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If a JW votes in a national election ... will there be congregational sanctions against him?


James Thomas Rook Jr.

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I appreciate your input JWI, but it still is nebulous, iffy, arbitrary, and subject to the whim and/or understanding of any particular Body of Elders.

It appears the Governing Body is deliberately NOT answering the question ... the specific question ... that I posed.

This becomes a problem, particularly when a person is said to be able to follow the dictates of his conscience ... to appease secular authorities and avoid being sued into oblivion for interfering with elections, when the reality is that a person exercising his natural conscience is severely punished, ostracized from his friends and family, and "banned to Coventry".

That is why nations have secret elections ... so that people who attempt to influence their own destiny do not run afoul with those who want a different result ... and they have the bayonets.

Freedom does not really exist if we exercise our conscience, and we get bayoneted, burned at the stake, or expelled or sanctioned from our Nation, whether it be secular or theocratic.

Sir Isaac Newton could not speak freely of his conscience because of swift and terrible sanctions, including being hanged by the neck until dead.

The question, even with your input, is still:

On 2/23/2020 at 1:21 AM, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

Now, all this is well and good .... but if a Brother's conscience will allow him to vote in national elections ... will he be chastised, sanctioned, or punished for the free exercise OF his conscience, by the CCJW ?

The principle of whether or not this actually occurs ... or does NOT occur .... is EXTREMELY important, for the reasons previously stated.

 

 

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If a JW votes in a national election ... will there be congregational sanctions against him? The last thing I heard was in 1999 in the Watchtower that it had changed that we were now allowed to f

Perhaps some of us are thinking on more spiritual matters.  And of course some of us do not live under the GB's CCJW rules. Have a good day James. 

I asked my father about this, because he has been to 'elder's school' in the last few months. I didn't ask how recently it came up, but he implied that it came up at a previous elder's school a couple

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On 2/23/2020 at 1:25 AM, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

Now, all this is well and good .... but if a Brother's conscience will allow him to vote in national elections ... will he be chastised, sanctioned, or punished for the free exercise OF his conscience, by the CCJW ?

That is the ONLY thing I need to know ... nothing different ... nothing vaguely related .. no ancillary considerations ...

I just need an official, referenceable, dependable, honest and straight forward answer.

YES .. or NO.

...and after that, perhaps  an explanation of the logic and reasoning directly applicable to how that was decided would be helpful, and if YES, what would that punishment be.

I am trying to establish a baseline principle, that at the present time seriously needs official policy clarification.

Otherwise ... why have a conscience at all?

With all the people on this forum, the fact that after THREE WEEKS, NOBODY knows the answer, indicates to me how important the question is.

 

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"There may be people who are stumbled when they observe that during an election in their country, some Witnesses of Jehovah go to the polling booth and others do not. They may say, ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses are not consistent.’ People should recognize, though, that in matters of individual conscience such as this, each Christian has to make his own decision before Jehovah God.—Romans 14:12.

Whatever personal decisions Jehovah’s Witnesses make in the face of different situations, they take care to preserve their Christian neutrality and freeness of speech. In all things, they rely on Jehovah God to strengthen them, give them wisdom, and help them avoid compromising their faith in any way. Thus they show confidence in the words of the psalmist: “You are my crag and my stronghold; and for the sake of your name you will lead me and conduct me.”—Psalm 31:3." -  1999 Watchtower quoted above.

Clearly it is a matter between a person and God, and it is acknowledged in this article.  Probably the reason for no answer.  Therefore whoever is trying to judge or sanction a person for using his conscience is putting themselves before God and is being Pharisaical.

So don't belabour the point nor don't expect anyone to, just leave it. Most people, as usual, won't want to say anything about it anyway. You know that already.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Melinda Mills said:

Clearly it is a matter between a person and God, and it is acknowledged in this article.  Probably the reason for no answer.  Therefore whoever is trying to judge or sanction a person for using his conscience is putting themselves before God and is being Pharisaical.

This is what is written.

As JWI indicated from his father, who just went to Elder's School, any person whose conscience is clear as to his obligations both to Ceasar, and to God, and decides to vote in a national election ... specifically that such a man would need counsel and discipline can be taken on the face of it to be an application of the unwritten, and therefore secret "rules"

Elders have a very different range of talents, perceptions, training, experiences, educations and backgrounds.

The way it is now, a Brother or Sister in one State or Nation may be ignored by the local CCJW, as they recognize the points you made, Melinda, to be quite valid, and it is none of their business.  It is a matter of personal conscience.

In another Congregation that same Brother or Sister would be "disciplined",  harassed, "counseled", and possibly even disfellowshipped, censured, "marked:", or otherwise ostracized.for making the exact same decision.

This is not fair, equitable, or just.

On 3/15/2020 at 11:05 AM, JW Insider said:

But if a person is so willing to get so involved with the world, then it surely means that he is not taking Jehovah's counsel to heart in OTHER areas, too. He will need counsel and discipline and we [elders] need to be alert to the OVERALL spiritual welfare of the brother.

I can tell you from personal experience, I do not LIKE being chastised and discriminated against because of an Elder's personal viewpoints. I have related how about 35 years ago, in a Congregation in Pennsylvania, I had a beard .. and got a letter of recommendation to go to Peru to work on the Bethel Home in Lima ... but the Brothers in the Airport in Miami, and later in Lima, did their very best to try and get me off the project, and excluded me from after work social events, yet the Branch Overseer asked me to stay at Bethel permanently.

Things like that should have not happened to me, or ANY Brother, anywhere.

The ONLY way to stop it .. is clear and unambiguous policy, articulated to everyone equally.

That is why the OFFICIAL answer to my question is so very important.

OTHERWISE ... we chase more conscience driven, honest hearted people away from the Truth, than we can recruit.

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OTHERWISE ... we chase more conscience driven, honest hearted people away from the Truth, than we can recruit.

Of course you do, you always have.

Back to the CSA issue. It doesn't matter what is put in writing. I would have thought you have been involved with the CCJW long enough to know that. 

It is PERSONAL OPINION OF INDIVIDUAL ELDERS and Circuit Overseers that do the damage. But it is allowed to happen from the top down. It's all personal opinion, even the GB's rules and regulations. NONE OF IT COMES FROM GOD OR CHRIST. 

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On 2/23/2020 at 1:21 AM, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

As to whether they will personally vote for someone running in an election, each one of Jehovah’s Witnesses makes a decision based on his Bible-trained conscience and an understanding of his responsibility to God and to the State.

Outside of that one sentence from the 1999 article, there is absolutely no indication that a Witness can cast a vote in a political election. But even the above sentence does not actually say that a Witness can conscientiously vote in a political election. It could be saying no more than the 1950 article was saying when it used similar words.

The above quoted sentence might only be explaining why Jehovah's Witnesses will consistently make the same conscientious decision as to why they will not personally vote even if their conscience allowed them to go into the voting booth. And that explanation includes the idea that their decision is based on a Bible-trained conscience. [Note that all the Scriptures in the article showed why a Witness would NOT vote]. The rest of the explanation is that the Witness has an understanding of his responsibility to God and to the State. [Curiously, Romans 13:1 was used in the original 1950 article to include a reason why Witnesses would not vote, based on the idea that Romans 13:1 cannot refer to the State.] Of course, this older view of the "superior authorities" could provide an argument that the 1999 article needed an update that therefore could change the position on the conscience and political voting:

Here's the relevant portion of the original 1950 article:

*** w50 11/15 pp. 444-447 pars. 18-28 Subjection to the Higher Powers ***
18 It cannot be said of the other political powers and authorities of this world that they were types of Christ as God’s Chief Servant and that therefore God gave such political powers their authority. ...
19 The political powers of this world are, therefore, not the “superior authorities” to whom Christian souls are to be subject in every demand they make. ...
20 ...” (Gal. 6:16) So the Jewish Sánhedrin was no longer a governing body among God’s true people, but was an alien governmental body now. ...
21 In view of not recognizing worldly political powers as the “superior authorities” ordained by God, but recognizing only God and Jesus Christ to be such now, the Christian witnesses conscientiously refrain from taking part in the politics of this world, yes, even from voting. ...
22 In some countries today the legislature wants to make all the adult citizens responsible for the government. To enforce the democratic way upon them they are required by law to vote in the national elections. Under such circumstances what are Christians to do, since they are under divine command to keep themselves unspotted from this world? By dedicating themselves wholly to God through Christ they have vowed their unswerving allegiance to the kingdom of God, and they cannot divide their allegiance. So how are they now to proceed? Can they register as qualified voters? Yes. The apostle Paul held onto his Roman citizenship and fought for its rights, even appealing to Caesar in defending his right to preach the gospel. In lands where military conscription is in force Jehovah’s witnesses register the same as all others within the age limits, and they write down their relationship to the matter. They remember how Joseph and Mary complied with Caesar’s decree and traveled to Bethlehem-Judah in order to be registered at their home town. (Luke 2:1-5, NW) But it is when these ministers of Jehovah’s Word are called up for induction into the army that then they present themselves and take their stand according to God’s Word and pay to him what belongs to him. Likewise where Caesar makes it compulsory for citizens to vote. After they have registered and when election day comes, they can go to the polls and enter the voting booths. It is here that they are called upon to mark the ballot or write in what they stand for. The voters do what they will with their ballots. So here in the presence of God is where his witnesses must act in harmony with his commandments and in accordance with their faith.
23 It is not our responsibility to instruct them what to do with the ballot. They must act in accord with their conscience as enlightened by the study of God’s Word. In lands where voting is not compulsory, the ministers of Jehovah’s Word remember that his people are theocratically organized. According to the divine law under which they are organized the popular vote of the majority does not put servants in office, but all appointments in the theocratic organization are from God and through those whom he puts in authority in his organization. Even in his visible organization the individual members of the congregation do not vote democratically and put qualified men into positions of overseers and ministerial servants by majority vote. No, but the appointments to all official positions of service are made by the spirit of God and through the governing body according to the Scriptural requirements. Even the governing body which make the appointments are under instructions from the “superior authorities”, God and his Christ. To them it is written: “Never lay your hands hastily upon any man; neither be a sharer in the sins of others; preserve yourself pure.” (1 Tim. 3:1-13 and 5:22, NW) So the ministers of Jehovah’s Word do not possess the vote within his organization. As for the governing body, it does not lay its hands hastily upon a consecrated person, lest it should become responsible for his sins in office due to a hasty appointment of an undependable, unqualified person.
24 Since they do not exercise the popular vote to put even consecrated servants into office even within the theocratic organization, they consider it improper to exercise the democratic vote by which unconsecrated persons are put into worldly political offices. They do not choose to share in the responsibility for the sins of such worldlings in governmental offices. They want to preserve themselves pure from this world. They abide by God’s appointments through his theocratic organization, and they accept his appointment of Jesus Christ to the kingship of the righteous new world.
THE AUTHORITIES ORDAINED BY GOD
25 Paul was a member of the governing body of the congregation of the first century. He gives the reason for being in subjection to the superior authorities, saying: “The existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God.” (Rom. 13:1, NW) How could this be true of worldly political governments? There those in official positions are put in by popular vote, by machine party-politics, by dictatorial seizure of power, by executive appointment, by hereditary law of a dynasty, by legislative action or parliamentary appointment. God is not manipulating worldly politics like a political boss. It is only within his theocratic organization that the existing authorities stand placed in various positions with relationship to one another by God....
27 Rightfully Jehovah God has reserved for himself the position of Supreme One of the “superior authorities”. He shares that position with no one else, trinitarians to the contrary. Whom, then, has he placed next highest with relation to himself? Jesus Christ, who proved his loyalty to his heavenly Father to a violent death in the midst of Satan’s hostile world. ..

 

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2 hours ago, JW Insider said:

The above quoted sentence might only be explaining why Jehovah's Witnesses will consistently make the same conscientious decision as to why they will not personally vote even if their conscience allowed them to go into the voting booth. And that explanation includes the idea that their decision is based on a Bible-trained conscience. [Note that all the Scriptures in the article showed why a Witness would NOT vote]. The rest of the explanation is that the Witness has an understanding of his responsibility to God and to the State. [Curiously, Romans 13:1 was used in the original 1950 article to include a reason why Witnesses would not vote, based on the idea that Romans 13:1 cannot refer to the State.] Of course, this older view of the "superior authorities" could provide an argument that the 1999 article needed an update that therefore could change the position on the conscience and political voting:

This was taken for granted in the answers above - that they personally will not vote. But going into the polling station is another matter.  And no one but God and the superior authorities knows what he has done in the booth.  More reason for updates and further directives if this is a problem for overseers, and validating why Bro Rook wants to see something more detailed written.

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" More reason for updates and further directives if this is a problem for overseers, and validating why Bro Rook wants to see something more detailed written."

BUT the 'updates and directives' would be in THAT secret little book for the Elders, so no good for the congregants. 

What the CCJW needs is an open book for the whole CCJW congregation. A rule book that everyone can read. On every subject. A rule book that congregants can quote to the Elders. 

Is that what Bro Rook wants ? 

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I would prefer it to be a clarification in the Watchtower ... perhaps "Questions From Readers."

... but then again, about half of those questions appear to come from the mind of Eddie Haskell, Wally Cleaver's best friend, from the TV show "Leave it to Beaver".

The "Secret Elders Handbook " can be found on the Internet ten minutes after the Branch Offices get a copy, and although the Society has given printed copies to the Australian Government, and the Finnish Government, among others, most JWs do not know it even exists.

The United States Armed Forces have a book that covers the foundation of military law that covers life and regulations, and punishments in the military, the UCMJ ... the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

... which EVERYBODY in the military knows about, and has access to.

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James, I know the Shepherding book is online, but it's not supposed to be, hence congregants shouldn't be looking for it there. And as you've said the US Armed Forces 'rule book' is available to all that are entitled to read it. 

With such a book deliberately NOT freely available to congregants it makes it clear to me that the GB do not want congregants to 'know the rules'. It makes it so easy for individual Elders to make up their own interpretation of each and every rule. If the GB really believe they are the F&DS and if they believe they have the GOD given right to rule it over the congregation, then i would have thought they would have made their rules available to all congregants to read. But no, the Elders can use the excuse 'Causing a Division in the Congregation' to have anyone removed from the congregation. 

But James, you own experience you mention above, about being basically shunned, gives proof of the lack of love in the CCJW.  I'm sure many of us could relate similar instances which would show lack of love, mercy, justice , friendship etc in the CCJW.  To me it just proves the hypocrisy within the whole organisation. To 'Go out and make disciples of people, to then push them away after they are baptised members of the Org.  It seems to prove that it's just about adding numbers / quantity of people, or in fact quantity of money, to the Org. 

So, voting, um, can you write directly to the GB on this one ?  Would they answer you ? 
 

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2 hours ago, 4Jah2me said:

So, voting, um, can you write directly to the GB on this one ?  Would they answer you ? 

I don't expect much from ANY humans, so although what you say is true, I see no real alternative ... that is why I stay with Jehovah's Witnesses.

It is a deeply flawed organization ... but all the others are so much worse.

..and that's the fact, Jack.

I CAN write the Society about this, but I would not, because of who I am, be able to do it anonymously ... but I have done so many times in the past about other issues, over the past 50 years, and they have either not replied, or replied with a computer generated form letter vaguely reminiscent of the topic I asked about. ... so the short answer, is no.

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So, GB calling themselves the F&DS, not inspired of God, but placing themselves above all other Anointed ones. Supposedly guiding an organisation from scripture, but unable to, or not willing to, answer questions from a loyal servant of 50 years standing.  That sounds like a worldly government to me. 

But of course they will grab your donations willingly. 

Don't you honestly think there is something seriously wrong there ?

Don't you think that if it was God's true organisation God would sort it out ? 

Don't you think Christ would just give it a kick up the rump ? 

The question i would like to ask I cannot, for fear of  being d/fed from here, and that's how wrong the GB of CCJW are, they even have overpowering influence here.

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