4th Natural History Museum Tour

RSVP: https://www.meetup.com/xjwengland/events/239996625/

The Museum’s spectacular new central space reopened on the 14th of July. The star of the new Hintze Hall will be a blue whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling.

Dippy the beloved diplodocus cast will no longer be on public display because it is going on a UK tour, starting in 2018. The blue whale is a brilliant educational tool for explaining how evolution by natural selection works and by attending the tour, you will learn about the various pieces of evidence for common descent. The fact that it is a mammal which went back into the sea endowed it with many features which show the power of evolution.

Due to the misinformation spread by the “Society” and some prominent fundamentalists, some, by no fault of their own, have a very limited understanding of the evidence for common descent and for evolution by natural selection. Even if you are a believer in creation, it might be an eye-opening experience for you to see and examine the evidence for yourself, or it may help you reconcile your faith with modern science.

Since the human genome was fully sequenced in 2003, an enormous amount of light has been shed on our understanding of our place in the Tree of Life.

The museum has a lovely Interactive Film called “Who do you think you really are?” presented by David Attenborough which starts at 11am on Saturday

Because of the knowledge of evolutionary biology that I have built up since leaving the bOrg, and my knowledge of the “Society”‘s teachings that NHM staff are bound not to have, I will do a tour of the relevant parts of the museum and go together to see the Attenborough film.

The tour will be designed for those who don’t understand the theory and its implications, those who are confused at the great deluge of information about evolution that we are bombarded with, those who and those sit on the fence regarding evolution and creation debate (not to convince you not to believe in God, but to expose you to the evidence for common decent or help you reconcile it with your faith).

The plan is to aim for 10:00, when the museum opens, in the main hall with the new blue whale skeleton. We’ll wait for the inevitable late-comers to trickle in, I’ll scout the area to make sure the exhibits I want to discuss are still there and we’ll start the tour at 11:00.

Depending on what is on in the Darwin Centre or the Attenborough Studio and at what time, we’ll either go to see a live presentation first, or do the tour first. We’ll spend time after the film learning about the evidence for the evolution of different species, including humans, elephants, whales, horses and fish using the exhibits at the museum, as well as audiovisual media.

Perhaps even a post-tour lunch could be organised as well in The Delhi Brasserie (134 Cromwell Road, SW7 4HA).

and/or a few drinks at the Hoop & Toy pub (34 Thurloe Place, SW7 2HQ)

For a small taster of what is in store, click this link to find out about new discoveries about the dinosaurs: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/dinosaur-family-tree-gets-major-makeover.html

I hope people are interested. Let me know if you’d like to attend or contribute intellectually to the tour.

Ste

p.s. Please remember that not only am I organising this tour for free, but also I am paying meetup organiser dues of about £12/month out of my own pocket, so if you can, please PayPal a small amount to xjwmeetup@hotmail.com or bring some change to pay for the upkeep of the group.

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10 Year Anniversary of exJW meetup!

It’s 10 years since we first met up in the back of a library in Rochester, Kent. We drank tea and chatted about the JWs.

Then we realised, “Wouldn’t the pub be more fun?” And lo, the pub was more fun. So off we did trot to the pub in London, and the rest is history…

Let’s all get together and drink wine and be merry! Happy anniversary everyone!

RVSP: https://www.meetup.com/xjwengland/events/240293970/
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p.s. Please remember that I’m organising these events for free and making no profit. I pay the organiser dues of £12/month out of my own pocket, so if you can, please paypal a smaaaaall amount to xjwmeetup@hotmail.com or bring some spare change to pay for the upkeep of the group. Thanks a lot.

 

London Pride 2017

2016 was the biggest Pride ever!

40,000 people joined the Pride in London parade and as many as a million people took to the streets to celebrate, make their voice heard, and be a part of something special.

Stunned in the aftermath of the shootings in Orlando, our community came together. Our message of living life with No Filter – celebrating the opportunity to be free, but also recognising that so many people are unable to be themselves – resonated around the world.

This sentiment is especially true for those of us who have been part of stifling religions and high control groups. It takes years to be able to feel truly liberated after such an experience.

Let’s make 2017 bigger and better than ever.

RVSP: https://www.meetup.com/xjwengland/events/239293994/
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p.s. Please remember that I’m organising these events for free and making no profit. I pay the organiser dues of £12/month out of my own pocket, so if you can, please paypal a smaaaaall amount to xjwmeetup@hotmail.com or bring some spare change to pay for the upkeep of the group. Thanks a lot.

Book of Mormon show, London

The Book of Mormon is a musical comedy about two young Mormon missionaries who travel to Africa to preach the Mormon religion. First staged in 2011, the play satirises various Mormon beliefs and practices.

I shall be at this pub from 12pm. Please make sure you’re there by 1.30pm at the latest to get your tickets. 🙂

https://www.craft-pubs.co.uk/comedy

This is where we’re meeting for drinks and food after the show 🙂

http://www.rileyssportsbars.co.uk

RVSP: https://www.meetup.com/xjwengland/events/236996762/
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p.s. Please remember that I’m organising these events for free and making no profit. I pay the organiser dues of £12/month out of my own pocket, so if you can, please paypal a smaaaaall amount to xjwmeetup@hotmail.com or bring some spare change to pay for the upkeep of the group. Thanks a lot.

2017 Meetup schedule (tentative)

28 January – ?

28 February – Cardiff meetup (Copthorne hotel, Culverhouse Cross, Cardiff)

25 March – ?

14 April – LGBT Bowling (European JW Support Group)

6 May – Admin Meeting and General meetup (Birmingham? Manchester?)

10 June – “Book of Mormon” theatre trip (definite)

8 July – London Pride (definite)

15 July – 10th Anniversary Summer Meetup, London 

22 July – Brighton Trans Pride (definite)

26 July – Watchtower Victims Memorial Day

5 August – Brighton Pride (definite)

2 September – 10th Anniversary Summer Meetup, Midlands 

October – Screening of “Truth Be Told”

November – ?

2 December – 10th Annual Xmas Dinner


Please sign up for the group (https://www.meetup.com/xjwengland/) and RSVP to the events when they come up (usually a month or so before the event).

Faith to Faithless panel discussion on JWs at King’s College London

A panel discussion between ex-Jehovah’s Witness activists:

Deborah Frances-White – Deborah is a successful Australian Comedian and an exJW based in London. She has a an award winning show on BBC Radio 4 called Roll the Dice.

Nick French – exJW based in Scotland who has spoken out about the abuse cover-ups within the JW religion.

Marc & Cora Latham – exJW’s who have a YouTube channel that criticises the WT organisation and helps those who have left the religion. They spend a considerable amount of time offering emotional and practical support to exJWs who have recently left, or who are victims of abuse.

Lydia Finch – exJW activist who speaks out on Twitter, creates YouTube videos, and has given talks about the abuses that exist within the JW religion.

Terri O’Sullivan – exJW activist who founded and now co-runs the exJW UK support group.

Tickets are currently £4 each, on the door it will be £6. Book here—> https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/leaving-jehovahs-witnesses-faith-to-faithless-qa-tickets-30231584483
More info to follow….

9th Annual xJW Christmas Dinner

The Christmas Dinner is just around the corner… Unlike another anticipated event, we DO know the day and the hour: Saturday the 10th of December 2016 at 7:00pm.
We have decided on the Riverside Pub in Vauxhall.

The Christmas menu will be publiched a few months before the meal;

The meal costs £28.95 for three courses, and £24.95 for two courses.   And so with the 12.5% service charge means it will be £32.57 for the three courses, or £28.07 for the two courses in total.

If you are eating with us, I need you to do two things:

1. Send a £15 deposit to the group PayPal Account: xjwmeetup@hotmail.com

2. Send your food order to xjwmeetup@hotmail.com with the subject line “XMAS ORDER”.

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Remember, you don’t have to eat the dinner with us, you can just have drinks and bar snacks, in which case you don’t need to do anything except turn up (and let me know in advance so that extra chairs can be arranged).

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We ask that you bring a small SECRET SANTA gift of no more than £5 to exchange on the day.

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Are we not grateful that a fine banquet of literal food has been provided by the Riverside Pub where we can join in wholesome fellowship with like-minded ones? (wait for applause).

Stand firm and unwavering in your confidence that the imminent end of this present “year of things” (2015) will soon usher in a new year (2016), a year, not where we will cuddle dangerous wild animals and poisonous snakes, not where there is a dangerously large pile of reading glasses, crutches, walking sticks, hearing aids & kidney dialysis machines threatening to engulf us all, not where the ‘firmament’ has been placed back into the sky leading to perfect worldwide weather conditions, not where we will have polyester clothes, plastic beach balls and polystyrene cups full of fruit salad with no visible signs of industrialisation, not where we will have fake smiles pasted on our faces like demented Stepford wives… but a year which will be pretty much the same as this year, but better… oh yes, so much BETTER!

Hey there all your thirsty ones, come and drink life’s vodka free (well, it’s not free, but I’ll get to that in a minute).

Looking forward to seeing all of you!!

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Directions to the Riverside Young’s pub:

Come out of exit 1 of Vauxhall station.

Keep walking forward until you are just at the beginning of Vauxhall bridge.

Turn left with the MI6 building directly behind you and walk along the riverside pathway.

Continue along the river past St George Wharf Pier, until you see an overhanging sign saying “Riverside Young’s” with a small golden ram above it.

p.s. Please remember that I’m organising these events for free and making no profit. I pay the organiser dues of £12/month out of my own pocket, so if you can, please paypal a smaaaaall amount to xjwmeetup@hotmail.com or bring some spare change to pay for the upkeep of the group. Thanks a lot.

3rd Natural History Museum Tour – 19th Nov 2016 @11am

The next event is now on meetup.com: https://www.meetup.com/xjwengland/events/232342896/

Due to the misinformation spread by the “Society” and some prominent fundamentalists, some, by no fault of their own, have a very limited understanding of the evidence for common descent and for evolution by natural selection. Even if you are a believer in creation, it might be an eye-opening experience for you to see and examine the evidence for yourself, or it may help you reconcile your faith with science.

Since the human genome was fully sequenced in 2003, an enormous amount of light has been shed on our understanding of our place in the Tree of Life.

The museum has a new Human Evolution gallery which explores the origins of Homo sapiens, tracing our lineage since it split from that of our closest living relatives, the chimpanzee and the bonobo.

The gallery takes visitors on an epic journey spanning the last seven million years. Starting in Africa with our early hominin relatives (who are more closely related to us than to chimpanzees), visitors will travel forward in time to meet our ancient human relatives as they spread into Europe and Asia. The journey ends with modern humans as the only surviving human species in the world today.Along the way, visitors can see star specimens from the Museum collections, and get to grips with some of the latest research shedding light on our past.

Because of the knowledge of evolutionary biology that I have built up since leaving the bOrg, and my knowledge of the “Society”‘s teachings that NHM staff are bound not to have, I will do a tour of the relevant parts of the museum.

The tour will be designed for those who don’t understand the theory and its implications, those who are confused at the great deluge of information about evolution that we are bombarded with, those who and those sit on the fence regarding evolution and creation debate (not to convince you not to believe in God, but to expose you to the evidence for common decent or help you reconcile it with your faith).

The plan is to meet at 10:00, when the museum opens, in the main hall with the giant dinosaur skeleton. We’ll wait for the inevitable late-comers to trickle in, then we’ll start the tour at 11am, where we’ll spend time learning about the evidence for the evolution of different species, including humans, elephants, whales, horses and fish.

Perhaps even a post-tour lunch could be organised as well in The Delhi Brasserie (134 Cromwell Road, SW7 4HA)

The provisional date for this is Saturday 12th of November 2016.

I hope people are interested. Let me know if you’d like to attend or contribute intellectually to the tour.

xjwmeetup@hotmail.com

Ste

p.s. Please remember that I’m organising this for free, and paying the organiser dues of £12/month out of my own pocket, so if you can, please paypal a small amount to xjwmeetup@hotmail.com or bring some change to pay for the upkeep of the group.

Ste and Terri talk about leaving JWs with The London Black Atheists

On Saturday, 24 September 2016, we have Terri O’Sullivan & Ste Richardson of the Ex Jehovah’s Witness to talk about their experiences as Jehovah’s Witnesses and leaving the religion.

Terri O’Sullivan set up the ex Jehovah’s Witness Meetup group in London in 2007. The group now has over 600 members who meet throughout the UK. The group is about bringing former members of the religion together who have been ostracised by their previous community and families. The group offers support and friendship. Terri graduated from the university of Kent in 2012 with a degree in psychology and then completed her masters in social psychology at Tilburg university where she investigated the relationship between ostracism and social rejection with religious fundamentalism. The meeting will start exactly at 4pm with a deconversion story by a new member.

Please come on time. We will start at 4pm exactly.

A donation of £3 is welcome.


Response to critics of the group

Many people had a gut reaction to seeing the name of the group, “London Black Atheists” saying “Is it not racism and segregation to have an atheist group just for black people?”

However, using head rather than heart, this gut reaction is unjustified.

Looking at both the history and the current situation of many ethnic groups will help us to understand why having this group “London Black Atheists” is a necessary thing:
(1) Black and other British ethnic minorities who leave religion have a very different experience in general from White British people so although it’s great to meet with the main groups, sometimes we need to address specific concerns within the tiny black atheist community such as:

– How to deal with family shunning (which is common in the black community, the ex-Muslims and ex-JWs alike, but not in the general atheist/ex-religious/ex-Catholic/ex-Anglican communities in the UK).

– How to get our voices heard in the wider atheist community. As we are underrepresented, how can we work together to change that?

– Specific issues around specific African and Caribbean communities (it would be a very ‘niche’ lecture topic if we talked about, say, “defying fasting laws in Islamic North Africa” in the regular atheist groups, it wouldn’t concern 99.99% of the people there – http://ex-muslim.org.uk/2016/06/london-black-atheists/).

Yes there are topics *about* Africa that have become global issues such as FGM, that can be discussed in the regular atheist groups, but our cultures are more complex than that one issue, and it would not be appropriate or practical to raise the thousands of specific, complex issues in a regular atheist group.

(2) Black people are underrepresented in atheist groups in general. A black atheist is actually relatively rare because Afro-Caribbean cultures tend to be highly religious. The other atheist groups, although they are open to all, end up effectively being “White Atheist” groups in a way because they are dominated by White people. It’s not racism through active exclusion, but racism through lack of inclusion.

We notice this lack of diversity and the group tries to encourage black people to “come out” and join the community. We have the group, but we don’t only attend LBA events. I go to regular atheist events, ex-JW events and others.

Again, if these events happened in the regular atheist group, there would be 2 or 3 meetups a day, and it would be difficult to sift through the issues that concern an individual and their experience.

It would be just as strange to have a “Male Atheist” group as it would be to have a “White Atheist” one because the groups that are out there are already effectively white male atheist group. That isn’t by design, but by the sheer fact that (a) white people are the majority in this country, (b) these groups cater mostly for the majority and often leave the issues that affect majorities by the wayside… That’s NO criticism of white males, it’s just an observation that they are the majority hatin the group so they have their specific issues dealt with all the time.

Certain ethnic and cultural groups often have need of targeted support that often simply isn’t there. I’ve been to many general atheist groups and they are all dominated by white English people. Almost every time, I am the only black person there. The content of such groups is often (not always but often) irrelevant to my experience. Again, it has to be said repeatedly that is not an attack because as soon as some people see the word “white” or “black” juxtaposed with the words “dominate” or “privilege”, they view it as an attack. However, noticing that society is imbalanced toward a particular group should not be viewed as an attack, but as a call to action. We see the same problem with detrctors of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. People see it as an attack on White lives as if to say they don’t matter, but it should be more logically seen as a call for the authorities to value Black lives as much as White lives are valued. To give an illustration, if a person with a nut allergy complains that a buffet doesn’t have enough nut-free choices, it’s not an attack on nuts or nut-lovers, but a call for more nut-free food to be given.

Not only black people (of African and Caribbean ancestry) but other ethnic an cultural groups of people have a very unique experience in religions and high control groups. Only such a group can offer relevant and targeted support for many people.

(3) Not only black people will be in attendance. There will be a few non-black members. It is usually only about 50-60% Afro-Caribbean and only one of the two speakers will be black. Also, many of the members are members of other groups such as London Humanists and even vegetarian/vegan groups, so there is no segregation. There is a difference between only admitting black people and admitting everyone, but chosing to talk about issues that affect black people. Segregation is when you prevent a group of people from participating, but everyone is allowed to participate in this group as members and speakers.

We need to expand our mind a bit to think of the issues, the history and the current social situation that led to the need for the group in the first place, rather than attacking a group of people who need support.

4th British Museum Biblical History Tour

Here is yet another tour. I love to do a tour of the British Museum without Watchtower goggles on to find out what biblical history and archaeology really tells us about the ancient Judahites and Israelites as well as the “World Powers”.

The provisional date for this is Saturday 27th of August 2016.

I’ll be focusing on 5 of the 7 “World Powers” that JWs wax lyrical about and explain how archaeologists and historians disagree fundamentally with the JWs about the relationship that Israel had with Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia and Greece.

By the end of the tour, you’ll (hopefully) finally understand the prophecy of 7 times, and why it’s so fraudulent. You’ll also learn about the Documentary Hypothesis and how and when the Bible was really written.

I hope people are interested. Let me know if you’d like to attend or make a financial or an intellectual contribution to the tour.

Ste

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p.s. Please remember that I’m organising these events for free and making no profit. I pay the organiser dues of £12/month out of my own pocket, so if you can, please paypal a smaaaaall amount to xjwmeetup@hotmail.com or bring some spare change to pay for the upkeep of the group. Thanks a lot.