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Offline Goddess

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JW's in the news again
« on: April 25, 2018, 02:57:28 pm »
http://www.philly.com/philly/news/jehovahs-witnesses-sexual-abuse-children-beliefs-rules.html

Some interesting (maybe just to me) points from the article:

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The English language can't adequately give shape to the horror of such a discovery, to a parent seeing his child's innocence being corrupted and shattered. But what came next was just as hard to describe. When Haugh and his wife, Jennifer, told the elders who oversaw their congregation about this October 2005 incident, they were greeted with muted concern. Then came the threats.

"We were told on more than one occasion that if we told other parents about this, we would be disciplined," Haugh, 41, said during a recent interview.

"We never heard the words 'Go to the cops!' or 'Are you considering therapy for her?' " his wife added. "Then people stopped talking to us."

This jives with many others stories I've heard from people I've worked with.  I also had a close friend as a JW whose daughter (9 yrs old) was molested by an Elder's daughter (19 yrs old).  The molester was a popular babysitter used by many JW families.  My friend and her husband were told that if they told anyone about the molestation they would be disfellowshipped for "slander", because the molester apologized for the incidents (she also said it was "mutual", that the 9 yr old was a willing participant).  Interesting update - the molester quickly moved out of province, married and had 2 kids before she died from some kind of gall bladder problem. 

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Internal documents show that the Witnesses' leadership, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, has long enforced a policy of secrecy in any potential legal matters. "The need for elders to maintain strict confidentiality has been repeatedly stressed," reads one passage from a 1989 memo that instructed elders to resist cooperating if police ever showed up at their kingdom halls with a search warrant.

Another memo, from 1997, focused entirely on the topic of child molesters. Elders, the equivalent of priests, were told to inform one another if known pedophiles moved from one kingdom hall to another and to withhold the information from the congregations.

Watchtower denied these memos for years.  Only after lengthy legal battles did they reluctantly produce them.

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Watchtower officials declined to participate in an interview, opting instead to send a statement that read in part: "Jehovah's Witnesses abhor child abuse, a crime that sadly occurs in all sectors of society. The safety of our children is of the utmost importance."

JW leadership generally makes no public statements but when they do, this is their usual pat answer - other religions do it, too, so why should they be picked on at all?........ ::)


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There's a heavy price to pay for speaking out. Witnesses are taught to sever ties with anyone who strays from the teachings that have been handed down by the governing body, an emotional punishment known as shunning.

The Haughs know it well. They finally left the religion for good in 2016. "My in-laws held a wake for us," Jennifer Haugh said. "Like we were dead."

I've never heard of anyone having a "wake" for a disfellowshipped person.  I think she's trying to put it in layman's language that they were probably comforted by a rush of friends coming over to their house.  Most disfellowshipped people are simply never mentioned again.  They are dead to JW's.

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Russell, who owned several clothing stores and briefly lived in Philadelphia, favored first-century Christian teachings, and believed that mankind was entering its final days. He calculated that the end of society as they knew it would begin in 1914.

Russell's prediction was not that the end of society would BEGIN in 1914.  His prediction was that the world would END in 1914.  This is a bit of history that JW leadership has revised so that it doesn't look like they have failed end-time predictions.  But they do, they've predicted it with specific years many times.

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When Russell died in 1916, his followers split into different factions. Some stuck with his successor, Joseph Rutherford; they adopted the name Jehovah's Witnesses in 1931. Rutherford doubled down on promising that the end was close at hand, a tactic that gave the religion's leaders even greater sway over those who took the warnings to heart.

Fear, after all, is a powerful tool.

Eccentric new rules were introduced. Witnesses were forbidden from celebrating their birthdays and holidays, including Christmas and Mother's Day. Military service and voting weren't permitted, and followers weren't allowed to receive blood transfusions, even in medical emergencies.

When Russell died, Rutherford was NOT who he wanted to take over the reins.  Rutherford was a lawyer who liked to be called "Judge Rutherford", who legally wrested control from the man Russell named as successor.  This was when disfellowshipping (shunning) was introduced.  Anyone who opposed Rutherford could then be kicked out of the organization.  Prior to this, the JW's did not agree with Excommunication and in fact, published articles condemning the Catholic Church for having the policy and citing many Bible verses to show that it was not approved by God.

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Barbara Anderson was a teenager living in Long Island in 1954 when she began studying with a Witness she met at a friend's house. "I was a very curious kid, and I wanted answers for why we are here," Anderson, 77, said from her home in Tennessee. "She answered all of my questions."

Barbara is still very much involved in the sex abuses cases against the Watchtower to this day.  I've been able to interact with her a lot over the years - she's an amazing, strong and brave lady.

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"Overall, they're nice, sincere people," Anderson said of the faith's rank-and-file members.

This is true.

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The presence of such widespread and seemingly well-known problems raises the question: Why haven't more people spoken up? The answer could lie in what's at stake. Witnesses have few relationships outside of their religion; the risk of being shunned by the very people they hold dear is difficult to digest. (In February, a Michigan woman committed suicide after she murdered her husband and two sons. They were ex-Witnesses, and the shunning they endured has been cited as a possible motive.)

This is more common than people know, sadly.  I had a very good friend who was a successful fader (left without arousing suspicion, so not disfellowshipped)  who was eventually found out and disfellowshipped.  Yes, he had issues with alcohol, but those of us who knew him, knew that it was the DF'ing that put him over the top and he committed suicide.  I miss him every day.  :'(

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As part of the case, Lopez's attorney sought to compel Watchtower leaders to turn over a list of abusers they have compiled since 1997. When they refused, a Superior Court judge began fining the organization $4,000 a day. Despite the steep penalty, the list was never released, and the case was settled in March.

Remember this is partly where your money goes when you give them money for their books and booklets.

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But the fact that lawmakers here haven't called for a probe of the Witnesses' practices isn't a surprise. "There is a serious problem in the U.S. of deference to religious entities, even when deference is not due," Hamilton said.

And THAT ^^^ is why religions keep getting away with the things they do.


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The price of fighting and settling lawsuits will likely continue to rise, but the Witnesses seem well-positioned to shoulder that burden. The cost of building and maintaining kingdom halls fall on the congregants, not the organization itself. Elders and other dedicated servants aren't paid.

That's right.  Congregations raise money and handle the operating expenses of all Kingdom Halls, but the properties actually belong to the Watchtower Society.  This means they can sell them off at any point and keep the money.  Menlo Park congregation in California fought the selling of their Hall - google that if you're interested in how that turned out.  Hint:  They were disfellowshipped and kicked out.

It was a good article - lots of investigative journalism with the history of the religion, etc.
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Offline kimmy

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Re: JW's in the news again
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2018, 11:30:50 pm »
I wish I could say I was shocked or even surprised.  The Mormons were in the news recently for something along the same lines.  Scientologists too, if I recall correctly-- something along the lines of Scientologist women claiming that Scientology officials had urged them to not go to police with accusations against D-list actor and Scientologist Danny Masterson because it would bring bad publicity against their "religion".  I think there was some similar scandal involving the evanglical Bob Jones University.  Obviously the Catholic Church comes to mind here as well...

Power corrupts, and being at the top of your little religious totem pole gives you enough power to corrupt you and exploit others.

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Offline kimmy

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Re: JW's in the news again
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2018, 03:13:50 am »
Former sit-com star and former Scientologist Leah Remini had a big hit with her tell-all documentary series about her former religion, and won an Emmy award for it as well.  She's going to be doing a similar project about the JWs:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/rambling-reporter/leah-reminis-next-a-e-project-tackle-jehovahs-witnesses-1114006

Get your PVR warmed up, Goddess! :)

 -k

Offline Goddess

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Re: JW's in the news again
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2018, 09:37:30 am »
Former sit-com star and former Scientologist Leah Remini had a big hit with her tell-all documentary series about her former religion, and won an Emmy award for it as well.  She's going to be doing a similar project about the JWs:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/rambling-reporter/leah-reminis-next-a-e-project-tackle-jehovahs-witnesses-1114006

Get your PVR warmed up, Goddess! :)

 -k

There's also a series on AMC about "Cults and Extreme Beliefs" that will focus on JW's for one episode.  I think it's next week.  Last night was NXIVM cult.
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Offline kimmy

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Re: JW's in the news again
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2018, 09:40:28 am »
Last night was NXIVM cult.

That's the craziest ****! I can't believe this has been going on.

 -k

Offline Goddess

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Re: JW's in the news again
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2018, 11:10:32 am »
So the JW episode on "Cults & Extreme Beliefs" aired last night and it was really, really good.  The focus was on the extreme "2 Witness Rule" that JW's have - sexual abuse/incest/molestation victims must provide 2 witnesses to the crime in order to be believed, unless the person confesses (which rarely happens).  And as you know, child molesters rarely do so in front of witnesses.   ::)

It showed how the leadership has consistently covered up sexual abuse in the organization and it really has become a ****'s paradise.

They showed a clip of a video put out by the WT featuring "Tight Pants Tony" Morris saying that the 2 Witness Rule is biblical and will NEVER be changed.

It wasn't talked about in the show, but my concern for a long time has been that the Watchtower knows about the **** problem and they keep alist of the names, but refuses to give up the list to authorities - and these are the people who are coming to YOUR doors, many times while you are at work and talk to YOUR children at the door.  They are literally sending pedophiles out into the public.  Please make sure your children know NOT to open the door to them (or anyone else) while you are not home.

The shunning policy was touched on briefly, mostly because it's often a result of the above policy - there have been a LOT of children molested and many leave or are forced to leave because of the devastation and then are subsequently - shunned.  While their molesters continue merrily along in the religion.

They really could do a couple more episodes on the JW's - blood transfusions were not mentioned at all, and the heirarchy of men, men, men running the show was only mentioned briefly, as well.  There were scandals with their policies in Malawi, Mozambique, Russia and Mexico that cost thousands of average JW lives that the public will likely never know about.

Some cults - the focus is on sex, and some cults - the focus is on money and some cults, the focus is on power.  JW's are mostly about the money - with a little bit of power-tripping thrown in.  When I started researching them after I left, an ex-JW told me to "follow the money".  When you follow the money - it all makes sense.

For the JW leadership - the "flock" is nothing but expendable drones.  They use them for money, they use them for publicity by "creating" the circumstances that lead to them being "persecuted", thus reinforcing their belief that they will be persecuted for being "the one true religion."  They use them to work for free - building and printing.

They are nothing more than a real estate/book publishing company that masquerades as a religion.  How many authors are guaranteed sales of at least 10 million copies of their book every time they publish? - and the average JW contributes a lot for each book or booklet printed, although the binding/ printing work is done by volunteers.

Lots of kudos to Barb Anderson, featured on the show last night.  She is an awesome person, still using her research skills to find all the legal documents to expose the JW leadership for what they really are.  Barb told me once that she admires those of us who worked directly with survivors - it is emotionally exhausting work.  But I think she does so much too - her work gives so many survivors the validation needed to get free, without feeling guilty.

I can't wait to see what Leah Remini does with her show.  I think the time is right.  For years, no one gave a **** about this tiny cult and I'm so happy to see the public being informed and I'm super excited that all the work that's been done for so many years by those of us who have tried to expose them publicly, is finally being taken seriously by the public and by the authorities.
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Offline MH

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Re: JW's in the news again
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2018, 12:54:19 pm »
Which issue would you expect the public to be most upset over ?
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Offline Goddess

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Re: JW's in the news again
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2018, 02:17:03 pm »
Which issue would you expect the public to be most upset over ?

Admittedly, some issues with the cult are only ever going to be important to ex-JW's.

The public should be most upset over known pedophiles showing up at their doors.

The public should be concerned over the blood transfusion issue, which kills many each year.  Incidents used to be in the news more often, but since the JW's have fought for and won the right to religious freedom in making medical decisions (not necessarily a bad thing) we see them less and less.  JW's have fought with the courts to make children even as young as 10 yrs old - responsible for voicing their intention to not have a blood transfusion, arguing that they are emotionally mature enough to make that decision.  Of course, avoiding the fact that they are brainwashed and not given all the relevant medical knowledge to make such a decision in the first place.

The public should know that when they give them money donations for their books and magazines, a good portion of that money goes to the troughs of the top men and in the last 2 decades, a large portion of donations goes to what we apostates call the "Worldwide **** Defense Fund."  It's used to pay off survivors to drop court cases and make them STFU about it all.  It was mentioned in the program that the WT has been paying $4000/day fines for not producing their list of pedophiles to the courts in the US for quite a while now.

I hope that the public is better informed on what the JW's are really all about - because they are prolific evangelizers and people need to be informed to prevent members of their family or friends from joining.  You will need to have very well-formed arguments against it to convince the person that they are dangerous because the JW's have "answers" to all these issues.  New people are told at their very first study that their family and friends WILL oppose their involvement in the religion and they are immediately taught how to avoid or counter those arguements and they are told that it is life or death - how will your family or friends ever be saved if YOU give in and stop studying?

The individuals in the religion are good people, but they are mushrooms - kept in the dark and fed bullshit on a continual basis.

"A religion without a Goddess is half-way to atheism."
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Offline Goddess

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Re: JW's in the news again
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2018, 02:34:32 pm »
Quote
You will need to have very well-formed arguments against it to convince the person that they are dangerous because the JW's have "answers" to all these issues.

Or you can contact me and I can help you reason with them.   :D
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Offline MH

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Re: JW's in the news again
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2018, 03:35:17 pm »
1) Admittedly, some issues with the cult are only ever going to be important to ex-JW's.

2) The individuals in the religion are good people, but they are mushrooms - kept in the dark and fed bullshit on a continual basis.

1) Most of the stuff listed is the same as with other religions.  The exception is shunning which seems so cruel to me.  But do people really do it ?  It would be easy to get around.

2) Again... same as the others.

Offline Goddess

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Re: JW's in the news again
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2018, 05:25:08 pm »
1) Most of the stuff listed is the same as with other religions.  The exception is shunning which seems so cruel to me.  But do people really do it ?  It would be easy to get around.

2) Again... same as the others.

1.  Yes.  They take shunning VERY seriously.  My family has not spoken to me or seen me in about 14 years now.  None of them even called or tried to find out if I was okay during or after the fires in the Mac.  There have been a few who try to get around shunning a family member but when they are found out, they are then shunned, as well.  So, Yes.  They take it very seriously.

2.  Yes.  They are much like other cults.  That's the point.  Some of the details may differ but it's all the same cult-like control.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2018, 05:50:50 pm by Goddess »
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Offline Goddess

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Re: JW's in the news again
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2018, 05:33:50 pm »
I think most of the public does not view JW's as a cult.  More like an odd, but harmless religion.  But they are far from harmless.

When I left, it took a long time for me to admit I was in a cult.  It took a long time for me to be able to call them a cult.  I remember one poster on the Recovery board (who has since become a great friend) used to say, "Ah, Jehovah cleans my toilet!"  and how shocked I was - OMG he was going to hell for that one, for sure!  Haha ;D
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Offline Goddess

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Re: JW's in the news again
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2018, 05:41:06 pm »
Another thing about JW's is that they are very much against higher education.  This was one reason why it was important to me to go to college when I left the religion.  I had no real marketable skills, and going to college was sort of me giving them the middle finger, too.

The majority of JWs willingly go along with all the craziness, but even then - you lose your entire life - you live, eat, breathe and sleep the religion.  You are cut off from society in general and from family if you join later in life.  There is constant direction to limit severely any association with non-JWs whether family or coworkers or schoolmates.  Higher education is denounced constantly as well, so most have no marketable skills when they leave, unless they had an education BEFORE they joined.  But if you were a cop or ran a smoke shop, you will have to give up certain careers to join them.
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Re: JW's in the news again
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2018, 05:53:57 pm »
1) Most of the stuff listed is the same as with other religions.  The exception is shunning which seems so cruel to me.  But do people really do it ?  It would be easy to get around.

In my case, I only ever tried to contact one person and she talked to me, we exchanged fond words but then she asked me not to call again.  Yes, it is hard to lose your entire social support network, but I understood that was going to happen when I made the decision.  I didn't realize it at the time but my entire life had been about losing people and so for me, the shunning aspect was not that hard.  For others it really is devastating.

I was involved with three different congregations during my time as a JW.  Other than my "worldly" husband messing around with Elder's wives, I did not see or hear any kind of impropriety.  But the way they handled my ex-husband's shenanigans was probably the last straw in my disillusionment with them.

Offline kimmy

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Re: JW's in the news again
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2018, 01:02:30 am »
1) Most of the stuff listed is the same as with other religions.  The exception is shunning which seems so cruel to me.  But do people really do it ?  It would be easy to get around.

2) Again... same as the others.

The JWs and Scientologists aren't the only ones who use shunning:
http://www.slate.com/articles/life/faithbased/2012/02/mars_hill_pastor_mark_driscoll_faces_backlash_over_church_discipline_case_.html


And in regard to covering up abuse, there has been a major controversy recently regarding Paige Patterson, one of the major figures in the Southern Baptist movement.  Patterson had been facing allegations that he counseled battered women to stay with their abusers during his time as a minister. Once the **** started hitting the fan on that front, more accusations came forward, more controversial statements from his past were uncovered, and it snowballed. He issued an "sorry if you misunderstood me" type apology, which didn't make many people happy.  A week ago he was removed as President of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, one of the major Southern Baptist colleges, and made "President Emeritus".   Then another accusation, this one from a former student of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where Patterson was president before he moved to the Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary.  She said that when she went to the school administration to report a **** by a fellow student, she had been shamed for being out on a date with a young man, and that she had been pressured to forgive him and to not go to the police.  This was the straw that broke the camel's back. SWBTS investigated, SEBTS confirmed the story, and today they axed Patterson from his "President Emeritus" position.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2018/05/30/southern-baptist-seminary-fires-paige-patterson-over-handling-of-sex-abuse-case/?utm_term=.ff1ed9efa935

Patterson felt that protecting the abuser's future, or the school's reputation, or both, was more important than pursuing justice for the victim.


The Catholic coverups are well known. The Mormons have been in the news recently for sex abuse coverups.   In the #MeToo controversy over Scientologist actor/has-been Danny Masterson, one allegation was that the Church of Scientology used its influence within the LAPD to stall the investigation. It was also claimed that the Scientologists pressured his victims to not report him to the police:
http://www.newsweek.com/who-chrissie-carnell-bixler-danny-mastersons-****-accuser-speaks-out-713498



 -k