AAWA – Looking Back, Looking Forward
While financing our activities with mostly personal funds, thanks to hundreds of volunteer hours we were able to expand our presence worldwide.
We use Facebook, Twitter and other websites to provide access and answers for the media and researchers. We also participated in local meet-up groups, online discussions, and conventions held by other activist organizations with similar goals.
Among those we assisted were hundreds of individual JWs who were looking for ways to escape the harmful Watchtower culture and make a fresh start. Every week our advisors received appeals from individuals looking for support and counsel. Some had recently faded, been disfellowshipped or were facing the unpleasant prospect of appearing before judicial committees. Some considered harming themselves, while others just needed to talk to someone with shared experiences. We also received inquiries from non-Witnesses who were considering starting “studies” (or who have JW family members trying to convert them), asking for clarifications or recommendations. Many former JWs allowed us to publish their personal stories when and after they attempted to leave.
We have received many suggestions on what we should do and what we should stop doing. While some comments were fairly given and helpful, we were also targeted with many that were unfocused, undeserved, or simply vicious.
We realize that some of our more vocal critics are personally close to the Watchtower. It is likely that a few might be Jehovah’s Witness volunteers who live and work at the Society’s offices or campuses and feel they have a duty to defend their beliefs. There are others whose motivations we find unclear and indefensible.
As per our open offer first published in 2013 – and extended again in 2018 – AAWA will continue to invite honest discussion and open debate with legitimate representatives of the Watchtower. Anonymous rants, false accusations, or threats from “Internet trolls” will be ignored and will not stop us from reporting the truth. We will continue to expose the Watchtower’s damaging policies and mistreatment of current members who want to leave and lead normal, healthy lives.
We sincerely look forward to earning your support in 2018, as we continually improve.
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AAWA Successes Have Included:
- Resurrecting and maintaining AJWRB.org as a viable website to educate the public on Watchtower abuses related to blood transfusions
- Promoting and helping produce Gregorio’s documentary, “Truth Be Told”
- Sending press releases to the media in cities that convene Watchtower conventions to make the media aware of Watchtower abuses
- Working with authors like Steven Hassan, Masoud Banisadr, Bonnie Zieman and Jon Atack to exchange knowledge and to enable such experts to gain a better understanding of Watchtower abuses,
- Providing Barbara Anderson with support and space for her website.
- Convening a press conference in London, England in August 2014 related to the culture of undue influence as practiced by the Watchtower and other high-control pseudo-religious cults and groups.
- Convening a two-day workshop in London, England in August 2014 to discuss the many methods of undue influence used by Watchtower and to network with other well-organized ex-cult members and groups.
- Forming a good networking relationship with groups and organizations like:
- Child Friendly Faith Project
- Freedom of Mind
- infoSekta (Zurich, Switzerland, Bernd Bochow), and
- ICSA – teaming up with them to expand our potential for more publicity about Watchtower abuses.
- Meeting with the staff at the London, U.K. General Hospital to explain the Watchtower’s policy on blood.
- Engaging newspapers and television crews to provide stories about Watchtower abuses related to shunning, blood transfusions and child molestation.
- Producing videos and fliers
- Working with three major universities on research projects related to the Watchtower’s culture of undue influence and policy of shunning and ostracism and its relationship to suicide and attempted suicide.
For more details and facts about AAWA, please email us at [email protected]