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.