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The Gangsta Chronicles is a weekly podcast hosted by former gang banger and inmate James McDonald, rapper MCE and myself Norm still weekly. We get together and have conversations with everyone from former gangsters, drug dealers and bank robbers to police, rappers and politicians. Gangsta Chronicles podcast is a glimpse into a world where society is rarely allowed access. Nothing is ever scripted in this 100 percent real. We don't glorify the game. We simply educate, inform the world on what goes on in the streets of urban America.


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Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of Scientology Fair Game, the podcast. Hi, Mikey. Hi, Lily. How are you? I'm good. Good. How could I be excited?


Today we have our good friend Lloyd Evans joining us.


Lloyd, as viewers of the aftermath will know, is an ex Jehovah's Witness writer, activist and filmmaker is John Cedar's YouTube channel and J.W. Survey dot org website are both popular resources for Jehovah's Witnesses who are starting to question their beliefs. Lloyd has also written two books, The Reluctant Apostate Leaving Jehovah's Witnesses Comes at a Price and How to Escape from Jehovah's Witnesses.


He helped us organize the Jehovah's Witness special that we did on the aftermath, and he is a wealth of information about the Jehovah's Witnesses and an very effective activist against the abuses of the organization.


So welcome, Lloyd. It's great to speak with you again.


Thank you so much for having me back. It's an absolute honor and privilege. Really enjoyed working with you both on the Aftermath special, so feels like a bit of a reunion. It does.


And for those of you who don't know, Mike and I did a special on the Jehovah's Witnesses on our Scientology aftermath show because we were getting so many tweets, so many messages on Mike's blog about the the connection and the similarities between the Jehovah's Witnesses and Scientology and their tactics.


And so we just felt that it was so important to to give our audience what they wanted and. Well, I started to receive books from a friend of mine, Sonia, who was a Jehovah's Witness, who was had come out and her family had shunned her and the pain of that and her mother not knowing her granddaughter. And so but then it was when she sent me the books, I was like. Wow, I. Wow, so we felt really a responsibility to do a special how many people did we have on that panel, Lloyd?


Oh, gosh, 15, maybe 15. Yeah, and Lloyd, when I tell you that every story had layers and layers of pain, we didn't even know where to begin.


We we we could have done a whole series, which I wish we would have done on A&E, on the Jehovah's Witnesses and the and the awful effects that that it has on its its well-intentioned members.


But we could only scratch the surface. Could only scratch. Yes. And it was a two hour special, right. Yeah. Yeah. It was two hours. And you remember how how difficult it was to edit it down to two hours. It took us four. Painful, painful.


I can remember I didn't know what to leave out.


Yeah exactly. Yeah exactly.


Because yeah. Because we wanted to get it right. And Lloyd, we cannot thank you enough for your help. This episode that that special would not have been what it was and without you, honestly, without you.


And it is a privilege to be involved. And to this day I continue to get feedback from people saying this was a transformative experience for them to finally see all of these issues that they thought we were just problems for them. Suddenly they received validation and realized that, no, these are real problems that are affecting millions of followers and thousands more who've since. Left, right.


Yeah. And and so and we still receive messages from people telling us the impact it had. And we wanted to ask you, too, about the parallels, because what what were the parallels that you noticed between the Jehovah's Witnesses and Scientology?


Well, they're both cults.




I think that when you have a cold, the way I like to describe it is they can have completely different teachings, completely different policies, completely different hierarchies and different structures. But when you lift the bonnet up, they've got the same machinery whirring away underneath so they can look completely different. But scratch beneath the surface and you'll see the exact same strategies, the exact same methods being used to control people. And with Jehovah's Witnesses, you have the same fear mongering when it comes to external scrutiny, external critical information.


Don't read it. Stay away from it. It's all false. It's all lies. Correct. And you have the same breaking apart of families in Scientology. It's disconnection in Jehovah's Witnesses. It's this fellowshipping and disassociation which has the same effect of driving people insane because we're social creatures, we can't deal with being separated from those that we love.


Correct as well. I was going to say the the thing that Nate talked about, one of our guests on the aftermath was conditional love. Growing up with conditional love is very similar to Scientology, where your parents, your family and your friends, who all are in this cult and sharing in the same beliefs, we are all being raised knowing that our mother or father only loves us to the extent of our connection to this cult. And growing up that way is a form of child abuse and neglect.


And it's it's it's heartbreaking when you hear these stories of families being destroyed, as you said, in the name of quote unquote, religion, when we got to How the Watchtower deals with and maybe you should explain what the Watchtower is.




So Watchtower is just the kind of catchall word that activists like myself use to describe the leadership of Jehovah's Witnesses. And Jehovah's Witnesses are led by a governing body currently comprised of eight members who live and work in upstate New York. But they use a number of legal entities to run the global organization. And one of the main entities is called the Watchtower Bible and Society of Pennsylvania, which was set up to promote the magazine The Watchtower. So Watchtower is just a convenient way of describing this kind of global organization that has a grip on the minds of millions of Jehovah's Witnesses.


Yeah, it's just a convenient catchall term.


Sure. And the and the governing body, like you said, would be our David Miscavige, the person who in this case is. It's it's a group of men, but in Scientology, it's one man, it's David Miscavige, who's the leader of Scientology, answerable to no one.


They elect themselves. There's no transparency when it comes to how new members are selected or anything like that.


And and one of the beliefs that was very alarming to me was how they deal with sexual abuse. If you are if you are molested as a child and you're a Jehovah's Witness, you need to have witnesses to this crime taking place. And if you do not have those witnesses. It's it's what what happens? So instead of me, yeah, so they have a judicial what they would call a spiritual or pastoral approach to dealing with child sexual abuse, where they deal with the sinfulness of it.


And the the way they approach the sinfulness often translates directly to the way they treat the criminality of it. In fact, the sinfulness, it could be argued, outweighs the criminality. So, as you say, if an abuse victim approaches the elders and says, I've been abused, they will want to know if there was a witness, an eyewitness to this happening.


As we all know, when child molesters usually call people into the room, when they're about to commit a crime, this stuff nearly always happens without there being someone on hand to see it happen.


And so what elders have been told in the published materials in the published direction is that you're to leave matters in Jehovah's Hands. In other words, you need to basically pretend this never happened or pretend that this essentially didn't happen, because if there's not an extra witness, then it didn't happen. And so this has had the effect of silencing victims, making them afraid to pursue justice.


And when you look at an organizational level, what's happened is over the years, they have amassed this database of thousands of accusations we were estimating of of abuse in Australia. It was one thousand six perpetrators, the authorities discovered, that were being kept on watchtowers records and not a single one had been reported to the authorities. And when you factor in what we've just been considering about this two witness rule, you can understand why that would be. Basically, they've taken this Bible verse in Deuteronomy 1915, and that has influenced the way the organization has handled these accusations of child sex abuse so that none of them have ended up getting reported.


And all of these individuals who were accused have remained in circulation within the organization right now if somebody was to grow up.


And report their abuse to the authorities. What happens then? Right. It's changed slightly. There were lots of there's lots of anecdotal evidence that the way it used to be handled was that these individuals would be accused of slander. If you've gone to the authorities against outside of the authority of the elders, then what you're doing is you're slandering this individual and you're bringing reproach on Jehovah's Name. That might still be happening. But at least as far as the current policy goes, survivors and their parents are told that it's their right to go to the authorities.


Now, the problem you have is this. In Jehovah's Witnesses, they are told that just because you have the right to do something doesn't mean you should do the right thing. And that's a very important caveat that is glossed over when witnesses are presenting this to the media.


They'll say, oh, we we our elders tell abuse survivors that they absolutely have the right to go to the authorities and journalists will go away, think, oh, well, that sounds perfectly reasonable. But they don't understand that in Jehovah's Witness culture, there's a difference. You can have the right to do something, but it's still the wrong thing to do right now.


Lloyd, I know this, but just for our listeners, how long were you a Jehovah's Witness? 23 years ago, I was a witness. Yeah, right, and then what was your wake up call? I moved to a different country. Is that interesting? Yeah, because obviously when you are a Jehovah's Witness, you're going to it used to be three, but it's essentially now two meetings per week that I was going to.


That's a very regular kind of flow of indoctrination that's being pumped directly into your brain. You're sitting in a kingdom hall in a windowless building, usually for up to four hours, maybe five hours a week.


And you don't it doesn't really give you time or space to think.


But for me personally, when I moved to Croatia because I met a Croatian lady through through the religion, because I went to a special class for Jehovah's Witnesses and one of the guys on my class was from Croatia. So that's how I ended up meeting Diana and we ended up moving to Croatia. And within a few months of moving there, I was thinking, hang on, I'm not sure I believe this, that I was going to these meetings. And the way I describe it is, you know, on Charlie Brown, you have the teacher that goes, oh, yeah, yeah, I wasn't over that these meetings.


And they were it was all in Croatian. I couldn't understand it. And all of a sudden it was like I had room to breathe and it was like, hang on a minute, do I really believe this?


Right. And it didn't take long to realize. Actually, no, I don't. I have all of these doubts that I've been piling up for years and years and years, and maybe it's time I revisit them. So that's essentially how I woke up. And and for that, you have been called an apostate, you have been labeled an enemy by the Jehovah's Witnesses, right. Your family has this assertion. Is that the right word?


I've been disassociated, yes. So, yeah, my my father is an elder and he hasn't met his two grandchildren now. So I have to now. And yeah, I don't mind them calling me an apostate because an apostate is someone who's left their religion. And I think that if you discover that your religion is corrupt and abusive and and wrong, then you have a moral duty to leave it if you're able to.


And so I don't mind them calling me an apostate. I do mind them accusing me of hate speech, which is another thing entirely which we might get on to.


But yes, please, please do. Go ahead. So it's a little bit of a long story, but I'm involved as a core participant for the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse in England and Wales. Yeah, it's obviously an investigation that's been set up to understand more about institutional child sexual abuse. And I was approached because of my knowledge of Jehovah's Witnesses and I applied to become a core participant, and they allowed me to be a core participant. And a core participant is somebody who, rather than simply giving evidence, is able to submit questions to the inquiry and submit evidence.


And they're able to be involved on a far more extensive scale than simply someone who's there to answer questions. Sure. And so, anyway, the inquiry finally got round to having their hearings. It was all delayed due to covid-19, but they finally had their hearings back in, I think it was August. And it was quite interesting because the whole thing was a little bit anticlimactic because they tended they I felt that they gave they gave the Jehovah's Witness Representative Paul Gillies, some softball questions.


And mostly he was able to kind of get through it fairly unscathed. But then right at the end, right at the end, one of the panel members asked him an awkward question that he didn't like or that Jehovah's Witnesses didn't like. And we found out a few weeks later that they had since asked to have this panel member of the inquiry.


So we're talking about a very respected lawyer in in England and Wales who's this panel member for the investigation. They wanted to get him thrown off because he'd asked this question that they didn't like. Right.


And in their paperwork, in their correspondence where they were asking for this to happen, they mentioned my name and it turned out they they just let it slip, that they'd also asked for me to be thrown off the inquiry as a core participant, way back in I think it was February.


And they were almost complaining that, well, you didn't do this for us and now we're asking you to do this and you're not doing that either.


And so I was like, whoa, hold on.


You did what?


And so we were able my lawyer and I were able to get all of the correspondence. And it turned out that Jehovah's Witnesses back in February of 2012, they had sent through a letter to the inquiry asking me to be thrown off the inquiry because I am, quote unquote, a hate speech enthusiast. And they sent through a nine page dossier with thirty something examples from my YouTube channel and from my Twitter account of me purportedly spewing hate speech against the witnesses.


And to my knowledge, I'm the first individual to ever be accused by Jehovah's Witnesses of of hate speech. So it was quite extraordinary. Well, Scientology does that a lot more than the Jehovah's Witnesses imagine.


Yes, all of us are accused of participating in and starting hate speech campaigns. Just out of curiosity. Lloyd, what was it that they objected to so much like what's an example that they considered to be hate speech?


Oh, don't get me started. Well, three of the examples weren't even me, so they literally took someone who had been sued, said something about about Hitler in the live chat, and they quoted it as though it was me. And they filed it under statements downplaying the Holocaust. So they were trying to suggest that if I'm a Holocaust denier, simply because this person had made that comment on the live chat and also because I fact checked one of the governing body members when he said he exaggerated the number of witnesses who'd died during the Second World War.


And I fact checked him. But they were also this is interesting. They were taking parts of my videos where I'd been criticizing the persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia. I believe Scientology in Russia has been banned as well.


Yes. But I was I've been very vocal against the banning of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia because I see it as something where the the individual followers pay a price, but the leadership doesn't. So there's a lot of capital for the governing body when their followers are being persecuted because they then get to create and they have done they've created all of these propaganda videos showing Russian police storming into kingdom halls. They don't really mind losing one or two properties. It's it's it's better for them in a way, to have this this narrative of God, one true people being persecuted by Satan system of things.


So I've just been commenting along those lines. And what they've done is they've cherry picked my comments to make it look like I'm in some way supportive of what the Russian government is doing. And I'm not joking in one of the examples they give in the very same breath. I go on in the next few words to say, obviously, I condemn the actions of the Russian government, but they cut that off because it didn't serve their narrative. And honestly, the extent to which they were trying to mislead EXER is absolutely gob smacking.


I'm still working through the documents. Oh, you are.


Are you having to defend yourself or what is happening?


What I well, what I've done is initially exer were hesitant to release the documents, but I argued that no, on your website you've allowed this letter to be published, naming me with this accusation of hate speech. So I get to clear my name right. And so what I'm doing now is it's all backfired horrendously for Jehovah's Witnesses, because now I'm making a series of videos showing how brazenly they misquote and how brazenly they lie. And it's all let's remember for the purpose of basically rigging this inquiry so that there would be no critics who understand the organisation and who are able to assist the inquiry to ask the right questions and drill deeper on the main issues.


Sure, sure.


Lloyds Scientology tends to do those sort of things for their internal public to read, like they write stuff on their Freedom magazine and on their websites and things that are so patently false and ridiculous that you kind of wonder why are they doing this until you realise that they're the actual intended audience for those things as to be able to show them to the internal members. If someone comes along and says, well, I watch you know, I saw Leah Remini s Aftermath Show and blah, blah, blah.


So they pull out this thing that they've got that says Leah Remini, is this or Mike Rinder, is that is that the same thing with the with the Jehovah's Witnesses, too?


Well, up until now and it's literally just changing as we speak because. You know, I'm aware that the way signed, the way Scientology deals with critics is a whole other level. I think we all realize that. But with Jehovah's Witnesses, we are noticing them starting to get far more aggressive with critics. We've seen it in parts of Europe where they've litigated against authors who they don't like or they took a representative of an anti cult organization in Switzerland.


They litigated against her. They're not really doing that in America or in the U.K. It's almost like they're they're starting to take their first few steps in in pursuing this fair game strategy that served Scientology so well. And but prior to that, they were mostly ignoring apostates. This is the weird thing. They had this policy of basically burying their heads in the sand and pretending people like me aren't there and just encouraging their followers don't listen to apostates. They're mentally diseased.


They feast at the table of demons. Their words are poisoned by it.


The way they put it is and would you would you try a small sample of poison to see whether it's poison or not?


Of course you wouldn't. You'd reject it. So that's what apostates are like. So that's been their strategy up to this point. But it feels as though with the way they've come after me and the way they've, again, been litigating in parts of Europe against writers and activists, it feels as though they're almost taking a leaf out of Scientology's book and they're realizing, no, no, we're losing this battle. You know, the Internet is, you know, information debunking our entire set of beliefs.


It's just a few clicks away. People are figuring this out. We've got to do something about it. But that's what it feels like to me.


Yeah. On September 17th, 2009, 24 year old MIT Chris Richardson disappeared without a trace in the woods near Malibu, California.


She had been arrested at a beachside restaurant for failing to pay a tab and taken to the Lost Hills Sheriff's Station. You know, I mean, she's not from that area. And I would hate to wake up to a morning report. Well, lost somewhere to a job. The police released her just after midnight with no car, no cell phone, no money. She doesn't know the area. She's never been in your area. Well, I think she said, Chris, that what happened is that that's more than just her, OK?


My trees disappeared into the darkness and was never seen alive again. I'm Catherine Townsend, host of the podcast Houngan, we're going to try to find out what really happened to my Chris Richardson School of Humans and I heart radio present. Helen, season three. Listen to Helen gone on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. I knew they were going to kill it. Please help me. This is Fight Night, a new podcast from My Heart Radio.


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Lloyd, perhaps for those who don't know anything about the Jehovah's Witnesses, you could just give us a brief sort of overview of the beliefs and practices of the Jehovah's Witnesses. Sure.


So Jehovah's Witnesses began towards the end of the 19th century. It was all started up by a gentleman named Charles Taylor's Russell, who was a bit of a crackpot entrepreneur who was easily swept along by lots of end times, predictions related to the second coming of Christ. He came with his own theology that Armageddon would come by 1914 at the latest.


Obviously, that didn't happen.


But he died only a couple of years later in Halloween, actually, October 31st, 1916, there was a bit of a leadership struggle. A guy called Joseph Rutherford took over who was kind of the Miscavige of the group. So think of Russell as the L. Ron Hubbard. And Rutherford was kind of the Miscavige and he kind of refashioned the organization in his own image, brought in a lot of teachings that, well, he gave them the name Jehovah's Witnesses.


Up to that point, they'd just been called Bible students. But in a nutshell, we're talking about a group that bases their beliefs, quote unquote, on the Bible. But they have a very kind of apocalyptic view that Armageddon is coming any moment that Jehovah's Witnesses will repopulate the earth after Armageddon. So in other words, nearly eight billion people are going to die if Armageddon on the Earth is going to be repopulated by only eight million or so.


Jehovah's Witnesses, they believe in this kind of version of two tier Christianity whereby there are the one hundred and forty four thousand anointed who will rule in heaven and surprise, surprise, the governing body are in that number, OK?


And everyone else will be their subjects on this earth that's been cleansed of pretty much everyone who isn't a Jehovah's Witness.


OK, so so just to be clear. Only eight million will survive this Armageddon, which is literally, you know, I've seen the books, you know, it's, you know, fire balls of fire.


Yes. Falling buildings, columns, burning, burning, burning babies.


You know, literally, this is what children are taught.


And it's a literal it's not like no, this is just an this is literal is not metaphorical.


No. There will be a destruction. Yeah. Yeah.


And only eight million on this planet who are Jehovah's Witnesses will survive this fire if they've been good.


Jehovah's Witnesses. Right. All right. So let's just say. Four million of them, OK? OK. And and of the four million, one hundred and forty four thousand one hundred forty four thousand of them. I'm going to rule in heaven with the one hundred and forty four thousand includes every all, quote unquote worthy Christians going all the way back to the apostles, including people who never identified as Jehovah's Witnesses.


And and people will be resurrected, literally come out in the pictures. Lloyd, you see grandma and grandpa. Just rising out of the grave, yeah, I think I think it's been calculated as 100 billion because it's everyone who has ever lived. You think about how the Earth's draining currently under a population of nearly eight billion. They're expecting that everyone who has ever lived will be resurrected over a space of a thousand years following Armageddon, which would be which would mean about 100 billion population of the planet.


OK, and we will you guys will live as one with with the with like I saw pictures of of people with tigers. You are putting tigers, Lloyd.


They who will like a house cat, they would no longer be carnivores.


Going to be a global tiger king. Yes. Yes, yes. And and so. And you would live in harmony without us.


What do you call us, Lloyd? Oh, without the worldly people worldly. Yes, yes, yes. And so that so that is true that that Jehovah's Witnesses are living for this Armageddon that has yet to happen, even though it's been predicted many times the year that it would happen. And it keeps changing this Armageddon.


And the basic beliefs are that all of us are evil and doomed if we do not convert to being a Jehovah's Witness. Yeah, education is not important.


I've seen the videos of the governing body members who education is important as long as it's divine education, new in carpentry, because that's that's what the governing body says.


Look, we're not going to need doctors so much because we are going to be perfect.


And illness doesn't exist in this new world.


They heavily dissuade higher education because that's that's a distraction and it's an opportunity for bad association to creep in and and corrupt you is far, far more important for you to be serving the kingdom by warning people of the impending destruction.


Sure. And they women are not allowed to hold any kind of official position within the Jehovah's Witness organization. Correct.


Women can contribute in in being teachers or in a play, but not in anything official or they can't even teach now.


So they can't truly sorry. If you're a woman, the only way you're getting near the platform is if you're there to clean it or if you're there at the invitation of a male speaker who's asking you to give an experience or do a demonstration, that's the only way you'll get on the platform.


And this is in the Bible, Lloyd. Apparent, well, they take some words by the apostle Paul that says, I desire the women to be silent so they take words yet.


I've often thought that those words were very sage. Did you make you and my husband join us for the final episode? So women are seen as subservient and do not have equal rights. Sure. As men.


And the perhaps the most controversial of all is the refusal to accept blood transfusions.


Yeah, and I care the most vivid memories for me of all of this whole experience with putting together that show was watching those videos about the heroic children who had been sacrificed, martyred to a greater afterlife because their parents chose not to give them blood transfusions and they died as a result.


It's one of the in fact, it is the most disgusting piece of video propaganda they've put out. I have a video on it on my channel, The Martyrdom of Joe Acceptor.


OK, we'll look at that. We could post that Mike or.


Yes, absolutely. I'll have links to Lloyd's website and his books and that particular video and all that on our Fair Game podcast, Dog Dotcom, whatever it is thing.


But that's another area in which it's another area, though, in which the the mechanics of the organization are deployed to to put witnesses in harm's way.


So, for example, recently I did an article for the National Secular Society in the UK about these teams called Hospital Liaison Committees, because when a Jehovah's Witness is dispatched to a hospital and blood is an issue, they will send out these teams of elders called hospital liaison committees, basically. And their job is to make sure that this witness masters themselves to make sure that the doctors respect their wishes.


Yeah, but to say the least, Jehovah's Witnesses, they don't celebrate Christmas or Easter.


They don't celebrate national holidays or birthdays.


So as a child, you are not celebrated anyway. You're not allowed to participate in these things at school.


Well, the other thing that sticks in my mind is the demand that women are subservient to their husbands.


I forget the word they use Lloyd in subservient. Is they there? Yeah.


In subjection that they are required to submit to the the demands and the the sexual overtures that even physical assaults and beatings by their husbands because they are supposed to be subservient. And there was something about going and sitting on the roof or something like that just sort of sticks in my mind. They go, oh my God, what.


Yeah, I think that was one of the stories that we heard. But yeah, you're right. It goes beyond what we were saying earlier about women not having equal rights in the congregation and not being allowed to hold positions of authority, shall we say. This whole idea of women being in subjection to the men also applies in in marriages, in relationships, so that the husband is the head of the wife. And what and they take this view that marriage is permanent and can never there can never be any divorce unless there is adultery, even if one partner is being violently abusive towards another, that's not considered grounds for divorce.


You're only allowed a quote unquote separation. You'll never be allowed to move on with your life, get married to someone else or you'll be guilty of adultery. And that has the effect of causing countless well, not just women, but men as well, abused spouses to stay in abusive, dangerous relationships because they don't have anywhere else to go.


Right. And they are instructed to go to their elders, which are kind of like their point person in their area. And what is the training of these men to to be doling out advice of the law, doling out marital advice, dealing with children's issues, dealing with sexual abuse, mental abuse, physical? What is the criteria for becoming an elder?


Well, I was an elder for a year, and I can tell you that there's no formal training in terms of how to deal with abuse victims or what your legal responsibilities are or anything like that.


You're only training is from the organization and how to apply the organization's policy.


And you believe that that's law, right? You believe that as we insight into more important than the law was above the law, above what they call it, sees as law.


So sees as law, is everything outside of the organization right? Jehova is way of doing things comes first to the point where they call it relative subjection. You're in relative subjection to the superior authorities or Caesar because they have the responsibility to to keep society running. But when it comes to God's law, that takes priority overseas as law.


Right. Lloyd, a question for you.


What would you say to somebody who's listening to this, who was in the Jehovah's Witnesses or a cult like it, who, you know, they are taught that people like me, like Mike, anybody who's speaking out are the devil and usually rejects anything that comes out of our mouths. The same with with people like you. You're an apostate. You're part of the the world that.


What is the saying, Lloyd?


The worldly people know the people of Satan's sits at Satan's table and and sits on the table of the eyes.


Now, there was another saying, Lloyd, it's the mental disease, the wicked offloads, wicked ways or something.


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The Gangster Chronicles is run by the podcast network. But what would you say to those people who do listen to me and Mike or you are people who are taking the first step, which is pretty courageous. If we all know what that feels like, we wouldn't dare listen to apostates. We wouldn't dare listen to people or even look at anything.


But when we started to do that, all of us in our own secretive way, we I was scared. I was going to be honest with you. I was scared when I started to look and I was scared to start to talk to people who were there and left.


And it's a very courageous step when you say my.


Oh, yeah, absolutely. Yeah.


So so knowing that there might be one or two people out there who have subjected themselves to this life or a life similar to it, whether it's a cult or an abusive relationship, even, what would you say to them?


Well, I've been doing this activism now for a number of years, but next year will be my 10 year anniversary of when I first saw my website. And congratulations. Thank you.


So I've had a while to think about this, and I guess I've settled on what I call the win win scenario. So the win win scenario for anyone who is stumbling on material that debunks their cherished beliefs is research.


If you do research into your beliefs, it's a win win scenario. Let's say it's a Jehovah's Witness and they passionately believe that theirs is God's one true religion. But they are hearing someone like me criticizing it or apparently giving information that debunks it. The way to find out whether I'm speaking the truth or not is to do research on what's going to happen. If you do the research is either you're going to find out that I'm a liar. Either you're going to find out that I'm misquoting people and trying to mislead people, in which case your faith will be stronger than ever because you'll have seen the very worst criticisms that can be leveled at the organization.


You'll realize that they're wrong and that will give you a basis for continuing in your faith with it being rock solid. Or you'll find out that it was the organization that was lying to you and that will give you the opportunity to do something about it. Either way, it's a win. It's a win win scenario.


You mean this is this is what you tell someone like that?


Look, I mean, because this is a question that comes up very, very often, like how is the best way to address someone who even has that first inkling of doubt? And you're saying your your win win scenario presentation is the way that you have found most effective to have them take the next step? So I'm talking about people who stumble on my child. I'm not talking about people calling me and saying confronting me, I wish that happened. But no, Jehovah's Witnesses are generally more timid about that sort of thing.


But that's that's the line of reasoning I employ so that when people come on my channel, I'm basically asking them to fact check. And that's something that the organization I'm sure it's the same with Scientology. They don't want you to fact check. They don't want you to see both sides of the argument. I am actively encouraging people to fact check and find out whether I'm lying to them or not, because I know I'm not lying.


Well, of course, now in our situation, they know we're not lying. Right. I think it's it's that we are speaking the truth is a problem, because if I say let's say I took any celebrity Scientologist or anybody in the organization that really knew me well. Right. And they were able to sit in front of me for five minutes, which they're not allowed to. But let's say they were. And I said, what are you attacking me for?


You know, I'm telling you, what are you doing? What the fuck are you doing? What are you doing? You know that that's true. You were there. It happened to you. It happened to me. Yes. But you shouldn't be speaking, Leah. You shouldn't be speaking. Leah, you should make changes within the organization while being in the organization. Really? I should report David Miscavige to David Miscavige. Should I report L. Ron Hubbard to L.


Ron Hubbard? Who should I reported to? You know that it's true.


So in our in our case. Right. Like they know that we're telling the truth.


It's just that we are speaking. Well, I would say, though, that there's a spectrum, so the spectrums of of belief or the spectrums of of loyalty or willingness to consider the other side of the argument.


I think you have a great point, Lloyd. I think this is Scientologists.


You know, you're going to find that probably the majority of them aren't yet at that place in their journey, whether even remotely open to looking at what the other side of the argument it is or what the other side of the argument is, it's only ever going to be, in my view, a small percentage who for whatever reason and in my case, it took moving to another country. I never would have imagined the journey that I went on. I if I hadn't moved to Croatia earlier, I wouldn't be here talking.


I think I'd still. Oh, I was with Lloyd.


You know, I did an interview with somebody who was a white supremacist for a show that was very important to me that I still want to do.


But I said to him. But what changed you? What changed you and he was on house arrest for a crime that he committed a hate crime, although they don't have hate crimes in this in the state.


But he was home and he started to research what he had been taught his whole life.


He was looking, is this really in the Bible? Because what what supposedly justifies our hatred and our violence and our ignorance is in the Bible.


Well, so you have there a guy getting out this ideology by. Yes. On the house arrest. Yes. Your case in your case. I was listening to your last episode. Yeah. And you were talking about how you paid a million bucks to be on this upper super celebrity tier, which allowed you to see Scientology from a perspective you perhaps haven't seen before if you hadn't paid that million bucks. Yes. Do you think you'd be doing the show?


No. I don't think I went to Tom Cruise's wedding, I never would be on the show if I had not talked to Mike. And Mike, by the way, was considered a.


Enemy number one, at the time that I was trying to make vile person violent and and he he Mike was saying to me, Leah, because I was like, I don't know if I want to leave.


I think I could change it within the you know, maybe I'll change it within, maybe I'll change it within. I shouldn't even be talking to you.


And he was like, Leah, just do your research, honey. Talk to David Miscavige to talk, you know, because I had a meeting set up with David Miscavige.


See what he says. And you you don't have to make any decisions right now.


Just do your own research.


When I was going to Scientology and saying I was doing my own research, I was met with, I mean, slamming fists on the table.


You don't investigate us. You don't look on the Internet.


You don't do investigation like screaming from me, just looking on the Internet or talking to Mike or and they were accusing Mike of vile things that I wasn't allowed to confirm with Mike himself.


Right. So when you leave, they say you did this, you did that. And none of my friends called me and said, you're being accused of this. Is that true? They just believe what Scientology told them, that I'm I'm an enemy. I've gone crazy. I'm talking to enemies of my church.


God knows what else they've said. They have said it publicly, though, Mike. They put up a website.


You know, whether there's anything, Mike, that you did that if you hadn't done it or if such change in your life hadn't happened, you'd still be a Scientologist, maybe being thrown in the in the whole. Well, he had been thrown in the hole many times, though that was certainly a part of it. I mean, I believe that it's always a process.


It's like not one bloody thing is one thing in the end.


Yes. But it really tiny. It can be tiny in comparison to being beaten up, Mike. Right, right. Right. Exactly.


It could seem completely insignificant to everybody else. But to you it is the straw that breaks the camel's back.


And oddly for me, that one little thing was the interview with John Sweeney. And that was the point, that was the point that I went this is nuts. This is insane. I don't know what I'm doing. This is no longer what I thought it was. I'm done. That was it. That was the moment. And, you know, John John likes to take credit for I'm the person that got Mike Rinder out of Scientology. Well well, he was a sorry stint.


Yes, that's true. But my point is.


Yeah, my point is, is that world that there's an individual journey that only that person can take. Correct. So if you if you're taking someone if you're just plucking someone out of Scientology that hasn't even begun, that journey, of course, are going to come out all guns blazing. Sure. If however, they're honest and they're already taking those first steps, maybe there's scope for a conversation and provided it's done in a respectful, kind way.


And I think that's important what you're saying, or I think the advice that you just gave is really spot on.


You can't give up, you can't attack. But you should say to your loved ones who are stuck in this. Just look, just look for yourself, both sides, if what your religion, your cold, what your whoever it is is saying is true, it should stand up to your investigation and it should stand up to questioning. And you yourself should see that it is true or not true, which is what Scientology pretends to be. Right. Look for yourself.


Yet you look for yourself and you get penalized and then you get interrogated on a lie detector and that of what you have to pay thousands of dollars for. And then you have to make amends for talking to the enemy or looking up at an enemy site. And I think what you are saying, I think what you're saying is absolutely spot on that it's it's your journey. The fact that you are looking is good enough. Listening is good enough. You you take the first step towards finding out for yourself.


And, you know, hopefully you'll come out the other side with the right answer. And if you are disconnecting, shunning your friends, shunning your your family for a supposed religious belief, you'll really need to take a hard look at your core beliefs and what you truly believe in your heart is the right thing no matter what anybody says. And if you believe that that's true and that's true for you. Not a friend of mine all lives. Yeah, it's one of you.


This is one of those struggles I have here is like when I think about my dad's behavior and the way he won't even meet his two grandchildren. Where do I draw the line between him being indoctrinated and him not being in full control of his own brain? Right. And his basic responsibilities as a human being. Right. As someone who understands the bonds of of paternal love, you understand now that I am a father myself. Sure.


Could you imagine? Exactly. It's. Don't be stupid, of course, I'm never going to shun my child because they see things slightly differently to me. So that's one of the genuine problems that I have. When I think about him in particular, it's like to what extent do I attribute his behavior to the cult and to what extent do I blame him for it? And I think there's no clear answer. Maybe it's a nuanced thing. I don't know.


But it well well, it is right. Because here and here. But at the same time, I couldn't I couldn't not tell my mother. Mom, are you crazy? Like, you're not going to know your grandchildren because you truly believe we're going to die in Armageddon. This is your core belief.


I don't know that I could know you even if you wanted to know us on a limited basis. You know, Mike, and I've had this conversation where you wish people would come back into your life who were in your life, whether it's a daughter or son or a friend that you've had for 40 years. And, you know, we've had a few people approach us throughout the years who were friends or family and say, you know, listen, I want to know you and Sophia, but I can't be public about that.


And at first you're like, oh, I have you back. And then, you know, now listening to that kind of. Right. Like, I can't subscribe to it, you know, once you leave that world of how you should think and how you should be, it seems really ridiculous. And I had to say, no, thank you. We don't not talk to people because they don't believe something. Now, I'm assuming we're talking about a person with basic, decent core beliefs.


Remember, I'm not talking about people who have crazy beliefs that hurt people and hurt themselves. Right. I wouldn't talk to those people, I wouldn't be. It's like sitting across from somebody who does crack and going, you know, I'm going to accept that about you just because, you know, I don't believe in it. But you should do what you want to do. Now, as a real friend, I'd say get that fucking shit out of your arm.


And I love you. And it needs to stop right now. That needs to stop right now. We need to get you help. Right. And I feel that way about people who have these kind of extreme beliefs that they're hurting themselves, that they're hurting people who love them. And I just couldn't do it. I said, I can't do it.


I can subscribe to you being ashamed of thinking for yourself and loving your family and friends unconditionally. So when you say ashamed, because they they wouldn't want to be public about being in your life again, correct.


Because that goes against the beliefs of Scientology. And I said, you know, you have to make a choice. You're part of something bad. You're part of something bad. You're part of something that hurts people your heart. You're part of something that hurts children, that trains children to accept their abuse and to be responsible for their own abuse and who abuses people. I'm not going to be OK with you being part of that now, if you want to separate from that.


Then we could talk, but I can't be part of that, so there's the difference, right, Mike? There is a difference. It's not that I'm going to accept every person and their religious beliefs. If your religious beliefs oppress people and hurt people. No, I'm not down with it. Yeah, yeah, that's that's a power that you have that you've that you've taken back. I mean, yes, I had a slightly similar thing where my dad just said, oh, well, I'd come to Croatia and I'd meet my grandchild.


This was before the second one was born. Julia, I'd meet Jessica so long as you and Diana weren't in the room. So, wow.


You could kind of be out of the picture so that I can meet my grandchild. I'd be cool with that. And I'm like, I wouldn't be cool with that. We come as a package. Thank you. Right. Right. And we're not going to normalize your horrendous behavior, so. Right.


Because then your your children will grow up thinking something's wrong with daddy and mommy. Yeah. Yeah. That grandpa thinking this is not the way that adults actually should be with each other, you know. Right.


And I'm sure that was extremely painful for you. Yeah.


And we had lots of iterations of that scenario with the other side of the family where they wanted to see Jessica without us being there. And we had to say, look, we're not going to have two different rules for two different sides of the family. This is the way things are with with Lloyd's dad and this is the way it needs to be with you.


So it's thrown up all of these weird scenarios which outsiders just would have no clue about.


They'd be like, what? How on earth is that happening?


And and and to and to justify it by saying this is a decision that is spiritual and God like or if I just don't see how people see that, see things that way.


This is the way a loving God wants things to go down. Yes. It doesn't make any sense.


And of course, I'm sure you've had this conversation with your father.


Well, I wish I had, but we don't have any conversations. I mean, obviously I communicated to him that that's not going to happen. But any any conversations I've had or any communication with him has been very, very brief, because the way it works is they have what's called necessary contact. So I basically the communication has been one way. And if he wants me to know anything, it will be in as few sentences as possible. But there's been no real conversations, really, since I disassociated back in 2013.


Now, have you ever written him a letter that that tries to say, Dad, why don't you really think about what you're doing is this you're going to die without your family?


And in his mind, he thinks I'm good because I'm going to be resurrected.


I tried to reach out to him over a number of of messages. And then I think it was last year or maybe the year before I managed to condense everything that I was thinking into a letter that just spelled out exactly what my position was, because I felt as though there might be a few misconceptions on his side. For example, I know that he wouldn't have been happy about me going on the aftermath show and sharing the story about the hedges, you know.


Oh, yes. Yes. So I think I actually mentioned that. And and one of the things I wanted to express to him that, you know, look, you when I first disassociated, you said that we both must bear the consequences of our actions. Those were his words when I when he first started showing me and I said, well, the consequences as far as you're concerned, is that your son gets to speak to the world and explain what a messed up situation this is.


Those are the consequences of your actions. Right. And shunning me. So I expressed a few things, really, and it just provided me with a bit of closure because I basically said in that letter, I'm not expecting you to ever wake up, you know, and so I'm not going to try and save you. I just want you to know that this is my position. And it was very cathartic to put those words together.


I found. Yeah, and still heartbreaking no matter how we look at it. I know.


You know, we've all lost family and friends by by separating from these cults and speaking out and there is a price to pay, but we continue on and hopefully will save a family and try to avoid this kind of pain and to keep their family intact and to know that there is life beyond. These cults, there is there is life after and we want you to live that life free of these bonds and these chains that that hold you, and we certainly understand how hard it is to extract yourself, because there are there is a price to pay, but hang in there and we hope that we've helped in some way.


Again, Lloyd, your website is J.W. Survey dot org.


Thank you. And we'll have this all up on the website, on our Web site, as well as my blog.


I always find it very enlightening to say to Lloyd from the perspective of. He's in he performs a similar role to us. Yes, in a different world, but the worlds are so similar.


It's it's interesting, you know, this thing about the fact that was most valuable to me. Yes. Yes. Win win situation.


Yeah. It's a win win situation.


That's that's a wonderful thing. And it was actually on my list of questions to ask you. How do you deal with someone? And Leah jumped in and you answered it. So I appreciate that tremendously. I think it's very helpful.


And Lloyd, thank you for the work that you continue to do. We so appreciate you being out there doing that work, because that would be another thing added to our list of things that we needed to do.


Well, I appreciate having you and Mike as allies, you know. Absolutely. We started by talking about the similarities between Scientology and Jehovah's Witnesses, and that obviously means that our work and the work we're trying to do is inevitably also going to be similar. So you guys to have addressed this when you had the opportunity on the aftermath is just phenomenal and continues to bring amazing results. So I can't thank you guys enough for the important work you've done and continue to do.


And I'll always be cheerleading and as well as to you and to those who reached out to us since. Thank you. Thank you for for telling us your stories.


And, you know, Mike, I get I get tweets every day saying I just saw the aftermath special. Thank you so much. And we want you to know how brave we think you are and we applaud you. And you have a whole world out there to explore.


And we wish you all the love in the world.


You have our utmost respect till next time. Thank you for listening.


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