It’s late night. I have just been to another elder meeting, as we used to do. The children and my wife were sleeping when I got home. Sitting here in front of the computer with the table covered with a lot of paper, but also my loving Bible. The thoughts are deep and long. I have just kissed my daughter goodnight at the edge of her bed and had a prayer to Jehovah with her. Maybe she didn’t listen because of her sleep, but as usual she, still sleeping, kissed me goodnight. I went to my wife and my children, saying that all my brothers and sisters are in deep trouble because they are confused over changes made to what they believe was an unchangeable truth.
Now I am over 40 and it is time to look back. Life has, in general, been good. The prime look back just as “old mister blue eye” said “My regrets are few, but then again too few to mention.” But again we all have the survival instinct - maybe that’s what is going on.
I was raised as a JW and with parents strong enough to think for themselves, I was able to get an university education. My father was an elder and that maybe protected me - injustice or not, but lucky for me. I tried to combine it with at great deal of work in the congregation and on the witness work once or twice a year as a temporary pioneer. I did my best, so the blame was neutralised. Close to 20 year later, I look back now, being an elder for the last 13 years. I now have enough experience to look at both the past and the goings on right now in the WT.
I’ve been around this board for a few month to see what it is. Some good people seem to have a good mind, but too many ex JWs are filled with too much anger, and sometimes hate. It totally destroys the ability to think clear and with a free mind. Too much looking back and too little will to take life as the response of our selves. But maybe a lot of broken hearts are left by the Wt's hand, which I regret very much.
That’s what really gives great concern to me. Who has build this system of rules and “big eye watch”? Is it the WT/GB or is it just a human mechanism? Maybe we as humans add something that we thought was right to do but in fact was totally wrong. Who is to blame – the system or we the followers? The answer is “blowing in the wind.”
Many out there on this board have quit JWs and with a lot of bitterness. I do understand the feeling behind this – but have these persons been able to get at better life or do they have better balance? Or maybe more important, do they feel more in contact with Jehovah and Jesus? I don’t know but the anger also tells a story.
I’m inside and play an active role as a JW and elder. Speaking in front of 75 people or several thousand is not always an easy job, trying to find a balance between what the Society expects you to tell and what you are as a person and what your conscience has allowed. I haven’t found the answer to this. I must meanwhile find this balance or at least a better balance that I’m able to live with if I shall see my self in the mirror in the morning without destroying the mirror! Meanwhile it also fills me with pleasure to tell about the love of Jehovah and Jesus and the word of the Bible to us as human being trying to live at good life with care and love to each other. It’s not my job to tell other specifics and by rules of how this must be done by the individual. Each person must find its own way of the will of God to each person. Meanwhile Jehovah has also demands and with his spirit he is able to give power to do so to each man and women. My job as elder and speaker is to convince the brothers and sisters that they do count, and we all have the same values to God and try to point out the good outcome of doing the will of God. I’m not the judge to say that they succeed in this or not. Only Jesus is the one to do that.
I do know the battle between this way and other opinions of people that in my mind have left. there That’s why younger elders are the hope.
But my experience tells me that the opportunities of this are very different from country to another and even inside a country. I’m lucky to life at place where there is greater understanding of that. We all are different and that this is a strength, but anyway the understanding of this is under debate with very different opinions.
My hope are as told to the younger ones. We have a growing part of both sex now better educated than before, and a stronger will to think clear. They are questioning all authority and demand answers that are well-founded on the Bible as the word of God. They don’t just obey because the WT or us as elders say so. If we as an elder tell that the WT say so and so they don’t care as much at they did before. They don’t debate provoking but they just select what they by themselves accept. Of course this can lead to wishes of the flesh but the positive elements are bigger and more important. It’s our job to make the positive elements attractive.
In the congregations we are facing problems. Many are leaving or just stopping little by little. Of course we have the ordinary cases with moral matters, but more and more are leaving just because they just aren't able to handle all the demands anymore or they disagree with GB/WT. People are not trusting the explanation of the pprophecies of Daniel and the Revelation. They sometimes just smile, to these sometimes it seems lie a stupid explanation. More and more I agree inside.
About the old ones of the sisters and brothers: They are just confused about the missing Armageddon and the “missing 1914-generation” or they have stopped thinking and just move on as they used to do and as they were told to do. But a lot have an empty look in their eyes – only a cold heart don’t feel sorrow from this, but many are unable to see it or they have built a up something inside them self-blinding them!
Bach again to the late night thought. I’m not sentimental and are even not a social man with a demand of contact. I feel the most balance and contact to Jehovah climbing in the Alps. Climbing all alone in total silence at night, and to be close to the summit when the sun is raising from the east and you see all the nature that Jehovah has given us fills me with new power.
It easy just to think about your own person but others – your family that you love, and they love me too, and all the brothers an sisters depending of care and love bind you to your destiny so you can’t just leave.
I went back to the rooms of my son and daughter just to have a look before my own sleep. They look happy sleeping, and my wife, too. I must be a happy man and tell myself to be so. Just for sure I repeat that to my self once more.
It’s a hard way finding you self but every one must find it’s own way – but it’s not easy when years are coming and going.
Between love and “me” II – Elder dilemma
first post I have received a lot of response. I thanks for all this mainly
because they in general showed a lot of people with good human qualities –
also thanks for the e-mail I will try to answer them as good as possible. It’s
good to know that human qualities still exist. There have been some remarks that
forced me to explain my opinion a little more in detail.
headline expresses the conflict I and several elders are going though. I have been
an elder since I was a young man of about 30. Now I’m passing 40 with a
couple of years. Hear living in Europe my life is passing on, giving me some
experience. Even I do know I still have a lot to learn. I love my family and my
brothers and sisters, but because of the “system,” I feel caught in a spin
that makes me sometime test my conscience to the breaking point. It’s not an easy
task to be an elder in conflict between your personal conviction and all the
press and demands from the societies of WT. Maybe if you are an elder doing a
little laying back this could be easier but when you are in front of the line
it’s more complicated. This means that you have to speak in public in the
congregation, but also sometime in front of several thousand people with a
disagreement where the content is in disharmony with your personal beliefs. Then the
thoughts are: Maybe you are wrong thinking and they are right. But sometimes you
conclude that your own feelings are right, and who knows to who Jehovah gives his
spirit! The good thing about speaking in public is that you still have the
opportunities to give the text a turn in a direction where you are able to live
with it. It’s by then very important to stay on the right side of the limit
and don’t provoke to much and always stay to the Bible. Then you maybe are
able to protect yourself.
the matter is to believe in what a Christian is by the way Jesus told us to be.
He is the picture of Jehovah and the way he lived his human life and the way he
looked at other people and his disciples is an ideal for us. He was caring and
patience with all and handled every one with personal understanding and a forgiving
attitude. He still said “do no more sin”, but he was not the one to blame
the weak sinner, but to give power to change the past of bad thing to better
with respect to each person. He was looking after the good things and encouraged
the sinner to change to the better.
build a system where this things still are the ones to follow, but the reality
is in practice different. We have build up a lot of rules to protect
the unity. This rules has become so important that protect them is the main
thing to do and many people are left behind destroyed and with broken hearts.
It’s very hard to see you self unable to do much about it in total – only in
the surrounding, your are a part of and when you have power, time and
opportunities, you can do a little. Very often as an elder we try to cure the
patient, but the better way was to cut away the causal relation. But that’s not
the case or the opportunities. We as elders very often just try to stop the
“bleating” and hope their patience will survive, but that’s the only thing
we can do. It’s hard to live with.
Still there are a lot to do and a lot to consider that bind you as a destiny . I love my family – wife and 2 children and they do love me to. All have been a part of the JWs since birth as myself. A lot of brothers and sisters are also with different needs and problems. Many are weak and demand a lot of care and understanding. Some have a lot of problems – sometime because of the system – that has to be taken care of. It fills me with sorrow mainly to see the older ones still very faithful but confused over the time still going on with no paradise. Of course the Bible never said “we would know the time”, but we anyway have been told that this was to happen very soon in our time and at least before the “1914 generation” was gone. Now this anchor has gone. What’s now to believe?. My job is to tell them what to belief. What shall I tell them!!!! For me it’s not the main point, because I never have put my faith into sometimes fantasy explanations about 607, 1914, 1975, 1914-generation etc because I think we only have to live our life according to Jesus' word about staying awake because the day will come as a thief in the night. But for many JWs, their faith is close connected to these explanations.
I see all the conflict and broken hearts but still also a lot of love between people in the congregations. The main part are trying to live the best they can and don’t think too much. The living thought in the mind has bad conditions. The search of man after meaning of life has in acknowledge of that this live for the main part only has a little to offer been forced to build the reality with self-believed fantasies. Only by doing that, life has gotten a deeper meaning. If that’s impossible for the man the only way to survive is to live without the thought.
people inside the JWs, the daily life fills everything. The heavy burden of daily and
weekly life as a JW for many is so big an effort that most just give up to what
become their destiny. They become a little wheel in a big machine where all the
wheels just going on without thought and the purpose for the individual become
dark and almost non-existence. To think about tomorrow becomes too heavy a burden.
It fills me with sorrow to see so many destinies like this. Only a few has the
power and strange to stop up and think by themselves. What a pity. The answer for
WHY is “blowing in the wind." Not that there is no answer, but very difference
answers depending on situations and beliefs and those given them.
elder today and trying to be a part of solving this situation is like trying to
climb an ice wall without the necessary equipment. Very frustrating and
discontent. Also telling them of JW's explanation
of prophecies from Daniel and Revelation is a hard job to do when you very much
doubt the explanation and even think the explanation is no good. Sometimes it
only brings fear, and in my opinion is a wrong and bad expression of Jehovah and
Jesus our Lord. The fear becomes too much a purpose to maintain power and man's
control. Maybe not by bad will, but just the way things has gone when years
comes and go. The situation becomes more and more frozen and problems keep growing
still it’s very impressive what has been build up by the JWs during the last 100
years or so. What has build this? We all agree when we look at the universe that
this has to be build by someone. Maybe not a fair comparison but anyway the
doubt is still there.
9:16 it’s written: “On seeing the
crowds he (Jesus) felt pity for them, because they were skinned and thrown like
sheep without a shepherd.” I fell the same for many, but unfortunately
I’m not Jesus. I’m just one more elder with only little power to do
something about it. But still “the little” is better than nothing so I just
can leave them. But “me” is suffering.
That’s the conflict between “love and me.”
only doing the high mountain climbing gives me satisfaction. Climbing at
night all alone under the light of the moon and being on a 4-5.000 m summit in the
Schweiz or France Alps in the morning and see the sun raise from the east is
like seeing Jehovah, and fills me with gratitude being living - and also feel like
this - even death is the follower of the climber. More and more sitting in the
congregation I only as the lonely wolf wish to be out in the mountains trying to
find peace in mind and feel like a living person in close contact with Jehovah.
bitter on my own, but feel sorrow for everyone left on the road with broken
hearts and sometimes destroyed lives. I even do understand that anger and
sometime hate is a natural reaction of all the hurting, but I still don’t
think it’s a good way to become a whole person again. But I know that’s easy
to say and sometimes nearly impossible to do in practice.
What a pity for us all.
could be the last sentence but let's try to look at it another way. Life isn’t that bad. As
means that life always will find a way to survive. Love is the strongest
power and the only way to conquer the
bad and evil. To lay back in anger and hate will only destroy us all. We have
to look forward and trust our Lord Jehovah and Jesus. They will never let us
down and forget us if we, despite all bad experience, still believe and trust –
not on man but God. Maybe not easy but the opposite is worse.
give life a change. Leave the dark room and the computer. Go out to take a real
look at people and your family. There’s at lot of good thing there – just
have a look. Go and let the book of Nature and the Bible show you the kind of
God. Trust your self and your believes and the free mind and thought. Give you
self the change to see smile and joy.
just another late night. I'm just having a last look at the children sleeping. I
went to the room of my son – he’s close to being a teenager now. He seems to be
happy sleeping. I know he trusts me in total (He still think his father is the
strongest man in the world). In time he will recognize that we are all small and weak,
but despite that future acknowledgement I thing he still will love me as I love him.
Let us not just focus on
our self and all the bad and dark thoughts -
they will just eat us up from inside - instead let's give
life a chance.