Do you or did you experience too much intrusion into your personal life by the elders in your congregation?

by UnshackleTheChains 29 Replies latest jw experiences

  • label licker
    label licker

    What a loaded question. LOL. We had them hauling in most of the congregation, individually questioning them if anyone knew of any reason why we weren't attending the meetings. They even called brothers up in Wawa, On which is six hours away from where we use to live asking them if we had said anything that was negative against the org. We didn't even know them. Just processed their venison for them. Then they told all individuals to not talk to us if they saw us.

    We were followed a few times while out in service by this one idiot elder and his wife who never liked doing service(Sean and Lisa of the Elmira congregation). They would drive past our studies as we were walking into their homes. I would semi jokingly ask Sean if he was following us and he said they were on their way to their houses that they cleaned windows for. I would ask but why would you clean windows in your suit. He would walk away. They had just come out of the field service arrangement and then follow us to our calls.

    Then we caught them sitting outside of our lane for five hours waiting for us to come and unlock the gates. That was the morning they df'd my husband.

  • amicabl

    sparrowdown......That is so true. When I was in we had someone who was almost permanently disfellowshipped. The word defiance was used. I used to like him and chat to him when he was back with us. He married a sister a lot older than he was and that didn't go down well. They moved down to Victoria, Aus and I like to think they both left.

    I was chatted once for "spending too much time talking to sisters". That one left me dumbfounded and I ignored it. If I meet someone when I am out and about they always seem willing to have a brief talk with me. I just think of them as people.

    Elders are nobodies. The control freaks are COs and above.

  • sparrowdown

    Amicabl - it seems every cong has it's "scapegoats". Very sad religion.

  • StarTrekAngel

    I personally did not experience as much intrusion as some other ones have. Although I think that is partly because the most nosy elder moved to another congregation but I know one of my good now apostate friend had his life made hell by the same elder.

    In my case I was mostly bombarded with snarky comments and remarks. Like this elder, which is the one I converted with, would call me on a Saturday to have me fix his computer. I would show up with a half grown beard and then he would ask "how was field service this morning?"

    My good apostate friend was in a band that played at most JW parties. Obviously their songs were mostly innocent but some of them could be interpreted with double meaning. He has had elders encourage people to leave the party because he would refuse to quit playing those songs. After being DFd, he had to cancel contracts (even when he accepted to not play, just provide the equipment and the rest of the band would do it). He has had to cancel contracts on the eve of weddings because of this.

  • Wasanelder Once
    Wasanelder Once

    There was an article about prayer. It said that using the name Jehovah in every sentence devalued the name, made it a lucky charm. After the meeting for service, I approached the MS who conducted the meeting and asked if he had read the article. Of course every second word was Jehovah. He went ballistic, accusing me of counseling him in front of his family.

    The next meeting the PO (in those days) took me in the room and read me the riot act for reproving a MS when I was "nothing". I said, "I'm his brother and If I wish to bring something to his attention that keeps him from looking and sounding like an ass, I will. Give it a rest" and walked out of the little room. What a tool. That PO hated me so much. I was a threat to his little fiefdom.

  • Farmer Jim1
    Farmer Jim1

    Once had an elder pull me into the KH car park and insist that I no longer speak to or associate with a particular sister in the cong. I told him that was a strange request and asked for more details. He didn’t elaborate, just got more dogmatic about it. I insisted on him giving me a reason as she was a friend and I enjoyed associating with her. He said that she had requested that I no longer talk to her. I knew immediately that it was elder BS. I agreed to comply with the elder and then spoke to the sister the next week. She confirmed that it was BS and didn’t have a clue what it was about. When confronted the elder confessed he had handled things very badly & had some kind of ‘episode’ but did not apologise for bare faced lies he told. To think that I still trusted elders to ‘shepherd me’ after that nonsense!

  • Farmer Jim1
    Farmer Jim1

    Presiding overseer once took it upon himself to voice his opinions to me and try to pursuade me not to buy a motorbike. Why he thought it was any of his business I’m not sure. Drunk on his own power.

  • Farmer Jim1
    Farmer Jim1

    And finally(although there is a lot of material in this topic). PO before the last one took me aside and counselled me NOT TO COME to meetings if my spiritually weak wife was not at meeting. Unsure about this but willing to follow elders’ directions I missed countless meetings by following his council. I later hear from several elders that he has been commenting on how disappointed he is because I was missing meetings! I was fuming and ‘took him in a back room’ during the next WT study. He was understandably upset when I tore a strip off him but still didn’t learn his lesson and kept spouting crazy personal opinions instead of scriptural advice. Complete fool, easily the worst elder I have ever come across. Am so mad just thinking about it that I should name & shame him

  • Lost in the fog
    Lost in the fog

    I've had 2 elders visit and counsel me for having an opinion on social media. One of them began by saying none of the elders use social media, so I asked the other one if he was still on Instagram and he said he was. I then named 6 elders I have on my friends list from other halls. It was all a bit of a farce.

    But when they had gone I suddenly realised that for 2 elders neither of whom was my group overseer to call obviously someone had raised this issue at an elders meeting and they had picked 2 elders to call on me, so the whole body must have discussed the matter before and after, which really angered me.

  • scratchme1010
    Do you or did you experience too much intrusion into your personal life by the elders in your congregation?

    Many people don't like hearing the experiences that I had with elders from when I was a kid to when I faded. They were never good experiences. Pretty much everything that is wrong in the world to me was represented by the congregation elders I knew.

    1. isms - I met (not in any particular order) racists, classicists, misogynists, homophobic, xenophobes, and sizeists elders
    2. idiots with power - there were quite a few dumb ass elders who just had the intelligence of a potato chip. Some of those loved the attention they were getting and were abusing their power and their position.
    3. bullshitters - right out of the top of my head I heard a few ridiculous and downright stupid stories, like the one where one JW was preaching and got shot in the head and the bullet bounced, and similar bullshit.
    4. dirty politics - pretty much all the shit that we see happening in the conservative Republican congress in USA, at a minor scale, I lived in the congregations, the same political infighting and dysfunction.
    5. double lives - I have shared a few times that I got sexually involved with an elder who later was in the JC that formed to discuss "my" (read "their") problem with me being gay. I also knew of a couple of them with drinking problems, being wife beaters, child molesters and with gambling problems. I almost forgot, I know of an elder who was a cross-dresser.
    6. Mental health issues - now that I better understand certain things, I know that there were a few elders who were not all there. I can attest of at least one who in fact, ended under psychiatric treatment for grandiose delusions.

    When it came to being intrusive, many just felt entitled to come in and out of people's personal matters without a problem, and expecting people being ok with that, feeling entitled to having a saying in people's personal lives.

    Granted, at the end I was just doing whatever the fuck I wanted to do and that wasn't settling well with those repressed, jealous people, especially the elders. But I never saw and met any elder who was a good role model or honest. Of all the people in authority I knew as a JW, I can only talk about one CO who seemed genuinely loving and doing his job as a CO. One, out of 23 years of dealing with that organization.

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