Watchtower's expert consultant Dr Monica Applewhite is grilled at the Royal Commission
Watchtower’s expert consultant Dr Monica Applewhite is grilled at the Royal Commission

The following is a follow-up to the article submitted on Thursday by “CovertFade” – a non-disfellowshipped subscriber to JWsurvey…

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Australia has been running its inquiry into the Jehovah’s Witnesses child protection policies for just under a week, and so far it’s been pretty painful to watch. Especially for the Watchtower.

We’ve seen elders caught apparently lying under oath, we’ve seen elders admitting that the policy they are required to follow is flawed, elders admitting that they cared more about protecting their organization than protecting the victim, elders stubbornly insisting that it was perfectly okay for three men to interrogate a loan female abuse survivor in front of her attacker, and to cap it all we had an elder admit that he’d done no preparation for his appearance before the Commission and didn’t really know what the Commission was for. How embarrassing!

Well, just as it looked as though things couldn’t get any worse for Watchtower, day four (July 31st) of the hearings began and Doctor Monica Applewhite took the stand.

Doctor Monica Applewhite is no stranger to those following Watchtower’s child abuse battles. She has appeared in several US cases, most recently in a UK case, always on behalf of Watchtower and against the claimant.

On each occasion, she had been there to present her professional informed opinion as an expert in the prevention of child abuse that the Jehovah’s Witnesses are actually much better than all other religions when it comes to abuse prevention, and that everything is fine in the house that Russell built.

It hasn’t always worked. For example, the UK case was lost by Watchtower despite her testimony, but it did at least allow the organization to release the following face-saving statement.

“We are disappointed with the decision, particularly since the court accepted expert evidence that Jehovah’s Witnesses in the late 1980’s and 1990’s were ahead of their time in addressing the issue of child sexual abuse.”

I don’t think that will be happening this time. In fact, I’d be curious to know if Doctor Applewhite will ever want to work for Watchtower again.

It turns out Doctor Applewhite has become a walking case study on how NOT to approach research. Before the hearings began, Doctor Applewhite submitted a written statement to the Commission in general defense and praise of Witness policies on child abuse, but it quickly became clear when she took to the stand that the Commission again had serious concerns, this time not with the activities of elders, or the polices or Watchtower. Their concern was with her credibility.

For example, her written statement repeatedly asserted that Watchtower compared much more favorably than other religions “throughout the world” when it came to dealing with child abuse, but when pressed to give hard data as to which religious organizations she was actually using for comparison, and the data sets she used to come to this conclusion, she was very vague and apparently unable to produce such.

More to the point, when pressed on what data she had actually used to study  Watchtower’s effectiveness when dealing with child abuse, she was forced to admit that her study came not from empirical data collected from real world case studies, but rather, simply from reading Witness publications.

In other words, what she was presenting was not a scientifically researched study, she was just presenting an opinion based on reading cult propaganda and assuming that this propaganda actually depicted reality.

Sounds bad? It gets worse, because it turns out even by the standards of her own flawed methodology, Doctor Applewhite did a terrible job of understanding what the publications actually indicated. Over the course of the day, the Commission identified and proved a large number of factual errors that Doctor Applewhite had made in her report. Here are some examples…

  • Doctor Applewhite incorrectly offered the opinion that elders are not viewed as “superior” by the congregation but as “fellow workers.” The Commission found that they could not accept this as the reality of Witness culture, based on many other statements in the publications indicating (1) that elders are considered shepherds rather than sheep, (2) that they have a position of honor in the congregation, and (3) are appointed by holy spirit, and thus whilst some written JW material might try to convey the idea of equality, other JW publications and the clear reality on the ground was that the hierarchy of Watchtower was clearly split into shepherds and sheep.
  • Applewhite incorrectly presented the opinion that an elder or a ministerial servant would never be alone with children. The Commission, however, found that the ks10 elder’s guidebook explicitly stated that “Those who are appointed to privileges of service, such as elders and ministerial servants, are put in a position of trust. One who is extended privileges in the congregation is judged by others as being worthy of trust. This includes being more liberal in leaving children in their care and oversight. The congregation would be left unprotected if we prematurely appointed someone who was a child abuser as a ministerial servant or elder.” Doctor Applewhite replied that as a rule this was not supposed to happen. The Commission asked her to point to this rule in the book. She could not.
  • Applewhite was unaware of the restrictions placed on Witnesses getting professional psychological help. She stated that she had assumed the counsel was just limited to finding a therapist who respected witness beliefs. Angus Stewart SC demonstrated again with the ks10 book that group therapy, for example (which can be an important form of treatment for abuse survivors), was discouraged by Watchtower. Doctor Applegate conceded her error in this point.

The above errors threw the credibility of Applewhite’s entire report into doubt. None of this was a great start from someone Watchtower was no doubt hoping would be able to turn the tide in what has thus far been a complete debacle for them.

The Commission team, however, was only just warming up.

They then moved into weightier details of concern to them: the two witness rule, the all-male star chamber, the forcing of a survivor to confront her abuser. Justice Peter McClellan and his team were clearly confused as to how Doctor Applewhite, an apparent expert in the prevention and treatment of child abuse, could support these policies. It turned out that Doctor Applewhite had again been pulled in by Watchtower propaganda and had failed to do critical, investigative research.

For example, let’s take the issue of a survivor being forced to confront his/her accused. When Doctor Applewhite was asked if this is acceptable, she first countered that the accuser is not actually forced to face the accused and can instead write a letter detailing their evidence (this is in direct contradiction to all the testimony that the elders had offered thus far). This is happened next:

  • Justice Peter McClellan: Doctor, are you familiar with the work that has been done in Australia in the civil justice process in relation to the prosecution of these types of offenses?
  • Doctor Applewhite: In terms of how survivors are —
  • Justice McClellan: How witnesses are handled and, particularly, how survivors are managed? Are you familiar with those processes?
  • Applewhite: I am.
  • Justice McClellan: Are you familiar with one of the fundamentals being that the abused person need not confront the abuser in that scenario?
  • Applewhite: Absolutely.
  • Justice McClellan: This process offends against that principle, clearly, doesn’t it?
  • Applewhite: But my understanding is that they can write a letter and that there doesn’t have to be a confrontation at all.
  • Justice McClellan: We just looked at all those processes.
  • Applewhite: Yes.
  • Angus Stewart SC: I don’t know where you get that understanding, whether someone told you that, or what, but you restricted your report and your evidence, now, to what the documents say, and the documents don’t say that, do they?
  • Applewhite: So you are saying that in the judicial process today, that evidence can’t be received from a witness through a letter?
  • Stewart: Well, according to these documents, yes, I am saying that. There may be some judicial committee somewhere —
  • Justice McClellan: I think it probably should be put slightly differently. The words are “however it may be that the witnesses live a great distance away” – you have to ask yourself what is meant by “witnesses” there, whether that includes the survivor, “or for some reason are not able to be physically present.” So we’re talking about an exception, do you understand?
  • Applewhite: I do.
  • Justice McClellan: Otherwise, the procedure contemplates what Mr Stewart has been putting to you, and that is, that the girl or woman would have to confront ultimately three men in the presence of the abuser and without any moral support. So on her own. Now, is that a good practice?
  • Applewhite: Absolutely not. And I – I want to be clear, if there – if it turns out that the practice that they have today does not allow someone to write a letter and they have to confront their offender and they have to sit in the room with no support, it is not going to meet the standards of care. I didn’t understand that that’s the process, and there are probably people more qualified than I am to say whether it is, but it wouldn’t meet the standard of care if that is the fact.
  • Justice McClellan: Well, the difficulty for us is that you have proffered to us your written report in relation to all of this.
  • Applewhite: Yes.
  • Justice McClellan: And we’re trying to work out whether or not what you have said is something that we, as the Commission, should accept, carrying with it of course the consequence that if we say it is a good practice, then others might follow it. Do you understand?
  • Applewhite: Absolutely. And in no way am I trying to say that that’s a good practice.

What the above transcript fails to capture, but it is clear in the video footage, is the expression and tone of voice of Doctor Applewhite. Her responses are those of a woman realizing that she has made a terrible mistake, and then frantically trying to distance herself as far as possible from the position she previously held.

The same pattern unfolds when the Commission discusses the two witness rule, and in particular an aspect of this rule that seems of particular concern to Justice McClellan, who has correctly identified that the Watchtower faith requires a person, essentially under pain of destruction by God, to report wrongdoing.

However, when coupled with the two witness rule, a potential situation is created where an abuse survivor is compelled under threat of divine judgement to report abuse, but then the very nature of the system which handles her complaint will not allow the complaint to be believed or dealt with, thus creating a no-win scenario and huge trauma for the victim.

  • Justice Peter McClellan: Now, do you see that there may be a problem for a survivor, who has the obligation to report sexual abuse, which very often will happen in private – most often will happen in private —
  • Doctor Applewhite: Yes.
  • Justice McClellan: and find that because there is not another witness, her allegation is not accepted? Do you see that that might have real difficulties for the survivor?
  • Applewhite: Absolutely.

Ouch. Well, at least the day is over and Watchtower can lick its wounds, right? Nope.

The Commission then presents Doctor Applewhite with a checklist of factors in a sociological environment, as proposed by David Finkelhor (a leading researcher, academic and writer in the field of child protection), that would significantly increase the risk to children in that environment. They are:

  • Repressive norms about masturbation and extra-marital sex.
  • Weak criminal sanctions against offenders.
  • Ideology of patriarchal prerogatives for fathers
  • Erosion of social networks.

Sound familiar?

  • Mr Angus Stewart SC: This model would certainly raise for you some flashing lights about the social/cultural environment of the Jehovah’s Witness Church insofar as child sexual abuse is concerned, wouldn’t it?
  • Doctor Applewhite: Tell me what you mean by “flashing lights.”
  • Stewart: These factors come together really in a perfect storm for the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the risk of child sexual abuse occurring there.
  • Applewhite: I think I would have to look at this more carefully to be able to say that. I just would have to look more carefully.

Doctor Applewhite might not be certain on this point, but it is clear from the above statements by Mr Stewart that, in spite of evidence submitted by Watchtower and the testimony of elders (or perhaps because of it), the Commission is presently of the opinion that this is the case, demonstrating the grave nature of the trouble that Watchtower Australia finds itself in.

As the day came to a close, with the credibility of Doctor Applewhite under serious doubt and her evidence officially ruled to be so flawed that it was inadmissible, and her client looking worse than ever, Justice Peter McClellan presented Applewhite with the chilling logical consequences of the practices employed by the cult she had been hired to defend.

  • Justice Peter McClellan: Just to finish the discussion you and I had previously, doctor, if a woman brings an allegation that she has been sexually assaulted by a member of the Jehovah’s Witness, and she does so because of her strong adherence to the tenets of the church, and believes that she has to report, but she doesn’t want to go to the authorities, she doesn’t want to be involved in a criminal trial, and there is no other witness, and the alleged abuser doesn’t confess, but those listening to her story don’t have any doubt that she is telling the truth, but they can’t take any action because there is only her evidence, what happens, then, within the church? I assume – well, you tell me, does the abuser then stay with all of his rights intact and the woman would be required to, if she wished to remain part of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, interact with him in that environment? Is that what happens?
  • Doctor Applewhite: In addition to some other warnings or things of that nature, I would think that that would be what would happen.
  • Justice McClellan: It is not a very good place to end up, is it?
  • Doctor Applewhite: It isn’t.

In some respects one can feel a degree of sympathy for Doctor Applewhite. She is not the first otherwise intelligent and rational person to have been suckered by manipulative cult propaganda. On the other hand, as an academic working in a field such as child protection, where the stakes are so high and the human consequences for error so appalling, she clearly should have demonstrated the kind of professional diligence and spirit of critical inquiry shown by the Royal Commission. She failed, and instead ended up being an apologist for a cult that has hidden 1006 alleged child molesters from the law in Australia alone.

At least now she finally seems to be aware of it.

The day ended with Watchtower’s lawyer inviting Doctor Applegate to re-submit her report. But despite her expressed willingness to help the Commission, from the expression on her face and the tone of her closing remarks, one wonders if we have seen her final appearance in defense of Watchtower.

 

CovertFade

 

 

Further reading…

Watch a playlist of the Royal Commission…

75 thoughts on “Jehovah’s Witness culture creates a ‘perfect storm’ for abuse

  • August 3, 2015 at 5:10 am
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    Is really very sickly to watch these videos and see the justices unveiled and against the dark secrets of crimes of the watchtower and of those who support this demonick organization to be claim that are god’s servants. WE NEED TO FIND MORE AFFECTED METHODS TO BLOW THE TRUMPET TO EXPOSE THIS CORRUPT ORGANIZATION TO THE WORLD. I DO THINK WE ALL HAVE TO THINK AND SUGGEST IN ONE PLACE HOW WE CAN DO IT. WE CAN NOT LIVE THIS IN TO FEW PEOPLE TO DO THAT. SOMETHING WITCH EVERY JEHOVAH WITNESSES BE ABLE TO SEE AND NOT BE RESTRICTED BY FEAR AND WARNINGS BY THE WATCHTOWER.

    • August 3, 2015 at 6:01 am
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      The .org is getting pretty good at getting worldwide publicity about their ignorant policies.

      They need to get a lawyer in tight pants to issue a gag order……….. On GB members and hired expert witnesses.

      While the majority of J-Dubs will remain willfully ignorant of this, I see it hurting contributions. The only voice that the rank and file have is their pocket book.

      Too bad the GB couldn’t have seen this coming. I bet the GB wishes that they could go back a couple of months and openly pander for more money.

      Wait a second………………. They did.

      • August 3, 2015 at 7:52 am
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        They only recently asked for congregation savings to be sent to them for the worldwide work…JUST before this RC section on jw’s began….how convenient…..

        • August 3, 2015 at 7:51 pm
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          Exactly…………. They prayed about this as god’s only spirit directed channel of bull stuff.

          And this is what they got.

          Anybody want to argue that Holy Spirit is with them?

  • August 3, 2015 at 5:41 am
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    I knew too many unqualified, uneducated, arrogant elders in my time in the cult.

    Obviously, the bosses aren’t any better. Your expert witness, the one that you paid, just shot herself and your precious .org in the head.

    I loved seeing these high and mighty elders looking so dumb.

    I really love seeing their leaders commit legal suicide. You can’t blame Satan for this. You put her up there. Not some wicked imaginary enemy of your imaginary friend.

    This kind of stuff might make an elder think twice about enforcing these criminal policies. Right?

    Nope, they love their power too much.

  • August 3, 2015 at 5:50 am
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    It appears to me that this expert witness, is anything but an expert. The commission is understandably upset with her, having come before them so ill prepared and apparently unconcerned about the gravitance of the situation.

    The watchtower, I believe, has grossly underestimated the commissions ability to uncover and display the utter incompetence of their standard practices.

  • August 3, 2015 at 6:02 am
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    OUCH!!! Another fine display of due diligence on the Royal Commission side. Looking more and more systemic, meaning cultural from the top. The Doctor appeared as professional expert but is she a JW too? Not sure if that was established. All riveting!

    IMHO

    dogstar

  • August 3, 2015 at 6:10 am
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    It’s very interesting to me to see all this being uncovered at this time. The date when this hearing ends is roughly 40 days before Atonement Day, 23rd September 2015.
    The Watchtower should take account of the warning that GOD IS NOT TO BE MOCKED!
    I believe the downfall of the organisation is imminent.
    What about this as a ‘sign of Jonah’. Unless you repent in sackcloth and ashes, in forty days your fate is sealed!
    Final vindication is now due for the sake of all these poor victims of unscrupulous men.
    I can’t see that they will be humble enough to admit their error. Have to wait and see!

  • August 3, 2015 at 6:56 am
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    This is the e.mail I sent to Dr. Applewhite’s firm. The adress is at the foot for anyone else who cares to contact the lady:

    Dear Doctor Applewhite,

    May I congratulate you on your performance for the Australian Royal Commission on institutional sex abuse.

    In your ‘defence’ of the JWs, you clearly demonstrated that the policies and practices of this execrable cult are utterly indefensible.

    The only reason you imagined that your report was plausible was that your vaunted expertise in this particular instance amounted to total ignorance.

    Perhaps you could continue with the good work and act as the JWs’ spokesperson and speak in defence of their expertise at interpreting Biblical prophecy, and of the rationale and also the humane nature of their ever changing attitudes to blood transfusion. Thousands of avoidable deaths caused since 1945 must surely be a credit to any organisation.

    Having completed your reports on those topics you could enlighten the world by explaining how wonderful it is to fill children’s minds with images of imminent mega destruction of all non Jehovah’s Witnesses at the forthcoming Battle of Armageddon. Kids need nightmares!

    And there are further projects where the Jehovah’s Witnesses would welcome your expertise. The breakup of countless families through the shunning of apostates, I am sure you could, with your profound knowledge and lengthy experience, justify if not glorify.

    And finally there is the social isolation from the ban on birthday, Christmas and all other wordly (i.e. Satanic) celebrations and the stunted lives resulting from the severe discouragement of education once the ability to read and parrot JW literature has been acquired.

    I hope you are aware that, to your credit, there are now countless ex Jehovah’s Witnesses, the world over, delighting in your performance before the Australian Royal Commission. You have clearly helped to hasten the journey of the Watchtower Society to its deserved destination; i.e flushed down history’s toilet!

    Rowland Nelken

    Here’s the e.mail address : [email protected]

    • August 3, 2015 at 7:11 am
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      I like the letter.
      Maybe, just maybe, she new exactly what she was doing and wanted to harm the organization.
      In any case her career is over.

    • August 3, 2015 at 8:24 am
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      You could have been more diplomatic. She may have stopped reading by the time she got to the second paragraph

  • August 3, 2015 at 7:28 am
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    The way JW org arrogantly acts makes me think at the time of the end Christ would say “I do not know you.” If you get what I mean.

  • August 3, 2015 at 7:43 am
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    My impressions of her were all over the place. But ultimately I believe she was duped by them as well. If they would have given her REAL and COMPLETE policies procedures and documentation, in her line of business she would have found the WTSs position indefensible by default. Her expression changed so dramatically when she saw how incomplete her information was. I think by the end she was reallly pissed at her client.

  • August 3, 2015 at 7:57 am
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    Twice the article mentions a Dr. Applegate, in the middle and toward the end. Is that a typo? Should it be Dr. Applewhite?

  • August 3, 2015 at 8:21 am
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    “loan woman” change that “lone woman” in second paragraph

  • August 3, 2015 at 8:58 am
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    I have been Watchimg the hearings and these two men are Methodicly tearing the Watchtowers policies to shreds before us all. I would think after they get through with them the Watchtower would have to seriously reconsider their reporting policies on Child sex abuse. Shame on them if they don’t and remain Arrogent in spite of all these children’s lives being ruined.
    One only needs to listen to one case after another of the victims statements to have your heart moved because of their mental state and just trying to deal with ordinary life. Then again the Watchtower is anything but normal.
    The floodgates have opened and the Watchtower can no longer control it’s hiding of these offences in order to protect their sole reputation.
    This has nothing to do with God it has to do with a secretive cult that no one in their right mind should ever be a part of.
    So ask yourselves is this the TRUE RELIGION? All evidence in the past and the present proves beyond a reasonable doubt they are NOT!
    Thanks to this Commission perhaps the rest of the world and its followers will see that they are truly a cult and false prophet.
    This is not what Jesus would want to be happening EVER!!!!!!!! To his little children.

    • August 3, 2015 at 7:55 pm
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      Couldn’t agree more. Yet there is no malice. No axe to grind. They are not driven by “You know who”.

      One of these bodies wants to protect children from predators.

      One wants to uphold their unquestioned authorty over subserviants.

      It’s rather obvious which one is on the right side of this issue.

  • August 3, 2015 at 9:23 am
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    One thing that highlights the utter hypocrisy of the Gov Bod is paying a Catholic to defend them. They Have always slammed the Catholic Church at every opportunity. Yet as soon as their sorry arses are on fire they run to the woman who works closely with the Catholic Church and pay her to say the JWs are way better than other religions. Watch the secretly filmed videos of a Judicial Committee meeting re, apostacy. Whilst the young man could be disfellowshipped for being a Coastguard, the GB can join the UN with impunity. The hypocrisy is jaw-dropping. Almost hilarious.

  • August 3, 2015 at 10:55 am
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    The reason why I enjoy this website and keep returning to it is because the information and the majority of the comments are intelligent. I hate arrogance. I close my ears to it. These articles expose them without bias. That is very important for someone waking up. I have a childhood friend who was born and raised in the ‘truth.’ In 1981 when she was 13 she was raped by her brother-in-law. He controlled her for many years until she was 29. She never fell out of the ‘truth’ and she is still strong in the truth. She got into trouble with the elders when she warned people she knew to protect their children. She asked me to warn my sister because my sister and her husband invited him over several times to watch football and baseball. My sister went to the elders and the elders told my friend to stop telling people. I felt bad because my friend got in trouble. Six years later her brother-in-law was disfellowshipped for immorality and never returned. My friend married in the truth and is so brain washed she thinks everything is alright. She doesn’t blame the religion. She says the problem isn’t the elders ot the religion, she says the problem is with some of the people. She says the elders can’t take sides and have to protect the falsely accused. She believes the elders shouldn’t be held responsible for being forgiving. She is brainwashed.

  • August 3, 2015 at 11:24 am
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    It appears that Stephen Lett’s statement that we should reject outright apostate-driven lies and dishonesties that claim Jehovah’s organization is permissive toward pedophiles, is the last word on the subject.

    In the August 2015 installment of JW Broadcasting, we are treated to words of wisdom from Samuel F. Herd (Governing Body) and Governing Body wannabe Harold Corkeren (Helper to the Publishing Committee). It looks like Sam is still wearing his Rolex. This broadcast includes personal testimony from a few overjoyed, brainwashed zombies who have devoted all of their time, energy and resources to Watchtower interests.

    Herd says that we too can gain eternal happiness by serving as full time salespersons for a large publishing company. Next comes a discussion of true generosity, which eventually zeros in on how we can secure our eternal future by giving generously to the Watchtower Society. Give, give, give! It’s all about the spirit of giving. We are thanked for our generous support of Kingdom interests, which apparently includes paying child abuse settlements.

  • August 3, 2015 at 1:17 pm
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    My elderly parents live in a poorer area. About 30 years ago some of the congregations in the area saved for a some land and paid it off, then they built a hall and over the years repaid their loan. They had busy bees to make the curtains and chairs, the hall was something they were very proud of.

    The society have just sold the hall and now they have to drive quite a long way to another hall. They agreed to sell their hall because the society kept on having talks and showing short videos on how the poor in Africa and Asia have nowhere to meet and need halls.

    Is there really a large building project happening in these countries? If there is wouldn’t it be all over JW.org as PR?

    I feel for my parents and all of their friends who have sacrificed so much over the years to get their hall and pay it off, then the society comes in and sells it (to a church) to pay for court cases and settlements.

  • August 3, 2015 at 1:57 pm
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    A Law unto themselves.

    There has long been a culture within international Catholicism that in some way the Church is its own jurisdiction, its own legal system, and that the proper place for judging clergy is within the structures established by Canon Law. Canon Law provides that clergy or religious who abuse children under 18 are to be “punished with just penalties, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state” (Canon 1395(2)). However, it is no part of canonical thinking that child sexual abuse is a crime that ought routinely to be reported to the police and dealt with by the criminal courts. In this sense, the Church perceived it to be a law unto itself. Geoffrey Robertson QC:

    The above comment comes from the commissions investigation into the
    RC church , and could be applied word for word to JW.org.

    Could it be that society has finally had its fill of these despotic organisations
    doing what they like with people’s lives ? And is exposing their claim of
    having a Devine mandate for their actions, as a mere delusion.?

    Incidentally the Wt seems to have lightened up on its criticism of the
    RCs lately, I wonder why? The old saying about “Glass houses”
    comes to mind. And if Dr, Applewhite finds herself unemployable
    after being dropped in it by the good bros, I’ve got some ladders
    and window cloths she can have, to start a new career.

  • August 3, 2015 at 4:26 pm
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    It would not shock me, one bit, if the so-called “expert” that WT hired, Dr.Monica Applewhite, is herself a JW. I’m certainly not saying that she is, but I can certainly see a pattern in WT tactics and the research that Dr.Applewhite shows….all the research was taken from WT publications. A real & true expert in child abuse would not base all their research solely from religious publications. In fact, that is very dangerous because it can send the wrong message–trying to establish all of the research from a religious magazine “truth” It would also blend in perfectly with their “theocratic warfare” ways. As long as they determine that no one deserves to hear the truth, then it’s okay to lie. It could be worth doing some research to see what the Dr.’s religion is.
    One thing is for sure…we can see in this case how WT and their Elders have been totally, 100% ripped wide open—seems like their philosophy on being against higher education is proving to be 100% garbage. It’s the folks with the Royal Commission who are proving themselves to be wiser, smarter, deeper insights, etc.. and they are the ones who have obtained a higher education. Take that and contrast it to the ignorance of WT and their Elders–they don’t even know how to think or reason on anything…they are simply speechless. That, in itself, is clear proof as to the benefits of having a good education v.s. not having one….the folks with the Commission are using their education to protect children and show how utterly sick these Men are. WT’s ways/philosophy of being against education is being put to the test here against those that do have the education….the results/contrast are pretty easy to see.

    • August 3, 2015 at 7:57 pm
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      From the competence of her testimony, i’m thinking that she is a special pioneer.

    • August 3, 2015 at 11:36 pm
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      She identified herself as Catholic in her testimony when she took the stand. And the Royal Commission have already destroyed any sense of “credibility” to her “expert testimony” simply by asking reasonable and logical questions that denounced her initial statement to the Commissioner.

  • August 3, 2015 at 4:37 pm
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    Dr. Applewhite… “Dr. Applegate” sounds more appropriate.

    Is she or isn’t she a JW? One thing we know is that she is a paid WT propagandist. I found it amusing that this “worldly”,”catholic”,”woman” would be privy to the secret mens business of the WT. I hope that Elders wives find that insulting.

    She started out sounding very confident with herself but ended up looking deflated & defeated. Her face seemed to show the look of someone that had her whole world ripped from under her. I suppose it did because her reputation as an expert in child protection/prevention strategist has gone down the toilet in this country.

  • August 3, 2015 at 5:00 pm
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    The brainwashing is sadly, so thorough in some people. I shared all of this information with my mother, and her response was depressing:

    “this means nothing. This only reflects that there are fallible human beings in the Watchtower. Most of those allegations are lies created by apostates who want to steal money from the organization. But all of this makes me happy, because the bible predicted that we would be persecuted in the last days. This just means we are closer than ever to our salvation, and this strengthens my faith in the organization”

    Yes those words were uttered by my mother. How can anyone possibly combat that level of cognitive dissonance?

    • August 3, 2015 at 5:34 pm
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      I don’t think you can.

      I never discuss WT with JWs when I see them around town. I make small talk and move on. Criticizing their idol, the organization they substitute for God, just makes them defensive.

      For many, it will take more than human reason to change their mind.

    • August 4, 2015 at 1:40 pm
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      @Richard: Don’t loose hope, a few months ago my mother would have said the same.. but I kept dropping a few things here and there, and now she’s halfway awake, she asked me to get her the Ray Franz book the other day, I nearly fell off my chair…persist my friend, you never know what will turn on the switch for her!
      <3

    • August 4, 2015 at 6:44 pm
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      Too true, Richard. They are so far gone that they can not see reason even when it right in front of them. I was born into it and every time there was an earthquake or flood or disaster we would gleefully say “it’s a sign!” Now at 50 I can also still remember the terror that followed, knowing I was going to be persecuted first… talk about living in fear. It makes my blood BOIL.

  • August 3, 2015 at 5:40 pm
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    Monica Applewhite states she is a practicing Catholic.
    Special isn’t it? wow.

  • August 3, 2015 at 7:28 pm
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    Can someone explain to me what the commission can and cannot do. Can they fine the WT, can they remove the charity status of the WT? I’m confused as to what power the commission has after the hearings are completed. Looks like Babylon is falling. Who knew that they would be the first to go.

  • August 3, 2015 at 8:21 pm
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    I don’t want to monopolize this thread so this is the last thing I’ll post. This has really moved me and I’ve watched the expert’s testimoy in full.

    Now I’m on to the Elder’s testimony.

    What is clear to me, beyond doubt, is that only one of the sides of this issue cares for the victims.

    Only one side is for true morality.

    This isn’t a mock trial. The only joke is the shame of the Watchtower.

    And it is the Government of Australia that is fully moral in these proceedings.

    • August 3, 2015 at 11:02 pm
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      @Catalina & @ Richard. I enjoyed your comments & don’t be surprised at your relatives brainwashed reaction as there are 14 million Mormons worldwide which shows me how SADLY some Humans will follow any TRASH & Not use their Power of Reason , But both of you don’t give up trying as something you say might just go round in their head & when the time is right they will wake up. Most go into Defensive mode when presented with facts that challenge what they have believed all their lives!! It is a slower process for some as it can be devastating to think ALL you have believed in is FALSE!

    • August 4, 2015 at 2:11 am
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      A royal commission doesn’t put anyone in trial, it’s only to collect information,but because it’s open and frank,if you stuff up in a commission it’s doubtful that your going to succeed in a full on court of law,if a commission finds you a problem,then the die is pretty well cast.

  • August 4, 2015 at 4:34 am
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    Folks,

    I don’t think that Dr. Monica Applewhite will be giving any more “expert” testimony on child abuse for the WTBTS.

    Hopefully, she will join our cause. Her testimony for our side could explain how she was only provided with propaganda, and that she was used by the WTBTS.

    I hope that she learns from this and I hope that her conscience will move her to support the victims of child abuse in the WTBTS.

    In any event, any testimony that she has given previously will be viewed with scepticism and will only aid our cause.

    The governing body cannot hide these abuses with impunity any more. Thank you, Australia, for providing such an excellent forum to get to the truth about how badly these cases are handled.

    Peace be with you, Excelsior!

    • August 4, 2015 at 5:55 am
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      @Excelsior! Somewhat true, the given propaganda is more likely about selective spoon-feeding. Rather surprised that Dr. Monica Applewhite with her credentials and reputation on the line she didn’t do more due diligence on WTBTS first! She must of saw some red flags.

      IMHO

      dogstar

  • August 4, 2015 at 5:30 am
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    you know it has always grieved me that God’s name would be dragged through the mud when this horrible situation became public knowledge but now i really think that this has to be because it is not God is it? its men and these silly rules we have put ourselves under.I doubt there will ever be a proper apology for all the damage done and when this whole scenario finally fizzles all our wasted years and time consuming nonsense will fade into history but at least it will be on record how unfaithful these people and policies have been and God big as he is can fight for his own reputation he dosent need little ol us but He does expect humans to tell the truth so now is very much the right time to tell the truth to all who listen or not

  • August 4, 2015 at 6:07 am
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    Quote from below news article:
    “Counsel for the commission, Angus Stewart SC, said the problem for the commission was trying to pin down the source of the policies was like trying to “put your finger on a ball of mercury”.”

    All letters (and/or handbooks) sent to the Elders are signed with a nondescript “Your brothers” so at no stage now or in the future will ANY sources of existing or new policies see the light of day.

    http://www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/women-to-never-rule-in-jehovahs-church/story-e6frfku9-1227470092202

    • August 4, 2015 at 2:02 pm
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      Cover Affairs,

      I saw that too. What a wonderful analogy, they have always written things with no reference to who has written them. I picked up on that many years ago but like everything else I packed it away to the back of my brain.

      Did Mr Stewart ever get the answer to what the symbols mean on the paperwork? Like “sca” etc. I know that Spinks said that they mean service or legal but didn’t seem to have said what they fully stand for.

  • August 4, 2015 at 6:09 am
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    Great headline “Expert” witness hired by the Jehovah’s Witnesses isn’t an “expert” on witnesses. – She was hired as a consultant but not paid to do consulting? “Consultant: a person who gives professional advice or services to companies for a fee.” Watchtower wasn’t interested in her advice or services. It was classic when she had to admit that she has never offered testimony critical of the witnesses and that that wasn’t what she was paid to do. They just wanted someone with a “Dr.” at the beginning of their name to say that they are better than “Babylon the great” at distributing magazines. I’m sure Dr. Applewhite is a very good person with good intentions, who is interested in children’s welfare, but it seems the branch set the poor woman up to fail. (They even had her write her report in typical Watchtower fashion!) Why wasn’t she given the victim’s statements to read? It seems she would have had access to them? Come on! I have read the transcripts of the case to know the victim’s stories and I’m not even testifying as an expert in the case. She only referenced the statements and opinions of the heads of the legal department, service department, branch committee, witness publications and an unrelated child abuse case fed to her by the branch. Watchtower used information control on her. Otherwise, I can’t imagine why she wouldn’t have read the victim’s statements particular to the commission’s case study. She looked silly as she had to be taught about the witnesses, their mentality and procedures by the commission. It will be interesting to see if she can muster any empirical evidence outside of the witness propaganda to base her opinions on. I think the justice destroyed the Watchtower’s whole defense when he told their lawyer he wasn’t interested in who was best among the religions or who got there first. Could someone get that clip to the GB? Additionally, she was probably given a tour of bethel, had lunch there, got love-bombed and swept away in a sea of love and trust. When I worked at Bethel, they really rolled out the red carpet for any non-jw professionals who visited the branch for business. The crowning moment for me was the moment when Justice McClellan tells WT’s lawyer that whoever had Dr. Applewhite prepare this statement was missing the point. The GB itself is completely missing the point and probably forced the branch to miss it to.

  • August 4, 2015 at 6:20 am
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    Latest statements from Rodney Spinks, Head of service desk,
    Australian Branch. —

    He said when there were mandatory reporting requirements with some sort of uniformity across the country “we will happily and willingly comply”

    Spinks said he had been made aware of this in these hearings and the church would accept and comply with mandatory reporting, “regardless of our strongly held religious belief that individuals should have the right to decide what is done with that
    information.

    • August 4, 2015 at 11:11 am
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      Mr. Spinks will be lucky if he still has a service desk at the Australian branch after these hearings.

  • August 4, 2015 at 11:13 am
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    Some rants- With a name like Spinks, I knew he would be a slippery little devil… I noted at least a few bold faced lies. How about him saying the branch has “autonomy” and doesn’t need the approval of the GB to make changes? He also said in so many words, that they are open to any suggestions and making changes if a teaching or procedure is shown to be unscriptural by JWs or nonJWs. Yeah right! If any rank and file said this stuff in the congregation and not while kissing a court’s backside, they’d be tossed out in a heartbeat. He blabbed on about things that needed to be addressed/changed and about how happy they are about this royal commission’s case study… Meanwhile the elders in the case took a beating because they couldn’t publicly disagree with the organization or its procedures. Finally, it was nice to hear that Geoff Jackson (who is in Australia at the moment) pulled a Gerritt Loesch and didn’t appear to defend Jehovah’s name. They claimed that the GB doesn’t handle this stuff?! Then why is T Morris #3 acting like a professional on the subject in the July JW broadcasting.

  • August 4, 2015 at 12:04 pm
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    Hello to all.

    I have no pity for Applewhite nor for any watchtower apologists involved in this commission. Well done Australia for showing the world the complete failure of watchtower to protect children. This cult tries to hide behind a book that sanctions genocide, incest, homophobia, human sacrifice, historical and geographical inaccuracies to mention but some. Religion has all way`s been a blight on mankind but watchtower sinks to never before seen depths of depravity. Anyone that lends support to this most sinister of cults is guilty by association in its many crimes against humanity. A plague on watchtower and all its houses.

  • August 4, 2015 at 12:36 pm
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    What are the chances of something like this commission happening in the USA? One thousand cases, and with only 68,000 Witnesses in Australia. It really blows my mind. What would that equate to in the states?

  • August 4, 2015 at 12:51 pm
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    I wanted to google this Applegate ladies credentials and I cant find her anywhere… how did you guys find out shes Catholic?

    • August 4, 2015 at 1:45 pm
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      The surname is Applewhite, not Applegate. She said that she was Catholic at the beginning of her testimony.

  • August 4, 2015 at 1:06 pm
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    Rodney Spinks, sorry for you but you’ll be removed,
    as head of the service desk, for independent thinking.

  • August 4, 2015 at 1:56 pm
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    Gina
    She is asked if she is a practicing Catholic by Mr. Stewart
    At the start of her testimony. She replies yes that is right.

  • August 4, 2015 at 2:12 pm
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    Cutting through all of the crap that the WT is spewing to get out of this is one thing. WHERE IS THE LOVE.

    For a religion that spruces love the world, love for neighbour & love for the brothers, they are showing how incredibly loveless they really are.

    The love that they have is for a false god & for themselves.

  • August 4, 2015 at 3:12 pm
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    Covert Affair, thank you again for your essay. Of the thousands words written about this unfolding tragedy yours are the most insightful and credible by far.
    Keep it up and how about a long Word Press piece when proceedings conclude.
    Was AppleGate a Freudian slip ?
    Regards

    • August 4, 2015 at 11:13 pm
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      Thank you :) I am going to write an article at the end of the process to summarise things, the JW Survey team will get first refusal on the article, but I’ll stick it on wordpress if it’s too long form for the site.

  • August 4, 2015 at 3:23 pm
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    Sorry, meant CovertFade.

  • August 4, 2015 at 5:25 pm
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    “Oh! What A Tangled Web We Weave When First We Practice To Deceive”

    I have found this writing to be MOST revealing.

    Talk soon.

  • August 4, 2015 at 6:45 pm
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    To Covert Affairs….
    A brilliant analogy… that trying to find the creators of these policies was like trying to put your finger on a ball of Mercury.

    Hitler was careful just like the Governing Body to give verbal orders and not put things in writing. A word given was law that none would defy, but left no trace. Still it was followed to the letter…

    I HOPE, that these Aussies have the common sense to see that when 10s of thousands of tendrils (congregations) all take the same action ( or lack thereof) that there is an octopus seated in Brooklyn that is pulling all the strings.
    These elders are the pawns, the cannon fodder for the nucleus of evil, the Governing Body….Those bastards in New York must be brought down, exposed, killed and ashes strewn to the winds…..

    We are so close my friends and allies!…..let us salivate at our approaching victory and defeat of this cult….
    Who will drink with me to the end of this evil cult????
    Who is with me????

    Garrett
    Minneapolis

  • August 4, 2015 at 7:23 pm
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    Day 7 – Vincent Toole…
    Wow…this guy is truly living up to his name! He’s a complete tool!

    The arrogance and defensive tone of his voice in his answers is horrible! No mildness, no humility… He has obviously misread Colossians 4:6 “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt.”

    Another from the ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ club.

  • August 4, 2015 at 8:53 pm
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    This morning
    ….denied the existance of the Branch Handbook. Never seen one. Then when SC quoted from it the WT solicitor requested it be suppressed as confidential if produced. Then denied the concept of theocratic warfare, also never heard of it. This man is in contempt of every Witness who embraces the concept of truth.

    • August 5, 2015 at 12:31 am
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      @Garrett. Excellent comments & as good old Elisha said to his Attendant ‘ their are more with us than against us’ !! I am with you in all you say & there are millions of ex-JWs who have been disfellowshipped or Left over the last 20 years who agree with you!
      I say millions because on average 1% get disfellowshipped each year & that is 80,000 & times that by 20 years that is 1.6 million & that doesn’t include those who fade,Disassociate & those who are irregular ,etc

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