WILMINGTON — Rick Fearon stood outside the Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall just off Main Street last night knowing a daughter who will no longer speak to him would soon be inside.
That daughter, as well as several other family members, stopped speaking to Fearon a few years ago when he left the church and began speaking out about problems he sees in the Jehovah’s Witness religion.
A Jehovah’s Witness for more than 40 years, Fearon now wants to inform people of accusations that the church does not adequately react to reports of sexual abuse of children, and charges the church’s teachings on blood transfusions have needlessly killed Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide.
“I attended this congregation and never realized the problems they had,” he said.
Fearon stood across the street from the Kingdom Hall with about a half-dozen others in the hopes they would make those new to the church look into it more deeply.
Those inside the Kingdom Hall were observing The Memorial of Christ’s Death, in which they celebrate the death of Jesus on the first full moon of the Vernal Equinox. Those new to the church or not yet part of it often attend the observance, Fearon said. Fearon cites national studies and news reports on a growing sexual-abuse crisis in the Jehovah’s Witness religion, which he says has not done nearly enough to keep pedophiles away from children.
He also says the churches previous ban on members getting blood transfusions, and other confusing teachings about accepting blood have led to what he said are thousands of unnecessary deaths.
He was joined by John Harris, of Norwood, who was one of hundreds of clergy-abuse victims who sued the Archdiocese of Boston. Harris, who said he was abused by Father Paul Shanley, said he settled with the archdiocese in December of 2003. He said he is fighting all religions and cults in which abuse is not adequately responded to, and that he is pushing for federal laws to make it easier to prosecute and prevent abuse.
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A man who answered the telephone at the Kingdom Hall declined comment last night.
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