The Shocking Truth about Jehovah's Witnesses: A Culture that Conceals Paedophiles and Scorns Victims
The Watchtower is a dangerous cult with a culture of putting appearances before the welfare of victims of abuse.
Is it because ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses live, still, with a deeply ingrained sense that they must remain silent, at any cost? Is it because they have been groomed to accept suffering and injustice, in the same way that others might accept a piece of toast with their breakfast? Is it because child sexual assault has become so commonplace in religious institutions that we’ve simply switched off? Whatever the case, I’m angry about it and it needs to be discussed. It needs to be screamed about. It needs to be beaten into the ears of anyone who will listen until they cannot escape it, and they do something about it. To those who would sweep this under the rug, I say, no more!
It is an irrefutable fact that the Watchtower, Bible and Tract Society, has been, and continues to, conceal paedophiles. The Australian Royal Commission made this clear and undeniable. Yes, yes, “conceal” is such a loaded term, is it not? “Concealing paedophiles” conjures up images of dirty old men hidden in basements where they’re fed a steady diet of young boys and girls until they grow fat on the suffering of innocence. Of course, that is not what I mean by “conceal”. What I'm referring to is an issue as old as religion itself; the idea that such an organisation is above the law (or morality) because they answer to a higher power, God.
From a very young age—even birth—Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught to “wait on Jehovah”. Any Jehovah’s Witness or ex-Jehovah’s Witness’ ears will prick up at that very expression. “Waiting on Jehovah” means that although wrong has been done, you must remain silent about it, as Jehovah will right wrongs in His own good time. To speak out prematurely would be a violation of His will. In other words, keep your mouth shut and protect the reputation of the Watchtower organisation. Well . . . that’s not good enough, as Jehovah is notoriously quiet on such issues, and meanwhile, little lives are destroyed. So, without further ado, let’s look at some facts.
Perhaps the most important detail to ascertain is whether or not the Watchtower is indeed Jehovah God’s one true channel of communication with the people of Earth today. For many of you, this will seem like an asinine point to cover, but it’s an important one. It’s important because, at the end of the day, if God really is behind the idea that paedophiles in His church should not be reported to Earthly authorities, then (in theory), no matter how sick that seems, we should oblige Him for His higher purpose, right?
Well, I could run off a list of reasons why not to believe anything the organisation has to say comes from God. There are countless failed prophesies. There are Biblical verses that directly condemn the following of anyone who claims to have an exclusive audience with a returned Christ (Matthew 24:23-24). We could even examine the spotted past of the founder of the Bible Students (later to branch off as Jehovah’s Witnesses), a man with clear links to Freemasonry, a topic that is beyond the scope of this article. But fortunately, we don’t need to invest in time-consuming searches through history, or in weighing up the inconsistencies of Watchtower policies. All we have to do is go directly to the Watchtower itself. Many Jehovah’s Witnesses probably haven’t even read this yet, but the study article for February 2017 has already been released on jw.org, and it states quite boldly, everything we need to know. Please, open it up and follow along (in a separate window, of course). Here: Watchtower 2017 Study Edition, Who is Leading God’s People Today? Para 12.
This paragraph, and indeed the entire article is agonisingly conflicting (and I urge you to read the whole thing in context). The writers desperately try to detach the Governing Body from any obligation or blame for that which goes wrong, while still elevating them as some sort of authority. Here are three quotes from the beginning, middle and end of the paragraph.
“The Governing Body is neither inspired nor infallible. Therefore, it can err in doctrinal matters or in organizational direction.”
These two sentences alone should be enough for anyone to walk away. I mean, what is the point of any religion, if not to receive spiritual truth and a direct closeness to that which is Godly?
“Of course, Jesus did not tell us that his faithful slave would produce perfect spiritual food.”
Um . . . actually, He kind of did. In fact, the parable of the faithful and wise servant pretty much specifically says that if the food is bad or imperfect, then that is how you would know that they are a wicked slave. It is the duty of the faithful and wise servant to provide perfect food at the right time (Matthew 24:45-51).
“What evidence is there that the Governing Body is filling that role? Let us consider the same three factors that directed the governing body in the first century.”
The next paragraph begins in utter contradiction to the preceding. This is the last from the article that I will quote you and thereafter I will leave it alone, as I wish not to bore you. The remainder is up to you, to read at your leisure at jw.org. So here we go, the opening sentences of paragraph thirteen.
“The holy spirit has helped the Governing Body to grasp Scriptural truths not previously understood. For example, reflect on the list of beliefs clarified that was referred to in the preceding paragraph. Surely, no human deserves credit for discovering and explaining these “deep things of God”!”
What “Scriptural truths”? They just stated that the Governing Body was neither inspired nor infallible and that it could err in doctrinal matters and organisational direction. They only just said it. You can’t boast that you have revealed the “deeper things of God” when you’ve only just stated that any of the “deeper things of God” you’ve “discovered” could be, and frequently have been, incorrect. You don’t get to say that the Governing Body is uninspired by God, while simultaneously being “helped” by God’s Holy Spirit. If they were being helped by God’s Holy Spirit, that would be the very . . . the exact definition of being inspired. So, which is it?
This is sneaky, disturbing, double-talk, written to Orwellian proportions. Why do they do it? Here, Big Brother has stated that he is only human, makes mistakes, may well be absolutely wrong about every single thing he commands, and yet he is still the one true organisation of God. Here, Big Brother has declared that his membership must adhere to his commands and do every single thing he demands, because God is with him, even when his commands are contrary to anything God or Jesus have taught. Here, Big Brother has stated that he has the right to conceal paedophiles, split up families, disfellowship people, thereby condemning them to exclusion from paradise and eternal damnation, and that nobody has a right to question his authority because he has God’s pre-ordained approval, whether he be right or wrong about any of it.
This stuff is important. This stuff matters. I have shied away from using this word for so very long, as it immediately offends, but I cannot bring myself to do so any longer. This “religion” is a cult. It’s a cult that has spread to unprecedented degrees. And it destroys lives. People around the world are dying because they are convinced that God wants them to refuse important medical treatment. Parents are forced to grow old without knowing their children or grandchildren. Victims of rape are blamed and then banished from the organisation, after which, they are shunned by the only support network they’ve ever known. Many take their own lives, unable to cope with the isolation and injustice. Others remain silent. In order to keep their families, they would rather pretend it never happened, even though that means staying, existing beneath the oppressive iron fist of the Governing Body.
So then, now that we’ve determined the nature of the Watchtower organisation, let us examine the findings of the Australian Royal Commission.
Angus Stewart, SC, is not an ex-Jehovah’s Witness “apostate”. He is an impartial third party working for the Australian Royal Commission, who noted that the Jehovah’s Witness organisation receives three to four allegations of child sex abuse each month (in Australia, only). There have been 1006 allegations since 1950. To put that into context, that’s known 1006 paedophiles. We’re not counting victims. It’s also important to remember that the scope of this investigation was in Australia alone. We can only guess the number of victims around the world, as many are encouraged (bullied?) into remaining silent. For the religion who claims itself superior, God’s one true channel on Earth, even one victim is too many.
I will interject that this is not a comprehensive review of the ARC findings. More detailed information can be found at, childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au.
Finally, let’s consider the culture of the Jehovah’s Witness organisation when it comes to child abuse, and let’s do so from the top down.
On an organisational level, it is a matter that is desperately, well . . . concealed. The Watchtower likes to set itself apart as a beacon of light, separate from the world and inspired (or maybe not) by God. Having paedophiles in God’s one true organisation just wouldn’t do! As a result, an atmosphere of victim-blaming rears its ugly head.
How old is the child?
Do they have an overactive imagination?
Do they come from a “spiritually strong” family?
What about the accused?
Is he a trusted member of the congregation?
Do the elders in charge of the investigation feel they know him well enough to believe the allegations are true?
Were there any witnesses to the crime (a very rare thing, when it comes to sex abuse)?
The most important point, though, is that none of these questions matter. They’re not being asked by the right people. Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught not to trust secular (worldly) authorities, as such authorities do not have “Jehovah’s blessing”. "They work for Satan." All matters of such nature should be settled internally so as not to “bring reproach on Jehovah’s name” (jwfacts.com).
Best case scenario, the accused will be disfellowshipped, but allowed to continue attending congregational meetings, and earn his place back among them at a later date. The congregation will be none the wiser of his crimes. Worst case scenario, the victim will be dismissed as having unreliable testimony and the accused will suffer no further inquiry.
That’s at an organisational level. Here’s what happens down on the ground . . . in the Jehovah's Witness' mind.
When I learned of the Australian Royal Commission’s findings, through facebook, I contacted my sister, who is still an active Jehovah’s Witness and has two small children. Although we had not spoken in a very long time, and I had no other means by which to communicate with her, I reached out to tell her what I'd learned. Her response? My sister dismissed what I had said, even though all of it is merely an internet search away. She said, “that’s the media, for you,” and promptly reminded me that at the end of the system it was prophesied that Jehovah’s Witnesses would be persecuted. I begged only, that for the sake of her children, she be careful. Not twenty-four hours later, she had blocked me.
Jehovah’s Witnesses, although having leaders who admit to being uninspired and fallible, will sooner erase you from their lives than listen to a negative word about their precious organisation. A young woman with two small children will block her brother, reaching out in concern. She will dismiss accusations that may have dire implications for her own family. She will put her head in the sand. This, even though all the information is right before her. That alone reveals the true nature of the hold this organisation has over its adherents. My sister has two small children who I’m sure she loves very dearly, and yet still, even by the slightest whisker of a chance that I might have been telling her the truth, she cannot bring herself to investigate. To me, that is shocking and horrifying. If I had two small children and thought that there might even be a glimmer of a glancing chance in hell that they might be put in harm’s way, I would upturn every last stone and tear down every last wall until I knew that they were safe. Any reasonable parent would do the same. And that’s how I know that my sister is in a cult. Considering the Watchtower to be anything short of perfection, is beyond her scope of conscious thought.
So, I say again, this needs to be screamed about.