About AAWA

Advocates for Awareness of Watchtower Abuses (AAWA) is an international not-for-profit educational organization dedicated to raising awareness about the damaging influence of five policies of the Watch Tower Society through respectful and well-informed activism. AAWA is also committed to offering help and support to those who are mentally and emotionally afflicted by the Society’s teachings and practices in whatever ways it can.

AAWA arose in early 2013 through a series of discussions between its founders, who all felt it was the right time to try to organize a number of like-minded individuals who were engaged in similar efforts into one cohesive unit. It was agreed that an organization needed to be formed that could confront the Watchtower head-on, and serve as a focal point whenever future media stories arise so that the position of those affected by Watchtower policies can be articulated.

With so many activists around the world, all of whom offer unique skills and experience, it was felt that much meaningful work could be accomplished if all of these individuals could be connected as a team that could work together. It was decided very early on that AAWA would need to be religiously-neutral, in that it would not promote or endorse any religious or philosophical belief system in particular. Its sole purpose would be to shine a bright light on five of Watchtower’s harmful policies, and help thinking Witnesses break free from its clutches.

Who is behind AAWA?

As a legal organization, AAWA has a board of three corporate directors. They are:

Lee MarshLee Marsh – President – Lee is a long-standing member of the Ex-JW community, and has done considerable work in the field of help and support for those struggling with emotional difficulties through their association with Watchtower. Lee also oversees AAWA’s Forum and coordinates our Support Services. leemarsh@aawa.co
Mickey HudsonMickey Hudson – Vice President - Known by her YouTube alias “Danmera Dinglebum,” Mickey was once closely associated with Jehovah’s Witnesses, although she fled the organization before getting baptized. She is a champion of truth and reason on her YouTube channel, which she uses to help people see the reality behind Watchtower and its teachings. mickeyhudson@aawa.co
Richard E. KellyRichard E. Kelly – Secretary Treasurer Richard is the author of Growing Up In Mama’s Club, and The Ghosts From Mama’s Club. He worked for two years at Brooklyn Headquarters before realizing that the organization and its beliefs were deeply flawed. A retired businessman now living in southern Arizona, Richard is now heavily involved in the Ex-JW community. richardekelly@aawa.co

The above directors are also members of a larger Advisory Board, which include:

Bo Juel JensonBo Juel Jensen – Bo is a prominent Ex-JW activist from Norway, and has appeared on Norwegian television explaining Watchtower’s mishandling of child abuse to the public in his country. A keen entrepreneur, Bo was one of the founders of the charity “Hjelpekilden” (Help Source), which (similar to AAWA) offers support to survivors of abuse by cults in Scandinavia. For more information on Bo, please click here.  bojuel@aawa.co

John HoyleJohn Hoyle – John is a long-time activist and the founder of several Ex-JW websites including WatchtowerWatch.com and Ex-JW.com. From his home in central Oregon he lends his technical skills to a number of other websites. He helps grease the wheels of the Ex-JW Internet community by doing his best to ensure that the latest news and information about the Watchtower Society is available. johnahoyle@aawa.co

Paul-Grundy-125Paul Grundy – Based in Australia, Paul is the founder of JWfacts.com – arguably the finest and most comprehensive source of analysis of JW teachings on the internet. His website has helped many to discover “the truth about the truth” through his informative articles and calm, reasoned approach. paulgrundy@aawa.co
Marc Latham -125Marc Latham Residing in the Midlands of the UK, Marc and his wife Cora are widely known for taking an informed stand against abusive Watchtower policies through their YouTube Channel. Their opposition now involves dialogue with British government authorities to effectively expose violations of the UK’s Child Safeguarding Policy. Also on their radar will be domestic violence and the use of shunning by Jehovah’s Witnesses. marclatham@aawa.co
gregorio-smithGregorio Smith - Gregorio is a filmmaker from Brooklyn, NY. The director/producer of TRUTH BE TOLD, a feature documentary about growing up in the Jehovah’s Witness religion. Founding partner of SMITHKRAFT PRODUCTIONS, LLC, an independent multimedia production company, specializing in commercial digital media, independent films, and original web-based content. A graduate of Baruch College and a member of the International Documentary Association. He was raised a Jehovah’s Witness. gregorio@aawa.co
AJWRB-logoLee Elder - “Lee Elder” is a founding member and the Director of Associated Jehovah’s Witnesses for Reform on Blood. He is also editor of the organization’s website (AJWRB.org). He provides direct support to medical professionals, educators, and others involved in counseling and treating Jehovah’s Witnesses and their families when blood transfusions may be appropriate or prescribed therapy. “Lee” retains his status as a Jehovah’s Witness, allowing him to stay informed as to current Watchtower blood policy. His experience and expertise provides AAWA with additional resources and credibility on the subject of Watchtower blood doctrine and policy. LeeElderAJWRB@gmail.com

The above ten individuals vary in age and come from a variety of backgrounds. Spread across three different continents, they are seasoned campaigners against the Watchtower Society. However, this does not mean they alone have the final say. They rely upon the excellent advice of a Strategic Planning Team, which is made up of thirty committed AAWA volunteers. This is a worldwide collaborative effort of many passionate volunteers, who at one time lived their lives ruled by the Watchtower’s policies. They KNOW how this high-control religious group affects the everyday lives of men, women and children. The input from all of AAWA’s volunteers is its most valuable asset.

How does AAWA operate?

AAWA accomplishes its work through a number of key teams, including…

  • The Personnel Team, which is headed by Elizabeth Sorbo, serves an administrative function by collating the applications of new volunteers, and assigning these people to teams that best suit their skills and experience. It works closely with all of the other teams to establish where volunteers are needed and ensures that all personnel needs are met – identifying and approaching individuals with proven skills and experience where necessary.
  • The Support Team, headed up by Lee Marsh, serves a prominent role within AAWA. It offers help and a “hearing ear” to current and former Witnesses who are struggling mentally and emotionally from the long-term effects of cruel Watchtower policies such as shunning and the mishandling of abuse. It responds to all emails and phone calls as promptly as possible, and strives to give the best possible advice where appropriate.
  • The Public Relations Team is responsible for coordinating media enquiries and for highlighting AAWA’s efforts through targeted publicity campaigns. It issues press releases and works with the Writing Team to ensure that all Watchtower-related news stories are covered objectively in as many languages as possible.
  • The Legal Team is responsible for advising the Board on all legal issues, and administering the legal obligations of the corporation – including accounting. It produces reports and ensures that all financial supporters of AAWA are kept informed of how donations are being spent.
  • The Technical Team, under John Hoyle, is responsible for ensuring the smooth running of websites within AAWA’s information network. It identifies websites that are of long-term critical importance to AAWA’s objectives, and offers support to the owners to safeguard their future legacy. It supports other AAWA teams in overcoming any technical issues that may arise.
  • The Writing Team is headed by Steph Le Gardener and she and her team work to prepare well-researched written material in furtherance of AAWA’s objectives.
  • The Translation and International Communications Team, which is headed by Marvina Benzekri, brings together a network of talented linguists from all over the world who can work together to disseminate news about Watchtower and its harmful practices into a variety of languages.
  • The Speaker’s Team is a group of dedicated AAWA volunteers who are willing to use their own voices to further AAWA’s message, either through videos or through appealing to local communities in person.
  • The Creative Team is responsible for producing artistic content, including videos and graphics – all with the aim of getting AAWA’s message across.
  • The Social Media Team is responsible for AAWA’s presence on social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter, and handles the administration of AAWA’s various online groups.

If you are interested in joining any of the above teams, please visit our volunteer page and download our questionnaire.

For more information on AAWA and its policies and objectives, please read our Mission Statement and FAQs page. For any specific questions or technical issues, please don’t hesitate to contact us by emailing editor@aawa.co or webmaster@aawa.co .

 


Comments

About AAWA — 9 Comments

  1. AAWA is religious neutral. Paul’s use of scripture shows how the Watchtower misunderstands big-time the book it claims reveals the ultimate truth to its brain-dead followers. Helping people to learn to think for themselves, to use critical thinking skills, and decide for themselves what they want to believe without being made to feel guilty is what AAWA is all about.

  2. I agree with Steve. Arguing interpretations of the Bible is not religiously neutral; nor is calling JWs who interpret the scripture differently “brain-dead”. Calling people names is certainly inappropriate.

  3. religous neutrality does not imply not to speak about wrong interpretation of scriptures which can be proved– if the WTS mistranslates a Greek word to serve their own purpose such things should be made clear..

    • The video also does not tell the FULL truth. It ignores the Watchtower’s doctrine regarding living in a paradise earth and all of the illustrations, verbiage, songs, etc. associated to paradise to which children are also exposed (petting animals, gardens, bountiful food, etc). The JW children are not just exposed to a doom message, but to a “paradise fulfilled” message as well. But I guess the FULL truth is not AAWA’s agenda.

      • Why do they cover up sex abuse then…don’t see how that benefits children….ask the elders about their manual and how they threaten parents with disfellowshipment if they report it to the police….dont say it’s only a few that do it cause that’s crap.

  4. So its ok for the Watchtower to allow known sex offenders in2 their cult and not tell other members….As for paradise on earth y wood a loving god wipe out 7 billion + ppl who dont believe in him….also how can u pik an entity that may not exist over ur own children and shun them if they leave this cult….u judge everyone yet if a person is accused of child abuse and the victim doesnt hav another whitness they say “leave it in jehovahs hands” ???? If u like children we will protect u but if u r gay we will condem u sed the Watchtower…well u keep going to the kingdom halls and pretend to b holy….I dont need to believe in something to know Im a good person….I dont believe in fairytales…I cant wait til the Watchtower loses their tax-free status…..if I had 19 million $ I would b taxed so should they

  5. I was a JW since birth (baptized when i was 15, dissociated myself when I was almost 19). I am now 37 year of age and my parents have shunned me and have not spoken to me for many years.

    However, they have a good standing relationship with my stepsister who was turned down for baptism by the elders when she was 14. Since then, she has not re-applied nor has she returned to the organisation. She also ran away from home when she was 16 to seek refuge with her non-jw family in the UK.
    I know for fact through other sources that my parents come regularly in the UK to visit my stepsister but refuse to see me because in their eyes “I am dead”.

    My father is an elder (i learned about this through a local newspaper on the net in France as I now reside in the UK) and NOT ONLY does he comply with the family shunning directive and policy but he is also selfishly motivated to do so given his position as an elder. This is clearly stated in the elders secret book Shepherd the flock.

    My father re-married when I was about 2 and had me in custody as he believed that if I lived with my mother, I would have an unhappy life and she was not worthy as she had left the WBTS one of the reasons why they divorced. My mother’ s mother taught my father in the truth but she also left just after 1975 went by. Both my father and stepmother always discouraged to see her because she was labelled “worldly” and would have been a bad influence to my well-being. in fact, when I was 5, we moved to Mauritius as there was a need for JWs and that is when I lost all touch with my mother. As a result, I grew up as a JW but without a mother for almost 19 years until I left. Why did I leave?

    When I was 17 or 18 I was assigned to the sound for Recording public talk at the Kingdom Hall, I gave talks when I was 8 until I left, pioneered several times, spoke at conventions… I strived to be a good witness and wanted to end up at HQ because preaching was hard. I was even challenged by an elder when I was pioneering about my hours and whether they were made up. That is when my doubts started. Then when I was often sitting at the back of the call to do the sounds, I started to take a step back as to what I was hearing, a smug repetition of words that we’re no longer reaching my heart and my mind. I picked up on many contradictions, paradoxes but I could not put into adequate and objective words. In the end I was no longer listening to what was being said at the KH meetings as I knew deep in my heart that it was not the truth but like brother Ray Franz but “traditions of men”. (Watchtower did not reach my heart as it was common to say with the JW). Had I read the writings of Ray Franz, Peter Gregerson, Don Cameron or Barbara Henderson I WOULD NEVER HAD GOT BAPTISED. Obsiously I couldn’t as their writtings were released after i had left the organisation in 1996.

    In the meantime, I have lost my childhood, I did not have the chance to get to know my mother during all my youth since I was 2, I have and am still going through therapy to re-construct myself hoping one day, my parents will wake up to this JW scam or at the least try to be more human towards me.
    Please view my latest conversation with one of the elder from bethel UK regarding shunning and hois reaction when quized about the Finished Mystery and false prophecies.

  6. In my opinion AAWA is religiously neutral, but the Watchtower is not. So the AAWA’s reference to scripture attempts to show the inconsistency of the Watchtower, not to promote even the Bible, let alone any Christian denomination or Bible based religion. However, I may be with you, the argument should focus in a universally undeerstood sense of justice and compassion, and not on whatever the Bible says.

Share your thoughts . . .