Conscience and Courage

By “Watersedge2009”

Ray Franz struck me as the kindest of souls – a truly honest, incorruptible, and humble man. He was faithful to his conscience and to the God he served.

Without his books, the real truth about the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society would have been more difficult to uncover because those facts would still be hidden under layers of bitterness, revenge and animosity. Ray’s candid writing about his disbelief, disillusionment, and eventual disassociation from the Watchtower organization, made a lasting impression on all who have had the courage to read it.

Sure, the Watchtower leadership blacklisted him and tried their best to cover up what happened. But you’ll notice that “God’s Organization” filed no charges – nor did they take any legal action – to clear their name of the “slander” they accused Ray Franz of dishing out at them. Doing so would have been even more extensively damning to them. They knew he was right and went into their standard-issue damage control mode, casting both Ray and his wife out of the organization – as well as anyone else who befriended them.

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A Sad Day

By Marco Garcia

It’s a sad day – sad because we have lost a great man. He was a man who was a defender of common sense and justice, someone who stood up for the truth and fought against imposing lies on naive people. He was someone courageous enough to go up against a powerful organization who manipulates millions of people by intimidation and fear.

A few years ago, while serving as an elder in a local congregation, I started reading Ray Franz’s book, Crisis of Conscience. I realized that the anomalies that I saw locally were not unprecedented and that the patterns and contradictions came from the very same world headquarters. I realized that corruption, lust for power, envy, personal conflicts, political games, and nepotism also take place within the Governing Body. That’s not exactly what most of us expected from the place that claims to be “guided by the Holy Spirit.”

I sincerely thank Ray Franz for his courage and the sacrifice he made when he decided to leave a very comfortable life as part of the nucleus of power as a member of the Watchtower’s Governing Body. He left a life where he got preferential treatment, surrounded by blind sheep serving “supermen” who claimed to be directed by the Holy Spirit of God.

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Raymond Franz, RIP

Raymond Franz
Raymond Victor Franz, 1922-2010

It was announced this morning (June 2nd) that Raymond Franz passed away due to a stroke injuries he suffered on May 30, 2010.

Mr. Franz was a much-loved and respected Christian all of his life. As active and dedicated Jehovah’s Witnesses, he and his wife served for over 40 years in various assignments, primarily in the Caribbean and at Watchtower headquarters in Brooklyn, NY. He was a former missionary and member of the Watchtower Society’s Governing Body. Since the early 1980s, after leaders of the Watchtower Society excommunicated him, he lived privately and quietly in the southeastern United States.

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What happens after leaving the JWs?

By Joel Gunz

Editor’s Note: With his kind permission and great generosity, Joel Gunz, one of the principal organizers of Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses of Portland (OR), has agreed to let me republish some recent articles he has written for his blog. Joel presents his point of view in a manner that most former Jehovah’s Witnesses can easily understand and relate to. Please click the link at the end of the article to go to Joel’s blog. Here’s a link to the original article.


Now that I’ve left the Jehovah’s Witnesses, I’m frequently asked about what I believe now. Do I go to another church? (Not at this time.) Do I hate The Watchtower and Jehovah’s Witnesses? (No, I’m just very disappointed.) Do I celebrate Christmas? (Hell yes!) How do I feel about the Bible? (Inspired, at least in parts — as were the writings of the Buddha, Adyashanti and Bill W.)

Watchtower publications offer an answer for almost every question a person might have about religious doctrine, morals and conduct. For people who need that kind of direction (and there are many who do), they provide a valuable service. Yet, almost everyone I know who has left Jehovah’s Witnessism did so because they no longer needed that kind of religious micromanagement. They found that their (God-given) thinking abilities and common sense were adequate for guiding them as they went on to lead a successful post-Witness life.

They found that it was possible — actually, an improvement — to trade in the flawed certainty of religious fundamentalism for the exhilarating uncertainties that go along with creating from the ground up a life of their own choosing.

Jehovah’s Witnessism teaches that when you “turn your back on God’s organization,” it’s only a matter of time before you’ll become hooked on drugs, adopt a morally profligate lifestyle and contract H.I.V. or have some other disaster befall you. Here’s what, in most cases, actually happens:

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New additions to “Other JW Sites”

We’ve recently added several more web destinations as resources for ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses, current Witnesses, and other interested parties on our “Other JW Sites” directory page.

Three “official” Watchtower sites are now listed under “Pro-Watchtower.” These more or less lead you to the “horse’s mouth.” You might want to check them out, especially if you want to download and listen to Watchtower and Awake! magazines being read. These sites are not nearly as much fun as most of the other sites listed, but they are still publicly available for your reference.

To really learn what’s going on with the “Bethel Bunch,” be sure to take a look at our new category of “Scandals & Secrets.” If you thought being a normal day-to-day Jehovah’s Witness was bad, wait until you read what other JWs have had to live through – and the total lack of support that they’ve gotten from the Watchtower leadership. Some of this information will curl your hair – or make you sick to your stomach.

Along those same lines, check out the Canadian site, “Jehovah’s Witnesses Exposed,” in the “Watchtower History” category.

Just for fun, we’ve also added “JW Match,” a link to a commercial site that gets supposedly single Witnesses of all ages dates with other JWs. You might find it fun to mosey over and check out some of the ads – just to see who’s available and who’s out there looking. While you might soon grow tired of reading the same old “looking for someone who is as dedicated to Jehovah’s work as I am” intros, you still might want to check out the ads placed by hundreds of hot-to-trot JWs from across the USA. Most importantly for our many Witness friends (hundreds who visit our site frequently), you just might find someone to give your life some meaning beyond spending your Saturday nights highlighting answers in Watchtower magazines. That’s assuming that the really cute ones haven’t bailed out of the organization by the time you’ve had a chance to meet them.

All in all, I think you’ll find these sites well-worth a bit of your time.

The Watchtower redefines a “generation”

Before getting too far into this subject, I’d like to make a prediction:

Ten years from now, when you ask Jehovah’s Witnesses why the Watchtower changed its teachings about “this generation will not pass away” in April 2010, they will have no memory of the release of this “new light” – and many will simply deny that it ever happened.Generation Truth Book

Or, it is more than likely that there will be NEW “new light” released between now and then that will change the Watchtower’s teaching on this subject once again.

Back to the new “generation” teaching in just a moment, but first I want to remind my readers about a similar situation involving the Watchtower’s promotion of “1975” as the year that Armageddon would begin.

From late 1967 until the end of the year 1975, that’s all you heard from the Watchtower and Awake! It was the only thing that every Jehovah’s Witness you knew or met on the street wanted to talk about. “Stay alive till ’75!” was a common greeting among the Witnesses at meetings and conventions. Everyone – from Circuit Overseers to the late Fred Franz, (then the Vice-President of the Society) – urged rank and file Jehovah’s Witnesses to set aside their plans and reschedule their lives for events that they were assured would come in 1975.

Witness families and individuals moved from their homes to “go where the need is greater.” Young people completely gave up their plans to go to college or to prepare for a career. Some canceled marriage plans, or put off having children, because they were so sure that Armageddon was coming by 1975. They heard comments like, “we’re not talking years, we’re talking months…” from high-ranking Watchtower leaders.  Comments and speculation about “1975” was a part of almost every Witness conversation.

When 1975 came and went and life went on pretty much as before, the Watchtower first denied that it had ever promoted that particular year as anything special. In fact, it actually accused the rank and file in local congregations of spreading that rumor and only imagining that the leadership in Bethel had promoted the idea – because it was they who wanted to believe that 1975 would see the start of Armageddon. The Governing Body claimed that the suggestion that 1975 was anything special never received any direct encouragement from the Watchtower Society.

Of course, everyone knew that was a lie, but like sheep, the rank and file simply accepted the responsibility for the failure of 1975 and then refused to challenge the Watchtower’s accusation that they had “run ahead of Jehovah.”

It took a few years, but the Watchtower eventually accepted some (but not all) of the responsibility for that false prophecy it had so eagerly promoted. The leadership still refused to make amends to all those faithful followers and their families who suffered by quitting good jobs or selling their homes at a discount. Nothing could be done for those who put off their personal plans for going to college, getting married, or having kids. I guess that as far as the Watchtower Society was concerned, that was just bad luck for them…

All along the Watchtower has continued to remind Jehovah’s Witnesses that “this generation (those that lived during 1914) would not pass” until all of their “end-of-this-system-of-things” prophecies were fulfilled.

In April (2010) that will all officially change – along with the Watchtower’s definition of the word “generation.”

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