Watchtower" A Time to Speak...Confidentiality.

by vilot 9 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • vilot







    MARY works as a medical assistant at a hospital. One requirement she has to abide by in her work is confidentiality. She must keep documents and information pertaining to her work from going to unauthorized persons. Law codes in her state also regulate the disclosure of confidential information on patients.

    One day Mary faced a dilemma. In processing medical records, she came upon information indicating that a patient, a fellow Christian, had submitted to an abortion. Did she have a Scriptural responsibility to expose this information to elders in the congregation, even though it might lead to her losing her job, to her being sued, or to her employer’s having legal problems? Or would Proverbs 11:13 justify keeping the matter concealed? This reads: "The one walking about as a slanderer is uncovering confidential talk, but the one faithful in spirit is covering over a matter."—Compare Proverbs 25:9, 10.

    Situations like this are faced by Jehovah’s Witnesses from time to time. Like Mary, they become acutely aware of what King Solomon observed: "For everything there is an appointed time, even a time for every affair under the heavens: . . . a time to keep quiet and a time to speak." (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7) Was this the time for Mary to keep quiet, or was it the time to speak about what she had learned?

    . Hence, there may be times when a Christian is obligated to bring a matter to the attention of the elders. True, it is illegal in many countries to disclose to unauthorized ones what is found in private records. But if a Christian feels, after prayerful consideration, that he is facing a situation where the law of God required him to report what he knew despite the demands of lesser authorities, then that is a responsibility he accepts before Jehovah. There are times when a Christian "must obey God as ruler rather than men."

    Mary was somewhat apprehensive about the legal aspects but felt that in this situation Bible principles should carry more weight than the requirement that she protect the privacy of the medical records. Surely the sister would not want to become resentful and try to retaliate by making trouble for her, she reasoned. So when Mary analyzed all the facts available to her, she decided conscientiously that this was a time to "speak," not to "keep quiet."

    There may be occasions when a faithful servant of God is motivated by his personal convictions, based on his knowledge of God’s Word, to strain or even breach the requirements of confidentiality because of the superior demands of divine law. Courage and discretion would be needed.


    Mary will b fired. All healthcare workers know the importance of maintain patient confidientiality and the HIPAA law.

  • dissed


    So let me get this straight.

    The Elders must protect the confidentiality of a "molester" in their midst, but..... a "rank and file" witness is supposed to publicize their confidentiality illegally?

    Uh.....sounds right to me.

    "Hipaa?! Hipaa?! I don't need no stinking Hipaa law! It don't apply to me! I only respect a much higher law. That of the Governing Body!"

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    Scully wrote and excellent essay on this An Ethical Dilemma Faced by Jehovah's Witness Health Care Professionals

    Well worth the read

  • WTWizard

    The hounders have no right to this information. They intend to use it for nefarious purposes, and by the time the gossip and slander that results is done, they might as well have posted this "confidential" information on the most high profile page on AOL News and sent it to every major newspaper and ISP for further mass broadcast. All for an abortion or a blood transfusion.

    Yet, if the hounders have information about a pedophile in the congregation, they are to keep quiet about it instead of reporting it to the police. The fair thing would be to contact the police about the situation. Then, let the pedophile accusee be tried in court, allowing the person to stay in the congregation pending the outcome of the trial. If the person is found guilty by proper course of law, the person is disfellowshipped based on that. Should the defendant plead guilty and try to make amends, the person would be reproved and appropriate measures taken to prevent this person from ever having the opportunity to do it again (plus the due jail time). If a person is found guilty and later found innocent, they would be able to be reinstated on the spot, with former "privileges" allowed without the usual time to "show" repentance (as, if a person is later proven innocent, the "sin" was not committed in the first place).

    However, medical records that are supposed to be between the hospital and the patient need to stay that way, unless the patient chooses to divulge such information.


    Here we go playing one scripture against another and expecting mere man to make the correct decision.

    Rom.13 v 1

    Let every soul be in subjection to the superior authorities, for there is no authority except by God, the existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God.


  • dutchstef

    The best thing in this situation is if the medical asistant would go to the sister involved tell her what she knows and let her diside to go to the elders or not.

    Because if you are a JW. You will also believe that eventualy the truth will come out and if not she has to face god for her accountability. And god is still more important than the WTS...

    Personaly I think that there are a lot of good reasons to commit a abortion and I bet that if the WTS Wouldn't d'fellow people that there would be less abortions commited in the organisation.

  • thomas15

    I think that if Mary wants to be true to her convictions, she should publish the names of every person that has an abortion. Sin is sin no matter who commits it. If someone found information that proved murder, would there be a moral delemia here? It wouldn't matter if the criminal was a witness or not, if a crime is committed, report it.

    So it's like this, Mary knows that Sally, June, and Ann had abortions. Sally is a witness, June is Catholic and Ann is Baptist. Mary is only concerned with the sin of Sally. But there is no difference in the crime.

    OK, Fred works in Law Enforcement. Fred is filing confidential arrest reports and notices that two men that he knows were arrested for solicitation of prostitutes. Dan is a R&F witness, Paul is an CO. If he leaks any of this information, he will get fired and or face legal problems. What should he do?

  • JWoods
    What should he do?

    Start his own private investigation, go visit the hookers himself, and gather non-compromising evidence.

  • JWoods

    Edit - he can then likely plea bargain these street-wise pros into giving up the Johns all by themselves. Cautios as serpents, ya know...

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