To all elders, some probing questions on assault by a member by another member.

by FatFreek 2005 13 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • FatFreek 2005
    FatFreek 2005

    The title should have read, "assault by a member toward another member". (unfortunately, I couldn't find a way to edit the title)

    You happen to be driving by what looks to be your own empty Kingdom Hall and something doesn't look quite right. A shadowy figure is leaving one of the entrance doors and quickly goes to his vehicle and drives off. It's too dark to make out the person and the vehicle. Besides, there has been no crime, right?

    You decide to check things out. You have the key to the front door, open it, turn on the lights and you then find:

    Scenario 1: You find a young sister curled up on the floor in fetal position, sobbing. She tells you that she was just sexually assaulted by the young ministerial servant.

    Scenario 2: You find a young sister sitting on a chair, sobbing with her face in her hands. She lowers her hands which reveals one of her eyes is swollen and blackened. She tells you that her fiance, the young ministerial servant used her head as a punching bag.

    Scenario 3. You find a young sister laying on the floor, dead, with a knife buried in her chest.

    Please list the telephone calls you would make, and please put that list in sequence

    1. The local elders
    2. The Watchtower legal department
    3. The 911 operator (in the U.S.)
    4. The hospital for an ambulance.

    Is the sequence the same in all cases. If not, why not?


  • FatFreek 2005
    FatFreek 2005

    In a somewhat related issue, an elder angrily told my son (unbaptized, former publisher), "we are not the police, we are not the police, we are not the police!"

    This was in response to my son's question about the flood of illegal immigrants in that area of Tennessee. The elder told my son that the immigrants would quietly admit their status to the body before getting baptized but were told they could not have positions of responsibility in the congregation as long as they continued to be lawbreakers.

    Yet, they could become baptized! My question -- How exactly does that work?

    My son's reaction? He was appalled. Doesn't that place you in a judges position of deciding which laws are unjust and which are not. In other words, obey Caesar but only if you agree with Caesar.

    In the scenarios above, I suspect that the elders may be tempted to play the role of judge when it comes to making phone calls. I suspect that sexual assault may be low end on the totem pole of serious offenses.

  • The Searcher
    The Searcher

    I promise that this is the truth:

    While having a cup of tea and a chat with an elder and his wife at their home, (former congregation) I asked him point-blank, "If a brother telephoned you tonight and told you that he'd just stabbed someone to death, would you 'phone Bethel for advice or call the police?"

    His reply: "It would depend if it was another Witness he'd killed!"

    Elders become a different species when they receive their "glorious" title.

  • steve2

    Complicating factor:

    In Scenarios 1 an 2 the sisters tell you in no uncertain terms NOT to phone anyone. They just want to go home. Especially for victims of sexual assault, they have a reasonable fear that the aftermath will be taken out of their control and they'll be re-traumatized. So they go from being controlled by a perpetrator to being controlled by others (ambulance staff, police, nursing staff).

    In cases of sexual assault, in New Zealand women can contact Women's Health Collectives who provide immediate support without pressure to submit to authorities. Of course, it cases of sexual assault, it is crucial that evidence be collected - but not at the expense of the victim's fears and protests.

    In Scenario 3 where death is evident, in New Zealand you are legally obliged to immediately contact the police first AND will be under investigation if you contact other sources first.

  • under the radar
    under the radar

    When the elders "approve" someone for baptism, it is tantamount to saying that this person has sufficient knowledge of (their version of) the teachings of the Bible to commit to living by them and that this person is therefore acceptable as a member of the congregation. All other aspects of the baptismal candidate's life (living arrangements, "acceptable" employment, sexual orientation, marital status, etc.) have been delved into and determined to meet JW standards so that the candidate doesn't bring reproach on the organization Jehovah's name.

    I agree that the organization has no legal obligation to inquire into an individual's immigration status even though they certainly inquire into everything else. But if it is known that the person is willfully breaking "Caesar's laws" on an ongoing basis, ignoring that fact by accepting them for baptism and presenting them to other JW's and the world as law-abiding Christians constitutes tacit approval and endorsement of their actions.

    I say this because while the JW's claim that baptism is merely an outward sign of one's personal dedication to God and the commitment to do his will, it is actually a de facto initiation into the Watchtower Society, regardless of how they phrase it or what organizational name they use. The JW baptismal "vows" no longer offer even a pretense that the candidate is being baptized in the name of "the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." It is much more like a swearing-in ceremony than a traditional Christian baptism.

    I believe there are two main reasons the elders are told not to consider a baptismal candidate's immigration status when deciding whether to approve them for baptism. First, most of what little growth there is in the West and particularly in the US is among Hispanics and it appears that a disproportionate number of those are "undocumented." The Society needs all the new members it can get (to boost their numbers), and can't afford to turn away whole groups of potential guileless victims converts. Second, if it became widely known that JW's were "withholding baptism" on the basis of a person's legal immigration status, it would probably generate a lot of bad publicity and the backlash could be dramatic. Certain cities or companies might refuse to rent them facilities for their precious (and moneymaking) conventions. I have no doubt that certain of the media would be positively apoplectic. It would be the height of political incorrectness. I can hear it now: "Principle be damned! We gotta protect our money reputation!"

    In at least one instance, elders were instructed in writing and on official Watchtower stationery to accept for baptism a self-confessed murderer who was even at that time a fugitive from the law. While I accept that elders are not the police and it is not their place to investigate crime and enforce Caesar's laws, it sure seems odd to me that the organization would want to be complicit in cloaking such a person with the appearance of living (their version of) a Christian life.

    Especially when they are so quick to denounce and shun an otherwise exemplary member whose only "sin" is to question any Watchtower doctrine, interpretation, or policy, however mercurial and self-serving it may be. Now that's hypocrisy on an industrial scale.

  • just fine
    just fine

    Ask any worldly person, or someone outside the cult for many years and the first call would be the police without hesitation.

  • blondie

    When an elder, my husband asked another elder after the elders' school, who would he report a murder to first, the elders or the police.

    He said the elders, my husband not raised a jw asked why, what authority do the elders have or the WTS. Not calling the police would make you guilty of obstructing.

    Confused look, then quiet.

    I think some elders would rather have the secular law angry than the other elders. Don't want to lose everlasting life on a paradise earth...

  • OrphanCrow
    steve: Complicating factor:
    In Scenarios 1 an 2 the sisters tell you in no uncertain terms NOT to phone anyone. They just want to go home. Especially for victims of sexual assault, they have a reasonable fear that the aftermath will be taken out of their control and they'll be re-traumatized. So they go from being controlled by a perpetrator to being controlled by others (ambulance staff, police, nursing staff).

    Complicating factor: how young is young? Are the "young sisters" minors? (well...not the dead one...dead is dead regardless of how old you are)

    If the sister was a minor, there is no option to let her decide to report the matter. When a crime is committed against a minor child (under 18 in most countries), it must be reported. A minor does not have an option to say "don't call the police".

  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    Mmmm, another delicious chunk of leftover Thanksgiving MEAT!

    Coming soon: Who can dance on the head of a pin?

    Stay tuned...

  • steve2

    OrphanCrow, the scenario said "a sister" making no reference to her being a minor which would be a hugely relevant factor.

    Yes you would be obliged to report it to the authorities in that instance but again, if it is not handled appropriately, the victim is simply re-traumatised. The suggestion of enlisting support services such as Women's Health Collectives - whose members are trained in responding to traumatised females - remains a viable one, especially in instances where a child is terrified of the "consequences". Yes the police would still be notified - but it would not be the overarching first move in instances such as a victim's terror. She would need lots of reassurance and support beforehand to reduce the likelihood of re-traumatising and medical care - at which point health professionals are obliged to report it to the police.

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