Menlo Park: Elder Tells All – 1

Readers of Ex-Jw.com who have been following this story know that on January 6, 2012 Federal Judge Maria-Elena James dismissed the lawsuit filed by two former elders of the Menlo Park (California) Kingdom Hall, Jonathan D. Cobb Sr. and Walter Arlen St. Clair. (See Menlo Park Kingdom Hall Lawsuit Dismissed .)

Since then a concurrent civil case filed in Superior Court at the state level by former elder and COBOE Jason Cobb has also been dismissed.

In an unexpected move, on March 19, 2012 Jason Cobb and his father, Jonathan Cobb Sr., filed a new and expanded federal lawsuit in San Jose, California. Even though they know that their lives as Jehovah’s Witnesses may be nearing an end, they remain convinced that they must expose the facts about the allegedly illegal steps the Watchtower has been willing to take to seize control of the Kingdom Hall where they once served as elders. They refuse to give up the fight in spite of the fact that their reputations as faithful and dedicated Jehovah’s Witnesses have been under constant attack and many of their lifelong Witness friends have apparently abandoned them.

Several weeks ago a person claiming to be a current member of the Menlo Park congregation contacted me. “This Kingdom Hall has changed so much in the last year,” she said, “it’s like we’re all living in some kind of nightmare, but not quite. I don’t think the brothers and sisters feel safe here anymore.  We know things aren’t right the way they are now, but what can we do? Where can we go? We just want things to be the way they were before the Redwood City elders took over. A lot of us would go to another Kingdom Hall if we could, but we feel trapped.” When I asked if the original Menlo Park members support the Cobbs, she replied, “Deep down, I guess many of us do. We thought they were good brothers. But we really don’t know what is truth and what is lies. I know we’re not supposed to,  but some of us have read your website, and what you say about what is going on sounds right. But how do we know if we can trust you? We don’t know you. We really don’t know what the truth is.”

To our readers: We can not judge whether the Watchtower Society, the local Regional Building Committee, or the defendants in this case have actually done anything wrong. The charges made in both the old and new lawsuits by the deposed former elders have not been confirmed by any court as of this date. Remember that people, and even corporations, “are innocent until proven guilty.” All we can do is compare how the Watchtower’s representatives have acted in their takeover of Menlo Park to  what the Society has done to other Kingdom Halls throughout North America.

We invite our readers who are still faithful and active Jehovah’s Witnesses to comment on this case and our next few articles. All we can do is to ask active JWs to honestly look at what has happened to their own Kingdom Halls and assembly halls. Do you really understand how the Watchtower has become more like the Catholic Church? Do you realize that local Kingdom Halls originally built, paid for, and maintained by local members have become part of the Watchtower Society’s real estate holdings now worth billions of dollars – without any compensation to local congregations?

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2012 Memorial Protest Planned in UK

On the evening of April 5, 2012 a protest will be held outside the headquarters of the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of Britain (IBSA). A protest representative informed the editor of Ex-JW.com that the group plans to protest the Watchtower’s harsh and unloving rules for shunning former members. They also plan to expose the Watchtower’s unfair and unworkable “Two Witness Rule” that protects pedophiles and criminals who are Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Organizers are asking that anyone wanting to speak out against the Watchtower’s unscriptural and illegal teachings to join them. Show up in front of the Society’s UK Headquarters building the evening of the Jehovah’s Witness Memorial Celebration, Thursday, April 5th at 7:00 PM.


IBSA House, The Ridgeway, London NW7 (Stacey Harris) / CC BY-SA 2.0
IBSA House

The Ridgeway

Mill Hill

London, NW7 1RN

The Memorial Celebration will officially begin sometime after sundown and last about 90 minutes. Protest organizers would like volunteers to show up as early as possible. “The public needs to understand that the Watchtower Society is hiding the truth and lying about Jehovah’s Witnesses’ unfair and illegal practices within local Kingdom Halls in the UK and the rest of the world.”

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Menlo Park: From Behind the Scenes

By John Steele


Disclaimer: This article in no way reflects the views of the parties who run this website, are solely my views and opinions, and as such I am merely sharing them with the public. – John Steele


By now many of you know that the court case has been terminated; not dismissed – but terminated. I say this because there is a difference. If the case had been just dismissed then we would have action at an appeal. But by terminating the case and forcing it shut, it basically means that they [the Court] are forcing the case closed and effectively preventing any leave for appeal. In plain language: someone wanted this case shut down and buried.

We were less than 90 days away from trial. As many of you already know, I turned in the “witness list” several weeks ago and stipulated that Don Adams [President of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, Inc.] would be the first Witness I would put on the stand. That coupled with the nearly 300 page opposition to the Summary Judgment, which had a great deal of evidence attached, was enough to terrify the “powers that be” at the Watchtower.

Through this whole affair the Watchtower has only been concerned with one thing – and that is not dealing with the problem, but trying to cover it up.

To this end they have used the usual type of tactics, threats, intimidation – and ultimately money. Yes, they basically paid to have this case forced shut. The Watchtower has made payments to various agencies and parties involved in this, and this is just one of the behind the scenes things that most are not aware of.

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Menlo Park Kingdom Hall Lawsuit Dismissed

By the Editor

A federal judge dismissed the Menlo Park Kingdom Hall lawsuit last week due to filing and jurisdictional issues.

On January 6, 2012 the Chief Magistrate Judge for The United States District Court for Northern California, Maria-Elena James, dismissed a lawsuit filed in August 2010 by Jonathan Cobb Sr. and Walter Arlen St. Clair.

Readers of Ex-JW.com not familiar with this case should take time to read earlier articles outlining the events leading to the filing of this lawsuit along with the backgrounds of the plaintiffs and the defendants. You can find links to those articles by typing “Menlo Park” in the search box in the far right sidebar.

The judge’s decision to dismiss was not related to the issues in dispute or any of the civil or criminal acts alleged in the case. She dismissed the lawsuit due to the lack of federal jurisdiction over the issues involved. In her written opinion, she pointed out that her court did not have the authority to rule on most of the charges outlined in the plaintiffs lawsuit.

Judge James did not make any comments on the validity of the plaintiffs’ charges, nor was her ruling a vindication for the actions of any of the parties involved (including alleged criminal acts by the defendants). Instead, she ruled that the plaintiffs’ claims fell outside of the federal court’s jurisdiction, although some criminal and civil (torts) complaints might be successfully pursued in state courts. She also pointed out that because the plaintiffs had not asked for specific monetary damages (the court has a minimum threshold of $75,000 in these kinds of cases), their case did not meet those federal court guidelines.

You can read the judge’s written decision in full by clicking on this link or the one at the end of this article.

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Menlo Park: “The Truth” vs. the truth

The Watchtower Society is a religious organization that has for decades wrapped the self-proclaimed title of “The Truth” around itself. On the other hand, it continues to use so-called “theocratic war strategy” in a misguided attempt to prevent secular courts from discovering the real truth about what happened at the Menlo Park Kingdom Hall in late 2009 and 2010.

But I have to give them credit for the strength of their survival instincts. So far Watchtower strategy has worked.

During August and September I was in direct contact with people very close to the Menlo Park court cases. My contacts DID NOT INCLUDE THE PLAINTIFFS or any of the former elders. That’s right – there are actually two court cases going on involving individuals connected to that scandal. The first is the ongoing case filed last summer in Federal District Court in San Francisco by two former elders, Jon Cobb Sr. and Walter Arlen St. Clair. There is also a second case in San Mateo County Superior Court filed by Jason Cobb, the former COBOE and CEO of the Menlo Park Hall’s non-profit corporation.

At the end of this article you will find links to copies of court documents that will bring you up to date on much of the case. You’ll find that they tell parts of the story, often in great detail. But what I now find more interesting are the back stories – great little tidbits that will probably never be reported or detailed in any of the official court documents.

I found that one thing is consistent whether you read the official court records or if you hear tales told through the local gossip grapevine: The Watchtower is taking this case very seriously and seems worried that the real truth about what has happened in Menlo Park may actually get wider publicity. I’m told that the defendants try to look confident and in control while at the Kingdom Hall, but everyone close to them knows they are worried about their future – even if the plaintiffs are only marginally successful in their lawsuit.

In the meatime, “The Truth” [Watchtower] is fighting every possibility that the real truth will eventually get out and be reported by a major news outlet.

While this reporter was in the Menlo Park and Redwood City area, I met with a couple of anonymous contacts and took phone calls from two others who are still afraid to meet with me personally. I noticed that no matter which side they take in this battle, their stories remain consistent with one theme: The Watchtower Society really screwed up!  They sent the wrong people to do their dirty work. Instead of a weak-willed, kool-aid drinking, self-important group of sheepish elders – they found they were facing some brothers who were willing to stand up for what they know is right, in spite of the overwhelming odds against them.

To fight this battle, the Watchtower and their legal team are doing their very best to manipulate the system any way they can. At the moment they allegedly continue to ignore subpoenas for bank records and corporate documents that are critical to getting to the truth of these cases before the courts.

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Real Estate Magnates

The Watchtower Society is on the move! Long a fixture in Brooklyn, New York, the Watchtower is slowly and methodically selling off its vast property holdings and moving all of its operations north to Patterson and Wallkill.

Thanks to their mostly tax-free status as a “non-profit religious organization,” the officers of the Watchtower’s various corporations can sell properties they bought at fire-sale prices and then sell them off for huge profits – and keep the bulk of the money with minimal or no tax consequences.

The Watchtower Society sells its Brooklyn properties…
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJTqyMKNvyA&feature=related

It’s good to be a religion. We should all call ourselves “a religion.” The advantages are far too many to list here, but the evidence is clear that the Watchtower Society has educated itself on how to manipulate its assets for the greatest gain.

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