In Rio Rancho, New Mexico, there has been a huge uproar over the construction of a Kingdom Hall in what appears to be the wide open desert. The uproar is that a handicapped man and his wife built their dream home on property in New Mexico so that the man could live comfortably despite his crippling disabilities, and enjoy the view of the desert horizon and annual hot air balloon races in the area. Despite this, a local congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses purchased property right next to theirs and, even after promises from elders that they would construct the Kingdom Hall in such a way that it did not disturb his view, they built it practically on his side porch.
Ever ride a completely empty bus, only to have some incredibly creepy passenger get on and sit right next to you?
This construction has been so bothersome to local neighbors that a film crew decided to make a documentary about the situation, and on a Saturday afternoon when the Kingdom Hall was supposed to be empty, they stood in a corner of the parking lot to get some shots. Elders who were inside came out and literally, physically accosted them without any warning or discussion, and fortunately the crew got the entire incident on video. You can skip ahead to about the 10:00 minute mark to see it:
I’m sure an argument can be made that the film crew was technically trespassing; they did not have permission to be on the property, and releases should be signed when filming in order to protect your film from being shut down. Kingdom Halls are not “public property,” not even when they’re open to the public (see this post for an explanation). However, this was probably an honest mistake on the part of the film crew and, if you watch the video, you’ll see that they were not blocking or confronting anyone; they were in a small corner of the parking lot, at the entryway and away from the building itself. They thought the building would be empty and the gate was open so it’s not like they scaled a fence to get in. The elder had to walk some 25-50 yards (I’m a horrible judge of distance), all the way across the parking lot to approach them. Technically trespassing or not, they were not a threat or bother to anyone.
What is also noteworthy is that the elder didn’t ask them to leave, ask them what they were doing, or ask them if they needed assistance or even why they were on the property. For all he knew, it could have been a reporter from the evening news. Yet, this elder just walked up and barked “Get out,” and immediately started smacking around the man in front of the camera, roughly pushing him while telling him to leave. This confrontation continues while other men come out of the building, and it’s not until the first elder realizes he’s on camera does he seem to back down and let go of his fight over the equipment. He then puts his hand over the camera while dialing his phone, which is a very cowardice move to me. Why are you afraid of being filmed if you’re not doing anything wrong on your own property?
Whatever legal arguments Jehovah’s Witnesses could make in court about the film crew’s lack of rights to be on the property, their reaction more resembled street thugs than “loving Christian shepherds.” They could have simply asked the men to leave and if that didn’t work, called the police and handled things peacefully. This elder started a physical confrontation with this man, assaulted him for nothing more than standing on a far corner of the property, and kept fighting him until he knew he was on camera.
I want readers of this column to think about something very carefully here. The elder in question had to have known that what he was doing was wrong, since he stopped as soon as he saw the second camera and made a point to put his hand over it. He had to know that shoving and smacking someone could result in an assault charge, trespassing or not, and of course he knew that he was assaulting a grownup, adult man, and a complete stranger. Yet, this elder was violent, demanding, and physically abusive to him, with little to no provocation. If this is how elders are to strangers, to grownup adult men who may very well fight back or press criminal charges against them, how do you think they really behave behind closed doors in their own homes and behind the walls of the Kingdom Hall? If an elder smacks around an adult man, a stranger who might actually smack him back, do you have any reason to think he wouldn’t smack around his own wife, children, and maybe even other members of his congregation, ones over whom he has complete authority and control and who won’t fight back?
You’ve now seen the physically abusive nature of Jehovah’s Witness elders for yourself, and this abuse was levied against another adult, a man, and not just one man. Anyone who doubts me when I tell them of the domestic violence and child abuse I saw as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses would do well to consider this; elders of this “loving” religion obviously have no self-control, no boundaries, and no hesitation to be abusive and violent. Remember that the next time one of them knocks on your door, recruiting for their religion, telling you how to live.
Please share via social media below.