News Bulletin: Watchtower Found in Contempt of Court – Hit with $4000 Fine Per Day Until It Complies With Court Order
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campos-pedophileA few months ago, we reported on yet another in a long line of legal actions brought against the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society for its now infamous and heavily criticized methods of handling accusations of child abuse inside its organisation.

Journalist Dorian Hargrove reported in the San Diego Reader on the lawsuit brought by abuse survivor Osbaldo Padron against Watchtower due to their alleged mishandling of sexual abuse committed against him by infamous Jehovah’s Witness serial sex offender Gonzalo Campos.

Campos is already the focus of multiple lawsuits against Watchtower from other victims, including abuse survivor Jose Lopez.

In his original article, which we reported on and analysed here, Hargrove wrote that part of the case against Watchtower was that its mishandling of the abuse inflicted on Padron by Lopez fit a far larger pattern of such behaviour from the organisation: a systemic failure to confront child molestation accusations in an effective manner, and a deliberate policy of not bringing such accusations to the attention of the authorities.

It was alleged that documents held by Watchtower proved this accusation; documents that list tens of thousands of alleged Jehovah’s Witness child molesters that the religion has failed to report or act upon, but has instead simply filed away.

Watchtower has confirmed the existence of these documents, but when ordered to produce them by the court in March 2015, they have provided them in an extremely redacted form, rendering them essentially useless to Padron’s legal team.

Therefore in April 2016, Padron’s legal team made a motion for the judge to apply sanctions against Watchtower for each day it refused to hand over unredacted documents.

Today, in a new article, Hargrove reports that the Judge has upheld this motion.

Reports Hargrove (bold is mine):

In March 2015, the church turned over a heavily redacted version of the letter. Opposing attorneys called the redactions excessive, rendering the document illegible. Judge Strauss then assigned a discovery referee to sit with the two sides. But having a referee involved didn’t solve matters. Repeatedly, the Watchtower Society has stated that it will not comply with the order.

“By the time of the hearing on the motion for sanctions, it will have been over a year since the initial order and almost three months since the [referee’s recommendation] was adopted,” reads Strauss’s ruling. “In the period since…Watchtower has shown no effort or willingness to comply with the discovery order.

“Based upon the history in this case and Watchtower’s statements…the court finds that Watchtower’s failure to comply is willful…Watchtower clearly has control over the documents it has already produced and could revise the redactions with regard to those documents. This is obviously and clearly within the scope of Watchtower’s powers which it chooses not to exercise. Continuing to repeat its prior unsuccessful arguments in opposition to the discovery order further illustrates Watchtower’s obstinacy in compliance.”

Those of us familiar with Watchtowers conduct when faced with legal enquiries into its child abuse policies will not be surprised to hear words such as “obstinacy” or “wilful failure” used when describing their court tactics. The last few years have seen Governing Body members flee in panic from chances to give testimony in support of their organisation, as well as senior Watchtower officials caught telling outright lies under oath in regard to this matter. They have even been caught trying to delay trials with tactics described by the Judge in the matter as “bad faith” and “abusive.”

Watchtower’s strategy often appears to be simple: lie, evade, stall.

In her ruling, Judge Strauss has decided to bring Watchtower’s stalling over this matter to a painful halt.

Court Documents obtained by JW Survey render the judgement thus:

“The court orders monetary sanctions of $2,000 per day for every day that Watchtower does not produce responsive documents and an additional $2,000 per day for every day that Watchtower does not search for responsive documents. In view of the acknowledged substantial net worth of Defendant, the court determines that the total daily amount of sanctions of $4,000 per day should be sufficient to determine if Defendant will comply with the discovery order and is not overly harsh.”

But this is just the first step. According to Court Documents, the Judge has also ruled:

“The court sets a status conference for July 22, 2016 to hear from the parties whether the monetary sanctions have been effective.”

This means that, should Watchtower fail to provide the documents by this date, the Judge can apply further sanctions. The pain will go up and up, until Watchtower either complies or is possibly even forced to forfeit their defense, if the events of another trial involving serial abuse Gonzalo Campos are any guideline.

Watchtower might repeatedly tell its followers that reports of it mishandling of child abuse are apostate lies, and that it has nothing to hide, but one only has to look to Watchtower’s conduct in the courtroom to see a very different side to the organisation.

It is not a side many honest-hearted Jehovah’s Witnesses would be comfortable to see.

We will of course keep you updated on further developments, as it seems clear this story is far from over. Will Watchtower produce these damning documents? How bad will the legal sanctions turn out to be?

It looks like we’re going to find out!

 

 

 

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164 Responses to News Bulletin: Watchtower Found in Contempt of Court – Hit with $4000 Fine Per Day Until It Complies With Court Order

  1. Hakizimana J. de Dieu says:

    In my country, DHS 2014-15 has shown a higher HIV Prevalence among Jehovah’s Witnesses women than “Christendom women”! It is 5.7%!
    Also, they have a higher prevalence of “sexual Violence”!

    I am afraid statistics may one day reveal that all these are associated with Bible Studies and preaching…

    *** w12 8/15 p. 28 par. 13 Stand Firm and Avoid Satan’s Traps! ***
    As part of his ministry, Daniel conducted five Bible studies with young men—three of whom got baptized. These newly baptized brothers needed considerable help. When Daniel was busy with his various theocratic assignments, Sarah often provided that help. Soon this pattern developed: Daniel’s former Bible students needed emotional support, and they received it from Sarah. She needed attention, and she got it from Daniel’s Bible students. A deadly trap had been set. “Months of my wife’s giving of herself drained her spiritually and emotionally,” says Daniel. “This, coupled with the fact that I had been neglecting her, led to a disastrous turn of events. My wife committed adultery with one of my former students. She had become spiritually weak right under my nose, and I was too concerned about all my privileges even to notice it.”

    • Mitch Jensen says:

      The Watchtower Study Lesson dated 6/26/2016 at the District Convention in California had the Conductor tell the audience “Jehovah’s Witnesses are going to get rounded up soon, the United Nations has plans to eliminate the ‘Only True Religion’ so we need to keep our mouths quite when it comes to talking to the authorities of the World”. Members who attended this Convention were shocked, some said “I was terrified how creepy the World is turning, that’s why its never good to speak bad about the Organization”. Since I was four years old I heard the same garbage without factual based evidence.

      Its fear mongering and scare tactics like this that allowed pedophiles to roam in my congregation for decades. Pedophile Elders, Servants and Rank and File all had access to small children because the Watchtower taught our Elders to handle everything In-house! Why would the Government want to get rid of all its low paid Jehovah Witness workers that pose no threat? What harm are they posing by standing as silent mutes next to little carts and trolleys nobody touches?

    • Eric says:

      This sounds like the Hilary Clinton e-mail cover up.

  2. rob says:

    Interesting comments about the watchtower filing for bankruptcy. But if they did that, the assets that are now owned by the watchtower would subject to claims of creditors within that corporation. Transferring assets out of the corporation at this late date could be considered a reviewable transaction and could be overturned by the Court.

    Also, for assets that were sold prior to the bankruptcy filing, the watchtower would have to provide an accounting of the funds and depending upon where the funds were allocated, there could be a judgement issued against any new corporation or entity that benefited from those funds.

  3. Big B says:

    @Quendi;

    “Meanwhile, they must exercise patience and “wait on Jehovah” to finally rectify matters. To do otherwise is to ‘run ahead of Jehovah’ and risk his disfavor on their attitudes and actions”.

    Typical of the Watchtower using ‘1984’ Orwellian speak which translates as “do nothing”. If you wait on Jehovah to set matters straight, generations will come and go and you will certainly die of old age not seeing anything resolved.

    God will certainly clean house (smash heads) and destroy this monstrosity of hypocrisy that dare’s to use his HOLY name for their twisted, corrupt, money extorting purposes.

    What’s even worse, even if the sexual offender is dis-fellowshipped, they can still be reinstated to ply their perversion at the congregation again without the rank and file being forewarned!

    Loved your comments they are right on target!

  4. Jacob says:

    During the discussions on the 1st paragraph of this article that talks about being obedient to human authority i.e.; Government, court, etc. (Matt.22:21; Rom 13:1,2), the recent Contempt of Court decisions in San Diego penalizing Watchtower $4,000 per day for not producing documents related to a sexual abuse case come to mind. That’s hypocrisy at it’s best!

  5. Outandabout says:

    What’s to stop the WT from destroying most of the evidence and presenting a couple of thousand mild cases to the court and claiming ‘apostate lies and dishonesties’ for the rest?

    • Big B says:

      Great question Outandabout:

      The answer to your question is ‘absolutely nothing’.

      People have pondered why President Richard M. Nixon didn’t destroy the White House tapes that plainly incriminated him and his administration for covering up the Watergate scandal. It certainly was an option open for him however, he didn’t do it at the very beginning and soon it was made evident by the Congressional hearing that there were tapes that existed.

      Maybe the Watchtower is afraid that since the courts have testimony from other cases revealing that these files exist to destroy them at this time would be considered obstruction of justice along with evidence tampering that the WTBTS would be charged with. A serious jail time offense indeed.

    • John Redwood says:

      Outandabout

      While this might seem a logical strategy, willful destruction of documents pertaining to pertinent cases would likely result in criminal charges and would escalate these cases both in the courts and in the press. I don’t believe they would risk that kind of scandal, as it would extend well beyond “theocratic warfare” and would expose them on a level which would be difficult to ignore for many Witnesses. There would be a significant fallout as a result, both figuratively and literally

      JR

      • Big B says:

        Absolutely, John.

        The G.B. would have to completely ignore their attorney’s advice and to do so would put them in great legal peril.

        Talk about fallout, how could anyone justify destroying records now that everyone knows that they have these documents going back decades of practicing pedophiles and their victims?

        A better question might be: If the media gathers information about the current debacle and does a ’60 minute’ type expose on the Watchtower how in the world will the rank and file respond to defend the organization?

        Certainly this would not be something I would want to defend door to door.

    • BlindedByTheNewLight says:

      Keep in mind, the WT has already admitted to having possession of these documents. In some states, if a party knowingly and willingly destroys evidence, the party can be sanctioned and the court may assume the evidence destroyed was harmful to the defense. They won’t destroy it. They will stall until they can’t stall any more.

  6. KTMmadBrit says:

    To all you who still believe the fairytale of God in your hearts. Grow up and face reality. He has NEVER answered a prayer. Not even his ‘son’s’!!!!
    I left at age 50. I have too many friends to cope with. All you need to get over the JW ‘friendship’ thing (being nice to people who bore you sensless) is a fast sports motorcycle and a local club. Skiing is also a good therapy but not so many instant friends.As the Yanks say…Get a life.
    Three clean-cut JW men just knocked at the door of my house here in Italy. I was pleasant but speak little Italian so no chance to engage them about the current issues. Yet a hundred local motorcyclists welcomed me with an award at lunch just for traveling from England! YOU DO NOT NEED THOSE PEOPLE.

    Ladies. Dump the dumb husband. Find a soul-mate. Preferably with a fast bike!

    • John Redwood says:

      KTMmadBrit

      For the benefit of our readers, it must be stated that your comments are neither helpful nor kind to those who may be struggling with doubts inside the JW organization. These comments are incendiary and imply that those who believe in God are immature and do not have a “life.” While many of us are non-believers, we respect the rights of those with faith to believe as they wish without being ridiculed.

      As the only “Yank” on the editorial staff, I would never stoop to advising our readers to “get a life.” Your insensitivity betrays your lack of understanding of what it means to grow up inside an organization such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, and you would be better served by learning how to make intelligent arguments to back your position in lieu of emotionally charged statements such as “grow up and face reality.” Also, I doubt many ladies will be impressed with your motorcycle “award” or the speed of your bike.

      Sincerely,

      JR

      • M Saurus says:

        JR – some people are less tactful and more to the point than others. Some who are on the fence might benefit from a bit less coddling.

        I don’t think KTM meant any harm.

        And we won’t hold it against you that you are a “Yank” 🙂

    • jwreality says:

      That was one of the most pointless comments ive read here in a while. Some event in life has clearly left you a very bitter person.

      • GEM says:

        Nope….KTMmadBRIT…clearly has need of something bigger throbbing between his legs. He clearly suffers from an Inferiority complex and should be handled accordingly.. carefully, as with special needs.

      • Hakizimana says:

        @jwreality, let us hope John Redwood did not face a “judiciary committee”!

        This is what we can read from Watchtower library 2015:

        *** w71 6/15 p. 359 Fear of God’s Anger is Wisdom ***
        Still another human agency God uses at times to express his anger is the judiciary committee of a local Christian congregation, […] When this committee, in the discharge of its duties, excommunicates a willful wrongdoer, it is expressing God’s anger against a wrongdoer.

        Alongside “judiciary committees”, Jehovah Witnesses believe “God has used a number of means to express his anger”:
        1) “supernatural phenomena
        – he destroyed the wicked in Noah’s day by a global flood.
        – “He used fire from heaven to wipe out the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.”
        – “He used various kinds of supernatural means to plague the Egyptians ten times and to destroy Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea.”
        2) “the natural laws of retribution, of cause and effect…”
        3) “human agencies to express his anger”
        4) “local governments, “Caesar,” to serve as a means for expressing his anger against individual violators of proper human laws that harmonize with God’s laws
        5) Chief of all instruments used by Jehovah God to express his anger against the wicked are Jesus Christ and his angelic army

        If you fail to understand why JWs believe “God has used a number of means to express his anger” including “Judiciary Committee” you will never understand why the world is sinking in troubles…

      • Hakizimana says:

        Sorry, in my previous comment I wanted to name KTMmadBrit instead of John Redwood

        • M Saurus says:

          While he may have said it in a not-so-tactful manner, KTM is correct in that there is so much to do and so many friends to be made on the “outside” that people really should take the plunge, get out – and not be afraid or clinging to those on the inside for fear that there is nothing else for them. There is. Not necessarily a motorcycle, but you get the point.

    • M Saurus says:

      Although the motorcycle life might not be for everyone, I do see your point. There are many friends to be found outside.

      I personally don’t see how anyone, in good conscience, could stay in for any reason – family, friends, or whatever- after reading about this child abuse scandal.

      Never mind the UN, the shunning, the constant “new light” (all of which are good reasons to leave).

      Staying in an organization such as this because you might end up lonely, is hypocrisy at it’s finest. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see how someone could post here about how bad the org is then stand up and sing “kingdom” songs at a meeting and play a part….

      • Search says:

        That’s an excellent point M Saurus. For many it just takes time depending on how many years they’ve been in the organization, if they have a family with children, parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts etc etc. Its not a very easy thing to do unless you were df’d and still one day you want to be able to see & talk to them again in the near future. The last thing you want to happen to you is to be labeled an apostate. If your just awakening like myself, I’m looking for a way to just fade away and even that is difficult because the elders are constantly monitoring me to make sure everything is fine. I too have family in the Org & I don’t want to lose them. I believe that family comes 1st above all things. Slowly & surely I am trying to point out some of the major issues plaguing the org like the Royal commission and this court case in the U.S. among other doctrines J.Ws are teaching which have no scriptural backing like 1914 & the constant evolving generation understanding. Everyone, including myself will leave when the time is right..

        Cheers

        Search-T

  7. AussieneedingComfort says:

    Thank you John Redwood for your response to KTMmadBrit. I for one am not impressed by a motorcycle of any kind. Exhubby loved them, spent lots of time on the back of one….now…never again. Too much testosterone and ego in bikers for me!

  8. Sam says:

    Why is the organisation simply not settling out of court? The cost and damage to it’s reputation by fighting surely is not worth it?

  9. Big B says:

    @ Sam

    The cost for settling out of court may be just as cost prohibitive as getting a bad verdict. How?

    1. The Society has most of its funds in properties, stocks, bonds and other securities with little cash on hand in regular accounts, which takes time to get and depending on where the monies are located may charge penalties for early withdrawal.

    In that scenario the Society would suffer twice, the payout to the victim and the penalty for early withdrawal of funds.

    2. The Society is playing ‘Survivor’ (T.V. show in U.S.) whose motto is “Outplay, Outwit, Outlast” your opponent. Their pockets are deep and their attorneys are paid little (if at all). The victims, not so much.

    3. The majority of Witnesses, a very great majority, don’t even know there is a problem or there is a battle going on. The WTBTS likes to keep its rank and file publishers FAT, DUMB, and HAPPY! It’s the old mushroom treatment:
    ‘Keep them in the dark, feed them manure, and when their heads get too big for their shoulders…lop them off!’

    So far this battle strategy has worked wonderfully for them. The only way they can lose would be if more light shined onto these court cases through the News Media or government intervention (as per the Australian Royal Commission).

    The problem with that scenario; only the major players would carry this story as there are so few Witnesses compared to the Catholic Church. As there are so few it’s almost not newsworthy (who cares about these dooms-day, delusional people anyway).

    And as far as the government action, well it would take forever to get off their behinds to do something, and as Jehovah’s Witness don’t vote the politicians have nothing to fear at the ballot box for their inactivity.

    Only if non-Witnesses (that do vote) petition the government about failure to report pedophiles would then maybe, just maybe the government will act to ‘protect and serve’ the community at large.

    • ROBIN MILLER says:

      You have a good way of looking at the whole picture. Especially the “Mushroom Treatment” – “‘Keep them in the dark, feed them manure, and when their heads get too big for their shoulders…lop them off” – I will have to remember that one! LOL.

      robin/

    • ROBIN MILLER says:

      Also I agree with you on the way the Australian Royal Commission presented things.

    • Eyes opened says:

      Great analysis. You’ve made it easy to reason on.

    • Minion says:

      Greetings to all:

      Damn good reads and perspectives. If your not a biker in London.

      If our U.S. Government ever needed a distraction, a false flag, to steer away from the ‘real deal’ issues in The White House, I believe they would send ops to California courts and press the issue on The Watchtower Corporation. Headlines coverage on TV, newspapers, radio, worldwide coverage.

      What can you do? Send a copy of this article to your local ‘House Representative’, ‘Senator’, and Congress person.

      * * Support The Worldwide Work * *

      Peace out,

  10. Erin says:

    I too am a victim of such crimes and cover-up. I am one of many siblings that also were abused and covered up. I will a test and give a written statement if it helps this case.

    • Sarah says:

      If you believe you can do it then please do. Sometimes retelling what happened to you can restart the nightmares. Sometimes it’s a good thing to tell what happened. It all depends on how you cope. Be assured we are thinking of you although that’s not much help.
      It’s the covering up that is the big problem, apart from it happening in the first place.

  11. M Saurus says:

    As far as a bankruptcy goes, not sure how it works for a business, but for personal… ACTUAL damages can be included in a bankruptcy, but PUNITIVE cannot. They must be paid in full to whoever obtains the judgement.

  12. Harry Cadanza says:

    The organization deserves what is about to happen to them with being in contempt of court. Personally I feel the problem is with the organization’s attitudes. They use emotional blackmail and are overly controlling in an unhealthy way with member’s minds. For example that is why Candis Conti’s mom didn’t go to the police and went to the elder’s instead. For me the issue isn’t religion or no religion. For me the issue is the abusive control WTBTS has over it’s members. I’d like to rescue the members. I take my eighty eight year old aunt to the baptist church when I visit her. I went to a funeral at the catholic church when a coworker passed away even though my JW family cringed. I don’t like being told what to do when its unreasonable. I’m going to go to whatever church I want to, when I want to, if that’s hypocritical, so what. I don’t need anyone’s approval. I’m a big boy now. And I’m not interested in winning people’s approval. I stay away from those attitudes. That’s why I left the religion. The issue for me isn’t religious. I can go to whatever church I want to whenever I want to and that’s my right. I don’t have to listen to objections. The issue for me is the organization is controlling and they’ve gotten ABUSIVE. For them, being found in contempt, is the tip of the iceburg. Just the beginning. The reason people are leaving the JWs is because the organization’s hold has tightened so much, people are shooting away. For me the issue is the organization’s unhealthy rules and attitudes. Religion isn’t the issue for me. People are going to believe what they want. I’m glad they are being looked at. The real truth always has a way of coming out in the long run. For the JWs some of them are going to be surprised. It’s all starting to come out. One of these days there will be a biogrophy on TV about their child abuse cover up. This case will take on a life of it’s own.

    • Winston Smith says:

      @Harry,
      One thing is certain: their mind control practices and child abuse cover ups are contemptible (contempt of court or no). Kudos on not letting the org or your JW family have a hold on you or control your actions.

      WS

    • Big B says:

      @ Harry Cadanza

      Great points indeed. The WTBTS is a twisted bunch of control freaks without a doubt. There are only two things that motivate those seven mental dwarfs namely; power over people and money. Oh yeah, especially the money.

      They don’t give one pinch of owl dung for their adherents suffering from the effects of pedophilia and other abuse. The treasure lost in abuse cases, Jesus Christ, now that’s something totally different! A million dollars here, a million dollars there, soon you’re talking about REAL money.

      Oh my what can we do? Cover-up, hide, discourage reporting, when all else fails payoff the victim. Do not go to court or if you do wear the victim out with legal foot dragging. Let them (the courts) beg for evidence and take your dear sweet time finding the stuff, by God.

      I have watched peoples faces in disbelief when I’ve told them what actions the “church” would or could take if they found out that I (as a member at the time) celebrated national holidays, displayed the flag on your house on those holidays, observed religious holidays, set up decorations for those religious holidays, etc.

      The results of those conversations were a mixture of both disbelief and pity. Glad I’m gone and will never return!

      To all others, in or out of the organization, heed the admonition of the angel in mid-heaven: “Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins or contract any of her plagues”. Rev. 18:4

  13. twistedsister69 says:

    This is off-topic, but I would like to provide more ammunition against the WTS. I’m also curious as to whether anyone else has witnessed this. I’m talking about racism among Jehovah’s Witnesses. Of course we all know the organization is controlled by 6 old white farts and 1 token black. But when I was growing up (I refuse to reveal my age lol), there were quite a few older German Witnesses in my congregation (some who were elders and servants), and from time to time, in private settings, I would hear a rather disturbing comment about Jewish people. Not only that, but they seemed to have passed on these attitudes to their children. Of course this confused me, since as we all know, Christianity is supposed to be about love, and the JW’s claim to be the “bestest” Christians of all. Everything is either about Jehovah, Jesus, or love, love, love. From the pulpit, racism was preached to be a definite no-no. Later, I came to know a young Witness man who had moved to the big city from a predominantly white community. He happened to fall in love with a young black Witness. However, he gave in to pressure from family, friends, and his “home” congregation, and did not marry her. They all disapproved, simply because the girl was black. Now, any Witness will be disfellowshipped for a major “sin” like smoking, gambling, fornication, alcoholism, homosexuality, etc. But Jesus’ (new) commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself” is second only to “love Jehovah with your whole soul,…”. So wouldn’t racism be at least as grave of a sin as smoking or gambling??? I mean, I’m sure any of those people would call 9-1-1 if they saw a black person or Jew lying in the street, but Jesus didn’t say “love your neighbor a little”, but “AS YOURSELF”. That leaves NO room for racism. Yet how is it that the Watchtower Society tolerates racist attitudes, even in their elders, servants, and who knows, even higher up, maybe all the way to the top? I’ve heard arguments that “different people mature at different rates, etc”, but no Witness ever defends a gambler, smoker, or alcoholic that way. It’s “shape up or you’re OUT!” In fact, I would think racism would be one of the easiest “habits” to kick once a person begins a bible study. Then would come the tough stuff, chemical and psychological addictions like drugs, smoking, gambling, etc. There is absolutely NO leeway for those things. Once a person is ready for baptism, they MUST be free of those things. So why is racism tolerated? Next to loving Jehovah, loving your neighbor AS YOURSELF is the GREATEST commandment. Love neighbor. Love your brothers. Love. How can racism be tolerated in an organization that is all about LOVE??? Maybe I’m making the proverbial mountain out of the proverbial molehill. Perhaps my experience was an isolated case. But given the kind of organization Jehovah’s Witnesses are, I seriously doubt it. Once again, I apologize for going off-topic, but this is a subject I would like to see addressed, because If I’m right, it could open up a whole new can of worms, and shed even more (new) light on the hypocrisy of that despicable cult.

    • Harry Cadanza says:

      I honestly haven’t seen that here in Fremont, California around here I’ve seen many, many, many mixed race marriages black, white, brown, white at the kingdon hall and at assemblies. I was born in the religion and I never heard anything negative said about jews. My father encouraged my brother to date a black sister. Maybe the atmosphere is different around here in the bay area.

    • Quendi says:

      Racism among Jehovah’s Witnesses is a big problem. Before I go further, let me say that I am black and the majority of my experiences with Witnesses was with predominantly white congregations in Colorado where I was treated fairly and had many friends–some of whom were the closest I ever had. Much of that was due to the racial climate in metropolitan Denver which was open and welcoming. The Witnesses here reflected those feelings as well and interracial marriages were honored and respected.

      The history of the organization itself on this question, however, is decidedly checkered. C.T. Russell definitely thought people of color to be inferior to whites and J.F. Rutherford was an unreconstructed racist as his private dealings and speech made abundantly clear. Despite this, black Americans were particularly drawn to the religion in the 1920s and 1930s with many going into the colporteur (pioneer) work especially in the American South. The first Witness study group and congregation in Birmingham, Alabama was started by blacks. In fact that congregation, the Graymont Congregation, was the one I associated with for four years and was known as Birmingham’s “mother congregation.”

      So while black folk were welcome, they weren’t given much in the way of responsibilities and privileges as the religion grew and spread. In the American South, the WTBTS went along with the Jim Crow laws and established segregated Witness congregations. There were segregated circuits and these circuits had separate circuit overseers. The only integrated gatherings were the district and international conventions.

      The congregation I originally associated with in Tuscaloosa, Alabama had only recently been integrated when I started attending meetings in 1974. White elders were sent there to help with covering territory and handling congregation responsibilities. They and their spouses were made to feel wanted and welcome and we got along well enough. But not everyone was happy with the new arrangement as the Society began integrating congregations and circuits in the South and there was plenty of grumbling on both sides of the color line as the “mixing” went forward.

      I have been told by more than a few that while the WTBTS publicly embraced integration, and men of color served in responsible positions, matters at HQ were different. Assignments at Brooklyn Bethel seemed to follow a distinct pattern with black Witnesses being assigned to tasks and duties that were for the less-skilled. Few ever held down major administrative positions and as has been noted, until the elevation of Sam Herd to the Governing Body, none ever held positions in the highest circles of power. It also should be noted that Asians and other non-European descended men have been shut out as well. I never saw any anti-Semitic behavior among the Witnesses I knew, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t exist.

      The bottom line to this is that the WTBTS “talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk.” The composition of the Governing Body is proof of this and there is no reason to believe this will change in the near future. The answer to challenges about the racial makeup of WTBTS hierarchy the organization makes is that since these people are selected through holy spirit, God’s will is manifest and we should not complain. When Jehovah sees fit to make a change, then change will come. But given the racism that was part and parcel of the organization’s founding in the nineteenth century, only the most simple-minded would ever believe that the organization’s current structure in any way reflects the divine will.

      • John Redwood says:

        Quendi

        Good comment. You might find this article of interest on this topic, as it mentions Herd. I believe Herd has made some passive aggressive comments in speeches which seem to indicate that he has a personal ax to grind, where his position as a GB member is a matter of great pride for him; a badge of honor for rising to the top of an organization amidst a world where racism is still a problem

        http://avoidjw.org/2015/10/racial-segregation/

        JR

        • Quendi says:

          Thanks, John, for the link. I found the reading most interesting and am in full agreement with its conclusions. I’d also like to append another example of the WTBTS doing nothing to promote equality, justice and a better world today.

          Back in 1995, Black America was undergoing tremendous turmoil. Black men were being disproportionately murdered, discriminated against, becoming crime perpetrators, school dropouts, making up major segments in prison populations and other ills. It was finally decided to point out to black men that we are responsible for our own welfare and that of our loved ones. To call attention to this, the Million Man March was born.

          One of my brothers participated in the mass demonstration in Washington D.C. on 16 October 1995. It was the largest gathering of black men in American history. Marchers were told to go home and get actively involved in their communities, families and religious organizations. We were told we had to be better husbands, fathers, grandfathers, uncles and brothers. We should nurture, mentor and guide our young black men so that they could avoid the situations and circumstances that could only lead to their eventual destruction.

          Now it turned out that a number of black Witness men participated in this march. What did these men hear when they returned home? Praise? Questions about what they had learned? What counsel did they have for the local congregation and how could it be implemented? Why no. Instead they were told that the MMM was a political ploy and they should have had nothing to do with it. “God’s Kingdom” was the solution to overcoming the serious problems young black men faced, not some gathering where men talked, encouraged one another, learned and shared ideas of how to help their sons, grandsons, nephews, cousins and brothers.

          You’d think that since the organization is losing two out of every three young people born into it by the time they reach adulthood, the returning marchers would have been welcomed with open arms and their experiences eagerly listened to. You’d think that seeing the serious attrition rate among Witnesses, WTBTS leadership both locally and globally would have thought there were lessons to be learned from the March. Instead, Witness marchers were censured and marginalized. That attitude speaks volumes about the WTBTS attitude toward addressing inequality, injustice and serious issues around human growth and development. But then, what else should we expect from an execrable cult like this one?

        • Sarah says:

          JR: Samuel Herd spoke to me years ago. I did not agree with him and a few days later he gave a nationwide talk and slammed women stating that there are ‘no queen bees’ in the organization. I wrote to the WT stating that I did not expect GB members to be perfect but I did expect them to know the scriptures.
          I know many black people who are highly intelligent, lovely people, so my axe with S Herd is nothing to do with his colour.

      • fallingangel75 says:

        @Quendi: I’m going to say it again. You are one of my favorite people here. I love your insights. 🙂

    • Search says:

      Hey twistedsister69, I used to like some of their music back in the 80s lol. Racism has always existed throughout the ages. Racism exists even among people of the same colour, race, ethnicity, community, family, neighbourhood wherever you may go.. I could go on & on. Now like you said are J.W.s any different or better when I comes to this matter? Their supposed to be, that’s what they preach & print in their literature. Most kingdom halls in urban areas are very multicultural. Its nice to see the mix, so you think. Unfortunately, from my 40 yrs of experience most of those congregations tend to be the most dysfunctional above all. Very clicky, people tend to cling to their language group or colour. The disunity & coldness that exists those halls is terrible. Now twisted69, to answer your question, can the problem of Racism be addressed or fixed in the org ? The answer is no, it cant. The main reason is that you cant fix a problem that no one wants to address or admit to. The elders & members will never admit to it because it will bring great shame to the org. In addition, the org will never admit of the problem, and if there is, its an isolated case. To cover up a bad problem, all they have to do is dissolve the cong & remove or dis fellowship elders & members if need be. Now when problems arise would they make mention of it via the broadcast or printed material? Of course not, because in J.w land everything is peachy, rosy, fine & dandy, we are Gods people. God is blessing us, nothing could every go wrong.. blah, blah blah. Everyone hearing It & reading it will believe it. If we think other religions are bad for being naïve, I think were one of worse. There was a Mafia movie a few years ago, I don’t remember the title, but in J.W land, if things go wrong & bad, the attitude to have is to keep your mouth shut & you wont get hurt.

      Cheers

      Search

    • fallingangel75 says:

      Also, realistically, racism is an extremely complex issue. The debate is raging here in the US about racial equality, profiling, systemic and institutional racism, etc.

      It runs very deep and touches every area of life. Those on the receiving end of mistreatment can’t forget or ignore it because they are faced with it in some way every day.

      Those who are privileged to belong to a majority race and/or class can pretend or deny it doesn’t exist, or at the very least claim that the affected are exaggerating their disadvantages.

      Racism is institutional and generational. It is passed down through families. I’m all for calling the organization out on hypocrisy, but I feel like this is one where they just had to pick their battles.

      There is regular counsel on not displaying prejudice and racist tendencies, but I think it is very hard to enforce discipline about it because attitudes are very entrenched.

      And as someone else said, a lot of it depends on where you live. It’s not a big deal in some areas, but in other areas it’s a huge problem.

      I’ve lived in places where interracial marriages and families were so common, no one ever batted an eyelash and all the families from different countries and backgrounds mingled.

      And I’ve lived in places where there was a distinct separation of ‘us’ and ‘them’ and even though everyone went to the same hall, there was not much mixing of the races socially because it was not the habit in the area and people genuinely felt like they had nothing in common.

      Interracial relationships were discouraged, but ultimately not prohibited. The younger generation just decided to do what they wanted in that respect and many unions came of it.

      But overall, and among the older ones, one group looked down on the other group and the feeling of prejudice was tangible.

      I’ve lived in the American South – the Deep South where racism is strong and alive and well. I was in a mixed race group visiting seldom worked territory a few years ago.

      Yes, in the 2000s!

      The local witnesses told us that in certain communities we should segregate our car groups. That we might be subjected to violence if we were seen riding around together in the rural territory.

      We were shocked! Like: what year is this?

      We had more than one interracial couple and that was frowned on in the community. An interracial couple in the congregation had had their house vandalized and subsequently burned down a couple of months before we arrived.

      They moved away.

      The friends were warm and loving and welcoming, but they were in an area where hate ran deep.

      It was an agricultural community and economically depressed. Most people had family land and farms and couldn’tafford to move away to somewhere else more progressive and accepting.

      I’m 100% supportive of interracial couples, but I understand how living in a place like that where you might have your house burned down or your car trashed would make you self-segregate for self-protection.

      I understand how you might not want your child to marry someone from another race because of the real problems they would face.

      Of course, what I describe is different from actually believing people of other races are inferior and not worthy.

      That attitude exists as well.

      When I was in, I really did think that the attitudes and experiences and beliefs that foster and perpetuate racism would have to be left to Jehovah to fix in the new system.

      While we’re all imperfect and struggling there’s only so much headway we can expect to make. That was my thought and why I didn’t expect the congregation to do more to end and/or expose racist behaviors.

      I think some JWs ignore the problem and don’t acknowledge it at all. I’ve met many who are in total denial of their own privilege and prejudice. And I have met others who are completely, unapologetically racist.

      But I think a lot of people at all levels of the organization have simply decided to do the best they can on a personal level and leave it in Jehovah’s hands to fix.

      • Quendi says:

        Fallingangel75,

        Thanks for sharing your perspective and experience with respect to racism among Jehovah’s Witnesses. They mirror mine, particularly in the years I lived in the Deep South. The racial climate was one among many reasons I moved away, a move I never regretted.

        Life in Colorado was much better for me in that regard. I arrived here in 1981 and have had many wonderful experiences. Then, in 2012, I returned to Alabama to recover from the Great Recession and become a caregiver for my aged mother. I had all but forgotten to view life through the prism of race but the nine months I spent in Birmingham reacquainted me with this with almost brutal force. Circumstances allowed me to return “home” to Colorado in 2013 and I seized the opportunity with both hands.

        As you astutely put it, local circumstances, history and culture have done much to shape people’s attitudes on this vital question and Witnesses are no exception to this. Many have made changes in their outlook and have opened their minds and hearts to other people willingly and lovingly. And yes, the WTBTS in the past decided to “go along to get along” as it thought it important to establish Witness communities in the region that might otherwise never have come into being.

        Still, when the Jim Crow laws were finally repealed by legislatures and/or struck down by the courts, the Society was slow to act. The resistance on the part of local Witnesses–both black and white–had a lot to do with this, but as I reflected above, the WTBTS was far from enlightened in the racial makeup of its headquarters staff. So while the literature might have urged Witnesses to adopt a truly Christ-like attitude on racial questions, the organization’s own leadership was hardly in a hurry to do so. And don’t think this wasn’t noticed by others who would rightly point out that they also should be reluctant to make changes when they saw integration given short shrift by the Governing Body and the U.S. branch office. As Chaucer put it so well, “If gold should rust, what shall iron do?”

    • Hakizimana says:

      I see why you are disappointed! You do not have enough information about Racism and Christianity.
      Ponder on the following:

      *** jy chap. 57 p. 138 par. 4 Jesus Cures a Girl and a Deaf Man ***
      Apparently to test her faith, Jesus alludes to the Jews’ negative view of people of other nationalities: “It is not right to take the bread of the children and throw it to the little dogs.” (Matthew 15:26) In speaking of “little dogs,” or puppies, Jesus reveals his tender feelings toward non-Jews.

    • Winston Smith says:

      I’ll add in regards to racism, that Rutherford was known for making antisemite comments and even tried to show Hitler that no Jews were contributors to the Watchtower Society. See http://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/hitler-nazi.php.

      As FA75 and others have commented, racism is a real problem, not just in JW circles, but in many others as well. I was once in seldom-worked territory in an all white congregation in the Midwest. Some African American friends from a neighboring congregation came to work door-to-door with us. I was told by the local elders not to let the African American friends work alone – they said the KKK was strong in that area. So, sadly, racism is alive and well in the USA, JW or not.

      WS

      • ruthlee says:

        with regards to racism ,in my parents time 50’s and 60’s their mixed marriage was frowned upon and he was blighted by his colour. The difference today in my predominantly white cong is that they have no choice. Generally speaking the black bro are more willing to do the work so they have to use them. As my imperious mother would have said “you cannot get the staff”. I think younger people are more accepting thank heavens. I was born in the 60’s and mixed raced unions were not really accepted and children definitely ostracised. Ruthlee

  14. LJ says:

    Love how your keeping count.

  15. ruthlee says:

    I would love to know the figure correlation of those who came in from preaching cold calling, as compared to those born in and the revolving door of disfellowshipped people. Its a bit like belly buttons are you an inny or an outie? all down to the whim of the midwife! cheers Ruthlee

  16. nullandvoidboy says:

    My comment will be about WTBTS possibly claiming bankruptcy/chapter 11….as I’ve seen a couple of comments on it, I wanted to google some facts….what have other religions done?
    One only has to google “catholic dioceses bankruptcy sexual abuse”…there’s your answer.

    Yes they can…if they see the writing on the wall, expect this move. Only those who have filed lawsuits will be settled up with. Future lawsuits under WTBTS can’t be brought to court….Only new abuse allegations that happen under the new corporate entity, which I assume will be jw.org, can be brought to a court…all the old stuff is wiped away…..if it hasn’t been filed before the chapter 11 occurs.

    You think they haven’t been moving assets, all along, so when this day came they wouldn’t be forced to give up that money? They’re not going to move assets now….but they’ve probably been anticipating the day when they do file chapter 11…so I would assume, a hefty sum has been tucked away….just like Jesus would’ve done.

    You think jw.org wasn’t developed, just for this scenario? Don’t be naive…..this multi headed hydra will not die quickly….they are taking the same pages from the catholic church play book….they’ll tell the rank & file some BS new light crap, and unfortunately get away with it…..if it rolls out that way, my blood will boil.

    • Big B says:

      @nullandvoidboy

      Thanks for research into the Chapter 11. It’s just as I have believed all along. Personally, I feel that the mental dwarfs in corporate H.Q. (Governing Body, et als) have been shuffling/changing properties and accounts to jw.org for some time now. There may be a time sensitive deadline for doing this transfer legally but don’t think for a second that their attorneys don’t watch the clock to see when the deadlines are.

      One ray of light in this be-darkened scenario: If the two witness rule is not removed in favor of the ‘girl raped in the field with no witnesses’ as in the Law covenant (Deuteronomy 22:23-29), then changing the name to jw.org will do them no long term good. As you stated ‘Future lawsuits under WTBTS can’t be brought to court….Only new abuse allegations that happen under the new corporate entity’.

      Then as the ‘mushroom treatment’ is implemented the rank and file will be kept in the dark and fed some more manure (NEW LIGHT) to keep them in check.

      However, please don’t believe that all of the Witnesses will be fooled. Those that want answers and seek the truth will find it and those that want to stay blinded to ‘the truth about the TRUTH’ will remain so. As the old proverb states:
      ‘There are none so blind as those that REFUSE to see.’

      • nullandvoidboy says:

        @ Big B

        Yes….I know that new allegations will form under the new corporate entity, but that obviously means new victims, which really sucks….the bad thing is all the lawsuits that would’ve come out, one after the other….like a boxer caught in the corner getting vicious body blows till they go down for the count…I wanted to see that happen to them…I wanted to see victims receive justice and vindication…..now all they can get is whatever is left in the pool of money watctower decides to leave behind

        • Big B says:

          @ nullandvoidboy

          Yes, hopefully more victims will come forward before the door finally shuts them out forever.

          A heartfelt message respectfully to all, now is the time for victims of Watchtower abuse to grow a spine. It’s time to either fish or cut bait! Time to take back your lives and report your victimization to the proper authorities or continue as helpless victims with the perpetrators (pedophiles) still having control over your ruined lives as well as others put in harms way.

          Truly a sad, sorry, pathetic situation if this is allowed to happen.
          Please dear friend contact an attorney or an abuse hotline now, for pity sake! Take back your life!

          • nullandvoidboy says:

            @Big B

            Yes, victims need to let their voices be heard now…..but the sad truth is this….no matter how many victims come out, before they would claim chapter11….as soon as they file it, NONE of the cases will be heard….not a one! They will divvy up whatever WT says they have….so if it’s 150 million, then all of it gets divided, among them…obviously the more claims, the less each person gets…..but the enraging part is, they don’t get to tell their story…they don’t get their day in court….wt turns into JW.org and it’s water under the bridge

  17. twistedsister69 says:

    Wow. I did not expect such a wide response. Thank you everyone. Just confirms what we all already knew: All that “no part of the world” stuff is a load of bullcrap. Jehovah’s Witnesses obviously sway “hither and thither” with the prevailing winds, just like most of the people of “the world” whom they are so quick to criticize. JDubs in a racist region seem to tend to practice / display racism. JDubs in a more metropolitan, multicultural setting, not so much. No need to wake up Walter Cronkite. lol Let’s keep up the pressure on these folks and find EVERY chink in their armor!
    PS That stuff about all the restructuring, renaming, and Chapter 11, is quite an eye-opener. I mean, if I read it correctly, all that tactical maneuvering (not to mention all the court mumbojumbo) in the face of rising litigation, points to one thing: The Watchtower Society is indeed GUILTY AS SIN. If they really were the innocent little angels, “victims” of “apostate lies” they would have the public / legal system believe they are, would all this two-stepping be necessary???

    • nullandvoidboy says:

      @twistedsister69,

      We were watching this contempt of court order thinking….crazy like a door knob? Ends up being more like, crazy like a fox…

      The attorny’s who run wt (and you know they do) know what they’re doing. A last ditch effort to see what they can get away with…if heavily redacted papers work, then great….oh…ok…that didn’t work….get slapped with contempt of court, pay 4 grand a day….ok, we can handle that……if the judge makes it financially non viable, then pull the rip cord and eject out of the flaming plane……and use the parachute of chapter 11 to wipe away all of the problems….just like the fairy tale flood did to humanity…I wish I could laugh at that last sentence, but I will be extremely angry if it plays out that way

      • Winston Smith says:

        Keep in mind that bankruptcy must be overseen by the courts – it’s not just they decide to declare bankruptcy and all is forgiven. The courts must determine the legitimacy of their filing and determine the appropriate fundings toward any existing and potential creditors. And in the case where so many child abuse cases are coming against this entity, you can be sure the courts will put them under high scrutiny. A large corporation like Watchtower declaring bankruptcy is much different than an individual. Any consideration of bankruptcy does not put them out of the woods by a long shot. I speak from being connected to two corporations that have filed bankruptcy for one reason or another.

        WS

        • Outandabout says:

          Sounds good, Winston.

        • nullandvoidboy says:

          @winston smith

          The Catholic church is bigger than wt and they orchestrated dioceses in the USA who were going to get slammed, and it worked….and they saw the writing on the wall and over the course of years funneled money away…look up the dioceses in Minnesota….and the courts question all the financial records….and they had explanations, since the funds were “accounted” for…and they got away with it…..so don’t think wt doesn’t know that..they aren’t figuring it out as they go along…they have plans A, B, C etc….it’s not that hard to screw people over using the laws of the land

          • Quendi says:

            I absolutely concur with you on this, nullandvoidboy. The WTBTS legal department is well aware of developments that would affect any action they want to take. I don’t doubt that the department is in close touch with their opposite numbers in the Catholic Church and its dioceses. We know they joined forces with the Jimmy Swaggert ministries years ago when it was being investigated for taxes the government wanted to collect on literature it was selling. The Society even filed an amicus curiae brief during the litigation and when Swaggert lost, the Society’s reaction was to introduce the “donation” arrangement in its canvassing work rather than asking a set price for its literature.

            They keep a close eye on those matters which might directly impact the organization and its different organs. Look at how they separated the office of president of the Society from the Governing Body and other organizational changes to escape tighter government regulation and oversight. They tell the rank-and-file that these adjustments reflect theocratic direction. They are nothing of the kind, of course. Such changes are driven by political reality, not divine direction.

            Quendi

    • Harry Cadanza says:

      @twistedsister69, You might be interested, In the August 15, 2000 Watchtower, pp 4-7 under The Only Way to Eradicate Hate and under the heading, “What Would Jesus Have Done?” it reads in June 1998, three white men in rural Texas in the United States attacked James Byrd, Jr., a black man. They took him to a remote, desolate area, beat him, and chained his legs together. Then they attached him to a pickup truck and dragged him three miles[5 km] down the road until his body hit a culvert. This has been dubbed the decade’s (1990’s) most horrific hate crime. Three sisters of James Byrd are Jehovah’s Witnesses. How do they feel about the perpetrators of this horrible crime? (The rest of the article didn’t make me feel better.) It was to generic.

  18. rob says:

    A Bankruptcy Trustee has significant powers with respect to the review of all financial records of a corporation and will look into any transfer of assets. If it is determined that the transfer was done in a way to defeat the creditors, the court could reverse the transaction. Unfortunately this reversal could be tied up in the courts for a long duration.

    But remind me again – How is it that God is directing this religion? A religion that now appears to be mired in legal problems, child abuse lawsuits, and court fines.

    Hopefully this will situation will be widely broadcast through the news media and will grab the attention of the members, who are still obviously in denial about this entire mess.

    • Nullandvoidboy says:

      I do understand that transfer of assets will certainly be scrutinized by a trustee…..but if they been moving assets for years, and they can account for it, then there’s a problem…..besides, don’t they make begging videos, obviously claiming they’re cash strapped? What gets my ire is if they use the laws of the land to minimize damage…..I liken them to an ever changing virus….fighting to survive and infect through mutation.

    • Outandabout says:

      I can’t see this being widely broadcast yet though Rob, unless an unusual twist is added that grabs the attention of a news hungry network or reporter.
      Hopefully, the mental dwarfs with their arrogance and delusion will provide that twist.

      Like I mentioned earlier, the public is used to institutional child abuse and would probably be quite ho-hum about all this. The average Joe on the street still thinks the JW’s are just a bunch of nicely dressed deluded folk who annoy them on a Saturday morning.

      But if that fine keeps ticking away and becomes public, that may cause some discussion and get people wondering just what is going on and “what are they trying to hide”.

      Wouldn’t it be sweet if a counter appeared in the corner of TV screens…. just steadily ticking away while watching your favourite show. That certainly wouldn’t look good for the worlds happiest, family strengthening, god chosen organisation with the lowest divorce rate and which claims to totally respect the rights of the individual and then proves that by killing newborns before they even have a chance to speak and ‘be sure of all things’. The killing of babies and the rape of children while protecting their abusers is not a good look. This needs air time.

      Refusing a blood transfusion is not just a simple matter of free choice. You have a person in hospital in a weakened and confused state and in come the Blood Goons whispering words to the effect: “you have to die, you have to die”, into your ear. Aided suicide.

      It’s a sickness that needs eradicating.

      Lets review: It’s a Death Cult. People actually die. When you become a JW, you have bought a lottery ticket for premature death.

      End of rant.

  19. John Redwood says:

    John Doe

    We are well aware of the current litigation in progress in the San Diego Padron case, as well as Watchtower’s appeal. The point of the $4,000 per day fine counter is to highlight that Watchtower is being held accountable for their obstruction of justice, as all persons and organizations should be. The non-reporting of abuse to police and child protection authorities has resulted in tens of thousands of cases of child molestation worldwide, incidents which would not have occurred if the proper authorities had been notified immediately when a perpetrator was accused.

    We are also aware of the details of the Conti case, and justice was served in that case, and Watchtower was held financially responsible in the end. If you read the court transcripts and details of the case you will understand in which areas Watchtower was fined and in which areas they were not fined.

    As for Watchtower being shut down, the editors of JW Survey are not in favor of restriction of religious belief. Therefore we are not attempting to shut down any religion. However we are attempting to draw awareness to undue influence, which in the Jehovah’s Witness Organization has serious consequences. From the “two witness rule” to the blood transfusion policies, shunning, and child indoctrination, the Watchtower organization has done irreparable harm to millions of lives over the past hundred years. They have led members astray down a path of fear and obedience, not to God, but to a set of dangerous and bizarre interpretations which have no basis in reality whatsoever. Our goal is to awaken the public and Jehovah’s Witnesses to these dangers, and force change by legal and ethical means.

    As you continue to read our articles, we hope you will also awaken to the dangers of this organization.

    Sincerely

    JR

    • John Redwood says:

      John Doe

      I don’t believe I have heard such twisted reasoning as that which you propose. Any report of child abuse should be immediately conveyed to the police and child protection authorities in all cases. It is the right and proper thing to do, and it does NOT compromise evidence presented in a court of law. A religion is always free to contact their legal department, we do not object to this practice. But we do object to the mandate that elders contact the legal department first, as this is a measure designed to protect the organization and not the child. It is a despicable practice to put the needs of a religious organization ahead of the needs of the child and other children who are potential victims.

      The courts agree with this position, which is why the Watchtower organization has settled lawsuits worldwide to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. The penalties imposed by the courts remind us that the law of the land is just, and is higher than the interpretation of the Bible imposed upon innocent Jehovah’s Witnesses. Justice will prevail

      • John Redwood says:

        Gold ole’ John Doe

        I give you credit for your attempt to defend Watchtower’s position and your attempt at comprehending the law. Thankfully such matters are being dutifully cared for by legal professionals.

        That being said, the courts understand now that the reporting of child abuse does not fall under privileged communication, except in cases of religious confessional. As stated in your post, “The clergy-penitent privilege is also widely affirmed,
        although that privilege usually is limited to confessional communications”

        This was affirmed in the STATE OF DELAWARE V SEAFORD KINGDOM HALL in the recent decision dated January 26th 2016. The defendants (2 elders) and the Seaford Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses attempted to dismiss the plaintiff’s case on the basis that the sexual abuse reported to the elders falls under “confessional” privilege – but the Judge threw out this attempt at legal maneuvering and obstruction of justice, and the case has been allowed to continue.

        Your point is thus null and void, and the courts of law across the US are seeing it that way as well, which is one reason we are seeing a proliferation of such cases nationwide.

        Secondly you stated “A out of court settlement is not an admission of guilt it is an admission that there is great costs put into a matter.” – this is exactly what the Watchtower legal department would say, as there is no justification or defense for their actions, which have led to the destruction of many thousands of lives due to harmful child abuse reporting policies. This was made exceptionally clear during the 2015 Australian Royal Commission on Child Abuse, in which Justice McClelland declared that the Watchtower Organization’s guilt was the worst he had ever seen in these matters.

        Admitting that there are great costs in litigation, then settling out of court is not an admission of NON-guilt. As you stated, it’s a settlement. If Watchtower were NOT guilty, they should have no problem proving that in court. As it stands, it has been easier for them to just pay the money and keep this quiet.

        Do you ever read the NEWS section of the JW ORG website? How many of their legal cases involving child abuse have they featured or mentioned? NOT A SINGLE CASE. They do not want Witnesses to know they are involved in such litigation. Not to worry – between JW Survey and the hundreds of sites and channels out there supplying the truth, JWs are being informed and will have their own chance to decide who is innocent and who is guilty.

        JR

  20. John Redwood says:

    John Doe

    We are very pleased with how the Watchtower’s damaging policies have been exposed and how they are being handled in courtrooms across the US and around the world. As with the Catholic Church, these investigations and cases take time and effort and are the driving force behind awareness both in the community and in the federal and state courts. In no way are we “banging [our] heads against the wall.” The attorneys for the plaintiffs are doing the banging, and they are winning.

    Clearly you have little compassion for the victims of abuse, the tens of thousands who were sexually or physically assaulted by a trusted friend or church member, and whose cases were never reported to the police. I personally know many more than I can count – many of them girls and boys I grew up with, who were assaulted by congregation members, some of them elders, and one of them an “anointed” elder. A great number of them never saw justice, and in fact were abused because the elders knew of the accusations against the perpetrators, but they swept the matters under the theocratic carpet, all in the name of protecting “Jehovah’s name.” This is a disgusting reality which I have witnessed myself over 46+ years in the organization, and I am happy to see that truth and justice are beginning to prevail.

    It seems your head is not only buried in the sand, but your entire body. Not only do you defend the Watchtower’s indefensible position, but you attempt to use out of court settlement cases to actually prove the reverse of what we all know to be true, that the majority of out of court settlements are the result of a person or organization who seeks to end the civil process by funding the plaintiffs and as a reward, their guilt is held in abeyance, and all parties involved are gagged into silence. The truth is, that is very much a flaw in our system. Fortunately there are enough cases where out of court settlements were not the result of the litigation, and the documentation is there for the public to view.

    In other words, we all know the truth that in most cases, those who settle are indeed guilty. Denying that is like saying water is not really…wet.

    JR

    • Caroline says:

      John Doe, whether or not a preacher testifies in court has absolutely nothing to do with reporting to the authorities a case of child sexual abuse.

      When a case of child sexual abuse is reported to the authorities, the case is looked into and the authorities are the ones that will pursue it and decide what to do about it.

      If an elder or anybody else finds out that a child is being sexually abused, that child needs an adult to stand up for him or her. If anybody knows of a child being abused and not report it to the authorities, then that child is at the mercy of the abuser. Do you comprehend that? Why are you sticking up for the ones that can protect the children from being abused?

      Testifying in court has nothing to do with this.

    • John Redwood says:

      John Doe

      I really don’t think you understand the issues here. Mandatory reporting of child abuse is fast becoming an international standard, as is the allowance for a clergy member to bypass or waive confessional privilege.

      You are further in denial of the fact that even if a priest or JW elder felt that he some obligation to preserve privilege, this does not prevent the child and his parents from contacting the police. Hence, we have a very typical scenario where not only do elders fail to report (regardless of state reporting laws,) they obstruct justice by using their influence as a clergy member (elder) to prevent the child or parent from reporting matters to the police. While Watchtower’s official policy implies that the victims or their parents have the “absolute right” (as they like to put it) to report to the authorities, we all know exactly what goes on inside the organization, namely that the elders are strongly encouraged to apply the “two witness” rule, and to frequently “leave the matter in Jehovah’s hands.”

      This is a horrific miscarriage of internal justice, carried out by men who are completely unqualified, and who are often window washers and landscapers.

      As for my personal desire, since you feel it necessary to imply that I care more about “hurting” the Watchtower, then you clearly have misjudged me. But ad hominem attacks are to be expected from those defending controlling religious organizations, as beliefs are very personal to each individual. So we take these accusations with a grain of salt and move on. What happens to Watchtower as a religion really doesn’t matter to me. If they behave themselves and cease indoctrinating young people, dismantle the infamous “two witness” rule and its implications, and desist from banning blood transfusions to members in need, there will be no further need for activists and whistleblowers for the JW organization. They are free to believe in God, Jesus, the 144,000, paradise Earth, and anything else they desire, so long as their beliefs do not unduly influence others.

      JR

      • John Redwood says:

        John Doe

        Yes – now you are beginning to understand. Child indoctrination does indeed affect multiple religious organizations, and the ones you mentioned share in the guilt. We are here to address the problems faced by Jehovah’s Witnesses; hence the name JW SURVEY. There are varying degrees of indoctrination, with moderate to severe side effects.

        We appreciate your suggestion of working with state and federal legislators to adjust the child abuse reporting laws – perhaps you should mention this to your local body of elders, and run that up the proverbial flagpole. In the meantime, study the law and learn that we already have mandatory child abuse reporting in most states, and elders are not prevented by any laws from reporting what they have been made aware of. They are choosing not to report such matters because of Watchtower policy, and the directives of the WT legal department.

        And the good ole’ two witness rule? Don’t forget, we are not talking about the accusation of someone smoking. We are talking about the physical and sexual abuse of children. The Watchtower organization could easily pull out Romans 13 and allow the “secular authorities” to handle the serious business which real investigators and professionals need to handle, not ill-equipped, poorly educated elders who have no qualifications of any kind, aside from index fingers which ought to be used to dial 911 and CPS whenever an accusation is made of abuse. Let the proper authorities sort it out.

        JR

    • ROBIN MILLER says:

      Very Interesting points, John Redwood.
      After 46+ years of seeing all this, you must
      truly be sickened inside. I am 53 years old. I too was molested during the 1960’s and fortunately over the years never committed myself to this organization. My family was very much committed and I don’t think they ever realized how much this sort of thing takes place and how it effects the victims. Its all about denial. Like an alcoholic pretending there is not a problem with drinking. Its very sad.

  21. Matias says:

    It was july 22 yesterday, any news on this?

  22. Mary Ann says:

    Any update on this? Just curious about that meeting in July and cannot seem to find any new information by anyone. Thanks!

    • John Redwood says:

      Mary Ann

      The short answer is that Watchtower attorneys appealed the ruling, then failed to provide the court of appeals case number when their attorneys appeared in court July 22nd. The attorneys for the plaintiff requested another hearing for terminating sanctions, and the court granted this and scheduled the date for September 23rd. This is very serious for Watchtower, as they have driven the court to the end of its patience. We will be sure to report on the court proceedings the moment they happen in September

      JR

  23. The truth will out says:

    Covert Fade and John,
    Is there any further news from the courts about this yet?
    Had a skim online but could not find anything.
    Thank you for all your hard work.

  24. The truth will out says:

    JR
    A familiar pattern then! How do these people sleep at night?
    I am amazed that the authorities in the UK/US/AUS etc have not already stepped in and forced the issue. I guess they are concerned with religious freedom?? I feel so sad for the victims who get dragged through these cases.

    I look forward to your update, thank you.

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