has absolute power corrupted the elders?

by Jim Dee 8 Replies latest jw friends

  • Jim Dee
    Jim Dee

    The Elders in most congregations have absolute power, even worse they act without a check to make sure their judgments are correct.Even in their worse moments they are "untouchable" in their right wing views.

    Does anyone have examples of Elder abuse and misuse of absolute power. Bearing in mind that they have this power, not by holy spirit, raher by the congregation letting them have it.

    Has absolute power corrupted the Elders?


  • Gopher

    The worst abuse is, as you say, their judgment, especially in a judicial committee setting. BTW, where does the New Testament / Greek Scripture mention anything about judicial committees?

    So without backing of scripture, these men take the power unto themselves to judge the hearts of fellow believers, as to whether they "deserve" to stay in the congregation based on "repentance" and "heart attitude".

    The attitude is not helpful towards the weak one, it's more of "shall we kick him to the curb or not?"

    GopherWhy shouldn't truth be stranger than fiction? Fiction, after all, has to make sense.
    Mark Twain (1835-1910)

  • Frenchy

    Elders do not have absolute power. The power given them by the Society is quite limited. Do some abuse that power? Absolutely, just like everywhere else where people have authority, there are those that abuse it. But like most people who have authority, they do have someone over them and there is a check on their power.

    You asked for cases of abuse by elders. This board is full of them. I have posted some myself. I make it a point to reply to posts such as yours whenever I see one, not to justify cases of abuse but to make the point that publishers have recourse available to them when they feel that the elders have made a bad decision.

    Oftentimes elders are presented here as the ones that initiate and perpetuate the great illusion that is the Society’s concoction alone. They are victims as much as the rank and file publishers and in some ways even more so. Understanding this can help those still in and anguishing over what to do (now that they know that Emerald City is not all green) deal with the elders that may approach during this critical period. Knowing this can help us to help elders who are plagued with the same doubts as the publishers are but are even more cautious not to voice those doubts.

    It’s human nature to find a quick and (close) scapegoat to take all the blame. The perpetrators of this hoax are, for the most part, unreachable, sad to say.

  • Lindy

    The elders can only have absolute power over anyone only if that person lets them.
    But, and here is the but, the society places the Elders so high up on pedestals that the average Joe in the congregation doesn't realize this. They are told not to make the load of the elders to heavy and of course they tell the elders they are "slaves" to the congregations members, but I haven't seen those words affect any elder who thought highly of themselves.
    In reality the elders do have power, and many abuse it. But many do not and are good people at heart. But they don't over time stay elders because they can't take the hurt they see caused. Many exelders who post here have said this very thing. I have seen many, many elders over the years step down. Of course, they use good excuses, like family responsibilities, but the fact is, they can't take it anymore. Of course, that leaves the ones who abuse power to continue on and some get even worse in their abuse with no one to check them.
    But the brainwashed flock continues to "wait on Jehovah" to make the needed corrections instead of making a big stink or doing anything about it. So the abuse over the flock continues. This is not unique to the WTBTS either. It happens everywhere, from big-time government down to the family. Where there is power there will be people trying to abuse it. So it goes to the person to be informed and in control of their own lives so that they are not abused. And as we all know, individuality and independent thinking are not things JWs do well. Catch-22.

    As Always,
    Lindy (Antique)

  • ThiChi

    The term “Absolute power”is very relative. I know this, an Elder has the power to either make you feel like a million bucks, wanted and used, or, by just one comment, ruin your day with a flippant remark, or ruin your “servant career” by being negative about you to the CO when meeting in private, without a chance for you to defend yourself.

    Most live in fear when dealing with elders on a societal level . “Will the party I am hosting tonight go well, or will sister so and so, drink too much and “elder uptight” will say something?” “I hope all invited guests show up for service the next day........” “Hope my tie for my talk is not too loud”
    It goes on and on..............fear “I sure hope the elders don’t find out I am posting to this board...”

    Could you see going to most JW elders at your party because all the wine is gone and we need more? However, Jesus was that approachable!

    “We all fell down from the milky way, hanging around here for the judgement day, heaven only knows who’s in command.”- Jimmy Buffet

  • JT


    "I know this, COs have the power to either make you feel like a million bucks, wanted and used, or, by just one comment, ruin your day with a flippant remark, or ruin your “servant career” by being negative about you"


    I was in charge of the circuit accounts - I had made an accounting error--- Our DO bro Cooke walked up to me with the Society's instructions on circuit accounting and right in front of perhaps 45 bros and sisters started to scold at me he took out a 6in plastic ruler and put it on the instructions sheet and said : "READ THIS, CAN YOU READ BRO JT!!!" The did this in front of my wife as well-- it hurt so bad but being a good Society man I told my wife that since the accounting was wrong I needed to take it as discipline from JEHOVAH

    many of the friends who have known me for years came up to me to apologize for the DO and

    my Wife said: "HELL NO!!!!!!!!!!"

    I recall when I was at bethel a brother by the name of John Williams from the Islands "MON"

    he told me : You should never Strip a man of his dignity

    when I was an elder I tried very hard to not overburden the bro by telling them all the time to be balance -take the family out, we used to try and have bowling weekends, my wife tried to have a ladies night just for the girls

    we always got shot down - I have read enough Bullshit about "Elders"

    by those who have never Walked in my shoes

    as if All elders all were looking at: "How can I kick Sister Old's cane out of her hand so that she will fall down and bust her head"

    I realized it was THE SYSTEM that prevented me from doing what I believed was backed up by god-

    I didn't leave the org due to being Mistreated like I have seen and read and talked with others over the last 5 years

    I left cause I saw so many others being mistreated and I realized there was not a DAMN thing I could do- I could not beat the SYSTEM

    during the intermission my wife and I talked about- we could not let the DO get away with what he had done to me

    my wife asked me are you prepared to lose some of your "P"s esp on the convention level

    I told her it was the principal

    I have always lived by a simple rule when I have dealt with any in the Congo and I used to tell the bro this is how we should deal with each other

    many times a bro or elder would say something that hurt the feelings of others, but I would in the end like I did in this case come back to the bottom line

    'Would Jesus have done that, would he have spoken or dealt with someone like that"

    as I stated I tried to say it was needed discipline from jah but I could not get away with knowing that Jesus would have never spoken to me that way and not in front of all my friends and wife

    so I would tell the friends don't make excuses for elders if they say or do something- just ask yourself the question

    would Jesus have done that?

    AND IF THE answer is no then you know that you are right and the bro is wrong regardless of his title

    so I walked into the DO office Scared to Death

    and he was writing something and never looked up and said :

    "you wanted to see Me"

    I told him yes it was in ref to what happened in ref to the accounts and he said well as long as it balances out by the Sunday no problem

    I told him is was not in ref to the books but to the conversation that we had

    I started out by telling him I realize that we are all under pressure with parts and talks and getting all our paper work in order and that sometime it can get to the best of us.

    but I didn't feel that the way you spoke to me in public is the way Jesus would have done it.

    he stopped-- put his glasses on the table and I knew my A$$ was Grass-- then he apologized for his conduct and that he should have known better, etc

    I left feeling great, but it was just another straw on the camel's back- in fact by the next circuit program I had given up that assignment cause we were on our way out.

    So not all elder are proud,unloving and power hunger – some of us actually thought we could make a difference in folks lives- only problem was the instructions we were given were just no good

    How sad


  • lostboy


  • ozziepost

    Seems to me......

    ....that most elders are only too willing to exercise their authority, believing in their God-given appointment. A bit like the Pope really.

    The point has already been made too that the individual elders, no matter what their fine motives may be, are operating from an unscriptural base i.e. there's no scriptural support for judicial committees nor for restrictions, nor for public or private reproof (as a standard procedure). This is the reality and those elders with a good heart must look at themselves in all honesty and humility and judge themselves. As Jesus put it, Let the one without sin, cast the first stone.

    Elders don't see themselves as sinners, and neither do most of the R&F I guess. How then can they ever demonstrate God's love and forgiveness. They find themselves in the same position as the Pharisees of Jesus' day.


    "It's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness."

  • Lindy


    "Elders don't see themselves as sinners, and neither do most of the R&F I guess. How then can they ever demonstrate God's love and forgiveness."

    How true this is when I look back. I never thought of this before, but it explains how "sinners" are treated when the "sin" is before all to see. Thanks for this comment. JWs don't see themselves as sinners do they? But then that is how they are taught to believe too, that they should be "perfect" in an imperfect world, and live as if they are already in the "new system." So when one sins in the congregation, it is looked upon as something much worse than it is.
    I am so glad to be away from that type of thinking.


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