"Loose Conduct" , what is the true definition?

by jefferywhat 20 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • jefferywhat

    This term was actually one of the reasons I have started looking into the WTBS, I must be honest and say Im am still looking objectively, so please dont avalanche my question.

    I am in search for truth!!

    Does anyone know the actual root meaning of the word a·sel´gei·a?

    The WT reads "One might assume that [loose conduct] (from the Greek word a·sel´gei·a) refers to conduct that is immoral but in a minor or not so serious way. This, however, is not the case according to the available evidence in Scripture and also in the ancient secular Greek writings in which this word appears. It is not limited to acts of sexual immorality. And, rather than relating to bad conduct of a somewhat petty or minor nature, it apparently describes acts that reflect a brazen attitude, one that betrays disrespect, disregard or even contempt for standards, laws and authority. The ‘looseness' of the conduct, therefore, is not due principally to weakness but results from an attitude of disrespect, insolence or shamelessness." ("Questions from Readers: What does the expression 'loose conduct' as found at Galatians 5:19 mean?". (September 15, 1973). Watchtower, p. 574)

    The comment above has no scriptural or secular references.

    Anyone have firm facts on this?


  • drew sagan
    drew sagan

    Welcome to the forum Jeffery

    This resource may be of assistance to you:

    Greek Lexicon # 766

    I think it is interesting to not that while the Watchtower will typcially define the term in referance to sexual conduct when discussing the texts in which the words appear, in a few instances (as you pointed out) they leave it open ended. Something which seems to be influenced by the need to justifiy internal policies. That said, the fact that the Watchtower doesn't actually site referances for the things stated in the article you proved prove little in the way of malicious intent IMO. I think it simply is a reflection of the Watchtowers authoritative attitue. It most likely is something borrowed from another scholarly work they have sitting on the shelves in brooklyn.

    I'm wondering exaclty why this is such an issue for you. Perhaps you could share?

  • WTWizard

    In fact that is the defintion in the Hindsight book. Loose conduct is an attitude of defiance of authority, brazen disregard of it, and can be seen when people are in a festive mood. There was no mention about sexual conduct that is borderline. I have heard hounders misquote that definition as meaning it's when you stop short of actual fornication but do things that are borderline. That is NOT loose conduct! Loose conduct is often people that are rowdy, inclined to do things just because no one can tell them what to do, and often includes acts of sexual immorality.

    Loose conduct is not in itself absolutely immoral. However, people are more inclined to do things that are going to affect themselves in a negative way when engaging in loose conduct. That includes drinking and driving, getting drunk at a bad time, using drugs, smoking, sex without any regard for its proper position (which is a married couple or one that is seriously thinking of marriage, not just casual sex), and the like. While such acts are often stupid and have bad consequences (accidents, pregnancy, ruining one's health, jail time for DWI, and the like), I do not classify loose conduct as wicked. People are meant to have fun. And, if their jobs and school are stagnant, that is the root cause of loose conduct. If people are stimulated at work and school, loose conduct is rare to non-existent.

    In fact, loose conduct is always a "kick act". People doing loose conduct are almost always seeking kicks. It only causes problems when acts of loose conduct result in ruined health or damage to people and their property, or gambling beyond their means. With these stipulations in mind, I see nothing wrong with people having a wild party from time to time, getting drunk (never drink and drive, however), and just enjoying life. And, perhaps if our leaders will just get their damn noses out of our business and let us have stimulating work and school, loose conduct would become an endangered species.

    Note that the Watchtower Society sets itself up for loose conduct acts. The rules are too strict, making contempt for authority a given. They have the most stagnant lifestyle on the planet. Their jobs are stagnation traps. The field misery is meaningless to all but the most mentally retarded. There is never allowance for fun. That is what sets up the groundwork for loose conduct. If people cannot find stimulation within the congregation, they are going to seek it in kicks. No wonder loose conduct is such a problem in the congregation.

    Note that it does not help to provide one definition, and then blatantly contradict it within the very next month. The above definition came straight from the Hindsight book and may not be the one that Webster provides.

  • Leolaia

    "In many ways aselgeia is the ugliest word in the list of NT sins. It occurs quite frequently (Mark 7:22, II Cor. 12:21; Gal. 5:19; Eph. 4:19; I Pet. 4:3; Jude 4; Rom. 13:13; II Pet. 2:2, 7, 18). The AV varies between 'lasciviousness' and 'wantonness'. The RSV consistently prefers 'licentiousness'. Moffatt regularly translates it 'sensuality'. To some extent all these translations fail to give the one essential characteristic of aselgeia.

    "Let us look first at some of the classical and Christian definitions of it. It is used by Plato in the sense of 'imprudence'. It is defined by a late writer as 'preparedness for every pleasure'. It is defined by Basil as 'a disposition of the soul which does not possess and cannot bear the pain of discipline'. It is described as 'the spirit which knows no restraints and which dares whatever caprice and wanton insolence suggest'. It is Lightfoot who seizes on the essential quality of aselgeia. He says that a man may be 'unclean' (akathartos) and hide his sin, but the man who is aselges (the adjective) shocks public decency. Here is the very essence of aselgeia; the man in whose soul aselgeia dwells is so much in the grip of sin, so much under its domination, that he does not care what people say or think so long as he can gratify his evil desire. He is the man who is lost to shame. Most men have enough decency left to seek to hide their sin, but the aselges is long past that. He will be guilty of any outrageous conduct, and care for nothing to satisfy his desires. He is like a drug-taker. At first the drug-taker will indulge secretly and will try to conceal the fact that he takes drugs at all. In the end he will whine and grovel and beg and beseech and implore completely without restraint and completely without shame, because the drug has so mastered him...

    "It is perhaps Josephus who gives us the flavour of the meaning of aselgeia best of all. He couples it with mania, 'madness', and he declares that that was the sin of Jezebel when she erected a shrine of Baal in the Holy City, the very city of God. Such an act was a shocking outrage which defied all decency and flaunted all public opinion. Aselgeia is a grim word. It is the wanton insolence that is lost to shame. It is a grim commentary on human nature that a man can be so mastered by sin that in the end he loses even shame" (William Barclay, New Testament Words, 2000, pp. 60-62).

  • Open mind
    Open mind

    As a practical matter, "loose conduct" can be used as an amorphous catch-all to DF someone who is defying the will of the elders.

    "a brazen attitude, one that betrays disrespect, disregard or even contempt for standards, laws and authority."

    Sounds fairly subjective to me.

    Open Mind

  • minimus

    All acts that reflect a brazen attitude, not restricted to sexual things.

  • nvrgnbk

    As a practical matter, "loose conduct" can be used as an amorphous catch-all to DF someone who is defying the will of the elders.

    That was my observation as an elder as well.

    We had a PO that always called "loose conduct" when he was frustrated that there was nothing concrete to pin on a "wrongdoer".

  • Open mind
    Open mind

    This is why if someone is going to try "playing the game" of meeting with the elders and not get DFed they must be careful of their attitude. If a person comes off like "you can't DF me because you don't have any proof that I did X, Y & Z"! well, it's not that cut and dried. If you verbally "flip the bird" to the elders, they can DF you just for your attitude if they're really having a bad hair day.

    It's all part of the loving "arrangement", don't you see?

    Open Mind

  • jefferywhat

    Thank you all for your replies.

    Drew, I found the link most helpful.

    And in answer to your question, the reason it is such an issue is it seems quite unjust and draconian and completely opposed to the underlying theory of the christian judicial process.

    I understand if someone sits in the meeting and says f#@k you Mr Elder, they obviously want the proceeding to close up pronto, but if you have sound argument it should be different.

    In a congregation I was in few years ago ( I have mentioned this on the forum previously) a couple on the BOE were on a power trip and were PRing at a whim and deleting appointment men.

    They came after me and put forward a reason why I didnt qualify, it was false and unprovable and I appealed and "won".

    But what shocked me, as this was the first time I had been in trouble( baptized at 12, pioneering at 15, bethel at 19, I was a goodie goodie) was, a) the reactions of my associates. b) the attitude of the particular elder( not all were foolish, hence my belief that the process does work)

    A lot of people that used to look up to me started to criticize the fact that I was disagreeing with the elders, didnt matter if they were right, "just agree with them and it will be over quickly" and the elders involved would get this wry smile on their face when I talked of appeal.

    So it leads me to this conclusion: The RF( I learned that term here and I love it) give fraudulent elders a massive amount of authority, more than they are scripturally entitled, and have done for decades by there attitude of just rolling over and agreeing and you see this with the weak argumentation they put forward whilst expecting to "win" and some actually believe that they are still appointed by holy spirit and will be princess in the new world. They are like prince charles waiting for the "mother" to die so they can slip onto the throne.

    BUT, if you dare confront or intelligently argue a decision, even about yourself, its rebellious, if you get passionate, its loose conduct. it just winds me up as it seems so fleshly. The idea of the committee is not to judge you, no elder has the scriptural right or authority to judge the members of the cong, it is the job of the JC to try to ascertain what Jehovahs has judged and to act accordingly, that is a very hard job and if an individual is passionate or if the elders are idiots, how do we know Jehovah has judged them adversely.

    I realised pretty early in my JC, that they had made up their mind already, and so I stuck to that point alone. As with all judicial process, the end does not justify the means and so I hammered the point on prejudging, it was this that got the decision overturned as the branch agreed, I was prejudged, but if I had of lost my temper or got a bit sarcastic ( the whole thing took 9 months and untold meetings) they could of thrown the "loose conduct" charge at me and that would of been two charges to face in an appeal committee. So I have an issue with it because I know how much power it gives dodgy elders and its build on the premise of a perfect judicial process.

    I also think with these man made rules( this should probably be the subject of a new thread) they designed to maintain power, alone. When I worked in the medical profession, you would have about 30% of patients who would rely on "doctors orders" absolutely,they would believe without doubt, 60 % who would listen and do, but never have a strong opinion for or against, they just did it, and 10% who would challenge, get second opinions, do research and come back and question your decision. Sound familiar?

    The first 30% were held up as fine examples because of their "patient compliance" and it was this group that gives medical professionals the authority over the remaining groups.

    If you have read the book or seen the movie NEVER ENDING STORY, you will understand the meaning of "The Nothingness" ( I saw it when I was a kid). I think the WTBS is scared of the growing nothingness and so they are forced to create more rules in order to establish and exercise authority, loose conduct is one of these.

  • monophonic

    exactly what i was going to say. loose conduct is mostly a way for a JC to loosely throw a judgment @ ya...people assume it's sexual, but they use it for brazen attitude. example, you could get busted for loose conduct for watching an r-rated movie and if they elders counsel you on it and you're like, wtf? you're all out of your minds you freaks. that would be loose conduct.

    loose conduct is the guantanamo bay of the wtbts.

    sexually, if i remember right, you gotta touch 'down there' and maybe penetrate.....i think touching breastesess is uncleaness.....but correct me if i'm wrong.

    men's breastesess, a-ok.

  • jefferywhat

    hey monophonic,

    The current layers are as follows.

    Breasts, touching genitals=unclean
    "deliberate manipulation of the genitals"= pornea

    So even the jDub rub is pornea these days!! Through two pair of underpants and a two pairs of jeans!!!!

  • drew sagan
    drew sagan
    And in answer to your question, the reason it is such an issue is it seems quite unjust and draconian and completely opposed to the underlying theory of the christian judicial process.

    if there even is supposed to be a theory of Christian judicial process

    If you want to study this subject deeper I would suggest looking into the context of verses used to support the judicial comittee process. Leolaia has started a number of really good topics on the subject and i'm sure she'll be able to provide a link to them. One I can think of is this post:


  • bigwilly
  • Pistoff

    Loose conduct is the ever changing catch all category that elders can use to kick your sorry arse out of the promised land.

    It assumes you are properly conditioned to be afraid of your own biological impulses and obsessed with them at the same time.

    It is not too far removed from the Catholic view of sex and desire; it if feels good, it is most likely wrong.

    It also implies that elders, CO's and the peripatetic GB deserve your respect as authority figures; seeing how they have handled the blood issue, pedophiles, and (add your own favorite
    idiotic teaching here) they deserve NO RESPECT.

    Makes it hard to be properly disrespectful, when they themselves have committed more grievous sins than any of us here have dreamed of.

    The rape of children, silencing of parents and lying to the rank and file about it all makes you groping your sweetie a little tame, wouldn't you say?

  • LongHairGal

    The whole point of the use of the label "Loose Conduct" is simply to obscure the REAL reason that a person is either DF'd or DA'd.

    They would rather people believe the person is out because of some sexual sin. That way nobody will be curious because it will be embarrassing.

    What they do NOT want is for people knowing that the person left because something is wrong with the religion. We will never know how many people were disfellowshipped or walked away over the years because of the policies and teachings of the religion.

    This is what they fear and is therefore the reason for the deception.


  • Leolaia

    As everyone has observed, it is a misuse of the term to use it as a "catch-all category" when it has a rather clear meaning. Someone who engages in petting with his unmarried girlfriend in private and is sorry about it when caught is NOT guilty of aselgeia in the biblical sense. Not by a long shot. But consider this.... during the JW service meeting, a JW elder and his wife begin making out in their seats in front of everyone, then the brother unzips his pants and they start doing it right there -- right in the middle of the service meeting. Now, they are married, and there is nothing wrong with a husband and wife having sex, so the act itself is not "sexual immorality", but doing it in front of everyone in the kingdom hall is shocking and they do it without any shame -- in fact, the point of it is to shock everyone by acting so lewd in such a place. That is aselgeia.

  • JK666

    If you want to know exactly the definition of loose conduct by Jehovah's Witnesses, I will provide quotes from the "Pay Attention" book. This is a manual that is only available to JW elders, and not to the rest of the congregation.

    Page 93

    "Loose conduct is a shocking, flagrant disregard for Jehovah's moral standards. It may include the willful practice of heavy petting or fondling of breasts. The nature, circumstances, and actual extent of what has occurred may indicate loose conduct, which would require judicial action."

    Page 96:

    "Loose conduct. Term not restricted to sexual immorality."

    Page 100:

    "If a person who has been marked continues his wrongful course in brazen defiance of Christian standards, adamantly rejecting loving Scriptural counsel, judicial action may be taken if the situation becomes scandalous loose conduct."

    I hope that this is of help to you.


  • 5go

    Loose Conduct = Anything we aren't comfortable with you doing.

  • south african beef
    south african beef

    Haven't had time to read all of the posts here (sorry) but just to let you know that I was df'ed for the infamous 'loose conduct'.


  • Dagney
    If a person who has been marked continues his wrongful course in brazen defiance of Christian standards, adamantly rejecting loving Scriptural counsel, judicial action may be taken if the situation becomes scandalous loose conduct."

    Ahh...interesting. *sigh* I knew it was a catch all, but this explains how they rule anyway they want, without consistency.

    Thanks for posting that.

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