Marking?? WTH is that?

by Free!! 22 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Free!!

    I was a baptized JW for about 6 years in a Spanish congregation.. and i NEVER EVER EVER heard anything about "marking"... what is that?? i knew someone can be disfellowshipped, publicly/privately reproved or dissasociated themselves.. but i never heard of marking.. can someone please care to explain that term to me?


  • fokyc


    In his second letter to the Thessalonians, Paul warned of

    certain ones who were walking disorderly and who if accorded

    good standing in the congregation could exert an unhealthy

    influence. Paul admonished the Thessalonian Christians "to

    withdraw from every brother walking disorderly and not according

    to the tradition you received from us." He further clarified that

    statement by writing: "If anyone is not obedient to our word

    through this letter, keep this one marked, stop associating with

    him, that he may become ashamed. And yet do not be considering

    him as an enemy, but continue admonishing him as a brother."—2

    Thess. 3:6, 14, 15.

    Occasionally, someone not known to be guilty of practicing a

    grave sin for which he could be expelled nevertheless displays

    flagrant disregard for theocratic order. This could include such

    things as being grossly lazy or critical, being a profitless talker

    who is a constant 'meddler with what does not concern him.' (2

    Thess. 3:11) Or this could include one who is scheming to take

    material advantage of others or indulging in entertainment that is

    clearly improper. The disorderly conduct is not so minor that it can

    be handled by applying Bible counsel and manifesting love; rather,

    it is serious enough to reflect badly on the congregation and

    potentially to spread to other Christians.

    After giving repeated admonition to such an individual and

    finding that he persists in disregarding well-established Bible

    principles, the elders may decide that a talk should be given to the

    congregation providing appropriate counsel concerning such disorderly conduct.

    Elders will use reasonableness and discernment in determining

    whether a particular situation is sufficiently serious and disturbing

    to require a warning talk. This talk will not name the disorderly

    one. However, those who are aware of the situation described in

    the talk will take heed and limit their social contacts with such


    The loving concern and firm stand of faithful members of the

    congregation could indeed move the disorderly one to shame and

    repentance. When it is clearly evident that the individual has

    abandoned his disorderly course, it would no longer be necessary

    to treat him as a marked individual.

    from "The Organization Book" pages 150-151

  • DagothUr

    The specific procedure is like this: if someone, let's say...intends to marry an unbeliever, the elders try to persuade him/her into not doing so. They try to persuade him/her in a smal series of hounding sessions, in private. The uneven yoke argument, bla,bla. If the person in question maintains his/her decision, a special talk is given during the congregation needs hour. The talk is based on presenting the dangers of being in an uneven yoke with a worldly, but no names are given. If after that the person still maintains his/her position and marries with the unbeliever, an elder makes an announcement at the next congo meeting: "Brother/sister XYZ has been marked." This means the person in question is still a JW, can still go in field service, but all other privileges are fubar and association with that person is to be considered spiritually damaging for the rest of the rank and file dubs in the congo. It's like being DFd, but you can still come to meetings, dubs still say hello to you, they can associate with you in field service (but that's all the association you will get). In time, the elders expect you to show progress by starting a Bible study with the unbeliever mate and everyone is happy and things get back to normal if he/she reaches baptism and becomes another brainwashed zombie.

    I don't know if there is an unmarking announcement like: "Brother X is no longer marked".

  • Free!!

    Thanks to both of you!! well, in the spanish congregation is called "censurar" and it was my understanding that is the same as saying someone was "reproved" i guess are different words for the same thing... thanks again!

  • DagothUr

    It's harsher than a reproval because reprovals are usually short restrictions applied to repentant wrongdoers. Marking is just one step away from disfellowshipping.

  • blondie

    Marking is for things that are not df'ing offenses but considered "spiritually" dangerous for the individual and the congregation.

    Reproving is one result of a person having committed a df'ing offense. If the judicial committee thinks the person is repentant, they will be reproved either privately before all onlookers (the small group of jws who are aware of the incident) or publicly before the local congregation. They are then put on some restrictions for a period of time to be determined by the elders on the judicial committee.

    *** w85 4/15 p. 31 Questions From Readers ***This general counsel is also valid today. For example, a Christian couple may find that their children are adversely affected when they spend time with certain other youngsters, who may not yet take the truth seriously or may be worldly minded. These other children may yet benefit from godly training. But until there is evidence of that, the couple might restrict their children as to playing with and visiting those youngsters. This would not be a ‘marking’ such as spoken of in 2 Thessalonians chapter 3. The parents simply are applying Paul’s advice to avoid "bad associations."

    Situations that call for ‘marking’ are more serious than the above example involving children. Occasionally a person in a congregation pursues an unscriptural course that is very disturbing, though it does not yet justify the disfellowshipping action mentioned at 1 Corinthians 5:11-13. Such conduct occurred in the congregation of ancient Thessalonica, so Paul wrote: "We hear certain ones are walking disorderly among you, not working at all but meddling with what does not concern them."—2 Thessalonians 3:11.

    *** w82 2/1 p. 31 Questions From Readers ***Second, when Paul wrote about ‘marking’ certain ones it was not because they were guilty of minor differences involving personality, individual taste or private opinion. The elders would not necessarily try to get involved in or counsel about such things. But, like Paul, they should be alert to persons who significantly violate Bible principles (even though the errors are not yet gross sin for which they might be disfellowshipped). The elders should privately counsel these erring or disorderly ones. As we read at Galatians 6:1: "Even though a man takes some false step before he is aware of it, you who have spiritual qualifications try to readjust such a man in a spirit of mildness."

    If the elders’ repeated attempts to help such a one privately do not bring results, they may discuss the matter and decide to have one of them give a pointed Scriptural talk on the matter to the congregation. While, like Paul, they will not identify those who are seriously disregarding God’s counsel, they will warn against the wrong thinking or course. In this way the congregation will have their minds refreshed as to God’s thinking and they will be alerted so that they can guard against being "infected" or misled. Then, as Paul wrote, Christians individually can ‘mark’ the disorderly one and not associate with him. And, since the elders have provided open counsel on the problem, the erring one will understand why others in the congregation decline that one’s invitations to socialize together.—2 Thessalonians 3:13-15.

    Hence, it usually is wise to refrain from ‘marking’ another unless the matter has been openly handled by the elders, even as Paul openly counseled about a serious matter and thereafter individuals could apply his advice about ‘marking.’ By viewing matters in this way we will avoid the danger of misapplying ‘marking’ to minor trespasses, matters of taste or personality differences. Also, it shows respect for the elders as loving shepherds who are caring for the needs of the flock.—1 Peter 5:2.

  • J. Hofer
    J. Hofer

    i think it's "señalar" in spanish.

    many JWs i know never heard of it. and i didn't even know i was marked, it was never publicly announced, nor was i ever told about it by the elders. but when the word finally got around, they pretty much treated me like i was disfellowshipped.

  • DesirousOfChange

    many JWs i know never heard of it. and i didn't even know i was marked, it was never publicly announced, nor was i ever told about it by the elders. but when the word finally got around, they pretty much treated me like i was disfellowshipped.

    There is no formal announcement of "marking" a person, as there is when one is publicly reproved. There will simply be a "marking talk" delivered by an elder during the Service Meeting (usually a Special Needs talk in the KM). The "marking talk" will discuss the situation that is a concern in the congregation without mentioning any specific names. The elder may even state at the beginning or during the talk that "this is a marking talk" and explain what it means.

    If Brother Bob is dating a worldly woman from work, the talk will discuss how serious it is to be considering marriage with someone who is not "in the lord" or in the Truth. But Brother Bob's name will never be mentioned. It is assumed that everyone who knows of what Brother Bob is doing will now see him as bad association. They will still speak with him, he can still comment at meetings, he can still go in field service, but doubtful that anyone will invite him for any kind of outside association.

  • LongHairGal


    The concept of "marking" is something that the JWs are in love with! It is a way that average JWs there (who have no power) can show some individual just how much better, popular, spiritual they are than that particular person. This group of big kindergarteners simply decides they won't say "hello" or extend invitations to a particular person.

    The person singled out for "marking" has usually fallen into disfavor with the popular clique or the wonderful elders for some reason. While not being guilty of a disfellowshipping offense, they are still viewed as wrong somehow. Perhaps the person is opinionated (like I was) or perhaps they have a decent secular job and didn't pursue poverty like the hypocrites say they should OR, they won't allow themselves to be targeted by users. Whatever this person has done (or not done), it ticks-off certain small-minded JWs if for no other reason than it shows that the said individual doesn't care what anybody thinks.

  • Anony Mous
    Anony Mous

    Actually, from a pure biblical sense (if you buy into the Pauline doctrine on congregation operations), marking is the ONLY acceptable reproof a congregation and 'older men' can dish out. Disfellowshipping (or shunning) or reproving (taking away of privileges) has never been scriptural. Marking was decided not just by the 'older men' (although they had authority to speak and bring it to attention) but by the whole congregation and the whole congregation knew what was going on in very specific details. Even women (such as Mary, the mother of Jesus) was in attendance when decisions were made (such as the decisions of appointing 7 men over the food distribution).

    In the early Christian congregation, everyone was accepted even the sinners and there were even 3 traditions (Gnostic, Jewish and Gentile) within the congregation. The only context marking was used was when members were speaking against Jesus or trying to lead others away from Jesus' teachings such as those that introduced Greek Philosophies.

    Everyone (including women) that had the Holy Spirit (the gifts in men) were not only allowed but obliged to teach, prophecy etc. (if anyone had the Holy Spirit swell up, the current speaker was to cease immediately and yield to the one with Holy Spirit).

Share this