I am new to this. Still "taking the lead" in my congregation with severe
To add to that, this publicity about the child abuse issue
(silentlambs) has me very disgusted with the society.
Let me share with you all a true, but anonymous, story:
Recently, we went to our district conv. and the guest speaker was GB
member Bro. Sam Heard. He was an excellent speaker, but in his keynote
final address, he made a joke about the silentlambs controversy and how
what they were doing was "the work of the devil". This comment really got
under my skin. Made me very mad, since I had done enough research by
this point, to know that this was not the truth...
At great personal risk, after the conv. meeting ended, I confronted him in
the corridor. He and his wife were coming out from backstage. I told him
he had given a good talk, but I needed to get clarification on one point...
I asked him whether or not the claims of child abuse among JWs that he
had mentioned a few moments ago in his talk were really true.
(It seemed like a good True/False touchstone question.)
I am pleased to say that he did not lie to me. He did not say that the claims were false, (as anyone could easily guess by the amount of people coming forward...) He said something about how "some of them had been greatly exaggerated, however". I pressed him further and expressed my concern that the "two witness rule" did not offer enough protection for our children... "that there would never be two witnesses to child abuse..." (at this point, his wife seems disgusted and walks off from us). Of course, he readily defended this rule, telling me that it was a Bible-based rule from the Hebrew Scriptures...
Since I had studied our own state law very recently, and was up-to-date on our statutes, I quickly told him quite firmly that in my state it is illegal (a misdemeanor) for many kinds of professionals to NOT report child abuse, and cited the statute number as I mentioned this... I described that this included doctors, attorneys, firemen, policemen, state employees, chiropractors, mental health workers, psychologists, child care workers, etc.... He, at this point, made some patronizing remark I cannot recall, like "that's good". I told him that the law does not specifically include clergy, but was it not true that many of the brothers served in these other capacities in the workplace? Shouldn't we then model the state law in my state and inform the brothers (who at present are, as best I can tell, ignorant of the state law on this topic)? I told him that there was even a toll free number for the brothers to use to reports such incidents, and they did not even have to get involved when it comes to child abuse situations- just let the police handle it, I suggested.
The conversation ended shortly after that, with me rambling on about being concerned about my own child and that we do not have enough protection for children. I wrapped up and departed quickly, as others were now beginning to hover around, and I did not want him to figure out exactly who I was... I think I disappeared quick enough that he did not get time to find out.
So far no serious repercussions yet... I probably went too far though, and took too much personal risk, but I had to get it off my chest.; I wish more would do the same ...