Our Phone Conversations with an Elder and

Remarks About the Phone Conversations

Recorded Conversation With Elder Part I


Recorded Conversation With Elder Part II


Remarks About the Phone Conversations

One question I did not address in the video was this:

Why bother to record the phone conversations?

The reason is simple. When a Witness is tried before a judicial committee, there is no permanent record of the proceedings. Many of my friends, including some who are active, faithful Witnesses to this day, have been involved in judicial proceedings. Most of them have felt that at least parts of the trials have been unfair. On March 3, 2001, one friend told me: “If you ever have any family problems, don’t go to the elders!” That friend is still an active Witness. Another friend told me that they felt they were unfairly punished; that the elders “had it out for them” from the start.

When I would express concern that the judicial proceedings of certain friends were not handled fairly, these concerns were invariably suppressed. My family often told me that I should not question the judgement of the elders and, in the rare event that a case may have been handled improperly, they would tell me that “Jehovah will take care of the matter in his due time”. This struck me as odd; perhaps my mention of the unfairness was Jehovah’s way of taking care of the situation.

Another of my friends was disfellowshipped under trumped up charges (a fact I confirmed from five sources). I explained this to a relative, and on April 27, 2007, he argued thusly: “You are assuming this. You don't know the whole story since you were not in the committee room.” But, of course, to discount the testimony of my friend and the five sources would be to call them all liars. And, at any rate, elders themselves are not above reproach. The book Jehovah’s Witnesses – Proclaimers’ of God’s Kingdom (published by the Watchtower, Bible and Tract Society, 1993) says, on page 187: “Sadly, in recent times it has been necessary to disfellowship tens of thousands of unrepentant wrongdoers each year. Prominent elders have been included among them.” (Italics mine.)

I often considered accounts like this when contemplating the prospect that I could someday be called before a judicial committee. Statistically speaking, the elders would not treat me justly and fairly, so I wanted to ensure that no one would ever accuse me of twisting their words. I did not want anyone to say “Well I wasn’t in the committee meeting, so I don’t know the whole story.” So I decided to record all conversations that transpired between any elder and me. The phone conversations presented here aren’t the most scathing or shocking, but they are a permanent, documented record of the dialogue. I almost wish that I had allowed the matter to progress into a judicial hearing, so that I could have asked more questions and recorded more information for public listening.

I encourage anyone reading this who is (or will be) involved in a judicial proceeding to record the events. A small tape recorder is discreet, but the audio quality is somewhat lacking and the tape often lasts only 30 minutes. Another option is a camcorder. Though it is somewhat larger than a tape recorder, the camcorder can be hidden inside a purse of briefcase. If the conversation takes place via telephone, the camera can be set on a tripod or a tabletop in the vicinity of the phone’s mouthpiece. This is what I did and my only regret is not having speakerphone capability. If you prefer to not be secretive, request that you be allowed to record the proceedings, citing biblical examples of recorded discipline as precedent. As in my case, elders will not agree to this condition as it conflicts with the direction they receive on page 110 of their handbook (Pay Attention to Yourselves and to All the Flock, 1991), where it says: “No tape-recording devices are allowed”. The handbook only prohibits tape, so it might be best to ask if you can bring a computer along to record directly onto your hard-drive.

If you do record your conversation(s), please contact me. I will be happy to make it available on the worldwide web should you lack the means to do so. Do not hide your light “under the measuring basket” (Matthew 5:15)!

The letter we sent the elders which prevented any further harrassment or disfellowshipping.