Withdrawing community support in the congs
So if they don't help people spiritually, emotionally or practically like a clergyman would, what is their function!
They like the label of being called an "Elder" not that they have a "Clergy Class" of course
Related to this topic/thread is the lack of hospitality in most JW conregatiions vs what it used to be like years ago.
It used to be common courtesy that when an individual member or an entire family had to move out of the congregation for whatever reason...you could expect a loving and caring farewell from the platform to the one/ones leaving. Nowadays individuals and families relocate to another congregation without so much as an official 'goodbye we'll miss you' from the congregation. Likewise when a new member or entire family moves into a new congregation it's very rare that the new arrivals will get an official loving welcome greeting.
It's very obvious that things have changed among Jehovah's Witnesses...congregations no longer care to have a 'happy loving family' environment or feel like a safe haven but rather have become a cold place where a person picks up many a negative vibe to a point where one feels like he's better off staying home rather than attending meetings.
Totally agree that the cocept of a loving caring brotherhood is, and always was , largely a myth. It is down to individual elders. If you are lucky and have a good one it is his good nature ... not the way of the organization.
The key accountabilitie of elders count agains this. They are ministry lead, hours reported, work accpomplished . What successful business sets higher work producttivity targetd for its managers than it does for the workers?
Elders should manage and supervise, looking out for the worker publishers rather than having to spend their days door knocking . I knew as an elder that I wanted to go and see a publisher but that would take out my ministry time and if my hours slipped , I would be in trouble.
That being said..... when my wife has approached elders lately for support and help in her ministry , she has got short shrift... seems these so and so's really don't care!
"Counsel is even heard from the platform that the elders are not there to help people with their problems."
Now that IS amazing ... I don't doubt it though.
I can think of 2 examples.
Wt could do so much in the way of team building for little cost. All the churches that I have attended will have some sort of event after the service in the way of tea and biscuits or a pot luck lunch. If some of those old dears could have a cup of tea after the meeting it could make such a difference.
I remember this sister who was leaving her newly wed partly believing husband because he was behaving inappropriately toward her daughter. The whole thing was really messy and uncomfortable. Anyway she needed someone to move her belongings out of her husbands house. I must admit because of the situation I was reluctant to offer a hand, and I told her I would only do it on the condition that there would be no confrontation. Anyway I was the only one who turned up. I was embarrassd to find the only other person who turned was a wordly friend she had when she had been disfellowshipped. The situation got even worse when the wordly friend enquired when all her church friends were going to turn up. I was relaying to an elder about the move and his comments were " you should of told her you didn' want to get involved". If I hadn't turned up she would probably not have moved.
If you love Jehovah and Jehovah loves you, what more could you be asking for! "Let God be found true though every man be found a liar."
Unfortunately, that isn't how we are made. We thrive on community and love. We look for ways to return thanks to those who have been kind. If we are actually DOING the things that are in our better natures (and scripture?) the congregations would never have people talking about them this way.
It could be that we ourselves have not been a support to others in the congregation and that we reap what we have sown. But I don't think it's always true. People everywhere are isolating themselves. Distrusting each other. Struggling to make a living.
Maybe it's a weakness on my part, but I still subscribe to the "kill them with kindness" approach. Acknowledge to an elder that we understand how tough it must be to shoulder so much responsibility, mention all of the things that he must be doing diligently; visiting sick ones, encouraging spiritually weak ones, being a family man, working up meeting parts that don't sedate the listeners, conducting meaningful Bible studies with ones who he has found out in service. He will either get puffed up with pride at your adulation or you will guilt him because, really, he isn't doing those things at all.
Days after graduating from high school my father was disfellowshipped. Two elders approached my mother. They told her that the only help they would give was to study with my siblings and take them out in field service.
Frankly, I do not know why my family had anything to do with the organization after that. My younger sister who was just starting high school was berated by the other Witness kids. They would often make statements like "You better make all the meetings or you'll end up like your dad."
The funny thing is, until this very day, my father has never been officially told why he was disfellowshipped, although it was always rumored for apostasy. The funny thing is, a year later he was reinstated.
Jehovah's Witnesses may be many things, but they are not Christian as they do not have the mind of Christ.
Good thread. I saw this happening years and years before I exited the cult finally in 2003. When I was younger in the late 1970's or early 1980's we used to have some kick ass group baseball games as JW's where I used to live- even rented baseball fields at night time playing hardball, etc. It brought husbands & wives and teenagers together having good, friendly competition & fun.
But as soon as Ray Franz was kicked out of Bethel - WT Society started up all these talks at assemblies about how large groups and social gatherings ( 40 or more ) were " dangerous " to have and that the person who got these groups together would be " responsible " if a brother or sister got drunk or flirtatious or as they called it " if the parties got out of hand " . Essentially it was just the WT cult leaders getting all paranoid about not being able to control rank & file JW's due to all the personal Bible studying that was happening in Bethel at the time- so they made all these rules for the other millions of JW's - " no more large gatherings " ! Ridiculous. Typical cult leaders having ultimate control.
As for no personal interest in us - I experienced that as well. Or should I say - I got lambasted from elders and judged unjustly when I did have personal issues in my own JW family back then. The " interest " they took in me wasn't really authentic interest- it was more like a kangaroo court where the elders decided that they knew all the facts accurately about my life ( which they did not, or more accurately refused to accept the facts in my case ) and then proceeded to harass me with phone calls and judgmental bullying to get me to " return to " Jehovah " , er- meetings " .
Very stressful and very insulting behavior on the elders part towards me. So when they finally " withdrew " what they called " community support " - it was a welcome relief as they were overstepping my personal boundaries in the first place. The silence was finally golden. lol. They saw they couldn't " flip " MR. Flipper - so they left me alone at last. Peace out, Mr. Flipper
When the 'elder body' is mainly comprised of fairly uneducated, unsophisticated, working men with no more training than can be had at a 6 hour "elder school" what should you expect?
I felt that the sudden ditching of the weekly home book study meeting was a big blow. It was the one weekly occasion when those "left out" in the congregation who weren't a part of the usual congregation social cliques ( single middle aged sisters , elderly ones , the marginal slightly weirdo types etc ) could all get together with others afterwards with a cup of tea and biscuit after the book study and it was a much more informal occasion than the Kingdom Hall meetings.
As others have said , JWs always has been very much a "pass by on the other side" religion when it comes to community support - something I experienced over 40 years both as a non-giver and non-recipient in several congregations. Frankly - it is all about the ministry ( and increasingly nowadays , about donating. ) Nothing more.
Complete lack of love exactly, totally. That was an underlying factor in our 'awakening'.
Whenever you would talk or console with others about the ''feelings of left out'' or ''isolation'' feelings, the blame would fall completely and only on ''you''. There was nobody else to blame but yourself for those feelings. For never doing enough, nobody to blame but your own fault.
Maybe it is all by design, or planned that way. The congregation or ''brotherhood" could never be at fault, it was always ""your own"" undoing per se.