Would You Meet With The Elders About Your Beliefs? Why would you want to? How would you go about it? Would it  be worth it?


There are two basic ways that this could happen, and no matter how dim things appear to be, or how bleak the outlook is, we have options and choices. Let’s breakdown the possibilities and see what is the best path for each of us. This possible meeting can only happen in one of two ways, these being:

1.       We request to speak with them voluntarily

2.       A friend or family member tells either an elder or someone else who in turn tells the elders that you are weak in faith, have doubts about the truth, or are even “going apostate”




First let’s deal with the former before moving onto the latter. If one of us was to decide to go to the elders of our own free will, the rest of us would be interested in understanding the “Why?” of it. What good would it accomplish?  What will be the likely outcome? What is the goal in doing it in the first place? Do you want to be disfellowshipped? The answer to that could of course be yes- this has been the preferred way for some. “Suicide-by-police” is a sad phenomenon that some use to take their own lives by forcing the hand of policemen to shoot them.  Disfellowshipping can in some ways be likened to a so-called spiritual execution so the similarity is there. Rather than commit a gross sin, some conclude that by requesting and having this meeting it is an easy way out and the elders are forced to carry out their wishes by removing them from the congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_by_cop)


We can imagine how it would happen; indeed we can listen to it unfold in our minds. Of course you are probably aware that literally hundreds have surreptitiously recorded and put their judicial meeting online for all to hear. Thousands more have written, spoken about, and shared their experiences of what happened to them during their own heresy trial. So the person goes to the elders and explains what they have learned in a sincere, well-prepared manner. There is some small hope that the brothers will be persuaded or reason on the concerns. Perhaps they may put stock in the “truth about the truth”?  It is a rare occurrence, usually only bearing fruit later, but it has happened.  Thousands of elders have stepped down or suddenly quit in recent years and it’s beyond the scope of this discussion to explore all the reasons but this very well could be one of them. A favorite scripture for many of us is this one:


“But a physical man does not receive the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot get to know [them], because they are examined spiritually. 15 However, the spiritual man examines indeed all things, but he himself is not examined by any man.” (1 Corinthians 2:14-15)


How much should they share of what they have learned in their spiritual journey? All of it? That’s impossible…so what points do they choose from then? Jesus told his followers he had much to say to them but they were not able to bear it at that moment. (John 16:12) He wanted to tell them everything but they couldn’t handle it at that time.  So if our hypothetical brother or sister of the “conscious class” went to the elders due to their troubled conscience what would be the point?  Paul said he was clean from the blood of all men (Acts 20:26) because he had tried his absolute best to bear witness to the truth. Maybe that’s reason enough. Perhaps this is her “exit strategy” and she wants to go out in a defiant blaze of glory.  But let’s say it’s because she sincerely wants to help the friends in the congregation and these elders that have shown loving kindness and interest in her for many years. She truly has a sincere heart as to why she must go to them. She has prayed about it, and studied about it for many hours, weeks, and months or longer. In all likelihood they will not be swayed in the least and this part of her plan will be fruitless. But most committees will listen to the person in a spirit of mildness and allow the accused person to speak, especially if they are calm and their arguments are couched inside of the proper WTS trigger phrases. These phrases include “I have become weak in faith about the fact that we don’t…”, “It’s hard for me to understand our position on this due to…”, and “I’ve been trying so hard to wait on Jehovah, but I learned that…”  At any rate, some do this knowing full well that in all likelihood the elders will NOT listen, and they will be disfellowshipped for apostasy in short order.  Maybe the goal is to be heard and at least get it off their chest, and perhaps to even soak up a lot of elder-hours and get some satisfaction from standing up to the ones who in their minds represent the Watchtower Society.  There is an old expression that basically says, “If you are spending your life savings, get as much with it as you can!”  Peter said “we cannot stop speaking about the things we have seen and heard.” (1 Peter 4:20)




So that is possibility number one, initiating a meeting and speaking to the elders about our Bible-based beliefs of our own free will. Of course most of us would never talk to the elders voluntarily about these things. We are keeping them to ourselves as best we can, sharing only with family members, perhaps trying to fade, or needing to stay in “stealth mode” for very carefully thought out reasons. We’ve prayed about the situation many times and know that we have to wait for the right time to act. This scripture holds special meaning for many of us in this situation:

“For everything there is an appointed time, even a time for every affair under the heavens: 2 a time for birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot what was planted; 3 a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to break down and a time to build; 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to wail and a time to skip about; 5 a time to throw stones away and a time to bring stones together; a time to embrace and a time to keep away from embracing; 6 a time to seek and a time to give up as lost; a time to keep and a time to throw away; 7 a time to rip apart and a time to sew together; a time to keep quiet and a time to speak; 8 a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)


The Bible writer Asaph wrote in the 73rd Psalm that he had doubts, and even “a crisis of faith” to some degree. He chose to stay silent rather than discourage his fellow servants of God. This principle may apply to ours in some limited way and we need to let time pass until we are firmly resolved and clear in our thinking. No doubt some of us have fantasized about what it would be like to just get it all off our chest and eloquently defend “the truth about the truth” but the price is usually too high, which is why we don’t do it in the first place. But what if we feel we don’t have a choice? What if our hand is forced because our mate or friend has gone to them and told them we have a forbidden book, or we have spoken against “the slave”?  Do not forget that we ALWAYS have choices. The flowchart I’ve prepared may be helpful to some. For most it may simply be a “thought experiment”. But hopefully it’s a start in helping us to assess our choices and options. What we would actually do before, during, and after an actual judicial meeting with the elders is a big topic, and will be discussed in a further post. To be continued…


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8 Comments on Meeting With The Elders

  1. andrew says:

    Thanks for the post JJ
    I would recommend to any elder or MS that wants to step down because of what they have learned, to use another excuse for stepping down. Perhaps depression, physical ailments, stress, family responsibilities etc. I’m not encouraging dishonesty but usually one of these other excuses is true. For example becoming “enlightened” about the org. is extremely stressful for most.

    If you want to step down you must insist on stepping down. Most elder bodies will try to convince you to simply accept less responsibility but remain as elder or MS.

    If you do let the elders know even somewhat about your doubts, be prepared for an extremely stressful time.


    • JJ says:

      I have had a number of servants and elders email me, and yes it is hard to get out of that position cleanly, although the easiest way is to move to another congregation, be hit and miss on your meeting attendance and then in a month or two meet with the new body (preferably a group that doesn’t know you well) and explain that your health or family situation would be a hindrance. …Maybe we need a flowchart for this situation too, lol.

      But seriously, if ever there was a reason to use “theocratic warfare” that would be one of them. Telling any in the servant body that you have doubts is very dangerous if your intention is to stay in the organization.


  2. Amy P says:

    This is a very informative site and very needed in my opinion. I have a letter that I have sent to family members and friends that have started to question their JW faith. It does not speak of JW in a negative light at all. Simply lays out my beliefs and how I have come to peace with the whole thing. Would you be interested in posting it on your site? I don’t want to step on toes, etc. Thanks! Amy


  3. Amy P says:

    Ok. I have no idea why it posted that photo on my comment. It is not me:) Gotta love computers & the website is wrong as well. Sorry about that.


  4. belongingtojah says:


    In my case it took a couple of years for them to disfellowship me.

    The elders requested to talk to me because of comments that I had made.

    One friend suggested that I not go to the meeting with them.

    So I prayed and asked Jehovah for advice.

    The scripture in 1John kept coming up in my mind – the one that says that perfect love throws fear outside. Also where Jesus said that if we are ashamed of him he will be ashamed of us.

    Then I rembered a saying “If you don’t speak the truth when you know the truth then you become an accomplice of liars and forgers of lies.”

    So I went and afer several inquisition like meetings they finally disfellowshipped me.


    • francesmartin says:

      A thought provoking question that I need to consider…..
      I need to challenge their assumed right to meddle in my right to freedom of worship.The risks are secondary.
      Baptised a minor without understanding(early 60’s),
      associated approx. 5 yrs. to age15.
      no contact until age22 ….
      was told by qualified reps that baptism was invalid.
      associated approx. 2o yrs….earned all the negative labels.
      drifting 20 yrs.;family ,friends witnesses.
      5 yrs. ago, I demanded an elder meeting in response to witness gossip of apostasy. (I admitted to attending several churches in need of a people to worship with, gave my associated history, admitted my disrespect for local body, said I would not attend the local hall…ever. I was expecting the …announcement.
      later in time, the 2 elders ret.’d with what they termed “good news”; I was shown mercy.
      Present time:5 yrs. later, no association, same accusation.
      2 elders confront me at home.threats to disfellowship.
      I oppose their right to publicly denounce my spiritual, personal relationship with God.Present my witness history.I admit to seeking truth elsewhere ,lack of trust in local cong.
      No grounds to disfellowship.
      I demand another meeting.
      I tell cong. overseer to NEVER approach me again with their concerens; I will refuse to interrogation.
      I ask”If you hear that I am smoking, I refuse to be dealt with, will you disfellowship me”?
      CLEARLY:” We cannot do so if you deny and we have no judicial committee.”

      Is this saying that denial of guilt is enough to stop them?
      In my case, I admitted guilt, denied their right to make a public announcement?
      I questioned the legal aspects.
      They are again backing away. Why? Why??


  5. Amos says:

    Hi francesmartin,

    I can sympathize with you & do agree that you are only answerable to our Heavenly Father & His Son.

    As a technicality, because you were baptized before the change to the questions in 1985, you may not be subject to their rules, as you WERE NOT “baptized into THEIR organization”.

    I was baptized at age seven & believe that I had sufficient understanding at the time for this to be a valid baptism. I had been approached many times by “the authorities” during my lifetime within, & told that it was not a valid baptism, however when they wanted me gone, they changed it to a valid baptism, to suit themselves.

    I now feel that my Father allowed this to happen, as I consider myself to be very blessed indeed since that most distasteful event. I will never again desire to have any fellowship with their false doctrines & oppressive unchristian organization, or any other for that matter.

    What I have found is that there are far fewer who are truely seeking the truth than we think. I have found that most still want to hang onto many of the teachings that they have come to accept as “the truth”, that are really from the adversary. It is absolutely staggering if you do a proper investigation into the roots of many teachings that are actually pagan in origin, & have no place whatsoever in any “true christians” life.


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