Originally published on Danish Media, TV2 by Jonas HR Moestrup
Listen to audio recordings from the meeting, where Ann Celina faced three strange men to explain her sex life.
In 2016, Ann Celina decided that she would no longer be a part of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
She had begun to see a guy who was not a Jehovah’s Witness and whom she was not married to. Life, in “the free world” as she refers to it, drew on her.
She hoped she could quietly slip out of the Jehovah’s Witnesses without any consequences. Without having to lose contact with friends and family.
But such a life is sinful according to the rules of the religious organization.
In the spring of 2017, she was summoned to a meeting with three so-called elders – leading, male members of congregations within Jehovah’s Witnesses. She was to account for her new life.
What the elders didn’t know was that Ann Celina made a sound recording of the meeting in order to document what was said.
TV 2 is in possession of the recording and provides excerpts here.
PART 1: Elder asks about her sex life
The reason for the meeting was that Ann Celina had had a very private conversation with a woman who was related to Ann Celina’s ex-husband.
But the woman had recorded their conversation without Ann Celina’s knowledge. The recording had ended up in the hands of the elders who asked her to relate things she had said about her relationship with the new guy in her life.
PART 2: – We are trying to help you
Ann Celina explained to the elders that she had difficulty accepting that they used the recording against her. They discussed back and forth, after which the elders turned the conversation over to why they held the meeting – they are trying to save Ann Celina’s relationship with Jehovah.
PART 3: Can she see her family?
Ann Celina knew well which way the meeting would turn. She did not repent of the sin the elders accused her of. She knew it could end in expulsion. Crying, she asked what it could mean for her relationship with her family.
PART 4: – You have somehow asked for this yourself
The elders explained that in fact, it was Ann Celina’s own fault that she ended up in this situation where she risked losing her family. They explained that they must stick to Jehovah’s principles.
PART 5: The Judgment: – Of course, it’s something that hurts a lot
The three elders left the room for some minutes to determine the fate of Ann Celina. The elders were not in doubt. She had to be expelled.
PART 6: – Your family will be sad, in the least
Ann Celina was prepared for where it was going. She knew the rules. But the thought, that if she could not keep in touch with her mother, father and little sister, it wouldn’t be something she could bear. The elders stood firm.
PART 7: – It’s the toughest punishment
The elders explained that expulsion is the toughest discipline a member can be exposed to. They said that Jehovah wanted to see her sad. It was Jehovah’s punishment in the hope that she would return to her faith.
The elders finished the meeting with a talk about how the expulsion should be practically done. The meeting ended and Ann Celina left the room.
She had a week to tell her family what judgment she had received. Thursday, April 6, 2017, was the last time she saw her family.
Ann Celina has since written letters to them, but they have never returned.
Ann Celina does not want her last name mentioned for the sake of her family. The editors of TV 2 are familiar with her full name.
Jehovah’s Witnesses did not want to be interviewed for this case.