Observations from an Ex-Elder Part 1
Yes, I saw the same sort of things during the "secret men's club meetings"
It was never about how much of a "Christian" personality one displayed in helping others or in doing congregational related tasks.
No, it was about the "outward appearances" and actual reportable time one submitted!
I've posted this many times on this forum:
The number one, bar none, without a doubt, primary requirement for being "appointed" is 10+ hours per month in the ministry.
If you don't have that, it matters not a whit about extenuating circumstances, nor how perfectly well you meet all of the scriptural prerequisites. No 10 hours, no appointment. Period. The end.
This post is just another example of that.
I had a friend when I was in that moved here from another country to marry a local sister. He was a MS in his home congregation. When he came here continued being a fine exemplary brother. However, his line of work (nursing) caused him to not be able to participate in Saturday morning field service.
Exemplary - Check
10+ hours of field service a month - Check
Those 10+ hours completed on a Saturday morning - No.
Oh, I'm sorry! You don't qualify to be a Ministerial Servant.
Right out of high school I was putting in 100+ hours of field service a month, made every meeting, was given every privilege a non-elder could be given in the congregation. However, there was always something I had to do more of.
My last assignment as a MS was handling the literature counter, which is a complete beat down. I was counselled by the body of elders because my book placement was not high enough. Plenty of field service hours. Placed dozens of magazines. Conducted home Bible studies. Yet, I was told, as the literature servant you should be exemplary in book placements.
What! Our field service reports weren't posted publicly. How was I not setting an example?
I have known bodies who think like that and C/O's who make such rules . They themselves are so besotted with the life of Pioneering that they cannot understand the real world.
One M /S that we had back in the day was admittedly reporting single digit hours but he had 6 (or was it 8) boys of school age. If he had played the system he could have counted a lot of time at home but he was not like that. His work in the cong. was exemplary and was known as the kindest of bros. C/O wanted him off, we all protested and he relented but "If his hours are not up by the next visit he will be off so fast his feet won't touch the ground! "
It is a meritocracy, a results based competitive culture . Jesus said "My yoke is kindly and the load is light"
" However, there was always something I had to do more of."
And WT wonders why no men are reaching out!! Geesh!
Interestingly, Ezekiel 34 says that by the time God comes during "the day of clouds and thick gloom", there would be nothing left but wicked shepherds who abused and scattered all of his sheep abroad. And it states exactly what is going to happen to them. It's an extremely encouraging read, imo.
"Spirituality" is judged by field service numbers.
A person who sits idly next to a cart all day is seen as more spiritual than a person who visits the sick or helps the poor.
A few years ago I called this mentality out to an elder who was "counseling" me on my hours. Apparently, I had been yanked off the stage setup crew because my hours weren't up to snuff.
I asked him, "How many hours am I supposed to be putting in?". He replied, "We like to see the brothers reach the national average, which is around 10 a month." I then said, "So there's a monthly quota of 10?"
You should have seen his face! He almost look embarrassed, as his eyes darted around. He stammered something that I don't quite remember, and then I repeated the word quota to him. "Ah ok, I got it. I need to hit that quota every month!".
It's funny, the power of a single word. The WTS leadership does everything in its power to resist using that word, but it's totally appropriate. It's powerful because the word quota carries the idea that the ministry is a sales job (which it is), where publishers "have to hit their numbers every month", instead of the ministry that publishers carry out in their local communities out of the goodness of their hearts (which is how the WTS likes to portray it).
I saw the same thing, time after time. Didnt matter how good a man was as a person, only the 3x5 card and its numbers mattered. By the time i woke up i was flat out telling brothers to lie and that ni one cared. Some were uncomfortable with that thought so i changed it to 'be generous and creative with time reporting'
i swear no longer elder is the thing i am happiest about
By the time i woke up i was flat out telling brothers to lie and that ni one cared. Some were uncomfortable with that thought so i changed it to 'be generous and creative with time reporting'
The congregation secretary was a guy with five kids and an extremely nosy wife. He often worked a lot of overtime and was one of the least organized people I knew. A terrible mix of traits for that role. He'd often leave the elders book lying around where his wife and kids could see it. I would find service cards for publishers in between the couch cushions at his house.
One time he managed to lose months worth of publisher cards. He was panicking as the CO visit neared and came up to my mother and me and asked us whether we had our records for months X, Y, and Z. Neither of us did, so he asked us to estimate. I told him I didn't feel comfortable doing that. My mother said she remembered reporting some time in Month X but she didn't have any time to report for Month Y. The elder in not so many words told us to make something up. I do remember him capping off that discussion by saying "The CO is coming and I'm not going to report 0 hours for you." He framed the discussion as if it was our fault somehow.
I sort of sympathize with him as he was trying to do too many things at once, but at the end of the day it's on him for wanting the prestige enough to keep him in that role even though he didn't have enough time to handle it.
Here's another story involving the same elder. When I was a pioneer and I had fallen behind on my hours he met with me and asked me what I planned to do to get current. I told him it was impossible. I had to work full time and I simply didn't have enough hours in the day to meet the requirement. He said "I can't tell the CO that. I'm going to tell him you're trying to get back on track." "No," I said. "That wouldn't be true. I won't be able to get my hours in, period." 'Well, here's this auxiliary pioneer application. I'm going to tell him you're going to auxiliary pioneer until you get to the point where you can be a regular pioneer again. That's the best I can do." I never filled out the application.