Organized book (pdf file) can be downloaded from http://watchtower.observer.org/apps/pbcs.dll/article?Date=20020415&Category=SECRETBOOKS&ArtNo=204150004&Ref=AR
If someone in the congregation has commited such a serious against you personally, do be hasty to turn to the overseers, or someone else, requesting them to intervene in your behalf. First of all, as Jesus counsels, speak with the one against whom you have a complaint. Try to resolve the matter between just the two of you without involving anyone else at all. If the matter can be straightened out in this way, the one who has sinned will certainly appreciate the fact that you have not told others about his sin and have not marred his good reputation among others in the congregation. You will have "gained your brother."
Where the sinner accepts reproof, seeks forgiveness and straightens the matter out, Jesus states there is no need to carry the matter further. This fact shows that, although serious, the offenses here discussed were limited in nature to such as could be settled between the individuals involved. This would not include such offenses as fornication, adultery, homosexuality, blasphemy, apostasy, idolatryand similar gross sins that should be reported to the elders and handled by them. When the law covenant was in force, these sins required more than forgiveness from an offended individual. -I Cor. 6:9, 10; Gal. 5:19-21.
In view of this and in view of the illustration that Jesus subsequently gave, as recorded at Matthew 18: 23-25, the sins considered in Matthew 18:15-17 evidently were sins such as those involving financial or property matters-failure to make proper payment for something or some action involving a measure of fraud. The sin might damage ones reputation by actual slander. In these cases, if the offender recognized his wrong, expressed willingness to right it to the extent possible and sought forgiveness, the matter could be settled by the offended ones granting forgiveness. - Compare Matthew 5: 25, 26.
What I find interesting here is that this is the book the publishers follow. They don't have access to the Flock book to see how the elders determine innocense or guilt. But they do have the cousel here to take serious sins to the elders. Notice that that none of the lists "sins" include criminal matters. However they do include sexual matters (adultery, fornication and homosexuality). Many people may consider that the crime of sex with a child might fall into one of the mentioned categories therefore leading them to beleive they need to go to the elders with the problem.
Notice too the counsel (in yellow) that any accusation must be done carefully and quietly so that the accused's reputation is not damaged. That would then be classifed as slander leading to the offended person being reproved.
Most JWs would put these two counsels together (not rocket science) and believe that since they cannot talk to the accused directly due to the nature and seriousness if the "sin" they would then be obligated to go directly to the elders.
Counsel to maintain the reputation of the congregation would also inhibit a victim from going outside the congregation for help.
Edited by - Lady Lee on 13 October 2002 12:11:22