"Jehovah's Witnesses church leader 'poisoned' by rival," Sunday Mail (South Australia), Nigel Hunt, March 3, 2012 ... THE Adelaide Hills Jehovah's Witnesses community
has been rocked by the alleged poisoning of a church official and his young family by a rival. The extraordinary series of events, in which glyphosate weed killer was injected into food, milk and fruit juice cartons in a fridge, was uncovered only after the victim set up a hidden camera in his kitchen - apparently catching the culprit in the act. The victim took the unusual step after becoming suspicious that someone had been repeatedly entering his Stirling home and tampering with food while his family was at church meetings in nearby Crafers. His family, including three young children aged five to 12, had also complained after coming home from church that food and drinks from the fridge had smelt and tasted toxic. As a result of this covert camera footage, a man is now facing 12 charges in connection with the alleged poisoning scheme, which played out over a seven-month period until he was arrested in October last year. ... The bizarre incident is believed to be connected to a disciplinary matter within the Mt Lofty Jehovah's Witnesses Church congregation, where both the charged man and the victim and his family are members. It is understood the charged man may have resented the involvement of the victim, a church elder, in a matter which saw him "disfellowshipped" in 2010 over his conduct. The poisoning victim, who asked not to be identified, said the charged man was no longer a member of the 100-strong congregation. "He was removed from the congregation," he said. "No single person makes a judgment like that - it's a committee decision. "There are processes there to address any grievance somebody might have if they feel wrongly done by. "There was no hint that was the case. He knew the score. "For all intents and purposes it seemed like he accepted it. "He was still free to attend our meetings, which he continued to do. We don't prevent anyone from attending the meetings; we just don't have anything to do with them if they have been disciplined by the congregation like that." ... After being remanded in custody for a fortnight, the man was bailed on November 11... He will next appear in the Adelaide Magistrates Court on May 4. ... A public window into the Watchtower cult's inhumane and un-Biblical disfellowshipping and shunning system:
"He was removed from the congregation ... it's a committee decision ... He was still free to attend our meetings, which he continued to do. We don't prevent anyone from attending the meetings; we just don't have anything to do with them if they have been disciplined by the congregation like that."
While not condoning this ex-JW man's alleged illegal actions, the fact that he allegedly targeted this particular JW elder and `reading between the lines' of the elder's comments, adds weight to the view that "the charged man may have resented the involvement of the victim, a church elder, in a matter which saw him `disfellowshipped' in 2010." Even the title of the article calling him a "rival" of this elder suggests he may even have been a also an elder? It will be interesting to see when the man has his day in court whether he airs the `dirty linen' of this congregation, and more importantly the Watchtower Society's `living death' disfellowshipping and shunning system:
"Shunning ... The elders form a `judicial committee' and `disfellowship' (expel) members who commit sexual immorality or who express disagreement with the Watchtower Society on any issue. The individual expelled for apostate thinking is shunned more completely than the JW disfellowshiped for fornication or adultery. One who voluntarily leaves the sect faces the same penalty at the hands of a judicial committee, but is considered `disassociated' rather than `disfellowshiped.' ... Visitors at Kingdom Hall meetings seldom learn about shunning right away or learn of the closed-door interrogations and trials held constantly to keep members in line. With press and media relations handled only by assigned spokesmen-always men, never women-trained in the art of euphemism, the sect usually manages to keep the internal disciplinary system hidden from the public eye, and hence to maintain a fairly good public image. The other side of the story is usually told in detail only by persons who have lived part of their lives in the group and, after leaving, have somehow been able to escape the fear and guilt that keep most former members quiet. When ex-JWs do speak out, the story that emerges is reminiscent of life in Nicolae Ceausescu's Romania where the Security Police were everywhere spying on people's private lives and forcing children to testify against their own parents. Many former Witnesses compare the Watchtower kingdom to the futuristic dictatorship of George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four where `Big Brother is watching you!'" (Reed, D.A., "Answering Jehovah's Witnesses: Subject by Subject," 1996, pp.211-212. Emphasis original).
"We had been taught to see that ... God's kingdom has a judicial branch that judges wrongdoers. When a case comes to the attention of the elders, they appoint three or more of their number to form a judicial committee and summon the sinner to stand trial. Obedience is thus compelled by two powerful forces: the mind control exercised over individual JWs by the organization, and the threat of punishment through the sect's judicial committee arrangement. Witnesses whose thinking has been brought completely into line willingly obey whatever the Watchtower Society says, rejoicing at the opportunity to do `God's will.' Those who have not completely surrendered, or whose ability to think independently has somehow been reawakened, are kept in line through fear of punishment. This punishment results in the victim being totally shunned by JW family and friends. Witnesses will not speak or even say as much as hello on the street, and the offender is no longer welcome in the homes of friends or relatives. He or she is no longer considered a Witness, and faces divine execution at the Battle of Armageddon instead of life in paradise." (Reed, D.A., "Blood on the Altar," 1996, pp.192-193).
"Jehovah's Witnesses can be summoned before a judicial committee without warning, without prior notification of the charges against them, and without any right to face their accusers-who may remain anonymous or may even be members of the committee itself. There is no right to representation by counsel. In fact, the trial takes place behind closed doors, without observers. The judicial committee's goal is to bring about `repentance' - i.e., to get the erring Witness to turn from his bad ways and conform to the organization's instructions. In order to bring about this desired result, the committee is empowered to impose a wide variety of penalties on the offender. These range from a mild, private rebuke to the extreme penalty of disfellowshipping. When an unrepentant `wrongdoer' is disfellowshipped, the committee announces the individual's name to the congregation as notification that everyone must henceforth avoid association with that person. No one may engage him in conversation, and J.W.'s encountering him on the street, must not even say 'Hello'. Immediate family members must restrict their interaction with a disfellowshipped member of the household, and relatives living outside the home must avoid the expelled person except for `necessary family business'." (Reed, D.A., "Behind the Watchtower Curtain," 1989, p.18. Emphasis original).
and if he claims in his defense that it drove him `over the edge' to commit these alleged crimes.