what are your thoughts on this quote from the elders book?

by aboveusonlysky 41 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • aboveusonlysky

    'In order to extend mercy, the committee must be convinced that the wrongdoer has a changed heart condition and that he has a zeal to right the wrong and is absolutely determined to avoid it in the future.'

    Shepherd the flock page 91

    I remember this is one of the first things that concerned me as an elder because it seemed to sound like a person is guilty until proven innocent rather than 'love believes all things', especially given the word 'convinced' appears in bold.

    Then in a training video one elder said something like 'unless we are convinced of repentance the shepherd the flock book says we must disfellowship'. That was the begining of the end for me as I thought surely true Christians would reason the other way round and show mercy wherever possible.

    Any thoughts?

  • DesirousOfChange

    Do you recall the example in the video (Robby, I think) from the past Elders' School?? No more being an old softy (like the grandpa figure elder). No more erring on the side of "mercy". DF first. Look for evidence of repentance later . . . as in a year or two of groveling to get back in. You know, just like King David was treated for whoring around the Bathsheba and having her hubby murdered.

    Oh wait. It wasn't like that at all with David. It must be some other scriptural example. (Isn't it interesting that it's only the innocent baby and the innocent hubby of "B" that die?) . . . . . God is perfect in justice. . . . . Doc

  • heathen

    I thought they were very strict on people toeing the line , jesus did tell the apostles to forgive 7 times 77 should a person do wrong but at some point the church needs to take action , there are moral rules , certainly spreading false doctrine (they do it all the time themselves ) or gross sexual misconduct (peadophilia, homsexuals, adulterers ) . Personally I have to forgive the church in order to be involved ... that's another story

  • sparky1

    This attitude fostered by the 'Organization' has always been a thorn in my side. When I was a new Bethelite attending 'Bethel Entrants School' our lessons were derived from the early version of the 'Flock Book'. The class was presented with three scenarios of individuals who had sinned and were to be judged by the 'Service Committee'. Out of a class of approximately 20 brothers, ALL accept me voted that each person should be disfellowshipped in order to 'keep the organization clean'. Each instance, I voted that the person should always be shown mercy the first time and that if they were a wicked sinner, time would bear out their bad course and THEN action should be taken.

    The Jehovah's Witness religion is built on two principles:

    1. Self-righteous arrogance because they alone possess the TRUTH.

    2. Paternalism and the belief that humans need to be 'controlled' and that the 'Organization' has the right to do the controlling.

  • millie210

    After being seared by their vindictive policies (albeit second hand) I have slowly healed and come to the conclusion that I am glad they have the policy they do.

    People are getting DFd and after an attempt to come back (usually met with a "not yet") they give up altogether. Most of these are young people who will go on to marry and raise a family not tainted by the Org and its policies.

    Others still in will see how well their lives work out in a compare/contrast and be emboldened to leave also.

    This is one way the Org is participating in its own well deserved self destruction.

  • steve2

    Elders are not trained to understand and recognize the nuances of human behaviour. They judge by appearances not by the subtleties of verbal communication. An individual may be physically reserved and not at all demonstrative but feel extremely contrite over their actions but be perceived by elders to be stand-offish and not sorry.

    To succeed as a JW, you virtually have to 'play the game' if you wish to be shown mercy because otherwise most elders would not be able to 'read' you actually are contrite.

    My major concern with these men, isn't their imperfection. Who isn't? We can all keeping learning and improving. No, my major concern is their organization-imposed wilful ignorance about human behaviour. They miss so much, they make so many extraordinary assumptions based on their own biases. They cause so much damage but all they see are 'brothers and sisters' who need to be put right.

    These largely uneducated men go to elders schools, true, but these schools simply echo the organization's harshly judgemental and punitive outlook with little, if any, basic 101 psychology to lead the way.

  • slimboyfat

    Very good point. The unavoidable implication seems to be that what matters is how convincing the person is rather than how sorry they are. And elders are considered to be the perfect judge.

    Plus it's clear from the "err on the side of DFing" tone of the comments that they would consider it a greater tragedy for someone who wasn't really repentant to be spared than for someone who was was really rentant to be DFed.


    Then in a training video one elder said something like 'unless we are convinced of repentance the shepherd the flock book says we must disfellowship'.

    Any thoughts?

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  • Disassociated Lady 2
    Disassociated Lady 2

    I was disfellowshipped a month ago because I live in the home of a retired "witch". She is no longer involved in this work and neither am I now, but they refused to believe that. I told them I cannot afford to move out and have no other options, but they believe that because I live there I must be engaging in all kinds of demonic practices. I knew there was no point in appealing as it would go against you anyway to say the elders are wrong. Ho hum! :-/ x

  • ScenicViewer

    Many years ago an elder told me, after he had returned from an elder training school, that when in doubt elders should lean toward mercy in judicial matters. However this quote from the elder's manual shows just the opposite.

    Judicial systems vary from country to country. In the US it's 'innocent until proven guilty,' the idea being that it's better to let a guilty man go than to convict an innocent person. In other places it's 'guilty until proven innocent,' the idea being that it's better to convict an innocent man than to let a guilty person go.

    It seems that Watchtower is following the more harsh way of the world rather than the more lenient way of the world and the Bible itself ('love believes all things').

    Thanks for this post aboveusonlysky - I learned something about the organization that I was not aware of.

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