What is Jehovah’s Witnesses’ view of Child Abuse?
Like all religions with high moral values, Jehovah’s Witnesses “abhor the sexual abuse of children and will not protect any perpetrator of such repugnant acts from the consequences of his gross sin. (Rom. 12:9) Elders should take seriously their responsibility in this matter so that the congregations will be safeguarded from any valid accusation of neglect in protecting children from sexual abuse.”
Have Jehovah’s Witnesses a Child Abuse Problem?
It is not known if they have serious issues in relation to neglect, physical abuse or emotional abuse of children, as all issues are dealt with internally within the local congregation. Any discipline is meted out by the church and no secular authorities are notified unless the child, or the parents or guardians of the child, want to press charges. This is something that is not encouraged within the church and we’ll look at this in greater detail later. What we do know is that Jehovah’s Witnesses have a serious child sexual abuse problem. This has been highlighted in the media by the convictions of numerous Jehovah’s Witness paedophiles in the US and UK.
Are Jehovah’s Witness Elders Qualified & Equipped?
No. The Watchtower refers to elders as “spiritually qualified men” and they quote 2 Timothy 2:2: “May you have undeserved kindness, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” Really, elders are appointed to “shepherd the flock” based on the good spiritual standing they may have within their congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Most elders have no qualifications at all in dealing with child abuse as they receive no training and most have limited education. After all, Jehovah’s Witnesses are not encouraged to go to university and obtain a third level qualification. Instead, the vast majority of elders work in a trade or have more menial careers such as window cleaning so that they can spend most of their time preaching to others about their religion. In fact, the Watchtower Society, the organization behind Jehovah’s Witnesses, does not recommend its adherents pursue third level qualifications unless it is in a trade.
The elders do have a number of Watchtower articles that they can refer to when dealing with child sexual abuse. These articles include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Watchtower 2010, Nov. 1, pages 12-14
- Watchtower 2008, Oct. 1, page 21
- Awake! 2007, Oct 7, pages 3-11
- Learn from the Great Teacher, 2003, Chapter 32
- Awake! 2003, Feb 8, pages 8-9
- Awake! 1999, Apr 8, pages 8-11
- Awake! 1997, Apr 8, page 11-15
- Watchtower 1996, Dec 1, pages 10-15
- The Secret of Family Happiness, 1996, Chapter 5
- Awake! 1993, Oct 8, pages 5-13
In reality, anyone who reads these articles and understands them is as qualified and equipped as a Jehovah’s Witness elders when it comes to dealing with child abuse cases.