Are Jehovah's Witnesses a Cult?

The Hypocrisy of Jehovah’s Witnesses “Discerning” If a Woman Has Been Raped, But Demanding Two Witnesses to Child Molestation

As I bring out in this post, Jehovah’s Witness elders are given instruction to “use discernment” if a woman makes a claim of being raped, based on her “mental disposition, circumstances leading up to the incident, and any delay in reporting.” It’s vital that people understand the gravity of these instructions, as elders who “discern” that a woman has not been raped and has committed “fornication” have absolute authority to disfellowship her, which involves complete and total shunning from the congregation and her own family. You can imagine how devastating this would be for a woman who has suffered such a horrific and brutal crime, now having to face the further punishment of being cut off from her friends and family.

In this post I note how Jehovah’s Witnesses demand “two witnesses” when it comes to accusations of child molestation in their congregations. There needs to be another witness to the crime or a second victim in order for them to remove the person from the congregation and warn other parents. They base this on 1 Timothy 5:19, which says, “Do not accept an accusation against an older man except on the evidence of two or three witnesses,” and Matthew 18:16, which says in part, “so that on the testimony of two or three witnesses every matter may be established.”

This too is absolutely devastating for children, as there is rarely if ever a second witness to child molestation. This is a crime committed in secret and in many cases, involves molestation of children in their own home. Accusations without a second witness are also typically covered up and kept quiet so that parents do not know an accused child molester is sitting right next to them in their own congregation. Jehovah’s Witnesses are now facing many lawsuits from children who have been molested by men in their congregations because of this staunch “two witness” rule.

The Hypocrisy

The hypocrisy of these two situations is obvious; Jehovah’s Witnesses demand two witnesses to the crime of child molestation, but don’t demand two witnesses to decide that a woman has committed fornication versus having been raped. If elders are going to disfellowship a woman for fornication without her actually confessing to fornication, shouldn’t they need two witnesses to that sin? They should need someone who saw the woman willingly go into a man’s home after being out with him all night, or a witness who heard the woman confess that she lied to the elders when she said she was raped, or a witness to the actual sexual encounter itself.

Instead, they base their decision on some vague instructions about her “mental disposition,” if she delayed reporting the incident, and the circumstances surrounding the incident, or in other words, on their own opinions alone. However, they don’t “discern” if a man has molested children based on his “mental disposition” when accused of the crime, or any “circumstances” leading up to or surrounding the accused crime. They decide for themselves and all by themselves that a woman has committed fornication without any real proof or credible evidence and without “two witnesses,” but won’t decide that a man has molested a child with anything less than that second witness.

I don’t know to whom this is more insulting, the children who have credible accusations of being molested or the women who are told that it’s been decided that their rape was actually fornication, and who are then punished and shunned by everyone.

Further Hypocrisy

To further demonstrate their hypocrisy in this matter, recently some top-secret “elder training” videos were leaked online; I’ll be commenting on them in another post but you can view them on this site. The first videos show the scenario of a young man, “Robbie,” confessing to fornication and getting a girl pregnant. The elders need to decide if Robbie should be disfellowshipped, and late in the video they determine that they don’t think Robbie, despite his tears and confession, is remorseful. They say that he isn’t concerned enough about how he’s violated Jehovah’s law and doesn’t seem cut to the heart.

Capture babyIt’s also noteworthy that in the video, one elder points out that Robbie says the girl contacted him “a few weeks” after their sexual encounter and told him she was pregnant, but the elder says that’s not possible since she wouldn’t know she’s pregnant until “six weeks” after having sex. The ignorance of this statement is blinding; this is not the 1800s where women needed to rely on a calendar to find out they’re pregnant; a doctor’s blood test can tell you that you’re pregnant within days of conceiving. The “six weeks” formula also works only if a woman has sex the day after her last period, then waits four weeks for her next period, then waits another two weeks after her period is late to start putting the pieces together. What if she had sex with Robbie on Friday the 1st, and was expecting her period the next Friday, the 8th? She might wait another few days after the 8th to become suspicious, but a pregnancy test at that time could confirm her condition, and yes it would then be “a few weeks” after their sexual encounter.

My point is not to give a lesson in female anatomy; my point is that the elders “discern” that Robbie isn’t repentant based on gross ignorance of conception. Apparently they’re also ignorant of at-home pregnancy tests and how soon a woman can use one accurately. However, rather than finding out those facts or even trying to confirm Robbie’s statement with the girl herself, they simply decide among themselves that he’s lying.

In Robbie’s case, as in the case of a woman claiming to be raped, they don’t use “two witnesses” to determine that a serious sin has been committed but instead, feel that they can make that decision on their own. In the elders’ video, they “discern” not just the truthfulness of Robbie’s word but also his own heart condition! Yet, despite this, they feel they have no place “discerning” if a child has been raped no matter the credibility of that child’s statements, no matter the reaction of the accused, no matter anything else but those needed “two witnesses.”

I would ask Jehovah’s Witnesses why they have this double standard when it comes to child molestation versus so-called fornication committed by adults in other situations. Either the “two witness” rule should be applied equally to everyone, or it should be applied to no one. Remember, too, that a rape victim and men like Robbie are not a danger to anyone in the congregation the way child molesters are, so it would seem they should be given the extra consideration, if you’re going to give preference to any group. However, if you won’t disfellowship men accused of pedophilia based on your own “discernment,” what gives you the right to disfellowship men and women accused of fornication based on that same so-called “discernment”? Why are you so bold so as to disfellowship one group, but hide behind this “two witness” rule when you need to protect children from another group?

Do you think you might owe an apology to those children, to rape victims, and to poor blubbering Robbie?

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3 replies »

  1. Another thing that needs attention is how can they determine if a persons heart is;remorseful or is not? In the bible it says “no one can read the heart except for God”. It also says ” He can read the kidneys and the most inner parts”. So how can they determine if he is remorseful or not. He shed tears,he confessed and he asked for forgiveness. What more can you wanr . The bible says ,”if your brother sins against you 7 times and ask your forgiveness you are to forgive him up to seventy seven times seven”. Sounds like a kangaroo court, they made their decision before they even talked to Robbie. If they want to keep the congregation clean,they need to start with themselves. “Love covers all things”. Do what Jesus Christ our leader says,” forgive”. Hypocrites, you judge others,yet ye do not judge yourselves.

  2. Why must two 20-something JW’s who wish to date be required to have a chaperone but know pedophiles (convicted or not) can go out in field service UN-chaperoned with children?! Scratching my head…I’m not and never have been JW, but my husband grew up in it and his late first wife was also JW. I was amazed when he told me that they had to have chaperones while they were dating, but then I read where children had been molested, even while out in field service, by individuals who had been previously accused of molestation, but not necessarily disfellowshipped or turned over to the authorities.

    • We can add that to the list of hypocrisies and head-scratchers. However, in all fairness there is no written rule that two people who are dating must be chaperoned. That being said, many congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses have unwritten yet fiercely enforced rules made up by controlling members of that congregation, typically the elders, elder’s wives, older ones, etc. If you don’t follow their rules the elders have carte blanche authority to chastise you, and of course it will become known that you’re “bad association” and you start to be shunned in your own congregation. And yes, all this while pedophiles are put in positions of authority and elders are allowed to hide their own serious sins. Very shameful. Thanks for the comment, and good luck to you and your husband.

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