Did you ever have the Elders check out a prospective marriage mate 4U?

by Open mind 30 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Open mind
    Open mind

    Thanks for all the replies.

    On the West Coast, USA, the cultural norm that I have observed is that most JWs check out other JWs on their own without officially asking the BOE for their opinion as long as the person they're interested in is fairly local. They can get quite a bit of info (skewed as it may be) from the local JW gossip mill. When a JW is interested in someone out of the area though, it's more common to give the long-distant BOE a call.

    I never invoked this "arrangement" since I always got to know people locally.

    When I first started this thread, I was about 99% against it. Now I'm about 85% against it. For the most part, it just gives elders the opportunity to exert needless control and influence over the lives of others as Gregor's story well illustrates.

    Blondie's story though, shows how the option of checking with the elders COULD have been a good thing. The elder clearly blew it, but there was a chance that he could have protected the sister. Since the guy was a convincted pedophile, the elder could have easily told her that she should check out his criminal record and that he STRONGLY recommends that she stay away because of what she would find there. To the extent that the "arrangement" of checking with the elders helps curb predators (sexual, financial, emotional) it actually could do some good in a minority of cases.

    For the most part though, I think it's a screwy arrangement.


  • undercover
    Did you ever have the Elders check out a prospective marriage mate 4U?

    No, but that didn't stop them from checking them out and giving their opinion anyway. Opinions I ignored and am still married 20 some years later...

  • leavingwt

    When I was dating my (now) wife, a nosy sister asked me if I had checked with her local elders about her reputation, etc.

    I reminded her that I was dating the Presiding Overseer's daughter and I then proceeded on my merry (non-chaperoned) way.

  • rocketman

    Open Mind comes to an interesting conclusion - it could work, if the elders actually give the right input. They may be privy to something disturbing about a prospective date/mate that few others might know.

    But there are obvious problems with relying on elders, as some responses have already shown. One thing I'll add is that, unless there is something disturbing in the file, the elders often do not know much about a person in regard to what makes him/her a good marriage prospect. For instance, elders may know a brother, but how often do we see instances where brothers put on their best appearance just to impress the elders? Elders often know brothers only in respect to what they see of them at the meetings. Or, they draw conclusions on fitness of character only from jw-related criteria such as hours on a service report or whether a brother shows up to carry a microphone at the meetings. These things do not correlate into what kind of marriage partner a person will be, but it's often the basis for whatever judgments the elders make.

  • Open mind
    Open mind

    Excellent points rocketman!!!

    In JW world if a person is "spiritual" (read Borg-loyal and busy) that's THE MOST important aspect of their personality.


  • EmergedAsMe

    I had a bit of a different experience... My husband was warned off the sister he was courting before me (OK at the time I was secretly glad cos otherwise I may not have got my hubby). I found what the elder said to my husband about her and I thought it was really mean and over the top (borderline slanderous/nasty) because I actually knew her story and admitedly she made "mistakes" (in JW world anyway, normal world it was all normal) but she was not at all how the elder made her out to be (and he hardly knew her apart from the file). If my husband hadn't told me I never would have known.

    I think it was my first true insight into the attitude towards woman and dangers of a bunch of men having personal files on everyone. How embarassing, humiliating and demeaning the whole concept of a file with all your misdemenors (especially sexual ones) is! And then when that is used to advice someone whether you are marriage material or not... It is just nuts!

  • JWoods

    I went on 2 or 3 dates with a JW girl who had recently moved into town. After the first date, an elder (a very bossy one) advised me that she was not a good person to be dating because - (get this) - she had been raped in her former city and had moved here to live down the experience.

    She was pronounced technically innocent by her committee - but they still spread this around about her look good JW gossip-mongers.

    Actually, I already knew the story and deliberately took her out because I felt sorry for her as no one else would have anything to do with her.

    Took her out again a couple of times - it just didn't work out, but the elders had nothing to do with that.

  • Finally-Free

    My ex was advised to stay away from me because I was just a new JW and had a "worldly" past.

    I wish she listened to them.


  • BluesBrother

    If I had asked the old, more down to earth, elders of my day - I am sure they would have told me to sort it out for myself (something about carrying ones own load of responsiblity)

  • miseryloveselders

    I know of an instance where a CO wanted the BOE to alert a sister in our hall about someone she was seeing from another congregation. The BOE refused stating its none of their business who she chooses to date. She wasn't some 18 year old. This woman is in her mid 40s. Later, one of the older Elders with experience in life, told me why they didn't alert this sister. He goes," These CO's like Elders to do their dirty work. So if we alert the sister about this brother and she gets upset, who will she be upset with? Us, and guess where the CO will be? At his new assignment never to be seen again. If he wants this sister warned about this brother, he needs to do it himself."

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