Wednesday, 30 October 2013

When Religious Rules Change

The fact that the Jehovah's Witnesses change their stance on certain aspects is no great revelation, it is a known fact that they have changed their opinion on certain matters throughout the time.

But what about when a Jehovah's Witness has been disfellowshipped and the change in rules means they would no longer be disfellowshipped? The organization basically says "Screw them!".

In their 1961 publication entitled "Kingdom Service Questions", which is a manual for congregation committees which must remain at each Kingdom Hall and "can be referred to as the basis for reaching decisions and complying with the Society's policy", the subject of disfellowshipped witnesses who would not be disfellowshipped under new rules comes up.

Kingdom Service Questions - Pages 60 & 61

Under the heading "OVERSEERS PLEASE NOTE" it states:

"When looking back over the years some overseers may say to themselves: 'Some of the individuals who were disfellowshipped maybe would not be disfellowshipped now.' But, please, remember this one fact, if it was necessary for the committee to meet and on the information they had they believed it proper to disfellowship an individual and no appeal was made to the Society, then that individual committed some grave sin. ... This is stated so that both overseers and committees will not want to reopen a lot of old cases. What is said in this booklet is not retroactive. It is the way of dealing with our brothers from now on." (Kingdom Service Questions, 1961, page 60-61)

Basically, if the Governing Body changes their mind on a subject, and changes what someone can be disfellowshipped for - which they have done many times, it makes no difference if a member was disfellowshipped under the old rules which are now erroneous. This is basically a clause, some would even suggest a legal loophole, which allows the Governing Body to change the rules without having to ever admit they were wrong.

If you want to read the whole "Kingdom Service Questions", for reference, and educational purposes it is available online, via, here.

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