Please Share your Experiences of Abusive Judicial Committee Meetings

by flipper 29 Replies latest jw friends

  • lookingnow25

    My only JC meeting was for a "minor" offense. It was relatively painless but I remember this quote from the "head" of the JC. After sweating in the hallway for 20 minutes I was called back in and told.

    "It is the decision of this committee to show mercy..."

    I was put on private reproof. I felt lucky but could never figure out how it was their right to "show mercy".


  • penny2

    Although I wasn't disfellowshipped, I was so traumatised by my JC - I vowed if I never did anything "wrong" again, I wouldn't confess or get hauled before a JC.

    Well, I did "fall into temptation" again but stuck to my plan. I just felt like a bad person for years and thought I would die in Armageddon.

    That was many years ago and I'm over it now but I feel for the young ones who might be going through similar now.


  • drew sagan
    drew sagan

    Me and my wife had not gone to the Kingdom Hall for many months until we were called to a JC. The reason being is that a certain family member informed the elders that we had joined the YMCA. If it had not been for this I am sure we would have been left alone.

    So what can you expect to happen at your JC? Before you go ask yourself these questions:

    - Do the Elders personally view me in favorable or unfavorable terms?
    - Have I confirmed to the Elders (or any JW) that I indeed did break a Watchtower rule that can bring about DF?
    - How long has it been since I have gone to the meetings?
    - Are there other people bringing charges against me?

    In my own personal case, the Elders had a very unfavorable opinion of me because I had a few conversations with them in which I discussed my doubts that it was 'the truth'. I also had stopped going to meetings for months. These things still weren't enough to bring charges against me, but when the YMCA thing came out they had what they wanted. In the case of my wife the Elders were particularly peeved that she still had contact with her family while at the same time 'breaking the rules'. During the 2nd JC (which took place after I had DA'd myself, but my wife did not) one Elder repeatedly said that my wife shouldn't think that she could hang on just so she could "talk with Mom and Dad and her sister'.

    We got such poor treatment mostly because we scared them. Since I know what they said after I left the room (hint hint) I can tell you that they were very afraid. Fear breeds anger, and that guided our treatment in the JC. Maybe someday I will get a transcript.

    Unless you decided to bend and twist to everything they want from you, expect an uphill battle. The stronger more stubborn men on the JC will force the more timid and less judgement over to their side. At the end of the day I was able to come out of the JC without being DF'd but knew that it would eventually happen, so I decided to DA. My wife on the other hand decided to let the Elders drop the ax on her rather that leave voluntarily.

    Sometimes people read stories such as mine and get really scared and worked up about their JC. NOT ALL JC MEETINGS ARE LIKE THIS ONE! If you answer the questions I listed above differently that I did you may have a different experience. A JC is not the end all. I could have avoided DF if I made changes to my lifestyle, like moving to a new congregation, attend meetings for a few months, then fade again never telling those new Elders any of my doubts. That had a very good chance of working but I had no desire to waste my time any longer in the JW system.

    So realize that every case is different. Make decisions based upon what you are comfortable with and hope for the best.

  • Mary

    I've never been before the Three-Man Kangaroo Court, but I was threatened 'unofficially' with just two elders there. My offense was: swearing (ya, I know---big surprise there eh?)

    Ya, I promised I'd try and "improve" (which I never did), blah, blah, blah. There are numerous issues the elders call a JC for: adultery, fornication, apostasy, blood, etc., but holy Christ they made me feel like I was right up there with Judas Iscariot. In hindsight it was truly pathetic, because the two dweebs that met with me were no saints themselves: One was a borderline alcoholic and the other one was banging one of the sisters in the Hall who was half his age. Hmmmmm......maybe it's just me, but committing adultery with another married person in the congregation seems to be a trifle more serious than my swearing, I'd say.

    I was also always getting my ass hauled in the back room for a "little chat" about my "views" and my "questions". I should keep my concerns about any doctrinal issues "to myself" and I should just "wait on Jehovah" to "clarify things." I'm pretty sure that the only reason I never got DF'd was because I had pu-lenty on the elders and they knew me well enough to know that if they tried to disfellowship me, I would write a letter to everyone in the congregation outlining where all the bodies were buried. And that's something I know they wished to avoid so they just let me fade.

  • CandleLight

    Growing up a JW I have to say I had my share of Judical comittees... The ones I remember as a teen were humiliating. Nothing like a teenage girl have to go into detail about her indecresions with three middle age elders. They were asking such specifics, I felt like I was abused by them. Left humiliated. Even though It was apparent I was remorseful, cause I was an elder's daughter, and others invovled, and example had to be set. The story of my life I am afraid.

    As for the one for Apostacy. Well, That one never happened. We refused to attend their tribunal. They were furious. We spoke with two elders who went back to the PO and within 40 minutes they asked for a meeting. When we said no, the PO was actually sreaming on the telephone. They were so thrown off, they had no idea what to do with us. So of course they wrote the society. In the meantime marked us in the Congregation. That is the last we heard until the night of our announcement. My husband happened to call the PO and find out what the society said.. "Well, they said you have disassociated yourselves by your actions." When asked when the announcement would be, cause I had JW family.. they curtiously replied. "tonight". Which was a whole 30 minutes away. These were people I had known for 15 years, and I could hardly recognise them. But it gets better.

    We decided we wanted to hear our own announcement. So we went to the KH. We were barred from entering. Told we were no longer members and that it was a business meeting. Well from the crazed look in the elders eyes, and the hate I saw, it just sealed my decision. This is not God's house.

    I shortened a long story... sometime I'll have to share some of the rest. But reading here I have to say. Do not be afraid. Your life will NOT end when you get out. Sure, it will be difficult for a while... kinda like the pain of removing a thorn.. hurts while it comes out, but heals up afterwards. Never thought I could have done what I did, Lost my family and friends. But took a stand for truth, and it feels wonderful. God replaces the holes in our life with beautiful things and people, no fakes here anymore. Fear stifles us, and makes us linger in situations we should have gotton ourselves out of a long time ago. Throw off the chains! Following Jesus is free.



  • dinah

    Mary, I admire you.

    My only regret is that I was just a scared kid when mine happened. I wish I could have a "do-over" and let them face me as an adult. I could eat elders for breakfast now. There was one elder on my committee that I dearly loved, and loved him until he died about 5 years ago. I'm sure he thought I would just '"do my time" and come back.

    The whole JC arragement is absurd. Three men that probably deserve their own committee, if anyone bothered to check. Three men can decide whether to extend "mercy" or a death sentence. The whole system is the perfect setting for abuse of power and raging egos.

  • dinah

    Welcome, Candlelight!

    Excellent first post, I must say!!

  • BreakingAway

    To be honest, it's still quite difficult to talk about some of these things.I was considered quite a loving elder, many of the friends actually requested (that is, called the PO) and asked for me to be one of the elders on the JC committee ! They knew I would be as fair as possible, to use the Bible and Mercy and Kindness and not enforce the JW letter of the law.I remember after we had disfellowshipped one young man that his former elder father came up to me and told me that his son told him how kind I had been to him on the committee and how much that meant to them.Hey, the kid honestly was a handful ,and a bit of a troublemaker, and deceptive, but I still wanted such experiences to be the least traumatic as they could be.That being said, I still look back with a measure of shame, of how I came to be in such an Org that does things like this to people.

    In one JC meeting with a single sister that had committed fornication an elder ( a complete and utter ass) felt the need to berate this sister ! Now keep in mind that this girl had already confessed ! Voluntarily approached the elders, and still this jerk had to reduce her to hysterical tears ! I stopped the proceedings, grabbed the PO who was also on the committee and told him that this is NOT the way things are to be done.Eventually,I'm happy to say, I played a significant role in getting this asshat of an elder removed !

    I've also seen shady things take place.One young man who was already under reproof for fornication personally confessed to me that he had committed fornication hundreds of times during this period.But an elder who liked him pulled some strings and saw to it that he didn't get disfellowshipped but public reproof instead.I have little doubt that if it was anyone else that they would have df'd them.He also covered for his SIL who got herself in trouble but played it down so that she wouldn't get df'd.The PO even told me that he felt quite sure that more took place than was admitted but she was an elders daughter in addition to having her elder BIL go to bat for her.She was the type of person that was always self-righteously pointing the finger at others and turning them in.Eventually she did it again and got df'd anyway ! I do hope that the experience has changed her for the better though and not to judge others in such a manner.It was experiences like these that really started to get my wheels turning and to see that these aren't people that are "guided" ; these are people who are just people and that the "spiritual paradise" is a complete sham.

    I think there is value in recounting experiences like this so that those who went through similar things can realize that they're not alone.And that even those who once sat on such committees not only feel bad about what happened but would no longer support such an "arrangement".

  • CoonDawg

    Well, I was never called into a JC to be disfellowshipped, but I did have one gang up on me about, of all things, my choice in music. My dad was there too. They actually tried to get all over me because I was into the 80's hair bands. They tried to tell me that it was bad because of those that sang it. I asked what I was supposed to listen to and they said "classical". I countered by telling them how Mozart was a philanderer and others were drug addicted, so where was the difference with my rock & roll bands? They said I should listen to Kingdom Melodies. I said that was crap. I didn't mind playing them when I was part of a small band...(I played clarinet) but I didn't enjoy listening to others play them. They ran out of steam and threatened me with removal from sound board duties. I told them that was fine, I had plenty to keep busy with anyhow.

    Two of those jack-holes ended up being ones who covered over my daughter's sexual abuse my a member of their congregation.

    It should have been my first clue when a Plumber and a farmer thought they were somehow qualified to sit in judgement of others.

    Of course the other time in front of a JC was for my first wife. She and another elder were kind of messing around. Oh, neither ever admitted to having a sexual affair, but then why would they? I had judicial meetings on and off about the situation for nearly two years. Eventually, I ended up the bad guy because I call the offending (ex) elder a son of a bitch. I was a wronged party and they were on my case like I was the bad guy. Couldn't beleive it. That's when I began my fade. I told the elders (the same in the aforementioned story about meeting them on one of their surprise "shepherding calls" when I met them armed to the teeth) that unless they were forming a committee to DF me, I wasn't interested in attending any more of their elder's meetings - for shepherding or otherwise. I told them to leave me the hell alone, than you very much.

  • undercover

    The most abusive that I remember, I was only a witness to a "sin". Instead of 3 elders, it was 5. And it was 1 good cop, 4 bad cops. They really harrassed the "accused" while I was in there. And they didn't have 2 witnesses, they had over a dozen...and they brought every one in one at a time and heard them all out. If the elders were as hard on that person through each testimony as they were during mine, then it was an excruciating experience for them.

    I'm a little embarrased about my involvement because at the time, I really wanted the person "on trial" to get busted good, so I was a willing participant and held nothing back about what I knew they did. To this day, I still don't feel bad for the person so much, they were a sorry human being and deserved every bit of shit handed to them, but I feel bad about allowing myself to be used in the setting of judge and jury by these abusive elders.

    The only other JC cases that I was in, the elders were pretty calm and fair to be honest about it. But then, I was well liked and an MS and they saw a future for me as an elder. I can understand how the "good ole boy" network works in the KH halls after reading how many others who weren't "privileged" enough to be in that network to some degree were treated and abused.

    I got more flak in the private, "can we see you in the back for a moment" meetings. It seems like every couple of months, I was being counseled about grooming, music, associations, choice of car, field service hours. I even got a back room talking to about the color of my tie one time. One elder used to go around and grab our hair...if he could get a good handful, he told us to go get a haircut.

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