When I read the article "The Watchtower's Secret Manual for Elders" by Jason Barker , I realized how many times I personally have seen these directives in the "Pay Attention " book applied. I have outlined a eleven step process to show just how easy it is to be set up and discarded if you break ranks and go your own way.
If you don't have your copy of the "Pay Attention" book, you can easily download one by typing in your search engine box "PAY ATTENTION TO YOURSELVES AND TO ALL THE FLOCK" and you should find one in just seconds.
Also examined at length in Pay Attention... is the sin of apostasy. The Watchtower defines apostasy as "action taken against true worship of Jehovahor his established order
among his dedicated people" (Pay Attention..., p. 94, emphasis mine). This definition is significant: apostasy involves promoting religious teachings in opposition to the Watchtower and articulating any opinion that is critical of any action or position taken by the Society. Let us examine how the Society defines these two subcategories of apostasy.
I will just consider category two in this post.
The second subcategory, disrupting
"[Jehovah's] established order
among his dedicated people," is the most potent and controversial weapon in the Watchtower's disciplinary arsenal. Reinforcing its position that the accrual and retention of power is a divine mandate, the Society tolerates no "deliberate action disrupting the unity of the congregation
or undermining the confidence of the brothers in Jehovah's arrangement"
(Pay Attention..., p. 95). I have seen this method of getting rid of undesireables used over and over again. Here is how it works,
1. You finally decide to fade from the congregation, so you stop commenting, back off from field service, and start missing meetings.
2. You are soon marked as weak, and the local gossip mill (usually the sisters in the midweek service) are the ones who kick this process into high gear.
3. That famous "Brotherly Love" takes a nose dive, because it's based on performance, and you aren't performing, in fact you aren't doing anything at all.
4. The gossip mill now makes you a real topic in the car groups during those boring hours out in service. The Elders finally decide they should stop by and see you. ( The real purpose is to shake the bushes a little and see what you are up to)
5. The gossip mill soon finds out (Thru the Elders wifes) that the Elders have paid you a visit and didn't learn anything. You must be up to something, ( Marriage problems, something immoral, visiting those apostate sights on the internet, etc.) Gossip mill has a field day with these latest new developments.
6. You have now become " disruptive to the congregation's established order", Elders now visit you for a second time, to shake the bushes a little harder. They want to know if there is any truth to all the rumors.
7. You finally tell them, in confidence, that you have doubts about the organization, and the control they have on every thing you do. You feel boxed in, and don't like it, (or something similar). Their whole manner now changes toa defensive posture. You are definitely an " Independent Thinker". The Elders rush home and tell their wives,( they say they don't, but we all know they do) and they in turn pass this on to the sisters in the service groups. Isn't it wonderful, when these sisters have an inside connection to the pipeline.
8.The Elders are sure now that the unity of the congregation is threatened by all this "disruptive gossip" that you are the center of.( All the while, you may not even know any of this is going on.)
9. A committee is formed to bring peace and harmony back again to the congregation. Your independent thinking may lead to apostacy. All this gossip is tearing apart the harmony and unity of the God's loving brotherhood. You tell the Elders that you haven't talked to anyone in the congregation about how you feel, the only ones that you talked about it to was the Elders . The Elders tell you that it doesn't matter how the gossip started, it is disruptive and now they" are going to have to deal with it."
10. The next thing you know, you are disfellowshipped, and labeled an apostate. The gossip mill has even more juicy gossip to spread through out the circuit and the Elders have once again saved the loving brotherhood from those sneaky apostates.
11. When it's all said and done, you're left wondering "What the heck had just happened"? What did I do wrong? Your reputation is in ruins, your family and friends shun you, and nobody dares question the Elders decision or actions, for fear that they may be next. All very neat and tidy.
I have observed this same process used on Elders who fell out of favor with the circuit overseerer for one reason or another.
1. Circuit Overseerer brought in various outside Elders to supposedly "help out" the Elder body that he wanted removed.
2. The new Elders now gave special needs talks based on being loyal to Jehovah's organization on the issue of disfellowshipping.
More talks like these followed. It became obvious that there was friction between the Elders. The gossip mill worked overtime wondering what was going on with the elder body. The congregation became devided into two camps. Half for the new elders, and half for the local elders. Nobody had any idea what was going on.
3. These new Elders now notified the local Elder body, that they had been stripped of all priveliges by order of the Circuit Overseer, no reason was given as to why they were removed.
4. One of the Elders, that was replaced, was a "Mole" planted by the circuit overseer to spy on the replaced elders to find out what the local Elders were going to do, and then report what plans they were making. When the circuit overseer came, the "Mole" was given his privileges back. the rest of the Elders were not.
5. The whole congregation was in a state of "disruption" by the time the circuit overseer got back for his visit. Now he could come in and be "the hero" , and bring peace and unity back again to the congregation,and clean up the problem , with no one the wiser that he (the circuit overseer ) had been the one to start the whole problem in the first place. This neat and tidy deception backfired on the circuit overseer when a number of the replaced elders wrote the society and caused a fuss.
6. Two Elder bodies in two congregations were victims of this tactic, which eventually led to an investigation of the circuit overseer and a huge controversary in the whole circuit. Of course nothing was done to clean up this whole mess, and the circuit overseer moved on to the next assignment, leaving a trail of ruined lives as a calling card.
7. I can only imagine how many times this tactic is used, and how many lives have been ruined. Page 95 and page 97 in the "Pay Attention" book gives the basic grounds for this evil and distructive tactic. All this process of course is unknown by the average witness, so when it happens to him, he doesn't know what hit him. Sleep with one eye open all you JW lurkers on this site, because you could be next on the "gossip mills" menu!!!
Being actually guilty of any wrong doing has nothing to do with this neat little process, because its all about "Control" and whether you are supporting the congregation. The above techniques are used against anyone who may talk about why they are no longer wanting to associate with the congregation.
The Watchtower has previously stated that the primary characteristic in any apostate is the desire for "independent thinking," a trait every dedicated Witness is required to eradicate in humble subjection to "the faithful and discreet slave" in Brooklyn (Watchtower, November 1, 1987, pp. 19-20). Questioning or criticizing any teaching by the Society
or one of its representatives constitutes "independent thinking"
January 15, 1983, p. 27). The Society reinforces its ban on any critical thinking by stating that individuals may be disfellowshipped for any action that "may involve or lead to apostasy"
p. 95, emphasis mine); i.e., a Witness may be disfellowshipped for apostasy even if that person has not rebelled against Watchtower teachings! This is certainly a position of which the Society desires its critics to remain in ignorance.
Most threatening of all sins to the Society is apostasy, which can "contaminate the congregation like gangrene" (p. 103). As pointed out in the preceding section, a person who questions any action or teaching of the Watchtower's authority figures is immediately silenced.
The need for enforced unity is so serious within Watchtower walls that the body of elders in a congregation must appear united on every decision, even if a minority believe the majority has made an unbiblical decision (Pay Attention..., p. 67). This united front is necessary to deceive the congregation into cooperating and believing that "all the elders base their decisions on God's Word" (p. 67).