Readers of JW Survey will be familiar with the work of Trey Bundy, an investigative reporter working for the Reveal News organisation. Bundy has been tireless in trying to bring to light the truth behind multiple and long standing accusations of child abuse coverup by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, and has published a number of excellent articles on the subject.
Bundy’s latest article, entitled How Jehovah’s Witness leaders hide child abuse secrets at all costs was published alongside the latest episode of the Reveal News podcast, which also featured this story and contained additional material.
The podcast is entitled Secrets of the Watchtower, and reports the efforts of people like Trey Bundy and lawyer Irwin Zalkin to get Watchtower to turn over its detailed files on potentially thousands of JW child molesters that have never been reported to the law, and who may still be at large.
The podcast is excellent and contains a number of relevant interviews relating to the current state of Watchtower’s legal tribulations, but for me one of the highlight moments is an unexpected encounter caught on audio tape between Trey Bundy and Governing Body Member Anthony Morris III.
To set the background, Bundy has been trying for over two years to get an interview with a Governing Body member on this subject so that he can get their side of the story. So far, the seven members of the Governing Body have shown no interest in talking to the media about allegations of serious sexual assaults on children being covered up inside the religion they control. Meanwhile, Bundy meets up with an ex-Bethilite named Howie, who takes him on a walkabout outside Watchtower’s Brooklyn headquarters and who gives a little background on the inner workings of the Watchtower’s leadership.
During this walkabout, Howie spots none other than Governing Body member Tony Morris walking down the street (a more flippant individual might suggest that this was clearly Jehovah’s hand at work.)
Bundy wastes no time in approaching Morris (who attempts to evade him by crossing the street) and tries to get some comments on the allegations of serious sex crimes being covered up by Watchtower.
What does Morris do? Does he stand firm and make a fearless defence of his organisation’s biblically mandated policies? Does he take the opportunity to set the record straight regarding the accusations and “apostate lies” about sex abuse cover-up that have apparently been besmirching the name of Jehovah?
What happens is that Morris scurries frantically away, feebly throwing non-answers in Bundy’s direction in response to the journalist’s legitimate questions. The encounter ends with Morris rushing through a quickly opened Bethel door and out of sight. Not exactly a dignified way to deal with the questions Bundy posed.
The Governing Body: Fearless before opposers?
This fits an established pattern of behaviour from members of the Governing Body. In total contrast to Jesus and his apostles, and indeed in contrast to the early leaders of the religion such as Charles Taze Russell and Joseph Rutherford, the modern Governing Body appear to have no taste for defending their faith publicly before anyone who might be even slightly critical of them.
For example, take a look at Governing Body member Gerrit Losch. When summoned to defend the child protection policies of Watchtower in court, Losch chose not to take the stand and defend Bible principles as he saw them. Indeed, Losch was apparently so terrified of appearing in a court of law, where he would be publicly cross examined, that he even issued a statement essentially claiming that he had nothing to do with Watchtower, and that the running of the religion had nothing to do with him. Anyone who is even slightly familiar with Watchtower can spot this for the absurd and deceptive claim that it is. In fact, it rather reminds one of the apostle Peter, sweating profusely in the courtyard of the High Priest, frantically denying Jesus in order to save his own skin. Sadly, it appears that Losch has yet to follow Peter’s example and retract his denial.
We also have the example set by Governing Body Member Geoffrey Jackson during the historical 2015 Royal Commission hearings. The commission was initially interested in interviewing Jackson; understandable considering the position Jackson holds in the religion and the gravity of the issues being discussed. However, in an astonishing act of deceit, Watchtower Australia tried to claim that Jackson had no involvement in the formulation or revision of the policies under discussion. Again, anyone with knowledge of Watchtower can instantly see how deceitful and misleading this claim is, and thankfully the Commission was provided with evidence which showed this lie for what it was. It should be noted that attempting to mislead a Royal Commission carries a potential 5 year prison sentence.
Watchtower leader Terrence O’Brien admitted giving these misleading instructions to Watchtower’s legal council, but it is impossible to conceive that Jackson was not aware that this deceitful tactic was being attempted, and it is very probable that he was involved in the decision to attempt it.
When Jackson finally appeared at the Commission, clearly left with no choice but to do so or face legal sanctions, he claimed that he was happy to testify. So happy that apparently he was prepared to risk having his underlings go to jail rather than trouble himself to appear. In contrast to Jesus, who offered himself up on behalf of his followers, Jackson appears more than happy to throw his followers under the bus in order to save his own skin.
It appears that Tony Morris can now join the proud ranks of Watchtower leaders who ran away screaming from questions about child abuse.
What is the Governing Body so scared of?
Why is this relevant?
Well, let’s set aside the clear responsibility that any leader of any organisation has to directly address accusations (and indeed countless proven examples) of criminal activity being covered up as a matter of that organisation’s policy.
Lets focus on something else.
The seven men of the Governing Body claim to be the Faithful and Discreet Slave of Matthew chapter 24; the only authorised channel of communication between Jehovah God and mankind. As members of this extra-special part of the “anointed” class, they claim that they will soon go to heaven as mighty spirit creatures and take the lead in killing everyone on Earth who is not a Jehovah’s Witness.
Given their claims to power, spiritual authority and upcoming super-soldier status, it is interesting to note that there appears to be nothing more terrifying to them than an informed person wielding an awkward question.
Update 13/12/2016 – Trey Bundy discusses the story of Watchtower’s coverup further on KPBS radio. You can listen to the broadcast here.
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