Episode 65: Filmmaker and former Jehovah’s Witness Aaron Kaufman

November 9 Episode 65: Filmmaker and former Jehovah’s Witness Aaron Kaufman

Leah and Mike talk to filmmaker Aaron Kaufman. Known for producing Robert Rodriguez films, more recently he directed Crusaders, a documentary on Jehovah’s Witnesses for Vice TV.  Aaron was raised a JW. His doc focuses on the data base of sex abusers amassed by the organization which they have refused to make public. Plenty of scientology parallels in this discussion.

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View Documents (8)
Aaron's IMDb link

Aaron is a producer in Hollywood who did the well-known Robert Rodriguez movies

Vice TV Crusaders

Vice Versa series on Vice TV

What is Disfellowshipping

JW’s practice similar to scientology disconnection

Characteristics of a cult

One of the best summaries from Dr. Janja Lalich

Australian Royal Commission Final Report

Official government inquiry in Australia into JW’s sex abuse of children

Ruben Ortiz podcast
Candace Conti case

One of the first people to sue and win a jury award against the JW’s for sex abuse as a child

Leah's list of books on trauma

These are books Leah recommends, you can find the full list on my blog


  • David the Electrician says:

    Dear Mike and Leah,

    My question is about the defamatory internet sites created and more specifically the members who create them. I imagine that there is some guy in an office at the OSA department that just gets a memo to attack an SP and create lies and nasty stuff on a website about them. If in general scientologists are not supposed to be on the internet then –

    1. How does the guy in the office get special permission to be out there, and
    2. Has someone in this position ever found bad stuff (truth) about scientology and then been motivated to get the hell outta there.

    Thanks a bunch and Keep up the good work,

    David the Electrician

  • Cheryl Fullerton says:

    I knew a girl who grew up in JW. The sexual abuse is rampant and the Two Witness rule is there to cover the perverts asses. Looking forward to watching the documentary. Great vid, thank you Mikey and Leelee.

  • Jehovah hates yoga pants says:

    Regarding the JW mandate against tight pants, Aaron glossed over the reason for that. Well, mark your bingo cards, because the reason is homophobia!

    This board member with the sartorial bee in his bonnet (Anthony Morris III) says this openly. “The homosexuals that are designing these clothes, they like you in tight pants!” That’s the level of bigotry, conspiratorial thinking and busybodyhood we’re dealing with here.

    Source: I’m not sure if I’m allowed to post links here, but search “jehovah’s witness leader tight pants” or similar on YouTube for actual footage of him saying this.

  • Ashley Driscoll says:

    Dear Leah and Mike,
    I have been listening to your podcast for over a year now and I just want to say that this has been therapy to me after a very traumatic experience with a church, a pastor and a Bishop in Raleigh NC. several years ago. Your podcast and the bravery and compassion you both have shown is palpable and it continues to be a source of strength to me. Thank you both for continuing to show up and even when you might not want to please know that by continuing this fight you are helping many of us to continue our own fight for healing and closure. With much love and gratefulness.

  • Brooke Kekos says:

    Dear Leah & Mike,
    I’m beyond grateful for your spotlight here on Jehovah’s witnesses. I was in this cult for almost 35 years before my husband woke up to the hypocrisy and lies that we were being fed. I’ve been shunned, disfellowshipped, guilted and shamed. All this has left me with scars that still have yet to heal. This cult left both of my husband and I devastated, it played a hand in ruining our marriage, and we left the religion losing all our family and all of our friends that we thought unconditionally loved us. It’s been a long hard road to recovery from this loss of identity and having to build a life again. Unfortunately it caused my ex husband to become so depressed from the loss of what what we thought was our reality, he turned to drugs and ended up overdosing last year. We had two boys that thankfully we were able to save from a life of control, but the brainwashing runs so deep my oldest still struggles with the fear of what this religion teaches. There are so many stories to tell about this religion, I could write a novel to you. If you ever do a podcast or more shows, I would love to expose this religion and help people to their freedom. I believe the more people that come forward and speak their truth and get this out in the open the brainwashed witnesses will have no choice but to listen.
    Thank you for getting the message out there! If I can get Aaron’s info or email I would love to connect with a fellow survivor of the witness cult!

  • Emma Collingwood says:

    Hi ledgends. You are both heroes and also very charismatic hosts! I’m wondering what the full story is regarding Marty Rathbun? I’m confused about why he did such a 180 with regards to Scientology. Was he just pressured so much by fair game that he went back in to protect his family, or did he seriously have a change of heart? Thanks for all your work and your relentless and kind spirits.

  • Linda says:

    Hi Leah and Mike,
    I started listening to your podcast fairly recently. For now,🤔 I have
    3 questions: I heard Leah mention parishioners, are they the lower levels in Scientology and do they know what happens higher on the ladder? When the Scientologists reach the level of the “wall of fire” (OT3?) :do they really believe the alien sci fiction story? The Jehovah Witness bible is based on what foundation or written doctrine? Thank you for being so forthright with the policies you had to enforce before breaking free.

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