The question is not so much whether a congregation is or isn't poisonous. I take it as a given that they all are. The only question of interest to me is the type of poison. In the end, whether the witnesses are smiling, frowning, sad-faced or expressionless, they're all slowly dying from the tainted food provided by the FDS. When you're stomach first registers food poison, you need to take action and find out what poison you've imbibed. Beyond that, don't eat at that establishment ever again.
Poisonous Congregations and Incompetent Leadership
Well I must have had a bad run . . .
In 26 years I served in 8 different congregations . . . admittedly some were a temporary arrangement. But each and every one was as toxic as the others. Those in authority showed all the same shortcomings of being without the skills to manage authority in a balanced way. There was constant strife, and in some cases the effect was deadly.
My experience is very different from most, I grew up in a Congo based in the town of my birth, but I married at the tender age of 20 and moved to a very small rural Congo. where I remained for the next 38 years.
When we joined there were less than thirty pubs. a few were getting on, but most were only a year or two older than me, so we grew up together. It was always recognised as having a different attiude to surrounding Congos, for example, when the Elder arrangement came in, NOT ONE of the existing team claimed to qualify. Not even the Congregation Servant/Overeeer of the time who had been asked to move their by the Soc. coz we were such a .bunch of rebels.
On a subsequent visit the C.O persuaded one guy that he did,(not the Cong serv !) and gradually over a period a few others "Qualified". This humble, not wanting power or prestige attitude was a hallmark of the Congo, when Elders moved in they were pretty soon told to have the same attitude or go elsewhere, no lording it over the flock.
The B.O.E had the attitude that they forced no one into FS, the did not police people's private lives, and they were there to shepherd and serve the congregation.
This rather Christian attitude was frowned on by C.Os ,but could not be condemned using the Bible, so it continues in good measure to this day.
The Congo. attracted and produced truly loving people in the main, it was this that kept me in all those years, if I had experienced half what some of you have I would have walked long ago.
The guys who were Elders were all pretty competent types too, ran their own businesses, some were professionals, most were well educated, we were just A-typical as a Congo. I suppose. It also had a great social side to it, which of course we have left behind.
There always has to be an exception to prove the rule I guess.
Put simply, here is the reality: SOME elders are tyrants.
Put simply, here is the reality: SOME elders are tyrants.
I know of one congregation in Oklahoma which had such a tyrant as practically a congregation dictator.
When he was finally removed as an elder due to a myriad of complaints, he threatened to burn down the Kingdom Hall - literally.
His attitude was that he had personally built it, and if he couldn't be king, he could personally take it out.
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.
That's why they have to be rotated on a regular basis and attend "schools" to maintain uniformity. The problem is CO's and DO's are not clones. They are individuals with ideas of their own and they all have egos, resulting in inconsistencies of thought and action.
Sadly the differing viewpoints of individual CO's will be picked up by individual elders, one elder will like an idea spout by the last CO another will agree with the CO before that. They will then argue about which differing opinion is right.
This results is disunity amongst the BOE, which is then observed by the congregation. Divisions set in where some in the congregation like the opnions of one elder and hate those of another.
The arguments fester, the divisions grow, the atmosphere becomes intolerable!
"I'm willing to bet that US bethelites on visiting the Canadian facility would comment that the atmosphere is a little more relaxed.
Nick you got that one spot on. Both my husband and I could not get over how kind the ones at the Canadian branch were compared to Brooklyn.
The whole reason I am not a JW anymore is the harsh treatment I have received from the elders all my life. I was raised on the wrong side of the tracks so to speak and I never fit in no matter how hard I tired.
I pioneered, went to Bethel and was an elders wife. I never tried to pray into any elder stuff from my husband though I could have and so was no good to get gossip from, I had no friends in the religion and the ones who I thought were my friends abandoned me as soon as I took a stand against pedophiles.
I wish I could say I have seen kind elders but I just never have. I hope my husband was kind to the members. I feel he must have been because everyone did like him and would come to him over any of the others, thus part of our marriage problems because they were always calling and needing him giving him no time for us as a couple.
It also has a lot to do with the follower. Some JWs feel that they need a strict environment. They feel that this keeps trouble at a minimum in the congregation, adding more chance of security. These types actually like when the Society and it's appointed men make decisions for them as it lessens the individual's chance of being wrong in God's (read: The WT Org's) eyes.
Then there are those who feel more comfortable in a laid back hall. They want freedom to move and room to breathe. These types are more liberal in their choices regarding "personal conscience matters" and don't want others weighing in on their life decisions.
In my hall, we have had people leave for both reasons. One pioneer couple left to head to a more liberal hall. They are doing very well in their new congregation. Another very spiritual, super zealous family left because they thought our hall was too laid back. They were always finding fault with the personal choices of their fellow members. Now they are in a hall with older elders and a stricter vibe. They also are doing well there.
The poison is often in the minds of the individuals.
But let me add that sometimes, there are halls that are truly toxic, even by the Society's standards. It has occurred that elder bodies can become corrupted to the point that the Society has to step in and try to fix the madness. Congregations are sometimes ordered by the Branch to spilt and reorganize in these situations. Some never fully recover, to the detriment of the followers.
I agree that many congregations fit the description you gave and this is why many "friends" decide to get up and attend another hall somewhere. They feel abused at some level and think the pastures will be greener somewhere else. Very often it was true, at least in the beginning anyway.
Somebody would attend another hall where nobody knew them and where they didn't know anybody else. At first, there isn't anything to dislike but as time goes on and you get to see certain things you realize the story is pretty much the same everywhere. I am an eleven year "fader" who recently had a discussion with a clueless JW who feels the elders in her hall are so great and "loving". Meanwhile, she has jumped all over the place and would be the first one to run if somebody looks at her cross-eyed! But she wants to "reactivate" me *(not gonna happen). She doesn't know the bad things I know about the religion! By now she should know that congregations change all the time and with each new addition of different people you get a different "feel" or atmosphere. But, all it takes is one egotistical son-of-a-bitch, alpha male elder who has no feelings and down the drain it goes.
The religion considers rank and file JWs expendable. So, why would the religion care if chaos and cruelty reigns in individual congregations run by little ignorant hitlers? All it cares about is the bottom line.