The following is a copy of a post I made this morning to the Scandals forum:
Many on this forum have been too quick to jump to conclusions, and the cause of this has been the tendency to accept as the gospel truth almost all allegations against the Watchtower. While I cannot say that I understand what's in the hearts and minds of all those who have been victimized by the organization, because I've experienced none of what they have, I think I understand in part their motivation. I support 100% the goals of all of those on this forum who wish to bring about major change in the Jehovah's Witnesses culture. However, I do not think it will be helpful in the long run for these well-meaning folks to make accusations which are not fully supportable.
As an objective observer, I've found that some of the claims of certain forum members have been widely accepted as truth, when in fact they were false. Saint Susan, for example, several weeks ago told me and this forum that it was true that the Watchtower representatives had signed a paper saying that they accepted the aims and goals of the United Nations. That is not true; he believed it was true because others also believed it, so evidently he believed it, too. Hawkaw insisted once that Paul Gillies had stated that the Watchtower had applied for affiliation because that was the only way to obtain a library card, but he had evidently misread or misunderstood the letter; we now all know that all Gillies said was that the only reason they affiliated was to obtain a card; there's a huge difference in meaning, as we all know. The former meaning makes Gillies a liar, while the latter--the correct one--does not. Not too long ago, Dino stirred up a lot of excitement with his claim that the Interfaith Center had received a request on letterhead stationary from the Watchtower asking that Jehovah's Witnesses be listed as one of the Center's interfaith organizations. I showed that this was completely false, but not until after a lot of trusting people's hopes had been raised. As a final example of the type of misinformation that has been spread (unintentionally, I believe, by sincere and well-intentioned people) is this current issue dealing with the librarian. In this or another thread, someone put up a letter from the Senior Reference Librarian which contained much the same language as is found in another letter from the Head Librarian, but which leaves out essential and exculpatory information. The former letter would lead one to believe that NGO affiliation is not taken into account in granting grounds passes, when quite the opposite is true, as is made clear in the Head Librarian's letter. Thus, several people immediately jumped on the former letter as damning evidence against the Watchtower; they want to believe the Watchtower lies, so they will seize upon anything, it seems, to satisfy this need.
Now, some on this forum have raised many issues related to the Watchtower-UN “scandal.” They all should be discussed, but only at the proper juncture. First things should come first. One of the first things to be discussed is whether the Watchtower’s explanation of why they affiliated is plausible. Other things should come later. If the Watchtower is shown not to have lied about this, then all of our attention can be turned to the next most important matter, which is, Did the Watchtower associate itself with the United Nations in a way that they would have never permitted the rank and file to do, or was the “relationship” much less than that?
For now, I think we need to focus our attention on facts of 1991: Did the rules for access change, or did they not change? I’ve written a letter to the library asking for clarification. If they respond, I will tell the forum what they’ve said. There are those who say it should not be up to the Watchtower’s accusers to find proof that the libraries rules did not change; they say that the Watchtower should prove that it is not guilty. But, that attitude is indefensible, I believe. In the United States--though perhaps not in Great Britain--one is assumed innocent until evidence is brought by the prosecutor which proves one guilty. Forum members have made an extraordinary claim about the Watchtower--that Gillies was lying about the rule change in 1991--so these members should come up with the extraordinary evidence that proves the Gillies was lying. Is not that the fair way to do things?
Joseph F. Alward
"Skeptical Views of Christianity and the Bible"