I was a Socialist / Communist and a hippie before turning a Witness, always looking out for chances to disrupt the harmony and tranquility, for putting sand in the machinery of the authorities. Was a "liberal" elder for 24 years, always thinking people's intentions and attempts were the main thing, not looking for faults or shortcomings. But it always amused me when I could tell the co-elders they had handled things not in accordance with procedures, as I was very good at remembering things and loved it when I was able to point to incorrect dealings from the side of the "hardliners".
Anyway, I resigned as an elder after 24 years half a year ago, in protest, after having written many and long letters and made sure my action was read and received by many; the issue was the extent of one's contact with disfellowshipped children, where I was not in agreement with official policy. The circuit overseer made my kettle boil over, when he asked me what I would do if another child of mine was disfellowshipped sometime in the future, if I would then comply with official policy? He gave me two weeks to ponder. The question and ultimatum was so surprising that one of the other elders even denied the circuit overseer ever said it ....... Two of the other elders said they did not know how to answer that one, either, and that they probably would have sided with me. Left two hardliners then to side with the circuit overseer. That other elders had done the same as I had, in other congregations, did not impress the overseer at all. His line was the correct one, he was the one who was in step, all the others were not.
OK, back to the point I am trying to make after these side-tours. In my childish manner, I have started taking my Christian freedom back. I have no arguments with the organization when it comes to theology, as I have stated earlier, and I respect them / it for the tremendous job done in bringing out worldwide valuable truths as to the soul, hell, Name of God, nature or realtionship between God and Christ (trinity etc.) - it is the authority, the legalism, the structure, the points where the Biblical basis is lacking or unclear, and the chronological speculations I disagree with.
So what does an old, previously anti-authoritarian hippie go about doing this? In my small, childish manner,
- I have started to grow a nice moustache;
- I have started not wearing a jacket at the meetings when I have no ministry school talks etc. to deliver;
- I and my family leave the service meeting before talks with the contents of which we disagree, such as the one on how to treat disfellowshipped family members lately;
- we leave the meeting when the circuit overseer visit us (the one of whom I wrote above) and he is about to start delivering his speech;
- we come to the meeting after the same circuit overseer has given the public speech on Sunday, stay at the Watchtower study and then leave again when he is to give his concluding speech;
- we never reply to the paragraphs / questions where we disagree with the contents;
- when I give school talks on topics such as why we have changed beliefs at times, I use a couple of minutes to deal with the Pyramids, vaccinations etc., to show what was once taught;
- when someone asks for literature of which there are revisions, I ask them which issue they want, the one with the people of Sodom being resurrected or the one where ethey are not, the one with spanking children or the one with not etc.
It's nothing, it's not a revolution, but then I don't want a revolution, I just want plain decency, and to be able to make use of my conscience and freedom. AND I DO IT! You may critizise me for remaning within, but I stay because I choose to, because it is my firm belief - but I make use of my freedom at the same time. It's great fun - and it works so far.
I'm taking my freedom back.