Ex-JWs: Stop Respecting the Watchtower’s Wishes

Contributed by: Jeni Lundblom–Valdez

In a few weeks, it will be twelve years since I cut ties with the Watchtower.

After committing the defiant act of standing up for myself and not accepting the elder’s advice, I became “a problem” and “a rebel.” The elders formed a judicial committee to set me straight, but I paid no attention. By refusing to attend their judicial hearing and my unwillingness to coöperate, the result was an in absentia guilty verdict and they disfellowshipped me.

To this day, I’ve never begged for forgiveness, feigned repentance, or alluded to the possibility that I might ever return. That will never happen. Taking my leave the way I did was my act of defiance – my way of giving the Watchtower the proverbial “middle finger.”

In fact, I considered that my great finale: “You don’t own me and I won’t live by your rules.”

But in reality, I was only kidding myself.

Jeni After I left the Watchtower, my parents, my sister, and every “friend” I had at the Kingdom Hall shunned me. Mind you – I knew this would happen. I never intended to call anyone’s bluff. I would leave, they would shun me, and that would be that.

Eventually all of that was something I came to terms with and understood. I was able to live with the fact that there would be people in the world who would loathe my very existence.

I knew the way my situation had been handled was totally wrong. I understood that the Watchtower’s shunning policy was a sick mind game. There was never any doubt in my mind about these facts.

But what did I do with this knowledge? Not a thing – absolutely nothing.

I chose to keep silent about the situation, the “keeper of a secret.” By keeping this secret, I not only hurt myself – I was being compliant with the Watchtower’s wishes. I was following their protocol. I was respecting their disfellowshipping arrangement.

Sadly, this type of behavior isn’t unique. Many ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses want to forget all the time they wasted in a man-made organization and just walk away. And while we have the right to make that choice, does that ever really happen? For me and many others, the answer is “No.” Our JW experience, whether we like it or not, is part of what made us who we are today.

Which makes me wonder: Why should we hide this kind of information if we could use it to help others? Why are we ashamed to act?

I realize that there’s little hope of changing the minds of those inside the Watchtower. True believers won’t be swayed by the words of someone who has rejected their “truth.” But what about those people who don’t know the reality of the Watchtower’s harmful policies? Don’t they deserve to be warned before possibly becoming involved with the Witnesses?

I am by no means suggesting we go door-to-door—we’ve all had enough of that. And not all of us want to run a public YouTube channel or are able to write a book. On the other hand, perhaps we should all be just a little more open. Maybe we could tell our friends and coworkers about our experiences and share a few Facebook posts or engage in some other forms of dialogue.

Telling people what we had to learn the hard way may mean these people will say “no” to the nice folks that appear on their doorsteps. It could in turn save their children from being the victims of molestation, being denied a college education, or being forbidden from having a live-saving blood transfusion. One conversation could stop a family from being split by shunning.

So much could be riding on sharing what we know. Unfortunately, there’s no way for people to find out unless we speak up.

On behalf of all who still have a chance to live a “Watchtower-free” existence, I urge you to consider sharing your experiences with your acquaintances and coworkers. While it might seem a daunting task at first, telling your story could really benefit others. On top of that, being open and sharing feels good. Because people respect such honesty, you may find a new sources of support.

Please stop being ashamed! Stop respecting the Watchtower’s wishes! You may not be able to wield the sword that slays them, but you can become “a sliver in the paw” of that horrible beast.

And we all know how annoying slivers can be…

Side Note About the Above Article 

Richard E. Kelly, one of AAWA’s directors, is currently writing his third book about his life and connections to Jehovah’s Witnesses. One of the chapters will focus on Jeni and her life as a Jehovah’s Witness. Her story will be one of many focusing on strong women who managed to survive the Watchtower’s policy of treating women as second-class citizens. Like Mariuca’s story, which you can read here (the first of a 3-part story), Jeni’s will inspire you as it speaks to the inner strength and beauty of women who chose common sense and good science over the Watchtower’s “Wizard of Oz” magic, lies, deceit and conditional love.

Jeni’s story is unique and special for Richard because he discovered that she went to the same Kingdom Hall as his late sister, Marilyn, who as an adult would babysit Jeni. Jeni also played with Richard’s nephew while she was growing up.

Unfortunately, during those years Richard had no access to his sister or her family because Marilyn, along with their brother and parents, began shunning him in 1981. Richard only learned about Jeni and her connection to his family after he shared Marilyn’s tragic story with thousands of readers in an article published in 2012 at WatchTowerWatch.com (first of a 4-part story).

Today, Jeni actively shares her personal JW story with her husband’s relatives and her friends and work companions. AAWA hopes that you too will join Jeni, Richard, and thousands of other ex-JWs who are now willing to share their life stories. Jeni would describe this as “the butterfly effect.” If we can expand the sharing of this kind of information about the Watchtower exponentially, this may be the way we thrust a splinter into the underbelly of a nasty cult that is not yet held accountable for policies which violate basic human rights.

jeni-bwAbout Jeni Lundblom–Valdez

Jeni is a wife, mother, college student, and financial services manager from Nebraska. She enjoys reading, writing, art, and spending time with her immediate family. After growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness, and ending an abusive JW marriage, she left at age 19. She is currently a member of AAWA’s writing team and an admin and office manager for JWsurvey.org.


Ex-JWs: Stop Respecting the Watchtower’s Wishes — 45 Comments

  1. Jeni, kudos to you for speaking up. I see the fire in your belly as a good sign that you are an activist with a mission. Keep up the good work.

  2. I agree Jeni. The WTS has taken enough of our lives. There is no shame in leaving any abusive controlling situation whether it is parents, a spouse, a group or a religion. True freedom requires raising your head high and saying, “This is what happened to me. But I’m still standing.” Don’t let the way they choose to treat you, define who you are.

  3. Great story Jeni, thank you for sharing it. I completely agree with you, we shouldn’t stay quiet about our experience with this “horrible beat”. I grab any opportunity in my life to do expose the WT for the evil that they are and what it has done to people like us simply because we don’t agree with their policies, rules and crazy stories about the end of the world!

  4. It is amazing how a little information can go a long way. Just today, I was talking to a friend of mine. She recently had JWs show up at her door. She was able to share, what I have shared. She even finished by giving the man an extra warning to “protect that precious child with you” because the WT wont.

    I also identify with what you said about the shunning. I too helped in my own shunning. I respected the WT wishes. Something I would do differently today. I wouldn’t participate today. Shun me all you want, but I refuse to be shunned, or to shun you back.

    • I like your thoughts. I have been thinking the same way, that just creates more frustration. I do love the truths I’ve learned. I hate the hypocrisy. I want to treat people the way I want to be treated… and yet out of respect I find I don’t want to cause a stir but if I don’t stand for truth the way I read it from the Bible I would not be true to God or true to myself. The problem is that there are those in the congregation that I thoroughly respect. I think what I am going to do is continue going to all meetings and respectfully get up and walk out when teaching refers to the elders in any way of needing our unquestioning loyalty. I will not shun someone that has been serving Jehovah faithfully for years without my knowing why they want us to shun them. I do not want their blood guilt. I believe that shunning is just as harmful as picking up a 10lb rock and slamming it down on someones head, maybe even more harmful or painful. I will not be sitting in the back of the hall when I get up to leave either. What do you think I should expect? I want others that may question, to think someone else is having a hard time swallowing this also.

  5. That’s exactly it Danmera! I really believe that this kind of personal sharing resonates with people. When someone actually knows the person who went through it, they remember that for a long time, & who knows how many others THEY will tell.

  6. Kudos Jeni, it’s great to read your experience and feelings about it.

    I was disfellowshipped 20+ years ago when I was at a crossroads, for taking the decision I did at the time about my future – which turns out to be DEFINITELY the right decision. After all these years as I was wondering if I shouldn’t find back my spriritual way, I started to look into the JW question again, by attending some meetings and looking around on the internet.

    If you and the ones like you kept silent, I would be right in the middle of it again. Not only what I read here and elsewhere, but also what I could observe on those meetings make me think that actually things are getting worse than it was all those years ago.

    Maybe at some point, I could share about my “crossroads” and the weird circumstances of my being disfellowshipped, when I feel ready for this.

    Thanks to you and all the others who are standing up, things will no longer be the same.

    • JB, your story sounds intriguing. I’m so glad to hear you made the right decision.

      I was talking to Richard about this piece, and came up with this analogy: If you ate at a restaurant & got food poisoning, you’d likely stay away. Now, say you KNEW that restaurant was still selling tainted food, you’d warn people. If you didn’t, and a friend or his child got sick there, you’d feel responsible for not warning them. Right?

      It seems silly to some that I think the JWs are dangerous, but the blood doctrine alone has caused the death of countless people, including children. So, am I really being silly? I don’t think so.

    • Thank you for your input. If you have the time I would be interested if you could say a bit more about what made you think that things are getting worse than they used to be. In some ways things seem to be getting better in that there are fewer meetings each week and shorter assemblies now.

    • Hello Lydia, first I would like to mention that I’m talking about a period of time that is quite long, like 20 something years. Also, I had a chance to experience JW life in two different countries which are quite different in terms of traditions and culture. I’m convinced that this plays a role too. The former one, where I grew up, is a place with very little number of JW’s and becoming a JW requires a total conversion. Where I now live, is majorly catholic. The JW’s in the former country seemed quite more open minded then where I live now. It’s useful to think that they had to be open minded to leave their original faith and become a JW in the first place. Still, unfortunately the pressure was tangible, in the congregations, even there.

      Around 20 years back there were indeed 3 meetings and one should go on field service for at least an hour a month (I think this was revised now to 15 mins ?). Still, unfortunately, the “accounting” and control still remains.

      However the main reasons why I say it worsened are these :

      – I may be completely unaware of the child abuse cases in my younghood, it was unknown to us, either because the information couldn’t spread that easily, or because it didn’t exist. That is one of the points that give me impression that somethings got terribly wrong. In any case, where I lived, the child abuse itself was quite marginal in general and non existant among JW’s. I don’t know how it was elsewhere.

      – The UN NGO issue is quite recent too. I must say, this was a huge disappointment to me, even worse, when I checked about this with JW’s, and got very poor arguments justifying what exactly happened. I’m not accusing the organization for being a liar or anything, but it’s about double standards and quite some “slippery logic”, favoring things whenever they come in handy. When I think we were beaten up at school for not saluting the flag …

      – The shunning issue got worse, much worse. Families were never included into this way back. Now, as I’m still df’ed, in principle my family shouldn’t talk to me. Happily, my family is wonderful and they never made me feel I was no longer their son, brother … And actually, I was able to follow my studies as far as I wanted and whatever direction I wanted. Now, I’m going to meetings here and as brothers don’t know me, they come and greet me. It’s terribly awkward, but I cannot help returning their greetings. I was told to ignore them basically, and the brother who “adviced” me said “I know, it’s awkward” … There is something going on, nobody seems to be happy doing it, yet everyone does it …

      – Having questions and doubts were ok back then, being an “apostate” wasn’t such a common currency really. It’s either a culture thing or it worsened over time, but now, there seems to be no room for expressing an opinion other than what’s written in the publications.

      – From back in time I don’t remember about money being an issue mentioned anywhere. Now I read articles about how to support the organization by donating life insurences, or similar. This came quite odd to me as well, specially when people are encouraged not to worry too much about material things. Talking about money, WT’s involvement to a hedgefund investor meeting (I think it was in 2012) and its shares of a company that seems to be involved in military industry are sore points for me as well. Those were claims I came across over the internet, and a few minutes googling takes the searcher to what seems to be evidences of it.

      – Last but not least : After I attended some months lately as a df’ed person, I was “approached” by elders, letting me know that if I wished, I could be reinstated by following the particular procedure. From that point on, I felt terribly “observed” during the meetings and started getting this strong feeling that I was expected doing things. This is a familiar feeling, you always feel like you have to satisfy someone to some extent. I felt always I at least had to try, failing to do this having varying consequences, but even some mild disappointment one causes comes back to him/her. I constantly had the feeling I should please to “someone” as if the main idea wasn’t pleasing to Jehovah.

      Lydia, the above points gave me the impression of things got worse. Maybe it was always there and I couldn’t see that much of it, due to many reasons. But I am getting this impression.

      There are quite a lot of JW’s for whom I have respect and a high esteem, which I unfortunately cannot extend towards the “organization” itself.

  7. Miranda Hammons asked me to post the following comment from her: ” I love your blog Jeni, you did not let the Watchtower bring you down and that is amazing to me. I have been able to talk about the life of a JW to co-workers but that is about the extent of it, I am still very closed off from my childhood as a JW, even now in my 30’s. To all the Witnesses reading this and shunning your family, it is YOUR choice, your God Jehovah would never make you disown and abandon a member of the family he blessed you with, why you think he would is beyond me since he is a god of love!? I would never shun or abandon my kids, I love them so much that I would rather die in death with them if that is what “Jehovah” has planned for all the good people on Earth. What is paradise w/o my children, an awful one! Especially when its full of people who are only your friends because of your religious status. It is so selfish that everlasting life fools you into shunning your own flesh and blood, now there is food for thought! Jeni, you are saving so many from shunning and abuse just by posting your experience here! Witnesses call it Apostasy. Out here, we call it having a caring and loving heart even for people you have never met because no one should be part of such a mind controlling cult. I am happy for you!”

    • Miranda, that was great! I’m honored to have you as a friend.

      You made some excellent points. Now that I’m a mom I could NEVER imagine life without my child. It’s against human nature. This type of behavior really shows how dangerous Warchtower is & why it’s SO IMPORTANT to warn others.

  8. Well done, Jeni! Your views are not unlike my own and other “apostates” who have the courage to speak up. This is precisely why I have used my voice for over 30 years to warn others about the Watchtower organization through private discussions, seminars, TV programs and my memoir, “Out of the Cocoon.” I don’t do it because I have some vendetta or hate Jehovah’s Witnesses. I do it because no other family should have to experience the loss and trauma that mine has experienced as a result of our involvement with Jehovah’s Witnesses…the loss we’ve all felt.

  9. Great article Jeni. You have said exactly how I feel, thanks for putting it into words. If I can just save one person from having to live that nightmare I have been successful.

  10. Jeni, you have iterated everything I think. There is a balance each of us has to come to. Whether to just get on with our lives or to try to do what we can to save other’s lives. With the Witness organization, one can give their life in two ways, as I have seen it. Either dedicate most of one’s waking hours to their cause, or, in case of needing a blood transfusuion, sacrificing one’s life.
    I would suggest we do whatever we can to help those not yet involved with this dangerous “mindset” to avoid putting themselves in this position. Not unlike the Vatican coverup, this organization has become what they used to criticize the Catholic Church for. They have become the opposite of what they were founded for. They have decayed from the center out. They have left a mark on us that we cannot shed. We have to find the balance.

    • We’ll put Charles. I agree with your observations on JW life.

      It’s such a shame that those inside the organization don’t even understand what “living” really means. The potential of so many is squandered by denial of education and archaic gender role enforcement. How is that even really life?

  11. I agree, Jeni. I have long felt that since I am no longer a Witness, I am not obligated to live by any of their rules. If we run into someone who is still in, there is no need to hang our head, or try to hide from them. We can hold our heads high, and greet old friends like any other normal person. If they choose not to speak to us, it’s on them. I refuse to give them authority in my life.

  12. I did the nearly the same thing. But I simply wrote a letter of resignation and avoided their nitpicky rules.I didnt give the comittee a chance to pass judgement on me (those arrogant patriachal sons of bitches!)Then I promptly enrolled in college.My middle finger is I am successful and have a great job while my peers are complete losers who have to mooch off their parents for the rest of their lives.I have to hand it to them, they did me a good turn.With their abuse and hatefulness came great training. I am made of steel now.

    • I can completely relate to that. It’s an incredible feeling to prove them all wrong. I’m no longer just surviving, I’m thriving. Although I do feel there were opprotunities that I was kept from as a JW which may have been a benefit to me later in life, I’ve been able to take what was left and make it the best I can. I’m happy to read that you’ve done the same.

    • Few, if any of us, escape meeting with some disaster during our lives.
      We can profit from our experience if we have the attitude that negative things happen to everybody, not just us.
      The Watchtower “disaster” probably saved me from the “Vietnam” disaster. If we have landed on our feet, we can be grateful, realizing that we are not going to go through life without resistance of some sort. Plus, it puts us in position to truly help others, as we see here is this blog. 🙂

  13. The tactics you describe have been used by every mythology to get compliance from others and perpetuate the illusion that everyone practices mythology for millennia. Reading your article, I believe you understand that. In the age of free information exchange (Internet) these tactics have lost much of their power. Even the mythology club members are beginning to realize that there never were as many ‘believers’ as they thought. Yes, those in the throws of brainwashing mythologies will not be able to look out until they start to think for themselves, but when they do, they will find that there are many who think just like them. I find your article to be a community service.

  14. Here’s whatcha gotta do.
    This year the Jehovah’s Witnesses are getting a serious wake-up call.
    Never before in the history of apostasy has there been a plan like this. Apostates are going to dress up clean shaven and in suit and tie pretending to be JWs outside of district conventions ( regional assemblies,etc.- whatever they are called now) everywhere this year, facing worldly passersby and vehemently defending the Watchtower against any “worldly” people that may get in our face as we hold up our signs.
    The signs I like best are the ones that say “Blood transfusions are the work of Satan! Anybody that receives a blood transfusion will not inherit Jehovah’s Kingdom!” and “Jehovah’s day of wrath is imminent! He will kill you and the buzzards will eat your flesh unless you become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.” We will also carry watchtower publications that back up these statements. For example from the Watchtower publication, Worldwide Security under the Prince of Peace p 159 we read:
    “those slaughtered at Armageddon will not be laid in graves with markers to memorialize them.
    Birds of every sort and beasts of the field will share in the benefits of God’s triumph and at the same time ,help cleanse the earth of the many carcasses that will lie strewed upon the ground like fertilizer, unlamented, unburied, abhorred by the survivors’
    The bottom line is Jehovah’s Witnesses really believe these things. I recall on plenty of occasions when going from door to door with pioneers, a householder would be opposed and upon returning to the car, the pioneer would say , “that person is buzzard bait”. You see, JWs like to sugar coat Watchtower doctrine to newly associating ones. Becoming a JW is a persuasive process that requires time. If the doctrine was offered in the raw to everyone they meet, there would be a shock factor and fewer would join.
    This is what we plan to do – offer the world JW doctrine in the raw. Give the shock factor. There is nothing dishonest about this. Unlike the laughable attempts by apostates in the past, this plan will have the desired effect. With an organization that takes vain pride in itself and its appearance, this will not be taken lightly by the Watchtower. Ask yourself- Has the Watchtower ever tried to put a stop to evangelists or apostates attempting to engage with JWs outside of conventions? Of course not!. The presence of opposers at the conventions actually fires up the JW persecution complex and strengthens the JWs resolve that they have the truth. Will the Watchtower try to thwart our efforts? You betcha! No doubt, the Watchtower already knows about our plan, and is taking action against it, but if we remain diligent this will be a success! With help from JW insiders we are hoping to soon have copies of this years convention badges. This will make us look authentic. We welcome all Ex-witnesses everywhere to participate in this plan whether in groups or independently and encourage you to make your own catchy signs just as long as they are neat and have actual offensive JW doctrine. Make sure to dress neatly in suit and tie and be well groomed. Remember, we’re not going to attack or argue with JWs. We are going to act like we are JWs!
    ALSO, holding these signs directed at worldly passersby is bound to stir up angry emotions from the worldly ones against JWs and the Watchtower. We are expecting that! So if any worldly person gets in our face, we are going to verbally defend the Watchtower as the one and only true religion and shout right back at them! This is gonna be a load of fun…spread the word…be there!

    • Saspian,
      I think you may be on to something here. To a thinking person these beliefs and policies seem horrible. But, like you said, the JWs avoid these topics or sugar coat them until later on when a person has already started becoming indoctrinated. This might be a good idea to do next to their new literature carts too. Just dress up and start witnessing with them! It would have the same effect on people as the Phelps family protesters. All they do is share their heartfelt beliefs. But, something tells me they don’t get a lot of converts.

      I had a dream once where a bunch of disfellowshipped people, including myself, did a zombie walk through the middle of a convention. We all dressed like the undead up and held signs that said “I Am Dead To You”, “We Are The Walking Dead” etc. We’d alerted local media so it got press. I often wonder how that would pan out in real life. With a big enough crowd of zombies, it would at the very least cause a distraction.

    • I would def do the zombie thing. Plus then nobody would recognize me. I would probably wear the sign instead of hold it, so that I could be more convincing. But would we go through the actual convention while its in progress or just outside?

    • Yeah I agree we need more info on this event… Some of us still on the “inside” might be able to help in some way (I am currently just inactive/fading but have considered going back in “undercover”)… Where can we follow this thing; will there be updates somewhere?? Btw, how about a sign that says: “Baptized at 13, Df’d and shunned at 17!” (me)

    • I’m wondering like are we trying to blend in or go for more of a shock value?

      we can hold up old quotes that were ridiculous and offensive. maybe something like ” white race exhibits some qualities of superiority over any other” (Watchtower 1902 July 15 The Negro Not A Beast pp. 215-216) OR ” a wife is careful not to undermine her husband’s headship by nagging him or arguing with him.” (Watchtower 2011 May 15 pp.8-10 )

      Maybe those will be more eye catching? Plus even though they are changed teachings i’m sure it will bother people that they even were teachings.

  15. “those slaughtered at Armageddon will not be laid in graves…. Birds and beasts of the field will …cleanse the earth of the many carcasses that will lie strewed upon the ground like fertilizer, unlamented, unburied, abhorred by the JW survivors’

    Ha!… that’s what my mother told my crying 4 and 10 yr. old brothers and my 12 and 14 yr. old sisters when I left at 16 way back in 1976, from the weekly beatings from my dad – who sexually abused me till I was 4. then, he put diapers on me till I was 7 so he could powder my ass. He is 82 and I want to expose the truth before he’s dead. but I won’t….. he’s already dead.

    They destroyed my education, my family, my memories, they continue to shun me and call me an apostate, they never met my son, their first grand child, I’ve never met my sister’s children, I struggle with anger and social skills and have an inferior complex hidden by a mask of assertive defiance and determination to beat the curse of my past. I am successful in many things including a 32 marriage to a wonderful girl but feel like a complete failure. I have no foundation.

    sorry, got carried away. so many similar stories out there, some worse than mine.

    I enjoyed your story, Jeni. I will continue to expose the truth about this cult.

    It’s finally warming up here in Chicago so I will be able to picket the KH this Sunday.




    I also follow them in with signs my neighborhood until they leave.

    • I am sorry for that. I married a jw pedophile. I was so young and clueless. My step son and myself bore the brunt of all the abuse. I tried to stop him. I tried to leave. The elders wouldnt let me. I tried to commit suicide after that. But all the while they were telling this monster that he was “elder material”. I am unique. The members wont speak to me because I shame them with my very existance. Not once has “a sheparding call” been made on me as is traditional with those who fall away. I am their dirty secret that they dont want to think about. I just smile at them and talk to them anyway in public places where I meet them. Because they act so bad toward me it makes them look like assholes. Hmmm…maybe bacause they are assholes?

  16. I was destroyed by this cult, and still suffer today. They have destroyed the lives of 1000’s of people, and still 1000’s more have died and will continue to die until radical action is taken against them, just as radical action is being carried out in Russia. I have been separated from my family now for 10 years. My mum died whilst I was in China (which this group gleefully laid claim to bringing about). It has been a real roller coaster of a ride into the bowels of Hell. I am seriously ill now with no real prospect of recovery, but if you were to ask me if I would go through it all again, the answer is without a shadow of a doubt YES. And, what’s more, I am going to keep shouting until someone in Government does hear, and does decide to take radical action. We can do it together, strength through unity.

    • It is really sad that even the Amish feel sorry for JWs. I have a few friends in the Amish community and they read and study diligently in hopeful preparation of meeting a JW. They hope to reason them out of their insanity. Ok. The Amish think JWs are crazy. Lmao!!!!

    • Im given to understand there is an underground movement in the organization itself including elders that are trying to change policy on blood products. I hope this is true.

  17. I have not been to a meeting in 2 years and could care less what the “friends” think! They are not my GOD and they hold NO POWER over me. If I see any at the local grocery store ect I just look em straight in the eye and turn my nose up and walk away! No one has the right to dictate your life and your person unless YOU give them permission!!

  18. I decided many years ago that shunning was a Watchtower policy, NOT a Charles Costante policy. My policy is to treat everyone the way I’d like to be treated, so whenever I meet a Jehovah’s Witness in the street or out shopping, I will go up and shake their hand or hug them, depending on what the relationship was before I left. I figure that if they had a problem with that, then it is precisely that – THEIR problem. Interestingly, everyone that I have had dealings with since I made that decision have all been quite friendly. I’ve even rung a few when one of their close relatives has passed away (someone I also knew quite well) and have spoken to them at length, one for over an hour. Admittedly, there was no mention of religion, but THEY DID TALK TO ME!

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