Why Watchtower shut down JWsurvey.org for over 24 hours
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The Watch Tower Society pulled the plug on this website because of a letter it doesn’t want ordinary Witnesses to see

As some of you may already be aware, JWsurvey.org was forcibly taken offline on January 3rd 2013 after our server company was faced with legal action by the Watch Tower Society, who claimed breach of copyright on our part.

The copyright claim concerned our reproduction of a letter written by the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses to all bodies of elders. The six-page letter, dated October 1st 2012, detailed the Society’s revised child abuse policies in the wake of the Candace Conti verdict.

Many campaigners against the organization had sincerely hoped that the Governing Body would leap on the June 2012 Conti verdict as an opportunity to introduce urgent reforms to its out-dated and negligent child protection policies. Instead, the letter showed the Society to be toughening its stance, particularly in its rigid application of the two witness rule in determining the guilt of pedophiles. A full article detailing the letter and its shocking contents can be found on this link.

I will now explain the reasons why this letter resulted in our website being taken offline for just over a day. If you haven’t already seen my video explaining this series of events, here it is…

Different viewpoints

The October 1st letter was originally leaked anonymously by a conscientious elder who could see that it was damaging and not written with the interests of the thousands or even millions of Jehovah’s Witness children at heart. Once I examined the letter and realised its significance, I felt it only proper to write an article about it including a download link to the letter in question. If I had chosen not to make the letter freely available, I felt I could be accused of making up or exaggerating the contents by Witnesses who are trained to trace “all things with accuracy.” (Luke 1:3)

Campaigners like me have different priorities to the Society when it comes to protecting the interests of vulnerable children

It certainly never occurred to me that the letter could be construed as being subject to copyright considering that it bore no symbol or statement of copyright in any of its six pages. In any case, the letter was freely available to all elders in PDF format – so why shouldn’t ordinary publishers be able to see it too?

Unfortunately, I was viewing the letter from a different perspective to that of the Society and its legal department. My viewpoint was that of someone who is more concerned about the welfare of abused children than their attackers – the viewpoint of someone who has a pressing sense of duty to inform ordinary Witnesses whenever they are kept in the dark by their leaders.

The Society obviously does not share such concerns, and its legal department was aware that ANY letter or correspondence can be construed as being subject to copyright if its authorship is beyond doubt. And, if a letter is copyrighted, legal action can be taken to prevent it from being circulated.

Covering its tracks

And so, months after its publication online, on 25th December (Christmas Day) 2012 the Society’s well-oiled legal machinery swung into operation and fired a warning shot across our bows. Sadly, this warning shot went unnoticed. An email was sent to the company that owns the servers on which this website is hosted. It demanded that the letter be taken down as quickly as possible, or legal action would be taken.

From this point, the server company had no choice but to comply with Watchtower’s wishes or get themselves embroiled in a legal battle in which they have no vested interest. They therefore notified us by email (three days later) that we needed to take swift action to remove the letter. However, this email got lost in our junk mail, so it was never read or replied to. As a result, we never had the opportunity to respond to the Society’s request, and on 3rd of January the server company was left with no option but to pull the plug on JWsurvey.org – along with a host of other websites being hosted as part of the same account. Thus, our site went down for just over 24 hours, as did a number of others.

Initially there was considerable confusion about what could have caused the server company to take such drastic action. To begin with, they were quite unresponsive to our emails and phonecalls, and refused to deal with us until we had replied to the official email that was (by now) buried in our junk mail. Only once this email was finally retrieved and complied with could the server company be satisfied that we were taking the matter seriously. Thereafter they restored the websites, thus enabling us to delete the letter from the server immediately.

Suffice to say, we have learnt many lessons from this whole incident, and we are introducing stringent protocols to ensure that we can respond to similar problems more effectively in the future. Even so, it is clearly evident to any reasonably minded person that this episode actually had little to do with observing copyright and everything to do with the Society wanting to cover its tracks and keep a deeply embarrassing letter out of public view.

Fighting back

For this reason, I devoted just over a day to producing the above YouTube video (with the aid of some friends) for the purpose of letting as many people as possible know about the incident and the Society’s attempts to keep its child protection policies under lock and key.

Once uploaded, the video received more than 2,300 views in its first three days online. Some who saw it even felt compelled to record their own heartfelt expressions as video responses. One such Norwegian man named Bo Juel was himself a victim of child abuse at the hands of a “brother” as a young boy. His impassioned video is below…

A cover-up backfires

Needless to say, the threat of legal action by the Society as an attempted “cover-up” has backfired dramatically. Only a week ago, the October 1st letter was just one of many shocking Society letters that few people were aware of. Now it is a secret shocking Society letter that they have (1) claimed ownership of, and (2) gone to considerable lengths to keep from public view. As a result of their heavy-handedness in this matter, hundreds or even thousands of people on YouTube will now learn about the letter who would otherwise have been oblivious to it.

I can only hope that the Society’s legal department continues to shoot itself in the foot with similar efficiency in the future. They should know by now that those like me who care about the children of Jehovah’s Witnesses and want to see justice served will never be silenced or intimidated so easily. It would be nice to think that this incident will have shown them once and for all that the more they try to silence us, the louder we will shout. However, we are talking about an organization that believes it has God on its side, and it has proven time and time again that it is slow to learn lessons.

 

 

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27 Responses to Why Watchtower shut down JWsurvey.org for over 24 hours

  1. (Mathew 10:26) “So do not be afraid of them.There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed,or hidden that will not be made known.”
    Keep up the good work Cedars!-Danny Haszard Bangor Maine

  2. Cedars this is a very well-written story about one of many social injustices that the Society would like to sweep under the carpet. The last video you have included is powerful, heart-wrenching and a major salvo that will not go away.

  3. MyNameisntImportant says:

    I want that letter. Keep it just in case. Help?

  4. Paulo says:

    Elders,
    Related to all such letters from the “Body”….
    Are you controlled by the Body or by the Head?
    1 Corinthians 11:3 But I want YOU to know that the head of every man is the Christ;

    exatoverdade.blogspot.com.br/2013/01/it-is-head-who-must-govern-not-body.html

  5. Aunt Fancy says:

    Excellent Cedars. I hope this will reach millions of people so they know the real truth about this cult! They have done far too much damage to millions of people and it needs to stop. We may not see the day when this cult is destroyed but it sure would bring me a lot of satisfaction if it was. Thanks for your dedication and hard work.

  6. If pushed into court you can 1. offer up that you acted under COMPELLING NEED to save lives, or limbs or otherwise prevent the grave harm of others; and 2. as part of your Compelling Need defence petition the court to allow the obtaining of a copy of their pedophiles’ database as it will greatly help prove the Compelling Need. Watchtower’s heavy-handedness shows they know what they are doing is wrong, and I urge more victims to do as Candace Conti by taking them into full-fledged court with juries at which point the Judges can make such documents public. In the future you can just tell what such a letter says without reproducing the whole thing. In any case I doubt they bother you much more over this. If they do push more then be sure you get Don Adams on the stand as well as his Joel who heads their Service Department. Be sure Candace’s attorney knows what they did; he may wish to enter a copy of the BOE letter in for the Justices to see and consider. WT’s doing this might also be seen as a form of tampering inasmuch as this ties in with the Conti matter now. In short, they keep jumping themselves from one fire then another and on into the frying pan.

    Joe

  7. susanna says:

    Cedar’s
    Thank you so much for the update.

    Isn’t Jehovah the GREATEST !
    I am sure He is pleased with all that have taken sides with Him.
    The outcome of that plight was made known publicly ,to prove that Jehovah’s hand is not short.

    This move also shows the world that the WT hasn’t learned a thing from any of this , they are still fighting Jehovah’s arrangement recorded in Romans 13:1-3 still believing they know best, still believing Jah is on their side.

    Now if that isn’t being blinded , I don’t know what is. !!!

  8. "KtotheRAD" Konrad says:

    It just shows once again who and what these people are all about as if it weren’t already patent. I understand all too well…I’m totally comfortable now in my decision to be where I am…

  9. BlindersOff says:

    Ask some of the 10s of thousands of members of
    http://www.jehovahs-witness.net
    to help you find a link to it .

  10. DB says:

    Great article. This proves that you’re hitting them where it hurts, keep up the good work, justice will prevail!

  11. Naima says:

    Please keep up the good work!
    I’m glad I got myself a copy of the ‘secret letter’
    The Society should know they’re fighting a losing battle.

  12. mel brown says:

    JWs r a cult….i seen Bo Juel video and its unbelievable that this cult has a 2 whitness rule in child abuse….This is y I have no time for religion at all…If this had been my child these ppl wood not b breathing…..im so glad that this webpage was reactivated…great work…the more ppl who know about this cult the better

  13. Hakizimana Jean de Dieu says:

    After reading this article, I have failed to understand how COWARD is an ORGANIZATION that claims to be “The First Woe—Locusts”, “The Locust Plague Today”, “Locusts Equipped for Battle” locusts (JWs) who describe themselves as “[...] have over them a king, the angel of the abyss. In Hebrew his name is Abaddon [meaning “Destruction”], but in Greek he has the name Apollyon [meaning “Destroyer”].” (Revelation 9:11). Read the WTBS publication REVELATION CLIMAX Chapter 22 and help me to understand this “type of cowardice!!!”

  14. Willows says:

    Jehovah God’s word in transparent. Nothing covered over and hidden from public view. Look at the record of the Kings of Israel. Did God hide from view the goings on of the Kings?………………..Is the page blank?……………
    As it happened so it was recorded. From King Solomon’s glory to his apostasy. It all is recorded in God’s word.
    Religious organizations who claim to measure up to God’s word must be transparent in all things. Nothing covered over or held back. When Jesus said you will know the truth and the truth will set you free, he encouraged transparency. When an organization can not pass the transparency test they are not following Jehovah God’s example.

  15. Emma says:

    Hi. I came across this site quite by accident. Being naturally curious person, I am always interested in investigating most things that come my way. Cedars, I certainly admire your passion and obvious hard work. I debated many times on whether I should post my opinion or not. I decided to do so because I will be pent up with frustration if I say nothing.

    I am currently studying the Bible and hope to become a baptized Jehovah’s Witness soon. First, let me say that I can respect and appreciate where you all are coming from as I read your passionate inputs on this and many of the articles on this site. Please, hear me out:
    My mom became a Jehovah’s Witness when I was about 8 years old, I am now in my early 30s. I left home and the organization when I was around 15 or 16. I was always confused by religion because my mom is a Witness and my dad was a non- believer. So when I left home, I associated with ALL the religions that I could under the sun. Catholic, Baptist, Islam, you name it, if someone invited me, I was there! But truth be told, I always felt like a piece of my heart was incomplete. Although I rarely spoke out loud against the JW religion to people, I thought constantly of all the reasons why I shouldn’t and wouldn’t go back. One of the reasons was that a ‘brother’ had made wrong sexual advances towards me. Not only was I just a teen, he was married with a daughter older than me! But do you know what conclusion I came to? I had to be totally honest with myself. I had to talk and reason with my God. My Creator who said: “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. (isaiah 1:18)

    In other words, I had to be 100% honest with myself and with my God. I could honestly say that the times that the ‘brother’ made inappropriate advances at me, I, may have encouraged it a little. Why? because he use to give me $ when I asked him. Does that make it right? Absolutely NOT!!! As an adult, he should have known better! But, people, come on…. is it not the responsibility of parents to guide and protect their children? There are bad people EVERYWHERE. Some of you who write these strong comments may not be such ‘great’ upstanding people. I know I am not a great person myself. I have done some things that I am certainly not proud of and am ashamed of. But as a parent of 4 children, I tried my BEST not to leave my child with adults that I did not trust. I don’t care if you were President Obama or the Pope or Oprah, I just don’t make it a habit to leave my child with people just because they ‘seem’ like good people or have certain titles or popularity. When I was in middle school, the police officer that was at our school ALL the time was having sexual relations with one of my friends (I didn’t know until things were blown up). What about the teachers who have inappropriate relations with students? Should the school system be sued and shut down?? When I was 4 or 5, a friend (a non JW) of my grandmother molested me. So my point is this: it matters not where someone comes from or their background. The bottom line is, we are ALL imperfect humans and make horrible mistakes at times. And isn’t it funny how if it were your brother or father or son that was the criminal, most of us would be singing a different tune. What I know is this: my oldest daughter is now 14 and my youngest is 4. So far, so good. I teach them everything I know about being abused. In all ways; sexual, emotional and physically. I tell them what the abuser will most likely say to keep them from telling me. I tell them what my abuser said to me when I was in that position. How if I told my grandma, he would kill her and I would never see her again. I tell them that I don’t care WHAT someone tells them… they should let me know ASAP if someone hurts them or makes them feel uncomfortable. I tell them what inappropriate touches are. I tell them what conversations to avoid with people that are older then them. I tell them that they may feel as if they are to blame but not to feel that way. I don’t do this once or twice… I refresh their memory often. I work hard to keep the lines of communication open with my children. My parents never did this for me. And unfortunately, most of the children that were abused, their parents may not have done so either.

    Now, if someone were to molest my child tomorrow and that person so happens to be a Witness… I don’t care if they were the District Overseer…. I am going to take appropriate measures so that it does not happen again to my kid or any one else’s. It is my right to protect my children. I don’t understand what someone’s religion have to do with them breaking the law! That’s like saying that if a brother or sister runs their car into mine, whether purposely or by mistake, I am not going to call the police… that’s absurd! WHO is going to pay for my car repairs?!!??! But when the cop comes to take the report, will he ask me and document the person’s religious affiliations? I don’t think so!

    My point is this: we ALL sin. Instead of pointing fingers when bad things happen, lets ALL take responsibility and work it out properly. In the Candace Conti case, if the abuser was proven guilty, he should be punished! But really? to bring shame to an organization that teaches good things? that’s just retarded to me. IJS. NEVER have the Jehovah’s Witness organization told me to do something that is bad. All it teaches me is good things. To love God. To love everyone as I love God. To be obey God. How to live my life with joy and peace even though times are tough and difficult to deal with. My children are children and of course they misbehave at times but on a whole, they know to listen and OBEY. They get excellent grades in school. Their teacher are ALWAYS complimenting me on their behavior. At my last parent conference, my son’s teacher says to me ‘ I don’t know what you do to raise such a well behaved child, but I am willing to PAY you for your method!’ I owe this to Jehovah my God who teaches me to benefit myself (Isaiah 48:17&18). Without him, the pressures of being a single mom in this world would probably crush me. I would probably always be angry and yelling at my children. I would probably be out working 2 or 3 jobs and leaving my kids with just about anyone or alone to raise themselves. Don’t you see? Come on my beloved brothers and sisters. We have to do better than this.

    PS- I read the letter in question and saw nothing wrong with it. I think you were shut down because you had in your possession material that was not 1) addressed to you and 2) you did not have permission to disclose. Is that so hard to understand?? I have received many privy emails at my job and needless to say, if I broadcast them on the WWW, I would be escorted out of the building the next day AND face a lawsuit! Please, don’t let the devil use you as a puppet to do his work. Remember that …For this is what the LORD Almighty says: “After he has honored me and has sent me against the nations that have plundered you–for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye– (Zechariah 2:8)

    I am not trying to convince anyone that Jehovah’s Witness organization is right and everything else is wrong. God doesn’t need anyone to sanctify His name… “I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.” (Ezekiel 36:23). All I know is that for me, it is a guideline. It doesn’t guarantee me anything. It teaches me the bible. I obey rules and regulations because I want to prove to my God that I CAN be obedient. After all, isn’t that what being a Christian is about? Following Christ’s example? My personal relationship is with Jehovah God. My Creator. Not with the organization. I pray to Jehovah. Not the Watch Tower Society. I pray in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Not anyone else. At the end of the day, that has to be worth something. And if not, at least would have lived following the Bible to the best of my abilities.

  16. BeenMislead says:

    Hi Emma, you said:
    “I am currently studying the Bible and hope to become a baptized Jehovah’s Witness soon.”

    And you said:
    “My personal relationship is with Jehovah God. My Creator. Not with the organization. I pray to Jehovah. Not the Watch Tower Society.”

    So when/if you get baptized will you honestly be able to say yes to the following question that they will ask you?

    Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization?

    Just something to think about …

  17. Hakizimana Jean de Dieu says:

    Did you know this? Questions From Readers reads “How can it be said that Jesus could have produced perfect children from an imperfect wife? Would not the children, according to the laws of genetics, have inherited imperfection from their mother?—F. S., England.” Read their answer to this question from w67 5/15 p. 319, you will feel sorry for WTS followers!!

  18. Jude says:

    You seem to be missing the point. Of course pedophiles can be found in any organization and no organization should be blamed because of aberrant individuals acting contrary to what an organization stands for.

    The issue for which the WTBTS is being criticized, is their policy in dealing with accusations of pedophilia. When there is just one witness, they do not do all in their power to investigate such accusations by mandatorily getting the police involved – unless local law requires it.

    Their policy seems to reveal a greater concern for the image of their organization than the welfare of children. Their policies reveal a willingness to err on the site of protecting their image. They should mandatorily get the police involved whenever such accusations are made – regardless of how many witnessed the act and whether or not local law mandates such reporting.

    Accusations of a crime should be treated differently from non-criminal accusations of wrongdoing. The superior authorities stand placed in the relative positions to investigate and punish crime. (Romans 13:1-4) They would have qualified experts to competently investigate such accusations in a way that elders can’t. If an accused JW pedophile is found guilty by such investigations by the superior authorities, then his conviction can be regarded as the second witness needed to find him guilty and he can be disfellowhipped on that basis.

    Thus, both the sriptural two witness rule and the recognition of the role of the superior authorities are upheld and the children are protected – not to mention the fact that the WTBTS would be seen as an organization that does all in its power to transparently fight pedophilia. It would be a win-win for everyone but the pedophiles. As it stands now it’s a win only for the pedophiles because even the organization’s apparent attempt at hiding such matters for fear of bad publicity, is back-firing on them and bring reproach on the name of Jehovah.

  19. Ernest says:

    Emma.
    Your future life in CHRIST needs to controlled by His commandments alone, not by what are their JW derived opinions which they make law. Israel did this by their traditions which made the commands of God of non effect. Jesus said so and that is how it is today. There are other sects who likewise follow rules made up by that society.

  20. deaffadedout says:

    Your baptism questions will NOT say that you are
    Only praying to Jehovah or Jesus.

    It will be telling you to be faithful to Jehovah, Jesus AND the WTS society!

    So how can you tell us that you are not accountable to WTS Society when your baptism questions that you have to answer will be different?

  21. Judas says:

    do a google search, its out there. the GB has a pretty pathetic grasp on how information is disseminated on the web. once its out there, there is no removing it no matter how many lawyers you have. You should be able to find a photo copy pretty easily.

  22. Benita says:

    I can not believe the rubbish you publish. The two witness rule is for taking congregation action, not about taking police action. The victim is not stopped from going to the police. No indecent assault on a child is good at any time, but there is also a degree of child abuse form a once of just touching to penetration and other aspects. None of which is excusable. Just as a thief can be rehabilitated so can one who has engaged in a minor assault of a child. I was a victim. Been through it. I hold no malice toward the perpetrator especially since that person has completely changed. Jesus said that. I hold these words to be true 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 “9 What! Do YOU not know that unrighteous persons will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be misled. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men, 10 nor thieves, nor greedy persons, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit God’s kingdom. 11 And yet that is what some of YOU were. But YOU have been washed clean, but YOU have been sanctified, but YOU have been declared righteous in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and with the spirit of our God.”

    People can and do change. If God and his son Jesus can forgive so should we.. IF… there is true works of repentance. Of course the Branch should be able to decide based on the degree, length of time since the offence, the age of the offender at the time and other circumstances.

    In some places An 18 year old teenager can be labeled by law as a sex child sex offender for having sex with a 16 year old girlfriend. They later become a JW have is happily married yet have a police record as a child molester. Is he really a child molester? should he be excluded from privileges if he qualifies

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