Author Archives: religiouswatch

AUSTRALIA | Newly registered Jehovah’s Witnesses legal entity issues elders letter to destroy records

The recently registered Australian company “Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses (Australasia)” has issued a body of elders letter, dated August 28, 2019, instructing elders to destroy judicial hearing records and certain congregation records.

>> DOWNLOAD: CCJW (Australasia) BOE letter – 28 August 2019 – PDF <<

Background: a new corporation is formed

On 12 April 2019 a new Jehovah’s Witness company, “Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses (Australasia) Limited” (CCJWA) was formed in Australia to administer congregations, congregation charities, and bodies of elders.

On 15 April 2019 CCJWA commenced formally trading in Australia under the business name “Jehovah’s Witnesses” despite that trading name being registered to Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Australia Limited (Watchtower Australia) since 31 July 2000.

Also currently operating in Australia is another legal entity called “Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses” (CCJW) which was registered as a business on 3 December 2012.

On 5 November 2013, Watchtower Australia sent out a body of elders (BOE) letter instructing all congregations to form as independent legal entities and charities and to register with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission << ACNC >>. By the end of the month over 800 congregations within Australia had become their own legal entity trading under the business name “[NAME] Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Under this legal arrangement congregation records, including judicial records and membership records, are the property of the individual charity and not CCJWA.

These 800 congregation charities and their corporate structure will be discussed in detail in a follow up post on JW Leaks, along with copies of all internal documents and correspondence issued by Watchtower Australia to each congregation on how to set up each new legal entity and charity.

CORPORATE DOCUMENT DOWNLOADS

Corporate documents for new Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses (Australasia) 2019 – PDF

Corporate documents for old Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses (Australia) – PDF

Corporate documents for Watchtower Australia – PDF

Body of Elders letter dated August 28, 2019:

In one of it’s first issued body of elders letters, the newly formed CCJWA, issued instructions to all elders to review congregational records, their personal computers, hard copy files, and their meetings bags for the purpose of record destruction.

[EXTRACT] Review of Current Records: 

After discussing this letter as a body of elders, we would like the secretary along with the coordinator, or another assigned elder, to review what is currently in the congregation’s confidential file. They should examine the contents of all sealed envelopes in the file to confirm that they contain only the documents mentioned in the Shepherd book, chapter 22, paragraphs 22-23. The assigned elders should adhere to the direction in paragraph 26 when determining if the entire contents of the envelope should be destroyed. If the elders are not sure if a particular document needs to be retained, they should feel free to contact the Service Department for assistance.

Please ensure that all records kept in the file are in harmony with what is outlined in the Shepherd book, chapter 22, and our comments above. Additionally, we ask that each elder check his personal computer, or hard copy files, and even his meeting bag, to ensure that no confidential correspondence is retained outside the congregation’s confidential file. We would like the secretary to confirm with each elder that this has been done.

Destroying congregation records

Over the past few months in Australia, various congregations, and Watchtower Australia have received written requests from individuals for lawful access to documents, including judicial hearing records, as held on them. These records as requested included child abuse records and personal records. The right to access your personal information and congregational records is granted under the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988 and the Australian Privacy Principles. See the link below for more information.

LINK: Office of Australian Information Commissioner

In addition, a number of law enforcement actions and investigations have commenced into various legal entities of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Australia as well as into individual leaders of the religion.

The documents referred to in the above cited body of elders letter to be destroyed, as sent out by the newly formed CCJWA, are among the documents currently being sought for both criminal and civil cases. As such the destruction of them may constitute the destruction of evidence.

For the purpose of assisting individuals so as to protect information held on them, the body of elders letter sent out by the CCJWA, dated August 28, 2919, is available for downloading below:

>> DOWNLOAD: CCJW (Australasia) BOE letter – 28 August 2019 – PDF <<

LINK to elders book “Shepherd the Flock of God” as referred to in above letter

NEW: AUSTRALIA disfellowshipping records form and confidential summation guide

How to protect your right to access documents on yourself

For Australians, below are copies of two letters, in MS word doc format, that some individuals have recently used for the purpose of protecting their records; and so as to access information held on them from the Jehovah’s Witnesses:

AUSTRALIA ONLY – generic request for access to information from Watchtower

AUSTRALIA ONLY – letter TO CCJWA instructing the keeping of records

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POST SCRIPT

Current Watchtower Australia Document Retention Policy

Please note this is not the document retention policy for CCJWA and individual congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Australia who are registered as a charity.

WATCHTOWER DOCUMENT RETENTION POLICY

The primary purpose for recording and retaining this information is to enable Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Australia (“the Society”), which is responsible for the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Australia, to supervise the religious activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses throughout the country, individually and collectively. This includes:

(1)  Being aware of anyone who is no longer a member of the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses;

(2)  Knowing what spiritual help and assistance has been given to the individual concerned;

(3)  Providing whatever direction is needed to ensure that the Scriptural standards, as set out in God’s Holy Word, the Bible, are maintained in the Congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses; and

(4)  Ensuring that the individual concerned is given whatever spiritual help and assistance is needed if he or she wishes to again become a member of the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the future.

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About JW Leaks

JW Leaks is about openness, transparency and accountability within the Church of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Watch Tower Society.

JW Leaks exposes and holds accountable the Watch Tower Society and those leaders within the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization that disregard or violate the laws of the land, and that cause religious harm to sections of the community.

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Jehovah’s Witnesses . . . Proclaimers of “soon” since 1879

 

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Watchtower v JW (a minor) Supreme Court documents (2019)

JW Leaks has published a full single volume of documents filed in the US Supreme Court in the matter of Watchtower v JW (a minor)

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DOWNLOAD: Watchtower v JW (a minor) Supreme Court documents (2019)

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Plaintiff and respondent J.W., through her guardian ad litem, sued defendant and appellant Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. (Watchtower) and others for (1) negligence; (2) negligent supervision/failure to warn; (3) negligent hiring/retention; (4) negligent failure to warn, train, or educate J.W.; (5) sexual battery; and (6) intentional infliction of emotional distress. In January 2014, J.W. filed a motion to compel further discovery responses. On February 11, the trial court granted the motion in part. The trial court’s order compelled Watchtower to produce all documents Watchtower received in response to a letter sent by Watchtower to Jehovah’s Witness congregations on March 14, 1997, concerning known molesters in the church (1997 Documents).

By November 2014, Watchtower had not produced the 1997 Documents, and J.W. moved for terminating sanctions. At a hearing on the sanctions motion, the trial court offered Watchtower four days to produce the 1997 Documents. Watchtower declined the offer and refused to produce the 1997 Documents. The trial court granted the motion for terminating sanctions and struck Watchtower’s answer. The trial court clerk entered Watchtower’s default. After considering evidence, the trial court entered judgment in favor of J.W. and awarded her $4,016,152.39.

On appeal, Watchtower raises four issues. First, Watchtower contends J.W. failed to allege proximate cause in her first amended complaint (FAC). Second, Watchtower asserts its right of due process was violated. Third, Watchtower contends terminating sanctions were excessive because lesser sanctions may have been effective. Fourth, Watchtower contends the trial court erred by denying Watchtower’s motion for relief from the terminating sanctions.

A central thesis of Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.’s (“Watchtower”) petition is that if it, as a religious corporation, claims that a document is protected by the clergy privilege, the courts are powerless to come to a different conclusion; indeed, powerless to even inquire as to the viability of that claim. (Pet. at 15.) According to Watchtower, the mere act of conducting judicial proceedings related to the claim of privilege results in excessive entanglement with religion. (Pet. at 20.) This radical position is directly at odds with hundreds of years of judicial precedent adjudicating—sometimes applying and sometimes rejecting—state law claims of clergy privilege.

Applying its thesis to this case, Watchtower argues that it is constitutionally entitled to affirmatively invoke the clergy privilege and seek court rulings upholding that assertion, but simply ignore any adverse rulings. As it had done in two prior cases involving similar orders to produce documents evidencing child molestation by its members (“Molestation Files”), Watchtower employed this “heads I win, tails you lose” approach in this case. (See, e.g., Lopez v. Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., 246 Cal.App.4th 566 (2016); Padron v. Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., 16 Cal.App.5th 1246 (2017).) It gambled that it could disrespect the judicial process and ignore court orders while the court lacked the authority to take meaningful action to correct its disobedience. It lost that gamble and was defaulted.

The First Amendment does not exist to provide religious institutions with a free pass to operate outside of the law.

MEDIA LINK

The Jehovah’s Witnesses want the Supreme Court to help them cover up sex abuse

POSTSCRIPT

In its Reply Brief filed this week in the Supreme Court, Watchtower claims it “is the ideal litigant to champion federal constitutional rights.” As evidence Watchtower cites a total of eight court cases in which it claims to have championed constitutional rights before the Supreme Court. An examination of those cited cases shows that Watchtower was not the plaintiff, defendant, petitioner, or respondent in seven of those eight cases.

Those eight cases cited by Watchtower are:

Schneider v. State of New Jersey, 308 U.S. 147 (1939)

West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943)

Martin v. City of Struthers, 319 U.S. 141 (1943)

Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 319 U.S. 105 (1943)

Fowler v. Rhode Island, 345 U.S. 67 (1953)

Wooley v. Maynard, 430 U.S. 705 (1977)

Thomas v. Review Board, 450 U.S. 707 (1981)

Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. v. Village of Stratton, Ohio, 536 U.S. 150 (2002)

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Jehovah’s Witnesses . . . Proclaimers of “soon” since 1879.

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JW Leaks publishes links to master database of over 1,000 confidential Watch Tower Society documents

JW Leaks has published mirror links to over 1,000 confidential Jehovah’s Witnesses organizational and Watch Tower Society documents, manuals, letters, forms, and policies.

JW LEAKS DOCUMENT DATABASE

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The JW Leaks Facebook page is still down, due to legal action and court action undertaken by Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, Inc. We are currently in discussions with Facebook in relation to this.

New leaks can still be found by following our Twitter account ReligiousWatch

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jwleaks.org listen, obey, and be blessed

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About JW Leaks

JW Leaks is about openness, transparency and accountability within the Church of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Watch Tower Society.

JW Leaks exposes and holds accountable the Watch Tower Society and those leaders within the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization that disregard or violate the laws of the land, and that cause religious harm to sections of the community.

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Jehovah’s Witnesses . . . Proclaimers of “soon” since 1879.

 

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Watchtower New York changes board of directors and officers

Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. filed a notification of changes to its board structure as part of its 2019 Foreign not-for-profit corporation report for the State of Florida, USA.

The new changes, effective April 3, 2019, are:

President, Director: Harold Corkern*

VP, Director: Troy Snyder

VP, Director: John Larson

Secretary, Treasurer, Director: Mark Questell

Asst. Secretary, Asst. Treasurer, Director: Kent Fischer

Asst. Secretary, Asst. Treasurer, Director: Anthony Griffin

Asst. Secretary, Asst. Treasurer, Director: Edgar Rene Llerena

DOWNLOAD: Watchtower New York board of directors April 2019 – PDF

*Harold Corkern (Background): Governing Body helper, member of the Publishing Committee, appointed member of the US Branch Committee in 2002. Trained in ‘theocratic warfare’. Key player in the covering up of child abuse allegations within the United States.

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jwleaks.org watchtower society

About JW Leaks

JW Leaks is about openness, transparency and accountability within the Church of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Watch Tower Society.

JW Leaks exposes and holds accountable the Watch Tower Society and those leaders within the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization that disregard or violate the laws of the land, and that cause religious harm to sections of the community.

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Jehovah’s Witnesses . . . Proclaimers of “soon” since 1879.

 

 

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China Crisis for Jehovah’s Witnesses – 18 members indicted

18 Jehovah’s Witnesses indicted in relation to “using an evil religion organization” in China

china flag jwleaks.org

Open Invitation to the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses to Denounce the Actions of the Chinese Government and Prosecutors

We, Anonymous, demand that the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses give the same degree of attention to the plight of the 18 Jehovah’s Witnesses, indicted in China in relation to “using an evil religion organization,” as you did to the plight of Dennis Christensen, the Watch Tower Society representative in Russia.

On April 15, 2019, a total of 18 Jehovah’s Witnesses in China were arrested and charged with indictable offences relating to, “using an evil religion organization” to “incite the obstruction of law enforcement,” and one charge relating to, “obstructing law enforcement by organizing and using an evil religious organization.” Since the arrests, the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses have remained silent on the plight of these 18 Jehovah’s Witnesses in China.

Since April 15, 2019, the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses have published 11 individual articles on the JW.ORG website critical of the Russian government and prosecutors, and supportive of Dennis Christensen and other Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia being prosecuted.

DOWNLOAD | China Crisis for Jehovah’s Witnesses 2019 (translation of indictment) – PDF

The Background

April 15, 2019 (Urumqi, Xinjiang). Authorities in China’s north-western Xinjiang region indicted 18 individuals on account of being Jehovah’s Witnesses, according to a formal prosecutor’s indictment paper.

China Indictment against Jehovah's Witnesses

Indictment issued against 18 Jehovah’s Witnesses in China

Those indicted are Liu Weiguo, Lin Zaiwu, Li Yifang, Lin Jie, Jiang Xijun, Gao Xinlian, Wang Xiaoqing, Yu Bingru, Zhang Min, Jiang Jinling, Chen Meiling, Fan Tao, Wei Pengfei, Cao Lili, Ma Xiaojun, Yang Hua, Shi Xianhe, and Xu Yanli. All except for Jiang Xijun were charged with using an “evil religious organization” to incite the obstruction of law enforcement, and Jiang received a law enforcement charge for allegedly “obstructing law enforcement by organizing and using an evil religious organization.”

The indictments evidence that the defendants violated religious management regulations by establishing a congregation in Korla, Xinjiang, and converting 63 people, among other accusations of “spreading superstition and heresy” and preventing people from joining Communist Party organizations.

The charges

All charges are brought under Article 300 of the Chinese Criminal Code:

Article 300:

Whoever organizes or uses superstitious sects or secret societies or evil religious organizations, or uses feudal superstition to undermine enforcement of the state’s laws or administrative regulations shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than three years and not more than seven years. If the circumstances are especially serious, the offender shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than seven years.

Whoever organizes or uses superstitious sects or secret societies or evil religious organizations, or uses feudal superstition to deceive another person and causes death of the person shall be punished according to the provisions of the preceding paragraph.

Whoever organizes or uses superstitious sects or secret societies or evil religious organizations, or uses feudal superstition to rape a woman or defraud property shall be decided a crime and punished respectively according to the provisions of Article 236 and Article 266 of this Law.

jwleaks.org listen, obey, and be blessed

About JW Leaks

JW Leaks is about openness, transparency and accountability within the Church of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Watch Tower Society.

JW Leaks exposes and holds accountable the Watch Tower Society and those leaders within the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization that disregard or violate the laws of the land, and that cause harm to sections of the community.

Sources: 

http://theconversation.com/jehovahs-witnesses-neglected-victims-of-persecution-114141

https://www.newsweek.com/trump-administration-slams-countries-china-russia-violating-religious-freedom-1254633

https://www.getreligion.org/getreligion/2019/2/10/for-russias-jehovahs-witnesses-and-chinas-uighur-muslims-politics-overrides-all-religious-freedom-claims

https://www.chinaaid.org/2019/06/18-indicted-for-being-jehovahs-witnesses.html

https://www.jw.org/en/news/jw/region/russia/

 

How to Survive Being Jehovah’s Witness in China?

Persecution Against Jehovah’s Witnesses Escalates in China

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