For me to come out publicly and state that Watchtower enables predatory behavior might sound like conspiracy. However, I can’t keep quiet about crimes I personally know about in the Jehovah’s Witnesses, my family religion. As I reached out to other ex-members, I found I’m not alone. Many others who have now left the religion have similar stories.
“I cannot stop speaking about the things I have seen
and heard.”—Acts 4:20
It is true that much is being spoken on the subject of child sex abuse, but most of it comes from men. So, I decided that it was time for me to look at the subject and offer a woman’s perspective. Personally, I do have strong opinions on the matter of protecting my children. After all, those precious beings I call my children and my grandchildren, as well as my nieces and my nephews, are among my most prized loved ones.
In the family religion, over and over again, ex-members hear the stories of how elders often accuse and blame the victims of child sex abuse. Imagine a small child who attempts to seek justice from the family’s religious leaders. This article will explain how the reversal of justice for victims occurs.
Shining Light into the Dark Corners
Now, bear in mind, I’m no expert. But, as an ex-member of the secretive group, I figure it might be useful to write about it, if for no other reason than to shine some light on the consistent practice of how Watchtower enables predatory behavior in their congregations. It seems outlandish that a religious order would do that. Yet, sadly, from my perspective, that is exactly what is happening. So, perhaps I’d best share my familiarity with the group, since I experienced it first-hand.
Elders Ordered to Turn Against Child Victims
One of the worst things I have ever encountered in my years of being a Jehovah’s Witnesses member is how the elders turn against their child victims and blame them when they get molested. I personally know of about eight victims, who to date have not received justice. It is inconceivable that such injustices could happen in our so-called modern age, within a group who believe themselves to be so “spiritual” and “evolved”. Even though elders usually know who the predators are in the congregation, they aren’t instructed to warn the congregation about any known predators. It’s all kept secret. As a result, that silence actually enables the wrong-doing to carry on. I use the term “they aren’t instructed to warn” for a very specific reason, as I will explain.
Validly and truly, you may wonder why I would even suggest that the elders must be “instructed”. Simply put, the Watchtower elders don’t do anything unless they’re “instructed”. That’s because their superiors in the pyramid of control actually micro-manage their underlings. The lowly elders would be quickly replaced if they stepped out of line, by not following instructions, to the letter, of the Watchtower law.
Any questions as to whether Watchtower enables predatory behavior? You’re about to get some answers.
Examine a Potential Scenario
Let’s look at an example of how Watchtower might be enabling predatory behavior. When service arrangements are being made, a known predator may be assigned to work with a child. For those who don’t know what service arrangements are, that is when JW members meet at the kingdom hall for a little pep talk before performing door-to-door recruiting for the religious order. At that meeting, groups are arranged, people are put together, usually in groups of two or four to a car. It all depends on who turned up for the morning’s preaching work. Two people will work a street, going door-to-door. If there are four in a car group, the two couples will leapfrog each other to blitz the selected houses.
Case in Point
Most unfortunately, as in the case of one child in particular, the young girl was assigned to work with a predator. Wouldn’t you know, he opted out of the door-to-door work once he had access to her. Instead, he took her to his house and abused her. In that case, the elders in the congregation knew her service partner was a predator. Also, no one — that’s right, no members — in the congregation were warned of this dangerous predator among them.
But, it gets even worse. The Watchtower’s legal department at the compound in Warwick, New York knew about his predatory nature, along with the elders.When the current elders reported the molestation to the compound, it became apparent that his previous congregation had reported him at an earlier time. The predator’s name and all details of his prior case were located in their secret database.
Tell me, how are the congregation’s children supposed to be safe from that kind of enabling behavior, right from the top down? At this point, is there any doubt that Watchtower enables predatory behavior?
Predators Grooming Tools—Watchtower’s Own Material
Mostly, predators seduce their victims, rather than what Watchtower might otherwise suggest. Children are “groomed” from birth. Predators inject themselves into the good graces of the parents in order to gain the trust of the entire family. The predator’s intention is to gain free access to the children they elect to molest.
Curiously, Watchtower publishes articles about subjects such as masturbation, fornication, homosexuality, etc. — to study together as a congregation. Young children must sit through these question-and-answer sex narratives in congregations. Could an adult in their right mind not see how Watchtower actually ENABLES grooming of children by predators? What do I mean by “right mind”?
How Parents are “Put to Sleep”
Think about this. Religious parents believe themselves to be conscientious about raising their children according to bible standards. They could not fathom the idea, that right in their midst, there lurks a predator. Worse yet, parents are not aware that their elders have such knowledge of the very real danger to their beloved children.
Yet, at the meetings where sexually explicit topics are discussed, even children too young to comprehend the subject matter are included in this group discussion. Curiously, organizationally, Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t have youth groups. When discussing sexual material at a formal meeting, everyone in the congregation is involved. This conversation occurs formally during the meeting, or could even continue informally, after the meeting. Now, here’s where the danger lurks.
Where are the Healthy Boundaries of Interactions?
Such a loosely-structured environment, without healthy boundaries, becomes open season for predators to approach children and continue a sexually explicit dialogue after the meeting. Where are the boundaries? The kingdom hall becomes a free-for-all. Parents’ spidey sense is ostensibly “put to sleep” because of the boundary-less exchanges among members. Watchtower doesn’t consider the presence of a predator — or even predators — when those sexual subjects are being discussed. Parents, aren’t told there’s a predator roving among the group. Parents, you need to stop listening to your elders who tell you “it’s apostate lies”. It’s time for you to wake up to the tactics of predators among your group. The elder telling you it’s apostate lies could very well be a predator. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to find out the hard way, after one of those pedophiles harms your precious child — or children.
Sadly, considering the many inappropriate questions elders ask the victim(s) after a reported molestation, it becomes clear even to the young victims that they are not being supported. If the parents are the ones to bring up the issue of a reported abuse of their child, they too can see quickly that the congregation elders are the wrong people to approach.
Worst of all, any delays in reporting sexual abuse of a child to authorities results in destruction of the evidence of a most horrendous crime.
Elders are “Educating” Parents?
Watchtower representatives claim they are “educating parents”. Well, that’s a laugh. Their so-called “education” is enabling even more child sex abuse. How so?
At this point, I must reiterate what I wrote just a few paragraphs ago. When the entire congregation talks about subjects related to sex, masturbation, etc., the narrative runs free in the congregation. That presents opportunities for predators to approach children, to speak of things they ought not, to a child. Naturally, the child trusts the predator because, after all, he’s a “brother”. Even the parents’ intuitive sense is shut off because “he’s a brother”. Then, the abuse happens and it continues unabated in congregations.
While the sheep sleep on, the predators run amok. How can this happen? The abuse continues to occur because the elders don’t let parents know there are predators lurking among their precious children. Elders are doing what they are told.
What ELSE Elders Don’t Do
After reading the elder’s shrouded handbook — of which wives of elders may not even know exists — I wondered why elders don’t question the molester a bit more effectively. For example, has he been asking his/her victim inappropriate questions for the weeks and months leading up to the criminal event? Or had he been attempting to get the child alone somewhere — anywhere?
Answers to those kinds of questions would clearly reveal that it was the predator who was initiating all the activity all along. Such questions would quickly absolve the victim from blame. But no, the elders won’t “go there”. They’re not allowed to ask those kinds of questions of the predator among them.
Are Children Innocent?—Or Born in Sin?
Personally, I believe children are inherently innocent. Unlike what the Jehovah’s Witnesses religion teaches, namely, that the children are “born in sin”. To me, that seems like just another way to blame a child when they are victimized by a congregation’s predator.
Actually, what I’ve written thus far is the tip of the iceberg. I don’t believe in skimming the surface of a social plague. I’d like to get to the root of the child sex abuse problem in religion, because this evil must be pulled out by the roots. Literally!
I am talking about predatory behavior and how Watchtower enables it. And in this above example, Watchtower even promotes it. Watchtower literally shows predators just how easy it is to access victims or set the stage for child rapists. Jehovah’s Witnesses are naïve, and this subject is not mere light “entertainment”, except possibly for predators.
Public Relations at Watchtower Inc.
Do Watchtower leaders really follow their own advice for the rank-and-file members? Really?
When I observed the Australian Royal Commission Case No. 29 (ARC) dealing with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, I noted that Watchtower had hired a public relations expert who was subsequently called in to testify on behalf of Watchtower. Why else, but to try and save their faltering image of how child sex abuse is handled — or mishandled — by Watchtower.
Of interest, is that elders really don’t follow their own Watchtower publications in handling child sex abuse cases. I must say that their expert certainly earned her money that day. She defended Watchtower, as well as her own lucrative career with the corporation. The magazines discussing child sex abuse and the Watchtower’s “loving” concern for children is information for public consumption only. It’s purely a public relations spin. Watchtower wants a squeaky clean image at all times, regardless of what is going on behind the scenes. Undoubtedly, they pay big money for that “image”.
How Valuable is the Cryptic Elder’s Manual for Assessing Crimes?
The elders don’t even follow their private elder’s manual, unless you count the first thing they are instructed to do when confronted with a case of abuse by someone in the congregation. That is, they phone the legal department in upstate New York. Then elders are asked a bunch of questions such as how many people know about this? None? Oh good, then hide it under the rug. Tell the victim that since there are no witnesses to the “sin”, they must leave the matter in god’s hands. Worse yet, they are instructed to “forgive” the accused perpetrator.
What kind of support is that? Downright lousy, I’d say. But, again I have noticed that Watchtower’s hush-hush elder manual is consulted only as far as the part that says to call the Legal Department. After that, it’s all “word-play”.
The Mysterious Elder’s Manual Spills It’s Nasty Secrets
How do I know what’s in the secret elder’s manual? I have a copy. It’s not so mysterious anymore when most ex-members were readily able to obtain copies. After all, someone must call the Watchtower out for their crimes against humanity, especially the children who can’t often defend themselves.
So, let’s have a further look to see what happens when a case of child sex abuse gets reported to the so-called “shepherds” of their vulnerable flock.
As you can see in the image below, the elder’s first considerations are legal implications. If the elders could possibly defer dealing with the issue, they will — by a process of elimination.
Image of Contents for Chapter 14 - Child Abuse in the secret elder’s manual "Shepherd the Flock of God"
Elders must be careful to follow instructions, without diverting in any way, from what the legal department prescribes.
The Woman’s Place in Watchtower’s World
One of the ARC’s observations was the glaring omission of including sisterly support for cases of child sex abuse. The elder’s manual was re-purposed and updated in 2019 to include a clause about sisters, but it is never acknowledged by the elders in these cases. One of the most disturbing absences I noted is found in point number 17 — the absence of elders being the ones to suggest asking a mature sister in the congregation for victim support. That detail is left up to the parents — in shock after the crime — to think this out for themselves and then follow through. How do other congregation members know who has — or has not — endured child sexual abuse, if no one in the congregation is allowed to talk about these valuable sisterly resources? Or turn to them in such a time of need?
Note the victim's responsibility in the elder's secret manual, except elders won't tell them. It's kept hidden. The elders' only responsibility with respect to to a victim's well-being is to advise them to read Watchtower articles. But, only if asked. Even then, offer those only if an elder is asked.
Sins of Omission?
Does this paragraph qualify as “sins of omission”? Perhaps it would be better described as “crimes of omission”. Because, according to the wording, elders won’t offer this helpful suggestion to approach a compassionate and understanding sister for support. I certainly didn’t know anyone who experienced such abuse to whom I could have turned. If elders do know of someone, they won’t discuss the issue. In hindsight, I see the ignoring of a woman’s role as a deliberate oversight. Paragraph 17 was written in such a way as to leave that entire scenario up to the victim or some other adult. Even then, it’s highly unlikely that either would do so without expressly being instructed. That’s how heavily controlled members are.
What About “Worldly” Counselling?
I must also state that members are often warned against seeking counselling from “worldly” sources, such as psychiatrists or psychologists. Sometimes elders will even quote a scripture to “prove” that their advice is “scriptural” and therefore superior — that’s Watchtower’s special “language of truth”. Yes, these people even have their own mystical “language”.
“All scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness. That the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.”—2 Timothy 3:16, 17”
According to elders, the only book that is needed to be well is the bible. Real “professionals” are not required. In another post, I revealed a Watchtower article that quotes elders as being “spiritual physicians“. In other words, nothing is needed beyond consulting elders, the bible, and Watchtower materials. These are Watchtower’s simple and foundational rules for members’ virtual well-being.
Resources—Watchtower vs Women
I am distressed to say that’s really how things work in congregations in my family’s religion. Women’s wisdom is over-looked and demeaned, in a passive-aggressive way within Jehovah’s Witnesses congregations. In observing Watchtower’s dysfunctional approach to the subject of child sex abuse, ignoring women’s usefulness is just another one of Watchtower’s myriad glaring omissions. Again, while many other miniscule details of abuse are questioned and discussed, helpful and practical resources are never revealed. Wise and supportive women are never acknowledged. If asked, elders will advise victims to read Watchtower articles. The proof is in what elders are told to offer in the way of useful advice. Did you notice? Specifically, elders are NOT to direct attention to a helpful sister in the congregation. Instead, the elders direct victims to Watchtower articles. Some comfort! I would much rather have received a hug from a loving sister than cuddle up alone to read an impersonal Watchtower magazine, while it re-traumatized me.
One scripture that was used at my time of deep grief was,
“…No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”—Luke 9:62
Wow. Talk about false comfort.
I’ve learned long ago to read between the lines when it comes to the Jehovah’s Witnesses elders. I learned to read carefully what is written, but also discern what is NOT being said.
Clear Instructions NOT to Report Abuse?
I recall how the Australian Royal Commission’s reports show, that out of 1,006 cases of child sexual abuse within Watchtower’s ranks, not one was reported to the police or other authorities. Not even one. This evidence proves that elders will always follow directions from the legal or service departments first over any printed material, including their secret elder’s manual. And the result shows that each time, elders had been instructed NOT to report any case to the proper secular authorities. Point 23 confirms what I’m saying, with respect to handling of the congregation’s predators:
I want to emphasize again, that elders won't take any action without the specific instruction from the legal or service departments at Watchtower compound in Warwick, NY. This instruction is emphasized several times throughout the manual. While it may appear in an occult book, it doesn't mean the service department will instruct the elders to follow it's direction.
The above paragraph describes how elders may — or may not — be instructed on how to treat a predator in the congregation. He may or may not be allowed to engage in the door-to-door ministry. He may or may not be told to have no interaction with a minor. The elders may or may not inform other parents about the predator in the congregation.
“The elder would take this step only if directed to do so by the Service Department.”
How Trustworthy are Elders?
By now, I’m thinking that specific helpful instruction could never happen. A predator among them remains the elders’ secret — and their worst nightmare. Unless, of course, the predator is also a Congregation Overseer of the Body of Elders (COBE). Then the circumstances are even worse due to the power he holds over all members and even his fellow elders. That power position in the congregation could mean he’d even be withholding important information from his fellow elders who may be trying hard to do everything just right. Not all elders are bad. They just try to do everything right. Also, they try to please their handlers at Watchtower.
Still Hoping for Justice
I seriously hope that the justice system will step in and bust up these horrid religions that engage in such blatant criminality. I believe if they were to lose their tax-free status, that would be a great first step. What do you think?
As purported self-sovereign beings, perhaps we will have to take matters into our own hands. Perhaps, before that happens, folks in those crime-infested religions will wake up enough to abandon their faux religion.
How bad does it have to get before people reclaim their self-sovereign status? We shall see.
Related Material (External to Website)
YouTube Video: 2014 NBC Jehovah’s Witnesses Ordered to Pay $13.5M to another Sex Abuse Victim posted by a YouTube creator named Christian Sparlock-Freedom. The “Lopez” case involved child sexual abuse by a serial child sexual predator within two local San Diego congregations of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The plaintiff, Jose Lopez, was a minor child whose family was active in the congregation at the time of the alleged abuse. The Zalkin Law Firm filed this civil lawsuit in February of 2013 (Case No: 37-2012-00099849-CU-PO-CTL).
YouTube video: Ex Jehovah’s Witness Testimonies (Documentary) mirrored a W5 Documentary uploaded by TTAT Facts called “Jehovah’s Witness Documentary from the W5 news channel in Canada 03/24/2018”
@17:06 of 1006 cases of child sex abuse in Australia’s Jehovah’s Witnesses secret database, not one was reported to the authorities.
YouTube Video: Over-Riding Maternal Instincts is another example of how Watchtower enables predatory behavior, here is my take on how women are being used covertly by Watchtower to lure children into the religion. It’s a fear-inducement strategy used on children, in the hopes that their parents would follow.
Jehovah’s Witnesses and Pedophilia contains all the YouTube links to the Australian Royal Commission Case 29 investigation into Australia’s Jehovah’s Witnesses child sex abuse scandal.
Child Sex Abuse among Jehovah’s Witnesses is being exposed because so many survivors are now coming forward as whistle-blowers.
Over-Riding Maternal Instincts describes how women are being used covertly by Watchtower to lure children into the religion.
Patriarchal Control where elders are described as “spiritual physicians” in a Watchtower article.
Visit website "Phoenix of Faith" the memoir. Follow on Twitter: @_phoenixoffaith Copyright © 2019.