to mods/admins - I totally understand if you decide to remove this
post. I'm bored of the subject myself, and will leave this to your
22nd, 2015, I posted a video on my channel announcing a competition in
which I would give away a copy of Crisis of Conscience, by Raymond
Franz, to one of my readers. I had bought five unauthorised copies from a
friend in Romania (for which I paid $50, or $10 per copy) for no other
reason than that the book had been allowed to go out of print, and
second-hand authorised hard copies were only available for exorbitant
amounts on Amazon.
Little was I to
know that two of my most determined “haters,” a couple of evangelical
activists from New Mexico called Mike and Kim Brooks, would seize on my
competition as a pretext to frame me as some sort of criminal. They
released a video in which they tearfully bemoaned the fact that I was
distributing bootleg copies of a copyrighted work, apparently oblivious
to the fact that PDF copies of the book available on their own website
represented just as much a violation of copyright as my reproduction
More video diatribes
followed, with one especially fixated hater, Joel the “Unwitness,”
declaring me an intellectual property thief. The situation escalated to
such an extent that the copyright holder, Deborah Dykstra, was called
upon to make a statement in which she strongly implicated me as an
infringer of her copyrighted work. Rather than approach me privately to
resolve matters, Dykstra allowed herself to be swayed by the Brooks’ and
other activists who had an axe to grind. I eventually received a formal
“cease and desist” letter via UPS at my home in Croatia, which probably
cost more to write and send than the total value of the bootleg books.
receiving the letter, I contacted Deborah directly and quickly managed
to reach an agreement. It was agreed that (1) I would remove all
third-party links to Crisis of Conscience on JWsurvey, (2) I would pay
her $50, or 100% royalties for my five bootleg copies, (3) I would
ensure all details for others to order bootleg copies were removed from
Facebook and Reddit, and (4) I would arrange for all placed orders of
bootleg copies other than my five copies to be cancelled, and the buyers
refunded. (Fortunately, although a number of orders were placed with my
Romanian friend, none of the books had yet been printed, thus allowing
him to abort any further unauthorised reproduction and return all the
Once all of these issues were successfully resolved, Deborah agreed that the matter was finally settled.
on learning that some exJWs were complaining that the videos announcing
my competition and showing the bootleg copies were still on YouTube,
Deborah decided to “un-settle” matters and asked me to delete the videos
Since the videos
were not exclusively to do with Crisis of Conscience (one was about a
lawsuit in Belgium, and the other was an explanation of the “haters”
phenomenon in the exJW movement), I couldn’t agree to deleting the
videos. I did, however, offer to insert annotations on the videos in the
relevant parts by way of disclaimers, so that people watching my videos
would know that I do not support or endorse the distribution of
unauthorised copies now that the copyright holder had come forward and
made her feelings known on the matter.
Deborah agreed to this compromise and, for a second time, the matter was settled.
at some point over Christmas I was emailed by someone calling herself
“Hadriel Haze” who claimed to represent Deborah since, apparently, she
no longer wished to deal with me directly. Hadriel made it clear that
Deborah wanted the videos removed, and told me that she had already
lodged complaints with YouTube so that YouTube could remove the videos
arbitrarily. (As it turns out, YouTube must have rejected these
complaints because the videos were never removed.)
explained to Hadriel that I had already had lengthy email exchanges
with Deborah, that we had twice before resolved matters, and that I
couldn’t allow Deborah to keep moving the goalposts. There would be no
third settlement. A line had to be drawn, and I objected to having my
YouTube channel censored simply because, as I saw it, certain exJWs hell
bent on my downfall wanted to see me silenced and humiliated. In
particular, I could well understand why the very people I had described
as obsessive haters in my “announcing the winner” video would want that
particular video removed at all costs.
Hadriel refused to take no for an answer, I made it clear to her that,
as far as I was concerned, the copyright fiasco was settled. I told her
that if either she or Deborah emailed me again on the matter, I would
consider it harassment and make public my concerns over Deborah’s
handing of the matter.
particularly disappointed by Deborah’s apparent disinterest in launching
Crisis of Conscience in a number of new translations that have recently
been completed (namely Croatian, Hungarian, and Romanian). Such neglect
was, I felt, a grave disservice to Ray Franz’s legacy, and I felt
confident that Deborah would at least see the sense in putting an end to
bothering me in favour of not having all this brought to everyone’s
A few peaceful weeks
passed until today, January 26th, 2016, I learned that Hadriel had
re-surfaced on a certain forum complaining about my actions and my
“threatening” of her and Deborah. I also learned that my friend, Patrick
Haeck, had been sent intimidating messages due to his being present on
the video where I announced the competition.
giving the matter careful thought, and fully investigating my options, I
decided the best thing to do was to edit the “giveaway” video and the
“announcing the winner” video so that all objectionable references to
bootleg copies of Crisis of Conscience were removed. (I wasn't aware
that I could do this until today.) Now that the videos are edited, ALL
perceived grievances that Deborah Dykstra may have against me, including
those of any who claim to represent her, are now fully settled.
To recap, we now have a situation where:
a competition in which a bootleg copy of Crisis was offered as a prize
was altered, so that an authorised copy was given away instead
the five bootleg copies, the only ones of their kind to be produced to
my knowledge, have all been effectively authorised by the copyright
holder, Deborah Dykstra, who has accepted $50 by way of royalties
all other bootleg copies that were ordered from my Romanian friend were
never printed, and those who paid for their orders had their payments
(4) all links to PDF copies of Crisis of Conscience have been removed from JWsurvey
(5) all details for ordering more bootleg copies of Crisis of Conscience have been removed from Reddit and Facebook, and
all objectionable references to bootleg copies of Crisis of Conscience
have been edited out of the two relevant YouTube videos on the John
There is now no
conceivable reason for anyone to perpetuate this bizarre witch-hunt,
whether it is Hadriel Haze, Mike and Kim Brooks, Deborah Dykstra, Joel
Martz the "Unwitness," or anyone else.
is my sincere hope that at some point Deborah Dykstra will fully
understand the responsibility she has inherited as copyright holder of
Ray Franz’s works. Yes, she has the right to do whatever she wants with
Crisis of Conscience, either to not make any copies available, or to
make copies available at great expense. The decision is entirely hers,
and we must ultimately respect that.
I believe there is a strong moral argument for Deborah to at least
consider making PDF copies of Crisis of Conscience freely available in
all languages. Around 8 million Jehovah’s Witnesses are currently sorely
in need of the information in Crisis of Conscience, many of whom will
be living in dire poverty in developing countries where even a modest
outlay of 1 or 2 dollars is prohibitive.
regards new translations, the languages of Croatian, Hungarian and
Romanian currently account for around 70,000 indoctrinated Jehovah’s
Witnesses, and the translations have been available and ready to
distribute for weeks.
known about these translations since I alerted her to them in December,
but hasn’t once expressed any interest in making them available, either
freely or otherwise. Is it morally defensible for Crisis of Conscience
to be withheld in these languages?
would argue that sitting on the rights of Crisis of Conscience and
limiting its availability is tantamount to sitting on a stockpile of
antibiotics in the midst of an epidemic. People need that information,
and if you can’t find it within yourself to give it to them freely, you
should at least give them the opportunity to pay for it.
deprive people of the information in Crisis of Conscience is literally
to keep people in a cult who would otherwise be rapidly awakening.
sincerely hope Deborah can summon the presence of mind to make this
life-saving resource as widely available as possible instead of
threatening litigation, helping to perpetuate witch hunts, and otherwise
bowing to the whims of people whose agenda has little to do with
healthy, progressive, strategic activism. The ball is now well and truly
in her court, and in many ways always was.