In yet another video released for the 2016 summer conventions of Jehovah’s Witnesses that can best be described as “difficult to watch,” a Russian Jehovah’s Witness, released from prison, is given compliments about his wisdom and maturity “beyond his years.”
While the video was released within the context of giving praise to Jehovah for your abilities and talents, I saw something far different, and far more disturbing in its message. Take a look:
The main character here talks about how “the praise should go to Jehovah” because of god’s “power” and “spirit” that allows persons to serve in the congregations.
Of course, the first question is, what about everyone else? If Jehovah gives “power” and “spirit” to certain ones so they can be elders, is he withholding all that power and spirit from the Jehovah’s Witnesses who are struggling to just make it to the meetings? This has always been a sticking point with me; when Jehovah’s Witnesses praise Jehovah for good things, does he then get the criticism for the things that turn out poorly?
Let’s move on. In the video, the man says:
“Jehovah is the one who chooses those who serve in the congregations … he knows how to use them to advance his will.”
Even the pedophiles? The wife beaters? The child abusers? The angry ones who yell and scream and act like tyrants in the congregation and family? Jehovah chose all of them? He advances his “will” through them?
This is a very dangerous statement for Jehovah’s Witnesses to make, considering how much they’re being exposed when it comes to, among other things, pedophilia and child molestation. This horrific abuse happens, not just from rank-and-file members, but from elders and ministerial servants (like elders in training) and those who are called “pioneers.” Pioneers are those who spend an excessive amount of time in their preaching work, and these ones need to be considered above reproach.
The man who molested my friend Bo Juel was an elder at the time. Both victims who were interviewed during the Australian Royal Commission Inquiry were molested by those with authority in the congregation. If you read a summation (Australia Royal Commission the-bare-facts) of all the child molestation cases that elders in Australia bothered to note over the past few decades, you would see that a good number of those cases were perpetrated by elders, ministerial servants, and pioneers.
With all this coming to light, you would think Jehovah’s Witnesses would take a step back and start crying “elders are imperfect men.” That’s their standard excuse when asked directly why there are so many pedophiles and instances of domestic violence and child abuse in their religion.
However, rather than distancing themselves from statements claiming those in authority have this direct appointment from god, they’re doubling down on that claim.
This is, of course, very insulting to the god that Jehovah’s Witnesses are trying to sell you. If their god chooses men who are pedophiles, wife beaters, child beaters, and the like, to have authority and oversight in the congregation, then he’s a terrible god whom no one should worship.
It also does no good for the victims of those horrific crimes and brutality. When they’re told repeatedly that elders and others are directly appointed by god, what are the chances that they’ll stand up for themselves when they’re being abused?
Both victims questioned during the Australian Royal Commission Inquiry said that they had a difficult time going against the authority of these ones; granted, one was her own father, but she noted how he was a ministerial servant and very respected in the congregation because of his position. The victims also had a hard time standing up to the harsh treatment they received from other elders when questioned about their abuse.
Jehovah’s Witnesses have shown unparalleled arrogance in equating their organization with Jehovah himself, at this convention in particular. That’s disturbing enough, but to outright claim that Jehovah chooses these men to do his “will,” when staring down the barrel of thousands of claims of child molestation alone, should make anyone question their cult-like status. Most cult leaders claim to have direct guidance or appointment from god, if not to be god himself, and do so even while molesting children, beating their congregants, and fleecing the flock.
That behavior should make their members realize that their claims are just rubbish, and indeed, Jehovah’s Witnesses often say that other religions are false because of the behavior of their leaders in particular:
“Spiritually speaking, many churchgoers have been left bewildered and disoriented, questioning the value of the guidance that they have received. That is especially so in the light of the questionable conduct and unscriptural teachings of their religious leaders.”
~ June 15, 2010 Watchtower
“Many religious leaders have set a bad example for their flocks by their adulterous friendship with this world and in some cases by their flagrant immoral conduct. (Jas. 4:4) Additionally, Christendom has become increasingly tolerant of immorality among its members.”
~ March 15, 2010 Watchtower
In truth, how are Jehovah’s Witnesses any different in this? Perhaps that’s a question that Jehovah’s Witnesses should be asking themselves, and soon, before their cult thinking and indoctrination get any more out of control.
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