What does Two witness mean for child abuse?
I am not a JW. My mother in law is. My husband is not a JW, but he did attend with her through his child years and teen years but stopped once he was 15. His mother never made him or his siblings attend if they did not want to.
I am trying to understand this organization to understand my Mother In Law better. I am a christian and don't understand this " two witness rule" for child abuse? Can somebody please explain it to me HOW my mother in law would have it explained to her. This seems absurd.
Your mother in-law would be told its propaganda from Satan.
It means injustice. There must be two witnesses to an accusation, as per a warped biblical interpretation. (Almost never happens). Unless there are two witnesses to the molestation there can be no action of censure by the congregation toward the accused. This results in the vilification of the accuser if they refuse the counsel to NOT talk about it again, instead they are told to wait on God for justice because "He knows". This is true no matter how old the victim is. Until recently Elders did not report to police any accusation. They still are told to call the headquarters legal department for advice before acting on any accusation.
Often victims who speak out are expelled from the congregation and perpetrators go unidentified or expelled. Go to YouTube and search Australian Royal Commission on Child Abuse. It will shock you.
Welcome Canadian Sunshine.
Your M-i-L if typical will WANT to believe "the organisation" (AKA the Governing Body) is God's channel and trying its best as imperfect men to do what is right.
As each court case hits their dollars and TV documentary/news item hits their image and especially since the Australian Royal Commission case study 29 into JW's - the organisation has - dragging its heels and using its considerable legal and financial clout - fought a protracted rearguard action against doing anything it doesn't want to.
IMAGE and MONEY is everything to these bozos who have entrapped the gullible and invested into believing their every false promise of "paradise soon" or somesuch for over 100 years.
Only this week they have put up LOOK AT US AND HOW GOOD WE ARE child protection documents that I believe are only the result of hard work by abuse victims, ex jw's and the "worldly" and "satanic" courts of decent democracies. The problem is that by sleight of hand and oral communication they will do or not do exactly what they want to using their enforcing puppet elders in the congregations.
They are not a quirky bunch on the edge of mainstream christianity, they are a manipulative money grabbing nest feathering bunch of stuffed fat charlatans.
And breathe ...
From a Witness point of view, the Two Witness rule has been established by the Watchtower, as being the only way to be fair and just to a person that has been accused. It has been repeatedly mentioned in study articles.
This of course, only makes it a paradise for a child molester. Without a confession from the molester or an eyewitness to the act besides the child, the elders will simply shrug their shoulders and say it's up to God to do something. Most witnesses, although frustrated, will do what the Watchtower says. They also will be hesitant to call the authorities because they have been repeatedly told that doing so, would bring reproach on God's name.
The other sad thing is, the Elders would happily consider a second child victim as another witness. So one child's testimony is not enough, you have to wait till another child is molested. Then the Elders are satisfied - sometimes.
During the Australian Royal Commission's examination of the Two Witness Rule, Angus Stewart for the ARC, brought out that there was an example found in the same account of the two witnesses, that only had one witness. A woman that was raped out in the fields and had screamed - tho no one heard her - successfully testified against the rapist and he was killed for his act. One of the Governing Body (one of eight men that lead the religion) wouldn't directly answer why they couldn't use that example in the case of a child being molested and testifying as one witness and being believed.
Most witnesses will not go against what the Governing Body says in this regards. It would be like going against the pope if you were Catholic.The reaction you will get if you try to make a point with a JW over this is - fear and strong denial.
The Governing Body, knowing full well that the ARC proceedings would show them to be an organization that didn't report child abuse by calling the police, recently put out another video saying they would always stick to the Two Witness rule. This was their way of making it about the Bible and that they were being righteous for sticking with that rule. So they couldn't be blamed for letting pedophiles remain in the congregation (and molesting more children) because hey, there was only one witness to the crime.
A few things that Witnesses have been told:
- Allegations that the Watchtower is hiding pedophiles is "Apostate driven lies"
- Child sexual abuse happens everywhere, so sometimes it happens within the JW world.
- These are isolated cases.
- Elders should be consulted first, not the police.
So as you can see, most JW's are guided to believe that the Two Witness rule is the best way to deal with any case, including child sexual abuse. They would have difficulty believing any thing that is negative about it. But it also worth a shot to try to help them see the situation in a new way.
Hope your efforts work.
Canadian Sunshine - "What does two witness mean for child abuse?"
It's a so-called "Biblical" - but thoroughly dodgy - method of keeping secular authorities out of the Org's business...
...and also (IMO) thusly keeping enough "qualified" brothers available (whose offenses, if they were to become publicly known, would otherwise disqualify them) to administer the Org at the grassroots level, which I suspect the Org is a lot more dependent on than we've realized.
It means that the cruel exploitation of children and a viable means to handle these situations irresponsibly if the perpetrator doesn't admit to the crime and even if they did the WTS would just disfellowship the member and not report the matter to local law authorities.
The WTS has had long standing policy to place a gag over anyone who had this terrible behavior imposed upon them as a means to protect the public image of the organization., similar to how the Catholics handled its own sexual abuse problems.
You can't understand it because it is absurd, disgusting, criminal, immoral, deplorable...now I've run out of adjectives that do not include cursing.
Put simply, only if there are two witnesses to an accusation is it taken seriously. Out of the mouth of two witnesses is a matter established, so says the Bible (paraphrasing). So when a kid says they've been abused, unless someone can corroborate their account, Jehovah's Witnesses just shrug it off, or in some cases blame the accuser for lying.
Look, the problem isn't the two witness rule itself. It's tough when any matter is the word of one person against another. The problem is that the JWs are indoctrinated to see the elders as the arbiter of everything in life. They go to them with personal problems, marital problems, etc. These men hold court over the congregation and judge matters of morality and see child sexual abuse through the lens if morality, not criminality.
Child sexual abuse is a criminal matter yet they insist on handling it. They are not trained to do so. They cannot professionally investigate matters. They do not understand how predators work. Therefore predators go free in the cult. They don't often report to the proper authorities because they've been trained to always turn to elders. Elders have the job of maintaining appearances and therefore discourage people from going to the police.
I don't understand why other 'witnesses' cannot count as an implicit form of 'testifying.' Isn't psychological trauma a witness to what happened? Nightmares, panic attacks? Bruising? It boggles the mind.
Thank you all for your kind help on understanding. I agree that it isn't just the "two witness rule" but a larger picture happening. There is to much emphasis placed on elders, leaders, and people that are placed in "high power" are truly being and acting as God wants. I am noticing a pattern of followers believing more in "man" than "God" when it comes to JW, Catholics and a few other denominations. A church I attend we don't really have "elders" of the church, and most of us know even the preachers are only human and not GOD which means they are capable of sin, and any type of sin. Looking towards GOD, not people is best. Read your bible. If something the leader says does not agree with you, find scripture on it. Even leaders can make mistakes and big ones.
A few years ago we had a long time pastor that fell into temptation and sin. It had to do with pornography, and he told the congregation about it and that he was stepping down for awhile. Many judged him of course, some even left the church in disgust, and many remained because he was stepping down but admitted his sinful acts. Anyways its a difficult situation.