In early 2014, Max Elfelt, a young American man, who was raised seeing both sides of life, in and out of Jehovah’s Witnesses, delivered a video presentation at the University of Minnesota – Duluth. He called the presentation “Jehovah’s Witnesses: An indepth look.” He posted the video to YouTube.
In one hour and forty minutes, Max describes, questions and refutes many doctrines of Jehovah’s Witnesses. He spoke mostly to college friends and a couple of ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses also went along to listen.
The video may be useful if you want a broad outline of Jehovah’s Witnesses beliefs.
Max agreed to answer a few questions for JW Report about his reasons for making the video, his studies and his family relationships.
Why did you make the video?
1. “I started making the presentation around 2010. It was a long slow process collecting information, compiling it and putting it in a presentable form.”
“I made the video because I think that the general public has no idea how many cult-like characteristics the Jehovah’s Witnesses have. Not only do they have these bad characteristics that few people recognize, but they also do immense amounts of damage to their followers, relatives of JW’s, and ex-JWs due to their policies. Policies like the two-witness rule, abstaining from blood, and disfellowshipping has lead to the death and suffering of many Witnesses and the people around them. I also had the skill, resources, and the motivation to go through with the project, and I felt it was my moral obligation to inform people about this dangerous group.”
“My audience is primarily the general public, but also anyone involved with JWs. I think current JWs will learn things from my presentation, as well as ex-JW’s, Mormons, Christians, or anyone else curious about JW beliefs.”
Do you still have family in JW’s? Are you being shunned by family?
2. “I do still have family that are active JWs. They are all on my mother’s side of the family. As far as I know, they do not know of my opinions of the religion. I will not be sharing those opinions unless I know I’ll be safe from shunning.
“So no, nobody has shunned me simply because I do not talk about it. My wonderful mother knows my opinions but does not shun me.”
What reactions have you had to the video?
3. “Reactions from the video have been very positive from my friends and non-JW family. I created the presentation primarily for the online community, because I knew that I could influence the greatest number of people worldwide. I am surprised to see how many views my lecture is getting, from all over the world. Three months after uploading it, I’m still getting a near constant 50-100 views per day. Much better than I was expecting.”
Do you plan to make any more JW related videos?
4. “A small part of me wants to make a video all about the JW beliefs of Evolution and the history of Earth. It’s just an idea right now so I wouldn’t expect anything soon.”
How is school/college going? What are you studying?
5. “School is going very well for me. I will graduate next month with my Masters in Environmental Health and Safety. My undergraduate degree was in Environmental Science and Biology.”
How do you see your future?
6. “My future is looking very bright. I’ve got a summer internship lined up and then, in September and October I’m planning on riding my bicycle, self-supported, from Sequoia National Park to Vancouver, BC, through the Sierra and Cascade Mountains, making plenty of stops along the way to take in the scenery and make lasting memories. To start the trip off right, I will be attending Burning Man in the Nevada desert.”