If the headline of this blog post is confounding, the testimony that continues to come in from the current Australian Royal Commission is even more so; Jehovah’s Witnesses are being questioned as to how they handle cases of child molestation in their religion, and the testimony we’re hearing is beyond disturbing.
One of the most telling cases is that of “BCG,” a young woman who testified that her father, a ministerial servant (like an elder in training) raped her and her three sisters. I have not yet sat through the testimony myself, but have found an article about it in The Guardian (UK). Note a few things to take away from this article:
Despite the testimony of the daughters and the man’s wife, the elders did not disfellowship (excommunicate) him for these actions because they simply refused to believe the women. BCG’s father, identified as BCH, was eventually disfellowshipped for moving in with another woman while still married.
In his appeal of this disfellowshipping, he confessed to the molestation of his daughters. The response of the elders? To encourage him to give up his “loose conduct” of living with another woman and return to the family home:
In an immediate appeal by BCG’s father to being thrown out he confessed to molesting his daughters, yet the decision of the elders was that he should give up his pursuit of the other woman and return to the family home.
Yes, they encouraged him to return to the home where he admitted to having molested all four of his daughters.
Hollow Offers of Support By Elders
If this information is not disturbing enough, note that Barrister Stewart, Senior Counsel for the Commission, asked the elder how this harmonizes with the claim that Jehovah’s Witnesses have no tolerance for child abuse.
The elder said that they would keep an eye on such a person, and the elder “agreed that would not be possible in the home, but said the family could talk to elders.”
To which I might ask, Why? What good would that do?
Note what happened in this case; not only did the elders reject the testimony of four daughters and the man’s wife when he was molesting them, but they encouraged him to return to the home after he had moved out.
So what would they have done if those daughters came to them after he returned to the home, and began raping them again? Would their words be rejected all over again?
The elders not only failed to do anything to protect these children from being molested, but they actually encouraged their molester to return, which no doubt put them in added danger. They then congratulate themselves on how well they care for their congregations by saying that victims can “talk to them.”
Lest anyone think that there may have been reason to reject the words of the daughters and wife, the father wound up going to jail for what he did to his daughters, but only some ten years after one daughter had gone to the elders. She was eventually able to muster up the courage to go to the police, by herself and without the help of elders I might add. The police did the right thing by investigating, and then removing this child rapist from the home and society in general.
The elders, on the other hand, the spiritual shepherds of this religion who claim to be directed by god’s holy spirit, disbelieved the testimony of five women about rape and molestation, and, even after the man confessed to this, encouraged him to go back to that home.
“Confounding” is not the word to describe these actions. “Disgusting,” “sick,” and “shameful” also don’t even come close.
The inquiry continues this week, as does general anger at this religion.
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