Meg Myers is a musician and an ex-Jehovah’s Witness. Before you do anything else, listen to the song above and you’ll see that this is very obvious in her lyrics. (There are some naughty words, but if you’re here, that shouldn’t really be a problem.) The clip probably tells you everything you need to know, really.
If you want more, the about page on her website says the following:
I USED TO LIVE IN THE SMOKEY MOUNTAINS OF TENNESSEE / NOW I LIVE IN LOS ANGELES
I USED TO BE A JEHOVAH’S WITNESS / NOW I CELEBRATE MY BIRTHDAY
I DIDN’T GO TO HIGH SCHOOL / INSTEAD I BUILT FORTS
I SING / I PLAY GUITAR PIANO AND BASS
I WILL ALWAYS MAKE MUSIC
If that isn’t awesome enough, you can get her album for FREE. It includes the music in the YouTube clip above. Get it and cram it on your MP3 player! If you’ve been disfellowshipped, or treated like a bad associate, or judged by Witnesses who used to be your friends, this might be your album. Or at least your song. I haven’t listened to all the music yet, but I will.
The song is angry, but Meg Myers is encouraging. It’s always cool to see a former Jehovah’s Witness do something with his or her life. Way to go, Meg. Good luck with everything.
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?
So why do ex-Witnesses like me criticize the Watchtower Society and Jehovah’s Witnesses? Many Witnesses assume that we harbor some secret jealousy of them, that we’re deranged, or that we’re just a bunch of meanies in general. In reality, there are many sane reasons why ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses criticize the Watchtower Society publicly.
1. To Warn Others About Problems We Perceive With “The Truth”
Most ex-Witnesses left the organization because we believed something was wrong with it. We point out these flaws to help others avoid learning about them the way we had to. The hard way.
Many Witnesses accuse us of nitpicking and insist that there are no good reasons to leave the Society’s truth. They say that the Watchtower Society is Jehovah’s one and only organization, hence, none of its human-wrought imperfections really matter. But this assumes a lot. What if the number one fault we find with the truth is that it isn’t true? That shifts the priorities around, don’t you think?
Arguments between ex-Witnesses and Jehovah’s Witnesses about the Society’s truth are as timeless as anything else. Headway is rarely made on either side. But like it or not, we just don’t believe in the Society’s truth any more. So telling us that it’s flaws don’t matter doesn’t really help the situation. Isn’t this really obvious when you think about it?
Silent Lambs is reporting that the Watchtower Society has been successfully sued for a large cash payout. And actually, I’d say this news makes good old Sparlock pale in comparison. I can’t take credit for uncovering it. I learned about it from JWD on this post. The actual PDF file can be found here.
Now, here’s the big news.
An Alameda County Superior Court jury has found the Jehovah’s Witnesses legally responsible for the sexual abuse of a 9 year old former Fremont girl. The verdict, announced Wednesday June 13, found that the Elders who managed the North Fremont Jehovah’s Witness Congregation in the 1990s knew perpetrator Jonathan Kendrick had sexually molested another child, but kept his child abuse secret from the parents and families with children in the Congregation. Kendrick went on to repeatedly sexually molest Candace Conti, now 26, over a two year period, using Jehovah Witnesses activities such as door to door neighborhood soliciting as his way to secretly gain control over his young victim. Kendrick was eventually convicted in 2004 of the sexual abuse of another young girl, and is now a Registered Sex Offender in California.
The key issue in the case, according to the victim’s attorney Rick Simons of Hayward, was the written policy of Watchtower New York, Inc., which instructed all Elders in Jehovah’s Witnesses Congregations in the United States to keep reports of child sex abusers within Jehovah’s Witnesses secret to avoid lawsuits. The case is believed to be the first in the nation to directly address the policy of secrecy, adopted in 1989, and still in force today.
It’s about time.
Ms. Conti stated “I once wanted to be the best Jehovah’s Witness I could be. Now I feel I’m doing more to help other children in Jehovah’s Witnesses than I ever did walking door to door to spread the ‘good news’. The jury awarded $7 million dollars in damages, and will return Thursday to deliberate on whether or not punitive damages should be awarded.
I think we can all agree with Ms. Conti’s feelings on this one.
Candace Conti spent 2 years trying to convince the Jehovah’s Witnesses, both in Southern California and in Fremont, to change the secrecy policy, but finally gave up and filed her lawsuit in 2011. “This young woman, who experienced brutal abuse as a child, could not tell anyone for several years, and has walked for many years in a nightmare of depression and isolation, has shown incredible courage in facing the powerful and secrecy laden organization that betrayed her into the hands of a monster” said Mr. Simons of his client.
Um…wow. This is the kind of news that should get someone’s attention. Of course, that doesn’t mean it actually will. In fact, I have yet to see anyone reporting on it so far.
We can do something about that. Heck, I think we should.
We need to start spreading this information as far and wide as we did with Sparlock. Because people deserve to know the truth. Contact major and minor news outlets to make sure they take notice, guys. It will not only draw attention to the pedophilia cases within the organization (this is hardly the first) but it will encourage people to question the Society’s practices generally. Maybe even spur big media to look at other practices, like shunning.
More information can be found here as well. Click on case summary (about halfway down the page) and type in case number HG11558324. The case has been dubbed “Doe VS The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, I.”