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The Reluctant Apostate: Leaving Jehovah's Witnesses Comes at a Price Paperback – January 20, 2017
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"Both memoir and reference book, Lloyd Evans' work is an extensive compilation of Jehovah's Witness history and theology. In his honest and exhaustively researched expose, Evans has written what is sure to be the most important book on the religion in this century. The Reluctant Apostate is a must-read for Jehovah's Witnesses and anyone else who has been touched by the faith."
-Scott Terry, author of Cowboys, Armageddon and the Truth
"Insight only an 'insider' can bring to a subject difficult to understand for those who have never been part of this world, and unthinkable to contemplate for those inside its bubble. Lloyd does a magnificent job of speaking to both audiences and everyone in between. Compassion for the plight of those still held captive bleeds through every page."
-Mike Rinder, former senior executive of the Church of Scientology, as featured on the A&E series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath
"Immensely easy to read and entertaining. If you are wondering what it's like to grow up in a fringe religious group with strange beliefs that you're sure you would never fall for and wonder how anyone else could, this book is definitely for you. If you want to know how to help any of your friends or family who may themselves be stuck in such a situation, this book can help you out. It is only through tolerance, understanding and reason that you can help those trapped inside cults and this book will give you that in spades when it comes to Jehovah's Witnesses. I can't recommend this enough."
-Chris Shelton, author of Scientology: A to Xenu
"A compelling and informative window on the world of the Jehovah's Witnesses that will be a vital and life changing resource for former members and many others too in forming an authentic understanding of this group, its beliefs, methods and effects on individuals and families."
-Professor Rod Dubrow-Marshall, Ph.D.
Co-Editor International Journal of Cultic Studies and co-founder RETIRN UK
Dr. Linda Dubrow-Marshall, Ph.D. Co-founder RETIRN UK
About the Author
Lloyd Evans is founder of JWsurvey.org and author of The Reluctant Apostate. He has appeared on the David Pakman Show and has written for Hemant Mehta's "Friendly Atheist" blog. Lloyd's "John Cedars" YouTube channel has over 11,000 subscribers and has attracted over 2.5 million views. Since 2011, Lloyd has been a passionate advocate against cults and religious fundamentalism. A firm atheist, Lloyd points to Jehovah's Witnesses, the religion of his upbringing, of just one example of the harm that can be inflicted when religious authority goes unchecked.
Top customer reviews
What I love most about Reluctant Apostate is the fresh, even-handed voice of the narrator. It is an accessible book, even for current Jehovah's Witnesses who are an objectively under-educated population (according to Pew Research). Among other things, it gently highlights some forms of toxic and/or problematic thinking that are operational within the group, and models at least a few of the healthier alternatives.
I give this book a high 4 rating. The Reluctant Apostate is a great resource, but it is not without some minor flaws. It is a good read and it went quickly because the content is engaging, but the book is too bulky and may present too onerous a prospect for those who might benefit most from reading it. The production quality is excellent for the most part, especially for a self-published book. The paper and binding are of high quality, for example. However, if it were to be republished in a future edition, a good publisher’s editor might 1) tighten up the few sections where the history of historical personalities affecting policy did drag just a bit), 2) ensure that all sources were appropriately footnoted in the main text, 3) reduce the font size and single-space quoted paragraphs, and 3) resize and clean up a couple of the exhibits in the appendix.
The refreshingly honest self-revealing bits of the book may be uncomfortable reading for those who only frame their understanding within binary oppositions such as hero/villain or hero/victim, but I think it shows that the psychological path of self-development in this kind of context is almost always fairly difficult and complicated. His journey is not without some strife or learning hurdles. However, the weight of the narrative voice is human and welcoming. Lloyd Evans is forthcoming without being fanatical about his perspective and does not try to speak too much or too authoritatively for the experiences of others.
As someone who very much enjoys the author’s video channel on YouTube, I have been looking forward to this book's publication (full disclosure: I did donate a little bit toward the funding, but this review was not solicited by the author or by anyone else). The book is much as I hoped that it would be, and I look forward to further projects that carry his friendly signature greeting: "Hello there!"
If I believed everything I read I would still be one of the rank and file mentioned in the book…
The author challenges religious beliefs on a personal level, in such a manner that if you believe in God, you really should have an opinion on these points.
This is a great book, a must read. It’s very informative and easy to relate too. I can see this book helping so many people! I can use the information I learned from this book (especially like the response to use of blood and the prodigal son), and bring them up as talking points to family members. Wonderful work! Lloyd makes a point about prodigal son that I never realized before, and it surprised me because I thought there wasn’t more to learn about the prodigal son, but there it was….
Out of the entirety of the book there is only one point that I can recall that I didn’t like, or at least couldn’t relate too. I have trouble with is the analogy of digging in the back yard for a diamond, and comparing it to church. (This wasn’t written by the author but one he references from some other atheist). I was like; if I was expected to dig at church every week I wouldn’t want to go! That’s pretty laborious… it’s comparing apples to oranges. Church is fun! It’s where I cultivate friendships, worship, relax, and sing cool songs, among other things. Nothing like it is an analogy to “digging”, it’s not work … In fact, and we believe to be a Christian, there is no work involved… if you don’t want to go to church, it’s your choice you won’t lose salvation over it… If the analogy was more like going to a weekly book club, or community center, sometimes even a carnival I think that would be more relatable. All good, no biggie… I try to keep my opinions balanced, and that was honestly the best criticism I could do! It really is a great book!
FYI, I mostly listened to it on my phone (Kindle app) while at work slinging code. If you have an android phone, you can turn on Talkback, set the default language to English, UK. It almost sounds like Lloyd!