Our Barbara Anderson has been in the thick of things during June and July getting her message out to the residents and government leaders of the state of Pennsylvania. In a well-attended meetup reported widely by the press, Barb – along with other activists, attorneys, and prominent state politicians delivered scathing attacks against the Watchtower’s policies related to the handling of Jehovah’s Witness child abusers.
Here is another story about our time at Bethel that relates to my association with Harry Peloyan. He said that he would never allow articles critical of the Catholic Church that were related to the subject of child abuse to appear in the Awake! magazine. He felt that because JWs had similar problems, it would be hypocritical to “throw stones” at a group that was doing exactly the same thing as the Watchtower.
Before my transfer from the Engineering Department to the Writing Department in 1989, the architect designing a 30-story staff residence building (that was about to be built near the four Watchtower printery buildings) mentioned to me his need for a professional cost analysis system to be put into place for future building projects. He designed the buildings but the Accounting Department paid the bills.
During the first week of May 2018, Amazon.com released a new book by and about our own Barbara Anderson and the tasks she has taken on for nearly 25 years. Barbara Anderson Uncensored: Eyewitness to Deceit is unique when compared to earlier books and autobiographies considered to be in the “ex-Jehovah’s Witness” or “apostate” book categories.
The year was 1919. He was seven, the oldest of four surviving children. He was his immigrant father’s workhorse who was ordered to do man-sized jobs. Therefore, to keep the family warm, the child, not the father, often walked the long, wind-whipped city blocks carrying a heavy burlap sack of coal on his back which eventually bowed his developing legs.
Barbara Anderson is an unstoppable advocate for child protection and outspoken critic of the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society’s doctrines that “unduly influence” Jehovah’s Witnesses and protects sexual predators. She is an expert on the Watchtower’s history. Major TV and radio programs have interviewed Barbara because of her extensive research on child sexual abuse.
As an advocate for child protection, Barbara aids lawyers who are suing the Watchtower in cases involving child sexual abuse. She is also available to media and investigative journalists as an expert on the Watchtower’s policies and cover-ups of child sexual abuse by Jehovah’s Witnesses molesters.
Summary of Accomplishments
Researched child sexual abuse committed by Jehovah’s Witnesses for the Watchtower’s Governing Body.
Owner of www.watchtowerdocuments.org.
Interviewed on major TV and radio programs about the Watchtower’s policies and litigation.
In October 2018, Barbara and friends created a California non-profit lobbying corporation (501)(c)(4), they named “Stop Child abuse – Advocates for Reform and Safety (SCAARS.org)” which seeks to improve the laws pertaining to child abuse, mandatory reporting, the applicable statutes of limitations, as well as court outcomes in the judicial process. Culture change is a necessary step to the solution. SCAARS recognizes that “Changing Laws, Changing Lives” and “Culture Change” are long-term transformations and are building a team of attorneys and paralegals to work with staff members and legislative offices around the country to effect needed change.
As an Advocate
Since June 1999 to the present in Tennessee:
In 1999, because of conversations with former-Witness friends about child abuse, Barbara and her friends became convinced that the Watchtower and its policies were culpable for covering up the crime of child sexual abuse by Witnesses. They decided that they must make the world aware of the Watchtower’s irresponsible and negligent behavior and to convince the Governing Body to change their policies. But how?
In early 2001 Barbara flew to New York to be interviewed for NBC’s “Dateline” documentary about the Watchtower and how it handled child sexual abuse perpetrated by Witnesses. Broadcast of the program was planned for some time in November of 2001, but because of the terrorist attacks on September 11th in New York City, it was delayed until May 28, 2002.
On May 19, 2002, the Watchtower disfellowshipped Barbara for causing divisions in the organization. Her son and his family and many of her Witness friends began to strictly shun her. It was a cunning move by the Watchtower to disfellowship her before the “Dateline” show aired because Witnesses view disfellowshipped persons as unrepentant sinners who lie about their former religion.
Her husband, Joe, was subsequently disfellowshipped in July 2002 for (1) not having his wife under control; (2) causing divisions for defending her, and (3) for expressing his personal views about how the Watchtower handled child sexual abuse committed by Jehovah’s Witness molesters.
Barbara interviewed on NBC’s “Dateline” which aired on May 28, 2002, regarding the Watchtower’s child sexual abuse problems. https://vimeo.com/160789542
Barbara and Joe Anderson interviewed on WKRN-TV News 2, at 6 PM on September 5, 2002. Also appeared twice on WSMV–TV News 4, September 5, 2002, first at 5 PM and at 6 PM. https://youtu.be/seUMzyekbJI
Radio interview on the Mark Furhman Show, Spokane, WA, October 17, 2005.
Appeared on an Investigation Discovery program, August 3, 2015, in the Robert and Janet Bryant story. The following link is for a short ID program about the damage of shunning taken from Barbara’s interview with an ID producer.
Spoke at Representative Mark Rozzi’s press conference on June 12, 2018, at the Capital Building in Harrisburg, PA. Representative Rozzi held a press conference offering solutions to the societal problems of child abuse by changing laws that will offer better protection for children and help adult victims overcome the damage done. Rozzi, a child abuse victim of a Catholic priest, invited former Jehovah’s Witness, Barbara Anderson, to speak (starting at 21:42 minutes) concerning the hidden problem of child sexual abuse within the JW’s religion. https://www.facebook.com/RepRozzi/videos/1071003006388903/
TV Documentary aired in Puerto Rico on October 24, 2018, https://youtu.be/faqaZBzZd4M. The Puerto Rico Telemundo Channel featured a 23-minute segment on JW child sex abuse, with a focus on policy, told in interviews. Barbara Anderson’s work was discussed.
Other Media Links found at http://watchtowerdocuments.org/media-room/
January 1993 – June 1999 (6 years 6 months) Tennessee
Even after leaving the Watchtower’s Bethel Headquarters in 1992 to help take care of her parents, Barbara continued doing research for the Writing Department from her home in Tennessee. Among other things, she studied child sexual abuse problems in other religions and amongst society at large. She felt that she could help to change the Watchtower’s child sexual abuse policies to protect children more. It was learning about child molestation in her area congregations and how Watchtower policies flip-flopped that removed all doubt from Barbara’s mind. Overcoming the Watchtower’s mental manipulation and coercion has been the most difficult challenge Barbara has had to overcome to promote child protection.
After fading for about a year she left the organization in 1998. She knew for certain that her family and friends would strictly shun her in accordance with the Watchtower’s shunning doctrine because she would be considered a threat to the religion. In 1998 she was able to overcome the Watchtower’s indoctrination against higher education by going to a local community college. Going to college was how she discovered what life was really like outside of the Watchtower and what she read in its propaganda literature.
As a Jehovah’s Witness at the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society
June 1982 – December 1992 (10 years 7 months) Watchtower Bethel Headquarters, Brooklyn, NY
She worked at the Watchtower’s headquarters in Brooklyn, NY from 1982 to 1992. From 1983 to 1989 she was assigned to the Construction Engineering Department’s staff as part of the secretarial pool and later advanced to researching zoning issues. Because of her demonstrated research accomplishments, she was transferred to the Watchtower’s Writing Department in 1989.
From 1989 to 1992 she researched the Watchtower’s official history as well as wrote a number of articles for its Awake! publication. While working for the Writing Department she discovered numerous documents that were not included in the Watchtower’s history book, Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom because the Watchtower’s image could be tarnished. It was not in her nature to admit to nagging suspicions after seeing some of those documents. It was easier to believe in the Watchtower and make excuses for its leaders as being “imperfect men.” It took Barbara a while to overcome the Watchtower’s mind manipulation.
It was in 1984, while she was working in Watchtower headquarters Construction Engineering Department, that she first heard about a Witness sexually abusing children. By 1992 she was more concerned about following the Watchtower’s problematic procedures concerning child sexual abuse than admitting the obvious. The Watchtower’s leaders were treating accusations of child sexual abuse as a sin (and protecting the Watchtower’s image), instead of as a crime. Law enforcement is funded and responsible for investigating crimes – the Watchtower and its elders are not.
Researched a Watchtower approved project about child sexual abuse by Witnesses for the Watchtower’s Governing Body. Each Governing Body member received that research in early January 1993.
Researched the Watchtower’s history for its official 750-page chronicle, Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom, published in 1993.
Wrote seven articles for the Watchtower’s Awake! Publication
Jehovah’s Witness (Early Years):
June 1954 – June 1982 (28 years 1 month) various locations
After being baptized as a Witness in 1954, Barbara’s life’s focus was to dedicate her life to Jehovah (translation – obey the Watchtower’s doctrines and its leaders without questioning why). She put aside her heart’s desire to study archeology, because of the Watchtower’s ban on higher education for Witnesses. Distributing Watchtower publications and prophesying door-to-door as a pioneer for up to 100 hours per month took priority over education. She obeyed the Watchtower doctrines to limit associations with non-Witnesses and chose to marry a Witness. Why would a fourteen-year-old teenager agree to allow her life to be so controlled? Not only was she idealistic but she was bored, inexperienced, naïve, and gullible. She desperately wanted to cure the world’s problems and to be respected but was too inexperienced to make any valuable contributions. Her attitude left her vulnerable.
She obeyed the Watchtower doctrines to limit associations with non-Witnesses and chose to marry a Witness. Why would a fourteen-year-old teenager agree to allow her life to be so controlled? Not only was she idealistic but she was bored, inexperienced, naïve, and gullible. She desperately wanted to cure the world’s problems and to be respected – but was too inexperienced to make any valuable contributions. Her attitude left her vulnerable to mind manipulation through methods of indoctrination skillfully crafted and honed over decades by the Watchtower.
Barbara’s experiences were fairly typical for a “spiritually strong” Witness. She did not question the Watchtower’s changing doctrines because they were “new light” which must be better than the old. During the mid-1960’s the Watchtower’s leaders promoted the idea that 1975 would see the “end of the present system of things.” She and Joe were worried that maybe they weren’t doing enough for Jehovah. So in 1968, Joe quit his job with Florida Power and Light Company to spend 100 hours per month in the house-to-house ministry work. Both Barbara and Joe worked part-time to support themselves. Although the Watchtower’s “Apocalypse” did not occur in 1975, Barbara and Joe were not disillusioned because they had too much of their lives invested in their religion.
By Barbara Anderson When my husband and I left the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs), we, like countless others, lost family members and friends because of the Witnesses shunning doctrine. Each of us has a story to tell as to why we left. Some of us have stories that are similar; others far different. . .
Yes, a Bethelite woman provided “spiritual food” to Jehovah’s Witnesses…
Over the last couple of years, many people have asked me to share my Writing Department resumé and basically that’s why I’m writing this. I hope that the knowledge of what I did at Bethel helps Jehovah’s Witnesses to understand that the Watchtower organization misleads the flock by inferring that all “spiritual food” somehow emanates only from men and particularly from the Governing Body.
Oh, by the way, I know without a doubt that while I was in the Writing Department, none of the Governing Body members researched and wrote any articles and books that the Society published. From information I received from insiders, this continued up until at least until the end of the 1990s.