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Jack Ryan

Interesting changes in the 2019 "Shepherd The Flock of God" elder's manual

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Here some points I noted not sure if these r different from the previous edition:

  • medical marijuana is a personal choice

  • Any allegations of child sexual abuse r to b given to the legal department to tell the elders how to proceed.

  • Also specific instructions to not make abused persons face their accuser

  • The elders should all b made aware of any sexual predators and if they move the new congregation elders should b made aware including parents of children in the congregation. This is only done if the legal department says to.

  • Victims of abuse or their parents r to b advised that they can go to the police and r not to b discouraged from doing so.

  • Masturbation is not pornia and is not really covered. Not sure if this is new and the org is backing away from discussing it.

  • Probing sexual questions r to b avoided during a judicial committee

  • Sexual offenders r not to receive any major privileges in the congregation, possibly minor ones such as handling mics after an extended time has passed.

  • The elders r to clearly tell people that they r being invited to a judicial committee and what the meeting is about up front.

Things they r still clinging to:

Highlights from the book above (2019 links added)

  1. The three year rule is re-iterated without specific mention of "three"

  2. An elder or MS will be removed if he allows his adult DA'd child to move into family home

  3. An elder can be removed for filing for bankruptcy

  4. The language around the definition of rape is better - no more references to the woman having to scream

  5. The stayover rule is still there. If you stay in the house of a member of the opposite sex, and two people know about it, it's a judicial matter.

  6. "Abhorrent" forms of porn are now a DF offense. Gay, Lez, child, violent, bestial.

  7. Gluttony is now listed as a DF offense. Not sure if it was there before

  8. They have narrowed the definition of apostasy: " Deliberately Spreading Teachings Contrary to Bible Truth " the end of that sentence used to read "as taught by Jehovah's Witnesses"

  9. I think this the first time they explicitly stated that marking talks can be given based on misconduct from unbaptized minors

  10. There's a whole new section on CSA. It seems like an improvement overall and includes the child no longer having to confront her rapist in most cases, but it still doesn't have the promised female representation from Jackson's promise to the Australian court.

  11. Willingly taking blood remains an automatic disassociation offence.

  12. Reinstatement is "several months, a year or even longer"

  13. Ownership of kingdom halls. They make clear that regardless of what it says on the title, a congregation does not OWN their own kingdom hall.

  14. jw.org email - all correspondance between elders is now via the elders private account on jw.org. I guess they want to make sure they know EVERYTHING

  15. Congregation file: Still they say the best place to keep it is at the KH. Therefore, paper records of all judicial matters should be in those files. ALL CSA RECORDS HAVE "DO NOT DESTROY" WRITTEN ON THEM

Here's the entire section on legal action as a result of judicial action. I think it's worth noting that it demonstrates that they will leave you alone if you write a legal letter:

 

IF THE ACCUSED THREATENS LEGAL ACTION 18. If the accused threatens legal action against the elders, the elders should suspend proceedings and promptly telephone the Legal Department. 19. If a member ofthe media or an attorney representing the accused contacts the elders, they should not give any information about PREPARING FOR JUDICIAL HEARINGS CHAPTER 15 “SHEPHERD THE FLOCK OF GOD” the case or verify that there is a judicial committee. Rather, they should give the following explanation: “The spiritual and physical welfare of Jehovah’s Witnesses is of paramount concern to the elders, who willingly provide spiritual assistance to congregation members. The elders extend this spiritual assistance confidentially. This makes it easier for those who seek the elders’ help to do so without worrying that what they say to the elders will be divulged later. Consequently, we do not comment on whether elders are currently or have formerly met to assist any member of the congregation.” If there is a need to do so, the elders may obtain the inquirer’s name and phone number and inform him that their attorney will contact him. The elders should then promptly telephone the Legal Department. 20. Ifthe authorities request confidential congregation records or ask that elders give testimony regarding confidential congregation matters, the elders should promptly telephone the Legal Department.

 

This seems like a big change below as it codifies what we have all been hearing about ownership of KH's:

 

OWNERSHIP 2. A Kingdom Hall is dedicated to the worship of Jehovah. Whether the property title, or deed, is held in the name of a local corporation or by means of a trustee arrangement or it is held in the name of a legal entity managed by the branch office, no congregation should conclude that it “owns” the Kingdom Hall. However, it is the responsibility of the congregations using the property to care for it and see that it is used in harmony with Kingdom interests. 3. As many as three or four congregations may be assigned by the branch office to use the same Kingdom Hall auditorium in order to make full use of the facility and to keep expenses to a minimum. The branch office will generally correspond with only one of the congregations using the facility regarding legal, property, and related matters. Usually, this contact congregation holds the documents related to the Kingdom Hall and the property on which it is located. This is for practical reasons only and does not provide a basis for the contact congregation to make unilateral

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    • This has been discussed a few times before on this forum. I typically just rewrite new comments every time a subject comes up, but this time I'll be anti-typical and just re-quote myself from one of those earlier posts. Comments went on for 9 pages on that topic, too. For context, Israeli Bar Avaddhon wanted to make another modern day application of these periods and said: By the way, to match these dates day were "greatly rounded" (Rutherford and his associates were released March 26, 1919, not January 1919; see Watchtower, 5/16/2016 all ' article entitled "to whom was entrusted the work"), but even more importantly the writing of Daniel, after mentioning the 1290 days, he says, "Happy is he who waits and who gets to 1335 days!" - Daniel 12: 12 "Getting to ..." means to add to what was there before. The rest of this post is a copy of my brief response to that: I think you are right that the basic idea here is more likely a set of time periods from the same starting point. If I were to tell someone that they are going to have to wait 1260 days for something, but that they might really have to get to 1290 before seeing it, and that they will be truly happy if they wait for 1,335 days, then I don't think it's likely that anyone would guess that I meant 3,885 days in total. And yet this is something like the Watchtower's view. I also think that if such a specific number of days were intended for us today that they would match to a specific number of days in a calendar. I agree, too, that the 1,260 of Revelation 11 & 12 is key. (And of Daniel 7:25; 12:7) The Watchtower also generally agrees on this point, even though they move the 1,290 as a completely new time period away from the 1,260. The explanation given in the Watch Tower publications, as you say, are "greatly rounded." None of them can even reach back as far as October 1914, the most important date/event in modern history according to the new "God's Kingdom Rules" book. The best they can do is start it near the end of December 1914, just a few days from January 1915. In fact, since they end it around June 21, 1918 it must start around December 21, 1914. To even catch this little piece of the tail-end of the all-important year 1914, they must end this period with the sentencing, rather than the actual imprisonment. In the scheme of things, the sentencing was just another part of a process that had begun in the "scheming" that began back in March 1918 when the FBI was building a case based on the Finished Mystery book. *** dp chap. 9 p. 142 par. 28 Who Will Rule the World? *** God’s witnesses would preach dressed in sackcloth for 42 months, or 1,260 days, and then be killed. When did this time period begin and end? . . . Hence, beginning in December 1914, that small band of witnesses preached “in sackcloth.” . . . Harassment of God’s anointed ones climaxed on June 21, 1918, when the president, J. F. Rutherford, and prominent members of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society were sentenced on false charges to long prison terms. Intending “to change times and law,” the “small” horn had effectively killed the organized preaching work. (Revelation 11:7) So the foretold period of “a time, and times and half a time” ended in June 1918. The start of the next period 1,290 days does not even attach to the first period without a several month gap. And again, even to get it as close as possible they used the "proposal" of the League of Nations rather than the actual start of the League of the Nations: *** dp chap. 17 p. 300 pars. 22-23 Identifying True Worshipers in the Time of the End *** The League was officially proposed in January 1919. At that time, then, both conditions of Daniel 12:11 were met. So the 1,290 days began in early 1919 and ran until the autumn (Northern Hemisphere) of 1922. During that time, did the holy ones make progress toward becoming whitened and cleansed in God’s eyes? They certainly did! In March 1919 the president of the Watch Tower Society and his close associates were released from prison. They were later exonerated of the false charges against them. Aware that their work was far from over, they got busy immediately, organizing a convention for September 1919. In the same year, a companion magazine to The Watch Tower was first published. Originally called The Golden Age (now Awake!), it has always supported The Watchtower in fearlessly exposing the corruption of this world and in helping God’s people to remain clean. By the end of the foretold 1,290 days, the holy ones were well on the way to a cleansed and restored standing. In September 1922, right about the time when this period ended, they held a landmark convention at Cedar Point, Ohio, U.S.A. Notice again that the periods do not work out. 1290 days is about 17 months, so that a starting date in January would have to end in August, and the convention wasn't until September 1919, which is why it ends at a time when they were only "preparing" for this assembly. And the next period of 1,335 days is even looser in terms of anchoring to any specific occasions. Note: *** dp chap. 17 pp. 303-304 pars. 24-26 Identifying True Worshipers in the Time of the End *** “Happy is the one who is keeping in expectation and who arrives at the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days!” (Daniel 12:12) The angel gives no clues as to when this period begins or ends. History suggests that it simply follows on the heels of the preceding period. In that case it would run from the autumn of 1922 to the late spring of 1926 (Northern Hemisphere). Did the holy ones come to a state of happiness by the end of that period? Yes, in important spiritual ways. 25 Even after the convention in 1922 (shown on page 302), some of God’s holy ones were still looking longingly to the past. The basic study material for their meetings was still the Bible and the volumes of Studies in the Scriptures, by C. T. Russell. At that time, there was a widely held view that pointed to 1925 as the year for the resurrection to begin and for Paradise to be restored to the earth. Thus, many were serving with a fixed date in mind. Some proudly refused to share in the work of preaching to the public. This was not a happy state of affairs. . . . The issue of March 1, 1925, carried the historic article “Birth of the Nation,” giving God’s people a full understanding of what had happened in the 1914-19 period. After 1925 passed, the holy ones no longer served God with an immediate, explicit deadline in view. . . .  At the convention in May 1926, the book Deliverance was released. (See page 302.) This was one of a series of new books designed to replace Studies in the Scriptures. No longer were the holy ones looking to the past. They were looking confidently to the future and the work ahead. As prophesied, the 1,335 days therefore ended with the holy ones in a happy state. If Daniel had spoken of the 1,335 days as culimating in the most unhappy time period ever for God's people, then this could have made more sense. It would have been very easy to show why this was the most UNHAPPY time period in our organization's history. 1925 had been hyped since 1918 as one of the most important prophecies that the "prophet" -- the Watchtower -- had ever proclaimed, and it turned out to be a miserable failure: a false prophecy. People were now leaving in larger numbers, even those who had hung on past the 1917 organizational debacle. In 1926 Rutherford began to systematically throw away all the old foundations for the time prophecies of Russell. More people were upset. Although Rutherford claims that he had been fighting against Russellite creature worship all along, this was actually the time when Rutherford himself stopped making great claims for Russell and began pushing against Russell's teachings almost "en masse."   Rutherford was beginning to fight with colporteurs and pioneers because they no longer wanted to sell Russell's books if they were pushing doctrines that were now considered "from Satan" (pyramids, etc). But Rutherford still had large stockpiles of these books and insisted that the Lord wanted them sold to the public. The "Bulletin" (Later Informant, later Our Kingdom Ministry) claimed that anyone who balked at this particular edict by Rutherford was going against the Lord himself. More people left the organization over this, and from 1926 to 1932 the campaigns to sell Russell's books continued. We could go on and on comparing this particular period of sadness and gloom with the periods before and since, but there is definitely enough to make us wonder why these particular time periods were chosen for the 1260, 1290, and 1,335 days. I think there are enough weaknesses in it, that the Society will revisit it -- especially if they realize that more and more Witnesses are looking at the prophecy more closely. If I get a chance, I'll explain more of the problems I have with the primary solution that is being promoted from the original post in this topic. I think there is a much simpler solution -- it's one we already have used in the publications on a closely related set of time periods related to the half-week (3.5-year period) in the final 70th week in the week-of-years prophecy. I don't doubt there are other possibilities that might seem more exciting, but some of those ones here imply that we can currently predict the times and seasons, and this particular period is one in which Jesus said the end events would come like a thief in the night. I admit that this is more boring than tying current events to Daniel and Revelation, but there are some excellent reasons to look at it this way (I think) starting with the "two witnesses" and the "olive trees" in Revelation 11. Paul explains the two olive trees very well in Romans 11, and we had already used this tie-in to a 3.5 year period in the discussion of the "keys of the kingdom." Note: *** w79 10/1 p. 23 pars. 1-2 “The Keys of the Kingdom” and the “Great Crowd” *** IN THE year 36 C.E. a marked event in Christian history took place in Caesarea on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. Whether Philip the evangelizer had settled there by that year we do not know for certain. If he had done so, then why was he not used in connection with a certain army officer of the Italian band of soldiers then stationed there? Philip had preceded the apostle Peter in Christian activity in Samaria, so why not now in Caesarea in 36 C.E.? The inspired Scriptures give us the answer. The Law covenant that Moses had mediated between Jehovah God and Israel at Mount Sinai in Arabia was abolished on the basis of the impalement of Jesus Christ, the descendant of Abraham and King David. That was three years and a half from the water baptism and spirit-anointing of Jesus back in 29 C.E. Nevertheless, Jehovah continued to give preferential treatment to the natural Jews and Samaritans also during this period for three years and a half more, to fulfill the prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27a. This “week” or period of seven years terminated in the seventh lunar month (Tishri) of 36 C.E. From then on the Israelite descendants of Abraham would be put on the same spiritual level as the people of the non-Jewish nations, the uncircumcised Gentiles. After that no more preferential treatment to the Jews by the God of Abraham! How was this demonstrated in 36 C.E.? From here, we already have a Biblically consistent tie-in between the two witnesses (the witness to the Jews, and the witness to the Gentiles) and the two olive trees (natural Jewish olive tree and the grafted Gentile olive tree) the 42 months or 1260 days. If we look at a few other events with respect to the week of Pentecost of 33, Christ's ascension, etc., we can attempt to work out the differences between a simple 1260 and 1290 and 1335, but I don't even think this is necessarily the answer here.
    • This is relatively true. Relativism is based on perception. It depends in what part of world you live, and how much income you have. Generally, i believe how most JW's do not belong to people who have more (surplus money) than they need for some "normal" life. Of course, we all can do some changes to live more modest life than we do now. But it is not good to be "clever" in advising how some other people should live in their circumstances, and not for yourself. And this is also good advice for WT Society. To not give lessons about modesty when they using expensive building projects and other advanced technology for few so simple request Jesus put on people: Love God, Love people and give testimony about your Faith and Hope. 
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