Shun Run/Walk 2012

by rawe 18 Replies latest jw friends

  • rawe

    Hi Everyone,

    I am planning a public awareness event for April 1, 2012, I calling "Shun Run/Walk 2012" to draw attention to shunning policies of Jehovah's Witnesses. I use to help out as a moderator on the ex-Jehovah's Witness Recovery Forum on yuku, so this is a cross post from that site. What you'll see below is a letter I have sent to "SDB:SSY", the otherwise anonymous JW author from US branch who wrote me. Any who would like to join in are certainly welcome. We are asking those that do to be warm and friendly and of course lawful in all that is done.

    Shun Run/Walk 2012

    Coping for Today, Hoping for Tomorrow

    Mr. SDB:SSY

    Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses

    2821 Route 22, Patterson, NY


    Dear Mr. SDB:SSY:

    This letter is provided as a courtesy in advance of a public awareness event I am planning for Sunday, April 1, 2012. I am calling this event "Shun Run/Walk 2012" to draw attention to shunning policies of Jehovah's Witnesses. The plan calls for a three mile circular walk/run on the public land near the Casa Grande Assembly Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses here in the state of Arizona.

    I can confirm two walkers for the event (Zechariah 4:10). Myself and friend who is a former member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be walking. As others become aware of our plans they too may join us. The intent of this event is not to embarrass Jehovah's Witnesses. Instead, I hope to be of encouragement to members of the ex-Jehovah's Witnesses community. Authors of The Watchtower and have sought to portray any who are shunned and critical of such as "mentally diseased"1 (1 Timothy 6:4) or unrepentant practicer of stealing, drunkenness or adultery2 (1 Corinthians 5:11). In reality many who leave do so, not for lack of moral fiber or sanity, but most reluctantly after discovering the awful truth, that many of the claims of the faith are not truly supported by evidence.

    Once again I give you an opportunity to answer the following. I originally posed this question in my letter of June 30, 2010 then again on January 15, 2011.

    Again, I ask your leadership to reflect on these policies. If there ever was a case of an individual being pursued in a punitive way simply for leaving the faith, it would be my case. If I am wrong in my views, please explain how anyone can leave the faith without being labeled "wicked" (1 Corinthians 5:13), short of continuing year-after-year to live by some undefined subset of the rules that govern active members.

    Continuing to remain silent in effect gives an answer. I am reminded of words of 1 John 4:18-21:

    There is no fear in love, but perfect love throws fear outside, because fear exercises a restraint. Indeed, he that is under fear has not been made perfect in love. As for us, we love, because he first loved us.

    If anyone makes the statement: "I love God," and yet is hating his brother, he is a liar. For he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot be loving God, whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him, that the one who loves God should be loving his brother also.

    Neither you nor I have seen God, yet we are all brothers - the evidence is in our DNA. Providing leadership for millions of Christians worldwide could, no doubt, make one fearful. Yet, in the spirit of these words, I ask you to throw such fear outside. Do not be afraid to let those who wish to leave do so without breathing threats of being cut-off by family members. Rather than demand unquestioned obedience to the dictates of a secretive "judicial committee," do not be afraid to let your members be guided by their own conscience as they contemplate the application of scripture in their lives (1 Timothy 3:9). Above all, do not demand of anyone that they should hate their brother!

    Yours sincerely,

    Randy Galbraith

    cc: Casa Grande Assembly Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses

    Casa Grande Police Department



  • Rydor

    Shun Run!! Hahahaha that's great!

    If I lived in the area I might just participate....

  • Londo111

    Excellent! I hope it has good support!

  • OnTheWayOut

    This is a wonderful idea. It's not "in-your-face" like convention and memorial protests. If I were out there, I would run/walk.

  • LV101

    This is awesome. Great idea! Hope it gets publicity.


  • Sapphy

    Great idea! Good luck.

  • nugget

    Lovely idea unfortuately it is too far away for us but will be with you in spirit.

  • cedars

    The name "Shun Run" implies that the runners are running away from eachother rather than alongside eachother. Can you please just confirm that this won't be happening on the day?


  • rawe

    Hi Everyone,

    Thanks for the all the encouragement. I have never been inclined to take such issues into the public sphere. But when I see how deep the indoctrination bites, even in those who have left it has motivated me to do something -- something that is both fun and positive, yet still reflects the serious issue at hand. As I mention in the letter to SDB:SSY the primary goal to to be of encouragement to ex-JWs. Just to show a couple things, that (a) what is said about folks who leave is often a "just-so" story that doesn't reflect reality and (b) it is okay to stand up and speak the truth about the real harm this policy brings into peoples lifes (for both the shunned and the one doing the shunning).

    At first I called the event "Shun Run", but found the emphasis on "running" was distracting, as if you weren't a runner you couldn't participate. Hence the Run/Walk. Certainly we'll run/walk side-by-side in solidarity, not running away from each other ;-)

    I don't know how many may come out, but if it is only a few, that is totally okay. If it is more, well that's good too. I know a couple of the moderators on yuku said they may hold an event in their area too. If they do, we'll then have one in England, one here in the USA and one in Australia. Since April 1 is just a few days before memorial it should be a good time to raise awareness of issue like this.

    I'll come back and post exact details as they are determined.



  • rebel8

    *golf clap*

  • Gayle

    I will plan to go for this with the group!

  • trancy211

    well done, good for u.

  • JRK

    Perfect, and on April Fools Day too (How appropriate for the GB).


  • its_me!

    Great idea! I am on the other side of the country or I would certainly be there! I hope that there are many who participate!

  • rawe

    <!-- @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } -->

    If you would like to join us on our Shun Run/Walk 2012, the group will meet at 10am on Sunday April 1 st , 2012 at the Central Arizona College. We will walk from there to Casa Grande Assembly Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses. The walk will be about 2.9 miles and should take one hour to walk at a moderate pace.

    The direction as per Google maps is:

    Central Arizona College

    8470 North Overfield Road

    Coolidge, Arizona 85128

    1. Head southeast on N Overfield Rd 0.3 mi

    2. Turn right onto W Woodruff Rd 1.0 mi

    3. Turn left onto N Weaver Rd 0.9 mi

    4. Turn left onto W McCartney Rd 0.5 mi

    5. Turn left onto N Azurite Way

    Destination will be on the right 0.1 mi

    Casa Grande Assembly Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses

    6627 North Azurite Way

    Casa Grande, AZ 85194

    As a reminder if you choose to join us, please keep in mind the main focus of this public awareness event is to be of encouragement to those who have left the faith and are currently facing shunning. By putting a public face on who really is the target of such shunning we can show that we are not individuals who would brazenly claim to be Christians while fornicating with our step mother ( 1 Corinthians 5 : 1 ), nor are we “mentally diseased” ( 1 Timothy 6 : 4 ), nor are we unrepentant practicer of stealing, lying or drunkenness. No! Rather we know full well the real issue at hand – those who seek to have religious control over others find loyalty between family and friends one of the most threatening things.

    We also plan to both respect the seriousness of the issue at hand, while still having fun and enjoying the walk. Hope to see you there!



  • Scott77

    Sounds like a very great idea. I wish could have participated. I live far away.


  • Billy the Ex-Bethelite
    Billy the Ex-Bethelite

    What a fun idea. Be sure to dress "modestly"

  • rawe

    Hi Everyone,

    This was an email I sent to members of the ex-JW Chandler meet up...

    Hard to believe -- but April 1st is just two weeks away. I did a couple things to prepare for our Shun Run/Walk 2012. First me and my 2nd oldest dropped by Brand X and designed a T shirt that will say "Shun Run/Walk 2012" on the front and "Coping for today, Hoping for Tomorrow" on the back. I bought twelve of them and will hand them out on a first come first served basis. You are welcome to contribute to help defer the cost -- but you are absolutely not required to do so.

    My wife and I drove out to Coolidge/Casa Grande to drive the walk and check out what may be available for parking. As far as we can see parking at the college would put your car at risk of being towed. But I did stop and talk to the owner of the "Stop By Market" and she said we would be welcome to park on the dirt area beside her store. If you do so, it might be a kind gesture to stop in and buy something (you must use cash if you purchase less than $10).

    Most of the road looked quiet with only a few spots where the shoulder narrows. Nonetheless we all must be careful to make sure we are both visible and off to the side as much as possible. The sign for the assembly hall is right at the corner, so it should make a nice background for any photos/videos we take. Please be careful not trespass on their property.

    My wife also had this idea for those who feel they can not walk the distance. They could drive ahead and wait at the assembly hall to welcome the walkers as they turn the corner.

    Today it is raining so please keep a check on the weather before leaving. Having something for rain may be a good idea. The area around the college and assembly hall is rural and I did not see anything that would disallow bringing a dog. If you do decide to do that, make sure to have a plastic bag to clean up. And of course you would only want to bring your dog if he or she is well known to interact with other dogs positively and is up to date on shots and whatnot.

    I must add the disclaimer that while Jehovah's Witnesses take great pride in how organized they are -- we are not like that. Rather the organization of this event is rather loose, based on the idea each participant can be trusted to make their own good choices. Afterwards for example some may leave and call it a day, while others may find some place to go and eat and reflect on the day. That is up to you. Above all, stand up for yourself and others to say it is okay to leave Jehovah's Witnesses. Also, it is neither fair nor just for religious leaders to cruelly manipulate the emotions and loyalties of those under their influence.


  • rawe

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm posting to give this thread one last booster.

    What: Shun Run/Walk 2012 - [i]Coping for Today, Hoping for Tomorrow.[/i]
    When: Sunday, April 1st, 2012 at 10am
    Where: W Woodruff Rd & N Overfield Rd, Coolidge AZ

    Q. What is this?
    A. A small group of ex-JWs, ex-LDS and Atheists will walk or run 2.9 miles to raise awareness of the harm caused by religious shunning.

    Q. Must I run?
    A. No, you can walk -- plan on about 1hr

    Q. Must I walk?
    A. No, you can meet us on the road outside the Assembly Hall: 6627 North Azurite Way, Casa Grande, AZ 85194

    Q. Is this a protest march?
    A. Not really. We recognize that Jehovah's Witnesses, like others, enjoy freedom of religion. We also know most Witnesses would not choose to shun friends and family members of their own accord. Instead as former members we recognize current members for the most part are responding to the religious influence of Governing Body.

    Q. What do you hope to accomplish?
    A. We hope to be of encouragement to at least a few former members who have left, perhaps are shunned, but are still in fear of speaking up.

    Q. Can I have a T shirt?
    A. Maybe. I have had 12 T shirts made up and some are already spoken for. Otherwise I will hand them out on a first come first serve basis to any who participate.

    Q. Will you do this again?
    A. I hope so. I would like to run this event on the Sunday closest to the memorial each year.


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