In many closed religious cults, sects or globally widely spread religions, sexual abuse on big scale is revealed and covered up by the religious authorities. In the JW, the culture is to deal with these matters within the org itself, and the rule is, "no crime can be proven without the presentation of at least two witnesses". Men made the rules, men commit these crimes and men defend them and even forse these children to meet and talk to their abusers. The abusers mostly deny the abuse, although JW:s claim they never lie. So again. Do you think it's common that a child molester will "invite" witnesses to be observed while he is sexually abusing or raping his victim?
How many of you would actually believe a child abuser would let his crime be watched by minimum two witnesses?
by Thinkforyourself 22 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse
Of course not. Nb. I have never seen a claim that abusers won’t lie.
you need one witness if the victim speaks up . Unless the abuser is so careless to be overheard by a sibling, it is not going to happen.
TFY - welcome to the forum.
Are you aware that the members here are almost entirely made up of exJWs?
Quite a few have been victims of the cult's policies.
Thank you Cofty. No, I was not totally aware of that fact and I am not a believer... But had family members "lost", and have certainly come a cross of many members trying to save my soul as I am in the world ruled by Satan... and I am interested in discussing certain things I wonder about. That's why I decided to register here. 😉
I want, in this case, to refer to defenders og God's law :
There is God’s law and man’s law and they are not the same.
"A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established"
2 CORINTHIANS 13:1
This is the third time I am coming to you. “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.”
This is reffered to over and over again and JW:s are normally told not to call in the authorities /police outside the org.
What is the reason followers can be so obedient so they sell out their children and if these children leave, they will lose everyone... Where is the message of love in all this?
Welcome TFY, no there is no love in sticking to the Iron Age wisdom upheld by Jehovah's Witnesses.
At the root of the use of the "two witnesses rule" is the demand by the governing body that they control all information rights, which is an indication of their cultic nature.
They want to limit adverse publicity by handling serious sexual abuse matters in house. This usually means either dismissing the claims, disfellowshipping the abuser (unless an elder when his word trumps lesser members) and often the abused as well if past puberty. Police involvement would lead to scandal and exposure not only on the individual cases but of the whole repressive organisation.
The essence of JW Christianity depends on the governing body's use of quotations from scriptures.The interpretation can be made in any light the governance sees fit. Always the explanation is to the end of enhancing their own control over their flock and rarely is the quotation considered in its historical context or the original source meaning. If it suits their purpose it is used -- and the flock are trained to obey their leaders on the basis that they are using 'God's Word'. If a JW disagrees with the Watchtower then they are excommunicated.
The fact that two witnesses are required in these abuse cases, at least to my mind, demonstrates that while they are indifferent to the abused who suffer greatly, their interest is solely in their own squeaky clean public image. Logic and care are sacrificed for Biblical literalism and their dire conceit that they are the only true religion.
If the accused sexaul abuser doesn't admit to the act, the elders are told to leave the matter in Jehovah's hands.
Gee what could possibly go wrong with that approach ?, as for example the accused might attack again, move to a different location and attack again.
This is how the ancient Hebrews would have handled the situation.
The JWS are technically emulating that ancient civilization.
The ancient Hebrews were not an advanced civilization, so their rules of social standards were not what you would consider by today's standards as being effective or practical.
For some reason medical evidence that could prove or disprove (and be that second witness) what the child's claim is never considered. With all inappropriate information dispensed at the meetings, you would think that something mentioned regarding a first response to the police and collecting that evidence would be able to clear Jehovah's name (or not).
The elders never hesitate to report vandalism right away to the police; no call to headquarters first to ok a call.
Thank you all for your replies and your insights, it is still very puzzling to me. Don't JWS read information from the world outside at all? Most members live in their own homes, have technology available, can listen to outside information or simply "Google" to try to get replies when they are doubtful..or read articles from outside sources .. Or is this obedience so profoundly rooted? Or are such acts so banned so few members just don't do it out of fear? In my world everything is about finding out who I am, through investigating ethics, morality, cultural differences, and having an open mind to deal with the outcome of my investigations or experiences, - I don't trust others to do that for me, it's my own voyage. This is why I just don't understand the blindness, members are not locked up in a cave..
Yesterday I read a kilometer long story by an EXJW, who has had a high position and turned into a whistleblower, and some parts hit me, quoting:
"However, if victims’ accusations were doubted, and pedophiles were not disciplined, unhappy Witnesses were required to keep their opinions to themselves or else they would be disciplined.". DISCIPLINED ????
"Many Witness readers thought the information in the October 8th Awake! was like a breath of fresh air blowing through the organization, although in reality, it opened a Pandora’s Box when thousands of survivors of child sexual abuse began to seek the help of mental-health professionals and trusted Witness members and revealed who in the organization had molested them."
OK, So this means it has not been a secret, but still members obviously accept to follow and implement, as Finkelstein said," an ancient Hebrew civilisation". And it is surely puzzling to hear, if bsmart is right, that there is no hesitation about reporting vandalism to the police.
To me all this seems to be a very odd way of serving life... All JWS leaving the org, I see many are members here, is this one of the reasons? And you who left, you seem to be harshly punished by being ignored and refused contact...
I must say that I admire such a step.
The question of whether or not an offender would abuse his victim in front of a witness is somewhat academic...
...by the 1980s, internal complaints about the problem had reached a point wherein the WTS was compelled to slightly revise the two-witness rule to to classify the first accusing victim as "witness #1" and a second accusing victim as "witness #2", so an actual third-party eyewitness to a single offense was no longer deemed necessary (in no small part because poorly-informed loyalists already had difficulty believing that something like this could even happen, so extreme skepticism amongst elder bodies was the norm, rather than the exception).
Nevertheless, the Org has held so strongly to their interpretation(s) and application of the two-witness rule, NOT because they want to follow so-called "Biblical" standards, but because they've come to depend on it it as a crucial tool in keeping the nature and full scope of the problem from the rank-and-file (plus a century of internal rhetoric and propaganda has made capitulating to any outside pressure an absolute anathema).
Yes, they want to avoid negative publicity, lawsuits, and the expenses both incur, but even more so, the endemic and institutionalized nature of the problem thoroughly undermines their claim of being "God's Exclusive Earthly Organization" like almost nothing else*...
...because, let's face it... despite what some may claim, actually being an active, dutiful JW isn't really all that enjoyable... so without that particular carrot/stick combo, there's virtually zero real incentive for the average rank-and-filer to actually stay.
*Not to mention that, in a huge dollop of irony, the staunch application of their previously mentioned "Biblical" standards are arguably making the problem worse...
...and therefore casting doubt on said standards' efficacy and legitimacy, which is pure poison for any organization who derives their authority from the Bible.