The beard issue
Hello again everyone. This is my second topic here. Sorry for this biiig post.
I would like to tell you guys about one of the things that bothered me most, despite of being something quite simple, but since it affected me directly, so...
Well, being a ministerial servant, I knew the bad view the JW in general have towards beards. However, convinced that it isn't unscriptural and neither bad in anyway, I started to wear a beard at the meetings.
Of course I didn't left the "grooming" behind, so I used to keep my beard short and well cut. Since I didn't want to call too much attention to myself I decided that whenever I had a part to talk from the stage I would shave. Well, it happened for one and a half month when I got to know at the meeting that I was assigned to the final prayer. I was wearing my beard, but since during the prayer everybody is suposedly with the eyes closed there wouldn't be any problem. I did it. Next month I didn't get any part instead another prayer. Following the same logic I did it with my beard. Two weeks later, two elders called me to 'talk'. One elder, the elder's coordinator, is a recent one, not even 10 years of eldership, he has a nice relationship with me and wears a thick moustache. The other is one that hasn't too much teaching skills but spend some years supporting a small congregation alone, so he came back to mine with a strong air of authority and a noticeable thirst or more power in the body of elders. Well, the conversation:
The one who is more close to me talked alone while the other only watched. He asked "what was happening?" since I was wearing a beard. I argued that isn't any wrongdoing but he told me to read an article about grooming. It's funny because I had read this article before deciding wearing a beard and didn't see anything condemning.
After that, I sat down and wrote an article about how the beard ban isn't biblical and isn't a big deal after all. I printed and sent one copy to each elder in my congregation.
One day they called me to talk about it. 5 elders were there, just not one who is my uncle (is married to my aunt actually). They made questions about what I had written, aparently to try to get me in my words since they didn't point anything clearly wrong in my article. During the talk (questioning), they changed their argument to say that the reunion was because I had made this a big deal when I sent the article to all the elders. (detail: I had shaved to this meeting) They even told me they decided to hold me from talks on the stage but as our conversation went well (and I agreed to shave, the reasons I will explain) they decided not to do that. Then this elder asked everyone else the opinion if they agreed to give me back my part on the stage. 4 said yes with no problem. The last one, the one who went to talk to me with the elder's coordinator at first, made a huge speech about how I should me more "humble" and highlighted that 'I was imperfect, so I would fail sometimes, and they (I think he meant himself) would be there to point it."
Well the main reason I shaved was that I saw they would probably take my privilege of service and everybody would think I had fornicated or at least did something sexually immoral. (because 90% of the sins among JW has to do with sex). I think if I get out someday I want to do it for my own will and I want the people to know exactly why. So I thought that suffer this shame on me and my family wouldn't worth it, and following my owm argument to them I wanted to show them that it isn't a big deal. Different from them I showed that I could wear it or not and it wouldn't bother my relationship with God.
Interestingly, after that I found a post on a ex JW website who had plenty of the arguments I wrote in my article.
One of them we both pointed was the clear boycott that the WT itself do to beards. This movie of the 2017 convention put this very clear. On one scene the man wears a beard and is impolite and agressive. Next scene he start studying JW literature and shows up shaved, polite and mild tempered. His son has a facial hairstyle too. He mocks of his parents who are starting to like the JWs and don't want anything to it. some scenes after, he accepts to study and appears on the meaning smiley and shaved.
Nothing new from the GB.
The 'new light' I had this time, and I intend to put it in a next version of my article is that it isn't the beard that WT boycotts. I realized that the Tower also never shows in a good view the alchoolic drinks. Yes, they know it isn't forbidden by the Bible and put it clear, but they never show a witness drinking alchool and surely it speaks more bad than good about this act.
My question is: Why, so, the witness througout my country make use (sometimes abuse) of alchool and doesn't bother with what is the WT, GB, and the people in general opinion (here in brazil most of the protestant churchs forbids the alchool, it even cause plenty of shock for people when they know we are allowed to drink) , since it is a conscience case while put the WT, GB and the totally unbased "popular opinion" ahead to force the men to shave?
My answer: Because what counts in the WT isn't the Bible and even less the logic. It's the will of the authority. I truly believe that in 20 years beards will be allowed simply because this generation will be in the eldership.
That's exactly right. It's all about CONTROL. Keep in line with what they expect from you and you'll move up the ladder. Drift away from expectations and down you go.
This is a cult. Doctrines actually do not matter (which is why they can change at any time). Control does.
You have discovered the line between EXPLICIT rules and the IMPLICIT ones by having a beard and writing letters about it to the elders. You have implicitly shown that you think that you know more than they do. But again, it is NOT about knowledge, facts, doctrines or truth.
It is about control. Authority and control.
It's a cult.
the irony is that somebody claiming to be from US State of Colorado has just trolled the exjw reddit today
shave beard for job interviews or just trim it?
Should I shave my beard? Should I trim it clean and short like I usually do? Is it inappropriate?
Some interesting replies.
In the case of beards: Classic case of behavioral control in the BITE model.
BTW...it is ironic since alcohol is so embedded in Bethel, including many on the GB. As Howie Long said in several interviews, many GB members had a drinking problem. And let's not get started on Judge Rutherford!
Just recently I met an ex-Bethelite who had been at the Bethel in Selters, Germany.
He told me that there was a storage room where they kept alcohol for the Bethelites. All Bethelites were explicitly forbidden from telling anyone that came for a tour of the facilities about this secret stash of booze. He added that this was one of the things that really bothered him when he was there and got him to question the religion. (Note that it wasn't that they HAD alcohol, it was that they were to be secretive about it to visitors. The hypocrisy and the putting on of a false image were what bothered his conscience).
Hey Ray, I TOTALLY know where you're coming from. I was actually just removed from a priviledge of service because of my beard. In total I had 5 SEPARATE meetings with differing elders and CO's. All trying to convince me to cut it off. Despite all by biblical reasoning (which is pretty solid), they simply wouldn't listen, opting to view matters through the eyes of the spiritually weak-minded brothers in the area.
And let's not get started on Judge Rutherford!
Let me get my scotch and two cups. After that I'll go to give a speech about the preaching work that I don't do.
Sandino Holy sht, man! They just don't think.
they simply wouldn't listen, opting to view matters through the eyes of the spiritually weak-minded brothers in the area.
That's the point.
Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Rom 14 3
This is isn't even a hard scripture to understand.
Ray, what's REALLY amusing to me though is that there were SOME that were bothered by my decision of having a beard and I'm sure they imagined that once the higher ups talked to me I wouldn't hesitate in cutting it off. Nope. So, now I continue to have my beard (intentionally not well trimmed), continue to be involved in the Ministry School, go out in the ministry, and answer in the meetings. So, win-win for me.