BBC radio program highlights Watchtower child abuse failings

On April 26 of 2017, Investigative Journalist Trey Bundy and Reveal media, in partnership with the law firm UK law firm Bolt Burdon Kemp, organised a landmark conference in London entitled: Bringing Abuse to Light: A convening to address the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ child safety crisis. 

Bundy and Reveal had long been investigating the worldwide scandal surrounding the Watchtower organisation’s handling of child abuse, with multiple articles and podcasts devoted to the subject. However, they felt the issue was so severe, and Watchtower’s apparent intransigence to change was so troubling, that things needed to step up a gear.

Thus, the Reveal conference was organised.

The goal was to gather relevant experts, activists and abuse survivors, as well as members of the media, all together in one place so that information could be shared and strategies formulated as to how best to progress this issue, and also to alert other news organisations as to the depth and scale of the problem. JW Survey founder Lloyd Evans was one of those who attended, and he recounted his experiences in a recent JW Survey article which you can read here. 

This bold strategy pursued by Bundy and Reveal has paid off in a number of ways. From lots of networking and useful behind the scenes collaboration, to increased public exposure. Indeed Watchtower’s ongoing worldwide child abuse scandal has once again featured in the media, and one of the Reveal conferences attendees is helming the show;

David Cook, an investigative reporter for the BBC.

Cook has brought the issue to BBC Worldwide’s radio series Heart and Soul, in an episode entitled “Witness Protection.” The episode not only focuses on the specific issue of child abuse, but also reaches further into other troubling aspects of Watchtower’s doctrine and the culture of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Shunning, the insular nature of the religion, and the efforts being made to create support groups for those leaving the faith are all discussed in this excellent program.

You can listen to the program here.

It’s clear to see that Cook has clearly done his research. For example, he notes that the Governing Body describe themselves as “Guardians of Doctrine.” That phrase, to my knowledge, appears in no Watchtower literature and was used only once by Governing Body member Geoffrey Jackson during his appearance before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual abuse. Thus, it’s clear that Cook has a good familiarity with what happened at the ARC, as well as in the many other investigations into the religion.

You will also see that many of the experts and abuse survivors interviewed for Cook’s report were also attendees at the Reveal conference. Legal experts like Kathleen Hallisey and Irwin Zalkin, and abuse survivors like Nick French, Candice Conti and Karen Morgan are all featured in the program.

I’d highly recommend listening to the program, and it’s heartening to see that good investigative journalism is still alive and well, with the likes of Trey Bundy and David Cook fighting to bring public attention to Watchtower’s ongoing disgraceful handling of child abuse.



277 thoughts on “BBC radio program highlights Watchtower child abuse failings

  • July 26, 2017 at 7:36 am

    messenger, I offered Ricardo “Moral Advice” not spiritual,
    and that was to turn a pervert over to the police. You
    argue why should Ricardo take my advice since I am not
    a Christian. Is goodness, morality, the exclusive province
    of Christians? Are atheists incapable of these things?
    Many, in ignorance assume so.

    I don’t think I was ever a Christian , I was first a Catholic and
    then a JW, neither of which qualify! Both of which are rotten
    to the core, covering up the evil that flourishes. Inside them.
    I no longer support or identify with their filth, but yourself
    and Ricardo do.

    You refer to the youthful Jesus not speaking out against the
    corrupt religion of his time, and then you ask, “Why can’t
    Christians follow that example today and retain Gods favour”?
    This has absolutely no relevance to you and Ricardo, both of
    you are grown men and baptised into the corrupt religion of
    your day. And as you point out, that was similar to when Jesus
    began to put his life on the line, As a Christian are you willing
    to do the same?

    • July 26, 2017 at 8:47 am


      I will agree that you gave no direct spiritual advice to Ricardo as the two other recent commenters just did. To a degree I got your comment mixed with theirs when I wrote my response, and because of that it was directed to you..

      But here is part of yours to Ricardo.

      It’s futile to compare your association with WT
      to that of Jesus and the corrupt religion of his time,
      He was not afraid of what they would do to him, but
      you are! You may not admit it but you are being
      controlled, which prevents you being a genuine

      While not exactly advice it does suggest your disapproval with his stance (which is ok) that could be written to suggest a corrected course, you viewing the course he’s on as faulty.

      And with regard to your other statement about Jesus’ youth, was Jesus youthful the day before he was baptized, the week before, the year before? When was he too youthful to speak out against his religion? My belief is that he certainly was not at 29 years of age. Yet there is no evidence that he did that or left it.

      I was on my own at age 18, but I did what I chose to long before that, say about age 16. As far as Jesus not being afraid of what men would do to him. That’s not what the scriptures claim. He was very much afraid according to scripture and sweat blood out of fear, besides staying awake all night in prayer, even asking God to remove what he expected to happen from him. There is implied meaning in other scriptures that he expressed fear because of his eventuality. Remember Peter telling him to be kind to himself, that it would not happen? That may not have happen just because of Christ’s words. Peter being a friend might have also been responding to Christ’s demeanor.

      In person I’m the same hard nose in person that I am online here. I’m here to speak the truth. And that’s what I do in person where ever I am. But like Jesus I choose to speak to who, and say what I choose to say when and where I choose to. Not doing what someone else wants me to because they want it. It does not matter if I’m in the KH, with JWs or people who are not JWs.

      As for your concern there is very little a JW can do to influence WT. All honest JWs and exJWs on this site will acknowledge that. Even Christ didn’t influence the Jewish religion. He started a new religion. And he started that while he was still alive in human form. Neither Ricardo or myself desire to start a new religion.

  • July 26, 2017 at 8:06 am


    To save you some time and effort stop looking for an expert to support your claim that the 10 Commandments are recorded at Exodus chapter 34 and not chapter 20. The following scriptures deny that, so no credible expert will support you. Here read Duet 5:22 “These words the Lord spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added more, And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered unto me.”KJ That scripture follows the same list of commandments that are recorded in chp 20 of Exodus not chp 34. Also in Exodus 34:1 it is stated God wrote the same commandments as had previously been written on the first tablets. Your claim was that the first tablets contained different commands. That is false.

    The WT elders that visited you and Wikipedia, and also WT understood the Bible better than you Caroline with regard to what the 10 commandments are. So did messenger. You might claim you don’t care, like you claimed not to care about what Lev 18 said or that you were taught not to lie before you were a Christian, and only began lying when WT taught you to. But none of those things were the point of our discussion. Our discussion only centered on the accuracy of your teaching. And it has been proven to be faulty. I don’t even see how you can realistically rely on it despite your grandiose claims.

    Again please forgive any grammar mistakes. I hate proof reading and since I’m not getting paid for this I’m deciding not to here. Nevertheless the information should be clear enough for you to understand.

    • July 26, 2017 at 12:09 pm

      Messenger, read Exodus and come back here. Can you read? Do you have a Bible? I am not saying anything that is a “claim.” I am telling you to read your Bible.

      You and Watchtower and Wikipedia are the only one making up claims and as far as the “ten” commandments go, there’s more than 3 separate accounts in the Bible that talk about the stones and the commandments and no, they are all different. The only similar one is the Sabbath.

      Pick which ever one you want. They are all different from each other. That says it’s man made and not to be taken seriously. The first set of commandments that talk about not stealing and murdering (67 commandments) was verbal and the first time God’s commandments to Moses that were on stone tablets was about the setting up of the tabernacle. It doesn’t matter if there’s more than one account. Go by the ones that most people commonly think about and those are at Exodus chapter 20. All the others only show that the whole story is made up by men.

      The fact that you don’t read Exodus for yourself but look at Wikipedia, shows you are speaking to the air. I go by what the Bible says, not what Wikipedia says and what you say.

      Anybody can be an expert on the Bible in a pool of people who never bother to read it.

      • July 26, 2017 at 6:55 pm

        Dear Caroline

        I’ve identified a probable reason for your false interpretations is poor reading skills. In the post above I directed you to Duet 5:22 which is the scripture used to identify the 10 commandments by every Bible reader I know of but you. The mistake you make here is the same type you’ve made in some of your other false claims. You associate things and claim those things are connected in ways that are not explicitly stated. Duet 5:22 explicitly states what the 10 commandments are, and also Exodus 34:1 explicitly states that the same words were written on both sets of tablets, and that one I could get a first grade class to read and comprehend.

        The fact that something is written about, such as Exodus 34 writing about the 10 commandments does not mean the scriptures in that chapter are the 10 commandments. That’s an association that I only know you make. That’s not an association any expert Bible commentator will agree with you on, especially since Duet 5:22 directly claims the 10 commandments directly proceed it, and that God also gave other words or commandments to Moses.

        I do see some danger in your false associations which possibly cause you to believe what you say is true. The danger is that your thoughts can fool the ignorant.

        I also am aware that you evade addressing points that are so obvious a first grader would see those, and that behavior indicates possible deception, even if its done out of fear because you are just down right ashamed to admit to being wrong after making your claims to be such an expert. Truly I had hope the better from you, that you would at least own up to the obvious points. But it is what it is. No need to go on with this conversation any longer.

        • July 26, 2017 at 8:30 pm

          Messenger, If you can’t win an argument, then all you have is insults and call into question my motives. The only one who can’t comprehend is you.

          You have never told us your story because you don’t have a story. Why are you here????

          If you don’t want to believe what is in your Bible, then don’t believe it. Go on believing what you want to. IF you want to continue to go to meetings and associate yourself with the Witness religion then do it. Why complain about it if you want to be one? Do you think Jehovah is going to step in and “fix” it for you and you can continue to waste your time going to those meetings and out in service and hoping for the destruction of all mankind who don’t worship Jehovah? Is that what you are looking for?

          Are you at all concerned about all the kids that will die today because they can’t have a blood transfusion because they might need an operation or get cancer? Do you care at all?

          The only reason I answer your insulting comments is because I am hoping that if anybody new shows up here, maybe they can learn something from our comments back and forth.

          I am hoping that people who come here will actually read their Bibles to see what it “really” says, not what Watchtower wants them to think it says about their god Jehovah.

          From now on, I will not mince words with you. If you insist that I am stupid, then I will do the same to you. I have been holding back but not anymore.

          What you have to say means nothing to me. What only matters to me is what the Bible has to say. Not you and not Wikipedia and not Watchtower. Only the Bible.

          The Bible needs to be taken at face value. It should not be made excuses for it and for the actions of the god of the Hebrew Scriptures.

          Nobody can describe that god and neither can you.

          He doesn’t exist.

          • July 27, 2017 at 3:46 pm

            Caroline I didn’t say you were stupid, what I sad is that your reading skills are not as good as other people who have interpreted the Bible and understand what it actually says, including the elders you had your meeting with who asked you about the 10 commandments. If you want to clam that I support WT because I point out that fact so be it.

            Your biggest weakness is that you attach meaning to object associations that are not stated in written documents inside the Bible. Therefore you change the meaning of things that should be interpreted in objective ways, because you interpret them in subjective ways (one reason you think there are 3 different versions of the 10 commandments and readers can take their pick).

            As an educator I’ve seen and given many multiple choice tests designed by others. I learned that many of the incorrect options are designed like the ideas you present. Those options get people to pick them based on faulty reasoning. In other words they cause the test takers to make some associations with the test problems, but to reach false conclusions as you frequently have.

            I did also call into question the possibility that you are dishonest. Because even when clear information is presented to you evasion is your common response. For example, you never addressed the fact that Exodus 34:1 clearly states the words on both sets of tablets are the same. Instead you put more weight to your misguided interpretations than clear language while, as much as possible, concealing that from your readers. One time you stated you don’t care what it says because of other Bible scriptures you claimed refute it. It’s not that the scriptures are giving conflicting stories, it’s that you don’t have an accurate understanding of what you read. All those scriptures you cite are in harmony with each other. The wild card is your understanding.

            Because of your boastful attitude, and because of the fact you quote so many scriptures some folks that are Biblically illiterate might believe you. Also, there are people out there like yourself just not mentally sharp enough to understand that your assessments are incorrect. I didn’t claim you were stupid, but just not mentally aware enough to understand what you read at the level of complexity the Bible was written. That’s the same reason most JWs follow WT. They just don’t understand the truth contained in the Bible. Therefore they accept the interpretations of others. I’m interested in truth, not someone’s belief about it. That’s the only reason I comment here. I identified your teaching as being incorrect because of that; It’s not because I have a personal vendetta against you or WT,

          • July 27, 2017 at 3:54 pm

            I missed a couple letters in the first paragraph above


  • July 26, 2017 at 10:32 am

    With all these child abuse cases, I feel that the Watchtower leadership is to blame. As well as the Watchtower Legal Department for failing to act in an appropriate fashion with these type of allegations. Compiling a list of names in a database does not constitute an actionable item. The legal representation of Watchtower also needs to be served papers as well. I believe there are ethics issues as pertaining to the American Bar Association as well.

  • July 26, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    BBC News night on prime time TV 26/7/017,
    reported on events that took place at the
    New Moston , Manchester cong, It contained
    actual dialogue from a judicial committee

    A young woman had to appear before an all
    male JW court 8 elders and her abuser, she
    was without representation or any kind of
    support. The abuser, a man recently released
    from prison for pedophile activity was allowed
    to aggressively interrogate this young girl.

    The whole thing was disturbing and disgraceful
    and highlighted the inadequacy of JW elders
    to handle such sensitive matters. The news
    report also mentioned that the Charity Commission
    were concerned about the way the religion deals
    with such cases,

    • July 26, 2017 at 8:39 pm

      Why the light of serious official inquiry is not shining brightly on this evil cult is beyond me, Ted.
      Still, I do enjoy having fun with Witnesses at my door. I remember asking one whether he was a true believer or not and if he had the chance to prove that, would he take it. “Yes” was the reply, of course. So off I went to the laundry cupboard and came back with a two liter bottle of bleach and pointed out that at Mark 16 it says that true believers can take poison and suffer no ill effects and if he downed the whole bottle and survived, I’d be off to the KH.
      The bible is only true when it suits, it seems. Very little actual truth is contained within.

  • July 28, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    Honestly, I don’t understand why Jehovah’s Witnesses still condemn homosexuality. I mean, what’s your problem people? Just read your own Goddamned bibles! So many times, your Jehovah is referred to as The Ancient of Gays.

  • July 28, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    If u want 2 see what “messenger’ looks like, look up “clueless” in the dictionary & u’ll see his/her photo.

    • July 28, 2017 at 7:00 pm

      … same if u look up “passive-aggressive”. Classic pathological case.

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