Monday, February 27, 2012

Ex-JW Steven Unthank's Watchtower prosecution withdrawn by DPP

"Private prosecution gets thrown out of court," Louis Nelson, Latrobe Valley Express, 27 Feb, 2012 ... A Toongabbie man's personal quest to

[Right: Traralgon Kingdom Hall with sign.]

hold a religion "to account" over its past "refusal" to comply with child protection legislation has been thrown out of court.

[Right: Same Traralgon Kingdom Hall without sign: Pics by Bryan Petts-Jones. According to this JW article, the Traralgon Kingdom Hall's sign was taken down, following a meeting by the Australian Branch Overseer with the elders of the Traralgon Congregation, apparently meaning it has been closed down (at least to members of the public) by the Watchtower!]

Carpenter Steven Unthank, a former Jehovah's Witness member, took his former religion to the Latrobe Valley Magistrates' Court in a private prosecution for failing to ensure its ministers adopted Working with Children Checks, as required by State Government legislation. See Steven Unthank's home page. Also see threads on Jehovah's, including: 26 Jul 11, 18 Oct 11, , 17 Dec 11, 18 Dec 11 & 2 Jan 12.

The prosecution, comprising a total of 35 charges against five organisations which make up the Jehovah's Witnesses structure, alleged religion elders had engaged "in child-related work at the Traralgon Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses ... knowing that (they did) not have a current 'Assessment Notice' as required under the working with Children Act 2005." Mr Unthank said he hoped the court case, if successful, would set a precedent for all religions, nation-wide, who "refused to take leadership and the law seriously". This could be taken as implying that not only Jehovah's Witnesses in Australia "refused to take leadership and the law seriously" but so do "all religions," in Australia, including all Christian denominations. Well, the denomination I belong to, Churches of Christ, as far as I am aware, has made it mandatory for all its members who work with children to have a Working with Children Check card, in those Australian States which have a WWC system.

However the charges were officially withdrawn by the director of the Office of Public Prosecutions on Tuesday, as they were "not seen to be in the public interest". The court, before Magistrate Daniel Muling, heard the Department of Public Prosecutions had applied to take over the conduct of proceedings to withdraw all charges.This may look like a defeat but in reality it is a great victory over the Watchtower by Unthank! As a Western Australian high school teacher I know that those Australian States, which have mandatory Working with Children Check systems, like Victoria and Western Australia, have very stringent child protection laws, which they take very seriously, and we can be sure that the Victorian Office of the Child Safety Commissioner will ensure that all JWs who require a WWC will have to get one, and those who have any relevant criminal history, won't be allowed to be alone with other people's children.

Mr Unthank said he, and other members of the Traralgon congregation who wished to remain anonymous, were "disappointed" with the decision, and said it "sent a very clear message" to religions who "thought they were above the law". Unthank's disappointment is understandable, but he is wrong that JW's, and religions, in general are "above the law". The WWC law only applies to adults being in a "working" (i.e. non-family) context with children under 18:

"Working with Children Check In 2006, the Victorian Government introduced a new checking system to help protect children under 18 years of age from physical or sexual harm. The Working with Children (WWC) Check creates a mandatory minimum checking standard across Victoria. The WWC Check helps to keep children safe by preventing those who pose a risk to the safety of children from working with them, in either paid or volunteer work. If you work or volunteer with children you may need to apply for a WWC Check. Employers, volunteer organisations and agencies must ensure that any of their staff or volunteers who need a WWC Check have applied." ("Working with Children Check," Department of Justice, Victoria, Australia).

The WWC was introduced by State Government in 2005 to ensure volunteers and employees, including ministers of religion, working with children went through background checks. However, the Jehovah's Witness' corporate body, the Watchtower and Bible Tract Society, informed Victorian congregations their elders required the WWC in November last year. This alone is a great victory for Unthank, because it will weed out those elders who have child-related or sex-related criminal histories. And that does not necessarily mean convictions. If there is a pattern of unproven allegations or not-guilty findings against a person that will be taken into account in whether he/she will be granted a WWC card.

Also, this is a tacit admission by the Watchtower that JW elders are, in effect, "ministers of religion" in the same sense that clergy are in Christian denominations.

Jehovah's Witness Traralgon Chaplain Albert Helbling said due to the "family orientated" nature of the religion, with Bible study classes "always conducted in the presence of family members", its six elders - some of which he said already held a WWC - had not seen the need for the background checks. "Families are responsible for their children, they stick together and work together; that's how we operate;" Mr Helbling said. "If a parent is not with the children, it's because the parent has agreed that the child goes alone with another family. "As far as we're concerned, we've never had a problem with (not having the WWC); from our stand, is all we can see (Mr Unthank) is trying to cause ill feelings and problems." This shows that JWs do consider themselves above the law, in that they had to be `dragged, kicking and screaming' to obey this WWC law. In my Churches of Christ denomination, for example, every adult who works with children under 18, has to have a WWC card, with no exceptions.

Conjecture remains over whether Jehovah's Witness members, involved in door-to-door preaching methods in the company of children, referred to as 'publishers', were required to undergo the background checks. In an audio recording of a letter from the Watchtower Society, read to a local congregation in late 2011 and heard by The Express, it was stated door-to-door activities were part of a member's "personal ministry", and 'publishers' were not representatives or volunteers of the Watchtower Society. However the letter reading went on to state, "nevertheless, an individual may volunteer to apply (for WWC)", which Mr Unthank said was the religion absolving itself of responsibility, and putting the onus on individuals.This is a lie that JW's going door-to-door are "not representatives ... of the Watchtower Society." JWs are given very specific directions about what doors they must knock on, how many, and what they are to say. It is only an attempt by the Society to isolate it from increasing legal action that it is trying to separate itself from its individual JW members.

Watchtower Society senior elder Alan Wood, confirmed a letter had been sent out to Victorian congregations "about November" last year, informing elders of their requirement to apply for WWC. This came after a Watchtower Society spokesperson told the Herald Sun in July last year it did not believe its ministers were required to obtain background checks "because they did not typically work unsupervised with children". While Mr Wood said that "unclarity" initially surrounded the legislation and WWC criteria, he confirmed the Watchtower Society had been in discussions with the Department of Public Prosecutions, but would not comment on whether it was ordered to conform with the legislation, or had voluntarily accepted it. ... Reading between the lines it is clear that the DPP gave them a choice: either "conform with the legislation" or be prosecuted! So much as Unthank (and other who are opposed to the Watchtower, including me) would have liked to see this matter be decided in court, with the inevitable precedent it would set in other jurisdictions, the fact that the Watchtower has been forced to comply with Working with Children legislation, is a very significant victory in itself.

And also we may not have heard the last of this, as it spreads to other Australian States, and maybe even around the world. Another important aspect of Australian Working with Children law is Mandatory Reporting of child sexual, physical and emotional abuse by those who are deemed by the law to be teachers, whether paid or unpaid. This means that JW elders might go to prison if they don't report each and every instances of child sexual abuse they become aware of to the relevant secular authorities. So congratulations to Steven Unthank on a great victory over the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society!

Stephen E. Jones, B.Sc., Grad. Dip. Ed.
My other blogs: CreationEvolutionDesign & The Shroud of Turin

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Judge overrules parents on transfusion for boy (3)

I have given up on the idea of posting one large "Jehovah's Witness News" each month and instead I am going to post individual items of news about Jehovah's Witnesses and the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, with my comments (in bold), as I become aware of them.

"Judge overrules parents on transfusion for boy (3)," Irish Independent, Tim Healy, February 21 2012 ... A THREE-year-old boy can be given a blood transfusion during surgery despite religious objections from his Jehovah's Witness parents, the High Court has ruled.

[Right: Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns: The Supreme Court of Ireland]

The child, who cannot be named, needs to have his tonsils removed because of recurring infections. The boy's father told the court yesterday that while he and his wife wanted him to get the best medical treatment, it was a core belief that blood "is not to be taken to the body". The child's consultant, in an affidavit, said if the hospital was not in a position to administer the transfusion, there was a risk of death and brain damage ... The parents said they would consent to certain blood products being administered -- but not red blood cells, which a consultant haematologist considered was vital -- if required ... The hospital respected the parents' religious beliefs but did not want to be in a position where it might have to be making such an application in an emergency situation where time would be of the essence ... High Court president Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns granted the hospital an order permitting a transfusion to be given if necessary. ... Here is another example of how Jehovah's Witness parents, under the Watchtower's mind control, would allow their child to die for lack of blood, rather than they transgress the Society's "tradition of men" which it has elevated to a "commandment of God" (Mk 7:7-8 NWT), i.e. "Thou shalt not have a blood transfusion"! The absurdity of the Watchtower's position is that they will now (under legal pressure) allow JWs to receive "certain blood products" but not "not red blood cells"! But this is a reductio ad absurdum ("reduction to the absurd") of the Watchtower's position on blood transfusions.

Clearly the Apostle James, summing up the decision of the Jerusalem council in Acts 15:19-21 NWT, ruling that Gentile Christians, to avoid offending Jews, should "abstain ... from blood" was not referring to blood transfusions, let alone distinguishing between "red blood cells" and "certain blood products"!

Jehovah has already revealed what He thinks of parents who sacrifice the lives of their children for religious reasons (my italics):

Lev 18:21 NWT "And you must not allow the devoting [sacrificing] of any of your offspring to [the pagan god] Mo'lech. You must not profane the name of your God that way. I am Jehovah."

Lev 20:1-5 NWT. 1And Jehovah went on speaking to Moses, saying: 2"You are to say to the sons of Israel, `Any man of the sons of Israel, and any alien resident who resides as an alien in Israel, who gives any of his offspring to Mo'lech, should be put to death without fail. The people of the land should pelt him to death with stones. 3And as for me, I shall set my face against that man, and I will cut him off from among his people, because he has given some of his offspring to Mo'lech for the purpose of defiling my holy place and to profane my holy name. 4And if the people of the land should deliberately hide their eyes from that man when he gives any of his offspring to Mo'lech by not putting him to death, 5then I, for my part, shall certainly fix my face against that man and his family ...

Jer 32:35 NWT. Furthermore, they built the high places of Ba'al that are in the valley of the son of Hin'nom, in order to make their sons and their daughters pass through [the fire] to Mo'lech, a thing that I did not command them, neither did it come up into my heart to do this detestable thing, for the purpose of making Judah sin.'

Note above that not only were the parents who allowed their child to die for religious reasons worthy of death by stoning, but Jehovah was firmly against anyone who turned a blind eye to what the parents had done! The same principle applies to JW parents who allow their children to be sacrificed on the altar of the Watchtower's "tradition of men" prohibiting blood transfusions, and also to those JWs who turn a blind eye to those who do it!

Stephen E. Jones, B.Sc., Grad. Dip. Ed.
My other blogs: CreationEvolutionDesign & The Shroud of Turin

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Jehovah's Witnesses A-Z: Apostasy

This is topic #1 in my Jehovah's Witnesses A-Z. By "Apostasy" I mean the "great apostasy from true Christianity" that the

[Right: Cover of Newsweek, April 3, 2009: Albert Mohler. There is indeed a "Great Apostasy" and we are now in it!]

Watchtower Bible & Tract Society claimed resulted in what it calls "Christendom":
"Identifying the `Third' As we shall see, when the first four trumpets are blown, plagues are inflicted on `a third' of the earth, of the sea, of the rivers and fountains of waters, and of the earth's sources of light. (Revelation 8:7-12) ... So which `third' would be most deserving of these plagues? ... the whole of mankind is in danger of receiving an adverse judgment. But one section thereof is particularly guilty. One part-'a third'-should have known better! What is that `third'? It is Christendom! In the 1920's, her realm embraced about one third of mankind. Her religion is the fruit of the great apostasy from true Christianity-the apostasy that Jesus and his disciples foretold. (Matthew 13:24-30; Acts 20:29, 30; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; 2 Peter 2:1-3)" ("Revelation: Its Grand Climax At Hand!," Watchtower Bible & Tract Society: Brooklyn NY, 1988, p.133. Emphasis original).

The Watchtower Society claims this happened "during the centuries since the death of the apostles" and reached its "culmination" in "325 C.E. ... [when] the unbaptized Roman emperor Constantine founded `Christendom'":

"Because Jesus spoke the truth, proclaiming the `good news" of God's purpose to deliver mankind, those religious leaders had Jesus put to death. And though Jesus established the Christian congregation as `a pillar and support of the truth," the Devil, Satan, continued to oppose the `good news,' using his religious agents on earth to this end.-1 Timothy 3:15. The apostle Paul foretold what would happen, when, in 56 C.E., he said to the elders of the Christian congregation of Ephesus: `After my going away oppressive wolves will enter in among you and will not treat the flock with tenderness, and from among you yourselves men will rise and speak twisted things to draw away the disciples after themselves.' (Acts 20:29, 30) True to this prophecy, within three centuries the great apostasy took place. It was in 325 C.E. that the unbaptized Roman emperor Constantine founded `Christendom.' Its religious system twisted Christian doctrine and combined it with many of the Satan-inspired mysteries of ancient Babylon, which the Bible shows to be the mother city of all false religion. Thus the religion of Christendom became part of the world empire of false religion, `Babylon the Great, the mother of the harlots and of the disgusting things of the earth.' (Revelation 17:3-5)." ("Good News to Make You Happy," Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society: Brooklyn NY, 1976, pp.42-43).

"It seems that in all probability during the centuries since the death of the apostles, even since the culmination of the great apostasy by the formation of Christendom in 325 C.E., Jehovah had some on earth at all times who were loyal to his Word, his teachings, Christ Jesus as the Redeemer and to himself as the Supreme One. If this is correct, he was not at any time entirely without witnesses. Of course, such would not have been organized, at least not in a large organization. There were religious organizations, but these were and are part of Babylon the Great, false religion, and in fact Christendom is the most reprehensible part of Babylon the Great." ("1982 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses: Containing Report for the Service Year of 1981," Watchtower Bible & Tract Society: Brooklyn NY, 1982).

First, while there are Bible verses that predict a future Great Apostasy from true Christianity, they indicate it will be at or near the end of the age, not AD 325. Indeed, the Bible verses the Watchtower cites above indicate this. In the Parable of the Wheat and Weeds (Mt 13:24-30 NWT), it is specifically stated that the wheat and the weeds would "both grow together until the harvest"

Mt 13:30 NWT. "Let both grow together until the harvest; and in the harvest season I will tell the reapers, First collect the weeds and bind them in bundles to burn them up, then go to gathering the wheat into my storehouse."

which will be at "the conclusion of the system of things":

"Mt 13:39 NWT. "and the enemy that sowed them is the Devil. The harvest is a conclusion of a system of things, and the reapers are angels. 40Therefore, just as the weeds are collected and burned with fire, so it will be in the conclusion of the system of things."

This is evident in another of the verses cited above by the Watchtower 2Thess 2:3 NWT, which is in the context of the Jesus' parousia or Second Coming, which will be "the day of Jehovah" (also called the Day of Christ in Php 1:10; 2:16 NWT, thus proving yet again from the NWT that Christ is Jehovah!):

2Thess 2:1-3 NWT:1However, brothers, respecting the presence [Gk. parousia "coming as the first stage of presence"] of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we request of YOU 2not to be quickly shaken from YOUR reason nor to be excited either through an inspired expression or through a verbal message or through a letter as though from us, to the effect that the day of Jehovah is here. 3Let no one seduce YOU in any manner, because it will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness gets revealed, the son of destruction."

Clearly the "apostasy" is closely prior to the "day of Jehovah" and not 1686 years (and counting after AD 325) before it. Even on the Watchtower's view that Jesus' parousia happened in 1914, that is 1589 years after AD 325!

Second, Paul's warning to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:29-30 NWT, only warns of an apostasy that is local ("enter in among YOU"), partial ("draw away the disciples [some not all] after themselves"), to happen in the near future ("after my [Paul's] going away") and in the lifetime of Paul's hearers ("among YOU yourselves") not ~270 years in the future:

"29I know that after my going away oppressive wolves will enter in among YOU and will not treat the flock with tenderness, 30and from among YOU yourselves men will rise and speak twisted things to draw away the disciples after themselves."

Third, the Watchtower's claim of a great apostasy that would, beginning after the death of the Apostles, within three centuries totally corrupt and destroy the Church that Jesus founded, is contradicted by Jesus' own statement in Mt 16:18 NWT that "the gates of Ha´des will not overpower it":

Also, I say to you, You are Peter, and on this rock-mass I will build my congregation ["church"], and the gates of Ha´des will not overpower it.

But if Jesus' Church fell into near total apostasy within three hundred years of His founding it, and it was not restored until another 1554 years when Charles Taze Russell founded in 1879, what was to become the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, then the "gates of Ha´des" did "overpower it," making Jesus a false prophet and Jehovah a weak God who was unable to prevent Satan from allegedly twisting "Christian doctrine" and combining "it with many of the Satan-inspired mysteries of ancient Babylon" for most of it its existence.

Fourth, if there was any historical support for the Watchtower's claim that the Christian Church became almost totally apostate by AD 325, then they would quote it. But they don't, and therefore there isn't. And moreover there is positive evidence which refutes the Watchtower's claims:

"The Watchtower considers all other organizations that call themselves Christians as part of a world-wide apostasy from Christianity. This `apostasy,' they say, began on a large scale in the fourth century, when the Roman emperor Constantine began influencing the church. In order to refute this idea, one must first establish that (1) there was no apostasy in the fourth century as the WT claims, and (2) the Witnesses themselves embrace teachings considered as heretical when compared with 1st century Christianity. This can primarily be done by establishing that the doctrine of the Trinity was not a new teaching as the WT claims (see TRINITY), and that the doctrines of the church were historically sound and verifiable up through the 4th century and beyond. There is ample historical evidence to demonstrate what was sound orthodoxy and what was heretical. Sources for establishing this are the writings of the early church fathers, such as Ignatius, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, etc. as well as the church historian Eusebius." (Watters, R., "Refuting Jehovah's Witnesses," [1987], Bethel Ministries: Manhattan Beach CA, Third edition, 1996, pp.1-2).

Therefore Christianity's near total corruption and apostasy by AD 325 is merely a historical fiction made up by the Watchtower's founder Russell, to justify the founding of his `Johnny come lately' new religion in 1879.

Fifth, if there had been an almost total apostasy from Biblical Christianity, the Church could recover from it simply by reading and obeying the Bible. The Watchtower's hidden assumption that once there was a near total apostasy from Biblical Christianity, it was final for eighteen centuries, is clearly unrealistic. And in fact the Watchtower has unwittingly admitted that if one reads " the Bible exclusively" one will revert back to the doctrines of "Christendom"!:

"From time to time, there have arisen from among the ranks of Jehovah's people those who ... say that it is sufficient to read the Bible exclusively, either alone or in small groups at home. But, strangely, through such `Bible reading,' they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines that commentaries by Christendom's clergy were teaching 100 years ago ..." ("Serving Jehovah `Shoulder to Shoulder'," The Watchtower, August 15, 1981, p.29).

not those of the Watchtower Society!

Sixth, the Watchtower also claims above that "Jehovah had some on earth at all times who were loyal to his Word, his teachings ... and to himself as the Supreme One" but "such would not have been organized, at least not in a large organization." But then where is the evidence of this? We should be able to "find some record of a religious group in the" first, "second or third century with views resembling ... those of the JWs. But such is not the case":

"Where Were the Jehovah's Witnesses? All this raises an interesting question. Where, during the centuries following the New Testament era, were the ancient counterparts to today's JWs? According to the Witnesses, the church fell into apostasy sometime after the apostolic era, and the truths of the Bible were restored only in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries in their religion. If this is so, we would expect to find some record of a religious group in the second or third century with views resembling at least somewhat those of the JWs. But such is not the case. The closest parallel is the Arian movement, but it did not exist until the fourth century." (Bowman, R.M., "Why You Should Believe in the Trinity: An Answer to Jehovah's Witnesses," Baker: Grand Rapids MI, 1989, Third printing, 1990, p.37. Emphasis original).

Seventh," there is indeed a Great Apostasy, and WE ARE NOW IN IT (see Newsweek cover above)! And the Jehovah's Witnesses themselves are, unwittingly, further evidence that we are now in that final Great Apostasy immediately prior to Jesus' Return!:

"WHO ARE THE REAL APOSTATES? One who partakes of the `faith that was once delivered to the saints' (Jude 3) and who then rejects such truths and promotes new doctrines could be classed as an apostate and should be `rejected after a first and second admonition.' (Titus 3:10). As 2 John 9-11 says, we should not even associate with a person such as this. The real question that must be presented to the JW is: Who are the real apostates? For if through an investigation of early Christianity and its teachings we find the WT leaders to be the REAL heretics, then we can truly understand their active opposition to the Christian church. In the WT publication What Has Religion Done For Mankind? (p. 271) the claim is made that the truth about Christ was corrupted in the 4th century when Emperor Constantine proclaimed 'the Trinity' to be the true doctrine. Thus, according to the WT, apostasy first appeared with the doctrine of the deity of Christ and the Trinity. ... They argue that the early Christians did not believe in a Trinity, while ignoring the fact that their own peculiar theology on the nature of God long post-dated the trinitarian theology. There is no record of a belief system like the Jehovah's Witnesses until C.T. Russell came along centuries later." (Watters, 1996, pp.3-4. Emphasis original).

Stephen E. Jones, B.Sc., Grad. Dip. Ed.
My other blogs: CreationEvolutionDesign & The Shroud of Turin

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Jehovah's Witnesses A-Z

This is my A-Z index of Jehovah's Witness (i.e. Watchtower Bible and Tract Society) teachings. It is a restarting of my lapsed "Watchtower Errors by Topic: A-Z" (2008) and "Questions for Jehovah's Witnesses A-Z" (2010).

[Left: ex-JW elder David A. Reed's, "Index of Watchtower Errors 1879 to 1989" (1990):]

I will over time post my comments on the following major Watchtower Society teachings and topics (and any others as I think of them), one to a page, usually in alphabetic order, and link each topic page back to this main index page.

A: Apostasy; apostates; Armageddon.
B: baptism; Bible; birthdays, blood transfusionC: Christianity; Christmas; cross.
D: dates: 607 BC; 1914; death; disfellowshipping; door-to-door.
E: education.
F: Faithful and Discreet Slave; false prophecies: 1914; 1925; 1975; 1994; flag.
G: God; government; Great Crowd.
H: Hell; Holy Spirit.
I: .
J: Jesus Christ; Jehovah; Jehovah's Witnesses.
K: Kingdom.
L: Little flock (144,000); Lord's supper.
M: military service.
N: New World Translation
O: Organization.
P: Paradise Earth.
Q: .
R: resurrection; Russell, C.T.; Rutherford, J.F.
S: salvation; Second Coming.
T: theocratic warfare strategy; Trinity.
U: .
V: .
W: Watchtower Bible & Tract Society.
X: .
Y: .
Z: .

Stephen E. Jones, B.Sc., Grad. Dip. Ed.
My other blogs: CreationEvolutionDesign & The Shroud of Turin

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Jehovah's Witness News, February 2012

Here is my Jehovah's Witness News for February 2012. The previous issue was January 2012. My words are bold to distinguish them from the articles'. I will add articles during the month, newest uppermost. Again my purpose is not to attack individual Jehovah's Witnesses but the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society.

"Jehovah's Witness guilty of indecent assault on boy," Wales Online, Tryst Williams, February 16 2012 ... A FORMER school bus driver from Penpedairheol has been convicted of indecently assaulting a boy a decade ago. David Evans, 46, a

[Left: Cardiff Crown Court: Wikiedia]

practising Jehovah's Witness, was found guilty following two trials at Cardiff Crown Court. At his first trial last summer, a jury failed to agree on verdicts. Evans, of Gelliron, Penpedairheol, denied the allegations made by a man, now aged in his 20s. But a second jury convicted him of five charges and he will face sentence next month. At his first trial, his accuser revealed that he had not told his parents about what happened until last year. He said he spoke out after spotting Evans in a car with a small boy. "If the same thing happened to somebody else, I couldn't have lived with myself," he told the court, which heard that Evans was called to a meeting of the elders of his church in Aberbargoed after the allegations were made. He told them the accusations were untrue. Evans was bailed by Judge David Wynn Morgan. ... Considering their relatively small size, the Jehovah's Witnesses have a disproportionately high number of child sexual abuse cases. There is even a Wikipedia page titled, "Jehovah's Witnesses and child sex abuse." While child sexual abuse regrettably occurs in all Christian denominations, there is no corresponding Wikipedia page for "Baptist child sex abuse" or "Church of Christ child sex abuse" (my denomination), indicating it is far less frequent in evangelical Christian churches. There is even an organisation, Silentlambs, which was set up specifically for "helping ... victims of child sexual abuse experienced while in the religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses":

"Silentlambs is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping survivors of abuse. It is based in the United States and gives assistance to victims of child sexual abuse experienced while in the religious organization of Jehovah's Witnesses. Its stated purpose is to help educate the public and Jehovah’s Witnesses about child sexual abuse as well as to assist abuse survivors who have been molested as children and silenced from speaking out or seeking proper assistance as directed by religious authority." ("Silentlambs," Wikipedia, 13 November 2011).

This is further evidence that the Jehovah's Witness religion is not Christian, but is rather like that other externalist and legalist anti-Christian religion, that of the Pharisees of Jesus' day, whose followers "outwardly ... appear righteous to men, but inside ... are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness":

Mt 23:27-28 NWT. 27 "Woe to YOU, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because YOU resemble whitewashed graves, which outwardly indeed appear beautiful but inside are full of dead men’s bones and of every sort of uncleanness. 28 In that way YOU also, outwardly indeed, appear righteous to men, but inside YOU are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Jehovah's Witnesses Raking In Real Estate Dough," Elise Knutsen, New York Observer, February 13, 2012 ...

[Right: 165 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn: The New York Times]

Whether it's Armageddon or soaring property values, the Jehovah's Witnesses ... are one property closer to cutting all Earthly ties to their home of a century. An adorable carriage house at 165 Columbia Heights was sold for $4.1 million, city records show ... The home features an enviable 4,172-square-foot layout with four bedrooms and four full baths. A gluttonous master bedroom includes a walk-in-closet and en-suite bath, while the vainglorious garage can hold four cars. The Witnesses were definitely not guilty of acedia (look it up ["Acedia ... not being concerned with one's position or condition in the world" - Wikipedia]), as the home has all new mechanicals. The Jehovah's Witnesses, whose world headquarters have been located in Brooklyn Heights for over a century, are moving upstate to the town of Warwick. The group is in the process of selling property in the area worth between $600 million and $1 billion. ... This particular sale is "$3M Under Asking" price, and so is more evidence of the Watchtower Society's acute financial problems (see January's News). It is also more evidence of the Society's hypocrisy, since clearly it would have been the Society's leadership who lived in such luxury. A commenter to Brooklyn Heights Blog noted:

"The Watchtower has denounced the opulent Roman Catholic Church for their opulence and corruption and the Watchtower started as a small niche of `puritan' Bible students has in the end stage become just like their nemesis."

And another commenter pointed out:

"Looks like the Watchtower is positioning itself for the next 130 years of its history, showing the lost souls of this world that the end is `just around the corner'!"

"Christian gathering could be boon for Trenton economy," Erin Duffy,, February 12, 2012. Every January, the Riverview

[Above (click to enlarge): The Watchtower, July 15, 2011, p.16, which claimed that "apostates," i.e. former JWs, were "mentally diseased"!:]

Jehovah's Witnesses congregation learns where its annual convention will take place. ... This year, the Oakland Street congregation learned its hometown, Trenton, will serve as host for six weekend-long events at the Sun National Bank Center. ... The local convention, one of hundreds to take place across the United States this summer, is expected to attract upward of 100,000 Jehovah's Witnesses to the city ... Perhaps best known for its habit of spreading the good word door-to-door, the Christian group considers the annual conventions the highlight of the year ... Witnesses believe in `Jehovah,' their name for God, and Jesus Christ, but they don't accept the existence of a Holy Trinity. Distinctive traits by which witnesses have come to be known include ... their refusal to celebrate birthdays and major holidays, participate in politics and military service or receive blood transfusions. They've been labeled a cult by some ... This reads like it was based on a Watchtower Society press release! But again, "Jehovah's Witnesses" are NOT Christian, because for one, claiming to be "Christian" and yet not believing in "the existence of a Holy Trinity" is as self-contradictorily absurd as claiming to be a Muslim but not believing in Allah! And again they neglect to mention (probably because they are embarrassed by it) that what "Witnesses believe ... [about] Jesus Christ" is that he is "Michael the archangel"!:

"Who Is Michael the Archangel? THE spirit creature called Michael is not mentioned often in the Bible ... But who is Michael? ... the Bible indicates that Michael is another name for Jesus Christ, before and after his life on earth." ("What Does the Bible Really Teach?," Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of New York: Brooklyn NY, 2005, p.218).

That JWism is "a cult" is evident in that the Watchtower Society, which calls itself "God's visible organization" (which delusion of grandeur alone shows that it is a cult) won't let its members do any "independent thinking," especially not to question the Watchtower's teachings:

"Avoid Independent Thinking ... How is such independent thinking manifested? A common way is by questioning the counsel that is provided by God's visible organization." ("Exposing the Devil's Subtle Designs," The Watchtower, January 15, 1983, p.22).

As a cult which seeks to control what its members think, the Society most fears the freeing influence that former JWs can have on JWs under its mind-control, and so it labels them "apostates" and warns JWs to shun them, literally like the plague. Indeed, a recent Watchtower magazine (see above) called ex-JWs "mentally diseased" (see "Police inquiry over Jehovah's Witness magazine 'mentally diseased' article" The Telegraph, 27 Sep 2011; and "War of words breaks out among Jehovah's Witnesses," The Independent, 27 September 2011).

That it is a cult is also evident in the JW "distinctive traits" mentioned: "refusal to celebrate birthdays and major holidays" which is really aimed at cutting JWs off from their non-JW family and friends so that they are more under the control of the Watchtower:

"As the student begins to accept Watchtower teachings that Christmas, Easter, Mother's Day, and birthday celebrations are of pagan origin and therefore offensive to God, fellowship with non-JW family and friends on those occasions comes to an abrupt halt, and social interaction with non-Witnesses on other occasions becomes more difficult. Eventually outside friendships cease altogether for the fully committed Jehovah's Witness, and family ties outside the sect cool to the point that relatives feel the JW has become a stranger. This, too, is by design and is a key part of the mind-control process. ... This social isolation is a key element, of mind control because it cuts off the sect member from the free flow of ideas that normally occur among friends or relatives. Once it is in place, only Watchtower ideas are heard and taken into the mind. If other opinions are encountered from outsiders at school or at a JW's place of employment, these are viewed with suspicion and contempt as coming from ungodly, `worldly' people who are no longer regarded as peers." (Reed, D.A., "Blood on the Altar," 1996, pp.188-189).

And "refusal to ... receive blood transfusions" up to and including JWs (and their children) dying in their thousands when the Bible (including the Watchtower's own New Word Translation) only says a Christian should avoid eating blood so as not to offend Jews:

"Acts 15:19-21 NWT. "Hence my decision is not to trouble those from the nations who are turning to God, 20but to write them to abstain from things polluted by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood. 21For from ancient times Moses has had in city after city those who preach him, because he is read aloud in the synagogues on every sabbath."

Any religion that allows its members and their children to die unnecessarily, in their thousands, based on passage which is only about not offending Jews (who aren't even offended by blood transfusions), IS a cult!

"Florence Green, world's last-known veteran of World War I, dies at 110," The Washington Post, February 8, 2012.

[Left: "1914 The Generation That Will Not Pass Away": The Watchtower, May 15, 1984, front page].

Florence Green, the world's last-known veteran of World War I, died Feb. 4 at a nursing home in King's Lynn, England. She was 110 ... Born Florence Beatrice Patterson in London on Feb. 19, 1901, she joined the Women's Royal Air Force in September 1918 at the age of 17. She went to work as a waitress in the officers' mess at RAF Marham in eastern England and was serving there when the war ended in November 1918 ... Her husband, Walter Green, died about 30 years ago ... The war's last-known combatant, Royal Navy veteran Claude Choules, died in Australia in May. After his death, Mrs. Green became the war's last-known surviving service member from the war, according to the Order of the First World War, a U.S.-based group that tracks veterans. She was officially recognized as a veteran when a researcher found her service record in the National Archives ... This lady's death as the last WW1 veteran is a reminder of the Watchtower Society's false prophecy that the generation of those who saw the events of 1914 would not pass away before Armageddon came:

"Many are the people alive since 1914 who will still be living when it is time for Armageddon to begin." ("From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained," WB&TS, 1958, p.205).

"The end of all the chaotic conditions in this system of things will not be delayed. But when will it come? After enumerating the many unpleasant conditions marking this `time of the end,' Jesus added the key thought: `This generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur.' (Matthew 24:34) Which generation did he mean? The one that would see the beginning of the woes he mentioned. Thus the generation living in 1914 can expect to see the end of this wicked system of things. It is to be carefully noted that the youngest of those who saw with understanding the developing sign of the `last days' from their start in 1914 are now well over sixty years of age ... The end of this wicked system and of all wickedness will come before all members of that generation pass away." ("Did Man Get Here by Evolution or by Creation?," WB&TS, 1967, pp.171-172).

"THE Bible speaks of the time in which we are living as the `last days' or the `time of the end.' ... It began in 1914 when Jesus Christ was enthroned as king in the heavens. It will end when God destroys this present wicked system of things ... How soon will that be? .. Jesus said: `This generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur.' (Matthew 24:34) Which generation did he mean? ... people still living who were alive in 1914 and saw what was happening then and who were old enough that they still remember those events. This generation is getting up in years now ... Yet Jesus very pointedly said: `This generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur.' Some of them will still be alive to see the end of this wicked system. This means that only a short time is left before the end comes!" ("The Truth that Leads to Eternal Life," WB&TS, 1968, pp.94-95).

"THE fact that fifty-four years of the period called the `last days' have already gone by is highly significant. It means that only a few years, at most, remain before the corrupt system of things dominating the earth is destroyed by God ... Jesus said when he gave his great prophecy about the `last days' ... `Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur.' - Matt. 24:34. `Jesus was obviously speaking about those who were old enough to witness with understanding what took place when the `last days' began. Jesus was saying that some of those persons who were alive at the appearance of the `sign of the last days' would still be alive when God brought this system to its end. Even if we presume that youngsters 15 years of age would be perceptive enough to realize the import of what happened in 1914, it would still make the youngest of `this generation' nearly 70 years old today ... Jesus said that the end of this wicked world would come before that generation passed away in death. This, of itself, tells us that the years left before the foretold end comes cannot be many." ("What will the 1970's Bring?," Awake!, October 8, 1968, p.13-14).

"After considering the foregoing, is it not clear that ... we really are living in the time the Bible foretold as the `last days.' ... the Bible said that all these things would happen upon the generation that was alive in 1914 ... After drawing attention to the many things that have marked the period from 1914 onward, Jesus said: `This generation will by no means pass away until all these things [including the end of this system] occur.' (Matthew 24:34, 14) Which generation did Jesus mean? He meant the generation of people who were living in 1914. Those persons yet remaining of that generation are now very old. However, some of them will still be alive to see the end of this wicked system. So of this we can be certain: Shortly now there will be a sudden end to all wickedness and wicked people at Armageddon." ("You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth," WB&TS, 1982, p.154).

"The present wicked system of things, which extends worldwide, entered its last days in 1914, and some of the generation alive then will also be on hand to witness its complete end in the `great tribulation.' ... Luke 21:31, 32: `When you see these things occurring, know that the kingdom of God is near [that is, the time when it will destroy the present wicked world and itself take full charge of earth's affairs]. Truly I say to you, This generation will by no means pass away until all things occur.' (The `generation' that was alive at the beginning of fulfillment of the sign in 1914 is now well along in years. The time remaining must be very short." ("Reasoning from the Scriptures," WB&TS, Second edition, 1989, pp.234,239).

Since Mrs Green was born in 1901, she would have been of the generation that saw 1914. But as can be seen above, the Society defined the 1914 generation as those aged 15 or older in 1914. That means they were born no later than 1899 and would be 113 or older today. And since JWs were in 1914 such a tiny percentage of the world population, there are almost certainly no JWs alive today who were aged 15 in 1914. Moreover, since "the oldest living person in the world whose age can be documented is 115-year-old Besse Cooper, of the United States, born 26 August 1896" ("Oldest people," Wikipedia, 8 February 2012), it will only be a few more years until there will be no one alive who was 15 or older in 1914.

But we don't have to wait until then. The Society has effectively admitted that its "1914: The generation that will not pass away" prediction was a false prophecy:

Dt 18:20-22 NWT. 20"However, the prophet who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded him to speak or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet must die. 21And in case you should say in your heart: `How shall we know the word that Jehovah has not spoken?' 22when the prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah and the word does not occur or come true, that is the word that Jehovah did not speak. With presumptuousness the prophet spoke it. You must not get frightened at him."

and that therefore it is a false prophet. It did this by in 1995 quietly abandoning its decades old "1914 generation" prediction by changing its definition of "generation" so "that now, to qualify as part of `this generation,' a person need no longer have been alive in 1914":

"In September 1994, the eighth printing of Crisis of Conscience discussed this February 15, 1994 issue of the Watchtower and its moving the application of portions of Matthew 24 forward to the start of the `great tribulation.' ... Just thirteen months later articles appeared in the November 1, 1995 Watchtower which did almost precisely what had been pointed to in that 1994 edition of Crisis of Conscience. As indicated, they now unlinked the phrase `this generation' (Matthew 24:34) from the date of 1914 ... This was accomplished by a new definition of the sense of `generation' in this text. ... For over forty years thereafter Watch Tower publications continued to assign a temporal sense to the `generation' of Matthew 24:34. The aging of the 1914 generation was pointed to again and again as clear evidence of the shortness of the remaining time. In the revised 1995 definition, however, rather than having parameters of time limitations or any set starting point, the `generation' is instead said to be identified, not temporally, but qualitatively, by its characteristics, as in the reference to an `evil and adulterous generation' in Jesus' time. `This generation' is now said to be `the peoples of earth who see the sign of Christ's presence but fail to mend their ways.' ... What then is the significant difference? It is that now, to qualify as part of `this generation,' a person need no longer have been alive in 1914 to form part of `this generation.' Anyone can see the supposed `sign of Christ's presence' at any time-even if for the first time in the 1990s, or for that matter in the third millennium-and still qualify as part of `this generation.' This allows the phrase to float free of any starting date and reduces considerably the need to explain the embarrassing length of time that has elapsed since 1914, and the rapidly diminishing ranks of persons who were alive at that date." (Franz, R., "Crisis of Conscience," 2002, pp.266-268. Emphasis original).

"PeaceHealth Southwest addresses those who refuse blood transfusions," Marissa Harshman, LiveWell, February 6, 2012 ...

[Right: Watchtower Society "No Blood" card: Zachary Kaufman]

When Brenda Jordan awoke from her medically induced coma, she was devastated. While unconsciousness, Jordan dreamt she had a blood transfusion. For the Jehovah's Witness, a transfusion would mean she defied God's command to abstain from blood. Jordan discovered three days later, when she was finally able to speak, that she had not received a transfusion. It was just a dream ... And several months later, when the Vancouver woman had open-heart surgery in November, she did so without putting another person's blood into her body. Jordan's transfusion-free surgery was possible because of a new blood conservation program at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver ... Dr. Steve Matous, a general surgeon, said a transfusion-free procedure doesn't look much different than a typical procedure. The main difference, he said, is surgeons are extra diligent about stopping bleeding, treating every drop of blood as precious. The surgeons use a variety of blood-saving techniques and equipment to prevent blood loss ... While most general surgery procedures don't usually require blood transfusions, other surgeries - like open-heart and liver surgeries - usually require transfusions. A typical open-heart surgery, for example, could require four or five units of blood ... The Cell Saver machine, however, reduces the need. "This is better for patients because they're getting their own blood back," ... The Watchtower Society currently won't allow JWs to get their own blood back (see January's issue). So until the Society receives "new light" (i.e. their `Jehovah' changes his mind), JWs will continue having to die unnecessarily at the Watchtower's hand. Also, while this "transfusion-free surgery" can help some JWs, for some procedures in those countries with advanced health systems, like Canada and the USA, JWs will still have to continue dying unnecessarily in their thousands at the Watchtower's hand, in less advanced countries, or even in advanced countries where some JWs cannot afford the alternative procedures. And that still leaves the millions of JWs who have died unnecessarily in the past, due to this particular Watchtower "tradition of men" which they have elevated to a "commandment of God," and in doing so have "Let... go the commandment of God" (Mk 7:7-8), that "You must not murder" Ex 20:13), which includes preventing unnecessary death (Dt 22:8).

"Watchdog's ban on distributing Jehovah's Witnesses magazines

[Left: Early The Watch Tower magazine cover. Note the Cross which was part of the Society's logo for 47 years from 1881 to 1928!]

affirmed," Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI) ... MOSCOW, February 2 ... An appeals court has affirmed the mass media watchdog's ban on distributing in Russia the Awake! and Watchtower magazines published by Jehovah's Witnesses ... The Ninth Commercial Court of Appeals dismissed the petition filed by ... the Jehovah's Witnesses management center responsible for distributing magazines. ... The reason was that Russian courts declared some of their stories extremist. The claimants earlier denied the orders as being unlawful because press publication and distribution are its core economic activities and its rights have been violated by the disputable orders ... Jehovah's Witnesses is an international religious organization. Many traditional religions consider it to be a pseudo-Christian sect. ... Its activities are forbidden in China, North Korea, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and a number of other countries. ... That JWism is "a pseudo-Christian sect" is evident in that its "core economic activities" are "press publication and distribution." It truly is "a religion of `buying and selling'" (Schnell, W.J., "Thirty Years: A Watchtower Slave," 1956, p.205). Where in the Bible does it say that the "core economic activity" of the Church that Jesus' founded (Mt 16:18) was to be "press publication and distribution"? As mentioned in January's issue, the Watchtower Society has a huge dilemma: since the same content is printed in every Watchtower and Awake! magazine in every country, it either has to: 1. tone down its extremist language in every issue worldwide, which will adversely affect the Society's recruiting and retaining members; or 2. start producing different content magazines for different countries, which will greatly increase the Society's costs.

"A meeting of hearts if not minds," Anna Gorman, Los Angeles Times, February 2, 2012... Some Jehovah's Witnesses with leukemia

[Right: Dr. Michael Lill examines Jehovah's Witness leukemia patient Christina Blouvan-Cervantes: Los Angeles Times]

turn to an atheist Cedars-Sinai doctor who respects their refusal to accept blood transfusions. Christina Blouvan-Cervantes had been battling aggressive leukemia when her blood count plummeted ... Her doctors told her a blood transfusion was her only hope. But her faith wouldn't allow her to receive one. So she turned to one of the only doctors who could possibly keep her alive: a committed atheist who views her belief system as wholly irrational. Dr. Michael Lill ... is a last recourse for Jehovah's Witnesses with advanced leukemia ... Many specialists decline to treat them because of their biblically centered refusal to accept blood transfusions ... Lill thinks their refusal is risky and illogical ... Blood transfusions are usually required, because both the cancer and the treatment suppresses the body's production of blood cells. Without transfusions, the risk of death from anemia or bleeding is significantly higher. Jehovah's Witnesses draw their beliefs about blood from a literal interpretation of the Bible, which repeatedly warns against its consumption ... It is a violation of God's command for a Jehovah's Witness to accept whole blood, red or white blood cells, platelets or plasma ... If the Bible really taught that blood transfusions were prohibited because they were the same as eating blood, then Jewish doctors would be in the forefront of helping JWs (and Jews) avoid them. But as we saw in last month's issue, not only is there "nothing in Jewish law that would preclude a person from benefiting from a blood transfusion" but if it is "medically necessary, then it is not only permissible but obligatory" (Chein, R., "Is blood transfusion permissible in Jewish belief?" 2009). And as the Watchtower Society's own New World Translation makes clear, the New Testament ruling against Christians eating blood, was only to avoid offending Jews:

Acts 15:13,19-21 NWT. 13After they quit speaking, James answered, saying: "Men, brothers, hear me. ... 19Hence my decision is not to trouble those from the nations who are turning to God, 20but to write them to abstain from things polluted by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood. 21For from ancient times Moses has had in city after city those who preach him, because he is read aloud in the synagogues on every sabbath."

But since Jews today are not offended by anyone having a blood transfusion, there is no Biblical reason for JWs not to have them. The Watchtower is therefore guilty of inventing a "tradition of men" which overrides "the commandment of God" (Mk 7:8 NWT), and moreover a tradition that has caused, is causing and will cause, the unnecessary deaths of thousands, if not millions of JWs and their children.

Stephen E. Jones, B.Sc., Grad. Dip. Ed.
My other blogs: CreationEvolutionDesign & The Shroud of Turin