Royal Commission’s Angus Stewart accuses Watchtower representative of deliberate deception

Branch committee coordinator Terrence O'Brien was accused of intentionally trying to mislead the Commission

Branch committee coordinator Terrence O’Brien was accused of intentionally trying to mislead the Commission

This is the latest summary of the Royal Commission in Australia by non-disfellowshipped JWsurvey reader “CovertFade,” who is standing in for the JWsurvey writing team as we process the fast-paced events “down under”…

The closing moments of Day 7 of the Royal Commission’s investigation into Watchtower’s child abuse procedures saw some heavyweights from Watchtower’s Australia branch face up to some brutal questioning by the Commission’s Senior Council, Angus Stewart.

At one point the following remarkable exchange took place in which Terrence O’Brien, the coordinator of the Australia Branch, is accused of deliberately trying to deceive the commission in an apparent attempt to protect Governing Body member Geoffrey Jackson from being called to give evidence.

  • Mr Angus Stewart SC: Mr O’Brien, you have given evidence that you gave instructions to counsel on the point of Mr Jackson not being able to assist and his activities being in relation to translations. I, as a matter of fairness, must put to you that those instructions you gave were false, were they not?
  • Terrence O’Brien: No, I don’t believe so. Mr Jackson does oversee the translation work, but as part of the writing committee member, which he is one of the Governing Body members on that committee. So —
  • Stewart. And I suggest to you, or I put to you, that when you gave those instructions, you knew them to be false?
  • O’Brien. No. I disagree.
  • Stewart: And by giving those instructions, you sought to mislead the Royal Commission, to protect Mr Jackson from any potential summons to appear?
  • O’Brien: No, I disagree. I think the reason we asked consideration to be shown to Mr Jackson was the grave situation of his father – the very reason he is in Australia.
  • Stewart: Yes, and in relation to that, in view of what I have put to you, perhaps you can answer this: how are we to know if what you say about Mr Jackson’s compassionate circumstances is, in fact, true?

Attempting to mislead a Royal Commission is a criminal offense. If charged and convicted, Mr O’Brien could face a fine of up to $20,000 and up to five years in prison. So how on earth did the normally legally-savvy Watchtower manage to put itself in a situation where the head of its Australia branch was caught out in such a clumsy lie? Especially when the previous six days of testimonial curb-stomping clearly demonstrated that the Commission team was very smart, very aware of Watchtower’s inner workings, and quite prepared to examine matters with a fine tooth comb until it uncovered the truth.

Well, with hindsight, one can see the answer, and it revolves around the Cult Of Personality that the Watchtower has recently started to build around its Governing Body.

By Day 5, it was clear that a number of aspects of Watchtower’s handling of child abuse were seriously troubling the Commission. They included the two witness rule, the all-male nature of the judicial process, allowing a guilty-but-reproved offender to remain in the same environment as his victim with no real sanction, and more.

It was also clear that Watchtower considered these policies unchangeable due to their supposed scriptural basis, and that it was eagerly offering concessions in some lesser areas while carefully trying to sneak the weightier matters of concern out of the Commission’s spotlight unaltered.

The logical conclusion being drawn by the Commission was that they simply had to talk to the Governing Body. Ordinarily, this would be impossible; the seven members of the Governing Body reside in Brooklyn USA and as such are beyond the Australian Commission’s reach.

However, it transpired that Governing Body member Geoffrey Jackson had actually been in Australia since early July. The Commission made two separate approaches to Watchtower to organize testimony. Watchtower replied to the effect that Mr Jackson was in Australia for private, compassionate reasons and, also, that since the Governing Body was not involved in the implementation and administration of policies and procedures in relation to child sexual abuse, he would not be able to give relevant evidence.

The idea that a Governing Body member would not be able to give relevant evidence in this matter is absurd. Yet it should be noted that this fits a pattern of behavior. Gerrit Losch also refused to appear in defense of the organization’s child abuse policies in a US civil action the previous year. Nonetheless it appears the Commission was content at that point to let the matter go, and did not issue a summons. (It is important to note that refusing a summons to a Royal Commission is a criminal offense than can carry a sentence of up to six months imprisonment.)

However, by Day 6 it was clear that not only was the Commission realizing no meaningful change was possible without Governing Body sanction, but also that Watchtower was pulling out all the stops to firewall Jackson. My theory is that Watchtower Australia was given strict orders from Brooklyn that under no circumstances was Jackson to be summoned.

The damage to the cult of having one of the illustrious seven Faithful and Discreet Slave members, together comprising a revered mouthpiece of God, cut to dry-mouthed ribbons under examination as to his support for indefensible child abuse policies, was too awful a scenario for them to permit.

Nowhere was this more obvious than in the Day 6 testimony of Senior Service Desk Elder Rodney Spinks.

In the context of what we now know, it’s clear Spinks was tasked to mislead the Commission into believing Watchtower Australia had the authority to implement any changes the Commission might recommend, and thus shield Jackson from involvement. He does this in a manner that would make some of the most slippery political spin-masters green with envy. Let’s look at “Slippery Spinks” in action as he answers a simple, direct question. (By the way, the simple, direct answer to the question is: Yes we would need permission from the Governing Body.)

  • Mr Angus Stewart SC: But if you are to publish something new which sets out how child sexual abuse allegations are to be dealt with within congregations in Australia, would you need to get the clearance or the go-ahead from the Governing Body that what you have set out is fine, because it is not in conflict with the scriptures?
  • Spinks: I think the documents would show that we correspond openly with the Governing Body on matters of interpretation. I think my point is clear, that if recommendations from this Commission, and some things that we can obviously see ourselves – so, for example, if there is a legal requirement, whether it’s because of mandatory reporting or because of a criminal law that is less familiar to me than you, but if there are legal implications and we are working outside of those, you can be certain that an adjustment will be made here in Australia and a document produced relative to Australia, including collating those, as you see it – and correctly so – references from decades, that would be better into a single document tailored for the law, the culture, the expectation here in Australia. Absolutely.
  • Stewart: And you would only do that through engagement with the Governing Body?
  • Spinks: That’s – as many things could be done here in Australia, what I’m saying is we have such great respect for the Governing Body, we would have no issue at all with corresponding with them back and forward. I am confident there would be no issue, if we don’t stray from the scriptures, that they are happy for each branch committee – remembering that those members of the Governing Body are simply, as well, unpaid members of the organization that are selected from elders from different countries. So that’s not the issue. The issue is: is it in harmony with the scriptures and is it appropriate here in Australia. And the Australia branch committee would have that.

Notice how Spinks tries to dance around a simple and truthful “yes” every time, never quite telling an outright lie but still giving the false impression that the Australia branch can give the Commission everything it wants and thus there is no need to trouble Jackson.

During Day 6, the question of Jackson’s participation again comes up, and this extremely significant exchange takes place between Justice McClellan and the Watchtower Legal Council, Mr Tokley (bold is mine):

  • Justice McClellan: Now, these are very significant issues. They are not small issues, they are significant issues. At the moment, we are, as I say, facing the situation where we can see a problem, but we do need assistance from the church in what is the solution. We rather thought that Mr Jackson might be able to assist us in that respect. I understand the reason for compassion being extended to him. I have no difficulty with that. And for that reason, I have not issued a summons requiring him to attend. But at the moment we face a serious issue with which only the church can help us. Whether that needs a response now, I don’t know, but we would like you to reflect upon that situation.
  • Mr Tokley: Your Honour, may I respond on behalf of the persons I represent. Your Honour’s points are being taken on board, are being addressed, and are being given the most earnest consideration by the authorities. Mr Jackson would probably not have been of any assistance in any event, because his role and his responsibility is in relation to the translation of matters; it’s not in relation to these sorts of matters.

Remember that specific wording. That’s going to come back in a big way. Watchtower has just set something in motion that cannot be undone.

As Day 6 ends, it’s clear that Slippery Spinks has failed to protect Jackson. The Commission is clearly unconvinced. But it’s Day 7 when the wheels spectacularly come off the wagon for Watchtower Australia. During examination of the first witness of the day (Vince Toole, the elder in charge of the Legal Desk) the Commission submits a piece of previously unseen evidence.

  • Mr Angus Stewart SC: You say your understanding is that the branch committee members are equals. One of them is actually designated coordinator, is that not right?
  • Toole. Yes, I think he’s the coordinator of the – of the branch committee.
  • Stewart: And that designation or responsibility also is an appointment by the Governing Body?
  • Toole: I believe so, but I’m not absolutely certain – but I believe so. I’m sorry I don’t have a lot of information on that, but I just – I’ve never been involved.
  • Stewart: There are other copies coming shortly, but I’d just like to show you – there’s a copy for you – a document. You see it’s headed “Branch Organisation Effective December 15, 1977, Revised February 2003”. It says “This material in Branch Organisation –being the name of the publication –should not be copied or duplicated except with the permission of the Branch Committee.” It’s published in the USA, I understand, by the Governing Body. Have you seen this publication before?

Yes, for reasons that will come to light in a future JWsurvey article, the Royal Commission managed to obtain a copy of the Branch Handbook. If you thought the elders handbook was hard to obtain, that’s nothing compared to the Branch Handbook.

If the elders handbook is all about running a congregation, then the Branch Handbook is all about running a multi-million dollar worldwide corporation, and details, among other things, the full responsibilities of the Governing Body – the same Governing Body Watchtower Australia is desperately trying to insist has no say in the issue.

The day continues. Toole disgraces himself in his own special way during testimony, and also frantically tries to avoid giving straight answers as to the role of the Governing Body. Yet finally he is done, and Watchtower Australia’s big cheese, Terrance O’Brien, takes the stand.

Keep in mind what has happened up to now. Previous elders have been frantically spinning the narrative that Jackson is not needed, yet the Commission is clearly deeply suspicious, and most critically of all, Watchtower legal council has officially stated that Jackson’s role is limited “to the translations of matters.” To back away now would expose their deceit, and lead to possible criminal charges. But at the same time, it’s clear the Commission have all the evidence they need to see through the ruse. They have the Branch Handbook for crying out loud!

This is the no-win situation confronting O’Brien as he takes the stand, on an international live webcast, to face Mr Angus Stewart Senior Council, who has previously made mincemeat of every elder placed before him (even Slippery Spinks) and who now possesses the very publication that tells O’Brien how his own organization works.

The transcript records Stewart using the Handbook to establish Jackson’s role spanning multiple committees, including the writing committee and the teaching committee, both of which have direct involvement in the Commission’s area of interest. Then, the final nail in the coffin:

  • Stewart: I understand that you have not served as a member of the Governing Body, so I’m asking you from what your understanding is. But your understanding is that the seven members of the Governing Body, as a Governing Body, meet weekly, do they, every Wednesday?
  • O’Brien: Yes, so those who are present meet weekly.
  • Stewart. It will be that Governing Body as a whole, or those who are present, who would authorize the various publications and guides and guidelines, and so on; is that right?
  • O’Brien:. They would give the final approval for the publishing of them, yes.
  • Stewart: You will have heard yesterday that senior counsel representing the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Australia and the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of Australia said that Mr Jackson would not be likely to be able to assist this Commission, because his role is in the translation of matters. Now, that, do you accept, is in clear variance to what you have explained in your evidence?

Think about it. What would you do? Admit the truth and your previous deception, or keep trying to deceive, even though it’s clear that the evidence to disprove your testimony is literally resting in the hands of your opponent? O’Brien makes his choice. Stick with the lie.

  • O’Brien No – sorry, it’s not. The translation, it comes under the writing committee, as I understand, which is what Mr Jackson is a member of.
    Stewart: But he’s also the coordinator of the teaching committee that has many other responsibilities, and not translation – not so?
  • O’Brien Yes, he – as a member of the Governing Body, he has a number —
  • Stewart. So can you explain, Mr O’Brien, how it came about that senior counsel representing the organization was given instructions that Mr Jackson’s role is confined to the translation of matters, when it clearly is not?

Finally! It took two solid days of testimony, of dancing around the issue by various senior elders, and dogged persistence by the Royal Commission to establish an answer to the simple question of: What does Geoffrey Jackson do? Two Days!

It’s not over yet. When Justice McClellan next speaks, the webcast audio records a softness to his tone that underscores that severity of the situation more than a raised voice ever could.

  • Justice McClellan: Mr O’Brian, did you give those instructions to senior counsel?
  • O’Brien: The instructions regarding Mr Jackson?
  • McClellan: Yes.
  • O’Brien: Yes.
  • McClellan: It led me to believe that there was little that Jackson could add to the discussion, and no doubt that is what you expected would happen; is that right?
  • O’Brien: That’s true, and I still concur with that.
  • McClellan: Well, I’m starting to form a totally different impression, I have to tell you.

The day ends on Watchtower’s worst case scenario: Justice McClellan issues a summons for Geoffrey Jackson. What will the fallout be?

At the time of writing, it is unknown if O’Brien will face charges. On the surface it would appear the case against him is compelling, and it’s clear both Mr Stewart and Justice McClellan viewed O’Brien’s misdirection seriously. Additionally, it’s clear this was part of a strategy of misdirection employed by every Branch-level elder who testified. Yet even if all involved escape legal sanction, the fact of their deception is preserved online for all the world to see.

Google doesn’t forget.

What of Jackson? He has three options.

  1. Refuse to appear before the Commission, stay in the country to look after his reportedly dying father and go to prison.
  2. Appear before the Commission and take part in the worst PR debacle the cult has even seen.
  3. Refuse to appear, flee the country and make it clear to the world that he is so scared of the Commission he will even abandon his dying father to avoid testimony.

There is one final irony. As mentioned, the witness preceding O’Brien was Watchtower Australia’s top lawyer, Vince Toole. During his testimony, the concept of theocratic warfare was directly put to him:

  • Ms David: In the Watchtowers in 1957 and 1960, have you heard they say that: “As a soldier of Christ, you are in theocratic warfare and you 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.” Have you heard of that?
  • Toole: No, and I’ve never read 1957 magazine articles, I’m sorry. I only became a Jehovah’s Witness in 1972.
  • Ms David: But, as a lawyer, you would be aware of such concepts, wouldn’t you – that you can lie to protect Jehovah’s name?
  • Toole: (Visibly angry) We are truthful. To be a Christian, you have to be truthful.

Maybe O’Brien didn’t get the memo?

 

CovertFade

 

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473 Responses to Royal Commission’s Angus Stewart accuses Watchtower representative of deliberate deception

  1. GEM says:

    It will be interesting to see if the ARC recommends punishment on the basis of “Aiding and Abetting” a criminal act. Essentially, failure to report such abuse crimes is a Criminal Act.

    I did watch the UK channel 5 interviews. Personally, I cringed when Marc Latham poured scorn on the “Qualifications” of men on a Judicial committee.

    If this had been the arrangement in the 1st century, you may have found yourself in front of a Fisherman, a Tentmaker, a Tax Collector (god forbid) or a Physician.

    I have known Elders who are City businessmen, High flyers in the Automobile (Car) Industry and Barristers. The point is that none of them are qualified to judge in legal/criminal matters.

    Just the way the interview came over, I guess.

    We await the ARC recommendations!

    • @Gem . Enjoyed your comment. Got me thinking though as there was no Evidence of 3 men Judicial Committees in the first century & even if there was they Genuinely had Holy Spirit because they could Speak in Tongues, heal the dead as Paul did, Laying on of hands,Etc These were actual proofs of Holy Spirit & was Gods Organisation. Where is the Proofs the 7 MEN Governing Body have Holy Spirit with their NUMEROUS FAILED PROPHECIES (1799 Last Days; 1874 Christs Presence; 1914 Armageddon & Raising of Anointed to Heaven, 1915,1918,1919 , Etc 1925 Resurrection of Old Prophets such as Abraham.Isaac,David,etc 1975,etc) ?
      The GB have an ABYSMAL RECORD of Misapplying Scriptures such as with Organ Transplants,Blood Fractions; 2 Witness Rule in regard to Child Abuse; GENERATION Doctrine which is obviously no more than 30 or 40 years as Jesus proved when uttered in 33 c.e & Jerusalem destroyed in 70 C.E. ; Etc
      The GB CONDEMN the Catholic Hierarchy,But JW Organisation has its OWN HIERARCHIES with Publishers,Auxiliary Pioneers; Regular Pioneers; Special Pioneers;District Overseers; Bethelites; Branch Servants; Etc These comments are just Observations & the Questions are Rhetorical!!!

    • Excelsior! says:

      GEM,

      Surely a Barrister would be able to provide legal advice at least!!

      Marc’s point was totally justified. I have met many, many elders who were as thick as two short planks that have been sawn in half and glued on top of each other! But that didn’t stop the arrogant belief that they were “equipped for every good work”! No! These uneducated buffoons were more than happy to pontificate ad nauseum and make my life, and the lives of my friends, hell.

      No elder has been appointed by Jesus Christ in the WTBTS. Not a single one.

      Some are good people, who genuinely want to help the flock, but these are a minority and are marginalised. Good hearted elders don’t last long, in my experience.

      You also imply that a 1st Century Christian would appear in front of a three man judicial committee. Can you provide me with any scriptural evidence for this?

      You missed slaves out of your fantasy 1st Century list.

      Don’t forget, your lovely bible has absolutely no problem with one human being owning another!

      You point about no elder, no matter their education level or career, being able to judge criminal matters is absolutely correct.

      Peace be with you, Excelsior!

      • minion says:

        Excelsior! –

        Good points all around, however, please take in the good spirit intended, you misspelled WTBTS should be WTBT$. In this blog we proof read and validate for accuracy.

        Let Freedom and Truth reign!

        Peace out,

      • Idontknowhatodo says:

        Nearly every elder I know has no qualifications …. for anything ….. and I was shocked at the level of skill in communicating with all the elders… including CO’s and Branch Overseers at the ARC…They were awful… Im still fighting the fine but silent fight…and still enjoying the freedom of the mind….

  2. Kat says:

    Gem there was no such thing as a JC within the 1st century Christian congregations, all the congregation knew of the sin and the person was rebuked in front of the whole congregation.

    Besides we are discussing qualifications in dealing with victims of child abuse the elder have NO experience, it has been clearly showed by the ARC.

    This is about crime not sin.

  3. Dblaron42 says:

    Does anyone know if this lunatic was raised as a jdub? They Virginia reporter shooter? Said Jehovah told him to do it…..

  4. GEM says:

    @ Excelsior & Kat:

    There is an awful lot of presumption on your part.

    I tried to explain that the Apostles and Disciples were made up of people who had a wide variety of professions, and they did (Kat) take doctrinal and moral code decisions in the congregations.

    They did NOT however usurp the power of the Authorities of the day in Criminal matters. (Romans 13:1)…so whether a Fisherman or a Physician they were seen to be worthy of setting standards within the congregations.

    Please don’t lift my words out of context (Excelsior), I simply said “if this had been the arrangement in the first century”….the point is that the gold standards of Education and Status in Society at large… are not necessarily essential for a well trained and motivated Christian. Or, do we condone a Supercilious attitude towards our fellow human beings, because of their lack of Education and Status?

    • anonymous says:

      Here in the U.S. a person who is on trial is being judged by a jury of his “peers”, which to me, never made any sense. Say for instance, if a person is on trial for being a child abuser, if he is being judged by a jury of his “peers”, then the jury would be made up of child abusers, wouldn’t they?

      I think when a person is on trial in the congregation, they should be judged by those people who have been abused themselves, not by elders who could be friends of the abuser. In the case of child abuse or rape, then it’s a crime and that is where the law of the government comes into play. A crime is a crime and the one that was abused, deserves the respect of the community and has every right to report their abuser to the authorities and get justice.

      I totally understand when the victim may not want to get the authorities involved. If it’s the father or a brother or grandpa or whatever, the abuser will lose all respect within the community and possibly have to go to prison and may never get a job after that and the family will have to fend for themselves.
      If it’s a child that abused, then they will be labeled a sex abuser for the rest of their lives. It is a huge decision to make but it should be up to the abused to make that decision and nobody else has a right to interfere.

      When it comes to the elders not reporting to the police even one of those 1006 sex abusers in Australia, there must have been pressure on the victims not to report the abuser. It simply makes no sense otherwise.

      Most people (elders hearing the details) who have thinking ability, would be horrified at the abuse that these people have gone through and would be so angry (if it was their own child who had been abused) that they should naturally have urged the victims to report the abuse to the authorities. That would be a “normal” reaction to hearing those horrific stories.

      If those elders discouraged the victims not to report the abuse to the authorities then they were not thinking of the family and how the rest of the family might suffer from the abuse being reported to the authorities. They simply dismissed the abuse allegations as unimportant because they didn’t care about the victims. They only cared about the reputation of the Organization and that is all they cared about. That attitude makes the victim feel as if they are worthless in life and especially in the congregation. Women in every congregation are not taken seriously and neither are the children. The only ones that count are men.

      For all the years that I had gone to meetings, I was made to feel as if I didn’t count. I did tons of research in the last year about the Organization and finally realized that the Organization was never appointed by God in the first place and the elders have no authority placed on them by God over me and so now I look at the elders in a completely different light.

      I see them as men who took on the job of being an elder and some do the best job they can. They don’t have any training for the job they have been expected to do and expected to do perfectly, just as Jesus would do. They have families to take care of, jobs to do to support their families and talks to prepare and give and congregations to take care of and have to go in service. They simply don’t have the time to take care of us and see to our emotional needs. These men probably lose a lot of sleep because they can’t help each of us, like they would like to if they had the time. That is the elders who really have love for the brothers.

      Then there are men who love to disfellowship. Those men I truly do hate. There are men who have no compassion and only want to give talks at assemblies and lord it over the flock. Those men probably never lose any sleep over not caring for the flock.

      Now I stand up for myself. I am not afraid to speak my mind to them anymore. I will not hold back anymore. I will tell them the truth when it comes to how I feel about them. I am not afraid to say that the Organization is not appointed by God and never was. They have to show me now from the Bible that God is directing the Organization and they can’t. They have no authority over me anymore and now I feel as if I am the one that looks down on them and how really stupid they are, especially when it comes to the Bible. I even look at Geoffrey Jackson as an idiot and I have no respect for him or any of the Governing Body.

      In one year’s time, my attitude went from victim to the aggressor and I finally have respect for myself, which the Organization took away from me for the fifty years I was in it.

      • Excelsior! says:

        anonymous,

        Peers are people of the same age group or social standing.

        So, being judged by one’s peers means that those on the jury will be people who should have no ulterior motive in the conviction.

        This is in contrast to being judged by one’s social superiors, as was the case in the past.

        It is an attempt to level the playing field, as it were.

        Peace be with you, Excelsior!

        • anonymous says:

          Excelsior, I know what it means to be judged by one’s peers. My point is that if a person is going to be judged by a court of law, that the victim should have the right to decide who is going to judge (the jury) the case.

          The lawyers make the decision on the jury. The lawyers say they want a jury who are completely neutral and that makes sense. But I have never understood why the accused gets to be judged by a jury of his “peers”. It seems to me that his “peers” or his social group would be prejudicial in his favor. I am thinking specifically of the case of O.J.Simpson in the United States around twenty years ago. He killed his white wife and he was a famous black football star in his day and the jury was made of up mostly of black female jurists and the case was on live television for around three months and there was no doubt that the man killed his wife but the jury let him off as not guilty. If it had been a jury of white women, he would have been convicted.

          My point is, is that why doesn’t the victim have a voice in the choice of a jury?

          The same goes for victims of child abuse in the Organization. The victim is voiceless when it comes to the committee hearings (that is if there is a committee hearing since if there aren’t two witnesses to the crime, there won’t even be a committee hearing) and if there is a committee hearing, the abused gets to be judged by his “peers” (i.e. men). That is, in my opinion, prejudiced in favor of the man.

          I have never understood a supposed criminal being tried by a jury of his “peers” and I never will, no matter how much spin is put on it.

          • Excelsior! says:

            anonymous,

            Yes, the lawyers decide between them who will be on the jury. So the victim does have some say in the makeup of the jury, as the victim has legal representation, who will be looking out for their interests in the composition of the jury. No legal system is perfect, and if you want a change, then get on to your Congressmen and Senators.

            If the victim is the sole decider of who will make up the jury, then there will be the potential for miscarriages of justice. They will choose a jury that is guaranteed to find the defendant guilty!

            The opposite is also true.

            Therefore, both sets of lawyers decide upon the makeup of the jury. That way, it is hoped, a balanced group, neither for nor against both parties, will be selected.

            Peace be with you, Excelsior!

          • anonymous says:

            Excelsior, I know how it works. I have known how it works for a long time and I understand it should be fair. I was trying to make an analogy between the government’s jury trials and the Society’s trials.

            I think Watchtower committee trials should be fair. If I was being brought before a committee for a crime I did not commit, I would hope it should be fair. What the commission was trying to get at, is if the Society would ever change it’s stance on whether or not it would consider having women on the committee when it comes to child abuse and the Society said no.

            When it comes to jury trials in the “world”, at least it’s not one-sided like it is in the Watchtower. That is the point I was trying to get at.

          • anonymous says:

            Excelsior. I have been thinking about your comment about the victim getting a say in the jury. In the United States, I think that is the case when it comes to a civil lawsuit but when it comes to a criminal case, the prosecutors against the supposed criminal and the supposed criminal’s attorney are the ones who decide on the jury.

            The prosecutors are mostly interested in the crime and putting the criminal behind bars. They have decided the person is guilty and they do their best to show the jury all the evidence and when they do that, they will call witnesses on the stand and then the jury has to listen to the witnesses to determine whether or not the witnesses are telling the truth. I don’t believe that the witnesses to the crime have any say in the jury. I could be wrong but that is my problem with the supposed criminal having a say in picking out the jury among his peers. I understand the reasoning behind it but like you said, no system is perfect. I have seen so many trials in the United States where no matter how much evidence is presented for against the accused, there are still miscarriages of justice.

      • FinallyMe says:

        Well written anonymous and interesting to read of your travels from victim to aggressor. I am 9 months into my first year of freedom after 46 years a captive, though the process of leaving took years. I could not have imagined then feeling as angry and … aggressive as i do now! Good to go from being hurt and timid and lost to a burgeoning rage at what “they” get away with! I have faded successfully so far … but find myself just not caring any more what they know about what i think of them! Cheers

    • Excelsior! says:

      GEM,

      If we follow your logic, the SOLE requirement to be an elder is to believe in Jesus and God.

      If you want to believe in God and Jesus, then that is fine and dandy. I do not.

      I refuse to let any man have authority over my moral choices, simply because he believes in a completely unprovable God and his Son.

      GEM, these elders have NO authority at all. They should not be judging anything or anyone.

      I appreciate that you are a man of faith. But you have zero proof for your faith. If you want to have a faith, then that’s great! I do not.

      I do not accept the premise of a God, and so I do not recognise any perceived authority to judge sin by elders, whether they be nuclear physicists or window cleaners!

      The way to keep a congregation clean is to report crimes to the authorities. I am glad that we agree on this vital point.

      Peace be with you, Excelsior!

    • Excelsior! says:

      GEM,

      All elders and ministerial servants are bound by the requirements found in 1st Timothy 3:1 – 13.

      Verse 7 states that the views of people outside of the congregation are also required.

      The WTBTS is being exposed as a cult. Any elders or ministerial servants will NOT have a “fine testimony” from those outside.

      Therefore, I do not recognise any authority from these men, allegedly appointed by Holy Spirit.

      This does not mean that individual elders and ministerial servants can’t be good people or even good Christians, it simply means that they have not been appointed by Jesus to shepherd the flock.

      Peace be with you, Excelsior!

  5. anonymous says:

    Another really good video to watch on Youtube:

    “Christian Narcissism? Spiritual & Religious Abuse – What to Look for” by James Kristian

  6. anonymous says:

    https://youtu.be/T4I97SBXWe4

    This should be the video.

  7. GEM says:

    @anonymous: Well presented.

    I also like the comment made at the ARC about Deborah’s position in Israel.

    The most loving thing today if a hearing of Abuse against a child takes place is to have a kindly Older Sister, however qualified, to help the child through the pain of unburdening her/himself.

    You make some excellent points about the knock on effect of reporting back to the Authorities. But, the law…is the Law.

    WT has to man up and admit its appalling lack of humanity in this (and other) matters. A well spelt out recommendation and appropriate penalty would go a long way to sending a tsunami through the congregations. (Yes, I know how that may be interpreted by the die hards too)

    Well done, Anonymous

  8. anonymous says:

    Since child abuse is a crime, I think the obvious solution to the two witness rule would be a required lie detector test on the part of both the accuser and the accused. I think the police would agree to that and I can’t imagine why the elders would argue with that either. Sociopaths can pass lie detector tests because they don’t have a conscience but if the accused is faced with a lie detector test from the police, they might come clean and if the accused made up the story, they may also come clean before the lie detector test. That is one solution.

    The judge was right in the trials by pointing out that in the days of the ancient Israelites, a man could be put to death without a second witness when it came to rape. That doesn’t seem right either if I was the accused and I had not committed the crime. So the judge was pointing out that the Bible’s answer isn’t consistent either when it comes to the two witness rule in convicting a person. In one place it says you need two witnesses and in another you didn’t need a second witness.

    In the Organization, a person is required to report a wrong doing when they either know about it or were part of it. They have to tell the elders or they are told that Jehovah’s Spirit is being withheld from the congregation until the matter is exposed.

    So, if a person doesn’t have two witnesses to the crime, they are still required to tell the elders and the elders either don’t believe them or do believe them. If they don’t believe the person, then the person has to attend meetings with their abuser or rapist and see that person being treated as if they are a good person when the victim knows what the criminal did to them. How do they deal with that? It is an impossible situation, whether they are a child or an adult. What if nobody believe them, including their own parents? How does a person deal with that????

    But what if the elders do believe the victim but there aren’t two witnesses? The elder’s hands are tied. They have to let that person be in the congregation and mingle with all the others in the congregation and all they can do is monitor them when they see them at meetings. They are not allowed to warn anybody because that would be gossip. That must also be an impossible situation for the elders. That is, if it’s elders care and really believed the victim and have a working conscience and empathy. There is where the lie detector test would solve a lot of the problems. If a person failed the lie detector test, then they would be disfellowshipped and the accuser would be vindicated and the authorities would handle the situation from then on.

    There have been cases in bitter divorces when one of the parents will influence a child to lie about a parent so the elders can’t just disfellowship a person because a child has accused a parent of abuse. The elders have that scenario on their side but it is rare. In most cases, when a child comes forward, they are telling the truth.

    Either way, it is a religion that I would not want to be part of. Hopefully there were enough people watching those proceedings who picked up on that and either start to question their own religion, or tell others about it so they are aware of the situation within the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses and decide they don’t want to be part of it.

    I don’t know if this is a problem within other organizations but the Society has always portrayed Jehovah’s Witnesses as the best religion because the people are so “clean” and that is the impression that they so desperately want to keep and will lie their heads off to protect that reputation, even on the stand.

  9. Grace says:

    I’ve been wondering whether other religions even hold JC’s. In my experience as a Catholic, it was just a confessional to the priest. Then it was confidential between the person & the priest.

    I don’t consider these JC’s to be under the same “clergy confidentiality” claim. The information is passed around between the elders handling it & possibly elders wives (if they’re snoops)like Pickled said. Then it’s passed to the branch service department then the legal department then it goes back to the service department. Then you have those that have to put the data into into their files etc etc. So how many eyes view this so called confidential stuff?

    So for me it boils down to the fact that it is an illegal act what they are doing. Passing around information that could be a crime & not letting the authorities know is withholding information to the authorities.

    Also, it becomes even weirder when it is a child rape file thats being passed around. How that doesn’t become child pornography!! I don’t know but it seems so wrong to me.

    If they are the only religion that holds JC’s then they are a law unto themselves.

    The other question I have is this. Is it the old testament that they get the idea for holding JC’s? Did the 1st century christians hold them? I’m not sure of that history.

    I got the impression that Jesus did away with all of the old Pharisee religious laws to free the people & to give them their own rights & thinking abilities back & that having two laws conflicting with each other (the religious laws & the secular laws) where just overburdening them. Jesus stripped it back to love for God/neighbour. Angus brought that out in a way during the ARC. So if a person has committed a crime especially against a child then the loving thing to do is to protect other children in & outside of the church & tell the authorities.

    All the JC’s do is complicate things all over again like the Pharisees did. What was that saying from Einstein?

    “Any fool can take something simple & complicate it, it takes genius & courage to take something complicated & simplify it.”

  10. anonymous says:

    There should be no such thing as clergy confidentiality when it comes to child abuse and rape and child porn. Children can’t protect themselves and they need adults to protect them.

    If you put yourself in the position of the elders and a child has come forward and accused one of their close friends of abuse, those elders know full well that if it is reported to the police, that that friend will lose all respect in the community (even if they are innocent) and possibly go to prison for it if it’s proven that they did the crime. They would obviously be glad for the two witness rule in that case. They know the consequences if the person is reported to the police and being friends, they are hoping the allegations are false.

    When those elders in that commission said they’d tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, they lied about telling the whole truth. All of us JW’s, know that in all those 1,006 pedophiles that were reported to the elders, that the elders might have told the victims that they could take it to the police if they wanted to, but they would also have told the victims that if they did, it would bring reproach on Jehovah’s name.

    The victims would have been strongly counseled that if they did go to the police, that they would not have had the support of the congregation since there weren’t two witnesses and so that person would be considered in good standing in the congregation. We all know that, because when a person is reproved or disfellowshipped, the victims are strongly counseled not to tell anybody both inside and outside the congregation, about what happened to cause the reproof. So, how can that be reconciled with going to the police?

    If the government took away clergy confidentiality, then the elders can’t feel responsible for what happens to their friend.

    Also, the elders probably get sob stories about how “sorry” these people are and how “suicidal” they are if the facts come out so that has to weigh heavily on their minds too that this abuser could kill themselves if the facts come out publicly and so there’s another reason they are glad for the two witness rule.

    What they don’t take into account is what affect all this has on the victim. They are told by the Society to put the accused at ease but nothing is said about putting the victim at ease. The Society cares little about the victims. If they did, that would come out loud and clear in the Shepherd the Flock book and it doesn’t at all.

    The Society seems to think that since the victim didn’t do anything wrong to cause the abuse, that it should be good enough for them to know that and that’s all. It’s like if a husband commits adultery, that the wife should just get over it, since she wasn’t the one that committed the sin. She should be “happy” since she has a clean conscience over it.

    The Society is made up of men who write the articles and they don’t have a clue. Even if they just got some self-help books and wrote some articles from them, it would be helpful but they are too lazy to do even that.

    The Society never had the right to put those elders in that position in the first place. I don’t believe any of those elders want to be in that position but they are brainwashed into thinking it’s God’s Organization and they feel they must protect God’s name in all this.

    The Governing Body place themselves above “worldly” governments. They are a law unto themselves which goes against Romans chapter 13.

  11. enuffsenuff says:

    Hi Grace, I concur with your comments about confidentiality and the Catholic priest. The notion that confidentiality exists with JW’s is laughable and is not true. After reading your comments, your comments made me think, the Catholic’s have a better handle on what Paul spoke about in 1 Cor 5. From my understanding if Catholic’s are excommunicated they are denied the sacraments and that’s all (others may know better on this I am not well versed on Catholic procedure). They are not placed in isolation from family and friends. Isolation is a torture technique used by Govt’s to abuse and intimidate their political and ideological foes. Hardly sounds Christlike does it?
    Which then leads me to the Judicial Committee (JC) process. Apart from the fact that it has no place in the scriptural record, (I’ve looked and can’t find it”), Paul in his letter to the Corinthinians in a few verses before 1 Cor 5, (1Cor 4:8 actually) describes some of the Corinthians as, “You have begun ruling as kings with out us have you?”
    This tells us that most likely the GB and their predecessors think likewise, that they have already begun ruling as kings. In effect I would suggest they see themselves as a Govt in exile. A very dangerous position that they have taken, Christ having faced the same issue at John 6;15 when people wanted to make him the king, but fled the scene.
    So with all due respect to anyone thinking that the GB is reformable by offering suggestions as to what they can do to stop the current mess, is probably on the wrong tack. The GB is unreformable. They wont change. Even Christ when talking about an evil slave says that the slave is unreformable, being cast out to weep and grind the teeth in disbelief (Math 24). That was evident in the arrogant way that Jackson responded to SC Stewart. The clearest evidence of the mentality of a King in exile was what Jackson said,

    ” Q: Is there room for the Church to change that (involve women in the JC process)
    ” A: (Jackson repeats the question and says) NO! Transcript page15950, lines16-20.

    Then there was the remarkable exchange when SC Stewart pointed out that the “broader congregation of believers” chose the the seven reputable men and not the apostles.

    “A: (Jackson) Well, this is one of the difficulties we have when a secular Commission is trying to analyse a religious subject.” Ibid page 15936, lines 28-35

    Then there was the I will “ask Jesus that,” answer, Ibid page 15971, lines 34-41. Which a lot of people saw as disrespectful but revealed the notion that Jackson see’s himself as a king in exile.
    I don’t think they can be reformed, in any case would we want to?

  12. enuffsenuff says:

    Hi Grace, I concur with your comments about confidentiality and the Catholic priest. The notion that confidentiality exists with JW’s is laughable and is not true. After reading your comments, your comments made me think, the Catholic’s have a better handle on what Paul spoke about in 1 Cor 5. From my understanding if Catholic’s are excommunicated they are denied the sacraments and that’s all (others may know better on this I am not well versed on Catholic procedure). They are not placed in isolation from family and friends. Isolation is a torture technique used by Govt’s to abuse and intimidate their political and ideological foes. Hardly sounds Christlike does it?
    Which then leads me to the Judicial Committee (JC) process. Apart from the fact that it has no place in the scriptural record, (I’ve looked and can’t find it”), Paul in his letter to the Corinthinians in a few verses before 1 Cor 5, (1Cor 4:8 actually) describes some of the Corinthians as, “You have begun ruling as kings with out us have you?”
    This tells us that most likely the GB and their predecessors think likewise, that they have already begun ruling as kings. In effect I would suggest they see themselves as a Govt in exile. A very dangerous position that they have taken, Christ having faced the same issue at John 6;15 when people wanted to make him the king, but fled the scene.
    So with all due respect to anyone thinking that the GB is reformable by offering suggestions as to what they can do to stop the current mess, is probably on the wrong tack. The GB is unreformable. They wont change. That was evident in the arrogant way that Jackson responded to SC Stewart. The clearest evidence of the mentality of a King in exile was what Jackson said,

    ” Q: Is there room for the Church to change that (involve women in the JC process)
    ” A: (Jackson repeats the question and says) NO! Transcript page15950, lines16-20.

    Then there was the remarkable exchange when SC Stewart pointed out that the “broader congregation of believers” chose the the seven reputable men and not the apostles.

    “A: (Jackson) Well, this is one of the difficulties we have when a secular Commission is trying to analyse a religious subject.” Ibid page 15936, lines 28-35

    Then there was the I will “ask Jesus that,” answer, Ibid page 15971, lines 34-41. Which a lot of people saw as disrespectful but revealed the notion that Jackson see’s himself as a king in exile.
    I don’t think they can be reformed, in any case would we want to?

    • @enuffsenuff . I Completely AGREE with your comments about Geoffrey Jackson ! He was TOTALLY ARROGANT @ Displayed MOCK HUMILITY to Angus Stewart! When Jackson said he would ask Jesus when he gets to heaven about the Passage in Deutronomy on when the woman cries RAPE in the field & there was only one witness I thought his Attitude was Arrogant & DISGUSTING because the subject was in relation to Child Abuse & Jackson had the AUDACITY to say he had NOT READ or listened to any of the VICTIMS STATEMENTs !! Well if he had Maybe he would understand the TRAUMA,HEARTBREAK & EMOTIONAL DEVASTATION these JW CHILDREN have suffered!!! These 7 Brooklyn MEN Especially Jackson, LETT, MORRIS & SPLANE & HERD& Losch& Sanderson DISGUST ME !! Heck that’s all 7 Evil Men!!

      • Grace says:

        Enuffsenuff,

        Thanks for looking into that for me, (JC’s) in the Christian context. Because it just seems to be so wrong on so many levels.

        I agree with you, I have no interest in seeing a reformation in this church either. I just don’t think that it will be obsolete that quickly. There are too many devoted members breathing life in to it.

        So while it is still existing, I believe that someone has to stop the cycle of abuse that’s been going on for too long.

        This is the time for the thousands that came forward with this ARC that have been silenced with fear (some still in, some ex) to speak.

        P.s. I received my letter from the ARC on friday letting me know of the huge response & apologies for having to be on a waiting list for a few months.

  13. Bad Penny says:

    Grace – I also received a reply to my email to ARC. The message is getting through, we just have to be very patient I guess.
    Pickled – Yes, the arrogance was very apparent to us, I’m sure it did not escape Angus Stewart!
    What I noticed was the passing of the buck with G.J. stating that if the Commission made it mandatory to report these crimes it would be helpful!
    Of course, the law does protect children when the blood issue is involved by making them ‘Wards of Court’ and letting them have the required treatment. How the Society will feel about mandatory reporting in light of their ‘confidentiality’ issue will remain to be seen. I guess they will juggle the balls around a bit to suit their own agenda. Pharisees!

    • Robert says:

      I am unable to stop laughing at the thought of confidentiality amongst elders and their families. Forty years in and I have yet to work with a single Elder that understands what the word means. The entire thing is designed to completely destroy any trace of dignity the sheep under their “care” have. I turned the post in years ago in fear of Gods wrath, just as with the Nazi soldiers, Jehovah will not accept I was just following orders. Each and every elder is guilty of placing the will of a few over Gods word. I still believe in Jehovah with all my heart, strength and mind. I anxiously await his move on the matter. Please don’t allow men to rob you of your relationship with God, the Bible is full of religious leaders messing worship up for everyone else, this is nothing new. Trust in Jehovah, that he will sort this house out.

    • @Bad Penny. You made ME LAUGH OUT LOUD when you said the GB will JUGGLE the BALLS ABOUT???? Hmmmm !!! I would like to see Stephen Lett do that !! Perhaps not!!

  14. Bad Penny says:

    Pickled –
    Yes, they are good ‘jugglers’ aren’t they, they make even better magicians – making things appear to be so, then making them disappear with ‘new light’, etc.
    Robert –
    It may be worth your while to do a little research on the name ‘Jehovah’, don’t believe everything Watchtower has told you about this name.
    I do believe the TRUE GOD will sort things out eventually though.

  15. tmt says:

    What do you think the reasoning was for the three that took oaths without the bible? Do you think it was so that they could protect and stand firm and fabricate truth….instead of swearing on the bible? I can’t figure it out. I thought for sure they would appear as a united front.

  16. isawthelight says:

    It seems to me that these jw people are like little kids going up against a giant. They finally met their match. Cockiness wont work for them.They have to think about everything before they answer. At last these clowns have met their match. Of course they can turn this in as time in field service. So that should make them feel good,

  17. lambofdog says:

    I don’t get this religious babble. It must be the real reason we have the separation of church and state. Because like the Koran, any religious dogma is open to any perverse interpretation that suits perpetrators of evil hiding behind the cloth, then the state, and its rule of law must prevail.
    I guess this is what makes me a religiophobe.

  18. desvirgadas says:

    Buen comentario, mejor pensar en que decir, que no decir nada, la verdad que no pasa nada si hay comentarios anidados, mejor verlos todos.