Jehovah's Witness and convicted pedophile Jonathan Kendrick is cornered by a reporter on ABC News
Jehovah’s Witness and convicted pedophile Jonathan Kendrick is cornered by a reporter on ABC News

The hits just keep on coming for Watchtower as the fallout from the 2012 Conti verdict continues to snowball.

In an astonishing ABC report, aired last night on Nightline, Candace Conti’s abuser Jonathan Kendrick was confronted on his own driveway and questioned about the case.

Though Kendrick angrily denied charges he abused Candace (which the police continue to investigate), the report told the full story of how Candace only came to pursue her civil case against Watchtower after learning of his conviction for abusing another girl in a different congregation – something Kendrick was also unwilling to discuss on camera.

The revealing report, put together by ABC co-anchor Dan Harris, featured interviews with both Candace and her lawyer Rick Simons. The attempted interview with Kendrick was cut short only after Kendrick’s wife, who threatened to call the police on the news team, could only yell “He paid for that crime!” when asked about Kendrick’s abuse of her own seven-year-old granddaughter.

In addition to highlighting the child abuse issue, the report also touched on the doomsday element of Watchtower theology. “Everybody outside of the Jehovah’s Witnesses are pretty much walking dead,” Candace told Harris when explaining the concept of Armageddon. A visualization of the various apocalyptic magazine covers produced by Watchtower over the last few years helped to drive home this point.

Poised, confident and credible: Candace in her ABC interview
Poised, confident and credible: Candace in her ABC interview

It was explained that suspicion and feelings of condescension regarding outsiders contributed towards Candace keeping her abuse secret from authorities until she was older and had left the organization. And even then, it took her discovery of Kendrick’s next victims to finally move her to act.

“I felt really guilty for not doing anything so that this wouldn’t have happened to somebody else,” Candace told Harris in the report. You can’t help but wonder why victims of child abuse manage to feel guilty for the status quo in the organization while the Governing Body, the only ones with power to change things, seemingly feel no guilt at all – instead stubbornly clinging to their horrendous two witness rule.

“Who abuses children with two Witnesses?” asked a bemused Harris.

“Nobody does, and that was precisely the point,” was Candace’s poised reply.

Also interviewed was Rick Simons, who did a superb job of articulating the reason why outsiders should be alarmed by Watchtower’s negligence over child abuse.

Rick Simons superbly spelled out the threat posed to ordinary members of the public
Rick Simons superbly spelled out the threat posed to ordinary members of the public

“If ever there was a group that needs the sun to shine on them, it’s this one,” he said. “Because when your doorbell rings on Saturday morning, and your kid answers the door, you don’t want that guy to be a child molester.”

This point, which Simons reportedly used during the trial to great effect, brilliantly explains the scope of the problem. It is ordinary members of the public – not just Jehovah’s Witnesses – who are at risk from the Governing Body’s rules.

Watchtower apparently refused an interview, but sent ABC a scripture-strewn letter claiming they acknowledge the right of parents to report to governmental authorities.

As has repeatedly been argued on this website, it is one thing to not punish parents if they decide to go to the authorities, it is another thing entirely to always urge them to do so when they approach the body of elders with an accusation – a simple solution entirely absent from Watchtower literature and instructions to congregations.

A tinge of disappointment

I should be, and I am, thrilled at this ABC report, which (combined with the recent PBS report and investigative work by Trey Bundy) does a brilliant job of giving Watchtower the public notoriety it richly deserves after decades of mishandling child abuse.

But if you know me, you’ll know I’m rarely satisfied with partial victory in these sorts of matters. When the stakes are so high, I like to see monstrous bullies utterly vanquished without giving an inch.

I also remember precisely how it is to be an indoctrinated Witness who will leap on the tiniest crumb of a reason to excuse the organization and continue as though nothing has happened. This reason, for many Witnesses, will have been served up on a plate near the end of Dan Harris’ report:

“Since Candace’s verdict the church appears to have made some adjustments to its confidentiality policy when it comes to child abuse. But critics, including Candace, say it’s not enough.”

This is not the first time I have heard it suggested that Watchtower has significantly changed its policies in the wake of the Conti verdict. It is worth noting that Rick Simons made a very similar claim in an interview for the 2013 SFTLA Trial Lawyer awards:

“…and afterwards they changed their policy, they didn’t change as much as they should, and it’s gonna take a lot more lessons, but they did change it enough and they moved it in the right direction.”

These comments can be seen in this video at the 5:19 time marker…

When I first heard this suggestion by Simons I recall scratching my head, wondering precisely what changes in Watchtower’s policy subsequent to the Conti verdict could be remotely considered “enough.”

Some point to the fact that elders will sometimes allow accusations of child molestation to be heard even if there are not two witnesses on the sole condition that two or three witnesses can be found “to the same kind of wrongdoing.” (I was really proud of Candace in her appearance at the 2013 RNA conference when she brilliantly referred to this nuance in Watchtower’s rulebook as the “two victim rule.”) However, this was NOT a change introduced after the 2012 Conti verdict. The rule can be found on pages 71 and 72 of the Shepherd the Flock of God elder’s manual, published in 2010.

Given that the above interview was in 2013, it seems Simons may well have been referring to the infamous October 1, 2012 letter to elders, which if anything reinforced Watchtower’s child abuse policy. It (1) kept the two witness rule firmly in place, (2) insisted that elders rather than the police should investigate every accusation of child abuse, (3) left it to the branch office to decide whether or not a pedophile could be considered a predator, and (4) left the door open for pedophiles to become elders in the future provided a congregation is ignorant as to their crimes.

The only notable change introduced by the October 2012 letter that I could see (and I invite correction on this) was the hitherto unknown rule that, in some instances, elders would be allowed to inform parents in the congregation of the presence of a confirmed pedophile. This was explained in point 13 of the letter as follows (bold is as it appears in the letter; parentheses for clarification):

13. If the individual [a reproved or reinstated child molester] does not follow the above direction from the elders [to avoid children], or if the elders believe he may be a “predator,” the elders should immediately call the Service Department for assistance. A “predator” is one who clearly lacks self-control and by his actions provides reason to believe he will continue to prey on children. Not every individual who has sexually abused a child in the past is considered a “predator.” The branch office, not the local body of elders, determines whether an individual who has sexually abused children in the past will be considered a “predator.” If the branch office determines that an individual will be considered a “predator,” parents with minor children will need to be warned of the danger that exists so that they can protect their children. In such a case, and only after receiving direction and instructions from the Service Department, two elders should be assigned to meet with the parents of minor children in order to provide a warning. At the same time that parents are warned about an individual, it would be appropriate for the elders to inform the individual that parents in the congregation will be discreetly informed.

To read the full letter, click here.

Though any change is welcome that increases the likelihood of parents being warned of a pedophile, there are three glaring problems with the above rule.

Firstly, when the letter is read in context, the “predator” provision seems to apply only to reproved or reinstated pedophiles – not necessarily to those accused of child molesting (which makes sense when you factor in the two witness rule). Secondly, the predator provision is only to be called upon if there are concerns that the known pedophile is having contact with children. How are elders supposed to know every detail of a pedophile’s movements in the congregation? And thirdly, the letter insists it is for the branch office, NOT the local authorities, to decide whether parents should be warned that a predator is in their midst.

Watchtower's rules for dealing with child abuse continue to leave children vulnerable
Watchtower’s rules for dealing with child abuse continue to leave children vulnerable

In short, an elder can be convinced that someone in the congregation poses a threat to children, but without the green light from the branch office he has his hands tied.

It’s impossible to know for sure whether this is the loophole to which Simons and Harris refer, because they don’t offer clarification – but it seems likely.

Some may feel I am being unreasonable by picking up on this. After all, the ABC report was a brilliant and thorough expose, and it got the message about child abuse across loud and clear – thanks in no small measure to Simons’ incisive remarks about pedophiles on the doorstep. Between this and the PBS report, most news-savvy adults in America must now surely be aware that Jehovah’s Witnesses have a huge child abuse problem. But it is important to remember what is at stake here: the safety of children. Where this is concerned, there can be no compromises – no inch given.

ANY gap in Watchtower’s child abuse policy through which pedophiles can exploit children, no matter how narrow, is a gap too many. And by no conceivable stretch can the word “enough” be used to describe a policy that still regards the wicked act of child molestation as a “sin” first and foremost, and a crime by coincidence.

In summary, I am overjoyed at this seemingly unrelenting wave of media attention that is giving Watchtower and its cloistered Governing Body the battering it deserves. The likes of Barbara Anderson have worked tirelessly over the past two decades to keep the pressure on, and pave the way for this much-needed exposure.

But there is still much work to be done, and I’m sure Barbara would join me in saying the time for lighting the cigar is when every last child is reasonably out of harm’s way.

 

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Further reading…

81 thoughts on “Kendrick cornered by reporter as ABC News shines spotlight on Watchtower’s child abuse record

  • March 13, 2015 at 10:28 am
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    GOOD LETTS?? Hammer these Perverted Protectors of Paedophiles,that is the GB especially Stephen Letts who blames everything on Apostate Lies!! WHAT a SCUMBAG not admitting that there is HUGE Problem with Child Abuse within the JW Organistion!! He would earn more respect if the GB said their was a problem & we will name every Child Abuser so we can PROTECT our Children!!
    & The JW Congregations are facing Court case after Court case & paying Tens of Millions in Compensation to Victims from OUR DONATIONS!!
    There is NOTHING on JW.Org under Legal Development or News Releases except winning Green Awards for their Environmentally friendly buildings!!! We couldn’t care a MONKEYS about JW HQ being Flaming Green!! BOG OFF watchtower!!
    What about Mentioning How you are going to Protect our Children!!!

  • March 13, 2015 at 10:44 am
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    What ABC touched on, and the WBTS really needs to take a long, hard look at, is how the anti-human, “anti-system of things” rhetoric and theology they publish has impacted their handling of, not only sexual predation, but child abuse, spousal abuse, mental illness and crime (all of which is more common among Witnesses than the general population) overall. It’s a shame ABC didn’t say more about that, but it’s the first time the connection has been made by any news organization, so it’s a step in the right direction

    • March 13, 2015 at 11:36 am
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      Cedars, thank you for this comprehensive and thoughtful update on the increasing exposure of the scandal of the child abuse cover-up within WT. I agree that progress on maintaining that continual exposure and investigation is still far from over; it will, of course, not be ‘over’ until WT admit their two witness rule to sexual abuse is heinous and indefensible, and change their so-called safeguarding policies accordingly. I hope we may be at a stage in this campaign when, to quote Winston Churchill, ‘this … is not even the beginning of the end. But it is perhaps the end of the beginning.’ Courageous and committed people like you, and Barbara Anderson, and Bill Bowen, and many others have created really substantial progress.

    • March 14, 2015 at 10:49 am
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      The testimony of two material witnesses is required to establish a perpetrator’s serious sin in the absence of a confession, according to Jehovah’s Witnesses’ congregational judicial policies. The organization claims that this policy provides protection against malicious accusations of sexual assault.

      I can’t help but wonder if evidence of child abuse obtained from security cameras might be sufficient proof under the two witness rule. My guess is that a strict biblical interpretation would probably exclude such evidence as hearsay and not worthy of consideration.

  • March 13, 2015 at 11:29 am
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    I recorded that show last night and my born-in husband watched it this morning so we went around and around again about how the Society covers up child abuse and he just refuses to see that the problem lies with the fact that when there is an accusation of child abuse, that the first ones to hear about it will be the elders and not the police, who would do an investigation to see if the person is a danger to the community or not and it shouldn’t be up the the elders or the Society to make that decision. Once it gets in the papers, nobody has to guess what the charge was, which won’t happen if it’s never reported to the police in the first place and kept only within the congregation.

    If it is reported to the police first and not the elders,the police will look into it and then if it’s established that there was a crime, then the authorities will have that person locked up and then looked at by a psychiatrist who will then determine his fate, whether prison or mental institution etc. The Watchtower wants to keep it “in house” just like the Catholic Church did with all their pedophiles so it doesn’t reflect bad on the JW religion so they can keep their supposedly “squeaky” clean image.

    Just 10 years ago, my husband would rant and rave about how Catholics were so stupid to stay in a religion that let all those priests molest all those kids and now that it’s the Watchtower, all of a sudden, he believes in clergy confidentiality and that if stuff like that isn’t kept confidential, then people won’t feel free to come to the elders anymore which is precisely what the Watchtower says just like any other clergy in any other religion.

    I have told him that it isn’t a federal law that clergy aren’t exempt but that in some states, if the clergy learn of a child who is being molested that they are required by law to report the abuse to the authorities but my husband insists that unless it’s mandated by law, that the elders have to keep quiet and that it’s in the Bible, the thing about keeping a matter confidential, just as in that ABC video, the Watchtower likes to quote a scripture about keeping a matter confidential.

    On March 4, in the article about Stephen Lett slamming “apostate” driven lies, Jeff Barnett came up with a great scenario that I used on my husband this morning when he refused to see my point and it went something like this, which Mr. Barnett illustrated beautifully.

    I asked my husband something like this: “So if a man comes to the elders about his “missing” wife and the man confesses to the elders that he killed her and took her body into the woods and hid her body but the man told the elders that they were to not tell anybody what he did, should the elders tell the police what the man told her, in that he confessed to them that the man killed his body and hid her body or should he keep it “confidential?”

    My husband insisted that the elders by the fact that they are clergy, should not divulge confidential talk (even then) and they are not to go to the police with their information and that it wasn’t any of their business.

    I couldn’t believe my ears what he was saying so I told him that I was going to go and get my little digital tape recorder and have him repeat what he said so that I could get it on tape. When I came back with my tape recorder, no matter how hard I tried to get him to repeat what he had told me, he refused to open his mouth. (He had to know where I was going with that and refused to incriminate himself with his stupid reasoning)

    Thanks Jeff Barnett!!!

    So, if the same scenario follows, next time I will ask him then, so if a priest confesses to abusing a child in the confessional in the Catholic church, the priest has no obligation to turn the guy in to the authorities then right, so that he can go on abusing more and more children because the priest in the confessional was told something in confidence???

    So, then since it’s okay for the Watchtower to protect pedophiles, the same as murderers, rapists, robbers and wife abusers, he is just as bad as the Catholic Church in what they did and he is just as stupid for sticking with a religion that condones murderers, molesters, robbers and child molesters and refuses to inform anybody in the congregation or the police, about people who they would be associating with and who would be going out in service, knocking on stranger’s doors and associating freely within the congregations, free to molest and harm more innocent and unsuspecting victims.

    • March 13, 2015 at 11:45 am
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      Interesting how less bold they are when the tapes start rolling. The Governing Body has taught him well.

    • March 13, 2015 at 12:29 pm
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      I thought of another way of making the point about confidentiality.

      What about the scenario when somebody goes to the elders and confesses to having killed your child? Would you still think it still wasn’t any of your business if they turned the guy over to the police or not or cooperated with the police investigation?

      According to my husband and Watchtower, the elders (or priests then) should not have to divulge any “confidential” talk to the police when it comes to molestation of a child but what about a murder or a rape or a robbery? Does the same thing hold true for those crimes?

      If it’s wrong to withhold information about a murder (any murder), then why not molestation of a child? Do clergy (Watchtower) think that since the child lived through the molestation that it was somehow a “victimless” crime????

      I think that no matter where you live, if you know something about a murder (or any crime) and you don’t come forward with that information, that you could be thrown in jail for withholding that kind of information. Then why is it okay to hide behind clergy confidentiality when it comes to withholding that kind of information when it comes to a crime against a child, who couldn’t even defend themselves against their assailant?

  • March 13, 2015 at 11:35 am
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    Behind the Governing Body being stubborn… there is a great secret you can find in JWs publications easily: The REPUTATION of the so called “Jehovah’s congregation”! Their reputation is so capital that they will pay any price to keep it. Just an example among thousand to support my argument:

    *** w06 11/15 p. 30 par. 20 Always Accept Jehovah’s Discipline ***
    20 If a sin is widely known or will undoubtedly become known, an announcement to the congregation would likely be appropriate in order to protect its reputation.

    Read that from “Watchtower ONLINE LIBRARY” through this link: http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/s/r1/lp-e?q=%22protect+its+reputation%22&p=par

    • March 13, 2015 at 12:10 pm
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      @Hakizimana Jean de DieuYou hit the nail right on the head! I was reading that same article earlier when writing an email and posting links on some of the things that appear in WT literature or videos to the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights that I feel are in violation or Article 18 and Articles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

      • March 15, 2015 at 12:59 pm
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        @MyBirthRight, I hope the following helps, too….

        *** w86 1/1 p. 13 par. 12 Days Like “the Days of Noah” ***
        Shocking as it is, even some who have been prominent in Jehovah’s organization have succumbed to immoral practices, including homosexuality, wife swapping, and child molesting. It is to be noted, also, that during the past year, 36,638 individuals had to be disfellowshipped from the Christian congregation, the greater number of them for practicing immorality. Jehovah’s organization must be kept clean!

        “Jehovah’s organization must be kept clean!”. If JWs have failed to clean their organization, let us give them a hand and clean it?

    • March 14, 2015 at 7:00 pm
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      RE: “If a sin is widely known or will undoubtedly become known, an announcement to the congregation would likely be appropriate in order to protect its reputation.”

      How any congregation could be aware of Jonathan Kendrick’s rap sheet and not make a warning announcement is beyond me:

      Last Name: KENDRICK
      First Name: JONATHAN
      Middle Name: DAVID

      Offenses:
      Offense Code 288(a)
      Description LEWD OR LASCIVIOUS ACTS WITH A CHILD UNDER 14 YEARS OF AGE
      Offense Code 243.4(d)
      Description SEXUAL BATTERY INVOLVING A RESTRAINED PERSON

      I think Kendrick’s case qualifies under the “If a sin is widely known or will undoubtedly become known…” rule.

      All a California congregation elder need do is go here and enter a name:

      http://www.meganslaw.ca.gov/disclaimer.aspx?lang=ENGLISH

  • March 13, 2015 at 12:17 pm
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    Lloyd/Cedars could not have summed it up more perfectly that he did, as there is so much to still be done!

    Think, for those of us that wasted so much of our time/resources on WT, can’t we put all that energy into doing all we can to put an end to the suffering? I myself, can no longer be content with just getting myself out, knowing there are others who will continue to suffer if things go on as they are. There are more of us than there are of them(GB), we do not have to fear WT we just have to stand up!

  • March 13, 2015 at 12:26 pm
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    @ Cedars

    I agree. It’s very encouraging that these reports are coming out. But for anyone to imply that any substantial progress has been made within WT, is misleading. Hopefully, it won’t take “a lot more lessons” until a TOTAL turnaround happens, either voluntarily, or by force.

  • March 13, 2015 at 12:46 pm
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    I love that Harris referred to WT’s “Internal System of Justice”. Hopefully that will wake some people up.

    • March 14, 2015 at 7:39 am
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      Let us hope. This is the real inconsistency in the WBTS policy. They don’t do this for other crimes like theft, murder or tax evasion, right? So why just this one? Of course, I could be wrong and they DO this for other crimes, in which case all hell is going to break loose. Either way, Finland is, so far as I know, the only country taking them to task for setting up their own justice system–and every country needs to do it.

  • March 13, 2015 at 1:15 pm
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    That video has only been up 12 hours and it’s at 3,624 views already. Hopefully it goes viral so Jehovah’s Witnesses can’t ignore it.

  • March 13, 2015 at 1:38 pm
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    To any JW out there reading this post in John’s blog: WAKE UP and realize what your involved with! Show me one scripture in the Bible, ANY JW READING THIS, that shows Jesus would have kept ‘confidential’ from his first-century disciples a molester who was in their midst–can’t you see how SICK and TWISTED these men and their logic is JWs? JWs: What in the world is wrong with you people?!? The WT attorney talks about there being “a time to keep silent and a time to speak”…that’s a total misapplication of that scripture. When there’s a molester in your midst, it is NOT a time to keep silent; it’s a time to speak! It’s amazing how WT will apply a 2-witness rule to establish wrongdoing and expel people; but when there are THOUSANDS of witnesses to prove that JWs have a problem with hiding pedophiles, then they call it a lie. SHAME, SHAME, SHAME on these disgusting men!

  • March 13, 2015 at 1:45 pm
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    I appreciate that the video shows Kendrick on message, and quite practiced at it. He clearly can’t lie creatively all that well, so he flips script back to what he was trained to say.

  • March 13, 2015 at 2:00 pm
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    I really hope that this newscast does go viral and maybe, just maybe people all over will begin to comprehend that just slightly below the surface of this organization that appears to be squeaky clean, there is a sludge of dirt and tar and uncleanness that is bubbling and slowly pushing its way to the surface.

    With every person that comes forward, who has had their life adversely impacted, every family that has been destroyed, by this corporate religion, the fake shiny cheap varnish starts to crack and peel revealing its true colors.

  • March 13, 2015 at 2:03 pm
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    @ anonymous

    Why do you try to reason with your husband? Are you trying to figure out why he is the way he is? “When you cease striving to understand, you will know, without understanding.”

    • March 13, 2015 at 4:35 pm
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      Neal, I don’t know. I keep thinking there’s a thinking brain underneath that skull but I guess it’s just not to be.

      • March 14, 2015 at 8:11 am
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        I’m sure he does have a thinking brain, but just refuses to use it whenever someone speaks out against his mother organisation. Most ex JWs have thinking brains and yet we were like your husband at one time. You just have to be patient with him I guess, and hope he sees the light.

  • March 13, 2015 at 2:19 pm
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    It’s like flipping the light switch and seeing all the cockroaches scurrying back to their hiding places. Only now, there’s nowhere left to hide. Even if continued exposure doesn’t bring WT to ruin, it will permanently destroy their “squeaky clean” image. The public will view them with the same cynicism as the Catholic Church. It will be the end of an Era. The response at the doors will no longer be, “Thank you, I’m not interested”, so much as, “Go to hell, a**hole”.

  • March 13, 2015 at 2:28 pm
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    What are the facts regarding the internal justice system in
    In the J,W, Congs, — The g,b, are the judge and jury in all
    cases. Elders are just puppets who are not allowed, to use
    their own initiative especially in serious matters, and in fact
    are incapable of doing so without instructions from the
    oligarchs.

    Congs, are remotely controlled by the puppet masters. and
    not from with in. It’s quite plainly a dictatorship, masquerading
    a religion. Justice is what they say it is !

    • March 13, 2015 at 2:58 pm
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      @Ted,it took me a long time to realise that the WT is not a theocracy but as you said an oliarchy,government by an exclusive group.
      May the exposure continue!

  • March 13, 2015 at 2:36 pm
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    I have so much respect and admiration ones that have been abused and have spoken out…! Candice Conti and others….your time will come,this despicable Org.is crumbling…! Stand Firm…Speak out and be heard…they will not silence you…Truth will out…Much Love to you all….

  • March 13, 2015 at 3:07 pm
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    John as I mentioned in my FaceBook comment, this story represents the first time I’ve connected my work assisting/listening to/supporting victims of controlling religion with my “real world” of a few hundred kids I have known since grade school, family, those friends I’ve made in 30 year in medicine, neighbors old and new, etc. This story is mainline now and we have to insure the conversation never dies, that no more will the Jehovah Witness’s be thought of a solely a secretive religion separated from society, yet dedicated,
    nice people who go door to door. Added is a message of tolerating and making it safe for those who abuse children, and until the WT does a 180″ the pressure cannot be lifted.

  • March 13, 2015 at 3:21 pm
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    This is really a revolutionary week in pulling the blinders off, letting light and air into the dark corners of toxic faith. The film “Going Clear” on the abuses of Scientology was just shown in LA. As with the “Truth Be Told” film this effort will make it much easier to get the message across that You Can Have Your Freedom Back, and not be labeled as some irrational hater. “Going Clear “will be shown in theaters from coast to coast, combined with speakers Q&A.

    http://youtu.be/lFdrMpthcF4

  • March 13, 2015 at 4:53 pm
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    Another well written article! Thank you very much, Cedars, for all of your hard work in keeping all of us up to date with information concerning the Watchtower organization.

  • March 13, 2015 at 7:34 pm
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    Great article! Now all we need is a mainline channel in Prime Time to do an expose’. I am afraid that the ABC broadcast was not seen by many people because it was aired at 1230am. Also the PBS news hour does not reach the majority of the general public. There was a segment on America’s Most Wanted a number of months ago on CNN about a JW accused of child abuse who fled and is now on the run. Hope that the snowball continues to gather speed.

  • March 13, 2015 at 8:04 pm
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    John, Keep the cigars at the ready, because by their own fruits they are being revealed. It’s by their foolishness and arrogant attitude, that the truth will come to light. Your tireless work is seen by many

  • March 13, 2015 at 9:55 pm
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    Great article, as always.

    In the Nightline episode, the Watchtower Governing Body is referred to as “Church Leaders.” I wonder how much longer it will be before reporters start referring to them as “Cult Leaders.”

    The complete Dan Harris Nightline episode can be found here:

    youtube.com/watch?v=-iUHy82un-4

  • March 14, 2015 at 2:05 am
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    I just want clarification on this. Before this all blew up, if there was a case of abuse, and there weren’t 2 witnesses to the incident. The victim had to act like the whole thing never happened. Because if the police or others in the congregation were notified they would be disfellowshipped. So the notion that Wt has never stopped those in the congregation is just BS. Confirmation please.

    • March 14, 2015 at 4:12 am
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      I understood your comment until you go to the part where you said: “So the notion that the WT has never stopped those in the congregation is just BS. Confirmation please.”

      You are right about the first part in that if there is an accusation of abuse and there aren’t 2 witnesses, the victim has to pretend nothing happened.

      That person or the family are not allowed to tell anybody in the congregation but the elders are not going to tell the victim or the family that they can not go to the police with the accusation. That would be illegal but from being a Witness for many years, I think the elders would tell the victim and the family that if they do go to the police, that the notoriety would bring disgrace upon Jehovah and the organization so they have to think very seriously about what they are going to do if they do go to the police with their accusation.

      The elders will talk to the person that is being accused and if that person denies the accusation, the victim and the family of the victim are on their own as far as getting support from the congregation because as far as the congregation is concerned that person is not guilty of the crime and the congregation will support the accused as if that person is still in good standing in the congregation.

      They can’t disfellowship the person without supporting evidence of a 2nd witness to the crime or the person confesses. The elders will go to the court house and support that person accused of the crime and not the victim, until it has been proven by the police that the crime was actually committed.

      The police have to have solid evidence that a crime was committed before the elders will disfellowship that person. If the victim was raped with sperm as evidence, that sperm can count as a 2nd witness to the crime, but that means that the victim has to go to the police before bathing and they have to have a physical exam by a doctor etc.

      So, instead of going to the elders first, the victim should go to the police first but usually if it’s a beloved person in the congregation, a Witness will most likely go to the elders and report it first and then the elders will get in touch with the Branch for legal advice.

      When it comes to molestation of a young child or even teenagers, the victim has usually been groomed first and has gotten into the good graces of the victim and the family, and most likely the victim won’t come forward with the abuse until much later, especially if they find out that they weren’t the only victim. The abuser makes the victim fall in love with them somehow and that makes it so much harder for a victim to come forward with the abuse and then, since it’s been maybe years later that if a person comes forward and with not having 2 witnesses to the abuse, the elders can’t take sides at all and the victim will feel as if they weren’t believed.

      Whenever there is an accusation of abuse within the congregation and there aren’t 2 witnesses, the victim and their family have to keep quiet and nobody in the congregation is allowed to know about the abuser.

      If the victim doesn’t report the abuse to the elders, the elders are in the dark as far as knowing that there is a pedophile in their midst. So, it all depends on the abuser and if they groomed the child or not. That is why it is so important for parents to be on the lookout for signs of abuse with their child, ie, sombody that is paying way too much attention to their child and looking for gifts and changes in personality etc. It will most likely be the last person in the world that they’d suspect is abusing their child, will be the one that did it to their child.

      Where the Watchtower falls down on the job is that they need to come out with articles that define what the abuse is and how to recognize situations where a child could be abused and the parents don’t know it and how to recognize it as a crime.

      Everyone understands that unless there are 2 witnesses to a supposed crime, that you need to have evidence of abuse to establish the fact so that is why it is so important not to discourage the victim or their family from reporting it to the police first. That way the decision is taken out of the hands of the elders and the police will do the investigation to establish whether it happened or not and nobody has to be put on the spot to side with either person. The way it is within the organization, if the police can’t establish that a crime was committed and a Witness went to the police anyway, that Witness will be shunned just for taking it to the police without proof.

      Let’s say the perpetrator confessed to the elders that they did commit the crime against the child. Then the perpetrator can convince the elders that they were just stupid or weak or the child enticed them into the act or any number of excuses and the elders will feel sorry for the person and believe the person and either disfellowship them or reprove them but those in the congregation are still in the dark as far as what the person did.

      From what I understand is that now, the elders can go and warn parents in the congregation that the parents need to watch their kids around that person, but I am not sure about that or if they parents are to be told what the person did or not. As far as I know, nobody is to know what that person did, even if they confessed to the crime. That I am not clear about. I always thought that it is to be kept quiet, not matter what they did.

      In some states in the United States, I don’t think clergy are exempt from reporting abuse, just the same as when doctors and teachers learn of abuse of a child, I think in every state they are required by law to report it to child protective services but in some states, clergy are exempt from that law and the Watchtower has told those elders that they only need to report the abuse in states that require it, which to me is morally reprehensible.

      If the victim and their family go to the police first before contacting the elders, everyone would know because that person’s name would be put in the newspaper so it would take that part of it out of the elder’s hands.

      We all understand that people can be accused of a crime and be innocent. That is why according to the law, a person is innocent until proved guilty but we are talking about a person in the congregation who has confessed to the crime and it wasn’t reported to the police by the elders and the elders most likely discouraged the victim from reporting it so they wouldn’t being reproach on Jehovah’s organization. So that is why it is so important for parents to recognize signs their child is being abused and to report the abuse when they do know of it, they need to report it to the police even if the parents don’t report it.

      A lot of these crimes are committed by the families of the victims and then it would have to be up to the elders to report it since if a father molested his daughter or son, that man isn’t going to report it.

      It is morally repugnant for the elders to cover up child abuse.

  • March 14, 2015 at 3:26 am
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    Elders with strong consciences must be tormented trying to figure out how to REALLY protect the flock. There was one at our hall who did approach and warn specific people he must have thought to be in harm’s way, to watch out for a certain witness. Good for him! His warnings weren’t always heeded, and some said he was meddling, but I alwys believed he really cared and thus had been moved to act, on his own.

  • March 14, 2015 at 5:06 am
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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=fFYWYvy9aNM&list=PL014D7E2E03381FCC

    This is a part 5 Youtube video shot in 2012, right after the trial where Candace first won the case against Watchtower, where Candace Conti’s lawyer, Rick Simons is talking about Jonathan Kendrick’s personality in that he is a violent abuser. Also, when Jonathan’s first wife Evelyn went to the elders about Kendrick’s abuse of her daughter, the elders told her that it was her (mother’s) fault because if she had had more sex with Kendrick, he wouldn’t have done what he did to her daughter. Evelyn had gone to the elders for protection from Kendrick and instead the elders blamed the wife for what Kendrick did to her daughter.

    • March 14, 2015 at 8:51 am
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      When elders make such asinine comments it shows how thoroughly incompetent they are at investigating and handling cases of child molestation. Parents should always go to the police FIRST.

  • March 14, 2015 at 6:53 am
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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=fFYWYvy9aNM&list=PL014D7E2E03381FCC

    In this video of questions and answers, Mr. Simons tells about how after Candace’s very powerful testimony , the Watchtower lawyers decided to “take” on Candace and the Watchtower lawyer commented on what Candace had said that she had said that in talking to therapists, she had said that it seemed like she had been molested by Kendricks hundreds of times so the Watchtower lawyer asked Candace: “You (Candace) said you were molested hundreds of times (Candace said yes, that’s what it seemed like) and the Watchtower lawyer came back with “But it might have been 5 or 10 times, that’s it”.

    So in closing arguments, Mr. Simons really blew up that comment “ONLY 5 OR 10 TIMES, THAT’S IT??? ONCE IS TOO MANY!!! THAT’S WHAT THEY DON’T GET. A CONGREGATION WHO HAS ALREADY MOLESTED ONE CHILD DOES NOT GET A 2ND CHANCE TO MOLEST ANOTHER CHILD IN THE SAME CONGREGATION. THEY DON’T GET HOW DEVASTATING IT IS TO KIDS.

  • March 14, 2015 at 6:56 am
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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=fFYWYvy9aNM&list=PL014D7E2E03381FCC

    In this video of questions and answers, Mr. Simons tells about how after Candace’s very powerful testimony during the trial, the Watchtower lawyers decided to “take” on Candace and the Watchtower lawyer commented on what Candace had said that she had said that in talking to therapists, she had said that it seemed like she had been molested by Kendricks hundreds of times so the Watchtower lawyer asked Candace: “You (Candace) said you were molested hundreds of times? Candace said “yes, that’s what it seemed like” and the Watchtower lawyer came back with “but it might have been 5 or 10 times, that’s it”.

    So in closing arguments, Mr. Simons really blew up that comment “ONLY 5 OR 10 TIMES, THAT’S IT??? ONCE IS TOO MANY!!! THAT’S WHAT THEY DON’T GET. A CONGREGATION WHO HAS ALREADY MOLESTED ONE CHILD DOES NOT GET A 2ND CHANCE TO MOLEST ANOTHER CHILD IN THE SAME CONGREGATION. THEY DON’T GET HOW DEVASTATING IT IS TO KIDS.”

    • March 14, 2015 at 3:20 pm
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      ‘ONLY 5 or 10 times’??? – What a sick thing to say!!! – and this from a professional lawyer! He should be disbarred!!!

  • March 14, 2015 at 8:36 am
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    Not only do congregation elders keep the child abuser’s identity secret, in the Kendrick case, they went so far as to write a letter stating that he is good with children.

    When Jonathan Kendrick moved from Fremont, CA to Oakley, CA, his former congregation sent a glowing letter of introduction to the elders of the Oakley congregation. In a PBS report, Roger Bentley, who is a former elder from the Oakley congregation, is shown commenting on the letter, which plainly shows the North Congregation of Fremont letterhead:

    “There’s no indication at all that he’s guilty of child abuse. If you read it, it very specifically says he’s a very interesting individual who has taken the lead with some young ones in the congregation and helped them from veering off course. That’s not a child abuser, that’s a recommendation. That’s a very specific recommendation. Oh, relax. He’s good with kids.”

    This PBS report is a real eye opener. The part showing Kendrick’s letter of introduction occurs at the 6 minute point.

    youtube.com/watch?v=xLTmQXwUuxI

  • March 14, 2015 at 8:52 am
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    Be sure to check out the Wikipedia article, “Jehovah’s Witnesses’ handling of child sex abuse.”

    This article goes into great detail on the subject of sex abuse within the organization and has over 80 references at the bottom of the page.

    The right sidebar has more information on Watchtower history, beliefs and practices.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jehovah’s_Witnesses’_handling_of_child_sex_abuse#.27Two_Witness_Rule.27

  • March 14, 2015 at 10:07 am
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    What makes the letter from the elders in Kendrick’s first congregation even more disgusting in the letter to the congregation in Oakley is that Kendrick’s first wife and daughter had gone to the elders first because they knew Kendrick to be not only an abuser of children but a violent abuser of children since he had used drugs on the step daughter before he molested her.

    The elders blamed the wife and said it was because she didn’t supply Kendrick with enough sex and that is why he did what he did to his step daughter.

    Then, since the elders didn’t listen to the first Mrs. Kendrick, Mrs. Kendrick and her daughter then went to the police and reported him and he got away with a misdemeanor with of a plea bargain. It wasn’t until the 2nd charge in Oakley from his then step granddaughter that he was finally went down as a registered felon and sex abuser and served time in prison.

    So, the elders in the first congregation were well aware of Kendrick and his abuse of his stepdaughter but the elders listened to his sad story and blamed the whole thing on his wife not supplying the man with enough sex.

    According to Mr. Simons and Candace, after the verdict, they had received hundreds of letters from other witnesses with much the same story as hers. The blame was put on the victim, not the abuser.

    What got this whole thing going was that after Candace saw that Kendrick was a registered sex offender, she went to the elders in both congregations, trying to get them to listen to her story so the Watchtower would come up with a better way of protecting children because the current policy of keeping child sex abuse quiet wasn’t working to protect children, but because she couldn’t prove that Kendrick had molested her with another witness to the abuse, they refused to listen to her. She even wrote to the Society, trying to make them listen to her and they refused to pay any attention to her story. That is when she decided to take Watchtower to court to make them change their policy of keeping it quiet from the congregation when there is a child molester in the congregation. It was never about the money but it was about the protection of children.

    Another thing that I don’t get is how that guy was able to get a divorce from his first wife and marry again and not get disfellowshipped somewhere along the way, serve time in prison after confessing to molesting his step-granddaughter, get out of prison, have the mother of the granddaughter still wanting to be married to him and being in good standing in the congregation.

    In one part of those interviews, someone in the audience asked if they knew if Kendrick was still a Witness, and Mr. Simons said: “Sure. Who else would have him?”

    • March 16, 2015 at 12:01 am
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      RE: How did Brother Kendrick avoid being disfellowshipped? Are you implying that he is somehow guilty of conduct unbecoming a Christian?

      Honestly, I can’t imagine how he lasted this long. He must have conducted bible studies and turned in regular field service reports while he was in prison.

      As it stands now, the judgment in the Candace Conti case against the Watchtower is being appealed.

      I’m guessing that The Watchtower Society is now forced to allow Brother Kendrick to remain a member in good standing in the Oakley, CA congregation if they expect to have any chance of getting the Candace Conti judgment reduced or overturned on appeal.

      Disfellowshipping Brother Kendrick on the grounds that he is an unrepentant child molester would be an admission by the Watchtower that they aided and abetted a known pedophile. If Brother Kendrick continues to deny that he molested Miss Conti, the “two witnesses” rule must be observed.

      Even if Brother Kendrick privately confessed that he molested Miss Conti, the elders have been ordered, in letters from the Governing Body, to keep things hushed up.

      The Oakley, CA congregation might be well advised to write Brother Kendrick a glowing letter of introduction and ship him off to another congregation.

  • March 14, 2015 at 10:23 am
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    During the trial, there were several who came forward and testified from the Fremont congregation who said that Kendrick was grooming their children and Kendrick had pictures and that on one occasion, he had taken a young boy and girl shopping from their congregation and bought the 13 year old girl a black bra. When the mother saw the receipt for the bra in the bag the girl brought home, she asked Kendrick about why he bought her daughter a black bra and he said “every girl needs a black bra.”

    Simons said that they think there are probably a lot more of Kendrick’s victims who just haven’t come forward yet and that he is a serial child molester.

  • March 14, 2015 at 12:17 pm
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    I wonder if it was this program that inspired Letts comments about it all been an apostate conspiracy. I could speculate and say they knew the program was coming so thought they had to do something about it. In a way I think it’s a good thing Letts comments, to have openly and specifically mentioned this subject to the R&F. Even the fact they mentioned it all shows acknowledgement of the problem. I think it also shows that they are now been drawn out into the public arena to handle this issue.

  • March 14, 2015 at 1:15 pm
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    I find myself laughing. Sorry about that. Not about the abuse. Know that my heart goes out to the victims. I was a victim in 1964. I learned of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and refused to work on its properties in construction because of it. As a minister, I refused to take pay for preaching. So, I worked in construction. I was fired from my electrician job and blackballed in the State of Minnesota. I have never worked as an electrician since. Yes, I am laughing. Because I don’t hear anyone jumping up and down demanding religions be taxed and shut down. We have to nip this at the core. Your church and mine need to be taxed and closed and the property sold and given to the State for back taxes. This will stop the sexual abuse. People will no longer trust religious enterprises and stop attending religious services. Thus, the authority figure deviates will cease to exist. Shut down your religion and mine and let’s get on with protecting our young ones. Don’t you people get it? Get off the couch and do something. Going after the dirtballs is like a flea on an elephant’s leg. Kill the elephant! Symbolically speaking. Let’s hear the cheer. Tax and shut down all religions worldwide! Tax and shut down all religions worldwide! C’mon, people. Pick up the pace. Tax and shut down all religions worldwide! Problem solved. Announce this to your religious relatives and friends. Ask them to join you in the chant. Then sue the guilty ones into the next County. Take everything they have, homes, cars, clothing, jobs, reputation. Follow them down the street and berate them publicly. Just stop complaining and do something about this. I am. I show no mercy to religious idiots, as you can tell by my postings.

    • March 14, 2015 at 3:43 pm
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      Right on bro! But we have to expose all their dirty deeds so the public will wake up to the damage that ALL religions do. I do talk about the abuse scandals in WT whenever I get the chance. I have emailed news shows about it – feedback@tytnetwork.com
      But you’re absolutely right, we need to urge the shutdown of all religion, at the very least to demand they be taxed. Imagine all the international debts and humanitarian aid that could be benefited by the acquisition of the wealth of the Catholic Church alone!!! Remember, a lot of the wealth and treasures plundered by the Nazis ended up in the Vatican!!!

  • March 14, 2015 at 2:55 pm
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    On jwleaks a large body of elders letters can be found, it’s 12159 pages. I looked through them to find the referenced letters and they are in there! Here are my notes comparing those letters, first page number, plus a small description what the letter is about. In summary, I indeed didn’t find much new stuff in the Oct 1, 2012 letter; only some minor points, most is a compilation of previous stuff. Disclaimer: I tried comparing as well as I could but I might have missed something.

    6128 – March 23, 1992 “Helping victims of child abuse” (Brooklyn)
    6135 – April 13, 1992 “Helping victims of child abuse” (London)
    * notably: older sisters must not hear of alleged abusers identity
    while trying to help abuse victims
    * and: she must regularly report to elders “what has been achieved”
    6138 – ……………”What elders can say to abuse victims”
    6148 – February 3, 1993 “Recently started to have memories of abuse”
    6193 – August 1, 1995
    6229 – March 14, 1997 “Child abuse” (extensive)
    * new: always inform new congregation, even if abuse long ago
    6270 – July 20, 1998 Report all child abusers + (trust) legal issues
    6445 – May 24, 2002 Congregationally read “Child abuse” letter
    6733 – April 1, 2004 “Authorities informed known sex offenders”
    6948 – June 5, 2006 “Child-maltreatment offenders in prison”
    7390 – May 24, 2010 “Sexting”
    8819 – Oct 1, 2012 “Child abuse” (extensive)
    * new: “predator” designation + branch office determines who that is
    * new: not to work door-to-door alone
    * new: not to work on kingdom hall project other than local cong.
    * summary of march 23, 1992: helping victims of child abuse
    * also in aug 1, 1995: does not necessarily not qualify

  • March 14, 2015 at 3:03 pm
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    Oh, just noticed the 1995 spot is still open. Update:

    6193 – August 1, 1995 “Child abuse” (succinct)
    * new: in mandatory-reporting states, “Oftentimes the parent, the guardian, or the accused person himself will be moved to report an accusation to the proper authorities. In this way confidentiality is not violated.”

  • March 14, 2015 at 5:48 pm
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    Hey guys….there’s a Facebook page that’s 100% PRO JW!!! It has about 26,000 ‘likes,’ hence a HUGE JW fanbase. I urge everyone here to visit that page and: post links to the Nightline report, or the PBS report, or anything else you can think of to help speed of the eventual demise of the Watchtower. I couldn’t copy the link, but just go to Facebook, type “Jehovah’s Witnesses” in the search field, and look for the blue “JW.ORG” logo. Open it, and it will read, “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” and “Community Organization” just below.

    To make a historical comparison, the Allies won WW2, by everyone doing their part, with courage and discipline. And not backing down. Think of ‘The Few’ who held back the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain. I’m sure that with all the EX JWs out there, we’re not nearly as outnumbered as the young British pilots were. Yes, the Brits had RADAR to help them…and WE have the internet. Let’s get it done boys!!!
    JWs…at 12 o’clock high!!

    • March 15, 2015 at 3:06 pm
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      @ redyellowgreen

      Thank you for calling them “PAST bible rules”!

  • March 14, 2015 at 7:11 pm
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    The two witness rule does not apply to rape of children!!! … No one should fall for God being okay with rape/sexual assult expecially on a CHILD!! unless it says In the bible clearly on that rule AND it does not..Jehovah is not shallow..True some past bible rules are hard to grasp but Jesus showed that even looking at a woman other than the wife was bad MUCH LESS RAPING A CHILD!!

    In the (((AWAKE MAGAZINE 5/13 page 6))) the governing body call rape a CRIME.. the subject is How to protect yourself from CRIME! using rape as an example of CRIME.

    So for them to treat it as a simple sin when they get dirty on kids is pure hypocrisy. So what they are saying is ; “as long as its one of their men ..then its ok.. its not a crime… ”

    Honestly Satan is leading them because they are beyond what God is about..

    They are exposed by God himself ..

    • March 15, 2015 at 2:15 am
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      Their KING is the “angel of the abyss” and “Destroyer,” ….

      *** re chap. 22 p. 148 par. 20 The First Woe—Locusts ***
      Rather than announce the incoming Kingdom of God, Christendom’s clergy have chosen to remain with Satan’s world. They want no part with the locust band and their King, concerning whom John now observes: “They have over them a king, the angel of the abyss. In Hebrew his name is Abaddon [meaning “Destruction”], but in Greek he has the name Apollyon [meaning “Destroyer”].” (Revelation 9:11) As “angel of the abyss” and “Destroyer,” Jesus had truly released a plaguing woe on Christendom. But more is to follow!

      • March 15, 2015 at 6:58 am
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        I’m gonna tell your elders that you like to visit, and post on ‘apostate’ websites.
        :-)

        • March 15, 2015 at 1:32 pm
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          @Big D, Tell them I will quote Jesus to respond:
          (Matthew 23:27, 28) . . .“Woe to YOU, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because YOU resemble whitewashed graves, which outwardly indeed appear beautiful but inside are full of dead men’s bones and of every sort of uncleanness. 28 In that way YOU also, outwardly indeed, appear righteous to men, but inside YOU are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. . .

          Today’s JWs are yesterday’s scribes and Pharisees!!

          • March 15, 2015 at 6:41 pm
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            Right on Hakizimana!!!

  • March 15, 2015 at 2:18 pm
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    This article by Lawrence Krauss is perfect for not just this particular article, but to religious faith in general.
    As far as Jehovah’s Witnesses are concerned (of which I am a fader), lets apply a little logic. There is a god. Jehovah’s witness are the only true religion. Now here we find our selves so close to the end. Now lets take a person born in Eritrea. Yes, that’s a country. So this person must not only come to the conclusion that there is a God (something a person could devote their entire life to)
    , but also that Jehovah’s Witnesses are the only true religion, out of all the thousands of religions in existence. Now at this time this person needs to overlook all the child abuse scandals, all the failed prophesy scandals and the shunning practices and still say this is the only true religion. Or if not…die. Now that’s logical, no? F’ing A its not logical, and they can go to hell.

  • March 15, 2015 at 3:08 pm
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    @redyellowgreen

    Thank you for calling them “PAST bible rules”!

Comments are closed.

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