October 10th, 2013
The activist group Advocates for Awareness of Watchtower Abuses (AAWA) has released a new video to the public that clearly describes the dangers inherent in a Watchtower Society policy that protects pedophiles within their congregations.
This is a subject that can no longer be hidden or covered over by denials, lies or half-truths. It has been proven to be a fact in a court of law. In spite of the overwhelming evidence against them, the Watchtower continues to require elders managing local Kingdom Halls to adhere to their insane policy of the “Two Witness Rule” that provides shelter and opportunity for pedophiles in their midst to go about their nasty business with few or no restrictions.
The “Two Witness Rule” is based on an old Hebrew law that protected Jews from being falsely accused of a crime. The idea is based on the principle that it is easy for one person to make up a lie to take advantage of someone by accusing them of criminal behavior – but more difficult if another witness to an infraction is required.
In modern legal terms that general policy continues to apply to criminal and civil law. You can’t just go into a police station and accuse someone you don’t like of gross crimes and misdemeanors and demand they be arrested. You must have some form of proof (videos, crime scene evidence) or present other witnesses to the event before police will act. Without such evidence you will be shown the door.
On the other hand, many crimes have been solved and criminals punished even when there are no witnesses at all except the victims. Criminals usually leave some evidence such as fingerprints, DNA, or other clues that are unique to their style of criminal behavior – and are eventually convicted on the basis of that incidental evidence.
Professional police investigators and child protection authorities are trained to find and identify those clues and determine if prosecution of a particular suspect is appropriate. Kingdom Hall elders and regional overseers do not have those skills. All they have are inadequate and flawed instructions from Watchtower headquarters to go by.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are very protective of their beliefs and the reputation of their Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. JWs show far more loyalty and devotion to their organization than they will for the state or country they live in, their friends and neighbors, and yes – even their own family members. “Not bringing reproach upon Jehovah’s earthly organization” ranks right up there with paying bills and getting life-saving medical care. They face a dilemma when they feel that they must hide the truth to protect one of their “brothers” to prevent shame and disrepute being directed toward the Watchtower and its leaders.
I’m sad to say that over the past year almost every week I’ve received another news story of some sort of criminal behavior by one or more Jehovah’s Witnesses. I recently came across an archive that has reams of documentation about Jehovah’s Witnesses (including some very highly regarded elders and ministerial servants) who have committed murder, been sent to prison for major crimes, and even scammed and cheated their fellow Witnesses. As bad as all of those crimes might be – for me the worst crime of all is sexual molestation of children.
This is all very new to me and I am still trying to get a handle on it. I am the father of three daughters (all adults now) and the grandfather of six (three boys and three girls). When I was a young man I often spent my nights tossing and turning wondering what I would do if my children were ever harmed by some criminal. Would I be satisfied to let the police or courts deal out justice? What if a criminal I knew who had committed a crime that harmed one or more of my kids was able to escape justice? Would I take the law into my own hands? What horrible things would I do him or her?
I am thankful that I never had to face that possibility and count myself fortunate in that regard. I was aware that all kinds of criminals roamed our streets ready to prey on my family given any chance at all. But one of the brothers at our Kingdom Hall? I could never imagine another Jehovah’s Witness hurting my children. Impossible! Unthinkable!
How ignorant and uninformed I was. The truth is that far too many Jehovah’s Witnesses today are equally uninformed. They have no idea that scammers, thieves, and violent men may be in their midst. It is impossible for them to imagine (as it was for me) that any of the brothers at their local Kingdom Hall would ever do harm to them or members of their families. Jehovah would never allow that to happen.
I’m not ignorant any more. Now I know the truth. The Watchtower Society’s policies have created fertile fields within their Kingdom Halls for violent men to do their nasty work. It almost seems that “Jehovah looks the other way” when brothers abuse their wives – or even their own children – yes, even some men holding prominent positions within their Kingdom Halls. There have been cases reported of JW sisters that were known to have abused their own children.
The relative ease for child molesters to find victims among JW youth – and then find protection from prosecution by elders in charge – is for me the most horrific of all things I find wrong with the Watchtower’s administration of their congregations.
Thanks to AAWA, this current situation is well described in a new video they’ve produced for their website and made available on YouTube.com. Please check it out and then share it with your friends:
The video provides a very explicit “real life” example. Rather than letting the civil authorities investigate reported cases of child molestation, the Watchtower chooses to enforce its own “two-witness rule” in unbelievable ways. If children report that they or their siblings were injured or abused by someone at the Kingdom Hall, the elders are not supposed to take any action based only on the testimony of one child, especially if that child is unbaptized. In fact, should a child’s parents decide to report an incident to the police (even in states where such reporting is mandatory), they can be punished with loss of privileges or by being disfellowshipped (excommunicated) from their congregation.
In many cases accused pedophiles who hold positions within Kingdom Halls can keep their privileges and continue on as before in spite of complaints against them. Adding to the insanity of this policy is that the elders will typically keep all of this information confidential, leaving the rest of the congregation in the dark and more children at risk of harm. (There have been cases when the only clue or warning that a suspected molester had been identified within a Kingdom Hall was because of gossip passed on by the wife of one of the elders.)
AAWA is hoping that by publicizing this horrific injustice against JW children and families that not only will the world media be informed (as was the situation involving recent cases in the Catholic Church), but that due to the public and governmental pressure the Watchtower’s leadership will finally realize they have no choice but to respond to cries for justice by their own members.
Read and share the AAWA article with your friends and family. Print out one or more of the many flyers that can be found on AAWA.co and have them available should Jehovah’s Witnesses come to your door “preaching the good news.”
Maybe – just maybe – some Jehovah’s Witness family will be made aware that there may be pedophiles in their midst.
Maybe – just maybe – those Jehovah’s Witnesses will watch over and protect their own children a little closer and more effectively.
Maybe – just maybe – some JWs will no longer “leave everything to Jehovah,” but stand up and demand that the Watchtower do more to protect their innocent children.