Do JW really spy on people in the congregation?

by wordlywife 41 Replies latest jw friends

  • wordlywife

    I have so many questions, I don't know where to start...I am new here. Do elders or any other members of a congregation actively spy on others? Is this encouraged if so? Anyone with personal experience know if this is true?

    Why do the women seem only to have part time jobs, with low skill? And why, as it seems most of the time, is it in a janitorial or cleaning business? Is there some worldwide janitorial business being run on the side? I see young women encouraged only to marry someone from Bethel as a real "accomplishhment".............

    I have many more questions, but anxiously await any "new light" on these subjects.

  • badboy

    I have heard of instances where the Elders actualley voyeured,which can be a criminal offence.

  • Sirona

    All JWs are told that if they know of serious "wrongdoing" on the part of another JW then they MUST report it to the elders or risk being guilty themselves.

    Therefore if a JW suspects wrongdoing they may spy on the person. I've known dating couples to be followed to see if they're sleeping overnight together, etc.

    The JW women have such jobs because firstly a JW woman working full time is discouraged (I was the only one at my hall for a while who worked full time hours), secondly most JW women are not encouraged to get a good education so end up doing cleaning jobs etc.

    You see, they're supposed to dedicate their time to "kingdom interests"


  • dorothy

    Oh my God, you really are new here! Of course JW's encourage an underground spy network of congregation members. I noticed this when I would tell only one person something and next thing I knew an elder would be coming to my house to talk about it. Most of what you tell people gets reported back to the elders somehow, or at least gossipped about at length among the elders wives.

    Oh yeah, welcome. I'm glad you're here. I read your first post too.

  • JH

    Welcome wordlywife

    Witnesses are often together, so they get to know just about everything in everyone's life. They keep their eyes wide open, and if they see a fault in your behavior or actions, they will go deeper into it (spy on you if they have to) so as to keep the congregation clean.

    Many have part time jobs, because either they are overwhelmed with JW work, or they can't find a better job because they followed JW teachings not to get a high education and work full time.

  • Doubtfully Yours
    Doubtfully Yours

    Some spy. Yes, they do!


  • Mary
    Q. Do elders or any other members of a congregation actively spy on others?

    A. Absolutely. Generally, they only spy if they think you're doing something wrong (from they're point of view), like fornication, adultery, smoking, going to another church, etc. They'll sit outside your home and monitor it like they were the FBI. What they don't realize, is that they have no legal authority to do this and if you caught them, you could actually have them charged with stalking.

    Q. Why do the women seem only to have part time jobs, with low skill?

    A. Because this is very much a good ol' boys club and they don't like women who are smarter than men in the congregation. Higher education is strongly discouraged (unless you're going to Bethel), virtually all Witness women get married when they're either 18 or 19 years of age. Then you pop out a couple of kids. Alot don't work because the men feel that a woman's place is in the home and you should have absolutely no ambition to be anything other than a wife, mother or pioneer. By the time a woman realizes that she's miserable, it's too late. She's in her 30s, she's got no education, no skills, a couple of kids and no way of supporting herself so she stays.

    Q And why, as it seems most of the time, is it in a janitorial or cleaning business?

    A. Because it's considered "menial" work and no one will bother you if you're scrubbing toilets for a living. It takes no brain power and if there's one thing this Organization is afraid of is anyone who uses their brain.

    To get a better understanding of how this religion works, I would recommend you watch the following movies:

    Star Trek, The Next Generation's episode where Jean Luc is first assimilated by the Borg

    George Orwell's 1984

    The original Stepford Wives
  • undercover
    Do elders or any other members of a congregation actively spy on others? Is this encouraged if so? Anyone with personal experience know if this is true?

    Well, it depends on how you look at it. It's not like their all running around with hidden microphones and cameras trying to catch you doing something wrong. But...the very nature of the doctrine of JWs lends itself to snitching on family and friends. If you happen to observe wrongdoing or a friend tells you something they did, you are required to take action. Technically, depending on the severity of the "crime", you're supposed to encourage the wrongdoer to confess themselves, but if they don't then it's your responsibility to inform the elders.

    Because of the strictness of some of the rules, some are forced to "spy" on ex-spouses to prove that the ex-spouse is a sexual relationship, thereby freeing the spying member to remarry "in the lord".

    I was raised a JW and I knew of only a few cases of actual "spying" but there were lots of snitching and tattle-telling going on. I remember people getting reported to elders for owning R-rated movies. A JW would be at a fellow JW "friends" house and see the movie and go running to the elders. Someone would see a heavy metal or rap CD/tape lying in a console of a car and report it to the elders. Someone who was sitting at a bar with a worldy person would get told on. As a JW, if you went to certain movies, clubs or bars, you learned to keep an eye on your back trail to see if you had been seen going in or coming out. For the fringe JW, a sense of paranoia develops because of the extreme judging done by its members against one another.

  • Tuesday

    Oh joy I get to share a story. When I was just about gone and attending college I was actually spied on. I wrote about it on Tishie's board when it happened. I got up in the morning and drove to school where I noticed a car following me. I wouldn't have noticed but for the fact the week before a ministerial servant (on his way to elder) had brought it to the Kingdom Hall and bragged about buying it, that and the fact it was BRIGHT YELLOW. The sad part is at that point I had no friends that weren't witnesses, and I had no friends that were, the only place I was going was school, then to work, then back to school again. The whole day I got followed, what a boring day that must have been? When I got home they pulled onto a side street and I told my mother (a devout witness), I called the police. She ran outside and they were gone before the police got there. I knew who it was, I just said I didn't know who they were, just that they were following me all day. They took a description of the car and the license plate and left. I never got followed again.

  • DaCheech

    WT 1997, August 15th pg 26 "Why report what is bad"

    "?HE WHO brings a matter out in the open becomes an enemy of the people,? some say in West Africa. That was what happened to Olu when he accused his older brother of committing incest with his sister. ?You are a liar!? screamed the brother. He then viciously beat Olu, drove him from the family house, and burned all Olu?s clothes. The villagers supported the brother. No longer welcome in the village, Olu had to leave. Only after the girl was observed to be pregnant did the people realize that Olu had told the truth. The brother confessed, and Olu was restored to favor. Things could have turned out quite differently. Olu could have been killed.

    Clearly, those who have no love for Jehovah are not likely to appreciate having their error brought to light. The sinful human tendency is to resist reproof and resent whoever gives it. (Compare John 7:7.) Little wonder that many are as silent as stones when it comes to revealing the wrongs of others to those who have the authority to correct them.

    Appreciating the Value of Reproof

    Among Jehovah?s people, however, there is a different attitude toward reproof. Godly men and women deeply appreciate the arrangement Jehovah has made to help erring ones inside the Christian congregation. They recognize such discipline as an expression of his loving-kindness.?Hebrews 12:6-11.

    This may be illustrated with an incident in the life of King David. Although he was a righteous man from his youth on, there came a time when he fell into serious wrongdoing. First, he committed adultery. Then, in an attempt to cover up his wrong, he arranged to have the woman?s husband killed. But Jehovah revealed David?s sin to Nathan the prophet, who courageously confronted David about the matter. Using a powerful illustration, Nathan asked David what should be done to a rich man who had many sheep but took and slaughtered the only lamb, a treasured pet, of a poor man to entertain his friend. David, a former shepherd, was roused to indignation and anger. He said: ?The man doing this deserves to die!? Nathan then applied the illustration to David, saying: ?You yourself are the man!??2 Samuel 12:1-7.

    David did not become angry with Nathan; neither did he try to defend himself nor did he resort to recriminations. Instead, Nathan?s rebuke deeply moved his conscience. Cut to the heart, David confessed: ?I have sinned against Jehovah.??2 Samuel 12:13.

    Nathan?s exposure of David?s sin, followed by godly reproof, bore good results. Though David was not shielded from the consequences of his wrong, he repented and became reconciled to Jehovah. How did David feel about such reproof? He wrote: ?Should the righteous one strike me, it would be a loving-kindness; and should he reprove me, it would be oil upon the head, which my head would not want to refuse.??Psalm 141:5.

    In our day too, Jehovah?s servants can become involved in serious wrongdoing, even those who have been faithful for many years. Recognizing that the elders can assist, most take the initiative to approach them for help. (James 5:13-16) But sometimes a wrongdoer may try to cover up his sin, as did King David. What should we do if we come to know about serious wrongdoing in the congregation?

    Whose Responsibility Is It?

    When elders learn about serious wrongdoing, they approach the individual involved to give needed help and correction. It is the elders? responsibility to judge such ones inside the Christian congregation. Keeping a close watch on its spiritual condition, they assist and admonish anyone who is taking an unwise or wrong step.?1 Corinthians 5:12, 13; 2 Timothy 4:2; 1 Peter 5:1, 2.

    But what if you are not an elder and you come to know about some serious wrongdoing on the part of another Christian? Guidelines are found in the Law that Jehovah gave to the nation of Israel. The Law stated that if a person was a witness to apostate acts, sedition, murder, or certain other serious crimes, it was his responsibility to report it and to testify to what he knew. Leviticus 5:1 states: ?Now in case a soul sins in that he has heard public cursing and he is a witness or he has seen it or has come to know of it, if he does not report it, then he must answer for his error.??Compare Deuteronomy 13:6-8; Esther 6:2; Proverbs 29:24.

    Though not under the Mosaic Law, Christians today can be guided by the principles behind it. (Psalm 19:7, 8) So if you learn about the serious wrongdoing of a fellow Christian, what should you do?

    Handling the Matter

    First of all, it is important that there is valid reason to believe that serious wrongdoing has really occurred. ?Do not become a witness against your fellowman without grounds,? stated the wise man. ?Then you would have to be foolish with your lips.??Proverbs 24:28.

    You may decide to go directly to the elders. It is not wrong to do so. Usually, however, the most loving course is to approach the person involved. Perhaps the facts are not as they appear to be. Or perhaps the situation is already being handled by the elders. Calmly discuss the matter with the person. If there remains reason to believe that a serious wrong has been committed, encourage him or her to approach the elders for help, and explain the wisdom of doing so. Do not talk to others about the matter, for that would be gossip.

    If the person does not report to the elders within a reasonable period of time, then you should. One or two elders will then discuss the matter with the accused. The elders need to ?search and investigate and inquire thoroughly? to see if wrong has been done. If it has, they will handle the case according to Scriptural guidelines.?Deuteronomy 13:12-14.

    At least two witnesses are required to establish a charge of wrongdoing. (John 8:17; Hebrews 10:28) If the person denies the charge and your testimony is the only one, the matter will be left in Jehovah?s hands. (1 Timothy 5:19, 24, 25) This is done in the knowledge that all things are ?openly exposed? to Jehovah and that if the person is guilty, eventually his sins will ?catch up? with him.?Hebrews 4:13; Numbers 32:23.

    But suppose the person does deny the charge and you are the only witness against him. Could you now be open to a countercharge of slander? No, not unless you have gossiped to those not involved in the matter. It is not slanderous to report conditions affecting a congregation to those having authority and responsibility to oversee and correct matters. It is, in fact, in line with our desire always to do what is correct and loyal.?Compare Luke 1:74, 75.

    Maintaining Holiness in the Congregation

    One reason for reporting wrongdoing is that it works to preserve the cleanness of the congregation. Jehovah is a clean God, a holy God. He requires all those who worship him to be spiritually and morally clean. His inspired Word admonishes: ?As obedient children, quit being fashioned according to the desires you formerly had in your ignorance, but, in accord with the Holy One who called you, do you also become holy yourselves in all your conduct, because it is written: ?You must be holy, because I am holy.?? (1 Peter 1:14-16) Individuals who practice uncleanness or wrongdoing can bring defilement and Jehovah?s disfavor upon an entire congregation unless action is taken to correct or remove them.?Compare Joshua, chapter 7.

    The apostle Paul?s letters to the Christian congregation at Corinth show how the reporting of wrongdoing worked toward the cleansing of God?s people there. In his first letter, Paul wrote: ?Actually fornication is reported among you, and such fornication as is not even among the nations, that a wife a certain man has of his father.??1 Corinthians 5:1.

    The Bible does not tell us from whom the apostle received this report. It may be that Paul learned about the situation from Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, who had traveled from Corinth to Ephesus where Paul was staying. Paul had also received a letter of inquiry from the Christian congregation in Corinth. Whatever the source, once the situation had been reported to Paul by reliable witnesses, he was then able to give direction on the matter. ?Remove the wicked man from among yourselves,? he wrote. The man was expelled from the congregation.?1 Corinthians 5:13; 16:17, 18.

    Did Paul?s instruction bring good results? Indeed it did! Evidently, the wrongdoer came to his senses. In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul urged that the congregation ?kindly forgive and comfort? the repentant man. (2 Corinthians 2:6-8) Thus the reporting of wrongdoing led to action that resulted in cleansing the congregation and restoring to God?s favor a person who had damaged his relationship with God.

    We find another example in Paul?s first letter to the Christian congregation at Corinth. This time the apostle names the witnesses who reported the matter. He wrote: ?The disclosure was made to me about you, my brothers, by those of the house of Chloe, that dissensions exist among you.? (1 Corinthians 1:11) Paul knew that this dissension, along with giving undue honor to men, had created a sectarian attitude that threatened to destroy the congregation?s unity. Hence, out of deep regard for the spiritual welfare of his fellow believers there, Paul acted quickly and wrote corrective counsel to the congregation.

    Today, the vast majority of brothers and sisters in congregations throughout the earth work hard to preserve the spiritual cleanness of the congregation by individually maintaining an approved standing before God. Some suffer to do so; others have even died in order to keep integrity. Surely to condone or cover up wrongdoing would show a lack of appreciation for these efforts."..........

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