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Posts tagged ‘Shunning’

Meldpunt voor seksueel misbruik bij getuigen van Jehova: “Dit is het topje van de ijsberg”

Op 27 maart laatst leden spraken spraken in het programma van de Vlaamse televisie zender Eén ‘Pano’ verschillende voormalige Getuigen van Jehovah openlijk over seksueel kindermisbruik binnen de organisatie. De dagen daraop  konden dan meerdere programma’s op Eén en Canvas de aandacht trekken rond dit schandelijk gebeuren van verzwijgen van kinder- en seksueel misbruik.

Volgens Pascal Mertens, mede-oprichter van het meldpunt Reclaimed Voices voor seksueel misbruik bij Getuigen van Jehovah is dit slechts

“Het topje van de ijsberg”

Mertens zegt “dagelijks” zulke verhalen te horen die daar in dat programma naar voor gebracht worden. Hij roept ook de organisatie op om zelf met de feiten naar justitie te stappen.

“Verbreek de stilte”,

klinkt het.

In het programma werd er ook over “blauwe enveloppes” gesproken waarbij niet enkel op het hoofdkantoor van de Belgische Jehovah-getuigen in Kraainem, maar ook in het algemeen hoofdkwartier in de Verenigde Staten de namen en feiten vermeld zouden zijn, die echter niet altijd werden doorgegeven aan justitie.

Het federaal parket voert intussen wel een onderzoek naar misbruik binnen de organisatie, en in de Kamer werd midden maart nog een commissie opgericht.

Wij zelf kennen ook enkele gezinnen waar zulks is voorgevallen en die uit de vereniging geweerd zijn geworden. Erg genoeg zijn de meesten die zulk een slechte ervaring hebben zo gedegouteerd dat zij niet enkel de vereniging maar ook het geloof verlaten.

In Nederland werden voor de Pano uitzending al meer dan 300 meldingen gedaan, met een gemeenschap van 29 000 Jehovah-getuigen. België telt om en bij de 25 000 gedoopten. Na de uitzending bleken meerdere mensen toch bereid zich te melden.

 

Het is verschrikkelijk om te moeten vaststellen dat de organisatie al de moeite doet om zulke feiten toe te dekken. Louis De Witte, hoofdverantwoordelijke voor België, toonde zich ook niet bereid om de zaak verder toe te lichten. Ook al zou men denken dat zulke organisatie die zich beroept op de Naam van God toch alle moeite zou nemen om haar leden volgens de wetten van God te gedragen, blijkt dat zij vreemd genoeg hier de slachtoffers meer kwaad doen en niet beschermen terwijl ze de schuldigen beschermen.

De afgelopen decennia is er veel aandacht van de wereld gegaan naar beschuldigingen van misbruik waarbij men zich vooral  concentreerde op de katholieke kerk, maar ook andere religieuze groeperingen konden nu en dan in de kijker komen. Er werd echter minder aandacht besteed aan het misbruik van de Jehovahs Getuigen, hoewel deze christelijke groep met meer dan 8,5 miljoen leden op verschillende fora en blogs van ex-Jehovahs Getuigen veel werd gesproken, met vermelding van dergelijke en andere problemen in die organisatie.

In de Verenigde Staten Er zijn al miljoenen dollars betaald door de jaren heen om het geheim te houden.

Naar aanleiding van de Pano-reportage over seksueel kindermisbruik binnen de Jehovah-Getuigen-gemeenschap, nodigde de tv-makers ook topdokter Karel Decaestecker uit die opgroeide in de Getuigen van Jehovah gemeenschap, maar er op zijn achttiende uitstapte. Samen met Stefaan Van Hecke, parlementslid voor Groen, besprak hij de Pano-reportage, waarin te zien was hoe het misbruik al jaren structureel wordt toegedekt via een intern rechtssysteem.

Stefaan Van Hecke maakt deel uit van de werkgroep ‘Signalement betreffende de afhandeling van seksueel misbruik van minderjarigen binnen de groepering getuigen van Jehovah’. Zelf zei hij:

“Ik heb schrik dat het bewijsmateriaal zal verdwijnen, dus justitie moet héél snel in actie schieten.”

Men kan zich niet inbeelden wat het moet doen als men te horen krijgt

“Dit moet je echt voor jou houden, we willen geen smaad op Gods naam brengen. Je moet ons vertrouwen. We zullen samen nog een keer bidden tot God en dat komt goed.”

Ook valt het op dat de organisatie dan, om haar naam zuiver te houden, het liever had om het slachtoffer het zwijgen op te leggen en zelfs over te gaan om haar of hem uit te sluiten van de gemeenschap. Daarbij moet men beseffen dat zulk een uitsluiting zeer ernstige gevolgen heeft op sociaal en psychologisch vlak. Het is namelijk zo dat de uitgeslotenen door de gewone leden moeten geweerd worden en dat zulks een verbroken contact echt als een zware leemte aan voelt voor die slachtoffers. Verder is er hen voor jaren geleerd dat enkel Getuigen van Jehovah het koninkrijk binnen kunnen gaan. Door hun uitsluiting zou dat dan betekenen dat zij ook het recht op het Koninkrijk zouden verliezen.

Makkelijk is het om te laten uitschijnen dat zij geholpen worden. Maar als iemand binnen de beweging van de Getuigen slachtoffer is geworden van misbruik moet deze volgens de regels in eerste instantie naar zijn ouders gaan of direct naar een ouderling. Die is dan wel verplicht om een interne melding te maken maar hoeft geen aangifte bij de politie te doen. Aangifte bij de politie vinden de Getuigen een exclusieve zaak voor het slachtoffer of de ouders.

In Nederland kon uit onderzoek van dagblad Trouw in 2017 al blijken dat de manier waarop Jehovah’s Getuigen omgaan met misbruikzaken, traumatisch is voor slachtoffers.

Opvallend is dat zij twee maal slachtoffer worden en dan nog eens als vervloekten uitgestoten worden.

Probleem van velen die opgegroeid zijn in de groepering van JG is dat zij zich zo min mogelijk horen te mengen met de buitenwereld, waarbij ze regelmatig van sociale activiteiten worden weg gehouden.

Na weinig contact te hebben gehad met de buitenwereld, behalve om van deur tot deur te gaan om anderen ervan te overtuigen dat hun religie het enige ware pad naar verlossing was in deze laatste dagen van de menselijke geschiedenis, voelen ze zich verraden en afgesloten door hun eigen “familie”. Voor de vromen voelt zulke uitsluiting als letterlijk een doodvonnis, omdat volgens wat ze hebben geleerd hebben, een JG iemand moet zijn die “tot de Waarheid behoort” om het Koninkrijk van God binnen te kunnen gaan.

Jehovahs Getuigen noemen hun versie van excommunicatie uitsluiting, een straf door te mijden, om de gelovigen te bevrijden van slechte omgang met hen die de wetten van God overtreden. Hoewel deze keer niet de dader wordt uitgesloten, maar het slachtoffer waardoor zij of hij als verdreven persoon geen enkel contact meer met Getuigen kan hebben, zelfs beleefde erkenning op straat, totdat zij de beschuldigingen worden teruggenomen en dat zij dan hebben bewezen ‘hun berouw en bereidwilligheid’ om gehoorzaam op te stellen en terug te keren naar de organisatie.

Het is zeer goed dat nu eindelijk enkele mensen uit de biecht durfden klappen.

Een ex-ouderling gaf in de documentaire toe dat zij best de zaak konden toedekken met de  mantel der liefde. Zo werd er gezegd

“We hadden instructies dat je bij seksueel misbruik allereerst contact opneemt met het hoofdkantoor hier in België, en zij zouden je dan instrueren hoe je verder zulke ‘netelige kwesties’ in het belang van de reinheid van onze gemeenschap verder zou moeten behandelen.
En dan is een van de eerste dingen die ze je vragen, of dat meisje of wij er al mee naar buiten gekomen zijn. Er wordt dus bij wijze van spreken letterlijk verteld om geen stappen te ondernemen zoals naar de politie gaan om dat aan te geven.”

Telkenmale ging het bij het treffen met de ouderlingen om het ene woord tegen het andere.

Via internationale klokkenluiders werden ook honderden pagina’s geheime interne rechtsdocumenten en brieven verzameld waarin stap voor stap uitgelegd staat hoe zaken als seksueel kindermisbruik binnenskamers afgehandeld kunnen worden.

Vaak moeten slachtoffer en dader samen verschijnen voor het intern rechtscomité. Als de dader ontkent, moeten er twee getuigenissen zijn, dan pas wordt de dader veroordeeld en uitgesloten van de organisatie. Bij seksueel misbruik is dit bijna nooit het geval. Daardoor heeft het misbruik in veel gevallen geen gevolgen voor de daders.

vertelt ons een ouderling.

“Er zijn nooit twee getuigenissen”,

verklaart een ex-ouderling,

“en hoe droevig dat ook is, dan kun je eigenlijk alleen maar tegen dat meisje zeggen als slachtoffer: het is het woord van je dader tegen jouw woord. Laat de zaak maar in de handen van Jehovah.”

Zo laat de ex-ouderling ook uitschijnen dat in de gemeenschap van de Getuigen heel wat kan wat op andere plaatsen degelijk zou afgestraft worden.

“De getuigen van Jehovah zijn zowat het paradijs voor kindermisbruikers”,

vult ex-ouderling Patrick aan.

“Wij denken dat het tijd wordt dat dit vuile potje wordt geopend.”

Hiertoe is het dan ook nodig dat Getuigen zich niet meer zullen schamen en uit de biecht willen spreken om die boosdoeners aan de schandpaal te brengen. Louis De Wit mag dan wel als woordvoerder van de Jehovahs Getuigen in België de beschuldigingen ontkennen, meerdere stemmen hebben zich ondertussen ook al laten horen.

De organisatie laat weten:

“Veel belang te hechten aan het welzijn van kinderen en te allen tijde door te verwijzen naar de rechterlijke autoriteiten.”

Verder laat Louis De Wit nog weten dat er binnen hun religieuze gemeenschap geen plaats is

“voor degenen die dergelijke praktijken beoefenen”.

Laat ons dan ook hopen dat er degelijk werk van gemaakt wordt om de Naam van Jehovah, en de naam van die organisatie die Gods Naam in haar naam wil dragen, dan ook spoedig gezuiverd mag worden van alle blaam door de rotte vissen er uit te gooien en de slachtoffers op te nemen en te verzorgen zoals het een christen hoort.

Indien je misbruikt bent is er Reclaimed Voicesdat je de mogelijkheid wil bieden om je verhaal te delen. Zij willen naar je luisteren, je zien en je erkennen in de pijn die je is aangedaan. Zij zullen ook vertrouwelijk omgaan met wat je met hen wil delen. Misschien wil je je hele verhaal doen, of misschien wil je alleen maar kort melden dat je ook slachtoffer bent. Belangrijk is dat centraal staat wat jij wil.

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Nood aan een gesprek? Dan kan u terecht bij Tele-Onthaal op het nummer 106.

Meldingen kunnen ook gedaan worden bij  Stichting Reclaimed Voices

Contact opnemen kan doorReclaimed Voices (seksueel kindermisbruik Jehovah’s Getuige) rechtstreeks te mailen:

Voor Nederland: jouwverhaal@reclaimedvoices.org
Voor België: jouwverhaalbelgie@reclaimedvoices.org

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Vindt ook

  1. “Jehova’s zijn het paradijs voor kindermisbruikers”: herbekijk hier de “Pano”-reportage
  2. Kindermisbruik binnen de Jehova-gemeenschap: Stefaan Van Hecke hoopt dat justitie snel ingrijpt
  3. Reclaimed Voices: Abuse Survivors Speak Out
  4. Jehovah’s Getuigen zien ‘hetze’ in beschuldiging seksueel misbruik
  5. Hoe Jehova’s getuigen kindermisbruik toedekken: “Paradijs voor pedofielen”

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In het Engels / English articles

  1. Abuse been kept silent by Jehovah’s Witnesses organisation
  2. Belgian Jehovah’s Witnesses sexual abuse scandal

Abuse been kept silent by Jehovah’s Witnesses organisation

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.”

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Find also to read:

Papers documenting instances of child abuse by the JW

Over the past couple of years, Mark O’Donnell has been leaking stolen letters and other papers documenting instances of child abuse. (Lexey Swall)

  1. A Secret Database of Child Abuse; A former Jehovah’s Witness is using stolen documents to expose allegations that the religion has kept hidden for decades.
  2. Belgian Jehovah’s Witnesses sexual abuse scandal
  3. Sexual or indecent assault in the Belgian Criminal Code
  4. Let’s talk about it
  5. Amendment to hide child sex abuse claims
  6. Jehovah’s Witnesses use 1st Amendment to hide child sex abuse claims
  7. Jehovah’s Witnesses cover up child sex abuse and oust a victim
  8. ‘Punished’ for being sexually abused in York County: Jehovah’s Witnesses’ culture of cover-up
  9. Jehovah’s Witness leader says child sex abuse claims are ‘lies’
  10. She spoke about Jehovah’s Witness abuse, and her home was vandalized
  11. Surviving
  12. A Moment of Silence
  13. Child abuse
  14. Dear Dairy
  15. No Comment: Fordham’s Continued History of Silence on Sex Abuse Claims
  16. George Pell: A Devil in the Disguise of a Saint – One of the worst immoral things/crimes I can think of is child abuse, physical or sexual.
  17. What Do the Church’s Victims Deserve?

Shunning amidst a crisis

Regularly people can find instead of the usual sports fans or concert goers, the Jehovah’s Witnesses descending on regional arenas in Sunday best.

The agenda for this year’s series of conventions focus on some of the more controversial aspects of the faith that bring sharply into focus some darker period of our guestwriter’s life when she/he (on the photo we see a she) faced the harsh reality of wanting to leave the religion in which she was never baptised as this would have meant that instead of just fading away, she would now be ‘disfellowshipped’. But her not being part any more of that religious group may perhaps brought her to use some words which should not be part of the language of a Christian. Therefore we apologise for those words which some youngsters also use like they have no meaning at all, or which they use simply to ad more strength to what they want to bring over, though it weakens their saying and shows more their frutstration.

The hyperbole rebel who last year decided to stop watching TV, particularly the news as she/he felt it just injected her with sludgy negativity. Not only are the only things that are reported hate-filled acts of violence or tragedy, but as a socially savvy gal, it was so clear that there was another agenda being fueled just by the way things were reported or certain people were interviewed or the way some people or groups were discussed. {Welcome y’all}

She/he writes

I would like, through this blog, to remind people that just as you do not know who is under that cat suit, you don’t know who is under that burka or under that Paul’s Boutique bomber jacket. We all have stories. We all have a context and there are many things that unite us all including inner strength, love of family and friends, loyalty and the sheer joy of a sugary donut first thing in the morning. {Welcome y’all}

The person who knows that the antithesis to fear and disgust is exactly that love  {#Prayforenlightenment} when she sits with her coffee and thinks about her parents who will be at that moment sitting in the morning session of the Jehovah’s Witness Convention ‘Remain Loyal to Jehovah’, she looks at that group of which her entire extended family on both sides are in that religion, save for the few who have been ‘led astray’ over the years and she has watched cousins who were baptised shunned by their own parents; an act of cruelty and emotional trauma that has no let-up – not even in times of great celebration, such as family weddings, or great sadness, like terminal illness and death, both of which she has witnessed.

She says she knows from her new found ex-JW friends that the title belies messages about shunning and she wonders what will go through their heads as they watch the videos and listen to the talks about what a worthy thing that is.

What a demonstration of your faith; to cause yourself the pain of separation. To voluntarily cut off your own loved ones. What martyrdom. Job-like. {Why Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t get punk rock}

It was with a grimy horror that she learned about the topic of this year’s Regional Conventions, being held across the UK, which open with the importance of shunning non-believing family members as a means of ‘Staying Loyal to Jehovah’.

The act of shunning, which is to completely disconnect and reject all association, is upheld as a virtue.

She writes

My tragic observation and experience of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is that they close down this emotional listening and only channel into the Watchtower frequency. All explanation for why they feel pain is excused and placated by the meetings, the Watchtower, the assemblies and each other through their exclusivity. Otherwise, what possible explanation could there be for a reasonable person to voluntarily cut off contact with their own child? The pain has to go somewhere, and when stuck in a high control religion which discourages freedom of thought and experiential learning, the pain returns in a loop as misguided zeal. ‘Suffering for love’ the insightful Jamie Catto calls it. It’s present in the very make-up of Christianity; if you suffer, you are just like the Christ! Go you! {Why Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t get punk rock}

For non-Jehovah’s Witnesses that shunning looks incredibly contradictory to the teachings they always get to hear at the door. It might be interesting to hear how those faithful to the organisation consider their attitude worthy of a Christian and how they are brought to accept such an attitude of excluding others, even own family of having contact or conversation.

Day 1 of the convention

video showing a young Jehovah’s Witness, ‘Sonja’, questioning her faith 1 (one of her inalienable human rights) +  she starting a sexual relationship with a non-Jehovah’s Witness.

all sex outside of marriage considered a grave sin = act results in her disfellowshipping from the congregation and shunning by all members, including her own parents > complete rejection lasts for 15 years

As an ex-Jehovah’s Witness herself, the writer can vouch for the pernicious and damaging effect shunning has on families.

shunning = emotional blackmail => psychologically damaging

shunned person = indoctrinated with idea = their choice to take path of sin + reap consequences of withdrawal of love + affection from those closest to them

Watchtower HQ showing Jehovah’s Witnesses holed up in an underground bunker whilst the ‘Great Tribulation’ (the pre-curser to Armageddon) rumbles away outside

When the Jehovah’s Witnesses descend in droves to gather at stadiums around the country, local press are typically supportive of the influx of well-mannered families who bring income to the local economy and clean up meticulously after themselves, but this is unhelpful surface observation of a religion with something altogether more sinister worth talking about.

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Preceding articles:

A Society pleading poverty

Male domination and tyranny giving opportunities to defile the Name of God

Belonging to or being judged by

Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses preach?

Oklahoma City Regional Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Random Observations From My Most Recent JW Convention Experience

You Are The Truth

Jehovah’s Witnesses Circuit Assembly and a Pillar to freedom

Jesus’ footstep followers, irrespective of sectarian lines

Authority from the One God to one mediator between God and men

The Picture of the Governing Body

The Truth About the Watchtower Judicial Committee Process, as Told By a Former Elder

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The Hyperbole Rebel

Jehovah’s Witnesses promote shunning of family members amidst child abuse crisis

If you happen to have been anywhere near any big stadia this summer, you may have noticed that instead of the usual sports fans or concert goers, the Jehovah’s Witnesses descending on regional arenas in Sunday best. You may not know much about the cloistered religion, but they hold to a brand of faith that contains ideas that may surprise you – in the same way stubbing your toe on a doorframe first thing in the morning might surprise you – and the agenda for this year’s series of conventions focus on some of the more controversial aspects of the faith that bring sharply into focus some darker period of my life when I faced the harsh reality of wanting to leave the religion.

It was with a grimy horror that I learned about the topic of this year’s…

View original post 2,439 more words

The Truth About the Watchtower Judicial Committee Process, as Told By a Former Elder

He himself sat on several judicial committees and was more than once involved in disfellowshipping people, resulting in their friends and family shunning them until they changed their “sinful course.”

In sharing his experience and knowledge to help right the wrongs that he did as an agent of what he now realizes to be a rather malicious publishing company he lifts up the veil for the unknown to non Jehovah’s Witnesses.

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To remember

Watchtower has created a rules-based religion

break one of their rules [breaking rules of a sexual nature (sex outside of marriage)] = invite you to such a judicial committee

secret book titled, “Shepherd the Flock of God” = regular Jehovah’s Witnesses not allowed to see

 

basic Star Chamber trial > elders= prosecutors + judges

accused = considered guilty > faces them alone = no support + no representative >> exception of minor children can have parents present + married women can have husbands present

Nobody ever invited to a judicial committee unless elders have some sort of proof or reason to believe the individual is guilty => to determine the appropriate punishment.

 

  1. individual reproved privately
  2. public reproof => congregation will severely limit any association with someone who has been reproved =  “disfellowshipping light.”
  3. disfellowshipping => friends and family will begin to shun until (or if) reinstated. The fourth, which is almost unheard of, is that the committee realizes that no offence worthy of disfellowshipping is committed, and the judicial committee is cancelled.

times when a sin is considered to be so serious that a plea of repentance won’t be accepted

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Preceding articles

A Society pleading poverty

Male domination and tyranny giving opportunities to defile the Name of God

Belonging to or being judged by

Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses preach?

Oklahoma City Regional Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Random Observations From My Most Recent JW Convention Experience

You Are The Truth

Jehovah’s Witnesses Circuit Assembly and a Pillar to freedom

Jesus’ footstep followers, irrespective of sectarian lines

Authority from the One God to one mediator between God and men

The Picture of the Governing Body

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JWVICTIMS.ORG

“Hi, this is Brother Elder, and I’m calling to invite you to a judicial committee.” That statement is feared by every one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and in many ways it drastically affects the choices they make in their life. Why is that the case? Simply put, the results of the judicial committee can cause all of your friends and family to shun you. A scary prospect indeed! So why do people get invited to a judicial committee and how do they work?

Myself, I served as an elder as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses for almost 10 years, and I sat on several judicial committees. I was involved in disfellowshipping people, resulting in their friends and family shunning them until they changed their “sinful course.” I am now sharing that experience and knowledge to help right the wrongs that I did as an agent of what I now realize to be…

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The Picture of the Governing Body

Crasizag is a blog that wants to document a family’s journey from what she calls a cult, but what we would consider more a denomination. It is namely very difficult to get in that congregation of believers but very easy to get out of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

It seems she has not had “a bright and happy past” in that organisation, because she is now looking forward to a better “future”.

Is it Asiza (?) whose purpose is

to help people to think for themselves, so they have the freedom to make their own decisions and to give them the love and support they need while on their personal journey’s. To encourage, to strengthen and to inspire them to live their best lives.

that is something every person should do, believer and non-believer.

Lion - M.L KingThe birth of her baby boy changed her life and he taught her about real, unconditional love.

He was a scrap of humanity but in just existing he took my heart, expanded it and helped me understand completely that there can Only be unconditional love for your children. From that point on I knew that no matter what happened I would Always love him and I could never ‘cut him off’ just because of not believing what I believed. {For my son} (editorial note: the shouting with capitals has been removed and replaced with only one capital: by only & always)

In a way that brings us to “shunning of people their own children” which seems to happen by the Jehovah’s Witnesses and which is not only shameful and needs to stop, it is also an unchristian act. But we must know that shunning is being used more as a social control mechanism. Such social control mechanism are used most commonly in small tight-knit social groups to punish those who violate the most serious group rules.

When your child, no matter what age has done something wrong -surely that is when they need their parents the most, they do not need to be exiled and ignored! {For my son}

Whatever children may have done wrongly, even when it would be murder, parents always have to take care of them and should show them their love and protect them against those who could do them harm.

the writer of the above mentioned blog and of this guest-writing came to leave the Witnesses for good, whilst

a great deal revolved around the love for my son, and wanting a different life for him. {For my son}

she writes.

For her

A parents love should reflect how God loves us, not this conditional love that the Witnesses teach, but an all encompassing love and acceptance that cannot be denied.

Leaving has made it possible for our son to have a normal life. A life full of family, friends, joy, and new experiences, without the rules of the Witnesses isolating him from the world around him.

With her husband she writes her blog, where both share their experiences so that other’s can also see there is most certainly life after the Witnesses!

More life and more love than you can ever imagine.

we hope they found out, as well coming to the knowledge they still can keep to the same faith, loving Jehovah and giving their life to Him, instead of giving it to an organisation.

She writes

One of my reasons for leaving – I was dealing with my own memories of child abuse, and during that process I was increasingly sensitive to other’s stories. I read them and shared their pain, one of those stories was Candice Conti, another was the write up in the UK about Gordan Leister and the shocking behaviour of the elders in that case. These articles scratched open a lot of wounds, and forced small cracks into massive ones. I keep on researching paedophilia in the congregations and found the Silent Lambs website, I read Barbara Anderson’s story and Bill Bowen. Suddenly the reality was so ugly that it was hard to look at it, and it was one of the reasons why I had to leave the Witnesses. I could not in good conscience stay associated with them. My heart would not allow me. I could no longer say I was a witness without cringing inside. I felt dirty, degraded and a liar. To rectify that I left, with my head high. Yes, it was scary – the Witness lifestyle was literally all I knew, but having a clear conscience and knowing my young son would be safer out of their clutches gave me strength, and still does to this day. My love for my son is another huge reason I left, but that I will leave for another post.

Lippincott doriangray.jpgComparing the Governing Body of the Jehovah’s Witnesses to the moral fantasy novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde has been bouncing around her head for some time. She writes

It occurred to her that

if we were to find those metaphorical portraits of the Governing Body our eyes would scorched by the vile filth there portrayed.

She asks us to imagine the portraits of the Governing Body members, the so called faithful and discreet slave

They have been complicit in death, sexual abuse, in fact every abuse we know of, lies, hypocrisy, shame, fearmongering, guilt inducing their members, controlling their members very lives. Why? All to maintain their power, their money, their empire.

When she looks at the JW and their organisation she writes

To understand a bit better why jw’s think as they do about those that leave, think of it this way. Instead of using the words, disfellowshipped, excommunicated – use the words treason and traitor. No matter what your reasons are for leaving, no matter how justified, no matter how reasonable, those that leave are traitors to them . Being a traitor they can call you whatever they like, they can think you the lowest of the low, simply because you decided you no longer wanted to be part of their delusion. {The usual thing with diaries}

She and her husband both waked up at the same time and by doing so they were lucky to have a real support to eachother,

though it doesn’t always work out that way. If one of you has already woken up and the other is still in deep – well that is where some real mental gymnastics find their true calling. {Taking off the ‘blinders’}

We can imagine that many have problems by accepting that the Governing Body are not God’s spokesmen, because they have been told so for many, many years, and never have seem questioned it thoroughly.

Craig explains from here:

“Trying to reason with someone with blinders on is like bashing your head against a brick wall. They cannot see the fact that they cannot see. One of things that I always loved about my wife was her intelligence, but when it came to the Jehovah’s Witnesses she refused to use it.

… The Witnesses see everything good is for Jehovah, and evil is not for Jehovah, the real world you have to learn to live for yourself and think for yourself. Being honest was not encouraged by the jws. If you were honest you would have to question their decisions, because even God says in the Bible, ‘test me’, the jws say ‘obey me blindly’. I could never accept that.

Trying to open her mind was exceptionally difficult, eventually I had to back off and just lay some seeds so that she would think for herself and trust her own intelligence would prove true. When she did finally wake I was there to support her. Eventually that is what happened, but it wasn’t me that done it, it was the birth of our son. I was full of hate for what they were doing to my wife, but never for my wife! It was sad, the woman I loved was being completely subverted by bullshit that didn’t care about her.” {Taking off the ‘blinders’}

For them they came to see that

If you strip away the ‘spiritual aspect’ of the Witnesses all you have is a corporate pyramid scheme. As long as you don’t scratch the surface  – ask too many questions, their product looks amazing, but under examination its full of holes, it doesn’t make sense, and like a virus its designed to take control of your thinking and tear you away from normal society, to hammer you into another drone to join the ranks of the other drones who have done the same. {How important is that JW image? Part 1}

The writer also came to question

What is the most prevalent news item regarding the Witnesses now? Child abuse. Why can’t they simply acknowledge they have a serious problem? Even the Catholic Church have acknowledged their guilt and are working with the authorities. Why can’t they just change the disgusting two-witness rule? Adhere strictly to reporting to the authorities and letting the professionals take over? I think that it all comes down to their hard maintained squeaky clean image. They will deny, lie and otherwise ‘spin’ whatever they have to because their corporate perfect image is the most important thing to them. Sadly, even death, torture, rape and thousands of molestation cases cannot out weigh the importance of maintaining that image. {How important is that JW image? Part 2}

richard-m-nixon-quote-dont-try-to-take-on-a-new-personality-it-doesnt[1]and she came to see where there is a big danger in the organisation’s focus or saying

Well there it is, anything that comes from the publications and the platform or personal counsel from elders means you have to listen to it and apply it, doing otherwise means you are NOT a full grown Christian and are DISLOYAL. {New personality or cult identity?}

It is that fear of being disloyal that may make many not dare to question.

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Preceding articles

A Society pleading poverty

Male domination and tyranny giving opportunities to defile the Name of God

Belonging to or being judged by

Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses preach?

Oklahoma City Regional Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Random Observations From My Most Recent JW Convention Experience

You Are The Truth

Jehovah’s Witnesses Circuit Assembly and a Pillar to freedom

Jesus’ footstep followers, irrespective of sectarian lines

Authority from the One God to one mediator between God and men

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Additional reading

  1. A visible organisation on earth
  2. Inculturation today calling for a different attitude
  3. Jehovah Witnessess Making sure all records relating to child molestation are in harmony
  4. Jehovah’s Witnesses Shunning ex-members adverse effects on family relationships
  5. Parenthood made more difficult
  6. Growing rift between observant parents and their children
  7. “Prayer 2” – Child Abuse
  8. Not an easy decision to make
  9. Pope Benedict will hide
  10. Last day of Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI
  11. Responsibility for children who were molested by clergy
  12. Catholic church asking for forgiveness and promising to take action against child-abusers
  13. Remember there’s a light in the next day
  14. Joy: Foundation for a Positive Life

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Further reading

  1. As I walked out one summer’s morning
  2. Having Fun at Jehovah’s Witness Convention
  3. Pedophilia amongst the Jehovah’s Witnesses
  4. Jehovah’s witnesses pedophile policy
  5. The Watchtower Punished: Society loses legal battle over child abuse case
  6. “We will decide who is a predator!” – New Watchtower Instructions to Elders on Child Abuse
  7. Jehovah’s Witnesses Child Molestation Victims seek justice
  8. Barbara Anderson’s Anecdotes
  9. Why Watchtower shut down JWsurvey.org for over 24 hours
  10. The Girl Who Took On The Watchtower – Candace Conti Speaks Out
  11. In their own words: Candace Conti and Rick Simons speak out in their 2013 interview videos
  12. Watchtower files reply brief as Conti appeal continues
  13. Kathleen Conti breaks down during emotional SNAP presentation
  14. Kathleen Conti supports new bill for victims of child abuse
  15. Candace Conti speaks out at RNA 2013 conference
  16. Resiliency
  17. If child abuse were a disease, we’d see urgent action. Our culture must change : Guardian.
  18. Chicago Non-Profit Seeking To Prevent Child Abuse And Neglect
  19. The Goddard Inquiry is not the answer to survivors pain
  20. Empty Chairs: Much more than a story of Child Abuse. Excerpt here.
  21. New Zealand judge who headed an independent inquiry into child sexual abuse in Britain has quit
  22. Housemaid saga: Questions for Madam
  23. Did God make her leave?
  24. Jehovah’s Witnesses Instructed to Brutally Kick Their Own Children Out of the Family If They Disobey the Religion
  25. The Shunning
  26. The Watchtower Steps Up Their Demands to Shun, Even Family
  27. The Loaded Language of the Watchtower – Part 1 … Shocking Where We’ve Heard This Before
  28. The Loaded Language of Watchtower – Part 2 … How Words Became an Easy Means to Scapegoat Runaway Slaves
  29. Shunning amidst a crisis
  30. Jehovah’s Witness Shunning Video Depicts Torture as Acceptable
  31. In Shocking Public Discourse, Jehovah’s Witnesses Are Told to Shun Inactive Members, Even Parents!
  32. Bigmouth Strikes Again
  33. When Leaving Religion Costs You Everything…
  34. The Truth About the Watchtower Judicial Committee Process, as Told By a Former Elder
  35. Cult or Not a Cult?
  36. Finding the Way
  37. An Audacious Proposal
  38. Review of talk at “Remain loyal to Jehovah” 2016 convention of Jehovahs Witnesses
  39. Behavior Modification Is Alive And Well In The Scientology Conflict – Horrifyingly So
  40. Them and Us Mentality
  41. community
  42. Is The Church Really Clueless?

+++

We Chose Freedom

This idea of comparing the Governing Body to the book “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde has been bouncing around in my head for some time. It occurred to me that if we were to find those metaphorical portraits of the Governing Body our eyes would scorched by the vile filth there portrayed.

If you are not familiar with this book, here is the plot from Wikipedia:

—Dorian Gray is the subject of a full-length portrait in oil by Basil Hallward, an artist who is impressed and infatuated by Dorian’s beauty; he believes that Dorian’s beauty is responsible for the new mode in his art as a painter. Through Basil, Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, and he soon is enthralled by the aristocrat’s hedonistic worldview: that beauty and sensual fulfilment are the only things worth pursuing in life.

Newly understanding that his beauty will fade, Dorian expresses…

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