AUSTRALIA | TRANSCRIPT of Child Abuse Inquiry into Jehovah's Witnesses and Watchtower Society - April 2013

by jwleaks 54 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • JWB

    "Mr T. O’BRIEN — People are free to be Jehovah’s Witnesses, or if at any time they wish to discontinue for whatever reason, that is a personal choice. If the person simply decides to become inactive and no longer associate with Jehovah’s Witnesses, then they are just viewed as they were before they became one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. But if somebody is, what we refer to as being disfellowshipped, or if they disassociate themselves because of whatever reason — their activity, their disagreement with scripture or whatever the case — that puts them in a situation that the scripture has outlined where we would disassociate with them and they would come into the category of what we refer to as ‘disfellowshipped’ or ‘disassociated’. But they are free to believe whatever they like. If they want to challenge the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses, there are plenty who do. You only have to browse the internet to see that. People are free to express themselves against any religion or any organisation."

    So, it looks like 'fading' is probably the best way to go. At least you will viewed only as a person of 'the world'. I assume that the shunning doctrine will not apply if you fall into this category - just make sure you don't bother them and they won't bother you!


    I noticed something interesting. Let's see if the WTBTS lawyers obfuscate this subject as well...

    Mr T. O'BRIEN - I guess it is very much like Parliament in Victoria. Over the years morals have degenerated in the world. Remember that the majority of Jehovah's Witnesses did not grow up as Jehovah'sWitnesses. Many people who become Jehovah's Witnesses may bring with them a past background of an immoral lifestyle, so all of that we presume is corrected then. We educate people to make sure that they have left that behind. There is no place amongst Jehovah's Witnesses for that, whether they are a member or a minister.

    Who is a minister? That is important, especially if the Lawyers are making a case that a child molester serving as a " minister " has been removed and therefore children are protected, right??? What else does Mr T. O'BRIEN say..

    Mr T. O'BRIEN - The purpose in retaining the records is, one, to make sure if a person has been disfellowshipped or disciplined in the past for child sexual abuse, then it would be extremely unlikely they would qualify to be used as a minister in the organisation ....

    ...we would never discourage anyone from reporting it to police, but without mandatory reporting we do not feel that as ministers of religion that is our obligation to do that. ...

    ...Mr T. O'BRIEN - With regard to Victoria, I made an inquiry just before I left, because I anticipated the question. I asked to search our records over the last 40 years since we have had elders as an arrangement, and there have been two cases - two ministers who were reported and investigated. They were immediatelyremoved as ministers, and both were disfellowshipped and they are no longer Jehovah's Witnesses .

    So who is Mr T. O'BRIEN identifying as ministers so far? Elders or ministerial servants. I doubt his story about only two ministers is accurate, but by cleverly using the term " minister " to only refer to Elders and ministerial servants, he has reduced the number of offenders for the last 40 years. Is this an oversight by Mr T. O'BRIEN?

    The CHAIR - And from those records you have highlighted only two cases in Victoria?

    Mr T. O'BRIEN - Two in the last 40 years, yes, who were ministers.

    Mr T. O'BRIEN - That was particularly sexual abuse. I cannot speak without looking at the records, but Idoubt there would be elders or ministers who were judicially dealt with for another form of abuse of a minor.

    What does the WTBTS say about who is a minister?

    The Knowledge book:

    Chapter 18 Make It Your Aim to Serve God Forever


    17) It is important to remember that baptism is not the end of your spiritual progress. It marks the beginning of lifelong service to God as an ordained minister and one of Jehovah's Witnesses.

    WT 3/15/2010 Rely on God's Spirit:

    14) As an ordained minister, you have a ministry to perform. (Rom. 10:14)

    WT 4/1/2006 Identified as One of Jehovah's Witnesses

    11) The second question asks the candidate, first of all, if he understands that his baptism serves to identify him as one of Jehovah's Witnesses. After undergoing immersion, he becomes an ordained minister who bears Jehovah's name.

    WT 7/1/2004 Questions from Readers

    ..... Thereafter, he offers himself for baptism and becomes an ordained minister...

    WT 11/15/2000 Who are God's ministers today?

    ...Timothy was taught God's Word from infancy. He became an ordained minister when he was baptized..

    WT 4/15/1970 Question from readers:

    Is it true that all of Jehovah's witnesses are really ministers? Have they had schooling for the ministry?

    Yes, in the true Bible sense of the word all of Jehovah's witnesses are ministers. A minister of God is a public servant of God, one who follows in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. (1 Pet. 2:21) Every true Christian who is dedicated to God and baptized in symbol of that dedication renders such ministerial service as a regular part of his worship and is therefore an ordained minister.-Isa. 61:1, 2; Matt. 24:14; 2 Cor. 3:5.

    I am just citing all this for anyone who is interested. Plus it's good to know what the current light is on ordained ministers. I would bet my life that these weasels will try to confuse the issue about who is considered a minister among JW's. I think they are already doing it in these hearings! As a JW field service is considered a voluntary minisrty. They are using that term more and more. You can check out a territory for your " personal ministry " as well. The line between who is and who is not an ordained minister is being blurred. Remember Jonothan Holt?

    WTBTS statement:

    " We were completely shocked to find out that Jonathan Holt, an irregular attendee of our meetings, was arrested and would be in any way tied to this case as a suspect." Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't he baptized? If so, he was an ordained minister. This is the scriptural understanding after all. Or is it?

  • EdenOne

    D-D said:

    "by cleverly using the term " minister " to only refer to Elders and ministerial servants, he has reduced the number of offenders for the last 40 years."

    Spot on! I didn't have time to comment before, but as I was reading through the whole document, I have found the WT's representative answers to be reasonable but that was clearly a MANIPULATION of words and obviously the person conducting the inquiry should have gone deeper into that alley of interogation.

    His use of the term "minister", and how he makes a distinction between "minister" and "member" it's a departure from the official teaching of the Watchtower Society, according to which ALL baptised Jehovah's Witnesses are ORDAINED MINISTERS. By equivaling "minister" to "church official" he effectively reduced the number of cases to two - meaning, the cases of child abuse envolving Elders or Ministerial Servants.

    It's not an oversight. It's an obvious and willing misrepresentation of the facts.




    I am glad you caught that! Great minds eh??!! In your case anyway. I have my moments of what I imagine to be clarity.

    I really expect more diversion on this subject by the legal team. In fact the ground work is set for more nu-light, in my opinion. Here is why.

    If we go through the entire WT CD-library and search " ordained ministers " we get 103 hits. The majority are found in the Watchtower and support the " scriptural " view that a Christian becomes an ordained minister at baptism. There is an exception. A bizarre exception. There is one Watchtower article from 1975, and a KM article from 1976. The KM is a review of the WT article. Here we go..

    WT 12/1/1975 What Does It Mean to Be a "Minister"?

    After a extremely annoying and circuitous explanation ( read it if you want ), the answer is given. Minister=Servant. Ok, that was easy, right? Wrong!!!!

    " 10) What does it mean for us if we are sincere students of God's Word? It means that whenever we read the term "minister" in a translation of the Bible we need to adjust our thinking and recall the original meaning of that term, otherwise we will fail to get the point of Jesus' counsel and of the inspired expressions of his apostles and disciples. Rather than our getting the mental picture of a person in fine or formal dress, having unusual speaking ability and administrative ability, we would get a more fitting mental picture of a di·a′ko·nos or minister (in the original Latin sense of the term) as being that of an unpretentious servant of God walking down a dusty road in the heat of the sun, or perhaps of someone wearing an apron as he served others at a table.-Compare 2 Corinthians 10:10; 1 Corinthians 2:1-5; Luke 17:8."

    Ok......???? That sounds alright. So all baptized Christians are ordained ministers, right?

    " 18 All those becoming genuine disciples of Christ Jesus become "servants" of God. According to the old meaning of the Latin word, they could all be called "ministers," for the Latin word originally meant the same thing: "servants." As we have seen, however, the Bible does show that some are "servants" in an appointive sense, having a congregational 'appointment' to serve in a particular assignment of service, as in the instance of elders or assistant servants.-Titus 1:5; 1 Tim. 3:1-13."


    It's about to get weird....

    " 22 What do we see then? That, though Jesus had many disciples, he selected twelve, 'choosing' and 'appointing' them, as apostles. (Mark 3:14, 15; Luke 6:12, 13; John 15:16) We see that Paul and Barnabas were specially "appointed" from among the disciples in Antioch to carry the good news to the nations. (Acts 13:47) Also, that Paul told the Ephesian elders that they were "appointed" by holy spirit to serve the rest of the congregation. (Acts 20:17, 28) In all these cases such appointment came, not at the time of their baptism, but subsequent thereto. So today there are, in the congregations of God's people, men (usually baptized for some time) who are appointed to serve the congregation in certain assigned capacities. Those who have received such congregational appointments to particular services may be said to be "ordained," in the sense in which the word is used today.

    23 In view of all of this, what should one do if, as at times occurs, a governmental agency inquires into the profession or position of citizens? By them, the expression "ordained minister" is understood to mean one who is an appointed caretaker and server of spiritual things to a congregation, one who acts as a "pastor" or shepherd of a congregation. Dictionaries, for example, give the generally understood ecclesiastical definition of a "minister" as "one authorized to conduct religious services." By the term "minister" such governmental agencies do not describe or mean the service that every individual Christian may perform in his or her personal efforts to share the good news with others. In answering the inquiries, then, one would reasonably reply in harmony with what the official inquirers are seeking to know, rather than imposing one's own definition on such terms.

    This next paragraph is straight up Kray-Kray...

    24 People would not expect, for example, a house-to-house publisher to say that the "congregation" that he serves consists of the families in a territory where witnessing is done, inasmuch as the people living in that area may not themselves recognize or accept the one doing the witnessing as their "minister," and may, in fact, belong to a religion of their own. Similarly, would they properly understand the reply if we refer to the doorstep of the people there as the "pulpit" of the bearer of the good news, even if he gives what he calls a 3-minute or a 5-minute "sermon"? Such "pulpit" is generally understood to be the speaker's stand in the building to which the public in general are invited to come. ( WTH!!!! )

    25 Of course, if one actually has been appointed by the duly authorized men to a particular position of service, he can so reply and can give, as the time of his "ordination," the date-not of his baptism-but of the time when the Christian appointive body, in effect, 'laid hands upon him' by giving him such appointment.

    26 In the early Christian congregation all baptized believers were "anointed" with holy spirit, having a heavenly calling. Yet not all were apostles, prophets, teachers, elders or ministerial servants. So not all received an official appointment to some particular service after their baptism. Yet all served together, even as a body has many members that all cooperate together and have "the same care for one another," as the apostle points out at 1 Corinthians 12:12-30.

    UNBELIEVABLE.. Now the condensed KM reminder from an unlikely question.

    Question Box?

    Who is authorized to perform marriages or to officiate at funerals?

    The December 1, 1975, Watchtower explained that in our congregations only elders and ministerial servants fit the term "ordained ministers" as generally used and understood. If the law of a state, city or community provides that marriage ceremonies may be solemnized only by ministers (whether "licensed," "registered" or "ordained"), then only brothers who, according to the Scriptures, are "ordained" (appointed) to serve in the congregation (elders or ministerial servants) would properly perform such marriages in the future. (There is no need to be concerned about who performed marriages in the past.)

    It is necessary to check locally to find out what the legal requirements are and then to comply with them. Please do not write the Society for such information, for we do not have available the various state laws on marriage requirements.

    If a couple in the congregation desire to have the marriage talk given by a brother in good standing (not serving as an elder or ministerial servant), arrangements could probably be worked out for such brother to give the marriage talk, after which one of the congregation's qualified elders or ministerial servants who meets the legal requirement to perform a marriage could administer the marriage vows. It is the administering of the vows that is customarily recognized as solemnizing the marriage.

    Arrangements for the use of a Kingdom Hall for marriages should be approved by the service committee of the congregation. (See June 1975 Kingdom Ministry "Question Box.")

    Giving a funeral talk is quite a different matter from officiating at a marriage. There is no law in the United States that determines who will give a talk at a funeral. In general the family of the deceased would choose a brother in good standing to give the funeral talk. It is their personal choice and arrangement. The one selected would not have to be one who is viewed as an "ordained minister," or, in Scriptural terms, an "assigned or appointed servant" of the congregation.

    So which is it?

    The Knowledge book:???

    " 17 It is important to remember that baptism is not the end of your spiritual progress. It marks the beginning of lifelong service to God as an ordained minister and one of Jehovah's Witnesses."

    Or the December 1, 1975 WT???

    " The December 1, 1975, Watchtower explained that in our congregations only elders and ministerial servants fit the term "ordained ministers"??

    I found this information today, for the first time. It would not suprise me at all if nu-light concerning who " ministers " are is miraculously released in the coming years. The ground work is there already. A couple of clarifications here and there, and presto, only Elders and Ministerial Servants are ministers!! Who gets appointed/ordained? Why, those who sign a loyalty oath to the corporation. Anything can happen when the Organizations ca$h is on the line. If you can stand it, read all those articles. Just have a bucket ready.



  • Aussie Oz
    Aussie Oz


    it is BOTH! The watchtower trots out whichever will suit its needs at the time.

    To the law, they present the baptised merely as 'members' and elders as 'ministers'.

    What needs to be done, and i am sure that it will be done, is that the people inquring of Terry and co get the TRUTH about the WT minister game.

    Then we shall see many many more 'ministers' unveiled as monsters beside the two Terry likes to speak of.



    Yes, you are right, it's both. Another area where they speak from both sides of their mouth. I hope they hang themselves soon. Someone should send The Chair a copy of the WT CD-library. It seems like they are on to them. I hope they put the screws to the WTBTS.

    To JUSTICE!!!

  • belbab

    Mr T. O’BRIEN

    — With regard to Victoria, I made an inquiry just before I left, because I anticipated the

    question. I asked to search our records over the last 40 years since we have had elders as an arrangement, and

    there have been two casestwo ministers who were reported and investigated. They were immediately

    removed as ministers, and both were disfellowshipped and they are no longer Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    I don't think anyone posting here as pointed out the following.

    This comment by O'Brian is not saying that only two cases have been reported and investigated, period. If the two guilty cases were disfellowshiped then there were two witnesses to the molestation, otherwise they would not be disfellowshiped. How often are there two witnesses to a molestation? By his comments he is hiding all the numerous cases where there were not two witnesses to the crime. Probably in the two cases he cited, the perpretrator confessed as the second witness along with the victim's accusation as the first witness

    In other words he is saying that there has only been two cases of child abuse where there were two witnesses. All the other cases where there is only one are swept under the carpet, and not counted.

    I hope this is clear.



    Very clear. Thanks for mentioning that! So let's analyze this...

    Mr T. O'BRIEN - With regard to Victoria,( We are talking stricly about Victoria, not any other locations ) I made an inquiry just before I left, because I anticipated the question. ( We know you and your highly paid legal team anticipated the question ) I asked to search our records over the last 40 years since we have had elders( Ministers ) as an arrangement,( What about the period before the Elder arrangment existed? ) and there have been two cases - two ministers ( Elders or Ministerial Servants ) who were reported and investigated. They were immediately removed ( There must have been 2 Witnesses ) as ministers ( Elders or Ministerial Servants ), and both were disfellowshipped and they are no longer Jehovah's Witnesses.

    His bumbling act is just that, an act.. How many cases are there, really? What about all those cases where there were not 2 witnesses, or the abuser was not serving as an ordained minister/Elder or MS? No wonder he was able to narrow it down to 2 cases!

  • JWB

    Thanks DATA-DOG for bringing this out. It did cross my mind that there might be some deliberate choosing of words and omissions so that there could be no legitimate accusation of lying. However, as you have pointed out the term 'minister' has been applied by the Society on numerous occasions as applying to ALL baptized members. Unfortunately, the government representatives were at a disadvantage in not knowing this. I feel sure that had they known this they would have probed deeper and hopefully forced an unambigious answer as to the extent of child-abuse cases within the organization. The particular speciality of lawyers is words and terms. With the careful choice of words and even omission of certain words very important information may not come to the attention of those who need to know.

  • brinjen

    I don't think it's over for the WTBTS in this inquiry. He did hand them evidence with first his claim of only 2 child abusers, then his smoke screen argument about children not wanting the police to be involved... the two don't add up. Might have something to do with the questions regarding shunning etc... the people chosen to investigate and lead these inquiries are not just pulled out of a hat. They are chosen because they have seen and heard it all before. Not over for them by a long shot I'd say.

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