by Poul Bregninge
In my book, Judgment Day Must Wait, I express the view that pedophiles both inside and outside the Witnesses’ congregations may have found a secret crime scene within the Witness organization because of the movement’s use of the “two-Witness-rule.” But is it really possible? Of course, it is. Child safety expert, Ken Wooden, writes: “Small groups of militant and highly organized child molesters operate worldwide (…) The actual number of members in these organizations is unknown, though their power is evident (…) Clearly, these organizations have connections.” (www.childluresprevention.com/research/profile.asp)
However, pedophile criminals, who have penetrated the Witnesses’ organization in the last fifty years or more, can hardly be the whole explanation. My feeling is that the preconditions for all these problems may simply be deeply rooted in the Witnesses’ own DNA, which through the movement’s history has set deep roots. Of course, based on the Victorian times, in which the Witnesses’ predecessors, the Bible Students, emerged. Articles in Watchtower’s magazines have often cautioned against normal expressions of sexuality and many have been ostracized because of deviation from the official line. This line creates a state of concealment, simulation, fear and hypocrisy — and sexual replacement actions that can trigger sexual energy. Therefore, the child abuse problems within the congregations were not acknowledged, rather completely denied, as the unmentionable almost was considered as defamation of God’s visible organization on earth. Who dared to go so far as to raise questions about denial and hypocrisy within the Watchtower organization?
Since N. H. Knorr’s takeover of the presidency of the Watchtower Society after Rutherford’s death in 1942, the leaders identified themselves with strong sex hostile ideals that stood in striking contrast to the Rutherford era’s freer rein. Sexual issues has thus for decades been taboo and it may have left deep marks. What contributed to Watchtower’s hidebound secrecy about sexual abuses of children were also the manager’s ignorance of expressions of natural sexuality and on the whole their unwillingness to learn something new about man’s physical and mental functions. This attitude does not seem to have changed one iota today: “It is not necessary to spend time reading secular publications dealing with worldly psychology or psychiatry” (“Shepherd The Flock of God,” 2010, p. 54).
“The Assault on Truth”
Pedophilia and incest has always been solid ingredients in the history of human sexual perversions. The psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud made an attempt to explain such attacks with his Seduction theory, made already in 1896. This theory was mainly about parents’ sexual abuse of their own children. The theory was strongly criticized by Freud’s colleagues and led to that the citizenship in Vienna turned their backs on him. Freud changed, however, his theory to another new theory, namely the Oedipus Complex. This last theory led to Freud’s worldwide fame. However, apparently Freud abandoned never totally his original theory from 1896, which Jeffrey M. Masson, himself a psychoanalyst and author, argue for in his book, The Assault on Truth, 1984. Here more than a hundred years later, Freud’s theory of 1896 is still lively discussed; perhaps because pedophilia today is a much more discussed issue.
Freud built partly on his patients’ reports, partly on the observations he had made in 1885-1886 at the morgue in Paris, where among other children who had been sexually abused, were brought in. What he saw and heard in lectures at the morgue got him to make his Seduction Theory (1896) and subsequently to the theory of the Oedipus complex (1910-1926). This last theory defended that children’s reports of sexual abuse in the family (most often committed by fathers) were not real events, but rather imaginary and only took place in the children’s imagination.
We must not forget, however, that pedophilia crimes is normally committed by adult strangers, often priests in a church, for example the Catholic Church, or senior leaders within other religious organizations (ie “brothers”), who by virtue of their authority and the executive position makes it easier to commit these crimes.