Once again, it’s time for “JWs in the News”

Once again, it’s time for “JWs in the News”

Some recent media items on Jehovah’s Witnesses:

Surviving a JW Sadist

Alloma Gilbert has published an article – an excerpt from her upcoming book Deliver Me From Evil (March 2008) – on how she survived being starved, beaten and tortured by her Jehovah’s Witness foster mother Eunice Spry (see also the post Sadistic Foster Mom a Devout Jehovah’s Witness).

Ten years later, in court, I would hold one of the sticks she routinely used to thrust down our throats and show the world the two inches of dried blood still staining the end. It was shortly after this appalling incident that something inside me finally snapped. I was 11 by now and had been enduring Eunice’s terrible physical and psychological cruelty for nearly five years.

… But this time I’d had enough. I don’t know whether it was my outrage at all the previous punishments, or just growing older and more defiant, but I utterly refused to admit to something I hadn’t done. “It wasn’t me,” I said. Eunice stared hard at me and came and bent over me. “Answering back, are we?” she said. “Well, you can starve.”

This was the first moment I had ever really stood up to her and although it was only a small thing, and I knew I was going to be hungry afterwards, I felt a tiny edge of triumph. And so I starved. For a week she gave me nothing – not a single scrap to eat. It was a real battle of wills, and I became so weak and sick that I was hallucinating. In my desperation, I resorted to the pig bin and feasted greedily on mouldy boiled potatoes, vegetable peelings and pig nuts. It was revolting, but I just hoped it would give me the energy to survive.

I’m glad to see that Alloma reclaimed her name. To Eunice, who made her answer to the name “Harriet,” it was a magic “demonized” name.

JW’s “Not Exactly Interfaith,” Child Abuse, Sexual Assault, Medical Alarmists

The Independent has a scathing article in health news: The Big Question: Why are the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Why Do They Refuse Blood Transfusions?

Why don’t other religions stick up for them?

Because they have gone out of their way to be rude about them. They have their own, rather eccentric, translation of the Bible and rubbish everyone else’s beliefs as “mere human speculations or religious creeds”. They have routinely described the Roman Catholic Church as a “semiclad harlot reeling drunkenly into fire and brimstone”. Then there are “the so-called Protestants” and the “Yiddish” clergy “like foolish simpletons” participating in “the world empire of false religion”. I could go on. They do. They are not exactly big on inter-faith.

What’s the situation with child abuse?

Not good. They take Deuteronomy 19:15 literally, which demands two witnesses to a crime (not easy in cases of abuse). And they cite 1 Corinthians 6:1-11 – “Does anyone of you that has a case against the other dare to go to court before unrighteous men, and not before the holy ones?” – to justify trying to deal with criminals with courts of elders rather than courts of law. A Panorama investigation reported they have an internal list of 23,720 reported abusers which they keep private. Studies in the US suggest they have proportionally four times more sexual assaults on children than the Catholic Church.

But didn’t they change their policy a few years back?

No. In 2000 the church council announced that it would no longer expel members who had willingly had a blood transfusion. But only because by doing so they had excommunicated themselves. Many JWs still carry a signed and witnessed advance directive card absolutely refusing blood in the event of an accident. And the church’s website still carries alarmist material about the dangers of transfusions in transmitting Aids, Lyme Disease and other conditions. It also exaggerates the effectiveness of alternative non-blood medical therapies.

To verdener / Worlds Apart

In Denmark, a trailer is available for To verdener / Worlds Apart, an upcoming movie based on the life of a young Jehovah’s Witness woman. The situation of a Jehovah’s Witness that falls in love with a non-JW is a very, very common one. Even with the language barrier, you can see the makings of tragedy unfold. My stomach roiled as I watched it.

Watch the Preview

New Resources

Divorce, Blood Transfusions, and other Legal Issues Affecting Children of Jehovah’s Witnesses – The purpose of this website is to bring together in one website summaries of as many custody and other miscellaneous legal disputes involving children of Jehovah’s Witnesses as can be located in published news reports and court decisions. Currently, there are approximately 485 case summaries posted. Approximately 365 summaries are posted in the blood transfusions section; approximately 100 more lengthy summaries are posted in the divorces section; and approximately 20 other summaries are posted in other sections. An additional 50 historical case summaries are linked from the JW History page.

Employment Issues Unique to Jehovah’s Witnesses – A collection of lawsuits in which Jehovah’s Witness employees have sued their employer, as well as related employer issues. The website summarizes, discusses, or identifies approximately 380 Jehovah’s Witnesses cases and incidents, including civil court cases, criminal court cases, threatened lawsuits, complaints filed with various government agencies, media reports, other miscellaneous information about employment-related controversies.


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