My favorite photographer and close friend Phil Kneen has produced many a breathtaking and beautiful image in the time that I have known him, these are by no means breathtaking but there is just something about them, maybe its the fact that when you look at them you want to know the story behind them… Sometimes its what you don’t know about something that makes it so captivating?

Originally posted on Phil Kneen Photography:

img126img128img130img131img132img133img136img137img138All images were made in Yellowknife, Canada, September 2012 using a Mamiya 7II, 80mm lens and Fuji Pro 400H film

View original

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Awesome read… get on it

Originally posted on Thoughts from my Alien Head:

To paraphrase  Dave Reekie, this is not an attack on the NHS

I was diagnosed with Angina – chest pain caused by the narrowing of coronary arteries, leading to heart attacks and possibly death.

I learned a lot from the internet, although this can be dangerous. If you spend enough time Googling medical information, a sore fingernail will become a combination of Pulmonary Embolism and Leprosy. What I did learn was that this should not be ignored, it is life threatening. It had taken me 6 months to get a simple ECG done on a treadmill – took 8 minutes to do, to get the diagnosis I didn’t want to hear. I had gone in there convinced I had acid reflux and that a few Rennies would do the trick.

All of a sudden, I realised I am old. I am never going to climb Everest, show Usain Bolt…

View original 1,627 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Where are my super powers?

Where are my super powers?.


An awesome read!!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Are they really hiding child abusers


No doubt many of us are painfully aware, child abuse and religion has and will more than likely throughout or lifetime continue to be linked.  It is not something inherent in religious organisations, it is something that happens across many demographics, so lets put this straight from the start.  Pretty much anywhere where you have a large family based organisation there will always be instances of this nature cropping up.  The Church and meeting places are inevitably going to be potential areas of risk.  I find it sad that this is the case, as in previous Blogs I have stated that people of a religious persuasion are on the whole good people,they want nothing but the best for their children and families.  It is such a shame that in the past the majority have become victim to the few.  In the vast majority of these cases, notably in recent times the authorities have become involved and trained professionals are able to facilitate the apprehension of the  guilty and provide the much needed support for victims and their families.  But what happens when this process is not followed?

I recently was sent a link to the Blog site http://www.jehovahswitnessblog.com and happened upon an article concerning an certain Candice Conti.  She was suing the Jehovahs witness organisation for damages concerning a member of the congregation who had molested her in the 90’s.  The first question on my mind was; why was she taking the organisation to court?  The full story can be found here in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/18/us/28-million-awarded-in-jehovahs-witnesses-abuse-case.html?_r=1 The court case came about due to the fact that the JW organisation have a rather unusual policy concerning child abuse cases.

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York (to give them their official title) formulated the approach to take in 1989 it states that an incident, no matter what it is, needs to be seen by two witnesses.  They claim that they follow the bible closely and as a result use the scriptures to back up this stance.  They quote Deuteronomy chapter 9, verse 15, which says “No single witness should rise up against a man respecting any error or any sin, in the case of any sin that he may commit. At the mouth of two witnesses or at the mouth of three witnesses the matter should stand good.” They also use the scriptures in Matthew chapter 18, verses 15 and 16 to justify this stance, which says: “Moreover, if your brother commits a sin, go lay bare his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. (16) But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two more, in order that at the mouth of two or three witnesses every matter may be established.”  To me this seems perhaps a little hazy, not quite specific enough to legislate for instances of child abuse, as how often is that sort of thing witnessed by anyone.

The bible also states that we are to be subject to the rules of the land or government where we live.  So to investigate an incident of child abuse without consulting the professionals in place would contravene this command. The official site states the following: “When any one of Jehovah’s Witnesses is accused of an act of child abuse, the local congregation elders are expected to investigate. Two elders meet separately with the accused and the accuser to see what each says on the matter. If the accused denies the charge, the two elders may arrange for him and the victim to restate their position in each other’s presence, with elders also there. If during that meeting the accused still denies the charges and there are no others who can substantiate them, the elders cannot take action within the congregation at that time. Why not? As a Bible-based organization, we must adhere to what the Scriptures say, namely, “No single witness should rise up against a man respecting any error or any sin . . . At the mouth of two witnesses or at the mouth of three witnesses the matter should stand good.” (Deuteronomy 19:15) Jesus reaffirmed this principle as recorded at Matthew 18:15-17. However, if two persons are witnesses to separate incidents of the same kind of wrongdoing, their testimony may be deemed sufficient to take action.”  To be perfectly fair to them it also continues: “However, even if the elders cannot take congregational action, they are expected to report the allegation to the branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses in their country, if local privacy laws permit. In addition to making a report to the branch office, the elders may be required by law to report even uncorroborated or unsubstantiated allegations to the authorities. If so, the elders receive proper legal direction to ensure that they comply with the law. Additionally, the victim or anyone else who has knowledge of the allegation may wish to report the matter to the authorities, and it is his or her absolute right to do so.”

So the rules and regulations are clear, the local authorities do need to be involved.  My immediate shock when reading this came when, the primary action is to have the Elders investigate.  Surely the proper thing to do would be ensuring the relevant authorities are informed immediately, after which the congregation Elders could start their own “spiritual” investigation, with a view to keeping the congregation clean in God’s eyes.  There so many instances of abuse victims and their families being advised by the Elders not to involve the authorities and to keep it all in house?  Maybe at this point you don’t believe what you are hearing.  Follow this link and I urge you to read it for your self: http://www.silentlambs.org/CharlieJonesArticle.htm.

This type of thing happens in all religions, we will always have the debased element of society rear it’s ugly head wherever we may be.  When it happens usually the media try to make a scandal of it, and in some cases quite rightly so.  The crazy thing is with these instances is that if the individual accused denies it and continues to do so they are able to keep their good standing in the faith.  Again if this is perhaps difficult to believe then have a look at this BBC documentary from 2002 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzWupVczfCQ  It is split into 3 parts so follow the links on the right hand side for parts 2 and 3.

After reading all of the strange and disturbing things that have been going on in the witness faith all these years, a faith that I was once proud to be part of, I received an update from the Jehovahs witness blog site and read an article that I really could not believe… http://www.jehovahswitnessblog.com/child-abuse/watchtower-society-slips-up-again/  Have a look at this article and then spare a thought for the thousands who have been affected by this crazy rule that can in some cases serve to protect paedophiles over their victims.

Posted in Family, relationships, Religion, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Many thanks

The past few days have been fantastic.  My blog has received well in excess of 160,000 hits.  Many of these hits are down to people reading the letter I received form my mother, it seems to have struck a chord with so many people both atheist and religious.  The comments that have been made have been a comfort and an encouragement to me, so for that I thank you all.

Of the 200 plus comments, many were from ex-jehovahs witnesses and to hear that my blog has been both an inspiration and of great help to many struggling with similar circumstances has been overwhelming to me.

Some of the comments made have put aspects of my blog into perspective for me.  We all know that it is true to say in life that, no matter how bad things can get there is always somebody worse off than you.  This has been made evident to me more than ever by the comment made by  Neo, he is atheist and gay, something the witnesses are totally opposed to, despite that being an uncontrollable human emotion, something one would assume a loving god would understand… his comment is as follows:  “You received a letter that I’ve always feared receiving. Same faith, similar circumstances (add atheist + gay and you can imagine how pissed/angry/annoyed/depressed my mother is that I’m not giving Sunday talks or something) and so I just have to say that I’m glad you are taking this with full understanding of her indoctrinaton and not letting it destroy you because if you were not prepared for this it could have. The JW religion is so twisted; no kid should get a letter like this from their mother and yet, you know to write such a thing was painful so you can’t even be *that* mad at her. I hope one day she wakes up or spiritually weakens to the point where she act like a regular human being and not take such things so seriously. My own mother and I avoid talks of religion and politics, and since I discovered who I was before I ever took the Dip, she doesn’t go full blown Rage JW. She threatens to cut ties but because I’m not official she doesn’t have to…so pretty much I only have my mother in my life due to a technicality of this religion… so stupid.”

Neo was never baptised into the faith so is not subject to the perhaps crazy rules of disfellowshipping, however, it is and will continue to put strain on his relationship with his mother.  It made me realise that at least I know where I stand with my mother.  I can draw a line under it all and move on, however in neo’s case that may happen or perhaps it may not, if the latter is true, he will continue to live in a state of limbo concerning his mothers feelings to him.  In my opinion this is far worse than my situation.

Another comment made was by Steve c  (steve4nlanguage.blogspot.tw)  His comment has had a huge impact on how I now view my situation, it is as follows:  “Dave, it kills me to read this, because I know the hurt you feel.

I was a born-in JW and finally stopped attending meetings at age 36; my sister and mom have shunned me since 2006. My mother’s kidneys started failing a few months ago, and combined with her late stage emphysema, she doesn’t have long to live. Since I now live in another country, my only source of updates on my mom’s condition is through my sister, who only recently decided to reply to me. Of course, she only does so out of duty as Watchtower-mandated “necessary communication”; her messages are cold and businesslike without an ounce of love or family feeling.

I hope one day her eyes and heart will be opened. Until then, here’s a virtual hug of support.

Keep enjoying your freedom from that cult!”

This made me fully realise that there is most definitely people who are worse off than myself, yes what happened to me was not nice, ideal etc.  However, in Steve’s instance he has been thrust into a world many of us will never understand, I really do feel for him, it makes my situation seem minuscule in comparison.

So in conclusion, all the comments of support I have received over the past few days have been amazing, but let us not forget to spare a thought for those who have been cut off from their family unit and have a real struggle on their hands daily, for me it is all over and I draw a line under it, but for them its is ongoing and painful…  Once again many thanks


Posted in Family, relationships, Religion, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Letter

Posted in Family, relationships, Religion, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 142 Comments

The end is nigh


It is with all the previous blogs and points that I have made in mind that I really have struggled with my mother’s decision to cut me off.  As previously stated, both my parents are intelligent people, able to reason and think rationally.  It is my opinion that the religion has sucked all of this rationality out of them, it has been done in such a way that they are oblivious to it happening  they would appear to be blind to many of the opposing arguments and have close off that thought process simply because they have been warned by the organisation that it would be detrimental to their faith.  I do understand their position however, as I have also been there, so whilst I may wholly disagree with the events that have taken place, rational thought allows me to understand the reasoning behind it.

Having said all of the above it renders me at a loss and leaves me somewhat frustrated at the fact that, perhaps all of the faithful witnesses blindly follow the teachings and never fully have an understanding of both sides (even though they feel they have that due to how the religion put the opposing arguments across).  I really do hope that maybe my parents will take a look outside the “box” if you pardon the expression, and just maybe notice some of the contradictions in the religion and it’s take on the bible.  As I said from the start, this is not an attack on religion, so it would be wholly wrong for me to condemn the witnesses for following the bible.  I do feel however, that there should be consistency in how this is done and also transparency with regard to the reasoning behind the doctrines.

The witnesses always reiterated the fact that they follow the bible more closely and accurately than any other religion, so it baffles me that there can be so many holes picked with the doctrines.  As part of my education in the bible we were shown the examples of the Pharisees and Sadducees  who were Jewish religious leaders from the old testament and even up to the time of Jesus, there were many conflicts between both sects over the years but their job was similar to that of priests.  Jesus condemned them for their complications of the Mosaic Law; they would take a law from God and then add to it and add to it.  Eventually there was a whole list of actions that had to take place with regard to say cleanliness, where the bible may have instructed people to wash their hands before a meal, the Pharisees would have had stringent rules regarding the length of time and the extent of washing up the arm and so on…  Jesus stressed that we should primarily take what the bible says and that is all, he further stressed the need to avoid adding to it.  This is one of my main problems with the religion; they have taken the previously discussed rules regarding non-believers and added to it in a similar fashion to the Pharisees, yet another example of contradictions in the belief system.

At this point I feel I have given you all the facts necessary to be able to make your own mind up, the next blog will be the transcription of my mother’s letter, with no commentary from me, the reason being I want to leave people free to make up their own mind with regard to what has happened.  I hope you read it and can then understand my frustrations with the situation.

Thank you all so much for comments and the support from many people I don’t even know.  It has been a pleasure writing this blog and I hope folks have enjoyed the read



Posted in Family, relationships, Religion, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments