Who Has a Better Policy?

If you have read the previous chapters you have come to realize that opposers have misrepresented the child abuse policy of Jehovah's Witnesses. They have invented and presented a mythical, fictional policy that does not exist, nor has it ever existed. Now that you have been shown the true child abuse policy with quotes and documentation from actual Watchtower sources you are in a better position to judge its merit based on fact not fiction, truth not myth. And so the question can now be asked: What religion has a better child abuse policy than Jehovah's Witnesses?

Essentially here is the organizational wide child abuse policy of Jehovah's Witnesses as we have shown.

1. Jehovah's Witnesses disfellowship, even announcing the name from the platform, and shun proven or confessed practicing child molesters.
2. Any molesters deemed repentant are announced from the platform as well, thus publicly reproving him and a talk is given about their type of sin. All thus receive a warning.
3. Elders report abuse to the authorities when required by law or if a child is in danger.
4. Elders are instructed never tell anyone not to report abuse to the authorities and there are no sanctions for reporting abuse.
5. If a minor reports molesting to an elder, the elder offers to accompany the minor to talk to the authorities.
6. All in the congregation are encouraged to report child abuse to the authorities if they are aware of it.
7. If there is only one witness and the accused denies it, several steps are taken to protect the children.
8. Any accused of molesting by one person is likely removed as servants until the matter is cleared up since he is no longer 'free of accusation'.
9. The Watchtower Society keeps a detailed database of molesters and former molesters, even if the molesting took place before baptism, to assure that they do not receive authority in the congregation.
10. Former child molesters are never allowed to be servants and do not receive even minor privileges.
11. A letter follows former molesters (and usually those who have been accused by one witness) for the rest of their life whenever they move to another congregation.
12. Elders keep an eye out and warn others when there is a cause for concern about former molesters.
13. Former molesters have many other restrictions placed upon them, including not holding children, not having children spend the night, not working with children or alone in field service, and so on.

What of other religions? Do they have any policy that even comes close to the policy of Jehovah's Witnesses? An examination of some of the policies of other religions will reveal the truth.

The Methodist policy: "This policy and its provisions shall apply to all persons including all paid and unpaid leaders, whether lay or clergy who have any direct or indirect contact with children and youth who participate in any activities or events sponsored by the Texas Conference"

Southern Baptists suggested policy: "Policy for Child Abuse Prevention All persons desiring to work with children/youth through any ministry (current or future) of this church, must first meet the following qualifications."

American Baptist recommended policy: "...the Board of Educational Ministries adopted a recommended policy for churches and regions to consider as they recruit and screen volunteers and staff who work with children, youth, and/or other vulnerable populations."

Lutheran policy: "Lay and professional child and youth activity leaders must go through a standardized screening procedure...it is prompted by awareness of problems in other churches that have allowed for the abuse of children by paid and unpaid child and youth workers in the church,..."

Presbyterian policy: "Employees and volunteers who undertake the special responsibility of working with the children of OPMH shall not violate the trust of the responsibility by engaging in acts of sexual misconduct."

Anglican Church policy: "In the Church, where people entrust their lives and their spiritual wellbeing to clergy and other employees and volunteers, the issues of sexual exploitation and harassment are of great importance. Church leaders are invested with the confidence of those who come to them."

The Quaker policy: "This policy and these procedures apply to everyone who works with children and young people under 18, whether paid, compensated by workgrants or fee waivers, or volunteer..."

You will note that the policies of religions presented above only concerns those in charge of youths, such as the clergy, employees, volunteers, youth leaders and counselors. There seems to be no policy to protect children against individual members of the church or their own parents. Their concern seems to be to make sure that no leaders are accused of child molesting so that lawsuits may be avoided. And many of the policies outlined are merely recommended or suggested policies for the individual churches to consider. How much finer the policy of Jehovah's Witnesses to remove practicing child molesters from the organization and shun them.

It is also interesting what takes place, if in the screening process, the religion discovers that someone is found to have abused children. Does the religion report the person to the police? Remove him from the congregation? Warn the other church members? Not likely. Why do we say this?

Lets use as an example the Southern Baptist suggested policy. Yes, the Southern Baptist Church recommends to each church that a background check on those seeking employment or seeking to volunteer to help with children is conducted, but what is the result if they find that the person is a molester or has been a molester? They are not hired. Thats it.

No report to the authorities is made. No warning to the congregation is made. No warning to the Baptist churches in the other 49 states is made. No warning to church ministers in any state is made. Is this really so?

When looking at the Georgia Southern Baptist recommended volunteer application, for example, you will find this quote: "I understand that the Georgia Baptist Convention has a zero-tolerance policy for sexual misconduct and abuse and any incident will disqualify me from participation in Georgia Baptist Convention activities." Well whats wrong with that? But wait...It continues immediately after that to say: "I understand that this information will be used only for volunteering purposes and WILL NOT be RE-DESIMMINATED TO OTHER PERSONS OR USED FOR ANY OTHER PURPOSE."

The discovered child molester remains a Baptist and the information cannot be used to remove him from the congregation or for any other purpose. He is free to molest quietly without anyone knowing. He is free to move to any other Baptist Church and molest unsuspecting children once again.

The Quaker policy is similar. It states under article 4: "All information from references, monthly meetings, and background checks will be held in the strictest of CONFIDENCE....The file is NOT AVAILABLE TO OTHERS OUTSIDE of FGC." And sadly you will find that this is the norm of most all religions.

On the other hand what if Jehovah's Witnesses find someone to be a molester or former molester? Jehovah's Witnesses use the discovered information to protect the children. He is disfellowshipped or if deemed repentant he is announced and a talk is given. His name goes in the database. He can have no privileges. An eye is kept on him. He cannot be alone with children, have friendships with children, have children spend the night, hold children, work in service with children. Whereever he moves a letter follows him to that congregation. The information gathered is used to protect the children. It is not kept secret.

The problem that most all religions have with enforcing a organizational wide policy is that they are not united from individual church to church. Each church is run autonomously. Using the Baptist as an example again notice this quote from Advocate.com dated February 23, 2007: "Church leaders concede there have been some incidents of abuse in Southern Baptist congregations but say their hands are tied when it comes to investigating complaints across the denomination. ...Baptist churches are independent. They make their own decisions about hiring ministers and conducting investigations, Baptist leaders say. Southern Baptist Convention president Frank Page said the denomination plans to teach its churches how to conduct background checks and to require letters of recommendation for job candidates. But he said the Southern Baptist Convention, which has 16.3 million members, does not have the legal authority to create an independent board to investigate abuse complaints."

At the Southern Baptists site itself we find this question and answer: "5. I believe our pastor (or my church) has acted inappropriately. What will the SBC do about it? Actually, the Southern Baptist Convention is not in a position to take any disciplinary action regarding pastors or churches. Again, because of the autonomy of the local church, each SBC church is responsible before God to set its own policies regarding pastors or problems in the church. Such policies are entirely up to the individual congregation."

So without worldwide unity it is impossible for other religions to have a child abuse policy equaling that of Jehovah's Witnesses. Such a policy could not be enforced on each individual church. And since each religion, with few exceptions, has no worldwide unity and no organizational wide policy, it is essentially impossible to keep a centralized database of molesters or track molesters from church to church.

And what of court awards made to abuse victims for negligence by the churches? Do a google search and you will find that every major 'Christian' religion has been found negligent by the courts and have been forced to pay damages. For example, the Catholic Church has paid out more than $2 billion. Even the Mormon Church has paid at least $10 million after being found negligent. Here are some quick examples.

"A man, 28, who was recovering from epileptic seizures in his apartment when he was attacked, will receive $300,000 in damages from the Sierra Vista Baptist Church for the sexual assault by John Adams Marshall in April 1991. Marshall performed oral sex and fondled the weakened man while pinning him down. The jury found the church 40% liable for Marshall's assault and negligent in retaining him as minister. Marshall did not lose his ordination to be a minister elsewhere." (Inland Valley Daily Bulletin 1/15/94)

"Miami, FL. CHURCH TO PAY MILLIONS FOR MINISTER'S ABUSES. Wayside Baptist Church in Miami received a $6.7 million judgment for negligence in hiring and retaining Keith Geren as youth minister. The church did not do background or reference checks, nor did Geren even fill out a job application, though Geren did admit urges to molest boys. He sexually molested nearly a dozen teenage boys." (Sarasota Herald-Tribune 2/6/94)

"Denver, CO. Bohrer was awarded more than $700,000 in her civil suit in Denver District against former minister Daniel DeHart and the United Methodist Annual Conference (the equivalent of a diocese). She alleged DeHart seduced her into a sexual relationship when she was 13 and he was youth minister at First Methodist Church in Greeley." (Rocky Mountain News, 8/2,29/92)

"In a civil suit filed by three sisters, now 19,16,and 13; their mother and another 13 year-old girl a Kenai jury awarded nearly $430,000 in damages to the four girls sexually molested by Tickel. The jury also found that Trickel; his wife, Debbie; and the Salvation Army responsible for their abuse." (http://www.adn.com/alaska/story/4752362p-4698974c.html)

"...a Church of Christ church and & its former 59 year-old minister agreed to pay $300,000 to a man whom the former minister sexually assaulted during family counseling sessions. Earlier, a boy, now 17, was awarded $450,000 by a jury for similar charges." (The Rocky Mountain News)

"$450,000 jury award against UNITED METHODIST CHURCH OF ILLINOIS upheld by Judge Stuart Shiffman involving REV. WILLIAM FYFFE, who molested 3 brothers in Macon, 1982. The church was held responsible because it knew Fyffe had molested boys at Taylor Ridge parish, 1975, but still ordained him, expunged records of counseling for molestation, and transferred him into a community unaware of the episodes." (Quad-City Times, 9/7/89; 10/18/89)

"One of the largest settlements to date in Protestant churches involved the case of former Lutheran minister Gerald Patrick Thomas Jr. in Texas, where a jury several years ago awarded the minister's victims nearly $37 million. Separate earlier settlements involving Thomas cost an additional $32 million." (Insurancejournal.com)

"Two college-age sisters have been awarded $4.2 million in a lawsuit against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a judgment prompted partly by the way a bishop dealt with sexual abuse committed by their stepfather while they were children."

"John Charles Blome This civil case was filed in Montgomery County, Texas and went to jury trial. The case settled for $4 Million after the Mormons were found negligent. A 13 year old boy who was molested by a Mormon Church youth leader in Magnolia Ward was awarded more than his own lawyers sought October 8, 1998. Blome molested many other boys from the same area and in other areas. Sheriff's deputies were upset that the Mormon Bishop tipped Blome to the pending investigation, and he burned evidence before it could be seized. In an earlier case against Blome the Mormon Church was also found negligent." (Houston Chronicle)

"Michael Rex Shean This case arose in Santa Maria, California. Shean was an attorney and Mormon Church leader who used his position as coach, attorney, and religious teacher to groom boys for seduction. The Stake President in the case was an FBI agent, Nolan Phillips, who should have been much more alert to the problem of a predatory pedophile in his flock. The Mormon Church was found negligent and settled for an undisclosed amount." (Geocities.com)

In fact, it seems to have gotten to the point where the Boston Globe even reported that "...large Catholic, Anglican, United, and Presbyterian church organizations are facing bankruptcy because of claims of sexual and physical abuse." (Boston Globe, 8/2/2002)

Of course we could go on and on. But what of Jehovah's Witnesses? Have they been found negligent in a court of law and thus been forced to pay millions of dollars? Well, Vicki Boer was awarded $5,000 in punitive damages by a court in Canada for an honest mistake by an elder who failed to follow Watchtower policy. But the flip side of the judgment was that the Watchtower Society was awarded $142,000 to be paid by Boer to the Watchtower Society. Thus the Watchtower Society netted $137,000. So while other religions have paid out millions of dollars in court awarded child abuse judgments after being found negligent, Jehovah's Witnesses have paid 0 dollars in court awarded judgments. If the decisions of the courts of the land is any indication, then the only verdict that can be arrived at is that Jehovah's Witnesses have the best child abuse policy.

It is no wonder that Philip Brumley, general counsel for the Watchtower Society could confidently state: "The policy that Jehovah's Witnesses have on how to handle cases of child molestation is without equal in the religious community." The Paducah Sun, January 28, 2001 similarly reports that Watchtower attorney Mario Moreno"would be willing to put the church's policy up against any other." In other words, no religion has a better child abuse policy than Jehovah's Witnesses. We have in the past challenged opposers of Jehovah's Witnesses to provide us a link to a religion that has a better child abuse policy but to date no one has provided such a link although they have indeed tried.

Some opposers claim that we cannot possibly make the statement that Jehovah's Witnesses have the best policy unless we have examined all the policies of all the religions of the world, being some 10,000. Of course that would be impossible. Then how can Philip Brumley, Mario Moreno, or anyone possibly make such a bold statement? It is really simple.

1. A religion must be united in order to have a policy that is applied to all individual churches.
2. A religion must remove practicing child molesters from their ranks to protect the children.
3. A religion needs to have a database with names of former molesters, convicted molesters, disfellowshipped molesters, reproved molesters, and so on, in order to make sure that former molesters are not put in responsible positions to gain trust of children and molest again.
4. And finally, they must keep track of the molester whenever he moves to another congregation so that the restrictions applied to former molesters can be enforced.

Since no other religion meets all of the four points above it would be impossible for them to have a better child abuse policy than Jehovah's Witnesses. It is clear to honest persons that the child abuse policy of Jehovah's Witnesses is the best of all religions, bar none. But isn't that what you would expect from an organizaton that is directed by the Most High God? Of course, we could be proven wrong if someone could simply provide us a link to a better policy. But don't hold your breath.