A Common Bond

Jim's Annual 4th of July BBQ for ex-Jehovah's Witnesses

July 4th, 2013

One of the original founders of ACB, Jim Moon, has a yearly 4th of July BBQ to celebrate his independence from he JW religion. He has arranged a facebook group to coordinate this BBQ located in Reading, PA. The link to the facebook group is below.

Jim's Annual 4th of July BBQ for ex-Jehovah's Witnesses

I was baptized as one of Jehovah's Witnesses on July 4th, 1975. Each year, as my way of celebrating my independence from the JWs, I hold a backyard barbecue at my house in rural eastern Pennsylvania (about 70 miles NW of Philadelphia). I've been doing this for several years and each year it keeps getting larger and larger. Last year, we had close to 100 people. That's OK -- we have a big house and an acre in the back yard. We have parking enough for quite a few cars. We almost ran out of places to park last year, but there's plenty of on-street parking about a block away, and getting a volunteer to shuttle them to our house won't be a problem. A few weeks before the event, once you've indicated you want to come, I'll send you directions to the house, or how to program your GPS. If you need directions sooner than that, PM me and I'll send them to you right away. A lot of you have been here before and already know the way.You're most welcome to bring something to the BBQ, but it's not necessary. If you do plan to bring something, I'd suggest posting what you're going to bring below so we don't have too many people bringing the same thing. Please keep in mind that your hosts (and a few of the guests) are in recovery, so please don't get carried away with the alcoholic beverages, and -- sorry -- this area of Pennsylvania is intolerant of illegal substances, so please keep those at home. We'd like the BBQ to go on for years to come and don't want it getting so rowdy clips of it show up on "Worlds Dumbest."

The next day after the BBQ, we traditionally take a caravan of people to Shady Maple Smorgasbord in East Earl, PA (Google it -- it's incredible!) We have room in the attic for a few overnight guests. Bring a sleeping bag. We've also had people pitch a tent in our back yard. Plenty of room for that, too.If you'd rather not go "native" here are a couple of links that you may find helpful:

Nearby Berks County Hotels/Motels:
http://www.readingberkspa.com/hotels-motels-reading.html
Nearby Northern Lancaster County Hotels/Motels:
http://www.yellowpages.com/adamstown-pa/motels
Nearby Campgrounds:
http://www.berkscountyweb.com/BerksCampsites.htm

If you're flying in, I recommend comparing airfares between Philadelphia (PHL), Harrisburg PA (MDT), and Lehigh Valley (ABE) Airports. I personally always fly in/out of Harrisburg. It's closer, quieter, and less hustle & bustle, although lately Lehigh Valley's been offering better fares and it's about the same distance, just a different direction.

Come celebrate my freedom from the Witnesses since 1980, and bring your friends! Who knows? Maybe some day the BBQ will get so big we'll have to rent out Yankee Stadium!

LGBT JW Support at London Pride

European LGBT JW Support Group @ Pride in London 2014

Saturday, June 28at 12:00pm in UTC+01

Many of you have expressed the desire to organise a meet up again with the group members. 
How about meeting at Pride in London like we did the first time we organised a meet up?
Looking very much forward to seeing you there.

For more information about Pride in London, visit the official website: http://prideinlondon.org/

The theme of this year's pride is "Freedom to ...." It might be a great opportunity for you to express what freedom means to you by creating your own T-shirt or banner.

Truth Be Told Screening Memorial Night

Most of the general public have no idea what's behind the Jehovah's Witness organization. Would you like to learn? Gregorio Smith's film, 'Truth Be Told' is an excellent medium to do this. The screenings are going to be held the same night as the Jehovah's Witness ritual celebration of the Memorial of Jesus Christ's death. The producers of 'Truth Be Told' warmly invite you, your family, and your friends to our counter programming event(s). The events will be held in the following cities on the same night: 

TRUTH BE TOLD in NEW YORK CITY
Monday, April 14 7:30PM - 9:21PM
AMC Loews Village 7 66 3rd Ave., New York, NY, 10003
Reserve seats here: http://www.tugg.com/events/7892

TRUTH BE TOLD in MIAMI, FL
Monday, April 14 7:30PM - 9:21PM
AMC Sunset Place 24 5701 Sunset Drive, South Miami, FL 33143
Link to reserve tickets: http://www.tugg.com/events/7891

TRUTH BE TOLD in CLEVELAND, OHIO
Monday, April 14 7:30PM - 9:21PM
Cleveland Cinemas Capitol Theatre
1390 West 65th Street, Cleveland, OH, 44102
Link to reserve tickets: http://www.tugg.com/events/8109

A minimum number a seats for all events must be reserved by 4/7/14. Please secure your seats at your earliest convenience and encourage others to do the same.

Also, please share ticketing link(s) when forwarding information. Visitwww.hereliesthetruth.com for screening information and additional content.

Downloadable flyer PDFs available under MEDIA GALLERY.

POSTS

Nathan's Pain: Sometimes It Gets Better, But Not Without Loss

There was an inspiring story on the Huffington Post about Nathan Belyeu. At the age of 23 his Jehovah Witness parents shunned him because he was gay. His parents denied him access to his medication and tried to take away his car. Follow the link below to read the rest of the story.

Nathan's Pain: Sometimes It Gets Better, But Not Without Loss

"Being raised as one of Jehovah's Witnesses has had, and continues to have, a profound impact on my life. It's more than just a few seemingly odd habits and activities such as not recognizing Christmas," Nathan said. "It is really a worldview and a lifestyle."

"In any case, I was baptized at age 13, long before I could understand who I was, who I would become as an adult, and all the risks I was taking by saying I would live my life by the rules they set forth," Nathan confided. 

"I did understand very clearly though, that if I ever went against the way I was raised, if I ever did anything that I wasn't supposed to do, I would lose everything and everyone, my family, my community, all my friends." 

 

New Orleans Photos

The photos from the New Orleans conference can be found by clicking here. It was a small group this year but we still had fun. We went all over the french quarter, had beignets at Cafe Du Monde, stopped in voodoo shops, ate great food in the warehouse district, went to the Audubon Aquarium, rode a ferry across the Mississippi river, and had drinks on Bourbon Street including at a bar that was an old carrousel.

Check out the photos to see what you missed and start saving your money for the conference in 2014. Details to follow. 

Truth Be Told - California Showings

Gregorio Smith is touring the West Coast with showings of Truth Be Told. If enough people register there will be showings in San Francisco (Deadline August 29, 2013) and San Diego (Deadline September 3, 2013). Check out the Tugg event page for more details.

After the showings Gergorio will answer questions from the audience. The San Francisco event will also feature Scott Terry, author of “Cowboys, Armageddon, and The Truth: How a Gay Child Was Saved from Religion” and Candace Conti who successfully sued the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization for allowing an adult member of a Fremont, CA congregation to repeatedly molest her when she was a child.

"TRUTH BE TOLD lifts the veil on the seemingly benign Jehovah's Witnesses religion to expose a profit-driven, isolationist culture characterized by fear, totalitarian corporate leadership, intellectual & spiritual intimidation, suspension of critical thinking, failed prophecies, doctrinal inconsistency and improper handling of physical and sexual abuse allegations within the church.
See former Jehovah's Witnesses candidly discuss growing up inside the religion. They reveal experiences including the effects of proselytizing door-to-door, shunning non-observant family and friends, suffering the discouragement of pursuing dreams like gaining a higher education, missing other societal holidays and customs. And more...

EX-JDUB Meetup, Fayetteville, NC

There is a group of Ex-Witnesses getting together on Friday August 23, 2013 at 8:00pm in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Check out the facebook link for more information.

An opportunity for fellow ex J-dub's to gather together for socializing and reminiscing.

 

Atlanta ACB Get-Together

The Atlanta chapter of ACB is getting together Saturday, July 27, 2013 at 6:00pm. Here is a link to the facebook page and a description of the event is included below.

Hi all, it's been a long time since we all got together.  We will have a visitor from NC, Jimmy, who will be here, and is looking forward to meeting everyone.  Also, there have been a number of new xjws in the Atlanta area who have made contact recently, and hopefully some of them will be able to join us.  Please share with anyone that I've missed.  The invite will also be advertised on the various xjw groups, so hopefully we can expect a good crowd!  Looking forward to seeing everybody!

 

New Orleans Meetup - 2013

August 29 – September 2 (Labor Day/Southern Decadence Weekend) Last year was the first year that we that had to cancel a conference due to a hurricane.This year we are playing the odds and giving New Orleans have one more shot. So we are welcoming everyone back to NOLA for the 2013 ACB Meetup.  We also will have a contingency plan in place should there be another hurricane bearing down on New Orleans on Labor Day weekend.

We are planning a picnic on Saturday at Audubon Park. Look for the banner from the Houston Conference. After the picnic you can explore the city on your own or form an impromptu group. Later that evening there will be a group heading down to the French Quarter for Southern Decadence. On Sunday we will meet in smaller groups for lunch and dinner. We will also take a tour of the city and probably return to the French Quarter for another round of Southern Decadence.

We are also planning a few new things this year including a souvenir exchange, photo contest, and a short "it gets better" video. All of the events are optional but I think they could be fun.

For the souvenir exchange bring something unique, less than $20 value, that represents the city you came from. It could be a pin, a book, a box of candy, something that represents you or your hometown. At the end of the weekend anyone who want to participate will get together and exchange their souvenirs.

For the photo contest there will be two categories. One for the best shot of New Orleans and best shot of a person at the conference. The winners will receive a free dinner while in New Orleans. If they have to leave early then we will send them a $25 gift card through the mail. The photos can be taken using anything: phone, camera, iPod, etc. Then upload them to the Facebook page for the meetup. At the end of the weekend the photo with the most likes in each category will be the winner. For the best shot of a person make sure they know that their picture is being taken and that you plan to upload it to Facebook. If someone is uncomfortable or does not want their picture taken please do not force the issue. Many time at the meetups there are people who have not told their families about their sexuality please respect that. We want everyone to be comfortable and enjoy themselves.

For the "it gets better" video I am planning on using my camera to get short clips of people saying how their life is better now that they are free from the religion. We can get these clips from all over New Orleans. I hope that this will show people who are afraid to leave the we are not weeping or gnashing our teeth and that there is life after the JWs.

Since this is happening during a very large gay event you should book you plane tickets and hotel soon. As of the beginning of April round trip air fare from Chicago to New Orleans was approximately $375-$400. Hotel rooms for the weekend were available from $100 and up per night depending on amenities. Use your favorite travel search engine, I prefer Kayak, and set up an alert to email you daily or weekly with travel deals.

We recommend staying in the Garden District near St. Charles Avenue. But you could also stay in the Central Business District or the French Quarter. However due to Southern Decadence the longer you wait to book a hotel, especially near the French Quarter, the more expensive your rooms will be.

The St. Charles Streetcar line runs 24/7 every 10 minutes during the day and every 30 minutes in the early morning hours. This streetcar line runs from Audubon Park to the edge of the French Quarter. Single rides are $1.25 and a 3-day unlimited Jazzy pass is $9. There are also plenty of taxis available.

Labor Day weekend is also Southern Decadence in New Orleans. According to

http://www.southerndecadence.net/:

“Southern Decadence started forty-one years ago as a simple going-away party. As a top gay Labor Day Weekend destination, it has evolved into one of our world’s major annual events. One of the largest annual celebrations and festivals in New Orleans, it has become known as the “Gay Mardi Gras.” People begin to arrive on the Wednesday before Labor Day, and generally don’t even think about stopping or going home until the following Tuesday. With over 100,000 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender participants, and an economic impact estimated to be in excess of $125 million, the city has recognized the festival’s importance with an Official Proclamation to welcome the event.”

From nature to parties there should be something in New Orleans for everyone. I hope to see everyone there.

Forums Removed

If you were wondering what happened to the forums I had to delete them. I was able to install Akismet to keep most spammers from posting to the forums but I couldn't find a reliable way to keep them from registering. At the beginning of the year we had ~40,000 registered users with roughly 100 real users. All of the spam users resulted in 9,000 posts per week that were getting filtered. Our hosting company contacted me about the excessive database usage and gave me two weeks to rectify the situation. After researching the issue, the forums were only getting valid posts about once per month and the spam users were posting 12,000 per week, the only option was to delete the forums.

If you want to interact with other ex-JWs I suggest going to facebook to the following groups:

Gay & Lesbian ex Jehovah's Witnesses - This is an open group with 566 members around the world.

Un Lazo Común - Ex-testigos de Jehová Gays - This is a spanish group that just started with 7 members.

CANCELED – New Orleans Meetup 2012

This years meetup is CANCELED due to hurricane Isaac. We have reports that much of the French quarter is without power and the Louis Armstong Airport is operating on generators. Due to the slow moving storm there is a high possibility of flooding making travel difficult. Please contact your hotels and airlines for refunds. More details to follow.

ACB Article in Edge Dallas

Our group was featured in an article on the Edge network.

When asked what he feels is the most important work of ACB, he said, "The greatest thing we can give to anyone who feels abandoned or alone, fresh out of the organization, is friendship, maybe a shoulder to cry on, an earful of advice on how to move on with their life, connect them to others, and make sure they know they are not alone."

The fulltext of the article is available here: http://www.edgedallas.com/news/local/features//133736/lgbt_ex-jehovah

CANCELED - New Orleans Meetup 2012

This years meetup is CANCELED due to hurricane Isaac. We have reports that much of the French quarter is without power and the Louis Armstong Airport is operating on generators. Due to the slow moving storm there is a high possibility of flooding making travel difficult. Please contact your hotels and airlines for refunds. More details to follow. August 31 - September 2 (Labor Day/Southern Decadence Weekend)

This year we wanted the conference to be super social. So there will be no presentations, no meetings, no fees, just FUN! On Saturday we are going to have a picnic at Audubon Park. Look for the banner from the Houston Conference. After the picnic you can explore the city on your own or form an impromptu group. Later that evening there will be a group heading down to the French Quarter for Southern Decadence. On Sunday we will meet in smaller groups for lunch and dinner. We will also take a tour of the city and probably return to the French Quarter for another round of Southern Decadence.

If you want to come to New Orleans you should book you plane tickets and hotel soon. As of the beginning of April round trip air fare from Chicago to New Orleans was approximately $375-$400. Hotel rooms for the weekend were available from $100 and up per night depending on amenities. Use your favorite travel search engine, I prefer Kayak, and set up an alert to email you daily or weekly with travel deals.

We recommend staying in the Garden District near St. Charles Avenue. But you could also stay in the Central Business District or the French Quarter. However due to Southern Decadence the longer you wait to book a hotel, especially near the French Quarter, the more expensive your rooms will be.

The St. Charles Streetcar line runs 24/7 every 10 minutes during the day and every 30 minutes in the early morning hours. This streetcar line runs from Audubon Park to the edge of the French Quarter. Single rides are $1.25 and a 3-day unlimited Jazzy pass is $12. There are also plenty of taxis available.

Labor Day weekend is also Southern Decadence in New Orleans. According to

http://www.southerndecadence.net/:

“Southern Decadence started forty-one years ago as a simple going-away party. As a top gay Labor Day Weekend destination, it has evolved into one of our world's major annual events. One of the largest annual celebrations and festivals in New Orleans, it has become known as the "Gay Mardi Gras." People begin to arrive on the Wednesday before Labor Day, and generally don't even think about stopping or going home until the following Tuesday. With over 100,000 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender participants, and an economic impact estimated to be in excess of $125 million, the city has recognized the festival's importance with an Official Proclamation to welcome the event.”

From nature to parties there should be something in New Orleans for everyone. I hope to see everyone there.

Support Group for European LGBT JW's

Samuel, his story is on our site, has started a support group for European LGBT JWs. The purpose of this support group is to: - Unite the LGBT Jehovah's Witnesses Community based in Europe (we also extend our support to people from Africa, Asia and Middle East as well.) - Listen to how people are coping with their sexuality and religious background - Provide support, encouragement & positive energy - Share personal stories & experiences as a source of encouragement - Organise meet-ups and activities to establish a bond with group members - Provide information and direct people to available help groups & professionals - This group should be a place where people can be themselves, have a good time and feel energized

Languages we provide support in: English / Spanish / Italian / French / Dutch

Our e-mail

Our Facebook Support group

2011 Conference Schedule

Larry is arranging a car to pick people up. To take advantage of this you need to forward your plans in advance. Once you register for the conference we will send you Larry’s contact information. Conference registration is available at: http://www.gayxjw.org/?p=267 Thursday:

People will be coming in that whole day, it will be a very informal gathering at my home. 7pm. If you get into Houston earlier and wish to come over and hang out, just come over, or call and a shuttle car will be available to bring you over. I am planning this day loosely, as most everyone is traveling in on this day. I am sure later in the evening we will do something dinner wise in the neighborhood.

Friday:

9:00 Breakfast at House of Pies Kirby drive. This is Houstons oldest, gayest greasy spoon dinner. 11:00 -? Tours of Houston. We have tour planned of scenic Houston. Downtown Houston. Williams Tower (awesome 3 store waterfall feature) Some of Houstons most beautiful architecture. A beautiful cemetary where all of Houston's mover and shakers are buried, including the infamous Aviator, Howard Humphry Hughes. 7pm. Opening Dinner & Drinks, at my house. Dinner will be ready at 7sharp. (fresh home made chicken and pork tamales, rice and beans. 10:30pm for those who are not bar flies, anyone and everyone is welcome to stay and socialize at my house.

Saturday:

GLBT Cultural Center/Montrose Counseling Center 401 Branard St Houston, Texas 77006

9am Opening announcements 9:30-11:30 Guest Speaker Tony Carrol. (registered, licensed therapist who is speaking on the subject of cults, deprogramming. Tony specializes with the gay community. Him and his partner Bruce are huge supporters of the Gay Community here in Houston.

11:30 -1pm Lunch. Lunch at Barnabys. Awesome Gay dinner food in Houston historic Gay Montrose hood.

1:00 Sam Casas. 1:30-3:30 Guest Speaker Denise Odherty. (registered nurse and licensed counselor speaking of the subject of Self Esteem and Effective Confrontation. 3:30-4pm break 4:00-5:30 Larry Kirkwood on ACB Business and announcements of where ACB Conference 2012 will be. 7:30 -? Dinner at Ninfas. This is Houstons best mexican food in town. Long history and awesome margaritas as well. 10:30 for those who wish to stay low key and not hit the clubs, my house is open. For those who want to experience Houstons Gay night life, we will meet at my house 10:30 then head out.

Sunday:

11am. This year, we are introducing a new idea.....a good old fashioned get together at Baldwin Park, which is located directly across the street from my house. We will have volleyball net, picnic tables, sitting under trees that are more than 130 years old!!! If weather is not conducive the venue will be moved to inside my home. This late brunch will be included with the cost of the registration.

7pm dinner at Hollywood Vietnamese restaurant in Montrose. They serve awesome Chinese, Vietnamese and French cuisine. We can all end up back at my house or hang out in the gayborhood.

Hotel Information - Reserve by September 1, 2011

Time is running out to make your hotel reservations. To take advantage of our group rate you need to reserve your room by September 1st. 2011. If anyone wishes to come a few days prior, or stay a few days later, they will honor that same price for us. When you call to book this hotel, please tell them you want the rate set for AGLBT Common Bond International.

Crowne Plaza - Houston River Oaks (ask for reservations) 2712 Southwest Freeway Houston, TX 77098 (713) 523-8448

Also the conference is at the following address. I realized I had published the wrong address and wanted to repost the correct address.

Houston GLBT Center 401 Branard St Houston, Texas 77006