It has been about five months since being hailed before the elders and speaking to them at length, for some three hours. During the tribunal (1 Corinthians 4:3-5) my goal was to let my light shine and speak the truth about the truth to these men. Perhaps they would “get the sense of it”, perhaps not, but the main goal was to speak out for what is right and not regret one minute of sharing TTATT with these men. Indeed, I would not hesitate to do it again if necessary. I wanted to reach a wider audience than just those three men of course, not for fame or glory, but so as to help all the thousands of little sheep that are waking up to the lies and mind control of the Watchtower leadership. This “different gospel” or spirit (2 Corinthians 11:4) preached through the pages of the Watchtower Magazine as well as JW.org the official website of Jehovah’s Witnesses has a terrible hold on the thought processes of millions of people trapped inside the Organization. It is tragic, yet more and more are hearing the voice of the Master, Christ. (John 10:27) They are heeding the call to put their light on a mountaintop not under a basket, which necessitates leaving the Kingdom Hall and the JW movement. This is being done both mentally and physically by thousands and thousands of Witnesses and former Witnesses and it is thrilling.
I wanted to share just a fraction of the feedback I have received, as much of it is quite encouraging. The few negative comments have literally constituted less than one percent of what has been said regarding the YouTube videos making up my entire Judicial Trial process and documentation of it.
Recently I spoke at length to an active JW elder who is asleep in the movement. We needed to speak on a business matter, but he was the one that began asking me questions about my trial. At one point he said,
“I heard you put your judicial committee meeting all over the internet and lied to the elders- is that true?”
As I looked at him directly in the eye my answer was, “You’ve been misinformed [name removed]. Have you actually seen the video for yourself?”
His immediate response was an explosive, “No!” upon which I said, “Well then whoever told you that was feeding you misinformation. I spoke up for the truth and told those brothers nothing but Truth as I see it.”
Needless to say he then steered the conversation away, stating that he told himself he would not ask about it but just did. Later on he brought it up again and then promptly stopped himself and told me not to answer his question! It was actually humorous and we both laughed and continued our business meeting. It illustrated to me the fact that curiosity is at a very high place for some of the elders in my area and other Witnesses too who have gotten a whiff of the fact that my case is online for any and all to watch.
How many sleeping Jehovah’s Witnesses have actually watched is unknowable and does not matter. In my estimation what does matter is that each person personally take something away from the experience, and that as many as possible are reached with TTATT! Then a person can decide if they want to continue to support the Watchtower Society and it’s representatives with full knowledge of their allegiance to a man-made organization.
Below are some of the encouraging things ones have said to me after my ordeal. I share them with you to “pay forward” some of that encouragement and I hope that it will brighten your day. I can never personally contact the hundreds and hundreds of ones that have reached out to wish me well. I can only continue to thank God for what he has done for me, and how blessed my life is in Christ since I have left Watchtower enslavement!
(Note: identifying words and/or phrases have been removed, and some comments have been edited for brevity or misspellings. Also, highlights are in bold for those that are short on time.)
Received via PM on 1-2013:
Hi, just a quick message to say thanks and let you know your work has changed at least one life. My name is [removed] and I live just north of [removed] and am 28 years old. I was raised a witness.
A few months back I was researching 607/1914, mostly by chance, and as you would be aware these dates have very little or no biblical evidence. As a result the wheels started falling off my faith in the org, and I was becoming aware of many other doctrines that were hard to prove biblically, that the dogmatic WTS taught as truth. Crazy times, no appetite, couldn’t sleep or think properly, my whole world was upside down and inside out.
A few weeks later, around the time that I decided to express my concerns to the elders, I stumbled across your JC meeting on you tube. The videos you posted were such a benefit to me. I hate the way JWs are taught to be so dogmatic about things that are down to interpretation or an individual’s conscience. It was becoming clear that this org and their elders have no dibs on the Holy Spirit. Your videos were really helping me to see this. You were using the bible more than them.
Anyway l realized there was no point in trying to convince the elders of anything or get to detailed about my doubts. I almost fell off my chair when one elder asked me if I believe that Jehovah is using the organization. I was one wrong answer away from a JC. They told me it was important not to express my doubts to anyone. Since then I have not been witnessing (over three months) and am trying to fade.
I can relate to how you feel about the bros that you love that who are now responsible for your disfellowshipping. I still love many JWs and that’s what makes leaving so hard.
Can I also say that I hope your family life with your young children turns out to be a happy one and not to complicated despite the difficult circumstances. I said a few prayers for you when you were going through your trial, I could really relate and feel your pain. Just after that, there was that member on here, Oompa I think, who committed suicide. He couldn’t cope with everything. It was so sad and so much for me to absorb at the time.
Anyway thanks for your work, your vids and JWstruggle. I cannot overstate how much it has all helped me. If you’re ever in [removed] let me know.
Received via YouTube comment on 1-2013:
I was thrilled with this testimony. Forgive my bad English, but I need to say: It’s very interesting how the stories are repeated around the world. My letter hasn’t arrived yet; but with your testimony I’m prepared to face it!
Marcos Roberto Ribeiro de Freitas
Received from YouTube channel on 1-13-2013
I know the Lord has sent you for a time such as this. I am so grateful and my heart is shouting with praise. Thank you so much for your attention and the information given. Your videos answered a multitude of questions for me just as when Jesus took 2 fish and five loaves of bread to fed multiple people. You just don’t know what a blessing you are to me, and I thank God for you. I could go on all night giving God the glory and the praise for what He has done for me…
Received via PM on 10-3-2012
…My wife has recently begun to be shunned. She is not disfellowshiped, but she started having a problem with alcohol earlier this year. Her parents told her, “Maybe in rehab they will help you get healthy so you can have a stronger relationship with Jehovah.” She went in with that mind set. While she was there she met another JW. This frustrated me, because I was hoping that they might get through to her that some of her problems with alcohol stem from how the organization made her feel.
But God was at work. Her counselor was very well informed as to Jehovah’s Witnesses. She just asked my wife questions and after my wife answered she asked, “Does that sound like a cult to you?” My wife couldn’t deny it.
Anyway, she got out of rehab and was completely confused. She doubted everything from everyone. Slowly it’s gotten better, but she’s been talking a lot about how maybe the “truth” isn’t the truth. I couldn’t believe my ears. Anyway, when you posted your videos I asked her to watch them with me. At first she didn’t want to and said, “Elders meetings make me feel sick. I don’t think I could watch it.” Well the other day she came to me and said, “I think I’m ready. This JC meeting…he’s not angry and disrespectful is he?” I assured her that you weren’t and that you showed real love when talking to the elders. So she said, “Ok…let’s watch.”
Your meeting brought her to tears numerous times. She looked at me several times and said, “This is so wrong…how was I so blind?!?”
She said that she felt like you in so many ways. She’s been shunned even though she hasn’t been df’d. Friends that she’s had for 20 or more years have left, without any cause. Her family, after finding that she wasn’t going to meetings, told her that Jehovah was very angry with her and she should be ashamed.
There is a lot more to the story, but anyway she loved the videos. She hasn’t seen the last part yet. And I can’t wait to watch it with her. Each video, her eyes were opened more and she said, “Wow…you know…serving God is so simple. It’s not all these rules of the Watchtower. We need to love Jesus and that’s enough…” Again, I couldn’t believe my ears.
Eric, what you did…I have no words for. You put yourself in a horrendously uncomfortable situation. You kept your composure, showed real Christian love, and I can’t tell you how much you mean to me right now. You have helped change my family’s life.
At this point, my wife wants to fade and not obtain the title of “disfellowshiped”, but who knows what will happen. All I know is that we are finally united in our love for God. There is a long road ahead, but she said, “I hope you tell Eric how much this has meant.”
Anyway, thank you so much. I’m sure this same thing is happening many times over. Rarely do we get to affect another person’s life so much. But you have. It makes me want to help in every way that I can to show others the real love of Jesus. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
Received via PM on 9-30-2012
I want to start off by saying how amazing the JC that you have been posting has been! I am so looking forward to part 6. You were so composed, I really can’t help but think God was with you. You gave such a fine witness to those brothers, I can’t help but think that they will have much to think about. You controlled the conversation and you brought out so many great points that really aren’t debatable they could do nothing but listen. I particularly enjoyed the Mormon illustration, as well as how everyone needs someone to talk to. I’m not going to go into too much detail about my story…I am a married, 20-something MS with a beautiful daughter living in [removed]. My wife is a good person but unfortunately a hardcore witness, as well as my parents. I first looked into TTATT when I decided that If a paradise was going to be as described by the Watchtower, I didn’t want to be there. I felt it would be boring, highly controlled, no resurrected people being married etc. It just seemed cruel. Plus I could see how little love really existed in the org, and only then did I have the courage to look into real research about the Watchtower. I feel I am a Christian, where is the emphasis on Christ in the watchtower?! It seems they have been replaced by the Org. I especially appreciated JWfacts.com, and Jwstruggle as they had an encouraging tone. So many are now atheists, evolutionists etc. because they see how bad the Watchtower is, so they give up on God. I did not want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I have faith in Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and strive to be a follower of him. I am a hostage. I have the choice of being who I really am and openly living the life I want and speaking what I feel in my heart, and as a result lose my family and basically every human that ever loved me, but right now I am an actor who has no one to talk to about what really matters, How can I feel close to my wife when I can’t even tell her how I feel or what I know without her getting nasty and having a breakdown! This is no way to live! I hate to see my daughter raised into a destructive cult, I won’t allow it! I’m just biding my time for the right time to go. What do I do next? All I can do is pray. I don’t know what it’s like to have a friend I can truly, TRULY be myself with and share what I know and believe with! I sooo wish I had found out TTATT before I got married. So much pain could have been spared me and my wife and now child. I feel so bad when her birthday passed and we didn’t celebrate it due to the Watchtower’s faulty reasoning. What I hate most is the dogmatism most Witnesses display.
Only WE have the truth. EVERYONE else is worldly. I hate that term The Truth. IT’S NOT THE TRUTH JUST BECAUSE YOU SAY IT! It’s so hard to tolerate the meetings and occasional service I skip these as often as I can. Believe me, I do the absolute bare minimum. I just appear. I am managing but I know I won’t be able to get my wife out unfortunately, But on the other hand it is liberating to be AWAKE! I read CoC and In search of Christian freedom. The latter book really helped me to see what It REALLY means to be a follower of Christ, and just how FAR off they are. How unscriptural the Blood policy is, disfellowshipping, and so much more. Just reading the Bible now, especially the New Testament is so encouraging when you look at it without the Watchtower twist. I know you have been through a lot, but You have been such an encouraging influence on me and have brought a warm smile to my face. I want you to know that. Really nothing you said in the videos is anything I didn’t know, but you were so calm, and articulated things in such a calm logical way. Those elders towards the end couldn’t even refute the truths you were saying. I love you very much as a Brother in Christ and my thoughts and prayers are with you.
Comment by BlindersOff1 posted 9/28/2012
You can sure see why they are scared to death of recordings of this nonsense. Your doing this will no doubt embolden more people to record star chamber tactics that are used. It’s only a matter of time now before someone records something legally actionable and get the Watchtower Corp exposed to open court. You did a noble thing that has the potential to help thousands of real people.
Comment by Muddy Waters posted 9/28/2012
I’ve been following your posts and story both here but mainly on jwstruggle. I so admire what you’ve done and accomplished. I am also amazed by how long this JC lasted and how the “brothers” listened to you for so long. I’m so happy you got to make so many points! Hopefully something you’ve said will get through to them or others who will happen upon your posts or site or YouTube video.
I’m wondering if they listened to you for so long because of their respect for you. It seems like some of them must have known you for years and because you were an elder, this gives you the extra “status” for them to hear you out for so long. To me, this shows they appreciate your qualities as a person, as an educated voice, as a compassionate and intelligent conscience-minded individual.
I wish they would have been able to answer more of your questions and observations, but of course this is impossible for them. All you get is the party line, and evasions and accusations.
They see your friend (your accuser) not as an enemy to you who would bring destruction and devastation upon you (in the form of their pharisaical edicts and judgments) but as a friend who only shows “concern”.
You spoke so carefully, not letting them trap you. Good on you!! I felt like cheering at so many parts. I wanted to be in the room with you so I could show them, shake them, make them SEEEEEE!!! — (but I would have messed up the whole thing, lol…!) You’re dealing with dogma, indoctrination, fear…. imposed and imbedded in them through an organization of men. They can’t see that “man has dominated man to his injury” and that they should NOT BE “putting their trust in men, to whom no salvation belongs…!!”
JWs use these scriptures and can’t even see what it means. There’s no getting through this blindness, unless they begin forming their own doubts and questions.
And so many JWs are sincere, they really believe they’re serving God the way he wants to be worshipped and served… and you acknowledged that and said you respected that… but yes, what if they’re being misled?? What if their leaders (the GB) are imperfect men?? These men claim to have special insight from God…. but…. ha. If that were so, why so many changes in teachings, why so many destroyed families, why so many cover-ups, why such double standards, why why why…..
Also loved the point you made about Christianity and their good works and their printing and distribution of Bibles…. they’re taking care of the poor and widowed and orphans…. And how typical and cold-hearted was the elder’s response (not surprising)….. that spiritual food is the most important, blah blah blah. You used the Bible and insisted they look at the bible…. loved it. Loved you showing them the scripture in James. And then their weak, lame reply that each individual person is free to do that at any time. Bah! If this were so, why is it not more encouraged??? We’re supposed to knock on (mostly empty) houses and be involved in busy-work while stepping over homeless people and walking around people pushing shopping carts of bottles…. And meanwhile we fill out our time-slips and literature placement slips (has anybody noticed how there’s NO MENTION on these slips for BIBLES placed??? There’s only spaces for the society’s books, brochures, RV’s, studies….) Oh yes, there are serious problems in the org. These elders must know this!! I hope they wake up….
Comment by JW GoneBad posted 9/28/2012
Bear in mind many of us have overseers in our congregations who are a spitting image of one if not all three of these elders. Listening to these three and their comments defending TTATT honestly opens up past wounds. I’ve witnessed my share of tears of many Rank & File publishers who have been dealt with unfairly over the years.
This taping of your JC offers some healing and relief!
Comment by trebor posted 10/4/2012
Having watched the entire series of videos you provided a fine witness and testimony and I have to echo the sentiments that your recording of this judicial hearing will move many. Some it may just plant a seed of thought, for others, a full blown revealing of the organization not being what many believe it to be.
Well done – Extremely well done. Further, you served as an excellent example of a Christian in the most idealistic sense and manner. Your depth of sincerity and conviction shone through.
Comment by sd-7 posted 9/26/2012
I watched the whole thing. I was riveted. I mean…it was so much like my own committee that I started to feel flashbacks, man. But you handled yourself extremely well. It was very clear that they were trying to get you to answer that $10,000 Question: Do you believe this is God’s organization? Do you want to be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses? They wanted the answer so they could let the hammer fall. And you were floatin’ like a butterfly and stingin’ like a bee! Ha ha!
What was troubling to me was when you were talking about your own personal trials with your marriage and all, they said something that sounded like they should have the right to decide who the victim was in your situation. Small wonder how they must handle cases of rape… Suddenly when you have a real and deep problem, “confidentiality” is cited as a reason not to be a support for you during that time. Says a lot about what kind of shepherds they really are (hired men)…
As always, the elders’ response when you pointed out obvious contradictions in doctrine and false teachings, was to say they just plain didn’t care. “God is using us because this is the truth”, “I haven’t found anything better”, etc. Same things the elders said to me, same exact things. So every other religion is browbeat in the pages of the Watchtower for every mistake they’ve made since 325 A.D., but Jehovah’s Witnesses get a free pass for stuff they said and did for the entire last century. Somehow they are more special.
“Jesus is our Mediator through the faithful slave”. I never thought I would hear anyone actually say it. It chills me to the bone. Where in the Bible does it say that association with ‘the anointed’ is what leads to our relationship with God? A good thing to point out at this point is that twice this year that I can recall, the Society has said that the anointed will help Jesus apply the value of the ransom to our sins during the Thousand Year Reign. How? Where is the scripture that says that? There isn’t one. Never has been. It’s made up. We have to remember that ‘anointed’ is actually a translation of the term ‘Christ’/’Messiah’. They’re saying pretty clearly that they are assistant-Christs, Jesus chose them to help him do what he apparently never did in heaven ONCE FOR ALL TIME with his own blood. Forget Hebrews 9:24-28! Throw it out!
I’m amazed at how well you handled this. The pain of that situation, it just…it’s like an emotional memory got triggered inside me, you know? I felt it, like I was there with you. But you know, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe they are exclusively God’s people, exclusively Christians, exclusively preaching about the Kingdom (all while minimizing Jesus Christ into an archangel and an equal to men who haven’t even gone to heaven, who are still on earth –begun ruling as kings much?), etc. It’s called ‘demand for purity’, I think.
I find it, well, cognitive dissonance is the only explanation I can think of, as to the elder saying he was ‘hurt’ by your letter saying you didn’t want to deal with some sort of tribunal/star chamber kind of thing. All while sitting…in a star chamber tribunal…in judgment of you. You know, they read similar opening scriptures to me (I think the one they did for me was Prov. 28:13)–basically, you’re already guilty in our eyes, so…just admit it. But oh no! We weren’t trying to say you’re guilty! We’re not trying to intimidate you!
You know, if a person has legitimate doubts about this organization, the judicial committee process really removes all doubt as to the nature of this religion. You no longer wonder if something is wrong, there is no more confusion. Everything that it truly is gets laid bare and exposed for you to see. And that, my friends, is why they do not handle these trials in public. It would be far too dangerous for everyone to see exactly how it really is.
It’s an honor to know you and to identify with your experience. I mean, not that I know you personally, just…watching your videos I totally get where you’re coming from. I hope you’re doing alright with all this. That committee, in my experience, is a very traumatic thing to face.
Comment by smmcroberts posted 9/23/2012
Bravo! I applaud your courage and your refusal to take crap from them. This was masterfully handled (not at all as I did in my hearing.)
I stood up and cheered when you had them look up and read 1Cor 4:3-6! (Do not judge until the Lord comes & Don’t go beyond the things written.) Your example of blood fractions was very apropos. Who does spend their time figuring out which blood fractions are okay and which are not? And what are they basing it on, and don’t we have a right to know?
After all of your pertinent questions Cosmo replies: “These are questions we can’t answer: let’s stick to what we can do ” Well, what can they do? Evidently nothing of positive value. All they can do is get rid of people who ask the questions they can’t answer (and in that respect it was exactly like my hearing.)
Comment by JWFacts posted 9/23/2012
You did very well, and there was nothing they could say. It is a classic example, as you tell them you believe in almost everything you need to as a JW, including Jehovah and the Bible, but are concerned about the direction of the leadership but that is not good enough to be a JW. Interestingly one elder stated that on becoming a JW you are agreeing to support the Faithful and Discrete slave. Yet the baptism questions are about supporting Jehovah, Jesus and the organisation (or in your case it was probably the Holy Spirit).
After their accusation that you claim the leadership have “lied”, you said that the Watchtower had said the end would come before you left school. I would have loved you to throw the question back on them, “Was that a lie?” just to hear their response. I asked a few questions like that in my JC, and the elders refused to answer, saying they would not answer since they were not on trial, it was me that was.
I would like to embed this in my article on disfellowshipping.
Comment by Cedars posted 9/23/2012
…Eric, I was really impressed mate. I’ve said before, you really held your nerve and you were more poised and confident than they were. You really had them on the ropes on more than one occasion. They were probably glad to disfellowship you just to spare themselves from the possibility of going through that ordeal again in the future!
I really do admire you for going through it, and I hope these videos will help people to wake up to just how dictatorial and un-Christlike this organization can be behind closed doors.
Sent via email on 9/29/2012
Dear Bro JJ
The best thing you have going for you is your video. This is the only backing of truth that you have for yourself. Even to the length of time spent at that meeting…I am so happy you got out of that dark forest. You’re free JJ, “Jesus has set you free.”
On your last trip to the KH, I actually wept with you; I knew exactly how you felt.
You were such a encouragement for all, you might say you spoke for all the brothers who never had the opportunity to say all that you did, the calmness there was God’s spirit taking the lead. This was your reward JJ.
Comment by Resistance is Futile posted 9/27/2012
Great job. Perhaps someday those elders will have their own crisis of conscience. The elders are simply policy enforcers for a Printing Corporation, they’ve been misled from the true meaning of the scriptures. I find it shocking how a loyalty test to the “slave” ultimately determines if you’ll be spiritually stoned or not. They’re demanding that you place your loyalty and faith in imperfect men.
Comment by wannaexit posted 9/28/2012
These videos have been the highlight of my week. I was late from work 2 days in a row. I couldn’t pull myself away. Then I watched them again with my hubby. It’s funny how little these supposed spiritual giants really know. They just sat like lumps. You gave them so much to think about–I think you planted some seeds brother. Your sound reasoning may have created a crisis of conscience for one of them.
Great Job –much appreciated.