusion is the only way to negotiate the medical crisis. There are still many problems associated with the use of blood and I think it wise to use it only as a last resort and not a first or routine one as is often the case.

    Shunning works both ways. I don’t go out of my way to greet Witnesses who do not wish for it. I don’t care what reasons they have for shunning me. If they don’t want my company, then I certainly don’t want theirs. A few Witnesses I knew have maintained their ties with me and that has been good. Most severed our relationship and while it was difficult at first, I have moved on with no regrets. The loss is theirs, not mine.

    I can relate to Sergei’s loss of a satisfying and creative life as a musician. I sacrificed a career in science and engineering which would have given me much happiness. However, before I left the organization, I returned to college and earned degrees that allowed me to enter the teaching profession and that has opened other doors of achievement for me. When congregation elders questioned my decision to go back to school, I told them that God had given me my life to spend as I saw fit and their interference was not wanted. That ended the discussion.

    The sad thing about the Sergei videos is that most Witnesses will swallow their poisonous message hook, line and sinker. What they have chosen to forget is that whether their hopes of a paradise earth are realistic or not, our current lives are transitory and ephemeral and should be lived with all the gusto they can have. That is something a “happy God” would want most for his children, not the joyless, ascetic ones the Watchtower imposes on its adherents.

    • June 9, 2016 at 5:13 am
      Permalink

      What is mind-boggling to me is this: when my husband first told me of the change in his hope, I rejected it outright and instantly.

      But I have been a good and model JW for my entire life, so when he said, let’s talk to the elders about it, I also did what a good wife would do and I went.

      Ok, back to the mind-boggling part: their direct counsel was to make the most of our lives together now. Don’t miss any opportunities to make memories and show each other our love and devotion. Travel, spend time with loved ones, spend more time with each other doing things we enjoy.

      Don’t focus on the future and what will happen when the end comes and whether life in paradise will or won’t be the future we imagined together.

      Wait? What?

      I’m confused.*

      Focus on the future? Don’t focus on the future? Live your best life now, no don’t, make any sacrifice necessary to serve Jehovah.

      What the hell?!

      *I’m not really confused, but I do have great difficulty with the constantly conflicting advice and counsel.

    • June 9, 2016 at 6:23 pm
      Permalink

      @Quendi:

      Blood transfusions have potential adverse effects/side effects/risks just like any other prescribed drug or medical procedure. One needs to evaluate these potential adverse effects/side effects/risks just like they would for any prescribed drug/medical procedure but the bottom line is that blood transfusions save lives despite any adverse effects/side effects/risks associated with it.

      Note that the Bible says nothing about blood transfusions or the adverse effects/side effects/risks of same. The JWs have however, developed their no blood transfusion doctrine from scriptures which state that blood is not to be eaten which is with regard to the blood from animals, not from humans (Genesis 9:4, Leviticus 7:26; 17:10, 12-14; 19:26, Leviticus 7:26-27, Acts 15:29); blood must be poured out onto earth, in reference to dead animals (Deuteronomy 12:23, 24).

      Even when meat is properly drained, there is still some blood in the meat, so anyone who eats meat, also eats blood.

      • June 10, 2016 at 12:39 pm
        Permalink

        Dee2, I agree that blood transfusions are useful, even life-saving, and that all patients must carefully evaluate their administration in each case. I merely say that they are often routinely administered without those risks being considered by either physician or patient. The dangers cannot simply be dismissed out of hand merely because a medical authority advocates the use of blood, and it is in light of this that I would want blood transfused as a last resort and not a first one.

        When one reads the Bible’s discussion on the handling of blood, it is clearly in the context of hunting, animal husbandry and ritual sacrifice. Those were the legitimate situations in ancient Israel and why proscriptions were given. They clearly were not meant to be interpreted for medical practice as the Watchtower has chosen to do so. So I agree with you when you criticize the Watchtower’s fanaticism about the blood ban it has imposed on its members.

        That must also be the reasoning applied to the words of the apostolic letter of the first century which was sent to all the known congregations of that time. Eating blood was a common practice–the mention of blood puddings and blood sausages in ancient writings make that clear–and the apostles and elders in Jerusalem wanted to remind fellow Christians that they would also do well to avoid such foods. This is still commonplace today in many lands and on the rare occasion when I was offered “black sausages” when traveling abroad, I politely declined. But it is also certain that first century Christians would never have thought about using blood in any medical context as that was inconceivable to them. The Watchtower’s irresponsible interpretation of the Bible’s words about blood usage is just one more egregious crime the organization is guilty of.

        • June 10, 2016 at 8:38 pm
          Permalink

          I am acquainted with several doctors and surgeons and they all see blood transfusions as a last resort. The days of blood simply being transfused as a matter of routine is a thing of the past according to these doctors. Also it is very unlikely that whole blood is transfused, except in extreme circumstances. Because of its value and limited availability, only the part of the blood needed is used during surgery.

          WS

  • June 8, 2016 at 10:57 pm
    Permalink

    They failed to portray segei’s abuse.

    If the database of alleged abusers were to be released and the true number known it would be the end for Watchtower (no wonder their hiding in bunkers while judging the rest of humanity with their ‘new light’ judgement message).
    Not necessarily because of the number of paedophiles associated with the Watchtower but the number of times it failed to report accusations to the authorities.
    Let me put it like this, someone has access to it.

  • June 8, 2016 at 10:57 pm
    Permalink

    My father left jws in the late 80s, early 90’s and watched his children grow up in the cult. last year i finally woke up. when i watch these videos and anti jw publications of sorts with him he finds no humor and sarcasm any more. So much sadness. Hes watched it all for so long, and hoped for decades it would fall. Yet, most family are at warwick, missionary, circuit work etc and i have little hope for the generation in front of me, my mother aunts and uncles and grand parents. The family has been so completely immersed for so many decades they would function so poorly at this point. the group is so child like and immature in nature im filled with embarrassment and sadness.

  • June 9, 2016 at 12:35 am
    Permalink

    So Sergei lives a life unfulfilled sacrificing his potential music career but Prince is lauded by the JWs as been one of their own and allowed to maintain his life and fame. Hypocritical much?

    • June 9, 2016 at 5:15 am
      Permalink

      I had that exact same thought, Cheryl.

  • June 9, 2016 at 7:10 am
    Permalink

    Wow, Spielberg beware! The “dot.org” has their very own summer blockbusters!

    What’s next? A video about a kid that wants to see the next Nemo movie and yet decides that it would be more fun to donate it to Watchtower?

    I think I’ll go to a convention this summer with a big bag of popcorn and some 3D glasses. With the budgets that they have for these films (hundreds of millions of dollars from New York property sales) they should be able to afford Adam Sandler soon.

  • June 9, 2016 at 8:33 am
    Permalink

    I still marvel at the fact that the dramas and presentations and videos shown at the conventions are so out of touch with reality and so overly dramatic and so unrealistic. And if someone on the stage did have a moment of lapse or a moment of anger at certain things that happened, they would suddenly and instantly have an epiphany and then all would be right and all would be forgiven and everything would go back to perfect.

    I used to chuckle when I would see a family on the stage and the children would rather go in service than to a movie or the park. And the parents would be gushing at how wonderful it was to have the privilege to serve the religion rather than pursuing a worldly career or education.

    Instead they should present reality – kids who don’t want to go in service. Parents who fight all the time because of financial difficulties. Brothers and sisters who gossip about everything and everyone in the cars during field service. Witnesses who drink to excess to try and numb the depression and anxiety of trying to keep the endless hours of personal study and making sure the watchtower was studied and underlined so that no one would see the pages of the watchtower unmarked and getting the children ready for the meetings week after week and making sure the children sat perfectly quiet in the meetings for fear they should distract anyone trying to listen to the endless drivel from the platform. The anxiety of having to cold call on strangers every saturday morning and the endless knocking on doors that would not open. Drinking to forget the unfulfilled dreams and wasted talents.

    Also, the ever so constant worry and constant looking over one’s shoulder wondering about anything that was said or done which was a little inappropriate, perhaps a dress a little too short, a brother unshaven, a joke that was a little risque, a comment made in passing about not agreeing with a particular sentence in the watchtower.

    Even more serious, the families torn apart by disfellowshipping, and throwing young children out on the street, and the suicides resulting from disfellowshipping, the cover ups of pedophiles, the ever changing doctrine, the inability to question anything in the watchtower, the control and manipulation of some power hungry elders…..

    This religion operates in an atmosphere of suspicion, everyone watches everyone to make sure that the rules are being followed. This is absolutely not how it is presented on the stage and not how it is presented to the unsuspecting world.

    • June 9, 2016 at 10:16 am
      Permalink

      Right on Rob!

      Can you imagine the horror of living in a “New System” (Paradise Earth) for eternity, if you’re fortunate to survive to the end of the Millennial Reign, with these back stabbing, snitching, stool pigeons?

      Talk about a living Hell; day in and day out, for eternity with the constant “lets watch how we walk and watch how we talk and stumble none in our ministry” attitude.

      Not my idea of a Paradise, how about you?

      • June 9, 2016 at 3:49 pm
        Permalink

        Rob,

        I couldn’t have put it better like you did. You expressed the secret thoughts that I had for long while I was in. Depressed & wondering why I never felt good enough.

        It’s funny how the depression lifts when you let it go & leave it behind you.

      • June 10, 2016 at 5:55 am
        Permalink

        An elder said to me .”we will all be elders in the new world.” I said but ive never wanted to be an elder ..went down like lead baloon..circuit overseer asked me how i like the broadcast…i said id rather watch a good john wayne western ….thats good now ill never make elder ..ha ha

      • June 10, 2016 at 5:55 am
        Permalink

        An elder said to me .”we will all be elders in the new world.” I said but ive never wanted to be an elder ..went down like lead baloon..circuit overseer asked me how i like the broadcast…i said id rather watch a good john wayne western ….thats good now ill never make elder ..ha ha

      • June 10, 2016 at 8:50 pm
        Permalink

        A comedian once complained about how the JWs keep coming to his door. He said that they keep asking him “But don’t you want to live forever?” His reply: “Not with a bunch of Jehovah’s Witnesses!”

        So true, so true.

        WS

  • June 9, 2016 at 8:48 am
    Permalink

    Wow. I’m going to the assembly in a few weeks. All this stuff is there? No matter. I’m here to enjoy life now. I am old. Over the last 56 years I have served in every possible positin in the congregation, from congregation servant to MS to elder to pioneering. And yes, I gave up everything secularly to do that. Got fired. Defrauded by brothers. Slandered. Looked down on. Restricted by the Overseer personally because he had a bug up his nose about me. I was voted the best public speaker in the USA, and best reader. I’m not. Just an an actor who sounds like the best speaker and reader. Acted in all the big dramas back when. Yes, been there done it. Now I attend all the meetings and make interesting and sometimes humorous comments that people constantly verbally validate. I won’t take a position of responsibility anymore. Too much politicking. I just like doing my stuff now. I decided I want the paradise early. My income is limited. I moved to the largest lake in the world. Everyday I bring coffee and plain donuts and just enjoy nature. Go for walks in the forest. As far as I am concerned, I am already in paradise. I no longer buy into the neurotics of others. I mind my own business. I do it alone. I go door to door yet. Love that. I don’t preach to people. I entertain them on their doorstep. I make it like its no big deal if we believe differently. I get into nice conversations. I will even change to a Russian accent or an Irish brogue as I talk to them. Make it fun. These are people with the same problems as anyone else.

    As I sit here now enjoying the blue sky and waters of the expansive lake, impressed by the green shoreline in the distance, with a light fog forming across the way, I could not care less about information coming out of New York that may be off the wall. If that stuff blows smoke up their pants, fine for me. I’m already in paradise. And I don’t see any bad people walking around. I see cordial people. We talk. All I say to them is: “Wouldn’t it be nice if the whole earth was this beautiful?” They with drooping appreciative eyelids nod and sigh. What’s so bad about my life? The past is unchangeable.

    • June 9, 2016 at 9:17 am
      Permalink

      Your outlook is refreshing and very positive and I agree that I also could care less now about anything that comes out of New York. But unfortunately I still have family with whom I live and who are very entrenched in the witness religion and who will probably now shun me because of my fading and celebrating holidays.

      I unfortunately cannot be an actor and cannot go in service to preach about a religion I no longer accept. I cannot be a part of a religion that on the surface looks shiny and clean but underneath is full of corruption.

      I wish it was as easy for me to think that I am already in paradise but the religion just wont allow me to leave without destroying my family ties. Certainly not paradise.

    • June 10, 2016 at 1:30 am
      Permalink

      Enrico: Like Louis Armstrong song says, “and I say to myself” it’s a wonderful world”.

      I am glad you are enjoying yourself like that. However going door-door and just talking with people for fun about a Religion or a belief that you don’t really believe yourself seems like a waste of time. That is why I stopped going door-door bc I did not believe the teachings so how could I teach that to others? Not judging you but after 56 years of disappointment I am glad you are having fun.

  • June 9, 2016 at 9:21 am
    Permalink

    In an alternative universe…

    Sergei pursues his career in music and becomes a world renowned violinist. He plays great violin concertos all over the world and makes his dad proud. He is moved and deeply grateful for the hard work his dad put in to support him financially and emotionally in making his dream come true. He makes a comfortable life for himself and moved with appreciate he ensures his dad is supported financially and emotionally in his old age.

    Not bound by social rules of the JWs, he makes friends of people from all walks of life. He is not judged by his friends based on field service and other ‘kingdom pursuits’ but rather by the content of his character as a human being.

    He meets the love of his life during one of his performances, marries and has four children. They all pursue higher education and have careers in sciences, arts and business. Sergei approaches retirement but has to undergo an operation. The doctor says he may need a blood transfusion during the op which means the chances of his survival is very high.

    Sergie lives well into his late 80s and early 90s. He is surrounded by his family and friends and passes away peaceful ‘old and satisfied with age’.

  • June 9, 2016 at 1:24 pm
    Permalink

    Hi guys

    this is a topic that concerns and touches me personally.

    I am one of those who “sacrificed” abilities, gifts, interests, talents, … on the altar of JW.Org-will to do their bidding and “enjoy the glorious ‘Privileges'” of “Full Time Ministry”.

    While still a child, I self-taught several musical instruments (no teacher, no lessons, no instructions) and got so good on one of them that I soon was able to perform publicly in front of audiences. While getting better, I requested my folks (who had become JW around this time) to get me a teacher or send me to music school, bec. I felt this was my calling – irresistibly. While other kids were playing around, I was seriously practising and honing my skills as a solo instrumentalist. My music teacher in school who was an accomplished pianist urged me in the same direction (getting tutored and promoted). Alas – “This is not necessary, you don’t need a teacher, since you can teach everything you need yourself. Further, we don’t strive for ‘perfection’ or a high level of expertise anyways, all you need is just ‘getting by’ (= playing KD-Songs). Our main focus is ‘The Kingdom Work’, and spending too much time with other ‘unnecessary activities’ is a waste of time, and you are not going to become a musician anyways, since this is incompatible with ‘Theocratic Activities’ “. When my music teacher from school wanted to talk to my folks, they declined – “Not necessary, we know what he is going to say.”

    Other than that, I got several nat’l awards for various scientific research projects which I had undertaken, I won at reading contests, was a straight A-student … when my HS-teachers learned that I was not going to University after HS, again – uproar, request to talk to my folks to ask them “How can you let such potential and talent go to waste” etc. To no avail; the “Kingdom came first”, we were not to “invest in a doomed and dying system”.

    So, I “humbly” shoved aside what was (and still is) the core essence of my true self at great mental cost, “humbly” learned one of those JW.Org-glorified “practical trades” that didn’t interest me in the least and was way below my abilities to support myself part time, “humbly” embarked on this “wonderful and blessed career”, the “Privilege” of “Pioneering”, suffering through endless hours of horribly dreadful door-to-door-preaching, often in rain and cold and during dreary days, being mocked and humiliated, even physically threatened by “enemies of the Truth” during many frightful hours of “Public Witnessing”, later to attend one of JW.Org’s “Elite Schools” and being ordered (“Privileged”) to come to Bethel, “humbly” toiling at various “Branch Offices” in several countries. What I have seen & experienced there, the sheer baseness and utter meanness of small-minded yet power-hungry individuals – there are no words to describe it. This went on, until I decided to pull the brake, quit Bethel and “Full Time Service”, and then had to face the unpleasant truth that (1) I was “middle-aged”; (2) didn’t have a solid academic education; (3) but a hefty number of years of JW.Org-servitude on my CV. Did the first 2 of those factors already make it extremely difficult to land a halfway decent job – no. 3 was the total killer. Nobody was going to hire a “sect nut”. I barely survived on fumes for a couple of years, doing all kinds of odd jobs until an unexpected “golden” opportunity came along to emigrate to a country where none of those factors really mattered, and now, all is well.

    And here is where my life deviates from that of poor and pitiful JW.Org-loyal Sergei: For the first time in my entire life, I have a job I really like and can identify with (and – on a side note – is paying very well). After having drastically reduced (by now: Lowered to zero) my activities for JW.Org by relinquishing all “privileges” and “assignments”, I “shamelessly” and “selfishly” revived my musical ambitions, intensely practicing and getting ready for upcoming concerts; I have published a series of sheet music of arrangements of classical music plus my own compositions, some of which have become best-sellers and one of which won the 1st award of a nat’l contest for new compositions a few years ago. I am also fine-tuning my skills in biblical Hebrew and Greek, in bold defiance of the JW.Org’s central committee’s directives given in the Sept. 2007-km (FADS does not approve of JW to dabble in the biblical languages, for fear they might discover the “true quality” of the NWT).

    Yes, I am NOT going to end my life in sad misery and gloomy unhappiness in abject and dull JW.Org-submissiveness, completely wasting my God-given talents and abilities, letting them go to the dogs and down the drain. I know that I cannot get back all those “lost years”, but here is the thing:

    The big “What if”-question. Who knows how our lives would have turned out in an “alternate reality” in which we would have solely followed “our heart’s calling” by fully engulfing ourselves in what we would have considered “the realization of our full potential”? What if a musically gifted, yet sensitive young person for example cannot deal with the stress and the rigors of academia, the competition and the pressure to “be the best or be nobody” in the entertainment and concert world? Many unexpected and unforeseen factors can be real show stoppers even for the most talented and gifted geniuses. Living one’s dream could soon turn out to be living in a nightmare. All those derailed and now homeless university professors, research scientists and also artists are proof thereof.

    Hence, I do not consider all those JW.Org-centered years, all the anger, frustration, privations, sacrifices … as a waste, or lost time. Those years have made me what I am today; they have taught me many things, among which is “not quitting”; dealing with, and enduring highly unpleasant situations; going through life with open eyes and heart, treating other human beings with true care and respect, for we would not want others to suffer from our hand what we had to undergo under the iron rule of the heartless JW.Org and its devoted minions. I am a “stable” person, at peace with the world and myself. I cannot say nor predict what would have become of me had I embarked on the path of the Fine Arts; the universe is an ocean of endless possibilities.

    I still have a number of years ahead of me, and I am going to make the best out of them by USING – not suppressing and shoving aside – my God-given abilities, for the benefit and greater good of all. It’s not too late yet, nothing is lost” or was “in vein”, and it is my conviction that I still can live out to the full what 1 Peter 4,10 is referring to: “Each of you should use WHATEVER GIFT you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” – “Gift” = “Charisma” in Greek; any “talent” God gave us and which we are to use for the benefit of fellow humans. That’s my goal now, and I believe I can do more good during one hour of doing this, as compared to decades of dull and fruitless “door-to-door-preaching” with 80% of the householders not opening, and the other 20% telling us to go to hell.

    Greetings,

    Free Thinker

    • June 9, 2016 at 1:57 pm
      Permalink

      your story is amazing – thanks for sharing.

    • June 9, 2016 at 3:31 pm
      Permalink

      @ Free Thinker: I love this post. You do indeed seem stable, balanced, and well-adjusted. I really appreciate your thoughts.

      I have thought much the same, in that we can’t really know what the road not traveled would have held for us.

      And not every individual who denied their talents would have been a world-class artist/musician/athlete/scientist. (Your passion here)

      People have their dreams derailed for other lesser and greater reasons. To act like every person lost out on an opportunity to be great ignores the statistics.

      Thousands of people who are not witnesses never make it to the top of their field, even when they have all of the necessary encouragement and support one could hope for.

      So to think only in extremes that say you and all those you know would have been great is also unrealistic and leads to a lot of unnecessary bitterness and regret.

      I do agree with those who are upset because they feel like they were denied the chance to see what they might have become. Especially when it was not their choice.

      I was like you and I had parents who chose for me. But I don’t feel like wasting energy and emotion being angry with them for it.

      I know others in the organization and out who had it much worse than I did.

      But Bravo! to you for how spectacularly you have managed to salvage your dreams and make something more of yourself. I laud your accomplishments.

      I want to be like you when I grow up. ;-)

    • June 10, 2016 at 5:59 am
      Permalink

      Your post makes me wonder how such a intelligent and talented person like you was so easy influenced by people of lesser intelligence. I would say I am much less intelligent then you and less talented but was much less influenced by people. Got my first degree at 22 and my last at almost 40. I grew up a jw but always realized that it was just a suggestion not to go to college. They never said not to go. They obviously really discouraged it but it was never a disfellowshipping offence. I know I was considered not to be a spiritual person by most but I didn’t care about that. My point to all is do what you think is best for yourself. If you want an education get it. Yeah I got a lot of push back from elders etc… when I was in college but now I am laughing all they way to the bank. I am a sucker though, I have given a lot of money to my brothers who used to and still do say higher education is bad.

      • June 11, 2016 at 12:28 pm
        Permalink

        Hi Markie,

        I believe that getting caught up in spiritual deception is not a matter of “intelligence” or wittiness. The most intelligent and well-educated folks are in a cult, for example Mormons. As far as “secular/higher edu” is concerned, they are waaaay superior to JW – actually, they don’t compare, for as JW are outright and unapologetically opposed to higher edu, Mormons actively pursue, cultivate and even flaunt it. They run one of the best universities in the U.S.A. (BYU), their guys hold central positions in academia, admin, business, research etc., they are artists, actors, they develped one of the best computer network software of all times (NOVELL, from Provo in Utah – forget Windows, that’s a joke in comparison) and yet, they believe that a guy got magical glasses from an angel that enabled him to decipher ancient Egyptian texts, that the native Americans are descendants of the lost 10 tribes of Israel, that Heavenly Father dwells on a Planet called “Colob” and suchlike nonsense.

        Just look at our dear friend Lloyd Evans aka Cedars: He doesn’t strike me as particularly dim-witted (;-) that’s an intended understatement), and still he once used to march perfectly to the JW.Org’s drumbeat. So, what does that teach us? That even the smartest guys can be taken for a ride, if emotions get involved and the idealistic idea to be part of sth that is greater than oneself. There were highly educated and intelligent Nazis whose emotions got so whipped up that they got the better of them and fooled their “intelligence” so that they “reasoned” in a highly “intelligent” fashion in favor of the Nazi cause. Don’t ask me how this was and could be possible – it happened, and that’s why we need to distinguish between intelligence and the possibility of being spiritually deceived – both are not mutually exclusive. Maybe bec. “matters of faith”, “believes”, theology … are not exact sciences?

        • June 11, 2016 at 12:31 pm
          Permalink

          Clarification: I did not mean to say “the majority of intelligent and well-educated folks are in a cult …”, but “MANY intelligent and well-educated folks are in a cult …”. Just so there is no misunderstanding about that.

  • June 9, 2016 at 1:25 pm
    Permalink

    Dear John Cedars and Team.

    When I Google ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses’ a number of informative EX-JW websites appear. What are the chances of jwsurvey becoming one of them?

    • June 9, 2016 at 2:27 pm
      Permalink

      I hope I made myself clear. Jwsurvey seems to amass a good number of comments in such a relatively short period of time following a new article release. I think your readership would increase substantially once it starts appearing on the first page of Google with a search of ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses’ and comments as well would rise accordingly. It would simply be awesome indeed to see jwsurvey just above or below the jw website on the front page!

      • June 9, 2016 at 3:59 pm
        Permalink

        Keen jw,

        That’s what I have wondered for the whole time I have been on this site. It doesn’t come up in the first page of Google.

  • June 9, 2016 at 1:41 pm
    Permalink

    This video is disturbing on so many levels. I honestly can’t believe that I have to sit through this at the convention next month. I am trapped inside this organization because I raised my children to believe this garbage. I wish I can turn back the clock and tell them they can be and do anything they want in life. But now they are slaves of the organization and any negative comments from me or their father are met with very suspicious eyes. Now they are going to see a video that shows someone leaving “Jehovah” because he read some information about the organization that causes him to have doubts. This just proves that we can’t say anything significant to them about TTATT or we will probably never see our grandchildren again. This along with the Bunker videos just show how desperate the organization is getting to keep from people from leaving! What a disgrace!

  • June 9, 2016 at 3:50 pm
    Permalink

    Has anybody with loved ones still active jws dared to mention what’s in store for them at District Convention? Idk if I dare to bring it up tbh. After all, I could by doing so, supply them with further ammunition to use against me when the time comes for them to make their own decision on how they will react to such vile manipulation. It’s a tough one eh?

    • June 9, 2016 at 4:07 pm
      Permalink

      I’m even sort of tempted to tag along and actually attend the convention with them . So I can sit and frown/ give them ‘the look’ whenever something ridiculous is mentioned from the platform.
      I remember when my non jw mum used to attend the occasional meeting how I would squirm if anything derogatory was said during the meeting about ‘worldly’ people. I found it really uncomfortable and embarrassing. Maybe it’s my turn to make them all squirm?? It would be tricky for them to consider shunning me if I was actually present when it was suggested to them. I will give this some thought. Any suggestions or viewpoints on this are most welcome. I am not disfellowshipped nor have I been reproved because I left under a big cloud of dilemma. ( see previous posts above)

      • June 10, 2016 at 5:20 am
        Permalink

        Hey Imgonaburn. Me too. I plan to attend. I wasn’t going to, but I have said also that I have gotten a pass. I have not been disciplined at all.

        We’re in our 30s – a young couple, and tbh, I’m the more historically exemplary of the 2 of us.

        For those to whom spiritual ‘pedigree’ matters (I’ve always considered it both presumptuous AND ridiculous, so I never put stock in it), I married beneath me.

        My husband was not raised in the truth. He never pioneered. Never served where the need was greater. He wasn’t a ministerial servant when we got married. He has never even been to Bethel as a tourist!

        So, there were sideways glances when we got married anyway. People actually implied that maybe we were just trying to make things right as a result of an unwanted pregnancy.

        The elders actually called me into the ‘back room’ early in our marriage one Sunday when my husband was out of town. They had asked us as a couple a few times of we’d been improper, and they decided to ask me again as an individual.

        That’s a whole other story.

        The judgment! We weren’t pregnant. We waited like good JWs. I still know people were counting the months to see if I had a baby. I could see it on their faces at the hall.

        Once we celebrated our first anniversary, though. I was in the clear.

        Yay. :-/

        Personally, I picked a husband outside of all of the spiritual qualifications because I recognized years ago that at the end of the day when it’s just us at home, away from the congregation, I’m just a woman and he’s just a man.

        What mattered to me was how we related to each other as man and woman, first. How he treated me with respect and admiration. How he honored me and made it easy for me to honor him.

        I didn’t care about titles or service or family history.

        And I was sure he loved Jehovah, as much as anyone should.

        Anyway, I digress.

        Given the fact that some feel that I married ‘beneath me’ as it were, and now he claims to be of the anointed class, and our family is all elders and pioneers, etc. I am getting a pass for now. And I will be welcomed with open arms, I am sure.

        He’s actually getting more counsel and scrutiny than I am.

        It’s making him chafe a little. Honestly, I hope it chaps him raw if that will help him snap out of it!

        But, previously, prior to all of this, we have attended meetings and assemblies and quietly giggled at the ridiculous skits and dramas. Every time.

        This will be the first one we attend together since his change.

        I have to see if he is the same guy who jokes with me or if he feels the need to be more loyal and dignified now.

        I have said before. I really don’t know what to expect, but I have to see for myself.

        • June 10, 2016 at 6:10 am
          Permalink

          Your post reminds me of my wife and I. She was a pioneer and I just finished college. Her family wanted her to marry the handsome pioneer/bethelite. It’s funny the wonderful bethelite boy is long gone and beat at least two of his wives. Go figure.

        • June 10, 2016 at 7:36 am
          Permalink

          Fallingangel75.
          Hi, I think we do have a kindred spirit lol. You sound like a lovely caring person. I was wondering if you still attend meetings at all? I haven’t been to a meeting for 5 years now. So, one of the reasons that I need to consider when deciding if I should attend this convention is ‘will I be chancing sticking my head above the parapet?’ Like you, I have been given a pass and my conduct has been overlooked by cong elders. My husband has always been a bit wishy washy re jw rules n regs. I married him whilst he was only studying and not baptised. I had been a jw for 5 years before I met him. I wasn’t raised a jw I chose it as an impressionable 18 year old. I was baptised age 20 after leaving all my worldly traits behind – well most of them! ;-) I retained a somewhat wicked sense of humour. The others in my cong were always a bit wary n a little intimidated. I prob came across as ‘streetwise’ and worldly. The only brothers that dared ask me out were too worldly to get my attention and the spiritual ones were only brave enough to approach me because they thought they could control me so I was never going to marry a JW. I met my husband at work. I guess I could’ve been Sophia! I married him within 6 months of meeting him. He struck me as kind, gentle and the total opposite of my violent overpowering former bf’s (pre-jw). I was a reg pio when I met him! Anyway, I was df’d and pregnant on my wedding day. Unlike Sophia I didn’t have any family to shun me and chose to go bk to Jehovah after my honeymoon. My husband was soon baptised and our first baby was born, followed by 3 more children. We were caught up in the whole serve Jehovah whole souled and enjoy a spiritual paradise whilst doing so. But it was so hard!! We had only one or 2 friends who would include us. Our children were a handful. My 2 youngest boys had behavioural problems and were diagnosed with Autustic Spectrum Disorders. My eldest and youngest became T1 diabetic. My daughter is ok though. We didn’t have much time or energy for ministry so that impacted upon our reputation as weak. We were far from weak though!! Many many times the bros n sis would hurt us by passing cruel comments on our spirituality or failings as parents but we swallowed it and said nothing. I could tell you experiences that would make your blood boil! However, some of the elders knew we had a full plate. They blamed my husband for not being a good spiritual head. He was often counselled about it and was taken off being a MS. My eldest son and daughter are both married to jw and are highly regarded. My son is a reg pio and he and his wife travel all over the country with societies building and maintenance projects. My daughter is reg pio her husband is a MS. They are valuable in the eyes of cong elders. They all know that I smoke and swear and have become a different person now. If I went to the convention I’m sure some would be pleased to see me but most would avoid me. If I go I don’t want to mislead my family into thinking I’m going to return to Jehovah. If I’m there when all this nonsense is spat at them it will be impossible for them then to do what jws do best- deny to themselves that the instruction given doesn’t apply to them. That won’t be as able to easily ignore the counsel if they know that I know what’s been said. I think through writing this out that I will resist the urge to attend. Eugh the thought of sitting upright surrounded by people that don’t really understand the true meaning of ‘love’ makes me sick. No, even though I’ve been granted a pass, I can’t attend. I will question them all about it after the event and see how they respond. I’ve suffered through enough of their boring drivel to last a lifetime. I don’t need to hear any more…

    • June 11, 2016 at 10:19 am
      Permalink

      Unfortunately, the writer of the article seems to try to paint JW’s in a positive light. He states that: “Jehovah’s Witnesses is an international religious organization based in Brooklyn, New York” and “The books talk about how to have a happy life, what you can hope for, how to develop good relations with God and what you should know about God and its meaning.”

      As if the fact that they are based in the U.S. gives them credibility or makes them a mainstream religion. I live in the U.S. and there are plenty of cult-like religions besides just the JW’s. The writer’s comments about the contents of JW books, shows that he/she has done little reading of them. The description seems to have been pulled directly from Watchtower press releases.

      WS

  • June 10, 2016 at 2:52 am
    Permalink

    In the early days of Watchtower they maintained that the scriptures were written Only for those called to the heavenly calling. Full devotion to Jehovah God through consecration I.e. A complete giving one’s life to God, was for the purpose of running for the high calling. Watchower continued more or less with this same understanding when they came to believe the Great Crowd or Jonadab class would be those who inherited only an Earthly hope. They made a distinction then between those with and Earthly hope and those with the heavenly hope and the degree of devotional expectations of the two classes. Now Watchtower is imposing those same rigorous standards once only expected for those with a heavenly hope to those who have only an Earthly hope! So now it’s just as hard for a JW to gain a lesser reward for their faith as it was for those with the heavenly! Did God change the rules or was it Jehovah? My guess it had more to do with Watchtower leadership who are men, not God!

  • June 10, 2016 at 5:16 am
    Permalink

    As I’m reading the comments here I’m wondering if those posting them bothered reading the article. My experience has been that all within the org who aquire high positions had to have shown that they place the borg before scripture or natural love for others. When I look at Sergei I see a protector of child molesters and all around persecuter of those who came in looking for a relationship with God but instead wound up worshiping a printing company that pushes their editors as replacements for Christ as mediators between them and God. May their end come soon.

  • June 10, 2016 at 6:05 am
    Permalink

    Fallingangel75, as likeable as you paint your husband to be, and keeping in mind that I don’t know him, and as such I must take your word for that, and I do, where does he get the idea that “his heavenly hope” is fait accompli?

    If, and it is an enormous if, for someone who has such a good knowledge of the scriptures, he must know that he has received an invitation only, in fact the apostle Paul calls it a “token” (NWT). A token being, if you like, a ticket to some kind of event or show.

    If you have a token to a show or event, you may decide not to go, no one forces you to go. Jehovah is the same, no force, he has given you free will, and it is your choice, he doesn’t drag people kicking and screaming into becoming spirit beings to exist in the heavens if you don’t want to. What’s more if you decide not to accept the token (by not taking the emblems) nothing will happen to you and if you have an earthly hope to live with a gracious lovely lady that loves, you can.

    I have been a witness for a long time (faded now) and I have known people who have had “the calling” and left their spouses to do “higher things”.

    Again, you know your husband better than I, and you say he is not about to do that, which is good. But what he seems to be saying in a rather roundabout way is, that the relationship is coming to an end and it is not his fault because he has been “called” by Jehovah, not his fault and there is nothing he can do about that, it is Jehovah’s “fault”.

    There has been a huge upsurge in emblem takers in the last few years, and, after a long lull of virtually no new partakers, all of which seems rather odd. Keeping in mind that all these new ones can offer no proof that the “calling” is genuine, including the members of the GB. We can not test their claims of authenticity, and I am greatly inclined to have serious doubts that they have the “calling”.

    At best, they may have religious fever/ fervour, even in a quiet manner. Still, even if the “calling” was true it is just an invitation that the invitee is free to decline at anytime.

    Interestingly, my wife and I were talking with some Witness friends who would like to fade, but have family to think of, so not just yet. The question always comes up are we ok in fading? Our friend asked “how can we do good to Christ’s brothers” if we fade?

    My wife replied as quick as you like, “the time to do that is over”, because many people think that an “evil slave” is in existence and why would we help a “slave” of that kind?

    Perhaps your husband may consider that proposition and review his “invitation”, and join the rest of us now to wait and see what happens next regarding any fulfillment of bible prophecy

    • June 10, 2016 at 8:56 am
      Permalink

      @ligniappe, I read my own comments and I feel like I am looking at snapshots through a keyhole.

      Sometimes I am vague because I am well known enough in a large geographic area that it would be very easy to ‘out’ myself if I give details, but also because my situation has many complexities that are difficult to convey.

      First: my husband has never said he wants to leave me. Not once since this all began.

      I have wanted to leave him. Repeatedly since this all began.

      And not ever because he’s treated me poorly.

      This whole drama with Sergei resonates with me on many levels. Even before it came out, I was wrestling with those themes.

      My own choices. My husband’s choices for himself and us. My parent’s choices for me.

      I want children. And soon I will be too old to have them. I was raised a witness, and long ago determined that I did not want children in this system.

      More because of how difficult it was to be a faithful JW child and teenager in this world, than because I believed the world was so awful.

      If that makes sense to anyone else.

      When I truly believed the new system was just around the corner, it was easy to defer parenthood in hopes of really giving my children the best life ever.

      Not the so-called best life JWs claim to live now.

      I always believed my life was better than some, but mostly because of education and creature comforts my family could afford that others could not. Not because we were witnesses.

      In fact, many of the things that kept it from being better than it was could be traced to adherence to witness doctrines and principles.

      Witness doctrines and principles. Not bible guidelines. I make a distinction. Where we really followed Bible counsel and Christ on how to care for self and others, things were always good.

      Some of the JW applications were where we went off into the weeds.

      I have known since I was a teenager that I did not want to perpetuate the lifestyle my parents made for me.

      Now, when I made it into the new system with my forever partner, and everyone was on the same page about serving Jehovah and we were all returning to perfection and there were no predators or bad influences – that would be something different.

      But, even before this issue with my husband going to heaven, I was becoming aware of my own biological clock. I was aware that my child-bearing years are almost gone and the promised new system is nowhere in sight.

      So I was questioning whether I wanted children enough to start a family and indoctrinate them as well. That’s what really started me asking the hard questions, not the change in my husband’s hope.

      I realized that I don’t believe the world is too awful to raise children in love and with morality and self-worth and concern for fellowman.

      But I did believe that raising them with expectations of our JW culture would be a burden to them and to me.

      So: what to do?

      I was still struggling with this and just beginning to broach the subject with my husband when he revealed to me that his hope had changed.

      And his hope change is not to avoid dealing with the issue of children. He has always wanted children. I was the hold out. From the beginning.

      Like I said, he grew up ‘in the world’. He always anticipated the regular cycle of birth and death and dealing with bad people, whilst trying to be a good person absent of the influence of God or church.

      I was the one with the hang-ups.

      But he had an awful childhood and he has bought into the myth that if we raised our children as witnesses it would be so much better than his upbringing.

      And it would be, but only because WE are better people than his parents who neglected and abused him – not because we’re witnesses.

      So, the biggest reason I am at a crossroads has less to do with the change in his hope and more to do with the fact that I want children, and neither of us wants to raise them in a religiously divided household.

      I’m asking myself every day if I love him enough that I will not be resentful at the missed opportunity to have children of our own.

      Even if he comes to his senses in 10 years, it will be too late for us.

      I don’t know what will be worse for me: if he wakes up in 10 or 20 years and apologizes to me for not coming around sooner, or if he goes to his grave still believing it’s the truth after a lifetime of making life choices for us based on a lie.

      And THAT question is what makes me want to leave him. Terrible choices.

      As much as I love him and he loves me, this has become a rift that makes it difficult to enjoy each other the way we always did before.

      I have said to him that if he’s planning to leave me to be with God and Christ, maybe I should just leave him now.

      If according to his belief I will start over and have my family with another man once he goes to heaven, why wait?

      That’s all me.

      And he hates to hear me say it and it hurts him.

      And I don’t say it to hurt him. It’s how I feel.

      As for your faith accompli statements, he understands it is not sealed. He gets that it is supposedly an invitation, but he does feel that he has no option but to accept.

      We’ve been round and round about that!

      Endless debates about how free will does or doesn’t apply in this context. Ultimately he tells me I don’t understand because I have not been called.

      He claims he could make himself unworthy of it, but he cannot simply refuse.

      Like if he declined, the earthly hope is also off the table? Because it is insulting to God to decline? None of it makes sense to me, and he doesn’t have specifics, so I’m at a loss to explain it clearly.

      But he also says he doesn’t want to refuse. He said he genuinely no longer desires to live on earth in the future. He said that with the invitation came a change in the things he wants.

      He says he does want to live out the rest of our lives together. He doesn’t want to die young or be ‘taken’ early, but beyond the normal life span, or the end, whichever comes first, he looks forward to heaven.

      Kings and priests forever.

      Yay. :-/

      But, again, all implications that this means the end of our relationship come from me, because I can’t deal with it. Because I resent the consequences to our present life together and presumably our future.

      He continues to encourage me to stay with him in the hopes that I will come to feel differently about all of it.

      Even the issue of children in light of the changes has been nothing of a deal breaker for him. But he does not want children while I am unsettled about whether I will stay with him and while I am saying I will never ‘return to Jehovah’.

      I know him. And I know the scriptures as JWs teach them. They say we cannot question whether someone’s calling is authentic, but I feel like I can.

      Just when I compare who I know him to be with who JWs teach are chosen, he’s not it. I could elaborate, but I wont.

      But, I agree. It is odd indeed.

      I’m quite intrigued by your thoughts about the evil slave. I wish there was a way to speak with you more about that whole discussion thread.

      • June 10, 2016 at 9:28 am
        Permalink

        *fait accompli. I hate autocorrect some days!

      • June 11, 2016 at 7:07 pm
        Permalink

        @FA75
        If you read the context of Revelation 7:9 and look at the meaning of the Greek words used it becomes pretty evident that the Great Crowd likewise have a heavenly hope, so this whole thing about being divided from your hubby in the afterlife may not be as much of an issue, if you put faith in such things.

        As far as children are concerned, I guess you have to ask yourself do you love and respect your husband to the extent that you feel he should be allowed to follow his own path when it comes to religion and does he offer you the same love and respect? If yes, then having children in a “divided” household might be manageable. If no, then you need to consider what is more important to you having children or preserving your marriage? As you say time is short to make the decision, if it comes to that. If you choose to leave what are the chances that you will find another person that you could see being the father of your children in the time frame you have to work with?

        Also consider that if you don’t end up conceiving your own child, there may be other options down the road like adoption.

        Just some thoughts.

        WS

    • June 10, 2016 at 11:15 am
      Permalink

      @ligniappe, I was just reading your post again and this time I focused more on your comments about your Witness friends who would like to fade.

      On the one hand, I wish I knew people like you and your wife that I could really talk to face-to-face about my questions and doubts and feelings about leaving and what to do next.

      But then again, I think about all the comparisons posters make to big brother/1984. And the comments about how some have set up fake Facebook accounts to police others in the organization.

      I think some would make efforts to be Thought Police and infiltrate small groups of dissenters.

      I am not enough of a conspiracy theorist to feel that anyone is doing that at the direction of the GB, but I would certainly expect that some might take it upon themselves to do so.

      And now with this new bunker mentality and the crackdown on shunning, I feel like it is going to be more difficult for people like us to speak to each other in real life and not just anonymously online.

      In any case, I am compelled to ask you: do you believe that some of what the Witnesses teach is true, but not all? Do you feel like there were good intentions at first, but then there was a corruption?

      I read and reread your post because I really couldn’t tell.

      Like myself right now. I don’t believe my husband has been chosen by Jehovah to rule in heaven. But does that mean no one was?

      Ever? Throughout history?

      As regards my personal belief on the matter, it depends on what day you ask me.

      Some days I believe it’s all a lie and that’s what I need to believe. Some days I hope that some of it is true, but only the best parts, like living forever in perfect health and seeing my dead loved ones again. But not the worst parts like destruction of everyone who isn’t a Witness.

      So, as much as I want to take my leave from the organization and dismiss many of the beliefs as patently false and I AM DONE following the rules, it is hard for me to think this life is all there is.

      And I think of all of the people throughout history who served God with a belief they were going to heaven and people of other religions who believe there is some manifestation of life after death.

      Everyone is all wrong? So after a lifetime of conviction of knowing what happens at death, I find myself completely uncertain about what awaits me and my loved ones.

      I do hope that if there is a God who cares he will not deny me the reward that other good people get just for having unanswered questions.

      I hope that he is not the person they keep saying he is that would equate my doubts about these men and how they are choosing to represent and misrepresent him with disloyalty to Him.

      • June 11, 2016 at 9:32 pm
        Permalink

        FA75,
        Since leaving this sect, I have embraced the philosphy of deism. As a deist, I am not concerned about what comes hereafter, but rather what I can do in the here and now to leave this world a better place once I have left it.

        In the words of Thomas Paine: “I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life. I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy.”

        WS

  • June 10, 2016 at 6:55 am
    Permalink

    This is such a morbid view of life. Life that should be more positive, than negative. The regional convention sounds very depressing. Jesus Christ was a positive influence on people’s life’s. He genuinely helped people who were looking for a more positive direction than that of the Pharisees. Watchtower sounds more like the Pharisees than Jesus. What a contrast between true Christianity and false Christianity.

    • June 10, 2016 at 9:04 am
      Permalink

      @Doc Obvious, I feel exactly the same way.

  • June 10, 2016 at 8:48 am
    Permalink

    Another excellent article, CF. I appreciate that many ex JWs talk about their wasted time but the fact they are taking the trouble to contribute to these pages means that they are helping others in a much more effective way than outsiders can do. As long as you can move on with your life that time will not have been wasted.

  • June 10, 2016 at 10:20 am
    Permalink

    There are so many good comments from so many people. Has anyone noticed the progression of obedience during the course of the video? Remember….”faithful in small things, faithful in larger things” has always been taught from the platform. First, Sergei gave up something as simple as playing the violin, slightly larger was playing the national anthem, a little bigger was signing the document to renounce his faith and be free, a little bigger was turning down a work assignment that would affect his family study, and lastly, the blood issue. This path leads to his final choice of life or death. The progression of choices is disturbing and could culminate in the loss of his life. Likely, this progression is designed by the GB so he is conditioned to make the ultimate choice and choose to obey the WTBT$. Control and manipulation at its finest!

    • June 14, 2016 at 5:21 am
      Permalink

      Hi

      Your observation warrants merit, however in Sergei’s situation of not playing the anthem did land him five years in prison which was no small consequence. Generally the situations over which children have to make generally do not have huge consequences. Generally decisions that carry increasingly larger consequences do increase naturally in proportion to our growing older having taken on more responsibilities. That said in the case of Jehovah’s Witnesses the consequences always circle back to life and death no matter how large or small the matters over which decisions or choices seem to be. Make the wrong choice over a matter and you’ll forfeit your life in Armmeggedon. No wonder life for Witnesses is morose. There are no small choices! It’s all or nothing. Living everyday through life with that view and that kind of pressure can cause serious depression or paranoia.

      The Bible Students, the sect I grew up in, believed that the only call was the heavenly call to the 144,000. The expectations for someone who was baptized was baptized to a heavenly hope. The expectations to be faithful were no less daunting than what Sergei faced. If one is not faithful to their consecration to God, the consequence was “the second death.” Living life every day believing that making a misstep could lead to forfeiting your chance for any kind of ressurection was a Damacles sword. When I was baptized, the elder who performed the immersion said to me, “you better watch your Ps and Qs from now on or its the second death for you!” What a comforting statement! Trouble is I believed this to be true for many years before I woke up to the foolishness of it all. Bible Students held fast to the doctrines of CT Russell which were not too much different in many ways from what Watchtower teaches today. At least in how the baptized are expected to devote their lives as slaves to the Watchtower’s teachings.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: