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I've often thought of this point of reproof from the platform. It does nothing positive at all, it just leaves people wondering why the person was reproved.

And it certainly does not protect the congregation.  

2019 “Shepherd the Flock of God”: The Problem With Public Reproofs for Child Sex Abuse

by Alexandra James

In January of 2019, elders in the congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses were issued a new version of their confidential handbook, "Shepherd the Flock of God." This handbook covers, among other topics, when a person should be "reproved."

For those unfamiliar with the their practices, Jehovah's Witness elders might determine that someone guilty of a serious sin is repentant and will be "reproved" rather than disfellowshipped [excommunicated]. This reproof might be administered privately, or it might include a very brief announcement to the congregation.

Public Reproofs Are Not a Protection

The "Shepherd" book makes the claim that a public reproof serves as a "protection" to the congregation against certain dangerous behaviors, such as child sexual abuse; note this statement from chapter 14, "Child Abuse::

jehovah's witnesses child abuse

However, this announcement of reproof includes no information about the person's "sinful" behavior, as instructed in chapter 16, "Procedure for Judicial Hearings":

jehovahs witnesses handbook

The "Shepherd" book even outright instructs that a person's sinful acts should not be connected to their reproof, such as when a "warning" talk is given regarding their behavior; also from chapter 16:

jehovahs witnesses secret handbook

This statement alone demonstrates that the entire "public reproof" arrangement protects no one from congregation members who might pose a danger to others, including children. Simply stating that someone has "been reproved" doesn't warn a congregant of that person's specific behavior, and especially when there is a long list of reasons why someone might be publicly reproved, including:

  • Smoking
  • Fornication, adultery
  • Theft
  • Lying, slander
  • Various forms of "apostasy"
  • Severe fits of temper, fighting
  • Drunkenness
  • Using narcotics
  • Taking up boxing

After hearing a rather generic announcement that someone has been "reproved," without knowing the actual reason for that reproof, how would congregants know to keep their children away from them? Another congregant might assume that a person being reproved was caught smoking or fornicating with an adult; child sexual abuse might be the last thing they would consider when they hear of someone having been reproved!

Your Conscience Shouldn't Be Clean

This begs the question of why Jehovah's Witnesses think that their consciences can be clean in these cases. Elders honestly think that making an announcement of so-and-so having been "reproved" protects the congregation and so they've done their job of keeping people and children safe?

Nothing can be further from the truth, especially when it comes to child sexual abuse. This "public reproof" arrangement purposely conceals the action that warranted the reproof, so it warns no one about a congregant who might be a danger to their children.

This announcement does not take away from an elder's complicity in hiding allegations of abuse. Any elder who hears of such a credible allegation and doesn't notify authorities, cooperate with their investigations fully, and then do everything possible to keep a potentially dangerous person away from children shares guilt and blame if that person goes on to molest another child.

complicit.png?w=560

The bottom line is that Jehovah's Witnesses and elders especially have no problem lying to themselves and to the general public about their supposed "protections" for congregants. They shield alleged molesters by purposely ensuring that no information about a particular act is associated with "reproved" persons, and then tell themselves that this passive-aggressive "hinting around" is going to somehow alert congregants to the need to keep their child away from him or her.

While the authors of these practices and the elders charged with enforcing them might go to bed with a clean conscience, remember it's not them who suffer the consequences of their actions; the elders are not being raped and abused, the men who wrote this "Shepherd" book are not the ones who will be the next victims of these "reproved" persons.

Their complicity in this horrific act is bad enough, but their smug self-righteousness in thinking that they've somehow done enough to protect children with a generic "reproof" is just another slap across the face of those same children.

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That's true. You can. That's the nature of social media. You could tell the truth, and no one needs to believe you. I could tell the truth, and no one needs to believe me. Someone could just as easily

I'm just trying to be fair, and I believe the truth is the truth and a lie is a lie no matter who says it.

Perhaps that was the reason I didn't suggest his book was proof. I think I purposely worded it something like this: Why would I be speaking of "proof" if my whole point was based on how we near

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All one need to do blow this silly thing out of the water is to read the relevant portion of the JW downloadable child abuse policy.

11. If it is determined that one guilty of child sexual abuse is repentant and will remain in the congregation, restrictions are imposed on the individual’s congregation activities. The individual will be specifically admonished by the elders not to be alone in the company of children, not to cultivate friendships with children, or display any affection for children. In addition, elders will inform parents of minors within the congregation of the need to monitor their children’s interaction with the individ- ual. {Bolded mine]

https://download-a.akamaihd.net/files/media_publication/4a/cpt_E.pdf

In the special case of child sexual abuse, these are the steps that go above and beyond handling other forms of wrongdoing.

Why doesn’t Alexandra James refer to this? Why doesn’t John know it? No one has been more prolific at leveling charges as he, and he swallows every word of her accusations. Why does Srecko give it a Gold Star Thank You? All he and John have to do is to read the JW published policy to see that she is wrong.

One would think the organization’s published child abuse policy would be the very first thing consulted. Instead, they never read it at all, or else they do and immediately seek to bury it.

Will Mr. Rook give himself a downvote for overlooking this most obvious proof that the complaint he slobbers all over is bogus?

It is clear that Ms James spends too much time pouring over confidential material that she has pilfered and insufficient time reading what is right under her nose.

 

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3 hours ago, TrueTomHarley said:

Why doesn’t Alexandra James refer to this? Why doesn’t John know it? No one has been more prolific at leveling charges as he, and he swallows every word of her accusations. Why does Srecko give it a Gold Star Thank You? All he and John have to do is to read the JW published policy to see that she is wrong.

One would think the organization’s published child abuse policy would be the very first thing consulted. Instead, they never read it at all, or else they do and immediately seek to bury it.

Will Mr. Rook give himself a downvote for overlooking this most obvious proof that the complaint he slobbers all over is bogus?

It is clear that Ms James spends too much time pouring over confidential material that she has pilfered and insufficient time reading what is right under her nose.

TTH:

I have no idea who Alexandra James is, but I believe you have me confused with her, as stated by you in the quoted text you wrote. Until this post I am (was) not even a part of this discussion thread.

Even if this was intended as an "ad-hominid" attack, it is a very poor one.

...and anyone that "upvotes", or "downvotes" their own writing has some serious mental issues, unless it is CLEARLY meant to be funny.

.... as an aside .... the Russian Federation Constitution is a model of religious freedom and liberty .... but ANY Constitution is dependent of honorable, competent, and far sighted administrators who will pursue Justice and common sense, as opposed to agenda driven central policy.

Having the very best of intentions, and being righteously inclined DOES NOT COUNT ... if the administrators are policy wonks who are also clueless and self-serving.

This is true about EVERY organization .... Nation States, Companies, and all manner of institutionalized groups of people, outside AND INSIDE of what we call "The Truth".

There are no exceptions.

EVER.

Wiley-cable-news.png

Since the Russian Federation POLICY makes them a model of religious Liberty ... howse dat working out for us?

Policy is one thing ..... reality is quite another.

2019-05-16_013954.jpg

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@TrueTomHarley  I remember a case of a brother being reproved from the platform, and as it happens he had previously visited my wife and I, with his wife, to tell us that he was about to be reproved. He had been out with a group of brothers, one of them being an elder, they had gone into Exeter and he had got drunk and been sick on the train home, as he wasn't used to 'going out drinking'.

One almost funny point though not important, the elder was on holiday overseas when this brother was reproved, so the elder was well out of the way and not involved. But my point is that only a few of us in the congregation knew why this brother was being reproved. 

The point of that article is that, most people in a congregation DO NOT KNOW WHY THE PERSON IS REPROVED...

Therefore it is not a protection to those who do not know the 'sin committed'. 

I remember a tiny bit of scripture whereby the apostle Paul is counselling congregation because a member of said congregation was  having sex with his father's wife. 1 Corinthians 5 v1 & 2

Actually sexual immorality is reported among you, and such immorality as is not even found among the nations—of a man living with his father’s wife. And are you proud of it? Should you not rather mourn, so that the man who committed this deed should be taken away from your midst?  

If Paul wasn't frightened to mention the deed and the man then why should the Org be frightened of it ? 

I fully agree with @James Thomas Rook Jr. when he says :-

" Having the very best of intentions, and being righteously inclined DOES NOT COUNT if the administrators are policy wonks who are also clueless and self-serving.

and. "Policy is one thing ..... reality is quite another." 

I cannot understand why the GB /Org does not announce fully the reason for reproval and reason for disfellowshipping alongwith the person's name.. 

It would seem worse to me to reprove a person and not give a reason as then the congregants are left being suspicious of the person that was reproved. 

Tom, you and Space Merchant and a few others seem to believe that just because a 'policy' is written down, that it will always be adhered to. Let's hear it again JTR Jr

"Policy is one thing ..... reality is quite another."

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Policy of the United States of America in the 1800's:

"All men are created equal, and are endowed by theit Creator with certain unalienable rights. Among these are Life, Liberty, and the persuit of happiness" - Thomas Jefferson

Reality in the United States of America in the 1880s:

"The only good Indian, is a dead Indian"

And half the nation was controlled by Democrats and had a whole race of men and women enslaved.

"Policy is one thing ..... reality is quite another."

In fact. Thomas Jefferson, the author of the first statement, was a slave owner.

It's always been about money.

It's about money now.

"Follow the Money!"

Money ..... always tells the TRUTH.

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1 hour ago, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

Policy is one thing ..... reality is quite another."

Missing the entire point is another, also.

Of course any policy can not be implemented. But that is not Alexandra’s statement. Her statement is that there is no policy to specifically warn parents in the event of child sexual abuse. 

Had she just read the easily available online JW policy, she would have known that the whole thrust of her point is bogus.

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1 hour ago, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

In fact. Thomas Jefferson, the author of the first statement, was a slave owner.

It's always been about money.

You are sort of right and sort of wrong. TJ did own slaves. He also wrote at length that slavery destroys both blacks and whites. This is substantially different from men like John C Calhoun, who wrote that it is an arrangement that benefits both groups.

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2019-05-16_112514.jpg

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

No... my statement was EXACTLY correct.

You are, as you do with defending the indefensible about Watchtower Policy, making excuses as to why Thomas Jefferson is NOT a hypocrite.

He was.

PERIOD.

.  <----------- (period)

The reason BOTH are hypocrites, is that Thomas Jefferson wanted to keep his money and status, and the Watchtower wants to keep its money and status, and BOTH have twisted what they knew to be true to keep their money and status.

Accountants and lawyers are now running the WTB&TS, and creating "theocratic policy" ... and their life blood, and mother's milk ......

.....   is money and status.

I did give that some thought as I dropped a check into the Kingdom Hall contribution box last weekend .... but I marked it "for local needs".

The difference is that I am fully aware I am rationalizing .... but I don't know what else to do.

2019-05-16_012807.jpg

 

I guess that makes THREE hypocrites ... Thomas Jefferson, the WTB&TS .... and me.

 

 

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5 hours ago, TrueTomHarley said:

Missing the entire point is another, also.

Of course any policy can not be implemented. But that is not Alexandra’s statement. Her statement is that there is no policy to specifically warn parents in the event of child sexual abuse. 

Had she just read the easily available online JW policy, she would have known that the whole thrust of her point is bogus.

And if the GB and Org did their job properly they would announce name of person and sin committed directly from the platform.  Why hide it ? 

Is it just parents that need to know these things ? No. Quite often grandparents, carers and other congregants take children to the meetings. No longer is the rule that children must sit with their parents at the meetings. Children sit with lots of different people. The  whole congregation should be told directly from the platform. 

It's because things are kept hidden that the Org now has such a serious problem concerning Child Sex Abuse accusations. 

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1 hour ago, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

No... my statement was EXACTLY correct.

Your statement regarding the overall premise of this thread is EXACTLY incorrect.

Alexandra’s entire complaint is based upon something that is factually incorrect—and you have hailed it as though it were the commandments brought down from Sinai. Whether or not the policy addresses every conceivable scenario or whether it is always adhered to is another matter entirely. She has stated that there is none

She states that there is no policy to warn parents should a person guilty of CSA be retained in the congregation. There is. And it would be hard to put it in a more obvious place—the online and downloadable. WT policy on child sexual abuse.

Moreover, had she come by the book honestly, rather than pilfering it off the internet from Jack or one of his chums, she would have been there to hear the “Brothers, make sure you consult the online CSA policy, for the special circumstance of when the wrong repented over involves child abuse.”

There are enough legitimate things to be concerned about without you fanning the flames of charges that are undeniably bogus. By doing so, you contribute to the hysteria of anticultism that less freedom-loving nations use as a pretext for physically assaulting upright people and putting a stop to that dissemination of Bible truths that you have said is important.

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