The Catholic Church sex scandal is well-known. Tragically, it is not isolated.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses
The Jehovah’s Witnesses – considered a cult by mainstream Christian denominations for their failure to recognize the full divinity of Christ – maintain what is believed to be the world’s largest database of undocumented child molesters .
The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the non-profit which oversees the more than 8 million Witnesses, has repeatedly refused to comply with Court orders to release that database.
The Watchtower’s Office of Public Information indicates that its policies on child protection comply with the law. Barring a confession, however, no member can be formally accused of committing a sin without two credible witnesses. Of course, sexual abuse is not generally a public event.
When child molestation is uncovered, the Witnesses do not routinely notify police .
Substantial jury verdicts have been handed down against this religious organization.
The Amish and Mennonites
Investigation into sexual abuse among Amish and Mennonite communities has revealed abuse as “an open secret spanning generations” . At least 52 cases have come to light in the past 20 years, across seven states. But that number does not reflect the true scope of the problem.
Victims who report rape and incest may be sent to “mental health” facilities or threatened with excommunication.
High profile instances of sexual abuse involving the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormons”) have been reported . These cases are in addition to the child marriages performed by the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS) under leadership of the infamous Warren Jeffs .
Officially, the LDS Church – although, also, considered a cult – holds that physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse is a sin.
Witness to Evil
According to the Wiley Online Library, Christian “witness” is a public act of faith intended to awaken a belief on the world’s part in salvation through Jesus Christ and the hope of such salvation .
No greater hope exists for mankind. Nothing, however, tarnishes the Christian witness more than the protection of pedophiles by churches calling themselves Christian.
Christians everywhere should be speaking out against this travesty. Non-believers cannot otherwise be expected to distinguish true religion from falsehood.
“…and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1: 8).
 The Atlantic, “A Secret Database of Child Abuse” by Douglas Quenqua, 4/5/19, https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2019/03/the-secret-jehovahs-witness-database-of-child-molesters/584311/.
 Oxygen, “The Witnesses”, Season 1, https://www.oxygen.com/the-witnesses/season-1/the-watchtower.
 The King’s Centre, “Why the Jehovah’s Witnesses Are a Cult” by Daf Meirion-Jones, https://www.thekingscentre.org.uk/blog-full/2017/7/24/why-the-jehovahs-witnesses-are-cult.
 Oxygen, “How Policies of the Jehovah’s Witnesses Keep Child Sexual Abuse from Police”, 1/31/20, https://www.oxygen.com/the-witnesses/crime-news/how-policies-of-the-jehovahs-witnesses-keep-child-sexual-abuse-from-police.
 Cosmopolitan Magazine, “The Amish Keep to Themselves. And They’re Hiding a Horrifying Secret” by Sarah McClure, 1/14/20, https://www.cosmopolitan.com/lifestyle/a30284631/amish-sexual-abuse-incest-me-too/.
 Wikipedia, “Mormon abuse cases”, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormon_abuse_cases.
 Sage Journal, “Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse: The Case of Mormon Women” by K. Gerdes, M. Beck, S. Cowan-Hancock et al, 4/1/96, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/088610999601100104?journalCode=affa.
 The Utah Bee, “Mormon Fundamentalism and Child Brides: Specification Needed” by Cristina Rosetti, 11/29/18, http://www.theutahbee.com/2018/11/29/mormon-fundamentalism-and-child-brides-specification-needed/.
 Wiley Online Library, “Christian Witness: A Theological Study” by F. Durrwell, April 1980, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1758-6631.1980.tb01339.x.
Of note, Australia’s High Court last month overturned Cardinal George Pell’s conviction for child abuse. The former Vatican treasurer had been found guilty of molesting two boys in the 1990s.
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37 responses to “Witness to Evil”
Sharing this good information amazing what goes on behind closed doors then swept under the carpet.
It saddens me deeply that such abuses occur. An institutional appearance of propriety will not safeguard victims.
The enemy allows pedophiles to roam free..
I had no idea the Amish would do such a thing, until I read Pennsylvania Has A Secret.. It seems these groups you mention have ways to hide their actions.. but they can not hide from God..
That is my consolation, Mary. Man’s justice is imperfect. But God will not be thwarted. He hears the voices of those innocent victims.
This is important information. As a child sexual abuse survivor, I know how it is, and how rotten one can feel like, as a victim of such by trusted adults.
It is interesting that you highlight but the the Jeh Witnesses and the Mormons, as I still can’t get them straight. Especially because both (harassingly) knock on doors with their religious material.
One of the saddest child abuse stories I had come across hearing about only recently, was the one about a hugely popular football coach. He had a children’s organization too, which was how he was able to get in close contact with his young male victims.
What broke my heart the most about the story, was of how another one of the other coaches had actually witnessed that guy rape a young boy, but had only reported to the football leadership staff. Of course, they had kept it to themselves.
So for about 10 (TEN!) years had passed, when that other coach had to finally tell to the court what he had seen.
So many hours, days, and years, those poor young boys had to endure their abuse – even though someone had finally witnessed the evil man’s act
So incredibly sad
I am truly sorry you were abused.
The offending coach you mentioned sounds like Jerry Sandusky of Penn State University. He was convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse involving 10 boys through his charity “The Second Mile”. Sandusky is serving a 30-60 year sentence at the State Correctional Institution at Laurel Highlands. That does not alter the suffering his victims endured. But it is some measure of justice.
Assistant coach, Mike McQueary, who witnessed one such assault, reported it the following day to head coach, Joe Paterno. His testimony ultimately helped prosecutors make the case against Sandusky. McQueary was initially suspended, but later brought a defamation case against Penn State and received a substantial award. Paterno was fired.
Justice in this fallen world of ours is rarely perfect. It is important that victims focus on their own healing, first and foremost. I hope and pray that you will find peace.
My father was the pastor of a small, nondenominational church. And he was abusive in every sense of the word. Which is a big part of why I was agnostic, almost an atheist, for many years. Today, my faith and my focus are on the Lord Jesus, and not on any particular religion, church, or pastor. I love going to church and I will be so glad when we can do that again. But now, I know that clergy is not synonymous with God.
Still, you are so right in what you say here. This evil ruins lives in so many ways, not the least by turning people off to God.
I purchased your book recently. When I looked for it on Amazon, I saw that it was no longer in print. So I looked on eBay and found a second hand copy there. I am looking forward to reading it, as soon as I finish the book I’m currently reading.
Thank you for this blog, Anna. I appreciate you.
It grieves me that you suffered abuse, Lady Quixote. Power corrupts, even in the church. I was raised a Roman Catholic at a time when the abuse by priests was not publicly known. It was the authoritarian attitude toward the laity that drove me from the church. Many others I have met were the victims of cults which idolized a particular religious leader…all in the name of Christianity.
As you say, true Christianity is not grounded in an organization, but a relationship with Christ. Those of us who have such a relationship must make that distinction clear for non-believers.
I hope you enjoy the book. I appreciate your taking the trouble to look for it. My publisher is no longer in business which is why you had difficulty.
I finished reading your book last night. It was intense. My heart is overflowing with love and compassion for you — for the precious little girl you used to be, and for the amazing woman you grew up to be.
By the way, according to the dates you mentioned in your life story, we are very close to the same age. I am approximately one year older. But most of the time, I feel like I’m only in my twenties. Except when I go to get up out of my chair, lol. 🙂
You are very generous, Linda. I am deeply gratified that you read the book. It did help me exorcise a few lingering ghosts from my past. But I do not feel it was my best work. I wanted to transform something ugly into something beautiful. Unfortunately, that was beyond my abilities.
Yes, my joints definitely creak, too! At least we’re still here and complaining (LOL). Thank you, again. ❤
Organized shut-up. Where is that written?
This is a twisted version of “obedience”. Unfortunately, it allows evil to flourish.
A very interesting article and one that should be read by all, especially those believing that this horrible crime is patrimony solely of the Catholic Church. As a Roman Catholic, I thank you for bringing out a wider scope. I do not deny the abuses perpetrated by pedophile priests, I think they should be punished. I, like I did when I was a police officer, am ready to come down harder on my own when they commit crimes. But I, as well as most thinking persons, knew that this criminal activity was not committed only by Catholic priests, many have used Catholic priest and pedophile or pederast as a cliche. This needs to be corrected and I appreciate your article. All the best, Anna and stay safe. Hopefully this pandemic brouhaha will pass soon…
Some have mistakenly linked pedophilia w/ the vow of chastity. That, too, is an error. Stay safe and well, Francisco. Wishing you all the best, A.
Thank you Anna, you too, stay safe,
All the best,
Excellent, post Anna. Very well written. Packs a punch.
btw; after 11 months away writing plays, I’ve written a new essay/blog post called “The Virtue of Goodness.”
Glad to know you’re blogging again, Christopher! I will have to check out the new post. I hope the plays were successful.
With Covid-19 shutting down theaters indefinitely, I think I’m going to focus on writing film essays for a while. I’ll have a new one posted on Star Wars on May 2.
btw; if you want to watch my play, I uploaded a recording of it on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGE1Wg4T2qo&feature=youtu.be
Thank you for sharing your work, Christopher.
Anna, you offer the abused an open door of hope, a glimmer of light to their damaged lives. Beautiful.
Thank you, Lance. You are always so kind to me.
My sincerest pleasure, Anna. Be safe and well.
And you, Lance.
Thank you, Anna.
Reading through this was sad, horrifying, and terrible.
For so many years all I has heard about are the disgraces in the Catholic Church, as if Catholics were the only ones who commited these atrocities.
Saddened, but sort of grateful for this post.
I am sorry to have been the bearer of bad news. The problem is widespread b/c it arises from the sinful human heart.
If we accept that evil is more than simply the absence of good, then the church in all of its forms has been infiltrated by it since time began. What better way of destroying community attempts to love God (and I don’t mean ‘happy-clappy’) and share and live by common values? Around the world it has fragmented the collective, and in the form of paedophilia has ruined the lives of countless innocent souls, not just within the church but in every walk of life, including politics, celebrity and ‘royalty’. “Ye shall know them by their fruit” is an easy way to help us see where evil lives, and often despite the mainstream narratives we are sold that would have us believe otherwise. The best thing we can do for each other is, with a good heart, reveal the truth wherever we go. But often that means we stand alone. Millions of whistleblowers are persecuted every day for doing exactly that.
A profound observation.
Thank you for sharing this. It is time to uncover the “secrets”. I’m a child abuse survivor and for many reasons (like many others) didn’t speak up.
I, too, kept the “secret” for many years. Children tend to take responsibility on themselves which is not theirs. I wish you happiness and healing. ❤
Thanks, Anna. Same to you my friend.
Thanks for keeping up the good fight, Brave Soldier. Love and Regards.
Thank you for your unfailing support, dear friend. ❤
So sad that this happen in our Church… What supposed to be protector
You are so right.