Greenlees & Chitty -- Some Sources

by AlanF 98 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • AlanF

    In response to requests for information on the alleged homosexuality of former GB member Ewart Chitty and the alleged pedophilia of former GB member Leo K. Greenlees, I’m posting some information I’ve gleaned from various sources over the years.

    I have no doubt that some JW apologists will scream bloody murder about this stuff. “It’s all just unverified rumor and you can’t prove anything!” they’ll say. Well, I’ve verified the basic fact that Chitty was dismissed from the GB for homosexual tendencies, and that Greenlees was dismissed for child molestion, through several former Bethelites who had close friendships with GB members and other high WTS officials. I've also spoken to certain other WTS personnel who I knew were in a position to know about Greenlees, and they refused to deny my descriptions of what I think I know about Greenlees' molesting. In order to protect identities, I won’t say who they are, but their testimony satisfies me. When I told one of these people several years ago that information about Greenlees was being published on the Net, his comment was along the lines of, “Well good! It’s about time the truth about him is being made public.”

    For those inclined to discount the following information, keep in mind that the evidence, while third-hand or circumstantial, is from a number of independent sources, and to an objective observer has the ring of truth. Also keep in mind that GB members don’t just up and resign – they have to be forced out. Note how Greenlees for instance, just disappeared from mention in WTS literature after 1984, and a January 1, 1986 WT article (p. 13), soon enough after that to be extremely suggestive, commented that: "Shocking as it is, even some who have been prominent in Jehovah's organization have succumbed to immoral practices, including homosexuality, wife swapping, and child molesting."

    If someone calls Brooklyn Bethel and asks the Public Affairs Office about Chitty or Greenlees, it’s likely that the response will be, “We cannot comment on such personal matters.” However, if one were to make inquiry about someone who has never been accused of such bad conduct, and who is unlikely to be so tainted because of their general reputation, the PA Office’s response would be outright denial. It would be instructive for several people to try this and report back.

    Of course, anyone with close ties to high WTS officials in Brooklyn can discreetly inquire; I’m sure the responses would either confirm or not deny the charges against Chitty and Greenlees. However, I don’t expect that anyone with such connections would report the result on this forum.

    Ewart C. Chitty

    Governing Body member Ewart Chitty (born ca. 1898) resigned his position in 1979. He entered the London Bethel in 1921, began to work in "the office", and by 1938 held some sort of official position, as two 1938 Watchtowers have him reporting to J. F. Rutherford on the attendance of Bethel family members at the "family" study. By 1942 Chitty was the secretary of the International Bible Students Association (IBSA; the Society's British equivalent of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.). Somewhere along the line he was appointed as secretary-treasurer of the IBSA, which position he held until his appointment to the Governing Body in November 1974. After his 1979 resignation from the GB, Chitty remained in Brooklyn working in Writing Correspondence, so he was certainly in good standing. A 1981 Awake! article has Chitty making comments about people having lost their love of neighbor and God. Apparently by this time Chitty was drinking heavily, according to close acquaintances. Likely this contributed to his being dismissed from Brooklyn and reassigned to the London Bethel a few years later. There he worked at an assignment of little responsibility, but was appointed an elder in a local congregation. Chitty died about 1993.

    As to Chitty's alleged homosexuality, the information I have is mixed. He certainly made some remarks in his 1963 life story in The Watchtower that leaned in this direction. By then he had roomed with the same man for 30 years and just about gushed when speaking about him. See the email comments below for one Brit's take on this. When in Brooklyn, Chitty seems to have preferred younger men as roommates. The actual charge brought to the GB against Chitty was made by a former roommate and involved some sort of inappropriate conduct. The GB concluded that Chitty had homosexual tendencies, whatever that means, and asked him to resign. Chitty could hardly do anything but comply with the rest of the GB's wishes, since his only alternative would have been to leave Bethel at age 81 and after being there for 58 years. It may well be that the GB didn't view Chitty as guilty of homosexual activity, since he remained a Bethel member in Brooklyn or London, but it may also be that they made a deal: Chitty would remain quiet about where "the dead bodies" were buried as long as the Society cared for him in his old age. Sounds like a good deal to me.

    Leo K. Greenlees

    Governing Body member Leo K. Greenlees was forced to resign and leave Bethel in late 1984. He entered the Toronto, Canada Bethel in 1936, eventually becoming treasurer of the Canadian branch and of the IBSA of Canada. In 1964 he went to Brooklyn Bethel, and in 1965 was elected as a director of the Society's New York corporation. As a director Greenlees automatically became a "governing body" member when that body was formally instituted in 1971. He often spoke at Gilead graduations, and was the concluding speaker for the day at the Watchtower Centennial business meeting at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on October 6, 1984. A 1982 Watchtower mentions him as being on the Teaching Committee of the Governing Body. Greenlees' last mention in Watchtower publications is in the December 1, 1984 Watchtower where he is said to have passed out diplomas at the September Gilead graduation.

    In late 1984, Greenlees was allegedly convicted by the rest of the Governing Body of molesting a ten year old boy. My information is that the boy's parents had complained to the Society and it took action. Greenlees was a friend of the family and often visited them. After leaving Bethel Greenlees served as a Special Pioneer and eventually an elder in the "Downtown" congregation in New Orleans, Louisiana. He died in the late 1980s.

    Interestingly, the boy who Greenlees molested applied for Bethel service a few years later, around 1991, and was rejected. Watchtower leaders apparently feared that other Bethelites would tell him the 'rumors' about Greenlees, not knowing that he was Greenlees' victim, and cause the young man to know that justice had not been done. He might then have confirmed the rumors.


    Sources for the above information include my personal conversations with current and former Bethelites, private emails, publicly posted information and comments, and Watchtower literature. Those who have revealed information to me privately will remain anonymous until they want to go public themselves.

    Below I'm presenting some of the publicly posted comments, or ones that I've been authorized to make public. Some of the comments contain incorrect information, which, given the above, the reader will easily spot. I will also make some clarifying comments along the way.

    Private email:
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    From: "pbonanno" < [email protected]>
    To: < [email protected]>
    Subject: Re: Leo K. Greenlees
    Date sent: Thu, 25 Jan 2001 22:02:24 -0400

    Hi Alan,

    In one of your posting regarding Leo K. Greenlees you said:"the boy who Greenlees molested applied for Bethel Service a few years later, around 1991, and was rejected." What is the source for the above, and do you have his e-mail?

    In the early 1980's Leo K. Greenlees visited Malta with Brodie or Broody (from the Canadian Branch) on a Zone visit. After his talk Greenlees came at the back of the Kingdom Hall near the library were my brother and myself were. (early in our teens) While talking with us he started rubbing his hands on our back, then he asked us to accompany him to his car, but my father happened to come. At that time for us it was a special privilege that a GB member gave us that personal attention. Today we know why.

    Yours, Paul Bonanno
    You could print what I said. Including my name and e-mail: [email protected]
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    Posted on an email message board:
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    From [email protected] Wed Dec 28 11:28:37 1994
    Date: Wed, 28 Dec 1994 14:22:05 -0500
    To: [email protected], [email protected]
    Subject: Re: Joey the Scoop Stikes Again!

    To the Pooper Scooper,

    Since the subject came up, I will add my $.02 to it.

    My dad and my brother used the same JW accountant. This witness had Bro. Greenlees <sp?> over. He mentioned that Greenlees had an interest in his son (about 7) and after leaving the room for awhile he came back and found Greenlees's hand on his son's thigh (his son was wearing shorts). The witness freaked out (and to this day believes that Greenlees is a child molester). Although he did not touch the boy's genitals, he certainly acted improperly.

    Second story, after Greenlees resigned the GB he came to the Airport were the above mentioned witness lived. He called the witness to pick him up (my brother was there at the time getting hie taxes done), and the witness lied and told him he couldn't. He then told my brother "I wouldn't do anything for that son of a bitch". So my brother, who was struggling to stay a JW decided to pick him up at the airport. In the two hour car ride my brother shared his problems: chronlogy, 1914, Christ's mediatorship, ect. Greenlees listened and nodded in agreement. In the end (no pun intended), Greenlees told my brother "Yes, but remember where you learned the truth."

    Third and final Greenlees story. This came from a former JW lady I met at a support group meeting. One time when Greenlees was still on the GB, he was staying at her house. They had a piano and were playing songs, when Greenlees asked her "Do you know Ave Maria?" She said "Isn't that a Catholic song?" He replied "Well you don't have to sing the words. But the music is pretty." She, to say the least was stunned.

    Thats what I know, and now you know what I know, you know?

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    Posted on a message board:
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    **Active gays in GB-to be envied
    Posted by M.E. on June 21, 1997 at 05:12:57:
    In Reply to: *Active gays in GB-to be envied posted by AF on June 20, 1997 at 10:56:13:

    Hi Alan,

    Actually, Leo was not disfellowshipped at all. He was removed from the GB and made a 'Special Pioneer'. I know this from a Bethelite that stated to my brother "They (the GB) made him (Greenlees) a special pioneer, can you believe that!" (This Bethelite is still at Bethel, as far as I am aware.)

    Also, my brother picked up Leo from the Tampa airport after he was removed (he had friends or relatives in the area). The brother that was supposed to pick him up decided just to leave him at the airport because his young son was one of the boys Leo touched (he caught him rubbing his sons upper thigh, while is not illegal, it is certainly improper behavior of an adult to child and could show that Leo had some questionable sexual desires).

    One final Leo story. On the way from Tampa to his destination, my brother had a long conversation with Leo. He talked about 607, 1975, Mexico, baptism question changes, ect. The whole time Leo just shook his head in agreement. But just as he was getting out of the car, he said, "You're right, Brother. But, don't forget where you learned the truth."

    If his words represent the feelings of others on the GB, then there is almost no chance for reform. Because, even if we're wrong about everything, we still are the only ones teaching the truth.

    Its all too Orwellian for me.

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    Posted on an email message board:
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    From [email protected] Sat Dec 31 18:35:38 1994
    Date: Sat, 31 Dec 1994 21:33:57 -0500
    From: [email protected] (Joseph M Stagnitto)
    To: [email protected]
    Subject: new stuff

    Hello y'all:

    With regards to the homosexuality issue of former Governing Body member Leo Greenlees and Ed Chitty. Today I spoke to the former personal secretary to the late Fred Franz. His name is Roger Scott. I believe that our online friend Bob Gray had seen this person accompanying Franz on his trips. Roger confirmed these rumors as fact. One of his responsibilities was to type up the minutes of the Governing Body secret sessions. Unfortunately, he did not make copies of some of the real GB dirt.

    The parts about Chitty's "gay" issue, however, were not included in the minutes but were typed up on a sheet of paper and inserted into a sealed envelope (which paper he typed) and this was attached to the minutes of that particular meeting. One thing that few people outside of Bethel knew was the fact that former GBer Chitty was also a notorious alcoholic. This fact EVERYONE at Bethel was aware of.

    I have asked Roger (disfellowshiped for nearly 10 years now) if he is willing to put a book together to describe his experience as Franz's secretary and administrative assistant to the Governing Body of the late '70s/early-mid '80s. He has been toying with the idea. We will see what happens. Since his departure he has become agnostic in his theological outlook.
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    I did some checking on Roger Scott. He apparently worked in the "Factory Office" which was a department run directly by Bethel Factory Overseer Max Larson. Larson seems to have used it to screen young men for positions of further responsibility. It often occurred that young men were "promoted" from "factory dispatch" (apparently a sub-group based in the 117 Adams Street building) to the executive offices down the street in the 25 Columbia Heights main executive building where the Governing Body offices are located. Young men in "dispatch" were known to be on the road to greater responsibility. Thus it appears that Scott had a position of great responsibility -- guarding the valuable person of Fred Franz. It is well known that trusted young Bethel men were assigned to help him get around, just as they have long been assigned to help the older ones. By 1984 Fred Franz was accompanied by some young man wherever he went. One of my sources confirmed this and said that he always saw someone, usually the same young man, escorting Franz around. I observed Karl Klein, who could barely walk, being escorted onto a bus in 1998. So if Scott were trusted with guarding Fred, he would have to be trusted with all sorts of confidential personal information, perhaps including typing up minutes of GB meetings for him. At this time I have been unable to find Scott so as to confirm the above information firsthand.

    Posted to an email message board:
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    From [email protected] Thu Jan 26 20:31:19 1995
    Date: 26 Jan 95 23:13:22 EST
    To: < [email protected]>
    Subject: Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang

    Hi folks,

    Back on that old topic (and sorry, I couldn't resist Jo's nickname for him) of Ewart Chitty and Leo Gay Greenlees.

    I checked his life story in the Feb 15, 1963 WT, and really there were enough clues to guess what was going on; I couldn't find his chum Clay's story, which is no longer indexed. It also bears on the current scandal of the $50m country retreat for the elite at Patterson.

    We start with what seems a recurrent nightmare of disclosure ...

    "Truly I can say that this has been the practical means time and time again that has caused the curtain never to drop in heavy folds about me, but to rise ever higher on new delightful vistas"

    Then comes the queer, in both senses, sentence:

    "With an older brother and boy friend I attended some talks..."

    In British usage, men have friends and women have boy friends.

    "Then, too, in Bethel itself there is the opportunity of entering into a real friendship."

    So it seems

    "Maybe, like myself, some persons have what is considered the customary British reserve and are not always easy to get to know, but I can definetly say that staying in the homes of the brothers, or in a Bethel home under such an organizational arrangement, makes these realtionships possible, that besides being very pleasurable, can prove to be a source of strength, helping one to keep a good balance in difficult times."

    Just how pleasurable did it get?

    "What a pleasurable position in which to be."

    Ahem, moving on...

    "If I had been told in the early 1920s that in forty years time I would be living and serving in a fine and spacious new Bethel home, well, I might have laughed as Abraham and Sarah did when told what seemed impossible. I am still working in the office, but what an office! We have a large office with windows all along one side giving a view of a wide expanse of sky and trees, with a grand old cedar close by. What a pleasant place in which to work! As our zone servant, Bro Hoffman,said to me not long ago: 'It is like living in a restored paradise.'"

    Seems some folk have already built their little paradises on earth, and in a flagrant show of materialism are busy building another.

    Now in the spot usually reserved in these selfhagiographies for putting in a word of thanks for one's wife's loyal support:

    "Then, too, I have had the same friend and roommate for the past thirty years or more, Brother Edgar Clay, whose life story you may have already read; but now we share a lovely room, a most pleasant home with a fine view facing south, and an extra window looking out to rising fields and trees and the setting sun in all its glory."

    How gushing and poetic he can be when Edgar dearie is around!

    He concludes by having the gall to quote the rampantly heterosexual David,

    "the measuring lines themselves have fallen for me in pleasant places."

    I was surprised at the original revelations about his sexual orientation, but on reading his life story, I was much more shocked by the materialistic outlook from the inside of the governing body - the focus of size of office and quality of room. Not really surprising that so much money is being spent on Patterson - still , the proles can join the members of the public staying at the Patterson Inn hotel and live for a weekend in paradise on earth.

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    Posted to an email message board:
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    From [email protected] Tue Mar 21 07:14:18 1995
    Date: Tue, 21 Mar 1995 16:13:15 +0100
    Subject: Re: disfellowshipping

    > >BTW, is there any truth to the rumor that 2 GB members were gay?

    Interestingly, while Chitty had a short message in the 1980 Yearbook (p258) that he resigned, Greenlees suddenly disappeared completely from the WTS texts without no indication of reason. w84 12/1 p 28 is last mention of him (Leo is chairman is Gilead graduation; there are 3 mentions of him this year, and he is chairman in two of the events!). The _Proclaimers_ book pretends he never existed (But it refers to "Greenlees, Alfred and Minnie: 411-12"; are they related?).

    A strange thing to happen to a GB member, isn't it? Orwellian indeed...

    Then, in w86 1/1 p 13 it says: "Shocking as it is, even some who have been prominent in Jehovah's organization have succumbed to immoral practices, including homosexuality, wife swapping, and child molesting." Hmm.

    Of course, "somebody" started at the same time the rumour that Ray Franz was gay, and many JWs thought this was the reason for his dismissal and later DFing. Too bad the elder tribunal issued letters of df'ing in those days, outlining the reasons.

    All the best,
    - Jan
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    Posted recently to the H2O message board:
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    Posted by bigboi [bigboi] on February 01, 2001 at 11:22:45 {shHHV5PurskTqda5sDRoFRDCNwUcB2}:
    In Reply to: Poor Leo & Ewart posted by Elrond on February 27, 2000 at 16:17:32:

    I know this is a bit late but i hope this helps anyway Elrond. It seems that after Greenlees was ousted from Bethel he served in a small congregation in New Orleans, LA. It was named the Downtown congregation. I remember the friends talking about him, mentioning things about how he used to be a member of the GB and so forth. I even remember the former P.O. of the congregation mentioning that he had be re-appointed as an elder shortly before he died. I don't know when he died. But an interesting point may be made that most of the friends in that congregation that knew him were under the impression that he was a repentant follower of Franz and not a homosexual.
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    Recently posted on this forum ( by SanFranciscoJim. The information is from Larry Dunn, who has posted publicly on this subject several times in years past. See below for similar comments from years ago.
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    Here is an account of Leo Greenlees written by someone who knew him personally. I also personally know the author of this article and have every reason to believe it is 100% true.
    "At one time I thought that perhaps I was the only gay Jehovah's Witness in Canada, perhaps the world. This was not unusual, as most gay/lesbian Jehovah's Witnesses feel the same way. There is a conspiracy of silence on the subject, since these things were "not to be even mentioned" by a good Christian.

    Percy Chapman and his companion Leo Greenlees were sent by Rutherford from London Bethel in 1936 to replace the rebel Canadian Branch Overseer, Walter Salter, who had started up his own group over the "elected elders" debacle. Percy was a mesmerizing public speaker of the old school (no voice amplification required) and with his Lancashire lilt of voice reminded me of Winston Churchill, flapping jowls and all. I can still remember the reverberating vibrato of his voice warning of the "vile depths of the abominations" and since I knew that homosexuality was "an abomination unto the lord" wondered if that was what he was referring to. It was not until later that I began to suspect the administration at Bethel was mainly gay.

    I remember the shock at a district assembly in 1959 at Halifax, Nova Scotia where Percy Chapman, then the branch overseer of Canada was to give the main talk. Suddenly who should appear to replace him, but Brother Knorr, the President from New York. Percy Chapman just disappeared from sight. Later we found out that Brother Knorr had removed all responsibilities from Percy but allowed him to remain at Bethel in Toronto as a janitor. The next shock was that Percy Chapman was forced to be married. Percy, following the Rutherford line, was totally anti- marriage and he made sure that none of the "Bethel boys" even contemplated the subject with very strict rules and early curfews. The only way a bethel boy could see another sister would be to go on a Bible study with her. My parents started studying in 1945 with a beautiful young pioneer sister named Joyce Randall and every week there would be a new Bethel boy accompanying her. She later was sent to Gilead and posted in Peru, totally isolated, only to be seduced by a latin lover. Of course she was disfellowshipped and sent home in disgrace. But my family did get to know a lot of Bethel boys. They were all young and handsome, hand-picked by Percy Chapman; there was even an elite group known as "Percy's boys" who would accompany him to expensive restaurants and bars and receive other favours. At the time, Bethel was on Irwin Avenue, now (although replaced by a condominium) in the centre of the gay district of Toronto. There was even a Kingdom Hall above "the Parkside", one of Toronto's few gay bars in the fifties and sixties.

    Poor Leo Greenlees, Percy's close companion for three decades even when at London Bethel, had to find himself a new room-mate. Leo was a cheerful, likable fellow, with his thick Scottish brogue and also an electrifying public speaker. He was very open about his homosexuality to those few good-looking young brothers like those he would meet at one of the summer resorts in Haliburton run by Jehovah's Witnesses (later bequeathed to the Watchtower Society). I got to know Leo a little better when he was assigned to be congregation overseer at the Kingdom Hall I attended as a teenager during the early sixties in Richmond Hill, just north of Toronto. He would bring along another bethel boy, Lorne Bridle, who was very good looking and charming. After a failed marriage to a young pioneer sister, he eventually committed suicide. I often wondered what tortured state of mind led him to that - but so often the fate of closeted gays in the Watchtower society!

    But Leo was soon to be promoted to Brooklyn Bethel, where he became the Treasurer of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society and one of the elite governing body. He managed to escape the witch-hunt at Brooklyn Bethel in the early seventies when dozens of Bethel boys were disfellowshipped after learning of their midnight trysts in the sauna in Brooklyn bethel. There was for a short period in the late sixties and early seventies a marked liberalization of attitudes among the governing body. But this suddenly ended, culminating with a power struggle and the disfellowshipping of Raymond Franz, a member of the governing body who was a free-thinker and had written the "Truth" book and chaired the writing of the almost scholarly "Aid to Bible Understanding". Both books, interestingly have joined the list of publications that you would think never existed according to the Watchtower society, although the "Truth" book had the largest printing, next to the Bible, of any book in the world.

    It was not until a few years ago that I learned Leo Greenlees had been found out and was removed from the Governing Body for being gay. The last I heard was that he was sent to San Diego where he died not too long ago. As far as I know he was never disfellowshipped, nor can I corroborate any real seductions. Another member of the GB, Chitty who was also removed from Brooklyn Bethel for the same reason and sent away to London, England, I understand."
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    Percy Chapman may well have been bisexual. An old friend of mine relates that in the late 1950s he was working at a Vancouver, B.C. district convention. During a session he unexpectedly walked into the room that was being used as the Chairman's office, where Chapman spent a lot of time. There was Chapman sitting in a chair with a young woman sitting on his lap facing him, skirt hiked up and Chapman's hands under her skirt. They jumped up and mumbled, then my friend quickly retreated. It was not long after this that Chapman was demoted by Knorr.

    Posted on a message board. This is from Larry Dunn:
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    Posted by Lodida on May 04, 1998 at 07:59:05:
    In Reply to: to J.H. posted by lori on May 03, 1998 at 23:25:35:


    A person posted this to Randy Watters yesterday. It was from a person who lived in Toronto Canada and knew Leo Greenlees. You may find this very interesting.

    "Your web page about the governing body and the crisis of 1981 was extremely interesting. Although I have not been an active JW since before 1975, I still take a keen interest in those who want to leave the Watchtower Society. I have a web page called GLOW (Gays and Lesbians Out of the Watchtower) which you are welcome to look at.

    I was raised as a Witness in Toronto in the fifties and sixties and at that time there were not that many witnesses in Toronto and you got to know the Bethel members quite well. I don't know if you know much about Toronto Bethel during that period, but it is my opinion that much of the administration there was gay. The Branch overseer until 1959 was Percy Chapman who was sent over from London Bethel in 1936 after the schism in Canada over elected elders. Along with him came his long-time room-mate and companion, Leo Greenlees. Canadian Witnesses were shocked and puzzled when Percy Chapman was forcibly removed from his position by N.H. Knorr and demoted to janitor. He was also forced to marry although his stance on marriage for Bethel members was even more damning than Rutherford's.

    I knew Leo Greenlees personally as he was for a while my Congregation "Servant" (am I dating myself?). He always brought along a handsome young man with him from Toronto Bethel (who later committed suicide after a failed marriage). When he was younger Greenlees didn't hide his homosexuality from good looking, young brothers.

    It was not until I heard rumours of Greenlees' and Chitty's forced resignations from the Governing Body for homosexuality that I knew definitely about Percy Chapman. They had been room-mates for thirty years at London and Toronto Bethels. Do you have any information about Greenlees that could corroborate my opinion? I heard he was sent to London Bethel along with E. Chitty (I don't think related to another long-time Bethelite in Toronto by the same name). Another Bethelite in Toronto during the sixties, Donald Malpass, who later become Branch Servant in New Zealand, was also sent to London Bethel. I am sure he was also gay.

    I know many gays who are still active JW's including overseers. I don't know how they can support an organization that oppresses them or how they justify their hypocricy.

    Interestingly one of the first issues that made me doubt the Watchtower was a question from Reader back in 1966 I believe asking if Paul's teachings in Romans on freedom from the law contradicted his stance towards the Jerusalem congregation in Hebrews (especially chapter 11) where he compromised and allowed some law. To me it was an obvious contradiction, but only consistent with Paul's "becoming all things to all sorts of men". The Watchtower's response was that it was a dangerous and evil thing to even suspect the Bible contradicted itself. I have heard about witch-hunts for gays at Brooklyn Bethel, such as one in 1972 after discovering midnight trysts in the sauna at Bethel, when dozens of gays were forced out of Bethel."
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    Posted to an email message board:
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    From: Lawrence Dunn < [email protected]>
    To: [email protected]
    Subject: Response to homosexuality
    Date: Thu, 4 May 95 23:12:04 EDT

    I was quite surprised to read some of the sympathetic comments about homosexuality recently. I wonder how many people are aware of the number of closet gays in the Watchtower Society and also the large percentage of ex-JW gays that exist.

    I was overwhelmed by the response I got when I put a small announcement in a local (Toronto) gay publication announcing a support group for Gay and Lesbian Ex-JW's. Within a month there were over thirty people that responded and all were shocked that other gay/lesbian Ex-JW's existed. Being so isolated and closeted as JW's most are surprised that there were others who had the same feelings and experiences.

    I have been in touch with Newsletters from groups of gay/lesbian ex-JW's such as "Reach Out" in Oregon and "A Common Bond" in Pennsylvania and I think there would be enough people interested to form a separate newsgroup on Gay/Lesbian Ex-JW support. Please let me know if anyone else agrees.

    Regarding Leo Greenlees, he was the "congregation servant" in the congregation I grew up in near Toronto and I had heard rumors of his homosexuality from other witnesses who knew him closely. His roomate Percy Chapman, Canadian Branch Overseer from 1936-1959 was removed from his position under a cloud of secrecy and it all seems obvious why now. In retrospect I believe that most of the administration of the Toronto Bethel were closet gays for several decades. It is surprising that Greenlees was promoted to the Governing Body. There was also a brother Chitty in the Toronto Bethel, but I don't know if it is the same one from New York.

    I do not judge these people, because I know the tremendous pressure to be closeted in the Watchtower Society, but personally I made a decision twenty years ago that I could not continue to be gay and a Jehovah's Witness. Although it has been difficult being rejected by my family, even totally disinherited, I do not regret the decision. The self-respect and feelings of personal integrity I know have I could never experience as a Jehovah's Witness.

    I know there are many other gay and lesbian ex-JW's out there. I was a little afraid about coming out to this group, but the enlightened comments from so many sympathetic and gay-supportive people in the conference made it easier.

    * - - - - * - - - -* - - - -* - - - -* - - - -* - - - -* - - - -* - - - -* - - - - *

    I have no doubt that this information will spark some interesting discussions.


  • JAVA

    Great post, Alan--thanks for digging out some old archives. I'll bet you had to dust the room after pulling these files!

    BTW, are you in contact Jeffrey Burrows these days? Always had to get the dictionary out when he posted on Philia years ago.

    ...counting time at the Coffee Shop

  • thinkers wife
    thinkers wife

    I have been following this discussion about homosexuality within the org. It is very interesting. My ex husband was at Brooklyn Bethel from 1976 to 1981. I was married to him for almost seventeen years. IMO, much of the problems in our marriage were a result of his latent homosexuality. He also told me about the sauna incident at Brooklyn. He came to Bethel apparently a scant four years after the incident. I also met many of his co-workers whom in retrospect, I am sure are gay. The thought crossed my mind even back then, but I figured they had changed and were making an effort to serve God loyally.
    The "gossip grapevine" at Bethel is rampant and very solid. Some of the gossip I have heard on this forum (not the Greenlees and Chitty thing) was confirmed many years ago by my ex. Particularly the drinking and partying by some. I find many of these accounts very believable though unsubstatiated. IMO, after spending much time at Bethel and with some Bethelites personally, homosexuality is an issue at Bethel. Though hidden very well. My ex's roomate was dismissed for stealing, but he is definitely one of the one's I suspected as being homosexual. Do I have proof? No. But I do have my instints.
    And it wouldn't surprise me at all for the Society to cover up such an embarassing situation.
    What does suprise me (I don't know why) is the irony and the hypocrisy. The very thing the WT has talked so badly against i.e. Catholics sending homosexual priests to different areas after scandal with molestation, seems like a possible practice of their very own. I remember the saying "When you point the finger, remember there are fingers pointing back at you".
    Thanks for all the research and substantiation, though not verified.

  • Had Enough
    Had Enough

    Thank you Alan for all the effort put into finding this info for us.

    This subject still has me reeling! Even though I started to drift away 2 years ago, it was for personal family reasons envolving my disbelief in shunning.

    I would never have believed until now (starting last year) that this kind of hypocrisy was even possible let alone rumoured about. But the very fact that there are rumours, and suspicions and accusations of gay and molestation activities in an org. that denounces those activities and presents itself and snow-white pure and holy, just makes this so much harder to take. To me, such a thing would never happen to those in the house blessed by God's spirit (much less carry on for years) because, as they preached..."it's condemned by God and we worship God in spirit and truth".

    My picture of Bethel and its members was that which they painted for us, of purity, spiritual strength and mature obediance to God's Word...a sharp contrast to the world and in particular, the Catholic religion. Again this was the belief I had taught to me growing up in the 50's and 60's.

    And for me, the irony of it is, that my ex-husband and elder, was a former Catholic who read a book written by an ex-priest who exposed these very same kind of activities going on in the Catholic church and this was the turning point for him (my ex) to denounce them and became a JW. I wonder what he, and many others with similar backgrounds, will think now once this info is presented.

    The book by the priest didn't give names and dates but was relating his own personal experience and what he heard from others. It was very believable. Hopefully the more these events are made public, the more facts and "eye-witness" accounts will be added to them to substantiate them even more.

    To thinkerswife:

    I'm glad you added your thoughts on this subject. Your relating of your observations and instincts just adds to believability that these accounts of theses sort of things now being related are possible. The fact that so many, having lived in Bethel or associated with Bethelites, are relating the same experiences, memories, opinions and gut-feelings, knocks down the barrier of dis-belief that I and I'm sure many more like me would have had, given the Bible-thumping we've received denouncing these practices.

    I never want to hastily jump on the bandwagon of gullibility and be accused of believing whatever bad I'm told about the org. I too want to be able to substantiate whatever I repeat, as truth, to those who would deny the possibility of this every happening in the org.

    The very fact that so many, in different parts of USA and Canada, were at Bethel and the congregations involved during and after the events, and are relating the same kind of details, is enough for me to believe it's credibility, but yes, definite facts will be needed for most die-hard JWs (if they ever will even listen at all)

    At least the general public is being made aware of the scars and blemishes on the "picture of purity" that the org. paints of itself.

    Had Enough

  • Kismet


    I find it curious that you have not included any of the comments and eye witness testimony I have given you regarding the ancilliary players you used to substantiate the claims.

    Personally I have no doubt about Greenlees and Ed Chitty (no relation to the Chitty now at the Canadian branch). I too heard the whispers and innuendoes in the Hallways of bethel. My leaning is that there is truth to the speculations. That being said, I have a problem with the witch hunt tactics being used to accuse others associated with them. Guilty by association? Sheesh thats a JDub tactic isn't it? McCarthy did the same thing.

    In the past and even as recently as yesterday I have provided you with testimonial evidence by either my own first hand experience or based on those close to the people you mentioned. Such as comments from Percy Chapman's widow, I have provided detailed information regarding Lorne Bridal (the good looking young man you later committed suicide) that I gleaned from knowing the man while growing up in Richmond Hill and later dating his daughter. I posted this to you at H20 and recall having a conversation with you in that regard in that thread.

    I just find it very self serving for you to present all the negatives without providing others with the balancing information also provided to you. Any other comments you aren't telling the Board about?

    I am disappointed. Normally your presentations of information are more balanced and objective.


  • Englishman


    I met Edgar Clay a number of times. He spent much of his time at the London bethel working an old fashiond type-setting machine.

    He was a small, slightly built man with an exraordinarily plummy voice. His whole bearing was very effeminate and I remember thinking - this was around '61 - that this guy was as bent as nine bob note.


  • SanFranciscoJim

    Alan, thank you for taking the time to delve deeper into this matter. It does seem that much of the information presented therein is based more on rumor than cold fact, but when the identical rumor comes from many different worldwide sources who do not know one another, it would seem to substantiate the information presented therein.
    I have no doubt that homosexuality has reached the highest ranks of the Watchtower. One of the members of the A Common Bond support network for gay & lesbian JW's & ex-JW's was personal secretary to one of the Governing Body at Brooklyn Bethel. I don't doubt, then, that Greenlees and/or Chitty were gay themselves. The A Common Bond website which I am webmaster of: , has had nearly 50,000 "hits" since coming on line in 1998. Being such a highly specialized site, I have no doubt that we have just skimmed the surface as to how many closeted gays are actually in the Organization. I have over 500 names on my personal correspondence list alone!
    Now, there is one concern which I feel the need to voice. That is the association of pedophilia with homosexuality. I think it should be stated for the record that pedophilia is a disorder, while, according to the AMA and the APA, homosexuality is not. There are considerably more pedophiles who identify themselves as heterosexual than those who are homosexual. Silentlambs' website, I believe, is proof of this. Let's not give any fodder to the homophobes out there who continue to perpetuate the myth that gays are child molesters.

  • AlanF

    To JAVA:

    Yeah, those files are old alright. But I've had to drag them out so many
    times that I've made a file containing everything I know about this topic.

    Yeah, we're in regular contact with Jey. He comes over to the States for
    Christmas about every other year. He came over for the 1999-2000 season,
    and the two of us went into New York for a day. Did the World Trade Center
    and other stuff in downtown Manhattan. Drank some fine single-malt scotches
    he introduced us to. Got out the dictionary a few times, too. :-)

    To Kismet:

    I may have missed something important you said, and if so, please point
    out here exactly what I missed and where you told me. All I can remember
    is one post concerning Ralph Brodie, but I don't consider that relevant
    to the point of my post -- giving evidence that Greenlees was a child
    molester. I get tons of email and I don't read 75% of the posts on this
    board, so it's easy for me to miss or forget something.

    I agree that people who associated with scum like Greenlees shouldn't be
    tarred just because of their association. However, on a discussion forum
    like this it's entirely reasonable to speculate, since that's one of the
    functions of a discussion board. I think that when various viewpoints
    are advanced, with people giving evidence and others knocking it down,
    we get closer to the truth. And I always hope that people who have first
    hand knowledge about the object of speculation will come forward and
    tell what they know.

    As for including things you've told me in the past about the Greenlees
    situation, in order to glean the contents of this post I had to scan
    thousands of emails and hundreds of files to separate out what I thought
    was most relevant. I don't remember finding anything from you, so if you
    think it's relevant, please give me a pointer to where I can find it, or
    post it here again. That's one reason I'm posting this stuff, to draw
    out those who have more to contribute.

    As for my presenting "all the negatives without providing others with the
    balancing information also provided to" me, I can't comment until you
    clue me in as to what you're talking about.

    To Englishman:

    Thanks for your comments. What's a "plummy" voice?

    To Jim:

    Good points about pedophilia. Perhaps I should have commented along the
    lines you've brought out, but frankly I never thought about it. To me,
    a pedophile is simply someone with an appetite for sex with children.
    It doesn't matter whether the child is male or female, or the perpetrator
    male, female, gay or straight. All such molestation is criminal.

    I heard a story recently where a bit of a coverup was pulled with respect
    to an elder's wife. Seems she was in her mid-20s when she started
    performing oral sex on her 14-year-old brother or nephew -- I forget
    which. When this was found out, her husband pulled out all the stops
    to avoid having her DF'd, since that would have been bad for his
    career. Recently -- this is perhaps 25-30 years after the incident --
    the elder, now quite prominent, threatened an ex-JW who knew all about
    the incident. The latter simply asked the elder how his wife was doing,
    the guy took the hint and shut up. Amazing what knowing where the bodies
    are buried will do for you. I'm convinced that's why Greenlees was not
    DF'd -- he knew where to find a lot of bodies and so he cut a deal.

    I certainly agree with you on how many closet gays are in "Jehovah's
    organization". As long as they "behave", they're ok. But given the
    traditional fundamentalist hatred for homosexuality, I'm afraid that
    they're always going to remain basically isolated, and denying their
    selves, and quite frustrated.


  • MacHislopp

    Hello Alan F.,

    First of all, thanks for the post – already downloaded - it very
    Informative and shows what went and still goes on at WTS HQ.

    I thought you might like these informations (from the1999 WTS CD’s):

    *** dx30-85 0 Chitty, Ewart C. *** (Index 1930-1985 pub. In 1986) p. 148


    comment on—

    1914: g81 5/8 6
    World War I: g81 5/8 6
    dedication of North London Assembly Hall: km 5/76 8
    Gilead graduation: w77 351
    letters to Rutherford: w38 208, 256
    life story: w63 118-20
    resignation from Governing Body: yb80 258
    service tour to Leeward Islands: yb79 196
    talk at 1953 convention: w53 587


    *** dx30-85 0 Greenlees, Leo K. *** (Index 1930-1985 pub. In 1986) p. 374


    elected as a director of the Society (New York corporation): yb66 290
    Gilead graduations: w83 11/15 31; w82 11/15 27; w78 5/1 31; g78 5/8 15; w76 288, 671
    Greenlees v. Attorney-General for Canada: yb79 142-3
    service in Canada: yb79 135-6, 162-3
    service tour to Spain: yb78 254
    visit to Cádiz prison (Spain): yb78 209

    Agape, J.C. MacHislopp

    Ps. I do agree with “Thinkers wife “ ... “The very thing the WT has talked so badly against i.e. Catholics sending homosexual priests to different areas after scandal with molestation, seems like a possible practice of their very own.”

  • AlanF

    Thank you for the information, MacHislop! However, I already looked at all of it in assembling my post.

    I agree with ThinkersWife too. While present WTS policy -- on paper -- prevents such shenanigans, practice is a different story. And of course, pre-1997 policy was essentially indistinguishable from Church practice.


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