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Does the Watchtower Protect

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Right on the heels of the Catholic Church’s child molestation charges, comes another incident involving a similar situation. The May 28th, NBC, Dateline episode uncovered the problem of pedophiles involved in the Watchtower Organization. According to factual information, Dateline revealed the growing and rampant problem of child molestation and subsequent cover-up within the Kingdom Halls across America.

The problem surfaced into national exposure after a young woman, Erica Garza, accused friend and fellow Witness, Manuel Beliz, of sexually assaulting her since the time she was 5 years old. What happened to Beliz after the accusation? Nothing! You see, the Watchtower’s rule is to not go to the worldly authorities when this kind of an accusation occurs, but to reconcile it within the Society’s own judicial system. This basically means that the alleged offender is taken before a body of elders and asked, “Did you do it?” If the answer is no, the suspected wrongdoer is free to go. Why? Because the Watchtower appeals to 1 Timothy 5:19, which says that there needs to be 2 or 3 witnesses in the case of an accusation made against an older man. To add insult to injury, Ms. Garza, the victim, was warned by the local elders in her congregation, after waiting 5 months for Watchtower justice, that if she were to bring the matter to the police, she would be disfellowshipped, even though the Society says they do not discourage victims from reporting abuse to the authorities. The result: a hurting and silenced victim and a safe and sound pedophile loose within the ranks of the Jehovah’s Witness congregation. In the end, Beliz finally was taken to court and convicted after Erica Garza broke silence and went to the authorities. However, Erica’s father was removed from the position of Elder and her family was subsequently shunned by former Witness friends.

 Inside Watchtower Headquarters

Former Watchtower researcher, Barbara Anderson, who worked at Watchtower headquarters, was asked in the early 90’s, by the Society, to look into a case involving sexual abuse. What did she find? According to Dateline, “Hundreds of molestation cases on record, all kept secret in church files--secret not only from the outside world, but from the members themselves, the families, the mothers and fathers and children who trust the church is looking out for them.” Why? Again the Watchtower considers all worldly authorities to be part of Satan’s organization so they deal with the issues internally. And without the necessary 2 or 3 witnesses, the perpetrator is let off scott-free. If one thinks about it, in how many cases of sexual abuse is there even 1 witness? Basically, none. 

What About the Law?

What about the 16 states that require clergy members to report any and all suspected child abuse? Well, Watchtower officials say they comply with the laws of the land in this  matter. Just to test them, Dateline asked for examples of cases where the Watchtower did turn one of its own into the authorities. The result: after 6 months the Society finally sent Dateline 2 cases where it reported the incident to the officials; however, in both of these cases the victims were Jehovah's Witnesses, but their alleged molesters were not. They were non-believers from outside the Kingdom Hall. Is this a double standard, freely turning outsiders in but protecting its own? Is the Watchtower so afraid of blemishing its own organization’s reputation that it does so at the expense of the pain and hurt of families and even innocent children? After further investigation, Dateline did manage to find just 2 cases where the Society took an active role in turning in one of its own. That’s just 2 cases out of hundreds of cases on Watchtower record.

Are we saying that Jehovah’s Witnesses are evil people who gloat at the thought of pedophiles running free within their structure? No. Most Witnesses would be saddened or sickened by the thought of a child being abused. However, is it time to change Watchtower policy to focus on justice and healing for the wounded instead of protection for the perpetrator?

Finally, this whole issue proves one point. No matter how many meetings you go to, doors you knock on, magazines you place or people you convert, one thing is clear. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked”. The only way to be cured of our wicked heart condition is to get a new one by asking God to save us from condemnation and by putting all of our faith for salvation in Jesus’ finished work on Calvary. By doing so you will be born again and receive a new heart and a new mind. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new!”

Tower To Truth

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