Talk # 20: USE DISCERNMENT WHEN DEALING WITH CASES OF WRONGDOING - Brother Bethel-COOT
Synopsis: A manuscript talk. Excruciating detail on what constitutes "loose conduct", and when judicial committees should and should not be formed. See quotes section for example after example after example of what and is not loose conduct and/or uncleanness.
Sir's analysis: I found this to be one of the most distrbing talks of all. Explicit step by step decision-tree type guidelines for who should get a committee, and who should not. Apparently, a lot of elders are using the "loose conduct" category of sin as a catch-all to D-F anyone who they dislike. On the surface, it might seem like a good idea - but the idea of building a talmud-like list of rules is most disturbing.
Egregious quotes: Most of the talk was devted to examples, as follows:
1) A young man, with no honorble intentions of marriage, engges in heavy petting, including fondling of the breasts, of many different women. This IS loose conduct.
2) Another young man makes numerous phone calls to a sexually explicit 900 number. He tries to hide it, but is discovered. However, he does show remorse. This is NOT loose conduct, due to his attitude, but there still may need to be more judicial action in his case (due to "uncleanness".
3) An engaged couple, engage in heavy petting numerous times, including the kissing of the breasts. When the sister finally confesses, they both are thoroughly ashamed. This is NOT loose conduct, but IS uncleanness.
Not all uncleanness necessitates judicial action. Per Ephesians, 4:19, there must be "greediness" associated with the "uncleanness" to warrant judicial action.
4) A pioneer sister is dating a brother from another congregation. On 3 separate occasions, the brother kisses the sister's breasts (he is the "aggressor" in the situation). The sister is moved to tears, nd finally confesses. The elders determined this was unclenness, but there was no greediness on her part, so she faced no judicial action.
5) an unbaptized publisher, a minor, smokes 4 cigarettes in 1 week and confesses. This is uncleanness but not with greediness. Counsel is sufficient.
6) A baptized minor child smokes regularly. This is uncleanness with greediness, so form committee.
7) A publishers confesses he has viewed softcore porn a number of times, and even masturbated while viewing it. He feels bad about it and confesses. Due to his ffeeling bad, this is uncleanness, but not with greediness. Counsel is sufficient, no committee.
8) A brother has viewed abhorrent degrading porn for many years, including bestiality and even child porn. He has concealed this for a number of years, but was finally discovered. He is now ashmed of his actions. This is uncleanness with greediness, so form a committee.
"Loose conduct is not a catch-all, for cases where the elders feel someone should be DF'ed but can't think of a reason. Loose conduct involves specific sins plus the attitude of the person."
Talk 21: GIVING ATTENION TO THE NEEDS OF THE FIELD - Brother SICO
Synopsis: The US branch has determined that there are 3 areas that need special attention in the US branch territory: (1) Handling matters involving pornography (2) Upholding the sanctity of marriage (3) Dress & grooming.
There were guidelines for elders on what to ask when it comes to their attention that someone is viewing porn, and guidelines fro what to do if an elder views porn (see quotes for more detail). Also: How to handle cases where the parties are legally, but not scripturally, divorced (see quotes for more detail). Also: Not very many are following the Society's directive on dress after the summer district convention sessions are over for the day. Some have been seen wearing t-shirts, shorts, and the convention lapel badge. We should follow the counsel of the F&DS.
Sir's analysis: More browbeating on the theme of porn. Apparently, this is a huge & growing problem, with no end in sight. And, the number of persons divorcing with no "scriptural grounds" must be soaring as well.
Egregious quotes: "Many view porn as harmless fun, and some elders and MS have let their guard down"
If it comes to light that an appointed servant has viewed porn just a few times, perhas inadvertantly on the internet (I'm not making this up!): no committe, just strong counsel
If however he has deliberately viewed it on several occasions, 2 elders give counsel, THEN the whole body considers whether he still qualifies to serve based on the following:
1) Did he voluntarily come forward?
2) Was it 1 or 2 incidents, or a practice for months or years?
3) What type of porn?
4) Was it accompanied by masturbation?
5) If married, what effect does this have on wife?
6) Who else is aware of problem?
7) Does he still have respect of those who know, and the elders?
8) Does he demonstrate sincere desire to quit viewing it?
9) Does his conscience allow him to continue to serve?
"Certain types of pornography viewing could lead to judicial committe, if it involves uncleanness with greediness"
Another example: A sister who is legally but not scripturally divorced wans to sign up to be a regular pioneer. In that case, consider:
1) Which of the couple initiated the divorce
2) Even if husband did, wht is her attitude--is she working toward a reconcliation?
3) Would the cong. feel her marital situation reflects poorly on her?
4) Would her appointment contribute to an unwholesome attitude toward marriage in the cong.?
5) Can it be said that ONLY one mate is responsible for the divorce? How do the elders in her ex-husband's congregation view her?
BIGGIE HERE: Just kind of thrown into the middle of the discussion here. Couldn't get teh exact language, as they read it fast, but also said that hte COs will give us more details on their next visit.
"In the case where we might be asked to make public statements regarding judicial matters, perhaps from the media or by a DFed person's attorney, this is what we should say:
"The spiritual welfare of the members of out congregation is of paramount importance. We do shepherding work in strict confidentiality. We do not comment on the shepherding done in behalf of any member of the congregation."
(These are the main points of the quote).
There are 2 talks left, I'll post when I can, at the bottom of this post.