BE FREE 2023 PEACEFUL PROTEST

The protest against Shunning, Child Sex Abuse & the Blood Doctrine of the Jehovah's Witness Organization

The first amendment protects the rights to assemble and express views through protest. 

BEFREEFROT
BeFree Protest October 31st 2023

Peaceful protests are carried out because its focus is to be seen, it wants to be noticed, to have a lasting impact. It’s a non violent act to cause a political shift and a difference. Some get nervous about protests because in the past it’s been deemed as a negative act, a physical representation for change- and many do not like change. 

That is exactly why former Jehovah’s Witnesses showed up in front of the White House on October 31st, 2023. Because Change needs to happen.  

 In the beginning of 2023 word went around the former Jehovah’s Witness community, active/ inactive Jehovah’s Witnesses, and its advocates about a day for anybody to come join an organized legal and peaceful protest. It was regarding the importance of exposing the shunning and child sex abuse in the Jehovah’s Witness organization. It was named ‘BeFree2023’. Its website is listed below the article.

Though this protest was on Halloween ‘The day of Evil’ in front of the White house at 10 A.M. the date for the protest was chosen on a day for ones who do wish to attend the protest are able to dress up masked, especially if they are PIMO- Physically attending their meetings as witnesses but mentally do not follow their routines and doctrines. This is so if they wish to not be seen and are not ready to be fully out of the Organization. We wanted to make sure that those who feared the reasoning behind the picked date was not in relation to demonic practices, but simply for those who can hide there faces if they wish to.

We ask if you know of any media outlet that may like to cover this protest in an article, reach out by commenting below so we can get in contact with tme.

 Though many wished to attend but were unable to because of work, family, it being on a holiday or that it was on a weekday- It was recorded that around 200 people were able to show in person. Online though, on 3 different video streams at the same time:

Rick Fearon: 250 people

EXJW Diaries: 600 people

EXJW MJ: 100 people

watched online around the world. It’s estimated that around 950 people were watching and rooting for the ones able to attend on the live streams. This means we had about 1,150 people showing up in attendance for the protest. By November 5th, 2023 all channels of this protest had been watched on Youtube with over 16,000 views. 

I have written a short outline on the speakers protesting who had told very touching speeches about their lives being a Jehovah’s Witnesses. Their personal experiences and the message’s they wish to convey regarding the Jehovah’s Witness organization. 

If you wish to see the entire protest on video, ‘ExJW Diaries’ Justin has uploaded it. You can find it here:

The BeFree 2023 Protest against Shunning, CSA, and the Blood Doctrine

I am only using first names for the privacy of the activists who may choose not to have their full names present. If the advocate have a Social media handle it is linked next to their name in bold.  You will find also in bold the sayings they shouted during the protest;

The BeFree 2023 protest started with announcements by Justin, who runs a Youtube channel ‘ExJw Diaries’

Note: The views expressed below do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of AvoidJW.

Justin-ExJW Diaries

“They will hold your family hostage, the only way to get them back again, is to go back to the religion yourself. That is not freedom of religion. That is not free rights.

“They hide known podophiles. When you keep changing the rules, people die between them.

“For Everybody who has lost somebody, for everybody who has lost their lives due to the no blood transfusion doctrine. I also want to give a moment of silence to the Jehovah’s Witnesses and former Jehovah’s Witnesses- and  everybody who has been a victim of Child Sex Abuse.”

 

Will 

“Everyone who grew up in a highly controlled religion never would have thought we would be here today. Our story is about the power of love. We are the experts in our field, we have lived it, we can help people make real change. We are here to expose human rights issues.

“These evil practices must be forced to be banned.

“The shunning of children is a human rights violation that should be forced to end.

“I don’t want to talk about this subject, I don’t want to express what has to be said, but if not me, if not us, then who? This religion systematically covers up abuse. When you are in this religion you are trained to not go to the authorities, but to your local elders.”

“Will also goes into how Child Pornography is not a Victimless crime. This is stated because the Organization’s Elders manual, Shepherd of the flock of God’ chapter 14 par.11 states that ‘Child Pornography is not considered child sexual abuse from a christian standpoint it is still a serious violation of Jehovah’s standards. A person involved in viewing child pornography should be strongly counseled. Depending on the frequency and extent of his viewing, he could be subject to judicial action”– even though in reality outside of these organizations, it is illegal and a criminal shameful act. This is one of the many illegal teachings in this organization.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.”

Shepard of the Flock of God- Elders Manual regarding Child Sex Abuse

Brandy -niece of Stephen Lett

“In 1948 the declaration of human rights was that everyone had the freedom to change religion. Yet everyone here today has remained tethered by invisible chains. Barriers built by the very community that we once belonged to. Shunning is a systematic act of social rejection. A deliberate prison for those who diverge from accepted norms or beliefs. Even when a religion has not officially announced our disobedience, still the congregation knows when to shadow ban you. The pain of shunning is profound. You’re being treated invisible by the ones you love simply because you chose to listen to your conscience. This psychological and emotional severance can lead to mental health challenges. Including extreme depression, anxiety, and in some cases even suicide. This is not freedom. This a prison of conformity, Where walls are made not of bricks, but of silence. The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of every man are silenced.”

“Let them be free”

Justin 

Protect the Children”

“Mandatory reporting for all 50 states”

They can continue not to report pedophiles. This is why groups like the Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t report to the police – instead of protecting children, they want to protect their organization, not to bring reproach on Jehovah’s name”

“Protect the children, not your reputation”

Pablo

Goes into a personal instance where his cousin molested a 5 year old.

The elders disfellowshipped him, the perpetrator, but never reported the abuse of the 5 year old. The cousin went to Mexico and was reinstated back with a new congregation that had no knowledge of what he had done in his previous congregation. 

Both of Pablo’s sisters were also sexually harassed by an older man in the congregation. 

“Church leaders are not special, they should not be. I want lawmakers to know 4 things

  1. Clergy must be mandated reporters. No loopholes or exceptions
  2.    Mandated shunning is not a personal choice, it is an abusive policy and distills fear and shame by group leaders who want a high level of control.
  3. Mandate shunning is abuse that causes the victim actual pain. Pain is equivalent to physical harm
  4.  Mandated shunning is a crime that must be recognized by the law. It destroys families, it hurts those who are shunned for the ones who are loved.”

Justin

“In a 1947 January 8th magazine Watchtower  criticizes the catholic church for their use of excommunication. 5 years later they change their policy with disfellowshipping.  Even to this day, somewhere on earth, at someone’s mid week meeting, an elder would say those 7 words and change a person’s life.  “____ are no longer one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

“This is blackmailing people to stay in their organization by threatening to take away everybody that they care about. This mandatory shunning policy seeps into every aspect in their life. They are giving nothing back. This organization is doing nothing for the world. There are children dying from the blood policy, this is not an exaggeration. If you don’t believe it, look it up.”

“All religions must respect human rights!”

Rick-Rick Fearon Radio Program

Rick Fearon was another livestreamer there that day, and has his own youtube broadcasting radio show that interviews and takes callers that are interested in more information on the harmful acts of their organization or would like to converse on a certain topic.

“There’s so many who have left this organization due to protesting. It’s good to be free. Aren’t you glad you are free from the Watchtower? It is no longer wrapped around you. I was a 3rd generation Jehovah’s Witness I was in the organization for 50 years and I have to tell you really, It puts a lot of control on you. I have over 50 relatives that have nothing to do with me because I have left. I’ve been speaking out against the watchtower for 18 years on my radio program, every Saturday night I haven’t missed one. We are there because people come in from all over the world, and they voice their thoughts and many of them are PIMO’s. We were told that to be able to get a job in the world it would be like rearranging furniture on the Titanic, and we all believed that.  SO many people today gave up careers, and gave up on school.”

“Many don’t know that we were both of the anointed class, yet when I talked about the different kind of hope we had I was told to not talk about it. I was invited to New York and befriended Garett Losch, one of the Governing Body members and after spending some time with him it opened my eyes to how the organization was.

“It boils down to Watchtower being nothing more than a big business masquerading as a religion. It’s all a good game. How could the organization do this to us? When my wife and I realized all of this we were so disappointed. I started protesting when I realized how evil they are. In 2005 we were disfellowshipped for apostasy. As many here will say the same thing. Aren’t we glad that Satan kicked us out of his organization?”

Ivy

“I had written a 4 page letter to the branch, an extensive letter explaining the  verbal, physical, financial abuse that was going on in my life, and I got a letter back that basically said ‘keep your chin up, you’ll be okay’. That left me torn to have to make my mind up to watch out for myself and my mentality and also for my daughters well being. Shunning is an abusive practice. They control your money, mind, wardrobe. This organization gaslights all their 8 million people around the world. This is a worldwide issue, a human rights issue. We have generations of people who are separated for no reason. We need to come back to normalcy when we are kicked out. That period of being exiled and your whole reality being turned upside down is extremely painful. The  mental anguish you go through. Every single day. Brushing your teeth, cooking on the stove, putting clothes in the dryer, the thoughts that creep in “Am I still doing the right thing, am I on the right side? You give it your all when you are a Jehovah’s Witness. Your whole soul, mind, strength. You were handicapped and disabling yourself without realizing it.”

 Ivy then shouts on how they are NOT a charity organization. Taking tax dollars back to the watchtower, they are not doing food drives, there are no utility vouchers, they are taking the dollars from their members. They care about the money. Cease their stuff, repeat after me-

“Shunning is inhumane!”

Pylice- youtube channel totally awake

“I am a 3rd generation witness and was baptized at 15.”

Pylice woke up to her baby daughter needing a blood transfusion, she had no blood, she couldn’t breathe. and the thought of the organization teaching to allow your children to die for God sickened her. Around the time her daughter was born she also learned about all of the harmful doctrines and was waking up from the watchtower.

“I can’t fathom how people can let their child die, refusing life saving medical treatment that God had allowed man to perform. How unloving is that? I realized that yes I will allow myself or my daughter to take blood to save our lives. Blood is sacred, but not more sacred than life. For decades countless lives have been lost due to their rules of the blood doctrine. Children have been published in an awake magazine for giving their lives to this. They shouldn’t have even been considered to die for this organization. Praising them for their deaths. Our hope is to bring a scope to change receiving life saving blood is a personal choice”

“Preserve yourself alive, blood saves lives.”

Awake May 22nd 1994 featuring a few of the young children who have died because they refused blood.

Justin

“Did you know The Watchtower accepted blood transfusion before? Then they changed it, then it was nothing at all. No blood at all. They have changed their doctrines so much. Through these changes, people are dying. Children are dying. Lost over a religious teaching that has no biblical background. This is their messed up interpretation.” 

“There is a magazine of kids that lost their lives for no blood to encourage other kids to give up on their lives for him. For this organization.”

A protester holds a blown up poster of the magazine he is explaining, Awake May 22nd 1994 featuring a few of the young children who have died because they refused blood.

Karla

Karla Goes into the few choices women have in their lives as Jehovah’s witnesses.

“How much the Shunning hurts people is what we are talking about as well.”

“My father was disfellowshipped by a corrupt elder body. He confronted them about some shady business going on with the donations in the congregation. He was going to report on them, and they disfellowshipped him. He was devastated,  my life was uprooted, we moved away from everything we knew at 10 years old. I saw the mental anguish for him. It took  him years to get reinstated and he was never the same.”

“There are 2 types of shunning- Soft shunning, and hard shunning. Cult experts will tell us that every single cult shuns. They do it as a means of control. To control their members and to control the people around their members. We are still controlled even when we are out. Even when we are living our lives of freedom. It’s bullying, it’s cruel. We should all have the right to religious freedom.”

“Respect human rights”

BEFREE3

Wyndell

“You guys don’t recognize how amazing you all look, you are the greatest people on the earth. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. On September 11th 2023 we commemorated the 911 attacks in 2001. Many of us remember a pristine beautiful Tuesday morning that turned into a horrific nightmare. September 11th has a whole other layer to it for me now as well. Another sad remembrance.”

“On September 11th 2022 I had voluntarily left the organization because I didn’t agree with their practices and theologies. We should be able to walk away freely. All of my family were still in the organization. I understood the ramifications. I didn’t bother them, but this hit home for me. It was September 11th of last year and I was going through an extremely difficult time. I reached out to one of my siblings to see how they were doing. I sent a simple text after a long time without them not in my life. My sister replied back that she could not speak to me. A strong realization hit that I could be dying in a ditch and they wouldn’t care. What exactly is the Shunning policy? From a Watchtower publication, How to remain in god’s love p. 241 par 17

“When someone is disfellowshipped we have no more dealings with that person. Biblical record from 3 john “do not receive him into your home or say a greeting to him” 

“They are calling this a loving provision. The Watchtower’s views of disfellowshipped are like an “infectious disease.” Surely that can’t apply to family members who have an open heart and  are genuine? October 2019 Watchtower

“despite our pain of heart we must avoid contact with a Disfellowshipped member by emails, texts, Social media, phone calls. In any way.”

“I’ve seen someone come back just for the sole purpose to see their families again. Their policy has really killed people.”

“Shunning violates human rights!”

Albert

“I know of almost 100 men who were elders and Ministerial Servants who committed crimes and were not reported. Then they left these congregations to commit more. We don’t want the database of people who were investigated for stealing a bag of chips, we want the persons involved with pedophilia. The congregants don’t know these guys are still roaming around. I have 2 younger children, my family will be sitting around in these halls. This is supposed to be a loving organization. These guys don’t stop. The indoctrination is real.” 

Larry

“Stay alive till 75! 1914 is when Christ will return and the saints will be raptured up to heaven. I was born into the truth, but after graduating Highschool I full time pioneered for 3 years, then went to Brooklyn bethel for 5. I was a local elder in the Bronx, New York.

“Charlie Russel was a 19th century religious crank and quack. Joe Rutherford was a tyrant, an alcoholic, and drunk in that order. Fred Franz was coco for cocoa puffs. When I was at Bethel because of a particular job I had, I was able to meet members of the GB. I knew Fred and Raymond. Raymond Franz at Bethel was a good man. We had dish duty, none of the higher ups would ever do dish duty except Raymond. He always did his dish duties. It shows you what kind of man he was.

“We should use our lives now to achieve happiness, and accomplishments, be all you can be now. What should our message be? Think for yourself. Don’t let anybody else do your thinking for you. Live your life for yourself. Be free, breathe free, spread your wings wide, soar like the eagle.”

Fran and Joe

“I’m out because of this guy!” Joe’s wife points to him “ And We are out because of you guys!” Joe points to the crowd. “Our goal is to inform the people around this organization so that they can get out, it’s a process. It will work, but it takes time. We were not born in, we were catholic looking for the true religion and found the Jehovah’s Witnesses with our 4 children to bring them up. Now, all 4 children are adults and are now shunning us, but now we have so many adopted children all around that we feel we are their mother and father. Let me tell you, we will not shun you.”

Salena

Salena is known for a recent tik tok video of her asking the whereabouts of Tony Morris after he was removed from the Governing Body.

“I wanted to come out to show support. I grew up in a different way: A tiered organization. A lot of the information is different from what I have. Everybody has a piece of the puzzle. I wanted to bring attention to Child Sex Abuse, mine started at 6 months old till 11. It was known by 37 elders and the Governing Body, it was personally covered by Tony Morris. We were threatened and intimidated by Tony Morris. I do not condone violence. This is not your shame to carry, it’s theirs.”

Maleah- website on Overcoming Religious Trauma 

“As a Jehovah’s Witness for 40 years, I was molested 3 different times by 3 different witnesses.”

Malia was counseled by scriptures from her elders, and told that since there was not another witness there that there was nothing they could do. She was even disfellowshipped at 16 once because she wouldn’t stay silent as the elders instructed her.

“Now I am the person that I always needed as a child.” This kind of person is who we all need to be. The one that wasn’t there for us when we needed someone.”

“The Jehovah’s Witnesses are going to say that this is a persecution. It’s on Halloween, so look what Satan is doing, right? This is not persecution, this is holding them accountable for the abuse going on with children, men, and women worldwide today. When I confronted the elders about my abuse I was asked if I could just forgive them. My abuser is still a ministerial servant today. I got a letter from the Governing body that I should be disfellowshipped.”

“My program for Religious Trauma is helping people have a voice, and I’m using my experience that was horrible and horrific to go through but it relates for me to so many that don’t know how to talk about it. We need to keep sharing”

“Protect the children”

Justin

“Talk to your senators, You can email them, write letters, some you can even call. It’s very important we get those messages to those people. In this house.” He points to the white house “We have to get these messages to them because they have the power to change these rules.”

“Mandatory reporting in all 50 states!”

“There is a Trauma chain. A lot of times the very same people that are doing the abuse were also abused. As we report this stuff we can not only prevent more kids from being abused, we need to make sure the ones doing the abuse get the correct rehabilitation that they need.

“Tell your story. I know it’s not fun to talk about. Find a youtuber that you like, join them. Tell your story, and they can help. 

“It’s important that we come together and unify.”

They ended with all protesters shouting, “All religions must respect human rights”; “Protect the children, not your reputation”; “Mandatory for all 50 states”

Statement from former Jehovah’s Witnesses who attended the protest:

“When I made the decision to attend this protest, my wife’s immediate reaction was one of worry and even tears due to her indoctrination. The organization is notorious for instilling fear across various aspects of our lives, portraying protests as something to be dreaded. It makes you question the hidden reasons behind this fear. However, our ability to speak out at this protest was evident in why they’ve wanted so many of us to remain silent. They push this fear when instructing their members to “reject the voice of strangers,” as Stephen Lett would say. They weaponize it by silencing anyone with an open mind through disfellowshipping. They silence us with their two witness rule, informing us that by abiding by this policy continues to paint Jehovah as a God of peace, that discouraging actions against this rule might disturb that supposed peace. With this rule, sexual abuse continues to escalate. They convince you, speaking to the authorities would be upsetting Jehovah, tarnishing his name and what seems to be a flawless organization. People within the organization are indeed imperfect, which they too often relate to, so errors can occur, but for them, the organization itself is portrayed as infallible. Fear is the key they use to maintain their dominance and restrict access to hidden truths. This protest demonstrates that we are no longer afraid, and we aim to show everyone that facing your fears can lead to gaining more than what you might have lost. Once the chains that once silenced you are shattered, and you witness your fellow captives breaking free too, you no longer sense entrapment. Those you were incarcerated with become more like family than your blood relatives.” -ExJW MJ, MA, U.S. as ExJW MJ on youtube

The Former Jehovah’s Witness community is planning on another protest for the year of 2024, this would be 110 years after 1914. Further information will be posted. 

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Miss Usato

Aiding Transparency to Watchtowers teachings. If you have additional information about this topic or would like to reach the author- Please email [email protected]

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