Deleted Elders?

by Farkel 29 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Farkel

    I knew about elders being "deleted" and have commented what a strange and pejorative term that is, but it wasn't until "WTWizard" and "designs" commented on another thread about it that it actually hit home for me.

    One cannot step down as an elder with any dignity! Elder's can't quit, with the word "quit" being as in "he quit his job." Elder's can't resign as in "he resigned as Chairman of the Board for XYZ Corp."

    Brother Elder who had served in that position for say, 30+ years is now old and feeble and doesn't have the strength to carry on the demands as an elder. He's 85 years old, so he asks to step down. The next meeting an announcement is read:

    "Brother Elder has been deleted as an elder. Now turn your songbooks to page..."

    In another case, Brother ElderAHole was convicted of child abuse, armed robbery, attempted murder, embezzlement, and carjacking." A JC is scheduled to deal with those crimes, but in the meantime at the next meeting an announcement is read:

    "Brother ElderAHole has been deleted as an elder. Now turn your songbooks to page..."

    Is that the way it happens? Are those WTS bastards THAT cold blooded? Are they the only living people who are heart donors? Do they treat both those Brothers the same in their "deletion" announcements despite the incredible differences in reasons for their wanting to no longer be elders?

    Geezus! A doubting dub never could leave the religion with any dignity and keep his reputation intact, and now elders who just can't perform the long hours and endless duties of a non-paying, not-grateful job cannot step down and keep their dignity too?

    Is this really the case? Is this procedure stated in any publications available to R&F dubs, or is it just contained in secret BOE letters?

    Can anyone confirm or clarify this for me?


  • zarco

    Farkel - that is really the case. The notification of deletions from the WTS for Elders, MS and Pioneers are all worded the same. The instructions are to read the announcement from the WTS to the congregation. It is rare but at times the brother announcing the "deletion" will say a few kinds words... Things may have changed in the last year, but that was the practice not long ago.

  • LostGeneration

    Yeah pretty lame indeed. Even if you step down for whatever reason, they cannot say 'so and so has stepped down' I dont know if they still say "deleted" I thought it had just changed to generic "so and so is no longer an elder/MS" Maybe someone else can confirm.

    The only two real options are to move halls, which depending on where you live might mean actually moving your residence, or get out in front of it by dropping it the ear of the biggest gossip in the hall that your are "stepping down for family reasons" Then maybe you get to keep 10% of your dignity.

  • sherah
    I thought it had just changed to generic "so and so is no longer an elder/MS"
    This is the way it's announced at my KH.
  • Open mind
    Open mind

    Yes Farkel, you've pretty well nailed this procedure.

    Just a couple minor clarifications. In reality, they would prefer that the 85 year old faithful elder keep his title until he dies. As long as it's just health problems and not attitude problems, they'll let him keep the title and just turn in 15 minutes of FS a month, never give a talk, rarely attend elder's meetings, etc. Elders who want to quit have to REALLY put their foot down to get out of the club.

    But, if the elder is determined to not be one anymore, the announcement is the same for him as it is for the "repentant" elder child molester who just got privately reproved.

    Brother Old Faithful has been deleted as an elder.

    Brother Perma Perv has been deleted as an elder.

    The exact wording is in a letter to BOEs.

    I've heard from various elders, (so it must be true ) that by announcing it in this uniform, clinical manner, it keeps Brother Perma Perv from taking any sort of legal action saying that his reputation has been tarnished. A few years ago, we had an Old Faithful elder "deleted" and the brother making the announcement kindly threw in a statement thanking him for his many years of faithful service. The announcing brother was given a stern warning later by the PO not to do that again. The directions from The Branch are very clear. Follow them.

    Just warms the cockles of your heart, doesn't it?


  • Farkel

    Unbelievable. Simply unbelievable.

    This stuns the hell out of me and I'm fearless!


  • donny

    I hated that term too. I had to step down from being an MS due to having to take care of an extended family member, and I was there when they announced "Brother Donny has been deleted as a Ministerial Servant." I remember how chapped I was because it was the same language used a few months earlier when another MS was removed due to being to fresh with some of the sisters. I knew that many in the audience were wondering "What sin did he do to get deleted." It's just one of many examples of the organizations cold, unfeeling attitude.


  • cantleave

    They didn't follow that wording with me, I was announced as stepping down (November 2009).


    When Elders are Deleted..

    They use a huge Pink Pearl Eraser..

    The WBT$ just Rubs them Out..

    Theres nothing left but a Bit of Blood..


    Bits of Wrinkled soft Rubber..

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

  • AudeSapere

    I think that is actually the case most of the time.

    However, when my dad 'stepped aside' around 1980, when the PO read the announcement from the platform, he added that the BOE accepted Brother H****'s request and was not the wish of the BOE that he do so.

    Funny though. My dad was upset because the BOE had not said this to him directly. They did not counter his request with the exception of that brief statement.

    Odd little group it is.


  • NeonMadman

    In general, the deletion notices are supposed to be related only to the matter of one's not continuing as an elder, regardless of the reason. Therefore, they are indeed worded the same whether the removal is for cause or at the person's request. I recall cases in which a person was publicly reproved, or even disfellowshipped and then a few weeks later, anannouncement is made that they have been deleted from their position. The rationale seemed to be that the local elders make the decision about the judicial action, but that elders and MS's can be appointed or removed only by the GB. That was the case when I was publicly reproved in 1973 - my deletion as a ministerial servant was announced several weeks after the reproof. Several people came up to congratulate me, thinking that the announcement meant that the restrictions associated with my reproof had now been lifted. At the time, appointments and deletions were handled only at the time of the Circuit Overseer's visit, so it could even be months after a judicial action that the deletion was announced.

    In a different case, though, I remember a brother who stepped down from his position as elder - a good friend of mine, who was much beloved as an elder because of his sincere concern for the flock (a rare elder indeed). When the deletion was announced, the elders added a statement that brother XXX had asked to be removed because of family obligations and that the congregation was very grateful for his faithful service. I thought that was the way it should be done all the time, but it was the only time I ever saw anything like that.

  • leec

    Maybe the reason they hate Facebook is that they actually wanted to use the term "unfriended" but it was already taken .....

  • sir82

    Yep that's how they do it.

    In my experience though, there was a method they used to indicate how serious the "deletion" was.

    If they invited the "deleted" elder to give the closing prayer at the end of the meeting, that was a signal to the congregation that "yeah, he's not an elder any more, but he's still a decent chap".

    If the guy didn't even get invited to give the closing prayer, you knew it was for some serious infraction, and the informal shunning would commence.

  • chickpea

    i remember a young woman
    being "deleted" as a pioneer
    after slaving for 8 years...
    started righ out of high school
    lived at home and did scut work

    at 25 she was going to marry
    a 19 YO bro, baptized just over
    a year and they told her if she
    pursued that course she would
    be deleted....

    she did
    they did...
    "sister beth XXXXXXX
    has been deleted as a
    pioneer" .. her elderly mother
    cried like she had been DF'd

    and now they have a couple
    married 16 years and neither
    one will aux pio and he won't
    "reach out" for privilege....

  • Doubting Bro
    Doubting Bro

    If they invited the "deleted" elder to give the closing prayer at the end of the meeting, that was a signal to the congregation that "yeah, he's not an elder any more, but he's still a decent chap".

    That's the practice I've seen as well. My take was always that if someone decided that he either didn't want to be an elder or maybe couldn't for whatever reason, he should be allowed to step aside with some dignity. The offical WTS position doesn't allow the BOE or congregation collectively to thank them for their service but its basic common courtesy to do so. So this is a way to send a signal to the congregation that the person stepped down on his own.

    Crazy and similar to the mob. You can't just quit (that's what my old COBOE/PO said to me when I resigned)

  • Simon Morley
    Simon Morley

    The correct announcement is "Br <> is no longer serving as an elder".

    The use of "deleted" is self serving for those self righteous elders who have a point to make.

    When a brother stepped aside for personal, family or health reasons I made sure as an elder and COBE that the congregation were "aware" by perhaps inviting the brother to close with prayer or asking the br who closed with prayer to mention the brothers years of faithful service and example.

  • dozy

    I had to make a couple of similar announcements when elders were removed / came off. On one occasion I asked the brother beforehand if he would give the final prayer but he felt that he would be too emotional to do so (he was removed for conduct bordering on but not classified as "loose conduct" so he was still able to give prayers / run a mike etc.) I did say that it would be best if he would answer during my subsequent service meeting Q & A item & I would look for his hand to make sure that he would be taken as I wanted to make it clear that he wasn't "in serious trouble" and under restrictions.

  • lepermessiah

    If they invited the "deleted" elder to give the closing prayer at the end of the meeting, that was a signal to the congregation that "yeah, he's not an elder any more, but he's still a decent chap"

    This is SO true....and is a huge indicator.

    When I was "deleted" after I resigned, I was asked to do the prayer, which I did. (it was emotional for me, I was LEAPING for joy inside)

    but i know of others who were deleted against their wishes and they werent used for anything for a while, so they could eat a nice slice of "Humble Pie"

  • tinker

    When my husband resigned as an elder the announcment read, Bro XX has been deleted as an elder, turn to song #.

    He had given an outside speaking assignment and one elder from the cong did not like the way our 12yr son's hair was cut so he requested my husband not give talks at their hall anymore. Our BOE decided to take away his 'privilege' of outside speaking all together but he could still give talks at our hall. Of course my husband was infuriated that these idiot bros did not stand up for him and in effect treated him like a child needing disipline. Arguments incurred and he put in a letter of resignation but they would not accept it. More meetings were called, CO called, DO called, NY called, all said he could not resign, the BOE had to 'remove' him. They did not want to remove him because they were a bunch of lazy ass's and he was the only decent speaker and MSO. They begged him to stay, bribed him with 'lighter duties' He didn't care how or what was said, just wanted out.

    After the announcment he was asked to give the prayer but declined. We made sure everyone in the hall was aware of the issue and that he had done nothing wrong. We had a group of supporters that we did not even want, so unchristian to take sides. The true colors of the entire WTBS became clear. They do not care for the sheep, the dignity of a bro is their least concern.

  • nugget

    The wording is to discourage someone stepping down. The implication of the announcement is that the person has been removed for negative reasons. This means that others in the congregation will feel uncertain about the spirituality of the brother concerned.

    I know with my husband that the wording was significant to him, even though he no longer believed he could in good conscience serve on the body it was the thought of the snide announcement that caused some concern. Now he probably couldn't care less, it showed the level of control.

    What you have to rememeber with the society, every formal announcement is significant and part of the overall method for group control. They make you jump through hoops to get appointed and then they make it very hard to walk away. Big respect to all those valiant ment who have put principles ahead of the cult and walked away.

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