A New Direction—Moving on From ex-JW Content Creation

A New Direction—Moving On From ex-JW Content Creation


ANYONE WHO HAS BEEN FOLLOWING my podcast and social media will no doubt be aware that I was a Jehovah’s Witness for over 50 years. During that time, I served as a pioneer, a ministerial servant, and an elder. I was also a partaker at the annual memorial of Jesus’ death for almost two decades.

And then I woke up.

I was disfellowshipped in 2006 after voicing my doubts about 1914 and specifically about the date of the “first resurrection”. After a judicial hearing that resembled a scene from the Spanish Inquisition, I was unceremoniously branded as an “apostate”, disfellowshipped, and shunned by everyone I knew. Even so, and despite knowing it wasn’t “the truth”, I chose to return to the organisation in 2009 for the sake of my children. Then, after suffering from cognitive dissonance for the next ten years, I was disfellowshipped again. This time, I chose not to go back.

I originally started my podcast, OnionUnlimited, to tell my story. I wanted to explain exactly why I no longer believed it was “the truth”, and share my experience of religious abuse. I felt it would assist with my healing, and it did. I thought I would tell my story, and then move on from everything ex-JW. I certainly never wanted to get trapped in a never-ending circle of producing purely ex-JW content. In fact, in February 2022, I released a podcast episode entitled So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish! in which I categorically stated that I didn’t think of myself as an ex-JW activist and that, in the future, I didn’t even want to be defined by the “ex-JW” label. That was my first attempt at unshackling myself from the trauma of my past and moving on to pastures new—only it didn’t quite happen. Here I am, eighteen months later, and I’m still producing a fair amount of ex-JW content!

Podcasts I’ve recorded since saying I was cutting ties with my JW past include:

To be honest, I think all of these subjects were necessary. In each case, I found that I had something I really wanted to say, and my listeners seemed to agree. The episode entitled Why I Can’t Be a Jehovah’s Witness alone accrued almost 3000 views on YouTube which is greater than any other video or podcast I’ve produced to date. What’s more, much of this content has found its way into my upcoming book, Believing the Lie, A Story of Cognitive Dissonance. So it’s been worth it.

But now I’m at a point where I want to draw a line in the sand. I really do feel I’ve said everything I want to say about Jehovah’s Witnesses not being “the truth”. Believing the Lie is my testimony to that. Now it’s time to steer OnionUnlimited onto other topics. That was the intention all along. After thinking long and hard about it, I realised that what I really want to talk about is a broader range of subjects related to truth. I’ve proved to myself (and hopefully my listeners) that Jehovah’s Witnesses is not where truth is at. Now I want to delve deeper into other topics—spirituality, philosophy, history, science—exploring where these facets of knowledge converge, and determining whether there is a ring of truth in them. I’ve always said it’s easier to see what isn’t true rather than what is.

As an example, here are some of the subjects I’ve got queued up for future episodes of OnionUnlimited:

  • I Had a Tarot Reading
  • Morality Without Religion
  • Near-Death Experiences
  • Yaldabaoth—Yahweh or Satan?
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh
  • The Miracles of Jesus—Did They Really Happen?
  • The Canonicity of Revelation
  • The Gnostic Gospels
  • Spirit Mediums—Real or Fake?
  • The Upanishads
  • Ghosts—Who Are They?

Recently, I’ve been interviewing ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses, which has been really interesting, but again, I’d like to cast my net further. I’d like to interview people from a wider range of backgrounds—philosophers, scientists, spirit mediums, tarot readers, faith healers, hypnotists, mentalists, astrologists, and persons of different faiths or none. I already have a few interviews booked for forthcoming episodes. I have:

  • a spirit medium;
  • a crystal worker;
  • a ghost chaser;
  • and Hazel Rose, the author of Spirit Being Human which is a fascinating read about trauma and spirituality, not from a JW perspective though.

Yes, I suspect I will always find a link back to my JW roots. It’s a huge part of who I am (or was), but I want to become more than just a former Jehovah’s Witness, and I want the same for my podcast. I want to offer a thought-provoking and enlightening experience for my audience that touches on a wide array of interesting, and sometimes weird, subjects.

Over the past three years or so, OnionUnlimited has naturally evolved from an audio-only podcast into a live show, broadcast semi-regularly on YouTube. Sometimes I’ve gone off on a tangent, down the proverbial rabbit hole so to speak, and discussed some particularly mind-bending subjects such as interdimensional travel, free will, consciousness, the Pandeistic universe, and so on. These are the kinds of subjects that fire my enthusiasm and which I would like to concentrate more on in the future. I want to produce more live shows of this nature, more interviews with a wider range of interviewees, and more “fly-on-the-wall” conversations with my partner, Mariella, which my followers say they especially enjoy. I’ve even bought Mariella a webcam so we can see her now!

Moving forward, I’m going to start posting most of my Twitter (X) content to my @OnionUnlimited account instead of my personal @ihavemanylayers account. I currently have almost 1800 followers on my personal account, but only 300-and-something on OnionUnlimited. What would really help, and what I’d really appreciate is this: If you currently follow me @ihavemanylayers please head over to @OnionUnlimited on Twitter and drop me a follow there too. This will help boost my tweets (xeets?) and in turn, drive more traffic to my podcast on YouTube. I’ve set a goal to get to 2000 followers on both my personal and OnionUnlimited Twitter feeds, and 1000 followers on YouTube. At the moment we’re about halfway there. If you can help me reach those goals I’d be really grateful.

In the future, I will aim to do most of my podcasts as live shows with video, not just audio. Of course, I will still port the audio across to all the major podcast apps (Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Audible) so you can listen when driving or out walking. But I’m going to be putting more effort into the presentation and overall professionalism of the live shows, with the option for interested parties to join as guests or participate via live chat. Another thing that would really help is if you could let me know when the best time is to broadcast the live shows in your location. At the moment I’m a bit all over the place. Obviously, the shows will be available afterwards to stream on demand, but broadcasting a live show at a time when most people are around allows for that little bit of interaction with the listeners.

I’ve also reconsidered my general use of social media. While I do have OnionUnlimted accounts for Facebook, Threads, Instagram, TikTok, Reddit and loads of others, by far the most interaction I have with my listeners is via YouTube and Twitter (X). So in future, I’ll be posting almost exclusively to these two platforms, and putting all my energy into building a larger, more engaged following on these. I might still occasionally post to the other platforms, but it won’t be regular. So if you want to keep up to date with what’s happening please follow me on YouTube or Twitter (X) @OnionUnlimited and Like and Subscribe to be notified of new podcast episodes when they’re released.

Just to be clear, I’m not dropping JW stuff entirely. If something crops up in the future that I feel I have something interesting or beneficial to comment on, I will, especially if it relates to the overall theme of “What is truth?” I just don’t want to get into a rut where I feel the need to keep churning out a constant stream of ex-JW content every week. I’ve never viewed myself as an ex-JW activist and for the sake of my mental health, I can’t be exposing myself to a constant stream of JW.org content or ex-JW rebuttals, especially the ones that just poke fun at Jehovah’s Witnesses. However much I dislike the governing body, I’m just not that interested in how rubbery Stephen Letts’s face is, or how much weight Geoffrey Jackson has put on, or where Tony Morris is living. I’m reminded of Eleanor Roosevelt when she said, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” I want OnionUnlimited to be about ideas, great ideas, weird and wonderful ideas, unbelievable ideas, stuff to really make you think. Not just ex-JW gossip.

So over the next couple of weeks, you’re going to start seeing some subtle changes. They’ve already started appearing on the website at OnionUnlimited.com. The website has been tidied up quite a bit. It was getting a bit messy with links to my music, photography, promotions for the Flaxenwick online course for exiting Jehovah’s Witnesses, links to dozens of social media accounts etc. Now it’s been streamlined so it just focuses on the podcast (YouTube and the other platforms it streams to), my blog posts (which often form the basis of the podcasts), and my books, in particular Believing the Lie—A Story of Cognitive Dissonance. At the moment the book is being proofread by Mariella. It’s a massive undertaking of some 600-plus pages, but as soon as it’s been edited it’ll be ready to purchase in paperback. I will also be making a Kindle version available. In the meantime, if you fancy reading some of my other books you can head over to the Books page on OnionUnlimited where you’ll find them all listed, along with some other really great books by other authors I’d highly recommend. There are books about near-death experiences, the law of attraction, cult mind control, Hermetic philosophy, and extra-terrestrial life—it’s all there—along with some really good books that all ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses do well to read. The website has had a bit of a facelift too. It’s a bit more colourful now, and it’s much easier to navigate now that a lot of the superfluous information and links have been trimmed back.

Of course, if you want to keep up to date with my latest creative endeavours you can:

I’ve also uploaded a ton of my creative work to the Internet Archive for posterity.

There are also the Flaxenwick and JW Quotes websites which I shall be keeping online. If you’ve not already heard, Flaxenwick is a free, online video course, self-guided, that Mariella and I put together for exiting Jehovah’s Witnesses. It’s based on life-coaching principles and is designed to help former Jehovah’s Witnesses heal and rebuild their lives post-cult. Yes, it’s about Jehovah’s Witnesses, but it’s not the usual ex-JW content that floods Twitter and Reddit. It’s a structured course to assist in helping a person move beyond that, to the point that they no longer need, or even want, to expose themselves to regular ex-JW material. Also, on the Flaxenwick website, there is the option to purchase one-on-one life coaching sessions with yours truly. I am actually a qualified life coach, but for the past few years, I’ve not been in a place to help other people. I’ve been healing and rebuilding myself. Now I’m ready, so hit me up if you’re interested.

It’s worth just mentioning that Flaxenwick is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of mental health professionals. If you’re depressed, or experiencing suicidal ideation, you need a doctor, or a counsellor, or a therapist, not a coach. Life coaching is particularly useful when you’re at the point in your recovery where you are ready to start making goals, forming new relationships and so on. Even so, the Flaxenwick course is good, I think, as a “roadmap” to recovery, helping you to see what needs to be done and when. We’ve had lots of positive comments from ones who have taken the course, and some really useful feedback from mental health professionals which we will be implementing over the coming days and weeks.

As for JW Quotes, it is what is says on the tin—a list of quotations from Watch Tower publications that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the organisation is not “the truth”. If Watch Tower comes out with any new quotes worthy of including I’ll update the website, otherwise it’s just there as a reference tool for anyone who wants to use it in deconstructing Watch Tower’s lies—www.jwquotes.org, check it out.

The main thing moving forward will be the OnionUnlimited YouTube channel. That’s where it’s all going to be happening. My aim has always been to produce an interesting, engaging, educational channel that makes people think about the deeper things in life. So if that sounds like your kind of thing, please Like and Subscribe to the channel. Up to now, I’ve concentrated largely on the JW side of things. That’s not been a mistake. It’s been much needed, I think, to show that Watch Tower is not “the truth”. I’ve always tried to present the information in an honest way, respectfully, without too much drama or emotion, but you know, it’s hard sometimes. The Watch Tower organisation really is messing people up, destroying lives, and it’s so easy to get sucked into that black hole of perpetual ex-JW content. I actually admire and respect certain ex-JW content creators who have, even recently, decided it’s time to step away, not least of all for the sake of their mental health.

So that’s the plan. OnionUnlimited is moving in a new direction. I’ve always covered other stuff, non-JW stuff, but moving forward that’s where the bulk of my energies will be focussed. Less ex-JW stuff, more interesting content related to spirituality, science, history, philosophy and so on. It’s really just in keeping with the original concept of OnionUnlimited—the idea that an onion has many layers that you can peel back to reveal the heart of the onion. That’s always been an analogy for what I’ve been trying to do—peel back misconception, deception, and outright falsehoods—to reveal the pure truth. That’s where the channel is headed, so if that sounds good to you please, like I say, Like and Subscribe, and join me on the journey. And if there is anything in particular that you would like me to cover on the channel, please, let me know in the comments.

Further reading