Royal Commission Case Study 54: What to expect

With Case Study 54 only a few days away, a lot of discussion has been circulating as to exactly what we can expect when Watchtower appears once again before the Australian Royal Commission.

I’ve decided to chip in a few observations here to help set expectations and to contribute to the discussions as best I’m able. So without further ado, let’s quickly run through what we know:

  • What exactly will be discussed?

According to the Commission website, the scope of the study is as follows

  1. The current policies and procedures of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Australia Ltd in relation to child protection and child-safe standards, including responding to allegations of child sexual abuse.

  2. Factors that may have contributed to the occurrence of child sexual abuse at Jehovah’s Witnesses and Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Australia Ltd institutions.

  3. Factors that may have affected the institutional response of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Australia Ltd to child sexual abuse.

  4. The responses of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Australia Ltd to relevant case study report(s) and other Royal Commission reports.

  5. Any related matters.

The purpose of this public hearing is not to inquire into individual sets of facts or particular events as has occurred in previous Royal Commission case studies.

  • Why does the Case Study 54 hearing appear to be only one day long?

This may appear at first glance to be a surprise. How can a single day of testimony possibly be enough to cover the vast and complex issue of Watchtower’s child abuse scandal?

Well, remember that Case Study 54 isn’t a fact finding mission. That was Case Study 29. The Commission investigated and interviewed witnesses from February 2015 through October 2016, and ultimately issued a detailed report on every aspect of Watchtower’s failure. As far as the Commission is concerned, the facts are in. There is no further debate. Case Study 54 is tasked purely with a quick review of those facts and then with publicly asking Watchtower what is has done to address the damning failures identified in Case Study 29.

Remember what Justice McClellan said to Watchtower’s legal team? That they were going to come back to Watchtower and publicly ask them what had been done to address the issues?

That’s what this is.

  • So what has Watchtower done in the 21 months since Case Study 29?

As far as I am aware, the only potential effort from  Watchtower to address any of the concerns raised in the Royal Commission has been to no longer require an abuse survivor to confront their attacker. However, it was not clear from testimony if this practice had actually been halted before the Commission sat. Watchtower seemed to insist in testimony that it was, but their documentation did not reflect this.

Thus one cannot say with certainty that even this potential change has come as a result of the Commission report.

  • So Watchtower is going to stand before the Commission, after 21 months, and basically say they’ve done nothing at all?

I have no idea.

I mean, that would be the honest thing to do, but remember how slippery and devious Watchtower was in Case Study 29, with senior Watchtower officials like Rodney Spinks, Terrence O’Brien and Governing Body Member Geoffrey Jackson attempted to mislead and outright lie to the Commission on multiple occasions. As far as I can see, Watchtower has three options

  • Admit they’ve done nothing and that they don’t intend to for religious reasons, and turn the whole thing into an issue of religious freedom.
  • Try to stall and muddy the waters by saying they’ve not had enough time, that they have no authority to make the changes required without Brooklyn agreement, knowing full well that Brooklyn is beyond the reach of the Commission. The idea here would be to stall until the day is over, then slink away and wait, knowing no further testimony is required.
  • Dive full into another round of misleading doublespeak and outright lies to try and pull the wool over the Commission’s eyes.

Which one will they pick? Again I have no idea. Judging from Watchtower’s jaw-dropping legal incompetence in Case Study 29 and in the recent Fessler case, it’s very hard to predict their strategy. It seems to have no rhyme or reason, but keep in mind three things.

  • The men in charge of Watchtower are firstly very deluded. They genuinely think they are defending God’s organisation against Satanic and apostate attack, and feel that compromise will be a victory for Satan.
  • The men in charge of Watchtower are very out of touch with real life, spending all their days in a world where you don’t question Watchtower or those who run it, and now they’ve risen to the top. Their word is law. Odds are that no-one has told Anthony Morris III that his ideas are stupid for a very long time. They have no idea how to handle the kind of environment the Royal Commission brings to the table. Geoffrey Jackson’s excruciating performance, where the Commission made mincemeat of his arguments, was proof of that.
  • The men in charge of Watchtower are caught between being honest with a Commission that has all of their dirty little secrets on the one hand, and playing to the growing audience of JW’s who they know WILL find out about March 10th one way or the other. They have to both be as compliant as possible to the Commission whilst also appearing to be steadfast and unmovable to the Witnesses who will end up seeing the testimony on YouTube.

So delusion, seclusion, and public relations are all going to crash into once horrible mess as they did in Case Study 29 and as a result I have no idea what Watchtower will do on Friday.

So come join us and find out!

The JW Survey team will be following events live, giving a commentary on Twitter via our @jwsurveyorg account. Yes this will mean lots of coffee for some of us due to the time difference. I’d suggest following the account now to make sure you don’t miss anything.

We also hope to preserve the live steam video for future reference as the Commission does not archive or make this video available once the live stream is over. However, technical gremlins are always a factor so if you have the ability to record the live stream, it would be a great idea to do so as well. The more people do this, the less chance of this footage being lost forever.

Lastly we will of course be following up with articles on the day, giving you a more detailed analysis of what has transpired.

Get your popcorn (and your coffee if you’re staying up late) and lets all observe the car crash together!

And one last thing: if it is safe for you to do so, please tell as many Jehovah’s Witnesses as you can about the events on March 10th. Their children are at risk and they don’t even know it. They may choose not to look up the Case Study, but simply being aware that it exists is the first step in raising awareness that the Governing Body is not being honest with them about the international scandal of child abuse inside the Watchtower organisation.

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185 Responses to Royal Commission Case Study 54: What to expect

  1. Stirring Awake says:

    Considering I live 15 mins from where the action is taking place, I’ll be drinking coffee but might skip the popcorn while at work. Although I’ve no doubt that very little work will get done as my earphones will be in and ignoring customer calls, all while shaking my head in disbelief over the incredulous things they come up with.

  2. Helen L. Gauthier says:

    TY for all this amazing exposure. I hope the JWS continue to hang themselves through all their deceit’s and non support of sexually abuse children.

  3. Tara. says:

    I’m in Canada. Please can someone tell me what time all this will begin ‘Pacific Time’…. lol no not specific time… Also where in Australia is this being held? I have family there who may record it for me.

  4. Doc Obvious says:

    Law & Order: Watchtower Babble and Tract Society

    A Reality TV show I can enjoy. Time to bring the popcorn, candy, and soda pop.

  5. Fooledmeonce says:

    Now the Royal Commision will experience the ‘beat-your-head-against-the-wall’ frustration that we all know so well, from dealing with The Watchtower.
    JW elders and higher-ups are exactly like Lloyd brought out; not in touch with the real world and they can’t understand how their words are accepted as law.

  6. ScotWm says:

    I think Watchtower lawyers will use strategy #3: “Dive full into another round of misleading doublespeak and outright lies to try and pull the wool over the Commission’s eyes.”

    Strategy #1 would involve humility, honesty and integrity, which are qualities Watchtower lawyers do not embrace. The “Brooklyn agreement” involved in strategy #2 would only regurgitate Watchtower’s ridiculous argument which claims that congregation elders are protected by clergy privilege but they are not clergy.

  7. outandabout says:

    No doubt the Russian authorities are keeping up to speed with events as well. Considering they’ll know everything that we do, I wonder if they will either ban the Cult before it grows or pussy foot for years and give WT time to claim more victims.

    I think the need to keep future victims away from the WT is far more important than the consideration of the delicate sensibilities of deluded Witnesses.

  8. Apostateoftheunion says:

    Is there a link to the live stream?

  9. HardFade says:

    I wish so hard that the ARC punches them in the mouth so-to-speak. Like, really ‘abuses’ them. This needs to be an epic turning point in history. They gotta ‘blow this out of proportion’ …you know what I’m saying?!!! I’m sickened to the core. I watched the March Broadcast and wanted to jump through cyber space and knock some sense into Lett (the strangest character on the GB). Him and his luxury watch. He was proud to see a 10 year old get baptized? WTF. And the younger you get dunked the sooner you’ll have ‘protection’ from Jah??? Lol, the Org does next to nothing to protect children!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! On top of that…does that mean the innocent and helpless poor children of the “world” are abandoned by God? You must get baptized? Hilarious!!! What the hell are they teaching? I hope I can get my dear family out of this. But it’s going to take a ‘miracle’.

    • Doc Obvious says:

      I’m looking for a judicial smack down of epoch proportions. Namely huge fines and to call out their company’s handling of child sexual abuse as erroneous. Worst than the Catholic Church’s handling of Child Sexual Abuse.

      • Meredith J says:

        At least the Catholic Church in Australia paid up $276,000,000 in compensation to the victims. I don’t think Watchtower has handed over a cent in Australia. To my knowledge their has not been a single case where money has been exchanged. At least it has never been reported in the media. After this though, the story is going to be quite different from now on. They have been found to be totally negligent.

  10. Gwen Little says:

    I wish the media would jump on to this but it will take something explosive for the r&f to sit up & take notice. I fear that it’s going to take some real strategies for the ARC to expose their lies.

    From our conversations with ARC, they are well aware of the games being played by the WT. I think the problem lies with the laws that protect “charitable” or “religious” organisations & playing within the boundaries. Even the Government have their hands tied when they’re up against legal eagle reps for this conniving organisation who know their rights.

    I think what I’m saying is that I hope for the exposure.

  11. rikos says:

    I have one solution. the governments from all over the world should arrest the leaders of the watchtower and lock them in, forever. take all their assets, and help the poor people around the world.the world don’t need the watchtower or any religion.

  12. Whip It says:

    This really needs to have media exposure, i might start to send a few email, without that it will be ignored.

  13. Whip It says:

    I have just emailed a high profile talk back radio show here in OZ,

    • Meredith J says:

      @ Whip It I just emailed the ARC telling them how hoodwinked the Witnesses are by the Governing Body and how it is vital that the media are informed to report on the story. Hope it is taken seriously. Good on you Whip It.

  14. Keith Enno says:

    My thoughts,
    WT cannot defend the indefensible.
    Will play the persecution card.
    Will limit their involvement to the least possible.
    The Commissioners will deliver their damming findings.

    WT will continue to not cooperate and go their merry way which, by the way, I can only wish it was to jail.

    (we can only hope that financial sanctions will bring them into line)

  15. messenger says:

    A very nice article CF. I look forward to your article on the commission meeting. Thanks!

    • outandabout says:

      So what do you reckon, messenger……with sub-Saharan Africans being proven as the only genetically pure race on earth thereby proving that God must be Black, it’s makes a pretty good argument that Martin Luther King was the returning Jesus and we shot him thereby making Americans the new Jew’s and worthy of persecution. I’m going to use that as a basis for my new belief system and I’m looking for Disciples. Are you in?

  16. Sister drifter UK says:

    What time do we start watching in the uk and can we have the link to the live streaming?

  17. Free Thinker says:

    Yes, there is one “change” that was effectuated: The JW.Org-directive to “elders” to not leave any – ANY! – paper trail in connection with child abuse cases that could later be used against the org. Which, of course, is not done with the interest of victims in view, but – once again – protecting “God’s most holy org” at all cost. I think I remember this being discussed in this forum.

    • Imgonaburn says:

      The Kingdom Hall I used to attend where some of my family still go to worship was broken into a few months ago. There was some vandalism but what puzzled me was why the congregants private notes and files were accessed and certain individuals records were ‘stolen’. My daughters were taken and she had an ‘incident’ occur when she was 15 years old. Nothing too serious I might add. In fairness, we were told by a couple of our more switched on elders that if we wanted to go to the police they would support us so in our case it was handled well. However, my former congregation has a history of serious sexual abuse of children. An elder was dfd and sent to prison. A SISTER is currently serving a 10 year prison term for indecent sexual assault of her own children and aiding and abetting the rape commuted against them by their father (her ex husband). She was proven guilty by a court of law but NOT disfellowshipped!! Idk if her notes mysteriously disappeared too but it seems highly likely. She receives visits from brothers and sisters whilst she is in prison.
      I faded a few years ago and became ‘worldly’ enough to have a Xmas tree last December. I’m not disfellowshipped, I haven’t been marked or reproved, but my adult children who remain JW have shunned me. I refused to go back to the meetings.
      My daughter gave birth to our first grandchild last October. I’m not allowed to see him. My husband remains a JW even though I’m being shunned. I’m about to move out of the marital home and seperate from my husband because the situation is untenable.
      That religion is sick and twisted. They treat people who choose to leave worse than a paedophile who chooses to remain. There were more than 2 Witnesses to the abuse of her children yet because she denied any wrongdoing on her part she wasn’t dfd or shunned. She can’t repent for a crime she says she didn’t commit.
      The fact they are claiming that they don’t shun us but it’s we who shun them is disgusting!

      • ruthlee says:

        sounds fishy igb! How can notes just happen to be stolen. I bet money this will happen in all congregations with serious sexual deviants and all records just happen to get “lost” I wish the elders would do likewise. Cheers and thinking of you Ruthlee

        • Imgonaburn says:

          Hi Ruthlee!
          They accomplished a lot due to the ‘break in’. There had been talk for years about amalgamating their congregation with another nearby kh and selling ours. Now, as a result of said burglary, my old congregation has been forced to join another several miles away. This has become a permanent arrangement now and my old kh is being sold. Win win for the branch! It’s all too convenient imho.
          I’m fine btw. Thanks for thinking of me. I appreciate it. Xx

      • Jason says:

        I’m going thru something similar. I got roped into this religion from my wife who was born and raised this way. She wasn’t living like one when we met and I didn’t know nothing about these people. She decided after we were preagnent with our now 5 year old son to become faithful to the organization again and convienced me to dedicate my life as well. I did and after observing down right dishonorable behavior by almost every one I began to associate with in the organization, I began to have doubts about them. This recent revelation caused me to go ballistic when I found out what was going on and straight up asked the elders at the hall if they would warn us if they knew someone was molesting children in the congregation and they flat out said no it was non of our concern and they would not contact law enforcement either. Well, that was it for me. I plastered it all over social media, posting it on the elders FB pages, just a couple weeks ago. They freaked out ! Said I was apostate and not loyal to Jehovah’s organization and a bunch of other BS and I should not be spreading this information making it public. I told the I would get a loud speaker and blast it from my roof top warning the community and would take out a front page newspaper add telling everyone. They really went into panic mode. Anyhow, my wife is thourghly a brainwashed foot soldier for this sick group and will likely end in divorce…..I’m hurt and broken, but can not turn a blind eye to have peace in the marriage…

        • messenger says:

          Sorry to hear of your troubles Jason. WT’s sins will be known to the world. It takes time. The elders and their bosses operate like a secret society. I hope you won’t to loose your marriage over this.

          Most elders would never tell a publisher confidential information that concerns someone else. That’s the way they operate, and are instructed to by their bosses. They won’t even tell you information they receive about you from other congregations. To keep their jobs they do what WT tells them. And if they really believe this is God’s sole Earthly org, you can understand their position. Most JWs believe that. It sounds like your wife probably does.

          If you choose, you can still work to share the real truth while staying married, and even remaining a Witness. If you choose that I don’t recommend spreading false stories that come from WT. If you place any WT literature it would be good to read it first. You can go out preaching with JWs and just use the Bible. You don’t have to conduct studies with anyone using WT literature, or direct anyone to the org. You can be a JW and preach without doing that.

          Inside the org you can do things your way or choose not to participate at all in some activities. They can’t do anything about it. Just because the gb wants you to act certain ways doesn’t mean you have to or leave. God and the universe are a lot bigger than WT. Eventually WT will answer for its crimes.

          I hope things get better for you. It’s always nice hearing from you here.

        • messenger says:

          “For there will be a period of time when they will not put up with healthful teaching, but, in accord with their own desires, they will accumulate teachers for themselves to have their ears tickled; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, whereas they will be turned aside to FALSE STORIES.” 2Tim 4:3,4

          Most people don’t have as strong a personality as you do Jason, and so they are prone to what could be considered hero worship. The gb plays on that by writing as much about themselves and the group they call anointed as they do about Christ. Those false stories, which include false claims about themselves, have been branded in the brains of JWs, who let the gb become their lord. And the gb love to lord it over their congregations while lying about their reasons for doing so being theocratic order and unity.

          We who know their deceit no longer should spread the lies they claim about themselves.

  18. C says:

    Is there anyway to get any media outlets involved such as PBS or NPR? Is anyone contacting their locally media outlet? Maybe it can make a back page or op ed story.
    I understand since it’s international it will be tough but anything is helpful.

    • outandabout says:

      One sure way to get the media’s attention and subsequent questioning, debate and exposure is to give the WT the honor of being the first major cult to be banned.
      Let the public decide whether or not the WT is a desirable presence in the community and worthy of public funding.
      I’ll guarantee the outcome.

  19. Songbird says:

    Thanks for the heads up, Covert Fade. What do you see as the likely response of the Commission to each of the 3 options Watchtower has?

  20. WTS Archive says:

    Everyone is welcome to chat.wtsarchive.com when you can comment live on the public hearing when they begin. As a matter of fact you are welcome at any time, the chat is open 24/7 :).

  21. Brazil Future Ex-JW says:

    Hi All,
    I’ve been Jehovah’s Witness for 35 years, and I started searching this site about 1 year ago. I talked to my wife and decided to stop attending meetings and field service immediately. I went against the recommendations to fade away gradually and in silence: I spoke to dozens and dozens of brothers and family. At last I called the circuit overseer and the congregation coordinator and reported everything to them. Then the elders began to chase me, practically camping in front of my house for 2-3 hours 4 times a day. At last they invited me to a judicial committee that lasted 6 hours. I questioned why I was being judged, when the one who had sinned grievously was the governing body with its writing committee. After much discussion they allowed me to take the “evidence” that the governing body has lied. I know jwfacts.com, but would like suggestions on topics that I can not forget to mention.
    Thank you all,
    Future ex-JW from Brazil

    • Covert Fade says:

      The book by ex Governing Body member Raymond Franz is an excellent resource, it’s called Crisis of Conscience. The youtube footage of the Royal Commission and the Commission reports are excelling examples of WT failings on child abuse. But to be honest for quick and easy reference JW Facts is probably your best bet. I wish you well and hope for the best. Let us know what happens 🙂

    • messenger says:

      Stephen Lett lied when he said his organizations, WT and Jehovah’s Witnesses protects its children from sexual child abuse, and that those organizations don’t have a problem with sexual child abuse. Lett claimed the idea about sexual molestation and WT stems from apostate lies. His statement is recorded on a video…look it up online. A few months after his statement WT faced the ARC, case 29. There in Australia records were presented showing WT had over a 1000 pedophile Witnesses in Australia.

      Anthony Morris III was dishonest when he made statements in his USA zone talk a couple years ago. He opened his talk by stating some in the audience might attribute some of the instruction he was about to deliver to being his personal opinion. But he said it wasn’t his opinion, and claimed he had the written proof of that fact right in his hand. And he held up papers. One of the things he said in that talk was that brothers that are 23 years of age who have not been appointed as ministerial servants are not fit marriage material for Christian sisters. Never did he quote any document stating that thought, despite the fact he stayed on the point for a couple minutes or more, even sharing an anecdote about a sister who married a brother (which he suggested she not), and the marriage failed.

      I had previously read, in society literature, that Jehovah chose and anointed men who are/were not appointed as servants by WT. There a video of this (Morris’) talk. Cedars may have it.

      The gb are responsible for how the WT represents itself in court. Go to the the Fessler case on this site. WT lawyers and Thomas Jefferson lied in court saying elders are not legally clergy, and argued that point. In the same case they argued elders have clergy-penitent privilege.

    • messenger says:

      A month are two ago in a WT study the lie was told that there is no hierarchy in the JW organization. If true who is attempting to DF you, your peers? NO hierarchy is a lie that could only possibly be believed by individuals with IQs that are extremely low.

      It appears this was another major deception:

      A couple years ago Stephen Lett was asking to increased donations, and he stated that WT wasn’t getting enough in donations to accomplish everything it had planned for that service year. He made this claim on a broadcast. Lett stated that worldwide 16,000 kingdom halls needed to be built or refurbished. A few months latter a WT study article stated that between 1999 and 2014 (or 2015) WT built 29,000 kingdom halls.

      Anyone could reason that WT would not need to build or refurbish more than half the number of halls in one year, as it had built in 15 years. Because JW numbers had not increased that much since the previous service year. Several months after Lett’s statements that Sammy Herd read a statement on video stating WT was stopping most building projects, downsizing workers at all branches worldwide, and eliminating special pioneers in countries that are not third world countries.

      When asking for money Lett made it appear as if the money was needed for kingdom halls. If so, why lay off all the branch workers, and special pioneers? And why stop most all the building projects.

    • messenger says:

      The lies I informed you about don’t involve doctrine, and they were made in the not too distant past. R Franz’s book can probably still be read online for free, but it’s rather hard to find. When I found it I googled its name and the word free copy (or download). That book includes a lot of older WT deceptions.

      The elders won’t agree with this point, but here is a logical reason why WT and the gb could not be who they claim to be. The reason has to do with who God is. Our God would not choose a group of people that teach and have taught as many wrong procedures and doctrines as SOME other Christian organizations, but kill everyone in those other organizations while sparing us. God is not partial. If he would kill them for wrong doctrines and behavior, he’d kill us for the same reason.

      Another obvious point elders won’t see: Most of the WT restrictions are man made interpretations….not scriptural teachings (opinions of men). Ask them to show you the scripture that prohibits Christian voting. And ask them why God made Daniel, Joseph, and other servants of his governmental officials in pagan countries, if it’s unchristian just to vote. Ask them why it appears Job’s sons celebrated their birthdays with family members at Job 1:4. Ask them why at Luke 21:8 Christ said to avoid those who try to pinpoint the date of the tribulation, yet WT did that several times.

      Just choose the ones you want, they probably won’t let you share all of these points.

    • messenger says:

      Hi Brazil Future

      In the following May 15th Watchtower article printed on pages 18 and 19 the SOCIETY tells us how to answer so that the general public will not get the impression that JWs are bound to the dictates and teachings of a sect. But we are bound to the dictates of WT, and if we express disagreement with one of its significant teachings we run the risk of being kicked out and shunned. Here is that lie in print:

      “3 Someone may argue that the way the Witnesses speak about the Watch Tower Society—or more often just “the Society”—indicates that they view it as more than a legal instrument. Do they not consider it to be the final authority on matters of worship? The book Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom clarifies this point by explaining: “When The Watchtower [June 1, 1938] referred to ‘The Society,’ this meant, not a mere legal instrumentality, but the body of anointed Christians that had formed that legal entity and used it.” The expression therefore stood for “the faithful and discreet slave.” (Matthew 24:45) It is in this sense that the Witnesses generally used the term “the Society.” Of course, the legal corporation and “the faithful and discreet slave” are not interchangeable terms. Directors of the Watch Tower Society are elected, whereas Witnesses who make up ‘the faithful slave’ are anointed by Jehovah’s holy spirit.

      4 In order to avoid misunderstandings, Jehovah’s Witnesses try to be careful about how they express themselves. Instead of saying, “the Society teaches,” many Witnesses prefer to use such expressions as, “the Bible says” or, “I understand the Bible to teach.” In this way they emphasize the personal decision that each Witness has made in accepting Bible teachings and also avoid giving the false impression that Witnesses are somehow bound to the dictates of some religious sect. Of course, suggestions as regards terminology should never become a subject of controversy. After all, terminology is of importance only to the extent that it prevents misunderstandings. Christian balance is required. The Bible admonishes us “not to fight about words.” (2 Timothy 2:14, 15) The Scriptures also state this principle: “Unless you through the tongue utter speech easily understood, how will it be known what is being spoken?”—1 Corinthians 14:9”

  22. Agree with your thoughts Rikos…But as to locking govng body members up…no…let them do some real work…bent over working with a chain saw all day long…heaving bales..or some other good daze work like my Father and brothers have done…as well as many other good folk…who they do not think twice about condemning and judging as not worthy for the…Kingdom… But flash them some cash…and ZUP!… Many a poor penny pinchin widow…went without so these crooks could “watch the birds”…”decorate their drains”…”change their pumps”….by the beach…and on and on…But like my Slovak friend said…God does not need religion…man needs religion… JW.org inclded….to control people! Lossen the chainz of their control…but rattlin them a tad…Thanx again Covert…keep a Rat…lin! ;). and all others

  23. Never a JW again says:

    We are keenly interested in the ARC broadcast on Friday. But as to what is going to be done to them we are of the opinion that the monetary sanctions will be pretty much useless. All the KHs in Australia have already been raided for any money they may have set aside for remodels or new halls so that they all only have $5000 on hand for expenses. Halls have been consolidated and extras have been sold with all the money being sent to the Branch and then on to NY. Last we heard, even the Branch was now up for sale as they have sold off nearly all the equipment there. One of the things the Commission wanted was for them to participate in a “group” compensation scheme that involved all the churches and institutions where they put money in and then it was paid out to survivors and victims. Last thing they want is to be tied to a compensation scheme set up by the government. So we are anxious to see what the Commission comes up with when it becomes clear they are noncompliant and refusing to cooperate. Let’s hope the Commission makes strong recommendations for jail/fines for all Elders in all KHs who have been breaking the law with regard to reporting these terrible crimes. It appears most of these Elders will be blaming Vincent Toole for giving them the bad instructions about reporting, but as far as we have heard, Vincent Toole is no longer at Bethel Australia and may have been barred from practicing law ever again. Still, the Nuremburg Defense should not work here, as each Elder is supposedly “trained” in his duties and responsibilities.

  24. Never a JW again says:

    If you go to the ARC website at: http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/case-study/10908a67-70c5-4103-94cc-dac096fdb585/case-study-54,-march-2017,-sydney

    you will see that there are only two witnesses being brought forward. This is also the website where you can watch it live.

    • John Peters says:

      I agree. Jail for the elders and they will see how little support the branch gives them.
      Fines are useless as they have the money and as the Fessler case shows they will just make is confidential or say the world is turning against them.
      They should Be forced to read a letter to all congregations admitting their lack of reporting and care and to warn all of their protocols of non reporting. This may get through to some and at least. Also they should publish not names but how many times they have reported abuse. It will show 0 and that will say so much

    • PO Daughter says:

      So I went to the website, but I don’t see where you can watch it, I want to have it up and ready to go, can you help?

      • Jaime says:

        Hope this helps:
        From:http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/public-hearings/webcast-information

        Q. How can I access the webcast?

        A. Access to the webcast is provided via the “watch the hearing” button on the homepage of the Royal Commission website. You can access either an audio visual webcast stream or an audio-only stream via the two webcast players. The video player is activated 30 minutes prior to the commencement of the hearing; you will see a blue screen with the Royal Commission logo until the hearing starts. Access to the webcast ceases at the conclusion of the hearing day.

  25. John Peters says:

    I know I asked before if there may be cases of abuse against the GB or others high and I was told about past cases. But is it possible there are those in power Now who have something to fear?????
    This would split the whole org up if this came out. People now are more opened minded than ever before

  26. Ex PO Daughter says:

    Can any one tell me where on the ARC website will the hearings appear? I went to the link that is above it discusses the case but it doesn’t show where the you can clink to watch? I really want to watch them squirm!

  27. Eyes opened says:

    I’m thinking Spinks and O’Brien have been thrown under the bus…

  28. “Good Night” to all…;). Catch ya in the morrow…Lets hope…thru all….Truth and justice for good and right prevail.

  29. Di Lynn says:

    Wow what a morning in Sydney today, so glad I went! Number 2 was the main winner. Nothing new under the sun there. The best part was the Commisioner calling them “cruel”. He actually said “you are cruel”. They said at one stage “we don’t shun them, they shun us.
    Another bit I loved was when the Commisioner said move on Mr Stewart they just don’t get it.

  30. Eric Arthur Blair says:

    This is quite a good write-up, the only one I’ve seen so far here in Australia. ABC news also covered the salient points throughout the day on their 24 hour news channel:

    http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-10/uniting-church-in-australia-apologises-to-victims/8344496?pfmredir=sm

    Absolutely stunning to see them lie through their teeth after swearing on their own bibles, especially when it comes to shunning. We are in touch with a few who have left, like us, and we are all being shunned for no other reason than becoming inactive and fading.

    Rodney Spinks is a moron, but I loved the line of questioning from Angus Stewart. Especially, “why don’t you just report child abuse as a matter of course?” Why do they need to be told to report it? Also Justice McClellan trying to get a straight and honest answer from them about shunning and making it clear this is a cruel practice. Absolutely stunned to hear both Rodney Sphincter and Terry No Brain suggest that those who leave are shunning the congregation! A point that Stewart and McClellan refused to let them get away with, making it clear that most would prefer to keep their friends, family and social network and not be forced to surrender it all.

    Proud to be an Australian today. Ashamed that I was ever a JW. Any current JW watching this today should be cringing with embarrassment.

    • Winston Smith says:

      Good point about their lie that someone can just fade away without being shunned. And if it becomes know that the faded individual has a Christmas Tree, attends another church, votes in an election, or enlists in the military? They will either disfellowship or call them disassociated by their actions in such cases. So there is no simply walking away without negative consequences and/or shunning.

      WS

      • Imgonaburn says:

        Hi winston.
        Isn’t it ridiculous?! They say you can walk away without reprisal but if your actions (Christmas tree, voting, smoking, etc) show that you ‘shun them first’ then you’re dead to them.
        You can leave, but you have to continue with the exact same set of beliefs you held whilst you were a JW! In which case you probably wouldn’t have opted to leave in the first place!
        The organisation is like the demented controlling ex lover. If they can’t have us they certainly don’t want anyone else to replace them. It’s when we show signs of having moved on they punish us by shunning or df. If a relationship ends surely the best outcome is an amicable one?
        Everyone who leaves, regardless of the reasons, is treated like an apostate. If I’d been treated kindly by my JW family I wouldn’t feel so negative about the religion. I could be more tolerant of my husbands decision to remain in. It’s a vicious circle. We are all hurt and we are all victims. There are no winners in this game.

      • Meredith J says:

        I faded and it is not much different to being disfellowshipped. Even if they talk to you, it is just ‘hello, how are you?’ and that’s all. They run and barely put up with you. My husband said to me. “You know I wish we were disassociated. It would make no difference except they would all know how we feel about them.”

  31. Eric Arthur Blair says:

    Just in case the above link changes or doesn’t work, here is the ABC news article on JWs today:

    ABC NEWS: NICOLE CHETTLE

    Jehovah’s Witness seniors have defended their two-witness rule and shunning.

    Two-witness rule puts burden on Jehovah’s Witness victims.

    The royal commission is also looking at how the Jehovah’s Witnesses responded to recommendations made after the hearing involving survivors of abuse in July 2015.

    The church has 67,000 followers in Australia across more than 800 congregations.

    The commission heard the church hierarchy, based in the United States, declined to appear in person or via video link and counsel assisting told the inquiry that was a matter of “considerable regret”.

    However, two senior members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Australia were questioned on a number of issues including changes that mean victims are no longer forced to confront their abuser, and the church’s refusal to change rules requiring two witnesses if an offender refuses to confess.

    Terrence O’Brien, a member of the Jehovah’s Witness branch committee and director of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Australia, faced intense questioning from the chair of the commission, Justice Peter McClellan, who said the two witness rule was distressing for victims.

    Justice McLellan: “If the organisation doesn’t acknowledge that they were abused, that imposes a great burden on them, doesn’t it?”
    Mr O’Brien: “We don’t disbelieve a person who makes an accusation. That’s why we investigate every accusation brought forward by the elders.”
    Justice McLellan: “Yes, but if there are not two witnesses you don’t accept it, do you?”
    Mr O’Brien: “Because scripturally we’re not able to.”
    Counsel assisting Angus Stewart SC said the Jehovah’s Witness law was “silent” on whether a child could be represented by someone other than a parent during an internal investigation.

    The 2015 hearing involved evidence from a woman whose father, a high-ranking church official, abused her.

    The commission was told that since that hearing, 17 allegations of child sexual abuse had emerged and 15 were reported to police. The remaining two did not proceed at the request of the now adult victims.

    Mr Stewart told the commission that since 2015, the commission had received more than 1,165 items of correspondence relating to the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Watchtower Australia from all over the world criticising their response to child sexual abuse.

    Counsel assisting said many people in the Jehovah’s Witness church suffered the “particularly devastating” practice of shunning, should they choose to leave the organisation as a result of their abuse.

    Rodney Spinks is a Jehovah’s Witness and member of the service department of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Australia and was asked why shunning was seen as necessary.

    Justice McLellan: “Why can’t they keep having social contact with those people who happen to remain in the organisation?…Why is it necessary for the organisation to tell all of its adherents ‘you must shun this person’?”
    Mr Spinks: “Because the individual has taken the decision to no longer associate, or to no longer be involved with congregation activities… they’ve taken the decision to say: ‘I’m shunning the congregation’.”
    Justice McLellan: “They still want to have their friends and family… why is it necessary that everyone else must now shun them?”
    Counsel assisting, Angus Stewart: “The real answer is because you say the bible says so. That’s the answer, isn’t it?”
    Mr O’Brien: “Yes, that’s our understanding of the scriptural disfellowshipping disassociation doctrine.

    Speaking outside the commission, survivor Robyn Cameron said the whole system needed an overhaul.

    Ms Cameron was born into a Jehovah’s Witnesses family, and from age three to 13 she was prostituted by her father.

    She said when she told the church she did not want to be a part of the congregation any more they told all Jehovah’s Witnesses in Tasmania to shun her.

    “Do they know what it feels like to completely lose your identity, community and family?”
    “[Today] they said ‘we never shun a victim’ and I wanted to stand up and say ‘what about me?’

    “I sat here for two hours hearing them lie… I had to hold myself down so much.”

    Ms Cameron said the commission has been integral to opening people’s eyes and the public needs to no longer see Jehovah’s Witnesses as “door knockers who don’t have blood transfusions”.

    “In our experience they are the worst of all those who have been to the royal commission,” she said.

    POSTED FRI MAR 10 21:16:40 EST 2017

  32. Exit stage right says:

    Just ran some quick numbers based on both the Uniting Church in AU and the JW’s in AU.

    Uniting Church has about 350,000 members. They had 2500+/- allegations of child sexual abuse. That relates to one allegation for every 140 members.

    Compare that to the JW’s

    JW’s have about 66,000 members. They had 1006 allegations of child sexual abuse. That relates to one allegation for every 66.6 members. You are over 2x the risk for abuse if you are a JW as compared to the Uniting Church.

    Also if their congregation structure is similar to the US, the odds are, there is at least one victim of child sexual abuse for each congregation, again, on average.

    The problem is rampant.

    Yet they see no problem, or reason to make changes.

    Makes me sick.

    • Winston Smith says:

      Very significant numbers to consider. And since this organization so thoroughly enjoys reporting numbers, why not report these?

      Also, since the scriptures say “Whenever they bring you before synagogues and rulers and authorities, don’t worry about how you should defend yourselves or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what must be said.”

      Why didn’t the Watchtower encourage the rank and file members to watch? Give them a chance to see Holy Spirit in action?

      WS

      • FactsNotFiction says:

        I was about to make just the same point! Where is Jehovah’s Holy Spirit?? If there was ever a time for giving a good witness, this was it!!
        Did Jehovah just not turn up, or has HS vat run dry or did they just decide to ignore it’s direction!
        All I saw was two buffoon’s who did not even seem to understand what the Royal Commission was about, let alone have any answers for it!

      • Eyes opened says:

        WS, that is Priceless, lol.

      • outandabout says:

        It’s giving everybody a chance to see what happens when you try to mix fantasy with reality. Oil with water.
        They’re being forced to humble themselves before Satan but must come out of it appearing as if they kicked his butt.

        Interesting article about this cult in The Age yesterday. (Aust.)

  33. Tara. says:

    So just to clarify….
    If you are disfellowshipped, it is by the whole congregations and you are shunned.
    If you disassociate, you do it yourself and shun the congregation because you know the rules.
    If you walk away/become inactive, it’s all ok and you are not shunned.

    Hahahahahahaha roflmao. Thats funny. So why am I being shunned by everyone then?

    • FactsNotFiction says:

      I think you will find it will be your fault no matter what! Even if you get dis-fellowshiped it will still be your fault that you are shunned cus you did something that got you dis-fellowshiped in the first place.
      Remember 1975? It wasn’t the fault of the organization that had been publishing the wrong date for years! It was the fault of the idiot members for believing it! Shifting blame to the rank and file and not taking responsibility for ‘anything’ is what they specialize in. I think the ARC can see through this fact hopefully.

      What the commission failed to bring out though is that if a person stops being a JW for what ever reason, as Cedars chat with Phil Dunne brought out, that individual may still be considered as being someone who refuses a blood transfusion. (Doctors, Hospital, Teachers, Family Members etc) Therefore to leave the religion a person has to disassociate themselves officially if they no longer share the same beliefs. Failure to do so could put their life in danger.

      Pity the ARC didn’t bring that out!

      • Tara. says:

        thank you for the reminder… I need to get a letter put into my hospital/dr/dentist/everything covered files. Saying I no longer believe in their no blood policy etc.

    • messenger says:

      Tara in their last convention JWs were told to shun faded members that are not DFd, but are committing sins they might get DFd for, or would be DFd for if attending the hall. I can’t remember the wording, but knowing JW lingo the speaker might have phrased those as, “serious sins.”

      But even if faded ones are not committing “serious sins” many faded ones probably get shunned, so that the shunners have an APPEARANCE of being good Christians. Some may consider they are not associating with bad association. My guess is most shun the inactive for sake of their own appearance. Being a JW has a lot to do with image. If other JWs find out your old friends hang out with you they may feel themselves labeled as weak. In the JW hierarchy most robust JWs do not want to be thought of as weak.

      Remember how when you attended the hall the groups that were most active did not speak and associate too much with the ones that were not robust Christians. Even inside the kingdom hall they didn’t. One reason is that they had less in common with those who didn’t comment or go into field service as frequently as they did. From a purely psychological view (not Christian posing), now you have less in common with your JW friends. People tend to associate together around common interests, even as we are here.

      best wishes!

      • FactsNotFiction says:

        I noticed in the video of the proceedings, that Justice McClellan on a couple of occasions seemed genuinely surprised at the lack of empathy being shown towards the victims of such abuse. He made the point that the two stooges seemed to be mostly concerned about the legal responsibility of the org and the amount of money they may have to pay out rather than showing much concern for the well-being of the victims or even other congregation members. In other words, he was concerned with ‘the lack of love’ being shown by a supposed Christian church.
        Is it just me, but for a religion that claims that ‘Love for one another’ is its most defining feature they did NOT give a very good witness!

        • messenger says:

          In the first case study(29) the judge and lawyer felt the same way. It’s too bad they don’t, or can’t, recommend policies that apply specifically to many of the concerns they have about JW child abuse handling, like the two witness rule, the shunning policy, and not allowing women as fact finders.

          When the lawyer read the commission’s recommendations for all groups, those recommendations were much broader. Those included ideas like periodically reviewing and improving on an orgs policies and procedures for child protection. If the commission and governments want to effect the most improvement they should order mandatory reporting and training. For the group types they are looking at they should establish the same laws that regulate doctors and teachers.

          Best wishes FactsNotFiction!

          • FactsNotFiction says:

            As you say the commission can only make recommendations. Laws may come in the future based on those recommendations. But the commission also makes recommendations to the organizations concerned. Justice McClellan seemed genuinely surprised that the JW’s did not show much concern for the victims and demonstrated an unwillingness to even attempt to improve the situation for its young members. He seemed shocked at the lack of compassion being shown from a Christian religion that seemed more interested in protecting themselves from the law than actively seeking to reduce the harm done to those affected. A religion that appears to ‘blame’ the victim for what has happened to them! I don’t think ‘Justice McClellan’ missed that. Hopefully neither will those that watch it.
            I have not watched video’s of any of the other organizations that have been investigated, but from what I have read most appeared to take it seriously and at least appear to show genuine concern for the victims and to be willing to make changes to improve things. JW’s seem to be the exception.

          • messenger says:

            FNF
            It’s not likely any state laws will directly comment on policies like the two witness rule or shunning because of this hearing, but we’ll see. But if Australia has some type of oversight organization, like the Charity Commission in Britain, then it might look at WT’s individual protection policies and force it to change, shunning or 2 witness for child abuse victims.

            I still believe that these groups should all be required to have mandatory reporting in addition to having their individual protection policies monitored. Anything less than mandatory reporting doesn’t make sense from where I sit. The only reason for these hearings is because problems arose inside these groups. Take the handling of those problems and the responsibility to do so away from these groups and turn those things over to our hired societal professionals in law enforcement agencies. That may be where this is all going. We’ll see if that happens.

      • Tara. says:

        So me putting up a Christmas tree, a large 7ft one with Harry Potter baubles, celebrating birthdays, trick or treating with my granddaughter might get me into trouble? Dang and double dang.

        • messenger says:

          Christ prophetically said Pharisees would be prominent in our day. Just like they upset him, they upset many of us. Just like they killed him, they attempt to kill many of us.

  34. WideAwake says:

    What I would like to see happen is their “Charity Tax exemption” revoked and the GB thrown in jail.
    Charity is another word for love and the GB and their corrupt corp. have neither.
    If they had love instead of arrogance this inquest wouldn’t be happening.

    • Mark Scott says:

      I totally agree.For an organization to base their scriptural teachings on not being part of the world,from distancing themselves from the rest of society,then how on earth can it be a charity.Yes a charity to themselves.

  35. Tara. says:

    It’s not rocket science Mr Spinks! Just report the perps. to the Police! Tell the parents of underage children that you are legally bound to report it and then you can cut out the legal claptrap at the service desk! Tell adult victims to go to the Police then you can deal with it on an internal basis and play judge and jury but get it to the authorities first before another child is damaged for life.

    • Jp says:

      I just don’t get it. All these intelligent lawyers and judges and none of them just say as you said. It’s simple report the abuse them do what you like.
      The elders book and the letters to elders says allegations of child abuse. This is their words no one else. Allegation means just that. Its not proof not 2 witness but unsubstantiated. So report it. If it’s untrue great no one is hurt. If it true great the guilty are held accountable.
      Why don’t they use the WT words against them. I would love to go to court and be questioned as a JW or question the overseers. It would be so easy to show them up.

    • messenger says:

      The word autonomy in street language means you can do whatever the hell you want, not being bound by decisions from outsiders. The gb has that. They don’t want to give it up, because doing so causes them to loose some control over their org.

      As far as not reporting there are several logical reasons not to, just as there are reasons it makes sense to do it. I don’t like guessing at answers because most guesses are wrong. Nevertheless here are a few logical reason for them not to report:

      1. To keep the Witnesses and publishers in the dark. Oh us? We don’t have a problem with pedophiles.

      2. To prevent an avalanche of lawsuits that have merit because of WT’s previous policies, letters, files, and handling of sexual child abuse inside its org.

      3. To mount a stronger legal defense against current court cases by denying they ever did anything improper. We won’t change because we were always protecting our children.

      4. Because the gb members wear big badges, and defectors, disgruntled members, and apostates are not going to influence how God’s organization is run in the minds of gb members.

      • messenger says:

        I thought I included this in #1 but,

        #5. So the general public does not learn you have a pedophile problem.

  36. Mark Scott says:

    What happens now after this hearing.Does another date get set to judge the watchtower on this?

  37. messenger says:

    @outandabout

    Hey buddy, in the future this incident might be referred to as proof that Christ does exist, he’s coming, and mankind needs God, because (as WT claims) it was never meant for humanity to self-rule. Two large organizations, and neither takes the simple logical approach that has been suggested by many individuals here, who have no ability to effect a change, like those two behemoth groups do.

    RC: “Why don’t you just report all allegations to the authorities?”

    WT: “We will if you pass a law requiring us to.”

    RC: ” But why do you need a law? Why don’t you just report.”

    WT: “We will if the law requires us to. We’ll gladly comply with your laws.”

    RC: “But don’t you care? Why don’t you report?”

    WT: “If you get a law passed that makes us?”

    So, what say you outandabout? Does it sound like they need Christ to fix their problem. It doesn’t look to me like they know how to handle it.

    Cheers!

    • messenger says:

      Quotes were mine, but that’s about where each side stands.

    • outandabout says:

      How could Christ possibly fix anything, messenger, when his own life skills were so lacking, he went and got himself crucified in his thirties? Why didn’t he perform a miracle on himself?
      But you go for it, brother. If you need a god, there’s plenty to choose from. Just don’t get all messed up about it and no harm done.
      Cheers!

      • outandabout says:

        ….and, messenger, if you’re really interested in why I hate Cults, go to YouTube and type in ‘christopher hitchens cocky audience member’. It runs for five minutes and says exactly what I feel but too dumb to put into words.

        • messenger says:

          Yes cults are dangerous, also unscriptural (Titus 3:10).

          Remember my belief and claim is that Christ can see the future, and that he saw both his and mine, as well as many others’, maybe even all persons’. In that case he knew his outcome before he came here. His attempt to save himself was not a plan he had entertained. This was written before he was born. See Isaiah chapter 53 for just one of the many references to this foreknowledge about the type of death Christ would suffer. See the gospels which reveal Christ knew that applied to him, and he would willingly experience it.

          • outandabout says:

            All written after the fact, messenger. 20/20 hindsight is a wonderful gift.
            I wonder why Nostradamus has been uncannily accurate at times…or do we just engage in confirmation bias. We’re pretty good at that.
            The more mysterious something is, the more we are attracted to it, us humans.
            Keep on keeping on, brother. Love yer work.

    • Jp says:

      What they told the ARC is a lie.
      Here in Ireland it is the law to report allegations of child abuse but they don’t do it. In fact we had two elders deleted for reporting an abuser in our hall in Oct 2016.

      • messenger says:

        You may let Brazil Future Ex-Witness know under his post far up above this one. He has recently been hauled before a JC on apostasy, and the elders handling the case are letting him bring back factual information showing the gb tells lies.

  38. truth seeker says:

    Already watched it and yes you’re switch and bait act !confused !come up with four different answers for the same question quite embarrassing! It was very obvious the Australian commission wasn’t buying any of it !sad !

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