I was reading a post on here from a young man who will be facing a Judicial Committee for a sin he committed. He is asking for advice on what to do. A lot of feelings came rushing in on me as I thought back to how my brother was unfairly treated by an elder body. Another thing happened this weak with friends and their experience with the elders was extremely "raw". I can understand how we must keep ourselves clean, guard against bad association but when did this turn into the legalistic all powerful judge and jury we now have? When did it become ok for 3 imperfect men to sit and pass judgement for Jehovah? Why did it ever become ok in our heads that we would allow others to make these decisions regarding our own conscience?
An Elder gave this counsel to someone on the board:
"My response having served on many JC is - be honest & open. The elders aim is to "gain you" as a brother - not vindictively dis fellowship you. DF is absolutely a final option. Tell the facts & how you feel. Pray to Jehovah. The passage of time isn't necessarily a factor - it is a positive matter that you want to get the matter sorted out."
I am intrigued by this statement, in my heart I wish that I still believed those words to be true. I was born and raised in the truth, I am a 3rd generation witness. I pioneered straight out of high school. I was devout and hard lined in the truth, absolutely sure of what I believed. I was raised to believe that when we sin the arrangement set forth is for our own good. We can tell the brother's our sins and if repentant we will be shown love and mercy. My father is a Ministerial servant and he raised us to believe that the elders/organization would be our crag, they would shelter us in times of need and despair. WE would be taken care of the way a lost sheep is cradled, prayed over and brought back to the flock. Oil would be poured over our wounds. The key is to be repentant. This is not the reality that exists. I will give you an example:
My brother was guilty of sexual misdeeds with a young sister. He was overtaken with guilt and sadness. He approached my father and confessed, crying in my father's arms. He was still a teenager, graduated for High School, the sister still in High School. My father of course advised him to go to the elders, be honest and open. We all advised him of this and lovingly told him that due to his repentance he would be treated fairly. Not to worry about disfellowshipping because it was used for those who are unrepentant, greedy, those who didn't want to change their actions. My brother was so distraught he was at the point of suicide, I had to take him to the emergency room and have him admitted to a "mental hospital". After he was dismissed by the therapist and put on medications the brothers insisted on his meeting. Long story short, after much pain and heartbreak they said that they found him to be repentant but that he was to be disfellowshipped anyway. They also said that he could count on being out for as long as he sinned, pay back his due to Jehovah. Can you imagine the disbelief my family felt when faced with this. We were so dumbfounded, we would have initially agreed with your statement above had we not witnessed firsthand the sad truth. A part of me died that day and it never came back. My brother was so crushed, his mental state was so fragile and weak that he fell apart. He did everything but kill himself. That is damage that can never be undone. This experience taught me one thing, never ever trust the elders. Never go to them in times of anguish with sin, pray to Jehovah for forgiveness and repent to him alone. If this were the only time that such a thing had happened it wouldn't seem to be so bad but unfortunately others in my area have experienced the same thing. Or their is the other extreme, and elders child is guilty of the same thing but lacks the same repentance. In this instance most are given a free pass. This was my brothers first offense and this event has shaped the last 3 years of his life. He is finally doing well in life but will never come back to the "truth".
I say it again how can we endorse such a system that has so much control on others futures and families? How can we give 3 imperfect men the ability to judge in the place of God? WE can not read hearts, why do we give ourselves so much importance and power? Don't even mention the appeal process because the falsity of that was made evident as well. How can you expect justice from 3 new men when they don't rehear the case, they consult with the original three brothers and uphold their decision? It seems to be a good 'ol boys club. I am frustrated by all of this. It saddens my heart to see such injustice and now I am enraged by those who say "wait on Jehovah, they will get theirs", "Jehovah will fix it", "we have to keep our faith, this is a test. Don't allow others to make you fall way". What about all of those who didn't have a choice and suffered unfairly, what about them?
sometimes I just want to scream.