Jehovah’s Witnesses have a very harsh “two witness” policy that they apply to allegations of child sex abuse in the religion. A victim of this abuse must have a witness to the occurrence before elders will remove an alleged offender from the congregation.
There are many legitimate criticisms against this policy, including the blatant hypocrisy of Jehovah’s Witnesses in picking and choosing when they apply this rule, something supposedly required by the bible for all accusations of misconduct, but which Watchtower gladly sets aside when they so desire:
One of the more obvious criticisms is that there is rarely, if ever, a second witness to the crime of child molestation.
Their Own Illustration Betrays This “Requirement”
The Watchtower’s book, “Learn From the Great Teacher,” is meant to be a type of study or lesson book for children, covering a range of JW doctrine and life lessons based on the life of Jesus.
In one chapter of the book, “How Jesus Was Protected,” the information discusses what a child should do if someone were to attempt to touch them inappropriately.
I do give the writers of the book credit for at least attempting to address child sexual abuse, and for attempting to empower children to resist such abuse. However, the illustration they used in this story betrays Watchtower’s own stubborn insistence on this horrific “two witness” policy of theirs:
This picture is not inaccurate; it shows a typical scenario of child sexual abuse, with an adult, by themselves, ready to force themselves on a child.
Because it’s not inaccurate, however, it also shows the gross shortsightedness of Watchtower’s “two witness” rule. There is no other adult in this illustration, not even another child, who can act as that needed second witness, the one that Watchtower demands a child produce before putting an alleged pedophile out of the congregation.
Obviously Watchtower knows that there is rarely a second witness to this type of abuse, otherwise they would have put another person in this illustration, or they would have depicted a scenario of child sexual abuse in a different context (i.e., in a school with other students nearby, at a sleepover with other children present, etc.).
Yet, when their own artists were tasked with depicting what they felt would be a good representation of potential child sexual abuse, it probably didn’t even occur to them to add another person, that “second witness” to this abuse.
The hypocrisy of Watchtower and local elders in congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses picking and choosing when they apply this “two witness” rule is disturbing and sickening enough; the rule itself is an obscenity all on its own. However, this illustration alone proves that Watchtower writers know a child can rarely, if ever, provide a witness to their own abuse.
Despite this knowledge, they stubbornly “double down” on that rule, ignoring their own hypocrisy in when they pick and choose to apply it, ignoring their own subtle admission that it’s impossible to apply in cases of child sex abuse, and continuing to abandon children to these horrific abuses.
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