Nordic, Thank you for posting that great Newsletter from SilentLambs.org!
Quote from that Newsletter:
Most of this information was to establish why wt felt they had to right to maintain confidentiality when criminal acts are committed. It also was enlarged to cover even if the victim wished the information to be known the rights of the criminal must be protected with confidentiality leaving the victim with no cooperation. Brother Breaux also got nailed on a couple of his scriptures. In Proverbs 25:9 he had to admit that there no mention of elders being required to keep matters confidential even though he made that application, but that it was their religious interpretation of the passage. It’s kind of like saying, “It is this way because we said so.”
Those Elders and Bethel Crew and Watchtower Lawyers are trying to claim that the Bible says Elders MUST KEEP CRIMES CONFIDENTIAL NO MATTER WHAT!
However, they absolutely cannot prove that using any Scripture, and ALSO, that contradicts what Mario Moreno himself has told the Media in the past. Notice the following Newspaper Quotes:
"If there is a law that mandates reporting, that takes precedent over any confidentiality, whether in church policy or statute," said Mario Moreno, associate general counsel for the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, a legal corporation of the church. (Quote from "Louisville Courier-Journal" (Kentucky) Newspaper, January 4, 2001)
Now, if Confidentiality of Crimes is such an extremely important "Commandment of God" for the Elders, then why do they break their Confidentiality in States that require them to Report to the Police?
Also, notice the following Scripture (New World Translation):
1st Corinthians 5:1-5: Actually fornication is reported among YOU, and such fornication as is not even among the nations, that a wife a certain [man] has of [his] father. And are YOU puffed up, and did YOU not rather mourn, in order that the man that committed this deed should be taken away from YOUR midst? I for one, although absent in body but present in spirit, have certainly judged already, as if I were present, the man who has worked in such a way as this, that in the name of our Lord Jesus, when YOU are gathered together, also my spirit with the power of our Lord Jesus, YOU hand such a man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, in order that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
Notice, the Apostle Paul told the ENTIRE CONGREGATION what this man's sins were! Paul did not care at all about keeping his sins "Confidential".
Paul even included this man's sins in the Bible, to be read by BILLIONS of people for THOUSANDS of years!
It does not sound like Paul was worried about gross sinners' "Confidentiality" to me.
Also, notice the following Scripture (New World Translation):
Galatians 2:11-14: However, when Ce´phas came to Antioch, I resisted him face to face, because he stood condemned. For before the arrival of certain men from James, he used to eat with people of the nations; but when they arrived, he went withdrawing and separating himself, in fear of those of the circumcised class. The rest of the Jews also joined him in putting on this pretense, so that even Bar´na·bas was led along with them in their pretense. But when I saw they were not walking straight according to the truth of the good news, I said to Ce´phas before them all: "If you, though you are a Jew, live as the nations do, and not as Jews do, how is it that you are compelling people of the nations to live according to Jewish practice?"
Notice: Paul reproved and corrected Cephas (Peter) in front of the ENTIRE CONGREGATION!
There were no "Confidential Judicial Hearings", that's for sure.
However, below are some Watchtower Quotes, in which they claim the Bible says they MUST KEEP CRIMES CONFIDENTIAL:
"God’s Word does not charge the Christian congregation, through its overseers, with the obligation to become acquainted with all the details of civil and criminal law so as to enforce these. We can see this in how Paul handled the case of Onesimus. ... In Rome as a runaway slave (Latin, fugitivus) Onesimus came in contact with Paul, became a Christian and ministered to Paul. ... Take note that while Onesimus was in Rome the apostle Paul did not hand him over to the Roman authorities for punishment as a fugitive slave and possibly a thief. We know from his writings that Paul believed that a Christian should obey the law of the land, but plainly he did not consider it the congregation’s duty to serve as an arm of the government in policing individuals’ lives. Also, we can observe that Onesimus’ situation was not treated as a barrier to his getting baptized. ... The Christian congregation today follows a course harmonious with this Biblical pattern. ... each individual, Christian or not, is personally responsible as to whether he complies with civil laws." (Quotes from The Watchtower, March 15th 1977 Issue, Pages 191-192)
"...the Christian Greek Scriptures do not indicate that God requires a person to undo all his past sins or crimes before he can be baptized. This is illustrated in the case of Onesimus, mentioned in the Bible book of Philemon. He had been a slave in Colossae, but he fled. That was a criminal offense, making him a runaway slave (Latin, fugitivus). Also, some feel that Onesimus may have robbed his master so as to be able to flee to distant Italy. In Rome he came into association with the apostle Paul and became a baptized Christian. Paul did not demand that before Onesimus could get baptized he had to turn himself over to the authorities for criminal punishment ... Similarly, a person who accepts the Bible’s message today may have formerly committed some crime, even being wanted for it, being a fugitive. The Bible shows that he must ‘repent and turn around so as to get his sins blotted out.’ (Acts 3:19) That obviously means that he must absolutely abandon his former sinful, criminal course. ... the crime may be something that he has no way of reversing. He might have caused someone’s death. Conscience-stricken though he be, he cannot bring that life back-only Jehovah can. (John 5:28, 29) But even though he cannot reverse the past, he should throw himself on God’s mercy and seek forgiveness based on Jesus’ sacrifice. ... Any fair, thoughtful person can see the high moral standards of those in the Christian congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses." (Quotes from The Watchtower, September 15th 1978 Issue, Pages 30-31)
"...God did not require congregation elders to enforce Caesar’s laws and codes. Hence, Paul did not feel compelled to turn over to Roman authorities Onesimus, who was a fugitive under Roman law. (Philemon 10, 15) Of course, if someone flagrantly violates secular law, gaining the reputation of being a lawbreaker, he would not be a good example and might even be disfellowshipped. (1 Timothy 3:2, 7, 10) If lawbreaking was involved in causing another’s death, bloodguilt requiring congregation investigation might result." (Quote from The Watchtower, October 1st 1986 Issue, Page 31)
"We received your letter of December 17 in which you inquire about handling a situation involving a brother who has been guilty of serious violations of the law in the past. You explained that you have received information indicating that this brother "committed several murders and crimes before his baptism." You ask if "Florida law obligates some action on our part. Florida law enforcement authorities have no knowledge of this matter." As elders, you have no obligation to reveal information of this type to the authorities. Any information that you have obtained while fulfilling your duties as elders is strictly confidential. What he does about paying his debt to Society is largely up to him and his conscience. Since he is apparently a fugitive from the law, he obviously would not qualify for any extra privileges or service in the congregation. ... As we believe you understand, it is imperative that the elders maintain strict confidentiality about his past. If the elders inadvertently reveal his past wrongdoing, undoubtedly it will result in major repercussions to him and his wife. So, handling this case calls for good judgment and discernment. We trust you brothers can handle things appropriately. Write to us again if you need further direction." (Quotes from an Official Watchtower Bible and Tract Society Letter sent to Elders on December 24, 1992)
Thanks to everyone for posting all the information on this very, very good Thread!
"It may be possible that some who were guilty of child molestation were or are now serving as elders, ministerial servants, or regular or special pioneers. Others may have been guilty of child molestation before they were baptized. The bodies of elders should not query individuals. However, the body of elders should discuss this matter and give the Society a report on anyone who is currently serving or who formerly served in a Society-appointed position in your congregation who is known to have been guilty of child molestation in the past. In your report please answer the following questions: How long ago did he commit the sin? What was his age at the time? What was the age of his victim(s)? Was it a one-time occurrence or a practice? If it was a practice, to what extent? How is he viewed in the community and by the authorities? Has he lived down any notoriety in the community? Are members of the congregation aware of what took place? How do they and/or his victim(s) view him? Has he ever been disfellowshipped, reproved, counseled, or otherwise dealt with? If he has moved to another congregation, please identify the congregation to which he has moved. Was that congregation advised of his past conduct of child molestation, and, if so, when? [If you have not advised them, this should be done now, and you should send a copy of your letter to the Society in a "Special Blue" envelope.] This information should be sent to the Society along with any other observations that the body of elders has. Please send this to the Society in the "Special Blue" envelope so that the factors involved may be given due consideration; this information is not to be made available to those not involved. ... A meeting of the body of elders should be arranged to read and discuss this letter together. This letter is confidential and should not be copied but should be kept in the congregation's confidential file. Elders should not discuss this information with others." (Quotes from Confidential "Body Of Elders" Letter sent from the Watchtower Society to All Bodies of Elders in the United States, March 14, 1997)