Are Jehovah's Witnesses a Cult?

Breaking News: Jehovah’s Witness Woman in Utah Suing For Being Forced to Listen to Audiotape of Her Molestation

Just this past week, a woman in the state of Utah filed suit against a local congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, as well as the religion’s headquarters, for allegedly being forced to listen to an audiotape of her own molestation.

According to the suit, as reported by the Salt Lake Tribune at this site, the abuse of this woman began in 2007, while she was still a minor. She first went to the movies with an “instructor” in the church, who then kicked her out of the car for refusing to kiss him. His abuse escalated, according to the story, by threatening her family if she did not go along with him. He would allegedly bind her hands and ankles with duct tape and put a pillowcase over her head, leaving her alone in the backseat of the car like that for hours. The suit also states that he then began sexually assaulting her, forcing her to perform oral sex on him.

“During the meeting that included her mother and stepfather, the lawsuit states, church leaders played a recording of one of the purported rapes, obtained from the instructor, for four to five hours “repeatedly stopping and starting the audio tape … suggesting that she consented to the sexual behavior.””
– The Salt Lake Tribune, October 15, 2016

If this story sounds too far-fetched to be true, consider other allegations faced by Jehovah’s Witnesses in similar cases. Here you can read about two women, ages 5 and 10 when they were molested by a member of their congregation, who were asked if they had enjoyed the experience at all. Don’t bother to back up, you read it right; they were 5 and 10 when they were molested. Here you can read about a woman who was alleged to have been asked to demonstrate how far apart her legs were spread during her rape, so that her accuser, a rather rotund man, could claim that he couldn’t have raped her in that position. Both of these incidents occurred in front of the women’s abusers. The Australian Royal Commission inquiry into how Jehovah’s Witnesses handle accusations of sexual abuse also showed that elders were downright obscene in how they handled cases in that country.

inquiryIf you want to dismiss the allegation that she was bound and gagged and left in the backseat of a car, of course I personally cannot attest as to whether or not this actually happened, but I would caution against an outright disbelief. My friend Bo Juel was molested for many years by a congregation elder, and, as he relates in his story, “The Least of God’s Priorities,” the elder would take him to a basement room that had no lights and no windows, and toss the little boy in that room for hours as a way to keep him quiet. To say that such horrific torture of children never happens, not in the congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, is absurd.

Whatever the outcome of this woman’s lawsuit, it has been painfully, obscenely obvious for many years now that 1) there is a problem with pedophilia and child rape within the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses; these are not simply isolated, “rogue” elders here and there who are abusing children this way, and 2) other elders have absolutely no business, none whatsoever, handling these investigations themselves. Not only do they lack any type of training as to how to question victims of alleged abuse, but they choose to remain blind to the ways you shouldn’t treat them, including questioning them in front of their abusers, blaming them for abuse, asking if they “enjoyed” being molested at age 5 or 10, and sitting there in a room with other old men and a child’s parents while listening to an audiotape of a sexual nature.

I strongly hope this woman’s suit is successful if all her allegations are true, and hope that other victims come forward with their own stories and their own liability cases. Of course, even so, those suits could never be as painful for the Watchtower as what is happening to the children suffering under this type of abuse within the Kingdom Hall walls.

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34 replies »

  1. Hi Alexandra James. I am a young man going by the name of Vulu and i am from South Africa. I am 16 years old, and i have been reading your articles since February of this year. I hate this religion. For what reason? It is because of all the child sexual abuse, the domestic abuse, the depression most congregants go through, the blasphemy, the shunning and one thing I hate the most, the HYPOCRISY. Pertaining to this article alone, that deplorable practice mentioned is a human rights abuse, and a crime. One can, and SHOULD go and rot in prison for committing such acts in the first place. I am currently facing pressure from my elders to go out into the preaching work, and i hate it because i hate being forced to lie to people and being forced to force this hateful religion on others. I personally beleive that not everyone will have the same tastes or opinion regarding anything, including religion. The elders are also trying their best to make me give up the prospect of higher education in favour of pioneering or “serving where the need is greater”, and i refuse to, not after hearing how many people suffer at the hands of this multinational slave-driver. I want to study Economics, Business Management, Accounting, Politics, and History when i am done with school (I have 3 years of High School left.) If i may ask, how can i complete my courses at University without having these freaks of nature (ie: elders) breathe down my neck? Pertaining to my mom, I dont want her to shun me, I instead want to take her out of the religion with me, but this is proving to be difficult, for she is still heavily indoctrinated with the drivel that the WTBTS forces on their congregants. How do i set her free? By the way, did you see the way the WTBTS invested in stocks that kill innocent people worldwide? First of all, i was not even allowed to become an investor or entrepreneur. I was told to put this “Jehovah” first in my life. And they contradict Jesus when they do that, for he wanted NOTHING to do with war or military. And they attack other religions for blessing troops that go to war. HYPOCRITES! One of the things that really puzzles me is how poor people give to this multinational slave-driver, NOT the other way round😣. Its sick and disgusting! The child abuse in this religion is disgusting, and it really shows that this racist, mysoginistic, unforgiving, jealous, belligerent Jehovah, is DISGUSTING. How is interpretation of the scriptures more important than the emotional and physical wellbeing of an innocent child? (He makes his adversary the devil, look like a champion of human rights). I am so sorry about what you had to go through as a child. You are not alone. I am also facing uncertainty pertaining to my relationship with my mom, because she is determined to make sure i get baptised to this slave-driving Jehovah, and i refuse to have a relationship with this evil entity. I was never allowed to have a childhood because of this religion, and i am not alone. But i dont care, because i am determined to make sure i never serve that slave-driver ever again. Well done on a brilliant article, and thank you so much. I hope that your articles, as well as those of other ex- JWs, will eventually shame the Governing Body into letting everybody go. Yours sincerely Vulu

    • Thank you Vulu, and stay strong. Pursue your schooling, you won’t regret it. Hopefully your mom will come around in time or you’ll be able to maintain a relationship with her. Good luck!

  2. Horrific experience – I grew up a JW an unfortunately saw this sort of thing first hand. A few JWS told me as teenagers they had been abused and in turn told me what had been said when it was uncovered. It truly shocked me ! One victim was asked did you enjoy it ? what was going through yoru mind as he entered you ? she said it was almost like they were getting off on asking her. They cannot and should not handle these matters, its disturbing and degrading and has to stop.

    • I couldnt agree with you more. I was also molested an age 5. I didnt tell anyone about it until I was 30. the man ended up killing himself because he also had been abusive to his own children. this organization is very messed up.

  3. I too had a similar experience that changed the course of my life. The JW org is so polluted and corrupt that I will never support, approve or condone their behavior. My mother is the worst example of a witness that I can think of. She seems to pick and choose her beliefs but judges everyone but herself. I have very limited contact with her because I married an ex-Mormon but she supports fully my sister who has noting to do with the truth but has one baby and one on the way from a horrible man. She is the worst example of a witness that I know. Her behavior makes it easy for us to not ever be around such judgement, hippocites we know.

    • Kym that is what is so dysfunctional about the mindset of the ordinary JW that ALL other people in All other religions are So Wicked that they will be destroyed at Armageddon never mind many are very kind & good people but somehow Jehovah is going to just save Jehovah Witnesses ! Crazy thinking !

  4. You all seem life fine, compassionate people here. I’d suggest that the sickness we’re discussing here is inextricably woven into the very fabric of organized religion itself.

    In any hierarchical organization, those with power will often abuse it, but only in religion is that power backed up with the alleged authority of an all-powerful superbieng who is the ultimate arbiter of morality.

    Look closely at any religious institution, whichever God or gods they worship, and you will find the systematic sexual abuse of women and children.

    I’m an atheist, but I have no quarrel with anyone’s experience of spirituality or what they perceive to be their relationship with God.

    But you can be a follower of Jesus’ teachings — to give just one example — which are, even in my non-believer’s assessment, wonderful and positive things, without throwing your lot in with a confederacy of sick, misogynistic rapists. (Of course, they are not all like that, maybe not even a majority. But those power structures, by their very nature, have a way of selecting for, or drawing individuals to them , with those traits.)

    By all means, follow your bliss, as Joseph Campbell said. I wouldn’t dream of denying you, or arguing you out of, you beliefs and faith. But consider that the organizations built around those beliefs can be easily corrupted and manipulated by those who do not share your good intentions.

    It’s not about the relative value or truth of any given belief (I at once don’t buy into any of them _and_ acknowledge their beauty, and the more objective truths they illuminate), it’s about human nature.

    JW’s have a horrific record of sexual abuse and protection of abusers. So does the Catholic Church. So does pretty much every other Christian sect; So does Islam, and so, though we rarely hear about it, does Judaism, the faith of my ancestors. So do most of the non-Abrahamic religions.

    You all seem to be Christians here, so I can leave it at this: keep Christ in your heart, but keep an eye on the preachers.

    God — if he exists — bless you.


  5. Just when you think the goons who run this cult can’t sink any lower, they manage to prove that they can. What kind of lunatics force a young woman to listen to her own molestation and then ask if she enjoys it? Then again, this stinking rotten cult also used to teach that if you were raped and you didn’t scream (even if you had a gun pressed against your temple), you’d be disfellowshipped for ‘fornication’. So this shouldn’t come as any surprise.

    Doesn’t say a whole lot about where their priorities are when they treat the victim like the perpetrator does it? Of course, there will be JWs who will simply refuse to believe this and the elders will probably deny it. All in the name of ‘theocratic warfare’. Sick animals.

  6. The very fact that a man can be an elder…a spiritual leader and be a rapist or abuser or pedophile says that this is a cult. NO doubt…how much more proof do you need? Its a misogynist cult and a haven for the demon possessed.

  7. Jah,let your beautiful name be sanctified and set apart from all these terrible things done in your name. Hasten the end of the apostate GB who sanction these disgusting things. Matt 6:9.

    • Open your eyes Jahsdisiples any religion that contantly tells you not to research their religion and shun you if you ask questions they can not answer is not backed by a loving God. This happend to My Son after 18 years and he gets disfellowshippws for being smarter then the elders.

      • Oh Jahsdisciple!! just you looking up under these websites is called apastate You could be brought before the Elders. Go Tell them what you are doing and what you are reading and see what they say. YOU JUST BE SURPRISED.

  8. Sad, but so familiar, and consistent with the cruel non-compassionate elders. As a former Police Officer and Jehovah Witness, I saw cases like this and when I informed the elders and brought to there attention this was a criminal act that had to brought to the court system, they had a meeting with me and stated I was fighting against the Organization. They made up false charges and said the governing stated I should be disfellowshipped. This was in 1984 and nothing has changed. Same corrupt Cult.

  9. You have go to be pretty dumb, to join a cult like this. No blood transfusion, no celebration of the holidays or your birthday, can’t walk in another church, going to the elders with your problems, can’t talk to
    anybody that HAD ENOUGH SENSE, to leave this “religion”, can’t vote, BUT WILL SUE YOU IF THEY FALL IN YOUR HOME.

      • In your definition all the “Christian” sects must be anti Christs! In this city two married Mormon couples were recently in court for having sex with underaged teens in their church, and a local so called Born Again Evangelical Christian had no trouble with having full blown sex a local gay sauna…he wouldn’t kiss them though, because that would betray his wife. Come on Nathanlovevalerie…the JWs are good people in the main, and I am sure the Mormons and the BAC’s have their own internal procedures that deal with such dross. Get real, man.

      • Cotswoldsguy,
        Any gospel that is not what Jesus preached is an anti Christ. My folks are good people. However, they practice a gospel that is different than what the Lord preached. Each individual on this planet has a choice of whether they will live by what Christ preached.

    • I think it’s very unkind to call people “dumb” for having joined this religion.

      Perhaps check out Steve Hassan’s book “Combatting Cult Mind Control.” You will find that oftentimes, very intelligent people fall prey to the tactics of organizations like the JW’s.

      Years and years of constant indoctrination can make it nearly impossible to leave. The knowledge that doing so will cause you to lose all your friends and family
      makes many, many unhappy JWs stay.

  10. She could crucify those creeps and I hope she does. The problem is, if they destroy the incriminating tape, which they will, if they haven’t already, they can deny that such a meeting ever took place. Still, I do hope the judge does enough research to know what the Watchtower ‘elders’ are capable of. The truth doesn’t have to be remembered or memorized.

    This woman is to be APPLAUDED for even making the effort! 🤗

    • The story said her mother and stepfather were in the meeting so I wonder where they stand and if they would speak up about what went on. My own mother would sell me out in a heartbeat for the religion but hopefully either one of her parents would be different.

      • Look I have had a good cared for very  friend for most my life((I now for months since don’t associate any none atleast temporarily anyway because of this and such awful alcohol n drug abuse in kids presence and Luckily now dcfs removed them from his responsible care for n place  too ok but he has to say things in his kids presence of topic here and the kids seriously don’t even remember nor is or has ever been anything even close to of on their minds and memory at all,  seriously I unfortunately come to this conclusion of the fact that if something at all actually happened the age of was 1-3 I Believe tho I have never once allowed my ears to absorb any details when he starts rambling on to this of happenings now the children are around 15-16 years old so appox atleast a dozen years ago so possibility lesser at age that young to be very  likely Recalled as well  plus I also realized its not nothing of it at all was remembered took place at all as far as they know obviously from the reactions given when he starts rambling on this right away shows anyone not completely blind and deaf adjectives only im not insunating this being discriminatory of disabilities in people in anyway by choosing to use those two words to describe best for you the kids especially the older of the two’s almost instant blatantly plain as day to see made apparent the lack of any cause to bring up over n over again even if it’s a few times a year adds up to the agony first thing in hearing start reactions severity of say actions of and expressions sometimes a few words that are of sort towards this strong their thinking towards being in denial of being true at all or maybe so far exaggerated they have nothing showing they know anything about just duplicate body language from last drunken embarrassment to them of this body language n facial expressions of theirs  the most like oh no not again dad with this crazy insane total crap dad please come on for heaven’s sake dad what on earth are you even talking about and telling people all this crazy  stuff nobody’s even heard about or of except you when your totally wasted drunk and high rambling on crying about what ruined your entire life you really think it did anyways” face n notions of this told…  never for nothing has had the slightest effect I’ve seen nor heard of from them any all their life so far not even a thought on their minds any as existing at all always as far as anybody knows that is close to them as I have watched them grow up just as family to me as an good standing caring uncle figure type would be so yes I am well aware there could have been many different actual scenarios or possibilities due to traumatic stress, denial of from ideas of embarrassment or being ashamed etc.. I know the list is longer too like blocking out the brain n memory completely is common etc… enough you understand the point and aware that im not an idiot on this just sickens n disgusts me to much for details see this is my whole point that I finally put this together with him and it upsets n aggravates me so bad I can’t stand it that he can of done n do that rambling of this they heared from so much and is so wrong regardless that now I know to where I can’t chance not taken the ability to speak it box out next time im presence it by chance occurs that would be very much bad of me n illegal also u see so I just avoid him now but don’t want to forever and just wish he would quit these things but is it possible??

        And as far as these religion leader meetings on this:

        The second of the slightest thing even suggesting towards and/ or hinting anything period of the subject of topic here I personally won’t even say nor type of ANY Parent within their right mind would never possibly allow to take place and IMMEDIATELY REMOVE their child from the Presence of anything mentioned beforehand. ..
        I would be so quickly to loving n caring like only of course hug and carry if necessary or holding hands and RUSHING my child out of being there period as far n fast as humanly possible and kindly get the kid out of hearing distance is my best believed way and has to be not just my own opinion’s myself’s first thought and automatically given to do instinctively right. …
        That is easy of knowing n plain common sense to do by everything in society today and the proffesionals to never let/allow anything of the sort to hit a child ears whatsoever to begin with ever never never allow to take place and if so ended so fast n swiftly anything absorbs….

    • Very true. Exactly my point. Each group CLAIMS to have the Truth of Christ. In the main the JWs produce “good fruit”, their conduct by and large is impeccable. I am ashamed I cannot live up to the standards they promote. If they have messed up this one…the independent judges will sort out. Please stop mud slinging at others and extract the Timber from your own eye. When you have done that, you will be in a better position to “reason together”. Best wishes to You and Yours

  11. Thank you for this post Alexandra. I do pray that all victims of sexual abuse that come from the watchtower are able to get their attackers at the least locked up behind bars. Personally, I think castration should be their punishment. The JWs suffer from a condition called Groupthink. They do their best to cover up these horrendous acts to promote solidarity within the cult.

    • Very true, the religion comes above all else. The more victims that come forward, the better it is, although I can only imagine how hard it is for them. I get very angry hearing about these stories and hope one day I’ll hear my last.

      • It is a long and at times painful reality for all former JWs, including victims of abuse. There is True relief however, and the pain can subside. You will hear your last about these stories One fine day. 🙂

    • & This is a Huge Problem! Too many are so busy “praying” to a non existant, invisible sky daddy, that, if he did actually exist is the very one responsible for all the horrors & suffering since he supposedly is all knowing & all powerful & created everything; rather than actually Doing anything about it! While you “pray” they’re out “preying” on the children! Get off your knees & Do Something!!! We have to save ourselves & our children! No one is going to do it for us! I was a JW for over 18 years until my children were molested by a 14 yr old, female babysitter w/a millionaire elder grandfather! I’ve read the bible, front to back, different versions 6 times! Been to IDK how many different churches & had to accept that it’s all wrong & nothing but lies & propaganda used to promote fear to control the masses & avoid personal responsibility or justify evil behavior! Shake Awake!

      • Kjmajick,
        I understand your frustration. There is no church out there that will make an individual follow God. It is the individual’s personal choice and commitment to God that will lead them to Him. I do feel your pain concerning the JWs; the family I grew up with have been destroyed by that organization. However, God has told us we would encounter tribulation in this world. I pray for you and your family.

    • I was sexually abused by my step father for 3 years. It stared when I was 7 yrs old. When he was finally caught by my mother walking in on him abusing me, we went straight to the elders. I always wondered why he didn’t go to jail for what he did to me and my sisters. I was told because in the Bible it states that one brother cannot bear arms against another brother. In other words, they couldn’t press charges on him because he was still considered a brother. I have lived with this my whole life. Fearing that he may have molested anybody else. JWs are sick people who take the law into their own hands and cover everything up.

  12. Tens of same stories here in my country Lebanon
    30 000 $ given as conciliation to victim tempting him not to go to the police.
    It is a long story about a women who betrayal her husband with a guy both of them were protected by the elders.

    • Hi Johnny, when i was a jw my best friend was a Lebanese sister. I wrote the WT before i planned a trip to Lebanon in 1996, and they said the work was banned so i didnt go..I wished i had… I and her went through a lot in our congregations.. Her name is Jeanette Youseff. The elders went after me in 2009 trying to get me to give them dirt on her. This article brings up memories of when i was hounded and asked disgusting personal questions during a JC meeting. I got so upset i dry heaved, and one elder was screaming in my face while the others pulled him back and then they went at it.

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