The Scarlet letter Part 4 The Conclusion
Request to appear for a "short meeting".
The judicial committee was silent for two months as if it had died. Then, finally, about February 10 I received a phone call requesting I attend a "short meeting". For those of you not familiar with this processes, the word "short" told me their decision. I call it "their" decision, and they will say it was their decision, but it was not. Having dropped the word "lawsuit" they were required by society policy to correspond with the WT legal department before taking action. This would take at least a week for them to agree on the language of the letter and another 4 to 6 weeks for the WT to respond. Thus after about 7 weeks they were ready to meet again, but with a 'theocratic strategy' that was unussual.
How did I know the purpose of the meeting by their adjective, ?short?? Those who have been in the in the three chairs of judgment in these proceeding know that if 'mercy' is to be extended then a good deal of time is to be spent reviewing scriptural admonishment regarding the aberrant behavior and how scriptural principles and laws had been ignored in a form of a 'scriptural reproof'. But in a 'short meeting' no scriptural reproof is offered but simply involves a statement of their decision to DF, one's right to appeal the decision, and basic steps to attain reinstatement. So I attended this meeting (JOY chose not to attend and I don't blame her) with full knowledge this was going to be a "We are done with you , goodbye" meeting of about 5 minutes.
The ?Short Meeting?
As I entered the KH I first made a right turn into the "Men's" room. This was not alarming to the elders, as I'm supposed to be nervous facing a fate worse than a firing squad. What I was doing, however, was turning on my digital recorder I had used in initial JC meeting. I was more experienced now after the Saturday Night Live moment I had enjoyed at the past JC meeting.
The decision, as anticipated, was to disfellowship both my wife and myself. This was cool. We had anticipated this. I had only hoped the legal threat would have had more impact. So I asked: "Based on which of the many charged brought against us are you disfellowshipping us?" After a short silence one spoke up and said they were not going to get into that. I conceded we did not have to "get into that" but we, my wife and myself, did have a right to know for what alleged infraction we were being DF'd. Still I was stonewalled. I objected and reminded them that I was not knew to this process. I had "served" for many years on appeal committees. I reminded them if I choose to 'appeal' their decision they will meet with the appeal committee and they will have to state the specific offense, the time, place and the witnesses. I reminded them that this was a violation of procedure and my rights. We even laughed together when I suggested they were breaking from proper procedure just to get me to Appeal so they might feel they had deferred responsibility to a higher court. But they would not budge. I don't know if this was their own ploy are instructions from WT Legal. But I accepted it.
Why did I accept this without a fight? It was apparent to me that this was being pushed by A postacy .
Yeah, this time I got the entire (30 minute) discussion recorded but doubt I will every use it. Those judicial committee members were good men (yes, they harmed us, but they love people and think they are doing right). I would use any ethical means to expose the Watchtower, even damage the society as an institution because it would mean fewer people harmed by them. But the only outcome of using this recording would be harm to people I still care for.
Where am I in this journey now ?
Most of my family members have ended our relationship. This is the outcome I fought to prevent. But I am FREE now. No more worry about what I say or who is listening. No more looking over my shoulder. No more putting up with people I didn?t even like because I have to ?love the brothers?. I can now express what I feel to true friends who understand and agree. And I wear my Scarlet Letter with pride. Its my badge for speaking out, for disagreeing with and taking a stand against wrong teachings and harmful policies.
I some times look back and think ?what a waste?. Thirty nine years in a cult. They robbed me of my life. But then, I?m not dead yet. In fact, I spent about 14 years of youth without the WT burden and I might have another 26 years to live. If I live so long that will be 40 years out vs 39 years in. So I guess I have the rest of my BETTER HALF of my life to live. I?m not going to let one half of my life ruin the other half. I am still dealing with side affects of decisions made as a cult member. Some things are irreversible and will cause pain indefinitely. But I?m playing the cards I have been dealt ( http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/6/59766/1.ashx ) and the game looks better every day. I?m going to move on and enjoy the rest of my life.
Steve Imhof (Jst2laws)