Watchtower Caught in a Lie


Stephen Lett told a lie. There is no other way to describe it – it was simply a lie. There was not one bit of truth to it. And, as my father used to describe misrepresentations like this one – it was “a whopper.”

When analyzed more closely, there were several components to his public statement that were all provably untrue. During his speech, Watchtower Governing Body member Lett was basically trying to convince his followers not to believe the facts:

“Effective today, ‘black is white, up is down, and north is south.’ Don’t believe what anyone else says or writes about how we handle child abuse within our organization. Don’t believe your lying eyes, your lying ears, or those lying court documents. We don’t lie about anything. Satan the Devil just wants to make you believe we do.”

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Are Jehovah’s Witnesses a Cult?

If they were honest how would they vote?Report by Richard E. Kelly

I am often asked, “Are Jehovah’s Witnesses a cult?” In fact – it’s likely that many Jehovah’s Witnesses may wonder and ask themselves that question every time they go to meetings at their Kingdom Hall or to a large convention in some distant city.

When I am asked to respond to that question, my preference is to suggest that they should try to find the answer for themselves. To help start that discovery process for those of you who may wonder what the facts suggest, I want to share the following information:

Cults have two distinguishing characteristics:

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TRUTH BE TOLD – Press Release

The following press release is being distributed to news agencies and other media groups on January 5, 2015.

Tel. (646) 530-8300 – E-mail:

TRUTH BE TOLD is Now Available

A Documentary Unmasking the Jehovah’s Witnesses Culture of Undue Influence

[NEW YORK, NY – January 5, 2015] The highly anticipated feature documentary TRUTH BE TOLD is now available for digital download and streaming. The film is especially timely as the world community responds to the clear and present dangers posed by religiously motivated fanaticism and their use of psychological coercion.

TRUTH BE TOLD is a feature-length documentary film about children growing up in the Jehovah’s Witnesses religion. The title refers to the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ perception that their beliefs, and only their beliefs, are “the truth.”

In this film, former Jehovah’s Witnesses candidly discuss their experiences, including the effects of proselytizing door-to-door, shunning non-believing family and friends, suspension of critical thinking, suffering the discouragement of being blocked from pursuing career dreams or participating in higher education, and the refusal of Witnesses to keep societal holidays and customs (including Christmas).

“We’re exploring the oppressive hold the Watchtower Society has on its members,” says director Gregorio Smith. “And while TRUTH BE TOLD is of natural interest to former and active Jehovah’s Witnesses, we believe it will appeal to and educate the general public about the harmful side of this particular high-control group.”

The abuses explored in TRUTH BE TOLD are part of a wider examination into the Jehovah’s Witness culture of mental and emotional manipulation of members, referred to as undue influence and psychological coercion by cult and mental health experts, which violates the fundamental human rights of Jehovah’s Witnesses and their families worldwide.

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“Truth Be Told” – the Current Status of Gregorio Smith’s Documentary


[Please Note: This is a major update and revision to an article originally published April 20, 2014]

The big buzz within the ex-Jehovah’s Witness community over the past eighteen months has been news about Gregorio Smith and his documentary film “Truth Be Told.” Smith, a professional film maker, and the documentary he produced catches on camera the sobering but true life stories of former Jehovah’s Witnesses who were unduly influenced as children.

In recent months, other than additional preview screenings of the film in major cities in North America, there have been very few updates about the current status of the documentary until now:

Huffington Post article by Danielle Tumminio (12/02/2014)

PDF of the above article

Before I announce more updates about the film, I want to share some personal information about Gregorio Smith, the 40-year-old film maker.

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Jehovah’s Witness Culture – Say What?

 Salutary, Pathogenic and Pathoplastic Aspects of the Jehovah’s Witness Culture:
Say What?

By Richard E. Kelly

Igor Pietkiewicz, Phd

Igor Pietkiewicz, PhD

I am pleased to share a research paper that was published this month in the Journal of Family Studies about the culture of Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) living in Poland. It is the work of Igor J. Pietkiewicz, from the Psychology Faculty at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Katowice, Poland.

Don’t let words like salutary, pathogenic and pathoplastic scare you. You can replace salutary with “beneficial”, pathogenic with “harmful”, and pathoplastic with “how culture allows individuals to express their symptoms and problems in a socially meaningful way.” Restated, the object of the study is to report:

Beneficial, Harmful and Modeling Aspects of the Jehovah’s Witness Culture

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Destructive and Terrorist Cults: A New Kind of Slavery

A Book Report by Richard E. Kelly


Masoud Banisadr

I have read few books that have enlightened me more than Masoud Banisadr’s Destructive and Terrorist Cults: A New Kind of Slavery. The book is not only a literary gem that is well-written, timely and expertly researched, it also delivers a powerful message from an insightful, highly educated man who “has been there, done that.”

Near the beginning of the book (pg. 5), Banisadr describes the altered mindset of a deluded cult member when he confessed:

“Like all members of destructive cults, I believed that our group, MeK, was superior to ordinary people, not only because of our sacrifices and activities but in understanding the world. We thought we knew the answers to all the philosophical and political questions, from the beginning of creation to the end of time. How naïve I was and how little I possessed of common knowledge that ordinary people take for granted!”

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Brett and Naghmeh King’s decision to allow blood transfusions – AJWRB Press Statement


The Associated Jehovah’s Witnesses for Reform on Blood (AJWRB) welcome and fully support Brett and Naghmeh King’s decision to allow blood transfusions for their son Ashya, should they be needed.

We acknowledge that these are dissident views not supported by the Watchtower Society, or Jehovah’s Witnesses as an organization. Taking such a position could lead to a judicial committee investigation on the charge of “apostasy” and the potential result of their being disfellowshipped and facing the subsequent extreme shunning Jehovah’s Witnesses are well known for practicing. Nonetheless, these parents clearly are prepared to put the needs of their child first despite the theological ramifications.

May 26 1994 AWAKE

May 26 1994 AWAKE

Other Jehovah’s Witness children have not been as fortunate. The cover of the May 22, 1994 Awake! Magazine features photos of 26 children who died as a result of refusing blood with the heading, “Youths Who Put God First.” Inside the Watchtower publication proclaims: “In former times thousands of youths died for putting God first. They are still doing it, only today the drama is played out in hospitals and courtrooms, with blood transfusions the issue.”

It is estimated that adherence to the blood doctrine has cost thousands of Jehovah’s Witnesses their lives in medical situations where non-blood alternatives are either insufficient or simply do not exist.

Thankfully, as this case illustrates, the tide has turned among those called upon to support the policy with the lives of their children.

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SNAP Conference 25th Anniversary

SNAP-logoIn August 2014 I attended the 25th Anniversary of the Survivor’s Network for those Abused by Priests (SNAP I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have attended many conferences about sexual abuse but they were all by professional counselors and researchers for counselors. SNAP is run by survivors for survivors.

At the conference I found myself sitting in a huge room filled with people who had been abused as I had been as a child or had supporters. Everyone had their story.

Kerry, Lee, Barbara at SNAP conference

Kerry, Lee, Barbara at SNAP conference

A real surprise for me, (and they had both kept this a secret) was meeting Barb Anderson and Kerry Louderback Wood. Even though we were the only ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses there, everyone knew who we were.

While SNAP was originated by survivors of sexual abuse by priests, they have broadened that to include members of other religions that – rather than help survivors – actually protect the abusers.

The SNAP Mission Statement says:

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The Watchtower: No Monopoly on Mind Manipulation



During the Undue Influence Press Conference in London on August 22, I had the pleasure of introducing six formidable experts who spoke about the growing danger of “undue influence.”

One of the experts who attended that conference, Masoud Banisadr, calls it “mind manipulation.”

In fact, Masoud’s presentation was so impressive that it attracted the attention of a free-lance writer who later interviewed Masoud and wrote an article titled, A Former MEK Member Speaks About the ‘Cult’ of Extremism.

While I recommend that you read the attached link, this is how the story begins:

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London Workshop – Un-doing Undue Influence – Steve Hassan

Steve Hassan

While writing this article I was faced with a major challenge: How would I pack all of the important information that was covered in a two-day workshop that enabled change and healing into just a few paragraphs on a web page? After all, a single article can only report everything discussed during the sessions in a very superficial way. The good news is that the workshop was filmed, allowing for a more comprehensive report to follow. For now, I will try to provide a few of the highlights from the “Un-doing Undue Influence” workshop and promise more to follow at a later date.

The workshop took place not far from the center of London in the “quaint” and comfortable surroundings of an English hotel August 23 and 24, 2014. The subtitle of the workshop was “Healing Yourself and Others from Undue Influence.” Steve Hassan, one of the foremost authorities on cults and mind control, led the discussions. Hassan is a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) and Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in the United States and is the author of two of the most respected books on those subjects.

During the workshop Steve Hassan, along with input from other cult survivors, academics and therapists, took the audience on a journey. Those in attendance not only discovered why destructive behaviour and patterns exist but also how to recover – and to be aware of triggers that indicate that more recovery work will be required.

Here is an outline of the program:

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