(Investigator 116, 2007 September)


Jehovah's Witness (JW) publications routinely stress the moral superiority of JWs:

They are making better fathers, better mothers, better children, in fact, the best people in the world. (The Watchtower 1970 April 15 p248)

Media reports, however, suggest a different picture.


A British JW mother claims she was forced to refuse a blood transfusion in 2000 when giving birth to twin daughters.

Rachel Underhill, now 32, and her daughters survived, but she left the faith and launched a website to support ex-JWs.

Of the hospital liaison committee — JW elders appointed to consult with doctors — she said, "I was basically told in no uncertain terms that I could not have the transfusion. It was scary. I was terrified they would let my babies die." (The Argus, 2007, Tuesday, July 10)

Another recent blood case concerned sextuplets born 15 weeks prematurely to a JW mother in Vancouver, Canada. Transfusions were required but the parents refused and two of the babies died. The government then ordered protective custody of three of the remaining babies who received transfusions. (The Weekend Australian 2007, February 3-4, p16)


The Guardian (England) reported: "Foster mother inflicted 20 years of sadistic abuse on three children." The report said in part:

Eunice Spry, 62, beat the children with sticks and metal bars, scrubbed their skin with sandpaper and forced them to eat lard, bleach, vomit and even their own faeces.

She treated the children, two girls and a boy, as if they were her slaves, ordering one of them to stay in a wheelchair for four years even though she could walk so Spry could claim benefits for her.

Spry, a Jehovah's Witness and a pillar of her local community, would punish the children because she thought they were possessed by the devil. Once she kept two of them imprisoned, naked and starving in a room for a month. (2007, March 21, p5)


Silent Lambs is a victims rights group founded in 2001 by William Bowen a former JW elder from Kentucky who quit the sect over its lack of action over child sexual abuse. He says 7,000 JWs who claim they were abused have already made contact.

A report on the Internet by Rose French says that Silent Lambs:

…released documents Thursday that showed the Jehovah's Witnesses recently settled civil suits with 16 people who claimed they were sexually abused by church elders or that church officials failed to act on abuse allegations…

Bowen's group has criticized the Jehovah's Witnesses' policy that if an accused abuser denies the charge, two credible witnesses are required to establish guilt…

If two witnesses are lacking, the accused is deemed innocent, charges remain confidential and, Silent Lambs says, parents who warn others are subject to disfellowshipping for slander. (2007, May 10)

Disfellowshipping means being shunned, ostracised, not even greeted, by other JWs including friends and family.

Regarding the above settlement Tidbits (an American brochure about sectarian religions) comments:  

How is the WT going to pay? … Six of their valuable properties in Brooklyn at the time of this writing are up for sale one at Columbia Heights for $35 million! They will need every penny as we have been informed that 40 other lawsuits have been filed. (July/August 2007, p5)

From the 1950s the JW religion urged its members never to bring "reproach upon the organization" or "reproach upon Jehovah God". Among other things this meant not taking each other to court because the New Testament says, "To have lawsuits with one another is defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong?"

Taking a fellow JW to court did not necessarily mean disfellowshipping but still incurred loss of status and reputation:  

However, if any member of the Christian congregation, without regard for the effect of his action on the good name of the congregation, ignores the counsel from God's Word on this matter, such one would not be "free from accusation" as a Christian… He surely would not be an example for others to imitate, so this would affect the privileges that he might have in the congregation. (w1973 11/15 p704)

Fear of sanction for initiating court action would have worked together with the "two credible witnesses" requirement to stop sex-abuse victims or their parents from complaining.

The Sunday Tasmanian (Australia) reported about a JW woman, 58, and her husband, both disfellowshipped:  

…a married son had not spoken to her or her husband…for over five years and had returned presents they sent to his children…

She said they were taught that anybody "disfellowshipped" was "demonic" and "insane"...

Mrs Sonner said…in her 20 years as a Witness she had known of elders "playing around" with other wives and of one who had "his daughter bashed" when she revealed she was a victim of incest… (1985, July 28)

The best people in the world? You decide.


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