Living Vicariously Through the Sheep.
When I got baptized as a Jehovah’s Witness in the summer of 83, my honeymoon period lasted about two years before I began to wonder if the Society and its adherents were all it claimed to be. No of the things I encountered for the first few years was really faith shattering, they simply just made me pause and think. After a short while, I would file those issues in the back of my brain files and move forward.However, in the summer of 1990, I stumbled upon something that really sent me reeling and wondering about the organization that I had been a part of since I began attending meetings in the spring of 1982.We are living in North Texas and my then wife was given the opportunity to go to Florida with a sister in congregation who parents lived there near Dayton Beach. She would also be taking my three children with her for the weeks’ excursion which would leave me alone for the first time since we had been married eight years earlier.By sheer coincidence, during the week my family was in Florida an elder in my congregation, who served as the secretary, was going on vacation for the first time in several years. He and his wife would be heading to the Rockies in Colorado for a week.Since three of the other five elders in the congregation were helping with the district convention preparations, he asked me if I would take care of collecting the monies collected at the literature counter and the donation boxes and deposit it at the bank the Kingdom Hall used.He came by my house to show me what I was to do and when. He arrived with a large box-style brief case that opened at the top which revealed two removable halves that each had several file folders in them. He removed one of the sections, the front one when the opened case was facing you, and proceeded to show me the spread sheet-like document he used to log the monies collected.He explained that I should place the money from the literature counter and the “local needs” collection box and place it this green zippered pouch he pulled from the briefcase. I was then to fill out a deposit slip that was contained in the pouch. Next, he said I was to collect the money from the box marked “Worldwide Work” and place it in the red zippered pouch and fill out the deposit slips that were stored inside it.After a few more things were explained I told him that I understood and would take great care to make sure everything went according to his instructions. As he left, I told him to enjoy his vacation and not to worry.Four days after my wife and the kids had been gone, I found myself totally bored. I realized how much of my time had been taken up by my family and I was missing them greatly. It was stifling hot outside in North Texas and there was not much on television and I began to get stir crazy.So on the next Friday evening, I was sitting at home processing the money I had collected from the previous night’s Theocratic School and Service meetings and as I placed the two zippered pouches in the front section of briefcase and placed it back in its slot in the front.As I did that I began to wonder what was in the back section of the briefcase. I pulled it out and noticed that the manila folders were labeled “Confidential Judicial Case” followed by the “offenders” name. I immediately placed it back in the briefcase and walked outside to see if there was anything to do in the yard. It didn’t take long for the 100-degree heat to drive me back inside.As much as I knew I shouldn’t, I found myself going back to the briefcase. I sat down and placed it to my right and pondered whether or not I should look at the “confidential” information. After several minutes of the demon on my left shoulder and an angel on my right, I finally kicked the angle one to the curb and reached for the back section of the briefcase.I once again removed a few of the folders and began to examine their contents. I had expected to read boring notes and data regarding persons who were subjects of the judicial meetings held in their behalf. However, I was aghast as what was written in the so-called counseling sessions. They all contained matters of a sexual nature and were framed in a format that could only be called pornographic.I have to admit that as a then 31-year-old, I found myself in need of a very cold shower. I could not get over what I had just read. This was far and beyond any documentation of an illicit sexual encounter. This was erotic writing by a seasoned expert.I then went on to read other similar “counseling” and judicial sessions and they all were written in a style whose main purpose had to be to incite sexual feelings in the reader. I read accounts involving several of my fellow congregation members and I was never able to look at them in the same way I had before I opened that back section of the briefcase.Another case described oral sex (which was\is forbidden) between a brother and his wife. Instead of just stating that engaged in oral sex, he wrote how.After that eye opening week, I knew something was seriously wrong with this organization but I was at a loss on how to deal with it. If I mentioned it to the other elders, then I would be guilty of snooping in congregational matters that were none of this ministerial servant’s business. As much as I regret it now, I let the incident fade into the background and never did reveal what I had read that crazy Friday evening. It was truly a case of one living vicariously through the sheep of the congregation.Years later, when I began to read about all of the cases of child sexual abuse cases that were plaguing the organization, I revisited that occasion back in 1990 and wondered how much perversion my friend and elder had been a part of. He died three years ago and we may never know the answer.
Hi Donny. I lived in Sulphur Springs for a time as a teenager and my great grandmother served in Paris, TX.
I've also heard how detailed these reports and interrogations can get. Let me guess, they wanted to determine if there was "greed" or something.
Schnell, I know about Sulphur Springs! It was the approximate halfway point between Dallas (where my parents and I lived) and the Texarkana area (where is where my parents were raised (Maud / Redwater / New Boston). We often stopped in Sulphur Springs for gas and refreshments.
This reminds me when the elders wanted me to give them details about things I did with other people. It is disgusting the way they want all the details of everything. It is disrespectful for them to feel entitled to hear those things that way told by people alone without any counsel, surrounded by men. Just downright creepy and disgusting.
Thank you for sharing.
@scratchme, I agree. And it's incongruous with their deepities about God looking for the good and past our sins.
When this kind of information is recorded and stored anywhere, it is humiliating and it can absolutely be stolen, just as it was left available to Donny. So why do it?
Another reason to not discuss things with an elder without a lawyer present.
I think I need a cigarette after reading that steamy sex scenario with the brunette getting spanked from behind. The visuals are surreal. Why so graphic? Whhhyyyy???
1. It was a typical WT invasion of privacy to grill a person and make any record of it.
2. The elder was irresponsible to put those reports in your hands.
3. You had no right reading it.
Never once in a judicial hearing did we ever dig for that sort of detail and NEVER wrote anything like that. You got an a-1 pervert there chum.
Damn!!! I'm horny!!!!
For a moment I thought this was going to be a tale of misappropriated funds.
Here you are collecting money, you see folders. I thought for sure it was going to end up with someone going to prison!
How long after this did you go inactive? With people collecting funds alone, how can they make sure people don't get sticky fingers? (Maybe I should have worded that differently.)