Do Watchtower leaders protect molesters while shunning victims?
Is keeping silent the right thing to do? That is the moral dilemma many Jehovah's Witness families have been faced with as they are forced to adhere to the Watchtower's policy on silence. There is no better example of this policy then the manner that the Watchtower handles child molestation cases. When a Jehovah's Witness is accused of being a pedophile, the Watchtower has instructed their followers to bring the matter to the elders instead of to the police. Once the report has been made to the elders, the family is instructed to tell no one about the abuse.
When the abuser is brought before the elders he is asked "Did you do it?" If his answer is "No" he is free to go without any further action by the elders. The Watchtower's policy is that unless there are at least two witnesses to the sexual abuse, the elders are not to proceed with any action against the accused who has denied the abuse. Abusers can be allowed to remain as Jehovah's Witnesses in good standing even after being convicted in court of child molestation if the abuser has refused to admit guilt, since the Watchtower does not consider a "worldly" court to be trusted.
The family is cautioned to not go to any "worldly" authority to report the molestation and they are further warned that if they discuss the matter with anyone, they will be disciplined or disfellowshipped for slander. The victims are not given emotional counseling in the organization and are also instructed to not talk to a psychologist or psychiatrist as that would bring reproach to Jehovah's name. The victim is often so fearful of being disfellowshipped themselves that they keep silent choosing to not even discuss the matter with their family. Often victims suffer in silence for many years, feeling condemned by God and abandoned by an organization that they trusted.
The elders, when questioned on the wisdom of protecting those who have been accused of child molestation, answer "Jehovah God will deal with people like this in his own time." The family is then told to "Patiently wait on Jehovah and leave it in his hands." The family is threatened that if they go to the police they will be disfellowshipped for bringing reproach to Jehovah's organization. The governing body has made sure that the local elders are focused on protecting the organization not the victim.
The enforced policy of silence in the Jehovah's Witnesses has been instrumental in allowing pedophiles the freedom to move from congregation to congregation extending their contact with potential victims. While the victim is forced to keep silent on penalty of expulsion, the predator is untouched, free to continue their lifestyle and free to fellowship in the kingdom hall, knowing that the accusation will not become known to the congregation. Only the victim is threatened if they speak out while the predator goes free.
Does God command his people to keep silent?
Is it really God's command for Christians to keep silent? If we see a wrong, must we keep it to ourselves and not get involved? The Bible has a prime example of one man's silence that allowed sin free reign on this earth. It is interesting to note that in Genesis chapter 3:3-6, the Watchtower has chosen in their New World Translation to change the text to remove the shame of silence. In this passage, the Society has Eve being tempted in a place away from Adam's presence. Genesis 3:6 says in the New World Translation "...So she began taking of its fruit and eating it. Afterward she gave some also to her husband when with her..."
Was silence Adam's choice?
The Watchtower has cleverly added the words "when with her" to the passage to hide the fact that Adam kept silent while Eve was being deceived by the serpent. Yet all other direct translations and the original Hebrew text say in Genesis 3:6 that "Eve gave to her husband with her.." The Society has added words to the text in order to bolster their doctrine that Adam was not there to hear the serpent's lies directly. These additional words are used to hide the shame of Adam's silence.
Eve was the one who listened to the serpent and was deceived. Adam was the one who although he was not deceived, chose to keep silent. Eve reached out to take of the fruit, and although Adam could have warned her, he chose to keep silent. Adam's silence continued as Eve drew the fruit to her lips. The shame of silence is clear. Adam kept silent while Eve was being deceived, and then Adam deliberately sinned himself by eating the fruit with her. Keeping silent when you know the truth is not a Biblical teaching, it is a distorted Watchtower doctrine, deliberately used to keep people in submission to a fallible organization. Adam kept silent. Are you planning to continue to keep silent?
To get more information on child molestation and sexual abuse in the Watchtower organization go to www.silentlambs.org
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