On November 24, 2020, the Independent Commission for Processing Child Sexual Abuse spoke in a confidential setting with experts about sexual abuse of children and adolescents of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The board and members of the JZ Help e.V. association were interviewed.
The commission wants to find out what conditions have made sexual child abuse among Jehovah’s Witnesses possible in the past and what structures prevent education and coming to terms with the situation. The stories of victims and contemporary witnesses are of great importance for this. They, as well as persons from other areas, have the opportunity to report to the commission in a confidential hearing or as a written report.
Additional information by The John Cedars Channel including interviewing Udo Obermayer (president of JZ Help) in behalf of Dr. Regina Spiess (vice president of JZ Help). She was sued by Jehovah’s Witnesses in Switzerland and succeeded in court.
When we founded the association JW Opfer Hilfe e.V. a little over 2 years ago, we mainly addressed Jehovah’s Witnesses and those affected by this community. At that time we had decided to use the letters JW in our branding as well, because insiders recognize the letters JW and JW.ORG very well as identification of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
However, we received many questions from people outside the Jehovah’s Witness community about what JW means and we had to explain that the letters stand for the English name of “Jehovah’s Witnesses”.
Last year, our trademark jw.help was attacked by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania and opposition was filed against the trademark and the use of the letters JW in the association’s name. In our opinion, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania’s request is legally unfounded, but we still want to avoid an expensive lawsuit. We do not want to invest our time, energy and resources in defending a trademark, but rather to help those affected.
Therefore we have decided to act as “JZ Help” in the future. We will change our social channels in the next days and weeks. The brand JZ is registered in the German trademark register without opposition.
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People with Jehovah’s Witnesses past have been socialized towards disaster, towards Armageddon. When a real crisis occurs, most of these people experience even greater fears than others. Here you will find facts against fears! And a few thoughts on how the current situation can affect (former) Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The corona crisis poses an enormous challenge: for the older ones among us and those with health problems, an illness can be very dangerous, we all have to reorganize ourselves and many of us fear for their economic existence – we are experiencing an absolute exceptional situation. However, many (former) Jehovah’s Witnesses are likely to experience it as even more critical.
Are you scared?
… that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and the associated plague, the COVID-19-pandemic, is confirmation that we are living in the last few days (Luke 21:11; 2 Timothy 3: 1-5)?
… that food shortages are a sign of the last few days (Matthew 24: 7; Luke 21:11; Revelation 6: 5, 6)?
… that COVID-19 is confirmation that the apocalyptic horseman of the pale horse is on the way (Revelation 6: 8)
Here, some facts!
Four things that make clear that we have neither lived in the past few days nor in a deteriorating world:
3. Natural disaster
4. General (deterioration of) living conditions
There is neither increasing food shortages nor increasing famines over the years.
Famines come and go. There has been no evidence of an increase since the 1860s – and certainly not since 1914. On the contrary, especially in relation to the development of the world population, there is a clear decrease in famines.
Famines come and go. There has been no evidence of an increase in annual mortality since the 1860s, and certainly not since 1914. On the contrary, there is a clear decrease in the death rate!
Instead, what do Jehovah’s Witnesses say?
… THE RIDER OF THE BLACK HORSE
[…] This horserider stands for hunger. […]
Since 1914, have we seen evidence that this rider of the black horse has been on the move? Yes! About 70 million people died in famines during the 20th century. One authority estimated that “805 million people—about one in nine of the world’s population—were chronically undernourished in 2012-14.” Another report states: “Hunger kills more people every year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.” In spite of many earnest efforts to feed the hungry, the rider of the black horse continues to ride.
Earthquakes are unique events. There is no trend showing increase or decrease.
What Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Say?
The Bible’s answer
The Bible describes events and conditions that would mark “the conclusion of the [current] system of things,” or “the end of the world.” (Matthew 24:3; King James Version) The Bible calls this time period “the last days” and the “time of the end,” or “end times.” (2 Timothy 3:1; Daniel 8:19) The following are some outstanding features of last-days, or end-times, prophecies:
Great earthquakes.—Luke 21:11.
Pestilences, or epidemics of “terrible diseases.”—Luke 21:11, Contemporary English Version.
Natural disasters record many deaths. There has been no trend towards deterioration in recent decades. On the contrary! Improvements in living conditions (see 4. General living conditions), hygiene, more stable houses and, and, and … contribute to this.
Isn’t the global increase in general life expectancy quite positive?
People with Jehovah’s Witnesses-past are more vulnerable
Jehovah’s Witnesses are socialized towards the end of the world. Their purpose in life is to survive Armageddon, the great final battle in which Jehovah annihilates the unbelievers but also the insufficient believers.
Socialization goal: world end
According to the doctrine, Armageddon is imminent, it is so close that higher education is no longer worthwhile for young people and that believers should instead “save” as many people as possible. Jehovah’s Witnesses spend 17.5 hours a week on religious practice – alongside work and family. In other words: Jehovah’s Witnesses live in a permanent state of emergency, the crisis situation is their default mode, so to speak. That is not by accident.
The main message from Watchtower media is: Be obedient so you can survive. In other words, if you don’t obey, you die terribly. Or you lose all the people you love. And that’s not an empty threat. Every Jehovah’s Witness experienced people disappear: a sibling, an uncle, or even a parent with whom all contact was cut off. Jehovah’s Witnesses are literally conditioned to fear. Fear is the basis of belief in annihilation and the consequence of it.
In the congregation, studying the Bible at home or at summer congresses – it has always been about the coming end of the world, for more than 140 years. Every real crisis is used to make it clear that we have been living in the past few days, even in the last of the last few days, Lett said in the latest broadcast. Real crises seem to legitimize decades of intellectual curfew. And there were many crises and terrible wars – but no end of the world. Neither in 1914, nor in 1925, nor in 1975, nor by the millennium, nor after the death of those born in 1914.
Since Corona crisis, the organization’s website has had a frightening picture of the four apocalyptic riders, and it is said that the prophecy about the rider of the pale horse, who “represents epidemics and causes of death”, has been fulfilled. This is wrong, as stated above.
Images of illness and contagion in everyday use
However, it seems correct that the Corona crisis is a particularly “good” crisis for the Watchtower organization. Not only because of the many scandals surrounding child abuse and the current investigations into them step into the background. But also, because extreme cults often have two sect characteristics:
1. The extreme limitation of time to the end of the world. This is a particularly good way to put pressure on and frighten people.
2. Images of illness and contagion. The Watchtower organization cannot just use the current pandemic as a “sign” for the last few days. Rather, it personifies the contaminated sin or contagious evil that Jehovah’s Witnesses are warned about every day.
The image of a large-scale contagious disease activates incomparably more negative images, ideas, associations and feelings in (former) Jehovah’s Witnesses than in other people. There are dozens of language images used by the Watchtower organization around contagion and illness.
It is difficult to think about “worldly people” without shivering slightly, while the term “apostates” gives you cold shivers.
Extreme sectarian groups work with (language) images that people find difficult to escape from and use these to exploit the original emotional experiences: All people are afraid of illness, nobody likes rotten food. So there are innumerable images in the Watchtower literature like that of the rotten apple that infects the other apples and of course stands for sinful behavior that is said to be contagious. Apostasy is talked about as being a highly contagious disease that leads to death. Apostates are not only treated with contempt, but are often described as terminally ill who will die.
Bad Associations Spoil Useful Habits
You cannot voluntarily associate with bad persons without being influenced to your harm. You cannot prove Bible principles untrue. Just as a rotten apple in a barrel in time causes the good apples close to it also to become rotten, so bad people influence for evil those who choose to associate with them. You cannot prove God a liar; his Word is truth.—John 17:17.
Apostates / Disfellowshipped ones, being mentally ill
Suppose that a doctor told you to avoid contact with someone who is infected with a contagious, deadly disease. You would know what the doctor means, and you would strictly heed his warning. Well, apostates are “mentally diseased,” and they seek to infect others with their disloyal teachings. (1 Tim. 6:3,4) Jehovah, the Great Physician, tells us to avoid contact with them. We know what he means, but are we determined to heed his warning in all respects?
Based on these images, one has to conclude that Jehovah’s Witnesses have a permanent plague alarm: Sin is contagious and can infect many. Total isolation is required for those being infected with sin, which even includes a ban on greeting. There is no help or compassion for those who are separated in this way, in any case: strict avoidance. There is no solidarity with these infected or even terminally ill, because they deserve to die.
These pictures and these experiences do not make it easier during a real crisis to have confidence that everything will go well, that solidarity will support those who need it. Rather, it is perfectly understandable that many (former) Jehovah’s Witnesses experience great stress and anxiety in the current situation. Even if you cannot simply delete your own neural network, you can still change it if you think about it or talk about it. You do that in psychotherapy, a self-help group or in an exchange with other people affected. And, of course, facts are also helpful.
In a nutshell (Video in German)
Finally, an excerpt from the famous speech by Konrad Franke, in which he predicts the end of the world in 1975, followed by a sequence on the subject of lies from one of the notorious WT children’s films. Then an episode from a speech by Thomas Fiala and finally, as a conclusion, an episode by the cabaret artist Volker Pispers
The most significant TV journalism ever done on Jehovah’s Witnesses! Congratulation and thanks to Leah Remini!
This is the biggest and most comprehensive exposure there has been so far. And thanks to A&E’s reach it’s being shown in multiple countries.
She hit all the main issues: Child abuse, shunning, blood transfusions, domestic violence, treatment of women, doomsday fear-mongering.
But there is so much more to go into in each of those subjects and the impact the policies are having. There’s enough material, not just victim’s stories but actual policy documentation, court cases and Watchtower propaganda video footage, to sustain an episode on each of those subjects.
Swiss – Zurich district court acquits cult specialist and board member of our assosiasion JW Victims Help e.V. Dr. Regina Spiess.
On Tuesday July 9th, 2019, the district court of Zurich acquitted a former employee of the cult advisory board Infosekta of allegations of multiple counts of defamation. It appears they were made by the Jehovah’s Witnesses over critical statements in the media.
In fact, the defendant had made several defamatory remarks, said the only judge during her oral verdict. But she did not agree that the statements were automatically punishable. For her statements, she had told the truth or provided proof in good faith.
The cult advisory board has a public mission and receives public money. It is widely recognized as such. Its task is to inform society about Jehovah’s Witnesses and various other groups. This was done by the accused. It was not her primary goal to make Jehovah’s Witnesses look evil.
Victims and human rights activists worldwide draw attention to human rights violations among Jehovah’s Witnesses on the occasion of the International Watchtower Victims Memorial Day – including JW Victim Help e.V. and the Golden Aluhut, among others with a stand at Alexanderplatz in Berlin on July 26th, 2019.
Below you can find an authorized translation of the original German broadcast:
SWR Aktuell Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart, 3.7.2019 – Members of the victim protection organization JZ Help e.V. have filed charges against leading members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses at the police headquarters in Stuttgart. The victim organization accuses the religious group of fraud in connection with the recognition procedure for a Public Body.
The corresponding complaint is available to SWR. The victim protection organization “JW Opfer Hilfe e.V.” (Jehovah’s Witnesses Victim Help) accuses the leading members of the religious group, which is considered Christian fundamentalist, of fraud for allegedly deceiving governmental authorities in court.
The legal proceedings stood in connection with recognition of Jehovah’s Witnesses as a corporate body under public law, a status privileged by the state. In Baden-Württemberg, the recognition was granted in 2015, preceded also by court hearings like the one in Berlin, among other places.
“Jehovah’s witnesses put pressure on members”
Bernd Bochow and Udo Obermayer, who both left the religious group, substantiate the claim with the fact that Jehovah’s Witnesses put pressure on members if they continue to associate with dropouts, which was in clear breach of the protection of marriage and family demanded by the Basic Law. In court, the leaders of Jehovah’s Witnesses, however, had depicted this quite differently.
Moreover, the representatives of “JW Opfer Hilfe” accuse the religious group of exerting pressure on members if they accept blood transfusions in cases of life-threatening conditions. In addition, sexual abuse within Jehovah’s Witnesses often would go uninvestigated. In practice, contrary to all official affirmations given by the leaders of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the rule that would yet still apply among Jehovah’s Witnesses was the one that an abuse would only be investigated and punished if the victim could bring forward a second eyewitness to the offence.
“A word by those who left: We need to look behind the scenes”
Considering all, such an organization as Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany should not on top be granted privileges by the state, the representatives of “JW Opfer Hilfe” told SWR. Bernd Bochow, a former Jehovah’s Witness, put it this way: „If you happen to look behind the scenes and realize what happened during the recognition process in Berlin, that cheating and fraud was involved, I wonder whether the constitutional state would not want to take a closer look too, after all these years.”
“Jehovah’s Witnesses reject criticism”
The German branch of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Selters, Hessen, rejected the criticism in written form towards the SWR; concerning the topics in question, Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany would have won all legal proceedings so far, and members of Jehovah’s Witnesses were free in their decision with whom they wanted to be in contact, whether they would like to report to the police or which medical treatment they would choose. All of this, though, under the requirement that in their decisions they – to quote the exact wording – “apply Bible standards.”
In an Europe-wide campaign, the association JW Victims Help e.V. draws attention to clear indications that Jehovah’s Witnesses are forbidden by their leaders to vote. However even the attempt would be a serious violation of law and could endanger the corporation under public law (KdöR). Therefore JW Victims Help e.V. encourages all Jehovah’s Witnesses to participate in the elections and to share their experiences with our association.
Invitation to all Jehovah’s Witnesses – please vote
“We’d like to ask all Jehovah’s Witnesses: Exercise your fundamental right and participate in elections!
Don’t wait for Armageddon – God’s war of annihilation of all non-Jehovah’s Witnesses – and for paradise on earth.
Shape your future now. Influence the course set in Europe for the coming years and decades!
If you want to remain anonymous – take part in postal voting.
If you are already about to leave anyway, go to the polling booth and talk about this. But only do this if you are aware that you can bear the consequences of shunning and contact ban – also in the family.
If you already have any experience with the consequences of voting, please let us know.” (firstname.lastname@example.org)