Breaking News: Watchtower’s Defense Collapses, Jehovah’s Witnesses Reproved For Failure to Report Child Abuse – Settlement with Fessler Reached
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Trial Summary – Part One

“The matter with the Jehovah’s Witnesses has been resolved”

stated Jeffrey Fritz, attorney for abuse victim Stephanie Fessler.

Using language echoing the public announcements which Stephanie Fessler, now 28, was subjected to as a teenager, Fessler and her legal team have effectively turned the tables on Watchtower and issued a “public reproof” to Jehovah’s Witnesses. Witnesses notoriously reprove and disfellowship members of their faith, even if that member is a child, and has experienced a sexual encounter. Following four days of intense testimony at City Hall in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, Watchtower’s defense strategies collapsed. Despite spending tens of thousands of dollars and nearly 3 years in preparation for this case, by noon on Monday February 13th, Watchtower yielded to the plaintiff, packed up their briefcases, and agreed to an undisclosed settlement.

A strong message has been sent to the Watchtower organization: You can’t break the law when you learn of an accusation of inappropriate behavior with a minor. It must be reported to the police and child protection authorities.

Jehovah’s Witness leadership dismiss nearly every opportunity to report suspected abuse. Witness clergy mandate that when “wrongdoing” is discovered, they must immediately convene an internal tribunal of several elders, who are briefed on what happened. If the “sin” is serious, they form a Judicial Committee of three elders, then bring the victim before this committee to answer for her involvement. In this case, trial evidence showed that Jehovah’s Witness elders in the Spring Grove PA congregation were aware of a “consensual” relationship between 49-51 year old Terry Seipp, who attended the Freeland Maryland Congregation,  and the victim, Stephanie Fessler. For 3 years Seipp played the role of surrogate mother to Fessler, all the while taking sexual advantage of Stephanie, a matter brazenly overlooked by both congregations.

Or did they overlook it? In 2004, elders were informed that there was inappropriate kissing and touching between Seipp and Fessler, yet they failed to report this under the Pennsylvania mandatory reporting laws which apply to all clergy, or elders who learn of suspected abuse. By 2005, elders had significant evidence of extensive sexual encounters between the victim and her abuser, yet continued to apply their own internal measures – a decision which forever damaged Stephanie Fessler, preventing her abuser from facing justice and ending the relationship.

Detective Lisa Layden

Detective Lisa Layden of the Southwestern Regional Police department in York County PA testified that any physical contact which might rise to the level of sexual abuse must be reported to the authorities, including Pennsylvania’s Childline, a well-organized resource for victims and potential victims. But that is not how Jehovah’s Witnesses operate. All matters of “sin” are referred to the congregation elders, who then contact the legal department at Watchtower’s Patterson New York complex if a case of sexual abuse comes to light.

Watchtower claims to inform congregation elders of individual state child abuse reporting laws, but seldom if ever do elders contact the police and file a report. To say that elders rarely reports such matters is a significant understatement.

Thomas Jefferson Beffudles Jury

 

On the afternoon of February 7th, 2017,  plaintiff co-counsel Gregg Zeff called the first witness, Mr. Thomas Jefferson Jr. This was a significant moment in the first day of trial, only the second time in Watchtower’s history that its organization has faced a jury in a child abuse trial.

And it did not go well.

From the moment Thomas Jefferson took the stand on behalf of Watchtower and the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses (CCJW), there was an air of bedlam, confusion, and frustration. The jury of seven women and three men sat facing Jefferson in disbelief, as he struggled to answer questions – and the ones he did answer left the entire courtroom scratching their heads.  Jefferson replied to questions from plaintiff’s attorneys with a defensively arrogant stance, speaking in a slow and deliberate manner, repetitively ending his answers with the word “counselor.”  Attorney Gregg Zeff pounded Jefferson with question after question in an attempt to clarify the tangled web of corporations and committees which manage the affairs of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Jefferson admitted that he was a member of the CCJW, the US Branch Committee, and the Worldwide Order of Special Full-Time Servants of Jehovah’s Witnesses, but denied any involvement in the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York. When asked for the name of the president of Watchtower New York, he told the court “I don’t recall” despite admitting he was sent to represent CCJW and Watchtower. Jefferson spoke in circles and riddles when asked about leadership of the JW organization, refusing to answer the simple question “Who is in charge?” The day one exchange with Jefferson was so outrageous, Judge Mary C. Collins was seen restraining both anger and laughter at the same time. Mr. Zeff, in a moment of exasperation raised his voice to Jefferson and asked whether there were “human beings” in charge of this organization.

Jefferson replied:- “Are you serious?”

Gregg Zeff

The questioning intensified when Mr. Zeff pressed Jefferson on the source of all of the letters sent to bodies of elders, asking him again whether any “human beings” actually wrote these letters, and if so-who are these persons. Jefferson once again dodged the question and stated that anonymous persons compose these letters, and that the persons involved may or may not be a part of the Watchtower or CCJW corporations.

Attorney Zeff, visibly irritated by the intentional obfuscation, asked Jefferson whether the CCJW was responsible for ANYTHING; Jefferson responded by asking what he meant by “responsible.” Judge Collins was unable to restrain herself any longer and turned to the witness and demanded that he answer the question. Shaken and nervous, Jefferson told the court that he must take time to pause…and think. Following a lengthy silence, Zeff posed the question once again, to which Jefferson said “I imagine they have to.”

Before changing his line of questioning, Zeff displayed the signature on an elder’s letter which read “Watchtower Bible and Tract Society,” forcing Jefferson to acknowledge the corporation responsible for the policies enforced by Jehovah’s Witnesses prior to the 2001 creation of the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Zeff linked multiple Watchtower documents with policies which have restricted Witness elders from reporting child abuse to the proper authorities, making it clear which organization is responsible.

Moments later, Thomas Jefferson unbelievably denied that Watchtower writes anything, stating that they only “publish” and distribute these letters, but have nothing to do with their production. (referring to all letters before 2001)

Zeff questioned Jefferson on whether elders are sanctioned if they disobey the contents of these letters, which was followed by a song and dance from Jefferson and the indecisive and false statement that elders “may or may not” be censured for disobedience.  When Jefferson mentioned that a Governing Body appointed Circuit Overseer may be involved in disqualifying an elder, Zeff did not miss the opportunity to ask whether the Jehovah’s Witness Governing Body are associated with Watchtower or the Christian Congregation. Jefferson’s response: NO.

As if to say “I’m not done scrambling your brains just yet, jury” – Jefferson responds to the next seemingly simple question posed by Zeff, which was ‘should clergy report child abuse?’ After an objection from the Watchtower defense team, Jefferson states that he cannot answer the question because Jehovah’s Witness elders are not clergymen. This question set off a debate which lasted for two days. (more on that later)

Attorney Zeff then followed a line of questioning forcing Jefferson to admit that elders investigate accusations of child abuse using their own judicial process. Jefferson further had to confess that Witness elders have no professional training in counseling, psychology or other relevant levels of expertise; yet amazingly he insisted that they did receive “training.” Zeff followed up by telling Jefferson that elders are in no way qualified to judge the genuineness or seriousness of an allegation of child abuse.

Jefferson arrogantly replied: “incorrect”

Zeff asked Jefferson whether he had any evidence from Watchtower publications to back that statement up. After a non-answer from junk-testimony Jefferson, Judge Collins stepped in and scolded Jefferson, telling him the question is “perfectly clear”. Zeff pressed the witness hard, asking him for his beliefs on this subject, to which Jefferson replied: “Are my beliefs on trial?”

Again, Judge Collins rebuked Jefferson adamantly and warned him to refrain from making any such comments, advising him to just answer the question. Unbelievably, Jefferson responds by saying that Watchtower is a corporate entity and does not “believe” anything.

Continuing his salvo of questions, Zeff asks Jefferson if he is aware that professionals exist in the field of child abuse detection and counseling, to which Jefferson reluctantly agrees. He then asks Jefferson if he is aware that the state of Pennsylvania wants those professionals involved whenever an accusation of child abuse occurs. Jefferson states that he was not aware of this, aside from when Judge Collins stated this to the jury at the outset of this trial. I remember thinking that Jefferson testified that he was in court on behalf of the legal department of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and to defend Watchtower and the CCJW – yet somehow after years of preparation for this trial, having been prepped by Watchtower’s extensive legal team, he is suddenly unaware that Pennsylvania has a mandatory law requiring the reporting of accusations of child abuse. Clearly the jury was not buying this.

Attorney Zeff then puts Jefferson on the spot regarding the matter of elders reading all letters from Watchtower; Jefferson stated that reading all letters is not required, but that elders would be expected to read all direction on child abuse from Watchtower prior to beginning an investigation. He was then asked whether elders could be sanctioned or stripped of their positions if they failed to follow Watchtower’s counsel. Reluctantly, Jefferson admitted that this is “possible.” Zeff followed by asking “has this ever happened?” Jefferson’s reply: “I don’t know.”   As anyone with any experience in the Jehovah’s Witness organization knows very well, if an elder fails to follow direction from headquarters, his position as elder will vanish instantly. Jefferson knows this very well.

Nearing the end of the first day of trial, Zeff calls Jefferson’s attention to one of the most damaging pieces of evidence in this case, the July 1, 1989 letter to elders. This six page letter was stamped CONFIDENTIAL – and Watchtower meant it. This letter was so damaging to the defense, that when it was subpoenaed, Watchtower redacted nearly the entire document, with few exceptions. The plaintiff’s legal team only learned of the full contents of this letter by searching sources outside of Watchtower, and when the contents were revealed, this case was sealed.

Zeff calls Jefferson’s attention to the purpose of this letter, as stated on page 2:

“Hence, a growing number of vindictive or disgruntled ones, as well as opposers, have initiated lawsuits to inflict financial penalties on the individual, the congregation, or the Society. Many of these lawsuits are the result of the misuse of the tongue.”

He rephrased this paragraph by emphatically telling Jefferson that the real meaning is “Keep you mouth shut or you might get sued.”  Jefferson disagreed, but the damage was done. The jury begins to understand the cloak of secrecy surrounding Watchtower. Protection of the organization and its assets has increasingly become the motivation behind the Jehovah’s  Witnesses’ legal strategy, placing corporations ahead of the welfare of its own children. Day one ends in disaster for Watchtower, with final testimony from Jefferson looming on the horizon.

Day 2 – The Return of Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday morning brought Thomas Jefferson Jr. right back to the witness stand, but not before Spring Grove defense attorney Jud Aaron strongly objected to the presence of Detective Lisa Layden, who was scheduled to testify the next day. Aaron cried “Unfair,”  claiming that the presence of the detective on day 2 would affect her day 3 testimony. Judge Collins rejected the sequestration order and stated “I’m done with this issue, I’ve ruled on it. It’s a clear issue.”

Trial resumes with Plaintiff’s attorney Gregg Zeff calling attention again to Exhibit 18B, the July 1, 1989 elder’s letter on confidentiality. Watchtower attorney John Miller immediately objects on “First Amendment” grounds, but is overruled by the judge. Zeff looks at Miller, then the judge, and says “First Amendment your honor?” – Judge Collins tells Zeff to move on. Zeff grills Jefferson on the meaning behind the letter, the intended secrecy and confidentiality, the prevention of lawsuits due to “misuse of the tongue.” Zeff makes his point, and Jefferson is left offering no concise explanation.

The subject now changed to the persons in charge of Jehovah’s Witnesses:

Zeff:     Do you remember when I asked you for the names
of the humans?

Jefferson: I do

Zeff: You didn’t give me the name of any, did you, sir?

Jefferson: I did not

Zeff: Is the reason you didn’t give me the names of any humans is because they’re secret?

Jefferson: No. The answer to that question —

Zeff: That’s all I asked you, sir.  Is the reason you didn’t give me the
names of any humans is because you wanted to protect them from lawsuits?

Jefferson: No

Zeff then re-introduces Jefferson’s prior testimony on the matter of whether Witness elders are clergymen:

Zeff: Do you remember earlier in the questioning I asked you about this statement: Clergy must report sexual abuse of children to protect the victim from
additional harm?

Jefferson: I do, counselor.

Zeff: And your answer was you could not agree with that?

Jefferson: That’s correct, counselor.

Zeff: And you said you couldn’t agree with that because elders are not clergy. Is that a fair statement?

Jefferson: That’s a correct statement.

Zeff: Okay. What is your definition of clergy?

Jefferson: Clergy meant, as I understand it, are those who are recognized, if you will, as the leader of a church or an organization and that is something that elders are not.

Zeff follows up by displaying Websters dictionary on screen, then says:

Zeff: Can I show you Webster’s Dictionary’s definition of elder and see if you agree with that? The first definition is a group of ordained to perform pastoral or sacerdotal functions in a Christian church. Is that a reasonable definition of a clergy?

Jefferson: I don’t know the answer to that.

Zeff now proceeds to connect Jehovah’s Witness elders to the clergy using Jefferson’s own words:

Zeff: Can you define for me what an elder is?

Jefferson: Sure. An elder is a man who is appointed by means of the Holy Spirit to care for the interests of the sheep entrusted to him. Those responsibilities are described
in various places in the Bible. For example, first Peter 5, one and two, where elders are urged to care for the interests of the flock entrusted to them.

Zeff: Elders act as shepherds in the local congregations?

Jefferson: They do.

Zeff: And provide spiritual education and assistance from the Bible to congregants?

Jefferson: They do

Zeff: And they oversee the congregational meetings?

Jefferson: They do

Zeff: And they lead?

Jefferson: They take the lead also.

Zeff then brings up confession, and forces Jefferson to admit that elders are responsible for listening to confession from members of the congregation.

Zeff: And elders then receive confession of sort?

Jefferson: Elders listen to the confessions of those who may have been involved and wronged, yes.

Zeff now calls up on screen the definition of clergy once again:

Zeff: Looking at that the rule one more time, I would just like to know if you have changed your answer at all or if you think elders are clergy?

Jefferson: NO

Zeff digs deeper into the Jehovah’s Witness judicial process, hammering Jefferson with questions about the function of a judicial committee of elders.

Zeff: So wouldn’t your judicial committee, your rules, and by you, I’m not even sure who I’m talking about. Who is it that tells the elders, this is how a judicial committee should operate? Is it a governing body?

Jefferson: A group of spiritually qualified men, who remain anonymous, are selected to prepare material that’s reviewed and approved by the governing body. And then after that, it is published.

Zeff: So these anonymous men have told the elders that when there’s a matter that needs a judicial committee, here is how the committee should be set up, here is who should be on the committee, and here are the types of things you should look for. And
once you’ve done that, here is what you do if wrong has been committed. Is that a fair summary?

Jefferson: Not totally.

Zeff: Okay. Didn’t think so.

Zeff presses the uncooperative  Jefferson further, asking him to define what the S-77 form is, to which Jefferson replied:

“S-77 form is a document that’s used to report concisely the events of that judicial hearing.”

It is of interest that his answer was misleading, as the S-77 is the “notice of disfellowshipping or disassociation”  – filled out when the outcome of a judicial hearing is disfellowshipping, or if a person formally disassociates themselves. The form itself states:

“It is not necessary to provide a summary of the case. If anything of significance regarding the case needs to be shared with the branch office, please do so in a separate letter.”

Jefferson’s testimony was utterly confusing, filled with misleading and inaccurate data; he was placed on the witness stand by Watchtower’s own legal department, yet was self-destructing with every word. The jury appeared confused by his remarks, his demeanor, and his inability to answer simple questions without offering long-winded verbal detours.

Attorney Zeff now turned his attention back to the July 1989 confidential letter to elders:

Zeff: We talked briefly about section D, which was the child abuse, many states have child abuse reporting laws. When elders receive reports of physical or sexual abuse of a child, they should contact the society’s legal department immediately. Victims of such abuse need to be protected from further danger. That’s what it says?

Jefferson: That’s correct, counselor.

Zeff: In this document anywhere does it discuss how to protect children?

Jefferson: I’m not aware of any place in the document.

Zeff: But it does tell you to keep as many things secret as possible, doesn’t it?

Jefferson: It does urge confidentiality, counselor, correct.

You Can’t Have it Both Ways, Watchtower

It is of great interest that the Watchtower organization urges elders to maintain confidentiality, when they legally impale themselves by breaking confidentiality the moment they share a confession with other elders. In the Fessler case, there were at least ten elders and others who were informed of the allegations of sexual abuse, not to mention those in Watchtower’s legal and service department who learned of the case from local elders. Watchtower attempted to claim clergy privilege to protect themselves, but this was denied multiple times by the court. Evidence was presented that no confidentiality was maintained whatsoever.

Explained legally, Watchtower is subject to the legal principle of estoppel. This axiom bars a person from claiming one position, then intentionally taking the opposite position when it suits their legal case. Using Fessler versus Watchtower as an example, the defense adamantly attempted to use clergy privilege from the outset, yet denied in court for two straight days that elders are clergymen.

In lay terms, this means you can’t have it both ways.

During further intense questioning of Jefferson, Zeff pointed right back to the July 1989 letter to elders and asked:

Zeff: Let me break the question up for you. Wouldn’t you agree with me that an elder who has limited knowledge of child abuse laws, limited knowledge of criminal law, would have a difficult time understanding the difference between keeping it secret and going to the police based on this document?

Jefferson: If I answer about an elder’s limited knowledge, I’d only have to speculate. So I don’t know the answer to that question

Zeff: Sir, you’re here on behalf of Watchtower and the Christian Congregation to talk about the documents and the instructions that you’ve given to them. Would you agree that that’s confusing?

Jefferson: No, sir.

Zeff: Crystal clear to you?

Jefferson: Quite.

Zeff: And would you agree with me that the legal department, when called, should know the law in every state?

Jefferson: Again, I can’t speak for the legal department, counselor. I don’t work there.

[Now bear in mind that Jefferson has testified that he is here on behalf of a request from the Watchtower and CCJW legal department, leaving one to wonder how it is possible that Jefferson has no clue that the legal department is aware of state laws regarding mandatory reporting]

Zeff: Well, in writing this document, isn’t there an assumption by the Watchtower that the legal department is going to do the right thing by state law?

Jefferson: As for assumption, again, I can’t speculate, but what I can say with a fair degree of certainty is that when elders follow the instruction in this letter or other letters and call the legal department, they will receive appropriate legal advice.

Zeff continues his line of questioning regarding the Fessler case, and states that he has no knowledge whatsoever of the two Spring Grove PA elders, Eric Hoffman and Donald Hollingworth, except that they may have called Watchtower’s legal department.  Referring once again to the July 1989 letter to elders, Zeff asks:

Zeff: There’s nothing in that document that says do what’s in the best interest of the child, is there?

Jefferson: I don’t believe that statement appears in the document, counselor.

Zeff: There’s nothing in the document that says when in doubt, protect the child?

Jefferson: That statement doesn’t appear in the document, counselor, no.

Zeff: Is there any document that you’re aware of that’s given to elders in the United States that says elders shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that victims urgently need to be protected from further abuse and that abusers need to be prevented from finding other victims?

Jefferson: Counselor, several documents which you’ve shown here have been printed. I can’t point to any specific one in response to your question. My memory doesn’t bring up one right now.

Zeff: Will you agree there’s no instruction in any Watchtower or Christian Congregation document that says if there’s an allegation of sexual abuse, contact an overseer?

Jefferson: If there’s an allegation of sexual abuse, contact the overseer. I’m not aware of that specific statement, counselor.

Zeff then draws Jefferson’s attention to the February 15th, 2002 letter to elders, where child abuse is mentioned, and which also references the July 1, 1989 letter]

Zeff: I want to take you to number four on this document. It says: “Child abuse is a crime. Never suggest to anyone that they should not report an allegation of child abuse to the police or other authorities.” So that says, correct me if I’m wrong, that elders should never say don’t report it. That would be wrong.

Jefferson: That’s correct, counselor.

Zeff: Then it says: If you’re asked, make it clear that whether to report the matter to the authorities or not is a personal decision for each individual to make and that there are no congregational sanctions for either decision.  So it says, if you’re asked there, and I presume that these authors chose their words carefully… Do you know why they said if you’re asked instead of tell them?

Jefferson: I don’t know why it was exactly worded this way, counselor. I was not a part of the group that composed the letter, so I would only speculate to say why they might have worded it that way.

Zeff: So on behalf of Watchtower and Christian Congregation, your answer is why they ordered it that way is you don’t know because it would be speculation?

Jefferson: I don’t know exactly why the author worded it that way.

Zeff continued his questioning, with Jefferson only able to state that Watchtower’s position is “Never tell anyone that they can’t report it.” and “If they ask you, by all means, please do what you feel is right and report it, if you feel you should. ” Zeff continued:

Zeff: Would you agree with me that this instruction does not inform elders that they must, in Pennsylvania and Maryland, report suspected child abuse?

Jefferson: That’s a correct statement, counselor.

The Anonymous Men

Concluding his examination of Watchtower representative Jefferson, attorney Zeff probes Jefferson as to the very source of the judicial rules governing Jehovah’s Witness elders:

Zeff: And the rules that are followed by the elders relating to the judicial committee come from whom?

Jefferson: As stated, a group of men, spiritually mature men are appointed to prepare this material under the direction of the governing body. And after it is approved, it is published.

Zeff: And they’re anonymous?

Jefferson: The are.

Zeff: And do you know whether any of these anonymous people have any qualifications of any kind to deal with issues of child abuse?

Jefferson: If they’re anonymous and I don’t know them, then I don’t answer that question

Zeff: I have nothing further, thank you, Your Honor.

Following two days of examination by the plaintiff’s counsel, it was time for the defense to cross-examine Mr. Jefferson.

Jefferson Cross-Examined

First up was Jud Aaron, a non-Jehovah’s Witness attorney representing the Spring Grove Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Mr. Aaron began his questioning by referring to the state mandate for clergy to report suspected child abuse:

Aaron: “Clergy must report sexual abuse of children to protect the victim from additional harm. And yet there was some questions about it.” If I were to substitute the word clergy, remove the word clergy and put Jehovah’s Witnesses elders, let me read it. “Jehovah’s Witnesses elders must report sexual abuse of children to protect the victim from additional harm.” Would you agree with that?

Jefferson: I do in certain areas of municipalities and so forth, yes.

This brief and bizarre exchange echoed the earlier line of questioning in which Jefferson refused to acknowledge that Jehovah’s Witness elders are clergy, which in his mind exempted him entirely from answering these questions. Incredibly, when Aaron substituted “Jehovah’s Witness elders” for “clergy,” Jefferson still suggested that elders only have the obligation to report “in certain municipalities.”

By now, most readers will have thrown a brick through their computer monitor, or discarded their smart phone in the nearest lake when reading the lengths to which the Jehovah’s Witness organization will go to protect their own interests, instead of those of the victims of abuse.  Their destructive doctrines are stuck like barnacles on a sinking ship, and Watchtower has no desire to scrape free the decades-old requirements which have ruined the lives of thousands.

As Aaron continued his examination of Jefferson, he restated the policy whereby elders were required to contact Watchtower’s legal department in cases involving suspected abuse. However this line of reasoning was ineffective, since it was clear that Jefferson was defending an organization which fails to report abuse as a practice, unless they would receive sanctions and penalty for not reporting the matter in certain “municipalities.”

Mr. Aaron further attempted to minimize the child abuse issue when he questioned Jefferson on his experience in handling child abuse cases:

Aaron: And in the 35 years that you’ve sat on judicial committees, about seven
congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses, have you sat on one that involved allegations of child sexual abuse?

Jefferson: No.

As an added “strategy”, defense attorney Aaron went so far as to imply that since there were only five lines (dealing with child abuse)  out of six pages in the July 1 1989 Letter to elders,  the relevance of this letter was minimal, and that it was not intended to protect child abusers. Aaron then asked Jefferson to testify about the nature of the multitude of Watchtower and Awake! articles on a variety of subjects, including child abuse.

Aaron: Let me ask you something, Mr. Jefferson, why do these publications, the Jehovah’s Witness publication, Watchtower magazine, Awake magazine, why do they address repeatedly the issue of child abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, that type of
thing you just referred to?

Jefferson: Because in society in general, many, many people are adversely affected by the crime of child abuse and it’s the desire of the organization that I’m a part of to do everything possible to make people aware of this horrible, heinous crime and to
do everything possible to help victims first of child abuse and to assist them and assist their parents to shoulder their responsibility to protect their children. And that’s why the articles are published.

As any victim of child abuse in the Jehovah’s Witness organization will tell you, the organization and the elders obstruct justice in every possible way. The failure to report  abuse to police and other civil authorities is fast becoming one of the most insidious crimes in the past 50 years. It was clear that the jury was not buying into Watchtower’s statement that they “abhor” child abuse. It is a weak and meaningless defense, when the facts show that the very authorities who are qualified to help children are almost never contacted.

Enter John Miller, for Watchtower

In his first appearance in this trial, Mr. John Miller, attorney for Watchtower New York, and a devout Jehovah’s Witness, stepped up to question Mr Jefferson on behalf of the defense. Miller opens by acknowledging that he and Mr. Jefferson are old friends, for at least 20 years.

One of the more interesting contradictions in testimony came when Mr. Jefferson, under examination from Miller, suddenly acknowledged that both he and Watchtower’s legal department are very familiar with differences in state laws on mandatory child abuse reporting. Note the exchange:

Miller: You testified that the laws of the states vary; is that true?

Jefferson: That’s true.

Miller: And have you worked with lawyers in the branch’s legal department to render advice to elders who call about the laws of their particular state?

Jefferson: I have.

Miller: And is it in your working with those lawyers that you have become familiar with differences of laws of different states?

Jefferson: I have.

Thomas Jefferson had just testified when questioned by the plaintiff’s attorney Gregg Zeff that he was unaware of Watchtower’s knowledge of state laws for reporting abuse. Note his earlier testimony:

Zeff: And would you agree with me that the legal department, when called, should know the law in every state?

Jefferson: Again, I can’t speak for the legal department, counselor. I don’t work there.

Incredibly, Jefferson changed his testimony, suddenly becoming aware of state mandatory reporting laws.

Jefferson was lying to the court

Further evidence of defensive backpedaling came when John Miller, for Watchtower, referred to questions posed by Mr. Zeff the day before, when Jefferson was embarrassed by not being able to recall even the name of the President of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York. In an attempt to salvage Jefferson’s reputation, Miller asked:

Miller: You were asked if you could name some of the people in Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Incorporated and you were unable to do so. Are you a member on the executive board of that corporation?

Jefferson: I am not.

Miller: Are you a member or on the executive board of the corporation Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses?

Jefferson: I am.

Miller: Can you name any of the people with that organization?

Jefferson: I can.

Miller: Go ahead. Name some.

Jefferson: The president, Allen Shuster; vice president, Anthony Griffin; secretary/treasurer, William Nonkes.

Miller: What is your role?

Jefferson: Assistant secretary/treasurer, I believe.

He believes? Jefferson seemed very unsure of his position within the CCJW organization – but his testimony continued to disintegrate as Watchtower attorney Miller then asked him to name Members of the United States Branch Committee.

Miller: Can you name a few of them for us?

Jefferson: Allen Shuster, Anthony Griffin, just to name two.

Miller: Was Leon Weaver a member of that branch committee?

Jefferson: He is.

Miller: So are the names of those persons who serve in the U.S. Branch kept secret anywhere?

Jefferson: Not at all.

Miller: Aren’t they published on the website?

Jefferson: That could very well be.

Miller: Have you seen them published in some of magazines that are sent to the public?

Jefferson: Yes, they are. The president is published every month in the Watchtower and Awake.

Miller: So there’s no secret about who is there?

Jefferson: No.

As a note to our readers, the questioning by Miller and responses of Jefferson reveal that they themselves are not fully aware of who manages and operates Watchtower, CCJW, and the United States Branch Committee. Not only was Jefferson unsure of his own position in CCJW, but his statement “The president is published every month in the Watchtower and Awake”  was false, as he was discussing the US Branch Committee, and not the Watchtower Society. A simple check of the inside cover of current Watchtower and Awake magazines reveals that it is the Watchtower president who is listed inside this cover, and not any of the US Branch Committee members.

Jefferson Says: No Responsibility to Protect the Community

After testifying once again that elders are not clergymen, the defense yielded to Mr Gregg Zeff for a re-cross examination of Mr. Jefferson. Zeff asked Jefferson whether the elders have a responsibility to protect the community from predators:

Jefferson: Well, the elders have responsibility of protecting children, yes, and all the flock.

Zeff: And the entire community from predators, not just the flock?

Jefferson: What do you mean by entire community?

Zeff: Well, doesn’t an elder have a responsibility if they know there’s a sexual predator in their midst to let the entire community, the State of Pennsylvania, the people of Philadelphia, know that there’s a sexual predator in their midst?

[Watchtower attorney Miller objects to this question. Objection overruled]

Jefferson: NO.

In one of the most insidious and outrageous statements of the trial, Thomas Jefferson admitted what so many victims of child abuse already know – that Jehovah’s Witnesses have no regard for the community at large, and their failure to report suspected child abuse places the entire community at risk by failing to report a predator.

While Witnesses are an insular community, the harboring or non-reporting of a sexual predator permits such an individual to roam free, unobstructed and undetected by unsuspecting parents and children. Most “worldly” or non-Jehovah’s Witness  persons are unaware that a religious organization resides in their midst, completely insensitive to the protection of their family. Not only have tens of thousands of Jehovah’s Witness children suffered, but evidence shows that scores of sexual assaults have occurred throughout the global community because the offender was not reported to the authorities. This affects everyone, regardless of religious affiliation.

Thomas Jefferson single-handedly embarrassed the entire Watchtower organization, destroying his own credibility and that of the religion he represents. But this was a good thing. This was not a closed-door, behind the scenes, cloaked meeting, but an open, civil trial which will  forever be a part of the public record.  It is an insight into the inner workings of Jehovah’s Witnesses, who are largely ignorant of the issues related to child abuse, and the tactics employed by their elders, their Governing Body, and the legal team which defends the absurd.

Please stay tuned for further reports on the testimony in this case, including that of two elders, the abuser of Stephanie Fessler, and the detective who ended any chance of Watchtower winning this case.

JR

John Redwood

 

 

 

 

 

 

FURTHER INFORMATION:

JW Survey Articles

http://jwsurvey.org/child-abuse-2/breaking-news-jury-selection-complete-in-fessler-versus-watchtower-child-abuse-case-trial-date-set

http://jwsurvey.org/child-abuse-2/news-bulletin-fessler-versus-watchtower-opening-statements-and-motions-in-jehovahs-witness-child-abuse-trial-day-1

 

Reveal News: 

Journalist Trey Bundy  with Reveal News has been following Fessler case for more than a year, and reported in 2016 that Watchtower’s legal team  had engaged in “abusive tactics” by intentionally moving the trial to York County, instead of Philadelphia, where it was filed. A judge ruled that this was an intentional stall tactic and returned the venue to Philadelphia. Bundy reported the outcome of the Fessler case in his February 17th 2017 article.

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239 Responses to Breaking News: Watchtower’s Defense Collapses, Jehovah’s Witnesses Reproved For Failure to Report Child Abuse – Settlement with Fessler Reached

  1. Will says:

    This is not getting the attention it deserves. I’m in New York and I have not seen any media coverage on this.
    It might be different in Pennsylvania, but this is not national news.

    • outandabout says:

      The fact that WT has allowed sexual predators to roam free in our midst for decades is an eye catcher. Nobody knew that and now there’s a story with a bit of shock value for someone to exploit.

      They’ve been secretly exporting sexual predators. Their practice’s have overflowed outside of the cult and affect everyone.

      That wasn’t their intention of course, but the fact that they did nothing to stop it once it became apparent is a monstrous crime. It’s totally unforgivable.

      A family friendly religion?

      No longer can they be tolerated as just a bunch of nicely dressed deluded folk who mean no harm.

  2. Nancy says:

    What a joke! Who determines what rules and regulations elders and all the flock should follow? He doesn’t know? What part of governing body does he not get?

  3. Doc Obvious says:

    We have to stop financing religious tomfoolery from Watchtower Babble and Tract Society. Just as Watchtower’s legal department has been overruled on their “First Amendment” rights, we need to expect more from Watchtower. Not less.

    In addition, using infamous cop outs, we’re imperfect, its our First Amendment Rights, should not be a scapegoat for not doing what is right. Actions are what count. Not words. We need accountability. Not legality.

  4. cdo says:

    Thank you for the excellent journalism and research.
    I was raised in this organization but luckily was giving the freedom to choose and was never baptized. However, my mom, sister and nephews are still JWs and for the first time in my life I feel the urge to discuss this case with them and protect them from lies. I do not know if they are aware of all this and the ARC, but I feel they should know all the facts and get their heads out of the sand. I care and love them very much so I’m concerned about upsetting them. I am most concerned about the future for my young nephews and the pressure and decisions they will face.
    Anyone have any ideas or tips to attempt this as smoothly and respectfully as possible with family or friends?

    Thanks

    • peggy says:

      @cdo,
      I will offer my first hand experience at trying to share the facts about WT. and the many cases of child abuse that have gone to court with my believing relatives. I shared articles from the papers, t.v. documentaries, major network expose’s. It drove them deeper into their hole. They will not come out no matter what I show them. I did it with respect and care. It did nothing but make them angry that I was spreading apostate lies. Now, I am shunned. If your relatives are on the fence about WT. then speaking about this could help. But, if like mine, they are hard core zealots, well, they won’t wake up. It is so very heart breaking because we care and love them. But, if they are not ready to face the music, it will not help to speak about it. Just my 2cents.

      • Dave Gracey says:

        Peggy you are spot on. In Steven Hassens book Combating Cult Mind Control he suggest having them read about other cults like scientology or moonis or Mormons and see if they can see the similiarites. Attack will not work as you say it only drives them deeper. Never attack once they read something about another cult believe me they will not forget it and when the time is right they will recall what they read and may look you up for more insight.

    • Bad Penny says:

      You need to tread very carefully on this one, as Peggy says, they could start to shun you completely.
      Perhaps if you bring up the question of child abuse tactfully in general conversation and maybe mention how religion, i.e. the Catholic church, is not immune to such, and then ask whether they have heard of anything in the JWs and what would they do if it became a problem. Then at least you will have their viewpoint. If they blatantly deny any such thing could happen and start being belligerent about it, you maybe best leave it alone, but if there seems to be some doubt there, it may be worth pursuing. By expressing concern over your young nephews, that you would not want them harmed in any way.
      Then maybe say you had heard about the massive scandal in Australia and wanted to know if it was common knowledge … See how it goes.
      All the best.

    • Ricardo says:

      @cdo,
      I think the most useful advice given so far is tread carefully. JW’s are very easily frightened. The suggestion to talk about the Catholic church first is good, then ask if there is problems in the witnesses also, and how they deal with it. This lets you gauge how genuine they are. A witness who is genuinely concerned about what they see happening in their religion will be more than willing to discuss it. If, up to this point, they have ignored what has been happening including the Royal Commission, then it’s better to beat your head against a wall.

      I am a witness, and I love bringing up the Royal Commission to my family and friends. The hard core witnesses just cannot face reality, and don’t want to talk about it. They probably consider me apostate. Some don’t want to know because it will upset them too much. They must protect their faith. Quite a few will discuss it and say they are disgusted by it, but leave it up to Jehovah to fix it up. Well, in our organization, unless you want to stir up big trouble, there is not much that a typical member can do about it. And at our meetings it seems taboo to mention it in our answers.

    • Eyes opened says:

      @CDO, yes caution is good. What about approaching it like the “woman at the well”? Jesus told her who he was but she knew the religious leaders wouldn’t believe her. She asked them questions, is it so, could it be, and so on.

      Perhaps bring it up by asking if such things happen in the org., wait for answer, then perhaps mention the article in the Philadelphia newspaper and ask what it could posssibly be about… they may say its apostate lies, but that’s okay, they are now aware. You do not have to convince them of anything, you just want to plant the seed. Often “asking” works better than “telling”. This is just a possible suggestion, don’t do anything you’re not feeling right about.

      Whatever you decide, I hope it works out well for you and you can have peace.

      Regards

      • cdo says:

        Thanks for the ideas and I think you are all right I am asking for a you know what storm if I bring this stuff up so I’m probably best to let it go and hope they come to conclusions on their own.

        • Big B says:

          @ cdo;

          Yes, treading carefully is certainly a good option here, I believe. That being said, always be ready to give information that can be verified, and not dismissed as an ‘apostate’ site; like the ARC on Youtube.

          Truly, the only ones that find out the TRUTH about ‘the Truth’ are honest-hearted ones looking for answers that cannot be found in the publications or at the Kingdom Hall. These brave soils have researched things for themselves, against Watchtower policy, and have taken appropriate actions; even removing themselves by disassociation or fading.

          The second group are ‘fence sitters’ that can be persuaded or dig in deeper into their delusional thinking. On an individual basis they maybe worth the effort to ‘plant a seed’; ever so diplomatically and carefully so as not to tip (read ‘disturb’) their delicate sensibilities.

          The final group (the hardcore majority) are “rocky soil”, hardheaded and stubbornly cling to their delusional beliefs that all is right in their dystopia (aka cloud cuckoo shime). Why? Because of cognitive dissonance and the inability to recognize the truth; namely that they are and have been shamelessly duped! No one thinks of themselves as stupid or gullible enough to be duped, so pride comes into play. Thus the defense of the Watchtower at all costs! These hardcore, cool-aid drinking fanatics will be, at the end of their lives, disillusioned, discouraged, disappointed, followed by DEATH; never seeing the ‘paradise earth’ they were all promised but the inside of their eyeballs.

          • Eyes opened says:

            @Big B, You are so right, always be able to verify.

          • Big B says:

            Oops: Attention! Typo alert!

            “These brave soils have researched things for themselves”,

            Should read: These brave souls not these brave soils Sorry. 🙂

          • Cdo says:

            Couldn’t have said it better. I don’t think my family even goes to meetings as much as they used to…but they will sure defend it if needed. The thing that is concerning to me is my sister has multiple degrees so I know she understands how to do research. The fact that she still allows herself to be directed by the JWs amazes me.

        • Chiafade says:

          In addition to the excellent suggestions already given to you I would also like to add another. The watchtower leadership likes to paint themselves as transparent to their members. If you as a jw about any legal problems the organization is having many will likely say “oh we have a legal matters section on our website that tells us how governments are persecuting our brothers”.

          At this point it would be prudent to direct them to the legal developments by region page. Two “regions” are noticably absent. The UK and Australia. You can then point them to the Australian royal commission website as well as the UK charity commission website. Then ask them “don’t you think that these are legal developments that we should’ve been made aware of? The ARC investigation started almost two years ago. Wouldn’t knowing about these give us an opportunity to pray for jahs blessing? Why didn’t they tell us? Why aren’t we being updated now of their upcoming return to the ARC in March?”

          This is a series of questions that SCREAMS cover up. THEY however may come to that conclusion. I had a jw tell me that “the organization only reports on final decisions not ongoing investigations”. Which is a lie. They give a play by play of anything that paints them as a victim of persecution because they’re gods org. Be ready for this kind of rationalization. Good luck.

    • messenger says:

      Government commission investigations are more likely to spark interest than are isolated lawsuits. You might let them know that a couple governments are investigating WT’s policies dealing with pedophiles in their organization. And mention Australia and Britain are not pleased with WT policies and may force them to change those.

      If they seem interested then I’d ask if they’d like to see what’s going on with it. If so, show them the Royal Commission recordings online, or tell them what to google so they can look those up. The younger JWs will probably show a lot more interest. Approach them alone, away from parents.

  5. Elijah says:

    Thank you so much for this detailed reporting, even though this was really sickening to read. There is no concern for the welfare of the abused whatsoever. I wish this got more national coverage.

  6. EDWARD GUZMAN says:

    THIS ARTICLE WAS A MASTERPIECE. I WAS CAPTIVATED. IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL NEWS. THANK YOU SO MUCH. KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK

  7. Candlestick says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Really incredible to read what you described. I, too, would like to know about a full transcript. Can’t wait to read the rest.

    I can’t understand why they’d even put this clown on the stand. But, then again, when you have no argument, any baffoon will sound the same.

    Classic ‘we’re not clergy’ — when it suits them, but totally want to use the argument to claim ‘confidentiality’. How moronic is that?!

    I think the nail in the coffin was when they asked about protecting the community? What a disgrace. And I’m so glad to see it fall apart. Will they EVER change their exhaulted position of self-righteousness? I doubt it. But, through the courage of these victims, more of it will be exposed. That’s a start. But my heart still breaks for the children and those still blinded by the dark side.

    • ScotWm says:

      Are Watchtower elders clergy or are they not clergy? The morally corrupt legal defense of the Watchtower’s PPP (Pedophile Protection Policies) requires that it’s elders be both. When Watchtower liars (I mean lawyers) are confronted with a law that requires clergy members to report all cases of child sexual abuse, they claim that their elders are not clergy. When Watchtower elders are ordered to produce the names of known pedophiles lurking in their congregations, they claim clergy confidentiality. It remains to be seen how much longer governments will put up with these disgusting lies and blatant violations of the law.

      • messenger says:

        Here Scot Wm

        Stare Decisis [Latin, Let the decision stand.] The policy of courts to abide by or adhere to principles established by decisions in earlier cases.

        A superior court and an appellate court in CA already decided JW elders are clergy, and that their elders loose their confidentiality privilege when they write down information about someone and pass it on for others to read. But that doesn’t mean they stop being members of WT’s clergy. This Penn. court upheld those CA court decisions.

        US courts are not letting WT get away with anything. WT just has a lot of money. They decide to break the law by disobeying court orders, and then pay the price monetarily. But looking at it your way, can and will a judge ever give WT reps jail time, after claiming contempt of court, for their refusal to turn over WT records on child abuse? Don’t know.

        Sooner or latter WT may have a class action filed against them. Zalkin Law, in San Diego, is one firm that might eventually do that. If so he’ll pull out the big stick and hit them with it for the big bucks

        But USA courts aren’t letting WT get away with things. WT’s false claims means nothing to US judges. Some of their nonsense is posing to the jury.

        I don’t think WT hires lawyers that are stupid. So, another reason to make such statements is because they can’t tell a judge to, ‘shine it and shove it, we’re not going to do what you say’..eehhh contempt of court then for sure. So, WT lawyers come up with faulty legal defenses as more acceptable reasons to disobey what the courts order them to. In doing so they also stretch out the adjudication process and because of that are much more likely to get their plaintiffs to settle. All calculated by WT’s lawyers. That’s the way lawyers work for organizations that have the big bucks. and WT has got big bucks.

        • ScotWm says:

          messenger: Thank you for the excellent summation of Watchtower’s devious legal tactics and how these are viewed by the courts. The day may come when congregation elders are found to be in contempt of court and receive jail time for their refusal to cooperate.

          • messenger says:

            Hi ScotWm

            It’s possible the elders in this case JR covered can receive jail time, if they are criminally charged and convicted.

            I’m mandated to report any reasonable suspicion of child abuse. But I live in CA. Here the mandatory reporting laws are designed to insure that members of organizations that contain mandated reporters, be they managers, superiors, or legal advisors cannot sanction mandated reporters because they file a report on child abuse. It’s against the law for an organization or its members to do that. The responsibility to report is legally on the individual, and individuals are not to do so only after receiving PERMISSION from their superiors. LEGALLY they MUST report if they as an individual have reasonable suspicion. The reporter is required when any reasonable suspicion is learned, which of course would include a claim of abuse that they learn about. Something like a JC meeting is not necessary to have suspicion.

            Mandated reporters are also protected from civil prosecution if the claim proves false.

            Here in CA organizations are required to train mandated reporters how to file report, with whom to file it, and under what circumstances they must report.

            Criminal sanctions could be $1000 and jail time for failing to do so.

  8. Art Fern says:

    It would appear that the Watchtower has a new variation on “Let Us Pray” moving to a more modern and realistic
    “Let Us Prey”.

  9. Benson says:

    What a crock lmao

  10. Delores Doyle says:

    I hope this series of trials opens the eyes of ALL THE COMMUNITIES OF THIS EARTH, whether Jehovah’s Witness or not. We, AS HUMAN BEINGS, have a collective responsibility to help one another. Jehovah’s Witnesses aren’t the only non-profit organization or community that needs to admit they need to improve in caring for others. Child molestation doesn’t just exist in Jehovah’s Witness kingdom halls, it is EVERYWHERE and WE ALL need to help FIGHT CHILD MOLESTING!!! It certainly was upsetting to hear the word games being played. It wasn’t even legal ping-pong….it was outright silliness. Trying to avoid being trapped by a real law against criminality of a heinous nature, not a freedom of choice belonging to anyone, as in birthing choices of persons in a community.

    • John Redwood says:

      Well said Delores.

      Watchtower was collectively extremely unapologetic, which no doubt played a role in why Stephanie wanted to bring her case out into the open, and seek justice for all those who have been victimized. She was not just victimized by her abuser, but by the organization which was supposed to protect her. If you notice the words of her attorney Jeff Fritz, the announcement made to the press was “The matter with the Jehovah’s Witnesses has been resolved”

      This was a direct reference to the rebuke, or reproof Stephanie received when she was just 15 years old. Instead of Watchtower treating her as a victim, the treated her as a perpetrator herself, and publicly humiliated her. Now Watchtower has been publicly humiliated. Let’s see if they get that message

      JR

      • Big B says:

        @ John Redwood:

        Firstly, excellent reporting and summation of the trial John.

        “Now Watchtower has been publicly humiliated. Let’s see if they get that message.”

        If it were only true. It’s not ‘public’ enough for me as the news sources have not made this story ‘national’ in scope.

        Once again the public and Watchtower adherents (read ‘sheeple’) are kept in the dark. So their public humiliation is not nationwide or world-wide as I feel it should be.

        Thus “that message” given to the Watchtower is made impotent by silence, just like their U.N. involvement as a non-governmental organization. Even though reported by the GUARDIAN and picked up by the New York TIMES the story didn’t make the local papers or T.V. news.

        The Watchtower will not, I repeat, NOT change until enough ‘Sheeple’ are made aware of what’s going on. The Watchtower, for the most part, ignored their (ARC) findings and suggestions out of hand, thus continuing their insane policies with reckless abandon.

        Only the bravest of the brave would dare come here to this site to find out what’s happening in their beloved Organization.

        That being said, if and when the ‘sheeple’ find out the extent of their duplicity the hemorrhaging of funds and adherents will bring this oppressive cult down to its knees. It has to hit them in the wallet first before any CHANGE takes place. Maybe then, and only then will the WTBTS straighten up their house of ill repute.

        However, I doubt this will happen in my lifetime, which is why my immediate family and I left.

        • Winston Smith says:

          @Big B
          From the reports, it seem like the ARC investigation made some progress with waking up sheeple in Australia. We need something similar here in the States to shake things up. To your point, these one-off cases just don’t get enough national attention to make much of a difference.

          I think this oppressive cult will eventually fall and I hope I live to see it. Leaving now can be paralleled to “fleeing into the mountains” or better yet “Get out her my people if you do not want to share in her sins.”

          WS

          • Big B says:

            @ Winston Smith:

            I concur with your statements 100%.

            Leaving now can be paralleled to “fleeing into the mountains” or better yet “Get out her my people if you do not want to share in her sins.”

            Great point, what makes Watchtower any different than the rest of Christendom that rides the scarlet colored wild beast? And if membership was so innocent, as Watchtower claims, why the rush to suspend membership? Why the deafening silence? Why don’t the ‘Sheeple’ know?

            The last place I would run to for safety at Armageddon would be the Kingdom Hall. They will be the first ones (religions) destroyed at the great tribulation. Doesn’t the angel start his smashing of heads at the ‘sanctuary of the Temple’ in Ezekiel’s prophecy? Could the same happen to those professing to have God’s name, be his earthly organization and supposed Holy Spirit be first up for destruction?

            Something to think about to all current J.W.’s visiting this site.

  11. Sharon Christensen says:

    I hear you Peggy…same with my Mother…and other relatives of mine as well as my husbands….we are the apostates? Who’se actions are smearing Jehovah’s name with filth being covered over by the upper crusty? As to their representative…if one was having Jehovahs backing…going before superior authorities…would not they be given what to say by Him as in the case of Moses and Aaron, and not have to stumble and twist and lie, deny etc.? May justice be served to this corrupt cult who has had negative effects on so many lives. I was abused by two of my relatives, when I was a little kid…one has been disfellowshipped for a long time for fornication…the other remains in good standing with in the orgy…an elder no doubt by now handling and in charge of other peoples lives…his wife…a good pioneer many times if not a full time…by now…I do not bother to say anything…hoping they have stopped their disgusting sexual behaviour…did they inherit it from their Grandfather , a good Wt, street corner worshipper…who like my Dad would say…”tipped”, over Mrs. So an So many a times as his own wife was tied to the hay wagon so she would not follow him! My Aunt herself said….he tried more than once to bribe her to satisfy his sexual hunger pangs…with raspberry gum! Of all things! She just said…Yaschow demon….and hung on tightly to her axe…If he would come any closer…she would have given him the blunt end quite fast…smart woman! I get my courage from her….Even though, my own Mother knows and found out…she hollers at me to quit running down the…”Organization”….she calls me a B—h..And tells me to shut up as to…thanx Mom…For always being there for me, thru all the mental anguish the abuses I went thru in my life on account of this horrible man made group, that claims they are Gods people…”You will know them by their works”…..their works or lack of are smoking themselves out! good work to all who helped Steffany thru this and all the other times…Shame Shame….On JW.ORG…Keep on showing up their disgusting ways and practices….til she lies there devastated and naked…a disgust to all who love truth and justice. Thoughts are with all…The Christensen family…

  12. Sharon Christensen says:

    As per usual…I poke post comment and then something else comes in to my mind….Too many bad memories! :(. Too mess ones mind even more…in school, a person was not to partake of Oh Canada…when all the teachers and other kids be in the library part of the school for morning exercises or perhaps Remembrance Day service…I asked the teacher if I could stay in the classrm and draw or do my homework…worst of all, my cousin being a Jw to…was in there with me…My stomach would churn…times he did -times he did not…but a few times he took full advantage of the occasions to play out his sexual fantasies on me…I would feel soo bad, embarassed, disgusted…and worried what if the door would open and the teacher would walk in …what a disgrace to Jehovah…I would hold my breath and hope he would soon quit..I felt so horrible and ashamed. Then Book study and service arrangements were at his parents house…many times he took advantage of those occasions…If my brothers were around I would try to always be near them so he would not try to abuse them, so they would not have to feel the shame of what I went thru…I hope to this day, they never did…because of this…to this day, I feel so over proctective of my brothers even though they are older…I would never want for them to encounter harm cuz I failed as an older sister…I love them too much, and would rather suffer than them. Why did I never tell my mother…I knew she would have reacted like she so often did…You B….ch! What did you do to encourage him on ….so you just suffer and keep all to oneself…thanx to Jehovah now I have an awesome husband and daughter…I can talk to and cry…and try to heal. I hope all who have gone thru such horrible things…can like wise heal and feel ok with themselves…they were not to blame…not an easy path though…

  13. Eyes opened says:

    Great article! The Watchtower being divided into different corporations serves as a protection and allows one to plead ignorance where ignorance doesn’t really exist.

    Jefferson appears unknowing but his answers seem very sly…he seems well prepared for most questions. I’m not familiar with the legal field, but that’s the impression I get. Can’t wait to read more.

    Regards

    • Winston Smith says:

      Seems odd that an organization of “truth” would need several dummy corporations set up in order to protect its assets. “Theocratic Warfare” is the likely excuse, which is basically Machiavelli: the ends justify the means.

      WS

      • Eyes opened says:

        Hi WS, Lest we forget this is an org of real estate and money. And seems in need of a lot of protection.

        What amazes me is that some of my personal associates don’t grasp that when the Kingdom Hall debt was “forgiven” that didn’t mean the hall was owned by the congregation. They have a hard time realizing that the society owns it all lock, stock, and barrel. So reality makes a dent in their thinking when you ask, if a hall gets sold, who do you think gets the money? Long pause on that one. This is a huge real estate conglomerate. If they ever get taxed on their holdings, Humpty Dumpty might fall pretty hard. And the same can be said for the lawsuits they face. They can start liquidating Kingdom Halls that aren’t supporting them financially and would offer more value if they were sold. Too bad for the friends.

        Regards

  14. Doc Obvious says:

    Jehovah God is a God of order. Not of disorder. Watchtower, you’re no Jehovah. Not even close.

  15. Bright Lightbulb says:

    One word

    BRAVO

  16. outandabout says:

    I’ve noticed a few comments on this site expressing shame at once being a Jehovah’s Witness. Let me assure those people that nobody raises an eyebrow once a person wakes up from indoctrination. Quite the opposite. We completely understand the situation and the feeling towards the newly awakened leans more towards admiration than scorn. Absolution. No snorting or guffawing at all.

    Welcome to the world and glad you could make it.

    • Winston Smith says:

      I concur with your statements outandabout, but I think we all tend to ask ourselves, “why did it take so long for me to see it?”

      A few reasons of course: the org is very good at sounding convincing and confuscating the facts, they appeal to our sense of self worth (ooh you’re something special because you understand or accept this), and they do a good job of keeping anything critical of their organization out of reach for most members.

      WS

      • messenger says:

        Another reason is that WT occasionally admits some of their elders sin and commit wrong acts, being imperfect. At the same time WT puts out articles on proper Christian behavior, and these other articles give publishers the impression that their gb members are not like the imperfect elder, that sometimes abuses them. Those articles support publishers’ feelings, but with lip service only.

        The effect is that the articles on proper Christian behavior cause publishers to put up with ill treatment by ones they can see, the elders, while supporting the ones they can’t see, the gb, through their contributions and efforts. Because they don’t blame the org, they just believe some individuals are bad; and WT inoculates itself to fallout from that reality by admitting to it up front. But if publishers knew their primary leaders (gb members) were corrupt, then publishers would be less likely to support WT as much as they do.

        If the gb kept their anonymity they would do better. Televising themselves is a mistake, for some a bigger mistake than others. I think televising Anthony Morris hurts their position the most.

        • Winston Smith says:

          Messenger,
          While they state that elders are imperfect, the organization rarely admits any errors of its own. These are typically passed off as “new light.” Compare to the actual statement of apology made by the Worldwide Church of God at: https://www.gci.org/aboutus/forgiveus

          As for proper Christian behavior, nearly all Christian Churches teach the basics: love your neighbor, practice the golden rule, do not judge others. For the JWs you have to weigh that against all the teachings that go well beyond what is written on scripture.

          I agree that televising the GB is a mistake; it actually demystifies them before the rank & file and makes it easier to question their reasoning and motives.

          WS

          • outandabout says:

            I think the GB have gone way beyond the point of admitting anything, Winston. I don’t think the WWCG were into killing people with blood laws or creating a pedophile paradise, both of which could see the WT sued into the ground if admitted.They have no choice but to fight as they do and hope for the best.When their backs are eventually up against the wall, I guess insanity will have to be their final plea.

          • messenger says:

            In that apology, if we replace “old covenant” regulations, with WT rules, then their church’s former practice and beliefs mirrors JWs.

            Nice link WS
            messenger

        • Ricardo says:

          @messenger,
          You have a quite amazing ability to see the reality of what is happening in the organization and to explain it in ways that are concise and logical.

          I wish I was in your congregation. It would be great to get together after a meeting and discuss all the silly things we noticed, and hear your take on it.

  17. Ted says:

    Some of their policies are so apparently callous and
    inhumane that they are easily exposed under cross-
    examination. The only option left to them is to bluster,
    filibuster and side step. Or to do a Gerret Losche and
    not bother turning up at all.

    Several times at the Aussie RC, G, Jackson was asked
    questions on the consequences of leaving the religion.
    Any JW ( Replying Honestly) could have given the answer,
    but this man at the hub of the org, shirked it, saying it was
    not his area of expertise.

  18. Meredith J says:

    What a shame that the victim decided to do the deal with Watchtower. Today, 5 bishops from the Catholic Church in Australia are going to be grilled by the Australian Royal Commission for Institutional Responses into Child Abuse in Sydney. That will be an interesting outcome as the pattern is very similar to the Witnesses, in that the Vatican has been silent just like the GB (unless forced to) in coming forward to fix the situation permanently. The 17 March is when the day is set for the JW’s. Can only wonder what will happen that day. Maybe it should be a matter of prayer for those of us who still believe in God, in that it will start the ball rolling to finally rid the world of this cult. It is not a matter of if but when that will happen.

    • Meredith J says:

      I made a mistake. I just looked and the case study which is going to be examined to look at the shortcomings of the procedures apparently has been updated to the 6th March, 2017, which is not very far away.

  19. Jason says:

    Lies! Nothing but Apostate lies! …..

    I was talking about testimony of Mr Jefferson (if that is his real name) and all who represent WT……(whether anyone really represents WT or not)
    My God, this is going to likely kick start my YouTube video career, to hell with getting DF’d over it.

  20. Ric K says:

    Does anyone know when this law in PA to report was enacted. My mom tries to tell me that there was no law so that is why they did not report. Because they were not required. If someone has any legal info from PA. Please let me know. I’d like to prove her wrong

    • John Redwood says:

      Rick K

      Your mom is not correct. Here is what I can tell you. At the time the elders learned of the abuse of Stephanie Fessler, the law in Pennsylvania required the elders to report not only abuse, but even the mere suspicion of any abuse to the authorities. In Pennsylvania the authorities include the police and “Childline” – which is an organization which alerts all pertinent authorities including the police, when such an accusation occurs.

      This entire case is founded on the absolute fact that Pennsylvania law required these elders to report this situation. There were no exemptions for doing so. No confidential or clergy privilege applied in this case.

      I am going to give you the Judge’s exact words to the Jury at the beginning of the trial. Judge Collins read the Pennsylvania mandatory reporting law which was in effect AT THE TIME THE ELDERS BECAME AWARE of the abuse, which was 2004-2005. The Judge read these words to the jury on February 7th:

      “Persons who, in the course of their employment, occupation or practice of their profession, come into contact with children shall report or cause a report to be made in accordance with Section 6315 relating to the
      reporting procedure. When they have reasonable cause to suspect, on the basis of their medical, professional or other training and expertise, that a child coming before them in their professional or official capacity is an
      abused child. That concludes that portion of the statute for your consideration.”

      This statement read by Judge Collins is not in dispute. The plaintiff’s legal counsel and the defense team all agreed that this was correct and was not under dispute. It is important that you convey this to your mom or anyone else who might question this. Further we have two issues to consider.

      1) The elders were absolutely negligent in their positions as elders and members of the clergy. (On day three of the trial, Watchtower admitted that elders are clergymen, and this will be the subject of an upcoming article)
      2) The Watchtower organization’s legal department was grossly negligent, as they were informed of the suspected abuse, and failed to notify the authorities, and failed to advise the local elders to report the matter to the authorities.

      All of this is documented fact, and I will be supplying more information in upcoming articles on JW Survey. I am glad you asked this question. The answer is, yes, this was Pennsylvania law, and still is.

      JR

      • messenger says:

        In CA mandatory reporting for professionals, that in the course of their employment deal with children, is required whenever there is suspicion of abuse, and that abuse can even be neglect. It doesn’t need to be physical.

        Failing to report SUSPECTED abuse here carries a possible $1000 fine, and jail time. And, of course, it opens up the possibility of civil action.

        In CA mandatory reporters who file a report of suspected abuse CANNOT be sued, even if their claim doesn’t result in a finding abuse occurred. If CA has mandatory reporting laws for clergy, then there could be no repercussion for reporting.

      • Ric K says:

        Hi John. Thanks for the info. She tried to claim that this is a new law on the books. That JW elders do this now. But there was no law 3-4 years ago that said clergy had to report. So that is why they did not report. Because they did not have to. My question was. When did this law come out? 2016? 2000? 1970? Before that? When? She act like if the law was published they would have followed it. But back then there was no law requiring reporting of this.

        • Winston Smith says:

          @Ric
          See this link: http://law.justia.com/codes/pennsylvania/2012/title-23/chapter-63/section-6311

          Appears to have been enacted in 1995.

          WS

          • outandabout says:

            So being decent and caring has to be mandatory for Jehovah’s Witnesses? There’s probably no mandatory laws for reporting a bank robbery or a murder as well, so….if I see anything like that happening, I guess the christian thing to do would be to punish any victims I can see and give the felons a helping hand.
            What works for WT, works for me.

          • Winston Smith says:

            Even with all the facts and evidence clearly in front of them, the fully indoctrinated members will still refuse to accept/believe anything negative about the organization. Cognitive Dissonance.

            WS

          • Ric K says:

            Thanks much appreciated. Wow since 1995. But you know the lay people will point out this right away. “Except with respect to confidential communications made to a member of the clergy which are protected under 42 Pa.C.S. § 5943 (relating to confidential communications to clergymen),”. It will be their perfect excuse to say the law is confusing and that if it was expected explained. The JW’s would have followed the law. I agree with you, but you know the ignorance we are dealing with.

    • outandabout says:

      Ric K…..would you please put your hands around your moms neck and give her a bit of a shake for me? Not too hard, just enough to wake her up a bit. This having to pass a law in order to get people to do the decent thing….I’m just lost for words!
      I know it’s a cop-out, but even trying to use her excuse for not reporting shows JW’s are in possession of a sick and twisted mind.
      Worse to come.

      • Ric K says:

        Ohh believe me. I was an elder and felt the same way. Now I have to hear the same excuse from other family members who are elders. For some reason they want to defend this to the end and never admit fault. Even if they do admit they made a mistake. They will somehow say Jehovah helped us to see it and that’s why we changed the rule. They all point out how they had a letter recently read that tells them to report. I said, of course. If you had a 15 million dollar lawsuit. Who wouldn’t make the change. It’s like talking to the wall. You really get no where!!

        • messenger says:

          @Rick
          I understand your concern about the ‘exception clause’ that you read on Winston’s link. I took a quick read of it two or three days ago. However, JR said this issue was already ruled on by a judge, and that it was also accepted by lawyers on both sides. So there could be something else we haven’t seen, perhaps the law was amended. But even if that’s not the the judges decision stands unless it was changed on appealed. This case is over; so that’s not going to happen.

          Most likely there’s something we don’t know, since legal professionals made and accepted the decision.

      • Ric K says:

        Good point outsndabout I’ll have to use that murder and bank robbery analogy!

        • messenger says:

          @RicK

          Remember the Witnesses lost their clergy penitent privilege because of their policy of writing down information and passing it on for others to read. But the answer to your question may reveal the reason why those elders won’t be charged with a criminal offense.

          WT and their elders can claim they thought they had clergy penitent privilege, because its in the law code (Winston posted) which states clergy claiming that privilege, are not mandated reporters. At the time of the offense WT was not aware that to write down and pass on the JC information would cause their clergy to loose those privileges. This probably would be part of WT and their elders defense.

          But for your answer, WT elders, even though being clergymen, lost that confidentiality privilege because of notifying others, according to WT policy, of the confidential info. That’s why the judge told the jury they would just decide on the part of the statute she read to them.

          So, Ric K your mom could be right. At the time of the offense the elders and the WT probably didn’t believe they legally had to report. They thought the statute excluded them.

          • messenger says:

            Ric K
            Also look under part B of the statute. Clergy are listed as mandatory reporters. It could be that the report made to elders of the abuse is not deemed as confidential communication, protected under the exclusionary clause, by the statute. If so, your mom might be wrong, if WT lawyers viewed it that way.

            Law is left to interpretation. It’s hard to know how WT’s lawyers viewed this situation. But most defendants will use whatever strategy to win. Even if they knew they were to report, if they could come up with a valid reason to deny it they might do that. But check out section B.

          • John Redwood says:

            messenger

            At the time of the case (and now) clergy were mandated reporters. You will see very shortly in my next article that elders were confused by the legal department, and told they were not clergymen. They were specifically told by the legal department of WT not to report this case to the police.

            Even if they acknowledge being clergy (which they eventually did in this case) – there was no clergy privilege for a multitude of reasons. There was no confession, but there was an investigation by multiple elders, in which they called Fessler and Monheim into the Kingdom Hall for interrogation, then reproved both of them, twice. They also made this information available to many other elders, as well as the men in the legal department of Watchtower. So – they gave up all rights to clergy privilege for multiple reasons, and they were not allowed by the judge to argue this in court, even though they made a feeble attempt to do so.

            Stay tuned for the next article where you will see a lot more info regarding what the elders knew, and what they were told by the WT legal dept.

            JR

          • messenger says:

            Thanks John. As you’re aware WT already knew they lost their confidentiality privilege in CA, in one, or two, of Zalkin’s cases, because of WT policy requiring elder reports to be shared.

            I can’t understand why WT would tell elders they are not clergymen. To me it seems they were quite ignorant, or quite stupid and so lied to their elders about that. Of course I can’t know for sure, but I never assume professionals who work for very large organizations, like WT, are ignorant.

            Since they made that statement to their elders, it does uncover one more reason WT might have argued their elders aren’t clergy. It is possible WT doesn’t want their elders to know WT lied to them about that.

            I believe one of the quickest ways WT might take a large nose dive, is if they do something incredibly stupid, that causes a large percentage of elders to step-down, or even worse to leave.

            Looking forward to your next article John.

  21. Sharon Christensen says:

    With you there…Jason…why worry about getting dfed over! Shoot…who would want to belong to this lying group anyhow! They do not even know who and where etc., they all are with in the Jw. org… Good grief…and they are leading all these people…where to? !!!! What a farce presented to the world…I would not want to admit I belonged to this still…with all the proof of….Ridiculousness! They are a bunch if slimey ballers who only are in it for the money…liars and decievers! How is a person suppose to expect justice no matter how and what you suffered as to abuse…they will judge you as guilty…when they see or make a person cry and feel low…they get a ….”buzz on the fuzz” like our cat gets after a bit of nip! Dfed…who’se judgement…theirs? and who are they? Representing Jehovah? Not! Get a back bone and yeah…start your u tubeing video career…not sure why you waited this long! 😉 All the best!!! 🙂

  22. Agreed…Jehovah is a God of order…not disorder…With all the disgusting things going on in the organization…I have not let them break my faith in the existence of a just and true God….That Jesus gave his life so that EVERYONE exercising faith in him could be saved! There are many good and kind people who have no connection to JW.Org…who have kindly been of help to me and many others, who have suffered the negative effects of this cults abuse…as seen in Steffanys case and many others…It is not the…scarry cruel world depicted by JW.org….there is a world apart from Jw.org that is kind, caring, helpful …loving …for those, I am soo thankful. Do not be afraid to reach out to them…it is Ok. Judgement begins with who first???? Something to ponder on…”Get out of her”…yes. Turn and face the sun…let the shadows fall behind you…there has been many shadows in the lives affected by JW.org…But freedom is worth fighting for!

  23. Ted says:

    JR, Thanks for bringing the word “Estoppel” and its application
    in law to our attention, it was new to me. “It bars a person from
    taking one position, then intentionally taking the opposite position
    when it suits their legal case.”

    Although it refers to a principle in connection with law trials, we
    know this is a strategy the WTorg, uses all the time. Shifting
    positions when it suits.

    On the one hand Jehovah is in control, making the policies, then
    when they screw up big time, as with the collapse of all their dates
    based on 607BCE, 1914 CE, and the preposterous “Overlapping
    Generation” patch up. Then the position changes to “We are
    only Men, doing our best.” Estoppel a word worth remembering
    when I’m discussing WT policy with my brother in law elder.

    • messenger says:

      @Ted

      How to milk prophecy to for all you can get out of it.

      Ted I’ve thought of some more “new light” the WT can use to extend their generation date even further.

      They might say…This is what we use to believe…but when we look more closely at Luke chapter 21 which reads, Jerusalem will be destroyed, and the Jewish people will be dispersed among the gentile nations until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled, then we realize Christ didn’t take his throne until 1948 when the Jews once again claimed Jerusalem as their land.

      They can then claim 1948 as the start of their last days. Add to that the existing overlapping generations interpretation and presto WTs on into the next century. 80+80+1948=2108

      • Ricardo says:

        I thought the overlapping generations theory was already a good get out of jail card. Just add that the generation doesn’t overlap merely once, but twice. In this way the generation theory can go on forever: not just twice, but thrice, etc, etc.

        However, the current generation theory is enough to see most of us out. Bro. Franz, who was used as the example in the broadcast, was baptized in 1913 and died in 1992, a period of 79 years. If someone was anointed one month before he died (thus overlapping) then considering another period of 79 years brings us to the year 2071 as the latest the new system can arrive. I doubt I will be around at that time to hear about the overlapping of the overlapping generation.

        I think the GB have wriggle room for many years to come.

  24. Has any one seen the Assembly Hall in Mexico…where Sophia and Caleb were seen chasing each other of late? Testimonias To Jehovah? Wha! ? Not testimonias to Him…uh uh…testimonias as to how this realestate conglomerate has also managed to take…”sell the familia goat” pesos…and give to…JW. Ogres…so they can whine and dine in their paradisio…and watch the birds flitting about…come spring…window washin and drain cover cleaning daze…;) Her wealth has amassed…and they wunder in awe….saying…..thoughts to ponder…gd day to all…

  25. In regards to the …older sister…with the “heavenly calling”….. and no regard for worldly folk…was she the same one I knew ….obese…commanded her hubby, scrawny and all…wait on her hand and ft…cuz her ankles were too swollen from the…”load” and proceeded to comment at a Wt study…that a wife who is suffering abuse at the hands of her spiritual husband showuld just take it and ask herself what is she doing wrong…what can she do more to please her God given head? Made me sooo upset, was what I was then going thru….and I thought…yeah if she was the one being abused…instead of her scrawny lil hubby…perhaps she would sing a slightly different hymn…see she at one time belonged to the Catholic choir…before becomming a WT…so could really…Yoddle dey eh doo doo! Under my breathe…I had a few bad thoughts about her…but again…I eventually…am free of that to…tattered to some degree…but can patch….and a few marbles left in my bag to still play the game of life! 🙂

  26. Meredith J says:

    If there is one man who can topple this lot it is America’s current president Donald Trump. I think this should be a matter of prayer. People get behind the man instead of following the crowd and sticking him in the back. Remember Jesus is seeing it all and will act in his own time.

  27. Twistedsister69 says:

    Hey, twistedsister69 here. Hello from the Apple Store! My interweb is currently nonfunctional. ): Better get this out quick B4 the Apple Geek Squad kicks me out. Not like it never happened B4 (but that was more porn-related – KIDDING 😀 ).
    Really Great News!!! Terrific report. Really encouraging. Kinda ties in with my prepared comment:
    Conspiracy Theory #327 & Proof of Evolution: The GB & Elder Body are mutations who have become genetically incapable of telling the truth.
    Conspiracy Theory #328: Thank God evil people are so STUPID.
    Oh Oh. Here they come. C.T. #329: The Apple Store just got a call from WT HQ. See ya when I see ya.

  28. Nice to hear from you again…Twistedsis69… 2b honest…I was wondering what happened with you…since til now there was no comment bearing your name…Hoped you were ok…nice to see you back..I know…Apple stores are handy in a pinch! ;). If you explained you situation…I am sure the Geek squad would not mind you tuning in from the store…Now I can rest easy…Gd Nt…Love to all.

  29. Tara. says:

    “From time to time letters are received asking whether a certain circumstance would justify making an exception to the Christian’s obligation to tell the truth. In reply to these the following is given: God’s Word commands: “Speak truth each of you with his neighbor.” …
    There is one exception, however, that the Christian must ever bear in mind. As a soldier of Christ he is in theocratic warfare and he must exercise added caution when dealing with God’s foes. Thus the Scriptures show that for the purpose of protecting the interests of God’s cause, it is proper to hide the truth from God’s enemies. A Scriptural example of this is that of Rahab the harlot. She hid the Israelite spies because of her faith in their God Jehovah. This she did both by her actions and by her lips. That she had Jehovah’s approval in doing so is seen from James’ commendation of her faith.” Watchtower 1960 Jun 1 pp.351,352 Questions From Readers

    • John says:

      Hiding the truth and telling a lie are two separate things. What about Rev 21:27 ? Rev 22:15? & Prov 6:16-19 the seven things jehovah hates. A false tongue… a false witness.
      These scriptures are what Jehovah has said clearly Nowhere in the bible does it say it is ok to lie that is a twist on what it clearly written. 1 Cor 4:6 do not go beyond what it written.
      Jesus when he was temped by Satan said it is written. So if it’s in the bible as clear as we have it not to lie and as JW we follow Jesus then. We don’t lie and we follow what is written. Not what others twist to justify their lies. A lie is a lie and there is no justification.

      • John says:

        BTW. Abraham lied is what they say to protect Sara. But he also had a few wives. Can I have more than one wife just because he did ???

        • John Redwood says:

          John

          Good point. Same deal with Rahab – she lied to protect the Israelite spies, and she was rewarded for it. This Rahab principle is used to justify Watchtower’s “theocratic warfare” which is a fancy way of saying it’s OK to lie to protect the interests of the organization. Quite a contradiction for those who claim to be Christian, is it not?

          JR

          • Tara. says:

            I like that… ‘The Rahab Principle’.

          • Tara. says:

            I don’t remember any account of Jesus resorting to lies to protect what he preached. He would have come unstuck if he did. The Org. lie through their teeth so they hardly have Spiritual connections.

        • messenger says:

          Sarah was Abraham’s half sister.

          • John says:

            They seem to think the end justifies the means.
            I would love to ask what about David with Bath-Sheba. Her next child with David became the line to Jesus. Does that make his sin acceptable. Ask one of these that say it’s ok to lie if I have sex with their wife and we have a child and that child goes to bethel and becomes one of the GB does that mean I did a good thing ???
            That’s the same as their lies. It’s wrong no matter what the out come. But it’s even more wrong to protect a child abuser and hurt a child

    • David Merrill says:

      But please note that the Society has a clear caveat. If a JW takes an OATH to tell the truth he must either tell the truth or remain silent (and face the consequences). There is thus NO JUSTIFICATION for lying under oath. I wish more lawyers would refer to this official WT policy during these trials.

      • messenger says:

        WT knows what their lawyers are saying. If we know it they know it. WT leaders are responsible for everything their lawyers say and do in court.

        Plus WT as recently, and very recently, I believe just 2 or 3 weeks ago directed its members in a congregational study not to use deception even thoug not telling outright lies.

        The fact is WT, its leaders, are liars. There’s no way to get around it. No amount of reasoning can be used to prove that is not so. Ironically the only argument WT could present, as a defense to this reality, would itself contain lies. There is no defense to this truth that is an honest one.

        Another irony WT calls their religion TRUTH.

        • Ricardo says:

          @messenger,
          As time goes by, I’m more and more convinced that our organization has gone apostate.

          And here we are, on an apostate web site, talking about our apostate organization.

          Makes a person wonder if the word ‘apostate’ has any meaning any more.

  30. Meredith J says:

    I don’t think purposely misleading a courtroom after swearing on the Holy Bible to tell the truth is quite the same as misleading men who were going to kill those good men who were sent by God. Time and time again these men lie before the courts about their lack of shame and action, after they have sworn to tell the truth.

    Not only have they allowed these disgusting pedophiles to go unpunished, but they have denied any guilt for the pain and cruelty inflicted on victims. Meanwhile their flock wanders around with stars in their eyes that their shepherds are being ‘persecuted’. What an appalling mess. This religion is an appalling mess.

    • Ricardo says:

      @Meredith J,
      There is a small minority of us Witnesses who are looking at our religion and saying it is an appalling mess. Hopefully the realization will continue and the voices will become louder.

      What with the shocking child abuse court cases, the refusal of action by our GB which thus makes them guilty before God, the lack of growth in our numbers, the dumbing down of our meetings, the worldwide preaching work stalling before even a decent effort has been made, and the end of the system which would end all of this confusion, although imminent, is refusing to come. In all this confusion our Governing Body is silent except to tell us to throw all our magic plastic toys into the rubbish (and out goes Jack and the Beanstalk books too) and give extra donations to them. We are becoming directionless, things aren’t working out the way they were supposed to, and things related to our organization are falling apart.

      What an exciting time to be a Witness.

      • JBob says:

        @Ricardo – is this Jack and the Beanstalk toss-out due to the “magic beans”?

        I understand your frustration, Ric, and meeting dumb-down started somewhere around the 1980s, but has really ramp-up lately, I hear. But, also, this isn’t bemoaned by religions like JW’s but also by educators in general who feel they can’t teach subjects at any depth. The feeling is that “new kids (adults)” don’t have the patience to sit through a complex, or detailed, explanation and their attention goes to texting or mobile games when their eyes begin to glaze over during the detailed explanation of the “seven times” or “Babylon the Great” and “last days”.

        For that matter, the great focus on historical events which made the Watchtower seem to be a stellar prophet and to stir a sense of urgency as it pinpointed unfolding “biblical events,” tends to bore the “modern crowd”. After all, if it wasn’t “how is this relevant for existing today” worthy in school, why is it relevant these days?

        The same crowd that can’t understand an Electoral College and its disadvantages one election season can be advantageous the next. Or, that slavery wasn’t all black and white (yup, I’m talking USA not UK or other parts of the world–only the USA matters, right?…), or how government processes work and why protests while attention-grabbing don’t change things until someone moves a pen.

  31. Ricardo says:

    At the Australian Royal Commission yesterday the most senior Catholic leaders sat together in the witness box and admitted their church was guilty of “criminal negligence” over the issue of child sex abuse. The crimes were covered up, not reported to police or the abuser was subsequently moved.

    “It certainly is a catastrophic failure of leadership,” the Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe said. The church’s response had been “hopelessly inadequate, scandalously inefficient.”

    Cannot the same thing be said of the Witnesses? Wouldn’t it be great if our leadership had the guts to come out with an admission like this? As witnesses we laugh at the Catholic church, and yet in this instance the Catholic Church has shown more responsibility and love than our Governing Body.

    When our brother commits a sin, we are supposed to help him realize this and assist him to improve. We should approach him even if he is an elder. Which of us is going to tell Geofrey Jackson that he has committed a sin by lying at the Australian Royal Commission, and that he is continuing to sin in even a greater way by doing nothing to fix up the deficiencies in our religion which have allowed the child abuse to take place in the first place?

    Who is going to tell him? Any elders going to tell him? Any rank and file members? Anybody?

    Great. The little rank and file members get bullied like blazes. The leaders? Well, every body is too scared to correct them. Why? How is Bro. Jackson different than any one of us? Is he untouchable? Have we not got the moral responsibility to correct him? Is he not a worshipper of Jehovah, a fellow brother? And yet it is okay if he lies? If he shows a catastrophic failure of leadership? Somebody have the guts to tell him he is wrong, please.

    • Meredith J says:

      And what about the pathetic story of the 92 year old Catholic lady from Melbourne who travelled to Sydney for the proceedings so she could look one particular bishop in the eye to apologise to her. Her daughter had been abused as a teenager many years before by a priest and had committed suicide 20 years ago. Sad story. She never got her apology. Sounds like a familiar story. Seems like Catholics and Witnesses go together like peas and carrots. How they would hate to hear that. Struck by the same plague. And to think how much they accused the Catholics of not being Christian. What did they say about fake Christians? Babylon? No different. Drain the swamp.

    • messenger says:

      Hi Ricardo.

      What do you think? Since Jackson apparently lied when he said he, as a representative WT, he did not believe in corporal punishment for disobedient minors, while there was no hurtful consequence he would have personally received had he been truthful, then do think he might have lied about being anointed, since claiming that was one of qualifications to get elected to the gb?

      Since Lett lied about WT’s pedophile problem, and furthered that lie by claiming apostates made up the story, then do believe it’s possible Lett lied about being anointed, since that is one of he qualifications for being elected to the gb?

      And since the rest of the gb never publically denied the truthfulness of Jackson’s claim or Letts lie, then do you believe it could be possible that they all lied about being anointed, since that is a qualification for being appointed to the gb?

      There is an ex-brother, ex-elder, that has a video on line telling his story. After learning about the WT pedophile problem from Barbara Anderson and others, he sent a letter to the GB anonymously complaining about that. He dropped it off in a neighborhood away from his home. Two elders caught him outside his home, told him about the letter, and told him it sounds like him. That brother then admitted to it and disassociated himself feeling they were going to DF him anyway.

      • outandabout says:

        Instead of wondering what they have lied about, messenger, it might be a far simpler task to find out if there’s any truth in anything they have ever said. The list would be much smaller.
        I can’t believe you guy’s are wondering whether or not the GB are anointed.

        Guess what….I am anointed. Why? Because I said so.
        And I’ve personally spoken to Jesus on many occasion as well.

        • messenger says:

          One of the reasons I read here outandabout is because not often, but every now and then someone’s comment gives me a big chuckle. Nice comment, especially the last part.

          • outandabout says:

            I can prove I’m anointed by citing scripture and applying it to myself. That’s all the GB have done, so why can’t everybody.

            I think I’ll be God tomorrow. I could do with a change.

            Watching you!
            Cheers.

    • messenger says:

      And don’t forget Anthony Morris’ lie, when he claimed during his US zone talk that some will consider his controversial statements to be his opinions, but he claimed he had the counsel in writing right there in his hand. Did you ever see where WT claimed all brothers who are 23 years or older that are not appointed MS are not good Christian marriage material? I never saw that, and during his talk Morris never quoted anything from WT, though he spoke about that point for some time. Did he lie? and if so is it possible he lied about being anointed to fulfill that qualification to become a gb member?

      A few spelling errors in my post above this one.

      • Ricardo says:

        @messenger,
        As every day goes by, I hear further bad news about our organization and the congregations around me.

        You know how last weekend Viv Moritz asked my abuser up on the stage as an example of someone who has not lost the love he had at first? Well during this past week 16 people have left the abuser’s congregation. They are all families, and they are upset over an adult brother who is acting too affectionately towards their children. He touches them too much, gives them sweets and says he is in love with one of the 10 year old girls. Quite strange behaviour. The families complained to the elders, and have waited for 6 months but no action has been taken and the affectionate brother has only become worse. So, seeing how the elders won’t do anything, the 16 have moved to a neighboring congregation. Counting those 16, altogether from that congregation more than 30 people have moved out in the past 6 months. We are waiting to see if the congregation will be dissolved.

        But, hey, get the abuser up on the stage while his congregation collapses at his feet.

        Messenger, I asked you above, but I’ll repeat it here, Do you think our organization has become apostate? Oh, a better question: Do you think our organization is apostate? There is a difference in those two questions.

        I think it is. Now I have to work out what to do about that.

        • messenger says:

          Hi Ricardo,

          I think individually JWs are Christians, and that they are in an approved relationship with God.

          Objectively looking at all the evidence I now know about the organization, I believe it started as an apostate offshoot of Christianity. Many of Russell’s ideas were WRONG. If he started the oner true church, especially one proceeding the tribulation, I don’t believe he would have preached incorrect information about the tribulations beginning. Also, he would not have linked the pyramid with Bible prophesies. And WT, as an organization, would never have created all their man-made LAWS, if they were what they claim they are. I don’t believe most, maybe even any of the gb are anointed. Ray Franz MAY have been.

          I think weeds are still with the wheat, and that the separation will not occur until the tribulation, or after it.

          • Ricardo says:

            @messenger,
            That answer was a bit of a riddle. I am guessing, from your previous statements, that faith in Jesus, together with a Godly lifestyle, is necessary for salvation. Truth is not necessary, as no religion has the absolute truth. But Godly conduct is necessary and will be evaluated individually at the tribulation where the separation of sheep and goats will take place. As most Witnesses (R&F) have a Godly lifestyle, they are approved. However, our leadership of bullies had better watch out.

            Is that summation fairly accurate?

            How would you define Babylon the Great then?

          • Winston Smith says:

            @messenger & Ricardo,
            A couple points:
            Russell taught that all who honestly professed faith in God through Christ could have a relationship with him regardless of denomination. In fact, he said denominations were a tool from the devil sent to divide Christians. Although Russell had some hair brain ideas such as the pyramidology and such, if Russell’s teachings were so far off, how could this organization have been selected as God’s sole channel in 1919 when all these teachings were still in force?

            As for Ray Franz, he held that this teaching of two classes of Christians was not biblical, but really an apstate teaching in of itself. Ray held that all Christians had hope of heavenly life, not just a select few.

            As for Babylon the great, if you consider the possibility of a date earlier than 70 CE for Revelation, then the identities become easier to work out, with Babylon being the Jewish nation and the wild beast being Rome. Ray Franz believed that the entire JW take on scripture was skewed and that once you finally broke free of their predispositions, you could gain a much deeper understanding of scripture.

            WS

          • messenger says:

            @ Ricardo.

            No Ricardo your summation of my beliefs is absolutely erroneous. Also I thought my comment about WT was very clear. I’ll copy and paste part of that again. Here’s what I said:

            “Objectively looking at all the evidence I now know about the organization, I believe it started as an apostate offshoot of Christianity.”

            I believe what is necessary for salvation starts with a desire but does not end there, the desire to know God and then to know Christ.

            I never made any comments on this site, that I can recall, about salvation being contingent on doing certain works as you thought I did. I debated ones that have that belief, but I don’t have that belief.

            People are drawn to God, if, and when, they have a desire to know him and to follow him. People that do not have that desire will not be saved, because they will not follow God, except for perhaps a time, doing so to fulfill some need. But they will not to follow God for who he really is.

            If a person desires to know and follow God they will seek him. Eventually they will find him and receive salvation. God knows them, and he will bring them to salvation. For some people that may happen during the great tribulation. For some people that may happen after it. And for some before people that happens before the tribulation.

            I believe many of the things that are discussed on this site, things that people say are necessary for salvation don’t give a clear picture of how and why God saves. Although I agree with some comments from some members here, WS is one of them. I don’t agree with everything some of these guys say, but I believe the idea about what’s necessary for salvation is clear from some commenters. They have a clear understanding of it . And I think others are in the dark, total darkness.

            SALVATION is Christ, he IS the truth. There is no other truth except that. His apostles were sent to spread that message to the world. Anything added to that is apostasy. Its not that a saved person must believe in Christ AND…. There is no and. Believing in Christ is the end of it, and someone who truly knows God knows that because God allows them to know it.

            That’s the number one reason WT is apostate. They don’t believe or teach that message.

            Works come in this way. If anyone really believes they are a friend of Christ and his father then the way they live their life is affected by that belief. Or Ricardo, would you kill your dad? Would you do works, if by your works your dad could live?

            That’s why and how a Christian has works. There is no prescribed formula of them. A Christian’s works are performed voluntarily because he wants to perform them. Those works are in harmony with what God wants, because God is the father of Christians. A Christian’s father cares and helps him, and he cares and helps his father, the same way Christ did. That’s why they are Christ’s brothers, only in that sense. Because Christ is like God. They cannot be like God, or Christ, but still they are related in love for each other (Christ, God, and Christian) as a family.

            The apostles preached to Christians, that were not fully Christians, as some exists today. That’s why the apostles talked about behavior and works. Otherwise there wouldn’t have been much need to, despite the fact we’re imperfect and they were imperfect. We’re still talking to people that are not saved, even in the church. And still the apostles mostly spoke about Christ, knowing only he is salvation, and only he is the truth.

            Since the truth about Christ is what saves, and according to scripture it is the only thing that saves, then understanding everything else that is biblical would be unnecessary for salvation wouldn’t it? And if I’m wrong about that point please quote a scripture that proves me wrong.

          • messenger says:

            @ Ricardo

            One last thought about your assessment of my beliefs. I believe Truth is absolutely necessary to receive salvation. The truth and belief about Christ and the truth about God’s word.

            I believe some churches have a better understanding of Christian behavior than WT, because they have a better understanding of those truths. But since wheat and weeds still remain together then truth about all of Bible’s teachings are things difficult to know. The church should know much and does, but apostates make it more difficult than it would otherwise be to know the Bible’s message. That’s just one reason. God hasn’t revealed all truth about his word, and all true Christians know that God hasn’t

            I can only assume why some things are still hidden. Here are a couple possible reasons.

            God tells people what they need to know, when he believes, they need to know it. Also, God might not reveal some information about himself, and his purpose, because it gives unbelievers, who are doubters, logical reasons not to believe in him.

            God does not want believers to follow him merely for logical reasons. There is an irony in that. Because logically people will not follow God for all eternity for logical reasons. Persons (human and otherwise) will only do that because of love for God and other beings. If you take love out of the equation many will eventually defect to do their own thing. That’s what history shows happened. That’s why it’s logical that the kingly law is the law of love. That’s the only quality and plan, that God’s revealed to us, that can make his plan work. Logic alone results in rebellion, because a person might think they can be better off another way. And even if that’s not so, what if they don’t like God?

            But if they understand the Truth that God loves them then no reason to defect. So when you said I don’t believe truth is necessary that was incorrect.

        • messenger says:

          @Ricardo,

          First in answering your question about Babylon the Great’s identify, or defining it, as you worded your question let’s agree to use common sense in considering an answer.

          John saw pictures of things. Many of the pictures were symbolic representations of something else, and their identities obviously were not fully explained to John (for he did not tell us), so its probably he didn’t fully understand what all those things were. But was John saved anyway? Yes, because he was a friend of Christ, not because he understood what Babylon the Great represents.

          Nevertheless its picture is in scripture along with the warning to get out of her. So let’s assume the WT’s belief is correct, and Babylon the Great represents false religion. That’s a reasonable interpretation especially if defined as apostate Christianity.

          Here is one of the scriptures that speak of her, “Be glad over her, O heaven, also you holy ones and you apostles and you prophets, because God has judicially exacted punishment for you from her.” Rev 18:20 NWT

          “Be glad, heavens, because of her destruction! Be glad God’s people, and the apostles and the prophets! Because God has judged her for what she did to you!” Rev 18:20 Today’s English Version

          Those scriptures state God destroys Babylon the Great because of her punishment to God’s servants. Well whose religion were God’s servants in, including Christ? They were in God’s religions that went apostate. Even inside those apostate religions did God’s servants still have a relationship with God? Did they still receive salvation by God? Yes! What would be any different now.

          Christ was in an apostate religion. But Christ didn’t work with those members that held on to apostate beliefs, and hurt other people because of apostate beliefs. That’s why I warned you to be careful where you are. That’s why I said no one could pay me anything to accept an appointment from WT. Christ told us to be as careful as a serpent, that cannot easily see danger until its almost in front of its face.

        • Eyes opened says:

          Hi Ricardo, Gal. 1:8,9 might answer your question about whether the org is apostate.

          Regards

          • Ricardo says:

            @Eyes opened,
            If the organization is apostate, then all Witnesses are apostates, right? So, this site, an apostate site, is actually apostate of an apostate organization.

            Maybe we should just welcome all Witnesses to this site as certified members, as they are apostates.

            Then, as more Witnesses (aka apostates) join, this will then become a Witness site.

            So, there will be a need for pure apostates only, at some point.

            How can we keep the Witnesses out, and protect the purity of apostasy?

          • messenger says:

            @Ricardo

            How do reason all Witness are apostate because WT is? That would make Christ an all the prophets that worshipped inside apostate Judaism apostates.

            You probably have that thinking because of being taught that reasoning from WT for so many years. Christians are judged individually, not as groups.

          • Ricardo says:

            @messenger,
            I hadn’t realized that. Thanks for that point. So when I’m at the meeting trying to differentiate what information helps me to be a better Christian rather than a better Witness, I may be going through a similar process as Simeon and Anna from Luke Chapter 2, who had to differentiate the true path from the Pharisaic one. I like that thought.

        • messenger says:

          @ Ricardo

          Hi Ricardo, let me clarify why I said your assessment of my beliefs was inaccurate. It was because of the idea that I believe it’s necessary to “live a godly lifestyle” in order to receive salvation. What is a “godly lifestyle?” That means different things to different people.

          The Bible says Christians do not need a teacher, because God teaches them. But since they also listen to opinions from others, who are Earthly teachers, then true Christians can develop consciences that believe different behaviors (ones not mandated in scripture) are necessary in order to live a “godly lifestyle.” For instance, I personally don’t believe celebrating birthdays, celebrating Christmas, or celebrating national holidays would stop a person from receiving salvation. I don’t believe that voting or smoking would stop Christ from saving a Christians. But, almost every JW believes those actions prevent one from being a TRUE Christian and in line for salvation.

          I believe the Bible and personal consciences tells Christians what a (biblical) godly lifestyle is. If a person rebels against God, and he starts smoking, and voting, and celebrating Christmas, believing those things are against God’s will, then that person isn’t saved. But the reason is because of his rebellious thought, not his lifestyle.

          The Bibles RULES are clear and easy to understand. A person that doesn’t want to follow those clear commands, doesn’t want to follow God. So, if you were only referring to Bible Rules and not some others then your assessment of my beliefs was fairly accurate.

          best wishes!

          • Chiafade says:

            Why is this discussion so long to begin with?

            Is the organization apostate? I’ve got a very simple answer to that question. The organization is a FAKE. A FRAUD. IT ALWAYS HAS BEEN. There has never been a deity directing it and there never will be.

            Also since we’re taking a bit of liberty with the rules of this sites moderation I’ll add my two cents on this idea of being “saved”. The very idea of not being “saved” because I no longer believe the unbelievable is repugnant.

            The idea of being “saved”. Using vocabulary like “a godly lifestyle” and “not wanting to follow gods commands” all harken back to our time in a cult. So why hold on to these ideas? Would it not be more prudent to discuss these religious notions outside of this forum? Reading these comments really reminds me of the rationalization found in the kingdom hall. That is NOT a good thing.

            Maybe I’m out of bounds here. You guys always have great comments but this topic seems a bit out of hand.

          • outandabout says:

            Bible rules, messenger? Oh!, you mean where God say’s “I love you but if you don’t love me back I will kill you?
            Or Mark 16;17-18 where it says true believers can take poison and not be harmed?
            Yep, pretty clear to me! No need for any cherry picking at all.
            cheers.

          • Ricardo says:

            @messenger, thanks for your clarification. I’ll have to read that a couple of times to get my head around it. Your explanation is appreciated.

            @Chiafade,
            Thank you also for your feedback. Sorry if our discussion bored you, but your views are also valuable to us, so thanks for that. As messenger’s comments tend to show a depth of understanding, I wanted to tap into that. I apologize if you thought me excessive.

            @outandabout,
            Thank you for being you. Your view is appreciated too.

          • messenger says:

            @outandabout

            “He said to them, ‘Go into the whole world and preach the gospel to all mankind, whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. Believers will be given these signs of power: they will drive out demons in my name; they will speak in strange tongues; if they pick up snakes or drink any poison, they will not be harmed; they will place their hands on the sick, who will get well.” Mark 16:15-18 Today’s English Version

            Outandabout none of the Bible translations I’ve looked at translate Mark 16:18 as a Bible rule that Christians drink poison. So, I don’t understand the point you’re trying to make about it. That scripture says if they do it, not that they should do it.

            Today people mistakenly drink poison. My mom knows a lady that picked up a snake thinking it was a stick. I’ve personally killed about a dozen rattlers, and they are difficult to see. I reached down once in the dark and came very near to picking one up myself. I was no more than a foot away when it began to rattle.

            So, if Christ made that statement he could have been referring to some of his followers mistakenly drinking poison. He certainly was not commanding them to do so or even suggesting they do it. Or Christ might have been alluding to another time, back to the time Jewish tribes under Moses wandered in the wilderness. While there poisonous snakes entered the camps and bit many of them. A carved serpent was made, put on a pole and lifted up. The Jews that were bitten would look towards it to live. That’s a possibility, because Christ was speaking to Jews who would attach meaning (God’s protection) to that historic event.

            “They will pick up snakes in there hands, and be unharmed should they drink deadly poison….” Mark 16:18 Jerusalem Bible

            …if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them..Mark 16:18 Revised Standard Version.

            “..and if they drink any deadly thing…” vs 18 King James

            “…and if they drink any poison…”vs 18 Phillips Modern English

            “…and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them..” vs 18 Revised Standard Version

          • Eyes opened says:

            @Messenger,

            I appreciate your reasonable and sensible thoughts.

            Regards

          • Eyes opened says:

            So many comments Messenger, I was referring in particular to your thoughts on a godly lifestyle:)

            EO

        • Big B says:

          @ Ricardo & Messenger;

          “Do you think our organization has become apostate? Oh, a better question: Do you think our organization is apostate? There is a difference in those two questions.”

          For what it’s worth I believe that the answer is ‘Yes’ for both questions.

          The organization became ‘apostate’, in my opinion, when the drunken bully J.F. Rutherford, in what can be described as a hostile takeover,gained control of the WTBTS by silencing his detractors at the death of C.T. Russell.

          Rather than becoming Russellites the IBSA became Rutherfordites following his beliefs and discarding Russell’s pyramid teachings by supplanting these with Rutherford’s equally nonsensical beliefs.

          To this day the name they bare (Jehovah’s Witnesses), the place they meet (Kingdom Hall), the ministry they practice (door to door) and the message they bare (Armageddon is a’commin) are all Rutherford inspired nonsense.

          This nonsense has continued unabated now well over seventy-five years even though figures today show that the millions of hours spent preaching this ‘apostate’ fabrication of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is in the red (negative) as far as world-wide new membership growth. This does not begin to explain the continued growth of partakers at the Memorial which has increased by more than 5,000 in ten years!

          In conclusion, this clueless, pedophile protecting, Pharisaic ‘CULT’ is nothing but Advent-ism gone completely rogue! It is a Millerite ‘Great Disappointment’; an 1844 throw back ‘updated’ for modern-day consumption. It has always been from its inception and continues to be an ‘apostate’ religious “CULT”.

          Luke 12:45:
          “But suppose that servant says in his heart, ‘My master will be a long time in coming,’ and he begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk”.

          The WTBTS is the EVIL SLAVE who literally abuses the other slaves because his master is delaying.

          • Winston Smith says:

            @Big B,
            I think your analysis is spot on.

            WS

          • Ricardo says:

            @Big B,
            From my observations and experiences, I also agree you are spot on. Especially with the abuse part.

          • outandabout says:

            Hi messenger….I wasn’t suggested that it’s a ‘requirement’ of believers to drink poison, merely stating that ‘if they drink any deadly thing, it shall in no wise hurt them’. That’s what it says in my family bible from 1900.
            So my point is that it’s just not true, so why is it there in a book of truth?

            We are to believe that a ‘perfect’ god wrote the bible, so the bible should also be perfect and easy to understand. None of these thousands of offshoots and thousands of years trying to figure it out.

            The Road Code was written by ‘imperfect’ men and is clear and concise because it’s terribly important that it is. None of this wishy-washy ‘yeah, but’.

            Imagine if god wrote the Road Code in the same manner as the bible and their was a collision and the two drivers got out and started arguing over different interpretations of the Road Code and this went on for two thousand years, people died and came and went, the crowd grew larger and larger. Skirmishes breaking out on the perimeter.

            God’s made a lousy job of The Road Code of Life. He’s made everything, but can’t produce a simple book?

          • messenger says:

            @outandabout

            I understand. Thanks for your clarification outandabout.

            Most Christians, including some on this site, believe the parts of the Bible that need be understood for salvation are simple to understand. We believe those parts are understood by Christians in various denominations.

            Of course I didn’t write the book. But there are parts of it that explain its ambiguity.

            Without quoting any scriptures I’ll list a few spots in the Bible that might help you understand some reasons for its ambiguity.

            Daniel 12:4,8-10

            Matthew 13: 10-16

            Luke 12:1-2

            John 6:43-47

  32. Eyes opened says:

    Just curious…will GB members be required to attend the ARC proceedings in March, 2017??? Thanks

    • Ricardo says:

      The ARC will want the Australian leadership to be there, but not the GB. Just as the Pope was not required to attend for the Catholic session, just the Australian leadership.

      • Tara. says:

        So Jackson will not be called back?

        • Ricardo says:

          Cardinal Pell was not called back for the Catholics. But the Catholics did admit responsibility and institute some changes. At this stage Jackson would not need to be recalled, as the Commission has already ascertained from him the relationship between the GB and the Australia Branch, as well as the possibility of changing procedures and who can do that.

          It will be interesting to see the Commission’s reaction when they see that not only has nothing changed, but there is a refusal to change.

          I hope there is a provision to recall Jackson at that time and speak sternly to him and threaten legal action. But I don’t know how much power the Commission has.

  33. JBob says:

    C’est la vie…

    JR owes me a computer monitor–

    Justice may be a blind woman, but she ain’t no dumb b*.

    As I read the meandering testimony from Thomas Jefferson [seriously!?! that’s his name?], I was struck by his seeming difficulty navigating being a believing JW and spinning the doublespeak for the secular authorities. JW mythology/theology declares none are clergy, yet for legal purposes you must claim to be an ordained cleric. Somewhere along the process, TJ gets confused which explains why he may have uttered the “truthful” statement–‘Assistant secretary/treasurer, I believe [if I’m not already fired or deleted]’. Maybe TJ (unlike many hardened administrative-types) had not shed his Wt-believer-filters and totally under the spell that Wt has no clergy, so during his depositions and prep he didn’t catch on to the “trick” that for the legal and secular world, “oh yes, we’re clergy and due all the confidentiality privileges.”

    But, privacy and confidentiality work strangely in Huxley’s “Brave New World” of the Watchtower. What is private and confidential is spread far and wide throughout the corporate structure and local administratives; even if the names are changed, what is private may windup on a convention assembly dramatic film (erstwhile “dramas”) to teach a lesson for all.

    In all this I took out the incident of rape, child abuse, etc, and let’s say we had a traumatizing automobile accident–cars both driven by JW’s. Who do you call? Do you call your elder to determine should I report this to the police? I’m bleeding, should I go to a hospital? Okay, that last one, you’ll probably call an elder anyway because of the blood transfusion issue, but focus on the police reporting.

    Assuming there are no mandatory vehicular accident reporting laws, play out the scenario again. You call the elder because we hit Bro X or X hit me [he said, she said–keeping to the “two witness confuscation”], but normally, people call the police because charges are filed for traffic violations, or someone is injured and needs hospitalization [molestation victims need treatment for physical and emotional trauma]. Elders convene and determine that there are no witnesses that Bro X is guilty of traffic violations (the Watchtower has guidelines on this, but again, it’s ‘he said, she said’ since no other witnesses saw the traffic incursion), so no action is taken except to counsel both parties on proper driving etiquette [the corresponding guidelines the Watchtower publishes regarding interaction of men and women, albeit Victorian and Edwardian]. Bro X moves to another congregation where he continues driving recklessly.

    The community at large is never made aware that Bro X is a danger behind the wheel or Sis Y is. Insurers for both parties’ vehicles eat large loss because no report is filed through law enforcement. Or, Sis Y is left to try to put her wrecked auto back together or find new transportation [Bro X having no remorse or consideration that he should replace her vehicle or contribute to its repair].

  34. John says:

    Is it possible that someone or more than one high up in the organisation has an accusation against them on record. Maybe true or not it disqualifies them as elders and all privileges. If this came out it would discredit them as GB or others in authority. This would open a whole can of worms.
    Is this possible? Or more probable!!!
    There is no other reason they are so determined not to hand the list over

    • JBob says:

      A day late and a few coins short, John. This has already happened. A GB member was accused of being a child pedophile (or, having inappropriate contact with a child) and said member was “excused” from his duties on the GB. Another GB member was found to be flagrante homosexual (his lover had been given privileges and posts reporting to committees through which said GB member had oversight) and this member was “excused” from his duties (1970-1980’s).

      It has also been alleged that some prominent Bethel factory overseers exchanged “sexual favors” from young Bethelite workers behind or between the “dark passages” of printing presses, perhaps in exchange for privileges or “special duties”.

      • John Redwood says:

        Jbob

        A day late? I am not clear why you made this comment. We are aware of all of the scandal related to Chitty and Greenlees and the other items you mentioned, but what is the point of saying “A day late and a few coins short”?

        • JBob says:

          JR you and I are obviously aware, but apparently John was not. The comment is not an insult, as you seem to perceive it.

          • John Redwood says:

            JBob

            Sorry, are you referring to a different John? The reason I ask is that it appeared you tagged me in the comment, but I might be mistaken

            JR

          • John says:

            No offence taken.
            I was not aware of these allegations. I have not yet seen all the facts but I would love to know more. Are there names of who these GB members are ? How was is explained that a GB member was no longer serving ? Where can I find this information ? This is all I need to wake a lot of people I know up as we are all still going to ever meeting but we have huge doubts but it is our lives for so long it hard to jump ship

          • John Redwood says:

            John

            There is quite a bit of information online regarding Ewart Chitty and Leo Greenlees, deceased members of the JW governing body. Clearly the organization would never admit to one of their high ranking members being a pedophile, but they did admit to the homosexuality of some members of the Brooklyn Headquarters staff, and published this information in a Kingdom Ministry post. Certainly we can provide this information for you, but I am sure you will find all you need online. Here is just one article from an activist, but you will find many more:

            http://www.freeminds.org/bethel/homosexuality_bethel.htm

            One thing to keep in mind is that the organization has been protecting their files related to accusations and confirmed cases of child abuse for many decades, and has failed to release these documents, which would send shockwaves throughout the Witness community if these were uncovered. The recent cases of abuse we have seen are just the tip of the iceberg in an organization which has turned a blind eye to the proper reporting of such individuals in an effort to protect their reputation. You will find quite a bit of information online on this subject, which is sadly all too true.

            JR

          • JBob says:

            Too many Johns [nope, don’t even–]

      • Carlos says:

        Is this verifiable? Not that I’m knocking it. It’s great info, just wondering if there are any documents relating these. Thank you.

        • John Redwood says:

          Carlos

          All pre-trial documents are available from the State of Pennsylvania. The trial transcripts are available directly from the court reporters for a fee for each session of trial. I do not believe they are available yet on the public website for the state of Pennsylvania.

          JR

    • JBob says:

      Chitty, Greenlees were precursors to the ejection of Raymond Franz and a subsequent “witch hunt” (a campaign directed against a person or group holding unorthodox or unpopular views) of free-thinkers who had a focus of biblical reading and were rediscovering texts and verses that aligned them more to the orthodox interpretation of scripture than the Watchtower’s advent-imminent interpretation.

      For Chitty and Greenlees, unless you had connections and social ties to HQ representatives, rank-and-file (r/f) did not know the reasons, unless someone let the gossip slip to you. Later, with Ray Franz, it was picked up by Newsweek, Time, US News, Christianity Today, and other news media outlets, so the fracture at HQ was public. The HQ spin, however, to the “flock” was that Raymond Franz had started desiring his own “following” etc, etc. Other allegations were that RF had started inserting “Christendom” teachings into the publications, etc. Freeminds (at the time Bethel Ministries) was sometimes “whispered” as an example of people at HQ wanting to start their own “Society” or “Bethel”.

      So, in summary, not much was given up as to why GB members were “missing” or dismissed. As usual, the Wt attempted to spin it as “fulfillment” and “just a sign we’re closer than ever to…”

      I still find it humbling that as devout as I was at those times and participating in the “bashing” of those “apostates,” I later found myself refreshed by the “mind-opening” critical thinking and research of those at HQ who had escaped and could show why I had been in a game of chess I’d never win.

      • John Redwood says:

        JBob

        Great points. It’s interesting how those of us “apostates” who are not child molesters are treated so poorly, as Franz was treated, despite the fact that the real deviants were those inside the organization, hiding who they really were, going after the men who were quite sincere and genuine in their efforts. The hypocrisy is astounding

  35. messenger says:

    @ Ricardo

    Hi gang. Ricardo asked me if I believe the WT is an apostate religion. I’m posting this as a new post, and not under his question, because some others may be interested in the information. Consider for yourselves whether YOU believe WT is an apostate Christian church. Consider all the evidence you’ve been exposed to. Here’s another piece of the puzzle.

    When you finish reading my quote, if you wish, you can google Russell and the pyramid of Gizeh. There is plenty of information online showing how Russell believed the measurements of that ancient pyramid were prophetic, and were linked to Bible scriptures. WT distanced itself from those beliefs in 1928.

    One of the books I own is Light Book One. It was written by Rutherford and published in 1930 (the copyright date numbers are very small-but it looks like 1930 to me). Mine is an original copy. I say that so you’ll know I didn’t copy and paste the quote from the internet. Nothing in it is altered. Pay close attention to how Rutherford describes people who believe the pyramid of Gizeh’s measurements relate to Bible prophecy. While doing so remember that Russell taught that those measurements do relate to scripture. Rutherford probably believed it, since he never renounced Russell’s teaching about it publically until 1928. Light’s quote below:

    “The remnant now ‘see visions’; that is to say, are given an understanding of things not heretofore understood. A special blessing is the portion of the remnant deciphering the code signs of the book of Revelation; also those who love righteousness, and hear and obey what they understand, will be blessed. Those who ‘hate instruction and cast the Word of the Lord behind them,’ who take away from God’s word of Revelation or who add thereto by adding the signs such as the pyramid of Gizeh, will not understand. ‘None of the wicked shall understand.’ Ps 50:17; Dan12:10; Rev.22:19” Light (Book One) pg 12 par.1

    Rutherford gave a stinging rebuke to ones that believe the pyramid’s measurements relate to Bible prophecy, even quoting a scripture that describes them as “the wicked.” Russell’s followers believed that, if they believed his teachings prior to 1928, when Rutherford denounced the idea.

    WT CLAIMS Christ appointed it as his faithful and discreet slave in 1919. But Rutherford claims those who believe in this pyramid doctrine are scripturally pronounced as ‘the wicked.’ Could this be one more reason why the QUESTION was asked in ancient times, “WHO REALLY IS the faithful and discreet slave…” In 1919 were Russell’s followers the faithful and discreet slave, or according to Rutherford, were they, “the wicked,” because they believed in the connection between the pyramid dimensions and Bible prophecies?

    • Ricardo says:

      @messenger,
      This reminds me of how the Governing Body of the not so distant past wrote that anyone who thinks the faithful and discreet slave refers to just a small group of men leading the organization (i.e. the GB) are ‘self-deceived’ and ‘spiritually damaged’. (wt March 1, 1981 p25) Which is what the GB now believes. Begging the question, Which GB is self-deceived and spiritually damaged? The present GB or the 1981 GB, or both?

      So, what do you see Babylon the great as, then, Messenger?

    • JBob says:

      While this knowledge has been known among long-in-the-tooth “Watchtower dissidents” for some time, Kim and Mikey [or is it Kimmy and Mike?] put out a video a while back (2016?) regarding the Johannes Greber bible translation which the Watchtower at one time endorsed–it has since [1983] distanced itself from this version. Greber believed his translation was given to him by “spirits”.

      https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=3740
      http://www.bible.ca/trinity/trinity-Greber.htm
      a v o i dsomething dot org *pubs*

      **although the Aid to Bible Understanding was largely researched, written and compiled through Raymond Franz, as we discover in his CoC memoir, the facts were often overridden by a need to keep “traditional dogma” standing by any means necessary.

      Aid, p. 1134 (1971)
      TOMBS OPENED’ AT JESUS’ DEATH
      The text at Matthew 27:52, 53 concerning the memorial tombs [that] were opened” as the result of an earthquake occurring at the time of Jesus’death has caused considerable discussion, some holding that a resurrection occurred. However, a comparison with the texts concerning the resurrection makes clear that these verses do not describe a resurrection but merely a throwing of bodies out of their tombs, similar to incidents that have taken place in recent times, as in Ecuador in 1949, and again in Bogota, Colombia, in 1962, when two hundred corpses in the cemetery were thrown out of their tombs by a violent earth tremor. El Tiempo, Bogota, Colombia, July 31, 1962.
      The translation by Johannes Greber (1937) of these verses reads as follows: “Tombs were laid open, and many bodies of those buried were tossed upright. In this posture they projected from the graves and were seen by many who passed by the place on their way back to the city.”

      Insight (it-2 pp. 368-369 Memorial Tomb)
      ‘Tombs Opened’ at Jesus’ Death. The text at Matthew 27:52, 53 concerning “the memorial tombs [that] were opened” as the result of an earthquake occurring at the time of Jesus’ death has caused considerable discussion, some holding that a resurrection occurred. However, a comparison with the texts concerning the resurrection makes clear that these verses do not describe a resurrection but merely a throwing of bodies out of their tombs, similar to incidents that have taken place in more recent times, as in Ecuador in 1949 and again in Sonsón, Colombia, in 1962, when 200 corpses in the cemetery were thrown out of their tombs by a violent earth tremor.—El Tiempo, Bogotá, Colombia, July 31, 1962.

      [logic gaps in the new and old version reference books]
      ?? what comparison? and how does it make this clear that it isn’t a resurrection vs bodies being made visible?

      I am aware that God’s rep doesn’t need to be perfect in character or every utterance, but when the claim is that the word comes from God, or it seems to be compulsively accepting all things else a penalty violates the principle that any prophet has their proclamation measured for fulfillment or measured for its alignment with the Truth and Life, Jesus Christ.

      What I see / detect is a group of men at HQ jealously protecting their privilege to “write” and forge dogma, so some “core doctrines” are jealously guarded while some other “truths” are open for “refinement” and reforging (180-degree turn). These same men seem to hold dominance over GB members–note the recent flip-flop on the FD&S appointment in 1919, no it wasn’t, yes, it is [even if someone is making a fine line of “all his belongings”–meaning the universe, or the domestics].

      • JBob says:

        extrapolation…

        Note, that one of the holdings/belongings of the Living One are the keys of death and Hades, so…

        And, one last parting shot…

        Luke 12:11, 12,
        11 “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”

    • Eyes opened says:

      Also noteworthy was Rutherford’s attempt to “court” Hitler with the letter he wrote in1933. It can be read in the 1934 yearbook. Also I believe it is mentioned in two Awake! mags from 1995 and 1998. It was admitted that persecution increased as a result of that letter. So would a blood guilty, spiritual adulterer really be part of the FDS or maybe part of an apostate org?

      Regards

  36. Whip It says:

    Great Post, some interesting things came out, when asked who was in charge, why didnt he say Jesus Christ!, also i remember seeing those letters from the GB & yes they were signed, who signs them, a Human, would love to no how much it cost the WT, please someone must know.

  37. Carol says:

    Many years ago this was a safe and Honest Religion . Now It has become a Controlling Cult “with Satan at the head of it …

    • outandabout says:

      At what stage was it safe and honest, Carol? Do you mean that once upon a time all the lies and deceit were successfully kept under wraps until the internet came along and exposed it?

  38. Doc Obvious says:

    I just got a new image of Anthony Morris III’s new hat. He looks so dapper.

    Take a look: Anthony Morris III’s new hat

    • Twistedsister69 says:

      Ha ha ha. looks like a real s***head! 😀
      … twistedsister69 from the Apple Store again (different one – plus I have a disguise now – just picture Dustin Hoffman in “Tootsie”).
      Just thought of a great analogy re: the whole Constitutional “Religious Freedom” stuff (+ “clergy-penitent privilege”, which I believe is not even part of the 1st Amendment ANYWAY). 2nd Amendment guarantees right to bear arms. OK. Great. So I can own a gun. In some states, or with special disposition, I can even carry, concealed / open, whatever. But does 2nd Amendment give me the right to use my gun to rob a liquor store? Or bank? Or shoot anyone I don’t happen to like? Of course not. That’s ludicrous. SAME PRINCIPLE. Does constitutional “freedom of worship” give religions / cults the right to conceal & protect CRIMINALS & CRIMINAL ACTS??? OF COURSE BLOODY NOT!!! So, time to ask the Authorites: W…T…F??? I mean, where’s the Big Bad FBI in all this? ASLEEP at the wheel? Time for the law enforcement agencies & judicial bodies to put down their coffee & donuts & start doing the JOB that “WE, the TAXPAYERS” are PAYING them for!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • outandabout says:

        I totally agree with you, TS. Where is the law in all this. A Rock Star for instance just needs to have an abuse allegation leveled at him by a couple of kids and in go the law and seize his computers, probably within days.

        Surely the law can see by now that WT are lying through their teeth and hiding over 20,000!!!!!! known or suspected pedophiles.

  39. Willows says:

    “Failure to report Child Abuse.”

    “Settlement with Fessler reached.”

    If this were not the Governing Body approving this settlement. Stopping the trail from proceeding.

    If this was a rank & file member in his home congregation, he would be charged with breaking state law and brought before a judical committee. Found guilty of bringing reproach on Jehovah’s name & disfellowshipped from the Watchtower organization.

    Now that the trial has ended with settlement out of court. And it must be remembered Watchtower funds are not given willy nilly.

    What is going to happen to Governing Body members?
    Approving the settlement. Are they treated differently to rank & file members? When an Elder is found to be reprehensible he can no longer serve because he is no longer qualified to serve, according to scripture.

    Are members of the Governing Body any different?

    • Ricardo says:

      @Willows,
      If the members of the GB were modest they would see that they are not up to the job and step aside, letting others who are more responsible clean up the huge mess they have left behind.

      But they aren’t modest, they aren’t responsible, and they aren’t going to change anything.

      Which in the long run will weaken the organization. The longer that irresponsible people are at the top, the more damage which is done, and the more Witnesses who will leave the disfunctional organization.

      If you wish to see maximum damage done to this organization, keep hoping that these guys stay in charge.

      • Winston Smith says:

        Keep in mind that these acts of abuse span over 50 years (as indicated by the ARC) or more, so it is not specific to any one iteration of the Governing Body. The issue is systemic – the way the JW system is designed to operate protects pedophiles.

        The only way to achieve the status of Governing Body member is to be an organizational yes-man and selected by the current body. So the system perpetuates itself. Changes to the membership will do little to improve the operation.

        WS

        • Ricardo says:

          @WS,
          Although the acts of abuse span over 50 years, and although we can be sure that the leadership at the time had knowledge of the abuse and did nothing, I feel that the current GB members are especially reprehensible. It is NOW that the public court cases are happening and being lost. NOW that lots of people are hearing about it. NOW when the GB should have done a PR job and made great changes.

          There are many examples of companies which have made mistakes and yet have done a PR face-lift and recovered. How many companies that had faulty procedures and which said they would make no changes are actually still around?

          There is simply no excuse, no excuse at all for the present GB. Not now that it has become public knowledge. They have left it far too late to make changes. Where is their sincerity? Where are their statements accepting the blame? Where is their concern for the victims?

          • Winston Smith says:

            Ricardo,
            Don’t get me wrong, the current leadership is certainly reprehensible, but I think the viewpoint that they are somehow more reprehensible than previous iterations may result from a somewhat narrow viewpoint.

            Recall that the previous iterations of the GB knew about the dangers to children and did nothing to prevent it. The facts have simply caught up with this current iteration. Previous governing bodies of the JWs have functioned just as poorly. How about the GB that gave the boot to humble men such as Ray Franz and Ed Dunlap?

            My point is that the whole system is rotten from the beginning, not just this current iteration. Notice Ray Franz’ assessment of the first Watchtower President: “He urges the importance of “meekness” and “humility.” At the same time, in the article he himself portrays those who believe it unscriptural to view him and his magazine as God’s unique channel as “disloyal ‘fellow servants,’” “crafty,” having a “contentious spirit,” that they seem “inoculated with madness, Satanic hydrophobia.”” (In Search of Christian Freedom pg 82-3)

            WS

  40. Willows says:

    “Failure to report Child Abuse.”

    “Settlement with Fessler reached.”

    If this were not the Governing Body approving this settlement. Stopping the trail from proceeding.

    If this was a rank & file member in his home congregation, he would be charged with breaking state law and brought before a judical committee. Found guilty of bringing reproach on Jehovah’s name & disfellowshipped from the Watchtower organization.

    Now that the trial has ended with settlement out of court. And it must be remembered Watchtower funds are not given willy nilly.

    What is going to happen to Governing Body members?
    Approving the settlement. Are they treated differently to rank & file members? When an Elder is found to be reprehensible he can no longer serve because he is no longer qualified to serve, according to scripture.

    Are members of the Governing Body any different?

    • John says:

      I agree. COs, branch members and GB involved in this and other cover ups are not free from accusation, above reproach, presiding over their household in a fine manor and not sound in mind. All of these are qualifications to be an elders. So all should be removed.
      They remove elders for not reporting for not being sound in mind.
      Double standards as always.
      Can someone tell me why the police have not taken the necessary steps to arrest or charge these individuals?

      • John says:

        I would love an answer because others have said Jehovah is protecting his organisation that is why it hasn’t ever gone far and no one gets prosecuted. This can be true and I would love to prove it to everyone.

        • John says:

          Sorry should say CAN’T be true

          • Gwen Little says:

            Civil cases are generally brought by private individuals or corporations seeking to collect money owed or monetary damages.

            A criminal case is brought by the local, state or federal government in response to a suspected violation of law and seeks a fine, a jail sentence or both.

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