Maintaining a “Clean image” took priority. Colleagues concealed sex abuse to protect faith,” statement by a Jehovah’s Witness elder. In Toronto, two church elders from an Ontario group of Jehovah’s Witnesses were more worried about the “clean image” of their faith than they were the well-being of a young sexual abuse victim, according to one of their former colleagues.
By James McCarten / The Canadian Press
Harald Momm was one of eight elders in the Shelburne, Ontario congregation in 1990 when he learned that one of their young disciples had accused her father of sexually abusing her several years earlier.
But fellow elders Steve Brown and Brian Cairns were more interested in protecting the accused, Gower Palmer, than they were the welfare of his young daughter, Momm testified.
“They didn’t want to have anything to do with the law of the land … they wanted it kept quiet, and we didn’t agree with that,” he told lawyer Charles Mark.
Summary: In early November 1995 Jehovah’s Witnesses made newspaper headlines around the world. This time it was not a record crowd at a stadium convention or even a controversial blood transfusion case that attracted international attention, but the postponement of “the End.” One headline read “Armageddon Not Coming.” The related article stated that Jehovah’s Witnesses had announced that “Armageddon [had] been delayed and [that] the end of the world [was] no longer nigh.”
ARMAGEDDON NOT COMING?
Why would the international news media focus on what appeared to be a minor change in the eschatology (end-times teaching) of a religious sect?
Aside from the fact that the secular press has an almost natural penchant for ridiculing those they deem to be “irrational fundamentalists,” remember that Jehovah’s Witnesses are not a small, unimportant sect. Witnesses are found in over two hundred countries worldwide, with membership [in 2001] topping five million – along with another seven million actively interested in their teachings. Nor is the recent alteration in doctrine minor. Instead, the change has far-reaching psychological implications for Witnesses, not to mention the impact the move may have on their membership and style of preaching.
The important announcement from the leadership of the Jehovah’s Witness organization came in the 1 November 1995 Watchtower magazine; but before we consider the announcement, it will be helpful to outline the history of Watch Tower end-time predictions. Continue reading “Apocalypse Delayed – Again”
The April 1, 1995 issue of The Watchtower contains an article entitled “How Christians Cope With Public Reproach.” This article claims that news media reports on the Witnesses are often biased and contain false or distorted information.
A typical comment about the press is found on page 27 of The Watchtower: “Many press reports that heap reproach on Jehovah’s Witnesses are an expression of this hatred.” In many cases the Jehovah’s Witness leaders advise Witnesses not to respond to such articles in case “The original untruth might thus receive even more publicity, or opposers may be handed further opportunity to get lies or slurs into print.”
The article counsels Jehovah’s Witnesses to, “Invite them [misinformed persons] to get firsthand information about Jehovah’s Witnesses, which enables them to see through false accusations. You could also use explanations published by the Watchtower Society that give details about the organization, its history, and its teachings.” A footnote is provided recommending three items of Watchtower literature. Two of these are pamphlets which offer just bare outlines of Jehovah’s Witness history and activity. Continue reading “Who Really Distorts The Facts of History?”