In English below:
"I was a Jehovah’s Witness pastor"
elder Juan G. warns about the existence of 'sexual predators' within the cult
and criticizes its hierarchy: 'It moves billions around the world.'
Juan G., a Jehovah’s Witness (JW) pastor, was not a priest, he corrects, but an elder. This is what the Adventist denomination calls the people who lead the congregations. In Spain alone there are more than 111,000 believers of the religious group. The elders are "shepherd" of congregations, as the order itself defines. They are venerable people capable of directing the territorial groups and dealing with the conflicts - and scandals - that thrive within the cult, such as the alleged abuse of minors that has exploded in Spain.
Question - What are Jehovah's Witnesses really?
Answer - This is a franchise-worship that manages billions of dollars around the world. Under the guise of a particular Adventism, modified over the years by the different prophets of the Watch Tower, it has conditioned the personal and social life of hundreds of thousands of people, causing them serious problems.
Q. What role did you play in the Witnesses?
R- I have been a member of the cult for decades; I abandoned it because it did not bring me anything, personally or spiritually. Now I consider myself an atheist.
Q. After your experience in worship, how would you describe the activity of the Witnesses?
R- They have created a perverse method of taxes for their god, through resolutions that are imposed in a systematic way to the followers. These supporters pay for the building of their Kingdom Halls, registering these properties in the name of the Watch Tower society, (in Spain). So, it makes sales for millions of euros.
Q: Could you give some examples of such operations?
R-They sold a large Assembly Hall of Barcelona to a Filipino evangelical cult for millions of euros, and they did it unbeknown to their followers. Currently, they are selling real estate in Madrid, Badajoz and another large hall of Assemblies in Palma, without explanation.
Q- How are the Witnesses organized in Spain?
R- The practice consists of the propaganda exhibition edited by the Watch Tower. At present, it is done for free. For a decade, they have also evolved into a more advanced cult. In addition, they have created a television station via Internet (a very particular copy of the evangelical station Son Life).
Q. Are we talking about a digital transformation of the JWs?
For decades they were a reference in the printing of millions of magazines and books of millennial content, written by their anonymous prophets, always in the USA. Now they have moved on to digital worship, incorporating content on their website for tablets and mobile phones.
P- What about the hierarchy?
A. In Spain there are 1,500 local congregations or churches. These are ministered by ministerial servants (deacons), who are men over 20 years of age. The elders (pastors) are responsible for transmitting the teachings of the so-called Governing Body (which is based in the United States and is made up of seven members, six of them American) and manages internal justice. This includes child abuse, with a series of secret instructions.
Q-How do those secret instructions work?
R- They change them regularly in the face of important lawsuits and investigations in Australia or the United Kingdom. They have modified merely aesthetic aspects, always omitting, unequivocally, the need to report all sexual abuse to minors.
Q- Who is above the elders (pastors)?
R- The traveling overseer, that's the circuit overseers. They are traveling bishops who visit every local church or congregation every six months. They review the financial situation and the donations that are sent for the watch tower's symbol. It is a kind of single box that manages all resources worldwide, a sort of self-sufficient bank.
Q. What else do these visiting bishops in their visits?
A- They help judicial committees and regularly check secret files within each congregation. They organize two annual meetings with the group of 20 congregations that administer, reporting weekly to the national headquarters in Madrid.
Q- And at the top of the pyramid in Spain?
R- There is the committee of the branch Watch Tower. It is named in each country by the governing body. There may be a legal entity with managers. In Spain it is the Christian Witnesses confession of Jehovah, but the management corresponds to the Committee of the Branch of each country, that receives the instructions from the United States.
Q- Several media have reported alleged cases of child abuse in the Witnesses. How many affected can there be?
In the United States, whistle-blower’s like Barbara Anderson and other well-informed sources speak of secret files in the legal counseling services of the Watch Tower Society - Jehovah's Witness creed, picture above - with more than 25,000 cases of abuses. The figure corresponds to a total of 1.2 million practitioners.
Q- And in Spain?
R- In Spain, according to its Yearbook for 2016, there are about 111,000 practitioners. At the end of the nineties a confessional director (who exercises total control over religious administration and administration) recognized more than 50 cases of child abuse, investigated by the internal courts or judicial committees. But we have indications that there are hundreds of cases attended by so-called judicial committees.
Q. What happened to these alleged crimes?
R- They were attended by internal courts formed by local pastors ( elders), with protocols of total secrecy that generated defenselessness in the victims. There are hundreds of cases that were hidden so as not to "do harm or reproach to the organization of Jehovah." As they told a victim in Barcelona, an 8-year-old girl, "if you tell, you will be without paradise".
Q. What kind of abuse are we talking about? By whom? During what period?
R- Sexual abuse of children by members of the cult or congregation. The study that we have been working on since JW abuses covers from the beginning of the 1990s to the present date.
Q. Have abuses ever been reported? If so, by what instances? What was done in response?
A. The instructions that have been given for decades, through secret letters, sent first from the United States to the affiliates and then transmitted to the local elders, ordered that the abuses were not reported. It was necessary to leave the matter "in the hands of Jehovah God".
Q- In what communities were there abuses? Did they focus on some type of institution or worship center?
A- In Spain. There are some well-known cases that affected prominent members of pastors or elders. In Catalonia, a former senior member of the group, who dealt with medical issues to achieve treatments without blood (top image), was allegedly involved in child abuse. Through an internal protocol, and following instructions from the headquarters of the Jehovah's Witnesses in Spain, the matter was left without internal repercussions within the cult.
Q- Was he reported to the ordinary court?
R- No one ever told the victims that this alleged sexual predator - we spoke of more than 23 years ago -, had to be reported to authorities. Madrid's own headquarters appointed an appeal committee that silenced the scandal. The case has been discussed for decades in all local churches in the province of Barcelona.
Q- So the high positions of the Witnesses in Spain were informed of the allegations of abuse? If so, who knew? When? What did you do?
The headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses in Spain, registered as a legal entity with a notorious attachment in the Ministry of Justice since 2006, receives automatic information of cases of abuse of minors within the cult. Local pastors follow instructions from letters they receive (now via email, with security protocols) on internal justice within the cult.
How does this hierarchy in Spain respond to those complaints?
R- There is an internal legal advice in the national headquarters in Spain. In addition, there are a number of members of the so-called National Board of Jehovah's Witnesses. They should respond to all the information being posted. Not only the formal directors before the Ministry of Justice, the actual control (top image) of the so-called branch, the so-called Watch Tower Branch Committee. They are prominent Jehovah's Witnesses appointed from the United States.
Q- What it is expected from abuses of JWs?
A. A public admission and a request of forgiveness, that the current protocols be changed and that the policy of social and family exclusion be abandoned. Besides there is the need of an act of reparation and an act of justice for the victims of sexual abuse.
See article in Spanish here at this link: