Do you or did you experience too much intrusion into your personal life by the elders in your congregation?
I ask this question because I have personally experienced first hand the control and intrusion into my personal life by the elders at our hall; and for virtually trivial things or non issues!
What's more, I regularly hear of individuals moving to other halls because they were stumbled by the thought police....er, I mean these elders.
Have you had any such experience? Have your elders been a bit ott over trivialities?
I used to do very low FS, on an average of 5 hrs/month. For that, I would be advised by elders to do more and be less materialistic.
The elders thought I am giving more importance to my job than Kingdom activities. The truth was, my inner guts told me that this is all fake and hence lesser FS.
This is absolutely a major problem with this religion. If you're not careful and stand up for yourself, the elders can ruin families.
Here's an old post on the subject that you might appreciate:
I can remember a firm conversation I had with the elder who looked after our fs group. I was his ms assistant. He would speak in derogatory terms about ones under our care especially if they missed a day of service.
I reminded him that we "do not know their personal circumstances, and that it is not our place to encroach. He snapped back : "yes it is my right to know everyone's business! Nothing should be secret from me"
I calmly stated again "no, we should respect appropriate boundaries!"
Mostly no, they couldn't be bothered, for which I am grateful. I think it was because my husband was disfellowshipped and I was off and on irregular in service. I now realize I was doing a very, very slow fade for most of the thirty years I was in.
oh boy did i!
It didnt help that i was married to an elders daughter to would not only turn me in for silly things but would even turn herself in!
I had elders investigating me for for putting a £5 bet on a football match, owning a little Netherlands flag on my bookcase, collecting bibles, reading the Koran, learning Hebrew, growing what they thought was a marijuana plant (it was a Japanese Mapel, and one of the elders who called was supposed to be a gardener), for low FS, for working with a single sister on the ministry when i had no FS partner... lots more.
I've had elders pull friends in the backroom and questioned about what they know. And then the elders told the friend to NOT tell me they were questioned.
Oh yes we have!!! It was an Elder. Guess what they got when they tried to intrude. NOTHING! We told him NOTHING. We felt like we didn't owe him anything. This is a volunteer organization, not the FBI or IRS! We pretty much let him know to....BUTT OUT!
Remember....the Elders only get as much power as WE allow. Have some fun with it. If you ever want to piss someone off, find the achilles' heel. Most Elders love the power and title of being an Elder (that is their achilles heel). Don't give them the power and they get pissed.
It was kinda fun playing with the little ass*ole!
I've observed that how intrusive the elders are depends a lot on the individual elders and the individual JW. As Toesup said if you give them a firm "no, talk to the finger" when they try it on they jog on.
There are some people though that seem to be targeted by bodies of elders for the slightest infraction, they watch and wait for the person to screw up so they can df their arse out of there. While some other person, usually some smarmy suck-up with connections could be Jack the ripper himself and the elders would be completely blind, deaf and dumb to them.
They only get as much power as the individual gives them.
Growing up in the cult my mother was friends with elders and COs and DOs and their wives.
Our family business was discussed with these ones and their opinions sought on many issues that were really none of their business. For this reason we as youths were constantly spoken to by the elders.
To mum's shock sometimes the elders would not agree with her point of view in dealing with us but when it came to supporting us in a time of distress one of these trusted "friends" had our family marked in order to show us and the congregation that we were "faulty".
They had this power over us because they were too involved in our business. JWs are too quick to trust ones just because they come to the kingdom Hall and that is why it is a Haven for paedophiles.