Watchtower Now Considers Elders to Be Clergy Class

by Roger Kirkpatrick 12 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Roger Kirkpatrick
    Roger Kirkpatrick

    My father's uncle and spiritual mentor, Benjamin Ray Kent, had been a deacon (ministerial servant) in Watchtower founder C. T. Russell's home ecclesia (congregation) in Brooklyn, and also served as Russell's personal secretary at Brooklyn Bethel. After attending University my father served a 5-year prison term during World War II, supposedly for his loyalty to God. While his mother's proud and patriotic family disowned my father for his decision, it was his uncle Ray who regularly visited him in prison.

    That is the culture in which I was raised, and for much of my life, I took great pride in the belief that my father was a man of integrity to God. Then, in 1995, the JW Governing Body arbitrarily decided that performing alternative service during wartime was a matter of conscience. My father had gone to prison, not because he had refused to go to war--no conscientious objector has to go to war--but because he had been convinced by Watchtower that performing alternative service during wartime was a compromise of his Christian neutrality. Thus, he and thousands of his fellow JWs around the world willingly went to prison. Now, suddenly, a small group of small men essentially said, "Never mind that you went to prison for our consciences!" (In Crisis of Conscience, Raymond Franz correctly observed that each congregation--and, indeed, the entire organization--is governed by those men having the weakest consciences!)

    I asked my father how it felt to have gone to prison, not for loyalty to God, but for loyalty to an organization which plays games with people's lives. Of course, my father had invested way too much in being a JW to begin criticizing his beloved organization at that point in his life. How sad!

    Because of his experiences in prison (what he often called the most meaningful experience of his life), my father carried on a 'prison ministry' at the Fort Worth county jail, and he would routinely take various ministerial servants with him as a form of training. Recognized as a minister and a regular face, my father was treated with respect and affection by jail officials.

    One day, a new inmate approached my father and asked if he was a clergyman, to which my father replied yes. The ministerial servant accompanying my father that day reported that incident to the local elders who, in turn, reported it to the Branch office. My father received a written reprimand from the Service Dept. for having identified himself as a member of the clergy because that identified him as being a part of Christendom.

    Imagine my disgust when, in a recent court case involving Watchtower hiding a case of child sexual abuse, when Watchtower's last legal straw was to claim clergy privilege, Watchtower officially declared that it now considers JW elders to be members of the clergy. Then to have that claim rejected by the court on the basis that there had been no confidentiality, but multiple persons throughout the organization had been made aware of the allegations against the offender.

    Isn't it interesting that this bit of "new light" (regarding JW elders constituting a clergy class) was revealed, not in the Watchtower, but in a court of law!

  • I Faded Twice
    I Faded Twice

    I remember the same. Being told my whole life elders were NOT clergy! Then seeing them claim it in court because they are in a pinch.Total Hypcrisy!

  • sp74bb

    That brings an interesting point for discussion.

    Elders being considered now as clergy are fully responsible in court of any claim or damage due to sexual abuses?

    At least in Spain I heard about many Elders having personal conscience issues regarding this. Some event considering asking private legal help.

  • MrExJW

    Well that was them evading responsibility. It was not change in policy.

    Remember Governing Body member Jackson when asked a simple question about elder policy that ALL elders would know said - It was not his field.

    They will lie and do anything to protect themselves - and the general Publisher has NO FING IDEA.

  • why144000

    Would it be possible to give a link to the court case where the Society claimed that elders were part of a clergy class? Thanks in advance.

  • Roger Kirkpatrick
    Roger Kirkpatrick

    Sure thing, #why144,000!

    Here is eyewitness testimony by someone who was in the courtroom throughout the trial. Advance counter to 49:00 and listen.

  • LV101

    I always referred to them as the "clergy class" even to their kids. It's one serious pecking order and why they try to lie about everything not being like Christendom is ludicrous.

  • zeb

    They tried to pull that one on at the CARC and were suitably corrected by the Justice when he said "You cant have it both ways."

  • Zoos
    And your father's response was.....? Or did it fly right over his indoctrinated mind?
  • Diogenesister

    Here is another example of watchtower changing a cherished belief to get them out of a legal tightspot. They kilked the faithful and discrete slave CLASS in order to protect their assets in Australia (connected with elders refusing to get their working with children card, a legal requirement in some Australian states) Steven Unthank, in taking them to court over this refusal, got them to admit the FDS is a "theological concept only", has NOT inherited jesus belongings and that only the GB are the FDS.

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