This was posted on another thread (http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/topic/6040010839031808/christmas-tree-word-appreciation), but wondered about how others here would see this with one experience I had as an elder now as ex-JWs.
When we were JW's we had to be EXTREMELY careful with what we said around the brotherhood. If someone said anything out of the ordinary, relationships among the involved were halted immediately, or were never the same afterwards.
In this place, one can say almost anything
without the fear of having a truck run over us. Even Thomas doubted the
Lord, and wasn't rejected for not being faithful to ‘the slaveclass.’
Neither was Peter for negating Christ.
The Bible speaks of Christian freedom. Interestingly, the NWT in Phil. 1.20 shows Paul speaking of his "freeness of speech" in declaring Christ. What a difference an organization makes.
Let me tell you of one episode I had as an an elder. I was assigned to give a talk to a nearby congregation 45 mins. away. I deviated quite a bit from the WT outline which I considered "boring" even back then. No sooner did I step down from the podium, when the Presiding Overseer at the local congregation approached me before I left the building. He told me he was not pleased with my talk, not because of the lack of content, but because I did not follow the WT outline by the book (I noticed some elders had the habit of following invited speakers with a copy of the outline, which I personally found tacky).
The PO told me he did not want me back in HIS congregation, and assured me he would contact the PO of my congregation so as to prevent other potential congregations from having me as a guest speaker, which he did.
Sure enough, the local PO brought it to my attention, and we both ended the conversation with a disconcerting feeling. In the end, he didn't eliminate me from his list of traveling speakers, but I could tell it was going to be a factor in deciding where to and where not to send me out.