Another shocking tidbit from the "Douglas Walsh" trial of 1954.

by EdenOne 6 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • EdenOne

    I'm reviewing the entire transcript of the Douglas Walsh case, and found this shocking bit that normally doesn't come up in the search engines, but it should:

    Pages 370-375. Hayden Cooper Covington on the stand:

    Q: “In your experience of your own congregation in New York, did you have children there of eleven or twelve being baptized?”

    A: “Oh yes, I would agree with that instantly.”

    Q: “Was that a common feature?”

    A: “Yes”


    Q: “In your experience, you had children younger than eleven?”

    A: “Yes, I think I would say yes on that. (…) The parent takes responsibility for that child, and the parent, of course, knows that if a person takes the oath, that is to say, when I say oath I mean the Covenant obligation to serve Jehovah, and he does not keep it, it means death, so it must be a person who has the heart willingness and the maturity to understand what this obligation carries with it, otherwise a child may grow out of the Covenant, if he did not understand it, and disobey it.”


    Q: “And you do ordain and baptize some younger than 11 or 12?”

    A: “That is true (…)”

    Q: “Have you any recollection of the youngest child baptized in New York?”

    A: “Personally, of my own knowledge, I do not know of anyone under the age of 8 or 9 who has been baptized. I would say 8 would be the youngest as far as I know.”

    Q: “At that stage am I right you may have a child of as tender years of 8 or 9 made a full member of Jehovah’s Witnesses and subject to the penalties of breach of Covenant?”

    A: “That is right, but again I say that is an exceptional case”.


    Q: “Let me ask you this straight question. Do you really think it accords with Christ’s teachings to have that sanction over the head of a child for failing, if he did, to stand by the beliefs promulgated about the Second Coming and Armageddon and the theocratic organization?”

    A: “If the child understood, which he must before he is baptized, then he stands on the same footing as an adult. Now, the reason that we state this is that it is supported in Scripture. You read in Ezekiel where the Jehovah God tells the angel to go through the city and to destroy both young and old men and women and little children, and this is pictured at Armageddon, so there is no getting around it regardless of how seemingly harsh it may appear. The fact of the matter is, it is the judgment of God and we cannot change the Almighty God or His judgements.”


    So, death to small children who breach a Covenant [i.e. baptism] they were forced into by their parents and which they cannot fully understand? Yes, by all means, said Covington, because, you know, Jehovah.

  • Ding

    No concept of grace or forgiveness as taught in the New Testament...

    ...just covenant obligations enforced by threat of annihilation at Armageddon...

  • Atlantis


    Yes, I remember reading that in the transcript and my blood pressure shot through the roof. What a crock of horse-manure!


  • dropoffyourkeylee

    The Walsh trial should be required reading. It gives a unique insight into the WT leaders’ thinking at the time and the groundwork for later.

  • Phizzy

    " What a crock of horse-manure! " Atlantis.

    It certainly is, to expect young children to enter in to a Lifetime Contract and understand the ramifications of that Contract is recognised as wrong in Law in most Countries. Of course many Countries allow a similar "contract" in the form of being born in to, and initiated in to a particular Religion, to stand, but a Commercial Contract would be void.

    The weaselly way they get round this is that if, like me, after child baptism ( I was 12) , you proceed to continue to live the life of a JW in to adulthood, then, according to the JW Org, you have shown you do know what your baptism was all about, and they can Disfellowship, Excommunicate you, for any number of things they have mainly made up.

    A Crock of Shit indeed.

  • dropoffyourkeylee
    Reading the Walsh case convinced me that some of the 'doctrines' were made up in order to support the WT legal efforts, particularly their efforts to get the JW men draft exemption as ministers. A lot of the arguments in the trial were to establish that a JW like Walsh had similar education and experience as a seminary graduate in other religions, and thus could get the exemption. Walsh, if I remember correctly, was a pioneer (a newly invented designation, for the express purpose of proving the person is a 'minister') and a congregation servant, but he was quite young (19 or 20, I think). He was most likely baptized as a teen or younger. Covington in his testimony was trying to forestall the prosecution's argument that Walsh's identity as a minister JW was invalid because of his age at baptism.
  • EdenOne

    Douglas Walsh had been baptized at 12 years and three months, appointed regular pioneer at 15, appointed Company Servant at the Dumbart congregation before he completed 18.

    I suspect he was "groomed" to become the perfect guinea pig test case for the Watchtower in the UK.

    And, in the end, the WTS lost the case, lost the appeal, and lost the final appeal to the House of Lords as well.

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