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Could Someone Be Disfellowshipped For Not Believing In The "Overlapping Generation" JW Doctrine AFTER Being Baptized?

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1 hour ago, Anna said:

I will ask an elder if one has to believe the "overlapping generation' in order to get baptized and I'll get back with you with what he says.

You would be asking the wrong question Anna.

You need to ask him whether someone could be disfellowshipped for NOT believing it after baptism.

If he says no, he is either misinformed, forgetful, or lying.

Now I grant you, not every elder will apply the letter of the law (although in a JC it's more likely because of the group dynamics). But that there are procedures in place to allow for DF'ing someone who refuses to believe in particular teachings is very real.

Let me ask you Anna - if I could prove beyond doubt that this was true would you accept it, or would you continue to make light of it?

If you are determined to see only what you want to see I have no agenda to change that. But I can assure you that I do not speak from a position of ignorance or partial information in this regard.

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Peter, it sounds as though you have the facts. Can you share those facts? While I think you are correct, I would like to know myself. This topic instantly brings me to Corporate America and the policy that if you want to remain, you will do and act as "we" say. Corporate America cares not if you believe in the direction or concept of the corporation, just that you obey and conform. That is a hard pill for some to swallow because it shows that the corporation doesn't care about the individual, only the bottom line. Also, in the corporate world there are instances where the policy is not intended to protect anything but the corporation and each employee knows that it is wrong, but what can they do if they are being paid handsomely? 

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I know for a fact, and from personal experience, that it is quite possible to hold differing views from many other Witnesses and continue to have privileges and NOT be disfellowshipped. Among certain bodies of elders one can even make a private request not to be given certain subject matter as assignments and, as long as this never interferes with congregation activities as a whole, this need not be a problem. But I also know that there are some elders and circuit overseers who are quick to create an ultimatum that might lead to disciplinary action. It's ironic that some of the most judgmental of these persons themselves also hold views that differ from the Society's view. (I saw this especially when I worked for Brother Schroeder.)

Everyone knows that all of us might hold certain minor variations in our personal beliefs about a verse or an idea here and there, and if we are not dogmatic and if it does not contradict a key teaching then we are "safe."  But it is easy to cause trouble with personal beliefs, and it's easy for people to get caught up in the idea that their personal beliefs make them somehow better or more spiritually mature than others. This was a rather obvious problem for a time at Bethel.

I didn't see it as openly when I was there, but I'm told that there was a practice that probably peaked in the early to mid 1970's and coincided with the hype about 1975 that ran from 1967 to 1974. The practice was for many "Bethel Elders" (especially those in authoritative positions) to talk about ideas they held that differed from the current Watchtower teachings. This was not considered a sign of disrespect, but a way to gain more respect, a way to position themselves as spiritually mature and studious. It was especially the more mature brothers who had responsibilities in the Service Dept, Correspondence, Writing, and similar work. It seemed like every "Table Head" could speak about some nuances of differences in belief that he held, and there was a kind of free-thinking openness that many brothers found refreshing. Younger Bethelites were able to have enlightening conversations among themselves about doctrinal possibilities based on sharing things they heard from table conversations.

The expansion of the Bethel family due to the increased inflow of Witnesses in the pre-1975 era might have had something to do with why this was cracked down upon. With the new Governing Body assignments that expanded beyond the Board of Directors, some of the brothers like Sydlik and Schroeder who were well known for this practice, began to be heard only in more hushed tones. Others followed suit, so that non-conformists seemed to censor themselves (I'm told). Of course, it's quite possible that other factors resulted in the self-censoring. Perhaps there was a fear that it could get out of control; perhaps it came from Knorr or Franz. All I know is that people still talked about the more open freedom that had been the norm in the years just before I got to Bethel, and various Bethelites would still identify who had said what about certain doctrines. The consistency among various Bethelites told me that most of it was probably true, and I was able to verify some of it with Dan Sydlik, Bert Schroeder, Fred Rusk, Sam Friend and others personally.

On the matter of the "overlapping generation" I would think it's simply a matter of attitude and "style." Disagreeing without being disagreeable.

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36 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

I know for a fact, and from personal experience, that it is quite possible to hold differing views from many other Witnesses and continue to have privileges and NOT be disfellowshipped. Among certain bodies of elders one can even make a private request not to be given certain subject matter as assignments and, as long as this never interferes with congregation activities as a whole, this need not be a problem. But I also know that there are some elders and circuit overseers who are quick to create an ultimatum that might lead to disciplinary action. It's ironic that some of the most judgmental of these persons themselves also hold views that differ from the Society's view. (I saw this especially when I worked for Brother Schroeder.)

I thought that all witnesses learn and believe the same thing and that this is a defining factor to prove that the wt is the truth? So you are saying that there IS division among jw's? 

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14 minutes ago, Shiwiii said:

I thought that all witnesses learn and believe the same thing and that this is a defining factor to prove that the wt is the truth? So you are saying that there IS division among jw's? 

Argument is not your forte @Shiwii. Try and speak straight. You might have more success.

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I hadn't realized that people could create new topics under your name without your say so. But this is the second one for me now.

So if anyone thinks I started this and haven't replied I can assure you I wasn't even aware that this topic existed until a couple of seconds ago.

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7 hours ago, Shiwiii said:

Peter, it sounds as though you have the facts. Can you share those facts? While I think you are correct, I would like to know myself. This topic instantly brings me to Corporate America and the policy that if you want to remain, you will do and act as "we" say. Corporate America cares not if you believe in the direction or concept of the corporation, just that you obey and conform. That is a hard pill for some to swallow because it shows that the corporation doesn't care about the individual, only the bottom line. Also, in the corporate world there are instances where the policy is not intended to protect anything but the corporation and each employee knows that it is wrong, but what can they do if they are being paid handsomely? 

In my opinion and experience there is an element of this going on. I don't believe it's motivated by corporate greed though. There are different motivators at work. If you want to start to understand what they are you can look at a local level and work up from there.

There are many good brothers and sisters who do good deeds for no personal advancement. This is true of many people outside of the organization also (it would be wrong/silly to suggest otherwise), but most of us are primarily focused on what happens inside. 

At the same time there is a hierarchy. Technically nobody is "greater", but it's implicitly acknowledged that some "privileges" are greater than others. (All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. - Animal Farm)

In recent years the ones being promoted up that hierarchy tend to be younger than they were a decade or two ago. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with that, but most people who see what's going on from inside would say that loyalty is being valued over experience. If anyone cares to argue with that then please go ahead. Loyalty is a valuable quality when applied correctly and directed to the right party. Loyalty to Jehovah God and his Son is essential. But if the organization becomes interchangeably used with Jehovah, with no practical distinction then there is room for loyalty to become abused by those in authority.

When organization becomes the thing that must be preserved at all costs, and individuals are expendable, bad things happen. The word "organization" never occurs in God's Word, and Jesus always stressed the value of individuals. That's not to say that being organized is a bad thing, but not if "unity" and "organization" trump "love".

By all means I would prefer to support my point of view with specific examples. I could do that, but I won't in a public forum.

It should not be necessary though. Those in the hierarchy know the facts even though they may not care to confront them. And for sure if things are going without problem in your corner of the world then I am happy for you. The question is whether the system itself is geared to serve the needs of an organization when it comes to the crunch, or to help individuals.

Elders - what is the order of priority you have been given at school - 1) Jehovah's name, 2) the congregation, and 3) the individual.

Anyone care to argue?

In practice #1 & #2 actually becomes "the organization" and #3 remains as "the individual".

And the scriptural support for this is .... ? See the problem?

(I already know that certain people will not see a problem)

 

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By the way, even though I didn't raise this topic, the answer to the title question is ... YES

Will it happen? Not in the majority of cases. But the fact that it can and does happen should raise a red flag because some people are getting hurt.

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4 hours ago, PeterR said:

I hadn't realized that people could create new topics under your name without your say so. But this is the second one for me now.

So if anyone thinks I started this and haven't replied I can assure you I wasn't even aware that this topic existed until a couple of seconds ago.

@PeterR Moderators can.... and should only when there is clearly a major fork in the conversation.

 

Until one day when @admin decides to introduce threaded replies.

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6 hours ago, PeterR said:

I hadn't realized that people could create new topics under your name without your say so. But this is the second one for me now.

So if anyone thinks I started this and haven't replied I can assure you I wasn't even aware that this topic existed until a couple of seconds ago.

This happened to me a few times as well. The Librarian (or someone) seems to take the liberty to do this when they see fit. I wish they would ask first...

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7 hours ago, PeterR said:

By the way, even though I didn't raise this topic, the answer to the title question is ... YES

Will it happen? Not in the majority of cases. But the fact that it can and does happen should raise a red flag because some people are getting hurt.

That is far too simplistic. A disfellowshipping happens for several reasons and merely not believing something is not one of them.

So....I did ask the elder. Of course he did not give me a yes or a no answer immediately. He said it depends. But disfellowshipped directly and specifically for not believing the overlapping generation NO. Of course I already knew his answer because he has known about my feelings regarding this topic (overlapping generation) for a long time and I have as yet not been disfellowshipped and don't ever expect to be over this issue. It stands to reason. There is no scriptural basis to disfellowship someone for not believing something which is ambiguous, or not clearly set out in the scriptures, or is not a core teaching.  A case in point: The experience of Willi Diehl in last weeks WT study. He knew getting married was not un-scriptural, therefor he went ahead despite sanctions and despite some treating him as if he was disfellowshipped. But he was not disfellowshipped. Another situation; in the video at the convention last week, (Friday 4:15 - How you can by no means ever fail) the brother did not go along with the 1975 idea, because, in his own words "something just didn't seem right" he reminded himself that we cannot know since Jesus said no one knows, and that he was dedicated to Jehovah, and not to a date. Similarly, if someone does not go along with the overlapping generation idea, because they personally do not see sufficient scriptural evidence, then that is no grounds for disfellowshipping.

Back to the "it depends". If someone created enough fuss and caused divisions and unrest in the congregation because he insisted everyone came around to his view, then if that person continued despite nicely being asked to stop, then he could end up being disfellowshipped. Not for his belief, but for causing divisions. And disfellowshipping for that does have scriptural basis.

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1 hour ago, The Librarian said:

@Anna the key would be to stay on topic or start your own new topic. 

I only fork it off if it is completely astray from the topic theme.

Of course, that would be ideal, but as you see, it is kind of difficult to stay on topic, especially if it's not you who changes the topic in the first place....but yes, I understand.

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7 hours ago, The Librarian said:

@Anna the key would be to stay on topic or start your own new topic. 

I only fork it off if it is completely astray from the topic theme.

 

Yes, fair enough. I do understand the issue.

Just as a suggestion, I don't know whether it's possible just to embed a moderation note at the start of the first forked post with a standard line to say "This topic was split from another topic and was not started or given a title by this member." But maybe with better wording than mine.

No problem if not. It's just an idea.

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6 hours ago, Anna said:

So....I did ask the elder. ... He said it depends.

Indeed, and I think I've acknowledged that.

 

Quote

But disfellowshipped directly and specifically for not believing the overlapping generation NO.

OK. But now he's saying how he would apply the letter of the law, rather than what's possible according to the laws and guidelines.

I could give you references to the ks book, letters to BoE and CO's, notes/recordings from elder school, all of which you could take back to your elder and ask him about.

I won't do it of course. I do not have any motivation to convince you that would prompt me to cross that line. And I suspect even if you saw the material with your own eyes you would simply say it was all hypothetical. But that would be to miss the point that measures are in place to enforce belief in this, or any other doctrine, if in someone's opinion the circumstances warrant it.

 

Quote

Of course I already knew his answer because he has known about my feelings regarding this topic (overlapping generation) for a long time and I have as yet not been disfellowshipped and don't ever expect to be over this issue.

And I know plenty of other people who are known to have quietly voiced that they don't accept the teaching, and they remain in good standing. I also know others who have paid a price for voicing a difference. As your elder says "it depends". Now he probably means it depends on what other factors there are in the case of the person, but it also depends on the elders themselves. Especially if a particular type of CO gets involved they have the latitude to DF someone for not believing in any unique teaching of JWs.  

 

Quote

It stands to reason. There is no scriptural basis to disfellowship someone for not believing something which is ambiguous, or not clearly set out in the scriptures, or is not a core teaching. 

I agree that there is no scriptural basis for it.

 

Quote

A case in point: The experience of Willi Diehl in last weeks WT study. He knew getting married was not un-scriptural, therefor he went ahead despite sanctions and despite some treating him as if he was disfellowshipped. But he was not disfellowshipped. Another situation; in the video at the convention last week, (Friday 4:15 - How you can by no means ever fail) the brother did not go along with the 1975 idea, because, in his own words "something just didn't seem right" he reminded himself that we cannot know since Jesus said no one knows, and that he was dedicated to Jehovah, and not to a date.

Please don't get me started on this or the librarian will fork me off into another new topic. I'll just say in passing though that they are effectively putting up someone as a good example because he was ignoring what was in Watchtower print at the time in favor of what he understood from the Bible. When someone does that today guess what s/he gets labelled as.

Before you say it wasn't in print, have you never seen the quote "Now is not the time to be toying with Jesus' words about the day or the hour ..."?

 

Quote

Similarly, if someone does not go along with the overlapping generation idea, because they personally do not see sufficient scriptural evidence, then that is no grounds for disfellowshipping.

Back to the "it depends". If someone created enough fuss and caused divisions and unrest in the congregation because he insisted everyone came around to his view, then if that person continued despite nicely being asked to stop, then he could end up being disfellowshipped. Not for his belief, but for causing divisions. And disfellowshipping for that does have scriptural basis.

 

There is a lot of truth to that. But what you may not be factoring in is that it takes two to tango. The "unrest" that results can very much depend on the listener rather than the speaker. You may have one congregation which is laid back enough to see this for what it is, and do nothing. But you may have another with some highly strung people who react very quickly to hearing anything that doesn't sound 100% "loyal" to them. And thus the wheels can be put in motion for some serious damage.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, PeterR said:

I'll just say in passing though that they are effectively putting up someone as a good example because he was ignoring what was in Watchtower print at the time in favor of what he understood from the Bible.

This is absolutely incorrect. He was ignoring prevailing opinion at the time. His quote specifically states it was not the organization's view at the time. (hence, not in Watchtower print) I didn't drill down any further, seeing no need to challenge every word from trustworthy persons. But frankly, I thought is was their view at the time, with regard to Bethel service.

If you want special privileges anywhere, you may have to conform to some rules. These are not binding for Christians in general, but only for those who wish to officially represent JWs, as elders and MS's do. With Bethel service, I believe it is more a matter of conforming to family headship, Bethel often being called 'the Bethel family.' Among actual families, one family head decrees this or that rule for family members, another does not, or has different ones.

Nobody has to serve in Bethel. Nobody has to pioneer. Nobody has to serve as an elder or MS. But if you do, there may be additional requirements beyond that which apply to Christians generally. It is that way with representing anyone anywhere.

 

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      The Supreme Court of Canada Thursday heard arguments in a fight over a church’s “shunning” practice, and said it would release a ruling later, but the congregation involved and several other groups argued that the justices had no right to even take part in the fight.
      The fight is between Randy Wall, a real estate agent, and the Highwood congregation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization in Calgary.
      Wall was expelled from the congregation for getting drunk and not be properly repentant, court records said. He pursued a church appeals process, unsuccessfully, then went to court because he said the church’s “shunning,” that is, practice of not associating with him in any way, hurt his business.
      He explained his two occasions of drunkenness related to “the previous expulsion by the congregation of his 15-year-old daughter.”
      A lower court opinion explained, “Even though the daughter was a dependent child living at home, it was a mandatory church edict that the entire family shun aspects of their relationship with her. The respondent said the edicts of the church pressured the family to evict their daughter from the family home. This led to … much distress in the family.”
      The “much distress” eventually resulted in his drunkenness, Wall said.
      See the WND Superstore’s collection of Bibles, including the stunning 1599 Geneva Bible.
      Wall submitted to the court arguments that about half his client base, members of various Jehovah’s Witnesses congregations, then refused to conduct business with him. He alleged the “disfellowship had an economic impact on the respondent.”
      During high court arguments Thursday, the congregation asked the justices to say that congregations are immune to such claims in the judicial system.
      The lower courts had ruled that the courts could play a role in determining if, and when, such circumstances rise to the level of violating civil rights or injuring a “disfellowshipped” party.
      The rulings from the Court of Queen’s Bench and the Alberta Court of Appeals said Wall’s case was subject to secular court jurisdiction.
      A multitude of religious and political organizations joined with the congregation in arguing that the Canada’s courts should not be involved.
      The Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms said in a filing, “The wish or desire of one person to associate with an unwilling person (or an unwilling group) is not a legal right of any kind. For a court, or the government, to support such a ‘right’ violates the right of self-determination of the unwilling parties.”
      Previous case law has confirmed the ability of religious or private voluntary groups to govern themselves and dictate who can be a member.
      But previously rulings also reveal there is room for the court system to intervene when the question is one of property or civil rights.
      The Association for Reformed Political Action, described the case as having “profound implications for the separation of church and state.”
      Its position is that the court should keep hands off the argument.
      “Secular judges have no authority and no expertise to review a church membership decision,” said a statement from Andre Schutten, a spokesman for the group. “Church discipline is a spiritual matter falling within spiritual jurisdiction, not a legal matter falling within the courts’ civil jurisdiction. The courts should not interfere.”
      John Sikkema, staff lawyer for ARPA, said, “The issue in this appeal is jurisdiction. A state actor, including a court, must never go beyond its jurisdiction. The Supreme Court must consider what kind of authority the courts can or cannot legitimately claim. We argue that the civil government and churches each have limited and distinct spheres of authority. This basic distinction between civil and spiritual jurisdiction is a source of freedom and religious pluralism and a guard against civic totalism.”
      He continued, “Should the judiciary have the authority to decide who gets to become or remain a church member? Does the judiciary have the authority to decide who does or does not get to participate in the sacraments? Church discipline is a spiritual matter falling within spiritual jurisdiction, not a legal matter falling within the courts’ civil jurisdiction. The courts should not interfere. Here we need separation of church and state.”
      The Alberta Court of Appeal, however, suggested the fight was about more than ecclesiastical rules.
      “Because Jehovah’s Witnesses shun disfellowshipped members, his wife, other children and other Jehovah’s Witnesses were compelled to shun him,” that lower court decision said. “The respondent asked the appeal committee to consider the mental and emotional distress he and his family were under as a result of his duaghter’s disfellowship.”
      The church committee concluded he was “not sufficiently repentant.”
      The ruling said “the only basis for establishing jurisdiction over a decision of the church is when the complaint involves property and civil rights,” and that is what Wall alleged.
      “Accordingly, a court has jurisdiction to review the decision of a religious organization when a breach of the rules of natural justice is alleged.”
       
       
    • By The Librarian
      OTTAWA -- The Supreme Court of Canada says a Jehovah's Witness who was expelled from his Calgary congregation cannot take his case to a judge.

      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , the high court says the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench has no jurisdiction to review the congregation's decision to shun Randy Wall over alleged drunkenness and verbal abuse. Several religious organizations took an active interest in the case, given questions about the degree to which the courts can review such decisions by faith-based bodies.
      Wall, an independent realtor, was summoned in 2014 to appear before the judicial committee of the Highwood Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, a four-person panel of elders.
      He admitted to two episodes of drunkenness and, on one of those occasions, verbally abusing his wife -- wrongdoing he attributed to family stress over the earlier expulsion of his 15-year old daughter from the congregation.
      The judicial committee told Wall that he, too, would be expelled because he was not sufficiently repentant.

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    • By Jack Ryan
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Updated 6:11 p.m. ET Feb. 16, 2018 Keego Harbor Â— A quiet residential street became a horrific crime scene Friday with news that four people — a couple and their adult children — died in what police are describing as a triple murder-suicide.

      By late afternoon, some yellow police crime scene tape remained around the two-story wood frame bungalow in the 2300 block of Cass Lake Road where police were sent about 8:10 a.m. on a welfare check after a relative became worried about the family, Keego Harbor Police Chief John Fitzgerald said.
      One of four bodies is removed from the home of the 2300 block of Cass Lake Road. (Photo: Clarence Tabb Jr., The Detroit News)
      “A relative had concerns and asked us to look into it,” said Fitzgerald. “It’s tragic and our thoughts and prayers are with the family.”
      Inside the house officers found four bodies who neighbors identified as Daniel Stuart, 47, his wife, Lauren, 45, and their children, Bethany, 24, and Steven, 27.
      Fitzgerald said the “perpetrator” was among the dead but would not provide details other than to stress “we think we know what happened here and there is no danger to neighbors.”
      Fitzgerald said police have recovered what is believed to be the murder weapon but would not elaborate. He said all the deaths remain under investigation.
      Keego Harbor Police Chief John Fitzgerald briefs the media on the murder-suicide. (Photo: Clarence Tabb Jr., The Detroit News)
      Neighbors John and Jackie Tristani said they awoke Friday to learn police were outside the victimsÂ’ home.
      “My son said police were repeatedly calling out ‘Lauren, come outside,’ " said John Tristani. “When she didn’t respond they (police) went inside. A few minutes later, they came back outside, shaking their heads.”
      Tristani said he had been watching television late Thursday night and never heard anything from the Stuarts' home.
      Sources close to the investigation said the family pet, a dog, was also slain by the killer. Investigators also found a note which may help explain what led up to the deaths. They would not discuss its contents.
      The deaths puzzle the Tristanis, who knew Lauren Stuart as a “hard-working” neighbor who could often be seen working in her yard and remodeled the house largely on her own.
      “She would often come over and borrow tools – a saw, a pickaxe – whatever,” said Tristani. “She was always doing something.”
      The Tristanis said in one of their first meetings with Lauren Stuart a few years ago she attempted to “recruit” them into the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
      “I said we were Catholics and weren’t interested,” he said. “She accepted the answer and it was the end of that.”
      Lauren Stuart worked at an area gym, he said, and her husband was involved in some form of medical business in the Ann Arbor area.
      Darlene and Dennis Buck, who live a block away on Cass Lake Road, said they were enroute home from a trip to northern Michigan when they learned of the murder-suicide.
      “We have lived here since ’74 and nothing like this has ever happened in our neighborhood — not even close,” said Darlene Buck.
      Jackie Tristani said she found it all “scary” – not just the deaths but that something might have been going on in a neighbor’s home without her knowledge. She had tried to get Bethany a job at her workplace and her son knew both Bethany and Steven. There was never any mention or indication of trouble inside the home, she said.
      “I would hope that if there was a problem inside there someone would have reached out, we would have tried to help,” she said, her voice quaking. “Maybe we could have done something.
      “But you never really know everything there is about your neighbors, do you?”

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    • By James Thomas Rook Jr.
      If a Brother or Sister in good standing in the Congregation goes into the hospital, and agrees to a whole blood transfusion, and dies anyway, can they be disfellowshipped post mortem, and what about the funeral arrangements?  ( I have heard of this being done, but never explained....)
      Can they have a funeral at the Kingdom Hall?
      Let's say a Brother or Sister in good standing in the Congregation  goes berserk, and commits some crime, and either dies by misadventure, or gets shot by police ....
      Can they have a funeral at the Kingdom Hall?
      Considering such questions is like a submarine on the surface, at night, in the fog .... firing torpedoes randomly into the darkness, to see what lights up.
      .... sometimes survival depends on having the right answer about "What is out there?".
    • By James Thomas Rook Jr.
      Which Pill Would We Take ..... The Red Pill? .... or the Blue Pill?
      In the political world, more and more people are rejecting "Fake News" as provided by CNN (Clinton News Network), ABC (All 'bout Clinton) and NBC (Nothin' but Clinton), etc., and are seeking the truth about what they are being told ..... wherever it may be found.
      Today John Stossel had an article about this on Foxnews which is incredibly important ... not only for the political ramifications ... but every manner of philosophical thought ....  and our very view of how the Universe works, and what "makes it tick".
      If you have seen the movie "The Matrix" .... a MUST SEE movie .... you already know the common expression "Red Pill? Blue Pill?".
      If you don't ... YOU SHOULD. 
      The concept behind the expression is incredibly important ... as to whether we live in and artificial fantasy construct world ... or a world of what is actually REAL.
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      Oh ... and if you have not seen it .... get a copy of the movie, so you will actually get a "feel" for the depth of the now commonly understood  idiomatic expression.
      (For those in Rio Linda, that has nothing to do with sex, it has to do with basic understanding .....)
      Grok?
       
       
       
       
       
    • By Γιαννης Διαμαντιδης
      Hi I would like to disassociate my self from Jehovah witnesses but I would like also my brothers and sisters to know the reason why. Is it scriptural to hide this information from the congregation? I am certain that some sisters who dislike me will find opportunity to gossip with lies behind my back and my ex brothers will see me like a monster when in reality I make one step closer to my creator by establishing a new and direct connection to him like he wants ... without human mediators.
    • By Witness
      “JehovahÂ’s Witness kids grow up knowing that if they ever mess up, their parents will leave them — and thatÂ’s scary,” Sawyer, now 38, said in a recent interview from her home in Pascagoula, Miss. “The shunning is supposed to make us miss them so much that weÂ’ll come back. Â… It didnÂ’t work.”
      Sawyer and many others like her are now denouncing the church's shunning practices in the wake of a recent murder-suicide in Keego Harbor that killed a family of four ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses who were ostracized after leaving the faith. The deaths sparked outrage among scores of ex-JWs nationwide who took to Facebook, online forums, blogs and YouTube, arguing the tragedy highlights a pervasive yet rarely-publicized problem within the church: Shunning is pushing the most vulnerable people over the edge, they say, and tearing families apart.
      In the Michigan case, a distraught mother shot and killed her husband, her two grown children and herself in their Keego Harbor home, shocking the small and quiet Oakland County community.
      The shooter was Lauren Stuart, a part-time model and personal trainer who struggled with depression and spent much of her time working on her house, her friends say. She and her husband, Daniel Stuart, 47, left the JW faith more than a decade ago over doctrinal and social issues. Among them was their desire to send their kids to college, which many ex-JWs say is frowned upon by the church and viewed as spiritually dangerous.
      “University and college campuses are notorious for bad behavior — drug and alcohol abuse, immorality, cheating, hazing, and the list goes on,” a 2005 article in the Watchtower, the church's official publication, stated.
      But the Stuarts sent both their kids to college: Steven, 27, excelled in computers, just like his father, who was a data solutions architect for the University of Michigan Medical School. Bethany, 24, thrived in art and graphic design.  After the parents left the faith, the Stuarts were ostracized by the Kingdom Hall — the churches where Jehovah's Witnesses worship — community in Union Lake and their families, friends said.
      Lauren Stuart, whose mother died of cancer when she was 12, struggled with mental illness that went untreated; isolation and fears that the end was near, said friends and officials familiar with the case. One friend who requested anonymity said she believes the killing was the result of depression, not religion.
      "This is a tragedy that has to do with a disease. Depression is so prevalent, and when it goes untreated this is what happens," the friend said. "She needed medical help."
      Longtime family friend Joyce Taylor believes depression, shunning and religion-based doomsday fears all played a role. She said that about six weeks before the killings, Lauren started getting religiously preoccupied and telling her "'It's the end times, I know it is.'"

      Weeks later, Taylor saw her friend again. Lauren had a vacant look in her eyes. She was emotionally distressed.
      A week later, with her home decorated for Valentine's Day, Lauren Stuart killed her family. She left behind a suicide note.
      "She said in the suicide note that she felt that by killing them it was the only way to save them," recalled Taylor, who said police let her read the letter. "She said she's sorry that she has to do this, but it was the only way to save them all." 
      Taylor, a former Jehovah's Witness herself who left the faith in 1986, explained: "Jehovah's Witnesses believe that if you die on this side of Armageddon, you'll be resurrected in paradise."
      In Lauren Stuart's case, Taylor believes her friend never deprogrammed after leaving the church — a state she describes as  "physically out, but mentally in." She believes that Lauren's indoctrinated doomsday fears never left her, and that the shunning helped push her over the edge.
      Had she not been excommunicated by her tight-knit community that was once her entire support system — left with no one to share her fears with — Lauren Stuart may not have done what she did, Taylor believes.
      "People do things when they are desperate," Taylor said. "And that was an extreme, desperate act."
      Shunning "can lead to great trauma among people because the Jehovah's Witnesses are a very tight-knit community," said Mathew Schmalz, a religious studies associate professor at the College of Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.
      "If you're separated out, you're really left to your own devices in ways that are very challenging and very painful," Schmalz said. "Once you leave a group that's been your whole life — letting that go is a kind of death."
      Police have not yet disclosed details about the death of the Stuart family besides calling it a murder-suicide.
      The tragedy has emboldened many once-quiet ex-JWs to speak up. Many say they suffered quietly on their own for years until they discovered an online community full of isolated, ostracized people like themselves — people who had lost someone to suicide or attempted suicide themselves because their families, friends and church community had written them off for making mistakes, for being human. 
      The church calls it being "disfellowshipped." Members can return if they repent, change the behavior and prove themselves worthy of being reinstated. But unless or until that happens, members are encouraged to avoid the sinners, especially those who leave the faith.
      Mothers go years, even decades, without talking to their children. Siblings write off siblings. Friends shun friends.
      An estimated 70,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses are disfellowshipped every year — roughly 1% of the church’s total population, according to data published by the Watchtower. Their names are published at local Kingdom Halls. Of those, two-thirds never return.
      Within a faith representing 8.4 million people worldwide, however, many members believe the religion is pure, good and loving. Those who are speaking against it, current members argue, are disgruntled and angry people who have an ax to grind because they were disfellowshipped. Or, they are lost souls who have misinterpreted the meaning and love behind the faith. Members say they believe the shunning accusations are exaggerated and that the suicides are often more about mental illness than ostracism.
      The departed disagree.  
      In the world of ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses, they maintain, the shunned are considered dead to their families, just like the suicide victims. 
      These are their stories:
      ‘A dangerous cult’
      It was a difficult conversation to wrap her 8-year-old brain around.
      “‘You know your sister was being bad, right?’“ Sawyer recalled her mother telling her after her sister's suicide.
      “ ‘And what she did was stupid, right?’ … To take your own life is very wrong,' " the mother continued.
      “I didn’t understand what was going on … and I said, ‘Oh. OK,,’ “ recalled Sawyer. “In my 8-year-old brain I was thinking, ‘When I mess up, my mom’s going to hate me.’ "
      And so began her painful journey with the Jehovah’s Witness faith, the religion she was born into and grew up in in Pascagoula, Miss., where her fears of abandonment took hold at the age of 8. 
      Sawyer believes the shunning drove her sister to suicide. After the church disfellowshipped her for getting engaged to a non-JW, the fiancé left her sister, who was thrown into depression. Her sister tried turning to her mother for consolation, but her mom would read scripture and tell her, "until you start acting right, you’re going to have these bad things happen to you.“
      Bad things happened to Sawyer, too. At 30, she sought a divorce from her husband because he was abusive and cheating on her, she said. But the church elders and family pressured her to save her marriage.
      “I showed them the holes in my walls,” Sawyer said, referring to the damage her ex-husband did to the home during fights. “They told me to pray more … and sent me back home to him.”
      Sawyer took up smoking to handle the stress, which got her disfellowshipped because smoking is not allowed. She also went through with the divorce. She ended up losing her home to foreclosure and turned to her mother for help as she had two children to raise.

        Her mother took her in temporarily, but when the church elders found out, they threatened to disfellowship Sawyer’s mother — who let the grandkids stay, but not the daughter. 
      Sawyer ended up homeless for six months, living out of her car in a community college parking lot. She landed on her feet with the help of a student loan. She got an apartment, a job as a hospice nurse and her children — now 10 and 18 — back. She found herself, but lost her family along the way.
      Her mother doesnÂ’t speak to her; she said she canÂ’t recall the last time they spoke.
      Her sister in Alabama hasnÂ’t spoken to her since Sawyer got divorced in 2010.
      “She was on my porch, with my parents … My sister looked at me and said, ‘You’re abandoning me just like Donna did’ And left. And that's the last thing she ever said to me."
      Sawyer has kept silent about her pain for decades.
      “This is a dangerous cult,” she said of her former religion. “It’s important for people to realize —  this is serious.” 
      Read the rest of the story here:

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    • By JW Insider
      Even before C.T.Russell was born, commentaries on Bible prophecy included  dozens of potential dates. Nearly 200 years ago, a couple of them even included 1914 as potentially significant time period. The "1914 presence" doctrine, however, is only about 75 years old.
      All the ideas behind the Watch Tower's version of the 1914 doctrine have already been discussed for decades now, and all of them, so far, have been shown to be problematic from a Scriptural point of view. Since the time that the doctrine generally took its current shape in 1943, the meanings and applications of various portions of Matthew 24 and 25 have already been changed, and the timing of various prophesied events and illustrations have changed. Most recently, the meaning and identification of the "faithful and discreet slave" has changed. And the definition of "generation" has changed about half-a-dozen times. This doesn't mean that the current understandings are impossible, of course, only that it has become less likely from the point of view of reason and reasonableness.
      Besides, for most of the years of teaching this doctrine, we have had the flexibility of extending the "1914 generation" from a possible 40 years, up to 70, then 75, then 80 years. And this has been applied to teenagers who saw 1914, 10-year-olds who saw 1914, then even newborns who saw 1914. With every one of these options already tried and stretched to their limits, we finally were forced to convert the meaning of generation from its most common meanings and give it a new "strained" meaning that has no other Biblical parallel. (See Exodus 1:6; Matthew 1:17; 16:4; 23:36; Luke 11:50)
      But that flexibility is still seen as the last reason for hope that the Watch Tower Society might have still been correct in hanging on to 1914. Since the Bible says that a lifespan is 70 or 80 years and 1914 + 80 = 1994, the "generation" doctrine in its original form (1943) could remain stable until about 1994. Of course, a lifespan could technically reach to 120 years or more, and Gen 6:3 even gives vague support to the idea that the "1914 generation" could last 120 years, until 2034.
      The current alternative solution is to make the generation out of the length of two lifespans, which technically could be double 120 years, or nearly 240 years from 1914. That would have had the potential to reach to the year 2154 (1914+240) except for the caveat that it can, by its new definition, only refer to anointed persons who discerned the sign in 1914 and whose lives overlapped (technically, by as little as one second) with the lifespan of another anointed person representing the second group. If persons from each group don't really discern their own "anointing" until age 20, for example, this would effectively remove 40 years from the overall maximum. 1914+120-20+120-20 = 2114. We could also assume a possible lifespan of more than 120 years, but otherwise, the new two-lifespan generation could potentially make the generation last 200 years. This "technical maximum" is not promoted currently, because for now we look at examples like Fred Franz who was part of that original generation already anointed and who saw the sign, and the typical example of an anointed brother who was apparently "anointed" prior to Franz' death in 1992 would be someone like Governing Body member, Brother Sanderson, who was born in 1965, baptized in 1975, and was already a "special pioneer" in 1991. His is currently 52.
      However, the generation problem is just one more problem now which we can add onto the list of all the other points that make up the 1914 doctrine. Here are several points related to 1914 that appear problematic from a Scriptural point of view:
      All evidence shows the 1914 date is wrong when trying to base it on the destruction of Jerusalem. (Daniel 1:1; 2 Chron 36:1-22; Jer 25:8-12; Zech 1:12, 7:4; Ezra 3:10-13) Paul said that Jesus sat at God's right hand in the first century and that he already began ruling as king at that time. (1 Cor 15:25) Jesus said not to be fooled by the idea that wars and rumors of wars would be the start of a "sign" (Matt 24:4,5) Jesus said that the "parousia" would be as visible as lightning (Matt 24:27). He spoke against people who might say he had returned but was currently not visible. (Matt 24:23-26) Jesus said that his "parousia" would come as a surprise to the faithful, not that they would discern the time of the parousia decades in advance. (Matt 24:36-42) Jesus said that the kingdom would not be indicated by "signs" (Luke 17:20, almost any translation except NWT in this case) The "synteleia" (end of all things together) refers to a concluding event, not an extended period of time (Matt 28:20) Jesus was already called ruler, King and even "King of Kings" in the first century. (1 Tim 6:15, Heb 7:2,17; Rev 1:5; 17:14) Wicked, beastly King Nebuchadnezzar's insanity and humiliation does not represent Jesus as the "lowliest one of mankind." (Heb 1:5,6; 2:10,11; Daniel 4:23-25; cf. Heb 2:7; 1 Pet 3:17,18) The demise of a Gentile kingdom cannot rightly represent the time of the rise of the Gentile kingdoms (Daniel 4:26,27) The Gentile kings did not meet their demise in 1914. (Rev 2:25,26) The time assigned to the Gentile Times that Jesus spoke about in Luke 21:24 is already given as 3.5 times, not 7 times (Revelation 11:2,3) The Devil was already brought down from "heaven" in the first century. (1 John 2:14,15; 1 Pet 5:8; Luke 10:18; Heb 2:14) The Bible says that the "last days" began in the first century. (Acts 2:14-20; 2 Tim 3:1-17; 1 Peter 3:3-5; Heb 1:2, almost any translation except NWT in this case.)
    • By Outta Here
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Even the highly regarded BBC cannot resist the  temptation to indulge in gutter-press standard reporting when it comes to Jehovah's Witnesses.
      This report on the Jehovah's Witnesses disfellowshipping process is rather misleading. It associates the disfellowshipping action with totally unrelated experiences and leaves the impression that this action is taken: 
      1. when a person leaves an abusive relationship 
      2: when a person does not attend the annual memorial celebration of Christ's death.
      Nothing could be further from the truth. Even the most inexperienced researcher could easily find out the circumstances leading to this serious and scriptural measure by looking at
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      It is unlikely that the interviewees would reveal the real reason for their disfellowshipping which would probably cause personal embarrassment, and there is no way that the official organisation would comment or reveal the details of an individual case.
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Mr. Wall was a member of the Highwood Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, in Alberta, Canada.  He was dis-fellowshipped by a Judicial Committee of elders because he was not sufficiently repentant for two incidents of drunkenness, one of which included verbal abuse of his wife.  He was shunned by the congregation. As a real estate agent, he lost congregation members and other Jehovah’s Witnesses as clients. He appealed to internal church authorities for reconsideration but failed.  Then he decided to go to the regular law courts for compensation for his alleged mistreatment by the church. Justice Wilson of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta ruled that the Court had jurisdiction to hear Mr. Wall’s application for judicial review. The Church lost its appeal at the Alberta Court of Appeal and has now appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada.
      The Alberta Court of Appeal (ABCA) decision raises a number of questions that have to be resolved.  Generally speaking, courts have been loathed to get involved in church disputes. Courts have no expertise in dealing with theological matters that are often the underlying cause of why members of a church are asked (or told) to leave. Imagine a court discussing topics like the proper understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity; or the process of salvation. Such matters are not part of the law school curriculum. The point is, a court is incompetent in dealing with religious disputes.
      The majority of the ABCA decided that the courts have jurisdiction over procedural matters – basically ensuring that the parties were treated fairly.  In law, we call it issues of “natural justice.”  That is to say, the law protects people in organisations to the extent that the organisations own internal rules of procedure were properly followed.  There is a reasonable argument to be made for that position.  However, a church is not a public body that should be subject to judicial review.
      The ABCA was also of the view that a church could be sued for the economic loss a member incurred as a result of expulsion. This is new ground for Canadian law – new ground for any law of a western democracy.  Membership in a religious community is voluntary. No one is forced to stay. If a person is no longer willing to abide by the teachings then they are free to go and make their way elsewhere.  If that person limited his business to only those within the church community and subsequently finds that none of his former co-religionists will do business with him that is not the congregation’s responsibility. He took that risk himself when he so limited his business.
      Religious communities have been immune from litigation of former members who were asked to leave. Membership in a religious community is privilege not a right. Allowing courts the jurisdiction to hear judicial review applications of such matters will entangle the court unnecessarily in the internal affairs of religion. If a court is granted the right to hear such a review it is then able to grant orders of relief against the religious community for making religious decisions about membership. The law has no business there.
      The SCC is scheduled to hold its hearing on November 2, 2017. 
      Case name:  Re:  Wall v. Judicial Committee of the Highwood Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, 2016 ABCA 255 (37273)  (Wall Case)

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    • By ComfortMyPeople
      (Ezekiel 44:25, 26) “They should not approach any dead human, or they will become unclean. However, they may make themselves unclean for their father, mother, son, daughter, brother, or an unmarried sister. And after the purification of a priest, they should count off seven days for him”
       
      The priest should not contact any dead human… except his nearest relatives. Jehovah is very reasonable and comprehensive when dictating rules.
      Would not it be fine to apply the same principle when we deal with disfellowshipped people? Why Paul doesn’t mention these exceptions in 1Cor 5? Why Ezekiel doesn’t mention the priest’s wife? Perhaps, because the common sense would guide the application. It isn’t the same my cousin than my father, it is?
      Other reference:
      (Leviticus 21:1, 2) “Jehovah went on to say to Moses: “Talk to the priests, Aaron’s sons, and say to them, ‘No one should defile himself for a dead person among his people. But he may do so for a close blood relative, for his mother, his father, his son, his daughter, his brother,…”
    • By PeterR
      So if this is the basis for your belief, then probably what you'll want to do is first of all find out which bible book your foundational scripture is in. (It's Exodus by the way.)
       
      Ex 1:6 - Eventually Joseph died, and also all his brothers and all that generation.
       
      It's not a complicated scripture.
      Let me ask you this. If you die in 2017 and all your brothers and all your generation also die at some point, what does "generation" mean if you don't impose any weirdness on the text? Do your precise birth and death times change the fundamental meaning of the word generation?
      Of course there are overlaps in a "generation". The only possible way for there not to be overlaps would be for each generation to have a batch of children be born at the same minute of a certain year, and die at a simultanous minute of a later year.
      But does your grandfather suddenly become part of your generation just because your life overlapped with him? Does that overlap of a few years between you and your brothers give latitude to distort the language to allow for President Kennedy to be of your generation even if your life overlapped with him?
       
       
       
       
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