Watchtower Governing Body Geoffrey Jackson Questioned by Australia’s Royal Commission on Sexual Abuse
The Watchtower Society of Jehovah’s Witnesses is run by 7 men in New York, called the Governing Body. Geoffrey Jackson, who is on the Governing Body, was questioned on the practices of Jehovah’s Witnesses, when it was uncovered that the Watchtower Society had over 1000 cases of unreported child molestation.
On August 13, 2015 (August 14 in Sidney Australia) Jackson took the stand by way of live streaming video. He was questioned by the Royal Commission regarding the past and current practices and procedures related to child abuse inside Jehovah’s Witnesses. Previous to this hearing, other members of Watchtower Society and Jehovah’s Witnesses were also questioned on the stand, revealing incriminating information on just how accusations of child molestation are handled in the organization. Victims were able to testify as to how their stories of sexual abuse were swept under the rug. Many victims who chose to walk away from the religion also lost their entire social circle and families, due to the Jehovah’s Witnesses policy which states that JWs must not speak to former members who have either been disfellowshipped, or have disassociated themselves.
Anticipation of Geoffrey Jackson Testimony Floods Social Media
Governing Body member Geoffrey Jackson’s testimony was anticipated by what is presumed to be thousands of people around the world. Word had traveled extensively around Australia in regards to the molestation inside Jehovah’s Witnesses. Other countries caught word through Ex Jehovah’s Witness communities, who shared the information with others worldwide. The anticipation of how Geoffrey Jackson would handle these questions was unnerving to many people who have suffered at the hands of the Watchtower Society. As Jackson’s testimony took place, people from around the world gathered together on Facebook to discuss the event real time, while watching on their computers. Online parties and forums were mobbed with those who have been waiting for months, years, and even decades, to see Watchtower brought to justice, and a Governing Body member questioned by authorities.
Geoffrey Jackson Called “Liar” by Current and Former Jehovah’s Witnesses
When questioned as to the practices of the Jehovah’s Witness Watchtower Society, Governing Body member Geoffrey Jackson’s responses were called out by people all around the world. Anger and shock continued to build as former Jehovah’s Witnesses expressed that much of what Jackson stated was either manipulative, exaggerated, or blatantly false, with intent to mislead the Royal Commission. Those who watched the testimony got heated, often times cyber-shouting “LIAR! HE IS SUCH A LIAR!”, in all caps. Victims of Watchtower who are now being shunned expressed disgust and outrage when Geoffrey Jackson stated how “loving” the Watchtower Society is. When Jackson spoke about women in the congregations having ability to make decisions, long time former JW female listeners had extreme reactions which denoted disgust and shock. “He is a pig! He is a filthy liar!” were among the common responses. Even men became outraged at the untruths being stated by Jackson during his sworn statements.
A Few Highlights on Geoffrey Jackson Testimony
- Governing Body doesn’t feel they are the only ones God can work through. (This is contrary to their teachings, which state that the Governing Body is God’s sole channel of communication between Himself and human beings)
- Jackson stated that women can and do take part in decision making processes when molestation accusations are made. (False)
- Geoffrey Jackson stated that he hopes elders would contact police if an accusation was heard. This practice is not protocol in Watchtower Elders manuals. Instead, elders who hear of molestation allegations are to contact Watchtower lawyers.
- Jackson acknowledges that it may be traumatic for the victims to have to face their abuser and speak against them with others present. (This is something that many abuse victims have suffered through due to Watchtower policies)
- It is acknowledged that victims have been silenced out of fear of either having to face their abusers, not being taken seriously, or leaving the JWs and losing their families.
- Jackson states that those who fade away from JWs, but who are not formally “disassociated” by written letter, are contacted by elders and asked if they need help returning to the organization. (False)
- Jackson states that being disfellowshipped and shunned by JWs is an act of God’s love. (False)
- Jackson didn’t agree or disagree that a female victim may find it easier to talk to a woman about her abuse, instead of a man. The commission showed strong objection to women not having a place in decision making processes.
- Jackson stated he had not taken the time to read any of the statements of the child abuse victims prior to the hearing. The reason given was that his father was very ill and he had been spending time with him. Paperwork was provided to him prior to the hearing, yet he did not read it.
- Jackson believes a child at 13 years old is capable of making permanent life decisions such as baptism into an organization. It is likely that children don’t know the repercussions they’ll face (losing their families and JW friends) if they ever decide to formally leave.
- Jackson states that if a person is shunned, it is because they chose to leave. (The burden of being shunned is blamed on whomever leaves, even if they were molested and can’t agree to stay within a religion which protects pedophiles due to lack of proof of allegations.)
- Geoffrey Jackson did not agree that compensation would definitely be offered to victims of sexual abuse, but would have to look and see if it was scriptural.
Geoffrey Jackson was for the most part respectful to those who questioned him, however a bit of sarcasm was lightly interjected here and there. At one point, Jackson made reference to a scripture in 1 Corinthians. He stated to the attorney on which page of the bible the scripture was located, (assuming he didn’t know where to find it) when the attorney abruptly interrupted Jackson and said, “I’m there already”.
Watch Geoffrey Jackson slip out of being questioned regarding the repeated statement by JWs that these child abuse stories are “apostate lies”.
The Royal Commission also has available a complete list of the submitted exhibits in the Jehovah’s Witness child abuse case.
Complete transcripts may be found here, for those who prefer to read at their leisure.
Watch the entire Jehovah’s Witness Royal Commission series of videos, beginning with day one, here on YouTube.
Child Sexual Abuse Within Jehovah’s Witnesses – Live Hearing Australia:
Continue to follow the Jehovah’s Witness child abuse story by checking on the Royal Commission website.