Jehovah’s Witnesses employ a disgusting, outdated, misapplied “two-witness” rule when it comes to hearing allegations of child sex abuse in their religion. This rule demands a second witness to the abuse, if there is no confession from the accused, before elders remove that person from the congregation. No other credible evidence is used to make this determination, such as the reliability of the accuser or strength of his or her story.
Elders also do not investigate these allegations further than hearing the words of the accuser and the accused; they don’t ask to look at, and are certainly not qualified to investigate properly, text messages or emails between the accused and accuser, or a home computer or phone, for evidence of things like child pornography. Elders don’t speak to others who may know the accused personally, and who may offer testimony as to questionable behavior on their part, that would then bolster this accusation of molestation.
This direction can be found in the elders’ secret handbook, “Shepherd the Flock of God,” and in letters sent to elders, which you can find in their entirety in the legal handbook on this site.
Recently, Jehovah’s Witnesses emphasized that they will never give up on this two-witness rule, through a discourse at their online TV channel, tv.jw.org. You can hear the entire discourse, in context, here:
Despite the religion’s stubborn insistence that their policy is required by scripture, the July 2018 study edition of the Watchtower had a “Question From Readers” section that posed the question, “If an unmarried couple spend the night together under improper circumstances, would that constitute a sin meriting judicial action?” The response actually said that “a judicial committee would be formed on the basis of strong circumstantial evidence of sexual immorality”! (Bold added for emphasis.)
Here is the entire page, so you can read the question and answer for yourself:
This is not the first time Jehovah’s Witnesses have been caught in a disgusting hypocrisy of choosing when, and for what accusations, they apply this horrendous “two-witness” rule. As I bring out in this post, Jehovah’s Witness elders are told to use “discernment” when considering claims of rape, picking apart a woman’s “mental disposition,” the circumstances leading up to the incident, and any delay in reporting it. I bring out in that post that none of these factors have anything to do with whether or not a woman has been raped, but back to the point; the elders use “discernment,” or just their own opinion, to decide if a woman is telling the truth about being raped, and don’t rely on the testimony of two witnesses to the incident!
Never, ever let Jehovah’s Witnesses try to convince you that they absolutely need to employ this two-witness rule in cases of child molestation because it’s so clearly and adamantly required of them by the bible. Witnesses happily and easily set that requirement aside when judging a woman’s statements about being raped, and when deciding for themselves whether or not two adults committed immorality because they spent the night under the same roof. Elders feel completely qualified to “discern” what a woman is claiming about rape, using nothing more than their own brains, and to “discern” if two people had sex because it was nighttime and they were in the same location.
However, they will absolutely not “discern” a child’s claim of sexual molestation, not based on the “mental disposition” of the child or of the accused, not based on whether or not that child was alone with the adult overnight, not based on any circumstantial evidence that might be found, or anything else.
This obscene hypocrisy does nothing but protect child molesters in their religion, abandon children to their abuses, and prove that Jehovah’s Witnesses have no problem setting aside these supposed absolute bible commands when they think they know better than those commands. They hide behind cherry-picked scriptures when trying to protect their own decisions and reputation, versus protecting the children under their roofs, but discard those same commands just as easily when it’s time to sit in snarling, self-righteous judgement of other people.
This begs the question, since they’re not following the bible as they so often claim, and work so hard to find reasons to ignore claims of child sex abuse, what really is their agenda as a religion and as an organization?
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