FAQs

Your Questions


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Why are you against the Watchtower?
Do you believe Watchtower is a cult?
Are you a hate group?
Are you a religious organization?
Does your organization support the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses?
How can I help AAWA?
Do I need to reveal my identity in order to volunteer?
Is AAWA a “charity” or charitable organization? Are donations tax deductible?
Why can’t I register, login, or make comments on AAWA.co?
What ever happened to…?
What are AAWA’s guidelines for posting comments and responses to comments?


Our Answers and Responses


Why are you against the Watchtower?
  • We oppose a significant number of Watchtower teachings and practices because they pose a serious threat to the mental and physical health of Jehovah’s Witnesses and their family members. For example, Watchtower policies on child abuse make it possible for a child to be molested in the organization but for the incident to not be reported to the police – leaving the molester free to go on and abuse others. Watchtower policies on blood transfusions lead to the deaths of countless Witnesses who are mentally conditioned to refuse treatment based on flawed scriptural reasoning. Watchtower policies on shunning mean that if a member decides to leave the organization, his family members are instructed not to speak to him again, which can have a serious impact on his or her emotional well being.
Do you believe Watchtower is a cult?
  • We believe that a cult is any organization, religious or otherwise, whose teachings and practices have a damaging influence on its members. In particular, a cult is an organization that makes it almost impossible to leave freely without facing repercussions of some kind. By this measure, the Watch Tower Society is unquestionably a cult, since it advocates and enforces damaging beliefs and policies, and punishes former members by depriving them of contact with their Witness family members.

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Are you a hate group?
  • No. We detest religious hatred and bigotry of any kind. We believe that every individual should be free to follow his or her own beliefs, provided these do not bring harm to others. In particular, we care deeply about the welfare of Jehovah’s Witnesses and want them to lead happy and fulfilled lives. Our issue is not with individual JWs, but with the Watchtower organization itself, which mentally enslaves them. For example, Watchtower uses hate speech to stigmatize all those who disagree with the Governing Body, calling such ones “mentally diseased” apostates who speak “gangrenous” words. Such manipulative behavior identifies the Watchtower as a cult rather than religion, and this is just one of many reasons why we oppose it.
Are you a religious organization?
  • No. Our organization is strictly religiously-neutral, meaning that it does not promote or endorse any religious, atheistic or philosophical creeds or influences. We are solely interested in raising wider public awareness of the Watchtower’s damaging teachings and practices, as well as assisting those who seek to extricate both themselves and their family members from its influence. However, just because we are religiously-neutral does not mean that we refuse to work with those who have strongly entrenched beliefs. We believe that a broad spectrum of both religious and atheist former JWs can set their differences aside to work together under a common cause. We simply will not allow any form of religious or atheistic approach to influence our activities, or the way we deal with Witnesses who wish to leave. In this way, we can never rightly be accused of trying to “draw off followers” after ourselves.

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Does your organization support the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses?
  • AAWA absolutely condemns in the strongest possible terms the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses, regardless of whether such persecution is verbal or physical. AAWA especially loaths the mob violence against Jehovah’s Witnesses in countries like Bulgaria and Georgia. There is never any excuse for people to be abused verbally or physically because of their religious or non-religious beliefs. The work AAWA is engaged in differs substantially from anything that could be classed as persecution in that context. AAWA uses public education and media resources to raise awareness of the damaging aspects of the Watchtower organization. We use peaceful, respectful and well-informed activism, and wholly oppose those who use religion as an excuse for bullying, antagonism, and violence.
How can I help AAWA?
  • You can help AAWA either by donating funds to our work or by volunteering your time and energies to assist us with our activities. We prefer taking on volunteers to receiving donations, but any support is always appreciated. Once you contact AAWA to volunteer, either by email or through the query form, someone will reply and ascertain your skills and background so that we can identify a field of activism that is best suited to your circumstances and capabilities. Even if you can only offer a few hours of your time a month, or to attend an occasional event, this is appreciated. A full list of the roles we are actively pursuing volunteers for can be found on the volunteer page.

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Do I need to reveal my identity in order to volunteer?
  • AAWA understands that there are compelling reasons why certain volunteers may wish to keep their identity confidential. In particular, Watchtower’s threat of shunning so-called “apostates” creates a climate of fear and intimidation for any who would consider opposing the organization. For this reason, AAWA welcomes those who wish to volunteer on a strictly confidential basis, and takes all appropriate measures to protect their anonymity and identity.
Is AAWA a “charity” or charitable organization? Are donations tax deductible?
  • AAWA is registered as a “non-profit corporation” in the State of Arizona, USA. On April 17, 2015, Advocates for Awareness of Watchtower Abuses (AAWA) was awarded 501 (c) (3) status from the US Internal Revenue Service, Department of the Treasury. So what does that mean? Per the letter from IRS, “We are pleased to inform AAWA that upon review of your application for tax exempt status we have determined that you are exempt from Federal income tax under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to Advocates for Awareness of Watchtower Abuses – AAWA are deductible under section 170 of the Code. You are also qualified to receive tax-deductible bequests, devises, transfers or gifts under section 2055, 2106 or 2522 of the Code. Because this letter could help resolve any questions regarding your tax exempt status, you should keep it in your permanent records. Organizations exempt under section 501 (c) (3) of the Code are further classified as either public charities or private foundations. We determined that AAWA is a public charity under the Code section (s) listed in the heading of this letter. For important information about your responsibilities as a tax-exempt organization, go to www.irs.gov/charities. Enter “4221 – PC” in the search bar to view Publication 4221 – PC, Compliance Guide for 501 (c) (3) Public Charities, which describes your record keeping, reporting, and disclosure requirements.”
The officers and board members of AAWA are not qualified to provide tax or legal advice to any of our donors. Rules for tax deductions vary in different countries. Always contact your own attorney and/or tax advisor for guidance regarding your personal situation. If you have questions about AAWA’s current legal status or how donations received are being used, please email Accounts@aawa.co.
Why can’t I register, login, or make comments on AAWA.co?
  • If you are encountering these types of technical problems for the first time, please send an email to webmaster@aawa.co. Be sure to include the username and email address you used to subscribe or comment. The problem will be investigated and usually corrected within hours. You will be notified by email when you can try again to access certain AAWA.co features. PLEASE NOTE THAT AAWA.co NO LONGER ALLOWS OPEN REGISTRATION (effective 6 August 2014).
  • If you were registered or had been using the comment feature of many of our articles – but can no longer post your comments – you may have been “blocked.” Being blocked or “blacklisted” could be the result of either a temporary technical issue or being denied service by the Webmaster. Temporary technical issues will usually be resolved within 2-24 hours. Service denial by the Webmaster is most likely due to suspected abuse or violation of rules by you or someone using your email address. If you suspect that the Webmaster has blocked your access and you want to know the reason, send an email directly to webmaster@aawa.co. You should get a reply within 24 hours. (Hint: Accusing the Webmaster or other board members of gross crimes and misdemeanors is unlikely to help you get your access restored.)
  • Your user access to AAWA.co can be denied for several reasons. If our “spam-blocker” software recognizes your IP address as one already registered for sending spam, viruses, or attacks on other websites, your service will be denied. You will also be blocked if you violate generally accepted guidelines when using our Comments features (trolling, thread hijacking, excessive use of expletives or sexually descriptive words/phrases, or ad hominem personal attacks directed at other commenters or AAWA members). You can also be banned for registering multiple accounts and/or identities.PLEASE NOTE THAT AAWA.co NO LONGER ALLOWS OPEN REGISTRATION (effective 6 August 2014).
  • Bottom line: Be respectful and reasonable when making critical statements or suggestions, don’t spam, and don’t use profanity except in rare and appropriate situations. Don’t pretend to be someone else or create multiple personalities. See our other guidelines below…
What ever happened to…?
  • We often get questions about personnel turnover within AAWA, especially among board members, coordinators and volunteer team leaders. Our consistent response will be that no announcement or comment will be made about any personnel change. That applies if the change is initiated by AAWA’s officers or board members, or if it is voluntary on the part of the individual. Like every business, large or small, for profit or non-profit, there is a constant movement of personnel. Within the first three months of its formal existence, AAWA had two of its corporate officers (Barbara Anderson and John Cedars) leave the organization. Both were also founding members of AAWA and made substantial contributions to our early successes. Both continue to support AAWA’s long-term objectives. Both continue to be friends with most of the board members and are coordinating with them on other projects. No one signs a contract with AAWA. No one at any level (and that includes the board) gets paid for their services. Circumstances change as time passes and many will leave for personal financial reasons, others because of strains on their personal relationships, and some because they have other priorities. We recognize that some of our volunteers may eventually leave because they feel AAWA is not progressing at an acceptable rate or due to disagreement with certain AAWA policies. That happens in all organizations no matter how lofty their goals might be. The board of advisors understand that our successes or failures will result from our policy decisions and financial resources, not because certain individuals choose to leave the organization. We accept that there will be differences. We want everyone to know that they can leave AAWA without fear that they will be “shunned” by its remaining associates or officers.
To Our Members and Visitors:
If you have specific questions about AAWA’s policies or procedures, send an email to webmaster@aawa.co or editor@aawa.co. We will respond to you directly. If we feel that your questions will have broader interest and application, we will add a segment to this FAQs page. We really do appreciate your input and suggestions.

Comments

FAQs — 10 Comments

  1. Is anyone even going to bother responding and addressing my questions ?

    for an ‘international’ I find this type of behaviour very rude and unproffessional, therefore I am left with t he opinion that this is not a valid trustworthy genuine site ?

    I am very dssappointed.

  2. Yes, Teresa, I will respond to your questions. I’ll do it in more detail over the next couple of days when I update this page and include guidelines for comments and questions. I will send you an email with specifics, but for the other readers of this page I will simply say this:

    We appreciate getting comments from our readers. We love the affirmative ones, of course, but we also accept sincere and reasonable criticism. We do not want to censor anyone, nor do we want to stifle healthy debate.

    In recent months this site has been repeatedly attacked by spammers and others trying to access our database or to break through our defenses. These attacks continue with dozens attempting to login or otherwise get past our protective programs. Those are the worst and most formidable problems we must face daily.

    But there is also a second group that we must deal with. These are not professional spammers or distributors of viruses and malware. This second group is often referred to as “trolls,” “spoilers,” or [thread] “hijackers.” You see these posters everywhere – on YouTube, on discussion forums, and on blogs and news websites. They come not to add to a discussion – but to destroy it. They are not interested in participating in honest debate and sharing of personal opinions, but rather to attack the writer of the article or other commenters.

    Like all responsible websites, we monitor comments to limit the use of obscenities, remove any personal attacks, and to make sure that obvious trolls do not divert the discussion or turn it into a rambling free-for-all.

    Sometimes a new article or information page will get just a few comments and one or two will be questionable. Others, because of their subject or controversial nature, will have a very large readership and dozens of comments within hours of publication. Because AAWA.co has an international readership that is spread literally around the globe, the administrator may be sleeping when a discussion begins. By the time we realize there is a problem and can identify those who are being disruptive, much of the damage is seemingly out of control.

    Usually we can pinpoint those who are trying to disrupt and redirect the conversation. When we do we try to reason with them and try to get the comments back on track. But trolls don’t listen to reasonable requests. They ignore any of our responses. You’ll see that they often ask the same question repeatedly or attack our reputation or that of our supporters. Every forum and discussion site has to deal with these trouble makers.

    When we feel that they have finally worn out their welcome, we block them from further participation. They can come and visit our website. They can still email our team leaders, the editor, or the webmaster. But they can no longer comment on any of our articles. The primary side effect of being banned from making comments is that site registration is also revoked and all of their previous comments are removed.

    One more thing: Being “banned” or “blacklisted” from this website does not include being “marked” or reported to a “spammer registry.” We do find, however, that in many cases these same “trolls” and “troublemakers” have been already been registered by other websites, probably for doing the same thing to them. We will always report those who try to bypass or defeat our defenses. Those who act maliciously against our website will definitely be reported. Those falling in that category know who they are and why they will eventually end up on one or more spammer or attacker registry. Unfortunately, they will simply change their identities and get new Internet addresses and pick up where they left off.

    I hope this answers your basic questions, Teresa. Anyone who has specific questions can email me at webmaster@aawa.com. In some cases a poster or someone trying to register will be blocked. A notification will pop up and they can ask for a review and access. In most cases, this will be granted as we can quickly determine why they were blocked and resolve the problem.

  3. Thank you John for your response.

    You have very eloquently described ‘trolls’ and ‘troublemakers’..
    However.

    you have failed to address matters concerning your ‘administrators / helpers/ workers / volunteers’ and their actions and remarks which can only be described as descending into ‘bitching and fighting’ with certain posters, which is wholly unprofessional.

    It is my understanding, on doing further research, that this has happened on more than one occasion concerning individuals who are involved in running this site.

    Please do not take my comments as ‘harsh’ or ‘personal’ as that is in no way my intention. But I can sure that you can understand and agree that ‘trust’ is vital, given the demographics of the cult we are trying to assist people in breaking free from.

    I’m sure you will agree that open honest heart-ed discussion based on facts, not
    misconceptions and fallacy, is the best foundation for any organisation that wishes to be treated seriously in this crooked corrupt world we are living in.

    I hope you are able to overcome said issues and go on to be a force to be reckoned with.

    Also, you cannot e-mail me, as you do not have my contact details, but i will keep in touch via the forum here.

    Kind regards, wishing you well in your endeavours.

    Teresa

  4. Teresa,

    Your comments are duly noted. However, understand that other than the board members who have their own guidelines and restrictions, we can not control the postings of our members and those who claim to be AAWA associates. They have every right to express their feelings as you or other visitors to this website.

    We do not make rules for our associates except as it relates to their specific duties as volunteers. As we used to say when I was growing up, “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” My question is this then: Are you saying that casual visitors and critics should be able to comment without restriction? But AAWA board members, team leaders, volunteers and others who support us can not? I’m sorry, but I don’t see the logic in that at all.

    Thank you for your “kind regards” and good wishes. We can use them…

    John

  5. Hi John, no, you misunderstand.

    Tommy gun, I read the exchange before it was removed. I apologise, the confusion was of my making, I should have been word specific.

    Of course I understand there are elements in society that cannot be given a platform, but they do require careful handling when engaging with them. Yes, of course there has to be restrictions, I agree totally. Rules and regs are for law-breakers, we have to have them.

    But the ‘door swings both ways’. A moderator who has the necessary skills, can quickly diffuse a situation, before the ‘fire takes hold’.

    Understandably offensive remarks and ‘hate rhetoric’ cannot be allowed and should be removed, I agree. but a simple statement would help much, ie, xyz has been censored because of abc, if I make sense,

    After all, it is support you are looking to garner, and you are dealing with a ‘special demographic’ I can only imagine how stressful it must be. But, better to do a job right or not at all.

    To be fair, the ‘apostate’ label is disgusting to ex-jw’s, as it is a false label and a lie. We do not want to throw fuel on WT fire and help them to control even tighter the cult victims. We want to draw away the victims who need help and provide a safe haven. they will never be drawn if the rhetoric is ‘anti’ and angry., they will just svream ‘apostate’ and run away.

    Thank you John
    hope the issues can be resolved.
    regards

    • We at AAWA will work toward perfection, but we know we are not there yet. We are still learning as we go along. But We will not allow our comments or website to be taken over by trolls and naysayers. I think that most intelligent readers can tell the difference between honest disagreement or criticism versus hate-baiting and ad hominem attacks.

  6. Theresa We are fully aware of problems that have arisen on this website. Abusive behavior by any volunteers regardless of their position in AAWA will not be tolerated, Please know that we have done our best to rectify the problems.

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