Geoffrey Jackson's Testimony Before the Royal Commission

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apollos0fAlexandria
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Geoffrey Jackson's Testimony Before the Royal Commission

#1 Post by apollos0fAlexandria » 6 years ago

Many people were keenly interested in the testimony of Geoffrey Jackson, appearing before the Australian Royal Commission on Child Abuse.

In general there has been a mixed reception on the internet to what was presented. In some of my early comments I tried to express that there would be much to be gleaned from the "soundbites" over a period of time. However I believe that the article just released on Beroean Pickets by Meleti has truly nailed many of the key issues, and you are strongly encouraged to read it here:

Geoffrey Jackson Speaks before the Royal Commission on Child Abuse.

There is far more to this than just the interests of the commission itself (important as those are). The testimony also gets to the heart of some key issues for Christians who are presently still inclined to view Jehovah's Witnesses and their key representatives as being the sole representatives of God on earth today.

Apollos

P.S. I am going to leave this topic as a "sticky" post at the top of this forum for the next few days at least, as it would be good for as many as possible to read the article and view the testimony. If you have membership to any other relevant forums for JW discussion I encourage you to post links there also.

Please also note that this is not an encouragement to make any personal attacks on Bro Jackson or anybody else. Open Christian discussion on the implications of this event is very much encouraged, but of course forum rules still fully apply.

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menrov
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Re: Geoffrey Jackson's Testimony Before the Royal Commission

#2 Post by menrov » 6 years ago

Thanks. I read on another board the script of the hearing / session with Jackson. According to the transcript, it went as follows (bold added by me):
Q: And do you see yourselves [the governing body] as Jehovah's God spokespeople on earth?
A: That I think would seem to be quite presumptuous to say that we are the only spokesperson that God is using.
The scriptures clearly show that someone can act in harmony with God's spirit in giving comfort and help in the congregations..............there would be a slave, a group of persons who would have responsibility to care for the spiritual food....we see ourselves a trying to fulfill that role.

The words WOULD SEEM does not exclude that he thinks they are. He did not say it was presumptuous but that it would seem that way. that is something different in my view.
Then he uses the word spokesperson whereas the question was spokespeople. GJ tries to present the gb as one person whereas the RC addressed them as a collection of individuals. It could be that his legal adviser instructed him to talk like that. To avoid accountability of the individual members but only as a group.
He continues with the words "someone can act in harmony" . That is deviating from the question. Acting in harmony with the spirit is what all believers should do. But that does not have to do anything with being God's spokesperson.
He then brings up the slave parable. Again, he tries to present the gb as one group, a slave (a group of people) (in other words, he is showing the JW doctrine regarding the definition of a slave as used by Jesus here, same for interpretation of the slave as having been given the responsibility and same for interpretation of food as being spiritual). To say you "see yourself" means that it is your own view, not supported by Jesus / Jehovah or anyone else, and then to say "trying to fulfill" is actually in contrast to his previous words where he indicated that the slave WOULD HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY (a given task). Either you believe you have been given that role and you do it OR you believe you need to qualify for that role and are trying. I guess he meant to say the latter whereas in the WBTS literature the former is always said.

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menrov
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Re: Geoffrey Jackson's Testimony Before the Royal Commission

#3 Post by menrov » 6 years ago

GJ said that they are trying to fulfill the role of FDS. However, in a letter sent to all congregations in the UK regarding use of magazines one can read:
August 13, 2015
TO ALL CONGREGATIONS
Re: Making Wise Use of Our Magazines
Dear Brothers:
Millions of people worldwide appreciate the Bible study aids that are provided by “the faithful and discreet slave.” (Matt. 24:45).

In my view, this is a confirmed statement: we are the FDS. May be this should be sent to the RC.

apollos0fAlexandria
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Re: Geoffrey Jackson's Testimony Before the Royal Commission

#4 Post by apollos0fAlexandria » 6 years ago

menrov wrote:
52 years ago
GJ said that they are trying to fulfill the role of FDS. However, in a letter sent to all congregations in the UK regarding use of magazines one can read:
August 13, 2015
TO ALL CONGREGATIONS
Re: Making Wise Use of Our Magazines
Dear Brothers:
Millions of people worldwide appreciate the Bible study aids that are provided by “the faithful and discreet slave.” (Matt. 24:45).

In my view, this is a confirmed statement: we are the FDS. May be this should be sent to the RC.
Hi Menrov,

Do you think there's a real conflict with what he said though? In my view his words were very carefully chosen, so as to allow for the necessary ambiguity.

If I were appointed as president, and said that I was trying to fulfill that role to the best of my ability, then would that detract from the idea that I actually am president and fully acknowledge such?

This is in essence what Jackson was saying, and I don't think there is any conflict with their published statements that he along with the six others indeed ARE the FDS.

Apollos

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menrov
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Re: Geoffrey Jackson's Testimony Before the Royal Commission

#5 Post by menrov » 6 years ago

Hi Apollos, you know, my mother tongue is not English. From the transcript it read this regarding the FDS:
....we see ourselves a trying to fulfill that role...

To me this means, he does not confirm the gb is the fds but that they try to act as if they were.

The statement in the letter to all congregations does not included any condition but is a confirmation that they ARE the fds.

Anyway, the view of an old Dutch guy :-)

Rufus
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Re: Geoffrey Jackson's Testimony Before the Royal Commission

#6 Post by Rufus » 6 years ago

From one old Dutch guy to another, Menrov, Jackson's statement skirted the issue of whether the seven Governing Body members hold themselves over the 110,000 congregations as having been already appointed by Christ as the "faithful and discreet slave," now being set "over all the master's belongings."

One does not "try" to fulfill that role. The "slave" either has be set over all at this time (1919 onward) or alternatively since the appointment by Christ of slaves (33 CE onward) is trying to live up to that standard.

As to the slave class being nearly 2000 years old, we have the following evidence of appointment:

Paul Rom 1:1
James James 1:1
Peter 2 Peter 1:1
Jude Jude 1:1
John Rev 1:1

Each Bible writer above, providing food at the proper time, introduces his writing with his credentials as a "slave" of Christ.

apollos0fAlexandria
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Re: Geoffrey Jackson's Testimony Before the Royal Commission

#7 Post by apollos0fAlexandria » 6 years ago

Just sticking with his statement for now rather than the doctrine itself, my point is that the words were sufficiently well chosen so as not to perjure himself before the commission, nor speak in conflict with what is published to the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses.

That's the extent of the point I was making in response to whether it was worthwhile to send that quote to the RC.

My concern is that the RC has so much information to sift through that anything a person might send needs to be well founded so that they are well-armed to deal with the task at hand. If you feel that this will be useful then of course you should send it.

One thing I noticed was how the ex-JW community reacted to the question being presented to either Spitz or Toole (can't remember which one now) as to whether he had heard of the term "theocratic warfare". I am sure there was a big push by that community to impress upon the RC that this was a recognized policy by the organization, and permits them to lie to courts. The same community accused the witness of lying when he denied knowledge of the term. However I don't think he was. It's a really old term now and used outside the org, but not inside. I don't know any active elder who would know what it meant.

They would have done far better to ask directly whether witnesses ever consider it right to lie to secular authorities rather than use this outdated term. That would have made things far more uncomfortable for the witness since everybody from top to bottom of the org knows that we say it's permitted under certain circumstances.

So the point I'm making is that any questions asked in this set of procedures or any other legal setting ought to address the real question, and not use terminology that allows the witness to slip off the hook.

In this particular case Jackson could have been pushed further on whether God has a sole channel of communication on earth today, if so who that would be, and what the implications of that are. That could have made things very interesting, especially if Stewart had the relevant published references.

Apollos

Marvin Shilmer
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Re: Geoffrey Jackson's Testimony Before the Royal Commission

#8 Post by Marvin Shilmer » 6 years ago

menrov wrote:
52 years ago
Hi Apollos, you know, my mother tongue is not English. From the transcript it read this regarding the FDS:
....we see ourselves a trying to fulfill that role...

To me this means, he does not confirm the gb is the fds but that they try to act as if they were.

The statement in the letter to all congregations does not included any condition but is a confirmation that they ARE the fds.
I don't see inconsistency between the two statements. The GB asserts itself to be the FDS. This is made plain enough in published statements from Watchtower. To then testify to the RC that the GB sees itself as trying to fulfill that role is only a different way of in effect saying "This is why we claim to be the FDS."
apollos0fAlexandria wrote:
52 years ago
One thing I noticed was how the ex-JW community reacted to the question being presented to either Spitz or Toole (can't remember which one now) as to whether he had heard of the term "theocratic warfare". I am sure there was a big push by that community to impress upon the RC that this was a recognized policy by the organization, and permits them to lie to courts. The same community accused the witness of lying when he denied knowledge of the term. However I don't think he was. It's a really old term now and used outside the org, but not inside. I don't know any active elder who would know what it meant.
It was Toole. Based on his baptism being in the 1970s he claimed to have not considered what had been published in the 1950s. The implication was that he was unfamiliar with the doctrinal position though he had heard the term of something akin to it.

I found this piece of testimony incredible (meaning: I found that it had no credibility) because it was coming from a JW who's trained as a solicitor, and solicitors by training look for and make distinctions regarding true, false and misleading testimony. Hence it is inconceivable to me that Toole never looked up the term "LIES" in the Watch Tower Publications Index 1930-1985 (published in 1986!!!). For goodness sakes, the 9th item down is "distinguished from “theocratic war strategy" with relevant references! How does a person miss that? For Toole to tell me he was unaware of this based on being baptized in the 70s is nothing short of outright dishonesty. I would not, could not and do not believe him. The only other barely conceivable alternative is that Toole is hopelessly incompetent both as a Bethel Elder and Solicitor trained at mine and your expense (Watchtower sent him to law school on our dime!)

apollos0fAlexandria
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Re: Geoffrey Jackson's Testimony Before the Royal Commission

#9 Post by apollos0fAlexandria » 6 years ago

Marvin Shilmer wrote:
52 years ago
I found this piece of testimony incredible (meaning: I found that it had no credibility) because it was coming from a JW who's trained as a solicitor, and solicitors by training look for and make distinctions regarding true, false and misleading testimony. Hence it is inconceivable to me that Toole never looked up the term "LIES" in the Watch Tower Publications Index 1930-1985 (published in 1986!!!). For goodness sakes, the 9th item down is "distinguished from “theocratic war strategy" with relevant references! How does a person miss that? For Toole to tell me he was unaware of this based on being baptized in the 70s is nothing short of outright dishonesty. I would not, could not and do not believe him. The only other barely conceivable alternative is that Toole is hopelessly incompetent both as a Bethel Elder and Solicitor trained at mine and your expense (Watchtower sent him to law school on our dime!)
You may be right. I am only going on my own experience, and I don't think any elder, CO, or DO I've dealt with would consider this a familiar term.

It's possible that Toole should have had particular knowledge of this because of his background and responsibilities. I don't know.

Apollos

apollos0fAlexandria
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Re: Geoffrey Jackson's Testimony Before the Royal Commission

#10 Post by apollos0fAlexandria » 6 years ago

But just to add ...

I believe that the question was raised as "Are you familiar with the doctrine of "Theocratic Warfare"?" It gave him opportunity to say no, and for his answer to be held credible by R&F who are less familiar with this old terminology.

If the question had been posed as I suggested - actually dealing with the position on lying to authorities - then he could not have done the same thing without R&F being aware of his misleading statement.

Anyhow. It's water under the bridge on that one now. I just hope future lawyers might pick up on this and pose the question in an inescapable way if the circumstances warrant it.

Just to be clear, I don't personally think that Christians are bound to divulge everything they know to anyone who asks in all circumstances. I doubt any Christian thinks that. But in the particular context of the commission it was important because the commission had a right to know whether they were being told the truth on this matter of child abuse policy, and they could have probed further to see whether the witness testimony from JW elders and GB members could be questionable under their own moral framework. (Quite ironic when you consider GJ's response to the justice probing him on the matter of whether we encourage judicial committees to give less weight to the testimony of those on the outside.)

Apollos

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