Apostasy (2017)

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Apostasy: Directed by Daniel Kokotajlo. With Siobhan Finneran, Bronwyn James, Robert Emms, Sacha Parkinson. A faithful Jehovah’s Witness is forced to shun her own sister because of a religious transgression. As the separation draws out, she starts to question the meaning of God’s love.

“Last night my wife and I went to a screening in Sheffield and the filmu0026#39;s writer and director was there to field a far too short Q u0026amp; A session afterward.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eIt wasnu0026#39;t an easy film to watch and, in hindsight, it really only exposes the tiniest tip of what is, in reality, a truly gigantic, ugly iceberg. For someone like me who was a JW for nearly 40-years and had been either a ministerial servant (deacon), or elder for most of that time, it had an additional layer of uncomfortable poignancy.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eNotwithstanding all the remedial good weu0026#39;ve done, or attempted to do since we came u0026quot;outu0026quot;, with a fly-on-the-wall film like this you canu0026#39;t help being reminded of the harm you undoubtedly caused even though the u0026quot;helpu0026quot; you were trying to give at the time may have been well-intentioned. The road to hell truly can be very often paved with good intentions.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe film will have a very strong emotional impact for ex-JWs dependent on a number of salient factors. How long they were in…how long theyu0026#39;ve been out…how much deprogramming they have had or pursued subsequently, and how much damage they suffered during both their time u0026quot;inu0026quot; and/or how theyu0026#39;ve been treated following their exit.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eVirtually the whole of the audience was comprised of ex-Witnesses. (This did not surprise me.) Represented there were young and old, men and women, disfellowshipped, disassociated or some that simply faded away. One thing that was agreed on by all, though, was that even though it was a work of fiction that the director had woven his own experiences and memories into, he had managed to encapsulate a real truthfulness into every one of the characters.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe hard-hearted and judgemental elders. The gossipy sisters. The rather awkward courtship/pairing rituals. The ordinary folks who are emotionally torn and battling to suppress their inner humanity in obedience to directives from u0026quot;aboveu0026quot;. And overshadowing everything – a naïve, blinkered and unthinking mindset. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eI use the word u0026quot;unthinkingu0026quot; advisedly. Our received mindset actually decried and tried to suppress independent thinking and we instinctively tried to hide from the facts of history as they pertained specifically to the Watchtower Society. Many of us are u0026quot;outu0026quot; now because we managed to climb over that particular hurdle and start, maybe for the first time, to REALLY start to think!u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eIt was great that after the screening we were able to have some really good, meaningful conversations… as well as the opportunity to compare scars. And it will be great to possibly meet up with some of them as a way of continuing to provide some much needed support.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eIf you havenu0026#39;t seen u0026quot;Apostasyu0026quot; yet, by all means, search out an opportunity to do so. However, bear in mind that if you are an ex-JW (or a naughty current JW) and do decide to watch it, you may experience some degree of triggering.”


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