New AAWA videos highlight Watchtower’s child abuse record

On May 30th, AAWA proudly launched its second major campaign aimed at raising awareness of damaging Watchtower policies. This time the psychologically abusive content in Watchtower literature, together with Watchtower’s continued mishandling of child sex abuse, is firmly under AAWA’s spotlight.

AAWA now has around 260 volunteers, and many of these have spent the past few weeks writing scripts, doing research, and gathering material that can help convey AAWA’s message both forcefully and accurately.

This latest campaign focuses on two videos. The first, shown below, focuses on the psychological abuse inflicted on Witness children. Many outside the Witness faith are completely unaware of the extent to which threatening words and images are frequently featured in Watchtower literature. Such material can have a lasting and harmful psychological impact on children – leading them to view the world around them, as well as non-Witness relatives, as being doomed to destruction.

It is hoped that the above information will draw much-needed attention to the damage that Watchtower is wreaking on young and impressionable minds.

Following on from the above video is another video, due for release on June 6th, which will focus on Watchtower’s mishandling of child sexual abuse. Watchtower is increasingly coming under fire for its out-dated and neglectful child protection policies.

In particular, the organization was sued for millions last year in the Candace Conti verdict over its failure to protect a nine-year-old girl from a known sexual predator in her congregation. Though the case is currently going through a lengthy appeals process, AAWA is doing everything it can in the meantime to get the word out about Watchtower’s flawed policies – explaining why they put countless children at risk.

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New AAWA videos highlight Watchtower’s child abuse record — 28 Comments

  1. My children grew up believing their dad would soon die at Armageddon because he had left the ‘truth’. My shame is living with that.

    • I remember my youngest son (9 years of age) coming home from a circuit assembly in tears, he ran up to me and hugged me and told me that I needed to go back to the meetings so that I would survive Armageddon
      That was over 15 years ago, I remember how distraught and upset he was at the time because he thought that I was about to die.
      It took me months to reassure my son that it would be ok, that the things he had heard were from men and not from god. My son is now 35 years old.

  2. I heard that one could overdose on sleeping pills and go to sleep in death, At the ripe old age of 8 I started planning my suicide, I was too frightened to allow Jehovah to kill me in the ways mentioned in this video

  3. interesting article i read on ‘’

    In the article they relate abuse to idealogy of a cult and add child beating. At first I didn’t associate child beating with the JW’s but in hindsight after watching your video it is very similar. They are beating these children emotionally. As a parent who brought her child up as a JW I know the damage my child has endured.

    Quote of site

    Religious fundamentalism and cruelty to children may one day be treated in the same way as mental illness, a neuroscientist has speculated.

    Kathleen Taylor, a research scientist at Oxford University’s Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, says strong negative beliefs could be eradicated using techniques already in the works.

    Dr Taylor was speaking at the Hay Literary Festival in Wales when she was asked what she forsaw as positive developments in neuroscience in the coming years, The Times reports.

    She replied: “One man’s positive can be another man’s negative. One of the surprises may be to see people with certain beliefs as people who can be treated.

    “Someone who has for example become radicalised to a cult ideology – we might stop seeing that as a personal choice that they have chosen as a result of pure free will and may start treating it as some kind of mental disturbance.

    “In many ways it could be a very positive thing because there are no doubt beliefs in our society that do a heck of a lot of damage.

    “I am not just talking about the obvious candidates like radical Islam or some of the more extreme cults. I am talking about things like the belief that it is OK to beat your children.

    “These beliefs are very harmful but are not normally categorised as mental illness.”

    In a previous blog for the Huffington Post, Dr Taylor wrote of the “astonishing” advances in neuroscience and how it offers hope for some of the most feared diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

    But she concedes motives beyond those which are purely clinical run into problematic territory.

    Writing in September, a month before the release of her book The Brain Supremacy, she says: “The ethics developed by doctors, over centuries, to deal with human suffering, are different from those developed by scientists trying to understand how the world works.

    “They’re still more different from the ethics of businesses keen to cash in on the new technologies… techniques created to heal can also be employed for other purposes, and the ability to get data from living brains is a holy grail for many interested parties other than neuroscientists and doctors.”

    She adds: “Human systems are always changed by their interactions with others, and in hard-to-calculate ways. What a volunteer says and does in a research lab may be altered not only by the lab environment or the phrasing of a question, but by who the experimenters are and how they behave. The human person thus needs to be considered. Technologies which directly scan or manipulate brains cannot be neutral tools, as open to commercial exploitation as any new gadget.”

    Links between extreme faiths and mental health have been made before, with former president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Dr Dinesh Bhugra, highlighting recent religious conversions being more associated with a developing psychotic mental illness.

    In a paper entitled ‘Self-concept: Psychosis and attraction of new religious movements’, he points to data from studies which shows that patients with first onset psychosis are likely to change their religion.

    The introduction to Dr Taylor’s book adds further caution: “We need to be careful when it comes to developing technologies which can slip through the skull to directly manipulate the brain.

    “They cannot be morally neutral, these world-shaping tools; when the aspect of the world in question is a human being, morality inevitably rears its hydra heads.

    “Technologies which profoundly change our relationship with the world around us cannot simply be tools, to be used for good or evil, if they alter our basic perception of what good and evil are.”

  4. Immediately when the video began, I knew that it was scripted by someone who either doesn’t know what Jehovah’s Witnesses believe, or is lying about it. Whether the flames were meant to be hellfire or an aspect of doomsday, Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe in it.

    About 15 seconds in, a picture of a Watchtower magazine appears, featuring the topics, Armageddon What is It? When will it Come? The voice-over commentary that follows, along with clips from disaster movies, describe an Armageddon that is exactly the opposite of how that Watchtower describes Armageddon.

    I challenge the author of that script to actually read that magazine, and see what it says before making up any more nonsense. You may fool other bigots, who are under the mind-control of the cult of Bigotry, into believing that you actually researched what Jehovah’s Witnesses believe and are reporting it honestly, but you’re not going to fool any of Jehovah’s Witnesses; we already know what our beliefs are, and what our magazines say.

    For the record, since at least the 1950s Jehovah’s Witnesses have described those who are destroyed by God are only those who are “incorrigibly wicked”, meaning that they refuse to stop behavior that God condemns, when he warns them, and we believe that only those who are incorrigibly wicked will be destroyed at Armageddon. Therefore, the destruction will not be accomplished by any means as random as hailstones, earthquakes, fireballs, or any other “violent and horrifying death”. Since the 1880s, we have believed that the earth will not be destroyed and that man will continue living on it.

    The Creator who breathed the breath of life into the first man is capable of withdrawing that breath of life specifically from incorrigibly wicked people without causing any suffering to them, or harming any other living thing or the earth. Of course, you didn’t want to know that, did you? I’ve deprived you of one of your excuses for fomenting hatred against Jehovah’s Witnesses, by telling you, haven’t I? How terrible of me!

    Don’t expect any of us to insult our own intelligence by watching or reading any more of your propaganda. Insult the intelligence of other bigots, if you insist; they’re intelligent enough to read that magazine for themselves and see what it really says, but they may be under such mind-control that they’re afraid to read it:

    • Sam, I always find it intriguing when JW’s like you blatantly lie. Is it because you do not know your own teachings, or do you feel justified in misrepresenting what your religion teaches so as to present a nice picture to those unaware of the doctrine? The Watchtower does not teach only incorrigibly wicked die at Armageddon, it teaches that billions will die, including children and those that have never heard of the Bible. It is taught that only Jehovah’s Witnesses will be saved.

      There are plenty of quotes of what the Watchtower really teaches, in case you need to refresh your memory, or at least for people to understand that what you have written is not honest, at

      The same link also includes numerous depictions of Armageddon, showing flood, earthquakes and fire involved in burning to death the “incorrigibly wicked,” the not so wicked, and children.

    • Thanks for this Paul. I grew up a JW, and remember vividly the horrific imagery from both Watchtower and Awake magazines by the 100s. And one of my questions was ‘why will people have to die at the hand of God if they are ‘not wicked’….and who devote their lives in helping other people and living well? It never made sense to me. And surely JWs will never ‘reach’ all 7.5 billion people to convert in time before an Armageddon takes place, so they will die a horrible death too? Terribly confusing to hear as a youth, to try to make sense of such tragedy all from a Loving Father and Creator. Just ridiculous.

    • ?????? I grew up a JW, and remember vividly the horrific imagery from both Watchtower and Awake magazines by the dozens!. And one of my questions was ‘why will people have to die at the hand of God if they are ‘not wicked’….and who devote their lives in helping other people and living well? It never made sense to me. And surely JWs will never ‘reach’ all 7.5 billion people to convert in time before an Armageddon takes place, so they will die a horrible death too? Terribly confusing to hear as a youth, to try to make sense of such tragedy all from a Loving Father and Creator.

    • To Paul Grundy, I cannot see God killing billions of people. Is there an Armageddon that is supposed to come?

    • To Mr. Grundy: is there such a place as literal hellfire? Revelation talks about the eternal fire that cannot ever be put out and burning and gnashing of the teeth will be. I’m very afraid of that!!!

    • I would just like to say Sam Thorne, that by even being on this website you should be hauled into a back room and prosecuted by the elders, humm maybe even a judicial commitee because you are breaking the rules…..Your not suppose to be on/ or read ANYTHING that remotely deputes JW beliefes. My dad was an Elder and my ex father in law was the city overseer, and sadly at one point I was an auxiliary pioneer, so don’t try to put your brainwashed BS on here that any of this isn’t true. It’s not your fault though. We were all you once and maybe one day your mind will break free from it all. I’m just glad mine did at a young age and before I had kids so that they didn’t have to go through the things that I had to. It is a cult and if you grow up in it, it changes you and makes you into something that you probably wouldn’t have been, had you grown up with a normal childhood. My sister says they are going to drink the suicide koolaid soon. I laugh with her about it, but honestly it wouldn’t surprise me and thats a scary thought since my children I have, there grandparents on their dads side are JW’s still and they are the hardcore ones and would think they are saving my kids souls too. It’s so sad what they do to people. I was DF’d because I left my abusive husband and when an elder tried to tell me I had to go back to him, I told him he can’t tell me that (as another elder advise me to say), they said I had a bad attitude. Now people duck when they see me in public like I’m the devil himself. I laugh. I know of personal friends of mine who have been molested as children and the elders just kept it a secret and when they became adults, then they charged them. As a parent, I don’t know how any other parent can just brush that aside, brainwashed or not. I do know when my kids are old enough, they will know all the horrible things that happens in that cult to counter act any attempts their JW family does try on them because we all know they will try to recruit them!!

    • SAM THORNE! How long have you been a JW? Speaking as an ex regular pioneer and member of the RBC, I can only challenge you to re research your own religion. You may not like the TRUTH portrayed in their video, but the fact remains, this CULT you are in has brainwashed and manipulated you into defending it’s beliefs rather than God’s word. The portrayal of Armageddon HAS ALWAYS been that of burning buildings, mass destruction and terror. The Paradise book, the Revelation book, The Knowledge book, the Brochures and so on and so forth ALL show such pictures, do you also realize the subliminal imagery that goes into these pictures? I am sorry that you may not be as advanced in the knowledge as those who have left a Satanic Cult, and that there are many things wrong with the Watchtowers agenda. You have come forward with a basic, amateur , ‘scripted’ response. Please don’t come onto this forum to defend your faith, first go and study the word of God, not one that has been doctored by people involved in the occult. The Watchtower teaches that even Jehovah’s Witnesses will only ‘probably’ be saved, as if life long service to God or them will not be rewarded when a person makes a mistake and get judged by elders who decide. from their own imperfect perspectives whether the person is repentant or not? To bother reading a load of mind controlling propaganda ever again would really be beneath me, as the Jehovah’s Witness doctrine was smashed up in what all of 15 minutes once I allowed myself to read the real truths about the organization. Tell me, why does your Almighty God not want those who have been created with a brain to go out and search for themselves what is truthful and correct ? What is God’s only appointed organization afraid of if they have the truth? The reason the Watchtower warns you away from us so vehemently is because they are so afraid that if you were to allow yourself to deviate from reading their own lying propaganda, that they would lose not only you but every one else who bothers to look for truths too. Yes, yes they hit you with all the stuff about other religions not teaching the truth, how impressive when they study scholars in the world and pass off truths as their own. I used to defend my faith like you but really if you intend to do this here you really in the wrong place, see we are a bit more sophisticated than the average forum, the difference is we have had our eyes opened to the truth now, and it’s really sad to be reminded of what a hold the organization is having on people like yourself. Look into your heart and be logical, God is not so small minded as to let people like us to be able to call into disrepute his truths, this is unholy and insulting to the Almighty Creator, that we could be so powerful to ruin a small religion like the witnesses. If you think your even being persecuted, go to Israel or Palestine or Afghanistan, then you will see what persecution is. On a smaller note look at the poor witnesses who are deprived of education, money, friends, relationships. You have actually reinforced my position as it’s so sad to see you defend a crumbling, weak, doctrine.One point last point, we don’t need to fool Jehovah’s Witnesses, they are already fooled, and duped and exploited. Please either bury your head in the sand and continue your life as a non-thnking/reasoning JW, or be open to sensible and diplomatic communication.

  5. The book JW called “Prince of Peace” reading “Who is not in the organization went under the power of Satan. Explain to me who are the ones who are” incorrigibly wicked “Mr. Sam Thorne.

  6. I don’t know about anyone else, but I would class the governing body of the Watchtower to be among the “horribly wicked” – there IS hope!

    • whoops! should have used the same terminology – “incorrigibly wicked” as quoted by Sam Thorne; either way you ‘get my drift’. ..

  7. Reading Sam Thorne’s comments tells all of us that he either never was a witness or is lying. How insulting to all of us who grew up with those very armegeddon images that were featured in the video and who experienced exactly those terrors when we were Jehovah’s witness children. Shame on you Sam Thorne for not doing at least a little bit of homework before posting about something you obviously have no clue about.

  8. I did this to my children, I am so ashamed.

    To Mr. Sam Thorne …

    The Watchtower, September 1, 1989, page 19, “Only Jehovah’s Witnesses, those of the anointed remnant and the ‘great crowd,’ as a united organization under the protection of the Supreme Organizer, have any Scriptural hope of surviving the impending end of this doomed system dominated by Satan the Devil.”

  9. It is thought by their organization that the entire world around them who “take no note” of their “message for salvation” will be destroyed . This places all “non-believers” in the incorrigibly wicked category with an assumed little-to-no exception . Their “message of salvation” is sadly off track compared to that of the Word of God . In fact they contribute to the problem of the world taking little note of the true message through our Savior . If Witnesses were allowed to express what they really believe about Armageddon , there would be great diversity in their conclusions .

  10. I didn’t mean to stray off subject , but had decided to comment on Sam Thorne’s thoughts too .

    On the subject of pedophilia tolerance , the same problem exists , regarding this organization that scares people off . And our Master’s words have certain application for the religion : “. . . You travel over land and sea to win a single convert , and when he becomes one , you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are .” (Mt 23:15, NIV)

    How many seasoned pedophiles are reformable ? Why allow them a relatively safe haven ? Is this what Jesus meant by forgiving 77 times ? Does He expect us to apply common sense ?

  11. Pedophilia is something like what that brother was doing in the congregation of Corinth . He was having relations with his father’s wife . Perhaps she was his step mother , or maybe even his own natural mother . That man was told to leave the congregation , by direction of Holy Spirit , through Paul’s letter . Pedophiles in a Christian congregation ought to be ousted and shunned also , until enough time has passed for them to remorse over their deeds . Usually , in our time , this will involve some jail time when they are discovered . Why don’t the JWs understand this much on how to handle pedophiles ?

  12. Scarlet, I cannot believe your precious son said or thought that. Also I am the same in a way, my partner is religious but not to the extreme, but myself I have to know everything and I question everything, if it doesn’t sit well with me I wont believe it. xxx Glad your living life and moving on xxxx bless you

  13. I remember very distinctly as a JW going door to door when a householder would say “But you believe that only JWs will survive Armageddon!” Our stock reply would be “Oh noooo…Only God can read hearts and He will decide who survives.” All the time we knew that our own literature was very decisive about only baptized JWs IN GOOD STANDING would survive. And we were very cocky about it. Like it was some kind of E Ticket that we held just because we carried Blood Cards that we would be shielded and protected and even as we spoke to that householder…we saw he and his family going up in flames or being swallowed by the earth as depicted in our own literature. And we would walk away from their homes, picking the houses we were going to live in when God had emptied them…for us. Poor Sam.

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