Just wondering if the senior council for ARC has been made aware of this major inconsistency from the Watchtower regarding the two witness rule. They claim two witnesses are required to disfellowship and that circumstantial evidence is not enough, yet what is someone's staying overnight in the same building as one of the opposite sex if not circumstantial? ( not to mention the absurdity that sex only takes place in bed at night)Again it seems the POSSIBILITY of adultery is more serious than child abuse.
Jesus did not say one can divorce his mate if he strongly suspects that adultery was committed. There has to be real evidence of adultery, such as the mates confession, or proof that the mate stayed all night with a person of the opposite sex under improper circumstances.Prov. 5:8-11. Watchtower 4/15 1968 Page 255
No one could be put to death on circumstantial evidence. There had to be two eyewitnesses to establish the truth. (Deut. 17:6; 19:15) Watchtower 6/15 1970 Page 379I was also upset to learn that Ray Franz was responsible for developing the horrific policy of chastising and even disfellowshipping minor child victims of abuse, this from Bill Bowen's 31st December 2002. letter to WTBTS originally posted by Heaven (for obvious reasons I felt it deserved another posting)/
We are writing to make further appeal to take action in the interests of the Flock. This year has been revealing as to the motives and righteousness of you that lead the organization. It is interesting to note that in recent months Cardinal Law in Boston has been asked to resign due to corruption and cover up in handling child abuse in the Catholic Church. For many years the publications roundly condemned the Catholic Church for not properly addressing their abuse problems, now there has been a strange silence for the last two years. Why? Could it be if you were to comment it would open you up to criticism and scandal on the way you have authorized abuse to be handled?
In our letter last year we endeavored to appeal to you as shepherds who were looking for the interest of the flock. The letter closed with this comment:
I urge you brothers with due haste to take action now. The brothers and sisters will respect and appreciate a decision that acts in the interests of the flock. Jesus said, I am the fine shepherd; the fine shepherd surrenders his soul in behalf of the sheep. The hired man, who is no shepherd and to whom the sheep do not belong as his own, beholds the wolf coming and abandons the sheep and fleesand the wolf snatches them and scatters them because he is a hired man and does not care for the sheep. (John 10:10-15) I entreat you brothers to please not act like the hired man and leave the flock, the lambs, exposed to danger. Be like Jesus who was willing to go beyond the call of duty to the point of dying to defend their safety. Whatever the reason for inaction, now is the time to act, apologize for not acting sooner, let those wronged know they are loved and will be better protected in the future. The brothers and sisters will revere you more so in the end for showing yourselves to be humble shepherds acting in the interests of Jehovahs possession. (John 21:15-17)
In the last year what type of shepherds have your actions proved you to be? We might offer a few examples of how you have chosen to shepherd the flock. In February 7, 2002 you wrote a letter to Dateline explaining that you as the Governing Body could not do an interview as you did not want to appear adversarial with your fellow brothers and sisters. You made the following comment:
Regarding your request for a spokesperson, we recently brought it before the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses, and they respectfully declined, as it would appear to pit brother against brother and this is not the Christian way to resolve differences.
Two months later you deceptively authorized judicial committees to disfellowship those who were on the program trying to do so before the program aired so you could say those on the program were disfellowshipped thus keeping brothers and sisters from viewing the truth. What were the charges against us all? Causing divisions and as the committees clearly stated though they knew what we was saying was true the reason we were being disfellowshipped was because when the matter was brought to the media it caused disruption in the congregation. Six innocent brothers and sisters were excommunicated who wanted nothing more than to protect children by their speaking out. It is interesting to note afterward on district conventions and in the September Watchtower you made statements accusing the media and disgruntled apostates of telling false stories. Once again you discredited people who spoke the truth, who said not one word about any doctrine of the organization and you called abuse survivors liars when they bravely came forward to speak out about their abuse. What kind of shepherds are men that act in this way? Are you not all acting like hired men in dealing with Jehovahs sheep?
In the February 7, 2002 letter you made this comment to Dateline:
Our Governing Body is willing to resolve differences of opinion within the framework of the congregation and according to Scriptural principles.
The question is would you be men of your word if we tried to resolve this matter in the framework of the congregation? On June 6, 2002 a letter was written to follow those guidelines, it asked for a meeting to bring forth eye witnesses and establish charges of wrongdoing before a judicial committee of your selection. At the end of that letter this request was made:
It is my optimism the Governing Body much like the Apostle Peter, will humbly address these matters in the best interests of the entire organization so as to bring God's blessing and holy spirit in full flow upon his people.
You were given over ninety days to appoint a committee to meet with eye witnesses and review written documentation to prove the charges against you. What was your response? To immediately instruct local judicial committees to operate in a panic mode and disfellowship all concerned without following theocratic guidelines. The six brothers and sisters who went to the media were denied the scriptural right to present witnesses in their behalf, they were denied the right to attend the meetings as they were held in secret, even though all six flatly denied any wrongdoing and they were summarily disfellowshipped without any eye witnesses or evidence of wrongdoing.
On September 27th we appeared for our meeting with the Governing Body to offer eye witness testimony and printed evidence as proof of why adjustments needed to be made. You were notified of this meeting three months in advance. According to Biblical guidelines charges were
brought forth along with one hundred and twenty five eye-witnesses to back them up as having substance. How did you react? You locked the doors and hid. Where was your trust in Jehovah? Could this have been Jehovah bringing evidence to your front door and you ignoring the truth? Did you really want to see evidence that showed six Governing Body members have been accused of child molestation? When Pat Garza stood on your front step and accused Governing Body member Ted Jaracz of molesting her as a child how did he respond? Do theocratic guidelines only apply to the congregation and not the governing body? This sister was there to face her molester and yet you denied her that right.
Why do you continue to hold to guidelines that were authored at his admission, by your biggest apostate? Ray Franz claims he wrote the directives on how judicial committees were to operate in the 1973 OR ["Organization"] Book. In the chapter, Safeguarding the cleanness of the congregation on page 175, he set forth directives that required judicial action against minor children for gross loose conduct or fornication, or is such that brings the congregation into a bad light in the community. This wicked directive has been used now for thirty years to punish children who were molested by charging them with wrongdoing for being involved in a sexual act. This directive even included non-baptized minor children, a directive that hurt so many children that it was finally adjusted in the mid 1980s. Why do you follow the directives of an apostate? This year children continue to be disfellowshipped after coming forward to report being raped and judicial committees are using guidelines written by Ray Franz? Do you believe Jehovah looks with approval when you shepherd the flock in this way?
The letter last year was an appeal to encourage you to think about the children, to touch your heart to try and help you see the importance of taking proper action. The last sentence in the letter made this appeal:
Please listen, please take action, please stand up for what is right, please give a voice to the silent lambs and please protect the flock.
Yet you asked my judicial committee to use this letter as a basis to disfellowship because of the way in which it was written. I am still at loss to explain how an appeal to protect children can be used as a basis to stone a brother to death.
Again on October 4, 2002 yet another letter was written requesting a judicial hearing to weigh the evidence. On October 27, 2002 yet again you hid from your accusers and did not appear. That letter made this appeal at the end:
May we suggest that the Governing Body sincerely consider their actions to date turn around and manifest works of repentance. Their eternal life is in the balance as the judicial committee endeavors to determine the decision already made in heaven. Beg Jehovah for his spirit to allow the Governing Body to humbly submit to His will, set the example for all brothers and sisters by showing their submission to theocratic arrangement.
What was your reaction to an appeal to follow theocratic arrangement? Are you above theocratic arrangement? It appears the governing body has their own arrangement in which they can shelter those in their number who are alleged child molesters and excommunicate those who are trying to protect children. We have never challenged any doctrine of the organization, yet by your actions you defy the very doctrine you have taught us to follow.
In the February letter to Dateline you as the governing body gave your word. You stated you would be willing to work for resolution in the congregation. Yet when offered that opportunity you proved yourselves to be liars. You lied to Dateline when you pretended to not want to be adversarial, instead you deceptively appointed committees to act as "hit men for you. You lied to the brothers and sisters when you said that media reports were false stories generated by apostates, when you well knew all persons on the programs were faithful witnesses in good standing who were sharing their stories of abuse. You lied to me when you indicated you wanted to follow theocratic guidelines, yet when offered to opportunity to do so, made no attempt to face your accusers. Were these malicious lies?
In the publication we follow known as the OM ["Organized To Accomplish Our Ministry"] book it is interesting to note a comment that is made on page 151 in a discussion on disassociation:
Also a person might renounce his place in the Christian congregation by his actions
Under this arrangement a brother or sister might formally disassociate themselves by committing actions that come under judgment by Jehovah. If a person commits these wrongs then by their actions they automatically disassociate themselves.
The question that begs to be answered is, as you stand before Jehovah, is the harboring of child molesters by policies you continue and disfellowshipping molested children enough to renounce your place in the Christian congregation?
Recently when Cardinal Laws actions were exposed to show in a very similar way how he had committed actions like yours, public outcry called for his removal from office. Since you are at the head of a much smaller religion do you think you can ignore your way out of this problem?
For ten years very simple guidelines have been offered to protect children. They were highlighted in my last letter to you, they are as follows:
1. If a child is molested call the police first.2. No brother or sister who molests children should be allowed privileges in the congregation.3. No brother or sister who molests children should be allowed to go in the door-to-door ministry.
We have not asked anyone to stop being a Jehovahs Witness, we have not challenged any doctrine we have simply asked you to better protect our children. You have been asked this since 1992 yet you continue to have a deaf ear to the cries of molested children. The media has exposed to a large extent how children are being hurt by your policies and will continue to do so. What does it take to get your attention?
The first letter written to you to specifically address this topic was in December of 2000, a second in December 2001, then after repeated requests to meet you have yet another letter requesting that you take decisive action on behalf of protecting children. What have your actions proved you to be? In my opinion you are wicked men. When I stood at the front door and asked to meet with you the intercom was turned off, you had no interest in seeing the reality of how your policies have hurt so many. When hundreds of stuffed lambs were left in the fence across the street they each represented abuse survivors your policies have injured. Did it move your hearts? What better way can you define wicked? Your actions are against children and by ignoring their cry you have renounced your position in the Christian congregation. Therefore it leaves us with no alternative but to announce your disassociation from the Christian congregation. You have the right to appeal this decision if you wish to do so. Please notify silentlambs in writing within seven days of the receipt of this letter if you feel there is a serious error in judgment. If you do not wish to appeal we encourage you to seek works of repentance by regular meeting attendance, turning from your sinful course and acceptance of your wrongdoing.
We are including a copy of the S-77 Form for your review, the original will be sent in a special blue envelope to the Service Department. It saddens us to have to take these actions but ten years of ignoring the cries of abused children demand that a stand be taken for righteousness.
If the Service Department chooses to ignore the date of your disassociation then they will stand before Jehovah and will answer to him for supporting and serving wicked men.
If Christ was willing to die to serve the interests of the flock he will certainly see to it you men are punished for hurting children.
William H. Bowen