Your body of elders - were they liberal, conservative or moderate?
I believe my wife is loyal to this congregation because they are more liberal, even though she is an Uber. I couldn't believe that they played Monsters University at a Children's get-together. I can't stand the Jehovah's Witnesses stand on education but even I think college fraternities are bad association. I was told that they let the children choose the movie, but it was still bizarre to be there for kid's movie night with such a "worldly" kid's movie playing.
We had Jerry Decker for our PO for many years. He moved, and then passed away soon after that. He always seemed understanding and concerned. He was fun to be around but the stress affected his health, I'm sure.
After he left the whole shebang went to hell. I heard a lot of people complaining. The elders seemed confused, angry, disorganized and punitive. In other words, ttatt began to be apparent.
Jerry had been at Bethel so maybe some here are familiar with his name.
I was in several congregations over the years, and I saw a wide variety of elders. Nazi control freaks, ex-hippie full of mercy types, middle of the road, but still obeying the WTS. In the end, it didn't really matter. As long as they remained an elder, they were part of the machine. Unless they stepped down, they were not to be wholly trusted. Those that meant well, but never stepped down, got stepped on. I saw one good man after another whither under the onslaught of the jerks and lackeys to the WTS.
Which reminds me... I ran into a guy I grew up with in the JW religion (started to say 'the truth' - old habits die hard). I asked about his family, and he told me that his father, an uber-zealous, by-the-book, hard-nosed, power hungry, WT appointed trouble shooter in our congregation at the time, had died just a few weeks prior. I found myself not feeling anything. Not sadness, not grief, but not joy, or glee either. It was as if I had read a stranger's obit in the newspaper.
The longer I'm out, the less I care about most JWs I knew for years, or even decades, unless it was someone I was close to, or actually saw some good in. Most of the ones that are dying off now mean little to nothing to me...especially elders and Bethel lifers. I'm either an insensitive, heartless clod, or - I'm learning to put it all behind me, and move on with a new life. Not sure yet...
I have been in many congregations. Although the elder bodies of some are much more liberal than others they all have one thing in common: In committee matters and promotions they are liberal with their own children and MUCH more strict with "the fatherless boy".
One thing I forgot to mention is that I've heard from many different people that the elders in Spanish congregations (at least here in California) tend to be more dogmatic and controlling then compared to English. I don't have any firsthand experience of this, but it does seem to be a reoccurring theme from the people I've talked to.
My KH was fairly conservative. Many were the product of WWII and Stalinist oppressions and have lacked emotion or compassion to others. Their attitude was that everyone has to tough it up and they saw themselves as martyrs for the Truth. Even if someone had died, there was never kind words to cheer you up. Many of these men were extremely totalitarian and controlling, and were not educated. They could be a great addition to be a prison guard they once were thrown in.
When I lived in the capital city, the JWs were a bit different as they were product of urban life and sometimes they like to go out to eat or dance, and were generally liberal. I knew elder who loved hockey and was going to his favorite game all the time. They did not suffer with the mentality of self-sacrifice as did elders who were living in the mining regions. I also recall many their women (wife or mothers) were kind, they gave kids candies, they talked to nicely to everyone, and asked about your grades. They were classy and product of the upbringing in the Hapsburg monarchy or interwar republic.
The area you live in can make a difference as to how the elders might be. If a body has some college educated ones on it, you might tend to be more intelligent and reasonable.
My First Congregation- A couple conservative hard cores that really ran the show that were surrounded by useless Yes men. The so called supporting elders were usually first generation converts which seemed odd. I guess lonely weidos like the power. I think as a whole the congregation really doubted the sincerity of the elders and no one wanted in the club. The joke really was on them. They dfed an entire generation of kids and now this congregation that to merge with another one due to skrinkage.
There was one particular elder that couldn’t go a single meeting without making notice of one of the batshit crazy doctrines of the WTS. ( Blood, dfing, GB ) . I actually don’t think he really know anything about the bible outside of WTS propaganda. He really scared me.
My Second Congregation- Small rural congregation. Head elder was a drunk and the rest were doing their mission work. Six months to a year in and leave. Most were single and the prospects of getting laid were slim to none. Pretty liberal bunch though. Once they realized you were only there for family reasons they just left you alone. Once they realized you had a pretty good theological grasp of the bible anything bible related was kind of avoided. I think there was a warning about me placed in my new congregation about not studying the bible with me.
One of the elders actually had his 12 year old daughter enrolled in dance and figure skating. I thought that was kind of weird. Once we were having a social and one of the elders ( I think accidently ) referred to Baptist youth group as “ those Christian kids “. There was a bottle drive in the neighbourhood earlier that day. Too funny.
I just came from a congregation with a hard assed elder body. One alpha male who needs to prove something I guess. The other elders fall in line to his demands and life was hell in that congregation. Despite this I was still able to make progress in my fade.
The elders where I am at now seem to be more laid back, so far.
2 of them are very weathy and never seem to be around always going on vacation. Another elder misses a lot of meetings for work and that seems to be ok.
So my missing meetings shouldn't be an issue.