My interview with Jehovah's Witnesses

by Danni 60 Replies latest jw friends

  • Danni

    I know I said I wouldn't post here again because of the way I made everyone upset over AlanF,but I thought you all might want to know what took place and I do need some advice.

    Yesterday I took a little time out to talk with Jehovah's Witnesses. At first they were more than happy to answer my questions. However, when I began asking questions about child molestings going unreported, their attitudes completely changed. They became very nervous (oh by the way there were three of them) I noticed one would not look at me in my eyes, (this tends to happen when suspects are guilty of something or wanting to hide things,) The one they referred to as the "brother" began stuttering. He said, it was all lies that apostates put out to make the Jehovah's Witnesses look bad because they had been removed for wrong doings. I explained to him that these stories came from those looking for help for the sexual abuse they suffered. He exact words "those people are put up to talking this way because of being influenced by apostates their stories are untrue"

    I asked him how did he know the stories were untrue and did he investigate any of the allegations put foward..He told me he was sure the elders of those congregations (churches) have investigated the problems they were most likely proven as liars this is why they are now attacking the Jehovah's Witnesses.

    Okay I can see he's in some kind of denial so I didn't see any reason to any further. Instead I told him I would be speaking with members of his church. Right away he stands up and says "The members are not bond by law to answer your quetions without a lawer" My reply was " do you feel you need lawers?"
    I noticed the women became very quiet. Of course not, he said, we feel it's best you ask these questions to Elders because they are better qualified to answer your questions he told me. I asked him for the names of members of his church He said he didn't keep a list of names. I said, you do keep a list and pulled out information I collected off line about a card showing they keep records on every memeber. He was surprised. He again said, I should speak with the elders of the church..

    Today at work (which is where i better go before i get introuble) My cheif called me into his office asking me about an "investigation" being done by the police department. He apparently received a call from some lawers representing the Jws. I had to explain eveything from the beginning and I added I was doing this on my time off or my own time. He laughed at the thought of Jws being investigated for scandle. And added "make sure it's on your own time".

    Here's the advice I am asking for: I checked my voice mail I have been invited to a meeting at the church of Jehovah's Witnesses where they say they will answer all my questions but, they want a list up front of what questions I will ask. And a list of questions I will ask the members of the church. All of you know what to expect in cases like this. The question is: should i give the list or not. What would do with the list, give it to their lawers? What should i expect?

    Thanks again talk with you all in a minute. Going back to work..

  • AlanF

    I think you've seen for yourself the paranoia among JWs when you show that you know more about them than they think a newbie should. Your observations about the man being in denial, and about guilty people averting their eyes, are dead on.

    It sounds to me like the local JWs have already gotten in touch with the Watchtower Society's Legal Department. I'm quite surprised.

    I think you should refuse to give them a list of questions in advance. Let them be challenged by having to answer off the cuff. If they can't answer something, then they can go off and find answers. I'm saying this because if Watchtower Legal is working behind the scenes, this is a good way to keep them out of it and see whether local JWs have any idea of their organization's policies. Very often elders are abysmally ignorant of them.

    If you end up going to this meeting, do record it. Experience also shows that JWs will often deny saying something they later regret.


  • Yerusalyim


    Are you like a reporter or a cop or just doing this from personal interest? Would you be legally bound to sticking to those specific questions listed, or when you actually talked to the congregation members would you be free to change up the questions? Ever thought of just hanging out outside the KH and talking to JW's as they went in and out?
    Having read your post introducing yoursel I now know the answer.

    My first guess as to why he doesn't want you to show up there is that HE would be viewed as being spiritually weak by the Elders and the congregation by extension if he was seen as being Romatincally interested in not only a "worldy person" But a person who worked for "Satan's system" i.e. in Law enforcement. My advice RUN! You'd fair better marrying your partner than a JW. Being married to a Dub can be hell (that's experience speaking, and is free advice).

    "Vanity! It's my favorite sin!"
    [Al Pacino as Satan, in "DEVIL'S ADVOCATE"]

  • nelly136

    tell them youd be pleased to give them questions and by the
    same respect would they be willing for you to have an
    independant witness present seeings as they seem intent
    on turning a few questions into a 'legal' matter
    when straight answers would have sufficed, cover your own arse
    if youre going to do this

  • Will Power
    Will Power

    Funny how they "study" the bible for years & years, practice door to & door scenarios on a regular basis, then when encountered with a goat's tricky question or one that doesn't fall into a certain "category" with an already planned come back, they politely excuse themselves with "we'll get back to you, return with reinforcements (or at least a man if they are female) or direct you to an elder.
    I you decide on producing a list of questions two or more copies are good so that the publisher (love that word) can keep one for themselves in case they are "personally" curious.

  • Mum

    If they want your questions in writing, their answers should also be in writing.

    Having things in writing is sound. However, it is a courtesy that they do not offer their own if an individual JW finds himself before a judicial committee or disfellowshipped. NOTHING is in writing.

    Seize the day, and put the least possible trust in tomorrow. - Horace

    I have learned to live each day as it comes and not to borrow trouble by dreading tomorrow. - Dorothy Dix

  • YoYoMama
    If they want your questions in writing, their answers should also be in writing.

    Actually, this is the procedure that the Watchtower prefers.


    Don't feel bad about the conversation you had with the Witnesses. They were probably newbies or just not that experienced. Don't be afraid of an elder either, what can he do? I mean if something happens you can always dial 911, right?

    I agree that Witnesses can be a bit paranoid, but with so many weirdos out there, who isn't?

    I wish luck and hope you find answers to your questions.

  • detective

    It sounds to me as though they do not understand that you are asking questions due to personal interest. I think they have confused your personal interest with an official inquiry or investigation. You really should put an end to the misconception that they are somehow obligated legally to respond to you when you are not on official police business. I don't know if it is the fact that you are an authority figure that has them running to get legal input for a basic conversation or if they are just easily spooked but you need to make sure that they realize this is a personal interest. In other words, be careful to not accidently abuse your power by throwing it around when you are not on official business. Maybe you've got that hard-nosed cop thing down better than you think or they've read too many detective(!) novels or seen one too many Die Hard movies, but it sounds as if they aren't fully convinced that you're just an average joe asking the questions. As silly as this may seem, you need to repeat it until you're blue in the face because they don't seem to be getting it!

    I highly doubt that the legal department would be contacting me if I started asking a witness some questions about this issue. However, if I mention I work for the press or for the police or a lawyers office, I've immediately hit upon something that strikes fear in their hearts. It would be dishonest to use that fear factor to intimidate them (despite the fact they continuously exploit the fears of their adherents/converts). It seems most witnesses would just walk away from a conversation that they clearly couldn't win (maybe not online, but in person anyway!) Try to remember that the average witness isn't really encouraged to question authority.

    These people felt OBLIGATED to respond to you, hence their calling legal and your supervisor etc. By not making sure they understand this was personal interest, you inadvertantly contributed to their belief that you were asking in an authoritative manner, not a conversational manner. If you aren't cautious, this could look like an abuse of power. I'm not saying that's your intention, I'm just saying that this is how it could be interpreted.
    Additionally, you ran the risk of looking unprofessional in front of your boss and colleagues. It would probably be best if you diffused the situation by explaining you are simply an interested party and that they needn't go to so much trouble or something casually and non-interrogational sounding. Do something to de-escalate the situation, at least that's my thought on the matter.

  • Mum


    Please do be careful. If you put questions in writing, I can see them asking for sources of any information you provide about cases. Re-victimizing people who have already had their lives shattered by abuse / molestation is not what you want to achieve.

    Thanks for asking us about how to proceed. Be very careful. Anything you say can make them go hunt down victims and interrogate them and ruin their lives even more.

    Thanks for caring.

    Seize the day, and put the least possible trust in tomorrow. - Horace

    I have learned to live each day as it comes and not to borrow trouble by dreading tomorrow. - Dorothy Dix

  • GoldDustWoman

    I think Detective has some valid points regarding whether or not they interpeted your interview as "official".

    My questions to you, Danni, are this:

    Under what circumstances did your interview take place? Did you call the local KH? Did you lure them with the belief that you were considering studying with them?

    Mind you, I am just curious. However, I am not suprised by the behavior they exhibited and answers, or lack of, that they gave to you.


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