Jehovah’s Witnesses Release New Child Abuse Reporting Policy: Net Result? – It’s Business as Usual
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In a letter dated September 1, 2017, the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses approved the release of a new Body of Elders letter in the United States, Australia, the U.K., Ghana, and across the globe.

This letter is intended to refine and clarify the language and procedures used by all elders when they encounter an allegation of child sexual abuse. It is a revision of the August 1, 2016 letter to elders,  which was a revision of the October 1st 2012 letter.

(click here for the August 4th 2016 review and comparison between the 2016 and 2012 letters) 

The latest directive is in no way regional in nature, but is a global response to the growing publicity and civil lawsuits being filed in the United States, Canada, the U.K. and elsewhere.

 

September 1 2017 Body of Elders Letter

September 1,  2017 Body of Elders Letter Introduction

 

While the table of contents of the 2017 and 2016 letters are identical, there are minor differences in a few of the 27 sections of each letter which reflect the ongoing efforts of the Jehovah’s Witness organization (A.K.A. the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses) to deflect attention from their long-standing policy of handling allegations of abuse internally, with the protection of the organization’s reputation of prime concern. Victims and their families are placed in the awkward position of facing intense pressure to let the elders handle matters “Jehovah’s way.”

The Jehovah’s Witness organization has been very careful to avoid writing statements such as “Never tell a victim to go immediately to the police” – instead they have deceptively created a double negative expression inside their secretive Shepherd the Flock of God elder’s manual, which states:

“Never suggest to anyone that they should not report an allegation
of child abuse to the police or other authorities.” –  (Bold from Watchtower manual) 

Until now…

According to this latest September 1st letter, the above statement must be immediately deleted from the Elders manual, along with the 2 subsequent paragraphs which were already excluded per instructions from the 2016 Body of Elders letter.

Why? It is obvious to anyone of intelligence that not telling someone not to report a crime is clearly the absence of action rather than a directive to take positive action.  Poorly educated elders generally have a difficult time interpreting such ambiguous language, and the organization is beginning to understand this.

Secondly, It’s no secret that the Governing Body is closely monitoring “apostate” posts and web sites, which have shed a considerably bright spotlight upon the unsavory and ambiguous doublespeak, which has become a hallmark of the Jehovah’s Witness writing department.

For example, The Governing Body dispatched a July 2016 memo marked APPROVED in response to Australian Branch Coordinator Terry O’Brien’s plea to the Governing Body, which included the following statement:

“No doubt it will be much better if the [Australian Royal Commission receives this information from the branch, rather than from apostate opposers.”  – Terry O’Brien

 

Governing Body Memo for 2016 Body of Elders Letter

Governing Body Memo Response to Australia Branch

 

The Governing Body has lost control of its once tightly monitored network of elders and circuit overseers, and other key members of this religious institution. The letters referenced in this article were actually leaked days in advance of the September 1st release date, a fact that has sent the Watchtower legal department in search of the sources of these leaks.

 

Watchtower’s Compromise?

The most immediate and apparent compromise which appears in the September 1st 2017 revised letter involves what appears to be a directive to clearly inform a victim or her parents that they have the right to inform the “secular authorities” when an abuse allegation takes place. The added sentences read:

“The congregation’s handling of an accusation of child sexual abuse is not intended to replace the secular authority’s handling of the matter. Therefore, the victim, her parents, or anyone else who reports such an allegation to the elders should be clearly informed that they have the right to report the matter to the secular authorities. Elders do not criticize anyone who chooses to make such a report”

 

These words, while on face value might appear to offer some improvement to the abominable failure of Jehovah’s Witness elders and parents to inform the police and Child Protection Authorities of an allegation of abuse, they are designed to protect the organization rather than the victim. One must conclude that these are once again passive words, and are not instructions to immediately contact the police or CPA. If they were, the statement would read:

 

“The victim, her parents, or anyone else aware of an abuse allegation should immediately report such allegations to the police and CPA, and follow the directions of the authorities who are fully trained to handle such cases”

 

The reality is, what is placed in print and what is practiced in reality are two entirely different things. Watchtower is in an awkward defensive position right now, and is struggling to find a balance between obeying “Caesar’s law” and maintaining their internal system of justice, based upon an interpretation of Biblical verses which serves to elevate their own hierarchy above that of the laws which govern every nation.

During the February 2017 public jury trial of Fessler v Watchtower, attorneys for abuse victim Stephanie Fessler subpoenaed a former elder from Pennsylvania, who was scheduled to testify under oath on the matter of whether reporting child abuse was permitted or encouraged.

In pre-trial motions, Fessler’s attorney advised Justice Mary Collins:

“That this man will come in and say, hey, I was told do not report this to the police or to authorities. So that’s what I’m saying. It’s both notice and the fact that there are instructions given to elders and circuit overseers not to report abuse”

The judge responded:

“Will he testify as to who told him this?”

Attorney for Stephanie Fessler answered:

“Well, it’s firsthand. He has contacted Watchtower headquarters.”

Despite vehement objections from Watchtower’s team of defense attorneys, the judge overruled the objection to this testimony. Before this former elder had the opportunity to testify, Watchtower agreed to a substantial settlement with victim Stephanie Fessler following four days of trial.

“Child Abuse is a Crime”

Another key difference between the 2016 and 2017 letter to elders is found in section 5, titled “Legal Considerations.”  Note the 2016 letter:

“Legal Considerations: In some jurisdictions, individuals who learn of an allegation of child abuse may be obligated by law to report the allegation to the secular authorities. In all cases, the victim and her parents have the absolute right to report an allegation to the authorities.”

Compare this to the 2017 letter:

“Legal Considerations: Child abuse is a crime. In some jurisdictions, individuals who learn of an allegation of child abuse may be obligated by law to report the allegation to the secular authorities.”

Watchtower has faced intense scrutiny for failing to emphasize the criminal nature of child abuse. It has first and foremost categorized child abuse as a sin, which is the reason Witness elders find themselves involved in abuse cases where they have no training or expertise. Such matters should always be referred to law enforcement and child protection agencies. The revised wording of the 2017 letter is purely intended to create the illusion that Jehovah’s Witnesses identify child abuse foremost as a crime. They don’t.

Also very noteworthy is the elimination of the phrase “absolute right” – a term which Watchtower has used repeatedly in multiple abuse cases worldwide as a legal method of placing the burden of reporting abuse upon victims and their families, deflecting attention from the obligation of the Jehovah’s Witness clergy (the elders) to report abuse. For a detailed analysis of this term “absolute right” – see my 2016 JW Survey article summarizing the 2016 elder’s letter pertaining to abuse.

 

The Judicial Committee

Further emphasizing the importance placed upon internal investigations by Jehovah’s Witness elders are statements made in paragraph 14 of the updated 2017 letter to elders. Nowhere do we find any mention of legal guilt or criminal prosecution as the impetus for judicial action within a Witness congregation. Based upon this principle, a Jehovah’s Witness convicted of murder in a court of law would evade disfellowshipping for lack of two  baptized Jehovah’s Witnesses who could establish guilt under their notorious “Two Witness” rule.  Note the intentional ambiguity embedded within the Shepherd the Flock elders manual, 2010 edition:

 

“Manslaughter: Aside from deliberate murder, bloodguilt may be incurred if a person causes loss of Life through carelessness or because of violating a
traffic law or other safety law of Caesar. The elders should investigate and if warranted appoint a judicial committee to hear the matter. The committee should base its decision on clearly established facts, not simply on a decision that may have been made by secular authorities.”. – Shepherd the Flock manual, chapter 5, section 3.

 

What exactly are “clearly established facts” – and who supply these facts? Congregation elders are advised to “not simply” base their decisions upon the professional authorities whose sole occupation is that of determining and judging the facts of any given case. While the justice systems of most countries are imperfect and flawed, they are clearly superior to the decisions rendered by men who wash windows, clean toilets, or work as tradesmen for a living.

When we examine the procedures followed by Jehovah’s Witnesses, there is an implied superiority of their “Theocratic” methods which always trumps the civil authorities in our society. They strictly adhere to the philosophy that “We must obey God as ruler rather than men” – a quote from Acts 5:29. This Biblical reference is frequently used to draw a line in the sand when a JW policy conflicts with a legal requirement of any given country.

A second issue with paragraph 14 of the revised letter is the following statement, which also appears in the 2016 letter:

“If wrongdoing is established and the wrongdoer is not repentant, he should be disfellowshipped. (ks10 chap. 7 par. 26) On the other hand, if the wrongdoer is repentant and is reproved, the reproof should be announced to the congregation. (ks10 chap. 7 pars. 20-21) This announcement will
serve as a protection for the congregation”

While disfellowshipping might appear to be an appropriate measure to protect Jehovah’s Witness children, what of those who are not Witnesses? Criminal courts frequently enforce restrictions on child molesters, including such actions as requiring them to register as sex offenders, which effectively notifies residents in various communities that an offender is in their midst. In the case of Jehovah’s Witnesses, there is effectively nothing stopping an individual from moving to another state under an assumed name, and molesting a child before anyone finds out who this criminal really is. Jehovah’s Witnesses are not required to show proof of identification when attending a congregation, and there are a multitude of ways to bypass the measures which would inform a congregation that a convicted felon is in their midst.

Of greater concern is the fact that a JW judicial committee is given the authority to judge an abuser as “repentant” – as seen above. For those of us who study child abuse very closely, an abuser rarely if ever is “repentant.” Child abuse is a sickness which must be dealt with by the police and trained mental health counselors. The mere consideration that a perpetrator might be simply “reproved” instead of disfellowshipped is at best a slap in the face to an abuse victim, and at worse a free pass for an abuser to continue seeking potential victims.

The statement that “This announcement will serve as a protection to the congregation” is a toothless claim which Jehovah’s Witness elders have no real authority to support or enforce. I remember a few years back, while serving as a Ministerial Servant, I was assigned to conduct a one hour “bookstudy” each week at my local Kingdom Hall. One elder informed me that a female Witness was under “reproof” for a serious infraction, but did not reveal the nature of her “sin.” She was allowed to come to the meeting and associate freely with everyone, her only restriction being that she was barred from “commenting” – which means to raise one’s hand and offer a testimonial or comment on the discussion.

A few months ago I was contacted following one of my JW Survey articles on the Fessler v Watchtower case, by a female victim of the reproved woman. I was literally sick when I discovered that she had sexually assaulted the victim in the women’s room of my own Kingdom Hall, in a way that disturbs me more than you can imagine. The elders were aware of the incident – as were the parents of the victim, but following the customary practice engineered by the Governing Body of  Jehovah’s Witnesses, neither the police nor CPA authorities were notified. It appears that “reproof” was their solution to this sexual attack on a female victim who was four years old at the time.

Thanks to the bravery of Stephanie Fessler and her willingness to take her case to trial, many victims have come forward and are seeking the professional help they deserve. For now, the perpetrator of this horrific abuse roams freely among several congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses. This case is currently under investigation by multiple competent detectives in the Child Sex Crimes unit where the offense occurred.

Finally, we come to one further statement in Paragraph 14 of the 2017 BOE letter:

“Victims of child sexual abuse are not handled judicially. However, if the body of elders believes that congregation action may be warranted in the case of a mature minor who was a willing participant in wrongdoing, two elders should call the Service Department before proceeding.”

Again we encounter a disturbing policy which on the surface appears to be an improvement in policy. However the first sentence is immediately undermined by the ambiguity of the term “mature minor” – and suggests that an abuse victim could indeed be treated to a hostile judicial committee if they are judged by Jehovah’s Witness elders to be a mature minor, and a willing participant.

It seems that if there is any doubt whether a victim is a mature minor, the answer is to be supplied by the Service Department of Jehovah’s Witnesses, located in New York. But don’t lose sight of the fact that it is the local body of elders who choose to “believe” whether congregation action is warranted.

Once again, the statement that “Victims of child sexual abuse are not handled judicially” is merely an empty promise which serves only as an attempt to placate the civil authorities worldwide who are ramping up their criticism of organizations who place children in harm’s way – all the while receiving tax-exempt status as a “charitable” organization.

 

What’s the Bottom Line?

The reality is that nothing has changed. A few words here and there, drafted only to protect the organization, and not the victims of abuse.

The final paragraph of the latest letter states:

“It is imperative to adhere to the direction in this letter each time a matter involving child abuse comes to your attention. This will serve to uphold the sanctity of Jehovah’s name and to protect minors. (1 Pet. 2:12) Your full cooperation with this direction is appreciated.”

Notice the sequence of importance in this statement:

  1. Adhere to the Governing Body’s direction
  2. Uphold the sanctity of Jehovah’s Name (meaning the organization)
  3. Protect minors
  4. See number 1 (FULL cooperation with this direction) 

Nothing has changed. Nowhere have the elders been instructed to comply with mandatory reporting of child abuse, without first consulting with the Watchtower legal department in Patterson New York. There is never a reason for an abuse allegation to not be reported to the police; clergymen, teachers, guidance counselors, medical professionals and others are generally required to contact the authorities when an allegation comes to light. Elders do not need a legal department or a “Service” Department to do the right thing, nor should they fear reprisals for immediately contacting the police and CPA when they learn of an abuse allegation.

In fairness, I will say that there are individual Jehovah’s Witness elders who do not agree with the policies they are required to enforce. The JW religion is by no means an a-la-carte system of beliefs. It is all or nothing, and for most Witnesses, “nothing” is an impossible alternative. Objecting to and speaking against any one policy of the Governing Body will result in the most severe penalty of all – complete ostracism from friends and family, which for most is a price to high to pay.

But times are changing, and an increasing number of Jehovah’s Witness elders and circuit overseers have seen fit to declare themselves “PIMO” – or Physically In, Mentally Out. While change happens systematically, in a subtle but positive way, we can be thankful for the widespread courage of survivors of abuse, advocates for change, and countless other supporters of victims.

Given the widespread and ongoing civil cases filed against the Watchtower organization on behalf of abuse survivors in multiple countries, it is still sobering that the Governing Body refuses to back down and permit the elders to immediately report allegations of abuse to the police and child protection agencies. In many cases, time is of the essence when abuse occurs, and the intervention of the legal and service department of Jehovah’s Witnesses represents an extraordinarily self-serving position.

I urge everyone who may read this, including Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Governing Body, to eliminate the bureaucracy which has caused undue pain and suffering for decades to countless victims of abuse. To Jehovah’s Witnesses I say: Please stand up for the what is right, what is fair, what is just, and what is kind. Your children are at risk, and we want them to grow up in a safe environment where they can choose the life they wish to live, safe from predators from within and outside of the Jehovah’s Witness religion.

We know that you abhor child abuse, but that is not the issue. The concern is how allegations of abuse are handled. They must be treated as the most serious of all allegations, as the consequences of failing to report such matters to the police and CPA will last a lifetime, both for your children and those of other victims of the same predators.

With kind regards, and love for your children and your entire family,

John Redwood

 

 

John Redwood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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86 Responses to Jehovah’s Witnesses Release New Child Abuse Reporting Policy: Net Result? – It’s Business as Usual

  1. flyinggabriel says:

    I wonder if their echo-chamber allows them to see how obvious to everyone else their weasel words are. I think perhaps not.

  2. ALANV says:

    I downloaded the letter from Terry O’ Brian. I love the way he suggests to the governing body that Watchtower make the 2016 letter available to the ARC. Great line when he says its better Watchtower make it available to them rather than apostate opposers.

  3. Karen Baker says:

    It all disturbs me, but the part about a “mature minor” who could be a willing participant brings me to my knees, again. After more than 25 years my daughter still believes her rape, although not by a Witness, was her fault. She is still what one would call a “true believer.” Statements such as made in this letter make me want to scream, & I can’t even call them on the phone. When does it end? When will it be made right?

  4. Maxwell says:

    I am anxiously awaiting your final installment of the Fessler trial in which the WT lawyer admitted that elders are clergy. Do you still plan on publishing this?

    • John Redwood says:

      Maxwell – yes, this will be forthcoming. Thank you for your patience. I have had multiple obligations and other research projects which have delayed a few articles, but there will be more to come on this case I can assure you. Thank you so much for taking an interest, and I look forward to bringing as much as I can to the attention of the public

      JR

  5. Twistedsister69 says:

    Ironic. How can wt.BORG judge if someone is repentant when they themselves are blatantly UNrepentant…in spite of being shown the error of their ways time & time again???

  6. Ardy says:

    Eye opening!

  7. Doc Obvious says:

    “Clearly established facts.” How interesting.

    I have been a judicial committee where the facts were not considered at all. A lot of embellishment by my ex.

    Watchtower’s judicial committees are just a kangaroo courtroom where the PeeWee Watchtower struts their stupidity.

  8. Doc Obvious says:

    Young Danny’s response to Watchtower’s child abuse problem.

    Did you notice the reaction Danny has?

    • twistedsister69 says:

      I sure did notice his reaction, Doc. But at least little Danny has 1 advantage: he’s aware of the threat. Most JWs & their kids are STILL in the dark, which is exactly where the Borg wants them. Just like mushrooms, kept in the dark & fed manure.

  9. edward guzman says:

    I was a JW for 25 years. I’ve been out for 15. I knew of several cases of child sexual abuses by JWS that were not reported to the secular authorities nor the police. Another outstanding article . We can not thank you enough. keep up the good work.

    • John Redwood says:

      Thank you so much Edward. It is painful to write articles like these. It’s a lot of work just in making sure we have our facts straight, not to mention the subject matter itself. I hope we can reach active JWs who will take a 2nd look at the policies of their religious organization, and recognize the danger to their own children, and those of other families

  10. messenger says:

    “Secondly, It’s no secret that the Governing Body is closely monitoring “apostate” posts and web sites”

    Thanks John for your continual updates.

    For the last week I have seriously considered writing letters to about 3 of the GB members, in order to inform them of my opinion about their standings before Christ not just because of the policies you discuss here, but more importantly because of their pretense about who they claim to be, and ALL the misdirection they give to people who want to follow Christ. Until I read this article I had decided to send those letters. But since your article includes the above quote, claiming these men are monitoring your site, as I assumed they would, then my words written on this site will suffice as an alternative way to fulfill that project.

    “Looky here, looky there. Ah, looky everywhere!”

    The Scarlet Pimpernel

  11. XJDUB says:

    “… you have the right to report…” Oh, do I? Do I really??

  12. Iown Mylife says:

    Many thanks for your excellent report. If people have a fraction of a conscience, they would put children first, not the well-being of their big ol’ clubby secretive mind-control org. They really cannot believe in a God who knows what they are up to. Otherwise, they would change the awful behavior. Thus, the whole shebang is a bunch of hypocrites. JMHO.

  13. Darlene Alexander says:

    Excellent report, thank you!

  14. Sharon Christensen says:

    Thanx to you all who make this info available to us…for sure you have a tough job, and have to make sure it is right before posting. I love the part…they noticed something was posted or before apostate sites post the info…GOOD! Keep them a hopping and a skipping…dirty beggars! Do they think GOD does not see how they are! They want to keep their whtewashed graves looking all spic’n span…they do not really care for anyone inside and under their supposed care….Only the showy display…as to as if…gods blessing…yeah whtevs…money and numbers…smile and wave boys…smile and wave. In the words of “someones “famous …”tweetz”…. Losers! Allz I can say…they are losers! Good they watch these sights…may learn that not everyone is…hornswoggled! Good job!

    • John Redwood says:

      Thank you Sharon, I appreciate your support. It means a lot that you recognize that we value accuracy and truth above all else. I have seen other comments suggesting that the new September 1st letter applied only to Australia, which was false and rushed onto the internet before he facts were collated into a meaningful article. I have seen this type of reporting in poorly written “secular” newspapers, but when it appears within the context of an ex-JW blog, I am even more disappointed. There are a few blog sites and even YouTube channels which have promoted very inaccurate information about Jehovah’s Witnesses, which only serves to impair our ability to achieve credibility before those people we desire to help the most – active Jehovah’s Witnesses, and those who have escaped the organization.

      We must try out best to report without excessive passion, or we risk losing the respect of our audience. I would rather not be the first to report on any given news item if it means that I take the necessary time to investigate the facts, and report them accurately. This has served me well, and I am proud of that policy. And to your point, because Watchtower is definitely monitoring these web sites, it’s even more critical that we do not fall into the category of the stereotypical bitter apostate with an ax to grind as a “mentally diseased” opposer.

      In the end, truth will prevail, and we will continue to do everything we can to build a collective monument to truth.

      JR

      • Sharon Christensen says:

        We trust the info on this site. We know you all are doing this to help good, innocent folks out…not for power or glory…thankyou. Ps…sorry, I always am grinding the axe…got to…winters around the corner…sharpen up my wood choppin skills. 😉

      • Scrubmaster says:

        John Thanks for all the hard work you do and the accurate reporting. It is very important the information on this site is accurate. I to wait for accurate information when talking with ones. And it is even better when letters are available to back up the facts.

  15. twistedsister69 says:

    Yes, JR, the professionalism of ur team adds to ur credibility. Anyone with half a brain can see that the information on this site is based on facts, not fairy tales, emotion, or opinions of men. Thank you.
    PS Watchtower monitors this site? I’ll have to start being more polite. Anyone from Head Office reading this? Hi there. 🙂 How was ur day?

    • Sharon Christensen says:

      Twistey sis…does this mean if you are going polite mode…I have to as well? Shoot…when I am grindin my axe…uh well…as per evidence in my comments…look out…sparx fly! Just fax of life and reality of being an survivor in soo many ways and glad for …”light” getting brighter. An interesting quote my daughter just showed me…Avoid the crowd…Do Your Own thinking- independantly. Be the chess player…Not the chess piece! Kinda says it. Funny…Head office Trollies on site…Hi there…How wuz yer day! Duh…what if they answer us…Whatcha gonna say? ;)). To be a fly on their crappy crackerz…can u just see them reading and chking this info…getting their fruits frosted….turning purple like El Macho…and yeah gonna ….BLOW! Hehehe! When poop hits the fan…who flung dung…may even plug yer holey drain covers…Keep on a pokin! Like Dad would say…Keep prying under their livers!

      • twistedsister69 says:

        @Sharon
        Actually, I would love it if someone from HQ replied. Then we could engage in long meaningless conversations full of insults & mud-slinging, just like I once had with my ex.
        Actually Actually, what I would love to do is infiltrate a congo where I’m not known & pretend 2 B interested. Then sign up 4 1 of those stupid bethel tours – u know, “These r the magnificent printing presses, this is the laundry room, these are the toilets. Look at the pretty watchtower drain covers.” – But during the tour, basically be a jack ass. Ask dumb questions, make silly comments, etc. Real passive-aggressive stuff, so they can’t tell if I’m hostile or just an idiot. If I ever did that, it would make my entire MONTH. Lol

  16. John freeman says:

    Thank you for this information. The WT is so secretive that few in the congregations are even aware of the ARC or UK charity commision enquirery. This is valuable information to those still in but concerned about the denials and unwillingness of those running WT to be honest and open with members that contribute financialy and use much time supporting the organisation..thank you so much.if WT themselves wont be honest and provide infomation how can they critisise anyone for going on this site..

  17. Maxwell says:

    This link is to a blog about a man who is trying to educate church groups on how to handle child abuse cases. https://rachelheldevans.com/blog/abuse-boz-tchividjian What is revealing is that the WT response is similar to that of other churches. Now if WT is being directed by Jesus Christ one would think that WT would be light years ahead of the churches. I love this comment he makes about why churches have not wanted to report to the police:
    ” Too often Christian institutions have been willing to sacrifice the individual human soul in exchange for the protection of their own reputation. What makes such responses even more heinous is that they are often justified in the name of “protecting the name of Christ”. Such a justification is nothing but a pious attempt at self-protection. It may come as a surprise to some but Jesus does not need us to protect His name! In fact, it was Jesus who sacrificed Himself for the soul of the individual. “

    • HolyConnoli says:

      Maxwell

      I read most of that link you sent. Very good article and shows how Churches and the WT like to use Scripture to keep the victims quiet. He also brought out how Matthew 18 had nothing to do with child abuse which we know but the WT uses to support their position. They are more concerned w their reputation than the child victim. WT is no different then the Churches they condemn. Even worse bc they CLAIM to be so Righteous and put down ALL other religions.

    • Shibboleth says:

      Wow! Excellent article. I hope the watchtower org reads this thoroughly and realizes what position they have placed themselves. Especially since they are monitoring this site!

  18. totogluj says:

    Hello “Head Office” from the “wash to wear” !!
    reading here ??
    you dont like this site isnt !!

    Here is only FACTS and TRUTH ………..

    Thats why you dont like it of course !!

    Do like Forrest : RUN !!!!

  19. outandabout says:

    Thank you Watchtower for continuing to demonstrate to the world just what happens when we try to follow the Bible to the letter…..the lie gets revealed. Following the Bible to the letter does not result in a harmonious society. Child rape, ruined families through shunning and the killing of followers through blood doctrine – all Bible sanctioned. It’s time we ditched ancient Mans attempt at explaining everything. Why be born again when we can just grow up!

    • Free Thinker says:

      Follow the BIBLE? Excuse me??? Which “Bible”? The NWT? The “Bible”, as being mistranslated, twisted, falsely interpreted, chopped up, mangled … by the Org’s uppermost Central Committee?

      That’s not THE (one and only true) BIBLE, dear outandabout. THE BIBLE and the Org’s unbiblical, human, talmudic, imperfect rules, regulations, must-dos, must not-dos … – THAT’S not THE BIBLE – it’s human bull…

      • outandabout says:

        The point is, frree thinker, that all their tripe is derived from tripe. When the horrors of the bible are removed in order to render it appealing, we are left with nothing. Follow it faithfully without ignoring anything and society is a mess. Pick and mix the scriptures and form your own Cult. To be able to do that with a so called book of truth renders the book useless as a faithful guide for Mankind. It’s common knowledge that the best lie is based on fact and the Bible contains a few facts but it’s essentially myth. The most intelligent of the day would have been the readers and the writers who also would have been the rulers…..write whatever you please to control the masses and consolidate your power……exactly what happens today.

        • Caroline says:

          Free Thinker, I have to disagree with you. I think most “Christian” religions take the Bible and make it seem a whole lot nicer than it really is. If the churches and Watchtower would talk about it and analyze it the way it’s actually written, you can see it’s just a collection of man made books from the thinking of people 2,000 years ago.

          If it was from a real and perfect and just god that loved females and children, that you would think it would say it is wrong to rape a girl and it would be wrong to kill 200 Philistines for their foreskins so David could buy his wife from Saul.

          You would think it would condemn burning witches and prostitutes instead of telling the Israelites to do it and it would not make polygamy a right of men but not women.

          You would think a perfect god would not say it was right to kill any girl who could not prove her virginity on her wedding night and give the man the right to poison his wife if he suspected her of adultery so as to cause a miscarriage.

          You would think a perfect and just god would not have incited David to take a census and then kill 70,000 of his own people when David actually listened to Him and took the census.

          You would think a just and perfect god would not have killed David’s newborn baby because David committed adultery.

          What kind of god do you worship anyway?

          You would think a perfect god would have said to wash your hands after going to the bathroom and talked about germs. You would think if that Bible was from a perfect and just and loving god, that it would have condemned Lot for offering up his daughters to be gang raped and on and on.

  20. Whip It says:

    How can the Borg look at these types of sites, its the same as watching a bad film to find out how bad it is, so as to warn others. Plenty of video’s on youtube showing people protesting out side convention sites. We had a case here years ago where a Pedo was discovered in the local congo, he had molested several young girls, someone in the family went to the police & he was arrested, charged & jailed, bu he always said that he was innocent & pleaded guilty to not bring reproach to the BORG, go figure. He was also disfellowshiped, later released & eventually reinstated, but alas he was a marked man because everyone knew, i was then serving as an elder & he would join in with hall cleaning & maintenance, i was quite vocal that he should not be allowed to do that as he had molested a couple of the girls behind a garage at the hall. Would you let him into your home, no way. he later died (i reckon he had aids) i refused to go to his service at the KH, & simply said he is a pedophile. So the new policy is week as water, as usual.

  21. Ricardo says:

    Thanks for thinking about our children. It is obvious the elders and the GB aren’t.

  22. Rodger Goode says:

    Thank you for the top class investigative journalism JR. The wheels have fallen off and a slow grind to a halt is in progress. I pity these seven men when they are exposed for the scam that they have been running. There is going to be a huge backlash when the normal rank and file witness starts putting the picture together of how this organisation is being run.

  23. twistedsister69 says:

    @Sharon
    B careful. Don’t make that bait too strong. U’ll have the GB howling at ur door. I mean, coyotes, hyenas, what’s the diff?

  24. Elder in fear says:

    I live in [REDACTED] and in our congregation in [REDACTED] we had a case of two minors. It is still
    Child abuse. Our elders were told not to report it. They asked why not with the fact that it’s the law. They were then told they could report it but under no circumstances are they to make a statement to the police. This is so wrong now these. Routers will have to testify in court.
    Another elder in Celbridge congregation in Ireland was removed because he reported a case in his congregation. He was told he is not loyal and doesn’t have soundness of mind. Just because he reported it.

    • Me says:

      I looked at the letter again.
      If the JW believe that child abuse is a crime then why do we only report it if the law says we have to. Why not report it anyway.
      If we have a do it call for people who are pedos in the territory that means we don’t welcome them in so why reinstate a pedo.
      It says it’s the responsibility of the parents to protect their children. Surely it the responsibility of us all. Especially the elders
      All the letter is for the ones who won’t use their own conscience and thinking ability

    • John Redwood says:

      Elder in fear – can you contact me directly at redwood@jwsurvey.org ?

  25. flyinggabriel says:

    One thing is for sure, human history as I learned it in school is mostly crap. The real story is far wilder – with the cataclysm 12,600 years ago bearing irrefutable ice-core evidence now. Many of these accounts are more than myths, recent archeological finds have changed the picture profoundly, as has geological survey and sampling. At some point there must come some confluence that ticks all the boxes on our real history – and I wouldn’t want to miss it because my mind was ideologically frozen by dogma – of any sort.

  26. Caroline says:

    I see my comments have been deleted. Sorry about going off topic John.

  27. Doc Obvious says:

    Watchtower’s soap opera, Remember the Wife of Lot, is a reminder of how dysfunctional the leadership is. Watchtower lives in this fairy tale land where everything always comes out good for people who believe in God and always bad for those who do not.

    Life in their world is always rosy. Why? Because they do not deal with things like normal human beings. Their absolute refusal in taking care of items such as child sexual abuse is outrageous and dangerous for human society.

    This leadership’s only real problem in their eyes is the tight pants situation. A problem that is not a problem. When you have leadership always being catered, you have some spoiled people.

    No wonder people are checking out of Watchtower.

    • Gwen Little says:

      Doc Obvious,

      So true, it’s like this dual fantasy of unicorns & rainbows mixed with psychopathic slaughter then trying to sell the idea to the public that this is normal & rational thinking.

      • outandabout says:

        ……and so long as they continue to try and meld fantasy with reality, they will be in trouble and with the continuing education and awareness raising of people in general, the harder it will become for them to sell their idea’s.

  28. Gwen Little says:

    Good on you for keeping up with this. I too look forward to your write up on the Fessler case.

    Thank you once again for keeping us informed.

  29. twistedsister69 says:

    Hey, JR, didn’t mean 2 spark a moderating blitz with my rant. That wuz not my intent. I was just venting. I don’t want 2 overburden ur team by being a complainer. As far as moderating or anything else goes, u guys always do a great job. No complaints whatsoever from this end. & I always appreciate the leeway u show us when it comes to the (concise) use of humor, sarcasm, & satire. I find those 2 B effective tools when used in moderation. Not expecting any extra vigilance on ur part. & also, no offense to any1 on “our side” who engaged the Bible-thumpers. I totally understand ur motivation, & u certainly made excellent arguments, based on fact. It’s just that they can get on one’s nerves with their incessant obsession to “prove” their point & push their agenda, while we r dealing with serious issues like child abuse & cult abuse in general. I wasn’t kidding when I accused them of behaving selfishly. Ennywayz, ’nuff said.

    • Gwen Little says:

      I agree with you TwistedSister,

      It needed to be said. I think the arguments over the Bible drive a lot of people away from the site. I know I got sick of it a few articles ago & refused to come here until it was over.

      • flyinggabriel says:

        Well as long as you all agree. That’s the most important thing.

        • Gwen Little says:

          Maybe I didn’t make myself clear. I don’t mind if people disagree on things here, I just don’t come here to have Bible Study Lessons.

          I spent 20 years being told what to believe about the Bible. I’m actually not interested in the Bible. I come here to read topics related to the damage this religion does to it’s members & exposing the abuse of power that it yields.

          I’m sorry if I offended anyone who believes or disbelieves the Bible, I just think that there are other sites for that purpose.

          • Sharon Christensen says:

            Me to…good comment Gwen..as survivors…we are empowered by other survivors stories etc…to support and encourage one another…and help others on their pth to freedom…and recovery…if we ever truly can recover.

  30. Caroline says:

    Sorry everybody. I won’t talk about the Bible any more. I really appreciate being able to come here and I don’t want to offend anybody by my comments.

    • Doc Obvious says:

      Caroline. Don’t be sorry. You should express how you feel regardless of what others view you. Freedom of Expression is a freedom that should be given to all people and we should appreciate everyone’s viewpoint. I’m off my soap box.

  31. Sharon Christensen says:

    Same with me…I am glad to be able to come here for some…”apostate” fellowship…kinda like one has family…checking in on here …different ones on here that are the …usual…and are brave enough to post something as an experience or whthave u….all start to mean something to a person, we feel for each other having come out of something that had such an effect on us all in one way or another…this site draws us closer to folks all over the world…Elder in Fear…right away after reading your post…and Johns quick response…you know there are caring ones out there…. it means soooo much! Thanx alot. It is like I felt when I went to the police and shelter ladies…there are kind caring people in this world, despite what we are told in JW.org….contact the right people…it will be ok…there is support out there…thank goodness for these people. Thanx sooo much! We will try to behave so that more decent people will be drawn to this help and not scare them away…sorry…

  32. twistedsister69 says:

    Regardless of how anyone feels about the bible, it is a fact that the leadership in the Big Three religions is rife with sexual degenerates. Just look at Afghanistan, where the holier-than-thou Taliban still engage in an age-old tradition of buying, selling, & engaging in sexual relations with young boys. In Yemen, a predominantly muslim nation, the practice of marrying child brides, some as young as 7, is rampant. & God only knows what all those “pious” sheikhs r up to inside their private villas, over there in that degenerate rathole known as Dubai, where people (idiots) pay $1000 for a cup of tea sprinkled with gold dust (yup, they drink the gold dust). & we all know about the scandal in the good ol’ catholic church. The FLDS also engages in child-bride marriage, in the good ol’ U.S. of A.!!! And of course, last but not least, the Pedophile’s Paradise, the good ol’ Watchtower Babble & Tricks Society. Each of the Big Three is rooted in the Old Testament of the bible. No wonder they strive 2 “prove” that the O.T. is from God. Then that would validate their sexual degeneracy & unnatural perversions. Like the Seven Degenerates down in Warwick, NY, USA. How much lower can they drop the bar? Aiding & abetting child molesters, breaking up families, begging little children 4 their ice-cream money. The Watchtower Leadership r the Scum of the Earth, Swamp Sludge, Less than Zero. They r a liability. A wart on the nose of humanity. I’ve had more respect for things I’ve scraped off the bottom of my shoe. They r toothless. Their only weapons r trickery & deceit. Their only tools r smoke & mirrors. They’ve never held down a real job, unless u count “pioneering”. HA HA HA … or being a professional Master Baiter. Even a hardcore Nazi would despise them, cowering & hiding there in their private little fortress, with their scumsucking bottom-feeding lawyers. All the money in the world can’t help them now. Self-respect is the ultimate currency. What good is all the money in the world if u can’t look urself in the mirror? Well, that’s all 4 now. Gotta go. I’m missing the Colbert show. More later. Another time, another cuppa coffee. I hope Yahweh is not too upset with me. Oops, almost forgot, there is no Yahweh. Never was.
    … looks like watchtower is up the creek without a Protector. 🙁

  33. Sharon Christensen says:

    They caught all the wild childern, They put them in zoos, They made them do sums and to wear sensible shoes. They put them to bed at the wrong time of day. made them sit still when they wanted to play.They scrubbed them with soap, made them eat peas…Made them behave, say pardon and please. They took all their wisdom and wildness away. That’s why there are none…in the forest today. From The Wild Child…by Jeanne Willis…and sooo much more could be added to this…..Remember when one was a child….and Religion, said no…you MUST…do this that …for GOD! :(. So many childern have never been able to be their …”real” child…..sexually abused…? Say …I? And like the post earlier…GB, like other religions…Concerned about who? It disgusts me to the greatest degree…How could people be sooo preverted, unfeeling emotionally…worse than animals to force their disgusting sexually preversions on an innocent child….If there is a God…WHY?

  34. Diane says:

    Great article. Those children will grow up and will probably be active JWs themselves…or probably not. However they will know that the elders were aware of their abuse and didn’t report. How are the elders going to motivate their actions and how are they going to “shepherd” them and look then in eyes after failing to help them when they were vulnerable.

    I did raise this with my husband who is an active JW and doesn’t seem to be interested in this. He says that parents that are mentally healthy should report it regardless of elders’ orders. The only problem is… a lot of JW parents are not mentally healthy…they are manipulated by this organisation.

    I hope you understand what I mean…sorry about my English.

    I am trying to convince my husband to reason for himself rather than let others reason for him but so far he is very indoctrinated. If anyone succeeded in opening a family member’s eyes and has any advise on how to do it….please please share it with me

    • outandabout says:

      Hi Diane, I’ve found that the child abuse scandal shocks JW’s the most because there is absolutely no scripture that can be used to excuse it. They will try to defend the abuse by saying it is everywhere these days, but hey, with everybody in the grip of the devil, ok, but is gods visible organisation in the grip of the devil as well? They should be the only organisation with no abuse instead of being the worst. You could try watching the BBC Panorama documentary ‘suffer the little children’, if you haven’t done so already. It’s an absolute shocker! It’s so bad I can’t show it to my JW family because I don’t want to embarrass them that much.

      • Diane says:

        He actually told me about the BBC Panorama documentary and that is how I got to watch it…but he didn’t bother to watch it as…”it is from apostates” ( his words). I intend to watch it once on loud volume on TV so he can hear it. But it will probably not work.

  35. Twistedsister69 says:

    @Diane
    How to open a family member’s eyes? Sure – don’t bother. It’s like banging your head against a wall. The best therapy is to come to this site & talk about it. U have friends / support here. Folks with similar experience. Best therapy. If ur husband feels the need to be a douchebag, let that be HIS problem.

    • Diane says:

      It definitely feels like banging my head. But I so much love him and care for him…I am hoping that one day he will “wake up”.

  36. Sharon Christensen says:

    Once again Messenger….good comment. I have been trying to figure out the type of things to put in my comments judgeing from other peoples comments…so I tried one way or the other to see what would go thru or what would be left on…Have no one else to talk to about…so do it this way…I was kinda shocked at some of the comments with the swear words etc….but we all have our reasons for how and what we feel….So, I think from your comment…we should be respectful of each other and the site owner…respectful to those who check it…it says a lot about the site if it is truthful and respectful…message got thru to me…thanx.

  37. Doc Obvious says:

    Watched your interview with Sarah Mills. Great interview. I totally agree that religion needs to be regulated. Especially when it comes to religious cults such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Scientology, and Mormonism. In a college history course, my teacher often quoted British politician Lord Acton when he stated “absolute power corrupts absolutely”. The Watchtower abuses their United States First Amendment rights as to gain power. When you’re a religious institution winning over 50 US Supreme Court victories, you believe you can say or do anything. Or, do nothing and no one will interfere with you. Now, the world is seeing the effects of such decision making.

  38. Gwen Little says:

    Messanger,

    I think you are baiting people into another argument by accusing them of using “hate speech” because they criticise the Bible.

  39. Whip It says:

    Heard a report yesterday of violence & rape against wittnesses in Venezuela (not sure how to spell it, looked on line & the only news is from the borg, yes losts of unrest, can anyone shed any light, is this borg fake news?

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