While I was in St. Petersburg, Florida on vacation in February, I got a call from one of the elders of my former congregation “inviting” me to a judicial hearing the following week on the charge of apostasy. I told him that I wouldn’t be back in Canada until near the end of March, so we rescheduled it for April 1 which ironically is “April Fool’s Day”.
I asked him to send me a letter with the details of the meeting and he said he would, but then 10 minutes later he called back and told me that no letter would be forthcoming. He was terse on the phone and seemed uncomfortable talking to me. When I asked him for the names of the other elders that would be sitting on the committee, he refused to give them to me. He also declined to provide me with his mailing address, but after several voice mails and texts, responded with a text giving me the Kingdom Hall mailing address and telling me to use that for any correspondence. However, I was able to ascertain his own mailing address by other means, so I decided to cover all the bases and send out a letter to both addresses. To date, he hasn’t picked up the registered letter addressed to him.
What follows is the letter sent to the Aldershot congregation body of elders. I’ve removed any names as I do not wish to target individuals who may only be acting out a sincere, albeit misguided, belief that they are obeying God, just as Jesus foretold at John 16:2.
March 3, 2019
Body of Elders
Aldershot Congreation of Jehovah’s Witnesses
Burlington ON L7M 2L7
I am writing concerning your summons for me to appear before a judicial committee on the charge of apostasy on April 1, 2019 at 7 PM at the Aldershot Kingdom Hall in Burlington.
I was only a member of your congregation briefly—about a year—and I have not been a member of your congregation since the summer of 2015, nor have I been associating with any other congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses since that time. I have no contact with members of your congregation. So I was initially at a loss to explain this sudden interest in me after such a long time. My only conclusion is that the Canada branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses has either instructed you directly—or more likely, through your Circuit Overseer—to initiate this action.
Having served as an elder myself for over 40 years, it comes as no surprise to me that everything about this flies in the face of written JW.org policy. We all know that Organization oral law supersedes what is written.
For instance, when I asked for the names of those who will serve on the judicial committee, I was tersely denied that knowledge. Yet the elders manual, Shepherd the Flock of God, 2019 edition, gives me the right to know who they are. (See sfl-E 15:2)
Even worse is the fact that the official web site of the Organization tells the whole world in multiple languages that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not shun former members who have chosen to leave. (See “Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Shun Former Members of their Religion?” on JW.org.) Obviously, that is carefully worded PR spin to mislead non-JWs about the true nature of Organization membership, i.e., that “you can check out, but you can never leave.”
Still, since I have not been associating for almost four years, calling me to a hearing to disfellowship me would seem to be a time-wasting formality.
I must therefore conclude that the motivation of the branch office Service Desk lies elsewhere. You have no authority over me, because I do not grant you that authority, but you do exercise authority over the diminishing number of Witnesses who remain faithful to the leaders of the Organization, both local and at headquarters. Like the Sanhedrin who persecuted all who followed Jesus, you fear me and those like me, because we speak truth, and you have no defense against truth other than the rod of punishment in the form of shunning. (John 9:22; 16:1-3; Acts 5:27-33) This is the reason that you will never engage in a Bible discussion with us.
Thus, you are now using what the Organization itself called “A Weapon of Darkness” back in the January 8, 1947 issue of Awake! (p. 27) to keep your remaining followers from learning truth by threatening them with being completely cut off from all their JW family and friends should they have any contact with those like me who back up what we say with Scripture rather than the speculateive, self-serving interpretations of men.
Our Lord Jesus said:
“For whoever practices vile things hates the light and does not come to the light, so that his works may not be reproved. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that his works may be made manifest as having been done in harmony with God.”” (Joh 3:20, 21)
I know you men believe you walk in light, as did I when I served as an elder. However, if you truly ‘come to the light, so that your works may be made manifest as having been done in harmony with God’, why do you refuse to do these things in the light of day? Why do you hide?
When I asked for information regarding the hearing in writing, I was told that none would be forthcoming. In the secular courts, the accused gets written notification of the specific charges against him and discovery of all accusers, witnesses, and evidence prior to the trial. But this is not done in the case of Witness judicial hearings. Elders are instructed to avoid putting anything in writing, and so the accused is blindsided when he finally sits before the judgment seat. Even during the hearing itself, secrecy is paramount.
According to the latest Elders manual, you have to enforce these restrictions during judicial hearings:
Generally, observers are not allowed. (See 15:12-13, 15.) The chairman…explains that audio or video recordings of the hearing are not permitted. (sfl-E 16:1)
Star Chambers and Kangaroo Courts are known for this type of “justice”, but using techniques that depend on darkness will only continue to bring reproach on Jehovah’s name. In Israel, judicial hearings were public, held at the city gates in the full view and hearing of all entering or leaving the city. (Zec 8:16) The only secret hearing in the Bible where the accused was denied any support, or counsel, or time to prepare a defence was that of Jesus Christ before the Sanhedrin. Not surprisingly, it was marked by the very abuse of authority a transparent process is designed to prevent. (Mark 14:53-65) Which of these patterns does the Organization’s judicial process emulate?
Additionally, depriving the accused of the support of counsel, independent observers, as well as a written or recorded record of the hearing turns the vaunted JW appeal process into a sham as well. 1 Timothy 5:19 states that Christians cannot accept an accusation against an older man except at the mouth of two or three witnesses. An independent observer and/or a recording would constitute two or three witnesses and allow for the possibility of winning an appeal. How can the appeal committee ever decide in favor of the accused if he can only bring one witness (himself) to bear against three older men?
I have nothing to fear from bringing everything into the open, into the light of day, as it were. If you are doing nothing wrong, then neither should you.
If you are to bring all this into the light, then I will need what the secular courts of Canada guarantee: Full disclosure of all evidence to be brought against me, as well as the names of all involved—judges, accusers, witnesses. I will also need to know the specific charges and the Scriptural basis for same. This will allow me to mount a reasonable defence.
You can communicate all this in writing to my mailing address or my email.
If you choose not to comply with these reasonable demands, then I will still attend the hearing, not because I recognize your authority, but to fulfill in some small way the words of our Lord at Luke 12:1.
(Nothing in this letter should be construed to imply that I am formally disassociating myself from the organization. I will have no part in supporting what is a self-serving, harmful, and wholly unscriptural policy.)
I await your response.
Writer’s note: I’m a little ticked off with myself for getting the final Bible quote wrong. It was supposed to be Luke 12:1-3. Since Witnesses are not trained to read the context of Bible verses, the elders of Aldershot may well miss the relevance of that reference. We’ll see.
I know this is a bit late for a comment, but I wanted to extend my best wishes to you and hope that this judicial committee (JC) went in your favour. Your written response was excellent, and I am certain that any responses you may have given at the JC were just as well thought out, and stated clearly and objectively. Regardless though, I am also equally certain that anything you stated at the JC fell on the deaf ears of “company men” who are there to enforce misguided and harmful practices, policies and procedures of failing corporation. Agape.
I know this is a bit in arrears, but just sending support. My overall impression is that the JW organization is on the ropes. They seem to be demanding loyalty at every turn while including less and less in the way of scriptural content in their writings. Every visible sign would indicate that they are in trouble financially and I suspect we are seeing only the tip of the iceberg. I bring this up, because their actions are having less and less effect upon fewer and fewer people. There will come a tipping point when they have disfellowshipped so many… Read more »
Just wanted to say good morning and I hope everything went just as you wanted it to last night. ☕️?
Thinking of you today Eric, and hoping all goes as well as you would wish and that you get a chance to speak for the real truth.
No matter what happens, you will always have friends here and grateful thanks for all your work so far.
Sisterly hugs. ?
May I wish you all the best for Monday.
With gratitude for all you have done.
Below this comment I remember making a statement to Eric that I have given thought to, troubling thoughts to, and so now I wish to retract it. I told Eric that he was losing nothing and gaining everything, despite the fact I do not know the particulars of Eric’s personal life. But I do know he was a Witness for more than 40 years. Here is my JW background. Maybe it will show why I at first made that statement, and why it was wrong. Until I was 6 years old I was raised by grandparents who took me to… Read more »
Let me just add my first wife died in 2009,since you might wonder why I got married a second time.
Hi Eric, I went through JC hearings past 2 weeks. Elders used these scriptures to try to nail me with charges of creating divisions using smooth talk and flattering speech. Rom 16:17 Now I urge you, brothers, to keep your eye on those who create divisions and causes for stumbling contrary to the teaching that you have learned, and avoid them.+ 18 For men of that sort are slaves, not of our Lord Christ, but of their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattering speech they seduce the hearts of unsuspecting ones.+ I replied i wasn’t a smooth talker… Read more »
Dissent against God exists. Yet WT operates as if it feels it can abolish dissent against WT. If it is not WT that condemns everything else in this world as unholy that is considered holy by others, except those things WT declares as holy, then who else is following that practice to a greater degree than WT is? And if no one else is then are we to see a greater “Man of Lawlessness”, as described in this scripture? 2 Thessolonians 2:4 It is because I think not that I have no time for WT, discussing its policies and beliefs… Read more »
Hello Eric, If I were you Eric the only courtesy I might extend to your elders is to tell them you are not interested in discussing scriptural matters with them, or your actions. You have scriptural president in that our Lord did the same. He and his apostles were dragged before courts by officials that had governing authority over all citizens, with the POWER to do so. WT has no such authority or power. As for making Jehovah’s name look bad through actions of WT or congregation members, that’s misconception spread to the congregation by Watchtower. No one except JWS,maybe… Read more »
I was going through some older posts and came across this conversation: Meleti Vivlon on August 29, 2017 at 7:36 am 2 Corinthians 11: 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself keeps disguising himself as an angel of light. 15 It is therefore nothing extraordinary if his ministers also keep disguising themselves as ministers of righteousness. But their end will be according to their works. The question is, how exactly does Satan carry this out? How does he manipulate the minds of some so that… Read more »
I’d forgotten abouut that one. It would still make a good topic. I’ll see what I can do.
Hello Eric. Very sad to hear that they didn’t leave you alone. This so called Christian organization with its cruel and unbiblical policies makes me so angry, I wish my parents never would have opened that door decades ago… Now it’s a prison for all of us and there is no easy way out. Anyway, I hope and pray strength for you when you meet them. I personally probably wouldn’t meet them but that’s a personal decision, maybe some good will come out of it. And that idea going public with how this loving religion is treating people who have… Read more »
These are some of the comments that a brother António Madaleno penned in a letter of his dissociation to the body of elders: I know that the brothers will come to regard me as an “apostate,” a “mentally ill,” a “son of Satan,” and “gangrene,” simply because I have come to openly disagree with the Pharisaical dictates and wrong doctrines of an elite of men operating as a collective papacy, well in the style of the Catholic Church whom they have so much criticized in the past. But fortunately I know that my conscience is clear in the eyes of… Read more »
Thank you JamesBrown for your encouraging words and for that excellent reasoning backed up by WT references that truly demonstrate the hypocrisy of the organization. These will go in my “keepers” file.
I’d like to share that WT article in 1990 and compare that to another article that our salvation depends on supporting the Governing Body or the Organization.
The time has come dear brother. Your reply is genius and made them feel goosebumps. 🙂
Hello Eric, Been awhile since I dropped in… Looks like the chickens have come home to roost, …eh? If I may, all of the secretly recorded elders meetings I have watched all have two things in common, 1. The judicial body isn’t interested in discussing doctrine. 2. They are only interested in how you view the Governing Body. Recently I was slyly confronted in the car group by an Elder as to how I viewed the G.B. Without hesitation I said I believe they are the Faithful and Discreet Slave, the anointed of God by which we receive the proper… Read more »
Forgot to include that he also asked if I thought I was smarter than the G.B.
I said that I didn’t think that was really the appropriate question. A more appropriate question was, “Are any of them inspired?”
I’m sure I’m going to be asked the same question. My response is that it is not about intelligence. Jesus said that truth is hidden from wise and intellectual ones and revealed to babes. What it is about, as was highlighted in one of our study aids, is the ability to read a map. The Governing Body, the elders, and I all have the same map.
Don’t feel compelled to take part in the meeting for our sake. You don’t need to subject yourself to torture, but if you think it will strengthen you, go ahead. Maybe one or more of the three elders will think back some day how right on you were. I wish you the Lord’s blessings, however it goes.
Greetings Eric, Well I guess we all knew it was just a matter of time when you gave up your anonymity and I’m sure you have prepared for this as indicated by your letter. It’s sad in many respects that you couldn’t have stayed undercover and work from within the organization as many are now doing by sending individuals to this site. But you have helped many more than we know. The Apostate hammer will be used to totally isolate you from all contact of active witnesses as the judicial committee is really the organization’s character assassins used to silence… Read more »
Hi Eric, I am in my late 60’s, whenever I have an issue with big co-operations (Gas, electrical, telecommunication) I always write or call them and tell them I will expose their ABUSE to the media, how a BIG cooperation is more than happy to ABUSE a senior citizen, and what they are doing in secret, I will expose in public. I always get justice for my cause. Eric, I put myself in your position and I asked myself what should I do? You said in your letter ” If you are to bring all this into the light, then… Read more »
Thank, JamesBrown. Already on it. 🙂
I really know how you feel, Brother Wilson. I just sat through a “marking” talk that I happened to be the subject of. The CO came around and said I had been accused of forming a “meeting” in addition to the Sunday and midweek meeting. The so-called Elders informed him that doing this without approval from the Branch was a violation of “theocratic order. I told him that Jesus said that where two or three are gathered together, there he would be in their midst. He got visibly angry and said he had also heard that some in the congregation… Read more »
They really have lost all touch with true Christianity, haven’t they, AstoriaBoy?
I blame the GB for what’s happened to this organization. The deliberate isolation of Christ’s role in the congregation and the exaltation of their own importance has had much to do with the current situation. The organization has become the “golden calf” around which most witnesses now worship. The “marking” talk was given in a spirit of hatred and anger; not a shred of mercy or compassion. I just moved to Southern California, but I’m sure the letter they send to the new congregation is going to be motivated by the “works of the flesh”. I really admire you, Eric,… Read more »
Ps. Let us know the outcome would like to be one of the first to give you a greeting and a virtual cup of coffee ???
These are elders following the wicked direction from an organization tightening the grip on anyone who questions them. The event you just mentioned is your que to fade away & never go back..
It’s all really strange that they would come after you now. Maybe they are bored or would like a good scriptural discussion . Christian love from my family to you and well done on your reply to them. ?
I’m wondering if the interest in the Spanish field tipped the balance.
Thanks, Meleti for sharing this with us. You didn’t have to do that, but as your letter made clear . . . you desire to bring this matter into the “light,” something we all know is not keeping w/the modus operandi of the GB status quo. Every morsel, such as this inquisitorial-like means of backing you into the corner to DF you reinforces why I left! Indeed, they are hoping you will just show up, answer a few questions (procedural) and then proceed w/their pre-determined decision to DF you. It is as you mentioned . . . Just following GB… Read more »
I’m sure they’re thinking as you say, RusticShore, but Lord willing, that is not what they are going to get.
Hey Eric, great letter. I take it there was no response to your letter.. I hope the joke will be on these Elders on April fools.
Kick their butts..
Hey Eric. Great letter.
What would happen if you don’t attend?
If you do attend, it will be a one sided conversation with the outcome of DFing. They are told not to let you talk much because you are an apostate and you might ensnare one of them by your apostate devilish lies.
Their goal is to make you angry to elicit a bad reaction to prove to themselves that you are a product from Satan. They are EVIL
If it was me, I wouldn’t go as I don’t acknowledge their authority any more and I know you don’t either
“Their goal is to make you angry to elicit a bad reaction to prove to themselves that you are a product from Satan. ”
So true, I was having a conversation with someone just last night almost verbatim.
Meleti is well aware of their demonic tactics, and come hell or high water he’s not gonna miss his turn to speak IMO. When they start hearing this guy here at (Lu 12:12) start talking,they shut the meeting down real quick like.
I did some research and found out that If you don’t attend their hearing, they will dissfellowship you any way
I wonder why they are even initiating action against you at this late stage of the game?
I think it comes down to Proverbs 4:19, WarpSpeed. I don’t see the upside for them.
When I read your concluding remarks that ended with Luke 12:1, a broad smile grew across my face. For me, Luke 11:53 to Luke 12:3 has sounded into my heart, and has meaning for me. May God’s spirit prove to be with you.
Top of the morning to you Eric, the way I see it is they do have a weapon of darkness, but you have a weapon of “Light” and his name is Jesus Christ. With Him, you and Meleti Vivlon present at that meeting, the odds are overwhelmingly stacked in your favor, those guys won’t even know what hit them. The light always overpowers the darkness.
Metaphors be with you!
“Metaphors be with you”. I love it! That one is going in my database. 🙂
Eric, well said. I think of our Lord as he was rendered Innocent 3 times, from Pilate Herod Pilates wife, and yet they still put him to death. The trial will be viewed by our Lord. He will guide you with his words. Like 21: 12 But before any of this happens, they will capture you and persecute you. They’ll send you to synagogues for trial and to prisons for punishment; you’ll stand before kings and government officials for the sake of My name. 13 This will be your opportunity—your opportunity to tell your story. 14 Make up your mind… Read more »
Excellent letter, reminds me of the scripture in Eph 5:11 “and stop sharing in the unfruitful works that belong to the darkness rather, expose them for what they are”
Will be thinking of you brother Eric, your love of truth has helped me so very much always encouraging. thank you.
Superbly put, Eric. I wish you the best and a load of courage, as it will take a lot of strength to present yourself well. May Jehovah and Jesus give you the perception you will need at that hearing. I do hope you will ensure this letter is easily accessible in the future, as I would love to use much of your reasoning when and if that time comes. I am in 100% support of you in particular and all you (and others on this site) have done in helping us to reason scripturally on the many dodgy teachings put… Read more »
Eloquent and powerful words, Eric.
Well done, you gave a good witness for truth, and exposed the hypocrisy of this ‘cuckoo in the nest’ masquerading as God’s organisation.
My thoughts and prayers are with you, you have many friends here and whatever happens, truth will prevail.
Hi Eric We have been instructed not to look at apostate litterateurs, and to view it as PORNOGRAPHY, something that Jehovah hates…… Question, who has been looking at so called spiritual pornography? My brother in law who is an elder said that CO’s are asking them if they notice a trend of anyone in the congregation who is voicing their opinion, rather than GB. He said their CO has told them that speaking against GB is tantamount as sinning against holy spirit, referred to question 2 in the baptism talk. I love you concluding remarks: Nothing in this letter should… Read more »
Hi JB. Is your brother in law in Canada ON? I know many in the JW Ontario region that are voicing their own opinions. It’s spreading like wildfire
Hi X cult member
I live in Australia and its great to hear from you I hope you and your family are doing well.
Take care my brother.
Excellent Letter I would say cc the Service Desk and the Circuit Overseer. The CO is likely to be one of the three elders unless the branch is sending someone.
Beautiful and intelligent response to their invitation. They will not respond in writing but will call you again if they don’t see you by April fools day. They are scared of written response and if they they are evasive and vague. Good to know that they have a team of elders scoring all “apostate’s sites, hat a hypocrisy reading apostate materials irrespective of their motive, they ought to hate what is ” bad” and focus on the truth if they truly have the “truth”. They are even slow in sending this invite, they must have been planing the best way… Read more »
Bro Eric, I sent mail on blood transfusion, hope you’ve seen it
Can you resend it James, please.
Excellent Letter with real facts. Thank you for posting it. I guess whether or not you respond the result will be the same, disfellowshipping. That’s truly sad. Guilty as charged. Well you said what you needed to but I’m sure it fell on deaf ears.