get out of supporting family

by enoughisenough 3 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • enoughisenough

    1 tim 5:8 says if you don't take care of your own and especially your own household, you are worse than an unbeliever. I was scanning throught the Shepard the Flock book and found some questions that would create an "out" or excuse not to support . 1 question is , does his wife have material resources affording a secure life so the family isn't destitute? 2 if the family is destitute, is it because they have rejected the family head's provision by choosing to live apart from him? 3 When a separation is involved, to what extent is the other mate responsible. Excuse ME! but what I see here are loop holes in favor of men. What different should it make if the wife has her own money? How does that excuse a family head from responsibility? The question uses the words material resources-very interesting. How many woman have had to get on social services on account of dead beat husbands? ( so if she is getting these services for the kids, why is that a factor in whether the head is supporting their own or not? --My dad left my mother with 7 kids from and infant to 17 years old; Mom got welfare for us ) Then there is the 2 question : it because they have rejected the family head's provision by choosing to live apart? Excuse me, many have to leave due to physical abuse, verbal abuse or the lack of support. Commenting on #3 as to what extent is the other mate responsible- Women are expected to stay and put up with abuse. If she leaves, she is the culprit because of her independant thinking. I was in a congregation where a talk was given about women who became independant of their husbands and caused a breakup in the marriage. It was not mentioned that the sisite had suffered both physical and verbal abuse or that her husband had committed adultery ( elders wanted to keep that quiet )

  • Journeyman

    I agree that none of these alleged reasons invalidates the scriptural principle at 1 Timothy 5:8, assuming that both husband and wife are JWs.

    1) The wife having material resources of her own is irrelevant - scripturally speaking, it is the man's responsibility to ensure the whole 'household' has their needs - material and spiritual - met. If the couple mutually agree that the majority of the income from the family should come from the wife (either because she has higher qualifications and a better paying job, and/or perhaps because he is going to 'pioneer') that's up to them, but the ultimate responsibility still rests on his shoulders. Also, if she happens to have separate means (eg: an inheritance due, previous investments from before the marriage, like property or whatever), that does not justify a husband failing to provide for his family.

    2) and 3) - These are only relevant if he is not responsible for abuse, as you say. If the husband has abused the wife, then the scripture at 1 Corinthians 7:10-13 comes into play, which even the GB has acknowledged is potential grounds for separation. Explicitly, this applies to "unbelieving" husbands - that a man who is "agreeable" to being with his wife would not abuse her. But the principle covers believing mates too. In The Secret of Family Happiness book, chapter 12 paragraph 24 it says:

    "What about Christians who are currently being battered by an abusive spouse who shows no sign of changing? Some have chosen to stay with the abusive spouse for one reason or another. Others have chosen to leave, feeling that their physical, mental, and spiritual health​—perhaps even their life—​is in danger. What a victim of domestic violence chooses to do in these circumstances is a personal decision before Jehovah. (1 Corinthians 7:10, 11) Well-meaning friends, relatives, or Christian elders may wish to offer help and counsel, but they should not put pressure on a victim to take any particular course of action. That is his or her own decision to make. ​— Romans 14:4; Galatians 6:5."

    It skirts over the possibility of the abuser being also a 'Christian', but the principle is clear. Note, it even states clearly that "Christian elders" should not "pressure" the victim. A text worth having to hand in case any of your local elders try to interfere.

    Another point: In the Shepherd book, the question "If the family is destitute, is it because they have rejected the family head’s provisions by choosing to live apart from him?" is followed by another which should make the elders consider other factors.

    However, that follow-up question is: "When a separation is involved, to what extent is the wife responsible?" but that wording puts the emphasis in the wrong place. IMO, it should be: "When a separation is involved, to what extent is the husband's behaviour responsible?"

    As for the expression "material resources", it's true that the scripture at 1 Timothy 5:8 is specifically about material care, but the org has always highlighted that husbands are also responsible for the spiritual and emotional welfare of their household too, so even if the primary income for the family comes from the wife or from the state (in the form of benefit payments), the husband still has the responsibility for the overall welfare of the household.

    A last bit of advice: writing in paragraphs would make your points stand out better. Seeing a big block of unbroken text can put readers off, even if the content is of interest.

  • enoughisenough

    This came to mind...a "brother" ( elder , pioneer ) kicked out his wife with alzheimers. He dumped her in her son's yard while the son was at work. He took out an ad in the paper he wouldn't be responsible for her debts. The only money she had was a small SS check which went into a joint account, and access to account was blocked. Her children and I pooled together money to open a bank account for her so she had an account for her SS to go to. The man remained in good standing with people thinking him wonderful until the day he died and after. He left the property to one of his sons. He had told another brother I knew that that old woman had nothing when I got her and won't have anything when I leave. They were married for 30 years...she helped him raise his 4 sons from a previous marriage. This is true and it leaves your head wagging.

  • LongHairGal


    I am sorry to read about what your mom went through having the burden of seven children with no man supporting them!

    Having never read their Shepherd the Flock book, I was surprised by what you posted. It does definitively look as though there are ‘loopholes’ in favor of the man. These look to excuse him from his responsibility of being the provider of the family. To me, this all goes ‘beyond what is written’.

    As someone who was not raised a Witness, I was appalled at the attitude against secular work that some JWs had. In reading some of the history of their religion, I wondered if this attitude might stem from the Depression era (when nobody had jobs) in rural places in Pennsylvania. The brothers rode bikes in farming communities and witnessed to people and they may have bartered (got eggs, etc.)

    This must have been a pleasant and peaceful experience riding bikes down a country lane with not too many cares in the world.. But, times changed in the following decades and the world is the difficult place we see today! But, certain JWs (bethel writing committee) obstinately cling to this old mentality and this attitude got passed on to some in the congregations who imagine they are going to get handouts because they are ‘pioneering’.🙄

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