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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“Dubs for Dummies”

By “Farkel”


Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Worldwide Brotherhood of Jehovah’s Witnesses™,
     There has been much public interest in our beliefs lately, so we
have prepared a very brief summary of our core beliefs in a new pamphlet
which you may offer to interested persons. Hopefully, this pamphlet will
generate enough interest with honest-hearted people and enable you to
start many new Bible studies. Please remember to occasionally use the
Bible for reference in those studies, but also remember the Biblical
counsel on moderation in all things.
     The Faithful and Discreet Slave CLASS through careful prayer and
consideration has come up with a title for this pamphlet that will
surely generate interest and curiosity. We have entitled it
“Dubs For Dummies.”
     To the worldwide body of elders: for instructions on how to distribute
this pamphlet in field service work and informally, please refer to
Watchtower Directive AU-474-392-17, page 17, sub-section 9, paragraph 14.
Make sure the congregation follows these instructions exactly as written.
We offer our warmest Christian regards,

Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, INC.


Dubs for Dummies

If you are an honest-hearted person who is interested in knowing more about the Bible and its wonderful provisions for mankind, we ask you to please consider the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses. We are confident that once you do, you will see that Jehovah’s Witnesses are endeavoring to follow the Bible as our Creator wants us to do. You may have heard about Jehovah’s Witnesses, but also may not know what we believe and practice. We encourage you to take a few minutes and review this brief summary of our main beliefs:

We do not celebrate birthdays because we believe life is sacred and we do not want to put ourselves at risk getting beheaded, as so commonly happens at such gatherings.

We only have one celebration a year. This is the celebration of the Lord’s Evening Meal, held on Nissan 300ZX-turbo of each year. To prepare for this grand celebration, our congregations around the world purchase approximately 80,000 bottles of wine and then assemble together in our Kingdom Halls. No one is allowed to smile at this celebration because it is a “serious celebration.” At the meeting, we fill up glasses with wine, and pass them around so that everyone can look at those glasses of wine. After everyone has had a chance to look at those glasses of wine, the celebration concludes with a prayer. You might be wondering what happens to these 80,000 bottles of wine that everyone had to look at. Well, it is customary to end the evening by purchasing another 2 MILLION bottles of wine and drinking all that wine in various gatherings after the celebration of the Lord’s Evening Meal.

Jehovah’s Witnesses are the only True Christians™ and some day may actually write a book using the name “Jesus” or “Christ” in its title.

We believe that every prophecy in the Bible has a greater fulfillment in our modern day, and that every prophet in the Bible pictured an even greater prophet in our day. Every single one of the good Bible prophecies and all the good prophets in the Bible are fulfilled in and by us and those who govern us. All the bad prophecies and bad prophets apply to everyone else. Jehovah’s Witnesses are a humble people.

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Takeover in Menlo Park – Part One

A small group of Jehovah’s Witnesses, former elders at the Menlo Park (CA) Kingdom Hall, have filed a lawsuit in federal district court charging several ranking representatives of the Watchtower Society with “Conspiracy, Conspiracy to Commit Fraud, Collusion, Fraud, Extortion, Defamation, Mail and Wire Fraud, and Religious Fraud.” [United States District Court For the Northern District of California: CV10-3907 – click here to read the actual complaint as filed in court.]

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe, as all Christians do, that theft of another’s property, and then lying about it, is a sin. In fact, three of the Ten Commandments speak to this issue:

The 8th Commandment: “You shall not steal.”

The 9th Commandment: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

The 10th Commandment: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house…nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

For the most part, faithful Jehovah’s Witnesses try to live by these standards, even though they teach that Jesus replaced those Ten, and in fact all the Law of Moses, with just two commandments as recorded in Mark 12:30, 31:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

It’s clear that true Christians would not consider using theft, misrepresentation, outright lies, or illegal manipulation to take away the property of another brother – or anyone else. It would be considered a “sin” – a clear violation of the commandments of both the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. Baptized Jehovah’s Witnesses are often punished by being reproved or disfellowshipped for violation of those commandments, and that’s in addition to any secular legal penalties.

We might argue about some of the predictions, teachings, and practices of the Watchtower Society. But most of us, Jehovah’s Witnesses and non-Witnesses alike, would assume that every Christian should strive to follow those clear commandments. Most would agree that a “Christian” stealing from another brother is not really a “Christian” at all, but would be considered “an evil one, demon possessed, or serving Satan.”

Apparently the Watchtower Society’s leaders feel that they are not bound by the same rules that apply to rank and file Jehovah’s Witnesses. There have been many past examples, but the latest and most blatant violation by the Society of the Lord’s Commandments is taking place in Menlo Park, California (USA).

How Kingdom Halls were built and financed in the past

Like most Kingdom Halls built between 1945 and 1970, the Menlo Park Kingdom Hall was financed and managed by local Jehovah’s Witnesses. In order to hold the deed, order utilities, and meet local land use and building codes, a non-profit corporation was formed to hold title to the property. In most cases, little or no financing help was forthcoming from Bethel Headquarters in Brooklyn, NY. Any loans or mortgages were arranged locally, usually through a bank or a private party – often arranged with the original owner of the land or by a wealthy JW who was willing to guarantee the Note.

Trustees of the Kingdom Hall corporations were selected from among the local Kingdom Hall servants, and usually included the Congregation Servant, the Assistant Congregation Servant, and one or two others. If one of the Trustees left the Kingdom Hall for any reason, including death or disciplinary reasons, the Trustees would nominate a replacement. The nominee would be announced to the assembled congregation and a vote was taken to affirm the appointment.

Local contributions and donations paid for the mortgage, utility bills, insurance, and maintenance. The Watchtower Society rarely assisted local congregations financially, except in very extreme situations not fully covered by the Hall’s insurance policies.

Menlo Park’s Kingdom Hall

This was basically the method used to build the Menlo Park Kingdom Hall. The local brothers and sisters OWNED the Hall at 811 Bay Road, just a stone’s throw from the Bayshore Freeway (US 101). There was easy access to the Hall from surrounding communities. It was the “parent” of several other local Kingdom Halls built over the next 50 years. As the local community grew, so did Jehovah’s Witnesses within the region.

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BBC goes to a Kingdom Hall

“The One Show,”  is a magazine show with topical reports, features and interviews from around the UK. It’s very similar to ABC’s “Night Line” or “Entertainment Tonight” in the USA. “The One Show” appears on the BBC1-TV network at 7:00 PM after local news.

After several stories about the deaths of faithful Jehovah’s Witnesses who refused blood transfusions, one of the reporters went out to find out more about Jehovah’s Witnesses. He decided to visit a Kingdom Hall and let Witnesses speak for themselves. He found out that they are, for the most part, very normal people living typical lifestyles. The reporter notes that while they are clearly Bible quoting Christians, there are some remarkable differences between them and most mainstream UK church-goers.

Although this report takes a very shallow and uncritical look at the Watchtower Society, it does give a fair presentation of typical rank and file British Jehovah’s Witnesses.  This is what we’d wish that all Kingdom Halls and average Jehovah’s Witnesses were like. Check out this video report for yourself.

BBC reporter visits a Kingdom Hall . . .
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljQA0bIS2K0

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Kingdom Halls – Who owns them?

Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t “go to church;” they attend meetings at a “Kingdom Hall.” Unlike most traditional churches, Kingdom Halls do not have altars or Christian crosses (even though the JWs are “Christian”). You won’t find religious icons, paintings, or statues of Jesus, Mary, or any saints. Nor will you won’t find an orchestra pit or an area for a choir to sit. In fact, most Kingdom Halls won’t have an organ or even a piano.

Who owns this Kingdom Hall?

Kingdom Halls are never named or memorialized after anyone – even if someone donated the land and building.

My very first visit to a Kingdom Hall was in the fall of 1951. My family lived in West Los Angeles in a small rented home on South Bundy Drive. We’d only been studying for about a month when my mother and I went to our first meeting at the Venice Kingdom Hall. At that time it was located in a rented store front just a couple of miles west of our home.

We’d only been there a couple of times before we had to transfer to the “Mar Vista Congregation,” also in a small rented store just a few miles south of our home. Even though the Venice Kingdom Hall was closer to our home, this change was forced upon us because we were told that we “lived on the wrong side of the street that was the dividing line.”

In early 1953, just before we left to go to the International Convention in New York City, we moved back to our family home in Riverside, California. Because we lived near downtown in the “University District,” we were assigned to the Riverside Central Kingdom Hall, then at the corner of 5th and Park Ave. It had been a Pentecostal church at one time and the local congregation purchased it from the owners with a loan from one of the wealthier brothers. They maintained the hall and made payments to the brother by using local donations from the members.

Who owns this Kingdom Hall in California?

Once a month, near the end of the Thursday night Service Meeting, the Congregation Servant would read the Kingdom Hall’s Financial Report. (This was typical for all congregations during that era.) The report would account for all money taken in for literature, from the donation boxes, from private contributions, and from interest earned on bank accounts. We then heard a complete listing of all expenses: utilities, cleaning supplies, fire insurance, literature purchased from the Watchtower Society, reimbursed expenses, and money set aside for reserves. One of the items reported was the payment on the remaining Note on the Kingdom Hall.

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