Episode 91: View From the Watchtower

Join us for an interview with a former Jehovahs Witness as he recounts his experiences as an elder within church.

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  1. says

    I’ve started calling them Jehovists, who adhere to Jehovism… like Catholics who adhere to Catholicism.

    For all their differences, they are very similar.

    They both protect pedophiles, interfere with sexuality, subjugate women and baptize children. And more.

  2. Douglas says

    Hey guys, this was a great episode. It brought back a lot of old memories.

    I really should have dropped you a line a long time ago to thank you from the bottom of my heart for you work and your podcast. I disassociated from the Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses almost 3 years ago as a direct result of this podcast. I was given an iPod as a gift and found your podcast the first day searching through iTunes. I listened to you in secret, I’d download your show on Saturday after field service before mowing the yard and delete it afterward so my then wife wouldn’t find out what I was listening to (since she was a very devout witness). I questioned things for the first time, did months of research and mentally de-converted. After nearly a year I came to the conclusion that my personal integrity was at stake if I continued to live a double life. It cost me my marriage and I’ve not talked to anyone in my family for a couple years now. I thought of suicide, but made it though and now I’ve never been happier… I’m finally in college and am planning to teach high school science.

    You guys changed my life. I debated emailing this instead but I want other questioning witnesses to know that it’ll be OK. You can get though it, we can together. Take care all.


  3. Joe says

    I struggle with coming out to my wife constantly. I’m not a Jehovah’s witness. But, I was raised in a devout Christian home. When I got married I looked for someone that was as devout in their faith as I was. I never thought that would change about me. But, I read a lot of books and listened to a lot of skeptical podcasts, and one day realized that I just don’t believe anymore. I have thought for a while that my wife would divorce me and take our two kids. I haven’t been talking about my doubts about the faith for almost a year now hoping to be able to get to a point where I drop the real “A” bomb. But, I’ve never been able to bring myself to do it. Now, I guess, I just sort of feel stuck.

  4. says

    Wow, thank you for sharing Douglas. I dont know what to say really, just a little awestruck that we had some role to play in your process of questioning. Im sorry to hear you lost so much but relieved to hear things are looking up. Please do send us an email.

    And thank you, Joe, for sharing as well. I was apprehensive about coming out to my then fiance. When I hear stories like yours on comments and in emails I sometimes think the podcast dovetails between education and therapy for our listeners. Im hesitant to ever offer advice but it is helpful just sharing these things and letting others know that they are not the only ones going through this.

  5. Robert says

    Jeremy – thanks so much for having me on the show! You and Justin were great hosts, and chatting with you guys was a great, cathartic experience. I’m very glad to hear that some listeners appreciated it, and I hope it can help some people!

    Douglas, I’ve definitely been where you were, and what a journey it was and continues to be! Glad that you got through the initial difficulties and have reached a good place. Being dropped from basically everyone in your social circle and family is a hard and painful experience, and it causes the distress that the Witnesses like to point to when people leave the organization. Rebuilding a life, friends, and support, which usually happens after a year or two, is generally never seen by those still “in,” so all they have to go on is that initial, difficult period.

    You went through it, I went through it, and I know countless others that are at some point in the same journey. Telling our stories, I think, can help a lot of people see a light at the end of the tunnel!

    I’ll check in on the comment thread as I can, if I can answer anyone’s questions please let me know!

  6. Mike says

    How do you get them to stop coming to your house? We have told them to go away nicely, and one time quite rudely, and yet they still come by. Is there anything that can be done? Please let me know. Thank-You!

  7. robert says

    Ha! Good luck with that! There are actually a few different ways you can go about getting them to stop coming. Probably the easiest is to request that you be put on the “Do not call” list. They’ll keep a list of addresses attached to their territory cards, and then for the most part leave you alone. You’ll still potentially get up to one visit per year (though in reality it’ll be far less than that), where an elder or two will stop by and ask you if you still want to be on that list. That will at least keep the rank and file from your doorstep, unless they’re not paying attention. There aren’t too many addresses on those lists, usually one or none on a territory card (each card assigns a few blocks of territory, for the most part), so people usually do a solid job staying away from DNCs.

    The second, and probably slightly more nefarious (but more fun) method, is to invite them in and then try to show them a book like “Crisis of Conscious,” probably the most well-known “apostate” book out there. It was written by a former Governing Body member, and will make most witnesses shrink back in terror. It’s actually a great book for people interested in some of the main reasons people leave the organization. It’s well written, and uses a lot of verifiable sources along with some communications you have to accept weren’t forged. Since the organization has never tried to counter the claims in the book, and they are a fairly litigious group, I tend to believe that they’re accurate. Pulling that off the shelf (it’s available for download as well), and sharing opening it up will send the witnesses running; they’ll go and report your address to the elders most likely, and you can bet you’ll be left alone, probably more thoroughly than if you simply request to be on the DNC list.

  8. moralnihilist says

    I actually know “Robert” in real life so it was pretty cool to see his interview downloaded to my iPod this morning. Good job, man!

  9. jshaffer says

    I had some JW show up at my house one day some years back. A young woman, maybe 21 or 22, rang the door bell but there was an older couple standing at the end of my drive way. They never came back and I wonder if it was due to the fact that the young woman was admittedly terrified of dogs and mine were quite visible to her. That they get really excited at the possiblilty of meeting new people didn’t help either. She could barely get her words out but I really couldn’t put them anywhere else. I felt pretty bad for her.

  10. says

    My experience of leaving religion is less traumatic, mainly because my wife is mostly liberal and logical. She does however have some belief in the supernatural and we had a rocky couple years. I did some of my research secretly, but I think what made the difference was that I openly read books like “50 Voices for Disbelief”, Dawkins and others. At the time I was honestly reading them assuming I could develop arguments against them. I eventually developed my own non-dogmatic point of view. I don’t have faith in Dawkins anymore than I did in Jesus. As I studied these things as well as the Bible and found things that caused me to question things our minister said, I discussed them with her.

    There is an awful lot that I have not discussed with her and there are still many people in our community that I have not “come out” to. That gives me that “stuck” feeling, but I continue to look for specific Bible passages, dogmas, statements by leaders etc that I can get familiar with and feel comfortable discussing. I use the language learned in business, such as, “I’m confused about this” or “Could you address this” to open the conversation.

    I don’t recommend “dropping bombs” with statements about non-belief. That is similar to trying to teach quantum physics to an elementary student. Try to remember how you felt when first encountered the new ideas and that it took you a while to accept them. Robert’s thoughts about building a social circle not related to your religion is great advice.

  11. Grumpy says


    Just wanted to thank you for coming on the show. Wonderful insights into those folks who come knocking now and again. I knew the Millerite background etc., but the cultish angle of it all was truly a revelation. By the way, I now have something to concrete to discuss with the next witness that comes to the door. 307 B.C.!

    By the way, consider getting this message out to a wider audience. It really is important.

    “It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry”
    -Thomas Paine

  12. gwen says

    As an RN, I can tell you that while we try to respect the wishes of JW patients, if a child is involved, and needs a blood transfusion to save its life, or prevent morbidity, we can and do, easily get a judge to sign an order even in the middle of the night. In truth, I think some of the parents are relieved, but others are certainly angry. In the case of an adult, they can do whatever the heck they want to do. I once saw a young woman bleed to death after giving birth, choosing to die and leave her newborn motherless, rather than accepting a lifesaving transfusion. That is just sad.

  13. curtcameron says

    I’ve had JWs coming to my house over the past couple of years, and I don’t mind talking to them. All the ones that have come by my house, by the way, are black people. Is that common? I was in Hawaii during the Thanksgiving holiday in 2009, and there was a worldwide JW convention – I was surprised how international they were. Our hotel was mostly Japanese JWs. At least they didn’t smoke like most Japanese people that I meet!

    Robert, you said on the show how the JWs view the world as getting worse and worse – that reminds me of a question that an “elder” (I guess that’s the right word) asked me – after talking for a few minutes he asked me what I thought about the direction the world was headed. I told him that to anyone who’s not white, and male, and heterosexual, and Christian, America is a MUCH better place than it was a few decades ago. I told him that I remember how black people were treated here in Texas 40 years ago (I’m 50, and he was probably 60), and I sure wouldn’t want to live through those times again, and I’m sure he wouldn’t either. Come to think of it, he didn’t have much to say after that.

    I actually have a little plan for the next time they visit:

    1. I’m going to tell them about the Mormon missionaries, and what they believe, that they have a book that describes all kinds of things happening here in America, which we KNOW could not have happened, because the evidence tells us that there were no great cities here thousands of years ago, and that the native people we know are descended from humans in Asia, not from Israel.

    2. I’ll ask if they agree with that – that just because they had this book doesn’t count for much, that if we know it conflicts with hard evidence, then you have to reject at least those parts of their book that conflict with what we DO know, and it casts doubt on the rest. Is that the right way to decide what you believe?

    3. I’ll tell them that I’ve read the Bible, and I’ve read about what we know about history, and there are many major things in the Bible that contradict what we know, just like with the Book of Mormon. For example, we know that humans didn’t start just within the last 10,000 years from two people, and that there was no great global flood around 4000 years ago, and that we know that large numbers of Jews were NOT enslaved in Egypt 3500 years ago, and there was not a great exodus of hundreds of thousands of them across the Sinai, and that the Jews didn’t move in to the area around Canaan, that they were always from that area. We know these things just as surely as we know that the things in the Book of Mormon didn’t happen.

    4. Then I’ll ask why they would expect me to believe the things it says in their special book, and not believe the BoM? We’ve already agreed that you have to look at evidence from the real world and not just believe whatever’s in a book – why would anyone do it otherwise?

  14. robert says

    Ha! CurtCameron, I would love to talk to them as well, too bad they won’t let me! It’s not unusual to find that a lot of JWs are ethnic minorities; unfortunately minorities are more likely to be less educated, and that increases the likelihood they might be interested in what the Witnesses have to offer. As social groups become more educated, Witness recruitment drops off.

    Interesting line of reasoning with the Mormon line of thought, but I don’t think you’ll get far. As far as witnesses are concerned, there is OVERWHELMING evidence for the exodus, There is overwhelming evidence for everything in the bible. Convincing a witness otherwise would really take some effort. They really, for the most part, only read things that confirm their belief, so introducing anything else is rather challenging.

    It’s still worth a shot, of course. I think that a lot of the people that are drawn to the witnesses are good people, since the requirement for active participation is so high. I think you’ll find an excellent quality of person in volunteer organizations of all sorts, since for the most part people that volunteer are people that care about other people. I think that a lot of practicing witnesses are cut from the same cloth. Because of that, helping a witness grow beyond JW doctrine can help a person become an activist for causes that really will bring benefits to the world we live in, instead of just working to bring resources to a publishing company in New York. So, give it your best shot! If I can help, please let me know!

  15. AlanMacandCheese says

    @Mike says #6

    Try answering the door in your underwear while smoking a doob, and invite them in. Worked for me.

  16. meredith says

    Hey guys, I am a huge fan of the podcast ( I think I’ve listened to all of them) and I was surprised to see that the assignment I was given friday was in the same theme as the podcast you guys posted!

    I hope you don’t mind, but I am producing a piece for NPR’s internship program, Assignment Radio, here at the University of Oklahoma, and I was hoping to find people I could talk to here on your blog and on the forum.

    I hope that’s not presumptuous, but I am on a really tight deadline, and I need to find sources quickly.

    I want to discuss Atheists and agnostics in the Closet in Oklahoma. Why they hide, or have in hidden in the past, their true beliefs. Do they feel discriminated against? Are they afraid to hurt their families or lose friends?

    I myself “came out” to my family and friends, and it was extremely painful, but I am glad I did it. I am certain there are others like me, and I want to tell their story.

    I will also be talking to religious people, to get their side. Do their opinions of people change if they know the person is an atheist? Do they really care? Do they have any close friends who are non-religious? Are they worried about people who they believe by faith are going to hell? Etc.

    My deadline for recording interviews is wednesday but I could travel to where you are (if you still live in Oklahoma), or interview you on the phone possibly.

    I only have about 4-6 minutes to fill on the air, so my selection process for interviews will be a bit limited, but I want to get at least two people from the atheist perspective, preferably someone who is still closeted to at least one group (friends, family or work) and someone who is out and proud. Of course, I could go with more interviews if there is something interesting to explore.

    Please share this with friends, I need to find people quickly.


  17. LuisR says

    I have been a fan of the show for a long time and this was by far one of the best and most accurate episodes/interviews in the history of the show. And, based on other comments it struck a personal note to many, including me. I have been away from the witnesses for over 25 years. I was very active as where all my close relatives. But, at some point it became clear that the very nature of faith, religion, and God where not concepts that I could wrap my head around. And I could not reconcile these ideas to my understanding of history, science, and critical thinking.

    So, like many, I have been ostracized these many years. And like many, we have first-person experience of the damage such situations cost. The one good thing that came out of the experience was that after I left it became easier to make tough decisions, employ critical thinking, and build a life that was authentically mine and no one else’s.

    To those who are contemplating leaving I wish you a fantastic life. I empathize that it is a hard decision to make that should be done soberly and with clear intent. And if you ever doubt your decision I think one thing that helps is expanding your knowledge and critical thinking skills. So many great books have been suggested but one thing that helped me was becoming a student of myths (e.g. Joseph Campbell’s “The Power of Myth”, “The Hero’s Quest”, etc.). I think studying this subject will help put a perspective on the variety and history of gods, religions, and beliefs. I am an Atheist, but I can appreciate the wonder of the human imagination for good or bad to conceive of these ideas. And, looking at the history helps put things into perspective and they lose their hold and claim to your life.

    Lastly, for all the friends and family you will lose you will gain many more in the long term. This is not faith talking, this is experience ;-). There are riches in knowledge, experience, and relationships to be had. And, once you have put aside arcane beliefs you will find it easier to get rid of others you might have. And letting go of those is the first step to the real adventure that life can be.

  18. Kemist says


    Well, for me simple honesty worked.

    Me : Look guys, I’m really not interested, so don’t waste your breath. I’m an atheist.

    JW : How did you come to that conclusion ?

    Me : From deep philosophical reflexion.

    JW : Have you read the Bible ?

    Me : Of course. It’s a big part of what made me an atheist.

    JW : … uh, I think we’ll go now. Have a good day.

    Maybe they were scared by “atheist” or “philosophical”. Or maybe they thought their bible-quoting was not up to par, which would have been all right with me, since I’ve never found that old, stupid, boring book worth memorizing.

  19. robert says

    Wow, LuisR, I don’t know what to say. It’s incredibly encouraging to hear that what we talked about resonated with you, and I hope it does with many more. I can’t say that I started out feeling very comfortable, but Jeremy and Justin did an incredible job making me feel like I could speak openly, and asked questions that led me to the topics I think most of the RD audience would want to know about.

    Your last paragraph very accurately states the one thing I wish I had addressed more thoroughly during the interview: post-witness life is AMAZING, despite the challenges faced both during deconversion and in life in general. Some things in life are scary, it’s not easy not believing in a definitive answer to some of life’s tougher questions. But that process of discovery that you can share with people is so valuable, and it’s something that I had never really experienced until I left the Organization. Why talk about meaning in life, when you already think you know exactly what it is? But what an experience people miss out on when they assume they have those answers, and they’re all in neat little packages that you don’t even have to think about.

    The idea that you have a whole community of friends as a witness is complete nonsense; you have a whole community of acquaintances that will pretend to not even know you as soon as you have a thought of your own. That’s not what a friend is. A friend is someone that will stick with you, especially when you need them. Now, I have a lot of those friends, and I don’t really have the type of friends that would abandon me as soon as I need help, or shun me if I come to a different conclusion than they have on a 2000 year old subject as meaningless as whether a guy named Jesus may have died on either a cross or stake.

    Your comment made my day, thank you for posting it and for making a fellow ex-jw’s day that much better!

  20. meanmike says

    Hey guys, I recently started listening to your show and have really enjoyed it. Also, thanks to Robert, I found your interview to be very informative. I live in Japan in a fairly small town, and I mention this because I get Jehovah’s Witnesses knocking on my door from time to time. I looked up the Japanese word for apostate. I might throw it into the conversation next time they stop by. (There are Mormons around here, too, but they have never come to my house. Although, I was once stranded at a train station with a pair of them.)

  21. Marles says

    @Robert… I also was raised as a JW and had an experience that nearly mirrors what you went through, from the pioneering around the time requirement change right down to the Steve Hassan book.

    I can’t express how glad I am that you decided to share your story.

  22. John Morales says

    I found the interview very interesting and very informative.

    Thank you to everyone involved!

  23. Jason says

    I want to thank you guys for this interview. I myself am a former Jehovah’s Witness. I was raised in this religion from the moment of my birth. My mother is still a very devout JW and has decided to shun me because of my decision to disassociate myself.

    Around the time that I left, I was very serious about my faith. I spent almost all my free time studying the Bible and Watchtower publications. I had a reputation in my congregation for being a “scholar” of sorts. The elders had big plans for my future and I was more than interested. I was very outspoken in my desire to serve the organization in a greater capacity. My ultimate goal was to become a traveling minister, known among JWs as a circuit overseer.

    The events that led to my decision to leave are remarkably similar to those of Robert. Once I discovered the chronological doctrine of JWs lacked evidence, I felt I could no longer support their teachings. And like Robert, I started to check references in other publications, only to be disappointed by their dishonesty. From that point I attended several churches for about 2 or 3 years before becoming an atheist.

    Even before I left the organization, I had experiences similar to Robert where I felt that I was not in an ideal congregation, but that it was just me, or just my local situation. The elders in my congregation weren’t cruel, but they weren’t really loving either. At least they weren’t anything like the way elders were described in Watchtower publications. For an organization that seemed so dedicated to the Bible, there seemed to be very little interest in examining the Scriptures beyond their proof-texts.

    Members seemed to stay in their predetermined cliques and rarely associated with one another outside of them. I remember reading about the camaraderie in the early Christian meetings and wondered why they were absent from my congregation. Outside of the meetings, I rarely ever saw any of my colleagues. And we were supposed to be willing to give up our life for one another!

    During the time I started to question my faith, I met someone who formerly occupied a privileged position at Bethel. He never considered himself of the anointed, but he was in close association with members of the Governing Body on a daily basis. He would soon discover that some members of the Governing Body didn’t even believe some of the doctrines they were enforcing. I would have been disfellowshipped for some of the things they said in private!

    I think it’s important to raise more awareness of Jehovah’s Witnesses and how the organization operates. I think it’s because they fly under the radar that they’re able to have a limited amount of success in converting others. When your a fully indoctrinated JW, you really take for granted how little others are informed about your beliefs. When I left and started talking to non-JWs I was surprised as to how little the average person really knows about this religion. I really think that raising awareness about the Watchtower can save others from a disappointing experience.

  24. Jonathan Leech says

    Hi guys,

    not a comment specifically for this episode. I’m still someway behind having found your podcast a few weeks back although I have become a little addicted to them and have already listened up to episode 60 ish. The reason for contacting you is that I had my first truly “spiritual” moment listening to your podcast. It made me realise how strong these feelings can be and why people would probably attribute them to a god if that was their world view.

    I was very tired after driving 6 hours to a conference, listening to lectures all day and then getting back in the car to drive home. All trip I’d be listening to RD and was possibly getting slightly hysterical as it got dark and I had another few hours to go. It was the episode that ended with the Carl Sagan song, which I had never heard before, and as the car headed towards a darkening sky down an empty road Carl sang to me about a glorious dawn.

    Without any warning I started crying and in moments tears were pouring down my cheeks. I could not stop and it was an intensely powerful, emotional sensation that was just welling up inside me and it was science that was causing it. Science can be beautiful, moving and even spiritual sometimes. Thanks to all of you for the excellent podcast and for making me cry.

  25. says

    I too have a former affiliation with Jehovah’s Witnesses, and this interview was just an incredible listen. I actually listened to it twice. I know this anonymous former elder is speaking the truth because his details are incredibly spot on. Thanks so much for this, would love to hear more about JWs.

  26. LuisR says

    I think Jonathan Leech’s comment is what Maslow would call a “Peak Experience”. It is a wonderful human experience to feel that euphoria and connectedness. The unfortunate thing is that Religions (such as the Witnesses) are especially arranged/designed to elicit this response. Also, most people incorrecty believe that experience is unique to a Religious activity. As Jonathan and probably so many others can testify, it can be brought on by natural epiphanies, love, a sense of purpose, accomplishment, watching the skies through a telescope, learning something new, learning that life has lots of options, etc. Heck, I get a “Peak Experience” most of the times when I watch a presentation on TED.com;-).

    I think it is good to point out and notice as Jonathan did in his comment that Religion does not have a monopoly on this. I know of many who go back to the Witnesses or other religions to seek this experience out. I think that one of the things missing in our discussion with religious believers is being able to properly articulate that these experiences are available elsewhere.

    Or as Einstein said “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.”

    I think as we help educate others about the facts to be learned that we also touch on the wonderful emotions to be experienced through that journey. And, just like “Peak Experiences” Religion does not have a monopoly on having a community to share these experiences with.

  27. JAtheist says

    Robert, I had a question regarding the source material that you happened upon regarding the Greek word “stauros”. I was raised as a Witness, and I don’t happen to have a copy of Reasoning from the Scriptures handy, so I wasn’t sure what they cited as their source. I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction, you said you had found the source online?

  28. robert says

    Hi JAtheist, glad to help. This is straight from the reasoning book:

    “The Greek word rendered “cross” in many modern Bible versions (“torture stake” in NW) is stau·ros´. In classical Greek, this word meant merely an upright stake, or pale. Later it also came to be used for an execution stake having a crosspiece. The Imperial Bible-Dictionary acknowledges this, saying: “The Greek word for cross, [stau·ros´], properly signified a stake, an upright pole, or piece of paling, on which anything might be hung, or which might be used in impaling [fencing in] a piece of ground. . . . Even amongst the Romans the crux (from which our cross is derived) appears to have been originally an upright pole.”-Edited by P. Fairbairn (London, 1874), Vol. I, p. 376.” Reasoning from the Scriptures p.89

    And the relevant quote:

    “The Greek word for cross, (stauros), properly signified a stake, an upright pole, or piece of paling, on which anything might be hung, or which might be used in impaling (fencing in) a piece of ground. But a modification was introduced as the dominion and usages of Rome extended themselves through Greek-speaking countries. Even amongst the Romans, the crux (from which the word cross is derived) appears to have been originally an upright pole, and always remained the more prominent part. But from the time that it began to be used as an instrument of punishment, a traverse piece of wood was commonly added: not however always then. … There can be no doubt, however, that the later sort was the more common, and that about the period of the Gospel Age, crucifixion was usually accomplished by suspending the criminal on a cross piece of wood.
    … But the commonest form, it is understood, was that in which the upright piece of wood was crossed by another near the top, but not precisely at it, the upright pole running above the other, thus “a cross” and so making four, not merely two right angles. It was on a cross of this form, according to the general voice of tradition, that our Lord suffered.
    … It may be added that crucifixion was abolished around the time of Constantine, in consequence of the sacred associations which the cross had now gathered around it.”

    And an image of the page from the Imperial Bible Dictionary: http://jwfacts.com/images/cross-imperial-bible-dictionary.jpg

    And lastly, a more comprehensive discussion of the whole thing: http://jwfacts.com/watchtower/cross-or-stake.php

  29. Hexahelicene says

    I just heard this episode today. I was wondering if the JW organization cooperated with the police where reasonable grounds are found for crimes like sexual assault. It is clear other Churches have obstructed investigations on this and similar matters.

  30. Ripples says

    Thank you Robert for sharing your experience and educating me along the way. I once dated a lapse JW and a receptionist at my office is a JW.

    Alas they have some issues with my philosphies and now I kind of understand it all a bit better.

    I couldn’t help but laugh about the idea that for me as an athiest it ends with death and no where else to go. The JW think the same thing is going to happen to me. It seems almost poetic.

  31. "Qwerty" Dave says

    Nice interview. Brough back to mind why I left JWs.
    Hey “Robert” do you remember a married couple in NY Bethel, the female was From England?

  32. Rachel says

    Hey – my husband’s sister, who has been a JW for years just sent us a box of CHRISTMAS PRESENTS. We thought this was so strange and are wondering how significant this might be, re her leaving. Or at least relaxing a bit. Is there such a thing as a nominal JW, like there are casual Christians?

  33. robert says

    That’s pretty significant, actually. Taking part in any sort of “pagan” celebration (apart from, say, wearing wedding rings, which is fine, oddly enough) is a disfellowshipping offense. If she got caught, they probably wouldn’t go straight for disfellowshipping, but they would definitely have some strong words for her, and if she did it again, she’d be hauled in for an elders meeting.

    There is and there isn’t such a thing as a nominal JW; there are people who sort of sit out on the fringes of the witnesses, but they’ll get kicked out just like anyone else if they do things that are frowned upon. So, if they’re baptized, all the rules apply equally and even if they are not very active, they still will get in ‘trouble’ if they’re caught doing something not allowed. What that means is that they can float along as long as they don’t actively do something not allowed, or at least for as long as they don’t get caught doing something not allowed. That environment of course tends to create distinctions, and since ‘bad association’ is harped on so much, ‘nominal’ JWs aren’t really accepted in the group.

    The only way to be a ‘nominal’ JW is to not get baptized, but in that case you will still be treated very differently as someone who is potentially ‘bad association,’ assuming they’re old enough to be able to make that decision. Of course, the JWs have been highlighting “great examples” of kids that are getting baptized very young (8-9 years old or younger), so that “old enough” datapoint is a fairly low bar. . .

  34. Jennifer says

    I just was sent the link to this. I just wanted to thank you for this podcast.
    I left the cult years ago
    as a result lost all my friends and family who had to shun me.
    my ex took my kids away with help from my parents because he was staying in the religion.
    it is a terrible religion that breaks up families and teaches conditional love.
    I enjoyed listening to this.

  35. jericho says

    great episode.
    I just recently began listening to doubtcasts and immediately checked this out. when a mentally-free JW listens to Roberts experience you immediately know that this is 100% legit.
    JW’s can spot real/fake JW’s the moment they open their mouth.
    I found it funny when terms like “bethel” and others were questioned by the hosts when these terms are such a part of the JW vernacular.
    Amazingly, while some JW’s would hear this and begin to question, others would instantly reject the entire interview as apostate lies without making even an infinitesimal effort to prove him wrong.
    I am currently hiding among the JW’s. I am mentally free but trapped in for my family. I have helped 2 to break free and am working on several more. I have discovered a network of JW’s that feel much like I do. Hearing guys like Robert share these same sentiments is a real source of strength for XJW’s being beaten down by the Watchtower’s shunning policies
    thanks for this and look forward to more discussions about JW’s

  36. says

    All for one,one for all.You should always depend on yourself rather than someone else.She was totally exhausted.I enjoy working with you very muchThese shoes don’t fit right.How about if we go tomorrow instead?You set me up!And now medical care helps to keep people alive longer.Talking with you is a pleasure.I borrowed a notebook from Tom and I lent it to Marry


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