'Hypocrite' Jehovah's Witnesses
 abandon secret link with UN

Stephen Bates, religious affairs correspondent
Monday October 15, 2001

The Jehovah's Witnesses have hurriedly disaffiliated from the United Nations within days of a Guardian story in which members accused the sect of hypocrisy for supporting an organisation it has repeatedly denounced privately.

After the article last Monday, the organisation's New York based hierarchy pre-empted a UN inquiry by agreeing to dissociate the Witnesses from an organisation which it holds to be the scarlet beast named in the Book of Revelation.

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, as the sect is formally known, has 6m members worldwide and 130,000 in Britain. It had been secretly affiliated to the UN as a non-governmental organisation for 10 years.

Recognised organisations are supposed to demonstrate that they share the UN's objectives, but Witnesses are instead told by elders to regard it as "a disgusting thing in the sight of God and his people" for allegedly aspiring to world domination like Babylon the Great, the beast in Revelation.

The sect does not believe in participating in government and initially strove to play down or deny the evidence of the UN's website, which lists it as one of 1,500 affiliated NGOs.

Those bringing the evidence to light were accused of apostacy. Disaffiliated members become known informally, like the rest of humanity, as "bird seed" in line with biblical prophesy of the fate of non-believers, whose corpses will be pecked bare by crows.

Within hours of the article's appearance on the Guardian website on Monday and its posting on a Jehovah's Witnesses bulletin board, more than 14,000 people across the world had read it.

By yesterday there were 353 official posts and 325 message boards discussing the article and its revelations, with Witnesses in the US demanding to see copies of the paper.


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