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The Jehovah’s Witness Two Witness Rule

Submitted by Jaymes on June 22, 2012 - 6:00 pm 26 Comments

Let us explain to you how the Jehovah's Witness Two Witness Rule worksRecently, we published an article titled Why the Watchtower Society has Been Punished over the Candace Conti Child Abuse Case. Many JWB readers thought the evidence we provided in the article was sufficient, especially the points that related to the Jehovah’s Witness Two Witness Rule.

If you’re not familiar with this rule, it goes something like this – an incident, no matter what it is, needs to be seen by two witnesses.

The Watchtower Society use the scripture found in Deuteronomy chapter 9, verse 15, which says “No single witness should rise up against a man respecting any error or any sin, in the case of any sin that he may commit. At the mouth of two witnesses or at the mouth of three witnesses the matter should stand good.” They also like to use the scriptures in Matthew chapter 18, verses 15 and 16, which say “Moreover, if your brother commits a sin, go lay bare his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. (16) But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two more, in order that at the mouth of two or three witnesses every matter may be established.”

There is a problem with this rule though and I think you don’t need to press more than two brain cells together to see what that problem is. If a Jehovah’s Witness is about to molest an innocent young boy or girl, I doubt they’re going to go looking for another witness, unless that other witness is their victim. So you see, this argument falls flat on its face. “Oh but it’s in the Bible, so it must be right!” Yeah, I suppose Jehovah creating the Earth BEFORE he created the Sun seems logical to you (Genesis 1:9-10 & Genesis 1:16-18). Bite me.

In fact, the Jehovah’s Witness Two Witness Rule seems so illogical that one JWB reader, Richard Schiller, came up with his own philosophy. Richard left the following comment in the Candace Conti child abuse article:

The scriptures demanding two witnesses does not refer to two witnesses of any crime. It refers to creating two witnesses to the hearing of the matter. In other words, the matter is put into discussion between criminal and victim with a judge and two witnesses of what the judge is hearing. That makes 3 people making a decision. This doesnt mean a judge and 2 witnesses will be true and just and not equally as bad as the criminal justifying the criminal. BUT nor does it mean you are stuck victimized unless two people were watching the crime.

The WT publications have drifted in and out of Jehovah’s truth on this one, first seeing it correctly interpreted, and then seeing it has forcing victims to have witnesses. Witnesses can see a criminal deny his crime (as an innocent person will also deny the crime he didnt do), but such witnesses will also hear the story change upon 2nd and 3rd discussions of it. Such witnesses will also see the criminal start to blame the victim or accuse the victim of being a liar.

There is alot of role-play in any court case that all courts are guilty of. There is more hate against the JWs not because they are always innocent like JOB was, but because they despise times guilt was clearly true (as was the case with high pirest Eli’s sons taking virginity from all women coming to the temple).

The atitude of THIS TIME WE GOT THEM occurs both with atitudes toward the innocent like Jesus, not just those actually guilty.

Personally, I am not sure if Richard is a Jehovah’s Witness. I think he isn’t. But even still, I can’t figure out where he gets his logic from with regards to the Jehovah’s Witness Two Witness Rule.

We did some digging and came up with this article, which directly sheds light on the Jehovah’s Witness Two Witness Rule. This article can be found on the official media website of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, www.JW-Media.org

If you can’t be bothered going over to their site, here is a snippet of the article.

The Jehovah's Witness Two Witness Rule as explained in an official Watchtower Society website

Click to enlarge the image

In case you missed it, here is the bit that discusses the Jehovah’s Witness Two Witness Rule:

If the accused denies the charge, the two elders may arrange for him and the victim to restate their position in each other’s presence, with elders also there. If during that meeting the accused still denies the charges and there are no others who can substantiate them, the elders cannot take action within the congregation at that time. Why not? As a Bible-based organization, we must adhere to what the Scriptures say…

So then people, are we in any doubt about the Two Witness Rule? I have a feeling some new light will be flung our way if the Watchtower Society fails in their appeal over the Candace Conti Child Abuse case. They’ll probably claim that the second witness was Jehovah’s Holy Spirit, in which case I will demand to know why the Holy Spirit didn’t intervene! After all, it helped create the Earth before the Sun came into existence, but failed to stop a monster from harming an innocent. I am digressing again, aren’t I?

  • Dara

    I see the disgusting thing that causes desolation within the holy places of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and so I have left it.(Matthew 24:15, 16) What you consider exalted is disgusting to God. (Luke 16:15) It’s time to do your own research into the organization. And when I mean research, I mean not just using the organizations website. You don’t just go where someone tells you to go for information on them. Only criminals don’t want you to do a background check, something to consider.

  • Dara

    It’s a bit twisted of you to call yourself Righteous when you lack compassion.

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    Jehovah has opened my eyes. I never completely understood until now. This is the reason my step father who was a Jehovah’s Witness @ the time along with my mother & uncle was not disfellowshipped for what he did to me. He raped me in the back of the ambulance under the sheets with the paramedic there. My mother and uncle knew that the paramedic saw this. The paramedic told the doctor & cps were brought in & my mother still refused to press charges. I never understood until this month why when I asked my mother why they did not disfellowshipped her husband for what he did to me & why she continued to be with this man for some time afterwards. She told me then, that only the paramedic saw. My God, was not my word & the word of the paramedic not enough?! These people were sick! They have damaged me! No one tried to seek counceling for me. I was all alone. To this day I am still trying to heal my mind, heart & spirit. They need to be exposed! They showed no compassion for me as a child!

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  • randa

    earth before the sun …I dont think so

  • silentlambsilentnomore

    Well done Niki. Go to silentlambs.org for more help if you need it in a case like this. Bill is an absolutely wonderful man and has helped so many silent lambs be no longer silent. Shout it as loud as you can. The more people know about this, the better.

  • niki pacheco

    I am from Pickering Ontario Canada and was molested by Frank Loiacano from Whitby Ontario Canada when i was 9. I told my mom and she was told by the local brothers in Belvedere congregation to keep quiet because of reproach on jehovahs name. The abuse continued anf my mother had nervous breakdowns. Now i am 43 and the minute i started talking about this i was disfellowshipped. Now i am going to the police to catch FRANK LOIACANO. AND THEN I WILL SUE THE WATCH TOWER BIBLE TRACT SOCIETY.

  • silentlambsilentnomore

    @Righteous you sound extremely ignorant to the 2 witness rule that the WTBTS has put in their so called child protection policy. So called because it does not protect a child whatsoever in any form of child abuse. But here let me save you the trouble. Here is the updated version of the child protection policy, brand new this month. And no one said Catholics were not at fault either. And by the way, whilst on the subject of it, there would be more cases of sexual abuse with the JW’s if the victims were not paid to shut up and keep quiet about it. As one of the first children to speak out, one of the first JW silentlambs, it is a hrad task in front of you, one which is not entered into lightly, but with not much experience of how the world works either down to the sheltered upbringing a JW child has. Anyway for your reading pleasure. NOW YOU KNOW IT’S NOT LIES. http://www.jehovahswitnessblog.com/child-abuse/watchtower-tells-elders-to-carry-on-protecting-child-molesters/

  • silentlambsilentnomore

    @ I love Jehovah God. You said and I quote “What kind of parent would allow their child to go anywhere with an adult who was not their family or highly reputable such as a well-known daycare or nanny? If a child can not confide in their parents, there is a serious problem. No decent parent would let child abuse happen without reporting it to the law or retaliating toward the accused. ” Could you tell me something then? A member of Jehovah’s Witnesses in good standing a Ministerial Servant commits the heinous crime of abusing HIS daughter. Not just sexually but physically as well. The belt comes off in the mens bathroom repeatedly striking the child for maybe making a little noise during a meeting. Elders, Ms and other members hear the cries from this child. Yet they do nothing. In cases of sexual abuse, there is no other witness. Just the perp and the victim. Most of my abuse happened behind closed doors, usually when my mother was not there. CAN YOU TELL ME HOW THAT MS A PERSON WITHIN GOOD STANDING WITHIN THE CONGREGATION IS A DECENT PARENT. See it’s not just members out with blood family that it happens. It is also members within the blood family it happens. I have said it once and I will say it again. Read Romans 13:1-7 if you still believe the word of God, only read this and come to YOUR OWN conclusion as to what that scripture means. But as far as I am concerned if I truly believed in the bible as a lot of people do, I would not wish to seek the wrath of God, by not heeding his word, for some organisation that has got it WRONG !!!!!!!

  • http://www.JehovahsWitnessBlog.com Andrew

    You clearly don’t care about truth and voluntarily stay blinded. The two witness rule isn’t secret. You can look it up yourself. You can see how it played a part in the Candace Conti court case. You can go and ask an elder. Go on. Do it and let me know what he says.

  • Righteous

    I’m not in a religion but I have much respect & appreciate the jehovah’s witness association. & all you Catholics are on the news ever other week molesting children and abusing kids and the church covers it up. The difference is the witnesses have NO part of such indecent acts, stimuli hate and disapprove of such acts but Catholics are well aware and help the molestors! There is no 2 witness rule go ask and elder. BLASPHEMY is the only unforgivable sin (talking against God and saying there Is no god or that we are superior to him). Jehovah is a God of love and justice. What happens in the dark will be brought to light by means of him and his holy name and active force. Acts 20:29: ” I know that after my going away oppressive wolves will enter in among you and will not treat the flock with tenderness, and from among you yourselves men will rise and speak TWISTED THINGS TO DRAW AWAY DISCIPLES AFTER THEMSELVES.”

  • Loren.

    Horrible morals. You say “What does that tell you? It tells me that Jehovah allowed this to happen in order to flush out the trash” what??? Jehovah lets old men stick pens into little girl’s vaginas as some sort of test? He collaborates with Kendrick and does an oral “test” a written test a sexual abuse test on a 9 yr old child ” in order to flush out the trash”
    What a trashy paedophile enabling view. You are as guilty as the abuser. Your so called religion is an abomination.
    Keep your so called “Warm Christian Love”

  • Marly

    Just punch in safe haven for pedophiles and one of the links is The Watchtower and Bible Tract Society. Enough said!

  • Marly

    The society had a few outs with the two witness rule like in Deut if there weren’t enough witnesses then the king became the judge and had to decide the final outcome.
    Or in John chapter eight where the pharisees ask Jesus who are his two witnesses and he states himself along with his father, Jehovah. Just like instead of Jesus it would have been the victim, Candace, and her father Jehovah! That should have been enough.
    I’ve often mulled this over since I was raised as a Jehovah’s witness and starting at the tender age of four, my father had molested me. I also had a handicapped sister who till this day will point at her privates when you ask her where did dad touch her and I have the eldest sister who also was molested by him and when she told the elders they stated she needed two witnesses and to keep quiet about it for it would bring reproach uponJehovah’s name and organisation. Three girls in the family and each one needed two witnesses? Even though there were three sisters in the family who were all witnesses to his evil crimes. I am now fifty-two, my handicap sister is fifty-four and my eldsest sister is sixty-five.
    I don’t regret working at the bethel farm or pioneering nor my sister who special pioneered and pioneered for forty years but society has got to change the two witness rule. There is no way Jehovah’s holy spirit is directing this organisation to hide and protect pedophiles.

  • silentlambsilentnomore

    @Sampson WHY ARE YOU DEFENDING THE WTBTS ? Why do you think silent lambs has been going for twelve years or so ? Do you think Bill Bowen is just another mentally diseased apostate that knows nothing ? This has been going on for years and years. Time to fully understand the two witness rule. And pay ceasers things to ceaser, i.e. ELDERS YOU LISTENING ? GOOD? When a member of your congregation comes to you and tells you that he/she has sinned, and that sin should be punishable not only by God but by the authorities down below then go and tell the respected authorities. Get on the phone anonymously if you can and turn that paedophile, murderer, child abuser in. Romans 13:1-7 and you can check if you like but it tells me that governing authorities are government, law enforcement etc etc ok so here goes Romans 13:1-7 says “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. …” Just because the Governing Body has said to you all that you should go to them or go to Jehovah does not mean that you should physically just go and do that and do nothing else. Mmmm Maybe actually scrutinise the scripture for yourself if that’s what you wish to do and I respect your beliefs as I once was a Jehovah’s Witness. Now I no longer call myself even a christian because I do not hold the same beliefs but value anyone who are true to themselves and the rest of the general public.

  • trusting poet

    I can tell you in my own personal experience that this did not happen. I told my mom what the elders son who also happened to be our neighbors had been doing. The elder and his son then came to our home and we had a “meeting” in which I said what he had been doing. He actually admitted it, but that is as far as it went. The elder apologized and promised it would stop, but of course it didnt. It continued for 4 years and no one ever stopped it. The elders son was about 17 when it started and I was about 6. It didnt stop until I was around 10 and he moved away.

  • http://www.JehovahsWitnessBlog.com Andrew

    Yes, but the fact is that in many cases, this DOESN’T get reported, as the court case of Candace Conti recently proved.

    In the USA for example, the elders should report it to the police FIRST, not the branch office. In the recent Candace Conti case, which you can look up, the elders contacted the branch office first, who told the elders NOT to report it to the police and ‘leave it up to Jehovah’ which basically means do nothing. (Wouldn’t forensic evidence act as a second witness?) This is illegal, which is why they lost the case. There’s not even an appeal from the Watchtower. Can’t argue with that evidence.

  • I love Jehovah God

    I guess you did not want anybody to see any other part of their policy, did you? Well, here it is:

    In addition to making a report to the branch office, the elders may be required by law to report even uncorroborated or unsubstantiated allegations to the authorities. If so, the elders receive proper legal direction to ensure that they comply with the law. Additionally, the victim or anyone else who has knowledge of the allegation may wish to report the matter to the authorities, and it is his or her absolute right to do so.

    What kind of parent would allow their child to go anywhere with an adult who was not their family or highly reputable such as a well-known daycare or nanny? If a child can not confide in their parents, there is a serious problem. No decent parent would let child abuse happen without reporting it to the law or retaliating toward the accused.

  • trusting poet

    I wish there would have been someone who was capable of thinking and using this logic when I was a child in the organization.

  • johnny

    As long as the 2 witness rule is in place ther will be monsters within the congregation. Who will suffer ? The elders? paedophiles? or children ?

    How many more children have to suffer before the bufoons in head quarters start taking action?

    One reason why theres a lot of paedophiles within the jw org is that ther are those who have comitted this type of crimes before getting baptised, once they are baptised and are in good standing in the congregation thats when they start preying on kids knowing ver well about the flaws with some of the jw teachings and one good example is the 2 witness rule .

  • Matt2414

    Ryan, I used to be exactly like you, a loyal Witness defending the policies of the men who make up the governing body without question, while ignoring what the Bible itself says. Yes, I believed in the “two witnesses” rule too, which made it difficult for child molesters to be caught and prosecuted. Oh well, God is Almighty and he cannot be wrong. Too bad for the little children though.

    But while I was in Bethel, I began hearing rumblings from high up that the members of the governing body were no longer running the organization, but that the attorneys were. There was more of an emphasis on protecting the organization from lawsuits, than there was on following scripture and relying on Jehovah. After praying for divine direction my eyes opened and it became so crystal clear: Wait a minute! The “two witness” rule isn’t a rule that Christians have to obey, it was part of the Mosaic Law, which no longer applies to Christians (Deut 19:15). True, some Witnesses have mistakenly taught that Christians must obey “principals” of the Law of Moses, but you won’t find that man-made teaching anywhere in Scripture. The closest example of this in the Bible is when the Pharisees took the “principals” of the Law of Moses and then made new laws, in an effort to control and lord it over disciples, but Jesus condemned such manipulation of the Bible. Of course, it is true that Jesus referred to the “two witnesses” rule at Matt. 18:15-17, but he was speaking to individuals who were still under the Mosaic Law, just as the Insight book, vol. 1, page 499 says. But no where do we find that Christians are still under this rule. In fact, the elders in Jerusalem later examined the scriptures to see which ancient laws were still in effect after Christ died and they made no mention of the “two witnesses” rule, preferring not to add any additional burden on the members of the new Christian congregation. (Acts 15:28, 29).

    But think about it, even if the “two witness” rule were still in effect, it does not apply to Caesar. It would only apply to the congregation. Caesar says that anyone hearing a child molestation report must inform the authorities. It doesn’t matter if the accused is guilty or not, because Caesar will determine guilt. That’s the law. Caesar doesn’t care if the elders conduct a judicial committee or if the elders call the legal department, they still have the legal obligation to tell Caesar of any report of child abuse. Jesus said to give Caesar’s things to Caesar and God’s things to God. It’s that same principal that prompts Witnesses to register for the draft. Witnesses don’t fight in war, but they do register. Likewise, reporting cases of alleged child abuse doesn’t mean guilt, it’s just a report.

    The elders and even the organization share the guilt of child molesters because they harbor individuals who may indeed be child abusers. They may claim they do not have two witnesses, but how do they know that the authorities don’t have two or more witnesses? Caesar may have a record of previous abuse that the elders are not aware of. The elders may believe they are thorough when appointing an elder, but I don’t ever remember them running a police report on brothers to see if they have a clean record. That’s why it is vital that molestation reports be made to Caesar. It is the law and the right thing to do.

    James 1:27 says: “The form of worship that is clean and undefiled from the standpoint of our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their tribulation, and to keep oneself without spot from the world.” Any organization that puts their legal asses above the welfare of children obviously does not represent the interests of the Almighty. The conduct of the Witness organization is indefensible and no different than the conduct of the Catholic Church, which the Witnesses themselves have criticized. Jehovah hates hypocrites and those who support them. How can you defend such conduct without actually sharing in their guilt? (Psalm 50: 18, 21-22)

  • Joshua McCann

    Sampson, this is not the first time that the organization has been in the cross hairs of the US court. In fact, in 2007 the Watchtower Organization settled out of court with 16 child abuse cases brought forth with evidence of the organization’s knowledge of placing a known, convicted, child abuser into multiple positions of power.

    By settling outside of court, the organization was effectively admitting guilt as innocent people don’t settle.

    There have also been (according to the WTO) 11 elders taken to the court over sexual abuse, however any accusations toward the organization in those cases were thrown out.

    In this particular case, the organization’s actions were called into question because the child abuser was not an elder but a member of the organization.

    Also, since 2002, victims have been coming out and giving testimonials about any abuse they had suffered in the organization due to many elders reportedly dissuading victims from going to the authorities. The WTO was called into question in that sense since many reports across the country had painted elders as wanting to deal with child abuse internally and interfered with the victim’s right to go to the police. This was such a huge issue that WTO wrote to the congregations telling them that they should never dissuade people from going to the authorities over matter of abuse.

    Regardless of wither you believe the WTO is guilt free and the elders called into question were a few over zealous bad eggs, or if you believe the WTO gave up the elders as scapegoats for following WTO policy, the fact is that many congregations did overstep legal bounds in reporting child abuse prior to 2002. As the case with Conti, the abuse was happening over the years of 1995 and 1996. This was, of course, before the WTO’s letter to the congregations.

    Finally, child abuse in the organization has been addressed in a PBS documentary called “Suffer the Little Children.” The WTO attempted to suppress this documentary completely.

    Since 2002, the number of people coming forth about child abuse suffered in the organization has been growing.

    So no, this is not the first time the WTO was taken to court by someone; It’s not even the first time someone has accused the organization of foul misdeeds.

  • DeRanged Jdub

    I make no apologies for making this so obviously simple – you don’t have two witnesses in order to take action and disfellowship a wrongdoer… Ok .. Got it… But the elders lack the moral compass to “Obey Caesars Law” and report criminal actions against children. Just wait till it’s your kid Elder Joe- let’s see what song you sing then! Pioneering every April isn’t going to fix it.

    CALLING ALL PEDOPHILES … become a Jdub: they got’cher back!!

  • http://www.JehovahsWitnessBlog.com Andrew

    @Sampson amens – you say, “Child abuse is terrible and sickening but who are we to argue with the almighty?” We have obviously outgrown the ‘almighty’ and become more moral than him. So we don’t need him.

    Also, what kind of sick god would let children be abused, and the molesters protected, for some bigger point? You miss the point about the child abuse case – ‘Gods’ organization actively protected child molesters, AND STILL DOES. Why be a part of such a disgusting thing? When you heard about the Catholic church doing the same thing, you’d have no doubt felt disgusted at it, and taken it as proof that they aren’t gods people. If the Catholics had said that god was just cleaning his organization by letting the rot get exposed, you’d probably have thought it wrong. It’s the same thing here. You are trying to make excuses for the organization, when there are NO excuses for this. Can’t you see how wrong that is? How you have to twist logic to find some kind of excuse? It isn’t on.

  • Sampson amens

    I am a Jehovah’s Witness and I understand your frustration but you must understand that Jehovah had (and still has no doubt) a purpose for adding the two witness rule in the Bible. Child abuse is terrible and sickening but who are we to argue with the almighty? The same principle applies to Jehovah creating the Earth prior to the Sun. There is always a reason and a “why” with Jehovah. He is the almighty and knows what’s best for us.

    With the child abuse issues, nothing can be done unless there are two witnesses or additional victims come forward. The real issue is flushing these monsters out of the congregation. Don’t you worry about that, Jehovah culls the congregation continually. For instance, can you tell me how many child molesters have been removed from our ranks BEFORE they could touch a child? No you can’t. But I see you jumping on the proverbial bandwagon at the first scene of a lady taking the Organization to court. She’s the first to have done so. What does that tell you? It tells me that Jehovah allowed this to happen in order to flush out the trash. “The love of the greater number will cool off”. Jehovah was talking about us in that scripture. He will continue to trim his followers until his great day is upon us.

    How would you like to live in a world where there were no more child molesters, rapists, murderers, thieves and evil men? Jehovah promises us this in his New World that he will prepare for us. Jehovah is all powerful, yet doesn’t intervene in human affairs. His slave here on earth are the ones that are caring for us. And these ones have loved us and continue to love us, therefore is not nice to say that these ones implemented this two witness rule so that they could benefit. What do they stand from benefiting from harbouring child molesters? Nothing. That’s why we need to rely on Jehovah for direction and love.

    Warm Christian Love,