The Girl Who Took On The Watchtower – Candace Conti Speaks Out

The damning verdict against the Watchtower has sent shock waves around the world

For the first time since her stunning victory in an Alameda courtroom, Candace Conti has appeared before a select group of her supporters, together with her lawyer Rick Simons, to relate her experience personally. The meeting, which was held in Walnut Creek, California on July 14th 2012, gave those following the case the opportunity to learn more about the background to the lawsuit, and what motivated Candace to pursue her legal action against the Watch Tower Society.

Lawyer Rick Simons revealed his own take on the Watch Tower Society and its child abuse policies, and explained why these have been found to endanger children. Simons acknowledged that Candace Conti has been a unique client for him to work with, saying: “I’ve been a lawyer for forty years and I have represented thousands of clients; several hundred child sex abuse victims, and I cannot think of a single individual who brings to a case the inner strength that Candace found over the last couple of years.”

Candace Conti’s lawyer, Rick Simons, praised his client’s strength of character

Simons also applauded the inner strength of Candace in pursuing her objectives despite the emotional hurdles, saying, “I find it difficult to say in words how much I admire her strength throughout a very challenging time of the last three years of her life.”

Simons, who is not one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, added “People who see the result I don’t think understand how much it takes to go through being the person who stands up first and confronts a powerful institution. And this is a very powerful, and very secretive, and very controlling institution.”

Simons went on to admit that this case has been truly career-defining for him, declaring, “At the end of my career, I’m going to look back and I’m going to say, ‘I had this case, I had that case, and I had Candace Conti!’ And I’ll say it with great pride.”

Candace Tells Her Story

Candace began the meeting by providing some background to the case and what motivated her to pursue the Watch Tower Society over the abuse she had suffered. She admitted that she would not have been able to reach this stage without her personal belief in God, and the legal support of Rick Simons and his associate, Kelly Kraetsch. Candace also acknowledged the online support and prayers of her supporters, which helped her considerably in the aftermath of the verdict.

It was explained that the events leading up to the case began in 2009 when Candace, soon after learning that Jonathan Kendrick had gone on to abuse other children, tried unsuccessfully to approach her elders and get them to change their approach to handling cases of child sex abuse.

Candace believed that, because the main duty of elders is to protect the flock, they should be willing and eager to do anything within their power to warn congregation members in future should they discover a child molester in the congregation. However, after trying to call the attention of her elders to ways of improving the handling of such cases, Candace revealed that she was “shut down” and ignored by her local body, since they insisted that they could only entertain any discussions with her if there were two eye-witnesses to the original abuse.

Poised, confident, but understandably emotional – Candace described the challenges that she faced in pursuing her case

Candace took legal advice and noted a major disparity, namely that although the elders were reluctant to hear any claims of child abuse unless there was a third party on hand to witness the incident, this would clearly not be the way in which the matter would be handled in a court of law. After meeting Rick Simons, she decided to pursue the matter through the courts, since she was being stonewalled by her elders who refused to consider her sincere suggestions.

In the wake of the verdict, Candace stressed that it is important to keep driving the momentum by encouraging similar victims to step forward. She said, “The jury made a very meaningful statement to the organization that they do not agree with their policies and procedures, so for the next two years while we have this win, I think it’s an important thing to shout this from the rooftops, to get as many people that have good cases to bring them to the forefront.” She went on to personally offer her own time and support to any similar victims who require help in coming forward.

Not About Changing Beliefs and Doctrines

After Candace had spoken and given her take on events, Rick Simons elaborated on the primary motivating factors behind the case, namely that this lawsuit was not an attempt to dictate the beliefs and doctrines of a religious organization – even though the Society’s child abuse policies fall short of what is required by law. Notably, an unconstitutional externally-enforced change of policy forms a principle argument with which the Watchtower now intends to appeal the jury’s verdict in proceedings that are likely to drag out over months, or even years.

In Watchtower’s appeal documents, which have been submitted to the court and are available for viewing on this link, the Society asserts that the purpose of the lawsuit was to force the Watchtower to change its policies, as follows:

From page 7 of the “Memorandum of Points and Authorities In Support of Defendants Watchtower and North Fremont Congregation’s Motions for JNOV and Motions for New Trial”, filed at Alameda County Superior Court on July 17, 2012


However, Simons made a clear distinction between policies and beliefs, saying, “The case was not about changing the beliefs and doctrines of Jehovah’s Witnesses. That is not the role that our court system plays in religion, whether it be the Catholic Church, whether it be any religious organization – our government doesn’t tell folks what to believe, and it doesn’t tell folks things about how their philosophy and how their internal procedures should be run in a religious setting.”

Simons went on to explain the Watchtower’s responsibilities, saying: “What we do say to all institutions and organizations, whether religious or not religious (it doesn’t matter whether it’s the boy scouts, whether it’s a swimming club, or whether it’s a church)… all organizations have the same obligation under the law, and are treated the same under the law, and that’s the obligation to protect children in activities from sexual abuse by known child offenders.”

Some have questioned why the Watchtower has been pursued over the actions of an individual, namely Jonathan Kendrick. In fact, this was the primary argument against the ruling that was put forth in the Watch Tower Society’s official press release. However, Simons explained why it was necessary, saying, “Jonathan Kendrick not only had previously molested another child, but it was reported. And not only was it reported to the local elders, but it was reported in writing to Watchtower New York. And not only was it reported to Watchtower New York, but New York gave instructions back to the local elders on what to do.”

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the case, what happened next is both bewildering and outrageous. Simons further related events by highlighting the reaction of the Watchtower attorneys saying, “With great pride the lawyers for the Watchtower said, ‘Well we removed him as a Ministerial Servant!’. And our response to that was: ‘Okay, so you got a convicted child molester in your congregation, and in your view the appropriate response is: but we’re not gonna let him pass out books at the back of the meeting? That was not enough!'”

Simons also expressed his bemusement at the repeated attempts to shrug off the case with the assertion made by the Watchtower attorneys that Kendrick was “just a rank and file member”. Simons responded, saying “He was NOT just a rank and file member. He was a minister. He was a member in good standing. He was a brother, and he was in a small congregation where he had already molested one child, and he was allowed to stay in secret and to go into field service, not just with Candace (which was his opportunity to molest her), but to come to the doors of anyone in the community. He could come to my house on a Saturday morning, and all of the jury (none of them were Jehovah’s Witnesses) were aghast that people could be coming to your door with the sanction of a religious organization who knows they are convicted child abusers.” He added emphatically, “This has nothing to do with religious beliefs. This has everything to do with being responsible citizens in a community where there are children.”

If you would like to view the recorded videos of the meeting with Candace Conti and Rick Simons for yourself, you can watch a YouTube playlist of the speeches and interviews below.

If you are completely unfamiliar with the details of the case, I would encourage you to read my previous article, entitled “The Watchtower Punished – Society loses legal battle over child abuse case

A Stubborn and Unyielding Stance

The comments made by Rick Simons, who is not one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, express very eloquently the frustrations felt by many within our faith who have campaigned for many years for the organization to adopt a more adequate and responsible approach to incidents of child molestation. However, over many years now, the organization has ignored and even ostracized such ones who call for change. The Governing Body would seemingly prefer to cling on to the “two witness” rule for dear life rather than do the decent and proper thing and allow the authorities to decide when acts of child abuse have been committed (as indeed is the case with acts of homicide). After all, it has been made clear that, in the Christian era, the superior authorities have been put in place by God to adjudicate over such matters. (Romans 13:1,2)

To illustrate the apathetic and dismissive approach of the organization, consider the following remarks by Governing Body member Anthony Morris III, taken from a talk entitled “Beware of the Birdcatcher” that was given at Liberty Heights, MA in the Fall of 2005:

“Sometimes they [apostates] will be making accusations as if we don’t care about our children, and child abuse. Now that is one of the most despicable slanderous things you could ever say against Jehovah’s organization. A lot of us are parents, we hate that sin. We love our children, but we stick by the scriptures. And frankly, there’s been some fine men that were falsely accused, but because we went by the scriptures it all came out that it was a lie. And then you have some that are guilty, well we handle that. To compare us to some of these religious organizations that move their people around so they can abuse some more is a despicable lie.” – Anthony Morris III, member of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses

(If you would like to listen to Anthony’s words for yourself, please click here to download the recording of the relevant part of his talk. The above quoted remarks begin approximately 45 seconds into the recording. If you would like to listen to a selection of Anthony Morris’ comments on various other subjects taken from recorded talks, please click here.)

Obviously, when Anthony Morris III made the above comments in late 2005 he had no idea that within only seven years they would be proven as utterly false and misleading by a jury’s verdict in a court of law. The claims made by so-called “apostates” (a derogatory term that is used to describe any who are critical of the organization) that the policies of Jehovah’s Witnesses serve to protect child abusers and leave children vulnerable to molestation have since turned out to be verifiable fact. As a result, the Society is quickly acquiring for itself a terrible reputation for its negligence in this regard, thus bringing shame on Jehovah’s name.

Anthony Morris III has ferociously defended the Society against claims that their child abuse policies are flawed, branding such warnings a “despicable lie”

Anthony’s remarks also confirm that observance of the Mosaic “two witness rule” is of foremost concern to the Governing Body, even if this is to the detriment of victims of molestation. Anthony also makes the astonishing claim that, when someone is guilty, this is “handled” in each and every case. This is verifiably false since, as you will note from my previous article on the subject, the elder’s manual (or Shepherd the Flock of God book) clearly advises elders to “leave matters in Jehovah’s hands” if someone who is accused of child abuse denies any wrongdoing and there is nobody other than the victim who witnessed the abuse. This is far from “handling” matters. If anything, it is clear and explicit counsel for elders NOT to handle matters. However, as mentioned, the Governing Body is apparently blind to the urgency of the matter, and the unthinkable peril in which they are placing countless children under their stewardship through their failure to fully acknowledge the jurisdiction of the authorities in these matters.

A Long Time Coming

Those of you who have followed my blog articles will be aware that I am relatively new to the real truth about the organization, having only fully awakened from my indoctrination little over a year ago. In the short period during which I have learned of the full ramifications of the Watchtower’s negligent policies in many areas, including those concerning child abuse, I have done my best to explain to others precisely why these are so damaging.

The Society has ignored warnings from tireless campaigners such as Barbara Anderson for far too long, and is now paying the price

However, my efforts pale into insignificance when compared with the many years of hard work and toil put forth by such determined campaigners as Barbara Anderson, and others who have worked tirelessly to raise awareness of these issues and, ideally, convince the Society to humbly bring their flawed policies into full alignment with the law. For the most part, these efforts have been met with silence.

Indeed, when Anthony Morris III made the above quoted remarks in 2005 I was still serving as a Ministerial Servant, and had yet to be appointed an elder. And yet, over a considerable period both before and since, the likes of Barbara Anderson and others have been trying desperately to make the Society see reason – but their sincere pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

This inherent and entrenched stubborness on the part of the organization was alluded to in comments made by Rick Simons during Candace’s meet-up event. In speaking about the recent verdict, he said, “Watchtower’s going to need more than one lesson, the Catholic Church sure did, and they’re going to get more than one lesson!”

Simons went on to explain that more victims like Candace need to step forward who meet certain key legal criteria, namely that (as in Candace’s case) the Society was notified of abuse by a non-family member, and there is documented evidence that the congregation failed to do anything to protect others. Simons added, “If we pick and choose carefully around the country, and we use the documents that we got in this case, then I think even the Governing Body will realize that the price of hiding child sex abuse within their institution is simply too high.”

It seemed almost unthinkable only a short time ago that we would ever see the day when the Society is forced to back down and accept needed adjustments in this crucial area. However, things are changing, and the tide has well and truly turned. For the first time, the Society has received a “bloody nose” (in the words of James Penton, another intelligent voice of reason that the organization has ignored). In a sense, it was only a matter of time – but it took the courage and profound strength and integrity of Candace Conti to stay the course and see that the arms of justice were fully extended against the Watchtower, in spite of the might of its considerable legal resources. Now we have a blueprint for success, and the end is in sight.

Still, we must not underestimate the enormity of the task ahead. The battle may have been won, but the war is far from over. The appeal process has begun, and will likely take a long time to reach fruition. It is a shame that we need to talk in terms of “war”, but sadly, that well describes the magnitude of the struggle faced by those who wish to protect Witness children, as well as the voracity with which the Society stubbornly resists calls for change.

Regardless of the final outcome, the selflessness and courage of Candace Conti has ensured that an intense light of public scrutiny now beams down upon the Watchtower organization and its policies and procedures. This is a light from which they will never escape, regardless of the outcome of the appeal. There are too many who care deeply about protecting children to ever allow the organization to escape this unwanted exposure and return to the shadows of secrecy. And now, just perhaps, the Governing Body knows it.





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20 Responses to The Girl Who Took On The Watchtower – Candace Conti Speaks Out

  1. Julia says:

    Absolutely beautiful coverage of this story. Thank you, Cedars!

  2. This is just a great article Cedars. I have a feeling that in the near future many more Mothers will be expressing their gratitude toward you for helping us get this message out to the world. Thank you, Cedars

    • Cedars says:

      Thank you Kathleen, I’m glad you like the article. I’m only sorry I couldn’t have been at the event to meet you all. Unfortunately, geographical considerations got the better of me! I feel it’s important to raise awareness of this case, because by doing so we also raise awareness of the Watchtower’s child abuse policies. Your daughter has done children of Jehovah’s Witnesses everywhere a great service by sticking to her guns and pursuing justice first and foremost.

  3. Shahida says:

    I’m an active Witness, recently awakened, what triggered my awakening was the Conti case…I hope more JWs can open their eyes to the hypocrisy ,deceit and mind control.
    Keep up the good work Cedars.

    • Cedars says:

      Hello Shahida, thanks so much for your comment! I’m surprised and delighted that you awakened so recently. Well done for being curious and brave enough to scrutinize your beliefs more closely. This is important but never easy, especially if you have family involved. I’m sure the Conti verdict will lead to many more like you seeing things the way they really are.

  4. meek ones says:

    I wonder why the GB called apostate those who critizised about the teaching and policies of the organization.As far as i know those who teach apostate are not start from the ordinary person. Even in ancient times in apostate are being led by those prominent people in Jerusalem, and prominent people in early christian cong.

  5. messenger4truth says:

    I awoke from their spiritual darkness over a year ago!
    But this article lays to rest any ‘fears’ that I may have had about walking away from God and Jesus.
    Jesus condemned his ‘contemporary’ religious leaders for being
    so stubborn towards adherence to laws; Such as not helping on the sabbath!

    The ‘real’ truth and ‘real’ people of God must be out there somewhere. Who genuinely have God’s Holy Spirit guiding them!?

  6. Finding the real people of God …. You will find your way through this journey away from the Watchtower. It is my dream that in the near future there will be a place of unconditional love and healing for all ex-jws seeking to purge them self’s from all the negitive, damaging dogma that has been a part of our lives. Like any treatment center I believe that we need to have this type of healing available to any and all who have the desire to leave any high control religious group, a place where we can get much needed hugs of acceptance based solely on who we are as an individual human being.

    • Carol Brown says:

      I was abused sexually by my father for 4 years as a teen/preteen. We went to the Kingdom Hall of JW’s. Now I see that I couldn’t have even gotten any help for myself and am glad I was able to leave home as soon as I could. I was sworn to secrecy by my father. It has damaged my whole life. I am glad this is all coming out now.They are a nasty, deceptive bunch of people who think they are so perfect that you could never make them see how screwed up they are. This is not Christianly love….

  7. Les says:

    I was disfellowshiped 20 years ago, no, I was actually set free from all the mind-control. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    If one is met with silence from the WTBTS after attempted corespondence with them, I can’t help to think – “If one has nothing to hide, one hides nothing” (Dr Phil)
    I wish there is a film producer out there who is brave enough to make a story out of this and get people to consider the facts. Maybe a female film producer 🙂

    Bless your soul (oops, may I say that?) Candace Conti!

    Hey brothers of the WTBTS, hear this – you cant’t disfellowship me from LIFE !!

  8. Ex JW says:

    Kathleen, I don’t know if I knew you, but I was in Fremont North as a little girl. I admire you for sticking by your daughter. My step-daughter was also molested by one of the young members of the congregation, when she was a toddler, and he a teenager. Of course the whole thing was hidden by the elders, not even reported to the police after the judicial committee determined his guilt. His father (the PO) removed the information from his file when the young man switched congregations. The young man’s discipline was losing mike carrying privileges. On the other hand, the PO smacked my step-daughter and called her a liar when she spoke out about the incident in front of other witnesses (this happened after the young man had admitted his wrongdoing). She didn’t speak about it again for years. I found out about the whole thing after the young man had reached adulthood, and was no longer prosecutable. Even though I was still a naive teenager, I knew the whole situation reeked of wrongdoing. As the young man was working his way toward ministerial servant privileges, I knew I risked disfellowshipment when I told a few close friends what had happened, in order that they could protect their young daughters. Eventually, I became disillusioned (after realizing the extent of the molestation cover-ups), and I left the organization. I’m very glad to have escaped the Society’s clutches, but it’s sad that the driving force behind my freedom was the loss of children’s innocence. Btw, I’m not sure why I’ve shared so much of this experience with you, but reading your story has brought back many memories.
    Anyway, I hope you and your daughter are doing well, and I wish you success in your upcoming legal battles with the society. I don’t hate JWs, but they absolutely need to change their hurtful practices. Our children deserve better.
    I agree completely that healing is available, to different extents for different people. My life is so much different after leaving, and my step-daughter is also doing well. It helps to be able to accept the past, while working on clear goals for an improved future. I think it also helps to have a primary focus on where we are right now. We are free of the clutches of this evil organization. We are no longer ruled by guilt and fear (although both guilt and fear still play some role in our lives, they are simply there to help with decisions, not to punish our every move). We are making our own decisions about how we will live, rather than living as children too immature to even be allowed to think, “shepherded” by a mind control organization. Each day we wake up knowing that we have developed interdependent relationships of mutual support with our family members. In a sense, after leaving the society, we have become adults (or at least that has been a major part of the change for me) rather than being submissive, malleable children, ever obedient to the society.
    I’m curious if I may have known you, but I’m not comfortable leaving my true identity anywhere that I’ve expressed my feelings about JWs. I haven’t been DF’d, and as I have many JW family members, I’d rather avoid that ordeal.
    Please take care, and treat yourself with the gentle kindness we were not free to provide for ourselves while still in the organization.

  9. Paula says:

    Thank you Candace and your mother Kathleen for shedding light on what this religion has been doing for years! I applaud you for having the courage to fight this in court and for not giving up!
    I grew up as a JW from a baby until i turned 18 and was able to leave. Those last few years of being in that religion i saw the ugly face of rape, incest, and molestation and the elders in my congregation slapped the male’s hands and blamed everything on the woman who were the victims. They disfellowshipped the women, while barely punishing the males. This was one of the top 3 reasons i left. I even tried to go to the elders and shed light on the fact that what they were doing to the women was wrong but they didn’t want to hear that from a 16 year old confident outspoken female teenager. One of my friends told on her step father at school and the police got involved. Can you believe that the elders scolded the young girl for getting the authorities involved and that she never should have done that!! I was floored especially as I was this girls “mentor” and I praised her for telling the truth. I have many more stories from others in the religion that also were raped and they were disfellowshipped and the men were barely punished. I didn’t know what to do and didn’t have the support like you had to fight this religion and their practices. Thank you!!!!!

  10. Angie says:

    I too am an active Witness, however my awakening came at the reading of a letter from the Governing Body to our members in the Kingdom Hall in 2009. The letter essentially told of a policy change regarding the handling of reported child abuse cases and I applauded their decision. I raised 4 children as Jehovah’s Witnesses 40 years. I, as the parent, was the first vanguard in educating and protecting my own children from harm (an even I was not always successful in prevention of any kind). I am an excatholic and knew of the much publicized BoysTown child abuse cases back in the early 70’s and of the Catholic Churches’ connundrum regarding their organizational policy to ‘police themselves’. This seems to be the same pitfall the Witness organization has fallen into but this time it had a scriptural foundation “at the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses”. If we are about anything, it’s all about the scriptures which we as a religious Christian Body, believe inerrant. The Catholic’s believe this about their Pope. They used to follow a course of excommunication, Witnesses still practice the Bible’s way of dealing with unrepentent practicers with disfellowhipping and like any other religion cannot physically bar people from their Kingdom Halls nor can they ‘slander’ anyone by revealing the reason why. Child molestation is on a cutting edge for religious as well as judicial and legal policies are concederned. Pray they get it right (at no matter the cost) to protect innocents from ever going through the horror of facing it alone. Pray too that parents in this generation use ‘parenting skills’ sadly missing to protect their children.

  11. Billy Goins says:

    It is understandable that many people are upset over this issue. For Jehovah’s Witnesses, the real issue is not about money, but the legal precedent that may be set by the court. If the Appeals Court eventually decides that any organization can be held responsible for the actions of its members, even if the accused person has no position of responsibility within the organization, and regardless of circumstances, this will open the way for thousands of other cases to be brought into court. There are a lot of attorneys waiting in the wings, salivating at the opportunity to sue Jehovah’s Witnesses as well as other religious organizations, political organizations, sports associations; just fill in the blank with the name of the organization. Personally, I believe that this case will reach the Supreme Court of the United States, where many other cases involving Jehovah’s Witnesses have been resolved, 47 of them in favor of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Most of those cases involved freedom of worship, freedom of speech, and the right to assemble peacefully.

    Many legal experts condemn or at least make light of the Scriptural requirement that two witnesses be present to confirm the truth of a matter, as expressed at Deuteronomy 19:15 and reiterated by Jesus Christ at Matthew 18:16. Many believe that this rule should not apply in cases of sexual abuse or molestation. However, Jehovah God understands human behavior better than any human judge or court of law. He foreknew that, because of man’s imperfection, humans would be inclined to falsely accuse one another of crimes that the other did not commit. The ninth of the Ten Commandments states: “You must not testify falsely as a witness against your fellowman” (Exodus 20:16). Among the seven things that Jehovah detests, as listed at Proverbs 6:19, is “a witness who launches forth lies”. Therefore, the Scriptural requirement that a second witness must confirm the truth of a matter is reasonable, and serves as a protection for innocent persons who have been falsely accused of wrongdoing. Anyone who believes otherwise is actually entering into an argument against Jehovah God and Jesus Christ. “Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar” (Romans 3:4).

    Let’s consider for a moment what could happen if the congregation elders were to abandon this Scriptural rule as it applies to judicial matters. This could mean that individuals
    could be disfellowshipped from the Christian congregation simply on the basis of an accusation. And who among Jehovah’s Witnesses has not been accused of something?
    (Revelation 12:10). Chaos would ensue, and the judicial process would cease to be of any value. Decisions rendered by bodies of elders would no longer reflect Jehovah’s glory.

    Many people get upset because they mistakenly believe that judicial decisions as rendered within the congregation should be identical to those rendered in a court of law. And although the laws of many nations may to an extent be based on Scriptural principles as expressed in the Holy Bible, it must be remembered that Jehovah’s Witnesses are not a branch of the United States government. Although they “pay Caesar’s things to Caesar”, they also “pay God’s things to God” (Matthew 22:21).

    In the Candace Conti case, the Witnesses did inform the authorities, but the police failed to thoroughly investigate the matter. The accused person was never arrested, and charges were never filed against him in connection with Candace Conti.
    Subsequently, the local congregation involved lost contact with both the accused and the accuser. Later, Ms. Conti filed suit against the local congregation and the Watchtower Society.

    Unfortunately, the jury overlooked much of the evidence which was presented in court, and even the judge disagreed with the verdict. Who among us would not appeal such a verdict if we were personally involved in the matter?

    It is not my goal nor responsibility to determine the merits of Candace Conti’s claim against Jehovah Witnesses. The courts will eventually decide those issues. However, this case should be of interest to everyone. Whatever the eventual outcome is, it will not mean the end of Jehovah’s Witnesses or of the Watchtower Society. A 28 million dollar judgment will not exhaust the financial resources of the Watchtower Society.

    Jehovah’s Witnesses have been put on trial, have survived attacks by Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Nikita Kruschev, and others. Those men are gone, but Jehovah’s Witnesses have survived and their number keeps growing.

    Of course, many people today also have hateful intent toward the worldwide organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses. God’s great Adversary, Satan the Devil, is using the issue of child abuse in an attempt to “drive a wedge” between bodies of elders and congregation members. But this attack will fail, just as others have in the past.

  12. Cedars says:

    Hello Billy

    I applaud your bravery in visiting this website despite your indoctrination and in violation of the Society’s directives, but your viewpoint is fairly typical of the sort of ignorant statements that Watchtower apologists regularly trot out.

    I’ll do my best to answer some of your objections as quickly as possible. If I miss any, please let me know.

    Firstly, this is not about an organization being held responsible for individual actions. As you will see if you read the details of the case, it is about the failure to fulfil the basic community responsibility to inform those who are at risk of becoming victims of a known criminal. If you knew your friend was a thief who couldn’t help stealing, would you let him house-sit for your relatives? I doubt it. In just the same way, the elders in Candace’s congregation should have warned all the parents that Kendrick was not to be trusted alone with young ones, but they were prevented from doing this by Brooklyn, which led to Candace’s abuse. Regardless of any interraction between the elders and the police, the police did not know and could not have known which families in the congregation were at risk. The elders did, but they stayed silent – with disastrous consequences.

    You go on about the two witness rule as though it is some sacrosanct principle etched in stone that cannot be applied flexibly. In doing this, you sound a lot like the Pharisees with their rigid application of the Sabbath law. And yet Jesus showed the Pharisees that preserving human life through healing, and even pulling a bull out of a pit, superceded the strict observance of the Sabbath. Nobody is stopping the elders from applying the two witness rule judicially if they so choose. What this is about (which both you and the Society seem to miss the point of) is the community responsibility to protect those at risk from criminality. The elders should have stopped Candace from being abused by warning her parents, and they could then have dealt with Kendrick according to the two witness rule in whatever way they saw fit. Unfortunately, the Society intervened and banned them from doing so, hence this lawsuit.

    It’s obvious that you view the Society through rose tinted spectacles. You tell of how it is growing, even though branches are closing and growth is dwindling (reported to be a mere 1.9% for 2012). Vast swathes of the Earth’s surface have virtually no Witnesses at all, specifically a third of the Earth’s population in Arab and Communist lands. Are all of these people condemned to death simply because they haven’t heard the message? You tell me. If they can all somehow make it through into the paradise without hearing the message, then what is the point of the preaching work? Think about it.

    You speak of how the Society has survived numerous attacks by Satan, and how this is no different. In your mind, there is no chance that this might be a criminal organization, because you have yet to research the organization and its history and beliefs objectively. Even if (or when) the Society goes into negative growth, you will probably find a way to explain how this is evidence of God’s backing, or how the end is imminent. That is how you have been trained to think – to find positives from the negatives. Unfortunately life doesn’t always work that way. If a religion is constantly changing its teachings and has corrupt or even criminal practices, maybe it is no better than any other religion. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

    I hope one day you summon the bravery to look behind the curtain and see what is being hidden from you, but I sense that day is probably not today.


  13. Erik says:

    An elder relative just returned from an elder training day (forgot what they call it) and said that it had been “all about sex”.

  14. Frank says:

    Hi Billy,

    Cedars already gave you a very comprehensive and factual reply, so no need to cover again. However, on the matter of judicial cases:

    Firstly, the Society’s procedures are fatally flawed. They DO NOT conform to the procedures as followed in Israel, where justice was seen to be done publicly.
    Secondly, i can personally attest that what happens in some cases is a travesty of justice. The elders assigned to handle the matter either lack experience, or don’t understand the procedures, and in many cases they certainly fail to keep adequate records. In some cases they allow hearsay “evidence” to be used against the accused – but refuse him/her the right to call witnesses, or to question the so-called “evidence.” If this were exposed in public there would be a huge outcry.
    [Here’s an actual case – a brother was falsely accused in a situation where evidence was fabricated against him. He had witnesses to prove his innocence – but was not allowed to call them in. The reason? They are ex-JW members, and the committee decided that their evidence was therefore not credible.]

    In other words: the Society’s viewpoint is: JWs always tell the truth, outsiders are suspect, and ex-JWs are all liars.

    Thirdly, the Law to Israel was specific, for a specific time.
    DNA typing, investigative forensics, etc were not available. These things are available today. In which case – the two witness rule is not rigidly applicable, because evidence can be got by scientific, verifiable means.

    Case study: If a brother murders his wife, and gets caught out by forensic science and is convicted to life imprisonment by a court – is he guilty? Yes or no? Let’s also add that when caught he confesses, to one elder, in private, but later denies his confession. Should he be disfellowshipped? Yes or No? And, if he gets early parole – are you happy to have him going out on field service with your teenage son?

    You see – the moment we choose to live rigidly by laws made 3500 years ago – and disregard the advances since – then we make the word of God invalid, as did the scribes and pharisees.

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