[The following article has been translated from French]
Barbara Anderson, former major researcher for the JW history book in the writing department at the Watchtower of Brooklyn…is visiting Paris.
As part of the European tour that she was doing with her husband, Barbara Anderson was asked by ADFI Nord Pas de Calais Picardie, to make a stop in France and particularly in Paris on june 22nd, 23rd and 24th 2009.
An opportunity for Barbara Anderson to testify about her life story and for more than 43 years as a Jehovah’s Witness but also to report, from her own experience and researches that she freely conducted at the headquarters of the Jehovah’s Witnesses Organization, how ambiguous was and still is the position of its leaders about the sexually abused children within that Organization. A serious problem that the Organization itself revealed in September 1991 in Awake!, but that it is still trying to deny or hide, with financial settlements. (She quoted for example, the 16 victims of child abuse who settled out-of-court with the Watchtower for 12 1/2 million dollars in February 2007.)
But the facts remain and the Jehovah’s Witnesses Organization won’t be able to deny for ever the evidence and the suffering of the victims and their families.
When in Paris on June 22nd in the morning Barbara Anderson met at the headquarters of the president UNADFI, Mme Catherine Picard accompanied by members of staff of the organization (volunteers and employees) for an exchange; in the afternoon of the same day a meeting initiated by the ADFI Paris Ile de France was held at “House of the associations” of the 18th district of Paris, where many ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses had been invited..The conference she held that attracted a great deal of attention and was followed by a debate on the topic: “Why is it dangerous to become a Jehovah’s Witness?”. On June 23rd Barbara Anderson has been invited to meet in the National Assembly rooms, a key member of Parliament representing the parliament group of studies on cults; on June 24th she met in the offices of the MIVILUDES, the general secretary of that inter-ministerial commission. Before continuing her European tour in Scotland…
These contacts were cordials and productive.
A bridge is now set between the United States and France and also a real partnership dedicated to families, persons and children, victims of “abusers” but probably also victims of the ambiguous position of the Organization toward its “abused” members and its “abuser” members, which allows in the past as well as today, to fear again many drifts of any kind.
Who is Mme Barbara Anderson?
American citizen living in Tennessee, Mme Barbara Anderson has been an active member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses from 1954 to 1997. She and her husband Joe were members from 1982 to 1992 of the staff of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania and worked at the world headquarters of this society in Brooklyn, NY.
During her last three years at the headquarters, Mme Barbara Anderson – who had very special privileges, considering that she was a woman, worked in the writing department as person in charge of research for the project of publishing the official history of the movement (published by the WT in 1993) and contributed to the edition of some articles with 8 other redactors of the movement’s magazines.
While researching, Mme Barbara Anderson discovered the existence within the Jehovah’s Witnesses Organization of serious problems that the direction of the Organization preferred, and still prefer to deny and make considerable efforts to hide them.
That led Mme Barbara Anderson to leave the headquarters, where she was working, and to associate in 2001 to M. Bill Bowen, founder of the site “SilentLambs” (a support group for Jehovah’s Witnesses victims) to make world public opinion aware.
Since then, Mme Barbara Anderson has participated or collaborated on many TV shows in the USA, in Great Britain…which led the direction of the WT, before the evidence, not to amend, but to disfellowship her in 2002 while trying to discredit her. Then it disfellowshipped her husband who was supporting her.
Since 7 years now, Mme Barbara Anderson and her husband don’t see their son, his wife and their grandson . . . and the hundreds of Jehovah’s Witnesses that were their friends and relations. Because, seemingly it is a constant practice for the Jehovah’s Witnesses Organization to ostracize the members who have been disfellowshipped (an “anti-social” practice clearly revealed by the judgment of the Cassation court of Belgium of December 18th, 2008)
Mme Barbara Anderson fights today aside the victims of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, condemning the internal politic of the Organization responsible, according to her, of non-assistance and endangering the others but also its own members. Either by working closely with the lawyers of the victims, who can access the documents on her website “Watchtowerdocuments.com” gathering all the documents and evidences concerning the politics and internal practices of the WT. Either by participating on TV shows or organizing conferences around the world.
Mme Barbara Anderson then made a program, a European tour from June 12th to July 6th 2009 before participating to the annual conference of the ICSA (International Association for Cults Studies) July the 3rd 2009 at Geneva University, in Switzerland. During her European Tour, Barbara will visit many countries and will testify in Switzerland, in Spain, in France, in Scotland and in Italy.
UNADFI link: http://www.unadfi.org/
Another article about Barbara here: http://www.unadfi.org/une-ancienne-responsable-de-la