As ex-Witnesses, we’ve all read about situations where the Watchtower Society (or its representatives) claim that shunning a family member is purely a matter of personal choice. That is to say that the family members who shun disfellowshipped Witnesses aren’t being forced to do so, but simply chose not to have any relations with that person for reasons of their own. This makes the Watchtower Society seem less cult-like to the public and may help the organization avoid certain legal issues for the practice of disfellowshipping in other countries. The video above shows us an example of a Witness downplaying the Society’s role in shunning disfellowshipped Witnesses in a court of law. Notice how he ducks questions relating to whether the policy of disfellowshipping is enforced by the Society or how such enforcement might happen.
There are other examples where the Society’s representatives seem evasive when it comes to answering uncomfortable questions in the media or in legal proceedings. The issue of blood transfusions is one that comes to mind. The claim, once again, is that the family is not being made to do anything by Watchtower policy. They are simply refusing treatment out of personal choice. Hence, it’s the family’s responsibility, not the Society’s.
But here’s the big question. Is any of this really true?
Since I first posted my article about Sparlock the Warrior Wizard, I have seen several attempts by Jehovah’s Witnesses to declare the video an apostate (or atheist) trick. There’s even an image of these conversations on YouTube for posterity. Well, I felt it necessary to issue a response on behalf of myself and other ex-Witnesses who have adopted Sparlock as our new mascot.
For those who doubt that the Sparlock video is the real deal, I offer the following incontrovertible proof.
I just received an update on the “Truth Be Told” documentary about ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses. I mentioned it here a little while back. Aside from all the other video snippets that you can see at the web site (I think any ex-Witness will find these interviews encouraging) the official trailer is now available online as well. You can view it on Vimeo or Youtube right now!
I hope everyone is psyched about this. Especially those who’s lives were deeply affected by their experiences as former Jehovah’s Witnesses. It’s not every day you get to have your side of any story told, especially in a real documentary that many people will see. Please consider supporting the documentary by clicking on the “Support Now” button at the top of the website and spreading the word.
I recently stumbled upon an article at Ezinearticles.com, entitled, “The Argument That Jehovah’s Witnesses Are Not Cult Members.” It was written by Troy Bart Simon, who is listed as a “Basic Level Expert Author.” In case you have any doubt about the exact nature of Troy’s post, the description at Ezinearticles.com begins, “Jehovah’s Witnesses are often looked upon as being part of a cult, when in reality they are far from anything cult-like.” Yeah, I’m sure that won’t rile up any of my readers. Yet Troy probably thinks his statement is completely true. In fact, he’s probably one of Jehovah’s Witnesses himself.
Some at JWD have already responded to Troy’s article since it was written about a year ago. I have a few points worth mentioning, too. Note that this article spans more than one page. So don’t ignore the little numbers at the bottom if you want to read past the first one. They’re below all the “Like this post?” stuff.
Please feel free to make additions, corrections, or other points in the comments below. If I’m convinced you’re suggestions have merit, I might revise this article to include them.
Religions have spent eons honing defenses that keep outside information away from insiders. The innermost ring wall is a set of certainties and associated emotions like anxiety and disgust and righteous indignation that block curiosity. The outer wall is a set of behaviors aimed at insulating believers from contradictory evidence and from heretics who are potential transmitters of dangerous ideas. These behaviors range from memorizing sacred texts to wearing distinctive undergarments to killing infidels. Such defenses worked beautifully during humanity’s infancy. But they weren’t really designed for the current information age.