To Current and Former Elders

by Styxx 80 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Styxx

    I wanted to say a few things to current and former elders. It was really a post by ALLTIMEJEFF on 10/1/2009 that got me thinking about this and I address a few things that he says here. But I don’t want to single him out because I really think that he is typical of many, and he did in fact apologize for his actions at the end of his post. It was a very honest summation of his shallow motivations for becoming an elder, and his abuses of the flock.

    I know many elders who sincerely just wanted to be shepherds. That wasn't me. I was 26 , and got to be an elder after the DO purged out some old idiot elders, and signed off on me. I did want the spotlight. I didn't know any better of course, and as I look back, I am always mindful of the saying "Be careful what you wish for....."

    I know what you are thinking; 26 years old? Yeah, I see that now, but at the time, I was pretty stinking ambitious. This was a lifelong goal, and now, after years of polishing my style, speaking, manner, skill in paperwork, FS, working all the time on 4 hours a night of sleep, I got my goal.

    So I walk in. My congregation that I was appointed in was a mess for a while. An MTS grad was an elder about a year or so prior to me, also appointed at 26 . 2 elders on the Service Committee under the age of 30. Lucky them. It wasn't more then a year later, that I was made Secretary (SEC). At first, I got the traditional job for new elders, Theocratic Ministry School Overseer. (TMSO)

    Of course, I wanted to be the PO. I got to be the Secretary and I absolutely loved it. I got to control all paperwork, see everything, type everything, sign everything. It's the ultimate backdoor pass. Your' work is out of back slapping range, but thats why I was the TMSO too. So I had visibility, influence, yeah, life was good.”

    For all of you guys that can relate to Jeff’s post and his motivations for becoming an elder, this one’s for you.

    As he pointed out, not all of us that reached out to be an elder had such motivations. In fact, it really makes no sense at all. There are positions attainable in the world where a person could procure money, women, and real power. You tried to stroke your ego by getting a position of power in a congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses? That is humorously pathetic. Jeff goes on to relate how he was disillusioned that other elders had likewise poor motives for their service. What did you want Jeff, for the other brothers to be loving and sheep like, so that you could dominate them?

    When I came into the organization at nineteen, I left off many kinds of unchristian behavior, and made a lot of painful changes in my life. I had to quit associating with people still living that kind of life. So it would be quite an understatement to say that I was not expecting to find individuals like you in the congregation, much less in positions of power. In fact, it was so unexpected that it made persons like me very vulnerable to your abuses. My own pure motives in wanting to do what was right, and the inability to understand what other possible motivation someone could have, made me and many others, sitting ducks. But alas, I underestimated some men’s insatiable egos. Jeff has honestly recorded what I finally accepted after many years. As difficult as it is to understand, …..insane really, many of you guys just wanted the power.

    Once Jeff got the power he craved, and of course found out that it was all just a lot of work and no real glory, he has headed on down the road. Maybe that’s why they call it a service to the congregation gentleman, there wasn’t supposed to be anything in it for you. Many of the posters patted him on the back for his keen realizations. Congratulations Jeff. Many of those you abused are still humbly and with good intentions, going on just trying to do what is right to the best of their understanding. Others have been discouraged to the point of giving up. But to me, whether you believe this organization to be a fraud or not doesn’t matter. Love for your fellow, and common decency should have kept all of you from becoming so ambitious at the expense of others. 26 years old, is old enough to understand that anyone in a position of power over someone else has a great responsibility given to them. Nobody made you serve. I can tell you that the damage perpetrated by individuals like yourself, in this religion and others is immense. It is spiritual abuse. I know many of you that have left are in various states of disbelief. Some are atheist or agnostic now. Fine. Rest assured, may it be Jehovah or just bad Karma, you will all answer.

  • leavingwt

    A first post, dedicated to calling some in our community "pathetic"?


  • Georgiegirl

    Yikes. No kidding. Do you even know anything at all about him besides that particular post? I'm sorry you were so hurt and that's why many are here on this board. Coming out with both barrels smoking isn't going to win you anything however. You said you didn't want to single him out and then proceeded to do so.

    Giving you the benefit of the doubt since you appear to be very hurt and angry, welcome.

  • vilot

    Being an exJw (active for 28 years) and now an Atheise I can assure you of 2 things...

    1) You will never see a paradise earth and,

    2) You me or anyone else will be answering to no one for anything...

  • zarco


    Thanks for your post appealing to the common good and to honor.

    I am not trying to diminish the point you are making, rather to provide a little perspective.

    I think that most, if not all elders, start off thinking that they have been appointed by god’s organization. I don’t think that many believe they are appointed by Holy Spirit since those who see and know the process realize that if there is a holy spirit, it is not overseeing the appointment of men in the WTS. I also think that many elders, especially young elders try to do many good things for the brotherhood. They may not do them for the right reason or motive, but they do them.

    You are right that many people join the witnesses to be cared for and refreshed spiritually. For elders, especially new and young elders, they think initially that following the guidelines of the WTS is what will accomplish those two things. If the expected results of WTS policies and procedures are not forthcoming, the elder is trained to blame the individual and not to question the WTS.

    After a period of time, a thinking elder begins to realize that it is the very policies and procedures that are flawed and not the individuals. Most elders at that time will either ignore the rules and follow their conscience to the best of their ability or resign.

    As an ex-elder, I look back in retrospect and wish I would have understood my motives better, but such motives are only clear for me in hindsight. I tried to always follow my conscience and did my best – my family did as well – to really help people. But the conflict between really helping and still following all the procedures wore on me over time. The same might be true for Jeff.

    All of us as individuals are responsible for our actions. I am for mine, Jeff is for his. I only ask that you look at the wrongs of the organization and the harm attributable to its actions and measure those against the actions of individual elders. I don’t know if it will moderate your judgment of them (and me), but it might.

    All the best,


  • cantleave

    Hi Styxx and Welcome. I think you need to read Jeff's full story to understand his motivations. As witnesses, growing up in the organisation we are encouraged to reach out, CO's even talk about a "career in the truth", unfortunately when anything like that is presented as a carrot people will work towards it. This is especially so when many have given up worldly careers to give of their best to Jehovah.

    Ambition is not new, the aspostles were constantly fighting about who among them was the greatest. They would have no doubt have created problems themselves with this attitude.

    I was an elder, I tried to do what I felt was right and best for the congregation. Unfortunately the ones who were ambitious, abusive and showed nepotism are still serving and being patted on the back for that service by the heirarchy of the organisation.

  • VoidEater

    Bad religion is bad.

    Mind control extends to locals given authority.

    Hopefully everyone gets better and moves on.

    Are those still abusing power truly evil or just misdirected? Probably some of each.

    I reserve my bitterness for those who are currently and knowingly causing harm. For those causing harm without realizing it, pity.

    For the victims and others in recovery, compassion.

  • besty

    <pulls up a chair and waits for Jeff to get here>

    PS welcome to the madhouse Styxx - please keep posting and tell us more about why you find yourself posting on an ex-JW discussion forum? And maybe a bit more about why you joined a high control group at the age of 19?

  • DrJohnStMark

    I was to become an elder, but fortunately quit before that. I remember I did enjoy polishing and giving speeches... but what would you expect, after being pushed down by the organization all your life and now on stage? Did I really want to become an elder? I do know somebody else close to me wanted it to happen. I hope I did not. It's hard to tell, though, since I was somebody else. I do not recognize the guy, yet I feel something may be left of that externally imposed ambition... not really an ambition at all as pointed out by Styxx... it pops up at times.

  • Open mind
    Open mind

    "some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them"

    Not all paths leading to the back room are the same. But the screwed up policies that even the humblest of elders are asked to carry out, are still screwed up.


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