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Jehovah's Witnesses 'use the Bible to victim-shame,' sex abuse survivor says

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On the heels of a $35 million jury award to a woman who alleged the congregation mishandled her childhood abuse, other survivors say there's a pattern of cover-ups.

Screen Shot 2018-10-07 at 9.58.06 AM.png

She was 14, and at first, the attention felt innocent — like any other friendly interaction Moriah Smith had with fellow Jehovah's Witnesses during worship meetings.

Smith didn't think anything of the casual conversations she was having with Elihu Rodriguez, a 25-year-old man in her Seattle-area congregation. When he started giving her gifts, like new clothing and a cell phone, Smith — who was taught through her religion that sex is only between a husband and wife — did not think she was being groomed for sexual abuse.

Smith says it was in October 2012, five days before her 15th birthday, that Rodriguez had sex with her in the bedroom of the house she lived in with her father, a respected Jehovah's Witness elder. More sexual abuse followed for the next three months, she said. Ridden by panic attacks but ashamed and confused by what was happening, Smith didn't tell anyone, including her family, what was going on.

"I didn't understand anything really about sex," Smith, now 20, said. "I also had the fear of disappointing God. Not only that, but I could potentially be shunned."

The following year, Smith moved to Fairfield, Washington. Although she still did not feel comfortable disclosing to her parents — who she says did ultimately cut off contact with her when they found out years later what she endured in her prior congregation — she worked up the courage to report it to three elders at the Fairfield Kingdom Hall.

The elders "basically told me that it was my fault. They told me that I wasn't sorry enough to God for what I had done," said Smith, who has since left the religion and works in the Spokane, Washington, area as an administrative assistant at a private medical company. "They talked about putting Jehovah first, putting God first in your life, and I wasn't, apparently, doing that to their standards."

How the Jehovah's Witnesses handle sex abuse claims

In the tight-knit Jehovah's Witness community, outsiders, including authorities, are often viewed suspiciously, according to religious scholars. As a result, accusations of any sort between members of the congregation are typically first dealt with through an internal judicial process — one that requires two witnesses to a crime to prove guilt, a tenet that's in keeping with the Witnesses' strict, often literal interpretation of the Bible.

The religion's handling of abuse claims has recently come under fire. In the past decade, there have been at least 30 lawsuits nationwide against the organization arising from its responses to childhood sex abuse, and a jury award of $35 million on Sept. 26 to a Montana woman who claimed the congregation covered up the abuse she suffered at the hands of a congregation member as a child put a rare spotlight on the insular religion.

In Smith's case, she said the elders she reported to privately reproved her, Jehovah's Witnesses' quiet way of denying wrongdoers in the congregation of certain privileges. Rodriguez was not punished, she said.

"They had used the Bible to victim-shame me for what I had done, and they never did anything to him."

"They had used the Bible to victim-shame me for what I had done, and they never did anything to him," Smith said. "He got married, and he remained within the congregation — a child molester living among them."

Smith's allegations led to charges against Rodriguez. NBC News verified the details of her claims through charging documents filed in King County Superior Court in Washington in July; in addition to rape of a child in the third degree for what allegedly happened with Smith, Rodriguez was also charged with rape of a child in the second degree involving a 12- or 13-year-old Jehovah's Witness girl he allegedly had a relationship with around the same time.

When reached by phone, Rodriguez repeatedly told NBC News that he had no comment. He has not entered a plea in the case.

The Office of Public Information at the World Headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses responded to last month's Montana jury verdict with a brief statement that said Jehovah's Witnesses "abhor child abuse and strive to protect children from such acts," while adding it planned to appeal the $35 million fine.

Photographs of Moriah Smith's grandparents, (from left) her mother, her brother and her father, sit on a table at her house near a memento signifying the date of her baptism into the Jehovah's Witnesses faith in 2011. Rajah Bose / for NBC News

In response to questions from NBC News about what happened to Smith, Fairfield Kingdom Hall did not return a request for comment, and the Office of Public Information at the World Headquarters said in an email that "it would be inappropriate for us to comment on specific cases."

It directed NBC News to its "scripturally based position on child protection," a two-page document on its website that intersperses Biblical references with denouncements of child abuse and outlines how the congregation aims to protect its children.

"When elders learn of an accusation of child abuse, they immediately consult with the branch office of JehovahÂ’s Witnesses to ensure compliance with child abuse reporting laws. (Romans 13:1) Even if the elders have no legal duty to report an accusation to the authorities, the branch office of JehovahÂ’s Witnesses will instruct the elders to report the matter if a minor is still in danger of abuse or there is some other valid reason," says one bullet point in the document.

Smith says that kind of protection was never offered in her case. Even worse, when she finally told her family a couple of years later that she had been in a sexual relationship with an older man at age 14, she says they accused her of flirting, and have since stopped talking to her because they view her as a "spiritual threat" to their own commitment to their faith.

"They were willing to turn their back on their own child to pursue a religion rather than support their own child," she said.

'There's no list of questions or protocols'

Other former Jehovah's Witnesses say they have experienced a pattern of covering up abuse to protect the religion's reputation dating back decades.

"There's no list of questions or protocols. These men are literally flying by the seat of their pants. They're not cops or welfare workers," said William Bowen, a former elder who now serves as an expert witness on how Jehovah's Witnesses operate with respect to allegations of sexual abuse. Bowen is also the national director of Silentlambs, a victims' support group where abuse survivors who have gotten kicked out of the religion anonymously share their stories. He says he has collected more than 1,000 stories on the website since he started it in 2001.

Chessa Manion, 29, describes the abuse she saw within the religious organization as "systemic." She says she was raped by the teenage son of an elder in 1994 in Illinois when she was five years old, and when her parents told elders what had happened, their response was: "Let bygones be bygones for Jehovah's sake. Don't ruin his name by taking this public."

"I feel that their first interest is not for the victim. It's for themselves," Manion said. "It's really this culture of silencing and of cleaning things up and of tolerance."

'This is not tolerable in a civilized society'

Smith's attorney, Irwin Zalkin, whose San Diego law firm has been litigating against Jehovah's Witnesses across the country for nearly two decades, expects to file a civil lawsuit in the coming month on her behalf.

He says the suit will claim negligence on the part of Jehovah's Witnesses for how they process child sex abuse claims such as Smith's. It will seek financial compensation and an overhaul of the religion's response to victims.

"At some point, they have to understand that this is not tolerable in a civilized society," Zalkin said. "She was the was the one who they, in essence, prosecuted."

Smith said she hopes that by taking legal action, she will prevent what happened to her from happening to other Jehovah's Witness children.

"It is absolutely an environment where the abuser is set up to abuse again," she said. "They are putting children at risk all the time because of the lack of action on the part of the organization. They do not have things in place to get these dangerous people out of the midst of their children."

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/jehovah-s-witnesses-use-bible-victim-shame-sex-abuse-survivor-n916326

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2 hours ago, Jack Ryan said:

On the heels of a $35 million jury award to a woman who alleged the congregation mishandled her childhood abuse, other survivors say there's a pattern of cover-ups.

Screen Shot 2018-10-07 at 9.58.06 AM.png

She was 14, and at first, the attention felt innocent — like any other friendly interaction Moriah Smith had with fellow Jehovah's Witnesses during worship meetings.

Smith didn't think anything of the casual conversations she was having with Elihu Rodriguez, a 25-year-old man in her Seattle-area congregation. When he started giving her gifts, like new clothing and a cell phone, Smith — who was taught through her religion that sex is only between a husband and wife — did not think she was being groomed for sexual abuse.

Smith says it was in October 2012, five days before her 15th birthday, that Rodriguez had sex with her in the bedroom of the house she lived in with her father, a respected Jehovah's Witness elder. More sexual abuse followed for the next three months, she said. Ridden by panic attacks but ashamed and confused by what was happening, Smith didn't tell anyone, including her family, what was going on.

"I didn't understand anything really about sex," Smith, now 20, said. "I also had the fear of disappointing God. Not only that, but I could potentially be shunned."

The following year, Smith moved to Fairfield, Washington. Although she still did not feel comfortable disclosing to her parents — who she says did ultimately cut off contact with her when they found out years later what she endured in her prior congregation — she worked up the courage to report it to three elders at the Fairfield Kingdom Hall.

The elders "basically told me that it was my fault. They told me that I wasn't sorry enough to God for what I had done," said Smith, who has since left the religion and works in the Spokane, Washington, area as an administrative assistant at a private medical company. "They talked about putting Jehovah first, putting God first in your life, and I wasn't, apparently, doing that to their standards."

How the Jehovah's Witnesses handle sex abuse claims

In the tight-knit Jehovah's Witness community, outsiders, including authorities, are often viewed suspiciously, according to religious scholars. As a result, accusations of any sort between members of the congregation are typically first dealt with through an internal judicial process — one that requires two witnesses to a crime to prove guilt, a tenet that's in keeping with the Witnesses' strict, often literal interpretation of the Bible.

The religion's handling of abuse claims has recently come under fire. In the past decade, there have been at least 30 lawsuits nationwide against the organization arising from its responses to childhood sex abuse, and a jury award of $35 million on Sept. 26 to a Montana woman who claimed the congregation covered up the abuse she suffered at the hands of a congregation member as a child put a rare spotlight on the insular religion.

In Smith's case, she said the elders she reported to privately reproved her, Jehovah's Witnesses' quiet way of denying wrongdoers in the congregation of certain privileges. Rodriguez was not punished, she said.

"They had used the Bible to victim-shame me for what I had done, and they never did anything to him."

"They had used the Bible to victim-shame me for what I had done, and they never did anything to him," Smith said. "He got married, and he remained within the congregation — a child molester living among them."

Smith's allegations led to charges against Rodriguez. NBC News verified the details of her claims through charging documents filed in King County Superior Court in Washington in July; in addition to rape of a child in the third degree for what allegedly happened with Smith, Rodriguez was also charged with rape of a child in the second degree involving a 12- or 13-year-old Jehovah's Witness girl he allegedly had a relationship with around the same time.

When reached by phone, Rodriguez repeatedly told NBC News that he had no comment. He has not entered a plea in the case.

The Office of Public Information at the World Headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses responded to last month's Montana jury verdict with a brief statement that said Jehovah's Witnesses "abhor child abuse and strive to protect children from such acts," while adding it planned to appeal the $35 million fine.

Photographs of Moriah Smith's grandparents, (from left) her mother, her brother and her father, sit on a table at her house near a memento signifying the date of her baptism into the Jehovah's Witnesses faith in 2011. Rajah Bose / for NBC News

In response to questions from NBC News about what happened to Smith, Fairfield Kingdom Hall did not return a request for comment, and the Office of Public Information at the World Headquarters said in an email that "it would be inappropriate for us to comment on specific cases."

It directed NBC News to its "scripturally based position on child protection," a two-page document on its website that intersperses Biblical references with denouncements of child abuse and outlines how the congregation aims to protect its children.

"When elders learn of an accusation of child abuse, they immediately consult with the branch office of JehovahÂ’s Witnesses to ensure compliance with child abuse reporting laws. (Romans 13:1) Even if the elders have no legal duty to report an accusation to the authorities, the branch office of JehovahÂ’s Witnesses will instruct the elders to report the matter if a minor is still in danger of abuse or there is some other valid reason," says one bullet point in the document.

Smith says that kind of protection was never offered in her case. Even worse, when she finally told her family a couple of years later that she had been in a sexual relationship with an older man at age 14, she says they accused her of flirting, and have since stopped talking to her because they view her as a "spiritual threat" to their own commitment to their faith.

"They were willing to turn their back on their own child to pursue a religion rather than support their own child," she said.

'There's no list of questions or protocols'

Other former Jehovah's Witnesses say they have experienced a pattern of covering up abuse to protect the religion's reputation dating back decades.

"There's no list of questions or protocols. These men are literally flying by the seat of their pants. They're not cops or welfare workers," said William Bowen, a former elder who now serves as an expert witness on how Jehovah's Witnesses operate with respect to allegations of sexual abuse. Bowen is also the national director of Silentlambs, a victims' support group where abuse survivors who have gotten kicked out of the religion anonymously share their stories. He says he has collected more than 1,000 stories on the website since he started it in 2001.

Chessa Manion, 29, describes the abuse she saw within the religious organization as "systemic." She says she was raped by the teenage son of an elder in 1994 in Illinois when she was five years old, and when her parents told elders what had happened, their response was: "Let bygones be bygones for Jehovah's sake. Don't ruin his name by taking this public."

"I feel that their first interest is not for the victim. It's for themselves," Manion said. "It's really this culture of silencing and of cleaning things up and of tolerance."

'This is not tolerable in a civilized society'

Smith's attorney, Irwin Zalkin, whose San Diego law firm has been litigating against Jehovah's Witnesses across the country for nearly two decades, expects to file a civil lawsuit in the coming month on her behalf.

He says the suit will claim negligence on the part of Jehovah's Witnesses for how they process child sex abuse claims such as Smith's. It will seek financial compensation and an overhaul of the religion's response to victims.

"At some point, they have to understand that this is not tolerable in a civilized society," Zalkin said. "She was the was the one who they, in essence, prosecuted."

Smith said she hopes that by taking legal action, she will prevent what happened to her from happening to other Jehovah's Witness children.

"It is absolutely an environment where the abuser is set up to abuse again," she said. "They are putting children at risk all the time because of the lack of action on the part of the organization. They do not have things in place to get these dangerous people out of the midst of their children."

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/jehovah-s-witnesses-use-bible-victim-shame-sex-abuse-survivor-n916326

Yes, this type of report will come up time and time again but the JW puppets will not believe it, ever.

Of course the Elder puppets know it's all true but they keep it all secret as far as possible. 

People like Tom tom, and others that think the GB and the Org are wonderful. 

Let's get to the nitty gritty. THE GOVERNING BODY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR MAKING THE RULES. THEREFORE THE GOVERNING BODY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL THIS ABUSE BECAUSE OF THE RULES THEY HAVE MADE. 

Unless that GB are removed and replaced then the JW org has no chance in being clean. 

What does the scripture say.  That Wicked slave will be thrown out into the street and that is where the gnashing of his teeth will be. 

Well soon may it happen to them. 

 

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On 10/7/2018 at 1:01 PM, Jack Ryan said:

a woman who alleged the congregation mishandled her childhood abuse

Alleged, we must keep this in mind just as the gun situation during the mass murder-suicides taking place some months ago.

On 10/7/2018 at 1:01 PM, Jack Ryan said:

Elihu Rodriguez, a 25-year-old man in her Seattle-area congregation. When he started giving her gifts, like new clothing and a cell phone, Smith — who was taught through her religion that sex is only between a husband and wife — did not think she was being groomed for sexual abuse.

Now according to Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention, this is obviously a sign. Abusers will get close to their target, victim, by being friendly and giving them an abundance of gifts, it is easier if the abuser is in an educational, sports, club, and or religious institution, in some cases medical.

So new clothing and a new phone is a sign as well as an abuser grooming his or her victim, which is the case here.

As for the other bit, sex between a man and woman is for those in wedlock and or married.

Moreover, abusers tend to get the trust from the family and friends of the victim, which is a sign with what took place.

On 10/7/2018 at 1:01 PM, Jack Ryan said:

Smith says it was in October 2012, five days before her 15th birthday, that Rodriguez had sex with her in the bedroom of the house she lived in with her father, a respected Jehovah's Witness elder. More sexual abuse followed for the next three months, she said. Ridden by panic attacks but ashamed and confused by what was happening, Smith didn't tell anyone, including her family, what was going on.

Smith, who was not barely 15 had intercourse with the abuser, who had gifted and groomed her, and said intercourse took place in Smith's home, to which she lives there with her father. If this act was taking place, in her bedroom, in her father's home, her father was most likely not present in the home. The abuse, according to her took place for several months.

Abused victims will not say a word to friends and family because when someone of her age succumbs to such it is as if they are a prisoner to the abuser themselves and the hold he/she has on targeted victim.

On 10/7/2018 at 1:01 PM, Jack Ryan said:

"I didn't understand anything really about sex," Smith, now 20, said. "I also had the fear of disappointing God. Not only that, but I could potentially be shunned."

The following year, Smith moved to Fairfield, Washington. Although she still did not feel comfortable disclosing to her parents — who she says did ultimately cut off contact with her when they found out years later what she endured in her prior congregation — she worked up the courage to report it to three elders at the Fairfield Kingdom Hall.

The elders "basically told me that it was my fault. They told me that I wasn't sorry enough to God for what I had done," said Smith, who has since left the religion and works in the Spokane, Washington, area as an administrative assistant at a private medical company. "They talked about putting Jehovah first, putting God first in your life, and I wasn't, apparently, doing that to their standards."

When the abused do not speak up regarding the abuse they endure, they do not talk to anyone about it, so there was no potential to be shunned and or excommunicated, it would most likely prompt church disciplinary action for an internal investigation to be made since this is a religious institution.

It would have been best for her to actually speak up to her parents regarding the issue, perhaps those who are better equipped to take in the information regarding the abuse, granted Child Abuse and Neglect prevention does say to speak up to others, not just parents.

If she had been cut of with the church before, how is it she is able to come into contact with them later on? Therefore there was not much of a cut off from her parents, but just clearly not much communication going on.

What also does not add up is this statement by Ms. Smith "They told me that I wasn't sorry enough to God for what I had done". According to their church, they have judicial committees to which they try to see what was going on, and another factor is if she was originally in a different church, those she somehow got into contact with in the newer church were clearly not in the loop or have all the facts.

On 10/7/2018 at 1:01 PM, Jack Ryan said:

How the Jehovah's Witnesses handle sex abuse claims

In the tight-knit Jehovah's Witness community, outsiders, including authorities, are often viewed suspiciously, according to religious scholars. As a result, accusations of any sort between members of the congregation are typically first dealt with through an internal judicial process — one that requires two witnesses to a crime to prove guilt, a tenet that's in keeping with the Witnesses' strict, often literal interpretation of the Bible.

The religion's handling of abuse claims has recently come under fire. In the past decade, there have been at least 30 lawsuits nationwide against the organization arising from its responses to childhood sex abuse, and a jury award of $35 million on Sept. 26 to a Montana woman who claimed the congregation covered up the abuse she suffered at the hands of a congregation member as a child put a rare spotlight on the insular religion.

In Smith's case, she said the elders she reported to privately reproved her, Jehovah's Witnesses' quiet way of denying wrongdoers in the congregation of certain privileges. Rodriguez was not punished, she said.

"They had used the Bible to victim-shame me for what I had done, and they never did anything to him."

"They had used the Bible to victim-shame me for what I had done, and they never did anything to him," Smith said. "He got married, and he remained within the congregation — a child molester living among them."

Smith's allegations led to charges against Rodriguez. NBC News verified the details of her claims through charging documents filed in King County Superior Court in Washington in July; in addition to rape of a child in the third degree for what allegedly happened with Smith, Rodriguez was also charged with rape of a child in the second degree involving a 12- or 13-year-old Jehovah's Witness girl he allegedly had a relationship with around the same time.

When reached by phone, Rodriguez repeatedly told NBC News that he had no comment. He has not entered a plea in the case.

The Office of Public Information at the World Headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses responded to last month's Montana jury verdict with a brief statement that said Jehovah's Witnesses "abhor child abuse and strive to protect children from such acts," while adding it planned to appeal the $35 million fine.

Photographs of Moriah Smith's grandparents, (from left) her mother, her brother and her father, sit on a table at her house near a memento signifying the date of her baptism into the Jehovah's Witnesses faith in 2011. Rajah Bose / for NBC News

In response to questions from NBC News about what happened to Smith, Fairfield Kingdom Hall did not return a request for comment, and the Office of Public Information at the World Headquarters said in an email that "it would be inappropriate for us to comment on specific cases."

It directed NBC News to its "scripturally based position on child protection," a two-page document on its website that intersperses Biblical references with denouncements of child abuse and outlines how the congregation aims to protect its children.

"When elders learn of an accusation of child abuse, they immediately consult with the branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses to ensure compliance with child abuse reporting laws. (Romans 13:1) Even if the elders have no legal duty to report an accusation to the authorities, the branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses will instruct the elders to report the matter if a minor is still in danger of abuse or there is some other valid reason," says one bullet point in the document.

Smith says that kind of protection was never offered in her case. Even worse, when she finally told her family a couple of years later that she had been in a sexual relationship with an older man at age 14, she says they accused her of flirting, and have since stopped talking to her because they view her as a "spiritual threat" to their own commitment to their faith.

"They were willing to turn their back on their own child to pursue a religion rather than support their own child," she said.

The Jehovah's Witnesses, as stated before are Restorationist Christians hence they are united as a community by the teachings of their church, practicing a primitive form of Christianity that is aligned with the apostolic church, if you do not know what that is click this link:

No one sees them as suspicious granted they can be found anywhere, anyplace, anytime and out in public. So knowing NBC news, they tend to think people are not aware of all the carts and door to door stuff going about with this faith group. The religious scholars they spoke with were Trinitarian scholars, for it is only them who have issues with anyone who do not believe Jesus is God or adhere to the mainstream - for this is known due to people like James White, and several who are like him, the same case is made by his troop regarding Islam.

What is true is the faith group will always take any accusations in and make use of church disciplinary action and or protocol, hence the judicial committee process, prompting an internal investigation.

Now, they've mentioned the whole Two Witness Ruling the faith group has and according to NBC they stated the following: one that requires two witnesses to a crime to prove guilt, a tenet that's in keeping with the Witnesses' strict, often literal interpretation of the Bible.

There is more to it and not much is known when people do not do the research.

We already know Jehovah's Witnesses are Restorationist, meaning they take the Bible seriously, for Restorationism, also described as Christian primitivism, is the belief that Christianity has been or should be restored along the lines of what is known about the apostolic early church, which restorationists see as the search for a more pure and more ancient form of the religion. Fundamentally, "this vision seeks to correct faults or deficiencies (in the church) by appealing to the primitive church as a normative model." according to The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement: Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

As for their rule, to them, their policy of  states: "When any one of Jehovah's Witnesses is accused of an act of child abuse, the local congregation elders are expected to investigate. Two elders meet separately with the accused and the accuser to see what each says on the matter. For this is based in Deuteronomy 19:15 and reaffirmed in Matthew 18:15-17.

From this alone, it should be noted that this two witness ruling has nothing to do with whether the alleged abuse is reported to the authorities, despite what some people even NBC is led to believe, for we have to thank the ARC to better clarify this rule the WT has. For even though they have this policy and or ruling, even in their books and publications  never state that abuse or crime should not be reported unless there are two witnesses to the crime, case and point.

The two witness rule as applied by Jehovah's Witnesses and their church is only applied to determine if a judicial committee should be formed to handle any form/type of sin and or wrongdoing within the JW church itself, hence internally criminally, for JWs are not Law Enforcement. WT pastors also send letters to the elders and stewards of their church to show that anyone is free to report child abuse to the authorities at any time without sanctions from the church, even encouraging such reporting.

But again, people who do not do the research themselves will constantly say that this is bad policy since child molesters usually do not attack their target with others around, such also are lead to believe that and or even profess that this ruling protects the abuser and not the abused. Granted JWs take the Bible both seriously and literally, such ruling stems from the Bible itself, regarding them, for they, and or the bible, according to how this ruling is, repeatedly speaks of the need for two witnesses to establish any matter, as seen in a few verses for example: Matthew 18:16, 2 Corinthians 13:1,  and 1 Timothy 5:19.

And because of this like this, people tend to throw things out the window, even calling these Bible  and passages like these obscure and not applicable in these modern times - for they forget that Jehovah's Witnesses, are Restorationist, for Restorationist do everything in their power to separate themselves from mainstream Christendom and align themselves with the how everything was done in the early church, thus taking scripture literally, therefore they, the Jehovah's Witnesses, believe that it is best for them to follow the words of the son of God and the inspired apostle Paul rather than the opinions of others, hence their strong stance.

So the fact of the matter is, many people, even NBC, do not realize just what the two witness ruling entails without making the research. Others may know but they don't want you to know and just so they try to hide just who or what can serve as two witnesses, in this sense.

With all these facts, it is unscriptural to apply excommunication an individual at the mouth of one witness, in terms of ruling, for God's word should take precedent over the thinking of imperfect ones. Regarding Jehovah's Witnesses, applying the two witness ruling, on their part, is reasonable and logical, and clearly not to otherwise deny the Bible itself.

The situation is a bit different regarding a single witness, but a bit of research one can actually understand it.

Now, Ms. Smith stated the following "They had used the Bible to victim-shame me for what I had done, and they never did anything to him."

If the Bible was used to victim-shame, one would have to point to her other responses to which she stated before, thus speaking on what known and haven't even used the Bible at all, in this sense. She then said "He got married, and he remained within the congregation — a child molester living among them."

The best course of action would have been to go straight to the police with this information, granted the church will not stop you from going to the police at all, be it internal investigation is done or not. Therefore, he would not be in that position if something was done prior, for abusers can and will get away with anything if nothing is said.

Also Ms. Smith said the abuser had intercourse with her in her home, there is always a way to track things via DNA and other things, if talk show host Maury can get this done somehow, it does not stop the general public.

When reached by phone, Rodriguez repeatedly told NBC News that he had no comment. He has not entered a plea in the case.

NBC made several attempts to contact Mr. Rodriguez, but to no avail, granted Ms. Smith's allegations led to charges.

  • NBC News verified the details of her claims through charging documents filed in King County Superior Court in Washington in July
  • In addition to rape of a child in the third degree for what allegedly happened with Smith, Rodriguez was also charged with rape of a child in the second degree involving a 12- or 13-year-old Jehovah's Witness girl he allegedly had a relationship with around the same time.
  • When reached by phone, Rodriguez repeatedly told NBC News that he had no comment. He has not entered a plea in the case.

The article also says that the World Headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses responded to last month's Montana jury verdict with a brief statement that said Jehovah's Witnesses "abhor child abuse and strive to protect children from such acts," while adding it planned to appeal the $35 million fine.

In response to questions from NBC News about what happened to Smith, Fairfield Kingdom Hall did not return a request for comment, and the Office of Public Information at the World Headquarters said in an email that "it would be inappropriate for us to comment on specific cases."

As for the JW church itself, that specific church Ms. Smith went to, NBC tried to contact them, but no return of request for comment. The Office of Public Information at the World Headquarters said in an email that "it would be inappropriate for us to comment on specific cases." Which they are basically in the right to do/say such.

The article goes on to say, it directed NBC News to its "scripturally based position on child protection," a two-page document on its website that intersperses Biblical references with denouncements of child abuse and outlines how the congregation aims to protect its children, and it says the following: "When elders learn of an accusation of child abuse, they immediately consult with the branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses to ensure compliance with child abuse reporting laws. (Romans 13:1) Even if the elders have no legal duty to report an accusation to the authorities, the branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses will instruct the elders to report the matter if a minor is still in danger of abuse or there is some other valid reason," says one bullet point in the document.

Smith says that kind of protection was never offered in her case - when it should be realized in her own area there is a lot of JW churches, and a law of areas to report abuse, examples being other cases that take place in other institutions, schools, clubs even other churches, all of such can be reported promptly and fairly easily.

Now, it says the following, when she finally told her family a couple of years later that she had been in a sexual relationship with an older man at age 14, she says they accused her of flirting, and have since stopped talking to her because they view her as a "spiritual threat" to their own commitment to their faith. Which is somewhat sketchy granted she never spoke to her parents about the sexual abuse, that took place in her home, that took place for several months of which she kept quite about to friends and family, and even as she got older, she herself stated she was supposedly cut off from her family and went on to possibly a different church to report the allegations to which they most likely had no idea about. She ends it also with "They were willing to turn their back on their own child to pursue a religion rather than support their own child," which is somewhat different from what she addressed before.

If anything NBC should go speak with the parents, although something some information isn't lining up properly.

 

 

 

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It seems her father the Elder didn’t see the warning signs if this victim was receiving gifts from an older man, and her father miraculously didn’t see what was going on. Parents are responsible for their children. This victim must really be dissent with her father, especially if she didn’t have the sex talk that the majority of parents have with their teenage children.

Since we are getting secondhand information from the news. How she alleged the congregation mishandled her case is inconsequential since civil laws only require a reasonable belief in civil cases versus a burden of proof in a criminal case. The Preponderance of evidence is very different.

Who dropped the ball in this case?

This is the gray area those that have a problem with the Watchtower don’t seem to want to see or acknowledge.

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Space Merchant. You are acting like a parrot. Have you ever been a Jehovah's Witness ? If not then you really have no idea of how it all works.

What you have is how it's written down and maybe how it should work.

But you are talking about ELDERS that only OBEY the GOVERNING BODY. The Elders are like robots, they do not think for themselves.

Why do you think some elders are leaving the JW org and becoming whistle blowers ? It's because they are sick of obeying the rotten rules laid down by the GB. Some actually get a conscience about 'trying to make the Org look clean' at the expense of Victims. 

I was with the JW Org from age of around 18 until January this year. In different congregations here in England as i moved around the country a bit. So I have experience of different congregations, not just one. In Reading near London for instance they are very materialistic... In Bristol they were quite snobbish.  Here in Devon they tried to make the country folk talk posher. That's just a few points. 

I know the JW Org as they are in Southern England UK. 

There is much more I could tell you, like the time an Elder threatened to have me disfellowshipped, but what's the point. You and people like you will only believe what you want to believe. 

CHILD ABUSE IS AN EARTHWIDE PROBLEM WITHIN THE JW ORG.

 

 

 

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49 minutes ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

Space Merchant. You are acting like a parrot. Have you ever been a Jehovah's Witness ? If not then you really have no idea of how it all works.

How many times have I told you when I said I study religions and theology? Must I tell you a 6th time, a 7th, perhaps an 8th?

You do not have to be a JW to know how they function, if scholars can study a religion, so can those who take the time to read into Christian history.

If you want to play that game, you do not have to be a reader of the Bible to understand what Ambassadors in Bible times are.

That being said my response was not directed to you, but if it is such you seek, it is such you shall have.

52 minutes ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

What you have is how it's written down and maybe how it should work.

And? What I have written down is their function in terms of how and where they get their rules from, nothing more.

52 minutes ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

But you are talking about ELDERS that only OBEY the GOVERNING BODY. The Elders are like robots, they do not think for themselves.

So Christians listening to Clement of Rome, Apostle Paul, and Timothy were possibly robots. You already spoke of religious leadership as something of pharisees with no facts to back it up.

54 minutes ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

Why do you think some elders are leaving the JW org and becoming whistle blowers ? It's because they are sick of obeying the rotten rules laid down by the GB. Some actually get a conscience about 'trying to make the Org look clean' at the expense of Victims. 

Anyone and everyone leaves any religion for something, even that of child abuse, it is no surprise, as I had told you before, it is the same with JWs.

We are all imperfect, JWs, even their leaders are also imperfect, for as I told Srecko, who thinks there is perfection in some folks, all men are imperfect regardless of how you try to knock it.

56 minutes ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

I was with the JW Org from age of around 18 until January this year. In different congregations here in England as i moved around the country a bit. So I have experience of different congregations, not just one. In Reading near London for instance they are very materialistic... In Bristol they were quite snobbish.  Here in Devon they tried to make the country folk talk posher. That's just a few points. 

I heard your story already even months ago and I know the specifics of your story, unless you have forgotten my very first discussion with you. If you had the experience, you know more about your former faith that surface information. All of them? Ever ran into Kathgar? Who is a JW, who lives in England and is one of the many, many people who ends up at Speaker's Corner? Surely you'd know more, Butler.

Other than that, this is going on your word because there others, both JWs or former, who had very different things to say.

Indeed, a few points.

58 minutes ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

I know the JW Org as they are in Southern England UK. 

They are all over the place.

59 minutes ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

There is much more I could tell you, like the time an Elder threatened to have me disfellowshipped, but what's the point. You and people like you will only believe what you want to believe. 

I have believed you if you forget our first discussion, I even gave you encouragement and you showed yourself to be sincere, but it would seem you threw that all out of the window, and show yourself to bash and insult when you see fit. When I spoke against brazen conduct, you make it seem that God does not help such folks, and your word I showed to others of that community who were literally running a lynch mob at every word you said.

And how is it I do not believe you when I have in the past? Don't assume things.

1 hour ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

CHILD ABUSE IS AN EARTHWIDE PROBLEM WITHIN THE JW ORG.

Child Abuse is globe and everywhere, not just within JWs, a few weeks ago a girl was taken into a men's room and nearly molested, he was taken care of and nearly met with Jungle Justice and a list of other things.

I even told you such things are not the same elsewhere and or is unheard of in places, like the Congo and others.

To assume child abuse only happens with solely JWs is being narrow minded and ignorant, this is ALL over the place, also you should know what your money does in such things, like in the EU, in the UK as is done in the US also. This is coming from a guy who deals with young ones who speak boldly of this issue as with young adults, even I teaching them and they teaching others to see the signs and help prevent child abuse.

That being said, if the specifics in the story are said, let it be known, at least take that into consideration.

Therefore, all I have said, regarding this article is in correct, I am still reviewing other sources too, and can update if I have to.

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17 hours ago, Hankulan Tunani said:

It seems her father the Elder didn’t see the warning signs if this victim was receiving gifts from an older man, and her father miraculously didn’t see what was going on. Parents are responsible for their children. This victim must really be dissent with her father, especially if she didn’t have the sex talk that the majority of parents have with their teenage children.

Since we are getting secondhand information from the news. How she alleged the congregation mishandled her case is inconsequential since civil laws only require a reasonable belief in civil cases versus a burden of proof in a criminal case. The Preponderance of evidence is very different.

Who dropped the ball in this case?

This is the gray area those that have a problem with the Watchtower don’t seem to want to see or acknowledge.

Most parents and even friends do not see the signs at all, only those who are taught and or trained to see the signs of any kind of abuse and or neglect can see this very easily. The gift giving is a big red flag, and has always been this way regarding sexual abuse of children, this also goes with abuse in relationships, gift giving and the like.

Not many parents talk about sex to their children when they are that age, let alone stranger danger and or bad associations. They often also ban their children from any sex-ed classes in school.

NBC is not a trusted news media so one would have to dig deeper for information, for they also are known for hiding lies or not being truthful of their words.

And yes, I agree on this also. Some people are not as knowledgeable, and the fact NBC news mentioned the Watchtower's two witness ruling, anyone who does the research can see this ruling has no play in this case, but they make it seem as such.

As for the Scholars NBC speaks of, the only hardcore opponents of the Watchtower and Jehovah's Witnesses as a whole are Trinitarian Scholars. Why? Because JWs, like others, are Non-Trinitarian.

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This discussion has been an eye-opener!

I always wondered why Santa Clause gave those mountains of presents to "good" little boys and girls, and a whole industry was made having their pictures taken on Santa's lap.

I should have been suspicious when I heard that Department Store Santa say "Have you been a GOOD little girl, Ho Ho Ho?"

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44 minutes ago, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

This discussion has been an eye-opener!

I always wondered why Santa Clause gave those mountains of presents to "good" little boys and girls, and a whole industry was made having their pictures taken on Santa's lap.

I should have been suspicious when I heard that Department Store Santa say "Have you been a GOOD little girl, Ho Ho Ho?"

Santa isn't a good man, especially if you are aware that in his name it can be spelled out as Satan. Papa Fet Nouvel (Father Christmas) in the Caribbean is known for killing people - that should tell you something.

That being said, today's folk are not different from the Romans when it comes to those celebrations. They adhere to Traditions of Men and not of God.

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3 hours ago, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

This discussion has been an eye-opener!

I always wondered why Santa Clause gave those mountains of presents to "good" little boys and girls, and a whole industry was made having their pictures taken on Santa's lap.

I should have been suspicious when I heard that Department Store Santa say "Have you been a GOOD little girl, Ho Ho Ho?"

You love making fun of a serious subject it seems :( 

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