When the website “Mormon Leaks” debuted, it came under fire for revealing many confidential documents that were part of the Mormon religion, and which were typically kept secret from the church’s rank-and-file members. Along with criticisms, however, the site also received a tremendous amount of encouragement to include other religions in its process of revealing confidential materials, especially as those materials related to financial misconduct, corporate policies, and sex abuse allegations.
The founders of Mormon Leaks then launched the website “Faith Leaks.” Fittingly, their first major leak outside the Mormon religion came from Jehovah’s Witnesses (links to posts about those leaked documents below), regarding a case of child sex abuse that occurred in a congregation in Massachusetts, U.S.A.
On February 15, 2018, FaithLeaks posted on social media that they had been contacted by the police department near that congregation regarding “theft of documents.”
I’m not a lawyer so I cannot comment on the legalities of this issue, but FaithLeaks makes the real point here; the elders called the police upon learning that someone had shared private documents with an outside company, but never called the police to report the case of child abuse that was outlined in those particular documents.
The Case, In Brief
For those not familiar with this case, those documents, including notes from the elders and correspondence between them and the religion’s headquarters, revealed that a father repeatedly raped and savagely beat his two daughters, so that there were even frequent hospital trips for at least one of the daughters. Teachers had questioned her about her injuries, so obviously she had visible bruises and other such marks, but despite that, elders overlooked the physical abuse and did not call the police when the allegations of child rape then surfaced.
People familiar with the religion know that elders demand a second witness to child sexual molestation before taking action against the accused within the congregation; according to their policies, a second victim can suffice as this witness. However, in this case, the elders didn’t adhere to this requirement even though there were two victims to the man’s abuse, meaning both his daughters, simply because one of the girls was not emotionally ready to confront her father face-to-face.
The elders also objected to one of the girl’s husbands calling the police on the father after he violated a restraining order she had against him at that time. According to their own notes, the elders were concerned for the abuser’s “public humiliation” in being removed from one of their conventions.
I don’t need to spell this out for anyone; the twisted and warped value system of the elders, and of Jehovah’s Witnesses as a whole, is clearly presented here. Elders in this congregation are concerned with how they and the religion must look, now that their inner workings and practices have been revealed, but were not, and are not, concerned for the safety of children who are being raped and beaten in their own homes. Elders have no problem phoning police over the “theft” of documents, but don’t involve the police when a child’s life and mental and emotional well-being are being stolen.
The disgusting hypocrisy of how elders have mishandled this case, along with so many cases like it, betrays their claim of being a religion based on love of anyone but themselves. They love their reputation, their control over others, their appearance, their power, their institution … but not the people in it. Before anyone argues that point, remind yourself of what the elders were so quick to ensure got proper protection; the religion and its secretive, damning policies, or the children affected by those policies.
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