But isn't it true that everyone in the congregation is instructed to keep silent including the elders and not let anyone else know that a person in the congregation is a molester or former molester? Wouldn't a person be disfellowshipped or reproved for gossip or slander? Or is this just another common apostate falacy put forth to mislead others? Let us see.
A 1997 letter to body of elders states: "What can the elders do to help protect our children? The elders should be alert to the activity of any who are known to have molested children in the past. Individuals who have manifested a weakness in this regard should be sensitive to their need not to be alone with children. They should refrain from holding children or displaying other forms of affection for them. It would be appropriate for elders to give kindly cautions to any who are doing things that may be a temptation or a cause for concern to others in the congregation." A 2000 letter adds to this: "This would include not allowing children (other than his own) to spend the night in his home, not working in field service with a child, not cultivating friendships with children, and the like." "
It is pretty clear for any who want to be honest and consider the statement carefully. If others in the congregation are concerned about something the former molester is doing what should elders do? Reprove them for gossip? Disfellowship them for slander? No, that is not in the instructions from the Watchtower Society at all. It is quite the opposite. Any individual in the congregation who has 'cause for concern' for what a former molester may be doing would not be considered slanderous for bringing up those concerns and elders should handle those concerns according to the directives from the Watchtower Society. The elders are not to just sluff off the concerns and call it gossip or slander and reprove or disfellowship the person. And yet, that is what apostates will tell you. This directive certainly makes it clear that persons could indeed be warned if a person was unknowingly putting children in harms way of a former child molester. It also makes it clear that anyone who had 'cause for concern' about what a molester was doing would not be reproved but rather the former molester as well as those he is coming in contact with would be warned and cautioned because of this 'cause for concern'.
And as we see there are actually many restrictions that are placed upon former molesters. A 2000 letter informs us of other restrictions as well: "Hence, you should not extend to him any specific responsibility that could be construed as an assigned duty, even though some assignments might be considered minor." Enforcing all of these restrictions requires that at least some others in the congregation, besides elders, be made aware of the restrictions that must be applied to the former molester. Certainly ministerial servants or those who lead the group in field service would need to know. And being the close knit community that Jehovah's Witnesses are, no doubt word would quickly spread.
A 1992 letter to the elders gives further incite as to whether the matter should or could be talked about. The letter states: "Therefore, the elders should not make disparaging comments regarding a Christian' s decision to obtain professional help. It is also a personal decision if the alleged victim chooses to report such accusations to the secular authorities. Elders should encourage the sufferer to use discretion if that one chooses to confide in a mature friend."
What does this show us? Please note that it is mentioned that it might be discussed with a mature friend and that professional help could be obtained if one choses to do so. Certainly that would show that a person would not be disfellowshipped for warning a friend of the dangers should they be allowing their children to spend the night in the home of the child molester etc or for telling a professional what took place. The Watchtower Society would not condone disfellowshipping someone for talking about it or reporting it since they here in the letters are saying that it could be reported and even talked about to others. Any elders saying otherwise is overstepping their bounds and disregarding the letters from the Watchtower Society.
The October 8, 1993 Awake also contradicts the critics who say that Jehovah's Witnesses insist on keeping information about child molesters hush hush and out of the public eye. It states: "Tragically, adult society often unwittingly collaborates with child abusers. How so? By refusing to be aware of this danger, by fostering a hush-hush attitude about it, by believing oft-repeated myths. Ignorance, misinformation, and silence give safe haven to abusers, not their victims.
However, Time noted that this conspiracy is crumbling at last. Why? In a word, education. It is as Asiaweek magazine put it: "All experts agree that the best defence against child abuse is public awareness." To defend their children, parents must understand the realities of the threat. Don't be left in the dark by misconceptions that protect child abusers and not children.
Some legal experts advise reporting the abuse to the authorities as soon as possible. In some lands the legal system may require this....."
And under the heading, "common misconceptions" the article states: "Misconception: When children disclose abuse, parents should teach them to refrain from talking about it and to ‘put it behind them.’ Who is best served if the child keeps silent about the abuse? Is it not the abuser?"
And finally we have this ultimate evidence from the November 1, 1995 Watchtower. This Watchtower addresses the accuser of an alleged abuser stating: "If there is some valid reason to suspect that the alleged perpetrator is still abusing children, a warning may have to be given. The congregation elders can help in such a case." Here, contrary to claims of opposers, straight from the Watchtower, we see that the alleged victim can indeed provide a warning to others, even if he or she is the only accuser. And how do the elders respond? Do they disfellowship or reprove the accuser? No, to the contrary the congregation elders can help the alleged victim in giving the warning if necessary for the protection of other children.
The reality is that child molestation is not kept secret in the congregation nor is a hush hush attitude fostered. In fact, to the contrary, the Jan 1, 1986 Watchtower freely admits: "Shocking as it is, even some who have been prominent in Jehovah’s organization have succumbed to immoral practices, including homosexuality, wife swapping, and child molesting. It is to be noted, also, that during the past year, 36,638 individuals had to be disfellowshipped from the Christian congregation, the greater number of them for practicing immorality. Jehovah’s organization must be kept clean!"
By the reasoning of opposers and apostates this public admission in the Watchtower magazine must surely bring reproach upon God's organization. Shouldn't they have tried to hide these facts from the public to give the impression that there are no child molesters among Jehovah's Witnesses? Perhaps the brothers at Bethel in charge of what is printed in the Watchtower missed that memo about keeping child molesting in the congregations hush hush. How foolish that reasoning is!
The belief that the Watchtower Society disfellowships persons for reporting abuse or teaches that reporting child molesters to the police brings reproach is nothing but apostate mythology. There is absolutely no evidence to support those allegations. Here are several other quotes from Watchtower publications that debunk that false notion.
November 15, 1962 Watchtower, page 693: "9 Worldly authorities render a judgment and punish persons, whether they are inside the congregation or outside, if they violate the laws of decency and good order....Hence the Christian congregation cannot protect any of its members if they steal, smuggle, commit bigamy, murder, libel, defraud, and so forth...."
January 22, 1985 Awake: "Parents must make it very clear that the little victim is not to blame. The crime and anything that happens as a result of it—even if a close relative goes to prison—is not her (or his) fault."
November 1, 1991 Watchtower: "Of course, some acts are more serious than personal affronts or hurts. What if we are the victim of a crime? ... Should a crime victim, then, sit back and passively take the abuse? Not necessarily. When our person or property is violated, there are authorities to turn to. You may wish to call the police...."
January 1, 1997 Watchtower, pp. 26-29 confirms: "Depending on the law of the land where he lives, the molester may well have to serve a prison term or face other sanctions from the State. (The congregation will not protect him from this.)"
April 8, 1997 Awake: "Of course, children should also be warned about—and urged to report to authorities—any person making improper advances toward them, including people they know"
August 1, 2005 Watchtower: "In our time, rape is also a major crime with severe penalties. The victim has every right to report the matter to the police. In this way the proper authorities can punish the offender. And if the victim is a minor, the parents may want to initiate these actions."
No Watchtower publication has ever been found contradicting the above statements. And no hush hush mentality has ever been promoted by the Watchtower Society in connection with child molesters. To the contrary, the judicial action taken against abusers assures that just the opposite is true and assures that all in the congregation are informed. How so?
Chapter Ten: Judicial Action