I am a newbie asking a question abt fifth estate

by formercultmember 9 Replies latest jw friends

  • formercultmember

    I am the wife of a former JW. ; I have a little animosity

    towards this organization that has brain washed a couple of my

    inlaws so bad that they didn't even attend my wedding because

    it was in a church. They came to the reception but it wasn't the

    same. ; ANYWHOOOO...My co-worker is a JW and I was telling him

    about the show 5th Estate which aired a couple days ago re: child

    abuse and pedofiles. ; He said that it was the members faults

    that they went to an Elder for judgement on the allegations of sexual

    abuse instead of going to the police. ; But a common theme came up

    again and again in the show 5th Estate that wasn't expanded on. ;

    Why didn't any of the families report allegations to the police. ;

    Is their a rule that states a person could be disfellowshipped or shunned

    if they override a decision the elders made on an allegation? ;

    ; I need some answers any experienced JW's out there?

  • Scully

    The main reason - even though there are no longer any outright restrictions - why family members shy away from going to the police themselves is because they have had the message drilled into their brains for YEARS and YEARS about "Not Bringing Reproach on Jehovah".

    In other words, if a JW goes to the police to report another JW for child sexual abuse, and it becomes known that they are all JWs, they fear the negative publicity it could bring to the group as a whole. Which is exactly what many JWs believe about the show - that it reproaches Jehovah.

    Secondly, JWs like to quote a scripture about not taking "their brother" - fellow JWs - to court to have their issues decided by outsiders or "unbelievers". They prefer to "let themselves be wronged" than to risk bringing shame to the congregation.

    1 Corinthians 5:4-7 "If, then, you do have matters of this life to be tried, is it the men looked down upon in the congregation that you put in as judges? I am speaking to move you to shame. Is it true that there is not one wise man among you that will not be able to judge between his brothers, but brother goes to court against brother, and that before unbelievers? Really, then, it means altogether a defeat for you that you are having lawsuits with one another. Why do you not rather let yourselves be wronged? Why do you not rather let yourselves be defrauded?"

    You would not believe the SOCIAL PRESSURE on people inside the organization to keep in line with what the elders tell them. If you don't do as the elders recommend, if you don't have a confession, or corroborating witnesses, and if you report your "brother" to the police, you can also be charged with "slander" in their internal judicial system, which results in your being disfellowshipped and shunned. It's like being banished from your life as you knew it.

    Fear and shame are the two most powerful tools of social control that JWs use.

    Love, Scully

  • NewLight2

    It's an unwritten "rule" that says that you go to the elders first, not the police. The elders then threaten the abuse survivers with DFing if they contact the police. The elders try to hush the abuse up. They say, "We MUST protect the ORGANIZATION." They don't want their dirty laurdary aired in public.


  • expatbrit

    Another reason is that JW's are constantly indoctrinated that everyone and everything outside of the Watchtower organisation is part of "Satan's System", that is, an enemy of God. There are constant warnings against adopting "worldly thinking" practices and ideas, since this can lead to "independent thinking", and thus to doubts about the teachings and doctrines of the organisation. This has included warnings against worldly psychiatrists and psychologists, and by extension to all organisations whose activities could work against the interests of the Watchtower Society, including law enforcement agencies.

    The Jehovah's Witnesses live in a shadowy world of fear, with traps and pitfalls placed constantly into their imaginations by the religion's leaders.


  • formercultmember

    Thanks so much Scully. That's exactly what I was looking for. When I talked to my co-worker re: the show he asked me to show him where it says in the bible JW's couldn't have gone to the police. He made me feel like I was watching some propaganda that had it out for the JW's and were falsely reporting incidents from some disfellowshipped members that just wanted to get back at them. He even put me on the phone with an Elder of his who said that a person could opt to talk to the police and that it wouldn't be encouraged or discouraged by the elders. It is so disappointing to see such an brainwashed person who is so busy defending their organization instead of questioning the problems within it.

  • Gizmo

    As Jehovah's Witnesses, they are taught that they are in continuos "Theocratic Warfare" against the rest of the world, and as such you wouldn't go across to the enemy so to speak to plead your case would you? It is discouraged for families to go to secular authorities to report a case of abuse, as it will bring disrepute to the organasition.

    Below is a link of a transcript, of 2 cases of abuse that occured in Australia. I suggest you read it, maybe print it out for your records.

    In it you will see how this "Theocratic Warfare" is subtly used, especially in the case of Natalie Webb, the second victim in the report.

    Put succinctly, "Theocratic Warfare" allows Elders or officials of the society to lie, to anyone, if they believe that it will damage the reputation of the organisation.


  • formercultmember

    Thank you all for your replies. This leaves my blood boiling.

    Edited by - formercultmember on 31 January 2003 21:19:53

  • Scully

    formercultmember writes:

    an Elder of his who said that a person could opt to talk to the police and that it wouldn't be encouraged or discouraged by the elders.

    Sorry to say, but even that attitude of complacency is WRONG from a legal standpoint. People in positions of trust and authority, like elders in congregations of JWs, are held to a higher standard than people in the general public.

    The way the laws of Canada are written is this:

    If ANY PERSON has knowledge that a child IS BEING abused, HAS BEEN abused, or IS GOING TO BE abused, the authorities MUST be notified IMMEDIATELY.

    There's no room for "being encouraged or discouraged" from doing so. Once an elder becomes aware of allegations of child abuse, they have a DUTY according to the law, to go to the police, if the parents are unwilling to do so themselves.

    As a nurse, if someone discloses to me that their child has been molested, I am required to inform them that they have to go to the police and that if they do not or cannot do that, then I am required by law to do so. I do not have a choice in the matter. My professional status, over and above the duty I have as a citizen, holds ME to a higher standard. Which is as it also should be with people who claim "clergy" status.

    Love, Scully

    Edited by - Scully on 31 January 2003 21:31:44

  • Gizmo



  • reporter

    Technically, every "publisher" in the congregation is a de facto "ordained minister" upon baptism, and, therefore that same reporting standard should apply to every baptized Witness in the congregation.

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