Billy's comments to the RC #1 - "We always require at least two witnesses... except for when we don't."

by Billy the Ex-Bethelite 39 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • Billy the Ex-Bethelite
    Billy the Ex-Bethelite

    I'm still trying to catch up on the RC broadcast posted to YouTube, and I haven't been able to keep up with everything discussed here about it. However, there have been a few points that I wish I could submit. Here's the first:

    Repeatedly it has been stated that unless there is a confession, JCs can only act on testimony if it is corroborated by two or more witnesses to the wrongdoing. Basically, they said that unless someone happened to walk in and be an eyewitness to wrongdoing, there was no other way for a JC to ever judge a case. That is not true. The elders manual includes two exceptions to that rule on the same page, p. 129.

    The first,

    12. In some cases adultery is not proved, but it is established by confession or by two or more witnesses that the mate stayed all night in the same house with a person of the opposite sex (or a known homosexual) under improper circumstances.... Even if adultery is not established, it may be that the Christian was involved in an immoral sleeping arrangement.

    In this case, it is not required for there to be two witnesses to adultery/fornication. It requires two witnesses to circumstantial evidence that the JC can choose to accept or reject as proof of an "immoral sleeping arrangement". Witnesses of such circumstantial evidence is not the same as being witnesses of seeing two people engaging in sexual relations.


    13. Even if the accused mate is not one of Jehovah's Witnesses (disfellowshipped, disassociated, or never baptized), two witnesses are also generally required to establish wrongdoing that would provide a bases for Scriptural freedom. An exception may be made, however, if the unbeliever privately makes an unambiguous confession of adultery to the Christian mate. In such a case, if the innocent Christian mate believes that the confession is true and does not wish to reconcile, he can submit a letter to the elders outlining his situation. The body of elders should then consider the letter. Is there any known reason to conclude other than that the unbelieving mate has been immoral?.... If there is no known reason to conclude otherwise, the innocent mate can be allowed to take responsibility before Jehovah for obtaining a Scriptural divorce; if he remarries, no judicial action will be taken.

    In this case, no two witnesses are required. The JW only needs to be aware of this rule in the elders' manual and he can be the only witness testimony required, emphatically state that his nonJW wife had privately made an unambiguous confession of adultery, and submit a letter stating that. The elders will not look for any evidence that the nonJW was unfaithful, rather "Is there any known reason to conclude other than that the unbelieving mate has been immoral?" Basically, the nonJW is considered guilty unless someone on the judicial committee is prepared to prove her innocence. (WT chose to use "he" in the last sentence, I'm just following that example.)

    So when the dubs at the RC keep saying that JWs have to stick to the biblical requirement of two eyewitnesses to wrongdoing, that's not true. They accept two witnesses to circumstantial evidence in order to prove wrongdoing, or they accept the word of one witness who is aware of that loophole in the rule.

    Was this covered anywhere in the RC? Are there other exceptions to the two witness rule? Is this even making sense? I'm really tired and trying to be coherent and not ramble... okay, now I'm rambling...

  • nonjwspouse
    Very good catches. No this was not caught in the RC from what I have listened to. I do hope it is brought to their attention soon though. Those are both very good examples of the crazy double rules they pick and choose from. Especially in this hearing where this two witness rule is being very carefully examined.
  • KiddingMe
    What your saying makes sense to me. Those are exceptions to the two witness rule. I'm not sure if the RC caught that as I'm catching up on viewing them on YouTube myself.
  • JW GoneBad
    JW GoneBad

    Very good find Billy.

    "Was this covered anywhere in the RC?" I don't think so!

    In the case of BCH (the pervert father), one of the points of contention by the RC is that the JC (the 3 elders) placed more emphasis on the illicit affair BCH had with another woman than with the molestation of his daughters. BCH in fact was disfellowshipped for adultery...not child molestation. What you (Billy) bring out is an excellent example of how flawed and misapplied the JW two witness rule really is.

    The point is that an adulterer in the JW organization is going to be found-out and stopped much faster before he repeats his offense than a child molester. Its no wonder the 115,000 congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses are viewed as a safe haven for child molesters and that's what pedophiles bank on!!!

    Deserves repeating....Great catch Billy!

  • Billy the Ex-Bethelite
    Billy the Ex-Bethelite

    I just finished watching another installment. After hearing the JW mantra, "We only can do what's in the scriptures," the above listed examples from the elders' manual do not cite any scriptural support. These exceptions are based on instructions written in Brooklyn. Where are the scriptures backing up this WT procedure?

    More later...

  • FreeGirl2006
    You should email that info to Mr. Stewart. It would be a good source of questions in the grilling of Jackson if he shows up.
  • johnamos

    This was the situation that was used in my wife and I getting married. She wrote a letter based on what her unbelieving mate said to her while they were split up and based on the letter and the divorce being finalized, she was free to marry me. That was ten years ago for us. Think about all the child abuse cases in the passed 10 years that were said not to have had a 2nd witness so hey nothing we can do about it at this time…in fact think about all the child abuse cases in the passed 38 years that were said not to have had a 2nd witness so hey nothing we can do about it at this time…

    [10-1-77 WT

    Questions from Readers

    • My unbelieving husband admitted to me that he has another woman. Is his admission sufficient ground for a Scriptural divorce?

    In some cases if a Christian’s unbelieving mate admits to committing immorality, that would provide a Scriptural basis for a divorce, which, in turn, would free the innocent Christian for remarriage if desired.

    Jehovah God’s law to the ancient nation of Israel made provision for divorce on various grounds. (Deut. 24:1, 2) Adultery, homosexuality and bestiality were bases for ending a marriage; the guilty person was to be executed. (Deut. 22:22-24; Lev. 18:22, 23) However, the Law set forth this important requirement: “At the mouth of two witnesses or of three witnesses the one dying should be put to death. He will not be put to death at the mouth of one witness.” (Deut. 17:6; 19:15; Num. 35:30) Being a “lover of righteousness and justice,” Jehovah required that such matters be determined on the basis of proof, of witnesses, not merely suspicion. (Ps. 33:5) This, of course, was stated as regards applying the death penalty, not as regards a divorce action.

    Another situation dealt with in the Law also illustrates the importance of proof. What was a man to do if he suspected that his wife had committed adultery but she denied it and there were no witnesses? God’s law outlined a step that could be taken, but it was a drastic one that could have lasting effects for the wife if she was guilty or for the husband if she was innocent. She could be brought before the priest and made to share in a prescribed procedure involving drinking some special water. If she was guilty, she would experience the divine punishment of her ‘thigh falling away,’ apparently meaning that her sexual parts would atrophy and she would lose her ability to conceive. (Num. 5:12-31) Evidently in such cases the adulterous wife, though receiving this extraordinary punishment from God, because she denied guilt and there were not the required two witnesses, was not executed.

    What is the situation today in the Christian congregation? Is it possible to obtain substantial testimony as to the grounds for a Scriptural divorce?

    Jesus himself stated that for his followers the only ground for divorce, such as would free a person for remarriage, is if one’s mate commits porneia, gross sexual immorality. (Matt. 19:9) Would there be sufficient ground for divorce if a Christian wife merely suspected that her husband was guilty of adultery? No, for the Christian Greek Scriptures carry forward the principle of a matter’s being established by two or three witnesses, as a balanced sense of justice requires. (John 8:17, 18; 1 Tim. 5:19; Heb. 10:28) So, if a wife merely suspected her husband of adultery, but he denied it and there were no witnesses to confirm it, she would not have sufficient basis for establishing with the Christian congregation that she had a right to divorce him and thus be free to remarry.

    In some cases, though, an unbelieving mate admits to being immoral. A husband, for instance, might even boast of it to his wife as a taunt to hurt her. She might choose to overlook his waywardness. But what if she feels she cannot or should not? Is his confession enough proof?

    In this situation it is not as if he professes innocence or adamantly denies being guilty of adultery. Rather, he admits it to her, though for the sake of his reputation he might not be willing to own up to it in a court of law or before other persons. What can the wife do?

    Since she is part of the clean Christian congregation, she should realize the importance of handling the matter properly so that, after divorcing him, if she later remarried there would be no question about her keeping ‘the marriage bed without defilement.’ (Heb. 13:4) To that end she could give the elders representing the congregation a letter outlining her situation, stating that her unbelieving husband confessed to her that he had committed immorality. And she could state that in accord with Matthew 19:9 she wishes to put him away, obtaining a legal divorce and thus ending the marriage Scripturally and legally.

    The elders would consider whether there is any known reason to conclude other than that the unbelieving mate had been immoral. If not, they could accept her signed statement.

    ‘But,’ someone might say, ‘is it not possible to submit a deceptive, untruthful statement, saying that her husband confessed immorality when he actually never said that?’ Actually, it would be gross deception for anyone to try that. David once prayed: “You have examined my heart, you have made inspection by night, you have refined me; you will discover that I have not schemed.” (Ps. 17:3) Conversely, Jehovah is well aware when someone does scheme and He will make sure that the person does not lastingly succeed. Hence, if a Christian woman goes on record as stating that her husband has admitted immorality, Jehovah knows the facts. As the Bible says: “There is not a creation that is not manifest to his sight, but all things are naked and openly exposed to the eyes of him with whom we have an accounting.”—Heb. 4:13; Prov. 5:21; Jer. 16:17.

    So if there is no reason to doubt the wife’s statement, the congregation elders can leave the matter between her and Jehovah. In that case she would have to bear before God the responsibility as to the actuality of her husband’s immoral course, which would be the Scriptural basis for ending the marriage even if the legal divorce were obtained on some other ground.]

  • steve2

    Billy - excellent OP. I had not known about these exceptions.

    In response to the line about "only doing what is in the scriptures", it would be more accurate to say they only do what is their current understanding as comunicated by the GB of what is in the scriptures.

  • Billy the Ex-Bethelite
    Billy the Ex-Bethelite

    johnamos, THANKS for adding that reference. Interesting note on how JW teachings and practices evolve.

    Freegirl: You should email that info to Mr. Stewart. It would be a good source of questions in the grilling of Jackson if he shows up.

    I have a few other points I wanted to bring up here on the forum and bounce it around first... you know... before 2 or 3 ex-Witnesses. LOL

  • Billy the Ex-Bethelite
    Billy the Ex-Bethelite

    steve: it would be more accurate to say they only do what is their current understanding as comunicated by the GB of what is in the scriptures.

    Looking back on my JW history, so much about the witnesses has always been too slippery to me. For an organization that seemed to be so black & white, it could be impossible to get a straight answer sometimes. As Mr. Stewart noted, they're like trying to grab mercury. I'm trying to come up with some published information to try and put some substance to what is otherwise just my opinion on the matter.

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