Ray Franz' Conscience
The following comments are offered for those who may have concern about why comments were made that indicated Mr. Franz displayed a lack of support for abuse survivors and took a position that appeared to support Watchtower Policy instead.
It all started with the 1973 book authored in part by Ray Franz that was called, "Organized for Kingdom Preaching and Disciple Making" it was referred to as the OR book. It was written as an elder/publisher guidebook in handling or organizing matters in the congregation. There was no elder's book at the time. When elders went to school they were given a textbook that was blue called "The Kingdom Ministry" book. When the elder completed the school held at Kingdom Farm in upstate New York, he was required to turn his copy in, nobody was allowed to take the book home other than what was written in their notes. The OR book was an attempt to provide direction to elders on how to handle problems in the congregation with specific instructions for doing so. Years later in 1982 the OM book "Organized to Accomplish Our Ministry," was changed to be more of a publisher handbook. The elders were given the first in a series of three elder booklets that eventually evolved into the KS 91 or "Flock" book as we know it today. This is significant in the fact that the "OR" book was used to direct how judicial matters were handled, much of that material was removed from the "OM" book when it was released. With that being stated it is highly inconceivable to believe that the author of material written in the OR book could have no idea that those directives would be applied to wrongdoing involving child abuse. I have on my desk a case that was started in 1975 it is a child molestation case that involved correspondence to the Society and the Governing Body that spanned over four years. The individual who wrote the letters along with his wife were eventually disfellowshipped for not keeping quiet about it. I also have numerous pedophile surveys that go all the way back to the 1940s, many cases are given, a part of which describe the Service Department's involvement with dealing with individual cases and cover up. When Mr. Franz chose to comment publicly that in 40 years as a CO, DO and nine year member of the Governing Body who served part of that time as a member of the Service Committee in the Service Department, that he never ONCE dealt with a case of a child being involved in underage sex. For anyone who has ever served in a position of responsibility in the organization and knows the way matters are handled it is a statement that is hard to believe at best. Child molestation is always considered a difficult problem and it invariably involves the Society as well as the CO and DO in finding solutions.
In the fall of 2001 a telephone call was placed to Ray Franz. The purpose was not to request support for silentlambs but to help track down a story of abuse in the state of Georgia , it was thought he might know some old timers in that area. After covering that information Mr. Franz was asked if he understood the extent of the abuse problem in the organization. This was of concern as a few months earlier Franz had been quoted in one of the first articles written about the abuse problem. The article was carried by Associated Press, dated 2-11-2001 it was entitled, "Elder Leaves Faith to Protest Child Molestation Policies" Franz was quoted by the reporter:
"Raymond Franz, a high-ranking Jehovah's Witness who was disfellowshipped and then wrote two books about the inner workings of the faith, said he doesn't believe cases of pedophilia are any more prevalent in the denomination than in others."
At a time when we needed help, Franz chose to take negative ground on the issue. From that point forward he has never been quoted again by media as any type of authority on the abuse issue.
In the course of talking with Franz on the telephone he made the remark that he did not really think child abuse was a problem in the organization. It was then related to him the hundreds of abuse survivors that had come to silentlambs as evidence as well as the seven Body of Elder letters written on the subject in the last ten years certainly gives clear evidence there must be a problem. Mr. Franz responded that in forty years he had not known of any cases coming up and that he thought the problem of abuse among JWs was no larger than in main stream religion. The immediate counter to Mr. Franz remark was that he had it wrong it is far worse and further reasons were given. Toward the end of the conversation Franz agreed that the closed nature of the organization could cause problems, but he had yet to see evidence of it. The reply was that the information on the silentlambs website provided a ton of proof, to which Ray stated it needed to be documented. At the end of the conversation it appeared there was not an agreement as to child abuse being a real problem in the organization. So the conversation was concluded with the comment, "Ray if you did not see this as a problem when you were in, it certainly has become a problem now, so if anyone asks you about this please make remarks that acknowledge this is a problem." Franz was not asked to join silentlambs, nor was he asked to endorse the organization a simple request was given to not be negative to others about child abuse being a problem in the Jehovah's Witness community. The primary reason for making this comment was in the event Franz was called by media it was hoped he would not give them further negative impression regarding the extent of abuse in the organization. Three weeks later silentlambs was contacted by an individual that had just talked to Ray, they were disturbed in that he stated to them,
1. He did not think child abuse was a large problem in the organization.
2. He had never dealt with the problem personally.
3. He did not think it a problem any worse than with mainstream religion.
A couple of months later silentlambs was contacted by a reporter that stated they had talked to Franz asking about abuse, he again made the similar comments, the reporter stated to me that considering the overwhelming evidence they would not use his comment. Silentlambs was later contacted by a second reporter who made basically the same comments. So was Mr. Franz being supportive of the story on abuse? Was this helping abuse survivors in any way?
For these reasons certain ones have come to believe Mr. Franz has not supported the issue of child abuse being a problem in the organization to media and by personal comments to persons who ask him privately about this. Franz remark in telephone conversations was silentlambs had sensationalized this issue and should only bring forth cases from adults where they have the facts in totality.
Further if you review the comments in "Crisis of Conscience" on page 79, Franz makes this comment regarding the development of the OR book:
"The Governing Body was not asked to supply the material for the book. The president had assigned the project of the book's development to Karl Adams, the overseer of the Writing Department. He in turn assigned Ed Dunlap and myself to collaborate and with him in the manual's development, each of us writing about one-third of the material. (footnote) I was assigned chapters on "Your Service to God," "Safeguarding the Cleanness of the Congregation," and "Endurance That Results in Divine Approval."
As you can see Mr. Franz makes very clear his authorship on the chapter, "Safeguarding the Cleanness of the Congregation" he even mentions the GB was not involved in the writing of it. Franz has chosen to make public comment that he had no idea the information would be applied to wrongdoing that involved child molestation. Certainly all elders at that time knew the chapter in the OR book applied to all wrongdoing in the congregation, and how judicial hearings were to operate. Incest was considered part of that and incest was described as a sin to be handled according to the guidelines in Watchtower articles that discussed handling wrongdoing in that time period. Yet Mr. Franz had no idea? As a person who served as an overseer in the Service Department as part of the Service Committee he certainly should have known this. The two eye witnesses ruling was used and mentioned in previous books and magazines before Franz wrote about it in the OR book it is true, but it was never defined as clearly in a judicial setting than what was written in this chapter. On page 175 in this chapter of the OR book a segment was entitled "Dealing with Minor Children and Married Couples." The first paragraph included this statement:
"A baptized child's being a minor does not shield him from reproof before the congregation by the elders, or disfellowshipping, if he commits serious wrongdoing. In minor trespasses, of course the child would be counseled and reproved by his parents, particularly the father, with whom the responsibility for rearing and training the children rests. However, where wrongdoing becomes a practice, or is of a serious nature, such as gross loose conduct or fornication, or is such that brings the congregation into a bad light in the community, then elders rightly are concerned."
This was new information at the time and was used time and again to disfellowship or reprove children that came forward with abuse allegations. When the child spoke of being molested and the accused denied the charge the elders would then turn to the child and say that they had confessed to sexual misconduct and needed to be disciplined. This practice is ongoing as part of the child abuse policy of the organization. As recently as December of 2002, children were being disfellowshipped due to this long standing policy that was authored by Ray Franz.
In the early seventies a refinement was happening regarding exactly how judicial hearings were to be established. There was an additional insert in the 1973 KM that provided detailed information on how a judicial committee was to be selected, it is sometimes referred to down to this day. Mr. Franz chapter on how judicial hearings were to operate was a crucial guideline that has guided judicial hearings down to this day.
Think of it this way as an illustration, if you were to load a pistol and then give it to a child to play with and someone got killed who would be responsible? Would it not be the person who gave the child the gun? Ray Franz loaded the gun by writing the chapter on how judicial hearings were to be handled and through the Watchtower organization it was given to untrained elders across the country. Hundreds if not thousands were harmed as a result and he now claims it is none of his responsibility as he was unaware of the problem? We encourage you to read the chapter in the OR book and ask yourself if you were a elder and had an child abuse problem arise in the congregation at that time would you have been compelled used the direction given in the OR book on handling judicial matters? You can read the chapter here at this link,
Organized For Kingdom Preaching and Disciple Making
The detailed nature of that information is precisely the reason it was taken out of the OM book (Organized to Accomplish Our Ministry) as it was too detailed and WT wanted only elders to have that information. Also clearly stated in that chapter is the point of never making negative remarks about anyone in the congregation. This policy is the primary way abuse survivors are silenced in the congregation. It was yet another bullet in the chamber, but again Franz claims to have no idea it would be used in this way and wishes to accept no responsibility.
It is well known Mr. Franz repeatedly attacks the policy of the Governing Body in COC. The policy regarding the political cards in Malawi and its inconsistency with the way things were handled in Mexico, the policy of the GB on military service and how many went to jail needlessly as a result of a policy that was later changed, the policy of the GB on blood fractions and how children may have suffered needlessly as a result of their decision. In the latest edition of COC number four, Franz brings up the policy of the GB cooperating in allowing Watchtower of New York to become an NGO with the United Nations and discusses that topic also. Yet the child abuse issue had been going strong for over eight months before the UN scandal erupted. It certainly seems odd that after all these attacks on the policies of the GB that in not one place in all four revisions Mr. Franz could discuss the policy of the GB regarding child abuse. Could it be if he did so he might implicate himself?
A friend of silentlambs that approached Franz about the abuse policy in the early 1990s, was surprised when Ray at that time also refused to accept it was a problem. He even insisted the GB had no knowledge of a problem with child abuse in the organization to this person. Was that supporting the GB by his comments? When you make the statement to media that the problem with abuse is not bigger with JWs than mainstream religion, is that exactly what Watchtower spokesman JR Brown stated a few months back? Does that support the position taken that the policy is not flawed but instead about the same as everyone else? If an individual makes that comment there is certainly an appearance you support WT policy. If you make a statement to others that you never knew of a problem with abuse in forty years does that also make it appear WT policy must have been working fine? For those reasons it develops the opinion that Franz supports WT policy through his comments on abuse. When the time came to help or remain silent Franz instead chose to make negative comments that put the abuse issue as a non-problem. It seems he did not support abuse survivors by his comments. Now finally Franz wishes to state on public forums he may have certain disagreement with how WT policy works on child abuse, it would have been better if he would have made these statements clearly to the media when they called him.
The real issue at stake is abuse survivors and the need to support them as well as provide a support structure for them to speak out about abuse. It is discouraging that an individual would declare war on a small non-profit organization using his supporters to attack and discredit silentlambs as a basis to cover up his course of action in having a negative view of child abuse being a problem in the Jehovah's Witness community. In October of 2002, Barbara Anderson and her husband Joe, traveled to Ray Franz home for a visit. She personally delivered the report that was given to the Governing Body ten years earlier regarding the extent of abuse in the organization. This report included several documents from key people across the USA that provided extensive evidence of how great the abuse problem was in the organization. It also went on to make clear recommendations of what was needed to protect our children. After Franz reviewed the material what was his response? He refused to make any comment and ignored any conversation about it by telling jokes. As with the Governing Body this information triggered no crisis of conscience for Franz. Mr. Franz has since had several months to think about this but he has yet to make any concession on behalf of supporting abuse survivors.
The only response of Franz was in September of 2002 where he wrote a post and asked it to be put up on a public forum. It basically was an attack filled with theological comments while taking pot shots at silentlambs and those who support the abuse issue along the way implying questioning his writing in the OR book is somehow challenging Jehovah Himself. You can read it here with comments regarding his statements, CLICK HERE
We ask you the reader to carefully review the comments made by Franz about this issue, can you find any compassion for abuse survivors? Is this not similar to WT when they defend their position? The silence from Mr. Franz on the GB abuse policy has been deafening until he was forced to come out of the closet due to remarks identifying his past position on abuse. Why is this scandal that is the largest in the history of the organization ignored? In Mr. Franz books he attacks every other policy why not this one? Is the rape of children of less importance than young men going to prison for not participating in military service? Or could it be the chapter in the OR book on policy Franz authored was used to hurt children and now he wants to pretend he didn't know and does not want to accept his involvement? How easy it is to condemn others for smaller wrongs but forget matters you were directly involved in. If Franz really wanted to express a cleansing why not write a public statement to be posted on the internet on his role in Watchtower's child abuse policies and apologize to abuse survivors for having any hand in causing part of their suffering.
The silentlambs issue is far larger in its purpose as it directly addresses a problem that is hurting children as we speak. Silentlambs has stood up against the entire Watchtower organization over their policy on abuse and will continue to stand against anyone who by their comments hurts abuse survivors and make that known.
We have no war with Ray Franz, yet it appears Mr. Franz continues to call out the troops in one wave after another to attack silentlambs. Why do we say this? Supporters of Franz continue to circulate malicious gossip about silentlambs on forums and by private emails. They have killed links to silentlambs off websites and actually directed abuse survivors to websites of questionable origin.Certain well known X-JW authors have made public statements supporting Franz position on abuse and saying by simply disagreeing with his position silentlambs attacked him unfairly. They have discouraged support and contributions to silentlambs in an attempt to destroy the organization. What persons who claim to love the way of Christ could justify their conscience to attack an organization that is trying to give assistance to abuse survivors? Why would Mr. Franz condone such despicable conduct? If he does not condone such conduct why does he not speak out publicly against it?
Perhaps Ray Franz is a person living in denial and will just not allow himself to see how this problem has hurt so many. While the abuse issue screams around the world Mr. Franz may prefer to sit it out and do nothing. It is a free country and he can do as he wishes. The problem begins if you encourage and enable attacks on abuse survivors using your supporters as attack dogs on silentlambs. The problem continues if you do nothing to discourage these actions. To remain neutral is one thing but to in any way make these misguided individuals feel their actions are justified is unconscionable. An 80 year old man has the right to live out his days in peace and not do what he has no interest in. On the other hand an 80 year old man who in anyway rallies supporters to attack an organization that supports abuse survivors needs to be identified and recognized.
Mr Franz we strongly suggest you reevaluate your position and "encourage" certain ones of your supporters to stop their misguided efforts to hurt abuse survivors.
We would certainly hope that many people who support Ray Franz can also find it in their hearts to support survivors of abuse and the ideals of silentlambs in changing WT policy. To date ten documentaries have been shown around the world with the support of silentlambs helping abuse survivors to come forward. The problem has been well established and thousands of children have been protected even without Watchtower changing their misguided policy. Many brothers and sisters are more aware of the abuse issue than ever before in history and have quietly made up their minds what they will do if the problem ever arises no matter what WT Policy states. Who can you thank for this?
The courageous abuse survivors who went before cameras around the world and did so with only one thought, to protect children. It is true silentlambs was part of this but without these heroes we would be nothing. The evidence that has been developed will be useful for years to come to educate and protect children from abuse and that will come through silentlambs. Why would anyone in their right mind want to stop that?
In conclusion we want to make clear silentlambs is not part of any anti-JW movement nor do we have any intention of destroying the organization. We are a support group, we help people in need. We can respect your beliefs whatever they may be while having compassion for how you were hurt. Many have been moved in their hearts to support and assist with this effort, some are JWs, some are not it makes no difference as it is a labor of love not of bitterness or hate.
For those who read this material it should let you know that silentlambs has not changed, we still operate the same way as the day the organization was started, that is, we support and defend abuse survivors against anyone who in anyway does not do so. If you believe that to be a positive then we encourage you to support silentlambs.