Is This New?

by Lost in the fog 27 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Lost in the fog
    Lost in the fog

    It is a very long time since I was an elder and the elders textbooks have changed multiple times since then. But is this something new?

    Going back to when I was an elder, to the best of my knowledge the only way a spouse could divorce from his/her partner was Porneia, if that person had sexual relations with a man, woman, child, or beast. But it had to be proven and that's the dubious 2 witness rule.

    In fact, if it was not proven and the innocent party divorced and married someone else, then they could be hauled up in front of a judicial committee and be charged with committing adultery and disfellowshipped! Leaving the original adulterous spouse not only in the congregation but free to marry a new partner if they so wished without reproach!!

    However, if the innocent spouse chose not to divorce, what followed was the messy business of alleged forgiveness by this wronged spouse if they resumed sexual relations with the guilty partner which would imply they were accepting them back into the marriage bed.

    I say "messy business" because I used to squirm if I had to sit on one of those committees as I was a young single man at this stage of my life; and one of the mature married brothers would be chairman, and asking very probing questions about the poor wife's (it usually was a woman who had been cheated on) bedroom sexual activity and frequency.

    I did once chip in with a couple of questions for her as to whether it was consensual or whether there had been any coercion from the husband to resume marital intimacies - only to be chastised by the other 2 members afterwards for going off script and (nobody told me there was a script!) taking the committee's purpose in a different direction.

    I guess it was tricky enough to be looking at adultery and forgiveness without it moving into the area of domestic abuse. In fact I recall another occasion where the presiding overseer actually said at a meeting of elders that "since the police don't interfere in domestic disputes unless someone has been killed, us elders shouldn't intervene either, no matter how many bruises we see." His motto was "if it ain't broken don't fix it." Because it would mean work for him and possibly scrutiny from the higher-ups which was not what he wanted in HIS congregation.

    Anyway let me get back to my original query. Is this new? In the latest elders manual I saw on an ex-jw webpage I see that there's a part on brazen conduct, and what is referred to as "circumstancial evidence" of adultery, which can lead to a committee etc, etc. But it was the last sentence that caught my attention. That based on this scenario, the spouse can not only divorce, but can marry someone else, and won't be criticized by the congregation for doing so. Surely could be manipulated by someone who just wanted out of a marriage to marry a different person. Pity help the poor man if he spent the night on a sofa, with his secretary in the bedroom, because the hotel reservation had been cancelled by the office junior in error.

    The whole judgemental thing inside congregations is so unChristian and part of the controlling nature of those in charge and their deputies. It is rules, rules, and more rules. That's why I was surprised at what appeared to be a loophole in their previous procedures.

  • Sea Breeze
    Sea Breeze

    Seems like "brazen conduct" is a made up, unbiblical disfellowshipping offense that can be a catch-all term when elders don't have two witnesses or a confession.

  • BettyHumpter

    "However, if the innocent spouse chose not to divorce, what followed was the messy business of alleged forgiveness by this wronged spouse if they resumed sexual relations with the guilty partner which would imply they were accepting them back into the marriage bed."

    I dont have anything to add as far as your question, but the quote above brought back a memory. I was not an elder, I just became aware through the gossip vine. Anyways there was a married couple in the congregation I attended and it turns out one of them had been carrying on a very long term affair. The cheater apparently showed the correct level of repentance and wasn't disfellowshipped. The spouse did not immediately seek a divorce, who knows why. Kids involved, financial insecurity, shock, do I want to walk away from a 20+ year marriage? I'm sure all these things were running through their head.

    About a year or two later, the aggrieved spouse decided they just couldn't be in a marriage that had been lies and deception for years.

    Guess which one found themselves in the hot seat? The person who had been cheated on because the intervening time between the confession and the decision to seek divorce indicated there had been "forgiveness" and I presume, the assumption that sexual relations must have resumed at some point in the interval.

  • WTWizard

    Working together with a secretary--brazen conduct.

    Trying to get the whole world enslaved by stealing psychic energy from the whole community and giving it to this beady-eyed monster thing to enslave the world--your duty.

    Why can't they get their priorities straight? I would say that trying to enslave the whole world under communism is a bit more serious than spending the night with someone, even if "adultery" results (and especially if the spouse knows about it and is fine with it). Even a divorce without permission from the hounders would be better than working toward a communist world.

  • enoughisenough

    here is a story: sister gets STD from Elder husband. Elder body says he did nothing wrong-said she likely got it from a toilet seat or drying with a dirty towel. Husband was told he had done no wrong and patted on the back...the elders tried to make a case that the sister wanted another man and that is why she brought forth the charges. Husband came to her defense. The elders refused to acknowlege she had scriptual grounds for divorce. Then the elders set up people to try to entrap her into saying something against them ( elder body ) so they could take her out!

  • carla

    As a non jw I just have to say if my jw spent the night with someone it sure would be divorce court (if he lived that long, just kidding). On the other hand, the elders told my jw that he would be justified to separate from me & kids because I was an 'opposer'. That would be putting it mildly, I was an an outright lunatic about the whole damn mess and 'apostate' clearly did not cover my feelings, beliefs or intentions towards jw's as a whole.

    In the end so to speak, there is enough of his authentic self and our much longer love than than the jw cult can take away. I imagine someday when we are both losing our marbles he will still remember me to some degree and can only hope he will forget jw's altogether like some stories I hear about here and other ex jw boards.

    I remember some story of an older person who got dementia or Alzheimer's and forgot they were ever a jw and started going to the church service (mainstream non jw) at the nursing home and the child of said person wanted to know if they should be disfellowshiped for doing so. Can you imagine?! wanting your mom to be df-d because she lost her marbles and reverted back to her pre jw days in old age? Luckily the elders decided nothing should be done.

  • Drearyweather
    Pity help the poor man if he spent the night on a sofa, with his secretary in the bedroom, because the hotel reservation had been cancelled by the office junior in error.

    That's why the book says "extenuating circumstances".

    Also, my wife will leave me in a second if she comes to know that I spent the whole night sleeping on the sofa while my secretary was in the bedroom. She would prefer I go out and sleep on the sidewalk, park bench, or even under the bridge among the homeless if such a situation arises. She has made this crystal clear before we got married.

  • Fisherman

    Don’t sound like an elder. Only touching the gen&telia can be poernia, and marrying someone while scripturually being married to someone else can be deemed as adultery. The only difference now is that the so viewed adulterous marriage is now viewed as valid by the cong as I understand it. I could be wrong.

  • hoser

    In the governing bodies deluded minds sex only happens at night and if you spend the entire night at someone’s house.

    If the man went into her house at 10pm, banged his secretary, left at 11pm and drove to the airport to go on his trip fornication didn’t happen, but if his flight was cancelled and he crashed on her couch and went to the airport in the morning they had sex.

  • hoser

    The more I look into it “brazen conduct” is a catch all to disfellowship.

    It is much like a charge of mischief under the criminal code when they can’t charge you with anything else.

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