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An ex-Jehovah’s Witness explains why the ‘Bottlegate’ video is so crucial

[Melissa Beckwith and Tony Morris]

Since Lloyd Evans posted video of Jehovah’s Witnesses Governing Body member Anthony Morriss III buying a dozen bottles of expensive scotch at 11 am on a Sunday morning and dubbed it ‘Bottlegate,’ we’ve been interested in all of the scenarios Witnesses are coming up with to excuse his behavior.

Lloyd explained to us that it was rare to see a Governing Body member in the wild at all, but he also pointed out that they take lifetime poverty vows, and are reminded that they set an example for the organization. What was Morris doing buying about $850 of expensive scotch on a Sunday morning?

We’ve seen a lot of creative explanations — that he may have been buying for an upcoming event, and that drinking alcohol is one of the few vices Jehovah’s Witnesses are allowed — but it really didn’t explain the impact of what we were seeing.

But then Mark O’Donnell brought a remarkable Facebook posting to our attention. It was written by an ex-JW by the name of Melissa Beckwith who is a fantasy writer in the Midwest. We thought her impassioned article really helped explain for the rest of us why seeing Morris on video buying booze was such a slap to the face to people who had been brought up in the faith.

With her permission, we’re posting it here.



Apparently, Anthony Morris III, a Governing Body member of the Watchtower Organization was caught on video last Sunday in a liquor store buying a shit ton of EXPENSIVE, top-shelf liquor. Kind of long, bear with me, it is important. I’ve linked both of John Cedar’s videos on BottleGate: Video 1, Video 2.

My first thought is, who the hell cares? It’s alcohol and not crack. Alcohol is the only “vice” Jehovah’s Witnesses are permitted to partake of. I thought, so what, it’s 17 bottles….maybe he’s having a party–a very big one. I don’t care.

However, he spent about $1,000 on this shit. The bottles were from $80-$100 each, ON SALE!

So, why does this matter? I mean you have the Joel Osteens of this world fleecing their flock all the time. Well for one, it’s personal since I spent almost my whole life in this cult, and two, they are dangerous, destroying lives and harming children.

For those of you that don’t know about Jehovah’s Witnesses, Tony Morris, as one of the Governing Body members (leaders of the religion) has gained celebrity status due to the JW Broadcasting, their TV network on JW org, where Jehovah’s Witnesses can get constant propaganda piped into the house 24/7.

Anyway, Tony is one of the best GB members at employing very effective guilt tactics to keep the cult members in line. He is on tape in Trinidad telling JWs that if they are not in the field ministry every single week, their hands are dirty with blood and therefore they are bloodguilty and WILL die at Armageddon (he should know, apparently, because I guess it will be him and not Jesus who will be judging people at Armageddon).

This is the same Tony Morris who speaks of homosexuals with disgust on his face and in his voice and blames the new cut of men’s dress suit trousers on homosexuals who want to ogle men wearing dress suits. He has outlawed all updated styles of dress paints for JWs and also Yoga pants for sisters….(which, of course, Yoga is not allowed as a JW anyway)*sigh*

This is the same Tony who rails against parents to allow their kids to go to college (JWs are **heavily** discouraged from obtaining a higher education). This is shown in one of his JW Broadcasting videos where he blames parents for their children leaving the organization because they allowed them to have a college education.

This is the same organization that teaches it’s members from infancy to take menial jobs (if they have to have a job at all) that will barely support them so that they can spend most of their time in the field ministry (pounding on doors) and who are constantly glorifying people who quit their jobs if they interfere with meetings, Bible study time, Family Worship, field ministry, or assemblies and conventions. They also glorify those who live in poverty in order to preach full-time. We hear about these JWs over and over at meetings and conventions and assemblies and in their literature. You can ask any JW, passed or present, and they will confirm this.

One particular instance that has always stayed with me was in a Watchtower in 2004, I think, (It was the year I was regular pioneering–full-time ministry) that glorified this man, who was living in a poor country (I can’t remember where–I think in South America) who was so poor all he had to eat every day was one tortilla and one cup of coffee. That was it. He did that for years and years so that he could spend all his time and what little starvation energy he had out in service (the field ministry). WTF?

That is how absolutely fanatical Jehovah Witnesses are. Because we are guilted from infancy to be this way. There is no other way. All of your energy, physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially go to Bible study, meetings, and the ministry. Period. Nothing else in life matters.

This is the same organization that produces HIGHLY propagandized cartoons for JW children in which one of the cartoons guilts little children to put their ice cream money into the contribution boxes at the Kingdom Halls. Let that sink in. The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses uses cartoons to guilt children into putting their allowances into the contribution boxes at their places of worship. The Kaleb and Sophia cartoon:

This cult expertly uses fear and guilt to manipulate and micromanage their members into doing insane things that are not for their benefit and more importantly, are highly detrimental to their children.

So, these Jehovah’s Witnesses who barely scrape by every week (or who doesn’t even scrape by) are guilted and pressured into giving what little they have to the organization who will then turn around and not even bat an eye at dropping $1,000 of (Children’s ice cream money, perhaps…?) their members money on top shelf liquor.

This pompous, self-important, extremely judgmental man, who claims to be One of only 144,000 humans that are going to heaven and who claims to be running God’s Earthly organization–by God’s Holy Spirit–has the gall to drive his luxury automobile to a liquor store and buy luxury liquor for an amount of money that is the equivalent of more than most of his followers make in a week or even a month or more (JWs are a world-wide organization with over 8 million members).

One thing that I didn’t know before this scandal is that all Bethelites (those who work at JW’s world headquarters called Bethel) –included Governing Body Members–are required to take a vow of poverty. I think they get 2 days off a month and if they want to work at an outside job for those one or two days they have off a month, they must get approval and then any amount of money that is above their very basic living expenses must be given to the organization.

So this is why it matters. This is why it upsets me so badly. The sheer hypocrisy of these men who I was taught from infancy are Christ’s envoys on Earth, who speak for Jehovah God himself, so easily treat themselves with luxury while their members suffer. And–if you’re a current JW and you’d just like to write me off as someone who is bitter because I sinned, got caught and got disfellowshipped (shunned)–I AM NOT NOW NOR HAVE I EVER BEEN DISFELLOWSHIPPED.

1) I left because I couldn’t swallow the misogyny any longer. I found out all of this other stuff after I left.

2) Fuck sin. What is that anyway? The nose ring I got last year? My new four-letter vocabulary? Yoga pants? A pair of dress pants of a little tighter cut than old school paints? Not having enough hours in service? Or a million other things the GB deems a sin? Apparently, hiding child rapists isn’t a sin, though…

If you are a current Witness, please do yourself a favor and get out of this dangerous cult now. Don’t give this guy one more cent. They are using millions of dollars of members donations to pay fees and judgments against them all over the world because of their policy of hiding child rapists….and apparently to buy luxury liquor.


Posted by Tony Ortega on April 9, 2019 at 13:20

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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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