I now hate being called 'sister'
I joined my local union and discovered that they call each other brother and sister....made me want to vomit. I had to finally ask them to stop calling me that...bad memories from my past (no other explanation). I hate people who hardly know me claiming kinship. BTW unions aren't all they are cracked up to be. Our local president hated the state president and always badmouthed him at our meetings. I knew the state president, had worked with him for 10 years, did not see the basis for the local president's words. No solidarity there. No longer in my union, too much like being in the WTS.
Yes, it's very culty.
When my mother talks about Brother Jones, I'll look slightly confused and respond, "Oh, you mean Bob Jones?"
Then we continue the conversation referring to Bob rather than Brother.
I always force normal conventions.
One time the CO was brought to my house for a introduction considering I hadn't been to the hall in 8 years. They introduced him as "Brother" so and so. I asked his name. He told me and I used it exclusively. The witnesses who brought him were mortified. Thanks for the topic. For the first time I connected the use of "brother or sister" with reinforcing social status and one's place in the Org. We have all heard the inflection change when you are viewed as a spiritual "giant" and again if you are just a bookbag warrior. Great topic. Oh, yes. Don't like the use of it anymore either. So Amish.
Maybe it's more comfortable if you grew up a jw, but for me being an outsider it felt and sounded very strange. When I was studying they explained that I really wouldn't be a true sister until I was baptized. Little did they know I was fine with that. My fleshly (yep that is another weird one) sisters are my true sisters.
I agree with the others that posted it's a control/cult term.
I remember how careful the brothers on stage were not to call anyone who wasn't at least an unbaptized publisher brother or sister. Like it was some great honor. Did they call unbaptized children (not publishers) brother or sister? It has been 14 years and I can't remember.
Yes, Blondie that is how I understood it. Like it was an honor that I didn't deserve until I was baptized. I was also told that I couldn't go out in FS until baptized. I've since been told by others though that isn't true.
I checked a Greek concordance (for the NT) on the use of "brother(s)" (Greek adelphos, Strong's # 80). Curiously enough, of the 343 uses of the word in the NT there aren't any examples of a first person address, "brother so-and-so," except one: Acts 9:17 (and Acts 22:13, which is Paul's retelling of what Ananias said in 9:17).
But the example in Acts 9:17 may have been Ananias' timid/careful approach to someone (Saul) that he knew to be a cruel persecutor (compare Acts 9:10-17). So it is a sort of one-off.
Fellow Christians, fellow countrymen and family are otherwise all spoken of, or addressed, on various occasions as "brother(s)" without any name added.
The norm for direct address to an individual was to speak to them using their name ("first name" in modern lingo).
I also admit to feeling odd being referred to in public (away from the KH) as "Brother Last-name." It makes me feel like people will think I live in a monastery. Yet it is so ingrained. There is a sister who recently started working where I work, She started calling me "Brother Last-name" (at work) but I told her just call me "Bobcat." Now she doesn't call me anything. She talks to me, but she doesn't address me in any way. It is almost like she isn't able to refer to me in any way except "Brother Last-name."
I can understand not liking to have that phrase of mock familiarity used especially by people who will drop you like a hot stone in a moment's notice but the Apostle Paul used the terms brothers and sisters extensively in reference to fellow believers. It's a common phrase in fraternal organizations.
Another thing about "brother" and "sister"...
I always remember the unmarried as being - "bachelor brother" and "single sister". BB and SS.
And...brother and sister are terms used in fraternal or benevolent organizations - the "brotherhood" and the "sisterhood". (*just saw you had posted that, VillageIdiot...)
And another thing...it implies that the JWs are all this one big happy family - Big Brother (the GB) and other "Society" men with membership into that elite club, use the term to imply humility. when they are anything but humble. The just baptized 12 year old "brother" is a long way from the top Big Brothers.