Watchtower

Former Jehovah’s Witness and Activist Mark O’Donnell Discusses Michael Jackson, Leaving Neverland, and the Profile of Child Abuse Predators

2020-05-15T14:42:34-04:00May 15th, 2020|Blog|

I watched the HBO Documentary Leaving Neverland and the follow-up Oprah special that interviewed the two abuse victims and have been wanting to write a blog about the series for a long while now. Leaving Neverland is a 2019 documentary film directed and produced by the British filmmaker Dan Reed. It focuses on two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who allege they were sexually abused as children by the pop icon singer, songwriter, and entertainer, Michael Jackson. The four-hour documentary offers incredible archival footage and gives a very detailed description of events. However, I feel strongly that the documentary [...]

Watchtower Leadership Uses COVID-19 to Frighten and Recruit, Plus Interview With Former JW Member Cliff Henderson

2020-03-20T14:52:41-04:00March 20th, 2020|Blog|

With the recent pandemic, COVID-19, thousands, if not more, "doomsday" cults are using fear to ramp up their claims that the "end is near" and frighten members to stay in, recruit new and reactivate former members. The Watchtower has been saying Armageddon is imminent for over 100 years and falsely prophesied an actual date 4 times. Children are shown horrifying videos of all "non-believers" being destroyed and believers living forever on planet earth. (Yes, they are actually taught and continue to teach this.) Jehovah's Witness leadership recently released a video about COVID-19 on their website. Governing Body member, (one of [...]

Ex-Jehovah’s Witness Mark O’Donnell on Latest Developments & How to Help and Heal

2020-02-16T13:53:17-05:00February 16th, 2020|Blog|

This month, there have been quite a few developments in the Jehovah's Witness community including a recent documentary, a newspread in People magazine, major legal developments, and more. I invited Mark O'Donnell, former Jehovah's Witness turned writer, researcher, and activist, to discuss these events in detail. (You can read his story here.) Here are some of the high points we discuss, along with additional links for further explanation. People Magazine In the February 2020 issue of People magazine, there was a two-page article that featured former Jehovah's Witnesses as they discussed their alleged abuse within the organization. The article, "Sex [...]

The BITE Model and Religious Cult Groups

2019-08-02T13:27:54-04:00August 2nd, 2019|Blog|

Since my deprogramming from the Moon cult in 1976, I have come to learn of countless thousands of groups that I have never heard of before. Are they cults? Do they use mind control? Is it brainwashing? As an expert on destructive groups and mind control, I am often asked to give my opinion about specific groups and organizations, including religious ones. In fact, there is a wide spectrum of healthy and unhealthy influence. Individual experiences vary within the same organization based on how the individual conforms to the norms of the group. I have developed an Influence Continuum which shows [...]

Jehovah’s Witnesses, Child Abuse and the Child Victims Act: A Discussion with Mark O’Donnell

2019-10-31T11:44:25-04:00July 29th, 2019|Blog|

In the last year, we have seen a major change in how sexual and child abuse is viewed and handled by authorities. In the #MeToo and #ChurchToo era, more courageous survivors are safely telling their stories. Even cult leaders are being held accountable for abuses they inflicted. For example, recently NXIVM leader Keith Raniere was convicted. Other harmful groups are also being sued such as Scientology. Attorney Marci Hamilton, founder of the nonprofit think tank ChildUSA, is accomplishing many victories. I previously published a blog and video of her talk about my forensic think tank at The Program in Psychiatry [...]

Highlights from my EXJW Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything)

2018-12-16T19:12:23-05:00November 29th, 2018|Blog|

Top Ten Questions & Answers On Monday, November 19, 2018, I participated in my first ever AMA (Ask Me Anything) for r/exjw on Reddit to an overwhelming response. Reddit users interviewed me by posting questions which I then answered on the Reddit forum. I want to thank Kimmy O'Donnell who helped arrange it and everyone for their support and contributions. My opening post directed the discussion, "Good morning. I will be available for the next 24 hours to answer your questions. We can discuss the Jehovah's Witnesses and how they fit my BITE model, how to help family and [...]

Time to Abolish the Statutes of Limitation for Child Sexual Abuse!

2018-12-16T19:40:23-05:00October 18th, 2018|Blog|

"Children's Rights are Human Rights" is the first thing you see when visiting the CHILD USA website. CHILD USA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit think tank dedicated to protecting kids and preventing abuse. Its two founders are law professor and author Marci Hamilton and Dr. Rita Swan. Both are dedicated to ensuring children receive proper medical treatment (but do not provide direct services). Marci is the Founder and CEO of CHILD USA, which is the successor organization to Rita Swan’s CHILD Inc. I have had the opportunity to meet and know both of these extraordinary activists through my involvement on the advisory [...]

Malice Found by Jury in Montana Watchtower Society Sex Abuse Case

2018-12-16T20:47:55-05:00October 11th, 2018|Blog, News and Updates|

The huge decline in membership due to critical information on the Internet, as well as lawsuits, are forcing leadership of older established clergy organizations, like the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Mormons, to try to find ways to cope. In the case of Watchtower, documents listing predators have been leaked. Also, in the case of the LDS Church, documents are being leaked and put online. Long term dedicated members are realizing that they have been systematically lied to about the actual goings, causing large scale defections. Psychologist John Dehlin was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for speaking out about a need to change their policy [...]

Tired of Being “On The Fence” With Your Life?

2018-12-16T21:10:57-05:00August 23rd, 2018|Blog|

Beginning to Doubt and Question There are moments when almost anybody can become disillusioned when in a totalistic, or rigid and intolerant, group (or controlling relationship). Losing one’s “faith” can happen for a wide variety of reasons. Maybe they become aware of some discrepancy or hypocrisy in the doctrine or in a leader’s behavior. Perhaps someone they respect decides to leave or is labeled an “apostate” by leadership. Exposure to critical information is a very common reason people begin to doubt. Destructive mind control groups try very hard to keep their members away from negative information about the leader, [...]

The BITE Model and Jehovah’s Witnesses

2018-12-16T20:48:05-05:00August 2nd, 2018|Blog|

August 2, 2018: This past June, I did an online survey on influence to conduct, analyze and publish research on undue influence. Scientific data is required to help establish specific evaluation criteria to update legal and social policy in the United States and around the world. The initial results of my research show that former members of the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses report many meaningful behavioral criteria. With over 700 respondents, there is significant preliminary evidence that both groups use specific methods and techniques that influence how a person thinks, feels, and acts to instill obedience over conscience.  I formulated the [...]