BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Programmes: Panorama  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Panorama
Sara Poisson: obedience

The "elders" within the Jehovah's Witnesses church are regarded as God's representatives on earth. Other members are expected to act upon what the elders say.

Hebrews 13:17

"Be obedient to those who are taking the lead among you and be submissive for they are keeping watch over your souls."

Sara's story

Sara Poisson was a member of a Jehovah's Witnesses congregation in New Hampshire in the USA.

She went to the elders because her husband was violent.

She also suspected - rightly, it transpired - that he was sexually abusing her daughter.

The elders told her she needed to pray more and be a better wife.

She believed them and the abuse continued.

Sara explained to Panorama why she did not simply leave with her children:

"The elders are in place to govern on earth as a substitute I guess - I can't think of a better word - they're God's representatives on earth.

"God's representatives on earth have told me repeatedly this is my fault.

"I haven't figured it out yet... 'keep working at it and it will end'...

"OK, so I did, and I kept trying to do that.

"It would never have occurred to me to take this outside of the congregation."

Suffer The Little Children


Case studies

Background



FORUM
Links to more Panorama stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes