Is the "marking" policy of the Society defunct or still officially used?

by yaddayadda 27 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • LoverOfTruth

    I think my family was marked by some of the stuffy JWs.

    I allowed my children to bring homework and storybooks to the meetings. If they were tired, they were permitted to sleep. My boys were permitted to wear their hair longer than the standard JW style when they were teenagers.

    For some reason, I still had a large group of sisters who thoroughy enjoyed my viewpoints on raising children. Unfortunatly their husbands pulled my husband aside telling him to keep me in line.

  • yknot
    yknot (1981 -present)

    I am banned from FS

    Never recieved KMs

    I have already been deemed unworthy of kool-aid WT


  • yaddayadda

    Thanks, AlltimeJeff I would love to see a scan of the pages in the new Organised book that discuss marking. Care to post a scan?

    The Society have never said it's wrong to lift weights, geez. Watchtower Headquarters even has a little gym.

  • Dagney

    (Get out the Sharpie...marking is still used.)

    I hear that I was marked, apparently for not going to meetings, by an elder, long time family friend. He instructed his family and some of my family to "mark me." I guess I was "unmarked" for a few days last month for a family funeral. Everybody was very lovey dovey, including him.

    The only official use I experienced was at a congregation level. The PO gave a talk to the congregation regarding a couple who had a lot of trouble, and was causing trouble. I asked the PO what the deal was, (I remember having a question after looking up the info in the literature), since I was under the impression it was more of a personal decision. He said in this particular case, the BOE wanted to advise the congregation of a problem that seemed to be growing.

  • veradico

    During the few months my sister and I were still in but our friends had left, I got to hear a marking talk. The talk was given during the congregation's "special needs" portion of the TMS meeting. In the marking talk (given by my uncle, by the way) they mentioned just about everything they knew about what my friends and I were questioning (but they didn't yet know I was part of, and in fact playing a central role in, the questioning). If anyone had been tainted by our apostate thoughts, they would mark and shun us. But everyone else would just be puzzled.

  • Cheetos

    can someone does marking differ from shunning?

    You can greet them but you can not have a spiritually good time with them, (weird).

    How is that for love Verginia.

  • fresia

    I think it is a personal thing. For one thing there is a certain so called christian women I have personally marked to steer clear of, that being because she is a busy body, gossip and trouble maker. I have nothing to do with her, so scriptually I can mark her as not good association. I find it amazing that you can have a really good worldy friend and told not to associate because they are not JW, I tell you this friend I would trust over some in the congregation any day.

  • blondie

    jws are most often marked for "marrying out of the truth." A general talk on the subject is given at the service meeting. Those who know the business of others in the congregation are aware of who they are and shun them socially outside the kh. No names are announced and each individual jw supposed decides to mark them but they better do what the elders say. Unlike df'ing in is ambiguous with a timeframe.

    *** w99 7/15 pp. 29-31 Questions From Readers

    **Is the ‘marking’ mentioned at 2 Thessalonians 3:14 a formal congregational process, or is it something that Christians individually do in avoiding unruly ones?

    What the apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians indicates that the congregation elders have a clear role in such ‘marking.’ However, individual Christians thereafter follow through, doing so with spiritual objectives in mind. We can best appreciate this by considering Paul’s counsel in its original setting.

    Paul helped to establish the Thessalonian congregation, aiding men and women to become believers. (Acts 17:1-4) Later he wrote from Corinth to commend and encourage them. Paul offered needed counsel too. He urged them ‘to live quietly, to mind their own business, and to work with their hands.’ Some were not acting that way, so Paul added: "We exhort you, brothers, admonish the disorderly, speak consolingly to the depressed souls, support the weak." Clearly, there were "disorderly" ones among them who needed counsel.—1 Thessalonians 1:2-10; 4:11; 5:14.

    Some months later, Paul wrote his second letter to the Thessalonians, with additional comments about Jesus’ future presence. Paul also gave further guidance about how to deal with disorderly ones who were ‘not working but were meddling with what did not concern them.’ Their actions were contrary both to Paul’s example as a hard worker and to his clear order about working to support oneself. (2 Thessalonians 3:7-12) Paul directed that certain steps be taken. These steps came after what the elders had already done in admonishing or counseling the disorderly. Paul wrote:

    "Now we are giving you orders, brothers, . . . to withdraw from every brother walking disorderly and not according to the tradition you received from us. For your part, brothers, do not give up in doing right. But if anyone is not obedient to our word through this letter, keep this one marked, stop associating with him, that he may become ashamed. And yet do not be considering him as an enemy, but continue admonishing him as a brother."—2 Thessalonians 3:6, 13-15.

    So the further steps included withdrawing from the disorderly ones, marking them, stopping association with them, yet admonishing them as brothers. What would lead the members of the congregation to take those steps? As a help to clarify this, let us identify three situations that Paul was not focusing on here.

    1. We know that Christians are imperfect and have failings. Still, love is a mark of true Christianity, calling on us to be understanding and forgiving of others’ mistakes. For example, a Christian might have a rare outburst of anger, as occurred between Barnabas and Paul. (Acts 15:36-40) Or because of tiredness, one may speak harsh and cutting words. In such instances, by manifesting love and applying Bible counsel, we can cover over the error, continuing to live, associate, and work with our fellow Christian. (Matthew 5:23-25; 6:14; 7:1-5; 1 Peter 4:8) Clearly, failings of this sort were not what Paul was dealing with in 2 Thessalonians.

    2. Paul was not addressing a situation in which a Christian personally chooses to limit association with another whose ways or attitudes are not good—for example, one who seems excessively focused on recreation or on material things. Or a parent may limit his child’s association with youngsters who disregard parental authority, play in a rough or dangerous way, or do not take Christianity seriously. Such are simply personal decisions in line with what we read at Proverbs 13:20: "He that is walking with wise persons will become wise, but he that is having dealings with the stupid ones will fare badly."—Compare 1 Corinthians 15:33.

    3. On quite a different scale of gravity, Paul wrote to the Corinthians about one who practices gross sin and is not repentant. Such unrepentant sinners had to be excluded from the congregation. The "wicked" man had to be handed over to Satan, as it were. Thereafter, loyal Christians were not to mix with such wicked ones; the apostle John urged Christians not even to greet them. (1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 John 9-11) This, however, does not fit the counsel of 2 Thessalonians 3:14 either.

    Different from the above three situations is that involving "disorderly" ones as discussed in 2 Thessalonians. Paul wrote that these were still ‘brothers,’ to be admonished and treated as such. Thus, the problem with the "disorderly" brothers was neither on the level of a mere personal matter between Christians nor of sufficient seriousness that congregation elders had to step in with a disfellowshipping action, as Paul did in connection with the immoral situation in Corinth. The "disorderly" ones were not guilty of grave sin, as was the man disfellowshipped in Corinth.

    The "disorderly" ones in Thessalonica were guilty of significant deviations from Christianity. They would not work, whether because they thought Christ’s return was imminent or because they were lazy. Further, they were causing significant disturbance by ‘meddling with what did not concern them.’ Likely the congregation elders had repeatedly counseled them, in line with Paul’s advice in his first letter and with other divine advice. (Proverbs 6:6-11; 10:4, 5; 12:11, 24; 24:30-34) Still they persisted in a course that reflected badly on the congregation and that could spread to other Christians. So the Christian elder Paul, without naming the individuals, publicly called attention to their disorderliness, exposing their erroneous course.

    He also let the congregation know that it would be appropriate for them as individual Christians to ‘mark’ the disorderly. This implied that individuals should take note of those whose actions corresponded to the course about which the congregation was publicly alerted. Paul advised that they "withdraw from every brother walking disorderly." That certainly could not mean completely shunning such a person, for they were to "continue admonishing him as a brother." They would continue to have Christian contact at the meetings and perhaps in the ministry. They could hope that their brother would respond to admonition and abandon his disturbing ways.

    In what sense would they "withdraw" from him? Evidently, this was in a social context. (Compare Galatians 2:12.) Their ceasing to have social dealings and recreation with him might show him that principled people disliked his ways. Even if he did not get ashamed and change, at least others would be less likely to learn his ways and become like him. At the same time, these individual Christians should concentrate on the positive. Paul advised them: "For your part, brothers, do not give up in doing right."—2 Thessalonians 3:13.

    Clearly, this apostolic counsel is no basis for looking down on or judging our brothers who make some minor slip or error. Instead, its objective is to help one who takes a disturbing course that significantly conflicts with Christianity.

    Paul did not lay down detailed rules as if trying to create a complicated procedure. But it is plain that the elders should first counsel and try to help a disorderly one. If they do not succeed and the person persists in a way that is disturbing and that has the potential for spreading, they may conclude that the congregation should be put on the alert. They can arrange for a talk on why such disorderliness is to be avoided. They will not mention names, but their warning talk will help to protect the congregation because responsive ones will take extra care to limit social activities with any who clearly display such disorderliness.

    Hopefully, in time the disorderly one will be ashamed of his ways and will be moved to change. As the elders and others in the congregation see the change, they can individually decide to end the limitation they have put on personally socializing with him.

    In summary, then: The congregation elders take the lead in offering help and counsel if someone is walking disorderly. If he does not see the error of his way but continues to be an unwholesome influence, the elders may warn the congregation by means of a talk that makes clear the Biblical view—be it of dating unbelievers, or whatever the improper course is. (1 Corinthians 7:39; 2 Corinthians 6:14) Christians in the congregation who are thus alerted can individually decide to limit any socializing with ones who clearly are pursuing a disorderly course but who are still brothers.


    The Greek word was used regarding soldiers who did not keep rank or follow discipline, as well as for truant students, those who skipped their school classes.



    Christian elders admonish the disorderly and yet view them as fellow believers

  • changeling

    Marking is alive and well but seldomly used.

    SirNose: The Society figured out in the mid 80's that the term "approved associate" could not refer to unbaptized ones, since they had not formally "associated" themselves.

    So, when a person begins publishing they make an announcement saying that "so and so is now an unbaptized publisher".

    To keep this one in line if he does something that a baptized publisher could be DF'd for, an announcement is made that: "so and so is no longer an unbaptized publisher".

    This person can be spoken to, to encourage him, but he is not welcome at social gatherings.

    This is not "marking". Marking applies only to baptized ones that fall out of line but fall short of a DFing offense.


  • tula
    I'm not sure what happened to the "unapproved associate" status. I think that was discontinued via lawsuit....

    Sir nose: could you supply a little more info on this aspect? Here, or a new post, or pm me would be fine. Thank you.

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