Walsh case, in Crisis of Conscience AND in JW Yearbook (1973)

by FreedomFrog 12 Replies latest jw friends

  • FreedomFrog

    (Again, This is Dave, posting for Gina)

    Gina really thinks on her feet! When she met with her parents, she brought up the infamous "Walsh case" in Crisis of Conscience, where the Watchtower higher-ups (including Fred Franz) had to give embarrassing testimony under oath about the Watchtower's controlling methods and tactics. You can read the salient bits here: http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/6/33352/1.ashx

    Her parents simply would not believe such a thing ever happened. Franz wouldn't have said those things, you're making the whole thing up. So Gina said, "Let's check the Watchtower CD." They looked up 1954 Walsh and sure enough, it got a write up in the Yearbook. Of course, they totally glossed over the testimony, but they did admit some embarrassing observations by the judge! (I think they thought they were making him look stupid, what a backfire!) When they saw the episode in the yearbook, and Gina showed them where she'd written to Scotland and asked for a transcript, they at least believed it was not TOTALLY made up. WTG Gina! I never knew the Society commented on this case, what a foolish move!

    Here's what the yearbook said (As they finally get around to admitting, they lost the case):

    *** yb73 pp. 133-135 The British Isles ***


    In 1953 it was determined that a test case should be prepared to establish whether the Society was a religious organization and whether it had regular ministers. The purpose was to meet the unfair situation whereby the conscription laws providing exemption for regular ministers of religion were being construed in such a manner as to deny Jehovah?s witnesses the benefit of such laws. The man selected had to meet many different qualifications, personal, ministerial, official, narrow age limit, and, of course, he had to be one who had been called upon to register for national service. Douglas Walsh of Dumbarton, Scotland, was eventually chosen, he being both a pioneer and a congregation overseer. By the close of 1953 plans were completed and strategy laid for the test case in Scotland. The aim was to determine legally whether Jehovah?s witnesses were a religious organization and whether pioneer and congregation overseer Douglas Walsh was a regular minister. In January 1954, a preliminary hearing in Edinburgh determined that Walsh had a relevant case and Lord Strachan ordered it to go to proof. The case was set down for November 23, 1954.

    The Watch Tower Society?s vice-president, F. W. Franz, from the Brooklyn headquarters was first to go into the witness box. He outlined from the Bible the beliefs of Jehovah?s witnesses, especially those that differed from orthodox religions. Then Hayden Covington dealt with the organization, ceremonies and practices. Grant Suiter, secretary-treasurer of the Society, covered the finances of the Society and showed that contributions from literature distribution did not meet the cost of the worldwide missionary work and that voluntary contributions of Jehovah?s witnesses themselves made up the difference. Four other British witnesses gave evidence. Pryce Hughes, the branch overseer and presiding minister for the British Isles, explained the structure of the organization in Britain, while Douglas Walsh described his work as a pioneer and congregation overseer. The whole of the evidence took seven days to present and covered 762 pages of manuscript. On January 7, 1955, Lord Strachan gave his judgment. He ruled that a body was a religious denomination if it met the following requirements: (a) if it existed for religious purposes, (b) if it professed religious beliefs that were distinctive in the sense that they distinguish it from other religious bodies, (c) if it was organized as a separate body under its own system of worship, government and discipline, and (d) if its membership was reasonably substantial. Lord Strachan was satisfied that Jehovah?s witnesses met each of these conditions and were therefore a religious denomination.

    Sir John Cameron, the Dean of Faculty of Advocates in Scotland, who led the Society?s case, argued strongly that if it were decided that Jehovah?s witnesses were a religious denomination then it was for the denomination to decide who were its regular ministers. No one outside could tell a denomination who its ministers were to be. He maintained that ?regular? meant ?according to rule,? and, since Walsh was appointed according to the rule of Jehovah?s witnesses, the court must hold that he was a regular minister.

    Dealing with the term ?minister,? the judge said: ?In order to be a minister a person must first be invested with the office of a minister of religion and second be in use to or at least entitled to administer the religious ordinances of his communion. I am also of the opinion that these two essential elements necessarily imply that a minister is in some way set apart in spiritual things from the ordinary members of his communion.? He objected to the form of appointment of Walsh and concluded that ?the emphasis is definitely on administration rather than on spiritual leadership.? He found fault with the scholastic requirements of the congregation overseer. Of the Ministry School, he said: ?What is taught is such as can be understood by children of . . . tender years.?

    The Dean of Faculty?s argument pointed out that the founders of Christianity were not selected because of any scholastic attainments, but in reply the judge declared: ?That argument is, in my opinion, beside the point, for it is quite obvious that in exempting a regular minister of a religious denomination from national service in 1948 Parliament was not thinking of a minister such as those who preached in the early church, but of a minister of religion as known in modern times.? The judge, in fact, found that Walsh was not a ?regular minister? because of his pioneer status, even though the ministry was his vocation.

    The case was appealed therefore to the High Court of Justiciary in Scotland, where three judges upheld Lord Strachan?s judgment. The case was then taken to the House of Lords, the court of last appeal. On July 21, 1955, Lord Goddard, Lord Chief Justice of England, rejected the appeal. Jehovah?s witnesses were therefore judged to be a religious denomination that does not have any regular ministers.

  • confusedjw

    Who is this "Dave" and what have you done with Gina?! j/k

    Good for you Gina. Keep telling your folks that the Walsh case is the tip of the ice berg. Why would "truth" have to be changed or ever be wrong if it came from God? Where does it say in the bible Jehovah gradually mets out truth to his people? I think that Moses got a whole heck of a lot of it all at once! So did the early Christian.

    Keep up posted

  • Leolaia

    I have a photocopy of the whole case. It's very much worth getting.

    I didn't realize the WTS talked about it in the Yearbook. It is also ironic that in the 1970s the Witnesses took the opposite position and began claiming that any publisher was to be considered a minister.

  • orangefatcat

    Dave I posted you this morning, and gave you a website to check that case about Walsh. I found it yesterday. You'll give the true version not the glossed over version.

    Love Orangefatcat.

  • AlmostAtheist

    Thanks, Cat!

  • Amazing1914

    I have the entire Walsh trial transcript ... it, like the Rutherford trial, and Moyle trial, reveal just how foolish the JW religion really is. - Jim Whitney

  • bebu
    Q. Unity at all costs?

    A. Unity at all costs, because we believe and are sure that Jehovah God is using our organisation, the government body of our organisation to direct it, even though mistakes are made from time to time.

    Q. A unity based upon a forced acceptance of false prophecy?

    A. That is conceded to be true.

    Q. And the person who expressed this view, as you say, that it was wrong and was disfellowshipped, would be in breach of the Covenant, if he was baptised?

    A. That is correct.

    Q. And as you said yesterday expressly, would be worthy of death?

    A. I think....

    Q. Would you answer yes or no?

    A. I will answer yes unhesitatingly.

    This is probably the most outrageous, damning testimony against themselves, out of the mouth of H.C. Covington, the WTS's main lawyer!!!

    I wish I could get a photocopy of the trial, but it's so daaaaang pricey! And I don't have a microfiche machine for the cheaper microfiche copies.

    Gina, I hope your mother's zeal for "making sure" keeps up.


  • IT Support
    IT Support

    Gina / Dave,

    Thanks for an interesting thread.


    Is the transcript available online? Or where did you get your copy?


    Are you able to post the address of the web site?


    Jim, may I ask where you got the transcripts? Are any available online?

    Does anyone know if this is true:

    In The Orwellian World of Jehovah's Witnesses (by Heather and Gary Botting), they quote Hadyn Covington's admissions:

    Q. A unity based upon a forced acceptance of false prophecy? A. That is conceded to be true.

    They then write that what he said later caused him to be disfellowshipped.

    Can anyone confirm this?

  • Leolaia

    IT Support....I purchased a photocopy of the original printed transcript. I'm posting some of the relevant pages here in just a few minutes...

    (note that this is part of the public record, so there ain't anything the Society could do to sue to get this off the net)

  • Leolaia

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