Here is that exchange from the transcript.
12 MR STEWART: Q. Does it have to be an elder who
13 undertakes the investigation? Let me put that
14 does it have to be an elder to whom an
allegation of child
15 sexual abuse is made? In other words, you have
16 might be an elder with someone else, perhaps a
17 the congregation or whomever, but does it have
to be an
18 elder at all?
19 A. I think, again, if you re‐read the case
20 will find numerous examples of where the
21 guardians have provided the statement without
22 from the elders, so that the clear answer to
that is, no,
23 that doesn't have to ‐‐
25 Q. Well, they have provided it to the elder?
26 A. So, if you are saying, then, at some point
27 elders involved in the investigation process,
the answer is
30 THE CHAIR: QWhy is it necessary to have elders
31 that particular church carry out this function,
32 to going outside, to people who aren't known?
33 A. I think it's a very ‐ I think it is an
34 suggestion and one that has been discussed at
length by us
35 over the last couple of weeks when that has
36 I think we've taken one step towards it. We've
got a lot
37 of other steps to take, as you have
highlighted, but one
38 step is, at least when it gets to the judicial
39 make sure that that has outside involvement.
But I think,
40 again, it's a very good point, your Honour.
42 Q. Is there any possibility of having women
join in the
43 decision‐making process?
44 A. Scripturally ‐ I appreciate that's the
45 question and that comes to the question of is
46 that women will take on the role of elders in
47 congregation, and, scripturally, that's not the
3 Q. Your answer to my question is: there is no
4 possibility of women being involved in the
5 process; is that right?
6 A. I'm happy to say a clear yes. Will Jehovah's
7 Witnesses find a way to adjust the scriptural
8 the elders being men in the congregation, and my
9 that is no.
11 Q. You understand the Bible, I assume, in its
12 political context, when it was written?
13 A. I do.
15 Q. And social and political contexts change
16 don't they?
17 A. They do.
19 Q. Does the approach of Jehovahs to the
20 the Bible, as a consequence, change as society
21 A. If you are referring to Jehovah's Witnesses,
I ‐ we
22 won't change what is a clear scriptural
23 are there things that we would all do ‐ that we
24 differently now that are based on Bible
25 I think your Honour has highlighted a very
clear one, in
26 that do Jehovah's Witnesses apply the Mosaic
law from an
27 ancient civilisation that dealt with the
28 civil and the criminal all as one code? No, we
29 because, as Mr de Rooy said, Christ ended the law. A clear
30 distinction between theocratic and the law. So
31 changed over the time? Yes. Will some of those
32 instructions in the scriptures change from the
33 era? I don't believe they will for Jehovah's
34 because of the application of the arrangements
37 And so I have reasoned through this myself,
38 your Honour, that ‐ will Jehovah's Witnesses
adjust what we
39 see as clear instructions in the scriptures?
40 people change what they believe in the Koran?
41 Aboriginal people change what they believe is
42 culture? I think there are just some things
that are so
43 deeply a part of their faith and belief system,
44 we need to do is make sure that we conform with
45 that we do our best to harmonise with the
culture. But do
46 some of those things fit neatly into 21st
47 Australia ‐ I understand the point that you are making.
2 Q. I take it that if it was the case that there
3 a conflict between what science might tell us
4 behaviour and the way these things should be
dealt with and
5 your understanding of the Bible, then the Bible
7 A. All scripture is inspired of God. We ‐ like
8 Christians, we are not fanatically trying to
9 references to make life difficult; we are
10 scripture as we read it, in the best way we
11 sensitively integrate with modern society.
13 Q. But you understand the point: there may well
14 areas, and we're in one such area, where
science has taught
15 us a lot in recent years about sexual abuse and
16 appropriately respond to it, but if that
science was in
17 conflict with your understanding of the Bible,
18 Bible would prevail; is that correct?
19 A. Absolutely the Bible will prevail. And if I
20 your Honour, that's why hundreds of Jehovah's
21 in prison in South Korea; in Taganrog, Russia;
22 Eritrea, because they won't budge on a clear
23 principle that will endure forever.
25 Q. So if the law of the country was to
prescribe a mode
26 of behaviour which was in conflict with your
27 of the Bible, what would happen then?
28 A. We would apply the words in the book of
Acts, 5:29, to
29 obey God as ruler rather than man, and as we
30 during the Second World War, as thousands of
31 Witnesses did when they refused to comply with
32 regime. The fact that the government at the
33 a law, Jehovah's Witnesses will always obey
34 that's why we have 28 successful outcomes in the
35 Court of Human Rights, because we won't budge
36 is a clear Bible principle that happens to be
37 with a government of the day.
39 THE CHAIR: We might take lunch.