Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Former Jehovah's Witness starts support group for those leaving the religion

Dear reader, our blog has moved to a new address.

Do come on over (and change your bookmarks accordingly):

Rachel Underhill claims that seven years ago she was forced to refuse a potentially lifesaving blood transfusion whilst undergoing a caesarian section during the birth of her twin daughters. Rachel, of Telscombe Cliffs, East Sussex, says the decision was taken for her by the dictates of the Jehovah's Witness hospital liaison committee.

Four years later Rachel was able to find a way out of the religion by faking an affair with an old friend, and she has been in the news this week after launching a support group for people wishing to leave the Jehovah's Witnesses - ex-Jehovah's Witnesses Reunited.

Her story provides an insight into the potentially damaging effects of a religion which encourages its adherents to forego the lifesaving benefits of modern medicine, while her support group is reminiscent of the Council of ex-Muslims of Britain, which was recently established to assist those wishing to renounce Islam.


hitchfan said...

Great idea for a site, shame it mainly seems to be full of ads, particularly strange is this one:

"Psychic Reading
Gary Stock
Excellent medium and spirit guide
Ring 07*** ******
£15 for 15 minute reading"

Swapping one silly set of beliefs for another?

Danny Haszard said...

The JWs are a cult because they try to cut you off from others who do not have the same beliefs, including family. Learn more about the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses

Anonymous said...


The following website summarizes 310 U.S. court cases and lawsuits affecting children of Jehovah's Witness Parents, including 100+ cases where the JW Parents refused to consent to life-saving blood transfusions for their dying children:


The following website summarizes over 275 lawsuits filed by Jehovah's Witnesses against their Employers, and/or incidents involving problem JW Employees:


tom sheepandgoats said...

Um....not to be too critical, but if she was willing to fake an affair to find a "way out," (affairs being a big no-no with JWs) then why not just take a blood transfusion if she wanted one?

Look, I realize this is not a religious site, but I'll make this point anyway and trust in a respectful audience. Jehovah's Witnesses are a serious religion that maintain today's world is fundamentally out of harmony with God's will. Not merely on the surface, but fundamentally. So we don't try to put a happy face or "nicefy" today's society. We take some positions which are (in our opinion) in harmony with Christianity but diametrically opposed to today's prevalent thinking.

Sometimes people reaccess, as did Rachel. When they switch one set of goals for another, they may find themselves out of sync with the mindset they repudiated years ago. So they strive to readjust. I've no problem with that, per se, but it would be nice if they would simply own up that they made a decision that did not work for them and move on.

People being what they are, however, most prefer to find a scapegoat, and what better scapegoat than the faith they left? They were "mislead," "lied to," "bullied," etc. Sheesh!

Jehovah's Witnesses are nothing like that. But Christian positions put them at loggerheads with modern society in many areas. So leaving requires more of an adjustment than, say, switching brands of cars. But people change goals all the time in life. Usually they are just able to move on.

Bonnie said...

Are you kidding me? The JW's are a CULT!! This is not a "serious religion", IMHO no religion is what you would call "serious", but when you systematically have any ties to the "outside world" cut off including family, friends, etc. this is done to ensure you will not dare question anything, just follow blindly. In other words a CULT!!! I'm 47, grew up in this awful cult with an abusive father, left when I was 17, have been on my own ever since. I have 3 siblings that will not talk to me because I'm disfellowshipped, my father died never meeting my husband or seeing any one of my 3 children, my oldest is 24, what a shame. This religion/cult has caused a horrible path of distruction through my family, caused me to go through years of therapy because of nightmares that included "demons" on my tires, in my car, etc. Those out there know what I'm talking about. Please don't defend this awful cult, it causes so much pain and suffering, alienating family, friends, associates, etc. all in the name of waiting for some fantasy called armageddon, magic transformation into immortal humans living on earth, while others are resurrected around you. Wow, anyone for the Easter bunny, or the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? Did we honestly really believe this? Looking back as an adult with a clear educated mind, I am appaled that my parents where sucked into this as adults, I was a small child but knew by the time I was about 11 or 12 something was seriously wrong. If anyone has not lived this nightmare, you can learn more about their "beliefs?" at If what your religion/cult teaches is true, is loosing your family, friends, relationships in the here and now worth it? for the possibility of some strange pie in sky fairy tale? Not in a million years.

Lou said...

I feel for you, my husband was also brought up in the faith as well as being mixed race he had a very difficult, lonely childhood.

However, he is inwardly strong but has never wanted children of his own.

He is very bright, passed his 11plus but was not allowed to go to grammar school or unisversity, such a pity, what a waste of a life.

One can easily combine christianity with education unless one is weak then anything could stumble them anyway.

Anonymous said...

JW's are predicting the "end of this system of things" is very close and that only the JW's will survive. To be included you must follow their rules and not ask questions. No other religions are Christian but of Satan---how self important and narcissitic? They cannot even look at any material from others that might contradict their Awake Magazines that have no author. Who knows who writes them except someone somewhere? No information on education or background--no religious training except through the JW's! Total Cult!

Anonymous said...

Right... I'm amazed at how many people here speak of what the know very little about. Quite frankly if you say they're a cult you don't know anything about what you're talking of.

I've recently been disfellowshipped from the JW's and while I don't agree with the disfellowshipping and I certainly don't want to be associated with them I will not sit by and read outright lies and stupidity by people who just hate them for no reason.

My family do not treat me any differently than they did and their religion doesn't force them to stop associating with me. When I was a JW for 25 years of my life I went to school, had a normal education, had friends who weren't JW's had fun hanging out with them, played video games, listened to metal music and basically just lived my life how I wanted. I wasn't told to stop associating with people who weren't JW's or anything like that.

Disfellowshipping is the only form of cutting off JW's do and it's for someone who has known and been deeply involved in the religion become baptised as one of them and then done something seriously wrong and continued to do so or wasn't sorry in any way for what they did. This does not affect anyone who has not been a part of the JW organisation.

As long as I've been a part of it ties to the outside world have never been discouraged. I went to public school and I work. They do however say watch who you associate with because some people can pressure you into doing things that they consider wrong like smoking or whatever which can be the case but often is not.

As much as I don't like the religion and won't be going back and don't believe in what they teach they are harmless but like any other human society or organisation they have corrupt people in it too and I've met enough of them but they are not to represent the organisation as a whole just as a bent copper isn't to represent the police force. Their beliefs are fair and while I don't share them I don't begrudge them their right to believe if thats what they want.

One last though I do think some families do however put unfair pressure on their children to follow the religion. My parents were very much like that when I was younger and it was only due to some fairly heavy rebelling that they said if it's not for me I didn't have to do it and they wouldn't treat me any differently. My parents still love me and we still are a family and treat each other like it. If families who are JW's don't do that and cast their kids out or anything like that they are not real JW's. Also true JW's do not believe that only JW's would be saved at armageddon... they say the righteous ones, which are considered to be JW's but also people who are good people and have the right heart condition they don't have to be JW's. They also beleive that a lot of JW's will die at the end because they've been completely wrong or corrupt or not doing what they should. I know a lot of liars, cheats, pedo's, and just generally nasty JW's so if it was true I couldn't see god saving them fucks.

Anyway my point is... look into something before you bash it. If you don't want to be a JW don't make stupid opinions about them either because you don't know shit.

Lou said...

There is a lot of truth in what you say, I agree with your point because there are some corrupt people it doesn't mean they all are. This goes for any religion or organisation.

However, I think you have been luckier than some in the approach that your parents took with your upbringing. Lots of JW children are not so fortunate, they never socialise or have tea with a friend or have a friend round for tea.

Perhaps it varies from country to country or congregation to congregation.

I know of one person who used to have sarcastic comments made when he missed a Sunday meeting. This would be because his elderly parents lived 2 hours drive away and when he visited them to carry out repairs to their house it would mean missing the meeting. He took the view that he would not be much of a Christian if he put attending meetings above helping his elderly parents. However, the congregation did not see it that way.

You are fortunate that your parents took the view they did, not all JW children are so lucky.

However, I feel that you have made some very pertinent points in what you have said. They are fair and just from both perspectives.