This is an open letter to Gajus Glockentin, member of the Publishing Committee. It is in direct response to his Morning Worship talk entitled, “Protect Yourself From Lies”. It was submitted by AvoidJW.org founder, Jason M. Wynne.
Before reading the letter, we encourage you to watch this video first from Gajus Glockentin. Take particular note of what he says from the 6 minute point onwards where he talks about ‘misinformation campaigns of apostates’. Note too that he fails to give a single example of these campaigns referring to them simply as it, when he says, ‘I will not believe it anyway. I’m just curious to know what it is.’ What is ‘it’? Gajus goes on to explain that exposing oneself to it ‘can create doubts and undermine our complete trust in the Governing Body’.
I watched with interest your Morning Worship talk on jw.org entitled “Protect yourselves from lies”. You started your talk with the words, “None of us like to be told lies.’ I completely agree. I know I do not like being lied to. For that reason, I do my utmost to tell the truth. (Luke 6:31) However, you claim that “some of what we can hear and read is based of misinformation campaigns of apostates”.
‘What will be the next lie’, you asked?
Let me tell you what the next lie is because you went on to make it. You carefully slipped in the lie that Jehovah’s Witnesses must have complete trust in the Governing Body. You provided no scriptural support for this false claim. You then went on to utter another lie: You said that Jehovah will use his organization to lead us through the great tribulation; there is no other way to succeed.” Again, you provided no scriptural support for this false claim.
There is no verse in the bible that says we must put our complete trust in men. Nor is there a verse in the Bible that says successful negotiation through a great tribulation is by means of an organization.
Contrary to what you claim, there are a number of Bible verses that say our complete trust should be in Jehovah, as he is the only source of salvation. As Jehovah’s Witnesses we all know these verses: Psalms 31:14; 118:8; 146:3; Isa 12:2; Jeremiah 10:23; 17:7.
Why did you subtly lie? I think it is because you, the Governing Body, and the rest of the ‘helpers’ feel threatened by what Brother Rolf Furuli wrote in his book, “My Beloved Religion – and The Governing Body” where he challenged the leadership.
For those who may not know Brother Furuli: He is a faithful servant of Jehovah God. As he is a scholar in semitic studies, his expertise was called upon for the two part series “When Was Ancient Jerusalem Destroyed?” found in the October 1 and November 1 2011 editions of The Watchtower.
Furuli has questioned the Governing Body’s authority claiming that the organization has become more autocratic than theocratic. I would agree.
It is evident that the Governing Body cannot be questioned. There is no provision within the Jehovah’s Witness organization to question the Governing Body’s direction. We must accept it, and keep our criticism to ourselves. If we speak out and criticize the Governing Body’s direction, we will be brought before a Judicial Committee and accused of ‘Causing Divisions’ which is categorized as ‘Apostasy’ in the Shepherd Book. Apostasy is a disfellowshipping offence.
Was Furuli disfellowshipped for questioning the Governing Body?
Yes he was.
Let me remind you that Jehovah took no issue with having his actions questioned. For example, in Genesis 18 we have the account of Abraham questioning Jehovah’s plan to ‘sweep away the righteous with the wicked’. If a man can question God without punishment but cannot question the men he has put in place to direct his organization, is this not apostasy? (Acts 20:29, 30; 2 Pet 2:1-3)
Do I sound convincing, Gajus?
Have I misquoted the scriptures to further my own ends? if so, to what end? To draw away disciples for myself?
I have no intention of drawing Jehovah’s Witnesses away from Jehovah’s Witnesses. I admire men like Brother Rolf Furuli who can maintain his faith in Jehovah God despite how the organization has treated him. You and the rest of the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses might do well to consider the words at Matthew 7:1,2 where it says, “Stop judging that you may not be judged; for with the judgment that you are measuring out, they will measure out to you.” If you feel the course you took towards Brother Furuli was the correct course of action, then maybe you have misled yourselves and are unintentionally mocking God (Galatians 6:7).
As you know, I’m based in Galway, Ireland. I am the founder of a whistle-blowing website that your legal department, namely Philip Brumley, Paul Polidoro and to a lesser extent, Mario Moreno and Steven Simonis have worked hard to have shut down. Of course, getting it shut down has proven a lot more difficult than you imagined. Jehovah is a revealer of secrets (Dan 2:47). And he himself inspired Mark to write, “… there is nothing hidden that will not be exposed; nothing is carefully concealed that will not come out in the open.” You and all the other elders who may read this letter can compare your copies of the Shepherd book with the copies that have been made available online. There is no alteration of the information because to alter it would not be in the interests of truth and transparency.
While AvoidJW.org might not be shut down, Philip Brumley, his legal department and with the assistance of Cowan Liebowitz and Latman have successfully stopped the Truth & Transparency Foundation dead in their tracks as this settlement agreement reveals. You might consider this a success in your aims to hide data you do not want the ordinary members to find out about. But remember, the truth has a curious way of revealing itself.
In September 2018, John*, a solicitor from your London Branch, came to Galway for a discrimination hearing. In that hearing it was alleged that the Jehovah’s Witnesses keep track of all former members in a system called HuB under “tracking persons”. The three elders the allegation was directed towards looked at each other with confusion. Firstly, they had never heard of HuB and secondly the idea that you’d be “tracking persons” was alien to them.
However, 11 months later, as part of a JW Broadcasting episode, Mark Boden introduced HuB to the world as part of a 2018 Coordinators’ Committee Report.
Most Jehovah’s Witnesses still do not know what HuB stands for. H for headquarters; lowercase u for unity, and B for Branch because it “reflects the unity between Headquarters and the Branches.”
It is quite curious how someone like me would know so much about what goes on within the JWs. Let me reveal a secret: I’m a nice guy. I’m respectful and I’m considerate. I do not treat anyone as lower than me. My goal is to help people and I have no selfish reasons for doing what I do.On July 1st, the organization was named and shamed in Australia for not signing up to a scheme intended to provide redress to victims of child sexual abuse, despite the fact that it was revealed that the organization had its fair share of victims.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses are one of only four organizations who have not yet made efforts to sign up. If the other three organizations sign up to the redress scheme, will you pride yourselves on being the only organization in Australia that will not sign up? Let me remind you that this scheme is intended to help victims get compensation, which would go along way to help them deal with the life-long emotional and psychological trauma they have had to endure because of what they experienced in the organization.
Is any of the above “misinformation”, Gajus?
When it comes to the reporting of child abuse, the organization has, historically, defended its actions not to report on the basis of ecclesiastical privilege. You would agree that ecclesiastical privilege is when a congregant shares information with a person of the clergy. In Jehovah’s Witnesses, this would be a publisher sharing information with an elder.
I have argued extensively that when a victim of abuse shares this knowledge with an elder, it is privileged as long as it is shared with no one else. I have argued that when it is shared with the body of elders, and with the service department, and with the legal department, it is no longer privileged.
Granted, the courts have taken mixed approaches to this view. In any case, if elders are to claim ecclesiastical privilege in matters of a sensitive nature, it is vital that their JW inbox is not compromised or accessible to third parties, including their spouses. Wouldn’t you agree?
This brings me to a matter that involves a case of abuse in Ireland. It involves Mike and Marianne Busey*. Mike has in the past dealt with a case of abuse in his congregation. The alleged perpetrator admitted to a lot of things in which the judicial committee moved to disfellowship the individual. The individual appealed the decision. Arnold Kruger* was on the appeal committee. His committee upheld the original decision to disfellowship the Jehovah’s Witness. He has since been reinstated and last I heard was getting married to a sister in his new congregation. I dare say she has not been informed of his past wrongdoing.
Whether or not that case was reported to the police is not the issue here. The issue is with ecclesiastical privilege. Mike Busey’s wife, Marianne, has had access to his inbox. If she has had access to his inbox, he has revoked his right to clergy penitent privilege. As he dealt with at least one case of child abuse, he cannot legally claim this privilege if An Garda Síochána (as the police are called in Ireland) were to investigate the crime and ask for all the information Mike has on the case.
Also, Sister Busey knows enough about child sexual abuse in her own home and how good the organization is at handling it.
In view of the foregoing, I think it would be in the best interests of victims of abuse, of elders, and of the organization, if a letter was issued to all elders worldwide reminding them how important it is to keep their inbox secure and not accessible to third parties. You have left yourselves legally open in the past.
Let’s try and improve things.
You often talk about how apostates spread ‘propaganda’.
I am an advocate for ending shunning as it is psychologically manipulative and harmful. It does extensive damage to the mental, emotional and physical well-being of its victims. I work hard to shed a light on the practice and the harm it has done. Let me highlight two examples.
Example 1. Recently, I went out for a drive in Connemara with my wife and children. We stopped off at a spot where the mother of two elders committed suicide.
In January, 1995 she committed suicide after years of being shunned, despite making many attempts to get back into the organization to have a normal relationship with family and friends. She could see no other way out. Her name is Tania Beasley*. She was a person with feelings.
All these so-called ‘apostates’ are people with feelings.
Example 2. Thomas and Mary Kellen, two elderly Jehovah’s Witnesses spoke exclusively to the Daily Mail in the United Kingdom about their daughter, Sarah Kellen, who is implicated in Jeffrey Epstein’s child sex trafficking ring.
It is clear from the story that Ms Kellen has been shunned by her congregation and parents after she was disfellowshipped 23 years ago, when she was just a ‘naive and vulnerable’ 18 year-old girl. She allegedly was ‘leading an immoral lifestyle that included nude modelling.’
Indeed, Ms Kellen is responsible for her own actions and the justice system will investigate her role in Epstein child abuse ring. However, we cannot fail to note that maybe things could have been very different for Ms Kellen if she had supportive parents who could have been there for her, help guide her in a direction where she may not have fallen into bad company with Mr. Epstein. She didn’t have that. She was a young girl cast out by her friends and family for maybe poor decisions made as a ‘naive and vulnerable’ child. It was then that she needed her family most. She didn’t have that. The Jehovah’s Witnesses took it away from her. She was dehumanized, casting her out as an ‘evildoer’.
You dehumanize those who are disfellowshipped, especially if they speak out about their experience. Furthermore, you seek out former disfellowshipped individuals in the organization who are willing to say ‘ the disfellowshipping arrangement is loving’.
This is propaganda.
There are very few people, if any, who would honestly say that shunning is loving. It is not. It is cruel and evil. But maybe the Circuit Overseer, Derek Armstrong, found a couple of candidates to further your propaganda:
As you are aware, I received this letter from Brother Kevin Lynch*. The organization also made sure that he was disfellowshipped. Or rather, you conveniently had him disassociated, as if there is a difference. The treatment is the same.
Brother Lynch, like Brother Furuli, kept his integrity. He saw something wrong in the organization and decided to do something about it. He did it the only way he knew he could because to question the organization, the Governing Body, would have had him disfellowshipped anyway. Brother Furuli proved that point. So what other option had he than to share files with me and others?
The fact is, change from within is not possible. Change can only happen from without.
If you want to remain defiant, that is your right. But be assured that I will not stop fighting for the rights of child abuse survivors. I will not stop fighting for those who are being shunned because they may have made mistakes, may no longer believe, or take issue with the way the organization is run. I will work hard to reveal the truth about how the ‘pastoral care’ of Jehovah’s Witnesses is only a front to enforce your ban on blood transfusions for those unfortunate enough to be faced with such a life and death situation.
For every action, there is a reaction, Gajus. If you act with righteousness or evil and harm, expect a reciprocal reaction. (Matt 7:12)
If you were abused and your abuse was because the organization failed to tell your parents that a certain brother had evil intentions with children, wouldn’t you expect that Jehovah would use his organization to give you the monetary support to get the needed psychological therapy to help you survive your trauma?
Do you think that you would appreciate being shunned by your family and friends because of a wrong you may have committed many years ago? Or because you were not happy with how your abuse was handled?
The Shepherd book speaks extensively on how to disfellowship a wayward member but speaks little of the process on how to return. Shouldn’t the instruction be more about saving than about judging? (Matt 7:1, 2; compare Luke 15:11-32 and 2 Cor 2:5-7)
Jehovah’s Witnesses are comparable to the prodigal son’s older brother who “became angry and refused to go in” when a shunned Jehovah’s Witness attends an event, such as a wedding or party. Because your shunning procedure is extreme, many shunned become “overwhelmed by excessive sadness”.
Is any of what I say “misinformation”, Gajus?
You can spread lies about so-called apostates if ‘it‘ helps you to control the narrative; if ‘it‘ keeps the publishers from questioning the governing body; and if ‘it‘ ensures that people like me are treated with disdain and hate.
I do not expect to change your opinion of me. You have already made up your mind and you are dictating to the millions of others how they should think about me, and those who are treated like me.
Let me remind you of this one important truth that you yourself said: None of us like to be told lies. After all, no matter how clever we think we are in deceiving people, the truth has a curious way of revealing itself. Therefore, I reiterate with emphasis:
Do not lie.
* Names changed to protect identities