Observations of a blown mind

JW Policies


As I am sure you appreciate like all religious cults and organisations policy controls their members whether it is good or bad. This section aims to look at the policies the so-called Christian Organisation of Jehovah’s Witnesses have in place that are detrimental to its members.

The Watch Tower Society’s own publications strongly discourage followers from questioning its doctrines and counsel, reasoning that the Society is to be trusted as “God’s organization” [1,2,3,4]

Child Abuse

Policy Facts

The Jehovah’s Witnesses require ‘two witnesses’ to a crime or it didn’t happen, so as a dedicated witness if something should happen to you or a loved one you are required to ‘leave it in Jehovah’s hands’ or ‘wait on the lord’. Ask yourself, how many paedophiles allow an eyewitness?

In 1989 a policy letter from the Watchtower to elders (their name for deacons) stated that certain matters in the congregations, including child abuse, were to be kept confidential to avoid lawsuits and financial penalties. Because of this policy paedophiles were then protected from any exposure and could carry on molesting other children. Through this single policy the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, with all the guile, panache and drive of a multinational business, selfishly made a decision that its own needs would therefore be placed over and above the protection of children within the rank and file of its members, and showed absolute callous disregard toward children who were placed at risk by the presence of known sexual abusers within the congregations and the secrecy that surrounded it.

There were men knowingly 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.

Add to this that 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.  These men claimed repentance, after hiding their despicable act, and were observed to have engaged in “godly acts befitting of repentance” for a number of years after, so they were appointed to, or continued to serve in, leadership positions. Their past remained a secret from the general population of the congregation they served in as trusted spiritual leaders.

In 1997 the Watchtower developed “policy regarding known molesters.” Incorrectly I along with many others genuinely thought this was the Watchtower’s child protection from sexual abuse policy. But alas it did not protect the children at all. In fact it was quite the opposite. Why? Because before appointment, if a remorseful and repentant man wasn’t identified (or known) by the local community and the congregation he was serving in (including surrounding congregations) to be a “former” child molester, he could be considered for a position of responsibility and trust!

As recently as October 2012, due mainly I am sure to happenings across the pond with regard to the Candace Conti case, a new letter regarding a change in policy was sent to Elders (which supersedes all previous letters regarding child abuse). This new letter to the elders, dated 01 October 2012, 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. However, it should be noted that in Candace Conti’s case, her molester would never have fit the profile of “predator”; hence, her parents would not have been warned.

You may notice that at no stage have I made mention of contacting local authorities. Because, as it stands I am yet to read any such guidance to the Elders.

Family

Principals

The family structure is patriarchal. The husband is considered the final authority of family decisions, as the head of his family. Marriages must be monogamous. Wives should be submissive to their husbands and husbands are to have deep respect and love for their wives. [5]

Husbands are instructed to treat their wives in a manner such as the bible depicts Jesus treated his followers. He should not hurt or mistreat his family in any way. The father should be hard-working in providing necessities to his family. He must also provide for them in a spiritual capacity. This includes religious instruction for the family, and taking the lead in preaching activities. Parental discipline for children should not be in a harsh, cruel way. Children are instructed to obey their parents.

Married couples are encouraged to speak with local elders if they are having problems. Married couples can separate in the case of physical abuse and neglect, or if one partner attempts to hinder the other from being a Jehovah’s Witness.[6].

Re-marriage after divorce is permissible but only on the grounds of adultery, based on their understanding of Jesus’ words at Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9. If either spouse re-marries then they can be and usually are, disfellowshipped (cast out of the congregation) as they are deemed to have committed adultery!

This makes life very difficult then if, for example, a woman has proven in the court of law that her husband has been or is an abusive* spouse. She may well have been able to lawfully divorce her husband but may be unable to scripturaly remarry, even if many years have passed, if she is unable to provide two witnesses confirming that her abusive ex-husband has committed adultery. This means many JW women are forced to live lonely celebate lives after being abused by a former mate. In some instances it means that the marriage has ended but through circumstances the mate is able to continue some of his responsibilities within the congregation as he has shown a repentant attitude after a period of time deemed sufficient by the local body of elders, who judge that he is repentant and deemed fit to serve the local congregation in some capacity.

Because women are not allowed to teach or serve within the congregation, it outwardly appears as though the ‘brother’ has done no wrong or is perceived as the better christian. This is both unfair and sexist but continues in many congregations today.

*abusive – terminology here is used in a general form and it is acknowledged as such.

Womens’ Equality within the JW organisation?

Principle’s

Let us consider what the Governing Body have written in their literature over the years: 

“When there are no qualified male members present in a congregation, a woman may perform duties otherwise reserved for men; she must, however, in that event, and if she is teaching others in the presence of her husband or another male, wear some form of head covering besides her hair, which she normally always has.”  (Aid, p. 725).   

“A Christian husband is instructed to be mindful of the “limitations and vicissitudes” of his wife and to “consider the opinions, likes, and dislikes of his wife, even giving her the preference when there is no issue at stake”. (Awake, April 22, 1972).   

“A married woman who favors having her ears pierced should rightly consult her husbandly head. (Watchtower, May 15, 1974).  

“If women had complete equality with men, governments would draft women to fight in the fields, jungles and trenches…Would you really want equality with men in digging coal out of a mine thousands of feet underground if men did their share of the housework?  Would you really want to spend equal time plowing fields and shoveling manure with your husband if he agreed to help you cook and clean at home?” (Awake, May 22, 1972)

Holidays

Christmas et al

Jehovah’s Witnesses will readily point out that celebrations and holidays usually have a pagan, non-Christian origin and are often accompanied by licentious practices, such as drunkenness, debauchery, loose conduct and fornication, etc.

It is true that many holidays have their origins in idolatry or pagan practices. It is also true that other things we make use of daily have their origin in paganism, such as our calendar (days of the week and months are named after pagan gods). The celebration of wedding anniversaries and the giving of rings in marriage also has pagan roots. Symbols used in the modern business world, and artwork on stationary, wallpaper, etc. are often borrowed from pagan sources. See the section on Mythology on this very blog.

Christmas  

Long before the time of Christ pagans worshiped the sun on December 25, the time of the winter solstice (where the sun is farthest from the earth). As with all pagan holidays, it was a time for generosity and licentiousness. When the Catholic Church instituted the celebration of the birth of Christ as December 25 around the year 336 A.D., it was to replace the Sol Invictus festival introduced by the emperor Aurelian in the 3rd century. It was considered the victory of Christianity over paganism. The later canonising of St. Nicholas (Santa Claus) and the giving of gifts was tied in with church history. In most modern houses it is all about Family, Fun, Love, Socialising and enjoyment of wine and good food!

Does Christmas mean to us what it did to the pagans? Well, do the large majority of people on the planet still worship the sun on December 25? The answer is NO.

Easter

Originally, the early church celebrated the modern equivalent of Easter (the resurrection of Christ) on every Sunday, in expectation of the return of the Lord. Later, in linking the Passion and the Resurrection story, this memorial was scheduled on Passover, the Jewish feast celebrating the Exodus from Egypt. The date for the celebration was finally set by the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. as the first Sunday after the full moon that follows the spring equinox. As early as the eighth century the name “Easter” was transferred by the Anglo-Saxons to the Christian festival. The name itself was borrowed from a celebration to Astarte, goddess of fertility. Also borrowed from the celebration to Astarte was the use of rabbits and eggs, common symbols of fertility in the pagan culture. (For more information on Christmas and Easter, see (1982 Ed.), Vol. 4, page 501.)

While the trappings of both church history and the pagan holiday are still with us, their significance has changed. As with the original observance of the resurrection, today we do not connect rabbits and eggs with fertility rites, and neither do most people consider Easter as a time for greater licentiousness. Even the television programs during this time are geared to obviously Christian themes.

Other holidays can and should be examined individually to ascertain what is the modern significance of their meaning too [7]

Sources

  1. Beckford, James A. (1975). The Trumpet of Prophecy: A Sociological Study of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. pp. 89, 95, 103, 120, 204, 221. ISBN 0-631-16310-7
  2. “Exposing the Devil’s Subtle Designs” and “Armed for the Fight Against Wicked Spirits”, The Watchtower, January 15, 1983
  3. “Serving Jehovah Shoulder to Shoulder”, The Watchtower, August 15, 1981, page 28
  4. “Jehovah’s Theocratic Organization Today”,The Watchtower, February 1, 1952, pages 79–81
  5. The Bible’s Viewpoint What Does It Mean to Be the Head of the House?, Awake! 2004b, July 8, 2004, p. 26
  6. The Secret of Family Happiness, Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, 1996, pp. 160-161
  7. Refuting Jehovah’s Witnesses, Randall Watters, January 1987, Revised October 1992, Third Edition April 1996

Specific Links

The following sites are aimed at an audience, and offer interesting ‘insider’ stories relating personal experiences, advice and other topics relating to the cult known as Jehovah’s Witnesses.

http://www.watchtowerdocuments.com/barbara-anderson.html

http://www.freeminds.org/

http://insidethewatchtower.com/

http://ex-jw.com/

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