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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Thank You Letter to the Australia Royal Commission on the Jehovah's Witnesses

Dear Royal Commission,

From all over the world, there are a massive amount of witnesses, former witnesses, people related to the issue of Child Molestation, and cult’s awareness watchdogs that have been following carefully your and your colleagues’ lines of questioning during the Investigation carried by the Australia Royal Commission.

As a somebody who was an elder for several years and was involved in Child Molestation cases in several countries outside Australia, I can say that it is refreshingly impressive how well-versed you and your team are about the structure, doctrine, procedures, and practices of the Watchtower Society and its religion the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I wanted to wholeheartedly commend you for your efforts at making this religious organization something way more opened to the public scrutiny. Even it is by the force of the law. I am not sure if you even fathom the reach of the work of the Commission. You are doing a fantastic work and people like me -who know how things are really “cooked” within the walls of the Watchtower organization, are deeply grateful for it.

Please, don’t be fooled and don’t allow Justice McClellan to be fooled by the lame diversions, misleading statements, and outright lies the elders have said so far during their testimony. Here are some examples:

1) Vince Toole: “Theocratic Warfare” is a fundamental doctrine that is taught and repeated time after time to the witnesses since even before getting baptized. The purpose is to prepare them against negative comments they will soon hear from family and friends about their new religion.

2) Terrence O’Brien: a) Even though it is true that Governing Body members have their particular assignments and these tend to not overlap others’, it is also true –and even more important, that they as a “body” are always directly or indirectly involved in every doctrinal aspect of the religion and major organizational decisions that spans across all their departments and assignments. What to teach and what to enforce in the life of every single witness around the globe is decided by vote during the closed-doors meetings these men of the Governing Body regularly have; and all of them must be aware of the nature of those matters so they can vote. Some might be more deeply familiar with a particular subject than others, but all must be familiar enough with the issue to give their vote. If they are not present, I believe they vote by proxy. Bottom line, at the Governing Body level, it is completely irrelevant if they are assigned to different areas. They all represent the final authority in how witnesses must understand and apply the bible. Geoffrey Jackson –or anybody from the Governing Body, must be summoned, fully cross-examined, and thoroughly questioned. b) No branch around the world have the authority to publish anything without the explicit authorization from the Governing Body. The only things that every branch may have authority are related to local technical, logistical, or practical decisions. For instance, what way to go to deliver publications to congregations, how to coordinate the territories for preaching work, etc. Another example could be related to a pamphlet used by the witnesses during their weekly meetings called “Our Kingdom Ministry” in which some local information is presented only within the boundaries of the branch. This information can be… extremely short stories from local witnesses during their preaching work, local statistics, etc., nothing really relevant as policies or doctrine.

3) Geoffrey Jackson: If Geoffrey Jackson’s testimony is eventually requested, he might want to distance himself and the rest of the Governing Body from any organizational responsibility, since they don’t really belong “legally” to any of the Watchtower legal entities. This was an administrative move done in the early 2000’s. But this move was done to “focus the efforts of the Governing body into teaching the bible and ‘spiritually feeding’ the worldwide congregation of witnesses”. This means, to tell witnesses what to believe and how and when to practice it.

4) All of the elders: They all seem to present this attitude of “not knowing very well”, or “not being sure or completely sure” of how things are done inside the religion. They all have tried to portrait themselves as having a very vague position or responsibility on all these matters. Don’t believe it. Elders often exercise an authoritarian way to address the flock and make them to comply with the Governing Body doctrine. They must be and are fully aware of all the changes and procedures of the Watchtower. They make others obey them by direct threat of accusing other as apostates, disobedient, rebel individuals who cause division and with the threat of disfellowshipping. It is true that there are some softer and more loving personalities among the elders, but they are not the majority and they usually submit themselves to a “herd mentality” dominated by the most aggressive elders.

Almost every witness who have testified have mentioned that the organization “would be willing to implement any improvement proposed [by the Royal Commission], if we don’t stray from the scriptures”. This is highly misleading in its very nature. Historically, changes in the organization have happened only if its money o properties are touched or threaten to be touched by the civil and criminal authorities. And I am pretty sure that some changes like… allowing women in their judicial committees, will never see the light. I can see though, eventually, professional witnesses women taking a supportive part to truly help the victims, assigned by the body of elders as requests in a needed-per-case basis.

Another thing it is being repeated over and over by the questioned elders is “the help” they always try to give. Practically, you must be aware –if not already, that this “help” is just reading well-selected bible passages that say “god loves you and want to forgive you but you need to confess to the elders first” and/or “just wait on Jehovah” which actually means be quiet, don’t complain, don’t talk to anybody about it, and keep doing your work as an obedient witness who patiently waits for the “new order” in the allegedly and always coming future earth paradise. There is not any help but a cold reminder of “don’t do anything to put any shame on “Jehovah’s name””, meaning: the organization.

The Watchtower Society and the Governing Body have truly convinced themselves that they are above the law and any attack or a government agency attempt to question their practices are deeply viewed as a direct attack from Satan, who is believed to have control over the world and all its “worldly agencies” against the self-proclaimed god’s people; as they believe they are.

You have no idea how much we –from all over the world, appreciate your work. As other governments observe your intelligent and diligent investigation, they will also do the same in their respective lands. Your work is a milestone in the real help against destructive high-control cults like the Jehovah’s witnesses. Much information from the hearing is currently being translated to several other languages.

My most sincere respect and best regards,

Monday, August 17, 2015

Geoffrey Jackson del Cuerpo Gobernante de los Testigos de Jehová: Somos completamente presuntuosos

Durante el testimonio dado por el miembro del Cuerpo Gobernante Geoffrey Jackson al abogado investigador australiano Angus Stewart el pasado 14 de Agosto del 2015, el interrogatorio tomo esta forma:

Angus Stewart (Q.): ¿Se ve el Cuerpo Gobernante, o los miembros de Cuerpo Gobernante a sí mismos como discípulos de la actualidad, el equivalente de la actualidad delos discípulos de Jesús?
Geoffrey Jackson (A.): Nosotros ciertamente esperamos seguir a Jesús y ser sus discípulos.

Angus Stewart (Q.): ¿Y se ven a ustedes mismos como el vocero de Jehová Dios en la Tierra?
Geoffrey Jackson (A.): Pienso que parecería ser bastante presuntuoso el decir que nosotros somos los únicos voceros que Dios está usando. Las escrituras claramente muestran que alguien puede actuar en armonía con el espíritu de Dios al dar consuelo y ayuda in las congregaciones, pero si solo puedo clarificar un poco, yendo nuevamente a Mateo capítulo 24, claramente, Jesús dijo que en los últimos días –y los Testigos de Jehová creen que estos son los últimos días, habría un esclavo, un grupo de personas quienes tendrían la responsabilidad de cuidar el alimento espiritual. Así que es ese respecto, nos vemos a nosotros mismos como tratando de cumplir ese rol.

Siguiendo la típica retórica de la organización, Geoffrey Jackson niega ponerse títulos encima mientras se los pone. Es presuntuoso ponerse en la posición del único vocero de dios al mismo tiempo tratan de serlo estando convencidos que lo son. Perfecto ejemplo de la lógica de unos fanáticos religiosos tan iguales como otros.

Para leer toda la transcripción del testimonio en inglés:

Sunday, August 16, 2015

An Open Letter to Governing Body member Geoffrey Jackson on Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse


The myriads of watchers worldwide who witnessed your testimony to the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, on past August 14, 2015, somehow hoped to hear the “refreshing waters of compassionate truth” from one of the self-proclaimed only channel through which Jesus is feeding his people on Earth. But they were all wrong and all their hopes disappointed; again. For many others who are truly aware of how businesses are conducted within the organization, your public appearance and expressions were indeed sad and pathetic, but not unexpected.

We all watched with so much interest your testimony regarding the doctrine and policies of the Jehovah’s Witnesses when child abuse accusations are made in the congregations. It was chocking and embarrassing to see and hear how you, Geoffrey Jackson, tried to divert the subject, evade the questions, and simply lied in several occasions.

Yes, you lied. Repeatedly. But in your own doctrinal terms, it is called "Theocratic Warfare"; so you can cope with your rampaging cognitive dissonance. Few weeks ago, your Governing Body co-member Stephen Lett opened his bombastic and melodramatic mouth to accuse apostates of making these accusations up, and after all the evidence in Australia and basically every other single country where your organization conduct business and have a footprint, you still don't have the human decency to directly admit it as corporate and religious propaganda against all the real victims and impartial viewers.

Listening to your testimony was extremely exhausting and annoying. Very similar to the boring 5 hours of brainwashing doctrine witnesses have to cope with every week during their kingdom hall meetings. It is repugnant and nauseating. Do you think you can trick us to see you as a humble person by over-repeating "thank you for that question" and "thank you for allowing me to explain" manufactured phrases? It was a sad joke hearing you talk, presumptuously, about having the “spiritual qualifications” to be part of the Governing Body. Obviously, as every member of the Governing body, you are just self-deceived into your own pharisaic righteousness.

You portrayed yourself as having a role of a “consultant” in the Teaching and Personnel committee. Any person who has an average knowledge of the organization knows that a “consultant” is a non-existent or non-official position or assignment. Where you trying to distance yourself from the hot seat? Who do you think you are trying to fool? Recently divorcees? Teenagers with emotional issues? Being part of the Personnel, Teaching, and Writing committees are your official assignments; therefore, everything that is written and taught as a doctrine for the millions of witnesses worldwide must have your approval. This includes all the doctrine relevant to the handling of child abuse allegations.

You also displayed yourself as a part of the “Guardians or Custodians of the Doctrine” but at the same time you mentioned that the “Helpers” are the ones who make recommendations and make policies. Why were you still trying to distance yourself from any responsibility? We all already know that those “helpers” may just write doctrinal documents, books, or magazines articles, but in the eyes of the 8 million of witnesses, they are not responsible, you and your Governing Body are. One of the basic pillars in the Jehovah’s Witness’s faith is that all “spiritual food” comes from the “Faithful and Discreet Slave”: as today, Samuel Herd, M. Stephen Lett, Gerrit Lösch, Anthony Morris III, Mark Sanderson, David H. Splane, and you Geoffrey Jackson.

It was especially pathetic and infuriating your, whether inability, or unwillingness to see the clear connection between Deuteronomy 22:27 and a case of child abuse. Even worse was your remarks about “asking Jesus” if these situations are in fact related. Both are clear examples of rape with no witnesses of the crime. This is just another proof of your lack of real empathy and the deep corporate vision you have regarding organizational matters. It is just not relevant and not credible the sentiment you wanted to share with who was representing the victim in the hearings. The bible is not your “constitution”; as you so firmly claimed. What is your constitution is the always-changing interpretation of your own manufactured translation of the bible.

At some point during the questioning, you mentioned that ““Subjection” means to be willing to accept direction”. That is just a politically correct answer; another form of deceitful ecclesiastic mumbo-jumbo and nobody buys it anymore. In practical terms, this “subjection” is enforced by spiritual, social, and emotional coercion and threats including accusations of being an apostate, a bad association, and disfellowshipping; with all the devastating consequences it brings. You were eager to prove that “what happens in people's homes is beyond the jurisdiction of the elders” and you don’t run a “police state”. Did you forget when the Governing Body was trying to run how intimacy must be between married couples? Did you already forget how many marriages you and your doctrines destroyed? Did you forget how many kids died because of your biblical rules about vaccination and blood usage? All without a single "sorry" from your part? You also said that “it is not "my understanding" that discipline is needed if an elder visits an inactive witness and he finds evidence of a birthday or Christmas being celebrated. An inactive person who celebrate Christmas or birthdays and is not trying to change others is not handled judicially”. This is also completely false. Within the religion, we all have learned to police each other and to rat each other’s out to the elders, because we were brainwashed to be more loyal to an organization more that to our friends and love ones.

Further and particularly misleading, you mentioned that “elders should encourage the guardian of the child to notify the authorities". You continued stating that “the assumption is that if elders see that there is a risk, their conscious should make them report”, and that “elders tell victims that they should go to the police”. You also stated that “if there is only one witnesses or no witnesses of the abuse you would hope that the conscience of the elders will make them to report to the police even if the parents don't want to do that”. All of that are just bold and outright lies. Every witnesses involved in these type of accusations can comment about how elders just try to do the opposite so they can “avoid giving a bad name to Jehovah”. All the letters the Governing Body have sent to the body of elders worldwide over the years have strongly encouraged a widespread policy of secrecy and keeping the civil authorities away from the walls of the kingdom halls. The very reason why we have victims speaking up today about abuses from decades ago is exactly this tendency to not reporting the pedophiles elders, ministerial servants, pioneers, and even Governing Body members; such as the deceased Ted Jaracz. By the way, the world is safer now without him around. He must be disappointed though to find that in the Watchtower’s heaven there are no kids neither sex.

It was troubling to hear from you that there is a “spiritual dilemma” about not reporting to authorities. You proposed to Mr. Stewart that “a mandatory law would make easy for elders to take care for the children”. This is outrageous. Do you need a law from an inherently satanic organization to force you to do what you should have done on moral and loving principles? Do you need a worldly and sinful institution to tell you what is right and compassionate to do? Where are your self-assigned “spiritual qualifications” to truly care for the flock? What are you going to say now, that your “god used again a pagan empire to correct his chosen people”?

Geoffrey Jackson and your co-members of the Governing Body: your organization is not growing anymore. The only minimal current and localized growth is among under-developed societies who has limited access to global information. You asserted that “the Governing Body have apologized before and in this case it is perceivable”. They have never apologized. Ever! Instead, they have always blamed the brotherhood for whether “understanding things wrong”, “being presumptuously ahead”, or even unfairly “pointing out to some infiltrated individuals as the cause of the errors”. E.g. Raymond Franz. Frankly, your lies just can’t be more disgusting. Your days as an organization are clearly numbered.

Your testimony was a travesty, and an obscenity to the reality on how the 8 million of witnesses live and work every day within the tall but quickly falling walls of the Watchtower organization. I won’t beg you, nor to urge you, but demand you to give yourself and the rest of the Governing Body up to the civil authorities to be charged with these crimes against humanity, sell all the properties the Watchtower societies currently hold, and distribute the money among the current and former witnesses. You abused and killed their kids, deeply damaged their families, and stole all their hard work.


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Australian Royal Commission on Watchtower Jehovah's Witnesses Child Abuse III (Cont'd)

The Governing Body and its Watchtower organization is being shamefully exposed so much regarding all their malpractices and faulty dogmas and procedures lately, and the trend is NOT going away.

The world needs to know all the atrocities this religion have caused to the humanity and Australia is doing a great work about it.

Here are the 3rd set of videos from the Royal Commission on Child Abuse on the official investigation about +1K child molestation cases never reported to the secular authorities.

Here is the lists of the videos:

Australia Royal Commission on Child Abuse - August 3, 2015 - Part 1

Australian Royal Commission on Child Abuse - August 5, 2015 - Part 1

Australian Royal Commission on Child Abuse - August 5, 2015 - Part 2

Australian Royal Commission on Child Abuse - August 5, 2015 - Part 3

Stop Covering up Child Molesters! Watchtower's Governing Body and Jehovah’s Witnesses

“Stop Covering up Child Molesters! Stop Covering up Child Molesters!”  A brave man was shouting at a one London Jehovah’s Witnesses convention on a video published on Jul 25, 2015.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses crowd acted with what is called brain-washed “Herd Mentality”. A natural way to be for the witnesses by the way; trying to silence the truthful facts about the Watchtower Governing Body’s lame policies with applause and brainless singing. How retarded cult!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Watchtower’s paid expert Dr. Monica Applewhite and her shameful court appearance trying to defend the Jehovah's Witnesses.

As shown in the article I will be sharing following these comments, Dr. Monica Applewhite have put herself in the impossible position of defending the indefensible; embarrassing herself just for money.

Yes, she is getting paid by the Governing Body of the Jehovah's Witnesses with the money of the morally and spirituality coerced membership have given for "expert" services.

Her "expert" services are so lame that she was able to get easily convinced that the Watchtower protect children by just reading what the Governing Body put in front of her eyes; without using the minimal critical thinking that is expected from any scientist and professional. Shame on you and your idiotic report. I wonder what she would do if one of her kids (if she is even a mother) is submitted to an inside JW's child abuse investigation by the elders after being abused by one of them.

This article from JW Survey is very clear summarizing the current situation with the Australian investigation.


Watchtower’s expert consultant Dr Monica Applewhite is grilled at the Royal Commission

The following is a follow-up to the article submitted on Thursday by “CovertFade” – a non-disfellowshipped subscriber to JWsurvey…

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Australia has been running its inquiry into the Jehovah’s Witnesses child protection policies for just under a week, and so far it’s been pretty painful to watch. Especially for the Watchtower.

We’ve seen elders caught apparently lying under oath, we’ve seen elders admitting that the policy they are required to follow is flawed, elders admitting that they cared more about protecting their organization than protecting the victim, elders stubbornly insisting that it was perfectly okay for three men to interrogate a loan female abuse survivor in front of her attacker, and to cap it all we had an elder admit that he’d done no preparation for his appearance before the Commission and didn’t really know what the Commission was for. How embarrassing!

Well, just as it looked as though things couldn’t get any worse for Watchtower, day four (July 31st) of the hearings began and Doctor Monica Applewhite took the stand.

Doctor Monica Applewhite is no stranger to those following Watchtower’s child abuse battles. She has appeared in several US cases, most recently in a UK case, always on behalf of Watchtower and against the claimant.

On each occasion, she had been there to present her professional informed opinion as an expert in the prevention of child abuse that the Jehovah’s Witnesses are actually much better than all other religions when it comes to abuse prevention, and that everything is fine in the house that Russell built.

It hasn’t always worked. For example, the UK case was lost by Watchtower despite her testimony, but it did at least allow the organization to release the following face-saving statement.

“We are disappointed with the decision, particularly since the court accepted expert evidence that Jehovah’s Witnesses in the late 1980’s and 1990’s were ahead of their time in addressing the issue of child sexual abuse.”

I don’t think that will be happening this time. In fact, I’d be curious to know if Doctor Applewhite will ever want to work for Watchtower again.

It turns out Doctor Applewhite has become a walking case study on how NOT to approach research. Before the hearings began, Doctor Applewhite submitted a written statement to the Commission in general defense and praise of Witness policies on child abuse, but it quickly became clear when she took to the stand that the Commission again had serious concerns, this time not with the activities of elders, or the polices or Watchtower. Their concern was with her credibility.

For example, her written statement repeatedly asserted that Watchtower compared much more favorably than other religions “throughout the world” when it came to dealing with child abuse, but when pressed to give hard data as to which religious organizations she was actually using for comparison, and the data sets she used to come to this conclusion, she was very vague and apparently unable to produce such.

More to the point, when pressed on what data she had actually used to study  Watchtower’s effectiveness when dealing with child abuse, she was forced to admit that her study came not from empirical data collected from real world case studies, but rather, simply from reading Witness publications.

In other words, what she was presenting was not a scientifically researched study, she was just presenting an opinion based on reading cult propaganda and assuming that this propaganda actually depicted reality.

Sounds bad? It gets worse, because it turns out even by the standards of her own flawed methodology, Doctor Applewhite did a terrible job of understanding what the publications actually indicated. Over the course of the day, the Commission identified and proved a large number of factual errors that Doctor Applewhite had made in her report. Here are some examples…

  • Doctor Applewhite incorrectly offered the opinion that elders are not viewed as “superior” by the congregation but as “fellow workers.” The Commission found that they could not accept this as the reality of Witness culture, based on many other statements in the publications indicating (1) that elders are considered shepherds rather than sheep, (2) that they have a position of honor in the congregation, and (3) are appointed by holy spirit, and thus whilst some written JW material might try to convey the idea of equality, other JW publications and the clear reality on the ground was that the hierarchy of Watchtower was clearly split into shepherds and sheep.
  • Applewhite incorrectly presented the opinion that an elder or a ministerial servant would never be alone with children. The Commission, however, found that the ks10 elder’s guidebook explicitly stated that “Those who are appointed to privileges of service, such as elders and ministerial servants, are put in a position of trust. One who is extended privileges in the congregation is judged by others as being worthy of trust. This includes being more liberal in leaving children in their care and oversight. The congregation would be left unprotected if we prematurely appointed someone who was a child abuser as a ministerial servant or elder.” Doctor Applewhite replied that as a rule this was not supposed to happen. The Commission asked her to point to this rule in the book. She could not.
  • Applewhite was unaware of the restrictions placed on Witnesses getting professional psychological help. She stated that she had assumed the counsel was just limited to finding a therapist who respected witness beliefs. Angus Stewart SC demonstrated again with the ks10 book that group therapy, for example (which can be an important form of treatment for abuse survivors), was discouraged by Watchtower. Doctor Applegate conceded her error in this point.

The above errors threw the credibility of Applewhite’s entire report into doubt. None of this was a great start from someone Watchtower was no doubt hoping would be able to turn the tide in what has thus far been a complete debacle for them.

The Commission team, however, was only just warming up.

They then moved into weightier details of concern to them: the two witness rule, the all-male star chamber, the forcing of a survivor to confront her abuser. Justice Peter McClellan and his team were clearly confused as to how Doctor Applewhite, an apparent expert in the prevention and treatment of child abuse, could support these policies. It turned out that Doctor Applewhite had again been pulled in by Watchtower propaganda and had failed to do critical, investigative research.

For example, let’s take the issue of a survivor being forced to confront his/her accused. When Doctor Applewhite was asked if this is acceptable, she first countered that the accuser is not actually forced to face the accused and can instead write a letter detailing their evidence (this is in direct contradiction to all the testimony that the elders had offered thus far). This is happened next:

Justice Peter McClellan: Doctor, are you familiar with the work that has been done in Australia in the civil justice process in relation to the prosecution of these types of offenses?
Doctor Applewhite: In terms of how survivors are —
Justice McClellan: How witnesses are handled and, particularly, how survivors are managed? Are you familiar with those processes?
Applewhite: I am.
Justice McClellan: Are you familiar with one of the fundamentals being that the abused person need not confront the abuser in that scenario?
Applewhite: Absolutely.
Justice McClellan: This process offends against that principle, clearly, doesn’t it?
Applewhite: But my understanding is that they can write a letter and that there doesn’t have to be a confrontation at all.
Justice McClellan: We just looked at all those processes.
Applewhite: Yes.
Angus Stewart SC: I don’t know where you get that understanding, whether someone told you that, or what, but you restricted your report and your evidence, now, to what the documents say, and the documents don’t say that, do they?
Applewhite: So you are saying that in the judicial process today, that evidence can’t be received from a witness through a letter?
Stewart: Well, according to these documents, yes, I am saying that. There may be some judicial committee somewhere —
Justice McClellan: I think it probably should be put slightly differently. The words are “however it may be that the witnesses live a great distance away” – you have to ask yourself what is meant by “witnesses” there, whether that includes the survivor, “or for some reason are not able to be physically present.” So we’re talking about an exception, do you understand?
Applewhite: I do.
Justice McClellan: Otherwise, the procedure contemplates what Mr Stewart has been putting to you, and that is, that the girl or woman would have to confront ultimately three men in the presence of the abuser and without any moral support. So on her own. Now, is that a good practice?
Applewhite: Absolutely not. And I – I want to be clear, if there – if it turns out that the practice that they have today does not allow someone to write a letter and they have to confront their offender and they have to sit in the room with no support, it is not going to meet the standards of care. I didn’t understand that that’s the process, and there are probably people more qualified than I am to say whether it is, but it wouldn’t meet the standard of care if that is the fact.
Justice McClellan: Well, the difficulty for us is that you have proffered to us your written report in relation to all of this.
Applewhite: Yes.
Justice McClellan: And we’re trying to work out whether or not what you have said is something that we, as the Commission, should accept, carrying with it of course the consequence that if we say it is a good practice, then others might follow it. Do you understand?
Applewhite: Absolutely. And in no way am I trying to say that that’s a good practice.
What the above transcript fails to capture, but it is clear in the video footage, is the expression and tone of voice of Doctor Applewhite. Her responses are those of a woman realizing that she has made a terrible mistake, and then frantically trying to distance herself as far as possible from the position she previously held.

The same pattern unfolds when the Commission discusses the two witness rule, and in particular an aspect of this rule that seems of particular concern to Justice McClellan, who has correctly identified that the Watchtower faith requires a person, essentially under pain of destruction by God, to report wrongdoing.

However, when coupled with the two witness rule, a potential situation is created where an abuse survivor is compelled under threat of divine judgement to report abuse, but then the very nature of the system which handles her complaint will not allow the complaint to be believed or dealt with, thus creating a no-win scenario and huge trauma for the victim.

Justice Peter McClellan: Now, do you see that there may be a problem for a survivor, who has the obligation to report sexual abuse, which very often will happen in private – most often will happen in private —
Doctor Applewhite: Yes.
Justice McClellan: and find that because there is not another witness, her allegation is not accepted? Do you see that that might have real difficulties for the survivor?
Applewhite: Absolutely.
Ouch. Well, at least the day is over and Watchtower can lick its wounds, right? Nope.

The Commission then presents Doctor Applewhite with a checklist of factors in a sociological environment, as proposed by David Finkelhor (a leading researcher, academic and writer in the field of child protection), that would significantly increase the risk to children in that environment. They are:

  • Repressive norms about masturbation and extra-marital sex.
  • Weak criminal sanctions against offenders.
  • Ideology of patriarchal prerogatives for fathers
  • Erosion of social networks.

Sound familiar?

Mr Angus Stewart SC: This model would certainly raise for you some flashing lights about the social/cultural environment of the Jehovah’s Witness Church insofar as child sexual abuse is concerned, wouldn’t it?
Doctor Applewhite: Tell me what you mean by “flashing lights.”
Stewart: These factors come together really in a perfect storm for the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the risk of child sexual abuse occurring there.
Applewhite: I think I would have to look at this more carefully to be able to say that. I just would have to look more carefully.
Doctor Applewhite might not be certain on this point, but it is clear from the above statements by Mr Stewart that, in spite of evidence submitted by Watchtower and the testimony of elders (or perhaps because of it), the Commission is presently of the opinion that this is the case, demonstrating the grave nature of the trouble that Watchtower Australia finds itself in.

As the day came to a close, with the credibility of Doctor Applewhite under serious doubt and her evidence officially ruled to be so flawed that it was inadmissible, and her client looking worse than ever, Justice Peter McClellan presented Applewhite with the chilling logical consequences of the practices employed by the cult she had been hired to defend.

Justice Peter McClellan: Just to finish the discussion you and I had previously, doctor, if a woman brings an allegation that she has been sexually assaulted by a member of the Jehovah’s Witness, and she does so because of her strong adherence to the tenets of the church, and believes that she has to report, but she doesn’t want to go to the authorities, she doesn’t want to be involved in a criminal trial, and there is no other witness, and the alleged abuser doesn’t confess, but those listening to her story don’t have any doubt that she is telling the truth, but they can’t take any action because there is only her evidence, what happens, then, within the church? I assume – well, you tell me, does the abuser then stay with all of his rights intact and the woman would be required to, if she wished to remain part of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, interact with him in that environment? Is that what happens?
Doctor Applewhite: In addition to some other warnings or things of that nature, I would think that that would be what would happen.
Justice McClellan: It is not a very good place to end up, is it?
Doctor Applewhite: It isn’t.
In some respects one can feel a degree of sympathy for Doctor Applewhite. She is not the first otherwise intelligent and rational person to have been suckered by manipulative cult propaganda. On the other hand, as an academic working in a field such as child protection, where the stakes are so high and the human consequences for error so appalling, she clearly should have demonstrated the kind of professional diligence and spirit of critical inquiry shown by the Royal Commission. She failed, and instead ended up being an apologist for a cult that has hidden 1006 alleged child molesters from the law in Australia alone.

At least now she finally seems to be aware of it.

The day ended with Watchtower’s lawyer inviting Doctor Applegate to re-submit her report. But despite her expressed willingness to help the Commission, from the expression on her face and the tone of her closing remarks, one wonders if we have seen her final appearance in defense of Watchtower.


Read more here: http://jwsurvey.org/child-abuse-2/jehovahs-witness-culture-creates-a-perfect-storm-for-abuse

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Expert admits Jehovah's Witnesses and Watchtower is grossly flawed

The treatment of child abuse victims by the Jehovah's Witness church is seriously flawed, a national inquiry has heard from a consultant hired by the church.

Dr. Monica Applewhite, a US-based consultant specialising in child abuse risk analysis and education programs for institutions, mostly churches, was employed by Watchtower Australia to evaluate the Witnesses' policies for the royal commission hearing.

Watchtower Australia is the legal entity of the Jehovah's Witness church.

Dr Applewhite, who has been an expert witness in abuse trials in Britain and the US, submitted a report in which she noted the Jehovah's Witnesses were a cut above other religious organisations in Australia.

The doctor, who has listed work with the Catholic archdioceses of Melbourne and Adelaide on her extensive CV, said she had not found examples in Australia of a religious organisation that provided better information than the Witnesses on how to support abuse victims.

But she confessed her research was based on Jehovah's Witness publications, not on empirical studies.

Her knowledge of every religious organisation was also limited and she was unable to immediately identify the other religious organisations to which she was referring.

When asked by Angus Stewart SC, counsel for the commission, whether Jehovah's Witness procedure was "deficient when measured against current best practice", Dr Applewhite replied: "Does it meet all current best practices? It probably doesn't."

Jehovah's Witness procedure is based on biblical teachings.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard this week from two women who had gone through the Jehovah's Witness process for handling child sex abuse allegations.

In both cases the church did not uphold the allegations because, under church law, two witnesses are required to prove any wrongdoing.

This rule is based on the Witnesses' interpretation of scripture and the handling of wrongdoers.

The women told the commission how an internal judicial hearing required them to detail the abuse to three church elders, all men, in front of the alleged abuser.

Justice Peter McClellan asked Dr Applewhite if she thought this process was appropriate.

Dr Applewhite said there were better ways.

She also agreed that under the two witnesses rule, abuse victims could be further traumatised because they were not being believed.

Justice McClellan said: "It is by no means an ideal place for someone's psychological wellbeing to be placed?"

Dr Applewhite replied: "That's true."

When Andrew Tokley SC, counsel for the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Australia, suggested Dr Applewhite be allowed to submit a supplementary report, Justice McClellan said it needed to be more than an expression of opinion.

He pointed out the commission needed information that would help address the obvious flaws in the Witnesses' procedures.

If Dr Applewhite was going to supply further information, Justice McClellan said it should be done within the next few weeks. © AAP 2015

Read more at http://www.9news.com.au/national/2015/07/31/03/40/jehovah-s-witnesses-inquiry-resumes#mUl1KlAYjFxGhLAl.99

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