I recently completed an exhaustive review of an unofficial copy of the New Elders manual. My father, who is currently serving as an elder told me a friend of his in the Service Department told him it was on the internet so I eagerly looked for it and found it. Yes, I know it was a violation of copyright, but while at Bethel I made copies of MANY technical manuals which is also a copy of copyright so the WTS hypocrisy does not concern me.
I was appointed as an elder the year the Pay Attention book (manual replaced by this one) was released so I have very good working knowledge of the old book and could compare the two books. A few highlights:
1. The proliferation of phone sex, virtual sex, men going to strip clubs and receiving lap dances and "dry humping" finally led to a review of the word porneia which has led to it now including any sexaul activity involving one person, a second person or an animal, the genitals of at least one person or animal and LEWD intent. SKIN TO SKIN CONTACT is not necessary (lap dances, dry humping and hand jobs or foot jobs through clothing (yes I sat on cases involvig this) now justify divorce, many wives rejoicing on that one!)
2. The most explicit direction ever given in one place on the handling of child molestation issues. This section was very disturbing to me as it proved to me that the WTS knows it bears responsbility for the child molestation that occured over the years and wishes to avoid the bad press going forward. This section to me is an acknowledgement of the guilt but far from an apology. As a former elder I am sick.
3. Filing bankruptcy now calls an elder's qualifications into question. This is new.
4. Marital separation now requires an exhaustive review by the elders. Detailed steps provided. This is new.
5. The term "loose conduct" is expanded to include "brazen conduct" which can now include conduct beyond that which is sexual and can include things like active JWs POSTING ON THIS BOARD. Lurkers BEWARE. If you look once, its just curiosity. If you hang out here its now BRAZEN CONDUCT and is a disfellowshipping offense.
6. Gross uncleanness (pretty much anything of a sexual nature besides mastrubation) now a disfellowshipping charge. Masturbation is pretty much untouchable.
7. Unrepentantly taking a blood transfusion is now automatic disassociation. No judicial committee is required.
The thing that rocked me to my core as I read the manual was how much of it contains rules, regulations and procedures that are not directly from the Bible and only have validity if you believe that the WTBS is God's channel of comuunication. Speaking from experience, when you are an elder and you are sincere this book is the LAST WORD. Reading itg without the WT filter made me sick to my stomach. When I think of all the people I hurt....all I can say is I am sorry and that I am not involved in it anymore.
What are your thoughts?