AlanF et al, a little help please! Pronto Please!
Hey 6, I am in the same boat as you! I have had elders call on a number of occasions. I have not attended in 18 months or so. I think you have got to come accross that you have genuine doubts. The blood issue is a good one. The WTS stance on it is unintelligible. It is not a bad idea to say that you have written to the WTs regarding it and are awaiting a response!
I don't think you have to be truthful with these guys! Since when has keeping the truth from people ever bothered them?
As you know you can be DA'd 'by your actions' and they would simply announce it at the hall. I am surprised that someone asked you if you wanted to get DA'd! Aren't they there to encourage you?!
Hey 6of9,Don`t play the game!Tell them nothing!Give them nothing!Tell them not to bother you again or you will take legal action against them personaly.Hee-Hee!They just hate that kind of shit,because WBTS will try to distance thmselves from that.They will just leave poor Mr. elders butt swinging in the breeze,don`t you just love the loyalty!Do that and they will pretend you just disapeared.It works...OUTLAW
You could try putting them on the back foot ...
Send them a letter re: the Data Protection Act (if in the UK) or make some other 'official' type complaint against them.
They will be less likely to take and immediate action against you at least because it then looks like they are retaliating and weakens their position.
Be sure to include on your letter that it is not a letter of dissassociation and no attempt should be made to treat it as one.
I agree with the other comments about giving them as little information and 'opinion' as possible but at the end of the day they will do what they want and pin whatever they decide to on you in their kangaroo court if they see you as a threat that must be silenced.
The elders paid a visit to my house the day after Thanksgiving as part of their effort to spread a little holiday cheer.
This is my take on it. Being DF'd or DA'd complicates your efforts to help your relatives and friends still in the Borg. Avoid it at all cost. I admit it does feel good to vent some steam at elders, but do you really think it will change ANYTHING? They have an agenda given to them by Brooklyn. They will follow it to the letter.
All you can do is plant some seeds of truth.
I like these words of Jesus, "Be cautious as serpents." To me it is a game of strategy. You are still working on liberating family from the Watchtower. Why complicate that with a disfellowshipping? Sure, venting feels good for a little while, but what is the result?
Will your JW family begin shunning cutting any more opportunities for you to share the information you have? My take is as self-affirming as it is, avoid it.
I wish like hell I had never DA'd, even though it was under pressure.
Ex-wife kept turning me in. I am cut off from direct contact with my mother and brother who are still JWs now and cannot help them now.
When the elders came to my house a few weeks ago, I treated them like welcome guests. They even commented, "We can tell you are a good person with a good heart." (Hey, pretty impressive since I'm a known "apostate" to them.) Our conversation lasted almost an hour and a half, and I felt that gave me time to:
1. Establish a friendly rapport with them.
2. Tell my entire story of why I left
3. Share information that would help them see the lies of the Society
When they left, I felt sorry for them. It felt good not to be angry, and to have had the presence of mind to carefully lead the conversation right where I wanted to share the information I wanted. I hope I helped them, and it was almost therapeutic for me.
If they try to take action now and inform you of that, I would threaten to sue them in no uncertain terms. Tell them you will sue them personally as well as their congregation. Be matter of fact but firm about it
My two sense, Mark. Great to have met you the other night.
"The truth will set you free--but first it will make you damn mad."
M. Scott Peck - "The Different Drum"
teejay, great letter, definitely a keeper.
I know of a guy here in my area that actually threatened the elders with a lawsuit. No action was taken against him, but word of mouth spread quickly that he was an apostate. However, I think the elders would be damn fools to say anything if they received the above letter. Of course, they are already damn fools, so who knows what they would do.
You've gotten some good advice from various posters. Given what you told the elders, what happens from hereon is anyone's guess. What you do depends mainly on what relationship you want to maintain with other JWs, like in your family or your circle of friends.
I completely agree with JerryTX, that it's probably a bad deal to DA yourself or allow the elders to claim that you did, or even DF you. Unless you get reinstated or the WTS makes some big changes, you'll never have a normal relationship with loved ones.
Msil's advice is good, too. You want to make clear, in whatever way you want, that you're no threat to local JWs. Elders are mainly concerned with what you do in their home turf, and if they hassle you, you need to make clear that you have no intention of discussing religion with any JW. You need to make them believe this.
If this fails and the elders come a'callin', then you need to take stronger action. Teejay presented one letter that can work; I have on file a stronger letter that has been demonstrated to work. You'll have to get a lawyer involved, no matter what. The idea is to convince the local elders that it would be a lot more painful for them personally to mess with you than to leave you alone. These days, if a lawyer gets involved, the elders are supposed to immediately get in touch with Watchtower Legal, which normally advises the elders to drop it, unless the person is actively doing something to create unrest in the local JW community. As long as you keep things to yourself, or at most to your very closest relatives (and you'd damn well be sure of them!), you'll probably be safe.
Do keep in mind that a lot of what happens is the luck of the draw. Sometimes an elder will decide to go on a hunt and bump you out just for spite. Not much you can do about that. But if that happens, and local elders actually try to DF you or claim that you DA'd yourself, you can appeal the proceeding and get your lawyer involved. The Society absolutely does not want lawyers involved in internal judicial matters, since it exposes the thoroughly unethical way in which proceedings are conducted. You can also threaten to take your case public. The Society is also very much afraid of adverse publicity, so if you don't present a big threat to local JWs, they have little incentive to uphold a DF'ing on appeal -- as long as your lawyer is also involved. The threat of a legal case, where internal proceedings might be exposed to a court, and to the court of public opinion, is a powerful weapon against dumb elders.
When elders came a'callin' on me some years ago after learning that I was going to remarry "unscripturally", I used some of the above methods. I refused to talk to two elders at a time, but later got one of them on the phone and finally told him that I would not tolerate anything from them that might damage my good name in the community. They were not to discuss my status or lack thereof as a JW with anyone, publicly or privately. If they violated my demand, I would use all legal means to protect my good name. If they left me alone, I would leave them alone. I've never heard a word since.
I think this is probably the best I've seen from you. This is some important shit. Simon ought to post this in a permanent place for the future reference of those who'll surely need it. In lieu of that, I'm copying it to a Word file. Labeling it "Just in Case" or "Keeping Them Off Your Back." I'll prolly name it "Playing to Win." That's one of my favorite and personal mottos.
Thank you very much.
Personally, teejay. You have to hit them where it hurts, or make them think you will. In order to protect itself from legal repercussions, the Society has to maintain the fiction that it is not involved in DF'ings and such, that such things are done purely at the local level. Therefore elders can expect no legal help from the Society if they're personally hit with a lawsuit. If anyone can prove a connection, the Society is toast, so unless the issue directly involves WTS interests, elders are on their own. They know this, and that's what gives a personal threat of a lawsuit such power.
I sent Six another letter that worked quite well to stop elders from harrassing one ex-JW. If you're interested, let me know and I'll send it to you. It's quite funny, really.
In order to protect itself from legal repercussions, the Society has to maintain the fiction that it is not involved in DF'ings and such, that such things are done purely at the local level. Therefore elders can expect no legal help from the Society if they're personally hit with a lawsuit. If anyone can prove a connection, the Society is toast, so unless the issue directly involves WTS interests, elders are on their own. They know this, and that's what gives a personal threat of a lawsuit such power.
I believe that what you've said here is not commonly known but worth its weight in gold. You force me to amend the Word file I just created by having to add the above paragraph. Oh well...
If it's not a bother, feel free to send me a copy of the letter you sent Six. Thanks.
Hey teejay,I believe your right.I hadn`t made the connection before.That is,worth its wieght in gold.Thanks to AlanF and teejay...OUTLAW