It is a shame the JW are still considered by many a sect. The documentary of Pano at VRT Eén and the days around it on ‘Terzake’ and ‘De Afspraak’ (both programs of the Flemish state television VRT channel Canvas), and in Van Gils (on Eén) tried to bring the religious organisation in the picture with something which can not be allowed in any group (be it religious, sportive or artistic).
Good for the elder who dared to come out of anonymity in the hope this abuse which could also be found in other religious groups (be them Catholic and/or protestant) would be uncovered and stopped.
Jehovah’s Witnesses’ elder, Kurt De Kerf (55) from Sint-Niklaas testified anonymously in Pano report but choose to leave anonymity <= “nothing to hide + because important this finally comes into the open.”
Crimes rarely reported to secular justice > Legal Committee, elders themselves investigate + punish crimes, ranging from intoxication, corruption to adultery.
Already seventy possible victims of abuse report to the Jehovah’s Witnesses hotline
The scandal of abuse within Jehovah’s Witnesses first erupted abroad, but has also received attention in Belgium since last week’s Pano [TV show] report. There are seventy possible victims reporting to the “Reclaimed Voices Belgium” hotline.
Since two weeks, “Reclaimed Voices” has also a hotline in our country, and in the aftermath of the Pano broadcast it is receiving “disturbing messages”. “Almost a week after the broadcast, there are more than seventy people involved in sexual abuse or domestic and psychological violence”, according to a press release from…
The Watchtower’s child abuse protocols read like a mashup of Scripture and corporate policy.
From a 1989 Watchtower letter to all U.S. elders describing the importance of secrecy:
“Often the peace, unity, and spiritual well-being of the congregation are at stake.
Improper use of the tongue by an elder can result in serious legal problems for the individual
the congregation, and even the Society.”
Every year in the United States, 60,000 children (aged 11 and younger) are sexually abused.
Every year, 321,500 (aged 12 and older) are sexually assaulted or raped.
80% of all those sexually abused under the age of 18 are abused by a parent or stepparent. (RAINN, 2019).
Normally believing people following Jesus should try to have an immaculate life, taking care of and protecting those around them.
From Jehovah’s Witnesses one would expect that they would show respect for men, women and children and would take care that those who do something atrocious against the Law of God would be punished and would be put out of the community. Often we hear about people have been disfellowshipped for matters which could be talked about and which are not so terrible as for the matters we came to hear about the last few weeks.
At the end of March a documentary was shown on the Flemish state television about reports of sexual abuse by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. At the edition of “Pano” on VRT Eén the documentary brought to light that the organisation had been covering up sexual abuse of minors via an internal ‘disciplinary’ system for years. That way, none of the claims were reported to the police. One of the witnesses, who has been an elder in the organisation, was very straightforward in the documentary, in calling it
“a paradise for paedophiles”.
The (protected and therefore made anonymous) elder made it clear the organisation had in March 1997 already sent a letter to each of its 10,883 U.S. congregations, and to many more congregations worldwide indicating for the dangers if some news about paedophile acts would come into the public. The organization was concerned about the legal risk posed by possible child molesters within its ranks. The letter laid out instructions on how to deal with a known predator:
Write a detailed report answering 12 questions — Was this a onetime occurrence, or did the accused have a history of child molestation? How is the accused viewed within the community? Does anyone else know about the abuse? — and mail it to Watchtower’s headquarters in a special blue envelope. Keep a copy of the report in your congregation’s confidential file, the instructions continued, and do not share it with anyone.
The man in charge for Belgium, Louis De Wit was not really willing to give a reasonable reply for what was going on behind the doors of this religious organisation. He gave the impression he did not know about such “blue envelope”.
One would think Jehovah’s Witnesses disapprove of sexual abuse, and would do everything to react properly against such unwanted actions. When there were sent “blue envelopes” like many from different countries tell, are sent to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, they must have a large database of undocumented child molesters:
at least two decades’ worth of names and addresses —likely numbering in the tens of thousands — and detailed acts of alleged abuse, most of which have never been shared with law enforcement, all scanned and searchable in a Microsoft SharePoint file.
we known from more than one source.
In recent decades, much of the world’s attention to allegations of abuse has focused on the Catholic Church and other religious groups. Less notice has been paid to the abuse among the Jehovah’s Witnesses, though this Christian group with more than 8.5 million members was much spoken off at several fora and blogs of ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses, stating such and other problems in that organisation.
In the United States already millions of dollars have been paid over the years to keep it secret.
Because the church, and its community, is for many of those victims their life, it is even more difficult to cope with, because they also feel that they can give a negative impression over their religious group. Often they live in a certain way isolated of the outside world. They go to school but friendship with non-JW is not exactly recommended or encouraged. In several countries and several JW families kids aren’t allowed to play sports in school or participate in holiday observances in school.
When the abused persons tell others about what happened they are asked to keep it quiet or are treated as the trespasser and soon after talks with elders they become considered as a “reproofed” member of the congregation, being effectively shunned, not permitted to speak unless spoken to. Often they even become forbidden from participating in church activities and as such having been made invisible in the eyes of the church.
Having had little contact with the outside world, staying with their own, save for going door-to-door to convince others that their religion was the one and true path to salvation in these, the final days of human history, they feel like betrayed and shut down by their own “family”. For the devout, disfellowshipping feels literally like a death sentence, because according to what they have learned one has to be a JW or to “belong to the Truth” to be able to enter the Kingdom of God.
Jehovah’s Witnesses call their version of excommunication disfellowshipping, a punishment by shunning to rid the faithful of bad associations with those who break the laws of God. Though this time not the abuser is disfellowshipped but the victim which makes she or he as expelled person cannot have any further contact with Witnesses, even polite acknowledgement on the street, until they take back the accusations or allegations and have proved ‘their repentance and willingness to return obediently’ to the organization.
Midway through the last century, the Watchtower took the power to judge and punish Witnesses away from the entire membership of congregations and gave it to the elders in each kingdom hall. The Watchtower also began to emphasize the importance of keeping the organization “spiritually clean.” By the early 1990s, roughly 40,000 Witnesses were disfellowshipped each year, according to Watchtower literature.
For decades, Jehovah’s Witnesses literature has described the importance of cutting off unrepentant sinners, even when they are family members. A 1988 Watchtower article traces the roots of the organization’s shunning policies to Deuteronomy, which says Israelite parents must bring rebellious children before the elders to be judged and executed
“to clear away what is bad from the midst of Israel.”
Israelite parents even participated in the execution of their own children to show their loyalty to God before family, the article states, because such demonstrations of devotion can be necessary to save one’s own life.
From the way the organisation reactions we can have the impression those youngsters who say they are misused are rebellious children who themselves created such situations where the adult fell in their trap.
What is also so ‘funny” is that those people by others are called “man of God” and should receive full respect and as such nothing bad can or could be said about them.
The same as what seems to happen in many other countries (like the Netherlands) the organisation does not have any policies to prevent sexual abuse or report it to the police and even worse want to keep it silent, sometimes even giving the victims the idea that they are the cause or warning them that they may not let outsiders know about this.
Victims that quit the organisation are not only ignored completely but become disfellowshipped and considered outcast nobody of the JW (lower) members may have contact. Only elders are supposedly to have contact with them, but do not seem to do anything to help them really.
According to CIAOSN, an independent centre set up by Belgium’s Department of Justice to study sectarian organisations, there are similar findings in 12 other countries. The report concludes that the issues in all other countries are the same. Due to the strict hierarchy of the organisation, it’s very difficult to come forward, reports CIAOSN. Another issue that returns frequently in CIAOSN’s report is that victims have to give their statements about the abuse in the presence of their abusers. If the accused denies involvement, they’ll only further the investigation after two other witness statements. In all these 13 countries, there is not one woman involved in the internal disciplinary system.
Reclaimed Voices Belgium finds that it is noteworthy how many people that talk about the severe psychological damage that the exclusion by the community brings with it. They say
“In conversations we’ve had with victims so far, it seems that the trauma caused by the exclusion that follows when a victim speaks up about the abuse has an even bigger impact than the abuse itself.”
Find also to read:
Over the past couple of years, Mark O’Donnell has been leaking stolen letters and other papers documenting instances of child abuse. (Lexey Swall)
Many Christians may have lots of questions about why we are created so and so, what we do have to do, how we have to behave and form our selves. Jehovah’s Witnesses also can become confronted with such questions which can bring them into many doubts. They also can become frustrated.
Jehovah’s witnesses from door to door (Photo credit: ideacreamanuelaPps)
Strangely in our world today we may find people who are excluded by the community of Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW), but who are still feeling 100% pro-Jehovah’s Witnesses. This despite the fact that the organisation has removed them from the congregation, and despite the believer his or her belief that the organisation happens to be in error for doing so!
What we do find strange by many ex-Jehovah Witnesses is that they either go totally against the Faith in OneGod or that they go totally against the non-trinitarian idea and go to an other organisational church. Many of them keep thinking you need A Organisation, others came to come to see clear and do find it is not as such the church of men but the church of God they have to look for.
Witnesses for Jehovah
A few believe that there is no other religious organization on earth today that is so completely committed to doing the work Jesus asked of his followers, and following in his footsteps, worshipping the God of the Bible, in the way that he prescribes, doing their utmost to be continually teaching and living by the truth of his word, and not simply the often-vacillating moral and secular opinions of men. They stay blinded that there are no other serious Bible Students who try to do the task Jesus had ordered his followers to do. This mainly because they limit their idea about preaching to having to go on the streets and to knock at the door or ringing the bell.
We do agree that the Jehovah Witnesses organisation is a powerful organisation, very well structured, and because having enough money and interested people, able to bring the tasks together, organise editions and meetings, much better than many others. They have very beautiful good publications to help people willing to learn about the Word and Work of JehovahGod. Though sometimes they seem to forget that it is “God’s word is alive, and exerts power,” (Hebrews 4:12) and that it is God’sHand which hovers over the world bringing all sorts of people active in the Word of God. The Jehovah Witnesses and the excluded ones who still hope to be part of the Jehovah Witnesses (JW) overlook that there are also other witnesses for Jehovah active in the whole world. We consider ourselves some of them.
When all in union or being united
The congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses mistakenly consider them as the only people who are truly united by their religion “in the same mind and in the same line of thought” as Jesus Christ, not just locally, but everywhere around the globe. The JW rightly consider that if all people on earth were Jehovah’s Witnesses, there would be no wars, no violent conflicts. But we also could say in case all Christians would follow the teachings of the one they say they take as their master, than also there would be already less fighting and less problems in the world. In case all people would be real Christians, and not just name Christians, really following the commandments of God, than also there would be no wars, no violent conflicts. The same simply cannot be said of the myriad of other religions on earth today, because there are so many divisions and many having non-Scriptural teachings. Taryn Viv having been a JW, and still feeling like one, seems to know one of the problems of the people in the organisation. She writes:
To their credit, Jehovah’s Witnesses are sincerely diligent when it comes to applying Bible counsel to themselves, and to the congregation. Faithfully doing so has proven to have tremendously positive results, which only makes sense. If the Bible really is, as it claims, the word of our creator, his wisdom certainly must surpass ours, and as it is summed up at Isaiah 48:17, “I, Jehovah, am your God, the One teaching you to benefit yourself.”
Fallible or infallible organisation
Diagram Representing Organisational Structure of Jehovah’s Witnesses (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Though not one man is infallible and knows everything. Even Jesus did not know when he would return to the earth. But the organisation claims that they can tell all people what is right and wrong, and that they are the only ones who can bring people to God. For sure they will help a lot of people to find the Only One God and to come to see the difference between the man made gods and the Only One God, the ElohimHashemJehovah. We should know that we as human beings have all our limitations and cannot expect perfection of one another in this system of things, nor can we expect it of the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses, nor those appointed to positions of responsibility, in spite of the tremendous good that Jehovah clearly is using the JW, Bible Students, Christadelphians and other non-trinitarian Christians who freely and sincerely, contribute to the work of God.
Transgender – Being and feeling in a body
As a transgender woman for many, many years, the writer was quite frankly a bit shocked that, within weeks of her first surfacing the truth of her situation openly with a brother whom she considered a long-time friend, the congregation elders had decided this was a “judicial matter,” and scheduled a meeting to essentially determine whether she would be “repentant,” or would need to be removed from the congregation. Strangely enough you could wonder how it did happen they did not know earlier.
Such people with a gender problem, which we encounter much more today (also have a look at the articles on Stepping toes) are not only in trouble with their own situation, having to suffer from major depressive illness for some years and as a result having very little contact with their own family, do not have it always easy to mix with others and to enjoy friendly contacts and group meetings in Christian groups.
Exclusion because of gender choice
Dr. Camille Cabral, a transgender activist at a demonstration for transgender people in Paris, October 1, 2005
Because Taryn Viv cannot, and will not dress and present herself as the “man” she had come to realize she never truly was in the first place, she has been removed from the congregation. This is somewhat shocking which we often have to hear about the JW, who exclude followers and have their family members and friends of the faith-group charged not to meet the excluded person any more.
When we do know that everybody is created in the likeness of God, and that we do bear the image of God, you may wonder if those who do not feel at ease in their body are really doing something against the Will of God ,when they let science help them to become the person they, in first instance feel to be?
For sure, those who would knowingly and wilfully practice such things that Jehovah condemns as seriously harmful, unloving and wrong, could not rightly still be considered a follower of Christ. Those who practice fornication, theft, murder, and do not regret what they have wrong, even when baptised, can not be any more be considered a person being part of the Body of Christ. We do agree that in many Christian denominations there are a lot of people who believe we do not have to work any more once we are ‘reborn’. They think once baptised that they would enter in heaven because they are saved by Christ. But Faith without works is death.
Looks, judging and counselling
In case people of the congregation see that there is something wrong they should bring this into discussion. Faithful brothers and sisters should be counselled then to avoid any association with such a person, even to the point of just sitting down to a meal with them, where others could see the association with that person. But we do not find it right that natural brothers and sisters and parents are not allowed to speak or associate with their brother or sister or child.
According to us they should be the first ones to bring the other to get to see what he or she did wrong, but than there have to have been something wrong. Therefore we as Christians should examine everything very careful and be attentive before we judge some one else. We also should be aware that by the ages many traditions came into our life as well as ideas how we should be or what would be accepted as normal or acceptable in our community.
For example the JW always like to go around in business suits and do not find it appropriate to wear casual clothing in service. Their way of dress is also not always conform the dress in the country they preach. As such, in West Europe everybody straight ahead recognises the JW because of their Americanised out of date dressing. But that has nothing to do with commandments of God, where no where in Scriptures is written that a dress for a girl has to have a length of so many centimetres beneath the knees or up to the ankles.
Exclusions of persons
Christians should be very careful with exclusions of persons from their community and should also try to do every effort to get the person back on the right track. They never may forget that the rules of exclusion are about someone who has not shown any repentance, remorse or regret for such serious wrongs, and that the purpose of such “disfellowshipping,” as Jehovah’s Witnesses call the practice is twofold.
First, it may move the person to reconsider the seriousness of what they have been doing and to turn around, thereby restoring a good relationship, first and foremost, with Jehovah God, but also with their spiritual family, who are urged to “kindly forgive and comfort” them. (2 Corinthians 2:7)
A second key reason is that, in the event they should remain unrepentant, “a little leaven ferments the whole lump.” (1 Corinthians 5:6)
Wisdom of scriptural admonition evident
The writer of the article A Matter of Judgement recognises that the wisdom of the scriptural admonition is evident, and can be clearly seen by counterexample. No doubt we’ve all heard of some widely publicized cases of unthinkably horrid offences committed by members of various religions. (Child molestation, for example, comes to mind. Murder is another, such as the bombings of abortion clinics, for example.) When those engaging in such acts, even repeatedly, can yet remain affiliated with others of their “faith,” as though even such gross wrongs are tolerable, or beyond judgement, what does it say to the world at large about that faith?
“Faith without works is dead.” (James 2:26)
More believers should hear the call of those who came onto this world in an other body than there mind tells them.
For now, though, I’ll conclude by saying I am grateful to be attending meetings regularly at the Kingdom hall again, and despite being considered “disfellowshipped” I find them spiritually strengthening and encouraging.
These days I am glad to say I can be more sociable again, and although it saddens me that I cannot now freely associate with many of my friends, brothers and sisters in the congregation, I find I am being given precious opportunities to speak about the good news of God’s Word with others I come into contact with.
Far from letting my circumstances cause me to be negative, many an acquaintance has told me they have come away after a conversation with a better view of both the Bible and Jehovah’s Witnesses than they had before.
It pleases me know that I can still plant seeds of truth. I would encourage anyone in my sort of situation to do the same. Jehovah is a rewarder of those loyal to him, and so although the appointed elders may still expect to see me doing things that I cannot do, I know that Jehovah is pleased to see me doing what I can.
We only can hope that those who found their way to Jehovah the Only OneGod, by the help of the marvellous work of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, when they leave that organisation will continue in the Faith and in the Truth, loving God and all His creation, the good and the bad people also.
Moordown: Kingdom Hall of Jehovahs Witnesses Tucked away in Elmes Road, otherwise a residential back street of Moordown. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
“The result of ‘shunning’ is extreme anxiety, depression, self hatred, increased blood pressure, loss of appetite, self injury and suicidal thoughts and attempts. This is not only painful but excruciating.” – Allan N. Schwartz, PhD
Jonathan Rose was branded a hypocrite as he was locked up for molesting two little girls he met through the church.
The family of Rose’s first accuser say they were encouraged to cover up their allegation. He was cleared of groping the then teenage girl in 1995 trial, but she would go on to be a witness in the latest court case. Her family say they were hounded out of the Jehovah’s Witnesses when they expressed concerns.
What Does The Bible Really Teach? – Chapter 18 Review (watchtowerinvestigated.co.uk)
You are not baptised in the name of the father, son and holy spirit you are baptised into the organisation. In fact the last question they is “Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization?”
Gods law are not burdensome, but let me list some things that the watchtower burden with when you are baptised:-• Fill out a report card every month detailing how much ministry you have done (or not as the case may be).
• You Must go to all the meetings.
• You Must go on the field service.
• You Must not have a blood transfusion even if your life depended on it.
• You Must not get involved in any holidays, Christmas, Birthday, Mothers Day, Fathers Day…the list goes on.
• You Must cut off love ones if they reject the religion…
• The list goes on…
The aim of the programme was to help the delegates to work towards acquiring a bible-trained and holy spirit-led conscience, which together with the bible, could serve as a reliable guide in deepening their relationship with God.
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Rob Mac wonders when the door to door will return? He wrote this a while back, and went sharing it again. Many Jehovah’s Witnesses hate the door to door ministry, although they won’t readily admit it. Many Jehovah’s Witnesses have developed ‘creative’ ways of counting their time doing this work, and many strategies for avoiding actually […]
Constantine wanted unity in his realm, and his call in 325 C.E. for a council of his bishops at Nicaea, located in the Eastern, Greek-speaking domain of his empire, across the Bosporus from the new city of Constantinople was in a certain way his goal to achieve some agreement by which many could live. Constantine […]
Superstition, misunderstanding and hatred caused the Christians trouble for many generations, and governmental repression they had to suffer occasionally, as a result of popular disturbances. No systematic effort was made by the imperial authorities to put an end to the movement until the reign of the Roman emperor (249–251) who fought the Gothic invasion of […]
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Jesus once gave a series of seven Kingdom illustrations in close connection with one another. We should remember that the most important reason for his telling such short stories is to persuade people to enter the kingdom of which he speaks.
Klinken onze gebeden als het gebed van Jezus Christus? Hierboven wordt niet gevraagd of u het modelgebed dat Jezus de wereld gaf, bidt. Vermoedelijk bidden heel wat christenen regelmatig het “Onze Vader“. Hierbij kan de vraag gesteld worden of zij wel degelijk de inhoud er van beseffen. Velen denken namelijk dat zij na hun dood […]
Christians in politics have been accommodated through a policy of don’t-ask, don’t-tell, but some argue endlessly about which bathrooms trans people should be allowed to use. Cisgender psychologists and sexologists pathologise the transgender experience according to their own biases, cisgender insurance executives arbitrarily what is and isn’t “necessary care” for transgender policyholders, and so on.
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After World War II, we gradually saw an improvement in living conditions in Western Europe, Canada and the United States. After 1970, a large increase in elders made us hope that we could live longer. When we were little, someone of 60 years was an old “bomma” or “bompa”. Many of us have been past […]
Originally posted on Raising Me: In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With constant demands from work, family, and social obligations, it’s no wonder that people often neglect their own self-care. However, taking care of oneself is crucial for overall health and well-being. In…
Originally posted on My blog full of dreams and thoughts: What do you wish you could do more every day? Taking time for myself and practicing self-care is essential for maintaining physical, mental, and emotional health. It allows me to recharge and refocus, reducing stress levels and improving my overall well-being. Practicing self-care can take…
A lack of responsibility for your life may show up in the following ways: pessimistic thinking, a victimized mentality, frequent arguments, indecision, stagnancy, and codependency. When we become responsible for our lives, we notice more things going in our favor. If you want to create a better quality of life, filled with peace and joy, […]
Getuigen voor Christus
Tegenover de Getuigen van Jehovah zijn er ook de Getuigen voor Christus die Getuigenis afleggen voor Christus en zijn God Jehovah.
International Biblestudents Association
The IBSA or cooperative association of Bible Student congregations worldwide, all united by the common beliefs taught in Brother Russell’s Studies in the Scriptures series