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12 things we learned from Geoffrey Jackson’s testimony at the Royal Commission
Posted on September 14, 2015

Geoffrey Jackson's appearance before the Royal Commission left many questions unanswered
Geoffrey Jackson’s appearance before the Royal Commission left many questions unanswered

If you are one of the many current and former Jehovah’s Witnesses who spent much of last month glued to your screen watching the Australian Royal Commission into child abuse, likely you are still dumbfounded by the testimony of one person in particular: Governing Body member Geoffrey Jackson.
Senior Watchtower officials did their very best to stop Jackson from appearing, dismissing his relevance to the commission and insinuating that he was only involved in “translation.” Their efforts at insulating their leader drew the ire of Senior Council Angus Stewart, who accused Australian branch coordinator Terrence O’Brien of deliberately trying to mislead the commission over Jackson’s role.
Finally the commission saw through the shenanigans and Jackson was faced with an official summons to appear – a summons carrying legal ramifications if he failed to show. In the end, despite being in Australia (to tend to his sick father), Jackson opted to give his appearance by video link – to the disappointment of many who would have like to have seen him appear in person.
Wearing a dark three-piece suit and stripey tie, and seated at a table in what appeared to be an office conference room, Jackson had an air of confidence about him. He addressed the judge and senior council respectfully, but any humility seemed strained – especially in the context of some of the more defiant and pious expressions that were to follow.
Overall, Jackson’s testimony was a masterclass in evading the torrent of difficult questions unleashed upon him. Angus Stewart and Judge McClellan bombarded him with topics as diverse as corporal punishment, the two witness rule, the role of women, and shunning.
Jackson ducked and swerved any difficult, potentially incriminating questions with the finesse of an Aussie-rules footballer, albeit without possessing the corresponding physique. “That’s not my field” became his default retort, and if he didn’t like the question he wasn’t above modifying it in his answer. Even outright lies were deployed by the Governing Body member in his eagerness to get past the full-time whistle unscathed.
It’s difficult to do justice to the full day-long exchange, but I have taken the liberty of compiling a handy list of 12 key pieces of testimony given by Jackson that were either unusual, revealing, or downright misleading.
If you would like to examine Geoffrey Jackson’s testimony for yourself, you can do so in PDF form on this link, or using the video playlist at the foot of this article.
1. Ordinary Jehovah’s Witnesses can now officially acknowledge the problem of child abuse (at least in theory)
01 Jackson
As recently as February, Jackson’s co-Governing Body member Stephen Lett dismissed criticism of the organization’s child abuse record as “apostate-driven lies and dishonesties.”
Curiously, the morning worship video in which these comments were made was subsequently pulled from tv.jw.org, but not before it could be downloaded and responded to by yours truly in the following YouTube video (skip to 03:10 to see Lett’s comments)…

As I commented at the time, rather than being “lies and dishonesties” the criticism of Watchtower’s child abuse mishandling was fully warranted, not least by the multi-million dollar judgments in both the Candace Conti and Jose Lopez verdicts of 2012 and 2014 respectively.
Still more recently, another Governing Body member, Tony Morris, indulged in an extraordinary rant on the issue of child abuse in the July 2015 JW Broadcasting episode. Not only did Morris attempt to scapegoat gay people as culpable for child molestation – he also claimed that the organization was proud of its reputation regarding child abuse and were even ahead of the game in that issue compared to the “somewhat naive” secular authorities.
Little over a month later, and under serious questioning by the senior council of a Royal Commission, Morris’ colleague Geoffrey Jackson sang an entirely different tune (bold is mine)…
Stewart: Do you recognise, Mr Jackson ‐ and in asking this question, let me make it clear, I’m not suggesting it is peculiar to the Jehovah’s Witness organisation, there are many, many organisations in this position ‐ but do you accept that the Jehovah’s Witness organisation has a problem with child abuse amongst its members?
 Jackson: I accept that child abuse is a problem right throughout the community and it’s something that we’ve had to deal with as well.
Stewart: Do you accept that the manner in which your organisation has dealt with allegations of child sexual abuse has also presented problems?
 Jackson: There have been changes in policies over the last 20 or 30 years, where we’ve tried to address some of those problem areas, and by the fact that they have changed the policy would indicate that the original policies weren’t perfect.
Stewart: And you accept, of course, that your organisation, including people in positions of responsibility, like elders, is not immune from the problem of child sexual abuse?
 Jackson: That appears to be the case.
So there you have it. Jehovah’s Witnesses can now officially speak openly about their religion having a problem with child sexual abuse because, according to a member of the Governing Body, “that appears to be the case.”
Of course, whether there would be judicial ramifications anyway for speaking openly about child abuse in such an Orwellian organization is another matter entirely. Don’t expect “but Geoffrey Jackson said it’s true” to be a bullet-proof defense if you find yourself bundled into a backroom by the elders for mentioning the child abuse problem in a comment at the kingdom hall.
Stewart then went on to ask Jackson a line of questions that seemed expressly designed to counter the preposterous “apostate-driven lies and dishonesties” claim by Stephen Lett…
Stewart: Do you accept, Mr Jackson, that many of the efforts that are being made by different people and organisations to highlight the issue of child sexual abuse and try and find solutions are genuine efforts to improve the situation?
 Jackson: I do accept that, and that’s why I’m happy to testify.
Stewart: And that such efforts are not necessarily an attack on your organisation or its system of beliefs?
 Jackson: We understand that, too.
Stewart: You described earlier in your testimony that the work of this Royal Commission is beneficial. Do you accept, then, that the Royal Commission’s efforts are genuine and well‐intentioned?
 Jackson: I certainly do. And that’s why we came in to the Royal Commission hoping that collectively something would come forward that would help us as well as everybody else.
Stewart: Would you disagree, then, with anyone who said that the efforts to highlight and deal with child sexual abuse in the Jehovah’s Witness church are engaging in apostate lies?
 Jackson: I guess that’s a broad question, because sometimes those who make these accusations make many other accusations as well. But let me assure you, the person making the accusation is not the main thing. The main thing is: is there some basis to the accusation. And if there is some way that we could improve, the Governing Body is always interested in seeing how we can refine our policies. You see, Mr Stewart, could I just emphasise, as a religion, two very strong things we feel. One is, we try to keep a high moral standard. Secondly, there is love among the organisation. So we want to treat victims in a loving way.
That last response from Jackson was a typical example of his evasive tactics whenever an awkward question was put to him. Stewart’s question about apostate lies was direct and relevant, and answerable with a simple “yes” or “no.” But, knowing full well a “yes” OR “no” would be incriminating in different ways, Jackson dismissed the question itself as “broad” and spewed bluster about “many other accusations” leveled by apostates that clearly had nothing to do with the question.
Stewart wasn’t asking for Jackson to comment on his general observations about apostates, he was asking whether he believed scrutiny of child abuse within the organization by itself was tantamount to apostasy. As regards THAT specific question, no real answer was forthcoming. Jackson merely self-congratulated the Governing Body for its eagerness to refine its policies, uphold a “high moral standard,” and “treat victims in a loving way.”
Such fobbing off of an important question with pure bluster may get a politician through an awkward interview with a journalist, but Jackson was giving testimony on behalf of the Governing Body before a Judge at a Royal Commission. His sloppy tap dancing around difficult questions in such a serious forum will not have gone unnoticed, as I will highlight again later.
2. Jehovah’s Witnesses AREN’T allowed to spank their kids
02 Jackson
Like many who were raised as Witnesses I was spanked by my parents (using a belt, as I recall), and this spanking was ALWAYS justified on religious grounds using the bible and Watchtower publications.
So you can imagine my astonishment (no doubt shared by many current and former Witnesses) when Jackson repeatedly denied that Witnesses endorse corporal punishment. (Corporal punishment is defined by one dictionary as a “punishment administered by an adult (as a parent or a teacher) to the body of a child ranging in severity from a slap to a spanking.”)

The following are quotes from Watchtower publications that are at least permissive of corporal punishment, if not openly endorsing it (bold is mine)…

“Of course, children are children, and some are prone to be contrary, even wayward. (Genesis 8:21) What can parents do? ‘Foolishness is tied up with the heart of a boy; the rod of discipline is what will remove it far from him,’ says the Bible. (Proverbs 22:15) Some view this as harsh treatment that is out-of-date. Actually, the Bible is against violence and abuse of any sort. The ‘rod,’ though at times literal, represents parental authority that is administered firmly but lovingly and appropriately out of concern for the children’s eternal welfare.—Hebrews 12:7-11.” – w06 4/1 pp. 9-10
“Different children require different kinds of discipline. Some are not ‘corrected by mere words.’ For them, the occasional punishment administered for disobedience may be lifesaving. (Proverbs 17:10; 23:13, 14; 29:19) A child, though, should understand why he is being punished. ‘The rod and reproof are what give wisdom.’ (Proverbs 29:15; Job 6:24) Moreover, punishment has boundaries. ‘I shall have to chastise you to the proper degree,’ said Jehovah to his people. (Jeremiah 46:28b) The Bible in no way endorses angry whippings or severe beatings, which bruise and even injure a child.—Proverbs 16:32.” – “Family Happiness” book (1996), page 60
Certainly it must be acknowledged that some of the sentiments in more recent publications to the effect that “not all children need physical punishment” (w06 11/1 p.5) might be construed as a U-turn from past instructions on the matter, at least in part. A footnote to the 2002 Draw Close to Jehovah book even says: “Similarly, ‘the rod’ of parental authority suggests loving guidance, not harsh or brutal punishment.” (p.101)
But a specific, unequivocal condemnation of corporal punishment as archaic, outdated and abusive by Watchtower has yet to appear in print. A full printed retraction on the matter would be appropriate, especially given past guidance such as the following…

“There are times, of course, when every child needs discipline, even with the literal rod, but this should be done—and not overdone—firmly and in love, without displaying the heat of anger. Children will come to appreciate deserved chastisement, and it will not ‘exasperate’ them. They will appreciate, too, the kindness and loving care that they receive at other times.” – “Good News to Make You Happy” (1976), p166
3. The Governing Body MIGHT not be Jehovah’s only spokespersons
Especially since they declared themselves to be the faithful slave in 2012, the Governing Body CLEARLY believe themselves to be God’s sole spokespersons or “channel,” as stated explicitly in published statements like the following (bold is mine)…

“Even as Bible prophecy pointed forward to the Messiah, it also directs us to the close-knit body of anointed Christian Witnesses that now serve as the faithful and discreet slave. It helps us to understand the Word of God. All who want to understand the Bible should appreciate that the ‘greatly diversified wisdom of God’ can become known only through Jehovah’s channel of communication, the faithful and discreet slave.—John 6:68.” – w94 10/1 p.8
And yet, when confronted with Angus Stewart’s blunt question “Do you see yourselves as Jehovah God’s spokespeople on earth?” the answer that came from Jackson’s lips was astounding.

“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, but if I could just clarify a little, going back to Matthew 24, clearly, Jesus said that in the last days ‐ and Jehovah’s Witnesses believe these are the last days ‐ there would be a slave, a group of persons who would have responsibility to care for the spiritual food. So in
 that respect, we view ourselves as trying to fulfill that role.”
Jackson thus answered the question by changing it, and not for the first time during his testimony. The question was NOT “do you think you are the only ones being used by God’s spirit?” The question deliberately highlighted the role of God’s “spokesperson,” or channel of communication. It had nothing to do with, say, an ordinary publisher offering comfort and help in the congregation.
Jackson’s answer was, therefore, another attempt at ducking a question where an honest answer would have made him look foolish and deluded.
4. A ‘worldly’ lawyer can beat a Governing Body member in a scripture duel
03 Jackson
One of the most delightful and unexpected exchanges between Angus Stewart and Geoffrey Jackson arose from the former’s attempts to persuade the latter that there IS a scriptural basis for discarding the two witness rule as it relates to child sex abuse. The fascinating conversation is captured in the video below…

Simply put, Stewart correctly argued that child sex abuse amounts to rape, and because according to Deuteronomy 22:23-27 a rape victim who is attacked without witnesses in a field is to STILL see her attacker brought to justice (despite apparently being the only witness to the attack), therefore the same precedent could be applied to child sex abuse.
After considerable bluster about “circumstances,” again apparently aimed at obscuring the question, Jackson conceded that one witness was sufficient for a rapist to be stoned to death.
With predatory precision, Stewart then moved in for the kill.
“Is it not the case that had Jesus been asked about a case of sexual abuse, he may have referred back to this part of Deuteronomy and said that it’s not required to have two witnesses?”
Jackson could only reply: “I certainly would like to ask Jesus that, and I can’t at the moment, I hope to in the future. But that’s a hypothetical question which, if we had an answer, then we could support what you said.”
Subsequent to this exchange, Jackson submitted a written testimony to the commission effectively backtracking on everything he’d conceded on this point. Apparently Jackson no longer wants to ask Jesus about the question in the future, because “new light” has furnished him with the answer in record time.
According to Jackson’s written explanation, the two witness rule overrides the rape provision in Deuteronomy. And in any case, the rapist described would have already had his guilt established without the woman’s testimony. Essentially, Jackson trusts that the rapist would have given a full confession to elders of raping the woman in the field, despite facing the penalty of death by stoning for doing so.
Dubious and desperate reasoning aside, history will show that Angus Stewart gifted a Governing Body member with an opportunity to biblically justify scrapping the shameful two witness rule in relation to child abuse. And instead of seizing this gilt-edged opportunity to protect children, for reasons best known to him, Jackson bent over backwards to reject it.
5. A Governing Body member fails to deny that shunning is cruel
A long and rather arduous exchange ensued from Angus Stewart’s brave attempts to pin Geoffrey Jackson down on the issue of shunning. As I have previously pointed out, you would think if shunning is a divine command from Jehovah himself Watchtower representatives, including Governing Body members, would leap at any chance to declare their glowing pride at the policy. Instead they do their level best to misrepresent it, or deny it altogether.
Jackson pursued just such an approach, this time by again attempting to cloud the issue. Fortunately, Stewart had done his homework on the matter and refused to be sidetracked. “I have chosen my words deliberately, Mr Jackson,” said Stewart with an air of exasperation at one such attempt to switch the subject of the question from disassociated ones to inactive ones.

Finally, after a lengthy exchange involving various hypothetical scenarios, Jackson had given Stewart enough rope to hang him with.
Stewart: Mr Jackson, you have put it that they have a choice to leave or not to leave. For someone who wants to leave, perhaps because they have suffered abuse by someone in the organisation and don’t feel that it has been treated properly or adequately, it’s a very difficult choice, isn’t it, because they must choose ‐‐
Jackson: I agree, yes.
Stewart: And it can be a very cruel choice for them ‐ not so?
 Jackson: I agree, it’s a difficult choice.
And so, at the end of a marathon series of questioning, finally an end product of sorts: a Governing Body member failing to deny that the “difficult choice” facing those who wish to leave the organization is a cruel one.
6. Having a Christmas tree won’t necessarily get you disfellowshipped
In the labyrinth of questions aimed at highlighting the shunning policy, Angus Stewart asked Geoffrey Jackson the following…

So, for example, if they [a Jehovah’s Witness] had become inactive or sought to fade without formally disassociating, and the elders came to visit and found them celebrating Christmas or a birthday, they would be found to be in transgression of the rules, would they not?
Jackson’s answer was remarkable…

That is not my understanding. But again, as I said, it is not my field, that goes into policy with regard to those type of things, but from my personal experience, that’s not the case.
Anybody who knows anything about the Witness faith knows that celebrating Christmas or birthdays is expressly prohibited for Witnesses – a “transgression of the rules” as Stewart carefully phrased it. In fact “celebrating false religious holidays” is clearly listed as a form of apostasy in the Shepherd book and deemed judicially actionable by elders.
As with his earlier obfuscation about corporal punishment, Jackson’s ability to contort the truth so readily rather than take pride in teachings and practices that are supposed to be mandated by God will have been a huge wake-up call for any sincere Witnesses who dared to watch.
7. The Governing Body chooses the Governing Body (not Jesus)
Hopefully it is rather obvious that the Governing Body chooses itself, or is self-appointed. But according to Watchtower literature the Governing Body is “not appointed by any man. It is appointed by the same one who appointed the twelve apostles in the first century C.E., namely, Jesus Christ the Head of the true Christian congregation and the Lord and Master of the ‘faithful and discreet slave’ class.” (w71 12/15 p.758)
Interestingly, however, nowhere in his testimony did Geoffrey Jackson even try to claim that Jesus appoints the Governing Body members.
Early on in the questioning, Angus Stewart asked: “And is it the case that the Governing Body then appoints new members of the Governing Body?” This would have been the perfect opportunity for Jackson to give a rambling theological lecture to the effect that Jesus is actually the one who does the appointing.
Instead we got a straightforward: “That is correct.”
Thinking Witnesses would do well to ask themselves: If the Governing Body is self-appointed, how does it differ in any meaningful sense from the leaders of other religions? From where does the Governing Body receive its mandate to lead ‘God’s organization’ if the appointments are openly and unashamedly made by men?
8. The Governing Body are “guardians of doctrine”
Watchtower literature has always taught that the role of the faithful and discreet slave is to provide God’s people with spiritual food “at the proper time.” In 2012 the Governing Body exclusively assumed this responsibility from Matthew 24:45 – verses that many regard as a parable rather than a prophecy.
But repeatedly in his testimony Jackson made a claim that will have sounded strange to the ears of many familiar with Witness teachings, namely that the Governing Body are to be considered the “custodians,” or “guardians,” of doctrine…
◾“So the goal of the Governing Body as custodians of our doctrine is to publish literature that helps people in everyday life using what the Bible says.”
◾“But the qualifications of a member for the Governing Body ‐ it involves someone who is considered an anointed Witness, who has worked in scriptural, with a scriptural background, either as a missionary or a full‐time servant for many years, and is able to fulfil the role of the Governing Body, which is, may I state, a group, a spiritual group of men who are the guardians of our doctrine, and as guardians of the doctrine, look at things that need to be decided based on our doctrines, which are based on the constitution of the Bible.”
◾“What we view ourselves, as fellow workers with our brothers and sisters ‐ we have been given a responsibility to guard or to be guardians of doctrine.”
◾“Ultimately, as guardians of our doctrine and beliefs, yes, some central group needs to make that decision, but that doesn’t mean to say that we are just on our own unilaterally making those decisions without research and input from others.”
It is one thing to print spiritual material based on your interpretation of what is written in the bible, but why this sudden fixation with guarding doctrine? If God has passed down his requirements to humanity in clear and unambiguous form, why do these need to be guarded by a group of men? Couldn’t any group of religious leaders assume such a role for themselves? Why this sudden fixation with protecting established doctrine rather than focusing on principles of love, mercy and grace?
Hopefully I am not the only one who found Jackson’s repeated expressions along these lines rather grating and cultish.
9. The Governing Body doesn’t care about the feelings of child abuse victims
Justice McClellan entered the fray on a number of occasions during Jackson’s testimony with the seeming intent of getting Jackson to reason on a human level. A good example of this was during a line of questioning about the feelings of female sex abuse victims who are made to give evidence to a committee comprised solely of men.
“Can you understand how a woman might feel when allegations which she brings forward against a man in the congregation are considered and judged entirely by men?” asked McClellan.
Jackson’s response was astonishing.
“Obviously I’m not a woman, so I wouldn’t like to speak on their behalf, but the two of us, I am sure, could understand from what has been expressed and believe that perhaps there would be a hesitancy there.”
And so Jackson washed his hands of the need to empathize with the feelings of women by virtue of the fact that he is not a woman. Only “perhaps” might women be hesitant to bring sex abuse allegations against a man before an all-male tribunal.
Another clue that Jackson is less than preoccupied with concern for the welfare of sex abuse victims can be found in his ignorance of the earlier testimony of BCG.
When asked by BCG’s lawyer whether he’d read her client’s evidence, Jackson replied: “I haven’t, I’m sorry. The reason I came here [to Australia] was to care for my ailing father, and that has taken a lot of my time. Plus, I wasn’t aware of the fact that I would be called before the Commission.”
At first glance this may sound like a reasonable excuse, but a disparity soon emerges when you consider the multiple occasions on which Jackson referred to the previous testimony of his own Watchtower representatives – something he somehow HAD found the time to brush up on despite caring for his father (bold is mine)…
◾“But if I could mention, some of the reports that you have considered are from 25 years ago, and if I understand correctly, from what little I heard of the Commission in the last few days, Mr Spinks very accurately described that there has been more of an awareness of Jehovah’s Witnesses to make sure that any victim who has been a victim of a horrible crime is not required to actually go before three men.”
◾“If I understand your question correctly, from what I have heard from Mr Spinks’ testimony, that is not something that we require now.”
◾“Thank you for the opportunity to explain this. I think very clearly Mr Toole pointed out that if the Australian Government, in all the States, was to make mandatory reporting, it would make it so much easier for us.”
◾“Could I explain, Mr Stewart, that ‐ you see, I think already under testimony some of Jehovah’s Witnesses have explained that the two‐witnesses needed can be, in some cases, the circumstances.”
Therefore, Jackson HAD taken time out to research previous evidence in the commission. He was just very selective about whose evidence he listened to, and seemingly had a preference for brushing up on what Watchtower representatives had to say rather than child abuse victims.
Another telling moment came when BCG’s clearly-exasperated lawyer expressed her dismay at Monica Applewhite’s evidence as paid for by Watchtower, which seems to have been roundly dismissed as one-sided and non-credible by the Commission.

“It is really disheartening for the survivors that evidence from people such as Dr Applewhite, without any reference whatsoever to the victims ‘experience, suggests to them that the reason for engaging experts is… more to do with the reputation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses than any real attempt to get to a deep understanding of their experience.”
In response to what was, again, more of an appeal to his humanity, Jackson replied…

“I certainly hope that is not the case, and that certainly was not the intent of it. So please, be assured that we are interested in the individuals such as the client that you are representing. And may I take this opportunity, I don’t know your client, but please, could you convey an expression of my love and concern and reassure her that obviously she has had an opportunity to speak about how she feels, and hopefully this will help the policies and procedures to improve.”
So, not only had Jackson failed to find time to research the testimony of victims of child abuse within his organization, despite somehow finding time to listen to the testimony of Watchtower representatives Rodney Spinks and Vincent Toole. Jackson had also thrown away an opportunity to show compassion by admitting that the deployment of “expert for hire” Monica Applewhite was in poor taste from the point of view of the victims. And to add insult to injury, he was now issuing instructions to BCG’s lawyer to act as a go-between with her client.
My response, had I been on the receiving end of this request, would have been: “I take instructions from BCG – not you, Mr Jackson. I’m sure if you really care about BCG and her situation, you will find the time and means to convey that message to her yourself in person.”
10. Lots of things are not Geoffrey Jackson’s “field”
09 Jackson
As you’ve probably gathered by now, Jackson used every trick in the book during his testimony to dodge or evade questions where an honest answer would land him in hot water.
Here are a few examples of Jackson repeating the line that a certain subject was “not his field,” or trying to buy time before answering a question…
◾“I would have to check on that, because personally that’s not my field.”
◾“I preface this in the fact that it is not my field that I work with every day…”
◾“Seeing it is not my field per se, I couldn’t give an inclusive answer with regard to that…”
◾“Sorry, you would need to walk me through that a little further. I’m not quite sure.”
◾“I preface this in the fact that it is not my field that I work with every day…”
◾“I am not familiar with the statistics or the general practice…”
◾“That’s a very large question and I think it’s something that we would need to consider carefully.”
◾“That is a possibility, but in all fairness to your question, I think there are circumstances, but I couldn’t make a definitive comment on that.”
◾“You know, your Honour, this is not my field.”
◾“I can’t say that I would give a comment on that…”
On two occasions in particular, frustration over Jackson’s question-dodging antics spilled over.
The most notable of these instances was the previously-discussed exchange regarding Christmas, in which Jackson insinuated that celebrating Christmas wouldn’t necessarily result in a disfellowshipping.
“But again, as I said, it is not my field,” was his disclaimer.
“Mr Jackson,” said Angus Stewart, his frustration obvious, “you say it’s not your field, but you are a member of the Governing Body which is responsible, as you have said, for the whole field, and you have been a member for 10 years, and all the committees are responsible to and accountable to the Governing Body.”
“That is correct,” said Jackson.
“So it is your field, isn’t it?”
“Only as far as approving the basic scriptural principles. So is there a scriptural principle that you have in mind you want to ask me about, or are you talking about policies and implementation of policies? There is a difference there.”
Then, later on, it was Justice McClellan’s turn to be visibly exasperated at Jackson’s stubborn refusal to answer a straightforward question – this time regarding whether Witness women could be involved in the judiciary process even if not in the sentencing (or punishment)…
Justice McClellan: Could women be involved in the determination of whether or not the allegation is true?
Jackson: Well, your Honour, if I could say, I think they already are involved, in the sense ‐‐
Justice McClellan: Not in the decision, Mr Jackson. Please address my question.
Jackson: Okay. But yes, in ‐ well, please, could I just use an example. If an underage child says that something has happened and then two women are involved with helping that person, surely they have to decide whether or not the facts are true. They then present those to the elders. Otherwise, how would the elders know what the facts are?
Justice McClellan: Mr Jackson, you are not dealing with my question.
Jackson: I am sorry. I apologise humbly, your Honour.
Again, we are not talking about journalists or a random member of the public being overly inquisitive. We are talking about a Judge at a specially-appointed Royal Commission charged with uncovering the serious mishandling of child abuse.
Whatever Jackson may privately think of his performance, it is difficult to imagine him leaving a positive impression before the Commission. Indeed, Justice McClellan seemed to have a slight parting dig at him, saying “You are formally excused from your summons” rather than the usual, “you are excused.”
11. (Don’t laugh!) The Governing Body is good at saying sorry
Yes, apparently the Governing Body are quite accomplished when it comes to apologizing for their mistakes.
When asked by Angus Stewart whether he could foresee the Governing Body ever issuing an apology to survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of elders in the organization, this was Jackson’s response…

“The Governing Body has apologised on other matters, so for me to say ‐ I can’t speak collectively for everybody, but we have apologised on things in the past, in other areas, so it is perceivable.”
If someone could point me in the direction of where these apologies may be found, I would greatly appreciate it. To my knowledge the Governing Body has never apologized once for anything. And in rare instances where it has addressed areas of regret, it has usually found a way of apportioning the blame elsewhere – as was the case with the ‘apology’ for 1975. (w76 7/15 p.441 par.15)
12. Penguins are not found in the middle of Australia
10 Jackson
Ok, so the last one is a bit silly, but you must allow me a bit of a chuckle at Jackson’s rather random penguin comment. It seems remiss to exclude it from the list.
Early in the proceedings, when trying to establish the role and influence of the Governing Body, Angus Stewart asked Jackson whether the Governing Body takes responsibility for organizational manuals and guidelines. The odd way Jackson chose to answer the question came as a surprise.
“We do take spiritual responsibility for it, yes. May I just mention, if there is a printing mistake and we say that penguins are found in the middle of Australia, then, yes, it’s true, we take responsibility, but it’s without not within the realms of our expertise. But we would check to see who it was that had given that wrong information.”
Hopefully Jackson and his fellow dear leaders DO possess sufficient knowledge to question a printed claim that penguins live in Australia without having specific expertise in zoology. That said, given Stephen Lett’s recent claims that there is as much evidence for Christ’s kingdom as there is for “gravity, electricity, wind,” perhaps we need to lower our expectations.
And if only the Governing Body DID take prompt action whenever wrong information is printed in the publications! Mind you, they would have their work cut out fact-checking and issuing corrections for nearly 140 years of false predictions, pseudo-science, medical quackery, doctrinal flip-flops, abusive policies, misquotes, draconian rules and spurious interpretations of scripture – a daunting task if ever there was one.
Perhaps encountering a penguin in the Australian outback is more likely.


Further reading…
◾Australian Royal Commission hears that 1,006 alleged child sex abusers were covered up by Watchtower
◾Elders shamed under questioning by the Royal Commission
◾Reflecting on the Australian Royal Commission (Day 3, Part 1)
◾Royal Commission’s Angus Stewart accuses Watchtower representative of deliberate deception
◾JWsurvey articles on child abuse
Huge thanks go to Vincent Deporter, JWsurvey’s resident artist, for contributing artwork for this article. If you enjoy Vincent’s work, you might be interested in obtaining a copy of “Sacred Cows,” a recent picture book that takes a lighthearted look at religion.
I am in the process of working on video rebuttals to Jackson’s royal commission testimony as a five-part video series. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel for updates when these videos are uploaded.
If you still haven’t watched the footage from the Royal Commission, a playlist of videos is below…

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44 Responses to 12 things we learned from Geoffrey Jackson’s testimony at the Royal Commission

 Richard E. Kelly says:

 September 14, 2015 at 4:33 pm

This could be your very best, Lloyd. Kudos to you, as I suspect you had a great time putting this story and wonderful graphics together.
 Jill says:

 September 15, 2015 at 8:07 am

Agreed, Richard. Stellar work, and one of the most satisfying synopses to read. This deserves to go viral.

 Fidhealer says:

 September 14, 2015 at 5:01 pm

This was well worth the wait! Thank you for all you do Lloyd!

 John Jarrett says:

 September 14, 2015 at 5:06 pm

Your comment regarding the GB never having apologized for anything recalled an article I wrote on Reddit about exactly the same thing. Thought you might get a kick out of it:

 Liette says:

 September 14, 2015 at 5:36 pm

Very well writing, thank you so much all you hard work. I really enjoyed reading it.

 Malachi says:

 September 14, 2015 at 7:49 pm

Thanks for the masterful analysis and summary of the Royal Commissions inquiry into this.

 nuaille says:

 September 14, 2015 at 8:24 pm

I was waiting your article impatiently for many weeks.. and what a quality post !! You’re the best… thank you to give your times and writing talents to help jw and ex-jw awakening! Cheers Cedars! :)

 JJ says:

 September 14, 2015 at 9:32 pm

Along with the others who have commented, I have been waiting patiently for your article on Geoffrey Jackson’s testimony.
 It was worth it and thank you very much.
 He is a greasy snake, that much is for sure. The rope is only getting tighter on these BS experts and their empire is doomed to collapse around them. If only it would hurry up…

 Mark says:

 September 14, 2015 at 9:41 pm

Fantastic write up, mate.

 minion says:

 September 14, 2015 at 10:05 pm

Lloyd: Good points all around.
 This really shows the deluted mentality of the 7 men from WT Corp.
Jackson: “Only as far as approving the basic scriptural principles. So is there a scriptural principal that you have in mind you want to ask me about, or are you talking about poliçies and implementation of policies? There is a difference there.
minion: ” you mean like – tighten up the chains on your prisoners, I meant members” would that be correct,?
Lloyd, who has more protection and rights – a captive member of war? Or a captive member of JWs a P-O-W – prisoner-of-WT ?
Under the Geneva Conventions its seems to me it was a POW and not a prisoner-of-WT.
The 1949 Geneva Conventions
The first Geneva Convention protects wounded and sick. These provide protection for the wounded and sick, but also for medical and religious personnel.
The second Geneva Convention protects wounded, and sick.
The third Geneva Convention applies to prisoners of war.
 The conditions and places of captivity were more precisely defined, particularly with regard to the labour of prisoners of war, their financial resources, the relief they receive, and the judicial proceedings instituted against them. The Convention establishes the principle that prisoners of war shall be released and repatriated without delay after the cessation of active hostilities.
The fourth Geneva Convention affords protection to civilians.
It requires humane treatment for all persons in enemy hands, without any adverse distinction. It specifically prohibits murder, mutilation, torture, cruel, humiliating and degrading treatment, the taking of hostages and unfair trial. End of quote.
I foresee an announcement sooner than later, tv.JW will not be renewed due to lack of funds, (save face).
Peace out,

 ScotWm says:

 September 14, 2015 at 10:23 pm

#8. “What we view ourselves, as fellow workers with our brothers and sisters ‐ we have been given a responsibility to guard or to be guardians of doctrine.”
Guardians Of Doctrine = GOD.
We can now plainly see where the Governing Body is leading its cult members.
 Kieren says:

 September 14, 2015 at 10:35 pm

Hahaa ScotWm that’s awesome- the governing body and faithful slave, soon also to be known as G.O.D. Hahahaha wouldn’t have noticed that if someone hadn’t pointed it out.

 Tara says:

 September 15, 2015 at 6:55 am

Lol hahahahaha I never saw that until pointed out!

 Kieren says:

 September 14, 2015 at 10:26 pm

Very well written Lloyd. You covered it nicely.
 Looking forward to you video commentary also

 Honza says:

 September 14, 2015 at 10:32 pm

Lloyd, very very good job!!!
 I send Greetings from Czech republic!

 ScotWm says:

 September 14, 2015 at 11:06 pm

Thank you so much for the link to the 72 page PDF document of Geoffrey Jackson’s testimony before the Royal Commission. Being able to perform a global search of this document will prove to be invaluable.
The other PDF link to Jackson’s supplementary “new light” testimony, regarding the “two witness” rule, was a good read. Jackson has shown that Governing Body members will manipulate scripture to whatever extent necessary to match their perverted doctrine.

 Sheree Stokell says:

 September 14, 2015 at 11:39 pm

Ha ha I would love to be a fly on the wall if unwitting jws knock on McClelland or Stewart’s door!
Aside from that, I believe Jackson, on some level, knows just how loony jw beliefs sound to outsiders. I used to dodge like this whey unbelieving family bombarded me with the same types of questions because although I was a true believer a part of me knew it sounded barmy. Yet I never questioned it! I suspect Jackson is even more delusional-cognisant. It’s difficult to explain how one knows and yet does not know.
 JJ says:

 September 15, 2015 at 5:10 am

Yup! I would dodge like Jackson too. You just couldn’t honestly talk about what you believed or the Watchtower practices because it was so absurd. If you make JW’s actually say what they think and do, they feel stupid.

 Catalina says:

 September 14, 2015 at 11:48 pm

Scotwn, Great point. Guardians Of Doctrine = GOD. I think the GB did that on purpose. Oh man they are so arrogant. It actually makes it worse if they didn’t notice Guardians Of Doctrine =GOD. They are full of themselves. They contradict their own literature. They expect JWs to stay away from these web sites and to reject the information. Pride is before a crash.

 Kaput says:

 September 15, 2015 at 12:35 am

Thanks Lloyd

 D says:

 September 15, 2015 at 3:43 am

Its funny because I was going to make a joke about the rumor that he even farted during the testimony! But you beat me to it. I like how your last point you acknowledge that you’re starting to parse over silliness and then go on to parse over silliness. Seriously, I lost my faith in Jehovah but I hope I never end up like you and your pedantic ideals. I have been reading your articles for some time and they don’t give me some new special faith in god but they do make me understand that apostates are mentally diseased. Generally, anyone who can only see things in their perspective tunnel vision usually miss the big picture. Your tunnel vision is spectacular and it can only help your inflated ego to have all the fellow back patters give you that unending supply of hot air that you need so direly. I might be an apostate too by definition but I’ll never waste as much energy in such a fruitless manner. For that reason alone, I will win.
And one other thing, the way you describe these men how could they not be divinely backed? I mean none of them really went to college, they have all been in the “borg” most of their lives, and they base their brainwashing off of an old book of “fairy tales”. Yet, you describe them as so menacing and devious to the point where they capriciously manipulate their blind followers to carry out their bidding. Truly, the way you describe these men, they are either masterminds or genuinely divinely backed
 Cedars says:

 September 15, 2015 at 3:58 am

I don’t think the Governing Body are deliberately devious and cynical, I believe they are purely deluded, and that their delusion feeds into their egotism. I have even made a video stating that observation.
Thanks for your other comments, which tell me you have one foot still in your indoctrination. Either Jehovah’s Witnesses are true or they are not. If they are not true, then the leadership needs to be exposed because it is ruining lives and even killing people. Partially awakened anti-activists like you who evangelize their cowardly passivity are what helps keep the status quo as it is.
 John Baptist says:

 September 15, 2015 at 6:07 am

I absolutely saw no bitterness in your reply back but perhaps a even clearer understanding of the Actual facts. Well said.

 Idontknowhatodo says:

 September 15, 2015 at 7:53 am

Well said Lloyd… I wonder why people like D go on this site…I do because I need it…I am coming to life after a lifetime of lies…57 years of it…and I do not have the strength to lose my entire family and all my friends which is what would happen if I walked away..including my spouse…that is why I come on this site…to be told the truth…not just by you…whom I find to be modest and self deprecating by the way…but by people exactly in the same situation as me though in different stages of awakening…I dont appreciate the insulting tone and abusive choice of language used towards you by D… we have all had enough of that from the men at the fifferent levels of authority in this heirarchy.
 Oh…and I had regular and painful smacks throughout my childhood…mostly from misbehaving at the meetings…my parents always seemed to sjow me Jehovah was displeased with me by giving me a good smacking across the legs…its amazing to find out that the GB dont agree with that.
 Keep going Lloyd you and your team are amazing.

 David says:

 September 15, 2015 at 4:37 am

D says: “Yet, you describe them as so menacing and devious to the point where they capriciously manipulate their blind followers to carry out their bidding.”
Probably they never went to college but they still deceive people and they do it well.
You can see clearly from their leterature and behaviour that this is the case.
They champion freedom only for themselves but destroy people lives and families if for conscientiousness reason decide to leave their religion.
They know that changing a religion is a basic human right that should not result in punishment. They do not expect that for themselves.
If I do not buy the overlapping generation interpretation, am I an apostate? If I cannot teach to others things that are not true to me, why should be ostracised by my family.
No man can be gardian of doctrine. We overself are guardians of what we believe.
Jesus said that we are all the same, only him his the master.
Clearly there are no words to descrive their behaviour, that is not even Christian.

 Jill says:

 September 15, 2015 at 8:14 am

What will you win, exactly?

 Pickled brain says:

 September 15, 2015 at 8:55 am

@ D. The GB are NOT MASTERMINDs or Divinely Backed BUT as STALIN, & CHAIRMAN MAO in China proved if people are EMOTIONALLY SUFFERING & VULNERABLE as well as Oppressed then the UN-EDUCATED MASSES with a FEW WELL EDUCATED Ones Who Like the POWER & CONTROL & HERO WORSHIP over others will Follow the MOST MANIC & LUDICROUS BELIEFS!!
 So it is not surprising that 7 MEN Can Easily Manipulate Other Human Beings which is Very, Very SAD !!

 Robertperez67 says:

 September 15, 2015 at 9:00 am

How is this article pedantic in any way? I don’t think anyone on this forum including the moderators see eye to eye on every opinion expressed. The common denominator amongst all of us is that we agree something has to be done. There are entire families and lives being destroyed on a daily basis by these cult leaders. There is unscriptural shunning, child abuse, brainwashing, twisting and abuse of Gods word (the worst of these) and Lloyd for one refuses to just go on with his life as if these crimes aren’t happening and destroying lives. I just spoke to a young person at a neighboring hall who has been censored by all the elders at his Spanish speaking congregation for speaking to other U.S born kids in engish. Speaking english in Spanish congregations is now punishable WTF.
 All your comments make clear is that you’ve never been a JW and have absolutely no way to understand this meat grinder, which shuns children for being children and holds dephamers and pedo’s up on their shoulders. All through the 30’s and 40’s Rutherford had Jesus looking like an albino He-Man, because it was bellow Jesus to wear a beard. He enforced a no beard rule which is anti- biblical that is still enforced today. They will use Leviticus 19:28 to enforce no tattoo’s, per Gods law, but fail to ever quote verse 27 which forbids a man from even trimming his beard. This is an organization that nit picks at scripture as if playing with a great Lego set, in order to custom build a tax excempt publishing power house, cloacked as a genuine Christian religion. Luxury homes around the world, cars, trips, all the latest gadgets, the worship of millions, which belongs to God alone. All of which I could sit idly by as you do, were it not destroying millions of lives. It saddens me whenever anyone says they lost their faith in God because of their oppressive rule. I hope you can learn to read the Bible for yourself again someday without the WT goggles and begin to heal through prayer to God. I recommend reading -The Signature of God-by Grant R. Jeffrey or Mastery by Robert Greene and start finding peace in building a one on one relationship with your creator without all the fluff. I hope Lloyd continues this truly life saving work and finds solace in knowing that even if it is inadvertently happening, he is pointing many of us away from the WT machine and back towards God himself.

 pearlsB4swine says:

 September 15, 2015 at 4:58 am

I found Jackson’s tone to be condescending and even impatient at times, he seemed to get a little more animated when he attempted to “witness” to the commission on several occasions but it was obvious to me that he and the other WT reps that appeared were seriously unprepared for the line of questioning.
 Possibly because they underestimated the intelligence of the puny human scum – much?

 Cecil B. Delineated says:

 September 15, 2015 at 5:01 am

Thank you for taking the time to put together this article. Please don’t let people like “D” deter you, your work is both interesting and worthwhile.

 pearlsB4swine says:

 September 15, 2015 at 5:07 am

Did anyone else notice how GB members both, Jackson and Sanderson, bare a remarkable resemblance to Commander Strax from Dr Who.

 MimiLove says:

 September 15, 2015 at 5:50 am

I also feel the article was very well written and I appreciate every article and video you do:) I sometimes have my doubts that the GB are delusional. Even though the current GB are shoved down our throats the past GB were just as arrogant and condescending. I met Knorr when I was 8 and believe me it isn’t a heart warming memory. Maybe there is a book on how to be a GB member!

 John Baptist says:

 September 15, 2015 at 5:55 am

I watched those proceedings and Stewart and McClellan were brilliant at exposing the Watchtower for who they really are, Liers and hypocrites . Any intelligent human being could see how delusional these men are.

 roid says:

 September 15, 2015 at 5:57 am

Australia does have penguins btw, just not in the interior.
 Cedars says:

 September 15, 2015 at 8:57 am

Interesting! Good find! :)

 Ted says:

 September 15, 2015 at 6:48 am

Great detailed work Lloyd, I was so absorbed in it my
 breakfast went cold, had to warm it up in the micro.
 Lots to comment on when it’s all digested.
 ( The fine articles I mean.)

 ruthlee says:

 September 15, 2015 at 6:55 am

well what can i add thanks Lloyd superb incite what i find so amazing about all this is that it is on record for the future to reference so reguardless of faith or belief the whole picture will become clear and i hope all future jws do the research BEFOREHAND not in retrospect it will save a lot of heartache ruthlee

 anonymous says:

 September 15, 2015 at 7:38 am

Thank you so much for such a great article and also I love Vincent Deporter’s cartoons!!!

 anonymous says:

 September 15, 2015 at 9:10 am

I printed out Geoffrey Jackson’s statement that you put up for us to read and #18 on page 4, I find especially offensive to anyone with intelligence to think it was a logical comeback for insisting on the two witness rule when Jackson is trying to use Deuteronomy 23 to 27. I would hope the Australian Commission can see what a flimsy and illogical excuse it is.
Jackson is right in that those verses are only talking about whether or not the girl that got raped, will be put to death. That is he right about. If the girl had not been engaged, then all the man had to do was pay the father of the girl 50 silver shekels and he had to marry the girl and couldn’t divorce her.
Jackson is wrong when it comes to the engaged girl though. If she screamed, the man would be put to death. The Bible doesn’t say anything about whether or not she had witnesses or not or if the man had confessed or not. If the man confessed, of course, he’d be signing his own death warrant, so what man in his right mind would confess? Of course the man would not confess but Jackson said that it would have been established that the girl had screamed and so she would be left off the hook for the sin. But it was only a sin worthy of death if she had been engaged. Jackson was making up stories when he said that the man’s guilt would have been established. The Bible makes no such claims.
If the Watchtower likes to use Deuteronomy to establish the two witness rule, then what about Exodus 21:7 where men could sell their daughters as slaves and at Ex. 21:20,21 that the owner could beat his slave man or girl and if she survived a day or two, that girl was not to be avenged because the slave was the man’s “money”? Women were only considered “money” and so if she had been raped when she had been engaged to another man, then it was the man who she was engaged to, was the one that would have exacted the death warrant for the rapist. The girl didn’t matter. Only the engaged girl’s fiance’ mattered.
If the Society were to go by the Bible, then it is okay for a man to beat his wife as long as she doesn’t die and if a man was too ugly to get a wife, all he has to do is grab her in the field and rape her. If we went by the Bible in Exodus and Deuteronomy, fathers can sell their children for sex slaves because at Ex. 21:8, he girl could be sold as a concubine.
Who in their right mind, would want to use Deuteronomy to establish the two witness rule in today’s way of thinking? Only someone who doesn’t have anything else.
 Robertperez67 says:

 September 15, 2015 at 10:07 am

Anonymous -you need to factor in cultural and time difference. Every culture on the planet at that time was doing similar to what the Bible states. The Bible is a book that shows the evolution of Godly men and the world they lived through. Infact outside of Christendom you can still find a good deal of those ancient practices still in full effect. You need to put the old law down, and focus on the new, where love for your God and your fellow man are foremost.
 anonymous says:

 September 15, 2015 at 10:29 am

@Robertperez67, I think what you said is the point that the Commission was trying to get across to the Watchtower during this whole thing. What the Bible says in the Hebrew Scriptures don’t apply in today’s world. If it did, we’d be stoning people to death for picking up wood on the Sabbath and we’d be celebrating the Sabbath and men could pick up a wife by raping her (that is if she wasn’t engaged) by being sold by her father first as a sex slave).

 Ted says:

 September 15, 2015 at 10:18 am

On the subject of discipline the org, has had plenty to say, and
 using the O,Testament to do so. Yet strangely they have never
 gone the full hog and recommended stoning unruly sons to death,
 Deut, 21:18-21. So they do recognise that there’s a point where
 a line must be drawn and reason applied.
What a cosmic difference is indicated in Jesus Parable of “The
 Prodigal Son, ( there’s no need to remind anyone of the details.)
Coming on now to the 2 witness rule. Is there not room also
 to let reason prevail ? The question was put to Mr, Jackson
 That if Jesus was specifically asked about the application of
 that rule in a case of rape. Would he not have referred to
 Deut, 22, where just the testimony of the woman was enough
 if she were raped in a field and no one to hear her scream?
Jackson artfully dodged answering. But as we see from the
 parable. Jesus was not about rigid rules, but reasonableness
 motivated by mercy and empathy. That for me answers the
 Robertperez67 says:

 September 15, 2015 at 10:38 am

As Jackson or the rest of the GB would say (which, they do with their actions) “Who is this Jesus, that I should listen to him?”

 minion says:

 September 15, 2015 at 10:38 am

The 7 men of WT Corp, pick and choose bibles verses to support there policys, Not true Guardians-of-Doctrine, they should be Defenders of Faith. We know this is nothing new and most obvious to the person awaken. Take for example:
#4. A ‘worldly’ lawyer can beat a Governing Body member in a scripture duel.
 Angus Stewart usued Deut.ch.22. Then came to the point, the man violated the girl. Was put to Death!
 Jackson: lame answer ‘its circumstances’, excuse me. Refuse to admit JWs should be stonning all abuser’s of the 1,006 cases.
One elder said, ‘we adhere and follow the Bible to the fullest’. Then brothers and sisters, we need to be stonning abuser’s at the KH. – we adhere and follow the Bible to the fullest.
Then comes along the tv.JW for Sept. The generation – over lapping, 10 mintues to live, or 10 minutes to die, before and after, – what? I’m confused. He makes mention using ‘plural’ the generations of Joseph’s time line, but used ‘singular’ when reading vs.34 ‘this generation’ – true ‘mind control ,- the chains are tighten up,
D.Splane: used Matt. Ch.24, context verses upto vs.34. ‘We must see and understand what this means, there’s more let see.
Cherry picking verses to meet there hard core policys.
The man named Jesus, did he enforce policys, shun people, DF people, the way WT Corp does?
Peace out,

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