UK Guardian Newspaper reports new defeat for Watchtower in Charity Commission investigation

The UK Guardian newspaper has reported on fresh developments in the UK Charity Commission investigation into Watchtower.

Regular readers of JW Survey will be aware that the UK Charity Commission is investigating Watchtower’s UK arm over it’s alleged handling of child abuse accusations in the UK. Full details can be read here, but essentially the charges relate to events in the New Moston congregation when an abuse victim was forced to give testimony in the presence of her abuser, in a closed off religious court known as a Judicial Committee.

Both the New Moston congregation and the overall Watchtower UK organisation are registered as UK Charities and therefore come under the auspices of the Charity Commission as a regulatory body. Therefore, in response to the serious charges levied against the two charities, the commission launched an investigation.

One would assume that the two charities would accept the idea that the regulator was entitled to regulate them.

Apparently not.

In her Guardian article, journalist Alice Ross reports:  (bold is mine:)

Organisations linked to the religion have fought legally to prevent the Charity Commission from launching two inquiries into allegations that survivors of sexual abuse were being forced to face their attackers in so-called judicial committees. The organisation’s efforts have been described by the commission as unprecedented.

Indeed, rather than accept that the Charity Commission might have some measure of authority over registered charities, Watchtower have fought tooth and nail to have the investigations killed off. Thankfully, the UK courts have repeatedly upheld the right of the Commission to do its job. The right of the Commission to investigate Watchtower’s UK arm has already been confirmed beyond the possibility of appeal, and now it appears that the investigation into the New Moston congregation itself has also been legally defended. Reports Ross:

When the first appeal was dismissed, the congregation appealed to the upper tribunal. This was rejected on Tuesday at the upper tribunal of the tax and chancery division at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

Mrs Justice Asplin ruled the lower tribunal had been “entitled to decide that there was no direct discrimination on the grounds of religion, the inquiry having been opened on the basis of unusual and distinctive factual reasons … and that there were no other comparable cases from which to infer discrimination on the grounds of religious beliefs.”

Of course, this does rather leave the question of why Watchtower was so afraid to allow the Commission to see what it is doing behind closed doors.

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56 thoughts on “UK Guardian Newspaper reports new defeat for Watchtower in Charity Commission investigation

  • April 5, 2017 at 4:59 am

    There are no ends to watchtowers arrogance to protect their image.What a nerve they have going to these limits in making it look as if the commission shouldn’t have any authority over them.
    It DOES beg the question,what are they hiding behind their doors?.I just hope something constructive comes out of this.

  • April 5, 2017 at 5:05 am

    Absolutely stupendous!! Watchtower must be investigated fully. What do they have to hide if they’ve done nothing wrong? Imagine if they lost their charitable status…..

  • April 5, 2017 at 6:22 am

    Another commission on Watchtower. Oh, how delightful!

  • April 5, 2017 at 6:26 am

    The JW organization rejects the idea that the governing body of a regulatory organization such as the charity commission can tell them what to do. A governing body that has actual real world authority.

    The JW governing body feel that they are “the most powerful men on the planet because of their relationship with christ” as one jw put it to me. With this idea in their collective heads they scoff at the mere mention of an outsider telling them what to do. Even if that outsider is tasked legally with doing just that.

    I too hope that a constructive change comes as a result of all this. Watchtower has been fighting this while being very careful to keep it from the rank and file. For the victims I hope justice is served.

    • April 5, 2017 at 1:27 pm

      I find it so arrogant that the GB acts as if they are already kings and priests. Just brings to mind what Paul said in 1Cor. 4:8…”you have begun ruling as kings without us, have you”?
      And the elders acting as if they are already princes”. I saw the attitude Geoffrey Jackson showed towards Angus Stewart during the last day of the ARC hearing, very condescending. Jackson really did think he had begun ruling with Christ!

  • April 5, 2017 at 6:53 am

    According to the Guardian new article, Watchtower claims religious discrimination. Isn’t this wonderful.

    In the Australian Royal Commission, they reviewed case studies of various institutions. Let’s recap the list, shall we. They are: Uniting Church in Australia, Australian Christian Churches and affiliated Pentecostal churches, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Yeshivah Melbourne, Yeshiva Bondi, Anglican Church Authorities in Australia, Commonwealth, State and Territory governments, Catholic Church Authorities in Australia, The Salvation Army, Scouts New South Wales, YMCA New South Wales, Criminal justic issues and consultation paper, Children with problematic or harmful sexual behaviors in schools, John Joseph Farrell, Catholic Church authorities in Maitland-Newcastle, Anglican Diocese of Newcastle, Disability service providers, Australian Defense Force, Sporting Clubs and Institutions, Criminal justice issues, Centres for performing arts, Church of England Boys’ Society, Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Brisbane Grammar School and St Paul’s School, Geelong Grammar, Retired Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, State run youth training and reception centres, Health Care Providers, St. Joseph’s Orphanage, Out-of-home care, Knox Grammar, Satyananda Yoga Ashram, Hutchins School, Bethcar Children’s Home, Australian Christian Churches, Retta Dixon Home, Swimming Australia, Diocese of Wollongong, Marist Brothers, and Perth school.

    Does this sound like religious discrimination to you? It sounds like a cop-out. Watchtower is so out of alignment that their receiving another judicial colonoscopy. They are so fortunate.

    Amy, get the Neosporin. Somebody just got burned again.

    • April 5, 2017 at 10:32 pm

      Thanks, Doc. I wanted that list.

  • April 5, 2017 at 7:04 am

    My appeal to someone who works behind enemy lines Yet again! If you have access to that list of known paedophiles, now would be a good time to come clean and give it up. Now the world is waking up to this criminal gang those in the know should do the right thing. Even if the whistle blower does not believe in god maybe they believe in justice. Also if there is someone on that list who is innocent should not the courts of justice decide and investigate the matter? not just leave 23,000+ hidden fro the world at large. Surely someone will stand up and show common human decency to the rape victims. Ruthlee

  • April 5, 2017 at 7:25 am

    While I’m glad this is unfolding, it’s in moments like these when I wonder when do the investigations end and justice-serving begin? It feels as though protections for religious freedoms and tax-exemptions outweigh children’s safety.

    • April 5, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      My thoughts exactly. There needs to be some major overhauls & reforms to what determines a charity.

      Here in Australia, you only have to be “Advancing Religion” to register. I think that they need to isolate religious beliefs from what charity means because (personally), I don’t believe the 2 are related.

      • April 5, 2017 at 5:15 pm

        Absolutely agree Gwen Little – there should be a separation between charity and church, even where charities function under and through a church. Why should the purely religious bodies (like jdubs) get any tax exemption? Fair enough, let them practice religion (unless it is damaging etc) but jeez why reward them for it?

  • April 5, 2017 at 8:21 am

    I still can’t believe European countries can desperately fight such wars…

    WTS says “when Arabs, Jews and professed Christians in Israel and Lebanon become Jehovah’s Witnesses, they unite in an unbreakable bond of love and unity. So do former Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland. So do blacks and whites in the United States. So do members of different African tribes who formerly hated and fought one another.” (See w84 3/15 p. 12 par. 18)!

    It seems WTS is being built on the ruins of the world. Very strategic religion, indeed.

    • April 5, 2017 at 1:48 pm

      What do you mean? What has this to do with anything?

      • April 5, 2017 at 6:02 pm

        And why was there no reference to sex?

        • April 6, 2017 at 11:48 am

          No here is a nice one:

          *** g01 4/8 p. 28 Watching the World ***
          Each year, 1 million rapes are committed in South Africa,” states World Press Review. This means that a rape is committed about every 30 seconds. The article notes that “South Africa has the world’s highest number of rapes that end with murder.” The number is 12 times higher than that for the United States, which is next on the list, although South Africa has a population of only 40 million…

          The world is being watched before Jehovah reigns again (Daniel 2:44) and as I said, WTS in building Kingdom Hall on the ruins of Christendom.

      • April 5, 2017 at 6:04 pm

        @Jado, this is becoming a pattern. No mention of sex again. Has all that research at cleansed you spiritually? I told you not to go there so much!

  • April 5, 2017 at 10:15 am

    As has been stated here many times they are not a charity,
    rather they exploit communities, taking from them financially
    and giving not a penny back.

    The congregation I joined in the 50s had about 20 members,
    we met anywhere we could, in rented rooms often dingy and
    unsuitable, and of course at our own expense. As we worked
    the local area recruiting more members we 20 became 60 plus,
    and the need for a K,Hall became more pressing. –>

    We applied to the society for a loan which was granted at 8%
    interest. We struggled for several years to pay it back, what a
    relief when we could at last get some surplus cash in the bank.
    ( Not that any of it could be used for any hardship among the

    Now the KH that we worked for bought and paid for has become
    part of Watchtowers real estate portfolio. Not only that, but any
    surplus cash in our bank has also been requisitioned. What a Scam!
    all take, no give, charity begins at home with them alright, and
    that’s where it stays.

  • April 5, 2017 at 11:39 am

    Right on Ted. Charity! What charity??
    Every witness is expected to give, give, give. Their time, their money, their lives! Yet it never ceased to amaze me how, whenever a brother or sister faced economic hardship, the elders were all too quick to encourage these ones to apply to the government for financial help. Indeed, they knew exactly what funding could be applied for. No dipping into Watchtower coffers! James 2:14-17 comes to mind.

    • April 5, 2017 at 11:55 am

      Agreed Bad Penny.And what about the poor special pioneers who sacrificed everything and education?What for?
      To be kicked out on their back side.No worldly experience to earn a living and would be expected to
      find charity from worldly government benefits.Not much charity I bet from their last employers.

  • April 5, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    Great job C. Fade. Very happy to hear this. This is off topic but does anyone know the status of the Russian ruling? I’ve checked EVERYWHERE and I can’t get a cleat answer as to “yes they are banned” or “no they are not” Please help. thanks everyone.

    • April 5, 2017 at 12:14 pm

      sorry for my grammer.

    • April 5, 2017 at 1:40 pm

      I posted a link on the Russian ban article.. BBC had an article on their website this am.

      • April 5, 2017 at 6:10 pm

        Thank you Tara. Well done. Case has been adjourned till Thursday.

        • April 5, 2017 at 8:51 pm

          You are more than welcome :)

  • April 5, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    That pesky Guardian newspaper is on Jehovah’s hit-list, for sure.

    • April 5, 2017 at 1:08 pm

      @outandabout – When you say Jehovah, are you saying Jehovah God or Jehovah as the Watchtower Babble and Tract Society?

      @Lloyd – The distinction between the two Jehovahs are definitely getting blurred.

      • April 5, 2017 at 10:35 pm

        They’re one and the same to me, Doc.

  • April 5, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Interested ones can read this scientific article “Crossed pleasures : gukuna-kunyaza. Missions, bodies, and sexualities in contemporary Rwanda” by Professor Michela Fusaschi from this link:

    It shows how Catholic Church in colonial period penetrated sexuality of Africans during confession of their sins to priests.

    It was a total humiliation as you can see! How can now that happen to Europeans? How can they be under unethical treatment about sex? Who are their masters?

    Confession of sins is in JW unethical collection of data on human beings!! Where for instance S-77 is sent? Only feeble-minded will fail to understand the game in front of facts.

    • April 5, 2017 at 6:12 pm

      Do you think Europeans have some hang-ups about sex?

      • April 5, 2017 at 8:24 pm

        Lol, You’re funny Ricardo.

      • April 6, 2017 at 11:37 am

        What does WT says? I think their have more information as they get S-77 from all over the world.

  • April 5, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    GB rulers sit as kings arrogant self righteous hypocrites.

    How dare they appeal human rights while denying the rights of the innocent victims of their crimes against children. They should be stripped of their charity status and the GB and their lawyers should be looked into and put before the courts of crimes against humanity.

    Suicides, deaths, raped children, protecting the rights of the criminals, ignoring the rights of any JW that dare to speak the truth, ignoring the rights of innocent victims of their failed unjust policies.

    • April 6, 2017 at 1:49 am

      Kat I think you may have just about summed up what was wrong, is wrong and will continue to be wrong with this religion and why there is a pressing need for exposure , justice and punitive damages. The only thing to hurt this greed run society is to hit their purse hard. Even if the victims did not get a penny just to take away their earthly kingdom will see them gnashing at heavens gate. I personally think every baptised witness should be awarded a windfall from the coffers and past members who they have on file should be awarded posthumously and given to their families. I do believe there is plenty in the coffers right now but in time it will be spirited away to an island paradise. I don’t think they will ever change their arrogant ways it does not serve their purpose, they thrive on deceit and selfishness and money. If that kingdom of theirs was real they would have sold everything and distributed to their own poor way before now but even that was pie in the sky. Someone called the organisation paedophile enablers isn’t that the truth! and how shameful to have such a label and reputation. I think god’s nostril is going to sneeze soon. Cheers Ruthlee

    • June 16, 2017 at 8:20 am

      Absolutely correct Kat. They are a vile organisation and should be stripped of their ‘charity status’. They violate human rights and decencies every step of the way.

  • April 5, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    Thanks for keeping us informed Covert Fade.

  • April 5, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    Does the Watchtower’s Governing Body plant fake news stories? I’m beginning to think so. Below are excerpts from a San Francisco Chronicle article:

    Russia moves to ban Jehovah’s Witnesses as extremist.

    VOROKHOBINO, Russia — A dedicated pacifist who has never even held a gun, Andrei Sivak discovered that his government considered him a dangerous extremist when he tried to change some money and the teller “suddenly looked up at me with a face full of fear.”
    His name had popped up on the bureau’s computer system, along with those of members of al Qaeda, the Islamic State and other militant groups responsible for shocking acts of violence.

    The only group the 43-year-old father of three has ever belonged to, however, is Jehovah’s Witnesses, a Christian denomination committed to the belief that the Bible must be taken literally, particularly its injunction “Thou shalt not kill.”

    In the case of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the putative extremism seems to derive mostly from the group’s absolute opposition to violence, a stand that infuriated Soviet and now Russian authorities whose legitimacy rests in large part on the celebration of martial triumphs, most notably over Nazi Germany in World War II but also over rebels in Syria.

    • April 6, 2017 at 2:14 am

      ScotWm, at one time I worked for a guy that owned a store in my town and when he first started his business up, there was a big write up about it in our local newspaper and I read it and commented on it and he told me that he wrote it up and all businesses do that because the newspapers don’t go looking for articles to write about. They depend on people writing up their own articles and submitting them to the newspaper to print.

      I did not know that but it makes sense. When the Watchtower is having an assembly, you can be assured that the Society writes up their own articles about what a wonderful group meeting they will have and submit those articles to the newspapers to print. They probably do the same thing when it comes to news shows too. It’s free advertising for the assemblies.

      • April 6, 2017 at 2:15 am

        ScotWm, it is kind of like those “telly” awards.

      • April 6, 2017 at 8:29 am

        Caroline: I just did a Google search and the Internet is littered with stories about the upcoming Russian ban on Watchtower cult members. Some of the stories tell the truth: “For almost two decades, however, Russian prosecutors in various localities have periodically sought to outlaw or curb the group, charging it is a cult that destroys families, fosters hatred and threatens lives.”

        Other stories appear to be Watchtower press releases. The link below has a story about how the ban is being executed because the Witnesses do not vote or get involved in government activities due to their political neutrality:

    • April 6, 2017 at 5:12 am

      Are you aware that the Witnesses have a news and media department where they produce press releases which are then sent out to the newspapers? Each regional assembly has a department for this purpose. Or at least they used to when they were District Conventions. I worked in one briefly.

      • April 6, 2017 at 8:45 am

        Ricardo: Here’s a dispatch which appears to have originated with the Watchtower news and Media department. It seen odd that an oppressive cult, which employs shunning, dictates medical procedures and threatens it’s members with divine destruction, would be persecuted for its fight to establish religious liberty:

        “Witnesses have been on the front line of religious liberty in the US as well … Witnesses were in the Supreme Court 45 times between 1935 and 1958 fighting for their rights of freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and patients’ rights. Long before the founding of Christian public interest law firms, such as the Liberty Fund, The Becket Fund, and the ACLJ [American Center for Law and Justice], the Jehovah’s Witnesses were using the courts to establish liberties.”

  • April 5, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    For so many years I sat in the kingdom hall and was always amazed how the elders Bragg on the faithful discrete slave more like worshipping it. Always bothered me.

    • April 5, 2017 at 10:07 pm

      Many of them do so in ignorance.

  • April 6, 2017 at 9:24 am

    Forgive me, but I guess my searching for answers to simple questions is flawed. I suck…I guess. I had to look on YouTube yesterday for my answer. I found my answer with Dallas Canada (exJW youtuber)…he also had a link with the status of the Russian ruling on the Jdubs…that’s where I found out that court was adjourned until Thursday which is today. All other links people were giving me and that I was finding were news links that kept saying words like “Russia MOVING ban JWs” or “PLANNING'” on banning…or “SET TO BAN” … get it? I was looking for “Russia HAS BANNED” or “RUSSIA HAS NOT banned” I was looking for a definitive status!!!! SO………….does anyone have a news link with a definitive status…I can’t find one on google or any other social network!

    • April 6, 2017 at 9:29 am

      This just in 6 minutes ago…from Uk standard online news “Russia launches a supreme court bid to ban Jehovah’s Witnesses” WTF, why can’t I get an answer…is it because the process of a YES we did ban them…or NO we didn’t ban them .. takes so long that the media must write it as Russia is “considering” banning JWs??? Is there an update as to Yes or No?

      • April 6, 2017 at 9:32 am

        Ok wow I got my answer from stupid JW .ORG in the news room, it said “Russia Begins High Profile Case Against Jehovah’s Witnesses” (April 6, 2017) So “Begins” case…I guess this might take a while?

  • April 6, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    I hope Christmas will come early for all of us – LOL

    • April 8, 2017 at 1:43 am

      Talking about roosters, I know some elders who are fowl, and responsible for many cock-ups.

      That reference you give, for roosters, when I click on it says FORBIDDEN. Must have been a good picture but we can’t see it.

  • April 8, 2017 at 1:05 am

    I wish the Commission full success in what they are doing.
    Wasted a number of my very best years in this religion and detest it.
    The JWs will NEVER comply unless forced to all the way. Now the good news from Sweden: They are getting weaker and weaker here, young ones in JW families turning their backs on the religion.
    God Bless the Internet!

    • April 8, 2017 at 1:39 am

      Sad to tell you there was still an increase in Sweden last year. Yes, there was growth. By 2. Well done! Sounds like a healthy organization there in Sweden. Not. An increase of 2. Break out the champagne. A company performing like that would go bankrupt. And so will this organization. Once it hits the tipping point, over it goes. In about 5-10 years, I reckon.

  • April 17, 2017 at 10:04 am

    JWs seem to be realising that they are not above the law and it is worth reminding them of that fact whenever one gets the opportunity.

    • April 17, 2017 at 11:37 pm

      Thanks for the added info Ricardo. Sorry to hear about the increase by 2 in my country. Well, the downward trend continues; that’s what I call progress!

      God (maybe) created Man, but the devil created organized religion.

  • April 20, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    Off subject but here is something to think about. Why would Judis be punished for betraying Jesus? Doing so was fulfilling prophecy. And for another thought the Bible says Satan enters Judis so he would betray Jesus. But why would Satan won’t to kill Jesus knowing it was fulfilling Gods purpose. Wouldn’t it make more sense to try and keep him alive?

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