LAMBS!! While I read these stories I get deeply saddened, yet irritated too. I am appalled at all the abuse that has taken place and it breaks my heart. I am an active Jehovah's Witness in a very loving congregation. I love Jehovah so very much and I KNOW that He is also appalled by abuse, and also misuse of power. Anyone who truly knows their bible knows that about Him. I am saddened and angered when I see people leave Jehovah because of some stupid jerks in some congregations. I have personally known some myself. If you read the official statement about child abuse at the Watchtower's site, you will see that they in NO WAY condone "covering up" abuse. I truly believe that. But I do know that there are some elders and others in our Organization that have some serious issues, and they are causing a lot of reproach on Jehovah's organization. That really ticks me off.
BUT, I truly believe we need to put some of the blame on ourselves. I think many of these horrible incidents of abuse could have been possibly prevented, nipped in the bud, or resolved much better than they were if people used some common sense.
Let me tell you my abuse story as an example: I was raised as a witness, but as I reached my teen years, my father was slowly turning away from Jehovah and towards alcohol and lust. His drinking and verbal and physical abuse kept getting worse until my mother was laying on her bed one day wondering what to do and praying to Jehovah for guidance. I came in shortly later and confessed that dad had been fondling me whenever he was drunk, but I was too ashamed to say anything. She took that as Jehovah answering her prayer and made her decision. BUT...for good measure, she went to the elders for their opinion. Well, in that congregation, at the time, there was this one elder who had extreme "issues". He told her in so many words NOT to leave my dad. My mom said "Oh yeah, WATCH ME!!" She went home and kicked my dad out of the house. There was a huge fight and lots of screaming, but he did leave, and the ulcer I had eventually went away. My mom remained in good standing (and still is today). She knew this elder was wrong, and she knew what Jehovah wanted her to do. She could have listened to this elder and lived in misery and had her daughter's life ruined completely, or she could have let that elder stumble her so bad she left the truth. But she had common sense, relied on Jehovah, and overlooked that this elder was stupid and a jerk.
I KNOW that there are many worse stories than mine, and all circumstance are different. But it boggles me that so many people blame the elders, if something is "covered up", or if you get crappy advice from them.
--If something needs uncovered, UNCOVER IT!!!
--If they give you wrong advice, DON'T FOLLOW IT !!!!
If you have a close personal relationship with Jehovah God and have a very good knowledge of His word the Bible, you KNOW when an elder is giving bad advice, and feel confident in your own decisions. The elders are not the law givers, they are not gods, they are our shepherds. I have been given wrong counsel from elders (which I did NOT follow), I have been wrongly accused, I have even been unjustly yelled at by one. BUT... I don't serve these imperfect men, I serve Jehovah, who IS perfect, and I am content to wait on him to bring a perfectly 'just' world.
LISTEN--the elders are IMPERFECT MEN. They make mistakes and a few of them, I'm sorry to say, are jerks. They CAN NOT TELL YOU WHAT TO DO. You cannot get disfellowshipped for not following their advice. You can only get disfellowshipped if you have committed a grave sin and have no remorse over it. If you are wrongly D'F'ed, then you can appeal it to a neutral panel of elders from various congregations, and they get help from the society.
If it is a matter of CHILD ABUSE, whether physical or sexual, GO STRAIGHT TO THE POLICE. NO IF'S, AND'S OR BUT'S. Who cares if the abuser is an elder, P.O., C.O., or President of the Watchtower Society. I am telling you right now, if anyone so much as touched my kids, I would not rest until that person was in prison, no matter who they were, or what some elder told me to do. YOU DON'T NEED AN ELDERS PERMISSION TO GET THE POLICE INVOLVED OR TO LEAVE AN ABUSIVE SITUATION. If an abuser doesn't get disfellowshipped like you want, well, put him in jail if you can. I know even that isn't always possible, but if a matter does not get resolved the way you'd like, please just wait on Jehovah. Jehovah does not want people to be abused. Especially innocent children. Don't leave Jehovah because of some bad elders. Jehovah WILL take care of them in time. Elders have a much greater responsibility and therefore accountability before Jehovah, and He is angered and WILL take care of any injustice and abuse of power when the time is right.
I personally know of two separate incidents where Witness families had their children molested by some brother in their halls. I think both were Ministerial Servants. But these families did not pursue justice because they did not want to "rile things up" or "rock the boat". GIVE ME A BREAK. But it was no ones fault but THEIR OWN. No one encouraged them to do this. They put the feelings and well being of their children on the back burner, and they have to live with that.
If a child is being abused.....ROCK THE BOAT, PEOPLE!!! CAUSE A TYPHOON!!!! If you don't, you only have YOURSELF TO BLAME. But don't leave Jehovah over it. Jehovah loves you and is deeply saddened by your broken spirit. Please return to Him if you've left.
Fortunately, I have a pretty forgiving heart, and can overlook a lot in a brother and still love them. The one thing I never overlook is child molestation. I personally know a couple of brothers who did that in their past. But because of varying circumstances, (nothing to do with any elders) they "got away with it". Only Jehovah knows what is in their heart now, but I do not give them any of my love or kindness, and I don't feel one bit guilty over that. I know Jehovah loves me very much regardless.
Thank you for letting me get this off of my chest.