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Episode Eight – Bonus Content – Sexual Abuse and Jehovah’s Witnesses – David’s Story

This episode is taken from the pre-interview process, before we got deep into David’s story.  In it we talk about the abuse, the way abuse is often overlooked within the cult of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and lots of other topics relating to the organization.  I think that there are nuggets here that can help victims of abuse as well as victims of the cult in general and that it was worth making something of the pre-interview to put out.  I hope you feel the same.

 

Episode Seven – Part 2 – Sexual Abuse and Jehovah’s Witnesses – David’s Story

(see Part 1  for full notes)

Trigger Warning:  Sexual Abuse Discussion

In Part 2 you will learn more about Steve B. and his interactions with David.  You will see how relationships impacted David, both for the good and the bad as years went by.  You will see how the “loving spiritual shepherds”, the elders in the congregations, treat those that are shunned and trying to come back to their flock.  You will learn about David’s eventual path out of the cult of Jehovah’s Witnesses and his new life as he is shunned.

Episode Six – Part 1 – Sexual Abuse and Jehovah’s Witnesses – David’s Story

When I started talking to David it was clear that this was going to be a special interview.  He had so much to talk about and such a vulnerability about him and he was willing to go deep on anything we talked about very quickly.  So this is the first in a three part series that includes two episodes to cover his story and a third bonus episode featuring some of the pre-interview process and what came up there.  Unlike the first 5 episodes, this one is produced as a conversation between him and I.

David’s story does involve sexual abuse and he gets very real with it.  With that said, David’s story is sooooo much more than that.  It was a huge part of his awakening process, and as it is a huge topic right now among the cult of Jehovah’s Witnesses it is featured, but it was but one part of David’s story.  It plays a pivotal role in his path out of the cult, but even then his story just builds and builds throughout these episodes.

In Episode 6 – Part 1, you will get to know David a bit.  This episode builds and will take you through David’s upbringing and right up into the beginnings of adulthood.  You will learn a lot about him and if you aren’t familiar with the cult of Jehovah’s Witnesses you will learn about it as well through this process.  There is no mention of the abuse in this first part, so no trigger warning is necessary.  That will come in Part 2 and the way these things are handled in the cult will be discussed there.

In these three parts David makes mention of many resources that impacted his life, as well as the song that he chose for his story.

Resources (in no particular order):

‘Knock, Knock’ Who’s There?:  ‘The Truth’ About Jehovah’s Witnesses by Anthony James

ExJW Critical Thinkers Videos (you can also find the audio in podcast format on iTunes, Google Play, and other podcast services)

This JW Life Podcast – This happens to be my other podcast where I tell my own life story and help people to understand what life in the cult was like.  You can listen directly from the website or find on iTunes, Google Play, and other podcast services.

Leah Remini:  Scientology and the Aftermath

Crisis of Conscience by Ray Franz –  Ray Franz was a member of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the farthest you can go in the organization.  His story of the behind the scenes goings on of the organization is gripping and heartbreaking at the same time.  I have linked to a Google search for the pdf.  Look around and you’ll find it.  Copies of the book are rare and it has been rumored that Jehovah’s Witnesses buy and destroy them.  The copyright holder has held out hope of the book being released with no results.  For now this is likely your only way to obtain the book.

John Cedars Youtube Channel

David’s Song Choices –

Belle & Sebastian – The Boy Done Wrong Again

Love Spit Love – Am I Wrong

 

Episode Five – Caleb is shunned by Jehovah’s Witnesses

Sometimes young people have to make very difficult decisions in order to stand up for what is right. We normally think about it terms of peer pressure, but what if it was the pressure of pretty much everyone that means anything to you? What if you woke up and realized that most of what you were taught was a lie and that by merely saying something about it everything could come crashing down on you. Would you be strong enough at 18 years old to take a stand even if it meant losing your family and all of the people that you thought were your friends, potentially forever? This is Caleb’s story.

The song that Caleb chose to represent his journey is “A Little More” by Machine Gun Kelly.  Click the song info to see the lyric video.



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Episode Four – Mike is shunned by Jehovah’s Witnesses

Mike is shunned by Jehovah's WitnessesIn this episode we explore Mike’s story of being shunned at an early age while still living at home, and how even today although he isn’t officially “shunned” he’s still treated that way as an inactive Jehovah’s Witness. Not all who are “shunned” are disfellowshipped or disassociated from the organization. Shunning is in the DNA of Jehovah’s Witnesses, something that really marks them as a high control religion, also known as a cult.

The song chosen by Mike to represent his journey is “Addiction” by Kanye West, in particular the hook:
“Why everything that’s supposed to bad make me feel so good?
Everything they told me not to is exactly what I would”



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Episode Three – Emily is shunned by Jehovah’s Witnesses

nullThere are many ways to be shunned as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Emily’s story highlights a path that many take, a path of personal growth with stumbles along the way that result in ostracism, a path that deviates from the prescribed path of a cult that requires everyone to walk the same or face the consequences. This story shines a light on the spectrum of the JW experience.

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The song that Emily said signified her journey is Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson:

Episode Two – Jerry is shunned by the Mennonites



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Imagine growing up in a very tight knit community where everyone is sheltered from the outside world. Your personal business is the business of the community and they feel that it reflects upon them. What if your mistakes were brought to the light in front of everyone that you knew and they had to vote right in front of you on whether you would be shunned or not. What if you tried so hard to be “good enough” but just couldn’t make it no matter how hard you tried, no matter how much you relied on your faith. This is Jerry’s life story, a story of struggle and eventual freedom.

Jerry’s chosen song is This Is The Time by Superchick:

 

Other Resources Mentioned:
John Eldredge – Wild At Heart
John Eldredge – The Journey Of Desire
Michael John Cusick – Surfing For God
Henry Cloud – Boundaries
Song: JJ Heller – What Love Really Means
Song: Jesus Culture – Your Love Never Fails
Podcast: The Mental Illness Happy Hour