The Worldwide Problem of Child Abuse and
Read the story that started it all, "Moving Forward." Written by a faithful sister Mary Woodard in 1989 to address the horrifc problem of abuse in the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses. Mary traveled to the writing department and intervewed personally with the head of the department. The result of that interview was the 10/08/91 article in the Awake on abuse that helped so many to feel the organization was finally acknowledging there was a problem. To read this article [click here] you will not find any reference to this article from JW publications on their website or otherwise when dealing with abuse. The article defines repressed memories and shows how they are triggered by abuse. The Organizaiton of JW's have since backed away from this with the publishing of the 1995 Watchtower article on this topic. The Watchtower 1995, 11/1 pages 28-29 in the Article, "Comfort for Those With a Stricken Spiritï.", under the heading, "What Can Elders Do?" plainly states:
"If the accusation is denied, the elders should explain to the accuser that nothing more can be done in a judicial way. And the congregation will continue to view the one accused as an innocent person. The Bible says that there must be two or three witnesses before judicial action can be taken. (2Cor.13:1; 1 Tim. 5:19) Even if more than one person ï¿½remembersï¿½ abuse by the individual, the nature of these recalls is just too uncertain to base judicial decisions on them without other supporting evidence. This does not mean that such 'memories' are viewed as false (or that they are viewed as true). But Bible principles must be followed in establishing a matter judicially."
Certain men with conscience wrote the article of 1991 in the Awake magazine. They were subsequently silenced as were thousands of victims of Watchtower policy on child abuse. Read the article "Moving Forward" written by a sister trying to help others understand and move on with their lives. [click here]
Is it Really a Pedophile Paradise?
Do Jehovah's Witnesses approve, condone, and encourage accused, confessed, and convicted child molesters to call door to door on unknowing potential victims in the witnessing work?
Do Judicial Committees require two witnesses to the event of molestation before taking any disciplinary measures?
Do elders allow sex offenders complete anonymity when they are discovered?
Do they threaten parents of molested children with disfellowshipment if they try to warn other members whose children may be in danger?
Does the Service Department remove elders who warn parents of a pedophile member even though the elder is simply attempting to protect the children of the congregation?
Does your Kingdom Hall provide significant training on how to direct a molested child to get the help they so desperately need?
Does the Watchtower Organization advise you that the best way to help a "troubled" person is to instruct them to endure and wait for God's Kingdom to solve their problems?
What is the TRUTH and what is the MYTH?
Myth 1: Jehovah's Witnesses protect children within their organization against confessed or convicted child molesters.
The Truth is;
A confessed or convicted pedophile is allowed anonymity within the Watchtower Organization. When a confessed or convicted pedophile moves from one congregation to another, elders are supposed to send a letter to that person to the new congregation. However, only the elders in the congregation are privy to this information. No one within the congregation would be informed of the pedophile's presence. Even the wives of the elders are not to be given this information. This can be a real danger for children, putting them into contact with a confessed or convicted pedophile.
There have been occasions when elders purposely withheld their children from being around "known" pedophiles while other unknowing ï¿½publishersï¿½ (members of the congregation) in the same congregation have had their children molested because of not being informed of the pedophiles past.
Myth 2: Jehovah's Witnesses take precautions to protect children within their organization against accused child molesters.
The Truth is;
Sex offenders are given complete anonymity when they are discovered. An accused pedophile is viewed as an innocent man, and elders and members of a congregation others are disallowed from warning people of the accusations against the molester. An accused pedophile is allowed to freely move from one Jehovah's Witness congregation to another, without a letter to follow. An accused pedophile can serve as an elder or have any privilege in a congregation even if convicted by a court of law. In fact, this protection for an accused pedophile extends to this policy: if any Jehovah's Witness disagrees with this policy, then that person can be deemed "causing divisions" and is subject to disciplinary action by the organization.
Myth 3: Jehovah's Witnesses take disciplinary measures against a child molester.
The Truth is;
Jehovah's Witness Judicial Com mittees require two witnesses to the event of molestation before taking any disciplinary measures, making it extremely difficult for a victim to obtain disciplinary measures within the organization against a child molester. If a person is accused of being a pedophile, and that person denies the charge, he is considered innocent until proven guilty. This works to the pedophile's advantage since the requirement for two witnesses means to the same event, not two separate occasions.
Public relations representatives for the Watchtower Organization have stated to media they will now take witnesses to separate incidents and take action in congregations. This became a policy instituted when silentlambs.org pressed the issue on child abuse. What's the result of this new policy? Often numerous children will be molested before a "second witness" to "separate incident" might come forward. Numerous reports from abuse survivors in the organization indicate the "separate second eye witness" was seldom if ever honored in the event they came forward.
The Watchtower Organization says it will accept corroborating evidence of child molestation such as pictures, video, pregnancy, or DNA evidence. However, such evidence is seldom available in a case of child molestation.
Myth 4: Jehovah's Witnesses take steps to protect children in the public from accused, confessed and convicted child molesters.
The Truth is;
Jehovah's Witnesses approve, condone, and encourage accused, confessed, and convicted child molesters to call door to door on unknowing potential victims in the 'witnessing' work. The Watchtower Organization requires all members of its organization to participate in 'witness' work, going door to door in the public to spread the word about the bible. The Watchtower Organization does not prohibit a confessed or convicted child molester from contact with children in going door to door to 'witness' (preach about the bible).
The primary purpose of 'witnessing' when Jehovah's Witnesses go door to door in the public is to start home bible studies. If an accused or convicted pedophile starts a study with a family who has children, no directive is offered on protocol of how this is to be handled. No policy exists within the Watchtower Organization that prevents a Jehovah's Witness child molester from studying the bible with families (even those with children) outside of a Jehovah's Witness congregation. There have been occasions where a molester started a bible study with people that have shown interest in religion and then molested their children.
Myth 6: Jehovah's Witnesses protect and support parents of molested children.
The Truth is;
Jehovah's Witnesses threaten parents of molested children with disfellowshipment if they try to warn other members whose children may be in danger. The parents of a victim are required to follow the direction of the elders and trust their judgment of the matter. The "reproach" of the congregation is turned into "reproach" on God and provides the basis to keep parents from going to the outside for assistance. In the event a parent chooses to go to police, they are often advised to not disclose what religion they are so as to not bring "reproach" on God's name. This can cause difficulty for police investigations by not having complete information the elders have advised them to withhold. The congregation will be advised the alleged molester is innocent by their investigation and members will impede a police investigation to protect a person the elders have deemed innocent.
Myth 7: Jehovah's Witnesses elders warn families in their congregations about convicted, confessed or accused pedophiles in their congregations.
The Truth is;
Jehovah's Witness Service Department punish elders in its congregation if they warn parents of pedophiles in their congregation. Elders who warn parents of a pedophile congregation member, even if the elder is simply attempting to protect the children of the congregation, may be removed as elders in their congregation. Elders are instructed to maintain absolute confidentiality with any judicial matter.
Infractions that violate biblical law are recorded within the confidential file for that congregation. In the event a person is 'disfellowshipped', a complete report is sent to home office where a second record of the infraction is maintained. If a person commits a crime, records are placed within the local congregation file and then a full report is to be maintained indefinitely at the Watchtower Organization Legal Dept. The congregation confidential files and the files of Watchtower Organization Legal Department contain thousands of crimes that have never been reported to police and never will be because "ecclesial privilege" will be used as a basis to hide criminals from justice. These "files" allow thousands of child molesters to escape prosecution. Elders are forbidden to tell anyone of a confessed pedophile who attends the local congregation.
Myth 8: Jehovah's Witnesses support the victims of pedophiles and help them seek treatment and protection under the law.
The Truth is;
The Watchtower Organization is a closed society that encourages incidents of child molestation be handled within the organization. Only at the advice of Watchtower Legal will elders even suggest to parents a child molester be reported to the police. Typically edlers are advised to remain neutral when it comes to the reporting of chidl abuse. At the congregation level the only action that can be taken with a confessed child molester is a "local needs" part that would state to watch your children, but nothing would be directly stated that a pedophile was actually in the congregation. Another action could be for the elders to have a meeting with the pedophile and tell him/her they would monitor their conduct around children. He/she cannot have children at their home for sleepovers nor hold them in their lap or work alone with children in the field ministry. The elders generally have contact at meetings and in the field ministry. The rest of the time the pedophile has the freedom to monitor his/her self.
The Watchtower Organization is a closed society that thinks everyone outside the organization is a part of Satan's world. Satan's world will be destroyed when the day of judgment comes and this includes everyone who does not become a Jehovah's Witness. The basis for this teaching is found in scriptures like 1 John 5:19 that states, "The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one." This reinforces the Jehovah's Witness mentality that anytime you go outside the organization, the help you obtain is being guided ultimately by Satan and you should be distrustful of what they offer in any way.
One letter to Body Of Elders dated 1992 states that therapy could be sought for molestation victims if it was "in harmony with bible principles." This implies victims would need to approach a therapist and demand that any guidance given must be offered in complete harmony with the way Jehovah's Witnesses believe the bible.
Elders have absolutely no training on guidance, therapy or counseling when it comes to child molestation issues. The 1994 Elders School specifically advised against getting training on counseling or therapy for mental health issues stating, "we are spiritual shepherds only." The admonition was to listen, read a scripture, and say a prayer and that should be sufficient. The attitude was, some things will not be solved till the "new order" and persons with difficulty should learn to endure. The way troubled victims were advised to cope was to read the bible, pray, be regular at church meetings and participate more in the field ministry.