The Australian Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse has concluded their questioning of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and while I personally still have reams of information to go through, I know that the findings were not good. Some 1,006 pedophiles were known to be in the religion back from 1950, with not one being reported to police by elders.
Two women gave specific testimony of their horrific sexual abuse at the hands of those in authority in the congregation, with one being the woman’s own father. They spoke of how difficult it was to talk about abuse of sexual nature in front of a panel of three men who asked them graphic questions, and seemed to enjoy the answers, with the notes of these men admitting that they counseled one about respecting her violent, child raping father.
As if the conduct of Jehovah’s Witnesses when it comes to pedophilia within their own ranks is not abhorrent enough, the recently released November, 2015, Awake magazine spoke of the dwindling ranks among the world’s religions, and actually blamed “sex scandals” for the exodus.
“Why the Exodus? People are becoming disillusioned with organized religion for a variety of reasons. These include religiously motivated or religiously sanctioned violence and terror, sex scandals involving religious leaders, and more subtle factors, which may be taking a bigger toll.” (November 2015 Awake)
Obviously this is one of the most hypocritical and ironic statements imaginable; while the real numbers of Jehovah’s Witnesses can be difficult to figure, it was mentioned during the Inquiry that the religion only grew 29% over the past 25 years, while the population of Australia grew 38% over that same time period.
It would seem that Jehovah’s Witnesses themselves are bleeding members for some reason, and no doubt these pedophilia scandals are part of it. The first woman who told of her experiences of sexual abuse within the religion, when asked if she remained in the faith, said that she was “taking a break” from it; I don’t mean to speak for her, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that her experiences of being molested and abused are part of that decision.
During our Watchtower Victims Memorial Day, many people take the opportunity to remember and honor the victims of child sex abuse in the religion as well.
The irony and hypocrisy of this declaration in the Awake magazine against other religions aside, it is how Jehovah’s Witnesses yet again seem to feel no responsibility for their own horrific occurrences of pedophilia and treatment of the victims that is bothersome. Note what the magazine goes on to say:
“The Bible foretold that in “the last days,” love of money and pleasures would supplant love of God and neighbor.”
Well, this certainly seems to be true for Jehovah’s Witnesses. The love of “pleasures” by many of their members, including the sexual pleasure they get from molesting children, to the love of power they have in “lording it over” the victims by lecturing them and dismissing their stories, seems to have supplanted any “love of neighbor” on their part. They seem to have forgotten that the children in their religion are “neighbors” that they’re supposed to love and in turn, protect.
As I bring out in this post, they also forget that children who aren’t Jehovah’s Witnesses but who live nearby or otherwise may be victimized by a pedophile are also their “neighbor.” Failing to call the police and alert authorities in any way when they know a pedophile is among them shows that lack of real love, or even casual concern.
While Jehovah’s Witnesses are so quick and so happy to point out how apparently other religions are seeing a decrease in membership due to “sex scandals,” they have yet to take full responsibility for their own. They may say that this lack of love is a sign of these “last days,” but they still don’t understand how they themselves have a full role in fulfilling that same sign. Shameful that a “worldly” or non-JW inquiry needs to bring that to light, while their members themselves become just as disillusioned and their children just as victimized.
Let the exodus continue.
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