A Jehovah's Witness writes a letter to all Jehovah's Witnesses in the Netherlands
LETTER TO ALL JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES IN THE NETHERLANDS OF A JEHOVAH'S WITNESS
(this letter can also be downloaded as a PDF [only in Dutch])
The Netherlands, 1 January 2019
Dear sister, dear brother,
Of course you will not have missed out on how in the past year 'our own organization' has repeatedly turned negative in the media both internationally and nationally in connection with the policy on sexual abuse.
I am writing to you all to let you know that I am worried, angry and sad. This is because, despite the fact that the Society has already paid millions of dollars in damages and settlements, the discreet Slave still does not want to acknowledge that they have a big problem regarding their sexual abuse policy. It is alarming that in the Netherlands too the responsible brothers refuse to give openness about the fact that for years abuse files are withheld and any cooperation with the law is refused, in bitter weather of the whole 13th chapter of Romans.
In the meantime, all of this has resulted in police raids being carried out at no fewer than seven locations in the Netherlands on November XNUMXth at, for example, kingdom halls such as in Dordrecht and the head office in Emmen. Two months earlier it was already known that in Montana (US) a judge demanded more than XNUMX million dollars from the Society . due to the neglect of justice from serious criminal offenses. In their own country this summer it became known that Jehovah's Witnesses refused in a case against one Samet G. to provide crucial files to the Public Prosecution Service, which in all likelihood led to a lower penalty demand for the perpetrator. How do ordinary sisters and brothers respond to this type of message?
It has struck me that most of my sisters and brothers with all this information lapse into an uncomfortable silence or try to ignore it, when this subject is mentioned anyway, under the guise of 'having something more positive'.
Times have clearly changed. Where a decade ago the same subject was referred to the Babylonian fruits of the Catholic Church almost with an almost cynical enthusiasm, both in lectures and at the coffee table, just now that it is so poignantly topical to us, the subject suddenly seems no longer an item. to be. On the rare occasions when the subject does come up, perhaps because of a recent newspaper report or a critical householder, most of our responses seem to fall roughly into four categories. After describing these four typical responses, I will attempt to demonstrate why the responses mentioned herein are ultimately destructive and seriously hinder an adequate approach to the actual problem.
The four reactions are:
- We never know what's true about it. There will probably have been something completely wrong sometimes but let's keep trust in the organization.
- Let's focus on something more positive, we cannot do anything about it anyway.
- You know that the entire media is in the hands of Satan and that in this time of the end we can expect this kind of slander from people who hate us. Please do not pay attention to rumors and slander yhat apostates and enemies of the truth only spread for the purpose of stumbling us. You certainly do not believe such nonsense? If that is the case, Satan will already have you!
- Of course this happening is not ok, but the brothers are also imperfect people and Jehovah will set the matters straight in due time, let's just continue to rely on that.
Reasons why these reactions are actually destructive:
- The argument of ignorance can not be called valid. As Christians we are encouraged by the Bible to investigate all things (1 Thess. 5: 21). Of course no one knows all the details in every abuse case, but every witness can in principle become aware of the policies used by the slave class and of the problems that this policy has caused and has put pedophiles and rapists on the map in recent years. The website http://www.reclaimedvoices.org offers a wealth of information about this, while the national newspaper Trouw on its website has collected a well-organized file of the most important national news facts of the past year. Anyone who might be interested in more international news, I refer to the website of the fully independent operating Australian Royal commission who already established in 2015 that more than 1000 abuse cases had not been reported to the judiciary by the Jehovah's Witnesses and the reporting on this in Trouw. The argument of ignorance has thus been dropped, as is the confidence in the organization's dealings with sexual abuse. After all, this trust was based on the above-mentioned ignorance. Ignorance because to this day the Society has not published any news or statement about its own part in this. Trust that has been violated by the lack of accountability for sometimes lofty amounts of settlements and compensations that have been paid from your voluntary contributions! An organization that does not provide openness on this point does not deserve to demand a blind trust from its members.
- Of course, there are many more positive things in the world than something as sad as sexual abuse. Of course, we prefer to conduct a Bible study or prefer to chat with our sisters and brothers at the coffee table about the upcoming international convention in the Netherlands. Understandable. But is it not exactly the task of every Christian to argue against all the currents for those who may have experienced sexual violence, whether or not committed by someone within the organization? Do we not all have the Christian duty of love to listen to their stories, without first imposing on these people the obligation to make an obligatory walk to the elders by whom they have in some cases just been abused? When we say that we should leave this to Jehovah or rather to 'the appointed brothers', how do we view all such texts as Proverbs 21: 13; Philippians 2: 4; Galaten 6: 2; James 2: 26 and Matth. 25: 36? Where is our Christian responsibility then?
- If all the media were really in the hands of Satan, how reliable are the by the Watchtower en Awake! cited abuse stories from the camp of the Catholic Church? (See eg the Watchtower 22 january 1989 and the Awake! of April 8, 1997 as two of the many examples of articles that have appeared over the decades). These are all based on reports in the media. Let us remember that sexual abuse is so widespread, in our country alone, that an average of three people report to the Center for Sexual Violence every day, including an average of one child. It would be unrealistic, given the number of reports that the Foundation alone Reclaimed Voices has received (about the 300) this problem does not play with the Jehovah's Witnesses in the Netherlands. Would it rather not make sense that Satan has blinded some of us to harsh reality and uses a kind of cognitive dissonance among many?
- This is not just about imperfection, sexual abuse is a serious crime where victims can sometimes remain traumatized throughout their lives. The whole 13 chapter of Romans also shows that there is no reason for Jehovah to disobey him in this matter. That Jehovah will soon set everything right, I am indeed convinced of that, just as I am also convinced that the Christian duties in point 2 concern us all.
Brothers and sisters, please break thesilence now, bring this topic up for discusion in your congregation and do not hesitate to enter into the conversation!
Please help spread this letter to as many sisters and brothers as possible, maybe via Facebook or simply print it out or read it out. Let us ensure that we can surrender the victims, the injured sheep among us, with love and care in this way. If you want to know what else you can do concretely, I would advise you to contact the only foundation in the Netherlands and Belgium that specifically works for the victims of sexual abuse within Jehovah's organization: RECLAIMED VOICES.
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 express the personal opinion of the author. This personal opinion does not automatically correspond with the opinion of the board of Stichting Reclaimed Voices.
A matter of time until he is excluded
Translation in portuguese:
It's a very beautiful letter. Unfortunately, I think Anton is right. (“A matter of time until he is disfellowshipped”) On the other hand, I think that now that the writer recognizes that the society is quite wrong on some points, he will discover that it is so on many more points. . In any case, a lot of strength, Speaking Witness! It's great that there are 'sheep' who don't just shout “Meeeh”.
I believe this very thing needs to change in the jws minds! My son was molested by a family member who was a jw as were we. When my husband and I approached the elsewhere and I was adamant about going to the authorities about it, I was told that I was causing a rift in the congregation! My husband was continually told basically to get me under control! I saw this whole matter out through the court system and the person who molested my son was sent to prison the mother of this perpetrator continued to go to the elsewhere in our congregation stating I was causing a family rift ... tough my son was forever changed by that whole experience I will not now or ever say jws did the right thing! They kept telling me the court process would cause problems for.our family the congregation and Jehovah! I will always know that despite what anyone else knew or felt about the situation I knew I did what was right for my son!
What strikes me in the awakened article: the organization knows very well how to act when children are molested by perpetrators outside the municipality, they have to be told that they can report according to the article. But apparently completely different opinions apply within the organization.
You hit the nail on the head with this letter. I read your blogs with pain in my heart every time. In conversation on this topic with my relatives who are in the truth, you will indeed get 1 of the 4 responses.
I think the organization is throwing out its own glasses with their decision not to cooperate and to be so heartless and arrogant about the victims. The comparison with the Pharisees is necessary.
I have been inactive for many years now and have always had the doubts whether I should not go back to 'the truth', but this whole course of events has made me fall from my eyes.
I find it incredibly clever that despite your sharp insight into the failure of the discreet slave in this sad situation, you can still hold onto your faith. I wish you much strength in staying on.
And for everyone involved reclaimed voices: hold on. I wish for you to be heard and seen and for justice to take its course.
I left JW in 2015. with Letter of dissociation verified by Notary Public.
Greetings from Zagreb, Croatia.
The Governing Body can no longer hide the fact that they protect pedophiles from the authorities.
Members are always told that they should never be reproached to the Governing Body and the Organization. This culture of silence has caused so much suffering and destroyed countless lives.
In my last Traveling Overseer School I attended, we were told that the victims of molestation and their families should be repossed to the police elsewhere. This is hypocritical and mental abuse and coercion placed upon the victims.
Jesus said that true Christians are identified by love and mercy (John 13: 35; Matthew 23: 23) How is it loving and showing disfellowshipped? How is it loving to refuse to turn into information that can help incarcerate pedophile and protect children from future abuse?
Why does the Governing Body refuse to obey the situation when the Romans chapter 13 says that Christians must submit to the governmental authorities?
The actions of the Governing Body clearly show that they do not care about protecting children or seeking justice. Matthew 6: 33 Says God blesses those that seek the Kingdom AND JUSTICE.
I am not sure where you are getting your information, but good topic. I need to spend some time learning much more or understanding more. Thanks for fantastic info I was looking for this information for my mission.
Amazing letter! I feel the same. I recognize the problem. We get these different reactions because so many do not understand this problem. We need to talk with others openly if we can. It takes mature people to recognize because we do so much, but this problem is so huge, so much has to be done. So we all need to pray to God to have more faith and patience and understanding and love and forgiveness, for the best possible outcome.
I cannot thank you enough for the post. Really looking forward to reading more. Because more.
Hi i am an ex elder ex special pioneer and know all the ins and outs on how to deal with these cases. yes it is sad that these things are happing i also tried to correct a lot of things but to no avail. i do not blame Jehovah just some elsewhere who try to impose their man made rules and they are paying with the hard earned money or fellow witnesses