Regional convention 2023

by sove 33 Replies latest jw friends

  • ThomasMore

    I used to agree with the 2-witness rule, until I dealt with a clever pedophile who only got caught due to a random pediatric visit he was unaware of that was scheduled.

    Then I started to see that being able to out-maneuver authorities changed the rile from black and white to shades of gray.

    JWs want to avoid the authorities altogether - so they view the rule as black and white.

    Those of us who want to protect children view the rule as cautionary restraint. We still want the authorities called immediately. The accused can make their defense to them. As for a JC - see what the police do. Maybe more evidence, even forensic evidence might clear the fog.

    As for the clever pedo I dealt with... he had other victims unknown to us. Because I got the police involved, it all came out and he was put behind bars. I wonder what might have happened if I had just said we had no second witness and the pediatrician might be wrong?

  • TonusOH

    The two-witness rule is supposed to apply to deliberations and actions taken by elders regarding accusations of wrongdoing and investigations of 'sinful behavior.' That should not stop anyone from contacting the police if there is an accusation of a crime, especially something as important as child abuse. It should not stop elders from encouraging the rank and file to report a crime to the police, regardless of whether the elders can or cannot get involved. The idea that the police should not be contacted unless there are two witnesses to a crime makes no sense. It is not a legal requirement. It is not a typical behavior in a community.

  • Journeyman
    The law on blood is only found in Genesis 9:4.

    This is false. That is where it originates, but the prohibition regarding misuse of blood is emphasised again at Leviticus 17:10 and restated as applying to Christians at Acts 15:20.

    However, it is true that it says nothing specifically on the medical infusion of blood with the intent of saving life, since such a thing was unknown then. There are arguments for and against. My personal view is that it should be fully a "conscience matter", ie: though it's right to teach that blood is sacred and God warns against its misuse, it should be down to the conscience of each Christian to decide for themself if this includes refusing blood products for medical purposes or not, since we cannot know for sure one way or the other.

    Disfellowshipping in the sense of expelling someone from religious association for violating rules or standards is entirely scriptural (and most religious groups practice it to some degree). However, shunning as practiced to the extent it is by the org goes beyond what the Bible states for Christians.

    Although 2 John 10 says not to welcome such a person into the home or say a greeting to them, this is clearly about people from outside the household, and is offset in the case of family household members by the many scriptures showing one should take care of one's family and show them love, including "non-believing" members. So it is clear that while an 'outsider' to the family household should not be welcomed if they have rejected the faith, in the case of a disfellowshipped close family member, normal everyday family association should be continued, just not sharing in worship. Telling your teenaged children to get out of the family home just because they no longer want to be a JW, for example, isn't supported by scripture. (And of course, isn't loving or merciful. In the example of the Prodigal son which the org loves to use, there is no evidence the father wanted the son to go, rather, the son chose to leave, and in fact the father was keen - desperate even - to have the son back.)

    Jesus himself sometimes spent time with individuals - human and spirit - who were "apostate" and enemies, such as the Pharisees and even the Devil. He did not completely shun them. However, his communication with them was only what was necessary to teach or provide examples, not for lengthy recreation or to share in religious activity with them.

    The two witness rule is understandable to reduce the danger of miscarriage of justice, but I don't see why it cannot be expanded to include science. Forensic science and CCTV imagery should be able to count as "witnesses" too. Therefore, if there is clear forensic evidence of a person's guilt, and/or recorded footage of an incident it should be possible to take these into account.

    Coupled with the alleged victim's testimony, this should be enough to count as "two witnesses". It wouldn't resolve all the difficult cases, but it would help with at least some, and it might encourage elders to cooperate with police and other law enforcement agencies more.

    The idea that the police should not be contacted unless there are two witnesses to a crime makes no sense.

    I agree. The two witness rule is for internal spiritual decision-making.
    Scripturally, elders and all in the congregation have a responsibility to obey and support the "superior authorities" where their laws do not conflict with God's. Clearly, investigating an allegation of rape or other sexual abuse (or any other alleged violent crime) is NOT in conflict with God's law, therefore the congregation should cooperate with the authorities.

  • Rattigan350

    "That is where it originates, but the prohibition regarding misuse of blood is emphasised again at Leviticus 17:10 and restated as applying to Christians at Acts 15:20."

    The Levitcus law was repealed so what was restated in Acts 15 was the Gen 9:4 law. It is not misuse of blood. What is prohibited is the eating and drinking of it.

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