Watchtower Takes Legal Action Against Ex-Members


In a bold move aimed at suppressing dissident Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Watchtower Society’s New York headquarters has filed charges with the police against ex-members Kent Steinhaug and Jan Haugland of Norway. Steinhaug reported for questioning this morning (March 4, 1997) to the police station in Skein, his home town.

Both men are accused of violating copyright laws by posting copies of a secret elder’s manual on the Internet. The manual "Pay Attention to Yourselves and to All the Flock" tells local elders how to conduct closed-door trials and other actions controlling the personal lives of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Among the rules enforced through the manual are forced shunning of family members who leave the sect and the requirement that Witnesses refuse blood transfusions regardless of the consequences in loss of life.

The charges filed against Steinhaug and Haugland allege that they have made the secret manual available to rank-and-file members and to the general public, in violation of a copyright held by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. Only Witness elders are allowed to read the book, and an elder must surrender his personal copy if he loses his position in the organization.

Although Steinhaug’s "Watchtower Observer" website today features none of the offending material, visitors find links to websites where the secret book is still displayed. Kent Steinhaug can be reached for interviews in Skien, Norway via e-mail at

Information is also available at his page devoted to the legal charges filed by the Watchtower Society.

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