The letters started coming to Bo Juel’s house sometime in 2013, anonymous warnings about Armageddon being imminent and the need to get his life right. Some notes were handwritten, and others used letters cut out from magazines, resembling crude ransom demands. A few were mailed, but a few were left on the windshield of his car.
While it was easy to laugh them off at first, the wording of the letters soon escalated into disturbing, graphic threats of violence, threats that only got worse over time. “You are a cockroach to be exterminated. If I have to sit the cage again the rest of my life, I shall soon see you suffer and die,” and, “We look forward to seeing your brains blown out.” One said that a price had already been paid for a professional hit, and another threatened the rape and stabbing of someone close to him.
I personally have known about these letters from the beginning; anonymous messages by the same person were sent to Child Protective Services in Norway, and Bo talked about the resultant investigation in his book, “The Least of God’s Priorities.” He’s also confided in me the exact wording of the letters, the persons being threatened, the specifics of those threats, and the vulgar level of violence the letters contained. I’ve known about the many trips he’s made to the police station to spur an investigation, and their outcome.
I’ve told Bo over the years, “They’re just words on a piece of paper. Words. They can’t hurt you. They’re as meaningful as a fake lottery ticket. Words on paper.” Of course, my own words did little to offset the disgust created by those words.
Being One of Jehovah’s Witnesses Has Its Price
Some people might ask is how we can be sure it’s one of Jehovah’s Witnesses sending those letters. While there’s not yet a definitive way to prove it, you’ll note that many of the letters came with literature from the religion, and the letters only started coming to Bo’s home after he began speaking out against the religion in 2012. In December of that year, Bo had appeared for a television interview in Norway, referring to the religion as a “paradise for pedophiles.” That’s when he also began talking publicly about his own experiences of being molested by an elder in the religion, and having lost his daughter to their rules about shunning. Soon after, the letters began arriving.
“They put a price on your head at 50,000 to blow your brains out. Money already paid. Can’t wait to see pictures of your brain matter blown out.”
Noteworthy, too, is the timing of the publication of “The Least of God’s Priorities,” and the corresponding escalation of the threats. In his book, Bo reveals many details of his childhood abuse that had not yet been made public, and which he had not discussed with many people. While the first few letters Bo received were easy to dismiss, it was after his book was published that those threats became more graphic, more specific, and more disturbing. I don’t mind going out on a limb and saying that yes, it’s probably one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, thinking in their own twisted way that they’re protecting their precious religion by attacking one of its most vocal detractors.
How ironic that activism comes with such a price, when Bo has already paid so much to this religion. It’s not his fault, the real truth surrounding his conception and birth. He didn’t do anything to bring on the molestation and physical abuse he suffered as a child, and he certainly didn’t pressure his parents to drop the criminal complaint so a child molester could walk free in society.
However, for the grave sin of telling the truth about those circumstances, he is now ostracized by everyone in his past, including his own child. Filling his early childhood with violence and abuse, and taking his family after the fact, is not enough; it seems this religion won’t rest until they take every one of his remaining waking moments, and even his life itself.
I Never Get Invited to the Good Parties
It’s very interesting that Jehovah’s Witnesses scream that apostates are “mentally diseased” (July 15, 2011, Watchtower) and dangerous to others, but look at what this person has proven about those in their religion. Bo isn’t the child molester, he’s never beaten his children, and he’s never spent his Saturdays cutting letters out of a magazine and gluing them to paper, and then prancing about town, leaving vile and obscene threats on a person’s car.
I also need to point out that this person is directing their anger at the wrong person. Apparently they don’t realize that Bo wrote his book because I threw a fit and demanded he do it. His original drafts left out a lot of details, but I told him that he had to talk about the physical abuse, and the pressure the elders put on his parents to drop his complaints. As Bo so openly admits to anyone who will listen, I put my boot up his ass (his phrase!) and wouldn’t let him quit. I didn’t ghostwrite the book by any means, the words were all his, but I made damn sure he was the one who got the last word in, after all those years.
Bo has also taken great strides to move on; he’s concentrating on his coaching and is doing local seminars in Norway, and his next book will talk about moving forward, mentally and emotionally. So why continue to attack, after all this time, and Bo in particular?
Maybe, deep down, this person actually knows that it’s rather pointless and futile to attack activists against this religion. Bo and I, and dozens of other former Jehovah’s Witnesses, are making more progress against this vile religion every day, and have no plans to stop anytime soon.
The work of Australian activists, and the growing strength of the victims, ensured that Witnesses were included in the Australian Royal Commission Inquiry in 2015, an embarrassment the religion will never live down. The Watchtower Corporation is currently facing dozens of lawsuits for how they mishandle child sex abuse, and work is being done to allow even more suits to be filed in the future. Nothing that any one person does to try to intimidate Bo, or me, or anyone else, will stop the avalanche of truth against this abhorrent religion.
Read more about this story at Raumnes, a leading Norwegian news outlet; the story is in Norwegian but it’s worth using a translate app or putting it through Google translate. Many thanks to reporter Thomas Frigard for his hard work and dedication in speaking with Bo about this over the past few weeks.
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