The Real Influence of Elders

by Partisan 3 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Partisan

    "Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices." - Voltaire

    Often times, Jehovah's Witness elders will present themselves as humble, down-to-earth men, honest hearted and caring. They are, after all "ordinary and unlettered men" who serve as a "hiding place from the wind" as well as a dozen other flattering Scriptural descriptions. Along with those descriptions, they frequently will affix these the disclaimer that these elders are "not infallible" and are themselves "imperfect men." Most of you reading this would be quite familiar with the crafty and dubious manner in which they use this loophole whenever one of their "verdicts" or decisions turns out poorly. Like the ridiculous theology these men subscribe to, their role can very often seem to be one of great entitlement with little or no accountability.

    Yet, to be fair, there are elders who genuinely feel that they are caring for their congregations. Such men may even operate in their clergy capacity with real brotherly love, trying to live up to the Bible's example of a "comforting shepherd." These men (never women, of course) are praised and admired by members of the Kingdom Hall and no doubt have influence in their lives.

    But how much influence? And is this influence harmful?

    One need only to consider the hierarchy of the Jehovah's Witness congregation to see the real influence that these privileged few men have over groups of people, sometimes a hundred or more. Watchtower literature repeatedly admonishes the congregation to submit and follow the lead of these elders, effectively granting to them sweeping authoritative powers and weight over their "flock". Any and all instruction is given either by them or under their strict oversight, creating in their congregants minds (and often even in their own minds) the illusion that they are deeply spiritual men with great Biblical knowledge. Appointments are done so either "in" or "through" Holy Spirit, adding even greater weight to their office.

    Adding to this atmosphere of delusional so-called "divine education" is the continual reinforcement through cultist propaganda that the curriculum offered through the pages of its rhetoric is sanctioned and blessed by The Almighty himself. Men who have no formal (or any for that matter) training in psychology, crisis counseling, even basic communication skills are thrust into positions where they are the perceived direct source for the "distribution of Spiritual food at the proper time." Nor can one miss the irony of an entire cadre of men claiming to educate their laity, while they themselves have little to no training in even the most basic of Scripture aside from the drivel printed by the Watchtower Corporation.

    Yet here these men sit, often in judgment, casting their supervisory influence upon all these misguided lambs. Recent exposure of the Watchtower's dreadful handling of child abuse incidents gives evidence of this. For example, if such a tragedy does occur resulting in a minor being abused, the predominant Witness mindset would guide the parents to turn to the congregation Elders to "investigate" instead of seeking the assistance of trained authorities. Likewise, the Elders in this situation will turn to their Corporate Legal Counsel as to what to do, instead of realizing their lack of qualification and again turning this information over to proper authorities. Again, the delusion of having some sort of Divine backing and education disrupts the thinking patterns of both parent and clergy, ultimately perpetuating this sort of crime and others like it.

    The example of the child abuse was given to establish a point, but can be substituted with just about any situation/life choice. Who among you who were raised in the Jehovah's Witness religion, after committing some indiscretion at some point in your life wasn't anxious about the Elders finding out and the resultant consequences that were sure to follow? And while it does not do well to generalize that ALL Jehovah's Witnesses are so wholly dependent on the authority of the Elder Body, it certainly would not be out of place to assume that this is case for a great majority of congregation members.

    It would however, be out of place to assume that there will be any serious reform in this religion that would lead to a more fertile environment for the mind. Most likely it will continue to base itself on a collective framework that stifles the mind and continues to put the lives of its members in the trust of uneducated lack-wits , bent on their own "divinely-issued authority". Their dangerous influence will endure and their prating will make the average congregation member's intelligence and freewill erode at an alarming rate.

  • clarity

    Hi Partisan ... great first post welcome to this 'free' speach site!

    Looking forward to hearing more of your points of view &

    your story about what brought you here.


  • Phizzy

    So good, I just had to bump it !

  • cofty

    Welcome Paritsan, good post.

    Who among you who were raised in the Jehovah's Witness religion, after committing some indiscretion at some point in your life wasn't anxious about the Elders finding out and the resultant consequences that were sure to follow?

    It is a feature of all religions to infantilise their adherents, but cults even more so.

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