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Child abuse is listed as a disfellowshipping offense in the Shepherd book. Of the different definitions of this abuse, only porneia, which is sexual intercourse with the child or a manipulating of the sexual organs, is listed as a disfellowshipping action in the Christian Greek Scriptures.

This study has two sections. The first section deals with the sexual side of child abuse. This section is short because most of the definitions are not disfellowshipping offenses. And I refer to the detailed study of sexual immorality (porneia) that will be posted on this website.

The other section deals with the extreme neglect of children. And because the members of the Governing Body are involved in this, the section is rather long.

Defining the expression “extreme neglect” is difficult because the expression is diffuse and ambiguous. But there is one area where the Governing Body is guilty of extreme neglect of a particular group of children on a grand scale and therefore are guilty of child abuse. The first step of this abuse is the campaign of baptisms of young children. The second step is the appointment of many of these young children as pioneers. The pioneer service requires so much of the young children that it can be classified as “child labor.” It deprives the children of their childhood, and it prevents the children from getting a good primary education.

The present view of the Scandinavian branch office is that only those who are mature enough to understand the responsibility of baptism should be baptized. This is a balanced view, and it was practiced in most of the 20th century. But in the last part of the 20th century and in the 21st century, baptism of very young children has been practiced. I give several examples of children between eight and twelve years old that have been baptized.

In order to enter into marriage, a person must be 18 years old. A child at the age of 12 and lower is not mature enough to marry, and he or she is not mature enough to take the responsibility of baptism. In my view, there will be a rare exception if a person is mature enough to be baptized before he is in his late teens.

The second step to child abuse is to appoint small children as pioneers. In the USA in 2012, there were 212 regular pioneers aged 12 and below, and two of these were seven years old. There were also 6,844 pioneers between 12 and 18 years old. This shows that children in the pioneer service are widespread.

I calculate that a child uses about 160 hours per month for his primary education—hours at school, preparation, and traveling between the school and home included. A regular pioneer uses about 150 hours for his service—hours used in the preaching, preparation and traveling included. This means that a child who is a pioneer uses about 10 hours every day for this service and schooling.

This shows that pioneer service for children is the same as child labor and is an abuse of children. The children are deprived of their childhood, and they do not have time to get a good primary education.


Rolf Furuli

Author Rolf Furuli

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