Hi, I’m Misha Verollet, I live in Vienna (Austria), and I’m a business consultant for a digital agency as well as a freelance writer and cult expert. I am the author of the book Goodbye, Jehova! which was published under the pseudonym of Misha Anouk.
On CULT101, I aim to share my experiences with cults and the extensive research on this subject. Some of the content you find here is taken from my former projects JW Alumni and Taze.
I was born in 1981 in Gibraltar. My parents were missionaries for the Watchtower Society, the mother organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW.org).
After I was born, we moved to Germany, where I grew up in an english-speaking congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Hence, I was born and raised in the so-called truth. I was disfellowshipped in 2003.
After extensive Bible studies and research, I came to the conclusion that the doctrine of Jehovah’s Witnesses is a religious scam and it is not for me. Therefore, active Jehovah’s Witnesses would probably consider me an apostate. I bear no grudge against Jehovah’s Witnesses on an individual basis. But I believe that any religion should be open to scrutiny and criticism to incite to reform. I have acquired extensive knowledge about cults and religious control groups and aim to share this knowledge here.
I am the author of “Goodbye, Jehova!”, an acclaimed german-language non-fiction bestselling book about my life as a Jehovah’s Witness (4,5 out of 5 stars on amazon, based on 89 reviews (August 2016)). It includes a thorough analysis of JW.org doctrine and methods. Here is an english-language review of “Goodbye, Jehova!”. Praise for “Goodbye, Jehova!” in german media outlets:
“A remarkable book, a terrific read based on meticulous research.” – Hamburger Abendblatt
“His story shows how the system of Jehovah’s Witnesses manipulates people.” – Zeit Online
“Outstanding research, really intimate and very, very good.” – NDR TV
Are you an apostate?
Technically, anybody who believes in Jehovah but may disagree with interpretations of the “faithful and discreet slave”, no matter how minor the disagreement may be, is an apostate. The word apostate has been diluted to obscurity through its overuse by the Governing Body in their attempt to discredit criticism. Therefore, I like to think of myself as an Alumnus of the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses, on account of the fact that I have graduated to a new, self-determined life beyond the Watchtower. By calling myself Alumnus, I am reclaiming what it means to leave Jehovah’s Witnesses: I am exerting the free will and power of choice that was bestowed upon me – either by a God Creator or by Evolution, depending on what you believe in now.
Regardless of our current beliefs and views, other former members and I have in common that we were educated by Jehovah’s Witnesses to and beyond the point of baptism – the official rite of passage into the organization. On account of our choosing to graduate from Watchtower doctrine and moving on to a self-determined life we have been shunned by Jehovah’s Witnesses in general and by former friends and even close family members in particular. According to the “shunning policy” of Jehovah’s Witnesses we are now labeled disfellowshipped, apostates or even mentally diseased.
Personally, I prefer to view myself as an alumnus: an Ex-Jehovah’s Witness.
ipsa scientia potestas est – Knowledge itself is power