Poisonous Congregations and Incompetent Leadership

by Nickolas 21 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Nickolas

    I'm not sure where this topic belongs. The Adult & Heated Debate category, maybe, or Jokes & Humour. Guess we'll see. I need to test an impression for reality, and no better place than this one.

    Reading through a lot of the posts in here one comes to appreciate how screwed up the Watchtower is and how much it screws up people it touches. I'm noticing differences, though, depending on who the posters are and where they live. Some are screwed over more than others.

    Allow me to couch this in terms of mentality and oppression. It seems to me the bethel mentality in the US is not the same as the bethel mentality in Canada. Close, but not the same. The US bethelite is more steeped in the culture because he's right there. The oppression exercised at the bethels is unequal. I'm willing to bet that US bethelites on visiting the Canadian facility would comment that the atmosphere is a little more relaxed. But the big differences are in the congregations. I shake my head at some of the shit happening to posters. Some of the stuff that's going on in some of the congs is really screwed up but there are others where things are more harmonious.

    Ultimately, how an organisation or society (or Society) behaves is determined by its leadership. The Governing Body is steeped in the culture of the Society and it sets the standard within a perceived need to be consistent but continuously improving (at which, incidentally, it fails miserably). The DO's and CO's are charged with the responsibility for maintaining consistency and enforcing standards but the extent to which they succeed in their jobs is directly proportional to their ability to do it. In other words, it will be variable. Within the congs there are the bodies of elders which are a fairly recent innovation in Watchtower command and control structure. Some of the elders described on this forum go above and beyond in exercising their power and authority and it is in those congregations you will find the greatest oppression. In others you will find more harmony because their leadership is less psychotic or rigidly zealous.

    I'm getting the impression that there are poisonous congs out there. More poisonous than normal, I mean. Many of the elders in the congs have limited education and leadership skills and this is borne out by what they do to put bread on the table. Where else do you find a janitor or window washer who has such power over the personal lives of people? I'm getting the impression that some of the elders excercise authority with ignorant, callous abandon while others are more circumspect and compassionate. I'm also getting the impression that the wives of elders, who seem to have some greater influence on the cultures of the Kingdom Halls, are equally as inconsistent in their relationships with people.

    Am I off base? Are some places worse than others, or is the Watchtower poison all the same?

  • breakfast of champions
    breakfast of champions

    No, you are correct.

    Coming from a congregation that was once a 'Bethel congregation' but is no longer, I have to say the difference is remarkable. In fact, even several of my once fellow elders have commented as such. As a 'Bethel Cong' it was steeped in the poisonous Bethel mentality, efficiency over humanity. I sometimes wonder how my viewpoint differs from that of someone on the west coast, let alone anywhere else in the world, as far as the controlling and manipulative 'style' that permeates 'the Bethel Way'.

  • SirNose586

    Every congregation is different. I remember hearing about some congregations where the elders couldn't ever be bothered to start judicial committees until you confessed your "crime" to them. Must have been nice.

  • Nice_Dream

    My hall was toxic. It was ruled by an old, hard-nosed brother completely out of touch with reality. And the dysfunctional families creating drama overshadowed the few nice people who really meant well. Even the CO and his wife dreaded visiting our hall because it was so unloving and cold.

    In contrast, a trip to Cuba showed how relaxed and happy the JWs were there. They were so full of love and had a completely different vibe than any congregation I've been to in Canada. But perhaps that is because the culture there is more loving and warm in general?

    I definitely think some places are worse than others.

  • Violia

    yes congos do have attitudes. Where I am from we had what we called the "hardliners" and the more liberal congos. the hardliners, also known as disfellowshipping congos struck fear in most of us. They were mean spirited and showed no mercy . . The hardliners are also very male oriented and any sexual offenses are usually attributed to the woman with the man being an innocent victim. We had a few liberal congos among a sea of the hardliners and the hardliners were winning. Eventually in my area they did win, at least last I knew of. the hardliners in this area actually marked a entire congo as being not fit to associate with. Talk about playing God.

    the congo is influenced by the area they live in. If you live in the Bible belt the congo may be more conservative. Also occupation and money make a difference. This area has a lot of money but still has a poor side of town. the unfortunate bros in the poor side of town often were left out of social activities. they quit having Congo picnics long ago. A number of the bros from some Congo's were able to afford skiing trips and golf and traveling, the night life and all the best concerts, theater , fine dining, and those great things. A lot of us struggled to just make it to the next paycheck.

    You can get some problems if you have some very mean spirited elders who are older and never got past rock being the work of the devil, the 50's. I'll never forget how cruel the Congo were to those in the 80 who had HIV, they were not wanted in the congos. I knew a missionary who was sent back from their assignment b/c of homosexuality. this was unforgivable in the Congo's eyes and the missionary was never welcomed back . I recall the self righteous talks about one may be reinstated but not viewed as good association. However, if you were one of there buddies, you could be a raging alcoholic have had 3 divorces in which it was found out you set up your spouses to get out of the marriages ( all three of them) to be able to scripturally remarry and still be viewed a spiritual person with your friends and others. That really happened and I am ashamed to say they were a social butterfly, spawn of an elder and lead a very privileged life. Their friends were the elders. So, the elders protected each other and many of their sins never saw the light of day.

    That is one of the problems in the org, some folks sins are looked over / hidden over while others can do something minor and be thrown out. God's spirit does not operate in this org or this would not happen.

  • sabastious

    I agree Nick.

    The Watchtower will die slowly because of lack of effective leadership, which creates inconsistencies, unrest and ultimately rebellion. This will happen to the fools of the Watchtower while never having tapped into the uncharted Witness resource that is Woman Leadership. They are a den of foolish, bigoted men and I am ashamed to call myself the same gender as the Poison Chemists of Brooklyn NY.

    The congregations that are "harmonious" are just the ones that are more effective at damage control. No matter how loving an elder is they still are bound to the Flock Book and all it's hideous dogma and nauseatingly fabricated pious words. "Better than most" is not saying much when speaking of JW congregations.


  • palmtree67

    Even if it is a good congregation, all it takes is for one arrogant, know-it-all elder to move in and start pushing his weight around......Or the appointment of someone who's only after the position.

  • Quendi

    Thanks, sabastious, for the link to the Flock book. I know I won't read it all, but just the opening paragraphs sent chills down my spine. The words that came to my mind when I read those paragraphs were these:

    One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them.

    One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

    In the land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

    In addition I would answer palmtree67 and say no matter how good the congregation may be, in the end it will be corrupted by the evil that is present in this guidebook. A congregation's body of elders, no matter how well-intentioned, will have to knuckle under to the directives in the book or face deletion, either separately or collectively. There is no way the WTS will allow an "independent thinking" body of elders to hold sway over a congregation for an extended period of time. If nothing else, that is why circuit overseers make their rounds. Part of their job is to check up on elders' compliance with WTS rules.


  • Violia

    thanks sab for the flock book link. I looked through it and noted that anyone who takes their brother to court for things the elders could handle can face sanctions. It also said that not only the elders but the org. of Jehovah's witnesses too. So if your brother cheats you in a business deal and you sue him ( some situations are allowed ,you'll have to read it) it is the same as suing the org.

    I noted that they say no one is to be discouraged for calling the police for child abuse nor should they face sanctions. I may have missed it but I did not see any-such statement regarding rape in a case where the person is of legal age.

  • sabastious

    Quendi, it is a lot like Sauron the Deceiver isn't it? He used love of power and control to trick the leaders of Middle Earth that led to their eventual enslavement. So does that mean Branch Overseers get crazy dragon or evil horse mounts?


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