Jehovah’s Witnesses recently unveiled their latest marketing gimmick, an online broadcasting channel that features short discourses and videos mostly presented by members of their governing body, a small group of men who have ultimate authority over the religion.
In one such discourse, Stephen Lett talked at length about how important it was for everyone in the religion to maintain a spirit of “oneness,” even in matters of dress and hairstyle. In that discourse, he said that their adherents would also maintain this “oneness” by rejecting “apostate-driven lies and dishonesties that Jehovah’s organization is permissive toward pedophiles.”
Lett then went on to assert that those things were “ridiculous,” and claimed that “if anybody takes action against someone who would threaten our young ones, and takes action to protect our young ones, it’s Jehovah’s organization.”
Perhaps Lett should read the many, many scriptures that condemn those who lie, as this is exactly what he did, and, in effect, he called the victims of pedophilia and molestation within their ranks liars. I don’t mind saying outright that their own governing body member lied, and the printed words and actions of Jehovah’s Witnesses themselves prove it.
Jehovah’s Witnesses and Pedophiles
It really doesn’t take much to prove that Stephen Lett outright lied himself when he said that Jehovah’s Witnesses “take action” against those who threaten young ones. Do any Google search, or read about the Australian Royal Commission Inquiry and you’ll see story after story of child molesters and pedophiles among Jehovah’s Witnesses, with elders covering up their abuses, refusing to take action to remove these ones from the congregation, and blaming the victims or grilling them accusingly about their experiences, and with many of these abusers being elders themselves.
Some might argue that these are just rogue elders, isolated cases that don’t prove that Jehovah’s Witnesses fail to protect children or that they’re “permissive toward pedophiles.”
Well, then, look at the words of Jehovah’s Witnesses themselves when it comes to how “permissive” they are in matters of pedophilia. A letter dated October 1, 2012, to all elders worldwide, a PDF copy of which you can see for yourself behind the handbook “Jehovah’s Witnesses and Child Sex Abuse,” states the following:
“…although they investigate every allegation, the elders are not authorized by the Scriptures to take congregational action unless there is a confession or there are two credible witnesses.”
So, unless a pedophile outright confesses to his or her actions, and unless there was a witness to the attack, the elders do nothing. Nothing. They don’t warn other parents, they don’t use the words a child might have said to the police and any resultant investigation as proof; nothing.
“If two persons are witnesses to separate incidents of the same kind of wrongdoing, their testimony can be deemed sufficient to take judicial action.”
Victims are considered as witnesses to this crime, so this statement refers to two victims coming forward. If this should happen, they will take action but that “action” doesn’t necessarily include removing the person from the congregation:
“If the decision is to reprove, the reproof should be announced.”
Reproof means that a person has been told in private that their actions were wrong, and that they’re now officially reproved. The announcement made to the congregation simply says that this person has been reproved. It doesn’t say for what; for all the congregation knows, they were caught in a lie, smoked a cigarette, got very drunk one night, or had sex with an adult, as these are all matters for which a person might be “reproved.”
Since the congregation doesn’t know what this person did, parents are ignorant of the need to protect their children from this person.
“…if the elders believe he may be a “predator,” the elders should immediately call the Service Department for assistance. A “predator” is one who clearly lacks self-control and by his actions provides reason to believe he will continue to prey on children. Not every individual who has sexually abused a child in the past is considered a “predator.” The branch office, not the local body of elders, determines whether an individual who has sexually abused children in the past will be considered a “predator.””
This “branch office” refers to a type of headquarters that oversees hundreds of congregations, often not even in the same country. These men at this remote branch will determine if someone they know has sexually abused a child would be considered a “predator.”
Only if this remote branch of complete strangers determines a person to be a “predator” will parents in the same congregation be warned. Otherwise, a person who has raped and molested a child can sit next to, talk freely with, and otherwise mix and mingle with children with no one knowing who they really are.
“Who is considered a known child molester? The January 1, 1997, Watchtower article “Let Us Abhor What Is Wicked” mentions on page 29 that a man “known to have been a child molester” does not qualify for privileges in the congregation. The expression “known to have been a child molester” has reference to how such a man is considered in the community and in the Christian congregation. In the eyes of the congregation, an adult “known” to be a former child molester is not “free from accusation” or “irreprehensible,” nor does he have “a fine testimony from people on the outside.” (1 Tim. 3:1-7, 10; 5:22; Titus 1:7) In view of his past, those in the community would not respect him and congregation members might be stumbled over his appointment. Keep in mind that the branch office, not the local body of elders, determines whether one who has sexually abused a child is considered a known child molester.”
This paragraph in of itself shows the gross dishonesty of those leading the religion. The Watchtower article to which they refer is one that was read by all rank-and-file members, who are led to believe that someone the elders knew molested a child cannot have authority in the congregation.
This was the thinking among everyone when I was an active JW. However, you see in this letter, made available only to elders, that the word “known” is a technical phrase; that remote branch office will determine if a child rapist is a “known” child molester, and the fact that he or she actually molested a child is not what determines this. It’s their reputation in the community and congregation.
If that remote branch determines that a child rapist doesn’t fit their technical term of “known” child molester, then he may qualify for authority in the congregation:
“It cannot be said in every case that one who has sexually abused a child could never qualify for privileges of service in the congregation.”
So there you have it in a nutshell. You can rape and molest a child, but unless there was another witness to the event, the elders permit you to continue. You can rape and molest a child, but say you’re “repentant,” and they permit you to stay in the congregation with a generic “reproof.” You can rape and molest a child, but unless some strangers in another country deem you a predator, they permit you to keep your activities a secret from other parents. You can rape and molest a child and they will permit you to have authority over the congregation.
Yet, Stephen Lett says they’re not “permissive” towards pedophiles.
Pray tell, what exactly are they not permitting pedophiles to do?
Calling the Victims Dishonest
As if the dishonesty of Jehovah’s Witnesses when it comes to their permissive attitude toward pedophiles wasn’t bad enough, what is also grossly disturbing about his video is that he calls stories of abuse “lies” themselves. In other words, victims who have been raped and molested, and whose stories and claims have held up in court, are the real liars.
According to Lett, Candace Conti, who won a judgement against the Witnesses for tens of millions of dollars after it was proven that she was put in their preaching work with a man whom elders knew had fondled his stepdaughter’s breasts while she slept, and who later went on to molest Candace, is a liar. Ariel Wilson, who was molested by her brother-in-law from when she was 9 until she was 13, and who was finally able to have the man disfellowshipped from the congregation, albeit for adultery and not molestation, is a liar. Miranda Lewis and her sister, both molested when they were less than 5, are liars. Jose Lopez, who was molested by a man known to have molested other children, is a liar. The eight accusers of Frederick McLean, who fled before he could be arrested, are all liars. The four boys who claimed Marcelo Alonzo Lozano assaulted them are all liars. The victim of Barry Furlong, who was jailed for some five years for his crime, is a liar. The Center for Investigative Reporting aka Reveal News, who created this report about Jehovah’s Witnesses hiding sex abuse in their religion, are all liars. Huffington Post, who did their own story on the piece here, are all liars. PBS, who ran a story about child abuse cover-ups here, are all liars.
The list could go on.
The bible says at Revelation 21:8 that liars and the sexually immoral will burn in the “lake of fire” or hell or however it’s translated in your version. Unfortunately, I don’t believe in the bible’s version of hell, as it might give me some comfort to know that these pedophiles and those who are so permissive to them will spend some quality time there. I do, however, believe in the hell that they have created for those innocent children, who need to suffer being raped and molested and abused, and then the humiliation of being called “dishonest” and “liars” by those claiming to protect them. That hell I definitely believe in.
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