On the evening of April 5, 2012 a protest will be held outside the headquarters of the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of Britain (IBSA). A protest representative informed the editor of Ex-JW.com that the group plans to protest the Watchtower’s harsh and unloving rules for shunning former members. They also plan to expose the Watchtower’s unfair and unworkable “Two Witness Rule” that protects pedophiles and criminals who are Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Organizers are asking that anyone wanting to speak out against the Watchtower’s unscriptural and illegal teachings to join them. Show up in front of the Society’s UK Headquarters building the evening of the Jehovah’s Witness Memorial Celebration, Thursday, April 5th at 7:00 PM.
The Memorial Celebration will officially begin sometime after sundown and last about 90 minutes. Protest organizers would like volunteers to show up as early as possible. “The public needs to understand that the Watchtower Society is hiding the truth and lying about Jehovah’s Witnesses’ unfair and illegal practices within local Kingdom Halls in the UK and the rest of the world.”
Everyone joining the peaceful protest should prepare their own signs or banners and print some leaflets to hand out to passersby. “We need to show those on the outside what is really going on within this dangerous cult,” states an organizer. “Please bring the coolest banners you can make and any leaflets you can print out.”
The organizers emphasize that their purpose is to educate the public using a forceful, but totally non-violent approach, and that personal and property rights will be respected at all times.
Background: The Reasons for the UK Protest
Shunning Former Members
Jehovah’s Witnesses continue to enforce heavy penalties against former members who have left the religion on their own or have been disfellowshipped (excommunicated) for sinful acts or “apostacy.” Even former Witnesses who did not “commit a sin,” but simply disagreed with doctrine or just wanted to leave the religion are completely shunned and ignored by their JW family members and friends.
“These are ridiculous rules and such harsh treatment should be banned – especially when it involves parents, children, and siblings,” says one organizer. “It violates our freedoms to freely associate and destroys family relationships. No religion should be allowed to do that here in Britain or anywhere in the world.”
The “Two Witness Rule”
The “Two Witness Rule” refers to a Watchtower Society guideline enforced by local elders when dealing with anyone in the organization accused of sexual abuse – especially against children. This guideline effectively prevents Witness elders from taking any disciplinary action unless a second witness exists and is willing to testify. Elders are powerless under the “Two Witness Rule” to act (including involving the police) even against those who admit to molestation or other sexual violations.
This illogical practice has gone on for nearly fifty years. It allows JWs guilty of serious sexual crimes to get away without any disciplinary or legal action being taken against them. The Watchtower still discourages its members from involving local civil authorities, police, or psychiatric specialists in these cases.
Organizers of the protest explain that the “Two Witness Rule” is ridiculous because pedophiles, rapists, and wife abusers don’t invite other witnesses to watch them commit their crimes. Pedophiles commit these types of sexual and traumatizing crimes in private. When only the victim can testify about what happened, Jehovah’s Witness elders won’t do anything directly and won’t take any disciplinary action – unless the perpetrator decides to confess to the crime. If the victim complains to the authorities, then the elders can actually punish the victims (often a child and/or parent) for “bringing shame upon Jehovah’s name.” There have been reports of victims of sexual abuse being disfellowshipped for reporting the crime, while the abuser or pedophile gets off with a warning or minimal punishment. Some accused pedophiles continue to serve as elders in their congregations.
As a result, the Watchtower Society has faced serious legal problems for its apparent protection of pedophiles. Major legal cases are taking place in the United States and Australia that are not only damaging the public’s perception of the organization, but are forcing the Watchtower Society to pay out huge legal settlements. Protestors in London want to make sure that British citizens understand that the same problems also exist in the UK.