The link above will take you to the full episode, but the part about Jehovah’s Witnesses can be seen below. It is called “Did Jehovah’s Witnesses Cover Up Child Sex Abuse?”
I think most of us are pretty sure the answer is yes. Especially since it’s hard to be an active member of the ex-Witness community without knowing at least few exxers who had similar experiences.
Jehovah’s Witness Report gives a short summary of related information here. Cedars of Jehovah’s Witness Survey fame gives a summary of the episode here.Here is an article I wrote for Michigan Skeptics a while back; make sure to check the comments. 🙂 Note that this was written a while ago and more information has come to light since then.
The religion’s parent organization, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, issued the directives in at least 10 memos dating back to 1989. Although the memos were anonymously written, Watchtower officials have testified that the organization’s Governing Body approved them all.
Remember the part in bold. The next time a Witness tells you these letters are all apostate fabrications, you can now tell them how mistaken they are. Why would officials admit it in court if it wasn’t true?
Practicing what they preach has never been a virtue of the Watch Tower Society! That fact was reaffirmed in capital letters in the November 2012 issue of the The Watchtower magazine in an article titled, “Is Religious Faith an Emotional Crutch?” The reasonable (but damning) piece of evidence reads:
They were there to voice their backing of the “California Victims’ Act,” or SB 131 as it is otherwise known. If signed, the bill will extend the Statute of Limitation in California for certain childhood sexual abuse victims over the age of 26.
In most western-world countries, laws protect consumers from fraud and unethical business practices. But to date, there are no laws on the books that recognize destructive mind control, much less prohibit the use of it by cult-like religious groups. However, if my colleague Steven Hassan, the pioneer of exit counseling for cult members and a critically acclaimed author, and thousands of other ex-cult members have any say about it, that may soon change.
This article is a more even handed local story about Jehovah’s Witnesses, but does address some of the concerns their critics have further down the page.
Every year, 150,000 to 180,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses hold their conventions here, generating an estimated $64.5 million in economic impact, according to the Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Hampton now leads a support group in Downey for former Witnesses. She says such support is necessary because the organization condoned the physical abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband and told her mother, brother and other family members who remain Witnesses not to speak to her.
The store is the first of its kind anywhere in the world, and is the next phase of Watchtower’s “Manhattan Project” – which so far has seen bookstands with Society literature pop up on sidewalks in major cities.
What I’d like to clarify in this post is that a good deal of our anger is motivated by a desire not to experience guilt—and beyond this, the distressing emotions of hurt and fear. It’s by now generally agreed upon that anger, as prevalent as it is in our species, is almost never a primary emotion. For underlying it (as fellow blogger Steven Stosny pointed out two decades ago) are such core hurts as feeling disregarded, unimportant, accused, guilty, untrustworthy, devalued, rejected, powerless, and unlovable. And these feelings are capable of engendering considerable emotional pain. It’s therefore understandable that so many of us might go to great lengths to find ways of distancing ourselves from them.
I think many of us would agree that Jehovah’s Witnesses are prone to certain emotional issues that affect them more than the general public. (Some seem to consider fundamentalism in general to be a breeding ground for certain issues.) Unfortunately, ex-Witnesses are not immune. Many of us carry the same issues with us into our new found “worldly” lives. Articles like this one are worth checking out.
I think you’ll agree that only rarely can you claim that your anger is both warranted and helpful, whether to yourself or the relationship.
So let me offer you a two-step alternative to abandoning your better judgment and giving in to the temptation of anger—one that should neutralize your anger in seconds. Or, when you’re really angry, in minutes.
Its author, the prominent French philosopher André Comte-Sponville, makes the distinction between the “dogmatic atheist” and the “non-dogmatic atheist.” Largely self-explanatory, the first type of non-believer might be seen as lacking a certain humility. For the assuredness of their atheism borders on an arrogance comparable to that of their fundamentalist-believing counterparts. In their outspoken conviction, they’re quite prepared to go on record declaring the non-existence of any supernatural being. Which is to say, their claim is not expressed as an opinion but as undeniable fact. They’re rationalists in the purest sense (i.e., “No God, or gods, exist. Case closed—unless you present me with indisputable scientific evidence to the contrary.”). In their minds virtually all possibility of a cosmic creation undertaken by some celestial deity has been vanquished. (And that’s why some believers experience this adamant stance not simply as overbearing but as downright “militant.”)
Prepare to be a bit annoyed at some parts of this article.
Curtis White’s book, The Science Delusion, makes two broad points: that science is based upon ‘assumptions that are deluded,’ and that scientists can be real jerks. He provides ample proof for one of those claims.
The title of the The Science Delusion, published on May 28th, is an obvious reference Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion. It’s no surprise, then, when Dawkins is one of the many scientists that populate its pages. They’re not an attractive bunch. Through anecdotes and commentary, Curtis White paints various scientists as dismissive snobs, smug pseudo-intellectuals, manipulative showmen, immoral politicos, and people who make bad faith arguments from behind a protective screen of elite supporters.
This one too.
Changes at AAWA:
I don’t see anything about it on their website yet and I don’t have a link to it, but Cedars, the editor of JWSurvey and former President of AAWA, has stepped down as President of the organization to focus on what he does best: writing articles for ex-Witnesses. No word on who will replace him yet.
Twenty-two years ago a registered letter changed the course of my life. The letter stated that I had been judged guilty of “conduct unbecoming a Christian” and had been disfellowshipped from the Christian congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. What did that mean? What it meant was that unless I repented of my perceived sins in an acceptable way before a tribunal of church elders, I would forevermore be subjected to a life of shunning and ostracism by all of my church friends and four generations of family.
The webmaster of Emily Has Books is a friend, and so is the author! Check it out.
The cause was unknown. Maybe it was a ruptured vessel or a bleeding ulcer, which he had suffered before. But without oxygen-rich blood, his body was suffocating. He needed surgery. He needed to be stabilized. He needed blood. The problem: Watkins is a Jehovah’s Witness.
Every time I get witnessed I have the same reaction, “Yeah, and?”. I’m completely baffled as to why you like to do this all the time. Sure it’s a great story. I liked Harry Potter too, but that had a better epilogue. The reason why this doesn’t work is simple. I and the atheist community, don’t believe you.
One persistent sore point for me as a Heathen and even more, as a father, is the self-martyrdom of my mother-in-law…. She is my son’s only living grandmother, and as such occupies (or should occupy) a rather special place in his life. Not surprisingly he loves his grandmother and wants to spend time with her. I don’t begrudge him that. And I know she loves him and wants to spend time with him. Indeed, we, as parents, want them to spend time together.
So it breaks our heart when her insistence on some imagined right to proselytize our son gets in the way of what should be a wonderful relationship. I have cherished memories of my maternal grandmother and the time I spent with her and with her sisters. I know what my son is missing, what he has missed, and what he will miss in the years to come. And it breaks my heart. Grandma’s visits, if visits there are, should not have to be supervised. And they should not carry with them the prerequisite of conversion.
She goes to lengths to argue that Christians were prosecuted, not persecuted. With true government persecution, victims have no room to negotiate when trying to convince the government to stop targeting them, Moss said. But when the government’s laws inadvertently lead to the persecution of Christians, there remains room for dialogue and debate over changing those laws.
Oh, and don’t tell anybody, but AAWA (newly renamed to Advocates For Awareness of Watchtower Abuses) has been dealing with a slew of cyber attacks at their website. From where?
Do you shun former members?
Those who simply leave the faith are not shunned. If, however, someone unrepentantly practices serious sins, such as drunkenness, stealing, or adultery, he will be disfellowshipped and such an individual is avoided by former fellow-worshipers.