AAWA – Looking Back, Looking Forward
While financing our activities with mostly personal funds, thanks to hundreds of volunteer hours we were able to expand our presence worldwide.
We use Facebook, Twitter and other websites to provide access and answers for the media and researchers. We also participated in local meet-up groups, online discussions, and conventions held by other activist organizations with similar goals.
Among those we assisted were hundreds of individual JWs who were looking for ways to escape the harmful Watchtower culture and make a fresh start. Every week our advisors received appeals from individuals looking for support and counsel. Some had recently faded, been disfellowshipped or were facing the unpleasant prospect of appearing before judicial committees. Some considered harming themselves, while others just needed to talk to someone with shared experiences. We also received inquiries from non-Witnesses who were considering starting “studies” (or who have JW family members trying to convert them), asking for clarifications or recommendations. Many former JWs allowed us to publish their personal stories when and after they attempted to leave.
We have received many suggestions on what we should do and what we should stop doing. While some comments were fairly given and helpful, we were also targeted with many that were unfocused, undeserved, or simply vicious. A few cynics claimed we were trying too hard “to bring down the Watchtower” (an objective we have never promoted). Some critics accused AAWA of wanting to set up a rival organization to the Watchtower with our own “governing body.”
We realize that some of our more vocal critics are personally close to the Watchtower. It is likely that a few might be Jehovah’s Witness volunteers who live and work at the Society’s offices or campuses and feel they have a duty to defend their beliefs. There are others whose motivations we find unclear and indefensible.
As per our open offer first published in 2013 – and extended again in 2017 – AAWA will continue to invite honest discussion and open debate with legitimate representatives of the Watchtower. Anonymous rants, false accusations, or threats from “Internet trolls” will be ignored and will not stop us from reporting the truth. We will continue to expose the Watchtower’s damaging policies and mistreatment of current members who want to leave and lead normal, healthy lives.
We sincerely look forward to earning your support in 2017, as we continually improve.
For more details and facts about AAWA, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org