[The following is the text from my chapter (my story) in the recently published book Fear to Freedom available on Amazon.]
Part 1: Freed from Indoctrination
“Mommy, am I going to die at Armageddon?”
I was only five years old when I asked my parents that question.
Why would a five-year-old child worry about such things? In a word: “Indoctrination”. From infancy, my parents took me to all five weekly meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses. From the platform and through the publications, the idea that the world would shortly end was hammered into my child brain. My parents told me I’d never even finish school.
That was 65 years ago, and Witness leadership is still saying that Armageddon is “imminent”.
I learned of Jehovah God and Jesus Christ from the Witnesses, but my faith does not depend on that religion. In fact, since I left in 2015, it is stronger than it has ever been. That isn’t to say that leaving Jehovah’s Witnesses has been easy. An outsider may have trouble understanding the emotional trauma a member of the Organization faces upon leaving. In my case, I had served as an elder for over 40 years. All my friends were Jehovah’s Witnesses. I had a good reputation, and I think I can say with modesty that many looked up to me as a good example of what an elder should be. As the coordinator of the body of elders, I had a position of authority. Why would anyone give all that up?
Most Witnesses are conditioned to believe that people only leave their ranks out of pride. What a joke that is. Pride would have kept me in the Organization. Pride would have caused me to hold onto my hard-won reputation, position, and authority; just as pride and fear of losing their authority drove the Jewish leaders to murder God’s Son. (John 11:48)
My experience is hardly unique. Others have given up much more than I have. My parents are both dead and my sister left the Organization along with me; but I know of many with large families—parents, grandparents, children, et cetera—who have been totally ostracized. To be completely cut off by family members has been so traumatic for some that they have actually taken their own lives. How very, very sad. (May the leaders of the organization take note. Jesus said it would be better for those who stumble the little ones to have a millstone tied round the neck and to be pitched into the sea—Mark 9:42.)
Given the cost, why would anyone choose to leave? Why put oneself through such pain?
There are a number of reasons, but for me there is only one that really matters; and if I can help you find it, then I will have accomplished something good.
Consider this parable of Jesus: “Again the kingdom of the heavens is like a traveling merchant seeking fine pearls. Upon finding one pearl of high value, away he went and promptly sold all the things he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:45, 46[i])
What is the pearl of great value that would cause someone like me to give up everything of value to acquire it?
Jesus says: “Truly I say to you, no one has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for my sake and for the sake of the good news who will not get 100 times more now in this period of time—houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the coming system of things, everlasting life.” (Mark 10:29, 30)
So, on the one side of the balance we have position, financial security, family, and friends. On the other side, we have Jesus Christ and everlasting life. Which weighs more in your eyes?
Are you traumatized by the idea you may have wasted a large portion of your life inside the Organization? Truly, that will only be a waste if you do not use this opportunity to grab hold of the everlasting life Jesus is offering to you. (1 Timothy 6:12, 19)
Part 2: The Leaven of the Pharisees
“Watch out for the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” (Luke 12:1)
Leaven is bacteria that causes the fermentation that makes dough rise. If you take a tiny morsel of leaven, and put it into a mass of flour dough, it will slowly multiply until the entire mass has been permeated. Likewise, it only takes a small amount of hypocrisy to slowly permeate or infect every part of the Christian congregation. Real leaven is good for bread, but the leaven of the Pharisees is very bad within any body of Christians. Nevertheless, the process is slow and often difficult to perceive until the full mass is corrupted.
I have suggested on my YouTube channel (Beroean Pickets) that the current state of the congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses is much worse now that it was in my youth—a statement sometimes contested by some channel viewers. However, I stand by it. It is one of the reasons I didn’t start to wake up to the reality of the Organization until 2011.
For example, I can’t imagine the Organization of the 1960s or 1970s ever engaging in an NGO affiliation with the United Nations as they came to do for ten years starting 1992 and ending only when exposed publicly for hypocrisy.[ii]
Further, if, in those days, you got old in the fulltime service, either as a lifelong missionary or Bethelite, they would care for you until you died. Now they are putting old full-timers on the curb with barely a slap on the back and a hearty, “Fare well.”[iii]
Then there is the growing child abuse scandal. Granted, the seeds for it were planted many decades ago, but it wasn’t until 2015 that the ARC[iv] brought it into the light of day.[v] So the metaphorical termites have been multiplying and eating away at the wooden framework of the JW.org house for some time, but for me the structure seemed solid until just a few years ago.
This process can be understood through a parable Jesus used to explain the state of the nation of Israel in his day.
“When an unclean spirit comes out of a man, it passes through parched places in search of a resting-place, and finds none. Then it says, ‘I will go back to my house out of which I moved’; and on arriving it finds it unoccupied but swept clean and adorned. Then it goes its way and takes along with it seven different spirits more wicked than itself, and, after getting inside, they dwell there; and the final circumstances of that man become worse than the first. That is how it will be also with this wicked generation.” (Matthew 12:43-45 NWT)
Jesus was not referring to a literal man, but to an entire generation. God’s spirit resides within individuals. It doesn’t take many spiritual persons to exert a powerful influence on a group. Remember, Jehovah was willing to spare the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of only ten righteous men (Genesis 18:32). However, there is a crossover point. While I have known many good Christians in my lifetime—righteous men and women—little by little, I have seen their numbers dwindle. Speaking metaphorically, are there even ten righteous men in JW.org?
The Organization of today, with its shrinking numbers and Kingdom Hall sales, is a shadow of the one I once knew and supported. It seems the “seven spirits more wicked than itself” are hard at work.
Part 2: My Story
I was a pretty typical Jehovah’s Witness in my teens, meaning that I went to meetings and participated in the door-to-door preaching because my parents made me. It was only when I went to Colombia, South America, in 1968 at the age of 19 that I began to take my spirituality seriously. I graduated high school in 1967 and was working at the local steel company, living away from home. I had wanted to attend university, but with the Organization’s promotion of 1975 as the probable end, attaining a degree seemed like a waste of time.[vi]
When I learned my parents were taking my 17-year-old sister out of school and moving to Colombia to serve where the need was great, I decided to quit my job and go along because it sounded like a great adventure. I actually thought of buying a motorcycle and travelling through South America. (It’s probably just as well that never happened.)
When I got to Colombia and began to associate with other “need greaters”, as they were called, my spiritual perspective changed. (There were over 500 in the country at that time from the US, Canada, and a few from Europe. Oddly enough, the number of Canadians matched the number of Americans, even though the Witness population in Canada is only a tenth of that in the States. I found the same ratio persisted when serving in Ecuador in the early 1990s.)
While my outlook became more spirit oriented, hobnobbing with missionaries killed any desire to become one or to serve at Bethel. There was just too much pettiness and infighting among the missionary couples as well as at the branch. However, such conduct didn’t kill my faith. I just reasoned it was the result of human imperfection, because, after all, didn’t we have “the truth”?
I began to take personal bible study seriously in those days and made a point of reading all the publications. I started with the belief that our publications were thoroughly researched and the writing staff was comprised of intelligent, well-studied Bible scholars.
It didn’t take long before that illusion was dispelled.
For instance, the magazines often delved into extensive and often ridiculous antitypical applications such as the lion that Samson killed representing Protestantism (w67 2/15 p. 107 par. 11) or the ten camels that Rebecca received from Isaac representing the Bible (w89 7/1 p. 27 par. 17). (I used to joke that the camel dung represented the Apocrypha.) Even when delving into science, they came up with some very silly statements—for instance, claiming that lead is “one of the best electrical insulators”, when anyone who has ever used battery cables to boost a dead car knows you connect them to battery terminals made of lead. (Aid to Bible Understanding, p. 1164)
My forty years as an elder means I endured approximately 80 circuit overseer visits. The elders generally dreaded such visits. We were happy when left alone to practice our Christianity, but when we were brought into contact with central control, the joy went out of our service. Invariably, the circuit overseer or C.O. would leave us feeling we just weren’t doing enough. Guilt, not love, was their motivating force used and still used by the Organization.
To paraphrase the words of our Lord: “By this all will know that you are not my disciples—if you have guilt among yourselves.” (John 13:35)
I remember one particularly self-important C.O. who wanted to improve the meeting attendance at the congregation book study, which was always the most poorly attended of all meetings. His idea was to have the Book Study Conductor call up any individual who didn’t attend right after the study was over to tell them how much they were missed. I told him—quoting Hebrews 10:24 mockingly—that we’d only be “inciting the brothers to guilt and fine works”. He smirked and chose to ignore the jibe. The elders all chose to ignore his “loving direction”—all but one gung-ho young elder who soon gained a reputation for waking people up who missed the study to go to bed early because they were overtired, overworked, or just plain sick.
To be fair, there were some good circuit overseers in the early years, men who were really trying to be good Christians. (I can count them on the fingers of one hand.) However, they often didn’t last. Bethel needed company men who would blindly do their bidding. That is a perfect breeding ground for pharisaical thinking.
The leaven of the Pharisees was becoming increasingly evident. I know of an elder found guilty of fraud by a federal court, who was allowed to continue to manage the Regional Building Committee funds. I’ve seen a body of elders repeatedly attempt to remove an elder for sending his children to university, while turning a blind eye to gross sexual misconduct in their midst. What is important to them is obedience and submission to their lead. I’ve seen elders removed simply for asking too many questions of the branch office and not being willing to accept their whitewashed answers.
One occasion that stands out was when we tried to remove an elder who had libeled another in a letter of introduction.[vii] Slander is a disfellowshipping offence, but we were only interested in removing the brother from his office of oversight. However, he had a former Bethel roommate who was now on the branch committee. A special committee appointed by the branch was sent to “review” the case. They refused to look at the evidence, even though the slander was clearly laid out in writing. The victim of the slander was told by his circuit overseer that he couldn’t testify if he wanted to remain an elder. He gave way to fear and refused to come to the hearing. The brothers assigned to the Special Committee made it clear to us that the Service Desk wanted us to reverse our decision, because it always looks better when all the elders are in agreement with the direction from Bethel. (This is an example of the “unity over justice” principle.) There were only three of us, but we didn’t give in, so they had to overrule our decision.
I wrote the Service Desk in protest for their intimidation of a witness and for directing the Special Committee to deliver a verdict to their liking. Not long after, they tried to remove me for what was essentially non-compliance. It took them two tries, but they did accomplish it.
Just as leaven continues to permeate the mass, such hypocrisy infects all levels of the organization. For instance, there is a common tactic elder bodies use to vilify anyone who stands up to them. Often, such a person cannot advance in the congregation so they feel motivated to move to another congregation, one with—they hope—more reasonable elders. When that happens, a letter of introduction follows them, often filled with positive comments, and one small telltale statement about some “matter of concern.” It will be vague, but enough to raise a flag and prompt a phone call for clarification. That way the original elder body can “dish the dirt” without fear of reprisals because nothing is in writing.
I detested this tactic and when I became the coordinator in 2004, I refused to play along. Of course, the circuit overseer reviews all such letters and will inevitably ask for clarification, so I would have to get it. However, I wouldn’t accept anything that wasn’t put in writing. They were always miffed by this, and would never respond in writing unless forced to by circumstances.
Of course, all of this is not part of the written policies of the Organization, but like the Pharisees and religious leaders of Jesus’ day, the oral law supersedes the written one within the JW community—further proof that the spirit of God is missing.
Looking back, something that should have woken me up was the cancellation of the Book Study arrangement in 2008.[viii] We were always told that when persecution came, the one meeting that would survive was the Congregation Book Study because it was held in private homes. The reasons for doing this, they explained, was because of rising gas prices, and to spare families the time spent in travelling to and from meetings. They also claimed this was to free up a night for a home family study.
That reasoning didn’t make sense. The Book Study was arranged to cut down on travel time, since they were spread around the territory at convenient locations rather than forcing all to come to a central Kingdom hall. And since when does the Christian Congregation cancel a night of worship to save us a few bucks on gas?! As for the family study night, they were treating this as a new arrangement, but it had been in place for decades. I realised they were lying to us, and not doing a very good job of it either, but I couldn’t see the reason why and frankly, I welcomed the free night. Elders are overworked, so none of us complained about having some free time at last.
I now believe the main reason was so that they could tighten up control. If you allow small groups of Christians managed by a single elder, you are sometimes going to get a free interchange of ideas. Critical thinking could blossom. But if you keep all the elders together, then the Pharisees can police the rest. Independent thought gets squashed.
As the years rolled by, the subconscious part of my brain took note of these things even while the conscious part fought to preserve the status quo. I found a growing disquiet within myself; what I now understand to have been the beginnings of cognitive dissonance. It is a state of mind where two contrary ideas exist and are both treated as true, but one of them is unacceptable to the host and must be supressed. Like the computer HAL from 2001 A Space Odyssey, such a state cannot continue without doing serious harm to the organism.
If you have been beating yourself up because you were like me in taking a long time to recognize what now seems to be as plain as the nose on your face—Don’t! Consider Saul of Tarsus. He was there in Jerusalem while Jesus was curing the sick, restoring sight to the blind, and raising the dead, yet he ignored the evidence and persecuted Jesus’ disciples. Why? The Bible says he studied at the feet of Gamaliel, a prominent Jewish teacher and leader (Acts 22:3). Essentially, he had a “governing body” telling him how to think.
He was surrounded by people speaking with one voice, so his flow of information was narrowed to a single source; like Witnesses who get all their instruction from Watchtower publications. Saul was praised and loved by the Pharisees for his zeal and active support of them, just as the Governing Body claims to love those with special privileges in the Organization like pioneers and elders.
Saul was further screened from thinking outside of his environment by training that made him feel special and that caused him to look down on others as beneath contempt (John 7:47-49). In the same way, Witnesses are trained to view everything and everyone outside the congregation as worldly and to be avoided.
Finally, for Saul, there was the ever-present fear of being cut off from everything he valued were he to confess the Christ (John 9:22). Likewise, Witnesses live under the threat of shunning should they openly question the teachings of the Governing Body, even when such teachings go contrary to the commands of Christ.
Even if Saul had doubts, to whom could he turn for counsel? Any of his colleagues would have turned him in at the first hint of disloyalty. Again, a situation all too familiar to any Jehovah’s Witness who has ever had doubts.
Nevertheless, Saul of Tarsus was someone Jesus’ knew would be ideal for the work of expanding the gospel to the gentiles. He just needed a push—in his case, a particularly big push. Here are Saul’s own words describing the event:
“Amid these efforts as I was journeying to Damascus with authority and a commission from the chief priests, I saw at midday on the road, O king, a light beyond the brilliance of the sun flash from heaven about me and about those journeying with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground I heard a voice say to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? To keep kicking against the goads makes it hard for you.’” (Acts 26:12-14)
Jesus saw something good in Saul. He saw a zeal for truth. True, a misdirected zeal, but if turned to the light, he was to be a powerful tool for the Lord’s work of gathering the Body of Christ. Yet, Saul was resisting. He was kicking against the goads.
What did Jesus mean by “kicking against the goads”?
A goad is what we call a cattle prod. In those days, they used pointed sticks or goads to get cattle to move. Saul was at a tipping point. On the one hand, all the things he knew about Jesus and his followers were like cattle prods that should have been moving him toward the Christ, but he was subconsciously ignoring the evidence, kicking against the spirit’s goading. As a Pharisee, he believed he was in the one true religion. His position was privileged and he didn’t want to lose it. He was among men who respected him and praised him. A change would mean being shunned by his former friends and leaving to associate with those he was taught to view as “accursed people”.
Does that situation not resonate with you?
Jesus pushed Saul of Tarsus over the tipping point, and he became the Apostle Paul. But this was only possible because Saul, unlike the majority of his fellow Pharisees, loved truth. He loved it so much that he was willing to give up everything for it. It was the pearl of high value. He thought he had had the truth, but when he came to see it as false, it turned to garbage in his eyes. It’s easy to give up garbage. We do it every week. It is really just a matter of perception. (Philippians 3:8).
Have you been kicking against the goads? I was. I didn’t wake up due to a miraculous vision of Jesus. However, there was one particular goad that pushed me over the edge. It came in 2010 with the release of the revised generation teaching that expected us to believe in an overlapping generation that could span well over a century of time.
This wasn’t just a silly teaching. It was blatantly unscriptural, and downright insulting to one’s intelligence. It was the JW version of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”.[ix] For the first time, I came to realize that these men were capable of just making stuff up—stupid stuff at that. Yet, heaven help you if you objected to it.
In a backhanded way, I have to thank them for it, because they got me wondering if this was just the tip of the iceberg. What about all the teachings I thought were part of “the truth” that I had come to accept as scriptural bedrock all my life?
I realized I wasn’t going to get my answers from the publications. I needed to expand my sources. So, I set up a website (now, beroeans.net) under an alias—Meleti Vivlon; Greek for “bible study”—to protect my identity. The idea was to find other like-minded Witnesses to engage in deep Bible research. At that point, I still believed I was in “The Truth”, but I thought that we might have just a few things wrong.
How wrong I was.
As a result of several years of investigation, I learned that every doctrine—every doctrine—unique to Jehovah’s Witnesses was unscriptural. They didn’t get even one right. I’m not talking about their rejection of the Trinity and of Hellfire, because such conclusions are not unique to Jehovah’s Witnesses. Instead, I’m referring to teachings like the invisible presence of Christ in 1914, the 1919 appointment of the Governing Body as the faithful and discreet slave, their judicial system, their prohibition of blood transfusions, the other sheep as God’s friends with no mediator, the baptismal vow of dedication. All these doctrines and many more are false.
My awakening didn’t happen all at once, but there was a eureka moment. I was struggling with a growing cognitive dissonance—juggling two contrary ideas. On the one hand, I knew that all the doctrines were false; but on the other hand, I still believed we were the true religion. Back and forth, these two thoughts went ricocheting around my brain like a ping pong ball until finally I was able to admit to myself that I wasn’t in the truth at all, and never had been. Jehovah’s Witnesses were not the true religion. I can still remember the overwhelming sense of relief that realization brought to me. I felt my whole body relax and a wave of calm settled upon me. I was free! Free in a real sense and for the first time in my life.
This wasn’t the false freedom of licentiousness. I didn’t feel free to do whatever I wanted. I still believed in God, but now I saw him truly as my Father. I was no longer an orphan. I had been adopted. I had found my family.
Jesus said that the truth would set us free, but only if we remained in his teachings (John 8:31, 32). For the first time, I was truly starting to understand how his teachings applied to me as a child of God. Witnesses had me believing that I could only aspire to friendship with God, but now I came to see that the path to adoption was not cut off in the mid-1930s, but is open to all who put faith in Jesus Christ (John 1:12). I was taught to refuse the bread and wine; that I was not worthy. Now I saw that if one puts faith in Christ and accepts the life-saving value of his flesh and blood, one must partake. To do otherwise is to reject the Christ himself.
Part 3: Learning to Think
What is the freedom of the Christ?
This is the crux of everything. Only by understanding and applying this can your awakening truly benefit you.
Let’s start with what Jesus actually said:
“And so Jesus went on to say to the Jews that had believed him: “If YOU remain in my word, YOU are really my disciples, and YOU will know the truth, and the truth will set YOU free.” They replied to him: “We are Abraham’s offspring and never have we been slaves to anybody. How is it you say, ‘YOU will become free’?” (John 8:31-33)
In those days, you were either Jew or Gentile; either someone who worshipped Jehovah God, or someone who served pagan gods. If the Jews who worshiped the true God were not free, how much more so would that have applied to the Romans, Corinthians, and the other pagan nations? In the entire world of that time, the only way to be truly free was to accept the truth from Jesus and live that truth. Only then would a person be free of the influence of men, because only then would he or she be under the influence of God. You cannot serve two masters. Either you obey men or you obey God (Luke 16:13).
Did you notice that the Jews were unaware of their enslavement? They thought they were free. There is no one more enslaved than the slave who thinks he is free. The Jews of that time thought they were free, and so became even more susceptible to the influence of their religious leaders. It is as Jesus told us: “If the light that is in you is really darkness, how great that darkness is!” (Matthew 6:23)
On my YouTube channels,[x] I have had a number of comments ridiculing me because I took 40 years to wake up. The irony is that the people making these claims are just as enslaved as I was. When I was growing up, Catholics didn’t eat meat on Fridays and didn’t practice birth control. To this day, hundreds of thousands of priests cannot take a wife. Catholics follow many rites and rituals, not because God commands them, but because they have submitted themselves to the will of a man in Rome.
As I write this, many fundamentalist Christians avidly support a man who is a known shyster, womanizer, adulterer, and liar because they have been told by other men that he has been chosen by God as the modern-day Cyrus. They are submitting to men and so are not free, because the Lord tells his disciples not to mix in company with sinners like that (1 Corinthians 5:9-11).
This form of enslavement is not restricted to religious people. Paul was blinded to the truth because he limited his source of information to his immediate associates. Jehovah’s Witnesses likewise limit their source of information to the publications and videos put out by JW.org. Often people who belong to one political party will limit their information intake to a single news source. Then there are the people who no longer believe in God but hold science to be the source of all truth. However, true science deals with what we know, not what we think we know. Treating theory as fact because learned men say it is so is just another form of man-made religion.
If you want to be truly free, you must remain in the Christ. This is not easy. It is easy to listen to men and do what you’re told. You don’t really have to think. True freedom is hard. It takes effort.
Remember that Jesus said that first you must “remain in his word” and then “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31, 32)
You don’t need to be a genius to accomplish this. But you must be diligent. Keep an open mind and listen, but always verify. Never take anything anyone says, no matter how convincing and logical they may sound, at face value. Always double and triple check. We live at a time like no other in history in which knowledge is literally at our fingertips. Do not fall into the trap of Jehovah’s Witnesses by restricting the flow of information to a single source. If someone tells you the earth is flat, go on the Internet and look for a contrary view. If someone says there was no flood, go on the Internet and look for a contrary view. No matter what anyone tells you, do not surrender your ability to think critically to anyone.
The Bible tells us “to make sure of all things” and to “hold fast to what is fine” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). The truth is out there, and once we find that we have to hold onto it. We must be wise and learn to think critically. What will protect us as the Bible says:
“My son, may they not get away from your eyes. Safeguard practical wisdom and thinking ability, and they will prove to be life to your soul and charm to your throat. In that case you will walk in security on your way, and even your foot will not strike against anything. Whenever you lie down you will feel no dread; and you will certainly lie down, and your sleep must be pleasurable. You will not need to be afraid of any sudden dreadful thing, nor of the storm upon the wicked ones, because it is coming. For Jehovah himself will prove to be, in effect, your confidence, and he will certainly keep your foot against capture.” (Proverbs 3:21-26)
Those words, though written thousands of years ago, are as true today as they were then. The true disciple of Christ who safeguards his thinking ability will not be trapped by men nor will he suffer the storm that is coming upon the wicked.
You have before you the opportunity to become a child of God. A spiritual man or woman in the world populated by physical men and women. The Bible says that the spiritual man examines all things but he is not examined by anyone. He has been given the ability to see deep into things and understand the true nature of all things, but the physical man will look at the spiritual man and misjudge him because he does not reason spiritually and cannot see the truth (1 Corinthians 2:14-16).
If we extend the meaning of Jesus’ words to their logical conclusion, we will see that if anyone rejects Jesus, they cannot be free. Thus, there are only two kinds of people in the world: those who are free and spiritual, and those who are enslaved and physical. However, the latter think they are free because, being physical, they are incapable of examining all things as the spiritual man does. This makes the physical man easy to manipulate, because he obeys men rather than God. On the other hand, the spiritual man is free because he slaves only for the Lord and slavery for God is, ironically, the only way to true freedom. This is because our Lord and Master wants nothing from us but our love and returns that love superabundantly. He wants only what is best for us.
For decades I thought I was a spiritual man, because men told me I was. Now I realize I was not. I am thankful that the Lord saw fit to wake me up and draw me to him, and now he is doing the same for you. Behold, he is knocking on your door, and he wants to come in and sit at the table with you and eat the evening meal with you—the Lord’s supper (Revelation 3:20).
We have an invitation but it is up to each of us to accept it. The reward for doing so is surpassingly great. We may think we have been fools to allow ourselves to have been deceived by men for so long, but how much greater the fool we would be were we to turn down such an invitation? Will you open the door?
[i] Unless otherwise stipulated, all the Bible quotes are from the New World Translation of the Holy Scripture, Reference Bible.
[ii] See https://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/united-nations-association.php for full details.
[iii] All district overseers were sent packing in 2014, and in 2016, 25% of worldwide staff was cut, with a disproportionate number being among the most senior. Circuit Overseers are not dismissed upon reaching 70 years of age. The majority of Special Pioneers were also dropped in 2016. Due to the requirement for all to take a vow of poverty upon entering “fulltime service” so as to allow the Organization to avoid paying into Government pension plans, many of these sent packing have no safety net.
[iv] Australia Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
[vi] See “The Euphoria of 1975” at https://beroeans.net/2012/11/03/the-euphoria-of-1975/
[vii] Whenever a member of the congregation moves to another congregation, the body of elders via the service committee—made up of the Coordinator, Secretary, and Field Service Overseer—will draft a letter of introduction sent separately to the Coordinator or COBE of the new congregation.
[viii] See “End of the Home Book Study Arrangement” (https://jwfacts.com/watchtower/blog/book-study-arrangement.php)
[x] English “Beroean Pickets”; Spanish “Los Bereanos”.