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”

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”