Jehovah’s Witness Elders Physically Assault Film Crew on Their Property

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.


The man’s home on the left, the Kingdom Hall on the right.

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.

Capture elder

Yes, that is a camera capturing you trying to grab that man’s equipment from him. I think the word you’re looking for is, “Oops.”

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.

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14 replies »

  1. The point of this whole story is the fact that the elders outright lied to the neighbors, when they told them they would not build their Kingdom Hall to block the view of a severely disabled man. A man whose life consists of living in a wheel chair looking out the window to the mountain view or to the hot air balloons in their newly built retirement home, which was custom built just for this reason. If you’ve followed the story, before the Kingdom Hall ever broke ground, they promised Jim and his wife they would build so as not to obstruct Jim’s view. See FB page: Jehovah’s Witnesses preach that they are the only true religion, the only ones to gain everylasting life, everyone else is going to die. How can this be true when they lie, when they preach the end of the world time and time again, when they harbor pedophiles, when they force the cult-like practice of shunning one’s own children if they don’t want to remain JW’s. There is no freedom of choice, they tell you what you can and cannot read, what you can and cannot do, who you can and cannot talk to. They are no different than any other Cult that follows these same practices. Yes, there are many who are nice, sincere people, but they are misled and are following men, not God. So, yes, there are people who have rallied around the fact that Jim’s View is now the back of the Kingdom Hall and a brick wall. There are people who are angry that the JW’s lied and now the JW’s are reaping what they themselves have sowed. #jehovahswitnesscult

  2. The film crew may have been trespassing, but those Elders had absolutely no right to touch or push them or their equipment. All the Elders had to do was to simply and politely inform the film crew they were trespassing on private property and to leave. Most people, especially film crews, are not going to create a scene and insist on staying there when being told they must leave private property. If they had refused to leave or if anyone refuses to leave, you simply call the police and let them handle the situation. This is not the time to start pushing, shoving and bullying people. Like a lot of Elders, these guys over-reacted and only made the situation worse by their inappropriate criminal conduct. As stated, it certainly does reveal the attitudes of these so-called “Christians.” I hope the film crew affected have a police report made of the incident.

  3. I have no sympathy with jehovah’s witnesses but, although there is some kind of fracas, I cannot see any actual assault by the elders and the film crew were on private property. They may be sad people trying to convince everyone that they are the true church but so are all those other christians who criticise them. Every single christian religion thinks they have a monopoly on truth – jehovah’s witnesses are just one. Leave them alone and they will leave you alone.

    • No, we won’t leave alone a religion that routinely and systemically hides pedophiles, shuns family when they leave the religion even if they leave because of being molested and abused, shuns rape victims for “fornication,” puts even minors and young people through obscene, disgusting questions when they’ve been molested, and so on. They do damage every single day with their teachings and obscenities and as long as they create victims, we will continue to speak for the victims and make their voices heard.

    • I don’t believe they had permission but as I said, it was probably an honest mistake on their part and even so, they were in a corner of the lot, not bothering anyone, and certainly not doing anything deserving of an assault!

  4. Having been an Elder one time, one I might say was mentally balanced, i.e., approachable by Sisters who pleaded with me to not step down, I can testify to the unhinged behavior of some Elders. I saw it at District Conventions, at local Assemblies. It disgusted me then and now even more so that I’ve left the corporation masquerading as a religion.

    • I saw so much domestic violence and condoning of that violence on behalf of elders, blaming the wives for “not being submissive enough,” not to mention child abuse under the guise of discipline, that nothing surprises me anymore. I have no idea how anyone can claim they are somehow special or different than anyone else or any other religious group.

  5. Those elders are lucky that these filmmakers are peaceful. Lots of adult men not only know how to use their hands in a lethal way, but may be legally carrying leathal weapons.

    • You can really tell their sense of entitlement, they’re so holy and righteous and above the law. It’s sickening and you’re right, he may be lucky to be alive right now. I don’t think I would have responded so peacefully if I were getting a beatdown for nothing.

      • Randy, you make a very good point. A lot of people here in the US are legally carrying concealed firearms. Had one of those individuals on the film crew been armed and produced a firearm and pointed it at those Elders, that would have only made a bad situation exceedingly worse! Now fortunately, nothing like that happened. The film crew seemed to handle the unpleasant situation quite well. Yet, it’s another good reason for individuals (Elders) not to over-react and start pushing and bullying people around for whatever reason, as you never really know what type of reaction one might receive from this kind of treatment.

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