Ex-Circuit Overseer here, AMA
interesting EX-CO AMA ( Ask Me Anything) over on exjwreddit
Wow! Thanks. I just read some of it. Very interesting.
wifibandit: I'd like to let everybody know that ExCircuitOverseer has provided me overwhelming evidence that he's legit.
Question: How long did you serve as CO? Single or married? Where did you serve?
ExCircuitOverseer: 7 years. Single. Central America.
Spill the beans. All of it. Dirt secrets. How much did you make in handouts? How much sex and drugs got covered up? What woke you up? What area(if you can say)?
Ha ha OK. I served in Central America. The Witnesses there are relatively poor but generous. I received about $50 per week to cover expenses. They don't follow the CO expense report thing down there, they would just give $ to the PO and he would give it to me on Sunday. I had a few dollars left over after gas.
While on vacation here in the US each year I would give talks and slides. I received an average of around $400 each talk. So I would give a talk each weekend while on vacation. I would return to my assignment with about $2000. It would last me a year, pizza and movie money.
In those countries in Central America fornication is not really a big deal. Unless you live down there you just can't believe how much of that is going on. In the congregations I served, there were judicial committees all the time. Almost all the elders had been removed at least once for adultery. Once we needed a "long-time married elder" for an interview for an assembly. I had to request an elder from another circuit. None of the 50 elders in my circuit had a marriage without adultery or some serious porneia.
There were about 28-30 circuit overseers in the country during that time. At least one got disfellowshipped or reproved and deleted every year. One CO was getting action on with the wife at the house he was staying at for the week, then up on the platform for his talks. Another CO had a mistress for 6 years until he was found out. I learned never to be surprised about any elder or servant in the country committing fornication or adultery.
I served on tons of committees where elders or random publishers just met someone on the bus and went home with them. I was so new at first and single and so young and clueless about all this I didn't understand how someone could just meet someone on the bus and get off with them two stops later.
I didn't mess around with any of the sisters, and I had very little contact with non-witnesses other than in the preaching work. I would hope I was trying to do the right thing, however it was probably also that if I had, it would be a huge scandal with me being sent home in disgrace. I had a tough time of it, so many opportunities, but I managed to keep out of trouble.
A missionary member of the Branch Committee was once disfellowshipped for adultery, it took him years and years but he regained all his privileges and stayed in the country. He is still there.
That, and alcohol. I was always on committees to deal with drunkenness. Repentant or not? Who knows.
It was so bad that every time I assigned speakers for the circuit assembly I had to have two or three elders as emergency substitutes, because before every assembly at least one elder assigned a part would confess to sins and need a committee.
So yes, lots and lots of judicial committees. I never heard of anyone there taking drugs. At least not witnesses. Smoking yes.
Another elder I remember gave talks for years on assemblies. Then one day his 13-year old daughter, not a Witness, from his mistress spoke up. He had been having an affair for 15 years.
Judicial Committees for fornication, adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism, smoking, drinking.
The elders there don't last long, two much Committee stuff going on each week.
What woke me up? A lot of things woke me up. I was such a true believer I preached and teached my heart out. I had wanted to be a CO and a missionary since I was a teenager. I was finally doing it so I put everything I had into it. I was in my foreign assignment and I was a CO, I wasn't going to mess it up. I was a true believer.
As a Circuit Overseer, I gave 4 talks a week, plus elders and pioneer meetings and meetings for service. I taught 7 pioneer schools. I helped teach Kingdom Ministry School. And preach for 90 hours per month. I did that for over 7 years. But inside, I wondered sometimes. I didn't doubt, I had no doubt, but I wondered. I wondered about the 1995 generation change, all of us in the Missionary Home did. But I didn't let it get to me. In fact, I would go on the platform each week and talk about Prov 4:18 and how we know we have the truth due to increasing light. I also went on an apostate website, I clearly remember, just to later act cool on the platform about it. I loved to try to impresss. So in my talks I would say "the apostates have nothing, nothing. All they say is not to preach and that we don't need an organization. We all know that isn't true." Everyone would laugh at my outspokenness and my making fun of apostates. I was the cool CO who said it like it is!
But back when I became a missionary in 1989, I said to myself I will stay until 2000, because Armageddon had to come by then. When it didn't, I started to lose my enthusiasm. I tried not to let it show. I came back to the US, but kept pioneering, hoping for a Circuit Overseer assignment here. It never happened. Another thing that bothered me was that a brother, 36 years old, not an elder, was kissing a 13-yr old. He was rich, the girl and her single mom dirt poor. He was reproved but he still was taking the girl out to dinner and trip with her mom. I was so angry I went to the Branch Office about it. At first they discussed it with me, however eventually they determined that since he wasn't in my circuit I couldn't do anything. The local CO wasn't doing anything to protect the girl. The mom was very uneducated and didn't see the danger there. I never even thought of the police, they are super incompetent in that country. Finally the Branch told me to leave the situation alone. I remember standing outside their office door, so mad. The girl was later abused again by that same brother. That situation stayed with me, the Branch didn't seem to care about that girl. I even called my elder friends in the States to ask them what to do, they said I couldn't do anything.
Then when I was serving as an elder back here in the US, I blasted the local body of elders for being lazy. They never preached! So I got in bad graces with them. I continued to act like an arrogant CO does sometimes even though I was no longer one.
Later, I was assigned to give strong counsel to a busybody sister who would be a problem even outside of the Witness organization, she was just a toxic person everywhere she went. When we went as a group to a restaurant after the meeting, she would always be complaining and causing a ruckus. She would tell innocent engaged couples in the hall they could spend the night in the same house then she would park outside their house with her husband for hours. Then she would turn them into the elders and lie saying she never gave them that advice.
Hundreds of crazy stories like that. So I volunteered to give her strong counsel. Of course she turned on me and said that previously I had revealed confidential talk to her and her husband. It was actually true, I hadn't given names but I had said some elders were lazy.
So they deleted me as an elder for that. I sat there dumbfounded. There was no private counsel given to me first, no second chance. I was in a state of shock. After all I had given to the organization and they just do this to me? I appealed the decision, the DO was assigned to accompany the CO for the next visit, which I had done many times. So I stayed an elder for awhile, which enraged the elders even more. The DO arrived and we had meetings with him. He encouraged me to accept the deletion to set a good example of accepting discipline. I was devastated. How could they do this? Where is the holy spirit? I didn't sin! That night I went on the internet as sort of revenge and read a few things. It made me mad but it felt good to see that there were serious problems in the organization and I wasn't the only one to see that.
Little by little, I was waking up.
I just read my comments, they seem a little disjointed. Ask for clarification if you want.
What is the actual guidelines for appointing a MS and elder? Is it really just if the elders like someone?
No one ever admits during an elders meeting with the CO that they want to appoint someone because they "like" them. They ALWAYS say some sort of spiritual comment about them bla bla bla so it seems legit. I tried my best to see if they really qualified, in our world anyway. In 7 years as a CO, only 8 of my recommendations were rejected by the branch. I felt good about that. But yes, it's all about "visibility" and commenting and very little about actually being a kind, helpful person.
What woke you up? What insights can you give to those younger ones who are trying to get out, but are being pressured to get baptised? What do you think of the shunning and how it affects people?
Many, many things woke me up. First, Armageddon didn't come when they said it would. I remember reading the 1989 WT which said it would come in this century. I became a missionary with that in mind.
Second, the generation teaching. I had preached the 1914 generation since I was a kid. What happened? Then after I came back from my assigned I was deleted as an elder for a supposed revealing of confidential talk, I had said an elder was lazy, but I didn't say his name. It was ridiculous and it made me realize there was no Holy Spirit here. Then the lack of protection for children. I had seen cases and I was upset at the way the Branch handled it. Then so many other teachings not making sense started to add up. Shunning started to become clear to me as wrong and cruel. So much noise I couldn't stay asleep.
As far as the younger ones are concerned, I read all their posts. Of course, don't get baptized under any circumstances. Well, under most circumstances. I think the ones that ask a lot of questions to their parents and reason with them asking "What If" questions, meanwhile planning their escape and college, that is the way to go.
Shunning is cruel, but had you tried to convince me of that years ago I would not have listened. Had you asked me questions, that would have forced me to think. What if you found out that shunning is cruel, what would you do? What if you found out that shunning is emotional blackmail from family and friends, what would you do? Questions like that.
Are there other Circuit Overseers or their wives who are starting to doubt that it's the Truth. Especially with all the changes in the organization and all the exposure the organization is getting on the news, internet, and social media?
I have heard of two. Remember I was in the circuit work in another country and until 2000.
However I have heard of two CO's learning TTATT. one was in my class of MTS. The other one served in Los Angeles.
Why are Circuit Overseers and their wives so obsessed with their diet? When my parents would have them over for a meal most were vegetarian, or low-carb, or no-sugar, or white meat only.
I think it has to do with control. Personally I felt so little in control of my own life as a CO. Service and meetings morning noon and night. Mondays I spent cooking at the missionary home since it was my cook day and maybe a movie. That's it. So I think it's partly you feel you want to control at least your food. Plus I developed stomach problems, a lot of CO's do. I tried never to ask for special food. I asked for just basic easy food.
What is your take on the organizations future as a whole? It is easy and perhaps wishful to believe they are crumbling, and there is certainly evidence of it being quite possible, but it also seems like they might last another 100 years. Do you personally feel they are in dire straits or is everyone blissfully unaware of the turmoil?
It's crumbling, more and more joining this subreddit and more are learning Socratic questioning. I think we are doing great and it's looking bad for the organization.
How sycophantic towards you were people in the congregations you visited? I've always imagined it must get old fast.
I had to look that word up. Honestly I was horrible. I made people sit down and be quiet and listen to me during the meetings. I was sincere, but so cultish and misguided and judgmental. I tried so hard to be encouraging each week. I told stories and experiences trying to build up the congregations. And after I was driving home on Sunday I felt empty most times. I just wanted Armageddon to come while I was in my assignment. I had a terrible ulcer that burned all the time. It went away after I stopped giving talks.
I've been out for almost 20 years. I get the impression from reading Reddit posts that the organization is having a difficult time compared to say...the mid 1990s. From your point of view, is this true? If so, how obvious is it to insiders?
The last meetings I went to were in 2013 so I think other posters would have more insight. But even while I was a CO and then an elder, it was fun and exciting at first, then harder and harder. More boring. How long can we say "Yep, hold on friends. We are almost there!" It just gets old.
Have you ever just wanted to get up and punch someone in a meeting?
Yes, in one congregations a baptized brother used to sit and stare at me. No comments, no participation. Just a cold stare. He did that to all the elders and servants on the platform to try an intimidate us. It was unnerving. I hated it. I wanted to walk down into the audience and punch him. Years later I found out he was a pedophile.
How did you remember all the names and faces?
I really worked at that. I tried memorizing some aspect of their appearance.
Was pornography a significant problem in the areas where you were serving?
When the internet first became available in my area, all the elders and servants it seemed were confessing. I looked at one image for maybe 10 seconds. It was PG-13. I confessed to the DO.
Then I had another missionary put Internet Controls on my computer. Then he had me put restrictions on his computer.
But yes, when I mentioned the problem in my circuit, the DO told me it's everywhere.
Is the cult still growing in Central America?
We used to have almost 8 percent growth. At every CO meeting with the Branch we would talk about whose Circuit was growing and how we could improve. We had around 4 percent growth when I left.
How prevelant was pedo stuff?
This information may be graphic for some so beware if you want to keep reading. I was serving a congregation my first year in the circuit when I came upon my first case of pedophilia. A Ministerial Servant was molesting his 13 yr old daughter, according to the daughter who had approached the elders he was caressing her breasts. The elders somehow they applied the "momentary touching of breasts" part of the Flock book to this situation. They removed him as a servant. I told them to form a committee and disfellowship him, the girl is a victim. They did, and they reproved the wife for knowing and not telling the elders. There were a few times where I pushed having someone get disfellowshipped. Perhaps abuse of power but now I'm glad I did it in a way.
I never considered telling the police or telling the elders to tell the police, which I should have done.
As far as a lot of pedophile cases, I can remember several however families tended to keep that stuff "in the family."
There was one case where I did say to call the police. A Ministerial Servant who spent the night at a family's home snuck into the kids bedroom and molested the kids. The parents were told to keep it quiet, he was removed but not disfellowshipped. The parents called me, I told them to call the police. They did. He was arrested and released on bail. He actually tried to talk them out of testifying. They said they would testify. The MS would walk by their house and tap his machete on the ground as a threat. It went to trial. The molestor was sentenced to 15 years which in that country is actually 15 years plus. Three years later an elder was preaching in the prison and he saw the molestor. Later he told me, "Hey brother CO you have an enemy in he prison here. He knows you encourages that family to testify."
So at least in that case I did the right thing.
You said this was your first case.... how widespread was this?
I have thought a lot about this. I'm not sure how widespread it is there. In seven years I visited over 300 congregations. Very rarely did I encounter a case. I remember them. Was it because it is hidden? I am sure there were many, many cases I never heard about. Were the victims afraid to tell? Absolutely.
I was never trained in how to detect a possible case and I was never trained in how to help if I was. That's so sad. Children are only important as to what they can contribute to the religion. I know pedophiles are out there in every country how come I didn't see more cases?
Could it be that there was almost ALWAYS someone at home that there is less opportunity for monsters to act? The houses there were full of people, from newborn to great grandparents, aunts, cousins. Children don't leave home until they marry, and often they still don't leave, and grandma and grandpa stay in the house also until they die. No one lives alone. So less privacy equals less opportunity? I don't know. I hope so but I don't know.
I am glad for when I acted to help children but then again I represented a cult that victimized everyone, so I am sure overall I did more harm than good. That really bothers me. I am so glad the ARC and other investigations are making inroads to protect children and I hope the US does the same. Children cannot self-advocate, they need our help.
I guess you can tell I have children of my own now, I wish I could go back in time and go back to that country and advocate better for those children.
What's the financial situation of the WT like, is there really a problem? What do you think will be the undoing of the WT?
I'm not sure of that I don't have access to that info. When I was in my assignment I was told that the local branch was given 6 million dollars a year to keep everything going. Branch Office, no printing, 30 bethelites, traveling brothers, medical and who knows what else. The Branch Coordinator always told us that the local congregations don't really pull their weight, they can't even pay for their own Kingdom Hall. But that's just the area I was in c The undoing of the WT is the Internet. It's working more and more. Look at all the new members.
You ever get a really good fatal attraction type sister stalking you as a single CO or otherwise? You ever have to encourage someone that was waking up and try to put them asleep again?
Ha! I have two stories about that.
One was a crazy sister from a neighboring district that apparently saw my photo and decided that Jehovah wanted us together. (I am very dorky looking BTW) She accosted me at an assembly I was polite but brief. I told her to leave me alone. Then she found out where the Missionary Home was and showed up there. I told her to stay away. She got the phone number and called me. I tried everything to get away from her. Years later I was back in the US and I answered the phone at the Kingdom Hall while I was cleaning. I was in a foreign language congregation. A sister from Central America was calling and asking if I could give my phone number to a single sister in her country. I have no idea to this day how she found my Hall. Anyway, I told the sister that I would give my phone number to any witness, in fact any worldly person in that entire country EXCEPT one particular sister. She laughed and said, well, you must know who I am referring to.
Then another time a sister was writing letters to herself and claiming they were from me. According to the elders who called me the letters had beautiful cursive handwriting. Plus she complained that I was bothering her at her home each morning putting the letters under her door. Unfortunately I was serving a Circuit several hours away and I ate breakfast every morning at the missionary home. She admitted it was all a lie. As far as those waking up, I didn't know what that was at that time. Each week I visited the "weak" and "inactive" and I tried to encourage them. Rarely if ever did it turn into a scriptural or doctrinal discussion. In those countries information is hard to come by, at least it was. Most witnesses only had Witness books and magazines in their houses, no other books at all.
Do you have family still in? Have you had opportunities to try to wake people up? What has been the reaction of your former friends since your waking up?
My situation is similar to hundreds of people on here. I learned to keep my mouth shut and slowly help my wife. So she is fully awake now. Our friends either have stopped talking to us, are unaware we don't attend, or act awkward when they see us. We are trying to use whatever contact we have to ask Socratic questions to help them.
What are your thoughts on how sisters are treated in the organization? Did you ever get instruction on views or the general "culture" towards women that bothered you or you felt was wrong?
How much do you feel the governing aspect of the organization (including elders up to COs DOs) were sincere vs just being company men? Did you feel there was more of a focus on the organization than Jehovah?
Finally, what doctrine do you feel is the most ridiculous?
I was a horrible CO in that regard for years. I feel so bad about that now. I treated sisters as less knowledgeable and able and smart.
What was interesting was that in the Missionary Home the sisters, two older ones from early Gilead classes, were extremely competent. The married ones too. Excellent preachers, good at fixing things in the home, shrewd in analyzing situations. So over the years I gradually changed my viewpoint. In my last two years when we were organizing construction crews for Kingdom Halls, I invited sisters to the pre-construction meetings. It was a huge scandal and I got a lot of backlash. I used my CO status to talk about how sisters were actually better at construction. I really played it up. It worked though.
So I underwent a radical change in that respect. I'm so glad I didn't get married before that.
As far as the organization and Jehovah, I was like everyone else. I saw no difference between the organization and Jehovah and I used the terms interchangeably for years in my talks and in conversation. I really honestly could not see the difference and until it was pointed out to me I never even noticed it I did it. This is probably one of the best questions on here.
Most ridiculous doctrine is the overlapping generation in my opinion.
While you were a CO, did it feel like many brothers/sisters would try to suck up to you or put on an obvious show for your attention? I always wondered about this, as kids in our congo we basically revered CO's and DO's like they were saints
Ohhh yeeessss they did. It was so obvious. Remember on Tuesdays the CO gets all the congregation info. So on Tuesday night I already knew the attendances at previous meetings. I talked to the secretary about Congregation stuff. Then at the meeting everyone is there early, big attendance, parts prepared. When I was being trained as a CO I was taught to keep a folded piece of paper in my pocket. I would ask a ton of questions during the week about the elders and the meetings and the pioneers and fill up that paper with comments about what the congregation was REALLY like when I wasn't there. But I tried to be cool about it. I knew if I were in that hall every week people would get used to me also and be bored.
How much direct contact do COs have with big wigs at the branch, or actual GB members and their helpers? How much leeway do COs have to implement their own opinions on the road?
It varies. I drove my report to the Branch every week. I was close enough to do that. The way far away CO's would come in once a month or two. Almost every week I would go upstairs and talk for a few minutes with the Branch Coordinator or the Service Desk. I was always nervous they would chew me out about something. I wrote a lot of letters to the Branch regarding procedure and they always wrote back. When a Zone Overseer from Brooklyn would visit, we would get called in to talk with them. I always prepared an outline of points to talk with them. Same things as always, growth, not enough men reaching out, people becoming inactive, people getting into trouble, same things year after year. When I went to Brooklyn on vacation or for medical, I never met with anyone in the Service Department. They don't like visitors. They prefer letters. And you are supposed to write to your Branch first.
Leeway? I was a missionary CO so I had a TON of leeway. More than the local CO's. I disbanded congregations, set up new ones, let young people stay on as pioneers if their sin was a one time thing. I set up construction teams with sisters in to learn building Kingdom Halls. I did what I thought was right, of course now the first thing I would do is to get everyone out!
I will say this though, CO's get in way more trouble then they let on, especially the progressive ones. I got in trouble a lot for new ideas, such as changing who ran the assemblies, how I taught pioneer schools, and for allowing people in my circuit to come to the missionary home to talk to me about their problems. I received a letter IN ENGLISH from the Branch telling me I was not the Branch and to direct all serious inquiries regarding organizing to them. That was because I met with some local CO's and I was distributing paperwork to make our organizing easier. I had brought it from the States. And they said not to bypass the congregation elders.
So yes the CO's have leeway but it depends what it is. For example, we were not allowed to set up a special talk on Saturdays. Suppose we had a friend from Bethel or another country. We had to leave that to local elders. Or suppose we wanted to set up a local committee of brothers to deal with the need for more servants. Not allowed.
Did you walk away from Christianity as a whole?
Yes. I had read the Bible 4 times but with Witness goggles on. Once I took them off, I was grossed out from what I read.
What countries have you served in and are most congregations, cities or countries pretty united when it comes to upholding JW doctrines?
Central America. I can't be more specific right now.
All areas that I served uphold Witness doctrine because they have to.
As far as explaining doctrine, the witnesses who have more opportunity to talk have more opportunity to explain the doctrines. In the midwest USA that is where I had the most opportunity to explain doctrines.
We had a couple of single CO's back when I was in. I truly, respect all sexual preferences. But for some reason I have this ability to detect who is gay and who is not just by paying close attention for a few minutes. One of them, is single, over 40 years I bet he is gay and he must be having a very dificult time that one day he was sharing pictures of the different assignment and places he served. In the majority of the pics he was accompanied by a puppet. Yes, a puppet. something like Kermit the frog, very weird......Did you see a lot of this? Maybe in bethel or CO's overseers?
Oh yeeessss we had those too. One was a single missionary who was constantly in the company of young men. He arrived some years after I did. Many in our area viewed him as the ultimate spiritual man, he hardly paid any attention to the girls. I, on the other hand, had a reputation of talking to every single girl in my age bracket in my circuit. But he was so spiritual he never even talked to the girls! It was only in the missionary home that the older ones whispered as to why he never paid attention to the females. He even used to take a young brother (late teens early 20's) on his circuit visits a la Paul/Timothy. He took a different one each time. I would have been called onto the carpet immediately if I dared try that with a sister. Another one was a prominent Bethelite at the Branch. Same thing, nice guy, never any attention to girls, tons of attention to the guys. Viewed as extremely spiritual. Of course I didn't say anything, what could I say? What could anyone say?
How did you feel about the 1995 change in generation doctrine and the change on the Watchtower masthead about the generation that "saw 1914 not passing away" as compared to the overlapping generation. Which were you more shocked/cynical/worried by?
The 1914 generation not passing away really got to me. I didn't verbalize it in public but I did to other missionaries in private after the WT study. We tried to rationalize that it doesn't mean Armageddon is farther away. We were so pathetic. There was no way we had just wasted our lives, right?
What was the biggest "JW cultural" difference between the USA and the countries you served in?
The witnesses in my assignment HAD to have you over their house. All of them. One by one. They would invite and invite and invite until you did. They didn't care much if you invited them to the missionary home, which I did. They wanted you to come to THEIR house. So I did visit as much as I could.
Here in the US I hardly ever went over peoples houses in my congregation. Yes we went out to eat but going over their house wasn't a big deal. In my assignment it was a very big deal.
Another difference is in my assignment was that the JW's don't really date. A brother will express interest in a sister then ask permission of her family to be her boyfriend. That's it. He will then visit her for the next few months but essentially they are already engaged.
Also, they danced at virtually every party or gathering. From preschooler to grandma. Everyone.
What did you think of the "spiritually weak"? How about people who knew "the truth" and openly rejected it? What did think of people who were obviously PIMOs?
As a very obvious PIMO who has sat in on a few CO visits who were visiting a PIMI, I just couldn't figure out that CO. He was polite and warm, his face never fell from a constant jolly smile. Yet he seemed to be more focused on me, like he talked to the PIMI, but rarely looked away from me, almost sitting with his back to the PIMI. I also took note that he went far out of his way to make sure I never got behind him.
Another interesting thing is that he did next to nothing in the way of spiritual encouragement, all he talked about was that "the end was right around the corner". He made that specific statement almost every other sentence, and it was his main response to any question, even if it didn't remotely answer it.
I couldn't understand the spiritually weak at all. They knew it was the truth, why not be wholesouled? I didn't get it. I visited them every week per the elders lists and it was always the same. They were tired or sick or family problems. It was never about the doctrine. No one challenged doctrine, at least not with me. I also was a missionary though, and locals respected us a lot. They may not have wanted to contradict me. I don't know. Plus we didn't have access to other material, only the WT publications. And add on to that that I was completely brainwashed. So to me, a PIMO could not exist. Only a person with a bad attitude that I tried to help. So I never saw an obvious PIMO because to me that was impossible.
I think your CO who was staring at you was a simple, straightforward guy. We had a couple of those also in my assignment. Nice men, but repeated the same phrases over and over, even when the subject was something else.
"Yep, the end is so close. Yep, yep, yep. The end is so close. Yep." All day long.
What he was trying to say was, "Come on, I believe it. Let's all keep believing it!"
Thanks for the link Diog. very entertaining!
As a CO did you encounter a lot of apostates or helped elders dealing with apostates. What did you do when you heard their questions? Was everything just dismissed in your mind as the questions not being valid because they are "apostate" questions? Was any research ever done into the questions?
I very rarely talked to apostates, I don't think there were really any in the area I served. In those developing countries information is hard to come by, at least it was. Books are few and far between. Most Witnesees only had Witness books and no other books or magazines. People would obtain the Awake and ignore the Witness stuff just to read the other articles. I used to visit the "weak" and "inactive" every week per the elders list of who to visit. Rarely if ever were doctrinal issues brought up. Usually it was girls who married non-witnesses, parents whose children were going to University, a few in my circuit would become completely "inactive" but wouldn't really leave a reason behind. I am trying to remember if I talked to undercover apostates and I just don't think there were that many in my area I was serving, there was such a lack of other information that all Witnesses accepted what the Watchtower said.
There were a couple of situations though. Here is one:
There was a couple in my circuit that was "studying" I remember. During the week of my visit I accompanied the elder on this study. They brought up vaccinations. I had no idea that Witnesses once banned vaccinations. I remember explaining about increasing light. Then the husband asked, "But what about those that died as a result, some were no doubt children. What about them?" That question hit me hard. I was so angry! AT THEM FOR BRINGING THIS UP! I became defensive and after the study I told the elder they didn't have a good attitude, otherwise why did they bring that up? What a horrible person I was.
COs, while themselves are subject to apostasy as with this guy, are unlikely to make contact with those who have left and loathe the religion. COs must live inside the JW bubble...except for the fact that they also meet the most deviant members from inside the congs. I think that alone would wake me up.
I'd love to get my metaphorical teeth into a practising CO!
Wow! Very interesting.
Thanks, Diogenesister for all this info. What a horrible religion!
From context, I believe he was in Honduras.
Thanks for posting, the stuff is fantastic. An observation, the gentleman was as many former COS either full of himself or naive; his interaction with the "busy body" sister defies all logic, talking to her by himself and then criticizing the elders as lazy was not a smart move.
Hundreds of crazy stories like that. So I volunteered to give her strong counsel. Of course she turned on me and said that previously I had revealed confidential talk to her and her husband. It was actually true, I hadn't given names but I had said some elders were lazy.