Personal Grudges and Judicial Committees: is There a Link?

by passwordprotected 35 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • passwordprotected

    I've received a submitted article for publication on my blog ( This is from the introduction:

    I have an issue I would like raise. So far I have transcribed at least one full Judicial Committee Hearing and appeal. This one in Scotland (The trial of Matthew Barrie). I have studied at least two others, and one thing I’ve noticed is common to each of them is: the ever-present personal grudge.

    Strongly attested in the testimony of the accused is that their cases were motivated by these grudges. As I tend to write evidence-based essays on this I would like to share the evidence presented below. This evidence strongly suggests why accused strongly JWs need to have representatives.

    I'm guessing many will be familiar with Matt Barrie's judicial case. He and his wife (iknowall) had faded from the Society, she eventually disassociated. But following a Matthew 18 inspired confrontation with local elder Ron Hunter (Bishopbriggs Congregation), Matt found himself faced with a judicial committee meeting on the grounds of apostasy, where Brother Hunter was the key prosecution witness.

    Matt happened to record the audio of all of the meetings between himself, and initially his wife, and the local elders. He also recorded the first judicial hearing, and the subsequent appeal hearing where he sat in front of Ian Shanks (Riddrie Congregation), Martin Benzie (Motherwell Bellshill Congregation) (who was chairman), and Philip Jones (Riddrie Congregation).

    These recordings have been available online as downloads, and as a podcast (link opens iTunes, if installed). To date, the recordings have been downloaded 15,000 times. The audio has also been transcribed, allowing you to read how treacherous the whole disciplinary process against Matt was.

    I've published 2 articles - submitted by the person who transcribed the audio recordings referred to above - on the ethics of Jehovah's Witnesses. This new series will examine the part that personal grudges play when a person is tried by a Judicial Committee.

    Click to read!

  • JRK

    OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh yes!


  • slimboyfat

    Very interesting, I think you are onto something there.

  • dozy

    The way that the JW disciplinary system works ,whether it is judicial cases or removing of elders / ms / pioneers etc , there certainly needs to be someone (whether that is an elder or r & f witness with a bit of clout - maybe an elders wife) who "pushes things along" , as it were (as most BOE and COs are either too busy or too lazy to deal with these kind of cases.)

    For example , I recall several cases where elders were removed (or forced to resign) on pretty flimsy grounds when a CO or outspoken couple of elders pushed for action. In other cases , elders who clearly didn't qualify (eg hardly ever went out on the ministry or were involved in some very questionable conduct) stayed on in their positions without any problems whatsoever.

    I don't know necessarily whether these ones act out of a grudge , although that may come into the equation - family and personal issues and agendas often come to the fore. I think some are self righteous and feel action should be taken , others act out of an (often mispaced) desire to "keep the congregation clean." I remember several cases when long forgotten and often trumped up incidents were brought up in an effort to discredit individuals.

    The lack of a truly independent review committee and the usual checks & balances present in other corporate settings makes the system open to abuse.

  • sizemik

    WOW . . . . . . . . I mean WOW!

    I've just read the transcript of Mathews appeal . . . one of the most compelling transcripts I've read in quite a while ever. (prefer the written word).

    Before then Sanhedrin . . . Mathew shone . . . It would be an honour to buy that man a beer . . .

    Personal grudges? . . . never experienced a JC without them! . . . never

  • besty

    marking for later...

    We were 6 weeks into our fade when we accepted a visit from 2 elders who were clearly fishing for evidence or confession of apostasy.

    Having navigated that successfully, 6 weeks later we started getting late night phonecalls inviting us to a JC.

    My brother (PO/COBE) travelled 450 miles each way specifically to give in-person evidence against us at the JC.

    Was he personally motivated by 'keeping the congregation clean' or some other reason? Did he 'encourage' our local elders to 'do something about us'?

    I think so......

  • passwordprotected

    Faders are the problem the WTBTS, under the guidance of The Governing Body, will address over the next 3 years.

  • Aussie Oz
    Aussie Oz

    re faders...

    could it be possible for them to pull a swifty and declare anyone not having attended or reported for a certain time to be automatically considered



  • Joey Jo-Jo
    Joey Jo-Jo

    ^^^They also have a big problem with non-jw's who attend meetings, a rarity but in a way its like a kid in a candy store.

  • passwordprotected

    @Aussie: - I have no doubt they could do that. It would certainly sort the wheat from the chaff.

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