What was the "Pecking order" in your congro??
In my old congro the P.O's wife came 1st before anyone and i mean ANYONE!!
In my old congregation, we had a MTS brother who was an alpha male, and married an alpha female. Top dogs indeed. Immediately after them, there was a large extended family (multiple congregations) who were second tier. Hell, even their disfellowshipped family members were treated like royalty. After that, everyone else fell into 'theocratic' order...
Based on my observations, those who are rich & loaded or who rank highly & have connections in JW land would usually be on top of the pecking order. And in African / Asian / South American countries, you would be at the top if you are a Westerner. Too bad if it happens to be the reverse scenario - a poor immigrant family in a Western congregation!
JW's claim to be impartial, but those in their congregations are ultimately viewed & judged based on their status, wealth, nationality, and skin color. Sad but true!
I always hear how the elders wife's are the queen, top dog, the one really in charge at the hall, etc.
I do not know what was wrong with me but as an elders wife I was put down, treated like crap, etc. It was horrible, Other elders wives would not speak to me period, they had their cliques and I WAS NEVER INCLUDED. One time my husband gave a talk out and he was in his circle talking to the elders from that hall and I was just standing there feeling like an idiot and then I looked around and there were groups of other women at least two and they were talking and then looking at me and then back to talking. Not one came toward me to say hi, I felt like I was in jr. high school again. Sometimes I would approach them and try to introduce myself and they would just stair at me and not even acknowledge me. Hello I am standing right in front of them. It was totally crazy and I honestly do not to this day know why.
When they would call for an elder's meeting after the meeting it was HELL. The other wife's would huddle in groups and I would just stand there feeling stupid. Sometimes these emergency meetings would go on for an hour or more. There were many nights that we did not get home until after midnight or latter.
I hated being an elder's wife.
The COBEs wives seems like they have most of the pull in the congregation. They have more power than what you realize.
You are so right about wealth. If you had money you were top dog. I live in the northwestern US and have served at Brooklyn Bethel. Everywhere I have been money is the power trip.
We lived on nothing $200 a month and pioneered where the need was great, we gave up everything for the "truth" and yet I have been yelled at, told I was stupid by one of the anointed non the less, on and on for putting the truth first and not having money, yet you cannot live in an area where there is hardly any work to serve where the need is great and have money. Then we had a couple move in who did none of this but the elder husband had really high paying job. You would have thought he walked on water, watching the other elders and their wives suck up to him.
Yet when my job offered me the chance to go to college I got so much hell for it that I had to stop. I really hate this religion and it is just so wrong in so many ways.
Wealthy extended family headed up by Liam Martin, his German wife, 2 of his daughters and their husbands and in-laws.
Every confidential thing discussed at elders meetings was known by all of them within hours. If any of them disapproved of any decision of the elders there was hell to pay.
LITS, you are exactly the kind of person that could never fit in with those jerks.
Having been friends for 6 years now, I know you are an exceptional person: considerate, kind, generous, intelligent,perceptive and have a great sense of humor. Knowing how you were raised it's amazing that you have your wits about you.
Just the kind of person to piss off such petty and stupid people. The kinder you were to them the worse they treated you. When I was younger a psychotherapist friend told me people like that resent you because they know they will never have the heart that you do.
It's always been a sore point for me the way groups of people single out and bully someone like that. As a little kid in Catholic school I saw some of that but the JWs have much more of it ingrained into their social behavior.
LITS once tried to do something nice for an older woman in her congregation. I believe the woman had to move away and LITS wanted to put together a little box of mementos to send her, but caught hell for it for some twisted reason. Figures.
I was in one cong. as a child and up until my thirties.
I did not see this one man/woman in charge syndrome.
The original cong. servant before the elder arrangement was a very kindly unassuming but well organised man, his wife had been imprisoned as a pioneer for not joining up in the services in WW2 and their daughters even now in their 60's are really pleasant supportive elders wives (in the best possible way a jw can be) in their respective congs.
He worked for a living, owned a very modest home and was the nearest thing to a true Christian I ever met. If it wasn't for him I would have probably woken up and left around 1980 when everything jw-wise got harder and tougher. He taught me three scripture sermons at the age of 12 and was a genuinely good father and grandfather and he didn't make a fuss about beards and petty rules when other congs did.
He became the P.O. aged about 60 and carried on the same and of course the positions rotated for a few years.
The next P.O. was younger, 40's just as kind - a bit "look at me" and "big-headed" but he was reasonable and a solid decent hard working chap with a supportive wife and young family.
The next "permanent" PO was a younger again ex bethelite pioneer who had just been put on as a sub CO when his wife fell pregnant. This was a great leveller and again he was a kindly decent zealous chap with a supportive wife. Having young kids made him realise it wasn't easy in the real world and that helped his attitude enormously.
It was during his time I was appointed an elder on a large body of 15 or so. I did feel there was sometimes "a body within a body" but it wasn't two or three but about half a dozen older elders in their 40's through to 60's who perhaps got consulted and made decisions and got them rubber stamped by the rest of the body. But the rest of us would stand up to this when needed and they toed the line again.
But I heard horror stories within the circuit and often there were troublesome bodies of elders where there seems to be a little "Napoleon" at the helm and power struggles.
Queen Bee elders wives and their over-ruled elder husbands didn't seem to last long in our hall and they either moved away or resigned.
I sometimes wish my "home" cong was a bit more hard-nosed and unpleasant as I would have surely gone years ago!
My last congro the P.O had 2 daughters who got married and wouldn't you believe it their husbands were made Elders in no time.