Jehovah’s Witness Michael Jackson?

Jehovah’s Witness Michael Jackson?

See my previous blog entry for a reading of Michael Jackson’s psychology from the perspective of a former Jehovah’s Witness.

mj conflict jw

Interesting article from Silent Lambs. In 1987, it was publicly announced that Michael Jackson was no longer a Jehovah’s Witness. However, the recent news articles say that he is.

Jesse Jackson is saying that although Michael Jackson is a Jehovah’s Witness, they pray together (a “nondenominational prayer”). That is SO not allowed! I’ve been in contact with a grandmother who was barred from seeing her grandchild simply because she brought him to a site where they were planning to build a church. Any other JW would be disfellowshipped for praying with an outsider.

As the article points out, the PR wing of the Watchtower Society has neither confirmed nor denied Michael Jackson’s status as a Jehovah’s witness. That’s interesting especially in light of the multiple child abuse scandals and the Society’s ludicrous policies concerning same. They even went out of their way to disfellowship any questioners or whistleblowers. Family members were urged to shun previous members, and made to choose between their loyalty to the organization and their love for family members. One wonders if he was in the JW database of thousands of molesters not reported to authorities.

The media has not yet delved into some of the background of Michael Jackson’s involvement with Jehovah’s Witnesses – and what effect this group may have had on him. On the other side, Jehovah’s Witnesses are not questioning his role in the organization. When one of the so-called “elect” – Firpo Carr – even functioned as Michael Jackson’s spokesperson in 2003, there wasn’t a peep about his working for a disfellowshipped JW – again, something strictly prohibited. So either special rules applied to Michael Jackson, or else he was a member in good standing. What seems incontrovertible is that if Michael Jackson is a current Jehovah’s Witness in good standing, he certainly has a special status strenuously denied the rank and file.

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87 thoughts on “Jehovah’s Witness Michael Jackson?

  1. I came into the truth at the age of 12 and was a JW until the age of 25. I have moved on and have not associated with them since 1988, not because I don’t believe or love Jeohova, -I do- I just feel that there is indeed a lot of hipocrisy and “hollier than thou” attitudes within the organization. I grew up in the late 70’s like MJ and for sensitive people like myself & MJ the truth can be elating yet devastating. As such, I understand the effect this must have had on MJ, just like it had on me. Like you efletcher 2000, where was the organization when my dear father passed away and only a couple of brothers bothered to came to the funeral when he was a full fledge JW? Before passing he had not been able to attend the meetings regularly as before because he had been sooo sick and in and out of hospitals for almost one year, and for that he was shunned and ignored in death! He was in good standing, he was a wonderful human being and alone even in death however when he was alive brothers where at our place left and right every time there was a party or a barbaque when times were good, but when we needed the organization it was not there for us & this is not the example set by Christ…where were the brothers and sisters, when my mother who could not work was widowed at the age of 50 with two children to take care of? With a home to pay for? Didn’t the apostle say” To take care of your widow”s ?
    We were ignored…totally, my mother was a JW and so was I, both baptized and in good standing, and where was the organization again I ask? Like MJ I felt totally abandoned, lonely, sad, desilusioned & hurt – I had so given of myself to the organization. I spent my youth going to meeting, district assemblies, pioneering, controlled and sheltered from the outside world, no sex, no boyfriends, nothing. I had no coping skills was totally alone left to take care of deeply affected and depressed mother and younger sister, that when I finally met someone that I really loved at the age of 30, I was so naive that I did not see what I was getting into – I don;t think Michael did either, I got into this horrible marriage and “horriblier” divorce. I have never had the necessary social skills to be able to survive in this cold, cold world. I feel I have a lot in common with MJ and his fate; I don;t feel I belong in this world so full of hate and wickedness, I don’t feel I am meant to be here, yet I feel that I am not meant to be at the KH either….I don’t trust the organization anymore which is sad, because I truly love Jehova – and many times I cry and beg HIM for direction. I am not perfect and I have sinned but I pray that HE will take me into consideration on judgement day, yet I feel that the organization, it’s constraints and some of it’s members hypocritical stands derrailed me,(and others I am sure) and I feel that if I went back I could not live with the shunning – even though I don’t believe I have been disfellowedship – it would kill me and maybe that is what killed MJ as well with a little help from his pills. I am sure they where the only way for him to get away from the pain. Since leaving the organization, I have fallen in and out of deep depressions at time necessitating having to take medications for a long time, but I have not become addicted yet, I can understand how someone with additional hurts and pains could easily develop them. I hope Jehova will remember me and will accept me despite my failings – I would love to tell him in a different realm how much I love him despite the fact I have left, and maybe, just maybe one day I will be able to meet MJ and tell him how much I loved him too, no matter what and that somehow I felt his pain too! As for MJ being a true JW, I knew a sister in my congregation that knew him, for a time she went to his congregation in CA and she only spoke good things about him. He had pioneered several times and back then, you could not be a 90 hour monthly pioneer unless you were baptized, believe me, I was one at the time; so I am sure he was baptized. RIP MJ, it is between you and Jah, it is for NOBODY to judge the condition of your heart and why you did what you did; thanks for the artistic genius you left behind – it would be nice if JW could at least loud you on how much you gave to humanity rather than criticizing you on your actions or weakness. Thanks for hearing me out – feel free to email me @ alfablue162@yahoo.com. May Jah Almighty God Bless you all!

  2. Connie, I love your post… I too was raised and baptised a witness along with my 2 sisters and we all have many many emotional and trust issues caused by “brothers” and that male driven organization. I have not been associated since the late 80’s and have struggled with my feelings of guilt and remorse over that. I was a 4th generation witness that started with my great-grandfather on my mother’s side, my father is not a witness. So it is not an easy thing to leave. My mother has not shunned me or my sisters but the rest of her family has. I also feel that Michael Jackson was a full fledged witness at some point, and I feel that his pain and agony probably stems from that. A lot of his phrasing in his words and music was too witnessy for a non witness. He was a gentle and caring soul and hopefully Jehovah has looked into his heart and seen that!!! I also had dreams of speaking to MJ and letting him know that there were people out there like him, who were hurt by the organization, but that never came to be. It can be overcome and you can still love Jehovah and even worship him without the heavy burden of the organization. Good Luck to you… (even though we don’t believe in luck!!!)

  3. Die – thank u so much for your kind words. For years I have felt alone, abandoned, guilty, sad and in despair over my decision to leave the organization. Your words brought tears to my face; I thought I was the only one that felt this way. I have tried not to forget Jehova and his teachings & I know that I am a good human being – I don;t feel that I have to associate myself 3 x’s a week with an organization that unfortunately I lost trust in due to some of it’s members. I am hoping Jehova understands my feelings = He who knows me inside out knows as well the hurt I have gone thru, yet, some of my still JW family continue to tell me this is not enough – it is never enough – my good heart and love for Jehova is not enough….I need to be part of the organization in order to be saved! I can just imagine the anguish MJ must have felt on that front alone and the poor thing, he felt it in many other fronts as well.
    a I truly believe he was a JW and baptized witness, that despite assertions from MsKelly of otherwise. If he had not been one, his congregation’s body of elders would not have rounded him up and pretty much forced him to chose either the organization or Thriller; that kind of “rapprochement” is only used on baptized JW’s and not applied to casual attendants of the faith. Furthermore, had he not been a witness he would not have been required to write a letter to the body of elders to advise the congration of his intent to leave. One only had to do that if a baptized individual and only baptized individuals were required write advising the organization of their intent to leave. Personally, I thought MJ got a raw deal from the organization. I understand their responsability is to protect the congregation, but if so why not be fair and uniform in their treatment of famous JW’s? Serena Williams and Co. I believe breached strong JW protocol during the Olympics but as far as I know that were not forced to leave the organization…if anybody knows otherwise please let me know. I honestly think he was forced to leave when he did not want to – the organization was his sanity, his foundation and rock. He was already a sensitive soul and an abused child and the organization pretty much told him….sorry, but you are not good enough for us or for Jehova…..BEAT IT! In addition and as Die correctly stated his music was full of JW themes and visions and even a his videos – look at the Earth Song’s video – is straight out of a Watchtower Track Magazine vision of paradise. Once again, I hope and pray that the merciful One will look upon the weak in the dispersed flock on judgement day and send out his shepherd JC to find the “weak” lost ones like ourselves — maybe, just maybe then my wounds would be healed. Peace to all and I hope and encourage comments. Tks

  4. It is sooo funny to run across people who have just a little knowledge of what they are talking about and get the facts all scrambled around…

  5. Just a brief note in response to a couple of statements/questions you had virus head.
    I believe the court awarded custody to Katherine. From what I have read she and Joe have not lived together for some years so his manipulative behavior will hopefully be ‘controlled’ with regard to their grandchildren.

    It seems there is confusion regarding MJ’s status as a JW because of some choices made by individuals close to him coupled with a ‘hard line’ interpretation of ‘the rules’. I want to reassure you first of all that micro-policing is not done in the congregations regarding individuals choosing to associate with family members who are disfellowshipped. (Unless those individuals were treating the person like a spiritual ‘brother’ and basically publicizing it to the congregation the elders would not get involved) The standard is set high based on the patterns given in Scripture, but with regard to matters like this much is left up to individual conscience.
    SO…. Yes, the family, including current JWs could likely had some association with him despite his being removed from the congregation.
    AND…. A ‘JW’ funeral could have been given for him by an elder who chooses to do so. It would not be allowed at the Kingdom Hall, (which it wasn’t) and the congregation would not ‘sponsor’ it. I have personally presided over 2 graveside funerals of individuals who were not Witnesses when I served as an elder. If an individual who was disfellowshipped for unrepentant actions showed some remorse and had stopped doing what they were disciplined for we were instructed to make our own ‘judgment call’…not based on how much money a person donated (tee hee…that one was funny).

    So much for brief,
    Take care everyone. May Jehovah (God) bless you in your search for Him. (Acts 17:24-28)

  6. Reading the blogs from this site and some others over time helps me realize that, for the most part, the ex- Witnesses who ‘grind their axe’ could generally be described as ‘anti-organization’. In other words, they just don’t want others telling them what to do and do not want to be controlled ( At least by choice…nature controls us as does the US gov’t, etc). It just so happens that the ‘organization’ that they belonged to was Jehovah’s Witnesses. I believe it gives insight into their thinking and understanding of the EXTREME stance that is so often taken that the ‘organization’ in general (Brooklyn) somehow micromanages the lives of all JWs and involves itself in making even the most minute decisions. This is simply not the case. I would concede that in high profile cases (i.e. MJ) the branch is consulted more and the decision made by the local body may be influenced more by the counsel given by those in Brooklyn.
    But, in general, to avoid having 1/2 of all JWs in Brooklyn policing and mainatining files on the the other 1/2, decisions are delegated locally and a general report is made to the branch for review to make sure things look right.

    There is a silver lining about this discussion. You lament that this discussion does not hit on any issue of real importance to the world in general, but it does.

    Recently there was a media firestorm in the East about a state wanting to dictate to the Catholic Church how it should appropriate its money ( Instead of hierarchy deciding, they wanted a panel made up of laity to decide on financial matters). Of course, the separation of Church and State and the current interpretation of the US Constitution is at stake. If the state wins, will the government choose to use the precendent to go further into dictating how church organizations govern themselves?

    This issue comes up because you seem to agree with Silent Lambs and feel that Brooklyn should hand over all it’s judicial records to the ‘state’ so that the ‘state’ so the state can make sure it is internally ding everything right (In this case it would have to be Federal since the files would contain records from all states). This has long been the stance of the ‘Silent Lambs’ organization ( I agree with another bloggers’ reasoning that this organization should widen its focus from just JW if it wants to attack the real problem and protect all children from the gross crime of child abuse).

    Here is why that won’t happen:
    The records in Brooklyn are just a compilation of the records held by each individual congregation. Each congregation handles the matter locally and does what it is legally required to do by that state jurisdiction.
    I can guarantee that any unresolved cases or questionable cases where a predator may not have been dealt with has been redirected to a local congregation to examine again ( I have personally spent countless hours researching and re-investigating and notifying congregations to be sure that all children in the congregations that could possibly come into contact with a sex offender would be protected). Since I was secretary of the congregation it was my job to maintain those files and I took it seriously (I can say without reservation that on a local level that had not always been the case with previous secretaries and with other congregation secretaries, especially in the past when NO ONE including government took the matter as seriously as they should and that most of the cases cited by Silent Lambs stem from. This is a case of person reprehensibility, not an organization determining policy to protect a known offender in its administration. I personally knew of 5 cases in our file, all of which were investigated and reported to the state with 4 going to prison and none currently wanting anything to do with JWs, while the other one that could not be substantiated left the organization for ‘harrassment’ (So much for a pedophile paradise).
    I believe some states should get tougher and organizations like Silent Lambs would be wise to focus their efforts on changing local governments’ policies since JW and almost ALL organizations, religious and non-religious, will follow the law of their state about reporting. And I know each state has probably wrangled endlessly about how to legislate for the protection of children while trying not to strip too much individual freedoms away with ‘witch hunting’.
    Reporting an allegation so the state can keep record of it when it is not required would be similar to reporting anything else not required that the state has not developed a system to track….useless. Personally I can’t tell you how many examples of the State of Oregon’s CPS and DHS falling all over itself and blundering case after case of child welfare due to MANY reasons including lack of communication between agencies and ‘record keeping’.

    Congregationally, when an allegation is made and the State does not require reporting it is investigated thoroughly and taken seriously. If it cannot be proven that they have committed the crime the accusation is documented and put in that persons file. If they move, mention of it is made to the next congregation, who then will file it. If that person were to get close to another family with children, elders would do what they can to encourage the family to watch their children (which they should do anyway) without of course saying the person is a ‘sex offender’ since they may not be and have not been convicted of the crime.

    So while organizationally The branch does give direction about State requirements for reporting it leaves the burden of investigation, decision making and protection locally. SO, the State getting the files in Brooklyn would not do any good since they in turn would have to follow up with each local congregation (Which has already been to to the ‘t’).
    It also means that since the organization has delegated much control locally, individuals can make mistakes or in some cases flagrantly ignore a problem, which has resulted in lawsuits against the organization since those individuals ‘represent’ the organization. (Tho’ now they are making sure cases involving child abuse are handled correctly by becoming more involved so that the local ‘buddy system’ does not unduly influence any decision, which was the main problem in the past).

    This answers another beef you have that the PR wing will not answer anything about MJ. They won’t because the decision as to whether MJ is or isn’t a JW isn’t made at headquarters, but locally. If you want to know details you would have to ask the congregation who made any decision regarding Michael…..and of course you won’t.

    So, the reasonable view is that since JWs open themselves to the public and are trusting (In some cases too trusting of each other) some individuals will be able to “slip in” (Jude 4) and cause trouble. They are dealt with, but not before doing their damage to children, to other people and to Jehovah’s & Christ’s reputation. And just as state and federal governments are continuing to refine their laws and policies to deal correctly with the matter so are JWs.
    If you have something specific that you know about JW ‘policy’ that is ludicrous as opposed to other organizations and governments policies I am interested to hear about it.

    Take care all,
    Dave

    1. Nicely said, Dave. The only problem with your explanation is that local cases are in fact under the direction of the Governing Body. Local elders are often loathe to make real decisions without approval and guidance from “the faithful and discreet slave” in Brooklyn. And – in fact – the governing policy with regard to child abuse, sexual abuse, and domestic abuse of any kind is this: There is a two-witness requirement without which not only will claims be ignored, but the claimants may themselves come under disciplinary action. Any form of “worldly” help is heavily discouraged (police, psychiatry, etc.). So the upshot is that these cases tend not to come up until the abusers come to the attention of the authorities in some other way. Sign up for any feed about JWs and you will soon see what those cases look like. Brooklyn has been tracking known pedophiles in the organization for many years now, and there have been a few attempts to get them to hand over their database, but nothing has yet worked. In addition, JWs provide free legal help for divorcing parents – if custody of the children is at stake, they would rather have the children stay with the JW parent, even if that is the abuser. Yes, I think that is ludicrous – and deeply unethical.

      Your explanation about their not answering questions about MJ’s status is funny. Surely you don’t really believe that.

  7. Dear virushead,
    Of the 5 case I dealt with, we called the branch as instructed to determine what our states reporting requirements were. We were told that and reminded that we were not to instruct the victim or someone close to them to avoid reporting the matter to authorities. The only person we spoke to was a legal counsel…briefly. The we were left to investigate. 4 of the cases resulted in confession or enough circumstantial evidence to believe the accusation was true and it was immediately reported to the police. No governing body weighed in, in fact no one in authority weighed in on our decision. For Jehovah’s Witnesses, everything falls under the authority of the Governing Body…they give directions and it is left to others in authority to understand, apply and enforce. This is the same as it is in any group of human beings that is organized.

    Yes, the two witness requirement or a confession (which can be hard because elders are not experts at ‘water boarding) is the standard to determine congregationally whether there is proof a person committed something wrong (Deut 17:6; Matt 18:16;1Tim 5:19;John 8:17). If the state requires reporting an accusation this is done also (Rom 13:1,2). I believe your real issue is with the Bible and its standards (which most states still emulate in their reporting laws), not with JW. If we didn’t believe that Scripture is the ultimate authority, then we would likely change our stance to avoid public criticism, but the Bible says it and it is reasonable, therefore we don’t see a need to go beyond it.

    About the other issue you added about child custody cases. The branch WILL provide legal help to JWs who are in custody battles where the non-witness mate is MAKING THE JW PARENT’S RELIGION AN ISSUE. We were instructed as elders to make sure this was the case and to not get involved when this was not (Don’t believe Barabara Walters just because she is Barabara Walters…more any source of information for that matter). Everyone should check their sources before believing or spreading anything. If you were for profit you could be sued for libel. The deeply unethical part is on a non-believing mate who fights for custody by attacking the religion of a person as a reason for their unsuitability as a parent.

    I do believe that about MJ. Your real source would be the congregation. I didn’t finish my sentence tho’. I meant to say ” of course yu won’t find the answer..because they won’t tell you any specifics about the case..tho they may tell you whether MJ is a JW or not, which I know he is not, but as some of the other disfellowshipped bloggers have said, they still ascribe to the tenants of the faith and believe themselves to be a JW more than anything else (Jehovah help them).
    Regards,
    Dave

  8. Real quick,
    What you said in the initial article was that the policies connected to dealing with child abuse were ludicrous..that was the subject I was interested in knowing more about…the other one you brought up that is not related to ABUSE I dealt with in my previous blog.

    Thanks!

  9. Hey virushead,

    Just responding to the statements about a person who claims to be abused being ignored or even disciplined for going to the elders with an accusation. As I stated earlier, I only know the direction I received by general policy letter given to all elders which stated to take every accusation seriously and if no other proff could be found and the accused does not admit AND the state didn’t require us to report, we would file that accusation with the file. If another accusation came later, even if there was no other proof we could possible use the ‘pattern’ of accusations as proof and deal with it congregationally and probably consult the branch to determine if our State wanted to deal with multiple accusations for multiple situations. Regarding getting worldly help, again personal conscience is involved. We are discouraged from getting help from a ‘worldly’ source, but are not chastised for it. The victims I knew of got counseling and help from the state, and personally, when it comes to something as horrific as they went through I don’t know if I would have been that great of help to them emotionally…only to tell them that Jehovah knows and that he has already determined a day and assigned his Son to met out punishment for what the abuser did.

    As far as recriminating being done against ones who try to make an accusation against an abuser…it depends on how they want to make the accusation. Do they make the accusation to the body of elders and know that the ‘two witness policy and state reporting requirements will be upheld or that they will do their best to examine the accused and get them to confess? If so, they would not be disciplined. If they publicly speak against the congregation or the organization..in essence apostasizing (being ‘against’).. they may be disciplined along the fashion of Titus 3:9-11. Besides, that would only effectively remove them from the organization they feel is so bad anyway…right?
    THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT WE LIKE IT, NOR WANT TO SEE AN ABUSER GO FREE AND POSSIBLY HURT SOMEONE ELSE…If that is the case, the person would be using his time and resources more effectively to change the state law instead of the ‘policy’ of a group of people that represents less than 1% of the population and, likewise less than 1% of the child abuse cases.

    Regards,
    Dave

  10. I believe you, and am sorry some idiot didn’t ‘follow directions’. In ten years of being an elder I personally witnessed an individual elder do or say something entirely stupid. The ones who take counsel and change stay serving, the others (and there have been several I dealt with) no longer serve (Thank goodness).
    Yours,
    David

  11. Just read the article you linked to….absolutely horrific. What a loss for the families involved. Doubt she was a JW if she was living with a man for 7 years (Last names different).
    Don’t know the mom’s story, when she became a JW and why she would take a daughter obviously living in sin door to door (Tho’ it is a quote and the person quoted could have a subjective view).
    According to wikipedia .4-.6% of the US population has it…..so approximately 1.2 to 1.8 million people have that CRAZY and debilitating disease. Assuming those figures are right among Jehovah’s witnesses about 4-6000 have that disease.
    The tragedy is horrific, schizophrenia causes people to do the most inhuman things, but please remember that it is a disease, not something that Jehovah’s Witnesses cause.
    Here is a good website bout it :www.allaboutschizophrenia.com

    If you are looking for reasons to criticize anybody you will find them…look at what people are saying of Barack Obama…socialist? …Funny.

    Some other news about schizophrenia killings:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8173386.stm

    Not sure what religion some are, it tends not to matter to the news unless it’s a ‘head turner’.

    Regards

  12. Good morning,

    You are entitled to your opinion. Of course, you may be falling prey to the same ‘handing out stock answers’ that JW are accused of. I heard that one being circulated several years ago by critics of the ‘organization’. I think it’s an angle taken by individuals who are obsessed with self-justification for leaving a cause they still may believe in for the most part. I believe that conflict within them is why an ex-JW has a more profound struggle to ‘move on’, not so much because they have been coerced and controlled by a cult, but because so much of them is still loyal to the Bible-based doctrine they were taught when they leave (albeit an interpretation…a pretty sound one).

    Also, I am still intrigued by another opinion you had that I haven’t seen a fact about. (I’ve read scanned letters before to prove a point about something, is there an untampered scan of a WT policy letter that shows a policy that is ‘laughable’. What abuse ‘policy’ of JWs is so ludicrous compared what other organizations and governments have developed? Personally, when I became an elder in 1997 I was given a book and a binder of policy letters for everything including a few dealing with abuse.
    I read them carefully and feel I internalized the direction and intent. There have been many more letters lately as I believe everyone, including governments, are having to clarify how to handle this problem more clearly. I never read anything that resembled a policy of harboring and protecting criminals. I did see letters that gave more ambiguous direction, leaving a little more up to individual interpretation (The real problem). More recent policy letters are much more clear and outline what to do and say in more exact terms. IT IS CLEAR TO ME that there are obvious individual cases, before more CONTROL was exerted with detailed instructions, where individual elders arbitrarily made decisions that were foolish and showed gross disregard for victims….shame on them. Their actions misrepresent Jehovah’s Witnesses in general (2Peter 2:1,2). If they were sued, even jailed, GOOD! Maybe they’ll learn to take these matters more seriously (In my experience, it was the older elders who many times chaffed at the extra work load and changes that some of the policies made. And, at the time, I don’t believe they took them very seriously….I think they do now! If that is a result of many of the lawsuits..that can be a silver lining. They made their point. Jehovah’s Witnesses’ naivety and zeal for their reputation prevented them from acknowledging the problem and to change ambiguous policy letters to more clear cut ones).

    Recently I gave a contract proposal to a prospective customer and they asked me “how defined is your sexual harassment policy in your organization”. Well, I had to look over my employee manual, which gave more ambiguous directions to employees about respect toward fellow employees and that harassment, abusive language etc wouldn’t be tolerated. I had to pay to update my business’ policy that clarified what sexual harassment is, how it is viewed, and especially a detailed procedure of how each case will be handled and what the punishments will be. In my little ‘organization’, I have had to become more vigilant regarding these matters as has every other organization….we live in different times, partly because people in general are getting worse and partly because naivety is less.

    This brings up another funny conundrum. Many times, ones who want to ‘free’ JWs from what they feel is a ‘control group’ will attack the weakness of some of the ‘controls’ (policies). They do this to get someone who is not a deep thinker by nature to question what they haven’t questioned before, the policies of men. …..interesting.

    Dave

  13. I have not attempted to “deny” anything, just bring in a mitigating voice of reasonableness. It would be better if you would simply state what I am denying instead of refer to links.
    Although..this is your blog and you can do what you want with it 🙂
    I reviewed the links with interest, though. Especially the one with the scanned pages from the ‘ks93’ (elder’s manual). Except for a small percentage of material (usually interpretations, unreferenced material, and of course the individual who apparently wants to have sex with his ‘manual’) I think those links have been saying the same thing I have been blogging about regarding policy and procedure.

    Can refer to something more specific and I will pull the whole article or recall info from a letter giving more direction to the elders than what the “rank and file” received in WT publications.

    Regards,
    Dave

  14. Patience, Dave. I told you that there were points to ponder. I was pondering, thinking that you would like to be taken seriously. That was just a little bit of educational material for you to ponder, too, in case you were interested in the voices of those who have been silenced.

    Now. About “deny” – I was unclear. I was referring back to the idea that the policy of JWs was laughable and you asked me for examples. I have first-person narratives, but if you’re really curious, you’ll google it I suppose. They are everywhere.

    Think of it. A young person claims that an elder has molested her. Or a wife goes to the elders for help because her husband beats her. What is their advice? Honestly. What do they do? Advise them to press charges? Seek counseling? If you are true to your experiences, you know that this isn’t what happens. Not only from the position of authority, but even from the position of friendship, such “ones” are left stranded or even reviled. Is this loving?

    I’m not sure that I understand the slant of your argument in the last comment. The qualities of authoritarian groups that can be labeled “mind-control” are all about creating an attitude where people are not allowed to question (not an attitude which would lead to a deepening of authentic faith). The common ground has to do with love and grace and community, not hours recorded in service for a corporate record. What happens to those people who give themselves in service their whole lives? Watchtower Jehovists don’t even take care of their own in their old age.

    Why should people not question the traditions of men, even men in an organization who claim to be the voice of God’s will on earth? There are many such, and every prophet warned against them.

    I have a full copy of a couple of different versions of the elder’s manual. I assume it’s been updated since (I hope so).

    I guess what I’m really trying to call attention to here is that the rules and procedures lack a priority of importance. They are cold and heartless, and offer no real guidance to someone who is suffering. This is the only group I know of that has no capacity for pastoral care.

    Is that such an unreasonable emphasis?

  15. I am fascinated by this blog. I am a former Catholic turned former JW (Translation: kicked out of CCD so mom took me to the Kingdom Hall). I was baptized at 9 years of age, much to the chagrin of the then Circuit Overseer. I was disfellowshipped at the age of 20 for reasons that still make me laugh, and was reinstated once the elders I didn’t like were replaced. Since my reinstatement 23 years ago I have only been to the hall once, for my Mother’s memorial service.

    I have seen, in my own congregation, a husband murder his wife, a second husband accused of murder but not convicted, and a pedophile case. Of the original group of teenagers in the congregation at the same time as I was, only 1 still attends to my knowledge.

    I applaud those who believe they have found the truth. It is important to have a solid belief network. But I also understand the point of view of Virushead…the practices of the WTBS are very harmful to the mental well being of many in the organization. I feel the reason is this: the witnesses appeal to those who have lost hope in their lives. For whatever reasons they have, most newcomers are people who have been miserable failures at secular life. The promise of Rev 21:3,4 is a world anyone would want to live in, so for desperate folk it makes the “truth” an easy sell. The reason so many teenagers fall away isn’t rebellion…it’s because they have reached the age of reason and realize the sham being perpetrated on them.

    As for “Dave the Elder”, I have only this to say. Back in my day, elders would NEVER entertain the thought of posting to a blog, or debating in any type of forum in public. I guess things have changed a great deal. Membership rolls must be declining. Hey, changing the rules worked for the Catholics, you might as well do it too. God (whatever his or her name may be) bless you.

  16. Hi virushead,

    I am sorry if I seemed impatient, you said you would ponder , but I did want to address the denial comment. I realize you have a life (by your pictures) as do I. Recently I have been catching up on an online math course I have been taking so I am online quite a bit. Please forgive my ‘manic’ blogging.

    Thank you for clarifying the denial thing. I haven’t denied that there are, and that I have known, examples of elders mishandling things to the detriment of the flock, even in my own case. From my experience and research I found the REAL problem was a lackadaisical attitude toward instructions given on how to handle all cases of abuse on the part of individuals as well as the more important scriptural guidance, especially to love. I can only tell you what I know I have done or would have done if a sister came to me and said her husband was beating her, for example. I would ask for details, while being gentle and kind. If there were children, I would ask them what they knew, gently, carefully. Then ask the husband his side. If there was any reason to believe these things were true and felt the wife or children were in danger, I would get the help of other elders to help get her/them out of the situation, using resources the state provides if possible. I have dealt with some situations like that and would stand by my record.

    I apologize for my comment about the ex-elder JW who was ‘flipping the bird’ on his book. Obviously there is some deep rooted pain and frustration associated with that gesture.

    Regarding my slant. I was ‘digging’ at ones who are trying to help people out of organizations that control by trying to ‘open their eyes’ to how that group does not control its members enough by more strict controls…i.e regarding abuse.

    I wholeheartedly agree with you that the common ground should be love, faith and community…out of which should stem any efforts toward works. (I have long waited for the day we will stop filling out those reports…for many reasons). When I WAS an elder ( For PCKnotte), I recall a C.O asking me how I felt about the spiritual condition of the congregation I was an elder in. My response was…I don’t see enough faith. I do believe JWs have the truth thing down pretty much, but I see a disheartening lack of spirit (John 4:24) at times. Many do judge their faithfulness and love for God and Christ more from the darn numbers on a piece of paper than from as you say REAL, GENUINE, AUTHENTIC FAITH. Personally, I have written the Governing Body about several things I have been thinking about and I express some sentiments to my wife and nothing has happened.

    I ENCOURAGE questioning and believe that analytical thinking is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. My statement was more of a lament that every JW doesn’t wrestle with their own questions and develop a real faith, that does not produce fear when confronted with something different ( You know the ones…the argumentative and hyper-defensive)…I have, since I was a teenager. in the right format, questions are necessary. I don’t believe public questioning and criticism is always constructive, just as I don’t believe a child should question a parent’s authority ‘publicly’. They might find the response much colder and legalistic than if they asked and questioned more privately.

    To reiterate, I do believe in questioning the traditions of men. I don’t believe Moses got it all right when leading the Israeites, for example. To privately question him and advise, even multiple times may have been the course of wisdom for Korah and his associates. Ultimately, the Israelites got to the right place even under his imperfect leadership.

    I can understand that looking at the cold, legalistic rules in the flock book or letters can make it seem that the intent of the organizations’ leadership shows more concern for regulations and laws and protection of assets. That is why those things are not made available for everyone’s consumption. BUT, those legalities are defined for men with the presumption (An for good reason) that those men are already loving, faithful, loyal and compassionate. That is why the warning is given to not let our thinking get clouded when someone cries…it is assumed (rightfully) empathy will be there…they don’t have to specifically instruct in the manual “when someone cries, try to care”.

    Regarding the previous blogger comment about the awful retainage record of JWs. A few years ago and MSN article ranked JWs as the wors at under 37% staying. I immediately pulled out a picture we took in 1988 of all the young ones in the KH (I was one of them)……yep, 33% left ‘standing’. A large % were from ‘fringe’ families that demonstrated my frustration I mentioned earlier to a C.O….no REAL faith, just a somewhat blind loyalty and hypocrisy that those children likely learned from. Most of them went to drugs etc, including my brother, who was disfellowshipped and reminds me of many of the previous bloggers who are trying to get back. I don’t believe most leave because they think it’s a sham, they just can live up to the moral laws, mainly because their parents didn’t arm them with authentic faith and a genuine love for God, just a cursory knowledge that burns up under the tests of hormones and peer pressure (1 Cor 3:13).

    I apologize for getting lengthy, I think it’s because I have the burden of proof.
    Yours,
    Dave

  17. Thank you for your thoughtful response. I think you must be a very good elder, and I wish there were more. My experience is that there is a very limited pool of possible candidates, and to assume they don’t have to be told to at least attempt to act in a caring way is…. optimistic. It’s not only the texts that are legalistic. I see the organization as a kind of modern-day branch of the Pharisees. Jesus would have been disfellowshipped.

    On the issue of faith – faith based on fear doesn’t last, only faith in joy and love and kindness can survive. Since grace is never mentioned (“loving-kindness” is really a misleading translation) and individual paths and gifts are disregarded, I think it’s difficult for most people to develop loving relationships under the watchful guidance of the organization.

    But I can tell that these are things that you have considered yourself, at least a little bit, and I don’t mean to put you in a defensive position of having the burden of proof.

    One thing is odd, though, in what you’re saying here. I don’t ever recall even hearing about a situation where a child or woman could bring themselves to accuse someone in a public way – it’s hard even to imagine that they would have the courage. I’m talking about someone desperate enough to seek help from the elders. Think how disappointing that would be to hope and trust that they cared, only to discover that not only wouldn’t they help but that they protected the abuser. In case after case, this has been the narrative.

  18. Sorry for the first text. This is the one I wanted to send. I’m not a nativ English so I try my best to be correct. 🙂 All the best, Anna

    Once upon a time, a boy was born with an ordinary talent. His father had only one thing in his mind, to get his son to succeed and be the best. His mother had only one thing in her mind, to get his son to be saved and a believer in her faith.

    This boy’s childhood was mostly to satisfy what his father wanted him to do on stage while he tried to live up to his mother’s religious beliefs on how to live, behave and look. But neither the father nor mother thought he did enough either on stage or as a believer.

    The boy grew up and became increasingly a brilliant star on the music sky. His father was still not satisfied despite the fact that his son won several awards in the music industry. While expression his talent in music his mothers religion saw the son as “apostate” and he was excluded from their faith because of the music and art he created and for the dress and the hair clippers he chose to have.

    As his celebrity grew also his doubts grew. Could his father love him now that he was the world’s most famous artist? And could mom love him and could he please her God even if he if he still wanted to continue to create his music?

    The boy, now a man, remembered his childhood and all he saw was pleasing his father with good performances and pleasing mother with trying to for fill her believes of he preaching of the word. As he remembered he didn’t have any real childhood as for playing as kids normally do. When he tries to recapture his childhood as an adult the nearby and the grown up pointed finger to him and said: “this man is perverted and sick.”

    Like many great artists the little boy died a premature death.

    At his funeral his father was mostly concerned about creating a new record company and his mother most worried that the funeral was to “worldly” and not the way she had wanted it in the spirit of her religion.

    Perhaps we all, together with his parents owe this man an apology. Forgive us for not seeing your needs, forgive us for putting worldly and spiritually need before seeing you as a human being. Forgive us for forgetting this while you were a child and even as you had grown up as an adult putting our wants of what a life should be before looking at your needs.

    And most of all forgive us for excluding you from something that you ought not to be excluded from, namely the right to be a human.

  19. Anna – I deleted your first post and posted the second one. Yes, the mixture of a view of perfection combined with physical and emotional abuse and the conflicting demands of one view of spirituality and the fantasies of celebrity had a tragic effect on Michael’s psychology. He was an amazing talent, and I guess I’m still glad that he had that to focus upon despite all the difficulties that his upbringing created in him. What resonates most in your comment for me is the end – the right to be human. I can’t help but feel (as a bit of an eclectic mystic) that the cosmos celebrates in our individual contributions to the ongoing story of the universe.

  20. Best Virus Head, thank you for letting me publish my thoughts on your website.

    To be honest, I am a little surprised that I have a need to express myself about Michael Jackson. I am so old that I have grown up with his music as so many others in the world but I was not aware of his background in JW that came as a surprise for me.

    I myself had some very upsetting years in my teenage in the JW:s, but I have managed to take me out of the organization (but note I do not have anything against religion or Christianity). In my case, I was very good in school and had as we call it over here in Sweden ”a read head”. Sadly I had to fight for my studies and I was alerted to worldly knowledge and to learn that university was a tool of Satan. You have no idea what struggles I endured, and how out frozen in the cold I was because I selected the studies at the university instead of in the organization.

    I think it might be that experience that made me so upset while hearing that Michael also was a JW in his teenage. Although there are over 20 years ago all this happened to me, the memories comes back and I understand what hard times this talented artist must have had to challenge all the requirements and desires that were on him.

    All I can say is that I hope this tragic life and dead of an great musician and artist lead to something good within the Christianity society. And that we understand that you can not force a belief in a child or use threats or fears. It must be an independent decision by an adult and we couldn’t say that all outside the organisation is of Satan because there are after all at least sometimes a wonderful world we live in :=)

  21. No, Virushead, sorry if I was unclear, I never looked upon University as Satan but that was exactly was I was told by elders in my assembly. They wanted me to put aside my heart’s desire, the study of literature, because of the religion’s ban on higher education for their members. Hence, evangelistic activities took priority over education. I heeded their rules as to choice of friends, only Jehovah’s Witnesses, and choice of a marriage mate, only one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. And for that I was later, disfellowshipped, not because of misbehaviour from my side, but for being with people in the outside world and not attending on all meetings and doing my correct time of Witness preaching. All this was over twenty years ago and things may have changed in the organisation in attitudes of higher studies? But suddenly when all this with Michael in the media and me being aware of his JW background all my memoires came back. How much grief and insecurities I felt when I choose to leave JW for studies at the University it was a terrible experience not to speak of all JW friends who turned their head from me when I met them on the street…

    It just struck me that Michael must have had the same dwellings as all of us ex witnesses? Just so sad he didn’t speak out loud, it might have made him feel he wasn’t alone?

  22. David,

    The reason you report abuse within your organisation is that you are required to by law. I would hope that you continue to do so, and to promote that people do so themselves.

    As far as “the truth” is concerned, I hate to be a bearer of bad news, you do not have a monopoly on it.

  23. When Michel Jackson did Thriller he was a Jehova´s witness he apologizes and put a note at the beginning of his video ” dues my strong personal convictions, I wish to stress that the film is no way endorses a belief in the occult “ but ¿ what appends leather with his video “ghost” ?he said nothing. I thing that Michael Jackson with the video ghost explain his feelings when Jehova´s witnesses didn’t understand him, for Michael thriller was only fun. If you look the video ghost you can see a lot of things that happens when people are judged by the elders and expelled from the congregation of JW.
    Pay attention to the video when Michael says to the man “it is possible than you are the devil not I” and look the man’s hair like horns.
    Pay attentions when people enjoy Michael Jackson and de children like his performing very much. At the beginning a little boy greets Michael and says “hello” but the mother does not like that the boy did this. Remember that is not possible to say hello to one person ho his not more part of the congregation of Jehova´s witnesses.
    Sorry for the mistakes but I am just studding English my first language is Spanish. In Spanish I can explain me better I hope that you understand me.
    I recommended that you look the video “gosh” and pay attention to the little details. I think that Michael Jackson was a very good person he donates a lot of money for charity, he enjoy music and performing and make the people happy but a lot of people didn’t understand him. Michael said always that he was religious and he loved children like Jesus

  24. first of all i must be a child molester because i had horrible childhood and relate well with kids and my daughter can only relate with kids so she to must be well not. I do not believe MJ was a child molester, If her were in good standing with the congregation he would remain that way unless proven that he were a child molester then he would have been disfellowshipped till at some time when he got help but would have never held a position of authority. MJ was difellowshipped although many including MJ said many of times he still loved Jehovah and wanted his kids to love him also. It isnt up to us to judge him that belongs only to Jehovah. Jehovah Witnesses are portrayed by many in a very bad light but truly if you take other peoples words for it rather then getting the truth first hand then well you are not getting an informed opinion you are getting sloppy seconds. Many can say that one person is mean but you dont know thats true till you see for yourself. If a stranger said you can love Joe Henry and trust him because he is the perfect person for you would you take that assessment and marry sight unseen? NO If you were told that Jake Hammonsend was a killer could that get him thrown in jail or the death penalty No hearsay is unreliable and should be discarded only a first hand account would be valuable to anyone in any given situation so why not a situation that can be life altering/life saving?

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