Watchtower's response to Royal Commission shows they have learned nothing and will do nothing

by wannaexit 60 Replies latest jw friends

  • tim3l0rd
    When I read the part of the RC findings commenting on the biblical basis for some of their beliefs I thought immediately "that is something the WTS will pick up on"

    Since their policies are loosely based on the bible, I think the ARC was trying to show them (and the world) that there is a biblical basis for adjusting policy. If they solely focused on policy, the JW response would have been that they follow the bible, that their policies are bible based, and that freedom of religion allows them to establish policies as they see fit. Of course they can come back that their interpretation is correct. All religions would. The ARC has demonstrated that the WT is unwilling to change even when there is ambiguity.

  • tim3l0rd
    The passive policy Watchtower touts 'it is each members absolute right to report...' blah, blah, blah betrays something more sinister given the ease of an active policy that 'we encourage victims of child molestation to report their victimization to local authorities...'

    Even if they changed it to say that elders should inform the parents and/or victim of their right to report the abuse, that would have a HUGE impact. This would change many JWs attitude toward reporting the crime and of those who choose to report the crime.

  • Marvin Shilmer
    Marvin Shilmer

    I'm not sure whether or how important it is, but there is a nagging paradox within Watchtower's response having to do with supposed rights of victims and parents.

    Watchtower hangs it policy on a right held by victims and/or parents of victims whether to report child molestation to authorities:

    "Jehovah’s Witnesses consider it is the right of the victim and/or the victim’s parents to report."--5.7

    Accordingly Watchtower claims:

    "Jehovah's Witnesses do not take it upon themselves to report [child sexual abuse] as they consider that it is the right of the victim or his/her parents to do so."--9.313 (underlining added)

    Watchtower furthers the value of this underpinning by stating:

    "The decision to take away that right from a victim or the parents of a child must be left to the legislatures of each State or the Federal Parliament."--5.8
    "As was acknowledged in the Commission, there are times when victims may wish to have their matter dealt with confidentially within the faith. To deny them that opportunity may disempower the victims and may lead to further traumatisation."--5.11

    So Watchtower argues much about the right of victims, and how to deny this may disempower a victim and lead to further trauma. So Watchtower states a position that going around this right of choice is something that must be left to the State legislature.

    Here's the paradox in relation to this argument:

    Watchtower policy already lets elders opt on their own to report allegations of child molestation to authorities:

    "If a child is unable to report the matter to the secular authorities and the parents are unable or unwilling to do so, then an elder may feel compelled to report the matter to the authorities, particularly if he believes there is a risk to a child."--5.10
    "...if any elder was to see that there was some definite risk, that their conscience would move them to do that."--9.332

    So what is my point? What is the paradox?

    I don't think it wrong that Watchtower policy lets elders report these allegations even when law does not require it. In fact I think that a good thing! But this aspect of Watchtower policy undermines the underlying premise of victims' rights that it attempts to leverage to justify its overall position, which is a position that falls short of encouraging victims to report to authorities.

    The very "right" that Watchtower leverages as belonging to victims is a right that it admittedly takes into its own hands.

  • Marvin Shilmer
    Marvin Shilmer
    Even if they changed it to say that elders should inform the parents and/or victim of their right to report the abuse, that would have a HUGE impact. This would change many JWs attitude toward reporting the crime and of those who choose to report the crime.

    What you suggest is already Watchtower policy. But Watchtower needs to go further. Rather than merely pointing out that victims have a right to report the molestation, Watchtower needs to encourage victims to report the molestation. It might seem like semantics, but having this active encouragement would lend support to the victim, not to mention increasing the likelihood of protecting other children from abuse. In my opinion and experience this would, as you say, have a huge impact. I think this is probably what you meant to write.

  • ttdtt
    We can only hope that the RC wasn't just an exercise - that the government will not just sit by and let these organizations continue the dangerous practices that got them all in this mess.
  • sir82

    Rather than merely pointing out that victims have a right to report the molestation

    But they don't even do that, in general. Elders are not instructed to broach the topic. The policy is, if the victim or his/her parents brings the issue up, elders are "allowed" to tell them they have the "right" to report it without fear of congregational action.

    Some individual elders, with slightly more active consciences, might proactively mention this "right", but the majority of elders on such cases would just keep their mouths shut.

  • leaving_quietly

    The November 9, 2015 response is the one I'm reading, and yes, there is quite a bit of arrogance, telling the Commission what is and what is not within their "Terms of Reference" and even calling one "junior lawyer," "inexperienced". Here's what caught my attention:

    5.18 Jehovah’s Witnesses consider that the requirement for two witnesses is not a matter for debate as it is based on Scriptural requirements found in the Mosaic Law and reiterated by Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul.37 Even when the requisite Scriptural evidence is lacking, elders nevertheless take precautionary measures.

    While the Mosaic Law DOES permit a single witness in an extenuating circumstance, as was proven more than once in the hearings, the organization blatantly REFUSES to bend on this. Deut 22:25-27.

    By saying that Christ reiterated this is Pharisaical. Christ also said this: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you give the tenth of the mint and the dill and the cumin, but you have disregarded the weightier matters of the Law, namely, justice and mercy and faithfulness."

  • Simon
    They believe that the Mosaic law was done away with. Do they keep all the other Mosaic commandments as well? Or is it just a convenient cherry picked scripture ...
  • umbertoecho
    Oh how I love the saying...."Pride before the fall". No one can keep up such an arrogant pretence and feel they will escape justice. I feel it in my bones
  • Mephis

    The difference between Jackson attempting to appear accommodating and willing to think through the issues and seek resolutions and the submission they've put in is very striking.

    Thought it may be of use to put what they wish the findings to say in one consolidated block. I'm taking the findings from 1 to 3 and then 39 onwards as being 'general'. It's horrifying how far away they are from accepting what a commissioner has already advised them should be happening.

    F.3 The Jehovah’s Witness organisation may receive approximately three or four calls a month about child sexual abuse. No evidence was presented to determine if these reports involved non-Witness perpetrators, occurred before the wrongdoer’s association with Jehovah’s Witnesses, if the report was historical in nature, or if it was in fact pertaining to actual child sexual abuse.

    F.39 The Australia Branch has authority to produce documents, seminars, letters to elders and letters to publishers in matters relating to its local jurisdiction as long as such do not express any view or perspective contrary to the Bible.

    F.40 The Australia Branch has authority to produce documents, seminars, letters to elders and letters to publishers in matters relating to its local jurisdiction as long as such do not express any view or perspective contrary to the Bible.

    F.41`Jehovah’s Witnesses have not and do not presently, require the survivor of a sexual assault to make his/her allegation in the presence of the person whom he or she accuses of having assaulted him or her, unless the survivor wishes to do so; and Jehovah’s Witnesses have acknowledged the need for this position to be clearly documented

    F.42 In the case of any alleged serious sin, including child abuse, judicial committees are formed on the basis of the Scriptural standard of evidence of either a confession or substantiation by two or more witnesses. – Proverbs 28:13; Deuteronomy 19:15; Matthew 18:16; 2 Corinthians 13:1; 1 Timothy 5:19

    Based on the testimony of the two survivor witnesses: (i) Although BCB did not feel supported overall, her testimony was that [an elder involved in Scriptually caring for her accusation] was “very kind and supportive. He told me that what has happened was not my fault and that I shouldn’t blame myself”; and (ii) Although BCG felt unsupported when her allegations of child sexual abuse against her father, BCH, were not Scripturally established at the time of the first congregation judicial hearing, it should be noted that BCH was found guilty of the sexual abuse of his daughter by the congregation appeal committee within the following two weeks

    F.45 Jehovah’s Witnesses should continue to make clear their long-standing policy that, where desired, a victim may provide evidence remotely or by way of a written statement to elders investigating and to those subsequently handling an allegation of child abuse.

    F.58 Jehovah’s Witnesses respect the right of a survivor or victim of abuse (or their parent or guardian) to decide for him or herself whether or not to report the abuse to the authorities.

    F.60 The Scripturally-based beliefs and practices of Jehovah’s Witnesses require that they obey the laws pertaining to child abuse. In jurisdictions that require it, they obey laws requiring the reporting of such allegations to the authorities. Elders of Jehovah’s Witnesses will obey any newly enacted laws requiring ministers of religion to report allegations of child abuse.

    F.64 There may be a risk of contamination of a survivor’s evidence as a result of the number of times and circumstances in which a survivor is required to divulge the detail of her complaint before her abuse is, if ever, reported to the authorities.

    F.69 A Jehovah’s Witness who no longer wants to be subject to the organisation’s rules and discipline may simply stop associating with the congregation without formally disassociating from the faith.

    F.71 The opinions expressed by Dr Applewhite in paragraphs 36, 45 and 46 of her report are accepted.

    F.72 Dr Applewhite’s report contains a small number of inconsequential factual errors with regard to her documenting of the relevant practices and procedures of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    F.73 Dr Applewhite’s report is therefore accepted.

    McClellan's words to their counsel on day 152 are worth contrasting with what the JWs think the commission should report.

    "But the starting point is to identify where you or your client accepts the problems are - and some of those are blatantly obvious from the words, not according to the practice, and then, moving on from there, what steps your client might take to bring its processes and its documentation up to an appropriate position."

    According to the dubs, there aren't any problems to accept beyond making sure they state more clearly survivors don't *have* to confront their abusers.

    Where does one even start with such grotesque idiocy from them?

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