Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia are working with Scientology, the Unification Church, Mormons and others in a joint political effort to lobby the Russian Duma (similar to the US Congress) for certain issues. The name of this joint political lobby in Russua is: Public Committee for the Defense of Freedom of Conscience."
Compared with the cults, we had few resources; we were very small and our funding was nil. Their strength was multi plied, because many of them arrived at a sort of mutual understanding, and an exchange of strategic information began among Scientology, ISKCON, the Unifi cation Church, "The Family" (formerly Children of God ), and lately the Jehovah's Witnesses - and this does not include several smaller sects. Their cooperation quickly became obvious when the first negative reports appeared about cults in the Russian media. In response, editors began to receive virtually identical letters of protest with packages of documents from all of the above mentioned groups. http://www.theonet.dk/spirituality/spirit98-11/dvorkin.html
Mr. Yakunin, a former priest under the Moscow Patriarchate, was defrocked in 1994 for grossly violating the canons of the Church. When he was not re-elected to the Duma in 1996, he founded a private nonprofit organization known as the "Public Committee for the Defense of Freedom of Conscience." The Committee immediately went about seeking donations from various destructive cults, including the Jehovah's Witnesses, Unification Church, and Scientology. http://www.theonet.dk/spirituality/spirit98-11/dvorkin.html
Later some 30 Scientologists and ISKCON members joined the lawsuit with charges of their own. When it became clear that the Church supported my case and that the implications for their public relations efforts were not good (Russian public opinion remembers very well when the Church was placed in the dock in the Communist show trials), some of the Scientologists and ISKCON members dropped their charges against me. However, some statements still remained. Scientology, ISKCON, the Unification Church, Jehovah's Witnesses, "The Family," and other cults took a very active role in the court proceedings: they always were present, providing translations, materials, interpreters, legal advice, witnesses, video and audio recording, etc. http://www.theonet.dk/spirituality/spirit98-11/dvorkin.html
... in the lawsuit. Interestingly, none of the groups mentioned in the booklet gave the Com mittee the power of attorney to act on its behal f : The Committee's top executives, Lev Levinson and Mikhail Osadchev, said that they represented an "indef in ite num ber of people - members of new religious movements ." When they were told that there are no "indefinite number of people" in court, they then announced that they were acting on behalf of all religious orga nizations mentioned in Dvorkin 's booklet (with the exception of Aum Shinrikyo, the White Brotherhood, Peoples Temple, and Branch Davidians), namely: ISKCON, the Scientology organization, the Unification Church, the Mother of God Center, the International Churches of Christ, The Family, the Church of the Last Testament, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints (Mormons ), and the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (Jehovah 's Wit nesses) - a ll of which were offended by the booklet and wi ll file their own charges. This bizarre move immediately gave the process quite a grotesque twist. http://www.theonet.dk/spirituality/spirit98-11/dvorkin.html
Eventua ll y only Eileen Barker and James Richardson came. Massimo Intro vigne and Gordon Melton sent written statements. Numerous witnesses took the stand - more than 2 0 o n behalf of the plaintiffs and over 25 for the defendants. From the plaintiffs' side came witnesses who were members of the fo ll owing cults: ISKCON, Scientology, the Unification Church, and Jehovah's Witnesses. Also, members of ISKCON and the Unification Church's pet parents' committees, plus Russian and foreign experts, gave evidence. It is noteworthy that all of the experts, including Barker and Richardso n , were asked the fo ll owing question by the de fendants' attorneys: "Can a person be a member of all of the above-mentioned cults at the same time?" Both scholars were warned that their answers would be pub lished o n the Internet, and each tried to avoid giving a direct answer. When pressed, both answered with a f ir m "Yes" - a rather unusual response from persons claiming to be experts in the field of NRMs. http://www.theonet.dk/spirituality/spirit98-11/dvorkin.html
Their mutual cooperation was clear on September 19 when all of them together picketed the Duma, protesting the passage of the law. http://www.theonet.dk/spirituality/spirit98-11/dvorkin.html
The whole paper is worth reading ... but demonstrates that the Jehovah's Witnesses aka Watchtower Society is working together with other religious organizations, such as the Mormons, Moonies, Scientology, etc. to lobby the Duma in a political cooperative joint effort ...
My Question: How can the Watchtower Society claim neutrality and separation from Babylon the Great, while at the same time working together with them in political lobby for mutual interests, and working together in lawsuits as co-defendants? What gives here? - Jim W.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: These show the "Public Committee for the Defense of Freedom of Conscience." involved in various political actions outside the efforts at religious freedom ... such as jointly going against the Russian Federation on the war in Chechnya. While some of the causes are noble, it still shows that by being part of this organization, the Watchtower Society is bringing its policy of neutrality into question:
5. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/14747 (New York Review)
7. Deleted - cited in error
8. http://www.rickross.com/reference/rs/rs28.html (USA accused of using sects in Russia)
9. http://www.xenu.net/archive/events/russia/sir.html (Scientology involvement)
10. http://www.minelres.lv/ngo/russia.htm (NGO's in Russia)
11. http://puckish.arrr.net/articles/consequences.html (Terrorism issues and the Public Committee ...)
12. http://www.jw-media.org/region/europe/russia/english/moscow/e_com980930.htm (liquidation of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia)
13. http://www.tparents.org/Library/Unification/Talks/Krylova/Krylova-CARP.htm (Unificaton Church / Moonies in Russia)
14. http://www.factnet.org/Scientology/sciroc.htm?FACTNet (Lawsuit against Russia Orthodoxy)
15. http://www.bcis.gov/text/services/asylum/ric/documentation/Belarus.htm (US Foreign Sec. re: former Soviet Union and the JWs.)
16. http://www.wcc-coe.org/wcc/what/interreligious/cd31-02.html (Comments by the World Council of Churches)