upcoming elder visit, need help
All the advice sounds pretty good. Problem is there are no two situations alike. The congregations also need to consider if they can avoid playing the "apostasy card" too often. Don't make it personal with any of them, and try to avoid getting trapped into letting them know that you could make threats of legal trouble or publicity trouble. This sometimes works, but it's too dangerous. (Some of the loudest apostates have sometimes gotten out easy with threats of trouble, but it's usually the interests of the Society and, to a lesser extent, the congregation that are considered. Also, some very quiet shy people have expressed doubts and pleaded to be able to go away quietly and yet have been publically "shamed" as apostates.)
Sometimes these cases appear to have more to do with the ego of the leading elder on the case. In my case, I had a congregation elder (and Bethel elder) who needed to prove he was capable of rooting out an apostate that slipped through the hands of my previous Inquisitors, which had included Brother Sydlik. I was told later by several Bethel insiders, including Ciro A., that he was about to get sent home from Bethel due to his wife's illness and he needed to make some points with the Bethel committee to change his his Bethel "fate." He was in some ways the most evil man I ever would have dealt with. He visibly seethed with anger when other elders didn't agree with the way he wanted to handle my case. (And he had the strangest plans to smoke me out.)
Anyway, your idea of asking questions is good, but won't always work depending on their intentions and depending on other things they may have heard, but won't tell you. They may have heard rumors which may include a lot of crazy untruths, but you'll never know about them.
If you can avoid meeting without refusing that's the most important step. If you can delay by giving them nearly impossible meeting times, that's good up to a point. If you finally have to meet with them, your attitude is more important than what you say, but you have to be able to say most of what they want and expect to hear.
If you still believe in the Bible and Christianity, you should be able to get the following points across that are helpful:
1. You still love Jehovah, and love his organization, but just have so many questions right now that you just feel you need some more time. (Don't argue that you don't want to associate because you don't want others to know you have doubts/questions.) You appreciate these efforts made to try to help you, and you are sure this situation will pass.
(You want to avoid statements like: "I really believe that with heartfelt prayer and reliance upon Jehovah, that this problem will be resolved." The problems is, of course, that by relying on Jehovah without the elder's counsel, the meetings counsel, etc, you are really just relying on yourself, in their eyes.)
You do still believe in the faithful and discreet slave (even though you believe it in a more Biblical way, as I recall from a previous exchange with you in another thread.) So, of course you believe in God's organization, of course you believe that spiritual food is being delivered at the proper time from the slave class. (You don't have to lie to say these things, but they are still being deceived.)
The problem is the level of honesty you can give them if they ask things more directly like..."Do you believe that the Watchtower Society and the Governing Body are truly representing Jehovah's only source of spiritual food in our day." My brother was asked that one from a very tough Bethel Witch Hunt Committee in 1981, and managed to slip it with: "Of course I believe in Jehovah's arrangement. It's just that I was confused about some questions I had. I was having some doubts about some of the answers, but I don't really have any problems with those questions any more." He was able to change their interest to what his specific "tough questions" were rather than "who he had been discussing issues with." Now they were asking about the questions, and he was able to choose which questions he wanted to discuss. He could choose innocuous ones where he could prove that the answers were satisfactory and in support of the Org's position.(The Org has told the truth a few times...notice, for example, that there are believable explanations that would exonerate the Society and its leaders from some of the claims against them over the years.)
It's also important to help them conclude the meeting on a positive note. Show that you have been satisfied with answers such as these and you are confident that good answers to any remaining questions will also come in time. If you can, show them that they, the elders, have helped you overcome some doubts, that the Wt has helped answer questions, etc. They will feel they've done their job.
(Elders will typically be bored or unwilling to deal with questions that sound worthless to them and which they don't know the answers to anyway, and they will be happy you are finding your own generally positive answers. They do not want to have to do research beyond their own current knowledge.)
Keep your goal very clearly in mind and a lot of the words will likely come to you. If your goal is to stay in good standing, the words may come out a bit different than if your goal is to drift away quietly.
Sorry for the length.
Mulan is right on. You don't dare attempt to reason with them if you want to stay in the closet. The only hope you have is to lie. They will behave like little spiritual detectives and are looking for keywords in your responses. Thank them, stroke them and you'll be fine. Maybe even suggest studying a book in private with one of them. You don't have to, but suggest it. Their egos will flare right up and you'll be fine.
ROFLMFAO at JT & LB!!! I agree: lie your ass off. You could really freak them out by saying: "Of course I believe this is "the Truth"........but do YOU believe?!" I would try to avoid any sort of "meeting" with them though. JCs are formed to try and punish you in one way or another, so if you can avoid it, that's the best.
This doesn't really help with how to reason or prove to the elders about any "apostate" doubts, but I thought of a way to get rid of any meddling elders or any dub who tries to "help" spiritually.
Almost always they ask, "how have you been?" Well, instead of saying, "fine" or "OK", which is how most people react, tell em the truth or even embellish the truth. Heck, make up stuff. "How have you been, Brother Weak?" "Well, Brother Nosy, I am really embarrased to say this, but, I've lost my job, can't find another one, I lost my insurance and the baby is sick. I can't afford the medicine. My wife's mother is having to move in with us. And as you know, she requires daily assitance, which I can't afford now. And to top it all off, the roof has started leaking, and I can't afford to hire someone to repair it, and you know about my bad back, the doctor won't let me climb ladders, so I really could use some help to repair that. It would be great if some of the sisters could schedule it to sit with my mother-in-law, while I'm out looking for a new job. I know that Sister Gossip is a nurse. You think she could help with the baby? Did I mention that the car broke down? Of course the mechanic said it would take over a thousand to fix it. Do you think Brother Junker could take a look at it? It's the four door car and without it I can't get my family to the meetings. I really do need my brothers and sisters right now. I'm so glad that you came by. It's like a prayer has been answered. Thank you, Jehovah for sending help.
Watch em hem and haw and stutter and stammer and make an excuse to leave. Another reaction may be that they actually try to turn the conversation around to why your "service to Jehovah" has slackened and what can they do to help you spiritually. That reaction shows their true colors. They aren't concerned with you or your family. They just want to have a good report for when the CO comes back around. That's when I would be tempted to cut loose on them. This talk of true Christianaity and here someone has shown a need for charity and yet it's ignored and a lecture about meeting attendance and field service hours is more important to them.
I don't want anyone to get offended with this because that is DEFINITELY NOT my intention but 1) should anyone really be advocating that another person tells lies? I believe not. My wife and I came onto this board because we needed someone to talk to - and the response has been overwhelming; so wonderfully upbuilding and encouraging. However, because one escapes/tries to escape from the Org is no reason to drop one's standards and stoop to lying - which is as unchristian as the WTS;
and 2) I believe this thread should be moved to the secure area as it is open to the prying eyes of those we are wishing to avoid. We don't want them to get wind of our scams now, do we!
With sincere love,
What kills me is why do we all need to boost their ego's any more? Why does everyone feel the need to play their game and feel subjected to them and their rule over your life? People just need to stick up for themselves. The way I look at it is like this: A JW comes up to me wanting me to explain where I've been and why I haven't been to a meeting and wants to know why I'm asking questions that is spreading doubt I say, "And you are... who? Some form of authority over me? I don't think so. Who are you that I need to explain MY actions to you?" Especially is this was done in my own house. Like the other person said, Remember that they are in YOUR HOUSE where YOU set the rules. Not them. Don't feel the need to explain your own actions.
I would also remind them that you and you alone are responsible for your actions. They are the concern of no one except for God.
Once again I agree with JT.
Be vague, appear humble, in fact appearing depressed may make them tread lightly. Yes they may be like the Gestapo and ask intrusive questions that they have no right to but countering them in a similar vein or questioning their beliefs will backfire.
You've said that you really don't want to DA/DF so this is your best option and then try not to meet them again. If it's 2 elders coming to see you it's not a judicial committee but if they get a whiff of apostate thought you may quickly be meeting with 3 and that you'll have to attend or be Dfed and if you do attend you will be interrogated and any room to be vague will be denied
Lying may not be the most pleasant thing in the world but as has been pointed out to you the WTBTS has been dishonest with you. In 10 years time when all your relatives and friends have escaped you can call the elders then and tell them that the light has got brighter and yes you are an apostate.
If you don't want a fight don't meet them armed. I was an elder and wouldn't have kicked a dying dog but may have risen to the challenge of a fight.
VeniceIT said in a thread a while back:
Tell her you'd luv to chat but you have 'diarrhea'!
That's like the failsafe ailment. You could go to meeting with a headache or the sniffles, even nausea but NO ONE would expect you there with 'diarrhea ' it's the magic ailment!!!!
when all else fails.....
personally, i wouldn't meet with them, greven. you don't owe them shit.
ignore and avoid. that's all you have to do.
Answer your door..Do not let them in..Tell them never to bother you again..Close the door...OUTLAW
should anyone really be advocating that another person tells lies?
They lie to us..............all the time. They aren't coming over to encourage. They aren't entitled to the truth, so why give it? It is absolutely none of their business. I don't advocate lying for the sake of lying, but give them their own medicine. They call it theocratic strategy. You could deceive, and go all around the mulberry bush with them, but it would also be a lie.
It's just my opinion, but if a person is really trying to stay in, for the time being, it's a way to make that happen.