Elderettes have the assumed and self-appointed assignment of participating in mid-week service to get first hand the scoop on publishers. Some have the ability to eavesdrop on 3 different conversations while pretending to talk with someone. The elderettes come home and complain about the situation or inform their husbands in round about ways of their information. The elder brings the grumblings to the other elders. Husband reports back to wife. So who's in control?
After a few snipe hunts many elders just couldn't be believed because you knew it was from their wives. Usually, the first question asked was, "whom did you get that information from"? Some of the PO's wives just wanted a soap opera in the congregation with a season finally of who shot J.R. in Dallas. What else could drive elderettes to go to all the mid-week service but to gather information for their husband elders?
I remember while serving as an elder the body considering a young man's qualifications. One elder says to all the elders after a favorable recommendation and most of the discussion, "Has anyone talked to him lately about how he is handling his masterbation problem"? I thought, you sorry dog; that was low.
Then you have the fishing elders, who want to try the ESP deal by asking leading questions to see if you will bite. You would think that confidentiallity means you shouldn't be digging for information that you are not supposed to know of.
Sometimes elders will use the confidentiallity card to cop out on their duties, for instance, when a family comes into the congregation and they receive a bad letter from the previous congregation. No one tells any representative of the family why they are blackballed. "It's confidential". So the family can't face the accuser and therefore, do not know how to defend themselves. I know one brother that said he has waited 3 years for the shunning to stop and he is finished and preparing to leave. I said, great, slam the screen door when you leave.
I thought it interesting when asking the PO's what was the most impressive thing they learned at the elders school? "Oh, I can't talk about that, it is confidential." So reading the OR book is now confidential? The confidentiallity of elders is a joke.