The Governing Body continues to stifle individuality and exert total control
The Governing Body continues to stifle individuality and exert total control

When I was a very young boy, my grandfather died. I don’t know much about his life, aside from the fact that he was a carpenter, a policeman, and a Catholic. He was, in fact, Irish Catholic, and I suspect my father’s family took great pride in their heritage and their faith. It was a disappointment for them that during the pre-1975 years, my father became one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The invasive control that the Jehovah’s Witness organization had over my parents divided our family. At my grandfather’s funeral, all hope of normality was smashed when my father refused to sit with his brothers, instead electing to place himself at the back of the church, with easy access to the nearest exit.

Why would he do this? His decision was decidedly influenced by the March 15 1970 Questions From Readers, which posed the question

“May dedicated Christians attend church funerals of other religious organizations?”

The phrasing of that question in itself diminishes the thinking ability of the reader and transfers control of one’s life to the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The article casts aside the faith of the individual, suggesting that attending a church service places a Jehovah’s Witness in serious danger of violating his Christian conscience.

“Thus there is no need for a Christian to feel obligated to go to a church funeral of another religious organization, where there may be the temptation to give in to pressure and follow the crowd when everyone else is performing some false religious act. Thus also the danger of performing an act of apostasy and displeasing Jehovah God can be avoided.”

Only recently did I come to understand the permanent damage that this caused. For the balance of my childhood and to this day, I never got to know my uncles, my aunt, my cousins, or anyone else in the family. In a sad twist on the words attributed to Jesus below, my extended family became strangers who purportedly worshiped God incorrectly, or so I was led to believe.

“Do you think I came to give peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division” – Luke 12:51

The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses makes no apology for splitting apart families; in fact they summon Jesus’ words to reinforce their divisive policies. Luke chapter 12 continues:

“For from now on there will be five in one house divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law”

Undoubtedly, self-imposed estrangement is not the intended meaning behind these expressions, but for the Jehovah’s Witness religion, they mean just one thing:

Blood is not thicker than Watchtower

It has been nearly 40 years since my family was fractured by the policies of this organization. Instead of a softening of rules and regulations, the Governing Body has elected to double down their doctrinal directives, expanding their influence using the power of suggestion and crowd manipulation to achieve control of their flock.

An example of this control is found in the Watchtower of February 2016, study edition. The article “Prove Yourself Loyal to Jehovah” drives readers to the conclusion that loyalty to the suggestions of the Governing Body is equal to loyalty to God.

We encounter Olga, a Jehovah’s Witness wife and mother who has suffered at the hands of her non-JW husband, a man who “abused her emotionally, insulted her, refused to speak to her, and threatened to take the children and leave her.” The Watchtower paints a picture of the stereotypical “worldly” man, a person without redeeming qualities and without Jehovah.

Sadly, his father dies, and Olga agrees to travel with him to another city for the funeral, showing respect for him despite his non-affiliation with Watchtower. But did she truly show this man respect? The article says:

“She waited for her husband at the church door until the ceremony

Without even addressing the subject of attending a church funeral, the Watchtower suggests that a truly faithful Witness of Jehovah would never step foot inside a church. While this statement is not the subject of the article, the powerful suggestion is nonetheless implanted into the reader’s mind, setting a precedent that must be followed.

Just a few paragraphs later, we are reminded of some of the simple pleasures in life that must be abandoned if a person is to be loyal to Jehovah.

“Loyalty to God helped an Australian sister named Alice to decide how much importance to give to other loyalties. When she began studying the Bible, she would tell her family about the good
things she was learning. Later, Alice told members of her family that she would not be celebrating Christmas with them”

The result?

 “My mother finally said that she disowned me. I was shocked and deeply hurt because I really loved my family.”

This heartbreaking story touches me personally. The endless years of alienation from my family and any sense of celebration and happiness were replaced with piles of Watchtower magazines and books that filled my shelves, but left me empty and depleted.

It is difficult for Jehovah’s Witness children to really understand what is happening to them during the formative years of their life. One by one, normal relationships and activities are eliminated, and Witness children are advised that they must be “no part of the world.”

Another way this happens is by abstaining from school activities, including healthy and stimulating sports and clubs. The Watchtower hammers down this point by stating:

“If we are not careful, loyalty to a nation, a school, or a sports team can eventually choke out loyalty to God. For example, Henry enjoys playing chess. His school had a tradition of winning the
championship, and he wanted to put forth his best effort. But he admitted: ‘Gradually, loyalty to the school began to take priority over my loyalty to God. Weekend chess matches were crowding
out my Kingdom service. So I decided to give up being part of the chess team.'”

For most of us who have lived the life of a Witness child, we understand what this means: no extra-curricular activities, no after school sports, nothing that might steer us away from field service and regular attendance at the Kingdom Hall.

 Snitching and shunning

Along with behavior modification, Jehovah’s Witnesses engage in one of the most cruel practices in modern society: shunning. The February 2016 Watchtower advances from suggestive behavior control and graduates to full-fledged punishment of anyone who violates the social customs of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Members are encouraged to spy on one another, and if the guilty party refuses to confess, the elders must be notified.

“Kindness can help you to deal with a conflict of loyalties. For example, you may have definite knowledge that a certain fellow believer is guilty of serious misconduct. You may feel loyal to him,
especially if he is a close friend or a relative. But if you were to cover up the wrongdoing, you would be disloyal to God. Of course, your loyalty to Jehovah should come first. So like Nathan, be kind yet firm. Urge your friend or relative to seek the help of the elders. If he or she does not do so within a reasonable period of time, loyalty to God should move you to report the matter to the elders.”

In a series of 5 photographs, the Watchtower study article visually demonstrates the process:

  1. Observe the social media photo of your friend committing an infraction, such as drinking alcohol at a party where non-Witnesses are present
  2. Confront your friend with the photograph
  3. Take your tablet to the Kingdom Hall and show the photo to an elder
  4. Two elders take your friend into a private room and chastise and counsel her
  5. Your friend regains her senses and is soon participating in meetings once again
The five-step snitching process, as shown on pages 28 and 29 of the February 2016 Watchtower
The five-step snitching process, as shown on pages 28 and 29 of the February 2016 Watchtower (click to enlarge)


The reality is that seldom does the process occur in this manner, with step number 2 usually bypassed. But the encouragement to police each other within the congregation is very real.

Another disturbing practice is shunning, which is not limited to those who have been disfellowshipped from the JW faith. Simply leaving the organization for personal reasons results in the immediate loss of your complete network of friends. And for those who have been formally disfellowshipped from Jehovah’s Witnesses, there is a total and devastating loss.

A woman might decide that this religion she was baptized into at a very young age was not the correct decision for her. But it is too little, too late to change this decision. The Governing Body has decided that her own daughter is barred from fellowship with her. The bond is severed indefinitely, the punishment is very real.

“A conflict of loyalties may arise when a close relative is disfellowshipped. For example, a sister named Anne received a telephone call from her disfellowshipped mother. The mother wanted to visit Anne because she felt pained by her isolation from the family. Anne was deeply distressed by the plea and promised to reply by letter. Before writing, she reviewed Bible principles. (1 Cor. 5: 11; 2 John 9-11) Anne wrote and kindly reminded her mother that she had cut herself off from the family by her wrongdoing and unrepentant attitude. “The only way you can relieve your pain is by returning to Jehovah,”Anne wrote”

There is no greater bond than that between a mother and daughter, yet the Watchtower has managed to produce a doctrinal solvent capable of dissolving the closest relationship known to humans.

I know many Jehovah’s Witness mothers who have been reinstated to the organization, superficially believing they have “returned to Jehovah,” when in fact they just wanted their family back. They walk among the congregation with the permanent stigma of judicial discipline, but take comfort that they have traded public humiliation for the ability to speak and associate with their family.

 The Abraham Principle

“Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son” – Genesis 22:10

Inflicting harm on a son or daughter is a completely foreign concept to any human with a measure of good mental health. Yet according to Jehovah’s Witnesses, the biblical character of Abraham showed the ultimate faith in God when the Almighty required him to stab his son to death on a mountaintop.

Is this really a lesson in faith in God, or could it perhaps be a convenient method of demanding blind obedience?  The Watchtower study article titled “Jehovah Called Him My Friend” suggests that anyone who doubts Abraham’s decision to knife his son is void of faith. The blame is shifted from the perpetrator (God) to the critic:

“There are those who say that God was cruel for asking such a thing of Abraham, and some imply that Abraham’s obedience was blind and unfeeling. They take that position because they have neither the faith nor the understanding of how faith works.”

I never could grasp the sense of this bible tale. Apparently my faith and understanding are just too weak. We are told that Jehovah called out to Abraham and halted the murder just in time. Why didn’t he apply this same life-saving power moments before the planes crashed, or the tsunami hit shore, or the crazed gunman slaughtered those schoolchildren? These are questions we must all ponder for ourselves.

Separation of church and sanity

Looking back on more than 40 years of loyal association with Jehovah’s Witnesses, I truly understand how damaged my family was by this destructive organization. I can finally validate my own feelings, my internal conscience which always told me that these things are insane:

  • Associate only with Jehovah’s Witnesses
  • Stay away from non-JW church services
  • Avoid playing team sports or joining school clubs
  • Spy on your friends and turn them in to the elders
  • Avoid higher education
  • Shun anyone who leaves the organization
  • Never accept a life saving blood transfusion
  • Do not celebrate anyone’s birthday (or any holidays)
  • Believe that God will kill everyone but Jehovah’s Witnesses at Armageddon

The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses is increasing its doctrinal control over its members, further blurring the line between religion and personal identity. They have systematically removed individual freedom of mind and conscience and replaced it with a long list of directives, leaving many Witnesses depressed, feeling inadequate, or unable to keep track of the latest “new understanding” of truth.

This is a prison from which you must escape.

If you share the same feelings, please reach out to someone for help. You can do it anonymously and without judgment. Read, watch and learn as much as you can, and separate verifiable truth from the insanity of indoctrination.

Make this the first day of the rest of your life.

You are now free.



Mark O'Donnell

Mark O'Donnell is a former Jehovah's Witness turned whistleblower after discovering the disturbing child abuse epidemic within the religion. His story, along with the revelation of a secret database of child molesters were featured in the March 2019 online issue of the Atlantic Magazine: O'Donnell continues to investigate allegations of child abuse within the Witness organization, and works with law enforcement, attorneys, and survivors of abuse, writing about his findings on and other outlets.

345 thoughts on “The Friday Column: Doctrine and loyalty is paramount to the Governing Body, whatever the cost

  • November 11, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    The example of Abraham has as explained been exploited for an agenda.
    One of the major differences between Abraham and most of JWs is that Abraham had been put in a covenant with Jehovah,and sure Jehovah tested him, all of this made the covenant promise more sure for Abraham, Jehovah didn’t derive any benefit from Abrahams faith, but Abraham got everything,just as any father who is concerned with his children’s welfare will tell them what’s right, and sometimes enforce it, the parent gets no benefit from children’s obedience, the children are the ones that benefit, even when children don’t always accept parental advice, parents don’t go around thinking ” that child doesn’t have my approval” . No we try again hoping they will see our love is what is behind it all,Ime sure this was the same with Jehovah and Abraham

    • November 13, 2015 at 4:02 am

      Thank you Wild Olive. That makes sense.

    • January 19, 2016 at 4:50 pm

      The issue with the above rationalization of this bit of scripture is that child sacrifice would have been perceived as something “wrong” by Abraham, and for JW’s if they are tempted by something wrong is that a test from God? Are trials and tribulations perceived as sourced from God–what about Job? It’s always blamed as being sourced from the Devil. So, this rationale opens the door that God may be tempting some one with that swishing seductress that slithers down the KH aisle rather than her (or his) movements being our own mind led down a natural path where it may be unfettered by morality and values. It also opens the door that it is possibly God who is throwing illnesses and adversity at “His servants” as a “test”.

      This is one of those scripture verses that taken on faith doesn’t lead to a deep thought and discovery process, but a little brainpower on it and enlightenment abounds.

  • November 12, 2015 at 12:16 am

    I really feel great knowing I did the right thing leaving the organization reading your comments all the thoughts I had mind was controlled has been reinforced thankyou so much

  • November 12, 2015 at 4:04 am

    The WT says that:
    “If we are not careful, loyalty to a nation, a school, or a sports team can eventually choke out loyalty to God. For example, Henry enjoys playing chess. His school had a tradition of winning the championship, and he wanted to put forth his best effort. But he admitted: ‘Gradually, loyalty to the school began to take priority over my loyalty to God. Weekend chess matches were crowding
    out my Kingdom service. So I decided to give up being part of the chess team.'”

    Notice that the William girls [tennis players] are not bound by these “rules”. Maybe it’s because they are not baptised yet one of them publicly thanked Jehovah when she won. Of course any non famous person would not be recognised by the “brothers” as a Witness but these are. Hank Marvin [of the Shadows] is another one. He played “rock music” with Cliff Richard years after being baptised. Again no one criticises him for doing this as he is famous. Let an average JW try to make a career out of tennis or rock music and see what happens to them. Don’t even get me started about the shunning rule either. For years after Michael Jackson and his siblings left the Society, their mother associated with them even though she should not have done so but there again, imagine the bad press if people found out that they were being shunned?

    • January 19, 2016 at 5:16 pm

      “Although there might be a need for limited contact on some rare occasion to care for a necessary family matter, any such contact should be kept to a minimum. Loyal Christian family members do not look for excuses to have dealings with a disfellowshipped relative not living at home.”—“Keep Yourselves in God’s Love” (2015 ed., Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., Brooklyn, NY, USA, p. 208-209)

      It’s a very confusing topic, because the material also states that “shunning” is a matter related to spiritual exchanges and inclusion–family study, etc.–for family members living in the home, or outside, not social or greetings. Basically, it endorses natural human behavior of standing off with “gossip stares” at a scandalized person, or using a “scarlet letter” to label a breaker of the community standards.

      But, the bottom line is “high control” and a leash and collar on members to stay on the ranch, or commune.

  • November 12, 2015 at 7:41 am

    Governing Body. No financial records. No donation.

  • November 13, 2015 at 12:22 am

    Lloyd – it’s such a shame that all your hard work with this site and all the very useful comments are being overshadowed by silly banter etc etc
    I am sure I am missing some really good points because of having to trawl through the rest.
    Not sure how you can filter it -but I for one am finding it more time consuming than I really have time for.
    I have faded but do not want to go down a route of bitterness and insults that so many seem to fall into. We can’t change the past and nearly 60 years in this for me means that I want to take the good from it. Like leaving a bad marriage- I want to leave with dignity.
    Please rescue this site before you lose genuine contributors .

    • November 13, 2015 at 1:18 am

      I’m afraid there is only so much I can do. We are under persistent barrage by one, perhaps two trolls who use rotating IP addresses to get past our spam filter.

      Hopefully eventually they will realize that anything they post will get taken down within a few hours, and find more productive uses for their time. Meanwhile, we appreciate the cooperation of our valued posters in notifying us if someone appears to be abusing the commenting feature, and we will act as quickly as possible to rectify the problem.

      • November 13, 2015 at 3:11 am

        Cedars. There seem to be too many violating your guidelines on posting comments of an evangelical nature like @Robert67 & to a lesser extent &MeredithJ & Tara & others like @ Dee etc,etc
        Surely their comments should be removed ??
        Otherwise great site & I just ignore the drivel & imbecile nature of the others.

        • November 13, 2015 at 8:14 am

          Excuse me?

        • November 13, 2015 at 9:17 am

          You do realize this is an ex-jw site? Visited by people who spent their entire lives immersed in a religion that claimed to be bible backed.
          No one is preaching here and you should expect some biblical dialogue. We get the no preaching our religion here due to the rules of this site and hope the No preaching “lack of faith” part of the rules is also respected. Would it be ok to bash on people of color, gay?

          Why would it be ok to go off topic and bash the majority of visitors to this site. Are you mistaking the mission of this site to help free Jehovahs Witnesses of their cult indoctrination, with a free everyone of their faith in scripture site?

          If so,have the administrator state that as the mission of this site and you have my word ill stay away.

          Hope everything stays on topic in the future.

          • November 13, 2015 at 5:45 pm

            Thanks Robert. Darwins comment actual bothered me today. I have spent 20 years hardly being able to ask questions for fear of being reproved etc etc etc…. Lloyd has given me a site where I can, for once feel somewhat free to ask questions. I’m not confrontational unless really pushed. So please Darwin, consider that some of us have been gagged for years, have suddenly found courage to speak up albeit it incognito within an atmosphere of some security. The scriptures have been our life for many years, of course we want to use them and discuss them and debate them…. perhaps things get a little out of hand from time to time, that’s because we are all fighting at different levels to take back our own self worth and conscience.

          • November 14, 2015 at 1:19 pm

            Hi Robert. I don’t want to hurt your feelings but if I bring up scriptures that might cause a person to lose “faith” in the Bible, I can do that, without you getting all bent out of shape over it and leave comments to the effect that people should “ignore” our atheistic comments. Some of your comments were not nice at all and even sarcastic and so you took after Excelsior for pointing those comments.

            If I bring out comments about the God of the Bible and somebody loses faith over it, it is not me that would make a person lose “faith”, but it would be their own Bible that would do that.

            Just because a person doesn’t believe in the Bible as inspired of a perfect God, doesn’t necessarily make a person an atheist. Nobody could not “believe” if they had solid evidence of a God, so everybody is actually an agnostic in my opinion and even you are an agnostic because you only believe in the God of the Bible, so you are an agnostic when it comes to other religions and their Gods because you don’t believe in those other Gods of those different religions.

            Lloyd seems to be up to date when it comes to taking down evangelical comments. We should be able to question the Scriptures since that is what the Society uses to entrap people, the same as all other religions. The Society, using the Bible even guilts people in to refusing blood and so losing their life over those scriptures. We should be able to question the Bible. That is not the same at all as to trying to be evangelical. If the Bible turns people off of God, it isn’t our fault.

            I realize the Bible is comforting to people and nobody wants to take that away from those people, but just because you and others believe in God, doesn’t mean that we can’t post scriptures that paint God in a bad light as long as we don’t take the scriptures out of context.

            We should be able to talk about subjects as evolution as well but I think by the way you think, you think that this site should be run only on an evangelical nature and no other comments allowed, like you should be the one to make all the decisions on what is allowed and what is not allowed?

            Nobody got mad or made nasty comments when people make comments that show they believe in God but you label us “non believers” as trying to turn people atheistic when we quote Bible scriptures or bring up evolution.

            An awful lot of people who leave the JW religion go apostate. That simply means they don’t believe in God. That’s it. They aren’t evil. They are the same person they were before they lost their faith in God. If they were a good person when they had faith, they will still be the same good person after they lose faith. Their personality doesn’t change where now they will think they can do evil stuff. That’s not the way it works.

          • November 15, 2015 at 5:20 am

            I was rereading my last comment to Robert and in my last paragraph, I said that a lot of people who leave the JW religion go apostate and the way I should have worded it is that “a lot of people who leave the JW religion go athesistic” instead, but if you go with the meaning that being apostate simply means leaving a religion that you formally believed in, then the word might have fit anyway, but what I really meant was that a lot of people become atheists but just in case some didn’t get what I was saying, I wanted to clear it up with you even though I think most people probably got my meaning anyway. Thanks.

      • November 13, 2015 at 5:34 am

        @Cedars . Glad to see some of the juvenile comments have been removed . Perhaps some sense can prevail.

    • November 13, 2015 at 5:08 am

      @Sister drifter . Sorry to hear about your marriage . The JW organisation does that to marriages . Is your husband still a JW & if you don’t mind me asking , were you born into the JWs as you say you have been in it for about 60 years .

    • November 13, 2015 at 10:24 am

      @Sister Drifter UK

      Me too. My second marriage was partly destroyed by the dogma of this destructive cult.

      I married a df witness, which turned out to be like the Manturian Candidate, when she decided to rejoin the cult. I didn’t realize it was a cult when she decided to go back. I wanted to support her. I studied to try to understand her religion, and they tried to convert me with the ‘bible study’. I started to buy-in, but woke up before I drank the cool-aid due to all the ‘crazy’ and dogma that they were presenting. Then, when my new wife decided to hand me an article from 30 yrs back containing a bunch of bedroom rules and regulations, then I said that’s enough! I basically told my wife that I wanted nothing to do with a religion that feels they have the right to tell a married couple how to behave in their own home. That is going WAY beyond spiritual leadership into mind control land! After that, it wasn’t 6 months before we were separated and headed for divorce.

      This cult is, in-part, responsible for my second marriage demise. I hope to live to see the GB’s demise and this dangerous, destructive cult’s demise.

      I wish you well. It may be painful as you have a lifetime invested, but you cannot change the past. However, you can value, use, and cherish the freedom you have now. You can have that peace of mind knowing that the WTBTS, the GB, elders, congregation snitchers no longer have a hold on your most valued possession, your mind.

  • November 14, 2015 at 6:51 am

    To get this discussion back on topic… I think this was an excellent article and well establishes the sentiments of many 2nd and 3rd generation Witnesses who are left picking up the pieces of their shattered extended families. I know that I am viewed as a traitor to my parent’s legacy of isolationism, when I reach out to my unbelieving aunts and cousins who have not been contacted for years by their JW siblings (my parents). I have found much solace in the relationships that I have rekindled with “worldly” extended family. I grieve the loss of some sense of normalcy, and how any of this could be perceived as being a “good witness”, when it’s the ” worldly” members of my family that have shown more long-suffering, patience and kindness than any “holy-spirit” induced actions that my believing family may have begrudgingly made towards their “faithless” fleshly kin.

    • November 18, 2015 at 7:03 pm

      Isn’t that a fact Robert! My non witness family – I hate the term ‘worldly’. Have shown such compassion to me as I told them that I am sorry for the years of indoctrination that I tried to thrust on them. They could have told me to go jump but they have opened their arms and are trying to help in whatever ways they can.

  • November 15, 2015 at 1:28 am

    I love your point: “If they were a good person when they had faith, they will still be the same good person after they lose faith.”
    The WT study was on a guilt trip exercise this week citing Hebrews 12:1 saying that if we lose our faith we are SINNERS! As a JW in the process of waking up, I can’t believe how I didn’t notice how cruel scriptures used by the WTS like that are. (In that particular example it just says “the sin that easily entangles us” so I’d actually like to know where the WTS come up with that meaning “lack of faith”, but that’s a side point.) According to the WTS, Caroline, I have indeed suddenly become evil. They cross reference Hebrews 3:12: “Beware, brothers, for fear there should ever develop in any one of you a wicked heart lacking faith by drawing away from the living God.”
    So now I’m WICKED just because my faith in God is not as strong as it was due to the misconduct of the leaders of his organisation???
    I haven’t even lost my faith in HIM, more so the WTS. Heck, I have very close friends that I don’t speak to that often (even family) but I don’t hear them accusing me of being wicked because I don’t talk to them “in detail, from the heart” etc and vice versa.
    It becomes even more clear the truth of other posters’ comments here, the WTS now is based on CONDITIONAL love. Very sad indeed.
    All the best from Average “Wicked” Joe!

  • November 15, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    I love your point: “If they were a good person when they had faith, they will still be the same good person after they lose faith.”
    The WT study was on a guilt trip exercise this week citing Hebrews 12:1 saying that if we lose our faith we are SINNERS! As a JW in the process of waking up, I can’t believe how I didn’t notice how cruel scriptures used by the WTS like that are. (In that particular example it just says “the sin that easily entangles us” so I’d actually like to know where the WTS come up with that meaning “lack of faith”, but that’s a side point.) According to the WTS, Caroline, I have indeed suddenly become evil. They cross reference Hebrews 3:12: “Beware, brothers, for fear there should ever develop in any one of you a wicked heart lacking faith by drawing away from the living God.”
    So now I’m WICKED just because my faith in God is not as strong as it was due to the misconduct of the leaders of his organisation???
    I haven’t even lost my faith in HIM, more so the WTS. Heck, I have very close friends that I don’t speak to that often (even family) but I don’t hear them accusing me of being wicked because I don’t talk to them “in detail, from the heart” etc and vice versa.
    It becomes even more clear the truth of other posters’ comments here, the WTS now is based on CONDITIONAL love. Very sad indeed.
    All the best from Average “Wicked” Joe!

  • November 15, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    Apologies, my comment was posted twice. I couldn’t see it the first time and now two have appeared after posting it again but they are now in between other peoples’ comments and not at the end. My tablet must be playing up. Sorry!

    • November 15, 2015 at 6:13 pm

      Average Joe, I got out my husband’s copy of the Watchtower article you were talking about (Stand Firm in the Faith” from the Sept. 15, 2015 study article and I noticed some things that I would also like to point out.

      In paragraph 12, the Society supposedly uses Numbers 14:11 and only quotes part of that scripture when it says in the paragraph what Jehovah said to Moses “How much longer will they not put faith in me?” But this is the whole scripture taken from the NWT “Finally Jehovah said to Moses: “How long will this people treat me without respect, and how long will they not put faith in me for all the signs that I performed in among them?”

      So, here we have an account where God performed a whole bunch of supernatural signs and yet they did not put faith in Jehovah. When those people supposedly saw supernatural “signs” from Jehovah and still didn’t have faith in Him, why in the world should we today put faith in Him when we have never even seen one sign? Just telling us that we have to have “faith” doesn’t make a person a believer. You can’t force a person to believe something without some evidence or “sign” and then label that person a sinner without one shred of evidence. How can you have “faith” without any evidence?

      Paragraph 16 is telling Witnesses to increase their conviction that the end of this system of things really is near by studying in detail the Scriptural proof that we live in the last days. What is interesting about that statement is: What Scriptural proof is there? There are no scriptures sited. I guess Witnesses are just supposed to be able to take the Bible and “prove” to householders that we are living in the last days. Unfortunately, Witnesses have been saying that for over 100 years and all that time they were wrong so what is the “proof” now that hasn’t been seen in the last hundred years?

      Paragraph 20 tells the Witnesses “highlight the proof that God exists, that he cares about us, and that the Bible is his inspired Word.”

      I have watched a whole bunch of debates between atheists and God believers and I have yet to see any believer come up with any kind of proof that God exists. So, what is the proof that God exists that Witnesses are supposed to know, when the best of Christendom can’t come up with any “proof”? Why doesn’t the Society put some kind of proof for Witnesses that they can use at the door? If the Bible says it’s inspired, that doesn’t make it so.

      Any book can make that claim.

  • November 17, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    Found this wonderful quote in an old watchtower under the heading “Finding Freedom with Jehovah’s Visible Organization’

    Quote: “Thus the Bible is an organizational book and belongs to the Christian congregation as an organization, not to individuals, regardless of how sincerely they may believe that they can interpret the Bible,” (Watchtower, Oct. 1, 1967, p. 587).

    The whole article is full of stuff like this ……
    Evidences are now conclusive that Jesus Christ was enthroned in heaven in 1914 C.E. and that he accompanied Jehovah to his temple in 1918 C.E., when judgment began with the house of God. (1 Pet. 4:17) After cleansing those belonging to this house who were alive on earth, Jehovah poured out his spirit upon them and assigned them the responsibility of serving as his sole visible channel, through whom alone spiritual instruction was to come. Those who recognize Jehovah’s visible theocratic organization, therefore, must recognize and accept this appointment of the “faithful and discreet slave” and be submissive to it……

    • November 18, 2015 at 3:35 am

      Tara –
      Scary stuff isn’t it. I still can’t believe I fell for this bull….! The thing is we trusted them to tell us the truth and there was no internet back then to check it up.
      It appears that all the evidence we need is now at our fingertips. ‘The true knowledge has become abundant…’
      Although those of us involved with this religion used to have a firm faith in ‘God’, it seems that many have now become agnostic or atheist.
      The Bible has become poisonous to many who have suffered from its wrong interpretation.
      I, like you, still have a belief in a superior intelligence, although I no longer call him Jehovah. Research shows that this name was conjured up by a Catholic bloke many years ago.
      The only way for me is to read it without undue influence from anyone. To rid oneself from the indoctrination of JWDom is to reject their ideas and start all over again.
      When I researched the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC, I found that the true dates were backed up by history, archaeology and the Bible! Something the witnesses failed to accomplish, hence the controversy.
      Personal research into all things is so important in order to find real truth. It has helped me to maintain a belief in a creator.

      • November 18, 2015 at 7:05 am

        @Bad Penny, the Society didn’t “fail to accomplish” anything when it comes to the destruction of Jerusalem. They have known for over thirty years that Jerusalem was not destroyed in 607 B.C.E. and if anybody shows them (elders-Governing Body) solid proof that Jerusalem was destroyed in 586/587 B.C.E. that person will be called on the carpet and charged with apostasy.

        There is no controversy when it comes to when Jerusalem was destroyed (586/587) but that is a fact that the Society feels it has to keep from the rank and file.

        The sad thing is though, that no matter what the Governing Body comes up with that is “new light” the rank and file will swallow it and never give it a thought.

        The Watchtower could come up “new light” that Jerusalem was destroyed in 587/586 and the Witnesses would still believe it was the truth and I think that because I am going by how my husband reacts when I point out any lies from the Watchtower. He doesn’t care.

        I am almost 100% positive that hardly anybody would react badly or leave the Organization if the Society said they made a mistake when it comes to 586/587. They would just think how humble the Society was.

        They have learned to sleep walk through life by letting the Society do all their thinking for them.

        • November 18, 2015 at 7:41 am

          Caroline –
          I know we are going off topic here but this issue was the main reason I left JWs.
          I used to think the same as you that if the Society admitted they were wrong on 607, the sheep would accept it and continue to ‘sleep walk’. Problem for them is if they did go by 586 it would throw out 1914.
          Every publication since the year dot would have been wrong – which of course we who are out now know!
          It would be far too bitter a pill for them to swallow. I believe they will stick to this false teaching no matter what.

          • November 18, 2015 at 9:38 am

            Bad Penny, I think you are absolutely right. That is why it is so important to disfellowship anybody who comes along and disputes 607 B.C.E. The 1914 doctrine would go away too and if anybody had even an ounce of understanding would realize the whole thing is bunk.

            I was only going by what my husband is like. It really doesn’t matter what I say to him, it’s like water off a duck’s back and that is because he’s 3rd generation and all his family were all Witnesses, plus two of our kids and he could never admit that he was wrong. If he realized it was not the truth after all, he’d be out in the cold with all of them and I don’t think he could deal with that. It’s not realizing the Society lies. It’s the loss of all his family is what he couldn’t stand to take.

            It would be a good way to exit, is if the Society finally admitted they were wrong about the dates 607 and 1914 and let people exit if they wanted to gracefully but I don’t see that ever happening.

      • November 18, 2015 at 8:43 am

        It would be interesting to see what would happen if the GB made an announcement that ‘We the FDS have received a memo from heaven that our dates are out by 20 years and that we are to humbly except these new changes without throwing our dummy/soother out of the pram. Any who feel that they can no longer, in good conscience stay in the Org. can leave with no ill effects and no fear of being shunned – by order of the Management.

      • November 18, 2015 at 10:52 am

        @Bad Penny, truly you cannot pour new wine into old wine skins. You are spot on regarding the having to start over again as far as scripture goes. I congratulate you on not giving up in your search for answers. I don’t know if you play an instrument or not, but it’s kind of like finally finding the zone in a difficult piece of music you’ve been trying to learn, once the bigger picture starts to fall into place.

        It is also accepting that not a single man God used to write the Bible was a master of any science or had the satisfying of our curiosities as a goal in their writings. Seeing the narratives from the period and cultural perspectives of the respective author we can understand a bit better what could have influenced their style of writing.

        These stories are thousands of years old and should not be expected to answer all of our questions, but we should pay attention to the questions the co-author of all of them wants to answer.

        • November 18, 2015 at 12:51 pm

          Robert, according to the Bible, it is inspired of God and so those men who wrote the Bible books didn’t need to be masters of science since it was God who supposedly told them what to write down, and so it “should be expected to answer all our questions” and and what do you mean by “we should pay attention to the questions the co-author of all of them wants to answer?” I don’t understand that sentence but it sounds evangelical to me.

          As to how old the Bible is and the culture of the time, as long as it was God who wrote the Bible, it shouldn’t be telling us it’s okay to be burning our children if they are disobedient or stoning somebody to death if they work on the Sabbath and it shouldn’t be okay to sell your children into slavery and it should not be okay to be burning your one and only child as a burnt sacrifice to God if you win a battle like Jephthah did and it shouldn’t be okay for a man to rape a girl and if nobody hears her cry out, she will be stoned to death if she’s engaged and if she’s not engaged, then she has to marry the rapist and I could go on……..

          We do understand the Bible and if you keep telling us non believers how we need to be believers, then I will keep coming back with Bible accounts that make me a non- believer.

          Just because I don’t think the Bible is inspired of a perfect God, does not make me an atheist. I have no idea how we got here and neither do you. Just because the Bible says “God made it”, doesn’t make it so. You need more evidence than that to convince non-believers.

          And what does their (Bible writers) style of writing have to do with the Bible books? It’s not the “style” that we care about. It’s the words.

          • November 18, 2015 at 2:39 pm

            My comment was directed at someone by name. Please search my comment again and find where I directed it at you or non believers. Have fun.

            P.S not everything is about you

          • November 19, 2015 at 3:39 am

            Robert, you are wrong about me having contempt for the Bible and it’s author. I have yet to be convinced it is perfect, which it should be if it was from God and so I don’t believe it as coming from a perfect God. I can’t hate somebody who I don’t believe in.

            I also used to read the Bible the same way as you do. I glossed over all the bad parts, thinking that God made the right decisions etc. I didn’t meditate on the scriptures as I do now.

            I have taken the book of Exodus apart, scripture by scripture and every few scriptures, examined it, word for word and even taken other Bibles to compare scriptures, to make sure I got the right meaning and I have enough notes to write a whole book about it and that is just one book of the Bible.

            When people read the Bible, they gloss over the parts that don’t make any sense and so it seems like the “good book” to them and holy and from God.

            All I ask of you is to look at the Bible with thoughtful meditation, next time you read it. Read the context and think about it. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself if it could possibly be written by imperfect men and not God.

            Like I have been saying all along, I don’t necessarily not believe in a God that made everything either. I am saying I just don’t know how we got here, but one thing is for sure, if the Bible is correct and the God of the Bible was real, then yes, that is a God that I would hate, no less than Hitler or any of the other despots in history.

            But I don’t believe those stories are real at all so I could hardly hate that God.

        • November 18, 2015 at 4:25 pm

          Robert, your comments are public.

          There are a lot of people who also read your comments here besides Tara. My comment was a reply to your comment, regardless of who you addressed it to to stand up for all of us non-believers when it comes to evangelical comments.

          Personally, you didn’t offend me if that is what you are thinking. I don’t really care about your comments.

          If you stop making those off-handed comments to other people’s comments, about some people not being able to properly interpret the scriptures, then come back with Scriptures that say we are wrong. Come back with scriptures that will give us faith in the Bible being inspired of God. None of us are arguing that there aren’t a lot of good things in the Bible. We are just not convinced it’s from God.

          Please don’t imply that we non-believers don’t know how to properly interpret the Bible. You are implying that we are too stupid to understand the Bible’s “real” message, unlike you, who you and maybe all believers seem to think, do “get it”.

          • November 18, 2015 at 10:02 pm

            No, your really don’t get it. How can you possibly say that we see the bible the same way. Look at your stream of comments versus mine. We definitely do not see the Bible the same way.

            My reading of the Bible is through eyes of unwavering faith that has gone through every sense of doubt, anger, denial over both scripture and God in light of the false Watchtower manipulation of it and still, my faith in its author remained intact by arduous and constant prayer and decades of never ending research.

            Faith isn’t something any one of us is obligated to have.

            You see the HolyBible as another book of mythology, a book you’ve grown to take a personal disliking to. How is it you can even fathom the idea of us understanding this book the same way I have no idea.

            It is sad that most people who claim to still believe in the Bible and the God along with Christ the savior won’t lift a finger to defend them from slander on this site.

            I appreciate you calling me out on expressing a pro Bible point of view on this site and I’ll continue to point out your contempt for both it and its author. It is the perfect balance.

          • November 20, 2015 at 10:00 am

            Robert, it is interesting that the only place in the Bible where it talks about Jesus washing the feet of his apostles is at the 13th chapter of John. Matthew, Mark and Luke do not mention this incident. The book of John was written decades after Jesus died. It was even written after the Revelation. There is no proof who the author of John or Revelation was, even though they are attributed to the apostle John.

            There are many things in the book of John that supposedly happened that none of the other gospel accounts talk about so it seems obvious that the story of Jesus was embellished over decades of people relating the stories about Jesus and this story about the washing of the apostle’s feet is probably one of them.

            I don’t have a problem with the Bible or it’s God, because I don’t believe it was “inspired”. We have no original manuscripts so during the thousands of years that the Bible has been used and read and copied by hand, there is no way to know what any of the originals even said.

            That isn’t to say that there are are not a lot of good things in the Bible. Of course a lot of the things in the Bible are comforting and good advice but that doesn’t make it “inspired”. If you can prove it’s inspired, I will believe.

          • November 20, 2015 at 10:56 am

            [edit: Epic-length off-topic comment removed. Robert67, I understand you see yourself as offering balance to a readership that seems to be mostly secular, and you are welcome to post respectful, non-evangelical posts to that end. However, you are absolutely not allowed to hijack our site with War and Peace-length essays to drive home your theology. By all means set up your own site to do that, or go to a Christian-JW site (there are many) to set up your stall. Off-topic comments are clearly prohibited in our posting guidelines, and while we let a small number through the net – right now you seem to be among those perpetuating them, and with a strong evangelical slant to boot. Please take your medicine and cut it out, or you know I won’t think twice about taking the decision out of your hands. Thanks. Lloyd]

          • November 21, 2015 at 5:10 am

            Facepalm, tried to copy and paste a paragraph off an essay and it must have copied the whole page. I posted on tablet and couldn’t catch the mistake in the small comment window. Will double check in the future.

    • November 18, 2015 at 7:12 am

      Tara, I remember lots of times when people commented at the Book Study how they thought that the Bible actually only belonged to Jehovah’s Witnesses because they were the only ones who God was talking through and could interpret it correctly because God was blessing the Organization with the growth etc. I believed all that bull**** too, all those years, without questioning it and all those years, I was always afraid of Armageddon.

      So many Witnesses talk about how great it would be after Armageddon, but honestly, I think it scares them but they just don’t want to say it out loud because they are supposed to be “happy” about it. If you pressed them on it, they would have to say they are scared because we were always drilled with “if” we make it through Armageddon and if you said you “were” going to live through Armageddon, then you would be considered crazy for assuming.

      • November 18, 2015 at 8:32 am

        My faith has become something personal to me now. It is my relationship with God that matters. My prayers, I hope, are more heartfelt. I think the org. presume too much in that they alone can ‘read’ the Bible and interpret it. I dislike the new silver Bible and usually take my old, tatty, much underlined and cross referenced one, to any meetings I go to. We were told ubder no circumstances were we to mark in our new ones…. Why? because it doesn’t look nice to people on the doors.
        Thats ok, I don’t go out anymore lol….. pass the highlighters…. all colours.

        • November 18, 2015 at 2:44 pm

          @Tara Im with you on not using the silver sword. The only time I use it, is to cut and paste a scripture from the jw app. I know, I need to stop using it and I will; as soon as I do research on a good alternative . Not really into the old English.

          • November 18, 2015 at 4:10 pm

            Try using the Jamaican New Testament. I much prefer it to the NWT (especially the new one) when using English. I love the Patwa dialect and love to see it written down.
            I use the old NWT too as we still don’t have the new one in Spanish yet thank goodness.

          • November 18, 2015 at 6:50 pm

            It is very difficult to use the King James but I use one at home for personal reasons. My old NWT i use at the few meetings I go to. I pointed out to a few that the silver one says ‘about 1914’ In Appendix B1. I didn’t get a straight answer from anyone esp. the elders. But at least it gave them pause for thought.

        • November 18, 2015 at 6:26 pm

          Tara –
          I didn’t know they couldn’t mark their Bibles now.
          Like you, I still refer to my old maroon bible as well. All the work that was put into cross referencing has largely been reduced in the new silver version. I never took a copy for myself but have looked at them. The Society has changed the wording again to reflect their own agenda, i.e. changing the words in Luke 23:21 from “Impale him” to “To the stake”.
          We also use ‘The Expanded Bible’ which opens up the translation somewhat.

          • November 20, 2015 at 8:13 am

            I honestly cannot use it. I feel so deceived by the WT that I mistrust the new one. ‘Oh it’s to simplify the wording for a new ‘generation’ excuse the play on words there…. ‘It’s so people who are not familiar with terminology can understand’…. No actually, it enforces doctrine. It uses wording synonymous to the WT.. Give me my years old KJ Bible that my Mum and Dad bought me.

  • November 18, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    Wow! What a powerful article! I can relate to so much of what’s been said. As for other comments, I guess there will always be ones that come on this site to make trouble and cause mischief, however many, many, ex JW’s myself including, have nothing but praise for Lloyd and all that he’s trying to do. Many use this site as a ‘ Sounding Board ‘ to vent their anger and frustration at the Governing Body and for all of their wasted years in being loyal and misguided. The pro’s far outweigh the con’s. I hope it attracts many more ex and current JW’s for help advice and or support. I know It’s literally been a life saver for me so thank you Lloyd and everyone who offers support. Regards.

  • November 20, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    Is nothing too sacred for the Watchtower to not wish to take the most superstitious and controlling route, in this case to destroy family units? I can’t think of any other groups other than another Adventist offshoot, the Church of God who takes such a extreme position? I have been to weddings and funerals in every type of church you can imagine, those involved come from a variety of faiths yet they suspend their differences in order to enjoy a great family event. What the bloody hell is the GB afraid of? Is it simply isolation that is the goal? If so, there isn’t a better sign of a controlling cult.
    Rule Number 1
    The Governing Body is always right.
    Rule Number 2
    When the Governing Body is wrong refer to Rule Number 1

  • November 21, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    I’m about to rant so for those who don’t like ranters please turn away now.

    My business takes me into various places and one of them happens to be a YOGA – yes a YOGA centre and guess what! I was spotted inside said YOGA spot doing what I do by an elders wife. hahahaha and I waved at her because I don’t give anymore. No I wasn’t even doing YOGA! I was in the office area in full view of the road…. so waiting for madam snitchy britches to go to her hubby and spill the beans…. strike one.

    A dear friend of mine is an awesome artist and painted many pictures from a certain book that WT deem terrible because it has Orc’s, Elves and wizards in it – whoopy T doo! So do half of the disney movies! My family has a connection to this artist and he posted pictures of his painting on my fb site and I happened to mention I had seen the movie with these scenes in them and made a comment about the area blaa blaa blaa…. madam snitchy britches mark 2 was upset and spoke to my daughter about how terrible it is that I watched said movie when the end is do close – strike 2.

    Well those on top of attending my df’d sons wedding should be enough to have me hung drawn and quartered. So livid tonight that I think I may just go watch the prequels to said movies just because I am a rebellious YOGA loving (actually I can’t do any of the moves in yoga because my back is knackered after a car accident and I have never done yoga in my life because WT deemed it too terrible) bad association, evil, apostate type person. So damn what – BITE ME!

    Rant over.

  • November 21, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    I am continuing to feel a healing from articles such as yours. My family has too suffered similar grief and unimaginable trouble…all stemming from Watchtower indoctrination. My mum after becoming a witness when she married my dad, basically had severed all ties with her family to comply with Watchtower policy. Although my dad always insisted she still keep in touch…but same thing, my mum’s siblings died and she never went to funeral or church in keeping with Watchtower policy. My oldest brother striving to please Watchtower, reaching out to get approval for becoming a Ministerial Servant, gave up a well paying job, to take a more dangerous part time job allowing him to attend meetings and pioneer. He got killed in a work related accident. I blame Watchtower for that directly, because they influenced his decision to what occupation he must accept. My sister suffered seventeen years living with a abusing husband because Watchtower policy was she could not divorce or leave. The elders in the congregation laid the blame of everything on her, for not totally being submissive to her husband and giving him reason to violently physically abuse her. Finally she got courage up to leave him and get a divorce…having to go to a secure woman’s shelter to get away. Even still the local elders would come telling her she must return to her husband because she was bringing reproach on Jehovah’s name. She eventually got disfellowshipped over this. But now is happily remarried to an unbeliever who’s an awesome person. She still suffers from nightmare and flashback of living with her first husband and the way the elders treated her. And me, I endured years of school being the only witness…no extra curricular activities or anything as is required of witnesses. No higher education or college…which I still fight with having to take physical labour jobs at low pay, and some day hope to get a better education to end this circle. My mum is still an active witness at 76 years old…but after my dad died she had to return to full time employment to help pay the bills. She is in contact with my sister and her new family…because she’s a good mum and disregards Watchtower on the subject of shunning although not openly. My family has suffered so much as so many others have too, because of Watchtower control and unrelenting indoctrination. I am thirty-five, and have been inactive for the past ten years, but only recently have I taken an keen interest in the goings on of the Watchtower…YouTube video has been invaluable…and I share the ones of interest with my mum. She’s troubled by recent letters from Headquarters read to local congregations regarding layoffs at bethel, discontinued circuit overseer visit and the like because of lack of financial support…the debit machines in Kingdom Halls and the constant coercion to give more money…
    Keep up your good work!!! You help many people like myself and my family make sense of this all. And realizing we are not alone helps tremendously. I believe Watchtower Governing Body Members are delusional, fear mongering, mythomaniacs…
    I can only hope their reign of fear inspired control and abuse ends soon with their current financial situation and internal conflict.

  • November 21, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    You all do a wonderful job! I find a healing in reading others stories, and realizing my situation is not unique. Keep up the great work!

    • November 21, 2015 at 11:50 pm

      The strength we all receive here Jason is amazing. I never thought I would have the courage to answer two elders with the words “My conscience is clear’ when they asked me to justify going to my df’d sons wedding came from the loving support of many on here. It’s like turning around to the school bully and saying ‘No’. Anyone remember that scene in “Willow’ where he turns to Queen Bavmorda and says ‘no’. That’s how I felt standing up to the elders. NO NO NO.

      • November 23, 2015 at 6:08 pm

        Tara –
        Sooo glad you went to your son’s wedding and stood up to the elders.
        I knew a sister who didn’t go to her disassociated daughter’s wedding because the P.O. at the time advised her not to and she didn’t want to displease ‘Jehovah’.
        Her daughter and her daughter’s husband now hate JWs with a vengeance. All their friends and non JW relatives all thought it disgusting. Good witness eh???

        • November 23, 2015 at 6:14 pm

          Oh for sure. If I had not gone Jehovah’s name would have been mud but they don’t see it that way.

  • January 19, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    “Observe the social media photo of your friend committing an infraction, such as drinking alcohol at a party where non-Witnesses are present” (I have to research this one…because one drinking was never an infraction, even with non-Witnesses.. if this is in the Watchtower digital edition, JW HQ has really gone off the rails in terms of controlling behavior, or HQ believes their current “flock” are sooo out of control that leadership must clamp down like a vice squad…)

    So, Abraham’s tale has always been twisted into one of blind obedience by the Watchtower ignoring the implications that God for a split second sanctioned human sacrifice, or that Abraham received from a “trickster” a false message that would upset the planned seed leading to the Messiah. And, yet, this flies totally in ignorance of the oft skipped Matthew verses that state 180 opposite ( Matthew 9:12-13; Hebrews 9:12).

  • March 15, 2016 at 10:25 am

    dr, saviour did some work for me and I saw results fast, even though we did a recast his work is still on point. My husband is home and we are working on our marriage. We still have our ups and downs but we are still together. Sometimes we need to have just a little faith along with the dr, saviour help and things will work out fine. I will be using his service for our business. If you are searching for help and not sure who to trust him , via email: {} words will not be enough to appreciate
    what he has done for me. i have promised to share the good news

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