I feel sick to my stomach. And sad. But mostly sick. Well, and sad too. I just read two more articles about men in JW leadership that got away with multiple and repeated sexual abuse of children due largely to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society’s policy on handling all such incidents internally and not reporting to the police. You can read about them here and here.
|JW Sexual Scandal Headline Collage by FVN|
From what I can see this is the tip of the iceberg. These and numerous other articles also detail the WT Society’s failure to provide court ordered documents, cooperate with authorities and take responsibility for their policies. In addition, they have chosen to settle multiple cases out of court for undisclosed sums of money, which would indicate there is truth to the allegations. In one case the Elder was finally caught in the act of sexually abusing a young girl, convicted and jailed.
As one reviews the cases the leaders of the organization appear to care more about protecting their public image then protecting children, they prioritize hiding sin over repenting, and they seem to value maintaining an image more than coming clean and changing. This is the way corrupt politicians and corporations operate and is completely counter to the God of the Bible. He is committed to holiness, honesty, integrity and purity.
What is so sad is that Jehovah’s Witnesses continue to work street corners and neighborhoods offering literature and book studies they claim come from God’s only true religious group, unaware of their organizations history of deception. Their primary goal is to attract more people who, like themselves, will become first and foremost loyal to ‘Jehovah’s organization.’ In my experience many, maybe even the majority, of these JWs are sincere and dedicated. Yet their sincerity and loyalty does not keep them from being sincerely wrong and deceived. The most loving thing we can do is offer them the chance to break free from a morally and spiritually corrupt religion so they can turn to Jesus.
Connecting with the JW at your Door
So the next time you have an opportunity to encounter a JW, or walk by one of their literature stands maybe try this, or a variation of this series of questions:
- Are you one of Jehovah’s Witnesses? [Yes]
- Do you believe Jehovah is a God of holiness, honesty and purity? [Yes]
- Do you believe it is right for Christians or those who claim to be followers of Jehovah and his son Jesus Christ to be members of morally impure or corrupt religious or political corporations? [No].
- What do you think about the sexual scandal that has impacted the Roman Catholic Church?
- What do you think of the idea that the Roman Catholic Church is God's only true religion?
At this point, feel free to find points of agreement with them. Then begin a series of follow-up questions.
- May I ask you a favor? [Sure / Yes]
- Is your literature published by the Watchtower Society [Yes]
- Are you aware that this organization has covered up and enabled sexual abusers with their corporate policies in ways that are similar to what has happened with the Roman Catholic Church?
- Does it seem right that an organization that does this sort of thing should associate itself with Jehovah’s name?
- If you are truly loyal to Jehovah God would you please consider doing three things? [Suspicious, what?]
- First, investigate these abuse allegations and the Watchtower’s response for yourself.
- Second, please stop referring to the Watchtower Society as Jehovah's organization.
- Third, take time to read the Bible like a child in a version other than your Bible (the New World Translation). Experience Jehovah’s word without the influence of any organizational literature. Because if it turns out the Watchtower is just another corrupt, performance-based human organization, its Bible interpretations are suspect and quite possible in error. Don’t you think you’d be better off trusting in God’s Holy Spirit to guide you to see and understand the truth? I would recommend Paul’s letter to the Romans and John’s Gospel as good places to start.
- And again, please, please stop referring to the Watchtower Society as ‘Jehovah’s organization,’ at least until you’ve investigated the matter for yourself. I think we would both agree that it would be a terrible thing to associate Jehovah’s holy name and character with a morally corrupt organization.
- Thank you so much. Please feel free to come back again if you need a safe place to explore and talk about the truth.
Compassion not Outrage is the Key
The key to being effective with this conversation is leading from a heart that is truly broken and compassionate for the individual JW. The extent of the Watchtower organization’s involvement in this sexual abuse, as well as its history of false prophecies, manipulation and false doctrine, is often largely unknown to the average JW. So if your questions provoke a strong or even hostile response, that is a good sign. It means this matter has touched a nerve and made an impact. Remain calm and patient regardless of the reaction. We must remember that the Watchtower’s actions should provoke moral outrage, but it is inappropriate and ineffective for us to direct this at the person with whom we are speaking. They are most likely neither aware of the breadth of the scandal nor responsible for it.
The greater the depth of our love and compassion for people, the deeper the seeds of truth will sink into their heart and mind. Once planted there, the Holy Spirit can begin a work of conviction that will yield the fruit of repentance and faith. We want to come alongside the JW as their friend and ally in their own quest for truth.
Want to study more about the Jehovah's Witness religious system from a biblical perspective? Find more information here: http://wit.irr.org/
And as always your comments and follow-up questions are welcome.