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Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses revised its instructions to elders on dealing with allegations of child abuse

A modification of the October 1st 2012 letter to elders, which served as a guideline for Jehovah’s Witness elders who have come to obtain knowledge of an accusation of the physical or sexual abuse of a minor, is newly released to all elders dated August 1st 2016 by the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

It seems that the organisation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses still does not advice its elders to go straight to the police or child protection authorities when they have heard of or have a misdoubt of sexual abuse by one of their members.

Leave me alone, dirty cuckold Português: Deixa...

Leave me alone, dirty cuckold Português: Deixa-me em paz, corno tarado (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Though the organisation warns the elders that they may be obligated to report an allegation of child abuse to local authorities, they request them to inform the organisation first, immediately calling the Legal Department for legal advice when the elders learn of an accusation of child abuse.

If you are asked, make it clear that whether to report the matter to the authorities or not is a personal decision for each individual to make and that there are no congregation sanctions for either decision.

As such we can only hope those who know about such a case shall take it at heart to protect the victim and shall report it to the authorities.

For some it might be that the organisation is now obfuscating procedures by suggesting inaction on the part of elders, and shifting the burden of reporting abuse to the victim. There is a substantial difference between never telling someone not to report, and actively telling someone they should report.

From different sources we may know about the infamous JW “Two Witness” rule which allows an environment of tolerance to exist inside this religion which has paved the way for many sexual encounters between these predators and innocent Witness children. It is a well-known fact that often abusers confronted with what they have done shall lie and say no such thing happened or will try to make themselves in a victim of the one who challenged them.

In many cases, elders have disfellowshipped on the grounds of “lying” rather than the actual crime of child abuse. From many cases it also looks like the elders discouraging the Jehovah’s Witness from contacting the authorities for not damaging the community. Such request from the elders puts even more pressure on the victim and makes the chance of additional victims coming forward even more unlikely.

Big problem with the organisation is also that in several cases they have seem done all they could to avoid having the case come in court. Rather than co-operate with ongoing investigations in several countries, which would have given a clear signal that Watchtower felt it had nothing to hide, the religious group has instead fought tooth and nail to get the investigations killed off, mounting multiple legal challenges in order to prevent the investigation from even taking place.

The newly released Watchtower letter focuses a great amount of attention on the internal investigations of any accusations of physical or sexual abuse of a minor. It is significant that an organization which directs so much effort into their internal religious justice system has been the subject themselves of worldwide investigations by the very secular authorities which Witnesses claim to obey.

Still today a non-Witness parent his presence at a JW judicial meeting is completely undesired. When one of their children is abused by a JW the child may find it very difficult to have to face the abuser in the JW tribunal without its own parents their to help her or him.  Now

“Elders should remember that during the investigation
process and during the judicial committee process, a victim of child sexual abuse is not required to make her allegation in the presence of the alleged abuser.”

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Read more about it:

News Bulletin: Watchtower again loses legal fight to stop UK Charity Commission Investigation

News Bulletin: Watchtower Releases Updated Child Abuse Directive to Elders; Lack of Adequate Policy Change Continues To Endanger Jehovah’s Witness Minors

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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…

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