THE EX-[ELDERS] FILES: EYES WIDE SHUT
I really liked what you said about womanhood. A woman can be a lady and be free and independent minded. In fact, in my a opinion, a lady is given more respect by both men and women and this gives them freedom.
I have watched women with dignity and class. I have watched women with no class. Class wins out every time.
I agree with Waiting and Mulan. Your essay was very good. I especially liked the way you related your own experience, frustration, and personal growth. It created a real image in my mind as to what you were trying to express here.
Life is very complex. People are complex. Organizations are complex. Everyone wants a simple answer as to where to attribute blame. It just ain't that easy.
Well, I wrote an extensive thead on Social Influence. Maybe, I will follow up with one on Attribution Theory - a theory about how people tend to attribute blame - interesting stuff.
I don't intend to take this any further with you, either. It just that I found your analysis of Julie's post so off-base that I wanted to comment on it. You said:
I just won't leave taking swipes at people, as Julie did.... but that's exactly what you did! Practically everything you said about julie's post--point by point--was untrue. It was so very unlike you that it really stood out to me. I think your note to Julie indicates that maybe you have a stronger attachment to this issue than you realize.
As far as people leaving, I'm on the record with the opinion that every single person who comes here with ANY JW experience has something meaningful to offer so when any contributor leaves, we all suffer. But you can't make people stay, you can't make people post. If people want to leave...
Last, you said that people are getting hurt by this thread. You may be right but I can't see it.
My original close to Julie - who had posted to Xena.
To take it down to black/white, for/against, kind of thought doesn't do the subject justice - as speaking about elders/WTBTS/r&f is a complicated issue. - waiting (bold added)I wasn't referring to her post as being black/white, for/against kind of thought. I was referring to speaking about the complicated issue of elders/WTBTS/r&f being - imho - reduced to that style of posting.
Julie's a capable poster....and she caught me off-guard, yet once again. She didn't answer any portion of my post, except to ask how I could say *her post* was "black/white." I never said that in the above quote.
You and I don't agree on posting style - that's ok. I agree to disagree with you, if that's agreeable to you.
I just won't leave taking swipes at people, as Julie did. - waitingYeah, I thought of that this morning before coming on the web. As Julie would say.....if she were present.....how "ironic." Anyway, I apologize for that comment - as I behaved just like Julie, and I said I didn't. I did.
People are getting hurt, - waitingI didn't feel good - and didn't express myself well. This forum's a big place, and other types of threads are going on. Always a fight/discussion somewhere, many places to bring back memories of times gone by. Sorry for the confusion, and thanks for your e-mail.
Have a good day.
I think your post was brilliant.
And what pathofthorns said…
But I have more commentary to add [this is L-O-N-G, folks!]
An elder can always give up his position and still remain a Witness, but something stops most from doing this.I think what stops most from doing this is that the elder will no longer exercise CONTROL in the congregation. JW men are taught that they must take control, be in control, and that exercising headship (control) over everything is their God-given right.
Humility and integrity are lacking. Just like in life when one becomes accustomed to the same 4 P's, it is hard to give up and go back to being the "common people".Precisely. Corporate CEOs do not willingly go back to being grunts. Even middle managers do not willingly give up their lesser status. Humans like to be ‘special.’ But when an elder KNOWS in his heart that he is no longer serving God, but rather the WT Corporation, integrity of the kind taught and proclaimed as a necessary quality in said corporation demands that he step down. Or leave entirely. His choice. A difficult one.
Englishman said of Amazing:
IMO, this is a very gifted man who has a streak of vanity. It came through in his posts…I concur. I had the honor of meeting Amazing (by the way, waiting, I got the impression that his screen name was not a reference to himself, but rather the response he felt --“Amazing!!!” -- when the scales began to fall from his eyes about the WT’s duplicity. A rather typical response, I dare say.) and know that he is not pompous or condescending in person, but quiet, thoughtful, serious, and in severe distress over the hurts that WT policy has caused for many of its members.
There were a lot of good parts too. I for one will miss him.
I do, however, think that some residual JW-elder-ness comes through in his posts (and, as he said, he’s working on it).
teejay brought up the following:
I forget in which thread she said it was,
[this one, teejay “To: Ex-JW Women - Your Side”
but I was a little unnerved by AMNESIAN's accounting of the comments of some here in cyberspace only after Amazing asked for their comments, to wit:I know that some JWD women seized the opportunity presented them by Amazing to express their opinions on that thread. I know that my personal reaction was much like dung’s. To wit -- that there was already sufficient information and feedback on the board for Amazing and other ex-brothers to form an idea of what it must’ve been like for the sisters to live (and chafe) under ‘theocratic direction.’ Especially when those directing were clearly less intelligent, educated, erudite or mature – both literally and spiritually (who mentioned 12 year olds directing meetings for field service!!!). For this reason, I declined to participate in that particular thread, to which, as AMNESIAN pointed out, Amazing never returned.
Thanks for asking!...
Thank you Amazing for asking that question...
Thanks for letting me share....
Amazing, this is a great topic!...
Amazing, great idea...
Thanks for starting this thread Amazing...
What an excellent topic. It is so healing to be able to say how we really feel and felt...
I love this thread...
There is something about this topic that usually causes a burning desire for our voice to be heard...
Thank you Amazing for starting this thread...
This is an excellent thread because so many JW women are oppressed...
If these comments weren't so tragically sad they would be downright sickening. It reminds me of the exact same inability to speak up for the distress women feel within the brotherhood (emphasis on "brother") that is the Spiritual Paradise. So much pain and misery not allowed to surface and men walking around acting as they have all the answers but knowing all the while that they don't.
tyydyy took exception to Amnesian’s contention in a previous thread
Elders who remain such for the WTS, no matter how well-intentioned and decent they perceive themselves to be, are as guilty of perpetuating egregious abuse and inflicting monstrous damage on others--- no matter how thoughtfully they claim to execute such--- as the wicked elder who feels no need absolution for his rotteness.”and then
my position and argument are regarding elders who K-N-O-W---they don’t suspect, they don’t doubt, they don’t wonder, they don’t question, imagine, believe, think, divine or guess---, they have reached the point of K-N-O-W-I-N-G, by whatever means, that they are not serving their brothers, as they’d first believed and desired, but that they are serving the WT Enterprise. There are many, many men who fall into this category---elders who lie to themselves and others as to their true motives for not resigning in conscientious objection. They just keep flogging, albeit, possibly, with fewer or less forceful strokes, but still thereby colluding in and sanctioning the continued abuse by other elders and the organization.”
and so tyydyy states:
Sorry. I don't agree that those who stay in are causing any harm or responsible for the actions of the whole body of elders. No more than a US spy working in Pakistan as a government agent would be responsible for the actions of the Pakistani Government.But is painfully obvious (and he admitted he hadn’t read everything) that tyydyy had not seen this example posted by AMNESIAN and taken from the “Amazing – Exposing Elders” thread:
“Once an elder decides to become a ‘Silentlambs’ or ‘Lee Elder,’ he recognizes that that will be life-altering, his last kamikaze mission as an elder and likely a JW. It also means that he’s got the hormones most elders lack, no matter how conscientious and honorable they perceive themselves to be. They don’t remain elders with some vague notion of making things better for the relative few they happen to personally know. They remain for a specific time with a specific plan in the works that can help many. These are not the men one considers to be remaining as elders.The U.S. spy’s mission would eventually come to an end, hopefully reaping benefits for the U.S. govt. and not for the Pakistani Govt. the spy TEMPORARILY supported. If the mission became too dangerous, or compromised, however, it would be aborted. And the spy would be expected to end the mission and get out -- unscathed, if possible.
“You see, if every good and conscientious man who decided to remain an elder did so only until he pulled off his one big covert operation that will likely reap huge benefits for lots more JWs worldwide than merely a couple of troubled teen-agers and one elderly and ill sister or two in his own congregation, I’d be in their cheering section. You and I both know that is not only rarely the case, it is virtually never the case, which is why “Silentlambs” and “Lee Elder” are receiving well-deserved backslaps.”
GinnyT surprised me by writing:
I understand that you have been trying to make a distinction between elders who “know” and those who do not. As I mentioned in the other thread, there are many nuances of knowing and awareness, which is why I posted this link:I thought AMNESIAN explained quite well what she meant by "K-N-O-W" and took into account that one could be troubled, doubting, wondering, etc. during an extended time period before one could be said to "K-N-O-W."
If you want to have an objective discussion of elders who “know,” please define your term. In what exact sense do you mean “to know”?
Since so much of this discussion has bled into considering the actions of all elders, I am ignoring your distinction and will consider all elders, not just those who “know.”[bold mine]I thank you for the link, but ignoring AMNESIAN’S distinction, to my mind, makes the rest of your argument flawed.
In closing, I really wish that Amazing had not taken AMNESIAN’S previous comments so personally and that other ex-JW elders on this board had not done so as well.
I, for one, was not trying to judgmentally blame a-n-y-o-n-e for his/her past course of behavior as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses – elder or non-elder. We have all promoted the religion and practiced its sometime heinous tenets to one degree or another.
I must ultimately agree that there are certainly degrees of culpability and that elders have more power OVER the other publishers (just as COs and DOs have even more power and influence). Thus, once convinced IN THEIR OWN MINDS that they are not ‘special, spirit-appointed instruments of God’ but rather ‘mundane, human organizationally-appointed instruments of the WT Publishing Corporation’, said elders have an obligation not to perpetuate the false notion that they are any better qualified than each publisher’s own conscience to convict, reprimand or judge. They should give up the control, and the perks, and STEP DOWN as soon as reasonably possible given personal circumstances. Just as the non-elders among us became increasingly inactive, unable to go in the ministry or comment at meetings, because we could no longer support the lies.
Seems to me EVERY ex-JW had some sphere of influence s/he needed to decrease upon exiting for the greater good of all.
If Witnesses keep becoming EX-Witnesses, good is served.
It's what you learn after you know it all that counts -- John Wooden
sorry -- double post
Not jumpin in between you and julie here but I notice it didnt become a 'joke' until after a very serious explanation from you and 'then' a highlighting by ALanF about cluelessness.
As to flame wars yes,they generally start by someone either being a complete idiot or making comments they regret and lying later that is was a joke.
I mean look at me and Amazing,he called me all kinds of liar w/ nothing to back-up his absurdity,that was flaming at it's best.
Just my 2 cents,Tina
Tina you can believe my explanation or not...
I am not going to fight with you or anyone else...sorry
I thank you for the link, but ignoring AMNESIAN’S distinction, to my mind, makes the rest of your argument flawed.As I see it, elders who "know" is a subset of elders in general. Whatever I wrote about elders will also apply to elders who "know."
[/I]... once convinced IN THEIR OWN MINDS that they are not ‘special, spirit-appointed instruments of God’ but rather ‘mundane, human organizationally-appointed instruments of the WT Publishing Corporation’, said elders have an obligation not to perpetuate the false notion that they are any better qualified than each publisher’s own conscience to convict, reprimand or judge. They should give up the control, and the perks, and STEP DOWN as soon as reasonably possible given personal circumstances. Just as the non-elders among us became increasingly inactive, unable to go in the ministry or comment at meetings, because we could no longer support the lies.[/I]
Your analysis is the Cliff Notes version of AMNESIAN's novel. Very succinctly put. I agree with it. Thank you.
It has been a walk through memory lane reading the discussions between Amnesian and Amazing on the different threads.
Culpability for elders? Arrogance in elders? Pursuing paths contrary to conscience? Dealing death blows to individuals with Gods approval? Having a position of authority and abusing it?
Oh dear. I dont really have a defence strategy worked out, for there is no defence, there is no excuse for what was done in the name of God for everyones benefit, there is no excuse for giving my will over to the men from Brooklyn, there is no defence for believing in something with my whole heart mind and body, and trying to please my creator by dotting the i's and crossing the t's in every advisory letter that was received and fulfilling the contained requests therin.
I will say this.
I did what I thought was the will of God. I acted in a manner consistent with my understanding of scripture, albeit influenced by the teachings of the governing body, and I did it in good conscience.
If an elder continues with a a good conscience, with no worries about his faith or his position or his standing...then he will continue.
No one who changes his or her opinion, belief and whole outlook will remain undetected very long in the congregations of Jehovahs Witnesses, not if they have a conscience....and this applies more so to elders, it happened to frenchy and to others on this board.
Just a brief look at the check lists that elders have to fill in for every task, will make the thinking person realise that the decisions are a corporate decision based on the same rationale, and if one individual elder decides to show show mercy, (the very thing we are encouraged to do), it actually demonstrates independent thinking, heaven forbid, and for those elders that want to rid them selves of troublemakers both in the congregation and in the elder body..its a blessing to be on a committee, and they use their power mightily with a shrug of the shoulders and comments of deep regret..
The system has failed Jehovahs Witnesses. aged men with christian beliefs, rushing ahead of prophesy, making a legal and ethical framework to which every member of Jehovahs Witnesses must adhere to without criticism or comment for fear of removal from Gods blessing.
Im done with it, but the effects linger. They linger for amazing too. Whether his style of writing is an effect of being a witness or his ego, or a combination of the two, I dont know....but I do know he will be forever scarred, what he chooses to do with his life and his outlook, I cant comment on.
Im sorry for giving part of my life to something I came to be dissapointed in. BUt there is nothing I can do about it. I can only go on and face life with absolute reality.
There are no excuses. We were all fooled.