Hey! So you’ve decided you want to take your voice back! Congratulations, you are already a part of the Army! We’ve compiled some suggestions on how other people are finding success and empowerment by using their voices.
Create a YouTube channel and share your story! YouTube activism has become a very powerful platform for getting our ex JW experiences out there to the public. Be creative, be authentic, be you! Check out many examples in our Media/YouTube section on the main menu.
Create A Meetup.com Group In Your Area
Our Connect section lists all of the existing Meetup groups around the world. This enables ex JW’s to connect locally and provide in-person support to one another and form local friendships. If there isn’t yet a Meetup in your area, create one! Be the change you want to see in the world 🙂 And make sure you let us know if you do, so we can add it to our Connect section and advertise for you.
Plan A Peaceful Protest
Join the VAST APOSTATE ARMY (all caps) Facebook group and start planning! Examples of former protests can be found if you search YouTube for the Warwick Protest, the London Excel Protest, The Vancouver Convention Crash, and the Use Your Voice PA Protest. Ensure you look up local protesting laws prior to organization. And of course, we are here to assist you if it is your first time!
“Cart Crashing” and “Kingdom Hall Crashing”
The VAA is probably most well known for doing cart crashes & kingdom hall crashes. These are peaceful protests which can be done spontaneously by one brave soul or as a planned “flash mob” type of protest (as seen in some kingdom hall protests and convention crashes). We avoid advertising planned crashes so as to avoid interference. However, if you would like help in planning one please feel free to contact us. In the meantime, we’ve put together a few suggestions on how to execute a successful “crash.”
Check into the laws that govern “disturbing” religious practices in your target area. Most of the time, a “disturbance” is defined quite specifically in legal terms and still allows for activists to exercise their free speech in a public forum. Since Jehovah’s Witnesses extend a public invitation to their meetings, it is your right to be there until your invitation has been “revoked.”
It’s never a bad idea to contact local law enforcement ahead of time and let them know what you intend to do and to clarify any uncertainties (especially in the case of large convention crashes or protests). This will also give YOU the upper hand when the elders call the authorities on you for speaking up or simply being present.
When the elders approach you, know your rights. They are NOT allowed to touch you. This is harassment. They are NOT allowed to take your personal property (camera,phone…) This is theft.When the elders advise you that your “invitation has been revoked” it is recommended that you comply and start making your way towards the exit. That said, you can make your way as slowly as you see fit! As long as you are heading in that direction, you are being “physically cooperative” in legal terms. And you can keep saying what you need to say on the way 😉
Witnessing carts are set up in public spaces. This means that you have just as much of a right to be there and to engage as they do. Our one piece of advice is to not crash the same cart with the same witnesses repeatedly. This can cross a fine line from activism to harassment in some places. We like to suggest the “one return visit” rule. You can always follow up with a previous discussion if you see the same people you spoke to before, but be cautious of doing it multiple times.
Don’t be aggressive. Whether it be at the carts or at the kingdom hall, the VAA activists have learned over time that friendly and casual discussions have more of an impact then emotional outbursts. It also helps us maintain a good relationship with law enforcement and helps you keep a clean record.
Always take care of yourself. Revisiting a kingdom hall, convention, or witnessing cart can be triggering for those who have experienced abuse at the hand of this organization. Be kind to yourself. Know that you may feel overwhelmed. You may feel empowered or emotional. And that’s okay! Reach out to your loved ones for support.Last but not least: be heard! You deserve it, and the children do too!