You’re listening to Danny, on WHAT : DE HEK podcast. This is the place where I share my experience, knowledge and skills.
Transcribed by Otter
Danny de Hek 0:00
We’ve got John Viney all the way from the UK. I’m quite pleased about this podcast because it’s my last podcast of the year and I’m about to get on an aeroplane and go visit. So really nice to have you here, John and come along.
John Viney 0:16
Great to be here, Danny, thank
Danny de Hek 0:18
So it’s seven o’clock Sunday night.
John Viney 0:22
It is seven o’clock Sunday night in Wales in the UK.
Danny de Hek 0:25
I have been to wales, was gonna tell you that we had a we checked before we went live, interestingly enough, is 20 past eight in Monday morning. So I often say to people that I live in the future. And you live in the past? Do you want to know anything? that’s gonna happen in the next few hours.
John Viney 0:46
Oh, yeah. Do you know what the lottery numbers are?
Danny de Hek 0:50
Ah, I won last week, I got $25. That’s good.
John Viney 0:57
I don’t buy lottery tickets. So don’t worry.
Danny de Hek 1:00
I was finding to join. I actually have about 107 to be exact questions, and I’ll pick that 12 questions. I don’t actually know what they are myself. And the idea behind this is just basically to have 12, unprompted questions that we ask along the way, and we don’t know where it’s going to take us. So I’ll get started with the very first question. If she’ll oops, and now I’m a bit dyslexic sometimes. So I have to repeat if you could share a meal with any individual living or dead? Who would it be? Who would you like to have a meal?
John Viney 1:31
Wow, wait, share a meal? Um, boy, let me think I just need to have a little Think about
Danny de Hek 1:40
John Viney 1:43
Well, because my, because my, my grant, my father’s grant might Sorry, my father’s dad and mum died when he was young. I didn’t know my grandmother, my grandfather and my grandmother on my dad’s side. So I would love to sit down and talk to my grandfather. And my grandmother on my dad’s side, because they were living in London. They were what we call dragon bone men. So the the, you know, with a horse and cart, and I, I think they were really interesting characters. So I’d like to do that simply because it would give me some family background, some family knowledge, and I think it’d be entertaining. So they’re not famous, yet. I haven’t given the name of someone famous. But my, my grandfather and my grandmother on my dad’s side.
Danny de Hek 2:47
Right, if you could live in a different period of time, rather than the one now where would you go back to?
John Viney 2:53
Oh, where would I go back to?
Danny de Hek 2:58
I’ve always liked the idea of that when they hit all the dances and but you know, that was 1930s
John Viney 3:08
Yeah, you, mean I know what you mean the the Charleston and the Yeah, yeah. That That would be an interesting era. Yeah, maybe what about what about the 1870s 1880s
Danny de Hek 3:25
You want to event the light bulb don’t you.
John Viney 3:26
When the when the West in the United States when the Cowboys were were on the go? And perhaps having dinner with Wyatt Earp. In the by the OK Corral.
Danny de Hek 3:43
I’m gonna ask you a question. We watched the chase TV programme every night. It’s one of our favourites. Do you watch it in Wales?
John Viney 3:49
I do watch it not not regularly, but I certainly do watch it. Yes.
Danny de Hek 3:53
Learn a lot about history on it. Even though we’re in New Zealand, we find you know, like they’re always talking about the the kings and the Queens names and how long what period they ruled. Alright, question number two we got we got distracted there. We might do it. What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?
John Viney 4:11
What motivates me? I’ve got responsibilities, I suppose. I’ve got my work that I need to go to a certain days. I do some voluntary work, which is very, very important to me. Like tomorrow morning I’ll be getting up early ish, because I need to go into court. And I’ve got a got some responsibility in the Crown Court in Cardiff. I also do some work in the prison in Cardiff. Okay. Voluntary work. So I so I’ve got my my work where I earn money, which is as a window cleaner. That gets me up. I’ve got work, which is voluntary in the courts, and I’ve got work which I do voluntary in the prison. So often is that stat that I look forward to getting up to go to do.
Danny de Hek 5:03
All right, isn’t to do a road trip by any chance?
John Viney 5:08
Danny de Hek 5:08
I don’t want that for five years for a while. And that was quite good. But yeah, it was they sort of brought voluntary work your way, which made a lot easier. You’re sort of struggling to get out of work associated with something?
John Viney 5:21
Well, let me just quickly tell you, I, as I say, I’m a window cleaner. And when it rained, as he often does in Wales, I used to, I used to go and take shelter in the courts, the magistrates courts, because I quite like the law. I haven’t got the brains for it. But I look quite like the law. So I would sit in the back of the court, because I couldn’t work it was raining. And I’d watched the cases going on. And then one day, I asked someone about the magistrates of a sitting, you know, did did they have law degrees, and he said, No, you don’t need, you just need to be an upstanding member of the community, you don’t need to. It’s not it’s not a, it’s not a qualification
Danny de Hek 6:01
Another common interest that we share, because I used to live right in the centre of town and Christchurch, New Zealand. And I used to go down to the courts and watch people, especially on a Monday, 10am is to sit there, grab my coffee, and go there and just watch all these at the time I’d gone losers. And you’d be amazed what actually happened around the city at nighttime, and the things that they were doing, like, I remember one lady, this guy smashed the window of the car. And then he was hanging out the window. She drove off. And I think he was trying to do her for grievous bodily harm. And he was the one that broke the window in his body half in the car and you think, wow, people are loopy. But fascinating.
John Viney 6:42
It very interesting. Yeah, I found it fascinating. And then when I found out that I could be a magistrate, it meant going through two interviews. It was nothing to do with intellectual ability, or academic ability it was to do with your personality, whether you’re honest, whether you can understand facts and facts and figures and, and read documents, as long as you can do that. So I got through my two interviews, and I got appointed in 2003, as a magistrate. So I now I sit as a magistrate. And in fact, tomorrow, I’m going in Cardiff, the capital of Wales. And I’ll be sitting with a judge on appeals. So we’re actually sitting for on a three day case on appeal. Now, I pinch myself that I’m a window cleaner. Yeah, most of the time. But some of the time I’m going in, and I’m sending people to prison. Wow. Because we send people to prison sometimes.
Danny de Hek 7:39
That would be fascinating first load job, it gives me an idea.
John Viney 7:43
I don’t I don’t take it lightly. Or I don’t make fun of it. I mean, it is just a fact that one of the responsibilities is sometimes you have to, you have to centres people to prison. And then on the on the flip side, I actually am a member of what they call the independent monitoring board. And that is an appointment by the government, which is voluntary, where you go into the prison, and the prison cannot stop you going in or talking to anyone. And you’re there to monitor the prison to make sure the prisons being run properly and that prisoners are being treated fairly and decently. So those two there’s two voluntary jobs there that are statutory roles. And I’ve got my window cleaning where I earn my money.
Danny de Hek 8:27
Yeah, they’re quite high profile. Well done.
John Viney 8:29
That’s why I get up in the morning.
Danny de Hek 8:31
Wow, that’s a good answer.
John Viney 8:32
That answered your question.
Danny de Hek 8:34
Okay. A bit of a light hearted one. What makes you laugh the most? Hopefully, you haven’t heard any of my jokes before because they won’t make you laugh. They’ll probably make you cry.
John Viney 8:41
I laugh a lot. And I make people laugh. I love hearing the sound of laughter I’m I’m I’m stupid sometimes in my actions to make people laugh. I tell jokes. I I do love watching comedians on the TV, or go and see them live. So I do see the funny side of it. So and sometimes quirky, a little bit like the Monty Python Team that type of thing. I’m really I really do enjoy.
Danny de Hek 9:19
If you ever been on a mic and done a stand up comedian job.
John Viney 9:23
No, I haven’t. I mean, I’ve done it at weddings. I’ve told some funny jokes at weddings a friend. But no.
Danny de Hek 9:32
We used to have this real cool place called the green room. And that’s where people wanted to be stand up comedians to have a go. So I had one joke. That is really funny if it’s told correctly. And I stood up and gave this joke everyone cracked that they thought Oh, this guy’s legend and then they said have you got any more? Let’s say I’ve got one more. And that was a it was remember that was my time as a stand up comedian and stuff right? All right now, I don’t know. COVID is a terrible thing at the moment. This question I’ve asked it a couple of times recently, where in the world would you travel to next? So we can travel again, where would you get hit away to and you’ve seen to travel New Zealand, which is great. So you might be I don’t know how big a traveller you are.
John Viney 10:18
I’ve been a big traveller. I love the United States. I have to be honest, my wife and I have travelled extensively in the United States. In fact, two years ago, I I hit the jackpot, in that I reached my 50th state. So I’ve now visited the United States. Wow. Yep. Fantastic. So I love America. I love I love America and its and its environs. I love Australia, but boy did I like New Zealand. And I’m not just saying that because you’re there. Oh, I spent. I spent two weeks in New Zealand. And you know, when you’re looking at your country on the map, it looks like two little islands. You’ve got North and South Island. So I thought I’ll have a week in the north. And I’ll have a week in the south I do a lot. Yeah. And And boy, oh, boy, did I did I realise that you need you need two months or two years to see it not to. But I I put myself about and loved I loved New Zealand absolutely loved it. So I think I’d like to take my wife to come and see you in New Zealand. I could get further down from Christchurch because I had to stop at Christchurch. And, and in fact, I’ve got a very, very quick story about the Christchurch.
When I came to the end of my little vacation in in New Zealand, I got on the plane in Christchurch, to fly back to Sydney to get my plane to London. By the time I got to Sydney, I arrived at Sydney Airport from Christchurch was looking at the screens at the TV in the airport. And there was all this commotion going on in Christchurch and I said, What’s that? Is it a film? They said, No, this is the big earthquakes just happened in Christchurch
Danny de Hek 12:16
Wasn’t that long ago, 10 years ago.
John Viney 12:18
And I got out I was on the plane. While I happened. I left Christchurch and missed it by an hour.
Danny de Hek 12:25
Wow, you wouldn’t be stuck in my it’s been amazing. The earthquake. I mean, just so much has happened. And also, we’ve hit three tragedies here. We hit some big fires in the port hills there. And then we also had a guy who come in the shot.
John Viney 12:44
Terrible shooting. Yeah,
Danny de Hek 12:46
Yeah. 51 people were 55 people can’t remember unfortunately, in my hairdresser. He got he he was one of the guys that got shot. And I think he got shot three times. And his child got shot two three times as well. And she’s and you’re sitting here and you think this happened an our we city you know, we all I believe I we live in the best city in the world. And in this gunman’s come along and shot 50 odd people. Just incredible. You know, and it’s all you know, of Christchurch earthquakes, the fires. And obviously the shootings. It’s just hard to comprehend all that’s happening in the hometown, you know?
John Viney 13:19
Yeah, yeah. But you’ve got a lovely, so that’s where you are then Danny’s in Christchurch itself.
Danny de Hek 13:24
Yeah. On my website, if you ever want to reminisce about coming back, I’ve I used to have a website called New Zealand’s Information Network. And I’ve grabbed all the blogs and the articles and boarded into dehek.com. But I have information on like Fraz Joseph, where the Fox Glacier and all the places down the West Coast. And that’s where you really want to head like Westport, Hokitika, Greymouth, you get there and you realise there’s no one else on the world. You know, there’s a very low population over there.
John Viney 13:54
Well, when I was there, I made it a wine theme. Now, I’m not a big drinker. And I don’t I’m not an expert on wine. But I just I thought, right, if I’m going to be there, I’m going to go around the different wine regions, and I’m going to go wine tasting. And boy, you’ve got some fantastic, fantastic wine. Why there?
Danny de Hek 14:12
I think they’re cheaper in the UK than they are here. That’s the funny thing. Well, there’s you might not be sure. Yeah,
John Viney 14:20
I met and one of the wine regions I met one of the All Blacks who was running, running a vineyard.
Danny de Hek 14:29
What do you remember his name? Because I know who it is. Oh, John Ashworth. Yeah, and I did. We go to Richie McCaw. He’s probably our biggest rugby player. We’re at a cafe the other day. And I walked in and I recognised the lady who is talking to her because she’s a famous cook. And then right next to him is Richie McCaw. You’re saying I had this big debate whether we got asked for a photo but we keep bumping into him at the same cafe but it’s quite neat when you bump into All Blacks, one of the places everyone knows everyone in New Zealand Yes. difference. And if you don’t know somebody, you’re talking to them you’ll find they know somebody, you know, too.
John Viney 15:06
I’m, I’m from England. I was born in London, but I’ve lived in Wales for nearly 45. No, no. 50 years I’ve lived in Wales. And of course, Wales is a big rugby nation. Right. So Wales, Wales and the All Blacks. There’s a bit of a bit of a rivalry there.
Danny de Hek 15:26
But here’s some good games. I when to Loch Ness and I couldn’t get over the accent. yours isn’t very strong.
John Viney 15:35
But I know I’m from London, in the south in England. Loch Ness is in Scotland.
Danny de Hek 15:40
Oh, I’ve got it wrong. That’s why
John Viney 15:42
You’ve got a very you got a really strong Yeah, you’ve got a different accent up there.
Danny de Hek 15:46
Yeah, from our point of view, anything in the UK is on the same area? If not, when you’re over there, or I’ll get myself stopped digging a hole. If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?
John Viney 16:01
Oh, that’s, that’s an awkward one. I’m, I mean, part of the reason you’ve invited me on is to talk about my, my experience with a certain religion or religious cult. Yeah. And I suppose I suppose if I could have, if I could go back to my, my childhood. I’d like to change that. But then you can’t because it was my Mom and Daddy, who were in it and so, and then I met my wife who I’m still married to and so. So, yes, so what could I change this thing? I would change that I would change my early life. But if you mean, in history, what what is that what you meant? Right.
Danny de Hek 16:51
And for the people that don’t know, our connection, we were both a big part of my life was the religious upbringing as a Jehovah’s Witness, and yours was as well. I think there’s an old saying that people say that what doesn’t break you makes you stronger. So all the experiences you had along the way I live life now with this opinion that I’m always trying to be a better version of myself. So the learnings that I’ve gathered along the way, I like to think that’s what’s going to be a character a more understanding, a more empathetic, I listened to people more. So maybe it’s a oxymoron, because that’s the question, do, every action has a reaction. So if you change that mean, you wouldn’t know something?
John Viney 17:35
That’s right. So that’s why that’s why I hesitated because I’ve also gained a lot from my experience, which hasn’t always been happy hasn’t. Some of it has been happy. But it’s not always been happy. But no, I’m, I’m content with my life. I’d like to be a bit younger. I’d like to gain a few more years, but there we are, wouldn’t be all.
Danny de Hek 18:00
All right. Now. Next time somebody asks that question, when before we went live, you said Do you know the lotto numbers? So that could be an answer to that question. If you could go back in time and change one thing, you could change your lotto ticket numbers. So you win! If money was going to bring you some happiness? Not necessarily.
John Viney 18:20
I’d like to give it a try. Yeah,
Danny de Hek 18:22
I reckon I’d be a real good rich person. Yeah.
John Viney 18:25
I always, I always remember the actor. Robert Redford being interviewed about being a star and being rich. And he said, he was asked, What do you prefer? He said, Well, I’ve been rich, and I’ve been poor. Rich is definitely better. Yeah.
Danny de Hek 18:49
I’ve got the guy. I think, way back. There’s the richest guy in the world, but he still had a paid telephone in his house. And I think the point where they, you know, they still want money, even though they get rich, so they still strive after it. Yeah. Okay, so I hopefully Christmas is coming up. I still don’t really get into Christmas trees. I’ll be honest. However, occasionally, what is the worst gift you have received? That doesn’t have to be a physical gift? It could be any gift, really, but that is the question, what is the worst gift was received?
John Viney 19:20
Okay, I’m just going to proceed that by saying that because Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate Christmas, and you will know this, it’s only been about five or six or seven years that we’ve been celebrating. So my wife and I are like big kids with children. If I tell you right now in our house, we have eight Christmas trees.
Danny de Hek 19:44
John Viney 19:45
Eight various sizes various colours. So so we might my my wife is like a young girl. with you if I took you downstairs to the biggest tree and you saw all the presence and the hampers and
Danny de Hek 20:02
John Viney 20:03
So we’ve gone crazy, but that doesn’t answer your question. The worst gift. Let me think. You know what, I can’t think of one because I’ve been appreciative of anything that’s been given to me. So I can’t.
Danny de Hek 20:24
I painted an elder, I wallpaper, three rooms, five rooms, and an elders house and the elder somebody in the JW Religion and I was dating his daughter. And the daughter said, Our Dad wants to know whether you want money or you want a gift. For the time you spent wallpaper, all these rooms, I saw that he needed the money and I remember he bought me a top that was bright green, like hideous green, and some socks to Match. And, and I just couldn’t believe that he took the opt out on the cheap option just because he was dating his daughter. But he said they’re Christian was reminds me of these green socks. And I went back to my employer at the time, and I gave him this shirt and the socks. I said, This is what five days of wallpapering gets you when you wallpaper your father in law’s to be some house. But yeah, that’s good. Well, it’s a nice attitude. But I don’t know about you, but because you’ve been in the JW for 55 years in the Jehovah’s Witness. Was it?
John Viney 21:26
55 years as a Jehovah’s Witness? Yeah.
Danny de Hek 21:29
So when, like the joy that people get from Christmas, I’ve never really got into it. And same with birthdays, or any celebration. I believe every day is Christmas. And I’ve I like, I bought my partner some headphones. And she can use them when she’s running. And we went out for a run on Saturday. So you just open them up and use them now. She has no no rip them up. And I’m gonna I just have them now if you want to use them so use them now wrap up the box of you need to wrap up some and she goes Oh, no. Now you’ve got a an I just don’t get into that still.
John Viney 21:56
Look, we’ve got next to me.
Danny de Hek 21:58
I look at you, a you pagan you.
John Viney 22:03
I’ve got all the wrappings. I’ve been doing it. I’ve been wrapping up.
Danny de Hek 22:07
Good on ya mate that’s nice.
John Viney 22:09
I’ve got all the Christmas card up doing. So. Yeah, no, I do appreciate pretty much all the gifts and I we’ve got a daughter that has some learning difficulties. So she’s she’s a little bit childlike, in a manner.
Danny de Hek 22:25
John Viney 22:25
So it’s lovely. It’s lovely. Doing Christmas and seeing. Seeing someone with a childlike mind think that Santa is still coming and so I know what you mean, as a Jehovah’s Witness, we’ve probably we would it? It wouldn’t bother me if we didn’t do it. Yeah, I now see how much joy it brings to the people who are receiving. So I get joy when I see their joy.
Danny de Hek 22:52
I think now there’s more happiness and giving and receiving. I hope there’s not a Bible quote.
John Viney 22:56
It is a Bible quote. But it’s a very I’m very happy with that one. I’m very happy
Danny de Hek 23:01
I found myself quoting things that are in the Bible, but I keep forgetting whether they are or not. Now we’ve got my partner’s son sounds similar to your young person in your house. So still believe in father Christmas?
John Viney 23:15
Danny de Hek 23:17
Right. Does your family have a motto spoken or unspoken? So what motto? Does your family go by? Does it resonate with you that question?
John Viney 23:25
Um, my, my motto, it’s my motto. It’s my I lost my father about 17 years ago. And I was still a Jehovah’s Witness then. And I was travelling in Florida in the north part of Florida. And I’ll never forget, I was on a beach. And I was talking to a guy, an old guy came along. And we were talking about making the best of your life in life. You got to you know, none of us know what is around the corner, especially with the COVID situation as we’ve gotten there. And this guy said to me, and this is going to be the title of my book when I write it. I’ve started writing it, but I’ve stuck. Yep. He said to me, yeah, do it. Do it while you’re alive. Because he said memories are better than dreams. Wow. And I thought wow, yeah, memories are better than dreams. So when you’re old, when you’re old, and you’re sitting in the rocking chair, I want to be able to remember going to New Zealand. I don’t want to be thinking I always wanted to go to New Zealand to write make it happen. So memories are better than dreams.
Danny de Hek 24:34
That’s as brilliant as last year this time I was in Bangladesh, and I would come from China, Bangladesh and travelled India. And I got out of China probably about two weeks before it was all happening. And I just keep thinking how fortunate are were that I went to these countries and I keep thinking back I’ve just uploaded some photos to my Facebook page that you know when they pop up and go this this time last year you were doing this and here I am and up and up. Bus overtaking somebody at 60 miles an hour on a blind corner. And I’m thinking, I so lucky to be able to say that.
John Viney 25:06
Danny de Hek 25:08
I’ve got an impromptu question because before I interviewed you, I got around the internet, I looked at a lot of your videos, and I did see one video of you outside a convention centre. And I want to ask you, what is the difference between a professed Jehovah’s Witness and an actual Jehovah’s Witness? What’s the answer?
John Viney 25:31
Well, I don’t know the answer. But just just for your viewers to know that my daughter, one of my daughter’s was sexually abused when she was about 12, 13, 14 by a Jehovah’s Witness. And Jehovah’s Witnesses have a real problem with child sexual abuse. And However, they don’t think they do. So they don’t admit that any of Jehovah’s Witnesses ever do anything like that? Seriously, the nearest they came was that that that Watchtower magazine that I took now, the Watchtower magazine is the magazine Jehovah’s Witnesses, study and preach. That Watchtower just came as near as it they’ve ever done in saying that some Jehovah’s Witnesses have abused, but they couldn’t quite say Jehovah’s Witnesses. So they said, some professed Jehovah’s Witnesses. Now, you and I know that someone for instance, who is an elder in the faith or a ministerial servant in the faith, or a pioneer in the faith, they’re all titles of people that have been in for many years. Yeah, so you’re not just a professed Jehovah’s Witness
Danny de Hek 26:46
You are how are we up?
John Viney 26:49
So I use the illustration like this if, if a Catholic priest molest a young boy, they’re not a professed priest. They are a priest. That’s done wrong. If if an archbishop in the Anglican Church molest someone, they’re not a professed Anglican Bishop, they are an Anglican Bishop who’s done wrong. So if a Jehovah’s Witness molest a child, they’re not a professed Jehovah’s Witness. They are a Jehovah’s Witness. But that got me so riled up, that I then went with that magazine with a camera man to the convention in Cardiff. I’m very, very politely tried to stop Jehovah’s Witnesses and say to them, excuse me. Can you tell me the difference between a Jehovah’s and a professed one. And of course, they wouldn’t speak to me anyway. But, but I was trying to make a point that really, when a Jehovah’s Witness molest a child, it’s a Jehovah’s Witness doing it not a professed one. That was that was my that was my story.
Danny de Hek 27:55
It was brilliant. And I quite enjoyed the the, the guy that talked, stopped and talk to you at the end, because he was talking about a lot of the organisations like Jehovah’s Witnesses are sort of a, an easy place for child molesters to get into. Yeah. And he said that the thing is, like over here in New Zealand at the moment, you’ll be familiar there. In Australia, they hit I think, 1300 cases of children in cases that have of child molestation that had never been reported to the police.
John Viney 28:26
Yeah, that was the Australian Royal Commission. Right The Australian Royal Commission, yet they they had a two week, two week investigation. And the Bethel the headquarters in Australia had to produce the figures had to when they found 1006 Jehovah’s Witnesses were had molested of which none reported to the police and current victims, the victims of those 1006 there were over 2000 victims of those 1006 abusers. So that’s why currently as we speak, the status of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Australia that they’re thinking of taking their charitable status away,
Danny de Hek 29:16
I heard that they’re lost it.
John Viney 29:19
They probably aren’t the way I haven’t heard that. But it’s being discussed. And you you can see the discussion going on in Parliament. So what so when I say that Jehovah’s Witnesses have got a problem with child abuse, but the best they can do is to say, well, they’re just professed Jehovah’s Witnesses. Why? You can see why I got a little bit irate, but I wasn’t only really well,
Danny de Hek 29:43
You did really well. And I like the way that you had that guy dressed up there and that lady was saying, I I can see he’s not one of us. And it was really good. Also, the other one I noticed I watched oxygen.com and they did that documentary on The Witnesses. They had the lady Have you seen it?
John Viney 30:03
Yeah, I think I have seen that one. Yeah and it has a panel of EX Witnesses.
Danny de Hek 30:08
Yeah. And they basically said that there’s going to be a year where the Statue of Liberty in America has dropped for a year where they can because after a time period, I think it’s seven or 10 years, you can’t bring up an old case. So they dropped it for 12 months, and then COVID hit. And I bet there’s witnesses out there thinking that they’re COVID subleasing from God. And it’s avoided them getting into the Poo.
John Viney 30:33
They’ve had, they’ve had lots and lots of cases come forward in America, particularly in America. And, and the, the Watchtower organisation are paying out millions, millions of dollars in compensation. As they are here. I should say the UK not millions here, we only get 1000s here. But there’s, there’s some Jehovah’s Witnesses are getting the victims to sign confidentiality agreements. So they’re stopping it going to court. Yeah, they’re paying, they’re paying them off. And I can tell you names of I’ve seen this, and they’re paying them off. So that the local Jehovah’s Witnesses, that’s why they’re saying no, we have no problem. Well, because they’re not hearing too much about it, because they’re getting paid off.
Danny de Hek 31:23
Because they don’t want to bring reproach against Jehovah’s name.
John Viney 31:26
Danny de Hek 31:27
You know, the same old story. And I think every time they get persecuted, I think that’s all part of the, you know, the sign of the time and goes around. And we’re Funny enough, when I was I was born in a small congregation, we had about 100 people, and there was an out of the Ronald renals, I was named, he’d be passed away now. And I found out 20 years ago that somebody used to look after me as a kid, that they were molested by him. And then there was a whole case and all we heard about it in the grapevine. Nothing done about it. It all makes perfect sense when you hear it, and you go, oh, that explains it. You know, and it’s just shocking. And I just love the fact that they can take out these old cases now and do something about these guys.
John Viney 32:09
That’s why I’m that’s why I’m speaking up about it. Danny, now I speak, I, I only just came out myself about or 18 months ago, less than that. I myself was abused as a young boy by a Jehovah’s Witness. Now, I never told it. I never told a soul. never mentioned it to my family, to my wife to my kids. And it was only about it was about a year ago, I was being interviewed by the BBC in London, about child abuse in Jehovah’s Witnesses. And because my daughter was abused. And I thought, you know, I thought it was about time I said, What happened to me? And so when I was sat on the bench, being interviewed, I just said, Look, I should tell you that, that I was abused. And you know what Be it was quite frightening because I was invited to London down into the studio. And my face suddenly appeared on the TV early morning with the News, the news. And they had so many abuse victims ring the programme, they had to carry on another day, they actually did a two day programme about it, because so many people were so I’m glad I spoke up because it raised it gave other people the courage to ring in and say, Look, you might as well know, this happened to me as well. So, so this is the this is the Jehovah’s Witnesses who say they don’t have a problem.
Danny de Hek 33:42
Why people don’t speak up just before we went live on the podcast, when you leave the organisation, you’re not just leaving an organisation, because you spend all your life learning the doctrine beliefs, and you’ve also exposed other religions. So it’s not like, you know, you have a government and you think, Well, I’m not gonna vote for national I’m gonna vote go labour there because you’re but you just have to distinguish or not distinguish, you have to extinguish all your beliefs. And you basically say, Now, I had a purpose in life. And now I’m going to leave an organisation that I believe was the right organisation, and have no beliefs. It’s very hard to do. And people I think a lot of people who don’t understand it, I often hear comments and I go off. It’s just very hard to describe what it’s like when you leave the organisation. And, and then you basically because I was 23, and when I left the organisation, I basically I’ve got disfellowship the first time and I used to go along to the Kingdom Hall, and I used to sit at the back of the Kingdom Hall ball my eyes out every day. I was at the meeting, so three times a week, I’d go along to the thing, and then after four months, they must have thought I was suicidal thoughts or whatever, and they reinstated me. So four months, I was back in the organisation. Then, a year later, I did something else again, and I got kicked out And then I was harder then and I went, I was about two weeks away from being reinstated back into the organisation again, I stuffed up again. And then I sort of thought I’m just getting a tenuously beaten down for not being up to the standard of the organisation. And, and then I thought I’m going to give up on this idea. So then I went and started finding friends, because I used to think that outside the organisation, there was pagan people. Yeah, and pagan people were bad, and you can’t have good, solid, trusting relationships with these people. And I proved I proved that wrong.
John Viney 35:36
We were all taught that that we were all taught that you can only you can only associate with Jehovah’s Witnesses. That’s where good people are. You if you you don’t go to you know, don’t have friends who are not Jehovah’s Witnesses, even your relatives.
Danny de Hek 35:53
You played soccer you love soccer.
John Viney 35:57
You couldn’t join the team that was going to play after school because you’re not allowed to have after school activities. No, it was done. But that’s, that’s part of their, their skill set to keep you trapped. Because if you haven’t got friends outside, because they’re bad, they keep you focused on just Jehovah’s Witnesses. They’ve got they’ve got you and that’s, that’s why it’s a cold. It’s a mind control.
Danny de Hek 36:24
As the only bargaining power they’ve got as your family, they take the most precious things. They can and I bargain. If you don’t do this, we’re going to take your family away from you. You know, as I was saying earlier, I my mother, my to my niece and my nephew, my half brother, they don’t have anything to do with me at all. And it’s you know, I remember because you said that when you wanted to play in the soccer team. Instead, you’d be knocking on people’s doors. And I think I used to spend 100 hours a month and I used to spend 60 hours a month I used to be a regular, regular pioneer. But when I was at the age of 13 or 14, I used to have to go around my neighbourhood and knock on the doors, dreading the fact that one of my schoolmates were going to answer the door.
John Viney 37:07
I know I know the feeling.
Danny de Hek 37:09
I got picked on so much. So I had this fear of bumping into them and I live school 14 and you left school at 15 didn’t ya.
John Viney 37:17
15. Yeah, yeah. The other thing is, of course, you can’t take part in any religious activity in the school. So for instance, in the morning assembly, we called it the morning assembly. I used to have to sit on a chair outside the assembly. So all the kids would be passing me saying Viney Why don’t you come in into assembly? So I talked about making you making you an object of derision.
Danny de Hek 37:41
I couldn’t remember the headmaster of the school when I said I was leaving at 14 he said, Is there anything that you we can do to convince you to stay and I said not not? snowball’s chance in hell, mate, I’m out of here. Because I My birthday is in January, so I turned 15 over the school holiday period, so as early as I can good, we’re gonna cut more questions. We’ll keep it real bad long. If you were to tell one person, thank you for helping me become the person I am today. Who would that be? Who would you think for? For who you are today?
John Viney 38:15
Um, boy, this is going to be a strange one. My it would be my brother in law who died a year ago.
Danny de Hek 38:26
Sorry to hear that.
John Viney 38:28
It’s a very unusual one in that my daughter, the one that was abused, and then got disfellowshipped, which means as you as you know, it means that we can’t talk to her. We had to shun her for 10, 15, nearly 12 years. So that means that if we meet her in the street, we pass her. We don’t pick the phone up if she rings for the rest of her life. We don’t talk to her. Because she’s disfellowship. She’s like.
Danny de Hek 38:59
Drives me crazy. It’s just a No, no.
John Viney 39:01
Well, I’m just going to say to you, she approached me and asked me if I would walk her down the aisle. Got he was getting married. Yep. And because she had such unhappy memories of being abused, I decided, you know what, I’m going to do it. I’m going to do it. Now. I knew I wasn’t allowed to do that. Because I’m an elder. I’m an elder. I have to set an example to the flock of other Jehovah’s Witnesses. I’m not allowed to have anything to do with my daughter. I’m not even allowed to say hello to her. Yeah, so I walked down the aisle. We had a great day. I got reported by my brother in law, who was a Jehovah’s Witness. He told on me. Yep. But do you know what that started the chain of events? That meant I left? Yeah, so I’ve got my freedom now. Yeah. I didn’t appreciate it at the time. But but because my brother in law reported me. And then we went through a series of meetings and it was difficult. I was I was almost under, I was always almost going to have a nervous breakdown. I know. But, but because he reported me that started that chain off. That led to my freedom. So I want to say, Thank you, Mike. I didn’t appreciate it at the time. But Mike, you you, you gave me my freedom.
Danny de Hek 40:27
Brilliant. Hopefully, he’s listening to our podcast data. Okay, we’ve been carry on because I’ve got a plane to catch. We’ve got what’s your proudest accomplishment, and you can’t say your children.
John Viney 40:40
Proud as well, I suppose I, I am proud that I’m a magistrate.
Danny de Hek 40:46
John Viney 40:47
Um, when you when you hear of someone being a magistrate, as I did it first. I’m a window cleaner, Danny. And that’s my job. I’m, I don’t consider myself having a lot of brains. But I do my bed. When he when it used to rain. And I couldn’t go to work cleaning windows, I used to sit in the back of a court. And I loved it. I loved listening to the cases. And then one day, one day, I found out that a friend of mine was a magistrate. And I said to him, where did you get your law degree? And he said, What do you mean? I said, Well, you’re a magistrate. He said, No, you don’t have a law degree. He said, a magistrate is just a person. That’s an upstanding member of the community that has some ability, in judging, in right and wrong, and reading documents. But it’s nothing to do with academic ability. It’s more about you as a person and your ability. So I went for two interviews. And I got, I got appointed as a magistrate, and I’ve been a magistrate for about 15-16 years now. So it’s a voluntary, you don’t get paid for it. You can sentence people to up to six months imprisonment. And, or there’s fines, or there’s and everything in between. You have to you have to sit on trials to make sure whether someone is innocent or guilty. It’s absolutely fascinating.
Danny de Hek 42:16
John Viney 42:16
And I never ever thought that I would be able to qualify for that. So I am proud to be a magistrate. That doesn’t mean I think more of myself than I should. Yeah, I’m conscious I’m conscious of my inabilities. But nevertheless, I’m proud to serve in such a role,
Danny de Hek 42:33
That means you will probably have to wear a suit and it will give you a purpose for your old Jehovah’s Witness suits.
John Viney 42:39
I’ve got some lovely suits and ties and I like wearing a little silk handkerchief in there as well.
Danny de Hek 42:45
What about tie slides? Sometimes?
John Viney 42:48
I don’t do tie slides, but I’ve got hundreds and hundreds of cufflinks. And I’ve got this weakness. I’ve got this weakness. Danny of the cufflinks. Yeah. So if I, if I see any that are in, in charity shops, and they’re cheap, I get them.
Danny de Hek 43:05
I used to always wear the cufflinks I did used to finish off, I used to funny enough people probably wouldn’t appreciate this. And so Jehovah’s Witnesses, but I used to click ties, and they used to have about 100 different ties that were and be like my thing, you know, but um, those days
John Viney 43:20
I could beat you on that. Danny if I took this if I took this camera downstairs to my bedroom. Yeah, I must have 300, 400 or 500 ties down there. Good on ya mate. ties and cufflinks are my weakness.
Danny de Hek 43:34
Like good stuff. If its lady’s shoes. Okay, to carry on. How would your friends describe you? And you’ve got 45 seconds because I’ve got to get motoring.
John Viney 43:44
How would my friends describe me? I’d liked i’d liked to hear them say, You know what? He’s a fairly good bloke. Yep. You get on our nerves sometimes. But no, he’s a good bloke. He makes us laugh. He’s very helpful. He, He’s an honest guy. What you see is what you get.
Danny de Hek 44:11
Yeah, no secrets.
John Viney 44:14
Not really. I don’t think so.
Danny de Hek 44:15
I think I’ve learned from leaving the organisation, as I don’t care anymore. I just am who I am. And I was always taught not to lie. And I’ve always prided myself. You know, I just tell the truth teller how that is. And the people that can take that. I think they need to work on themselves.
John Viney 44:34
I do bend over backwards to make people to not to not upset people. I can absorb unreasonableness, if people are unreasonable to me, I don’t I very, very rarely lose my temper. As you will see on that, on that video that you commented on of me interviewing at convention. People were downright rude but I just took it in my stride and laughed and I’d like to think that’s what I’m like.
Danny de Hek 45:00
I think you handled yourself very well on it because it wasn’t about you either. It was about using logic and here’s the facts. This is what I’ve read. not written by me, but how do you interpret that? You know
John Viney 45:14
You got it
Danny de Hek 45:15
Crazy. Okay, and aside from necessaries is now necessity is coffee in Smit. What’s one thing you could not go a day without him? We’ve got one more question.
John Viney 45:26
Did you did you say you can’t have internet?
Danny de Hek 45:29
Well, you can’t use internet because that’s kind of an necessary. So apart from necessaries.
John Viney 45:34
Sorry, apart from necessities. What can’t you do without.
Danny de Hek 45:38
Yeah for a day
John Viney 45:39
Danny de Hek 45:41
Looking for a bad habit? Sounds like a tie collection to me.
John Viney 45:46
Let me think what can I do without? I enjoy a breakfast. Okay, a bacon roll a bacon? Oh, as I say in Wales, a bacon bap. A bacon roll. Yeah. Breakfast.
Danny de Hek 46:07
So as you said, You’re a window cleaner. Because been Jehovah’s Witnesses. We used to always have jobs where we could manage your own time and we weren’t doing a nine to five. When you do when you clean around a year do you do in the mornings and you get up at five o’clock.
John Viney 46:21
Now not not anymore. I in in when I was a little bit younger. And my business was I needed to earn more. I was up at half past four or five o’clock travelling all over cleaning cafes, floors, mopping floors, cleaning businesses, and then going on to doing window cleaning. But no, not anymore. I I’m up. I’m up about what I was up. Let’s see. I went out. I went out this morning about half past seven. So I don’t I don’t I didn’t get up too early now.
Danny de Hek 46:54
I forgot about the cleaning it so that was another one that they used as well. Alright, so last question. And we’ll call it quits after that. Otherwise, I’ll get told off because I’ve only been packed yet. But what what does a perfect day look like for you? And obviously a Christmas is coming up and you’ve got eight Christmas trees. So I’m wondering, how does Christmas day look for you perhaps? Well, Christmas,
John Viney 47:15
I’m looking forward to Christmas Day. Yeah, but the perfect day, I suppose the regular perfect day is me going out to work, perhaps doing the mornings work, enjoying my breakfast, and then coming back. And then perhaps taking my wife and my daughter, Joanne and Mary, taking them maybe out for a walk or shopping. And or maybe going to a museum and doing something splitting the day doing something that you’ve got to do workload. But then also enjoying so I, I want to enjoy life. Like I said it’s memories are better than dreams. And I want to be I want to create, I want to create lots of memories and and live life to the full I suppose.
Danny de Hek 48:05
Now. Brilliant. Well done. JOHN, I really enjoyed interviewing you. How do people contact you if they do want to be contacted? Are you happy for people to?
John Viney 48:15
I am, I am, I am happy to be contacted. What I tell people is if I’m very happy to talk about being a Jehovah’s Witness or what it was like and my role and everything. And I don’t always also, I don’t always say, Danny, that it was all bad. There were some good happy times as well. And that’s to be fair. So I’m happy to be contacted to have a chat. What I don’t do is debate, I won’t debate religion
Danny de Hek 48:41
Because that what everyone seems to do straight away, isn’t it? They want to debate I’m over it.
John Viney 48:46
If you want to be a Jehovah’s Witness, or you haven’t, if you haven’t been affected by the things that have affected me. Don’t call me a liar could because you haven’t been affected by them. I I’m telling you the truth, which is why I’ve made the decision not to do it. But so I won’t debate religion with people. But I’m very, very happy to discuss stuff. And I wonder if you would mind you could put my email address on it. Okay. And I wonder if the one the one video that you commented on a few times is when I went to that convention, perhaps you could put the link to that on and they could see what I was like at that convention.
Danny de Hek 49:25
One that one thing I’ve been doing lately is I’ve got my YouTube channel, and you can create playlists, and all the good videos that I like, about exposing the Jehovah’s Witnesses and showing what the organisation is like I’ve put them all in one place and I’m just clicking them in. I put yours in the top of yours actually because you were interviewed by Who was that guy I originally saw that. You interviewed by there’s two of you. There’s just recently
John Viney 49:51
Shaun Attwood. Shaun Attwood is was the guy that that we’ve just done an interview with. Yeah, that was And that was interesting because Shaun comes from a background of sort of crime, hard, hard prisoner type programmes. Yeah. And he he was introduced to my colleague Chris, who was on that video as well. There’s a lot of crime going on amongst the Jehovah’s Witnesses with child abuse and the shunning stuff like that. So, so when he starts his video off, he starts off by saying, Well, I’m doing something really different this week. Yeah. And, but we’ve had I know, we’ve had over 50, or about 80,000 hits on that. So I’m aware
Danny de Hek 50:38
Will get heaps more mate
John Viney 50:40
People will get people can hear more about my life, if they tune into that one as well.
Danny de Hek 50:44
I think I know what I did. I did a search about you. And I found quite a few videos. And that’s why today I was really pleased to sort of take it from a different angle. I think a lot of people. Yeah, I think once you leave the organisation, give me a life back in order and having a life outside the organisation is what was all about today. I really thank you for coming along, John and I’ll put your contact details at the bottom of notes. And I truly wish you the very best and I wish you a Merry Christmas.
John Viney 51:09
Yeah, thank you. That’s quite strange coming from one Jehovah’s Witness to another. an EX Jehovah’s Witness. Yeah, my best, my best to you and all your viewers in New Zealand and I’m really hope I can get over there one day.
Danny de Hek 51:25
Oh, yeah. We’ll let you in. All right. Thank you.
John Viney 51:28
Nice to speak by then.
Danny de Hek 51:30
Transcribed by Otter
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