How To Avoid Making Big Mistakes When Coming Out As A Nonbeliever To Jehovah’s Witnesses

Door opensWhen one of Jehovah’s Witnesses decides to “come out” as a nonbeliever to members of his family, he knows that they will cut him off for good. Yet many ex-Witnesses come out anyway because they can’t stand living a lie. (For the record, I really do think that coming out is almost always better than fading in the long run.) Some ex-Witnesses make serious mistakes when revealing their lack of faith in the Society to their families, mistakes that create needless complications for everyone involved. I have some tips on how these can be avoided below.

Note, in this case, I’m referring to Jehovah’s Witnesses who are “nonbelievers” because they don’t believe in the Society’s truth anymore. Nonbelieving ex-Witnesses may still believe in God or favor another religion, so they aren’t necessarily atheists as I’m using the word here.

So what’s the best way to come out as a nonbeliever to your relatives? And why should you consider coming out instead of fading?

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EVENT: Occupy Sparlock On June 22nd

Sparlock the Warrior WizardFor those who haven’t heard, a Facebook group called Occupy Sparlock is asking everyone to consider joining their cause. What is the group about?

Here’s a description from the page. Note that The Broad Road is behind this one.

My bad. They tell me that Dave Fite started it. I was made aware of the group by The Broad Road and thought it was his baby. Sorry Dave.

 

—- PLEASE READ OUR OBJECTIVE FIRST!!!!——

Just to be clear about our purpose: We are sharing the Caleb and Sparlock on Friday June 22nd to help raise awareness for the abuse the Watchtower Society afflicts on children every day. I will make a link with a brief message you can change if you want on the 21st, and then we all post the video with a message attached on our walls on the 22nd. The idea will be to get other people who are not ex-Witnesses to become aware of this video, most people outside of our community have not seen this video. 

For those who don’t know the back story, this video was created for Jehovah’s Witnesses by the Watchtower Society with the intent for use on very young children. The video is clearly psychologically abusive. It garnered outrage on reddit and was briefly on the front page. It began to explode on Youtube, and the Watchtower was forced to get the video taken down by filing a copyright infringement claim (on free material). We cannot let the Watchtower win this battle.

It’s pretty clear that the Watchtower is on the ropes. People are leaving in droves. This our punch back into their gut. 

Here is a mirror of the video. Please don’t share it a lot before the post date, otherwise the society may find a way to take it down to, and I’m not aware of any other links right now.http://www.vidvir.com/watch/Kpl#.T8p4-NVtqSq

100 PEOPLE SUNDAY 5/3/12!!!! 

This event is being carried out in coordination with Occupy Sparlock. Please visit their page as well: http://www.facebook.com/events/341053635965820/

—OCCUPY SPARLOCK OBJECTIVE—
Look at what small amounts of people can do to get major media attention for a cause. The Occupy movement is a great example of that. And what better reason to protest do exJWs have than for what this horrible cult has done to them and their families? 
Let’s Occupy Sparlock!

We propose that we gather in masses to make as much noise legally as we can, to get the major media’s attention directed at this cult. Here are some ideas for doing this:

• Make banners, flyers, bandit signs, etc. and post them around every kingdom hall we can before the District Convention to give major attention to that video before the sheeple see it. This way when they do, they will pay special attention to it to see why we are making such a ruckus. It can be as simple as a printed 8×11 printed paper stapled to an electric pole near a KH with anything announcing Sparlock is coming! You can download or add new printable media for this to the Occupy Sparlock group found here (you can log in with your FB account): http://www.flickr.com/groups/2010653@N22/
We can also continue to post them after the DC with messages such as “Sparlock Lives”, “I’m not evil, I’m just a TOY!”, and “Save Sparlock!”

• Print up fake Sparlock movie tickets (such as those provided by Steven Unthank) to pass out to JWs in parking lots.

• Now for the craziest idea of all, something I have wanted to do for a long time… We could print small cards or the fake movie tickets or otherwise, go to assemblies stealthy like at lunch time when everyone is walking around, and toss a ton of said papers into the air and leave. JWs of all types would be picking them up to see what just happened. It’s a public event; it’s a simple protest as is done in Washington all the time. – An alternative for those who don’t want to be so flamboyant; you could instead walk around and stealthy place cards all around the convention, just leave them laying around here and there (and everywhere.). Bathroom stalls/sinks, in seats, near water fountains, on the floor here and there, etc. Perhaps even make a half dozen *different* cards, directing people to different sites. Have one for JW facts, one for the JWR forums, one for TheBroadRoad.com, one for Silent Lambs, hell maybe even one for Blood Witness. This will have a double effect. When a doubter sees one, and then sees another, they will go on a scavenger hunt to find more. When a True Believer finds the second one, aimed at another site, they’ll panic, thinking they’re being infiltrated by dozens of apostates. 

• Everything mentioned above should have links to exJW websites where they can learn more about our cause. Because there are so many sites and likely disagreements on which sites should be on them, there is no reason they couldn’t be different sites. So long as the movement is unified.

Now here’s the biggest problem with this whole idea; in order for it to work we need tons of real people really willing to work together on this. I have found that getting exJWs to do more than post on Facebook towards a single cause is like herding cats. To overcome this, we simply need to get enough of us talking about it to make the rest take it seriously. And exJWs are all split up across many different sites, so we need to spread the word everywhere so we can all work together! 

The impact would surely make news when it is happening on a huge scale. And the JWs will have a huge surprise when they get to their District conventions which start on the 22nd of this month. 
We are open to more ideas and media for this, so please get involved!

Join The SPARLOCK R3VOLUTION! 

* We have a ZERO violence policy that we will all work towards together. Violence or attacks on JW rank and file will not be tolerated. We are out to wake up the media and the JW people, NOT to attack them! Avoid illegal activity as well.

** Here is also a great way to really make an impact about Sparlock to any active JWs you personally have contact with: http://www.reddit.com/r/exjw/comments/uha1i/epic_way_to_trap_jws_with_the_sparlock_video/

*** Some have talked about picketing outside of the conventions, but that is NOT what this movement is about. That being said, those who chose to do should know that you need to be kind to get any traction. We do not condone yelling out foul things or being an ass in general.

****This is not a political movement or discussion, take it elsewhere.

Sparlock video: http://www.vidvir.com/watch/Kpl#.T8uhwdVYurD
Sparlock Video Covers: http://imgur.com/a/hOaD9
Download them all: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/45415913/Jehobo.zip

Basically, if you’re an activist who wants to stick it to the man, here’s an opportunity to do just that. But I would like to offer some advice of my own.

Use this, Sparlock, and other recent events as an opportunity to raise awareness among non-Witnesses (or so-called “worldly people”) that the Watchtower Society isn’t necessarily what it appears to be. Use it to poke the conscience of active Witnesses, either as a call for change, or simply to encourage people to leave the organization if it refuses to grow up. That’s one of the reasons why I left, in fact. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of any upcoming opportunities to raise awareness as well.

But don’t simply use this as a way to strike back at a group that hurt you. Don’t use it as an excuse to picket your old Kingdom Hall unless you know that abuse of this sort has been going on there. In fact, it might be better to simply stick flyers up in the area for everyone, including the local Witnesses, to see. That’s the sort of thing that raises awareness. A demonstration that gets their attention without threatening them physically will go a lot further than anything else you might do. And as the description above says, do not resort to any form of physical violence. At best, that will only backfire in oh so many ways.

Don’t do anything that will chase local Witnesses scrambling ever deeper into the organization’s loving embrace. Don’t do anything that will reaffirm their assumptions about us. In other words, don’t act like a crazy person with an axe to grind. Bad behavior just makes all ex-Witnesses look bad and that undermines our credibility. Worst of all, it will arm the Society with ammunition they can fire back at us. That’s right: behaving badly will only make us look bad in the media for all to see. Don’t help the Society remain as it is. Help it to change or to go away.

Don’t make this about lashing out. Be smart. Don’t blow this opportunity.

As The Broad Road said on Facebook: ‎”I don’t think full scale protesting outside of a convention is the answer.” – And it clearly says that in the Occupy Sparlock doc, we are in total agreement. None of us are advocating picketing. I like to call it protesting like ninjas! :)

Good luck.

For The Disfellowshipped, The Bad Associates, And The Disowned: You Really Do Have A Choice

Whether you’re a former Jehovah’s Witness who has been disfellowshipped1 or an atheist who has been disowned from a deeply religious family, take heart. This doesn’t have to be a soul tearing rejection from the only family you will ever get. Far from it.

Here’s what you need to know: no matter what you’ve been told, you can choose your family. Only your relatives are determined by genes and blood. Family is different. Because family is about relationships. If your relatives are bad news…or reject you because they think you’re bad news…you can choose another family based on any criteria you like. Realizing this can put you back in charge of your own life. Even if that means striking out on your own and leaving your old, dysfunctional family behind.

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  1. Disfellowshipping is like being excommunicated with a huge dose of shunning iced on top. None of your Witness relatives or friends will even speak to you once you’ve been disfellowshipped. Of course, many ex-Witnesses are shunned just because they’re seen as a bad associate. But that’s another story.

Witnesses for Atheism: Cool Podcasts for Ex-Witnesses Turned Atheists

Normally, I’d include this with my news and links updates, but I’m lazy and didn’t want to wait. Witnesses for Atheism is a pretty sweet podcast for those hungry masses of ex-Witnesses that want to hear more podcasts from…well, ex-Witnesses! I discovered it through Twitter, which I finally joined about a week or two ago.

The podcasters grew up as Jehovah’s Witnesses and start out by telling us how they went from believers to atheists. Please encourage them to do more and let them know we’re listening.