Lloyd Evans New Book Now Available

Lloyd Evans (AKA “John Cedars”) has just announced that his first book is now available on Amazon.com. The original paperback edition of The Reluctant Apostate was released in late December (2016) just before the holiday season. That version was mailed or sent by carrier to a rather large group of JWsurvey.com readers and Facebook friends who prepaid for the book and shipping of the initial version.

Now that the book is available on Amazon.com, new fans of “John Cedars” and his website, JWsurvey.org, can order their books at a very reasonable price. For those of you with Amazon.com PRIME accounts, free delivery is available in just 3 to 4 days.

At the moment, only the paperback version is available. A Kindle version is due to be released in just a matter of weeks. At this time there is no confirmation as to when the book will be available to bookstores and other mass market outlets.

The book is quite an achievement by any measurement. In over 800 pages, Evans covers the historic high points and biographical information about some of the leaders of the Watchtower Society and prominent Jehovah’s Witnesses in an almost encyclopedic way. Unlike some earlier books that cover this subject, Evans provides numerous footnotes and references to his sources or to other pertinent facts. The footnotes are myriad, and yet not overwhelming – he does not footnote every single fact or event, especially those that are generally well known to both JWs and former JWs.

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Dick Kelly Exorcises His Ghosts

Richard E. Kelly’s latest book, The Ghosts from Mama’s Club, has just been released. Copies are available at Amazon.com in popular paperback (208 pages; $16.95) and as a Kindle downloadable e-book ($9.95).

Kelly promised a sequel to his 2008 autobiography, Growing Up in Mama’s Club, a vivid description of the first twenty years of his life as a reluctant Jehovah’s Witness. Ghosts covers the next forty-plus years, starting with his last few weeks in New York as a Bethel volunteer.

Readers of Growing up in Mama’s Club were almost unanimous in their praise for its honesty and revealing recollections of “Dickie’s” early life. On the other hand, most agreed that he left them wanting more; they wanted more stories about his life during and after his months at Bethel. They wanted him to share more insider secrets about the leaders of the Watchtower Society, and how he survived after leaving the organization. For many readers it seemed that he’d ended his book prematurely, leaving them hanging. Everyone wanted to know what happened to “Dickie”?

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InsidetheWatchtower.com

InsidetheWatchtower.com is new website dedicated to uncovering the truth about Jehovah's Witness lifestyle and culture.For those readers who have not found it yet, we’d like to announce our new website, Inside the Watchtower. It’s been online since late July, but was only announced officially on August 2, 2011.

Although it could be considered a “companion site” to Ex-JW.com, it really stands on its own and has a unique personality. Intended to provide a “behind the scenes” look at what life is like being a Jehovah’s Witness, it will avoid heated debates about theology and doctrine. It’s about the process and culture of being a Witness. How do they get through a normal week of meetings and field service? What’s it like growing up as a Witness, going to meetings, reading Watchtower publications, knocking on doors, dealing with elders, and trying to figure out what the latest Watchtower teachings and rules are all about?

After the official announcement about the site, the Editor received a congratulatory email from an anonymous former JW. “Your new site approaches its subjects in a gentle, probing way, almost caressing them with a touch of sadness and loss, but also mixed with large servings of humor. You’re making the point that it’s not easy being a Jehovah’s Witness. For me, it’s very much like having a job you hate – but can’t quit without bringing financial disaster that will destroy your family.” Another wrote, “The JWs spend so much wasted time trying to recruit new converts. But as soon as they get them converted and baptized, the Watchtower seems dedicated to tossing them out and breaking up their families. What is the logic in that?”

Another wrote, “Your writers are excellent. Everyone has their own style, but present their subjects in clear and interesting ways. Keep it up.”

We certainly appreciate the nice complements sent our way. And for some reason completely unknown to us, Inside the Watchtower seems to have gained a group of fans from all over Brazil – and this started before we put up our automated translator. We are so pleased to know that like Ex-JW.com, we have regular visitors logging in daily from all over the world.

Among the contributors to Inside the Watchtower, are some that have also published here on Ex-JW.com. Terry Walstrom, “Mad Sweeney,” and Len Miller have all agreed to contribute, all great writers – just to name a few. Plus – we have our feelers out for more knowledgeable writers and forum posters. We know that there is a huge amount of thoughtful, well-researched, and helpful material languishing in the archives of various Jehovah’s Witness discussion forums that may never again see the light of day. What a shame to lose those valuable resources. That’s one of the goals of Inside the Watchtower: mine some of that “old gold” – and then publish and index it for our readers to enjoy for years to come.

The site offers a contact page with automated email, translation services for twenty languages, easy-to-use comment forms for each article, an archive of Blondie’s Best “Comments You Won’t Hear at the Watchtower Study,” and many other unique features. Like Ex-JW.com, there will be an extensive index and links to other excellent JW discussion websites. We’ll add to a growing number of book reviews and make links available to PDF copies for some old out-of-print Watchtower publications. Coming soon will be our version of “Cliffnotes” for the most recent Watchtower and Awake! magazines. That could be fun!

So check out Inside the Watchtower. Please note that we’re still making adjustments and site upgrades. You’ll see changes as the site progresses and grows. You should find the site gentle on the eyes, easy to read, and even fun to visit from time to time. The site is also compatible with all browsers and works fine on iPhone™ and Droid® models. We look forward to reading your comments.

If you would like to submit your own articles, please email the Editor for a copy of our guidelines.


Read this book! You too could be homeless

My wife has little or no interest in reading books about the Bible, religion, or anything about Jehovah’s Witnesses. She thinks I’m obsessive in my research about the history and teachings of the Watchtower Society. Her eyes will start to glaze over about thirty seconds after I bring up the subject of my past life as a Jehovah’s Witness.

On the other hand, she loves to read. She’ll read for hours before going to sleep at night, and always urges me to read the books she finds interesting. While most of her favorite books are not to my taste, she has been able to point me to some really good novels and biographies that I’ve enjoyed reading over the past few years.

I can suggest that she read a book by Richard Dawkins or Bart Ehrman, but she never does. I was shocked when she agreed to read Kyria Abrahams’ JW memoir, I’m Perfect, You’re Doomed. She read most of it, but lost interest about 2/3 of the way through when Kyria changed the style and mood of her story. But like me, she really enjoyed reading the first half of I’m Perfect…

I can’t even remember who it was that first turned me on to Brianna Karp. Other than the fact that Brianna grew up in Southern California, I really had nothing in common with her. Look – I’m a retired grandfather living in Oregon with one foot in the grave – and she’s a young, vibrant, hot chick from “The OC” with her whole life ahead of her. The only thing we seemed to have in common was that we were both raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Someone’s tip pointed me to her new book, The Girl’s Guide to Homelessness. At first I thought – uh, a girl’s guide? Homelessness? Probably not a book for me. Not really interested. OK, she was a Jehovah’s Witness at one time – that might be interesting to read about. I could read the JW part and then toss the book or give it to the Goodwill. Maybe, like Kyria’s book, my wife might be interested in reading parts of it. But this was Miss Karp’s first book – and first books by non-writers are usually very, very bad.

And yet, for some reason I found myself intrigued by what I had read online about her book. I decided to contact her and ask if she had an advanced copy that I could borrow. If I liked it, I’d write a review for her. Because of her past connection to Jehovah’s Witnesses, I told her that it might get a mention here at Ex-JW.com.

We exchanged a couple of emails and she agreed to send me a pre-publication ARC version of the book. I promised to read it quickly and then return it to her. Sure enough, a few days later an advance copy of the book arrived in a plain gray postal envelope.

At first glance the cover really didn’t grab me – a young woman sits on the arm of a chair in the middle of an empty parking lot while dark gray storm clouds brood in the background. It certainly was not very “Jehovah’s Witnessy,” and at first glance, even a bit foreboding. Oh, no! I hoped this wasn’t another book about some depressed chick that drowns her troubles with drugs and alcohol because she thinks “no one loves her.”

I grabbed the book and found a comfortable seat – you know, one with a hole in the middle and the little handle on the side – to give myself a relaxed ten minutes or so to get acquainted with the book.

An hour later my legs had gone completely numb from sitting so long. From the very minute that I started reading it, I couldn’t put the book down. I had to call my good friend, author Richard Kelly. “Dick – you’ve got to read this book by this JW girl who lives near Riverside. Let me see if I can get her to send you a copy. This is really good!” I think he knew I was on to something unique.

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Confronting Misinformation

By Richard E. Kelly

I am currently writing a sequel, The Ghosts from Mama’s Club. It’s an autobiography of my forty-seven years of life after leaving the Club. The “ghosts” in the book are dysfunctional behavior patterns, toxic residue acquired from the time my family and I spent as Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The most haunting “ghost” for me and my wife, and most people, is the prodigious amounts of misinformation acquired wittingly and unwittingly while we were in the cult. Therefore, the biggest challenge to leading a full, happy life after departing will be confronting misinformation.

Shedding “things a person knows that ain’t so” can be very daunting. Some “ain’t so’s” manifest themselves as phobias. So before nagging untruths induce debilitating behavior, it’s important to clearly identify what they are. When a person is consciously aware of their “ain’t so’s,” they can easily quarantine them. Were I to leave the Club today, my recovery plan would include reading the following six books, in the following order, and why:

  1. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl. The author gives a moving account of his life in Nazi death camps and his discovery of logotherapy—a positive approach to the mentally/spiritually disturbed person. His treatment focuses on the freedom to transcend suffering and find a meaning to one’s life regardless of circumstances.
  2. The Source by James A. Michener. A great bit of storytelling based on factual data about early civilization in Israel, debunking JW myths.
  3. The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. Okay, he’s an atheist, but a person coming out of a group like JWs will appreciate and relate to his hard-hitting, factual observations about the imbecilities of religious fanatics and the dangerous rise of superstition in today’s world. (This is a good book to test your ability to hold two opposed ideas in your mind and still retain the ability to function.)
  4. Jesus, Interrupted – Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible by Bart D. Ehrman. Jehovah’s Witnesses are completely in the dark as to what scholars have been saying for 200 years about Bible history, forgeries, and contradictions. Whichever side a person sits on biblical inerrancy, this is an eye-opening read.
  5. The Sins of Scripture by John Shelby Spong. This book exposes the evil done by people who use the Bible like weapons in the name of God. It points out texts that have been used to discriminate, oppress and distort the truth of Christianity, casting doubt on God’s love.
  6. Why Evolution is True by Jerry A. Coyne. I hate the title, but after years of hearing non-scholarly JW evolution rebuttal, this well-written explanation by a knowledgeable scientist gives the reader a fresh, nonthreatening perspective of how old our earth is and how new species evolved from previous ones. And, it makes a good case for the fact that God is not a micromanager, as JWs claim.

If people who’ve left the Club will read these books, they will be amazed how refreshing and energizing basic science and honest history can be. Not only will they have confronted the “ghost of misinformation,” it will be like getting a good, Liberal-Arts-101 college education at a bargain price. For it to coalesce, they’ll need to get outside of themselves and cogitate about the new things they’ve learned. It will also help to take walks, meet new people, do random acts of kindness, volunteer for charitable work, enjoy a hobby and be a friend if they want to lead a full, meaningful life.

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Dick Kelly on “Six Screens”

Author Richard E. Kelly Author Richard E. Kelly has confirmed that he will be participating in a telephone conference call sponsored by “Six Screens of the Watchtower,” this coming Saturday evening, September 26, 2009 at 7:00 PM (EST). The call will be hosted and moderated by Rick Fearon of Upper Room Ministries, the guiding force behind “Six Screens of the Watchtower.”

All persons of good will are invited to listen in and participate in the call. You can get specific information about how to access and listen to the call by following this link to Six Screens of the Watchtower – Conference Calls. The call is free (except for your own long distance call charges, if any). You’ll be able to join in after the interview during the question and answer segment.

Here is the site’s official announcement:

“Richard Kelly, author of the book ‘Growing up in Mama’s Club,’ will be our guest this Sat. Sept. 26, 2009 7PM EST. What can happen when a child is forced to adhere to strict religious ideology that he or she is unable to comprehend or believe? ‘Growing Up In Mama’s Club – A Childhood Perspective of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ answers that question by disclosing the rare insights of a boy and his day-to-day life experiences grappling with religious confusion for over sixteen years.”

Richard Kelly announcement at Six Screens of the Watchtower.

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