"A Time to Speak"----When? (with scans).

by Atlantis 33 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Scully
    The Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, the body that directs church affairs, says there is no policy forcing members to report sinful acts or divulge private information. That choice is up to members, according to Phillip Brumley, general counsel for the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based group.

    "They should study the scriptures, and what they do is up to them," said Mr. Brumley. If there is a conflict, he said, a member should "think that through and decide what to do."

    A 1987 article in the church's Watchtower magazine, which the church says is its most recent on the subject, advises members to consider the ramifications before taking any oath that would put them in conflict with biblical requirements. Doctors' offices, hospitals and law firms are businesses where privacy problems could arise, the article states. "We cannot ignore Caesar's law or the seriousness of an oath, but Jehovah's law is supreme," it reads.

    The article further states that if a "Christian feels, after prayerful consideration, that he is facing a situation where the law of God required him to report what he knew despite the demands of lesser authorities, then that is a responsibility he accepts before Jehovah."

    What Philip Brumley does not mention, is the fact that if a True Christian™ does NOT report wrongdoing to the elders, they are placed in a very precarious circumstance that would be construed as "sharing in the sins of others", "not keeping the congregation clean", and leaving themselves open to judicial action - and possibly being disfellowshipped.

    Bullock's article was part of the reference material that I used for this essay: Confidentiality - an essay by me

  • Bryan
  • KW13

    Thing is, Mary should keep her nose out. I find that awful, if God is everywhere he doesn't need snitches who just turn people in. Its not like you see in the local paper, this is peoples confidential records.

  • Elsewhere

    I've put together a nice-and-neat page for future reference:


  • West70

    The following 1987 BIG NEWS newspaper article has been emailed around so much over the years that the title, author, date, etc. are missing from my copy. Maybe someone else can check their copy and see if their version has the pertinent attributions.

    At any rate, the wording seems to indicate that this article was originally written by an author in southern California. Like the recent AP Blood Issue article, this 1987 article also had "help" from folks working behind the scenes. I don't know if this was a wire service article, but it probably was, which means it too was probably re-published by newspapers across the country.

    Jehovah's Witnesses are being told for the first time that they should violate confidentiality requirements in medical, legal and other professions when one of their own members is discovered to have committed a serious sin.

    "The objective would not be to spy on another's freedom but to help erring ones and to keep the Christian congregation clean," says the Sept. 1 issue of the Watchtower magazine, an authoritative publication of the Witnesses' Brooklyn-based Watchtower Society.

    The 3.3 million members worldwide, including 745,000 active U.S. Jehovah's Witnesses, are advised to confront the sinner first, but if he or she is unrepentant, the sinner's elders should be told "because of the superior demands of divine law."

    Warnings of Armageddon

    Jehovah's Witnesses, best known for their warnings of a world-ending Armageddon, have clashed in the past with governments for refusing to pledge allegiance to the flag or to serve in the military-out of a greater loyalty to God. But both sect officials and critics of the movement say this is the first published advice to members that they breach oaths of confidentiality when they learn of serious violations of their faith.

    The Witnesses' stance goes beyond anything practiced in conservative churches, said Charles Teel Jr., professor of Christian ethics at Loma Linda University. "I know of no evangelical or fundamentalist community that has that kind of understanding of being faithful to the congregation or breaking pledges in the workplace," Teel said.

    The magazine used a hypothetical case of "Mary," a medical assistant, discovering that a fellow Witness had had an abortion. "Did she have a scriptural responsibility to expose this information to elders in the congregation, even though it might lead to (Mary) losing her job, to her being sued, or to her employer's having legal problems?" the article asked.

    The answer was yes, and Witnesses were advised to determine, before pledging confidentiality in their jobs, "what problems this may produce because of any conflict with Bible requirements."

    One critic of the Jehovah's Witnesses said the opinion will have "frightening" consequences for members already working in certain professions. They may find that requesting transfer or resigning is "the only honorable and responsible thing to do," said David Brown, spokesman for Alpha and Omega, a self-described "counter-cult" ministry in Phoenix.

    Regarding the confidential client relationships required of attorneys and physicians, William Van De Wall, a Witness headquarters spokesman, said Wednesday that "in the majority of cases" both the professional and the client could protect themselves.

    "At the community level, most patients who seek out an attorney or doctor would know if they were of the same religion. If a Witness wanted to avoid telling him something, he would seek someone else. And as long as the doctors and attorneys make known their positions when they get the client, that should eliminate the problem," Van De Wall said in a telephone interview.

    Van De Wall confirmed that someone who contracted venereal disease or AIDS through sexual promiscuity would be considered to have sinned. Other serious offenses, he said, could include drug abuse, contributing to a sperm bank or receiving artificial insemination, or, if unmarried, obtaining a vasectomy or prescription for birth control pills.

    Both Van De Wall and the published guidelines suggested that reporting on an erring member can have a happy ending-with the offender confessing the sin and receiving counseling.

    Similarly, Frank Kavelin, an elder with the Beverly Hills congregation, noted Wednesday that the guidelines say that minor transgressions should be overlooked. "While the organization promotes zeal for doing things that are righteous, it also promotes discretion," he said.

    Kavelin also said that he was not worried that members would be upset over the guidelines in the Sept. 1 magazine, which has been available to members since mid-August.

    But some ex-Witnesses predicted that members will be subjected to increased scrutiny in a church that last year expelled one member for every six it took in.

    Raymond Franz, a nine-year member of the Watchtower Society's governing body until he resigned under pressure in 1980, said: "The governing body knows that some little statement made by it will be converted into something mammoth by the time it gets to the elders. No area of personal life is beyond their reach and rulings."

    Franz, who lives in Winston, Ga., also disputed the idea "that those people going to the elders are going to be treated lovingly. So often people find they were dealt with in demeaning ways." Franz was disfellowshipped at the end of 1981 in a case involving his changed views of the organization's theology.

  • West70

    Those in the medical industry can speak more specifically on the issue, but it is my understanding that over the past dozen or so years that "medical transcription" of doctor's records (and maybe hospitals) is being done more and more by "outside" independent contractors - and those firms then in turn use "office-in-home" subcontractors.

    I have heard of a number of JWs who are doing such "medical transcription" out of their homes.

    The danger is that a JW or XJW can purposefully select a Doctor who is not a JW, and who has no JW employees, but unbeknownst to the patient, their confidential records are then made available to a JW "subcontractor" "transcriptionist".

    Industry folks -- is this accurate or not?

  • rebel8

    West, you are correct. US federal privacy law requires no one without a "need to know" to perform their assigned job duties is to access your medical record. However, by the time you've seen a nurse, medical assistant, doctor(s), medical and nursing students, residents, clerks, and then your account is audited by various departments/regulators, transcribed, billed, and then sent to an insurer for payment.....there could be 50 ppl looking at your private medical info, all with a right and need to do so.

    Most of the farmed out transcription services use personnel in India from what I understand, so I guess there's less of a risk that an Indian JW will call overseas to the local elders. That doesn't stop the other 49 people from talking to the local elders though.

  • West70

    Thanks rebel8 for confirming, but the JWs who I have heard of doing such "at-home" transcribing have been JWs in both small towns and larger cities in the lower midwest.

    I don't doubt that there are large nationwide contractors who use Indian subcontractors, but I'm guessing there are a lot of smaller operators using local subs who get business from the one and two man PSCs who prefer to do business with local folks they know.

    Again, correct me if I'm wrong.


    It would be nice if someone who has the main "Bullock" magazine article would post such in his thread for those folks who have never read it (and those people who will later find this thread "googling" this topic).

    I have it saved in some dormant email account somewhere, but I don't really want to spend several hours looking for it if someone else on one of the lists has it at their fingertips.

  • West70

    Well, I finally found my html copy of the 1985 Bullock article, but no point in posting it here given that I had to search back through 8-10 or so pages just to find this day old thread.

    No interest?

    Then, I'll let someone else post their copy.

  • The Rapster
    The Rapster

    I see I much to read and learn from this site.

    My comment is how this is simply one more example of how self serving and controlling it all is. This from someone who actually still has love in his heart for those he left behind.

    Amazing post you have here. Snitches. I never imagined it would come to that.

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