A former Jehovah's Witness tells his frightening story

Are the Jehovah's Witnesses a cult? One of my guests tonight says absolutely yes.
Richard E Kelly is a self-described "survivor" of Jehovah's Witnesses and author of "Growing Up in Mama's Club - A Childhood Perspective of Jehovah's Witnesses" and "The Ghosts from Mama's Club."
Kelly grew up in a Jehovah's Witness household. And he says ensuing family disharmony and the cultish legacy contributed to his sister's murder. He also says women are seen as creatures trapped somewhere between men and animals in God's hierarchy. No woman can have a position of authority, which means it's men only for preaching, teaching and praying.
These are just some of the details that Kelly and I discussed tonight.

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  1. Debbie Towsen posted on 01/10/2013 01:22 AM
    I left the cult - and being a women - I can honestly say this is correct.
    When in the so called "truth" as a women was "stronger" than a lot of men who were so called "ministerial and elders".....who control the whole "flock". ........but when your husband becomes an "elder" then your status rises .....and so does the gossip.
    Will get his books and have a good read.
  2. Robin Peters posted on 01/10/2013 02:11 AM
    Anyone that questions the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses will be labeled an "opposer" and a heretic or apostate by the members. Then the extreme shunning and isolation of that person will follow. Even family members will refuse to speak to the person. Some have even committed suicide as a result.
    1. Danny Haszard posted on 01/11/2013 05:04 AM
      @Robin Peters Jehovah's Witnesses *blood transfusion confusion*.

      In 2013 God's will and scripture has little to do with the Jehovah's Witnesses position on use of blood products.
      The JW leadership is foremost concerned what will play out in a secular court of law as to the parent Watchtower being held liable for wrongful deaths.
      Most Jehovah's Witnesses rushed to the ER with massive blood loss will cry NO BLOOD right up to their last breath.

      The shocker is they can now have most of the blood components that will pull them through,but they are so indoctrinated that blood is forbidden that they can't comprehend the loopholes.
      The Watchtower has drilled and grilled us that our stand on blood is NON NEGOTIABLE.

      The loopholes that allow blood usage is to save the Watchtower corporation money from blood death liability suits.
      This is a truly evil organization that would sacrifice tens of thousands of men,women,children for the almighty dollar.

      The blood products ban has been in force since 1945 the buzz today about it being a *personal conscience matter* and the hope of new medical advances like artificial blood don't undo all those who have past perished.
      The New York city bas
      ed Watchtower sect is concerned foremost with liability lawsuits for wrongful death.They know that if they repeal the ban on *whole* blood transfusion,that it will open the door for legal examination of all the thousands who have died since 1945.
      Cults do get people killed!
      50-100 times as many men,women,children have been killed by the Watchtower society ban on *whole* blood transfusions than at Jonestown kool-aid mass murders.
      *tell the truth don't be afraid*
      Danny Haszard
  3. Lawrence Wiggins posted on 01/10/2013 04:50 AM
    Jehovah's Witnesses are unpopular for many reasons, none of which matched the early church except for non-political involvement, which is not exclusive to them at all. They are like carnival hucksters preaching the need to become a Jehovah's Witness or die at Armageddon.

    They say they promote good family life? Only until you disagree with the leadership in Brooklyn on the slightest of points, and then they completely divide and destroy the family. Then they write hypocritical articles like the new July 2009 Awake! "The Bible's Viewpoint - Is It Wrong to Change Your Religion?" and make themselves look open-minded and progressive, but practice the most destructive forms of shunning of all religions if you disobey the leadership's ever-changing doctrines, dates and rules.

    Anyone can be persecuted, which proves nothing if you are a religion invented in the late 1800s by a man who was into pyramidology, numerology, and who stood on the top of a building with a white sheet waiting to be raptured. 130 years later, they are still awaiting a false hope.
  4. Amy Florence posted on 01/10/2013 07:00 AM
    Richard's story is a compelling as Rudolph the red nosed reindeer. Barry, you could have done a little better research on this one before you aired it. You've lost credibility and Richard you may as well join Rudolph at the North Pole.
  5. Charlie posted on 01/10/2013 10:37 AM
    I had similar experiences in the Mormon Church (Church of Latter Day Saints).
    Had I known better at the time (stay at home mother and vulnerable)
    I would have kicked them out of our lives. Unfortunately we had family members
    in the Mormon church. I to this day contribute it to the rapid decline of my marriage and family unit.
    1. Jeramy posted on 01/11/2013 04:29 AM
      @Charlie I'm not a LDS Mormon, but many of my family and close friends are. Your marriage and family issues are not caused by the church you choose to blame, it's probably an underlining issue that instead of accepting responsi illy you your mistakes you choose to blame others.
  6. Mark French posted on 01/10/2013 11:05 AM
    Destructive cult or benign religion?

    The *Cult* word gets overused,but in some cases it is appropriate.
    The definition of a destructive religious cult is like alcoholism-if booze controls you instead of the other way around you are an alcoholic.
    I was in the Watchtower society Jehovah's Witnesses,they are not benevolent and won't let you leave their organization in peace.The Jehovahs are not without scandals-child abuse,deceptive mind control tactics, sex scandals, money scams, general bad behavior.
    Is it a cult?
    If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck....
  7. Al posted on 01/10/2013 11:46 AM
    "No woman can have a position of authority, which means it's men only for preaching, teaching and praying."

    Check your source, picture on JW website says it all...Richard E Kelly is not a credible source...instead he should blame his family not the JWs.

    1. Ann posted on 01/12/2013 11:35 AM
      @Al Actually, the picture on that website is of a woman selling the Watchtower's publications. Door-to-door sales is all it is. She is not preaching, teaching or praying. And Richard's comment that it is for men only is correct. Within the 4 walls of their Kingdom Halls women do not preach, teach or pray, only the men do.
  8. Dana posted on 01/10/2013 01:32 PM
    I know that Jehovah's Witnesses hold woman in high regard in all 240 lands that they actively preach in.. Most of the Jehovah's Witness publishers or preachers that go door to door month in and month out are Woman. Jehovah's Witness Woman comment at all of the meetings and conduct free in home Bible Studies with interested ones. The article Barry is obviously provocative, but is filled with False information. A Cult Follows the Teachings of a man and Jehovah's Witnesses don't follow the teachings of any man. The Bible is the only source for the Teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses.
    1. Sarah posted on 01/10/2013 05:27 PM
      @Dana Women can go door to door, and they can conduct a bible study with another woman, but do they conduct bible studies with men? What if a woman wants to offer a prayer in front of men? Then they have to put on a headscarf, just like Muslim women, to show their submission.

      Women comment at the meetings, but women don't lead the Watchtower study on Sundays. Women participate in the Kingdom Ministry School, but there have to be two of them...they can't directly address the congregation, or carry a microphone, or distribute the literature, or read the text before field service. "Women are held in high regard..." well, I guess if you're ok with not being as good as a man.
    2. Madx-JW posted on 01/10/2013 09:02 PM
      @Dana You are a liar like the devil. I was a member of your extremist cult for over 10 years. You are right that Jehovah's Witnesses don't follow a single man but they follow a governing body of 12 men. This governing body is lord and savior to all Jehovah's Witnesses. If this governing body tells to jump then the only question a Jehovah's Witness would allow to ask is to how high to jump. This cult destroys family and victimizes children sexually, This cult does not follow the Bible at all. In 1925, the governing body predicted that Abraham was supposed to be back to earth at Beth Sarim in San Diego, California. Abraham was supposed to bring back with him a barbecue from heaven. I stayed hungry for 12 years for that heavenly barbecue. At last I came to the conclusion that was crazy and I left to follow Jesus instead as my Lord and Savior. If SS
  9. Danmera posted on 01/10/2013 05:17 PM
    I'm not sure how "it's like the Manson family" can be used in the same sentence as "it's good for some"

    This cult is vile, a cult is never good for anyone.

    This is a blood guilty cult, destroys families, victimizes women and children etc. It has no redeeming qualities. The JWs are victims in this.
  10. Walter Growski posted on 01/10/2013 11:10 PM
    JW are a cult that rob its members of as much money they can. My grandmother was converted to a Jehovah. They took every penny from her. When she was paralyzed with a stroke nobody from the Jehovah's visited her.
    This is a warning for all the Jehovah's THEY WANT YOUR MONEY!!!
    1. JCB posted on 01/12/2013 04:02 AM
      @Walter Growski What a crock!
  11. Eric posted on 01/11/2013 01:39 AM
    This religion is fill with deception and hypocrisy. I served at the world HQ in New York and the leaders are arrogant imperfect older men trying to cover their collective butts.

    I was a JW elder for 10 years until I woke up to the truth that I had been misled. Google it check your facts it's all out there.
  12. Alex posted on 01/11/2013 05:58 AM
    This group is a high control religion.
    I can say first hand that behind the well practiced outer presentation there is fear, sadness and unhappiness.
    This is a very disturbing mind control group.
  13. Debbie posted on 01/11/2013 08:29 AM
    Dana - wrong!! - women are not held in high regard at all!!! - they are just slaves workers for the Borg - putting in hour after hour / day after day / month after month / year in and out - forced to go door to door so they will not be killed by this so called loving god (yes forced because in their hearts as they do not want to do it)
    Women do not lead at all - the head quarters of j woud not allow this because if this happens they then would not have any control, they could not preach to the women to be submissive - that is why their is so much abuse going on right in your and every jw congregation in the 240 countries (right under your noses). Women stand up and get out!!
  14. Up North Volunteer posted on 01/11/2013 09:04 AM
    Growing up as a Jehovah's Witness is something I am truly grateful for. It took me until I was 17 to realize that it was the actual truth. To label us a cult is a total cop out for those who have left. I have no idea who all the members of the governing body are and it doesn't matter. After high school I devoted myself to learning more about Jehovah and his purpose and this lifestyle continues to solidify my family. I can't speak for other families, but ours realizes that we must progress with Jehovah and keep helping people learn about his word. I'm proud to say that none of my friends or their family members have ever hidden behind nationalism to strike down anyone just because they are from another country. We encourage people and strive to build their faith through true bible. Women as well have the amazing privilege of preaching throughout the week as they're husbands work full-time jobs to support them so it balances out quite well actually. You can go to college also. They just recommend you put considerations to what you will do and the amount of time it will tale from your life.Acts 28:22 is a good thought for everyone to consider before reading some off handed glory grab that Richard seems to feel entitled to.
    1. simon posted on 01/12/2013 11:50 PM
      @Up North Volunteer I was sad at reading your post, i can tell you are one of the many nice guys in the JW's. I was a pioneer, a bethelite and would say as you did verbatim.

      Maybe you SHOULD know who the GB is as you are following their direction on how to please your god.,how can you say younhave soughtbtruth if you dont even caremwho ismleading the line younare following?

      As for the statements about peace. You sadly have not been brave enough to explore the 'forbidden ' evidence. I assume you know nothing of the Rand Cam Navy engine that Watchtower owned or the letter from Rutherford to Hitler called 'The Decleration of Facts'.

      Why do they own so much property and stock in Satan's system? Whybare they forcing refurbs on halls so as to empty the bank accounts of KH's and tie them to loans.

      Have you bothered to visit a museum yet? The 150 million year old dinosaurs, the neanderthals, homo erectus, the ancienct civilisations, languages and people older than 6000 years in age. According to the bible Adam was alive at the building of the first pyramids... Do you realise how INSANE that belief is?

      Do you know how much of the jewish mythology comes from Egypt, mesapotamia and beyond?

      Do you realise that the name Jehovah is a mish-mash of the HEBREW phrase YHWH from the OT and the consonants from the NT Greek word ADONAI (lord) this silly idea gives YaHoVaH turned into latin JaHoVaH . Nobody uses it, because it was a crazy idea of a group of monks. Go read some secular history... You are being lied to..

      God created the universe, he is all knowing, all powerful.... He just needs your money and time... Oh come on!

      Ps blood fractions come from blood donations..... Will you donate blood? Will you take it from others in the form of a fraction?
    2. BRUCE posted on 01/13/2013 06:51 AM
      @Up North Volunteer As a 3rd generation Witness who was disfellowshipped as an apostate for demanding answers regarding child molestatation and other crimes, I find that there are actually 2 religions within Jehovah's Witnesses. The rank and file who are sincere and good willed (as I might add am I) and the "organization" the elders , circuit overseers and especially Governing Body who have a no holds bar devotion to the structure/hierarchy. The congregation might be a spiritual paradise for those who accept without question the doctrines and statements found in the Watchtower, but for long-time believers who have seen there cherished religion undergo doctinal changes with deceptive reasoning which never takes responsiibility for errors, only silence is allowed. The emphasis is on loyalty to the organization, not God's Word which exposes the lies of the governing body. As an example the 1/1/13 Watchtower on the wrong dates given for the end. Where in that article is an apology or accountablility for such presumptuous acts? Instead this is pointed to as proof that the Governing Body is alert! The Pharisaical judicial committee system prevents open, honest, responsible conversation. Instead those who openly question are dealt with as apostates. What does the organization have to fear from honest discussion of admitted changes (not errors of course)- just the truth. These men are truly Evil as in Evil Slave that beats their brothers when Christ doesn't return on their time-table.
  15. Gabriel posted on 01/11/2013 01:01 PM
    ok, who's next? A reptilian survivor? There are millions of so called UFO abducted people in the world, interview one of them please.
    Let's talk about David Icke, Illuminati, and so on. The new dogma: a former jw never lie! Former jw are smart. Former jw are very cool people!
  16. Dave posted on 01/11/2013 07:49 PM
    "his frightening story" ??? This sounds like a big crybaby to me. All religions have there beliefs. If you don't like them., Just leave and get on with your life. I know many JW's and have worked with them. Some of the best people I have ever known. This guy just wants to make money on his book.
    1. Bruce posted on 01/13/2013 06:59 AM
      @Dave Dave isn't that the problem- you can never "just leave". Every Witness who does is demonized as unfaithful and even an Apostate. Family members are pressured to avoid or shun their parents, children etc.
      We speak from the experience of having to start our lives over after giving that life to a religion that betrayed us.
  17. Bob Bright posted on 01/12/2013 12:53 AM
    Contradiction is not 'persecution'.

    Mention anything about Watchtower history,and watch the Jehovah's Witnesses go into a frenzy. The "truth" would hold up to scrutiny, but in the Jehovah's Witness mind, anyone daring to point out anything critical, is a "hater".
    The problem is, that the Watchtower is a publishing company, their own publications condemn them
  18. Dennis posted on 01/12/2013 08:14 AM
    I did not hear this progam and cannot seem to be able to obtain the full written text. As a Catholic I have been studying the bible for over a year with two women from Jw. A cult.. yes but I believe all religions are a cult in some fashion. I had many questions as I progressed through the bible and all were answered literally by myself by logically reading passages and coming to my own conclusion. In fact I use my own catholic bible and not theirs to study. Really no major between the two yet. Pressure to join? None. Jw were the only ones interested in freely teaching me what the bible says and means and it has made my life better so far. Again I draw my own conclusions each and every time we meet. Do I agree with everything I had been taught so far...not yet until I can find the answer myself. Comparing religions was the way to go for me and frequently other religions are referenced and researched.
  19. B Baria posted on 01/12/2013 12:43 PM
    This is so true. I was a JW in India between 1987 to 2005 ... and I can tell you firsthand that it is a subtly destructive sect. They believe they are the sole custodians of the Bible, they are hypocrtical in their stance that they denounce religious 'manmade tradition' while they themselves have hundreds of 'guidelines from the faithful and discreet slave' which are equal to commandments, your mind is as good as closed after you become one of them under the pretext that having an 'open mind' would expose you to the workings of the Devil.

    They are, after all, an organization that loves money (they regularly run articles in the Watchtower reminding believers that 'Jehovah loves a cheerful giver', accompanying this reminder by a side-box that lists property, gold, stocks, bonds, last will and testaments' as 'acceptable sacrifices.'

    They are unable to accept criticism, seeing any such effort as proof that they are being persecuted. It takes a gullible soul to enter the Watchtower, but a much braver and honest one to exit them, because of the scale of trauma associated to their treatment of 'apostates.'
  20. GHW posted on 01/13/2013 10:31 AM
    I too was raised as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, and was disfellowshipped from the Christian organization in 2009, with no intention of returning. This said I would not use your program as a pulpit to flog my book, in the guise of telling a frightening story. You may also employ the services of a "fact-checker" as many of the assertions made in this interview were distorted and taken out of context.

    Any one is allowed to have their opinion but not their own facts; and the facts are what they are... the Jehovah's Witnesses are as much as a "cult" as any "Christian" church, Protestant or Catholic; they are follow a man, Jesus, and use The Bible (also written by men) as their main source for doctrine. So save all the self-righteous finger pointing and whining. All religion is frightening.
    1. Jeffery Walter posted on 01/13/2013 11:28 PM
      @GHW You are a SHILL you are an active Jehovah's Witnesses cult member who is "pretending" to be an outsider.

      A.K.A. "Theocratic Warfare"

      Jehovah's Witnesses shill (lie) big-time....... as bad if not worse than Scientology cult.
  21. Greg posted on 01/13/2013 05:34 PM
    I was raised a JW and expelled from the organization in 2009, with not intention of returning. That said, you might do yourself and your listeners some journalistic good and employ a fact checker next time you have the likes of Mr. Kelly on your show. A lot of what was asserted was an exaggerated distortion of the facts. Everyone is allowed their own opinions, but not their own facts. JWs are a Christian "cult" just as much as any other Protestant or Catholic organization, following a MAN Jesus, and the writings of The Bible, also written by men. So stop the self righteous whining and finger pointing. All religion is frightening, and Mr. Kelly is not providing any public service in his portrayal of his experience; just trying to flog his book.
  22. Jenny posted on 01/21/2013 06:27 PM
    Anyone considering this cult should beware. I'm 20 years into my recovery from it and still bear the scars. I am 45, my MOTHER joined when I was 5 and I stayed until I was 25. So half my life in and half out. The half out has been so much better than the half in. Many bad experiences, a few good. I now have a Master's in psychology and can tell you that this group messes people up big time!
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