B laming all Jehovah’s Witnesses for the actions of devout church member Eunice Spry, who systematically tortured her 3 foster children over a period of 19 years, would be like blaming all atheists for the actions of Stalin.But since one of the prime claims of religion is to be the source for morality, we have to stop and ask some tough questions.
First, the sickening story, via the Evening Standard.
Eunice Spry, 62, routinely beat, abused and starved the youngsters in her care over a 19 year period. The devout Jehovah’s Witness forced sticks down their throats and made them eat their own vomit and rat excrement. As punishment for misbehaving, she would beat them on the soles of their feet and force them to drink washing up liquid and bleach. Spry, a pillar of her local community in Gloucestershire, staunchly denied all the claims…
“If they were sick (she) would make them eat the vomit and they were made to eat rat excrement.” He said that…they would be “punched kicked and strangled”, [beat with sticks] and if they cried the sticks would be forced down their throats.
It gets worse. The kids had their hands and faces rubbed with sandpaper, hands held on hot electric stove burners. They had their heads held underwater. It’s a wonder none of them died. When the oldest girl got into a car accident, Spry forced her into a wheelchair, trying to collect additional money for the disability. Though she had serious injuries, the girl could walk fine, and eventually went to the police.
This horror went on for 19 years with three different children. The children were not monitored because they were being ‘home schooled.’ One can only imagine this woman cynically collecting her money from the state (for keeping the foster children) then sanctimoniously putting some of it in the collection plate at her church.
The mind reels.
- Exactly how did religious morality help these children?
- How did other church members miss what must have been obvious signs?
- How did Ms. Spry manage the unbelievable cognitive dissonance between her ‘worship’ and her horrific actions at home?
- What is the use of a belief system which does not have as its focus the reduction of human suffering?
Now Jehovah’s Witnesses are the same people who refuse to celebrate holidays and birthdays, and reject all blood transfusions. They split hairs with other Christians about things like the ‘trinity’ and want to see a theocracy established on earth. From Wikipedia:
It is also taught that 144,000 people will receive immortal life in heaven with Jesus Christ as co-rulers guiding the rest of humankind to perfection on a paradise earth during the 1000 year reign. More specifically, Witnesses believe that in the war of Armageddon, which they believe to be imminent, the wicked will be destroyed. The survivors of this event, along with individuals deemed worthy of resurrection, will form a new society ruled by a heavenly government and have the possibility of living forever in an earthly paradise.
Never mind the elitism in their doctrine, the similarities to Islam and other forms of fundamentalist Christianity include apocalyptic final judgments and some form of theocratic ‘paradise.’ For Jehovah’s Witnesses, the “governing body” are referred to as the “faithful and discreet slave class.“
But back to the ‘wicked’ woman herself: Clearly she is mentally ill–a monster. You can just see her showing up at church in her pastel clothing, repeating prayers and religious platitudes. Her veneer of piety avoided any kind of deeper psychological examination. I’m not going to discuss here the obvious failings of a government and social system which allows kids to be in foster homes without inspections. But religions make claims of holding people to higher standards of trust and “decency.” No doubt this woman’s religion was used to reinforce the notion that the kids were going to a “good Christian home.”
If a church community could have this kind of mayhem going on under their noses, what does this say about their usefulness to society? Religions make all sorts of noises about creating “standards” and norms to “protect the children.” Such a spectacular failure of a “pillar” of a church community should make us question these false mandates.
Unfortunately, this kind of story is becoming predictable as a consequence of religious repression. I placed it under “religion inspired murders” because these kids have been murdered in spirit. What chance do they have to ever have normal lives? I am also giving a Black Sun Shadow Award to Eunice Spry, “the pious sadist.”
[UPDATE: Here are some comments from former Jehovah’s Witnesses (from the original article)]
The is a very dangerous cult that teaches that children should be seen and not heard. This woman got away with this for twenty years. I am sure the congregation of Jehovah’s Witnessess that she was in would know the abuse these poor dear children were suffering. I was in this cult and I know that each of us knew what was going on with each others children each week at our five meetings a week. I hope that she will be punished to the full extent of the law.
– Trudi Mcaskill, Stratford, Prince Edward Island Canada
“The devout Jehovah’s Witness forced sticks down their throats and made them eat their own vomit and rat excrement”.
I was raised in an abusive Jehovah’s Witnesses home and although nothing this extreme it is telling that she got away for so long, under the nose of the Kingdom hall elders.
– Danielle, London
"The abuse was finally discovered after another Jehovah's Witness secretly confronted the wheelchair-bound Victim A about marks to her head caused when Spry rubbed sandpaper over her face."
No, I didn't miss it, Matt. I just thought 19 years was a little slow on the uptake.
You missed taht it was a JW from the same congregation who got the child to tell her about the abuse and go to authorities.
Well, from the most recent articles it seems that everyone was dropping the ball. “Friends and neighbors” reported the suspicious activity time an again and nothing was dome about it. I assue the “friends’ part means her fellow congregants.
“everyone was dropping the ball.”
You won’t get any argument from me. But what this article is exploring is the nexus between the following points:
–religious teachings which repress the normal development of humans
–the tendency of religious fanatics to use force on their young, often to the point of killing them (there have been countless examples)
–that belief in childhood ‘demon possession’ often correlates with mental illness
–how religions often displace psychotherapy and social services
–how communities rely on religious leaders who are neither qualified nor licensed to perform the type of functions they perform
–how the “shadow” aspects of human psychology are often mistaken by the religious as “evil”
Great piece, Black Sun, and extremely sickening. Thanks for the exposure, though, as I do see that these are the dark acts that will serve to wake everyone up to the dark insanity of religions. Though these acts have been going on for centuries, our intelligence is finally awakening to the dark side of ourselves.
This woman’s religion and others in the congregation who knew about it, or OBVIOUSLY sensed it, were able to divorce themselves from the FACT of the human suffering of these kids because it was sanctioned by the “moral community”, as Sam Harris has said. Yes, this situation is extreme, yet this woman is the shadow face of religious morality. This is how the religious people throughout history have been able to do heinous acts in the name of God without conscience. Look long and hard at this twisted woman’s face for this is the face of Yaweh. Honor thy Father and thy Mother.
Yes, indeed. Look into the face of Eunice Spry. It’s the face of every killjoy who ever lived. Every ruthless spinster school principal, prison guard, or camp executioner. Every Inquisitor or witch burner. In Spry, we see the face most likely of a woman who was abused as a girl or worse. Not to excuse her behavior, by any means.
But every authoritarian killjoy is ultimately compensating for their own misfortune or lack of happiness. Do we really think Islamists or Christians would care so much about other people’s sex lives if their own was satisfying? Would Eunice Spry have hurt those children if she had someone or something else to live for?
What we see in the face of Eunice Spry is the death spiral of a humanity long gone. It is the shell of a life consumed by hatred and suffering. The damaged brain of such a person has become a machine working overtime to produce still more suffering. And the religious cover-up is a part of their program. Like a wounded animal who’s cornered, all we can expect from such damaged monsters is as much pain and mayhem as they can practically produce.
They have no other motivation left.
But there are people who consider themselves to be ‘good’ and ‘normal’ who nevertheless contain less advanced elements of this sadistic disease. They are the ones who preach their hatred in the guise of ‘family values,’ and promote disastrous ideas like ‘abstinence education.’ These promoters of scriptural morality without regard to the human suffering it creates are just less extreme victims of the same self-consuming mental virus.
How sad and ignorant are your comments?I was raised as a Jehovahs Witness and nothing was 'enforced' on me,children are not baptised until they are old enough to decide for themselves.At 28 Ive only recently decided to start studing with them again,I come and go as I please,but I can say sincerely that this evil womans behaviour is my no means acceptable or condoned by the JWS.Your comments are biased and niave.Im not mentally scarred and infact I have more morals and principals than most my age thanxs to my upbringing.Its pathetic how a story as awful as this brings out all the JW haters out of the woodwork to stage more hate campaigns.JW's are taught to love and respect their children as I was,and yeah…sadly there will be afew that stray (and like other sickos from other backgrounds,and religions)commit crimes but thats a small minority.This evil woman fooled everyone,incl the JWS but that dosent make them guilty or 'useless' to society.There are many crimes committed by many evil people funny how their religious backgrounds arent important! It would be nice if people like yourself stopped resorting to stereo styping the Jehovahs Witnesses,do your research properly before making false accusations and ignorant comments.
Cult??people belonging to a cult follow a human leader,they isolate themselves from society and follow rituals.my mum and her fellow JWS do no such thing they follow the standards set in the bible and thats it.They still live and work amongst people and my mum has many friends outside her faith. ALSO many other people were oblivious to this womans' evil acts e.g Neighbours,the education and the social services which proves she was extremely clever and twisted at concealing her evil acts. As for brainwashing,how is teaching the principles of the bible and choosing by free will do follow them brain washing?So far evrything I've been taught I've done my research and Im quite content.Of course people like yourself hold very bitter feelings probably because in this liberal world where anything goes you probably felt too constricted and couldnt adhere to their standards.(Gods standards should I say).Im really happy at the moment Im still learning and I know sacrifices have to be made but so what?!As for halloowen ooh Im really mentally scarred for missing out on that old pagan ritual!…And birthdays? I was the lucky one because I recieved gifts throughout the year spontaneously not just at xmas and birthdays….Yeah I had bullying at school but thats because of ignorance,spitefulness and people like you who seem to be bitter and narrow minded.I have been away from them for 13 yrs and Im looking forward to a comeback!!
Black sun and Darkeros
I think you covered everthing and very well, I might add.
On the issue of home schooling, I’m a little bit torn.
On one hand, I believe that the sovereignty of the family should not be violated; those who are not marching in step with the rest of society should be free to pursue their own lifestyle.
But we have got to get a handle on the issue of home schooling. I really hate the thought of the government intruding into people’s personal lives, but I think the children of secluded communities must be forced to have some kind of contact with the outside world, just to ensure their mental and physical well-being.
I have an Uncle who is a mess. His oldest son (my favorite cousin) dropped out of school in the 6th grade. He recently died of AIDS at the age of 29. The second eldest is mentally handicapped and was recently removed from their home by social services. Two of their other kids were removed from school around 6th grade for “home schooling.” The girl, now 18, has 3 kids of her own and a 6th grade education. When they started talking about signing out yet another one of their kids for “home schooling,” I called the school district and asked exactly how they keep track of home school kids.
The answer is they don’t! The parents have to keep up on testing so their child advances to the appropriate grades, but if the parents stop following-up with the school, the school just assumes they’ve moved. Of course, that’s just one school district, others may do it differently, but overall, there is not much oversight of home schooled kids, and home schooled kids are the most at-risk for being the victims of religious wackos like Eunice Spry!
You know the real irony? It’s the religious folks who believe in eternal punishment for this kind of shit! What’s the point of believing in hell if it doesn’t deter believers from doing evil?
There’s two issues. Did you not read my first sentence? I said: “Blaming all Jehovahâ€™s Witnesses for the actions of devout church member Eunice Spry, who systematically tortured her 3 foster children over a period of 19 years, would be like blaming all atheists for the actions of Stalin.”
But this does not change the fact that there was a profound disconnect from this woman’s ‘devout’ beliefs and her actions. One that was lost on her entire congregation for 19 years. I think this was well covered both in the post and the follow-up comments.
Second, you say you are 28, and you don’t think there’s anything wrong with your cult? Ha! I was 30 before I got out of mine. Don’t think you are too smart or too good to be fooled by religion. You think it’s all fine and dandy until later when you will realize how brainwashed you were.
You say you weren’t denied anything as a child? I hope you never needed a blood transfusion. And how were your birthday parties when you were growing up? What did you wear for Halloween?
The only difference between a cult and a religion is how long they’ve been around, and number of adherents. I point you to the “divine plan” proposed for your religion. It is a “cult” of 144,000 of the elect of god. You might now claim this is only symbolic, because it sounds so ridiculous in a world of 6.5 billion. But nevertheless, this is what your faith teaches would be an ideal. It also calls its leaders the “Faithful and Discreet Slave Class.”
It doesn’t seem like brainwashing because your scripture is used by many. Popularity is not evidence of rightness. You should look a little closer at the so-called morality in the bible: Specifically the passages which allow for beating and killing rebellious teenagers. One example is Deuteronomy 21:18-21.
You should get to know your bible better, and you will see that document for the twisted, amoral political farce that it is.
The only standards which are of help to humanity are those which can be derived objectively from evolutionary psychology, and those which reduce human suffering.
I think you should investigate pagan rituals further. There is much self-awareness and psychological gold to be derived there. Unless you’re so brainwashed that anything associated with the word ‘pagan’ is off-limits?
Thanks for your supportive comments, as always.
I’m not against home schooling. In fact, my three sons have all been schooled at home from 9-12th grade. The difference is, it’s a program run by L.A. Unified school district, where they basically get their assignments and go in 1-2 days a week for testing and supplemental instruction. They’ve all gotten a great education and it’s helped them have time to launch their music/artistic careers.
But what you said is true, there needs to be some objective verification of the programs and standards used at home. Right now, the Christian right is using home schooling to isolate and indoctrinate their young. These poor kids are going to have a rude awakening when they get to college and beyond. The rest of the world pretty much does not question science–certainly our chief competitors Japan, China, and India do not. So we’re turning out a generation of home-schooled science deniers who will bring down the competitiveness of our country, and we will cede our leadership in these areas if we are not careful.
I’m sorry to hear about the difficulties your extended family has had in this area.
Thanks. Sorry to rant about my family.
Unfortunately, the religious extremists who keep their kids out of school also have Christian colleges. These people can stay isolated and indoctrinated indefinitely.
Fortunately, Bush has done a lot to help the country on this issue. The majority of people in this country aren’t religious. People call themselves Christians, but they’re just as annoyed with the “bible-thumpers” as the rest of us. Still, because so many people loosely identify with Christianity, because it’s part of our culture, they’re not quick to recognize that religion can be dangerous.
Bush wears his Christianity on his sleeve and people are starting to wake up to why church and state should be separate. That’s a good thing. I’m seeing more best-sellers by scientists and atheists questioning and attacking religion than ever. Our country still has a chance to wake up and get with the program before progress marches on without us.
You home schooled your kids? I admire you. I have just enough energy to make sure mine do their homework. We do a lot of side projects like digging mouse skeletons out of owl poop and spider safaris, but I couldn’t be trusted to provide them with the bulk of their education.
The program you talked about sounds good, you get to home school them without isolating them. For my aunt and uncle, home schooling is just a way to sign their kids out of school entirely.
It wasnt her fault, Jehovah told her to do it!
Unfortunately, she will not make the Offspring Murder Club cut. But perhaps I can give her an honorable mention?
This website summarizes 300 United States court cases and lawsuits affecting children of Jehovah’s Witnesses:
DIVORCE, BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS, AND OTHER LEGAL ISSUES AFFECTING CHILDREN OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES
[…] Earlier this year, I posted another example of JW’s reckless disregard of the welfare of children, in this case church member Eunice Spry, who was able to systematically torture three foster children in her care for nearly 20 years, without anyone in her church congregation taking the slightest notice (previous post). […]
[…] However, a world of JWs if their beliefs were true would be even worse! You would live in the worst possible land of totalitarian rule. Thoughtcrime would be a reality! Your entire existence would be based around worshipping another being every single day for eternity. Of course, no real progress in society, technology, or science would ever be made, because sooner or later some unfortunate fact about the real world would rear its head and have to be rejected by the Society, or incorporated into Newspeak and history would be retrospectively altered as though it was there all along. Paedophiles and more paedophiles would be protected by the Organisation. Evil sadists would go uncovered for years because of their long standing in the congregation. […]
LOL, I just read the “Submissions and Comments” section. Just in case my original comment is rejected, here’s a revised one: (I used scripture in the original)
I also have a JW background. I took interests in worldly activities when I was about 18 yrs old, which distracted me from bible study and spirituality as a whole. I soon left the JW congregation to dabble in worldly affairs. I am 18 yrs older now, and realize that leaving the congregation was never in my best spiritual interests because the world, as a whole is in spiritual darkness. It’s a catastrophe. I know that Spry’s actions were AGAINST JW’s teachings. JW’s impress upon others to abide by 1 Corinthians chapter 13 which shows the importance of having love for one another. Have we asked ourselves these simple questions? 1)What proof of supposed ‘Devout’ behavior has she shown? Obviously she was Not devout. One of the definitions for devout is “Devoted to religion or to the fulfillment of religious obligations.” If she was devoted to her ‘Religious obligations’ this would not have happened. Her religion by no means condones her behaviors. 2) How regular was her attendance to JW’s services? 3)Did she bring the children with her to all the services? 4)DId she associate regularly with JW’s with the children present while they were bruised, dirty, and showing obvious signs of her abuse? 5)Do we honestly know that the ‘Elders’ of her congregation did NOT attempt to pull her to the side with sincere questioning about the display of these signs of abuse? and if so, A)Did she answer the door when they arrived to counsel her? B)Did she use caller ID and refuse the call? C)Did she reject Elder appointments to avoid questioning? and so on.
There’s alot more questions that could be asked here in regards to the congregations lack of involvement in this matter. If you were a jury, you would’ve hung them all by now, with absolutely no proof of the accusations. There are so many examples of treacherous murderers, thieves and criminals that have been very successful in hiding their criminality. Spry was obviously very good at it. You can bet on one thing being certain. Even the ‘Elders’ can be deceived. They are not perfect human beings. No one is. But, in the end, God will exact punishment for her cruelty. And, he can also mend these poor children who have suffered so badly at the hand of this horrible, abusive, and deceitful woman. My advice is look at what JW’s teach, which does not support her actions! PS – Trudi, you said, “The is a very dangerous cult that teaches that children should be seen and not heard.” That is a false accusation. In fact, it is impressed upon all of the children in the congregation to participate in services with Q&A Bible reading, etc., they are encouraged to express their own questions and misgivings, they are sometimes very active in the door-to-door ministry (as I’m sure some of you have experienced personally – In my opinion, it’s always nice to see a child with a Bible in his/her hand!)And, in the “Awake!” monthly magazine, theres always comments and articles FOR young people and sometimes BY young people. JW’s also teach, “Out of the mouth of children and sucklings you have founded strength,
On account of those showing hostility to you,So as to make the enemy and the one taking his vengeance desist.”
You are correct that there is nothing to directly tie Spry’s behavior to JW teachings. But it is the tone and tenor of suppressive religion that gives extra cover to deviant behavior. Since clergy and congregants are generally assumed to be of above average morality, this leads to less scrutiny from outsiders as well as members.
There is hard evidence of this in the recent JW sexual abuse scandals, (previous post). Like the Catholic church, the Watchtower Society seemed to be much more concerned about protecting its power structure than its children.
This is just plain scary. How can you send children door-to-door to sell a philosophy they have been spoonfed since birth? How can you pretend that kids are allowed to “express their own questions and misgivings” when the structure of the organization cannot bend? In other words, if a child brought up a legitimate contradiction in church teaching or scripture, are you going to tell me that church elders would change their position as a result?
No way. There is an entire branch of Christianity devoted to “apologetics” which is the systematic undermining and discrediting of any doubts. Are you going to tell me that JW children stand a chance against this bulwark of denial?
No. The very indoctrination of children with false, sadistic, and manipulative biblical teachings (which have nothing whatsoever to do with true morality) is in and of itself child abuse. Don’t pretend that it’s anything other than mind control and aggressive human social engineering to perpetuate the church power structure. And most people, once so infected as children, never recover their critical thinking skills as long as they live.
Ok, for the record, JW’s do not disregaurd the welfare of children. People conveniently forget how easy it is to live a double life. As was mentioned before, it’s very funny how worse crimes have been commited and religion wasn’t even a factor. It’s ignorant people like you who make this religion just seem all the more right. The Pharasee’s and Jew’s hated Jesus when he preached the truth and proved them all hypocrites and you are no better. I was raised as a JW and this is no brainwashing cult. They go by the bible and you have the individual choice to take what you read and apply it! Do a little research before jumping onto such an ignorant opinion. Oh, and by the way, JW’s don’t do birthday’s b/c no worshipper of God celebrated their b.day’s; and in those accounts, taking a life equalled a gift. and as far as x-mas, jesus never said he wanted to be remembered for his birth, he wasn’t the Messiah until he was baptized and therefor wanted to be remembered for his death; what it stood for and what it meant for all mankind. Try going to a meeting or two. I’m not saying to convert, but i am saying to educate yourself by putting yourself in the classroom. and it’s a Kingdom Hall, not a church!
Anyone rearding this crime less than one they see worse is WRONG !!!
it is a backward practice to pray to something that allows such atrocities in life.
And the teaching is it’s the Advesary, Devil, Fallen Angel who roams Free to do his evil on Humans to take them down w/ him when the ultimate judgment comes around.
And who is the One Who allows such a stupid, evil, unloving character to bring down their son’s & daighters ?
This is not sane!
In our world & reality this is recognised as Abuse of the highest degree!!!!!!!!!!!!
Not “Wk’s in mysterious ways!” OR ‘It’s His Divine Plane!” OR “God allows such things to bring us closer to Him!”
Such believing is mental & emotional self abuse, dangerous, unhealthy & unproductive.
Praising something that doesn’t deserve to be praised is a dangerous practice to the mental & emotional health & development of the whole Human race!!!
Invisable things entering a person’s life aswell!
RELIGION HAS NOT MADE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE!!
IT IS THE CONSTUCTIVE HUMAN TEACHINGS IN EVERTYTHING THAT HAS CIVILISED HUMANITY TO THE EXTENT IT HAS! ( THE HUMAN RACE STILL HASN’T REACHED CIVILITY YET! )
THE NON-SENSE STILL PREVADES BECAUSE IT’S STILL PART OF A CHILDS DEVELOPMENT UNTO ADULTHOOD NOT TO MENTALLY & EMOTIONALLY FACE REALITY!
RELIGION IS NOT GREAT & SO IS THE BELIEF IN A DEITY, GOD, GREAT SPIRIT
OR ANYTHING CLAIMING TO LOVE U BUT THE RESULTS TURN OUT TO BE OTHER WISE!
if jehovah was still dealing with his servants personaly,spry would have been commanded to take her unruley children to the outskirts of town and have them stoned to death.
well all you people who are jws all have something in common……… you all suck balls.
you don't know anything you follow from a dude from the 1850s who0 had no clue at what he was doing or saying so yea. become a christian or something.
stop giving out books and converting people to your stupid beliefs.
so suck it up and make it true to what you believe because this is what i believe so dont judge me for what ive said
you go girl
they are all so dumb and all got black hearts as they have writen above
Why exactly do people enjoy being so bitter towards JWs? What some people claim is so ridiculous that I need to ask you if you really think you sound believable? You can get people who are mental and fanatical in all walks of life, if a witness insists upon anti-scriptural behavior he is chucked out, satisfied? Or is that not ok either? The trouble is that if you set out to speak badly about anything, you won’t mind making things up, and you enjoy believing things made up by others similar to yourself.