Need help with a shepherding call!

by brotherdan 55 Replies latest jw friends

  • garyneal

    Wish I could offer you some advice on this one Dan, but since I never went into the bOrg I've never experienced this. Frankly, all this stuff about what happens to people in shepherding calls and judicial committees seems all surreal to me. I find it hard to believe that these people do this kind of stuff while calling themselves Christian but logically it makes sense. My wife will never believe it until she experiences it first hand. She's been reproved before but believes it to be 'loving' now.

    I guess if I were in your situation I would ask my wife if she really wanted me there and what to expect from her in regards to my recent behavior. Only you can decide whether or not you trust her not to out you during the meeting. If you think she will out you then I see no point in going through with it. True, you can tell your side of it if you are there, but would it make a difference?

    Sorry, that is the best I have and it probably isn't that good coming from an outsider's perspective. Keeping your mouth shut and not volunteering information is good advice and is useful during any interrogation. Side stepping the questions using their tactics (deflect, spinning your point of view in a way that appeals to them, etc.) works too. From an objective standpoint, it's politics in action and politicians are masters at it.

  • brotherdan

    I really wish I could just cancel this stupid thing. The elder just emailed me and asked if we could do it tomorrow night... What I really want to do is just ignore the email and avoid him.

    The sucky part is that he is actually a really nice guy. But he is die hard JW and an organization man. It's funny. He is very educated and has his Masters degree. It amazes me sometimes how people could be so educated and still not look into this org... It's sad, really.

  • tec

    I'm an outsider too, so my advice is also shaky... but I might say something like this if they bring up why you're not coming:

    "I am having some personal issues that I need to deal with. I appreciate having you willing to help me through them, and if I need to call you, then please know that I will. But for now I need to work through them a bit on my own, and through prayer."

    Just don't back down on the working through them on your own. This kind of statement, however, could be derailed by your wife... so you need to think about that I suppose.


  • jay88

    I find it hard to invite someone in my home(to talk about spiritual matters) that I have not had a meal with or had some casual outings together without the mention of religion.

  • Ding

    I think there are two possible scenarios to prepare for -- the benign visit and the worst case scenario.

    I would suggest trying to keep things on the benign "shepherding" level as much as possible:

    1. Your wife has been in the hospital a couple of times and you have two young children to care for and job responsibilities. There have been some tough times and a lot of stress on both of you that have demanded your attention, but the two of you are working through it together.

    2. You appreciate their concern.

    3. If they would like to share scriptures with you, you would appreciate hearing about Jesus' ministry as the fine shepherd, Jehovah's lovingkindness in the midst of our difficulties, etc.

    Since you're not ready to DA or get DFd at this point, don't discuss doubts or criticism of the organization unless they or your wife force the conversation in that direction.

    Let's consider the worst case scenario -- your wife outs you as an apostate, shows them printouts of some of your email correspondence with me, and they start questioning you about your faith in the organization.

    One option, of course, if that actually happens would be to cut the cord, to tell them you don't believe it's God's organization any more, that you're convinced it's a cult, etc. It sounds like you've decided that for the sake of your wife and your marriage, you want to avoid this route, at least for now.

    Another option, then, if you're outed, would be to tell them that you aren't trying to cause trouble at the KH or create any dissension amongst the brothers or sisters. Ask them if they feel you have done that in any way. Most likely they will say no. You can nod and look like that settles it.

    If they press you and you decide you need to answer specifics, you can tell them that in the midst of all the stresses you and your wife have been under you are being stumbled somewhat by difficulties you are having trying to understand various things the Society teaches about the 1914 generation that seem different that what you were taught over the years. You can also tell them that you understand where the WTS gets the 1914 date but that you don't understand how they have come up with the 1919 date from the Bible. You might add again that that you have been careful not to raise these issues or stumble anyone at the KH, that you're trying to work through things yourself. You can tell them that you're not challenging them to do anything or prove anything, that you're only discussing this because they brought it up by asking you the question.

    That seems to me the best way for you to be truthful and avoid a JC without groveling.

    But let's face it -- if your wife wants to out you, she's got enough hard evidence to nail you. Likewise, if the elders want to DF you, they'll be able to do it.

    If that does happen, so be it. It's out of your control.

    As messy as that would be, in some ways it would be better than more of these repeated cycles you've gone through in the last year where things seem to settle down and then your wife gets all upset over something, calls you a filthy apostate, and threatens to leave you and out you to the elders. If she thinks you're afraid of that, she'll do it again and again whenever she feels the need to be empowered.

    The real problem, as you noted, is that your wife won't question the organization. If you're really lucky, the elders will say or do something at this meeting that will cause her to doubt the borg and you can come to her defense.

  • reds
  • reds

    Don't admit to anything. If they ask,do you believe this is God's org.,follow Jesus example and don't give them an answer. This is what they're looking for. Let them feel the uncomfortable silence. If they persist tell them your uncomfortable with the way the conversation is going & you'll get back to them. Right now your having some family issues that your dealing with & you hope to see them at a meeting in the near future. Thank them for stopping by, but let them talk. Don't answer anything if they sound like their fishing for info. If your wife doesn't agree with things your saying during this "encouraging discussion", discuss it after they leave. I wish you both the best. It won't backfire if you don't give them any ammunition.

  • laverite

    Just remember, Brother Dan, they sometimes play dirty. So be careful.

    As long as your wife doesn't out you as an "apostate," you should be able to be very general and evasive in your comments, deflect, claim depression and personal problems you aren't ready to discuss with them, etc.

    Perhaps in your email reply remind them of your wife's fragile state, expressing that the visit needs to be kept short, very general, and uplifting. I like the idea about reading a couple of uplifting and encouraging scriptures about Jesus. Perhaps even suggest that in the email so they come prepared with a couple of uplifting and encouraging scriptures on Christ Jesus. If they do read a couple of these scriptures, hopefully your wife won't accuse them of sounding like "False Religion" (TM).

  • brotherdan

    They don't know about my wife's mental state. They don't know about any of it. And I'm glad of that. I guess I need to decide what to respond with soon. My wife IS getting sick. Might be nice to put it off for a while. But then again it would be nice to get this retardedness over with.

  • Gayle

    Like your attorney in court would say, just say yes, no, I don't know, don't elaborate,,maybe a shrug here and there too. But try to muster up a degree of a little happiness and peacefulness within, a decision thing, which follow with those qualities to some degree, may feel fake at first but it is amazing how it will follow through. I made a couple elders, one was an in-law, noticably frustrated at me. It confuses them. But I never said anything controversial to them. I knew the game.

    So many best wishes, brotherdan, thinking of you often.

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