While I feel for Woody, I also note that "reporting" would have helped whatever young boy[s] there were caught up in his backslide. That's what the reporting is about. It would be great if a boy or three came forward and blew the whistle on the local congregation's failure to follow the law.
Comment made on Freeminds.org: The sad consequence of the flawed "two witness" rule.
What is discouraging is wondering how many times this has been repeated over and over, maybe not in suicide by the perp but by the victims.
I know people who have been victimized twice over, first by the abuser and then by the 'well meaning elders' who silenced them or disfellowshiped them.
Whenever I think I might have thought harshly of the WT, I think of this policy, and the endless stream of victims.
Thanks, Barb and Joe.
Barbara- Thanks for posting this thread. What a tragic, awful story. But once again I ask myself : " What goes on in the minds of elders and even Woody himself to be under the influence of so much FEAR that it prevents them from going to proper authorities and professional counseling to not only get Woody help he needs- but more importantly protect children from further abuse " ? It is the fear instilled in elder, Woody, and children of the concept that exposing the WT society's flawed and lax child abuse policy's - would be the same as exposing that Jehovah is not handling this correctly.
Problem is that Jehovah's Witnesses are taught, trained, coerced and manipulated to believe that WT society = Jehovah. Thus speaking against or negatively about HOW the WT society handles things is paramount to speaking against Jehovah. Really sad how manipulated these people are
“There are over 120 comments in response to my "Discoveries of Barbara Anderson" article found on Freeminds.org, but this particular one posted yesterday really got to me.
Any Watch Tower apologists who might post a response here better choose their words carefully because anybody that tries to defend this insane "two witness" policy has to be insane too. Read on...”
For starters a horror story is told, so if you contest it, you're horrible. The two witnesses rule is a Biblical principle to protect people from slander that applies to adults.
As a Bible-based organization, we must adhere to what the Scriptures say, namely, “No single witness should rise up against a man respecting any error or any sin . . . At the mouth of two witnesses or at the mouth of three witnesses the matter should stand good.” (Deuteronomy 19:15) Jesus reaffirmed this principle as recorded at Matthew 18:15-17. However, if two persons are witnesses to separate incidents of the same kind of wrongdoing, their testimony may be deemed sufficient to take action.
However, even if the elders cannot take congregational action, they are expected to report the allegation to the branch office of Jehovah's Witnesses in their country, if local privacy laws permit. In addition to making a report to the branch office, the elders may be required by law to report even uncorroborated or unsubstantiated allegations to the authorities. If so, the elders receive proper legal direction to ensure that they comply with the law. Additionally, the victim or anyone else who has knowledge of the allegation may wish to report the matter to the authorities, and it is his or her absolute right to do so.
“I was a Witness for 25 years and one of my best friends was an elder in a neighboring congregation. I'll call him 'Woody'.”
No name, no congregation so the story can't be confirmed. Sounds very familiar.
"The majority thought as is the norm, that he was df'd for heterosexual fornication. And although I live in a clergy reporting state, the elders in his congo refused to report it to the authorities for fear of 'bringing reproach on Jehovah's name'.
“Sound familiar? After 'demonstrating works that befit repentance', in other words attending meetings regularly for nearly a year, Woody was reinstated and allowed to go out in service immediately, sometimes in the company of young boys. About six months later he went to Walmart and purchased a tarp and a shotgun. He called a mutual friend and asked him to come by his house while he was out in service because he had something in his garage that he wanted him to see. He then went out to his garage, wrapped himself up in the tarp with the shotgun and blew his head off. Our mutual friend found a suicide note confessing that Woody had backslid, abused again and feared that it would become public knowledge and he would be df'd again.”
For this person to be charged with a crime it would have required testimony from one of the victims for the person to be charged with sexual assault of a minor. Was there any? If the person refuses to tell the police or denies the crime after interrogation, he'll be released after questioning. The story teller doesn't know if the elders contacted the authorities or not.
Police investigate these types of things. If the mutual friend didn't give the suicide note to the police, he's guilty of obstructing justice. If the elders didn't contact the local authorities the first time he was disfellowshipped, the note would have informed the police of this, the police would have questioned the elders, and the elders would have been charged with a crime in a clergy reporting state.
What is your real name Alice and what congregation do you attend, please give us the address.
I know of a similar experience... almost too similar. As I read this experience I could tell what was coming next. I wonder if I knew 'Woody'...
If thiis is a seperate, but eerily similar experience, it doubly emphasizes the sad consequences of the "two witness" rule...