One of the Most Obscene Phrases in Any Language; the Judicial Committee

by TMS 9 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • TMS

    A tribunal of religious, if not spiritual, men, whose decision can alter lives, disrupt, no, destroy, families, ruin young lives, create angst, pain, depression, hopelessness, sorrow, despair can be the job for three typically unqualified men known in JW land as the Judicial Committee.

    My first judicial experience as a kid of 18 serving on the JC involved disfellowshipping an elderly sister for apostacy when she would not promise to quit frequenting a neighborhood Christian Science Reading Room for personal study.

    My second big case involved a baptized 12 year old who allegedly stole a hot wheel from K-Mart. He admitted to nothing, answering every question with "I dunno" and was put on probation, the 60's equivalent of reproof.

    In subsequent years, I "served" on committees judging accused adulterers, fornicators, thieves, gamblers, non-providers, taking up boxing, slanderers and yes, apostates, sitting also on so-called appeal committees as well.

    The rules for disfellowshipping are not found in the so-called "Good Book," sometimes called the Bible. The Watchtower leaders make up the list of disfellowshipping offenses, judicial committee procedure, appeal and reinstatement procedure. The application of these rules is as variant as every snowflake. After reinstatement, a litany of man-made rules, enforced by self-righteous elders, can determine the restoration of congregation privileges.

    Not very many men living have served on more of these JC's than me, not because I'm judgemental, but because I became a JW judge at such a young age, and in midlife made myself available as I so disliked harsh, unreasonable, vindictive, self-righteous decisions being made.

    The big Watchtower lie is that it is the lack of repentance, not the act itself that leads to disfellowshipping.

  • dothemath

    Most of the committees I was on (not nearly as many as you) the decision seemed to be made even before all the details were heard.

    One person that was trying hard to be reinstated was told no, mainly because the main elder didn't like him. (It turned out he did him a favour, he's glad to be long gone)

    There's no balance, some get away with almost anything and others get the book thrown at them.

    The worst situation I heard of was an elder(quite prominent, used a lot at conventions) who was on judicial committees while he was in fact having an affair with a pioneer sister.

  • TMS

    yes, dothemath, elders can be treated differently. The Flock book even allows for an elder, guilty of an unreported disfellowshipping offense from several years ago, to continue serving without a judicial committee, if there is "evidence of God's spirit in his life" after the offense. The typical publisher would not enjoy such leniency.

    Several years ago, an elder was reproved for an affair with his secretary, a young sister, and, of course, removed as an elder. A short time later, the circuit overseer put a lot of pressure on the elder body to reinstate the brother as an elder. We were not in that big of a hurry, but succumbed to the pressure, thinking that the brother was humbled by the matter and could be worked slowly into the body. When the appointment came back, it included his appointment, not only as elder, but as City Overseer, Convention Overseer and head of the Hospital Liaison.

  • smiddy

    It`s not what you know but who you know


  • bats in the belfry
    bats in the belfry


    Whoa ! ?

    My first judicial experience as a kid of 18 serving on the JC

    They let you serve as elder age 18 ?

    Smiddy is right: It`s not what you know but who you know

  • TMS

    bats in the belry, "They let you serve as elder age 18 ?"

    I thought someone might ask that. Prior to the installation of the elder arrangement in 1971, the so-called "Service Committee," responsible for judicial matters was made up of the Congregation Servant, the Assistant Congregation Servant and the Bible Study Servant. Servants back then were appointed at a very young age and, if there was no one else available frequently got bumped up into the Service Committee. Certainly, this arrangement did not speak very well for the concern about handling such serious matters. The "holy spirit" was expected to guide these matters. LOL!

  • Perry
    A tribunal of, whose decision can alter lives...destroy, families, ruin young lives, create angst, pain, depression, hopelessness, sorrow, despair...the job for known... as the Judicial Committee.

    Hi TMS,

    Thank you for your honesty. I was just wondering if you have tried to reach out to any of the people whose lives you altered and apologized?

  • freddo

    I can fully vouch for TMS's description of the "arrangement" prior to 1971.

    In a congregation the only "elder" (presbyter) was the Congregation Servant. The Assistant Congregation Servant was termed an "assistant ministerial servant" (diakanos) - as was the Bible Study Servant. These were the service committee.

    Also the Watchtower Overseer and School Overseer were "assistant ministerial servants" but unless there was illness or someone being away for a long time or it was a close relative being dealt with then the three brothers described by TMS always did every judicial committee.

    You need a hard copy of Qualified to be Ministers (1967 was the last copy I think) to check I have this right.

    I was just a kid but even in our hall at the time where we had several baptised men our Bible Study Servant (forerunner of service overseer) in 1970 was a keen pioneer of only about 20 and so would have been on the judicial committee.

  • DesirousOfChange

    It`s not what you know but who you know

    . . . . or who you blow.


  • stuckinarut2

    Yes, these big fish in a very small goldfish bowl have no power or authority in any other aspect of life, but they wield it over the very ones they should be shepherding...the weak and downtrodden who are going through hard times.

    Jesus said, "come to me all who are toiling, and I will refresh you" . He did not speak to add further guilt and burdens to them.

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