Shepherding Call Coming Up

by dontplaceliterature 16 Replies latest jw friends

  • dontplaceliterature

    Well, my wife and I are supposed to be visited by a couple of Elders soon, as part of a "Regular Shepherding Program". I am a Ministerial Servant in our congregation and our Circuit Overseer has been busting the BOE's chops each visit lately for not having a program in place for Shepherding. It was previously done on an "as needed" basis, but I guess he cracked the whip pretty hard on this last visit so they are going to try to get down to business.

    My field service time hasn't been the greatest in the last few months, but probably not enough to get me removed because of a known personal circumstance. So, the visit should be routine. However, I have been contemplating stepping down as a Ministerial Servant for some time. I really don't feel like lying to my Elders about my lack of joy in The Ministry/Theocractic Activities, but I think I'm going to have to pretend everything is "normal". I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about the whole thing though. We have never had a Shepherding Call before, and even though I've been on a few and know they are typically benign, I'm paranoid that questions will start flying and I'll say something I'll wish I hadn't. I'd feel differently about it if they were just going to be meeting with me, alone. My wife will be there too.

    She will have a meltdown emotionally if I unload on them during the visit. She can't handle the gravity of my current feelings and presumed lack of spirituality. While she agrees that I have valid reasons to doubt "The Truth", she doesn't think it is worth it emotionally/psychologically to make a quick and clean exit. She wants me to keep pretending everything is A-OKAY. So, for the time being, I will probably keep up the charade.

    I'm not really looking for advise, but feel free to post some. I just wanted to share with someone.

  • Pams girl
    Pams girl

    Hi there. What do you think the "gain" is for your wife to pretend all is well? She must be terrrified of Shunning/DF? etc.....

    I feel sorry for you. This shepherding call is an interogation dressed up as sound so stressed out. I feel for you both.

    Paula x

  • dontplaceliterature

    Thanks for your concern PG. My wife went through hell becoming a Jehovah's Witness in her teen years. She says she doesn't have the motivation to go through another doctrinal upheaval, and doesn't want to deal with the emotional drama and loss of friends that would follow. She's "comfortable."

    I totally understand her position. We live in a nice area, and our congregation is pretty laid back, very social, and fairly liberal. So, she doesn't feel like she's losing anything by sticking with the program. I'm worried about my sanity, and the future for our kid (eventually, kids). It hasn't come to the point where I've had to, but I will have a hard time teaching my children something I don't believe. Once they are old enough to tell people what we believe at our house, it will only be a matter of time before we are forced out of the congreation.

    Personally, I would rather leave on my own terms. I think it would be safer psychologically for all of us.

  • dontplaceliterature

    Plus, I would rather my children not have to deal with the loss of friends that would follow our family leaving The Organization. The earlier, the better, as far as they are concerned.

  • IsaacJ22

    If I were you and planning to step down, I don't think I'd do it during a shepherding call. Paula's right. Unfortunately, confessing your own feelings upfront won't make the SC any better or shorten the length of your anxiety. Either way, you'll probably have to wait it out, man. I don't blame you for feeling anxious, though.

    Besides, you'll only catch them off guard and turn what could be a routine visit into a real matter of concern. You're better off doing this when you're alone with them, though you may want to tell your wife before hand out of respect for her feelings.

    Personally, I can't help but wonder if you're wife is afraid of the embarrassment it will cauce. So consider her feelings when handling this. It could make a difference to your marriage later on.

  • mrquik

    As an elder who made regular sherpherding calls, I'll give you this advice. Divulge nothing to the elders. Be polite. Read the appropriate scriptures. They don't want to be there any more than you do. When they ask you if you have any problems/questions, the answer is no. Smile. Ask them if they'd like tea/coffee/whatever. They won't be back for a while unless they believe your situation warrants a second visit. Quite frankly, even if you have a problem, these are the last guys you want to ask for help. Hope it goes well.

  • Hadit

    You're in a tough spot! My heart goes out to you! It's really hard to "pretend" anything! It has so many consequences - the first one is not being true to yourself which leads to all sorts of problems both physically and mentally. It's such a difficult situation. It's also tough not to be resentful that you have to pretend. So many emotions, so many decisions and so many lives to consider. My thought is always on my son and what kind of an example am I for him if I keep pretending? Kids can see through hypocrisy and it can be very confusing. Are they going to grow up following our footsteps and not stand up for themselves? I despise what this religion does to families!

    As for the elders - keeping quiet and just listening will give you time to think. You don't owe them anything. The less ammo the better.

    My thoughts are with you.


  • dontplaceliterature


    I don't have a problem keeping my mouth shut, as long as I can count on my wife to tell the same story (which, I believe I can). We haven't discussed what we'll say in case certain questions come up, but I plan to bring it up this week.

    The last SC I went on, the Elder did most of the talking, and only asked a couple of questions that were not really invasive at the end. Just more or less "How are things going?" and "Is there anything we can help you with?", nothing I couldn't handle.

  • breakfast of champions
    breakfast of champions

    When an elder brings a MS to a shepherding call, you can be assured the visit will stay 'lite' and no serious questions/concerns will be raised. Two elders could be a problem, but not necessarily.
    Best thing is to let them do all the talking.

    Funny story:
    As an MS, there was a big push for the elders to take MS's on shepherding calls - 'lite' ones, nothing 'serious.' So one of the elders brought me with him to 'encourage' one of the sisters in our hall. After a few minutes of 'lite' conversation, she started asking questions about oral sex. It was hilarious. The elder's face turned red and he asked to reschedule so he could bring another elder!

  • dontplaceliterature

    As an MS, there was a big push for the elders to take MS's on shepherding calls - 'lite' ones, nothing 'serious.' So one of the elders brought me with him to 'encourage' one of the sisters in our hall. After a few minutes of 'lite' conversation, she started asking questions about oral sex. It was hilarious. The elder's face turned red and he asked to reschedule so he could bring another elder!


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