no clergy class?

by stillin 9 Replies latest jw friends

  • stillin

    excuse me? I'm sure this has been rolled over many times in here, but aren't the witnesses the most class-conscious people on earth? Especially for not having a clergy class, they have all of the other ones, though! What is the definition of clergy? "Persons ordained for religious service," according to Webster. As Minimus pointed out, he was a 9-year-old Minister, his baptism serving as his "ordination."

    One brother, whom I respect to this day, explained to me that calling each other "brother" is actually a term of respect. Ever notice the way it is slipped onto a newly-associated one, like clerical garb, but sometimes way before any respect is due. Rather, it seems to be used to appeal to his needs..

    Publishers, auxiliary pioneers, pioneers, MS's, elders, bethelites, CO's, DO's, special pioneers, missionaries. Not to mention all of the minute assignments that translate as levels of importance, light bulb changers, literature servant assistants etc, etc ad nauseum,...I mean, Holy Smokes! There is no end to the class distinctions!

    But that's what organizations do...right? Organise.

  • drew sagan
    drew sagan

    There is an organized authority structure.


    The best way to determine this is to ask how power is dispersed throughout the organization. Are publishers, elders, and others of lower ranks given any sort of say in what will become watchtower policy? Some churches actually let members vote on resolutions, or let a congregation send delegates to go and participe in a convention that utilizies some kind of democratic vote.

    With the JWs its all about policy and doctrine coming from the top down.

    IMO I think that when the Watchtower says "clergy" they actually mean "people that are paid to preform religious rituals". That's what I felt JWs meant when they used the word clergy.

    So the issue of no "paid clergy" it is a red herring imo. "Clergy" (in the Watchtower sense as I desribed above) are usually people that have a lower rank than leaders at the top no matter what the organization. Whether they are paid actually means little in terms of how authority is dispersed (the bigger issue imo).

  • stillin

    but the sense of being awed by a man's presence is promoted, and this is his "pay." I don't mind looking up to, or answering to, another person, man or woman, but they will always have to earn my respect.

  • The Berean
    The Berean

    Clergy are appointed leaders ... laity are those who follow ...

  • Amazing

    Oddly enough ... despite claims to the contrary by the Watchtower Society ... the highest one can be as a Catholic is a bishop ... for once a bishop, not even the Pope can control the person ... but, who am I, for I am just the 500 lb gorilla in the room.

    Yes, the Watchtower Society is class and rank conscience ... to the point that they have become the very opposite of what they claim to be ... they have become what they mythisized (lied about) that the Catholic Church is ... go figure!

    Simply Amazing!

  • neverendingjourney

    It's simply a matter of semantics. The WT can define "clergy" in a self-serving manner by suggesting that they are different than other "false religions." For instance, they can claim that clergy are salaried professionals and because the WT only employs volunteers, they don't have a clergy class (the whole issue of whether stipends and green handshakes count as salary aside). Or, they can claim that "clergy" are people who perform religious rituals--such as mass. Because JWs don't engage in mass-like religious rituals, they don't have a clergy class.

    That aside, it can be argued that JWs are even more stratified and hierarchical than the Catholic Church, itself. The social system of rewards and promotions in Watchtowerland is one gigantic pyramid.

    Publishers--->Auxiliary Pioneers--->Regular Pioneers--->Special Pioneers--->Ministerial Servants--->Elders---->Bethelites--->CO's--->DOs--->Bethel Heavies--->Governing Body

    JWs have a clearly defined, hierarchical chain of command. At the top, the governing body acts a Pope-by-committee. It's true that they don't necessarily claim to be infallible, but their orders carry the weight of gospel and violations of them are punishable by excommunication. So, again, it's all about semantics. The chain-of-command is more rigid within the JWs than it is in the Catholic Church, which they so love to bash and that should be the bottom line, not whether they have a "clergy class" as defined by the WT itself.

  • yesidid

    There is no argument about this subject.

    The legal department of the WBTS asked for clergy-penitent privilege when defending the paedophile cases.

    If they could not prove they have a clergy there would be no point in such an application.

    End of story


  • cameo-d

    All baptized members are "clergy class".

  • kurtbethel

    It shows. The "clergy" should start taking Bible classes because their sparse Bible knowledge is obvious.

  • blondie

    Under this clergy-penitent privilege, the WTS exerts it only for elders, not the general jw.

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