James Lloyd Evans (known as “Lloyd”) is a former Jehovah’s Witness elder from Wilmslow, England. He left the religion in 2011 and formally disassociated himself in 2013. Based in Croatia since August 2009, he started as an anonymous forum poster and blogger named "Cedars" and later, “John Cedars”. Shortly after officially resigning as a JW, Lloyd came out publicly under his real name and has been known as such ever since. Eventually he dropped the John Cedars moniker altogether, though the two names are interchangeable in the former JW community. From 2014 onward, he has been one of the most high-profile critics and public face of the opposition to the religion. He has self-published two books about the religion and his subsequent exit.
Born on 10 September 1979 to Jonathan and Lesley Evans, Lloyd has described his childhood as one of strict JW upbringing. Socially awkward and indoctrinated, Lloyd related what he describes as “sexual repression” in his first book and memoir, “The Reluctant Apostate”. His inability to attract a suitable partner from both inside and outside the religion was a huge problem for him. Following his mother’s death from cancer in 2001, he focused on fulfilling his mother’s dying wish by attending MTS School, becoming a pioneer and eventually an elder.
Lloyd fulfilled these wishes by graduating from MTS School on 5 June 2005 and being appointed an elder on 28 April 2008. During his stay at MTS School, he quite graphically describes in his book his struggles with masturbation, ill-timed erections, and other awkward encounters with the opposite sex:
“I could not get sex out of my mind, to the point where I would fantasize about the girls who were assigned to serve our lunches.”
During this time, Lloyd had also developed an internet porn and cybersex habit with girls who were not JWs. Simultaneously, he became obsessed with finding a JW woman as a wife, particularly in the time period when his MTS class had their one-year reunion in Croatia during the summer of 2006. A fellow MTS School graduate named Miroslav was from Croatia and acted as host during the trip. As he relates in his book:
“I could not help but fantasize a little about meeting a nice Croatian girl.”
Finding what he felt was a suitable match in Dijana, a JW pioneer woman from Sisak Croatia, Lloyd immediately pursued her alongside two other men on his trip. Describing it as something of a competition between the three men, Lloyd eventually won her affections through long distance correspondence after he returned to the UK. They married on 14 July 2007 after Dijana relocated to the UK and dated for six months.
Married life was difficult for the young couple, as they struggled financially and accumulated a large amount of debt when their combined income was not enough to support themselves. Lloyd worked in a series of entry level office jobs whilst Dijana had worked as an au pair. Lloyd’s cybersex addiction and online partners unfortunately did not end when he got married. Leading a double life, he maintained online relationships that were explicit in the form of sexting and cybersex. Often waiting for his new bride to either fall asleep or leave for work, he would then go online or onto his phone to pick up where he left off from last night's proclivities. It was indeed a sad start to a marriage that he both craved and fought for valiantly as he described in his book. One must also consider how life was for Dijana, who was now living in a foreign country and was completely dependent upon her husband. Though Lloyd was quite verbose in describing his flirtations and attractions in real life prior to meeting Dijana, even to the point of providing names or pseudonyms, conversely, he was quite mum with regard to his elicit online relationships. This wasn't helped by his tendency to use both the terms "women" and "girls" both in The Reluctant Apostate and in his blog - The Story of Cedars - A Prisoner No More - JW Watch
By 2009, Lloyd’s hidden and public lives were on an inevitable collision course. In “The Reluctant Apostate”, he describes it thus:
"It was a Friday morning. I ran downstairs to fetch the mail. When I came back into our bedroom, Dijana had my mobile phone in her hand and was staring at it aghast. The previous day, while she had been at work, I had been involved in cybersex with a girl I had met online. The girl had texted me back since then, and Dijana had just read the message."
After trying to wrench the phone from his wife, Lloyd describes his initial feeling as one of anger toward his wife for snooping into his private affairs. Following what was described as a “flurry of tears” and “screaming”, he eventually came to the realisation that he had been caught red handed and his wife deserved to know precisely what his double life entailed. This was not the first time he had been caught participating in sexting and cybersex by his wife, alluding to one or probably more instances of his online infidelities. It was also apparent that up to that point Lloyd had no intention of ending his online relationships.
Mere months into his marriage, Lloyd found it to be at a tipping point. As he continued in his book:
"Dijana made it clear that she wanted the intervention of the elders, no matter the outcome. After all, this was not a one-off incident. Dijana had caught me in a similar situation only a few months after we were married, and previous attempts at sorting out my issues had clearly failed."
Lloyd had earlier related his troubles with an elder in the Bramhall congregation whom he called “Geoffrey” and how he had already lost most of his privileges as an elder due to a dispute with him. Taking this into account, an exit plan was hatched. Both Lloyd and Dijana would sit on this information for the time being whilst he applied to move back to his father’s congregation in Wilmslow. Once accepted as an elder there, he would resign as an elder after confessing to his infidelities. Then they would move to Croatia for three stated reasons: the poor health of Dijana’s in-laws, flee debt collectors and the high cost of living in the UK, and to escape from the shame of such a public scandal in at least two local congregations. However, this didn’t go exactly to plan.
Though he was keen to leave the UK for Croatia and avoid most of the judicial processes Jehovah’s Witnesses must go through, it was not that simple. He was an active elder and his father served on the body of elders. After placing a confession and elder resignation letter under the door of a Wilmslow elder, he was instead summoned to a series of three judicial hearings. At length Lloyd was removed as an elder and publicly reproved in both the Bramhall and Wilmslow congregations. He was also placed on the restrictions of not being able to comment at meetings or give talks. Although disappointed at the public humiliation, he related this with regards to his marriage:
“I was prepared to go through the disgrace and humiliation if this was the price for correcting my problems and starting a new life with Dijana. After everything that I had put her through, she would be my focus from this point forward.”
This is something to keep in mind concerning the events that followed.
Lloyd and Dijana arrived in Croatia on 30 August 2009. They moved in with her JW parents in the small village of Gornje Komarevo outside Sisak. There was an unfinished attic above the family residence which was earmarked for their exclusive use should they ever decide to finish it for living purposes. For the first few years, they lived downstairs with Dijana's parents. Due to the language barrier, Lloyd found his mind drifting off at JW meetings and old doubts about the organization began resurfacing. On 1 January 2010 he put down his doubts in a letter to his wife. Lloyd casually remarked that his wife felt he was going to leave her, and she was more fearful of that more so than any possible break with the organisation. In May 2011, Lloyd declared himself “inactive” in a letter to the Croatian body of elders and to his father. Whilst he would cease all meeting attendance and field service, he stated unequivocally that he would not try to convince others of his beliefs and that he would continue to attend the yearly Memorial. Per his account, whilst displeased with his decision. the local elders had accepted it and had generally left him alone.
Though Dijana continued as a Jehovah’s Witness for a year or so following his declaration of being inactive, Lloyd began work full throttle on his career in exJW activism. He had up until this time managed a home-based business entity called “JLE Translation Services”. As Lloyd had little understanding of Croatian, he relied on his wife’s translations from Croatian into English and proofread them. He had claimed on his website that his specialty was in proofreading and in legal documentation, citing experience working at a legal office in the UK. Oddly, he listed himself as a “Director” and his wife as “Lead Translator” despite his lack of aptitude for any Croatian translation work. Perhaps due to this circumstance, his business practices became questioned within the local Sisak congregation as a local elder asked him specific questions regarding this. As Lloyd related, he had outsourced translation work to local members since the only Croatian speaking member of his business was his wife:
"We had mentioned in passing that occasionally we would swap work with other Witness translators and outsource projects to them on a freelance basis if we had too much to handle by ourselves. This innocuous nugget of information was now apparently deemed evidence of my conspiring to stay inside the organization purely so I could extract cheap labor from Witnesses who worked for me."
In searching for information about the religion he was leaving, Lloyd gravitated towards the work of Paul Grundy, founder of jwfacts. It was in response to one of Paul’s articles regarding the 1929 Cedar Point convention that he started posting under the handle of “Cedars” and made his first foray into the exJW community. Paul's article was linked in a forum post and was about a Watchtower video recreation of J.F. Rutherford’s speech at Cedar Point, with the American flags draped on both sides of the stage in the original photograph not being included. Lloyd was recognised for his keen eye for noticing the omission of the flags, but it didn’t take him long to throw his weight around on the www.jehovahs-witness.com (JWN/JWD) forum that Paul posted on. He quickly dominated topics and was pretty firm on what he felt. Other posters began to notice a pattern where disagreement with him led to open conflict. Often Lloyd would bring his wife into it and reason that if anyone had made him upset, they were also by default making his wife upset. As Lloyd related in The Reluctant Apostate, things didn’t go too well when he started asking for money to fund what eventually became the foundations of his own website:
"I worked out I would need $400 for a year’s subscription to SurveyMonkey.com —a professional online survey provider—and began asking for this amount to get things moving. Predictably, this did not go down well with my fellow forum members. There was a fierce backlash, in which I was accused of trying to run a scam."
Thus began a long and contentious relationship Lloyd had with many exJWs, whom he felt were not supporting him and his work by bringing up issues with him soliciting donations. He was quick to label them as "haters", "jealous" and "Cedars-bashers". A common retort from him was that criticising him was tantamount to doing Watchtower's dirty work for them. He was extremely sensitive when his blogs, videos and social media posts were criticised or disagreed with in any way. Many eventually either consciously or subconsciously learnt to either give him the praise and adulation he sought, or to keep to themselves with any comments or criticism.
Lloyd’s precarious situation being still officially associated with the Jehovah’s Witness organization, albeit inactive, was becoming more of an issue considering his increased activity with exJW activism. In 2013 Lloyd co-founded and had himself appointed as president of AAWA, a non-profit group which was to draw attention through the media and in the public about the abuses happening within the JW religion. Lloyd had expected a fulltime salary, and when this had not materialised after AAWA's donations dried up due a Facebook doxxing scandal, he had resigned. Though still only known as “John Cedars” or “Cedars”, Lloyd was keen on making a splash by getting disfellowshipped for apostasy in order to draw in publicity for both him and his website. By the summer of 2012, his wife had quietly ceased being a JW and became inactive like her husband. Unlike her husband, she did not wish to go public and preferred to keep a low profile.
In his book proposal outlined in a JWN forum post, Lloyd had planned on writing a book, attract a publisher and release it under his real name. The intended effect was to draw the attention of the JW organisation which would then lead to a judicial committee being formed to disfellowship him for apostasy. Evidently this plan failed to attract a publisher, as this project languished for over a year until he decided upon a different tack altogether.
It was on 6 November 2013 that Lloyd released a blog entitled “The Story of Cedars - A Prisoner No More - JW Watch” which revealed his personal story and photo but did not state his real name. The article was well received, but the portion regarding his sexting “girls” in 2009 led many to question the age of his cybersex partners. Lloyd made a point to quickly brush aside such questions as fodder for what he termed as “Regressive Activists” who were jealous of his prominence. Though he probably didn’t realize the extent of it at the time, this article was the pre-cursor for many of the events that followed.
It is important to provide context regarding the circumstances surrounding his disassociation from the JWs. Dijana was heavily pregnant with their first child. His blog post had been up for almost two months when a local JW woman reported him to the local Sisak elders for apostasy. Lloyd claimed to be prepared for this and had planned on submitting two resignation letters for both him and his wife. One letter would be written in English for himself whilst the other written in Croatian by his wife. It remains unclear whether Dijana truly desired an official disassociation at the time or preferred to stay inactive. Summoned for an official judicial committee, Lloyd remarked in a video the day before that someone from the Croatian Branch office of JWs would be attending the JC in Sisak.
It is important to note how irregular it is for a branch representative to be dispatched to a local Judicial Committee. Zagreb is about an hour’s drive away from Sisak, so it wasn’t exactly too convenient for them to attend. Jehovah’s Witnesses are known for their meticulous procedures, especially at branches. The only time a branch representative is ever called to a local JC is for one of legal interest. It is indeed for these legal purposes and to shield the branches and the organisation from direct involvement in JCs that branch representatives are only brought in for extenuating circumstances that only they can and should handle. Even then, higher ups in the Warwick HQ need to be aware and sign off on it. Lloyd counters that it was due to the language difficulty, though from his own account an elder from a Zagreb congregation named Dejan was there and spoke perfect English. Even the local elder he referred to as "Marko" had some command of English and certainly with Dejan's help could have conducted a Croatian/English hybrid JC which it ended up being anyway. Whatever the reason was, it was not for the language difficulty that Lloyd presented. Many have speculated this was something related to his sexting “girls” admission in 2009. The fact that he would go to great lengths to spread a dubious story about a branch representative being there to help translate led to more questions. Further compounding the issue, Lloyd related in his video that he would not be recording the JC.
The reason given for not recording the Judicial Committee was that he had nothing at all to hide. This makes absolutely no sense. If one had nothing to hide, they would for reasons of transparency record the meeting. Indeed. people with something to hide would have every reason to not record the JC. In fact, it has become something of a tradition amongst former JWs to record the JC so that all facts were presented, and it was crystal clear what the reason for the disfellowshipping action was. Often this would include sordid details about the offence and the elder's inability to adjudicate on a case-by case basis, instead relying on the organisation's extensive and rigid rulebook. It is also important to note that as a fledgling exJW activist, Lloyd Evans had all the reason in the world to record his JC for posterity. It would have given him more content and even more publicity to rebut all the points made in the JC which has since become his MO.
Though he was clear regarding his reasons for not recording his JC in The Reluctant Apostate, it is interesting to hear what he had to say about the real reason why the JC was initiated to begin with. Hidden in footnote 317 in The Reluctant Apostate, he acknowledges:
"I was later told by someone still inside the organization and in contact with my former elders in the UK that there was more behind my judicial committee than this."
On this he does not elaborate further and claims it is still a mystery to him, despite being leaked the information from a source. There was also the issue of his wife’s DA letter. The elders in Sisak had viewed Lloyd as yielding control over his wife as revealed in a comment made to her earlier in Croatian when he wasn't present:
"I know Lloyd treats you like a rag for cleaning the floor."
This evidently was common knowledge round the congregation. During the JC, the elders were willing to accept Lloyd’s resignation but not Dijana’s. Why?
"However, we cannot accept your wife’s letter. She doesn’t quite make it clear enough that she no longer wants to be a Witness.”
As Lloyd had related in The Reluctant Apostate, Dijana had hastily written the letter at his urging while he was getting ready to leave for the JC. Why was it at the last minute? He knew this has been coming ever since he came out in the blog post, and definitely knew what was happening once he was summoned for a JC. It is odd that he requested his wife's letter when she was under no suspicion herself and not subject to any congregational discipline. Even stranger that she had hastily written it as Lloyd was getting ready for the JC. The elders seemed to have a reason to suspect that the resignation letter was being forced upon her at the time and that Lloyd was controlling her.
After some bit of back-and-forth and Lloyd's offer to call her during the JC which was declined, according to his story the letters eventually were accepted both were now officially disassociated. Of course, had this JC been recorded the elders' reasoning behind initially not wanting to accept Dijana's resignation letter would have been made evident. It would seem that the details of his wife's exit were not what he wanted as public knowledge either. One can only speculate in the absence of any other account of this besides Lloyd's.
Despite the incongruity regarding his exit from the JWs, Lloyd Evans rode on a wave of good will and excitement towards his projects. His videos on YouTube were steadily improving and he had gained much empathy regarding the impending birth of his first child under less-than-ideal circumstances. He had still been living with his JW in-laws and with the baby on the way, his attic was nowhere near to completion. Enter Patrick Haeck, a Belgian fan of his who took Lloyd and family on an all-expense paid trip to the Croatian coast. Haeck's son even cleared out of his hotel unit to make way for Lloyd and his wife who made it clear that they could not afford the holiday expenses. On the way back through Sisak, Haeck decided to finish the attic at his expense. This is but one example of the many gratuities Lloyd Evans has accepted from former JWs. It is also known that Lloyd was gifted a car from an American supporter who also shipped it to Croatia. When Lloyd complained about the import taxes and registration fees, these were paid for him.
Another example of Lloyd’s grift is his steady schedule of “meet-ups” or “book signings” which are cleverly disguised as activism but are merely fronts for taking his family on holidays round the world funded by other exJWs. Most recently he had taken his family of four on a trip to Australia funded almost entirely upon locally collected donations. They are typically the main attraction at the meetups and are feted to the best restaurants and hotels afterwards on the local exJW's generosity. Never has he quite explained the need for his family to accompany him. One donor went $15,000 AUD out of pocket to help Lloyd and family with their expenses related to the holiday. Nor was the only agenda activism, as they left for the Gold Coast region in Queensland for whale watching, scuba diving and other excursions.
On 22 November 2015, Lloyd posted a video to his YouTube channel announcing a competition amongst his viewers to receive a free copy of Crisis of Conscience by the late Ray Franz. How he described the copy was contradictory in nature. He was clear that it was “unauthorised” and was printed by a friend but was “not quite a bootleg”. Notably, on the back his own website logo “JWSurvey” as well as that of jwfacts was printed on the book. As Franz died in June 2010 and JWSurvey was launched in October 2011, Franz did not authorise this. Nor was it likely that as a practicing Christian Franz would have allowed JWSurvey to be printed on the back of his book lest it be seen as a tacit endorsement of the viewpoints of Lloyd and his website.
What happened next is a microcosm of how Lloyd treats those who disagree with him publicly. Mike and Kim Brooks, exJW activists whom Lloyd had quarreled with earlier, doxxed their physical address and labeled them as “Evangelical Activists”, “crazy conspiracy theorists” and “Cedars-bashers”, made a video calling out Lloyd for violating the copyright on Franz’s book. Lloyd’s response was that they had no ground to take issue with him as they were had no cennection to Ray Franz or the copyright holder, they had an “axe to grind” against him and that they should also take issue with Paul Grundy whose jwfacts website was also listed. He did not address the facts as stated, but instead attacked the Brooks’ motives. As with all other scandals he had embroiled himself in, Lloyd quickly got out ahead of the issue on social media platforms and weaponised his followers against the Brooks and also against Marc and Cora Latham who took a similar viewpoint. Marc Latham in particular was concerned that as the VP of AAWA, they should either denounce this illegal activity or at very least distance themselves from Evans. Latham was disturbed when his confidential AAWA email to the board was forwarded by webmaster and AAWA board member John Hoyle, who was also an Evans loyalist and webmaster for JWSurvey. He resigned as VP after this, and Lloyd posted a spiteful Facebook post attacking Marc and insisting he would block anyone who supported or even liked any of Latham's social media posts.
Mike and Kim Brooks were not the only exJWs to take issue with this breach of copyright. Conveniently for Lloyd, many of these activists such as Joel Martz had already had trouble with him in the past and he hastened to label them as “haters” and “Cedars-bashers”. Lloyd’s secondary complaint beyond his claims that people were out to destroy his name and reputation was that the copyright holder, Deborah Dykstra, was incompetent and thus at fault for COC to go out of print in the first place. In a Reddit post, he liked her actions as thus:
"I would argue that sitting on the rights of Crisis of Conscience and limiting its availability is tantamount to sitting on a stockpile of antibiotics in the midst of an epidemic"
Lloyd had also argued falsely that the law was on his side regarding copyright, meaning that if the copyright holder was not actively enforcing it, then the copyright was not valid. He changed tack as soon as Dykstra and her lawyers sent him a “cease and desist” letter regarding his copyright violation. When he received the letter via UPS, he bitterly complained of the costs involved rather than simply address the issue:
"I eventually received a formal “cease and desist” letter via UPS at my home in Croatia, which probably cost more to write and send than the total value of the bootleg books."
Imagine that! He violated copyright and he had the cheek to criticise the manner in which he was served, and the costs involved! So, what really happened with the copyright breach of Crisis of Conscience? According to Lloyd it was all his Romanian friend Arthur Weber’s idea and he had little to do with it beyond purchasing personal copies. Lloyd related this in his Reddit post:
"I had bought five unauthorised copies from a friend in Romania (for which I paid $50, or $10 per copy)"
He staunchly denied that he was printing off or purchasing any more, and all money taken and orders for more books was firmly within Arthur’s purview and at his initiation. But was it? An email was sent to the address which Lloyd had promoted on social media for people to purchase bootlegs like the one he was holding in the video. Here was the reply:
It is evident from Arthur’s response that this was a collaborative arrangement between himself and Lloyd to sell bootleg copies of Crisis of Conscience to willing buyers. Lloyd clearly lied about his lack of involvement in this process and once his dishonesty is established, one is left to seriously question how many were indeed printed and sold. It would also seem likely that this “arrangement” Arthur speaks of was one of a long-term business plan that would benefit both parties.
The response from most of the exJW community was unfortunate in that support for Lloyd seemed unconditional and cult-like. Many believed or were led to believe that the work Lloyd was doing was too important to allow this scandal to interfere with his activism. Those who took a contrary view had reasoned that he was a poor representative of the community or a "liability" as Marc Latham would put it. Illegal activity from the same person who was criticising the Watchtower for unethical and abusive behaviour would have been a horrible look moving forward, especially given his outright hostility to any suggestion he was in the wrong. Comments like these disparaging the ones who felt this way about his illegal enterprise were telling:
"You've already bent over backwards for these morons, Lloyd/John. You've been far more accommodating and respectful than I would have been."
"I'm with you, this all seems like an intentional attempt to beleaguer Lloyd. I get the whole copyright business. Pardon my French, but this Deborah lady and her minion, come off as complete cunts."
Mike and Kim Brooks and Deborah Dykstra (who was a personal friend and caregiver to both Ray and Cynthia Franz) were the real culprits as told by Lloyd. Though he had violated copyright that was not only lawfully hers but explicitly granted to her by Franz, he continued to play the victim of a witch hunt. The apologies were sparse and muted, but the meat of the Reddit thread he started was all about how people had wronged him and the cause. A recurring theme in all his social media posts is how any criticism toward him is somehow damaging to the exJW movement as a whole. The Reddit thread can be found here: Lloyd Evans Reddit Thread
Once the Crisis of Conscience bootleg fiasco was effectively silenced, Lloyd quickly moved to solidify his burgeoning business enterprise. His long-planned memoir which had been started in 2012 was languishing after failing to find a publisher. As Lloyd saw it and had vocalised it many times, he had to be compensated as a fulltime activist. Thus all the time he spent on writing his book would need to be compensated in order to justify being an activist. Instead of the advance he sought from a publisher, he looked to crowdfund from the same people he viewed himself as helping. After a social media campaign to raise funds to cover the cost of printing and marketing the book, Lloyd managed to raise over $20,000 USD. However, his editorial team remained as volunteers, as did all the people who set up his book signing events. On his first book signing event in London, he refused to allow the organizer to sneak a peek at the book unless she paid for it. The coffee shop he was graciously allowed to sign at for no charge by the establishment did not levy entrance fees or cover charges. Lloyd set a cover charge to be collected when visitors entered his section of the coffee shop for a signing. Once this was brought to the management's attention, they responded that it was against their policy and attendees were under no compulsion to pay for entry.
Similar diva-like behavior was reported at Lloyd’s many signing events. Whilst himself claiming poverty, event organizers and local ex-JWs were encouraged to donate to rent facilities, hotel rooms, plane tickets, meals at restaurants and other incidentals for Lloyd, his wife and daughter. He was often described as socially awkward and only interested in discussing himself or his book/activism efforts. Always more than happy to pose for selfies and sign autographs, he became a cause within the cause. A vehicle was rented for him and his family to make the drive from San Diego to Seattle for an in-depth West Coast tour. Those who were Jehovah's Witnesses remember all the fanfare round the time of the Circuit Overseer's visit. Collections were taken up from the locals and nearly expense the CO and his wife picked up was paid for by others. Only don't make this comparison to Lloyd or his followers. Detractors were almost immediately labeled as jealous of his success and as counter-productive to the movement (“Regressive Activists).
Little over a year after the release of The Reluctant Apostate, in 2018 Lloyd began his crowdfunding campaign for his second book, "How to Escape from Jehovah's Witnesses". Of particular controversy was the $150 “perk” which Lloyd solicited in exchange for getting the reader's own story included in the book. Since many of these accounts were from sexual abuse survivors, the issue of whether it was morally or ethically proper to take their money to be in his book was criticised by some. The integrity itself of the book was also in doubt since all it took was a $150 donation to get a personal story included. Were these narratives actually contributing to the quality of the book or was it just a marketing scheme to raise as much money as possible pre-release as it was the case with The Reluctant Apostate? Why should people who were abused actually be charged to relate their stories in print? Were these people he was trying to genuinely help get their stories told, or were they just marks for him as donors? It seemed more about who could and would pay, rather than what stories should be in there based on their own merits and riveting accounts of abuse in the organisation. In what had already become typical behaviour, Lloyd berated and attacked any who questioned him on social media. He also encouraged his followers to pile on and silence the dissenters by sheer strength in numbers. This was especially the case on Twitter.
Despite all this drama, as it was previously, for the most part former JWs supported him and felt that any criticism was somehow benefitting Watchtower. This kind of groupthink was cultivated by Lloyd himself, dating all the way back to when he was only a forum poster on JWN. Whenever a controversy erupted, Lloyd would have ready and eager defenders on both social media and Reddit. They became known as “Cedarites” due to their almost cult-like following of their leader and incessant droning of praise. It was brave of someone to ever post anything critical, lest they be shamed and abused into silence. Lloyd also excelled at drawing new followers in by means of his videos and social media presence. The many who eventually gravitated away from Lloyd and either into their own activism or to secular pursuits were readily replaced by new recruits who were conditioned in the beginning to accept him and his content as the absolute finest, and any criticism had to be simply out of spite, jealousy or a desire to bring him down. Many longtime exJW activists left shortly after the "Escape" book debacle, knowing they could no longer with a good conscience support such a movement led by a man with so many cult-leader style attributes.
In late 2017, rumours of underage sexting continued to circulate about Lloyd. A man calling himself “Marko Petrovic” claimed to be related to Dijana by marriage. (Lloyd and Dijana have since denied this is the case). Marko related how the earlier sexting story was intentionally incomplete, as Dijana had called the number back and found a 14-year-old girl begging her not to tell her parents what had happened. It seemed that Marko added to the existing narrative regarding The Reluctant Apostate passages about Dijana catching him with a sext on his phone. Whether or not these allegations are true has been yet to be verified. The screenshot is included here for contextual reasons only. When one tries to separate fact from fiction about Evans, whether it comes from his own lips or elsewhere, one is bound to come across references to Marko and his statements on Facebook. The seriousness of these allegations has not been lost on anyone and it's just a matter on who you believe. For Evans, it does not help his case that he has been untruthful in the past and posts like these take on added weight when otherwise they might be easier to dismiss. It is notable that Marko's allegation also includes Dijana and her alleged coverup of what would be a sickening example of pedophilia.
Wilmslow congregation member Phil Evangelinos maintained that Lloyd had been inappropriate with a 14-year-old girl in the Bramhall congregation, leading Lloyd to flee to Wilmslow under the protection of his elder father. This allegation is from a confirmed acquaintance of Lloyd in the UK, as has been acknowledged by Evans himself. Again, it is worth pointing out that at this point these allegations are basically a "he said/she said" type of back and forth.
A former YouTuber named Tom (JW Fairy Tales) had taken issue with Lloyd on Kameron Fader’s interview video. What angered Tom was his dancing round the issue and never addressing it directly. Instead, he just fired back and insisted Tom was being a hater. This led to Tom calling into Joel Martz’s “Vast Apostate Hour” podcast and insisting that Lloyd had been inappropriate with a 14-year-old girl. Also noteworthy was Tom’s prediction that in 5 years' time (from 2017) Lloyd’s sexual misdeeds would become public knowledge. Link here: Tom's prediction from 2017? *SIPPY CUP WARNING* - YouTube
Lloyd’s immediate response was to crowdfund money to sue Joel for hosting Tom on his podcast. He accepted money for a lawsuit which never happened.
Also notable from Tom’s podcast appearance was his prediction that Leah Remini would have Lloyd on her Scientology program and have no idea who she was really sitting next to. This was no coincidence as it was well known that he had been campaigning to persuade Remini to make a special about Jehovah’s Witnesses and their abuses. Little over a year later in 2018, Lloyd did appear on a Leah Remini television special dealing with JWs with sex abuse survivors. Whilst many stories included rape, incest and molestation, Lloyd’s own personal story was of his father not paying him for unsolicited landscaping and driving by when he noticed him outside his home. This was not the first time Lloyd had related a stunt which involved bringing his daughter (Jonathan Evans' granddaughter) to his door for a meeting for the first ever time. Whilst this doesn't sound like anything out of the ordinary, it has been articulated in The Reluctant Apostate and other media that Jonathan Evans is shunning his son. Lloyd has made a father-son meeting a pre-condition to meeting his granddaughter. That is and should remain between those two and it is certainly Lloyd's right as a parent to demand to see his own father before any ground rules for visiting his daughter can be established. What should never occur is to bring the daughter in the middle of this dispute such as the story he related on the Remini programme indicated.
The Remini television appearance vaulted Lloyd and his activism business into the stratosphere. Patrons went up by the hundreds and his own documentary efforts seemed to take off on the laurels of his newfound fame. He milked as much as he could off that, even hosting a one-year reunion of the JWs who appeared with him on the show.
By going on a US prime time television special with a known celebrity and anti-cult activist, Lloyd Evans gained the platform and credibility he had always sought as a high profile and more importantly, high profit activist. Attempts were made by former JWs to alert Remini, associate Mike Rinder, and producers of the show to Lloyd's behaviour. This included not only the bizarre admissions regarding sex and infidelity in his book, but Lloyd's bullying tactics online, the Crisis of Conscience bootleg scam and other known issues regarding his divisive nature. Lloyd himself acknowledged this in his 3 February 2022 Facebook post:
"These accusations were forwarded to both the producers of Leah Remini’s Aftermath series and IICSA in an attempt to sabotage my involvement in both of those projects, but were given short shrift because minimal scrutiny revealed them to be utter fiction - the product of troubled minds who seek my destruction so fervently that they would like there to be a child who was molested, or “sexted”, by me."
At roughly the same time period as his appearance with Leah Remini was about to take shape, Lloyd had already begun work on The Truth About the Truth Documentary. The East LA Film Society of Film and Arts founder and independent filmmaker Juan Escobedo and associate Javier Ortiz were co-producers alongside Lloyd. With long-time contributor and associate Mark O'Donnell, Lloyd had interviewed several child sex abuse (CSA) survivors such as Candace Conti and Australian Royal Commission prosecutor Angus Stewart. Crowdfunding endeavours were kickstarted by him and Ortiz, with several thousand dollars funding the project primarily off the generosity of former JW donors. It was clear that the game had been changed by his primetime television appearance and Lloyd Evans had the star power and pool of supporters to make any project happen. The money started pouring in through the spike in Patrons and Lloyd had openly discussed on social media his plans to purchase a home in the oceanside district of Istria in northern Croatia. The abuse allegations and other scandals had seemingly been wiped off. There appeared to be nothing stopping him. So, what happened next?
In 2019, Lloyd appointed Kim Silvio, a retired lawyer, as Head of Operations at JW Watch. Along with “Producer Bob”, they effectively became Lloyd’s right hand. Kim often gave thoughtful legal analysis whether the Watchtower was concerned, and Bob was on the technical end of things and managed communications related things like the JW Watch Reddit. With subsequent events in mind, it is important to note that these two women were staunch supporters, high tier Patrons, and worked as volunteers.
With the end of the COVID-19 pandemic in sight in late 2021, travel was feasible once more and Lloyd began to start making his frequent trips for filming the TTATT documentary, and other events not only JW related but also his appearances with the atheist YouTube community. It was on one such trip to Texas in early December 2021 which set off a series of events which were earth shattering not only for Lloyd but for the entire exJW community. The events that are related from this point onwards are culled from Kim Silvio’s version of events, Lloyd’s subsequent admissions, and from firsthand information obtained from Dijana.
Lloyd had been on online dating sites for some time and would often check in at localities he was planning to be at. Texas proved to be one such opportunity, and he had met a few prospective dates. According to a later email to Dijana, he felt thrilled be getting attention from women who might want to have sex with him. He felt he was not sexually satisfied by his wife and these dates he went on made him feel young and desired. Lloyd had forgotten that both him and his wife were on a shared iCloud, so his pictures taken were also available to her.
Upon his return in December before Christmas, Dijana confronted him with these photos. What happened next could best be described as a meltdown, but not for the reasons one would think. The meltdown came from Lloyd himself as he felt he was the victim. He demanded an open marriage that allowed him to date others when not at home. It was unclear as to whether he proposed the same arrangement to apply to his wife. After initially showing a willingness, Dijana changed her mind the very next day. Lloyd referred to her as a “head fuck” and immediately wanted to leave on a month’s long soul-searching holiday. It was round this time that Kim Silvio and Producer Bob had gotten involved at Lloyd and Dijana’s request. It was due to Kim’s urging that Lloyd was convinced to stay for Christmas and not leave his family immediately as he had planned.
After Christmas, Lloyd left for Thailand for what he intended as a two-month long trip. He pre-recorded a video which was released 2 January 2022: I'm taking a break - YouTube. In this video, now unlisted, he related that he needed to take a mental health break to find out what he wanted to do with his life. He would not be making any videos and thought he would return sometime in March and resume then. This in itself sounded odd. On one hand, he needed a break for some soul searching, yet on the other he already planned on coming back to make more videos and resume activism. It sounded like he had already had the answer and that his break was more of an escape from his family life. He did not mention any holidays nor was he forthcoming in any other way than saying he needed a two-month break.
What happened in Thailand? This information came from Lloyd himself. It was during a conversation with Lloyd that he revealed to Kim that he was regularly utilising the services of sex workers. It was explained to Kim as if she had already known and it was both upsetting and shocking as she had already been speaking with Dijana. Things became strained as Lloyd would not keep off social media as per Kim’s suggestion. He was making cryptic posts at the same time as another exJW had attempted suicide. Whilst not directly related to Lloyd and his posts, Kim felt he should “Stay the fuck off social media” in her words. He had a huge audience who were eager to know about his well-being considering the content and tone of his last video. She felt he should be careful regarding what he posted on social media in case it was taken the wrong way by vulnerable people. This did not go down well, and he did not appreciate the admonition.
Meanwhile, Dijana shared a pic of Lloyd with a woman in Thailand. Lloyd later denied she was a sex worker, but rather that they were “dating”. The question needs to be asked: how does one go about dating a sex worker? Especially a foreign man on holiday in a country that is notorious for not only sex workers, but sex trafficking of underage victims? Dating suggests a real relationship and coming from someone who admitted to regularly paying for sex, this is a bold-faced lie in a sloppy attempt to cover his tracks. It is possible that Lloyd Evans recognises that paying for sex in Thailand is highly exploitative and he is manipulating people into believing that the woman in the pic was someone he was dating in Pa Tong.
The state of their marriage as related by Dijana to Kim and Bob was deeply shocking to both. In a series of emails, Lloyd described in detail how sexually unappealing Dijana was to him and how much better he felt seeking relations outside the marriage. When asked if she had any friends who would help, Dijana replied that she had a friend once, but Lloyd didn’t like her and wanted the friendship to end. This behaviour is common in abusive relationships. The abuser doesn't want any third party to possibly opine about the real state of the marriage, thus illustrating to the abused that they are being manipulated and taken unfair advantage of.
Lloyd intentionally isolates his wife so that he can control and manipulate her. As Kim was made aware of by Dijana, Lloyd uses her brother’s death as a tool to manipulate her into accepting his control. Previous quarrels often ended with Lloyd threatening suicide, which he knew would strike a button with her since death was such a close and sore subject for her. Also related to Kim and Producer Bob were Lloyd’s constant threats to her parents to restrict or block all contact with their two daughters should they not be in agreement with or criticise the way he runs the family.
The discussions between Dijana and Kim/Bob were extensive and deep. This made both women realise that she was a victim of emotional abuse by her husband and that he was a detriment to her well-being. He had a tight control over her since he was the sole earner in the family. Dijana had let known her frustrations regarding Lloyd’s cult of personality and how they believed everything he said whilst she knew the deep dark truth about it all. Lloyd later complained that his and Dijana’s trust had been violated. However, she did relate all these details willingly and he brought both women in to help with their marital problems. She was crying for help and in a way wanted people to know the real truth about her husband who was so widely praised. There came a point of realisation that this marriage could not be saved barring a complete turnaround from Lloyd which was clearly not about to happen.
Shortly after the New Year in 2022, Dijana had met with a lawyer in Croatia and informed Lloyd she was pursuing a divorce. This prompted Lloyd to cut short his holiday and return a month sooner than planned.
Due to this information and Lloyd’s continued behaviour, Kim and Bob decided to resign from JW Watch and working with Lloyd altogether. This was accepted in Thailand, but both were asked to keep things secret regarding what had been happening. Producer Bob agreed, but Kim didn’t respond.
A crisis was happening within Kim. She knew how far Lloyd’s enforcers went in silencing and abusing those who spoke out and she didn’t want to become yet another one labeled a “hater”. Convincing Dijana to draw a line wasn’t going to work because as she related, “as soon as Lloyd comes back the manipulation begins”.
Kim turned to people who had problems with Lloyd in the past such as Mike and Kim Brooks and Marc and Cora Latham. Marc has witnessed firsthand his callous disregard for his wife when he left her with a baby in a pram in the lobby of a building with no lift. Marc had to assist Dijana up the stairs whilst Lloyd pursued a podium for himself. Family considerations were secondary to Lloyd taking centre stage at the speaking event. All parties agreed: Kim needed to get this information out and provide proof of such reckless behaviour.
On 31 January 2022, Kim Silvio released statement on exJW Reddit which was removed by moderators within the hour. Kim was concerned that exJWs, in particular, financial donors of Lloyd Evans were not being given the truth about his claimed mental health break. The same money that was ostensibly given to help Lloyd create content fighting the Watchtower's history of CSA cover-up was not being used to feed into a system of abuse in a highly exploited sex trafficking haven such as Thailand.
The level of deceit surrounding the entire affair was alarming, especially coming from who she considered to be a hypocritical, dishonest and misogynistic man. Still, Kim contends that had this only been an extramarital affair that did not involve prostitution in Thailand and had he not been soliciting funds for his activities, she would have just quietly resigned and not inform the community. In essence it came down to a question within her that asked whether or not with all things considered, did the exJW community have a right to know about this? As former Jehovah's Witnesses, many had come to the same conclusion about the organisation and their abuses. To not hold Lloyd Evans to similar standards just because she agreed with his activism against Watchtower would be an act of hypocrisy and moral cowardice.
Lloyd and many of his supporters have insisted that this was an internal dispute between husband and wife, and this was not anyone else’s business. Kim and others disagree on several angles:
1) Thailand is notorious as being a prime sanctuary for sex traffickers and exploitation of women. Many are plucked from villages as young girls and forced into prostitution for reasons of obtaining employment/residence visas or providing income for their impoverished families. Though this is not to say that Lloyd Evans for certain had underage sex, there is the possibility he that did, and he has no way of knowing for sure. One can still effectively rape a woman even when it appears to be a business transaction. It is most certainly rape in the eyes of the victim as they have a little choice. The consequences can and usually are severe for sex workers who attempt to run away or reject a client's advances. They can be physically attacked, thrown out into the streets and made destitute for attempting to quit. This alone should dissuade someone from utlitising sex tourism in Thailand.
2) Even if the sex workers were adults, in most cases they were brought into this lifestyle as children, addicted to drugs and have never known any other life. They find themselves in a situation that they cannot quit, no matter how distasteful the work might be to them. They might find their own lives threatened as well as those of their family by the traffickers if they walked off the job. Since Lloyd insisted that he "dated" a sex worker, he needs to ask himself an essential question. Should the romance have blossomed to the point where they would leave Thailand as a couple, would this have even been possible considering who the sex worker worked for? Would her "employer" have allowed her to leave without punishment? Thailand is not known as a freelance sex worker country. The abuse is widespread and even in the less abusive cases, the worker is tied to that particular location and boss. This is essentially a life of slavery, cleverly disguised as a voluntary profession for these women.
3) Lloyd Evans is a Child Sex Abuse (CSA) victims advocate. Many of his videos rightfully call out Jehovah’s Witnesses for covering up this kind of abuse in their own religion. Lloyd going to Thailand and paying for sex creates a huge conflict of interest and hurts the cause he is advocating for when one of their own representatives is guilty of exploiting sex trafficking victims. How can one be an effective advocate for such abuses when they themselves participate in it? Such a person is a liability and can easily be exposed and at the worst possible moment. Lloyd has been involved in providing testimony for IICSA, a UK governmental CSA survivors advocacy group. How would that appear had he been exposed by the Watchtower for the very abuses he claimed to be against? Lawyers and other professions must adhere to a strict code of conduct and professionalism. Most would get removed from their positions, especially when considering that prostitution is illegal in both Thailand and Croatia. Lloyd is not a lawyer, but he advocates for strict enforcement of existing laws and potential new laws to fight against these abuses.
4) Lloyd Evans emotionally abuses his own wife into staying with him and accepting his treatment of her. When she finally put her foot down, Lloyd went into full on meltdown mode and travelled across the world, leaving his entire family in flux as to whether they'd ever get him back in one form or another. This is hypocritical behaviour coming from someone who regularly calls out abuses both within the JW organisation and outside. He loses all credibility when he is essentially saying “do as I say but not as I do”. This wasn't simply one-off behaviour with the Thailand sex tourism trip as an outlier. This was a long and established pattern with him as he admitted to seeing sex workers in his rebuttal livestream every 2-3 months for a period of 3-4 years.
5) Patreon money was used for this sex holiday to Thailand, which by practical purposes was a slush fund. Though he strenuously denies this now, it’s a known fact that by far his earnings come from Patreon. Since the scandal broke, Evans insists he had other streams of income such as book and merchandise sales, Google ad and YouTube revenue. It is all in the same pot so to speak and it is disingenuous to insist that no Patreon funds which were promised to only go towards activism were not used. This was a planned two-month long trip which wasn't going to be as inexpensive as he made it out to be simply due to the duration and regular payment for sex and other pleasures. As he stated in his livestream, no one gets to tell a doctor how he uses his wages. So, he is cognizant of the fact that he is using donated funds which were advertised as going towards activism to fund the Southeast Asia sex trade since he considers all donations monies as "my wages". Also conspicuously absent from his reasoning is that doctors and other professionals who engaged in such behaviour were likely to be disciplined by their employers. Since Lloyd was effectively his own employer, he felt he was immune to such sanctions.
6) Lloyd Evans is a habitual and proven liar who is angry that he got caught and that his business was adversely affected. He has been caught in several lies in the days after trying to cover up his own slippery trail. How can you trust such a man when he tries to force-feed his own narrative upon you when explaining his activities in Thailand? And for one to think for themselves and figure out he is lying in order to save his business invites, derision, threats, online bullying and even lawsuits. To be an activist, you must have and maintain the trust of people who are supporting you. In this Lloyd Evans has failed miserably. His own abusive comments towards people who take issue with him in the aftermath expose a bitter and unrepentant man who still only considers this as an extra-marital affair. In the Andrew Gold interview, Lloyd claimed the only person he ever owed an apology was to his wife and that he'd be making this apology for the rest of his life. Yet not a single apology to the droves of supporters who rightfully felt betrayed by his actions. There was no apology to the people who were falsely led to believe that Lloyd Evans had little means and that it was imperative to fund him by means of donations. He has intentionally ignored the pleas of many of the same CSA victims he was advocating for and has placed his own business interests first.
This is not a man anyone would want to represent them. He is a complete fraud and scam artist only on the lookout for what benefits him the most.