Letter to Michel van Hilten


Dear brother of Hilten,

Yes, you read that correctly, a letter from an active witness, admittedly a critical, but nonetheless one who still actively attends meetings and submits field service notes. So be careful with it.

Four days after the 2e Chamber unanimously advocated an independent investigation into sexual abuse within the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses was to read your reaction in the Saturday edition of 'Dagblad van het Noorden'. Of course I hope that you have been carefully quoted, but on that basis I would like to give you a compliment in advance. Entirely to the congress theme of last weekend in Swifterbant "Be brave" you have put your word into the press. You certainly have not lacked courage, but with due care. "Shoot with a cannon on a mosquito" You called the wish of our entire parliament to conduct an investigation into the hundreds of reports of sexual abuse within the organization. Apart from the fact that your words bear witness to a disrespectful attitude towards the authorities (what else was there in Romans 13?), You also put a large group of vulnerable persons away as an insignificant mosquito. People who daily experience the consequences of being abused.

"They hired a lawyer and work through the media," you complained, referring to the Foundation Reclaimed Voices. Dear Mr. van Hilten, you who as a lawyer also represent the legal department in the Dutch branch in Emmen should know better. We are talking here about a foundation that, among other things, makes efforts to persuade victims to report this to the police. A foundation that takes no pleasure in the fact that in the most favorable case, pedophiles are often only excluded and can continue to look for the next victim. We are talking about a Foundation that has to compete with a Board which so far has not indicated in any way what their conditions are in order to allow an independent investigation. A Board that calls that Stichting RV would not know the facts but would not even like to investigate the same facts yourself!

In 'Dagblad van het Noorden' you say further, I quote: “Reclaimed Voices things can only come up with 301 if those issues have been removed from their context, by double counting or other types of issues are counted as abuses ”. Michel I don't have to tell you as a lawyer that someone who makes such a thing should at least make an attempt to substantiate and prove such accusations?

Dear Michel, try to imagine the following scenario as an experiment

As a little girl you have been seriously abused by an elder in the past and you had the misfortune that there were never two witnesses. After years of having the courage to bring out the whole story, you are then told that from that moment on you can not talk to anyone about it and that you have to put the matter to rest in Jehovah's hands.

In the long meantime you have to watch how the same pervert leads the Watchtower Study on Sunday morning. Eventually you will hear through the Foundation Reclaimed Voices and you decide to tell your story to them. Fortunately, you soon notice that these people take you seriously and do everything to offer you the necessary help. Just when the girl, partly due to their efforts, has recovered somewhat, she reads your words in the newspaper about "shooting with a cannon at a mosquito" one bad morning.

Who will it say Michel, who knows, there may or may not be such a dossier somewhere with such a content in some royal hall or not. Without a proper independent research we will certainly not know it.

You know Michel, ill-considered words are like stabbing, but the tongue of the sage is healing. I give it to you for a moment. After all, it is in the Bible.

Dear Michel, I would have preferred not to have sent this letter to you anonymously, no, I would rather simply mention it in full with name and address. Finally, I am naturally direct.

Yet I am sufficiently realistic to realize that there is no room for such frankness in our organization. Tell me, how hypocritical can you be by claiming in the media that we are not an apathetic organization without any self-reflection? Is there anywhere on the website jw.org to read how many millions in recent years volunteer money has been spent on things like that of Candaca Conti of Jose Lopez?Has there ever been an article in the literature in which the organization humbly recruited the penitent on the basis of the final conclusions of the Royal Commission in Australia about the serious shortcomings of the policy on sexual abuse?

The apostle Paul knew exactly what he was talking about in Galatians 6 verse 7: “Don't fool yourself. God does not let himself be mocked. Because what you sow you will reap. ”A response back in the form of an open letter to the Foundation Reclaimed Voices I would certainly appreciate it. It would certainly help me and many others to let go of the image of an apatic and an organization without any self-reflection.


The Speaking Witness (*)

(*) The Speaking Witness is an active Jehovah's witness who is connected to one of the local congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses in the Netherlands. He is critical of how Jehovah's Witnesses react to the media reports about sexual abuse and shows that there are also people in the organization who believe that the subject of sexual abuse should be dealt with differently.

Blogs from the Speaking Witness articulate the personal opinion of the author. This personal opinion does not automatically correspond with the opinion of the Board of the Foundation Reclaimed Voices((8


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