An Elder shares his honest opinions

By “Shadow Elder”

Before I express my opinion to the readers and contributors to this website (www.ex-jw.com), I would like to explain who I am and to present my bona fides as someone qualified to comment on this website and Jehovah’s Witnesses in general.

First of all, I am an active Jehovah’s Witness living just outside of New York City. Being a large metropolis, Watchtower shadow manNew York has many Kingdom Halls located within the city and several more in surrounding boroughs, counties, and suburbs. This puts me right next to the Brooklyn Bethel headquarters, in an area where Jehovah’s Witnesses are quite active and well represented in the local population. If you want to know what average Jehovah’s Witnesses are thinking, New York and New England would be a good place to start.

I am in my early 50s, married, with four adult sons. My wife and I own our home and I drive an older four-door Japanese sedan – a perfect car to use for field service. I work as a manager for a national company connected to the food services industry. I earn a decent salary, but we are far from being rich. We get by, but it can be very expensive living in a large city, even when your needs are modest.

I have been a Jehovah’s Witness for most of my life. My parents were Witnesses and remained faithful in the Truth until they passed away a few years ago. My father professed to be of the Anointed class – my mother did not. I have been selected as an elder and have held ministerial servant and overseer positions at several Kingdom Halls.

Now that I’ve explained who I am, I would like to share some of my observations and opinions, not only about this website and others, but also about the attitudes of many current and former Jehovah’s Witnesses.

I think that the readers of this article should consider it to be a “come to Jesus moment” for all of us. Hopefully, when I’m finished we’ll all see the light, recognize the errors of our ways, and take a new approach to jumping in on the ongoing debates over the teachings and lifestyle of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

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Celebrities who are (or were) JWs – Part 4

Ex-JW.com is pleased to see that so many of our readers continue to enjoy articles about famous (and in some cases, infamous) people who are or were well-known due to their careers in the arts, sports, literature, and even politics.

This selection of names covers just about every category imaginable. We’re sure that there are many more celebrities or high-achievers that should eventually be included on one of our lists, so if you know of someone we’ve missed, please let us know by sending a email to Contact@Ex-JW.com.

Here is our fourth set of five celebrity JWs (or close enough to be considered):

  • Naomi Campbell (super model)
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower (politician)
  • Larry Graham (musician)
  • Chet Lemon (athlete)
  • Gloria Naylor (author)

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Religion Makes Me Sad

By Moxie [reprinted with author’s permission – link to original article]

FrustrationI clearly remember my days as a bible-thumping Jehovah’s Witness, looking forward to the End of the World with ill-concealed glee. Of course there was always underlying trepidation which came from hoping that I’d done enough to be found worthy of God’s salvation.

But in spite of that, the end of the world was something that was vividly imaginable. Illustrations in the Watchtower literature depicted violent scenes of God’s wrath dealt upon on wicked mankind, usually with a small group of happy, smiling people (Jehovah’s Witnesses) simply walking away from it all.

As a young, impressionable woman I could picture myself as one of those people. Someone who had been delivered from all of the world’s suffering and pain, and about to embark on an historic journey to a paradise earth, just like God originally intended.

I have come across many others of different faiths who similarly look forward to God’s “day of divine vengeance.” Instead of believing that they will continue to reside on the Earth, these people more commonly look forward to deliverance into heaven after God literally destroys the planet. Regardless of the religion, images of the destruction at Armageddon are common and grotesque.

But what about all those poor souls who are destined to meet an untimely end? Did I really think about them? Was I joyful at the prospect of their horrific destruction as the Watchtower told me I should be? It was hard not to notice the artist’s depiction, which was often so detailed that it revealed tears streaming down the faces of the condemned, or bleeding gashes and cuts, people holding and weeping over the lifeless bodies of their loved ones.

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The [Two] Three Funerals of Michael Jackson

Update: Michael Jackson’s third funeral took place on September 3, 2009 at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.

According to news reports, the private affair was open to only a few family members and some notable celebrities. Gladys Knight, renowned member of Gladys Knight and the Pips and a music legend in her own right, reportedly sung a special song during the brief ceremony. No media or television representatives were allowed to attend.

Jackson’s final internment will be in Forest Lawns’s “Great Mausoleum,” final resting place to numerous entertainment legends. It is also the location of the reproductions of the statues of “David” and “Moses” originally sculpted by Michaelangelo and the stained glass reproduction of Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Last Supper.”

Among the other notable people interred in the mausoleum are Clark Gable, George Burns, Walt Disney, Nat King Cole, and John Wayne. Dozens of other famous entertainers are buried or interred in other publicly accessible areas of the Glendale memorial park including Marilyn Monroe and members of the “Three Stooges.”


During the days leading up to Michael Jackson’s memorial at Staples Center in Los Angeles, there was much speculation about how “The King of Pop’s” funeral was going to be handled.

At first it was announced that the Jackson family would have a “private funeral” that would be closed to the public and the press. It might be held at Neverland Ranch in Santa Barbara County near Los Olivos, California – or maybe not. It could be held in the Los Angeles area and then Michael Jackson’s body would be buried at the ranch site – or maybe not.

As hundreds of people began to gather around the entrance and along the roadside leading to Neverland Ranch, it soon became apparent that privacy for the family would be impossible if the funeral was held at that location. Anything more elaborate that would involve the public would not only cause a major uproar among the residents of that remote area, but also put a severe strain on local roads, public facilities, and law enforcement agencies.

Late in the week of Jackson’s death, the family and AEG Live, the producers of Jackson’s now canceled London concerts, announced that a public memorial performance would be held at Staples Center, a large sports arena near downtown Los Angeles. Staples Center is owned and managed by another subsidiary of AEG. A plan was put into place to distribute 17,000 free tickets to 8,500 winners of an online lottery. All other attendees would be guests and dignitaries invited by the family and AEG.

A big question left unanswered was whether Michael Jackson’s funeral would be included aa a part of the memorial performance. Would Michael Jackson’s coffin even be there? Would the Jackson family actually appear? And, if they did, would his brothers or sister Janet perform during the performance segment?

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Celebrities who are (or were) JWs – Part 3

Reading about celebrities who have either been Jehovah’s Witnesses or may have had some connection the religion during their lifetimes has become even more popular with the recent passing of Michael Jackson. Everyone seems to want to know what other famous people have been JWs, especially movie or rock stars, even if they have only been inside a Kingdom Hall a time or two.

This time we will dig a little deeper and highlight five people that you may not have been aware were Witnesses or they may have faded into obscurity before their time. All were well known when they were in the limelight and excelled in their professions.

Here is our third set of five celebrity JWs (or close enough to be considered):

  • Joyce Holden (actress)
  • Terrence Howard (actor)
  • Margaret Keane (artist)
  • Patti Smith (singer)
  • Lou Whitaker (athlete)

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Michael Jackson: The Magic and the Sadness

On Thursday, June 25, 2009, the death of Michael Jackson brought an end to a musical career marked with monster rock hits, huge concert performances, and fans that could be found in every corner of the world. When he was at his peak, he was pop music’s number one all-around performer and his music could be heard everywhere. 1982’s monster success, “Thriller,” Jackson’s second solo album, is the all time best selling album in any category.

Jackson made uncounted millions of dollars from his album sales and concert tours, and yet died leaving behind an estimated $400 million in debt. His most recent plan to was have one final comeback – after well over a decade marked with scandal, and some of the most bizarre behavior ever seen in a major celebrity.

First introduced to the public when just a very young boy in the late 1960s, Jackson became the lead singer of the Jackson 5, the singing group that he fronted with his four older brothers. After the Jacksons came on the national scene, they had major hits with “I Want You Back,” “ABC,” and “I’ll Be There,” all with Michael singing lead – even though he was the youngest of the group. The Jackson 5 are sometimes credited as being the first and most talented of the “boy bands” that later included the Osmonds, New Kids on the Block, and Boyz 2 Men.

Michael Joseph Jackson was the seventh of nine children. His father, Joseph, was a struggling steel worker with some experience in music and performing. Joe Jackson was determined to get his family out of the shadow of poverty and into the limelight. His boys, and especially Michael, would become the family’s meal ticket.

Michael’s mother, Katherine, was a Jehovah’s Witness and raised her children to be Witnesses. Michael grew up with two main influences: music and the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ religious culture. His father was an abusive parent who was focused only on making sure that the boys became good musicians and successful entertainers. According to most of the Jackson children, their father physically and verbally abused them – and never “spared the rod” even after they became successful. The damage to young Michael, the family’s leading man, was particularly severe and likely scarred him psychologically for the rest of his life.

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