$3 Billion Jehovah’s Witnesses Class Action Over Child Abuse

JW NEWS | AUSTRALIA

| February 1, 2013 | Report | jwnews.org |

A $3 Billion class action lawsuit is being launched in Australia on behalf of up to 6,160 children within the Church of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Documents relating to the class action reveal over 14,000 serious criminal breaches of mandatory child protection laws, committed against these children by elders and “ministers of religion” within the Church of Jehovah’s Witnesses over the past 4 years.

The Victorian government “Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and other Organisations” is currently investigating the allegations, and is expected to hold a closed hearing in relation to the Church of Jehovah’s Witnesses on February 18, 2013.

NEWS LINK: The Age newspaper | Child in Jehovah’s Witness Court Bid

jw class action 001

JW Survivors – a victim advocacy group for survivors of the Church of Jehovah’s Witnesses within Australia – is currently bringing together the final elements needed to launch a class action lawsuit on behalf of up to 6,160 victims of criminal child abuse committed within the Church of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the State of Victoria, Australia, directly in relation to criminal breaches of the Working with Children Act 2005, and primarily committed against these children by the church between July 1, 2008 and December 12, 2011. Full compliance with the working with children laws became mandatory for all “religious organisations” on July 1, 2008.

LINK: Department of Justice Working with Children web site

On July 26, 2011, the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Australia, were formally charged in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria with the committing of criminal offences, against children within the Church of Jehovah’s Witnesses, by their wilful and ongoing refusal to comply with mandatory child protection laws, as legislated in the Victorian Working with Children Act 2005. (Case No’s: B12083527, B12083108, and B12082206 respectively.) The period of non-compliance, as documented in the Charge Sheets, covered from July 1, 2008, through to July 22, 2011.

DOWNLOAD: Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses – Charge Sheet and Summons – Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, Australia – July 2011 – pdf

NEWS LINK: Herald Sun newspaper | Former Jehovah’s Witness taking on Watch Tower

The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses refused to answer the Summons to appear in Court on September 13, 2011, either in person or by legal counsel. The Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses also refused to answer the Summons to appear in Court. They were summoned to appear again on October 11, 2011. They failed to appear or to send legal counsel. A third time they were summoned to appear in the Magistrates’ Court on November 9, 2011. They again failed to appear or to send legal counsel. A fourth time they were summoned to appear on December 6, 2011. Yet again they failed to appear or to send legal counsel. A fifth time they were summoned to appear on February 21, 2012, to answer the criminal charged filed against them. Once again they failed to appear or to send legal counsel. Arrest Warrants, for each individual member of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, were thereupon presented to the Magistrates’ Court by Acting Prosecutor Steven Unthank.

At the same time the Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions intervened in the criminal court cases and “discontinued” the criminal prosecution; citing that the ongoing prosecution of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, in relation to their refusal to comply with mandatory child protection laws was “not in the public interest.” Criminal breaches of the Working with Children Act 2005 continue to be committed within the Church of Jehovah’s Witnesses at the rate of over 1,000 offences per week. This is currently the subject of a formal investigation by the Victorian “Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and other Organisations”, following a written submission made to the Inquiry by a Jehovah’s Witness child. It is understood that this submission was the only submission received by the Inquiry from an actual child.

RELATED ARTICLE: An Open Letter from the Children of Jehovah’s Witnesses to the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses

During the above mentioned criminal court cases it was revealed in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria that the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Australia et al., had knowingly breached Section 35 of the Working with Children Act 2005 – by engaging and continuing to engage persons (“ministers of religion”) in child-related work, knowing that it is child-related work, and knowing that the worker (“minister of religion”) has not passed a working with children check.

Working with Children Act 2005

In total there were over 2,000 “ministers of religion” and volunteers directly engaged in child-related work within the Church of Jehovah’s Witnesses in well over 100 congregations and church operated internal Ministry Schools with 1000’s of enrolled children, in the State of Victoria, that had not complied with the Working with Children Act 2005 – from July 1, 2008 up until the filing of criminal charges against the church on July 26, 2011. The Church of Jehovah’s Witnesses has refused to explain to these 2,000 “ministers of religion” that each of them may have also individually committed criminal offences under the working with children laws. Requests by parents within the church for an explanation as to whether their child may have been a “victim of crime” have been met with silence.

14,600 serious offences (Level 7 offences) had been documented committed against the Act by the Church of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the State of Victoria against some 6,160 children. Had the Director of Public Prosecutions not “discontinued” the prosecution, in relation to the first 5 sets of criminal charges against the church in relation to the Traralgon Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, then the church could have been prosecuted for all 14,600 criminal offences committed across the entire state in over 100 congregations. The potential fine’s the Church of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and their administrative corporation the Watch Tower Society, were facing was up to:

AU$3 billion ($2,961,020,160.00)

In the State of Victoria, breaches of the working with children laws are a Level 7 offence and carry up to 2 years imprisonment, in addition to a potential fine of $33,801.60 (240 penalty units) for an individual and $169,008.00 (1,200 penalty units) for a corporation or body. Source: Victorian Department of Justice web site.

A statement issued by Steven Unthank, who is putting together the class action on behalf of the primary Plaintiff (a Jehovah’s Witness child), explained that:

“The Church of Jehovah’s Witnesses was allowed to escape accountability, by both the State of Victoria and Victoria Police, in relation to their wholesale criminal breaches of the working with children laws. Both the state and the police refused, or declined, to enforce these mandatory child protection laws, thereby knowingly allowing criminal offences to be committed by the Church of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and their “ministers of religion”, against thousands of innocent children. These thousands of children, who through no fault of their own, have had criminal offences committed against them. They are the innocent victims in all of this. These children are entitled to recognition as victims of crimes, are entitled to an apology for the crimes committed against them, and are entitled to compensation as such. This class action is about justice for the children.”

On May 12, 2012, the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Church of Jehovah’s Witnesses became aware that a potential class action lawsuit was being pursued in relation to their failure to comply with the working with children laws.

On October 6, 2012, at the Annual Meeting of Jehovah’s Witnesses, held in Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.A., during the discourse “When Does Jesus Appoint the Slave “Over All His Belongings”?”, it was publicly announced that the worldwide Church of Jehovah’s Witnesses (the slave of Christ) has just undergone a major re-structuring of ‘doctrinal teachings’ and asset ownership, the net result being that the church now claims it no longer has billions of dollars in assets or ‘belongings’ but is, from a legal position, an unincorporated association with no assets whatsoever.

LINK: official Jehovah’s Witnesses website | Annual Meeting Report 2012

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON THE JW CLASS ACTION:

www.jwclassaction.com

JW NEWS | article reprinted with kind permission of JW Class Action | copyright 2013

Megan and Candace – Casualties of Known Molesters

JW NEWS | UNITED STATES

| October 10, 2012 | Op-Ed | jwnews.org |

by Barbara Anderson |

Barbara Anderson

In most child sexual abuse cases the abuser is someone the child knows and trusts – relatives, neighbors, coaches, teachers, ministers. And, incredibly, in too many of these cases, the abuse was preventable because the abuser was known by others to have molested before, but that fact was not known to those who could have protected the child.

In 1994, both Megan and Candace were sexually abused and Megan died at the hands of convicted pedophile, Jesse Timmendequas, who was “a known child molester.” Law enforcement knew he was a molester, but no one told seven-year-old Megan Kanka’s parents there were three convicted sex offenders living across the street from them.

1994 – Megan’s Law

Due to public outcry, one month after Megan’s rape and murder on July 29, the New Jersey legislature passed Megan’s Law requiring registration and public notification of sex offenders that became federal law in 1996, and all states have passed some form of the law.

One federally funded study in 2009 determined that Megan’s law had no effect on sexual reoffenses. When informed of the study, Mrs. Kanka remarked that the purpose of the law was for parents to know where the offenders were living. “We never said it was going to stop them from reoffending.”

Jake Goldenflame, a convicted sex offender, supports the law. “Megan’s Law is not there to keep me from re-offending,” he said. “Megan’s Law is there so that you can keep me from re-offending by knowing who I am, keeping your eyes on me.”

1994 – Watchtower informed of Megan’s Law

Shortly after learning about the New Jersey legislature passing Megan’s Law in 1994, I informed two officials of the law’s passage at the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in Brooklyn, NY, the business arm that guides the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Two years previously I had been a volunteer worker at the Watchtower’s huge complex in Brooklyn, NY, for nearly eleven years. For four of those years I was a staff member in their Writing Department where I did research.

After leaving the Writing Department at the end of 1992, I continued to help the department from my home in Tennessee by accepting research assignments. My interest in Megan’s Law had to do with my knowledge of an increase in reports of allegations of child abuse among Jehovah’s Witnesses which were being reported to the Watchtower.

In the fall of 1991, while working in the Writing Department, I learned there were men appointed by the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses to serve as elders or assistants to elders who had been accused of molestation or were confessed molesters. Also, there were men remaining in their positions of responsibility after they confessed to a fellow elder of molesting a child at least two or three years previously. Inasmuch as these men claimed repentance and were observed to have engaged in “godly acts befitting of repentance” for a number of years, they were appointed to, or continued to serve in, leadership positions. Their past remained a secret.

A 1989 policy letter from Watchtower to all elders stated that certain matters, including child abuse, were to be kept confidential to avoid lawsuits and financial penalties. In this way, pedophiles were protected from exposure and went on to molest other children. The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, through this policy, had made a determination that its own needs would be placed above protection of children and showed an indifference to children who were placed at risk by the presence of known sexual abusers within the congregations and the secrecy that surrounded it.

In every case, members in Witness congregations where these men served were never informed that a known molester was in their midst. The consequences of such secrecy were more and more complaints of sexual abuse committed by men in oversight positions coming into the Watchtower’s Service Department. Owing to all of this, a number of us in the Writing Department were determined to see that protection of children was paramount, not protection of an organization.

In 1997, the Watchtower developed what I call a “known molester policy.” Some thought it was Watchtower’s child sexual abuse policy, but it didn’t protect kids, just the opposite, in that, before appointment, if a remorseful, repentant man wasn’t perceived (or known) by the community and the congregation to be a “former” child molester, he could be considered for a position of trust.

Back in 1994, it was the requirement of Megan’s Law for “community notification” when sex offenders moved into an area which caused me to call the Writing Department. I pointed out that elder notification to the flock of a possible or convicted sex offender who was hiding in plain sight in the congregation due to the Watchtower’s confidentiality policy was the way to go.

Required notification of such an individual would be the best way to protect Jehovah’s Witnesses children from a monster in the room which no one knew about, someone they called “brother” or “sister.” I was emphatic that unless the confidentiality policy was replaced with a notification policy, one of these days, huge lawsuits and scandal would rock the very foundations of the Watchtower and could destroy it.

1994 – Candace Conti’s molestation

Unknown to me, nine-year-old Candace Conti, began to be molested in 1994, the abuse continuing for two years. Her molester, Jonathan Kendrick, was a known child molester because he had been convicted by the authorities for the sexual abuse of another child two years earlier.

Kendrick’s sex offender record was also known by the elders of the Fremont California Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, but they did nothing to protect the congregation’s children, including young Candace because they kept what they knew about him secret.

They did remove Kendrick from his unpaid assistant-minister’s position but no one in the congregation knew why. Here then was an example of elders following the church’s national policy to keep sex abuse allegations secret. It was this silence that allowed Kendrick to abuse Candace. Because of the policy of secrecy that the church followed, information was withheld from the very people who could have prevented the abuse of Candace, and why her parents didn’t know their friend and fellow congregant, Jonathan Kendrick, was a sexual predator.

Candace Conti sues the Watchtower and elders

In 2011, Ms. Conti, then 25, sued the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York for keeping reports of child sex abusers within Jehovah’s Witnesses congregations secret.

It was during the Conti trial in June 2012 that a 1989 Watchtower policy letter to elders was introduced. That letter was a major factor in determining the outcome of the trial because it stated that certain matters, including child abuse, were to be kept confidential to avoid lawsuits and financial penalties.

Also sued were three elders in the Fremont Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Loyalty to a religious organization kept the elders from doing the right thing. In their defense these men claimed they did their duty towards Candace by “keeping an eye on Kendrick.” Unlike Jake Goldenflame, the convicted sex offender, who said Megan’s Law was there so people could keep an eye on him, Fremont elders did not inform parents so they could protect their children by keeping an eye on Kendrick.

On June 14th, Day 10 of the trial, the day after the jury awarded Ms. Conti compensatory damages of $7M and was about to decide on punitive damages, Robert Schnack, Defendants attorney, stated in his closing arguments to the jury:

“I sincerely believe that Watchtower does not need to be punished by another monetary award. Why is that? Ms. Conti said she wanted to change policies. That’s why she brought this suit. And we feel bad for Ms. Conti. But I can assure you, and I can assure her, that Watchtower’s policies continue to evolve. And I can safely say that, with her verdict yesterday, Ms. Conti has succeeded. I encourage you to award no punitive damages in this case.”

The jury thought otherwise and awarded Ms. Conti $21M in punitive damages. The Watchtower wasn’t found guilty of failing to report molestation. They were guilty of negligence, malice, and child endangerment. It’s obvious from the damage awards that Watchtower policies did not evolve to the degree needed to protect children and more was required.

New rules in October 1, 2012 elders’ letter

Have Jehovah’s Witnesses leaders gotten the message that parents should be told if a confessed or accused child molester is worshipping with them? Well, yes, but only if the Witnesses branch office determines the individual is a “predator.”

According to a new letter to the elders, dated October 1, 2012, which updates all previous letters regarding child abuse, if the elders think a person who has been known to have sexually abused a child, although seemingly cleaned up his/her life, is a “predator,” the elders must call the Witnesses branch office. If the branch office determines that an individual is to be considered a predator, then two elders are assigned to meet with the parents of minor children in order to provide a warning. Also, the “predator” should be told that parents have been discreetly informed. So, for the most part, the secrecy still remains. In Candace Conti’s case, her molester would never have fit the profile of “predator”; hence, her parents would not have been warned.

Another point Defendants’ Attorney Robert Schnack made in closing arguments:

“One thing I would ask you to keep in mind. The Jehovah’s Witnesses Church is not the Catholic Church, that it has had verdict after verdict after verdict over the years. It’s been in the press. We are all aware of it. This is the first verdict that the Jehovah’s Witnesses church has faced. So, again, it is not the Catholic Church with multitudes of cases over a couple of decades.”

“We were on the phone to managing directors of Watchtower and to the elders in the Service Department. And I can tell you they are stunned by the verdict. Again, I mentioned, it is the first one.”

Yes, the Conti case was “the first verdict that the Jehovah’s Witnesses church has faced” because Watchtower leaders have been secretly settling out-of-court child sexual abuse cases for years. For example, in 2007 there were secret out-of-court settlements with sixteen victims in nine separate cases of child sexual molestation. And, as recently as May 2012, in San Diego, California, there was a secret out-of-court settlement of a case involving six victims of a Witness serial molester – an elder! As is the case with many blameworthy Defendants, when Watchtower leaders settled these cases out-of-court, they acknowledged liability but not responsibility.

No more secrets

However, in the Conti case, this religious body refuses to acknowledge responsibility or liability that the church was to blame for Candace’s molestation because on September 21, 2012, a Bond/Undertaking was posted for an appeal of judgment in behalf of Defendants Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, NY, and the North Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Fremont, California, in the amount of $17,277,299.37. Whether the Defendants win or lose their appeal, due to the publicity surrounding the Candace Conti case, no longer is the church’s policy decision to conceal known molesters a secret.

| Barbara Anderson |

Free download | “Secrets of Pedophilia in an American Religion: Jehovah’s Witnesses in Crisis” by Barbara Anderson

Miscellaneous media coverage involving Barbara Anderson:

http://www.watchtowerdocuments.com/jw-media.html

Jehovah’s Witnesses Settle Abuse Cases – Associated Press

New Evidence in Jehovah’s Witnesses Allegations – MSNBC

Woman Says Church Covering Up Sexual Abuse – WSMV Nashville

Child sex-abuse activist Anderson interviewed on national TV show on church allegations – Tullahoma News and Guardian

UNADFI – French anti-cult organization covers Barbara’s 2009 European Tour

Videos

Jehovah’s Witnesses child sexual abuse – NBC Nightly News

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For court documents relating to Candace Conti v. Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York visit JW Leaks

JW NEWS | copyright 2012 by Barbara Anderson

Open Letter from the Children of Jehovah’s Witnesses to the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses

JW NEWS | WORLD EXCLUSIVE

| January 12, 2012 | jwnews.org |

JW News has been approached this week by family members representing a number children within the Traralgon Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses with a personal request that we publish and distribute their children’s “Open Letter to the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses”.

Those making the request simply asked “could you please publish this letter on the internet so that it can get the widest possible public distribution and so that it can eventually be read by each member of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. We’ve written to the Governing Body in the past and they have refused to respond.”

When asked why they had approached JW News to publish the ‘open letter’ the reply was “the media and the newspapers have not yet fully covered the story of our children and how our religion and the [Watch Tower] Society have broken the child protection laws. The only way we can get this open letter into the newspapers is if we pay for a whole newspaper page and publish it ourselves. We can’t afford this. But getting the letter out there is very important for the children and also for everybody else. Hopefully those who read the letter will share it with as many people as possible.”

JW News is proud to publish the below ‘open letter’ as requested by the children within the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It touched our hearts when we first read it and it is our hope that it touches yours.

JW NEWS

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AN OPEN LETTER FROM THE CHILDREN OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES
TO THE GOVERNING BODY OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES

January 1, 2012

To the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Dear brothers,

We were wondering why you did not help look after us and protect us children in Victoria, Australia, by having the elders get their working with children cards and why you have not said sorry for breaking the law.

When us kids are naughty or we do something bad we have to say sorry to the people we did wrong to. This is what Jehovah and Jesus says in the Bible that we must do if we want to be good people. Sometimes when us kids are naughty at home we get ‘time out’ and sometimes if we are really naughty we might also get punished. If we break the rules at school then we can also get ‘time out’ or we might get yard duty or even suspended or expelled.

Why have you not said sorry to us kids and why are you hiding what you did wrong to us? Why has Jehovah not punished you and why are you still elders? Why aren’t you upset that you broke the law and that you did wrong things against us children, the little lambs? We know we are only kids, but why don’t you care about us like Jesus cares about us and all of the children?

Why didn’t you do anything to help us when you were first told about the new laws to protect us children all those years ago? All these good laws try to do is to stop bad people from spending time with us or from trying to hurt us. You could have stopped all these problems if only you listened when you were first told. Now you could go to jail for what you did wrong.

Our parents tell us that Jehovah always disciplines those he loves. Why has Jehovah not disciplined you? Don’t the laws in the Bible apply to you? Do you believe in the Bible and what Jesus says we must do if we sin against other people? Should you still be our elders or our governing body if you break the law and cover this up? Should you brothers be disfellowshipped for breaking the law like when you disfellowship other brothers and sisters when they break the law? Can Jehovah or Jesus use the Watch Tower Society if they know the Society broke the law and are trying to get away with it? Would that make Jehovah and Jesus sharers in the sins of others? It would.

Does Jehovah like elders that are naughty against children or that don’t try to protect them? Are you still allowed to pray to Jehovah? When we are naughty we have to say sorry first before our prayers to Jehovah are heard.

You should go to the courthouse and tell them you are “guilty” and did wrong and say sorry to everyone even if it means getting into trouble. You always tell us in The Watchtower magazine that this is what Jehovah says we must do before he will forgive us. You tell us that pride is why people do not apologise. You tell us that real Jehovah’s Witnesses always say sorry.

Will you please tell us the answers to all our questions and if you will say sorry to us at all for what you have done to us kids? Also, we would like to meet with all of you elders on the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses so you can say sorry to all of us children one at a time. Our parents tell us that this is what Jesus has told you that you must do, say sorry. Our families and us kids would like to meet with all of you at our Traralgon Kingdom Hall before your next criminal court case on February 21, 2012, so you can tell us why you broke the law and to give you the chance to say sorry and make amends. We have a list of how you can make amends.

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It makes us sad that you have broken the law for a long time and not said sorry but hide what you have done instead. This is not love. If you do say sorry to us kids and mean it then we will forgive you. This is love.

We are only children but we will be grown-ups one day and then we will learn everything you did to us.

Warmest Christian love,

signed by us kids – the children in the Traralgon Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses for all the children in the State of Victoria, Australia, and the World

P.S. Our parents and families helped us write this letter because this is what Jesus said we must do to those who sin against us. See Matthew 18:15-17. This letter is from us kids because it was us kids that you elders knowingly committed sins and crimes against and then deliberately lied to.

A MESSAGE FROM THE PARENTS AND FAMILIES OF THE ABOVE CHILDREN

Dear Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses,

On July 26, 2011, you men and the Watch Tower Society were charged with a total of 35 serious criminal offences committed against our children because you refused to comply with our state’s child protection laws in the Working with Children Act 2005. Each offence carries up to Au$144,000 in fines and up to two years imprisonment. Your lawlessness in this matter has been going on since July 1, 2008. You have broken the law in every single congregation in Victoria, Australia, thousands of times every single week for over three years – from July 2008 onwards. Everybody warned you of the need to comply with these laws and you refused to listen. You ignored the Department of Justice when they offered to personally help all elders and “ministers of religion” to comply with these child protection laws. Even though the government had waived all fees you refused to comply. Your disregard for these laws became so bad that charges of lawlessness were made in the Christian Congregation against you men. You were charged with “loose conduct involving children” (child abuse). The charges were ignored.

In November 2011 you issued letters to all elders and congregations in Victoria, Australia, that they must now comply with these laws. This is too little, too late. You complied only after 35 criminal charges were filed against you and then only after you repeatedly failed to have the charges thrown out of court. By refusing to comply with these child protection laws for well over three years you have “taken a stand against the arrangement of God” and the Scriptures say you “will receive judgment.” – Romans 13:1-5

Jesus made it very clear when he ordered YOU “to see to it that YOU men do not despise one of these little ones.” (Matthew 18:1-10) In his sermon on the mount Jesus also said that we should stop everything, including our service to God, and sort out our problems with others first. (Matthew 5:23-26) As parents and families with children within the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses we have repeatedly asked you to sort this matter out with us over the past three years and every time you outright refused and ignored us all. Will you now “despise” our children and refuse to say sorry to them?

Finally, could you please inform us where we can find a copy of the Child Protection Policy that is ‘used’ by the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

signed by THE PARENTS AND FAMILY MEMBERS OF THE CHILDREN WITHIN THE TRARALGON CONGREGATION OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES FOR ALL THE CHILDREN

[END OF 'OPEN LETTER']

Click HERE to download a pdf copy of the above letter

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Is the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses capable of apologizing to the children within the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses?

JW NEWS

| January 12, 2012 | Op-Ed | jwnews.org |

Clearly there exists a disturbed relationship between the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the children within the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses. This is highlighted by the fact that there has been no explanation and no apology forthcoming from the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses nor from the Watch Tower Society for their failure to comply with mandatory child protection laws in the State of Victoria, Australia, for over 3 entire years.

In the above ‘open letter’ a very powerful question was asked by the children of Jehovah’s Witnesses to the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses:

Why have you not said sorry to us kids and why are you hiding what you did wrong to us?

This was again reiterated in the letter’s conclusion:

It makes us sad that you have broken the law for a long time and not said sorry but hide what you have done instead. This is not love. If you do say sorry to us kids and mean it then we will forgive you. This is love.

We are only children but we will be grown-ups one day and then we will learn everything you did to us.

Courts deal with crime. Religions deal with sin. Clearly these children have approached the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses in relation to their alleged “sin” and lawlessness. The ‘sin’ being the failure of the religion to “comply with legal requirements that do not conflict with God’s laws, such as… obtaining required licences and permits” as they apply within the Working with Children laws for “religious organisations”.

The book “Organized To Do Jehovah’s Will” -the official code of conduct and practice for the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses- has this to say on pages 31 to 37 in respect of the individual overseers comprising the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses:

The overseers would be individuals who have the courage to speak up when wrongdoing exists and to take the needed action to correct it, protecting the flock from any who would selfishly exploit them. (Isa. 32:2) The overseers would be men recognized by all in the congregation as spiritually mature, having genuine concern for the flock of God. Their overall way of life would show this.

…Members of the congregation could confidently approach the overseer for counsel and advice on a wide range of personal matters having to do with family life and Christian living. Having conducted themselves properly within the family arrangement as well as within the community in general, these men would also be irreprehensible, be free from accusation, and have a fine testimony even from people on the outside. No valid charge of improper conduct could be brought against them to mar the reputation of the congregation.

…They would be known in the congregation and in the community as upright and God-fearing men who have demonstrated over a period of time that they conduct their entire life on the basis of God’s principles. Their blamelessness would give them freeness of speech before the congregation.

…Their oversight of the congregation would be refreshing to the brothers and would serve to unite the congregation in rendering sacred service. Their conduct and the fruits of their labors would give evidence that they are appointed by holy spirit.

…The overseers of the congregation have both responsibility and accountability in caring for those entrusted to them.

Among those “entrusted” into the care of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses are the children.

Jesus Christ said of his true followers “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.” (John 13:35) The Apostle Peter encouraged Christians to “love one another intensely from the heart.” (1 Peter 1:22) It is this unconditional intense love that children possess. Children love unconditionally and are always willing to forgive. Their young innocent consciences often prod them to forgive or to even say sorry when they do wrong. Occasionally they need some encouragement.

A conscience either accuses or excuses. It never acquits. A good conscience moves one to take the initiative to apologize to others when they have wronged them, even if unintentionally. On the other hand, a hardened conscience causes one to excuse their actions or to justify their wrong course of conduct, often by blaming others. Either way, the outcome is a clear conscience, genuine or self-deceptive.

In a written article on apologizing, the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Watch Tower Society had this to say:

 Why Is It So Hard to Apologize? [*** w02 11/1 p. 4-7***]

One reason why a person hesitates to apologize may be the fear of rejection. Troubled by the thought of being given the cold shoulder, he may not express how he really feels. Why, the person who was hurt might totally avoid the offender, making reconciliation very difficult.

A lack of concern for other people’s feelings may be another reason why some hesitate to apologize. They may reason, ‘Apologizing will not undo the blunder I have already made.’ Still others hesitate to say that they are sorry because of the possible consequences. They wonder, ‘Will I be held responsible and be asked to make compensation?’ However, the biggest hurdle to admitting a mistake is pride. A person who is too proud to say “I am sorry” may in essence conclude, ‘I don’t want to lose face by admitting my blunder. That would weaken my position.’

For whatever reason, many find words of apology hard to utter. But is it really necessary to apologize? What are the benefits of apologizing?

Apologizing—A Key to Making Peace

…A person should never be too proud to swallow his pride, apologize, and seek forgiveness. Of course, for sincerely humble individuals, apologies are not so difficult to make.

…Offering a sincere and appropriate apology for a wrong committed will go a long way toward making peace.

It is often said that “God does not condemn those who make mistakes but judges only those refusing to rectify them.”

Will the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses apologize to the children within the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses and then seek their forgiveness?

That all depends on whether their conscience accuses or excuses.

Click on the above image or click HERE to download a pdf copy of the above Open Letter issued by the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses

JW NEWS | copyright 2012