To Current and Former Elders

by Styxx 80 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • dinah

    Styxx, did not also notice that ATJeff really beats himself up for his actions?

    When an organization has to resort to appointing 20-somethings to eldership, doesn't that tell ya something? They WANT young, power-hungry assholes to serve them and beat the congregation into servitude. Elders ARE NOT THERE TO HELP. They are there to maintain the organization's power of people's lives.

    Once Jeff saw that, he bowed out.

    I have respect for Jeff. He's a good guy, smart (now compassionate) man.

  • willyloman

    Jeff can answer for himself. Here is my response, since you included the rest of us in your condemnation:

    Love for your fellow, and common decency should have kept all of you from becoming so ambitious at the expense of others.

    Dear, dear boy. I don't know how long you've toiled in the WT vineyard, but I was there for nearly 30 years and took it very seriously. I served as an elder for more than 20 years and I mean "served" in fullest sense of the word. If I have to explain that to you, you are either not very good at being an elder or you aren't one. I acted out of love or I wouldn't have made the many sacrifices that I did. As for common decency, that was my calling card. Ambition? I didn't think so at the time. Is ambition the same as 'eager to please?" And w ho are you to judge?

    Nobody made you serve.

    I did it because God wanted me to. My family wanted me to. The "friends" wanted me to. And because a lot of the guys doing that job weren't doing it very well. It was expected of me. I had "gifts" and was constantly being told I owed it to Jehovah to use then to help others. I was reluctant to be appointed. I was too young. I only had a handful of years "in the truth." I had no business being appointed, but I was told I was needed. Under the circumstances, I'd have been ashamed to say No.

    I can tell you that the damage perpetrated by individuals like yourself, in this religion and others is immense. It is spiritual abuse.

    What about the damage done to me? To my family, particularly my children? You think I did that, unaided? Yes, the damage is immense. Yes, it is abuse. We were abused by religion and like most addicts, we initially welcomed the warm glow it provided. But we abused the substance and it abused us. Eventually, there wasn't enough "Jehovah" to get that high again and we came crashing down spiritually. Do you know that feeling? Look around your congregation; the lack of spirituality is everywhere. You must have noticed.

    Did I see hypocrisy? Yes. Did I see organizational corruption? Yes. It was all around me, especially at a meeting of elders. These were some of the most unChristian men I have ever met. Many of them were totally out of their element and unqualified to teach or offer genuine counsel to the afflicted. Many had been appointed without meeting the biblical standards. These men did a lot of damage. One difference between them and me is: They are still there doing their damage. I am not.

    Rest assured, may it be Jehovah or just bad Karma, you will all answer.

    Of that I have no doubt. If there is a god, and if the Bible is to be believed, I could burn in hell for my sins. I led people down the wrong path. I was the blind leading the blind. I, and every other JW who ever said "this is the truth" and convinced others to lay down the real life and pick up the standard of this sham religion, should certainly answer. Our only hope is that God is as forgiving as the scriptures suggest, that he is "not so unrighteous as to forget your fine works and the love you showed for his name."

    As for Karma, your religion is seeing that play out now. Your Jehovah is tired of being misrepresented, and he's taking it out on your organization. All those negatives you're experiencing? It's payback, and it's a bitch isn't it?

  • dinah

    Willyloman, that is the best post I've seen in a long time. You nailed it.

    Any religion that leaves as much destruction in its wake can't be from God.

  • Finally-Free

    I think most of us, even those of us who were never elders, did some things we're not proud of when we were JWs. We can't beat ourselves up for it forever. All we can do is learn from our mistakes and try to rise above it. You would be wise to do the same.


  • Billy the Ex-Bethelite
    Billy the Ex-Bethelite


    Thanks for judging me... even though you don't know me at all. Now, a little more about you...

    So why the hell did you join a cult at 19? Didn't you have access to any history books to learn that Jerusalem wasn't destroyed in 607BCE so that the 1914 "invisible presence" crap was all, well, crap?


    Jeff is not the Problem..To all your Answers..

    If you willingly Joined the Jehovah`s Witness`s..

    You were screwed up..

    Long before you ever entered a Kingdom Hall..


    You`d like Jeff now..

    He drinks Molson Canadian Beer(When he can get it)..


    Plays Banjo with the Devil..

    ............................ ...OUTLAW

  • dinah

    Jeff plays banjo with the Devil. Now that is freakin' cool!

  • thepackage

    I reached out to be an Elder and got appointed one becasue it was the only way i could get drunk and not in trouble. I really wasn"t into it when I was appointed. I was just going along with the program.

  • Finally-Free
    So why the hell did you join a cult at 19?

    Same reason I did at 25. Because a piece of shit from Bethel knocked on my door.


  • AllTimeJeff

    Well hello! What a surprise this was....

    Hey, for those who would like to read all of what I wrote (its one of my shorter essays, 8000 words... lol ) here is the link to what Styxx partially quoted from:

    Here are a few excepts that Styxx didn't include, just in case you wouldn't want to waste the next 15 minutes reading my initial thread....

    One sister (I will leave out details out of respect for her) tried to commit suicide and murder, thanks to the voices in her head. (in 2002)

    I wanted to disfellowship her. Of course, by this time I was 27 and growing in wisdom. Thankfully, the other elders saw that she was mentally ill, and so did the police. She wasn't charged. She got her meds and it calmed her down. However, that started me to look in the mirror and ask why I wanted to disfellowship her in the first place. Why? It was almost like a game to me, and that case woke me up.

    I read up on her illness, and it shook me even more. This wasn't a spiritual problem, the woman was ill. And I was going to kick her out. I recall staying home from two meetings claiming I was sick. I wasn't feeling well, but truth be known, I realized just how much of an idiot @$$ I was.

    Now mind you, this is a lot to throw on anyone, let alone a 27 year old elder with less then 1 years experience as an elder. But it finally got me to realize just how high the stakes were. We were dealing with people's lives. And we weren't really qualified for it.

    I apologize if this somewhat sarcastic tone missed you. I received a PM on this thread, and the person told me I sounded a bit cynical... Yup.

    My point in this essay was to say "Hey, I was "bred" if you will to want to be an elder, and I really went for it". What I am ashamed of most is that while I wanted to be "the man", my conscience was telling me "This isn't right. WHY does all of this matter?" I didn't stop caring about people. Yet, I had set the goal. I was going to make sure I made it.

    The experience I quoted above, along with my 9/11 epiphany and suicide of my brother, were parts of me seeing that I was raised in a cult that inevitably destroyed my family and almost destroyed me.

    I am a naturally ambitious person who wants to succeed. The only goals that were ever put in front of me were JW goals. Channeled differently, I would have taken up college earlier, and been a part of the human race sooner.

    I can only make lemonade of the lemons I have here now.....

    Styxx, you are upset. I get that. And that is fine. You don't have to like me or what I write. One of the reasons I write as I do is a promise I made to myself upon leaving JW's: To be as honest as I can. I know that I have undesireable qualities and personality traits. I am painfully aware of them these last few years. But I won't let that bring me down. I won't be defined by my weaknesses when I have strengths and good points as well.

    It was a very honest summation of his shallow motivations for becoming an elder, and his abuses of the flock

    If you got the impression that I abused the flock, I can't, and won't, try to correct that. I am unaware of anything I have ever done to purposely target a JW as an elder. I genuinely tried to be nice and encouraging at all times, all the while coming to grips with why I wanted to be an elder....

    Looking back, I consider myself to have been very vainglorious. It wasn't until I realized that lives were at stake that I started to change my views of the whole shepherding thing. I did change, esp as I found myself disagreeing more and more with the dogma and guilt tactics used on the flock. Seeing and dealing with mental illness, suicide attempts of brothers and sisters will really change your views... Esp being 26, 27 years old.

    Btw, any church or organization that willingly and happily appoints people in their mid 20's as leaders with little to no real life experience deserves what they get. Unfortunately, the flock doesn't deserve this....

    I totally admit to wanting to be thought well of, esp by fellow elders. Fortunately, when I saw what kind of people many elders were, (not all) it caused me to really look at WHY I was doing what I was.... For me, it was an eye opener, the beginnning of my growing up.

    The real "abuse" of any elder, esp when confronted with the facts that JW's are a cult, is continuing to support a cult anyway. Beyond that, I agree with you Styxx, there are many good men who are trying their best as an elder. Towards the end, I tried my best to be that kind of elder. But I couldn't help others to limit their guilt when it was thrust upon them weekly from the meetings and publications.

    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.

    Really? You know who I served with? Tell them I said hello. I am sure that they will be relieved to know that they have good intentions. No one knows, not me, not you. We can assume that they want the best..... but is it the best for the organization or for the flock? Elders really divide along that basic question.

    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 respect your right to express yourself this way. I can only say that I did love my friends, all of the brothers and sisters, and I wanted the best for them. I disagree that at 26, I should have known better. I was bllinded by a cult. Many were. You don't have to agree with this. But it is the truth of the matter.

    And you're right, no one made me serve. I wanted to and I did. What I learned was an eye opener, life changing, and for all the crap I have been through, I am appreciative of what I learned. It helped make the man I am today.

    Styxx, I don't begrudge you your opinions here, and I am glad that you read what I did. I didn't write that essay to "expose" anything. It was just my experience, and what I saw along the way. Elders are a big problem for all, you, the congregation, and even the Governing Body. Elders are the ultimate "loose cannons", and Pandoras box has been opened.

    One thing I learned after I left, is that not everyone will like you. While I would love to get along with everyone that comes across my path, internet boards or otherwise, I realize this isn't possible. I also understand that when I put forth information like I did on my 'elder' thread, that I will get all kinds of responses. Believe me, I was almost killed twice in Africa, so with all respect, your criticism of me is far from the worst thing I will experience in life, although I take your opinion seriously enough to respond to it in depth.

    While I disagree with your conclusions about my being an abusive, power hungry individual who was solely focused on ego issues, I at the same time respect your right to view me in this light. There were days, esp that first year as an elder, where I was way to proud of myself for being a big fish in a small pond. Believe me, I have to look at myself in the mirror every day, and I answer to that face, not you. I left as soon as I matured and could do so. I am honest as I know how because, warts and all, those events made me who I am today. I don't ever want to lie to myself again.

    I would like to be judged based on how those events and circumstances caused me to become and change, not who I used to be. But I can't control how anyone thinks. Thus, I don't worry about how I will be judged.

    Styxx, however you choose for yourself to find peace in your life, and if you feel it is because of Jehovah, then I wish that for you. I can't possibly support or go along with JW theology anymore as it is a lie. But if that is what you need, it isn't my place to take that from you.


    Jeff, of the former elder class.

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