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Do homosexual acts on the part of a married person constitute a Scriptural ground for divorce, freeing the innocent mate to remarry?


Srecko Sostar

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12 hours ago, Anna said:

With that I assume you mean the 1971 Aid book part?

Yes and no. (Mostly no.) It was not so simple. There were multiple issues that arose and two separate corrections.

I don't think R.Franz has ever claimed to have written more than a few specific articles in the Aid Book, only mentioning a couple of them where he discusses the questions and research that was necessary for them. He had responsibility for starting and completing the Aid Book, but much of this was done by assigning hundreds of small articles to various Branch personnel worldwide who had some writing experience writing talks, yearbook experiences, Awake correspondent articles, translating publications, and handling branch correspondence. Major Bible-based articles in the Aid Book were mostly handled by a team of only about 5 brothers in Brooklyn - in Writing plus one Gilead Instructor. R.Franz became more of a collator, editor and "project manager" for the Aid Book.

15 hours ago, Srecko Sostar said:

If it is approved it was done by whole GB body, no matter of number of votes that was pro et contra :))))

It's true that there was a procedure to get all Writing approved, but remember that there was no Governing Body while this book was written and approved. Only one person among the corporate directors (a kind of proto-GB) would have had the say to approve or not. This was Fred Franz, and his eyesight was already poor and he was dictating many of his own articles and having a lot read to him (instead of reading it himself). I don't know if Lyman Swingle was supposed to read it before publication, I have heard it implied that he did. When I was in research, a GB member named Schroeder had not read it, and even asked me if I would read through it, looking for certain points he had in mind. About a dozen sisters read through assigned portions of it both for proofreading and so that the 1966-1970 Index (out in 1971) could include all the topics and scripture references for the full 1971 Aid Book (A through Z). We did not have electronic storage of it at that time. So, up to a greater point than some realize, R.Franz really was responsible for errors he made, too.

 

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This is why in my considerations, reasonings and arguments, I try to use scriptures as little as possible ... as in the movie "Deliverance" you can have "dueling banjos", in the movie "Theology", you

We'll probably have to stop a few people 'sodding pottage'!

I think you are right. Fred Franz wrote a 1969 article that got much of these concerns started over the definition of "porneia," and this article started a number of judicial issues which were typical

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7 hours ago, JW Insider said:

I'm sure there are people still alive whose marriages were broken up over the Watchtower's counsel on this topic.

Not sure what is meant here. The topic is about homesexual behaviour providing grounds for divorce. Is that not about the breaking up a marriage?

This shortlived error of interpretation did nothing to impede an innocent party's separation if desired, but it did extend unecessarily the period of non-freedom to remarry. I am sure it generated considerable discussion at the time, given the attraction of such topics, and the eagle-eyed awareness of many to adjustments and change in such matters.

True, some innocent parties may have engaged in "normal" fornication themselves, maybe due to fleshly weakness, maybe even as scheme to secure a divorce by any means, and maybe the twerpish interpretation in the Aid book article contributed. The fringe frontier of sexual morality is a dangerous place to dwell.

However, I can't see those affected as being a high number in view of both the consequences, and the short time period of error. Not that that reduces the effects for any individuals caught in the confusion of course, albeit for a few months.

Jesus sadly warned at Matt.18:7: "Of course, it is inevitable that stumbling blocks will come, but woe to the man through whom the stumbling block comes!". And James at 3:1-2 warned: "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, knowing that we will receive heavier judgment. For we all stumble many times. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able to bridle also his whole body."

Looks as if at least some of those named above experienced the outcome in these warnings.

7 hours ago, JW Insider said:

The Bible acknowledges that injustice can have a bad effect not only on the person but even on their children and grandchildren.

Quite true. But it also indicates that Jehovah and Jesus take a special interest in those who suffer it, and who look to them:

"For he will rescue the poor who cry for help, Also the lowly one and whoever has no helper. ?He will have pity on the lowly and the poor, And the lives of the poor he will save. From oppression and from violence he will rescue them, And their blood will be precious in his eyes"
 Ps.72:12-14.

Not a happy topic.

:(

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4 hours ago, JW Insider said:

but remember that there was no Governing Body while this book was written and approved. Only one person among the corporate officers (a kind of proto-GB)

technically, this is correct how GB wasn't exist in years we talking about. They was kind of Board of directors who handle things and making decisions. Idea of GB as concept of "church body" on all "spiritual" things as the apostle body in 1 century (type and anti-type model) came later. In  period around 1970th, correct me if wrong, they making adjustments because of administrative questions connected with models of Governing - Ruling the Corporation. And more new changes happened in 2000, i think. for the same reasons - Governing the Company, not spiritual need. Reason of Spiritual need is is to making fog on question/answer - WHO RULING/GOVERNING millions of people and millions of $ and real estate property.

Connect this, please, with new doctrine about appointment that was not happen in 1914 but will be in future. According to this new doctrine they are not appointed to have power over "all Masters belongings,property", but only to share foods to "co-servants, brothers/sisters; members, followers,". If that is so, have to ask this, - Who authorized them, as former ruler over all Masters property, from 1879-2013 to give in some other people hands to governing over Masters belongings that, in fact stayed, inside the same Company structure aka WT?? IF FDS aka GB is not entitled to "governing over all belongings" how that can any other structure of human body, organization, corporation, charity...??????? This is just for start to mediate on problem/question that arise after introducing new doctrine.   

So, they in few past years, as i can recall, put this idea that GB in fact existed from 1 century Jerusalem congregation as some kind of prototype of Headquarter aka centralized body for whole World. But congregation in Antioch, for example, was not been under power of Jerusalem congregation. And Jerusalem was not any kind of Headquarter for rest of congregations in Judea or anywhere else. "Body of elders" in Antioch gave permission to Paul about his ministry, not Jerusalem apostles. :)) and Antioch "body of alders" did not ask any suggestion, counsel, permission from Jerusalem. 

So, we came to question did Centralized company inc. body is/was Jesus intention in gathering the sheep for His flock? 

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2 hours ago, Gone Fishing said:

Not a happy topic.

True. I remember that this topic came up once before a couple of years ago and I stayed out of it. But that woman, Anna, she kept dragging my name into it, and so I bit into the subject this time. :$

2 hours ago, Gone Fishing said:

Not sure what is meant here. The topic is about homesexual behaviour providing grounds for divorce. Is that not about the breaking up a marriage?

I am not exactly staying on topic as narrowly as it seems defined here. I speculated about marriages broken up over the Watchtower's counsel on this topic. The term "homosexual behavior," you will remember, was being used (during that time period) as a stand-in phrase for aberrant sexual practices between heterosexual married partners that could include anal or oral sex (AOS). Perhaps, I will use this made-up term "AOS" rather than spell it out. So, on the topic of breaking up marriages, consider, for example, that a sister might wish to obtain a divorce against a husband (believing or unbelieving) who insisted on AOS, during a time when the Service Department (and Branch) was inconsistent. If the sister obtained a divorce and remarried, she could be subject to disfellowshipping, even if the congregation had approved of her divorce. (In some countries, especially in unstable or "failed" states, the congregation was a better record-keeper of marriage/divorce than the state itself.)

This topic evidently came up much more often within heterosexual marriages, especially marriages between a believer and non-believer, when either the husband or wife wished to engage in AOS, and their partner did not wish to engage. Or both wished to engage and one or both ended up disfellowshipped. I handled more than one of these cases myself, and at the time, my wife knew of even more cases than those which came to the elders. These situations were evidently common, and the stress of perceived intrusion by the congregation and/or unscriptural legalism resulted in broken marriages, divorce, and questions about freedom to remarry, injustice, anger, and even disfellowshipping for unscriptural remarriage.

While I was at Bethel, a brother in Writing -- I won't name him because he's still alive -- complained to me that more unmarried, young people than ever were taking some recent counsel as permission to engage in oral sex.** He was somewhere between "livid" and "flabbergasted." I remember he said: "How can even a married couple think of doing this?!?! They know the angels are watching!" The idea of angels in a couple's bedroom was an odd image that stuck with me. At any rate, I know that this brother was involved in the actual writing of one of the corrections or clarifications of a previous view.

  • **Although this might seem impossible, I heard it stated to me directly by one of these persons in 1977, who had once believed it, but had come to his senses. He said that since 1974 with Armageddon around the corner, no one really knew for sure what lay ahead, and even if the Society was promising eternal marriages in perfect paradise, that, for all they knew, this might be the last chance to know what sex is like. And that this was a way to experience it without sinning to the extent of becoming "one flesh" with the other person.

I'm not sure it will mean much to go through the history of these issues. But I'm willing to see if I can add anything to the conversation if anyone thinks it could be useful.

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15 hours ago, Anna said:

we have ALWAYS had the higher moral ground, right since our start.

No Anna, JW are not unique in that. Higher moral in comparison to whom? Many religious group, small and big have the same attitude on moral as JW, and atheist too.

15 hours ago, Anna said:

.depends on the support of a political movement.'

In Finland, government said that they not approve two parallel Judicial system. One Judicial system is Secular government. And other to whom Minister of Justice refer on  is JW congregational Judicial system.

Which one is better now after we have various opinion on this (made in people comments here in forum)? JW or Secular?

You said, it depends on the support of political movement, some other said worldly Courts are corrupted, WT said to secular authority, "give as mandatory, obligation by law to make us easier". And similar. BUT after all this you say, "WE HAVE ALWAYS HAD the higher moral ground"???!!! HOW ALWAYS, when changing policy (child or some other inside WT) proves that so called "Higher moral ground" are depend on WT Company policy, on Secular law, on Doctors and Psychologist, Pedagogy and Science, Science and so.

Personal moral and Corporative moral is not the same, sometimes is similar. But both are corruptible.  

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2 hours ago, Gone Fishing said:

However, I can't see those affected as being a high number in view of both the consequences, and the short time period of error. Not that that reduces the effects for any individuals caught in the confusion of course, albeit for a few months.

Jesus sadly warned at Matt.18:7: "Of course, it is inevitable that stumbling blocks will come, but woe to the man through whom the stumbling block comes!". 

one ruined life is too many :(

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2 hours ago, Srecko Sostar said:

So, we came to question did Centralized company inc. body is/was Jesus intention in gathering the sheep for His flock? 

there is no evidence of that.

There Is No Evidence of That

THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF THAT

THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF THAT !

There is only one reason the concept of the Governing Body was developed.  In the midst of many lawsuits for all sorts of reasons it was deemed necessary to separate the assets of the WTB&TS from it's spiritual direction ... for the same reasons that Mexico for over 50 years was a "Charity" where at the meetings they did not sing, or have Bibles, to pretend that they were not a religion.

REAL ESTATE!

 

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4 hours ago, Gone Fishing said:

However, I can't see those affected as being a high number in view of both the consequences, and the short time period of error. Not that that reduces the effects for any individuals caught in the confusion of course, albeit for a few months.

I think this statement needs clarification. Perhaps it's a good idea, after all, to look into some background of this doctrine issue. We could go back much further, but since you brought up the Aid Book --a portion on divorce that was published in 1969-- I think we should go back further into the 1960's to start. The following would have most likely come from Fred Rusk or Fred Franz, approved at the time, I think, by Adams.

*** w63 2/1 p. 78 par. 22 Conduct “Worthy of the Good News” ***

  • 22 But what can be done where the marriage is not a happy one, where there are disagreements over religion or over other matters? Are there any grounds upon which such a marriage might be ended by divorce, allowing the man or woman to marry another partner with whom they feel they could get along better? The Bible does not permit divorce just for any reason. While the law of the land may permit a divorce just because a husband and wife do not get along together and want to be free to marry somebody else, the Bible states only one reason allowing for a divorce that really brings the marriage to an end, namely, adultery. Jesus made this clear when he said: “I say to you that whoever divorces his wife, except on the ground of fornication [that is, adultery], and marries another commits adultery.” (Matt. 19:9) By the act of adultery the unfaithful mate really becomes one flesh with someone other than his lawful marriage partner. Of course, the faithful partner may choose to forgive this act and continue to live with his mate, but if he chooses to divorce because of the adultery of his mate, then he will be free to marry some other person, since the marriage contract is thus Scripturally as well as legally broken. In view of the need for understanding and love to make a marriage last, the dedicated Christian heeds the wise counsel of the Scriptures to marry “only in the Lord,” that is, to marry one who is, like him, a dedicated Christian.—1 Cor. 7:39.

A couple things to notice here. One point is nuanced but made clearer in other publications: that only the innocent party could choose to get the divorce, otherwise the divorce would not free the innocent mate to remarry. That's another story. Another point is that the "only one reason" allowing for divorce was tied in 1963 to 'becoming one flesh' with the other person -- not just any kind of "porneia" but only "straight" adultery.

But notice that it is the type of thing that became bound up in the types of rulings that the Governing Body began to spend more and more of their time on. Per comments referring to the period 1971-1972 here is what R.Franz says, about the early meetings of the GB:

  • At times the entire meeting lasted but a few minutes; one that I recall lasted only seven minutes (including the opening prayer). Then from time to time President Knorr would bring some “problem correspondence” involving questions as to certain conduct by individual Witnesses, and the Body was to decide what policy should be adopted regarding these, whether the particular conduct called for disfellowshiping, some lesser discipline, or no action at all.

Those early meetings, he says, sometimes consisted only of reading a list of names of branch appointments from places like Suriname, Sri Lanka, or Zambia that no one usually recognized, and then the GB would vote on the appointments. But now, at least by 1972, the topics were beginning to include the following issues, R.Franz says:

  • As weeks went along discussions were held on such subjects as whether a father qualifies as an elder if he allows a son or daughter to marry when only eighteen years of age; whether one qualifies as an elder if he approves of his son or daughter taking higher education; [Higher education was, and to some extent still is, generally frowned upon as conducive to loss of faith and as providing an atmosphere likely to contribute to immorality.] whether one qualifies as an elder if he does shift work and sometimes (while on night shift) misses congregational meetings; whether elders can accept circumstantial evidence of adultery, or the testimony of a wife that her husband confessed adultery to her, and whether this is sufficient to allow for Scriptural divorce and remarriage; whether a divorce is Scripturally acceptable if, even where adultery has been committed, the one obtaining the divorce is the guilty mate rather than the innocent mate; [At that time the ruling was that only if the innocent mate got the divorce was it Scripturally valid.]  what validity a divorce has when obtained on grounds other than adultery if, after the divorce is granted, evidence of pre-divorce adultery comes to light; what the situation is if such a divorce is obtained and there is post-divorce adultery; whether an innocent mate’s having sex relations with an adulterous mate (subsequent to learning of the adultery) cancels out the right to divorce that mate and be free to remarry; whether it is proper for a Witness to pay a fine if that fine is imposed because of an infraction of law resulting from his witnessing activity or because of some stand he had taken in order to adhere to Witness beliefs; whether it is proper to send food or other assistance to persons by means of the Red Cross (the main issue here being that the cross is a religious symbol, and so the Red Cross organization might be quasi-religious . . . ). . . .
  • The effect of our decisions was considerable in its impact on the lives of others. In matters of divorce, for example, the congregation elders serve as a sort of religious court and if they are not satisfied as to the validity of a divorce action, the individual who goes through with such a divorce and then later remarries becomes subject to disfellowshiping.

I will break this up into smaller pieces so as to not create multi-page posts.

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5 hours ago, Gone Fishing said:

However, I can't see those affected as being a high number in view of both the consequences, and the short time period of error. Not that that reduces the effects for any individuals caught in the confusion of course, albeit for a few months.

I have never discussed with anyone how far back these errors actually went, but my father tells me that he knew of the problem when he was first a Congregation Servant in the 1960's and an elder since 1971. I have an uncle who would know, but I'm not comfortable asking about the topic with him, even though, as a former circuit overseer, he could speak to things that came up in entire circuits. My father just mentioned an article they used from the 1950's just months before I was born. I found it:

*** w56 10/1 p. 588 par. 12, 20 Marriage Obligations and Divorce ***

  • 12 By the laws of states and nations today divorce is granted on a number of grounds. Persons who have lost or killed their love for their marriage mate try to grab hold of whatever legal grounds they can to break the marriage tie, such as mental cruelty, laziness, refusal of conjugal rights, drunkenness, insanity, incurable disease, desertion or abandonment, barrenness, sodomy, bestiality, criminality, incompatibility, change of one’s religion, and so on, besides adultery. But are all these legal grounds Scripturally right, valid for the Christian? Jesus Christ is Jehovah’s Counselor for us. The Jewish Pharisees once tested him with this question: “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife on every kind of grounds?” Jesus did not answer those questioners by referring to the Roman Caesar’s laws concerning divorce. He referred to the superior law of the Most High God and showed there is but one ground for divorce—adultery or moral unfaithfulness.
  • Sodomy (or the unnatural intercourse of one male with another male as with a female), Lesbianism (or the homosexual relations between women), and bestiality (or the unnatural sexual relations by man or woman with an animal) are not Scriptural grounds for divorce. They are filthy, they are unclean, and God’s law to Israel condemned to death those committing such misdeeds, thus drastically putting these out of God’s congregation. But such acts are not adultery with the opposite sex, making the unclean person one flesh with another of the opposite sex.

One would think that the term "adultery or moral unfaithfulness" would have covered the "AOS" ground, but notice that the paragraph explicitly mentioned that bestiality and sodomy were legal grounds but not Scriptural grounds. My father says that questions about this went to the Service Department and in the mid-1960's, at least, Harley Miller (Service Department Overseer) would actually get on the phone with the Congregation Servant and give the instructions that sodomy and bestiality were not the same as "adultery." I can't say how consistent this was over the years, but my father says it was already in effect in the mid-1960's. And here we also have one of the Watchtowers used in defense of it going back to the mid-1950's.

As an aside, the same article from 1956 allowed for scriptural divorce for a wife's artificial insemination where she does not get permission from the impotent husband. This makes some sense, but the idea of "a virtual committing of adultery" should have provided the slippery slope to resolve these other issues. But even where they both agree, they would both be disfellowshipped. Note that there was a stronger tendency to rely on the Mosaic Law to develop some of these rules:

*** w56 10/1 pp. 590-591 par. 18 Marriage Obligations and Divorce ***

  • Where a man is impotent today the married couple in their desire for children might agree for the wife to receive the seed of another man by artificial insemination. Some law courts have already held that artificial insemination is adultery and that children produced by such means are illegitimate. The recent British Royal Commission on Marriage and Divorce recommended as a ground for divorce the wife’s acceptance of artificial insemination by a donor of seed without her husband’s consent. Such a divorce would be Scriptural. But where the husband consented it would be grounds for the disfellowshiping of both man and wife. Why? Because it is a virtual committing of adultery, and both man and wife consented to the immoral act. The husband in effect gave her to another man to receive the seed of copulation, and the wife gave herself to a man not her husband to become the mother of a child by that other man with whom she was not one flesh. It is an adulterous course, and the fact that the husband adopts the child does not do away with the fact that he consented to the adulterous use of his wife.—Lev. 15:16-18, 32, 33; 19:20; Num. 5:12, 13, NW.

Also, it's odd that even where the congregation would normally disfellowship, he or she can avoid the disfellowshipping if the innocent spouse has forgiven the other spouse:

  • 33 When a congregation withholds an excommunication action because of the innocent mate’s prior forgiveness, this does not mean that the guilty mate may not and should not be deprived of any special responsibilities or service privileges in the congregation. Here, not excommunication, but the qualifications for special service positions in the congregation are involved.

 

 

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@JW Insider. Thanks for all the background on this.

So, as far as I can make out with this stuff, the 1969 published section in the Aid to Bible Understanding singled out, more or less, a generally held view (although not unanimous) that porneia as a ground for divorce referred to adulterous, heterosexual intercourse only. 

Dec 15 1972 Question from Readers (QfR). Porneia was expanded to include homosexual, extra-marital intercourse as divorce grounds for the innocent.

QfR 1973 introduces the idea that a third party is not necessary, and that forced unnatural intercourse on an innocent party would be classed as porneia and a grounds for divorce. (Presumably a disfellowshipping matter as well, but the subject of the 2 witness rule or proof is not discussed).

QfR 15 Feb 1978 directs elders not to get involved in trying to identify what does or does not constitute porneia between married couples within the marriage, due to a lack of Scriptural definition. Also that using such as a grounds for divorce by an innocent party should be left to that innocent party to decide and proceed with. (Maybe the 2 witness issue was a factor in this?)

WT 15 March 1983 turns it all on it's head! Porneia can only take place with a partner, (any oriented human or otherwise), external to the marriage relationship. Individuals divorced, remarried on the basis of previous erroneous advice are to be viewed as irreprehensible. Other words (akartharsia; alselgeia) are applied to perverted sexual intercourse within a marriage, but not porneia, which dictionary authorities and scholarly commentors define as only occurring with a party outside the marriage arrangement. (Judicial issues not discussed at any length).

Interestingly 15/12/12 QfR indicates that "when fertilization involving eggs or sperm (or both) from someone not within the marital union occurs, this amounts to what the Bible terms por·neiʹa, sexual immorality. Those procedures are a gross misuse of the sexual organs."

This last reference actually divorces the whole matter away from what is usually associated with illicit sexual behaviour, namely indulgence in illicit sexual gratification. It appears to focus more on a misuse of the life transmission processes. This would seem to be a vital core element of the reasons for Jehovah legislating around the whole matter..

Is that where we are on this now?
 

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But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup."  It therefore follows, that every one of those who undertake to promote the good of their neighbours, ought to consider whether he has betaken himself to teaching rashly and out of rivalry to any; if his communication of the word is out of vainglory; if the the only reward he reaps is the salvation of those who hear, and if he speaks not in order to win favour: if so, he who speaks by writings escapes the reproach of mercenary motives. "For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know," says the apostle, "nor a cloak of covetousness. God is witness. Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome as the apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children."   (from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2) Divine promises 2. The manner of shunning, in the word escaping. There is a flying away required, and that quickly, as in the plague, or from a fire which hath almost burned us, or a flood that breaketh in upon us. We cannot soon enough escape from sin (Matt 3:7; Heb 6:18). No motion but flight becomes us in this case. Doctrine: That the great end and effect of the promises of the gospel is to make us partakers of the Divine nature. (from The Biblical Illustrator)  
    • Clearly, they are already demanding your exile. Yes! It's unfortunate that Pudgy spoiled a great discussion about science. I hope the discussion can continue without any more nonsensical interruptions. Just a suggestion since they are on your heels. Wow! You speak! It seems you have a lot to say! Now they are going to treat like, who do you think you are, mister big stuff! Are those aliens now going to imply that anyone who speaks out against the five or six key contributors to this site will be treated as though it is George just because those in opposition speak the language they hate to hear, the TRUTH? They are seeking individuals who will embrace their nonconformist values and appreciate what they can offer in shaping public opinion contrary to the established agenda of God and Christ. Their goal is to enhance their writing abilities and avoid squandering time on frivolous pursuits, mainly arguing about the truth they don't care for. They see it all as a mere game, even when leading people astray. They believe they have every right to and will face no biblical repercussions, or so they believe. They just want to have fun just like that Cyndi Lauper song. Be prepared to be belittled and ridiculed, all the while they claim to be angels. Haha! By the way, please refrain from using the same language as George. They appear to believe that when others use the same words, it means they are the same person, and they emphasize this as if no one else is allowed to use similar grammar. It seems they think only they have the right to use the same or similar writing styles. Quite amusing, isn't it? See, what I just placed in bold, now I'm George, lol! Now, let's leave this nice science thread for people that want to know more about science. I believe George left it at "Zero Distance."  
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      merci pour ton travail très utile. tu es une aide qui fortifie
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      2024"Enter Into God's Rest" Circuit Assembly! 
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      Hello Twyla, when will the weekly study material be available. I am a member.
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