silentlambs - It's time to protect children. It's time to stop being a silent lamb.
Home Assistance Personal Experiences Education Press Donate/Become a SL Member Sitemap silentlambs Store
 
Search

Newsletter

Untitled Document
Two Witness Rule
Key information about the two eye-witness rule

Below are Watchtower Society QUOTES about the "2-Witness Rule":

The Watchtower October 1st 1977 Issue, Page 607:

Questions from Readers

My unbelieving husband admitted to me that he has another woman. Is his admission sufficient ground for a Scriptural divorce?

In some cases if a Christians unbelieving mate admits to committing immorality, that would provide a Scriptural basis for a divorce, which, in turn, would free the innocent Christian for remarriage if desired.

Jehovah God's law to the ancient nation of made provision for divorce on various grounds. (Deut. 24:1, 2) Adultery, homosexuality and bestiality were bases for ending a marriage; the guilty person was to be executed. (Deut. 22:22-24; Lev. 18:22, 23) However, the Law set forth this important requirement: At the mouth of two witnesses or of three witnesses the one dying should be put to death. He will not be put to death at the mouth of one witness. (Deut. 17:6; ; Num. 35:30) Being a lover of righteousness and justice, Jehovah required that such matters be determined on the basis of proof, of witnesses, not merely suspicion. (Ps. 33:5) This, of course, was stated as regards applying the death penalty, not as regards a divorce action.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Pay Attention To Yourselves and To All the Flock ("Secret" Elders Rule Book; 1991):

Pages 107-108:

The Judicial Committee

Other cases of serious wrongdoing require special attention by the elders in order to determine what is needed to help the repentant wrongdoer and to preserve the spiritual health of all in the congregation.

These include such sins as adultery, fornication, apostasy, and drunkenness. (See Unit 5 (a), pages 92-6.)

Before forming a committee, elders determine if the accusation has substance.

It must Scripturally be an offense serious enough to result in disfellowshipping.

There must be either two witnesses or a confession of wrongdoing.

Page 110:

What kind of evidence is acceptable?

There must be two or three eyewitnesses, not just persons repeating what they have heard; no action can be taken if there is only one witness. (Deut. 19:15;Jol1ll 8:17)

Confession (admission of wrongdoing), either written or oral, may be accepted as conclusive proof without other corroborating evidence. (Josh. 7:19)

Strong circumstantial evidence, such as pregnancy or evidence ([font color=red]testified to by at least two witnesses[/font]) that the accused stayed all night in the same house with a person of the opposite sex (or in the same house with a known homosexual) under improper circumstances, is acceptable.

The testimony of youths may be considered; it is up to the elders to determine if the testimony has the ring of truth.

The testimony of unbelievers may also be considered, but it must be carefully weighed.

If there are two or three witnesses to the same kind of wrongdoing but each one is witness to a separate incident, their testimony can be considered.

Such evidence may be used to establish guilt, but it is preferable to have two witnesses to the same occurrence of wrongdoing.

Page 119:

Is there sufficient evidence to establish by two witnesses or otherwise that the person is clearly guilty of serious wrongdoing?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Watchtower August 15th 1997 Issue, Pages 27-28:

Why Report What Is Bad?

At least two witnesses are required to establish a charge of wrongdoing. (John 8:17; Hebrews 10:28) If the person denies the charge and your testimony is the only one, the matter will be left in Jehovah's hands. (1 Timothy 5:19, 24, 25) This is done in the knowledge that all things are openly exposed to Jehovah and that if the person is guilty, eventually his sins will catch up with him. Hebrews ; Numbers 32:23.

But suppose the person does deny the charge and you are the only witness against him. Could you now be open to a countercharge of slander? No, not unless you have gossiped to those not involved in the matter. It is not slanderous to report conditions affecting a congregation to those having authority and responsibility to oversee and correct matters. It is, in fact, in line with our desire always to do what is correct and loyal. -Compare Luke 1:74, 75
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The following is a Letter written from the Watchtower Service Department regarding the molestation of the step-daughter of Daniel Fitzwater. In the Dateline Program Daniel Fitzwater was shown by correspondence from a Circuit Overseer to have molested 17 JW Children who unfortunately did not have two eye-witnesses for each incident.

Thus Brother Fitzwater went to prision and remains in prision as a JW in "good standing".
****************
WATCHTOWER
BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY OF NEW YORK, INC.
COLUMBIA HEIGHTS. BROOKLYN, NEW YORK 11201-2483, U.S.A.
PHONE (718) 625-3600
SDS:SSP September 25, 1999

Dear Brother,

Please accept our apologies for the unusually long delay in responding to your letter dated May 7, 1999, in which you inquire about the situation involving your father, Daniel Fitzwater. We have given consideration to your questions and are pleased to make the following observations.

We are pleased to note your statement that you believe in Jehovah. Your concern with how he views us, which you expressed, is most appropriate. In some situations humans are not able to establish a matter with accuracy, but we know that Jehovah sees all, We are given this assurance at Hebrews 4:13 where it says., "And there is not a creation that is not manifest to his sight, but all things are naked and openly exposed to the eyes of him with whom we have an accounting." This accounting with God is something that all of us, including your father, will have to make.

As we are sure you realize, because of the need for maintaining confidentiality on matters of this nature, we cannot comment on the details of any specific case, including your father's. However, we are pleased to try to address some of your questions that deal with the general procedures in handling cases in which an individual is accused of wrongdoing. First, let us assure you that you are in error on the point you made in the third paragraph of your letter. The Society does feel that your concerns are important to us, and we have given very careful attention to what you have written.

We noted in the penultimate paragraph of your letter you say-, "The fact that I personally know of none of the allegations first hand does not diminish the fact that in my opinion, I believe my father molested my stepsister Dawn." We certainly appreciate that your belief in this matter is sincere and very strong. Nevertheless, in following Scriptural procedures, the congregation can only take judicial action on the eyewitness evidence of two or more individuals, or confession. So, while we may have some strong convictions on a certain situation, without this Scriptural evidence the elders are not able to take judicial action. This in no way implies that they do not believe the one bringing them the information, but as you said in your letter it is how Jehovah sees things that is important. Since this is God's direction to those examining cases of wrongdoing, the elders must abide by the Scriptures. -Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15; 1 Timothy 5:19.

Some matters are firmly established by sufficient evidence or by confession, or both. However, what is the situation when an individual in these cases appears to the elders handling matters to be demonstrating heartfelt repentance? In that case the elders would reprove such a man, as Titus said "with severity". (Titus 1:13) The decision to reprove or disfellowship, the individual is left in the hands of the elders of each congregation. It is up to them to weigh all the accusations, and all claims of repentance. In the case of Titus, you will notice the reason that the apostle Paul left him in Crete: "That you might make appointments of older men in city after city, as I gave you orders." (Titus 1:5) These older men had a responsibility to handle matters in the congregation, in the same way as the "older men" in ancient Israel would have cared for matters of this nature.

So, Brother Fitzwater, while we realize that we are dealing with imperfect men, we can have confidence that Jehovah is watching all things. If by cunning or pretense someone is able to fool men, even men appointed in the congregation, they could not fool Jehovah. In the final analysis it is to him that we all have an accounting. As the apostle Paul said at Romans 14: 1012: "We will all stand before the judgment seat of God."

As you pray for strength from Jehovah to endure in this very trying "time of the end", please act in harmony with your prayers. Do not neglect your spiritual health by missing meetings, or neglecting your personal study and Bible reading. Be assured that all of us are deeply concerned for your spiritual well-being, and more importantly that Jehovah cares for you.

With this letter, please accept a warm expression of Christian love and best wishes.

Your brothers,

Watchtower Bible and Tract Society
OF NEW YORK INC.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Louisville Courier-Journal (Kentucky) Newspaper - January 4th 2001:

Moreno said that eventually, the truth comes out. "Somebody else comes out of the woodwork and now you can take action," he said. Moreno said two separate accusers would count as two witnesses when making a sexual abuse accusation.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Associated Press (AP) News - February 11th 2001:

Brown said the faith does require at least two witnesses to prove any kind of wrongdoing -- including child molestation -- because that is what is taught in the Bible. But corroborating evidence can be used instead of a second witness to prove wrongdoing, Brown said.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

J.R. BROWN

Director, Public Affairs Office

Jehovah's Witnesses

Associated Press (AP) News

Tuesday, January 22, 2002

Lawsuit claims Jehovah's Witness church protects pedophiles

The church - which has about 6 million members worldwide, including 1 million in the United States - requires two witnesses because the Bible requires it for establishing a sin, he said.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Seattle Times Newspaper - January 23rd 2002:

Brown said the church which has about 6 million members worldwide, including 1 million in the United States requires two witnesses because the Bible requires that for establishing a sin.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

SACRAMENTO BEE

Saturday, January 26, 2002

Woman sues Jehovah's Witnesses in sex abuse

"The two-witnesses requirement applies to how we handle transgressions or sins as a church," Brown said. "It has nothing to do with how we handle a crime.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jehovah's Witnesses Office of Public Information

Jehovah's Witnesses and Child Protection

(This is the Official Child Abuse Policy Statement on the Official Watchtower Media Website at http://www.jw-media.org)

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.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Guardian U.K. Newspaper - June 10th 2002:

"However, we must bear in mind the Bible's clear direction: '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 )."
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Pioneer Press News - July 2nd 2002:

Two file sex abuse suit against Jehovah's Witnesses congregation

BY STEPHEN SCOTT, Religion Editor

Two women filed a civil suit Tuesday alleging they were sexually abused as young girls by a fellow member of a Jehovah's Witnesses congregation in Annandale, Minn.

The women, both now 22 and living in the Twin Cities, say the religion's very tenets make it virtually impossible for victims to come forward, because at least two witnesses are required to corroborate any act of wrongdoing.

After these incidents, said the plaintiffs attorney, Jeffrey Anderson of St. Paul, these women went to the elders, and they were told, 'We don't really believe you, because we require two witnesses to this for it to have happened, and if there aren't two, you are giving false testimony.'

At issue is Jehovah's Witnesses understanding of the Bible, specifically Deuteronomy 19:15, which says a single witness shall not suffice in convicting a person of a crime or wrongdoing.

Although Jehovahs Witnesses do not interpret every passage of the Bible literally, they base their beliefs solely on principles found in the Bible.

If the accused denies the charges and there are no others who can substantiate them, the elders cannot take action within the congregation at that time, says the groups official statement called Jehovahs Witnesses and Child Protection.

Both plaintiffs allege that while they were between 10 and 12 years old, they were fondled by a male member of the congregation who was eight years older.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

BBC Panorama News Story on their Website - Friday, July 12th 2002:

Child abuse policy

Panorama investigates the Jehovah's Witnesses policy on child abuse

First, if any allegation is made against someone, that person must confess or there must be two witnesses to the act for it to be proven:

"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)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Following Statement by J.R. Brown was Faxed to Betsan Powys (BBC Panorama Reporter) on May 9th 2002, and was Posted on the Official Watchtower Society Media Website at http://www.jw-media.org right around the same time the BBC Panorama Program aired:

May 9, 2002

Betsan Powys

BBC Panorama

In the United States, when any one of Jehovahs Witnesses is accused of an act of child abuse, the local elders are expected to investigate. The procedure is as follows. 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 to have the opportunity to confront the accuser in their presence. 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.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Paducah Sun Newspaper - July 25th 2002:

Bowen observes hearing from afar

The former Jehovah's Witness elder observed three elders enter Kingdom Hall. He said his request for another date was never answered.

By Matt Sanders, msanders@paducahsun.com -- 270.575.8650

I saw three elders walk in, but there were no witnesses, Bowen said. For any allegation of wrongdoing to be established within the church, there have to be at least two witnesses. Who serves as their witnesses, the three judges? I am not going in there when they have no witnesses and my witnesses are not here. There is no justification. This is not fair, its not impartial, its just a kangaroo court.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NEW YORK TIMES Newspaper - Sunday, August 11th 2002 Edition:

Ousted Members Contend Jehovah's Witnesses' Abuse Policy Hides Offenses

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN

If the accused denies the allegation, the victim's testimony alone is not sufficient unless there is at least one other witness to the act. The church says its policy is based on a scriptural injunction in Deuteronomy 19:15 that says two or three witnesses are necessary to prove a man has sinned.

"They told me if I spoke about it with anybody, I needed to be careful because I could face a judicial committee for gossip or slander," she said. "If they felt I had committed that sin, I would be disfellowshiped."

"They said we shouldn't hold ill feelings about our brothers," Ms. Long said. "Since there weren't two eyewitnesses, they said there wasn't much they could do."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

St. Petersburg Times Newspaper, Published August 22nd 2002:

Spiritual shunning

By SHARON TUBBS, Times Staff Writer

Brown, the Witnesses' spokesman, would not discuss specific cases, but he scoffed at allegations that Witnesses protect child molesters. Yes, Witnesses believe in the two-witness rule, he said, but that's not the only way wrongdoers can be caught.

"It cannot be said that we will do nothing unless there are two witnesses," Brown said. He said Witnesses are not required to report crimes to elders before calling civil authorities. Victims and their families are free to call police at will, he said, although some don't choose to.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Toronto Sun Newspaper - September 1st 2002:

Storm in the hall -- Jehovah's Witnesses deny secrecy in dealing with family sexual abusers

By Brodie Fenlon -- Toronto Sun

If the accused denies the abuse happened, the charge is dropped unless another witness can corroborate the story.

That rule is based on the Biblical book of Deuteronomy: "No single witness should rise up against a man respecting any error or any sin."

In effect, the child's accusation is dismissed unless another person saw the abuse or another child comes forward with an allegation against the same church member.

"We are bound by the scriptures," Thomas said. "But we would still report it to the authorities with only one witness" so the victim gets "the protection of the secular authorities."

But abuse is seldom reported in jurisdictions where there is no mandatory reporting requirement, Bowen said.

Family members and the victim are also forbidden from talking about abuse to other congregation members.

Thomas said elders must protect the privacy of an accused, especially if he has repented, but are instructed to carefully monitor him and prevent him from being alone with kids.

Bowen, who was excommunicated last month after being found guilty of "causing divisions," decried the process, noting the cloak of secrecy allows pedophiles to go door to door "witnessing" without anyone but the elders in the know. The requirement of two witnesses is ridiculous in cases of sex abuse, he said. And though elders may be well-meaning, they aren't trained to question or handle victims, he said.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Transcript of Australian News Channel 9 Sunday Television Program "Silent Witnesses" - September 22nd 2002:

REPORTER: So secret is child abuse that Simon Thomas thought he was alone in being abused by Robert Souter, until he found out about his younger brother and then later, about another brother as well. Did you have any sense of guilt that you might have been able to save your two brothers?

SIMON THOMAS: I did, from then on, and I still have that feeling. And it's part of the reason why I'm doing what I'm doing today. Because if I'd said something back then, I could have saved - I could have helped, maybe in some way, dozens of others.

REPORTER: But maybe not. For in the most extraordinary dictate of all, the Jehovah's Witnesses rulebook insists on this - "There must be two or three eyewitnesses, not just persons repeating what they have heard. No action can be taken if there is only one witness."

REPORTER: Blind Freddy knows that a child abuser doesn't sit around waiting for two or three witnesses before doing anything.

JIM DONALD: That's correct.

REPORTER: How is it that this escapes the elders of the church?

JIM DONALD: They rely on a biblical text which says that all matters are to be established on the mouth of two or three witnesses.

REPORTER: As Jim Donald tells it, this rule has stifled the plaintive cries of victims time and time again and was a major factor in his decision to leave the church behind for good.

JIM DONALD: A young lass made allegations that this particular individual had interfered with her sexual organs. Yeah.

REPORTER: And you were given the job of investigating...

JIM DONALD: Yes.

REPORTER: ..this allegation? What happened?

JIM DONALD: Well, all we could do is pose the questions.

REPORTER: To him?

JIM DONALD: To him, and obviously he said, "Oh, no, no, that's all a mistake and she's had problems. And you know, she comes from a weird family," sort of thing.

REPORTER: So in the absence of the church's rule that there be at least two or three witnesses, this girl was not to be believed?

JIM DONALD: [font color=red]That's right.

REPORTER: And that was the end of the matter?

JIM DONALD: Yep.

REPORTER: But for her father's confession, that's just what would have happened to Natalie Webb. If he'd denied it and it was only your word against him, because of the two witness rule, nothing would have happened. Is that fair to assume?

NATALIE WEBB: That's correct.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mid-Valley Sunday - October 6th 2002:

Suit Targets Jehovahs Witnesses

Benton complaint about sex abuse and church policy is said to be the first of hundreds across the U.S.

10-6-02

BY JENNUFER ROUSE

MID-VALLEY SUNDAY

Brown, the Witness spokesman, said that while the church does require two witnesses or other compelling evidence before meting out any church discipline, that's beside the point because that requirement deals only with internal church procedures. He said the church does not forbid members from reporting crimes to the police.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I thought I would add a few Scriptures here which show that even under the Mosaic Law (which Christians are not even under any more), when a Rape happened in a field, and no witnesses were around, the Rapist would be stoned at the mouth of ONE WITNESS -- The Victim!

Deuteronomy 22:25: If an engaged woman is raped out in the country, only the man will be put to death.
Deuteronomy 22:26: Do not punish the woman at all; she has done nothing wrong, and certainly nothing deserving death. This crime is like murder,
Deuteronomy 22:27: because the woman was alone out in the country when the man attacked her. She screamed, but there was no one to help her.

And yet, the Watchtower Society has a VERY RIGID TWO-WITNESS POLICY for CHILD RAPE!

Home | Assistance | Personal Experiences | Education | Press | Donations/Membership | Merchandise
Guestbook | Courage Awards | Newsletter | Contact Us | Affiliates | Sitemap
Copyright © 2003 by silentlambs.org. All rights reserved.