Thanks to Those That Went Before Us

by OnTheWayOut 35 Replies latest jw friends

  • binadub

    My first experience with exJWs, after I met Ray Franz, Peter Gregerson and others in the Atlanta area, was the BRCI organization (Biblical Research and Commentary International). That group formed shortly after Ray was DF'd and was joined by numerous former Bethelites and other well-known names at the time (early 80s). A thread of that organization, which sponsors the 800-WHY-1914 Helpline (Marilyn Zweifel) still meets in Chicago to this day. (Check out

    Upon discovering the Internet in the mid 90s, the first forum I found was an e-mail list sponsored by exJW Joey Staggnito. Names like Jim Penton, Alan Feuerbacher (AlanF), Norwegians Kent Steinhaug and Jon Haugland who both had elaborate websites (Watchtower Observer and All Along the Watchtower) that were among the first to expose the Watchtower to the whole world, uniquely because JWs could read the information without fear of being discovered as if they bought a book. I began posting on that list as Ros. It was on that forum that an active JW elder posted as Praotes, and the little known Internet world of exJWs watched as he was drawn away from the organization. At that time, less than 2% Americans were on the Internet and the US was the biggest user of the WWW.

    But the grand daddy of all forums in my experience was the Hourglass2Outpost forum (H2O) that was sponsored by a professed JW called "Rick" and his Australian friends who wanted Watchtower Reform. Like none before it nor after, that forum posed such a threat to the Watchtower Organization that even some of their leaders sneaked in occasionally. It was so monitored by the Watchtower organization that once, I posted to it that I heard the Bethel in Spain was being investigated by the organization. That post resulted in several people being disfellowshipped at Spain Bethel and I was chastized by my friends here and there for having been so indiscreet on that forum. That forum had JWs and exJWs the world over posting feverishly on a daily basis. Then, the forum promoter for technical reasons had to shut down H2O, and it attempted to migrate to this forum, which has come down to what it is today. Several other forums tried also to replace the original H2O without success.

    Names are too numerous to remember now, but AlanF, Doug (Farkel), Kent and JanH, Jan Grenvold (Aussie), Randy, Liberal Elder (AJWRB site) and Rational Witness (two JW elders who came out), and many, many others. I also posted on that site as Ros. Carl Olof sometimes posted there. It was a truly international forum and nothing, imo, has ever equaled that forum for bringing worldwide attention to exposing the Watchtower and publicising the books by the well-known authors. When the UN controversy was discovered, they were on it immediately. When the WTS made a blood deal with the European civil liberties union (something like that), they were exposed immediately. When the Elders manual was made available for reading and download on the Internet, it was publicized for the world to see (for which the WTS tried to sue).

    The names that were prominent then have all but faded into the exJW past, but they were quite enormous at the time.

    ~Binadub (aka Ros)

  • undercover
    Names are too numerous to remember now, but AlanF, Doug (Farkel), Kent and JanH, Jan Grenvold (Aussie), Randy, Liberal Elder (AJWRB site) and Rational Witness (two JW elders who came out), and many, many others.
    The names that were prominent then have all but faded into the exJW past, but they were quite enormous at the time.

    I remember many of those names from that era. I came along after H20's heyday and as JWD/JWN was making a mark. I lurked however, long before posting, so I recognize a lot from those days.

    In the spirit of OTWO's original thought, I would like to thank those first generation Internent apostates. The ones that posted on H20 and eventually here. The ones that ran websites keeping tabs on everything the WTS did. It was their efforts that broke the UN/NGO story and the blood/Bulgaria story, just to mention a couple.

    They were like the Woodward and Bernstein of the early Internet apostates. Many that follow today that feel secure in exposing the WTS dirty dealings have them to thank for blazing the trail.

  • Twitch
    some stopped going to meetings before "faders" existed. Many had no internet or any way of gathering with others who left the JW's. They were mostly on their own.

    Yea, I stopped going in 86 or so. I didn't know anyone else who left but didn't search them out or any info either. On my own for a long time, until about 7 years ago when I stopped and looked back, discovering this site and sites like it. What a long strange trip it's been.

    Kudos to the early "pioneers", here and elsewhere.

  • Mad Sweeney
    Mad Sweeney

    I hesitate to start naming names because I'm sure to forget someone that I don't want to leave out. But to the names already mentioned, I will add my hearty thanks, as well.

    And to everyone who was here to help when I joined JWN a couple years ago, HUGE MAD PROPS. Thanks so much!

  • sd-7

    I would like to thank the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. Because if it weren't for them telling me not to talk to apostates every so often, it would never have occurred to me to do so when I finally got fed up with it all. How ironic!

    I think even if I only had a local library at my disposal, and no Internet, once I had my suspicions, I wouldn't have stopped until I got answers outside the box. I was just lucky to be born at this time, with so much information at my fingertips. But I dare not pat myself on the back; a lot of great, inspiring people have done tons of research and suffered a great deal, and I feel very honored to have received the gift of their knowledge and experiences.

    On the plus side, despite what the Society says, I don't think I was really a disciple of Christ in the first place, so I couldn't be drawn away from him to follow anyone else. I was a disciple of the Society, and once that visible stuff was taken away, whatever was left was little more than head knowledge and a vague sense of morality.

    There are so many great sites out there. was where it all really started for me, and I met some amazing people there who helped me immensely and I'll always cherish their friendships. After that, it was like, the training wheels came off and I just started looking for whatever I could find to help me figure this out. Steve Hassan's books and Ray Franz' books were a huge help in getting me to the point of no return.

    And so many great people here have been supportive of me, and they wouldn't have been here to do that without great suffering of their own. So I thank all of you for being here. You know, maybe being left with nothing but demonic Internet people isn't so bad after all...


  • OnTheWayOut

    james woods, thanks for the adds and they are duly noted.

    binadub, I have visited the BRCI conferences. They were (maybe still are) useful to those looking for some kind of Christian organization to get out.
    Nods to all the rest you named, thanks for giving us that.

    UC, exactly. Even if we left on our own, would we have had the confidence to ever vent to someone without the "pioneers" ?

    Twitch, thanks for looking back and contributing after you did.

    MadSweeney, yes I couldn't name all the names. And I am not trying to start a long exhaustive love-list. It's fine to name one or two that really stood out or just add kudos to those named. Thanks.

    sd-7, I am sure I would have left no matter who blazed the trail too. You got the idea. I thank all for being here like you.

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