Response to an elder writes,
In response to an "Elder Writes"....my suggestion to all who feel they need to report child abuse it to NEVER go to an elder with that information. ALWAYS go to the LAW first...be honest, have all your facts documented and nail them. Then go to the brothers and tell them what it is and what you expect to happen. I would insist on putting everything in writing to them and FROM them so there is no phony manipulation on the subject. Then I would press charges and do the right thing! Insist on taking questions in writing and answering in writing. They will not want to accuse you of being an apostate in writing." Did you know that "the Brothers" preach on a regular basis in the prisons, of which their best calls and "studies" are convicted sex offenders. When the offenders get out, they make arrangements for them to continue their "study" and then come to the meetings just like everyone else....usually anonymously. This has been a practice for years...at least twenty that I am aware of as my husband was a sex offender and pioneered in prison. So not only do we have the ones they keep hidden from the law, but we have the ones they recruit from the prisons!
My ex-husband abused both me and my daughter. I told the case to the elders who then proceeded to ask me if I could ever reconcile. WHAT!? Sure, if I didn't have any respect for myself or my daughter and if I never wanted to sleep again!
Instead of disciplining him, they were more concerned with the fact that I had started smoking. Ha! That was the only way I could keep from shaking and not throwing up every five minutes. It was hard to keep food down when I thought of him and the ones who swore to love me better than the world could ever love me.
I have found peace for myself (and my daughter has as well), thru counseling and thru the local United Methodist Church. They saw two people in need and they did not care what religion we came from. They have loved us and cared for us through all of this mess far better than I have ever been cared for by one of Jehovah's Witnesses. At least my friends now are not under orders to cut off their love for me and my daughter. JW's are the only people I know who can turn on and off love like a spigot (whenever the higher ups twist it.)
What happened to my ex husband? Nothing. He even remarried in the Kingdom Hall and she has a son. I wonder if anyone ever told her what she was marrying. Oh right, that would be slander! As far as I know, by now he could be an elder. I know that the congregation was told that I ran off with another guy. Poor lonely husband, so mistreated... blah! Makes me sick just thinking about it!
For all of you out there in fear of your spiritual lives: What the JW's tell you about "the churches of the world" is just plain lies. I have seen less hypocrisy in my church than I ever believed was possible in a Kingdom Hall. And another amazing thing... not once has anyone gossiped around me or about me. My friends are truly friends and their love is given freely.
For all of you that have experienced this trauma: There is someone out there who will love you and support you and help guide you to heal. I have found not only a wonderful God-fearing husband who supports me, but also a ministry at my church for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Brothers and sisters, we are not alone! God will and does provide!
My Ex-Wife was a JW for 30 years as I myself. She was molested, raped and forced to do other sexual acts by an Elder for 8 years in our congregation. She kept telling her family, elders and even a Circuit Overseer and all that ever happened was him being privately reproved, then her ignorant family kept putting her in positions to where this man would repeat these things because he would say she was lying. It wasn't until she went to a District Overseer whom she became friends with after going through Pioneer School that something finally was done, in which he was disfellowshipped. Later it was found out he had molested and raped 10 other young girls, in which one committed suicide when she was in her early 20's because she could not deal with what had happened to her, which was causing problems in her Marriage.
Neither of us now are Witnesses because we both feel that not just this issue but others are not being handed right with in the Elder bodies or instructions from the WBTS in NY.
I was once a Ministerial Servant, and was appalled at the time the many things I saw happen not at just on Congregation but several. I tried my best to keep in mind that Jehovah would take care of things in his due time, but you have to draw the line some where when you cant take being as hypocritical as so many others. If you feel some thing is not right such as this organization, then how can you go door to door and try to get others in? I for one am not one who could so I left, but I have not lost my faith in Jehovah, I just serve him the best way in which I can and no longer have faith in any religious organization!
Unfortunately, the JW policy (not elders) and the countless examples presented by actual JWs and exJWs (not just JWs) and supported by the police and other authorities does tell a different story.
It is very easy of course to make an anonymous defense that cannot be checked out. I am sure he is right in that many Witnesses - elders among them - are concerned and would seek to do what is right. However in the final analysis how an elder acts and reacts is determined by Bethel New York via the Branch Office in London.
There are several who would disagree with what he is saying but until evidence is brought by the WB&TS to show that they are acting correctly there is no way that such emails below help the matter to be decided in either direction.
To the elder who wrote about the proper handling of child abuse, I am glad he has only had positive experience. Hopefully that is how most people would react when they are faced with child abuse, because as he states: "It is a vile and evil practice". However, I am sure that even most Catholic priests do the same. This hasnt prevented child abuse to happen, nor has it prevented some favored priests to get away with it or even be hidden away in other congregations to continue their "vile and evil practice". This brother did not state the state he lives in. Some states will hold the elders responsible if they dont direct such abuse to the proper authorities. Of course, the laws handed down to those congregations are much different than those congregations in states that allow the protection and hiding to continue in the mistaken assumption that to report such abuse "would bring reproach on the congregation and on Jehovah's name". I hope the laws and the protection of children continues to improve as these cases continue to come to light. One further thought I would like to add: This brother mentions that single allegations and situations where the child reneges on the accusation does not necessarily rule out that the act really did happen. Particularly in the case where a child changes the story, it is often out of fear, embarrassment and even guilt, as children often blame themselves for adults who behave so horribly toward them! I hope this girl is watched and guarded with love and acceptance within the congregation and the accused, though he may be off the hook, is at least guarded with a degree of watchfulness around children. Should it happen again because the elders wrongfully believed it was a troublemaker crying wolf, they may find themselves in the awkward position of having allowed a second act of child abuse to take place.
Best wishes to you, brother, in a congregation that is insightful enough to recognize the harm that comes when the accused goes free and the victim becomes further victimized. I hope more congregations follow this example.
My wife was a witness for 30 years (all her life) and I was in for 15 years. We came out because of a case of abuse that I pointed to the elders and it went covered up for more that 3 years. After 3 years the case was dealt with, only because of the pressure we put on the elders. With what result you might ask? Well the abuser was silently reproved for 6 months. That means that no one else besides the abused, the abuser, us and the elders ever new that the event occurred. So as a result the abuser is free to abuse again. Our conscious would not allow us to be part of it any longer, as a result we wrote letters to the society and asked to be no part of it any more. This is just to prove you that most cases never go anywhere or take a long time to be sorted out. You said it very well, and I quote your words "Our policy is if a person is found to be a child abuser then they can never become a Elder in a congregation and if they move to another congregation the Elders in that congregation are informed of the case." By informing the elders on the other congregations you only protect the elder's children. What about the publishers (who by the way are 95% of the congregation). Are they or their children ever informed that there is a predator in their midst? NO! WHY NOT??? Do you find that policy fair by protecting the big shots and the hell to everyone else????? How can you sleep at night knowing that there a predator in your congregation and only the elite group is advised of it??? How can you call each other brothers and sisters?? Hell, I would not do it to my brother. He would be the first one to know. Than you have the policy of 2 wit! nesses. How would you feel if your wife or your daughter was raped and could identify the molester and upon calling the police they would say to your wife or daughter "sorry, but without 2 witnesses we can not do anything"!!!!! You would feel like an ass wouldn't you?? Well that is exactly how the people that are abused within the JW feel.
Than you go on to mention that "an elder is only a person who has certain scriptural qualifications and desires to perform the voluntary work associated with teaching and helping in the congregations, it is not a full time or paid office" If you need brain surgery would you ask me to perform it??? I think not! I have a desire to do it especially to you. I will do it free of charge, I promise! What makes you think that elders (most of them only graduated from high or less) are qualified to give counsel to a person who has a PHD. Or is qualified to investigate a case of abuse or molestation. Just picture in your mind your 12 year old daughter being raped or abused and questioned in the midst of 3 elders being forced to live it again by! telling the entire event. Not even in the so called world is that allowed! Where is your sensitivity?? You ought to be ashamed by coming in here and defending your rotten policies written by man. Yet, the saddest part is that people like you drive a car and can produce offspring. I could go on but you IQ does not deserve anymore of you time.
My response is:
1. Former molesters DO get to become elders again if something like 10-20 years have passed. It DOES happen. I've read enough accounts of that over the past three years.
2. He says elders are "obliged" to report the abuse if the relatives don't or won't. "Oblige" sounds like a "personal conviction" (or choice) to report and NOT an instruction from the WT, who, in reality, says the opposite, ie, "Report ONLY in states that MANDATE IT BY LAW." Has the WT released "new" instructions to the BOE's which say, "If you personally feel obliged to report, please feel free to do so" - ? Or do the instructions still say, "Always call us first and we'll tell you how to proceed..." etc.
3. He says the problems arise when there is only a single accusation. And THAT is one of their BIG HANG-UPS. JWs demand that "two witnesses" attest to the molestation before they will take action. How many cases of abuse "slip by" because of that "rule"? And how many pervs get away with it because of that "rule"?
4. Regarding the girl who "recanted," she should be interviewed by authorities ANYWAY. She may have been threatened either by her ding-dong relatives and/or by the perv himself, and/or she may be embarrassed, ashamed, etc. Pressure of some kind is usually what makes kids shut up about any abuse accusations. False accusations are few and far between.
5. Whether multiple or "single accusation" cases, the elders AND relatives should ALWAYS REPORT IT and let the authorities do the deciding as to how to proceed and whether the accusation is true or not. THAT IS THE BOTTOM LINE in ALL CASES OF ABUSE, in EVERY STATE, no matter WHAT the "law" says and no matter WHAT the WT "guidelines" say. BECAUSE even if you think the current victim is "safe" and "out of harm's way," what about all the other kids that perv will come across? If you do NOT report, you are just as guilty as the perv for allowing future abuses to occur!
When they get that through their thick heads, things might improve. (And that includes any ding-dong parents/relatives who "think" they "should not" report it. Can you imagine? Grrr.)
As you can tell, I lack "patience" on this subject! :-/
"reply to elder 1/16/05--Everything you said has been repeatedly proven false. you are either blind or you are helping to hide the truth.
To the Elder: You do not know what you are talking about. Only in your congregation one may never become an Elder but I have first hand knowledge of a different story. I can truthfully say that you do not see other situations where a child abuser has become a servant in the congregation and the victim is the outcast. I lived it and am still in the congregation and you or know one else can make a blanket statement and think he knows what the other congregations do. What they should do is what you say but unfortunately that does not happen and there are to many ones that can testify that you are wrong. Thank you, RCS.
Pretty ignorant person. Truth of the matter is that "the Organization" is placed first a persons safety second, why who would dare have anything to do with scarring the so called "Gods perfect organization". I have seen the whip of abuse not even in the case of child abuse but when I was a flood victim I was told to shut my mouth or I could be disfellowshipped. I was not to allow anyone to believe that God's perfect organization hadnt helped me during my flood crisis. God forbid if someone found out JWs are just people and not "gods chosen people".
Then, it's really tragic that my ex-husband became an elder in another congregation after abusing my daughter and myself.
The initial congregation wasn't going to take action in the daughter's case until he was arrested. When I left my husband for an affair, spousal abuse, tax evasion, liar, and not paying off a loan to my parents, the elders ignored the abuse, and marked me for leaving him.
They made the psychopath an elder! It's all so hypocritical!
And what congregation is this fine example of a drone from? The LaLaLand Congregation of SeeNoEvil, New York?
Well Anon apparently hasn't done his homework.
A Letter dated June 1st 2001 By the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in Britain does speak of this matter. Allowing Elders who were formally a child abuser to continue service or perhaps getting appointed into this position of responsibility.
This is of course, information that is easily available on your website. I guess people just chose to be blind.
Since all congos are somewhat different, as it seems in yours, let me first say that the majority of elders do not put the victims best interest at heart. But as you will agree child abuse is not confined to only a few congregations. Panorama gave an in-depth report of the majority of abuse victims and survivors in kingdom halls, and so have other media reports.. By the way I am wondering though why you had the need to mention "an elder is only a person who has certain scriptural qualifications and desires to perform the voluntary work associated with teaching and helping in the congregations, it is not a full time or paid office). Does this mean that if the shepherding work was full time or that elders received a salary for their so called volunteer work, would the elders then put more time, energy, love and consideration and empathy into helping victims, survivors and their families? Do we not all the have Christian obligation to help our brothers and sisters, despite whether we are being paid for it or not? You also noted that ""an elder is only a person who has certain scriptural qualifications ... Well, brother I think then it is the responsibility of the Watchtower Org. to put "qualified men" in the position of helping survivors, qualified men or women who have been trained as child advocates who have been trained in abuse awareness and also professional therapists, who will either be paid by the local congos or by the Watchtower Org., say with monies from the world wide preaching work! I think before you blow your own horn, you should get some professional training in the after effects of child abuse, don't you? You need to look beyond your fellow elders and look at the victims and survivors.
So his vast experience has seemed to leave him with a limited experience of the
victims that he is in denial of, unlike many ex-witnesses that are more concerned with the injustice, than some witnesses apparently are. As an Elder he must ease his conscience somehow to make up for the mistreatment of Jesus bought and paid for with his Life, little Sheep....or how could he be a part of an organization and still remain not bothered by what really goes on inside it....I wonder how much he knows of the history of the JW,s you know the facts that the WBTS always tries to hide fearing it would expose them for what they really are.? Again this is his view, and not like the Jesus that the Bible has spoke of, thank God Jehovah!!!!!!
The truth of the matter is that elders do not have the training to do any real investigating. My family is still very active in the organization. The training that the elders go through to be elders is hardly the classes that law enforcement officers take. I work in law enforcement and I know the months of intense training that the agents go through. I hardly think that the elders are given such intense training on investigating a crime. I am sure that they are given classes in quoting bible verses but that can't help a child that has been abused and is afraid to talk because they were intimidated into keeping quiet. I do not dispute that elders believe they are doing the best that they can but "their best" isn't always in the best interest of the victim. The elders need to continue to tend to their flock and leave the investigating of a crime to law enforcement. They can determine whether or not it is a legitimate claim. They are paid to do that unlike the elders.