UK Charity Commission posts update for Watchtower Investigation
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As regular readers of JW Survey will know, the UK Charity Commission (the body responsible for overseeing and regulating registered charities in the United Kingdom) have been carrying out an investigation into the UK arm of Watchtower, which is currently a UK registered charity.

Far from co-operating, Watchtower have thrown up legal challenges at every hurdle to try and kill the investigation off, apparently believing that a UK charity should not have to answer to the Commission when that charity’s polices, for example, demand that a child abuse victim be made to face her attacker in a closed off “Star Chamber” type of trial.

Thankfully, up until this point the UK law courts have upheld the Commission’s right to investigate Watchtower in a series of rulings. After the right to investigate was confirmed, the Charity Commission submitted a Production order to the courts to compel Watchtower to produce documentation that the Commission considered essential to its investigation. Watchtower at once challenged this order in the courts.

It should be noted that this fits a pattern of behaviour from Watchtower. In the US they have ignored repeated court orders to produce documentation, even when that refusal comes with financial penalty attached. In Australia it appears that they only provided the documents required by the Australian Royal Commission because the ARC had the power to imprison senior Watchtower officials should they refuse.

In other words, it seems that the only language Watchtower understands in this matter is the threat of prison time for its elite.

Today, the Charity Commission released a statement announcing that they are withdrawing their production order. The state the reason as being;

The charity has now provided a response to the Production Order by making certain documents available for inspection by the Commission and, since the Production Order was issued, the Commission has obtained additional information from the charity and other sources. The Commission has therefore decided to revoke the Production Order and the charity has agreed to withdraw its application for judicial review.

The full statement can be read here.

At present, this statement is somewhat unclear as to whether the Commission is in full possession of all the documentation it requested as part of its Production order. We have reached out to the Charity Commission and asked them to confirm if this is the case and will update once we get a response.

UPDATE: 25/01/2017 – The Charity Commission have responded to me by email, but have stated that they are unable to confirm or deny that they have all the documents requested in the production order due to the fact that they cannot comment on an ongoing investigation.

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32 Responses to UK Charity Commission posts update for Watchtower Investigation

  1. Never a JW again says:

    Wonder who the “other sources” are?

  2. Chiafade says:

    Interesting, looking forward to hearing more. It was an uphill battle for watchtower anyway.

  3. Doc Obvious says:

    Not surprising. The Watchtower finally gave in to the demands of the commission. Watchtower needs to admit their mistakes, work with the commission, institute policy changes, and move on. The Catholic church had issues, fixed them, and moved on.

    • JBob says:

      This is bigger than policy changes–a cultural shift (or makeover) being required. Watchtower, Inc and its “true believers” create a culture, an environment, where the entity of the Watchtower and its hierarchy are revered, defended, and protected. As countless key personnel that have defected point out, unwritten rules are enforced and create a body of policy that an outsider would not have a clue exists. Where’s the written rule/policy that explicitly states, a Witness must report child pedophilia to an elder and never report to law enforcement? Where’s the written rule that states a Witness must include an elder in EVERY aspect of dubious permission? Where’s the written rule that determines skirt/dress hem-length and grooming style appropriate for convention participation or field service?

      How the community leaders govern and the peer enforcers (some call them “bullies” or “pillars of the congregation”) guide stipulates how written policy is interpreted and enacted. This is not only true of the Watchtower, Inc enterprise but any organization/enterprise of sizeable participants. And, note that last statement–“ANY organization,” because that’s your “light bulb moment” to determine whether this publishing corporation is sanctified (set apart from other ‘demonic corporations and enterprises’ [the “johns” of “Babylon the Great”]).

      I have come to expect “less than” from Watchtower, Inc–with all due respect to the sincere leaders “doing their best”–but it is ‘amateur hour’, stones for bread (Matt 7:9, 10; Luke 11:11).

      • JBob says:

        **How the community leaders govern and the peer enforcers (some call them “bullies” or “pillars of the congregation”) guide stipulates how unwritten policy is interpreted and enacted.

  4. Rowland Nelken says:

    This is the e.mail I wrote just now to the UK Charity commission guy investigating JW child protection policies:

    Dear Alex Uden,

    Thank you for your recent e.mail.
    I am sure you have already realised that every move and statement from Watchtower is made with the sole objective of preserving the reputation and assets of the Watchtower organisation. This can, under the guise of ‘theocratic warfare’, lead them to withhold information or simply tell lies. http://www.jwfacts.com/…/quotes/theocratic-warfare-lying.php
    I trust that you realise also that, notwithstanding the polite manner of any WT officials you meet, the ruling obsession that defines being a Jehovah’s Witness, is looking forward to the day of Armageddon when all of humanity that is misled by Satan (i.e. all of us who are not baptised and active Jehovah’s Witnesses) are executed by Jehovah. This includes, of course, yourself and all Charity Commission workers who are not baptised and active Jehovah’s Witnesses.
    I realise that it is not in your gift to deprive this thoroughly malignant organisation of its charitable status and consequent tax advantages, but you must recognise, surely, that ‘public benefit’ a defining quality of a charity, is totally absent from the Watchtower organisation. It qualifies for Charitable status solely on account of its mind controlling and money grabbing activities being labelled a religion.
    I realise that your current inquiry is focused on protection of paedophiles. This is but one of Watchtower’s ‘achievements’ in its 138 year history.
    Amongst the others are:
    1. Duff prophecy about the date of Armageddon.
    2. Social isolation due to the ban on Christmas, birthday and other ‘pagan’ celebrations.
    3. Unnecessary deaths through the ban on blood transfusion.
    4. Nightmares from Armageddon fears.
    5. Stunted lives through the frowning on post school education. For the Watchtower education is complete once the ability to read and parrot Watchtower lit. has been achieved.
    6. Broken families through the shunning of apostates.
    I trust that now you must be familiar with the thoroughly destructive and malevolent qualities of this global publishing and property corporation that you will recommend to the appropriate authorities (Parliament?) that this outfit which is clearly a public menace rather than of public benefit, be deprived of its thoroughly undeserved charitable status.
    Regards,
    Rowland Nelken

    Theocratic Warfare, lying and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
    Watchtower Quotes Regarding theocratic warfare and lying in court
    jwfacts.com|By Paul Grundy

  5. Doc Obvious says:

    Questions to ask Jehovah’s Witnesses when they knock on your door.

    How is the practice of shunning loving your neighbor as yourself?
    Would you shun yourself?
    Since the greatest commandments in the Bible has no conditions on love, how does Watchtower justify their conditional love?
    Does Watchtower believe that they are still under the Mosaic law covenant?
    Did Jesus Christ while on earth shun people?
    What is an “inactive person”?
    What is an “apostate”?
    Why does Watchtower label people who they do not agree with?
    Did Jesus Christ label people he did not agree with?
    Did Jesus Christ approve of labeling people if they did not comply with God’s standards?
    If Watchtower believes that the Bible has the best laws that people can live by, why do they have United States law books on their shelves in their headquarters?
    If construction of buildings is so important and establishes how spiritual a religion is, why did Jesus Christ on this earth had no buildings to his name?
    Does that mean Jesus Christ was not a spiritual person?

    • messenger says:

      JWs go along with the shunning because its WT policy, however, let me add two more to your list of good questions:
      1. Was it unlawful for Jesus to speak to ANYONE? Who?
      2. If Paul said not to speak to anyone called a BROTHER if he (is an unrepentant sinner)….then why are you still calling him a BROTHER after you kicked him out of the church? And if you don’t still consider him a brother then why are you overstepping that scripture by shunning him?

  6. ScotWm says:

    Meanwhile, Watchtower is continuing to perform charitable works near its Warwick resort in New York. Jeffrey Hutchinson, former park manager of Sterling Forest State Park, is quoted as saying, “You people do a lot of good for the local communities and help out where you can. Your construction quality is first-rate and environmentally conscious.” https://www.jw.org/en/news/releases/by-region/united-states/witnesses-repair-60-year-old-dam-warwick/

  7. Ted says:

    The potential loss of profits has pressured them into
    cooperating with the commission, it’s certainly not
    remorse or concern for victims of abuse. That was
    made plain at the ARC when an apology for one of the
    victims had to be prised out of gb member G, Jackson.

    Maybe now with all the adverse publicity, they realise
    they have no hiding place left. So the strategy now is
    to admit they have the problem but will comply with the
    law on reporting. ( That law varies from place to place)
    which is why elders are instructed to first of all call the
    wt legal dept, to determine whether reporting by the
    elders can be avoided.

    The love of and the need for money, I believe could even
    force them to abandon the 2 witness rule in cases of rape
    and child abuse. The ARC showed showed how it might
    be done by citing Deut, 22:25.– If rape occurs in a lonely
    place, the victims evidence is accepted without the need
    for witnesses, The overworked new light mantra could
    be used and the R&F would not bat an eyelid. Would they
    even notice that anything had changed?

    However I just hope the Charity Commission is not deceived
    by their machinations.

    • JBob says:

      @Ted -doooood, the only reason The Society is cooperating is because of the threat of going to prison for its leadership and/or being stripped of its “charity” status. The $4,000 per day fine is pennies for a multi-million (if not billion) dollar conglomerate like Watchtower, Inc.

  8. Ted says:

    Rowland, Well constructed email, factual, without
    exaggeration and convincing.

  9. Peter the digger says:

    It is – or seems to be – a minor point but a big drawback of the JWs is their dress code. For men, suits, and deffo no beards (not sure why, jesus, moses, Abraham, Peter, would have had one. Romans went beardless, early Christians, of Jewish heritage, had them. So why no beards? Anyway back to dress. Why suits. A reason often given is ‘now they are so cheap all bros can afford them. Well they can all afford face tattoos and goth jewellery too but i magine the elders wouldn’t be too impressed at that. I cannot, however, imagine Jesus, were he to walk the Earth today, wearing a sharp suit, like a global businsssman/salesman. Just seems an unnecessary burden, maybe Ok for field service but why for the meetings? For the sis, far worse, many older women would much rather wear a modest trouser suit, thah bother with skirt and stockings and whatever,one reason being the varicose veins thing. Again, trousers/skirt are far from being a clear masculine/feminine thing, and certainly never have been in past eras. So why the phobia of ‘sisters in trousers. Just let both sexes wear what they want. Much happier then, no?

    • JBob says:

      A funny thing about dress norms–there was once a norm that men wore powdered wigs and high heels, and tons of face paint. It is also rather interesting to note when women began to move from ankle-length dresses as “modest” to mid-legs as socially acceptable (1920’s). Note that all these style changes were weathered by Watchtower Inc. In fact, there are photos showing pre 1900 Bible Students men with “morning coats”, frocks and cutaways and women with long dresses and corsets and bustle, plus large flowery and lace-filled hats (a Downton Abbey ‘wet dream’, but google “Mens Late Victorian Clothing (1870 – 1890)” and “Womens Late Victorian Clothing”). And, no healthy gent would be seen shorn of facial hair because of the risk of tetanus and infections.

      Some of these early Bible Students were from business-owning families and social status that afforded stylish clothing, the luxury of free-thinking religion, and travel to explore counter-cultural knowledge in faraway places, or to the 1920’s luxury resort of Cedar Point, Ohio.

    • Brother Gray says:

      What you need to understand about the JWs policy on dress and grooming is that it supports an image that those taken the lead want for their organization. Based on their opinion, which by the way other institutions share, that style promotes a sense of seriousness and dignity for both the organization and the message they share. As for beards, in my opinion, the reason JWs still hold on to this outdated practice is simply because it’s easier to eliminate something rather than regulate it. Even though a well groomed beard can be considered sophisticated and dignified, those taken the lead are worried about certain ones who may get a little creative with their style which could be in contrast to the image that’s trying to be maintained.

      • messenger says:

        Public image I’m sure is part of the reason for the dress code, and it is part of the reason the WT gives. But these guy’s are experts at controlling others, so I think their complete reason goes much deeper than just promoting a certain public image.

        How a person dresses effects their self-image, and getting dressed up can make people feel more important which might also cause them to feel the work they do is more important. Also, by everyone wearing a suit or dress a sense of conformity is created, translated as unity by the GB.

        The unscriptural part is how far they carry this all out. You aint getting baptized, or even becoming an unbaptized publisher if you don’t dress according to policy. The elders will make sure of that. If Jesus was here and didn’t perform miracles, they wouldn’t baptize him, if he didn’t have a suit and wear it at the hall.

    • messenger says:

      Peter the digger I’ve never heard that suits are worn because they are so cheap. The person or persons that stated that to you are totally misinformed, and it sounds like a comment from someone that does not know WT. I’ve been around this group for a very long time, have heard multiple comments from circuit and district overseers about dress, and read many WT publications discussing dress. Nobody that knows WT would state we dress in suits because suits are cheap. You could read WT comments about dress in print. Although they usually do not name the specific clothes to be worn,as a suit, they always refer to modest dress, which the society interprets for its members according to geographic areas they live in, and the cultures of people in those areas. Cheap has nothing to do with it, unless maybe you live in a country with very high poverty rate. I live in the USA, and for JWs here that comment sounds ridiculous.
      best wishes brother!

    • Big B says:

      @ Peter the Digger:

      In answer to your question as to “why no beards?” This was not always the case as C.T. Russell had a beard and so did any pictures of Christ that the IBSA used in their literature.

      After the death of Russell and the “hostile” takeover by J.F.”judge” Rutherford; he instituted a policy of no beards as he felt many of the male members were now wearing them in honor of C.T. Russell.

      I remember studying in my “Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained” book around 1958. http://www.strictlygenteel.co.uk/paradise/1958_From_Paradise_Lost_To_Paradise_Regained.pdf

      Check out the site above and look at pages 143 at the Crucifixion (impalement) or page 145 of the Ascension to heaven. Jesus completely beardless from Chapter 16 ‘What the Son of God Taught and Did On Earth’ onward.

      “For more than two decades (mid-1942 through early 1968) the Watchtower Society produced books and magazines picturing Jesus without facial hair. Then a ‘new truth’ was revealed in the May 1, 1968 Watchtower: “it is apparent that Jesus did wear a beard, and so artistic representations of him in future Watch Tower publications will harmonize with the Scriptural evidence to that effect.” (page 288)

      Suddenly, due to this ‘new truth,’ Jehovah’s Witnesses came to believe what everyone else knew all along”.
      http://www.answerjw.com/cftf/online/1999JanMarp06-07.html

      Hope that helps some.

  10. The Modeller says:

    According to the Watchtower’s (Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Britain registered charity number 1077961) agreement to hold data with the ICO (registration Z4617720), they are committed as follows:

    Where necessary or required we share information with:

    members
    family, associates or representatives of the person whose personal data we are processing
    employees
    current, past and prospective employers
    healthcare, social and welfare organisations
    providers of goods and services
    educator and examining bodies
    financial organisations
    employment and recruitment agencies
    survey and research organisations
    business associates and professional advisers
    police forces
    local and central government
    other companies in the same group as the data controller
    other voluntary and charitable organisations

    Are they honouring this agreement?

  11. Freedom says:

    An honest and law abiding organisation as Jw claims that they are, will go to any length to withhold information from “the superior authority.” Why, why and why. Something to hide perhaps. May there be many more court cases against this organisation to cripple they finance – God speed.

  12. Juli says:

    Great to see this moving forward, finally!

  13. twistedsister69 says:

    Inauguration Day, everyone! Party like it’s 1999!!! 😀 😀 😀

    • twistedsister69 says:

      …After all, it’s our FIRST Non-Elected President!!! Not something that happens every day (unless u live in Syria or North Korea 😀 ). Kinda gives Anti-Cult activism a whole new meaning!
      PS Will not feel bad if this comment is deleted. No one wants the FBI knocking on their door (or the KGB lol). Been there. Done that. Not fun. “Discretion is the better part of valor.”

    • twistedsister69 says:
  14. Free Thinker says:

    How interesting: The rank&file “publishers” must abide by Mat 22,21 (“Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar”), Rom 13,1.2 (“obey completely those who rule over you; when you oppose the authorities, you are opposing those whom God has appointed”) and 1 Pet 2,17 (“Honor the king”), they must “give a fine witness” by their “exemplary” and “submissive” conduct towards the governmental authorities to “win their favor” – but the presumptuous and bigheaded JW.Org “by (in her own sick view) the grace of the Almighty” may slam and kick around like a madman, fume and romp around like a berserker when it comes to cooperating with legit public authority requests. Ho much of a “good witness” is this??? “You who teaches others – go teach yourself!” – HYPOCRITE!!!

    By her incessant “theo-warfare”-games, her insidious plots, crafty intrigues, cunning tricks, smoke screen&mirror-tactics, her obvious hide&seek-tactics and evasion strategies, this utterly base and sleazy JW.Org is giving the worst “witness” imaginable which the lowly rank&file members who are expected to present the JW.Org’s sweet side have to pay the price for. Just look at those countless Youtube-clips of those poor fellows & gals standing on their mats next to their ridiculous “witnessing carts”, being berated, scolded and yelled at by those “Defense of the Abused Children’s Rights”-guys. Those poor fellas don’t even understand what is hitting them; all they can do in their desperation is calling on mall cops who are also not able to cope.

    The JW.Org’s double standard-hypocrisy knows no limits. How utterly disgusting!

    • messenger says:

      So right you are free thinker. They don’t obey the law while teaching us to obey it. And this is happening right out in the open, reported on by public press, and reprimanded by judges. I believe Cedars has still got the ticking meter keeping track of how much money they’ll have to pay for refusing to turn over discovery docs, in one of Zalkin’s molestation cases.

      I guess they value money more then they value a law abiding reputation. And remember the Stephen Lett’s comment, that the WT child molestation problem was not a real problem, but it stems from a smear campaign of apostate lies. “A good tree cannot produce worthless fruit, neither can a rotten tree produce good fruit. By their works (fruit) you will recognize these men.”

      Ricardo if you read this post then please tell if you’ve heard anything while you’re in field service about WT’s child molestation scandal, or their case with the RC. Thanks Ricardo.

      • Ricardo says:

        @messenger, to my great disappointment nobody much is talking about it. Maybe 1 or 2 return visits I know well mention it, but they don’t seem too concerned about it. I have been waiting for somebody to bring it up in the house to house work so I can see how the brother I am with handles it. I don’t meet anyone, and noone I know seems to have met anyone who talks about the RC.

        Even in the congregations there is general apathy. I have produced a sheet with many of the points that Cedars has brought out about the deceitful statements made at the RC together with some questions to consider, and distributed it amongst some relatives, friends and fellow victims but the response has been poor.

        Next I will give the sheet to the elders in my field service group who are supposed to be shepherding me, to see if they have any answers.

        A lot of witnesses here in Australia seem to ignore the RC because they are scared of what they may find if they look into it. Also, they don’t seem smart enough to get the points.

        One elder friend I brought it up with said he thought that Bro. Jackson had done a fantastic job. I asked him how come I can watch Jackson and feel disgusted and he can watch Jackson and feel impressed? He then spouted a lot of other positive stuff he had heard from the commission, and I saw that the guy was a zombie. When he did see my point, he said he didn’t think it was all that important.

        How anyone can not feel disgusted, I do not understand. And how decent JW’s do not feel that a huge apology should be given to Jehovah for dirtying his name, and to the victims for mishandling their cases, I really don’t understand.

        • messenger says:

          Thanks Ricardo. It’s understandable. Years ago I took a journalism class that taught a truth about peoples interest in human events. Its that the farther a story is from a population the less importance it hold in their lives which translates to less interest in the story. That’s why I wondered how people in Australia are responding. But even though they’re in the geographic area they’re not part of the community that’s effected. Since it doesn’t effect them they don’t have much interest. Its human nature.
          Thanks Ricardo.

  15. Rodger Goode says:

    Wow – quite a turn of events! What is this that we have here? A devolution of power from the farm? A geopolitical right / left GB / senior management schism beginning to open up? I have a sneaky feeling the GB leadership have different opinions on how to recover from the child abuse scandal, we are in for an interesting year. No more fake news from JW.org Broadcasting, tell us the truth – the people have spoken!

    • Big B says:

      @ Rodger Goode;

      I agree with you. I think a big schism is due for this group.

      “No more fake news from JW.org Broadcasting, tell us the truth – the people have spoken!”

      The “truth” is simply this: the WTBTS will never, ever tell the plain, simple truth; namely that they are imperfect men without God’s favor or Holy Spirit and all they do is guess at scriptural meaning with their ‘peculiar’ understanding. Which is why their doctrine or understanding changes about every 20 years. Their doctrines are convoluted at best and delusional fantasy at worst.

      If they (GB) told the truth, of how far off track from the Scriptures they truly are, don’t you think a majority of witnesses would vote with their feet? They can not afford monetarily to tell the TRUTH or admit that their ‘truth’ is a lie. It would be a “catastrostroke” as the late Jimmy Durante would say.

      Indeed, they (GB) will never admit the truth about anything and will continue to spin their version of truth” and change doctrine (New Light) as long as the ‘sheeple’ continue to breathe in the poisonous, purple haze of cult indoctrination . After all that’s what cults do keep ‘stupid’ members from researching the facts for themselves.

      And as the American comedian Ron White says, “You can’t fix stupid”. Truer words were never spoken.

      • Rodger Goode says:

        Well said Big B! It is the “stupid” rust belt people that got Trump in to power. I see he same for the “stupid” sheeple that start asking the right questions, you are on it mate – you cant fix stupid!

  16. Whip It says:

    Ricardo, fellow ozzy, when i was an elder we had the police issue us with a search warrant, they were looking for info on a certain person who was guilty, i didn’t know this at the time but the letter was taken from the file & hidden by a v prominent elder, we later were advised, he then has the audacity to state from the platform that we don’t withhold info from the police, lying from the platform.

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