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A Jehovah’s Witnesses official responds (unofficially) to ‘Bottlegate’

We’re still buzzing over a video that Lloyd Evans posted of Jehovah’s Witnesses Governing Body member Anthony Morris III buying a cartload of expensive hooch.

And now Lloyd, Mark O’Donnell, and other ex-JW activists have had a chance to talk about Tony’s March 31 trip to the liquor store in a group video chat that we found fascinating and thought you would too.

About 15 minutes in, Mark reads from a letter that a Witness received when they asked a Governing Body “Helper” for some help understanding what Tony was doing buying about $850 of Macallans Scotch (and throwing away the gift boxes) at 11 am on a Sunday morning in the New Jersey town of Ramsey about 25 miles from JW world headquarters in Warwick, New York. (Not only was it a large purchase of expensive Scotch, but Governing Body members like Morris take a poverty vow and wouldn’t normally have $850 to spend on whisky. Also, Morris in particular is known for his imperious and judgmental stands on the way Witnesses should comport themselves and even what they should wear, so whatever he wanted the alcohol for, it’s just not a good look.)

Here’s what the helper wrote to the Witness about Tony’s adventure:


Dear [redacted],
While I appreciate the concern of the brother who “witnessed” this, I also have some concerns about the assumptions made. Please keep in mind, there are a number of circumstances that others may not be aware of. For example, using the purchase in connection with visitors, graduates from Gilead or the Branch Committee School. Also, over what period of time will these [bottles] be used? As far as dedicated funds, some of our brothers had businesses prior to coming to Bethel. I will not get too personal on Brother Morris’s circumstances in that regard. It does point out that our dear brothers are a “theatrical spectacle,” so please assume the best of our dear brother. Thank you.

The group in the video has some really smart things to say about this response, so take a look.

In the meantime, we’ve sent our own official request for a statement to the Watchtower’s Office of Public Information after chatting with a couple of folks on the phone in Warwick, who were polite, cheery, and helpful. We sure hope someone gets back to us with a response to our inquiry.



Posted by Tony Ortega on April 4, 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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