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.

Holy crap.

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.”

UPDATE: News is starting to spread about this. At least videos are starting to appear on YouTube about it. Note, once again, that the pedophile problem is nothing new. You can find other videos from past transgressions on YouTube and elsewhere online. Why not look for them if this is all new to you?

The “Truth Be Told” Ex-Witness Documentary Is Ready For The Big Time!

I wanted to give everyone an update on the documentary that many of us have been waiting for, called, “Truth Be Told.” Gregorio Smith, the creator of the film, issued the following post on Facebook:

FYI folks…TRUTH BE TOLD is DONE and is currently being submitted to a number of national/international film festivals. Stay tuned for further info (including screening announcements).

We thank the exjw online community for their support. I want to recognize and thank Craig Sparlock Stevens in particular for his “unofficial” yet pithy teaser for the documentary:

More to come…


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News And Links For Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses: Video “Visiting the Governing Body”

VIDEO: Derek May and Martin Merriman re: Visiting the Governing Body

This is an interview with two men who took issue with certain teachings by the Society’s Governing Body and who, after quite a struggle, met with some of them to discuss the problems they saw (!!!) especially the disfellowshipping of Raymond Franz. It’s a long video, but its worth it.

8 Ways Christian Fundamentalists Make People Convert — to Agnosticism or Atheism

But if you read ExChristian testimonials you will notice that quite often church leaders or members do things that either trigger the deconversion process or help it along. They may turn a doubter into a skeptic or a quiet skeptic into an outspoken anti-theist, or as one former Christian calls himself, a “devangelist.”

Here are some top ways Christians push people out the church door or shove secret skeptics out of the closet. Looking at the list, you can’t help but wonder if the Catholic bishops, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann and their fundamentalist allies are working for the devil.

Watchtower’s New “Toy Story” – What Parents Need To Know

The 2012 “Safeguard Your Heart” District Convention has already generated controversy among thinking Jehovah’s Witnesses with the release of a new animated children’s DVD entitled “Become Jehovah’s Friend: Listen, Obey, and Be Blessed”.

I can’t be the only one who thinks this…like so many of the Society’s videos…would make a great Rifftrax. Seriously. Get on it, people. I would do it, but it’s never as funny when you do one alone and my wife would be burned alive if she helped.

Under the microscope – the Watch Tower Society’s claims to divine direction (part 1 of 4)

8/15/12 WT- Article of NONSENSE! – JWD Forum Post

Opinions on keeping your identity secret – JWD Forum Post

How an original STAR TREK episode nearly cost me my first JW marriage in its first year…true story I find funny/sad – JWD Forum Post

So i’m 21, just married, and raised in my fathers image and thank god he liked sci-fi…a genre i was able to escape to new WORLDS in. He even took me to a TREKKIE covention when I was albout 12 at the Greensboro Coliseum and it was packed. We had watched every episode over and over…I thought. There was no VCR then. So what was my reaction when just as we were leaving for another meeting from hell…it happened…A Star Trek episode came on that I had NEVER SEEN BEFORE!!!!!!! Manna from HEAVEN!!! What would you (or jesus) do? I didn’t CARE what jesus woudl do Scarlet.

Well wife was APPALLED at the thought of me missing a meeting for this lil STAR TRECK THINGY! ….

P.S. A certain Atheist Geek begins college tomorrow. It’s a role of the dice for me and my wife. My boss at my last job had been trying to get rid of me for two years and…mysteriously…I wasn’t able to find a part-time job at the same large facility that would allow me to do this. So I’m looking for another job that will. Wish me luck, guys. I know some won’t understand this, but it’s something I just had to do.

News And Links For Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses: Governing Body Letter, Reduced Magazines

First, a reminder for those who are interested, I am now on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter (though I don’t tweet very much). Feel free to follow me or–even better–say hi!

Governing Body’s Letter re. Reduced Magazines

The Governing Body has noted the growing tendency for people to obtain reading material from the Internet and has carefully weighed the effect this trend is having on the printing industry and on our ability to obtain paper and equipment for printing. Based on these changing conditions, effective with the issues of January 2013, Awake! and the public edition of The Watchtower will be reduced from 32 pages to 16 pages. These magazines that we distribute to the public will….

Jehovah Witnepedia – Exciting and Dedicated Jehovah’s Witness Research

Jehovah Witnepedia is your own personal Jehovah’s Witness Wiki! We’ve started it off by adding our dear friend Lacy Beatty’s Issues With Jehovah’s Witnesses, a therapeutic range of articles that raise some really important questions.

Dear Watchtower: Why the insults and name-calling?

For acting out of conscience, it’s certainly uncalled for to be shunned as an apostate and viewed as dead by family and friends. But according to the July 15, 2011 Watchtower, I’m also “mentally diseased” because it states that all apostates are mentally diseased.

For me, one of the most messed up things about the whole “mentally diseased” issue is the fact that many Witnesses don’t seem to get why it’s a big deal.

Another View of a Kingdom Hall Takeover

Mental Illness in the Origin of Civilization, Religion

Spikins argues that this technological tool revolution may have been triggered by a greater tolerance for people with traits on the autism spectrum. “I’m not saying that someone who isn’t autistic wouldn’t understand this technology, but that the innovation is more likely to come from someone who is systematic and has that unique focus on precision,” she says. Spikins also notes that other hominins, including Neanderthals, show few signs of tool innovation and never reached the level of sophistication achieved by our ancestors.

This probably fits better under news for atheist readers, but it was too cool not to sneak it in. I don’t know if I embrace these ideas fully. Some of the comments to the article are well taken. Still, it’s interesting.

Special Report: Mormonism besieged by the modern age

Did the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints know that members are “leaving in droves?” a woman asked.

“We are aware,” said Jensen, according to a tape recording of his unscripted remarks. “And I’m speaking of the 15 men that are above me in the hierarchy of the church. They really do know and they really care,” he said.

Finally, I will begin attending college in a few weeks. I am stepping down from my full time job and going to work part time so I can focus on school. Never been to college before. Wish me luck, guys. 🙂