When did the Watchtower first allow appeals against disfellowshipping?

by steve2 3 Replies latest jw friends

  • steve2

    Many thanks for the people who answered my first question about whether appeals against disfellowshipping have ever been successful. Given that the appeal process may on rare occasions work in the individual's favour, does any one know

    1) When the watchtower first introduced the right of appeal and

    2) the "party-line" reasons given for this this (i.e., I know it makes legal sense, but did the Watchtower also use other reasons for it). The reason I ask is, it implies that the local body of elders may get the decision to disfellowship wrong (in the Watchtower's eyes). steve2

  • blondie

    The first mention of appeal is here on the WT-CD. Keep in mind that DFing was not really instituted by the WTS as we know it until 1944.


    3/15 p. 179 Helpers Toward Walking Wisely ***
    Disfellowshipings are subject to appeal by the ones disfellowshiped who persist in believing that the committee exceeded itself. Appeals have been made to the Society at Brooklyn and some disfellowshipings have been reversed. This fact proves that some committees have been too eager to excommunicate. Either they have not had the needed witnesses with substantial testimony or have magnified the wrongdoing out of all proportions and have disfellowshiped oppressively and on unscriptural grounds.

    While the concept was there before the 50's, it was more strictly enforced then. In fact 2 study articles in 1952 discussed in depth as well as 3 Questions from Readers.

    procedure: om 147-8; w60 726-8; w59 172-3; w52 138-41; w44 151-5

    Proclaimers chap. 13 pp. 186-187 Recognized by Our Conduct ***

    As early as 1904, in the book The New Creation, attention was given to the need to take appropriate action so as not to allow a demoralizing of the congregation. The understanding that the Bible Students then had of the procedure for dealing with wrongdoers as outlined at Matthew 18:15-17 was discussed. In harmony with this, there were, on rare occasions, ?church trials? in which the evidence of wrongdoing in serious cases was presented to the entire congregation. Years later, The Watchtower, in its issue of May 15, 1944, reviewed the matter in the light of the entire Bible and showed that such matters affecting the congregation should be handled by responsible brothers charged with congregation oversight. (1 Cor. 5:1-13; compare Deuteronomy 21:18-21.) This was followed, in The Watchtower of March 1, 1952, with articles that emphasized not only proper procedure but the need to take action to keep the organization clean.

  • mama

    i don't know about when it was allowed but i can tell you our experience, when my husband was 18 he and some other witnesses friends drank some peach snapps, got loaded, and when somebody talked, my hubby told them the truth, the elder committee decided to disfellowship him, his father, a former elder appealed it, the second elder body set up by the society felt he shouldn't even be reproved, he was young and made a mistake. So, so much for every elder body having god's holy spirit, ha! The decision to disfellowship was revoked and he was publically reproved to settle the first elder body who were livid. They reproved someone against their own judgement to pacify this body of elders. They should all be policitians in my opion. Right and wrong are very subjective things to them. And guess what? When my hubby was envolved in a committee meeting years later, his old cong. was called up the elder they spoke to say he was so disgusted with him not being disfellowshipped that he almost, almost, stepped down from being an elder. I know this because they told me this from their mouths when trying to convince me not to marry him. I think that probably anybody who knew how to work the system could get a disfellowshipment revoked, just kiss some bethel ass.

  • steve2

    mama: I appreciate your response. Sounds like a very upsetting situation. I like your reference to politicians - it has that quality about it: Wounded egos and oneupmanship. Yes, holy spirit indeed!

    Blondie: A wonderfully detailed response. I really value the direct quotes! Very much appreciated. steve2

Share this