Former elder wants your advice--PART 4

by Confession 37 Replies latest jw friends

  • stillAwitness

    I have been engulfed in parts 1-4 for the past 30 mins. To think things like this happen-that something like this could of happend to me as a little girl? That it could even still happen now? The thought sickens me.

    Bless you for sharing your story. I think I'm now ready to tell my brother about my feelings toward the WT

  • jst2laws


    Well handled then, well written now.

    And I'm glad you got an answer to your question, even if you wished to let this thing go forever.

    You and I would have gotten along famously on an elder body, but that's probably why both of us left.


  • jst2laws

    Interesting synchronicity took place here at 23-Dec-05 12:52


  • tijkmo

    was just wondering what you decided to do...and what was the result.

  • Tatiana

    Thanks tijkmo, for bringing this thread back. I'd never read it. Fascinating and sad.

  • Confession

    Hi, Tijkmo, thanks for asking. I didn't do anything for a long time, but some months ago I decided to phone Love & Norris, the attorneys who spearheaded the recent lawsuit. Strange thing. Although I called them twice, no one ever returned my call. But your revival of this thread spurred me to call them again. So I just spoke Kimberlee Norris' assistant, who said she'd again relay the message.

    Kimberlee, are you out there? (I think she posts as StillConcerned, right?) If you could return my call at your convenience, that would be great. Your assistant has e-mailed you.

  • hillary_step


    I would not beat yourself up over this matter too heavily, as you did what you thought was right and it seems that the young men involved appreciated how you handled things at the time. I am sure that Kimberly will help when you both connect with advise as to where, if anywhere to go with this issue.

    That having been said, your tale should serve as a sobering object lesson to any "lurking" JW elders who are reading, and I personally know of at least six who do. Never allow the WTS in any way to bully you into handing to them one of the most important things we could possess, our individual consciences.

    As an elder, I handled six situations from the 70's to the 90's, five of them in Europe and one Stateside that involved the issue of child abuse. In each of these situations I felt opressive pressure from headquarters to bend my own feelings about the matter to suit their needs. A pressure that I always vigorously opposed. I was quite obvious to me that the pressure was applied under a political agenda and had nothing to do with concerns about the survivors or otherwise of child abuse. The prime directive was protection of the interests of the Organization.

    An example. In the 1970's as a very young elder I received a call from a young JW woman at 2.00am one morning. She telephoned to say "goodbye". She had taken tablets and was in the last stages of her life. I immediately hung up, called an ambulance and made my way to her home. I broke in and found her comotose. The ambulance shortly arrived and the paramedics managed to save her life.

    In the weeks following, an horrendous story began to emerge which she related to me with great pain. Since the age of twelve this beautiful child had been regularly sexually used by both her father and her brother, the brother eventually impregnating her. The father was serving as a Ministerial Servant. She had an abortion which played heavily on her conscience and eventually the horror of what she had been through proved to much to bear.

    I was furious and my first move was to go and see the father and son, who of course both denied any knowledge of the affair. I did not believe them and told them so, at which stage they threw me out of their home. I then followed WTS policy and contacted Bethel. I told them that as soon as I replaced the receiver I was going to involve the police, at which stage they instructed me that under no circumstances should I do this, but that I must hand the matter over to the PO, a company man who giggled like a schoolgirl at CO's jokes. Their stance was that I had no evidence of guilt, my stance was that it was not for me to decide this, and that this is what the authorities would acertain.

    I agree to leave the matter with Polyester Jim, the PO, but only after contacting the authorities. I was threatened, first with removal as an elder and then disfellowshipping. I remember saying to the contact in Bethel, "Go ahead, but do not expect me to remain quiet about this matter, because it is not going to disappear". I contacted the authorities immediately, but by the time they went around to question the offenders, they had fled the country. May they rot in Hell.

    I was not df'd, but I was "blackballed" by the heirachy for a long while, not that I cared in the slightest. The young lady recovered physically, though her life was in tatters and the congregation avoided her like an virulent disease, as if somehow, this was all her own fault. Even after I went overseas she would write to me each week, sad little hopeless letters. I gradually lost contact with her and I understand that she left the JW's in the late 80's.

    The point is, that the WTS only has the authority that its adherents grant to it. Challenge that authority and they only have one recourse disfellowshipping, which though painful cannot hurt more than compromising ones own principles and sense of honor.

    Think carefully before you as an elder exchange the cries for natural justice for what is a nakedly cynical political agenda, maintained by a club of male only members whose theological delusions have cost many lives and much happiness.


  • Trevanian

    Confession, well done on a very well written story, and tijkmo thank you for bringing it up again. I hadn't seen it before and found the story gripping.

    An elder in my last congregation before I left was a medical professional who I discovered recently had been having sex with his daughter for years. He was removed as an elder when this came to light, after his now-adult daughter expressed concerns about her father having her children to stay for the weekend. Dr Ex-Elder is now happily enjoying his retirement from medicine in a coastal congregation.

    I've thought about this dilemma from every possible angle, put myself in the shoes of each of the dozens of protagonists, from James and Jared and Chad to their families and the elders who were involved in the JC and possible previous and future victim of James.

    And what is clear to me is this:

    1. You, Confession, need some absolution.

    You need to say to someone (besides us) that you did the wrong thing by not reporting the abuse when these two boys were minors. I think the best people to speak to, to apologize to, are Jared and Chad themselves.

    They haven't been mentioned much in this discussion, besides being the victims of James, but I think it will do you much good to track them down and talk to them.

    2. James needs to be reported. You can't lay a charge against him without at least one now-adult victim's involvement or consent, but you certainly can file a complete and honest report of what you know, as you have done here.

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