Are they really hiding child abusers


No doubt many of us are painfully aware, child abuse and religion has and will more than likely throughout or lifetime continue to be linked.  It is not something inherent in religious organisations, it is something that happens across many demographics, so lets put this straight from the start.  Pretty much anywhere where you have a large family based organisation there will always be instances of this nature cropping up.  The Church and meeting places are inevitably going to be potential areas of risk.  I find it sad that this is the case, as in previous Blogs I have stated that people of a religious persuasion are on the whole good people,they want nothing but the best for their children and families.  It is such a shame that in the past the majority have become victim to the few.  In the vast majority of these cases, notably in recent times the authorities have become involved and trained professionals are able to facilitate the apprehension of the  guilty and provide the much needed support for victims and their families.  But what happens when this process is not followed?

I recently was sent a link to the Blog site and happened upon an article concerning an certain Candice Conti.  She was suing the Jehovahs witness organisation for damages concerning a member of the congregation who had molested her in the 90’s.  The first question on my mind was; why was she taking the organisation to court?  The full story can be found here in the New York Times: The court case came about due to the fact that the JW organisation have a rather unusual policy concerning child abuse cases.

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York (to give them their official title) formulated the approach to take in 1989 it states that an incident, no matter what it is, needs to be seen by two witnesses.  They claim that they follow the bible closely and as a result use the scriptures to back up this stance.  They quote Deuteronomy chapter 9, verse 15, which says “No single witness should rise up against a man respecting any error or any sin, in the case of any sin that he may commit. At the mouth of two witnesses or at the mouth of three witnesses the matter should stand good.” They also use the scriptures in Matthew chapter 18, verses 15 and 16 to justify this stance, which says: “Moreover, if your brother commits a sin, go lay bare his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. (16) But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two more, in order that at the mouth of two or three witnesses every matter may be established.”  To me this seems perhaps a little hazy, not quite specific enough to legislate for instances of child abuse, as how often is that sort of thing witnessed by anyone.

The bible also states that we are to be subject to the rules of the land or government where we live.  So to investigate an incident of child abuse without consulting the professionals in place would contravene this command. The official site states the following: “When any one of Jehovah’s Witnesses is accused of an act of child abuse, the local congregation elders are expected to investigate. Two elders meet separately with the accused and the accuser to see what each says on the matter. If the accused denies the charge, the two elders may arrange for him and the victim to restate their position in each other’s presence, with elders also there. If during that meeting the accused still denies the charges and there are no others who can substantiate them, the elders cannot take action within the congregation at that time. Why not? As a Bible-based organization, we must adhere to what the Scriptures say, namely, “No single witness should rise up against a man respecting any error or any sin . . . At the mouth of two witnesses or at the mouth of three witnesses the matter should stand good.” (Deuteronomy 19:15) Jesus reaffirmed this principle as recorded at Matthew 18:15-17. However, if two persons are witnesses to separate incidents of the same kind of wrongdoing, their testimony may be deemed sufficient to take action.”  To be perfectly fair to them it also continues: “However, even if the elders cannot take congregational action, they are expected to report the allegation to the branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses in their country, if local privacy laws permit. In addition to making a report to the branch office, the elders may be required by law to report even uncorroborated or unsubstantiated allegations to the authorities. If so, the elders receive proper legal direction to ensure that they comply with the law. Additionally, the victim or anyone else who has knowledge of the allegation may wish to report the matter to the authorities, and it is his or her absolute right to do so.”

So the rules and regulations are clear, the local authorities do need to be involved.  My immediate shock when reading this came when, the primary action is to have the Elders investigate.  Surely the proper thing to do would be ensuring the relevant authorities are informed immediately, after which the congregation Elders could start their own “spiritual” investigation, with a view to keeping the congregation clean in God’s eyes.  There so many instances of abuse victims and their families being advised by the Elders not to involve the authorities and to keep it all in house?  Maybe at this point you don’t believe what you are hearing.  Follow this link and I urge you to read it for your self:

This type of thing happens in all religions, we will always have the debased element of society rear it’s ugly head wherever we may be.  When it happens usually the media try to make a scandal of it, and in some cases quite rightly so.  The crazy thing is with these instances is that if the individual accused denies it and continues to do so they are able to keep their good standing in the faith.  Again if this is perhaps difficult to believe then have a look at this BBC documentary from 2002  It is split into 3 parts so follow the links on the right hand side for parts 2 and 3.

After reading all of the strange and disturbing things that have been going on in the witness faith all these years, a faith that I was once proud to be part of, I received an update from the Jehovahs witness blog site and read an article that I really could not believe…  Have a look at this article and then spare a thought for the thousands who have been affected by this crazy rule that can in some cases serve to protect paedophiles over their victims.

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Many thanks

The past few days have been fantastic.  My blog has received well in excess of 160,000 hits.  Many of these hits are down to people reading the letter I received form my mother, it seems to have struck a chord with so many people both atheist and religious.  The comments that have been made have been a comfort and an encouragement to me, so for that I thank you all.

Of the 200 plus comments, many were from ex-jehovahs witnesses and to hear that my blog has been both an inspiration and of great help to many struggling with similar circumstances has been overwhelming to me.

Some of the comments made have put aspects of my blog into perspective for me.  We all know that it is true to say in life that, no matter how bad things can get there is always somebody worse off than you.  This has been made evident to me more than ever by the comment made by  Neo, he is atheist and gay, something the witnesses are totally opposed to, despite that being an uncontrollable human emotion, something one would assume a loving god would understand… his comment is as follows:  “You received a letter that I’ve always feared receiving. Same faith, similar circumstances (add atheist + gay and you can imagine how pissed/angry/annoyed/depressed my mother is that I’m not giving Sunday talks or something) and so I just have to say that I’m glad you are taking this with full understanding of her indoctrinaton and not letting it destroy you because if you were not prepared for this it could have. The JW religion is so twisted; no kid should get a letter like this from their mother and yet, you know to write such a thing was painful so you can’t even be *that* mad at her. I hope one day she wakes up or spiritually weakens to the point where she act like a regular human being and not take such things so seriously. My own mother and I avoid talks of religion and politics, and since I discovered who I was before I ever took the Dip, she doesn’t go full blown Rage JW. She threatens to cut ties but because I’m not official she doesn’t have to…so pretty much I only have my mother in my life due to a technicality of this religion… so stupid.”

Neo was never baptised into the faith so is not subject to the perhaps crazy rules of disfellowshipping, however, it is and will continue to put strain on his relationship with his mother.  It made me realise that at least I know where I stand with my mother.  I can draw a line under it all and move on, however in neo’s case that may happen or perhaps it may not, if the latter is true, he will continue to live in a state of limbo concerning his mothers feelings to him.  In my opinion this is far worse than my situation.

Another comment made was by Steve c  (  His comment has had a huge impact on how I now view my situation, it is as follows:  “Dave, it kills me to read this, because I know the hurt you feel.

I was a born-in JW and finally stopped attending meetings at age 36; my sister and mom have shunned me since 2006. My mother’s kidneys started failing a few months ago, and combined with her late stage emphysema, she doesn’t have long to live. Since I now live in another country, my only source of updates on my mom’s condition is through my sister, who only recently decided to reply to me. Of course, she only does so out of duty as Watchtower-mandated “necessary communication”; her messages are cold and businesslike without an ounce of love or family feeling.

I hope one day her eyes and heart will be opened. Until then, here’s a virtual hug of support.

Keep enjoying your freedom from that cult!”

This made me fully realise that there is most definitely people who are worse off than myself, yes what happened to me was not nice, ideal etc.  However, in Steve’s instance he has been thrust into a world many of us will never understand, I really do feel for him, it makes my situation seem minuscule in comparison.

So in conclusion, all the comments of support I have received over the past few days have been amazing, but let us not forget to spare a thought for those who have been cut off from their family unit and have a real struggle on their hands daily, for me it is all over and I draw a line under it, but for them its is ongoing and painful…  Once again many thanks


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The Letter

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The end is nigh


It is with all the previous blogs and points that I have made in mind that I really have struggled with my mother’s decision to cut me off.  As previously stated, both my parents are intelligent people, able to reason and think rationally.  It is my opinion that the religion has sucked all of this rationality out of them, it has been done in such a way that they are oblivious to it happening  they would appear to be blind to many of the opposing arguments and have close off that thought process simply because they have been warned by the organisation that it would be detrimental to their faith.  I do understand their position however, as I have also been there, so whilst I may wholly disagree with the events that have taken place, rational thought allows me to understand the reasoning behind it.

Having said all of the above it renders me at a loss and leaves me somewhat frustrated at the fact that, perhaps all of the faithful witnesses blindly follow the teachings and never fully have an understanding of both sides (even though they feel they have that due to how the religion put the opposing arguments across).  I really do hope that maybe my parents will take a look outside the “box” if you pardon the expression, and just maybe notice some of the contradictions in the religion and it’s take on the bible.  As I said from the start, this is not an attack on religion, so it would be wholly wrong for me to condemn the witnesses for following the bible.  I do feel however, that there should be consistency in how this is done and also transparency with regard to the reasoning behind the doctrines.

The witnesses always reiterated the fact that they follow the bible more closely and accurately than any other religion, so it baffles me that there can be so many holes picked with the doctrines.  As part of my education in the bible we were shown the examples of the Pharisees and Sadducees  who were Jewish religious leaders from the old testament and even up to the time of Jesus, there were many conflicts between both sects over the years but their job was similar to that of priests.  Jesus condemned them for their complications of the Mosaic Law; they would take a law from God and then add to it and add to it.  Eventually there was a whole list of actions that had to take place with regard to say cleanliness, where the bible may have instructed people to wash their hands before a meal, the Pharisees would have had stringent rules regarding the length of time and the extent of washing up the arm and so on…  Jesus stressed that we should primarily take what the bible says and that is all, he further stressed the need to avoid adding to it.  This is one of my main problems with the religion; they have taken the previously discussed rules regarding non-believers and added to it in a similar fashion to the Pharisees, yet another example of contradictions in the belief system.

At this point I feel I have given you all the facts necessary to be able to make your own mind up, the next blog will be the transcription of my mother’s letter, with no commentary from me, the reason being I want to leave people free to make up their own mind with regard to what has happened.  I hope you read it and can then understand my frustrations with the situation.

Thank you all so much for comments and the support from many people I don’t even know.  It has been a pleasure writing this blog and I hope folks have enjoyed the read



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Fear of knowing!

As a child being brought up in the witness faith I was constantly told the importance of testing ones faith, that God had often tested people’s faith in Bible accounts.  The account most of us will perhaps know well is that of Abraham and his son Isaac. Genesis 22:1-18 tells us what allegedly happened.  In case you are unaware of the account, God asks Abraham to take his son Isaac to the top of a mountain and to sacrifice him as an offering, the moment he is about to sacrifice his own child God stops him.  It was all done to test the faith of Abraham, in some form of an effort to ascertain if God had chosen the right man as his follower.  We were told as faithful followers of the true religion that we constantly needed to prove our faith to God. Not only that but we were encouraged that if we were struggling with an area of the teachings to research it.  Like I mentioned in the blog concerning the meetings, there are numerous study aids in order to give you what is considered an accurate understanding of the matter.  However these study aids that contained “the answers” were written by the organisation and of course contained their agendas on whatever the subject may be.

We were also constantly warned to not fall foul of the devils traps!  They would regularly warn their members of the dangers of things like the internet and publications by what they referred to as Apostates.  An Apostate is described in one instance as:  “Someone who is mentally diseased”!  An article from the July 2011 edition of The Watchtower warns followers to stay clear of “false teachers” who are condemned as being “mentally diseased” apostates who should be avoided at all costs. “Suppose that a doctor told you to avoid contact with someone who is infected with a contagious, deadly disease,” the article reads. “You would know what the doctor means, and you would strictly heed his warning. Well, apostates are ‘mentally diseased’, and they seek to infect others with their disloyal teachings.”  Again another classic example of wording that would make believers quite fearful of these “Apostates”!

Effectively this whole blog would be condemned as Apostate teaching.  Purely due to the fact that it exposes some areas of the religion that perhaps don’t seem right, especially when you step back and have a think about what is really said in the Bible and then compare it to the religion’s standpoint.  However, with that in mind it surely begs the question: How does an individual test their faith without first reading or learning the argument to the contrary?

Coming back to my opening point, testing ones faith can only be a good thing.  All of the great discoveries both scientific and spiritual have been put to the test in one form or another.  In order to test the strength or integrity of something you must attempt to break it, at that point you know just how strong it is and what pressure you can put on it, faith in my opinion is no different.  If you are shown all the evidence contrary to Biblical accounts and you still believe them, it demonstrates a strong faith and this has to be something that is commendable.  But the main point here is you have to see both sides to make a decision concerning your faith and the direction in which it lies.  It would seem apparent that the Jehovah’s Witness organisation are fearful of this happening and seek to stop it using this subtle control I spoke of previously.  Any literature to the contrary of their beliefs is instantly branded as Apostate.  From this point on all the “faithful” members know to keep away from it, thus rendering them unable to make a fully informed decision about the faith.

I have so much respect for people who are truly intelligent, who have researched all areas of religion and science and then choose to follow religion, they have such strong faith in the bible or whichever religious book they may follow.  You are left unable to criticise them as they have made an informed decision and are not blindly following what a priest or leader has told them.  What baffles me is this robotic response that many people (not just the witnesses) display, in the sense that they do as they are instructed and never ask that simple question that even children ask…Why?

Abraham offering up Isaac

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Is it propaganda?

Many people have told me and it is well documented that the witnesses employ similar tactics to the tabloid press.  Allow me to elaborate.  We often see in the newspaper statements usually associated with some form of celebrity scandal, they state “a close friend said”, or “our source tells us”, in both these cases there may or may not be a source or a close friend, no one can verify this due to the fact that there is no name attached to the sources.  The witnesses often use accounts of “a young French brother found…”  Or suchlike, usually followed by an interesting and encouraging account of how he overcame some potential pitfall, the idea being to help its members realise that there is hope, provided they stick to the guidance in the organisations publications.  There is nothing to stop them from making up these accounts as there is more often than not no way of knowing the authenticity.  It then forms a type of propaganda that they can use to control its members with.

Whilst writing and researching this I came across an article on the official website, regarding the subject of the manipulation of information.  Ironically there is an instance of the above in an article designed to safeguard the faithful readers from exactly what the article itself does, it is on the subject of Martin Luther’s effective incitement to what would these days be considered racial hatred:  A professor of government and social studies who has studied that era says: “Antisemitism has fundamentally nothing to do with the actions of Jews, and therefore fundamentally nothing to do with an antisemite’s knowledge of the real nature of Jews.” He also notes: “The Jews stood for everything that was awry, so that the reflexive reaction to a natural or social ill was to look to its supposed Jewish sources.”  Now here it is not so much the subject matter that is the important part.  Rather, the fact that no name is given for this professor, therefore giving no credence to the whole quote.  If you quote for example Steven Hawking in a document, the point you are making becomes credible and verifiable, if you just say “an eminent scientist” it will only lead to questions regarding the credibility of the quote.  Despite many of its members, my parents included, being intelligent enough to reason in this manner, the majority of them choose to just accept these quotes on face value, they would hate (and quite rightly so) that they could be mere victims of propaganda.

It is also at this point vital to understand that many of these faithful witnesses, who never question or doubt what the organisation tells them to do, have converted to the faith.  In many cases they have terminated former friendships and relationships.  They have turned their backs on former ways of life, in most instances this has caused a lot of friction between them, family members and friends etc.  For so many it has been a struggle to achieve a separate life from the world.  However, with the help and support of the witness organisation they have found a “good standing in God’s eyes”.  Many of these ones have gone as far as to openly condemn others for the way that they conduct their lives.

I know in my own family it has in the past caused friction with Grandparents on both sides of the family.  So for these reasons people really want to believe what the religion preaches.  If they were proved wrong for whatever reason there would be lots of apologies to make and bridges to build, so when something is printed in the Watchtower magazine or any of the other publications, immediately it is accepted as fact.  Perhaps there is a split between the fear I spoke of in earlier blogs and also the fear that they will realise that they have made a mistake…

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To continue lying…

Now that you have some form of understanding as to what the Bible has to say, or rather not say on the matter of disfellowshipping, I feel it is important and only fair that we have a brief look at what the actual witness publications have to say on the matter.  By doing so I hope you will fully understand my frustrations with this situation.

The Watchtower publication has this to say, taken from an article in September 1981… “”disfellowshiping” is what Jehovahs Witnesses appropriately call the expelling and subsequent shunning of such an unrepentant wrongdoer…. a simple “Hello” to someone can be the first step that develops into a conversation and maybe even a friendship. Would we want to take that first step with a disfellowshiped person?”  We have already taken a look at the relevant scriptures surrounding this situation, and so far none of the above corresponds entirely with what the Bible has to say.

This excerpt was taken from the Watchtower April 2012 refers to 1 Corinthians, despite there being no command not to have contact with a disfellowshipped person, here the watchtower speaks of it as if there is… “What if we have a relative or a close friend who is disfellowshipped? Now our loyalty is on the line, not to that person, but to God. Jehovah is watching us to see whether we will abide by his command not to have contact with anyone who is disfellowshipped.—Read 1 Corinthians 5:11-13. 

It continues:Consider just one example of the good that can come when a family loyally upholds Jehovah’s decree not to associate with disfellowshipped relatives.”  At this point personally, I am looking for some kind of proof that the bible actually does contain a decree from God with the above advice in it, from the previous blogs we now know (I hope) what the scripture quoted says and understand the context.  We can then rightly say that there is no mention of this decree with regard to relatives and close friends, yet just another example of the ambiguity present in the doctrines promoted by the faith.  It continues: “A young man had been disfellowshipped for over ten years, during which time his father, mother, and four brothers “quit mixing in company” with him. At times, he tried to involve himself in their activities, but to their credit, each member of the family was steadfast in not having any contact with him. After he was reinstated (This is the process required in order to repent of any wrongdoing and come back into the faith), he said that he always missed the association with his family, especially at night when he was alone. But, he admitted, had the family associated with him even a little, that small dose would have satisfied him. However, because he did not receive even the slightest communication from any of his family, the burning desire to be with them became one motivating factor in his restoring his relationship with Jehovah.” They paraphrase the verse saying “Quit mixing in company with”, this in the next sentence then changes to “not having any contact with”.   There is a large difference between the two, so surely if you follow the direct commands set out in the Bible then there would be no way that the paraphrasing should be changed in this manner.

 There are a number of ways at looking at this account, one of which is to say:  Is this not a form of manipulation?  Whereby, they use his closeness with his family to get him back into the faith, a primitive form of blackmail perhaps?  I spoke about the witnesses being the masters of a subtle form of control over its members; surely this could be looked upon as an extension of this control.  It also subsequently leaves you doubting his motives for returning to the faith.  A dilemma I am sure many other former members no doubt go through on many an occasion.  Plus it leaves me with the burning question: would my parents have preferred it if I had “repented” and continued lying about my faith, just to avoid making this difficult for them with regard to contacting me.  Either way I would have been doing the wrong reason as far as one party was concerned.

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