About AAWA

ADVOCATES for AWARENESS of WATCHTOWER ABUSES (AAWA) is an international not-for-profit educational organization, with 501 (c) (3) tax exempt status, dedicated to raising awareness about policies of the Watch Tower Society that violate basic human rights. AAWA is also committed to offering help and support to those who are mentally and emotionally afflicted by the Society’s teachings and practices.

AAWA was incorporated in March 2013.

AAWA is a religiously-neutral organization. In other words, we do not promote or endorse any religious or philosophical belief systems.

AAWA’s goal is to shine a bright light on harmful Watchtower policies, identify the methods of undue influence Watchtower uses to break down the resistance and resolve of anyone who tries to leave, and provide assistance and education for thinking Jehovah’s Witnesses who want to break free from Watchtower’s clutches.

AAWA is an educational resource for the large non-Jehovah’s Witness world community, which includes the media, educators, researchers, medical and legal experts, and of course interested Witnesses and ex-Witnesses.

How Is AAWA Organized?

AAWA is managed by a board of three corporate directors. They are:

Lee MarshLee Marsh – President – Lee is a long-standing member of the Ex-JW community, and has done considerable work in the field of help and support for those struggling with emotional difficulties through their association with Watchtower. Lee also coordinates our Support Services.

Lee ElderLee Elder – Vice-President – “Lee Elder” is a founding member and the Director of Associated Jehovah’s Witnesses for Reform on Blood. He is also editor of the organization’s website (AJWRB.org). He provides direct support to medical professionals, educators, and others involved in counseling and treating Jehovah’s Witnesses and their families when blood transfusions may be appropriate or prescribed therapy. “Lee” retains his status as a Jehovah’s Witness, allowing him to stay informed as to current Watchtower blood policy. His experience and expertise provides AAWA with additional resources and credibility on the subject of Watchtower blood doctrine and policy. LeeElderAJWRB@gmail.com

Richard E. KellyRichard E. Kelly – Secretary Treasurer – Richard is the author of Growing Up In Mama’s Club, The Ghosts From Mama’s Club and Mariuca and Marilyn: Saying Goodbye to Mama’s Club. He worked for two years at Brooklyn Headquarters before realizing that the organization and its beliefs were deeply flawed. A retired businessman now living in southern Arizona, Richard is now heavily involved in the Ex-JW community.

The directors are joined by hundreds of passionate people from five different continents who champion fundamental human rights, which are outlined in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). Their efforts make up a worldwide collaborative effort of many passionate supporters, who for most of them lived their lives ruled by Watchtower’s policies. They KNOW how this high-demand pseudo-religious group affects the everyday lives of men, women and children.

How does AAWA operate? Each year we determine appropriate strategies and enlist the help of our volunteers and supporters to make it happen. If you are interested in helping, please note the following strategies for 2023:

  1. Helping update and organize AAWA websites—aawa.co and ajwrb.org.
  2. Writing articles and press releases.
  3. Meeting and talking with non-JW groups. (Should be able to follow a pre-approved outline, have good communication skills and be well organized.)
  4. Sharing personal stories about Watchtower abuses in 1,500 words or less.
  5. Helping AAWA use the social media to expand its network of interests.
  6. Working on special AAWA research projects and promoting key AAWA initiatives.
  7. Helping Professors and PhD students who are working on university research projects related to Watchtower abuses.
  8. Making financial contributions to AAWA to help pay for legal advice, videos, press conferences, films, think-tank meetings, special workshops and networking.
  9. Helping to launch the Make Mandated Shunning a Crime initiative and related website.


About AAWA — 21 Comments

  1. AAWA is religious neutral. Paul’s use of scripture shows how the Watchtower misunderstands big-time the book it claims reveals the ultimate truth to its brain-dead followers. Helping people to learn to think for themselves, to use critical thinking skills, and decide for themselves what they want to believe without being made to feel guilty is what AAWA is all about.

  2. I agree with Steve. Arguing interpretations of the Bible is not religiously neutral; nor is calling JWs who interpret the scripture differently “brain-dead”. Calling people names is certainly inappropriate.

  3. religous neutrality does not imply not to speak about wrong interpretation of scriptures which can be proved– if the WTS mistranslates a Greek word to serve their own purpose such things should be made clear..

    • The video also does not tell the FULL truth. It ignores the Watchtower’s doctrine regarding living in a paradise earth and all of the illustrations, verbiage, songs, etc. associated to paradise to which children are also exposed (petting animals, gardens, bountiful food, etc). The JW children are not just exposed to a doom message, but to a “paradise fulfilled” message as well. But I guess the FULL truth is not AAWA’s agenda.

    • Why do they cover up sex abuse then…don’t see how that benefits children….ask the elders about their manual and how they threaten parents with disfellowshipment if they report it to the police….dont say it’s only a few that do it cause that’s crap.

  4. So its ok for the Watchtower to allow known sex offenders in2 their cult and not tell other members….As for paradise on earth y wood a loving god wipe out 7 billion + ppl who dont believe in him….also how can u pik an entity that may not exist over ur own children and shun them if they leave this cult….u judge everyone yet if a person is accused of child abuse and the victim doesnt hav another whitness they say “leave it in jehovahs hands” ???? If u like children we will protect u but if u r gay we will condem u sed the Watchtower…well u keep going to the kingdom halls and pretend to b holy….I dont need to believe in something to know Im a good person….I dont believe in fairytales…I cant wait til the Watchtower loses their tax-free status…..if I had 19 million $ I would b taxed so should they

  5. I was a JW since birth (baptized when i was 15, dissociated myself when I was almost 19). I am now 37 year of age and my parents have shunned me and have not spoken to me for many years.

    However, they have a good standing relationship with my stepsister who was turned down for baptism by the elders when she was 14. Since then, she has not re-applied nor has she returned to the organisation. She also ran away from home when she was 16 to seek refuge with her non-jw family in the UK.
    I know for fact through other sources that my parents come regularly in the UK to visit my stepsister but refuse to see me because in their eyes “I am dead”.

    My father is an elder (i learned about this through a local newspaper on the net in France as I now reside in the UK) and NOT ONLY does he comply with the family shunning directive and policy but he is also selfishly motivated to do so given his position as an elder. This is clearly stated in the elders secret book Shepherd the flock.

    My father re-married when I was about 2 and had me in custody as he believed that if I lived with my mother, I would have an unhappy life and she was not worthy as she had left the WBTS one of the reasons why they divorced. My mother’ s mother taught my father in the truth but she also left just after 1975 went by. Both my father and stepmother always discouraged to see her because she was labelled “worldly” and would have been a bad influence to my well-being. in fact, when I was 5, we moved to Mauritius as there was a need for JWs and that is when I lost all touch with my mother. As a result, I grew up as a JW but without a mother for almost 19 years until I left. Why did I leave?

    When I was 17 or 18 I was assigned to the sound for Recording public talk at the Kingdom Hall, I gave talks when I was 8 until I left, pioneered several times, spoke at conventions… I strived to be a good witness and wanted to end up at HQ because preaching was hard. I was even challenged by an elder when I was pioneering about my hours and whether they were made up. That is when my doubts started. Then when I was often sitting at the back of the call to do the sounds, I started to take a step back as to what I was hearing, a smug repetition of words that we’re no longer reaching my heart and my mind. I picked up on many contradictions, paradoxes but I could not put into adequate and objective words. In the end I was no longer listening to what was being said at the KH meetings as I knew deep in my heart that it was not the truth but like brother Ray Franz but “traditions of men”. (Watchtower did not reach my heart as it was common to say with the JW). Had I read the writings of Ray Franz, Peter Gregerson, Don Cameron or Barbara Henderson I WOULD NEVER HAD GOT BAPTISED. Obsiously I couldn’t as their writtings were released after i had left the organisation in 1996.

    In the meantime, I have lost my childhood, I did not have the chance to get to know my mother during all my youth since I was 2, I have and am still going through therapy to re-construct myself hoping one day, my parents will wake up to this JW scam or at the least try to be more human towards me.
    Please view my latest conversation with one of the elder from bethel UK regarding shunning and hois reaction when quized about the Finished Mystery and false prophecies.

    • wow your story could almost have been written by me. dam and I thought I was the only one
      I am 56 yrs old and felt isolated for years

  6. I would just like to let you know that there is a strong Jehovah Witness presence on Yahoo Answers. It’s a question and answer site. They are in the religion and spirituality section trying to recruit people. There’s a small group of people who try to warn others about them, but more help is needed. Thank you.

  7. I wonder If some kind of shelter could be organized for EX and present JW families to lay their heads with job fair resources and fresh start. What do you think?

    • What a wonderful idea! I was brought up as JW and got out when I was 18 years old, I was cut off by everyone I grew up knowing! I am 36 yrs old and still struggling to rebuild, my family have been torn apart, I have lost both my sister and father to the JWs. You don’t easily recover from being discarded by people you love! And being brought up beliving that the new system is coming and that the faithful will not die, well I knew nothing else all my childhood, then I found myself all alone, I wasn’t prepared to face a reality with no answers, no friends, in a world I knew nothing about in which I would grow old and (by JW standards) be forgotten by God… any help for people that feel the damage from these teachings and conduct can only be a good thing! Few can understand the confusion and hurt wrought unless they’ve suffered it.

    • When l was kicked out at 18, that would have been a blessing…lol Totally agree & it should be funded by the fat organisation that put us there in that state in the first place.

    • Something to that affect may be needed but works be difficult to legalize and maintain.
      I do, however, agree with your reasoning on that idea; many ex members are raised in what they THOUGHT was “the truth” and to shun the world” at all costs. So when they leave voluntarily or via being disfellowshipped or whatever, they really have NO idea just HOW to make a living or otherwise survive on their own, ironically having to now make social, legal, and other connections with the same “world” they were brainwashed to shun.

  8. I’m DA but sometimes I want to go back just to be with my families who are still there. I don’t know what to do. I love my families and I can’t stand away from them. I don’t know.

  9. I didn’t use my real name because Im stuck in the JW religion. I don’t want to be shunned for what I am about to say. Im in my 20s and live with my mom she is a JW and my Dad was an elder for many years he sadly just passed away at only 52 he had two types of cancer and was severly anemic from chemo. He desperately needed a blood transfusion but because of his religion he wouldn’t accept and he died recently. Ever since then I want out but then my family wont talk to me they are so strict in this religion. The elders have been very unsupportative over this whole thing and have been mean to my mom and wont even let her pioneer after everything she has been through. I have an uncle who is disfellowshipped and its awful to see him shunned its not right. I would love to move out but I cant leave my mom after the loss of my dad it has been so hard. This religion is the worst thing ever the shunning and the abuse because my uncle was sexually abused by and elder and they covered it up and now my dad is dead from this religion. To the rest of you who have posted on here I read a lot of them Im so sorry for everything you have all been through I understand the jw religion is just awful its responsible for so much abuse and death it needs to be stopped.

  10. I was 18 yrs old when my perants kicked me out, looking back what was my crime…because l was not as zealous as l should have been & classed a bad apple with the devil in me….it was an abusive upbringing, l spent most of my life shut away, my mother was violent, her answer to smashing plates on my head or her excuse was ” because your a bitch” very confused as turn the other cheek!!! We where brought up with a Bible in one hand & being punched with the other. There was sexual abuse from a fellow elder…but according to them it was all in my head & really it was just a ghost, so satin was really testing a 6 yr old!!! Since then l have been in & out of abusive relationships & struggle. They finally switched me completely off when l went to the police about my brother raping me…should have known l would be branded a trouble maker & lier, why because he had done this before to someone else, my mother’s words to me, l throught that God hates liers!!! I am 51 yrs old now & finally going for counselling, it has been very rough to say the least after all the cruel & hurtful things l have had from them, including trying to get me sectioned, ringing the social workers on me, the worse was taking my son to recruit, he is autistic but my mother saw circuit overseas material…all this because l was not doing the Lords work…UNBELIEVABLE. Hey that Austin boy now works for special child social services, there was no way l was leaving him to them, all l wanted was a normal life & that especially for my boys.

  11. What a great resource to have. I’m 37 years old this year and was raised by my father from birth until 14 years old as a JW. When he was disillusioned and tried to kill himself after being shunned over a lie we were sent to live with our worldly mother. My dad is still non-practicing but a hard core believer. He accepts that he will die in Armageddon if it ever comes. I knew at a young age what we were doing was wrong especially when I was molested by my step uncle and nothing was done about it even after the elders were informed. My life is definitely still affected by spending my formidable years in a cult. I have severe bi polar and pstd which I collect disability for. If you know anything about applying for disability for mental illness it’s extremely hard to prove. I had over 20 years of documented medical files so I was approved the first time which is also very rare.

  12. All dissfellowship go back to meetings silent protest permanately no intension to get reinstated. This would create a dilema if a few million sitting at the back of hall. This may create the change we all yearn for.This would need to be organised.

Leave a Reply