Elder/MS requirement for marriage talk? (Wedding not in KH)

by respectful_observer 24 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • steve2

    In some jurisdictions, even when designated by your religious group as a "minister" you cannot legally marry a couple unless you are a registered wedding celebrant - otherwise the "marriage" is not recognized in law. Of course, anyone can give a talk during the wedding ceremony - but the actual marriage component itself requires a celebrant. For example, in my local congregation, at least 3 elders were registered marriage celebrants.

  • Tech49

    I will chime in on this one, as I have a recent first-hand experience with this very thing.

    A young couple I know wanted to get married. They asked an elder in their congregation to perform their ceremony at the KH, he agreed, and all was well. Shortly thereafter, other elders got their knickers in a wad, and didnt feel it "appropriate" that the kids get married in the KH, as they were too young (he was 19, she was 18). Quite the arguments went round and round, until such a ruckus was stirred up that the original elder pulled out, and the body decided that it would not be "appropriate" to have the wedding at the KH, and no elders or servants would be available to give the talk...... because such a commotion had been stirred up. NOT because the kids had done a single thing wrong, or been "unclean" in any way..... just because too many busy bodies got in a fight about the whole thing.

    Needless to say, now this poor couple was upset, confused, and completely lost. My wife and I agreed to help them.

    Here's what went down: They kept their original wedding date. We had them meet with a Justice of the Peace in a small, informal setting, just to perform the real legal ceremony and sign the paperwork. Then, the next day, we had the "ceremony", where everyone was invited, at an alternate location that we had helped them rent at the last minute....and I gave the wedding talk. I used the WT outline, very loosely at that! Everyone in attendance said it was the best talk they had heard in a long time! Now, mind you, I am no longer serving as an elder. And we had some in the wedding party that were NOT JW's. We had decorations, played music...It was a great day, the kids got married, pictures were taken, there may or may not have been some good whiskey passed around....a good party was had by all! Good clean fun, no one got out of control, it was a very decent and dignified event. Only 2 other elders in attendance, from another hall. None of the local elders were there. So sad.... but whatever, didnt want to spoil the day for the new young couple.

    Fast forward about 2 weeks. I get pulled into the "back room", because of the huge "concern" for what went on. I was not "qualified" to give the talk, they said. That devil ALCOHOL was present! WORLDY people were in the wedding party!! OMG!!! People (who had not even bothered to attend) were so stumbled! How dare I circumvent the "brothers". I WENT OFF! I used some choice language, and basically told them to mind their own business! They couldn't be bothered to support the couple previously, and so it was none of their business who was or was not at the ceremony, or who did or did not perform the ceremony! And I certainly did not need anyone's permission to speak at the ceremony, and perform a "mock" ceremony. I did not tell them that we had done the legal stuff the day before, it was again..none of their business.

    So ya, we got a ton of crap for that one, but in the end it was worth it! It was a bright shiny day for the young newlyweds, without an "elders" thumb micro managing the whole event!

    Bottom line... anyone can PERFORM a ceremony. You may have to have the actual legal stuff done at the courthouse. And dont let anyone dictate to you otherwise.

    Jack Harper, Tech49

  • Village Idiot
    Village Idiot

    I recall a statement in the literature about the possibility that non-members might behave poorly and cause an embarrassment at the reception.

    I don't have access to this citation so I'm not sure if it says that but it may be of help: w97 4/15 25.

  • steve2

    I recall a statement in the literature about the possibility that non-members might behave poorly and cause an embarrassment at the reception.

    Hmmm, there is anecdotal evidence suggesting that the ones 'behaving poorly and causing embarrassment at the reception' are more likely to be intoxicated JWs.

  • scratchme1010

    is anyone aware of any rules (written or otherwise) when it comes to having a baptized JW who is not an elder or MS give the wedding talk at a non-KH venue when members of the wedding party are not JWs?

    In my experience, when it comes to that, elders pretty much do whatever comes out of their behinds. I saw elders who decided to cancel a wedding altogether because the JW couple filled the paperwork a week before to qualify for a housing program. They were not allowed to get married.

    Another elder decided not to preside the wedding because the non-JW sister of the groom, who wasn't attending got pregnant out of her marriage. And so on, they are full of nonsense.

    There doesn't have to be a rule for them to decide to do whatever comes out of their behinds. It's just like that.

  • joe134cd

    Hmmm, there is anecdotal evidence suggesting that the ones 'behaving poorly and causing embarrassment at the reception' are more likely to be intoxicated JWs.

    Yup I've witnessed a few boozed up jws at an officiated watchtower wedding.

  • Richard Oliver
    Richard Oliver

    I know in New York City the cities regulation calls for a known lay person of a religion to marry someone, so that required elders to marry people in the city.

  • respectful_observer

    Thanks for all the feedback everyone.

    Thankfully for the couple, they live in a state where there is little or no requirement for the offiiciant, so no worries from a legal perspective. I suspect whoever they choose will simply have to run the same JW-elder gaunlet verbal beating afterward that Tech49 was just subjected to. One of the good things about the speaker not being an elder or MS is there's no real sanction some self-righteous elder body can impose on him afterward.


    Yep, what OTWO said! ALL Dubs are "ordained ministers." There is no reason why a non-elder cannot perform a marriage ceremony. After all, Dubs are equal, brothers, and there is no hierarchy....

    Dubs MUST follow the "code red" of the cult. Elders must issue "code reds", or they will not be Elders anymore.


  • blondie

    In this area even elders in the same congregation have to be approved by the BOE (Big three elders?) to give the wedding talk, in the hall or not. If not pre-approved could be removed or threaten to remove, participants pure or not.

    No control over non-elder or non-MS brothers as far as removal, but they could lose "privileges."

    I was told that there are written instructions to the BOE on this.

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