Thanks for the responses, everyone. To answer a couple of questions, my brother-in-law is better now, has even gone back to school, although it's not always easy for him. There are still nights when he cries and is in pain, though they are more infrequent.
It wouldn't be my place to send something to a local newspaper about all of this; my own disassociation is rather small in the scheme of things (though the title of this thread doesn't reflect that). My father-in-law wouldn't like the publicity, I think. My mother-in-law has talked about hiring a lawyer for slander, but realizes, I think, that it would be a huge battle she doesn't have the time or energy to undertake. I agree that things like this need to be exposed to the public more. We have a local reporter who writes religious stories about Witnesses from time to time, shadowing them door-to-door, and his articles are always disgustingly sacchrine. Sadly, that's the approach more often taken, at least around here.
I should reply to BluesBrother to clarify something: a couple of days after the elders' surprise visit, my father-in-law called them from his office and told them he and his wife wouldn't be attending any judicial meetings. "Do what you have to do," he said. I wasn't trying to make the elders sound worse than they were by omitting this -- I was just trying to keep a long story from getting longer. There are in fact a few other episodes occurring before and after the episode I described, as well as a whole prologue for my in-law's inactivity in the first place. However, in the events I described I didn't embellish anything. It was what it was.
I think teejay does know that I am the same dedalus I was a year and a half ago, so I'm not entirely sure what the point is, except maybe to show that I can be insensitive myself, sometimes. I graduated from BC and took a high school teaching job because real life (in the form of my daughter) struck, and suddenly amassing thousands of dollars in even more education debt for the sake of a PhD didn't seem like the best use of my time. I still think that Dead Poet's Society is an awful movie about teaching and poetry and, heck, life in general, and I'm still not likely to speak well of any essay that appreciates it. But if it's an apology you want, teejay, I'm sorry. (Note the ambiguous wording of this last sentence. )
Again, many thanks to all who responded.
edited for grammar
Edited by - dedalus on 2 February 2003 12:23:46