I Got a Response from the Washington Post (JW article)
Thank you very much for your note. I really appreciate all the information you provided on Jehovah’s Witnesses and the personal experiences you shared in this email. In the podcast episode, I tried to convey primarily the history of Supreme Court cases and the broader effects they had on First Amendment law—not any endorsement or value judgement of the religious organization itself. But I do greatly appreciate this firsthand knowledge and context. It means a lot to me that you took the time to reach out and share all these details.
The Washington Post
Below is the email I sent to the author of a Washington Post article on JW's and the 1st amendment.
(Transcript of trial: https://archive.org/details/WalshTrial [l.facebook.com])
I would argue the actions of Jehovah's Witnesses against their own interests, and the interests of their local community, as well as nationally, were coerced by fear of excommunication in extremis, or at least insidiously coaxed into their beliefs through loyalty and disinformation.
What is my interest in all of this?
I served time in Federal prison from 1967-69 as a 'neutral' Jehovah's Witness as a result of a conviction for violation of the Universal Military Training and Service Act.
I was privately counseled by my congregation leaders not to accept alternative civilian service. I was further counseled not to reveal I had been influenced in any way by other than my own conscience. This same deliberately invisible influence was carried out as coordinated policy nationwide.
During the Vietnam war, 5,000 draft-age men turned in their draft cards rather than be conscripted. These were protests. 200,000 men were accused by the Federal Government of being Draft Offenders. 25,000 were indicted. Out of the 25,000, only 8,750 were convicted. Out of the 8,750 who were convicted, only 4,000 were imprisoned. Most of these, with some exceptions, were young men--Jehovah's Witnesses, like myself, who surrendered our loyalty to an organization and its leaders claiming to speak on behalf of the only true God.
Five years before my appearance before a draft board, the Watchtower Society had quietly and unceremoniously changed the official interpretation of Romans 13: 1,2 rather quietly, flip-flopping back to the traditional plain reading Christendom had held for two thousand years!
In fact, JW texts I was operating from had not been updated to include this change. I found out the hard way!
The Watchtower headquarters would not provide me with a membership card nor a letter attesting to my ministerial status. I later found out this was only provided in special cases where a "special Pioneer" was involved who spent 100 to 150 hours monthly knocking doors.
I had the legal right to serve alternate service working in a hospital--had it not been for the private counsel of my JW elders in strict accord with their covert (by this time) policies on Christian neutrality.
This policy too, like the previous Romans 13: 1, 2 policy, reversed many years later. Apparently, the malleable nature of Watchtower ‘truth’ repudiates its value as the divine mind channeled by an Almighty.
First Amendment champions? I think not!
This religion is fraudulent in premise and has a historical track record of trampling on human rights.
(Please read how JW's allow sexual abuse of children to flourish:
Terry, I was told the same here in Australia when conscripted for the Vietnam war ie to say its your idea not the wt.
I attempted to contact Lillian Cunningham but could not get through the electronic maze. If you would pass this on please.
Tight, well crafted letter, Terry. Nothing like pulling the data together like that. Nothing like being one of their throw-away faithful. It is a real indictment of the power that the WBTS took and used against true believers.
Hope that letter finds some wider readership.
Terry - thanks for sharing your email -- unbelievable. Hope somehow the world finds out what liars the WT is and so sorry you had to be one of their victims.
I keep my eyes open for "positive" stories about the JW's which--likely as not--are often crafted by their own hands Not in this instance (I don't think.)
If I can, I do try to include something other than sour grapes in the form of data.
After all, opinion counts for little.
Above all, if a writer for any publication says anything Pro WT, you can fairly bet the GB will pump it through the propaganda machine for all it's worth.
Well done for getting your criticism of the JW org across Terry. Their cult leadership imagine they are divinely inspired and therefore above the law.
What buffoons! the truth will catch up with them thanks to the information revolution.
Terry. I would give her a copy of your book "I Wept By The Rivers Of Babylon"...A Prisoner of Conscience in a Time of War. As a follow up to your discussion with her. It explains much more than you have told her already. I'm sure she would appreciate it as you already started a dialogue about. Blueblades
Thanks for the suggestions and all the positive comments.
I really think even the tiniest pro-active effort any of us makes can start a ripple which may lead to a wave.