“Really, then, by their fruits you will recognize those men.” (Mt 7:20)
The Bible instructs us that love “does not rejoice over unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth.” We therefore take no pleasure in any organizational failings revealed via this testimony, but we must rejoice that the truth is finally made manifest. (1Co 13:6 NWT)
Geoffrey Jackson Takes the Stand
Brother Jackson referred to the Governing Body as “custodians of our doctrine.” When asked about the role of the Governing Body by Mr. Stewart, he read Acts 6:3, 4:
“So, brothers, select for yourselves seven reputable men from among you, full of spirit and wisdom, that we may appoint them over this necessary matter; 4 but we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” (Ac 6:3, 4)
Mr. Stewart astutely pointed out to Brother Jackson that these verses suggest “that a broader congregation of believers would make the selection rather than the seven themselves.”
Mr. Stewart’s analysis is accurate. Indeed, verse 5 continues by saying that what the apostles said “was pleasing to the whole multitude, and they selected” the seven men who would become the first ministerial servants.
This will not be the first time that Mr. Stewart, a worldly lawyer,[i] corrects Brother Jackson’s scriptural reasoning. Rather than acknowledge the truth of his statement, Brother Jackson responds somewhat condescendingly:
“Well, this is one of the difficulties we have when a secular commission is trying to analyze a religious subject…that…I humbly would like to mention that point. My understanding of the Scriptures is that these ones were appointed by the apostles. Your point is well taken, and let’s assume hypothetically that others selected the seven men but it was at the direction of the apostles.” [Italics added]
As you will see, this will not be the only time Brother Jackson’s hides behind a misapplication of the word “hypothetical”. There is nothing hypothetical about what Mr. Stewart concludes from a straightforward reading of this verse. Without ambiguity, the Bible states that the seven men were selected by the congregation, not the apostles. The apostles approved the congregation’s choices.
(This would suggest that the whole congregation should have a say on who gets put forward for the office of overseer, and that this should be done in an open forum. How different our congregations might be if this Bible practice were being followed worldwide.)
When asked pointedly by Mr. Stewart if the Governing Body is appointed by Jehovah God, Brother Jackson did not respond directly, but instead made reference to the way the elders are appointed by Holy Spirit in that they meet the spiritual requirements for the office to which they are called. Then he explained that this is the way of the Governing Body as well. Earlier, when asked directly, he explained that new members are added when the Governing Body, following consultation with their helpers, decides that they are required. Thus, we can see by his own admission that the Governing Body is appointed in exactly the same way that the elders are appointed – by men.
Governing Body Unwittingly Condemned
Mr. Stewart then asked pointedly if the Governing Body views itself as Jehovah’s spokespeople on earth.
Brother Jackson does not vacillate this time, but states, “That, I think, would seem to be quite presumptuous, to say that we are the only spokesperson that God is using.”
With those words, Brother Jackson is unwittingly labeling the Governing Body as presumptuous. Here is the official position of the Governing Body with regards to its role before God. [Italics added]
“By word or action, may we never challenge the channel of communication that Jehovah is using today.” (w09 11/15 p. 14 par. 5 Treasure Your Place in the Congregation)
“Today, we may not clearly see why some organizational matters are handled in a certain way, but we have every reason to trust in Jehovah’s guidance through his faithful channel of communication.” (w07 12/15 p. 20 par. 16 “Stand Firm and See the Salvation of Jehovah”)
“Jehovah gives us sound counsel through his Word and through his organization, using the publications provided by “the faithful and discreet slave.” (Matthew 24:45; 2 Timothy 3:16) How foolish to reject good advice and insist on our own way! We “must be swift about hearing” when Jehovah, “the One teaching men knowledge,” counsels us through his channel of communication.” (w03 3/15 p. 27 ‘The Lips of Truth Will Endure Forever’)
“That faithful slave is the channel through which Jesus is feeding his true followers in this time of the end.” (w13 7/15 p. 20 par. 2 “Who Really Is the Faithful and Discreet Slave?”)
Theocratic appointments come from Jehovah through his Son and God’s visible earthly channel, “the faithful and discreet slave” and its Governing Body.” (w01 1/15 p. 16 par. 19 Overseers and Ministerial Servants Theocratically Appointed)
We could quibble that the word “spokesperson” is not used in any of these references, but what is a spokesperson if not a channel of communication? It is therefore presumptuous, to use Brother Jackson’s own words, for the Governing Body to set itself up as God’s appointed channel of communication – i.e. his spokesman – in our day.
A Disingenuous Statement
Quoting from the branch manual, Mr. Stewart showed that branch members are expected to follow the procedures and guidelines that originate from the Governing Body. If Brother Jackson were to accept this as policy prima facie, he would be making the Governing Body responsible for all branch decisions, policies, and procedures. Therefore, he does not answer the question directly, and it is a challenge for the listener to understand what he is actually getting at in this part of his testimony. Nevertheless, Mr. Stewart seeking to nail down the position of the Governing Body, again quotes from the branch manual showing that the branch committee members are expected to set the example by obeying the direction from the Governing Body. Mr. Jackson counters this by stating that the direction is Bible based, and were the Governing Body to deviate from what the Bible says, it would be expected that the branch committee members would not obey.
Though they may sound noble, these are just words. They do not describe the reality of the current situation in the Organization. There have been many examples of men who in good conscience have resisted direction from the Governing Body because they could not see a scriptural basis for it, and in fact felt it went against Scripture. These men were labelled as apostates and were thrown out of Bethel and the congregation. So while Brother Jackson’s words are high sounding, the fruits which the men of the Governing Body and those who adhere to their direction have produced tell a different story.
The Question of Women as Judges
The Chair next addresses Brother Jackson to ask him if there is any biblical impediment to a judicial determination being made by a body which includes women. What his Honor is asking is whether sisters can be used to determine the validity of an accusation made by a female against a male in the congregation, leaving the male elders to decide whether to disfellowship or not.
After a long winded response, Brother Jackson stated that “biblically speaking the role of judges in the congregation lays with men. That’s what the Bible says and that’s what we endeavor to follow.”
His Honor then asked for the biblical reference to support the doctrine. Brother Jackson seems flummoxed by this initially, then he stated that he believed Deuteronomy to be one of the biblical references that prove this; after which he said that, “definitely when it is speaking about judges at the Gates in Israel, that is older men.”
Brother Jackson seems to be forgetting the words of our own publications as well as that of the inspired word of God which clearly state that a woman, Deborah, served as a judge in Israel. This makes it clear that not only older men, but women have also served in that capacity.
“Debʹo·rah is a prophetess. Jehovah gives her information about the future, and then she tells the people what Jehovah says. Debʹo·rah is also a judge. She sits under a certain palm tree in the hill country, and people come to her to get help with their problems.” (my story 50 Two Brave Women – My Book of Bible Stories) [Italics added.]
“Now Debʹo·rah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapʹpi·doth, was judging Israel at that time. 5 She used to sit under Debʹo·rah’s palm tree between Raʹmah and Bethʹel in the mountainous region of Eʹphra·im; the Israelites would go up to her for judgment.” (Judges 4:4, 5 NWT) [Italics added.]
Regrettably, the Chair chose not to point this oversight out to him.
An Entrenched Position Made Manifest
Brother Jackson’s position is based on the belief that only men can serve as judges. It is true that in the male dominated society of ancient Israel, this was a role traditionally held by men. However, the fact that Jehovah chose a woman for this role in the case of Deborah should indicate to us that it is not how men see that should guide us, but how Jehovah sees. In the Christian congregation, counsel is given under inspiration to show that older women have a teaching role in the congregation as well, particularly as it relates to younger women.
“Likewise, let the older women be reverent in behavior, not slanderous, not enslaved to a lot of wine, teachers of what is good, 4 so that they may advise the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sound in mind, chaste, working at home, good, subjecting themselves to their own husbands, so that the word of God may not be spoken of abusively.” (Tit 2:3-5 NWT)
This counsel is strikingly similar to the counsel given to the older men in the congregation. However, all of this is ignored because the position of the organization has become entrenched. This was evident throughout the hearing with the repeated statement by Jackson that if the Australian government were to enforce a law requiring mandatory reporting, Jehovah’s Witnesses would comply. He states more than once that they await the court’s ruling on this matter. At one point, he even says that the government would help out the witnesses were it to make reporting mandatory. One can’t help but wonder if he is speaking for himself at this point. Perhaps he personally feels frustrated by the intransigence of our official position and sees no way out through internal means.
This admission is stunning in light of the role the Governing Body assumes for itself. It implies that we really won’t comply on this unless forced to. If changes are indeed beneficial, as Brother Jackson points out repeatedly, then why would the Governing Body wait on a worldly authority before complying itself? Why are Jehovah’s Witnesses who see themselves as the one true religion on the face of the earth not taking the lead in this so as to give the world a good witness? If Jehovah were truly using the Governing Body as his channel of communication, would he wait on a secular authority to change his Organization’s policy?
A Disconnect with Reality
What is evident from the following exchanges is that any changes are unlikely to be made unless the Governing Body feels forced to do so. The Governing Body’s view is based on the premise of a reality which simply does not exist.
JACKSON: “The main thing for us is helping, supporting…and women will be involved with it. You see the judicial committee is not judging the victim. The elders in the congregation and the women in the congregation have the obligation to give full support to the victim.”
[This implies that the women in the congregation would actually know a case is being handled, when in reality, the secrecy surrounding all judicial matters makes that highly unlikely.]
CHAIR: “That may be so, but the point I was seeking to have you address was: Can you understand how a woman might feel when allegations which she brings forward against a man in the congregation are considered and judged entirely by men?”
JACKSON: “Obviously I’m not a woman, so I would not like to speak on their behalf but the two of us, I’m sure, could understand from what has been expressed and believed that perhaps there would be a hesitancy there.”
CHAIR: “And can I add this to the question for a woman who brings an allegation against an elder who is a friend of the others who must judge the truth or otherwise of the allegation: Can you understand how that person must feel?”
JACKSON: “I can try to understand it, your honor, yes, but again could I ask, and again this is not my field of activity, but as far as I understand, we have a process in place whereby a neutral member, like a circuit overseer, will be involved with such a sensitive case.”
CHAIR: “It would be the case, would it not, that even a circuit overseer is going to know an elder well?”
JACKSON: “They should be familiar, but they also know the victim well. You see it’s not taking into consideration the spiritual responsibility. See these elders are not paid to do their job. They do it because of love and concern and wanting to shepherd the flock. And so I think what we’re missing is the spiritual element to this whole thing, where people are comfortable talking to one another.”
[This is simply not true. Throughout his three-year assignment, the circuit overseer spends all of five days twice a year in the congregation. He spends a significant amount of that time working with the elders and the pioneers. The chances that he would know a child abuse victim well are very slim. Brother Jackson seems to believe in a congregation Nirvana that simply does not exist. There are elders who truly love the brothers and have genuine concern for the flock. These ones want to imitate the Christ in shepherding the flock with humility, but they are in a distinct minority. The evidence before the commission – over 1000 cases – shows that the system does not make it comfortable for people to talk with one another.]
CHAIR: “Well, I don’t know if you heard the evidence of the survivors here. Did you hear that evidence?”
JACKSON: “No, unfortunately that was a bad time for me in caring for my father, but it will look forward to a summary of it.”
[Brother Jackson joins the club of Australian elders who have not even taken the time to read the publicly available transcripts detailing the evidence that the survivors have put before the court. Given his office of oversight, the importance of these hearings, and his repeated assurances that the most important thing for elders is the care and welfare of the victim, it seems like a hollow excuse to suggest he couldn’t have found twenty minutes over the past few weeks to read the account of even one abuse survivor.]
Evidence that years of indoctrination training to get Jehovah’s Witnesses to believe they are better than everyone else affects the indoctrinators as well, as this next exchange demonstrates.
STEWART: “But you will accept, I’m sure, that in many instances where a woman, or young woman, makes such an allegation she would feel a lot more comfortable having to make the allegation and explain the circumstances to another woman?”
JACKSON: “I can’t say that I would give a comment on that Mr. Stewart, because, you see, it takes away the consideration of the relationships in our congregations. It’s not like your churches where people just go to church and don’t talk to one another. Their congregations do become familiar and there can be a friendship, so I agree that the point you’re trying to get at, we need to know what the victim is comfortable in doing with regard to whom to speak to.” [Boldface added.]
There is ample evidence that Brother Jackson’s blanket condemnation of all other churches is just plain wrong. But even were it right, it hardly does the JW cause any service to state it in a public forum.
Brother Jackson Explains Why We Do Not Report Crimes
Brother Jackson frequently qualifies his answers relating to judicial policies by stating that it is not his field, yet when asked why we appear to have a practice of not reporting incidents of child abuse, he seems remarkably well versed. He explains the reason as the result of a “dilemma” that the elders face. According to Brother Jackson, this dilemma has to do with how to apply the Bible counsel found at Proverbs 25:8-10 and 1 Peter 5:2,3.
“Do not rush into a legal dispute, For what will you do later if your neighbor humiliates you? 9 Plead your case with your neighbor, But do not reveal what you were told confidentially, 10 So that the one listening will not put you to shame And you spread a bad report that cannot be recalled.” (Pr 25:8-10 NWT)
“Shepherd the flock of God under your care, serving as overseers, not under compulsion, but willingly before God; not for love of dishonest gain, but eagerly; 3 not lording it over those who are God’s inheritance, but becoming examples to the flock.” (1Pe 5:2, 3 NWT)
In summing this up, he states: “So this is the spiritual dilemma that we have, because at the same time we want to make sure that the children are cared for. So if the government does happen to make mandatory reporting that will make this dilemma so much easier for us because we all want the same goal, the children will be cared for properly.”
This was an astute tactic, one I’m sure that JW lawyers concocted in preparation for this question. The Governing Body knows they are not going to win over worldly people (their term for non-JWs) but they are concerned about not alienating the flock. If viewed both credulously and superficially, Jackson’s words seems logical. They are however false and intended to mislead the court away from the real reason for not reporting, which is a fundamental mistrust of the authorities in Satan’s world and the desire not to bring reproach on “Jehovah’s” organization by airing our dirty laundry. The popular refrain is that reporting would be a bad witness to the world.
If Brother Jackson’s words are true, if indeed elders consider these verses when deciding whether they are to report a crime or not, then where would you think that direction would be found? Whenever there is a judicial case of any kind, the elders are instructed to take out the Shepherd the Flock of God book (also known as the elder’s manual) and review all relevant portions prior to the meeting. No reference is made anywhere in the book to Proverbs 25:8-10. First Peter 5:3 is referenced only once, but in relation to getting along together during elders meetings. Neither is applied to any judicial matter of any kind, let alone matters involving child sexual abuse.
There is a good reason for this. Neither text has anything to do with reporting crimes to the “superior authorities.” (Romans 13:1-7)
Proverbs is talking about legal disputes between brothers, not the reporting of a crime. An Israelite who knew of a crime of murder, sexual misconduct, or any other breach of the law of Moses and who helped the perpetrator by hiding the fact of the crime from the authorities was held accountable. The account at Joshua chapter 7 concerning the sin of Achan demonstrates this. He committed the crime, yet his entire household including his children were put to death because they knew of it and did not report it. In short, in the Israelite Law there is strong precedent for the reporting of crime to the authorities.
As for 1 Peter 5:3 it does not apply to judicial matters at all. It concerns the abuse of power by an elder as an authority figure. What truly governs whether or not an elder will report a crime is love. Love always looks for the best interests of its object. Brother Jackson does not mention love at all, yet it would resolve this ethical dilemma he speaks of. The elders would simply look at what would benefit the child in question, all the children in the congregation, children outside the congregation, and even the alleged perpetrator.
To demonstrate that Brother Jackson has thrown a red Herring to the court, let us – just for argument’s sake – assume that what he says is true. Let us assume that the elders weigh these two scriptures based on the circumstances of the case to determine whether or not it is in the best interests of the victim to report the crime. They’re taking two principles and weighing the circumstances to see how best to apply them in any and every given case. Does it therefore follow that in over 1000 cases there would not be a single one in which the circumstances dictated that the principles required the crime to be reported? Would this not be tantamount to tossing a coin in the air one thousand times and having it come up heads every time? The fact is that there is not a single case in Australia over the past 60 years in which the elders have taken the initiative to report a crime of child sexual abuse to the authorities.
It is hard to see Brother Jackson’s testimony as anything other than an attempt to mislead the court and mitigate the seriousness of the actions of the Organization over more than half a century. Brother Jackson swore an oath to tell the “whole truth” and “nothing but the truth”. He has failed to do that here.
Mr. Stewart Defeats the Two-Witness Rule
In support of the two-Witness rule, Brother Jackson refers to the well-known quote from Matthew 18:15-17. He completely ignores the fact that even in our publications, we recognize that Matthew 18 does not apply to all forms of sin. It applies to sins such as fraud and slander which result in disputes between brothers. Sins of a sexual nature are explicitly not covered by Matthew 18. Misleading the court into believing that Matthew 18 applies to all sins and judicial matters, Brother Jackson next links these words of Jesus back to the Mosaic Law, but then – showing that he has been well prepped by legal counsel – states that the stoning that is associated with the two-witness rule under Jewish law does not apply to Christianity. He shows how Jesus took only that part of the Mosaic Law that could still apply in the Christian system of things when giving us the two-witness rule.
However, Mr. Stewart refers him to Deut. 22:23-27.
STEWART: “…and then the next example is the one I’m particularly interested in, ‘If, however, the man happened to meet the engaged girl in the field and the man overpowered her and lay down with her, the man who lay down with her is to die by himself, 26 and you must do nothing to the girl. The girl has not committed a sin deserving of death. This case is the same as when a man attacks his fellow man and murders him. 27 For he happened to meet her in the field, and the engaged girl screamed, but there was no one to rescue her.’ So the point of this last example is that there is no second witness, is there? Because the woman’s in the field, she screamed, and there was no one to rescue her. Do you accept that?
JACKSON: “Ah, could I explain Mr. Stewart that I think you see already under testimony some of Jehovah’s Witnesses have explained that the two witnesses needed can be in some cases the circumstances, I think was the example given.”
STEWART: “I’ll come to that Mr. Jackson. We’ll get through this a lot quicker and easier if we just address it one step at a time.”
STEWART: “The present step is this. So in that step you’ll agree there was no other witness beyond the woman herself.”
JACKSON: “There was no other witness except the woman herself, but added to that were the circumstances.”
STEWARD: “Yes, well the circumstances were that she was raped in the field.”
JACKSON: “Yes but they were circumstances.”
STEWART: “And it was sufficient, there being only one witness, it was nevertheless sufficient for the conclusion that the man should be stoned to death.”
STEWART: “Now, is it…”
JACKSON: “But I think we agree on the point.”
STEWART: “Now, is it not the case that had Jesus been asked about a case of sexual abuse he may have referred back to this part of Deuteronomy, and said that it is not required to have two witnesses?”
JACKSON: “Um, I certainly would like to ask Jesus that, and I can’t at the moment. I hope to in the future. Ah, but that’s a hypothetical question which, if we had an answer, then we could support what you said.”
STEWART: “Well it’s hypothetical in a sense, but what I’m driving at is, is the scriptural basis – and you’re the scholar, I’m not – is the scriptural basis for the two-witness rule really solid, or is there not space for your Governing Body to recognize that in cases of sexual abuse it can’t apply?”
JACKSON: “Again, if I could just mention the fact that we’ve already acknowledged that circumstances can also be one of the witnesses.”
STEWART: “Well, I’ll come to that but my question is a different one. It’s whether the scriptural basis to the two-witness rule in relation to cases of sexual abuse has a proper foundation?”
JACKSON: “We believe that it does because of the number of times that that principle is emphasized in the Scriptures.”
It would seem that Brother Jackson feels that the number of times the two-witnesses principle is emphasized in the Scriptures means that there is no possibility of an exception to it. The fact is that it is found 5 times in all of Scripture: Regarding false worship (De 17:6); interpersonal disputes (De 19:15-20; Mt 18:15-17); accusations against one in authority (2Co 13:1; 1Ti 5:19). It is never applied to sins of sexual abuse or rape.
Mr. Stewart has provided Brother Jackson with a valid scriptural basis for disregarding the two-witness rule in cases of sexual abuse and rape, but Brother Jackson feels that the question is hypothetical and cannot be determined until such time as he meets Jesus to ask him.
Is the Governing Body God’s channel of communication or not? Earlier in his testimony Brother Jackson says that they arrive at their decisions based on an examination of all Scripture, not just selected verses. Here is an excellent example of just that methodology and yet he seems unwilling to apply it. Instead he doggedly sticks to established JW tradition.
Shunning Those Who Shun the Organization
When asked about the policy of disassociation, Brother Jackson makes a false statement.
STEWART: “If someone no longer wants to be known as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses then he’s then disassociated, is that right?”
JACKSON: “Well, again please if they want to take the action of doing that but of course they have total freedom if they don’t want to apply to be officially removed as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses they can tell anyone they want that they are no longer a Jehovah’s Witness.”
This is simply not true. If they tell two witnesses either together or separately at different times that they no longer want to be a Jehovah’s Witness, an official announcement can be made from the platform which amounts to a disfellowshipping. The “Notification of Disfellowshipping or Disassociation” form (S-77-E) under the subtitle disassociation has a checkbox captioned “Oral resignation before two witnesses”.
In explaining disassociation as laid out in Organized to Do Jehovah’s Will, Brother Jackson states: “No, it doesn’t say they must do anything. If you read on you’ll see there is a process. This gives the person the right to officially have an announcement made that they are no longer one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.” [Italics added.]
Calling this “a right” is an outrageous misstatement. Since the announcement in question is identical in its wording and in its consequence to that made when a person is disfellowshipped for committing a gross sin, what Brother Jackson is actually saying is that a person has the right to be considered a gross sinner by all members of the congregation and she has the right to be shunned by both family and friends.
There are actual cases in Australia where the misapplication of the JW two-witness rule allowed the abuser to remain as an approved member of the congregation and continue abusing. Traumatized by this, some have seriously contemplated or actually attempted suicide. Others, rather than kill themselves, chose to resign from the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The result was to be totally cut off from the support system they so desperately needed.
This is the JW equivalent of Sophie’s Choice.
Brother Jackson defends the disassociation policy as scriptural. That is a lie which dishonors the God he claims to worship. The word does not appear in the Bible nor is the policy anywhere to be found. Shunning for gross sin is one thing, but shunning because someone walks away is quite another.
A person who officially resigns from the Organization is in fact, shunning it. We cannot have that. We cannot be shunned. We do the shunning. Nobody shuns us. We’ll show them!
So, if a person dares to shun the organization, we make sure she is punished by getting everyone she holds dear to shun her; and if they don’t, they are threatened with shunning themselves.
To show how ridiculous the disassociation policy is, let us illustrate it with the case of fraternal twins, Mary and Jane. At age ten, Mary, seeking to please her parents, gets baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, but Jane does not. When they are fifteen, Mary accuses one of the elders in the congregation of sexually abusing her. Jane, also suffered but is afraid to come forward. There is only one witness. The elders decide not to do anything to the brother in question who continues to serve in good standing. At age 18, Mary cannot stand being in the same kingdom Hall with her abuser and formerly requests to resign as a Jehovah’s Witness. An announcement is made. Now all of Mary’s friends and family can have nothing more to do with her. However Jane, who was never baptized, continues to enjoy the association of both family and friends even though she no longer attends meetings either.
Let us look at how Paul, writing under inspiration, dealt with people who disassociated themselves from him.
“For Deʹmas has forsaken me because he loved the present system of things, and he has gone to Thes·sa·lo·niʹca. . .” (2Ti 4:10)
“In my first defense no one came to my side, but they all forsook me—may they not be held accountable.” (2Ti 4:16)
Interesting, is it not? Not a word to Timothy about treating such ones as disfellowshipped. No counsel to Timothy or the flock at large to shun anyone who dares to walk away from us. Those who abandoned Paul in his hour of need were even forgiven by him in their absence. He prayed that God would not hold them accountable. Our Lord Jesus when he was in agony and close to death prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing”. We have just had a convention telling us to imitate Jesus. Can we not find it in our hearts to recognize that these victims are wounded souls doubly abused by a rigid and uncaring system based on the misguided application of Scripture and a wrong desire to hide our sins from the world?
If the Governing Body as the “guardians of doctrine” for Jehovah’s Witnesses will not openly confess their sins before God’s duly constituted minister, the superior secular authority (See Romans 13:4), how can they and the Organization as a whole expect to get Jehovah’s forgiveness?
A Wake-Up Call Missed
Many years back, I remember learning of lawyers at the branch prepping Jehovah’s Witnesses for cases involving child custody as well as our stand on blood transfusions. I remember being disturbed by this revelation, because I had always believed that we were not to prepare when going before the civil authorities based on Jesus’ command at Matthew 10:18-20.
“Why, YOU will be haled before governors and kings for my sake, for a witness to them and the nations. 19 However, when they deliver YOU up, do not become anxious about how or what YOU are to speak; for what YOU are to speak will be given YOU in that hour; 20 for the ones speaking are not just YOU, but it is the spirit of YOUR Father that speaks by YOU.” (Mt 10:18-20 NWT)
I have learned that one cannot escape the consequences of ignoring any Bible command. Such is the case here, for I excused this rejection of divine direction, reasoning that there were extenuating circumstances the brothers were aware of that justified the extensive prep work and coaching from JW legal counsel. I now understand why it was necessary. Matthew 10:18-20 only applies when one’s position is firmly based on the truth of God’s word. Only then can the spirit of our Father speak through us.
The extensive prep work that Brother Jackson obviously underwent prior to this hearing has not saved Jehovah’s Witnesses from the public revealing of the immense failure of the Organization to uphold its prime directive: to distinguish itself by the love it shows to its own members. (John 13:35)
Here we have a man at the pinnacle of our organizational structure, a man looked up to as one of the foremost spiritual men and scholars within the Jehovah’s Witness community. Facing him is a mere worldly[i] lawyer, a secular authority not versed in Scripture. And yet, on the issue of disassociation, the two-witness rule, and women as judges in the congregation, this worldly man was able to defeat the reasoning of a member of the Governing Body and he did that using the Bible! I am sure he was prepped by those with a solid understanding of Scripture, but it was the Bible, the word of God, that defeated the reasoning of men and showed up the Organization’s procedures for what they truly are, the teachings and doctrines of men. (2 Cor. 10:4-6)
Even a few years ago, such an outcome would have been inconceivable to me. But now I can see that the reason for the Organization’s failure is that it has failed to remain faithful to God’s word and failed to submit to the rule of the Christ; preferring instead, like its many counterparts in Christendom, the rule of man. We have allowed men to become – to quote Brother Jackson – “custodians and guardians of Bible doctrine.” Truly, we have put our trust in men and as a consequence are reaping what we have sown.
A Warning from Jesus Christ
Immediately after speaking the words at Matthew 7:20, Jesus went on to describe men who would speak and act as if they were Christ’s own ministers.
“Many will say to me in that day: ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’” (Mt 7:22)
Jesus does not deny that these ones did indeed “prophesy in his name” and “expel demons in his name” and even that they “performed many powerful works in his name”. Nevertheless in the very next verse he says: “I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:21-23)
The “lawlessness” of these men pertains to their disobedience to the highest law, the law of the Christ. Whether or not they may be viewed as criminals to the secular courts is immaterial at this point. They are condemned by the highest court and will suffer the judicial punishment meted out by God.
However, Jesus does not impart to us the wisdom nor the right to judge the soul of any man. Such judgment is reserved for him by God. (2 Timothy 4:1) Nevertheless, he does impose on us the responsibility to judge the character of the men who would presume to lead us, so that we can determine whether to listen to them or reject their counsel. It is for this reason that Jesus gives us this warning as well as this simple method for ferreting out false prophets, wolves in sheep’s clothing: We must look to their fruits; the results of their words, their actions. (Matthew 7:15, 16, 22)
So let us not look to the words, for words can be used to cover over bad deeds. Nor let us be convinced by the apparent sincerity of the speaker, for the best deceivers are those who begin by deceiving themselves.
“The one first in his legal case is righteous. . .” (Pr 18:17)
“All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but Jehovah is making an estimate of spirits.” (Pr 16:2)
If you are a Jehovah’s Witness and have not yet had occasion to view all the testimony of your brotherse before the Royal Commission, I would strongly recommend you do so in light of Jesus’ words to us all. Consider what is written here and what you see for yourself when viewing and meditating on the testimony of the appointed elders. We should never be the type that bury their head in the sand, that accept blindness as an acceptable condition of faith. If we do, then we will have no excuse when Jesus calls each of us to an accounting.
[i] Jehovah’s Witnesses view non-witnesses as worldly or “of the world”, a mildly pejorative term to distinguish all from true Christians. It is from the JW viewpoint that the term is used here.
The Organization’s Stand on Lying
Readers of this forum will know that I refrain from referring to a false statement as a lie. The reason for this is that a lie carries with it a moral element. Sometimes stating the truth can bring harm, while stating a falsehood can save a life. If you saw a group of thugs chasing after a young girl to do her harm, would it be a lie to point them in the wrong direction? It would be a falsehood, but not a lie. A lie is a sin.
The definition given by the Insight book states:
“The opposite of truth. Lying generally involves saying something false to a person who is entitled to know the truth and doing so with the intent to deceive or to injure him or another person.” (it-2 p. 244 Lie)
For purposes of the discussion at hand, the key phrase is “a person entitled to know the truth”. The Insight book continues on the next page by saying:
“While malicious lying is definitely condemned in the Bible, this does not mean that a person is under obligation to divulge truthful information to people who are not entitled to it.
I would submit that “malicious lying” is a tautology since all lying is by definition malicious. Nevertheless, the crux of the matter lies in determining whether the person asking the questions deserves to know the truth.
Here is the official position of the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses regarding perjury:
“The faithful witness does not commit perjury when testifying. His testimony is not tainted with lies. However, this does not mean that he is under obligation to give full information to those who may want to bring harm to Jehovah’s people in some way.” (w04 11/15 p. 28 “The Tent of the Upright Ones Will Flourish”)
This may be the view of the Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses and this thinking may have guided Brother Jackson in how he chose to give his testimony. However, it should be remembered that he swore an oath before Jehovah God “to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”. This he did not do.
When asked directly whether he believed that the commission was only seeking what was good for child abuse victims, a way of better addressing this serious problem in Australian society, he responded in the affirmative. Therefore, he admitted that he did not feel these officials were seeking “to bring harm to Jehovah’s people in some way.”
Given this, it is hard not to qualify some of his false statements as anything other than lies intended to deceive the officials. Were these officials to be taken in by these lies, it could likely taint their decisions resulting in curtailing the safeguards that would otherwise protect current and future victims of child sexual abuse. (Fortunately, I’m sure the officials saw right through all the deception and prevarication of the JW testimony presented in this hearing.)
It is for the above reason that I have departed from my usual reticence of calling a falsehood a lie.
The Royal Commission was streamed live. I watched all of the showing of the Jehovah witnesses. There is a very great deal i could say but i will restrict myself as Jacksons efforts have been made clear here. But prior to his appearing the wt lawyers made every slippery effort to keep J from appearing. You had to watch and hear to see that. There were jw accounts doing the rounds that he had been “dragged off a plane” this is rubbish. But the big thing that struck me was the sheer inability of the wt elders who were put… Read more »
This was excellent information. I had only watched parts of the ARC hearings and was already alarmed. Though when I first saw a few bits (being attracted to the program my husband was watching) I was excited to see Br. Jackson on the stand. I first thought he was defending our position with calm and level-headedness. But your excerps of the transcripts were invaluable to me. Thank you.
Yes, Geoffrey did so much to advance our ministry. 🙂
[…] names themselves God’s appointed channel when he returns. (See Geoffrey Jackson testimony before the […]
[…] For more information on the idea of the Governing Body being God’s channel of communication, see Geoffrey Jackson Speaks before the Royal Commission and Qualifications to Become God’s Channel of […]
[…] JWs to avoid reasoning; attack the person, not the problem. I wasn’t even able to explain the recent court cases which have resulted from Jehovah’s Witnesses hiding child molesters in their congregations. […]
Mr. Stewart asked pointedly if the Governing Body views itself as Jehovah’s spokespeople on earth. —————————– 35 Q. And do you see yourselves as Jehovah God’s 36 spokespeople on earth? 37 A. That I think would seem to be quite presumptuous to 38 say that we are the only spokesperson that God is using. 39 The scriptures clearly show that someone can act in harmony 40 with God’s spirit in giving comfort and help in the 41 congregations, but if I could just clarify a little, going 42 back to Matthew 24, clearly, Jesus said that in the last 43… Read more »
“You shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Do men fall and not get up again? Does one turn away and not repent? 5 “Why then has this people, Jerusalem, Turned away in continual apostasy? They hold fast to deceit, They refuse to return. 6 “I have listened and heard, They have spoken what is not right; No man repented of his wickedness, Saying, ‘What have I done?’ Everyone turned to his course, Like a horse charging into the battle. 7 “Even the stork in the sky Knows her seasons; And the turtledove and the swift and the thrush… Read more »
Peely, I think most here realise by now that the WT are false prophets. We must be very careful not to be misled again – the information on the link you have provided in relation to scripture is false.
How do you know it’s false? You know that Revelation could not be about a world we should not be a part of? And that the understanding would come in a time of need (food in right time)? That God always warns His people? That we live in a spiritual time with spiritual signs? (since the first century) The spirit tells me it’s true ….just look at what the anointed one said about false prophets and the beast of Rev 13:11 …and ‘it deceive my people who dwell on the earth’ v 14
Hi Skye, If your comment was for my well-being and concern, I truly appreciate the sentiment. Yet, I would truly be a liar if I said Revelation’s fulfillment was within Satan’s world of earthly governments. When you read Rev 18:4…. “I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues”….. who do you envision “my people” are, and who sins and plagues are they not to participate in? The Watchtower will have us believe it is “Christendom” that we come out of, and… Read more »
Peely, I don’t want to reply to your comment just now because what is being discussed here is the serious subject of child abuse, and for that reason it would, I think, be inappropriate for you and I to continue with this discussion. However, my initial comment with regard to the website you included still stands of course – I believe the information is scripturally false.
I believe more than serious child abuse issues are being addressed here, Skye. I believe instead, attention is focused on the sincerely overreaching effects of two entities working in tandem, but without the deep perception of Christ’s underlying law of love. Meleti’s words: “We have just had a convention telling us to imitate Jesus. Can we not find it in our hearts to recognize that these victims are wounded souls doubly abused by a rigid and uncaring system based on the misguided application of Scripture and a wrong desire to hide our sins from the world?” “The extensive prep work… Read more »
Peely, I am sure you realise that I do not disagree with Meleti’s or Deborah’s comments, in fact, like you, I wholeheartedly agree with them. My point to you was with regard to the information on the website you provided which I believe to be scripturally false.
Proverbs 28 v13 he that is covering over sins will not succeed but he that is confessing them and leaving them will be shown mercy , the very scripture that is read to an individual before a judicial committee, and the poor ordinary brother pours thier heart out and takes the punishment , i think they need to explain thier alternative interpretation of proverbs 28 v 13 after this RC perhaps the HE only means the ordinary rank and file brother .
This business about “guardians of our doctrine” sounds so Papal. This started in the early 1990s when they called the Bethel family a “special religious order” under a “legal vow of poverty.” I guess the prophecy should have read “In those days, 12 men shall grab hold of the skirt of one calling himself the Pope…” They seem to want all of the benefits of being clergy, let them have it, “Even what they think they have will be taken away. . .”
The witnesses speak like that ( oh we need to protect gods name from reproach ) i remember after a very serious case of child abuse that was reported on by the media in our area , one sister said why is it the papers always slander gods name ! In reality its the individual that did that not the paper . Thier whole concept about protecting gods name is a red herring . I wonder how gods name looked when david commited adultery with bathsheba ? Did god cover it up in case it reflected badly on him NO… Read more »
When people use the excuse that child abuse and other wrongdoing should not be made known in order to “not bring reproach on Jehovah’s name”, they have it all wrong. We bring reproach on His name when we claim to be His followers but fail to follow His direction: Prov. 28:13: “He that is covering over his transgressions will not succeed, but he that is confessing and leaving them will be shown mercy.” By doing that, as painful and embarrassing as it may be, we show we are truly His followers, and not merely giving lip service to obeying Him.… Read more »
Is it really Jehovah’s name they are protecting from reproach or the earthly organization they have boasted in the publications yet toned down in the face of public trial?
I would say this: “Concealing a truth to protect the reputation of an organization to the detriment of victims crying out for justice is no more than masking serious sins that society should deal with to protect its very own citizens beyond the walls of any religious organization.”
An interesting discussion of the proper scriptural application of the two-witness rule has opened up on Discuss the Truth.
What I found odd is Mr. Jackson’s claim that scriptural principles bar elders from reporting the crime to the police and that a mandatory reporting law from the govt. would solve the issue. Isn’t it the case that JWs follow the principle of “obeying God as ruler rather than man”? That being the case, wouldn’t they have to still follow scriptural principles regardless of what laws the state enacted? So I thought it was rather dishonest or foolish for him to essentially say that a law enacted by the govt. will free the elders’ hands to disregard scriptural principles.
Great article, though I’m not too sure why the person(s) you accuse of lying you call ‘Brother.’ I do not agree with your definition of lying. The motive here in committing ‘Theocratic War Strategy’ was obviously malicious seeing as the body to whom GJ lied is only trying to protect children within its community. There are such a things as ‘white’ lies; those with clear moral motive and represents merely human creativity when employed to be of genuine help. Using the word ‘sin’ does not move the discussion anywhere. This article, however, breaks down how TWS works, and is well… Read more »
I capitalized it throughout because it is, for all intents and purposes, now a title.
The more Mr. Jackson’s words are considered, digested, the deeper one’s sadness sinks. The realization that we have followed only men at whose word so many have sacrificed so much, gnaws at the heart. The knowledge that in our preaching work we have participated in spreading this trauma to others as well…can darken the soul. The fact that we were taught to believe the Governing Body, the Faithful and Discreet Slave, was the one channel, the one voice, God was using borders on the demonic- they put themselves in God’s place- (Genesis 3:5) . . .YOU are bound to be like God,… Read more »
Very good points my sister, but all of us here who followed the GB for many decades must take some of the responsibility for not acting as we are now, Boreans and no longer followers of men but looking only to The Christ.
And only by his shed blood can we be forgiven for replacing his God given authority as head of the congregation.
It’s a sad fact that JW’s have their fair share of pedophiles as any other organization. The GB has not kept up with appropriate measures to take when this sin is unfortunately uncovered. So JWTV presented child abuse programming in July, the same time as the Australian Royal Commission began investigative hearings on the WT? Not a coincidence I would say, they are preparing for some adjustments, as the Commission has certainly brought to light the flaws with current JW policy: Making a child confront her abuser AND going into graphic detail of the abuse in front of 3 older… Read more »
Thanks for citing Matthew 18:6. They don’t come any littler than our children, and how many have been stumbled by an uncaring system? I’ve had a number cite that TV broadcast as proof of how well we treat the victims, but I say to them, words come easy. It’s the deeds that speak volumes.
Question: In crafting its policies in dealing with child abuse cases, would it not be logical to say that the Watchtower leadership has long decided to treat the victims (some of whom were disfellowshipped) as COLATERAL damage? Better to conceal these sensitive cases and let the victims suffer privately than bring them to the eyes of the public and cause reproach to the Organization, let alone God’s name.
Brothers and sisters who choose to turn a blind eye to child abuse within the Organisation, making all sorts of excuses, serve to add to the dangers for children of this horrific crime.
I think this public testimony speaks volumes not only about the current state of the Governing Body but JW organization as a whole. This is an eye-opener for many of us. If Bro. Jackson, who claims to be part of those with heavenly calling (part of the 144K hopefuls), is anointed with the holy spirit, wouldn’t we expect that God’s spirit would be with him especially in this trying moment, helping him to answer through the most difficult questions raised by the RC? Matthew 10:17-20 English Standard Version (ESV) 17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to… Read more »
What amazes me is that all that was needed by Jackson was to admit the org was at fault and should fix the procedures that led to this whole unfortunate business, I suppose admitting such would then not look to good as “the channel”, and may even embolden all the others who have suffered in silence to push their cause, Ime really at a loss to think how this situation can even be fixed?
How can all the victims really be helped ?
I can’t see continuing under this umbrella of concealed abuse is a solution?
Can I just mention that Mr. Jackson said, “we have been given a responsibility to be guards or to be guardians of doctrine”. I didn’t see the word “custodian” in the transcript. Not that it makes a lot of difference to the article.
It’s at the bottom of page 7 of the transcript. (Ref. 15935)
“So the goal of the Governing Body as custodians of our doctrine is to publish literature that helps people in everyday life using what the Bible says.”
Sorry, I missed that.
This article is so well written by the way. My husband & I were looking for someone who could write without being anti-bible. He has left the organisation along with me for the same reasons but still believes the Bible is God’s word. He hasn’t wanted to read other sites so this is good for him. We lost our little girl almost 20 years ago & still like the idea that there is some glimmer of hope for us in the future. So thank you again.
Much more than a glimmer. Our Father will reward us beyond our ability to imagine it.
Nothing wrong with being “guardians of our doctrine” as that is true but what if he responded by saying “we are guardians of God’s Word or guardians of the truth”? As the FDS (which has been watered down) on whom our relationship with God depends (forgot WT article), JW doctrine should always occupy a secondary position. Not sure if I am sounding too critical to his remark.
Baptism of children: In many congregations there exists a very competitive spirit among families. Children are encouraged to give clever answers at the WT, talks in the TMS, and the younger they are the more impressed the brothers and sisters are and the more praise given to the child and family. And if your child is baptised at a young age – spiritual status in the congregation, and then they are put on the platform as a shining example and they can tell the congregation how they did it. Of course it’s only natural for parents to want their children… Read more »
Actually when it suits them they dont adhere to the two witness rule anyway . They could disfellowship people based on circumstancial evidence . Eg if a brother was seen leaving a womans house in the morning . Lets not forget the real issue here though the problem is that they are prepared to put themselves in the judgement seat in the first place . On these types of issues they have usurped the rightful place of judgement from the secular authorities and perverted the course of justice in doing so . Its all about power and control over people… Read more »
Those are my very thoughts as well. I will be having an interview with the RC in a few months as I’m on a waiting list. That is one of the things that I will be saying to them as a matter of opinion. I like the way that you worded it.
Well well, so there is someone else here who is fronting the commission…glad I’m not alone…..
The June 1, 1960 Watchtower on page 352 is very specific in saying one cannot use “Theocratic Warfare” when under oath. So if Vincent Toole or Terrence O’Brien or even Geoffrey Jackson felt justified in stating untruths (aka lies) they were going against the direction of the Governing Body.
“Should circumstances require a Christian to take the witness stand and swear to tell the truth, then, if he speaks at all, he must utter the truth.” w60 6/1 p. 352
The reality is thou that most active brothers and sister would not dear watch these hearings or even talk about it . My wife automatically said that they were apostates drumming up lies we have been breed to not listen or read anything that is critical of the governing body .
The Transcript is available here: http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/downloadfile.ashx?guid=5d6d5636-001a-4e8e-84b2-2d8338ec25fa&type=transcriptpdf&filename=Transcript-(Day-155)&fileextension=pdf 28 Q. Well, what you are telling me, as I understand it, is 29 that your religion, your church, is prepared to interpret 30 the Bible having regard to contemporary social attitudes 31 and standards; is that right? 32 A. Obviously, your Honour, we need to take that into 33 consideration, but the primary responsibility we have is to 34 think what does Jehovah God mean by this, and we look at 35 other scriptures. One of the problems that many folk have 36 when they read the Bible is they take one verse… Read more »
I think the two-witness scheme is not properly addressed, here or by Jackson’s testimony. The biblical two-witness notion is one that is widely accepted in contemporary developed societies. It basically means that an allegation of wrongdoing must be corroborated. In the case of Deuteronomy 22 and the incident of rape in the field, this is not a basis to suggest a man could or should have been stoned to death based solely on the allegation of rape from a woman. On this point Angus asserted a false dilemma to Jackson, only Jackson was not learned enough to realize this and… Read more »
I would comment that Angus Stewart was attempting to fight fire with fire- using a highly restrictive religion’s own “constitution” to prove they will ignore scriptural principles at will, without regard for the welfare of the children within their religion (not to mention common sense, decency and basic kindness). It was not secular law he was discussing at that moment nor even biblical law but rather ignominious Watchtower law. A law which resists common sense being incestuously bred from within for 100 years. Mr. Jackson’s use of the hypocritical theocratic warfare tactic was met head on by Mr. Stewart’s well… Read more »
If you want to use reason to defeat a bad idea then what you assert must conform to conventions of logical construction. My comment about Mr. Stewart raising Deut. 22 as a basis to defeat Watchtower’s two-witness policy was for no purpose other than to say it was not in keeping with conventions of logical construction. Wittingly or unwittingly, Stewart presented a false dilemma. Watchtower’s two-witness policy is not the problem. Every judicial system in the developed world has, in effect, a two-witness policy and for good cause. The text of Deut. 22 presents no exception to a two-witness policy,… Read more »
Marvin Shilmer, “If you want to use reason to defeat a bad idea then what you assert must conform to conventions of logical construction.” Absolutely, unless you are dealing with the religiously blind and hardhearted. In that event we must point out the illogical nature of their “bad idea” by using their own measuring device against them, the Bible. (Deuteronomy 22:25-27) “If, however, it is in the field that the man found the girl who was engaged, and the man grabbed hold of her and lay down with her, the man who lay down with her must also die by… Read more »
A point well made, Deborah. If the publications had made it clear that we would report child molesters, even if there were no witnesses to the abuse save for the victim herself (or himself), it is a certainty that there would have been far few cases, or at least far few victims.
I agree with what you write regarding the allegation of child molestation. There is simply no excuse at all why Watchtower has failed to publish a position that actively encourages victims and their guardians to report all allegations like this to authorities trained to investigate them. This is the least they could have done if, as it claims, protection of children is the important thing they make it out to be. One of the problems with Watchtower’s centralized form of management is that it wants to create uniform policies. In developed jurisdictions (e.g., Australia, USA, Western Europe, Japan, etc.) it… Read more »
Well said, Marvin. I think part of the confusion is that there are two stages at which the two-witness rule might be applied: 1. The accusation stage. I would guess that there are almost never two witnesses at this stage, and the elders are not equipped to investigate further. So the case never gets off the ground. If the elders were to report it to the competent authorities – in places where that’s not an oxymoron – then the accusation can be discredited or confirmed by professional investigation. 2. The judgment stage. If an investigation has already confirmed the accusation,… Read more »
Well said. The fact is that the Israelite law was for Israelites not Christians. Christians should not be judging these cases, but should hand them over to the competent authorities. After all, what experience and wisdom can one expect in such delicate cases from a window cleaner, a janitor, and an electrician?
Meleti, “After all, what experience and wisdom can one expect in such delicate cases from a window cleaner, a janitor, and an electrician?” Peter was a simple fisherman but unlike many humble brothers in the Organization he was free to follow Christ. His occupation did not define him nor did it prevent God’s spirit and wisdom to assist him. A man’s occupation does not affect his ability to recognize a wrong when he sees one nor does it prevent him from seeing that something is wrong in the Organization. Not all university educated men and women have the proper training,… Read more »
Quite right, Deborah. Of course, Peter had the wisdom from above by virtue of being filled with holy spirit. I daresay that if the brothers in question were also filled with holy spirit, they too would have coped much better with these challenging situations. But then they would have had to disregard some of the direction from the branch and would have surely got themselves into trouble, been removed, and not been able to affect things for the better in any case. At least, that has been my personal experience time and again.
Yeah thats right meleti . People seem to forget that the mosaic law was also a national law given to israel . The law of the land . They also forget that in the first century christian congregation many overssers showed evidence of holy spirit inthier dealings . The spirit gives wisdom . The fact remains that many in positions of power in the org do not have the insightto judge . However the same problem exists here in uk with trial by jury in crown courts this has caused some serious misscarraiges of justice .
Question: If the basis is the Mosaic law that was given to the house of Israel, are we as Christians bound to use it as reference, much less use it as a legal basis for trying out a case? The Mosaic law principle can guide us in dealing with child abuse cases but it should no way deter us from looking at other complementing Christian guiding principles, as well as modern day circumstances. Otherwise, we are depriving ourselves of growth necessary for the congregations to thrive.
I definitely agree. It’s not a question of whether an average or ordinary man from society can preach or teach God’s word for this gift is given from above by our Father. But the issue here is trying out a sensitive case and rendering a competent judgment. The elders need to seek professional help as they may be missing some vital matters in coming out with their own resolution. A secular law is broken; hence, the matter should be reported to secular authorities for disposition. Otherwise, we are breaking Caesar’s law.
The apparent disagreement in our views is a biblical one having to do with the text of Deut. 22 and the girl raped in a field. This text does not suggest a man would be or should be stoned to death based solely on allegation by a woman that she was raped in a field. You appear to still think otherwise, yet you’ve not offered any evidence for this. “At the mouth of two witnesses or of three witnesses the one dying should be put to death. He will not be put to death at the mouth of one witness.”… Read more »
Marvin, you seem to be missing two key points. The first is that this legal stipulation only applied when there were NOT two witnesses. God would not make a law that could result in the stoning of a man in a case where there were not two witnesses and then demand that there be two witnesses. It is illogical and Jehovah is never illogical. Verse 23 establishes that the woman is a virgin. A virgin who is raped will have visible signs of the rape. These constitute forensic evidence. If the man had opportunity, no alibi, and the girl accused… Read more »
There are principles that I live by, and the ones I hold most dearly are those based on biblical principle. There is no dispute that Watchtower’s handling of child molestation reports has been grossly deficient for a host of reasons, all of which boil down to pure self-interest insofar as I can tell. But the thing that got my attention here is the idea that a biblical principle of corroborating evidence has an exception when it comes to establishing certain allegations, whether it is raping a woman in a field or whether it’s molestation of a child, or even something… Read more »
Marvin, I think you are misreading what has been said here. I do not see that anyone alleges that it is simply a matter of taking the word of the women. I think I made that clear in my comment. In fact, what has been said is in line with what you’ve said. There would need to be an investigation and corroborating evidence. However, the issue is that it would not be necessary for there to be two witnesses. If you apply the two-witness rule to the rape of a women in the field in Israelite times, when no one… Read more »
“However, the issue is that it would not be necessary for there to be two witnesses.” And there is one critical mistake. When an allegation is made against a living breathing human being it is always necessary to have two witnesses. At the very least one of these witnesses will be the claimant and the second witness the accused. But there would always have to be two. For my part, I’ve decided a better place to have this discussion is on the site’s message board. Feel free to press me for detail there on what I’ve just said if you’re… Read more »
Actually, that wouldn’t be the best place for it. It would be better to open a discussion topic on http://www.discussthetruth.com
What little child could ever imagine the things that happen to her. Out of the mouths of babes and all that. I cannot support your attempt at legalese it is too convoluted and smacks of a certain superiority of thought….We are talking about kids, some less than two years of age, some eight, ten, eleven…Please stop this doctrinal approach Marvin. Some things are just bad and wicked…….
“I think something that is important is being dismissed because it makes Watchtower look even worse.”
No, that is not the case. That would be a small minded thing to do. Christians can have different opinions, this discussion is nothing more than that.
I’ve appreciated learning your opinion on this, brother.
Marvin Shilmer, Deu 17:6 “On the evidence of two witnesses or three witnesses, he who is to die shall be put to death; he shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness. Deu 22:25 “But if in the field the man finds the girl who is engaged, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lies with her shall die. The two or three witness standard is good, a safeguard, a biblical requirement. Deut. 22:25 is a real world rule, a rule which deals with real world circumstances it is… Read more »
He was so well versed, calm, in control and unable to be misdirected. When he thought a lie was being spun. He called it out. And don’t forget people, it was by subpoena that Jackson was compelled to appear. That threat hung over his head and he knew it…Very little time to gather a well defined question and answer platform….but, they got him in. This mattered to so many people. He had hidden as long as possible and let elders “be vague” or outright misleading about his presence… Justice McClellan was so angry when he found they had been lied… Read more »
It seemed inconsistent in their judgement policies when an adultery case can be acted upon with out actual witnesses to the act but on the circumstances – how much more so if 4 children spoke of being molested by one perpetrator – that sounds like pretty convincing circumstances to me – it’s shocking that this “guardian of doctrines” leader doesn’t feel any guardianship towards little innocent children – if he was so concerned with child abuse he would have read the victims statements and this applies to his under leaders – the pyramid is locked in and entrenched with cold… Read more »
Mr. Jackson’s performance, his verbal “bows” to obey Caesar even if it meant hypocritically disregarding a scripture he had just read as support for not reporting child abuse, revealed the core mechanism the Governing Body uses in their decision making: Draw the blueprint, pick a scripture to justify it. The Bible is used as mortar to hold in place their man-made religious bricks, their organizational teachings, policies and practices. They make a brick, apply a scripture for mortar, pick up the next brick and do the same. The whole JW religion rests on this faulty building process. This unloving religious… Read more »
Well said, Deborah. You do your biblical namesake credit.
Yes, it’s the centuries-old issue of:
bringing scriptures in line with doctrine – taking the form of accumulated, hardened Tradition -, OR,
bringing doctrine in line with scriptures – considered as being a part of integral Scripture.
Either you mold scriptures after and around the doctrines and practices you already have , OR,
you allow Scripture as a formative and corrective power, combined with sound reasoning, to revisit and reconsider and (re)form the doctrines (and the practices following from it) you have or thought you had.
Hi there, good morning to you and to our dear brothers who are disturbed by the several points from Bro. Jackson’s testimony. I am sharing these interesting comments from Tech49 which I lifted from another site: Mr. Jackson DID in fact answer the question. His brain DOES work. His answer should be very eye-opening and appalling to his faithful followers..Here’s why.: READ THIS SLOWLY……..He couldn’t say YES. Why not? Because he doesn’t believe it either. He knows it fake, a facade, a mockery, a self-appointed position of oversight. Again, why? He stumbled. He hesitated, and then chose his words very… Read more »
I was struck by this …..what can I call it…….well really, it was an outright lie in comparison with so many WT articles and talks regarding their exalted status…It was fascinating to see him “NOT SAY YES” I agree with you on this and no amount of good old theocratic warfare rubbish can ever delete what he said in his testimony….He did damage and I wonder how long before it dawns on all those who really think, that this man reverted to cowardice in the face of authorities….Such a fine testimony……not.
“CHAIR: “Well, I don’t know if you heard the evidence of the survivors here. Did you hear that evidence?”
JACKSON: “No,……………….. but it will look forward to a summary of it.””
“Look forward!” – that was unfortunate wording (I presume the ‘it’ should be an ‘I’).
I think the reason Geoffrey appeared so cool, calm and collected was because he wasn’t in the same room as Stewart or the judge. Things may have been a little different if he had been.
G Jackson couldn’t have been more accurate, he and the rest of the GB are indeed keepers of doctrine, what they should be is ministers of the new covenant.
I just wonder if the commission will recommend further action,as Ime sure they are as unconvinced of Jacksons veracity as the rest of us.
The organization is no longer a truthful or safe place anymore, a great pity.
If one listens to Jackson, he is an expert waffler, but the issue remains the same. BUT, at the same time, the RC was extremely easy on Jackson at the same time. They did not grill him to even 20% of the level they could have, because, imo, that will arise in Round 2, whether in Australia or the UK or the US or wherever, the Bethel “closet” of “skeletons” is INTERNATIONAL in scope, and now that the first wall has been blown wide open, they can take their time, or fast tarck it, or whatever with the next missile… Read more »
Recall, they had no time. It was toward the end of the RC and due to many phone calls and emails and truly upset people impressing upon the Justice, that indeed, this man, was one of the GB and a very important person in terms of the entire operation of the WT. Have a look at the second last hearing, the one before Jackson. You will see that Justice McClellan was angry, Angus Stewart outright called them misleading or something to that effect………..and no matter how O’Brian tried to deny……..Stewart would not allow him to lie to the RC about… Read more »
Two more years of intensive investigation now lies ahead. No way anyone with a crime to hide re children, will get out of this unscathed……
It’s not only children of Jehovah’s Witnesses who need to be protected, it’s also the general public – the door to door ministry can be an avenue for paedophiles too.
By saying that the GB are the custodians of the JW doctrine, GJ is speaking for Jesus, therefore he doesn’t have to wait till he gets to heaven to get Jesus’ opinion on how child abuse should be handled
Great article! Though I failed to put these inconsistiencies into words for myself, this article helped articulate them in my mind.
Christ is King!
Transcipt page 43
34 Q. Is it not the case that had Jesus been asked about
35 a case of sexual abuse, he may have referred back to this
36 part of Deuteronomy and said that it’s not required to have
37 two witnesses?
38 A. I certainly would like to ask Jesus that, and I can’t
39 at the moment, I HOPE TO IN THE FUTURE But that’s
40 a hypothetical question which, if we had an answer, then we
41 could support what you said.
Drawing unashamed attention to himself and his Heavenly Calling
If I hear “It’s not my field” one more time…Who’s field is it then? Buck passing and obfuscation everywhere. Hilarious
Essay regarding the unscriptural nature of the WT two-witness rule:
Thanks Meleti, for writing it up and breaking down some of key points, it’s a lot of information to digest. It seems like our Spiritual champions just got knocked out in the ring in all the different divisions , be it legal, service, ex co/do elder, and heavyweight GB member. Where was the humility, &”the ring of truth” Passing the buck answers, half truths, let the Authorities decide on Child abuse, then will do something about it!!! huh…it just went on and on…sigh.. The judicial system as described by the elders, in the RC, reminds me completely being a kangaroo… Read more »
The WT has no interest in being reformed. They will tolerate no one who becomes aware of their errors, hence the shunning.
Also if you see in the watchtower CD at Pe 191-202 I believe it is you can live forever in paradise on earth, I believe, but anywaybon paragraph 13, in 1989 it said this the governing body is made up members of the “faithful and discreet slave”. It serves as a spokesmen for the faithful slave. And in paragraph 14 and they compare them selves with the Early Governing body in Jerusalem. Nice
Come on geoff we dont want to blame the two witness rule for what has led to a miscarraige of justice . We must remember that these are the words of jesus and by extension gods . For sorting out problems not creating them . In doing this its tantamount of blaming god for the problems that man has caused . Dueterononmy 32 v 4 and 5 . Sorry mate the defect is our own . The real truth is that the witnesses have presented themselves as the only true religion while slating others as false , and trying to… Read more »
I think it was excellent how for the most part Mr. Stewart would not let Jackson get away with giving an evasive answer. He would hold his feet to the fire so to speak by re-asking and/or rephrasing the question and forcing Jackson to answer Yes or No.
“Brother Jackson does not vacillate this time, but states, “That, I think, would seem to be quite presumptuous, to say that we are the only spokesperson that God is using.”
“Know that there is no other organization that has Jehovah’s blessing and favour”.—John 6:68. Watchtower October 15, 2013, page 20.
Note the reference to John 6:68 where the organization replaces Jesus Christ.
As there is no other organization blessed by Jehovah it stands to reason that Jehovah will only communicate through the only organization that has his blessing and favour.
FYI, a direct link to PDF transcripts of the Commission can be found at
Perhaps the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is entering a time similar to the last years of Pope Benedict when it became obvious he was incapable of taking the reigns, incapable of making the hard decisions that would force good changes. The Governing Body are readers not leaders. Rule by committees has proven to be a huge mistake. The recent flood of changes and adjustments are Christmas wish lists from various committees implemented with insufficient thought. Are there no mature Christan men left in Brooklyn or Patterson? Are there no older men at Bethel awake to what is happening? Are… Read more »
There were some promising developments in the early 70s (despite the 1975 fiasco) because of the move to bodies of elders. This broke the hold that some men had over their particular congregation under the old Congregation Servant arrangement. However, the same problem exists at the congregation level as does at headquarters. It’s the Peter principle. What often develops is institutional banality. If the spiritual vapid are in the position to recommend, who will they recommend? Certainly not those who would make them look bad. So banality begets banality.
Guardians of Doctrines…. He said that, I almost laughed for 10 minutes, and of course we don’t go past what is written….. Of course they do that …Amazing and I am still laughing,
Galatians 6:2 is the only law, we need and he is the guardian of Doctrines, thanks For this excellent write up, I seen all the commission many times, we just totally were proven foolish and not humble at all, you Quote the bible until Christ comes back , unless you act on it, you ain’t being humble.
This is my comment above, sorry forgot to log in. 🙂
Were you not able to edit? Perhaps the editing only works if you log in. I haven’t checked that out yet, so I ask.
My bad I did not even try or maybe I forgot about the editing and give it a shot, my bad, great review as always Brother
No problem. In truth, I didn’t know if you could edit as an anonymous login, because the system would still need a way to identify one anonymous comment from another. Still, most of us are so used to not being able to edit comments that it will take some time to get used to the new site’s capabilities. Before this, the site was hosted by wordpress, which gave us very limited ability to customize.
I thought Geoffrey was going to say “Guardians of the Galaxy” hehehe
Interesting to see he has called the teachings of the WT doctrines. I had a disagreement at the Kingdom Hall about the word doctrines. She insisted that we don’t call them doctrines – well there you go 🙂
Yeah me too, a elder who I talking about some of our doctrines which are wrong, and he said no no We don’t call them that… I looked at him and said then you best tell The GB members to stop using that word cause they bring it up on the jw broadcast and almost every assembly.
QUOTE: “Well, this is one of the difficulties we have when a secular commission is trying to analyze a religious subject…that…I humbly would like to mention that point. My understanding of the Scriptures is that these ones were appointed by the apostles. Your point is well taken, and let’s assume hypothetically that others selected the seven men but it was at the direction of the apostles.” Mr. Stewart was correct, and so was Mr. Jackson. I thought Mr. Jackson was misapplying the verse, but then I read Acts 6:3 over very carefully. Note, please: “So, brothers, select for yourselves seven… Read more »
BTW, your comment on the use of “hypothetical” was spot on.
The questioning continued as to whether Jehovah’s Witnesses have become a “captive” cult from which there is no escape. Mr. Stewart asked Geoff Jackson if it was true that he had been baptized at age 13. And whether a child of that age or even younger, baptized under the admonition of the Governing Body to do so at that pubescent age, is capable of understanding the lifetime adult consequences of that action. Once the transcript is available, thousands may be enabled to come forward in legal proceedings showing that they were never properly taught or advised about the consequences of… Read more »
You’re correct, Walter. Brother Jackson did his best to deny that, but the evidence contradicts that claim.
Jesus wasn’t baptized until he was 30 – even though at 12 he was astounding his religious leaders of his day – I have heard mothers in the congregation very concerned that their children were in outraged to get baptized way too early and were proven right as they can’t speak to their children now
I meant the children were encouraged not outraged 🙂
You don’t need to issue corrections this way anymore. You can now correct your comments for up to 24 hours after they’re published by using the “Edit” option at the bottom of the comment.