Child Abuse At The Meetings

by Hairyhegoat 50 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • Hairyhegoat

    Please read and I will tell you now this was it was like for me !

    Kingdom Halls are a hellish memory for me. I grew up as a Jehovah's Witness from the age of 9 until I fought my way to freedom at age 18. I recall children as young as a year old being beaten repeatedly for not sitting still during services...some sessions, called assemblies, were 6 hours long and lasted for 3-5 days in succession.

    My nephew was one of many who felt the literal sting of the Watchtower's stance of "spare the rod, spoil the child." I still remember the sick, accepting smiles on the faces of other Jehovah's Witnesses when my nephew(s) were being dragged off to the bathroom by their father Here's an excerpt from my book, OUT OF THE COCOON:

    "When I was twelve years old, my nineteen-year-old sister married a Jehovah’s Witness, and one year later she delivered a beautiful baby boy. Sadly, Jon would come to know at a tender age of one the frustration I experienced sitting on that anthill during those long sermons in the Kingdom Hall. Since there wasn’t a Sunday school atmosphere at these meetings; young children weren’t allowed to amuse themselves with toys or coloring books. When Jon started fidgeting, I did everything in my power to try to keep him still...When I ran out of tricks and could no longer contain his energy, his father grabbed him by the arm and literally dragged him to the restroom to beat him. Jon’s beating became such a ritual that when his daddy reached for him during a meeting, he knew it meant a beating. He cried and pleaded “No, Daddy” as he buckled his legs, refusing to walk willingly to meet his fate. Everyone in the Kingdom Hall could hear his screams. The sound that echoed from the blow varied; sometimes Jon’s father used his hand, sometimes a belt. After ten or fifteen minutes, they would return with Jon hyperventilating, desperately trying to catch his breath. Beaten into composure, he would sit still for a while longer. Usually he stared motionless into space, his eyes bloodshot from crying. If fate smiled on him, Jon fell asleep in my arms for the duration of the meeting. If not, then back again to the restroom he would go for another beating and the cycle continued, until the closing prayer. It broke my heart. I wanted desperately to stop the abuse, but I was a child myself and didn’t know what to do to save him, or me. One heart-wrenching day in particular is forever seared into my memory. My sister confided in my mother, father, and me that Jon, then two years old, had asked his father to hit him on his hands with the belt instead of his buttocks. When asked why he wanted to be punished that way, he replied, “Because my butt is too sore.” It sickened all of us. But none of the adults—my sister, my mother nor my father—did anything about it... Within a year, my sister had another child and his fate, sadly, was no different than Jon’s. Meanwhile, my sister’s husband was rewarded for his devotion to the faith. He was made an Elder."

    Lest you think that this was an isolated incident, it was not. I witnessed dozens of children being slapped, bullied, beaten and pinched for displaying age-appropriate, normal restlessness. Since my departure I've heard from thousands of adults who were abused emotionally, physically or sexually as Jehovah's Witness children. Now I provide a newsletter through my website to help survivors heal.

    Is this 'religion' loving? Is it humane? Is it Christian? Would I ever become a Jehovah's Witness clone again and raise my child in this environment? Hell no!
    Brenda Lee, "Out of the Cocoon: A Young Woman's Courageous Flight from the Grip of a Religious Cult"

  • Snoozy

    I saw a baby that was 6 months old being taken to the back...his dad was a servant!

    Instinct told us something was wrong but we were so obedient to the advice to not "use the rod".

    Sadly I now have a few JW's on my facebook and I noticed one of them has as her likes: "If we love our children we will discipline them." Gave me the shivers when I read that...

    Snoozy the pincher....:(

  • Snoozy

    Your link " goes to a site about holistic healing? Is that right or am I doing the address wrong?

    Just didn't seem right..


    Edited to add..I see my error. I put .com instead of .net...

  • Hairyhegoat

    Not my intension to include that sorry I must be tired now ! Off to bed in a bit.


  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    I had a sister tell me to spank my 2 week old baby because she was crying in the basement washroom at the KH!

    I was a young and inexperienced mother but I wasn't dumb. Even I knew that was stupid and wrong

  • DanaBug

    As the mother of a 3 yr old, I have no idea what other way there is to make a child sit quietly through a 2 hour meeting. There's no WAY my daughter could do that or that I would even expect her to. There's no way I could beat her to do it either.

    I only vaguely remember most of this. I remember my father telling a story about how he had me in the bathroom because I was acting up, and I climbed up, grabbed the sides of his face and put my face in his face. I guess this was before I could speak (and I was an early talker too!). But anyway, it gave him the idea that I was telling him off or something so he bent me over his knee and continued the "discipline". Another story I remember is my grandmother trying to stop my father from taking one of us to the bathroom during a meeting. He told her he would discipline his children his way as head of the family (or something similar) and she best get back to her seat or she could take it up with the elders. My dad also had a metal pipe, prob 3" in diameter, that he would joke was his "rod", in reference to spare the rod, spoil the child. I remember him doing that at book studies in our house. He never used it on us though. We usually got a belt or spatula at home, and a hand at the hall. But these are stories or jokes he would voluntarily tell in front of other JW's.

    And as I remember, we got spankings after almost every meeting until I was about 9. My dad was an elder and almost always had a part, there were four of us and my mom. How do you think that scenario always played out?

    I know I didn't have it nearly as bad as others and I don't think this kind of "discipline" is unique to JW's, but other churches have Sunday schools and such for children. They understand that it's unreasonable to expect an infant or toddler, or even just a child, to sit through boring talks for hours. It just baffles me! Why haven't they done something for the children? Why??

  • man in black
    man in black

    I remember an awake article regarding discipline for children back in the 80's I believe.

    The article went on to talk about a young girl going to the back of the hall and as she was walking down the aisle she cried out

    "oh save me jehovah", and everybody chuckled. The story went on to relate how wonderful it was that this child knew enough to call on jehovah

    for help..

    Now that I think about that story how strange it was that they used discipline on a child as a positive way to illustrate calling on god for help.

    When my oldest son was young I always would take him to the back if he acted up, several times he got a slap, but I learned very quickly that

    he needed to walk around. So I would take him to the basement and let him explore. The elders did not like it, but I slowly began to learn that the kid's mental condition was more important than sitting still for two hours.

  • Doubtfully Yours
    Doubtfully Yours

    Listen all, can you all come down and face the reality of things?!

    A good swat in the butt for misbehaving is NOT child abuse; such form of discipline never killed anyone. It teaches respect, discipline and self-control.

    And if the parents are smart about it, they don't even need to give said swat in the tush, they figure out a way to keep the child paying attention some other way. There's this examplary family in the KH that plays games with the kids by asking them to count the # of times certain word is said during the parts given from the platform and by preparing comments for them to offer during certain sessions.

    Now compare to the children that are left to do whatever they want in the name of being 'children'; it's atrocious how many religions have to hold separate gatherings for the children, just because the parents won't be bothered to teach them to sit still and pay attention. And to see how those same undiscipline children behave towards their parents and authority in general while in public is horrendous!

    Children sure pay attention for hours to cartoons or Disney movies; they can sure stand to behave properly at our meetings.

    Stop the silly drama already!


  • DanaBug


    There's a world of difference between an animated cartoon and listening to an adult speak in a monotone about things you're not concerned about in the least.

    and yes, if the parents are smart about it, they'll find better ways. But apparently our experiences were not unique. So where did all of our parents get this idea from? And again why is there nothing like a Sunday school for children? Something that will engage them and keep their attention. Go sit in on a kindergarten class. Is that anything like a hall meeting?? Why is that?

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    Look when you have a bunch of old men who grew up in a time of "children should be seen and not heard" and the belief that chiuldren are miniature adults who are filled with Satanic impulses that need to be beaten out of them then it stands to reason they would not provide things like Sunday School for the kids.

    I used to let me kids bring quiet toys, a book and a blanket so they could lie down on the floor and sleep. And yes my husband was an elder and I did it anyways.

    He, on the other hand, would force them to sit on the chair. When I would put them to bed after a meeting I would find all these tiny pinch marks on their sides where he would pinch to the point of drawing blood.

    We had many fights over this but it didn't stop him.

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