Help me with a JW practice, "Reaching Out" vs "Simony"

by jgnat 7 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • jgnat

    A while back I read a WT article that denounced the practice of "Simony", or the practice of buying spiritual privelege. I wonder if there is a great difference between "Simony" and "Reaching out" TM for more "Privileges" TM in the congregation. After all, it is pretty clear if someone is "marked" TM as "spiritually weak" TM they can pretty well write off getting much sympathy or support from the local congregation.

    Can you help me find WT articles about his practice?
    Can you give me concrete examples of how various classes of JW society benefit from their higher status?
    Are the benefits intagible (greater esteem), or are there tangible benefits as well?
    How does a man "buy" his way in to greater "privilege"?

    Ministerial Servant
    Presiding Overseer thanks!

  • Narkissos

    WT 1998, 11/15:


    of Simony!

    SIMON of Samaria was highly regarded in his community. He lived in the first century C.E., and people were so enthralled by his practice of magical arts that they would say of him: "This man is the Power of God, which can be called Great."—Acts 8:9-11.

    After Simon became a baptized Christian, however, he took note of a power much greater than what he formerly displayed. It was the power that was conferred upon Jesus’ apostles, enabling them to impart to others miraculous gifts of the holy spirit. Simon was so impressed that he offered the apostles money and requested: "Give me also this authority, that anyone upon whom I lay my hands may receive holy spirit."—Acts 8:13-19.

    The apostle Peter rebuked Simon, saying: "May your silver perish with you, because you thought through money to get possession of the free gift of God. You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not straight in the sight of God."—Acts 8:20, 21.

    From this Bible account comes the word "simony," which has been defined as "the sin of buying or selling positions or promotions in the church." The New Catholic Encyclopedia acknowledges that especially from the 9th to the 11th century "simony pervaded the monasteries, the lower clergy, the episcopacy, and even the papacy." The ninth edition of The Encyclopædia Britannica (1878) notes: "A study of the history of the Papal conclaves leaves the student with the conviction that no election untainted by simony has ever yet been made, while in a great number of instances the simony practised in the conclave has been of the grossest, most shameless, and most overt kind."

    True Christians today must beware of simony. For example, some might shower excessive praise or generous gifts upon those who can grant them added privileges. Conversely, those who can grant such privileges might show favoritism toward those able—and often eager—to shower them with gifts. Both situations involve simony, and the Scriptures clearly condemn such a course. "Repent, therefore, of this badness of yours," Peter urged Simon, "and supplicate Jehovah that, if possible, the device of your heart ["this scheme of yours," New Jerusalem Bible] may be forgiven you; for I see you are a poisonous gall and a bond of unrighteousness."—Acts 8:22, 23.

    Happily, Simon saw the seriousness of his wrong desire. He begged the apostles: "You men, make supplication for me to Jehovah that none of the things you have said may come upon me." (Acts 8:24) Heeding the important lesson contained in this account, genuine Christians strive to avoid any taint of simony.

    I would say the "privileges" are generally of an "intangible" kind (power, esteem). Those from which they can be "bribed out" are mostly the weakly paid full-time "servants" which are also elders (pioneers and especially circuit overseers, which play a decisive part in the appointment of ministerial servants and elders). In any case, the above article shows that the connection came to the WT's minds.

  • Scully

    It all depends on heart condition, apparently.

    If you're doing a lot of @$$-ing, such as inviting the CO or PO for meals to your house or letting him ride in your car group during Field Service™, this demonstrates a Good Heart Condition™. Other churches refer to this as "simony". JWs call it Reaching Out For Privileges™.

    If you're doing works of kindness to those who cannot repay your kindness, inviting the widow and orphan to your home for dinner, or giving them rides to the Kingdom Hall or in service because they don't have a vehicle of their own, this is sometimes known as Associating With Spiritually Weak Persons™, which is a form of self-inflicted spiritual endangerment.

    Nepotism is another widely used form of gaining Privileges™ among JWs. If you are related to people with positions in the organization, it seems to be much easier to acquire Privileges™ within the congregation.

  • Finally-Free
    a lot of @$$-ing

    That's what it's all about. The better you do it the further you'll progress™. Donating money helps too, but you need to do it by cheque, so the elders know who's donating money, and how much. Cash is so hard to track.

    Helping weak ones™ is fine if you want to count service time™, but it won't help a guy progress™ in the congregation. The elders will notice a brother™ who encourages™ weak ones™ and they'll keep him in a position where he has to keep doing it, so they don't have to.

  • LongHairGal


    You are absolutely right-on 200% about their "reaching out for privileges" and brown-nosing by inviting the "right" people over for dinner. I witnessed this first hand by a grasping couple in which the husband wanted desperately to be an elder. You had to see what antics he pulled to accomplish this!

    In time he got his wish. Perseverance.

  • jgnat

    Thankyou thankyou thankyou exactly what I was looking for.

  • Narkissos
    Donating money helps too, but you need to do it by cheque, so the elders know who's donating money, and how much.

    I was thinking of that too: back in the 80's cheques were a no-no in French congregations because donations should remain anonymous. I don't know if the policy has changed, it might because traceable donations can be partly deduced from taxes. For this very reason most church donations are done by cheque, and sometimes "simony" is not far away -- I remember a pastor saying (privately): "Those who don't contribute substantially will never be appointed on a presbyteral college (body of elders)." At least on that one JWs were (and perhaps still are) generally "cleaner".

  • Finally-Free

    A MS and I were out for a beer once and he started complaining about a brother™ who never donated money to the hall but he donated money to the Hummingbird Center in Toronto. So I asked him, "How is it that you know whether or not he donates to the hall? You're not the account servant™. Secondly, when did his spending habits become any of your business?"

    I never got an answer because he suddenly remembered that he had to pick someone up. It effectively cur short our beer break.

    And I wonder why I never had friends as a JW.


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