Tis The Season...For Elder Visits.
Yesterday dear sister Eyegirl (of the international sisterhood of apostate albino's, Northern Branch) Was visiting me. We just finished lunch and were about to rush out and see some R rated movies when the doorbell rang. Curious!
We peered out the window and the ever wise Eyegirl said "I think it's a witness mobile!" It was saturday morning after all--I can't believe I fell for it.
Unsure as to who it was for certain, I picked my way through the strewn boones farm bottles to make my way to the door, clad in my Betty Page t-shirt. (Why am I always dressed in questionable attire when the J-Dubs come?--At least it wasn't my Apostate Vixen t-shirt)
I opened the door to find Elder B. Out of all the elders at the last hall I attended he was one of my favorites. I assumed he was coming to say hello to my parents (and forgot they are not back yet from their vacation--YEAH RIGHT! Later I would find it was an ambush).
I smiled. We talked briefly of my parents trip to Florida, and then he said "well actually I came to talk to you."
Hmmm....to invite me to the memorial? OH HOW NAIVE I WAS!
Elder B: "Your parents have mentioned a few things to me in passing, and I would just like to come and talk to you. Elder D and myself actually...just to see where you are, how you're doing. See what's on your mind"
Me: (Nodding my head and smiling like an idiot savant...or just an idiot)
Elder B: "Elder D, his dad was an Apostate. So he actually came to the "truth" because he wanted to see why his dad was so upset with the Witnesses, and that led to a study with the Witnesses. So he has expressed an interest in talking to you...."
Me: (Thinking...why was the Apostate past mentioned? Why is he "expressing an interest in talking to me??...CURSE YOU PARENTS...(As some of you may recall...I confided in my parents my Apostate leanings. Hoping this would ease tensions between us, and they reaffirmed their love for me anyway. This was in January. Things have been smooth as glass since in our house. I thought we were at an understanding. I held my views they held theirs. Apparantly NOT! Apparantly they blabbed!!) http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/15/44838/1.ashx
Elder B: "I know I came into the truth later in life, much like your parents...so I couldn't really tell you anything different then they have, but I think Elder D will be able to answer a lot of questions you have. So is Monday good for you? We'd like to do it before you parents come home, and just meet with you."
Me: 'Yeah... I guess I can manage that"
Elder B: "Great...I'll give you a call Monday afternoon before we come over"
Me: (Feeling puketacular) "Great!"
In away, I am not afraid. I was never baptized. They can't do anything to me. But on the other hand, they can make my parents life a living hell for harboring an Apostate.
I don't want to talk to them about 1914, or Blood, or Child Abuse. I am not smart enough to talk about that stuff. I JUST WANT TO BE LEFT ALONE!! What is so hard about that for witnesses to understand?? Don't they know that by coming to talk to me, they "stir up the pot" and make life a hell for me and my parents. They aren't helping anything, it just makes me MORE antagonistic toward the witnesses.
I just want to say "Sorry guys, I am athiest now. So if you want to talk and show me proof you'll have to use something other than a Bible." They'll say. "Oh, well good for you little camper! Sorry we drove all this way out here."
BUT NO! It's never that easy. That won't be enough for them...and they're just gonna make me cry again..while I am home alone. I know I am technically an adult. But when I talk to Elders I feel like a four year old who has been caught with a crayon in my hand drawing on the wall.
I dunno what to do...any advice on how I should handle this? Keeping in mind a whirlwind course on dates, and quotes won't help me because it won't stick and I will come off sounding like even more of an idiot...
Think telling them I am an athiest will work? It's true. It's where I am at...what can they do to combat that?
ugh...I think it's time to call my parents and find out who the snitch was...*deep breath* here we go again...
Why can't it ever end? Why can't I ever move on?
Or you can call brother B and tell him that wouldn't be a good time and you'll call him in the future to let him know when. He doesn't have any control over you unless you give it to him. neyank
In a previous post you described a rather intense discussion with your parents, and as far as I could tell, you did quite well, except for getting a bit too emotional. May I respectfully suggest you use the same arguments with the new fellow ? Doubt if he will do any better than your parents. Just one more piece of advice, try to control the agenda as much as possible. Talk about UN membership, false propheys (sp?) 1975 etc. Bug
Hey there sweetie !!!
If you are not baptized, thus they cannot affect you in a direct way- I'd avoid them until the cows come home. You are under no obligation to meet with them at all.
It would appear that the only affect they can have is covert- through your relationship with your parents and they will do just that. And it won't be good. It will only serve to drive a wedge between you and your parents and cause all kinds of pain that none of you want. The ONLY way they can put any of that into motion is to talk to you. Take yourself out of the equation.
Your parents are still operating under what they have been conditioned to believe over years and years of exposure. If they did go to the elders about you; it may be out of a genuine sense of trying to "help" you. You know it's not "help" and so many others do too but they don't see it that way- they can't. They may also have gone to the elders for another reason- something else they have learned over the years- "take your problems to the elders" and they may have brought their fears etc. about the fate of their daughter's life to them for assistance in how to deal with it and you are simply seeing the end result of that sincere seeking of help.
Whatever the reasons behind the visit- YOU are in control here. Without you, very little could happen. Their "ammo" here is to pit you and your parents against one another and try to tear your family apart to force the issue. They need you to supply them with the means for that.
They have absolutely no authority over you at all so they need to turn that authority over to someone else through the worst kind of pressure that exists in their rotten religion- familial.
Your parents could go to the elders and outright ask for assistance in getting you back in "the truth", but unless they actually speak to you and get your side of things- they have nothing to go on except for what your parents might have shared with them. At that point it's still up to your parents to put pressure on you themselves. It's apparent from the calm in your home since your heated discussion a little while back, that your parents don't really want to do that- they love you and don't want all of that.
Once it becomes an issue that your parents have to deal with ie., their involvement with you~ it becomes a long term problem. And the only way they can set all of that into motion is to talk to you and get an idea from your own words about being apostate in any way. Your parents may not even be aware of how this would all play out and how the "elders" would simply be gathering information from you and then putting the very real pressure on them to deal with you while they sit back and watch your family torn apart. Damn that pisses me off !!! The manipulation !!!
They can't touch you. And they know it. But they can affect you greatly-if you let them. They are following procedure here and they know exactly what they can and cannot do. They are trying to do it the way "they can". Don't let them. EVER. It seems that you are in a little different situation here because you aren't baptized. You are under no obligation to speak to them EVER. If I recall correctly, your parents are under no obligation to shun you etc because you aren't baptized. So, in essence (I know it's the JW's-the rules are loose and change often) you could live the rest of your life and the elders can't do anything to you and your parents can really only give you a hard time about it if THEY choose to.
Offer them nothing- it is an ambush and it's a trap that will open a very large can of worms. Don't admit to a thing. Don't even speak to them. Call and beg off of this meeting on Monday and take yourself and your family out of the line of fire.
Love you sweetie- I hope this all works out for you and your parents !!
You are under no obligations. When I left the JW, I made a call and asked the elders to come over because I had some questions for them to answer. They kept trying to redirect the conversation, and I just kept directing it back to what I wanted to talk about. They tried to ask me about my current beliefs and I think they may have been trying to discover if I had become apostate. I did not tell them I was practicing Wicca at the time. My experience I know is different from many I see on this board, because I told them I no longer held the same belief system, and was not disfellowshipped. I did end up DA'ing later in the year.
I too just wanted to be left alone. Our meeting was left at that agreement. They were willing to just have me be inactive. They asked me if the sisters could visit me, I told them yes they could, but I'm not sure it would be a good thing since we would not have much to talk about since I didn't view the JW's as the "truth" any longer.
The thing to remember Jo, is that you are an adult, even living in your parents house. I am in my mid-forties and still manage to feel like a naughty child who got caught, so you aren't alone there. If you choose to meet with them, you can take control of the conversation and keep directing it back to what you are comfortable with. They do not own you and you do not owe them anything. Wasn't it Shakespere who said "To thine own self be true".
It is possible that no matter what you choose to do, you may end up being shunned. I know this would be hard considering you are in your parents home, so hang in there.
I've never been a JW, nevertheless, I found your post very intruiging. On a 'keeping it simple' level it would seem like:
1. You were never baptised, so obviously "apostate" should never enter any conversation you have with them, even in reference to your relationship with your parents.
2. Perhaps calling the elder and simply stating, "you know, without my parents here, I would feel a little uncomfortable with the two of you, considering all that has happened lately - let's reschedule later.... I'll call you, but thanks for your concern". .. Be cheerful and keep them guessing.
My unsolicited 2 cents.
I think you have to be somewhat careful here. In accepting an elder into your home to counsel you etc.(whatever the reason) , you accept in some measure your responsibility to them and the congregation/WTS. I am not sure that, that is the message you want to put over! You are within your rights to decline.
Since you were never baptized, it is very curious why they want to meet with you. . They must be really hard up for hours!
If you do meet with them though, remember that loose lips sink ships! They have a way of intimidating you when you really don't know it. Unless you really think that you can handle their intrusive questions, I suggest that you opt out of the meeting using any excuse.
Using my best cop's voice.........remember, anything you say can be used against you!
My mom called me this afternoon...just to see how I was doing...
Me: "Not so good"
Mom: "What's not so good?"
Me: "Elder B came over. Apparently they want to meet with me. The word Apostate was dropped a few times into the conversation. Doesn't that seem odd? I mean where would they get the idea that I am an Apostate? And he wants to bring Elder D, an apparent Apostate expert with him. Strange huh?"
Me: "I really don't appreciate you telling them to call on me, which is what you did right?"
Mom: "No...not at all...we went out in service with Elder D one day. And we talked. He was telling us about his history with his Apostate father...I don't think he means anything by it, he probably just thinks he can help"
Me: "Help me with what? I don't want to talk to them! I have nothing to say to them. I mean don't they realize they are doing more harm then good? I just want to be left alone."
Mom: (after a long pause and a sigh) "Well then, don't talk to them...you don't have to talk to them. I am sure they just have your best interest at heart"
Me: "Yeah well it doesn't feel like it. I feel like a little kid talking to them."
There were a few more akward silences, and a few more attempts to explain my displeasure. Our conversation quickly shifted to a halted and burdensome conversation about my nephew. It ended on a positive note however. And I think she gets the hint that whether she asked them overtly or covertly to talk to me...I ain't happy.
I was seriously considering meeting with them. Just get it over. Perhaps for the last time. Just lay it all out there. BUt I have never wanted to do that. The finality of beliefs with the JW's has always amazed me. It is or it isn't. You do or you don't. There is no changing your mind. (Although the powers that be, that make all the rules, get to be vauge and wishy-washy all the time).
Xenawarrior...your post was very helpful. And everyone else. (Double Edge, of course your two cents were solicited...I posted for your input, you crazy cat). I am not responsible to them. And I don't feel like talking. My own mother gave me the go-ahead. So I screened my calls today. Elder B called an astonishing 5 times, (leaving two messages). Eyegirl and I are planning a trip to the mall tomorrow bright and early. Perhaps to buy condoms, clove cigs, and perhaps some more booze? Who knows! Haha!
Again...thanks for all your help, and again you've all put things into perspective for me again. Thank you!!
I think thats a good idea Jo. I would just tell them that if you want to know anything about the truth you would rather study with your parents or go to the meeting than talk to them. Then you just dont. That way you keep the relationship between you and your parents and dont give the elders any power over you. Have fun!