Desire to talk to an elder

by Eppie 33 Replies latest jw friends

  • AlanF

    Hi Sandy,

    : Someone told me there is many different well-balanced views of JW's on this cite. I have seen some.

    That’s good, because they certainly are here.

    : Everyone else either just puts down the religion or the people in it.

    Do you understand why? Many have been gravely injured by the religion or the people in it.

    : I understand a lot of you still have JW friends and family but that doesn't seem to stop you from bad mouthing the religion.

    And why shouldn’t they? When other religions do bad things, do JWs hesitate to bad mouth them? Of course not.

    The JW religion has serious problems. While most JWs as individuals are fine people in a general sense, when it comes to their religion they’re as bad as any Gestapo member. All criticism of the Society is taken as criticism of the JW who hears it, and of God himself. That’s ridiculous. The reason JWs are so touchy about criticism is that deep down they all know that something is very wrong with their religion. But they’ve made a huge emotional commitment, and don’t want to take the chance of losing all their family and friends. So they stay, despite inner misgivings, and hate it when they hear anything that reminds them of their self-concealed hypocrisy.

    : I made a statement that I am not looking to trash talk the JW's and I am not looking to un-cover the faults with the people or the religion.

    Why wouldn’t you look to do that? Aren’t you concerned with truth, and whether you’re involved with “the truth”?

    : I heard about the child abuse accusations and I believe that they are true.

    That’s good, because plenty of them are true.

    : But, what I don't believe is that the Society advises the Elders and Overseers to cover these matters up.

    Well you should. The Society and elders have a mixed record on this. Some elders know, without having to be explicitly told, that abuse and abusers should be exposed. Others are afraid to do the right thing without “Mommy” telling them. Sometimes the Service Dept. advises elders to expose abuse. Sometimes it advises elders to cover up.

    You don’t believe me? Bill Bowen, founder of the Silentlambs organization, while still an elder, tape recorded a Service Dept. elder advising him not to report a child molester to the police, but instead to just “wait on Jehovah”. This tape was played on NBC Dateline last spring, and on other TV documentaries.

    There’s an abuser named Dan Fitzwater, now in prison in Nevada for multiple counts of molestation, who got away with molesting girls for more than 15 years from the time he was first discovered because the elders who knew about it failed to report him to the police, and failed to warn congregation members about him. Today the Society refuses to disfellowship this convicted molester, even though they know of at least 17 girls he molested. Do you know why they don’t DF this monster? Because he runs Bible study sessions in the Nevada prison where he’s incarcerated. You know what else? The elders who should have DF’d Fitzwater in the first place claim that the Society told them not to DF Fitzwater. But the Society claims that they never did this. Who do you believe? Here’s a test to see if you’re sincere: You can talk to Laurie Fitzwater, the daughter-in-law of the convicted molester. She’ll give you firsthand information about this, if you’re willing to listen. She was forcibly disassociated (she was given the choice of that or outright DF’ing) several years ago merely for speaking out about the abusive ways of her father-in-law.

    : I do not agree with them not demanding the victims to go to the police.

    Good! The policy, since about a year ago, has been to be neutral. The policy until a year ago was to discourage going to the police. The ONLY reason the policy was changed was because of the huge adverse publicity they got on TV and in newspapers about the old policy. Of course, this is also an attempt to insulate themselves from the inevitable future lawsuits.

    : I believe that to be completely wrong. I know they justify the matter or at least try to. But not all of them. I can't believe that.

    Certainly not all of them. But the Society itself failed to formulate a good policy on this, even though certain people inside Bethel itself lobbied the Governing Body since the late 1980s to do so. An internal study was commissioned around 1991 and finished by 1996. During that time, good recommendations were made that would have protected children. Not one was implemented. Finally, in the January 1, 1997 Watchtower, a small subset of the recommendations were implemented, but these were too little and too late. Daniel Fitzwater, for example, was not brought to justice sooner because of the Society’s wickedly limp policies.

    : I was in this situation and the Elders informed me that it is my decision weather or not I wanted to report the matter to the police and whatever I decided they would support me.

    You were lucky enough to deal with decent elders. How long ago was that?

    : I was already an adult at the time if that makes any difference, I don't know.

    Apparently you were abused, and I’m sorry to hear that. I think that it makes no difference if you were an adult or child. Good elders will support the abuse victim at any age, and bad ones won’t.


    Then you’re in agreement with the Silentlambs organization. Rather than simply being neutral, the Society ought to instruct elders to advise abuse victims and their parents to go to the police. Why? Because all crimes should be reported.


    The reasons they don’t are simple: They know that as long as abuse incidents are not required to be reported, a good percentage will not be. This keeps the incidents out of public view and so is in keeping with the all-important rule: Do not bring reproach on Jehovah’s organization. This of course is cynical beyond belief, and thoroughly unchristian. How any Christian can continue to support the men who display such cynical, uncaring and unchristian behavior is beyond me.

    I am convinced that some top Watchtower officials have a history of child molestation. I am convinced that other officials know about it and want to keep it covered up. This is why they are soft on molesters.


    You ought to print out my comments and see what he says.

    : The more I think about this the more disturbed I become.

    As you should!


    Because they want to keep negative publicity to a minimum.


    It’s a crime not to report only in states or countries that make it so. Of course, it’s a moral crime to fail to report, because a molester that is not stopped will go on to molest until he’s finally caught.

    : Can someone explain to me how they get out of this?

    Sure! Watchtower officials need not explain to anyone why they choose to act as they do. They’re God’s spokesman and don’t have to answer to you, me or anyone else.

    : I guess I really do need to do some research on my own.

    I can offer plenty of suggestions, and even some abuse victims who will tell you how things worked out for them.

    : I cannot say I agree with everything people are saying on here, but on this Child Abuse Issue YOU ARE RIGHT ON!!! This is a very serious issue too, so unless I get some real answers from them or unless they follow Bible Principles to Obey the Laws of the Land AND REPORT THE ABUSERS I will not feel guilty about not being a active Witness.

    Good! It will be very interesting to see what your brother has to say about this. If you reach first base with him, I’ll even be happy to talk to you or to him by phone. If you want to do that, just reply to this post or email me at [email protected] .


  • NameWithheld
    I heard about the child abuse accusations and I believe that they are true. But, what I don't believe is that the Society advises the Elders and Overseers to cover these matters up.

    Alan covered this very well above, but I'll repeat - they do ideed advise cover ups. Bill Bowen has on tape, the WTBTS legal dept telling him to 'not get himself in a jam' and to 'wait on Jehovah' when he asked what to do about a person who was accused of molesting a child. Not once did they even mention reporting the accusation. Just to sweep it under the rug.

  • sandy

    I read your comments on why the Organization covers up Child Abuse accusations. I did see part of the Dateline special, unfortunately I missed the first part of it. I think i remember hearing the Legal Department telling the Elder to Wait on Jehovah. My family was rallied around the TV and still after hearing that they (my sisters) were just calling the victims apostates. I was very upset but didn't say anything to them. My mother stood quiet. I don't want to betray Jehovah or his organization if it truly is his but, I cannot just pretend these issues or problems are not there. I have not been attending meetings for 4 years now and its not because of these child abuse cases. well, now it is. I will talk to my brother the Elder and ask him his views and how does the Society scriptually back this up. This brother in my hall was accused of child molestation and it was kept a huge secret until the Blab-all Elder told some members in the congregation. Sadly he didn't tell people to protect them but to talk trash to make himself look high and mighty. The same reason he told bros and sis of other sins some had committed. But, I was glad that it did spread through the congregation because of course it made parents aware and to look after their children a little more closely. I cannot help but think, as someone said earlier, that probably, one reason they cover it up is because they are guilty of it themselves. It is so common, kids are abused all the time, sad to say. I see it, not the abuse in actuality but I work in Dependency Court, most of our cases are abuse cases even JW cases come through here. It is always made known that they are JW but never any other religion. Does anyone have any thoughts on that.

  • NameWithheld
    in Dependency Court, most of our cases are abuse cases even JW cases come through here. It is always made known that they are JW but never any other religion. Does anyone have any thoughts on that.

    Maybe just being the fact that you are more attuned to JW since that is how you were raised. All religions and high control groups are facing 'the music' over this child abuse problem now. The Catholics are by far the most 'famous' for it, but Mormons, JWs, Moonies, etc, etc are all being taken to task right now for abuse.

    Any time you put humans in positions of ultimate athority (see Preists, elders, etc) then you foster an amtmosphere that allows abuse to happen, and allows that abuse to be covered up. The common theme amoung all these groups/religions is that they wanted to 'handle the matter internally' and not involve 'outsiders'. Well, it's time for that to stop. The Catholic Chruch is just about to be taken down a notch, and I suspect the other religions will follow shortly after that.

    This is the same atmosphere that allows elders 'authority' to control every aspect of a normal JWs life. If an Elder tells you to say the sky is green, you'd better start saying the sky is green. Cause if you don't you are spitting in Jehovah's face according to their logic.

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