Menlo Park KH - Elder Tells All - and more

by Juan Viejo2 72 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • Juan Viejo2
    Juan Viejo2

    I've published part one of a three part series about the Menlo Park KH scandal.

    This has been a tough one for me.

    The original federal case was dismissed in January. Appeals and new filing took place in late January. State court case in San Mateo County was dismissed.

    Case files became available in late January and early February. Started working on a new series of articles for publication in late February. Had eye surgery, computer problems, and then three weeks of travel that slowed me down. But now I'm back in my groove.

    In early February, I was informed by my contacts in Menlo Park that something big was brewing. Appeals were being filed in federal appeals court and state courts. "New information" was forthcoming.

    In late February and while I was traveling in March, I started getting emails and restricted phone calls from everywhere (including New York) warning me that the Watchtower was going to be changing some of its policies about new Kingdom Halls, Assembly Halls, and how they would schedule and assign COs and DOs. Something big (like a shakeup) was about to happen and part of it was due to events in Menlo Park.

    I was also warned from other contacts I have across the USA and Canada that "all elder bodies were going to be under more scrutiny" as the WT tries to weed out anyone that seems to be independent or willing to stand up to the Watchtower on anything. "Soft elders" would be suspect, as those types are typically the first ones to go out as "apostates." COs and DOs have apparently been squealing on local elders that have questioned the WT's recent actions. The "apostates are mentally diseased" approach to ex-JWs has apparently backfired on the GB (thank you, Barbara Anderson!). They may be afraid that another Menlo Park uprising is about to pop up somewhere and embarrass them again further. The next set of elders that stand up to them may have better financing and be willing to give the Borg a really good fight in a more aggressive court. Don Adams and the Watch Tower Corp. officers are not pleased and plan to act. Apparently someone may have written letters to the Justice Department and the IRS. I can not confirm any of this, but several sources have suggested those possibilities.

    Now that I look back, these may have been clues that the WT would be making big changes this summer. Looks like the magazines and expanded use of the Internet might be just a small part of the changes. One thing that kept coming up was that it also looks like the WT will be taking a stronger lead within Kingdom Halls themselves. I was told that the "new missionary work" would be directed from WT HQ. In other words, look out for young GB wannabees to show up, sent by HQ to takeover as elders, bumping existing COBOEs and older elders. Anyone showing a soft heart or an openminded approach with the flock is sure to be demoted and put under suspicion.

    Apparently, the June and January changes in policy are just the tip of the proverbial ice bergs, not to mention "fire and rain" directed toward local congregations. It's hard to imagine, but some of the GB members and Branch officers (worldwide) see just about everyone under CO level to be suspect.

    Looks like we have a couple of interesting years ahead of us. I don't think its going to be much fun for the younger MS and older elders. I see a lot of them resigning and turning down opportunities to serve their local congregations. The elder bodies will be taken over by brothers looking for power and promotion to higher ranks - those willing to show no mercy to the rank and file. If this is true, I hope Joe Publisher and Sister Publisher finally get sick of the treatment they're getting and they decide to leave - even if they to lose some family members.

    Part 1 of Elder Tells All is now online with part 2 right behind in just a few hours.

    I look for your comments - good or bad. Most of the above is just rumor and conjecture - so take it all with a huge dose of salt. But I thought you should know it. We can all watch as events unfold to see how much of the above is based on facts.


  • cedars

    VERY well written Juan! I'm not surprised that members of the Menlo Park congregation are frequenting if the tone of the website is so accommodating of their beliefs and sympathetic to their plight, not to mention non-sensationalist. provides a good benchmark on how to accurately and candidly report on such cases without stating conjecture as fact. Well done.


  • TheOldHippie

    "Most of the above is just rumor "

    Exactly. And what the connection between Menlo Park KH and smaller magazines should be - I regretfully fail to see ..............

  • Bangalore

    Thanks Juan.


  • Sapphy

    "It's hard to imagine, but some of the GB members and Branch officers (worldwide) see just about everyone under CO level to be suspect. "

    LOL, looks like Ted Jarez's boy learned well from their master!

  • Giordano

    Very interesting Juan...thank you for your time and effort. While these are rumor's there is no doubt in my mind that there is little love or respect shown the rank and file. As the Mormons are discovering, Christian scientists etc. Young people today have little interest in staying in these groups. Especially a high control group like the JW's.

    Their foolishness about the end times has put an expiration date on the JW organization. They have just about run their course.

  • Juan Viejo2
    Juan Viejo2

    TheOldHippie: "... And what the connection between Menlo Park KH and smaller magazines should be - I regretfully fail to see ..."


    My post ran far too long as it was. It's hard to condense all of the information that I've received over the past few months, some of it while I was driving (thank you Bluetooth!). When people begin to trust you and are willing to share their experiences, thoughts, and inside information - and your hands are on the steering wheel - or you're standing in the middle of a Costco store - you just have to let them say their piece and hope you retain as much as you can. That's been my experience over the past few months - and often I am talking to an anonymous contact from the Menlo Park area.

    I think the rumors point to is that the Watchtower realizes that there is a growing movement at the Kingdom Hall level to reject or question some of the policies of the Society. Some of it is doctrinal disagreements, but mostly it is the way the rank and file is being treated. Young people are losing interest, older people are missing more meetings and listening over the telephone instead. Contributions are way down forcing the elders to have to constantly bring up the subject after TMS and the Watchtower study.

    There are other signs as well. Fewer attendees on Friday Circuit Assembly days. Young brothers making the choice to go to college rather than to pioneer or seek ministerial or elder assignments.

    One major trend that has become apparent is the fear that JWs live under now. When I was growing up as a teenager in the 1950-60s I never worried about being disfellowshipped or reproved. Our congregation would have a DF or reproof maybe once every two or three years. In those days we were a lot more open about our questions or dislike of a change of policy and were less afraid of being slapped down for it. Now the rank and file lives in a fearful state that they might accidentally stumble and be called on the carpet. Maybe they have a Vanity Fair or Smithsonian magazine laying on their coffee table and a visiting elder notices it. Have you seen the ads in Vanity Fair? Smithsonian frequently has articles about evolution and ancient cultures dating back 10,000 years. Maybe the new wide-screen TV set a JW family bought will bring criticism that they are watching too much television and letting their Family Study Evenings slip. Even the choice of a new car might bring criticism about it being "too flashy," or "too small for field service."

    The Watchtower has created a reputation for recruiting new converts with the goal of eventually disfellowshipping them. Many JWs are beginning to admit that they are living in fear, not in love. They don't see the elders as their friends, but as executioners.

    I wish I could share some of the emails I get several times a week begging me for help or advice. When I see my Droid light up and buzz and the words "Restricted Number" flash on my screen I know it can only be a sales call or a JW who wants to share some information with me. I have become so used to hearing the fear in a person's voice that it doesn't bother me like it once did. Callers are afraid that I might be sitting in a room at Bethel or Patterson recording their call and making notes so that I can expose them at some point.

    I think the reason that I am getting as many calls and emails is because of my presentation of the Menlo Park story. Right or wrong, the elder/plaintiffs have taken on the roll of Davids standing up against the Goliath legal department sent by the Watchtower to decapitate then and grind their bones under the Society's heels. As a result, callers and emailers are providing me with inside information whenever they can.

    The rumors are consistent in one way: The Watchtower is making changes not to relax its control or to show more love and understanding to their flock, but rather are arming themselves with bigger sticks and sending out unyielding shepherds that will turn them in to lamb chops if they don't move in the direction the Society demands of them.


  • FatFreek 2005
    FatFreek 2005

    " the connection between Menlo Park KH and smaller magazines should be"

    Hear me out on this one. And please correct me if I've made incorrect assumptions.

    1. Local Kingdom Hall is built, paid for, and occupied by the locals but (since early 90's) now a miniscule piece of Watchtower Society's immense real estate holdings.
    2. Kingdom Hall's condition becomes shabby or it is too small so a recommendation by Watchtower-appointed committee is rubber-stamped by vote of the local membership to build new Kingdom Hall
    3. Local membership funds the new building by way of donations and a loan, usually from Watchtower Society.
    4. Once paid for, new KH ownership reverts to Watchtower Society.
    5. Old KH is sold and proceeds go directly to Watchtower Society.

    The above 5 step sequence actually represents a timeline of events -- a period wherein certain real estate is procured, developed, then deemed inadquate. That property is replaced -- with no penalty or loss to Watchtower. The burden of expense rests entirely on the shoulders of the local membership. The gain -- entirely that of Watchtower headquarters.

    Conclusion: the more frequently that headquarters needs to reinforce their coffers, they merely shrink that timeline.

    One scenario assumption: Let's assume that at present costs, the older Kingdom Hall is disposed of for $1,000,000 and that it was in use for some 20 years. That's some $50,000 annually which headquarters has harvested for their worldwide fund.

    The following Awake! experience from 8 years ago indicates there may now be some 100,000 congregations, many of them in single-occupancy Kingdom Halls.

    "Saturday, June 7, 2003, saw the dedication of the Chinle Kingdom Hall. The dedication talk was presented by Gerrit Lösch, a member of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. In his discourse he described the great expansion that has been taking place worldwide in the number of Kingdom Halls, and yet, he explained, thousands of additional halls are still needed to serve the more than 94,600 congregations. He also took the audience of 165 through 15 reasons why they should appreciate their new Kingdom Hall and the benefits of regular attendance at Christian meetings." Awake!, 2004, 1/8 p. 22

    I invite you, dear reader, to do the math.


  • wha happened?
    wha happened?

    This is a corporation that is weeding out dead weight. Apparently, elders with compassion and concern for the flock are part of that dead weight. They are bleeding numbers of young ones. So the corporation is purging all the "non-company men". Pretty straightforward and required of a corporation. I guess along the way. everyone forgot it was a religion.

    You will see apointments made from those, outside the congregation, as any corporation would do with a branch location. Get a new director in there and get the rank and file under control.

  • Soldier77

    I haven't posted in a while, over a year probably. But what I can say is that the rumors going around are starting to be based on fact.

    An old hall I used to attend just had the whole elder body restructered. The CoBOE left, the Service Overseer DF'd, brought in an elder from a neighboring congo to be the interim CoBOE until the replacement arrives from the regional branch! I would copy and paste an email from my mother who still attends, but that would be giving out way too much detail and information.

    The society is clamping down and wielding a larger stick, in fact, they've upgraded to a large baseball bat.

    Indeed, "the beatings will continue until morale improves". We've only started to see the beginning.

  • Soldier77


    Forgot to add that the body of elders that was restructered sent a letter to the branch questioning the reason as to the overhaul of the body. I know several on that body and a couple of them were ones to question the mistreatment.

    So yes, this is all part of the lockdown and squeeze.

  • 00DAD

    Wow, just wow. This really helps explain the motivation of the GB.

    So much for Christian love.

  • stuckinamovement

    Soldier 77, were there significant problems that were visible within the congregation? The brother that came out to clean it up came from the branch? If you feel comfortable enough you can PM me.


  • Magi

    What was the accusation for the removal of the whole elder body of the menlo park cong?

  • Room 215
    Room 215

    "Local membership funds the new building by way of donations and a loan.... usually from Watchtower Society " God help any body of eders that seeks financing from a source other than the WT.

  • Juan Viejo2
    Juan Viejo2


    Stay tuned. Part 2 will go up tonight and part 3 tomorrow or Wednesday. Everything you ever wanted to know - names, dates, places, and other details will all be revealed.


  • ziddina

    Oh, goody!!!

    If this really happens, it's going to push even more people out of the religion!!!

    Imo, the average Witness will tolerate doctrinal changes back and forth and up and down, but when they slam head-first into the nastiness, viciousness and injustices of the Watchtower Corporation's "Inquisitioners", they'll frequently abandon ship...

    Here's hoping the Watchtower REALLY applies the 'thumbscrews'...!

  • Magi

    Awesome JV. Read your articles on this scandal. Great information you've provided thus far. And I bet this has been a trying time for you and the others, but keep with it. You have our support.

  • cofty

    Thank you Juan, I agree with your assessment that life was far more relaxed years ago. Like you I only remember a very few disfellowshippings and it was possible to chat among friends about things you disagreed with or had doubts about.

    The more the new leaders behave harshly with the r&f the more will wake up. Personal hurt is a powerful motivator for allowing yourself to look critically at your doubts.

  • Shawn10538

    Wow! This stirs up such anger in me. It is so obvious that the charges were just and the Watchtower should have gotten BURNED on this one. I just had to stop reading the charges at some point. You only need to get so far in before you get a grasp of what was going on. And dismissing the elders cuz they didn't send in a publisher letter and card against the wishes of the publisher? Cracked up charges.

    Why does the Society keep winning in court?

Share this topic

Related Topics