An Open letter to the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses (Elders/ Ex-Elders)

by stuckinamovement 123 Replies latest jw friends

  • Mad Sweeney
    Mad Sweeney

    SIAM, I'd be very interested in more details about your thoughts of another Ray Franz currently serving on the GB. If you don't want to air them publicly, could you PM me?

  • Mickey mouse
    Mickey mouse

    SIAM, this was a little before your time but:

    1. Bethel in NY suspect high level apostate, cant identify it but know its there.
    2. Major Organizational changes about to start rolling out, one is changes to the "service committee" and titles, PO to be done away with, thats all I know for now.

    Was told that if you are the sort of person that cant handle changes, you wont stay in the org for long.

    Will update as I hear.

  • Anony Mous
    Anony Mous


    An update:

    Today at the DA: We should be careful of ELDERS being apostates. "Recently, an extensive effort has been made by apostates to contact all elders in all circuits".

    Yay, we get a sidenote on the convention!

  • RayPublisher

    Dang! That's some ripples for you- my convention was early summer and all they said on the 10 minute "apostate talk" was the same old crap they've said for eons...

  • sweet pea
    sweet pea


  • Room 215
    Room 215

    Anony Mous, you have a PM

  • Room 215
    Room 215

    Hi SIAM, check your IM

  • 00DAD

    What I find to be so sad is that this organization ultimately forces (thinking) people to pretend to be something they are not for fear of reprisals. Many of the posts on this thread confirm that. For example, both "im stuck in"'s moniker and the comment above about the need to "keep up a pretence" confirm this. Even SIAM's letter, bold as it is, is somewhat undermined by his need to remain anonymous or else face dire consequences. I know, I get it.

    I myself was DF two years ago and for a long time worked toward getting reinstated so I could once again hope to have a restored relationship with my two sons. I finally realized that was the ONLY reason I wanted to be reinstated and that many (but not all) of the things leading up to my eventual disfellowshipping were due to my increasing lack of faith in the FDS and the GB. There's more to the story of course and all this occurred gradually over the course of quite a few years. At the time, I had been an elder for nearly 20 years. Over time, I quit giving certain talks because I could no longer agree with certain WT doctrines (basically the bullet points of SIAM's letter). Other talks I edited. Many TMS & SM parts became increasingly difficult to give. I found that I was "going through the motions" because you can't leave or even DO A FADE if you're at all prominent. I hated myself for this but didn't know what to do! I had a wife, a family, many close (I thought) friends. What's a poor boy to do?

    It got to the point where I eventually quit studying with my youngest son because I just couldn't stand to try to "teach" him doctrines that I myself didn't believe. Perhaps not too surprisingly, my personal conduct reflected the growing dissension within my own heart. I knew it, but no one else did, no one. Not even my family members suspected. Apparently I'm a good actor - What a trap! Finally I realized that I could no longer pretend to be someone I wasn't. When I went to my fellow elders I was summarily disfellowshipped. The rest is, as they say, history.

    In retrospect, I do wish I had done things differently. But even now I'm not sure what or how that should have been for a better outcome.

    Still, I do know that did the right thing, even if not in the right/best way. It's ironic that when I was "pretending" to be the good little elder, everybody loved and respected me (or that was THEIR pretense), but when I decided to live in keeping with MY beliefs--even facing the inevitable, harsh consequences--suddenly those same people now hated me. You know the drill: people you thought were your best friends turn away in disgust when the see you around town or in the market, or pretend you're invisible. Only one sister was at all loving. I ran into her in a supermarket a few months after I'd been DF. She had always been like an older sister to me. She saw me, came up to me, hugged me and with tears in her eyes said, "I love you and miss you ..." In two years and after countless run-ins and near misses with many ex-BF that one sister is the ONLY person that has made me feel like I might want to return.

    And of course the emotional effect on the family has been devastating as many of you have experienced. Where is the love that is supposed to distinguish "True Christians"? Apparently it's all "Conditional Love", contingent upon towing the party line unquestioningly and never, ever making a mistake, especially if you have achieved any prominence in the organization at all. Where is the forgiveness? I'd love to be the Prodigal Son, but every time I try to go home the Loving, Forgiving Father is a "Not-At-Home".

    I guess we all have to at some point ask ourselves, "How upset can we be with the GB for pretending to be something they aren't, if we don't have the courage of our convictions to be real ourselves?" Put another way, if it is fear of reprisal that keeps so many of us "keeping up a pretence" then maybe we can understand the dilemma of the GB brothers. If we are afraid, they must be TERRIFIED!

    Food for thought, your comments are welcome.

  • stuckinamovement

    00 DAD, Welcome to the Board!,

    You make some good points. I think we all have to work out our own process for leaving the organization. Some like LWT cross the bridge and blow it up behind them, others like myself fade away and take a gentler way out that takes much more time.

    I guess we all have to at some point ask ourselves, "How upset can we be with the GB for pretending to be something they aren't, if we don't have the courage of our convictions to be real ourselves?" Put another way, if it is fear of reprisal that keeps so many of us "keeping up a pretence" then maybe we can understand the dilemma of the GB brothers. If we are afraid, they must be TERRIFIED!

    I think this is somewhat true. However the few who are active elders are looking for a way out of the organization. The GB it seems is looking for a way to continue to retain their power. Motivation is the difference. The GB puts on a pretence to continue to mislead people and force them to stay devoted to the unique body of lies that make up the Organizational doctrine. The ones like myself and others reluctantly put on a pretence to preserve relationships with our families. Plus why would the GB have to fear reprisal? They have the ability to change policy and doctrine at a whim and force other witnesses to believe that it was actually God's decision. They are steering the sinking ship. The rest of us are simply trapped passengers looking for a way to leave with our families.

    Welcome- it sounds like you will bring a lot to the discussion.


  • 00DAD


    Thanks for your encouraging response!

    You make a lot of really good points, I especially appreciate the distinction you make regarding motivation. That obviously makes all the difference.

    There are several things you bring up that I'd like to address. First, I'd want to respond to your question, "Why would the GB have to fear reprisal?" I guess there are a couple of ways to look at the situation of the GB, both as a group, and also as the individuals that comprise that group. Obviously as individuals, they face the same reprisals any of us do. Think Ray Franz. If you've read Crisis of Conscience, (and I understand that as an active JW you may not have), then you are familiar with the dilemma that at least some of the GB members have gone through. Look how it turned out for him! As I mentioned before, and I know YOU as a former elder know, the more prominent you are the more likely you are to be a target and the more you have to lose.

    As a group the GB has several reprisals that may make them fearful: loss of power, prestige, credibility (although among many of us they've already lost that), loss of assets both real and otherwise, potential lawsuits ... the list is long. I have to admit, I'm speculating on much of this, but even crazy people do things that make sense to them. I'm not trying to be an apologist for the GB, just trying to understand what seems incomprehensible. But whatever the actual reasons, the GB must have some for holding on to things the way they do.

    Getting back to the subject of power, who really is "steering the sinking ship"? The present GB inherited a power structure that is many decades old. They have also inherited a set of doctrines that (although often changing) are also from prior to their coming to the helm. Are they really "steering" things or just trying to "stay the course" set by previous regimes? You're right that the GB (at least in theory) has the ability to "change policy and doctrine at a whim" and sometimes they do. But why haven't they made what seems to be the obvious changes needed now? I confess, I really don't know. It doesn't make a lot of sense.

    A sea-change is what's required and apparently no one has the courage, vision, power, motivation, humility or whatever it is that is needed to take control and make those necessary changes. If I may riff on your transportation motif, rather than a ship lost at sea, it's looking more to me like a slow-motion train wreck in progress. It's horrible to watch, but you can't look away. Who will survive?

    "I think God, he stole the handle, and the train it won't stop going. No way to slow down." - Locomotive Breath, Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull)

    As for "looking for a way out," well we all know where the door is. So why not just leave? The answer is obvious: Fear. Fear of loss, fear of separation, the fear of going out alone (DFing) is obviously what keeps many/most of us from leaving. The fear of isolation and the fear of losing our families and loved ones are powerful, it's real. I know, it kept me locked in for many years.

    Invisible bars are stronger than steel. If a man was alone in a prison, he'd try to find any means of escape and be willing to take great risks to obtain his freedom. But when his loved ones are locked in that prison with him the situation is drastically different. What is he to do? How can they all escape safely and together? It's even worse when your family thinks the danger is OUTSIDE and the only safe place is INSIDE. You don't know who, if anyone, in this prison with you can be trusted. Informants abound. What's the answer? How can anyone escape from this prison with his life, family, self-respect and personal dignity intact? I wish I had an easy answer. There apparently isn't one. If there was, especially with all the posters on this blog, it would be common knowledge by now. Yet it isn't.

    I know from experience, my exit was very painful and extremely costly. I'm out, but my two sons and many of my family members will no longer talk to me. It hurts, it hurts like hell. So when you say, "The ones like myself and others reluctantly put on a pretence to preserve relationships with our families," please know that I understand. I am in no position to judge anyone acting as you are. Indeed, I sympathize with your plight.

    Only now (more than 2 years after being DF'ed) did I come to know that there are others, lots and lots of others, that share the disillusionment I have of the GB and the leadership of the WTBTS. I wish I'd know this earlier. It would have been at least some comfort knowing I wasn't alone.

    Ultimately, we all have to make the important decisions for ourselves and by ourselves. This is hard, extremely hard. It takes great courage and faith. This is a lonely place to be. I would encourage you and all others that are still "stuck" in the trap of the WTBTS to consider these things which I have come to know intimately and at great personal cost: Every day you pretend to be someone you are not, you lose a little more of yourself. One day you may find that you are gone completely. Also, what power does the GB really have? They only have the power that we as individuals allow them to exercise over us.

    Paul said, "In fact, YOU put up with whoever enslaves YOU, …, whoever exalts himself over [YOU], whoever strikes YOU in the face." - 2 Corinthians 11:20. You don't have to put up with this forever. The learned helplessness can be unlearned and the victim mentality can be rethought. I pray that you and all sincere others find the courage to do what needs to be done. Remember, you once willing submitted to the authority of the organization. You did that because you believed in it and thought that their authority was just, right and legitimate. But now you know better and so you can just as willingly reject their authority over you. They broke the contract, not you! You don't need to feel guilty. You have power. Will you use it?

    Imagine what would happen if EVERY JW that feels stuck and trapped decided to walk out the door, to escape the control of the GB and to find the freedom they long for! How would that feel for you? Your family? Your friends? Imagine …


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