The wonderful things you hear AFTER you step down as an elder!
Well, well, that was quite a heartfelt welcome on this site four days ago. Thank you all for the encouraging replies. One of them was this one from magnum: "Hey now, don't just pop your head in and disappear. Hang around and contribute." That's what I call 'stimulus' magnum!
So, before I go back to the first seeds of doubt regarding my own fading, I'd like to share a few shocking confessions that brothers dared to share with me AFTER I stepped down as an elder four months ago. Of course, that (false) threat of authority was now away from me, and also rumours that I no longer believed in 607 BCE and had problems with the handling of sexual abuse spread like wild fire and must have influenced this sudden openness of these brothers LOL. As you all probably know, many BOE's are concerned regarding the motivation and willingness of new and younger brothers to grow spiritually and take responsibilities. We often felt a little bit sad and frustrated, wondering what could be the cause of this long-term stagnation and if it had something to do with materialism, weak spiritual habits, sisters slowing down their husbands etc.. The “spirit-directed” remedy often would be to join them in field service to find out what really lived in their hearts, or planning specific home visits to encourage them to "seek Jehovah first" etc. Well, I soon would discover what was in some hearts!
# 1 One "weak", unbaptized brother met me at the gas station during my fading. He always had the habit of leaving the KH after the public talk on Sunday and I asked him why he did that. The answer was shocking and something no elder could have ever imagined! He first stated that he didn’t like the many preconceived answers during the WT study, but also had his own life-after-death experiences and could not listen to WT pleadings for a mortal soul! He sounded VERY convinced and wasn’t talking about paradise on earth or the resurrection when he told me he KNEW life didn’t end with death. He also shared his horror about the O.T. and how he didn’t like those books. This would have been enough to hand him over to WT police and get him in deep trouble, but I just thanked him for sharing this with me. I realized that I wasn’t the only one with “strange” thoughts!! The Borg thinks they can control the mind, but in fact are fooling themselves by forcing these “weak” sheep to keep it all for themselves, knowing there simply is no room for Christian freedom to discuss different opinions, such as the long drawn out issue regarding circumcision (Acts 15). This brother wasn’t weak, he was simply bored during the WT study and condemned outright some of WT’s most precious teachings, the mortality of the soul…WOW!
#2 Another friendly, easy going, baptized brother was known as the “philosopher”. You know, the kind of guy that always seemed to be more open for a more tolerant view regarding evolution, or that always seemed to consider the GB for what they really are: imperfect men, capable of serious mistakes and certainly not to be given any kind of divine status. These were not his only “controversial” opinions, and his reputation kind of disqualified him for an appointment as ministerial servant. Later, when he became aware of MY doubts, he made my jaw drop by agreeing with most of my points! It even got better when he turned out to be in possession of F. Franz’s well known book “Crisis of Conscience”. Now I was even more amazed and I said: “What? And you’re still in?” He told me he still believes we’re living in the last days and he just loves sharing bible stories with elderly persons during field service, but he also has many doubts regarding the GB en would never ever accept an appointment as an elder. He told me he even had this “Apostate Bible” on the bookshelf in his kitchen in full sight, while having the CO and his wife for dinner! HS must have been at work because they didn’t notice anything, but afterwards, his wife couldn’t believe he dared to take such a risk! Well, this guy has balls, I tell you! I even borrowed this book from him and am reading it! This brother already had the book before his bible study, but told nobody and never had the time to really digest it (maybe another reason he is still in?), but I tell you…I will!
So far… These brothers would be in serious trouble if I had informed my former fellow-elders about their “apostate” thoughts and “unscriptural” opinions, but no, I was happy instead, finally knowing what REALLY kept these brothers busy ;-) These two experiences teach me that the WT has no control of the sheep, that there is a growing underground movement with serious doubts WITHIN the organization, not just outside. Within a few years,without a doubt, they will suffer a LACK of qualified elders. Yes, these “weak” brothers still visit (some) meetings and do field service, but how many actually DONATE and how many still cherish their OWN independent mindset, in spite of all the rubbish that is presented to them as “light”?
If only the likes of those in my area would do the extra mile and become more activist, whatever the input in “apostate” activities.
Great post RPT. It's great to hear a current account of how some brothers are feeling. It's been to long for me to have any current stories to share. Thanks and I hope you keep posting, especially while the current mood of the congregation and elder body is fresh on your mind.
Interesting observations REDPILL.
I noticed that right after I stepped down (for "health reasons"), the elders on the body were more open to sharing their "grievances" with me than when I was an elder.
Yup, the dissenting stories flow once they feel it's safe.
For some of my friends I'm still wondering why the hell they are still in.
They agree it's a failing Borg, shit everywhere, with no evidence for a God, and the Bible is a erroneous human book.....but it's still the truth.... WTF?
Thanks for sharing :-)
It's nice some have felt comfortable enough that they can confide in you. They must really like you as a person.
Boy, I wish we could be candid with some of the more intelligent and kinder JW's. We know there has to be some we "connected" with that have to be scratching their heads.
How interesting your observations are.
You are getting more "truth" now from people than you were before when you served as a Shepard.
If that is not an indictment of the "doing business model" of the Org I dont know what is.
Looking forward to more from you, so glad you are here.
I find it interesting that they want to know why young people aren't reaching out but when they find out they kick them out.
First, glad I've still got it in me to be stimulating.
He first stated that he didn’t like the many preconceived answers during the WT study
That's something that began to bother my wife and me both towards the end ot our time as active JWs. It just got to where it didn't feel right. The paragraph questions were asked and everybody just started looking in the paragraphs for answers - answers that had to be in agreement, that had to support and even praise the org. There was no real critical analysis, no questions allowed. It started to kind of feel like N Korea. Everybody had to answer a certain way.
there is a growing underground movement with serious doubts WITHIN the organization, not just outside. Within a few years,without a doubt, they will suffer a LACK of qualified elders
I sure hope so. I look for evidence of that all the time. I hope it's going to become more evident in the near future.
ToesUp: We know there has to be some we "connected" with that have to be scratching their heads.
I wonder about that a lot. In my current area, most seem to be suckered in - not a high intelligence or knowledge level. But in the last area I lived in, there were a lot of stable, well-read people with good intelligence. I really wonder whether they're scratching their heads and would love to be able to talk freely with some of them.
there is a growing underground movement with serious doubts WITHIN the organization, not just outside.
I can confirm this. I am a member of this 5th column.
Yes! I have had the very same experiences.
It is as if those with doubts feel a need to vent, and are comfortable sharing since I am no longer appointed or actively attending.
But I am careful to say nothing controversial, and just listen. I will not have it said that I was actively trying to subvert anyone's faith.