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What a Shockumentary!


We still have not seen the "Kidneys for Jesus" documentary broadcast on Saturday evening on Channel Four in London. However, we have been given a summary of some parts, to which we will try to respond.

Jon Ronson starts by saying something like: "This seemed like it was going to be a sweet story about Christians saving lives, but along the way it became a chaos of accusations and anger and I had no idea what a nightmare it would turn out to be".

So does that mean that it is NOT a story about Christians saving lives? It is true that we have made accusations about Jon Ronson's abysmal ethics, and he has made accusations about us. It's true that John is, by his own admission, insanely angry with us because we have dared to criticise him (when he has always considered himself to be the ultimate judge of everyone else). But the real question is whether his (or our) accusations are correct, and whether they can be backed up with evidence. He is quick to cry about "nightmares" (or "poisoned challices" in the case of the Guardian article) to make himself look like a martyr whenever he is criticised, but it doesn't hold water. He gets no sympathy from us.

Our primary accusation against Jon Ronson was that we did not trust him, and we have this latest brilliant piece of "investigative journalism" (plus more than 300 emails in which he repeatedly assured us that he was making a very positive report about us and about kidney donations in general) to prove that he really is the back-stabbing traitor that we took him for. What evidence has he produced for his accusations against us?

Jon said that he began to feel that the story was becoming "messy and hurtful" which it certainly did become (and we weren't the ones who wrote it), but he apparently says this in the context that Christine (from Scotland), missed out on getting an organ. So if Christine was hurt, who caused it? It is Jon himself who declares later that it was nothing but "theatrics" that suggested that Christine was going to die. It's true that we are relieved that she has made a comeback, but only a callous fool would have the cheek to say that she is NOT going to die even if she does not locate a donor.

You can't have it both ways, Jon, i.e. to push the blame onto us if Christine dies (because we didn't help her) and then say that she is NOT going to die when we suggest that maybe YOU could be doing more to help her and others like her.

Jon said that Dave was writing many emails to him that began to "chip away at my sanity" (ie. Jon's sanity) until he finally suggested that he could apologise in the film. Jon said that this "moment of madness" was appreciated by the Jesus Christians. In other words, he excuses himself from having to keep his written promise to us that he would apologise, by saying that he only promised to apologise in a moment of weakness. The big question here is whether that excuse is going to hold water in a court! He certainly never told US that he was not going to keep his promise to include an apology.

Jon complains about Dave having time at Woomera to send him regular emails telling him his faults. Isn't that the classic picture of a hypocrite... one who makes a lucrative profession out of supposedly exposing everyone else's faults, while crying "foul!" if someone points out a few of his own?

The whole section on the obsessive mother who sent private detectives to stalk her grown daughter and grandchildren was also typical of Jon's style of journalism. He had plenty of opportunity to interview the daughter concerned, but he wasn't interested in getting her side. The facts are totally distorted throughout that whole so-called expose, but they served the purpose of getting revenge, which was what John needed in his insane anger.

Jon says that he begins to really dislike Dave for talking about people's lives being held in a balance (while showing footage of Christine walking along the beach).

And are we to believe that Jon really DID like Dave when he wrote the original Guardian article. Jon's history has been one of feigning friendship with fringe groups and then stabbing them in the back. He has done it over and over again, including twice with us alone. How many times does he have to do it before people realise that the person being interviewed was being set up from the start?

Jon says he didn't think that Dave was a manipulator or an evil cult leader when he first met Dave, but now he is beginning to think that Dave is. He says: "I entered Dave's world a year ago believing that the anti-cult groups were the crazy ones, comparing Dave to 'Invasion of The Body Snatchers'. But now I thought of Dave that way. Why? Because I really don't like him."

How is that for journalistic credibility? He comes to the conclusion that Dave is making zombies out of people ("invasion of the body snatchers") for one reason and for one reason only... and that is because he doesn't like Dave. And why doesn't he like Dave? Because Dave pointed out John's own faults, his own callousness in the light of the great need for kidney transplants by people such as Christine, from Scotland.

Here is what he said: "How can someone sit there weighing someone's life in their hands and then blame me?"

We're not sure what he means by "weighing someone's life in their hands". We Jesus Christians have done what we could to SAVE a few lives... while Jon Ronson has done what he could to discredit us for doing it. If the end result of Jon's efforts is that kidney transplants move backward, then, yes, he IS to blame, and not us.

Jon continues: "I had allowed myself to be influenced by Dave. Now that I was out of it, I began to dislike him irrationally, I think in the way that former members of sects irrationally resent their leaders after they leave."

Well, we allowed ourselves to be influenced by Jon Ronson too, and we are ashamed for having been so gullible. But in the end, it would do us no good to irrationally dislike him. Mature adults have to learn from their mistakes and then find rational ways to avoid making similar mistakes in the future.

Near the end of the documentary, Jon includes a reference to a "heroic fantasy" by some experts at Harvard. It's true that there are people with delusions of grandeur who want to be heroes without paying the price. They live in a fantasy world, and one way to do this is to talk of donating a kidney but then not to follow through on it. But in our opinion, JON is the one living in a fantasy world. Those Jesus Christians who have so far stepped forward to offer a kidney have gone through with their offer, despite numerous opportunities for them to back down. The psychologists at the hospitals where we have donated are not stupid. They soon pick up when someone is just chasing a fantasy, and they do a good job of waking them up to the realities of organ donations. The fact that none of us has regretted the decision we made, even AFTER it was all over, suggests that it was not a fantasy that we were living in, but a very real decision made with full knowledge of the costs and consequences.

Neither do we live in any fantasy world about the fate of people like Christine in Scotland if people like Jon Ronson are to become the role models for today's world.

More to come later...

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