"Freeness of Speech" Between Elders


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    F blondie posted Thu, 05 Jul 2001 03:06:00 GMT(7/5/2001)

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    What does it mean to have "freeness of speech" between elders on the elder body? Can they ask another elder on the body anything about his personal life and/or questions they would never dare to ask one of the rank and file? Can't find much about it in the publications. Thanks in advance.

    F blondie posted Thu, 05 Jul 2001 12:14:00 GMT(7/5/2001)

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    Does anyone know about this? Thanks

    OrangeBlossom posted Thu, 05 Jul 2001 13:00:00 GMT(7/5/2001)

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    Sorry Blondie, never heard of it before?

    However, elders do share details of judicial matters to other elders in other congregations as a form of gossip, but are protected from being accused of gossip because they fall under the "elder confidentiality." This has happened so many times in my area that it makes me want to puke. I'm not talking about judicial cases that involve members in that elder's congregation (in which he may need to be aware of a particular situation), but rather a discussion about judicial matter and this is just pure and simple gossip. So, in that sense I guess they do have "freeness of speech."

    M Yerusalyim posted Thu, 05 Jul 2001 13:02:00 GMT(7/5/2001)

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    Are you either Blondie or Blondieonblondie from H2O? Never heard of Freeness of Speech, maybe it's the Freeness to REPORT another elder for "disloyal" statements?

    "Vanity! It's my favorite sin!"
    [Al Pacino as Satan, in "DEVIL'S ADVOCATE"]

    F blondie posted Thu, 05 Jul 2001 13:13:00 GMT(7/5/2001)

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    No, Yerusalyim, I am neither. Only someone who is or has been an elder might know the details. I was given the impression that it ends up being like OrangeBlossom said, a license to gossip about others in the congregation and to ask questions of the individual elders about their and their family's personal lives that they could never ask someone outside the body. All this in front of the other elders. Sounds like an inquisition to me.

    I appreciate your comments and hello.

    M HoChiMin posted Thu, 05 Jul 2001 13:30:00 GMT(7/5/2001)

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    Freeness of speech is a power tool that is used against elders by the WT. They must "appear" exemplary to the r&f or they would not have freenes of speech to get up on the podium and spert out WT dogma. ex: elders kids are giving him trouble (probably acting normal)and he can not teach with out having everybody gossip about him.


    F blondie posted Thu, 05 Jul 2001 13:45:00 GMT(7/5/2001)

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    HoChiMin, did you experience this? Sounds very unloving and coercive. Does proof have to be provided by the accusing elder(s) or can just wild accusations be flung around? I'm glad I'll never be an elder if that is the case. At least there is the formalism of having 2 or 3 eyewitnesses for the r&f. Thanks and hello.

    M ozziepost posted Thu, 05 Jul 2001 14:04:00 GMT(7/5/2001)

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    HCM has it right!

    They must "appear" exemplary to the r&f or they would not have freenes of speech to get up on the podium and spert out WT dogma. ex: elders kids are giving him trouble (probably acting normal)and he can not teach with out having everybody gossip about him.

    Actually 'freeness of speech' is an expression often used amongst the elders, especially at elders' meetings when they are considering the 'qualifications' of a brother who is being recommended as an elder or ministerial servant.


    "Truth persuades by teaching, but does not teach by persuading."
    TERTULLIAN, Adversus Valentinianos

    M HoChiMin posted Thu, 05 Jul 2001 14:17:00 GMT(7/5/2001)

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    No proof is needed, just gossip will do. Yes I'v experienced it all, if someone is out to get you it's very easy. Some bodies of elders can be extreme in their evil treatment of each other. As wild as it can get, I won't miss it.


    F blondie posted Thu, 05 Jul 2001 15:04:00 GMT(7/5/2001)

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    Thanks HCM. It's too bad about the evil treatment. Reminds me more of how the apostles treated each other before the holy spirit was poured out than after. Of course, Barnabas--Paul and Paul--Peter proves that confrontations did occur after the HS. It is scary if the elders will tear each other apart, what hope does a lowly r&f and a sister at that have.

    Thanks ozziepost. I knew that about analyzing the elders and MS. I just didn't realize how nasty it could get. I wonder if anyone could stand up to such unfounded scrutiny, not even Jesus. The Pharisees and scribes did a number on him too. Sounds like I am comparing the elder body to the Pharisees....hmmm...

    Nicodemus posted Thu, 05 Jul 2001 15:41:00 GMT(7/5/2001)

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    This expression can mean different things in different contexts. Let me list a couple of the common ones.

    1. "Freeness of Speech" by Virtue of Good Example - This basically comes down to: "you should be practicing what you preach." So, for example, most congregation elders and Circuit Overseers I know would expect a potential elder to be spending at least as much time in field services as the congregation average. The rationale is: "How can you ask others to do something if you are not, and you're supposed to be setting the example?" Following this same line of reasoning are expectations of superior meeting attendance, etc. Also, a potential elder should be measuring up to a reasonable degree to all the qualifications outlined in 1 Timothy and Titus. Among these is the requirement that he should be caring for his own family.

    In theory, this principle is very good. In practice, it get's tricky. Sometimes, the one's who "look good" organizationally are the very ones who turn around and cause great pain to their brother when appointed. Conversely, I know and respect many brothers who will likely never be elders because they don't "measure up" in some of the areas looked for.

    2. "Freeness of Speech" in Elder's Meetings - The Watchtower has counseled elders that they should be able to speak freely with each other, and also listen respectfully to the views of other elders. Not all elders are "cut from the same cloth," and many might be surprised at the differences of viewpoint and opinion among elders. To some extent, elders at times even share doubts and concerns with aspects of JW belief and practice with fellow elders. I've done it myself. However, the reality is that one has to be extremely careful in doing so. Many still have a "siege mentality" if they hear anything that doesn't "toe the party line."

    With respect to elders taking advantage of "confidentiality" to gossip about others, I would certainly not deny that it happens. However, I will say, and the Society specifically directs, that it should not. For example, the three elders selected to serve on a judicial committee are directed not to share specifics of the case even with fellow elders. If a given elder does so, than he is in error.

    F blondie posted Thu, 05 Jul 2001 20:49:00 GMT(7/5/2001)

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    Thanks Nicodemus. I know what the publications and the Bible say should happen...I was wondering what really happens more of the time. I was told that elders within and between congregations could discuss judicial cases as long as names were not mentioned. But...if you use enough details who needs the names. So the letter of the law is met but the spirit is broken.

    F blondie posted Sun, 14 Aug 2011 13:51:00 GMT(8/14/2011)

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    2 In a sense, there were legal aspects to how God made this gift available. In Romans chapter 5, the apostle Paul did not preĀ­sent these aspects as a dry, legalistic treatise.

    dm6 posted Mon, 15 Aug 2011 11:39:00 GMT(8/15/2011)

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    hey a ten year old thread!!! and the threader is still active! nice.


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