Not viewed as a JW if not reported for 6 months?

by kramer 29 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • sir82

    There is an "out" in the elders manual - is someone has been an inactive JW for "many years", but does not present themselves as a JW (i.e., no one in the community thinks of them as a JW), then elders can, at their discretion, choose not to form a judicial committee for "serious sins".

    Of course, it is (purposely) vague enough that if the elders want to get someone, regardless of time inactive, they can certainly do so (and have done, as other posters have indicated).

  • Giordano

    If convenient........ she should DA herself. Unfortunately that also can affect (punishes) close friends and family who are still in.

    On another note........... with the Catholic Church reeling from claims of pedophiles who have escaped the law she could take the high ground and claim that the JW 'two witness rule' coupled with a former rule that disclosure to the authorities was not tolerated by the Society......... has made the JW congregations a happy hunting ground for pedophiles. As this has come to her attention she can no longer support this gross sin.

    If she is harassed by the Elders she will reveal the true nature of the JW organization.

    Her recommendation would be for the Elders to Consult with the legal department at Bethel before they convene a she will go public with the ARC and PA recent Grand Jury findings to let her community know that a JW knocking at their door may be a child molester.

    I'd also note that if her name is slandered by an Elder in the congregation her attorney will file a law suite against that Elder.

    Even a lowly Pawn can win a chess game.

  • kramer

    Thanks for your input all, it seems that she will be viewed as a JW - albeit an inactive one, and either attend and play the game, or not attend and get disfellowshipped, or try the legal card for harassment.

  • DesirousOfChange

    Kramer -- There is a HUGE difference if she's been invited to "meet with the elders" (as in TWO elders) and to attend a Judicial Committee Meeting (THREE elders).

    IF they have already formed the official "Committee" (of three) then they believe that they already have sufficient "evidence" to disfellowship her. A meeting of only two elders is for "investigation" of the alleged offense and they will hope to get additional evidence (confession) from her.

    If already an official "Committee" and she fails to show, they will very likely DF in absentia. Her only hope then would be to show up and grovel, which probably will not have success since she is not even attending meetings. She could then only hope to say she fells "too guilty" to even attend or have a share in FS. (Even this has no chance if she is involved in something like a long term pre-marital relationship, ie, living with someone.)

    If however, only "meeting with the (2) elders", not showing could prevent them from having their "second witness" (her) to whatever has been alleged. They must have "two witnesses" to the offense (or to 2 similar offenses, ie, two people witness her smoking on two different occasions).

    Good luck to her!


    The greatest revenge is living a happy & successful life!

  • Spiral

    TD: JW's are legally organized in the U.S. as a congregational church, which means your relationship is with your congregation and only with your congregation.

    Elders from a congregation you have not voluntarily affiliated yourself with do not have a legitimate claim to pastoral interest and/or ecclesiastical authority.

    Personally, I think she should just threaten them with an attorney. Hire one to write a nasty letter threatening to take action against the elders personally who are bringing this up; it would be worth the money. After six months she is officially inactive.

    BUT: What TD said previously (quoted above) ..... this might seem to be an unimportant point, but I think it's very significant. If all three elders asking the questions didn't know you from before, and/or you have moved, or congregations have changed, then the elders can't "counsel" and then DF you? And if you move, or move back after a period of time, and don't "re-affiliate" yourself with that congregation, there is no "bond" between you and them?

    That would help a lot of people out if the elders can't even claim "pastoral interest" (much less "ecclesiastical authority") about you. The individual elders might not even understand this, but I bet the bOrg legal department back in New York does.

  • steve2

    Yes, it is correct that threatening legal action may in some cases prompt elders to forgo the formality of a judicial committee meeting and subsequent congregational “announcement”.

    However, in JWland - whether you’re disfellowshipped or not - hall-wide shunning is the grim inevitability.

  • kramer

    Does anyone have experience of legal threats working in the UK? My gut feel is that there is less fear of litigation here.

  • sparrowdown

    I 'm pretty sure a warning letter from a lawyer will halt any action before it begins.

  • DesirousOfChange

    Does anyone have experience of legal threats working in the UK? My gut feel is that there is less fear of litigation here.

    I cannot image WT Legal worrying too much about legal threats in the US where there is the policy of "Separation of Church and State". Of course bringing any lawsuit against anyone is possible. It just costs money. Bringing a "successful" lawsuit in the matter of religion is another matter -- Courts tend to stay clear of religious issues.

    However, one could hope that WTS is becoming a bit fearful of what juries can do (think Candace Conti). Having one's fate in the hands of 12 people who were not smart enough to avoid jury duty is a real uncertainty.

  • TD

    Separation of church and state does not exempt churches from the law.

    The real problem vis-à-vis disfellowshipping is that the JW's have carefully crafted the practice over many decades so as not to break the law.

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