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Redditor Gets Uncle Fired From Church After He Holds Foreign Volunteer’s Passport Hostage

Man holding heads in church pew.
princessdlaf/Getty Images

When religion is forced upon someone, it is seldom, if ever, effective.

This can cause strife in a family, however, when one member finds that they don’t connect to or believe in the religion which they have practiced for years.

Such was the case for Redditor HelpedABrotherOutTA, who found that they were not a good fit for their family’s religion of choice.

Even so, the original poster (OP)’s family made every effort to lure them back, even sending volunteers from their church to try and convince them.

Their efforts ended up backfiring badly, however, resulting in the OP’s uncle being fired from their position at the church.

Worried they might have been responsible for their uncles’ dismissal, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where they asked fellow Redditors.

“AITA for getting my uncle in trouble and causing him to lose money?”

The OP shared how not only did their family’s efforts to get him back to church fail but inadvertently cost the OP’s uncle his job.

“I left my church recently, and my dad keeps sending church members to my house to ‘save’ me.”

“Recently a pair of church volunteers came over to talk with me.”

“They offered assistance with anything I might need.”

“I had them help around my farm while we talked.”

“We talked about where they are from, (they’re volunteering for 2 years from out of the country) what they plan on doing when they get home, how my life’s going, and why I stopped believing.”

“The next week one of them called and said they weren’t sure if they believed when they left the country, and after our talk, they realized they didn’t believe and wanted to return home.”

“The problem was that their volunteer coordinator was holding on to their important documents so they wouldn’t get misplaced, and one of those things were his passport.”

“The coordinator said he would only give it back after his 2 years were finished.”

“He asked if I could get it back for him since the coordinator is my uncle.”

“I spoke to my uncle, and he said he knew I was the one who corrupted him and basically told me to kick rocks.”

“I told him I would call the police on him if he didn’t give him back the passport and he said I didn’t have the balls.”

“So I called the police, and they redirected me to the Australian embassy.”

“My uncle was fined quite a hefty amount and told him he had 3 days to return the passport or they would start the process to charge him with human trafficking.”

“Word got around his church, and now he’s been released from his paid coordinator position.”

‘My family are saying I went too far and that they knew he would have given the volunteer his documents back.”

“That he has too many physical problems to get another job and I shouldn’t have said anything.”

“I’m starting to think maybe I did the wrong thing and should’ve tried other avenues before going straight to the police.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

The Reddit community unanimously agreed that the OP was NOT the a**hole for calling the police on their uncle.

Everyone agreed that what the OP’s uncle did was illegal, that they did the absolute right thing by calling the police, and that the OP’s uncle had no one to blame but himself for losing his job.


“Not all heroes have capes, and, you, sir, are a hero.”

“If your uncle could not get another job, then he should not have been breaking the law by illegally keeping that person’s documents.”

“Your uncle’s predicament is not your fault – it’s his, 100%.”

“And you saved those who he was victimizing.”- bamf1701


“By holding onto the volunteer’s passport, your uncle was human trafficking/engaging in modern-day slavery.”

“Thank you for helping the volunteer out and effectively setting him free.”- Delicious_Wish8712


“All day, every way.”

“You were right to call him out for an illegal act.”

“The passports are property of the issuing nation, so it was wrong for your uncle to hold them.”

“Case closed.”- Parking-Fix-8143


“That church/cult is basically setting up an indentured servitude situation for ‘missionaries’.”

“They are not above the law.”- PurpleGreyPunk

“NTA AT ALL and congratulations for getting out of whatever religious movement this is.”

“Whether it is Scientology, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, or anything else, this is trafficking, and a well-documented abusive cult tactic used to keep members in line.”

“You should be so proud of yourself.”

“Side note – I’m an avid scholar of New Religious Movements and cults and if you are ever interested, I can provide you with a ton of resources to read, watch, engage with, and/or seek help from.”

“You are not alone.”- Alloddscanteven


“He literally kidnapped someone and then dared you to call the police.”- Rando_R_Random_IV

“Yep, I used to work on transnational crime issues, and withholding travel documents is a classic technique deployed by human traffickers and exploiters of migrant labor.”

“Your uncle deserved what he got; glad the Church actually did the right thing and fired him instead of just tut-tutting piously.”

“Absolutely NTA.”- marvel_nut

“NTA at all you did the right thing no one has the right to basically hold someone prisoner you saved them from not only the church but from being stuck where they didn’t want to be you absolutely did the right thing.”

“Thank you.”- qtd267


“You simply can’t force somebody to work/volunteer against their will.”

“Your uncle f**ked around, and found out.”

“You have nothing to feel bad about, I would say quite the opposite.”- DankDankmark


“I think you absolutely did the right thing; you’re a good human – opposite of an a**hole in fact.”

“Your family is saying they knew your uncle would give the volunteer his documents back, but why did your uncle have them in the first place?”

“Glad he got punished!”- TheMadHatterOnTea


“Anyone supporting human trafficking is beyond AHs.”

“They are criminals and should all be reported.”- MidniteProph


“He made his bed and he made his choices.”

“You held him accountable.”

“Okay stupid games win stupid prizes.”- Overall_Guess_8250

“Nope, your uncle fk’d around and found out the hard way.”


“He was basically holding the passport hostage and as an extension a human hostage.”

“No one should have their human rights taken away (in this case the freedom to return home).”-MyFriendsCallMeEpic

“I’m no law expert, but I’m pretty sure keeping someone’s passport so they can’t get away and they have to do what you say is absolutely human trafficking.”

“Thank you for speaking up.”- ISwearIUsedToBeSmart

“Sorry, was this a church or a cult?”

“Not sure from your description.”

“You are not at fault here.”

“People cannot hold passports hostage in the name of Dog. (dyslexia).”

“You gave him the chance to right the wrong, and instead he doubled down. Reap what you sow, right?”

“That sounds familiar, almost as if I’d read it somewhere.”

“NTA.”- motorwolfe


“You tried asking for the documents, and he illegally refused.”

“The next avenue was contacting the authorities.”- ParsimoniousSalad

“Definitely NTA.”

“Many mission presidents have ruined lives by refusing to return passports.”

“You did the right thing.”- IcyIssue


“Wow, your uncle really blew it.”

“The only reason he was in trouble was due to his actions.”- wind-river7


“Don’t do illegal things and you won’t have to face the consequences for dubious activities.”-bitch_is_cray_cray

“NTA, so many churches (cults) believe they’re above the laws, and it was straight up abusive for him to withhold that person’s passport, not to mention, theft.”

“You’re a g*ddamned hero.”- uuuumno

“Congratulations on leaving the church.”

“I left the church over 40 years ago and have never looked back.”- Funny_Badger_6931


“Thank you.”

“Thank you so much for doing this.”

“What your uncle was doing was illegal and immoral, and the fact that this isn’t uncommon just makes me sick.”- DamnIGottaJustSay


“Your Uncle, and the Church, we’re basically holding people hostage!”

“You 100% did the right thing.”

“Hopefully the Australian Govt keeps a nice eye on this ‘Church’.”- LetsGetsThisPartyOn


“He was literally holding that passport at ransom for ‘volunteer’ work.”

“It’s pretty cut and dry, legally and morally.”

“Your family are the AHs for excusing this behavior.”

“Really, I would have done the same thing.”

“He’s old enough to know right from wrong, as well as the law.”- Ok-Writer-774

One can’t help but wonder how no one at this church didn’t stop to consider if sending a volunteer who seemed to be pretty clearly in doubt was the best way of bringing the OP back.

If anything, they may have succeeded in more people leaving this church as the story continues to get out.

Human trafficking is not exactly a way to bring more people in.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.