Jehovah’s Witness Branch Leader in U.S. Responds to Child Abuse Media Blitz
JW Help Editor Goes Undercover
It has come to the attention of the international community that Jehovah’s Witnesses are currently under investigation in Australia for their practice of interfering with and obstructing justice for victims of sexual abuse, a practice stemming back to at least 1950 according to court documents obtained by the Royal Commission.
The growing list of news articles concerning this investigation piqued my interest and made me wonder just how the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses and its numerous Branch Offices would respond to a sincere inquiry from an active Jehovah’s Witness who is troubled by all of the media attention. Specifically, I wanted to get into the mind of a prominent United States Branch Committee member and ask him pertinent questions from the perspective of a responsible Brother who has been inundated with media-related questions from fellow Witnesses.
I felt that the time was right to exercise my freedom of keyboard, and pose questions which would serve 3 purposes:
- To elicit a response to the allegations against the Watchtower’s ongoing controversial policies
- To make it clear that confidential materials previously only available to elders are currently in the public domain and are being downloaded and viewed by concerned individuals across the globe
- To eliminate any chance of senior Watchtower officials claiming ignorance of the widespread media coverage of the Royal’s Commission’s investigation
The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses needs to be aware that its horribly damaging policies are on prominent display for the world to view, and the information spreading across the media has not been generated by the apostate community but by duly appointed women and men of authority who have been tasked with exercising justice and protecting the rights of children within their jurisdiction.
I present to you my email to a United States Branch Committee member, followed by his response 30 minutes later.
I hope you and (WIFE, REDACTED) are doing well. Hopefully enduring the New York humidity this summer!
I wanted to bring to your attention a matter of concern for our Brothers which appears to be a valid and growing issue that we need to address.
Beginning Monday, we began to receive calls and emails from many Brothers expressing concern over the numerous news reports surfacing regarding allegations of the mishandling of child abuse reports in Australia. Many of our fellow elders are at a loss to explain these reports, as they are overwhelmed with the task of explaining to publishers why none of the 1006 cases of sexual abuse were reported to the authorities, stemming all the way back to 1950. Apparently the Australian authorities were able to subpoena these cases directly from the branch, and this has led to the investigation which is being broadcast live this week via the Royal Commission web site. (see below)
Additionally, they subpoenaed our private communications between branches, elders letters, and our Shepherd the Flock book, and have placed these items in the public domain for all to see beginning this week. These materials are apparently making their way to our Brothers in the US and other countries.
One well meaning Brother emailed me over 20 different news article links to major outlets in Australia, the UK, and the US. (please see these links below). There have been numerous video newscasts covering this subject, including reports from CNN and MSN.
Handling these reports is of great concern as they appear to be affecting our Brothers in the US branch.
I hope that you are able to review this information and provide some guidance in handling these reports. It seems no longer sufficient to advise our Brothers that Satan is blinding the minds of unbelievers. We are living in difficult times, and we require a more potent strategy to offset the claims being made. It would be easy to claim that Apostates are the cause of these rumours, but in view of the hard evidence presented, it seems that the voices crying out are those of the faithful, the young, and the abused, and not the Apostates.
Please be assured of my deep love and sincerity. Your Brother in Truth,
PERTH NOW: http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/jehovahs-witness-ministerial-servant-held-in-high-regard-by-congregation-while-assaulting-daughters/story-fnii5s3z-1227460189924?sv=cc77b6cba1cbffaaf58ff5049c28a849
ADELAIDE NOW: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/national/paedophiles-repeatedly-promoted-to-positions-of-authority-in-jehovahs-witness-church-royal-commission-told/story-fnii5s40-1227458483269?sv=c7f7e545211cab2ad3141ae5c7ebcc14
We are doing well. We leave for the Regional Convention in (CITY, STATE REDACTED) tomorrow. I have been to (CITY REDACTED) and (CITY, STATE REDACTED) already. The program is simply outstanding!
As for the concern of the brothers, that is not surprising. One of the things that we must keep in mind is that the news media, at times, presents things in a way that is flavored with remarks that are partially accurate. Now I did not see the program. However, for them to say that we did not report cases all the way back to 1950, leaves out that hardly anyone did. And if there have been a thousand cases worldwide in the last 60 plus years among Jehovah’s people, how many have other religions not reported in that same span of time. There may be many other statements made that are troubling. However, we are not ignorant of Satan’s designs. (2 Cor. 2:11) He also used negative “press” on our first century brothers. It really takes confidence in the organization to withstand such outlandish and inaccurate charges.
Years ago a member of the Governing Body said whenever we face adversity the best thing we can do is increase our field service. After all, that is what really angers our adversary. The July Broadcast on jw.tv provides what we need in order to deal with the slanderous charges made by some. The “Faithful Slave” will continue provide whatever we need to endure such attacks.
Have the brothers always handled matters the right way? No! That would be unrealistic. But to imply that Jehovah’s people intentionally cover up wrongdoing against the most vulnerable, our children, is totally off base. As we get deeper into the last days and experience the wrath of the Devil who is warring against the anointed, we are going to face more trials. We pray that the brothers gear up spiritually.
Bottom line—when the lion roars, don’t run.—1 Peter 5:8
(UNITED STATES BRANCH COMMITTEE MEMBER, REDACTED)
end of letters
The response to my letter is quite revealing, demonstrating that the delusions existing at the highest levels of Jehovah’s Witness hierarchy (the Governing Body) are equally present with senior Watchtower officials, all the way down to the rank and file “publishers” of this organization.
First, he admits that he has not seen the media coverage of this event. This is not surprising given his responsibilities within the JW organization and the fact that I presented this information to him on the 2nd day of the Royal Commission’s public investigation. That said, he quickly implies that if Jehovah’s Witnesses did not report cases of abuse to the authorities since 1950, neither did any other religious institutions. In reality, this statement is extremely self-incriminating, as it suggests that you can’t hold the one “true religion” responsible for their actions when all of the “false religions” were also guilty of the same infraction. To put it another way, it is akin to asking “why should we do the right thing when our enemies aren’t doing the right thing either?” If God were indeed backing the Jehovah’s Witnesses, would he not inspire their leaders to make correct and wise decisions which would protect and benefit our innocent children?
If you notice, his next sentence inaccurately states that there have been over a “thousand cases worldwide” when in fact, we know that the 1006 cases uncovered were from Australia alone. Again, his point was that you can’t hold Jehovah’s Witness elders responsible when the clergy of mainstream religions also have obscured justice for abuse victims. Sound logical? You decide.
Next he reveals that
“There may be many other statements made that are troubling.”
This might be the understatement of the year. It is also an admission that he recognizes that the claims and media coverage presented have validity and cannot be easily dismissed. These stories have merit and touch the hearts of everyone with a conscience. Naturally, he fails to explain which statements are troubling and why he personally feels that they are troubling.
Remember my comment: “It seems no longer sufficient to advise our Brothers that Satan is blinding the minds of unbelievers”? Well, it appears that this Branch Committee member gave this no attention; he TWICE mentions the “Devil” and “Satan” as the source of these evil reports which malign the practices of Jehovah’s Witness elders. What do you think? Would Satan attack an organization for improperly handling child abuse allegations? I find this hard to believe as Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that Satan is responsible for all of the sexual perversions present in today’s society. If Satan wants to inspire more devious sexual misconduct, he is hardly doing himself a favor by attacking the JW organization and attempting to protect the interests of children globally.
Also I find his reference to Satan’s negative “press” in the first century to be a misleading argument. What he is likely referring to is Matthew chapter 11 where Jesus laments the negative comments of “people” who apparently claimed that John the Baptist had a “demon” and that Jesus himself was “a glutton” and “given to drinking.”
“18 Likewise, John came neither eating nor drinking, but people say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of man did come eating and drinking, but people say, ‘Look! A man who is a glutton and is given to drinking wine, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ All the same, wisdom is proved righteous by its works”
It is hardly fair to compare idle slander about 2 historical religious icons to well documented judicial rulings which have been substantiated by dozens of reliable news sources. The fact is, there is no comparison. Secondly, accusing the media of slander and satanic influence amounts to the logical fallacy known as genetic. This fallacious argument leverages common preconceptions about the media, prejudicing the reader against the media without ever having examined any evidence whatsoever.
Next he makes the statement: “It really takes confidence in the organization to withstand such outlandish and inaccurate charges.”
How do you feel about this? Would it not be more appropriate to state that our confidence should be in God rather than the “organization”? It is potently clear that without this fabricated and financially dependent organization, Jehovah’s Witnesses would cease to exist; they would disperse into the world, some to find solace in a higher power, others to find comfort in fact and science, and a life well lived.
Following on the heels of recommending confidence in this organization, he next opts to quote, not Jesus Christ, the Apostles or any Biblical figure, but rather a modern day governing body member, whom he quotes as saying: “ the best thing we can do is increase our field service.”
So, let me get this straight – when facing adversity, instead of dealing with the issues at hand head-on (e.g. child abuse), we ought to direct our efforts into preaching the message of impending doom at Armageddon. Surely the lives saved by this proselytizing will offset the temporary pain and suffering of a few (thousand) child abuse victims, whose church elders seem to be more consumed in counting monthly “time slips” than in protecting their flock from predators.
Next, we have a sudden change in direction with the comment, “Have the brothers always handled matters the right way? No!” (Exclamation point not mine)
Is this an admission of guilt? If so, who are “the brothers”? Are they members of of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses? Branch Committee members? Apparently not, as there has been no admission of guilt by senior Watchtower officials. In fact, the Governing Body is willing to sacrifice millions of dollars by refusing to allow its most experienced member, Gerit Losch, to testify in the recent Jose Lopez sex abuse trial. The evidence points to individual elders of Jehovah’s Witnesses as the “fall guys” for the Watchtower corporation, with Watchtower distancing themselves as far as possible from the actions of the men who they personally have ordained and trained, sending them back to their congregations to collect monthly time slips and act as judges in matters often best left for the police.
Further damning of this organization is the statement that handling matters the right way is “unrealistic“. Is he serious? Is he telling me that after extensive study of the Bible, Jehovah’s Witness publications, attendance at Kingdom Service School for Elders, and coaching from fellow elders and circuit overseers, that consistent handling of matters the “right way” is unrealistic?? Perhaps after violating one too many traffic laws and killing or injuring a few pedestrians, I should inform the Judge that obeying all these traffic laws and ordinances all the time is simply “unrealistic“. Sigh.
This open declaration that handling all matters correctly is “unrealistic” places millions of Jehovah’s Witness children at risk. It is as if this Branch Committee member were a president or general, willing to accept a certain number of casualties. This is a horrific and deplorable comment, particularly since the proper reporting of child abuse allegations involves no violation of any Christian principles, and serves to protect the innocent and the vulnerable.
Finally, he states again that the media reports are “off base” and are the result of “The Devil.” Which Devil? The one that he claims is warring against the “anointed“, which by the way is an exclusive group of around 14,000 living Jehovah’s Witnesses going to heaven, several thousand of which have been declared as mentally unstable. (This is because Jehovah’s Witness leadership never expected this number of heaven-bound to suddenly begin to increase in number. Hence, the Governing Body believes mental illness to be the cause). So, the “Devil” hates the anointed, and he feeds false reports to all of the major news outlets across the planet in an effort to make people believe that Jehovah’s Witnesses fail to protect their children by notifying the authorities of sexual abuse. I suppose he fabricates those reports of Jehovah’s Witnesses who allegedly have withheld life saving blood transfusions to their children. Surely a Witness would never refuse a life saving blood transfusion, right?
The further I drift from the beating heart of the Jehovah’s Witness organization, the more I recognize the absurdity of religion and the hubris of ecclesiastical mandates which serve no purpose but to erect an antitypical Berlin Wall between its cloistered members and the real world of science, medicine, and democratic justice. As this Branch Committee member confirms, Jehovah’s Witnesses are told to “gear up” for trials and persecution, brought on by the invisible Satan and his legions of demons bent on attacking “anointed” Witnesses along with everyday street publishers of this corporation. They are told through scriptural interpretation to view Satan as a “roaring lion” who seeks to “devour” each and every member of the Jehovah’s Witness faith.
The last piece of advice I was given was “when the lion roars, don’t run”
It seems Jehovah’s Witness leadership is telling us to face the lion, to be strong, yet not provoke this lion into a chase which will terminate in our death. It’s hard to say, since interpreting loaded language filled with Biblical references is drifting further and further beyond my interest. That said, I will still offer my opinion . The lion is a beautiful and majestic animal. He only eats to survive, out of necessity Yet he is hunted by man, shot with bullets and arrows, and faces possible extinction. The Bible tells us that Samson tore a lion in two. (Judges 14:6) So, should we run from this lion or not? Is the lion a predator or a victim? The Watchtower article of May 15th 2015, titled “Be Watchful—Satan Wants to Devour You!” declares that Satan is indeed a roaring lion,a predator, and that we should actively oppose him, forcing him to flee from us.
I find it interesting that this very same Watchtower article boldly asks the question “Would Satan reason that taking the life of a baby was going too far?”
As the Watchtower article above states, disregarding the life of a baby (or any child) is a prominent characteristic of Satan the Devil. Yet when elected officials, judges, doctors and other respected individuals attempt to save the lives of innocent children, as well as to protect them from harmful and unscriptural religious edicts, the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses and its senior directors declare that Satan is behind these humanitarian efforts! The Watchtower says that “Satan has no noble code of ethics.” As we are learning from the Australian Royal Commission on Child Abuse and from every respectable media source, it is the Watchtower organization which is lacking a noble code of ethics.
As of the writing of this article, I have yet to offer a reply to this US Branch official’s email. The fact is, my original email has served its purpose. This branch member has daily access to the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and in this position is clearly obligated to inform them of the extensive media coverage surrounding the current investigation. To disregard this information or cover it up would be grossly negligent. Something else just occurred to me – he advised me to increase my “field service.” Yet he provided no real counter-punch should I knock on a door and encounter a person who has just read or viewed media coverage relating to the Jehovah’s Witness scandal. The more JWs reach out to the public, the more they will be presented with the facts. It is becoming increasingly difficult to dispute these facts, and one can only call media sources “biased” or “off base” so many times before it becomes apparent that these so called lies are in fact true.
I think I will take the advice of this Watchtower official, when he said “when the lion roars, don’t run“. It is time for all of us not to run, but to face our fears and stand up for justice, for protection of children, for education, and most importantly, for human life. All of us can make a difference in a non-confrontational and non-aggressive way. We need to educate Jehovah’s Witnesses and the entire community that the reporting of abuse to child protection services and law enforcement does not violate scriptural principles in any way, and in fact reinforces them. Witnesses know that according to Romans chapter 13, they are under obligation to obey the laws of the land in every respect, as these authorities are placed by God to maintain order and peace. Reporting cases of abuse not only does not violate God’s law, but in fact enforces it and helps keep that which is unclean and dangerous from penetrating the congregation and those associated with it.
Finally, there is the highest law of them all, the internal conscience of every human, the device which prods and motivates us to consider the evidence and decide whether the religious instructions we have been given are correct, or are in fact seriously flawed and are an inherent danger to our children. As seen in the case of the Australian Royal Commission Investigation, we do not want to be caught laying the blame for our criminal negligence at the feet of the Branch Committee or the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Why? Because these men have no authority over the laws of the land, or over our own moral compass. When the needle of that compass points in a different direction than that which we know to be true and right, we need to walk away, and follow true North.