Response to Pathofthorns

by silentlambs 50 Replies latest jw friends

  • dungbeetle

    Path of Thorns started it:

    I am really at a loss to understand your intentions. It seems that the WT made several clear statements that were very positive in this letter and yet you continue to criticize them. It makes little sense to push for change and then when it happens, to harp on the WT for making changes. Why not just be clear that no matter what changes are made you will always be angry over past policies and therefore the WT can never satisfy your demands. The past cannot be changed.<

    This is April 27, 2002. This now for SIX MONTHS evidence has been presented on this board that not only has there been no policy change by Watchtower regarding pedophiles, but in fact the treatment of the victims and supporters of the victims has been degenerating and I believe it will get worse. Very soon now I beleive, we are going to be getting another tidal wave of jw's and ex-jw's with more horror stories. I hope I am wrong. I'm afraid I am going to be right.

    Why, for six straight months, and especially since February, does pathofthorns continually say that Watchtower policy has changed when there is not one shred of evidence of any change except for the worse? April 27th was only yesterday, OKAY!!!!

    >I believe the Society's stating clearly they will not discourage victims of abuse from going to the authorities was a significant step. This puts the decision solely in the victim's hands to decide what they would like to do. <

    This statement, made yesterday, is in clear contraevidence of six months of evidence, both Watchtower publications and eyewitness testimony here on this board. This is AFTER the May 15th Watchtower where disagreeing with the elders (such as elders refusing to disfellowship a perpetraor and/or disfellowshiping the victim)will result in shunning without even a judicial hearing.

    I was horrified to read this. This si beyond expression of personal opinion. This is the last of more than one thread that POT has charged around on with these statements.

    I would like to see the evidence of these so-called 'changes' in policy. That's all I'm asking. The BOE letter is crap, no change; and in any case it is totally controverted byt he May 15th Watchtower, which applies to ALL JW's not even just to elders, to make things worse.

    This make the statement of pathofthorns especially hilarious:

    >In the former JW community there are many with good intentions but often find themselves making inaccurate or unrestrained, poorly worded or overly sensational comments.

    These sorts of comments set the former Witness community back and sometimes give credence to the labels placed upon us. On the other hand, well worded, accurate statements made with a knowlege of how the WT PR machine works can effectively tie their hands and force the WT to make changes.<

    I especially like this:

    >I have a vague recollection of elders who voluntarily took a break from their positions due to health matters or to take care of family situations.
    In some of these cases it was possible for them to have some sort of understanding with the congregation that they would still be respected as elders but without the title and less assignments.

    I realize this subject is somewhat stupid, but I have my reasons for asking and if anyone has sound information regarding situations where an elder can take advantage of something like this and how one would go about it, it would be appreciated.<

    I can well imagine you have your reasons, POT. I can well imagine.

  • Marvin Shilmer
    Marvin Shilmer


    I don’t understand this attack on Path myself. He’s always presented levelheaded thoughts in the past, and this time is no different.

    What’s the basic difference between Bill’s opinion and Path’s? In my view it boils down to one basic difference.

    Bill insists elders must report alleged or known child abuse whether the victims (or their innocent guardians) want it reported or not.

    Path sees wisdom in elders always encouraging that victims (or their guardians) report the allegations of or known child abuse but leaving the prerogative to the victim (or their innocent guardian(s)) to do so.

    What is the merit of Bill’s insistence? It presents a much tougher ultimatum to would-be abusers and it might protect more children. Why do I say “might” protect more children? Because Bill’s solution would put off some victims from reporting, and is exactly why Path has suggested what he has.

    What is the merit of Path’s opinion? It provides an outlet for victims to get some kind of help that do not feel able or ready to go to authorities. If the policy was for elders to always encourage victims to report then when timid victims go to elders they would find support that might make them go ahead and report. Abusers of these victims might be left on the loose even longer if timid victims fail to talk because they have no authority figure to talk with that will not automatically report, which, in this case, is what they are not ready for.

    I don’t have time to dig through all the posts on this subject, but elsewhere I have posted the same sentiments as Path has here, if I’m reading him correctly. Nothing Bill has said changes my mind either, because he has yet to present a better solution to help timid victims come forward to get some kind of help that would not do so if reporting was automatic as he would insist. As far as I’m concerned if the WTS changed its policy so that elders were required to ALWAYS encourage victims to report alleged abuse to authorities then they would be doing all they could to help with as MANY victims as possible regardless of their timidity. Of course, in areas where elders are legally bound to see that these allegations are reported, nothing would really change except maybe elders would generally be more supportive as a result of a policy to always encourage reporting.

    Bill, before you get your underwear wadded up about this post just sit down, cool off and answer these questions: Who will victims go to who don’t feel able to go the route of reporting to authorities right away, if at all? WHO?! Where do they go to begin getting encouragement that might ultimately lead to reporting and arresting a criminal that might not otherwise come to justice? The solution you insist upon does not help these victims. Sorry, that’s just the facts!

    My best regards for Bill and Path, and the rest,

    Marvin Shilmer

  • dungbeetle

    That is not an adequate summation of what has been going on. I'll say this again, and everyone can hate me all they want...

    Bill says--and I say--and others say--there has been no change in Watchtower policy toward perpetrators (let em off if possible) and victims (off with their heads if possible).

    Pathofthorns says there has been.

    Bill and I have stated our cases.

    Now can Pathofthorns, state yours.

  • safe4kids

    I was a bit surprised to see such an attack on Pathofthorns. I've always found him to be reasonable, although I don't always agree with him. Also, I met him in person and think it is quite laughable for people to suggest that he has some agenda to protect the WT. That said, I want to add my two cents to this topic.

    Having been an adult victim who came forward, and also a mom whose child was molested, I feel justified in supporting Bill's and Dung's positions as to no major changes in WT policy. The BOE letter, to me, was more of a CYA attempt on the part of the society, than any real effort to help victims. Path, from my personal experiences, which occurred within the past 4 years, I can state that the society was completely uninterested in protecting future victims or in helping the ones they knew about. And this with a confession from the perpetrators. Perhaps one of the reasons that people are so emotional about this subject is because as dubs, we were taught to put absolute trust in Jehovah, and by extension, the society and the elders. Many of us have had that trust betrayed. What a painful thing when trust is shattered! I don't trust the WT. I don't think that they are really concerned with victims of abuse. Yes, positive policy changes for ANY reason are great, but how often have we seen examples of the infamous WTS doublespeak? Because of my personal experiences and the ones that I've read about, the other victims that I've spoken with, I am very suspicious of any supposed changes they make in policy.

    As for the mandatory reporting policy, I think you raised some good points about victims' rights. However, consider the responsibility of other people in positions of authority, schoolteachers, doctors, therapists, etc, who are required to report suspected abuse. Why should the elders be allowed to claim some type of bogus priviledge that serves to protect molesters? Yes, it is a very painful thing to go through. Bill's point that it can be very healing also has great value. The hardest thing I have ever done in my life was watch my 6 year old child be led away from me, crying and terrified, to be interviewed by two police detectives. The result? A child so relieved of a crushing burden, a burden that they COULD NOT share with me because of the fear that it was too awful and that I might turn away from them, stop loving them. This is how children many times react to being abused. It is just too dangerous for them to tell a loved one. The police detectives were obviously very good at their jobs, and I believe, as did my child's counselor, that this unburdening led to an incredible leap in my child's recovery. It also resulted in a conviction of the molester, who will not find it quite so easy to hurt another child.

    I know this is long, and I apologize for that. It is such a painful issue for people who have been affected. And honestly, Path if you haven't suffered this, or had a loved one suffer through it, I don't know if you can really grasp just how devastating it can be. When that is compounded by the betrayal of trust from a religion that was held in such high respect, then you have a recipe for a highly charged emotional issue.

    Personally, it is my belief that children MUST be protected by the adults around them. Period. Any allegation of child abuse, IMO, should be reported, and let the people who are trained to do so figure it out. NOT a group of men who have no clue about the psychological damage abuse causes and who have always as their priority the protection of their masters.


  • Marvin Shilmer
    Marvin Shilmer

    Hi, dungbeetle

    The change in WTS policy is that what was a covert directive is now overt, which makes it far less likely to be applied unevenly or sporadically.

    Frankly, though Bill has argued that WTS policy has always been to allow victims to report without sanctions (and I would mostly agree with this), getting the WTS to instruct elders on this issue was precarious because men working the different service desks at Patterson were just that, different men, which meant one would be more thorough than another. Also, if Bill is honest here he will also admit that in the past when he would call the service department as an elder (on reported child abuse) the desk man would follow a script of from five to seven statements (depending on which year he called during the past 10) and not one of these scripted statements included instructions that elders should not sanction publishers congregationally who reported allegations of child abuse to authorities (substantiated or not). That all changed at the recent KM schools and that February 2002 letter.

  • dungbeetle

    >The change in WTS policy is that what was a covert directive is now overt, which makes it far less likely to be applied unevenly or sporadically. <

    That's what I see. Instead of the occasional victim getting the Watchtower axe, they all will get it from now on. Instead of the occasional rapist/molester gettting appropriate treatment--none of them will get it.

    How nice.

  • Reborn2002

    I ask again for a copy of that Watchtower article.

    I apologize if this inconveniences you.

    I wholeheartedly believe you, I just would like to read it for myself.

    It is not religious persecution for an informed person to expose publicly a certain religion as being false, thus allowing persons to see the difference between false religion and true religion.
    WT 11/15/1963 page 688 paragraph 3

  • jst2laws


    Wow! You have been to me an example of balance and moderation. I'm am sorry to see you attacked in such a way, questioning not only your opinion but your motive. Your humble response was admirable.

    Bill, and Dungbeetle

    Why can't the people I admire the most differ with Path more respectfully?

    Bill, Expatbrit made a good point. Why not accept this as a challenge where you can sharpen your skills in handling opposing views.

    Dungbeetle, I love you and your zeal, but you lost it again. Relax! Save your energy for the enemies. Don't waist it on your friends.

    Expatbrit, hawkaw, safe4kids, and Marvin

    Thanks so much for expressing my feelings.


    Good to see you are still here.


  • AlanF
  • sf

    Thanks Alan...trying to eat supper here.

    If man was supposedly created in gods image, then.....holy krap...we're all doomed.-sKallyWagger

    “What a blessing such integrity keepers are to the congregation!”(5/15/02 WT magazine, pg. 27)

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