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Goodbye Jehovah, Hello Courtroom – Watchtower Brings Lawsuit Against Publishing Company

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On December 29th, 2017, Watchtower attorney Armin Pikl filed a lawsuit against Rowohlt Publishing Company, the highly regarded publishing house in Germany which produced the acclaimed book Goodbye Jehovah!, authored by former Jehovah’s Witness Misha Verollet. The autobiographical novel is subtitled “How I left the world’s most notorious cult.”

Goodbye Jehovah!

The suit followed a December cease and desist order from Watchtower which demanded the redaction of numerous passages along with the destruction of all current editions of the book in circulation. Rowohlt ignored Watchtower’s plea, resulting in legal action.

Goodbye Jehovah! was published in 2014 under the author’s pen name Misha Anouk, and was well received in Germany, reaching #22 on the German best-sellers list.  Media attention was widespread across Germany, Switzerland and Austria, resulting in numerous television appearances, articles and radio interviews. While it was a clear winner in Europe, more than three years later the Jehovah’s Witness organization has opted to take issue with a book which is apparently having an effect on its German-speaking members.

While Jehovah’s Witnesses are not permitted to read “apostate” books or any materials critical of their religion, Verollet believes some German-speaking JWs are reading his book. During an interview with JW Survey he stated:

The average E-book share of book sales is 5 percent. With my book, over 20 percent were sold as E-books. This is an absolute outlier for the industry

Because hardcopy books are easily found and confiscated, Verollet believes a number of Jehovah’s Witnesses are reading his book by downloading it to their tablets and phones. Witnesses are less likely to be caught with the electronic version of a book.

Read more: http://jwsurvey.org/news/goodbye-jehovah-hello-courtroom-watchtower-brings-lawsuit-publishing-company

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From what I could gather the writers at the "survey" blog seem to say that there are 7 specific issues that the WTS is opposing in the book. I count 6 from the linked article. Perhaps there are more details in the author's own blog about what's happening with his book. So far it looks like the following items are part of the suit:

  1. Privacy issue related to collection of data on persons who are studying with JWs
  2. Privacy issue related to collection of data on the activities of JWs (voluntarily reported hours, placements, etc.) and the use of that information to review the potential congregational status of the JW
  3. Portrayal of the Governing Body as having any type of control over the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society
  4. Research quoted from Marvin Shilmer where he claims that more than 50,000 Witnesses have died over blood transfusion issues
  5. The suggestion that the WTS might try to control the type of music a Witness listens to
  6. That Witnesses believe and share potentially embellished experiences as fact

Did I miss one that someone else saw?

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