Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath (2016) s03e00 Episode Script

The Jehovah's Witnesses

What is happening here may be unique in American history.
The marchers you see are not protesting unfair labor practices or advocating a political cause.
They are here to challenge the conscience of the wealthy and powerful Watchtower Society, better known to the public as Jehovah's Witnesses.
Jehovah's Witnesses have a massive international organization with millions of members and hundreds of millions of dollars.
You can't see the hurt that we feel.
But we have so much pain because so many of us are separated from our families because of the Watchtower Organization's rules.
Unfair, unkind, unloving, un-Christian rules.
The organization sets itself up in the place of Christ.
And that is something that the Bible does not teach.
The reason we are here today is to attract attention to a genuine false prophet, a genuine false prophet that Jesus warned us about.
They have lied to us.
They have deceived us.
And we have that document the evidence.
How is everybody? - Welcome to church.
- Yeah, really.
Thank you so much.
I feel so far away from you still.
Hello! It's nice to have a woman in charge.
She's not in charge! Mike is in charge.
But really, we want to thank you guys.
The reason we are here tonight is because we have been reached out to many times over our series of Scientology.
And people have made the connection between Scientology and the Jehovah's Witnesses.
We know nothing about the Jehovah's Witnesses.
We went into this like, well, what is it.
And why is it being connected to Scientology? And so, we're really here tonight to listen to your stories and to learn.
Hopefully, we will do right by your stories.
We feel like we owe the people who have asked for our help to actually do something.
There's a lot of people watching this who will be saying, thank you for doing this.
I think like most people, what I understood of Jehovah's Witnesses were just that they, you know, knocked on people's doors.
They were certainly lovely people.
And they just wanted you to join.
But as I started to look on the internet, like, what is going on with the Jehovah that people keep saying, you know, it's just like Scientology.
Take Scientology, add eight million members, and you've got Jehovah's Witnesses.
Well, that's what is so crazy, Lloyd.
It was like, eight million? Like, wow, this is much bigger than our little cult.
Once you get in, it's hard to get out.
Right! But also, what was really shocking to me was the similar policies.
There's policies, and the policies are everything.
So it is very similar.
I just want to make sure that, ultimately, we don't lose sight of the fact that it's easy to make fun of belief, but what we're really interested in is focusing on the abuse and the hurt and the pain that people suffer as a result.
They're not separate things.
You can't get people to do crazy stuff unless you get them to believe that this is the only way to get to where they're going.
You know, like, if you don't have the idea that there is something greater, something that you're going to achieve, some carrot at the end of the stick, you're not going to get people to whack that stick.
You've got to have the carrots.
Armageddon is absolutely central to Jehovah's Witnesses' belief and practice.
So look at the world today, a Jehovah's Witness might say.
What do you see? Corruption, lawlessness, oppression, and poverty.
Then imagine a world where none of those things are there.
A world at peace, tranquility, harmony.
And then imagine what would be necessary to move from this present stage of corruption to that stage of peace and justice.
That movement, that cataclysmic change is the battle of Armageddon.
And that Armageddon, for Jehovah's Witnesses, is not just a distinct possibility in the future.
It could happen today.
It could happen tomorrow.
It could happen next week.
So the crucial concern, then, becomes proving yourself worthy to survive, because time is short.
And Jehovah god will soon lay low this wicked system of things.
And not everyone will survive.
We will not need doctors or lawyers after Armageddon, but we will need carpenters and plumbers and similar construction trades.
It requires faith to decline higher education and have the confidence that our material needs will be cared for by training in other fields.
The idea of Armageddon in the minds of the Jehovah's Witness is that the world is under the control of Satan.
We are on borrowed time.
The Gentile times is like a period in which humans have been allowed, as an experiment, to prove that they fail at governing themselves.
And all of the chaos in the world is attributed to the fact that they have failed.
And what will fix the problem is Armageddon, when the whole slate gets wiped clean by the annihilation of everyone who basically isn't a Jehovah's Witness.
Which is 99.
9% of the world's population.
And we have been told that it can happen with a natural disaster.
There will be floods, fires, all types of things are going to happen.
But the world will be destroyed as we know it.
From the time that you're a child, you're taught, this is the truth.
And you're told it's the truth.
And if you do not follow the truth, you will be slaughtered just like everyone else that's not a Jehovah's Witness.
Imagine from the time you're a toddler, as long as you can understand words, you're being told Armageddon is coming any minute.
If you're not 100% doing what the witnesses tell you to do, you are going to die at Armageddon.
It gets so embedded in your soul and in your consciousness that I had the most horrific nightmares for at least 10 years after leaving the organization.
That nightmare was always the same.
The sky was black.
I am laying out on the ground as if I'm crippled, reaching out to my family, who is all standing there with their arms crossed.
Just looking down at me, shaking their head.
And they all just said, you made your choice.
You decided to leave God's true organization.
OK, so the concept is that everybody would die, everybody would be cleansed, and you all would survive? 144,000 will rule from heaven.
The rest will live on an Earth that is a paradise.
So there's eight million Jehovah's Witnesses, but only 144,000 of them will make it? Go to heaven.
Go to heaven.
The others will be in the paradise on Earth.
In your current body? Yeah.
You'd grow to perfection during a 1,000 year reign.
So, like, 25, 30, I'm guessing.
25, 30.
You would grow to perfection, so yes, you would grow to your healthiest state.
And also, you would live with like, animals would not be carnivores anymore.
You'd be living with tigers and lions and petting them? Yeah.
I was also taught that there was going to be a Resurrection, that people would be brought back to life in this new world.
They teach you to be good salesmen.
I remember I would look at obituaries and find people that have lost someone and write them a letter, and then go contact them.
And right away, in their grief, they were ready to hear something.
Oh, live forever? My child or my grandma could be resurrected? I believed being a Jehovah's Witness I'll get to see relatives who have died, family members who died, loved ones who have died.
And especially when my mother died, my thought process was, that's the only shot I've got at seeing my mother again.
So I need to be the best Jehovah's Witness I can be.
Just because you identify as a Jehovah's Witness, though, doesn't mean you're going to make it.
Because if you are not 100% faithful in your heart and only God knows your heart then you also could be killed at Armageddon.
So you're taking a chance.
You're not sure if you're going to make it.
Right.
And it really sets up the congregation to where you're always watching your brother and sister.
Are they truly faithful servants of God? Well, I thought I saw him going into an R-rated movie, I'd better tell the elders.
So take us through, really quickly, how it's set up.
So you have the governing body.
They vote themselves in.
Think of it as an old guys' club.
And they will decide for themselves who joins.
Then below the governing body committees, you have branch committees, who are responsible for each of the countries.
From the branch committee, you go to the circuit overseers.
The circuit overseers make sure that all of the individual congregations are in conformity with the organization as a whole.
And underneath the circuit overseers, you have in each congregation the bodies of elders, who are again responsible for making sure that the policy is implemented, that the judicial matters are handled according to what the governing body want them to do.
So God is talking Jehovah is talking to the seven or eight dudes in New York.
Yeah.
What I'm trying to understand for me.
Jehovah is talking to somebody.
- Mm-hmm.
- Yeah.
Right? And they're like, uh-huh.
Writing it down, got you.
Got you.
Got you.
They would say that they're reading the Bible.
And as they're reading the Bible, the ideas are coming to them.
But rather than it being their ideas, it's guidance from Jehovah.
OK.
And then that teaching is sent down in this you keep referring to publication.
So is that the Bible? I don't know what that is.
It's their publications, "The Watchtower".
So they write they write They write these publications, yeah.
You don't really have policy books with "Watchtower".
What you have are the literature.
You have "The Watchtower" and "Awake!" magazines.
You have the books.
You have documents that are eyes only.
Some documents are only for people who work at the headquarters.
Some documents only for elders.
And the ordinary Jehovah's Witness doesn't get to see many of these documents.
But they're all bringing the policies down, the new light down.
And they're all enforceable, regardless of whether you have all the information or not.
We're being indoctrinated.
We're taught not to question.
We're taught to repeat, repeat, repeat.
It's underlined.
It's repeat.
You don't ask a question.
You don't give your opinion.
You don't take it out of context in any way.
You have to follow what's written by the word, 100%.
The governing body loves you very much.
The elders love you very much.
And these ones will tell you the truth, even though at times, it may not be what you want to hear.
They will not tickle your ears, perhaps like ones at school or in the neighborhood who don't really love you or have your best interest at heart.
But please believe those who will tell you the truth because they love you.
So what is the life of a Jehovah's Witness? Like, the everydayness of it.
Filled with a lot of guilt, for one.
Every thought you manifest in your brain, you question.
Oh gosh, you know, have I have I had a wrong motive, a wrong desire, a wrong thought? So your daily life was consumed with what you were doing for Reading, studying.
your church? Even when children go to school, they are told, it's your responsibility to preach while you are in the classroom.
That's your special territory, because the congregation can't get into your school.
Only you can.
So you're not just going to learn, you're also going to teach.
Yeah.
Well, my childhood was, well, Sunday morning, we go to what I now reference as church or the Kingdom Hall.
Then there was the door-to-door work after that.
Monday night was home Bible study.
Tuesday, school.
Tuesday night, meeting.
Wednesday, school.
Wednesday night, preparing for the Thursday night meeting.
And Thursday, school.
Thursday night, meeting, which is two hours long.
So you have little kids who are out at church until 9:15 at night.
Sometimes people would go out and service Friday nights.
Or they'd have a big get-together and study for, maybe, service the next day.
So then Saturday, you get up.
You have Saturday service, and maybe that goes into the afternoon.
And that's before you reach the age of getting a job.
It's 24/7, 365.
We don't deviate from any other activity, other than what is to serve Jehovah.
We didn't celebrate holidays.
I remember having a costume party for the kids in January.
Oh, next assembly.
We are not to have any kind of costume parties, you know, at the assembly.
And I'm like, for freak's sake.
It wasn't for a holiday.
It was for little kids to dress up and have a good time! So I want to ask you, so there is but there is no celebrating birthdays, right? No.
There's no Halloween.
There is no Christmas.
No.
Growing up as a Jehovah's Witness, you're not allowed to celebrate Valentine's Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Mother's Day, Father's Day.
Definitely not your birthday.
There's no commemorations.
And in school, if you're lucky enough to go to public school and not be home schooled, you can't get involved in any extracurricular activities.
So it's a very lonely experience.
As you're a child and you're constantly thinking about Armageddon, one of the things that's very important to you is to make sure you're following all of the rules.
Saying no to the things you're supposed to say no to, saying yes to the things you're supposed to say yes to.
But finding out that things were bad when I didn't even know, when I was trying to do what was right in school, and then coming home to find out that I did something wrong.
For example, I can remember an occasion where there was an election for a class president, you know.
I was in the third grade.
And, you know, I did my little mental checklist.
OK, yeah, I guess that's fine.
So I, you know, I ran and I won.
And I was very excited.
And, you know, I gave a speech and all of this stuff.
And I came home and I told my parents, hey, I won class president.
And they kind of just looked at each other like, mm.
Son, we have to talk to you.
Only to find out that that's also wrong in the eyes of Jehovah's Witnesses, because of their views on politics.
When you go into your young mind, you know, your growing up, everybody felt alienated.
Everybody felt, you know, they wanted to be part of life.
Going to a regular school, you know, it had to be really hard and painful.
I mean, already it's hard to go to school.
You already feel insecure.
You know, you you're being looked at.
Everyone wants to be just the same when you're going to school.
But, I mean, I would have to sit outside in the hallway while they were having a party for whatever holiday, and look like I was a bad child.
I never got to go to the skating parties or school dances or be in any sports.
And, you know, now I know a lot of people I went to high school with.
And they'll just assume I was there.
And I'm like, no, I was never there.
But what happens all the time is it becomes normal.
You start to think, well, this is normal.
And actually, I don't like Christmas.
And actually, I don't like birthdays.
So that by the time you're an adult, you don't feel as though, in some cases, you lost out.
Sometimes you do.
But most witnesses, if you ask them, do you resent not celebrating birthdays? They'll be like, no, I'm happy without that.
Well, yeah.
No holiday has a special meaning to me.
And I don't know who else can speak to that, but they just don't.
And I've been removed for a long time.
But they just never had that special meaning that you would get from being raised with something like that.
It's not that I hate them or I'm against them.
They just don't have any special meaning to me.
Because you have no memories connected to it.
No good memories.
We sat in the library or outside of the classroom.
We never were allowed to associate or participate.
I want to ask everybody here, like, your feeling toward holidays now.
Do any of you have a hard time, like, remembering people's birthdays or getting excited for Christmas? It's all different for us.
Because we all grew up this way.
We don't relate to holidays, even now.
Every little thing has to be controlled by the Jehovah's Witnesses.
Because if they give you something like a birthday, well, then you realize, I do have value.
I do get one day out of the year where I'm happy and this is all about me.
And we get to celebrate.
They need to make sure you know you're nothing.
You're absolutely nothing.
Everything needs to go to the glory of God, towards the religion.
And why would you want to be doing any of these things anyways? Because it's not serving God.
We should not let anything distract or impede our spiritual progress.
We don't want to miss opportunities to strengthen our faith, to bond with our brothers and sisters, and most importantly, to bond with Jehovah.
I remember a kid who just wanted to ride his bike, a BMX competition or something.
His entire family was looked down upon as if they were just shitting on the bottom of your shoe.
Right.
Just because he wanted to ride a bike.
I remember my heart breaking when I would see the kids not being able to play sports.
But if I went home and I told my parents, I would really love to wrestle.
Not only is that against the Jehovah's Witness teachings, not only was I wrong for that, I would now be an embarrassment to my family and to God.
Everything is, am I doing the right thing? Is this the correct move? Is this what a Jehovah's Witness would do? That level of indoctrination week in, week out, it stays with you.
And it changes you as a person.
When I was in the first grade and I was five years old, there was this kid that I used to play basketball with at lunch and recess.
And I remember, on one occasion, he made a statement indicating that I was his friend.
And at the age of five or six, that sent alarm bells off in my head.
Because this worldly kid just referred for something I've done has made this worldly kid think that I'm his friend.
So the next day, I showed up at school and I spoke to him while he was on the basketball court.
And I said, you know, yesterday you said we're friends.
But I'm very sorry, you're not one of Jehovah's Witnesses.
So we can't be friends.
You can't even create friendships with anybody in the school or your neighborhood, because they're worldly.
They're destined to destruction at Armageddon.
And it was a terrifying feeling to think I could be playing with this little girl or this little boy the next day, and then, all of a sudden, they I could be watching them all die.
It's not normal to be raised as a child and going to school and looking around at your classmates and thinking, Fred, Sally, Emmett, they all deserve to die if Armageddon comes tomorrow.
That is not a healthy way for a child to be raised.
How many actually told other kids that? I remember saying that to close friends.
But you're going to die if you don't become a Jehovah's Witness.
And I love you.
And, of course, they're looking at you like they know that old age is going to get them, at least.
But we thought we were going to live forever.
Keep studying the truth.
Keep spreading the truth.
Keep loving the truth and Jehovah, the god of truth.
Hold fast to the truth as to a lifeline, as this is what it is.
By staying faithful, whether you'll survive Armageddon or are resurrected in paradise, you will be a victorious champion of truth.
So disfellowshipping is when one of the members commits a sin, breaks one of the rules.
They're brought in front of a committee of three of the elder men.
They decide whatever crime or whatever sin that they committed is worthy of them being disfellowshipped, which is you are basically shunned.
The people in the congregation are not allowed to speak to you.
They're not supposed to speak to you, say hello.
Including your family? Including your family.
What are the sins that get you brought in front of this committee? Well, they can be the things that you could typically think of, like, you know, having sex with somebody who you're not married to.
Fornication, they would call that, or adultery.
But it could be things that the Jehovah's Witnesses have deemed sinful, like smoking cigarettes or celebrating the holidays.
Or a person could be disfellowshipped if he came to an understanding and didn't believe that the Jehovah's Witnesses were the true organization of God.
Then you also could be disfellowshipped for that, too.
The elders have a book that they use called "Shepherd the Flock of God".
And it is a book exclusively for the elders.
So if you're not an elder, which the vast majority of Jehovah's Witnesses are not, you don't really know how serious your sin is.
Really, you can be DFed for anything.
DFed? DFed is what we in the know call it.
OK.
Because I want to be in the know.
I don't want to be saying I explain it to outsiders as excommunicated.
If you don't believe to the letter whatever the teaching is, the accepted teaching at that time is, you are worthy of death.
And why were you disfellowshipped, Nate? I've been disfellowshipped twice.
When I was 19, I fell in love with a beautiful, worldly girl.
And being a good Jehovah's Witness, I was hoping to convert her, bring her into the flock.
And so, I went to the elders.
And I said, she's coming to meetings now.
I would like to be able to study with her.
And the elders said to me, we hear that you've been seeing her on the side.
Has anything been happening? So I said yes.
And they started quizzing me right then and there on what happened.
I was crying.
I was confessing my sins.
And they just said, no, we no longer want you in our congregation.
You will be disfellowshipped.
When you get excommunicated, disfellowshipped like that, it's just devastating.
They took away all my friends.
They took away all my family.
So all I was left was alone, crying to myself.
I have deserted God and God has deserted me.
I literally started self-harming myself.
I need to punish myself more than what I was getting from the organization.
It drove me to a point of near insanity, to where if suicide wasn't an even bigger sin, that may have been my option.
I attended the meeting where I was disfellowshipped.
When I walked in, everybody greeted me, said hello.
I sat in the back of the hall.
Once they announced my name as being disfellowshipped, at the end of the night, I walked out and nobody said a word.
For six months, I went to every single meeting.
After six months, I wrote a letter.
I would like to be considered for reinstatement.
They kept delaying the meeting with me over and over, because it just wasn't convenient for them.
And why is that, Nate? Why did you feel you need to get back in? Because this was all I knew.
That's what really gets me.
Because I will have people cross a room to come up to me to shake my hand, but my mother wasn't at my wedding.
And she doesn't call her granddaughter.
And I look at this and I'm just shocked.
And I've had to come to terms with this.
That I bought a big dining room table years ago, with the thought of someday having a future of a family there.
I am the start of that family.
I am the trunk of that tree.
It starts with me.
And I will never be able to have her come to this table.
She is more than welcome to, but she will never choose to.
You are taught from the time that you are an infant, as early as you can understand words, this disfellowshipping is a part of the Jehovah's Witness doctrine.
If they don't have anything to take away from you, then there is no real threat.
And that's how cults really work.
I chose to be disfellowshipped because I wanted out of their religion.
I purposely got disfellowshipped.
And how did you do that? I was dating a worldly man, and was just out in public with him and willing to be seen.
Because I knew there would be an issue with it.
And I was trying to figure out how to get out of the religion.
And what what was happening before that, Sharon? Like, what was because you guys were born and raised in it, right? We were, yes.
So fully indoctrinated, fully living the life, right? Yep.
So what was happening? So I believed it was the truth.
I could not live it.
Our life was built around Jehovah's Witnesses.
It meant going door-to-door as much as you could.
It meant making all the meetings.
It meant doing all the studying.
And it felt like the more I had to do, the more I couldn't.
I felt like if I stayed in, I would die inside.
And I couldn't please that God, no matter how much I tried.
So you're dating this worldly guy.
Yes.
You're out in public, acting crazy.
Holding hands in public! Going to dinner.
Right, right, going to dinner! And another Jehovah's Witness saw us and reported it.
Our dad tried to move us without addressing the issue, initially.
Just said, we're moving to Oregon.
The next day, we're moving.
And I said, I'm not.
And then he addressed what had been told to him about this.
And it was hard.
It was a really hard situation.
But I just I wanted out so badly.
And so, I did that.
And I was kicked out the next morning.
I was allowed to stay overnight.
- Wait.
And you were kicked out of your home? Yes.
And how old were you? I was almost 22.
And I remember from Sharon is that Dad gave her an ultimatum to stop seeing the man or to be gone by the next morning, is really what it boiled down to.
No preparation, no anything.
It's just like the beginning of the ultimate act of shunning is what it was.
She wasn't disfellowshipped yet.
None of that had taken place.
Our father's as hardcore fundamentalist as they come.
He's an elder.
We were born into the religion.
We traveled the United States.
We moved as many as three times a year, city to city, state to state, school to school.
We never really had a foundation.
So our life was 100% Jehovah's Witness.
So Sharon was raised to be that model woman in a patriarchal society religion.
And she chose against it, ultimately.
But she hadn't been prepared to go out into the world.
She was prepared to be the wife of an elder.
I was 17 when my sister left the house.
And the direction that we were given by our father after our sister had left the house was that Sharon was no longer going to be living with us.
She wasn't going to be part of being our family, and that we were going to move forward without talking about her anymore.
And that was the end of that.
Is this some theory that by disfellowshipping you, it may bring about your salvation? They think you are doing you a favor by doing that.
They are applying love by prompting you to want to reach out to get reinstated.
But what that amounts to is emotional blackmail.
It's been said many times you can look at it online and in their speeches and stuff that the reason that they don't talk to people is so that you will want to come back.
They've said they've cited that as a reason, that people miss their families.
I have a four-year-old daughter, who my father has never met.
I think, how could that possibly be? That someone who you have brought into this world, who you would lay down your life for, you can no longer speak to? And I can only imagine it torments him.
My father came to visit us.
And I finally worked up the courage to tell my father, Dad, I don't think it's God's organization.
And there was just a few seconds of stunned silence.
After that, I said to him, it's very likely that I could be disfellowshipped.
And his answer was, Lloyd, it would kill me, but if it came to that, I wouldn't speak to you.
The disappointment in his voice was tangible.
And I remember breaking down in tears, because I felt I was failing him.
So the relationship with dad now is virtually non-existent.
I visited the family home back in England.
And I saw that my dad's hedge was massively overgrown.
And clearly, no one in the congregation had been helping him.
So we bought a card and posted it through the letter box and said, we will be visiting you tomorrow.
And I will cut your hedges, so please leave me access to the tools.
So I called the next day, wondering what would happen.
Would he be there waiting for me? Had he had a change of heart? And what we found was that the house had been abandoned.
And he had left access to the tools.
So I got to work cutting the hedges.
And my wife said, I think your dad just drove by.
And so, I said, really? And she said, yeah, I'm pretty sure it was him.
He was circling the block, waiting to see when we would leave.
And he never came to meet his granddaughter.
And we left without with that opportunity being wasted.
I know one thing that I shared with my daughters that I wish I could take back.
I believe someone had gotten disfellowshipped, and we were talking about that principle and why it's done.
And I looked at my two baby girls and I said, you know, if Mommy ever did something to be disfellowshipped, I want you to stand firm.
Because I will come back for you.
Well, I didn't know that once I was disfellowshipped, I would find out the real truth about Jehovah's Witnesses and many of their policies and practices and have a crisis of conscience, where I can't come back.
It would be hypocritical to go back in order to speak to different loved ones, especially my daughters, yet stand up for something that I find so manipulative and controlling.
It's something that people fear.
And what happens for example, what happened with me the reason on paper that I was disfellowshipped would have been for being with a woman during that period of depression, when I was just very confused, didn't know what was going on.
That's something that also took place.
So when I spoke with the elders, that's what they keyed in on.
I was a ministerial servant, which is basically an elder's helper.
I was a regular pioneer, which meant that I devoted 70 hours per month to the door-to-door ministry and basically evangelizing.
But in spite of being that busy, I couldn't help but have some serious questions as to what was supposed to be my belief system for a number of years.
And I made an effort to just always push that down.
During this period, I had not been living a life according to Jehovah's Witness rules.
So I called up an elder.
And I just mentioned everything.
I told him about my doubts.
I told him that I was really struggling to try to continue to believe this.
I wanted to believe that this was true, but I was struggling to do so.
In 2016 is when I was announced as no longer being one of Jehovah's Witnesses after being disfellowshipped.
Ever since I got disfellowshipped, and, you know, haven't been able to communicate with my parents, I've made several very desperate attempts at trying to almost force my parents to acknowledge my existence.
Probably seen Jehovah's Witnesses standing at public transportation stations and things of that nature.
And my parents have a post, and I knew when their post was.
So I remember going to where they were.
And I remember my mother just staring at me, you know.
I walked up to her.
And she it was like she had seen a ghost.
She was staring at me.
She couldn't move.
And she just started bawling.
She's literally convinced that if she were to talk to her son, God is going to destroy her.
I'm one of five children.
Not a single sibling of mine has even spoken to me, sent me a message, waved at me.
Unfortunately, as difficult as it is, I have to accept the fact that I may never have a relationship with them again.
And that hurts.
I heard through the grapevine that my brother, who was my best friend, that he had gotten married.
I showed up at the wedding.
Not to create a scene, but just to I just really needed to see my family.
My father was basically saying, you know, how would you why would you come here? And I was just trying to plead with him to just listen to me for a second.
You know, I was hoping to just get, hey, I'm happy to see that you're alive, or something so that you know, of that nature.
And instead it actually turned into a blowout.
I was really just emotionally, like, screaming at my father, begging him to just try to understand that I tried to believe this.
The next day, after the wedding and that whole spectacle, my father called me.
And since I had an audience with him, I was like, is there anything we could do just to have a relationship? And my father did say, you know, if I get cancer, I'll let you know.
I haven't had any meaningful communication at all with my parents since then.
It's been about two years.
I've tried to call.
Silence.
Heartbreaking.
I work in the court system.
And so, I often times will see, you know, convicted murderers, convicted abusers and all of these other things, right? And it's established, at least legally, that they've actually committed these horrendous crimes.
You know who is almost always in the audience? Their mom, their siblings, somebody from their family.
They're not condoning what they did.
And I think to myself, what great crime have we committed that is to that extent? Where we're not even worthy of you looking in my eyes as my mother or as my father? Disfellowshipping can be painful discipline, but there is a purpose for it.
Let each of us be resolved to let nothing undermine the effectiveness of Jehovah's discipline.
Remember that loyalty to Jehovah is the glue that holds our spiritual life together.
So let nothing, even the improper course of a disfellowshipped family member, weaken that bond.
While it is a strong measure, it certainly has its benefits.
It keeps Jehovah's organization morally clean and his name from reproach.
I was kicked out ultimately because I had sex, I did drugs, and trying to commit suicide.
All that happened in the same night.
That's a busy night.
I flipped out.
And I was disfellowshipped for all three of those things.
Jehovah's Witnesses, I remember the day that they came to our neighborhood.
We lived in the projects, so it was a little weird to see all these white people just knocking on doors.
And my mother was one of the doors that they knocked on.
Right after I graduated high school, I went through all the steps that it took to become a Jehovah's Witness.
I went into field service with my mother.
I went and knocked on doors.
Before, when I was in school, I had my schoolmates.
Now I had no excuse to associate with anybody that wasn't Jehovah's Witness.
And so, my circle of friends was getting smaller and smaller.
And I was spending more and more time alone and getting more and more depressed.
I thought, well, I'm going to do a worldly thing.
And to me, a worldly thing was like, well, let's do some drugs.
So I do the drugs.
And I knew I have committed the grossest sin possible.
I know that I'll be disfellowshipped.
So I had already decided that I was going to die.
But why, Jerry? Why did you Why did I try to commit suicide? Because I was always taught that this world was horrible and that Armageddon, the end was going to be really bad.
And I was afraid that I wasn't going to make it, I wasn't good enough to make it.
And I was also taught that there was going to be a Resurrection, that people would be brought back to life in this new world.
So for me, I thought I have a better chance of being resurrected than trying to get through this and dying in Armageddon.
Because you were a failure.
Yeah, and I You felt that you were And I felt like God would understand that I'm just too weak.
So I'll go ahead and I'll do this.
And also, we were also always taught that the wages of sin is death.
That's a scripture or something like that.
So I thought, well, my sin is paid for.
I died.
And then I'll be able to come back.
I think the first thing I did was I tried to run my car into a wall, ended up hitting a barrier.
I took my mess of a car home and I overdosed.
My mother came home.
She called an ambulance.
And then after that, my mother asked me to leave the house.
Now in any of this time, Jerry, like, I mean, is there any counseling as we're leading up to questioning your faith, you wanting to commit suicide and harm yourself and your life? That was the biggest thing, because I was going through a big depression.
A lot of my friends were having the same problem.
I was depressed.
I wasn't given any help, was not feeling any better.
And I would constantly go to the elders and say, hey, I'm not feeling good.
I'm depressed.
And they would tell me to go out and field service more.
It just wasn't working for me.
And then, when I did try to commit suicide, I didn't get any counseling.
I was in the hospital for a few months, and I never saw any of the elders, any of the brothers, any of that.
And I was also told that one of the reasons I was being disfellowshipped was because what I did was public.
I tried to commit suicide.
I had to go to the hospital.
And people knew all of my crimes.
And so, that was another reason why, because I'd made God's organization look bad.
Right.
What's going on with Jerry, our brother, our friend, our son? It's.
You're making the organization look bad.
And for that, you're being punished.
But again, there's no there's no counseling you through this, which is what I understand being spiritual is about, right? Getting comfort and getting guidance.
And at his lowest point, when people should be flocking to him to support him and build him up, the basis of this organization is conditional love.
Everything stems from that.
Without unconditional love, you have nothing.
The man that was my best friend for 10 years, their brother committed suicide.
He was raised in an organization where he was told, if you do exactly as we tell you to, we will love you.
If you're perfect, we will love you.
But no one is perfect.
And so, he made mistakes.
And he didn't want to be a part of that.
And he was disowned by his family.
So Sharon left when our brothers were 10 and 11.
And I left a year later, and our brothers were 11 and 12.
And we were out of their lives.
We had been disfellowshipped.
We were two things, no longer allowed to be involved with the household, and speaking for myself, I honestly had no desire to be involved in my household.
I had two younger brothers that lived with my parents still at that point in time, Randy and Robert.
And I didn't want to interfere in their life and what they had as their mission.
And I didn't want to interfere with my brothers' options as to what they were going to be doing or how their life was going to become, whether they stayed a Jehovah's Witness or whether they chose not to be a Jehovah's Witness.
I was just going to let the paths take the paths that they were going to take.
It wasn't until about 12 years later, Robert had told me what it was like when we left.
And I remember him telling me the story of him and Randy being 15, 16 years of age and discussing that they do not believe.
They do not want to be part of this.
They can't wait for the day that they're old enough to leave it.
And they are preparing to exit being Jehovah's Witnesses.
And at that point in time, Randy said to Robert, you know, one of us has to stay, or it'll kill Mom and Dad.
And Randy is the one that ended up staying.
Meanwhile, Robert's gone and started his new life of this MMA world and becoming very successful at it.
And his mission is for our family to be together.
And it's what he's stayed focused on ever since he's left.
So in 2006, Robert reached out to Randy.
He reached out to our parents, to bring back a family reunion up in Oregon.
Our parents declined.
And Randy and his wife both agreed to come and meet with us.
In 26 years, that was the first time part of our family had been together.
And Randy and I started staying in touch.
And on October 5, Randy sends me an email.
He's on top of the world.
He's starting a new career.
He's happy.
Just sounds like he's at the pinnacle of everything for him.
It's the most excited I'd heard him.
And October 8, I get a phone call from my brother, Robert, that Randy had hung himself.
It's OK.
It's OK.
We're going to get our family reunion.
Brutally so.
I made arrangements for all the family to come out there.
The first night we're there, they've got everybody down in my room.
And we had a reunion.
And it was like we'd seen each other yesterday.
It was no different.
I mean, it was like everything was normal, even though our brother has passed away.
It just seemed very normal for our family to be back together.
We go to the service.
The elder that got up and gave the eulogy, it wasn't a eulogy.
All they talked about was Jehovah.
They didn't talk about my brother.
They didn't talk about what he did.
They didn't talk about what happened.
All they talked about was Jehovah and the new world order.
And that they don't miss a beat on marching to the beat, ever.
Not in the most horrific of times.
We made arrangements Robert, Sharon and I to go see our parents.
We spend five, six, seven, eight hours there with them, talking like old times.
And it's time for us to leave.
We've had a great time.
And Mom comes walking in the room.
She's kissed me 5,000 times on the cheek while I've been there.
She's held my hand the whole time.
She doesn't look happy anymore.
And Dad said, we've given this a lot of thought.
I think it'd be a good idea if we don't meet like this again.
Wow.
And we left.
We went home.
Robert and I sat up till 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning, drinking, talking.
I've never seen Robert angry.
This was what he wanted, under the direst of circumstances, he got.
And here it was, ripped away again.
And he was devastated by this.
It put him into a tailspin of depression.
It's the end of 2017, December 3.
Robert had come in to Los Angeles for a fight.
I'd gone to visit him and watch the fights with him.
We're walking down the sidewalk.
And he gets real sullen and real quiet.
And he says, I wish I was a strong as you.
6 foot 4, 210, bad son of a gun.
And I'm shocked.
I'm like, what do you mean? He's like, you've always been able to deal with adversity so well.
You've always seemed to be so strong with things.
I wish I could be like that.
That was on December 3.
On December 12, his girlfriend calls me and said, have you from Robert? And I said, no, I've been trying to get a hold of him all day.
And she's like he's disconnected all of his Facebook, all of his social media.
December 15, Friday, at 1:00, I called the police and gave them his vehicle license number.
And within a few minutes, they transferred me to the coroner's office.
He had committed suicide on December 13.
One of us has to stay, or it will kill Mom and Dad.
One of them stayed.
It killed him.
And he didn't believe in it.
And the other one that wanted us to be a family so bad, and couldn't stand the shunning, couldn't stand the pain that went along with that, ultimately took his own life as well.
I will be back.
That family disintegrating, and how it impacted those two young boys who lost their brother and sister which was almost like a death to them at that point in time, because they were never allowed to talk about their brother and sister who had left the house, who had been kicked out of the house, who were no longer part of the family was worse than having them die.
They're gone.
They're it's like they never existed.
They were erased from that life.
And they loved their brother and sister.
So that cult and what it has done to our family is about as devastating as you can get.
We understand that we do not primarily preach to save people's lives.
Jehovah's praise is more important than the salvation of people.
Why? Because Jehovah is more important than people.
I called my father after the disfellowshipping.
I said, can you please just keep me for a week? Just keep me for a week.
And I was 36.
He said, Shannon, you're disfellowshipped.
You'll have to go to a homeless shelter.
I've lived in a tent at the lake, when I lost a job and an apartment because I didn't have anywhere to go.
But yeah, that's what your family will be willing to do.
As I got older, and people would be disfellowshipped in the congregation, they would come in just as the meeting was starting.
And they would sit down.
And usually, our family would sit in the second-to-the-front row.
And many times, the front row even though they have to walk past everyone it was left empty.
And so, there was one sister who had been disfellowshipped.
And she sat right next to one of the exits, which was in the front row.
And I remember breathing very shallowly whenever she walked in, because I was afraid that I would be contaminated by her disfellowshipping, as if she had a contagious disease.
They're not taught love.
You're not taught compassion.
You're not taught to have loyalty to your blood.
You know, you're just like I don't hear any of that.
Well, I mean, it's just you have a higher loyalty, and that's to the organization.
It's so deep, what you feel from the pain and loss of family.
I know my own mother, I don't think that she wanted to be a Jehovah's Witness.
She loved holidays.
She loved her friends.
She enjoyed smoking.
And my father was an elder, but this is something he had set out for his family.
As she was going through so much depression, and the brothers knew, and they told her she doesn't go to a doctor.
You don't go to worldly doctors, don't take medication.
Meanwhile, they're also thinking this could very easily be the end of the world.
So on September 25, we came home from school and we found her under the exhaust pipe in the garage, because she had given up.
She couldn't do more for Jehovah.
She couldn't get her depression under control.
And just, like, you know, you don't have a way out.
You don't get to find help in your family, that's supposed to be there to, you know, give you some empathy and compassion, and remind you of the goodness and value within you.
They're not there.
She couldn't tell my dad.
She couldn't.
And just like your brothers, I mean, they couldn't seem to get the that it's just torture to them.
She was done trying what she could within herself.
And trusting Jehovah's Witness policies and guidelines, she'd done everything she was told.
But she couldn't find the happiness or fulfillment that she needed to continue living through it.
This is not religion, for people to grow up this way.
I think it's the weaponizing of family relationships.
And we are not built I mean, I'm not an expert on psychology, but we're not built as humans to handle it when people turn their backs on us, even if it's for a few seconds.
People? Your own mother, your own father.
Exactly.
And we see the results.
Yeah.
So a year prior to Randy committing suicide, Robert had talked to him.
And that was when Randy had shared with him that he did not believe, but he had no other place to go.
He was afraid to leave.
Especially if you think you're doing something wrong, if you were raised that way to believe that you are the devil, you know? That you you're not worthwhile to live.
Up to 120 people take their life in the United States each day.
How sad.
Though very rare, due to depression, even some true Christians have taken their life.
But generally, we are a happy people, aren't we? A young mother died last week after giving birth.
She'd refused a blood transfusion, because it went against her faith She needed a blood transfusion, a medical practice that goes against her faith as a Jehovah's Witness.
My brother was engaged to a beautiful young woman.
And he suddenly got ill.
We thought he had pneumonia.
Then they realized his lungs were filled with blood, his kidneys were failing.
He had a rare illness.
And he needed a total plasmapheresis.
In other words, they needed to take his blood out it was poison and put in new blood.
This is obviously something that Jehovah's Witnesses do not allow.
Imagine finding out the one medical thing you cannot do for your loved one is what your loved one needs.
The elders, of course, spoke with him.
And they said, well, you know, you've got to remain faithful to have everlasting life and have a hope for the Resurrection.
So as scared is a 22-year-old or anyone would be who is getting ready to get married, youth at his fingertips, he said, OK.
I won't take blood.
And they did what they could medically.
They cleaned his blood.
But he did die.
And I was a part of that.
My mother was a nurse.
And she was often called to hospitals in the area when a Jehovah's Witness was being pressured by a doctor to take blood.
And what she would do, she would come in and she would be a part of a committee and just surround that person, that patient, and encourage them not to take blood.
I had a really good friend who didn't go to the same high school I did, but he lived in town.
So we would hang out a lot.
And when we were 18, he had a brain aneurysm.
During the time that he was in the hospital, the doctors informed his family that he needed a blood transfusion.
And his family refused for him.
And he ended up dying.
He became a martyr.
Instead of a 17-year-old kid dying, it was, this 17-year-old kid gave his life for Jehovah, because he refused to have a blood transfusion.
There's an "Awake!" magazine that the Jehovah's Witnesses published that was entitled, "Youths Who Put God First".
And there's a picture of maybe 20 or 30 kids that died refusing blood transfusions.
You have a situation where a parent feels that it would be better for their child to die, rather than accept a blood transfusion, because of a teaching that was dreamt up in 1945.
And how a judge doesn't intercept and say, absolutely not! Judges are starting to do that now, thank goodness, so that the real horror stories And how many kids have died? How many parents have died? How many That's the tragic thing.
Because how do you reverse that policy now? When you've got so much blood on your hands, how do you hold your hands up and say, actually, we got that wrong.
They can't.
Let's talk about the treatment of women, how women have no voice in the Jehovah's Witnesses.
Women are not allowed to be in any kind of executive position.
They take very literally passages that say women ought to be silent.
They use that to say, well, we can't have women teaching.
So that's why you'll never see in any of the videos that are produced by Jehovah's Witnesses you'll never see a woman giving a speech.
It has to be a man.
Aside from that, I guess they're allowed to do cleaning of the Kingdom Hall.
How nice.
As a woman, as a sister in the congregation, it's highly patriarchal.
And I would venture to say even misogynistic.
The general tenor of most congregations is that women I think second class citizen doesn't even come close.
It's more of you have your place, and it is way below man.
There's a lot of victim blaming that happens among the witnesses.
Whenever there's a judicial committee, they do question a woman who has been a victim of rape.
What were you wearing? Where were you at? Did you ever encourage him? So let's talk about how women are taught to be subservient.
I mean, it's in the teachings, right, that if a woman is being physically, sexually abused, mentally abused, that it is on her.
Ideally, you would teach by example.
So by treating your husband with this submissive respect, you were eventually they're going to come around, and you're they'll change.
They call it winning them over without a word.
The only grounds for divorce is adultery.
It doesn't matter if he's beating you.
You have to be a good Christian wife.
Don't say Christian.
That's the message that they're given.
I know, but you're repeating it.
That's exactly what happened to me.
I got married really young.
I became associated with Jehovah's Witnesses when I was 13.
Many of us teenagers, we were in a rush to get married.
Because we thought that if we made it through Armageddon, we'd have to be single.
And nobody really wants to be alone.
So I got married in 1974 to the first guy that came along.
And it was the biggest mistake I've made in my life.
The young Jehovah's Witness boy that I had married became extremely abusive.
I was taking it for a while, but then I started to get really upset about it and angry.
What was the frame of mind, being a Jehovah's Witness? Well, my frame of mind was that, you know, I was supposed to be a submissive wife.
I thought, is this being a submissive wife? So I went to go tell the elders and I had a talk with one of the elders.
And then he just looks at me and he says, well, why don't you stop nagging him? And I said, well, can't you even talk to him about it? And he says, no, you just need to learn how to be more submissive.
And then he proceeds to read to me a proverb.
And it said something like, better that a man should live up on his rooftop rather than inside the house with a contentious wife.
So basically, he was telling me that I was the problem.
I was the cause of my own abuse.
And so, I lived a very unhappy life for those two years.
But then I found out he was smoking, and You were like, ha ha! This will do it! This will do it.
I had an out on his smoking.
Other people had seen him smoking.
And so, I told the elders, well, now, he's smoking.
Now, can you do something with him? So guess what? They called a committee meeting.
They disfellowshipped him for smoking.
Un-fucking-real.
I wound up with someone very abusive.
But to me, it was like home.
It was the manipulation, the control, the rage, the cruel words.
I felt I deserved them.
I always felt I had done something wrong.
So I was always trying to do something better.
I was empathetic and always forgiving.
And and I I have had to take about a year and a half to understand how my view of relationships has been so skewed by what I was raised to believe.
And I'm an older woman.
I should have learned this by now.
Now, there is something that the apostates are talking about and trying to put forward.
The media's picked it up.
Others have also picked it up.
And that is our scriptural position of having two witnesses requirement for judicial action if there's no confession.
The scriptures are very clear.
Before a judicial committee can be convened, there has to be a confession or two witnesses.
So we will never change our scriptural position on that subject.
The thing that I want to talk about, which is the most shocking, was children and sexual abuse, molestation, pedophiles, and how they deal or don't deal with the situation.
And I was shocked about this policy of the two witness rule.
So Jehovah's Witnesses, when it comes to judicial matters, they apply Deuteronomy 19, verse 15, which talks about needing two witnesses to establish that something's happened.
We're talking about something in the mosaic law.
And really, there's lots of things in the mosaic law that shouldn't be applied, such as killing homosexuals or killing adulterers.
We don't apply that.
So why would you want to apply a two witness rule in all cases, including child sex abuse? So a child or a woman or even a boy can be molested, but it has to be witnessed by two people? Indeed.
And when does that ever happen? You as yourself count as one witness.
You basically need one other person.
What are the chances of that happening? What's even crazier is that a pedophile can go before a judicial committee.
And if they convince the three elders that they are quote unquote, "sorry", they can be reproved, and then not shunned.
But we've been hearing all these stories of smoking cigarettes.
Oh, shunned.
Raping a child? Ah, well, you're sorry.
In my case, I eventually ended up marrying somebody who was a convert.
Turned out that he was abusing cocaine, as well as drug trafficking.
And he was also abusive to both me and my daughter.
And so, I ended up separating from him.
But I wasn't allowed to divorce him in the eyes of the congregation.
I could get a secular divorce, but I would continuously be married to him in the congregation.
So I was disfellowshipped and banished from the congregation.
They told me, we leave you in Satan's hands.
But I still needed to make sure that my daughter made it through Armageddon.
I felt I was going down with the Titanic and there was only one seat left on the life raft.
And I chose to put my daughter in it.
And I gave her up for adoption to a congregation elder.
You trusted them? Yes.
Yes, I entrusted them with my daughter.
I had to leave the only life that I knew.
I lost my family from one day to the next.
I lost all of my friends.
I was upset by my whole routine being changed.
I just wanted to go to the meetings.
I wanted to preach.
And I wanted happy times.
I didn't want to do anything but that.
So it was confusing.
I remember asking my mom, will you ever go back to the meetings? And she said, no.
And I remember saying, OK.
I want to go live with that family.
It's weird to think back that I I just so quick was like, yeah, I'm good without you, Mom.
Because it was Jehovah that actually loved me and was going to take care of me.
When I gave her up for adoption, I felt that I was doomed to die at Armageddon, but I can't let her suffer the consequences for my sins.
And I believed my mom was going to die.
It was I was, like, deciding that I need to go to the Kingdom Hall.
My mom is going to die, but, like, I don't want to die.
I have to do it for Jehovah.
So I lived with this family for two years, between six years old and eight years old.
He's an elder in the congregation.
He is He was well respected.
Yes, he's funny and he loves the kids.
I was excited to live with them and I trusted them.
I knew them.
They have sons that are my age.
I've known them my whole life.
They're my friends.
I trusted them, so they're going to be my brothers now.
It was exciting.
I really thought that's where like, how lucky am I, that my parents chose me? They wanted they're hand-picking me, is how I felt.
I think I was I felt special.
And then, when I was officially adopted and had their last name, that night, he began molesting me.
Are you OK? Yeah, sorry, just need to cry for, like, two seconds.
You just have to cry for two seconds? Yeah.
five minutes.
Sorry.
You OK? It's just sad.
Yeah.
I know.
I'm OK.
I'm good.
You OK, really? Yeah.
Thank you.
Um, it lasted for eight or nine months.
The thought of going and telling his wife, telling my adoptive mother this, I didn't think I would be believed.
Or I thought it was I thought people were going to be mad at me, because I was saying something bad about him.
Because he's he's an elder.
He's looked up to.
And then I ended up telling my friend, which is why I'm fortunate in this situation, for what it is.
This is all predicated, I assume, on the idea that protecting the organization is paramount to everything.
But also, and like Scientologists, they believe that it'll get fixed.
Internally.
Internally.
Or if it needs to be exposed, eventually, Jehovah will do it.
But you don't go run ahead of Jehovah's spirit or Jehovah's organization and make a fuss.
Jehovah will see to it that it's taken care of in due time.
But if you're a child, and you're growing up in Jehovah's Witnesses, and you go to your mother or your father and say, I've been molested.
What is the process? Are you allowed to go to the police? Are you allowed to report this crime? The witness culture is built up on this assumption that there needs to be forgiveness.
There's this thing where you're not allowed to take another brother to court.
And all of these factors together with confidentiality, we need to keep things secret, we can't bring Jehovah's name into reproach all of these factors conspire to bring parents to the point.
And I've interviewed parents who've done this, where they just don't feel they can go to the authorities because of how they've been trained in the witness culture.
We've seen cases where it did get to the court system.
Someone was molested.
Years later, they end up in a courtroom.
The victim is by herself.
And on the other side of the courtroom, is the molester surrounded by the congregation.
The molester actually has the support of the congregation, while the victim is in defiance of God's law.
And truly, that word reproach is brought up again and again.
You don't want to bring reproach upon God's kingdom.
A woman came up to me.
She was in her late 20s.
When she was very little, seven or eight, she was being molested by her older brother.
She went and told her father.
I think the father did tell the elders in the congregation.
The elders then moved the boy to another congregation four times.
So this woman, as an adult, then conducted her own investigation, found other victims, went to the police.
And there's no talking within the organization, right? They don't even tell they'll send the pedophile to another congregation.
With no warning.
I have two daughters.
And little did I know, but I find out years later that I'm out, and I have spoken to some women.
Their fathers had molested them.
I had no idea that my daughters could be unsafe.
And I'm just horrified to think that these men could allow me to put my most prized possession my child in someone's arms that has molested a child.
The last day that I spent with Randy, I had asked him in specific about how did the Jehovah's Witnesses handle situations of child molestation, child abuse.
And his response seemed very straightforward to me, but I'm not I'm not involved.
So I don't know.
But he was an elder.
And he said that the elders in the congregations are well versed in the laws of their states that they're in, and that they prefer to handle things internally.
That was it, black and white.
How do you prove that you've been abused? You have two witnesses to the crime.
Who abuses children with two witnesses? Nobody does.
And that was precisely the point.
What do you guys say to the outside world, who will say, there's bad people in every religion? I would point them to the Australian Royal Commission that was convened for Jehovah's Witnesses in 2015.
They are devastating in highlighting specific areas in which the Jehovah's Witness policy regarding child abuse is woefully inadequate.
In my opinion, Jehovah's Witnesses are a cult hiding in plain sight.
The weird thing is when you're a witness, you're taught to look forward to paradise.
And you never imagine in your wildest dreams that paradise is being able to think for yourself.
And the consequences for thinking outside of that very small, restricted box is having to start life over, essentially, at these various ages.
You know, myself at 28.
And having to just learn things, you know, from the beginning.
You know, all over.
And without the support of your family.
Exactly.
And everybody that you've grown up with, or all your friends, or everybody who's ever taught you anything.
All of you here telling us your stories will hopefully do what it did for our group, where Mike started a foundation for Scientologists who are leaving.
Because very oftentimes, we've heard, I didn't believe I had anywhere to go.
I mean, literally, like, I don't know actually where I would sleep tonight.
And having Scientologists as all of your family, all of your friends, you usually work for Scientologists.
You have no education.
A higher education is Heavily dissuaded.
Right.
So they feel there's nowhere to go.
With this series and with Mike, like I said, starting the Aftermath Foundation, hopefully now, people seeing this will there will be more who either come out because of your stories.
And they'll say, I had those same thoughts.
They're not alone.
They're not alone.
And this is they're being sold such a bag of goods.
Like you said, Cliff, it's like, you know, to realize at the end of the day, you know, I could have wasted my whole life.
Who am I without this thing? You know, who am I? And the fact that you believed so wholeheartedly that you gave up your baby.
And, you know, for what you have experienced.
But look at you now.
You're here.
You didn't just get past it, you survived it.
And now you're being an activist.
And you're going to help somebody else who had that happen, that maybe wasn't in the Jehovah's Witnesses, but was in something else, or just was molested.
And to see you here talking out is a huge thing.
And you should feel proud of yourself, and proud of who you are, to be able to come out here and do that.
Because not everybody does.
If any of my family is listening right now If I could give my dad one message I would like my mother to know If there is one thing I want my family to think about If I could send one message to my daughters I love you.
I really do hope that one day you'll be able to just see me as your brother and your son.
I love them and I always will.
I would do anything for you.
I will love you forever and always.
And I will never, ever turn my back on you.
The whole reason I was doing this was because of my daughter.
You're my family.
All I want is to have you guys in my life.
Just know that I love you from the bottom of my heart.
Thank you for being my children.
If you are speaking about Scientology in a way that Scientology doesn't want you talking about them, they are coming after you.
I am scared, because I know how powerful that church is.
The difference between a religion and a cult is what happens when you try to leave.
Oh, my God.
I've just been being followed.
Yep, standing at the front with a camera.
Hey, you want to talk to us? Not necessarily.
The tens of millions of dollars spent by Scientology is being subsidized by every taxpayer in the United States.
And of all the missing executives, that goal, one person wants to do a wellness check on When are the laws going to change to protect people from these cults? I was at my breaking point.
And I was I was done.
I was so desperate to get out of there.
They think they have the right to put somebody away, behind lawyers, behind all of their tax exempt money.
And they just want no one to ask about those people.
Well, that's just too fucking bad.
Where is Shelly? What happened to this very public figure who suddenly vanished from the scene? She could be sick.
I believe that Shelly is being held against her will.
I wouldn't want Shelly to talk to me.
You wouldn't want her talk to you? I'd want her to go to the FBI and finally get the fuck out.
What the cults are trying to do is to infiltrate everywhere they can and take it over.
They are going to buy up our town.
We're getting talked to by the police.
We're sitting here in a park.
We're presenting our case to the world, to the FBI, to the IRS.
We don't have the money that they have.
We don't have the resources that they have.
But do have people like you.
And the truth.
I appreciate your help and for sticking through it with me.
You're a very brave woman.
Is anybody here? We're going to get somewhere, eventually.
We will get somewhere.