written by an "Apostate" August 21, 2010
I was a Witness for 25 years and one of my best friends was an elder in a neighboring congregation. I'll call him 'Woody'. He was a single brother that was loved and repected by all. He was given many talk assignments and was used extensively on judicial committees. He had a gift for offering counsel particularlly to young ones. Much to the shock of the congregation and friends, Woody was suddenly removed and disfellowshipped. A mutual friend revealed to me that our 'brother' Woody had confided in him that he was battling homosexuality and had an affinity for young boys. He had acted on his desires and touched several boys inappropiately, some while offering counsel. Two or more of the boys had come forth and revealed that they had been abused by my former friend. Thus the 'two witness' rule led to his being disfellowshipped. However no one else in the congregation knew why he was df'd since the disfellowshipping offense is not to be spoken of outside the judicial committee. The majority thought as is the norm, that he was df'd for heterosexual fornication. And although I live in a clergy reporting state, the elders in his congo refused to report it to the authorities for fear of 'bringing reproach on Jehovah's name'.
Sound familiar? After 'demonstrating works that befit repentance', in other words attending meetings regularly for nearly a year, Woody was reinstated and allowed to go out in service immediately, sometimes in the company of young boys. About six months later he went to Walmart and purchased a tarp and a shotgun. He called a mutual friend and asked him to come by his house while he was out in service because he had something in his garage that he wanted him to see. He then went out to his garage, wrapped himself up in the tarp with the shotgun and blew his head off. Our mutual friend found a suicide note confessing that Woody had backslid, abused again and feared that it would become public knowledge and he would be df'd again.
I often wonder if my former friend would still be alive if the elders had only reported the child abuse to the authorities. Perhaps he could have gotten the professional help he needed. Here's the kicker....Woody's funeral was held in the Kingdom Hall and his memorial service was given by the presiding overseer. In the talk the P.O. described Woody's death an an 'emotional accident'. What about the kids he abused? Where was their loving counsel? It was nonexistent. They were hung out to dry so to speak.
I hate that Woody killed himself. I wish that he could have gotten help. At one time we shared a wonderful friendship but... at least he is no longer around to ruin the lives of other children. This experience was the first time I realized that the WT positon on molestation was seriously flawed. I resigned my position in the congo in '03 after 25 years of dedicated service and drifted into inactivity. Now that I'm on the outside of the microcosm that is the Watchtower, I see things for what they really are...bottom line......bullsh*t.