Colleagues Concealed Sex Abuse to Protect Faith

[Original publication date: March 8, 2004]

Vicki Boer

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.

“This has been going on for 13 years and all I ever got out of it is: ‘It is important to keep a clean image. Never mind about the victims.'” Continue reading “Colleagues Concealed Sex Abuse to Protect Faith”

Apocalypse Delayed – Again

[Original publication date: March 12, 2004]

November 1, 1995 Watchtower
Cover of November 1, 1995 Watchtower

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.”

Stephen Snobelen

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”

Court Rules: Jehovah’s Witnesses Can Shun Members

"Court of Appeals" by Coolcaesar - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons
“Court of Appeals” by Coolcaesar

The Watchtower tries to deny to the public that they “shun” former members except in cases where someone has committed a serious sin or has completely rejected “Jehovah’s organization.”

During the Australian Royal Commission hearings in 2015, Jehovah’s Witness elders and high-ranking officers continued to deny that the Watchtower’s actual policy requires former members to be “shunned” except for major sins and transgressions. They try to make it seem that every Jehovah’s Witness has the ability to decide whether to shun a loved one or friend who has run afoul of Watchtower rules and teachings.

In fact, they often describe the use of “shunning” in severe situations as “a loving provision” for those who have left (or been tossed out of) the fold. They ignore the psychological damage done to those people and the destruction of families by requiring no contact at all except for emergency situations and for necessary elder care. Continue reading “Court Rules: Jehovah’s Witnesses Can Shun Members”