Philip Brumley, general counsel for the Watchtower Society makes the following claim: "The policy that Jehovah's Witnesses have on how to handle cases of child molestation is without equal in the religious community." On the other hand opposers of Jehovah's Witnesses say that the abuse policy covers up child molesting and thus the Kingdom Hall's are a safe haven for child molesters. They say the Watchtower Society has created a pedophile paradise because of their abuse policy.
So what is fact and what is fiction when it comes to the child abuse policy of Jehovah's Witnesses? Are opposers of Jehovah's Witnesses telling you the truth or is it they themselves who are trying to cover up and hide the real child abuse policy of Jehovah's Witnesses? Has the Watchtower's child abuse policy really created a pedophile paradise or is it instead just the opposite, a pedophile's nightmare because of being 'a policy without equal in the religious community'? What is reality and what is myth?
The basic policy of Jehovah's Witnesses can be found at the Watchtower website. Lets take a look at the true child abuse policy of Jehovah's Witnesses and the detailed information written in letters and publications about how elders should handle child abuse. Why not take a look for yourself and not simply take the word of opposers at face value?
The Watchtower's child abuse policy begins by stating: "Child abuse is abhorrent to us. This is in harmony with the principle recorded at Romans 12:9. Even one abused child is one too many. For decades The Watchtower and Awake! have featured articles to educate both Witnesses and the public regarding the importance and the need to protect children from child abuse. Among others, there was the article "Let Us Abhor What Is Wicked!" published in the January 1, 1997, issue of The Watchtower ; "Help for the Victims of Incest" in the October 1, 1983, Watchtower, "Your Child Is in Danger!", "How Can We Protect Our Children?", and "Prevention in the Home", all in the October 8, 1993, Awake!, as well as "Child Molesting—Every Mother's Nightmare," in the January 22, 1985, Awake!"
And the Jan 22, 1985 Awake referred to above says on page 8 in the box: "First, the child—and other children too—must be protected from any further abuse. This must be done, whatever the cost. In many cases the accused molester will have to be confronted. But whatever it takes, it is important that the child should feel confident that the molester will never be able to get at her (or him) again."
Opposers say its all a bunch of double speak. They argue that these publications are speaking of non-Jehovah's Witnesses but they try to hide or cover over child molesting in the congregation because they do not want it to become public and bring reproach upon the organization. They say that protecting the children takes a back seat to protecting the reputation of the organization and the so called spiritual paradise. They even say that persons who report child abuse to the law will be reproved or even disfellowshipped.
The truth is that adherents to the faith of Jehovah’s Witnesses are expected to maintain high moral standards. While other religions have developed a relaxed attitude towards morals, Jehovah’s Witnesses have remained steadfast. Views on morals have not changed in the religion’s 120-year history. One hundred years ago it would have been unimaginable for members of the Anglican Church, for example, to tolerate sex before marriage or homosexuality. Yet today such things are now tolerated in that Church, and among many other Churches.
On the other hand, no such dilution of Christian morality has taken place among the Witnesses. Their unique subculture looks down heavily upon sex outside of marriage. In fact, anyone who is caught or admits to things such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, regular use of pornography, etc. may be “reproved” by congregation elders, or be excommunicated or disfellowshipped. Indeed this does happen, for they freely admit that tens of thousands of such ones are expelled from their ranks each year. For a fact the January 1, 1986 Watchtower admits: "Shocking as it is, even some who have been prominent in Jehovah’s organization have succumbed to immoral practices, including homosexuality, wife swapping, and CHILD MOLESTING. It is to be noted, also, that during the past year, 36,638 individuals had to be disfellowshipped from the Christian congregation, the greater number of them for practicing immorality. Jehovah’s organization must be kept clean!(1 Corinthians 5:9-13)" There certainly doesn't appear to be a cover up here from the Watchtower publications.
It is important to keep this in mind when considering these accusations about harboring child molesters. Why would a religion so strongly dedicated with keeping itself “morally clean” by excommunicating rapist, murderers, thieves, and the like, then turn around and “protect” pedophiles? Furthermore, the men who decide to excommunicate sinners are not some aloof bishop or deacon who lives many miles away, as may exist in Churches of Christendom, but are in fact the local men who oversee the local congregation. These men charged with keeping the congregation morally clean are nearly always local men, who probably have families of their own, men who will certainly know the perpetrator personally. They have their own children to care for and consider. Why would they knowingly and happily keep a pedophile in their midst, hiding his acts from the Police, and exposing his own children to danger?
The truth of the matter is that Jehovah’s Witnesses, like most people in your community, will view child molestation with the same abhorrence as most human beings. There is no question that child abuse is as disgusting to Jehovah’s Witnesses as it is to most anyone. Their own religion teaches that fornicators, including child molesters, who do not repent will be destroyed forever by God and shall “not inherit God’s Kingdom”.
If you have read the previous chapters you have come to realize that opposers have misrepresented the child abuse policy of Jehovah's Witnesses. They have invented and presented a mythical, fictional policy that does not exist, nor has it ever existed. Now that you have been shown the true child abuse policy with quotes and documentation from actual Watchtower sources you are in a better position to judge its merit based on fact not fiction, truth not myth. And so the question can now be asked: What religion has a better child abuse policy than Jehovah's Witnesses?
Essentially here is the organizational wide child abuse policy of Jehovah's Witnesses as we have shown.
1. Jehovah's Witnesses disfellowship, even announcing the name from the platform, and shun proven or confessed practicing child molesters.
2. Any molesters deemed repentant are announced from the platform as well, thus publicly reproving him and a talk is given about their type of sin. All thus receive a warning.
3. Elders report abuse to the authorities when required by law or if a child is in danger.
4. Elders are instructed never tell anyone not to report abuse to the authorities and there are no sanctions for reporting abuse.
5. If a minor reports molesting to an elder, the elder offers to accompany the minor to talk to the authorities.
6. All in the congregation are encouraged to report child abuse to the authorities if they are aware of it.
7. If there is only one witness and the accused denies it, several steps are taken to protect the children.
8. Any accused of molesting by one person is likely removed as servants until the matter is cleared up since he is no longer 'free of accusation'.
9. The Watchtower Society keeps a detailed database of molesters and former molesters, even if the molesting took place before baptism, to assure that they do not receive authority in the congregation.
10. Former child molesters are never allowed to be servants and do not receive even minor privileges.
11. A letter follows former molesters (and usually those who have been accused by one witness) for the rest of their life whenever they move to another congregation.
12. Elders keep an eye out and warn others when there is a cause for concern about former molesters.
13. Former molesters have many other restrictions placed upon them, including not holding children, not having children spend the night, not working with children or alone in field service, and so on.
· 3 years ago