I'd report THAT to the police, but not THIS...

by Northern Star 21 Replies latest jw experiences

  • Northern Star
    Northern Star


    I am new to the boards, so a little background info may be a good idea? Also, I'm not quite sure which sub-forum to post this to...

    I am a non-believer. I have a typical religious background for my country; grew up with Lutheran Christianity (which was our state religion up until 2012; we now have a secular constitution). My involvement with religion was also quite typical for my country; you may go to Sunday school as kid, up until the age of about 10, and after that religion only lingers in the background, unless you actively seek it out One would typically only go to church for weddings or funerals. In my immediate family I had/have (some have died) Lutheran priests, so I guess our family was a bit more involved than most, but religion still has not been a big part of my life.

    Religion has however been an interest of mine for a number of years, so much so that I have a university degree in what most English speakers would recognize as “religious studies”. This basically means that I have knowledge on an introductory level of most main world religions. Once I got passed the introductory courses, my main focus has been older Judaism, and the religion(s) of ancient Mesopotamia – but I’ve also taken an interest in American Evangelicals, specifically the Young Earth Creationists.


    Some months ago, a (married) JW couple knocked on my door. I explained my background, and agreed to “study” with them, making it clear that my interest would be academic, not “spiritual”. I also made it clear that I would be looking up information about their organization outside of what they would be telling me.

    Since them I’ve met with them once a week, for a 4-5 hour “study” – or as they call it, a “discussion”.

    When I initially sat down to write this post, I was going to lump everything I’ve observed into this one post, but I think perhaps I will split it into several topics, as I do not know what/how many feedback I will receive.

    So, here goes the first one:

    I discussed with this JW couple the hearing in Australia, on the handling of child sexual abuse. I listened/watched the entire 8-day hearing twice, and of course had some questions afterwards. I was told that in the congregation that this particular couple belongs to, they would ALWAYS report suspected sexual abuse to the police. Always, no exceptions. In fact, ANY crime would be reported to the police, they assured me.

    About two weeks later, we were discussing murder. I was told that they would NOT report a murder to the police, even if they witnessed it themselves. The rational, as I understood it, was that the murderer should (and would) be encouraged to go to the police, but that if the murderer himself would not talk to the police, they would not pursue the matter further.

    You may understand my confusion… they will ALWAYS report crimes to the police, but they will not report a murder…? I do not understand the logic behind that. Something clearly does not add up. “Cognitive dissonance” came to mind…

    I would very much appreciate any thoughts, comments, and feedback on this. Thanks in advance!

  • TheWonderofYou

    Could be, they may have been spoken with you about a fictive case where even the murder or raper would have been given a chance to repent in a group internal so called " judicial committee " before they report the incident to police at all or they may have thought of a case were it turns out that a person was a murder in the past and what would be done then. Lately the law office decides. It seems that cases are handled with big mery within the group sometimes, everything according to the "Sheperd the Flock" Book, where all cases and instructions are written down.

    That even if 2 witnesses saw the accident it would not be reported instandly to police, shows how mislead the group members are. JW have permanent fear to do something false, even in case of witnessing crime, rape. There is a complete fear to go to the police before asking the elders, ignorance ("perhaps reporting to police is something that jehovahs displeases, then better no") what means civil courage and what are elders duties. The only thing they shall obey is that everything has to be asked the elders and reported only to the elders, who than may report to the JW-attorneys. The elders are acting according to their instruction from the law office, a private entanglement or engagment is avoided.

    The JW system is self-interested and self-concentrated, the own group security is in first place, even in such cases. they protect themselves but not possible future victims in the civil society. (This is solely my private impression). Once a elder told me that in case of a thief he has reported personally to the police but that was long ago.

  • Alive!

    I'd suggest this - when you bought up the child abuse issues and the ARC etc at your 'discussion' meeting - the JWs leading the study would have moved into full protection mode with an 'interested' individual - they would have told you what any decent human being would expect - that is any crime (child abuse included) would be reported to the authorities -" NO QUESTION about that!!" They would have assured you.

    A few weeks later they are explaining the scriptures from an indoctrinated witness viewpoint - and would have possibly been thinking of the "not taking a brother to court' scripture .

    It's interesting - but they work hard to 'cover' the interpretation flaws and firefight potential damage (as in limiting shock or disapproval from an interested person) - whilst still eventually having to work with off the wall bible understanding and explain THAT.

    Ive been present when pioneers have said some very odd things which I knew 'hid the truth' - in order not to put off the listener.

  • Bugbear

    Hello Northern Star! And welcome to this forum.

    It looks like we are living in neighboring countries. 40 years ago I started to study with the JW. At the time I was totally ignorant in religious matters (and Philosophical questions) , so I became a JW. Even un elder by the time. I always had my doubts and a lot of unsatisfied/unanswered questions. 20 years ago a started to fade, and got a new chance to study. I started my studies in a university. My subjects were History of Ideas and science, History, and Theoretical Philosophy.

    Today I am a total convinced atheist…… But I still have one family member who is “in” the cult. This is why I can understand you confusion about the two witnesses and their obvious “cognitive dissonance “. They will not or cannot tell you all facts at once. Some of them does not even know themselves what the soc. want them to say. The most important for them is to continue their “study hours”, so that the will remain in good standing within their congregation.

    I think you have a good opportunity to wake them up, asking questions on the subject about The flood, ancient tribes, how long have humans existed on earth, the nature of their cruel God…a.s.v.

    Good luck


  • Saintbertholdt

    Hi there Northern Star, you wrote:

    "...but that if the murderer himself would not talk to the police, they would not pursue the matter further... Cognitive dissonance” came to mind..."

    Did they give any sort of rationale for their conclusions because they're not just experiencing cognitive dissonance, they're experiencing cognitive disintegration.


    Here's a simple question for them: Do they pay taxes?

    If they answer in the affirmative ask them why do they pay taxes? What is the scriptural basis?

    Now every government on this planet today requires that citizens HAVE to report a matter if they have witnessed a crime or are aware of an unreported crime. It is a part of each citizens civic duty. IT IS MANDATORY, just like taxes.


    The rule for any sane human being regardless of faith should be the following: Its not just a sin its a felony.

  • LoveUniHateExams

    Welcome to the forum, Northern Star.

    I was told that they would NOT report a murder to the police, even if they witnessed it themselves - They're such charmers, aren't they? I must say I'm surprised at this. If you've seen the Australian Commission into child abuse then I'm sure you're familiar with the two-witness rule. The JWs use this to let child abuse slide.

    Didn't know that they'd do the same for murder.

  • TheWonderofYou

    Makes the impression they only wanna be responsible for "spiritual councel" for the murder or rapist, investigation of the conscience (only pastoral care and nothing more)

    Every other civil duty like reporting to police is irritating them and they avoid it if possible (to protect the good name), they see the civil duty to report a crime as private duty of the victim or the worldly part (not-JW witnesses) who is aware. They only report as organisation to police something if it is mandatory and therefore not avoidable in a state. Thats the impression and i think so its done. Elders are officers of With the rapist database they only protect themselves but not the outsiders of a possible agitator. Some of the rapists are brutal and dangerous not all of course. But the silence is not good.

    From the pastoral care they would like to pick out only the best part - the official discretion, as if pastoral care would not mean reporting.

  • Northern Star
    Northern Star


    Althought the JW couple I’m in contact with never mentioned the internal Judicial Committee, I was aware of its existense. In this specific instance, I asked them about a hypotheical case in where they, with their own eyes, saw their JW son-in-law murder their JW daughter.

    Self-interested and self-concentrated is the impression I have as well, in addition to inhumane and totally out of sync with normal human reaction.



    when you bought up the child abuse issues and the ARC etc at your 'discussion' meeting - the JWs leading the study would have moved into full protection mode with an 'interested' individual - they would have told you what any decent human being would expect

    That is the impression I had, too. Not initially, when they said they’d report ANY crime (which I found strange, as they quite obviously did NOT do so in Australia), but when we later discussed the hypothetical case of them witnessing a murder, I certainly thought to myself that this may be a case of “saying what someone wants to hear”, rather than telling the truth.



    Thank you for the welcome.

    I’m sorry to learn that you have a family member still in the cult (I agree with you that “cult” is a good description).

    The husband of the couple I’m in contact with has signed up for what I believe is called “Pioneer”(?). He’s supposed to do 70 hours a month. I gather the 20 or so hours a month that I’m “contributing” beats going door-to-door.

    This couple probably became JWs at about the same time you did. They got babtized in the early 70s, and have been devout members ever since.

    I’ve tried talking to them about some of the subjects you’re mentioning; the flood, how long humans have existed on earth and so on. I feel like I’m talking to a wall (and banging my head against said wall, too). It’s quite frustrating, yet also interesting to see what apologetics they come up with.



    Did they give any sort of rationale for their conclusions because they're not just experiencing cognitive dissonance, they're experiencing cognitive disintegration.

    Not in so many words, really. The two-witness-rule was mentioned, but I got the impression that the main thing for them was that the murderer should do what his concience told him to do, whether that meant reporting himself to the police or not. The tax-question is a good one, I will have to ask them about that. Thanks!



    Cute username J I loved exams… finally got to write something about subjects I was (still am) passionate about.

    I was surprised, too, I must admit. Yes, I am familiar with the two-witness-rule. The couple I’m talking to also has mentioned it, albeit just in passing. I haven’t looked deep enough into things to know whether not reporting is a misunderstanding on their part. I certainly hope they would report!

  • The Searcher
    The Searcher

    Welcome Northern Star

    The bottom line? Here's exactly what it is: be prepared to disregard any/all opinions voiced when having important questions answered, because,

    a) many J.W'.s either aren't aware of the Org's official response,

    b) they will want to tell you what they think you'll want to hear - in order to keep you on board, or

    c) their thinking on certain topics doesn't agree with the Org's.

    As an elder said to me yesterday regarding J.W. topics on the internet, "I get it straight from the horse's mouth, by going to the Org's own website." He even went so far as to say that his body of elders will automatically tell someone to report a paedophile to the police - but would also ask Bethel for advice!

    My response was to tell him that the Org will not tell him everything he has a right to know about, such as millions of dollars being handed out to paedophile victims, the A.R.C., etc.

    A J.W.'s personal thoughts are neither here nor there - telephone the Branch Office/search the WT CD ROM, and get the official answers to your questions, then confront your study conductors with the real facts.

    J.W.'s are generally Org-deluded or self-deluded - or both. Whatever the case, they accept it unquestioningly.

  • NeverKnew

    Welcome, Northern Star

    I am not and have never been a JW. For reasons that included a loved one, I began a "study" with an elder about a year ago. Like you, I made it clear that my goal was to be educated with respect to JWism - not to convert. After some time, the elder realized I knew more than a person whose door was knocked on and opened up in some areas of information. Like yours, my conversations would last 4-5 hours a week. There were a variety of emotions that were experienced - more for him than myself.

    I love what you're doing. I wish more non-JWs knew about this insidious cult. If you want this to continue, I have one recommendation: SOLIDIFY A RELATIONSHIP or they'll bolt - especially if they can control whether the meeting happens or not as you have to expect them at YOUR house. Make snacks so that they know you put work into their presence. Right now, killing 4-5 hours at one location is a gold mine for them. They won't want to lose you but they will discard you like a ladies monthly item if too many of your questions start to come off as anti-Watchtower.

    J.W.'s are generally Org-deluded or self-deluded - or both. - The Searcher

    Sadly, this about sums it up - the difference is one has no self-confidence and the other has too much.

    I will be watching your posts carefully to see if you reach the same conclusions I've reached. :)

    Good luck and good to have you here!

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