(This is an attempt to translate something I wrote on my Swedish website: Sanningen Om Sanningen
I do not hope it is all too bad translation, based on google translate)
The governing body has put out a video on JW Broadcasting regarding there view on the events in Russia. "Russian Supreme Court Renders Unjust Decision!" It is a half-hour program led by Stephen Lett. It broadly contains a report on how another member of the governing body, Mark Sanderson, travels to Russia and attends the Supreme Court in Moscow. Mark Sanderson is the one in the governing body who can speak Russian.
I want to pick up some points from this program.
First, Jehovah's Witnesses have the right to say that this is an unfair judgment, not only on the basis of human rights but also by law. The ban just confirms that there is something fundamental wrong with the Russian society. The judgment and trial obviously contained major errors. Jehovah's Witnesses claims that they only could submit 2 of their 22 defense points before the court for example.
The only thing that comes with this judgment is to strengthen Jehovah's Witnesses even more as religion and cult. How? It all becomes quite clear in this video. These are points you can read out from the program:
First, because JW in Russia is forced to merge even more. It will be more difficult for Russian authorities to control what they are doing when they are forced down underground.
This also strengthens JW throughout the world because they now have a powerful enemy to oppose, Putin. They do not see this as an attack only on the JW in Russia, but on the whole organization. One for all, and all for one.
It strengthens the JW all over the world because they now see how this fulfills Bible prophecies. "God's people would be persecuted." This is actually an attack from Satan, they say in the video.
It also strengthens all JVs when they see the attention this gets in the media. Never the JW has received so much attention at the same time throughout the free world. They see this as something Jesus predicted that they "will be haled before governors and kings for my sake, for a witness ..." (Mat 10:18)
It has engaged and united millions of Jehovah's Witnesses to write letters to Russia's goverment, which makes everybody feel part of it.
In other words, this in many ways plays Jehovah's Witnesses straight into their hands because they can exploit the situation in their propaganda.
The first thing i notice that they say is that the only negative consequence that this will have is that their headquarters and kingdom halls are confiscated, that is, the material loss. There is no mention of what pressure or negative effects this will have on the JW in the country individually. They are only referred to as strong and resolute, which I do not always think is the case.
Then we follow Mark Sanderson during the trial and how he meets, embraces and "strengthens the brothers". He says this was the greatest spiritual experience he had in his life. It is said that the days in the courtroom recalled a assembly because there were so many JW present. They also talk about how unfair the trail was. For example they shows a film where Russian police plant evidence in a Kingdom Hall to prove that JW read prohibited literature.
But what they avoid to mentioning is the concrete accusations against the JW during the trial. It seems as if the accusation against them only concern whether they are "extremists" or not, not one word about why they think they are. It is not mentioned that it is about their opinions about shunning, blood, education, etc. This is for obvious reasons nothing they wants focus on because these views are "extreme" in most societies.
They also avoided, for obvious reasons, to mention that this not only affects the freedom of Jehovah's Witness but threatens the freedom of many other religions and organizations in Russia. There are many who follow this development with fear, and support the JW. This is only a part of Russian development towards an even more totalitarian society. But for JW, this is not an attack on Russian freedom, or religious freedom in general, but on the "people of God." Therefore, they do not want to bring in other players in the game, they want to be exposed to this themselves. They do not even mention "human rights" or "freedom of belives", which almost all media do who comment on this.
Further in the video they explain how Jehovah "control" the events during the trial. About how the referee "unexpectedly" raised the trial for a few days, which made it possible to celebrate the memorial in “peace and quiet” throughout the country. This is seen as a direct guidens by Jehovah.
The end of the video is about pumping out the message of what attention and "witness" this has caused, something that is typical of the JW. The whole meaning of this prohibition, the reason that Jehovah God has "allowed" this to happen to his people, is about to give an enormous "witness" to the world. And that is patly true. I do not think JW have received such world-wide attention as now, at least not with so much sympathies. Just googling is enough to see that all major news media in the world have written articles about this, and suports JW on this. It is also mentioned that in connection with the trial there met "high officials" whom they could give a witness to.
In the end, what I can not help thinking about is to compare this with another trial against Jehovah's Witnesses, the one in Australia recently, under the Royal Commission. It was about allegations of sexual abuse on children, and has also received great international attention in news media. That trial has not been mentioned with a single word in any context of the governing body. Neither in their literature nor news room, nor JW Broadcasting. It is strange because there was also a representative from the governing body under parts of the trial, Geoffrey Jackson, who also had the opportunity to testify directly to the commission and thus had the opportunity to make a "witness". But there was no fancy reportage about Geoffrey Jackson during the trial there, about how he "strengthened the brothers", or the Jehovah's Witnesses who had been subjected to the sexual abuse, or at least the poor members of the branch office that were overtaken by the commission. Neither could they refer to how "Jehovah's rule" the events to their advantage. And why did they not go publicly and declare how "false and unfounded" the evidence was directed against them? Why did they not proudly spoke of the "witness" that has been given because of the media's attention? Why did they not at least mention, or commented on this trial in any form and in any single context?
Yes, Jehovah's Witnesses select among what they want to emphasize and what they want to sweep under the carpet. They make a trial like that in Russia 200% to there advantage, but in Australia, they put cover on and is totally silent. This is not about if something has been going against them, everything has going against them in both cases, but the trial in Australia can not be angled to their advantage. There you can not get any sympathies from anyone, and they can not hide the underlying causes. Then the only way out is to be silent.
This comparison does not diminish the mistakes made by the Russian Government regarding Jehovah's Witnesses, but it shows how manipulative the propaganda of the governing body is. It is fully in class with Putin's own.
And finally, I want to clarify that I thought it is wrong to forbid Jehovah's Witnesses, in whatever country they are. You can criticize them publicly for their opinions and actions, something the media does sometimes, and many pages on the internet. One can answer them where they go against the law and every sense and sense, something that has been done in several countries regarding how they treated sexual abuse for example. You do not have to give them the same status in society as other religions, fore example in terms of grants or other benefits of the state. But one should not ban them. It is primarily about human rights and freedom, but also that it is counterproductive, as this video shows.