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Jehovah's Witnesses attacked by Charity Commission over paedophilia cover-up


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“They also state that protective restrictions must be put in place to protect the charity’s members from people found guilty of child sexual abuse by the criminal courts.”

He said that the charity has now changed its policies and procedures to ensure that “victims of child sexual abuse are not required to make their allegations in the presence of the alleged abuser”.

The commission’s inquiry into another Jehovah’s Witnesses charity, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Britain, is ongoing.

A spokesperson for Jehovah’s Witnesses said: “Jehovah’s Witnesses abhor child abuse in all of its forms and do not shield wrongdoers from the authorities or from the consequences of their actions. 

“All allegations of abuse are thoroughly investigated and appropriate restrictions are imposed on any person who is guilty of child sexual abuse.

“The trustees will continue to concentrate on doing all that they can to safeguard children and to care for the spiritual needs of the congregation.”

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    • By Witness
      “JehovahÂ’s Witness kids grow up knowing that if they ever mess up, their parents will leave them — and thatÂ’s scary,” Sawyer, now 38, said in a recent interview from her home in Pascagoula, Miss. “The shunning is supposed to make us miss them so much that weÂ’ll come back. Â… It didnÂ’t work.”
      Sawyer and many others like her are now denouncing the church's shunning practices in the wake of a recent murder-suicide in Keego Harbor that killed a family of four ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses who were ostracized after leaving the faith. The deaths sparked outrage among scores of ex-JWs nationwide who took to Facebook, online forums, blogs and YouTube, arguing the tragedy highlights a pervasive yet rarely-publicized problem within the church: Shunning is pushing the most vulnerable people over the edge, they say, and tearing families apart.
      In the Michigan case, a distraught mother shot and killed her husband, her two grown children and herself in their Keego Harbor home, shocking the small and quiet Oakland County community.
      The shooter was Lauren Stuart, a part-time model and personal trainer who struggled with depression and spent much of her time working on her house, her friends say. She and her husband, Daniel Stuart, 47, left the JW faith more than a decade ago over doctrinal and social issues. Among them was their desire to send their kids to college, which many ex-JWs say is frowned upon by the church and viewed as spiritually dangerous.
      “University and college campuses are notorious for bad behavior — drug and alcohol abuse, immorality, cheating, hazing, and the list goes on,” a 2005 article in the Watchtower, the church's official publication, stated.
      But the Stuarts sent both their kids to college: Steven, 27, excelled in computers, just like his father, who was a data solutions architect for the University of Michigan Medical School. Bethany, 24, thrived in art and graphic design.  After the parents left the faith, the Stuarts were ostracized by the Kingdom Hall — the churches where Jehovah's Witnesses worship — community in Union Lake and their families, friends said.
      Lauren Stuart, whose mother died of cancer when she was 12, struggled with mental illness that went untreated; isolation and fears that the end was near, said friends and officials familiar with the case. One friend who requested anonymity said she believes the killing was the result of depression, not religion.
      "This is a tragedy that has to do with a disease. Depression is so prevalent, and when it goes untreated this is what happens," the friend said. "She needed medical help."
      Longtime family friend Joyce Taylor believes depression, shunning and religion-based doomsday fears all played a role. She said that about six weeks before the killings, Lauren started getting religiously preoccupied and telling her "'It's the end times, I know it is.'"

      Weeks later, Taylor saw her friend again. Lauren had a vacant look in her eyes. She was emotionally distressed.
      A week later, with her home decorated for Valentine's Day, Lauren Stuart killed her family. She left behind a suicide note.
      "She said in the suicide note that she felt that by killing them it was the only way to save them," recalled Taylor, who said police let her read the letter. "She said she's sorry that she has to do this, but it was the only way to save them all." 
      Taylor, a former Jehovah's Witness herself who left the faith in 1986, explained: "Jehovah's Witnesses believe that if you die on this side of Armageddon, you'll be resurrected in paradise."
      In Lauren Stuart's case, Taylor believes her friend never deprogrammed after leaving the church — a state she describes as  "physically out, but mentally in." She believes that Lauren's indoctrinated doomsday fears never left her, and that the shunning helped push her over the edge.
      Had she not been excommunicated by her tight-knit community that was once her entire support system — left with no one to share her fears with — Lauren Stuart may not have done what she did, Taylor believes.
      "People do things when they are desperate," Taylor said. "And that was an extreme, desperate act."
      Shunning "can lead to great trauma among people because the Jehovah's Witnesses are a very tight-knit community," said Mathew Schmalz, a religious studies associate professor at the College of Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.
      "If you're separated out, you're really left to your own devices in ways that are very challenging and very painful," Schmalz said. "Once you leave a group that's been your whole life — letting that go is a kind of death."
      Police have not yet disclosed details about the death of the Stuart family besides calling it a murder-suicide.
      The tragedy has emboldened many once-quiet ex-JWs to speak up. Many say they suffered quietly on their own for years until they discovered an online community full of isolated, ostracized people like themselves — people who had lost someone to suicide or attempted suicide themselves because their families, friends and church community had written them off for making mistakes, for being human. 
      The church calls it being "disfellowshipped." Members can return if they repent, change the behavior and prove themselves worthy of being reinstated. But unless or until that happens, members are encouraged to avoid the sinners, especially those who leave the faith.
      Mothers go years, even decades, without talking to their children. Siblings write off siblings. Friends shun friends.
      An estimated 70,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses are disfellowshipped every year — roughly 1% of the church’s total population, according to data published by the Watchtower. Their names are published at local Kingdom Halls. Of those, two-thirds never return.
      Within a faith representing 8.4 million people worldwide, however, many members believe the religion is pure, good and loving. Those who are speaking against it, current members argue, are disgruntled and angry people who have an ax to grind because they were disfellowshipped. Or, they are lost souls who have misinterpreted the meaning and love behind the faith. Members say they believe the shunning accusations are exaggerated and that the suicides are often more about mental illness than ostracism.
      The departed disagree.  
      In the world of ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses, they maintain, the shunned are considered dead to their families, just like the suicide victims. 
      These are their stories:
      ‘A dangerous cult’
      It was a difficult conversation to wrap her 8-year-old brain around.
      “‘You know your sister was being bad, right?’“ Sawyer recalled her mother telling her after her sister's suicide.
      “ ‘And what she did was stupid, right?’ … To take your own life is very wrong,' " the mother continued.
      “I didn’t understand what was going on … and I said, ‘Oh. OK,,’ “ recalled Sawyer. “In my 8-year-old brain I was thinking, ‘When I mess up, my mom’s going to hate me.’ "
      And so began her painful journey with the Jehovah’s Witness faith, the religion she was born into and grew up in in Pascagoula, Miss., where her fears of abandonment took hold at the age of 8. 
      Sawyer believes the shunning drove her sister to suicide. After the church disfellowshipped her for getting engaged to a non-JW, the fiancé left her sister, who was thrown into depression. Her sister tried turning to her mother for consolation, but her mom would read scripture and tell her, "until you start acting right, you’re going to have these bad things happen to you.“
      Bad things happened to Sawyer, too. At 30, she sought a divorce from her husband because he was abusive and cheating on her, she said. But the church elders and family pressured her to save her marriage.
      “I showed them the holes in my walls,” Sawyer said, referring to the damage her ex-husband did to the home during fights. “They told me to pray more … and sent me back home to him.”
      Sawyer took up smoking to handle the stress, which got her disfellowshipped because smoking is not allowed. She also went through with the divorce. She ended up losing her home to foreclosure and turned to her mother for help as she had two children to raise.

        Her mother took her in temporarily, but when the church elders found out, they threatened to disfellowship Sawyer’s mother — who let the grandkids stay, but not the daughter. 
      Sawyer ended up homeless for six months, living out of her car in a community college parking lot. She landed on her feet with the help of a student loan. She got an apartment, a job as a hospice nurse and her children — now 10 and 18 — back. She found herself, but lost her family along the way.
      Her mother doesnÂ’t speak to her; she said she canÂ’t recall the last time they spoke.
      Her sister in Alabama hasnÂ’t spoken to her since Sawyer got divorced in 2010.
      “She was on my porch, with my parents … My sister looked at me and said, ‘You’re abandoning me just like Donna did’ And left. And that's the last thing she ever said to me."
      Sawyer has kept silent about her pain for decades.
      “This is a dangerous cult,” she said of her former religion. “It’s important for people to realize —  this is serious.” 
      Read the rest of the story here:

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      A lawsuit is now settled between a former victim of sexual abuse and Jehovah's Witnesses. According to the court's website, the case is under a "conditional settlement." The terms and conditions of the settlement are not public.
      José Lopez filed the lawsuit back in 2012, nearly 20 years after church elder Gonzalo Campos molested him and several other young children who were members of the Linda Vista congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses.
      As reported by the Reader, Campos, who fled to Mexico to escape criminal charges, admitted to committing the acts to Lopez’s and another victim's attorney, Devin Storey, while giving testimony in one of the cases.
      “I touched him in his private parts,” Campos testified.
      Attorney Storey: “Did you touch his penis?”
      Campos: “Yes.”
      Storey: “Did you penetrate him?”
      Campos: “Yes. Yes.”
      Storey: “How many times?”
      Campos: “More than once. I don’t know.”
      In 2009, five other alleged victims sued the Watchtower and Bible and Tract Society of New York, the governing body of Jehovah's Witnesses, over the molestation by Campos and the Watchtower's refusal to act.
      That case settled for an undisclosed amount in 2012, the same year that Lopez filed his lawsuit and a year before another victim, Osbaldo Padron, filed his.
      Then, in 2015, a state court judge ruled that the Watchtower had failed to cooperate with discovery in the Lopez case. The judge awarded a $13.5 million judgment in favor of Lopez.
      The Watchtower later appealed the decision and managed to get the decision rescinded and promised to produce the requested documents.
      Meanwhile, a fight over documents was also occurring in Padron's case, the one filed shortly after Lopez’s lawsuit.
      At issue was Watchtower’s refusal to turn over a letter from headquarters that asked for the names of alleged sexual abusers in the church.
      But at the same time other documents had been released by the Linda Vista congregation, which showed the congregation and headquarters were aware that Campos had sexually assaulted young boys and a girl but still considered him eligible to return to the congregation.
      “In our meeting with him he said he was very repentant for what he did,” wrote an elder at Linda Vista's congregation to Watchtower headquarters in New York in 1999.
      “He stated that he wanted to return to Jehovah. He is willing to face the victims and ask their forgiveness. He now wants to obey Jehovah. Before, when he would speak to people on the platform he would not meditate on what he was doing. Although he needed to confess, he felt shameful and had fear of mankind. He would deceive himself thinking that he could continue serving as an elder. Now he realized that he could not change without help. Ever since his expulsion he has not abused anyone. He has read articles of the publications regarding his sin. He says he does not see or read pornographic information. He stated that ever since expulsion he has worked on having a relationship with Jehovah and the expulsion has served to strengthen him spiritually. He does not miss meetings, and he even takes notes of the program. He also said that he is willing to continue accepting Jehovah’s discipline.”
      While the two sides continued to fight over discovery in the Lopez case, another judge issued sanctions against the Watchtower for refusing to turn over documents in the Padron case.
      The Watchtower also appealed that decision as well.
      As covered by the Reader, in November a state appellate court rejected the appeal, sending the case back to state court and keeping the $4000-per-day sanctions in place.
      Meanwhile, as the Padron case was heading back to state court, attorneys for Lopez and Watchtower agreed to settle the Lopez case.
      Lopez’s attorney, Irwin Zalkin, did not respond to a request for comment prior to publication of this article.
      There is no word yet whether Padron's case has also been settled. A hearing is scheduled for next month.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Reclaimed Voices, a foundation set up in the Netherlands to denounce sexual abuse by Jehovah's Witnesses, received 46 reports of abuse in just a week's time. The number of reports is shocking, Frank Huiting, one of the founders and himself a victim of sexual abuse in a closed Jehovah's Witnesses community as a child, said to broadcaster NOS. 
      The foundation was launched just over a week ago, based on Huiting's own experiences. He was abused from the time he was seven year's old. When Huiting told his parents, they decided not to report it to the police. An elder in the community advised against it. "Then there will be headlines in the newspaper and we don't want that."
      According to the Reclaimed Voices initiators, victims within the closed Jehovah's Witnesses community are not heard and perpetrators are left to continue unchecked. Over the past week, foundation employees heard stories from a number of people who were abused by Jehovah's Witnesses. "The fact that so many reports have come in actually says enough. There are at least hundreds of cases in the Netherlands that should actually come out", Huiting said, according to NOS. He added that so many victims are too afraid to come forward.
      The main purpose of Reclaimed Voices is to be a listening ear. The employees urge victims to speak out, and hope that they also report the abuse. "People walked around with this secret for years. And the fact that they are coming out, can be a relief for them. That was also my experience. We also want to advise them to seek professional help. Also outside the religious community, for example with a social worker, psychologist or general practitioner", Huiting said.
      The foundation aims to collect as man reports of sexual abuse as possible and present them to the board of Jehovah's Witnesses Netherlands and the Dutch government. "We want to get the government to investigate these abuses. And not to start a fight, but really to focus on the victim."
      Earlier this year Dutch newspaper Trouw spoke to a number of people who were sexually abused as children in the Jehovah's Witnesses community. One victim described the religious society as a "paradise for pedophiles". 

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      A 44-year-old former teacher and Jehovah’s Witness church elder copped to sexually assaulting one of his 13-year-old boy students. 

      Police are searching for a man who groped a girl as she was walking home from a Huntington Beach middle school. 

      Jason Morris Gorski of Fort Mill, South Carolina, pleaded guilty in Orange County Superior Court last Tuesday to two counts of lewd acts with a minor younger. He met the victim while teaching at the now-shuttered Southwestern Longview Private School in Long Beach, and at the same time he was an elder with the Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall congregation in Cypress, where the boy was also a member. Gorski had sex with the teen in Buena Park between June 2007 and June 2008. The minor reported the abuse to the congregation in 2009, and a year later Gorski moved to South Carolina and began attending a nearby Jehovah's Witnesses congregation. The boy told the Buena Park Police Department what had happened, and on June 21, 2016, Gorski was arrested. He could get up to 10 years in state prison at his Jan. 26 sentencing. 
       
      Link: 
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Children who were sexually abused by Jehovah's Witnesses were allegedly told by the church not to report the crimes.
      Victims from across the UK told the BBC they were routinely abused and that the religious organisation's own rules protected perpetrators.
      One child abuse lawyer believes there could be thousands of victims across the country who have not come forward because of the "two witness" rule.
      A spokesperson for the church said it did not "shield" abusers.
      'Bring reproach on Jehovah'
      BBC Hereford and Worcester spoke to victims - men and women - from Birmingham, Cheltenham, Leicester, Worcestershire and Glasgow, one of whom waived her right to anonymity.
      Louise Palmer, who now lives in Evesham, Worcestershire, was born into the organisation along with her brother Richard Davenport, who started raping her when she was four. He is serving a 10-year prison sentence for the abuse.
      The 41-year-old, formerly of Halesowen, West Midlands, said when she told the church of the abuse she was told not to go to police.
      Read more: 
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      A 44-year-old man pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a teenage boy he had met while working as a teacher in Long Beach, officials said Wednesday.
      Jason Morris Gorski on Tuesday pleaded to two counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor under 14, according to a statement from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
      Prosecutors said that Gorski met the 13-year-old victim in 2007 while working as a teacher at Southwestern Longview Private. The school shut down in 2008, state records show.
      Gorski had worked at the school for four years and was an active member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation in Cypress when he met the boy.
      In 2009, the teenager reported the abuse to the congregation, which then removed Gorski from his position as an elder, but allowed him to remain an active member. Gorski later moved to South Carolina and started attending a Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation in Charlotte, North Carolina.
      The victim reported the abuse to law enforcement in March 2016. The Buena Park Police Department investigated the case and arrested Gorski in June 2016.
      Gorski is scheduled to return to court for sentencing on Jan. 26 and he faces a maximum possible sentence of 10 years in state prison.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      A Central Coast man who raped and tortured a succession of women over more than two decades has been sentenced to at least 27 years in jail.
      The 53-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found guilty of 55 charges relating to the physical, sexual and psychological abuse of women he lived with between 1988 and 2014.
      The man, who was a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses, was accused of raping the women with household objects and detaining them.
      The sadistic nature of the offences included bashing and raping the women for not folding washing correctly, making them eat off the floor, locking them in wardrobes and hog-tying them and placing them face down in a bathtub full of water.
      A number of the women have suffered permanent physical injuries stemming from the abuse.
      One of the women known as JF was locked in a cupboard after calling her sister who contacted police.
      When police visited the home, the offender said she had gone out.
      In her victim impact statement JF said "It's hard to understand the fear unless you have lived with it," and that she "frequently believed she wouldn't be alive the following day".
      In handing down the sentence in the Downing Centre District Court, Justice Sarah Huggett said the man used "gratuitous cruelty ... designed to emphasise a victim's powerlessness and helplessness".
      "When one victim found the strength to escape, he found a replacement," she said.
      "I have no doubt there was foresight, premeditation and planning."
      Justice Huggett said the degree of violence was a relevant consideration in the sentence and that the offender was "frightening, controlling and undermining each victim's sense of security".
      The court heard that while in custody, the man had been verbally aggressive towards visitors and nursing staff.
      The man will be eligible for release in 2041.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Jehovah's Witnesses have been severely criticised by the Charity Commission for allowing a convicted sex offender to interrogate his victims.
      The commission's report said the women had endured "inappropriate and demeaning questioning".
      And Jonathan Rose had challenged them during a meeting with Church elders, after he was released from prison.
      A Jehovah's Witness statement said "appropriate restrictions" were imposed on anyone guilty of abuse.
      Rose was convicted in 2013 of the historical sexual abuse of two girls, aged five and 10, and sentenced to nine months in prison.
      Both he and the girls, at the time of the assaults, were members of the New Moston Kingdom Hall, in Manchester.
      At the time of his conviction, Rose was a senior member, or "elder", of the Jehovah's Witnesses.
      He appealed against a move to expel him, a process known as "disfellowshipping".
      In order to decide his fate, a group of elders had called the two women to a meeting at the Kingdom Hall, along with a third woman who had alleged in the 1990s that Rose had assaulted her, the report said.
      'Very intimidating'
      Over three hours in April 2014, the women were individually questioned by Rose and a room full of male elders.
      In an audio recording made by one of the women and passed to the BBC, Rose is heard saying to one woman: "Give me one reason why I would touch you?"
      He is heard challenging the woman, accusing her of making up the allegations and asking her to relive the assault.
      "What I am saying to you is this didn't happen," he says.
      "What was I supposed to have done to you that night?"
      One of the elders asks: "Did you ever egg him on?"
      "It was worse than the court case," another of the women told the BBC.
      "I felt everyone was on his side. I felt I was in the wrong. I felt very intimidated that it was all men, very, very intimidating. I was shocked he was able to talk to me.
      "He kept making out that I was lying. He kept saying why did I make it up, why would I say something like that, and at no point did I feel he was going to admit it.
      "I got to the point where I thought, 'He genuinely believes he's not done anything wrong.'"
      She added that another of the women had burst out of her meeting in tears, claiming Rose had asked if "she'd enjoyed it".
      In 2014, the Charity Commission, which regulates both the New Moston Kingdom Hall and the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Britain - the main UK Jehovah's Witness organisation, opened an investigation into how the trustees of the church had handled the case.
      The movement launched several legal actions to stop the inquiry, claiming the commission was acting beyond its remit.
      Eventually, the challenges were thrown out by the courts, and the report says: "The trustees of the charity... acting on legal advice, declined to engage with the commission following the opening of its inquiry."
      'Mismanagement'
      The report also found the charity's trustees had failed to tell the commission about the allegation against Rose from the 1990s, as they should have done.
      In a subsequent letter to the regulator, the trustees described the incident as merely "a matter between two teenagers", evidence, says the report, that they did not properly take account of the earlier incident when considering the new allegations.
      The report said they also failed to fully enforce the restrictions they had put on Rose's activities, allowing him to continue participating in the Church, and they "did not deal adequately" with the appeal meeting, allowing the questioning to take place, and therefore failing in their duties to protect people from harm.
      Taken together, the failures "constitute misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of the charity" by the trustees, the report said.
      "This has to be dealt with in a way that is sensitive to the victims who have gone through this terrible ordeal," said Michelle Russell, director of investigations at the Charity Commission. "In this case, they let the victims down."
      'No unsupervised contact'
      A statement from Watch Tower said: "Jehovah's Witnesses abhor child abuse in all of its forms and do not shield wrongdoers from the authorities or from the consequences of their actions. All allegations of abuse are thoroughly investigated and appropriate restrictions are imposed on any person who is guilty of child sexual abuse.
      "For years, Jehovah's Witnesses have had a robust child safeguarding policy. The trustees followed the policy by imposing restrictions on the perpetrator and by ensuring that he had no unsupervised contact with children during congregation meetings.
      "The trustees will continue to concentrate on doing all that they can to safeguard children and to care for the spiritual needs of the congregation."
      Jonathan Rose told the BBC he had no comment to make.
      The commission is now undertaking a wider inquiry into how Jehovah's Witnesses across the UK handle allegations of child sexual abuse.
      One particular concern is the Church's policy of dismissing an allegation if it fails its two-witness policy, which states two people need to have seen the abuse for the Church to proceed with a full investigation.
      There are also calls for the independent child abuse inquiry to examine the Church's policy.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      MOSCOW — Workers building stadiums for next year’s World Cup in Russia have faced repeated abuses and routinely gone unpaid for several months, according to a report by Human Rights Watch released on Wednesday.
      At a stadium in Yekaterinburg, some workers were required to work in temperatures of minus-25 degrees Celsius (minus-13 Fahrenheit) “without sufficient breaks for them to warm themselves,” the report states.
      “FIFA is essentially expecting us to take their word for it that their work has improved workers’ lives,” Jane Buchanan, the report’s author, told The Associated Press. “This is supposed to be the reformed FIFA, moving away from secrecy and a lot of deals behind closed doors.”
      At least 17 workers have died on World Cup construction sites, according to Building and Wood Workers’ International, a trade union.
      Known deaths include workers killed in falls and the case of a worker from North Korea who died of a reported heart attack at the stadium in St. Petersburg, which will host the final of the Confederations Cup on July 2, as well as World Cup matches in 2018.
      Read more: http://news.nationalpost.com/sports/soccer/at-least-17-deaths-as-workers-on-russia-2018-world-cup-construction-sites-face-abuse-report
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. - Warrants claim a North Georgia nurse accused of inappropriately touching women under anesthesia injected at least one of them with a potent drug to keep her under sedation for a longer than necessary period of time.
      Sandy Springs Police arrested Michael Morgan, 33, after they said he admitted to touching the women while they were unconscious at the gastroenterology practice where he worked earlier this year. 
      Police said Morgan confided in his pastors at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and they turned him into detectives.
      According to warrants obtained by Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik, "Mr. Morgan admitted to taking a used plunger of Propofol from a medical trash pile that had not been used all the way. He then took a saline flush and added it to the used Propofol plunge so he could keep her under sedation."

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      A WOMAN  who was molested by her father over 5 years and afterwards by a Jehovah’s Witnesses she asked for assistance has oral out about her ordeal.
      Terrified Angie Rodgers, from Ayrshire, was abused weekly by her perverted Jehovah’s Witness father Ian Cousins from a age of 11.

      Angie Rodgers was 11 years aged when her father started abusing her
      The dauntless teen eventually plucked adult a bravery to disclose in a Jehovah’s Witness elders, who took small action and she was after abused by one of them too, Harry Holt.
      Angie, now 36, said: “I incited to a church for assistance and we was abused a second time.
      “I was a child and they should have helped, though they incited on me. They make me feel sick.
      “I don’t consider I’ll ever get over what happened. I’ve usually schooled to live with it.
      “I have nightmares and flashbacks all a time and been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress.”
      Angie’s father was detained for 5 years in 2002 for his crimes, while Holt was usually jailed final year for Angie’s attack along with 7 others he molested.
      Now aged 36, Angie, a mother-of-four, has bravely waived her anonymity in a wish her story will assistance other people.
      She said: “Dad did it whenever he got a chance, even when we was ill.

      Angie Rodgers poses here with others in a Jehovah’s Witness community
      “Once, we was throwing adult with gastric influenza when father brought me home a feathery bunny, with a organic white floral dress and bloomers.
      “My wordless went to a Kingdom (church) and my father scooped me adult in his arms from a couch, took me to his room and molested me.
      “I prayed my wordless would come and save me though she never did. After that he used to try to hold me whenever we were alone. It got worse and worse.
      “We went to a Jehovah gathering when we was about 14 and he attempted to rape me in a tent. He was usually interrupted when an elder shouted him from outside.”
      At a age of 15 Angie confided in a friend, whose father led a opposite church, in a wish that they would be means to stop a abuse.
      While her father Cousins was called in for a “judicial meeting” no movement was taken, as Jehovah’s Witness elders can't act opposite suspects unless “there is a admission or dual convincing witnesses”.
      Angie was afterwards subjected to an talk by 3 masculine elders including Holt, where she was done to plead insinuate sum of a abuse.
      She explained: “They even asked what I’d been wearing, as if it was my fault. It was excruciating. we was so genuine we was still personification with toys and Lego during 18.”
      As Cousins showed plea for his sins he was authorised behind into a church after being reprimanded – and a abuse stopped.
      A brief while after in 1997, Holt done a pierce on Angie when pushing her home following a event door-knocking for members.
      She said: “On a approach home in a automobile he grabbed my leg and felt his approach adult towards my underwear.”
      Shocked, a immature lady told her relatives about a occurrence and a explanation led to Holt journey to Edinburgh.
      It was suggested in justice final year that he went on to abuse some-more children.
      Angie motionless to make a censure to a military about her father when she found out he had also abused another dual girls.
      She also incited her behind on a Jehovah’s Witnesses during 19 in a wish of starting fresh.
      The sacrament is pronounced to inspire members to reject people who leave, and Angie claimed that she didn’t see her mom for 6 years after she left.
      In 2014 a censure was done opposite Holt, and Angie concluded to come brazen and pronounce about her horrific experience.
      In Feb 2016, 71-year-old Holt was condemned to three-and-a-half years in jail for a abuse of 8 girls between 1971 and 2004.
      Angie said: “If what happened to me helps usually one immature lady – or child – go to a military it will have been value it. What happened to me is horrible though I’m perplexing to pierce on, differently my abusers have won.
      “The sacrament is zero though a cult. Children are kept wordless by fears of Holy condemnation and Armageddon if they move a church into ill repute.
      “It’s that fear and a fear of being shunned by friends and family if we leave that stops victims from stating to police. It’s primitive and it has to stop.”
      When contacted, a Jehovah’s Witnesses wouldn’t criticism on Angie’s box though they did criticism on their position in general.
      The matter said: “Jehovah’s Witnesses detest child abuse and perspective it as a iniquitous crime and sin. Safety of a children is of a pinnacle importance.
      “Elders do not defense abusers from a authorities. Anyone who commits a impiety of child abuse faces exclusion from a congregation. Any idea Jehovah’s Witnesses cover adult abuse is false.
      “We are doing all we can to forestall child abuse and to yield devout comfort to any who have suffered from this terrible impiety and crime.”

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Tribunal rejects claim investigation into charity’s handling of sexual abuse allegations amounts to religious discrimination
      A Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation in Manchester has lost a legal attempt to block an investigation into its handling of sexual abuse allegations, after failing to convince a judge that the inquiry amounted to religious discrimination.
      Organisations linked to the religion have fought legally to prevent the Charity Commission from launching two inquiries into allegations that survivors of sexual abuse were being forced to face their attackers in so-called judicial committees. The organisation’s efforts have been described by the commission as unprecedented.
      The Charity Commission launched a statutory inquiry into the Manchester New Moston congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2014, after reports surfaced that a convicted paedophile, Jonathan Rose, was brought face-to-face with survivors of his abuse in a judicial committee. 
      After Rose served nine months in prison for child sex offences, the New Moston congregation held a meeting attended by senior members, Rose and three of his victims – now adults – to see if he would be “disfellowshipped”, or expelled from of the congregation, the judgment notes. This would have involved “the elders of the charity (its trustees) and Mr Rose interviewing his victims, in an apparently intrusive way”. 
      This raised serious concerns at the Charity Commission, which oversees whether charity trustees are meeting their safeguarding responsibilities.
      The commission also launched a statutory inquiry into safeguarding the UK’s main Jehovah’s Witnesses charity, the Watch Tower Bible Tract Society of Great Britain (WTBTS), which oversees the UK’s 1,500 congregations and is believed to play a key role in deciding how claims of abuse are handled. 
      WTBTS launched litigation including an attempt to challenge in the supreme court the commission’s decision to start an investigation. The charity also fought in the lower courts against production orders that would oblige it to give the commission access to records showing how it handled the allegations, although in January it dropped its opposition to these requests.
      The Manchester New Moston congregation launched appeals at the first-tier tribunal challenging the Charity Commission’s decision to open a formal inquiry, arguing among other things that the investigation interfered with the congregation’s human rights, and that the decision to launch the inquiry amounted to religious discrimination. The charity alleged the commission had investigated safeguarding concerns at other charities without launching a full statutory inquiry.
      When the first appeal was dismissed, the congregation appealed to the upper tribunal. This was rejected on Tuesday at the upper tribunal of the tax and chancery division at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
      Mrs Justice Asplin ruled the lower tribunal had been “entitled to decide that there was no direct discrimination on the grounds of religion, the inquiry having been opened on the basis of unusual and distinctive factual reasons ... and that there were no other comparable cases from which to infer discrimination on the grounds of religious beliefs.”
      The Charity Commission’s head of litigation, Chris Willis Pickup, said: “We regret that public and charity funds have been used on this protracted litigation, but we will continue to defend robustly our legitimate role in investigating serious concerns about charities.
      “We hope and expect that this judgment concludes the litigation on this matter and allows us, and the charity, to focus our efforts on concluding the Commission’s inquiry.”

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      © Justin McManus Lara Kaput has started a campaign to apply scrutiny to the Jehovah's Witnesses.
       
      Three decades ago Jodi*'s family were searching for a better life for themselves and their four children, well away from the gritty inner-city high rise apartment they called home.
      The family packed up their belongings and moved to rural Victoria where they planned to start anew.

      © Supplied Tara's family moved to rural Victoria in search of a better life but she says they were indoctrinated into the Jehovah's Witnesses.
      Then one morning a pair of Jehovah's Witnesses knocked on the door to spread the word of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. That was when Jodi's nightmare began.
      "These nice people were promising a community with no drugs, no alcohol and no crime – it sounded very appealing," said Jodi, who asked that her name be withheld.
      "They love bomb you. They sell you this vision of a perfect community. It is anything but. It's indoctrination. It's a cult, it really is. But they convince you it's a religion."
      The Jehovah's Witness church and its overarching body, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, came to the attention of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Sexual Abuse with a 2015 case study hearing more than 1000 allegations of paedophilia had been made against the organisation over 60 years yet not one complaint was reported to police.
      This echoes Jodi's experience. Now 35, she says she was abused by a church elder and his daughter when she was eight years old. When she was 13 she mustered up the courage to report the abuse to church authorities but was not believed and branded a liar. She left the church shortly after.
      "They preach love but they don't show love," she said.
      Another former member, Lara Kaput, describes the Jehovah's Witnesses as "cruel".

      © Supplied Tara today. She still suffers from nightmares as a result of her experience with the Jehovah's Witnesses.
      Ms Kaput, 44, was raised in a Jehovah's Witness family in Victoria where close contact with people outside the church was discouraged, women were taught to obey men and the teachings of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society were unquestioned.
      She left the Jehovah's Witnesses when she was 19 and was shunned by the community. Over the past 25 years she's had only sporadic contact with family members who are still involved in the church.
      "You are ostracised from your entire family and friend network," she said. "Prior to (leaving) they incorporated me as a regular family member. After that I was dead to them."
      Ms Kaput has launched a campaign on change.org to have charity regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission, investigate the organisation.
      "This is not an organisation which should have charitable status," she said.
      Nor is it a safe organisation for children, the royal commission determined when it handed down its findings into the institution last year.
      Shine Lawyers principal Lisa Flynn specialises in institutional sexual abuse and describes the culture of Jehovah's Witness church as deeply problematic.
      "The Jehovah's Witnesses have many practices and policies which create a perfect storm for child abuse," she said.
      Ms Flynn describes the organisation as "controlling, insular and isolating".
      "Anyone who complains faces the risk of being shunned and isolated from their families and friends and the way of life they have known," she said. "That makes people very reluctant to report abuse."
      And those who do report face hurdles such as the "two witness rule" which requires two eye witnesses to an allegation, having to confront the alleged abuser and giving evidence to a panel of male elders.
      "It's often the case that no action is taken," she said. "That leads to a climate where a perpetrator is free to go off and continue perpetrating."

      Following the royal commission's hearing, Jehovah's Witnesses leaders promised to reform the organisation's child protection policies and procedures.
      But on Friday the commission heard the Jehovah's Witnesses have failed to address many recommendations which would make the organisation safer for children.
      The commission was told the organisation, which has 67,000 Australian followers, has "reviewed, clarified, refined and consolidated" its policies on child sexual abuse to ensure "as far as possible" the safety of children.
      Counsel assisting the commission Angus Stewart SC said, despite this: "The Jehovah's Witnesses have failed to address many of the recommendations (from the commission)."
      The commission has referred information about 514 alleged perpetrators within the Jehovah's Witnesses to the police since the initial hearing.
      Terrence O'Brien, a director of Watchtower Australia, told the hearing allegations of child sexual abuse are reported to the police. The commission heard the Jehovah's Witnesses have referred a further 15 allegations to police since 2015.
      Senior minister with Watchtower Australia Rodney Spinks said: "We've taken the recommendations of the royal commission seriously."
      Jodi, who now lives in Queensland, still bears the scars from her experience with the Jehovah's Witnesses.
      "I still sleep with the light on and my dog on the bed," she said. "My little fox terrier is ancient and missing half her teeth but I feel safer with her on the bed beside me. I still have nightmares."
      The hearing into the Jehovah's Witnesses, before Justice Peter McClellan, has adjourned. 
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Source: @CARoyalComm/Twitter
       
      More than one in five members of the Christian Brothers order were alleged child sexual abuse perpetrators and 7% of Australian Catholic priests have allegedly perpetrated abuse since 1950, the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse has been told.
      The commission reopened in Sydney today for its 50th case study, looking into the policies and procedures of Catholic church authorities. Six archbishops from across Australia have been called to give evidence in the coming weeks. It’s the 16th time the four-year-long inquiry has looked into the Catholic church and the first time figures have been released on abuse levels.
      Senior counsel assisting, Gail Furness SC, outlined shocking levels of child sexual abuse in her opening address, saying 4,444 people were allegedly abused between 1980 and 2015 in around 1000 different institutions.
      “Of priests from the 75 Catholic Church authorities with priest members surveyed, who ministered in Australia between 1950 and 2010, 7.9% of diocesan priests were alleged perpetrators and 5.7% of religious priests were alleged perpetrators,” Furness said. “Overall, 7% of priests were alleged perpetrators.”
      The average age of the victims was just 10.5 for girls and 11.6 for boys. On average, it took around 33 years from the incident before claims of abuse emerged.
      The widespread levels of abuse outlined by Furness over the last four decades include the Marist Brothers, which like the Christian Brothers, runs schools, and 20% of the order were perpetrators. The figure climbed to a staggering 40.4% in the St John of God Brothers order.
      Among the abusers, nearly 1,900 have been identified, but another 500 are still unknown. Among the perpetrators, 32% were religious brothers, 30% were priests, and 29% were lay people, with religious sisters at 5%.
      Data suggested 21.5% of priests from the Benedictine Community of New Norcia were alleged perpetrators.
      There were regional hotspots of abuse, most notably in Sale and Sandhurst in Victoria, with around 15% of priests allegedly responsible, followed by Port Pirie in South Australia, and Lismore and Wollongong in NSW.
      Nearly four in every 10 private sessions (37%) held with abuse survivors involved the Catholic church.
      Furness said accounts of abuse survivors “were depressingly similar”.
      “Children were ignored or worse, punished. Allegations were not investigated. Priests and religious (members) were moved,” she said.
      “The parishes or communities to which they were moved knew nothing of their past. Documents were not kept or they were destroyed. Secrecy prevailed as did cover ups.
      “Priests and religious (members) were not properly dealt with and outcomes were often not representative of their crimes. Many children suffered and continue as adults to suffer from their experiences in some Catholic institutions.”
      The abuse claims were made to 93 Catholic Church authorities and the Holy See blocked attempts by the royal commission to find out what action was taken by the church against priests suspected of abuse.
      Furness said Rome refused to release any documents on the issue, telling the commission in 2014 that it was “neither possible nor appropriate to provide the information requested”.
      The commission also sought documents on a named Australian priest but “was told that ‘to avoid compromising the integrity of the canonical proceeding’ it was not possible to provide all of the documents requested”.
      Today Furness revealed a number of senior Catholic officials who initially accepted invitations to appear before the commission have pulled out in recent weeks. Among them was the US head of child protection in the church, Deacon Bernard Nojadera, who subsequently refused to even provide a signed statement.
      The royal commission will spend the next three weeks on this final look at the Catholic church and its responses to abuse allegations before turning its attention to a range of other religious groups later this year, including the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Uniting and Anglican churches and Yeshivah Melbourne and Yeshiva Bondi.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Paul Shields
      A Jehovah’s Witness sexually abused three young girls after luring them with video games, a court was told.
      Paul Shields, 57, who was living in Guisborough at the time, allegedly sexually touched the youngsters, who at the time were too young to understand the seriousness of Shields’ actions, said prosecutor Andrew Espley.
      The prosecution alleges that Shields, a married father and former plumber, repeatedly abused the girls when he was in his 30s.
      Mr Espley said it was not until 2014 that two of the women, who were under-age at the time of the alleged offences, reported the matters to police.
      Shields, now of Gordon Street, York, was arrested and charged with three counts of indecent assault. He denied the allegations and appeared for trial this week dressed in a smart navy-blue blazer and tie.
      Mr Espley said that heavily-built Shields, who also previously lived in Darlington, sexually assaulted the girls over their clothes. The females said he did not touch them in any intimate areas, “but was very close to them”.
      The barrister said that when the elders of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Guisborough congregation heard about the allegations, Shields asked them to “disfellowship” him from the church. The act of “disfellowshipping” is a disciplinary measure against members who have wronged.
      Shields allegedly wrote a letter of apology to each of the girls saying he was “very sorry for what I did”, but that “I did not feel I was doing anything wrong”.
      The second alleged victim said she had decided to come forward after years of secrecy because the memory of the alleged attacks started to prey on her mind and “made her feel sick”.
      The third female, who reported the matters to police in 2015, said she could vividly recall at least three occasions when Shields sexually assaulted her, although each of the women claimed the abuse happened a number of times.
      She claimed Shields sent her some “fairly odd” emails after the alleged abuse, including one in which he apologised for “upsetting” her and another where he signed off with ‘Love from you know who’.
      The female, who was a teenager at the time of the alleged incidents, also said she had received a written letter of apology from Shields in which he allegedly wrote that what he had done was “inexcusable”, added the barrister.
      In police interview, Shields said he “didn’t believe” he had sexually assaulted the girls, said Mr Espley.
      The trial continues.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Radio-Canada's Enquête investigates allegations that the closed religious movement fails to protect children
      Mélanie Poirier was 10 when she started taking piano lessons and it would prove to be an experience that changed her life forever. At that very first lesson, she said, her piano teacher sexually assaulted her. It went on for five years.
      "Week after week, at every piano lesson, he would masturbate in front of me. And he would ask me to touch him," Poirier told Radio-Canada's investigative program, Enquête.  
      Her father, Benoît Poirier, was in the next room waiting for her lesson to be over, completely unaware, she said.
      Poirier said she couldn't tell her father, who was a Jehovah's Witness elder, or anyone else what was happening because her piano teacher was also an elder in the congregation that her family belonged to in a Montreal suburb.
      "He was well-known, an elder, an example to follow," she said.
      The biggest obstacle, however, was the fact she didn't have a second witness to the alleged abuse — a key requirement of the church's internal judicial system.
      "If I told anyone, nothing would have happened. I wouldn't be believed. The elders wouldn't have even stopped to listen to me," Poirier said.
      Internal policies — and no police
      The Poiriers are among several former Jehovah's Witnesses in Quebec and the United States who spoke to Enquête about the church's policies for dealing with allegations of child sexual abuse and their failure to protect victims.
      Among those policies: complainants are made to answer inappropriate questions if they report an assault, and their stories must be corroborated by a second witness for a case to even be heard by an internal judicial committee. Until this past summer, accusers were also forced to confront their alleged abuser before a panel of elders.
      Radio-Canada also heard allegations that a five-year-old boy from a Quebec congregation was made to repeat his story in front of the man he said abused him. The boy's mother told Enquête the allegations were dismissed because the child did not have a second witness to the alleged assault.
      In its investigation, Radio-Canada obtained a questionnaire designed to guide Jehovah's Witness elders interviewing children alleging sexual abuse. It includes the question: "How many elders believe the victim is to blame or willingly participated in the act?"
      The questionnaire was drafted by the headquarters of the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, in the state of New York. The Watchtower Society declined Enquête's request for an interview.
      Rules rooted in scripture
      The Watchtower Society's leadership bases its policies on a strict interpretation of biblical scripture.
      Its policy on making an accuser justify her or his allegations in the accused's presence, for example, is based on a line from the Book of Matthew:
      "If your brother commits a sin, go and reveal his fault between you and him alone." — Matthew 18:15
      An elders' manual distributed to congregations cites the books of Deuteronomy and John as the basis for the two-witness policy.
      "There must be two or three eyewitnesses, not just people repeating hearsay." — Deut. 19:15
      "No action can be taken if there is only one witness." — John 8:17
      While the Watchtower tells elders it is the "absolute right" of members to report allegations of child abuse to police, doing so is effectively discouraged by an organizational emphasis on dealing with such matters internally and avoiding "unnecessary entanglement with secular authorities," as stated in an internal document from 2014.
      A recent royal commission in Australia found the Jehovah's Witness church there had recorded allegations of child sexual abuse against 1,006 members. Not one allegation was reported to authorities outside the church.
      Since 1997, the Watchtower leadership has required that every allegation of child sexual abuse brought to a congregation's attention be sent to the organization's national headquarters. 
      Earlier this year, a California court ordered the Watchtower Society to submit a database of the alleged pedophiles among its ranks, but the society has yet to do so.
      'Catastrophic' complaint process
      Mélanie Poirier kept her story of alleged weekly assaults by her childhood piano teacher to herself for 20 years, until she met another alleged victim of the same man. Together, they decided to bring their case to the congregation's elders.
      Both women were made to defend their allegations in a meeting at which their alleged abuser was present.
      "I thought it would be difficult, but it wasn't difficult — it was catastrophic," Poirier said.
      "He asked me questions. He said I was mistaken, my memories were wrong, why do I want to do this to him. I was revictimized that evening," Poirier said.
      Based on his alleged victims' testimony, a judicial committee composed of elders expelled Poirier's former piano teacher from the Jehovah's Witnesses. He appealed, however, twice — meaning Poirier and the other alleged victim were made to confront the man a total of three times.
      The story doesn't end there. Poirier's alleged abuser soon joined another Jehovah's Witness congregation, despite never having admitted to any wrongdoing or repented for the sin he was accused of committing — conditions set by the Watchtower Society for regaining membership.
      Enquête contacted Poirier's old teacher, who is still a Jehovah's Witness and doing door-to-door work. He denied the allegations and refused an interview.
      Poirier left the Jehovah's Witnesses soon after her ordeal, as did her father. Benoît Poirier said he's never recovered from seeing his daughter treated the way she was, and he's encouraging others to come forward with their stories.
      "You're not sullying the organization by speaking out," he said. "These people are traitors, abusers, criminals.… They're sullying the organization with their actions."
      Poirier has since taken her case to police in Laval, Que.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      ( MMC-NEWS ) You are reading the article "Abuse allegations in Newfoundland casting a cloud over Jehovah's Witnesses" latest updates. Allegations of abuse against two members of the Jehovah's Witnesses religious movement in Newfoundland have emerged, though details of the charges are protected by a court-ordered publication ban.
      Allegations of abuse involving two members of the Jehovah's Witness religious movement in Newfoundland have emerged, though details of the charges are protected by a court-ordered publication ban. 
      CBC News has learned that a former volunteer church elder and his son are facing charges.
      The former elder is charged with sexual assault and sexual exploitation relating to allegations dating from 2009 to 2012 in central Newfoundland.
      According to court documents, a second man is charged with sexual assault, with the information referencing a period between May 2011 and December 2013 in a community on the Avalon Peninsula.
      CBC News has confirmed that the pair are father and son.
      The RCMP also confirmed Thursday that both cases involve the same complainant.
      A sexual exploitation charge involves anyone in a position of trust or authority who commits an offence against a young person.
      The matter involving the older accused was called at a provincial court on Wednesday.
      It was set over until next month, when a date is expected to be set for trial.
      The younger accused is scheduled to make a court appearance later this month.
      'We're all human'
      The father of an alleged victim told CBC News it's been a difficult time for his family.
      The father said he is still involved with the Jehovah's Witness, and spoke in a forgiving tone.
      "Things happen. We're all human. No matter what religion you're of, things can happen," he said.
      CBC News also spoke briefly with the former elder. He declined comment, but did say he is still involved with the church.
      The man did not appear in court Wednesday, but is expected to plead not guilty.
      An RCMP spokesman said he could not comment on either case because of the publication ban. However, he stressed that officers take such allegations very seriously.
      Members throughout the province
      A member of the congregation linked to both of the accused said that it has been a difficult time, but declined to comment.
      Jehovah's Witnesses are a U.S.-based religious movement with an estimated eight million followers worldwide, including about 1,200 members in Newfoundland and Labrador, with churches known as a Kingdom Hall in communities throughout the province.
      They are Christians, but have sometimes been described as an insular sect.
      The essence of their movement is to serve as God's "witnesses."
      Followers are best known for door-to-door evangelism, and free publications called Awake! and The Watchtower.
      They also follow strict rules that prohibit, among other things, sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, smoking and drugs.
      The movement has also made headlines for refusing to allow blood transfusions, even when a life is at risk, and to refuse to celebrate occasions such as Christmas, Easter and birthdays.
      Co-operating with police
      In Canada, the movement is headquartered in Georgetown, Ont., outside Toronto.
      'We do abhor that kind of wickedness … and we do not protect any of these individuals and we allow the authorities to do their work' - Simon Picard
      CBC News spoke with Simon Picard at the Jehovah's Witnesses "public information desk" in Georgetown.
      When asked about the charges, he also referenced the ongoing investigation and publication ban, but strongly condemned any abuse against young people.
      "How we feel about child sexual abuse has been very clear for years now," said Picard.
      "We do abhor that kind of wickedness … and we do not protect any of these individuals and we allow the authorities to do their work."
      Picard confirmed the older accused is no longer a church elder, and that the church is co-operating with the investigation.
      He also stressed that the Jehovah's Witnesses have measures in place to protect members of the church.
      "Our publications give all kinds of tools to our parents on how to teach and train their children to be protected from these kind of things," he said, adding the organization's website also offers tips.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      After the Brexit vote, climate hawks voiced concern that a new British government could be less aggressive in fighting climate change. Looks like they may have been right: New British Prime Minister Theresa May hasn’t even unpacked her bags at 10 Downing Street and she’s already got green groups very worried.
      May announced Thursday that she would axe the Department for Energy and Climate Change and replace it with the newly formed Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Climate experts and politicians called the move “plain stupid,” “terrible,” and “beyond daft.”
      “The decision to shut down DECC is a deeply worrying move from Theresa May,” said Green Party Member of Parliament Caroline Lucas. “Climate change is the biggest challenge we face, and it must not be an afterthought for the Government.”
      Also troubling, May appointed Andrea Leadsom as the new environment secretary, a woman who has regularly opposed climate action. One of the first questions Leadsom asked officials when she became energy minister last year was, “Is climate change real?” Leadsom also supported selling off British forests in 2011, a thwarted proposal that proved to be deeply unpopular with British citizens.

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    • By The Librarian
      See also: 
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. in wiki.jw-archive.org with lots of stuff that has not been moved over to this forum yet.  



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    • Eric Ouellet

      Que vos prières soit préparées comme une encens apaisante pour Jéhovah

      Chez les Israélites, l’offrande d’encens était un symbole approprié pour désigner les prières que Dieu entend. C’est pourquoi le psalmiste David a chanté à Jéhovah : 

      “ Que ma prière soit préparée comme l’encens devant toi. ”
      — Psaume 141 : 2
      JÉHOVAH DIEU a chargé son prophète Moïse de préparer un encens sacré à l’usage du culte qui lui était rendu dans le tabernacle d’Israël. Il a donné lui-même la formule de ce mélange composé de quatre ingrédients aromatiques qui dégageaient une bonne odeur. — Exode 30:34-38.
      L’alliance de la Loi dans laquelle la nation d’Israël avait été admise prévoyait de faire brûler quotidiennement de l’encens (Exode 30:7, 8). Ce geste avait-il une signification particulière ? Oui. En témoignent ces paroles du psalmiste : “ Que ma prière soit préparée comme l’encens devant toi [Jéhovah Dieu], l’élévation de mes paumes comme l’offrande de grain du soir. ” (Psaume 141:2). De plus, dans le livre de la Révélation, l’apôtre Jean dit de ceux qui se tiennent autour du trône céleste de Dieu qu’ils ont des bols d’or pleins d’encens. “ Et, précise le récit inspiré, l’encens représente les prières des saints. ” (Révélation 5:8). Il apparaît donc que la combustion d’encens odorant symbolise les prières agréées que les serviteurs de Jéhovah offrent jour et nuit. — 1 Thessaloniciens 3:10 ; Hébreux 5:7
      Pour que Dieu agrée nos prières, nous devons le prier au nom de Jésus Christ (Jean 16:23, 24). Au demeurant, comment pouvons-nous améliorer la qualité de nos prières ? L’examen de quelques exemples pris dans les Écritures devrait nous aider à préparer nos prières comme l’encens devant Jéhovah. — Proverbes 15:8.
      Prions avec foi
      Si nous voulons que nos prières montent vers Dieu comme un encens de bonne odeur, il nous faut les lui offrir avec foi (Hébreux 11:6). Lorsque des anciens ont affaire à une personne spirituellement malade qui réagit bien à leurs conseils bibliques, ‘ leur prière de foi rétablit celui qui est souffrant ’. (Jacques 5:15.) Notre Père céleste prend plaisir à voir quelqu’un le prier avec foi et étudier consciencieusement sa Parole. Un psalmiste qui manifestait cet excellent état d’esprit a écrit : “ Je lèverai mes paumes vers tes commandements que j’ai aimés, et je veux m’intéresser à tes prescriptions. Enseigne-moi la bonté, le bon sens et la connaissance, car j’ai exercé la foi en tes commandements. ” (Psaume 119:48, 66). ‘ Étendons nos paumes ’ en priant avec humilité et exerçons la foi en observant les commandements de Dieu.
      La prière un lien véritable à la sagesse divine
      Supposons que nous manquions de sagesse pour surmonter une épreuve ; par exemple, nous pourrions ne pas être convaincus qu’une certaine prophétie soit déjà en train de se réaliser. Plutôt que de laisser cette incertitude nous déstabiliser spirituellement, prions pour recevoir de la sagesse (Galates 5:7, 8 ; Jacques 1:5-8). N’escomptons pas cependant que Dieu nous réponde d’une manière spectaculaire, mais démontrons la sincérité de nos prières en faisant ce qu’il attend de tous ses serviteurs : qu’ils bâtissent leur foi en étudiant les Écritures à l’aide des publications fournies par l’intermédiaire de “ l’esclave fidèle et avisé ”. (Matthieu 24:45-47 ; Josué 1:7, 8.) Nous avons besoin également d’augmenter notre connaissance en prenant part régulièrement aux réunions du peuple de Dieu. — Hébreux 10:24, 25.
      Certains chrétiens semblent avoir perdu de vue que nous sommes à un stade avancé du “ temps de la fin ”. (Daniel 12:4.) C’est ce que révèlent l’orientation qu’ils donnent à leur vie et leurs centres d’intérêt. Il convient de prier pour que ces chrétiens ravivent ou affermissent leur foi dans les preuves que fournit la Bible que la présence du Christ a commencé en 1914 et que, ayant été intronisé au ciel par Jéhovah cette année-là, il règne depuis lors au milieu de ses ennemis (Psaume 110:1, 2 ; Matthieu 24:3). Nous devrions tous être bien conscients du fait que des événements annoncés, tels que la destruction de la fausse religion (“ Babylone la Grande ”), l’attaque satanique de Gog de Magog contre les serviteurs de Jéhovah et l’intervention salvatrice de Dieu le Tout-Puissant lors de la guerre d’Har-Maguédôn, peuvent survenir avec une rapidité saisissante et s’enchaîner sur une période relativement courte (Révélation 16:14, 16 ; 18:1-5 ; Ézékiel 38:18-23). Aussi, prions Dieu de nous aider à rester spirituellement éveillés. Puissions-nous tous prier avec conviction pour que le nom de Jéhovah soit sanctifié, pour que son Royaume vienne et pour que sa volonté se fasse sur la terre comme elle est faite au ciel ! Puissions-nous aussi continuer à exercer la foi et à démontrer par des actes la sincérité de nos prières (Matthieu 6:9, 10) ! Que tous ceux qui aiment Jéhovah puissent vraiment chercher d’abord le Royaume et Sa justice, et participer le plus possible à la prédication de la bonne nouvelle avant que vienne la fin ! — Matthieu 6:33 ; 24:14.
      Louons et remercions Jéhovah
      Une manière importante de ‘ préparer nos prières comme l’encens ’ consiste à louer et à remercier Dieu du fond de notre cœur. Le roi David a prononcé une prière de ce genre quand lui et le peuple d’Israël ont fait des contributions pour la construction du temple de Jéhovah. Il s’est exprimé ainsi : “ Béni sois-tu, ô Jéhovah le Dieu d’Israël notre père, depuis des temps indéfinis et pour des temps indéfinis. À toi, ô Jéhovah, sont la grandeur, la puissance, la beauté, la supériorité et la dignité ; car tout, dans les cieux et sur la terre, est à toi. À toi est le royaume, ô Jéhovah, Celui qui t’élève aussi en chef au-dessus de tout. La richesse et la gloire sont grâce à toi, et tu domines tout ; dans ta main il y a force et puissance, et dans ta main est le pouvoir de rendre grand et de donner de la vigueur à tous. Et maintenant, ô notre Dieu, nous te remercions et nous louons ton nom magnifique. ” — 1 Chroniques 29:10-13.
      Quelles splendides expressions de louange et de reconnaissance ! Même si nos prières ne sont pas aussi éloquentes, elles peuvent témoigner de la même sincérité. Les actions de grâces et les louanges abondent dans le livre des Psaumes. Les Psaumes 148, 149 et 150, en particulier, louent Dieu en des termes particulièrement choisis. La gratitude envers Dieu imprègne également de nombreux psaumes. “ J’ai demandé une chose à Jéhovah, a chanté David, — c’est ce que je chercherai : Que j’habite dans la maison de Jéhovah tous les jours de ma vie, pour contempler le charme de Jéhovah et pour regarder avec admiration son temple. ” (Psaume 27:4). Agissons en harmonie avec de telles prières en participant avec zèle à toutes les activités des “ foules rassemblées ” par Jéhovah (Psaume 26:12). Ajoutons à cela la méditation quotidienne de sa Parole, et nous aurons quantité de raisons de louer et de remercier sincèrement Jéhovah.
      Recherchons humblement l’aide de Jéhovah
      Nous avons l’assurance que Jéhovah entend les appels à l’aide de ses Témoins qui le servent d’un cœur entier (Isaïe 43:10-12). C’est ce qu’illustre un épisode de la vie d’Asa, qui a été roi de Juda pendant 41 ans (977-937 av. n. è.). Après dix premières années de règne marquées par la paix, le pays a été envahi par une armée de un million d’hommes conduite par Zérah l’Éthiopien. Bien qu’infiniment moins nombreux, Asa et ses hommes sont sortis à la rencontre de l’ennemi. Cependant, avant de livrer bataille, Asa a prononcé une prière fervente, dans laquelle il a exprimé sa confiance dans le pouvoir salvateur de Jéhovah. Implorant son aide, il a dit : “ Sur toi nous nous appuyons et c’est en ton nom que nous sommes venus contre cette foule. Ô Jéhovah, tu es notre Dieu. Que le mortel ne conserve pas de vigueur contre toi. ” En conséquence, Jéhovah a sauvé Juda à cause de son grand nom ; il a donné aux Israélites une victoire totale (2 Chroniques 14:1-15). Qu’il nous délivre de l’épreuve ou qu’il nous donne la force de l’endurer, il est hors de doute que Dieu entend nos appels à l’aide.
      Soyons certains que Jéhovah entend tout autant nos requêtes lorsque nous ne savons pas comment agir dans une certaine situation critique. C’est ce qu’a pu vérifier le roi de Juda Yehoshaphat, dont les 25 ans de règne ont commencé en 936 avant notre ère. Quand Juda s’est trouvé menacé par les armées coalisées de Moab, d’Ammôn et de la région montagneuse de Séïr, Yehoshaphat a fait cette supplication : “ Ô notre Dieu, n’exécuteras-tu pas le jugement sur eux ? Car en nous il n’y a pas de force devant cette foule nombreuse qui vient contre nous ; et nous, nous ne savons que faire, mais nos yeux sont tournés vers toi. ” Jéhovah a répondu à cette prière humble : il a combattu en faveur de Juda en semant la confusion dans les rangs des ennemis de sorte que ceux-ci se sont entretués. À la suite de cela, la crainte a saisi les nations d’alentour, et Juda a connu la paix (2 Chroniques 20:1-30). Lorsque nous manquons de la sagesse nécessaire pour résoudre une grave difficulté, reconnaissons, comme Yehoshaphat : ‘ Nous ne savons que faire, mais nos yeux sont tournés vers toi, Jéhovah. ’ L’esprit saint peut nous rappeler alors à la mémoire des pensées bibliques qui nous donneront la solution, à moins que l’aide divine ne revête une forme qui dépasse l’entendement humain. — Romains 8:26, 27.
       Avant de recevoir l’aide de Dieu, peut-être nous faudra-t-il persévérer dans la prière. Nehémia a mené deuil, a pleuré, jeûné et prié pendant des jours à propos de la muraille en ruine de Jérusalem et de la situation pitoyable des habitants de Juda (Nehémia 1:1-11). Ses prières sont manifestement montées vers Dieu comme un encens de bonne odeur. Devant la mine abattue de Nehémia, le roi perse Artaxerxès lui a un jour demandé : “ Que cherches-tu donc à obtenir ? ” “ Aussitôt, raconte Nehémia, je priai le Dieu des cieux. ” Cette requête courte et silencieuse a été exaucée : Nehémia a reçu l’autorisation d’accomplir ce qui lui tenait à cœur : se rendre à Jérusalem pour y rebâtir la muraille. — Nehémia 2:1-8.
      Jésus nous apprend à prier
      De toutes les prières qui ont été conservées dans les Écritures, il en est une particulièrement instructive ; c’est la prière modèle, que Jésus Christ a présentée comme un encens de bonne odeur. Voici ce que nous lisons dans l’Évangile de Luc : “ Un [des] disciples [de Jésus] lui dit : ‘ Seigneur, apprends-nous à prier, comme Jean aussi l’a appris à ses disciples. ’ Alors il leur dit : ‘ Quand vous priez, dites : “ Père, que ton nom soit sanctifié. Que ton royaume vienne. Donne-nous notre pain pour le jour selon les besoins du jour. Et pardonne-nous nos péchés, car nous-mêmes aussi nous pardonnons à tous ceux qui nous doivent ; et ne nous fais pas entrer en tentation. ” ’ ” (Luc 11:1-4 ; Matthieu 6:9-13). Cette prière n’était pas destinée à être récitée, mais plutôt à donner une indication de ce pour quoi il faut prier. 
       “ Père, que ton nom soit sanctifié. ” Jéhovah accorde à ceux qui le servent et lui sont voués le privilège spécial de l’appeler Père. Comme des enfants qui confient tout à un père qu’ils savent miséricordieux, nous devrions prendre régulièrement le temps d’adresser à Dieu des prières empreintes de dignité et de vénération (Psaume 103:13, 14). Nos prières devraient traduire l’intérêt que nous portons à la sanctification de son nom, que nous aspirons à voir lavé de tout l’opprobre dont il a été couvert. Oui, nous voulons que le nom de Jéhovah soit mis à part et tenu pour saint, ou sacré. — Psaumes 5:11 ; 63:3, 4 ; 148:12, 13 ; Ézékiel 38:23.
      “ Que ton royaume vienne. ”
      “ Que ton royaume vienne. ” Le Royaume représente la domination que Jéhovah exerce par l’intermédiaire du gouvernement céleste messianique qu’il a confié à son Fils, Jésus, et aux “ saints ” qui lui sont associés (Daniel 7:13, 14, 18, 27 ; Révélation 20:6). Bientôt, ce Royaume ‘ viendra ’ contre tous ceux sur la terre qui s’opposent à la souveraineté divine et il les fera disparaître (Daniel 2:44). Après cela, la volonté de Jéhovah sera faite sur la terre, comme elle l’est au ciel (Matthieu 6:10). Quelle joie ce sera pour toutes les créatures qui servent fidèlement le Souverain de l’univers !
       “ Donne-nous notre pain pour le jour selon les besoins du jour. ” En demandant à Jéhovah la nourriture “ pour le jour ”, nous montrons que nous ne cherchons pas à avoir abondance de biens, mais seulement de quoi satisfaire nos besoins quotidiens. Tout en comptant sur Dieu, nous travaillons et mettons à profit les moyens à notre disposition pour nous procurer la nourriture et les autres choses nécessaires à la vie (2 Thessaloniciens 3:7-10). Nous devrions évidemment remercier notre Bienfaiteur céleste, car c’est grâce à son amour, à sa sagesse et à sa puissance que nous avons tout cela. — Actes 14:15-17
       “ Pardonne-nous nos péchés, car nous-mêmes aussi nous pardonnons à tous ceux qui nous doivent. ” Étant donné que nous sommes imparfaits et pécheurs, il nous est impossible de nous conformer absolument aux normes parfaites de Jéhovah. Nous avons donc besoin de le prier de nous accorder son pardon en vertu du sacrifice rédempteur de Jésus. Mais pour que ‘ Celui qui entend la prière ’ applique le mérite de ce sacrifice à nos péchés, il nous faut également nous repentir et accepter toute discipline qu’il juge bon de nous administrer (Psaume 65:2 ; Romains 5:8 ; 6:23 ; Hébreux 12:4-11). Enfin, nous ne pouvons nous attendre à ce que Dieu nous pardonne que si nous “ avons remis à nos débiteurs ”, c’est-à-dire à ceux qui ont péché contre nous. — Matthieu 6:12, 14, 15.
       “ Ne nous fais pas entrer en tentation. ” Quand la Bible dit que Jéhovah fait telle ou telle chose, c’est parfois simplement pour dire qu’il permet qu’elle se produise (Ruth 1:20, 21). Ce n’est pas lui qui nous tente pour nous faire pécher (Jacques 1:13). Les tentations de commettre le mal viennent du Diable, de notre chair imparfaite et du monde. Satan est le Tentateur qui essaie par ses manœuvres de nous faire pécher contre Dieu (Matthieu 4:3 ; 1 Thessaloniciens 3:5). Lorsque nous prions Dieu de ‘ ne pas nous faire entrer en tentation ’, nous lui demandons en fait de ne pas permettre que nous cédions si nous sommes tentés de lui désobéir. Il peut nous indiquer la voie à suivre pour ne pas succomber ni nous laisser vaincre par Satan, le “ méchant ”. — Matthieu 6:13 ; 1 Corinthiens 10:13.
      Agissons en harmonie avec nos prières
      Comment pouvons-nous agir en harmonie avec les prières dans lesquelles nous demandons à être heureux en mariage et dans notre vie de famille?
      La prière modèle de Jésus aborde les points principaux, mais il y a toutes sortes de choses qui peuvent faire l’objet de nos prières. Ce peut être, par exemple, le désir d’être heureux en mariage ; ou bien celui de rester pur jusqu’au jour des noces. Dans ce cas, prions pour avoir de la maîtrise de soi. Mais soyons également conséquents avec nos prières en rejetant les lectures et les divertissements impurs. Soyons déterminés aussi à ‘ nous marier seulement dans le Seigneur ’. (1 Corinthiens 7:39 ; Deutéronome 7:3, 4.) Une fois mariés, ne nous contentons pas de prier pour être heureux : appliquons les conseils venant de Dieu. Si nous avons des enfants, aspirons-nous à les voir devenir de fidèles serviteurs de Jéhovah ? Alors, tout en priant dans ce sens, faisons tout notre possible pour leur inculquer les vérités divines en étudiant la Bible avec eux et en les emmenant régulièrement aux réunions chrétiennes. — Deutéronome 6:5-9 ; 31:12 ; Proverbes 22:6.
      Prions-nous pour que Dieu bénisse notre ministère ? Agissons en harmonie avec ces prières en participant de façon significative à la prédication du Royaume. Si nous prions pour avoir des occasions d’aider les autres à emprunter le chemin de la vie éternelle, ayons soin de bien prendre note des personnes qui manifestent de l’intérêt et soyons prêts à adapter notre programme pour y inclure des études bibliques. Enfin, si nous poursuivons l’objectif de devenir pionniers afin de prendre part à l’œuvre d’évangélisation à plein temps, allons dans le sens de nos prières en augmentant notre participation au ministère et en prêchant avec des pionniers. Nous montrerons ainsi que nous agissons en harmonie avec nos prières.
      Si nous servons Jéhovah fidèlement, nous pouvons être certains qu’il répondra aux prières conformes à sa volonté que nous lui adresserons (1 Jean 5:14, 15).. Faisant une comparaison avec l’odeur agréable de l’encens que les prêtres offraient dans le temple, la Parole de Dieu nous donne cette assurance : “ La prière des hommes droits est pour lui un plaisir. ” — Proverbes 15:8.
       

      · 0 replies
    • folens  »  Eric Ouellet

      Hello Eric, as tu déjà préparé le sujet des joyaux du 10 novembre concernant le but des sacrifices et offrandes, sachant que nous devons d'abord présenter le livre du Lévitique. Comment être concis?
      Le but des sacrifices et des offrandes.dot la Mer Morte.pps
      · 1 reply
    • Emma Rose

      Would a kind soul please help me with how to reply using the quote more than once.
      · 5 replies
    • Dee Gordon  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      HI TWYLA...DEE GORDON HERE.  WOULD LIKE  TO CHANGE MY EMAIL ADDRESS YOU SEND MY MEETING WORKBOOK TO.  I DON'T USE FACEBOOK BUT WOULD LIKE TO CONTINUE TO RECEIVE THE WORKBOOK INFO AND WATCHTOWER NOTES PLEASE . THIS ONE STILL RUNNING YOU HAVE ME SIGNED UP FOR...JUST THAT IT WOULD BE MORE CONVENIENT AT THIS TIME.
      · 3 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      Apprenons à craindre Jéhovah
      “ La crainte de Jéhovah est le début de la sagesse. ” — PROVERBES 9:10.

      IL FUT un temps où dire de quelqu’un craignait Dieu était un compliment. Beaucoup jugent aujourd’hui désuète et illogique l’idée de craindre Dieu. " Pourquoi craindre Dieu s’il est amour?" s’étonnent-ils. C’est que la crainte est à leurs yeux un sentiment forcément négatif, voire paralysant. Or, la crainte de Dieu, la vraie, est bien autre chose que de la peur et, comme nous allons le voir, elle ne se résume pas à un sentiment.
       La Bible présente la crainte de Dieu sous un jour positif (Isaïe 11:3). Craindre Dieu, c’est éprouver envers lui un profond respect et désirer vivement ne pas lui déplaire (Psaume 115:11). C’est aussi accepter ses normes morales et s’y conformer strictement, appliquer dans notre vie ses critères du bien et du mal. Un ouvrage de référence indique que cette crainte salutaire exprime “ un rapport à Dieu, une disposition d’esprit dominante, qui incite à se conduire avec sagesse et à rejeter le mal sous toutes ses formes ”. La Bible dit d’ailleurs que “ la crainte de Jéhovah est le début de la sagesse ”. — Proverbes 9:10.
      La crainte de Dieu influe sur de nombreux domaines de l’existence. Outre la sagesse, elle favorise la joie, la paix, la prospérité, la longévité, l’espoir, la confiance (Psaume 2:11 ; Proverbes 1:7 ; 10:27 ; 14:26 ; 22:4 ; 23:17, 18 ; Actes 9:31). Elle est étroitement liée à la foi et à l’amour. Pour tout dire, elle touche tous les aspects de nos relations avec Dieu et avec les humains (Deutéronome 10:12 ; Job 6:14 ; Hébreux 11:7). Craindre Dieu, enfin, c’est avoir la ferme conviction que notre Père céleste se soucie de nous personnellement et qu’il est disposé à pardonner nos transgressions (Psaume 130:4). Il n’y a donc qu’aux pécheurs non repentants que Dieu devrait inspirer de la terreur. — Hébreux 10:26-31.
      APPRENONS À CRAINDRE DIEU
      Puisqu’il est indispensable de le craindre pour prendre de sages décisions et recevoir ses bénédictions, comment "apprendre à craindre Jéhovah"
      dans le bon sens du terme (Deutéronome 17:19) ? De nombreux exemples d’hommes et de femmes qui craignaient Dieu ont été consignés dans les Écritures “ pour notre instruction ”. (Romains 15:4.) Intéressons-nous à la vie de l’un de ces personnages, le roi David.
      Saül, le premier roi d’Israël, avait la crainte du peuple, mais pas la crainte de Dieu. Cela lui a valu d’être rejeté par Jéhovah (1 Samuel 15:24-26). David, lui, était un homme qui craignait vraiment Dieu ; sa vie et son intimité avec Jéhovah en témoignent. Les nombreuses nuits à la belle étoile qu’il avait passées dans sa jeunesse à faire paître les moutons de son père l’avaient certainement aidé à comprendre ce qu’est la crainte de Jéhovah (1 Samuel 16:11). De l’immense univers, il n’avait contemplé qu’une infime partie, mais cela lui avait suffi pour saisir l’essentiel : Dieu mérite respect et adoration. “ Quand je vois tes cieux, les œuvres de tes doigts, la lune et les étoiles que tu as préparées, écrira-t-il plus tard, qu’est-ce que le mortel pour que tu penses à lui, et le fils de l’homme tiré du sol pour que tu t’occupes de lui ? ” — Psaume 8:3, 4.
      Il était normal que David soit impressionné quand il comparait sa petitesse à l’immensité des cieux étoilés. Mais, loin de l’effrayer, cette connaissance le portait à louer Jéhovah. “ Les cieux proclament la gloire de Dieu, a-t-il écrit ; et l’œuvre de ses mains, l’étendue l’annonce. ” (Psaume 19:1). Ce profond respect le rapprochait de Jéhovah ; il lui donnait envie d’apprendre ses voies parfaites et de les suivre. Percevez-vous les sentiments qui l’habitaient quand il chantait ce psaume : “ Tu es grand et tu fais des choses prodigieuses ; tu es Dieu, toi seul. Instruis-moi de ta voie, ô Jéhovah ! Je marcherai dans ta vérité. Unifie mon cœur pour craindre ton nom. ” — Psaume 86:10, 11.
      Quand les Philistins ont envahi le pays d’Israël, leur champion, Goliath, a provoqué les Israélites du haut de ses trois mètres. " Envoyez donc quelqu’un m’affronter en combat singulier ! les narguait-il. S’il me bat, nous serons vos serviteurs. " (1 Samuel 17:4-10). Saül et toute son armée étaient terrifiés. Mais pas David. S’il devait craindre quelqu’un, c’était Jéhovah, et non un homme, si fort soit-il. “ Je viens vers toi avec le nom de Jéhovah des armées, a-t-il lancé à Goliath. [...] Et toute cette assemblée saura que ce n’est ni par l’épée ni par la lance que Jéhovah sauve réellement, car à Jéhovah appartient la bataille. ” Grâce à Jéhovah, une fronde et une pierre ont suffi à David pour abattre le géant. — 1 Samuel 17:45-47.
      Il peut arriver que nous nous trouvions devant des obstacles ou des ennemis aussi intimidants que ceux qu’a dû affronter David. Que faire alors ? Imiter David et d’autres fidèles du passé en s’armant de la crainte de Dieu. La crainte de Dieu l’emporte sur la crainte de l’homme. À ses compatriotes en butte à l’opposition, le fidèle Nehémia a adressé cette exhortation : “ N’ayez pas peur à cause d’eux. Souvenez-vous de Jéhovah le Grand et le Redoutable. ” (Nehémia 4:14). C’est parce qu’ils avaient son soutien que David, Nehémia et d’autres ont réussi à faire ce que Jéhovah attendait d’eux. Nous le pourrons également si nous craignons Dieu.
      Après celle sur Goliath, Jéhovah a accordé d’autres victoires à David. Jaloux, Saül a tenté de tuer le jeune homme, d’abord dans un geste de colère, puis par des moyens détournés, enfin en mobilisant toute une armée contre lui. Même si David avait reçu l’assurance qu’il serait roi, pendant des années il a dû fuir, se battre, et attendre le moment fixé par Jéhovah. Dans toutes ces situations, il ne s’est jamais départi de sa crainte du vrai Dieu. — 1 Samuel 18:9, 11, 17 ; 24:2.
      À un moment donné, David s’est réfugié auprès d’Akish, le roi de Gath, ville philistine d’où était originaire Goliath (1 Samuel 21:10-15). Les serviteurs d’Akish l’ont dénoncé comme ennemi. Comment a-t-il réagi à cette situation périlleuse ? Il s’est confié à Jéhovah de tout son cœur (Psaume 56:1-4, 11-13). Il s’est finalement sorti du guêpier en simulant la démence, mais il était bien conscient de devoir son salut à Jéhovah, qui avait béni son stratagème. David a prouvé qu’il craignait vraiment Dieu en plaçant toute sa confiance en lui. — Psaume 34:4-6, 9-11.
      À l’exemple de David, nous montrerons que nous craignons Dieu en ayant confiance en sa promesse de nous aider dans les épreuves. “ Roule ta voie sur Jéhovah, compte sur lui, et c’est lui qui agira ”, a affirmé David (Psaume 37:5). Cela ne veut pas dire qu’il faut mettre nos problèmes entre les mains de Jéhovah sans rien faire d’autre qu’attendre son intervention. David ne s’est pas contenté de prier et de voir venir. Il a cherché une solution à son problème en utilisant les capacités physiques et intellectuelles dont Jéhovah l’avait doté. Pour autant, il ne pensait pas que ses efforts d’humain suffiraient. Cette façon de voir devrait aussi être la nôtre. Faisons tout ce qui est en notre pouvoir, puis laissons Jéhovah se charger du reste. Cela étant, il est fréquent que nous ne puissions rien faire d’autre que compter sur Jéhovah. C’est là que la crainte de Dieu revêt un caractère très personnel. Combien est réconfortante cette réflexion de David : “ L’intimité avec Jéhovah appartient à ceux qui le craignent. ” — Psaume 25:14.
      Il s’agit donc de ne pas banaliser nos prières et nos relations avec Dieu. Lorsque nous nous ‘ avançons ’ vers Jéhovah, nous devons “ croire qu’il est, et qu’il devient celui qui récompense ceux qui le cherchent réellement ”. (Hébreux 11:6 ; Jacques 1:5-8.) Et quand il vient à notre aide, il nous faut, conformément au conseil de l’apôtre Paul, ‘ nous montrer reconnaissants ’. (Colossiens 3:15, 17.) Ne ressemblons jamais à ceux dont un chrétien oint expérimenté a dit : “ Ils prennent Dieu pour une sorte de garçon de café. Ils aimeraient qu’il réponde à un claquement de doigts dès qu’ils ont besoin de quelque chose, et qu’il disparaisse dès qu’ils ont eu ce qu’ils voulaient. ” Où est leur crainte de Dieu ?
      Le fait que Jéhovah l’ait secouru a augmenté la confiance et la crainte que David éprouvait envers lui (Psaume 31:22-24). Trois fois, cependant, David a mis notablement sa crainte de Dieu entre parenthèses, ce qui a eu des conséquences tragiques. La première fois, c’est quand il a décidé de faire transporter l’arche de l’alliance à Jérusalem sur un chariot, et non sur les épaules des Lévites comme le prescrivait la Loi. Ouzza, qui conduisait le chariot, a saisi l’Arche pour l’empêcher de tomber. Dieu l’a fait mourir sur le champ pour cet “ acte d’irrévérence ”. Certes, Ouzza avait commis un péché grave, mais c’est bien David qui, pour n’avoir pas respecté la Loi divine, était responsable de ce drame. Craindre Dieu suppose que l’on fasse les choses comme lui l’entend. — 2 Samuel 6:2-9 ; Nombres 4:15 ; 7:9.
      Une autre fois, sous l’impulsion de Satan, David a procédé au dénombrement des hommes de guerre en Israël (1 Chroniques 21:1). Là encore, il a cessé momentanément de craindre Dieu, ce qui a coûté la vie à 70 000 de ses compatriotes. Bien qu’il se soit repenti devant Jéhovah, lui et le peuple ont beaucoup souffert en la circonstance. — 2 Samuel 24:1-16
      C’est aussi parce qu’il avait oublié sa crainte de Dieu que David a couché avec Bath-Shéba, la femme d’Ouriya. David savait qu’il était mal, non seulement de commettre l’adultère, mais aussi de désirer la femme d’un autre (Exode 20:14, 17). Tout a commencé quand il a aperçu Bath-Shéba qui se baignait. La crainte de Dieu lui commandait de détourner son regard immédiatement et de maîtriser ses pensées. Mais il a manifestement ‘ continué à regarder ’, si bien que la passion l’a emporté sur sa crainte de Dieu (Matthieu 5:28 ; 2 Samuel 11:1-4). David a oublié que Jéhovah devait être présent dans tous les domaines de sa vie. — Psaume 139:1-7.
      De son adultère avec Bath-Shéba est né un fils. Peu après, Jéhovah a envoyé le prophète Nathân dénoncer le péché de David. Retrouvant la crainte de Dieu en même temps que la raison, celui-ci s’est repenti. Il a supplié Jéhovah de ne pas le rejeter et de ne pas lui retirer son esprit saint (Psaume 51:7, 11). Jéhovah lui a pardonné et a atténué le châtiment, mais il ne lui a pas épargné toutes les conséquences de ses actes. Le fils de David est mort ; les malheurs se sont succédé dans sa famille. Quel prix à payer pour avoir momentanément fait abstraction de la crainte de Dieu ! — 2 Samuel 12:10-14 ; 13:10-14 ; 15:14.
      Aujourd’hui de même, ne pas craindre Dieu dans le domaine de la moralité peut avoir des conséquences graves et durables. Imaginez la douleur de cette jeune femme qui découvre que son mari chrétien l’a trompée lors d’un déplacement professionnel à l’étranger. Choquée, anéantie par le chagrin, elle enfouit son visage dans ses mains et pleure toutes les larmes de son corps. Combien de temps faudra-t-il au mari infidèle pour regagner la confiance et le respect de sa femme ? Des situations aussi pénibles peuvent être évitées grâce à la crainte de Dieu. — 1 Corinthiens 6:18.
      Satan détruit les valeurs morales de la société humaine les unes après les autres, et il cherche particulièrement à corrompre les vrais chrétiens. Pour ce faire, il exploite le chemin le plus direct vers le cœur et l’esprit : nos sens, avec une prédilection pour l’ouïe et la vue (Éphésiens 4:17-19). Comment réagissez-vous quand, involontairement, vous vous trouvez exposé à des images ou à des paroles obscènes, ou encore en présence d’individus immoraux ?
      Voyez le cas d’André. Cet ancien et père de famille est médecin dans un pays d’Europe. Quand il était de garde de nuit à l’hôpital, des collègues féminines avaient pris l’habitude d’épingler sur son oreiller des mots doux ornés de petits cœurs pour l’inviter à coucher avec elles. André s’interdisait résolument d’accorder la moindre pensée à ces avances. Mieux, pour se soustraire à cet environnement malsain, il a changé d’établissement. Sa crainte de Dieu s’est révélée sage et lui a valu des bénédictions, puisqu’il effectue aujourd’hui une partie de ses activités au siège des Témoins de Jéhovah de son pays.
      Troquer nos précieuses relations avec Jéhovah contre quelque chose auquel nous n’avons pas droit : voilà où nous risquons d’en arriver en cultivant de mauvaises pensées (Jacques 1:14, 15). Si nous craignons Jéhovah, en revanche, nous nous tiendrons éloignés — et même nous nous écarterons délibérément — des gens, des lieux, des activités ou des divertissements qui pourraient nous faire baisser notre garde (Proverbes 22:3). Quel que soit l’inconvénient ou le sacrifice que cela implique, il n’est rien à côté de la perte de la faveur divine (Matthieu 5:29, 30). La crainte de Dieu nous commande de ne jamais nous exposer intentionnellement à quoi que ce soit d’immoral — à commencer par la pornographie sous toutes ses formes —, mais aussi de faire en sorte que nos yeux “ passent sans s’arrêter à la vue de ce qui n’est que néant ”. Soyons convaincus que Jéhovah, alors, nous ‘ gardera en vie ’ et nous donnera tout ce dont nous avons réellement besoin. — Psaume 84:11 ; 119:37.
       Assurément, c’est toujours faire preuve de sagesse que de laisser la crainte de Dieu dicter nos actions. C’est aussi la source du vrai bonheur (Psaume 34:9)

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