very respectful protest - even the policeman could see that. This takes huge courage and self control. I was amazed that they managed to share their feelings and thoughts in such a matured and respectful way given that what they drew attn to was so sad and distressing to them.
Exjw activists protesting inside a Kingdom Hall today!
Congratulations to everyone who came for their courage and effort! Some might think that this is not a big deal, just one small protest which hardly anyone would notice, but it's the small rocks that start the avalanche. Here in Poland we started small as well and some even laughed at us. One year and five protests later many have changed their minds. We had hundreds of calls and emails from former & still-in JWs, as well as people who have JW spouses, thanking us for our efforts. Thanks to these protests people from the general public learned more about this harmful cult and if that prevents even one person from joining, I say it was worth it!
I was at the protest yesterday, with fairly low expectations, as the whole thing seemed very disorganized and amateurish, without even an exact time, location, or program. When my wife and I arrived, there were only two other “apostates” there, minutes before the scheduled start time. I went mostly to get some photos, survey the apostate scene and possibly network. Everyone rolled in shortly before the start and I found it amusing that most of the ringleaders are still very much JWs, albeit minus the theological belief. A few YouTube “star” apostates welcomed the creature worship they received and some soon started establishing themselves as the responsible ones. No one who thought their comments important enough to share seemed like a credible or likeable ex-JW, outside of “The Great Apostate” and another YouTube apostate who used to be an elder but whose name I can’t recall. They seemed like really good guys whose work I’m otherwise unfamiliar with. The organizers Parker and Joel struck me as reveling in the spotlight, with the former even bringing copies of his book to give away. It seemed like a lot of “apostates” were there for self-service, either for the attention or the fresh material for their channels.
Very few were dress acceptably by JW standards. As has been mentioned before, that’s an easy hurdle to reduce by just dressing the part, considering the audience. The signs were very homemade, even the printed ones. They had no common thread, besides Watchtower. There was no gameplan and the logistics of the actual protest were still being arranged until it was decided that we’d carpool and park on the road along the HQ. I know it was the first time for this protest, but for so many alleged former elders to neglect the most basic arrangements seemed a bit puzzling. Some, though out, would still humble brag about the heights they reached while still active, which I found amusing and an incredible testament to the power of the JW mind control.
We headed over and waited in the car to assess the situation and we’re quickly disappointed to see two protesters making fools of themselves by walking into the sprinklers Watchtower had clearly turned on for them. That was exactly the behavior Watchtower expected to see. It accomplished nothing besides potentially getting them sick and cementing the propaganda that apostates are crazy.
After that, I decided to just take pictures and speak to a few of the other protesters. There was a small pickup, not a large truck, parked inside the gates and the watchman that stood guard inside the booth outside the gates. The police came when a few YouTube apostates dramatically walked up to the gates, but quickly left (only to hide further up the road in case things escalated). A few people honked in support as they drove by, but that road doesn’t see much traffic and the facilities are so far from the gate, I doubt more than the handful of Bethelites that exited or were charged with security took note. Joel Martz (?) stated that the local congregations received instruction to cancel preaching activities in the area on 10/4, though I cannot confirm that.
I tried to connect with a few protesters but there was a huge JW-social-awkwardness factor or their stories took turns that seemed unlikely or exaggerated. I left after getting some photos, and they left not long after. There was a very local TV outlet there, but no one else from the community turned out. There were only about 40 protesters there, not anywhere near the 100 previously reported here.
I did make my first apostate friends with some folks who are still in and privy to documents detailing specific incidents of child sex abuse, who I’m hoping to collaborate with.
At the end of the day, these things need to be more organized and folks need to examine why they’re really doing it. If protesters can’t take their protests seriously, then neither will Watchtower or anyone else, no matter what their latest YouTube clip says. Whether it’s politically correct, or not, some apostates would help more by staying home or using different methods to advocate, as theirs are often counterproductive. The apostate movement also needs more folks that are relatable, likeable, and had enough clout within the organization to legitimize the movement and its testimonies. Instead of targeting a JW audience, which is mostly futile, I think a well-balanced, factual, and emotional approach to a secular audience would put more pressure on Watchtower. Anyway, I’ll upload pictures from the event later tonight.
thebrokenkite - There were only about 40 protesters there, not anywhere near the 100 previously reported here
That was me and I stand corrected. I misunderstood a count that "Spoonfednomore" was taking. I did notice that Zeb was asked to take a count at one stage so we will probably get a more accurate figure later on.
At a guess, the other ex Elder you are talking about might be this guy known as "Spike R" on Youtube.
It sounds like you might be able to provide some practical advise for any future protests.
For those who attempt to do this, that is go inside a Kingdom Hall and make a disturbing protest, be aware that you could be arrested by the police for being a public nuance or disturbing the peace of a religious service.
I tip my hat to you otherwise
@Listener, yes! That’s the guy. He actually offered practical advice that I found especially pertinent since I’m still reviewing all of my convictions. He seemed very genuine and reasonable. I should’ve counted but I have pics with most of the protestors.
Honestly, I would love to help with something like this in the future but it’s basically an elders club. When I introduced myself to the ringleaders I got some of the same looks I got when I’d introduce myself to an assembly speaker I admired only to be ignored besides a handshake. Because I’m young, they must have assumed I was never that devout or that I must not have anything of value. These guys are still very much Witnesses, in all but name. When they broke up to go to HQ, it seriously felt like we were being dismissed from the meeting for field service to go out into the field. The GB apostate guy even quoted scriptures and made application. ;)
Kudos to all who were committed enough to show up and make their voice known.
From the reports so far, though, it appears like a bit of foresight could go a long way in any future protests or activism.
BrokenKite, your observations are astute and valuable, if anyone cares to take them into account.
For future protests - think "performance", think "theme", think "subversion"
You have to subvert and confront and challenge. For example: dress all women (like, about a hundred of them or more - exJW women and non-exJW women supporters) in suits, ties and shiny shoes (dress like elders) and have the women march in a form that allows for a large group of children to be inside their 'form' and then, converge on the front gate - not sure the role that the men would take - they would do something*. (*Lol! maybe they can follow the group of women and wear hankies and diapers on their heads)
The subversion happens when the activists do something to challenge the cult's norm - change it up - challenge. In an organized and profound way - in a way that looks good on camera. A performance.
Minus 2, huh?
Lol! Who doesn't like the idea of wearing diapers on their heads?
Seriously? I will know that the activists are serious when and if they chose to publicly show that they support the women trapped inside that cult by standing in solidarity with them - showing that they empathize with the plight of the women who are oppressed, who are raped and disfellowshipped for it, who have no say in handing out justice to those who rape their children.
Serious about activism? are you an exJW elder? Wear a diaper on your head, somebody please, and I will know that you are serious about changing the WT's oppressive tactics and doctrines. Until then, you are just blowing your own horn. I will have serious and long abiding respect for any exJW elder (or any man, for that matter) who protests the WT by wearing a diaper or a hanky on their head. Please do.
@OrphanCrow +1 from me. ;) All diapers aside, I think the treatment of women in the religion is a very worthy problem to harp on and make more public. It would definitely get a lot of mainstream support from non-Dubs. They really don’t care about some of the other grievances that apostates generally push.
i think it’s important for those of us who received training beyond the local congregation to use our experience and knowledge against Watchtower. At the very least, we can put our organizing skills to better use and identify common themes for the community like we would when we’d go out in service. We’d never go out and just ramble about prophecies or unique and often unrelateable experiences and yet that’s what too many apostates do. People don’t generally care and Watchtower absolutely does not care.
There were only about 40 protesters there, not anywhere near the 100 previously reported here.
If the organizers had had a reputation for being a bit more inclusive perhaps they would have had more folks turn up?
Also sounds like any future protests could do with your input the broken kite and others who may have experience in this area, perhaps even hiring some advisors?
When they broke up to go to HQ, it seriously felt like we were being dismissed from the meeting for field service to go out into the field. The GB apostate guy even quoted scriptures and made application.