Hermano - The WT is far from invincible! The Baby-boomer generation, like me, are all going to be 'shuffling off' in the next 20 years so that's a(huge) demographic, they will lose without fail. Never again will converts flood in like we did- so easily lured from christendom. Boomers disappearing numbers (in Canada especially) can only be augmented by immigration. Our multi-culturalist policies for these 'new Canadians' will work against the WT bigtime. With REAl legal freedom to continue practicong their own faiths, there won't be the urgency there once was to join a foriegn church as an aid to assimilate. If we can mount an embarassing legal challenge to their one and ONLY power - to divide families - the exodus will begin unabated, with no further intervention required.
Would this work? Be honest. Brutal if necessary.
james_woods - How good are you at herding cats?
Hi okage, Kuddos on your passion!! If you can solve james_woods' dilemma, you and other people will be able to knock the WTBTS leaders to their knees.
I have tried to encourage exJWs (and JWs) to write to the president and their representatives to enact legislation to revise the tax codes so that an organization would have to do something more charitable than declare that they are a religion. Click on the following link to learn how difficult it is to herd cats: It's Back! . . . Round 2.
If JWs are unhappy with the WTBTS, why don't more JWs just not contribute to the WTBTS. Times are tough and the WTBTS did not encourage enough of them to get a good enough of an education to qualify for higher paying jobs.
Peace be with you and everyone, who you love,
Chaserious - Why do you think we who are DFd are powerless? We, ALL of the DFd, and all those who have EVER been DAd - are the very people, the living witnesses who can prove that, the WTS does indeed incite ALL their members, including our own close family members to discriminate, without known cause, against us. WE the DF'd and DA'd are also the living witnesses and proof of the mental and psycological damage that is unavoidable under the WTs extreme, coercive, systematic, alienation . I would imagine thousands, would happily volunteer to testify to these as legal claims if given a chance. Hopefully, Band On The Run, or some other legal eagles will join in here.
only where JWs are most annoying -USA, Canada, Uk and Euope. That alone changes the dynamics drasticaly - everybody here knows witnesses, likely view them as a cult, but don't know WHY.
Well, JWs are annoying everywhere, but the problem is that its a random Saturday Morning every year or two. That is why the population at large doesn't care about the injustices we might see and be affected by.
I would also submit that most don't think JWs are a cult. Hell, Steve Hassan didn't recognize them as a cult initially. They just think they are fundies. The population at large thinks of cults as living in a compound, isolated, and with a crazy leader. People don't know about the top-down leadership structure and how it really works. Add to that the protections afforded religion in the USA and its not worth wasting time "bringing down the Watchtower".
What I'm getting at here (and to the OP's point) is that if you have escaped, count yourself lucky and live your life. Herding apostates is an impossibility, simply because all of us are at different stages of recovery. Some are gone, gone, gone. Others can't risk a thing because their income is dependent on another JW! They literally can't leave until they get a different job first.
The WT has been around 140 years, not to mention literally millions of years when you combine the man-hours spent by the individuals involved. Its not going away in some nuclear explosion! Even if the top dogs stole the money and split, the ideas would continue and a large percentage of the membership would remain captive in a different form.
"Chaserious - Why do you think we who are DFd are powerless? We, ALL of the DFd, and all those who have EVER been DAd - are the very people, the living witnesses who can prove that, the WTS does indeed incite ALL their members, including our own close family members to discriminate, without known cause, against us. WE the DF'd and DA'd are also the living witnesses and proof of the mental and psycological damage that is unavoidable under the WTs extreme, coercive, systematic, alienation . I would imagine thousands, would happily volunteer to testify to these as legal claims if given a chance. Hopefully, Band On The Run, or some other legal eagles will join in here."
I don't think we are powerless. Numerous websites have been started with large followings that expose the WTS for what they really are. But from a legal standpoint there is absolutely no grounds for suing the Watchtower because of DF/DA. Every week someone posts a thread saying there should be a class action lawsuit for all of the evil the WTS has done. Do you know why it hasn't happened? Because it would be an enormous failure. If anyone has individually been harmed by the WTS to the extent that the law recognizes a remedy, or a plausible argument can be made that the law should recognize a remedy, then by all means they should bring a lawsuit. I hope every pedophilia victim does bring a lawsuit against the WTS. But there is no such thing as a giant class action against a Church for all different kinds of emotional harm. You cannot sue churches for matters relating to core religous doctrines that you don't like.
You keep bringing up Rosa Parks. Rosa Parks took action against a government policy. The WTBTS is not the government. If the WTBTS, or the Podunkville First Church of Christ or any other church wanted to discriminate on the basis of race due to their religious beliefs, like say refusing to allow black couples to have a wedding ceremony in the church, guess what? They could do it right now, in 2013, and they could not be sued.
ETA: Think of it this way. We know that gender is a protected status in the Western world. The government could not force women to sit in the back of the bus any more than they could force minorities to do so. But it's not protected within churches. Imagine if all of the women who felt it was their life's purpose to be Catholic Priests decided to bring a class action against the Catholic Church for denying them their life's calling by not allowing women priests. Everyone knows the courts are not going to recognize such a claim. You are suggesting basically the same thing, except an even weaker claim, because at least women are part of a protected class under the law. People who leave or are kicked out of various religions are not a protected class at all; or what in the U.S. the courts call "discrete and insular" groups that need protection.
But there is no such thing as a giant class action against a Church for all different kinds of emotional harm.
Are there not class actions against the RC church because of molestations etc., on the grounds of emotional harm done the victims? I believe there are sucvh cases still going in Eastern Canada.
You cannot sue churches for matters relating to core religous doctrines that you don't like.
Chaserious- the harm is not caused by doctrine -which is just words - (although just words can be a danger to society) no, the harm is caused by the intent the WT puts those words to - coerced , systematic, publicly displayed, reality that people are abandoned and shunned by loved ones. I personally don't give a damn about doctrine , but I am harmed, and enraged by the separation artificialy inserted, and enforced into my family unit.
If anyone has individually been harmed by the WTS to the extent that the law recognizes a remedy, or a plausible argument can be made that the law should recognize a remedy, then by all means they should bring a lawsuit
It is my understanding, if I read the thousands of posts here correctly, that indeed, thousands of people have already suffered harm from the WT's intentional interference in their familial love. The exasperation, heartbreak and anger where whathave brought them here for support, comfort and help in coping - with what is undeniably a harm both unatural and inhumane-and completely unnecessary.
refusing to allow black couples to have a wedding ceremony in the church, guess what? They could do it right now, in 2013, and they could not be sued.
Please , somebody tell me this isn't so!
Are there not class actions against the RC church because of molestations etc., on the grounds of emotional harm done the victims?
Yes, but they are all for the same type of harm (sexual abuse), not various practices that people disagree with. Further, sexual abuse is obviously a tort with recognized damages remedies. Sexual abuse is not part of the theology of any established religion, unlike shunning. Even if you want to limit your hypothetical lawsuit to shunning victims, shunning is legal and sexual abuse is not. It's pretty simple.
the harm is not caused by doctrine
Of course the harm is caused by the doctrine. Strictly enforcing the policy (or coercion, as you call it) is all part of the doctrine, whether you agree with the doctrine or not. Personally I think the shunning policy is disgusting, but you even used the term "loved ones" in your response. Do you really think the government should be telling people who they have to love and be close with? I don't, although you are free to disagree.
thousands of people have already suffered harm from the WT's intentional interference in their familial love
You need more than just harm to have a case. If someone walks past you on the street and mockingly calls you ugly, you might suffer emotional harm, but you have no legal cause of action. If a man seduces a married woman and causes her to leave her family for him, the family certainly suffers harm, but there is no legal recourse against the seducer in almost every jurisdiction. And these are examples that don't even have the additional obstacle of freedom of religion to overcome.
Please , somebody tell me this isn't so!
It would be nice if it wasn't so, but not only is this the law, but here is an example of it actually happening within the past year:
Since you said you are interested in what Band on the Run thinks, she has posted in other threads not only only that shunning is protected conduct, but that she agrees with the right to associate with whoever you want. You can probably find such comments with a search. I know you have good intentions. Not trying to give you a hard time, gone for good. Just observing that the way to fight the WTS is not with shunning lawsuits. At least not in the foreseeable future.
it's not worth wasting time 'bringing down the Watchtower.'
I could not agree more - it will self destruct in the fullness of its own madness.
But I had hoped for a way to challenge the one and only bite in their bark, to reunite those already separated and spare those in the future
The only teeth they posess is the ability to cause division and pain among families. When the Nazis couldn't find an enemy, they would just murder his family -same pain, probably even more.
It seems they define a certain class of people (discreet and insular?), label them - apostates, describe them at lenth in their publications as 'mentally diseased etc. and incite the general population, through their magazines to view them with distain, mistrust and and coerce their menbers to ostracize the entire group, without knowledge nor cause.
The possibility of apostates and other DF,DA's having the unique resouces(harmed lives) to lobby for change, seemed just to delicous to dismiss out of hand. The irony of preempting 'noo lite' seems like reward unto itself.
Exposing this cult to as many people as possible is the way to hurt the wt. It is happening as we speak and it is having a major impact. Personally I tell everyone I can that I am not really a jehovah's witness. I tell them I have to act and keep in line so I do not lose my family. I let them see how this is so devastating.
Believe me word of mouth is very powerful. The more negative comments people hear about jw's the more likely they will research the internet especially if they are offered a bible study or a family member is studying. The book store owner where I purchase my apostate literature looked at me like I was crazy when I told them I have to order my books as John Doe. But they quickly took me serious and I will guantee they look through my books before I pick them up.
If each of us save a hand full of people from ruining their lives, then we will have been victorious against the cult!
Also take to heart that this cult has a shelf life. Anyone that is there 20 years from now will be loony anyway.
That said, I think a letter writing campaign would be very therapeutic for us and damaging in some ways to the cult.
What about thousands and thousands of people filing, all within a given time, seeking the courts assistance to have our baptisms annulled?... gone for good
I don't know if any lawyer or court system would want to take this one right now... but this idea... combined with the other thread going on about writing your politicians (and perhaps letters to the editor)... is what speaks to me.
That underage baptisms should not be allowed to obligate a child to any vow made to any organization; and so no child can be beholden to the consequences should they change their mind as a legal adult.
Someone would have to write a clear letter outlining the official policies of baptism AND of shunning/df'ing... for an agreement entered in upon by a minor.
I don't know if it would do anything more than bring some awareness to this, but even that might help.