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Jerry Minor didn’t get quite the star-turn he deserved on the ‘Aftermath’ JW special

Leah Remini’s JW special was outstanding, there’s simply no doubt about it. But it dawned on us later that the program did miss out on one opportunity, and that was to make a slightly bigger deal about one of its guests.

Fortunately for us, we can do that now, in our conversation with the very funny Jerry Minor.

The Bunker: When we were watching the Aftermath episode, we were certain that we recognized you. Later it came to us who you were, and it struck us that they didn’t make a bigger deal about that in the episode. Wasn’t the fact that you’re a pretty well known comic actor part of why your story as ex-JW is so compelling?

Jerry: You know what, they got me at the last minute when they were filming here. I don’t think anyone realized my work background.


The Bunker: We find that hard to believe. But anyway, they clearly missed an opportunity. There should have been a brief segment of some of your best clips to introduce you before going into your JW story.

Jerry: I know, right!

The Bunker: We’ll correct that mistake right here. Here’s a fun clip of you telling a great story from your SNL days…


The Bunker: OK, so, tell us about your ‘Aftermath’ experience. What were your expectations, and what were your impressions when you saw the finished product?

Jerry: Well, the show had been on for a few seasons, so I knew it would be a certain format. They told us up front what we’d be shooting and when, so it was well planned. I shoot a lot so I was familiar with everything we were doing. But the finished product was way better than I thought it would be. The research, clips they pulled, how they edited it. The thoroughness of it. Although I should have expected that since they’ve had to deal with Scientology’s legal BS.

The Bunker: Has it been difficult to get TV programs to pay attention to JW’s controversies? Lloyd Evans made it sound like this was a pretty unique show.

Jerry: YES! I’ve been pitching ideas and trying to do something for a few years. People are now just getting to hear about the JWs. The Internet had a lot to do with people sharing stories and understanding their experiences in groups like these. Before that, nobody really cared, it seemed like.

The Bunker: There must be a ton of material on YouTube, but it’s still very different to have it on a national show.

Jerry: Yes! And also the whole she-bang, not just a single subject like blood transfusion or child molestation. That stuff had been in the national news. It’s also kind of an underclass kind of thing, and they go under the radar a lot.

The Bunker: Because it’s largely working class and African-American?

Jerry: Yes, I think so. Latino too, especially out here in California.

The Bunker: This is something we also asked Lloyd Evans: Scientology is pretty tiny (like 20,000 people), and it was raided by the FBI in 1977. The idea of the government stepping in and basically putting it out of business is not unrealistic. But JW is like 8 million people. And it’s Bible-based, so it’s harder to deny that it’s a “church” or “religion” the way some Scientology critics do. So, what are you hoping to accomplish? What would you like to see done?

Jerry: Tell people the danger of joining, pressure JW to change harmful policies, pressuring the leadership. The government stepping in, unfortunately, fulfills their prophecy, so I’m not sure that’s a solution.

The Bunker: Oh, that’s an interesting point.

Jerry: Although I think there are some ways they can be held accountable by the government for harmful practices. Even the government informing the public about undue influence would help.

Thanks very much for those words, Jerry. Here’s much more about Jerry’s time in Jehovah’s Witnesses in a conversation he had with Lloyd Evans which kicks off with a fun collection of Jerry’s clips on Saturday Night Live…



Posted by Tony Ortega on March 8, 2019 at 12:00

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Tony Ortega is a journalist who was formerly the editor of The Village Voice. He’s written about Scientology since 1995, and in May 2015 released a book about Scientology’s harassment of Paulette Cooper titled ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely,’ and more recently a compilation of his stories, ‘Battlefield Scientology.’ He continues to monitor breaking developments in the Scientology world, as well as other subjects such as Jehovah’s Witnesses. You can reach him by sending him a message at tonyo94 AT (Drop him a line if you’d like to get an e-mail whenever a new story is posted.)


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